↑About three weeks ago, while I was discussing my state of unbelief with my wife, I remembered something that I had not thought of for a long time, and had repressed from my memory when I was young. I got so emotional thinking back on this experience, as the memories came rushing to my brain, that I was in major tears discussing it with my wife. Here is the story.
Just before I turned 14 I was scheduled for my Bishop's interview. I was excited to become a "Teacher" and was looking forward to the interview. So, I walk into the Bishop's office and he starts by asking general belief questions and how are you doing, stuff like that. Then, out of the blue, he asks, "Do you masturbate?" Well, my mind started to race, cause, I had heard that word, but, honestly wasn't really sure what it meant.
Anyway, I said "I don't know, what does it mean to masturbate?" Well, he proceeded to tell me what it meant. So, then he asks me again, "Do you masturbate?"
I became so nervous and scared, that my vision became distorted, my face became flush and I started to sweat profusely. I whispered "Yes".
I was devastated, I thought I was doing everything that "God" commanded. I thought I was a good boy. Now I was being told that what I thought was exciting, fun and joyous - was a SIN.
Well, the Bishop showed absolutely NO compassion, or sensitivity. He proceeded to tell me that this could lead to disfellowshipment or excommunication if I did not immediately get it under control.
I sat in the interview so worried about being "cut off" from my family at death, that again, my vision became distorted and I started to sweat. At this point I felt like crawling under the chair, and screaming "Mom, Dad, help!!!" But, I was alone, with God's representative - I had no where to turn.
The Bishop then started to tell me that if I continue this practice of masturbation, I may end up doing this act with furniture, with animals, or, heaven forbid, with men or boys -- and that masturbation often leads to Homosexuality. I was so scared, I couldn't even respond to the rest of the interview, and the Bishop dismissed me.
Somehow, the next Sunday, my Dad ordained me a Teacher - even though I felt like the scum of the earth. For the next three years, I spent incredible brain effort to convince myself that I was not homosexual.
I am heterosexual, but, I no longer think it is a sin to be homosexual.
After discussing this interview with my wife, she understands why I will NOT let any of our children sit in an interview alone.
I believe that interview constituted emotional abuse. What do you think?Thursday, Mar 16, 2006, at 08:30 AMSexual Questions Asked By BishopsPosted By AnonymousINTERVIEWS IN MORMONISM -Guid- ↑I was asked by the neighbor across the street--though in his capacity as Bishop.
I had no idea I was going to get hit with that question. It horrified me.
He asked "Do you masturbate?" I said "Huh?" He asked again "Do you masturbate? That is when you play with your penis." "No, I said (and lied) I don't."
This, from the man across the street. He was a neighbor, and I could not take him seriously as a clergyman. But there I was sitting there, while he asked. It embarrassed and mortified me. I could not believe a church would ask such a thing. Was this the church I had grown up in? When did this change occur? Why? I was mystified.
Later, my friends joked about it. No-one took it as a fair, valid, or "righteous" question. And it really was none of their business.
And in retrospect, why did they get so worked up about it? Why did they feel they could take ten percent of your income, and two years of your life, and ask such questions? Pretty remarkable.Thursday, Jul 27, 2006, at 07:28 AMInterviews With The Bishop And ChildrenPosted By AnonymousINTERVIEWS IN MORMONISM -Guid- ↑The interview the bishop had with my 14 y.o. when he was to become a teacher was the last straw for me and the last time I ever set foot in an LDS Chapel. Because of some things that had happened before with the bishop bypassing me and going to my wife because of my doctrinal doubts, I had previously demanded to always be present whenever the bishop interviewed any of my kids or wife for anything. Thus, I sat in on his interview with my son where he proceeded to ask my son if he obeyed the law of chastity and also to describe in great detail several acts that would violate it.
My son is a pretty innocent young man with only a recent interest in girls now that he's fifteen. He honestly had no idea what the bishop was talking about when describing heavy petting and oral sex. I thanked the bishop for putting all those great ideas into his head but he did not back down, insisting that it was his right and duty to ask these questions and to know the answers to determine worthiness. We left the church that afternoon and have never been back.
I suspect Bishops secretly love being able to ask these sick questions and to imagine the youth before them in all sorts of compromising situations. More than that, they love the guilt trip they get to lay on anyone honest enough to admit their crimes. Bishops and SP's have way too much power and TBM's like I used to be willingly give it to them. Shame on all of us. If there's a God up there, he already knows everything about us and doesn't need any man to ferret it out or to explain exactly how to do it to our kids.
If you are the paterfamilius, tell your Bishop you WILL be present at all interviews with your wife or children or there WILL BE NO interviews taken. If there is a question to which you object, tell the man his question is out of line.Monday, May 21, 2007, at 07:59 AMOn Planting PansiesPosted By TLCINTERVIEWS IN MORMONISM -Guid- ↑Sometimes I lie awake at night and wonder why anybody but me cares about who I make love to or have sex with. It seems such a personal thing really; and yet total strangers seem to want to meddle in affairs that are mine and only mine to deal with.
I had a bishop at BYU who in meeting with me for the first time, asked me how often I masturbated. I tried to tell him the truth, more or less. (I couldn't say twice or thrice daily because that would just make me look so gay and I didn't know then that I was gay so I kind of had to lie.) And then this meddling bishop wanted to know more. He wanted to know how I did it and what I thought of when I did it and in what positions I did it in. (Can you imagine a nascent gay boy answering those questions honestly???)
I was shocked to say the least; at a certain point it started to feel really perverted to have this guy asking me such personal questions. But he was asking them and at that point I still felt some sort of beholdence to the oligarchy to come clean. So to speak.
In the years that followed I willingly submitted to more and more probing questioning by men who felt they had some sort of entitlement to information about my personal life. Why? Long story for another time. But I did get to a point where I put an end to this completely innappropriate invasion of my privacy and in the process removed my garments, trashed them without cutting out the patches and tossed them in a dumpster behind my townhouse in Hollywood; mormonism went into the dumpster at the same time and it wasn't too long before I dumpsterized christianity as well.
Baby out with the bathwater? You bet. It's nobody's business but mine who I make love to or have sex with. Much of contemporary christianity has villified that which jesus said nothing about. People who make stuff up and attribute it to a guy who lived over two thousand years ago have no credibility with me. I reject their pronouncements and condemnations and dismiss them without a second thought.
I find it amusing that in an attempt to besmirch or insult somebody who is known to be heterosexual, there are those who will ask that person if they're gay. Why is that question asked? It's simple: because you think that there's something wrong with homosexuality and you believe that by implying that someone is gay you can quickly and effectively insult or harm them.
In asking the question of someone you know is heterosexual, you have actually said far more about yourself than you have about the person you're attempting to insult. Those who have no issues with homosexuality would never think to use such a question as a weapon. I like the question though, because it instantly tells me who I'm dealing with and from there on out it's like shooting fish in a barrel. You've just made it so easy for me...
All that aside, I just keep asking myself why there are still those stragglers who care so much about who I love or have sex with. It's such a personal thing. It's so deeply personal that I just can't imagine ever wandering into a stranger's life and making judgements therein about what they do sexually or who they do it with. In my mind, the perversion is with those who make it their business what others do in their intimate lives.
The poet Goethe said: Let each man sweep in front of his own door And the whole world will be clean
But there are those who insist on sweeping in front of my door and it amuses me to see them standing there with their brooms in hand; piety dripping from their weary brows. I say to them: "Take your brooms, put them between your legs and ride away on them. I have no use for your concern."
What a waste of a life; to be so consumed and unduly concerned with who I love or have sex with. My love and my sex is just like yours: it comes from my heart and sometimes if I'm lucky it lasts for awhile and fills me up and makes me happy. The details are only details; you plant your garden with the kinds of flowers you enjoy having around you and I'll do the same. You don't like pansies? Don't plant them.
But please don't be telling me that there's something wrong with planting pansies in my garden because it's none of your business. Truly, it isn't.
My body, my life, my choices.Friday, Jul 13, 2007, at 07:52 AMBishops Do Not Have The Authority To Interview For Dance Cards Or YM CampPosted By Adieu LDSINTERVIEWS IN MORMONISM -Guid- ↑My former wife is still a member and I wrote the following email to my daughter’s bishop. I even called the General Priesthood office in Salt Lake City, and they concurred with me.
I did receive the camp information. I have reviewed your request for an interview with my daughter in order to attend Young Women’s camp. I cannot find any authority in Church Handbook of Instructions, Book 1 Stake Presidencies and Bishoprics that gives you the authorization to conduct an interview. By what authority do you wish to conduct this interview? I have also reviewed both Young Women" section of the Church Handbook of Instructions, Book 2 and the Young Women Camp Manual and I cannot find any authorization allowing you to conduct this interview.
It is my understanding that the only interviews you may conduct are as follows: Church Handbook of Instructions
Book 1 Stake Presidencies and Bishoprics
Interviews Conducted by the Bishop. The bishop conducts the following interviews with ward members:
For temple recommends. For callings as full-time missionaries. For ordination to the offices of elder or high priest when authorized by the stake presidency. For annual tithing settlement. For callings to serve as ward auxiliary presidents. For baptism of eight-year-old children who are members of record. For 12-year-old children as they advance from Primary. For ordination to the offices of deacon, teacher, and priest. For callings to serve as deacons or teachers quorum presidents and as his assistants in the priests quorum. Annual interviews of all youth and semiannual interviews of priests and 16- and 17-year-old young women (usually annually, however, acting with inspiration and wisdom, the bishopric may adjust the frequency of these interviews). For an endorsement to enroll or continue attendance at a Church university or college. For patriarchal blessings.
I believe that you and the stake leaders have overstepped your jurisdiction in requiring interviews for young women’s camps and even for stake youth dances. I therefore do not consent to my daughter being interviewed for Young Women’s camp or youth dances. It is interesting to note that young men are not required to be interviewed before attending camp.Thursday, Jan 1, 2009, at 05:35 PMPrivate Youth Interviews with BishopsPosted By Adieu LDSINTERVIEWS IN MORMONISM -Guid- ↑I went to see Doubt the movie last night.
It’s 1964, St. Nicholas in the Bronx. A vibrant, charismatic priest, Father Flynn is trying to upend the school’s strict customs, which have long been fiercely guarded by Sister Aloysius Beauvier the iron-gloved Principal who believes in the power of fear and discipline. The winds of political change are sweeping through the country, and, indeed, the school has just accepted its first black student, Donald Miller. But when Sister James, a hopeful innocent, shares with Sister Aloysius her suspicion that Father Flynn is paying too much personal attention to Donald, Sister Aloysius is galvanized to begin a crusade to both unearth the truth and to expunge Flynn from the school. Now, without a shred of proof or evidence except her moral certainty, Sister Aloysius locks into a battle of wills with Father Flynn, a battle that threatens to tear apart the Church and school with devastating consequences.
Sister Aloysius Beauvier: What happened in the rectory?Father Flynn : Happened? Nothing happened, I had a talk with a boy.Sister Aloysius Beauvier: What about?Father Flynn : Private matter.Sister Aloysius Beauvier: He is 12 years-old, what can be private?
This reminded me about my distrust for Bishop's interviews with the youth.
Below is a letter I sent to the Mormon Bishop of my children after I left the Mormon Church.
I am writing you again in regards to youth interviews and situations in which my child may be at risk while participating in Mormon Church activities. As you may recall I wrote you a letter last May 14th, 2003 outlining my concern in regards to closed door interviews. I informed you, that any ecclesiastical official in the Mormon Church does not have permission to ask personal questions of our children pertaining to sexual topics including masturbation, homosexuality, impure thoughts, sex etc. If any interview was to take place behind closed doors, I insisted that interviews take place with a parent present.
You replied in writing on May 23rd, 2003, that you would respect my wishes and that in all matters sexual topics, a parent would be present and that I would be kept informed about all activities of my children. It appears you have not honoured my wishes. My daughter informed me that you conducted very lengthily closed door interviews last year and that you specifically inquired about her sexual activities. My son informed me that in an interview you asked him about masturbation and sexual activities.
Let me put this into perspective: An adult male, age forty-six, is asking my seventeen year-old daughter about her sexual activities in a closed office. Perhaps you and the Mormon Church believe it is normal situation. Think again. This behaviour is deplorable. If I were to ask the same questions to your minor daughter, I would expect that you would act in protecting her by contacting the authorities. What is the difference? These are my children, and such discussions should be only between a parent and their child. To do this after I have demanded that no such interviews take place is unacceptable. Although my older children are now over the age of majority, I do not want you to interview my 11 year-old daughter at any time. As a Mormon Bishop, you may think you have the authority above an apostate parent however, this is not the case.
As you may know there has been much heightened media attention of ecclesiastical abuse within the Mormon Church. This week a 21-year-old North Carolina man on a Mormon mission in Utah is accused of fondling girls as they slept. Earlier this week, police arrested two men in the Boston area on charges of sexually assaulting the 9-year-old son of a fellow Mormon Church member inside the church, and for failing to register as a sex offender. Police said both men would watch children while adults attended church meetings. Police also said: “Investigators are trying to find out if the church did background checks on its workers. Anyone that is put in a position in the church that would have direct access, watching kids or even teaching kids religion, we want to make sure the proper avenues were followed.”
These are not isolated cases. I am aware of several cases of sexual crimes committed by members of my own former wards and stakes including sexual assault, possession of child pornography, rape and buggery. Former Mormon missionary Mark Hacking who has been convicted with first-degree murder in the death of his pregnant wife, Lori Hacking, served a mission in our city and even served in your Ward.
In order to protect my children I insist that the following measures be put in place.
1. In order to avoid potentially compromising situations, I ask that at least two adults are in attendance while supervising and/or accompanying my children at all times.
2. All adults in contact with my children have a Police Record Check (PRCs):
PRCs, should be mandatory for all primary teachers and youth leaders in contact with my children. I know that this is the case with leaders within the scouting program within the Mormon Church. I cannot understand why this is not the standard for all primary and youth leaders.
At the simplest level, I have a right to know everything that my children are involved in within the Mormon Church. In your May 23rd 2003 letter, you assured me that I would be informed of any activities in which my children would be participating, however, I am often not informed about my children’s activities at church such as speaking in church, performing musical numbers, or missionary farewells.
This is to inform once again, that you or any ecclesiastical official in the Mormon Church does not have permission to ask personal questions of my children pertaining to sexual topics including masturbation, homosexuality, impure thoughts, sex etc. No interviews are to take place. Even if my children consent to private closed door interviews, I prohibit and forbid the practice. If interviews continue without my consent I will contact Child Protection branch to assist me in my demand.
This is just due diligence that I want my children to follow, as a means of protecting themselves from abuse. As I was a victim of sexual abuse by a trusted adult in my youth, I insist once again that my demand be honoured and respected. I require written confirmation that neither you nor any other ecclesiastical official from the Mormon Church will interview my children and at no time will any personal questions be asked. I also insist at least two adults are in attendance while supervising my children, and have a Police Record Check. Should you have and questions or concerns about this matter, please do not hesitate to contact me.Tuesday, Jan 6, 2009, at 07:59 AMInterrogation Of An 8 Year Old GirlPosted By larkINTERVIEWS IN MORMONISM -Guid- ↑My 8-year old daughter was pulled out of Primary last week without warning and "interviewed" by the Bishop for her projected baptism coming up in late Jan. My wife & I were not told nor present during this interview as we have requested be done. (I have had my doubts about the church lately and wasn't sure I wanted her baptized--so the nerve of just assumming it will happen kind of angers me too. Who the $$@#@*# do these people think they are???!)
My daughter was in tears after the interview because of some the questions that she couldn't answer that the Bishop asked her such as:
Has she had sexual intercourse with a male OR FEMALE? (WTF????)
Has she engaged in deviate sexual intercourse? (sodomy, group sex or sex with objects) (Again WTF????? This is really, really sick)
Does she masterbate or has she allowed anyone else to fondle her private areas?
Does she look at pornography? Etc.
THIS IS AN 8 YEAR OLD!!!!! (WTFFFFF?????!!!!!)
According to my daughter, the Bishop had DOLLS he used to show the various actions so that she couldn't "misunderstand" his questions because her "eternal salvation" if she lied was in serious jeopardy.
He told her at the end of the interview that he would have to speak to her parents because at this time he doesn't feel he can allow her to be baptized.
I AM SO ANGRY I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO START PUNCHING!!! Doing this to an innocent, protected 8-year old is MONSTEROUS!!
Can anyone tell me how a middle aged man(Bishop) can ask questions like these behind closed doors and not think this is really inappropiate and perhaps criminal behavior? I had a friend who joined the church and he told me last night that his daughter (age ~11) was inteviewed seperately by the missionaries for baptism and he was appalled at how graphic the questions were that she was asked. It was such a bad experience for her that they never joined.
I was trying to hang on and be a cafeteria mormon, but after this latest episode my wife and I are ready to leave this mess behind. What will they do next??? I can't subject my kids to this abuse anymore.
Has anyone else experienced or heard anything like this or is this just an isolated event?Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009, at 08:11 AMMormonism And PrivacyPosted By lightfingerlouieINTERVIEWS IN MORMONISM -Guid- ↑I never could come to terms with the problem Mormonism has with the privacy of its members. It horrified me--- until I left. I could not understand it, and I never will be able to understand it.
Religions do not pry into the lives of members. They offer help when its asked for, and they are there when a need arises. If a member wants to confess something, the confession is listened to. But religions do no pry.
Mormonism starts its prying early, and it leaves members shaken and scared. It did me. We all remember the masturbation interview. It left us stunned and alarmed. There was no-one to talk to. I dared not mention it to anyone, least of all my parents. I was isolated by the interviews, and kept isolated. That, I think , was the chief purpose.
The church kept it up, too. It never stopped prying and asking . I have never heard of a real religion being that obsessed with the private details of a person's life. Mormonism is unique in that respect.
The Mormon church does all it can to make sure there are no family secrets, or individual secrets. They interview constantly, send home teachers, and encourage----demand----confessions. They pump so much guilt into members that many do confess----only to repeat the "sin" again and again. People are human. The church wants them to be superhuman.
I left before the days of the PPI. I know I could not handle it. I would refuse to go along with the intrusion. How anyone can perform, or co-operate with such a process, is beyond me. Like many others, I came to a conclusion one day: "I have had my last church interview." I decided it, and meant it. I also decided it applied to my kids. They, too, would not be forced to sit through and endure a prying interview from a neighbor dressed in the guise of Priesthood authority.
I can see why many practice a religion. They find comfort in it, and a sense of purpose. In times of need, they have someone to turn to.
Mormonism does not operate that way. They try to force you to turn to them, so you know you don't like or trust them. They cross every boundary known to polite behavior, and expect you to accept it. It is not just a way of life, it becomes your life, whether you like it or not. You soon live in a world of dread, because you know the next "interview" will be coming . I recall the feelings of dread I had as kid and as a missionary. You quickly realized that all the prying was not designed to meet the needs of the individual. It was designed to increase the hold of the organization.Monday, Feb 16, 2009, at 08:10 AMSpeaking Of Nosy BishopsPosted By NightingaleINTERVIEWS IN MORMONISM -Guid- ↑I had several bishop interviews in the ward I attended. As a new convert that he did not know, he not only went through the checklist of questions to determine my "worthiness", including the ever-favourite query about whether I followed the Law of Chastity, but also felt the need to explain to me that "oral sex is sex". No kidding. As an adult and a nurse I kinda knew that sex and oral sex were somewhat connected. When he moved on to the question about what underwear I wore and when I wore it, I did start to feel like I'd fallen through the looking glass, been trampled by the elephant and run over by the naked emperor. As in, what the goodheck kind of church did I join and why did I do it.
Postdumb had a recent thread discussing the tactics used by mopologists in which I had a somewhat contrarian view just at that moment. I was sorry to end up taking up so much of his thread on a tangent. Anyway, inevitably with mopologetics, the name of Daniel C. Peterson came up in that thread. I note that Daniel C. Peterson, who was relatively recently called to be a bishop in a student ward, doesn't actually discuss that much and certainly not the specifics of it. However, in a funny timing coincidence, I happened to see (on another board) the following opinion written by Daniel C. Petersonabout his duties as bishop:
"An applicant [for a TR] might respond "Yes" when asked whether he or she lives the law of chastity, but it may turn out that the person is using a narrowly technical definition of chastity that permits oral sex, coitus interruptus, and the like. If a bishop suspects that the term may be being used in an equivocal or evasive sense, he has not only the right but the obligation to inquire further."
Yow. Even as a formerly-quite-religious person who is accustomed to being "obedient" and "submissive" and following church leaders (in Mo and non-Mo settings) this is surprising and disturbing to me.
First, I don't believe that the above is within a bishop's duty and second, a situation like this is so open to abuse and third, the Mormons called to these positions more often than not have zero expertise in relevant matters and fourth to one-hundredth, just wow.
As I say, even being immersed in religion myself for years and understanding and subscribing to the belief that "God will qualify those whom he calls" and that there should be "order in the church", I am shocked that this goes on (and more shocked that people admit it and see nothing wrong with it).
At the time of my bishop interviews, I thought it was something that only applied to new converts. I certainly had no knowledge that all church members, including youth, are subject to such intimate conversations.
You know something I have long noticed? The churches that are the most strict about sexual matters go completely overboard in their focus on sex. This would include JW and Mormon, in my close and personal experience. They just go on and on and on and on about S.E.X.
In a similar vein, they also go on and on and on and on about SATAN.
"Normal" churches, in my experience, actually focus on Jesus Christ or at least the positive parts of the NT (Golden Rule etc) which is uplifting if you're into that kind of thing. After a sermon at my local Brethren or Baptist or Presbyterian or United or Episcopalian church, I do NOT leave with Satan - or sex - on the brain.
Since leaving Mormonism, the only people who have discussed sexual matters with me are those I have invited to do so (so to speak!). No-one at all has mentioned underwear of any type - except for posters on this board, lol!
But really. When I think of myself as a shy, naive, trusting, acquiescent little teen/student I can't even imagine how I'd feel if my spiritual advisor/leader asked me about such intimate things as sex and underwear. Even my doctor doesn't get that familiar! And even after years with him and a good relationship I still blush when he touches me, lol. (Especially the day I lost my bra in his office and couldn't get dressed - but that's another story).
And I can't believe I am on the Internet talking about my personal stuff like this. (And yes, I'm blushing). I must definitely have been here too long. :)
But really. Don't you think the Mormon Church asks for the criticism it receives from its members - current and former?
For much more, see