This story is not my own but my wife’s. I share it in hopes that others can learn that they’re not unique when it comes to inappropriate interviews of minors. My bigger hopes are that someone from LDS church headquarters can see this as well and know that it is heartfelt and with No malice towards the church just need for change. I’m however unsure and not confident that they will but I share anyways.
When my wife and I started dating we talked often of our experiences in the LDS church. Mine being one of a great family that was supportive and really made sure that we knew free agency was one of the beautiful doctrines of the church. Never were we to feel guilty or bad for our mistakes we may make rather they were learning experiences in this life and an opportunity to learn, grow and become stronger in the Lords kingdom.
I was lucky, that’s not to say I wasn’t exposed to explicit interview questions as a youth but I was well prepared to be self confident, honest and at peace with who I am. My wife on the other hand was a convert in her early teens. She grew up in a very dominate LDS neighborhood, all of the neighbors and her friends were exactly the kinds of missionaries that they should be. They welcomed her, were kind to her parents (who were supportive of her becoming a member). The people who brought her into the church were and are still wonderful people! But through all this she was a teenager and faced temptations just like many do. She did encounter problems with chastity during her high school years.
Her wanting acceptance and membership in the church never wavered. She truly loved being a “Mormon” and was dedicated even choosing on her own to enroll in seminary and was diligent in going to church every Sunday. When she faced the standard Bishop’s interview she honestly shared her experiences and was faced with inappropriate shame and guilt that she had to carry for a long time.
Her bishop proceeded to tell her that she’d never be able to get married in the temple and that a future spouse would not be the kind of person she’d want to be married to. How horrible, a young member of the church being told well this is basically the end of the line for you!
Fast forward to her early twenties when we met, we both knew we wanted to be married in the temple and went through a beautiful year and half courtship that resulted in being married in the Salt Lake temple. I will occasionally see her old bishop around town and it takes all my might to hold back. I just want to and may someday share with him that his comments to her were just so misplaced and wrong. How can he not know the damage he caused emotionally? I know people including bishops are human, make mistakes but we truly need simple clear guidelines on what should never be discussed and also I believe leaders should be counselled on consequences of inappropriate shaming and guilt. We are lucky but others are not so.