Cries of help from two neglected groups - battered wives and abused children - must be heard and answered, Elder Russell C. Taylor of the First Quorum of the Seventy declared at the Family Violence Conference Feb. 18.
Elder Taylor, second counselor in the Utah South Area, delivered the keynote address of the two-day conference at BYU, which also featured nationally recognized experts in the field of social work who spoke and conducted workshops."These wives need our reinforcing strength, our therapy and our understanding to face up to this onslaught against their dignity and personal rights," Elder Taylor said.
He continued: "The children need us. They deserve our respect and nurturing. Let us give them hope through our united efforts of love and dedication to their welfare and well-being."
Elder Taylor recalled the story of Jessica McClure, the Texas toddler who filled headlines in October 1987 after she fell down an abandoned well and was trapped there for 58 hours. "There was a mountain of help from all sides as people stood on alert 24 hours a day," he said, until the nation rejoiced, and television networks even broke into their live programming to report her rescue.
"Can we not get our communities and our neighborhoods aware of the little `Jessica's' who haven't fallen into a deep hole in the ground, but are being `pushed' into a deep hole of despair from sexual and physical abuse?" Elder Taylor inquired.
He then cited alarming statistics and trends of violence in families, issued a reminder of the solemn responsibilities parents have to provide hope to their children and discussed the need to address a widespread lack of parenting skills.
Elder Taylor then attacked pornography as "one of the root causes of this violence. . . . While pornography is a moral issue, it is also an issue of survival, survival for the individual, the family and this great nation."
Concerning family violence, Elder Taylor stated, "The LDS Church, through its leaders, decries this decay in social and family behavior.
"Please, oh please, let us not forget the little `Jessica's' who need us to rescue them from these deep, dark holes of abuse and violence."