When I was seventeen, the stake executive secretary knocked on the door of my Sunday School class during the second hour. He said the Stake President would like to meet with me. Of course, my heart started to race and I began to sweat. I was nervous. The first thing that goes through your mind is “what have I done wrong?” I know now that this is part of the power play between leaders and members, but back then as a shy and nervous kid, the whole situation put me in a panicked and anxious state – it wasn’t pleasant.
The Stake President sat me down in his office without my parent’s consent and behind a closed door to talk to me about my desire to serve a mission. I said I was thinking about it. He talked to me about the standard expected of missionaries. He explained that bestiality and rape were forms of predatory behavior that disqualify men from serving missions. The Stake President went on to explain in detail what those two terms meant. He then asked me whether I participated in those activities.
How demeaning. How insulting.
But what’s worse, he then started talking about lustful thoughts and masturbation and put those into the predatory sexual behavior bucket as well. He told me that sexual sin was second only to murder in terms of its seriousness.
The Stake President told me that before I am allowed to go on a mission, the interviews would continue and that he would leave “no stone unturned” before signing off on my papers.
I can’t express to you all how shocking that was to my system. But as a Mormon kid, you are trained to take the medicine, smile and ask for more.