A few weeks ago, my son was being particularly fussy in Sacrament Meeting and my daughter offered to take him to get a drink. I agreed and, quite frankly, enjoyed the few minutes of Sacrament Meeting I could focus on while they were gone. This rendezvous at the water fountain has become a habit and it seems harmless enough: the kids, who get NOTHING from Sacrament Meeting, get to stretch their legs and get a drink, and I get to listen for a moment. We always sit in the front row on the short pew by the front doors and the water fountain is about 7 feet away.

Last week there was a brief announcement at the beginning of Relief Society that there would be a new routine for retrieving kids after Sunday meetings: all the Primary children should be picked up from the Primary room at the conclusion of the meetings. Although no reason was given for the change, I could think of some good ones and it seemed like it could be a really good idea. We’ve done it for two weeks now, and everything worked for me.

Today, as I sat in a ward-members’ backyard with a bunch of other moms as our kids swam, I got some new information: a registered sex-offender (possession of kiddie porn) had been attending Church with us, and that is what precipitated the change in Primary routine.

What bothers you the most about this?

  1. We were engaging in gossip.
  2. The change in Primary routine was only announced in Relief Society.
  3. The members of the ward were not informed that a sex offender was among us.
  4. There are no water fountains in the chapel.

I actually did have a chapel that had a water fountain in it once, and now that I realize I have allowed my little ones to wander the halls in search of refreshment with someone who is sexually interested in them, that has much greater appeal. I am trying to make a little light out of a situation that can be very troubling. I applaud the sex offender for searching out God, but I admit that it worries me. What worries me more is the clumsy way in which my ward has handled it: I feel that we ought to have been informed about the reason for the greater concern for children by themselves in the halls.

Has your ward had to handle a situation like this? What practices have helped the ward accept the situation?