Samaritan’s Party: Apology & Challenge

good-samaritanSunday August 12, was another historic day in Mormon history.  A gathering was held entitled “The Samaritan’s party.”  You’ll discover the significance of the title below.  Hundred’s joined together to hear the words of survivors, therapists and Mormon bishops.  The music was very touching and inspirational.

President Russell M. Nelson was invited to come.  Hopes were high that he would show up.  The format of the meeting was set with him in mind, very similar to a Mormon sacrament meeting…without the sacrament.

Even though President Nelson failed to arrive, many said the meeting was the most spiritual they had ever experienced.  Many shed tears.  I shed hard tears.  I’m not sure how a gathering like this could ever be duplicated.

You can witness it yourself on Youtube.  The actual program begins at the 46:30 minute mark.


Several items made this an historic moment in Mormondom

  1. It marks 16 days of a hunger strike by an ordained Mormon bishop to change a dangerous policy that has harmed many many children.
  2. The sitting head of a Mormon congregation publicly called for the policy to change.
  3. Thirty-nine Mormon bishops openly apologized to past victims for the shame, self-loathing, sexual abuse and other horrific trauma that they have endured.
  4. An ordained Mormon bishop issued a second open challenge to the apostles of the Mormon Church.

I don’t have the transcript of the many wonderful speeches.  However, I do have the text of the Bishops’ Apology and the Samaritan’s challenge.

Bishops’ Apology

As Bishops having been ordained by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with humility and boldness, we apologize to you, the thousands of children, now adults, who were harmed by bishop interviews.

We didn’t understand how our words and actions could be dangerous and damaging.  We know now.  Some of you were groomed for tragic sexual abuse.  We apologize.  Some were sexually assaulted by their own bishops.  How can we apologize for something so unconscionable?  We.are.sorry. 

We recognize that thousands were mercilessly and most often inadvertently shamed.  Shamed into self-loathing as youth.  Oh how we apologize for that.  Many were shamed into making very poor life choices.  Some were shamed into taking their own lives.  To the parents, we sincerely apologize.  Many of you have suffered for decades with open wounds from what happened to you behind closed doors.  We are sorry and offer our sincere apology.

You are worthy.  You were always worthy.  We see you.  We hear you.  We give you voice.  What happened to you was wrong.  So wrong.  Hand in hand with you, victims of our dreadful policy, we now march forward to protect the children and youth of today.  Our sorrow is not expressed in words alone.  Hopefully, you will recognize our contrition by our actions.

We love you.

Many bishops, branch presidents and councilors have come forward to publicly declare their apology to you.  We will now read their names.  (Names are found below.)

The Samaritan’s Party—Sam’s Address and Challenge to the Apostles

30  A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.

31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.

32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.

33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,

34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.

36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?

37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

What a gorgeous parable.  One of the many reasons I love the teachings and example of Jesus.  We are all gathered here as part of the Samaritan’s party.

For decades, church policies have struck down our children as wounded on the side of the road.  For those same decades, we had no idea that these little ones were stripped of their self-worth and left for half dead.  My dear wounded friends, we see you now.  Unlike the priesthood in Christ’s parable, we are attempting to act as the Samaritan.  We come to where you are, we bind your wounds with compassion, validation and apology.  We now see you.  We will not pass you by on the other side of the road.  We love you.

Now, as an ordained bishop in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, on behalf of my wounded friends, I make my 2nd challenge to the apostles of my church.  The 1st being 29 Questions  

Dear apostles, you are special witnesses of Jesus Christ.  That should carry a special responsibility.  On this 16th day of my fast, I challenge you as special witnesses to embrace Christ’s parable of the Good Samaritan.  Act like the Samaritan.  As Jesus said,  “Go, and do thou likewise.”

  Certainly, you must see the wounded on the side of the road now.  Thousands of their stories were painstakingly delivered to your doorstep last March.  I challenge you to cross the road.  Bind up their wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set them on your own beast, bring them to an inn, and take care of them. 

They were not beaten by thieves.  Rather, they were wounded and stripped behind the closed doors of good men.  Good men without understanding.  Good men following an unfortunate mandate emanating from your office.

So, here is my 2nd challenge to you, dear apostles:  Be Samaritans, not priests who pass by on the other side of the road.  Cross the road and join this party of Samaritans.  I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ whom I serve, Amen.

Program Order

  • Jeni Gozart:  Program Conductor
  • Melissa Draper:  Music Director
  • Martine Dirick Smith:  Music Conductor
  • Technical Director:  Tim Coray
  • Where Can I Turn For Peace:  Opening Hymn
  • Lisa Mayo Murphy:  Opening Prayer
  • Melodi Diamond:  Survivor #1
  • Tara Workman Tulley:  Therapist
  • Jessalyn Speight:  Survivor #2
  • Melissa Draper & Tamsyn Spackman:  Instrumental, Jesus Once Was a Little Child.  Violin and Keyboard.
  • Brian Bresee:  Survivor #3–Son died of suicide.
  • Tammie Johnson Ellis:  Therapist
  • Bishop Stuart Smith:  Bishop’s address
  • Bishop Bill Moore:  Bishops’ Apology
  • Bishop Earl Erskine:  Reading of Councilor names
  • Bishop Russell Bennion:  Reading of Bishop/Branch President names
  • Kristen Jenson:  Vocal, You’ll Never Walk Alone
  • Jaimee Echert-Griffin:  Survivor #4
  • Bishop Sam Young:  The Samaritan’s Apology
  • A Child’s Prayer:  Closing Song
  • Emily Micklos:  Closing Prayer

A special thanks to members of the choir and other musicians  They all contributed to wonderfully sounding music.

Bishops Who Publicly Apologize

  1. Lane Bagley
  2. Eric Bendorf
  3. Russell Bennion
  4. Joshua Biggley—Canada
  5. Vince Cockbain—South Africa
  6. Brian Cowley
  7. Matthew Crandall—Currently serving as Branch Pres of the Tallin Branch in Estonia
  8. Earl Erskine
  9. Sebastien Faudin
  10. Mike Hancey
  11. Rick Hansen
  12. Heber Henke
  13. Scott Hoyt
  14. Matt Ireland
  15. Steve Johnson
  16. Kirby Justesen
  17. Tom Kauffman
  18. Kevin Kloosterman
  19. Mike LeBaron
  20. Jared Lusk
  21. Isaac Mathews
  22. Gary Mitchell
  23. Bill Moore
  24. Bryant Richard Newell
  25. Garth Ogzewalla
  26. Bart Pascoal
  27. Brent Patterson
  28. Kevin L. Priddy
  29. Scott Purvis
  30. Casey Randall
  31. Bill Reel
  32. JonathanReid
  33. Robin Richey
  34. Russ Ryan
  35. David Silsby—UK
  36. Stuart Smith
  37. Wally Taylor
  38. Frederick Volcansek
  39. Sam Young

Councilors Who Publicly Apologize

  1. Benoit Allmbert
  2. Ammon Buehler
  3. Reed Burk
  4. Jamie Lee Christensen
  5. Thomas Christensen
  6. Wade Christensen
  7. Curtis L. Craven
  8. Rob Thomas Damascus
  9. Matt Dana
  10. Scott Davis
  11. Dean Doll—Canada
  12. Brock Ebmeyer
  13. Wagner R. Ferreira
  14. Abe Gardner
  15. Matt George
  16. John Griffith
  17. Greg Hanning
  18. John Harwood—Australia
  19. Chad Hastings
  20. Joseph Hollenbaugh
  21. James Jenson
  22. Peter Jeppsen
  23. Kevin Johnson
  24. Ron Johnson
  25. Bryce Kerby
  26. Jake Malouf
  27. Joe McCaul
  28. Paul Miller
  29. David Murdock
  30. Ben Rogers
  31. Douglas S. Satterfield
  32. Tyler Slack
  33. Jeremy Steenblik—Currrently serving as 1st bishopric councilor
  34. David Vance
  35. David Wilson


5 thoughts on “Samaritan’s Party: Apology & Challenge

  1. Well done, Sam.

    Turns out that Jesus did not have to come again to Protect LDS Children.

    He sent his Little Lionheart Brother, Sam Young, to handle it.


    This thought occurred to me recently.


    Let’s start calling that THE GATEWAY QUESTION.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Gateway Question is exactly what it is. When abused in one direction, it is permission to pry for every jot and tittle of every iota of a young person’s most private and intimate personal history. When abused in the other direction? It’s how whitewashed seplechural liars, especially already endowed adult ones, get into the temple with a spring in their step and a whistle on their lips . Simply by answering yes.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “They say that the truth will set you free,
        but then again, so will a lie
        It all depends if you’re trying to get to the promised land
        Or just trying to get by.”
        -Ani DiFranco

        Liked by 1 person

  2. The questioning I had as a youth, being told I had no consent at church dances (I had to say yes to everyone who asked), led me to an abusive marriage – I couldn’t say no to him. So, for this apology, I thank you all. It’s too late for me – I am much happier and closer to God now than I ever was in the Church, but maybe this beginning of a change will help 2 of my kids who are still attending. I am terrified for them, especially my daughter.

    Liked by 1 person

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