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Hundreds of LDS Church members rally in effort to end one-on-one meetings with children

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SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah)- On Friday, hundreds of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rallied in an effort to “definitively end” one-on-one meetings with Church elders and children.

The initiative called ProtectLDSChildren.org, is led by Sam Young. He gathered over 55,000 signatures on a petition where members of the Church call on leaders to end the practice.

This week, the LDS Church announced a key new rule that allows children to bring a parent or adult with them during one-one-one interviews with local church leaders. Under old rules parents were only allowed in a hallway or adjacent room. 

Supporters of the petition say the changes still don’t go far enough.

“Notably, the new LDS Church guidelines do not mandate a parent or guardian be present, but rather, leave it up to the children to decide, and also do not address the issue of sexually-explicit questions and conversations between male church leaders and minors,” Young said.

The event began at noon at the Salt Lake City/County Building located at 451 South State St. From there supporters marched five blocks to the Church Office Building to deliver the petition.

After the petition was delivered, the LDS Church released the following statement: 

“We share a common concern for the safety and wellbeing of youth. We condemn any inappropriate behavior or abuse regardless of where or when it occurs. Local Church leaders are provided with instructions regarding youth interviews and are expected to review and follow them.

“A caring, responsible spiritual leader plays a significant role in the development of a young person by reinforcing the teaching of parents and offering spiritual guidance. We express gratitude for the thousands of volunteer Church leaders—men and women—who selflessly serve and mentor youth, individuals and families throughout the world. As with any practice in the Church, we continually look for ways to improve and adjust by following the Savior in meeting the needs of our members.”

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