For many members of the Mormon Church, their congregation is an essential source of support, spiritual guidance, and community. But for thousands of current and former members, their experience was tarnished by sexual abuse and systemic inaction to punish the perpetrators.
For decades, sexual assault survivors have alleged thousands of cases against members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The systemic covering up of sexual abuse extends across the United States, though much of the abuse occurred in Mormon-dense populations in Utah, Arizona, and other Southwestern and Western states.
For those wondering if filing a claim against the Mormon Church is worth revisiting the pain, know this: we understand that it is not an easy decision. However, those who choose to file a suit against their abuser do not have to leave their church or face ridicule, and they can get justice and compensation for what they’ve endured.
>>> Related read: Why Is Sexual Abuse So Common in the Mormon Church?
There’s Nothing to be Ashamed Of: Why Filing a Claim Against the Mormon Church is Worth It
Among the many moral teachings of the Mormon Church is that members’ (especially women’s) chasteness is highly regarded. Any sexual activity before marriage is seen as impure and one of the worst sins a member can commit. Women are taught that they should not tempt men with their choice of dress, and that all acts of sexuality before marriage are considered sinful and shameful.
Many sexual abuse survivors wrestle with coming forward because of the shame they feel. However, this type of abuse is never the victim’s fault.
Filing a Claim May Actually be an Important Healing Step
Sexual abuse survivors process their experiences differently. But many survivors wrestle with emotional distress, including:
- Losing control
- Feelings of guilt
- Feeling “dirty”
- Lack of interest in sex and/or relationships
While these responses may be common, that doesn’t make them any easier to process. Those abused at the hands of members of the Mormon Church may for years carry these feelings out of fear of how bringing up their experience with friends or family may make matters worse.
This is a sound concern, especially for those who have remained members of the Church long after their abuse occurred. However, for many sexual abuse survivors, bringing one’s abuser to justice is a driving force in processing, confronting, and finally overcoming the abuse they endured.
>>> Related read: How the Mormon Church and the Boy Scouts of America are Linked
Fearing Ridicule Should Not Stop You From Filing a Claim
Taking action against your Church community can be intimidating, and even feel like an act of disloyalty. But there are certain cases where you can file a claim under a pseudonym, which prevents your legal name from being affiliated with your case.
While no one who comes forward with a claim against the Church must leave their congregation, there are thousands who have found a supportive, caring community outside the Church. Seeking out others with shared experiences can actually alleviate some fear you feel from your Church community and offer necessary support.
Your Attorney Will Work Hard to Secure a Favorable Outcome
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints may seem like an opponent that’s too big to lose. But the fact is, many sexual abuse cases have come to light over the last few years—and attorneys across the country are working hard to get victims the compensation and justice they deserve.
Any legal proceedings of this nature can be rife with stress and discomfort, but a caring and experienced legal team will work hard to make sure the end result is worth it.
Hurley McKenna & Mertz represents more than 4,500 former Boy Scouts in related cases of sexual abuse and secured the largest single perpetrator settlement in the history of the Boy Scouts of America—and we’ll work hard for you, too.
Let Us Help You File a Claim Against the Mormon Church
As the number of claims against the Mormon Church continue to grow, know that you have access to the legal support you need to join this growing number.
We represent thousands of LDS members and are here to do the same for you. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us today for your free consultation and learn how we can help you get the compensation and justice you deserve.