A man who was excommunicated from the Mormon Church for trying to protect kids is now appealing the decision.
Sam Young, a former Church leader who was kicked out of the Church in September for speaking out against its policy allowing bishops to meet one-on-one with underage children and asking intrusive questions about their sex lives, won’t stop fighting for his right to speak his mind while remaining part of the faith.
Under church rules, Young said he has had up to 30 days to file a formal appeal with the First Presidency of the Church.
“I have received pushback from people about why I am appealing the excommunication, that I shouldn’t be pleading or begging on bended knee,” Young said at a press conference Thursday in Houston. “I have done nothing wrong.”
Young has been a lifelong active member of the Mormon church. In addition to serving as a bishop, he has been a bishopric counselor, a ward mission leader, stake activities director and a seminary teacher.
Church officials have declined to comment on the case. The church considers Young’s case apostasy, or as it explains, “the repeated, clear and open public opposition to the church, its leaders and its doctrine.”
In a better world, the Church would be thrilled to have someone like Young on the inside. He’s the sort of person who commands respect from non-Mormons, calling out abuse within the fold while also celebrating his faith. But because he was an insider going public with his complaints, the Church decided they couldn’t include him within their ranks. If they thought declaring him an apostate would shut him up, though, they were absolutely wrong.
Young wanted the interviews to stop entirely. But even if they didn’t, he wanted the Church to at least put a kibosh on asking kids about anything sex-related and to make sure parents were present during the interviews. He wasn’t asking a lot.
The Church even seemed to recognize this, changing its position (only slightly) in March.
The church changed its guidelines for interviews in March, stating, “If the person being interviewed desires, another adult may be invited to participate in the interview. Leaders should avoid all circumstances that could be misunderstood.”
Young said the change wasn’t enough — and places children in charge of deciding whether or not a parent is present in the interviews. He added that the new policy does not address the issue of sexually explicit questions.
He was right to point all that out, and the Church was wrong to kick him out. I doubt his appeal will be successful — why would the Church change its mind now? — but by pushing back, Young is making sure even more people hear about his story and what he’s fighting for. It won’t be the end of the debate or the scandal.
(Screenshot via Mormon Stories)