Earlier last week, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a marketing research survey inquiring from members about the idea of lowering the age of youth interviews with clergy from age twelve to eight.

Today we have assembled an all-star panel to discuss whether or not this is a good idea. Panelists include:

– Natasha Helfer Parker (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Sex Therapist)
– Roger Hendrix (former Mormon Bishop, Stake Presidency Member, Mission President, and CES Director)
– Sam Young (founder of Protect LDS Children and Protect All Children)
– Joelle Casteix (leading global expert, advocate and spokesperson for survivors of child sexual assault and institutional cover-up. Joelle has considerable experience fighting the Mormon church in state legislatures in support of sexual abuse victims)


Noteworthy links:






This is the information on the civil window law in NEW YORK. If you know of survivors who were abused there, this is relevant to them (Mormon or not). We are having these made for AZ, NJ, and other states with windows:




Download MP3


  1. Joy July 18, 2019 at 2:45 pm - Reply

    God would never inspire the leaders to even consider this question. Eight-year-olds are not old enough to make a covenant to begin with. The way we frame eight-year-old baptisms is wrong-headed on every level. If it were a framed as a ceremony to introduce the child into the community as they begin to become accountable that would be one thing, but to propose that they are making a forever, conscious covenant with God is, I have to say, ludicrous. And then to “check in” with them for the next three years “to help children remember the baptismal covenants they have made” has so many negative implications, I don’t know where to start.

  2. zeke July 20, 2019 at 7:52 pm - Reply

    I’m surprised no one has stated the obvious here — isn’t it clear that the top 15 have already made up their minds? They need to capture these kids at younger and younger ages and indoctrinate them because if they wait til 14 or 15 a lot of kids are going to just laugh at these so called religious leaders with their keys to heaven and not take the questions seriously. The survey is just to give these new worthiness guidelines some justification in advance. As always, the needs of the institution are first and foremost.

  3. Mw. Adrie de Jong July 21, 2019 at 8:49 am - Reply

    Thank you for this great podcast again !

    I’m glad to see the church has released this marketing research survey and ask the members, before implying the rule. Especially because the earlier survey helped so much with changing things in the temple ceremony. I agree this is truly the right way to go, to have and know the members thoughts and include them within their decision. It’s not weak, it’s wise ! And wisdom is allways a strength !

    While listening one thought kept popping up in my mind: How much Scientology is in the minds from the LDS leaders and elsewhere in the church.

    My sister’s life is completely ruined by the brainwashing in the Scientology ‘church’. A girl with great talents, mucically, verbally and otherwise, sought a place to improve herself and believed the lies Scientology told her … instead of improving, her life got completely ruined ! This happened in 1978/79, I lost my sister, I lost my best friend. And she has lost her freedom: physically as well mentally, never to recover from the abuse. Somewhere around 2005 I met a man, a leader in Scientology. He explained what had happened and said sorry for it. It eased my mind, just to know that there had been ‘bad luck’ on her path. But I was known with the look in the eyes from the boy that assisted him, I’m afraid … the ‘bad luck’ is more common in Scientology church than the leader would like to admit.

    Due to my sister’s enthousiasm for Scientology I know there were lds members following Scientology lessons, their testomonies were shared in the magazine my sister recieved. Later I learned my sister had been hesitating in choosing between my church and Scientology. Too bad, she choose wrong, because in those days Scientology was the worst in brainwashing and the lds church was closing the list as being the least damaging. (and I am thinking of how much fun we would have had, if she would have become a mormon, we would have enjoyed her talents so much and her deep thoughts and sense of humor!) Later I learned from John in one of the episodes that now Scientology and the LDS church are leading the list together … leading a list in damaging people ! I hope pres. Nelson will be able to get the church away from that top, it makes me very worried about all the people I love in the church !

    If it’s true, the leaders will listen to this podcast, I hope they also will read my comment. And I ask again: How much Scientology is in the minds from the leaders from The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints. Please, President Nelson, Scientology is not teaching a Christlike attitude, but the churchmembers attitude right now looks more like Scientology than Christlike. And just like the Scientology leader I wrote about, you might not be aware of the bad influence that brings ‘bad luck’ to your church members, you might not admit it at first, not see it. But we are knocking at your door: telling you, we are missing the Christlike attitude, we’re not seeing it ! Instead we see peoples lifes hurt: like my sisters and mine, while Christ is easing our pain: outside the church !

    Dear President Nelson, I would like you to take a look at how many leaders took Scientology courses and lost their sense of Christlike thinking and feeling that way ?
    I would like to ask you, how many among the Apostles and Seventies and others immediatly around you, influencing your desicions, have been involved with Scientology thinking ?

    It’s remarkable, as Sam Young says, that to lower the age for worthiness interviews, has come after he is fighting for the safety of the children. To me this shows there are different roads of thinking among the leaders, some whom think this is a good (???) thing, but also others hesitating …. and bringing out a survey and ask the members ….. show they are thinking about it and wondering if it is good or bad and hopefully the outcome will show how bad it is, so, they can support the right answer. But this attitude of enforcing worthiness interviews on kids at a younger age made me think of Scientology.

    The last couple of years I learned a lot about Scientology. I watched interviews on youtube about people being hurt like my sister, I learned about the misserable lives from familymembers from (ex-)Scientolists whom had been negative about the S-church, just like I have been, and also my life is ruined. I learned about how the E-meter works. I thought my sister had been only interviewed about her life, but I learned she had probably also spoken about her family. This explains to me the divide between her and us, she must feel guilt about all she had said about us and put us in an unsafe position. I’m aware strange things are happening in my life that are damaging for me and the way my life is ruined, and I wonder where it comes from. Also the lies that are gossiped and told about me and how I am displayed by people I don’t know, but they act like they know me, but they don’t know me, but somewhere it looks like they got information about me from long ago … and I wouldn’t be surprised that my sister’s goodbelieving heart has been misused to gather information about her family and bother us, me, aswell to punish us for being negative about Scientology, the church that completely ruined my sister’s life, mine and my other, oldest, sister’s life.

    Scientolists see children as grown up mature human beings in small bodies. To lower the age is just to start interviewing children earlier in their ‘mature’ life. But children are not mature or grown ups ! Children need to play, learn from the faults they make and be safe from people abusing them, sexually, but also verbally.
    When I learned about what might have gone wrong during the E-meter interviews, and the info my sister might have shared, I have forgiven my sister. My attitude might have hurt her, I was a child, learning, but also making faults, and sure I might have hurt her feelings and she must have shared it to releave herself from it, to become Clear and O.T. I understand her ambition to become O.T. and Clear. When I was a mormon I sure would got to get to the Celestial Kingdom, so, I understand ambition. But the S-church had no right to misuse the goodhearted shared information that was given to it, to use it to abuse ! Up until today !

    So President Nelson I want to ask you: what information really do you want the LDS church to get from those interviews ?

    Do you want to intimidate those children and make them feel ashamed ? Maybe not nessarilly from that moment, but when the child grows older and thinks of what it has thought to safely share, but could be used against him/her … or if it was about the family … against the family ! How vulnerable do you want your members to be ? And with it: to live in fear and bondage, by things said as a young child. Do you really want it to feel guilty and be divided from the family ? Do you want to lay such responsibillity upon the child, later to be a member of your church, but mentally intimidated and broken ?

    Please, you are turning the ship into another direction, that is clear and I’m rejoicing in it ! But there are so many unseen dangers in the theory used in the church, we still have to pick up the veil and look under it, and the influence from Scientology might be one that is very damaging, and opposite from Christlike attitude.

    Children are no grownups, they need to be protected against questions not suitable for a Christlike church. A Christlike church doesn’t use children against it’s parents and families. A Christlike church is not a dictatorial area, but a place where one can be safe, complete with the mistakes it makes, to learn from and so it can be mature once growned up. Give the child a safe place to be. It’s God’s child, treat it as precious like that !

    And if you don’t know how to replace patriarchy principles or Scientology rules ? Concentrate or meditate or contemplate upon the Principle of Attitudinal Healing. Cover it with a sauce of Plan of Salvation and you will feel your heart burning, you will see the children of God in the pre-existence and know they are preparing to come to earth to make it a better place ! You will see how precious each of God’s children is and how their safety needs to be and be protected, and given in a church that has so much wisdom to share !


    Mw. Adrie de Jong
    The Netherlands

  4. RKK July 22, 2019 at 9:03 am - Reply

    Women conducting worthiness interviews isn’t really going to improve the odds that children will not be harmed. As a forty-something LDS woman, my experience has been that most of the shaming of women in the church is done by women, both young and old. And I KNOW there are many other woman who have also experienced this! The subject could be it’s own podcast!
    When I first began attending a student single’s ward Relief Society in CA, I became amazed (and annoyed) at how every lesson, “dressing modestly” seemed to come up as a solution to better live whatever the topic was. And many of the comments were basically saying that it is our responsibility as women to control the thoughts and behaviors of men by what we wear. And these were young girls.
    In the MTC, a woman teacher told a story of how one elder peered down a sister missionary’s shirt as she leaned over and the impure thoughts that followed, caused him to go home. So this old lady instructor began to shame the girls, or rather, pre-shame them “Now sisters….you don’t want to be responsible for sending an elder home. do you? Wouldn’t you feel just terrible?” As you can see, you don’t have to be scantily clad to be judged as immoral by other LDS women.

    A young pre-endowed Relief Society teacher relayed an experience she had with her 3 -yr-old nephew one Sunday at home. She was hot so she removed her sweater which revealed a tank dress. The boy’s response to her exposed shoulders was “That’s not pretty. Mama says that’s not pretty”. Since when does an innocent 3- yr-old even notice or care about shoulders? When they have a mother who judges other women and teachers her son to do the same. But the Relief Society teacher was not bothered, in fact she was aglow “This boy is going to such an amazing man when he grows up!”But I felt disturbed, like the poor kid has been warped.I suspect he may have problems with women later on.
    In a testimony meeting in Utah, one of the young men sharing his testimony explained how things are really hard in his life and revealed a big source of his trouble “And the girls were wearing….TANK TOPS!” as he sobs and sobs. I wondered if it was the same boy now grown, haha.
    I imagine there are many boys out there like that,girls too, and it’s really not funny at all. It’s not healthy. There are many more important things in life to be concerned with than bare shoulders and knees. Why can’t these body parts be left innocent? The heavy focus on hiding them at all times perverts them–at least in our minds. What joint should we shame next? Our elbows? The burden always rests on girls-it’s their responsibility to stay covered to protect themselves and others from being corrupted.
    Look what they’re doing now.
    My niece went to girls camp this summer, and no shorts of any kind were allowed. Only capris. And swim trunks now must be worn over a one piece bathing suit. Really? A one piece swimsuit is no longer modest enough, now girls must wear TWO swimsuits? Why? It’s like we’re going backwards. It wasn’t that strict when I was in Young Women. We even wore tank tops and thought nothing of it. We kept cool and just had fun. We focused on what really mattered. And I bet the young men have bare chests in swim trunks on their camp outs. Double standards?? At BYU Idaho girls are forbidden to wear shorts, capris, or even leggings. Men may write these rules, perhaps, but LDS women can really enforce modesty/morality on other women.

    And not only on LDS women, but even on mannequins. No joke.

    While working in a department store that used to be ZCMI, I had complaints from a young mother because our mannequin was wearing a bra and panties that could be seen from the little boys department. She seemed to think it was intentionally placed there to corrupt young boys–especially her son. (Even though she was actually standing in the intimate apparel dept.) She wanted me to remove it and when I said that I was not able to move it, she wanted to see a manager… and waited 15 mins for one to come listen to her say if it was not removed she would no longer shop there. Now that’s standing for truth and righteousness. Right? Now her son will never forget that headless mannequin his mother didn’t want him to even glance at. And maybe even wonder what other bra and panty things he’s not supposed to look at.

    Ok, One more. Two old ladies passed me and my associate as we were dressing a mannequin in a tasteful holiday negligee that looked like a Santa suit-red trimmed in white and gasped”I hope you’re going to put that in the closet!” My associate smiled and said “We don’t order them, they get sent from LA” .
    “Well that’s not for Utah!” they said. And went on, “Now would you wear that for your husband? Would you wear that when he is supposed to have wholesome feelings toward you?” They just shook their heads. That hussy mannequin. Trying to corrupt her own husband. She should feel terrible.

    Yeah….I don’t want anyone interviewing my 8-11 yr old. It’s not necessary. Asking baptism concepts is fine, but worthiness? Young children are already worthy of God’s love and acceptance and all we have to give. Let what’s innocent stay innocent. We need to just let them be.

  5. Aethelred July 25, 2019 at 8:28 pm - Reply

    (1) When I was five years old, I was sexually abused by a girl in my Ward – who babysat me every week for a full year – and she sexually abused and physically tortured me every week she tended me. Females inflict abuse, too. I am now almost 46 years old, I have never had an intimate relationship with a woman, and I am a well-educated, athletic, cosmopolitan male, a man.

    (2) I overwhelmingly support the protective modification/deletion of intrusive interviews within the Church which all panelists, I think, also supported. Yet I do think that Roger Hendrix was really quite alone in his personal pro-good-of-the-Church point of view (and I know no one else of such disposition conceded to join this discussion), and that Roger’s unique-to-the-panel statements/requests to respond to his p.o.v. were dismissed towards the end, which I was disappointed in.

    (3) Thank you for having this discussion. I love you all. Love love ❤

  6. Anne July 26, 2019 at 2:19 am - Reply

    No. Just, no. Absolutely not. The reasons behind this are so transparent, even the brethren can’t find a way to hide them. They just try to use semantics to camouflage what they’re up to here. It’ll sound reassuring to those who’ve been made so deeply afraid of “losing” their children to sin and the “world”; catch them young and influence them to fear any voice but the voice of sanctioned authority. Especially their own voice. Definitely want them to mistrust their own voices. It’ll be called “safety” and “spiritual guidance”, this tightening of the net of influence, but a net is what it really is. Catch them early.

    If the church really holds the deepest truths, if it really offers joy, growth, and true freedom, why does it take such cautious maneuvers to ensure continued involvement? If what the church offers is so patently satisfying, why cannot young people explore freely, and discover that for themselves? Why cannot the leaders feel more confident that the church will attract their loyalty through its own merits, rather than through carefully curated experiences and meticulous control of information?

    The potential for misunderstanding, miscommunication, and inadvertent trauma is so great. I think of a stake dance interview I had at age 14,where the bishop euphemistically asked me if I was “sweet and pure”. His question confused me. I had no idea he was asking me about my (non existent) sex life. I thought he was asking me if I was a living Disney princess, “sweet and pure” enough for the birds to alight upon and handsome princes to sing to. Squirming shyly, I owned that I was not, and I giggled nervously. His demeanor changed in a flash, from beneficent fatherliness, to stern magistrate, “see that you are from now on”, he barked, and just like that, the interview was over, and neither of us had any understanding of what had actually just happened. That was 40 yrs ago, but bishops get no more effective training for those kind of conversations now, than they did then. It’s reprehensible arrogance to make them responsible for conducting so-called worthiness interviews with children whose “worthiness” should never be in question in the first place.

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