Youth Worthiness Interviews

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
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canadiangirl
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Youth Worthiness Interviews

Post by canadiangirl » 06 Feb 2011, 22:03

My dd is having a birthday in a few weeks and I'm wondering how to handle the whole annual birthday interview. I have big concerns about these interviews and would like to set some boundaries so that I can be comfortable with them. So far my idea is to decline the invitation to set up an appointment for dd and then make it clear that as parents we only want our kids interviewed when needed such as when a temple trip is coming up or when advancement in the priesthood requires one and then only with a parent in on the interview. I want to make it clear that the bishop is only to ask the TR questions without additions or explanations unless of course our children ask for further comment. My dh agrees fully with my requests. My problem comes with me wanting to avoid how these requests might be perceived by my bishop. It is not that I don't trust him, I'm just trying to prevent any unhealthy ideas from forming in my kids minds. ( I know, an impossible feat but still I'd like to do what I can). I feel that these interviews are intrusive and I really feel like my kids privacy is violated.

I could just go with the status quo and prep my kids really well for the interview but I'm not sure that will accomplish what I'm really after which is that no church authority figure invades my kids lives until they are adults and can choose for themselves how much church involvement they want.

Has anyone dealt with this issue? How have you handled it? Or how would you handle it if you were in my shoes? This problem is on my mind nearly every waking moment and I need to resolve it to gain some peace.

Thanks,
CG

Cnsl1
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Re: Youth Worthiness Interviews

Post by Cnsl1 » 06 Feb 2011, 22:48

I've dealt with this as an interview giver and as a parent. I'm not comfortable with either. As an interviewer, I stuck to the questions. I gave enough that I eventually memorized the questions. The only follow-up I ever asked was whether or not they understood what a particular question meant (e.g., Do you know what tithing means, word of wisdom, chastity, etc.). I didn't ask details. Sometimes I clarified word of wisdom things when asked, such as caffeine or energy drinks. For those unsure about the Law of Chastity, I just said something like "that's the commandment about only having sexual relations with your husband or wife." I never asked about nor mentioned masturbation.

As a parent, I tried to give my girls a little heads up regarding what the questions would be like. I think they've had good bishops and counselors so there really wasn't ever a problem or issue. My son isn't yet old enough, but I'll probably prep him a little more as the questions to the boys tend to be a much more intrusive. Some bishops seem particularly instrusive about the masturbation question and ask that specifically and repeatedly, I've been told.

doug
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Re: Youth Worthiness Interviews

Post by doug » 07 Feb 2011, 08:15

I completely understand where you're coming from on this. I sometimes bristle when I feel as though church members with this or that calling that involves interaction with youth feel it is within their purview to get between the youth and their parents. Not that that is the intent or purspose of these interviews that you refer to, or the person giving them, but it can seem that way sometimes, and in any case, I am a such a private person that I prefer to keep these kinds of communication within the family.

If you feel uncomfortable about these interviews, you absolutely have a right to determine if and how they take place. You have to weigh that against the fact that you being present would be very non-traditional and might lead to embarrassment for your child. I would have had to fight my spouse on this one also, so I just left it alone. By and large, the men who conduct these interviews are sensitive and caring, and quite often pretty uncomfortable about the whole thing themselves. But it is a gamble.
The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also. -- Mark Twain

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Orson
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Re: Youth Worthiness Interviews

Post by Orson » 07 Feb 2011, 08:54

Does anyone know if the new handbook has any updates on guidelines for youth worthiness interviews?
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I first found faith, and thought I had all truth. I then discovered doubt, and claimed a more accurate truth. Now I’ve greeted paradox and a deeper truth than I have ever known.

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observant
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Re: Youth Worthiness Interviews

Post by observant » 07 Feb 2011, 10:37

My husband's first youth interview was with a young man turning 12. He told me that his interview went something like:

Are you kind to your brothers and sisters?
Do you obey your parents?

He said he could tell there was no need to know more than that or to asks questions that would put ideas into his head.

Hopefully there are leaders out there who have the same misgivings about asking intrusive questions.

I do feel though that there is a need to be specific when asking prospective missionaries about worthiness. It's much better to know of any issues before they get to the MTC or out into the field.
"Some think it's holding on that makes one strong; sometimes it's letting go. "~Sylvia Robinson

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Youth Worthiness Interviews

Post by Curt Sunshine » 07 Feb 2011, 21:00

I'll try to remember to check the Bishop's handbook when I have a chance.

If you feel strongly about the interviews, talk with your Bishop about it - but just make sure you explain that you aren't questioning him in any way. Tell him you will explain anything that he feels your child might not understand very well - that you welcome his advice to you about those things but that you don't want him to try to answer them. Most Bishops would rise up and call you blessed :clap: for taking that approach; I know I certainly would in that situation.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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canadiangirl
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Re: Youth Worthiness Interviews

Post by canadiangirl » 08 Feb 2011, 00:04

Thanks Ray I would really appreciate that.

I really want to believe that our Bishop will conduct an interview like observant and Csnl1 have described. My husband sat in on our 8 year-olds baptism interview and said he was really impressed with the way the Bishop conducted the interview. I've just been hearing horror stories (not about our bishop but others) and I'm a momma bear when it comes to my kids.

I appreciate those who have responded. I think I would feel better about rocking the boat if I was TBM but because of my doubts I feel more vulnerable I guess.

I still wonder how the church gets away with these interviews when at the primary level they have to have a married couple teach a primary class because a single male cannot be in a room alone with children. Then they are ok with young women alone with an adult male? Maybe the new handbook addresses this issue. I'll wait to hear about that.

CG

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Heber13
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Re: Youth Worthiness Interviews

Post by Heber13 » 14 Feb 2011, 00:21

doug wrote:I completely understand where you're coming from on this. I sometimes bristle when I feel as though church members with this or that calling that involves interaction with youth feel it is within their purview to get between the youth and their parents.
I completely agree with doug on this point, and feel strongly about it too. CG...if you have some feelings of hesitancy or doubt about these interviews...listen to those feelings and seek them out. It is more important to worry about your job as parent than to worry what church people will think about you.

For a time, I told our bishop I would attend every interview with my daughters, because they were being asked things that made them come home crying. The bishop was hesitant, actually he didn't really like me demanding to be in all interviews as he thought it was awkward...but I told him I didn't care about awkwardness, I cared about my girls. He also didn't think it was good because my kids might not open up to him with me present, but I also told him that wasn't his concern. We have good talking relationships and my kids tell me everything (sometimes more than a dad wants to really hear :oops: ) and so I held my ground and just told him that it was important for personal reasons, and they could either interview them with me present, or not interview them...it was their choice.

After a few months of that...it became no big deal. Leaders didn't like it, but I felt successful in sending them a clear message that their role was to support us as parents in the home...not be a go between. Well intentioned youth leaders that would say things like "if you feel you need a break from your parents you are always welcome to come talk to me" changed their tune to "I'm always willing to help as long as your parents approve". Whether leaders agree or not, they have no authority in the home over the parents. That is what the church teaches...family first, right?

I don't mean to make it sound like I was overly protective and really freaked out about it all...it was just that our family had been going through specific trials, and the church leaders didn't understand everything...so while they were just trying to help...I had to set boundaries and kindly ask them to respect that...which they did.

It became a non-issue after a few months. I just think we all should take our responsibilities as parents seriously, and not feel guilted into relinquishing that because church leaders want to help. You need to prayerfully set the boundaries, and stick to them.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Youth Worthiness Interviews

Post by Curt Sunshine » 14 Feb 2011, 13:40

The handbook says that the Bishop or Counselor is NOT to ask anything about sexual activity that "might' inspire curiosity or experimentation.

Seems to me that the best approach is, "Do you follow the Law of Chastity?" If the answer is anything but, "Yes" - follow-up with, "OK. Talk with your parents about it and get back to me if all of you think it's necessary."
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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Brian Johnston
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Re: Youth Worthiness Interviews

Post by Brian Johnston » 14 Feb 2011, 15:19

Ray Degraw wrote:"Do you follow the Law of Chastity?" If the answer is anything but, "Yes" - follow-up with, "OK. Talk with your parents about it and get back to me if all of you think it's necessary."
Perfect!

I would only add that maybe it's OK for the Bishop to also passively offer to talk to the youth if they are not comfortable talking to a parent, OR perhaps also having some other third party available -- a non-judging responsible adult / mentor / counselor.

I'm just thinking of circumstances where a young person might actually want to talk to someone and have questions, but they are not comfortable talking to their parents about it. It's better to talk to someone, any responsible person, than nobody at all when you have a problem. Bishops and parents can both be seen as authority / judging figures in a person's life.

I can think of my own time as a young person. It wasn't about chastity issues, but drugs and alcohol were a part of my teen years. I couldn't talk to the Bishop. My parents were not able to handle those discussions either ... :(
"It's strange to be here. The mystery never leaves you alone." -John O'Donohue, Anam Cara, speaking of experiencing life.

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