Church considering lowering age for youth interviews to 8

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nibbler
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Church considering lowering age for youth interviews to 8

Post by nibbler » 12 Jul 2019, 07:01

Most have probably seen this already but I thought it would be worth some discussion here.

https://kutv.com/news/local/lds-church- ... om-12-to-8
A survey commissioned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints inquires about lowering the age of youth interviews with clergy from age 12 to eight.
There are already interviews at age 7 for baptism and an interview when transitioning from Primary to YM/YW. This would be additional interviews, likely similar to the biannual interviews conducted for youth between 12 and 18.

My opinion is that we should be transitioning away from holding worthiness interviews for youth and adults alike. I feel like our culture has an unhealthy obsession with "worthiness" and it creates a toxic environment where a good percentage of members suffer from unnecessary guilt and poor self esteem. Adults struggle with this, I feel introducing small children to this will only exacerbate the issue. Church leaders aren't trained counselors, they can inadvertently do lasting damage to a child's psyche.

And of course there's the risk that is introduced by leaders with bad intentions. Even the slightest risk is too much risk.

I'll shoot straight. When I heard that the church was considering this I was completely flummoxed. Who... who in their right mind would think that this was a good idea? I spent some time coming up with the motivation behind this and came up with the following:

Leaders are concerned with the dropout rate when youth transition to adulthood. We often use direct language to say that it's not a gospel of checkboxes but this feels like adding more checkboxes to ensure youth are "churching" enough so they don't go inactive later in life. Perhaps following the idea that people go inactive ("fall") because they were lazy or didn't have a strong enough testimony. We also give lip service to say that mindset isn't correct but our practices reveal otherwise. The solution to address people leaving the church often takes the form of doubling down; getting members to participate in programs earlier and more often, stripping out social aspects of worship to make room for indoctrination, and with some way of measuring or even enforcing compliance.

It's wearing, at least to me. Leadership roulette and all that, but it's been my experience that we don't view programs as optional things that members can do if they are interested, programs are things we should be doing. But I'm straying.

One thought that crossed my mind is that leaders may want to make sure children get on the "covenant path" sooner so they can form habits and remain on it? Just a guess. Maybe the goal was to have any baptized member, including as young as eight, to be able to participate in baptisms for the dead? We want them in the temple > they'll need a limited use TR > gotta pass an interview to get a TR > come out with this policy. Again, just wild speculation. Of course if this was the plan they'd also have to relax the requirement for all males to hold the PH before they can do proxy baptisms.

nibbler
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Re: Church considering lowering age for youth interviews to 8

Post by nibbler » 12 Jul 2019, 07:16

And a stray thought on interviews in general.

One thought I keep having is why don't we move to a system where members only go to a bishop if they feel the need to go to a bishop. Why all these scheduled interviews? MLS (Member and Leader Services - a membership and statistics program) keeps track of biannual youth interviews and biennial adult interviews. The system will generate a report to let locals know when a member is due for an interview.

It's obviously a bad look if a ward has all these people scheduled for interviews that never get done. I can say I've had a few experiences where local leaders have pressed a little too hard to schedule appointments for said interviews.

As stated previously, I wish we'd be done with them.

But back to the question of who initiates the meeting. The current system where leaders initiate the meeting and are under a little pressure to make sure the interview occurs vs. something similar to the Catholic system where it's on a voluntary basis and there's no checkbox to keep track of who is due for an interview.

I will say that having scheduled interviews does provide some cover. If a member sees nibbler going in for an interview people can safely assume that it must be one of the thousand interviews nibbler is required to do. If interviews were voluntary someone may wonder what nibbler has done to feel the need to request an interview. I could see the rumor mill having a terrible impact on the youth.

Minyan Man
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Re: Church considering lowering age for youth interviews to 8

Post by Minyan Man » 12 Jul 2019, 08:52

When I joined the church, I was 25 yrs old and a senior in college. My first Bishop was a very good, spiritual man. I was fortunate to have him in my life at that time. Since then, I have been exposed to a wide range of Bishops & other church leaders. Some are better than others. The one conclusion I have had over the years is: Just because a person is called to function as a Bishop or other senior positions in the church doesn't mean they are personable or are good interviewers. A bad interviewer can cause a lot of damage.

Having said that, if the purpose of the interviews is for the Bishop to get to know the youth better on a superficial level, that's one thing. For example: how are you? do you have any questions for me? how are you doing in school? (etc) that's one thing. If it is in depth spiritual worthiness issues, that's another.

Is there any training by the church for bishops or other leaders for conducting interviews? Has anyone been through training like this?

Being a Bishop has to be a very tough job. If a candidate for Bishop has never been a Bishop or Councillor before, you never know what you're going to get. IMO they should have a proven track record before being called to these positions. Personally, I know I would not be good in the position.

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mom3
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Re: Church considering lowering age for youth interviews to 8

Post by mom3 » 12 Jul 2019, 13:49

Thread Jack Here -
Just because a person is called to function as a Bishop or other senior positions in the church doesn't mean they are personable or are good interviewers
My husband and I discussed this just the other day.

I am in close proximity to multiple pastors of varying faiths. Each of them "felt called" to be a Pastor. Like other careers - they studied, learned, were mentored and tutored in the job. Are the all the same? No. Are some better than others? Yes. But so are doctors, car mechanics, and gardeners. What sets them apart from our Pastoral leaders, is they all want to be there. Not all of ours do.

Compound that by any lack of real training, any real ability to make change or impact your direct congregation (except with guilt), as well as the admonishment to never "seek" the position. Thereby leaving you at the mercy of you may never get this call or worse, you may get it and not want it.

My pastor friends live their careers 24/7. But they love it. They can nurture it. Grow it. Make something of it. It's their talent. Even our best local leaders are hamstrung between day jobs, church goings on i.e. Stake Meetings to attend, Trek to round up, Bishopric Meeting to hold, Sacrament Meeting to oversee.

Back to the topic:

Now we want to add 8 year olds to that list. Really. I thought we were pulling back. Less meetings. Ministering was supposed to be less.I don't think so. Plus really, we are going to ask an 8 year old. "Are you being pure?" Because I doubt we are asking,
how are you? do you have any questions for me? how are you doing in school?
We are robbing them of childhood.

This maybe my straw. And who pray did get to vote on this survey. Is the top so tone deaf, that Sam Young's, issue is dismissed? Guess so.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

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DarkJedi
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Re: Church considering lowering age for youth interviews to 8

Post by DarkJedi » 12 Jul 2019, 13:56

nibbler wrote:
12 Jul 2019, 07:01
My opinion is that we should be transitioning away from holding worthiness interviews for youth and adults alike. I feel like our culture has an unhealthy obsession with "worthiness" and it creates a toxic environment where a good percentage of members suffer from unnecessary guilt and poor self esteem. Adults struggle with this, I feel introducing small children to this will only exacerbate the issue. Church leaders aren't trained counselors, they can inadvertently do lasting damage to a child's psyche.
This is my opinion as well. Period. The thought disgusts me and I consider myself fortunate that I have no children that would be affected by it, but I do have future grandchildren that may be.

Of your suppositions I agree most with the idea the church is thinking about this to try to stem the tide of youth defection. In my opinion, for reasons you have stated, this is the wrong way to do that and will likely have the opposite effect.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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Roy
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Re: Church considering lowering age for youth interviews to 8

Post by Roy » 14 Jul 2019, 11:15

What are your preferences regarding the following topics that could be covered in an interview with your Primary child? (The survey gives three options for each topic: Prefer this be discussed, no preference, prefer this NOT be discussed)
Challenges in their life
Positive things in their life
Their spiritual development
Progress towards youth achievements (e.g. progress in the new youth program)
Their relationships with family members
Worthiness
One purpose of the current bishopric youth interviews is to help youth establish a trusting relationship with a priesthood holder. If the Church were to do interviews with 8 to 11-year-old Primary children, how important would it be to you that your child establish a trusting relationship with a priesthood holder?
Not at all important
Slightly important
Moderately important
Very important
Extremely important
One purpose of the current bishopric youth interviews is to help youth establish a trusting relationship with a priesthood holder? What is that sentence even saying?
"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

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nibbler
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Re: Church considering lowering age for youth interviews to 8

Post by nibbler » 14 Jul 2019, 13:38

I think it's saying that if a youth ever has a problem they will feel comfortable with taking it to an ecclesiastical leader. It makes more sense in the context of a parent/child relationship than it does in a neighbor with a temporary mantle/child relationship.

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DarkJedi
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Re: Church considering lowering age for youth interviews to 8

Post by DarkJedi » 14 Jul 2019, 17:37

Roy wrote:
14 Jul 2019, 11:15
One purpose of the current bishopric youth interviews is to help youth establish a trusting relationship with a priesthood holder? What is that sentence even saying?
I think part of the problem with this concept is that between 8 and 18 bishops generally change at least twice, generally three times, and sometimes more. One ward in my stake has had a new bishop about every year and a half lately because of job transfers etc. The kid gets a "trusting relationship" with one and BAM, leadership roulette and the new guy is asking an 11-year-old about masturbation.

And I might add here that in my experience trusting relationships aren't built in grilling interviews. (I am specifically talking about kids, but it applies to adults as well).
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

My Introduction

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SamBee
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Re: Church considering lowering age for youth interviews to 8

Post by SamBee » 15 Jul 2019, 04:32

There have been three bishops here in the last ten years. Four within the last twelve. Two of these have become inactive due to problems (not entirely of their own making - one was work related), and one of those two has had his name removed.

On the other hand, our last SP was in for a decade....

From the POV of the leadership, this creates more work. As a grown man, I would be extremely uncomfortable asking children sex-related questions, and I'm sure many of them are.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
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nibbler
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Re: Church considering lowering age for youth interviews to 8

Post by nibbler » 15 Jul 2019, 04:57

If they were to implement some policy to interview youth ages 8 to 11 at regular intervals I'd like to think that the interviews wouldn't be very formal and wouldn't be in a similar format to a TR interview. It would probably be something like:
  • How are you doing?
  • Are you happy?
  • Do you have any questions about church?
  • Are you praying?
  • Is there anything we can do for you?
The end.

That said, leadership roulette is very real and I can easily imagine scenarios where a gung-ho orthodox leader wants to ensure that a child is on the correct path and ends up doing harm.

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