Youth Bishop Interviews

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

Post by Roy » 27 Dec 2017, 10:22

richalger wrote:
27 Dec 2017, 00:34
I agree with Curt.

--

What do you think of this?
"Fair Questions 4: What’s Wrong with Masturbation?"
https://www.fairmormon.org/blog/2013/01 ... sturbation
Hi Rich,

I created a new thread to address your question about the Fair Mormon Blog post. I anticipate that the responses could overwhelm this thread and significantly derail it from the OP.

Thank you for posting it.

Roy
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

squarepeg
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Re: Youth Bishop Interviews

Post by squarepeg » 29 Dec 2017, 20:47

Curt Sunshine wrote:
21 Dec 2017, 19:18
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.
Curt, thanks, well thought-out and well said. I wonder if it would be helpful for bishops to be supplied with written materials specifically compiled for youth interviews (that are available to all church members) from which they're able to read aloud during interviews, that go into detail about individual aspects of the Law of Chastity, and that bishops be instructed not to deviate from those written materials and to refer youth to a parent if the youth STILL has further questions.

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dande48
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Re: Youth Bishop Interviews

Post by dande48 » 29 Dec 2017, 21:41

squarepeg wrote:
29 Dec 2017, 20:47
Curt, thanks, well thought-out and well said. I wonder if it would be helpful for bishops to be supplied with written materials specifically compiled for youth interviews (that are available to all church members) from which they're able to read aloud during interviews, that go into detail about individual aspects of the Law of Chastity, and that bishops be instructed not to deviate from those written materials and to refer youth to a parent if the youth STILL has further questions.
I do remember a specific written material I was given as a Young Man, which covered the aspects of the Law of Chastity. In fact, I think it was titled "To Young Men Only". All about that "little factory"...

I think it was largely (in our ward) to allow the leaders and parents to skip over the more uncomfortable aspects of the LoC. Did the Young Women ever have such a resource? Thinking about it... I've known some young women who've struggle with porn, etc, yet it's ultra-stigmatized, which I think hurts their ability to be open and honest about it (beyond that of young men). I wish the Church had better resources for women's sexual health. And men's too, I guess.
"Sir, it's quite possible this asteroid is not entirely stable." - C-3PO

squarepeg
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Re: Youth Bishop Interviews

Post by squarepeg » 29 Dec 2017, 22:57

dande48 wrote:
29 Dec 2017, 21:41

I do renenver a specific written material I was given as a Young Man, which covered the aspects of the Law of Chastity. In fact, I think it was titled "To Young Men Only". All about that "little factory"...

I wish the Church had better resources for women's sexual health. And men's too, I guess.
Nice! Nope, there's no equivalent for the YW, unfortunately. We had (They have) "For the Strength of Youth" and that's it, as far as I know.

amateurparent
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Re: Youth Bishop Interviews

Post by amateurparent » 30 Dec 2017, 09:25

Dande48 wrote:
Did the Young Women ever have such a resource? Thinking about it... I've known some young women who've struggle with porn, etc, yet it's ultra-stigmatized, which I think hurts their ability to be open and honest about it (beyond that of young men). I wish the Church had better resources for women's sexual health.
I never had a bishop or church leader ask me anything beyond “Do you keep the LoC”. I was never asked if I had touched myself. I was never asked about mastrubation.

I have mixed feelings on the topic. On one hand, the difference in interview styles between genders looks like the assumption is YW are asexual until involved with a boy/man. I find that wrong and annoying. On the other hand, I really would not want some dude asking YW if they had ever pleasured themselves.

The entire youth interview process has so much potential for harm. Maybe YW ought to be interviewed by women. Maybe just the basic LoC question could be asked. Maybe a second question could be added simply asking if anyone had or was currently sexually /physically abusing them. A third question asking if they were treating anyone with less than respect.
I have no advance degrees in parenting. No national credentials. I am an amateur parent. I read, study, and learn all I can to be the best parent possible. Every time I think I have reached expert status with one child for one stage in their life, something changes and I am back to amateur status again. Now when I really mess up, I just apologize to my child, and explain that I am indeed an amateur .. I'm still learning how to do this right.

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BeJoyful
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Re: Youth Bishop Interviews

Post by BeJoyful » 03 Jan 2018, 09:44



This is my first time posting/commenting, but this is an issue I've been thinking a lot about lately.
squarepeg wrote: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.
True, they aren't supposed to, but with such a big church and thousands of leaders, there's no standardization of understanding, so there will be differences in behavior. I think protection from inappropriate questioning is wise, as these early interactions form the basis of a relationship with the church. I think we need to do everything we can to make it a positive one.
squarepeg wrote: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.
I understand you not wanting to make a leader feel as though you don't trust them, but I think this could open a very needed discussion in the church on not trusting men/women blindly and on appropriate interview discussions.

When I was young, I was assaulted by a boyfriend. We were kissing, we were alone, but those things by themselves aren't breaking the LoC, they're just inadvisable because they could lead to it. Now, as an adult, I can see that. As a youth in the bishop's office, I was made to feel as though I had sinned, because somehow I was asking for *his* behavior.

My s.i.l. had a similar circumstance of inappropriate interviewing. She 'confessed' to inappropriate petting in a bishop's interview, and her bishop questioned her in explicit detail about sexual acts she's never even heard of, despite her saying early on that nothing further had taken place. She felt violated by his using authority to question her about sexual acts.

The imbalance of power and authority in a questioning setting can lead to intimidation and foster an environment where inappropriate questions don't feel inappropriate to the questioner, and make it difficult for youth (or anyone) to call those questions out as such, especially if they don't have the knowledge to identify what is inappropriate and what isn't.

Here's my solution so far:

Talk to your kids about what questions might be asked, and give them options for answers, i.e., "I'd rather not discuss that with you, but I don't feel it impacts my worthiness", "I'd like to bring my parents in for the rest of the interview" "I don't need to go into detail", etc.

Talk to your bishop about what you feel could be inappropriate questions, and ask what takes place in interviews. Ask if it's standardized throughout the bishopric, and if not, ask them to standardize it.

Talk to your kids about what you feel is appropriate behavior in interview question responses. Is caffeine breaking the WoW? masturbating breaking LoC? etc., and ask them to get their own answers so they can set and answer to standards of behavior that they understand and agree to long before an interview.

Talk to your kids about consent. In my situation, I strongly feel that I did not break the LoC because of another person's behavior, and now I wouldn't feel the need to divulge that information to a bishop unless I felt the need for counsel or healing. I carried a lot of guilt and hurt for a long time about that.
squarepeg wrote:In truth I don't know them remotely well enough to make that determination.
I think so many people trust too lightly. A few years ago, we moved into a new ward and after only 2 days there, there was a 11yo scout campout. I told the Primary President my son wouldn't be going to campouts for a while till we got to know people in the ward, but she still felt it appropriate to pull my son aside just out of my earshot and whisper to him that if he wanted to go he needed to tell me and that she was sure he could trust the leaders.
I wasn't okay with a leader trying (even with good intentions) to coerce my son into trusting a strange man his parents have never even met, in the name of church activity. I informed her again that we restrict sleepovers in our family to people we know well, and that includes campouts.

No amount of adult hurt feelings are worth the safety and health (emotional, physical, spiritual) of your children. We need to empower ourselves to be advocates for our kids, because the stakes are too high.

This doesn't mean it's helicopter parenting, especially when you empower your kids to advocate for themselves as well.



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LookingHard
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Re: Youth Bishop Interviews

Post by LookingHard » 03 Jan 2018, 14:00

BeJoyful - welcome and great thoughts.

squarepeg
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Re: Youth Bishop Interviews

Post by squarepeg » 04 Jan 2018, 17:17

Dande48 wrote:
I never had a bishop or church leader ask me anything beyond “Do you keep the LoC”. I was never asked if I had touched myself. I was never asked about mastrubation.
Me, neither. I think we lucked out in the ward leadership department, though, because my husband, my mom, my dad, and several other people I know have been asked probing questions that go into far more detail than they were ready for. That interview was the place they first heard about several sexual behaviors that people engage in.

BeJoyful wrote:
03 Jan 2018, 09:44

I understand you not wanting to make a leader feel as though you don't trust them, but I think this could open a very needed discussion in the church on not trusting men/women blindly and on appropriate interview discussions.

Here's my solution so far:

Talk to your kids about what questions might be asked, and give them options for answers, i.e., "I'd rather not discuss that with you, but I don't feel it impacts my worthiness", "I'd like to bring my parents in for the rest of the interview" "I don't need to go into detail", etc.

Talk to your bishop about what you feel could be inappropriate questions, and ask what takes place in interviews. Ask if it's standardized throughout the bishopric, and if not, ask them to standardize it.

Talk to your kids about what you feel is appropriate behavior in interview question responses. Is caffeine breaking the WoW? masturbating breaking LoC? etc., and ask them to get their own answers so they can set and answer to standards of behavior that they understand and agree to long before an interview.

Talk to your kids about consent. In my situation, I strongly feel that I did not break the LoC because of another person's behavior, and now I wouldn't feel the need to divulge that information to a bishop unless I felt the need for counsel or healing. I carried a lot of guilt and hurt for a long time about that.
Thanks for this assessment. I think you're right that it's important to open up a discussion in the church generally about this.

I actually settled on having my kids memorize the statement, "My parents say I'm not allowed to answer any specific questions about the Law of Chastity," in the event that a leader asks anything beyond the simple, "Do you obey the Law of Chastity?" But my next step needs to be to talk to the bishop and get them to standardize their procedure. I have asked him what questions are asked in the interview for boys to become Deacons and he didn't answer...he said that interview is more about helping the boy to understand his responsibilities and what it means to be a Deacon...so that wasn't very helpful. I'll have to ask again about youth interviews and the LoC specifically.

I also definitely need to talk to the kids about these questions individually and have them come up with their own answers. Thank you for that suggestion. I'm so sorry for your experience with being guilt-tripped after being assaulted. My mom feels that there is often a double standard as far as Church discipline and the LoC where women are often made to feel guilty when the fault lies with the male party. My dad cheated on my mom when I was in high school and the bishop treated the situation as one where both my parents were equally in need of going through the repentance process. That was very hard on my mom. If we can get the discussion going, if I can be assertive enough with my own bishopric, we can hopefully help experiences like yours and my mom's to be handled better moving forward.

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BeJoyful
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Re: Youth Bishop Interviews

Post by BeJoyful » 05 Jan 2018, 07:17

LookingHard wrote:
03 Jan 2018, 14:00
BeJoyful - welcome and great thoughts.
Oh good, my comments posted! My phone kept telling me it couldn't find the forum, so after several tries I came back today. Apparently one of my tries went through!

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Youth Bishop Interviews

Post by Curt Sunshine » 05 Jan 2018, 21:02

An admin has to approve registration before any comments are posted. Since we all are volunteers, it doesn't happen instaneously. Thanks for your patience. :smile:
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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