The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has removed a scripture from one of the Personal Progress values to remove a potential connection between sexual abuse and loss of worthiness for the victims.
The change splits the ideas of virtue and virginity by removing Moroni 9:9 from the reading list for the value of virtue.
“And notwithstanding this great abomination of the Lamanites, it doth not exceed that of our people in Moriantum. For behold, many of the daughters of the Lamanites have they taken prisoners; and after depriving them of that which was most dear and precious above all things, which is chastity and virtue–” according to Moroni 9:9.
It was replaced with Jacob 2:28.
“For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts,” according to Jacob 2:28.
Holly Hansen, a junior studying English, said she feels like the true virtue of a woman can never be taken away. She said she likes Jacob 2:28 better than Moroni 9:9 for Personal Progress.
“Victims of abuse should be assured that they are not to blame for the harmful behavior of others,” according to the LDS Church’s online discussion of abuse at lds.org. “They do not need to feel guilt.”
The Church has had a program for young women since 1915. The last addition to the personal progress handbook was in 2009 with the value of virtue, according to the Church’s online history of Young Women Recognition, which can be found on lds.org.
“I liked the old scripture, but if it forced people who were abused or raped to feel like they were unclean or impure, it’s important for them to know because someone forced this upon them that they are still clean in God’s eyes,” said Emmalie Wells, a freshman studying English.
Kendall Lee, a junior studying elementary education, said she believes the Church is lead by inspired leaders. She said that it is an inspired change and she supports it.
“I appreciate the more encouraging and positive approach to virtue, because it’s not very popular,” said Serena Howard, a freshman studying dance. “More as a ‘This will make you happy’ than a shaming thing. I feel like innocence is a choice.”