Why Does God Allow Sexual Abusers to Hold Positions of Authority?

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Question

Gramps,

Why does Heavenly Father allow men, who He knows will sexually abuse youth under His stewardship, to be called to positions of authority in the Church?

Roger

Answer

Hi there Roger,

This is a very valid question and indeed a troubling one at that for a large number of Latter-day Saints and even just people in general. The fact that you ask it shows how seriously you take the Law of Chastity and I applaud you for that. Any priesthood leader who holds authority (i.e. Priesthood Keys), be it a Bishop, Branch President, Young Men’s President, Stake President, Mission President and so forth, are certainly held to a very high standard of obedience since a part of their calling is to be the example of obedience to everyone over whom they are appointed as stewards.

I wonder if another way to phrase your question might be “would God really knowingly put someone in a position where they will most certainly harm those under their stewardship?” Either way, I believe the answer is no. Trust is a huge thing with God and He knows who He can trust and who He can’t. Keep in mind that there’s a difference between 100% certain revelation from God in a calling and a church leader mistakenly thinking he has received revelation to call another priesthood leader who (unknown to the one giving the call) will grossly violate that calling. As President Holland has said before, “Except in the case of His only perfect Begotten Son, imperfect people are all God has ever had to work with. That must be terribly frustrating to Him, but He deals with it. So should we. And when you see imperfection, remember that the limitation is not in the divinity of the work.”

But the fact that you used the word “allow” in your question suggests that you have a firm faith that He doesn’t cause evil, but merely allows it; that the evils that God allows to exist sometimes does not equate to Him making those bad things happen or being responsible for them. Another explanation of this is in answer to the question that ideologically wraps around this one, “Why does God allow evil in the world?” In the context of callings of Authority, there are a few reasons.

To read the entire answer: Ask Gramps

Gramps is a hopeful, wise fave among young and old. Gramps provides a moral voice in a world oft awash in immorality. Gramps is unabashedly God-fearing. He invites you to sit with him on the virtual bench, to find answers to “It’s complicated” and “What if” and “I don’t get it” and “Why did God say” and “What does it mean when”–sorts of questions.