Last month I wrote about several scandals the Mormon Church is currently facing. One of those scandals involves Sam Young (Young is the good guy in this story).
Sam Young is a former bishop in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He started the organization Protect LDS Children and he recently carried out a 23-day hunger strike in protest of one of the practices of the Mormon Church.
Why is this man, who is a believer in the Book of Mormon and the teachings of the LDS Church, protesting them? Young learned about the sexually-focused interviews that Mormon Church leaders conduct with young children. Young's own daughter was subjected to them between the ages of 12 and 17.
Young has collected hundreds of stories of people who have been extremely traumatized by the nature of these interviews. The members of the Mormon clergy who conduct these interviews ask children extremely invasive questions regarding masturbation, sexual behavior, sexual thoughts, and more. And these clergy are doing this with no background in child psychology. Young is fighting to stop the church from conducting these interviews.
The latest development in this story, is that the Mormon Church has excommunicated Young from the church for his protests. Last week, Young was visited by two administrators from his local church who delivered a letter from church leadership, alerting him to his dismissal from the congregation.
Young has shared the letter in a blog post, as well as his response to the edict. He said he will appeal the decision.
In his response, Young said that the news was a "supreme disappointment."
Young laid out four "observations" that criticized the Mormon Church leadership for this decision. I want to jump to his conclusion; he finished his response with the following:
"I now direct my words to the victims and survivors of Mormon worthiness interviews. We see you. We hear you. We are sorry for what happened to you. It was wrong. Very wrong. We know you were horribly hurt. You were alone. You were a mere child. Today we boldly stand up and speak up to give your child-self a voice. Thank you for allowing me and all of us to be a part of your healing journey. Thank you for locking arms with me and so many others in daring to face down the Mormon Church in order to protect today’s children.
For our children’s sake, this whistle blower is not going to stop roaring."
Despite the Mormon Church's best efforts, Young and many others will keep fighting against the church's horrible practice of subjecting children to these "worthiness interviews."
One thing I noticed about this story is that I actually feel bad for Young about this excommunication. You may think that strange given that I am an atheist, but he really does believe in the teachings of Jesus and the Book of Mormon. He has dedicated his entire life to supporting the church and his faith. While I may think he has been completely misguided in that goal, here he is trying to do the right thing: he is trying to protect children. His church has responded by more-or-less making all his years of service and dedication completely irrelevant.
I hope the church sees the folly in perpetuating this terrible practice. They have done immeasurable harm to thousands upon thousands of children with these interviews. It is time this ends.