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Bishops Asking This in Temple Recommend Interview?


Rain

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4 hours ago, bsjkki said:

Personally, I think we are messing up a generation overly emphasizing this. When growing up, I had not had heard of this being defined as ‘breaking the law of chastity’ and while it should be discouraged, I did not think it made one ‘unworthy.’ Sometimes you can talk about things too much. Some view they will never be ‘good enough’ for the church so they just leave. Or don’t serve, or don’t go to the temple. Cycle of doom.

 

Yes, yes, yes!! It's a huge problem, after reading many letters from people on Sam Young's site. https://protecteverychild.com/about/ Where the masturbation guilt and shame, led to horrific problems, even suicidal thoughts. Youth can be very hard on themselves, and particular personalities will take it to the extreme. Psychologically, bishops don't have the knowledge or education, to prevent the harm done. 

Luckily, I didn't have any issues with youth interviews except when as a 12 year old  I was interviewed by a counselor who took me into an empty classroom and sat right next to me, knee to knee, the room was dark, not pitch black but no lights, and it felt icky, like something was not right. And therein lies the problem, the youth my age don't know how to navigate what is going on. That counselor could have said things inappropriately and I wouldn't know except for my spidee sense. Can't remember if he asked a sexual question, just remember him getting into my personal space. 

ETA: I hope it's okay if I bring up the problem of these interviews concerning a very natural thing the youth are going through. One of the letters I read from a female, mentioned the trauma she felt when she was asked about masturbation and realizing how bad it was, she did it sometimes as a kid, and had no sex education. And the fall out from the shame led up to her having problems in her marriage later on and not enjoying sex for a very long time. Is this possibly a reason there is a huge problem with p o r n addiction with men in the church? Could be the domino affect.

Edited by Tacenda
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1 minute ago, Rain said:

Just to be clear, I am talking about YSA (young single adult) or other adults and not youth or missionaries.  

Sorry if I took it off the rails. Hopefully your question will be answered and enough said about youth/missionaries! Is there a reason you're asking, do you approve, disapprove, or don't answer if you'd rather not. 

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35 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

Sorry if I took it off the rails. Hopefully your question will be answered and enough said about youth/missionaries! Is there a reason you're asking, do you approve, disapprove, or don't answer if you'd rather not. 

There is a reason.  I'm trying to gather info needed  for someone.

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13 hours ago, bsjkki said:

My husbands mission president would let missionaries repent in the field. He always said his first priority was to save the missionaries.

 

This seems to vary by mission president. We recently had another one come home to work on morality issues, and he was given the choice by his MP to stay or to go home for his repentance process  (I know this because his mother told me—my husband isn’t disclosing confidential things).

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1 hour ago, Rain said:

Just to be clear, I am talking about YSA (young single adult) or other adults and not youth or missionaries.  

Oops, sorry, didn’t mean to detract from your question. I just thought there might be some confusion about what people have heard about TR vs pre-mission questions 😊

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On 9/16/2020 at 11:05 PM, Rain said:

Thank you. Someone I know really felt uncomfortable with this question.  A friend told them that since 2015 bishops were supposed to ask this question.

I wonder why this person made this claim, 'Since 2015 Bishops are supposed to ask this question'.  sounds like they should explain why they think this, because I for one have not heard this, and if anything, these days, Bishops are asked not to deviate, not add questions that may be too intimate.  So, if you haven't asked them already, maybe ask them why they think this?  Who told them this?  Because personally, I think there isn't a question that has been added they are supposed to be asking.  It was probably something that was personal to that Bishop or to local authorities, imo.

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I wonder if the year "2015" has anything to do with the Nov. '15 policy concerning gays. Kind of a shot in the dark, but could it have something to do with the recommend questions for the YSA's.

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2 hours ago, Tacenda said:

I wonder if the year "2015" has anything to do with the Nov. '15 policy concerning gays. Kind of a shot in the dark, but could it have something to do with the recommend questions for the YSA's.

There are no differences in the temple recommend questions for YSA's and adults.

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On 9/17/2020 at 8:42 AM, Derl Sanderson said:

Then conversely be prepared for your kids to seek no counsel, express no deep-rooted feelings, ask no questions that trouble them, or engage the highest-ranking priesthood leader in their lives in any other meaningful way. I'll bet my house that a teen with three other adults in the room will respond minimally and absolutely "correctly" to every question and topic broached -- especially when two of the three are his/her parents. This topic was extensively (and masterfully) addressed in the most recent FairMormon Conference by Jennifer Roach in a paper titled "Private Bishop Interviews as Protective Factor: Why LDS Teens Benefit From a Few Moments Alone With Their Bishop." It's not yet available on FairMormon's website, but when it is, Sister Roach's arguments are well worth considering. 

She did tell me that her presentation was not all inclusive in every situation in interviews. She hoped interviewers were guided by the Spirit and were filled with Charity.  She is quite a person.  Hanna E. Seriac in another one.  The Church members are blessed with such recent additions who strengthen the membership.

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For the sake of argument, why is being asked this question causing "carnage" and "huge problems" for youth and YSAs?  Is it only because of how it's being asked by voyeuristic Bishops?  I understand discussing sexual matters is uncomfortable for some people whether it's a Bishop or a doctor during a checkup.  But it's a serious enough issue the the Church lists it as something that can "lead to sexual transgression".  I agree Bishops shouldn't interrogate anyone about it (or anything else).  But I don't think we are helping young people by de-emphasising it.  I didn't feel right after interviewing one YSA for a recommend so I scheduled a follow up visit.  It was then he confessed a transgression while at college that his friends assured him wasn't violating the Law of Chastity (oral sex).  He began the repentance process and later served a mission.

I don't see a huge emphasis on this topic either.  In the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet, there's only one line about it:  "Do not arouse those emotions in your own body."

Personally, I like the section in the FtSoY pamphlet about sexual purity.  I recommend it to both youth and YSAs to review.  It's much clearer and informative than the "no necking or petting" guidelines I grew up hearing.  I still haven't figured out what necking is.

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@gopher So do you bring up the 'm' question in your youth interviews. With the young men and the young women? Is it standard protocol?

Following the spirit and having a follow up interview isn't really what we are discussing. I hope all Bishops follow the spirit and schedule interviews when prompted but much of the outcome depends on how these topics are broached and discussed.

6 hours ago, JamesBYoung said:

She hoped interviewers were guided by the Spirit and were filled with Charity.

This is what does not always happen but what we hope happens.

I had to go re-read the pamphlet again. I had started going through the section line by line and pointing out issues. Lets just say, IMO, it sets impossible standards that are not healthy for natural, human development. (Poorly defined terms, overly broad, use of 'never, 'anything' 'any' is unrealistic. Why is the word 'emotions' used here...how confusing? What are they saying? What is a 'sexual transgression' because it seems to be just about anything. Some kids don't get righteous counsel...how do they know what is 'righteous' and what is not? How many did not 'passionately kiss' their spouse before marriage? So, if you passionately kiss your fiance, the spirit will withdraw from you...is that a sexual transgression? Is watching a G rated romance movie a sexual transgression because for women, a good, clean romance can definitely arouse sexual feelings. School trips and girls camp must be a no-no with these recommendations too. No adults around in rooms/tents. The 'discussions' are happening between friends.)

"Never do anything that could lead to sexual transgression. Treat others with respect, not as objects used to satisfy lustful and selfish desires. Before marriage, do not participate in passionate kissing, lie on top of another person, or touch the private, sacred parts of another person’s body, with or without clothing. Do not do anything else that arouses sexual feelings. Do not arouse those emotions in your own body. Pay attention to the promptings of the Spirit so that you can be clean and virtuous. The Spirit of the Lord will withdraw from one who is in sexual transgression.

Avoid situations that invite increased temptation, such as late-night or overnight activities away from home or activities where there is a lack of adult supervision. Do not participate in discussions or any media that arouse sexual feelings. Do not participate in any type of pornography. The Spirit can help you know when you are at risk and give you the strength to remove yourself from the situation. Have faith in and be obedient to the righteous counsel of your parents and leaders."

You might counter, that 'you know what they mean' but the youth (11-year-olds now) do not have the experience to read between the lines. Sexual feelings are bad, bad and more bad and you should feel guilty, guilty, guilty about having them and you are 'unworthy.' I don't like the 'sins except murder' in this context because the term 'sexual sin' is defined so broadly throughout this section. "The prophet Alma taught that sexual sins are more serious than any other sins except murder or denying the Holy Ghost (see Alma 39:5)."

One thing I have learned is how I interpret and read something is not how my kids internalized or read something. It's quite eye opening to ask them.

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5 hours ago, gopher said:

It's much clearer and informative than the "no necking or petting" guidelines I grew up hearing.  I still haven't figured out what necking is.

“Whoever named it necking was a poor judge of anatomy.” Groucho Marx

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19 hours ago, bsjkki said:

@gopher So do you bring up the 'm' question in your youth interviews. With the young men and the young women? Is it standard protocol?

No, but I wouldn't have a problem asking it if it became a requirement (just as we were instructed to ask about pornography for a few years).  But my experience is different from yours - I see YSAs come in with "carnage" and "huge problems" and leave feeling relief and hope after confessing sins and transgression, including 'm'.  I understand it may be an uncomfortable question for some, but I don't understand how asking it causes the damage that is alleged here.  I suspect there is more going on in those instances.

19 hours ago, bsjkki said:

Following the spirit and having a follow up interview isn't really what we are discussing. I hope all Bishops follow the spirit and schedule interviews when prompted but much of the outcome depends on how these topics are broached and discussed.

My point in relating that was that we shouldn't discourage anyone from confessing something just because we don't personally feel it's wrong or necessary (not saying you did that).  When both Bishops and young people are following the Spirit during the interview, it can become an incredible faith building experience.

19 hours ago, bsjkki said:

I had to go re-read the pamphlet again. I had started going through the section line by line and pointing out issues. Lets just say, IMO, it sets impossible standards that are not healthy for natural, human development.

One thing I have learned is how I interpret and read something is not how my kids internalized or read something. It's quite eye opening to ask them.

I have the opposite reaction while reading the sexual purity section of the pamphlet.  I don't see impossible standards that are not healthy for natural, human development.  I don't see anything that says sexual feelings are bad.  Christians are often mocked for having that attitude, but this church is very pro-intimacy and pro-sex, just within marriage.  I see practical advice on how to properly show respect and reverence for our natural sexual feelings and desires so when we are married we can continue to show the proper respect and reverence for them.  Although it's not written for YSAs, it still has good advice for them as well.  It's more explicit than in years past because attitudes have changed in our society.  It's probably worse for us that are far from Utah.  I have young women in the ward tell me they won't date boys from school because there's an expectation that they have sex by the third date.

I agree that parents should talk often with their kids about these topics.  I'm glad to answer questions and hear confessions, but I also refer young people (including YSAs) to discuss their questions and concerns with their parents.

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57 minutes ago, gopher said:

No, but I wouldn't have a problem asking it if it became a requirement (just as we were instructed to ask about pornography for a few years).  But my experience is different from yours - I see YSAs come in with "carnage" and "huge problems" and leave feeling relief and hope after confessing sins and transgression, including 'm'.  I understand it may be an uncomfortable question for some, but I don't understand how asking it causes the damage that is alleged here.  I suspect there is more going on in those instances.

My point in relating that was that we shouldn't discourage anyone from confessing something just because we don't personally feel it's wrong or necessary (not saying you did that).  When both Bishops and young people are following the Spirit during the interview, it can become an incredible faith building experience.

I have the opposite reaction while reading the sexual purity section of the pamphlet.  I don't see impossible standards that are not healthy for natural, human development.  I don't see anything that says sexual feelings are bad.  Christians are often mocked for having that attitude, but this church is very pro-intimacy and pro-sex, just within marriage.  I see practical advice on how to properly show respect and reverence for our natural sexual feelings and desires so when we are married we can continue to show the proper respect and reverence for them.  Although it's not written for YSAs, it still has good advice for them as well.  It's more explicit than in years past because attitudes have changed in our society.  It's probably worse for us that are far from Utah.  I have young women in the ward tell me they won't date boys from school because there's an expectation that they have sex by the third date.

I agree that parents should talk often with their kids about these topics.  I'm glad to answer questions and hear confessions, but I also refer young people (including YSAs) to discuss their questions and concerns with their parents.

I agree that confession can help in so many ways for the youth. It's the after affect that I have a problem with. And many youth don't even know what the "m" word is at twelve or even fourteen. Many parents won't discuss these things with their children believe it or not. 

It's those that when asked will tell but then be condemned for it, by not being allowed to take the sacrament for 6 months, and the guilt heaped on them. Or the shaming. 

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On 9/22/2020 at 9:57 AM, bsjkki said:

Lets just say, IMO, it sets impossible standards that are not healthy for natural, human development.

 

7 hours ago, gopher said:

I have the opposite reaction while reading the sexual purity section of the pamphlet.  I don't see impossible standards that are not healthy for natural, human development.  I don't see anything that says sexual feelings are bad.  Christians are often mocked for having that attitude, but this church is very pro-intimacy and pro-sex, just within marriage. 

A common impasse, it seems, in the Church. Some say we do a poor job at it, and others saying we do an excellent job at it.

I am reminded of something I read from Romel Mackelprang in Dialogue from the '90s (Volume 25, number 1, about page 50). He wrote, "My LDS clients' sexual problems seem to be no more severe or pervasive than those of members of other religions or of those who profess no religious affiliation. However, when sexual problems occur, religious issues are more likely to be a factor for LDS clients than for any others (with the possible exception of Catholics). However unintentional, Church membership can contribute to sexual problems for some members."

Sister Brotherson's books -- somewhat based on this idea of "Good Girl Syndrome" (the faulty, sex negative ideas that we get often from religious upbringings), have been quite successful.

It seems to me that we are neither as sex negative as the critics say we are, nor are we as sex positive as the defenders say we are. It seems to me that there is room for improvement.

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4 hours ago, MrShorty said:

 

A common impasse, it seems, in the Church. Some say we do a poor job at it, and others saying we do an excellent job at it.

I am reminded of something I read from Romel Mackelprang in Dialogue from the '90s (Volume 25, number 1, about page 50). He wrote, "My LDS clients' sexual problems seem to be no more severe or pervasive than those of members of other religions or of those who profess no religious affiliation. However, when sexual problems occur, religious issues are more likely to be a factor for LDS clients than for any others (with the possible exception of Catholics). However unintentional, Church membership can contribute to sexual problems for some members."

Sister Brotherson's books -- somewhat based on this idea of "Good Girl Syndrome" (the faulty, sex negative ideas that we get often from religious upbringings), have been quite successful.

It seems to me that we are neither as sex negative as the critics say we are, nor are we as sex positive as the defenders say we are. It seems to me that there is room for improvement.

Welcome to the board! I  think so much of this depends on the Bishop and the circumstances. Sometimes, they get it right and sometimes they don't. I would choose to error on the side of innocence and healthy teachings. I would rather a Bishop not talk about 'm' with the kids than bring it up to a child and make them feel uncomfortable or unworthy or in many a female view, not creeped out. The other problem is the predators. What do you do with the predators and accomplished liars that have no conscience? Those exist too. They tend to get away with much because they know just what to say and just how to feign contrition/innocence.

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21 hours ago, Tacenda said:

I agree that confession can help in so many ways for the youth. It's the after affect that I have a problem with. And many youth don't even know what the "m" word is at twelve or even fourteen. Many parents won't discuss these things with their children believe it or not. 

It's those that when asked will tell but then be condemned for it, by not being allowed to take the sacrament for 6 months, and the guilt heaped on them. Or the shaming. 

I agree that anyone who confesses any sin or transgression to a Bishop shouldn't be condemned or shamed.

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14 hours ago, MrShorty said:

 

A common impasse, it seems, in the Church. Some say we do a poor job at it, and others saying we do an excellent job at it.

I am reminded of something I read from Romel Mackelprang in Dialogue from the '90s (Volume 25, number 1, about page 50). He wrote, "My LDS clients' sexual problems seem to be no more severe or pervasive than those of members of other religions or of those who profess no religious affiliation. However, when sexual problems occur, religious issues are more likely to be a factor for LDS clients than for any others (with the possible exception of Catholics). However unintentional, Church membership can contribute to sexual problems for some members."

Sister Brotherson's books -- somewhat based on this idea of "Good Girl Syndrome" (the faulty, sex negative ideas that we get often from religious upbringings), have been quite successful.

It seems to me that we are neither as sex negative as the critics say we are, nor are we as sex positive as the defenders say we are. It seems to me that there is room for improvement.

Thanks, I agree there's always room for improvement.  Is it an understanding of Church doctrine or a misunderstanding of Church doctrine that leads to these sexual problems for some members?

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9 hours ago, 2BizE said:

This is a rogue bishop...the Mormon obsession with control over human sexuality is disheartening in my opinion.

If we talk about sex, we are obsessed.  If we don't talk about sex, we are repressed.  My view is that Bishops should stay out of the sexual counseling business and leave that to the professionals.  But Bishops still have the responsibility to help those who wish to confess sins and transgressions.

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11 hours ago, bsjkki said:

Welcome to the board! I  think so much of this depends on the Bishop and the circumstances. Sometimes, they get it right and sometimes they don't. I would choose to error on the side of innocence and healthy teachings. I would rather a Bishop not talk about 'm' with the kids than bring it up to a child and make them feel uncomfortable or unworthy or in many a female view, not creeped out. The other problem is the predators. What do you do with the predators and accomplished liars that have no conscience? Those exist too. They tend to get away with much because they know just what to say and just how to feign contrition/innocence.

When you say "kids" and "child", are you referring to YSAs that are discussing here?  It's much different for YSAs because they usually know more about sex than the Bishop.  Their innocence is long gone by then.

I'm sorry you've had to deal with creepy Bishops.  I don't think asking about 'm' needs to be part of the temple recommend interview for younger kids.  I've never discussed it with any young women.  It's only the young men that I've ever talked to about it and in all cases pornography was also involved.  Sure, they were uncomfortable conversations at first, but seeing how these young men gained personal experience how the atonement works for them made it worth it.

I also agree that Bishops shouldn't deliberately try to make anyone feel uncomfortable, unworthy, or creeped out.  That isn't part of the repentance process. 

And there's a special place in hell for sexual predators of youth in the church.  I'm glad the church has taken additional precautions in the past few years to help protect our youth.  But we still have to be vigilant.

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1 hour ago, gopher said:

Thanks, I agree there's always room for improvement.  Is it an understanding of Church doctrine or a misunderstanding of Church doctrine that leads to these sexual problems for some members?

It seems pretty clear to me that it comes from misunderstandings of doctrine. It also seems pretty clear to me that these misunderstandings occur at both the bottom and the top of the Church hierarchy. In a top down, authoritarian Church, when the top misunderstands and teaches their misunderstandings, there are bound to be problems.

Pres. Kimball's misunderstandings that led him in the early '80s to declare the OS was inappropriate -- maybe sinful -- in marriage is illustrative. The practice of revoking/denying temple recommends to couples for OS was short lived, but I still hear anecdotes, nearly 4 decades later, of couples (usually newlyweds) who were told by mom/dad/bishop/stake president just before/after marriage that good LDS couples don't do that.

That example is pretty straightforward, but human sexuality is complex and nuanced enough that other issues are never quite as clear. I'm not convinced that we as a Church fully understand the doctrines around sexuality. It seems to me that we must be misunderstanding some things around sexuality for these kinds of problems to continue, but I'm not sure where or what those misunderstandings are.

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