Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation

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  • user warning: Table './exmo_08072012/cache_filter' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: UPDATE cache_filter SET data = '<p>copostmo June 2013</p>\n<p>I resigned my membership in the Church a few months ago. My wife and kids are still active. My son turns 14 later this month, and a few weeks ago, I met with our bishop to express my desire that he not discuss the private details of my children’s sexuality during his interviews with them.</p>\n<p>I said that I disagreed with the Church’s stance on masturbation, and would prefer that he not ask my children about it. He said that he would think about it and get back to me. He sent me this email a week later:</p>\n<p>copostmo:</p>\n<p>I\'m following up on our meeting last Sunday. I have reviewed the Church\'s current stance on masturbation. I have concluded that the Lord disapproves the practice. For example, while the recently revised version of the \"Strength of Youth\" pamphlet does not use the specific word \"masturbation,\" the intent remains clear -- we are not to arouse sexual emotions in our own bodies:</p>\n<p>\"Never do anything that could lead to sexual transgression. Treat others with respect, not as objects used to satisfy lustful and selfish desires. Before marriage, do not participate in passionate kissing, lie on top of another person, or touch the private, sacred parts of another person’s body, with or without clothing. Do not do anything else that arouses sexual feelings. Do not arouse those emotions in your own body.\"</p>\n<p>As with many issues relating to sexual purity, how masturbation affects worthiness is a question of degree and depends on the specific individual and his/her circumstances. I would be happy to discuss this issue with you (alone or with Mrs. copostmo) before I interview your son. I am available today during the second hour and also will be available on Wednesday evening.</p>\n<p>Bishop</p>\n<p>I then emailed him this response:</p>\n<p>Bishop,</p>\n<p>Thanks for your email and for your consideration of my concern regarding discussing masturbation with my children in interviews. To clarify, I’m not really concerned about the stance of the Mormon Church on masturbation. I simply asked you to not discuss it with my children. As I mentioned, my views on masturbation are aligned with the consensus of the medical and mental health professionals that:</p>\n<p>* Masturbation has various medical and psychological benefits<br />\n* No causal relationship is known between masturbation and any form of mental or physical disorder<br />\n* Forced abstinence from masturbation can lead to psychological issues<br />\n* Forced abstinence can lead to sexual dysfunction later in life</p>\n<p>Additionally, attempted forced abstinence can lead to habitual lying.</p>\n<p>The fact that Church leaders such as Spencer W. Kimball and Boyd K. Packer have said in the past that masturbation is a sin means nothing to me. They have also said that masturbation leads to homosexuality and insanity. I don’t think that either one of these statements is correct.</p>\n<p>Below is a link to some thoughts on masturbation by a licensed clinical therapist who is an active member of the Church.</p>\n<p><a href=\"http://www.patheos.com/blogs/mormontherapist/2012/08/my-official-stance-on-masturbation.html\" title=\"http://www.patheos.com/blogs/mormontherapist/2012/08/my-official-stance-on-masturbation.html\">http://www.patheos.com/blogs/mormontherapist/2012/08/my-official-stance-...</a></p>\n<p>Like I mentioned, it doesn’t matter to me what the official position of the Church is. I am concerned when other people do things that I believe are detrimental to my children. I don’t believe it is appropriate for grown men to be asking my children for intimate details of their private sexual lives. This goes for masturbation, and it also applies to asking my children if they have committed sexual sins, and then if they answer affirmatively, asking them to describe in detail what they did. This is an invasion of their privacy, and will bother me even more when my daughters turn twelve and are subjected to the same treatment.</p>\n<p>I have asked you to stay out of the private sexual lives of my children. If I understand your email correctly, you have refused to do so—or, at least, the only way I can keep you from invading their privacy is by refusing to let you interview them. Please confirm whether I have understood your position correctly.</p>\n<p>I understand and appreciate the fact that you are simply trying to do what you feel is best for my children. I would like you to respect my desire as a parent to do the same. I’d be happy to discuss this by phone or email. Unfortunately, I’ll be in Europe until the day before DS’s birthday. If you’d like to talk on the phone, feel free to call my mobile phone (XXX-XXX-XXXX) between 9 am and 2 pm MDT.</p>\n<p>copostmo</p>\n<p>I sent him a followup email later that day:</p>\n<p>Bishop,</p>\n<p>After rereading my email and discussing it with my wife last night, I wanted to write a followup email to clarify a couple of things. First of all, I was speaking only for myself, not for Mrs. copostmo or DS.</p>\n<p>Also, I was not telling you what to do. I was simply reiterating my position and repeating my request that you not discuss those things with my children. If you feel that you must ask my children about their sexuality, I will not forbid my children from meeting with you--that will be their choice. Once you confirm your position, I will discuss it with Mrs. copostmo and DS, and we will let you know whether DS will meet with you or not.</p>\n<p>copostmo</p>\n<p>A couple days later I received this response from the bishop:</p>\n<p>copostmo:</p>\n<p>Sorry for the delayed response. I understand that you are not telling me what to do and are speaking for yourself only. I also appreciate that you have strong feelings about these issues. The only reason I\'ve reached out to interview DS on Sunday is because I\'m going to be out of town on the 26th and was trying to accommodate Mrs. copostmo’s parents for an ordination on the 27th. If you and/or Mrs. copostmo think it best to wait until you and Mrs. copostmo return home to discuss this in more detail, that\'s fine too. I will not interview DS without his parent\'s permission and will not force anything.</p>\n<p>Let me briefly set forth my position on interviewing youth (which, I believe, is consistent with the Church\'s position). I realize you don\'t agree with some of what I am about to say, and I respect that. But I want to state it clearly. Sexual purity always will be a requirement for members of the Church and for priesthood holders in particular -- youth included. It is the Bishop\'s responsibility to address issues of sexual purity with the youth. Those discussions should be carried out with great sensitivity to the needs of the particular youth and his or her circumstances. Put another way, the issues discussed must be gender appropriate, age appropriate, and appropriate to an individual. For example, an interview with a new and innocent 12-year-old beehive will involve little if any discussion about sexual purity. On the other hand, an interview with an 18-year-old boy preparing to serve a mission will be different. Fourteen-year-old boys fall somewhere in the middle. Each individual has their own circumstances. This is why I rely so heavily on the Spirit to guide me in those interviews. The Bishop\'s role is to listen and help, not to interrogate or intimidate. And with respect to all youth, the main topics of any Bishop\'s interview are their relationship with God and their progress in life.</p>\n<p>I\'ll let you and Mrs. copostmo discuss the issue further. If you would like to hold off on everything until you get back to town, that\'s fine. If you decide to move forward with the interview on Sunday and the ordination on the 27th, that\'s fine too.</p>\n<hr />\nDent<br />\nMaybe let him know he shouldn\'t interview your son<br />\none on one, but only in the presence of a parent in the room with him and your son.\n<p>Good letter from you, more parents need to take a stand if the church will ever change their interviewing protocol.</p>\n<hr />\n<p>tig<br />\nRe: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation<br />\nI would send one additional email:</p>\n<p>Bishop,<br />\nThank you for your considerate and well thought out response. I recognize your responsibility as a church representative to conduct an interview of DS to determine his eligibility to participate in certain church rites, ordinances, and activities. I must share with you however, that if questions regarding my CHILD\'s sexual practices are addressed towards a minor child, without a parent being present, I will have no other recourse that to report the adult engaging in such behavior to Child Protective Services. May your behavior be guided by such information.</p>\n<p>Sincerely,<br />\nCopostmo</p>\n<hr />\n<p>crom<br />\nRe: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation<br />\nOH GOOD GOD!</p>\n<p>The man can only regurgitate what the handbook says.</p>\n<p>Clearly he will ask the vague question the handbook tells him to ask. If your son lies he will have been taught to lie. If he tells the truth the bishop is going to give your son the spiel from the handbook advocating the church\'s position.</p>\n<p>Since your position is different than the church\'s he will ignore it.</p>\n<p>End of the day: church right, parent wrong.</p>\n<hr />\n<p>Bite Me<br />\nRe: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation<br />\nThat interview wouldn\'t happen unless I was present in the room. He\'s already made it clear that he\'s not going to respect your wishes in the interview.</p>\n<p>Instead of him being a bishop, how about if he were a schoolteacher or counselor asking those same questions? Hmmm, I don\'t think so. Homey don\'t play that because there is no difference.</p>\n<hr />\n<p>starkravingmad<br />\nRe: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation<br />\nThis topic interests me greatly. I have three boys (17, 13 and 11) and I know the fucking hell I went through feeling shame and guilt over masturbation.</p>\n<p>copostmo - thank you so much for your example.</p>\n<hr />\nEXON46<br />\nRe: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation<br />\nCan you put a restraining order on him to keep him from talking about anything sexual? Its probably more trouble than its worth.\n<hr />\n<p>nonmo_1<br />\nRe: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation<br />\nBased off of these statements...ACTION must be taken:<br />\n\"He said that he would think about it and get back to me. He sent me this email a week later\"</p>\n<p>\"I have asked you to stay out of the private sexual lives of my children. If I understand your email correctly, you have refused to do so—or, at least, the only way I can keep you from invading their privacy is by refusing to let you interview them\"</p>\n<p>\"Let me briefly set forth my position on interviewing youth (which, I believe, is consistent with the Church\'s position). I realize you don\'t agree with some of what I am about to say, and I respect that. But I want to state it clearly. Sexual purity always will be a requirement for members of the Church...\"</p>\n<p>=================================================</p>\n<p>As a parent, action is needed now...</p>\n<p>I normally don\'t get pushy or on my soapbox here, but issues with kids change all that...</p>\n<p>TELL the bishop... do not \"ask him\" to not talk about something with your son. You need to TELL him to not discuss sexual stuff with your kid. DOCUMENT this..Sit in on the interview and if the bishop VIOLATES that, report him to the local authorities as a suspected child pedophile, then notify other church leadership about this.</p>\n<p>You need to TELL the bishop...the bishop does not TELL you what he (the bishop) thinks is best to discuss with YOUR son...</p>\n<p>Better yet...have your kid not go to the mormon church anymore...</p>\n<hr />\nCTRringturnsmyfingergreen<br />\nRe: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation<br />\nI agree with others that you need to be very direct in your language with the Bishop. If you feel strongly about this, you need to tell him very clearly \"Do not ask my son questions about his sexual practices, are we clear\"?\n<p>I think your letters leave room for negotiation or interpretation on the bishop\'s part. Do not let him dictate anything in this situation.</p>\n<hr />\naon4this<br />\nRe: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation<br />\nAt age 12 I didn\'t know anything about masturbation until my bishop talked about it in some detail. In a way I owe him some thanks for helping me discover myself.\n<hr />\namos2<br />\nDear bishop<br />\nThinking you act in the name of god and that the church\'s positions are inerrant makes you a charlatan quack.<br />\nPlease don\'t practice your medieval witchhunter inquisitions on my children. Please don\'t pretend you care about them more than I do, or that you\'re protecting them from some degeneracy on my part. Discussing sexual \"impurity\" with minors borders on criminal sexual harrassment. If you discuss sex with any of my kids before age 18 I\'m going to ask the police what my options are. I suggest you check with church legal and see what your personal liability might be.\n<p>If in fact it\'s legal for you to sexually harrass minors, I hope you get off on it, since you\'re the perv here, not me.</p>\n<hr />\n<p>Tahoe Girl<br />\nRe: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation<br />\nTell him about Kip Elliason, a mormon boy who at age 16 killed himself because he couldn\'t stop masturbating. Tell your wife about him also. Google the name, there\'s plenty of info about him. Sad, sad story.</p>\n<p>tG</p>\n<hr />\nsummer<br />\nRe: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation<br />\nI wouldn\'t let him anywhere near a child that I care about.\n<p>Who is he to decide when a child is ready or not ready to hear something of a sexual nature? If school professionals did that we would be in deep trouble. Parents have to sign off on everything. Kids mature at different rates. Some are still very naive into their mid teens. No one has a right to make that decision for the parent.</p>\n<hr />\n<p>truthseeker<br />\nRe: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation<br />\nYes!</p>\n<hr />\nHappy_Hertic<br />\nSkip the Bish..<br />\nTalk to your son. Let him know what you know. The bishop has NOTHING over your DS\'s dad. The bishop could walk through fire unharmed and your son would still need your love and acceptance. When the cult is wrong... It\'s wrong. The bishop does NOT care about your children\'s interest. It needs to have nice conforming followers. Your responsibility to your kids supersedes the cults need to assimilate another bee into the hive. Do what is actually right. You clearly know what that is. You just lack the cajones to do it.\n<p>HH =)</p>\n<hr />\ntruthseeker<br />\nRe: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation<br />\nI think you did the right thing to bring up this topic with the bishop, but I think you need to state your position even more strongly. Since the bishop didn\'t agree to not speak to your son about sexual topics, I think you have a responsibility as a parent to protect your son and NOT allow him to meet with the bishop ever again. It really shouldn\'t be your son\'s decision since he is a minor.\n<p>By the way, I go to a non-denominational Christian church and my 14year old son\'s small group (boys his age with an adult leader) were planning to do a book study of a book about sexuality for young men. I had a feeling that I wouldn\'t agree with their stance on masturbation (which was confirmed after I read the book) so I told the leader that my son would be switching to a different group for the duration of the book study. I then talked to my son about the reason for the temporary switch, and it led to a good discussion in which I shared my view that masturbation is normal and healthy and that most people do it.</p>\n<hr />\ntruthseeker<br />\nRe: Skip the Bish..<br />\nExactly\n<hr />\ncolorado<br />\nRe: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation<br />\nThank you for the post...I had not considered this previously\n<hr />\n<p>order66<br />\nRe: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation<br />\nNo way in hell would I allow a bishop to interview one of my kids.</p>\n<hr />\n<p>axeldc<br />\nI wish they had never poisoned my mind with guilt<br />\nI resent the LDS Church for poisoning my youth with guilt over something so natural, so healthy and so personal. They had no business questioning me about it or even suggesting that it was any of their business.</p>\n<p>Masturbation is a normal part of sexuality and essential for men who are not having regular intercourse. I wasted way too many hours feeling guilty for something that was never a problem.</p>\n<hr />\ndeco<br />\nRe: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation<br />\nDear Bish..\n<p>Chris Hansen from Dateline to Catch a Predator is on line one asking for your address.</p>\n<hr />\nHeresy<br />\nRe: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation<br />\nExcellent discussion, copostmo. Thank you for bringing this up. It is a complete eye opener for many lurking here.\n<p>We can and must protect the children.</p>\n<hr />\n<p>ironmann<br />\nRe: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation<br />\nI have a feeling the wife isn\'t on board. Does she just want you to keep quiet and let your son get the priesthood when his grandparents are in town when it is most convenient?</p>\n<p>You will she stand with you?</p>\n<hr />\nAlpiner<br />\nRe: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation<br />\nSome people seem to think that OP has some sort of legal recourse. He doesn\'t. CPS will laugh and not care, because the following is true:\n<p>-- One parent and the child consented to the interview;<br />\n-- Communications between a religious leader and any other person are privileged;<br />\n-- Discussion of sexual topics, even direct questions, does not rise to the level of prurient interest or harassment and is therefore not illegal. Your best friend asking if you got laid last night is not illegal; it\'s still not illegal when the bishop asks you the same question.</p>\n<p>Furthermore, CPS is clogged up with cases of legitimate abuse (as in, scarring physical damage). Reporting something like this would burn finite resources on something that -- despite the knowledge of everyone here (myself included) that it\'s a bad idea -- both the wife and child have consented to would not accomplish anything.</p>\n<p>I think the OP is doing the exact right thing. The only way change can be made is at the grassroots level, by applying pressure on an individual basis to stop these sorts of things. Adopting the sort of blustery tone some have advocated here would, I think, be inadvisable.</p>\n<p>Just my two cents.</p>\n<hr />\n<p>Greyfort<br />\nRe: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation<br />\naon4this Wrote:<br />\n-------------------------------------------------------<br />\n&gt; At age 12 I didn\'t know anything about<br />\n&gt; masturbation until my bishop talked about it in<br />\n&gt; some detail. In a way I owe him some thanks for<br />\n&gt; helping me discover myself.</p>\n<p>Heck, I didn\'t even know what it was when they interviewed me for baptism around my 17th birthday. They said, \"Don\'t do that,\" so I said, \"Okay,\" figuring that if I didn\'t even know what it was, I must not be guilty of it.</p>\n<p>There is no freakin\' way that I\'d let an adult be alone with my child in a closed office, asking them questions like that.</p>\n<p>It\'s wrong and they need to start being made aware of that.</p>\n<hr />\nmia<br />\nRe: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation<br />\nThe arrogance of this bishop is pretty amazing. He is way way out of line.\n<p>Can you imagine having this same conversation with someone at your sons school? The out come being they would decide what he could or could not participate in if they didn\'t like his answers?</p>\n<p>It amazes me that your wife would be okay with this.</p>\n<p>I\'m sorry to say, but with so many other adults undermining you as a father I think you should either teach him to lie, or hire a good attorney.</p>\n<hr />\n<p>utahstateagnostics<br />\nRe: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation<br />\nI would sit in the interview with him and act like his lawyer.</p>\n<p>When the bishop asks a question, I\'d turn to my client and say, \"Don\'t answer that.\"</p>\n<hr />\nozpoof<br />\nRe: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation<br />\nI would not have sent the follow up.\n<p>You should have made it clear that you ARE telling him what to do, i.e. you will not ask my underage child questions related to his sexual behaviour WHATSOEVER, and for him to ensure he understands any so-called prompting by God to ask such questions will result in his name being given to the authorities who deal with perverted men who get their jollies by asking children they are alone with in a closed room if they play with themselves.</p>\n<hr />\n<p>orange<br />\nRe: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation<br />\nBishops are not trained or licensed in anything remotely medically related. Sexual health should be managed by parents and healthcare professionals who are trained and licensed. It\'s time to shed the ignorance people have about religious leaders ability to discuss anything remotely related to health matters. Legally they can cross over into the territory of practicing medicine without a license.</p>\n<p>Besides, a bishop does not know his ass from a hole in the ground. At least most of the Shamans of old times had a knowledge of medicinal plants... Religious leaders are overstepping their boundaries all the time. We need to relegate them to the dustbin along with all of their misguided and downright stupid ideas of how humanity is supposed to live.</p>\n<hr />\nMormon Observer<br />\nRe: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation<br />\nI\'ve been following this thread all afternoon.<br />\nI asked my son\'s imput when he came home from school. He was a \"deacon\" when we left and is now 18.\n<p>\"There is no way you could do this in school! If a teacher asked you those questions you\'d go report it to the office and they would be talked to. If they persist you go to the school board! This would NOT be tolerated! They would be fired!\" he said.</p>\n<p>This son is one that never had to go through invasive interviews. It would have been a lot of stress for him. They were already giving him flack about wearing a dressy blue button down collar shirt instead of a white one when we left the TSCC.</p>\n<hr />\n<p>A ANON<br />\nRe: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation<br />\nThe bottom line (after all the other formal talk about the church handbook etc.) is this:</p>\n<p>\"This is why I rely so heavily on the Spirit to guide me in those interviews.\"</p>\n<p>This is like telling you to forget everything else previously said. The finally matter is what the Bishop feels through the \"spirit\'. If you agree to that assertion, you\'ve given the Bishop everything he wants.</p>\n<p>\"Recovery from Mormonism - www.exmormon.org\"</p>\n', created = 1493514576, expire = 1493600976, headers = '', serialized = 0 WHERE cid = '2:dba679aee53b90f752627cde13780d0d' in /home/exmormon/public_html/d6/drupal/includes/cache.inc on line 112.

copostmo June 2013

I resigned my membership in the Church a few months ago. My wife and kids are still active. My son turns 14 later this month, and a few weeks ago, I met with our bishop to express my desire that he not discuss the private details of my children’s sexuality during his interviews with them.

I said that I disagreed with the Church’s stance on masturbation, and would prefer that he not ask my children about it. He said that he would think about it and get back to me. He sent me this email a week later:

copostmo:

I'm following up on our meeting last Sunday. I have reviewed the Church's current stance on masturbation. I have concluded that the Lord disapproves the practice. For example, while the recently revised version of the "Strength of Youth" pamphlet does not use the specific word "masturbation," the intent remains clear -- we are not to arouse sexual emotions in our own bodies:

"Never do anything that could lead to sexual transgression. Treat others with respect, not as objects used to satisfy lustful and selfish desires. Before marriage, do not participate in passionate kissing, lie on top of another person, or touch the private, sacred parts of another person’s body, with or without clothing. Do not do anything else that arouses sexual feelings. Do not arouse those emotions in your own body."

As with many issues relating to sexual purity, how masturbation affects worthiness is a question of degree and depends on the specific individual and his/her circumstances. I would be happy to discuss this issue with you (alone or with Mrs. copostmo) before I interview your son. I am available today during the second hour and also will be available on Wednesday evening.

Bishop

I then emailed him this response:

Bishop,

Thanks for your email and for your consideration of my concern regarding discussing masturbation with my children in interviews. To clarify, I’m not really concerned about the stance of the Mormon Church on masturbation. I simply asked you to not discuss it with my children. As I mentioned, my views on masturbation are aligned with the consensus of the medical and mental health professionals that:

* Masturbation has various medical and psychological benefits
* No causal relationship is known between masturbation and any form of mental or physical disorder
* Forced abstinence from masturbation can lead to psychological issues
* Forced abstinence can lead to sexual dysfunction later in life

Additionally, attempted forced abstinence can lead to habitual lying.

The fact that Church leaders such as Spencer W. Kimball and Boyd K. Packer have said in the past that masturbation is a sin means nothing to me. They have also said that masturbation leads to homosexuality and insanity. I don’t think that either one of these statements is correct.

Below is a link to some thoughts on masturbation by a licensed clinical therapist who is an active member of the Church.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/mormontherapist/2012/08/my-official-stance-...

Like I mentioned, it doesn’t matter to me what the official position of the Church is. I am concerned when other people do things that I believe are detrimental to my children. I don’t believe it is appropriate for grown men to be asking my children for intimate details of their private sexual lives. This goes for masturbation, and it also applies to asking my children if they have committed sexual sins, and then if they answer affirmatively, asking them to describe in detail what they did. This is an invasion of their privacy, and will bother me even more when my daughters turn twelve and are subjected to the same treatment.

I have asked you to stay out of the private sexual lives of my children. If I understand your email correctly, you have refused to do so—or, at least, the only way I can keep you from invading their privacy is by refusing to let you interview them. Please confirm whether I have understood your position correctly.

I understand and appreciate the fact that you are simply trying to do what you feel is best for my children. I would like you to respect my desire as a parent to do the same. I’d be happy to discuss this by phone or email. Unfortunately, I’ll be in Europe until the day before DS’s birthday. If you’d like to talk on the phone, feel free to call my mobile phone (XXX-XXX-XXXX) between 9 am and 2 pm MDT.

copostmo

I sent him a followup email later that day:

Bishop,

After rereading my email and discussing it with my wife last night, I wanted to write a followup email to clarify a couple of things. First of all, I was speaking only for myself, not for Mrs. copostmo or DS.

Also, I was not telling you what to do. I was simply reiterating my position and repeating my request that you not discuss those things with my children. If you feel that you must ask my children about their sexuality, I will not forbid my children from meeting with you--that will be their choice. Once you confirm your position, I will discuss it with Mrs. copostmo and DS, and we will let you know whether DS will meet with you or not.

copostmo

A couple days later I received this response from the bishop:

copostmo:

Sorry for the delayed response. I understand that you are not telling me what to do and are speaking for yourself only. I also appreciate that you have strong feelings about these issues. The only reason I've reached out to interview DS on Sunday is because I'm going to be out of town on the 26th and was trying to accommodate Mrs. copostmo’s parents for an ordination on the 27th. If you and/or Mrs. copostmo think it best to wait until you and Mrs. copostmo return home to discuss this in more detail, that's fine too. I will not interview DS without his parent's permission and will not force anything.

Let me briefly set forth my position on interviewing youth (which, I believe, is consistent with the Church's position). I realize you don't agree with some of what I am about to say, and I respect that. But I want to state it clearly. Sexual purity always will be a requirement for members of the Church and for priesthood holders in particular -- youth included. It is the Bishop's responsibility to address issues of sexual purity with the youth. Those discussions should be carried out with great sensitivity to the needs of the particular youth and his or her circumstances. Put another way, the issues discussed must be gender appropriate, age appropriate, and appropriate to an individual. For example, an interview with a new and innocent 12-year-old beehive will involve little if any discussion about sexual purity. On the other hand, an interview with an 18-year-old boy preparing to serve a mission will be different. Fourteen-year-old boys fall somewhere in the middle. Each individual has their own circumstances. This is why I rely so heavily on the Spirit to guide me in those interviews. The Bishop's role is to listen and help, not to interrogate or intimidate. And with respect to all youth, the main topics of any Bishop's interview are their relationship with God and their progress in life.

I'll let you and Mrs. copostmo discuss the issue further. If you would like to hold off on everything until you get back to town, that's fine. If you decide to move forward with the interview on Sunday and the ordination on the 27th, that's fine too.


Dent
Maybe let him know he shouldn't interview your son
one on one, but only in the presence of a parent in the room with him and your son.

Good letter from you, more parents need to take a stand if the church will ever change their interviewing protocol.


tig
Re: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation
I would send one additional email:

Bishop,
Thank you for your considerate and well thought out response. I recognize your responsibility as a church representative to conduct an interview of DS to determine his eligibility to participate in certain church rites, ordinances, and activities. I must share with you however, that if questions regarding my CHILD's sexual practices are addressed towards a minor child, without a parent being present, I will have no other recourse that to report the adult engaging in such behavior to Child Protective Services. May your behavior be guided by such information.

Sincerely,
Copostmo


crom
Re: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation
OH GOOD GOD!

The man can only regurgitate what the handbook says.

Clearly he will ask the vague question the handbook tells him to ask. If your son lies he will have been taught to lie. If he tells the truth the bishop is going to give your son the spiel from the handbook advocating the church's position.

Since your position is different than the church's he will ignore it.

End of the day: church right, parent wrong.


Bite Me
Re: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation
That interview wouldn't happen unless I was present in the room. He's already made it clear that he's not going to respect your wishes in the interview.

Instead of him being a bishop, how about if he were a schoolteacher or counselor asking those same questions? Hmmm, I don't think so. Homey don't play that because there is no difference.


starkravingmad
Re: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation
This topic interests me greatly. I have three boys (17, 13 and 11) and I know the fucking hell I went through feeling shame and guilt over masturbation.

copostmo - thank you so much for your example.


EXON46
Re: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation
Can you put a restraining order on him to keep him from talking about anything sexual? Its probably more trouble than its worth.

nonmo_1
Re: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation
Based off of these statements...ACTION must be taken:
"He said that he would think about it and get back to me. He sent me this email a week later"

"I have asked you to stay out of the private sexual lives of my children. If I understand your email correctly, you have refused to do so—or, at least, the only way I can keep you from invading their privacy is by refusing to let you interview them"

"Let me briefly set forth my position on interviewing youth (which, I believe, is consistent with the Church's position). I realize you don't agree with some of what I am about to say, and I respect that. But I want to state it clearly. Sexual purity always will be a requirement for members of the Church..."

=================================================

As a parent, action is needed now...

I normally don't get pushy or on my soapbox here, but issues with kids change all that...

TELL the bishop... do not "ask him" to not talk about something with your son. You need to TELL him to not discuss sexual stuff with your kid. DOCUMENT this..Sit in on the interview and if the bishop VIOLATES that, report him to the local authorities as a suspected child pedophile, then notify other church leadership about this.

You need to TELL the bishop...the bishop does not TELL you what he (the bishop) thinks is best to discuss with YOUR son...

Better yet...have your kid not go to the mormon church anymore...


CTRringturnsmyfingergreen
Re: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation
I agree with others that you need to be very direct in your language with the Bishop. If you feel strongly about this, you need to tell him very clearly "Do not ask my son questions about his sexual practices, are we clear"?

I think your letters leave room for negotiation or interpretation on the bishop's part. Do not let him dictate anything in this situation.


aon4this
Re: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation
At age 12 I didn't know anything about masturbation until my bishop talked about it in some detail. In a way I owe him some thanks for helping me discover myself.
amos2
Dear bishop
Thinking you act in the name of god and that the church's positions are inerrant makes you a charlatan quack.
Please don't practice your medieval witchhunter inquisitions on my children. Please don't pretend you care about them more than I do, or that you're protecting them from some degeneracy on my part. Discussing sexual "impurity" with minors borders on criminal sexual harrassment. If you discuss sex with any of my kids before age 18 I'm going to ask the police what my options are. I suggest you check with church legal and see what your personal liability might be.

If in fact it's legal for you to sexually harrass minors, I hope you get off on it, since you're the perv here, not me.


Tahoe Girl
Re: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation
Tell him about Kip Elliason, a mormon boy who at age 16 killed himself because he couldn't stop masturbating. Tell your wife about him also. Google the name, there's plenty of info about him. Sad, sad story.

tG


summer
Re: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation
I wouldn't let him anywhere near a child that I care about.

Who is he to decide when a child is ready or not ready to hear something of a sexual nature? If school professionals did that we would be in deep trouble. Parents have to sign off on everything. Kids mature at different rates. Some are still very naive into their mid teens. No one has a right to make that decision for the parent.


truthseeker
Re: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation
Yes!


Happy_Hertic
Skip the Bish..
Talk to your son. Let him know what you know. The bishop has NOTHING over your DS's dad. The bishop could walk through fire unharmed and your son would still need your love and acceptance. When the cult is wrong... It's wrong. The bishop does NOT care about your children's interest. It needs to have nice conforming followers. Your responsibility to your kids supersedes the cults need to assimilate another bee into the hive. Do what is actually right. You clearly know what that is. You just lack the cajones to do it.

HH =)


truthseeker
Re: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation
I think you did the right thing to bring up this topic with the bishop, but I think you need to state your position even more strongly. Since the bishop didn't agree to not speak to your son about sexual topics, I think you have a responsibility as a parent to protect your son and NOT allow him to meet with the bishop ever again. It really shouldn't be your son's decision since he is a minor.

By the way, I go to a non-denominational Christian church and my 14year old son's small group (boys his age with an adult leader) were planning to do a book study of a book about sexuality for young men. I had a feeling that I wouldn't agree with their stance on masturbation (which was confirmed after I read the book) so I told the leader that my son would be switching to a different group for the duration of the book study. I then talked to my son about the reason for the temporary switch, and it led to a good discussion in which I shared my view that masturbation is normal and healthy and that most people do it.


truthseeker
Re: Skip the Bish..
Exactly
colorado
Re: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation
Thank you for the post...I had not considered this previously

order66
Re: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation
No way in hell would I allow a bishop to interview one of my kids.


axeldc
I wish they had never poisoned my mind with guilt
I resent the LDS Church for poisoning my youth with guilt over something so natural, so healthy and so personal. They had no business questioning me about it or even suggesting that it was any of their business.

Masturbation is a normal part of sexuality and essential for men who are not having regular intercourse. I wasted way too many hours feeling guilty for something that was never a problem.


deco
Re: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation
Dear Bish..

Chris Hansen from Dateline to Catch a Predator is on line one asking for your address.


Heresy
Re: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation
Excellent discussion, copostmo. Thank you for bringing this up. It is a complete eye opener for many lurking here.

We can and must protect the children.


ironmann
Re: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation
I have a feeling the wife isn't on board. Does she just want you to keep quiet and let your son get the priesthood when his grandparents are in town when it is most convenient?

You will she stand with you?


Alpiner
Re: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation
Some people seem to think that OP has some sort of legal recourse. He doesn't. CPS will laugh and not care, because the following is true:

-- One parent and the child consented to the interview;
-- Communications between a religious leader and any other person are privileged;
-- Discussion of sexual topics, even direct questions, does not rise to the level of prurient interest or harassment and is therefore not illegal. Your best friend asking if you got laid last night is not illegal; it's still not illegal when the bishop asks you the same question.

Furthermore, CPS is clogged up with cases of legitimate abuse (as in, scarring physical damage). Reporting something like this would burn finite resources on something that -- despite the knowledge of everyone here (myself included) that it's a bad idea -- both the wife and child have consented to would not accomplish anything.

I think the OP is doing the exact right thing. The only way change can be made is at the grassroots level, by applying pressure on an individual basis to stop these sorts of things. Adopting the sort of blustery tone some have advocated here would, I think, be inadvisable.

Just my two cents.


Greyfort
Re: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation
aon4this Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> At age 12 I didn't know anything about
> masturbation until my bishop talked about it in
> some detail. In a way I owe him some thanks for
> helping me discover myself.

Heck, I didn't even know what it was when they interviewed me for baptism around my 17th birthday. They said, "Don't do that," so I said, "Okay," figuring that if I didn't even know what it was, I must not be guilty of it.

There is no freakin' way that I'd let an adult be alone with my child in a closed office, asking them questions like that.

It's wrong and they need to start being made aware of that.


mia
Re: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation
The arrogance of this bishop is pretty amazing. He is way way out of line.

Can you imagine having this same conversation with someone at your sons school? The out come being they would decide what he could or could not participate in if they didn't like his answers?

It amazes me that your wife would be okay with this.

I'm sorry to say, but with so many other adults undermining you as a father I think you should either teach him to lie, or hire a good attorney.


utahstateagnostics
Re: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation
I would sit in the interview with him and act like his lawyer.

When the bishop asks a question, I'd turn to my client and say, "Don't answer that."


ozpoof
Re: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation
I would not have sent the follow up.

You should have made it clear that you ARE telling him what to do, i.e. you will not ask my underage child questions related to his sexual behaviour WHATSOEVER, and for him to ensure he understands any so-called prompting by God to ask such questions will result in his name being given to the authorities who deal with perverted men who get their jollies by asking children they are alone with in a closed room if they play with themselves.


orange
Re: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation
Bishops are not trained or licensed in anything remotely medically related. Sexual health should be managed by parents and healthcare professionals who are trained and licensed. It's time to shed the ignorance people have about religious leaders ability to discuss anything remotely related to health matters. Legally they can cross over into the territory of practicing medicine without a license.

Besides, a bishop does not know his ass from a hole in the ground. At least most of the Shamans of old times had a knowledge of medicinal plants... Religious leaders are overstepping their boundaries all the time. We need to relegate them to the dustbin along with all of their misguided and downright stupid ideas of how humanity is supposed to live.


Mormon Observer
Re: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation
I've been following this thread all afternoon.
I asked my son's imput when he came home from school. He was a "deacon" when we left and is now 18.

"There is no way you could do this in school! If a teacher asked you those questions you'd go report it to the office and they would be talked to. If they persist you go to the school board! This would NOT be tolerated! They would be fired!" he said.

This son is one that never had to go through invasive interviews. It would have been a lot of stress for him. They were already giving him flack about wearing a dressy blue button down collar shirt instead of a white one when we left the TSCC.


A ANON
Re: Email exchange with bishop regarding masturbation
The bottom line (after all the other formal talk about the church handbook etc.) is this:

"This is why I rely so heavily on the Spirit to guide me in those interviews."

This is like telling you to forget everything else previously said. The finally matter is what the Bishop feels through the "spirit'. If you agree to that assertion, you've given the Bishop everything he wants.

"Recovery from Mormonism - www.exmormon.org"