Prevent Another Lost Generation–Come March with Us

Lion PrideThis is story #359.  I’ve redacted the location.  Our current policy facilitates grooming and sexual assault of our children.  The following would never have happened if parents had been in the room.

We lost a generation of young men in my ward in the 80’s due to grooming and molestation by a bishop facilitated by one on one bishop interviews. He convinced several young men that there was a secret priesthood initiation involving oral sex. One young man spoke out and his parents took it to church court. The bishop brought in many character witnesses. The accusation was kept secret so no other witnesses came forward and no investigation (e.g. interviews of other youth) took place at that time. So the decision by church court was apparently to remove him from his calling and make it so he “never was bishop again.” He then moved to Pennsylvania, became bishop, and did it again. This time the accusations were proved true, and a serious investigation in our ward youth commenced. All the young men were interviewed. The extent of his depredation was widespread and his family, who I love, was devastated. So the system fails the youth. There is no window on the door to the bishop’s office. No youth should be interviewed without a parent present. Period.

By eliminating one-on-one, behind-closed-door access to our kids, where all kinds of sexual practices can be discussed, we will:

  1. Protect our children
  2. Protect our bishops
  3. Protect the good name of the church.

Join the March for The Children

Help us assure that the children of the future don’t repeat the dreadful experiences of the children in our past.

Make plans to join us for this historic event.  On March 30, 2018 we will gather at the Salt Lake City/County Building.  Then march 5 blocks to the LDS Church Office Building.  Upon arrival, we will present 2 items to church officials:

  • The signatories on the Petition to Protect The Children–Stop Sexually Explicit Interviews of Mormon Youth
  • Sacred Stories of Sacred Children.  A record of childhoods destroyed behind closed doors.

Register here so we can get an accurate count ahead of time.  Our goal is 1,000 marchers.   It’s going to be big.

How can you help make this all happen:

  • Share the march info everywhere.
  • Bring your friends & family.
  • Encourage friends & family in Utah and surrounding states to join in

We are making Mormon history.  Come make it with us.  It’s a once in a lifetime event.

***Please Share the March-For-The-Children FAR and WIDE***

Links

Sign the Petition

Share Your Story

See the Stories

Read the Stories

Other Resources

 

 

The Church Threatens…Member Follows Suit with Mal-Intent.

Arson

Today’s letter to my stake president and bishop.

Subject:  Me, my family and my livelihood have been threatened

Dear President______ and Bishop______,

Thanks for taking so much time to meet with me recently.

During our meeting you referred to me as an apostate multiple times.  I hope you have rethought your charges.  If not, Handbook 1 specifies that a church court is mandatory and excommunication required…if I don’t “repent.”  I took that as a threat to my church membership, the loss of my priesthood and all the blessings associated with the gospel ordinances, including entering heaven with my family.  That’s a very serious threat.

Apparently, your actions have inspired others to follow suit and offer up their own threats.  I frequently receive nasty messages from the ‘saints.’  Yesterday, a menacing email arrived that I expect you to address.  After all, you both are my pastors and should be concerned about my family’s safety.

The messages came from this email address:  thejustavenger@gmail.com.  The anonymous name, “The Just Avenger,” sets an ominous tone to what follows:

I hope you don’t get excommunicated. I think Jezebel’s fate would be better. You’ll never hold a temple recommend ever again. And no, you are not helping children. You’re probably a child molester and are covering your ass.

The great thing about being a business owner is being an ex-business owner. How’s your security system at work? Sounds like an upgrade is in order.
Repent or lose.

Jezebel’s fate?  Look it up and see what he’s threatening.  Lashing out to call me a child molester?  Threatening my business?

 He followed his initial threats with this:

You should be worried about the storm you created for your family and yourself.

This makes me more than uncomfortable.  It has shaken my wife.  She asked me not to share any of this with our kids to avoid them being frightened.
I don’t know if this man is in the ward or in the stake.  I have received very negative messages from former friends in our ward and stake.   Last summer, I was told, “Don’t expect to be welcomed back with open arms.”  This, by a ward member.

No matter where this message comes from, here’s what I’m expecting from my Christ-like leaders.

  1. Send this man an email.  Let him know that making threats against a person’s life, livelihood or the well being of his family is not acceptable.  It has no place in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  It’s illegal.
  2. Copy me on your communication.
  3. Notify the 70’s that you serve under.  I expect the Church to officially respond to these threats and to copy me on their communications with the man making them.

You are good men.  I fully anticipate that you and the Church will comply with my expectations.  If not, and my family, my livelihood or my property are harmed, I will view your silence as complicit.

Thank you in advance for taking swift action,

Sam

P.S.  I will be taking the threats made by ‘The Avenger’ to the Sugar Land police.  You ought to send it to the Church’s legal department, too.

P.P.S  Again, I invite you to join the cause to Protect Our Children.  The changes are going to be made.  It’s just a matter of time.  The Church’s good name will be enhanced by making them sooner rather than later.  Yesterday, another serving bishop messaged me that he has embraced the protocol that the petition is calling for.

Anger, Fury, Outrage—Gifts from God

Lion RunningThe past 3 days have been really hard.

Last night, I reached out to my friend Sandy, one of the victims of an egregiously evil bishop’s interview.  Thank you Sandy.  It helped.  I’ve linked her story below.

Two more things happened today that have helped lift me. I’m not out of the woods yet, but, I’m starting to see the way out.
1.  I had lost hope that my cause had any chance of success.  Today, I talked about it with other friends and mulled it over on my own.  I have come to realize a major reason that hope was fading.  A few months ago, a former member of my ward reached out and let me know that she and her husband have basically left the church.  That was a shocker.  She had watched my journey and felt this quote was appropriate: “Hope has two beautiful daughters; their names are Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are, and Courage to see that they do not remain as they are.” 

That sentiment resonated big time. 

Here’s what has happened over the past couple of weeks and in earnest over the past few days:  I have tamped…down…my…anger.  Of course, we should exert control over our emotions.  But here’s the problem.  Hope and anger are intertwined, according to St. Augustine.  As I have pushed anger out of the my mind, hope has started to flicker and wane.  Then followed by a descent into despair.  Today, I have embraced my anger again.  As I have, hope has come rushing back to burn brightly in my heart. 

After All….

  • How can I not be angry at a system that allowed and fostered 6 years of my sweet daughter being taken behind closed doors and grilled about masturbation?!!!!
  • How can I not be cut to the quick and outraged at what was done to 7 year old Sandy on the bishop’s desktop?!!!!!!
  • How can I not be brought to tears and incensed by what was done to 12 year old Amy in the bishop’s office?!!!!
  • How can I not be devastated and enraged at the tragedy of Samuel’s death?!!!!

Nope!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My anger is God-given.  I will embrace this gift from God.  Christ is my exemplar.  Hear the tone in his fiery roar:  “Whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”

2.  This afternoon, the company’s top sales person came into my office.  He’s not Mormon, yet feels strongly about protecting LDS children.  We discussed all that’s going on, including the lack of support from my long-time active friends, the threat of excommunication, the total lack of concern and non-response I’ve received from the Church.   In conclusion he said this:  Sam, I feel it’s a privilege to witness what you are doing.  I hope you know that God is directing you.

 Occasionally, people express concern for me.  Here’s when you should worry….when I am no longer emotional about the hideous things we are doing to our kids.  Until my faith transition, hope was not much of an operative virtue in my religious practice.  It is now.  For me, the HOPE to protect our children inspires ANGER and COURAGE.  When I have both in my heart, I find myself standing tall with my 14,000 friends.  When I push either away, my heart starts to say, “Run away, Sam. Run away.”  I’m not running the hell away.  I’m embracing my outrage and running to meet Goliath.

If you see a spark of fury or observe a glimmer of courage……know that once again, I am full of hope.

Sandy’s Story

 

Amy’s Story

Samuel’s Story

March-For-The-Children

On March 30, 2018, one thousand concerned human beings will March-For-The-Children in support of changes to prevent the hideous damage we are inflicting on our kids.  This will be an historic occasion in Mormon history.

Make plans to join us now.  Arrange the day off, book your flight, put together your car pools.   Bring your family, bring your kids, bring your friends.  For most of us, this will be a once in a lifetime opportunity.  One that we will treasure with fondness for the rest of our lives.

You can register to March-For-The-Children on Eventbrite or on Facebook.

***Please Share the March-For-The-Children FAR and WIDE***

Links

Sign the Petition

Share Your Story

See the Stories

Read the Stories

Other Resources

Finally, An Apostle is Leading the Charge

 

neldontanner

N. Eldon Tanner served as an apostle from 1962 to1982. In October 1978 General Conference, he directed his remarks specifically to bishops. He called them out for having asked explicit sexual questions.  YES!!!  Obviously, the top church leaders have been aware of this problem at least the past 40 years.  It’s time that we as Mormons heed the apostle’s words.

NEVER in general conference has an apostle given approval for explicit sexual questions being posed to our children.   Nope…NEVER.   On the other hand, an apostle, serving in the First Presidency, specifically forbid this type of behavior by our bishops.  What our bishops have been doing to our children is NOT condoned by the apostles.

The Petition to Protect the Children calls for the same things that Elder Tanner spoke out about.  Obviously, many of our bishops chose NOT to heed this apostolic warning.  The carnage detailed in the sacred stories of our sacred children is the unfortunate result.

March-For-The-Children

On March 30, 2018, one thousand concerned human beings will March-For-The-Children in support of Elder Tanner’s counsel.  This will be an historic occasion in Mormon history.  Marching both to protect our children and to show our support for the apostles.

Make plans to join us now.  Arrange the day off, book your flight, put together your car pools.   Bring your family, bring your kids, bring your friends.  For most of us, this will be a once in a lifetime opportunity.  One that we will treasure with fondness for the rest of our lives.

You can register to March-For-The-Children on Eventbrite or on Facebook.

***Please Share the March-For-The-Children FAR and WIDE***

Links

Sign the Petition

Share Your Story

See the Stories

Read the Stories

Other Resources

The Historic March for the Children

Lion Protecting CubsToday, we officially announce our March for the Children.

This event will be historic in the annals of Mormon history.  These are our kids.  We have an obligation to protect all children in our society.  And PROTECT…THEM…WE…WILL!!!

Date:  March 30, 2018 (Good Friday)

Time:  12:00pm – 3:00pm

Place: Salt Lake City and County Building, 451 State Street, Salt Lake City 84101

We will gather at the park adjacent to the Salt Lake City/County Building.  A five block march will ensue to the LDS Church Office Building.  There, we will deliver the signatures that have been recorded on the Protect-The-Children Petition.  We will also present the book of Sacred Stories of Sacred Children, accounts of lives damaged from inappropriate childhood interviews.

In our petition to Protect the Children—

We call on the LDS Church to immediately cease the practice of subjecting children to questions about masturbation, orgasm, ejaculation, sexual positions or anything else of a sexual nature. This applies to all children up to and including age 17. There should be no one-on-one interviews with children. A parent or another adult of the child’s choosing is to be present.

We call on the LDS Church to publicly disavow this practice.

We call on the LDS Church to ensure that all congregational leaders, as well the general membership, are informed that this practice is prohibited.

Attendance Goal

We are shooting for 1,000.

At this moment, there are 14,659 signatures on the petition.  Close to 7,000 are from Utah.  There are people who plan to fly and drive in from all over the country.

Our petition goal was 10,000 names.  At the outset, it seemed impossible.  Nope.  It was totally possible.

Having 100 survivors come forward with stories seemed unlikely.  Over 2,000 survivors have now shared their stories.  330 have put them out in the open for the world to see exactly what we are doing to our kids.

1,000 marchers?  Is that even possible?  When I gave this estimate to the city permit department, they were pretty skeptical.  LET’S MAKE IT HAPPEN.  Not for numbers sake.  For our children’s sake.  The bigger the numbers, the more likely will be the outcome we are looking for.

And exactly what are we looking for:

  • Protecting of our children by eliminating one-on-one interviews where sexual questions are posed.
  • Facilitating the healing of those children who have been harmed.
  • Protecting our bishops from risksing their reputations.
  • Protecting the good name of the Church.  The world recognizes the danger we are putting our children in.  It harms our reputation when we harm our children.

Registration

Please register for the event on Facebook or Eventbrite or both.  At the moment, 32 have signed up.   Only 968 to go!  We are almost there.

BTW, you don’t need to sign-up.  You don’t need tickets.  The sign-ups will help us and the city make the appropriate preparations.

I’m anxious to meet you as we converge on the common cause for our children.

***Please Share the sign-up page far and wide***

 

Links

Sign the Petition

Share Your Story

See the Stories

Read the Stories

 

More Good News From the Trenches

 

Victory

A letter sent to my Stake President tonight.

Dear President________,

More good news from the trenches.  These messages just came in today.

Idaho“My stake president brought up the discussion of how to protect youth during interviews.  You’re making an impact. Good work!”

Utah:  “I work with millennial TBMs.  Today we were having a discussion about the US gymnastics doctor situation.  My coworker noted that those kind of abuses make them hesitant to put their kids in sports and such where they might be 1:1 with an adult. Another, who’s a faithful member, piped up that he felt the same way about bishop interviews, citing ‘all the awful stories he’s been hearing about bishops abusing kids.’  I was shocked when the entire team—all TBMs—agreed without hesitation, saying they would never be sending their kids in alone for bishop interviews, and that the church should absolutely change that policy. 

So whether or not the policy changes now, people are changing.  Those are future parents and church leaders.  It’s working, even if it’s slow. Keep up the good work.”

Pretty cool that leaders and members are seeing the imminent dangers to their children by allowing them to be taken behind closed doors and asked questions about sex.

All my Best,

-Sam

P.S. ‘TBM’ is the acronym for ‘True Believing Member.’  It’s not a pejorative term in any way.

 Links

Sign the Petition

Share Your Story

Read the Stories

See the Stories

 

Thousands Call on Mormon Church to End Sexually Explicit Bishops’ Interviews

Houston News ConferenceEverything went spectacularly well at today’s press conference.  Two major Houston TV stations showed up, along with a great audience of 45 people.  Thanks to all of you who attended!!!

We are getting better at public relations.  I have been told that after a press conference, another press release should be immediately sent to the media.  We missed that opportunity in Salt Lake.  Not this time.  Below is the release that was just sent to thousands of media outlets, including every one in Houston.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE    February 6, 2018

Thousands Call on Mormon Church to End Sexually Explicit Bishops’ Interviews

Press Conference Today Highlights Growing Grassroots Movement & Victims’ Stories Ahead of March 30th Rally to be Held in Salt Lake City

HOUSTON, TX – In just the last eight weeks over 14,000 Americans have signed a petition calling on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to end the inappropriate practice of “Bishops’ Interviews” and that number is growing each day.

The mounting support for ending this decades-long practice by the LDS Church — in which Church elders conduct one-on-one meetings with children, without their parents present, and which often involve discussions and questions of a sexual nature — was highlighted at a press conference organized in Houston today by the Protect-the-Children Initiative which is a grassroots organization founded by Sam Young, a Houston business owner, father of six daughters, and active LDS Church member.

“The long overdue national conversation our country is having on sexual abuse and harassment has laid bare the reality that practices that may have been accepted years ago should no longer tolerated today,” Young said today. “As the father of six daughters and a lifelong member of the LDS Church I believe it’s wholly inappropriate for children to have to sit behind closed doors with a male Church leader, and without their parents present, and be asked questions regarding their sexual history or desires. It’s time for us, as Mormons, and friends of Mormons, to stand up for our children which is why we’re calling on the LDS Church to end the practice of private one-on-one interviews with children and male leaders.”

Young was joined at today’s press conference by Michael Norris, a Houston SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) leader and Natasha Helfer Parker, a certified family therapist with 20 years of experience treating individuals, couples and families. They also presented over 300 Victims Impact Statements from LDS Church members who have already shared their personal stories of inappropriate, and in some cases potentially unlawful, interactions that have allegedly taken place during Bishops’ Interviews within the LDS Church. You can read and hear the firsthand accounts of many of these individuals by clicking here.

Over the next 8 weeks, the Protect-the-Children Initiative will continue to gather signatures and stories from LDS Church members from around the country and will hold a rally in Salt

Lake City on March 30th where the signed petitions will be formally delivered to LDS Church leaders.

“This movement is in no way meant to disparage the LDS Church, which many of us have devoted our lives to, but rather to protect both our Church and its most vulnerable members. The LDS Church, and frankly every religious institution, should be doing everything possible to ensure our children are protected and ending this antiquated and inappropriate practice would be a step towards doing just that,” Young concluded.

###

BTW, the video of the press conference is being edited and will be shared soon.

Until the harm to our kids stops, WE WILL NOT STOP.