RELIGION

‘Any kind of abuse … is an abomination,’ President Nelson says at Saturday morning session

Oct 1, 2022, 12:49 PM | Updated: 1:05 pm
President Russell M. Nelson, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaks during the ...
President Russell M. Nelson, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaks during the Saturday morning session of the 192nd Semiannual General Conference at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022. (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)
(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)

President Russell M. Nelson denounced abuse as a grievous sin and an abomination at the close of the Saturday morning session of the 192nd Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Sitting on a stool at the pulpit in the Conference Center during a brief, five-minute talk, President Nelson decried abuse.

“Abuse constitutes the influence of the adversary. It is a grievous sin,” he said. “As president of the church, I affirm the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ on this issue. Let me be perfectly clear: Any kind of abuse of women, children or anyone is an abomination to the Lord. He grieves and I grieve whenever anyone is harmed. He mourns, and we all mourn, for each person who has fallen victim to abuse of any kind. Those who perpetrate these hideous acts are not only accountable to the laws of man, but will also face the wrath of almighty God.”

The morning session also made history.

Sister Tracy Y. Browning became the first Black woman to speak at a general conference. Sister Browning is the second counselor in the Primary general presidency.

Sister Tracy Y. Browning becomes first Black woman to give conference talk

A revised edition of the “For Strength of Youth” guidebook also was released with a subtitle, “A Guide to Making Choices.” The updated pocket manual is now less prescriptive and more principle-based, said Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

President Nelson statement on abuse

President Nelson also described the abuse prevention resources the church publishes on its website. This is the first conference since the Associated Press published a national story about sexual abuse committed by a late, former Latter-day Saint against his own children. The story questioned the church’s response to the crimes.

“For decades now, the church has taken extensive measures to protect — in particular — children from abuse. There are many aids on the church website,” he said. “I invite you to study them. These guidelines are in place to protect the innocent. I urge each of us to be alert to anyone who might be in danger of being abused and to act promptly to protect them. The Savior will not tolerate abuse, and as his disciples, neither can we.”

President Nelson, who has announced 100 temples since being sustained as the church’s 17th president and prophet in 2018, also said the church as a whole rejoices that more temples are being built worldwide.

“With the dedication of each new temple, additional godly power comes into the world to strengthen us and counteracts the intensifying efforts of the adversary,” he said.

New ‘For the Strength of Youth’

Elder Uchtdorf said the updated “For the Strength of Youth” manual is designed to guide youth to turn to Christ.

“To be very clear, the best guide you can possibly have for making choices is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the strength of youth,” he said. “So the purpose of ‘For the Strength of Youth’ is to point you to him. It teaches you eternal truths of his restored gospel — truths about who you are, who he is, and what you can accomplish with his strength. It teaches you how to make righteous choices based on those eternal truths.”

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‘Any kind of abuse … is an abomination,’ President Nelson says at Saturday morning session