649: Sam Young – Living the Law of Common Consent by Voting Opposed

samyoungSam Young lived as an orthodox Mormon for several decades, including a full term as an LDS bishop and many years as a stake high counselor. After stumbling on the LDS Gospel Topics Essays and learning about Joseph Smith’s polyandry, the Book of Abraham translation problems, etc. — and specifically after the LDS Church November 2015 policy change regarding LGBT members and their children — Sam experienced an LDS faith crisis.

Over time, Sam developed his own method for expressing concern about LDS policy and administrative problems — he decided to begin living the Law of Common Consent as found in Doctrine and Covenants 26, which to him means that during every ward, stake and general conference Sam will be voting opposed when asked to sustain the LDS first presidency and the quorum of the 12 apostles. Sam is also inviting other LDS church members to consider a similar approach if they object to recent policy and administrative changes.  Sam’s blog can be found here.

This interview includes Jamie Hanis Handy and Sam’s 85 year old mother, Bertie, who recently resigned her church membership over similar concerns to Sam.



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  1. Sam, thank you for doing this podcast. I admire your integrity and you have made some excellent points. I hope we learn to embrace again the law of common consent. I also love your mom, Bertie. What a great example and inspiration.

    1. OK, Anna, I see what you are doing here. You’re loving my mom….because she resigned. /s

      I really, really hope that your hope comes true….that we learn to embrace Common Consent. The entire church needs to live this important law of God. Until we do, I’m afraid more big mistakes are in store. Just like the our past Racism, we’ll have to condemn more practices and beliefs that are hurtful and unnecessary.

      1. Actually, I attend the LDS church and plan to continue to do so on my own terms. I just loved her devotion to her family and her ability to so clearly articulate what path works for her. I hope I can stand up for my values in a way that allows me to embrace both my mormonism and my conscience. Not an easy road, but the one I am on for now.

          1. Sam, here is some perspective for you. Sometimes it’s helpful to transmogrify a confusing, complicated scenario into something with similar elements where the best decision is dirt simple. Try this:

            You go into a new restaurant for dinner and order their daily special. After a while, the server sets a bowl of salad and a plate of entree and side dish down in front of you. The food looks a little odd, but you go ahead and take a bite of the salad. The dressing tastes like diesel fuel fuel or something. It tastes so bad you have to spit it out immediately. Then you try a bite of the entree dish. It’s no better than the salad. It tastes like fertilizer. You try the side vegetable, and it burns your mouth like it has Drano on it or something. Nothing in front of you even qualifies as food. You realize that if you eat any of it, you will get very sick.

            How do you resolve this situation?

            A. Call the server over and tell her that you vote Thumbs Down on the food, and that you need access to the kitchen so you can instruct the chef in the art of preparing acceptable, edible food. You feel it’s your duty to save the other restaurant patrons from getting sick from tainted food.


            B. Get up and leave, and go find another restaurant that serves real food.

            The moral of the story? Some things that are broken can be fixed. Other things are broken to the core and cannot be salvaged. Figuring out when to fix it and when to declare it a total and walk away. Those are important distinctions.

  2. I was an “outsider” Mormon during my many years in the Church because I wasn’t from Utah, didn’t go to the “Y,” not even from California! However, I was a member of both Maplewood I and Maplewood II wards in Houston! So I enjoyed feeling a bit “in.” I left the Mormon Church in 1985 when I found my desire to st and up and scream in Sacrament Meeting difficult not to act upon. Thanks to John Dehlin and other folks on the Internet, I learned that I could resign my membership and did so last year.
    For a number of years, I felt guilty and embarrassed about my having been a TBM for 17 years, but now realize that it was a part of my development as a human being! Donna Ryan

    1. Do I know you Donna Ryan? I was bishop in Maplewood 1 ward from 1991 to 1996. I was in the bishopric for about 4 years in the 80’s.

      Resigned? Good for you! I’m so glad you had the courage to make such a difficult decision. I wish you godspeed as you continue on your journey.

      “Felt guilty and embarrassed.” So, dear Donna, sometimes I feel the same being an active member today. Especially, the embarrassment part. There are many things that are not right. I see them now. With the slightest of hope that changes might occur I vote OPPOSED. There are also many good things in the church that I’ve decided not to throw out.

      “Desire to stand up and scream.” Are you my long lost sister? I did this podcast because there is no church venue to even stand up and speak, let alone scream.

      Thanks for sharing, Sam

      1. No, Sam, I now remember I was in Maplewood I and Braeburn ( we met in Sugarland somewhere) in the mid 70s. Thanks for your response! I didn’t expect it and I really appreciated it. Donna Ryan Oh, yes, we moved from Houston to Stafford so that’s why we were in the newly formed Braeburn Ward.
        There was so much FEAR of being different during my active years (68-85). I presume that hasn’t changed. Donna Ryan

  3. Oops! I commented too much about me and not about Sam. Sam, I admire your courage! I wonder whether such efforts are of any use, but I admire your willingness to try. Donna Ryan

    1. “Oops!” Hey Donna, I want to hear more about you. So, post away. “Efforts of any use?” That’s a great question. Months ago I would have said, “I hope they are.” Today, I know they of of great use!!!

      Will they change the church? I don’t know. I can only hope.

      Will they help reestablish common consent? I don’t know. I can only hope.

      Have they been of use to me? Absolutely, I feel like I have an honorable path forward in the church loved by my wife, my children & me. The church in which I have invested so much blood, sweat, tears, treasure and time. Integrity is important to all of us. This path is keeping my integrity intact.

      Have my efforts helped others? Over the past few months, many people have shared that that my approach has been very helpful. Some are hanging in the church by their fingernails. It’s giving them a new way to make sense of troubling things. Others are feeling validation that an active member can be a non-judgmental friend after they have made the decision to leave. Others have said that my gay brothers and sisters have taken hope & comfort from hearing someone in the church speak up, and especially with my hand.

      I may only provide micro-effects vs. macro. But, I’m totally OK with just serving the least-of-these.

      1. Sam, As a Christian, I feel very strongly that we need to redouble our efforts to the “least of these.” As a convert who rather timidly “left” the Mormon Church when my family and I moved from one Texas city to another, I just had no problems with family and friends. (Of course, I lost all of the LDS friends when I left the Church. ) You do offer an option for people who no longer can say “I know the Church is true.” My ex-husband (our marriage dissolved as soon as my spouse realized he didn’t have to face some horrible fate by dissolving a Temple marriage) told me, years after we left, that he believed that “no experience is ever wasted.” (That’s when I was beating myself up about being stupid for so many Mormon years.) Anyway, thanks!

  4. I found this fascinating, if a bit puzzling.

    Sam, when you say Jesus himself is commanding the church to do things by common consent and yet do don’t know if Jesus is real, doesn’t it make you wonder if you’re fighting a make believe battle?

    I was also one to question the law of chastity, but as an older single woman who had never had the chance to get married. One day I looked in the mirror, and said: “I can’t masturbate, but Joseph Smith had 33 wives behind Emma’s back?” I started laughing hysterically, then crying, then I got mad, disposed of my garments then and there, and never looked back.

    I’m wondering, Sam, if you realize the price life of this being a mere intellectual exercise for you, while are are people wasting their lives and even killing themselves because of the church.

    1. Vanessa,
      First, I want to say, I love you for your drop dead honesty!!! You had me laughing and then crying in the same sentence. Seldom are any conversations as forthright as yours.

      “Intellectual exercise.” That is a as perceptive an observation as when you looked in the mirror. My response is that it is absolutely an intellectual exercise. Critical thinking about my religion, faith, God, etc. were mostly lost for me amid my complete and total KNOWING that everything was true. Now that I have lost my certainty, I feel tremendously free to exercise my intellectual God-given faculties. That is if there is a God.

      As far as people wasting their lives, I respect the choices of others. I don’t know all the reasons why people choose their paths. but, I honor and extend best wishes for whatever they see as best for them and their family.

      “Killing themselves because of the church.” It makes angry to think that the policies of our church may be that toxic for some. My intellect reasons this out: I will not stand silent as harm is inflicted on anybody, especially, to the least-of-these. My hand has been lifted high at three conferences in opposition to what I see as an unholy practice.

      Now, dear Vanessa, good for you for that decision made face-to-face in your mirror. Thanks for your concern for those in the church who may be and are suffering. All my very best wishes to you, Sam

  5. I don’t know that common consent has ever been THAT much of a legitimate practice since the very early days of the Church, when it was still a less-organized version of itself, and when it still had a very Protestant feel (first 2-3 years, maybe)? I’m not saying that it shouldn’t be used and be a legitimate thing. I mean that it just has not really been practiced since the very earliest days of Church. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    Also, Mormons have been raised for generations to defer to leadership. When confronted with a questionable issue in the world, most will wonder to themselves, “I wonder what the brethren have said on that?” Members seek out that information and go with it. If your inner-self revolts, it is assumed that the member just doesn’t have enough faith or that they are unworthy to truly understand the deeper reasons for the “Lord’s” decision. A “righteous member will simply read more and pray more until they eventually convince themselves that the Brethren know. This brings about policies that hurt people.

    So with the leadership infinitely being of an older worldview (due to their age), and the membership being trained for generations to defer to leadership in important things, you’ll always get a “common consent” vote in favor of what the Brethren say. It is a cycle that I don’t believe will ever have a chance of being broken.

    Historically, religious leaders don’t concede, do they? The moderation of religious views has usually come only by incremental change, so slow that it is almost undetectable by the membership, or it has come by outright schism.

    I did enjoy this interview. It is always interesting to see and hear about various paths that members take. I wish all three of you the very best. Thank you Sam very much for doing the interview.

    1. Hi Michael,

      I think you are right about common consent mostly being practiced in the early church. Of course, your description of the culture of the church being deference in all things to the prophet is correct. Personally, I think the LDS scriptures don’t support that culture. I don’t support that view. That this system in “brings about policies that hurt people” is the reason I’ve chosen my path.

      Thanks for your comments and…..for enduring over 2 hours.

  6. Sam. You may be interested in this article I’v written. It unpacks the “only true church doctrine”, and shows how this doctrine is likely contrary to our own scripture.

    D&C 1:30 is conditional. D&C 10 defines the Church as a spiritual organization. The article gives many other scriptural examples, to clear up misunderstanding in only true church doctrine.

    67 Behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church.
    68 Whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church (D&C 10:67–68).

    Check it out.


      1. Sam,

        I’d be really curious to have your input on the article I posted. Is it just to long? Are the scriptures cited in it anything you’d considered before? Do you see any other valid interpretation for 1 Ne 14:10 or D&C 10:67–68 other than the idea that Christ’s “church” referred to in those verses is a “spiritual church” not too different from the protestant definition of the church?

  7. If church policies and doctrine are all subject to a vote and are implemented (or not) by common consent, what is the purpose of having a prophet who receives revelation directly from God? Does the membership have the ability to vote down something that Thus Sayeth The Lord?

    1. Bernie, Speaking from a Mormon theological perspective… If you’ll remember, not being able to vote down the leader who speaks “in the name of the Lord” was Satan’s plan. His autocratic system was and still is to dominate or religiously manipulate all into submission—subverting the moral agency of the populace. Christ’s plan, on the other hand, was that we would learn good vs. evil from experience, from trail and error. Christ’s plan was democratic and respected self determination, Satan’s was autocratic and totalitarian. If you believe that every major decision made by our LDS leadership is inspired straight from the Most High God of creation… then you might benefit from a bit more study of LDS history and/or theology. God OBVIOUSLY does not micromanage humanity. Not the LDS leadership nor the other good people of the world. LDS leadership speak “the will of the Lord” inasmuch as they have aligned themselves with his spirit….. unfortunately, history such blacks and the priesthood has shown that in a few cases the spirit they aligned themselves with… “was not of God” (see D&C 50:15-23)

    2. Hi Bernie,

      First, how do we know whether or not what the prophet says comes directly from God? We don’t! In fact, the current apostles have done the entire church an amazing favor. They have plainly stated that many previous prophets were NOT speaking for God on a certain very important issue. An issue that affects an entire race of God’s children. This is regarding the exclusion of blacks from the priesthood and the temple.

      For over 125 years, this policy was an immovable rock in our doctrine. Then, in comes our current crop of prophets & seers. They disavow and condemn our past racism. Good for them. Who implemented the racism that we are condemning? It must be the “man” part of the prophets. Not the divinely prophetic part of the prophets. Certainly, we wouldn’t be condemning God as racist. No, we are condemning policies, practices and doctrines that were implemented without the proper authorization. The governance that God has commanded is of a dual nature. The prophets are the leaders. They propose. Their proposals may come from God or not. It doesn’t really matter. Because, ALL things MUST be done by common consent. The consent of the general membership. This is God’s way. God’s law. Once the vote has been taken, then we have a much better assurance that the policy, doctrine, teaching, or practice is actually coming from God. BTW, great question! Thanks.

  8. Sam, I’ve enjoyed your blog posts and comments on Exmormon Reddit and was recently thinking how great it would be if you would do a Mormon Stories interview–turns out you had already done it! A huge problem in church culture is that members are actively discouraged from talking with other members about issues. So much harm comes from the silence and the lack of a safe space in which members can have honest, adult, true-to-life discussions. I appreciate the way you talk about concerns respectfully but openly, even when they touch on especially taboo subjects like temple covenants or masturbation. I also admire your advocacy for gay members. Thanks for your insights and for all your efforts to make others aware that people who love the church can have questions, doubts, and unorthodox views.

    1. Dear AB,

      Thanks for your kind comment. You are absolutely right. It’s a big problem that no safe place exists in the church to discuss concerns. It strikes me as dangerous for the church if we keep hiding from our history, our doctrine, science and the real issues of the day. That’s going to change. People are tiring of being treated like children. Our children are growing up in the information age. Hiding or making silly arguments will not cut it in the future. I hope the future comes soon. Before more or my friends and family are driven from the church.

      I so wish that we all could embrace this Law of Common Consent. It is the Law of God. He is WISE to command it. We are UNWISE to not keep it.

  9. Sam,

    I woke up at about 3:30 this morning and couldn’t go back to sleep, so I decided to listen to your podcast (I usually fall back to sleep within minutes). Well, that didn’t happen this time! I was wide awake and was hanging on every word. Your story had a big impact on me.

    Thank you for your courage to exercise your right to oppose the brethren and stay true to your own moral compass, while still remaining a faithful member of the Church. You’ve given me a lot to think about! I truly admire your integrity, honesty, and courage. If there is a personification of “loyal opposition”, you are it!

    1. Scott,

      That is shocking that you could stay awake at that early hour. I’m glad you enjoyed.

      Loyal opposition? I feel like if I didn’t vote opposed, I would actually be opposing Jesus. My loyalty lies with Him.

  10. I appreciate the authenticity of the three guests and my personal experience is that being honest with one’s conscience is very liberating. My personal church experience tracks that of Sam’s callings, etc.—in fact I served as a Bishop during the same years. However, from childhood I had an independent strain inherited from parents and ancestors (heck one of my ancestors refused to participated in MMM and testified against those murderers) who somehow were able to live their conscience and dissent while remaining members. So the principle of “voice and common consent” was always on my personal radar.
    That is why when I became very vocal about our church leaders rejecting in both words and deeds the words of Christ in not conscientiously objecting to wars of aggression after 9/11 then I created a Petition for members to sign declaring their conscientious objection (see my writings at Mormon Worker blog etc. and ldsrenouncewar.org) and then in 2012 created a Petition for return to financial transparency—another patently obvious deviation by those who are, imo, “robbing the poor” in tithes which Petition I am linking with this comment. So the “voice and common consent” should be alive among us members. I stay because as Sam said “I” am the church—we all are. It is to be “living” if it is to be “true” in the sense of continuing revelation.

    Anyway, we now have nearly 3000 members who have signed this Petition for financial transparency and it is in a real sense not only raising their hand in opposition on this issue but seeing that others will and have joined them. Thank you Sam for bringing to a larger audience that we have a duty and privilege of “voice and common consent in all things” and that privilege and duty is an essential check and balance to unrighteous dominion of priesthood as well as a major component of continuing revelation.


    1. Ron,
      I have read two books about MMM, plus the essay. Never were your ancestors highlighted. They should have been declared the HEROES of MMM. This is the exact type of thing that blind obedience can lead to. Jesus got it right when He commanded Common Consent. Of course, He is always right. The church would get more things right if we followed the Savior in the divine order of governance.

      I love your financial transparency petition. Another area when secrecy is dangerous.

      Thanks for your comments, my friend.

  11. Sam,

    Your interview was very interesting, and I can see where it makes sense to you and for your life. Yet, I kept wanting to ask you (thus the reason I’m writing now) if the core of your decisions about the church and which scriptures/doctrines are worthy of your faith are founded solely in *your* instincts about morality, why then externalize them to the brethren, scriptures, Jesus, God, etc.? You seem to be saying that we are the ultimate judge of our morality and I would agree. Then what utility is any exterior moral judge and why follow them if even partially? For me (a non-believer) this is a confusing rational and commonly called “cherry picking”.

    Now, if your answer is that you wish to find common ground with members in order to stay within the community that I can understand.

    1. Hi Gregg,

      BTW, I like the double-g.

      “If your answer is that you wish to find common ground with members in order to stay within the community that I can understand.” Good. I do want you to understand. This is a major reason that I speak in terms of the scriptures, prophets and temple covenants. It is the common ground of my culture. It’s also my upbringing, my heritage and my language.

      That being said, I do cherry pick. Everybody does. For example, most of the church is cherry picking the Law of Common Consent OUT. I’m cherry picking it IN. Most of the membership is cherry picking the gay children exclusion policy IN. I’m cherry picking it OUT.

      Thanks for your excellent question. I yearn for the day that matters like this can be openly discussed in my church.

  12. I too used to love the vicarious ordinances but i don’t think that a dead person or spirit can keep the temple covenants (e.g. how does a spirit live the law of cuchastity or sacrifice property) this the covenants are of no benefit to the deceased. Mr. Smith I would be interested in your perspective.

    1. Mr Crane,

      My perspective? Talking about temple covenants is a road to nowhere. I tried to explore them for several months. NOBODY had answers. But, I finally had an epiphany that brought sunshine onto my sacred covenants. You might want to check out what I found out in the link below.


      How do spirits obey covenants? That’s a reasonable question with no reasonable response. Only speculation.

  13. Thank you so much for your integrity and your honesty. It is uplifting that you can be a conscientious dissenter if you will. I have not officially left nor have I been excommunicated. I have, however left the church for all intents and purposes. I have joined a non-denominational Christian Church. I may in fact go back to church to vote “opposed”. We shall see. My Bishop is aware of me, so we shall see what he thinks of my attending. He may have no choice if I chose to “make waves”. Thank you for your example.

    1. Oh man Tracey!

      You might go back to church? How can the church, it’s membership and leadership not rejoice at those words? I am taking great joy right this minute. Even if you go back only for the purpose of registering a vote, that is a significant service to our Savior.

      Joined a non-denominational Christian Church. I commend you for following your heart and choosing to follow Jesus. Godspeed on your journey, my friend.

  14. You have a lot of integrity Sam. I admire that. I don’t feel Joseph actually talked to Jesus though. To me he’s a con artist. Therefore I don’t wish to help further his scam but I know many still find value in the church.

  15. THank you Sam for this wonderful interview. Lots of tears in my eyes. Participating and living the law of CC would be the healthy choice for such a good organization. It would be the choice of authentic relationships between leaders and followers.

    I remember talking to my bishop at some point about my nonbelief in God after my faith crisis. I could see that he felt sorry for me for not believing in God anymore. (which I do now). What was very troubling for me was his response after I voted opposed to the prophets. The nonverbal response suggested disgust and total unbelief that someone could do something like this. It seems that it was more troubling for him that I voted opposed than not believing in God. I realized then that most Mormons are putting unconsciously the living prophets over God and that’s why I think the law of CC is never going to be fully implemented as you suggested. Until we see them as infallible as prophets, there is not going be any progress, no participation, no giving opinions. It is called authoritarianism. It is a one-way street. It is a “sure sign” (no pun intended) of an unhealthy organization.

    I personally think that the Q15 is afraid to give us an option to dissent. They’re scared of people leaving in droves, more than now. They’re afraid of losing credibility. It takes strength to be authentic, to ask for feedback from followers and I just don’t see that strength. Fear is running this church, not love. They fear people leaving and we fear giving our opinion. So we just go along, without thinking, relinquishing our decision-making and giving it to the Q15, who, we think, have the responsibility to think and give us direction, or we just leave. We’re just here to obey and be nice like Jesus. If Jesus’s ministry taught me something, it would be the constant calling out of the pharisees, calling out of the religion of the time. Again and again. It didn’t put up and obeyed. he said NO and opposed and said NO discrimination here, we’re living by different standards: inclusion and love, and not by the law anymore (the restrictive law of Moses that is). What you’re doing is what Jesus Christ would do.

    1. Thanks for your comment. I do still believe in a God and in the things Jesus taught. Because of my beliefs in God right now I know that for years I was allowing the General Authorities to come between me and my relationship with God. I will never do that again. Right now I belong to a non-denominational Christian Church that focuses on the Bible and the teachings of Jesus. My pastor helps us to follow Him more fully but makes it clear that my relationship with Jesus is mine alone. Such a liberating feeling.
      I am not judging anyone because they have decided not to believe in God after leaving the Mormon Church. I think it is an understandable response.

  16. Two observations here: One, I admire your courage. I have not “officially” left but have not attended a meeting since April. I really applaud your ability to be a conscientious objector as it were. I wish the church would bring issues up to the members so that we can vote on them. I mean Brigham Young set an example of this by proposing the clarification of the Word of Wisdom up for vote in general conference. Just expressing a vote of opposition to the General Authorities is not going to change much and could put your membership in danger. God speed.
    Secondly, I think the Church does “protest too much” on the masturbation and pornography issues, if you know what I mean. It seems to have become such a huge issue. I also don’t remember being asked EVER about my sex life (except for fornication and /or adultery) in any meeting with any Bishop. I found out years later (my kids are grown) that my boys were being asked very pointed questions about there sex life. Had I known I would never have let them be interviewed without my presence.
    p.s. love, love your mom. I am also in health care and have always tried to instill in my children a healthy approach to sex in general. Including discussions about how much is too much when it comes to pornography and masturbation. I think it is more harmful than helpful to constantly harp on this issue. (I have sat through a number of 5th Sunday meetings on this topic…yuk). and believe the more they say; don’t and never just makes things worse an instills a guilt that is really unnecessary. There is a middle ground here.
    Thank you for your courage for coming on the podcast. A lot of people have had problems with their membership after appearing on a John Dehlin interview…..lol so good luck.
    A side note: those are really my initials, I did not make them up:)

  17. Charmaine LeBlanc

    So I shared this Podcast a few days ago but to be honest i had not listened to it yet. It’s longer than most movies so I had to prepare with enough Diet Coke and snacks to get through it. So today is a rainy day in Houston. I started listening, really to just be able to check it off my list of things to accomplish (i like doing that at lot!!). Now it’s over 3 hours later (i paused a few times for refills) and I can now check something off – Complete!!
    This was worth listening to – every minute. I am a member of the LDS church. I have not attended hardly at all since the Nov LGBT thing and the results. Why?
    In Dec 2015, my Tri-Stake Christmas Concert happened as it did every year and I was fortunate to be directing as I had for 14 years. Our immensely talented accompanist that had been in my ward several times as revolving boundaries had occurred over the years, told me that after the concert he would be leaving the church. He is gay and could not continue after the Nov announcement. He had spent his life in service of the church, serving a mission, and limiting his happiness as he tried to follow the churches rules. It made me so sad to know that he was leaving. I was going to miss his company, talent and corroboration on musical assignments. I did not think he was broken, wrong or doing the wrong thing by leaving. I felt empty that it had happened and disappointed in my leaders decision that caused this. It was wrong in every way.
    I may attend a conference to Vote Apposed after listening to Sam’s podcast. I still love my ward members and especially all I have had the pleasure to be involved with over the years involving music. We have made amazing memories, touched many people with our music and been inspiring. I want to thank you all for sharing your time with me. You were my testimony and will continue to be whether I attend or not.
    I don’t write or speak well and I appreciate those that do like Sam Young. I want to ditto the apologies he made at the end of the podcast to my LGBT friends. I will not be silent and love you all.
    Please raise your hand in your ward/stake/general conferences if you feel this is wrong too.

  18. Thank you “Mama Bertie” for answering Jamie’s question to Sam! And so honestly and compassionately I might add! That’s the raw real truth that people need to hear so they don’t feel so alone. It’s hard for so many to find the actual time it takes to truly study and develop your own opinions and beliefs, whether it’s about any religion, the government, something with the environment, the company you work for, etc. It’s even harder when the answers you start to find don’t align with what you’ve thought to be the truth. Then comes the exhausting battle. It’s so much easier to blindly follow the flock that’s blindly following the leader, especially when it feels good. I’ve come to the belief (which might change as life is a journey) that there are two basic groups of people, truth seekers and culture seekers, with a spectrum in each one. Hence why some don’t understand why others don’t get on board, and why some don’t understand why others don’t want to see the truth for themselves. I also believe people can go on a journey from one side to the other, and that can get tricky and unbalancing when one foot is on the board and the other is not.

    Thank you Sam for sharing your voice and inner compass. I believe you’ve got the church in a pickle. It wouldn’t surprise me after this interview if they want to excommunicate you as soon as possible! But with all of your hard work and research, you’ve got them backed in a corner just waiting to see how many others decide to start sharing their voices and following their own inner compasses. The church’s actions will soon be determined by the results, but I definitely believe you have given courage to those who have had compressed opposing views going on inside for some time now.

    Hope we definitely have a follow up interview at some point. Thanks to everyone for their hard work and time!

    1. Oh man, RK, beautiful, well thought out response.

      I really hope “many others decide to start sharing their voices.” Until we heed Christ’s commandment of Common Consent, I don’t see things getting much better.

      I love Jesus. I love His church. It has done much good. It can be much better.

  19. Very interesting Sam has a lot of courage
    The best part of the interview was hearing from his mother Bertie?
    What a wise woman with so much experience and insight and yet funny and interesting it would be amazing for you to interview her I’m sure she has a lifetime to share
    Please seriously consider it

  20. A lot interesting points are made in the podcast and I commend your sincerity and candor. In the interview you say that you told your stake president (or bishop I can’t remember) that if he didn’t issue you a temple recommend because you had voted opposed, you would have seen it as an exercise of unrighteous dominion. Isn’t one of the questions something along the lines of “Do you sustain Thomas S. Monson as prophet, seer, and revelator and the only person authorized to exercise all priesthood keys?” Doesn’t that disqualify a person from having a temple recommend? Just an observation.

    1. Hi Neal,

      Great quesion. To me conference voting and the temple recommend interview are 2 distinct and unrelated events. I do sustain the leaders as leaders who possess the appropriate authority (keys). I’ll state as much in the recommend interview. However, when it comes time to vote, Jesus has asked that I offer my opinion. I’m going to give an honest expression of my opinion.

      If the leaders would allow the membership to vote on major policies & decisions, I would vote to sustain when their names are read and OPPOSED when the policies were presented. Today we are not given any options. So, the only way that I have to express my approval/disapproval is to vote OPPOSED when the leaders’ names are read.

    1. Hi Gary,

      Thanks for the link. Plus, thanks for your amazingly kind words.

      “Expect Common Consent to ever see the light of Day?’ Well, it is seeing the light of day. At least in my life. Highly unlikely that many others will embrace it. At this point, I have little hope that the church will reform unless it embraces this marvelous commandment designed and issued by Jesus, himself.

  21. My heart goes out to Bertie. As she sat there supporting her son Sam, I thought about all the mothers who have supported their children only to be told by the church that you can not attend their temple sealing. Bertie deserved better than and Sam deserved to have his mother with him at his sealing. I want Bertie to know that I saw her and she matters and I am so glad she was on this podcast with her son.
    She deserved better.

    1. Dear Kathy,

      Thanks for your heartfelt support for my mom. She is great.

      Every week many, many more moms join the ranks of the excluded. Banned from their own child’s wedding. In my mind, these needless family wounds are unforgivable. How is it that we, as the church membership, tolerate such a hurtful policy? I used to take joy at the dedication of a new temple. Now, I reflect on how much damage it will cause in the hearts of the mothers.

  22. As I listened to the discussion about masturbation, I wondered if some people masturbate and/or sin in other ways and then go to the temple, is the temple, desecrated? Is the temple still a place where God’s Spirit can be expected to be present?

    1. Of course people sin before going to the Temple. I am an orthodox Christian who left Mormonism and according to our beliefs we are all sinners. However, we are all made right with God through the sacrifice of Jesus. Without any other conditions including Temple rites! So go in peace my brother.

      1. Dear LTGB,

        My favorite initials of all time!

        “ALL are made right with God through the sacrifice of Jesus.” You, my friend, believe in a mighty powerful God. You did say ALL, right. Well then, I’d say that that makes God an ALL powerful God.

    2. Hi Deacon,
      Thanks for listening. And thanks for your comments…all 38 of them. Actually, I’ve lost count. But, thanks for how many ever there are.

      Temple desecrated by a sinner entering? If sinners desecrate God’s temple, the only time it’s not desecrated is in the middle of the night when nobody’s home.

  23. My take on the Abraham sacrificing Isaac story. God (eloheim) told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. A few verses later an angel of GOD (Jehovah) said don’t sacrifice Isaac. Abraham was learning that the real God doesn’t approve of human sacrifice. These two God’s may or may not have something to do with the documentary theory, (different writers were combined to produce the book of Genesis.

    1. Dear Deacon,

      On Abraham, I like your take.

      My take goes just a little bit further. God wants us to be moral beings. Abraham’s answer was second best, at best. It would have been better to have said, “God, I love you. I love your commandments. I love my son. Murder is the polar opposite of the moral code you have taught me. So, let’s find another way to accomplish whatever You are trying to accomplish here.”

  24. The “Where was the sustaining vote for polygamy” was inspired (@ 1:07) the marriage exclusion policy (@ 1:10) is another policy that is confusing at best,

    1. Dearest Deak,

      By now, I’m feeling like you are an old friend. “This is great.” Today, I think that one of the most beautiful and touching aspects of Jesus’ gospel is common consent. He trusts the lowly membership. He values our opinion. He asks for it often and openly. How gorgeous and gracious is my God.

  25. CocoaCoveredHeretic

    Sam – Your story was so much like mine! I relate so much with the way you experienced your faith crisis. Thanks for sharing. I actually served in the Houston South Mission in the early 2000s in the Sugarland 1st ward and the Maplewood 2nd ward. I remember meeting you a couple of times! You were an inspiration to me then and you still are now! Thanks for taking the time to talk about your experiences. I feel a little less alone that I used to.

    1. Wow. How cool is that. I have done a ton of work with missionaries. Three stints a as ward mission leaders, one lasting four years. High council for four years with the assignment of missionary work. Alone? Yes, I know that feeling well. But, you and I are NOT alone. All My Best, my friend!

  26. I agree about using common consent to voice decent. I do believe it is an actual vote even though some GAs are publicly teaching its not really a vote. Any other stance robs members of free agency. Are we citizens or subjects? I think where the church has derailed is an understanding of keys. GAs publicly teach keys are the right to control, which is a blatant contradiction of d&c 121 which states priesthood can never be used in this way. Furthermore authority of priesthood is defined in Section 84 as communion with God not permission to tell other people what to do. Even Heavenly Father holds councils with his children because he respects agency. I think however we should be careful in voicing decent, and insure that it is scriptural. I think our concerns should be God’s concerns. There is no doubt that God is concerned with social justice. Feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, liberating the captive, caring for the widow and orphan seem to be God’s top priorities. The Book of Mormon even says our faith is in vain for our neglect. Build all the temples you want because I’m not impressed is God’s message. When I think that God’s primary objective for the church is the redemption of Zion where there are no poor, I wonder if we are failing spectacularly.

  27. Once again, I’m thinking to myself, “Yeah, but that’s not what I was taught for 46 years. Sooo…. If this guy teaches something different than the LDS Church, is he even really a LDS?”

    …But I appreciate his willingness to share, and I agree with the general concept of “sticking it to the man” whenever possible!

  28. Jasmine Mochalatte

    I resigned from the LDS church over 11 years ago, and I am Agnostic, but I really loved listening to Sam Young and his Mom & daughter. Sam exudes a spirit of love and acceptance towards all people. I don’t think I ever knew anyone in church like Sam Young and I was born & raised & TBM for 33 years. Too bad he isn’t the “Prophet”. (I didn’t leave the church because I was offended.) I do think if the “Prophet and Apostles” had the heart that Sam Young has, it could be very healing to the church as a whole, in spite of all the historical problems with the church history. I hope he is not excommunicated if he wants to stay in the church.

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