Mormon women say church leaders encouraged them to stay with their abusers

As Jodi read the news this week that a top aide to President Donald Trump had allegedly abused his two ex-wives, she was sitting at work trying not to cry.

Rob Porter, the White House staff secretary, resigned over the allegations, but for Jodi, a California woman who asked to be identified only by her first name, one of the story’s details immediately jumped out: Porter and his two ex-wives were Mormons, and when the women reported the abuse to clergy, they were reportedly encouraged to stay in the relationship.

“The stories of these women made my heart hurt because that’s my story,” Jodi said. “I feel like there are hundreds of women, thousands of women in Mormonism with stories like this who stay because their bishops tell them to.”

In the days since the Porter story broke, articles mentioning the alleged abuse have been shared widely among some members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) in private online groups, via email and text message, and publicly on Facebook. In some instances, the posts have elicited a long string of responses from Mormon women alleging similar things have happened to them.