Skip to main content

In recent years, reports of abuse in the Mormon Church have shone a light on the rampart and systemic problem within the institution. The Mormon Church—also called Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints, LDS Church, or The Church of Jesus Christ (“TCJC”)—is a global religious organization based in Salt Lake City, Utah. This vast enterprise is highly structured and organized, with direction flowing from leadership in Salt Lake City down to stakes, missions, temples, wards, and branches. 

The central headquarters of the church directs local leaders (including stake presidents, bishops, and others) on topics large and small, from adherence to scripture to how to wear certain articles of clothing. This direction even includes how to handle reports of abuse to the Mormon Church, as in the Mormon Church hotline cover-up where hotline attendants were told to “NEVER ADVISE A PRIESTHOOD LEADER TO REPORT ABUSE” according to media investigations. Such direction and policy reflect and perpetuate a culture where abuse is common. 

What Is Mormon Church Abuse?

Mormon Church abuse is the physical, verbal, mental, and sexual abuse perpetrated against children and adults by members and leaders of the Mormon Church. The form this abuse takes will vary. It could take the form of sexual abuse of a child by a church leader on church grounds, such as during Sunday School, Seminary, Young Men’s or Young Women’s programs. Or it could be sexual misconduct by a Bishop during church organized or led events. It could be inappropriate fondling or groping in the home of a Stake President under the auspices of spiritual guidance. It could also be the grooming of a child over several years, culminating in sexual assault.  Sometimes Mormon Church sexual abuse can happen in the home by a Missionary or Home Teacher. Whatever form the abuse takes and wherever it happens, the result is irreparable damage to the abuse victim. 

Types of Mormon Church Abuse 

There have been several high-profile instances of abuse in the Mormon Church that garnered national media attention. The Mormon Church Indian Student Placement Program failed to keep a young boy safe from a Bishop who sexually abused the boy in his home and on church grounds. And, in Arizona, LDS Church leadership failed to report a case where a father sexually abused his 5-year-old daughter.

The Mormon Church has also been extensively involved with the Boy Scouts of America, with individual churches acting as sponsors for Boy Scout troops. When the Boy Scouts filed for bankruptcy due to the number of sex abuse complaints against it, the LDS Church initially agreed to a $250 million settlement for the thousands of boys abused while participating in troops associated with the LDS Church

Have You Been Abused by Mormon Church?

In many cases, when abuse is reported, Mormon Church leadership has been responsible for failing to take action. Bishops and other leaders have not reacted properly when they’ve received reports of crimes. Instead of reporting abuse to law enforcement, they take advantage of authority and protect the reputation of the Mormon Church. Survivors of abuse by the Mormon Church deserve better than this. 

They deserve justice. If you have suffered sexual abuse at the hands of the Mormon Church, contact our team of licensed, caring professionals today to learn about your legal rights. Call today for a free, confidential consultation at 1-888-407-0224 or use our confidential submission form.

Peter Janci

Peter has represented more than one hundred victims of sexual abuse over nearly a decade. In Spring of 2010, Peter Janci served as part of the Plaintiff’s trial team in Kerry Lewis v. Boy Scouts of America — a child sexual abuse trial in Portland, Oregon that resulted in a $19.9 million verdict for the Plaintiff. Peter has tried a number of jury and bench trials, in addition to representing clients at arbitration and meditation. Peter has also helped obtain dozens of other significant settlements for other survivors of sexual abuse.