Youth Bishop Interviews

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squarepeg
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Youth Bishop Interviews

Post by squarepeg » 13 Dec 2017, 14:34

I understand that bishops are not supposed to ask detailed questions about the law of chastity when interviewing youth, but they sometimes do. My mom, who was raised in the church and raised us kids in the church but is no longer active, wants me to insist upon being present in the room when my kids are interviewed in order to protect them from inappropriate questioning by priesthood leadership. At first I thought this was a good idea and I told my kids that if a bishopric member requests an interview, that they should tell him they need to do an interview at a time when a parent can be present. But, I am concerned that this will make the bishopric member feel that I do not trust them, when that is not the case, at least not on a personal level.

Maybe I should just explain my reasoning to the bishopric member. But I thought I'd post here and see if anyone had any alternate suggestions or thoughts about this issue.

My kids are "young" youth, 13 and almost 12, and they asked me why I wanted to be in the room. I told them that their dad and their grandparents had been asked some questions as youth that were not appropriate for an adult man to ask them, that made them feel confused and guilty. Neither my mom nor my husband knew what masturbation was until several years after they were asked about it in priesthood interviews in their early teens. My husband and dad both are confident that most young men do masturbate and simply lie when the question is asked, or tell the truth and feel unnecessarily guilty. My husband and I feel that that behavior should not be a factor of temple worthiness, nor should there be any questioning in youth interviews about other specific behaviors like types of kissing, necking, petting, etc. We feel those discussions should be between children and parents, and that the bishop should ask simply whether they live the law of chastity. But I don't want to send the message that I don't trust our leadership. In truth I don't know them remotely well enough to make that determination.

Thanks for any thoughts.

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dande48
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Re: Youth Bishop Interviews

Post by dande48 » 13 Dec 2017, 14:50

Here's my two cents:

-Youth will probably be less likely to bring up issues, when both the Bishop and a parent are present. I know I would've been.
-It sounds like your views on the law of Chastity are likely in conflict with most Bishop's stance on the law of Chastity. If the question arises, do you really want to have your child see you in open conflict with a Church leader?
-I don't feel most bishops ask inappropriate questions concerning the law of chastity. For us, they asked us both "What is the Law of Chastity?" and "Do you keep it?". I also don't feel like a question like "Have you been exposed to pornography?" or "do you masturbate?" to be in the realm of inappropriate questions. Bishops are our clergy, and they're not asking with the intent of having some pedophillic arousal. They're honestly checking into the kids sexual health at a time when hormones go haywire for most of us. Good sexual health, positive habits, and the development of self-control at that age can make a world of difference later on.

What I'd recommend is talking to them about it afterwards. That gives them a chance to lie to you, while being open and honest with the bishop (or visa versa). It's also a chance to check in and make sure the bishop didn't say anything which made them feel uncomfortable.
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hawkgrrrl
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Re: Youth Bishop Interviews

Post by hawkgrrrl » 13 Dec 2017, 15:48

I have mixed feelings on this one, and they are partly political observations. It seems to me that conservatives are too prone to hand-wave away any concerns about clergy (or other authorities') misdeeds and the impact they can have to victims. Mormon youth (and young adults) are often in a very vulnerable position, and their innocence makes them easy prey. The church in general clearly doesn't take this risk that seriously, based on the recent article in the Deseret News.

But I've also been unwilling to insert myself into the process as a parent. It feels to me that liberals are too sensitive sometimes, too worried about the abuse potential, to the point that children are infantilized, and we are helicoptering over them, wrapping them in bubble wrap of parental oversight rather than giving them the confidence and skills to deal with bullies and abusers.

Then there's my old fashioned perspective that says kids need to learn to lie to the bishop on their own terms. ;) That's a little bishop's interview humor for you.

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.

Roy
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Re: Youth Bishop Interviews

Post by Roy » 13 Dec 2017, 16:53

hawkgrrrl wrote:
13 Dec 2017, 15:48
Then there's my old fashioned perspective that says kids need to learn to lie to the bishop on their own terms
:lol: :lol: :lol:
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Roadrunner
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Re: Youth Bishop Interviews

Post by Roadrunner » 13 Dec 2017, 18:26

This is how I handled it, it may or may not be helpful.

When my oldest son turned 11 I attended a pediatrician appointment with my son and my wife and I asked the Dr in front of my son if there is anything medically harmful about masturbation. The doctor said no. When we got home I told my son and my wife that as far as I was concerned there was nothing to worry about masturbation as long as it was private - the doctor even said so. I also told him that he'd be asked about it at church occasionally and that he had my permission to answer "no" to that question and if there is any sin involved with lying it's on me. My son seemed ok with that approach although my wife disagreed but said it was a guy thing and wouldn't challenge me.

Depending on the bishop there may be value in not antagonizing him or a counselor. My oldest daughter was dangerously sexually active in high school and experimented with drugs also - and it was a genuinely good bishop, not her parents - that helped her through it. I know that he didn't ask detailed questions because he and I were very close friends at the time which made me feel at ease. If the bishop were a royal prick I'd probably sit in with my kid during the interview because I wouldn't care what he thought of me.

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mom3
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Re: Youth Bishop Interviews

Post by mom3 » 13 Dec 2017, 20:43

The following account is absolutely true.

As a ward YW Pres. I was driving the girls home one night from an activity. A particular girl asked if she could be last. When we pulled into her drive way she began to cry. Being the good leader that I was I hugged her and asked if she needed to talk. Through sobs, she explained that she didn't know petting was wrong. After all everyone in her family did it.

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.

We talked for a half hour about the sin she hadn't committed. I waited till her eye puffiness went down. Then sent her in.

Then I booked it over to the Bishop's and gave him a piece of my mind. (He and I also had a good laugh about it years later.)

I believe he met with her and her family the next day to correct the error.
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hawkgrrrl
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Re: Youth Bishop Interviews

Post by hawkgrrrl » 13 Dec 2017, 22:37

Yeah, because nobody has called it "petting" outside of an LDS bishop's office since 1962! They just call it rounding second base, or "a little under the shirt action" or getting felt up. Our lingo is impenetrable to our youth. I remember at age 15 never having heard the term before (and literally never hearing it used by anyone who was in my age group) and I am going to be 50 years old in a month! These are not contemporary terms!

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SamBee
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Re: Youth Bishop Interviews

Post by SamBee » 14 Dec 2017, 08:04

I'd be amazed if any teenager doesn't know what these things are, given the info all over the internet, sexting etc. I had known about it for several years before I became a teenager.

I wouldn't want to ask any youngster about it though.
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SamBee
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Re: Youth Bishop Interviews

Post by SamBee » 14 Dec 2017, 08:08

hawkgrrrl wrote:
13 Dec 2017, 22:37
Yeah, because nobody has called it "petting" outside of an LDS bishop's office since 1962! They just call it rounding second base, or "a little under the shirt action" or getting felt up. Our lingo is impenetrable to our youth. I remember at age 15 never having heard the term before (and literally never hearing it used by anyone who was in my age group) and I am going to be 50 years old in a month! These are not contemporary terms!
I don't think it was EVER referred to as petting in this part of the world. What is it? Kissing and groping?
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 church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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DarkJedi
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Re: Youth Bishop Interviews

Post by DarkJedi » 14 Dec 2017, 08:59

hawkgrrrl wrote:
13 Dec 2017, 22:37
Yeah, because nobody has called it "petting" outside of an LDS bishop's office since 1962! They just call it rounding second base, or "a little under the shirt action" or getting felt up. Our lingo is impenetrable to our youth. I remember at age 15 never having heard the term before (and literally never hearing it used by anyone who was in my age group) and I am going to be 50 years old in a month! These are not contemporary terms!
I was born in 1960. I joined the church in 1981. I had never heard of petting (other than the cat kind) before I joined the church. And I still don't know what it means nor do I know the difference between "regular" petting and heavy petting. Seriously dudes, this is a term more than half a century old that even the last of the Boomers don't understand.
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