In the Mormon church, youth are required to have periodic interviews with their bishop starting at age 8, typically once a year until age 12 and then twice a year after that. The purpose of these interviews is to determine a member’s worthiness for temple attendance and gauge how they are doing living the LDS gospel. In the interview, there are 13 standard questions the bishop asks the youth, including whether or not they sustain the church leaders, whether or not they pay tithing, whether or not they abide by the Word of Wisdom, and whether or not they live the law of chastity.
It’s that last question that has many LDS up in arms about the appropriateness of asking youth as young as 8 about sex. The interview is done behind closed doors in private with the bishop. Often, the law of chastity question moves into more sexually explicit questions, depending on the bishop doing the interview. Some LDS have called on the church to stop this practice of asking youth these types of questions, and even called on the church to stop having youth go through one-on-one interviews with their bishop altogether.
The man leading this charge is LDS Bishop Sam Young from the Houston area. He has 6 daughters and became concerned about this years ago when he learned that his daughters were asked very explicit sexual behavior questions by their bishop that made them feel very uncomfortable. Turns out his family’s story is far from unique. Over the years, he has been trying to get senior church leaders to listen but to no avail. He got so frustrated by the church’s refusal to do anything about this that he compiled a book of thousands of such stories from LDS members who went through the same thing or much worse, many of whom were abused as youth and had horrifying experiences similar to what happened to many Catholic youth at the hands of pedophile priests that led to the sexual abuse crisis scandal in the Catholic Church.
Bishop Young is currently on an ongoing 17-day hunger strike across the street from Temple Square in Salt Lake City (the church will have him arrested for trespassing if he does it on Temple Square grounds). What he wants is for senior LDS leaders to meet with him and eventually change the church policy on these interviews to 1) stop asking youth about sexual purity issues, and 2) stop the practice of youth being interviewed alone with their bishop. He has made 12 copies of the book (one for each member of the LDS Quorum of the Twelve Apostles) to give to them if they will only meet with him. So far no dice.
Many LDS report that they were asked very explicit sexual questions in their interviews as youth, often about things they didn’t even know about or understand at the time. They dreaded going to their interviews knowing what was coming. Some experienced much worse things. As a result of Young’s efforts, the LDS church does now allow youth members to ask that one or more parents come into the interview with them, but Young believes this does not nearly go far enough as it puts the onus on the kid to ask for that rather than on the church to abide by certain restrictions.
Link to more info: http://protectldschildren.org