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HappyJackWagon

Worthiness Interviews: Is There A Better Way?

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"In all of my pondering on the topic, I have not come up with an alternative except Bishops need more mental health training."

Great post Bsjkki, but I don't agree with this part. The real answer is Bishops need to realize they don't have all the answers. They need to realize they aren't mental health professionals and refer those who are in need to someone who is. Bishops also need to realize that not every thought that comes into their mind is inspiration. Recognizing their limitations would be a great benefit to them and those they serve. Many do recognize their limitations. Hopefully that can become more universal.

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...

 

I think it is extremely naive to think that we should just trust all of us to do what is right...

 

...

 

I think parents who insist on being present for their children's interviews are teaching their kids to not trust their Priesthood leaders...

If "all of us" in the 1st statement includes "Priesthood leaders" in the 2nd--then you've contradicted your own argument & made a strong case for parental involvement.   

 

--Erik

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"In all of my pondering on the topic, I have not come up with an alternative except Bishops need more mental health training."Great post Bsjkki, but I don't agree with this part. The real answer is Bishops need to realize they don't have all the answers. They need to realize they aren't mental health professionals and refer those who are in need to someone who is.

Actually by receiving some training in mental health, it would make it easier for church leaders to spot when they are out of their depth. Less knowledge on a subject generally equates to less awareness. Training to recognize and properly refer mental health situations would be very useful...not sure how much time would be needed though.

Edited by Calm

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Actually by receiving some training in mental health, it would make it easier for church leaders to spot when they are out of their depth. Less knowledge on a subject generally equates to less awareness. Training to recognize and properly refer mental health situations would be very useful...not sure how much time would be needed though.

 

I agree Calm. More training to recognize issues and the resources available would be useful. But the majority of the training I've heard is "follow the spirit". Many leaders understand this to mean the spirit will direct them in any counseling they undertake. This is dangerous and what I was referring to. Yes, give them training to help them recognize problems and then refer those people to those who can really help.

But how many bishops feel "inspired" to offer relationship counseling, addiction counseling, financial counseling etc based on their inspiration? Too many.

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Hit post on my iPhone before finishing, and can't figure out how to edit the post. Or change my user name. Oh well. It's late.

 

Let me finish: in the last example I gave, the YW was again relieved and able to move past her transgressions and fully repent. These are just a few of the many experiences I've had that would have been thwarted by many of the suggested changes on this thread.

 

I know I've made mistakes in the past years as a bishop. It's impossible to do everything perfectly. And I'm not saying the system always prevents abuse, but at some point we need to allow bishops to do what they're called to do. I also recognize that I'm speaking from my own experience, and not from others who have had negative experiences. I've got 3 daughters, 2 of whom are teenagers; but I am confident that the man who replaces me as bishop will treat them with as much respect as I treated my own daughters and every other YW in my ward.

 

For what it's worth, this local yokel did his best to follow the Savior in magnifying this wonderful calling, with no small amount of fear and trembling, and I have to ask those who are so critical to consider what it's like to sit in the chair for awhile before making such sweeping generalizations.

 

I have hidden your previous post. If you need to change your name contact a mod.

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Hit post on my iPhone before finishing, and can't figure out how to edit the post. Or change my user name. Oh well. It's late.

 

Let me finish: in the last example I gave, the YW was again relieved and able to move past her transgressions and fully repent. These are just a few of the many experiences I've had that would have been thwarted by many of the suggested changes on this thread.

 

I know I've made mistakes in the past years as a bishop. It's impossible to do everything perfectly. And I'm not saying the system always prevents abuse, but at some point we need to allow bishops to do what they're called to do. I also recognize that I'm speaking from my own experience, and not from others who have had negative experiences. I've got 3 daughters, 2 of whom are teenagers; but I am confident that the man who replaces me as bishop will treat them with as much respect as I treated my own daughters and every other YW in my ward.

 

For what it's worth, this local yokel did his best to follow the Savior in magnifying this wonderful calling, with no small amount of fear and trembling, and I have to ask those who are so critical to consider what it's like to sit in the chair for awhile before making such sweeping generalizations.

Sounds like you did a great job and approached the interview process with sensitivity. That's wonderful. That's not a universal experience for everyone being interviewed behind closed doors.

 

How would you suggest things be changed to prevent the abuse you seem to recognize can occur. Or is that just collateral damage that can't be prevented?

 

You may want to beware of making sweeping generalizations when calling for others not to make that mistake. There are many on here who have served as bishops and counselors and thus have been very involved in the interview process. So instead of being critical of those you feel are critical, please offer any suggestions you have for how it could be made better and how abuses can be further limited or stopped altogether.

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I still say that the way to improve interviews has nothing directly to do with the interviews, and everything to do with helping members know their own worth and the spirit so that they can recognize and be willing to challenge leaders who abuse their power, and not become their victims.   Families need to talk about their leaders not with awe, but with respect, and explain what they should be doing and help children to feel the spirit so they know that they can walk out and come tell a parent if anything creepy happens.

 

Taking away a child's person and private access to ecclesiastical leaders, confession and confidentiality doesn't help anyone.

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I agree Calm. More training to recognize issues and the resources available would be useful. But the majority of the training I've heard is "follow the spirit". Many leaders understand this to mean the spirit will direct them in any counseling they undertake. This is dangerous and what I was referring to. Yes, give them training to help them recognize problems and then refer those people to those who can really help.But how many bishops feel "inspired" to offer relationship counseling, addiction counseling, financial counseling etc based on their inspiration? Too many.

Given the choice between a professional secular counselor and a bishop inspired by God I will take the latter every single time.

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Given the choice between a professional secular counselor and a bishop inspired by God I will take the latter every single time.

Would you take the same approach if the counseling is about your finances?

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Would you take the same approach if the counseling is about your finances?

Sure.

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Sure.

You would rather counsel with your Bishop about getting your finances in order than with a CPA or certified financial planner? Okay- I hope your Bishop has some level of education and isn't a Julie Rowe prepper.

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You would rather counsel with your Bishop about getting your finances in order than with a CPA or certified financial planner? Okay- I hope your Bishop has some level of education and isn't a Julie Rowe prepper.

 

I don't think you get the purpose of consulting with a bishop.

 

Hint:  You don't do it because you think he is an expert on whatever you are consulting with him about.

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I don't think you get the purpose of consulting with a bishop.

 

Hint:  You don't do it because you think he is an expert on whatever you are consulting with him about.

Then please enlighten me.

 

Are you suggesting that we go to the Bishop and trust in whatever counsel he gives, not because he knows what he's talking about, but rather because he will be inspired to impart the words of God?

 

This is a common belief but one that gets us into lots of trouble, especially when a Bishop (or other leader) believes every thought that comes to their mind, and every word given in counsel is the word of God. That gives far too much power to a bishop, even if he is a good man trying to do his best. I can receive personal revelation. Why do I need to go to a bishop to ask him to get revelation for me? Kind of passing the buck isn't it. But people do it continually.

 

I'm suggesting that it is beneficial and healthy to recognize the limitations in priesthood leaders. Instead of seeking spiritual guidance from them on temporal issues like relationships, finances etc (which revelation I can receive for myself) it is wise to seek knowledgeable counselors who have been trained to provide specialized counseling. Just because someone is called as bishop doesn't mean they become an instant expert in all categories of life. Thinking so leads to big problems.

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Then please enlighten me.

 

Are you suggesting that we go to the Bishop and trust in whatever counsel he gives, not because he knows what he's talking about, but rather because he will be inspired to impart the words of God?

 

This is a common belief but one that gets us into lots of trouble, especially when a Bishop (or other leader) believes every thought that comes to their mind, and every word given in counsel is the word of God. That gives far too much power to a bishop, even if he is a good man trying to do his best. I can receive personal revelation. Why do I need to go to a bishop to ask him to get revelation for me? Kind of passing the buck isn't it. But people do it continually.

 

I'm suggesting that it is beneficial and healthy to recognize the limitations in priesthood leaders. Instead of seeking spiritual guidance from them on temporal issues like relationships, finances etc (which revelation I can receive for myself) it is wise to seek knowledgeable counselors who have been trained to provide specialized counseling. Just because someone is called as bishop doesn't mean they become an instant expert in all categories of life. Thinking so leads to big problems.

 

I still don't think you understand, I don't expect the  bishop to solve our problems.

 

When we go to the bishop, we are going to someone who represents Christ.  It is because we have a problem we can't seem to solve on our own, and we need the Lord's help.  

 

Often, the bishop says something useful, sometimes it isn't, but we aren't expecting the bishop to solve our problems. We are putting our faith in the Lord, and the Lord is who we expect to help us out. Sometimes it is through the bishop directly, sometimes it is through other people, and sometimes it is through direct revelation.

 

There have been times I have felt prompted to take a problem to the bishop and he gave advise that didn't seem to help. However, after humbly presenting the problem to the bishop and humbly listening for answers, I  have received the help needed, sometimes directly from the lord.

 

Its the same processes when going to the temple with a specific problem.  I don't expect them to change the presentation to solve my particular problem, but, by taking it to the Lord at his house, I am putting my faith in the Lord to solve the problem.

Edited by Danzo

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Its the same processes when going to the temple with a specific problem.

So why not cut out the middle man altogether?

 

I watched Kumare yesterday. It's a fascinating documentary about a man who pretends to be a guru. Ultimately his message is that we all have a guru inside of us and we need to stop seeking for an external guru to teach and enlighten us. So, with this in mind, and the doctrines about personal revelation, I see the bishop as the administrator of a ward, not a spiritual leader, though I'm not discounting that he may be a spiritual person with great wisdom and understanding. But we need to seek wisdom internally and by the spirit, and not by asking a man and putting our trust in the arm of the flesh.

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So why not cut out the middle man altogether?

 

I watched Kumare yesterday. It's a fascinating documentary about a man who pretends to be a guru. Ultimately his message is that we all have a guru inside of us and we need to stop seeking for an external guru to teach and enlighten us. So, with this in mind, and the doctrines about personal revelation, I see the bishop as the administrator of a ward, not a spiritual leader, though I'm not discounting that he may be a spiritual person with great wisdom and understanding. But we need to seek wisdom internally and by the spirit, and not by asking a man and putting our trust in the arm of the flesh.

 

That is a good question. The lord seems to have designed it that way, though.

 

It would seem that there is a purpose toward looking for divine inspiration from mere mortals. Perhaps it keeps us humble.

 

I think that it is so easy to justify ourselves that it might just be necessary for someone to be there to call "BS".

 

Often a bishop will go to sunday school to learn from a teacher who obviously knows less.  I have received revelation from my young children.  Even General Authorities have bishops sign their temple recommends.

 

All I know, is that it seems to work for me.

Edited by Danzo

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"Worthiness" interviews have changed throughout the history of our church; from eventual requirements to have a TR before entering the temple, to the required timing of those recommends, to the changes in questions, and the modern requirements for annual and semi-annual worthiness interviews for the youth.

 

These interviews are usually harmless. Good men interview by asking the required questions. But sometimes the questions are modified and expanded upon. We've probably all heard horror stories about leaders who ask for details or even share personal details about their lives that make the interviewees uncomfortable.

 

In today's climate this seems to be a problematic practice, particularly when men are asking women and youth specific personal questions about the law of chastity. There is often little to no training for leaders before they begin conducting these worthiness interviews.

 

How might the practice of worthiness interviews be changed to be more appropriate with social convention, especially regarding the law of chastity?

 

Are worthiness interviews even necessary?

 

If a person wants to go to the temple or advance in their priesthood office they go through a recommend process which is totally dependent upon their honesty. They know what the questions will be in advance so if they want to prepare false answers they can do so. So in a way the "judge in Israel" or gate-keeper is often acting as a rubber stamp. Those who want to "pass" a worthiness interview can do so easy enough if they are willing to lie. The interview won't stop them.

 

The only benefits I can see to interviews is to ...

 

1- Teach what is appropriate and what is not (but this also creates problems. Appropriate teachings can be done in other places)

2- Ecclesiastical leaders get one on one time with most ward members on a semi-regular basis which can help to build relationships of trust

3- For those who are honest, going through a gatekeeper creates a barrier of potential embarrassment or shame which could be motivational in choosing to stay on the straight and narrow.

 

What do you think? Are worthiness interviews beneficial? Are they necessary? Or could there be a better way?

Why do you put "worthiness" in scare quotes? Don't you believe that the concept exists?

For myself, I regard worthiness interviews as a very good thing. I don't think there are likely to be many (if any) faithful Latter-day Saints who have a problem with them.

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Why do you put "worthiness" in scare quotes? Don't you believe that the concept exists?

For myself, I regard worthiness interviews as a very good thing. I don't think there are likely to be many (if any) faithful Latter-day Saints who have a problem with them.

 

 

Since the scriptures (both the Bible and the unique LDS scriptures) that all have sinned and come short and essentially deserve some sort of Hell, nobody really is worthy... whatever that really means.

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Since the scriptures (both the Bible and the unique LDS scriptures) that all have sinned and come short and essentially deserve some sort of Hell, nobody really is worthy... whatever that really means.

 

I don't think  "worthy"= "never sinned" 

Edited by Danzo

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