The Gloves are Off

LionTonight I sent this letter to my stake president and the newspaper.

Dear President ________,

Last Thursday, I held a news conference in Salt Lake City.  All the major media outlets showed up.  You’ll find the link below.

As I mentioned in a previous communication, media attention is coming to Houston.  In early February, I’m doing a press conference here like the one in SLC.  The media is very interested in this topic.  They are all stunned at what we are doing to our kids.

We have done massive harm to our children by our interview practices.  At this point, I’ve collected over 1,000 stories of horrid consequences.  Read them here.  Inform yourself as to why YOU should take action now.

Until last Thursday, I was giving bishops the benefit of the doubt.  That they are good men, with good intentions.

However, once we know that our interview protocol puts our children at great risk, we are NOT good men if we continue that practice.

From today on, if a bishop takes a child behind closed doors, all alone….he is not a good man.  He has harmed our children.

From this day forward, if a bishop asks a child about masturbation or any other sexual matter…he is not a good man.  He has harmed that child.

If you don’t understand how this damages our children, then inform yourself.  I have wanted to meet with you for months to discuss these issues.  I’d still like to do that.  But, I’m done waiting for the church, the ward or the stake to make changes.  Every week that goes by, further damage is done.  You are better than that.

I call on you to immediately halt one-on-one interviews with all children and youth.  Have a parent in all meetings with any child.

I call on you to immediately halt all questions about masturbation and other sexually explicit questions.  DO.NOT.SHAME.OUR.CHILDREN.

Order your bishops to protect the children…right now.  Have them cease these dangerous and damaging interviews.

You are the pastoral leader of a huge flock.  Be our pastoral leader.  Advocate for the children.  You might take some heat from your ecclesiastical superiors.  But, your concern should be for the well-being of the children in this stake, rather than compliance to directions from other men.

I have risked my reputation to speak out.  It’s affected my livelihood.  I’ve lost customers.  I’ve lost friends.  I’ve made the decision to die on this hill.  The hill of protecting children.  Ultimately, my reputation will remain intact.  Everyone outside of the church is appalled by what we are doing.  Many inside the church are also aghast.  Unfortunately, there is such fear in our Mormon culture, that those inside don’t speak up.

By not taking immediate action, you are also putting your reputation at risk.  No one outside of the church is going to think highly of a man who takes children behind closed doors and questions them about masturbation.  I no longer think highly of them, either.  I know the damages.  I have communicated them to every bishopric in the stake.  If you and they are not informed as to how we are harming our kids, you have no excuse.

Here’s my invitation.  Send a directive out to the bishops immediately.  Tell them to stop the interviews until things are sorted out.  Take the lead.  Don’t wait for a directive from the church.

Join me at the Houston news conference.  You make the announcement that you recognize the harms we have done and that we have changed course to never do this to our kids again.

The entire non-Mormon community will applaud your integrity and bravery.  The members in the stake will applaud you, too.  After all, these are their kids you are looking to protect.

You’ll likely receive some kind of censure from the church.  But, not from Jesus Christ.  He spoke unequivocally about our obligation to provide safety for our children:

“Whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”

Jesus made His point.  I am not going to be hanged by the millstone.  Let’s stand with Christ for our children’s sake on this one.

With determination,

Sam

Links in the e-mail

News conference

Read the Stories

 

 

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11 thoughts on “The Gloves are Off

  1. My daughter has been following this and told me no sexual related questions happened to her in the ward she grew up in. However, it happened to me not as a child but when I served my mission years ago (I was a convert so I never experienced child interviews). How is anyone to know which leadership asks the sexually explicit questions and which ones don’t? Leadership should model moral behavior and stop these “interviews”.

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    1. I honestly don’t believe it when people say they haven’t been asked these questions. They are literally required questions (asking about chastity is. More specific questions like ones about masturbation are left to the discretion pf the bishop). So if a bishop doesn’t ask this, it is because they are not complying with the church. Which is very important to note because when people say “that didn’t happen to me” it means they either got lucky and were an exception or they are lying. Either way, it does nothing to change this horrible policy.

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  2. Whenever a religious leader asks a child (or anyone for that matter) questions about their sexuality and then starts giving advice and recommendations based on the answers, he is acting as if he is qualified as a sex therapist. I have no problem with this if the person giving the advice is trained to provide therapy. If they are not properly trained they are more than likely doing harm. At a minimum the standard of should be to “do no harm!” Jesus put it this way: “Whoso shall harms one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We’re with you Sam! Please post the details on the Houston news conference when you have them so we can go. We’re even looking at flights for the march in SLC!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you Sam for the courage you have shown..it is amazing. As a result of personal experiences involving priesthood youth interviews with traumatic consequences for us as parents, and the baptisms etc. in 2009-2010 of Jesus Christ in various temples, facilitated by the LDS Church, and also second anointings, my husband and I resigned in 2017. You are the Knight in shining armour for LDS Children and their parents, sent by God in answer to prayers, now and in the future. Do not be discouraged as you have shown your efforts are already bearing fruits.

    Just a thought: Shunning = Sweeping Under The Carpet.

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