The former Mormon bishop who has campaigned against sexual purity questions in the church’s youth interviews announced Sunday that he was excommunicated.
Sam Young of Houston, Texas, read the verdict letter from his Sept. 9 disciplinary hearing Sunday to a crowd of supporters, announcing that he had been excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for his public opposition to church policies and practices. Young said he will not stop campaigning against what he believes are “sexually explicit” questions in youth interviews, despite being cast out from the church. (RELATED: Mormon Fighting To End Sexualized Youth Interviews Hauled In For Church Discipline)
“The whistleblower has been kicked out,” he said, according to The Associated Press. “But they have no power to excommunicate me from the cause of protecting children and protecting the healing of my friends. For our children’s sake, this whistleblower is not going to stop roaring.”
As part of his excommunication, Young is barred from wearing temple garments, entering Mormon temples, performing priestly duties, and paying tithes. Church leaders said in their verdict letter that they ultimately decided to excommunicate Young because of the manner in which he promoted his cause, rather than because of the substance of his cause.
“The issue is not that you have concerns, or even that you disagree with the church’s guidelines,” Young read to the crowds, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. “Rather, it is your persistent, aggressive effort to persuade others to your point of view by repeatedly and deliberately attacking and publicly opposing the church and its leaders.”
Young said prior to his disciplinary hearing that he would wear whatever verdict they handed down as a badge of honor, but reportedly became emotional when reading the letter Sunday and denounced the church leaders’ decision as “a supreme disappointment.”
Young and his supporters have specifically campaigned against the inclusion of the question “Do you live the law of chastity?” in one-on-one interviews between youth members of the church and adult church leaders. Young claims that the question is unnecessary, inappropriate, and can lead to shaming of youth.
Young formed a group called Protect LDS Children to promote his cause. He also led his supporters in a protest march to the church’s headquarters, started an online petition, and led a three-week hunger strike.
“They have shown their true colors,” Young said. “The verdict is all about them and their power structure. They sent down the edict to protect themselves rather than to protect our precious children. They continue to mandate one-on-one interviews where sexually explicit questions are approved and facilitated.”
Church leaders have declined to comment on the disciplinary hearing and Young’s resulting excommunication, citing the private nature of those proceedings.
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