Next To Murder

Lonely.jpgFor the Strength of Youth

Children in the Mormon church, my church, are instructed to live by the precepts taught in a pamphlet called “For the Strength of Youth.”  Under the heading ‘Sexual Purity,’ the following is taught.

In God’s sight, sexual sins are extremely serious.  The prophet Alma taught that sexual sins are more serious than any other sins except murder

Here’s a question for you.  Is masturbation a sexual sin?  The vast majority of the membership would say yes.  So…really?   Masturbation is so heinous that it ranks right below murder?

Most reasonable adults would recognize this laughable and ludicrous.  If not idiotic.

However, we are not talking about adults here.  These teachings are targeted directly at our children.  From the tender age of 12, all the way to 17.  Six years of linking masturbation and murder in the same sentence.  For many, these childhood teachings, reinforced by years of probing youth interviews, will cement in place open wounds of shame that will haunt them into adulthood.

Certainly, parents must see the crushing guilt that can come crashing down on our most vulnerable children.  Not just shame.  Guilt.  Guilt of a heinous crime against God.  Is it any wonder that some kids live with self-loathing all through their teen years?  Can you see why some of our children ideate suicide?  And some attempt it?  And the tragic few who actually complete it?

Some of my fellow church members would claim that no kid would actually view masturbation as serious as being next to murder.  Oh…how you misjudge the vulnerability of our children.

Other fellow Mormons would say no bishop would ever teach such a gross exaggeration to a child behind closed doors.  Oh…how you underestimate our leaders’ commitment to the actual teachings coming out of Salt Lake City.  ‘For the Strength of Youth’ is held up as the standard for interviewing our children.

Read and thoughtfully consider the dangerous nature of an interview recorded on the Petition.

Most recent interview with my son, Bishop equated masturbation second to murder. And my son had to apologize to his father for I don’t know what!  Second to murder? Are you completely off your rocker? That was the last straw for me, I will not allow my children to go through that mental and emotional abuse. 

My recommendation

  1.  Never allow your child to go behind a closed door, all alone, with any man.  As the parent, accompany your child to ALL youth interviews.
  2. Never allow sexual matters to be discussed in these interviews.  There is too much danger for harm.  The sexual development of your child is YOUR responsibility as the parent.
  3. Actively teach your child that masturbation  and other sexual sins are NOT anywhere next to murder.

In the meantime, almost 7,000 strong are actively engaged in bringing this practice to a halt.  We are committed to Protecting our Children.

Join us by adding your thundering voice to the PETITION.

Additional Resources

Petition Already Protecting Children

Lion Protecting CubsToday, this message showed up in my inbox:

Hi Sam – I wanted to reach out personally and thank you for what you’re doing.  My wife has struggled with my evolution of beliefs over the past year.  So, I’ve been reluctant to bring up church stuff with her.  Yesterday, out of the blue, she said to me, “Have you heard about that petition?” 

That kick-started a conversation during which she openly and passionately agreed with your message and proclaimed how she won’t allow our daughters to be questioned alone with a Bishop and not at all on worthiness and sexuality. 

My oldest daughter is a few months away from youth interviews and I had been worried about how to handle the desire to protect my children, while also not harming the very fragile relationship I have with my wife in relation to the church.  It couldn’t have gone better. 

She’s considering sharing the petition on her facebook timeline.  Her mama bear has come out.

Thank you.  Sincerely.

 

The petition is now at 6,010 signatures.

However…..this is NOT the most important statistic.  The real significance is what’s happening in homes and families.  Several members have now resolved to protect their children from being taken behind closed doors, all alone, with an untrained older man.  And then probed about masturbation and other sexually oriented matters.

Stand Up to Protect Our Vulnerable Children

Help me and 6,000 other thundering voices to eradicate this dangerous and damaging practice.

Sign the Petition.  Share the Petition.

Additional Resources

Love Dan Peterson. Protect Our Children.

DanPetersenYesterday, a prominent and well respected Mormon apologist wrote an article about a campaign that’s abrewing.  Oh boy, do I ever hope he’s right about that.

Here’s my comment on his blog.

Dear Dan,

Thank you for bringing this issue to the forefront of discussion.  I really appreciate that.

“I’ve read online complaints about sex-related questions for quite a few years.”  Obviously, you are way ahead of me on this issue.   Until this year, I was not aware of ‘complaints’ about probing sexually oriented interviews.

As children, neither you nor I were asked probing sexual questions.  During our bishoprics, neither you nor I asked probing sexual questions.  Your one friend who was asked….well, he turned out fine.

That’s all well and good.  You, me and your prominent friend…we are all fine.  But, I’m not really concerned about those who are doing fine.

Like you, the teachings and example of Jesus speak to my heart.  I’m trying to be like him and follow his gorgeous teachings.

I’m touched by the way the Savior framed His parable of the Good Samaritan.  First, a priest saw the wounded, half-dead man and “passed by on the other side.”  Then the Levite, another priesthood holder, came upon the same bloody and beaten human being.  At least he “came and looked on him.”  Ultimately, the Levite also turned up his nose and scurried away.  It was the lowly and vilified Samaritan who had compassion, bound up wounds and cared for the man in misery.

This parable points a finger directly at me.  Like the priest and Levite,  I hold priesthood.  The high priesthood.  The Savior wants me to act like the despised Samaritan.  Not like the priest.  That’s what I’m attempting to do.  And sometimes, I really suck at it.

Over the past few months, I have personally heard hundreds of stories from those who carry deep wounds from their childhood worthiness interviews.  No way am I going to walk away from them.  My choice is to listen, understand, help, build, support, & serve.  And….work to prevent future damage to our children.

Dan, you are obviously a very good man.  I invite you to help me raise awareness, healing, and protection for our children.  Changing our interview practices will also safeguard our bishops and the reputation of our church.

Thanks for all you do to defend the faith,

Sam Young

Stand Up for Our Vulnerable Children

Help me and 5,473 others eradicate this repugnant practice.

Sign the Petition.  Share the Petition.

Additional Resources

 

 

A Slut in the Bishop’s Office

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Tonight, I visited temple square and took this picture of the nativity.  Peaceful, calm beautiful.  I love the gospel of Jesus Christ that this scene epitomizes.  Humility, tenderness,  love.

I’m going to relate a different story of what is happening in the Church which bears His name.  But, this narrative bears no resemblance to His gospel.

I was 15 and had a 18 year old boyfriend.  I lost my virginity.  My parents went to my bishop and asked him to talk to me.  I was forced to go.  I Confessed and he asked me, “Do you know what people called girls like you?”  He called me a Slut. He told me I’d never get a descent young man and I had ruined all my chances. The rose petals were damaged and could never be made beautiful again. 

I married the first boy that was nice to me at 17 and got the heck out of there. He was horribly abusive to me.  We divorced at 21.  Luckily no children.

That bishop, that monster!  I was so young and already suffered from low self esteem.  I felt absolutely horrible and then his words broke my heart.  That kind of personal attack and degrading stays with me even today.   For several years, I was very depressed and suicidal.  I just needed a friend, an ear and some positive kind words.  

As I write this, I’m calm.  However, when I first read the story, I released an angry expletive when I came to the word ‘slut.’  This could have happened to any one of my six daughters.  It will NOT happen to my granddaughters.  That is what drives me to fight for change.

Back to the tender babe of the season, who is my Savior.  Christ beckoned all children to come to him.  He did not beckon any little girl to go behind a closed door, with an untrained older man, all alone, to be asked if she masturbates.  And…what other dangers might lurk behind those closed doors?  For one, calling a vulnerable 15 year old, a slut.  That is not the embodiment of Christ’s love.  It’s the embodiment of evil.

To my dear friend of this story:

I’m sorry this happened to you.  It was wrong.  You were wronged.  I believe what you have shared.  Thank you for honoring me with your trust.  I can assure you that sharing your story you will help many, many others who are still struggling with self-loathing from this misguided practice.

Stand Up for Our Vulnerable Children

Help me, and thousands of others, eradicate this repugnant practice.  Sign the PetitionShare the Petition.

Additional Resources

 

Love Your Enemies. Protect Our Children.

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The Temple Square Petition Drive looms just 12 hours away.  Mom and I have spent the past couple of days winding up the loose ends.  We’re locked, loaded and ready to go.

We are receiving lots of positive support.  Of course, unfriendly fire is also blowing up my messages.

George

Then, an amazing surprise.  My good friend George sent a message tonight.  I have never met him.  Don’t even know if this is his real name.  My first introduction to George was a real gut-punch.  Almost one year ago.

His message follows:

Nov 30, 2017

Sam, 

Long time no chat, or at least no chat from under my name.  I noticed some time ago that you invited me to forward some things to your stake president.  I didn’t do it, for the record.  The only time I ever forward anything to anyone’s local leadership is when it appears to me that they are being deceptive to their leaders. Since I no longer worry that they are under any illusion regarding your feelings regarding the Church, and since you no longer have a temple recommend, there isn’t any reason for me to help them see what they are dealing with.  

Having said all that, you are certainly a source of sadness for me.  Your fall, and the negative impacts it is having on your family and a host of others, will someday soon be the source of tremendous regret in your life, and that makes me very sad.  

George

My response:

Nov. 30, 2017

Hi George,

What a treat to hear from you.  And I’m serious about that. 

I’m sorry that I’ve been a source of sadness to you.  On the other hand, many are taking hope and encouragement.  Both people in and out of the church.

It appears that you and I have a mutual interest—my family.  One of the main reasons that I do what I do is for the benefit of my family.  The grandchildren will soon enter their years of risky bishop interviews. 

Since you are concerned about my family, I invite you to sign the petition.  Help  stop the practice of untrained older men taking children behind closed doors, all alone, and asking them about masturbation.  Often without the knowledge or consent of the parents.

All my very best wishes & Merry Christmas,

Sam

Protect Our Children

Please take a few seconds and Sign the Petition.

Whether you Mormon, former Mormon or  Never-Mormon, I invite you to join thousands of us to protect these innocent children.

Resources

 

Suicide by Masturbation

Suicide By Masturbation2

On March 2, 1982 distraught and filled with self-hate over his inability to stop masturbating, Kip Eliason, age 16,committed suicide. Before asphyxiating himself, Kip left his father a note:

“Dear Dad, I love you more than what words can say. If it were possible, I would stay alive for only you, for I really only have you. But it isn’t possible. I must first love myself, and I do not. The strange feeling of darkness and self-hate overpowers all my defenses. I must unfortunately yield to it. This turbulent feeling is only for a few to truly understand. I feel that you do not comprehend the immense feeling of self-hatred I have. This is the only way I feel that I can relieve myself of these feelings now. Carry on with your life and be happy. I love you more than words can say.—Your son, Kip”

You can read the whole story HERE.  (The information above is courtesy of Jonathan Streeter.)

Shaming Our Children to Death

This is the most devastating outcome of youth masturbation interviews.  Kip’s story is a crushing tragedy.

Recently, a mother shared this short and shocking statement regarding masturbation interviews,  “My stepson ended his life because of this!!”

Don’t let this happen to your child!!!

Suicide Attempt #1

A couple of months ago, a friend of mine accompanied a close friend to pick up her son at the airport.  He had been sent home early from his full-time mission.  Why?  Multiple…suicide…attempts.  The last one was nearly fatal.

Why was this young Elder so distraught?  Masturbation.  He was not able to eradicate it.  Heaps of shame and guilt had brought him to the brink of death.

How tragic.  How long will it take for this kid to overcome the shame that was totally unnecessary?  This natural and normal practice was not the sin.  The sin rests squarely on the hands of the shaming church.

Suicide Attempt #2

A new friend shared this experience.

“Eleven years ago next month, I was standing in the dark of Butterfield canyon, having hiked up a trail a ways at 2:00 am.  I could no longer go on.  I took a .40 Sig-Sauer with me intending to end it there. I got a phone call while standing there nerving up to pull the trigger.  It saved my life.  I came to a decision that day, that the church would no longer be part of my life. Why was I there? Because of 30 years of shame of Masturbation.

Suicide Attempt #3

This story is from the son of one of my best friends in the Mormon Church.

“My son tried to kill himself over a masturbation interview at age 16. The interview took place years earlier.   It was at a young age and sent my child on a self loathing path, he felt worthlessness, graduated to depression and made attempts on his life.  The bishop probably has no clue that his actions damaged a sweet soul who made a minor mistake and tried to kill himself.   You can see the shame they put on my son as a young man that drove him from happy young man to ending his life, through the mercy of God he was saved.  My youngest son found my middle son with a plastic bag over his head and rubber bands holding it in place.  The Lord has blessed me and my posterity as the actions and shame forced on people is wrong.”

Suicide Attempt #4

Petition Comment:  “It caused me lots of problems including trying to commit suicide at age 13. They shamed me and it was very uncomfortable and disturbing!”

Suicidality

WomanI was suicidal for years and thought God thought I was dirty

ManThese traumatic experiences cast a shadow over my entire adolescence and marred my church experience.  All of us young men knew that these “worthiness interviews” served one main purpose: to ascertain if we were looking at porn and/or masturbating.  Being required to discuss my body so vulnerably every six months with an authoritative man induced fear and shame in me that I am still trying to shake off 20 years later.  Even though my bishops were kind men, I feared them and would do anything to avoid them.  The feelings of depression, suicidality, and self-loathing caused by these interviews are real. Minors are not matured enough to be able to give consent to be questioned about something so invasive and personal. IT IS PSYCHOLOGICAL, EMOTIONAL, AND SEXUAL ABUSE. Unfortunately when I was young, nobody protected me. But now as a recovering adult, I will do anything I can to help end this inappropriate abuse.

ManThis practice destroyed my self-esteem, caused me to experience nearly relentless anxiety from age 8 on and led me to take desperate actions to “fix” myself of normal adolescent behavior deemed to be amoral. This extreme and relentless psychological distress eventually royally messed up the trajectory of my life as I took desperate measures to avoid additional ecclesiastical punishment. This must be stopped before any other child goes through this simply because they are honest.

Woman:  I was suicidal as a teen because of the over emphasis on masturbation as a wrong thing. I also made other poor decisions because I felt unworthy and that it didn’t matter what I did because I was already unworthy. There was a great deal of self loathing. I still can’t look at my face in the mirror without hating what I see because I used to look at myself after I masturbated and think how ugly I looked without the spirit and how I would have to tell my bishop that I had slipped up again. That should never have happened.

Man I was asked about my masturbation habits by Mormon ecclesiastical leaders from age 12 until age 35 when I finally resigned my membership. This practice has to stop. Items 2-7, 9, 10 on the list of potential harm all apply to me.  That includes attempting suicide.

Protect Our Children

Isn’t this enough?!!  We are literally killing our children with shame and self-loathing.

If you are truly a follower of Christ, stand up and protect our children.  Sign the Petition.

If you are a human being who gives a damn about our children…Sign the Petition.

Resources

Bishop Talks Oral Sex to a 7 Year Old

Bishop & little girl

The church places no limit on what bishops are allowed to discuss..…with our children…..all alone..…behind closed doors.  They have free reign to talk about whatever God whispers in their ear.

What the hell do we think is going to happen?  Specific and explicit?  Yep!  With a 7 year old?  Yep!

Comment from the petition

I was 7 the first time I was asked if I “abide by the law of chastity.” Not knowing what that meant, I asked for a definition. In that room in front of a man I barely knew, I was given my first discussion about female anatomy and intercourse, oral sex, and more. Disgusting!

If this disgusts you, plant your signature on the petition and share it everywhere.

Protect our children….from….this….crap.  Sign the petition.

Resources

Testimonials of masturbation interviews.

Testimonials of interviews about orgasm and sexual positions.

Why this petition matters.

How to talk to your kids about masturbation.

Is masturbation a sin?