Active Members are on the Move–Success Story #3.

Father and son

What a great email to wake up to!!

Dear Sam/Bishop Young,

I wanted to write to you to thank you for the information you are sharing. I know this has been so troublesome for you and a heavy load to bear. I also know that the burden of hurt carried by so many members and their children has been heavy and lonely. I am a former Relief Society President and life long member of the church. Like you I have served in presidencies and served a full time mission. I have family and friends who have their own experiences with well-meaning or not so well-meaning church leadership.

I wanted to let you know that I have shared our concerns and your press conference with our bishopric, RS, Primary and YW Presidents. Our bishop expressed his concern as well and is planning to bring up the issue in his next Stake Welfare meeting. Our RS President is well aware and endorses our efforts to address the issue. My husband, who is currently on the High Council, and I sat down personally with our Stake President a week ago to express our concerns. He was very open and willing to address the issue in the Stake and has told us he will bring the issue to his next meeting of Stake Presidents who meet with the area authority Elder _____. I believe our stake president sees the wisdom in taking some action to protect children and also to avoid huge liabilities. I have also shared the press conference and my concerns with the Stake RS President, Stake Primary Presidency and the Stake YW President. The quickest solution we offered is for a child to choose a parent or another leader to accompany them into the interviews.

We also have been sharing our concerns with family and friends, especially those who hold leadership positions in our faith. We pray that they will have the courage to share their concerns and that the spirit will guide them in how to do so in their respective spheres of influence.

God bless you and guide you as you take this journey.

Thank you,  T.D.

THANK YOU, T.D.  Your efforts will protect our children.  This is so awesome!

My totally active daughter has been telling me for months, “Dad please don’t quit.  There are more people in the church who agree with these changes than don’t.  It’s just that the members who support you are afraid to speak up.”

Last week, I was told the same thing by an active member who has also spoken with his friends, family and leaders.

I’m starting to believe them.

How Can You Help Protect Our Children?

Share your concerns with leaders, friends and family.

Share YOUR Success Story.

Share the Petition.

Share the website,

Join the March in Salt Lake City, on March 30th.  570 have already registered.  Don’t miss it.

Or…..join a Local Rally on March 30th

Other Resources


Masturbation & The Accountant

AccountantToday, I sat down with my accountant to review the company’s tax filing for 2017.  Her name is Mill.  She is a partner at a large regional accounting firm.  Twenty five years ago,  my taxes got too complicated for me to handle.  After many semi-annual meetings, we have become good friends.

The review began with the usual small talk.  Soon she recognized that I seemed distracted and in a hurry.  She asked why.  The following conversation was launched.

MEI know your son is grown now.  But, suppose this happened to your son when he was 12.  Your pastor called him in for a one-on-one meeting . . . .

MILL:  (She quickly cut me off with a firm karate chop to the conference table.)  NO!  That’s wrong.  It makes me feel sick.  With the Larry Nassar scandal and the Penn State stuff and all the sexual abuse that’s coming out, it makes me ill to think of my son alone with anyone.

MEI’m not done.  Suppose that the pastor then asks your son if he masturbates . . . .

MILLThat’s disgusting.  It’s none of the pastor’s business.  It’s personal and should only be a family matter.  I never talked to my son about masturbation.  The only thing I told him was that if he got a girl pregnant, I would require him to drop out of school, get a job and pay for the baby.  I don’t believe in abortion.

Our discussion continued about the petition, the stories, the damage done, the news coverage, possible excommunication, and the threats to my family, business and to myself.  We talked about the types of harm these interviews cause.  I didn’t have to recount them all.  She was fully capable of explaining to me what the dangers were.   We also discussed the toll this is taking on my time and resources.

MILLSam, I hope you know that you’re doing the right thing. 

SAMI do. Yes, I absolutely do.

Dear Fellow Mormons

Everyone outside the church is sickened, disgusted or repulsed by our interview process.  Somehow, what is abhorrent to our neighbors has become normalized to most latter-day saints.

You have to know that what we are doing is wrong–way wrong!!!

I’m confident…

  • That the good members of my church are capable of  being smarter than our own policies.
  • That when good parents sincerely consider the ramifications of sending their children behind closed doors to talk about sex, that they will start to be sickened by the possibilities.
  • That Mormons will start to protect their children the same way our neighbors already are protecting theirs.

Many active members have already raised their voices loudly to call for changes.  Join us.  Don’t sit on the sidelines while our children are at risk.

Join Our Historic March-For-The-Children

If you are in Utah, within driving distance, or even flying distance, come help us assure that the children of the future don’t repeat the dreadful experiences of children in our past.

On FridayMarch 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:

  1. The signatories on the Petition to Protect The Children.
  2. 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.

How can you help protect our children:

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

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

Local Rallies

Many friends of Protect-The-Children who want to come to the march are constrained by time, distance, or money.

Good News!!!  We are organizing local rallies in offsite locations to coincide with the Utah march.  Same date, same time…different place.  Imagine 20 people in Seattle, 30 in Dallas, 25 in St. Louis and so on and so on and so on!

Every place we have a gathering, local media will be invited to cover.  We are expecting the national media to be at the SLC event.  The local rallies will illustrate in a big way that our cause is a country-wide movement and deserves national attention.

This will be a big step in bringing awareness to good Mormon parents and bishops everywhere.  So far, our efforts have reached some.  The march will extend our reach many times over.

If you are interested in participating in a local rally, please register here.  A volunteer coordinator will reach out to you soon.

Come help us save our children!!!  Whether it be at Church Headquarters or at local venues all across the country, your efforts will protect generations of children to come.


“This is Sick and Sad,” Parents learn a lesson.

lessons-learnedThis is story #376 on  So many things wrong!!!

We had postponed my daughter’s baptism for months so that her older brother could return from a sales job and baptize her. Days before the scheduled baptism we got a text from our bishop that our son was not ” worthy” to baptize his sister because he had masturbated that week. Our bishop encourages youth to text him right away when they masturbate so they can repent right away. My son is so good and honest and sensitive that he actually did it.

We tried to talk to the bishop, noting that in the church handbook it does not give bishops this authority. My husband has never been asked if he masturbated before baptizing our other kids. It also says in the handbook that fathers who are not temple worthy can baptize their kids. The bishop spent the whole time defending his point and assuring us the stake president would be on his side.

So, my little girl cried herself to sleep and my other children had to deal with unacceptable explanations. And my son…I’ve never met a young person so connected to the Spirit, so humble and willing to do what’s right, so committed to study and prayer. His best wasn’t good enough, and it was devastating. He was thrown into a pit of depression for months. Thankfully, he is doing much better, and we have learned our lesson.  How did I think these interviews were okay when I won’t leave my kids alone with a doctor or dentist?

My oldest son also had his mission papers delayed for 20 months, always keeping him in limbo affecting college and life plans. Arbitrary abstinence times set up that dragged on because, well because they thought it was their business to know if he masturbates. There is plenty of scientific research showing that masturbation is normal and healthy and there is nothing in church doctrine to show otherwise. This is sick and sad. We must do better for our kids!


Finally, An Apostle is Leading the Charge



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.


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***


Sign the Petition

Share Your Story

See the Stories

Read the Stories

Other Resources

Great Suggestions to Protect Our Children

lion-w-cub.jpgIntroducing Timothy Birt, a mental health therapist who has run centers for sexually abused children for 14 years.  He has fundamental concerns about bishop interviews from a moral, legal, and ethical perspective.  His professional credentials:  MS, LPC, LMFT.

Tim has worked hard to come up with thorough and well thought out suggestions.   I present them for your serious consideration.

Tim’s Recommendations

To those of us who have signed the petition or submitted a story, I ask you to join Sam Young by considering what you can do to help protect LDS children in your own ward or stake.

A)  Consider asking for a meeting with your Bishopric and Stake Presidency.  Inform them of the issues and concerns about current church practices of interviewing children about sexual issues.  Let them know you have signed the petition.  Give them links to the stories of harm to our children.

B)  Consider sharing your own story with your church leaders, face to face, of how you felt having those interviews.  Or share difficult feelings you may have had about the church focus on masturbation / chastity.  Or the teaching that it would be better to die than to “lose your virtue” if you were raped or sexually abused.  Or what it was like sending your own children into private interviews.  Or how teachings about purity have affected your intimate relationship in adulthood.  Or your own story of sexual abuse or assault or sexual harassment and how church teachings did not prepare you to heal or have boundaries.  Consider sharing with them inappropriate questions asked by your church leaders.  Or whatever YOUR experiences were and concerns are now.  Then ask them if they can or will acknowledge how the practices of the church did YOU harm or impacted you personally or your children personally.

C)  Consider telling your local church leaders that you don’t support the practice of one-on-one youth interviews that discuss sexuality or worthiness. Consider telling your local church leaders that you are uncomfortable allowing your under-aged children to be interviewed alone or asked inappropriate questions.  Consider informing them that you will not consent to allow church leaders to request one on one interviews with your children.

D)  Consider suggesting to your local church leaders viable alternatives used in other wards, stakes and churches to support spiritual development of our youth that don’t require one-on-one adult youth interviews.  Namely the following options:

1)  Don’t do interviews at all.   Allow youth who want to go to the temple or have a calling or advance in the priesthood to do so if they desire to do so.

2)  If Church leaders feel they are required by the Church to ask children questions, consider asking to have those questions submitted to the parent in writing in advance.  Allow the parent to pass on questions they feel are appropriate for their children and let children respond in writing.  The child’s response could even be in a signed envelope. Any followup questions can be handled in the same way.

3)  Inform bishops and Stake leaders that they can communicate with youth in groups with parents and adults of the youth’s choosing in the room and state the expectations of the church for participation in temple work or callings and invite all those who feel they can follow those guidelines to participate and if they participate they do so with that understanding.

4)  Discuss other ways church leaders could teach and support youth that follow standard safe sanctuary / child protection guidelines that require background checks, two deep leadership, no one-on-one contact between adults and youth, and are careful and respectful in discussing sexuality with youth.

E)  If the Bishop / Church leader insists on interviews, ask that a parent or adult of the child’s choosing be present for the entire interview and advise the child they don’t have to participate in any interview they don’t want to have.  Allow the adult to object to any inappropriate questions.  In the rare instance where a child requests a private interview with a church leader, have two church leaders of the child’s choosing in the room so there is no one-on-one interaction which violates basic child protection principles.  Note that church leaders can be essential outlets for a child to make an outcry of child abuse and must be trained to know how to report and handle these cases correctly.  Consider informing the Bishop that he personally and the church collectively are subject to criminal and civil consequences if they mishandle reporting child abuse allegations and civil lawsuits if they violate confidentiality of certain things they hear as a church leader. Consider asking your Church leaders if they have been adequately trained about mandated reporting and confidentiality and if they are willing to follow the law? Consider letting them know you will hold them and the Church criminally and civilly accountable for their duties to follow the law in reporting child abuse.

F)  Consider asking your church leader if they will commit to following basic child protection policies in their ward/Stake by NEVER being one-on-one with a child who is not their own in any capacity at church or in church service and having two deep adult leadership present when adults and youth are together.

G)  Consider asking bishops and church leaders to not provide sex education or to delve into sexual activities in interviews with youth but to refer such issues to the parents.  Ask your church leaders if they will commit to this agreement.

H)  If a bishop or church leader insists on asking questions about masturbation or considers masturbation to be sinful and teaches that it needs to be confessed , consider asking the bishop / church leader to find in the General Handbook of instructions any policy that directly addresses masturbation and to read to you the exact words from the handbook. (Note: There is nothing in the handbook about masturbation specifically.) Then consider asking your bishop / church leader to commit to not asking about masturbation.  Further, you can consider requesting that they and every teacher in the ward not mention or teach anything about masturbation and to refrain implying that it’s sinful.  Ask if a youth attempts to confess masturbation as a moral problem or impacting worthiness in any way, that you request that the church leader inform the youth that masturbation is not addressed in the handbook of instructions and is a personal matter.

I)  Consider Informing your bishop and stake leaders that you want to discuss the damage that has been done to members and youth by uninformed and hurtful teachings about sexuality and forgiveness.  Inform them that 1 in 4 girls are victims of child sexual abuse and nearly all girls and women experience some sort of sexual harassment or assault during their lifetimes.  The church teachings about sexuality and chastity do not address the reality of sexual abuse and harassment in its past teachings about “chastity.” Many lessons taught are profoundly inconsiderate and damaging.  Boys and men are also abused and harassed and assaulted. Many unskillful teachings about sexuality (licked cupcake, chewed gum, hole in the board, a person’s clothing being responsible for causing someone else to act sexually inappropriately, males judged not able to control their sexual urges, etc.) are ubiquitous in our church culture and that such teaching are damaging.

Ask your church leaders to work with you to eliminate these antiquated and harmful perspectives and have trauma and consent informed teachings about sexuality as part of our church teachings and culture. Ask church leaders to evaluate church teachings and to discuss consent, respect, and responsibility and acknowledge sexual abuse and harassment.

Consider asking bishop / church leaders to have mental health professionals available to take referrals for those affected and to not attempt counseling or spiritual advising for victims of abuse or assault. Consider advising them that they are out of their depth and will cause harm if they attempt to counsel abuse victims.

Consider requesting changes to youth standards nights and lessons to be informed that there are victims of child abuse and rape and assault in the room when they are discussing “chastity” and to consider inviting mental health professionals to discuss in large groups how to address victimization.

J)  Consider asking bishop / church leaders to hear accounts of how the church and its leaders in their ward’s have hurt members by worthiness interviews and harmful teachings on morality and chastity (licked cupcake) and ask them if they feel it would be appropriate to make a formal apology to those hurt by such actions and to work to address the issues raised by those who are hurt by such actions and teachings.

K)  Consider suggesting that women leaders be involved when women need to discuss sexuality or abuse and not men.

L)  Consider requesting that bishop’s doors have a window not just a peep hole and all rooms in the church where children may be behind a closed door with adults, have a window installed.

M)  Consider requesting that all members called or allowed to work with youth have a criminal background check and youth protection training before they start their calling or responsibility.  Consider informing your church leader that you may choose to not sustain any adult called to a position with youth who has not had a background check and youth protections training.  Consider not sustaining anyone who has not had a background check when the calling is voted on in church.

N)  Consider speaking up in your ward so that every ward and stake in the church has multiple people asking our leaders to protect children in these ways. Understand that when every church unit has multiple members and non members requesting these protections for our children, change will be more likely.  This change can be bottom up and not wait on Salt Lake to make church wide changes.

If your local leaders don’t listen to your concerns or don’t implement requested changes to protect our children and redress harms, consider not voting to sustain such leaders in your local unit conferences.  Publicly tell why you’re not sustaining them.  The law of common consent is gospel doctrine and we need to use it.  The Church would have difficulty bringing church discipline on all members who have concerns. When we act in unity our voices can be collectively heard.  There are hundreds of thousands of us who will be willing to voice our concerns.  We can begin doing so at the local level where we can make a difference.

If any of these recommendations are a fit for you, consider taking action.  If they don’t, consider what you can do in your local church unit or community to make a difference.  Please don’t wait for the church to change from the top, start the discussion to protect LDS children in your own local unit now.

Sacred Stories–Graveyard of Our Children’s Innocence


A few years ago, my wife and I, along with two of our daughters, visited the American Cemetery on the beaches of Normandy.  I was struck with somber reverence.  Row after row of rectangular headstones representing the sacrifice of one life after another.

It was December.  The sky was gray.  The weather cold and blustery.  The tour guide walked us through the gravestones recounting stories of the fallen.  I teared up frequently as I pondered what happened so long ago.  It was an honor to walk among the noble.

These are sacred stories.

Today, there’s another location that’s scattered with sacred stories.  Row after row of white rectangles recounting the lost innocence of one child after another.  Childhoods sacrificed by shame and self-loathing.  Their worth was demolished behind closed and lonely chapel doors.

At first blush, these children’s stories don’t sound noble.  Oh…but they are.  They are so noble.  Their innocence crushed by inappropriate shame.  Now as adults, they’ve had the courage to share their hurt and pain on a white rectangle in a computer pane.

These children’s somber stories will help other victims heal.  Others now know they are not alone.  Others now know as a child they were wronged.  The authors of these stories should also know that they are heroes.  It’s they who will stop these wrongs in the future.

I’ve read every last word of every last story.  I’ve shed many a tear as I’ve pondered what happened so long ago.  It is an honor to walk among these noble.

These are sacred stories.

Gently I now ask, if you have a sacred story of childhood shame inflicted behind the closed doors of the bishops walls, I invite you to share….but only if you are ready.

Share Your Story

Read the Stories

See the Stories

P.S. To the 202 of you who have shared your tender and vulnerable stories, thank you my friends.  I see you.  I hear you.  I love you.


A Win for Our Children!!!

Lion Protecting CubsTonight, an amazing message came in from a good friend.  He’s an active member in a far far away stake.  Immediately, I composed an e-mail to my Stake President with his message at the core.  At this time, I can’t share all the details out in public.

The stake has decided to implement every last demand of the petition!!!!   And more…stuff that’s related but wasn’t included in the petition.  I felt that if the petition was to be successful, it needed to be focused on one issue….children’s interviews.  This wise stake presidency totally gets it.

Just so amazing.

Here’s the e-mail I just sent to my stake president.

Dear President _________,

Tonight, an active friend sent me the following message:

(Sorry everybody…I don’t have permission to share the details of what’s happening in this far far away stake.  But just imagine this…all our wildest dreams about changes to how sexuality is approached with our kids.  It is truly amazing stuff.)     

Changes to protect our children are inevitable.  This wise stake president has taken action without directions from Church headquarters.  I’m aware of 2 other stakes who are considering similar changes.

Let’s do the same thing here.  Take the lead.  I’ll follow.  Your flock will be delighted.