In the latest move to address sexual misconduct within its ranks, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has issued updated guidelines on how church leaders conduct interviews with teens and children. The group Protect LDS Children in particular has called for an end to sexually explicit questions when a young person meets with a leader, most often a bishop.
These conversations are often called “worthiness” interviews and questions about sex, masturbation and pornography are common. Mormon youth have one-on-one interviews with bishops at least once a year, as well as when a new church responsibility is assigned or when a teenager asks to visit a temple.
The way the church leaders approach these interviews has come under scrutiny in recent months. Facing pushback about asking certain questions, the LDS Church announced in March that youth and children could request that a parent or another adult accompany them during an interview. In addition, these new guidelines instruct church leaders to limit questions relevant to church standards so as to not “encourage curiosity or experimentation.”
Mormon leaders are encouraged to stick to topics included in the “For The Strength of Youth” church pamphlet when discussing sexual matters. The pamphlet discourages homosexual behavior, any activity that causes sexual arousal and the use of pornography. It no longer mentions masturbation.
The typical list of questions in a worthiness interview for youth wanting to attend Mormon temples was also published: