Excommunication Appeal Inquiry

Appeal Cartoon

Today, I sent this email to the stake president and executive secretary.

Hi President __________ & Brother____________,

It’s been 2 weeks since I submitted the appeal to my excommunication.  I realize that none of us have much experience with this.  But, do you have any idea of when I could expect a response from the First Presidency?

Whatever verdict is ultimately rendered, I want to assure you that I hold you both in love and high esteem.

Kind regards,

Sam Young

Related Links

Original Notification of Disciplinary Council

My Tribunal Defense

Excommunication Verdict

Excommunication Appeal

Subpoena to be Issued

Police Sugar Land

Recently, a death threat was issued against me and supporters of the cause to Protect LDS Children.  I took this seriously and filed a report to the police on October 9.  According to them, this kind of threat is illegal.

Today, I received a call from the detective entrusted with the case.  He informed me that a subpoena is being issued to positively identify the source of the threat.  I had previously provided the police with the email and IP address that are associated with the threatening message.

Many people have spoken publicly in support of Protect LDS Children.  Some have expressed concerns about also being a target of this threat.  I hope this reassures you that action is being taken.

It’s so interesting to look back on the summer of 2017.  I was starting to comprehend what happens behind closed bishop doors in the LDS Church.   I was so naive.  Things appeared so obviously egregious to me.  I assumed that once local awareness was raised that everyone would call for an immediate change to the policy.  Wow…was I ever wrong.

A year and a half has transpired.  The church has excommunicated me.  One member has threatened harm to me….and my family….and my business.  Another member has threatened to “personally kill” me.

And guess what.  Mormon children are still being taken behind closed doors and probed with sexual questions.

 

 

Do you know what a ‘C’ is and what it’s for?

Couple Shocked

Protect LDS Children is a movement with two purposes regarding the the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

  1. To advocate for changes that will improve the safety of Mormon children.
  2. To cultivate healing for thousands of adults who were harmed as Mormon children.

This post is out of the scope of our movement.  However, it has a direct correlation.

**TRIGGER WARNING**

**EXPLICIT CONTENT FOLLOWS**

If you don’t want to be exposed to the graphic sexual discussions that are permitted behind the closed doors of Mormon leaders, STOP READING NOW!!!

I want to thank Josh for being willing to share his story.  It’s raw & vulnerable.  A story like this takes fortitude to lay in out in the public square.  His courage will start discussions and help people set appropriate boundaries.  The multitudes who have had similar experiences can rest assured that they are not alone.

Josh’s Story

When I got back from my mission, I returned to BYU Idaho to attend school. I had, since before my mission, always maintained the law of chastity to the degree the Mormon Church expected.

I served an honorable mission. But as is programmed into every sentient being in the world, your body develops, including your urges that are healthy and necessary for sexual development. Needless to say my girlfriend at the time and I engaged in intimate relations, and upon finding out, my bishop at BYUi kicked me out of school.

Shamed by my home ward, parents, and friends, I exiled myself to Utah. I met frequently with various bishops to “repent” for my “sins” to try and become worthy again. I bounced around wards for a bit until ultimately moving in with a good friend and mission companion down in Provo UT, at BYU.

I attended a student ward and met weekly with a very understanding bishop, Bishop Hunt. He counseled me in my “struggles”, and helped me through the repentance process. Sadly however he was released, and a new bishop (who shall remain nameless) was called. He was kind enough, but the questions he asked in my interviews in trying to understand where I left off with my previous bishop were very troubling.

I will proceed with a few of the questions that I remember him asking, such as:

  • When you are around your current girlfriend, do you get erections when you’re with her?
  • Do you have the urge to do more than kiss?
  • Do you have the desire to be naked with her?
  • Have you masturbated to the thought of past things you have done with previous girlfriends or your current girlfriend?

WAAAYYY to probing.  I would respond with true answers, but I always felt uncomfortable recounting things to him. These interviews and questions continued all the way up until I stopped dating my current girlfriend at the time. A few months went by and I broke up with my girlfriend at the time.

Later that year, I started to date my now current wife. We set clear boundaries as to not harm our relationship. We remained clean (to Mormon standards) and I was soon worthy and allowed to enter the temple. In my ward it was tradition for the bishop to conduct an “exit interview” for a person getting married and moving out of the ward. When it came time for my exit interview and last meeting with the bishop, he asked that I bring my fiance in.

We chatted a bit about the wedding. Afterwards he asked my fiance to leave the room. She did, and he looked at me and asked, “OK, are you ready?” Hesitant at the way he was asking, I timidly said yes.

The FIRST QUESTION he asked, and I kid you not: “Do you know what a clitoris is?

I was shocked. Why in gods name would a bishop need to ask me that? “Yes, I replied.” “OK good. Do you know what it’s for?” Again, I answered yes.

He then delved into female anatomy and how the clitoris was needed for pleasure. He went on to say that girls aren’t like boys and that they need to get warmed up. He encouraged oral sex, hand stimulation, and encouraged trying different positions.

He then spoke how fond he was of sex and being intimate with his wife. How it was his favorite thing to do, because god made us that way. He encouraged me to make my wife climax multiple times, and to NOT finish until she had come.  Mortified, I “thanked him” and left.

He then asked my fiance in.  To my horror, she came out looking like a deer in the headlights. We thanked the bishop and left.

I asked her in the car, “What did he talk to you about?” She told me all the things he said. He had asked her the SAME questions! Urging her to stimulate me, to make sure I serviced her and not just think about myself. We laughed it off about how “weird” it was. We have since told a few of our friends the story and about “isn’t it funny how he did that?”

But now with my current exit from the LDS church and seeing the church for what it really is, I am mortified that my innocent and ignorant wife would have to sit and be grilled about such explicit topics with some furniture salesman. He should NOT have asked any of those questions. His justification was that most LDS kids didn’t know about those things and it was his duty to inform us so it wasn’t a shock come wedding night. Any other setting and he would have been reported to the authorities for sexual misconduct. I am not OK with that.

My Notes

You are not OK with that?  Good for you, my friend.  You are not alone.  I have heard countless adults recount being asked intrusive questions by bishops and stake presidents.

What is wrong with the Mormon Church!  So many gross traditions.  The leaders have ZERO BOUNDARIES mandated by the church.  Any pornographic question is allowed.  Any explicit discussion is sanctioned.  And all this with NO ACCOUNTABILITY to the members.

Dear members of the Church, you are better than this.  You deserve better than this.  Don’t tolerate inappropriate crap behind closed doors.  As an adult, you have the wherewithal to stand up for yourself.

Record

In the case of children, I am not going to suggest that they record bishop interviews.  They are children.

As for adults, that’s a different story.  At this point, you might want to consider recording your worthiness interviews.  These insidious discussions will stop once the Church realizes that hiding their perverse practices behind closed doors won’t work any longer.  Before you record, check the laws in your state.

Bishops and stake presidents, pay attention to what you are talking about in your interviews.  People are going to start recording.  You may be conducting your meetings properly.  But, many of your peers are not.  Up to this point, the Mormon Church has been unwilling to set any meaningful boundaries.  As a result, your peers are taking unseemly liberties.

BTW, the heads up that I’m giving to priesthood leaders was recently echoes during a stake training session in north Houston.  These instructions were given: Conduct interviews under the assumption that they are being recorded.

Excommunication Appeal

March sign keep me safe

Today, I appealed my excommunication from the Mormon Church. 

Dear President Nelson, President Oaks and President Eyring,

As you should know by now, the president of the Houston Texas South Stake recently called a disciplinary council to consider the status of my membership.  On September 12, the verdict of excommunication was delivered.

The purpose of this letter is to present my appeal.

First, my stake president.  He’s a good man, a friend.  An important reason for my appeal is in consideration of my stake president’s welfare.  If I don’t appeal, he will go down in history as the man who excommunicated the bishop who stood up to protect children.  The verdict was made by him and only by him.  Eventually, our interview policies will change.   In the interim, when cases come forward of abuse, suicide and other serious consequences resulting from our dangerous protocol, my sensitive stake president could very well take it hard.  He may hold himself accountable for abuse happening all around the world.  That’s not fair.  But the way it stands, he is all alone in responsibility for the excommunication.

With this appeal, you the First Presidency, will remove a huge burden from his shoulders.  Whatever your decision, ownership of the verdict will be transferred to you.  Whatever the consequences, they will be on your heads, not his.

Two charges were leveled against me.

  1. Encouraged others to vote opposed to Church leaders.

I have made a temple covenant to obey the law of God.  Part of that law is the law of common consent.  To me common consent is one of the most gorgeous principles of the latter-day restoration.  You should know it well.  Let me recap.

The Doctrine and Covenants contain the foundational revelations contingent with the restoration.  Common Consent is referenced several times in very plain language.  Here’s one.

D&C 28:13 states, “For all things must be done in order, and by common consent in the church.”

This law is also taught in the Bible and the Book of Mormon.

Common consent is further elucidated by this doctrinal statement found on lds.org:

“Not only are Church officers sustained by common consent, but this same principle operates for policies, major decisions, acceptance of new scripture, and other things that affect the lives of the Saints (see D&C 26:2).”

Under sworn oath to the United States Congress, President Joseph F. Smith explained how common consent is supposed to work in the church.  Following is an excerpt of President Smith’s testimony as he is questioned by members of the Committee on Privileges and Elections.  The Mr. Smith referenced below is President Joseph F. Smith, head of the Mormon Church at the time.

Mr TAYLER:  What is the method in which a revelation is received and becomes binding upon the people?

Mr SMITH:  I will say this, Mr. Chairman, that no revelation given through the head of the church ever becomes binding and authoritative upon the members of the church until it has been presented to the church and accepted by them. (Note: the interview policies of our youth have never been presented to the church nor accepted by them.)

Mr WORTHINGTON:  What do you mean by being presented to the church?

Mr SMITH:  Presented in conference.

Mr TAYLER:  Do you mean by that that the church in conference may say to you “We deny that God has told you to tell us this?”

Mr SMITH:  Yes, sir, they can.  And it is not binding upon them as members of the church until they accept it.

Senator OVERMAN:  Does it require a majority to accept or must it be the unanimous voice?

Mr SMITH:  A majority.

Mr TAYLER:  Then if you had a revelation and presented it to your people, all who did not accept it would thereby be unchurched?

Mr SMITH:  Not necessarily.  Our people are given the largest possible latitude for their convictions, and if a man rejects a message that I may give to him but is still moral and believes in the main principles of the gospel and desires to continue in his membership in the church, he is permitted to remain and he is not unchurched.  It is only those who on rejecting a revelation rebel against the church and withdraw from the church at their own volition. (Note:  I am still moral and believe in the main principles of the gospel.  I have not withdrawn from the church on my own volition.)

Mr SMITH:  I should like to say to the honorable gentlemen that the members of the Mormon Church are among the freest and most independent people of all the Christian denominations.  They are not all united on every principle.  Every man is entitled to his own opinion and his own views and his own conceptions of right and wrong so long as they do not come in conflict with the standard principles of the church.  (Note:  I love the statement that Mormons are among the freest of Christian denominations.  Excommunicating me sends a strong message that our Church is among the most repressive of Christian denominations.  I do not come in conflict with the standard principles of the church.  I stand as a witness in support of our core principles.  However, I do stand as a witness against a policy.  One that is damaging our children.  And a policy that has never been presented to the church in the approval process that President Smith is defending to the United States Congress)

If a man assumes to deny God and to become an infidel we withdraw fellowship from him.  If a man commits adultery we withdraw fellowship from him.  If men steal or lie or bear false witness against their neighbors or violate the cardinal principles of the Gospel, we withdraw our fellowship.  The church withdraws its fellowship from that man and he ceases to be a member of the church.  But so long as a man or a woman is honest and virtuous and believes in God and has a little faith in the church organization, we nurture and aid that person to continue faithfully as a member of the church, though he may not believe all that is revealed.  (Note: According to a prophet’s sworn testimony, I do not qualify for excommunication.)

This ends the quotes I’ll share from President Joseph F. Smith.

According to the law of common consent, members of the Church of Jesus Christ have the right and privilege to vote as their conscience dictates without punishment.  Nowhere are we constrained from free speech.  In order to exercise true consent, discussion should be encouraged and fostered.  Including, making suggestions and recommendations to other members.

The charge that I’ve encouraged others to vote opposed to Church leaders is nonsensical on its face.

  • In 1978 when the lifting of the racial ban was presented for a vote, what types of discussion were allowed? Was it ok for a member to encourage others to vote in approval?  If so, was it also ok for someone opposed to voice their opinion and encourage others to vote in disapproval?  Common consent is a farce if those who are voting can only discuss and make suggestions when they agree with what is being presented.  Otherwise it’s a dictatorial system that flies in the face of the beauty of Christ’s injunction that all things MUST be done by common consent.
  • Encouraged others to vote opposed to Church leaders? My encouragement has been for people to vote how they feel.  If they approve…vote to sustain.  If they disapprove…vote to oppose.  My recommendation for members is to embrace common consent.  I encourage all to live up to their temple covenant of obeying the law of God, which includes the law of common consent.
  1. Organized more than one public “action” that expressed opposition to the Church or its leaders.

This charge represents an uninformed interpretation.  I have never organized actions to express opposition to the Church or its leaders.  This is ridiculous.  Every event was organized to express opposition to a POLICY.  Not to a doctrine.  Not to core principles.  Not to our theology.  I am not opposed to the church.  Likewise I am not opposed to its leaders.  In fact, I’m the biggest supporter of my Church that I know.

If you care about something you fight for it.  If you love something you don’t tolerate what might destroy it.  You are passionate to nurture and make it better.  I don’t know of anyone who is fighting for our Church with more vigor than I am.

On the other hand, if I didn’t care, I’d ignore the Church’s deadly flaws.  I’d turn a blind eye to its faults.  Or I would simply desert it and walk away.  By my actions, it should be plainly evident that am speaking up FOR my church and not against it.

At the council, for 15 minutes the stake president presented his evidence against me.  Most of it was taken from my blog publications.  Much was taken out of context.  I believe that I’ve more than adequately addressed the evidence against me by addressing the two charges above.

However, there was one citation from the Deseret News that was presented as evidence.  Tad Walsh wrote that I was encouraging members to leave the church.  That’s a lie.  Tad either made-up the quote out of whole cloth or he misheard.  Nowhere have I told people that they should leave the church.  You won’t find it quoted by any other news outlets.  It’s not on my blog.  Nor can it be found in any of the multitude of videos that I’ve published.

Let’s work together to make our Church better, especially for our children.  I firmly believe that you have already received the revelation to eliminate one-on-one interviews and sexual questions to our children and youth.  Several factors point in that direction.

For example, on July 27th, I received a phone call from Gifford Nielson, a member of the 1st Quorum of the Seventy.  My 23 day fast had a planned start time of 7pm that evening.  He called me early in the afternoon.  Giff is a good friend and we had a great chat that lasted about 1 ½ hours.  The main thrust of his call was to find a way to avert the hunger strike.  We were not able to find an accommodation that was agreeable to both of us.  His final offer was this, “Sam, if the apostles provided you with a letter stating that they are working on making changes, would you call off your action?”

I can’t see Giff being dishonest or disingenuous.  He would have only offered a letter stating changes were being worked on if in fact they were really being worked on.  I listened to every talk during the 8 hours of last Sunday’s General Conference.  My hopes were high that the changes to which Elder Nielsen had alluded would be included in the major announcements all of us were anticipating.

My encouragement to you, dear First Presidency, is to release the changes now.  Don’t wait until April’s conference to offer our children the full protections that they deserve.

This conference was historic.  The change to a 2 hour schedule has been received with relish.  When you announce God’s new protections for children, it will be received with much more than relish.  You will go down in history as wise and beloved leaders.  Members, bishoprics and children will embrace the new policies without reservation.  They will rejoice.  Those outside the Church will be impressed.  They will witness the Church of Jesus Christ proactively putting on a strong protective mantle over our little ones.

Contrast this to what happens if you allow this excommunication to stand.  The Church and its leaders will be viewed with revulsion by many outside the church.   People will not respond well when they discover how we treat our children and what we do to members who speak up to protect them.

Do the right thing.  Be on the right side of history.  Reverse this excommunication.

Warm regards,

Sam Young

Death Threat goes to the Police

Police Case

Last night I received this lovely message:

“I promise you, Sam Young, if you ever attempt to destroy a family or pass legislature to destroy a family because the parents are teaching true doctrine to their kids and raising them in the fear of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I will personally kill you. I will also personally kill anyone who attempts to destroy my family and will always teach my kids that acting on LGBTQ+ temptations is a sin, and punish it accordingly. I would come out 100% victorious too, you can count on that. However, being LGBTQ+ is not a sin. Thus, consider yourself warned. This warning goes for everyone else too.” —Mike Forella

I take this threat seriously, both regarding me and others who are associated with Protect LDS Children.  The perpetrator has cast his threatening net far and wide.

This morning a visit was paid to the Sugar Land Police.   I reported the threat, described our cause and reviewed the blog post that evoked the words, “I will personally kill you.”  I also turned over the menacing man’s email and IP addresses.   Of course, I realize that the name and email could be fake.

The officer had an interesting question for me:  “Your cause is just.  However, by speaking publicly you are going to get negative push-back.  Can you pursue your cause without being out in the open?”

Well….that train has already left the station.

The case will now be sent to the investigating officers.  An update should be available in a week or so.

This is the first death threat I’ve received.  But, not the first criminal threat.  Last February, threats were made against my family, my business and against my person.  All were reported to the police.  Ultimately, the authorities didn’t have enough information to track down the menace.  Hopefully, this time they will.

I don’t believe we should allow threats of violence to be made with impunity.  Otherwise, they will proliferate.

Here are the articles that chronicle the previous incidents.

The Church threatens, member follows with mal-intent

Terroristic Threat

The terroristic threats may be coming from my own church 

My employees feel the threat

 

The Hero–Jim Dabakis

Jim Dabakis

During the first session of the October 2018 General Conference of the Mormon Church, President Dallin H. Oaks delivered a very troubling speech.

In response, Oaks was called out by a sitting Utah state senator–Jim Dabakis.  Finally, the irresponsible words of Mormon leaders are being condemned in the political arena.  The groundbreaking courage of Senator Dabakis is highly admirable.

I echo his bold sentiment:

To all LGBTQ youth in Utah and EVERYWHERE else,

You are precious.  You are as normal as I am, a 65 year old straight man.  I see you.  I hear you.  I love you.  Disregard the reprehensible bullying tactics used by Elder Oaks.  Society is moving forward.  The likes of Elder Oaks are being left behind.  You, my dear gay, trans, lesbian, bi and queer youth, will no longer be left behind.  Not by me.  Not by Senator Dabakis.  Not by the locomotive of societal progress.  And not by the thousands upon thousands of members of the LDS Church who totally disagree with the church’s treatment of our children and youth.  We stand by you.  We will not be silent.

Political

The public protest of Senator Dabakis gives me encouragement and validation.  For the past couple of weeks, I have mulled over what to do next.  I’d tentatively decided to take a daunting step into the Texas political arena.  You see, our state Legislature has ALREADY given a name to the damage that Mormon interviews cause to our children.  We Texans call it CHILD ABUSE.  Here’s the applicable description:

What Constitutes Abuse in Texas

Inflicting or failing to reasonably prevent others from inflicting mental or emotional injury impairing child’s growth, development, or psychological functioning; physical injury resulting in substantial harm; sexual abuse, exploitation, use of controlled substance resulting in mental or physical harm to child.

What’s more, Texas is a Mandatory reporting state for everybody.

Texas law requires anyone with knowledge of suspected child abuse or neglect to report it to the appropriate authorities.  This mandatory reporting requirement applies to all individuals and is not limited to teachers or health care professionals.  The law even extends to individuals whose personal communications may be otherwise privileged, such as attorneys, clergy members and doctors or nurses.

The sacred stories of damaged Mormon children are laced with the type of child abuse defined in red above.

In the Lone Star State, the laws are already in place to stop what is happening behind Mormon Bishops’ closed doors.  What is needed is a mechanism to arouse broad public awareness.  Then, to bring that public awareness to the attention of political, law enforcement and child protection leaders.

Details of how to move this initiative forward are being discussed and hashed out.  Not sure when it will be launched.  But, it’s coming.  Thank you Senator Dabakis for the stimulus and encouragement you have provided to me.

Thanks also go to my stake president for handing me the MEGAPHONE of excommunication.  I plan to use it well.

 

 

Dear Bishops, this could happen to you!

GavelToday, a lawsuit was filed accusing President Russell M. Nelson’s daughter and son-in-law of child sex abuse.  The alleged abuse occurred 32 years ago.

I don’t have an opinion on whether or not the allegations are true.  What I know is that the charges have been made in full public view.  The defense will be grueling and expensive.   No matter what, reputations will be tarnished.  If a verdict is rendered in favor of the plaintiffs, reputations will be destroyed.

You can read about the suit in the Deseret News, the Salt Lake Tribune or watch it on Fox News.  The actual lawsuit filing can be found HERE.

So bishops, what does this have to do with you?  We are in a different era than in 1986.  Back then, no cell phones (mini-recorders), little concern with adults alone with children, no #metoo movement, certainly no #mormonmetoo movement.

All that has changed.  If someone accuses you of abuse of any kind while you were behind that closed door, all alone with a child & talking about sex, YOU WILL HAVE NO DEFENSE.  Our society doesn’t have sympathy for an adult who should have known better.  They will sympathize with the child every time.

Can you afford to lose your reputation?

Can you afford to defend against a criminal charge?

A stake in my home town of Houston recently instructed its bishops:  “Conduct every interview under the assumption that you are being recorded.”  Wise counsel.

Better counsel:  No one-on-one interviews, no sexual questions ever.