E. Christofferson read the Stories! Full Report on meeting with Stake President.

Christofferson

On Sunday, June 24th, my stake president sent a message asking for a meeting.  I responded with a request for the topics to be discussed.  His executive secretary provided the agenda and the meeting was set for June 26th.

Here are the points on his agenda

  1. How my family is doing.
  2. Share some thoughts on the recent stake conference.  At the time, I was not aware that the ‘thoughts’ were to be Elder Christofferson’s comments about me.
  3. Discuss remarks that I have shared in recent Fast & Testimony meeting.
  4. Come prepared to discuss the following scriptures:  3 Nephi 11:29-30, Mosiah 23:15, 3 Nephi 12:9

Right at the outset, the stake president said that asking for the topics was a good idea and he was glad that I had.  He also said that he didn’t feel good about how our last meeting ended up.  It didn’t feel right.  You can read about that interview in the article Sam: Protect The Children!  Mormon Church: Apostate! 

My bishop was also in attendance.  Right at the outset of this blog, I want to say that both are very good men, working hard to serve the members of their congregations.

Here’s the essence of the meeting.

Elder Christofferson

Our most recent stake conference was on May 20th.  Elder Christofferson, an apostle in the LDS church, was the visiting authority.

The stake president informed me that during the behind the scenes meetings, my name had come up 3 times.

First:  One of the stake presidency counselors asked if the apostle had heard of me.  Elder Christofferson said yes.  Then he asked about the magnitude of people leaving the church.  For a good while, I have been trying to raise the alarm in my ward and stake that we are losing lots of good people.  In my ward alone, 42 people have left the Church over the past 3 1/2 years.  Elder C’s response was that there has been no increase in the number of people leaving.

Second:  Later in the day the apostle asked, “How is Sam’s family doing?”  The stake president said that he came across as sincere and caring.  I really appreciate that heartfelt concern for my loved ones.

Third:  Elder Christofferson asked the stake president to relay the following information.

  • Tell Sam that I’ve read all three books that were delivered during the march.  To me, this is huge!!  A volume of “Sacred Stories of Sacred Children” actually landed on an apostle’s desk and he read it!!!  When he says 3 books, he’s including the ones with the petition signatures.  They contain at least 2,000 abbreviated horror stories.  So, if he actually did read them all, he has now been exposed to thousands of accounts of harms done to our children.
  • Some of the stories can have different interpretations.
  • Many are tragic.
  • We can learn from them.
  • Changes are coming.

Then Elder Christofferson provided a little warning:  Be careful.  It’s not a good to place yourself between the Lord and his prophet.

Finally, he wanted the stake president to share this metaphor: “If you have a scratch on your arm, you put a band-aid on it.  You don’t cut your arm off.”  No further explanation was given.  The president said he had some ideas of what it meant but, we didn’t discuss them.  When I got home, it’s meaning dawned on me.  There may be a scratch in our interview policies.  A band-aid would be the appropriate remedy, not doing away with youth interviews.

Scriptures

I was asked to read the following three scripture passages…out loud:

3 Nephi 11:29-30

29 For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.

30 Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away.

Mosiah 23:15

15 Thus did Alma teach his people, that every man should love his neighbor as himself, that there should be no contention among them.

3 Nephi 12:9

And blessed are all the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.

He then asked, “What do you think of those scriptures?”

My response:

These are great scriptures.  Thanks for given them to me.  They caused me to reflect on all the scriptures where contention WAS appropriate and how to reconcile them.

For example, here’s what Jesus said in Matt 10:34:  “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth.  I come not to send peace, but a sword.”  I don’t think he came to bring discord.  He spoke the unvarnished truth in open criticism to church leaders.  This fomented contention up to the point of the Church leaders killing Him.  Speaking truth can cause people to react with contention.

When the temple was being desecrated, Christ contended violently with anger and whip in hand.

Here’s what Jesus had to say about children in Mathew 18:6, “But 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.”  That is not gentle.  With a harsh warning, the Lord was contending for the protection of the precious children.

Listen to what Jesus says in Alma 43:47, “And again, the Lord has said that:  Ye shall defend your families even until bloodshed.”  We are urged to stand up for our children and wives even unto bloodshed.  

Reading your scriptures forced me to compare and ponder.  For me, taking the position that all contention is of the devil doesn’t make sense when considering that Christ’s ministry was full of contention and encouragement to contend for what is right.

Maybe the difference could be contention for contention’s sake  is of the devil.  But, taking a moral position is not stirring up anger for anger’s sake.  It’s standing up for what is right.

As for anger, I view it differently now.   It is an emotion that is often totally appropriate.  Christ exhibited righteous anger.   Just a few months ago, the Apostles expressed that they felt the same anger over the Joseph Bishop rape scandal as the members do.  If Christ and the apostles can righteously experience anger, then that’s an example I should be able to emulate.

I’m glad you included the scripture on being a peacemaker.  One of the amazing things that I’ve witnessed over the last many months is the peace and healing that our cause is bringing to many many people’s lives.  People who were harmed as children are experiencing validation, empathy, credibility, and a safe space to share their story, often for the first time in their lives.  It works towards peace to see people stand up and say that what happened to them was wrong.  It brings healing to see people advocate for changes.

While we’re in the scriptures,  you’re familiar what it says in D&C 58:  “Men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward.  But he that doeth not anything until he is commanded, the same is damned.”  That scripture means more to me now than it ever has.

F&T meeting

I think this is where the core of their concerns reside.  Over the past 2 months, I’ve born my testimony at both Fast & Testimony meetings.  Apparently, many people made a beeline to the bishop’s office and expressed their discomfort.  My remarks have caused the spirituality of the ward to suffer.  People are on pins and needles as to what I might say next.  What I’ve said both in testimony and in priesthood quorum is creating separation in the ward, not unity.

My  comments that could be perceived critical rather than supportive should not be made at church.  They are appropriate on my blog and other venues, not at church.

I think this is a fair point and I agreed to moderate my utterances to not disturb the spirit of worship at our meetings.

I really wish that we could all approach this like adults.  If someone has a concern, wouldn’t the mature thing be to talk with me personally, rather than running to an already over-burdened bishop?

BTW, the 2 testimonies in question are shown at the end of the article.

Personal Matter

As the meeting concluded, the stake president surprised me by bringing up a personal matter.  I won’t give the details because it is personal.   After discussing it, the SP apologized for the misunderstanding.  It takes a meek and humble Stake President to apologize to a rank-and-file member.  The level of my esteem for him elevated in that moment.

Take Aways

  • Great meeting.
  • The apostles are well aware of our movement.  The stories of our hurting friends HAVE been read.  Those stories have caused change.  They will cause further changes to be made.  For me, this is HUGE.
  • It is obvious that I’ve caused trouble in the bishop and stake president’s field of labor and responsibility.  I’ll be more sensitive to that.
  • What I’m saying at church is not appropriate in church….but it is appropriate out in the public square.  YES!!!  I only have to be silent at church.  But, I have the stake president’s endorsement to NOT be silent anywhere else.  .That is a reversal of what I was told in our last meeting in January

Testimony May 6, 2018—Protect the Children

I love teachings and example of Jesus Christ.

  • The Good Samaritan.
  • The Golden Rule.
  • The Prodigal Son.
  • Reaching out to the marginalized, the hopeless, the helpless.
  • Standing up for the poor, the sick, the weak…the least of those among us
  • And….His gorgeous #1 commandment: To love our neighbors as ourselves.

We have a new President of the church.  I love that it was President Nelson who gave us this instruction: 

“Stand up and speak up for truth…especially when it’s unpopular.”

Over the past year, I have stood up and spoken up for the protection of LDS children.  Our bishop and our stake president have spent hours listening to my concerns.  I really appreciate that. 

Right here, in my own ward, there are now 28 members who support Protect The Children.  Thank you.

In the name of our Savior, who commissioned all of us to protect our little ones,  Amen.

Testimony June 3, 2018—Racism

Last month I shared my testimony of the teachings and example of Jesus Christ. I took some flak for not having mentioned the restoration or the prophets.

Today, I’m going to correct that.

I want to give our current crop of apostles and prophets a strong shout out of support. Last Friday, the church held an event to officially celebrate the 40 year anniversary of the reversal of our church doctrine that forbid black men from receiving the priesthood and prohibited both black men and black women from entering the temple.

This ban on church privileges was lifted in 1978. I had the honor of sitting in a Houston chapel during general conference when Elder N. Eldon Tanner presented the lifting of the ban for a sustaining vote. My hand was proudly raised in support of changing our policy. This is a great example of the Law of Common Consent in action. All policies and major decisions are supposed to be presented to the membership for approval or disapproval. I love this empowering element of the restored gospel. So, there’s my full-throated endorsement of a glorious principle that came directly as a part of the restoration.

Now, I want to express my appreciation and respect for our current apostles and prophets. 4 years ago, the apostles did something very gutsy that no top leadership has ever done before. They published an essay on LDS.org entitled Race and the Priesthood. It condemns our past racism. It disavows our past racist doctrine, teachings and practices. That’s a disavowal and condemnation of what all the past prophets and apostles from Brigham Young on have taught regarding black people being cursed with a dark skin. Halleluiah!!!

Unfortunately, until 4 years ago when this essay was published, I completely believed our racist teachings that are now officially condemned.  I’m glad that the church celebrated the lifting of the ban.  However, I wish that there had also been an official full-throated apology for our past racism.

Today, I offer my apology and the apology of many, many of my friends.  We are sorry that we were gullible enough to believe that our white skin was a reflection of our righteousness in the pre-mortal life.  And that a black skin was a reflection of the opposite.

I’m sorry that these disavowed practices, which I fully supported, marginalized an entire race for 150 years within the church of Jesus Christ.

I offer this apology in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

 

47 thoughts on “E. Christofferson read the Stories! Full Report on meeting with Stake President.

  1. Excellent progress for the children. I wonder if binging up a testimony of the sriptures you shared in a fast and testimony meeting would be appropriate and keeping the spirit. Perceptions are relevant, though when a perception is incorrect it should be testified to ones spiritual understanding. Also people running to the bishop is where the contention was cuased, judgemental and not in teaching with the scritures. Regardless excellent Job Sam! Hopefully the Lord will soften more of their hearts through your efforts. Im glad they dropped the apostate crud. These men are called to judge in our Lords place, though it seems they need to block out the harsh rhetoric of the voices in thier minds and focus on the still small voice. Love you brother!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I don’t understand why your testimonies made others uncomfortable. I thought they were spot on, insightful and refreshing from what you normally here from the pulpit at f and t meeting. I think others have a very difficult time with raw honesty. I truly wish I was in your ward, or that I had your bravery because this is how the meetings should be. Not “look how spiritually amazing I am everyone!” Please keep up the hard work! You aren’t fighting alone.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Sam, honestly I don’t know how you stay. Your testimony caused others to lose the spirit? You mean bringing to light the bad things we aren’t doing anything to stop makes people sad?!?!? What?!?!? Man, another reason to know I made the right decision in leaving. I like being able to hold an array of emotions good and bad inside of me without feeling like the devil was causing the contention. I don’t know you but I love you Sam. You’re a good man.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Sam you’re an Amazing Person & Example to all of us ‘rank & file’ church members. I wish I had your courage & wisdom. I’m learning though. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is excellent news! You are spot on with everything you are doing Sam. The leadership would prefer to apply a bandaid rather than perform surgery because a bandaid is cheaper and makes it less obvious that serious bleeding occurred. To them, this issue is just a small cut. Small cuts don’t need surgery. Unfortunately, the cut became a gaping wound before they even attempted to put a bandaid on it. They neglected something important for far too long, now amputation is necessary but they still insist on a bandage. Continue to expose the neglect and harm this institution has done. They are making baby steps only because of the pressure from the PLDSC movement.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sam,

    Thanks for your good works! It doesn’t surprise me that D. Todd would throw out those particular scriptures. He is definitely one who doesn’t follow them.

    I witnessed him ripping into a total stranger during a priesthood leadership meeting in South Carolina, back when he was an area 70 in the region. He was also rather rude to me as well during the same meeting. He is a contentious person, quite frankly (or at least he was back then)…doubt that has changed now that he is an ‘apostle’. Thanks for verifying for me that leaving was the right move for me.

    You are strong for staying and for working to improve things for our family and friends who stay. Love ya brother!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. tyMYShoes Lesley here. Wow that is interesting…the function of a Seventy according to LDS INC. is to bear witness of Christ….that is it!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Dear Sam the Lionheart!

    The grownup thing to do would have been for Elder C to request a meeting with you personally when he was physically in your neighborhood. Communicating through your SP was … shall we say … cowardly (my second or third choice of words).

    Then these words relayed second-hand to you?

    “Elder C’s response was that there has been no increase in the number of people leaving.”

    This is hilarious! This comment made me verbalize the name of dat big river in Egypt. (You know the name of dat river, I presume.) That comment was about like the knight in Monty Python whose arms and legs had been amputated in battle saying, “It’s just a flesh wound.” Typical problem resolution by simply denying a problem exists.

    Den dis?

    “Then Elder Christofferson provided a little warning: It’s not good to place yourself between the Lord and his prophet.”

    WTF IS THIS!

    A threat?

    Sam, let’s CALL IT!

    You were THREATENED by an executive director of LDS, Inc. for doing WHAT? Let’s just pull out the stops and give this stunning statement some of the respect it deserves?

    If it walks like a threat and quacks like a threat …. maybe it’s a threat?

    Not good? Not good what? What “not good” is gonna happen to you, Sam?

    Is God gonna SMITE you, Sam? Is God gonna discipline you personally for … for doing … for doing WHAT?

    Fly on the wall up in Heaven listening in:

    God muttering to Self: “Goddammit! Oh wait. I’m God. Then me-dammit! That’s better. Anyway. I really wanna reveal some important shit to Rusty, but that Sam Young is in the way! He has placed himself between me, Lord God Almighty, and my prophet, seer and revelator. I wonder how long I will have to wait for Sam to remove himself from blocking my access to the earthly leader of my Church. Umm. Wait a minute. Hold your tapirs, God! Not so fast! What’s really going on here? No. Wait, Sam is not “blocking” my access to the earthly leader of my Church. Sam is not blocking anything. I should be able to figure this out, after all, being omniscient and everything. Lemme see here … What is Sam actually doing down there? Ah, yes. Now I see more clearly. Sam is not blocking anything. In truth, What is happening is that Sam is FILLING the leadership VACUUM at Church Headquarters. That is what Elder Todd is complaining about. Sam has UPSTAGED Rusty! THAT is the problem! Church leaders do not appreciate it one bit when an ACTUAL LEADER shows up and … dare I, the Lord My God speak it … actually LEAD?”

    Anyway, Sam. Of course, you have their attention. And, of course, they are not amused one bit.

    And there’s this … that you wrote, Sam.

    “I really wish that we could all approach this like adults. If someone has a concern, wouldn’t the mature thing be to talk with me personally, rather than running to an already over-burdened bishop?”

    Point that at Elder Christofferson, Sam, and substitute stake president for bishop. Yes, as I started out here … the “mature” thing do to would be to communicate directly. Elder C demonstrated his (and The Brethren’s) stunning LACK of maturity in (not) dealing with you.

    Sam, permission to speak frankly?

    You do not fully realize how POWERFUL you are personally. You have trumped and checkmated the entire leadership of the Church. How did you do it? (Fasten your seatbelt for some Rocket Surgery here.) The source of your personal power is dirt simple.

    You speak truth.

    And not only do you speak truth, you shout truth, and from the rooftops, boldly and without fear or trepidation.

    On some level, The Brethren sense that they have been totally, completely and uiequivocally OUTCLASSED by Sam Young.

    Band-Aid? What an insult to the thousands (millions) who have been guilted and shamed and made to feel unworthy by the vicious and abusive mind-control tactics employed intentionally by the Mind Control Masters to keep the sheeple cowed and afraid … and easy to exploit.

    Band-Aid? What an insult. Not only an insult, but an egregious and stunningly disrespectful insult.

    Lemme suggest something to you, my dear friend. Please embrace and fully accept this fact:

    You are THE LEADER, Sam.

    People who appreciate true leadership are following YOU, not The Brethren.

    Regarding your testimonies at F&T recently? You are a gracious and respectful man, Sam. Just be who you are and accept that cockroaches do not appreciate light … and probably never will. Don’t turn your light down to keep the cockroaches comfortable. They know how to take care of themselves … hide from the light asap.

    When you are in possession of decent core values and genuine love for Life and all creation, as you are, Sam, you don’t have to remember anything except to just BE WHO YOUR ARE. That is where your leadership comes from. You have Self-Authority. You ARE authority. Real authority is truth and love. Nothing is more powerful than truth and love. We all have immediate access to all of the authority we will ever need or that even exists. The Brethren hope and pray this secret is not revealed or discovered.

    The Brethren have neither truth nor love. The only alleged authority they wield is whatever their mind-controlled, manipulated and exploted members hand over to them. They have none of their own.

    Just because I am in full control of my keyboard as we speak, I will revelate this:

    The Brethren cannot afford to … and will never … effectively embrace Protect LDS Children. If they stop the guilting and shaming, they will lose too much control of their food source. They will continue to make BS “improvements” intended as PR stunts to impress the impressionable, but no real change will happen from the top. The leadership to Protect LDS Children will always come from Sam and those good people who also love the children and do not see them as food.

    Continue to lead, Sam. You are the leader. Good people will follow. Bad people will accuse you of occluding the space between God and Rusty.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi Gary, it always takes me a tortuous few hours to write an article. I started this one right after I got home from the meeting, recording all the pertinent points. Then from 1am to 4am this morning, I wrangled with a publishable version. But all those hours are made worthwhile when a fun, hard-hitting and poignant message shows up from one of my best friends. Thank you for paying such fond attention and care to a normal human being who sometimes questions what the hell he’s doing. I’m not in that place at the moment. But YOU know I have been. I appreciate you being there to bouy up a friend who loves you.

      I’m going to tell you something that is both funny and touching. No one else will understand this. Even you might not. It’s bringing tears as I’m about to type it. At other times it brings a laugh. Here it is. Every time I watch a baseball game, and with the Astros doing so well that’s often these days, well….I think of you. I think of that first dark night we met. The vulnerable stories that you shared of your lived experience.

      Much love to you, Sam

      Like

      1. Hey, Sam!

        Thanks for your thoughtful disclosures from someone who seems to believe he is a normal human being?

        Headzup to Sam! You are far from normal … which is a high compliment in this case!

        Believe it or not, I was stumped there for a while about the baseball connection to my soap opera stories when we first met … riding along in your Buick. At first, trying to remember what I told you, I was only thinking about my experience with the LDS mental health professional … with no baseball connection. But then I thought of the baseball BAT at and connected the dot. Or at least I think I did. (Is that what you were connecting?) Fortunately for me, I don’t seem to have any residual PTSD surrounding round pieces of wood. I just make lemonade out of that whole scenario and happily declare that my 40 years of Relationship Aversion Therapy was a resounding success!

        I will be spending 5 days over July 4 attending a conference that’s about as polar opposite from LDS General Conference as you can get (with your clothes still on). This will be my 4th year attending this event. Check it out if you are curious. This is some of the cool stuff that’s available to exmo’s who decide to chart their own course and discover their own adventures.

        https://privateinvitationeceti.com/eceti-2018-conference/

        Where will you go?

        Well, thanks for asking. Next week I will go to ECETI Ranch a few miles south of Mt. Adams, Washington.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You are correct. The Bat. I don’t know what’s wrong with me my friend. Tears came again as I read your discovery of the connection.

        Enjoy the conference. Wow. You have exposed me to so many fascinating concepts.

        Like

  8. Wow Sam… Gary, who wrote the remarks just above mine is spot on. I cannot say enough about his second to last paragraph. From a very logical standpoint, it makes no sense whatsoever to NOT make a policy change with these interviews. It will be absolutely mind blowing to find out what the church does or does not do about these interviews being conducted one-on-one. A child is not likely to ask a parent to sit in on an interview for various reasons. Therefore, again, it’s left up to the parent to be aware enough of the situation to actively be part of the process. My observation is that too many parents are asleep… The fact that church policy is unlikely to change, has me teetering on the edge of removing my name. Remember when I said we, as a society, must stop “growing our own victims?” This is what I fear. As long as active members continue to have more children, headquarters does not need to worry about the number of people leaving the church. I’m heartsick because I know the mindset of an authoritarian regime (parent). They must be the one who controls the situation and have the idea to change things, no one else. Examples: It comes in the form of “revelation” for large things such as polygamy, blacks holding the Priesthood, and Utah achieving statehood. All of these, to the best of my knowledge, were a result of very high federal government pressure.

    Only true Christ-like servants of God would be humble enough to make righteous changes that are needed which do not come from federal government pressure. I place you in this category.

    I’m so grateful you are here to do what you are doing even if they don’t change the way the one-on-one interviews are done. You have brought it out into the light and the more people (parents) who become aware of it, the better. I’m behind you, and to the side of you 100% Sam. Never give up! You are respected far beyond what you can imagine!

    With much love and support,

    Jill Witbeck Young

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Sam,

    Forgive me for my ineptness if I come across as someone who you perceive as raining on your parade but I’m hoping that what I have to say will come across as helpful and not too critical.

    I’m a grandfather of 20 and the father of six and I can tell you that each of my active children and grandchildren are following your advice in that we all have another adult in our interviews. It gave the executive secretary in our stake some consternation when my wife and I did this for our latest Temple recommend interviews but I’m sure he will get over it. And we did all this without threatening the Church and its leaders.

    My goal in writing this is that I’m hoping to convince you that while your cause is just and more than worth fighting for, I’m not sure your strategy and tactics to this point have been as successful as they might have been. In my mind the enemy in this fight isn’t the Church and its leaders. If you think it is then you are sadly outnumbered and outgunned. I would argue that you will be far more effective at effecting change as a member of the Church than as a labelled apostate. If push comes to shove I’m afraid the cause of protecting the children will come out the looser if the Church decides to remove your membership.

    It would seem to me that all you have to do is change your organization from an adversarial model to a collaborative model. The vision I have is of an army of volunteers all dedicated to the cause of educating the members on their inalienable rights to accompany their children in all interviews. If there were one volunteer in each ward and branch of the Church who shared your goal and who was actively informing the members in their area of their rights and responsibilities then I suggest you would do more for the cause of protecting children then if you continue down the path you seem to be taking. Sorry if this next part sounds harsh but if you think that offering yourself and your membership as a sacrifice in the cause of protecting the children is the noble thing to do, then you’re sadly mistaken.

    If I have convinced you to change your mind and if you are interested in how this all might happen I would love to share some further thoughts on this matter.

    All the best,
    Bob Cooper

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Bob,
      What you and your kids are doing to protect your children gives me goose bumps. Good on you.

      Regarding the church and its leadership, I certainly don’t consider them enemies. I am speaking up to protect children. When we protect our kids, we will also make the Church better and stronger. I’m working to change a policy…not doctrine, not theology.

      It was the Church who called me apostate and threatened me with excommunication if I didn’t shut up, stop the march, stop the petition, stop speaking to the media, stop blogging Of course, I don’t want excommunication. But, I am willing to sacrifice my membership rather than sit on my thumbs and sit on the sidelines while our children are sill in grave danger. Without the petition, the media, the march the blog there would be very little awareness of the horrific problem we have.

      Now, I am always open to ideas, my friend. Yours sounds intriguing.

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment,

      -Sam

      Like

      1. Hi Sam,

        Sorry if I mischaracterized your actions as indicating that you think the Church is the enemy. My misunderstanding was based on what you said your local leaders did which led me to conclude that they perceive your advocacy as a threat and therefore I concluded that this was true. But my point is that even if you don’t think of the leaders as your enemy your actions would seen to indicate otherwise. But this is just my opinion and you know what they say about opinions.

        As far as your efforts this far I say kudos to you. You are far, far braver man than I Gunga Din. I believe that without your passion we as a Church would still be in the dark ages when it comes to interviews. However it is my perception, and it has been for some time, that instead of working for institutional change a more effective approach would be to direct your efforts at the members instead of the Church’s policies. And yes you are right that if the Church saw fit to make the changes you suggest than things would be significantly better. But it seems to me that you are placing too many of your eggs into one basket and I would hate to lose you and your passion at this point. And as I said before, I see you far more effective as a member than as a non-member. I would hate for the same thing that happened to Kate Kelly to happen here. The cause is much more significant and we need all hands on deck.

        Again I apologize for being so forthcoming. My wife says I need to work on this but I’m 70 years old and change is hard at my age. If you are interested in a more detailed dialogue I suggest we change the discussion to something more personal. If you email me I can send you my phone number and we can set a time to talk.

        All the best,
        Bob

        Liked by 1 person

      2. 70 years old….still a babe in the woods these days and only a slightly older babe than yours truly. No apology needed whatsoever, especially from someone only 70. Here’s my email: liberty-sam@msn.com

        Like

    2. Bob,

      Thank you for sharing your perspective on ProtectLDSChildren and including Sam’s strategies and tactics.

      I do have a question for you.

      With a second adult in the room (in addition to the bishop. etc.) when your kids and grandkids are interviewed, will they be interrogated about their personal sexual behaviors, including if they masturbate?

      What effect, if any, do you envision that having a second adult in the room will have on the interview questions asked?

      And, if you don’t mind sharing your opinion, I am curious about how you feel personally about your kids and grandkids being requested to report details of their private sexual behaviors to their bishop.

      Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Gary,

        Your first question is hard to answer. Who can predict what a Bishop or Stake President will ask? The Church is full of idiots, or if you prefer a softer term sheep, and I have experienced a lot of their idiocy over the years. What I can tell you is that having my wife in my Temple recommend interview this time shifted the power imbalance inherent in one on one interviews. Both the Bishop’s councillor and the member of the Stake Presidency were clearly uneasy with having her in the room. And their discomfort didn’t bother me in the least because they were the ones who said yes to the calling. If they can’t stand the heat then they need to stay out of the kitchen.

        Your second question is easier to answer. I find the whole process of scheduled interviews to determine personal worthiness reprehensible. As I recall it was Satan’s plan to force everyone to be good. Using social controls in this way is just one example of how rampant unrighteous dominion is in the Church today. But we shouldn’t be surprised given what Joseph said in D&C 129.

        As I suggested to Sam, you can’t fight city hall and expect to come out unscathed. In my mind I wouldn’t direct my energy at the Church leadership but instead I would create a grass roots organization whose sole purpose is to simply inform the members of the Church about their rights. Seeking change from the Brethren by advocacy is the wrong approach as Kate Kelly and others learned.

        All the best,
        Bob

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Bob,

        Thank you for taking time for a thoughtful reply.

        Very cool that you and your wife outgunned your Bishop … merely by both being present.

        You might consider the possibility that the core purpose of temples and temple recommend interviews is to maximize tithing revenue.

        At the end of the day (every day), The Brethren see (and treat) the membership as their food. Local leaders are not in on the gravy train (as they were in the olden days). Local leaders are unpaid administrators charged with maintaining the cash flow … through guilting and shaming too much of the time.

        LDS, Inc. is a Salvation-4-Sale vendor. Religion could be the most ingenious business model in human history. Your customers do not take delivery on your product until after they are dead and gone.

        Thanks for demonstrating that priesthood leaders do not actually have any more power than whatever you volunteer to hand over.

        Liked by 1 person

    3. Bob Cooper,Lesley here. I do not think you could possibly rain on Sam’s Parade. Sam was responding to personal revelation w.r his girls and grandchildren when he initiated the Petition. I personally believe that the Lord Himself is prompting this movement so that we can all benefit from it for our families. Sam with his enormous courage in the face of the evil with which he has had to contend, has made enormous strides in creating awareness among members of their stewardship regarding their children. This stewardship is usurped each and every time an adult person takes responsibility on himself to talk to our children. It is Sam Young’s petition which is making parents aware of his/her failure in handing responsibility to people devoid of ANY rights concerning our children. Actually in Elder Packer’s Book : “For The One” which was commissioned by the first Presidency at the time, there is a chapter entitled: “Bishop Help Me To Help My Son”.This surely meant that the patriarch of the Home is to be interviewing and helping his family. Taking this responsibilty from the parents may well have a lot more negative results than ever even contemplated.People thrive on having responsibility. We are all responsible for our own salvation and direct contact with the Lord God should have been encouraged. If you read no other comments on this blog, be sure to read those made by Gary.His remarks are absolutely spot on, his support and love and concern for Sam is unwavering and he is vey perceptive and truthful: he does not pull any punches.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Lesley,

        Sam needs more people like you in his corner. Thanks for your comments. As far as Gary is concerned please note my response to him.

        All the best,
        Bob

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m glad you felt so good about the meeting, Sam. Sounds like it was a step in the right direction. Based on their comments it is obvious that many here aren’t satisfied. I also don’t feel the leadership, neither at the stake/ward level, nor higher up have gone far enough. But with respect to you, this is much better than a threat of excommunication! So, I’m happy to celebrate it.

    It’s hard to know just what Elder C meant, especially as we’re getting it third or fourth hand, but my initial reaction was a different take. The arm I interpreted as the body of the church, and specifically you and other members who are concerned. The scratch is either the embarrassment to the church caused by PLDSC (if we are not being generous) or the hurt to children occasioned by 1-on-1 interviews (if we are more generous). The band-aid is doing something to address interview policy. Cutting off the arm would be excommunicating your or other protesters. I wondered if it was his way of saying that a “court of love” was not called for, that some common ground with PLDSC was possible. At any rate, that is my hope.

    As for the spirit of contention, your response was spot on. Of course, the scriptures on contention make an excellent point. But so do your rebuttal scriptures. Personally I agree with the poster who said those who ran to the bishop were the ones most guilty of contention. I would be interested to know if any of them were counseled against being contentious?

    The problem with accusing someone of contention, however, is that it is so subjective. Who is being contentious and who is being an ensign on a hill and a Captain Moroni is very much in the eye of the beholder. The only advice I have is to study our own hearts to see if they comport with D&C 121: 41-45. In other words, reprove with clarity and firmness when necessary, only when moved by love, not in anger, and show through-out (before as well as after) love, charity, and faithfulness.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Sam the “worthiness “interviews they give to kids conditions them as adults to allow another adult to intimately probe into another adults sexual privacy. It’s a major way to control members. So I can’t see them giving that power up, However that practice is a major lawsuit risk if done to minors so Church leaders have painted them in a corner once again. Instead of taking responsibility, they are choosing to shoot the messenger-you. What. Bunch . Of . Cowards. No matter what happens you will come out better than them. Peace!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Sam,

    You are doing such a great thing in helping to protect LDS children and protect the church leaders too. I am an active member. I completely agree that one on one interviews with children and allowing sexual discussions is a dangerous practice and must stop. Speaking this truth is not contentious and should not be viewed as contentious. Thanks for all you do.

    Doug

    Liked by 1 person

  13. This story sounds right out of the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John? It’s so easy for members AND leaders to cherry pick scriptures to indicate what they want the Gospel (“Good News”) to tell you For Them (“Shut up and obey Us!”?). Leaders quite frequently call this Smorgasboarding the gospel. Is it different when leaders smorgasboard for us Christ’s truths which we can and can’t consume?

    The real Christ taught all to question, correct errors, repent (yes, leaders especially – importance and pride are no excuse, He said) and to seek truth to set you free from bondage. He condemned (serious contention…) those Leaders (not members…) who bullied others into obeying and not questioning them, and He clearly told us HOW to identify them and not follow them, and Why: Matt 7:15-23 & Matt 23: 10-29
    Cherry-picking His words?
    Samrogasbording His truths?

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Shoot! I did this whole response and it didn’t post.

    1. Your testimonies were super annoying. You weren’t focused on Jesus and you were pushing your own agenda. There’s a way to say what you want without being so smug and self-righteous.

    2. Yes, I’m a TBM BUT I’ve also been sold for sex as a little girl and all growing up by my family. I know how important protecting children is. However, my priesthood interviews with church leaders throughout my teens were my LIFELINE! I felt the Savior’s love so strongly in there. I finally received a HEALTHY dose of love and concern from a man. It would have blessed my life if I could have had them every week. The bishop was the only person I told a tiny bit about how crazy my house was until I was married. When Elder C. says “Don’t cut the whole arm off” it’s because he knows priesthood interviews have a place in the church.

    3. If you want to not be chastised by Elder C. and still speak the truth (which he values, and Jesus values), you can continue gathering and sharing these stories without demanding the prophet to do what YOU think is best (getting rid of the interviews). You can do everything the same (sans smug testimonies) but take away that demand, and then you won’t alienate other members from supporting your cause. Would it then alienate exmos? I don’t know. But I believe the statement is powerful enough by itself “Protect the kids” without having to demand “get rid of the interviews” to continue as a movement.

    4. I died when I was three and talked to Jesus about staying in the spirit world with him. He asked if I’d come back to earth so I could help people find him who’d been through the same experiences I’ve had. I chose to come back (obviously) even though I did NOT want to. My point in saying that is I know how vested Jesus and our heavenly Parents are about protecting the children.

    5. In a different post, you said that if Jesus could hang with the prostitutes, then you could hang with a guy who was your ideological opposite. As one who was prostituted, I find this idea very rude. Very few prostitutes go into the career thinking, “I like sex AND I highly value my worth as a human being, I’ll become a prostitute!” Their careers don’t make them worthless and not worthy to hang out with or less than. I know it can be “funny” to joke about, but on a “empowering victims” page, it doesn’t have a place.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Also, in regards to your giving up your demand to get rid of all priesthood worthiness interviews, if you truly believe that Jesus lives and heads this church, it would show an enormous amount of faith in Jesus and his system by focusing on spotlighting the issue and making sure the spotlight is seen by the appropriate people (which you’ve done). I feel as though you are trying to strongarm everything, which automatically puts the people you want to hear you on the defensive. If you are on Jesus’ team, then you are on the SAME team and they might hear you more willingly if you do it the Savior’s way—with love and long-suffering and speaking the truth. Just a thought. I like how Sistas in Zion further their own cause by sharing their stories and insights. They are the least smug and self righteous people YET got the 40th celebration of the priesthood accomplished because they intend to work with the system rather than against it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Do it Jesus’ way? Yes indeed! How did Jesus deal with Satan or the Pharisees (Saint’n) and child abusers? Directly – stop the abuse now, and warn of the most serious consequences per His example. Follow Him, not the leader not following Him? More Jesus, please (leaders too – no Super VIP Free Passes from Jesus). Matt 7: 15-23 Matt 23: 10-29 Matt 18: 21-22 D&C 46: 4-8 and too many more to count. Cast Saint’n out, don’t let him rule and reign while we turn the other cheek to Saint’n.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. These interviews can enable evil doings but also do a tremendous amount of good. Various of my friends (who have also been sexually abused) spoke of the good it did in their lives’ as teens, even when they came from good families, it was nice to have someone to speak with. And meeting with bishops’ did not enable us to be abused. How do you who want the interviews to be thrown out respond to the good that interviews do in teens’ lives? And I remember my baptismal interview when I was 8. I came out of the bishop’s office GLOWING. My baptism day was terrible because I felt worthless and dark from the things I’d been through, but the Lord took the opportunity to bless me with a witness of His love for me by that interview.

    I’ve had other poor interactions with bishops where I come out distraught but the good far outweighs the bad for me in terms of Bishop interviews.

    Like

    1. Hi Not Crazy,

      I am so glad that you and others had positive interviews. Our movement doesn’t call for the elimination of interviews. We want to get rid of the dangerous and damaging elements. Make them safe for all. Make them uplifting and beautiful for all. All the good can be maintained by forbidding one-on-one, behind closed doors and halting any sexually explicit questions. Let’ spread your experience far and wide across the church.

      Like

  17. Sam,

    When Jesus Christ took to task the wicked Jewish Leaders of his time, he did so because He had the authority to do so. They were representing a church that He had established and He wasn’t happy with how they were representing it. Why didn’t He come down beforehand and wipe them out? I am sure there were lots of members of the church that could see what was happening and didn’t agree with the teachings and hypocrisy of many of those leaders, but they were in no position to do anything about it — only Jesus Christ had the authority to do something about it. Why did he wait so long to do anything about it? These are good questions to consider.

    I believe our prophet, his counsellors, and the other general authorities are good leaders. I have never sensed any wickedness in them. They are not perfect and they admit that. When you have good leaders, they listen to the concerns of their flock and work on solutions in conjunction with the Lord. Sometimes those solutions take time to put into place as they consider and talk about the pros and cons. Sometimes they know things that we don’t know; see things that we don’t see, and even receive instructions from the Lord that we may not totally agree with. Perhaps the good things — the changes that have come into the lives of those who have found themselves weighed down with sin and addiction as they have reached out to church leaders (Bishops and Stake Presidents) and have found healing — far outweighs the harm that some of these interviews have done. There are no perfect solutions because we live in an imperfect world with imperfect people.

    We cannot assume that just because something of concern isn’t changed immediately or in the way we want, that there hasn’t been discussion, or that our leaders don’t consider the issue important or of great concern. There is danger in making assumptions. Sometimes pride leads us to believe that we are equal to the Lord and can do what He does, but we haven’t been given any authority to override the Lord’s appointed Leaders. The best we can do is bring up concerns, leave them in the hands of our leaders and leave judgment up to the Lord if indeed they have been neglectful.

    The Lord leads his church. He chooses His leaders. I have been in positions where I believed I knew better and have been tempted to take matters into my own hands. I am glad that I didn’t. Time has taught me that I don’t know everything. Time has taught me that the Lord is in charge. Time has shown me that if and when there needs to be a course correction it does happen, maybe not as quickly as I want it to, but it does happen. I have faith in the Lord’s timetable.

    Ultimately, I leave the Lord’s church in His hands. My mission is to discover and understand truth and make changes in my own life. My mission is to be an example (not a judge) in my marriage and in my family relationships. My mission is to declare the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those who are willing to hear and embrace it in the world. My mission is to work in the world to help create positive change based on Christ-like virtues and principles. There is so much for me to do and I am free to do it because I have freed myself from being responsible for the actions of others.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Beth,

      I just read your thoughtful post in counterpoint to Sam’s initiative to personally drive change after waiting a few years for The Brethren to fix the problem. You did not mention in your post that Sam has already given The Brethren more than a few very reasonable opportunities to DO SOMETHING. They responded each time by doing essentially nothing – beyond some toothless PR “announcements” that continue to expose LDS children to sexual shaming behind closed doors.

      I am writing here to encourage you to follow your own counsel, Beth. You wrote:

      “My mission is to discover and understand truth and make changes in my own life. My mission is to be an example (not a judge) in my marriage and in my family relationships. My mission is to declare the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those who are willing to hear and embrace it in the world. My mission is to work in the world to help create positive change based on Christ-like virtues and principles. There is so much for me to do and I am free to do it because I have freed myself from being responsible for the actions of others.”

      Sam embodies those same wonderful core values, Beth.

      The problem is The Brethren. Their behavior is to ignore Jesus and judge the shit out of everyone and everything. Do you see that? How is the intentional guilting and shaming of innocent children a Christ-like virtue and principle?

      Sam is attempting to teach the core principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to … to whom, Beth?

      To The Brethren … who clearly demonstrate BY THEIR BEHAVIOR that judging and shaming is the way they like to do business …. unless or until someone like Sam Young rubs their nose in their own poop.

      Sorry for the four-letter words, but it gets the point across very effectively with no room for doubt.

      Beth … seriously … would YOU corner LDS kids in a closed-door office and ask them to tell you what goes on in their underpants? WOULD YOU ASK A CHILD THOSE QUESTIONS?

      My bet is that you would rather eat broken glass than shame and embarrass an innocent kid like that.

      But it is OK with you for someone else who puts on a JESUS HAT to ask those questions?

      I request that you un-pretzel your brain and make a serious effort to think clearly about this, Beth. You are mindlessly connecting dots between The Brethren and Jesus Christ because you were likely taught from babyhood that Jesus and The Brethren are virtually the same thing.

      Blessed are the little children, and let them come unto me. I will ask them if they touch themselves down there, and make them stop taking the sacrament if their two little hands were not always folded snuggly and tight.

      Beth, please ask yourself if you are violating your own core values by supporting The Brethren’s continued guilting and shaming of LDS children (and adults).

      And … I presume that YOUR BISHOP knows what goes on in YOUR UNDERPANTS. Am I right about that?

      Like

  18. Some of those good interviews that have helped people to repent and be healed only worked because they were private. I am a person that benefited from this. If it hadn’t been private to begin with, I don’t know if I could have unburdened myself. Some people are so ashamed of their actions that they don’t want windows in doors where others can observe their tears. Some don’t even want to meet at the church. There is a whole other side to this discussion.
    I don’t believe that the church has ever endorsed sexually explicit questions. It is leaders who feel they need to change the questions that are the problem and they have been challenged about this on many occasions. The church cannot control individuals. They can teach, advise, and counsel, but they can’t control. They also can’t police constantly.
    I know of one Stake President who decided to add questions to the Temple Recommend Questions. He decided that you wouldn’t get a Temple Recommend if you weren’t holding Family Home Evening on a regular basis. He believed that FHE was important and that there would be fewer problems if FHE was held regularly. I agree that holding FHE would go a long way in helping the members be strengthened and avoid sin, but I don’t agree that adding it as a requirement for temple attendance is the right way to go. There are a million issues that could be raised. A million issues could be argued as needful in protecting the membership. We can’t all go off on our own high-horses demanding change.
    One comment made was that the Bishops and Stake Presidents are over-burdened and that the church membership needs direct access to the Prophet and his apostles. Sorry, but they are the ones that are over-burdened. If that were to happen, they would never get anything done. That is the lesson we learn from Moses when he was overburdened listening to the people.
    I believe that you, Sam, are a good person who loves people, particularly children. I believe you make a very good point. I believe you have brought this to the attention of those who need to know. I also believe that your point has been heard and that changes have been made. I do not believe that pushing the matter further to the point of excommunication would be helpful.
    I personally believe that parents have an obligation to teach their children and talk about sexuality with them. It is more important now that it has ever been as the incorrect use of our procreative powers is being taught all around us. I believe that parents need to arm their children, teach them the truth, teach them how to stand up for themselves as best they can. Do all parents do this? NO. Do all parents treat their children with sensitivity and respect? NO. This is a complicated issue, and although we may believe that there are easy solutions, there aren’t.
    There are a lot of angry comments being made. Anger is a powerful emotion. It can lead us to righteous action in creating change. But, it can also lead us to go beyond what is needful. It can also cause contention and strife to the point that the Spirit cannot be heard. Anger can also cause us to puff ourselves up and not hear truth; only hearing words and not the meaning behind them.
    I don’t believe Elder Christofferson was threatening you. Warnings are not always threats. Was he referring to what they would do to you, or what you would do to yourself?

    Like

    1. Dear Beth,

      You are clearly a compassionate and intelligent woman. That comes across in spades in your eloquent posts here.

      I will just suggest that the world is seldom black and white. You mention that Bishops can provide much needed pastoral counseling at times when members need someone to confide in. When that happens, it can be a wonderful thing … both for the members and for the priesthood leader.

      So … how does the fact that BIshops can be helpful at times … also make it OK for them to engage in pornographic interrogations with children?

      You mentioned that some Bishops and Stake Presidents are loose cannons making up their own TR questions. Well, nothing is stopping The Brethren from correlating the behavior of Bishops and Stake Presidents to prevent them from shaming children about masturbation, for example.

      The Brethren carefully control everything they WANT to control carefully … down to what can be taught in a Sunday School class. If The Brethren WANTED to stop local priesthood leaders from shaming children during worthiness interviews, they could do it right now by writing Sam’s TEN WORDS in a letter to local leaders.

      They could do that, but they have not, and it looks like they will never.

      Why, Beth, are you so willing to cut The Brethren SO MUCH SLACK by thinking they have done something already to protect the kids? If they are who they claim to be, The Brethren shoud be held to the HIGHEST STANDARD of behavior on Planet Earth. If The Brethren are who they claim to be, LDS kids would not be committing suicide because of what they learned in Church.

      Like

  19. Sam Young you are doing a great work. Thank you very much for shining the spotlight on what is going on in the LDS church behind closed doors. There is a book called “Paperdolls, Healing form Sexual Abuse In Mormon Neighborhoods.” In this book it states on pages 55, 87 and 145 that a daughter of one of the Twelve Apostles and her husband who was in the bishopric were involved in the abuse and video taping of the abuse of the children in their ward and neighborhood.
    Ronald Meldon Karren, a seven generation Mormon, put up a Youtube video titled ‘LDS Utah Child Molestation Cover Up’ It is about his father-in-law Elder Lynn A. Mickelsen (Ouorum of the 70). Ronald Karren states that Elder Mickelsen sexually abused his Karren’s 6 year old daughter and another 6 year old girl as well. Mr. Karren sent certified letters to all of the twelve apostles with the information. The twelve stood by Elder Mickelsen. Mr.Karren (who had his name removed from the records of the church) states that he was contacted by a group of LDS psychiatrists who heard about his case. These psychiatrists met with him and said that they were treating child molestation victims of LDS general authorities and they named two apostles as perpetrators. Ronald M. Karren stated that he recorded the meeting with the psychiatrists. There is a document “Ritual Crime in the State of Utah” It is about the infiltration of the Occult into the LDS church which came to a head in 1991. The Utah Attorney General’s office joined with the Presiding Bishopric to perform an internal investigation of this infiltration. Elder Glenn L. Pace who was the presiding bishop at the time was involved in the investigation, He wrote a 12 page Memorandum to the Strengthening Church Members Committee on July 19th 1990.
    Deborah J. Diener compiled a list of documented child sexual abuse. It is 316 pages long. They are all documented cases. The title is “Instances of Child Sexual Abuse Allegedly Perpetrated by Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-Saints.” It is a history from 1959 — 2017.
    Deborah gives these statistics: Child predators on average will abuse 175 children in their lifetime. Researchers at Harvard determined that “there is no cure for pedophilia.” therefore the focus should be on protecting our children. A child predator will abuse 50 — 75 children before he is caught, but only 3% of predators are apprehended. According to experts, 86% of child sexual abuse is never reported. I believe that Deborah was sexually abused and was shocked to find that sexual abuse in the LDS church is not a rare occurrence but instead is a huge problem..
    A woman by the name of McKenna Denson was sexually assaulted by the MTC mission president Joseph Bishop. The church was very much aware of Bishop’s sexual improprieties. He had confessed to Church general authority Elder Robert E. Wells. Knowing of Bishop’s sexual sins the Church still promoted him into positions of authority. If the Church did this with Bishop it must be concluded that the Church has done it with others. How about the two members of the twelve apostles that Ronald Meldon Karren refers to? How about in the book Paperdolls where the writers claim that a daughter of one of the twelve apostles and her husband were sexual abusers. Paperdolls was published in 1992.
    We have the personal stories that are on Sam Young’s website, we have 316 pages of documented incidents of sexual abuse put out by Deborah J. Diener, I strongly suspect that this is just the tip of the ice burg.
    How has it happened that we parents have been lead to believe that leaders of any organization, especially a church, have the right to interview our children at all. It is the parents responsibility to raise the children not the church. How is it that we have lost sight of this. This power belongs to the parents and we must take it back, we must not ask permission of the perpetrators!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. At some stage I read this story as told by the grandmother…she named the “apostle” mentioned in this story… this information, although one need not be surprised by anything at this moment, is enough to compel even the most ardent of TBMs to remark “Enough” (Satis), and to redirect his/her entire life.

      Liked by 1 person

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