Former LDS bishop who staged protest hunger strike facing excommunication

Sam Young. Photo: Facebook/Sam Young

HOUSTON, Aug. 30, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — A former LDS bishop who staged a hunger strike to oppose the Church’s policy of interviewing youths about their sexual activity now faces “formal disciplinary council” action, and “the possibility of excommunication.”

Sam Young, who fasted for 23 days to draw attention to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ policy and to seek a meeting with officials, posted a letter on Wednesday, dated the day before, and addressed as being from the Houston Texas South Stake.

Young’s full post follows:

Tonight, two long-term friends of mine delivered this notice to my home.

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:

  1. Encouraged others to vote opposed to Church leaders.
  2. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 strengthen 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 

Young’s post concluded with his reaction to the disciplinary action:

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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.

As of 9 a.m. the day after Young posted the letter, he had received 57 replies, some inviting him to repent, but most attacking the Church’s response. To read the comments, click here.

The LDS Church also released a statement on Thursday morning, saying that it does not provide information on disciplinary matters because of privacy concerns, and that local Church officials who are familiar with individual cases handle the reviews and judgments.

 

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