Good Name

Other

Letter from the Houston Texas South Stake to Sam Young regarding disciplinary action: 1

Dear Sam,

This letter is a formal notice that the stake presidency will convene a formal disciplinary council in your behalf, the result of which includes the possibility of excommunication, disfellowshipment, formal probation, or no action. The reason for this council is that you are reported to have acted repeatedly in clear, open and deliberate public opposition to the Church or its leaders. You have, among other things:

Encouraged others to vote opposed to Church leaders.
Organized more than one public “action” that expressed opposition to the Church or its leaders.

We will convene the council at 6pm on Sunday, September 9 at the Lexington Building in the stake offices. If you are not able to attend at this date and time, please let me know as soon as practicable.

You are invited to attend this disciplinary council to give your response to the above. Although we welcome your attendance, it is not required; you may also submit your response in writing. Whether you attend is of course your choice.

Disciplinary councils are sacred, confidential, ecclesiastical proceedings. If you do choose to attend your attendance and participation are conditioned upon your agreement to respect the process and abide by the standards governing the proceeding, including the following conditions:

Everyone who attends the council including you and me, will sign an acknowledgment that the council will be conducted privately and confidentially and will not be recorded in any form. Anyone unwilling to do so will not be allowed to be present at the council. If you decline, you will not be allowed to be present, and any statement on your behalf to the council will have to the submitted in writing.
You may call witnesses, one at a time, whose testimony is relevant to the issues I have set out above. However, any such witnesses must be identified to me in writing by name, ward and stake, at least three days in advance. You must also provide to me, in advance and in writing, a description of the subject matter on which they will testify and the content of their testimony. In order to offer testimony, witnesses must be members of the Church in good standing. I will abide by these same rules in regards to any witnesses that I may call.
Any proposed testimony from witnesses must relate to the specific issues described above.
I anticipate that it will take about 15 minutes for the evidence in support of the above issues to be presented to the council. You will be afforded three times that, or 45 minutes, to give your response.

As mentioned above, if you choose not to attend the council in person, you may submit a written response that will be read to the council. I will read your statement word-for-word, without any comment from me, for up to 45 minutes.

I feel inclined to let you know that, if it is your ultimate desire and if you wish to avoid this process entirely you have the option to request that your name be removed from the records of the Church. If you should make such a request, the council will be cancelled, and I will work with you to supply all of the information that you need to bring about that result.

Sam, I know that Heavenly Father lives and loves you. We are his children. His work and glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. I know that His son Jesus Christ is central to God’s plan to help us return to Him and live with our family forever. The atonement of Jesus Christ is real. He is our Savior and Redeemer. No matter the course you decide to take in this life, and no matter the outcome of this disciplinary council, as His representative in the stake where you reside, I stand ready to help you and your family in any way that I can. I will be here to meet with you and to work with you to help stregnthen your relationship with Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. My hope is that you will choose to change your course and to return to the covenant path.

Sincerely,

President Houston Texas South Stake

An August 30, 2018 Newsweek article, ‘MORMON BISHOP SAM YOUNG FACING EXCOMMUNICATION FOR WANTING TO STOP SEXUALLY EXPLICIT INTERVIEWS OF CHILDREN’: 2

Sam Young, a former Mormon bishop who staged a 23-day hunger strike in protest of the church’s policy to conduct one-on-one interviews with children involving sexually explicit questions, has been warned he faces being excommunicated from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Young, founder of Protect LDS Children, has been a constant critic of the church’s practice of allowing Mormon leaders to interview children and youths alone.

Young believes many of the questions posed in the interviews are inappropriate. It is common for the leaders, often bishops, to ask the children about their sexual experience such as masturbation or viewing pornography in what is known as a “worthiness interview.”

In July, Young began a 23-day hunger strike in order to raise awareness of the issue and urge the church to scrap the interviews.

Young has now received a letter from the church delivered by “two long-term friends” which warns he faces possible excommunication during an upcoming disciplinary council meeting.

“The reason for this council is that you are reported to have acted repeatedly in clear, open and deliberate public opposition to the Church or its leaders,” the letter says. The letter accuses Young of encouraging others to vote in opposition to the church leaders and organizing more than one public “action” to oppose the church.

“Fast 23 days. Stand up to protect children. Speak out against a dreadful policy. Work to help the healing of countless kids who were severely wounded behind closed doors. Document the horrors. Apologize,” Young wrote in a blog post after receiving the letter. “And what do you get? Excommunication! After all, we are the Mormons. At least we used to be.”

Young is not required to attend the hearing on September 9 and may submit his response in writing. It is not known what action he is deciding to take.

Before staging the hunger strike, Young led a march of hundreds to deliver a petition signed by more than 55,000 people demanding an end to the one-on-one interviews.

In June, the church announced they have updated their guidelines on interviews with children as a result of Young’s national exposure.

Under a section entitled “Protecting Against Misunderstandings,” the church said children should now ask a parent or another adult to be in an adjoining room, foyer, or hall during the interview. The child can now also ask that another adult be invited to be present during the interview. “Leaders should avoid all circumstances that could be misunderstood,” the guidelines say.

A list of simplified questions that should be asked to determine the child’s worthiness were also made public, including “do you live the law of chastity?” and “have there been any sins or misdeeds in your life that should have been resolved with priesthood authorities but have not been?”

“Leaders adapt the discussion to the understanding and questions of the youth,” the guidelines state. “They ensure that discussions about moral cleanliness do not encourage curiosity or experimentation.”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

From ‘Handbook 1: Stake Presidents and Bishops’, Church Discipline and Name Removal, 6.1: 3

The purposes of Church discipline are (1) to save the souls of transgressors, (2) to protect the innocent, and (3) to safeguard the purity, integrity, and good name of the Church.

References   [ + ]