A Tale of Two Talkerias

TaleofTwoCities

The best of times and the worst of times.

Recently, two Talkerias were held on consecutive nights.  The people who attended were amazing.  Good-hearted.  Smart.  Thoughtful.  Many shed tears as they recounted their narratives.  Some for the very first time.

Two stories came out of them that I’m going to share.  One terrifying.  One terrific.

A Terrifying Tale

One of this weekend’s attendees shared this heart rending story.

Recently, she had accompanied a close friend to pick up her son at the airport.  He had been sent home early from his full-time mission.  Why?  Multiple…suicide…attempts.  The last one was nearly fatal.

Why was this young Elder so distraught?  Masturbation.  He was not able to eradicate it.  Heaps of shame and guilt had brought him to the brink of death.

How tragic.  How long will it take for this kid to overcome the shame that was totally unnecessary?  This natural and normal practice was not the sin.  The sin rests squarely on the hands of the shaming church.

A Terrific Tale

At the end of the next meeting, one of the men said, “Sam, thanks for helping me and my son with Bippity-Bop.”  I asked him to explain.  Later that night, this response showed up.

Growing up, I was a pretty good kid.  I did not curse, I was ‘chaste.’  I was an Eagle Scout.  I genuinely looked for ways to give service.  I was also kind.  I have always had a soft spot in my heart for the under dog.  I have literally never broken the word of wisdom.  I am not saying this to brag.  For this to make sense, I think you need to know who I was.  I mean I had perfect attendance at Seminary and served on the Stake Youth Executive Committee.

And…do you know what I thought of myself?  I was garbageI loathed myself through my teen years and my early adulthood.  I was right up there with the sons of perdition.  My bishop told me that if I could not get my filthy habit under control, I would be excluded from a mission.  And…that no woman would ever want me. 

Anyway, I resolved sometime back, that this would not happen to my sons.  In the last year, my 14yo came to me and was pretty upset.  His oldest bother had been caught in the act by his mother (my ex) and step father.  They threatened to take his bedroom door away and lots of other shamey stuff.  He is teased about it a lot.  The 14yo was upset about how his brother was being treated.  This allowed us to have a conversation about it.  I assured him that it was normal and healthy and what the ground rules were:  do it in private and clean up after yourself. 

I have doubted myself a lot since that conversation and wondered if I was leading my kid to hell.  Your posts gave the assurance and talked through the logic enough that I am glad for him and for the conversations we have been able to have.  Since then, we have had a conversation about this not being anyone else’s business.  If he needs to remind anyone of that, including the bishop, I will back him.

In a somewhat humorous twist, he is now hoping he gets asked so he can say, “Dude, what kind of a sicko talks to kids about that?”  However he handles it, I am on his side.  He won’t be getting any shame from this house.  The great thing about not shaming my kid is that we talk about all sorts of things, now that the door is open.  Thank you!

Dear Parents

Will you open the door to a potentially terrifying tale of shame for your child?

Or will you close the shaming door and protect your young ones from a damaged childhood?

It’s up to you.   It’s your call.  It’s your responsibility.

Other Resources

“Talk to Your Kids About Masturbation” …click HERE

“Bippity Bop, A Sin It’s Not” …click HERE

Talk to Your Kids About Masturbation

Parent Child Talk

Disclaimer

If you believe that masturbation is a sin, let me warn you off.  Don’t read any further.  This post is aimed at assistanting parents in the Mormon church who believe it’s a natural and normal part of growing up.

Personally, I have changed my mindset regarding this practice.  It’s not a sin.  You can find my reasoning HERE.  Since I wrote the article, I have spoken with many members who share my point of view.  This includes former bishops, former stake presidents, former stake presidency and bishopric counselors.  And….a current bishopric member.

In order to avoid saying ‘masturbation’ at every stop, I’ll take the pressure off by alternating with ‘bippity-bop.’

How to Talk to Your Kids

Sounds pretty uncomfortable, right?  I’m not an expert.  I have no experience.  That opportunity was missed during my child rearing adventures.  My wife says that she now regrets never having discussed it with our 6 daughters.

Absent any personal experience to share, I simply googled:  “How to talk to your children about bippity-bop.”  Nothing relevant came up.  Then I substituted ‘masturbation’ for ‘bippity.’  Boy, did that ever do the trick.  Up popped many great resources for talking about the bop.

My two favorite:

First:  How to Talk to Kids About Masturbation by Betsy Brown Braun.  Click  HERE.

In her video, Betsy provides a simple & straightforward method for a short discussion with children.  Her approach takes the edge off of a possibly awkward conversation.  My wife really liked this one.

Second:  Tips for Talking with Kids About Masturbation by Melanie Davis.  Click HERE.

Melanie takes the essay approach.  A short one.  But, packed with lots of good information.  Combined with Betsy’s video, both of them would have given me the tools and the confidence to discuss bippity-bop with my kids.

Why Talk to Your Kids?

If you don’t, it’s highly likely that a bishop, bishopric counselor, youth leader, or friend will teach your kids that masturbation is a big fat sin.  Take control.  They are your children.  Don’t let them be scarred by unnecessary guilt and shame being heaped on the during their precious teen-age years.

Listen to this story.  Don’t let it be the story of the adult future of your child.  This is a man in his late 30’s.

Here is one of my biggest problems with the church and why I don’t want my kids in it: guilt and shame.

My childhood should have been great.  On paper, things went well.  But I absolutely abhorred my childhood.  Why?  Because I was a boy who masturbated.  And I was committing a sin second only to murder!  I hated myself and I lived in fear and guilt and self loathing.  I despised me and it tainted my entire adolescence.  And I am going to do everything in my power to make sure that none of my children EVER feel the burden of that unnecessary guilt.

For Good Measure

Yesterday, I had the following conversation with a bishopric counselor…not in my ward.

SAM:  Have your kids been asked about masturbation in the bishop’s interviews?

COUNSELOR:  Nope.

SAM:  How do you know?

COUNSELOR:  Soon after the new bishopric was called, with me as a counselor, the bishop announced that he was going to have special meeting with the young men.   It was to be about masturbation.  I told him that was not an appropriate topic for my 13 year old son.  He said it was.  I told him that it had never been discussed with me in my youth and that it was not in the handbook.  The bishop insisted.  I told him my son would NOT be coming to the meeting.  The bishop said that my boy wouldn’t be able to go to the temple if he masturbated.  I told him that I masturbate, have a temple recommend and am your counselor.  He said that he wasn’t going to take my recommend away for masturbation.  But…the youth couldn’t go to the temple if they engaged in it.  I said that wasn’t right, my son wasn’t coming to the meeting and that I didn’t want this practice brought up in youth interviews.  My son didn’t go to the meeting.  He hasn’t been asked about masturbation in subsequent interviews.  And…he has been given temple recommends for every youth temple trip.  He’s 16 now.

 

 

Bippity Bop…A Sin It’s Not

Bippity

Six thousand years ago, Adam and Eve were driven from paradise into mortal space.  Destined to be founders of the human race.  God and angels gave them counsel and commandments to embrace.  But, there was a glaring omission of something they were NOT told to stop.  Here, I’ll call it Bippity Bop.

Adam and Eve were warned, “Don’t eat that fruit.”  But, regarding Bippity Bop, the angels were mute.

Sixteen hundred years passed ’til the great flood doused the earth.  In Noah’s story there is no mirth.  Except for eight souls, all mankind became has beens….all because of plentiful sins.  But, not because of BB.  You see…from Adam to Noah, the big B-Bop was never forbidden by God.

The land dried out.  People began to sprout.  From Shem to Peleg.  Nimrod to Nehor.  Then Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob’s twelve more.  And what about Bippity Bop?  Nary a word from our Heavenly Pop.  He never commanded that it stop.

Three and a half millennia after Adam, Moses is rescued from the Egyptian river.  Finally, we’re at the most prolific law giver.  Ten signature commands on tablets were written.  You can see them all detailed from Exodus on.  Hundreds & hundreds of laws were spawned.  Ruling every aspect of the those who hold deity in awe.  All bound together, they’re called the Mosaic Law.  But guess what got missed.  You got it.  Not even a hiss of Bippity Boppity ever being dissed.

Fifteen hundred more years pass.  The Babe is born in the lowest class.  The most marvelous of teachings the world would ever hear, are now cherished…held mighty and dear.  Did He utter the phrase, “No B-Bop?”  Nope.  The author of all commands, big and small,  never mentions the B’s.  Nope, not at all.

Finally, the year 1820 is here.  The restoration, just getting into full gear.  The famine of God’s word, ends with a seer.  Revelation upon revelation.  Certainly, there will be a call for Bippity Bop’s cessation.

Joseph Smith?  Nope.  He never called for Bippity Bop to stop.

The Book of Mormon?  Certainly filled with lots of good stuff.  But, it ignores the Bippity, strangely enough.

Doctrine & Covenants?  As far as a commandment, the Bop is completely absent.

Six thousand years!  He’s not a tyrant.  It’s time we pay attention to where God is silent.

From Whence Comes the Notion That Loads Bippity Bop with Such Emotion?

For 16 decades, the LDS church harbored racist teachings, doctrines and practices.  Where did they come from?  We have apostles.  Thanks to our current crop, we now know they were all just made up.  Simply plucked out of thin air…by men…who were prophets.  Not from heaven.  Not from revelation.  Not from God.  Rather, it was our former prophets who put racist words into God’s mouth.  It was never God who was racist.  It was the leaders of His church.

Fortunately, we now condemn and disavow our racist past.  At the thought of our former teachings, we are now aghast.

Into God’s mouth we’ve put lots of words, in our historical past.  The words men insert, simply won’t last.

If you still think Bippity Bop is a sin, please go read the most correct book again.

Bippity Bopptiy Boo is natural for kids to go through.  And adults?  It’s even normal for them, too.

Bippity Boppity, Bippity Boppity, Bippity Boppity……

Boo!

Get Our Bishops Out of the Sex Interview Business–They Need Our Support

Supreme Court

West Virginia Supreme Court says Mormon Multi-State Sex Abuse Lawsuit Can Move Forward

For the story and a link to the supreme court ruling click HERE.

Up to today, my major concern with masturbation interviews has been the harm done to our children.

However, the bishops are also in the cross hairs of possible sexual abuse lawsuits.  I have several friends who serve selflessly in this calling.  It’s time consuming, often thankless, and sometimes downright depressing.

Then add to their burden the liability of posing sexual questions to a child.  Forty years ago, the risk of being hauled into court may have been low.  Today, being alone with a child behind closed doors is frowned on by society.  To ask the child about sex is unacceptable.  The risk of lawsuits is no longer minimal.

Take Action

  1. Protect your children from private masturbation interviews.
  2. Protect your bishops from the frightening legal risks of inappropriate interview practices.  Don’t allow them to perform private interviews on your children.   Never allow them to probe into sex.

Sam’s Promise

  1. I am going to write a letter to my stake president requesting that changes be made to the youth interview process.  At present, there are 23 members of the stake willing to sign the letter, 14 anonymously and 9 openly.
  2. Compose a petition where anyone around the world can register their request for changes.

P.S.

Until the Register for Interview Changes is available, you may want to add your name to the Common Consent Register.  435 members have chosen to actively participate in the Law of Common Consent.  I urge you to consider it, too.  For details, click HERE

 

Masturbation…Once a Week? Or is Daily Better?

Horror_

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.”

P.S.

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.

Get Your Thoughts and Probing Questions Out of Our Daughters’ PANTIES!!

Disgusted Girl

***Warning***

If you are OK with an older untrained man taking a 12 year old girl, alone, behind closed doors, without parental knowledge or consent, to ask personal sexual questions….DO NOT READ ON!!!!  You’re good to go.

Calling It Like It Is

No more pussy footing around.  A crappy spade is a crappy spade.  More & more continues to come out.  The church leadership has affected my own children more than I knew.  Just today, I found out additional things that were done to my young children.   So, here goes.

Bishops….get your thoughts and probing questions out of our daughter’s panties.

Bishops…get your thoughts and probing questions out of our sons’ underpants.

Bishops…masturbation and sex are totally inappropriate topics to be discussed with our minor children.

Bishops…shaming and guilting our children is NOT acceptable.

Bishops…interrogating our children about orgasm, penetration or sexual positions is sexual abuse of minors.  It’s a serious and nasty business.  STOP IT!!!

Blatant Disregard for Parental Protection

Listen to this story from a mother trying to protect her son.  Here are her words.

Below is an email I sent to my children’s bishop in November 2016 just after my son (Tyler) turned 16 and was being interviewed for the position of priest in the church (he was denied and still has not received it). I told my spouse (Bryan) before this interview that he had to be present with our Tyler and not allow him to be questioned about sexual matters. He missed my understanding on that and Tyler was questioned about masturbation anyway.

Dear Bishop,   Bryan informed me a little while ago that Tyler was asked questions of a sexual nature during his last interview.  I had specifically requested that my son not be asked those questions.  I find it highly inappropriate for a full-grown adult to ask questions of a sexual nature to an adolescent.  I don’t want him to feel shame and guilt for his actions.  The shame and guilt has caused Bryan so much pain and self-loathing over the years.  I don’t want Tyler to feel that way.  Please respect my wishes when it comes to Tyler, and all the other children in my family.  I know that it’s the request of the brethren to address these with the youth, but I am not comfortable with it.  Please refrain from this questioning to my children.  

Respectfully,  Shellie Smith

Two weeks following, he re-interviewed Tyler without my husband or I being present, and again asked about his masturbation habit.  I told my children and my husband that the kids were not allowed to be interviewed at all anymore.

Soon thereafter, my spouse and I, along with our 3 children, stopped attending.

Here’s a bishop whose thoughts and probing questions were directed into the underpants of a minor.  The mother had forbidden it.  The bishop had committed to respect the parental direction.  He violated the trust of the parents.  He violated the privacy of a 16 year old.  He drove a family out of the church.

Youth Interviews?  Nope!  They’re Masturbation Interviews

It turns out that this practice is super common in the church, at least in the United States.  In fact, it may now be a universal practice for all bishops to go verbally probing into the panties of our 12 to 17 year old children.   Disgusting!!!

Orgasm Interviews

Today, I spoke with a past member of a stake presidency.  He said that his stake president instructed the bishops to ask explicit questions when someone confessed a sexual indiscretion.  How common is this?  I’ve now heard too many stories to think it’s isolated.  Do you really want your 16 year old to be asked about her orgasms, her boyfriends orgasms, amount of penetration,  and sexual positions?  Again despicable instructions from a stake president.  All without the knowledge of the parents and behind those damn closed doors, all alone.

Raising Up a Lying Generation

So, what’s a kid to do when she/he is asked a shocking question whose answer could be laden with guilt and shame.  Would lying be a strong possibility?  This weekend, I asked 43 people if they lied to their bishop during youth interviews.  31 said yes.  75% learned to lie during their masturbation interviews.

Daddy Adult Daughter Talk

A few hours ago, I had this conversation with one of my daughters.

Dad:  Were you ever asked inappropriate and uncomfortable questions during your bishop youth interviews?

Daughter:  Of course.

Dad:  Did you ever lie during those interviews?

Daughter:  Yes, but not always.

Daughter:  At BYU, the bishop asked very uncomfortable questions the first week of school.  I quit going to church. (She only attended BYU for 6 months.)

Dad:  Why did you stop going to church?

Daughter:  It was too uncomfortable to look at this man after what he had asked me?

This all came as a shock to me.  During my 4 years as a student at BYU, I was never asked about masturbation.  Just a simple, “Do you keep the law of chastity?”

Lying For Your Mission

Apparently, being masturbation-free is a requirement to receive a mission calling.  With all the peer pressure, parental pressure and cultural pressure, would a 17 year old lie in order to pass this requirement?  The coercion factors are certainly there.  But, I have no data.  Only this.  A recent mission president in my area is quoted as having said, “If I had to send missionaries home for masturbation, I’d have to send half of the kids home.”

Justification for Masturbation Interviews

Two people have now offered this reasoning, “The ordinances of the church must be protected.”

Really?  I’m calling BS and hypocrisy on this one.  Last year, there were over 200,000 converts to the church.  They entered the sacred waters of baptism.  How well did we do at protecting the ordinance of baptism from…..masturbators?  We did super poorly.  In fact, we did not protect this ordinance one wit.  The missionaries DO NOT teach that masturbation is a sin.  Why not?  Don’t we want to protect the ordinance from people who masturbate?  Nope.  We want baptisms.

Do we teach people that after their family is baptized, an untrained older man will take their 12 year old daughters behind closed doors and put his thoughts, words and probing questions into her panties?  All alone?  Without the new converts’ knowledge or permission?  Nope.  Why not?  We want baptisms.

Why the Masturbation Fixation?

When I was a kid, we had youth interviews.  Never once did I have a masturbation interview.  At BYU, they were bishop interviews.  No probing questions into my underwear.  When I was bishop, I conducted youth interviews.  Never once did I put my thoughts, words or any probing questions into the panties of a young girl.

So, why is it happening today?

We have a scriptural record detailing over 3,000 years of God’s dealings with His children on earth.  3,000 years of prophetic pronouncements, encouragements and warnings.  And…3,000 years of…silence…on…masturbation.  Total crickets.  Old Testament and New Testament—Nope & nope.  Book of Mormon—Nope.  It’s the most correct book, written for our day and contains the fullness of the gospel.  Yet, not a word on masturbation.  D&C?  That’s a big nope, too.  It contains the revelations of the Restoration of all things.  Masturbation is so important that God didn’t issue one single word of concern.  The Pearl of Great Price?  If ever there was to be a pearl of wisdom regarding masturbation interviews it should be in this gem.  Nope.  A complete home-run of nopes.

But, I haven’t mentioned the most important source of divine counsel and commandment…the words of our Savior.  By this point, I’m sure you are aware that even Jesus Christ didn’t associate any shame or guilt with this personal sexual practice.

So where did the church’s masturbation fixation originate?

Here’s a speculation.  In the last few years, the church has disavowed and condemned our past racist doctrine, teachings, policies and practices.  They were in place for most of the history of our church.  Where did they come from?  They were simply made up under the influence of the surrounding society.  No revelation from God.  Just made up by men.  So, that’s all I speculate.  Our masturbation concerns have been made up by men, heavily influenced by societal norms.

However, society stops way short of shaming a child, alone, behind closed doors.  To those outside the church, this practice is revolting.  Just as it is to me.

Following Christ’s Example

There are many who are highly critical of me for criticizing a practice found in the church.  They say that if I don’t like what the church is doing I ought to leave.

That’s the exact attitude of the religious leaders of Christ’s time.  A hallmark of the Savior’s ministry was criticism of His leaders.  Often, in very harsh terms.  They wanted him to shut up.  Ultimately, they did shut him up with execution.

Are we not told to emulate Christ’s example? Of course.  This is part of my attempt at discipleship.

P.S.

421 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.

 

Did You Orgasm?

OrgasmYesterday’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.

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

  1. No interviews with minors without the explicit consent of the parents.
  2. No one-on-one interviews behind closed doors. Either a parent is to be in the room or second adult, approved by the parents.
  3. No questions about masturbation…ever!
  4. No questions about orgasm, sexual positions, or any other detailed sexual matters…ever!
  5. No shaming lessons about chewed gum, licked cupcake, etc.
  6. No lessons about violation of chastity being next to murder in gravity.
  7. 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.

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 orgasimed 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.

P.S.

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.