I suspect that you have read with me the recent news of atrocities perpetrated by religious men against innocent children. My heart breaks as I consider the irreparable harm done by these evil men. I am saddened that those in a position to protect the children did little or nothing, sometimes even knowingly placing new, unsuspecting victims in harm’s way.
It is troubling indeed that for some there apparently remains some ambiguity on how to deal with those who harm God’s children—troubling in particular because I see no such ambiguity either in holy writ or in the instructions of our own religious leaders. I share with you, for example, the words of Elder Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, spoken last month in the Semi-Annual General Conference of our church:
There is nothing in the scriptures, there is nothing in what we publish, there is nothing in what we believe or teach that gives license to parents or anyone else to neglect or abuse or molest our own or anyone else’s children.
There is in the scriptures, there is in what we publish, there is in what we believe, there is in what we teach, counsel, commandments, even warnings that we are to protect, to love, to care for, and to “teach [children] to walk in the ways of truth” (Mosiah 4:15). To betray them is utterly unthinkable.
Among the strongest warnings and the severest penalties in the revelations are those relating to little children. Jesus said, “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matt. 18:6).
(By the way, if you are interested in reading or viewing Elder Packer’s entire address, you can find it here.)
I apologize for hitting you with such an awful subject in this month’s letter. But I felt inclined to reaffirm what the Gospel teaches us about our obligation to care for and nurture little children. It is a responsibility I feel most keenly since I have three such little ones in my care—and I feel so inadequate most of the time. My faith is that God will help me succeed—perhaps, at times, in spite of myself—provided I am making a genuine effort to get it right.
I pray that you may remain insulated from the evil that has touched the lives of so many innocent people, and that your children, and their children, may likewise be blessed and protected.