Sam Young — a former Mormon Bishop — has spent the past few years shining the light on a shameful practice within the CoJCoL-dS: having untrained lay bishops give one-on-one, closed-door interviews with children and teens in which bishops are expected to ask the minors about their sexual experiences (chastity) and are allowed to ask for some pretty graphic and explicit details.
This is a problem that has been hidden in plain sight for decades. Those who were raised Mormon know about it. I’ve read TBM comments online explaining that the bishop sometimes needs to ask for graphic details in order to determine what type of repentance is required. And I guess the idea is that if the kid feels ashamed while being asked precisely what their hands and other body parts did, then that’s good — they should be ashamed.
The problem is that that sets up the perfect opportunity for abuse. Kids who think they deserve to feel ashamed certainly aren’t going to dare tell their parents about it, knowing the response is more likely to be “You did X?! You should be ashamed of yourself” rather than “X is a normal part of growing up, and this untrained middle-aged man had no business asking you about it.” Thanks to Sam Young for his tireless efforts to call attention to this practice that absolutely shouldn’t be treated as ordinary and acceptable.
Sam Young caught the public eye in 2016 by voting opposed in General Conference. Over the past few decades, this voting procedure in the CoJCoL-dS has morphed into just a “sustaining” vote (in which “no” votes are inappropriate). But Sam Young argued that according to the scriptures the church should be governed by common consent, hence the vote should be a real vote.
Since then he has been the primary organizer and driving force behind the Protect LDS Children organization. After hundreds marched with Protect LDS Children in protest of this policy and Sam Young went on a hunger strike, the CoJCoL-dS finally changed its policy — now allowing parents to sit in on the interviews.
Well, yes, except that — in accordance with its usual M.O. — the CoJCoL-dS pretended that the change was a total coincidence that had nothing to do with the organization and demonstrations. In September of 2018, they thanked Sam Young by excommunicating him. Shame on the CoJCoL-dS, but a big thanks and round of applause to you, Sam Young — 2018’s “William Law X-Mormon of the Year”!!!