Youth Bishop Interviews

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
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Re: Youth Bishop Interviews

Post by AmyJ » 14 Dec 2017, 09:22

Our branch president gave us weird looks when I said I wanted to be there (which translated into my husband and baby sitting in as well) for our 8 year old's "interview".

He went through his spiel about baptism and questions (that my daughter needed coaxing to answer at all and did not give answers showing her understanding of the ordinance she was about to experience), and then said she was ready for the ordinance, and commented on how he didn't consider it a "worthiness" interview. I was glad that he made the statement.

I highly requested being there for the interview - not because I thought it would be a worthiness interview - but because I figured she would go mute and would feel more comfortable with her mom there. She does not handle non-routine situations well.

Thankfully, I am off the hook interview-wise for 4 years now.

Next time, I think I will make it very clear to the bishopric and my daughter that her interview can start without me, but that I will be outside the door doing my thing (reading on my kindle or whatnot), and that either party can pull me in if they feel uncomfortable. I want to respect the authority of the leader, but also make sure my daughter does not end up dealing with situations she is not ready for if they can be prevented.

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Re: Youth Bishop Interviews

Post by LookingHard » 14 Dec 2017, 09:35

So I did a google search and here is what came up:

Necking - a short, plain, concave section between the capital and the shaft of a classical Doric or Tuscan column.

1. stroke or pat (an animal) affectionately.
2. treat (someone) with affection or favoritism; pamper.
3. engage in sexually stimulating caressing and touching.
"couples necking and petting in the cars"

"Sexually stimulating" caressing/touching can be a WIDE range. I remember the first time holding hands I would have called it somewhat stimulating.

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Re: Youth Bishop Interviews

Post by Roy » 14 Dec 2017, 10:24

mom3 wrote:
13 Dec 2017, 20:43
Yep - petting to her was what you did to the cat (or dog). When asked if she had "petted" or "petting" she said yes. Poor girl was barely twelve.
I first began dating my now wife at BYU about 15 years ago. Each milestone in our relationship was a momentous occasion celebrated by DW and her roommates (some tradition about shared treats to mark holding hands, kissing, and a steak dinner for engagement). In the initial stages when we were courting and flirting but had not yet held hands I would sometimes pat her head as a reflex. I think it was a compromise between wanting to touch her in some affectionate way and yet not wanting to be presumptuous or push any boundaries. The top of her head seemed like a safe option. IT WASN'T! She got mad at me for petting her like a dog! :twisted:

As for bishops interviews I believe that my preferred course of action would be to prepare my children for the questions to be asked. I do not think that it would be fair to the bishop or the child for the bishop to have to explain the law of chastity to my kid.
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Re: Youth Bishop Interviews

Post by SamBee » 14 Dec 2017, 11:06

DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true is...authorized to administer the Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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Re: Youth Bishop Interviews

Post by SilentDawning » 16 Dec 2017, 07:19

hawkgrrrl wrote:
13 Dec 2017, 15:48
In short, I don't have a good solution. IMO, which the church cares less than zero about, bishops should be prohibited from asking anything more than "Do you obey the Law of Chastity?" Full stop, yes or no. If yes, move on to the next question. The grilling down on specifics should be outright prohibited, IMO. If no, then, I guess it can get tricky. They could just say, "Hey, kid, you should work on that. Here's a candy bar." The risk is a false positive. Some kids will say they have a LoC problem when they don't really. They just feel guilty about boners.
Hawk - I do think you have a good solution. TRAIN THEM t to do what you said above before their interview. I think a parent has every right to object if a Bishopric member interviews the kid without the parent's knowledge (unless the kid initiates the interview, and not the Bishop). But train the kid to be their own person, and how to react to the Bishop's questions. Then let them go in there and do what they think is right. That is my solution.

My question is what else do you train the kid on? There is the Yes/No and no details part of it, but what else? The difference between morning wood and breaking the law of chastity? The fact that certain matters are between the person and God? If so, which ones, and to what degree? Kids need to understand that. I had no one to train me and I wore my Bishops ragged when I was a very very young adult. Looking back I didn't belong in their office "confessing" because there was nothing to confess.
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Re: Youth Bishop Interviews

Post by hawkgrrrl » 19 Dec 2017, 15:13

SD's comment actually brings up something I sometimes think about as a parent. My son once complained that the bishop had asked him about masturbating, implying the guy was either 1) a perv, or 2) wrong to think that it's wrong since M is healthy (emotionally, physically, whatever). I don't know which thing he meant by complaining, maybe both. I just said you don't have to answer questions you feel are inappropriate, and I was sure the guy was just doing his job the way he understood it. Of course, this was after the fact, and I suspect that my son was bringing it up to explain why he didn't like the church, and it may have been a factor in his overall negative view of things. I think he was hoping I'd be outraged on his behalf, but I wasn't really because I didn't think the interview was anything he couldn't handle. Maybe I was wrong.

Ultimately, in a lot of ways, I think the church accidentally prepares you to deal with things you might face in real life. We know from recent news stories that there are many men who abuse their position of power to harass women. Perhaps bishops' interviews give kids a chance to gain the social skills to tell the difference between appropriate and invasive personal discussions. Maybe they can help kids learn how to draw boundaries. I think our worry is that kids will instead just cower under the bishop's authority and develop unhealthy boundaries with authority. I don't think that happened to me as a youth, and I know it didn't happen to me in business because I was always comfortable nipping things in the bud and dealing with them head on if I didn't like something. But maybe it's a risk that should be taken seriously. I just worry that we also are over-protective sometimes. People don't develop self-protective skills when they are encased in bubble wrap.

I also know that there are REAL abusers out there who manipulate and invade privacy under the guise of their role: 1) they are clearly a minority, and 2) I suspect that many of them wouldn't be deterred by training or instructions. When they come to light, they should be held to task clearly and swiftly. Sometimes our church believes our leaders too much over our lay members (which particularly leaves women vulnerable, another reason I think I'd prefer if women did interviews for women).

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Re: Youth Bishop Interviews

Post by squarepeg » 20 Dec 2017, 17:17

Thanks so much, everyone, for imparting of your wisdom, thoughts, experiences. This is helping me a lot in working through this.

I think it's true that some youth might be less likely to bring up issues of concern if the parent is in the room during the interview. (Mine won't, but some might.) Thing is, I'm not sure the youth should be bringing up sexual concerns with bishopric members unless they really feel comfortable doing so. But that's just me. Our bishopric are brand-newly called, and they're virtual strangers to me and my kids. If we still had our previous bishop, whom I know well, I don't think I'd be bothered about this at all.

Most bishops' stance on the Law of Chastity should be exactly what? Is there a concise definition somewhere? Searching the scriptures and the Church website, I can't find one. I find different ones going into varying levels of detail, in varying shades of gray. I'd like to teach my kids exactly what the bishop means when he asks that question, but I don't even know what he means, exactly! Does HE even know? I would LOVE to prepare my kids ahead of time for the questions the bishop will ask, but that requires that I KNOW what those questions are. Actually, last time I was in for an interview, I asked him what questions he asks the boys when they become deacons...if it was basically just the temple worthiness questions, or if different, in what ways. He just talked about how he likes to use that interview to talk about their responsibilities and what it means to hold the Priesthood. He didn't answer my question.

I agree that most bishops are not asking kids detailed questions in order to arouse themselves or for any other evil purpose, but SOME inevitably will do, or will be. I just wish there was a rule about the level of detail they're allowed to go into with these kids. I don't want them mentioning, asking, or explaining sexual things to my kids that my kids haven't heard of before. That's MY job. People have such varying ideas about what is ok, sexually, within and without the Church, and I don't want my kids going years or even decades believing that one guy's interpretation of the Law of Chastity is the Lord's interpretation, when that may not be the case.

I definitely don't want to be a molly-coddling helicopter parent. That's a good point. If I go in there with them, it sends them the message that I don't believe they can handle that situation on their own.

Lying seems a less-than-ideal approach, to me, especially considering that another one of the temple worthiness questions asks if we're honest in our dealings with our fellow man. *facepalm*

Yes, "necking and petting," I had only a vague notion of what those might mean while growing up, and I was born in the Church. I still only have a vague idea! But I'm too embarrassed to ask anybody at church, at this point. "What, you're 30-something and you still don't know what necking and petting are?" I noticed that my daughter's For the Strength of Youth book doesn't use those terms, thankfully.

I guess I wouldn't feel a need to encase my kids in bubble wrap, so to speak, if I knew what those guys were gonna ask them. It's the rare person who would say it's a great idea to send your kid into a room with a strange adult male who will ask them questions and dispense advice of a sexual nature, if you, the parent, don't know the guy well, and don't know what questions will be asked or what advice will be given. Right?

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Re: Youth Bishop Interviews

Post by Curt Sunshine » 21 Dec 2017, 19:18

The expectation (and sincere hope for the vast majority of Bishops) is that the Bishop asks ONLY the question, "Do you obey the Law of Chastity?", and the youth answers, "Yes."

The difficulty happens when the youth says, "No," or, "I'm not sure," or, "What does that mean?" In that situation, there isn't enough guidance to help Bishops who don't want to get into specifics know what to say or a rare Bishop who does want to get into specifics what not to say. It is at that point that leadership roulette kicks in.

My preference is for the Bishop to do one of two things when the answer is uncertainty: 1) If he trusts that the parents are willing and able to give solid detail for those who aren't sure of the meaning, he would stop the interview and refer the youth to the parent(s) for clarification (which has multiple difficult issues for some kids); 2) If he is hearing uncertainty from multiple youth, he would hold a meeting with all of the youth to talk about what it means, so nobody is singled out individually and embarrassed. (The meeting option would work also if he is not certain the parent(s) would respond appropriately or if he is aware of something that would be potentially harmful.)

This is a potential landmine issue no matter the Bishop decides to do. The only way to avoid that potential is to stop asking the question - and, although I believe in the principle and concept of a Law of Chastity of some kind, I would like to see the question removed from youth interviews. The negative consequences in too many cases can't be avoided, so I favor teaching the standard (in clear, modern terms) and saving the question until the full temple recommend Interview. I understand the door that opens for sexually promiscuous youth to attend the temple, but, for me, doing so is on them.
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Re: Youth Bishop Interviews

Post by SamBee » 22 Dec 2017, 04:08

I feel there is a problem here for the bishop himself. Not only will this be uncomfortable for many of them to ask certain questions, but in some cases, the bishops might have asked for detail to clear up confusion rather than their own sexual kinks. As many of you point out, children are not familiar with a lot of these concepts.

What is a bishop supposed to do if a child says "what is that?"?

I - as an adult - have had to ask about what one or two of the TR questions meant. In particular I had to get these two cleared up:
"6 Is there anything in your conduct relating to members of your family that is not in harmony with the teachings of the Church?"
"14 Have there been any sins or misdeeds in your life that should have been resolved with priesthood authorities but have not been?"
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true is...authorized to administer the Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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Re: Youth Bishop Interviews

Post by richalger » 27 Dec 2017, 00:34

I agree with Curt.


What do you think of this?
"Fair Questions 4: What’s Wrong with Masturbation?" ... sturbation

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