Technically, this meeting with my bishop did not happen when I was a child, but it still happened when I was young. When I went to college and decided I would like to serve a mission for the church, I knew there were things of sexual nature I needed to disclose to and clear up with my bishop in order to serve (which I don’t find absolutely necessary anymore because I believe I can have a direct relationship with God on my own and receive my own forgiveness without someone telling me I’ve “taken the correct steps”). I didn’t want to relive the guilt and shame that I felt for years, as I had felt forgiven already at the time, so I tried to be as direct as possible and simply state that I had in some ways violated the law of chastity during my high school career. My bishop then began asking me questions about what positions, where I was touched, where I touched him, how many times it happened, where it happened, etc to the point where I felt more uncomfortable than relieved (as forgiveness should feel) because of the way he was talking about my body and my boyfriend at the time. For years later, I questioned whether or not I had really been forgiven because of some statements my bishop had said to me, and I always felt dirty and unworthy. That shouldn’t be the case, because we are given agency and are ENCOURAGED to make mistakes so that we can learn and grow. When we ask for help we should not be put down and reminded how “bad” we have been, but praised for maturity and desire to follow Christ of our own free will and choice.
I don’t understand why bishops feel the need to know so many specifics about what happens when the law of chastity is broken. As a missionary, we asked similar questions for baptismal interviews, but were reminded and strongly encouraged not to ask about the details because THEY SIMPLY DON’T MATTER. The most important thing is where our hearts are and if we are truly repentant. Going to the bishop for counsel should be like going to a trusted friend that will encourage and help us through whatever we may be struggling with, not make us feel more uncomfortable about our sins and struggles.