Statement from the First Presidency of the LDS Church regarding rape, June 4, 1984:

June 4, 1984

TO: All general Authorities; Regional Representatives; Stake and Mission Presidents; Bishops and Branch Presidents

RE: Statement on Rape

Dear Brethren:

For the information of members who may inquire about the subject, there follows a statement on rape which has our approval:

The degree of resistance necessary to prevent a rape will, of course, vary with the circumstances. One attacker may be deterred by mere words of pleading or ridicule, while another may be so determined and violent that nothing short of death would deter him. We would be reluctant, therefore, to define precisely the form or degree of resistance which a woman should make to a threatened rape.

It is conceivable that a woman could be so terrified by mere threats of violence made by an attacker that her sense of agency would be overpowered, causing her to submit without making a real show of resistance. On this account, it would be difficult, even presumptuous, for another to judge the moral guilt or culpability of a person attacked, unless, of course, a confirmation comes through the Spirit that she is guilty or culpable.

Under these circumstances, we feel that the safe course is for leaders of the Church to urge sisters who are threatened with rape to resist to the maximum extent possible or necessary under the circumstances, leaving it to their own conscience and good judgment as to the degree of such resistance. Furthermore, because of lack of knowledge of the circumstances involved, which only the parties to the rape would know, we should not presume to judge a woman who has been raped, leaving judgment to the omniscience of the Lord.

Sincerely, your brethren,

Spencer W. Kimball

Marion G. Romney

Gordon B. Hinckley