The Mormon Church Has A Domestic Violence Problem

Source: Huffington Post

By Neil J. Young

Columnist

In defending Rob Porter, the disgraced Trump White House staffer who resigned last week amid published reports he had physically abused his two ex-wives, his backers have bizarrely cited his professional resume as a sort of bulwark against the allegations: two degrees from Harvard, a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford, and work experience for two U.S. senators. Some have also noted his “exemplary character” and religious faith as a devoted member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a former Mormon missionary.

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But this last point, his affiliation with the LDS Church, may not so much provide the character alibi his defenders intend as much as it helps us understand the deeper patterns of abuse in his two marriages.

Both Colbie Holderness and Jennifer Willoughby, Porter’s two ex-wives, have stated that Mormon bishops had long ignored or minimized their reports of domestic abuse. As Holderness explained to The Daily Mail, after months of speaking to her religious authorities about the abuse, it was a “secular” counselor at her workplace “who told me what was happening was not okay.” In a separate interview with The Intercept, Holderness drew a starker contrast between her secular counselor’s response and how her church leaders had reacted. “When I explained to him what was happening,” Holderness said, “he had a very different reaction from the Mormon bishops … He was very concerned to hear Rob was choking me.”

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