With an ethnic group, the group is an extended family. When we were “Mormons” (and an ethnic group) the church was an extended family. That was both the model and the reality.

Families have some significant characteristics. Importantly, when faced with predators and abusers families react by expelling the malefactors to protect themselves.

Fifty years ago, priesthood holders who sexually took advantage were excommunicated for at least a year and their names identified to the congregation. Those guilty of sexually abusing children had mandatory excommunication and could only be rebaptized with specific permission of the first presidency.

Children who deserve protection

But we are no longer an ethnic group and things are in practice judged by membership in “the club”.

The term “the club” comes from federal sentencing issues. If the criminal was a member of the same country club as the judge, someone who the judge could see as a peer, punishment was often very light and (obviously) focused on rehabilitation of a peer.

Since predators generally join a group for cover and access to victims, this natural human behavior of as sympathy to fellow club members resulted in a constant class based enabling of predators.

In the modern church “the club” mindset results in predators and their rehabilitation taking precedence over protecting and healing victims.

As an issue, that behavior results in a constant refrain and complaint of how predatory behavior ends up being swept under the rug and how in practice some predators are more important than their victims.

The problem is endemic to churches. The Catholics, the Baptists and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints all have a constant stream of scandals in the news.

While the entity “the LDS Church” appears to have attempted to define “the church” as “the source of covenants and ordinances” instead of “an extended family” in practice it has become “the members of the club” and “the hoi polloi” with all the inherent problems that causes — including abused children.

I have no solutions. All I have are observations about human nature and how it interacts with the loss of an ethnic identity in spite of serious attempts to set policies that put victims first.

So that we have a “club” instead of a “family”.

What observations do you have?