‘Mormon Land’: How British Latter-day Saints took on their church — and won

Fighting to prevent abuse, they successfully lobbied for a new policy requiring background checks and other safeguarding measures.

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) The London Temple. The faith has adopted a new policy requiring Latter-day Saints working with children in the United Kingdom to undergo background checks.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints repeatedly has proclaimed that it has zero tolerance for abuse of any kind. That’s all well and good, some British Latter-day Saints reasoned, but not enough.

They wanted their faith to do more, to undertake concrete reforms that could help prevent abuse from happening in the first place. So they launched a widespread public and private lobbying effort. They surveyed members. They wrote to their church leaders. They contacted national lawmakers.

All that praying, pleading and prodding finally paid off when, starting this month, the church adopted a new policy mandating, among other measures, background checks for any church volunteers in the United Kingdom who work with children, youths or vulnerable adults.

On this week’s show, Sara Delaney and Jane Christie, who together began the “21st Century Saints” podcast, along with Douglas Stilgoe, host of the “Nemo the Mormon” podcast, discuss their campaign — when they started it, how they structured it, and why it succeeded.

Listen to the podcast: