In a truly embarassing moment for the LDS Church, it has been discovered that a sex offender–who is currently serving a jail term–has an article in the October issue of the Ensign Magazine.
In a story in the Deseret News, which I am quoting MOSTLY because the opening paragraph is a HILARIOUS attempt to CLEAR THE CHURCH OF ALL BLAME BEFORE ANYONE READS FURTHER THEREBY MAKING CLEAR THEY HAD NO GUILT, they emphatically state that there was just nothing–NOTHING–they could have done to stop this. Interesting journalistic tactic.
Here’s the opener.
The October issues of the LDS Church’s widely circulated Ensign and Liahona magazines contain an article written by a sex offender whose arrest and conviction came after the magazines’ editors conducted background checks.
Okay, now that we’ve made that VERY VERY CLEAR, now you can read further. Anyone who had ANY doubt whether or not the Deseret News was unbiased can now cross that concern off their list. BIAS is the newspaper’s middle name.
Here’s part of the ACTUAL story, which is what SHOULD be told.
The story by Oleg Barabash describes how as a recent convert in Ukraine he distanced himself, then became active again in his new found faith. After serving a mission in England, Barabash attended Brigham Young University and worked at the LDS Church’s Missionary Training Center.
Barabash, 27, was sentenced in August to 240 days in jail for two class A misdemeanors of lewdness involving a child. Four second-degree felony charges were dropped in exchange for the guilty plea of sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy.
Now, personally, I don’t really think the issue here is whether this should even BE an embarassment for the Church. They didn’t molest this child, Barabesh did. And since, as I’ve stated MANY MANY TIMES, Mormons are first and foremost humans, the fact HE is the scummiest of the pond-scum sucking scums, does not really reflect on the LDS Church.
And if they did indeed do a background check, and he was INDEED arrested later, after the article was accepted, as they have stated, this situation was ENTIRELY out of their control.
Although you would think God would have AT LEAST given them a heads up, beings as they are the members of HIS only true church.
There were two things about this situation that really bothered me.
1. They are doing BACKGROUND CHECKS on people who write for Church publications but NOT on people who actually WORK with children across the world on a daily basis. Which means they believe there is more danger that people might READ something they shouldn’t, and leave the church, than there is that a child could potentially be molested and abused!
2. They are, quite obviously, rewriting things for people, putting words into people’s mouths, trying to spread the FAITH TO OTHER NEW MEMBERS, without really looking into OR RESEARCHING what they are doing. Why do I say this?
See, the thing is, I did a Google search on Oleg, and came up with this.
Oleg had himself a little blog on a place called Campushopper.com
There, he wrote:
I’m a BYU student. Have you heard about such university? Yes? Good!!! No? Bad!!! It is somewhere in America, in square state with a lot of mountains called Utah. Does it ring the bell. Anyway, I love this university and it was my dream to study here so here I am. I guess, this is the best university in the world. What else?
Ah, you want to know where I am from. Right? Because you’ve noticed couple of mistakes in the text. Well, do not get surprised. It’s because I am a crazy foreigner. Oh, you want to know what country I am from. It’s somewhere in Eastern Europe. It starts with U. So pause now and do not read further but try to check your geography knowledge. One clue. We had orange revolution in December 2004. By the way I took part in it. So I guess I am also a revolutionary. So, did you guess? I hope you did. No? It’s Ukraine!!! I speak Ukrainian as my first language. Now, you want to know if Ukrainian is like Russian. No!!! It is not!!! For goodness sake. It’s much better!!! No offence to Russians here. But as a Ukrainian I should be proud of my country and my language. Now, I’m also a nationalistic.
How long I’ve being in the United States? To be more precise, it’s 13 months as of February 2006.
Oleg, did you serve a mission? Who me? Would you not marry me if I didn’t? Oh, you just want to know. Ok, here is the answer. Yes, I did. I served in England London South Mission. So, I had some chance to practice my English. As you probably guessed. Excited? No? Good!!!
You might have noticed Oleg’s English is not all that good. Wonder how he managed to get published in the Ensign? I have sources are digging for the actual article, so we can compare the writing.
I also happened up on the actual details of Oleg’s trial, but the original Salt Lake Tribune article is no longer available. If you want to read a rather funny recounting–please NOTE! The actual CRIME Oleg committed is NOT EVEN REMOTELY funny. But the take this blogger took is–then go here.
My suggestion to the LDS Church? Spend more money trying to actually KEEP your children safe. Do background checks on youth leaders of all ages and stripes. Avoid a few of those billion and million dollar lawsuits.
I do not understand why an organization that is so large and powerful is MORE WORRIED ABOUT WHAT PEOPLE SAY ABOUT IT, then whether or not someone is fondling their children during Scout meetings!!
This was a faux pas. A BIGGER FAUX PAS was admitting they regularly do background checks and SCREENINGS on writers, but NEVER ON YOUTH LEADERS. Can written words really do more damage than molestation and fondling? Nope. Sorry.