There has been a lot of discussion in the b’nacle about the worthiness interviews routinely conducted by members of the bishopric with the young men and young women. In general, there seems to be some hand-wringing about this practice. In your opinion, is it appropriate for an older man to be alone with a young woman asking her questions about her sexual activity?
The purpose of the worthiness interviews is to provide the youth with private access to the bishopric should they need to confess or confide anything to them or to seek their counsel as an ecclesiastical leader. The standard questions include asking the young man or woman if they live the law of chastity. More detailed follow up questions are not specified.
Some concerns about protecting the youth have been raised including:
- that parents are not present in these interviews
- that a same sex adult is not present in the case of young women
- that there is an opportunity for abuse behind close doors
- that the interviews are intrusive; the youth should not be asked sexual questions unless they come forward to confess something
- that worthiness interviews in general are a control mechanism and pose a psychological danger to members
- that a rogue local leader may go on a fishing expedition for sexual details, either due to a domineering personality or to satisfy prurient interests
- that local leaders will provide psychologically harmful advice to the youth regarding masturbation or other sexual practices
- that local leaders will not be attuned to individual needs of the youth or parents
Some concerns about protecting the leaders have also been raised:
And while we’re at it, even parents have expressed some concerns for themselves:
It sounds as though everyone (youth and bishops alike) dreads these interviews (and if people aren’t dreading them, maybe that’s worse). Do any of you have a positive experience from these interviews that you would like to share? Any bishops, previous bishops, parents, or previous youth out there with an opinion to share?[poll id=”68″]
What do you think? Discuss.