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Should the Church Modify Bishop’s Interviews? (Part 5)

If you have young children around, you may want to save this episode for later, as we frankly discuss sexual matters.  This American Life, an NPR podcast, recently discussed LDS bishops asking young teens what some call sexually explicit interviews.  Should the LDS Church modify the interviews or ban questions about sex?  Kurt Francom of the Leading Saints podcast weighs in and we discuss the pros and cons of bishop’s interviews.

Kurt: The vast majority of bishop interviews or having a total net positive in the lives of youth.

GT: Yeah. I mean we could look at is 87 percent are good, 13 percent are bad.

Kurt: Right. Right. We can’t shut down all the beaches because shark attacks happen every once in a while. There’s so much good that happens in these wards because of bishops interviews, even alone with youth, right? Now, obviously the bishop has to protect themselves and handle this correct, but I guess that’s my main point. Sure, more policy would be good. But there’s so much more we can do without a new policy.

GT: Let me throw this out there because I know this has always been a thing that has bothered me over the years. We have two-deep in scouts although we’re getting rid of scouts, but we have two-deep in Primary. Why do we not have two-deep in bishop’s interviews? Why is it? I mean even if you don’t allow the parent to be there, why not have the Relief Society president there if it’s a girl, or a young men’s president, if it’s a boy, I mean, a lot of people have made these suggestions and you know, it’s not like I’m coming up with something original here. Why isn’t the church, and I know it’s not your pay grade, but some people are saying this is common sense, you know? If you have one percent of the problem, I mean the Boy Scouts was a problem. So we have two-deep leadership. The Primary apparently was some sort of an issue. So we have two-deep. So why is the bishop different?

Find out Kurt’s response!  What are your thoughts on sexually explicit Bishop’s interviews?  Should the Church modify them?

Some say LDS bishop's should ask young teens about sex. Should the Church modify these interviews to protect children?
Some say LDS bishop’s should ask young teens about sex. Should the Church modify these interviews to protect children?


221: Results of Faith Crisis Research

220: “We’ve Got to Have These Difficult Conversations”

219: Ministering to the Faithful & Faithless

218: Is it Bad to be Called LDS or Mormon?

2 thoughts on “Should the Church Modify Bishop’s Interviews? (Part 5)

  1. Thanks for having this important conversation.

    Kurt – I believe it is absolutely a systemic problem if the current system allows for an adult to be behind closed doors asking youth about sex. Whether it’s 1/8 or 1/100 that have a negative experience… that’s a problem with the system.

    Bishops are also registered scout leaders… according to BSA policy, they aren’t even ALLOWED to be one on one. We use two adults to count tithing money, two in a primary class, etc. These policies are also intended to help the LEADERS. I’m sure it’s very infrequent that counselors and clerks would steal tithing money, but we still have a system in place to minimize that potential problem. Why not do the same for youth??

    Even good guys like you, with experience in leadership are sitting here trying to decide at what age it might be appropriate to start asking about masturbation, one on one, behind closed doors. And the church is practically silent on the matter!

    I can’t believe this is even a conversation. Before too long the law will likely step in and make the decision for us. The fact is there are sharks in the water, along with a lot of harmless fish, and that is shown by the 1/8 number. So it’s time to close the one-on-one, behind-behind-closed-doors, sex-questions swimming.

    Also – the church may not be a democracy, but most major changes in doctrine or policy occur because of “trickle-up revelation” and have an element of common consent. Just look at our history.

  2. Sorry, it’s absurd to me that your solution is that if there’s a bishop that asks inappropriate questions, that members should point it out? To whom? The stake president? What if he takes the bishop’s side? Then where do you turn? There isn’t a hotline. You can’t call the police and report a bishop for asking inappropriate questions. If you write a letter to church headquarters, they send it to your local leaders.

    Until the church provides real resources to report issues, maybe we need people like Sam Young. I know it wasn’t until after he started his petition that the church made changes to its interview policies. While the church would never admit it, I believe they made the changes in part because of Young’s efforts.

    And you’re telling people to go to a different ward. That’s not a solution. The bishop of another ward can’t give you a recommend. They won’t move your records so you can fully participate.

    If there will always be people out there with pedophilia intentions, why not add an extra level of protection? Sorry, Kurt, you offer no real solutions.

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