Page 1 of 3

TR interview and porn

Posted: 28 Feb 2019, 12:46
by DarkJedi
Just curious. Last TR interview I had when the stake presidency counselor came to the chastity question he added "which includes pornography." (The bishopric member did not do that.) I was only slightly taken aback, and I am well aware of the policy about not asking anything outside the prescribed questions. As is customary for me, I gave my one word answer but I did not challenge the addition. It was possible, I thought to myself, that porn had been added to the question but then reasoned that the bishop's counselor hadn't asked so probably not (unless he didn't get the memo). We just proceeded with the remaining questions, he signed the recommend, and I went home. A post in another thread prompted me to think about this again.

Are others being asked this or is it a thing only in my stake? Briefly, my SP is generally a good guy and I love him to pieces but sometimes he's a little too much on the "strict obedience" side for me, and he is very anti-porn. Anyway, I'm just wondering if it's him or maybe the area presidency or higher up that prompted that because based on the post that prompted me it doesn't sound like it's happening everywhere.

Re: TR interview and porn

Posted: 28 Feb 2019, 14:31
by Roadrunner
Hi DJ,
The temple recommend questions haven’t been updated recently. And as you say, leaders still aren’t supposed to add to the questions but calling them out is a no-win scenario. One could internally justify answering the real questions by saying they are abusing their authority and being disobedient themselves.

Roadrunner

Re: TR interview and porn

Posted: 28 Feb 2019, 15:58
by DarkJedi
In this particular case I could have "called him out" on it, or more correctly politely inquired about it, but only because I have known this guy for 30+ years and we have served together in different leadership callings (including a bishopric). But in the situation I was more indifferent than anything else including the idea that in my own mind I do live the law of chastity porn included or not. And even if it were someone different if I were of a mind to challenge it I would have. In the end it made no difference as to whether I got a TR or not and the SPC didn't push - he asked the question, I answered yes, next question.

Again, I'm just curious if it's happening elsewhere and what the motivation to defy policy is.

Re: TR interview and porn

Posted: 01 Mar 2019, 17:46
by Curt Sunshine
He was out of line. Period.

Re: TR interview and porn

Posted: 02 Mar 2019, 09:45
by DarkJedi
I don't disagree Curt. My friend the counselor did say the stake president said to qualify the question, but I think he is out of his lane. Judging by the few responses here it seems to be localized. It was last year so I won't have another interview for a while, but whatever. Of course the other issue this brings up is that there really isn't a check on the SP in this case. What if I did answer no because I looked at porn once? Who do I appeal to? The AA is certainly like minded and while he seems to be an OK guy I don't think he'd intervene.

Re: TR interview and porn

Posted: 02 Mar 2019, 13:25
by Gerald
I agree that it is inappropriate to ask that question. We had a similar situation (in that a question was added to the temple recommend questions by a stake president) that kept my daughter (who had been struggling with some issues but had taken care of them via her bishop) out of the temple. She ended up not going to the temple for another two years even though, within a short time, she could easily have passed the "altered" interview with her stake president. The whole experience had just been so humiliating for her.

I recognize that stake presidents generally take their roles seriously (as they should) and don't want to be responsible for allowing the unworthy to enter the temple...but what does any stake president hope to accomplish by "upping" the criteria? The overly penitent will confess and be reprimanded (my daughter's situation) while others... well, let's face it, some people lie to get into the temple. I'm sure we can all think of examples of individuals with temple recommends who later demonstrated fairly clearly that they weren't worthy of such. To be clear, I don't think that's okay but I think even the "judges in Israel" have to leave most of the judging to God.

Re: TR interview and porn

Posted: 02 Mar 2019, 19:18
by DarkJedi
Another aspect of the whole experience is that even if I did look at porn I would have answered the question yes because I answer the questions as I think they are supposed to be. I have been doing that with the garment question for years. I covenanted to wear the garment throughout my life - not that other stuff in the statement which is officially added. This particular SPC and I have had that conversation and he does default to the end of the statement which says something to the effect that it's between the individual and God. FWIW, I do believe in the law of chastity but I do not believe porn is part of chastity.

Re: TR interview and porn

Posted: 03 Mar 2019, 05:57
by Gerald
FWIW, I do believe in the law of chastity but I do not believe porn is part of chastity.
That's an interesting perspective (I know it's been discussed here before). Not to "threadjack" but if you want to make a Sunday School class full of young adults fall silent, just introduce "pornography" as a topic for a lesson. I remember teaching a priesthood lesson where the assigned talk was one of the many focusing on this issue. It was a VERY uncomfortable meeting and few men made any comment.

But back to the recommend interview, my own experience has been that leaders stick to the questions as listed. (What actually annoys me a little is the forced jovial conversation with a stake leader I barely know BEFORE the interview begins. It's akin to the chirpy "have any plans for this weekend" patter I seem to get from store cashiers and bank clerks these days. The ruder part of me wants to say "Oh, let's just get on with this, okay?")

Re: TR interview and porn

Posted: 03 Mar 2019, 06:14
by nibbler
We get stymied at a similar point in the conversation when we talk about the TR question pertaining to the WoW. Namely that we're only asked if we obey the WoW and whether giving a nuanced answer aligns with the expectations/intended spirit of the question.

I've got to think that 99 out of 100 BPs & SPs consider looking at porn as falling under the wider umbrella of the law of chastity. It's a given. That a BP or SP feels the need to ask a separate question specifically about porn tells me that they are aware that some members nuance the question in their minds and that they feel it's necessary to correct what they see as an erroneous line of thinking. From their perspective, looking at porn is a violation of the law of chastity. No ifs, ands, or buts.

This is something that can only really be fixed via training from someone that's above the leader on the org chart. A SP can correct BPs, an AA can correct SPs. If I were to go in there and say, "You shouldn't be asking that question." I wouldn't be surprised if the interviewer's only takeaway was, "Yup, must be looking at porn to get so defensive about the question."

Interviewers shouldn't stray from the questions. FWIW some leaders I've had are really good about going into a robotic, trance-like state when getting down to the questions. They do not go off script. I can also remember being asked a followup question specifically about porn on more than a few occasions. Maybe four times spread out over a few decades or so worth of interviewing. None of them occurring in the last decade.

Re: TR interview and porn

Posted: 03 Mar 2019, 07:47
by DoubtingTom
I completely agree that porn (and masturbation) are not part of chastity. Whether or not they are sins or should be avoided is a separate conversation. The chastity covenant as I recall it, says something like only having sexual relations with the person to whom you are legally and lawfully wedded. I do not consider porn or masturbation sexual relations. They may be vices that one should work to overcome, but even that is up for debate and is a separate issue in my mind from chastity.