David Pace’s experience is an example of secondary abuse.1 Elder McConkie’s double public rebukes were not directed to him; however, they were directed to a member of his family, placing him, as a missionary and as a son, in a cruel dilemma of divided loyalties. Although as a teenager David had ambiguous feelings about his father’s spiritual mode and did not, in fact, feel motivated to emulate it, he had no question about his father’s basic goodness and righteousness. Nor was there any question in his mind that this public attack from a revered ecclesiastical leader was brutally unkind and that it made his father and mother suffer greatly. The fact that Elder McConkie justified his rebukes by a theological position that seemed subtle to the point of contradicting other Mormon scriptures and General Authorities further distanced David from the Church. But the fact that some General Authorities privately agreed that the action was inappropriate while letting it stand—with all its personal, social, ecclesiastical, and professional ramifications for George and Diane Pace and the family—became too heavy a burden for David to carry. The family was, in effect, asked to collaborate in the abuse by not protesting its injustice. Although George Pace was able to do this, his son was not.
My father climbs mountains. Every year he takes several members of the family to the top of Mount Timpanogas. Sometimes we stay overnight at Emerald Lake; but most often we start out early, climb to the top, eat lunch, and then slide down the glacier on our way back down. Our feet become terribly sore, and our butts get bruised on rocks that have settled below the surface of the snow, but we go back every year anyway. Or so it seems.