mdfxdb

Counselor youth interviews & LOC

Recommended Posts

As many here may or may not be aware, there are required interviews for the youth given at least annually by the Bishop, and on the six month mark by the Counselors for the Bishopric.  

I was wondering what is the content of these interviews?  How invasive are the questions?  Handbook 1 specifically states that part of the discussion should be about following the law of chastity, and not viewing pornography.  The problem is that the guidelines seem overly vague, and I want to know exactly what types of questions get asked.  At what age do they start quizzing on the law of chastity?  What types of questions are asked?  Does anyone have any insight/been in this position?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are you asking from the standpoint of the interviewer, the interviewee or the parent of kids?
What calling do you have currently that gives you access to Handbook 1, this will help?

Edited by NeedleinA

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Handbook 1 is available on the internet.

I want to know from the standpoint of the interviewer, and the kids.

What is asked?  What is the interviewer expected to accomplish?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, mdfxdb said:

As many here may or may not be aware, there are required interviews for the youth given at least annually by the Bishop, and on the six month mark by the Counselors for the Bishopric.  

I was wondering what is the content of these interviews?  How invasive are the questions?  Handbook 1 specifically states that part of the discussion should be about following the law of chastity, and not viewing pornography.  The problem is that the guidelines seem overly vague, and I want to know exactly what types of questions get asked.  At what age do they start quizzing on the law of chastity?  What types of questions are asked?  Does anyone have any insight/been in this position?

At what age do they start quizzing on the law of chastity?

--- Usually around 12 (starting teenage years)

 

What types of questions are asked?

----In my experience the questioning is (and I quote) "Do you keep the Law of Chasity?" "Yes" or "No".  If there needs be more conversation on the matter, then there's more conversation.  If there's not more need, then there's not. 

 

How invasive are the questions?

--- Not.  Even if there is an issue, you usually don't need to rehash what exactly happened to address the problem.

 

 Does anyone have any insight/been in this position?

--- Have I been interviewed many times (grow up in the church).  I never had any issues or embarrassment.  I think the most detailed discussion was once my interviewer wanted to chat about what the Law of Chasity means, so we had a mini-Sunday School lesson talking about the subject, not invasive at all.

Edited by Jane_Doe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

My experience was the same as Jane Doe's. As a YW leader, I know that our youth are interviewed once or twice a year to get their limited use recommends for temple baptisms. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe things have changed but I never remember a "required interview". I certainly had interviews but it seemed to go along the lines of "hey there is a temple baptism, every youth who wants to attend must have an interview with the Bishop". From my recollections of those interviews they are pretty simply the temple recommend questions with one or two removed that don't apply. I can't ever recall an interview with the Bishop that was just to talk about "stuff", they always had a purpose (i.e. a temporary recommend) and always involved the recommend questions.

Bishops are counseled to stick to the interview questions and to not deviate from them nor to put additional requirements on them. I don't see why it would be any different with youth.  The most that I can see a Bishop doing is a) Do you obey the Law of chasity? or b) if he feels inspired, "what does the Law of chastity mean to you" then do you obey the LoC? 

IMO if the Bishop is having to teach in an interview what the LoC means to a youth then we (i.e. parents and church) have failed in raising our children properly to understand what it is. The Church's interview process has always been on the Honor system vs. an inquisition. If I answer yes to the LoC question but I'm not really doing so, unless the Bishop has a very strong reason to do otherwise he is pretty much obligated to move on.

If someone answered no to the LoC, I think the conversation would go of understanding the nature of it, i.e. is it porn, and other related sins, was it with another person (hopefully opposite sex-otherwise that's another conversation), is the other person married, are you married (for youth wouldn't apply) what level was it, was it sex, simulated, petting, or simply very passionate kissing (i.e. necking). Once he knows the level then he can appropriately determine how the rest of the conversation should go. It isn't important to know the details-only the severity, b/c looking at porn is quite a bit different than fornication which is different from adultery.

I can only imagine though that in actuality the Bishop probably ends up getting more details than he really cares about.

Edited by yjacket

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I see this topic somewhat frequently around the internet, and it seems to be upsetting for some. Jane_Doe's anecdote is one anecdote, and hopefully most youth interviews are minimally invasive like she describes. I see other anecdotes around the internet that paint a more invasive picture. Most I suspect are within the last few decades, but some may not reflect the latest direction from the Church to interviewers. However, I know that some are recent, too. It is also difficult to discern the extent of the "negative" experiences. Are they from a vocal minority? How much of a minority?

As much as I hate to say it, but this is where the concept of "leadership roulette" comes into play. I do not know exactly what is said in handbook 1 -- as far as I know, handbook 1 is not "generally" or "openly" available on the internet. Handbook 1 is supposedly only accessible to those leaders who are given access through their lds.org accounts. Any "general" or "open" access would be through unapproved sources, which would not be trustworthy. My understanding is that leaders/interviewers are instructed to be minimally invasive, but exactly what that looks like is essentially left up to the discretion and inspiration of the interviewer.

As NeedleinA says, there is some consideration for point of view. Are you the interviewer? Hopefully you are following as strictly as possible the counsel of your priesthood leaders and the handbook when conducting interviews. Hopefully, you are very careful when deviating from the suggested questions not to inject personal opinions or speculations into the LoC questions, and maintaining a level of propriety considering the age, experience, and maturity level of the interviewee.

Are you the interviewee? Hopefully you are reasonably honest in your answers. Hopefully you have the courage and conviction to refuse to answer a question that you believe is inappropriate. Hopefully you feel that you can trust the interviewer as they ask you these delicate questions.

Are you the parent of the interviewee? Hopefully you trust the interviewer. If you feel inclined, hopefully you feel that you can have a conversation with the interviewer to understand the interviewer's perspective, and maybe lay down guidelines and boundaries for your child's interviews (parents, after all, have the first stewardship over their children). If desired, hopefully you can request to be present during those interviews.

I fell that this can be a very delicate topic and delicate balance, and I don't know all of the answers. My own experience was mixed, and not all of it would have been the Bishop's fault. I do not know the final answers on how best to approach these interviews.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
36 minutes ago, mdfxdb said:

Handbook 1 is available on the internet.

I want to know from the standpoint of the interviewer, and the kids.

What is asked?  What is the interviewer expected to accomplish?

A couple of soap box comments regarding Handbook 1. Handbook 1 is:

a. Designed for general and local church officers only.
b. Any version found on the internet (excluding lds.org leadership access) is not approved to be published there by the church.
c. The Church openly releases Handbook 2, not Handbook 1.
d. Church Officers receive endless hours of training via PPIs, Bishopric Training, Presidency Meetings, etc. to help them use and understand Handbook 1 and fill in any "overly vague" areas.  

So about interviews. Interviews "are" very much a time to teach individuals and be prompted by the spirit to ask specific questions. Interviews by Counselors and the Bishop are for lack of a better term a time to: Check in and check up on them. How are they doing spiritually? Do they have any concerns or needs? How is their testimony, etc. 

I personally never considered any of my interviews as "quizzing" anyone. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, MrShorty said:

 However, I know that some are recent, too. It is also difficult to discern the extent of the "negative" experiences. Are they from a vocal minority? How much of a minority?

I think this is more likely the case. There are on the order of 30,000 Bishops (not quite b/c a lot of those are branches and BP don't have authority of LoC issues, if someone answers No to LoC question, they are supposed to immediately stop and refer the person to the District President). Say there are 5 youth in each ward (very low number) and they get interviewed twice a year, that's over 300,000 interviews a year.  The internet gives anyone a microphone to blast out anything they want and make it seem like the truth. With 300,000 potential interviews a year, if you scour the internet you might here 10-15, maybe as much as 100 bad interview. Just ballparking but that is .03% of interviews conducted in one year would be done inappropriately. Given that Bishops are human, that number wouldn't surprise me in the least; if that is accurate I'd say the Church is doing pretty darn good as you know some interviews will be done inappropriately-it would be expecting perfection to think otherwise.

I remember reading one girl who was interviewed "poorly", well first off she taped the conversation and then put it on the net, then if you listened to the recording she was specifically trying to goad him into asking bad questions, she basically set the poor guy up, then trashed him.  

Some people (even the youth) have an agenda to get what they want-which is to badmouth religion, authority, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
10 minutes ago, Vort said:

What exactly is objectionable about an authorized religious leader asking a young person about his or her spiritual health, including sexual purity?

I believe it is not about the interview happening, but the details of such interview that could go into areas where it would be inappropriate or objectionable.  Remember that the OP is asking a question since he's concerned about the details of a "vague" instruction.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, NeedleinA said:

So about interviews. Interviews "are" very much a time to teach individuals and be prompted by the spirit to ask specific questions.

I completely agree, teaching can go on in many forms and an interview can be a perfect time for it.  I was commenting that if for example a 14 year old youth comes in an interview and doesn't understand the LoC (which honestly isn't that complex) and the Bishop has to explain it in the interview than leaders (mostly parents) haven't done their duty.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, yjacket said:

I completely agree, teaching can go on in many forms and an interview can be a perfect time for it.  I was commenting that if for example a 14 year old youth comes in an interview and doesn't understand the LoC (which honestly isn't that complex) and the Bishop has to explain it in the interview than leaders (mostly parents) haven't done their duty.

Agreed. Counter question -- is it, then, the Bishop's job to fill in the gap that the parents have left, or should the Bishop defer to the parent's choice not to teach the details of the LoC?

When discussion state sex-ed curricula, we frequently speak of "disagreement" and "mistrust" regarding many things that the state says they want to teach our youth about sexuality. In many of those discussions, we will express the desire to leave sex-ed to parents and not make it a responsibility of the state. Others on the other side of the aisle, will say that it is irresponsible of parents to refuse certain instruction, and that the state has a responsibility to override the parents decision (or abdication). In many ways, I wonder if the same basic thing applies to the church. If I as a parent have "failed" or maybe chosen not to broach or condemn a topic, should the Bishop assume the responsibility for that instruction, or should the Bishop defer to me as the parent? How does this play out when I know that there are some LoC type teachings that I as the parent may or will disagree with some Bishop's interpretation of the LoC? Where does my stewardship as a parent to teach my children begin and end, and where does the Bishop's stewardship begin and end? In a situation like you describe, should the Bishop fill in the gaps, or should the Bishop call in the parents and instruct them to fill in the gaps?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

let's say a bishop asks if the youth obeys the law of chastity.  The youth answers affirmative.  Would it then be appropriate for the bishop or counselor to follow up and ask if the youth masturbates, or views pornography?  

In my opinion such a follow up would be inappropriate if the youth states that they do obey the law of chastity.  

At what age is it even appropriate to ask, and at what point are the bishops/counselors to "probe" for sin, or are they even supposed to do that?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, mdfxdb said:

  Would it then be appropriate for the bishop or counselor to follow up and ask if the youth masturbates, or views pornography?

I'm about to step out to lunch but will leave this little thought. I think perhaps this is being seen too much like quizzing/interrogating people. 
Taking your example...
1. Youth says "yes" I obey the LOC.
2. Spirit prompts that the youth has further issues/concerns regarding pornography.
3. Rather than follow up with "Do you questions", the interviewer (I would) simply teach/reteach the dangers of pornography in a general sense.
4. Let the spirit teach the youth at that point. 
5. Off to the next question/topic unless the youth decides to ask something further/clarification, etc.

We are not interrogators, but rather there to help bring the spirit there and let it teach instead. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, mdfxdb said:

let's say a bishop asks if the youth obeys the law of chastity.  The youth answers affirmative.  Would it then be appropriate for the bishop or counselor to follow up and ask if the youth masturbates, or views pornography?  

In my opinion such a follow up would be inappropriate if the youth states that they do obey the law of chastity.  

If the Bishop has valid reasons for concern about the topic, the more appropriate course of action would be to chat about the meaning of the Law of Chasity, dangers of pornography, etc.

Also, if at any point a person (youth or adult) feels a question is over-the-line (because mistakes do happen), they can just say so and are under zero obligation to answer. 

21 minutes ago, mdfxdb said:

At what age is it even appropriate to ask, and at what point are the bishops/counselors to "probe" for sin, or are they even supposed to do that?

 Not appropriate at any age.

Edited by Jane_Doe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, NeedleinA said:

A couple of soap box comments regarding Handbook 1. Handbook 1 is:

a. Designed for general and local church officers only.
b. Any version found on the internet (excluding lds.org leadership access) is not approved to be published there by the church.
c. The Church openly releases Handbook 2, not Handbook 1.
d. Church Officers receive endless hours of training via PPIs, Bishopric Training, Presidency Meetings, etc. to help them use and understand Handbook 1 and fill in any "overly vague" areas.  

So about interviews. Interviews "are" very much a time to teach individuals and be prompted by the spirit to ask specific questions. Interviews by Counselors and the Bishop are for lack of a better term a time to: Check in and check up on them. How are they doing spiritually? Do they have any concerns or needs? How is their testimony, etc. 

I personally never considered any of my interviews as "quizzing" anyone. 

In general I agree with your assessment about HB1, with the exception of D, specifically the "endless hours of training via PPI's, bishopric training, presidency meetings, etc."

As an individual who happens to be in possession of HB1 I can state that this training does not happen. Not in the sense that I believe that you are discussing. In fairness most leaders do not pay to much attention to the vague/grey areas they make assumptions and do not ask for clarification therefore no training is provided because none is asked for.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
Quote

As an individual who happens to be in possession of HB1

 

Where did you get it? You are in possession, but do you hold a calling that requires it? How do you know about the training that bishops and SP's do or do not receive?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, MrShorty said:

Agreed. Counter question -- is it, then, the Bishop's job to fill in the gap that the parents have left, or should the Bishop defer to the parent's choice not to teach the details of the LoC?

When discussion state sex-ed curricula, we frequently speak of "disagreement" and "mistrust" regarding many things that the state says they want to teach our youth about sexuality. In many of those discussions, we will express the desire to leave sex-ed to parents and not make it a responsibility of the state. Others on the other side of the aisle, will say that it is irresponsible of parents to refuse certain instruction, and that the state has a responsibility to override the parents decision (or abdication). In many ways, I wonder if the same basic thing applies to the church. If I as a parent have "failed" or maybe chosen not to broach or condemn a topic, should the Bishop assume the responsibility for that instruction, or should the Bishop defer to me as the parent? How does this play out when I know that there are some LoC type teachings that I as the parent may or will disagree with some Bishop's interpretation of the LoC? Where does my stewardship as a parent to teach my children begin and end, and where does the Bishop's stewardship begin and end? In a situation like you describe, should the Bishop fill in the gaps, or should the Bishop call in the parents and instruct them to fill in the gaps?

In my opinion, the state is wrong to do this, to the point of being evil (and I do not use that word lightly). A bishop might be well-meaning to talk about such things, but they are better left to the parents. (If there is specific instruction about this given to bishops, then of course I defer to that instruction.)

I see nothing wrong with teaching the law of chastity, in a class or in an interview. But if the child or young man/woman does not know the basics of human sexuality, the bishop should be talking to the parents about their responsibilities. I see nothing wrong with the bishop offering to chat with the child, even about the facts of life, but the parents should be made aware that that is most definitely their area of responsibility.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

As has been stated, any publication of Handbook 1 outside of its intended audience is not sanctioned by the Church. Do not paste or post its contents here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not sure what they ask today, but when I was a teenager the only thing I got asked was if I was following the law of chastity.  I asked my daughter who is now 26 and she said that is all they asked her too.  Neither of us had any experience with them trying to delve deeper than that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not sure that, outside of the CHI, there are really any hard-and-fast rules about what bishops should or shouldn't discuss; other than to follow the dictates of the spirit.  It may be entirely necessary to confront one teenager with certain questions that ought never to be asked of a different youth. 

Asking whether a certain counseling approach is "appropriate", smacks of a "gotcha!!!" question.  Generally speaking, I think kids who are old enough to act on their sexuality are old enough to account for those actions to a judge in Israel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now