The following is excerpted from the Deseret News. To read the full article, CLICK HERE.

Last week, Latter-day Saint church buildings in the greater Salt Lake City area were vandalized. A meeting house in Orem was ransacked. In Sandy, multiple buildings were defaced, and graffiti was scrawled across the façade of one house of worship, reading: “Predators welcome.”

We respond: no, they aren’t.

One of us served as a bishop and stake president, and the other is a survivor of abuse who now works as a clinical therapist helping abuse victims. From our years of experience, we’ve seen firsthand the structural safeguards that make The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints effective at protecting children.

This work includes systems that help detect and deter predators and encourage reporting of child sexual abuse and ministering to abuse victims and their families.

The Church of Jesus Christ requires a two-deep leadership model, mandating that at least two adults be present in all activities that involve youth or children. This provides a layer of protection for children and is a strong deterrent to would-be abusers. The system also increases the probability of timely and truthful reporting of abuse disclosures.

The church has also demonstrated its receptiveness to other emerging best practices, adopting changes to its interview policies and even the architecture of its buildings to enable visibility in locations where youth interact with each other and with adults. And in 2019, the church launched a mandatory online training course for all adults who interact with children and youth in their church assignments.  The training orients leaders to church policy, reviews best practices for supervising children and youth, and helps leaders prevent, recognize and respond to abuse.

It’s also relevant that, with rare exceptions, church bishops — who are all volunteers — are required to be married. They almost always have children themselves and are almost always members of their congregations prior to being asked to serve in their ecclesiastical capacity.

To read the full article, CLICK HERE.