On Sunday, a former bishop for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints attracted media attention when he and other like-minded members went on a hunger strike.
Sam Young, the founder of ProtectLDSChildren.org, started the campaign in 2017 when we learned his granddaughter had been asked sexually explicit questions in her youth interviews with her church leaders. The goal of the strike was to bring attention to their hope that the Church would do away with one-on-one interviews with youth to determine worthiness altogether.
In response to media inquiries, the Church released this official statement:
Children and youth are precious. We share a desire to protect them, to help them grow and develop faith in the Savior, Jesus Christ and to live good and moral lives. This includes building good relationships with ecclesiastical and youth leaders who can provide support in many settings including personal interviews.
In recent months, the Church has taken important steps to improve these interactions and to strengthen the relationships between young people and their parents and leaders, and will continue to do so.
Church leaders at every level—from Sam’s local bishop and stake president to a recent conversation with a general authority—have met with him to express love, to listen and to counsel with him. 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 Church will continue to look for ways to guide, inspire and nurture young people by strengthening homes, providing positive role models and offering activities and learning opportunities that build character and deepen faith in Jesus Christ.
The updated guidelines for interviewing youth released in June 2018 focused on parent involvement in interviews and refining the questions leaders ask youth.