After the March for Children, I sent an email to my stake president expressing my concern regarding the 1st Presidency’s revised policy on 1:1 interviews with children. He responded and invited me, if I would be willing, to discuss my concerns and suggestions for protecting the children. He stated that if I wished, I could bring someone with me to the meeting.
It was a one step forward, two steps back situation. On the one hand, I appreciated that he stated up front that I could bring someone with me. In the course of our hour and a half meeting, however, he did a lot of double-speak and firmly expressed his intention to follow The Brethren. One example of back to back statements included “Bishops are trained NOT to ask probing questions or put terms or ideas into children’s heads that aren’t already there. A bishop would ask, Do you follow the law of chastity? To which a child would answer yes or no, and a follow up question would be What does that mean to you? And from that point, he would need to determine how to go forward with that child.” So, literally, a Bishop will probe into a child’s understanding of chastity, somehow without putting ideas into his head?
Another concerning exchange was his statement that 99.95% of all bishops honor their calling and authority and would never harm children. I agreed, saying that leaves a significant number who do, and that our current system enables and protects those who may be inclined to violate that sacred stewardship. “But it is such a small percentage.” Dear Lord above…help this man if ONE OF THOSE CHILDREN WERE MINE!!!
It was a long talk and the bottom line was that the 1st Presidency isn’t going to change their policy in response to a bunch of angry protesters, the Stake Presidency isn’t going to implement a change that doesn’t follow the direction of the First Presidency, but the glimmer of hope is that a Bishop will surely honor a parent’s request to have another adult present with his or her child.
It’s up to us, mamas and papas.