I’ve now written 6 blog posts about the Mormon church’s masturbation interviews with children. Three were posted in the last 12 days. This will be #4 in the past 2 weeks. So why do I continue writing?
Well…I’m now receiving feedback from parents who have resolved to protect their children from inappropriate probing questions behind closed doors. Here’s what I’m thinking. Each blog post is worth it…
- If…it alerts one parent to the dangers of bishopric masturbation interviews.
- If…it helps one parent resolve to protect their children at church.
- If…it saves one child from being subjected to a harmful masturbation interview.
- If…it saves one child from inappropriate and damaging shame and guilt.
- If…it saves one child from decades of sexual dysfunction.
- If…it prevents sexual repression from a future marriage that is not scarred by years of childhood probings by untrained men, behind closed doors, all alone, without parental knowledge or consent.
So there it is. Masturbation interviews….should I write warnings once a week? Or is daily better?
Parents Protecting Their Children
Here’s a sampling of recent messages sent to me. Good for these active, believing church members.
Message #1: Prompted by the topic of Sam Young’s recent posts (bishops asking probing, detailed, sexual questions in closed-door interviews with underage girls), I have talked with my spouse as it concerns our daughter and potential future interviews with priesthood leaders. I related to her some of the disgusting things that can happen behind the closed doors of priesthood leaders’ offices. My wife agreed that our daughter will NEVER undergo an interview with anyone in a church setting alone/by herself. If my daughter ever goes to an interview, we are in agreement that at least one of us as her parent will be present in the room at all times. And if some bishop insists that she can’t progress with baptism/whatever unless he interviews her alone… well, then so be it!
Message #2: I broached this subject with my husband and he agreed as well. Because I don’t have trust that the request will always be adhered to by the bishop/local leaders, I went to my daughter and discussed with her the decision her dad and I had made. I let her know this is a boundary that we have made as a family and that she has the authority and power to uphold that boundary should she ever be asked for an interview by herself.
Message #3: This is exactly what I have approved with my wife. What a gift to your children. I wonder if enough people start demanding this if the church will make a statement or adjust a policy, either to open it up, or shut it down. A friend recently told me that his bishop told him in detail HOW to masturbate BEFORE he had a chance to figure it out on his own, yikes. His parents would have been furious. I’m glad my kids won’t have these discussions.
Message #4: I saw your posts about inappropriate questions bishops ask and was totally shocked! So, I asked a large Mormon mom group about their experiences with bishops asking their children, or even themselves, inappropriate questions. I personally have only been asked if I was following the law of chastity. So, it never occurred to me that anyone would be asked anything else. I’m getting notifications left and right of new stories. Lots of totally inappropriate ones.
Someone’s 12 year old daughter was asked if she had engaged in sexual intercourse and he explained what that meant. Others said that a bishop explained ways you could masturbate. One woman who was baptized a few years ago was angry and upset no one told her masturbation was breaking the law of chastity.
There was story after story. It was so shocking. As a newer member, I appreciate you posting this. I will not be letting a bishop ask my children anything without myself there. Lots of women in my group came to that same conclusion. So, thank you so much for talking about difficult things.
Message #5: Called my ex to talk about my son’s upcoming baptism interview, ready to fight about closed doors and demand a parent in the room. Surprisingly, he cut me off at the top of my inquiry and said, “I will be in the room during all of our boys’ (we have two) interviews from here until their mission interview at 18. The bishop has been warned to never ask about masturbation. Ever.
Message #6: A 13 year old female friend in the 70s was asked by a pillar of the community bishop to describe HOW she masturbated. Under no circumstances should any parent allow a child alone with a bishop. Especially considering they have apparently been instructed to discuss “chastity” issues with 7 year olds in baptismal interviews.
Insightful Comment from a Former Bishop
“I can’t believe they still think masturbation is a sin. That’s another thing I realized as bishop. I masturbated my whole life, during my mission and all. I figured if I could be called as a bishop and masturbated, God didn’t care. I never asked anyone about it. To the few people who tried to confess it, I told them not to worry about it, and said it wasn’t a big deal at all. When I heard members of the stake presidency preach about it, I thought to myself, these men are such hypocrites. They masturbate all the time, and they preach against it.”
Do you disapprove of private, closed door, masturbation interviews with your children? If so, feel free to express disapproval on the Common Consent Register found HERE.