Gaslighting and Creepy Worthiness Interviews

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Not Buying It
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Gaslighting and Creepy Worthiness Interviews

Post by Not Buying It » Thu Jun 14, 2018 6:39 am

I guess it bothers me that because some members were never asked explicit, creepy questions in worthiness interviews, they assume no one ever was and it was never really a problem. The Church hasn’t addressed it much, but that’s how they are trying to play it, that it may have occurred on a limited basis but was never widespread, and isn’t a big deal.

But it happened to me. I know for a fact it happened to every other boy my age in my ward because the bishop told me he had asked all of them about a very personal sexual practice and that he knew some of them had lied to him. I have a brother-in-law who received a mission call but then wasn’t allowed to go because he confessed to the big “m” (after all this time I still have trouble using the actual word - that says something right there). That’s a lot of public humiliation for something that is pretty personal and private. President Kimball said that no young man should serve a mission who wasn’t free of that practice, so being asked about it as a teen became a kind of mission prep ritual. There are all kinds of stories out there about unnecessary pain, humiliation, and shame that has done some real damage to members due to explicit questions in worthiness interviews.

I’d be curious to know how many of you experienced the invasive, inappropriate questions I did in worthiness interviews. And I would implore you, if someone tries to convince you it didn’t happen much because it didn’t happen to them, and so it didn’t really impact anybody, tell them they are wrong. This is yet another case where behind the friendly smiles at Church something very dark has been lurking for a long time.
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Jeffret
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Re: Gaslighting and Creepy Worthiness Interviews

Post by Jeffret » Thu Jun 14, 2018 6:53 am

I pretty much didn't experience severe inappropriate questions. I was asked whether I lived the law of chastity. I can't recall ever having a church leader initiate a discussion about masturbation in an interview. No one ever probed in depth with these questions to me. When my wife and I discussed it I believe she said she had never experienced probing sexual questions.
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Jeffret
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Re: Gaslighting and Creepy Worthiness Interviews

Post by Jeffret » Thu Jun 14, 2018 7:02 am

(Actually, I consider all of the questions in these interviews and the whole experience to be wholly inappropriate. Not just the sexual ones. I found the whole process very distasteful and refused to participate in it for the last few years I participated in Mormonism. But I never experienced sexual questions that were more inappropriate than the rest of it. )
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Culper Jr.
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Re: Gaslighting and Creepy Worthiness Interviews

Post by Culper Jr. » Thu Jun 14, 2018 7:03 am

Yeah, I hate that crap where people act as though it was not widespread because it didn’t happen to them. I grew up and now live way outside of the Morridor. I was asked these questions and the boys in my deacons quorum when I served as a YM counselor were asked these questions. Not every bishop asks them, but enough do that I would say if you grew up in the church or spent significant time in the church as a youth you were probably asked these questions at some point. Also, my 14 year old daughter was asked these questions a couple of months ago, which caused a big stink. It is definitely a widespread multi generational thing that continues today.

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Not Buying It
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Re: Gaslighting and Creepy Worthiness Interviews

Post by Not Buying It » Thu Jun 14, 2018 7:13 am

To be specific, I was asked point blank “Do you masturbate” by a bishop when I was 13 and repeatedly from then on by that same bishop in every interview, by another bishop in the interview prior to my mission, by one of my mission presidents repeatedly, and then by a bishop of a student ward at BYU when he was extending me a calling after my mission. Maybe I just got really unlucky at bishop roulette, but that is way more than ever should have happened to anyone.
"The truth is elegantly simple. The lie needs complex apologia. 4 simple words: Joe made it up. It answers everything with the perfect simplicity of Occam's Razor. Every convoluted excuse withers." - Some guy on Reddit called disposazelph

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Re: Gaslighting and Creepy Worthiness Interviews

Post by Culper Jr. » Thu Jun 14, 2018 7:24 am

Yup, just to also be clear, I was asked if I masturbate, if I touch others, perform or receive oral sex, neck or pet. My deacons were asked about masturbation (a couple of them talked to me about the bishop’s weird questions and that was the only one they mentioned but were disturbed by it), and my daughter was asked about masturbation and touching others, letting others touch her.

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Re: Gaslighting and Creepy Worthiness Interviews

Post by wtfluff » Thu Jun 14, 2018 7:33 am

Yeah, I think I was asked "do you masturbate" during my first "worthiness" interview when I was turning 12.

I of course replied: "What's that?" And some "old guy" I barely knew proceeded to teach me about masturbation.

Good times! [PUKE]
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MoPag
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Re: Gaslighting and Creepy Worthiness Interviews

Post by MoPag » Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:32 am

wtfluff wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 7:33 am
Yeah, I think I was asked "do you masturbate" during my first "worthiness" interview when I was turning 12.

I of course replied: "What's that?" And some "old guy" I barely knew proceeded to teach me about masturbation.

Good times! [PUKE]
:evil: So, so wrong on so many levels!

I was one of the lucky ones. None of my bishops have ever asked me explicit sexual questions. IF we are still going to church when DD is old enough to be interviewed, I will be in there with her. And if the bishop even hints at anything explicit, I was go full rampage mode!!!
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believing in old men’s lies...--Ezra Pound

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Re: Gaslighting and Creepy Worthiness Interviews

Post by Hagoth » Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:33 am

Not Buying It wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 6:39 am
I have a brother-in-law who received a mission call but then wasn’t allowed to go because he confessed to the big “m” (after all this time I still have trouble using the actual word - that says something right there).
The word is monkey-spanking. Go ahead, say it. It feels good.

I was told specifically that I could not go on my mission if I masturbated at all. And, unlike most boys, I was stupid enough to confess it. My stake president asked me if anyone had ever taught me any techniques... I said "No! Absolutely not! its just something I did by myself!" He continued "...any techniques to help you overcome masturbation," and then told me to go home and report back to him in a month, totally free of evil deeds. For some reason he asked me about techniques but chose not to share any with me (although I have always imagined that they involved tying your hand to the bed and imagining eating worms). For what it's worth, the monkey remained completely unspanked throughout my mission. And for a short time thereafter.
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Mormorrisey
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Re: Gaslighting and Creepy Worthiness Interviews

Post by Mormorrisey » Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:40 am

I was asked about the big m as a youth, and like every other boy my age, lied. End of story. Didn't even think about how inappropriate it was for some dude to even ask the question. Luckily I had a really great branch president on my mission who I'm sure heard this every day, and was very kind to me when I decided to confess. But it shouldn't have happened in the first place, I agree with you, NBI.

Let me tell you, though, about experiences on the other side of the table. When I was first called as a bishop, I had a line as long as my arm for people to come see me about their transgressions, as the previous bishop was a hard ass. So after my first one, which was particularly salacious, I cut off the detail-teller and basically said, "I don't need to hear the details of what you did, let's just focus on the repentance aspect. God knows the details, but I don't need to." When I reported this to the SP, he was not too happy - he said I needed the details to help people repent. I just nodded sagely, as I had been called for just a week, but still refused to hear, ask or otherwise find out the messy details of people's private lives, unless it involved abuse, and the need to report it. I never asked the question other than do you live the law of chastity, and routinely stopped the youth from telling me details. Since I really liked the youth, and was fairly close to them, it was like my own kids telling me stuff I don't need to hear and so I didn't want to. I just said, let's try to live the law of chastity, and routinely told them how hard it was, as a married guy, because sex is FANTASTIC. And you really like the other person, you have hormones, it's hard. And I knew it was, I was a teenager who liked the ladies, I never forgot that as I dealt with the youth.

I always erred on the side of mercy, tried not to pry in their personal lives, and that was that. What has unnerved me about all of Sam Young's stories, which were hard to read, was how many bishops were influenced by THEIR SP's to go after the details. It was just horrible to read - even if I didn't do it, it is a prevalent practice, and it needs to stop.
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Re: Gaslighting and Creepy Worthiness Interviews

Post by Red Ryder » Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:36 am

TLDR; The life history of RR's masturbation inquisitions by LDS leaders.

My family moved a few times from age 12 to 18 so I have a few extra bishop data points to compare across 3 states.

As a 12 year old, the bishop was my dad and he didn't ask. Not a Utah ward.

As a 13 year old, the new bishop did not ask. Not a Utah ward.

As a 14 year old, bishop in different state (not Utah) asked specifically about masturbation.

As a 15 year old, same bishop above again asked.

As a 16 year old, (Utah ward) Bishop starts off interview with "when was the last time you masturbated?" Same thing happened at mid year interview. Same Bishop, same thing at 17.

As an 18 year old, (same Utah ward, new bishop) asked if I masturbated. Then proceeded to tell me how HE was enslaved to it as a teenager and that if I ever struggled with it I should talk to my dad about it. {{{{uh no, that's creepy!}}}

As an 18 year old at Rick's College, bishop asked specifically about masturbation. Counseled to avoid watching R - rated movies. WTF??

As a 19 year old pre mission interview back at home from college, ward Bishop asked and again proceeded to tell how HE was enslaved by it. Mission papers submitted. Meet with SP next.

As a 19 year old the Stake President asked specifically about masturbation and then proceeded to list off 99 other names for it! Masturbation? Choke the chicken? Spank the Monkey? Hold to the Iron Rod? Polish the Bishop? Rub the Nub? Etc, etc, etc. Then he asked about premarital sex, oral sex, sex with yourself, sex with animals? (I guess this is an issue in Southern Utah apparently with sheep farming??)

As a freshly minted 19 year old missionary, the MTC dude asked specifically if there were any sins in my life that have not been confessed and taken care of yet? Nope! How about masturbation? Any problems with that? Nope!

As a new missionary fresh off the plane, sitting in the Mission President's office he starts up an interview and asks if there is anything I have failed to confess. Nope! He said he would be my direct priesthood leader for the next two years and to come to him if that ever changed. He didn't ask about masturbation. However during subsequent monthly interviews he alluded to it and reiterated his open door policy.

Side note: during the mission I get a letter from my parents informing me that my former Bishop (from age 17 above) was excommunicated for boinking his office secretary! For some reason that made me extremely mad that this dude was nailing his secretary the whole time while pushing masturbation guilt on the youth!

As a 21 year old returned missionary I thought the masturbation inquisitions would be over. Nope. Now nearly 22 years old and getting interviewed for temple marriage by the same pre-mission Bishop again specifically asks about masturbation and again proceeds to tell me how HE was enslaved by it as a teenager! SP interview didn't ask about masturbation but did specifically ask about pre-marital sex, oral sex, Levi Lovin, Grinding, petting, necking, fingering, and all other known euphemisms for sex.

Finally as a married man the masturbation interviews had ended. So I thought... A few years go by with normal temple recommend interviews asking if I keep the law of chastity. Then a new stake president counselor gets called. He asks the law of chastity question and follows it up with do you watch Porn? I must have had a surprised look on my face wondering where that question came from. He quickly replies that many married men in the stake are having problems with porn and masturbation so he felt it was important to ask!

I probably had 2 more "normal" temple recommend interviews after that before letting my TR expire. I'll never put myself in a situation again to be asked about masturbation habits by another man in a phony leadership position!

In my life time there has been a clear pattern of these invasive questions in the name of worthiness by mormon leaders. Some of these men were innocently following protocol and some I believe were getting off on asking about it.

As Zadok always said, "Never Confess!"
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foolmeonce
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Re: Gaslighting and Creepy Worthiness Interviews

Post by foolmeonce » Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:58 pm

Wow, I don't have a full history to relate like Red, I guess my record keeping isn't as up to snuff as I thought.

The first invasive question came for me when I was 8. That's right. 8. During my baptismal interview.

I was asked if I touched other people's private people's private parts, or let them touch mine. I said no, and he said "that's good. You should never do that. Only moms and dads are allowed to touch each others private parts." How can I remember that conversation you ask? Because it blew my mind. This was the first time I'd heard about private part touching, and for years I couldn't figure out why parents would do that. Given that this was before the internet, I was stuck to just wondering and being curious. Until we got the internet. Then I didn't have to be so curious anymore.

Fast forward to youth, I lied to my bishops for many years about porn and masturbation, until my senior year when I just couldn't take it and confessed because I was convinced I was going to hell. I mean come on, I blessed the sacrament with those sins on my head, how much worse could I be? The bishop was cool (or so I thought), didn't tell me that I was going to hell, asked me to think about the difference between faith and hope, and told me to go read Miracle of Forgiveness. Looking back on it now, he got to play good cop, and let SWK play bad cop. Well done bishop. I still can't get that faith vs. hope crap out of my head though. I mean, I know it's just tea leaf reading bull crap, but it still messes with me. Weird.

Then at mission interview time with the SP, I was asked some pretty detailed questions after admitting to past dalliances with my hand. He wanted specifics on what kind of porn I looked at? Movies or just pictures? (pictures, I mean come on this is during the 56 K modem days. A single picture would take 2 minutes to load! Oh yeah, and R rated movies). Gay porn? (NO WAY! at least not on purpose. Sometimes it pops up though). Bestiality? etc. etc. He never really told me why he needed those details, just that it was important for the repentance process.

What a freak. I can't imagine what this would be like for women. I'm so glad we got our kids out.
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Re: Gaslighting and Creepy Worthiness Interviews

Post by RubinHighlander » Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:15 pm

I experienced the probing questions as a youth, on my mission and both DW and I experienced inappropriate questions as adults. So behind the Mordor curtain, it seemed common practice to me.
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Re: Gaslighting and Creepy Worthiness Interviews

Post by dareka » Fri Jun 15, 2018 1:01 pm

I was only ever asked if I kept the law of chastity. I always said I did, even though I was sure I wasn't keeping it because of masturbation. Looking back I regret ever feeling guilty about it.

I frequently masturbated on my mission, and felt guilty about it. After a few months I decided I need to confess to the mission president. I called and he agreed to meet with me in a couple of weeks when he'd be in my area. The day came, I confessed, and he pretty much said it wasn't a big deal, try not to do it, and gave a few suggestions to help me avoid it. But again, he said it wasn't a big deal. And he never brought it up in future interviews. From that time I stopped feeling guilty for masturbating. Too bad more leaders aren't like him.

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Re: Gaslighting and Creepy Worthiness Interviews

Post by whatififly » Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:43 pm

Those interviews are a disgusting part of the LDS church. My story is on the Protect the Children website. I was never asked if I masturbated (I think that my leaders assumed that it's something only men do and I was far too terrified to confess anything like that, something I'm glad about now!) but I did admit to having sex with my boyfriend when I was 17. I was told such awful things. My worth was equated to my virginity and the bishop said, in his words, that I "could never have my virtue back." It was terrible. He left me feeling suicidal and worthless for a long time and alluded to my confession every time I saw him, including around my parents.

Now that I'm out I wish I had never confessed anything! I used to feel terrible guilt about not confessing masturbation- yes, women do it too!- but now I am just so, so grateful that I never had the courage to sit alone with my pretentious neighbor pretending to speak for God to let him tear me apart for that too. I can only imagine how that would have gone! When I confessed having sex he told me it was worse for me than it would be for a young man. Go figure.

My husband was regularly asked about masturbation and it caused him real shame for many years. He did say that it was a bishop's interview at the age of 12 that gave him some ideas pertaining to it in the first place. The irony is powerful and from what I understand, this isn't uncommon.

These interviews do nothing but cause unnecessary guilt and shame over normal sexual development. Oh, and the boyfriend that landed me in hot water with my bishop as a teenager? He's been my husband for seven years now. My only regret is feeling guilt over anything!
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Re: Gaslighting and Creepy Worthiness Interviews

Post by IT_Veteran » Fri Jun 15, 2018 4:57 pm

whatififly wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:43 pm
Those interviews are a disgusting part of the LDS church. My story is on the Protect the Children website. I was never asked if I masturbated (I think that my leaders assumed that it's something only men do and I was far too terrified to confess anything like that, something I'm glad about now!) but I did admit to having sex with my boyfriend when I was 17. I was told such awful things. My worth was equated to my virginity and the bishop said, in his words, that I "could never have my virtue back." It was terrible. He left me feeling suicidal and worthless for a long time and alluded to my confession every time I saw him, including around my parents.
I had a similar experience when I confessed sex to my bishop. He asked if I used protection, and it got worse from there. I never got the impression that he asked for his own benefit, and at the time I didn't question it. But I was given Miracle of Forgiveness and told to read it, break up with my girlfriend (we've been married 18 years now :D ), called to repentance, and encouraged to do so in enough time to still serve a mission, pending the outcome of a negative pregnancy test.

I don't know if he's the one that told me or if it came from my mom, maybe both, that I had committed a sin that was next to murder in seriousness. Why the hell would you tell a seventeen year old that? My mom explained the process of church discipline so that I wouldn't be surprised by it if they went that route. I have to say, thinking about whether you're about to be forcibly evicted from the faith tradition you were raised in when you're 17 years old is a pretty sad place to be in.

I only wish that I had seen it for what it was back then.

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Re: Gaslighting and Creepy Worthiness Interviews

Post by Mad Jax » Fri Jun 15, 2018 8:19 pm

I don't dismiss the claim but I did "diminish" it. Not proud of it. Whenever somebody told me about it I kind of offhand told them something like "I've been through multiple military physicals, being asked about masturbation is pretty tame in comparison." It's a bad logical fallacy that I can't think of the name of right now. I'm sure I'll think of the name of it soon. "It isn't an issue because this other thing was worse." Stupid.

I know it was pretty disturbing for some. I just never considered it a problem for me. Should have been more empathetic.
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Re: Gaslighting and Creepy Worthiness Interviews

Post by 2bizE » Fri Jun 15, 2018 10:07 pm

I guess i was one of the lucky ones. I do remember being asked at 12 years old if i lived the law of chastity, and i had no idea what the bishop was talking about. I dont remember any probing questions.
As a missionary, however, I remember interviewing a single woman with kids that confessed to having an affair with a married man. She indicated she had no intention of breaking it off. I denied her baptism. I got a lot of flack from the missionaries. I thought I was doing the right thing at the time. Looking back, she would probably thank me now for not letting her in the church.
~2bizE

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Hagoth
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Re: Gaslighting and Creepy Worthiness Interviews

Post by Hagoth » Sat Jun 16, 2018 6:14 am

It was pretty horrible being a virginal teenage missionary and required to give pre-baptism chastity interviews to girls and middle-aged women (and to men, but that was less traumatic). In the early part of my mission we were still required to ask people about sex with animals. I keep telling myself that I must be remembering that incorrectly but I remember that once another elder came to me and said his interviewee had answered yes and he didn't know what to do about it. I don't know if this was a church-wide thing or if it was mission-president imposed but it still gives me the willies. I don't think we were still asking the bestiality question by the end of my mission, but some of the details from the Neolithic are kinda fuzzy now.

Do missionaries still perform these interviews themselves?
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Not Buying It
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Re: Gaslighting and Creepy Worthiness Interviews

Post by Not Buying It » Sat Jun 16, 2018 7:09 pm

whatififly wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:43 pm
Those interviews are a disgusting part of the LDS church. My story is on the Protect the Children website. I was never asked if I masturbated (I think that my leaders assumed that it's something only men do and I was far too terrified to confess anything like that, something I'm glad about now!) but I did admit to having sex with my boyfriend when I was 17. I was told such awful things. My worth was equated to my virginity and the bishop said, in his words, that I "could never have my virtue back." It was terrible. He left me feeling suicidal and worthless for a long time and alluded to my confession every time I saw him, including around my parents.
I am so sorry. That’s reprehensible.
"The truth is elegantly simple. The lie needs complex apologia. 4 simple words: Joe made it up. It answers everything with the perfect simplicity of Occam's Razor. Every convoluted excuse withers." - Some guy on Reddit called disposazelph

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