Former bishop on hunger strike to protest ‘worthiness’ interviews writes letter to leaders of LDS Church

SALT LAKE CITY — A former bishop currently participating in a hunger strike has written a letter to leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Sam Young began a hunger strike Friday night and is calling on the LDS Church to end one-on-one worthiness interviews between local bishops and LDS youth. 

The interviews are intended to offer counsel and to ascertain whether youth are following the standards set by the LDS Church, but Young and others claim bishops often ask very detailed sexual questions to young church members, which he and his supporters feel can leave minors susceptible to psychological trauma and predatory behavior.

Young penned a personal letter to the Apostles of the LDS Church Monday, urging them to attend a series of “Temple-Side Chats” being hosted in the coming days.

The LDS Church issued a statement last week in response to the hunger strike, saying then that numerous LDS leaders have met with Young already. They stated in part: “They have received and reviewed his materials and understand clearly his viewpoint. Further meetings with him are not necessary to clarify his position on this matter.”

The letter from Sam Young as provided in a press release is below:

“Dear Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,

Yesterday, an article in the Deseret News, Church Public Affairs stated that “Further meetings with him are not necessary.” If you prefer that I not to be at the Temple-Side Chat when you are present, I’ll gladly accommodate. Healing victims and protecting children are my primary concerns. By now, I am guessing you are aware of what is taking place every night in the shadow of our gorgeous and sacred Salt Lake Temple. Just in case, here are the details again.

For a total of fifteen days, an event is being held across the street from temple square. It is called Temple-side Chat with an Apostle. Each day, one of the apostles will be invited to join us. A chair will be provided for his comfort. The chat will last around an hour, unless the apostle desires to extend it.

People will gather each evening. Many will be victims and survivors of the heartbreaking consequences resulting from youth interviews. They desire to speak directly with those responsible for the policies that enabled the crippling indignities suffered while they were mere children.

The stories of hundreds of these good people were delivered to your offices last March. Elder Christofferson has read them all. He described them as TRAGIC. To many survivors, it has been highly meaningful that their accounts actually landed on Elder Christofferson’s desk. He says he has read them. Just think what it would mean to these survivors for an actual apostle to listen in-person to these TRAGIC stories.

A central purpose of the Savior’s gospel is healing. Our gentle Lord was always reaching out to those who were shunned by the priesthood holders of his time.

Jesus is lauded for healing in his wings. As a Special Witness of Christ, please come and spread that healing to those who have been harmed. You will be spreading the Balm of Gilead not only among those present, but among thousands upon thousands around the world.

The Temple-side Chat with an Apostle begins every night at 7:00pm on the sidewalk of South Temple Street. If you would prefer a different venue, please let me know and we will happily accommodate.
Below is the schedule of invitations:

July 29: Elder Soares. Couldn’t make it.
July 30: Elder Gong
July 31: Elder Renlund
Aug 1: Elder Stevenson
Aug 2: Elder Rasband
Aug 3: Elder Anderson
Aug 4: Elder Christofferson
Aug 5: Elder Cook
Aug 6: Elder Bednar
Aug 7: Elder Uchtdorf
Aug 8: Elder Holland
Aug 9: Elder Ballard
Aug 10: Elder Eyring
Aug 11: Elder Oaks
Aug 12: Elder Nelson

Thanks for your heartfelt consideration,”