When I was 13-14 I came in for my annual interview with one of the counselors in my bishopric. The counselor was probably in his 60s and he was not a person who had been particularly kind to me in the past. I was a good kid and loved the church dearly. When the question of chastity came up, I answered that I was chaste. For some reason I still don’t understand, the counselor felt the need to expound on the question to make sure I understood what chastity meant. As a young girl who faithfully attended church, Young Womens and other activities, I don’t know why this man felt the need to explain sexual purity to me, after I had already affirmed I was sexually pure. Why do we put young women in these rooms alone with older men and allow them to ask such questions? To probe young girls about their purity? There are still harmful lessons being taught about sexual purity in church, where it is to be guarded with a young woman’s life. No girl’s life is worth less than her purity.
I remained a virgin until I was married and I was later sealed in the temple. My husband was the second man I ever kissed. I was a good LDS girl who did not deserve to be pushed or hurt in this way. This probing still sticks with me, nearly two decades later. No young woman should be pressed about her purity by a man 4 times her age. If the church cannot see that this is both inappropriate and damaging, I fear they are doomed to have similar scandals to those that the Catholic church now faces. In any other situation, an older, male neighbor asking a young girl about her sexual purity would be met with disdain and fear. Yet, in the LDS church, it’s a mandated question. This policy needs to change. It would be lovely to think that all men called to priesthood positions are pure and good, but that is just not the case. The system leaves a way for these men in power to behave inappropriately and corrupt and hurt our young people.