Yesterday’s Dirty & Damaging Closed Door Counsel
For decades, Stake Presidents and Bishops counseled gay men to do something totally misguided. Their recommendation to homosexual young men was to get married. Once they were hitched and came face to face with a naked woman, their gayness would magically go away.
This uninspired guidance has resulted in many, many unhappy marriages. Heartache. Divorce. Broken families. Today, we know that this was ridiculous and damaging advice coming from trusted Bishops and Stake Presidents. Well meaning? Probably. Improper? Absolutely.
The horrid advice of telling gay men to just get married, had a direct affect on MY family. One of my daughters was engaged to a awesome man. We all loved him and thought we knew him well. Today, we still love him and count him as a great friend. But, there was something that we did not know. He was gay. Bishops and Stake Presidents had counseled with him for years. And guess what he was told. MARRY SAM YOUNG’S DAUGHTER AND YOUR HOMOSEXUALITY WILL GO AWAY. Yeah…that’s right. A high church leader telling a gay man to marry MY daughter. That was wrong. My daughter was wronged. Her fiancé was wronged. I and my family were wronged. All at the hands of the church.
Fortunately, ten days before the wedding bells were to ring, warning bells sounded instead. The temple marriage was called off. My daughter is now happily married to a heterosexual man. My almost son-in-law is now happily married to a gay man. In the end, all worked out as it should. But, the damage to the psyche of all involved has taken a long time to heal. If it has.
Decades ago, members should have been informed as to what counsel was being given to their gay kids. Hopefully, we would have stood up and protested in order to protect our precious children.
Today’s Dirty & Damaging Closed Door Counsel
Bad things are going on with our children behind closed doors. I thought I’d heard it all. I hadn’t. It’s sickening.
First, it is a common practice for 12 year old children, without their parents’ knowledge or consent to be questioned about masturbation. One on one, all alone, with an older man. This is a gross practice and should be called to a halt.
It has now come to my knowledge that many Bishops and Stake Presidents take the interview license, that we have allowed them, to a new level of depravity. How would you like your 16 year old daughter to be asked, “Do you orgasm when you masturbate?”
Or try this one on for size. Your 17 year old daughter confesses sex with a young man. The bishop wants details. “How many times did you orgasm?” “Did your boyfriend orgasm?” “How did he orgasm?” “What kind of sexual positions were involved?”
What kind of crap is this? All going on behind the closed doors of our chapels.
These kinds of questions are outrageous. They are pornographic. It causes lasting shame and guilt. The harm done often persists into sexual relationships after marriage.
How do I know that masturbation is being discussed with 12 year olds all the way to decades-old members? My own children have told me so. I have openly asked many friends who have shared details of their masturbation interviews .
How do I know that orgasms and sexual positions are being discussed? Well, my kids are NOT the source of this information. I haven’t dared ask them yet. If it was discussed with them, I’m going to be DAMN angry! But, I have asked my friends. When I posted my question, it received more comments than almost any other post I’ve ever made.
Until one week ago, I had no idea that these sexual details were being discussed with our kids…or adults for that matter. And I was a Bishop for 5 years, for heaven’s sake. So, why would I ask my friends if orgasms had ever been the topic of a bishop’s interview? On last week’s post criticizing the practice of masturbation interviews, two people mentioned all the other stuff they were asked about.
Just like the horrid counsel to gay men to get married, these detailed sexual interviews MUST STOP!!!
I know that many who read this will say, “I was never asked, so this isn’t happening.” I know there are Bishops who will say, “I never asked these questions, so it isn’t happening.” Well fine. For your reading pleasure or disgust, I’ve listed a smattering of responses below.
Testimonials of Inappropriate Bishop and Stake President Interviews
I posted the following question on Facebook.
“In a recent thread, 2 people said that they were asked about their ORGASMS during bishop interviews or in church courts. What the hell!!! How did I miss out on this stuff while I served as bishop? I’m super glad that I did. Bare shoulders are NOT pornographic. Questioning a woman about her orgasms IS pornographic. I know that it’s common for priesthood leaders to ask about masturbation. But, I had never heard of orgasmic queries. So, here’s my question, were you ever asked about orgasms in a bishop’s interview or in a disciplinary council? If so, how old were you?”
Here are some of the responses.
Woman: Two different bishops over the course of my life have asked me specifically about orgasm. The first time, I was 12, and it was just like, a youth interview that that bishop did regularly with all of the youth in our ward. He asked about masturbation, and then specifically about orgasm, even after I answered “no” to the first question.
The second bishop who asked me this question was when I was 21 or so, and I had turned to my singles ward bishop because I had been advised, and believed he would help me deal with the aftermath of (what I had recently come to understand had been) an emotionally, physically, and sexually *abusive* relationship.
Instead of support and counsel, he asked me if I had ever had an orgasm from the “contact” during that relationship, and when I was honest with him that I had (as happens with many MANY survivors) he instructed me that I needed to go through the repentance process, for “my part” in what had happened.
Woman: Yes. In disciplinary council…it was terrible!
Man: I was asked this as a 15 year old boy by my bishop…..I hated going to him.
Woman: This happened when I was in my mid 20s, had 4 babies under 5, and was grieving my husband’s infidelity. It almost killed me: My husband had an affair early in our marriage. Our ward split during his year of difellowship & the New bishop wanted to know every detail of their sexual contacts: positions, physical locations, number of orgasms. You name it. And he wanted me to be there while this was discussed “so that we are all on the same page.” Our sexual relationship never recovered & much of the reason was that six months of voyeuristic invasion & the terrible humiliation I was subjected to. I don’t want anyone else to suffer this. (Sam: This is an egregious example of the dreadful damage probing interviews can cause.)
Man: Yes. I was 12 or 13.
Woman: I had a bishop ask me if I reached orgasm. I was a teenager. Sick, sick, sick.
Woman: I am a woman and was asked about orgasms by 2 separate bishops in interviews. Once in high school and once in college (that same bishop commented on my shirt and how it was too revealing). I was also asked very detailed, inappropriate questions that I didn’t realize were inappropriate until much later after going to therapy.
Man: Oh yeah. My Bishop did. That was a routine part of the masturbation confession.
Woman: 15 years old. My bishop asked about my boyfriend’s orgasm then asked if I had reached orgasm, if I had enjoyed it or felt guilty, the whole shebang. It’s been more than 10 years since this, I’ve been married for 6 years, and I’m JUST getting to a point of having a healthy and happy relationship with sex and my body. These people are untrained and do lasting damage because of their lack of knowledge. Something has to change.
Woman: I was 17 when I was asked. In front of a bunch of men too. The most humiliating experience of my life.
Man: I had a Bishop ask where I had “finished” meaning in someone’s mouth, hand, etc…
Woman: Oh this definitely happened. It happened to me as a youth and as an adult, like so often and commonplace that I thought it irrelevant in this thread. It happened after I was raped at BYU but I was so traumatized by the rape that I don’t remember being able to answer his questions at all.
Woman: I was called into a bishop’s interview. He asked me how my love life was.
I confessed to ‘messing around’ with a guy I really loved. I was still a virgin though, because you know, no sex! My bishop asked me to provide details. I obediently told my bishop, blushing the entire time. I was asked about having an orgasm. I had. He wanted to know if the guy had. He had.
Man: Had a friend tell me in his missionary application interview he came forth and confessed to intercourse. The bishop asked him if he achieved orgasim. He was shocked and asked him if it mattered. The bishop replied saying it did matter because it would weigh on his disicion of his worthiness.
Women: It happened to me about a month ago while I was meeting with my Stake President in conjunction with asking for a Temple Sealing Cancellation from my predatory ex.
Woman: After my mission I had a little affair with a women! It was wonderful! It resulted in a disciplinary council. In that court was my Bishop plus 11 other men. The questions they asked me were horrific!! I had one guy even asked how two women could have sex! How many times….. Where we had sex. And…. if I had an orgasm. I left feeling like the most horrible person on earth. I was sooooo embarrassed. I couldn’t hardly talk.
Man: I was very lucky in having pretty darn good bishops all my life. One did tell me that my mission would make me straight, but I think he meant well (and I’m glad I went anyhow). But I’ve heard too many horror stories about prurient, over-detailed interrogations to believe that it’s a tiny problem.
Woman: Detailed–DETAILED–answers needed for the court of “love.” Positions, types, frequency, everything.
Woman: Yes, I was.. like that made the difference if I was worthy or not. If the guy orgasmed it was fine.. I just could not. So freaking ridiculous.
Woman: Yes. I was 19 years old
Man: In high school my bishop asked me if I ejaculated when my girlfriend had her hand in my pants. I hadn’t but I wasn’t sure so I said yes. I wasn’t able to take the sacrament for months because of my response. I dealt with months of shame for about 10 seconds of touching in the wrong place. So ridiculous.
Woman: I was during a “court of love”. It was 8 years ago and I pushed back about why it mattered. It was dropped. It also bothered me greatly.
Man: Me and my then fiancée were asked:
- Did either of you orgasm?
- Did you use a condom?
- What did you do to prevent pregnancy?
- Did your garments come off?
- Where were you?
- What positions where you in?
In the end, I asked if we should film it next time so he could appropriately determine our level of sin. He didn’t find that funny.
What To Do
I can’t believe that any good member, especially a parent, would bury their head in the sand and sit idly by. These are your kids. This is our church. This is not the church of the Apostles. Nor is it the church of the Bishops and Stake Presidents. It’s the Church of Jesus Christ. It’s also the church of its members, the Latter-day Saints. Jesus has given us, the rank and file member, the right and responsibility to be intimately involved in the governance of His church. Our Savior called it the Law of Common Consent.
Here are some suggestions. These practices can only be fixed if we bring them to light. Talk about them. DON’T LET YOUR CHILD OR GRANDCHILD BE A VICTIM.
- Talk to your church friends about the potential interview damage to our children.
- Talk to your adolescent and grown children.
- Talk to the local leaders, Relief Society Presidents, EQ Presidents, HP Group Leaders, YM & YW Presidents.
- Talk to your Bishops and Stake Presidents.
Quid Pro Quo
The church has produced a pamphlet entitled “For The Strength of Youth.” It is designed to help all members know the standards of the church.
I’m responding with my own pamphlet “For the Protection of Youth.” It is designed to let all leaders understand the strict license they can take with our children.
For the Protection of Youth
- No interviews with minors without the explicit consent of the parents.
- No one-on-one interviews behind closed doors. Either a parent is to be in the room or second adult, approved by the parents.
- No questions about masturbation…ever!
- No questions about orgasm, sexual positions, or any other detailed sexual matters…ever!
- No shaming lessons about chewed gum, licked cupcake, etc.
- No lessons about violation of chastity being next to murder in gravity.
- No lessons intimating that a person is better dead chaste, than alive and unchaste.
Take back and embrace Christ’s gospel of Common Consent. For the sake of your children. For the sake of your grandchildren. For the sake of following the Savior.
400 members have chosen to actively participate in the Law of Common Consent. I urge you to consider it, too. Click HERE for the link to the Common Consent Register.