I just read a thread on PostMormon.org about the types of interviews conducted with young men and women behind closed doors. I was subject to these interviews before I was allowed to attend Young Women's camp, and that camp was one of the factors that made me question the church as a teenager.
When a young man or woman wants to do things like Baptism for the Dead, or other different types of church activities, their bishop must interview them privately to make sure they are worthy to attend. This is done with the bishop and the child alone in a sound-proof room with the door closed. There are so many things wrong with that last sentence that I don't know where to begin.
I have talked about my interview on WindySydney before, but I will share it again for those who missed it the first time.
I didn't like my bishop, not one little bit. He was a jerk. I really mean it. He was mean, spiteful and he made fun of people. I didn't respect the guy at all, and neither did my brother.
Well, the time came for me to be interviewed before I could attend young women's camp with my friends. My brother and I attended church on our own at that time. Our parents would drop us off at church and pick us up if we wanted to go. The bishop used this little fact to his advantage.
My Dad waited for me out in the hallway while I went into the bishop's office for my interview. The Bishop smiled and greeted me as if we were really good pals, and pretended we liked each other. He was overly-sweet and he gave me the creeps.
The questions started...
He wanted to know if I was dating. Yes, I was. I actually had a boyfriend who wasn't LDS. No, we hadn't french kissed, or petted, or done anything else that would be labeled as "wrong." I was a good girl, not because of the church but because I wasn't ready for that kind of stuff.
The bishop didn't care for the fact that my boyfriend (I say boyfriend but he was more of a really good friend who meant a lot to me... I was young, we were not intimate in any way) wasn't LDS. As a matter of fact, he didn't like my boyfriend because he was black. He didn't come out and say this, but he did mention that I should be looking for a young man who could take me to the temple to be married. It pissed me off. I was 15 years old, I wasn't worried about getting married, I just wanted to go to school and be with my friends for crying out loud.
Anyway, those questions about if I touched myself, touched others, or let others touch me made me nervous and guilty. Guilty for what? Nothing.
He then started asking me questions about my parents and why they were not active in the church. My parents smoked, and drank on occasion, but they were responsible and never put us in any kind of danger if they were drinking. They were NORMAL. They enjoyed a drink once in a while, big deal.
He asked me if I invited them to church with my brother and I. Um... last time I checked I didn't need to invite my parents to church. They knew they were welcome and they chose not to. He told me how proud he was of me, and that I was a good girl.
His comment made me roll my eyes, and I still get angry thinking about it. Bishop Jackass then opened the door and greeted my father who was waiting in the hallway. Bishop told Dad that I was a good kid, and that my Dad should be proud of me. My Dad already knew that.
A grown man who could have been my grandfather was asking me, a 15 year old girl, about intimate matters. It was out of line, and it happens every day in this church.
It needs to stop.
A grown man (who has no authority, no training, and in some cases no LOGIC) has no right to be alone with ANY child and ask them questions. Parents should be present, and they should speak up when the bishop oversteps his bounds.
Gawd it's messed up.
I know that there are plenty of bishops out there who don't take these interviews too far, and I am not claiming that all bishops are jackasses like mine was, I am just sharing a personal experience.
Here are some quotes from other PostMormons about this issue, and a website to check out if you are interested in helping stop this from happening to kids all around the world...
It just makes me want to scream and bang my head against a wall.
I was taught and earnestly beleived that I was going to hell and that I was the only one who had that "problem". I don't know how many times I was given that stupid little factory pamphlet to read pnder and pray about to get help so that I could overcome my problem.
UGGGHHHH!!!! It still makes me so angry.
Young children shouldn't be forced into thinking they are bad, evil or wrong because they are doing something that is completely natural.
No ecclesiastical leader of any religion, organized or not shall be allowed to engage in a discussion of issues of a sexual nature with minor children (excluding their own) in a one-on-one setting. If a minor child initiates such a discussion the ecclesiastical leader shall refuse to discuss sexual issues with the minor child without the presence of the the minor child's parent or legal guardian. Such interviews may be permitted with the parent or legal guardian present only. No other adult shall be permitted to stand in loco parentis. Should a child confess to sexual "sins" as per the religious organizations doctrine, the religious organization shall be forbidden from taking any punitive actions toward the child without the express written consent of the minor child's parent or legal guardian.If you are interested in helping the cause, please check out this brand new website:
I am signed in under the name, Andee. Hope to see you there!