A few years ago, my wife and I, along with two of our daughters, visited the American Cemetery on the beaches of Normandy. I was struck with somber reverence. Row after row of rectangular headstones representing the sacrifice of one life after another.
It was December. The sky was gray. The weather cold and blustery. The tour guide walked us through the gravestones recounting stories of the fallen. I teared up frequently as I pondered what happened so long ago. It was an honor to walk among the noble.
These are sacred stories.
Today, there’s another location that’s scattered with sacred stories. Row after row of white rectangles recounting the lost innocence of one child after another. Childhoods sacrificed by shame and self-loathing. Their worth was demolished behind closed and lonely chapel doors.
At first blush, these children’s stories don’t sound noble. Oh…but they are. They are so noble. Their innocence crushed by inappropriate shame. Now as adults, they’ve had the courage to share their hurt and pain on a white rectangle in a computer pane.
These children’s somber stories will help other victims heal. Others now know they are not alone. Others now know as a child they were wronged. The authors of these stories should also know that they are heroes. It’s they who will stop these wrongs in the future.
I’ve read every last word of every last story. I’ve shed many a tear as I’ve pondered what happened so long ago. It is an honor to walk among these noble.
These are sacred stories.
Gently I now ask, if you have a sacred story of childhood shame inflicted behind the closed doors of the bishops walls, I invite you to share….but only if you are ready.
P.S. To the 202 of you who have shared your tender and vulnerable stories, thank you my friends. I see you. I hear you. I love you.
6 thoughts on “Sacred Stories–Graveyard of Our Children’s Innocence”
Thank you for your continuing efforts to Wake Decent People Up to what is happening under their noses within the 30,000 Bishops’ offices of The Only True Church.
It is a tall order to ignite awareness within brains and psyches that have been lulled unconscious by the hypnotic cadence delivered from the General Conference pulpit.
“My dear brothers and sisters . . . . ”
The two dots shown below are Very Difficult for civilized human beings with kind and generous hearts to connect.
The Brethren . . . . . . Killing Children
You have connected those two dots, Sam.
And this is NOT OK with Sam Young.
Your courageous crusade to Protect the Children is awakening thousands of other previously slumbering psyches to the horror of what The Brethren have been perpetrating for generations . . . and show no sign of stopping . . . that is, until Sam Young came along.
Please, please, please, Dear People.
Please connect those dots.
It’s gonna stop, thanks to one courageous Lionheart of a Man.
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Sam, did something happen that I missed. please enlighten?
Sam I appreciate your passion and resolve, I know you to be a good man with a good heart. That’s what has motivated me to want to share a few observations from my viewpoint. I hope you don’t mind or feel offended if we don’t see things totally the same way. I’m sorry to hear how your meeting went with President H and Bishop K, I understand to some small degree both sides here. I believe you bring lots of good insight on the youth and interviews, which will help me as I try and serve as a YM president. I would love to see some changes like maybe small windows on a Bishops door that is visible when interviewing youth, and the option for parents to be allowed in if the youth would like them to be in there (Which I think most Bishops would honor anyways). I do feel the last option stated might be more beneficial for younger kids, than teens. To me it seems like at that age if I had something on my mind that I wanted to share I might be more willing to open up with my Bishop than a parent honestly. It’s sometimes hard enough to share things with one person, much less having 2 or even more in the same room. For fear of rambling I wanted to comment on 3 things you’ve mentioned in the past. 1) Bishops aren’t trained…They may not have a degree hanging on their wall but for the ones I’ve met and associated with they have a lot of life experience that they can draw on to help counsel and direct our youth to use their agency to make good decisions for themselves. These are employers, employees, fathers, husbands and friends and when they are faced with particular situations that they may not fully be aware of how to proceed on they don’t hesitate to direct the person to a Family services counselor if needed. Some of the articles I’ve read seem to paint Bishops as totally unfit and unqualified to help an individual? You were once in the same shoes and I know some people, younger and older who are grateful to have had you as a Bishop and were blessed by your counsel and wisdom though you don’t have a psych degree. 2) I love the youth of the church, they are some of the finest that I have ever met. They love, they serve, they truly inspire me to be a better person. I believe the church is in good hands with the coming generation. They don’t drink, smoke, curse and they love to learn about Christ even in the early morning hours of seminary as you’ve seen. We hold them to a higher standard, different than those of the world. They may be in the world but they are not of it. Those being on the outside looking in won’t understand why we do things the way we do. Is it because we’re perverts and interested in the sexual activity of the youth for our own lusts or is there a reason for it? The articles written portray the youth we love like Daniel walking into a lions den. Most don’t seem to mention that most parents are fully aware of interview times for their kids, or that typically parents are just outside the door in a foyer or that a clerks office has a door attached to the Bishops office where someone is usually working on something just a few feet away. Most people won’t understand that the reason Bishops ask whether a youth is living the law of chastity is typically because of a temple recommend and because we love them and want to help them rise above this world not because we’re pervs? 3) This may be even more sensitive than the other 2 if that’s possible. Like you, It really pains me to read some of the stories posted, my heart truly hurts for them and I pray the Lord helps them to find some sort of peace and healing and that justice is dealt swiftly to those who have harmed our loved ones. I would also hope that this awareness helps those hurt to speak up quickly. I do have to be wary that the possibility exists that there are those out there that would have ulterior motives in sharing particular experiences or even fabricating to discredit, to shame and to profit from such. Just as I’m aware that because of our weakness we will have Bishops and leaders who will do things that they shouldn’t. I want to make right decisions, lately it seems like allegations are truth. Guilty until proven innocent, if that sounds harsh I’m sorry but it is a part of the world we are all a part of.
I do believe there are areas we can improve on to safe guard both the people we love, the youth and the leader. I just have been saddened lately with the direction things are going Sam. I will continue to pray that we all (especially me!) can be conscientious and that we may continue to worship and inspire and motivate each other to be better than we are now.
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Thank you for sharing your perspective on bishops interviewing LDS kids about their sexuality.
There are several layers of issues to consider, but one of the most egregious harms done to Mormon kids is to teach them that masturbation is a sin, a moral transgression, and a violation of the Law of Chastity.
Exploring one’s own body and discovering that God created us with some built-in pleasure pathways is not sinful. It is normal human behavior. Troweling on shame and guilt for the crime of being born human is child abuse.
Good thing that sneezing is not a violation of the Law of Chastity. Sneezing is kinda like an itty-bitty orgasm, so maybe The Brethren should add sneezing to the list of immoral behaviors.
And what about hiccups? Probably not. Nothing pleasurable about hiccups. But sneezing? There’s that split second at the top of the sneeze that kinda feels good.
May God damn us to hell if we do something that feels good.
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I enjoy reading your comments. One can quickly see you are a very intelligent individual with quite a sense of humor. I feel lacking as a try to gather just a couple of thoughts together and form a coherent sentence Lol. I agree quite a bit with what you say actually with few differences here and there. Our bodies are amazing in the things they can do, exploration, coming to understand our bodies and powerful emotions shouldn’t be something we should be made to feel guilt or shame over. This definitely an area we need to be caring and encouraging in, some training and teaching would be great for the leadership on how to better do this. Personally here’s how I see masturbation and perhaps how it may be viewed in the church. Maybe the easiest way for me to explain it is with a proverb I heard once that I’m sure a lot of people are familiar with “For Want of a Nail”
For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the message was lost.
For want of a message the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.
President Monson was fond of saying that large doors hang on small hinges. I believe it’s the same with masturbation. Like you in and of it self it may not be such a bad thing, what I worry about is what spawns from it. Masturbation can lead to things like pornography, promiscuity, petting, to being more adventurous maybe strip clubs and so forth. It can be such a powerful thing, that we counsel our youth and the membership at large to exercise control. I’ve watched and heard of many families broken apart because of such addictions. Many will argue that if I just think of my wife or husband while I do it is that OK? I think the same premise applies though that after a while it has to be more creative and daring to get aroused. Interviews with leaders should be encouraging and uplifting, providing support to youth and members at large. I’ve been in more interviews than I can remember and fortunately this is how they’ve been for me, and I wish that they could be that way for everyone. We need to do a better job of lifting others as a whole.
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Thanks for your very thoughtful comments!