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Thread: inappropriate interviews

  1. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by tooblue View Post
    This thread has predictably devolved to a point where paranoia and suspicion of motives is deemed wholly rational. I'm sure the guy from the Cul-De-Sac is nice, but you are likely right—dude's likely a pervert. After all, no one can be trusted to genuinely care about the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of another soul, except family. Parents especially are enough—they all ask the hard questions at the right time and I am confident every parent fulfills the full mandate of their parental responsibilities. Families don't need support, love or consideration—at least not from religion. Because if such is required, their's a community program to fill that need somewhere, I guess.

    Genuine caring and concern for others is never a problem. Fear and undue paranoia is.
    This doesn't even make sense. But thanks for chiming in.

  2. #32
    I don't know enough about the LDS reason for doing this to chime in on that side. I can just say it's something I never experienced of heard of in all the Protestant churches I grew up in and around.

  3. #33
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    I think it's important for parents not to simply hand off their kids to the bishopric or any other church leader (although a kid with abusive parents may be better off in such a situation). Be a partner with the bishop. If he is doing his job, he loves your kids, thinks about their well-being often, and is constantly overseeing plans to help them. It saddens me that any parent may do anything that would cause their kids to feel fear or suspicion or distrust towards their bishop. There may well come times when for whatever reason your children need to talk to someone who cares about them and has your values, and they won't talk to you for whatever reason. In those cases the bishop can be an awfully good friend and sometimes a life-saver. Don't let the extreme outliers cause you to deprive your kids of that friend.

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  4. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by Two Utes View Post
    This doesn't even make sense. But thanks for chiming in.
    It's sarcasm. Did you need a smiley?

  5. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by LA Ute View Post
    I think it's important for parents not to simply hand off their kids to the bishopric or any other church leader (although a kid with abusive parents may be better off in such a situation). Be a partner with the bishop. If he is doing his job, he loves your kids, thinks about their well-being often, and is constantly overseeing plans to help them. It saddens me that any parent may do anything that would cause their kids to feel fear or suspicion or distrust towards their bishop. There may well come times when for whatever reason your children need to talk to someone who cares about them and has your values, and they won't talk to you for whatever reason. In those cases the bishop can be an awfully good friend and sometimes a life-saver. Don't let the extreme outliers cause you to deprive your kids of that friend.
    I don't have a problem with adults taking interest in kids as long as its not of a sexual nature. I have a great neighborhood. A ton of fathers have spent their times coaching and teaching soccer, baseball, scouts, football whatever. They've been very good role models for both my sons and daughters and I am greatful to them as it actually really does take a village to raise kids. But none of those adults have asked my kids personal sexual questions, nor should they.

    LA, I am not going to let you divert the topic to something more palateable. You know as well as anybody that part of every Mormon interview with teens involves asking questions about "morality". It's nonsense and it needs to stop. If the teenager wants to inquire that may be a different issue. But probing the kid about it is wrong.

  6. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by LA Ute View Post
    I think it's important for parents not to simply hand off their kids to the bishopric or any other church leader (although a kid with abusive parents may be better off in such a situation). Be a partner with the bishop. If he is doing his job, he loves your kids, thinks about their well-being often, and is constantly overseeing plans to help them. It saddens me that any parent may do anything that would cause their kids to feel fear or suspicion or distrust towards their bishop. There may well come times when for whatever reason your children need to talk to someone who cares about them and has your values, and they won't talk to you for whatever reason. In those cases the bishop can be an awfully good friend and sometimes a life-saver. Don't let the extreme outliers cause you to deprive your kids of that friend.
    This is the relationship that I had with my Young Men's leaders. I absolutely loved them and would have run through a brick wall for those guys. They spent tons of time with us in church, for mutual, on camp outs, high adventures, etc. I have the utmost respect for those leaders. I even sent several of them letters years later thanking them for all that they did for me.

    I cannot say the same thing for the bishops that I had. They were good guys, but just didn't have the same involvement in my life during that time. They didn't always come to our quorum meetings, and rarely went on the camp outs, to mutual activities (outside of opening exercises), or on the high adventures, so I simply didn't get to know them as well. They simply had a different role in the ward and in my life.

    So my point, i think, is that I benefited greatly from the love, time, sacrifice and charity of many of my church leaders. I hope that my kids experience the same thing in the church. I agree that it is very beneficial to have as many role models and caring people as possible in a teen's life, whether it be a young men's leader, young women's leader, scoutmaster, bishop or counselor, etc.

    I also think that we don't need to be paranoid (as tooblue pointed out) about bishops, but a simple conversation with the bishop (or any adult your children interact with) to make sure everyone is on the same team can be nothing but beneficial for you and your child.

  7. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by Two Utes View Post
    I don't have a problem with adults taking interest in kids as long as its not of a sexual nature. I have a great neighborhood. A ton of fathers have spent their times coaching and teaching soccer, baseball, scouts, football whatever. They've been very good role models for both my sons and daughters and I am greatful to them as it actually really does take a village to raise kids. But none of those adults have asked my kids personal sexual questions, nor should they.

    LA, I am not going to let you divert the topic to something more palateable. You know as well as anybody that part of every Mormon interview with teens involves asking questions about "morality". It's nonsense and it needs to stop. If the teenager wants to inquire that may be a different issue. But probing the kid about it is wrong.
    If the premise that an ecclesiastical leader has responsibility to judge worthiness is acceptable and is also in part responsible for the spiritual well-being of an individual, then such a question is not universally wrong. There is nothing nonsensical about it. Especially considering the fact that every parent has the opportunity to first counsel with the ecclesiastical leader and discuss the merits of such questions in the first place.

  8. #38
    Sam the Sheepdog LA Ute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Two Utes View Post
    I don't have a problem with adults taking interest in kids as long as its not of a sexual nature. I have a great neighborhood. A ton of fathers have spent their times coaching and teaching soccer, baseball, scouts, football whatever. They've been very good role models for both my sons and daughters and I am greatful to them as it actually really does take a village to raise kids. But none of those adults have asked my kids personal sexual questions, nor should they.

    LA, I am not going to let you divert the topic to something more palateable. You know as well as anybody that part of every Mormon interview with teens involves asking questions about "morality". It's nonsense and it needs to stop. If the teenager wants to inquire that may be a different issue. But probing the kid about it is wrong.
    Well, this is what bishops are instructed to do in youth interviews:

    Another matter for discussion is the importance of obeying the commandments, particularly:

    • Praying regularly in private and with the family, studying the scriptures, honoring parents, and paying a full tithing.
    • Being modest in dress and action, refraining from any kind of sexual activity, and refraining from viewing, reading, or listening to pornographic material.
    • Obeying the Word of Wisdom and refraining from using illegal drugs and misusing other substances.
    • Refraining from using the name of the Lord in vain and from using vulgar expressions and other degrading language.
    • Attending priesthood and sacrament meetings, participating in other Church meetings and activities, and fulfilling assignments given by quorum leaders or Young Women class presidency members….

    When discussing moral cleanliness, the bishop adapts the discussion to the understanding of the youth. He also ensures that the discussion does not encourage curiosity or experimentation.
    If you're worried about how the bishop will handle the interviews or what the impact will be on your child, just talk to the guy about your concerns.

    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
    --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
    --Yeats

    “True, we [lawyers] build no bridges. We raise no towers. We construct no engines. We paint no pictures - unless as amateurs for our own principal amusement. There is little of all that we do which the eye of man can see. But we smooth out difficulties; we relieve stress; we correct mistakes; we take up other men's burdens and by our efforts we make possible the peaceful life of men in a peaceful state.”

    --John W. Davis, founder of Davis Polk & Wardwell

  9. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by Two Utes View Post
    You know as well as anybody that part of every Mormon interview with teens involves asking questions about "morality". It's nonsense and it needs to stop. If the teenager wants to inquire that may be a different issue. But probing the kid about it is wrong.
    So are you saying that no questions about morality should be asked to a teenager, or that no probing questions should be asked? Would "do you keep the law of chastity?", be an ok question? And at what age should it be asked?

    If you don't want the question asked at all, how would you determine the "worthiness" (i hate that word) of teenagers to advance in the priesthood or participate in certain church activities (i.e. baptisms for the dead)?

    *Two utes, I am not trying to pile on, i am just honestly curious.
    Last edited by Sullyute; 03-12-2014 at 01:20 PM.

  10. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by tooblue View Post
    If the premise that an ecclesiastical leader has responsibility to judge worthiness is acceptable and is also in part responsible for the spiritual well-being of an individual, then such a question is not universally wrong. There is nothing nonsensical about it. Especially considering the fact that every parent has the opportunity to first counsel with the ecclesiastical leader and discuss the merits of such questions in the first place.
    I have a problem with this when the extent of the training the 'ecclesiastical leader' gets amounts to a few hours of training meetings, a "Do what you feel is right", and a "here, read this handbook - and call the legal dept if you get in over your head". If the leader has an actual degree and is licensed as a psychologist, social worker, or family therapist then I would put more trust in their training.

    LA, my experience was over 30 years ago and the church (and the world) is highly different now. Also, the words you seek to describe how you feel are "I would break his f@#king kneecaps", just as I said.

    This is a fine line to walk. There is a need to counsel people who need counseling. But prying too deeply into highly personal and highly emotional subjects can at times lead to damaging outcomes regardless of the intentions of the leader.

    As for my family, I proactively remove the potential for emotional abuse (even innocent abuse) by refusing to allow the church to control my childrens' sexuality through their chief weapon, which is shame.

  11. #41
    You know it is a slippery slope with an interview version of helicopter parents. If my parents were sitting in on interviews I would have lied through my teeth about every thing we chatted about, harmless or not. Again, I don't recall any morality related questions, but typically it was just a chance to talk to someone in confidence about problems with friends, family or whatever else was great for me. I'm not talking about 'worthiness' sort of things either, just someone I could trust to chat with and unload. I remember talking to my Bishop about how I was frustrated because I felt my parents were too strict compared to my friends. I remember feeling guilty for dropping the f-bomb while working behind the dairy case in front of a little kid. It is kind of funny and stupid now, but I got it off my chest and remember the semi-smirk on my bishop's face when I told him about it. If my parents were there, my answer would have been, 'Everything is hunky and/or dory on everything."

    Most of my interviews I remember weren't formal, typically it was about whatever I wanted to talk about and the, "Is there anything you need to get off your chest?" sort of questions sufficed. Talking about preparing for a mission, doctrines of the church, building a testimony... those were the 'interviews'. I remember one time where the Bishop asked me if I knew what questions were asked in a temple recommend interview. He then read them to me and said, "Now you know what you need to do to go to the temple..." I remember another time him getting out mission papers and looking over those together. Talking about whether I wanted to go or not and things I should be doing to prepare for it. When I told him I wanted to go he said, "Well, let's start filling out the papers then and we can make that a goal..."

    Most of this of course was when I was 15-19 years old, but the point is these guys found ways to open the door for me to talk about things I wanted to talk about or maybe needed to resolve, without saying, "So let's talk heavy petting..."

    One other thing, these interviews aren't mandatory, if you don't want to do them, don't do them.

  12. #42
    Senior Member Scorcho's Avatar
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    I think Viking asks an excellent question and I do see a conflict.

    The key to repentance is to come to the Lord with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. My understanding of a broken heart and contrite spirit is that you are the one initiating the process/contact. You are the one approaching the Bishop to confess. If the bishop/counselor is asking probing questions to try and draw out a confession, then they’ve somewhat disrupted that principle.

    If repentance is forced, it probably does more harm than good in many cases? I do think it’s important for Bishops to have regular interviews with their youth, but it probably should simply be an opportunity for the youth to feel comfortable and the Bishop approachable. Nothing more. I'd like to see those conducting interviews approach it less like an interrogation.

  13. #43
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    I should add that I do think the majority of Bishops do an admirable job and they have a remarkalbly difficult assignment.

  14. #44
    My teenage son had his 6 month interview today. In the car he says "I think Brother First Counselor misspoke." My wife asks what he said, "well, he was talking about the ward choir and said we need another penis up there to help us." And she says, "uh, I'm sure he said pianist and that's a real word ." I laughed till I was bawling. Could barely see to drive home.

  15. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by mUUser View Post
    My teenage son had his 6 month interview today. In the car he says "I think Brother First Counselor misspoke." My wife asks what he said, "well, he was talking about the ward choir and said we need another penis up there to help us." And she says, "uh, I'm sure he said pianist and that's a real word ." I laughed till I was bawling. Could barely see to drive home.
    /r/exmormon goes crazy with rage.

    That's hilarious.


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  16. #46
    “Children and dogs are as necessary to the welfare of the country as Wall Street and the railroads.” -- Harry S. Truman

    "You never soar so high as when you stoop down to help a child or an animal." -- Jewish Proverb

    "Three-time Pro Bowler Eric Weddle the most versatile, and maybe most intelligent, safety in the game." -- SI, 9/7/15, p. 107.

  17. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by mUUser View Post
    Articles in today's Trib....Peggy Fletcher Stack

    http://www.sltrib.com/religion/local...d-need-reform/
    At first, I thought I was reading a news article, but this is an op-ed piece.

    I suppose I'm lucky because I've never had a bishop like those described here. I would trust my past bishops to interview my kids more than I would trust the average therapist.

    That said, bishops probably need clearer instructions on this. For most, it's common sense, but we all know how weird Mormons can get.

  18. #48
    Sancho put it well. I also never had a bishop/bishopric member ask me anything close to the line. They always asked if I followed the law of chastity as I understood it and then moved on. When I was being interviewed to be ordained a deacon, the bishop explained the LoC to me well, and age appropriately. My brother who is 5.5 years younger had an entirely different bishopric going through adolescence and has told me a few stories but nothing truly outrageous.

    This is an issue that is probably worth a discussion and some training to reinforce the teachings to bishops and other leaders. However (and the article doesn't say this) but John Dehlin got involved with this signature campaign. And that essentially means that the LDS church leaders will toss it into the nearest waste basket.

  19. #49
    Additional training is always good but the handbook is pretty clear on this, in my opinion, and if the leaders follow it they’ll steer clear of a lot of these problems.

    A couple of snippets:

    “Leaders encourage parents to stay close to their children and to counsel them, allowing the leaders to act in a supporting role.”

    “Members of the bishopric should express love and listen carefully. They encourage youth to talk rather than doing most of the talking themselves.”

    After a bunch of suggestions to discuss that include God, the Atonement, praying and reading the scriptures, friends, etc etc.

    “When discussing moral cleanliness, the bishop adapts the discussion to the understanding of the youth.”

    There are about 10 suggestions for discussion with youth and the law of chastity is one of them and the last one mentioned. It shouldn’t be the central part or focus of any youth interview unless that is where the youth is directing it in my opinion.

    Like you guys I never had any bishop ask questions beyond if I kept the law of chastity. Maybe that is because he knew I was such a nerd there was little chance of trouble.


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  20. #50
    When I was in YM, we had one bishop who got real specific with us in the law of chastity part of the interview...to the point where it became a joke to all of us...because he would ask us about 10 different ways if we played with ourselves. Most of us shrugged it off as the guy being kind of strange. He would want to disfellowship people for pretty basic stuff. The next bishop was the complete opposite. "Hey bishop, I'm having this problem." "Ok - well, try not to do it again."

    I think most Bishops are probably equally as uncomfortable with the idea as many members...but they probably just try to get through it as best they can.

    Like UMS, I think that when Dehlin attaches his name to something these days, the credibility of the effort goes out the window, except for his loyal followers who lap it up.
    “It only ends once. Anything that happens before that is just progress.”

    Well, because he thought it was good sport. Because some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.

  21. #51

  22. #52
    Senior Member Scorcho's Avatar
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    my experience was always that the interviewer always wanted to move past the law of chastity question as quickly as possible. You could almost sense they were hoping for a one word, "No" answer so they could move on. When I did need to confess, they were understanding and sympathetic. I can't imagine being interviewed with a parent present. That just wouldn't work.

    I believe the majority of bishops wouldn't delve into specifics. If one did, they need to be reported and probably released.

  23. #53
    Quote Originally Posted by Scorcho View Post
    I can't imagine being interviewed with a parent present. That just wouldn't work.
    No kidding. Or adding a window the bishop's office. I get that there are some bad bishops, but these "solutions" throw the baby out with the bath.

    The article deliberately gives the impression of these experiences being far more common than they really are.

  24. #54
    Quote Originally Posted by sancho View Post
    No kidding. Or adding a window the bishop's office. I get that there are some bad bishops, but these "solutions" throw the baby out with the bath.

    The article deliberately gives the impression of these experiences being far more common than they really are.
    There are over 20k bishops out there, statistically it is a bit surprising it isn't more common.

  25. #55
    Progress continues to be made....IMO. Although I suspect many leaders had already instituted these safeguards on their own. Perhaps I'm in the minority, but, I believe each leaders office should include a viewing window in the door. It will make its way to policy sooner or later.

    https://www.deseretnews.com/article/...sex-abuse.html
    “Children and dogs are as necessary to the welfare of the country as Wall Street and the railroads.” -- Harry S. Truman

    "You never soar so high as when you stoop down to help a child or an animal." -- Jewish Proverb

    "Three-time Pro Bowler Eric Weddle the most versatile, and maybe most intelligent, safety in the game." -- SI, 9/7/15, p. 107.

  26. #56
    Quote Originally Posted by mUUser View Post
    Progress continues to be made....IMO. Although I suspect many leaders had already instituted these safeguards on their own. Perhaps I'm in the minority, but, I believe each leaders office should include a viewing window in the door. It will make its way to policy sooner or later.

    https://www.deseretnews.com/article/...sex-abuse.html
    I think you are right about most leaders having already implementing these safe guards.

    The problem with a window is if you are in there crying, or arguing with a spouse, or anything else do you really want your gossipy neighbor walking by the door and seeing that?

    I personally think it would be very sad if you didn’t have a person you could go and confide in like that.




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  27. #57
    There is a group called "Protect LDS children" that will be marching on Friday to demand changes. Its a Dehlin backed group and while I acknowledge that many probably really want to see change, I can't help but feel that this is another group that's going to implode because of the haters. Some of their demands are complete non starters (doing away with worthiness interviews being among them).

    All in all, I think this is a really good decision because it helps protect kids and the church.

  28. #58
    Quote Originally Posted by UtahsMrSports View Post
    There is a group called "Protect LDS children" that will be marching on Friday to demand changes. Its a Dehlin backed group and while I acknowledge that many probably really want to see change, I can't help but feel that this is another group that's going to implode because of the haters. Some of their demands are complete non starters (doing away with worthiness interviews being among them).
    I fortunately have never had a bishop I wouldn't trust to interview my kids, but I'm glad I have the option of joining an interview in case I ever don't feel comfortable with a bishop.

    I would, of course, never leave any kid or adult alone with Dehlin for a minute. Dude's creepy.

    So, let's say a mom insists on being present for her son's priesthood and temple recommend interviews. What happens if that kid requests a private interview with the bishop (something he doesn't want his Mom to know about). The bishop's in a tough spot, right?

  29. #59
    Quote Originally Posted by sancho View Post
    I fortunately have never had a bishop I wouldn't trust to interview my kids, but I'm glad I have the option of joining an interview in case I ever don't feel comfortable with a bishop.

    I would, of course, never leave any kid or adult alone with Dehlin for a minute. Dude's creepy.

    So, let's say a mom insists on being present for her son's priesthood and temple recommend interviews. What happens if that kid requests a private interview with the bishop (something he doesn't want his Mom to know about). The bishop's in a tough spot, right?
    He has to defer to the parents. Parents never stop being the 'authority' when it comes to their kids.

    We had a discussion in ward council around this last Sunday actually. Basically the conclusion of the discussion is ultimately the parents should be the ones who teach their kids about the standards so there is no need for deep probing, uncomfortable and inappropriate questions, then the interviewer can just ask the standard temple recommend questions for worthiness. Parents should also be teaching their kids about what is and isn't appropriate and enabling them with the tools to get up and leave if things ever did go wonky (like Sancho, I've never experienced such a problem with any bishop I've had, but some have). Parents should at least be there, and if they are uncomfortable with any questions they should review that with the leader first and the leader should respect that. Finally, if they are nervous about someone or suspect a problem it is everyone's responsibility to report that up the chain not only for your own kids, but for others.

    After some people felt compelled to assure our bishop that they weren't worried about him having problems our bishop said, "Let's just take the ambiguity out of it, it isn't a matter of that, it is just a matter of safety for everyone. I don't want a kid leaving uncomfortable about anything, I don't want anyone also assuming bad things about me. Really most of the time I just want to talk to the parents after to say, 'Hey, I challenged Johnny to read his scriptures every day, can you help him with that?'"

  30. #60
    Quote Originally Posted by Rocker Ute View Post
    Parents should also be teaching their kids about what is and isn't appropriate and enabling them with the tools to get up and leave if things ever did go wonky
    This reminds me of a missionary story. About a year ago, we had the elders over for dinner. After dinner, we went out in the back yard for them to share a spiritual thought with my family. A missionary pulls a huge rat trap out of his backpack. He shows us how it works by putting a stick in there. The stick is destroyed. Then he set the trap again and says to my 8-year-old son "I'm a missionary, so you can trust me, right? Put your finger in the trap."

    I jumped in and put an end to the lesson right there. Elder got mad at me, showed me how he had disarmed the trap, and said how he was teaching about trusting church leaders. The whole thing was very wrong.

    My wife and I took the opportunity to teach the family about how we don't believe in blind trust.

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