Mormon leader's statement about sexual abuse sparks a string of harsh criticism from people
His remark on sexual misconduct did not sit well with many people.
Quentin L. Cook, a top leader of the Mormon church, has referred to sexual misconduct as "non-consensual immorality," as reported by Fox News.
Cook made the controversial comment during the first week of April 2018. The Mormon church faced public backlash after Cook made the remark during a two-day Mormon conference.
The church has been under heavy scrutiny over accusations that a former prominent missionary leader sexually assaulted two women in the 1980s.
The Mormon church is also known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Mormon apostle Quentin L Cook catching heat for his comments yesterday about sexual misconduct at General Conference. Shout out to Natasha Helfer... https://t.co/pMOePXlZ0z— John Dehlin (@johndehlin) April 3, 2018
The latest controversy came days after the church announced updated guidelines for reporting sexual abuse.
"It is commendable that non-consensual immorality has been exposed and denounced," Cook was quoted as saying during the conference, which was attended by thousands of the church's followers.
Natasha Helfer Parker, a certified sex therapist, said Cook had good intentions, but that his poor choice of words reflects the church's lack of education about the proper ways to discuss sexual misconduct.
“Such nonconsensual immorality is against the laws of God and of society,” apostle Quentin L. Cook said. “However, those who understand God’s plan must also oppose consensual immorality, which is also a sin.”https://t.co/tKSm0iSoth @ldschurch #ldsconf— The Salt Lake Tribune (@sltrib) April 2, 2018
She said that victims of sexual abuse should not be grouped with "immoral" acts.
"They need very clear language from leaders that places the onus of the responsibility on the perpetrator, not this indirect, kind of vague language," added Helfer Parker, who also happens to be a Mormon.
About 1,000 people, including Helfer Parker, recently marched to the church's headquarters in Salt Lake City. They demanded an end to closed-door, one-on-one meetings between local adult church leaders and children and the sexual questions they sometimes include.
Under its new guidelines, local church leaders are instructed to handle sexual abuse reports and one-on-one meetings with the youth.
Children are also allowed to bring a parent or adult with them during one-on-one interviews.
Local lay leaders are instructed never to disregard a report of abuse.