When I joined the church as a teenager, a week later the Bishop met with me and conducted a worthiness interview that asked a long series of inappropriate questions using terms I had never heard before (masturbation, petting, anal sex, grinding, heavy petting, wet dreams, pornography, etc.) I asked that he explain many of the terms to me and he provided graphic descriptions that left me numb with embarrassment. I had never heard such descriptions and terms even though I had been a nonmember and played hockey and football where locker room chatter could be highly suggestive
The Bishop seemed to think because I was a convert that I would have lived a life of immorality. I actually had good moral standards through my teenage years as a nonmember and rarely talked about sexuality with friends or strangers, preferring propriety.
The interview scarred me in many ways as I started to see sexuality in negative terms. Many of the teenagers in my ward were overtly preoccupied with the immoral components that the Bishop seemed most determined to control in my fellow member friend’s lives. Many of my Mormon teenager friends become obsessed with pornography and immorality, even into their married lives. I can’t tell you how many of my friends ended up with severe issues surrounding sexual impropriety and extreme addition to pornography.
To this day these many years latter, I still recall the confusion I felt and the obsessiveness nature of the Bishop’s worthiness questions. It actually changed my normal understanding of sexuality to a more perverted and embarrassed perspective that carried into my marriage to a woman who raised in the Church was extremely uncomfortable with sexuality to the point of not even being able to feel good about herself or the intimate aspects of our relationship. It was a taboo subject and filled with shame and guilt despite being married.
I am deeply saddened by the church’s treatment of you and the legitimate concern you have for our children and youth. I am an active member, a convert of many years and currently serve in a Bishopric. I am opposed to the current policy to conduct worthiness interviews of our children, youth, young adults and adults. We need to move away from the obsessiveness of moral orthodoxy and control. I think there would be a lot less depression, suicide, self loathing, abuse and sexual awkwardess if we simply stopped interviewing and asking ridiculous questions regarding morality.
As a convert, I have never seen as much perversion, obsessiveness, and dysfunction as I have seen within Mormonism and other extremely morally orthodox religions. It needs to stop. Excommunication of the messenger is not the answer. Thank you for the cause you have advanced and the sacrifice you have offered in the name of Christ’s love of His children. I deeply admire your courage.