Love Dan Peterson. Protect Our Children.

DanPetersenYesterday, a prominent and well respected Mormon apologist wrote an article about a campaign that’s abrewing.  Oh boy, do I ever hope he’s right about that.

Here’s my comment on his blog.

Dear Dan,

Thank you for bringing this issue to the forefront of discussion.  I really appreciate that.

“I’ve read online complaints about sex-related questions for quite a few years.”  Obviously, you are way ahead of me on this issue.   Until this year, I was not aware of ‘complaints’ about probing sexually oriented interviews.

As children, neither you nor I were asked probing sexual questions.  During our bishoprics, neither you nor I asked probing sexual questions.  Your one friend who was asked….well, he turned out fine.

That’s all well and good.  You, me and your prominent friend…we are all fine.  But, I’m not really concerned about those who are doing fine.

Like you, the teachings and example of Jesus speak to my heart.  I’m trying to be like him and follow his gorgeous teachings.

I’m touched by the way the Savior framed His parable of the Good Samaritan.  First, a priest saw the wounded, half-dead man and “passed by on the other side.”  Then the Levite, another priesthood holder, came upon the same bloody and beaten human being.  At least he “came and looked on him.”  Ultimately, the Levite also turned up his nose and scurried away.  It was the lowly and vilified Samaritan who had compassion, bound up wounds and cared for the man in misery.

This parable points a finger directly at me.  Like the priest and Levite,  I hold priesthood.  The high priesthood.  The Savior wants me to act like the despised Samaritan.  Not like the priest.  That’s what I’m attempting to do.  And sometimes, I really suck at it.

Over the past few months, I have personally heard hundreds of stories from those who carry deep wounds from their childhood worthiness interviews.  No way am I going to walk away from them.  My choice is to listen, understand, help, build, support, & serve.  And….work to prevent future damage to our children.

Dan, you are obviously a very good man.  I invite you to help me raise awareness, healing, and protection for our children.  Changing our interview practices will also safeguard our bishops and the reputation of our church.

Thanks for all you do to defend the faith,

Sam Young

Stand Up for Our Vulnerable Children

Help me and 5,473 others eradicate this repugnant practice.

Sign the Petition.  Share the Petition.

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17 thoughts on “Love Dan Peterson. Protect Our Children.

  1. One of my children had very inappropriate interviews. I was unaware of these until after this child was an adult
    We parents put too much trust in local leaders insprirations.

    I appreciate Sam’s dedication to helping protect the children

    This needs to stop now!!!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Reading the comments on Dan Peterson’s page was quite interesting in a rather horrible kind of way. There were people, some members, some exmos, were discussing being asked these questions and many expressions of how “uncomfortable” they felt discussing these questions with an ecclesiastical leader. Many talked about the deleterious effects on their views of sexuality and the impact it had in their lives.

    Defenders of the faith came out in droves, defending this harmful practice as necessary to ensure that people were “properly repenting.” I’m aghast that they can justify the depression, the heartache, and the overwhelming guilt associated with sexual shaming in a setting where Christlike love is supposed to occur. There is nothing “Christlike” about sexual shame and guilt, particularly for innocent youths.

    The majority of the attacks though, were directed at the “evil angry apostates” who were just doing it “for the attention.” Sure, we are angry. We were spiritually…one might even call it sexually, abused (some even physically abused) but the emotional torment of being told that you were committing the “sin next to murder” has a way of really messing people…particularly children, up.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Just a few years into my Temple Marriage, I sought counsel from my Bishop for help regarding what I should do about my Eternal Companion periodically assaulting me and trying to beat the crap out of me.

    My inspired Bishop noted that we had been married four years already and still had no children. He recommended we have a baby.

    He also suggested that I consult with a Mental Healthcare Professional and recommended a Mormon LCSW. I made an appointment. During the session, I bared my soul to the therapist. I figured that if I wanted help, I should disclose ALL of the information relevant to my situation. No point keeping some of your symptoms hidden from your doctor.

    After hearing my story and my confession, the LDS therapist’s diagnosis was that my wife was beating the crap out of me as God’s punishment for me occasionally succumbing to the temptation of masturbation.

    Is this a Great Church, or what !!??!!

    I do owe the LDS therapist a thank you. His spectacular diagnosis (along with my Bishop’s sage counsel) did make it easier for me to leave my 5th generation Mormon heritage in the rear view mirror 47 years ago.


  4. I followed Dan many years back in the day. These interviews happened to me back in the 70’s. It is a real problem and totally inappropriate


  5. Gary – I am saddened by experiences like yours. Thanks to Sam for bringing light to this issue. Bishops today and in the past needed guidance. In my opinion – they didn’t get it and the problem still exists because the leadership of the church are obviously unwilling to be honest about issues that would cast an unfavorable light on the church or its leadership. Like the Wizard of Oz – they don’t want people to see the truth behind the curtain.
    For this issue to be really solved – I think that a few things have to be met:
    1) The church has to be open about what the guidelines for the Bishops would be so that adults in closed-door meetings feel that they are able to stop anything inappropriate.
    2) The church needs to implement a policy of background checks for everyone that interacts with youth. Not that background checks are going to reveal everything about a person – but I think that they serve as a deterrent as well as show that the organization is serious about prevention.
    3) There should always be another adult in the room when meeting with a minor. This should be the case for the protection of the Bishop, the church, and the child.
    4) Adult or child females should be able to have another woman present as well. My wife expressed how uncomfortable it was to be meeting alone with men for interviews as a child and as an adult – mostly because of the sexual abuse that she experienced as a child from an older brother – and the subsequent failure of male leaders and her own father to defend her.
    5) Confessions should not be extracted with probing questions – and details should not be required. The person should be allowed to share what they are comfortable sharing.

    I am sure that there is more points that would be relevant – those are what comes to mind. After leaving the church – I found it interesting that the LDS Church is very far behind the times when it comes to implementing practices to protect children. When I take my kids (age 3 & 5) to the non-denominational church – I get a claim ticket to pick them up, the adult volunteers are all background checked and it is evident that they are taking youth protection seriously. All that the LDS church would have to do is to look at what others are doing in this regard and move forward.

    I hope that change will happen.

    Reading the comments on the Patheos blog – most Mormons are in denial that there is even a problem to be concerned about – despite many public instances where children were victimized. I think that the mentality is to dismiss those and not look to the role that the church played in providing a venue for those instances to occur.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear CC,

      Thanks for your comments.

      The Church will never require background checks for leadership. One reason is that too many current Leaders would be outed as shady characters. Another reason is background checks would be an admission that Mormon Leaders are NOT inspired and have ZERO “discernment” or otherwise guidance from the Holy Ghost about ANYTHING.

      I actually hope The Brethren do NOT make ANY improvements or overtures towards health, safety and sanity regarding the management of their Mind Control Cult. The ONLY truly effective prevention against being harmed and damaged by the Church is to LEAVE it in your rear view mirror.

      If The Brethren made some improvements, it might confuse some members into thinking they can stay and it will be OK. The LDS Church is a toxic environment that harms everyone and even kills some members. Making it a bit less toxic is not a solution, and could keep some from leaving who otherwise would get out.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sam,

        Yes, it does sound like that, doesn’t it.

        If parents want to truly and effectively protect their children from unhealthy influences, they should figure out that the entire Mormon experience is toxic and get out. If their children never darken the front door of an LDS chapel again, they will never suffer negative effects of another worthiness interview laced with generous dispensing of guilt and shame.

        Short of truly solving the problem, the second best scenario would be success of Sam’s Petition to result in a cease and desist order from The Brethren forbidding sexual discussions with children by Church leaders.

        In that case, the children will only have to deal with the many other spiritually stunting teachings of the Restored Gospel … a list too long to enumerate here.

        Good catch, Sam! I DO support your Petition (and I did sign it).

        Liked by 1 person

      2. My bishop asked me if I masturbated. When I said yes he asked me how often and how long it had been going on. He counseled me to talks to my parents about it and being the good Mormon boy I did. What a disaster! Every couple of months for years my mom would ask me “how are you doing with your little problem?” Eventually I started to lie to her and the bishop. It made me feel like I was unclean and failing being so weak. I’d put it out of my mind a long time and moved on, but my childhood view of sex and sexuality was pretty warped. I stumbled across your blog and it all rolled back. Thanks a lot buddy!! Lol. I have made sure that will never happen to my kids, making them shame and warped sexually about something so ridiculous as this. I have a old ex bishop buddy said it was in his questions to ask, but he rarely asked it because it always made the room feel darkened and the kids uncomfortable. He left the church too right after he was released. In Catholicism you just confess and it’s up to you what you talk about. No probing questions. That seems more realistic and safe to me, if you feel the need to bare your burdens.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. You’ve got it all figured out Gary.
        To deny the actuality of Gods truth being handled by imperfect people is possibly on the ground that, because we cannot comprehend the means, the reported results are fictitious (as you so confidently say over and over), is to arrogate to the human mind the attribute of omniscience, by implying that what man cannot comprehend (which you clearly cannot) cannot be, and that therefore he is able to comprehend all that is…..Talmage

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Hello, BT,

        Thank you for weighing in.

        I almost agree with you!

        I do not claim to have it ALL figured out, but I sure as hell DO indeed claim to have the LDS Church pretty much figured out. The succinct summary only requires two words and one punctuation mark.

        Joseph lied.

        To dismiss the egregiously un-Christ-like attitudes and behaviors of Joseph Smith and The Brethren of our generation as mere “imperfection” is clear evidence of a brain that’s been washed clean of rational cognition.

        I won’t take time to dissect and enumerate the impressive assortment of Logical Fallacies contained in your post. Without really trying, I see a half dozen clear examples sprinkled in there.

        Generalities don’t mean much, so I will spend a few minutes to help you understand where you shot your own toes off with what you wrote.

        “…the actuality of Gods [sic] truth being handled by imperfect people …”

        Actuality? Like as settled fact? Says who? Who is the authority you cite to validate your claim? Are you relying on your own personal Testimony of the Truthfulness of the Restored Gospel? Are YOU the authority?

        Whose truth? God’s truth? Which God? The one with a resurrected body of flesh and bones who appeared to Joseph Smith up in the air in the trees near his home … in SOME (not all ) of the nine versions of the First Vision tale?

        Do you mean the God of the Old Testament . . . the white-bearded Sky Dude who played hooky from his Anger Management Therapy Group too many times? The God whose favorite pastime was smiting his naughty children?

        “… because we cannot comprehend the means, the reported results are fictitious … ”

        This is the classic StrawMan argument. I never argued what you wrote. What I do claim is that I have an excellent comprehension of the “means” AND the “results”.

        The “means” was a very clever Joseph Smith making up tall tales about people who never existed doing things that never happened . . . with the intention of impressing others to hold him in high enough regard to follow him anywhere and do whatever he asked them to do.

        What are some of Joseph’s results? Does that include sexual intercourse with around three dozen lucky females, including several already-married ladies and a few young teenagers?

        Yeah, I guess you could see some of Joseph’s results as “imperfection” and then dismiss it because of the “actuality” that Joseph was “handling God’s truth” . . . at least when he was not busy handling female anatomy.

        ” … is to arrogate to the human mind the attribute of omniscience, by implying that what man cannot comprehend (which you clearly cannot) cannot be, and that therefore he is able to comprehend all that is…..Talmage”

        You (or is it Talmage) are suggesting that I claim to be omniscent? Because I believe that anything I do not comprehend does not exist, therefore I comprehend all that exists?

        I am omniscent enough to diagnose your unfortunate condition, BT. Seems to me you are suffering from …

        TBM Toxic Brain Malfunction . . . created by Joseph Smith and administered by The Brethren today in the form of sanitized, correlated Kool-Aid.

        This sounds bad, but it’s really not a problem. You are free to wake up and figure it all out anytime the “actual” Spirit moves you to stop letting Mind Control Masters do you thinking for you.

        Been there. Done that. Got out.

        Leaving my 5-generation Mormon Heritage in the rear-view mirror (back in 1980) is the single healthiest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life, B.T.

        Compared to the condition of my brain for the first 30 years of my life, I AM virtually omniscient. At least I am now free to participate fully in the Amazing Adventure of Life on Planet Earth and no longer think that I “know the TRUTH!” like I did when I was a TBM.

        Please stay in the Church, B.T. The Brethren are counting on you . . . as they count their many blessings . . . name them one by one . . . aka . . . your Tithing payments.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Dear Gary,

        This response is NOT to you. It is to anyone else who reads these comments.

        Gary and I don’t see eye to eye. We see heart to heart. Our beliefs don’t all line up. But our love for one another is totally in alignment. This is my friend who openly attacks the church. Yet, I would go to battle in his defense at a moments notice. As I know he would for me.

        What a marvel it would be, if the world could disagree while at the same time our loving arms are wrapped around each other. It’s possible. Gary and I have achieved it.

        Now back to you, Gary…I love you my brother!


  6. Hey, Sam!

    This response IS to YOU, Sam. Not to anyone else who reads these comments.

    You are up too late, but I’m probably worse than you about not going to bed at anything close to a reasonable hour of the morning.

    So … you characterized me as your friend who openly attacks the Church. Gotta confess, “Guilty as charged.”

    I have to scrutinize the word “attack.” Its meaning could suggest aggression that is not deserved. Not true in this case.

    It’s time for me to cite a memorized passage from my favorite author/teacher, David. R. Hawkins, RIP.

    “To stand firm with the Sword of Truth against the onslaught of oppressive forces is different than hating them or seeking revenge. Non-attachment does not mean passivity or non-action, Thus, one can take a stance in defense of innocence as a commitment to the integrity of truth. If Life is sacred, then to defend Life is aligned with the will of God and does not constitute an act of aggression.”

    I see myself … not so much as attacking the Church … but more as a Defender of innocent members who have been ingeniously and cleverly TRICKED and DECEIVED into believing an impressive Litany of Lies and outright falsehoods presented as not only truth, but as God’s Truth … by opportunistic con artists intent on enslaving and exploiting … not hundreds or thousands or tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands … but in reality … literally MILLIONS of otherwise intelligent, thoughtful, kind and generous human beings.

    Human beings are very vulnerable to falling victim to clever deceptions and manipulations. Particularly when one is literally born into a Mind Control Cult to parents whose minds are under full control of others, the result is . . . well . . . the first 30 years of my life, and the first 62 years of your life, Sam.

    I intentionally choose strong and direct language to describe the Church as I see it and to bluntly characterize the brain damage suffered by TBMs in clear and succinct terminology. I freely admit that my own personal brain was damaged by The Brethren via my parents and righteous Mormon upbringing.

    When I say “Been there. Done that.” it is a literally true statement. My great great uncle wrote the beloved Mormon hymn “O How Lovely Was the Morning.” It’s a beautiful and inspiring song about an event that NEVER HAPPENED. If one bases one’s entire life, hopes and dreams upon an event that NEVER HAPPENED . . . what could possibly go wrong?

    Sam, I am happy for you to write whatever you wanna write on your excellent blog and use whatever means seem best for you to communicate with your readers.

    It would be nice if subtle and encouraging language effectively wakes people up. Sometimes it does. At other times, being hit in the side of the head with a shovel is what’s actually needed to shock and wake up a brain that’s been asleep for decades.

    By way of clarification, I never speak with the in-person TBMs in my life with the tones I write on your blog. In fact, I very rarely even talk about the Church in person with TBMs, including my extended family. And curiously, the TBMs in my life virtually NEVER talk about the Church with me either. Many know that I am a former TBM, and curiously do not overtly express any curiosity about what went “wrong” for me. They probably do not want to know.

    As opposed to good and decent members of the Church, I do not feel any need or desire to show any respect whatsoever for The Brethren. I see clearly their true colors. I see clearly that The Brethren would waste no time excommunicating Jesus Christ Himself if he showed up incognito as a TBM and dared to act on His own teachings . . . in direct and proximate defiance of the teachings and policies enforced by The Brethren in the name of Jesus Christ.

    You know EXACTLY what I am talking about, Sam.

    I love you, my dear friend. I feel blessed and smiled-upon to have the privilege of a “Bromance” relationship with you. As we have read on this blog, others are watching us. That tickles me, for some reason.

    Now go to bed and get some sleep! I’ll do the same in a few hours. (It’s two hours earlier here than where you are.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Up and at ’em here.

      “Being hit in the side of the head with a shovel is what’s actually needed to shock and wake up a brain.” I think you are on to something.

      God sent an angel with a flaming sword to threaten Joseph Smith with certain destruction. That was deity’s way to wake up Joseph’s brain to the point that he would finally start marrying 14 year olds and other men’s wives. I can’t even imagine how hard that would have been for a man of Joseph’s caliber.

      If I’d been Joseph, God’s flaming sword probably wouldn’t have worked. I would have required your swinging shovel to knock me senseless enough to engage in polygamy. But, then again, I’m probably not prophetic material.


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