Abuse constitutes the influence of the adversary and it is a grievous sin, President Russell M. Nelson declared in the Saturday morning session of October 2022 general conference.
“As President of the Church, I affirm the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ on this issue. Let me be perfectly clear: Any kind of abuse of women, children or anyone is an abomination to the Lord.
“He grieves and I grieve whenever anyone is harmed. He mourns, and we all mourn, for each person who has fallen victim to abuse of any kind. Those who perpetrate these hideous acts are not only accountable to the laws of man, but will also face the wrath of Almighty God.
“For decades now, the Church has taken extensive measures to protect — in particular — children from abuse. There are many aids on the Church website,” President Nelson said, referring to the resources on abuse.ChurchofJesusChrist.org on help, healing and protection from abuse.
“I invite you to study them. These guidelines are in place to protect the innocent.”
President Nelson continued: “I urge each of us to be alert to anyone who might be in danger of being abused and to act promptly to protect them. The Savior will not tolerate abuse, and as His disciples, neither can we.”
Accountable before God
President Nelson was not the only Church leader to address abuse during October 2022 general conference.
Elder Cook participated in a United Kingdom All Party Parliamentary Forum in London. Violence against women and youth was highlighted as a significant worldwide problem, he said.
The Family: A Proclamation to the World says, “Those who abuse spouse or offspring will one day stand accountable before God.”
Referencing President Nelson’s statement on abuse the day before, Elder Cook said, “Please make up your mind that regardless of whether your parents did or did not abuse you, you will not physically or verbally or emotionally abuse your spouse or children.”
A personal experience
Sister Kristin M. Yee, who began her service as second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency on Aug. 1, spoke during the Saturday afternoon session about forgiveness as part of emulating the Savior.
Sister Yee shared painfully personal moments from her past and used the story of David, Nabal and Abigail in the book of Samuel to illustrate the principles of forgiveness and reconciliation.
Her openness about her experience provided an authentic backdrop to teach about the difficulties of forgiving others and the peaceful resolution that comes from recognizing the Savior “claimed these sins” of those who caused pain.
“The Savior in an incomprehensible way [took] upon Him our sins and the sins of those who have hurt or offended us,” she said.
Those who are still in situations where abuse is ongoing need not stay in that circumstance, she added. “Please know that forgiving someone does not mean that you put yourself in a position where you will continue to be hurt.”
In her own search to forgive and find peace, Sister Yee said she gained a stronger testimony of Jesus Christ and the power He has as the Savior.
“I came to realize in a profound way that the same Son of God who atoned for my sins, is the same Redeemer who will also save those who have deeply hurt me.”
To those who have experienced any kind of abuse, Elder Kearon said: “The abuse was not, is not and never will be your fault, no matter what the abuser or anyone else may have said to the contrary. When you have been a victim of cruelty, incest or any other perversion, you are not the one who needs to repent; you are not responsible.
“You are not less worthy or less valuable or less loved as a human being, or as a daughter or son of God, because of what someone else has done to you.”