Protect The Children–Stop Mormon Masturbation Interviews

Lion

These interviews are dead wrong.

Let’s stand up together.  Let’s speak out together.  Let’s do what is right… what is right for our kids.

I invite you to sign the petition.

Click Here:  Protect the Children–Stop Mormon Masturbation Interviews

Whether you are a parent or grandparent.  An aunt or an uncle.  A member or former member.  Or…simply a human being who is concerned with what we are doing to our Mormon kids.  Please register your call to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for this practice to cease.

Resources & Testimonials

Testimonials of masturbation interviews.  Click HERE.

Testimonials of interviews about orgasm and sexual positions.  Click HERE.

Is masturbation a sin?  Click HERE.

How to talk to your kids about masturbation.  Click HERE.

 

The Home Front is Homogenizing

150410c_Parade_homecomingThis weekend, my wife and I went to Philly to participate in the sealing of our adopted grandson to my daughter and son-in-law.  My wife inside the temple, and I awaiting outside.  It really was a choice event.

Coming home today, we flew out on separate planes.  I arrived a few hours later than my wife.  When I got home, this conversation ensued:

PATTY:  You know I believe in the church and don’t want to leave it.  

ME:  Of course.  You know that I totally support you in that.

PATTY:  On the plane, I read 4 talks from the last General Conference.  I really liked the talks.  As I read, I reached the same conclusions over and over.  First, you are doing the right things.  Second, if I was ever questioned by the leaders about you, I could totally defend you.  Third, some might say that you are breaking your covenants.  You aren’t.  And God knows you aren’t.

Wow.  Just Wow.  What a great homecoming.

And this on the heels of a meeting I recently had with a prominent leader in our stake.  He told me this, “Sam, come back to church.  We need someone to speak out about the issues you are raising.”

Invitation to a Friend’s Unbaptism

TempleNight

Over my 64 year life span, many friends and family have invited me to attend their baptism.  Several times, they even asked me to speak during the program.  Baptism is a significant event.  What an honor it is to support my friends as they take a new direction in life.

Last week, a friend invited me to attend a similar event—an unbaptism.  He even asked me to speak during the program.  Unbaptism is a significant event.  What an honor it is to support my friends as they take a new direction in life.

Invitation With a Warning

Along with his invitation, my friend also offered a friendly caution:

“Be sure to take stock of the possible effect on your membership.  Be sure to take stock of the effect on your many FB friends — many will likely attack your decision to participate in this event — even if your message is NOT specifically to resign.”

I really appreciate my friend’s care and concern.  So, dear friend, let me reassure you that I’ll be OK.

  1. I’m not worried about my membership. As a church, we don’t believe in shunning.  Elder Holland has taught this in no uncertain terms.  If someone decides to leave the church, I respect and honor their decision just as much as I do the decision to join the church.
  2. My Facebook friends? Could I be attacked by them?  Well…maybe.  It’s certainly happened many times before.   But, they are my friends.  I’ll still view them and love them as my friends.
  3. “Even if your message is NOT specifically to resign.”  I want to be very clear on this one.  I don’t encourage people to resign.  I encourage people to do what THEY feel is best for them and their families.  I don’t possess enough self-importance to presume that I know what’s best for anyone, but myself, regarding religion.  I do possess enough self-confidence to support and validate others in the path they choose.

Details of the unbaptism event can be found HERE.

The Illogic of Gay Marriage

Gay-marriage-guys

Thirteen years ago, a gay couple (two men) moved into my neighborhood.  We met during a national-night-out held at my home.  My wife and I were sitting in lawn chairs set up in the driveway, awaiting whatever visitors might come.  Up walks 2 tall, slim and nice looking men, along with two young children.  Introductions were made.  It quickly became apparent that they were gay.  Their children were adopted.  It had only been a few days since they had moved in.

At the time, I was still a traditional believing Mormon.  I KNEW homosexuality was a sin.  One of the absolute worst sins.  Maybe worse than murder.  Never before had I met a gay couple.  I had read about them.  I was aware that some even had children.  Now, open homosexuals had moved in just a few houses down the street.  My first thought was, “How will this affect the value of the neighborhood?”   Warily, I put a friendly smile on my face.

As the night transpired, I found these two men to be delightful and normal.  At least, as normal as homosexuals could be.  It turned out that both my wife and I really enjoyed their company.

At the time, I was serving as the ward mission leader.  During my 64 years on this earth, I have served for over 15 years in missionary callings.  For those not familiar with the Mormon church, when I speak of anything missionary, I’m referring to proselytizing…recruiting people to join the LDS Church.

Over the next few days, this gay couple and their children were frequently on my mind.  I had told them I was Mormon, but hadn’t invited them to church.  In their sinful living arrangement, these heads-of-household were not worthy of baptism.  I pondered, “Will the church eventually make an accommodation for gay couples to be accepted in our culture.”  I mulled over various possibilities of how this might happen.

Finally, I reasoned out a conclusion.  It’s the children.  Jesus loved the children.  Both in the Bible and Book of Mormon.  He invited all the children to come unto him.  At one point he fussed at His apostles for restricting children from coming to him.

My logic went like this:  Jesus will find a way for the children’s sake.  If the parents are gay, the only way to reach the children would be to somehow accept the parents.   So…I was confident of a coming prophetic declaration on how gay couples were to be accepted into our congregations…for the sake of the children.

Oh…The Illogic of My Reasoning!!!

In November 2015, eleven years after that memorable national-night-out, the prophetic declaration came.  If gay couples married, they would be subjected to a mandatory church court.  Excommunication was almost certain.  And their children….they were immediately excommunicated from the blessings and ordinances of the gospel.  No church court required.  These innocents were simply and summarily banned from the blessings that were privileged to the children of hetero parents.   No baby blessing.  No baptism.  No gift of the Holy Ghost.  No priesthood.  No temple attendance.

The children that Christ beckoned were now banned, prohibited, outlawed, censured, forbidden and discriminated against.  Vulnerable before.  Victimized now.  “The least of these” before.  Totally excluded now.

Eleven years previous, my logic had spoken.  Eleven years later the prophet had spoken.

Eleven years previous, I had a vision of all children accepted by Jesus.  Eleven years later, a prophet had a vision of which children were not to be accepted.

Just So You Know

My logic is often flawed.  But, in this case my logic and my heart are in agreement.  The November 5th policy is NOT of God.

If the apostles think this policy IS a revelation from God…then put it up for a vote.  I have the guts to openly speak out for the marginalized children.  They should have the guts to obey the Law of Common Consent.  This gorgeous law requires that all revelations be presented and ratified by the rank and file members.  Or rejected!!!

How Do I Feel Today About Anyone Who Is Gay?

My opinion has changed….a lot!

I offer this apology for my church’s past wrongs to the LGBT community.  And…an apology for my prior support of those wrongs.  Click HERE.

We’re all normal.  Click HERE.

Information on the Law of Common Consent.  Click HERE.

 

Dear Friend, I’m Offended, Too

Bednar Offended

Recently, I published a blog entitled “Do You Wear the Right Panties?”  It elicited a strong comment from a good friend.

My Friend’s Comment

“Sam, you have crossed the line and finally shown your true colors. To poke fun at something that is sacred to TBM, you have in essence spit on the face of the Church you claim to still be a member of. Why haven’t you left yet? I think it is because you like the title as if it makes your speeches more real if you can add to your rhetoric that you are still a member….a title…worse yet ….pride. I never thought I would see the day when someone I had admired for so long would turn from being so humble to so prideful. It’s the pride cycle in human form. God Bless you my friend. For you and I both, I am glad for forgiveness and the Atonement.”

My Response

Dear Friend,

Thank you for your comment.  Dialogue in the church is so lacking.  Without it, no one can come to really understand one another.  I appreciate your willingness to share your thoughts.

I can see how you could be offended by my piece.  Your hurt is valid and I recognize that.  I hear you.  I see you.

In October 2006 General Conference, Elder Bednar made a this statement:

“Believing that another person offended us is fundamentally false. To be offended is a choice we make.” 

According to Elder Bednar, you have chosen to be offended.  And…I respect your choice.

Now, I’m going to take this opportunity to share how I have chosen to be offended.  Hopefully, this will shed more light on my “True Colors.

  1. For most of my life, I have been taught lies, half-truths and deceptions.  That offends me.  Even the noted Mormon historian Richard Bushman admits that lies have been common fare.  “I think that for the Church to remain strong it has to reconstruct its narrative.  The dominant narrative is not true;  it can’t be sustained.”  The church should openly admit where they were deceptive or simply in error.  And then apologize for it.  Not doing so is the same as the church spitting in my face.
  2. During the 2 years of my full-time mission, I taught a lie that was conveniently provided by the church.  I didn’t find out until 3 years ago that it was a lie.  That offends me.  The church should openly admit that this teaching was a lie and apologize to all those who taught it.  Not doing so is the same as the church spitting in my face.
  3. When I was a kid, we sang songs that encouraged us to think about and follow Jesus.  Today, we indoctrinate our kids to follow the prophet.  The primary songs center around the temple, the scriptures and the prophet.  That really offends me.  It affects my posterity.  They are being taught to make the apostles their God instead of Christ.  Whose face is that spitting at?
  4. The church has changed.  Our focus in now obey, obey, obey.  Yet, the apostles lead out in disobedience to the Law of Common Consent.  Boy, do I ever choose to be offended at this hypocrisy.  The church is spitting on it’s own mandate from Jesus Christ.  We are spitting on the restoration.  The apostles have elevated themselves above the accountability mandated by the Savior.  I’m also disappointed that the general membership continues to be complicit in allowing them to do this.
  5. I…AM…OFFENDED…that my 12 year old daughter was taken behind closed doors, all alone, by the bishop, without my knowledge or consent, and asked if she masturbated.  During her teenage years this was repeated “all the time.”  The church spit in my face by condoning and encouraging this practice behind my back.  They circumvented my parental responsibility.  Yeah…I choose to be offended at these indefensible interviews with MY children.  I am also super disappointed that the good members of the church are not rising up in mass to condemn this practice and call for its immediate cessation.
  6. We hold ourselves out as the quintessential family church.  We constantly hype The Family Proclamation.  Yet, The Proclamation, many teachings from the General Conference pulpit and our own Mormon culture are tearing families apart.  I see it every day.  I hear it everyday.  I read it everyday.  But, the church turns a blind eye to it.  How offensive!   So unfortunate!  And….almost completely preventable!!!  How hypocritical to praise the family out front, and, at the same time, tear them to pieces behind our backs.
  7. I…AM…OFFENDED…that the church leadership counseled a gay man to marry my daughter.  They told him that he would turn straight once he saw my daughter naked.  Outrageously OFFENSIVE!  This was my daughter they were messing with.  Stake Presidents and Bishops gave this counsel for decades.  It has left broken hearts, broken families and soul crushing sadness in its wake.  I have chosen to be super OFFENDED that my church gave such horrible direction.  If I were to spit on anything, this is where my spittle would be directed.  Fortunately, both my daughter and my gay almost-son-in-law did not wed.  Today, they are both married to wonderful men.  But, there was no help from the church, whatsoever.

Of course, I could list many other things that are offensive to me.

No way am I going to turn a blind eye.  I would….if I didn’t care about the Church or my family or the members of the church.  If I didn’t value my temple covenants, I might just sit on my thumbs.  If the teachings and example of Jesus meant nothing to me…I could easily do nothing.

But, I do care about the Church.  I do care about my family in the Church.  I am concerned about the members…especially those who find themselves marginalized.  I value my covenants.  The Savior’s teachings are the foundation of my actions.  His example is the foundation of my choice to be offended.

All my best wishes to you and your family.  May you bask in health, family unity, and God’s love.

Naked From the Waist Up

BookshelvesOver my lifetime, I have had at least 4 dreams that turned out to have profound significance.  For two of them, it took decades of recurrence before their meanings were manifest.   For the other two, their message was clear as a bell at the get-go.

Tonight, I’m going to share the most recent one.  It came sometime in the fall of 2016.

In the dream, I was on a sales call with my top sales person.  As this was a highly important potential customer, he’d asked me to come along.  We walked in the front door and up to a counter.   Two people were behind it.  The counter was chest high.  I rested my arms on it as my companion made the introductions.

It was then that I noticed a huge and embarrassing problem.  My sales person was dressed in appropriate business attire.  Be me?  His boss?  There I was, perched on the front counter…..without a shirt on my back.  Oh man, was I ever rattled by that sudden realization.  How the hell did this happen?  How am I going to hide my nakedness from the prospect?

But….no one was staring.  That was odd.  Three others in the lobby.  None were casting furtive glances at my naked torso.  Were they just being super polite?

My embarrassment heightened, as I considered the ramifications of ruining this prime opportunity.  My stupid and disrespectful appearance was certain to get me kicked out of the executive’s office.

Shortly, we were escorted into the room where the meeting was to occur.  The head man was not there…yet.  Several of his employees were.  They presented a full array of gender & ethnicity.  All appeared to be young.  In their 20s or early 30s.  The office had the appearance of a crowded library.  All four walls lined with bookcases filled to the brim.  The books were are varied as the people.  Their spines colorful.  Some small.  Some tall.  Most having a classic, antique look about them.

A drafting table and accompanying lamp were pushed up against one set of bookcases.  In front of it, an elevated drafting chair.  It’s occupant was turned to look directly at me and my shirtless body.  The other people were seated behind antique leather-topped desks.  Or standing with an open book in their hand.  Me and my sales person were also seated in elevated drafting chairs.  There was nothing in front of us.  Nothing to block what I was so anxious to hide….me.

We small talked.  I’m usually pretty good at that.  But, there was something in the air.  Part discomfort.  Part anticipation.  And a little bit of electricity.  I could sense it…but couldn’t quite put my finger on what I was feeling.

After talking to one person, I turned towards another.  What the hell!  He doesn’t have a shirt on anymore!  When did he take it off?  Why did he take it off?  No way was I going to ask.  I acted as if I didn’t notice.  After all, everybody else seemed to be pretending not to notice MY toplessness.

I turned around again.  Another person was now naked from the waist up.  This time a young woman.  In the dream I could see that she had taken her shirt off.  But, I didn’t snap to fact that she was bare breasted.  Somehow I didn’t notice that.  Only that her shirt was gone.  More electricity in the air.  A feeling of huge anticipation.  Something important was about to happen.

The door opened.  In walked the boss.  Immediately, I knew exactly who he was….Mark Zuckerberg.   Facebook’s founder.  The electricity evaporated.  The anticipation dissolved.  I was screwed.  Somehow my sales person had landed an appointment with a billionaire and I showed up in my birthday suit, from my belly button up.

Then…. it slowly dawns on me.   He doesn’t seem to notice my nakedness.  He pays no attention to his two employees who are also shirtless.  I look around the room.  What the heck is going on?

Mr. Zuckerberg sits down on the lone remaining drafting chair.  He leans back and rests his elbow on the bookshelf behind him.  He appears casual and comfortable and intensely interested….in something.  I turn my eyes away from him to the opposite corner of the library.  What!!!  Another employee has shed his shirt….with his boss sitting right there in the same room.

I turn my head back to face the dominant figure who is still framed by the colorful & magnificent books behind him.  And there he was….leaning back….elbow resting on the shelf….and….naked from the waist up.  For some reason, his shirt is now gone.  Scanning the room again, no one had anything on above their belt.

Immediately, the beautiful interpretation of my dream burst open.  My nakedness represented being open and vulnerable.  When others took their shirts off, it meant they had recognized that they were in a safe place.  They could now reveal who they really were.  Even the billionaire responded with naked openness.  A blaze of lively and heartfelt conversation spontaneously erupted.

I don’t remember what was shared in that room that day.  What I do know is that the electricity in the air was the wonderful anticipation of the possibility of being who we really were, out in the open, with no fear of  judgment.  Judgment, that we so often conceal our true selves from.

Honesty.  Openness.  Vulnerability.  Empathy.  Authenticity.  I have a new found love for these gorgeous ideals.  Today, I go naked from the waist up, as often as its safe.