(As the editor of the Exponent II magazine‘s Sisters Speak column, I would love to hear your opinion on the following questions. Note: I might email some of you commenters asking if I might quote you in the magazine.)
I have three very young children, and I’m already nervous about the bishop interviewing them when they are teens. Specifically, I worry about the chastity question. I don’t feel terribly comfortable with the idea of a man they don’t know well asking them personal questions about things of a sexual nature. I particularly don’t want my kids feeling dirty and sinful if they have engaged in a certain amount of self-exploration, which I consider to be a normal part of development.
So how to handle the interview? One thought I had was that I could make it clear that no interview takes place without me or their dad in the room. This would probably head off any extended or probing questions of a sexual nature. Another thought was that I would tell my kids beforehand that they are never to talk with any adult about things of a sexual nature, and that if the bishop asks about it, they should say, “My parents have instructed me that I’m not allowed to discuss that sort of thing with adults I’m not related to.” My last thought was that I could tell them that the bishop is going to ask them if they are obeying the law of chastity, and that if they are not engaging in sexual acts with other people, then they can tell the bishop that they are keeping the law of chastity.
What advice do you have for young people going through these interviews, or for their parents who want to help them get through them in healthy ways? How did/do you yourself navigate these interviews and the chastity question?