Let’s Not Make Mormon Youth Talk to Middle Age Men About Their Sex Lives

Parents, would you want your teenaged children spilling their guts about their sex lives and masturbatory habits to an older man they barely know? For dubious reasons, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has made this annual tradition for Mormons starting at the age of 12.

That’s why a Care2 petition has already racked up over 15,000 signatures encouraging Mormon leadership to put a stop to this troublesome ritual. Surely, there are other ways for the church to teach sexual morality than a one-on-one interrogation.

As the Salt Lake Tribune explains, the ritual is known as the bishop’s interview, in which the male leader of the congregation invites all of the children of the church – one at a time – into a private room for a meeting to discuss their faith.

The conversation doesn’t just stick to religious beliefs, but to issues of “moral cleanliness” where the bishops promote chastity while simultaneously asking about the kids about masturbation and any sexual activity they may have engaged in already.

Anecdotally, it depends on the bishop whether this line of questioning is handled delicately or aggressively. Petition-writer Kelsey B., who was raised Mormon herself, explains how some bishops she met with were just as uncomfortable with discussing sex as she was, while others “seemed way too interested in what [she] was saying and asked for more details.”

“There were times where I described at length my masturbatory habits and things I had done with other young boys,” writes Kelsey. “I don’t think a 12-year-old should be put in a position to gauge what is and is not appropriate, particularly not when the power differential is framed in such a way that that 12-year-old believes if they don’t spill it all, they’re not going to the best heaven.”

Kelsey is not the only one to describe this experience. The Salt Lake Tribune spoke to Jennifer Finlayson-Fife, a Mormon therapist, about how some of her clients have been straight up harassed by bishops in their line of sexual questioning.

Religious people outside of the Mormon faith are joining in on the call to change the interview process. Members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, know all too well how religious leaders can use situations like this one for nefarious purposes, calling it a “recipe for abuse.”

“No other reputable institutional church, private or public school, sports group, youth serving organization or community center allows one-one-one meetings between adults and children,” wrote SNAP leader Joelle Casteix. “Why is the LDS church endorsing this horrible practice?

Mormons may want to trust that their religious leaders have the best interests of children in mind, but the Catholics are proof that that trust can be abused, even by holy men. It seems wisest to avoid these situations altogether by not allowing these meetings to happen behind closed doors without parental supervision.

Take Action

Regardless of what your thoughts are on the LDS church instilling these strict moral values, I’m sure most of us agree with Kelsey that there’s got to be a better way to handle this situation. Join the Care2 community in signing the petition to implore Mormon leadership to stop bishop interviews, at least in their current form.

96 comments

Marie W
Marie W5 months ago

Thank you for sharing!

SEND
Jack Y
Jack Y7 months ago

thanks

SEND
Jack Y
Jack Y7 months ago

thanks

SEND
John J
John J7 months ago

thanks for sharing

SEND
John J
John J7 months ago

thanks for sharing

SEND
Melissa E
Melissa E7 months ago

Does Kelsey have a website or Facebook group or is she on Reddit? I'm helping Sam Young but I'd be happy to help her too.

SEND
Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill8 months ago

That is horrible!

SEND
Dave f
Dave fleming9 months ago

Yes its a part of life talk freely .

SEND
Jim V
Jim Ven10 months ago

thank you.

SEND
Jim V
Jim Ven10 months ago

thank you.

SEND