Did You Orgasm?

OrgasmYesterday’s Dirty & Damaging Closed Door Counsel

For decades, Stake Presidents and Bishops counseled gay men to do something totally misguided.  Their recommendation to homosexual young men was to get married.  Once they were hitched and came face to face with a naked woman, their gayness would magically go away.

This uninspired guidance has resulted in many, many unhappy  marriages.  Heartache.  Divorce.  Broken families.  Today, we know that this was ridiculous and damaging advice coming from trusted Bishops and Stake Presidents.  Well meaning?  Probably.  Improper?  Absolutely.

The horrid advice of telling gay men to just get married, had a direct affect on MY family.  One of my daughters was engaged to a awesome man.  We all loved him and thought we knew him well.  Today, we still love him and count him as a great friend.  But, there was something that we did not know.  He was gay.  Bishops and Stake Presidents had counseled with him for years.  And guess what he was told.  MARRY SAM YOUNG’S DAUGHTER AND YOUR HOMOSEXUALITY WILL GO AWAY.  Yeah…that’s right.  A high church leader telling a gay man to marry MY daughter.  That was wrong.  My daughter was wronged.  Her fiancé was wronged.  I and my family were wronged.  All at the hands of the church.

Fortunately, ten days before the wedding bells were to ring, warning bells sounded instead.  The temple marriage was called off.  My daughter is now happily married to a heterosexual man.  My almost son-in-law is now happily married to a gay man.  In the end, all worked out as it should.  But, the damage to the psyche of all involved has taken a long time to heal.  If it has.

Decades ago, members should have been informed as to what counsel was being given to their gay kids.  Hopefully, we would have stood up and protested in order to protect our precious children.

Today’s Dirty & Damaging Closed Door Counsel

Bad things are going on with our children behind closed doors.  I thought I’d heard it all.  I hadn’t.  It’s sickening.

First, it is a common practice for 12 year old children, without their parents’ knowledge or consent to be questioned about masturbation.  One on one, all alone, with an older man.  This is a gross practice and should be called to a halt.

It has now come to my knowledge that many Bishops and Stake Presidents take the interview license, that we have allowed them, to a new level of depravity.  How would you like your 16 year old daughter to be asked, “Do you orgasm when you masturbate?”

Or try this one on for size.  Your 17 year old daughter confesses sex with a young man.  The bishop wants details.  “How many times did you orgasm?”  “Did your boyfriend orgasm?”  “How did he orgasm?”  “What kind of sexual positions were involved?”

What kind of crap is this?  All going on behind the closed doors of our chapels.

These kinds of questions are outrageous.  They are pornographic.  It causes lasting shame and guilt.  The harm done often persists into sexual relationships after marriage.

How do I know that masturbation is being discussed with 12 year olds all the way to decades-old members?  My own children have told me so.  I have openly asked many friends who have shared details of their masturbation interviews .

How do I know that orgasms and sexual positions are being discussed?  Well, my kids are NOT the source of this information.  I haven’t dared ask them yet.  If it was discussed with them, I’m going to be DAMN angry!  But, I have asked my friends.   When I posted my question, it received more comments than almost any other post I’ve ever made.

Until one week ago, I had no idea that these sexual details were being discussed with our kids…or adults for that matter.   And I was a Bishop for 5 years, for heaven’s sake.  So, why would I ask my friends if orgasms had ever been the topic of a bishop’s interview?  On last week’s post criticizing the practice of masturbation interviews, two people mentioned all the other stuff they were asked about.

Just like the horrid counsel to gay men to get married, these detailed sexual interviews MUST STOP!!!

I know that many who read this will say, “I was never asked, so this isn’t happening.”  I know there are Bishops who will say, “I never asked these questions, so it isn’t happening.”  Well fine.  For your reading pleasure or disgust, I’ve listed a smattering of responses below.

What To Do

I can’t believe that any good member, especially a parent, would bury their head in the sand and sit idly by.  These are your kids.  This is our church.  This is not the church of the Apostles.  Nor is it the church of the Bishops and Stake Presidents.  It’s the Church of Jesus Christ.  It’s also the church of its members, the Latter-day Saints.  Jesus has given us, the rank and file member, the right and responsibility to be intimately involved in the governance of His church.  Our Savior called it the Law of Common Consent.

Here are some suggestions.  These practices can only be fixed if we bring them to light.  Talk about them.  DON’T LET YOUR CHILD OR GRANDCHILD BE A VICTIM.

  • Talk to your church friends about the potential interview damage to our children.
  • Talk to your adolescent and grown children.
  • Talk to the local leaders, Relief Society Presidents, EQ Presidents, HP Group Leaders, YM & YW Presidents.
  • Talk to your Bishops and Stake Presidents.

Quid Pro Quo

The church has produced a pamphlet entitled “For The Strength of Youth.”  It is designed to help all members know the standards of the church.

I’m responding with my own pamphlet “For the Protection of Youth.”  It is designed to let all leaders understand the strict license they can take with our children.

For the Protection of Youth

  1. No interviews with minors without the explicit consent of the parents.
  2. No one-on-one interviews behind closed doors. Either a parent is to be in the room or second adult, approved by the parents.
  3. No questions about masturbation…ever!
  4. No questions about orgasm, sexual positions, or any other detailed sexual matters…ever!
  5. No shaming lessons about chewed gum, licked cupcake, etc.
  6. No lessons about violation of chastity being next to murder in gravity.
  7. No lessons intimating that a person is better dead chaste, than alive and unchaste.

Take back and embrace Christ’s gospel of Common Consent.  For the sake of your children.  For the sake of your grandchildren.  For the sake of following the Savior.

Testimonials of Inappropriate Bishop and Stake President Interviews

I posted the following question on Facebook.

“In a recent thread, 2 people said that they were asked about their ORGASMS during bishop interviews or in church courts. What the hell!!!  How did I miss out on this stuff while I served as bishop?  I’m super glad that I did.  Bare shoulders are NOT pornographic. Questioning a woman about her orgasms IS pornographic.  I know that it’s common for priesthood leaders to ask about masturbation. But, I had never heard of orgasmic queries. So, here’s my question, were you ever asked about orgasms in a bishop’s interview or in a disciplinary council?  If so, how old were you?

Here are some of the responses.

Woman:  Two different bishops over the course of my life have asked me specifically about orgasm. The first time, I was 12, and it was just like, a youth interview that that bishop did regularly with all of the youth in our ward.  He asked about masturbation, and then specifically about orgasm, even after I answered “no” to the first question. 

The second bishop who asked me this question was when I was 21 or so, and I had turned to my singles ward bishop because I had been advised, and believed he would help me deal with the aftermath of (what I had recently come to understand had been) an emotionally, physically, and sexually *abusive* relationship. 

Instead of support and counsel, he asked me if I had ever had an orgasm from the “contact” during that relationship, and when I was honest with him that I had (as happens with many MANY survivors) he instructed me that I needed to go through the repentance process, for “my part” in what had happened.

Woman:  Yes.  In disciplinary council…it was terrible!

Man:  I was asked this as a 15 year old boy by my bishop…..I hated going to him.

Woman:  This happened when I was in my mid 20s, had 4 babies under 5, and was grieving my husband’s infidelity. It almost killed me:  My husband had an affair early in our marriage. Our ward split during his year of difellowship & the New bishop wanted to know every detail of their sexual contacts: positions, physical locations, number of orgasms. You name it. And he wanted me to be there while this was discussed “so that we are all on the same page.” Our sexual relationship never recovered & much of the reason was that six months of voyeuristic invasion & the terrible humiliation I was subjected to. I don’t want anyone else to suffer this.  (Sam:  This is an egregious example of the dreadful damage probing interviews can cause.)

Man:  Yes.  I was 12 or 13.

Woman:  I had a bishop ask me if I reached orgasm. I was a teenager. Sick, sick, sick.

Woman:  I am a woman and was asked about orgasms by 2 separate bishops in interviews. Once in high school and once in college (that same bishop commented on my shirt and how it was too revealing). I was also asked very detailed, inappropriate questions that I didn’t realize were inappropriate until much later after going to therapy.

Man:  Oh yeah. My Bishop did. That was a routine part of the masturbation confession.

Woman:  15 years old. My bishop asked about my boyfriend’s orgasm then asked if I had reached orgasm, if I had enjoyed it or felt guilty, the whole shebang.  It’s been more than 10 years since this, I’ve been married for 6 years, and I’m JUST getting to a point of having a healthy and happy relationship with sex and my body. These people are untrained and do lasting damage because of their lack of knowledge. Something has to change.

Woman:   I was 17 when I was asked. In front of a bunch of men too. The most humiliating experience of my life.

Man:  I had a Bishop ask where I had “finished” meaning in someone’s mouth, hand, etc…

Woman:  Oh this definitely happened. It happened to me as a youth and as an adult, like so often and commonplace that I thought it irrelevant in this thread.  It happened after I was raped at BYU but I was so traumatized by the rape that I don’t remember being able to answer his questions at all.

Woman:  I was called into a bishop’s interview. He asked me how my love life was.
I confessed to ‘messing around’ with a guy I really loved.  I was still a virgin though, because you know, no sex!  My bishop asked me to provide details. I obediently told my bishop, blushing the entire time.  I was asked about having an orgasm. I had. He wanted to know if the guy had. He had.

Man:  Had a friend tell me in his missionary application interview he came forth and confessed to intercourse. The bishop asked him if he achieved orgasim. He was shocked and asked him if it mattered. The bishop replied saying it did matter because it would weigh on his disicion of his worthiness.

Women:  It happened to me about a month ago while I was meeting with my Stake President in conjunction with asking for a Temple Sealing Cancellation from my predatory ex.

Woman:  After my mission I had a little affair with a women!  It was wonderful!  It resulted in a disciplinary council.   In that court was my Bishop plus 11 other men. The questions they asked me were horrific!!  I had one guy even asked how two women could have sex! How many times….. Where we had sex. And…. if I had an orgasm.  I left feeling like the most horrible person on earth.  I was sooooo embarrassed. I couldn’t hardly talk.

Man:  I was very lucky in having pretty darn good bishops all my life. One did tell me that my mission would make me straight, but I think he meant well (and I’m glad I went anyhow). But I’ve heard too many horror stories about prurient, over-detailed interrogations to believe that it’s a tiny problem.

Woman:  Detailed–DETAILED–answers needed for the court of “love.” Positions, types, frequency, everything.

Woman:  Yes, I was.. like that made the difference if I was worthy or not. If the guy orgasimed it was fine.. I just could not. So freaking ridiculous.

Woman:  Yes. I was 19 years old

Man:   In high school my bishop asked me if I ejaculated when my girlfriend had her hand in my pants. I hadn’t but I wasn’t sure so I said yes. I wasn’t able to take the sacrament for months because of my response. I dealt with months of shame for about 10 seconds of touching in the wrong place. So ridiculous.

Woman:   I was during a “court of love”. It was 8 years ago and I pushed back about why it mattered.  It was dropped.  It also bothered me greatly.

P.S.

400 members have chosen to actively participate in the Law of Common Consent.  I urge you to consider it, too.  Click HERE for the link to the Common Consent Register.

The Man Who Voted Opposed

general_conference_crowd_outside

General Conference

Every six months, the LDS (Mormon) Church holds a much anticipated General Conference.  All around the world, members tune in to watch and listen to the pronouncements of their highest leaders.  Tens of thousands travel to Salt Lake City to witness the proceedings in person.

The Conference is composed of 6 two-hour meetings.  A cherished part of the Saturday afternoon session is the Sustaining of Officers.  The names and positions of the General Authorities are presented to the membership.  An up or down vote is called for.  Members may sustain, abstain, or oppose.

Almost always, the voting appears unanimous.  However, this trend is changing.  At the October 2015 and April 2016 conferences, opposed votes were clearly registered in the confines of the Conference Center.  The numbers were few.  But the votes of disapproval were noted by the leadership and all who were viewing.

October 2016

This fall Conference was historic by modern standards.  The sustainings were conducted on Oct 1st. The tally:  sustain–almost all.  Opposed–267!!!   You can see their names HERE.  This is a huge number.  I and my wife were 2 of the 267.

Going against the consensus is NOT easy.  There are hundreds of thousands of members–including many less active members–who would like to vote opposed.  However, there is fear associated with negative voting.  Our current LDS culture stigmatizes honest and open disagreement, especially in a Conference setting.  This must change.  It was Jesus Himself who mandated that “ALL things MUST be done by common consent.”  It’s His church.  Eventually, the stigma against following His directives in His own church is going to disappear.

The Lone Man…Adam

Out of the intrepid 267, only one person actually cast his opposing vote in the Conference Center itself on October 1, 2016.  This article is written to tell his miraculous story.  For the time being, I’ll call him Adam.

Adam is a faithful, believing member.  He currently serves as a counselor in his bishopric.  Like many in the church, he has had concerns in recent years regarding the church’s treatment of LGBT people and its involvement in political contests regarding LGBT issues.  When the November 2015 anti-gay policy came to light, he was mortified.  Vehemently opposed, he discussed it with his Bishop and Stake President.  They counseled him to pray and “gain a testimony” of its divine origin as a revelation, despite the fact that it has never been presented to the membership for ratification as such.

By the time October Conference had arrived, Adam’s own conscience–as well as what he felt to be the promptings of the Holy Ghost–drove him to the decision to vote opposed in person.  He was unsuccessful in obtaining a ticket prior to leaving home.  Undaunted, he hugged and kissed his loving and supportive wife, jumped in his car and drove many hours, crossing multiple state lines to Salt Lake City.  No ticket.  Only hope and a prayer.  During his long drive, Adam prayed.  He asked Heavenly Father that if it were His will that he should follow his conscience and express an opposing vote in the Conference Center,  that an admission ticket would somehow be provided.

Outside the Conference Center, he observed many people asking others if they had spare tickets.  Adam even ventured a few inquiries.  It soon became evident that this method was doomed to failure.  He was directed to the standby line.  Hundreds were ahead of him.  He offered another prayer. “If it’s Thy will that I vote opposed, please provide a way in.”

Time was passing.  Hope was fading.  The long line discouraging.

The Miracle

Then it happened.  A young woman approached.  Hand extended, she asked, “Would you like a ticket?”  With hundreds waiting in hopes of getting in, the mystery matron picked Adam.  He counted it as an answer to prayer.  A sign that God was sustaining him and his un-sustaining vote.  A Miracle.

The Vote

Adam was seated.  The session was about to start.  This humble and considerate man gently tapped the person in front of him.  He quietly informed all seated around him of his plans to voice an opposing vote.  No one seemed alarmed.  Rather, the advance notice was received with appreciation and kindness.

President Eyring conducted the sustainings.  Adam voted disapproval 3 times:  to the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and to their being sustained as prophets, seers and revelators.  His was the lone voice that echoed throughout the Conference Center.   In front of 22,000 other attendees.  In front of millions, the world over.  As he did so, he felt come over him a great feeling of love for those 15 men and a great feeling of sorrow for the situation that had led to that heartbreaking circumstance.

But Adam was not really alone.  Remotely, 266 others joined him that day. Modern history was made.

Adam, my friend, my hat is off to you.  I commend you for your integrity and courage.

Opposed to What?

Adam–and most of those voting with him–are NOT opposed to the prophet and apostles, per se.  We understand that, just as in other types of elections, once the results are tabulated, every participant–the yeas and the nays–can and do sustain in good faith those who receive the sustaining vote of the people, according to the Law of Common Consent.

Adam is not opposed to the church.  He’s not opposed to the Restoration.  He’s not opposed to the leadership.  In fact, he loves the church with all his heart.  He loves and respects the leadership.  He made an exhausting, weekend-long drive with only a slim hope of being admitted to Conference.  A poignant demonstration of his love and commitment to the church, Jesus, and a marginalized community.

What he IS opposed to–vehemently so–is a policy.  The November 2015 policy labeling gay couples as apostates and excluding their children from Priesthood ordinances.

According to church doctrine and by divine mandate (D&C 28:13), “policies, major decisions and other things that affect the lives of the Saints” must be accepted by the Common Consent of the membership.

In today’s church, NO “policies, major decisions and other things that affect the lives of the Saints” are being presented to the church body for approval or disapproval.  For members committed to living by the Law of Common Consent, the only option appears to be voting opposed to those who control the voting practices.

Consequences

Adam has concerns that actions may be taken against him.  He’s concerned that he may be released from his calling.  It’s ludicrous that any punitive consequences could even be a consideration.  Jesus has commanded the apostles to ask the members for their opinion.  An honest answer deserves commendation not condemnation.  His local leaders’ responsibility is to listen and pass his concerns up the line.  Not to listen,  pass judgment and punish him back in line.

But, Mormon culture may not be there yet.  Our church needs more faithful, serving, believing Saints just like dear Adam.

Are You Opposed?

If you are a member of the LDS church.  If you are opposed to “policies, major decisions and other things that affect the lives of the Saints,” especially, policies that have never seen the light of Common Consent, then consider voting your true opinion and feelings.

Make next April another historic conference.  By then we WILL be more than 267.  Can we be….2,067?  Or….20,067?  Or….?

Common Consent is the Law of God and the Law of the Church. It’s up to you and me, the common members, to make Common Consent the common rule of Christ’s church.

You have a voice.  Please don’t leave without speaking up.  Stand up for what is right. Speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves.

Take the step of publicly registering your disapproval on the Register of Common Consent, HERE.

Other Resources

  • Information on LDS.ORG regarding Common Consent, click HERE.  Please take note of this paragraph:  “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.”
  • Scriptural information about Common Consent, click HERE.
  • Disturbing membership Trends, click HERE.
  • Do We Love Jesus Enough?, click HERE.
  • The Only True Hope for The Only True Church, click HERE.
  • My personal sadness over my friends and family leaving, click HERE
  • Common Consent Register—A Record of Those Who Disapprove click, HERE.

Thomas S. Monson is My Hero

thomas-s-monson

Every 6 months the Mormon Church holds a general conference.  It’s broadcast to the world.  Featured speakers include the Twelve Apostles and other general authorities.  Words from the current prophet are always the highlight.  Thomas S. Monson fills that role today.

He has a special place in my heart.  When I was just 9 years old, ‘Tommy,’ became an apostle.  He has been an influential figure my entire life.  Many of his conference addresses are remembered with fondness.

During the April & October 2016 conferences I feel like his instructions were directed straight at me.  I…LOVED…THEM!!!

April 2016

President Monson’s talk was entitled “Choices.”  A timely topic indeed.  For the previous 2 years, I had worked to come to terms with troubling new information about my religion.  My choices were finally coalescing.  I describe my journey here.  The prophet’s talk  lasted a short and powerful 5 minutes.  These are the potent words that penetrated my heart.

“May we maintain the courage to defy the consensus.”

The day before this talk, for the first time in my life, I had defied the consensus by voting OPPOSED.  Now….here’s the prophet inspiring me to “maintain the courage to defy.”  Yes!!!  Six months later, I now know just how difficult it is to defy the consensus.  It’s a huge help to have the words of President Monson at my side.

“May we ever chose the harder right instead of the easier wrong.”

For months, I had weighed in my mind…obey my temple covenants…obey the law of God…speak up for “the least of these”…..OR……stay silent.  The prophet was giving me support to choose the “harder right.”  The “wrong” would have been so much easier.

“If we choose Christ, we will have made the correct choice.”

This lodges a tear in my eye.  In February 2016, I made the conscious and fateful decision to put my faith in the teachings and example of Jesus Christ.  Well, I gladly accept the confirmation and validation that Pres. Monson so gently & forcefully pronounced.

October 2016

By the time the prophet spoke in the October 2nd Sunday morning session, I had voted disapproval at ward , stake, and 2 general conferences.  I had also thoroughly examined my temple covenants and the Law of Common Consent.  President Monson’s words resonated with overwhelming confirmation.

“Learn, search and pray.  We need to know God’s laws and live them.”

For months, I had been learning, searching and praying.   My very purpose was to know and understand the law of God.  Now…here’s the prophet giving the injunction to “live” what I have learned.  The Law of Common Consent IS God’s law.  I am determined to live it.

“We are blessed to have the truth.  We have a mandate to share the truth.  Let us live the truth.”

Amazing.  Simply amazing.  THIS…IS…MY… HERO!!!   Just this year, I have discovered the truth of how Jesus wants his church to be governed.  And now, I have a MANDATE to share it!  Oh my gosh!  Six days before President Monson pronounced these words, I had created the Common Consent Register.  Perhaps a clumsy attempt to share Christ’s truth.  Never-the-less, my hero has now given me a “mandate” to share.  Share away I will.

Thank you, President Monson.

Russell M. Nelson

This man is an apostle in the LDS church.  Not just any apostle.  He’s the senior member of the Quorum of the Twelve.  As such, he’s in line to replace President Monson at his passing.  Listen to his profound prescription to deploy real joy in our lives.

“Every day that we keep our covenants and help others to do the same, joy will be ours.”

Initially, I was nervous about sharing my understanding of temple covenants, explaining common consent, or openly encouraging others to live it.  If I had known in advance what Elder Nelson was going to say at conference, all my jitters would have evaporated long ago.  Well…they’ve certainly disappeared now.

Thank you Elder Nelson

What Now?

First

Consider the awesome and mounting support for Common Consent.

  • The law of God is on the side of common consent. In fact, it…is…the…Law.
  • The laws of God have the obvious backing of President Monson and Elder Nelson.
  • The prophet and his successor encourage sharing and helping others live the law of God.
  • 259 courageous friends have publicly committed to live the Law of Common Consent.  Note that about 1/3 of the names show up as anonymous.  They are real people with real names.  At present, they have selected the option to not have their names viewable.  Unfortunately, living the Law of Common Consent is not totally safe in our current church culture.  This must and will change.  After all, it was Jesus Himself who mandated that “ALL things MUST be done by common consent in the church.”
  • Even my family is supportive. My sweet wife has joined me in voting disapproval.

Second—And This is HUGE!!!

If you are a member & if you are opposed to policies that have NEVER been put to the vote of common consent….consider voicing your opinion now.

Jesus loves and values your views enough to formally request that you voice them several times every year.  To me, the Law of Common Consent is one of the most gorgeous examples that our Savior respects and treasures our capacity to think and make decisions.  We truly are citizens in the kingdom of God.  We just need to start living the law of citizenry.

There are no more voting conferences in 2016.  In the meantime, you can record your intentions by registering your name HERE on the Common Consent Register—A Record of Those Who Disapprove.

Thank you, my friends.

Links

Information on LDS.ORG regarding Common Consent, click HERE.  Please take note of this paragraph:  “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.”

Scriptural information about Common Consent click, HERE.

Disturbing membership Trends, click HERE.

Do We Love Jesus Enough to live Common Consent, click HERE.

The Only True Hope for The Only True Church, click HERE.

My personal sadness over my friends and family leaving, click HERE.

Common Consent Register—A Record of Those Who Disapprove click, HERE.