For years now, Young has been sounding the alarm about what’s referred to as “Mormon Masturbation Interviews.” These “worthiness interviews” are meant to be discussions between bishops and kids about their religious testimonies, attendance at Church, and obedience to religious rules… but in many cases, they’ve been discussions about the kids’ sex lives.
Did they touch themselves? Had they had sex with someone of the same gender? Did they orgasm? How often? In what positions?
This wasn’t about adherence to chastity. This was just a bunch of perverts asking kids for the details of their sex lives under the guise of pleasing Heavenly Father.
As Young wrote in an online petition, “These questions are being asked by an older man, all alone with the child, behind closed doors and often without the knowledge or permission of the parents.”
Young wanted these interviews to end. At the very least, he called on the Church to put a stop to asking kids about anything sex-related, to make sure parents were present during these interviews, and to disavow the practice altogether.
And now he’s being threatened with religious exile.
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.
Young wrote in response on his blog:
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.
And what do you get? Excommunication! After all, we are the Mormons. At least we used to be.
The disciplinary council will meet on September 9 to decide his fate.
Maybe you’re thinking, So what if he’s excommunicated? There are a couple ways to think about that.
For a believing Mormon, everything he’s gone through to get to the “celestial kingdom” — his baptism and all the Temple ordinances — would no longer mean anything if he’s excommunicated. It takes away years of your spiritual life and effectively deprives you from the afterlife you were working toward. If you’re a believer, as Young claims to be, that’s a big deal.
For the ex-Mormon community and atheists, it’s a badge of honor. You angered the Church so much that they formally kicked you out?! That is badass!
There is another fear — possibly unwarranted — that the stigma of being excommunicated could hurt his standing among practicing Mormons so they become less receptive to his message. But at this point, many Mormons are aware of his arguments and they either agree with him or don’t. The possible excommunication wouldn’t change that.
Again, all of this is because Young wanted to stop Mormon leaders from prying into the sex lives of young people for no good reason. It’s traumatic, as many victims have said publicly, and it leads those victims to feel guilt or shame over actions that shouldn’t provoke either response.
The Mormon Church should fix this problem. Instead, they’re trying to kick out the guy shining a light on it.
(Screenshot via Mormon Stories)