Bishopric Youth Interviews

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Roy
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Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Bishopric Youth Interviews

Post by Roy » 13 Jan 2021, 15:52

Last month, DD was asked to come in for a bishop youth interview. I had talked to her beforehand and explained that she could have a parent present which she declined. Right before she was about to go in DD changed her mind and asked me to accompany her. Bishop seemed surprised but did not object. I sat in the corner and said that I would do my best not to interject unless called upon. I observed that the format of being a youth "get to know you" interview with a TR limited use recommend interview included seemed to give license for deviating from the strict TR questions. For example, he did specifically ask about pornography use. I believe that he thinks this is his duty and is standard in his interviews with youth.

Yesterday, my son on the autism spectrum had his appointment for his bishopric youth interview for limited use recommend and advancement in the priesthood. This time I had printed the questions onto a piece of paper and reviewed them with DS the night prior. I explained various complicated words and phrases like Atonement, Restoration, Prophet Seer & Revelator, Law of Chastity (which DS first thought was an actual legal law), and Word of Wisdom. He observed on his own that all the questions could be answered with a yes. I then asked him if he supported any doctrines contrary to the church and he said yes. I asked him again if he supported any EVIL doctrines contrary to church teachings. He responded, "When you say it like that, I feel like I should say no." We both laughed. DS did ask why this was necessary. Why did he have to answer these questions and why is it not enough that he answer them with me only? I do not have great answers for him. I told him that the Bishops are set up sort of like gatekeepers for the temple but since DS is not planning on going to the temple soon (they are closed for vicarious work) that answer did not seem to satisfy him.

DS never wavered from his decision to have me accompany him. I believe the bishopric member might have been prepped for this because he made no comment of my joining the meeting. The Bishopric member did well reading from the questions. He did not ask about pornography or masturbation. He did ask DS what the law of chastity meant for him. DS responded that it meant not to have sex until married and the Bishopric member said yes and also when you start dating it can mean other inappropriate things spelled out in the FTSOY pamphlet. He similarly asked DS what the WoW is and DS replied that it meant not to drink coffee.

The bishopric member also talked about the office of a teacher and that teachers are expected to prepare the sacrament water and bread. He asked if we would be at church on Sunday. DS looked at me and I responded that we are still doing virtual church. We resolved to schedule a time when DS can be ordained for priesthood advancement.

We have received a directive at least as high as the stake level that all youth are strongly encouraged to return to attending church as normal. We are in an "extreme risk" area for COVID and we are divided into thirds as to who can attend church each week. However, families with youth are "expected" to come every week. Live youth activities have resumed. I speculate that someone is rather concerned about youth retention during this period of quarantine and I do believe that concern is warranted.

Overall, I believe that both interviews went well and that my Bishop and Bishopric are good men with good intentions. I feel that being present in these interviews is appropriate and fits with the new push of the church as home centered, church supported.
"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

Minyan Man
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Joined: 15 Sep 2011, 13:40

Re: Bishopric Youth Interviews

Post by Minyan Man » 13 Jan 2021, 16:12

Roy, you are a good Father. Well done.

I'm not as sure about your Bishop when he deviates from the "get to know you" interview & starts to
talk to my daughter about pornography. You showed great self control by not interrupting. I'm not
sure I could of done that.

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SamBee
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Re: Bishopric Youth Interviews

Post by SamBee » 13 Jan 2021, 16:37

I have to admit I would not be comfortable as a mature man asking little girls about pornography. I think if I was a bishopric member, I would practically insist to have a parent/guardian present.

However, I do appreciate children are being corrupted by it at a very young age. It greatly sorrows me that I first encountered a magazine at age seven or so, which I think is far too young. I have it on good authority from my former non-LDS therapist that pornography is causing massive problems is causing big problems among adolescents - body image problems for one.
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."

AmyJ
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Joined: 27 Jul 2017, 05:50

Re: Bishopric Youth Interviews

Post by AmyJ » 14 Jan 2021, 05:06

Thanks for sharing what you did to prepare your son for the interview. I had not thought about going over the questions in private first, but should DD decide to go the TR route, I will be sure to do so.

Roy
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Re: Bishopric Youth Interviews

Post by Roy » 14 Jan 2021, 16:07

I did not mind the pornography deviation too much. I am not fully sure why it doesn't bother me. Partly because it was just a quick question and he accepted my daughters response. It did not take on the feel of "digging" or a fishing expedition as I have heard has happened to others.
AmyJ wrote:
14 Jan 2021, 05:06
Thanks for sharing what you did to prepare your son for the interview. I had not thought about going over the questions in private first, but should DD decide to go the TR route, I will be sure to do so.
You are welcome. I find that the biggest opportunity for the questioner to go off script is when the interviewee does not fully understand the question and the questioner must then explain how they understand the question using different words. I wanted to minimize the opportunities for this to happen. I was proud of how DS answered when the questioner asked him if he knew what the law of chastity was. I also cringed a little internally when the questioner felt the need to expand upon DS's definitions. For example, the questioner told DS that the law of chastity also include other appropriate conduct while dating. This, to me, becomes overly broad. In response to DS's answer about the word of wisdom prohibiting coffee, the questioner went on to expound on how the word of wisdom also includes positive invitations for healthy eating and exercise. I felt that this was confusing for DS. The question is phrased if you "obey" the WoW. If we think of the WoW to mean healthy living then what does it mean to "obey" healthy living?
My goal in preparing DS was to help him answer the questions in a yes/no format without any additional commentary being required.

Also, you had mentioned about your DD possibly not deciding to go the TR route. You may want to be prepared for your bishopric initiating a yearly youth interview that then also becomes a limited use TR interview. I believe that in most wards they do this as a Standard Operating Procedure. I am sure that you can decline the interview, yet that may also have reverberations and social consequences. Good luck!
"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

AmyJ
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Joined: 27 Jul 2017, 05:50

Re: Bishopric Youth Interviews

Post by AmyJ » 15 Jan 2021, 07:37

Roy wrote:
14 Jan 2021, 16:07
Also, you had mentioned about your DD possibly not deciding to go the TR route. You may want to be prepared for your bishopric initiating a yearly youth interview that then also becomes a limited use TR interview. I believe that in most wards they do this as a Standard Operating Procedure. I am sure that you can decline the interview, yet that may also have reverberations and social consequences. Good luck!
I was already sort of thinking about that.

My family is in a unique situation church-wise. NOTE: We just got a new branch president who just reorganized most of the presidencies.
1. My husband does not attend church period. He has not attended church (in person or virtually) since Christmas 2019 I think. We have family meal prayers, but that's about it. Ironically, he considers himself to have a testimony and be "active". The branch knows he has health problems and assume that we are doing our own thing. As far as I know, no one has contacted him since November when they asked him for the codes to take over the Executive Secretary stuff he wasn't doing.

2. I attended church until the pandemic. I don't usually attend virtual services. I teach R.S. virtually (Started doing so 1x a month in December) and I am slotted to run the girl's Achievement Day program (we'll be rebooting it this year after 9 months of MIA). People know that I don't think the way everyone else does - they phrase it as "a fresh take on the gospel".

3. DD is 11 and they know she is an additional needs child. I got her a stay from her transitioning to YW from the Primary and Branch presidents on that. They know she is not a fan of church stuff (part of getting everyone on board with me physically going to Primary with her last year was this statement). She doesn't like going anyplace at church physically without me - so they aren't likely to ambush her. I have already told the Primary president that her grandmother and I want her first temple experience (should she choose to have one) to be with her out-of-state grandmother - and that won't be until summer 2022 at the earliest. So, if/when they come asking, I am prepared.

Honestly, I think my family is 1 step away from being a "rescue family" if they ever get around to it. But rescuing a family where the head of the household who never shows up but has a testimony, and the family members who show up contribute on their own terms muddies the waters considerably about the family themselves qualifying for "rescue". We also live in the country - 15 to 30 minutes from different members and the church building.

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DarkJedi
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Re: Bishopric Youth Interviews

Post by DarkJedi » 15 Jan 2021, 09:33

I think it sounds as thought your kids' interviews went about as well as they can. The preparation part you did was key to the success IMO. I don't have minor children at home now (our baby is a returned missionary at BYU) and they were youth before the current option to have a parent/adult present. Nevertheless, we did review with them what should be asked in a TR interview beforehand, and before they went for their endowments we told them all we could about the endowment (and initiatory) itself. The only thing we "covenanted" not to disclose were the signs and tokens and the new name. Looking at what's available on the church website, almost everything other than those is covered there.

That said, I think the "loophole" local leaders use in the youth TR interviews is combining the periodic or annual interviews with the TR interview. There are fewer limits on what can be asked in the "regular" interview. There used to a similar loophole in the mission interview until those questions were standardized as well, which in our case didn't happen until the the last one. In fairness I will say that our local leaders did not ask anything out of bounds or out of the ordinary for my boys, but one of them (stupidly and against my advice) began the interview process at BYU where he was asked all sorts of questions not on the current list.
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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Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Bishopric Youth Interviews

Post by Roy » 18 Jan 2021, 10:44

AmyJ wrote:
15 Jan 2021, 07:37
Honestly, I think my family is 1 step away from being a "rescue family" if they ever get around to it. But rescuing a family where the head of the household who never shows up but has a testimony, and the family members who show up contribute on their own terms muddies the waters considerably about the family themselves qualifying for "rescue".
Yeah, I know what you mean. Our family is in a similar situation while being also totally unique (mostly my consistent lack of tithing payment but otherwise church participation). I imagine the local church leadership doesn't know what to do with us. You can't quite "rescue" people that are participating. I also feel that church leaders are reluctant to withhold priesthood privilidge, like the ability to officiate in my children's baptism or priesthood ordinations, because that is likely to drive us away. We remain in a delicate balance of status quo and that is fine with me.
DarkJedi wrote:
15 Jan 2021, 09:33
I think it sounds as thought your kids' interviews went about as well as they can. The preparation part you did was key to the success IMO. I don't have minor children at home now (our baby is a returned missionary at BYU) and they were youth before the current option to have a parent/adult present. Nevertheless, we did review with them what should be asked in a TR interview beforehand, and before they went for their endowments we told them all we could about the endowment (and initiatory) itself. The only thing we "covenanted" not to disclose were the signs and tokens and the new name. Looking at what's available on the church website, almost everything other than those is covered there.
I agree. I would definitely apply similar preparation for my children's first endowment experience. I would like to be my son's "escort" if he were to make the decision to go through. I suppose that would be something that might alter my current tithing situation.
"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

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