Date: June 16, 2013 08:27AM
I’ve submitted a few posts regarding an email I sent to local Christian ministers about Mormon bishop interviews, as well as the responses I’ve received. I’ve compiled all of those responses into this post. The last 13 are new; the rest have been posted before.
I am writing as a concerned parent to get your perspective as a local Christian minister. My wife and I have five kids, ages 14 down to 4. My wife and kids all attend the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons). I am not a Mormon, but I respect the beliefs of my wife and children and support their desire to attend the Mormon Church. There is a practice of the Mormon Church, however, with which I do not agree.
The leader of each Mormon congregation is called a bishop. Every six months, the bishop, or one of his two counselors, interviews each youth ages 12-18 in the congregation. Among other things, the bishop asks the youth about their sexual behavior. He asks them if they masturbate. If they answer affirmatively, he’ll ask follow-up questions like how often and such. He also asks them if they’ve committed any other sexual transgressions like passionate kissing, petting, fornication, etc. Again, if they answer affirmatively, he’ll ask them to describe what they’ve done.
I am not comfortable with the bishop asking my children these kinds of questions. I certainly want my children to remain sexually pure and to make wise decisions regarding sexuality, but I believe that those matters should be handled between parents and their children. I don’t mind church leaders teaching my kids about sexual purity, but I believe that grown men from the church asking for explicit details about my children’s sexual behavior, particularly with my daughters, is inappropriate and an invasion of their privacy.
I have approached the bishop about this and asked him to stop asking my children questions about sexuality. He said that sexual purity is a requirement for members of the Church—youth included—and that as bishop, he has the responsibility to address issues of sexual purity with the youth.
I believe he is infringing on my parental authority. I realize, of course, that I could simply refuse to let my children attend or participate in any activities or meetings of the Mormon Church. But they’ve attended the Mormon Church all their lives, they enjoy attending, and have many friends at church, so I don’t want to forbid them to attend. I would just like the Mormon Church to change its policy on interviewing youth.
And this is a church-wide policy, not just something this particular bishop is doing. I have communicated with people from around the country and in other countries as well, and bishops everywhere are asking teenagers these questions. Some people I’ve talked to said that when they asked the bishop to stop asking these questions, he agreed to stop. Others, like the bishop of my children, have not. Some had stories of bishops who were clearly getting sexual gratification from delving into the sexual lives of the youth they were interviewing.
Does this practice of interviewing youth about their sexual behavior take place in your congregation? Do you think it’s inappropriate, or am I just being overly sensitive and protective of my children?
I believe that this practice of the Mormon Church is wrong and should be stopped. I think one of the best ways of righting wrongs is to make people aware of them. I would appreciate any feedback you might have.
Thanks for your time.
"The answer to your question is "no". We do not do this kind of interrogation. Our youth pastors do teach the biblical truths about sexual purity and abstinence, but don't approach it like you have described. I think you would not find this way of handling things in any Protestant church. I can't speak for the Catholics, but I'm pretty sure that if a Catholic priest took this approach they would be confronted and told to stop."
"We do not ask such questions of our youth and I do not feel that such a conversation is appropriate."
"In my mind, that kind of relationship leaves open too much of an opportunity for bishops with less than stellar motives to use the information or the explicit sexual conversation for inappropriate contact. And I say that knowing that Christian leaders are as guilty (if not more) than Mormon bishops in sexual abuse with children/youth.
"I certainly wouldn't advocate or practice this approach in our congregation. If I heard my youth minister was doing this, I would quickly put it to a stop. We certainly teach about sexual purity, but it is the role of the parent, first and foremost, to have these conversations with your children.
"Thanks for your concern. I have never heard about any kind of practice like this in any Christian church I am aware of."
"I am not completely clear on what constitutes normal LDS inquires. But this does not sound right, normal or appropriate."
"I too would be concerned about the bishop asking my children questions about their sexual actions. We do not practice this. If I was the Bishop and felt the need to do this I would have the parents in the room as well. However, my question would be, How qualified is this person to be talking to my children about this? I know what scripture says and can encourage purity on that level, but to be the one to talk to teens constantly about sexual purity and what they are doing, would be a dangerous temptation in my opinion for any bishop or minister.
"I don't know what the solution would be in this case. Whether you have the kids stop going, or you and your wife sit in with them on these meetings with the Bishop. I don't know if this would be grounds for a legal case or even if you wanted it to get to that point or not.
"I personally would never leave my daughter or son with a grown man in any room by themselves, period. I don't care how righteous, or pious they may or may not be. It is not a good situation for either party to be in.
"If I have to counsel a woman of any age I always ask for another woman to be present like my wife, or an elder's wife, or the parent. So that there is a witness of everything that happened in the meeting. This is to protect me from legal action and from any kind of temptation."
"[We] have NO procedures for entering the private lives of teens and families for that matter. While we have segments of teaching the Scriptural values associated with right living, there is NO Q and A imposed upon young people that would force them to share their private lives or lead them to lie in order to save them from embarrassment, or to create channels of fear and guilt if they fall short of the standard. Our church, locally and denominationally, does not impose this kind of interrogation in order to shape behavior."
"No, this kind of questioning does not take place in our congregation! And in my opinion the bishop is infringing on your parental authority. Like you, I'm all for sexual purity and for the church to be teaching a biblical perspective on sex. And my beliefs about lifestyle are highly conservative. But I think this practice that you mention is way out of line. To be completely honest, this kind of mandatory questioning gives me the creeps and if I were you, I wouldn't allow my children anywhere near a bishop or pastor who insisted on this practice. It would be one thing if the parents requested this from the bishop. But for the bishop to insist on it--that feels pretty scary to me.
I certainly understand your desire not to forbid them to attend but if you and your wife agree that this is dangerous (and I think it is) you may have to make a hard call."
"We do not and would not condone, especially against parents permission."
"Thank you for writing. While I am reluctant to criticize the practices of another faith, I can state unequivocally that in my denomination, the behavior you describe would almost certainly be considered inappropriate.
"While proper instruction of young people with regard to sexual morality is important, asking a child to divulge his/her personal habits in detail is not something that I would ever ask, and most certainly not without the parents’ consent and presence. I spent many years in youth ministry, and if I suspected that a youth was sexually active without his/her parents’ knowledge, I raised the concern to the parents for their action.
"In [my church's] tradition, the pastor’s job is to teach the Word of God, not be the behavioral police. Further, it is also our task to show God’s love, and to be equally concerned about the child knowing that even if he/she transgresses God’s desire for his/her life, he/she is still loved and forgiven by God. While sexual anarchy is a tragedy among our youth, so too are the accounts of teens being abused or disowned by their families over their sexual activity.
"Another denominational difference concerns your bishop’s stated justification for the inquiry: that sexual purity is a requirement for membership. The implication is that a finding of impurity could result in removal/suspension from membership in the LDS Church. In [our church], any such inquiry – an inquiry undertaken because the rules may have been violated – is called a disciplinary case. A disciplinary inquiry may not be undertaken without cause (we disallow a so-called “fishing expedition”) and the person being inquired into has the right to ecclesiastical counsel and the right against self-incrimination.
"Finally, while this is tangential to the core of your situation, in our tradition masturbation is not a sin. The story of Onan, the only Scriptural basis for making such a declaration, is the story of a man who refuses to impregnate his dead brother’s widow in accordance with Levirate law, effectively stealing his brother’s inheritance for his own children and depriving his brother’s widow of care. That was his sin, and according to sin, God slew him for it. Not because he “spilled his seed” – but why he spilled it.
"So in short, no, I would never interview a child about personal sexual practices and it is conceivable that to do so might well be considered pastoral misconduct in my denomination."
"I believe the practice you describe is inappropriate. No, I have never nor will I ever question a child or anyone in this way."
"Thank you for sharing and enlightening me of your church's/bishop's practice. I find such behavior unacceptable for a person in a "position of trust" such as this.
"First, no...absolutely NOT...does our [church's] beliefs or practices follow anything like this 'interview' with children of ANY age. Nor would I personally do so.
"Other than the options you have stated below to resolve this situation, you might consider INSISTING (both with your family and the bishop) that if this type of 'interview' continues with your children, then YOU MUST BE PRESENT when it occurs, or you will report him/them to the authorities as well. I applaud your desire to "respect the beliefs" of your wife and children; this practice, however, seems to be OUTSIDE the true beliefs of the Mormon church. If in doubt, go back to the Book of Mormon and find out where such interviews are sanctioned or required...possibly use that as leverage for your situation.
"I, too, would be concerned and want to protect my children (and have) at all costs. There are plenty of Christian-based religions that do not do this...and plenty of time to make new friends and create a strong spiritual community where the safety of your children come first...or are as equally as important as the religious beliefs."
"Yes, it is a wrong practice for a Church leader to perform such inquiries—that is the role of you and your wife as parents."
"I can't really comment on the practices of the Mormon church. I am not aware of policies they may be bound to. However, I too would be very uncomfortable with such questioning of children by an adult. It would seem to me there would be several alternative, safer ways of getting to the same issues.
"Recent abuses in churches and schools should heighten our due diligence to protect children."
"Thanks for writing. Wow, that's quite a predicament.
"I guess my take would be that any religious organization that undertakes to become that intimately involved (invasive would be my word for it) in the particulars of your life, unasked for and uncalled for, is a cult, whatever it is they profess to believe (Christian, mormon, muslim, whatever). So if it were me, I'd high-tail it out of there with my family. And then I'd process through with my family why I was breaking free of that religious body. Since this seems to be a common practice with the mormon church, then it would be a discussion about why we're breaking free of mormonism.
"Your first priority as a father is protecting your family. Then you can go in to fight the war, if that's what you want to do."
"I definitely have thoughts about your Bishop's approach. I have not nor would not be inappropriately invasive."
"Thanks so much for the email, and speaking candidly about the issues you, your wife and children are facing. With regard to your question of whether it is right or wrong ... I would say it's dead wrong. I fully agree this is the job as a parent. I do agree with you that sexual wholeness is extremely important. I also believe that accountability in it is also a healthy thing ... but an adult alone with young people asking specifics is way out of bounds. If this were me, I would again ask the bishop to stop and if he is still not willing, then perhaps it's time to consider moving on ... again that's my viewpoint and I realize that I am not thinking about your family, friends, etc. As for our church ... no, we do not have a time of questioning whatsoever."
"Sorry for the delay in response. While I am not a father, I certainly resonate with your concerns and responses. In terms of your email, please know that none of what you described goes on in my congregation, and I would be more than a little horrified if I found out that it did. From my perspective, this practice represents an abuse of spiritual authority, plain and simple. Even as I am interested in helping the young people in my congregation grow in faith and discipleship, this is a far-cry from the sort of questions you have mentioned. In my own denomination, I suspect that this sort of questioning would lead to discipline and perhaps termination of a pastor, to which I would say rightly so. It seems to me that those sorts of conversations make the most sense in the context of a family unit where familiarity and trust are already present. Certainly there is a need to talk about what it means to be a person of faith that also has desires and urges, but that is not the same thing you are describing and could even be a life-giving and not shaming conversation. What is most worrisome to me is that this bishop is doing this questioning against the expressed wishes of the parents. The bottom line to me is this: regardless of this person being a bishop or any other authority, that sort of questioning is a vulgar abuse of authority, and I am sorry that you have to go through it. Please let me know if you would like further conversation."
"There are many things I personally, and I presume our Church in general have in disagreement with the LDS, so I suppose now you can add one more, as I am in agreement that the practice you are describing is very wrong, and no, we do not do such in our Church officially, but in fairness, there are some who feel it is correct to do similar things."
"I can relate to your anguish due to the fact that I have two teenage sons and one nearly teenage daughter. I cannot imagine allowing such discussions to take place behind closed doors of any church office with anyone outside of parental supervision and parental permission.
"Such a practice is certainly not condoned nor is it authorized by Scripture. Our very strong understanding and conviction is that all of our life activities and decisions with relation to preparing our children for adulthood should only come from their parents. Sexuality is such an integral part to all of life that it is never to be taken lightly nor is it to be taken from the authority and responsibility of parents.
"If I were you, I would have the very same reservations. You can count on our prayers for your dilemma. May God open the eyes of those who are so blinded by delusion and human philosophy that they cannot see the light of God's Truth. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and concerns.
"Please let us know how we may serve you further."
"I agree with your concerns. We don't interview the youth of our congregation regarding their sexual behavior."
"I am not interested in criticizing the actions or behaviors or beliefs of another religious group. However …
"I have to admit that I’m surprised that the kind of questioning you describe would be happening, and would have to say that as a parent I would be very uncomfortable with a church leader asking my children these kinds of questions.
"Further, as a pastor, I have to say that I would be very uncomfortable asking questions like this of the young people in the congregation I serve. In fact, I would never consider delving into the private lives of young people in so personal a manner.
"I do find it important to honestly address issues of sex and sexuality in ways that are developmentally appropriate. However, in my experience I find it more helpful to have those conversations in a group setting, and to never single out a particular individual’s behavior. Plus, to interview young people in the manner you describe seems to set a church leader up to potentially be accused of harassment."
"This is not done in our denomination and I would not be surprised to discover that this practice is illegal."
"I try not to say too much about the practices of other churches. That said, given the facts as you present them, I would have the same reaction as you did."
"Wow, I can appreciate the bind that you're in. My daughter is two and I have not yet had to navigate those waters, though as a pastor, I've wondered what the best way to address that sensitive issue is.
"We do not have any such practice of interviewing our children/youth about their moral behavior. I would especially not be comfortable asking for details about sexual behavior from youth or adult. I have not heard of this practice in the Mormon Church before, and on hearing of it from you, I share your sensitivity to it.
"If this is a churchwide practice, than you probably do not have much hope of stopping it. If participating in the church has been important for your family, it really does put you in a difficult situation.
"God's peace be with you as you navigate this!"
"No we don't have anyone in the church that gets that involved in the personal life of our youth. I also was unaware that this is the practice of the Mormon church. You are in a tough situation because this is a church wide practice if I understand you correctly. Unfortunately if this is the church policy and you choose to place your family under the church leadership you may have to submit to the policy or change churches."
"The short answer to your question is this: No, we do not have these kinds of interviews with children OR adults. Yes, we believe we should trust God and honor him by living a sexually moral life. Yes, we share what the Bible says about this and encourage this – but again, No, we do not have interviews like this. And I agree; these kinds of interviews are intrusive and inappropriate.
"There are positive things about the Mormons, but there are many ways I think they have twisted the truth about God and his ways – but that is a completely different discussion."
"I have had some dealings with the Mormon church off and on over the years. I am somewhat familiar with their leadership structure and practices. I have not ever heard of this particular one. Mormon's generally differ greatly from how Christian churches believe and are run.
"I would say that Sexual purity should be a high priority to teach to our young and those that claim to walk with Jesus. Many books in the New testament address the issue of calling people to abstain from sex outside of marriage as well as those mentioned below (Petting, masturbation, making out and so on.) However, I believe that God has given the mandate to be Spiritual head of the home to the Father. It is the job of the pastor (church leader) to preach what God's heart is on a subject and possibly have such conversations with the same gender with the parents permission. So if a teen approached a youth leader on a subject it should always be same gender to prevent the kinds of issues as you said below i.e. fantasizing, any kind of potential spiritual or sexual abuse, or temptations that could be harmful. No one is above temptation or falling into sin (even a bishop is just a man) Jesus tells us in Matt. 26:41 "Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” We should always act with wisdom when addressing sin or sensitive issues.
"As a Father of one with another on the way (Boy and now a girl) I would agree that it is inappropriate for a man that is not a doctor or father to be asking those kinds of questions to a minor. I would say even if there are no indiscretions happening at this time it is a potentially problematic situation that I would not put a child in. I have no doubt that he turned you down. If he is that high in the church and is taking part in the exercise, He must not be opposed to the practice.
"Mormon's hold many practices that the Christian community would disagree with, but I would say that this particular one would be a major difference. This does not take place in my church, nor would I allow it. In fact, if someone was asking questions of a sexual nature of a child I would dismiss them from staff immediately. We encourage our teenagers to be pure and make good decisions but ultimately it is not our job to be a sort of spiritual big brother. It would not be possible to follow them in every moment and watch them constantly, or force them to make the right decision. They must choose to follow God and His purposes for them, themselves.
"As a pastor and father, I believe that the practice is wrong also. However, I think that the reality of convincing the LDS church to stop this practice is probably close to impossible. It may be an unpopular decision to leave the LDS church, but as long as you are going to them and placing yourself under their authority I believe they will continue as they have done. Many Christian churches offer strong community, healthy friendships and activities without the kind of practices that are raising your concerns. My heart goes out to you, because you are in a difficult situation with your wife supportive of the church.
"I would encourage you to continue to be honest with your wife, but also understand that if she has been a Mormon all of her life she may be fearful of leaving the church. I would say be gentle, loving, and nurturing with her but honest with her about your convictions. I will be praying for you, copostmo. If you would like to talk further or meet for coffee perhaps to continue I would be more than willing. Bless you and thank you for listening. I hope that I wasn't too blunt for you, but I don't think that you are wrong in your feelings."
"Thank you for your email. We do not operate as this bishop does, and we welcome you and your children to visit our church and youth groups."
“First and foremost, I think it is fair to let you know that I disagree strongly with the teachings of Mormonism. While I believe there are many good people who attend their churches, I don't not believe the teaching to be correct—most notably their teaching about Jesus Christ as the incarnate God.
“As far as your concern, I would not be comfortable taking such actions with teenagers or adults for that matter. When I incorporate people into the teaching, I usually do so in a way that illustrates a point or involves humor. I would rather people share stories about their lives that can encourage and enable people to be their best.
“You are the primary person responsible for teaching your children.”
“I appreciate your concern for your family and your faithful attention to what is best for them. I am a father of four, from 13 to 23 years old. I especially look out for my 13-year-old daughter. In our church we address sexuality issues in group instruction and discussion. There may be times when individuals seek one-on-one counseling, but that is initiated by the family and honestly is pretty rare.
“We certainly believe in the importance of protecting children and adults from the dangers and hurt of sexual sin, however, I think you are properly concerned about the setting in which this is happening in your church between a grown man and young girls (and boys). This Sunday I will be preaching about the susceptibility many men have to sexual sin and it seems what is happening at your church is just asking for trouble. No grown man needs to know the details of a young boy's or girl's sexual sin. For that matter, even an adult's details may be more than he needs to know. It is possible to minister to the spiritual needs of an individual without that.
“Having said that, I know from personal experience it is good for people to have accountability and sometimes sin can become too general and a person avoids dealing with their specific issues. There is a danger at the other extreme. What is most important, though, is that the life and forgiveness Jesus won for us in his life, death, and resurrection is applied to our sin, forgiving it completely.”
“ You are right to be concerned about the welfare of you children. This is an invasion of their (and by extension, your) privacy. I WOULD NEVER DREAM OF ASKING ANYONE (ESPECAILLY A CHILD) ABOUT THEIR PRIVATE SEXUAL ACTIVITIES OR THOUGHTS!!! It is quite simply none of my business. As a Christian pastor, I am concerned that the members of my congregation remain sexually pure as the Bible instructs, but as is the case with all sin, it is ultimately a matter between them and God. If anyone wishes to discuss a particular sin that is bothering them, I will do so in order to assuage their conscience and seek to guide them as to how to avoid it, but with children I would never do so without the parent(s) present, and I have never nor will ever solicit details.
“I am sorry that this is happening to your children and I would advise you to reconsider your membership in the LDS since, as you mention, it is common practice. If you would like to discuss this further I would be glad to do so at your convenience.”
“I grew up in a Mormon community. I know the drill...and I know the power they have over the people. It's not a good thing. Fulfill the vocation that God gave you as a parent and refuse to allow your children to attend that den of iniquity any longer. Mormonism is not Christian, and they do not have, nor worship the Jesus of the Bible, but rather the Jesus of their imagination. It's time to act. You know there's a problem. God has given you the vocation of father. Be a father and the protector of these kids. If wife will not come out of it, then at least you can and should remove the children. That's your choice...and they cannot stop you. If you do not have a church home, bring your family to our congregation.”
I was unaware of this particular practice in the Mormon Church, but I think there is much I do not know.
I too am concerned with sexual purity. However, it is not our practice to meet with our youth (one on one, especially in this day and age) to ask questions concerning their sexual expression, and "grill" them about their behaviors or sexual interactions with others. We do talk in our confirmation program about human sexuality and the importance of abstinence (I think this is off their radar). I do attempt to foster open communication with our youth in the hopes that if there is a need to talk they will.
I would certainly ask the question of the bishop concerning the lack of consistency in the church surrounding this practice (some bishops respecting the wishes of the parents in this matter and others not.)
I too would have concern.
I am certainly no expert on Mormon Church Law and Practices and am neither anxious to get into some kind of litigious conflict with the Mormon Church nor impugn the character of a Mormon Bishop...
That said, no, we do not do that sort of thing with our young people. In this day of rampant sexual abuse by those in positions of authority, if what you have described is indeed the case, I personally think it highly inappropriate for a church leader to conduct such interviews. Note... that is my opinion but I would guess most would agree with me.
I also think the Church exists to support the family and not to usurp parental concerns or authority. I would be suspect of any one of influence or authority in my children's lives who did not respect and honor my or any other parent's wishes.
I know this is not particularly helpful but I would encourage you to talk with your wife... I am sure any mother would be concerned about who discusses what with her sons and daughters. And it may be that she has come up through the ranks and perceives this practice to be harmless...
If for any reason you have reason to suspect the safety of your children (emotionally, spiritually or physically) or anyone else's children I hope you will take steps to intervene in their behalf.
Thanks for the email! I was not aware of this practice by Bishops in the Mormon Church. We do not engage in a similar interview process, in part because we believe that is the responsibility of each parent, and it is the parent's right and prerogative to determine how they will approach that subject with each of their children. What works with one child may need to be adjusted for another. Our Youth Pastors will address the subject of sexual purity as part their teaching cycle, but that doesn't include interviews with the students.
As a pastor and a parent I would personally share you concerns. We as a church have preached and taught on sexual purity and biblical morality to our youth as well as our entire congregation. Our youth pastors might engage kids on a personal level if one of the youth expresses they are struggling in a particular area, etc. But to do it routinely and in complete privacy apart from any accountability is quite unorthodox in ministry. And asking for the graphic details, numbers of time, etc. seems just plain weird. I personally try not to criticize other churches but in this case I would have to affirm your concerns as a parent. And as the Senior Pastor I would not endorse any of our pastors on staff approaching their ministry to youth in this manner.
There are doctrinal issues with the Mormon Church that are quite unorthodox biblically. But this approach philosophically to ministry is quite unorthodox as well, and you are not “crazy” to be concerned.
I'm not sure what I can tell you except that yes, as a father I would be quite concerned about those questions being asked of my teenager. Your concerns can and should be taken to the person the Bishop reports to. I suspect in the church, there is a person who oversees the district. That's the person you should speak to.
All churches address areas of moral purity as a part of their doctrine but the ultimate responsibility for the children rests with the family. I would suggest that if the church leader does not abide by your wishes and if the topic is designed for illicit purposes you contact your local police department.
I received your email concerning some of the mormon practices. Thank you for trusting me. My desire is to give you the most honest and sincere information possible.
I find it interesting that I’m the one you contacted. I had just talked with a friend of mine that is the director for [a group in] California. She can answer any question you have. She has led so many people out of the mormon religion over the years and into the Pure, Loving arms of the real God of the universe.
So let me get to your question. The interviewing of children & teens on the issue of sexual purity. Very bad, very dangerous and not scriptural according to the Word of God (The Bible). I noticed that this is usually done alone, parents not present nor anyone else.
DO WE DO THIS? NO! My church nor any evangelical Christian does this. We live by Faith and in grace thanks to the real Jesus of the Bible. Not by works. We allow the Holy Spirit to do His job inside of Christians. We teach the Truth's of the Bible and then it is up to the parents to guide their children. Talk about what they learned from the pastor or in children's Sunday School class. But there are no secrets in Christian churches. No separating parents from their children. We all journey together in coming to Know Jesus, growing in Him and with Him. I believe in inside out transformation. If I tell you to clean something up in your character, you may do it for me but I don't know what you think in your heart about the change I recommended. That would be where the outsides just learn to behave but no change on the inside. Jesus desires to change or transform our hearts, our character to be conformed more into His image and likeness daily, for the rest of our lives in relationship with Him. That is the greatest change when the Holy Spirit does it. Inside out. The inside are changed and that begins to show on our outsides! (behavior and conduct) Do we want to obey when we are aware of what God says to us in His Word? Yes. But it is out of a response to His love that motivates us to want to bey. He can be trusted. get it? Just like in a healthy family setting where dad is loving and worth trusting. Kids are more apt to obey his leading and rules.
I believe this bishop is overstepping his bounds. I think if a person comes to him with a problem in any of these areas, he may talk to them and help them. But to just to come out and ask them and then pursue it does not seem right or proper. We do not do this. We have the Sacrament of confession where people may come and seek forgiveness of their sins and we may discuss the problem with them, but it does not continue outside of the confessional. I would really question his reasoning about his actions.
Thanks for writing me about such a delicate subject. I am not comfortable at all with the kind of questioning being done with your children by the leaders of the church. It is very intrusive and should be a matter between you and your wife and your children. Since I am a pastor with the [XYZ] Church, I do not have a formal relationship with your church. So they are not interested in my views.
I am always open to further conversation and would love to have you visit our church if there was ever an opportunity for that to happen. Many prayers and blessings on your family.