The secret to advancing within many organizations is to identify the prevailing ideology and then embrace and advocate it with more zeal than your superiors.
What is gained by cover-ups of sexual abuse?
1. Protect the “good family” name of the perpetrator and the reputation of the LDS Church.
2. Downplay the concern that that choice of the perpetrator for that leadership position was not inspired after all.
3. Limit legal and civil liabilities that would come about if the perpetrator confessed.
4. Allow the perpetrator to privately repent so that he can be given future leadership callings.
5. Because the victim needs to prayerfully consider whether he or she is partially responsible for the abuse, according to Elder Richard G. Scott
6. The responsibility of the victim to forgive the perpetrator is greater than that of the perpetrator to repent.
7. It’s wrong to criticize leaders of the Church, even if the criticism is true. – President Dallin H. Oaks
8. Because the LDS Church’s main law firm, Kirton McConkie, recommended covering-up.
9. Some things that are true are not very useful. – President Boyd K. Packer
10. Shaming the victim or accusing him or her of “false memory syndrome” is often an effective strategy.
11. The Lord chastens those whom he loves even if that chastisement comes in the form of unrighteous dominion by his anointed servants.
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Here are some statements from Von G. Keetch, who at one time was the chief outside legal counsel for the Church and is now a Seventy. Elder Keetch has represented the Church in several cases about child and sexual abuse.
- “No religious organization has done more” to prevent and respond to abuse.
- “The Church’s approach is the gold standard.”
- “While clergy-abuse cases continue to grab headlines, the Church has had almost no child abuse problems with its clergy.”
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– Tom Irvine
He that diligently seeketh good procureth favour: but he that seeketh mischief, it shall come unto him. Proverbs 11:27
– Tom Irvine
1. They Constantly Reference their own Achievements
The Spiritual Narcissist loves to self-promote. For them, every conversation is an opportunity to share just how superior they are to the average believer. They typically go about this by listing off their own achievements. You’ll hear them talk incessantly about their upcoming book, their latest blog post, sermon series, missions work, or that time they led someone to Christ. Scripture tells us not seek our own glory and to let our work stand on its own (Proverbs 27:2), but the Spiritual Narcissist will flaunt anything they believe might bring them praise.
The best way for Christians to counter this display is to follow the example of Micah 6:8, live justly, show mercy, and walk humbly with the LORD your God.
2. They Invade Conversations
The Spiritual Narcissist craves control, and their highest authority is always their own self-reference. As a result, it’s not uncommon for them to invade the personal or private conversations of others. They’ll often do this under the guise of “helping” or “correcting” fellow Christians, but they have no real interest in two-way dialogue. You’ll notice they also have a way of injecting their own opinions into situations, and are the first voice their complaints about recent events in the Church. The Bible warns that such people create division among believers and serve only their own appetites (Romans 16:17-18, Psalms 36:1-4).
There’s no good way to speak with Spiritual Narcissists (Proverbs 26:4-5), the best response Christians can make is stand their ground and refuse to be bullied.
3. They Twist Scripture
Susan B. Anthony once said, “I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.” In the same way, a Spiritual Narcissist uses scripture as a tool for their purpose instead of God’s. They approach the Bible with a closed mind, memorizing only a handful of useful verses that will justify their behavior. Anything else, particularly scripture that conflicts with their actions, gets ignored. Like the men of Jude 1:4, they should not to be trusted.
The best defense Christians have against this kind of faulty theology is to simply read the Bible. The more familiar we become with God’s work, the more familiar we become with God.
4. They Profess Love, but Never Show It
Perhaps the easiest way to identify a Spiritual Narcissist is to see if their works match their words. Many will claim they have nothing but love and compassion in their hearts for those they rebuke, but their actions prove otherwise. Matthew 7 teaches us that we can judge a prophet by the fruit of his labors, “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.” So, what kind of harvest do they bring to God’s table? Division? Disdain? Cruelty?
Love is more than words, love is actions. That’s what separates the true Christian from the Spiritual Narcissist.
5. They Talk, but They Don’t Listen
Listening can be a powerful tool for Christians. Listening builds trust, creates empathy, and fosters understanding among individuals. James 1:19 even urges believers to be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger. The Spiritual Narcissist, by contrast, is quick to speak, quick to take offense, and incapable of listening. They enjoy being the loudest one in the room, and the idea of deferring to someone else galls them.
A true Christian listens to others, even when they might not agree with them. Listening requires that we be selfless, which is the one thing a Spiritual Narcissist can never be.
Kirton McConkie Building
50 E S Temple #400, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
How much tithing funds have been paid to the Kirton McConkie law firm over the years?
 And now, when Amulek had spoken these words the people began to be astonished, seeing there was more than one witness who testified of the things whereof they were accused, and also of the things which were to come, according to the spirit of prophecy which was in them.
 Nevertheless, there were some among them who thought to question them, that by their cunning devices they might catch them in their words, that they might find witness against them, that they might deliver them to their judges that they might be judged according to the law, and that they might be slain or cast into prison, according to the crime which they could make appear or witness against them.
 Now it was those men who sought to destroy them, who were lawyers, who were hired or appointed by the people to administer the law at their times of trials, or at the trials of the crimes of the people before the judges.
 Now these lawyers were learned in all the arts and cunning of the people; and this was to enable them that they might be skilful in their profession.
 And it came to pass that they began to question Amulek, that thereby they might make him cross his words, or contradict the words which he should speak.
 Now they knew not that Amulek could know of their designs. But it came to pass as they began to question him, he perceived their thoughts, and he said unto them: O ye wicked and perverse generation, ye lawyers and hypocrites, for ye are laying the foundation of the devil; for ye are laying traps and snares to catch the holy ones of God.
 Ye are laying plans to pervert the ways of the righteous, and to bring down the wrath of God upon your heads, even to the utter destruction of this people.
Kirton & McConkie is known in the industry as “The God Squad” that advises and shields the LDS Church from legal liability. They have no obligation to help victims.
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How many tithing dollars are being paid to David Jordan of Stoel Rives Law Firm for the McKenna Denson case?
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When leaders abdicate their moral agency to their lawyers, they forfeit their moral authority.
– Tom Irvine
From a Judeo-Chrisitian perspective…
1. Say that your are sorry
2. Make amends
3. Ask for forgiveness
4. Take steps to make sure it never happens again
Here is what institutions, high-profile politicians and celebrities actually do…
2. Shame the victim
3. Offer a cash settlement to “make it go away”
4. Require that the victim sign an NDA
I am very saddened that my church has chosen the second method to deal with those who have been abused by its leaders.
When leaders abdicate their moral agency to their lawyers, they greatly diminish their moral authority.
– Tom Irvine
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This is troubling on so many levels. Church doctrine is often open to interpretation. Sometimes general authorities contradict one another or even their own selves.
Policies and even doctrines can change, such as whether black men can receive the priesthood, and whether a man needs multiple wives in order to achieve the highest exaltation.
I currently home teach a good brother who has formally joined another church. He is friendly and appreciates home teaching visits.
I do not advocate same-sex marriage, rather I am neutral. But is it really worse in God’s eyes than attempted murder or rape?
– Tom Irvine
Scripture warnings about fault-finding…
They search out iniquities; they accomplish a diligent search: both the inward thought of every one of them, and the heart, is deep. (Psalms 64:6)
He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour: but a man of understanding holdeth his peace. (Proverbs 11:12)
Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:1-5)
For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. (2 Corinthians 2:20)
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (Ephesian 4:29)
If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. (James 1:26)
These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage. (Jude 1:16)
– Tom Irvine
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What do you notice in people?
The Practice: See the good in others.
Many interactions these days have a kind of bumper-car quality to them. At work, at home, on the telephone, via email: we sort of bounce off of each other while we exchange information, smile or frown, and move on. How often do we actually take the extra few seconds to get a sense of what’s inside other people – especially their good qualities?
In fact, because of what scientists call the brain’s “negativity bias”, we’re most likely to notice the bad qualities in others rather than the good ones: the things that worry or annoy us, or make us critical.
Unfortunately, if you feel surrounded by lots of bad or at best neutral qualities in others, and only a sprinkling of dimly-sensed good ones, then you naturally feel less supported, less safe, and less inclined to be generous or pursue your dreams. Plus, in a circular way, when another person gets the feeling that you don’t really see much that’s good in him or her, that person is less likely to take the time to see much that’s good in you.
Seeing the good in others is thus a simple but very powerful way to feel happier and more confident, and become more loving and more productive in the world.