Yesterday, an active member of the Church (I’ll call him Jeff here) sent the following email to his stake president. I was blind-copied.
I feel impressed to discuss with you the subject of one-on-one interviews with children behind closed doors. I hope you consider this in the spirit with which it is written. I know you can’t change the church. But you can change our stake. I understand you have told bishops to not ask inquiring questions about sexuality anymore and I applaud you for that. It took great concern and wisdom on your part to see the problems with inquiring into issues involving a kids sexual temptations. Thank you for that.
First, both Bishop _____ and Bishop ______ have respected our wishes to not ask any questions of a sexual nature to our children in these interviews. However, it goes beyond that.
Legally, I can’t imagine ever allowing a person who is not a child’s parent to ask questions that even slightly touch upon sexual issues with a child. Even asking a child if they live the law of chastity is a problem. Morally, I know first hand of the damage that it can do. But those adults who ask questions should be clinically trained in that area.
Why isn’t it sufficient to teach kids the law of chastity in Sunday school or in their homes by their parents and let them know what is expected of them? There could be great personal growth to let children exercise their consciences rather than be told they are unworthy (which is so awful that we would tell an undeveloped mind that they are ever unworthy to serve others in the church). Our church feels insulated because they use the phrase “law of chastity.” But make no mistake what is being asked.
Somehow, our church is the only church still doing any closed door interviews with children from what I have found. Everyone else has abandoned the practice. A Bishop or priesthood leader can determine worthiness without these interviews. Where is the power of discernment? But also, is there any consideration to what it does to tell a child that they are “unworthy?”
Utah has one of the highest rates of teenage suicide and we have to ask ourselves, why? Could it be that we make kids feel unworthy for doing things that most normal teens struggle with? For the safety of the youth in the ______ Stake, I pray this practice be reconsidered. If every other church on the planet sees the problem these interviews create, how does our church not?
I know you have been a courageous stake president and have taken the unusual step of allowing doubting members and the mother/father of a gay child to speak to our leaders. That you have given instructions about these interviews that were bold. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that. I would love to discuss this topic and my personal experiences with you at any time. Thanks for listening.
I am very proud of you for taking up this matter directly with your local leader. It’s exciting to see members speak up to protect the children in their own church. It’s also very encouraging to hear your stake president has instructed his bishops “to not ask inquiring questions about sexuality anymore.” THAT.IS.AWESOME.
Dear Everybody Else,
Join us this year to Protect Every Child. In 2018 our actions protected many children. In 2019, our impact will be much much bigger.
Over the hills and everywhere.
Go tell it on a mountain,
PROTECT OUR CHILDREN NOW.