Mormon God

first-presidency-2018

  • I was Mormon for 66 years of my life. During that time, I never met God.  I never saw God except in paint and sculpture.  He is a concept in my mind.  My kids are real, living flesh and blood.  Abraham is a stark example of Mormon God.  I’m sorry, but I’m not sorry.  If God were to tell me to kill my child, I would firmly let Him know that I was not willing to commit an immoral act.  And, that He as God should embrace the common morals that mankind already understands:  Killing children is heinous.  If my morality (not being willing to kill my child) sends me to hell…fine.  I’m still going to love my children above the “invisible God,” as Paul referred to him.
  • In January 2018, my stake president threatened excommunication for publicly speaking out against Mormon policies that were harming children. He said that he had an obligation to protect “the good name” of the Church.  I’m sorry, but I’m not sorry.  I put the safety of children above “the good name” of any church.  It’s ironic & detestable that ‘Jesus Christ’ would be part of the name of a church which puts protecting their name above the interests of children.
  • On the eve of my hunger strike in July 2018, the stake president told me that he’d received this revelation for me: “Walk away, Sam.  Walk away.”  According to Mormon doctrine, the stake president represents Mormon God’s will.  Well…I no longer revere a God whose will is that adults are to “walk away” from children who are being hurt.
  • In September 2018, the Mormon Church told me to disavow my words and actions regarding their treatment of children. If I didn’t, they would excommunicate.  A threat from the Mormon God.  If I didn’t shut up, sit down and stop my warning cry in behalf of all children in the LDS Church, I would be branded with the scarlet letter ‘A.’  ‘A’ for apostasy.  Sorry Mormon God, but I’m not sorry.  I have more respect and love for children than I do for a God who loves silence over safety.
  • Mormon bishops are called by Mormon God. This year several sitting bishops have been arrested for sex crimes.  One was caught in an undercover human trafficking investigation trying to recruit prostitutes to work for him.  One for sexually abusing boys in his ward.  One for molesting over 30 children.  And a few days ago, a bishop was arrested for distributing child porn.  The police believe he has sexually assaulted children in Utah and other states.  All these men were called by Mormon God and given “unfettered access” to children alone behind closed doors.

Really?  This is the God Mormons worship?  I used to be Mormon.  I used to worship Mormon God.  Excommunication was a gift that opened my eyes.  No longer will I revere a God who possesses less decency than a common man.

Excommunication is a violent act

chopping block

Excommunication is a violent act!

I first heard this statement from John Dehlin on a Mormon Stories podcast.  I dismissed it as an emotional exaggeration.

Then it was my turn.  As the excommunication tribunal approached, I was not thinking, “This is going to be violent.”  My immediate interest was figuring out how to use the church court to as a vehicle to bring more awareness to the plight of Mormon children.

Now I know better.  Post excommunication, if you choose to continue associating with the Mormon community, it messes with your head.  The frequency and duration of the trauma is  gradually subsiding.  Sometimes it comes rushing back, if only for a moment.  Today, was one of those moments.

My wife went to church this morning.  A former member of our congregation was visiting.  She is a fine person.  Our families have been friends for years.   Due to her husband’s church status, she hobnobs with the elite leadership of the LDS Church.  Of course, my wife was happy to see her.  They chit-chatted about what the kids and grand-kids were doing.  My name was never bought up.

Here’s the violent part.  As my wife shared the encounter with me, I thought, “This old friend believes that at the end of mortality , my wife will be given to another man!!!  That she will be a polygamous wife for eternity.  Relegated to the unenviable status of the 2nd, or the 3rd or the 100th wife.  Never to have any association with her excommunicated apostate husband ever again.   Behind the polite smile, my friend believes that my children will be provided another father.  My grandchildren will be given to another grandfather.  Their beloved dad and granddad ripped forever from their presence.”

I don’t believe any of that crap.  It’s idiotic made-up doctrine.  Conjured up to justify the aspirations of a few men to have sex with as many women as their loins desired.

My TBM* friends claim that they believe what the prophets have taught.  They KNOW that the Mormon Church is the ONLY true church on the face of the earth.  They KNOW that the prophets and apostles speak with and for God.  If they KNOW all that, then they must believe that my wife, children and grandchildren will be torn from my side and given to a worthy and righteous man.  Perhaps to the very husband of our friend in high places whose conversation brought all these thoughts to mind.

Excommunication is a violent act!

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*TBM = True Believing Mormon

My Eternal Damnation–A letter to my Mormon Friends

apostasy-plan of salvationWhen I was growing up, it was common for children to be given a “Book of Remembrance.”  I was proud of mine.  My mother had done a ton of family history research.  She found pictures of many ancestors, copied their faces and pasted the photos in the family tree section.  It was fascinating to ruminate on those images of my grandparents up the line.

Book of Remembrance templates were sold by the church.  Right at the beginning of each book was a graphic representation of the Plan of Salvation.  I loved its clear and plain presentation.  From an early age, I knew that apostates were evil and destined for a nightmarish future.  The picture above is very similar to the page included in my Book of Remembrance.

In addition, Spencer W. Kimball taught in his book “The Miracle of Forgiveness” that excommunication is worse than death.

Dear Mormon Friends & Family,

Your prophets teach that apostates end up in outer darkness at worst or the Telestial Kingdom at best.  Both are places of eternal separation from family.  

Do you, my dear Mormon friends & family, follow your prophets on this one? Do you believe that I will be forever consigned to a dwelling with no light and no glory?  Or maybe a step above, where I’ll spend eternity with murderers and rapists?

Just so you know, sometimes it is hard on me to be around believing Mormons.  Often, the thought creeps in that you support and sustain the prophet in condemning me to a fate “worse than death.”  That you believe I am not worthy to ever see my wife or my children after I die.  You may say that you don’t condemn me.  But, don’t you in actuality condemn me if you sustain the fact that your prophet has condemned me?

Contemplating what you may believe can play interesting tricks on my mind. 

I am hoping that eventually, this mental drama will fade away.  Especially, since I no longer believe in a God who would make such an inane judgment.  The trauma playing out in my mind has nothing to do with MY worries for the after life.  It’s all about standing in front of someone knowing they might believe what their prophets have taught them about my eternal damnation.

Maybe I’m wrong.  Perhaps God’s morals are different from mine and he’s going to support the prophet’s decision sending me to Mormon hell.  If that were to be the case, I would still stand up to protect children and to help heal the wounded.  I would rather sacrifice my eternal reward than to compromise my integrity and moral compass.   After all, what the heck is salvation worth if I have turn a blind eye to children’s suffering.

Warm regards, Sam

 

Appeal Response–Zombies in our Midst

first-presidency-2018

Around 2pm today,  I received a call from the stake executive secretary.  He informed me that the stake president would like to come by and visit right away.   My home was a-swirl in wedding preparations.  So, we decided to meet in the church at 4:15.

I arrived at 4:00.  No one there.  I sat on the couch facing the outside door where the stake president makes his entrances.

At 4:15, the stake president and my former bishop made their timely appearance.  I stood.  We shook hands.  The stake president gave me a hug.  About one minute of pleasantries. Then, as we stood in the hallway, the following interchange ensued .

SP:  The First Presidency has reviewed and responded to your appeal.

SAM:  Cool.

SP:  They have affirmed the decision of the council.

SAM:  Okay.

SP:  I wanted to pass that on to you and also extend warm regards.  I urge you to qualify to return in the prescribed way.  I wanted to deliver that message on their behalf.

SAM:  So, it’s not in writing or email?

SP:  I’ve received a letter.

SAM:  Do I get a letter?

SP:  No.

SAM:  I don’t get a letter on this?

SP:  No, its’ just a verbal one.

SAM:  Okay.  I’ve got a couple of questions on this.  First, before the council, I signed an agreement not to record.  The letter said that everyone on the council was going to sign that agreement and that no one was to record it in any form.  But, I didn’t see anybody else sign it.  You had me sign it here in the hall.  Can I get a copy of everybody else’s signatures who signed the “no record agreement?”

SP:  I’ll check on that and see.

SAM:  Is that not your decision to make?

SP:  I’m not prepared to answer your questions right now.

SAM:  Okay.

SP:  We’ve gone through the council and I’m here to deliver that message.

(He slowly starts to back towards the outside door.)

SAM:  The second thing I’d like to ask is this.  Nobody was supposed to record anything.  Yet, Joey was there to record it in writing.  Since I was forbidden to record it, I’d like to get a copy of the record that you all made.  Can I get a copy that?

SP:  I don’t know.  Those are confidential on our part.

SAM:  But, I heard everything that went on in that council.  I was told not to record and I was told that nobody else was going to record it.  But you guys did record it.

SP:  Sam, I’m just here to deliver this message.

SAM:  Well, since you mentioned my preparing to return, I’ve got one other question.

SP:  Uh huh.

(SP turns and increases his pace towards the front door.  I follow.)

SAM:  What do I need to do in order to come back?

SP:  It’s written in the letter that you received from me.

SAM:  It just said that I needed to join the covenant path and repent.  But I……(Cut off by the SP.)

(They pass through the 1st outside door.  I follow.)

SP:  It’s written in the letter that you received.  Thank you and have a great…..(Cut off by Sam.)

SAM:  So why did they not give this to me in writing?  Part of my reasoning for appeal was to let you off the hook for making this decision.  I wanted it to come from the First Presidency.  So why wouldn’t they put it in writing?

(We walk out the 2nd outside door into the cool seasonal weather.)

SP:  Sam, all those questions you are asking…I’m not prepared to give any answers other than the message I’m delivering.

(We walk down the short walkway to the parking lot)

SAM:  So, how do I get answers to those questions?  Do we meet again and you answer the questions I just mentioned?

SP:  NO.  WE ARE NOT GOING TO MEET ANYMORE.

(I stop at the edge of the parking lot.  They continue the short distance to their cars)

SAM: We’re not going to meet?  So basically I can’t get any answers to the questions I just asked?

(Car doors open)

SP:  Have a wonderful day.  Thank you.

(I call out as they get in their cars.)

SAM:  Okay….I just want to tell you that this is one weird, weird thing. 

(They close their doors and drive away.  I stand there dumbfounded at the oddity of what just transpired.)

I believe that my stake president is a good man.  He’s certainly successful in worldy terms.  But, I now have a clear picture that the LDS church is capable of turning a good man into a mindless zombie.  A will-less robot following instructions from his Mormon masters.

No compassion.  No friendship.  No outreach.  Distant and detached.

Anxious to flee the presence of the evil excommunicated apostate.

Nothing Christ-like whatsoever.

I wish he and the bishop well.  They will be better off without the thorn of Sam in their sides.  I hope that when doubts arise in their dark-night-of-the-soul that they’ll consider this excommunicated thorn as a safe place to talk.

A very weird encounter indeed.

Of course, this WILL NOT deter my determination to protect the kids.

Other Resources

Excommunication Appeal

Exommunication Edict

Excommunication Summons

Excommunication Appeal Inquiry

Appeal Cartoon

Today, I sent this email to the stake president and executive secretary.

Hi President __________ & Brother____________,

It’s been 2 weeks since I submitted the appeal to my excommunication.  I realize that none of us have much experience with this.  But, do you have any idea of when I could expect a response from the First Presidency?

Whatever verdict is ultimately rendered, I want to assure you that I hold you both in love and high esteem.

Kind regards,

Sam Young

Related Links

Original Notification of Disciplinary Council

My Tribunal Defense

Excommunication Verdict

Excommunication Appeal

Excommunication Appeal

March sign keep me safe

Today, I appealed my excommunication from the Mormon Church. 

Dear President Nelson, President Oaks and President Eyring,

As you should know by now, the president of the Houston Texas South Stake recently called a disciplinary council to consider the status of my membership.  On September 12, the verdict of excommunication was delivered.

The purpose of this letter is to present my appeal.

First, my stake president.  He’s a good man, a friend.  An important reason for my appeal is in consideration of my stake president’s welfare.  If I don’t appeal, he will go down in history as the man who excommunicated the bishop who stood up to protect children.  The verdict was made by him and only by him.  Eventually, our interview policies will change.   In the interim, when cases come forward of abuse, suicide and other serious consequences resulting from our dangerous protocol, my sensitive stake president could very well take it hard.  He may hold himself accountable for abuse happening all around the world.  That’s not fair.  But the way it stands, he is all alone in responsibility for the excommunication.

With this appeal, you the First Presidency, will remove a huge burden from his shoulders.  Whatever your decision, ownership of the verdict will be transferred to you.  Whatever the consequences, they will be on your heads, not his.

Two charges were leveled against me.

  1. Encouraged others to vote opposed to Church leaders.

I have made a temple covenant to obey the law of God.  Part of that law is the law of common consent.  To me common consent is one of the most gorgeous principles of the latter-day restoration.  You should know it well.  Let me recap.

The Doctrine and Covenants contain the foundational revelations contingent with the restoration.  Common Consent is referenced several times in very plain language.  Here’s one.

D&C 28:13 states, “For all things must be done in order, and by common consent in the church.”

This law is also taught in the Bible and the Book of Mormon.

Common consent is further elucidated by this doctrinal statement found on lds.org:

“Not only are Church officers sustained by common consent, but this same principle operates for policies, major decisions, acceptance of new scripture, and other things that affect the lives of the Saints (see D&C 26:2).”

Under sworn oath to the United States Congress, President Joseph F. Smith explained how common consent is supposed to work in the church.  Following is an excerpt of President Smith’s testimony as he is questioned by members of the Committee on Privileges and Elections.  The Mr. Smith referenced below is President Joseph F. Smith, head of the Mormon Church at the time.

Mr TAYLER:  What is the method in which a revelation is received and becomes binding upon the people?

Mr SMITH:  I will say this, Mr. Chairman, that no revelation given through the head of the church ever becomes binding and authoritative upon the members of the church until it has been presented to the church and accepted by them. (Note: the interview policies of our youth have never been presented to the church nor accepted by them.)

Mr WORTHINGTON:  What do you mean by being presented to the church?

Mr SMITH:  Presented in conference.

Mr TAYLER:  Do you mean by that that the church in conference may say to you “We deny that God has told you to tell us this?”

Mr SMITH:  Yes, sir, they can.  And it is not binding upon them as members of the church until they accept it.

Senator OVERMAN:  Does it require a majority to accept or must it be the unanimous voice?

Mr SMITH:  A majority.

Mr TAYLER:  Then if you had a revelation and presented it to your people, all who did not accept it would thereby be unchurched?

Mr SMITH:  Not necessarily.  Our people are given the largest possible latitude for their convictions, and if a man rejects a message that I may give to him but is still moral and believes in the main principles of the gospel and desires to continue in his membership in the church, he is permitted to remain and he is not unchurched.  It is only those who on rejecting a revelation rebel against the church and withdraw from the church at their own volition. (Note:  I am still moral and believe in the main principles of the gospel.  I have not withdrawn from the church on my own volition.)

Mr SMITH:  I should like to say to the honorable gentlemen that the members of the Mormon Church are among the freest and most independent people of all the Christian denominations.  They are not all united on every principle.  Every man is entitled to his own opinion and his own views and his own conceptions of right and wrong so long as they do not come in conflict with the standard principles of the church.  (Note:  I love the statement that Mormons are among the freest of Christian denominations.  Excommunicating me sends a strong message that our Church is among the most repressive of Christian denominations.  I do not come in conflict with the standard principles of the church.  I stand as a witness in support of our core principles.  However, I do stand as a witness against a policy.  One that is damaging our children.  And a policy that has never been presented to the church in the approval process that President Smith is defending to the United States Congress)

If a man assumes to deny God and to become an infidel we withdraw fellowship from him.  If a man commits adultery we withdraw fellowship from him.  If men steal or lie or bear false witness against their neighbors or violate the cardinal principles of the Gospel, we withdraw our fellowship.  The church withdraws its fellowship from that man and he ceases to be a member of the church.  But so long as a man or a woman is honest and virtuous and believes in God and has a little faith in the church organization, we nurture and aid that person to continue faithfully as a member of the church, though he may not believe all that is revealed.  (Note: According to a prophet’s sworn testimony, I do not qualify for excommunication.)

This ends the quotes I’ll share from President Joseph F. Smith.

According to the law of common consent, members of the Church of Jesus Christ have the right and privilege to vote as their conscience dictates without punishment.  Nowhere are we constrained from free speech.  In order to exercise true consent, discussion should be encouraged and fostered.  Including, making suggestions and recommendations to other members.

The charge that I’ve encouraged others to vote opposed to Church leaders is nonsensical on its face.

  • In 1978 when the lifting of the racial ban was presented for a vote, what types of discussion were allowed? Was it ok for a member to encourage others to vote in approval?  If so, was it also ok for someone opposed to voice their opinion and encourage others to vote in disapproval?  Common consent is a farce if those who are voting can only discuss and make suggestions when they agree with what is being presented.  Otherwise it’s a dictatorial system that flies in the face of the beauty of Christ’s injunction that all things MUST be done by common consent.
  • Encouraged others to vote opposed to Church leaders? My encouragement has been for people to vote how they feel.  If they approve…vote to sustain.  If they disapprove…vote to oppose.  My recommendation for members is to embrace common consent.  I encourage all to live up to their temple covenant of obeying the law of God, which includes the law of common consent.
  1. Organized more than one public “action” that expressed opposition to the Church or its leaders.

This charge represents an uninformed interpretation.  I have never organized actions to express opposition to the Church or its leaders.  This is ridiculous.  Every event was organized to express opposition to a POLICY.  Not to a doctrine.  Not to core principles.  Not to our theology.  I am not opposed to the church.  Likewise I am not opposed to its leaders.  In fact, I’m the biggest supporter of my Church that I know.

If you care about something you fight for it.  If you love something you don’t tolerate what might destroy it.  You are passionate to nurture and make it better.  I don’t know of anyone who is fighting for our Church with more vigor than I am.

On the other hand, if I didn’t care, I’d ignore the Church’s deadly flaws.  I’d turn a blind eye to its faults.  Or I would simply desert it and walk away.  By my actions, it should be plainly evident that am speaking up FOR my church and not against it.

At the council, for 15 minutes the stake president presented his evidence against me.  Most of it was taken from my blog publications.  Much was taken out of context.  I believe that I’ve more than adequately addressed the evidence against me by addressing the two charges above.

However, there was one citation from the Deseret News that was presented as evidence.  Tad Walsh wrote that I was encouraging members to leave the church.  That’s a lie.  Tad either made-up the quote out of whole cloth or he misheard.  Nowhere have I told people that they should leave the church.  You won’t find it quoted by any other news outlets.  It’s not on my blog.  Nor can it be found in any of the multitude of videos that I’ve published.

Let’s work together to make our Church better, especially for our children.  I firmly believe that you have already received the revelation to eliminate one-on-one interviews and sexual questions to our children and youth.  Several factors point in that direction.

For example, on July 27th, I received a phone call from Gifford Nielson, a member of the 1st Quorum of the Seventy.  My 23 day fast had a planned start time of 7pm that evening.  He called me early in the afternoon.  Giff is a good friend and we had a great chat that lasted about 1 ½ hours.  The main thrust of his call was to find a way to avert the hunger strike.  We were not able to find an accommodation that was agreeable to both of us.  His final offer was this, “Sam, if the apostles provided you with a letter stating that they are working on making changes, would you call off your action?”

I can’t see Giff being dishonest or disingenuous.  He would have only offered a letter stating changes were being worked on if in fact they were really being worked on.  I listened to every talk during the 8 hours of last Sunday’s General Conference.  My hopes were high that the changes to which Elder Nielsen had alluded would be included in the major announcements all of us were anticipating.

My encouragement to you, dear First Presidency, is to release the changes now.  Don’t wait until April’s conference to offer our children the full protections that they deserve.

This conference was historic.  The change to a 2 hour schedule has been received with relish.  When you announce God’s new protections for children, it will be received with much more than relish.  You will go down in history as wise and beloved leaders.  Members, bishoprics and children will embrace the new policies without reservation.  They will rejoice.  Those outside the Church will be impressed.  They will witness the Church of Jesus Christ proactively putting on a strong protective mantle over our little ones.

Contrast this to what happens if you allow this excommunication to stand.  The Church and its leaders will be viewed with revulsion by many outside the church.   People will not respond well when they discover how we treat our children and what we do to members who speak up to protect them.

Do the right thing.  Be on the right side of history.  Reverse this excommunication.

Warm regards,

Sam Young

Why I attended the Mormon Church on Sunday

Sam Young 1st Sunday as excommunicantOn September 12, 2018, I was excommunicated from the Mormon Church, also known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

On September 30th, I decided to attend LDS Sunday services for the first time as an excommunicated apostate.

Many have asked why I would return after being so callously kicked out.  The motivation is comprised of 2 elements.

ONE

The Church has abandoned me.  Fine.

However, I am not going to reciprocate by abandoning  children who are at risk.  I am not going to respond by abandoning my friends and family who have children in the cross-hairs of a dreadful policy.

Sure, I could go to any other church for my religious purposes.  However, these other churches have already stepped up and protected their children from one-on-one interviews and sexually explicit questions.  I have decided to go to the ONLY church where this battle is still being waged.  It is not my nature to run away from the weak and the vulnerable.

I plan to pursue the cause for our children as an active and believing ex-Mormon.

TWO

Mentally processing the excommunication has been an unexpected emotional roller-coaster.  Along with other members of my immediate family, I have experienced various stages of mourning.  Last week, I felt like completely withdrawing from the community that I have been a part of the past 6 decades.  My thoughts were to avoid all contact with Mormons.  Loneliness and defeat were becoming my unlikely companions.

Then a phone call from a country half-a-world away.  The caller ID displayed the name John Dehlin.  He was in Sweden at the time.  With my excommunication still fresh out of the envelope, he was checking to see how I was doing.  What a nice thing to do!  He experienced excommunication a couple of years back and understands first hand the sentiments that I was mired in.

I described my inclination to run from my former friends.  In turn, John said something like this, “Brother Sam, don’t do it.  Don’t let this determine your course.  Take your personality back.  Be who you have always been.”

YES!!!  That immediately resonated with the truth I was ready to embrace.  He wasn’t telling me to go back to church.  He was simply suggesting that to withdraw into myself would not be me.  Thank you, my good friend.

So, last Sunday, I attended the Mormon Church for 2 reasons, for the Children and for Me.