"The justices upheld an earlier ruling by 4th District Court Judge Mike
Wetherell concluding the church didn't have a special relationship with
Beers that required it to keep her safe."Good decision by the
court.I have always said, Churches not only have no power,
authority, or "special relationship" to keep people safe, they also have
no power, authority, or special relationship to provide salvation, exaltation,
or anything else!
The parents sued because their daughter was dumb enough to jump off a bridge?
What were the leaders supposed to do, catch her?
Hey! I actually agree with "A Scientist" for a change.1.
Good decision by the court."2. Churches do not have "power,
authority or special relationship to provide salvation, exaltation, or anything
else." (Only God has the power, authority and special relationship to
provide salvation, exaltation or anything else. Churches, in this case like the
camping trip, are just the instrument through which God communicates His saving
power, authority and special relationships)
WOW. I can't believe they would sue over that.
I wouldn't automatically assume this outcome in Idaho would be the same in
every other state. Other states might have different laws. Parents
need to be very careful about letting their children attend church outings.
Sometimes there is not enough adult supervision or the "adults"
supervising lack judgement and maturity. One of our children ended up with a
broken arm--called us while on the outing complaining about his arm hurting. He
only received a cursory exam and some Tylenol after he called us. No ace
bandage, no sling or anything until he got back and we took him to an urgent
care. I was horrified the next day when one of the "adults" supervising
the activity told an "amusing" (in his mind) story about going off to do
some skiiing with another adult and finding my son and another youngster at the
top of a double-black diamond, alone, at the ski resort. (unfamiliar with the
resort, they had accidentally gotten on the wrong lift). There
needs to be at least one adult specifically assigned to a small number of youth.
Boating/water activities should have extremely close supervision.
Dear Spikey,Some people will sue over anything!
I've read enough of "A Scientist" past comments to various church
related articles to know when he (or she) is or isn't being sarcastic with
his (or her) particular anti-religion viewpoints. But I do agree
with A Scientist and Fred Vader in that it was indeed a good decision by the
court. Any other decision would have only further promoted our already too
widespread something-for-nothing mentality in society. Unfortunately, too many
people try to abdicate any personal responsibility in trying to find somebody
else accountable for any of their questionable decisions in life.However, I do respectfully disagree about churches not having the power and
authority to help people... regarding A Scientist's "or anything
else" overly vague claim. Churches often help people with food, utility
payments and/or other temporal needs when a person or family finds themselves
temporarily in bad circumstances due to job layoffs, ill health or other
extenuating circumstances. They also provide social needs for many
people, as well as that much needed and usually appreciated spiritual
counseling. If you actually were "a scientist", you would
know that just saying something (your opinion) doesn't necessarily make
It does not look like the church leaders were intentionally negligent, thus this
court case seems to be about getting a hand into the deep pockets of the church.
Good call ISC!
I always told my kids before they went on any church activities that they knew
acceptable behavior and if because of them doing something stupid and getting
hurt, there was no one to blame but themselves. Had the discussion many times
of "if someone else is stupid enough to do it, do you also become as stupid
to try it". Sounds like this was an affirmative from the girl. Hesitant so
jumped in a safer place over a bridge truss, instead of following her instincts
and saying no. Looks like it was her decision, not anyone's from the
outing. I'm grateful there are people there to assist them and take them on
outings, but the decisions they make are not the leader's responsibility.
So if the law does not require a church leader "to act in such a way as to
protect children from injury or exposure to dangerous conditions." Does that
mean when our youth go on Church outings that the leaders can just turn their
heads and let them do whatever they want? Sound like we would be putting our
kids in considerable danger! That is what was implied in the ruling. While I
don't think a church leader should be held responsible for an irresponsible
act committed by a child, I do believe the leaders should and must try to
prevent such acts.
Adults/leaders supervising activities should have some kind of training or
review of potential hazards and basic first-aid.For example, jumping
off places over bodies of water can be hazardous. Did an adult survey the
landing zone to make sure there were no hidden objects in the water? Perhaps
the girl wouldn't have jumped where she did if an adult had been aware of
the proximity to the bridge support. They could've guided her to a safer
Inappropriate for "A Scientist" to change the subject and interject a
doctrinal error but in this case it exposes his/her misunderstanding of what LDS
or religious doctrine is. If one does not understand, one becomes cynical. Now that we understand "A Scientist" perhaps we can be more
compassionate towards him/her.
Meckofahess"I do believe the leaders should and must try to
prevent such acts."Really? Then let's cancel all activities
and play Nintendo with Meckofahess.
@ Meckofahess:The article gave only a brief synopsis of the court
ruling. One would need more detail to make a more objective and definitive
analysis. But from the limited information given, my take is that
the court is saying some common sense must prevail. The Church was not being
negligent by not "holding the hands" of all participants throughout all
the activities involved. A normal amount of adult supervision was given and aid
immediately available should an accident happen... which it did... and which
was. The young adults participating were just that... young adults
(teenagers) and not little children. They are required to assume a certain level
of responsibility for their own actions. If not, then these types of organized
activities would soon cease altogether and our youth would then miss out on a
lot of wonderful life experiences... albeit with a certain amount of risk
involved. The reward-risk ratio is considered acceptable. Otherwise,
very few parents would let their kids participate. Some of my fondest memories
in younger years involved these types of activities with friends. May they continue for many others and for many years to come.
@truthseekerWell I have no doubt that whatever church leaders you
happen to align with are only to happy to leave your kids home with you, I know
I would be. We've never had an outing in our ward where the leaders
weren't requesting that parents of the youth come along and assist. My
guess is you are one of the ones that never goes along to assist and then whines
about how everyone else isn't watching your kids for you then coming over
to mow your lawn after they get home after spending 2 days entertaining your
kids.Why don't you get up off the couch and go help supervise
rather than pontificating on what everyone else should be doing because you
think that is how it should be.
Never jump into un-checked waters. Ever. I have 2 friends whose lives are
forever changed because of it. One, a broken neck leaving him paralyzed from
the neck down and another with so many plates and screws in their leg it's
impossible to do more than stand and walk slowly.
Re:DuckhunterThank you for the kind response.You are
wrong, of course, in your judgement.We were new to that particular ward
and the outing was all planned and arranged by the time we arrived on the
scene.Throughout the lives of our 3 children we were the parents who often
served as chaperones, for church and school outings, and had leadership callings
in both the Scouts and YM/YW programs as well.(Btw the idea of suing
the church for our son's injury never even crossed our mind. We paid the
medical bills for his treatment.)
If your child got hurt on a school field trip your health insurance would
require a law suit to the school and perhaps the venue. For the school to cover
the damages. And most schools carry insurance on students should a mishap
happen. They do. In sports, on the playground. I don't see how a church
activity is any different. And the family cooperation would be expected by the
insurance company. There is pressure to do the activities. If you don't you
are a bad parent because they can't feel the spirit if they don't hike
in the woods at girls camp. The child got hurt. Didn't mean they did
anything wrong. Didn't mean the adults did anything wrong. People get hurt.
But it happened while she was in their care. I don't think the individual
chaperons are responsible for the bills caused he church decided that they would
be the leaders for the activity. What kind of church doesn't see to the
care of a child hurt on their watch when an injury occurs? Seems contrary to the
So the Idaho courts have decided that a church outing/activity has no more merit
or responsibility to the youth and their family than the kid heading over to a
sleep over. Why then should a parent? Hoping this helps parents get over the
idea that just the thought of it being a "Church sponsored" activity
makes it any safer than any other activity....parents need to make sure that
whatever safety standards they think are important are in place before releasing
their kids for these activities.
Best wishes for the girl.
I looked up the court record on this case. It was a ward outing, not a youth
outing. The girl's family elected not to partipate, so the girl rode up
with another family. The other family stated they thought they were just
providing her transportation. Ostensibly the girl's grandfather was going
to be there but the record isn't clear about whether he was there or not.
The landing area of the jump off the bridge was examined for rocks prior to
anyone jumping. People were jumping off the bridge on 2 consecutive days. The
girl jumped on the 2nd day. The girl received immediate medical treatment from
medical professionals.I failed to mention the "humorous
story" about our son was told over the pulpit in a sacrament meeting talk by
one of the stk leaders who was also a chaperone on the trip. Re:DuckhunterFyi we've always mowed our own lawn. It appears
you've got a nice fan base.
If you feel that your child is not able to make good decisions on their own,
then they shouldn't be allowed to go out into the world. No matter what.The child isn't the one suing the church. The parents of the child
that weren't there are. If they really were that concern, then they should
have asked to go along, so they can watch their child and make sure she
didn't jump off a bridge, stand on rail road tracks, wore her seat belt,
ate her vegetables, went to bed on time etc.First, people complain
there is too much church, and then they complain that the church isn't
making every decision for them. What do you want? If the church is liable for
peoples behavior, then the church is going to need the law of the land to grant
them permission to control peoples lives. After all is the church liable or a
home teacher liable if an elderly person falls and breaks their hip and dies in
their home? Isn't a home teachers duty to watch over that person?Cmon people....
One on one supervision is seldom done on any outing, church or otherwise, unless
there is a special needs person. Church leaders do feel a very strong sense of
duty to protect children on outings, to imply otherwise is to impugn their
integrity. Sorry about Truthseekers son, but accidents do happen and
criticizing a non-medical persons ability to diagnose and treat an injury in the
field is Monday morning quarterbacking. If you feel your son was neglected, talk
to the leader involved, not the DN.
@Truthseeker"It appears you've got a nice fan base."Well at least you're a good sport :) but no I don't think it
is "my" fanbase. I just think there are still people with common sense
out there that can see that it is not the responsibility of someone else to
watch every little move teenage kids make just because they happen to be on a
church activity with them. To even suggest they should is ridiculous. This lawsuit was a joke, and I haven't seen you suggest otherwise so
I'm not knocking you there. When I was about 12 growing up in
California my dad worked nights and could not take me on a church sponsored
father and sons campout. I wanted to go and another father in the ward was good
enough to take me. I was goofing off that night running through the camp I ran
into a large brick fireplace and broke my nose. It was not pretty, I was bloody,
but they didn't take me home until the next day. My mom took me to the
doctor and they reset my nose. End of issue. No lawsuit, no blame game.
In most cases related to injury lawsuits, lawyers are right in the middle of it.
They advertise that they will get "what you deserve" and they
especially go after large corporations (which the Church is classified as).Lawyers are careful to make you think that no one will be financially
harmed by going after the big bad organization. Then they build a case that
costs an enormous amount of money to litigate (both Defense and Prosecution).
In the end the lawyers (both sides) emerge wealthier.Such is the
litigation-happy American economy.
Re:Owl"Sorry about Truthseekers son, but accidents do happen and
criticizing a non-medical persons ability to diagnose and treat an
injury"Re:Duckhunter"can see that it is not the
responsibility of someone else to watch every little move teenage kids make just
because they happen to be on a church activity with them."Yes
accidents do happen. What is the appropriate response when there are accidents?
My main issues with this particular event were:#1 A
chaperone/leader found it humorous--didn't recognize the danger or
seriousness of--two 12 yr. olds being alone at the top of an unfamiliar mountain
in poor visibility. #2 He wasn't treated. My son
complained to another adult (an RN) immediately when he was injured, was given a
ride back to the cabin and left alone. He called us at 9 pm--many hours after
the accident complaining/tearful that his arm hurt and no one had provided ANY
treatment. . (There were medical facilities nearby). The accident happened the
day before they returned home. #3 Lest you assume my son was a
rowdy, out-of-control type, he is/was not.
In support of the decision and many if not most of the expectations voiced in
comments, I remind of what Joseph Smith said about running the lives of members
of the church. He said that correct principles were taught and people were
expected to govern themselves.
I agree with both of A Scientist's points. We as individals have the
responsibility to seek salvation and exhaltation through the only Source of
those things - Jesus Christ. There is no other way to receive either of them.
"Fortunately, medical care was close by. One church member was a doctor, and
an emergency room team from a Boise-based hospital just happened to be floating
past".+++What are the odds?
I could see a kid being pressured by peers into doing something dangerous on an
activity. I think adults need to be especially supportive of the kids that opt
out of recklessness, instead of joining the jeers. I remember going to Lake
Powell as a scout, and there was something of a competition among the boys to
see who could jump off the highest point of the cliffs... I was never
comfortable participating in that. I didn't get a lot of glory or attention
as a result. In this case it's interesting that the parents
didn't complain about the church member who had medical expertise enough to
help save their daughter's life, but still went ahead and sued the church
and its membership. That seems like missing a possible miracle. Hopefully everyone is okay now.
The ruling doesn't mean that the adults should not watch over and protect
the younger folks on trips like this. What it is saying is that there existed in
this particular case no special relationship that rose to the level necessary to
allow a suit for negligence. Each such case is decided based on case law and the
facts of the particular case. If this had been a scouting excursion the outcome
would likely have come out different. It may have even come out differently had
it been a youth excursion. Personally, I can't imagine suing somebody for a
decision my child made, even if there was peer pressure to do what she did. I
would save any potential law suit for something somebody did to my child.
To dove-tail onto cjb's comment:"Fortunately, medical care
was close by. One church member was a doctor, and an emergency room team from a
Boise-based hospital just happened to be floating past".Seems
like the Lord was looking after the girl. So then the parents decide to sue His
church. Ironic. Pathetic.
I hate to say this, but those are the kind of people you run from. The ones that
are always looking for a way to sue. I have a cousin that has sued about
everyone. The kind that will see a mop at the store and just happen to slip and
fall. If everyone thought that way, can you imagine!
The Mormon Church is self-insured and covers all participants in church
activities with "Activity Insurance." This covers the cost of medical
care for participants who are injured while participating in the activity. The
Church wouldn't have left this family to bear all the costs for the
girl's care. Knowing this, I must assume that the girl's parents
wanted some punitive damages to be awarded. We live in, and the Church
functions in, a litigious society. That this family filed suit should not
surprise anyone. I am glad that Idaho law does not discourage church youth
outings by imposing unreasonable liability upon adult leaders and the Church.
Well, it's a good decision by the court. I would agree with "A
Scientist," even though I usually never do. I'd say that only Christ
has the power to save. However, he gives us his Gospel and administers it
through his church.