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274: Safe and Unsafe Boundaries in Mormonism

Today we hit on Boundaries.  Healthy boundaries and more specifically unhealthy boundaries.  We use the example of a Bishop’s interview with a youth.  We directly talk about the distorted boundaries in this interaction but we also speak about how distorted boundaries travel with us through life and set up a relaxed and blind trust in later situations when we should be on guard.  Does Mormonism as a culture break down healthy boundaries to the point that as adults we have lost the ability to know what safe boundaries are and to even know where these boundaries should be and why they should be? We talk about the abuse rates in Utah and end asking if there is something in Mormonism that is unhealthy?  And if there is can we be vulnerable enough to deal with it?


8 thoughts on “274: Safe and Unsafe Boundaries in Mormonism”

  1. Skip an episode, never!!

    This is an important episode for people with sexual predator instincts to create and know the healthy boundaries.

    We have a responsibility as parents to teach our children, and I’ve already let them know that if they want us in the interviews to let us know. I will remind them of such boundaries, and that it would be my preference to accompany them.

    Also Bill, you ought to know that all bad things get reported in Utah, everywhere else they don’t… 😛

  2. Excellent Topic. Developing boundaries requires that you have a confidence in your own self. Something that is difficult to acquire in a culture where all are subject to priesthood authority, which is purported to be from God.

    See this deplorable example of this transgression of boundaries. Hearing the Bishop wield his authority as a bludgeon against a parent is abusive in and of itself

  3. Loved the pod-cast. You are talking principles as opposed to “divine prerogative”.

    I have always marveled at the talks given by GAs concerning principles, and letting such principles govern your life. However, in the same environment, principles are thrown to the way side in favor of “God’s will”.

    As a parent, you can’t tell me its Gods will for a bishop to say to my son: “Hey, do you masterbate?” That blows my mind….and yet it is expected of the bishops to ask probing questions as “the spirit directs?”

    You can justify anything…ANYTHING with that type of logic. Nephi killed Laban because the spirit directed him. Joseph Smith took a shot a Boggs because the spirit directed him. Lee and others went after the Arkansas travelers in Mountain Meadows because the spirit directed. GAs explained that blacks were non-valiant and segregation was divinely sanctioned by god because the spirit directed. Blood atonement providing incentive and justification for murder, because the spirit directed…

    Ad nauseum.

    At what point do principles REALLY govern?…

    That is the take away I got Bill. That was the question you were ultimately asking.

  4. Some more detail about the relationship between the abused and their abuses would be helpful. Here are some I thought of:
    Were the abused in elementary, middle, high school, college, or beyond?
    Were the abusers peers (+/- 3 years for minors, 5 years in college), adults over 25, or other?
    Were the abusers classmates, school adults, family, family of friends, church adults, etc.?
    I’m certain there is a good project here with grants for someone.

    As I was listening, I had some other thoughts, too. How are similar counseling situations supervised with school principals and counselors? Would adding translucent visibility to the interview space be helpful? Something that allows seeing proximity of occupants but still obscures details and conversation?

  5. Thank you Bill Reel for this podcast. I must admit that I had to grab some chocolate in order to listen to it all the way through.

    Lifelong LDS female here.

    What would an active LDS member think if an adult woman initiated a conversation with an 17-year old young man, who is not her own son, about what he does alone in the privacy of his own bedroom? Would any adult considered that to be appropriate conduct on the woman’s part?

    There was quite a stir in the news a couple of years ago about women teachers having sex with their young students.

    So my question is: Why are young women not interviewed by women in authority, instead of men in authority?

    I know that respect for male “authority” caused me to allow inappropriate action that affected me negatively, in my not being capable of setting boundaries until well into my adult years. I could NOT respond to an adult male, by saying: that is not an appropriate question, or action. I was a small business owner and made many executive decisions, but did not have the ability to say NO!to a man in authority.

    I’m sure that this happens more often than we would expect.

    Again, I appreciate this podcast. Thanks for posting it

  6. Thank you for this podcast! I found it incredibly helpful! Bill, I’ve heard your interviews on Mormon stories and infants on thrones. I hope you stay! I am so grateful we have a voice like yours! Thank you thank you thank you! This is coming from someone who is an atheist and does not believe in the church. But I am married to a believing Mormon. We’re working to make our marriage work And raise our two daughters. Thank you for your voice of reason! This is a podcast I can share with family and friends who are believing Mormons. When they question why I insist on being in the bishops interview with my two daughters as they grow up, I can share your thoughts! Thank you so much!

  7. Bishops questing any youth, male or female, about their sexuality IS sexual abuse. it is perverted. Many bishops quietly refuse to ask those questions, knowing how perverted it is. The church has dropped it’s push for asking these questions but still refuses to denounce it and put out education on it. Old habits and practices die hard.

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