I am Heterosexual–And I’m Normal

temple-visitLet me say that again, I am heterosexual….and I’m normal.

You may be gay.  Nevertheless, I’m just as normal as you are.

You may be lesbian.  Well guess what.  I’m every bit as normal as you.

You may be transgender.  You are not one whit more normal than me.

After 64  years on this planet, I can finally say that I am a normal human being.  I confidently claim that rank, among my fellow gay, lesbian and transgender human beings.

God

I trust in God more than I ever have.  He knew what he was doing when he created my species.  On purpose, he gave me my straightness.  On purpose, he gave to some their gayness.  I love the variety of our skin color, hair color and eye color.  Now, I marvel at the diversity of gender and orientation.  It causes me to marvel at God and his creations.

Book of Mormon

My view of the Book of Mormon has changed over the past couple of years.  Of late, I have again come to regard it as a marvelous volume of scripture.  Here’s why.  We have been taught that it is the “most correct on any book on earth.”  The fullness of the gospel is contained in its pages.  It was written specifically to address the major issues of our day.

And…it contains…not…one…word…condemning the creations of God.  Gay, lesbian, transgender and even straight people were never turned against each another by teachings against our sexuality.  All God’s creations are honored in the keystone of my religion, the Book of Mormon.

 

Glaring Difference Between Baptists and Mormons

img_0172I just returned a call from one of the Reverends at St John Missionary Baptist church.  Four years ago, my local LDS leaders asked to me start going there, become friends and look for ways to serve.  Today, they are great friends with me, with others in my ward and with the Mormon Church in general.  We have offered service to them in many, many ways over the years.  It has been a beautiful assignment.

Over the past couple of years, I have shared with this particular Reverend some of my questions and doubts.  On today’s phone call, he asked how my faith journey was going.  Here are parts of my response:

1) Most of my questions and doubts have been answered.  My faith is now settled…firmly in the teachings and example of Jesus Christ.

2) I’m still a member of the Mormon church.  However, I now recognize that it has some huge problems.

3) I’ve chosen to not remain silent about these problems.  Rather, to openly speak out about them.  Some have said that I’ll be excommunicated as a result.

4) Then this interchange:

SAM:  Suppose you had a 12 year old daughter.  You take her to church.  Then, without your permission, the pastor does something with your child, unbeknownst to you.  He takes her into a room.  He closes the door.. Your young daughter ALL ALONE with this older man.  He then asks, “Do you masturbate?”

REVEREND:  Immediately he blurted out, NO!!  That’s wrong.  The pastor should never be along with a child.  He should never ask a quesiont like that.  NO!  It’s none of his business.

SAM: This is a common practice in my church and I’ve been very outspoken against it.

REVEREND: I‘m right there with you. That is wrong.

Our Mormon church has an idiotic, dangerous, and harmful custom imbedded in our “youth” interviews.  It’s inexcusable that this is still happening.  It’s inexcusable that any parent is allowing this to go on.  Our interview practice is disgusting.  I now think that it’s even more offensive that parents in the Mormon church allow this to go on.

Come on, Mormon parents, TAKE RESPONSIBILITY. They are your children. You are supposed to protect them.

Otherwise, delete the “protection” part of the Family Proclamation and add this:

We Proclaim to the world that, starting at age 12, children are to be grilled about masturbation, behind closed doors, alone with an older untrained man.”

I’m a Mormon parent and grandparent and proud to own my opposition to this apalling practice.

Are you a parent/grandparent who supports the church’s masturbation interviews with your innocent kids?  If you remain silent…you own it, my friend.  Otherwise, stand up, speak out and stop this crap that continues to defile our church and especially our kids.

P.S.

Do you disapprove of private, closed door, masturbation interviews with your children? If so, feel free to express disapproval on the Common Consent Register found HERE.

Masturbation…Once a Week? Or is Daily Better?

Horror_

I’ve now written 6 blog posts about the Mormon church’s masturbation interviews with children.  Three were posted in the last 12 days.  This will be #4 in the past 2 weeks.  So why do I continue writing?

Well…I’m now receiving feedback from parents who have resolved to protect their children from inappropriate probing questions behind closed doors.  Here’s what I’m thinking.  Each blog post is worth it…

  • If…it alerts one parent to the dangers of bishopric masturbation interviews.
  • If…it helps one parent resolve to protect their children at church.
  • If…it saves one child from being subjected to a harmful masturbation interview.
  • If…it saves one child from inappropriate and damaging shame and guilt.
  • If…it saves one child from decades of sexual dysfunction.
  • If…it prevents sexual repression from a future marriage that is not scarred by years of childhood probings by untrained men, behind closed doors, all alone, without parental knowledge or consent.

So there it is.  Masturbation interviews….should I write warnings once a week?  Or is daily better?

Parents Protecting Their Children

Here’s a sampling of recent messages sent to me.  Good for these active, believing church members.

Message #1:   Prompted by the topic of Sam Young’s recent posts (bishops asking probing, detailed, sexual questions in closed-door interviews with underage girls), I have talked with my spouse as it concerns our daughter and potential future interviews with priesthood leaders. I related to her some of the disgusting things that can happen behind the closed doors of priesthood leaders’ offices.  My wife agreed that our daughter will NEVER undergo an interview with anyone in a church setting alone/by herself.  If my daughter ever goes to an interview, we are in agreement that at least one of us as her parent will be present in the room at all times.  And if some bishop insists that she can’t progress with baptism/whatever unless he interviews her alone… well, then so be it!

Message #2:  I broached this subject with my husband and he agreed as well. Because I don’t have trust that the request will always be adhered to by the bishop/local leaders, I went to my daughter and discussed with her the decision her dad and I had made. I let her know this is a boundary that we have made as a family and that she has the authority and power to uphold that boundary should she ever be asked for an interview by herself.

Message #3:   This is exactly what I have approved with my wife. What a gift to your children. I wonder if enough people start demanding this if the church will make a statement or adjust a policy, either to open it up, or shut it down. A friend recently told me that his bishop told him in detail HOW to masturbate BEFORE he had a chance to figure it out on his own, yikes. His parents would have been furious.  I’m glad my kids won’t have these discussions.

Message #4:  I saw your posts about inappropriate questions bishops ask and was totally shocked!  So, I asked a large Mormon mom group about their experiences with bishops asking their children, or even themselves, inappropriate questions.  I personally have only been asked if I was following the law of chastity.  So, it never occurred to me that anyone would be asked anything else.  I’m getting notifications left and right of new stories.  Lots of totally inappropriate ones.

Someone’s 12 year old daughter was asked if she had engaged in sexual intercourse and he explained what that meant.  Others said that a bishop explained ways you could masturbate.  One woman who was baptized a few years ago was angry and upset no one told her masturbation was breaking the law of chastity.

There was story after story.  It was so shocking.  As a newer member, I appreciate you posting this.  I will not be letting a bishop ask my children anything without myself there.  Lots of women in my group came to that same conclusion.  So, thank you so much for talking about difficult things.

Message #5:   A 13 year old female friend in the 70s was asked by a pillar of the community bishop to describe HOW she masturbated. Under no circumstances should any parent allow a child alone with a bishop. Especially considering they have apparently been instructed to discuss “chastity” issues with 7 year olds in baptismal interviews.

Insightful Comment from a Former Bishop

“I can’t believe they still think masturbation is a sin. That’s another thing I realized as bishop. I masturbated my whole life, during my mission and all. I figured if I could be called as a bishop and masturbated, God didn’t care. I never asked anyone about it. To the few people who tried to confess it, I told them not to worry about it, and said it wasn’t a big deal at all. When I heard members of the stake presidency preach about it, I thought to myself, these men are such hypocrites. They masturbate all the time, and they preach against it.”

P.S.

Do you disapprove of private, closed door, masturbation interviews with your children?  If so, feel free to express disapproval on the Common Consent Register found HERE.

Preach My Gospel–Masturbation

IMG_0190In 2016, there were 240,131 convert baptisms in the Mormon Church.  At year end, an army of 70,946 full-time missionaries fanned the globe.  Pretty impressive statics for my church.  The Lord’s work continues to roll forth.

Of particular note, a new discussion has been added to the lessons which are taught investigators before baptism.  Below are the bullet points guiding our 18 year old missionaries.  They are more than qaulified to teach them, having been schooled for 6 years in very private meetings with their bishops.  As children, they often were the targets of personal questioning by older male church leaders.  Now, their mission presidents will reinforce these intimate probings at every private chance he gets.

So, our missionary kids are totally ready to present these important points of the Mormon religion.

  • Inform the investigator that mastubation is a sin next to adultery in gravity.
  • If they masturbate, they can continue to do so until, and even after baptism.
  • Mastubation will not be covered in their baptismal interview.
  • After baptism, their 12 year old children will be asked about masturbation.  This will occur behind closed doors, alone, with an older man.  The parents will not be notified when the interviews take place.  As a courtesy, you are letting them know before they get baptized that this will happen to their children.   These interviews may only occur once or twice a year.  However, if their child admits to masturbation, then these interviews could take place as frequently as 52 times a year.
  • For adult men, questions about masturbation won’t be posed until it’s time to receive the priesthood.
  • For adult women, questions about masturbation won’t be posed until it’s time to go to the temple.

I am super excited that the church has decided to be so forthright.  No longer will our converts be in the dark.  They will know full well what is in store for their children behind closed doors.  And just think…it will be our young missionaries who deliver this supernal message!

Here’s to hoping for way more than 240,131 converts for 2017!!!

P.S.  I suck at satire.  So, I better just say….this IS parody.

Get Your Thoughts and Probing Questions Out of Our Daughters’ PANTIES!!

Disgusted Girl

***Warning***

If you are OK with an older untrained man taking a 12 year old girl, alone, behind closed doors, without parental knowledge or consent, to ask personal sexual questions….DO NOT READ ON!!!!  You’re good to go.

Calling It Like It Is

No more pussy footing around.  A crappy spade is a crappy spade.  More & more continues to come out.  The church leadership has affected my own children more than I knew.  Just today, I found out additional things that were done to my young children.   So, here goes.

Bishops….get your thoughts and probing questions out of our daughter’s panties.

Bishops…get your thoughts and probing questions out of our sons’ underpants.

Bishops…masturbation and sex are totally inappropriate topics to be discussed with our minor children.

Bishops…shaming and guilting our children is NOT acceptable.

Bishops…interrogating our children about orgasm, penetration or sexual positions is sexual abuse of minors.  It’s a serious and nasty business.  STOP IT!!!

Blatant Disregard for Parental Protection

Listen to this story from a mother trying to protect her son.  Here are her words.

Below is an email I sent to my children’s bishop in November 2016 just after my son (Tyler) turned 16 and was being interviewed for the position of priest in the church (he was denied and still has not received it). I told my spouse (Bryan) before this interview that he had to be present with our Tyler and not allow him to be questioned about sexual matters. He missed my understanding on that and Tyler was questioned about masturbation anyway.

Dear Bishop,   Bryan informed me a little while ago that Tyler was asked questions of a sexual nature during his last interview.  I had specifically requested that my son not be asked those questions.  I find it highly inappropriate for a full-grown adult to ask questions of a sexual nature to an adolescent.  I don’t want him to feel shame and guilt for his actions.  The shame and guilt has caused Bryan so much pain and self-loathing over the years.  I don’t want Tyler to feel that way.  Please respect my wishes when it comes to Tyler, and all the other children in my family.  I know that it’s the request of the brethren to address these with the youth, but I am not comfortable with it.  Please refrain from this questioning to my children.  

Respectfully,  Shellie Smith

Two weeks following, he re-interviewed Tyler without my husband or I being present, and again asked about his masturbation habit.  I told my children and my husband that the kids were not allowed to be interviewed at all anymore.

Soon thereafter, my spouse and I, along with our 3 children, stopped attending.

Here’s a bishop whose thoughts and probing questions were directed into the underpants of a minor.  The mother had forbidden it.  The bishop had committed to respect the parental direction.  He violated the trust of the parents.  He violated the privacy of a 16 year old.  He drove a family out of the church.

Youth Interviews?  Nope!  They’re Masturbation Interviews

It turns out that this practice is super common in the church, at least in the United States.  In fact, it may now be a universal practice for all bishops to go verbally probing into the panties of our 12 to 17 year old children.   Disgusting!!!

Orgasm Interviews

Today, I spoke with a past member of a stake presidency.  He said that his stake president instructed the bishops to ask explicit questions when someone confessed a sexual indiscretion.  How common is this?  I’ve now heard too many stories to think it’s isolated.  Do you really want your 16 year old to be asked about her orgasms, her boyfriends orgasms, amount of penetration,  and sexual positions?  Again despicable instructions from a stake president.  All without the knowledge of the parents and behind those damn closed doors, all alone.

Raising Up a Lying Generation

So, what’s a kid to do when she/he is asked a shocking question whose answer could be laden with guilt and shame.  Would lying be a strong possibility?  This weekend, I asked 43 people if they lied to their bishop during youth interviews.  31 said yes.  75% learned to lie during their masturbation interviews.

Daddy Adult Daughter Talk

A few hours ago, I had this conversation with one of my daughters.

Dad:  Were you ever asked inappropriate and uncomfortable questions during your bishop youth interviews?

Daughter:  Of course.

Dad:  Did you ever lie during those interviews?

Daughter:  Yes, but not always.

Daughter:  At BYU, the bishop asked very uncomfortable questions the first week of school.  I quit going to church. (She only attended BYU for 6 months.)

Dad:  Why did you stop going to church?

Daughter:  It was too uncomfortable to look at this man after what he had asked me?

This all came as a shock to me.  During my 4 years as a student at BYU, I was never asked about masturbation.  Just a simple, “Do you keep the law of chastity?”

Lying For Your Mission

Apparently, being masturbation-free is a requirement to receive a mission calling.  With all the peer pressure, parental pressure and cultural pressure, would a 17 year old lie in order to pass this requirement?  The coercion factors are certainly there.  But, I have no data.  Only this.  A recent mission president in my area is quoted as having said, “If I had to send missionaries home for masturbation, I’d have to send half of the kids home.”

Justification for Masturbation Interviews

Two people have now offered this reasoning, “The ordinances of the church must be protected.”

Really?  I’m calling BS and hypocrisy on this one.  Last year, there were over 200,000 converts to the church.  They entered the sacred waters of baptism.  How well did we do at protecting the ordinance of baptism from…..masturbators?  We did super poorly.  In fact, we did not protect this ordinance one wit.  The missionaries DO NOT teach that masturbation is a sin.  Why not?  Don’t we want to protect the ordinance from people who masturbate?  Nope.  We want baptisms.

Do we teach people that after their family is baptized, an untrained older man will take their 12 year old daughters behind closed doors and put his thoughts, words and probing questions into her panties?  All alone?  Without the new converts’ knowledge or permission?  Nope.  Why not?  We want baptisms.

Why the Masturbation Fixation?

When I was a kid, we had youth interviews.  Never once did I have a masturbation interview.  At BYU, they were bishop interviews.  No probing questions into my underwear.  When I was bishop, I conducted youth interviews.  Never once did I put my thoughts, words or any probing questions into the panties of a young girl.

So, why is it happening today?

We have a scriptural record detailing over 3,000 years of God’s dealings with His children on earth.  3,000 years of prophetic pronouncements, encouragements and warnings.  And…3,000 years of…silence…on…masturbation.  Total crickets.  Old Testament and New Testament—Nope & nope.  Book of Mormon—Nope.  It’s the most correct book, written for our day and contains the fullness of the gospel.  Yet, not a word on masturbation.  D&C?  That’s a big nope, too.  It contains the revelations of the Restoration of all things.  Masturbation is so important that God didn’t issue one single word of concern.  The Pearl of Great Price?  If ever there was to be a pearl of wisdom regarding masturbation interviews it should be in this gem.  Nope.  A complete home-run of nopes.

But, I haven’t mentioned the most important source of divine counsel and commandment…the words of our Savior.  By this point, I’m sure you are aware that even Jesus Christ didn’t associate any shame or guilt with this personal sexual practice.

So where did the church’s masturbation fixation originate?

Here’s a speculation.  In the last few years, the church has disavowed and condemned our past racist doctrine, teachings, policies and practices.  They were in place for most of the history of our church.  Where did they come from?  They were simply made up under the influence of the surrounding society.  No revelation from God.  Just made up by men.  So, that’s all I speculate.  Our masturbation concerns have been made up by men, heavily influenced by societal norms.

However, society stops way short of shaming a child, alone, behind closed doors.  To those outside the church, this practice is revolting.  Just as it is to me.

Following Christ’s Example

There are many who are highly critical of me for criticizing a practice found in the church.  They say that if I don’t like what the church is doing I ought to leave.

That’s the exact attitude of the religious leaders of Christ’s time.  A hallmark of the Savior’s ministry was criticism of His leaders.  Often, in very harsh terms.  They wanted him to shut up.  Ultimately, they did shut him up with execution.

Are we not told to emulate Christ’s example? Of course.  This is part of my attempt at discipleship.

P.S.

421 members have chosen to actively participate in the Law of Common Consent.  I urge you to consider it, too.  Click HERE for the link to the Common Consent Register.

 

Did You Orgasm?

OrgasmYesterday’s Dirty & Damaging Closed Door Counsel

For decades, Stake Presidents and Bishops counseled gay men to do something totally misguided.  Their recommendation to homosexual young men was to get married.  Once they were hitched and came face to face with a naked woman, their gayness would magically go away.

This uninspired guidance has resulted in many, many unhappy  marriages.  Heartache.  Divorce.  Broken families.  Today, we know that this was ridiculous and damaging advice coming from trusted Bishops and Stake Presidents.  Well meaning?  Probably.  Improper?  Absolutely.

The horrid advice of telling gay men to just get married, had a direct affect on MY family.  One of my daughters was engaged to a awesome man.  We all loved him and thought we knew him well.  Today, we still love him and count him as a great friend.  But, there was something that we did not know.  He was gay.  Bishops and Stake Presidents had counseled with him for years.  And guess what he was told.  MARRY SAM YOUNG’S DAUGHTER AND YOUR HOMOSEXUALITY WILL GO AWAY.  Yeah…that’s right.  A high church leader telling a gay man to marry MY daughter.  That was wrong.  My daughter was wronged.  Her fiancé was wronged.  I and my family were wronged.  All at the hands of the church.

Fortunately, ten days before the wedding bells were to ring, warning bells sounded instead.  The temple marriage was called off.  My daughter is now happily married to a heterosexual man.  My almost son-in-law is now happily married to a gay man.  In the end, all worked out as it should.  But, the damage to the psyche of all involved has taken a long time to heal.  If it has.

Decades ago, members should have been informed as to what counsel was being given to their gay kids.  Hopefully, we would have stood up and protested in order to protect our precious children.

Today’s Dirty & Damaging Closed Door Counsel

Bad things are going on with our children behind closed doors.  I thought I’d heard it all.  I hadn’t.  It’s sickening.

First, it is a common practice for 12 year old children, without their parents’ knowledge or consent to be questioned about masturbation.  One on one, all alone, with an older man.  This is a gross practice and should be called to a halt.

It has now come to my knowledge that many Bishops and Stake Presidents take the interview license, that we have allowed them, to a new level of depravity.  How would you like your 16 year old daughter to be asked, “Do you orgasm when you masturbate?”

Or try this one on for size.  Your 17 year old daughter confesses sex with a young man.  The bishop wants details.  “How many times did you orgasm?”  “Did your boyfriend orgasm?”  “How did he orgasm?”  “What kind of sexual positions were involved?”

What kind of crap is this?  All going on behind the closed doors of our chapels.

These kinds of questions are outrageous.  They are pornographic.  It causes lasting shame and guilt.  The harm done often persists into sexual relationships after marriage.

How do I know that masturbation is being discussed with 12 year olds all the way to decades-old members?  My own children have told me so.  I have openly asked many friends who have shared details of their masturbation interviews .

How do I know that orgasms and sexual positions are being discussed?  Well, my kids are NOT the source of this information.  I haven’t dared ask them yet.  If it was discussed with them, I’m going to be DAMN angry!  But, I have asked my friends.   When I posted my question, it received more comments than almost any other post I’ve ever made.

Until one week ago, I had no idea that these sexual details were being discussed with our kids…or adults for that matter.   And I was a Bishop for 5 years, for heaven’s sake.  So, why would I ask my friends if orgasms had ever been the topic of a bishop’s interview?  On last week’s post criticizing the practice of masturbation interviews, two people mentioned all the other stuff they were asked about.

Just like the horrid counsel to gay men to get married, these detailed sexual interviews MUST STOP!!!

I know that many who read this will say, “I was never asked, so this isn’t happening.”  I know there are Bishops who will say, “I never asked these questions, so it isn’t happening.”  Well fine.  For your reading pleasure or disgust, I’ve listed a smattering of responses below.

What To Do

I can’t believe that any good member, especially a parent, would bury their head in the sand and sit idly by.  These are your kids.  This is our church.  This is not the church of the Apostles.  Nor is it the church of the Bishops and Stake Presidents.  It’s the Church of Jesus Christ.  It’s also the church of its members, the Latter-day Saints.  Jesus has given the us, the rank and file member, the right and responsibility to be intimately involved in the governance of His church.  Our Savior called it the Law of Common Consent.

Here are some suggestions.  These practices can only be fixed if we bring them to light.  Talk about them.  DON’T LET YOUR CHILD OR GRANDCHILD BE A VICTIM.

  • Talk to your church friends about the potential interview damage to our children.
  • Talk to your adolescent and grown children.
  • Talk to the local leaders, Relief Society Presidents, EQ Presidents, HP Group Leaders, YM & YW Presidents.
  • Talk to your Bishops and Stake Presidents.

Quid Pro Quo

The church has produced a pamphlet entitled “For The Strength of Youth.”  It is designed to help all members know the standards of the church.

I’m responding with my own pamphlet “For the Protection of Youth.”  It is designed to let all leaders understand the strict license they can take with our children.

For the Protection of Youth

  1. No interviews with minors without the explicit consent of the parents.
  2. No one-on-one interviews behind closed doors. Either a parent is to be in the room or second adult, approved by the parents.
  3. No questions about masturbation…ever!
  4. No questions about orgasm, sexual positions, or any other detailed sexual matters…ever!
  5. No shaming lessons about chewed gum, licked cupcake, etc.
  6. No lessons about violation of chastity being next to murder in gravity.
  7. No lessons intimating that a person is better dead chaste, than alive and unchaste.

Take back and embrace Christ’s gospel of Common Consent.  For the sake of your children.  For the sake of your grandchildren.  For the sake of following the Savior.

Testimonials of Inappropriate Bishop and Stake President Interviews

I posted the following question on Facebook.

“In a recent thread, 2 people said that they were asked about their ORGASMS during bishop interviews or in church courts. What the hell!!!  How did I miss out on this stuff while I served as bishop?  I’m super glad that I did.  Bare shoulders are NOT pornographic. Questioning a woman about her orgasms IS pornographic.  I know that it’s common for priesthood leaders to ask about masturbation. But, I had never heard of orgasmic queries. So, here’s my question, were you ever asked about orgasms in a bishop’s interview or in a disciplinary council?  If so, how old were you?

Here are some of the responses.

Woman:  Two different bishops over the course of my life have asked me specifically about orgasm. The first time, I was 12, and it was just like, a youth interview that that bishop did regularly with all of the youth in our ward.  He asked about masturbation, and then specifically about orgasm, even after I answered “no” to the first question. 

The second bishop who asked me this question was when I was 21 or so, and I had turned to my singles ward bishop because I had been advised, and believed he would help me deal with the aftermath of (what I had recently come to understand had been) an emotionally, physically, and sexually *abusive* relationship. 

Instead of support and counsel, he asked me if I had ever had an orgasm from the “contact” during that relationship, and when I was honest with him that I had (as happens with many MANY survivors) he instructed me that I needed to go through the repentance process, for “my part” in what had happened.

Woman:  Yes.  In disciplinary council…it was terrible!

Man:  I was asked this as a 15 year old boy by my bishop…..I hated going to him.

Woman:  This happened when I was in my mid 20s, had 4 babies under 5, and was grieving my husband’s infidelity. It almost killed me:  My husband had an affair early in our marriage. Our ward split during his year of difellowship & the New bishop wanted to know every detail of their sexual contacts: positions, physical locations, number of orgasms. You name it. And he wanted me to be there while this was discussed “so that we are all on the same page.” Our sexual relationship never recovered & much of the reason was that six months of voyeuristic invasion & the terrible humiliation I was subjected to. I don’t want anyone else to suffer this.  (Sam:  This is an egregious example of the dreadful damage probing interviews can cause.)

Man:  Yes.  I was 12 or 13.

Woman:  I had a bishop ask me if I reached orgasm. I was a teenager. Sick, sick, sick.

Woman:  I am a woman and was asked about orgasms by 2 separate bishops in interviews. Once in high school and once in college (that same bishop commented on my shirt and how it was too revealing). I was also asked very detailed, inappropriate questions that I didn’t realize were inappropriate until much later after going to therapy.

Man:  Oh yeah. My Bishop did. That was a routine part of the masturbation confession.

Woman:  15 years old. My bishop asked about my boyfriend’s orgasm then asked if I had reached orgasm, if I had enjoyed it or felt guilty, the whole shebang.  It’s been more than 10 years since this, I’ve been married for 6 years, and I’m JUST getting to a point of having a healthy and happy relationship with sex and my body. These people are untrained and do lasting damage because of their lack of knowledge. Something has to change.

Woman:   I was 17 when I was asked. In front of a bunch of men too. The most humiliating experience of my life.

Man:  I had a Bishop ask where I had “finished” meaning in someone’s mouth, hand, etc…

Woman:  Oh this definitely happened. It happened to me as a youth and as an adult, like so often and commonplace that I thought it irrelevant in this thread.  It happened after I was raped at BYU but I was so traumatized by the rape that I don’t remember being able to answer his questions at all.

Woman:  I was called into a bishop’s interview. He asked me how my love life was.
I confessed to ‘messing around’ with a guy I really loved.  I was still a virgin though, because you know, no sex!  My bishop asked me to provide details. I obediently told my bishop, blushing the entire time.  I was asked about having an orgasm. I had. He wanted to know if the guy had. He had.

Man:  Had a friend tell me in his missionary application interview he came forth and confessed to intercourse. The bishop asked him if he achieved orgasim. He was shocked and asked him if it mattered. The bishop replied saying it did matter because it would weigh on his disicion of his worthiness.

Women:  It happened to me about a month ago while I was meeting with my Stake President in conjunction with asking for a Temple Sealing Cancellation from my predatory ex.

Woman:  After my mission I had a little affair with a women!  It was wonderful!  It resulted in a disciplinary council.   In that court was my Bishop plus 11 other men. The questions they asked me were horrific!!  I had one guy even asked how two women could have sex! How many times….. Where we had sex. And…. if I had an orgasm.  I left feeling like the most horrible person on earth.  I was sooooo embarrassed. I couldn’t hardly talk.

Man:  I was very lucky in having pretty darn good bishops all my life. One did tell me that my mission would make me straight, but I think he meant well (and I’m glad I went anyhow). But I’ve heard too many horror stories about prurient, over-detailed interrogations to believe that it’s a tiny problem.

Woman:  Detailed–DETAILED–answers needed for the court of “love.” Positions, types, frequency, everything.

Woman:  Yes, I was.. like that made the difference if I was worthy or not. If the guy orgasimed it was fine.. I just could not. So freaking ridiculous.

Woman:  Yes. I was 19 years old

Man:   In high school my bishop asked me if I ejaculated when my girlfriend had her hand in my pants. I hadn’t but I wasn’t sure so I said yes. I wasn’t able to take the sacrament for months because of my response. I dealt with months of shame for about 10 seconds of touching in the wrong place. So ridiculous.

Woman:   I was during a “court of love”. It was 8 years ago and I pushed back about why it mattered.  It was dropped.  It also bothered me greatly.

P.S.

400 members have chosen to actively participate in the Law of Common Consent.  I urge you to consider it, too.  Click HERE for the link to the Common Consent Register.

No Pretending—-I DO Know!

 Sma Harris PretendingCongratulations If

If you have CERTAINTY in your religious beliefs.  I commend you.  What I’m presenting here should not take away from your conviction one whit.  I commend you on your testimony.  This is just where I’m at.

Me

Throughout my lifetime, I have frequently made important statements that were NOT TRUE.  But, I was not aware.  Now I am.  I don’t consider them lies.  I simply didn’t realize that I was not speaking the truth.  I’m referring to my statements of KNOWING things I didn’t really KNOW.  Specifically relating to religious concepts.

For example:  “I KNOW that God lives.”  A beautiful statement.  At this point, for me, to say it would be a lie…a pretense.  I have now trod a similar path as the apostle Paul:  “Where there is knowledge, it will pass away.”  And, I now embrace Paul’s “enduring” virtues of faith, hope, and charity.

However, there is one thing in the religious arena that I do have certainty about.  No pretending.  No lying.  I KNOW that the teachings and example of Jesus Christ embody a good and noble way to live.  I’m specifically referring to Christ’s gospel of charity, kindness, service, reaching out for the “least” among us, the golden rule, standing up to the marginalization of the weak.  Fortunately, a modern religious leader said that we should believe in the bible as far as it’s translated correctly.  There are some things ascribed to Christ that I view as somehow being translated incorrectly.  Those I discard.

So, there you go Mr. Harris, I’m no longer pretending.  I am a human being.  And, I am certain.  It’s my 64 years of lived experience that has given me my rock solid certainty.

Acknowledgment

Thanks Missedinsunday for the meme.