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Excommunication Still Stands For Sam Young, Mormon Church Says

Photo of Sam Young.
Lee Hale / KUER
Sam Young is the founder of Protect LDS Children, an organization that calls to end sexually explicit questions during 'worthiness interviews' with LDS bishops.

Sam Young, the former Mormon bishop who challenged his recent excommunication from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has had his appeal denied, he confirmed Tuesday.

The LDS Church informed Young in September that he was excommunicated.

Young has called for the end of all one-on-one youth interviews with bishops and the practice of asking sexually-explicit questions — which he says can be abusive and scarring. They’re known as worthiness interviews and they’re conducted before a young person may enter a Mormon temple.

Young learned over the weekend from a hand-delivered letter by one of his local Mormon leaders in Houston that top LDS officials rejected his request to remain a member of the church.

The reason given for his excommunication was that his activism was encouraging Mormons to oppose their church leaders.

When someone is excommunicated — or removed — from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints they can appeal the decision made by local Mormon leaders to the First Presidency, the top three leaders.

Young has exhausted that option and now would be required to wait a year before being re-baptized into the church — a decision that his leaders said must be accompanied by repentance.

“I don’t know how to repent of what I’m doing,” Young said. “I’m trying to protect children.”

Young’s approach often strikes an incendiary tone. Most recently a post on his personal blogreferred to his local church leader in Houston as a “zombie” and called the First Presidency “cowards.”

“What did Jesus Christ do? He didn’t mince words when talking about the leaders,” Young said.

Young said he’ll continue to attend Mormon church meetings with his family and he’ll continue sharing his message, colorful language and all.

Lee Hale began listening to KUER while he was teaching English at a Middle School in West Jordan (his one hour commute made for plenty of listening time). Inspired by what he heard he applied for the Kroc Fellowship at NPR headquarters in DC and to his surprise, he got it. Since then he has reported on topics ranging from TSA PreCheck to micro apartments in overcrowded cities to the various ways zoo animals stay cool in the summer heat. But, his primary focus has always been education and he returns to Utah to cover the same schools he was teaching in not long ago. Lee is a graduate of Brigham Young University and is also fascinated with the way religion intersects with the culture and communities of the Beehive State. He hopes to tell stories that accurately reflect the beliefs that Utahns hold dear.
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