Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Following Faith
Peggy Fletcher Stack
Peggy Fletcher Stack has been producing stories for The Salt Lake Tribune's award-winning Faith section for nearly two decades. Writing about contemporary faith, rituals, and spirituality as well as religion's conflicts and cohesion has always been Stack's passion. Follow her at facebook.com/peggy.fletcherstack, Twitter @religiongal

» Peggy Fletcher Stack E-mail

» Subscribe (RSS)




More Elizabeth Smart fallout: Should Mormon church change booklet?

Kidnap victim Elizabeth Smart made national headlines this week by saying that she didn’t try to escape from her captors because she felt like a "chewed-up piece of gum, nobody re-chews a piece of gum, you throw it away."

Having been repeatedly raped, Smart told a Johns Hopkins human-trafficking forum, it was "easy ... to feel like you no longer have worth, you no longer have value. Why would it even be worth screaming out? Why would it even make a difference if you are rescued? Your life still has no value."

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Smart said she heard the chewed-gum analogy from a teacher. Now, many commenters are pointing to her Mormon faith, in which some members in the past have used such images to discourage premarital sex.

These analogies may be long gone from LDS usage, writes blogger Kristine Haglund in a post at bycommonconsent.com, but a false connection between rape and chastity subtly remains.

"The very first scripture [LDS] girls are required to study in their Personal Progress work [booklet] on the value of Virtue is Moroni 9:9, which describes young women as having lost their virtue by being raped," Haglund writes.

The verse says: "For behold, many of the daughters of the Lamanites have they taken prisoners; and after depriving them of that which was most dear and precious above all things, which is chastity and virtue — "

Haglund is emphatic about eliminating any suggestion that a rapist can take away a person’s virtue.

"That scripture reference needs to go, NOW," she writes. "And we need to start explicitly teaching that this scripture reflects a cultural mistake among Book of Mormon peoples in their understanding of virtue, one which fails to properly apply the principle of agency and denies the power of the Atonement. The chastity in which the Lord delights (Jacob 2) is not merely virginity, and cannot be taken away by another person, especially not by violence or abuse."

Remove that reference, Haglund asks the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "Do it now."

For Smart, comfort came partly in the form of a "blessing," or healing prayer, by the late LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley, who assured her that she was not responsible for anything that had happened to her when she was being controlled by her captors.

That is in line with LDS teachings, according to church spokeswoman Ruth Todd.

"Victims of rape, incest, or other sexual abuse are not guilty of sin. If you have been a victim of any of these crimes, know that you are innocent and that God loves you," reads a church pamphlet, For the Strength of Youth.

The church’s official Handbook for local leaders makes the same point: "Victims of sexual abuse (including rape) often suffer serious trauma and feelings of guilt. Victims of the evil acts of others are not guilty of sin."

No word on whether that scriptural reference will be removed from — or otherwise explained in — the young women’s booklet.

Peggy Fletcher Stack



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
 
Jobs
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.