The first time I was asked about masturbation, specifically, by a bishop, I was 12 years old. It was before my first temple trip, in a recommend interview. I understand that some people who support this practice think that the one-on-one interviews, (away from parents) are an opportunity for children who are being abused at home to talk to another adult without their parents over their shoulder. If bishops were given literally ANY kind of training about how to spot abuse, I *might* consider this a valid point. This is not what happened for me, though.
My bishop, who was newly called, and in his 80’s, asked me if I knew what it meant to masturbate, and I didn’t. He explained it to me, in FAR more detail than would ever be appropriate for anyone other than my mother, or someone like a doctor, or health teacher. I was SO uncomfortable. This was my first time ever being alone with this man, and he was asking me about whether or not I had ever become aroused by putting my “fingers, or anything else” inside me. I started to feel sick. I couldn’t speak, and the room started spinning. I ended up vomiting in his trash can, and instead of thinking “hmm, I wonder why this 12 year old CHILD is so uncomfortable with explicit sexual topics?” he took my sudden illness as a sign that his prompting to ask was correct.
It was not. My becoming physically ill at being grilled about sexual practices by a man I barely knew, and did not trust, was NOT a sign that I was guilt-ridden by my sexual sins. If that man had had ANY training, he could very easily have recognized that what he did in that interview was trigger a child who had been abused previously. I had already been traumatized, and he retraumatized me. And THEN, instead of getting me any kind of help, he continued to retraumatize me, over and over again, as he pulled me out of Sunday School, once a month for OVER A YEAR to repeatedly ask me questions about whether or not I was ‘still violating myself, and the law of chastity.”
This. is. Unacceptable.