Sam Young Excommunicated from the LDS Church for Protecting Children

Almost a year ago, I wrote a post about the #Churchtoo movement. Since then, a former bishop in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints(a.k.a. Mormon), has taken an active stance on speaking up about the abuse that has happened in the church. This has led him to where he was on Sunday, September 16th. Sam Young read his letter of excommunication to a crowd of people standing across from Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Why was Sam Young Excommunicated?

Sam Young has been taking an active stand to tell the LDS church that they need to stop the practice of asking sexually explicit questions to young people behind closed doors. This is a practice that has been happening in the church where a bishop asks a series of questions to youth as young as 8. It first begins when they are preparing for baptism to determine worthiness. When a young person reaches the age of 12, the interviews begin again to determine worthiness in males as they obtain the priesthood and perform baptisms for the dead in the temple. Females also go through the interviews at age 12 and older in order to be able to do baptisms for the dead at the temple.

It had been brought to the attention of Sam that some bishops had pressured youth to tell them all the details of any sexual impurity- including the act of masturbation. If a young person did not know what “keeping the law of chastity” meant, a bishop might explain it to them. It had also come to his attention that bishops had encouraged victims of rape to take on responsibility of what they might have done to encourage their perpetrators. The website, ProtectLDSChildren.org came about as a result. Now there are 809 stories of these cases compiled there.

These stories have been compiled into a book which was handed out to the higher up leaders in Salt Lake City. Sam went on a hunger strike for 23 days while sitting outside in Salt Lake. Each day for 12 days he invited a different apostle to come down to talk with him and some of the victims. None of them did. After that, he invited the victims to sit in the chair each day. There, he washed their feet, and apologized to them on behalf of the church.

September 9th- Sam is Tried in a Church Court

The Mormon church has a trial process for people facing serious church discipline. Usually these “Courts of Love” are reserved for serious sins like adultery and pre-marital sex. Apostasy is also a sin that is up there, and Sam was called to one after he had been publicly speaking out against the policies.

These trials have specific rules. Only temple-recommend holders can act as a witness on behalf of the person on trial. “The jury,” we’ll call them, is made up of upper-level priesthood-holding men.

According to the LDS Church’s Handbook 1, the purposes of its disciplinary councils are to:

1. save the souls of the transgressors;

2. protect the innocent; and

3. safeguard the purity, integrity, and good name of the Church.

Sam’s detailed account of what he said at his court can be found on his blog here.

He did not receive a verdict immediately. While most members find out the same day if they are excommunicated or not, Sam was told that he would receive a letter within a few days.

Sam Young’s Verdict is in

Sam opened the letter for the first time in front of a large crowd gathered in support of him on Sunday, November 16th at noon. He revealed that they had excommunicated him. It was not the verdict he had hoped for. Sam stated that he had great love for his church, and he only wanted the right thing to be done. You can see the results here on the Facebook live video.

Unhappy Members

While some people are still supportive of the leadership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, many were not happy today. QuitMormon.com is a site where members can use the help of an attorney for free to get their names removed. On a usual weekend, there may be 16 requests queued in the legal review column. As of 12:46 a.m. PST, here are the numbers:


My Personal Thoughts

I am not speaking here as a journalist, but I’m leaving my opinion here. This is not an attack on the LDS church, but this is a fault that tears apart Christianity in general. If there are grave issues that need to be dealt with in churches that bear the name of Jesus, leadership need to come down from their plush chairs and their platforms, and truly minister to their congregants. The LDS church isn’t the only church who has been caught up in sex scandals, but the way they have handled these cases is abhorrent, and more people should be saying something. The comments I’ve read on articles about Sam Young leave me saddened and wanting to further my separation from the label of Christianity. This is not what Jesus would do.

Controversial: Boy Scouts of America Announce New Name

The announcement was made in October 2017 that girls would be welcomed into the Boy Scouts of America. Since then, people have wondered what changes that would bring about. Many questioned if the name would change, and what that might look like. The answer to that question came today, and we’re going to discuss it here.

Scouts BSA is the newly announced name for the older program for youth age 11 to 18. This program isn’t slated to start until February 2019, but the Cub Scout program(still called Cub Scouts) has already had some early adopter Packs sign up some girls this year. The BSA has created new brochures to draw in families, and they are going with the welcoming slogan:

Of course, not everyone is feeling the love for the changes BSA is making to the program, and I wanted to address some of the things I’ve seen on various sites today.

“What about Girl Scouts?”

Naturally, we’ve seen this question asked a lot. As someone who has youth in both Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, I’m going to address this from what I’ve seen. Not all programs are alike everywhere, and your mileage may vary. I have seen my daughter start in Girl Scouts as a Brownie. She was enthused to have a place to meet with friends, make crafts, sell cookies, and even learn to cook. Our experience in this troop has varied over the years, and now she is a 1st year Senior. They become Seniors in 9th grade. Her current Troop leader works really hard at putting things together for the girls, and Kyrie learned many things under her guidance- including how to sew.

The thing about Girl Scouts is that much of the activities are done with what the girls are interested in. It doesn’t seem to me that the girls in our area are interested in high adventure activities, camping, backpacking, or building fires. When my daughter turned fourteen, she was allowed to join Venturing- the co-ed, high-adventure program for youth ages 14 to 21. Our Boy Scout troop that I was involved in with my son has invited them along on many adventures- rock climbing, skiing, backpacking, and more. My daughter has really enjoyed those activities, and Girl Scouts hasn’t kept up with her interests like Venturing.

Girl Scouts is a great program, but it seems like the Boy Scouts programming may have more of a draw. The Eagle award seems to be more prestigious than other awards in other programs. I’m not certain as to why that is. I always hear about Eagle awards, and I very rarely hear about Girl Scout Gold awards. I doubt that girls joining Boy Scouts will make the Girl Scouts program go away. There are many girls who enjoy what they do in Girl Scouts.

“Boys need to be taught to be boys”

What does that even mean? Girls have been coming on troop activities with us for many years, and our boys are not less boy because of it. BSA isn’t focused on teaching boys how to be boys anyway. They teach leadership skills, team work, and overcoming obstacles.  These are things both boys and girls can learn. They also learn life skills- things like cooking, first aid, personal management, physical fitness, and more.

Girls are going to be their own troops, though, so I don’t see that they’ll be interfering with the safe spaces of boys. On our backpacking trips that have the Venture crew girls along for the ride, the girls do their own thing, and no boys have had to carry their stuff for them(a ridiculous argument I heard today).

My daughter’s first backpacking trip

“Why would you let your girls go camping with boys?”

People seem to think that some bad things are going to happen when you put members of the opposite sex in tents in the wilderness. Let me start by saying that girls and boys aren’t sleeping in tents together. I’ve been on several trips with Boy Scouts and girl Venture crew members. They slept in separate tents in different areas with leaders nearby. I kept a watchful eye out. Again, girls did their own thing and stayed away from the boys for the most part. Two deep leadership in Venturing requires at least one adult(over 21) female to be present. There is no hanky-panky going on. Scouting is co-ed in most countries, with the U.S. being one of the last to get on board, for many years. All the abuse stories I hear seem to come from the U.S., and always involving men. Yet, girls joining scouting seems to be the problem that is signalling the end of times to some.

I, for one, am looking forward to the new changes, and I hope that I’ve shed some light on why this isn’t a terrible thing. Please feel free to leave comments or questions on this controversial issue. Respectful comments will be approved by us, so please remember the Scout law that includes “friendly, courteous and kind.”