Subject: I am not allowed to talk to my own children about the Mormon church.  See also below #Part II
Date: Dec 11 19:14 2002  This topic also talks about Mormon Bishops privately interviewing children
Author: JT

For over a year now I have been trying to leave the church slowly. Not easy when with my TBM wife (whom I love) and three TBM kids and me being active in the church for 40 years. Something happened that has affirmed my firm knowledge that I want out of the church. I have been, respectively, talking to my wife and children about my doubts about the church. I have not been an outspoken apostate in public, but I feel I have to right to speak with my own family. My TBM wife has allowed this, mainly because she loves me too.

Apparently, this is not allowed in the Morg. I got a call from my Bishop wanting me to come to his office. I told him to just talk to me on the phone, but he would not talk. We agreed to meet at a coffee shop. (I bought some coffee just to piss him off—even though I have not yet acquired the taste for coffee.) This bishop, an old hunting buddy of mine, proceeds to tell me it beaks his heart to tell me, but if I continue teaching against the church he and the stake president will recommend I be disfellowshipped or perhaps even have to stand before a church court. He informed me that he had interviewed my 15 year old son. My son had disagreed with the Bishop when the Bishop asked him if he masturbated. My son, followed my counsel, and told the bishop it was normal to masturbate and was personal and non of his business. High five to my son for having the guts to say this!!!!! Yea, BABY. I would like to think I am not using my kids to get my point across, but rather, I want to save my kids a lifetime of heartache.

Anyway, I told my bishop I was not teaching against the church outside my home and that, by church rules, I could not be disciplined. He disagreed and left. Here is my rant. I am not ready yet to leave the church. My wife and kids are not emotionally ready for me to leave yet and this bastard is trying to coerce me and tell me I cannot even speak to my own children. $)## him! He cannot do this. I want to work within the church’s own rules and take this abuse to somebody, but who can I report this to? Can the church really do this to me for speaking to my own kids? This is god damn outrageous!!!!! This is not the first time this bishop has threatened me with church discipline.

This is how the church rewards former faithful members. I paid thousands of dollars to in tithing and my wife still pays tithing, I served a two year mission, and spent the last 20 years as a fully active member. Now, within one year, I am being treated like boil on the ass of the Morg. No sympathy, just bullshit coercion for not towing the line. My wife is being counseled to divorce me to save her and my kids from damnation. What the #$@@ is going on? They have no right to dictate to me what I teach my own children. And my TBM wife agrees with this.

Any help here? Can the church really do this? How can I work within the Morg organization to stop this abuse of power. Dirty rotten Morg bastards.


Subject: Tuff position to be in
Date: Dec 11 19:24
Author: Søvnløsener - Insomniac

it is heartbreaking to read your story.

I would have said, 'go ahead and see what happens'. But your situation and my situation are different.

Rock and a hard place......sorry.

Subject: Im in your spot - almost
Date: Dec 11 22:35
Author: Boyscout

I have not been challenging my wife or kids... but I did have a similar talk with them about what is not required to tell the bishop.

Here is what I do and what I have been advised to do, even though you want your wife and kids to follow you in your new beliefs, they each have a right (especially your wife) to believe as they want (just as you do). Now you and I know its a cult, but nothing you say will ever convince her of that. To save your marriage you must agree to disagree and then avoid the conflicts of discussing your differences at any deep level. DO not call each other names or put each other down (stop that practice if you do that). Now if your marriage is like mine, there are other issues that could still destroy your marriage, but I do not advise making religion one of them. You can believe as you like even though your wife doesnt.. it is a place you can go in your beliefs without your wife... she goes to the temple... you go to the strip club!! :) Just kidding... but do something for yourself that you enjoy, dont just wait for her.

As for the kids, when your wife is not around, teach the kids truth without going so far as to make it anti-mormon. Know that your example will teach them. I say things like: Do you really think someone could walk on water? Or do you think if God gave us the Bible, he would take away the Golden Plates? Little by little, get them to think. Just help them to think for themselves... they are smarter than you think. But do it when you wont get caught by your wife who will not accept the truth. (I love what I heard on this site a few days ago, if you want to piss off an ex-mormon, lie to him; if you want to piss of a mormon, tell him the truth.) But do not tell it to your wife unless you are planning to get a divorce. Your kids know you have serious questions and as they get older, trust that your kids will take the opportunity to learn what you would like to teach them. The time will come that they will come to you and you can share the facts, but while they are young, they can enjoy the benefits the church offers... its not going to kill them. There are a few things my kids really like, like scouts. And it is what your wife expects.

As far as the bishop, all you have to say is you have serious doubts and questions but you are still searching for truth (as we all are...its no lie). They cannot do anything about that. If they do, let us know and we will all come to your aid (I would love to talk to him).

Subject: That was disturbing to read, JT.
Date: Dec 11 19:31
Author: Dagny

Even if you consider this guy a friend (which he is not) I am wondering if you should have a talk with your family.

Conversations in your home are PRIVATE. No church "authority" has the right to know what you talk about as a family at home.

You are being totally undermined in your home. The church has been allowed to be an invisible member of your private family. They ask your son about sex. They know what you say about the church and sex at home.

Your family needs to be instructed to not give the church that kind of information or power over their lives, members or not. Even though your son did a great job, the church is trying to test their power. Them or you. IMO, your son should say, "That is private, and I don't talk about such things outside my family" instead of trying to teach the guy a lesson from now on.

Let your family know that if they want the church to provide for the family in every way (sexually, financially, etc.) and replace you, fine. But the church should not be a member of your family over you because you will not be in some sort of competition with them over power of ideas in your house.

What I am wondering if the solution to your problem is to simply have a "no interview" policy. If the church "authorities" don't have access to your home conversations, they can't act against them. If they are using interviews to pry into what is taught in your home, don't allow interviews.

That way no evidence is no action on their part. They should simply be told you will not speak against the church unless they do unethical eavesdropping in your home. Then just continue on as members as a family.

I am stunned at the efforts the church undertakes to undermine parental authority and family bonds. Family first my rear. Can your wife see this from this experience you related here?

Subject: Might be time for everyone to stop talking to the bishop-kids
Date: Dec 11 19:39
Author: SusieQ#1

included - about anything that goes on in the home. It is none of their business anyhow.

You can get a copy of the Church Handbook of Instruction (can't give out the link on this bulletin board) however, you can look up disfellowship and see if the bishop is out of line. What would be his grounds? I doubt there are any that are valid.

There are several X-bishops/stake pres. on this board that could advise you also.

If he forces the issue, you can resign and force them to keep it confidential, a threat of a law suit and going to the press if anyone finds out about it other than from you keeps their mouths shut.

The man is no friend as you found out. He only want to throw his weight around and threaten you. I can't think of enough adjectives to describe this kind of despicable behavior. What does he get out of this anyhow?

Kudos to your son for telling the bishop to stay out of his personal life!


Subject: Thanks for your response. Good advise. Maybe I am pushing to have my kids speak thier minds in public.
Date: Dec 11 19:43
Author: JT

And we should just keep it private. My wife agrees with the church displine because she thinks it will shock me back to reality. Tough call since I know I am not going back.

Subject: I would think your wife must have at least a few doubts too.
Date: Dec 11 19:39
Author: Kim

Your wife can at least see the issue of the Morg wanting to control what you say to your children in your own home being ridiculous and unreasonable. Does she totally discount that, or does she perhaps have some doubts too about the Church? That bishop has to be shooting himself in the proverbial foot by making such a ridiculous demand. I suspect that the bishop and other church folk are going to work your kids to vilify you. Hopefully they have respect enough for you to see through such church tactics. Maybe you should warn your kids of this so they will be able to recognize this when it happens. Kids are not dumb, and it sounds like your 15 year-old is very bright. They'll recognize this Mormon treachery. Maybe your entire family can just leave the Church together.

Good luck.

Subject: I have told my kids to not tell their freinds about our conversations...
Date: Dec 11 19:49
Author: JT

but this was an interview for a youth trip to the temple. I want my kids to make up their own minds and if they are happy in the church, great. I just want to give them the other view.

Regarding my wife. No, she does not have doubts, but she has just barely accepted the fact that I no longer go to church. She is also an RM and nothing could shake her faith. I actually do respect that, but I think after this she has to see they have gone too far.

Subject: Thinking on the page here
Date: Dec 11 19:43
Author: Bob

Basically, the church can only do what you let them do. Because you have a marriage to be concerned about you can't just tell them to stick it where the sun don't shine.

It might be time for some big decisions on your part. If you are in Utah, it might be tough.

I think you have a couple of things working for you. You realize that the handbook of instructions does not call for a disciplinary council unless you speak out in public. However, if your stake president and bishop consider your family to be public, that is their decision.

Your son showed tremendous strength in his interview. With his support, I think you can take some action. You don't have to let him be interviewed by the bishop. As his parent, I believe you have the right to choose his religion until he is 18, and you certainly don't have to let him talk to the bishop.

Now, a step that drastic may be too much for your wife to take. While there is nothing that sucks worse than this, the church is really in a position to pit your relationship with your wife against your relationship with your kids. Jesus said that is his job or the job of his representative, so the church will attempt to justify their actions.

People who believe can be coerced to do strange things. You have the option of either getting in line, and keeping the battle to yourself (at the expense of the bishop asking your son about his personal sexual habits) or you can see this battle to its bitter end. The church has no sense of right and wrong here, so you have to be the ultimate arbitor of your destiny and of the message you want to send your wife and kids.

Legally, you probably have to agree with a course of action with your wife, unless you are divorced. If you are divorced, you have to find a sympathetic judge.


Subject: Re: It might just be me, but if...
Date: Dec 11 19:49
Author: SD

the bishop had tried this on me, he'd be missing his family jewels. I don't think you have anything to worry about. If I was you and they did try, I'd to the press in a nano-second. I can see the headline now: Father Disciplined for Refusing to Allow Church Leader to Sexually Abuse His Son.

Subject: Great Post! We're All With You On This One . . .
Date: Dec 11 20:16
Author: SL Cabbie

ADMIN has been complaining about all the dissension and name-calling the last few days; I hope they'll take this as a good sign (you know, though, for all the uproar, I haven't seen a mass exodus from this board back to the church ;-). And note to any anti-masturbatory fanatics: This isn't even about that issue; it's about whether an external authority, without parental sanction, can violate the boundaries of a teen-ager and inflict shame and abuse on another person.

Subject: Re: Great Post! We're All With You On This One . . .
Date: Dec 11 20:24
Author: Søvnløsener - Insomniac

This is the one and only reason I don't remove my name: my priesthood authority outranks their priesthood authority in my home and regarding my family.

The bureaucracy of the corporation has to respect that because it is in their own rules.

Subject: my 2 cents...
Date: Dec 11 19:51
Author: theantisprite

You are right about the rules, however a rouge bishop can cause problems. I (and others) have had these kind of bishops who think they are doing right by being 'tougher' than expected. These are the same yahoos who encourage 15% tithes and 'tithing on gross' and so forth.

It seems that your wife has a good attitude and possibly more closely aligned with you than you might think. I would suggest letting the bishop self destruct. Quitely keep proclaiming your rights with your family and humbly in public around others that know of this situation. The more the bishop cracks the whip, the more flawed he (and the church) will appear to your wife and kids. If you can control yourself a little, you can use this as a way to expose them (the church) for who they really are.

Best wishes ,


Subject: I vote for SD's press line! Go for it! The more bad press the church
Date: Dec 11 20:01
Author: SusieQ#1

gets, the better. People need to stand up to those arrogant bullies!

Subject: Umm... I'm a journalist. Do you realize what you've done?
Date: Dec 11 20:43
Author: PRAVDA

You said that you are not ready to leave the church yet, but going to the press to expose the Bishop is pretty much the kiss of death to your membership.

But maybe it's all for the best. Get your family together and read Joshua 24:15. It's time to make a choice. "Choose ye this day".

Are they going to follow a corrupt corporation that has stolen years of your lives (and you have ample proof right here), or a man ready to honor the truth?

There is no benefit in trying to ease away from a lie. The church does not allow gray areas. They want you all the way in or all the way out. How can any just God be that intolerant? Simple. It's just a church of men.

This is it, JT. This is it. Step out to freedom, and hope for the best. You just CAN'T live a lie. The only way to be a member and not believe is to pretend. Tell your loved ones you can't pretend anymore.

Love and chance bless,

Subject: I so sorry for your situation.
Date: Dec 11 20:42
Author: smo

I'm impressed with how you've handled your relationships with your family members so far. Your love for them is clear.

It sounds like your son has some self-confidence. I hope you are proud of yourself for helping him find that confidence. I think is is absolutely appropriate for parents to discuss possible situations and help their children develop good responses. You were completely correct to help your son formulate a response to such an invasive question.

Others have offered you some good advice, much better than I could have given. Good luck with a difficult situation.


Subject: (language) I don't think you can work within the morg and resolve
Date: Dec 11 21:04
Author: Saucie

this in any way close to what you want. The whole idea that this controlling moronic fuckhead can dictate to you what you can or cannot talk to your children about is such a violation of your rights as a father!!! I cannot believe it. I dont' think that there is an easy resolution to this.
Either you get out of the church as fast as you can and end this little despot's hold over you or contact a lawyer.
That is outrageous!!! Keep in mind, he only has as much power over you as you give him. Good luck.

Subject: When I was 13 in that interview...
Date: Dec 11 21:05
Author: SamPenguin

... I just lied and said "No" to the masturbation question. I remember freaking out about it, then going to the temple anyway. When my feet didn't burn on the sacred ground for lying to the bishop, in addition to being *completely* creeped out by the temple, I think that's when I started goin down Apostate Avenue.

So grats to your kid for refusing to discuss the issue, he's definitely got more backbone than I did. I don't know about him, but I was terrified at that age of even talking about wanking to my friends!

Not to be a doomsayer, buy I can only hope the best for you, man. I've read a lot of stories that started out similar to yours and went down a really ugly road. The moral of most of those stories was that if the spouse stayed in the church, the church eventually drove the couple apart, and usually the family unit with it. Not to mention all kinds of terrible, insidious actions by bishops and members alike. Like you already mentioned, your wife is being counseled to leave you and "save the kids". It will only get worse, because the longer she stays with you, the more likely she will be exposed to reality and thus also leave the church.

Amazing, for all the lip service given to family togetherness, how quickly the church will recommend divorce and splits, in order to keep a member active. If that doesn't illustrate real priorities, I don't know what does.

It's amazing how terrified people are of someone like you leaving the fold, a long standing, respected member. That makes them start to question themselves, and questions, as we all know, are of Satan. Therefore, you will become a very evil man in their eyes. so my advice from what I've understood others to go through, is start thickening your skin. :(

I hope your family respects you, it sounds like they do and that you have a more positive situation than most. If that's the case, than my guess is they will understand, and possibly find out for themselves.

Wish I could be more technical help... but at least I can say leaving the church was the best decision I ever made, although I didn't realize until years later. You are making the right decision, so long as you are making it out of honesty for yourself and your beliefs.

Subject: I am still ASTOUNDED to hear about a kid being questioned about Masturbation and a church telling a wife to divorce her husband. Unbelievable! n/t

Subject: How about this for a Xmas gift for your wife:
Date: Dec 11 21:29
Author: Dagny

Get her a copy of Compton's Sacred Loneliness with a really nice piece of jewelry attached to the cover.

Wrap it with care and love with a note attached saying: I love and respect you more than JS loved ALL his wives combined. I hope you will read this book and see why I cannot attend church. I love you too much.

Hee hee Would she be irritated or would she take you seriously? What do you think of an idea like this?

My husband telling me he loved me too much to participate in the church's treatment of women was my first glimpse that something was wrong in the church. He told me I did not need a male as a middleman between me and God, and something inside me snapped and I started reading.

Good luck!

Subject: "Can the church really do this?"
Date: Dec 11 21:42
Author: Winslow

Long experience has shown "the church" can do anything it damn well pleases, so long as you allow them to do it.

How long will you continue to give them permission is the only question over which you have any control.

Good Luck,


Subject: Your bishop has no right to interfere...
Date: Dec 11 21:50
Author: TLC

...with how you counsel your children. They are your children, not the church's. You have both a legal and a moral responsibility to counsel them in the best way you see fit.

I think if you pressed this issue, your bishop would have to back down because he has no legal or moral rights where your children are concerned. And I seriously doubt that the stake president or others will want to wade into this dangerous territory just to support him.

He's out of line JT. Don't back down on this. You've already given your son a marvelous gift by counseling him in the way you have. Don't let that precious counseling stop now because of intimidation.

Redouble and triple your efforts to make sure your wife knows that you love her and chances are, she won't abandon you in this journey. The stronger the love and caring between you, the less likely she will be to walk away from it, no matter what the church says.

My personal feeling is that if we make our children more important than anything else, we'll always know what to do. I'd much rather be living in Italy at this point in my life but won't make the move until my daughter, son-in-law and grandson are able and willing to join me there.

This is my place - here close to my daughter as I've been for the past 21 years - counseling her, supporting her and loving her. She is the central focus of my life. I brought her into this world and I won't make choices that compromise my committment to her or my love for her.

Follow your heart JT and know that we're all behind you supporting you.

Subject: Threaten legal action against him....
Date: Dec 11 21:51
Author: Skybolt

Your puke bishop might really cool his heels if he knew that instead of his cozy ""kangaroo" court of love" he might have to wind up in a real court of justice facing a mean SOB lawyer hired by you.

IMHO going to the press is a real wild card and it could potentially backfire on you. Ergo, perhaps you could get sued by him if you say the wrong thing to the media, or the media might distort what you say. Keep it cool, get a good lawyer.

Even the implied threat of legal action might shut this butthead bishop up.

Subject: Your teenage son was Sexually Harrassed by an adult man...
Date: Dec 11 21:56
Author: EJH

verging on the brink of sexual abuse... put it in ANY other setting: Your son is at the skate park and an adult man comes up to him, and quietly asks him if he masturbates. I would want my own son to get the hell out of there! And then report the incident to a trusted adult. That trusted adult should then report the activity to the authorities. It is a parent's job to protect their children! Your son trusts you to keep him safe!

You did the right thing, letting your son know that masturbation is normal and healthy. It is ordinarily a private activity, especially for a teen, and he needs to know that it is WRONG for another man to ask him about it. AND it is okay to be rude (get up and walk out) to an adult who has stepped beyond the bounds of appropriate conversation.

And I echo another's thoughts... I cannot believe the church still asks that question. I remember that from 15 years ago... that it is still going on is absolutely insane. Does ANY other church delve into these matters with their members???


Subject: Your wife is being counselled by whom?
Date: Dec 11 22:01
Author: Oracle

The bishop? Ward members? Who?

Subject: Wow . . . you're in for a roller coaster ride, JT. Here are my ideas.
Date: Dec 11 22:21
Author: dude

JT, sorry you're being pushed around by your clergyman. Sounds funny, doesn't it? In no other church would a minister act like this. Yet Mormons just put up with this kind of crap.

For what it's worth, here are my ideas. Best of luck.

1. Parents have legal control of their kids. If you and your wife agree on a course of action, you can get control of the situation and control how it impacts you, her, and the kids. If you work together, you'll win. If they get you working against each other, you'll lose.

2. So you need to talk to your wife and work this out until you are on the same page. Figure out how you want this to end, then work backwards to where you are now.

3. Seems like the first step is to prohibit any more interviews or other one-on-one contact between your kids and the Bishop, at least for now. You can do this--you are the parents and they are a threat. If the Bishop or any of his helpers violate your direct command on this, see an attorney immediately, not a reporter. I guarantee they won't do it twice.

4. If you want to start an argument, remind the Bishop about the young man in Utah who took his life apparently over Bishop-induced masturbation guilt, and that you therefore view him as a potentially fatal threat to your son. But only if you want an argument.

5. If you bring a reporter in on this, you lose some or all control of the situation. You don't know how they'll spin the story. Sounds like you want to keep it quiet for now anyway.

6. If they corner you or your wife, don't let them put you on the spot. You can always say, "I need to think this over before responding," or "I need to talk with my wife on this important and personal topic before responding."

Can't wait to hear how this turns out. I know you'll win in the long run!

Subject: Re: I am not allowed to talk to my own children about the church.
Date: Dec 12 00:28
Author: Boyscout

Since faith is the belief in something unproven, our choice to place faith in something then becomes defendable by our own reasoning. Therefore, attacks upon that chosen faith becomes very personal, which often results in greater conviction to it. Since no one can make proof of their positions in faith, ones own human reasoning becomes the sole proof of that which we have chosen to place faith in. In doing so we often times relish the opposition, ignore the evidence against it and believe despite all probabilities. Whether this is done individually or collectively in a group, will not change the truth nor ones conviction in that which is not.

Subject: I think I would talk to a lawyer and find out all the thing they would
Date: Dec 12 00:30
Author: Wishing I had a law degree

need to successfully win a multimillion dollar lawsuit for harrassment, stalking and whatever else they can think of. Then carefully and methodically record all the evidence which the morg provides until your attorneys say "you've just won a million dollars".

Good luck! Families are forever, family first, Father is the head of the household, yea yea the church is a lying sack of sh*t!

Subject: You don't have to let them inteview your kids
Date: Dec 12 02:05
Author: Sohpia
Mail Address:

A friend of mine, after the bishop asked her son if he masturbated, simply told the bishop that he was not allowed to interview him again unless a parent was present. The bishop wasn't happy about it, but abided by her demand. Another friend told the bishop what he could and could not talk about with his kids, insisting that any discussion of sex was strictly off limits. Again, the bishop was unhappy about the demand, but acceded to my friend's demand.

I don't know whether that helps JT, as he has the complication of his wife's activity and perhaps her willingness to give permission to talk to the bishop. But it IS possible to put your foot down on this one. I think that if a church leader interviewed a child against a parent's wishes, that church leader might be subject to legal action, my post agreeing with KathyWUT about lawsuits on another thread notwithstanding. (You would have to prove damages, of course, but that is another matter.)

Also, I think JT's bishop was out of line in saying he couldn't talk to his kids about his beliefs/disbeliefs. Depending on your SP, JT, you might be able to get the bishop to back off on this one. IMO, talking to your family about your beliefs does not constitute "apostasy" as defined in the Church Handbook of Instructions, because it is not public.

I even think that you might be able to take this to your Area Authority. Some of them, at least, would be sympathetic. I am aware of some situations where AAs have intervened to stop spiritually abusive practices. It's not a sure bet, but it does happen. AAs serve under the Area Presidents. It is a regional office, and they are lay workers who maintain their own homes and employment, so they usually are not on the church payroll. I'm sure some of them are jerks, but many are not.

I don't know what other advice I can give you. You're really in a tough spot given your family situation and your wife's TBM beliefs.

Good luck. I hope you are able to work this out.

Subject: Agreed Sophia.
Date: Dec 12 02:33
Author: TLC
Mail Address:

Thanks for these excellent thoughts.

Regardless of my personal feelings about the mormon church, I don't believe that it's proper for a bishop or any other church leader to ask a non-adult questions about their personal sex practices. In any other setting this would raise enormous outrage and be grounds for a sexual abuse complaint.

If a neighbor or extended family member can't ask those questions of a child without getting in trouble, why are we allowing an untrained lay clergyman to do it? The question is the same no matter who it comes from.

Since the courts are reluctant to step into these matters where clergy are involved, it falls to the parents to protect their children.

I know from personal experience that these kind of questions are deeply harmful for an adolescent to endure and the fallout is not justifiable even from a religious point of view.

Nobody has the right to discuss masturbation with an adolescent other than a parent or a trained professional that the parents have approved of. Anybody else doing it is overstepping their boundaries.

I hope that JT can find a way to put a stop to this. The church's word cannot take precedence over his word when it comes to his own children.

As harsh as this may sound, I don't think I'd choose to sacrifice my children for the sake of my wife or partner. If I had to choose between them, I'd choose my children because they need me to protect them until they're able to do so themselves.

Mt heart goes out to JT but at the same time, he's already won the first round because his son was willing to stand up to the bishop and tell him it was none of his business.

Subject: I told out Bishop not to ask our daughter any sex questions and he said "OK" without any problem.
Date: Dec 12 08:38
Author: PMF
Mail Address:

So it appears JT's issue is probably more about a personality issue with the Bishop. Meaning that some Bishops wd probably handle that much better and be accepting of JT's parenting. Maybe he should pursue sympathetic Mormons to put pressure on the Bishop.

Subject: Agree. Being denied ones integrity is harmful and insulting.
Date: Dec 12 08:35
Author: brefots
Mail Address:

I for one will eventually, when I get the oppertunity, tell my sisters son that he doesn't need to reveal anything deeply personal about himself to anyone. I want him to know that he doesn't need to tell anyone anything he doesn't want to tell. If someone asks he can lie or tell them it's non of their buisness because it really isn't. Masturbation, thoughts and feelings, in short anything that doesn't effect another human being is nobody elses buisness.

Subject: Agree, parents can help stop pedophile Bishops . . .
Date: Dec 12 09:45
Author: Gazelle
Mail Address:

from asking questions on masturbation to children.

This is one of the sickest practices in Mormonism, and I think the best way to reduce it is for parents to tell their Bishops to stop talking about sex without a parent present.

Just having a parent present will stop the practice and keep the pedophile Bishops under control.

Subject: Took your advise and called my Bishop at his work..
Date: Dec 12 13:45
Author: JT
Mail Address:

and asked him not to ask any sex related questions to any of my children. Exact response "If I cannot determine the moral status of your son, then he will not be allowed to go on the youth temple trip". Problem is my sone wants to go--all of my family is TBM. So he is is telling me he has the right to ask my young son if he masterbates. I also called my Area Authority last night and he confirmed this is the case. However, this AA was softer in tone and said he would call my bishop and let him know he was being too harsh with the threats to take me to a church court for speaking "apostacy" to my children.

At least there is one some rational Morgs out there. Still bugs me that a lay person can ask my children about sex. TBM wife is furious with me over this, but says she loves me anyway. Sad to say but 'love' in this situation is heartbreaking and traps me in a corner. I have told my sone to lie--this is his only way out since I respect my sons wishes to still go to church. However, I will still continue to teach my children the other side of the church.

Subject: Man oh man JT - this is a tough one.
Date: Dec 12 13:54
Author: TLC
Mail Address:

I'm here pulling for you as I'm sure everybody else is too.

Your bishop does NOT have the right to ask your son if he masturbates. You did the right thing by telling your son to lie. A kid should lie if they have to when somebody is asking them out-of-bounds questions.

I wish somebody would have given me the advice you gave your son when I was a teenager. It would have spared me a lot of heartache and unnecessary guilt.

Good for you JT. Keep it up. They're your kids. You keep calling the shots and keep the assholes as far away from them as you can.

Subject: Re: Took your advise and called my Bishop at his work..
Date: Dec 12 13:55
Author: dippity doo
Mail Address:

It's truly sad that the Church is so hung up on masturbation. Our SP directed all Bishopric members to ask about that during all YM interviews. I was a counselor at the time. I told the Bish. that I would rather not ask the question because I didn't want to give his naive son any ideas. He allowed that I probably was right. I never asked that question to any YM. (Sidebar -- my read of the handbook left "worthiness" issues to Bishops, not counselors, so the SP was wrong as a matter of policy to direct counselors to ask the question). The "I don't want you giving him any ideas" approach might be a way to at least minimize the damage. Also, you might want to interview your son in detail after he gets home. If the Bishop goes beyond the M question, you might want to have another talk with him.

Subject: Gently keep focussing your wife on your Bishop's pedophile behavior.
Date: Dec 12 14:05
Author: Gazelle
Mail Address:

Asking children if they masturbate is sick.

I served in several Bishoprics and NEVER asked such a question to anyone--youth or adult.

This is NOT a Temple Recommend question, but part of the abuse that your Bishop and Area President experienced in their youth. Like most abused people, they are simply passing it on.

Don't believe it? Ask him to show you where that question is in the Temple questions or in the General Handbook of Instructions. It is NOT there.

It may even help to let him know you think it is pedophile behavior as it may be the first time he has ever thought about it.

This is NOT normal behavior. It exceeds all normal boundaries in working with minors. It is SICK.

Most Mothers are sensitive about protecting their children from pedophiles. Keep your focus on the pedophile Bishop.

May God bless you and your family in its recovery from this spiritually abusive Church.

Subject: Re: Gently keep focussing your wife on your Bishop's pedophile behavior.
Date: Dec 12 21:23
Author: Kristin
Mail Address:

Gazelle is right! That is totally inappropriate behavior. Maybe TBM mother has no personal boundries because she is not used to standing up for herself to "authorities". Ridiculous.

Subject: I guess this means
Date: Dec 12 14:14
Author: then again
Mail Address:

in order for you to know your bishop's "moral status" it would be justified if you asked him if he masterbates, has improper sexual thoughts, ever committed adultery, every stole anything, ever cheated on his tax returns,... and so on.

My guess is that he probably wouldn't like the questions. A taste of one's own medicine can be enlightening.

What goes around often comes around.

Subject: Spiritual abuse is ALWAYS from those in authority.
Date: Dec 12 14:21
Author: Gazelle
Mail Address:

If JT asked such questions, the Bishop would simply tell him that JT has no authority to ask such questions.

JT will get no where with such questions because he has no perceived authority.

The Mormon Bishop's "authority" is the only thing that allows the Bishop to behave this way.

Anyone else would be arrested for asking a minor if he masturbates.

I guess from some of my responses, you can see that I am very upset that JT and his son have to be exposed to such spiritual, emotional, and psychological abuse.

The Mormon emphasis on untrained and uneducated lay ministers allows this to continue.

JT, you and your family are in my prayers. May God bless you and your family with wisdom and strength to face up to this abuse.

Subject: A comprimise
Date: Dec 12 14:21
Author: Bob
Mail Address:

If the purpose is the temple trip, then the bishop should only ask the temple questions. Masturbation is not among them. The question is, I think, "Have you ever had any sexual relations outside of marriage."

You can call him on this one. He has no right to use the word masturbation, ever!


Subject: The question was/is "Do you live the law of chastity?"
Date: Dec 12 14:24
Author: Gazelle
Mail Address:

Now the Bishop has chosen to take it to a new specific level of interrogation.

And, in Mormonism, he can if he is "moved upon by the spirit" so he can do whatever he believes is necessary.

I wish there was some legal recourse for JT.

Subject: Re: The question was/is "Do you live the law of chastity?"
Date: Dec 12 14:38
Author: Sohpia
Mail Address:

Yes, that is the correct question. I submitted another post with the "old" question about being morally clean.

I think there have been explicit instructions to bishops and SPs to refrain from exceeding the questions as they are written.

Subject: there was an earlier episode on a similar topic: the bishop and AA are both wrong
Date: Dec 12 19:15
Author: dude
Mail Address:

in 1982, the FP distributed a letter to bishops and sp's saying oral sex was "impure," but NOT to delve into intimate sexual matters with members. (So why send the letter? duh).

you can guess what happened--many bishops and sp's took this as a green light to become the sex police. So many members complained about the resulting questioning that the FP followed with another letter 10 months later reiterating the directive to NOT inquire into details but to stick with "do you live the law of chastity?" as stated by gazelle, who seems to be "one who knows." [to finish off this thought and not leave you hanging, they were also told that if a member inquired as to whether oral sex was permissible, the proper response was that if you have concerns or anxiety you probably shouldn't be doing it, should you? so they won't say it's wrong but they won't say it's okay either. sounds like polygamy. i wonder if the two are related?]

so, as i read it, your bishop and AA are both wrong. The bishop is supposed to limit questioning to "do you live the law of chastity?" unless the member asks additional questions. the fact that it's a kid rather than an adult doesn't mean they can go on a fishing expedition. although i've heard of bishops who get a real kick out of doing just that with teenage girls. but that's another issue.

ask your wife why the bishop is singling out your son for detailed sexual inquiries. at this point, it is probably his way of getting back at you. he's attacking you by subjecting your son to detailed sexual inquiry. just a thought. that would make a great letter to salt lake.

btw: this will really help you out when it comes to a custody battle. your wife is forcing your son into one-on-one contact with a man who wants to hold explicit sexual conversations with your son. you are making every effort to prevent it, but she is frustrating your attempts. keep good documentation.

Subject: Church Leaders go out of their way to sustain Bishops.
Date: Dec 12 20:51
Author: Gazelle
Mail Address:

Dude, I agree that the Bishop's behavior was inappropriate, but I think the leaders up the chain of command will generally sustain their Bishops. That is how the spiritual, emotional, and spiritual abuse continues in Mormonism. Hinckley knows what is going on, and he could stop it now if HE wanted it stopped. The whole Mormon Church Culture is SICK because the abuse is so extensive and prevasive. I really like what JT did, personally confront the abuser with their misbehavior. I am sure the Bishop did not enjoy someone focussing on his abuse.

Subject: Tell the bishop to stick to the question
Date: Dec 12 14:33
Author: Sophia
Mail Address:

The question, as I recall, is "Are you morally clean?" It used to be, "Are you morally clean and worthy to enter the temple," but I think they may have shortened it. Instruct your son not to ask the bishop what this means, but rather to simply answer "yes." The bishop has no right to probe any further. If the bishop persists, have your son say, "I already answered your question that I am morally clean." If the bishop still persists, complain to the SP and/or AA.

Subject: Empower your son.
Date: Dec 12 15:13
Author: girl in the box
Mail Address:

Sit down with your son and explain what the role of a Bishop is, and that the Bishop is advised by the church itself to ask only certain questions in order to protect individuals from being harrassed and to prevent Bishops from abusing their power. Tell your son that the Bishop, as the spiritual leader of the local ward, does have the right to ask him if he is "morally clean" in the interview questions but that if the Bishop probes with further questions, he is doing something that has been deemed inappropriate by the church itself. Tell your son that just as the Bishop is there to help individuals progress, each individual member is there to make sure the Bishop does not abuse his authority. Remind your son that the church is a democracy (let's ignore that it's neither true nor a democracy in reality -- this is what it CLAIMS to be and so your son, if he believes in it, will feel that what it claims to be is what it is). Remind him that the Bishop was voted into his position, which means that each individual in the ward supposedly prayed to be sure the Bishop was an appropriate choice for that role. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the individual member to observe the Bishop's behavior and make sure he remains worthy of his position.

All this is building up to this point -- tell your son that you don't have a problem with the Bishop serving his role as he is instructed to by a morally conscious church (we'll ignore that it's not morally conscious in reality for now). Tell him that what you have a problem with is men who misuse and abuse their power, and so long as the Bishop doesn't do this, you have no issues with him. Then tell your son that if the Bishop crosses the line and asks your son questions that are inappropriate for a Bishop to ask, your son should report him, not only to you but to a higher authority. Explain to your son that this is very important -- not just to protect him, but to protect others as well. If the Bishop is asking your son sexually invasive questions, it's likely he is asking other kids (even younger kids) those same questions and that other kids who don't have concerned parents watching over them, might be vulnerable to abuse at the hands of such an individual. So your son needs to protect not just himself but his peers by reporting the Bishop if the Bishop abuses his powers.

The hard part is setting down what qualifies as "abuse of power." You could invite your son to discuss with you what questions the Bishop asked after he goes to the interview and discuss with him if anything said crosses the line. Or you could get a copy of the CHI or the interview and underline what the Bishop is supposed to ask and tell your son that if the man asks anything else, he is breaking the church's rules. Also, you could tell your son that anything that makes him feel uncomfortable or invaded is likely inappropriate.

The Bishop may be a jerk, but not an abuser, in which case your son will get asked questions but not be harassed. However, if the Bishop is an abuser, he needs to be found out and stopped so that your son will be protected.


Subject: This won't work because an Area Authority has already said it is ok.
Date: Dec 12 15:32
Author: Gazelle
Mail Address:

See JT's post above.

JT took it to an Area Authority after his Bishop said he had the right to ask such questions. The Area Authority was "soft spoken" but supported the Bishop's right to ask such questions (actually he sustained the Bishop's spiritual abuse).

IMHO, JT's 15-year-old should not be placed in a position of opposing a Bishop and Area Authority. The Mormon Church has already "decided" this issue for JT's son.

The kid has been dis-empowered by the Church. Now it is a matter of "no ticky, no laundry". He either does what they want or he does not go to the Temple. The kid can only chose among the following actions:

(1) giving in, "confessing", and "repenting" for a Mormon Temple recommend (doesn't this sound like a North Korean POW camp),

(2) lying for a Mormon Temple recommend (not very honest or healthy in my opinion), or

(3) remaining true to his beliefs and NOT GOING TO THE MORMON TEMPLE.

The Mormon Cult controls members with the Mormon Temple Recommend.

But the real choice is for the parents to do whatever they deem necessary to protect their children from the Mormon pedophiles. I have come to the sad conclusion that one must eventually leave to protect one's family.

Subject: I think it will work
Date: Dec 12 16:17
Author: Sophia
Mail Address:

The Area Authority said that the bishop has the right to determine a young person's worthiness and therefore can ask about sexual purity. But that doesn't give the bishop the right to delve into any specifics. If the bishop sticks to the question, "Do you live the law of chastity," that's all he has the right to ask.

JT, maybe you need to explain to your son (and your bishop, for that matter) what the law of chastity is, namely, that you are not to have sexual relations with anyone except your legally and lawfully wedded spouse. If your son knows that, there is no reason for the bishop to further define the law of chastity, and he is OUT OF LINE if he goes into more explicit sexual probing.

Subject: JT did the right thing. This was way beyond his son to solve.
Date: Dec 12 18:07
Author: Gazelle
Mail Address:

Once the Bishop spiritually abused his son, it is not up to a minor to solve the problem.

As a parent, JT stepped up and did the difficult but right thing by confronting the abuser.

I have to admire him, and his wife will, too, over time admire his love for his children.

The first duty of a parent is to protect their children.

I can only say God bless JT for his good work!

Subject: "Understood and assumed" church rights.
Date: Dec 12 16:02
Author: Cheryl
Mail Address:

My apologies if this has been covered or doesn't seem to fit. I'm sorry I somehow missed the thread that started this one.

The church assumes certain rights in dealing with members. Members are expected to understand this church power. Fine.

But leagally, a free person in a free country can take back any of the church's powers. The individual has a right to quit the church or tell the church to stop sending VTs and HTs. The person has a right to pay or not pay tithing. The church can't force a person to have FHE or read the BofM. They can't force someone to take a calling.

Okay, so those who don't do these things might not get temple recommends. Well, a parent has a legal and moral right not to let a bishop do private interviews with minor children. If it's the parent who doesn't let this happen, how the heck can the kid be denied the recommend?

That makes no sense to me. Schools have a right to teach sex education with the parents' permission. No permission? No sex education. Schools would be nailed to the wall if they punished a child because his parent refused permission.

I think the church is legally vulnerable on this point. The biggest problem is the disagreement between the two parents. The parent who objects should be the one with veto power. Go tell this bishop that he and the church are in legal jeopardy. Say the local abusers better back down or take their chances.

Wish I could do it for the parent and save him the heart ache.

Part II

Subject: Update on status with Bishop and Reporter..
Date: Dec 12 16:25
Author: JT
Mail Address:

I took the morning off of work to resolve this issue. A reporter did call my back. Since I live in Seattle he was very interested in the Murphy case. However only wants me to call him back if the church tells me I am to be going before a church court. I think I am going to leave this alone for now. I am not ready to stir up my family right and go public unless I do get sent before a “love court”.

However, I went to my bishop’s work office and gave him the phone number and name of the reporter and told him the reporter wanted to speak with him. I also told him about my conversation with the Area Rep (who by the way is really tuned into the Murphy case—he told me the church does not want any more bad PR in this area). End result is the Bishop agreed to never ask my children any direct sex questions other than if they live the law of chastity. I will personally take them to any interviews they have with any church member. Also the bishop apologized (can you believe it!!) for making an inappropriate threat to send me to a church court. He told me he was sad to see a good "freind" throw so much away. Also, I have told him before to stop counseling my wife to leave me, but he says he is not telling her that. He is just telling her to do what is best for the kids. Bullshit! What is best for my kids is to have a loving, honest father. My wife still continues to seek his counsel despite my objections. She is her own person and can do what she wants.

I guess you can call this a victory. This is all so sad to me since I used to love this I am past the anger stage and just want it out of my life. However, it will never be out of my life as long as I care for my wife and children. Good news is this last week I threw away my garments and worked out a compromise with my wife on her paying tithing on only half of our income. Good compromise. I also ordered the book “In sacred loneliness” and will leave it around the house. My wife reads anything church related and this is not considered an “anti” book. I am going to lay low for now and support my wife and kids in their decisions. We have had enough strife in our family just before Christmas.

When I started this process of leaving the church a wise person on the board told me to take it slow—now I see wisdom in statement. I would add “Take it slow, but don’t let the church crap all over you”

Subject: Whew! Thanks for the update. We'll breathe easer for you.
Date: Dec 12 16:38
Author: Cheryl

You did great! Hang in there.

Subject: Bravo!
Date: Dec 12 16:39
Author: Dagny

It sounds like you are a "take charge" sort of person. I think you have this situation under control!

The "inappropriate threat to send me to a church court" apology was sure interesting. Gee, I wonder if THAT got discussed in light of Murphy and bad press threats! Ya think? LOL

Let us know what your wife says about the book down the line when she starts reading it. I'm hoping that if she reads that book, she will start to see the light.

Way to go!

Subject: Great! I'm happy for you!
Date: Dec 12 17:14
Author: Sophia

Good choice with Sacred Loneliness. The author is gentle with Joseph and doesn't make judgments about his relationships. But it's still pretty shocking to know that he "married" young girls, including two who he was the guardian of, and married women. I hope your wife sees through him. My experience is that if you give people small doses of the truth at a time, eventually they get the whold picture.

Good luck to you! And bravo for standing up for your kids!

Subject: Congratulations! Your time was well spent in protecting your children from the Bishop.
Date: Dec 12 17:34
Author: Gazelle

I am very happy for you and your children.

Those searching questions on masturbation to minors are always spiritually, emotionally, and psychologially abusive.

People learn. I am sure he did not enjoy your pressing him on pedophile behavior.

You made the Bishop pay a price for his misbehavior, and I am sure he will have to weigh the cost the next time he wants to abuse your children.

"Is Sacred Loneliness" is an extraordinary book for most women. Over time, it will be very helpful in seeing through the true Joseph Smith story.

Subject: Yes, Mormon Bishops have "private" interviews with young women, too.
Date: Dec 12 20:39
Author: Gazelle

The Mormon practice is to have Bishops or one of their Counselors conduct "private" interviews at least twice a year with young men and young women, ages 12 to 18.

Usually, the Bishop conducts the annual Birtday interview, and a Counselor conducts an interview six months later.

In addition, Bishops and/or Counselors also privately interview youth for Mormon Temple Recommends (the written authorition to enter a Mormon Temple).

These "private" interviews are becoming an increasingly unique practice to Mormonism.

Boy Scouts used to have such "private" interviews between a Scout and his Scoutmaster. |This is no longer practiced after the Boy Scouts lost a few lawsuits for child abuse. Now, the Scoutmaster must interview a Scout in the plain and open view of others. And the Scoutmasters do NOT ask questions about masturbation.

You should know that the weird questions you hear about are common practice in Mormonism, but they are not part of the actual "authorized" written questions. They result when a Bishop "magnifies" his calling as "prompted" by the spirit. In my view, the reality is they were abused as children and therefore they are just continuing the practice with those they interview.

(I was in several Bishoprics and NEVER asked such questions. But I believe it exits because I had a Counselor in a Stake Presidency repeatedly ask me such a question. Now I would have confronted him as a sex pervert, but I was new to Mormonism at the time and accepted too much Mormon misbehavior. This is part of the reason I have written such strong comments in this post.)

QUESTIONS TO YOUTH ABOUT MASTURBATION IS A SICK PRACTICE BY A VERY SICK MORMON CHURCH. But the most troubling concerne is that Hinckley has not spoken out against it. Knowing him, Hinckley would just say, "I don't know that we do that."

Subject: bravo--a sign that the Murphy thing has changed the Morg's MO, for the better we all hope.


Subject: Re: Update on status with Bishop and Reporter..
Date: Dec 12 20:46
Author: Saucie

You did the right thing..good for you, that's great!!!

Subject: Way to go to bat your child!
Date: Dec 12 20:47
Author: El Skank

You're a fine man, congrats on standing up to the alleged authorities.

Subject: Happy for the good news and.......
Date: Dec 12 21:54
Author: PMF

I am really surprised at your wife. For my wife to go seek counsel from the source (the bishop) of the problem is cruel and unusual punishment. It is the equivalent of someone telling me they are going to have an affair with my wife and then have my wife go to them to see if she should stay in the marriage. GROSS! I do hear hopeful signs that your wife may have some doubts about the church. I know you love ur family and that love keeps you hanging in there. But I think what your wife is doing is just plain cruel. I guess hang in there till your wife comes to reality. Good luck. I am praying for you.

Subject: You are Brilliant
Date: Dec 12 18:20
Author: on the way out

a huge congrats on a most effective and astute aproach to really difficult problem. I think your assesment is for the best. Going slow is the only possible path that I see to maintain the most important people in your life

Subject: Congratulations, JT! Now I know what to do in 3 years when my kids start having "worthiness" interviews. n/t

Subject: Never allow your child to be interviewed alone, there needs to be a
Date: Dec 12 22:50
Author: SusieQ#1

parent present at all times. If parents took a proactive role in this interview process, the invasive questioning would stop in a heart beat. The Bishop's etc. would be much less likely to ask embarrassing questions of the children with a parent present.

Subject: Agree: Never leave your child alone with a Mormon Bishop
Date: Dec 13 07:21
Author: Gazelle

I have come to the conclusion that this is the only way to protect children from Mormon Bishop's intrusive interrogations about sexual matters with children.

Remember that the Mormon Church practices the doctrine of "lying for the Lord" so even if they say they are NOT going to do OR have NOT done it is meaningless.

Move the focus from the poor victims to the pedophile Bishops who are abusing them.

Keep the focus on Hinckley allowing these practices to continue.

But, for Heaven'sake, do not leave children alone with Mormon Bishops.

Subject: There isn't anything a child should be compelled to tell a Bishop
Date: Dec 12 23:27
Author: Beag

that he can't tell a parent. There may be certain exceptions depending on the relationship with parents and with the Bishop. The key word is "compelled." I see no problem with restricting what a Bishop is allowed to talk with children about, and no problem with demanding to be with chldren when interviewed. A good idea IMO.

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