‘Mormon Land’: What role can or should forgiveness play in sexual abuse cases?

How patriarchy and “cheap forgiveness” sometimes protect predators in the LDS Church.

(Courtesy and AP photos) Latter-day Saint theologian In a "Mormon Land" podcast, Deidre Nicole Green, left, and Chelsea Goodrich, who has accused her father of molesting her during childhood, challenge a version of "cheap forgiveness" that, they say, Latter-day Saints and other Christian communities sometimes use, papering over real and, at times, systemic harm.

Chelsea Goodrich was a returned missionary pursuing a graduate degree in California when she came forward with allegations that her father, John Goodrich, had molested her throughout her childhood.

(In a statement to The Salt Lake Tribune, John Goodrich has denied the accusations of sexual assault.)

The alleged abuse, the subject of a recent Associated Press investigation, is not the reason, however, that Chelsea, now a 38-year-old licensed counselor, no longer identifies as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She attributes that shift to the response she received when she tried to protect children.

Friends and family, many from the tightknit Latter-day Saint community of Mountain Home, Idaho, where she grew up, discouraged her from continuing to press the matter, urging her instead to forgive her father.

In this week’s episode, she joins Deidre Nicole Green, a Latter-day Saint and theologian at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, Calif., to discuss how church leaders, members and others sometimes “weaponize” forgiveness, silencing survivors and preventing justice.

Listen here: