So, what does it take to be worthy and what are these interviews like? Yesterday I was recalling how my abusive father was considered worthy to attend the temple and be in the bishopric despite physical and emotional abuse of his family throughout his life. As far as I know, he never confessed his sins and never repented of them. It suppose it is possible that he never knew that what he was doing was wrong.
One of the temple worthiness questions is whether the member is obeying the law of chastity. I know from personal experience that bishops sometimes ask probing, detailed questions regarding this question since it causes so many people problems. For example, the bishop may ask about masturbation or petting or necking. In a way, I guess this might be considered educational; that is making sure that the person is aware of the church's standards and what it considers acceptable bounds on sexual behavior. Fine.
A number of years ago the church added a question to the temple recommend interview regarding any conduct inside the home. It asks,
Is there anything in your conduct relating to members of your family that is not in harmony with the teachings of the Church?It is generally understood that it was added to combat incest in the church or at least make it appear that the church is doing something about incest. At least that is what bishops have told me when I responded that I didn't always feel comfortable with the way that I treated and disciplined my children. This is a pretty broad question, much more so than the law of chastity. But, do bishops ask such probing questions regarding abuse in the home? Either they don't or else my father lied in the interviews or else the bishop didn't consider punching, choking, and kicking down doors abuse. If he believed that the question only pertained to incest, then he could truthfully answer no. But, I dare say that if a video camera captured his behavior few people would have found it in harmony with the teachings of Christ or even the Mormon church.
Given some comments I've received, I don't think I was the only Mormon kid who suffered abuse in the home from "temple worthy" parents. If this is truly a big problem in the church, and I think it is, then why aren't the questions more probing? Why don't they extend beyond incest? Why doesn't the church it control over temple access to control and restrain parenting to Christ-like behavior?
I don't have the answer. I wish I did. To me it is a further indictment of the lack of inspiration and leadership of TSCC that it doesn't work to combat abuse in the home in all of its forms. It make me tremble with rage to think that church leaders sign off on the worthiness of people who abuse their family members and show no remorse and make no attempts to reform their behavior.