worthiness questions in calling interview

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worthiness questions in calling interview

Post by journeygirl » 01 Aug 2014, 06:48

I am wondering do any of you know what is officially allowed in calling interviews? I'd be interested to hear especially from those who have been high counselors. My husband and I had a terribly embarrassing experience last night and I want to know if it was standard procedure or if our high counselor stepped beyond his bounds. My husband was called in to receive a new calling. I was asked to come as well. When we got there he had my husband go in alone first. Later he told me what took place. The high counsel member told him he was going to extend a calling but first wanted to determine his worthiness. So he asked if my husband had a current temple recommend, whether he felt worthy etc. Then he asked him about a specific sin, which happens to be just about my husband's only sin (and it isn't something asked about in a temple recommend question by the way). Since he is very orthodox, my husband felt he had to tell this complete stranger about his sinning. That alone makes me angry, I thought confessions are suppose to come from the individual and not be coerced. Next he called me in and told me that they had planned to extend a calling, but because of his "problem which he says you know about" we can't at this time. I didn't instantly know what he meant. It was very strange. He said he would have to talk to the stake president about it :shock: . Then he excused me again, and talked to my husband one more time for some more details about his sin, and then we were sent away. I was so angry and mortified about that whole exchange. I don't know why he had asked me to come not knowing if they would for sure extend the calling. I''m mad that my husband had to confess to something I don't believe is anyone else's business and I don't know why they feel they have the right to rank his sin as worse than theirs. I am just so shaken up from this experience, I am honestly wanting to just drop it all and leave the church. If the church really was run by Jesus himself, then why were these men "inspired" to call my husband when surely Jesus knew that he would be found unworthy. It seems either these men do not receive inspiration like they claim, or else Jesus wanted us to be humiliated in front of a stranger. Of course on top of it my husband wouldn't talk to me the rest of the night because he is so ashamed, and since we had asked my dad to babysit our kids while we went to the meeting, he knew we were going in for a calling and so I had to sort of lie to him when we got home so as not to have to tell my dad that my husband isn't "worthy".

Sorry, this turned into a bit of a rant! But if you know what is suppose to happen in calling interviews, please comment so I can know if this is common or something strange my high councilman did. I have never been asked about a specific sin or really about any worthiness questions in a calling interview.

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Re: worthiness questions in calling interview

Post by Roadrunner » 01 Aug 2014, 07:46

High councilors performing worthiness interviews is inappropriate. My understanding is that bishops and stake presidents are the ones who should be conducting any worthiness discussions. If something comes up with a bishopric councilor or a high councilor, the interview should stop there without diving deeper, and the bishop or stake president should take it from there.

Very sorry to hear about this experience, it sounds like a bad experience for your husband and you, and was handled poorly by the high councilor.

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Re: worthiness questions in calling interview

Post by Orson » 01 Aug 2014, 08:07

I don't know what is allowed according to official policy but it doesn't sound right. I would imagine a HC maybe asking about a current TR or generally "are you worthy to perform..." but specific questions sounds out of line to my ears. The member should be referred to his bishop to cover any worthiness issues.
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Re: worthiness questions in calling interview

Post by Old-Timer » 01 Aug 2014, 08:40

High counselors should never ask about things that require "confession" of any kind or details of sin be shared. They are not called as confessors.

Having said that, if the Stake President is concerned about one particular issue in the stake, generally, I can see him asking the high counselors to ask everyone about it whenever stake callings are being discussed - but, if that is the case, it should NEVER be asked in any detail. It should be nothing more than something like:
"The Stake President has asked that all people being considered for stake callings be asked about ______________. Do you feel that you need to talk with your Bishop or the Stake President before accepting this calling?"

I could accept that approach.
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Re: worthiness questions in calling interview

Post by Sheldon » 01 Aug 2014, 09:24

When giving TR interviews, counselors in the Bishopric and SP ask all the questions. If they get a wrong answer, they are to stop the interview, not ask further questions, and tell the person they will need to talk with the Bishop/SP. This is what our SP instructed his counselors to do, and it is what I instructed my counselors to do when I was bishop. Anything else is just wrong.

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Re: worthiness questions in calling interview

Post by nibbler » 01 Aug 2014, 10:11

journeygirl wrote:Then he asked him about a specific sin, which happens to be just about my husband's only sin (and it isn't something asked about in a temple recommend question by the way).
That's certainly unusual. Did they ask other specific questions or did they hone right in on the one specific sin? Given the description it sounds like the HC had a good idea of something your husband had done before even calling him in and was intent on fishing a confession out of him.
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Re: worthiness questions in calling interview

Post by DarkJedi » 01 Aug 2014, 11:10

As others have said, high councilors don't conduct worthiness interviews. When extending certain callings it would be appropriate to ask if the person holds a temple recommend. The high councilor in your case was right to defer to the SP after discovering the "sin" but I'm not sure he didn't step outside the bounds by asking in the first place (unless it was as Ray said and the SP specifically asked all of them to). If the SP was concerned that your husband might have been engaged in a sinful behavior, he should have interviewed him himself. When the HC discovered the sin he should have not probed further and simply returned and reported to the SP.

We did have an incident like this recently in our stake, the HC simply stopped the interview and deferred to the SP. We talked about it in general terms without names or the specific sin as an opportunity to train HCs about interviewing, which led to further investigation into the General Handbook - it was a really good teaching opportunity, and I learned a bunch that night.
Last edited by DarkJedi on 01 Aug 2014, 12:37, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: worthiness questions in calling interview

Post by SunbeltRed » 01 Aug 2014, 11:59

Hey journeygirl,

That doesn't sound right to me. Mind if I ask some clarifying questions?

If your husband answered that yes he has a TR and he feels "worthy" that should have ended the conversation right there.
If the HC had not asked the specific question and had just extended the calling, would your husband have been good with accepting the calling?

I have extended callings and I never ask about worthiness. If someone has an issue and they feel they can't accept the calling then they can say so in general terms. I have not had anyone confess anything to me but if they had I would refer them to their bishop or SP. And if the SP ever asks me to ask a specific worthiness question when extending a calling I would tell him no thanks; if he has a concern he or the Bishop can work it out with that person.

Also, if the specific "sin" (whatever that means) is something outside the TR questions, then it absolutely should not have been asked at all especially by a HC.

I understand your frustration. Please don't give up on the church yet. But I would set up a meeting with the SP with you and your husband, talk it through with him, let him know how it made you feel and why it was unfair and that it really made you sad to be treated in such a way. You absolutely have that right to voice your concern and perhaps the SP doesn't realize what the HC did, and if he does, then it could be an opportunity for him to see how that process affects people in real life. I would also stress that the best approach is to increase understanding, and to afford the SP the compassion and love that was lacking in your experience.

Please keep us up to date. If you would like to discuss further you can PM me.


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Re: worthiness questions in calling interview

Post by journeygirl » 01 Aug 2014, 17:36

Thanks everyone for your comments. I see I am not the only one who feels like this situation seems wrong. I am wondering now if it was like what Ray said, that the stake president has asked them to specifically ask about that thing. It seems strange to me why they singled this one thing out, when, as I said, it is not addressed in the temple recommend questions.

Nibbler, yes it was only that one thing that was specific. Everything else was general worthiness and temple recommend holding.

SunbeltRed, my husband said he told him he did feel worthy when he asked generally, so this detailed question came after that. We didn't find out what the calling was going to be, but since it was a HC asking, we assumed it was Elder's quorum or maybe ward clerk and he would have accepted any of these. He knows this "sin" of his should be overcome, but he certainly did not expect to have to confess it, since he also has not experienced that kind of questioning before. We got new temple recommends less than a year ago and he felt okay receiving one when he interviewed with the bishop and stake counselor. I think it was just that he was specifically asked about this one thing that he was caught off guard and felt like he couldn't lie to his face.

I guess I don't want to specify what the question was about so I called it a "sin" but I just meant its something that the church doesn't approve of. That probably sounded pretty hasty to say I feel like leaving the church over this, I was angry this morning when I typed that! But I just am so frustrated over how the church operates on many issues so having this personal one made me feel so hopeless about change in the church beyond just how it made us feel individually.

I like your suggestion to talk to the stake president. I think if they call my husband in I will go too and tell him how it made me feel and how I felt it was inappropriate. Although I don't expect him to be as accepting of this "sin" as I am so he might not see it the way I do at all and feel justified in how things went.

I will update here if we learn anything else or if they call us in again. Thanks again for your support everyone! I really love this forum, it's so nice to have a place to talk about these things.

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Re: worthiness questions in calling interview

Post by Roy » 03 Aug 2014, 08:17

FWIW, I think that your husband is lucky to have you. Not because his "sin" makes him unworthy of you. We all have flaws/quirks and it would be wonderful if everyone had someone that could overlook to chaff in order to love and accept us. I don't feel that one can earn or be entitled to love. If this were the case then that same person should be able to demand or compel the love that is owed to him. We can’t be entitled to it, yet we all need it so desperately.

As far as the interview goes - I am sorry. If one had to be free from sin to serve in the church - who would serve?

My heart goes out to you and your husband.

The more jaded part of me is saying that this might be an advantage of NOT having a TR - to completely avoid embarrassing and inappropriate questions. We'll just keep the discussion to my lack of tithing payment.
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