Verse That Linked Rape To Chastity Removed From Mormon Youth Book

Source: The Huffington Post

By Antonia Blumberg

Associate Religion Editor, The Huffington Post

A controversial verse from the Book of Mormon that describes rape as the loss of chastity has been removed from a workbook Mormon girls are required to study.

LDS Church spokesman Eric Hawkins confirmed to The Salt Lake Tribune on Monday that the verse was recently eliminated in the English version of thePersonal Progress workbook that covers virtue.

Chapter 9 of the Book of Moroni details the “depravity” of the Lamanites ― a tribe the Book of Mormon describes as descendants of Laman and Lemuel, two brothers from a family of Israelites that sailed across the ocean around 600 BC.

Moroni 9:9 relays the story of the Lamanite daughters who were raped and deprived “of that which was dear and precious among all things, which is chastity and virtue.”

The workbook still emphasizes chastity, asking girls to write in their journal on “the promised blessings of being sexually clean and pure and your commitment to be chaste.” But the revision reflects LDS Church policy, as stated on the church’s website, which says that “victims of sexual abuse are not guilty of sin and do not need to repent.”

Mormon author Jana Reiss called the change “a good start” in an article on Religion News Service, but noted that the verse is still present in LDS scripture and pervades Mormon beliefs surrounding purity.

For years church leaders have communicated the message to Mormon faithful that it’s better to “be better dead clean than alive unclean.” This message has shifted in recent years, Reiss said in her article. But Mormon survivors of sexual assault are still often subjected to victim-blaming.

In March, a student at LDS-operated Brigham Young University filed a federal complaint against the school for putting her on academic hold after she reported being raped to police.

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