The harm from institutionalized intrusion
into your (and your children’s) personal life
From within a cult, what should by all rights appall you may instead seem like a harmless or even a wholesome routine. A good example is the Mormon (LDS) Church’s institutionalized intrusion into members’ personal lives known as the “bishop’s interview.” It is a one-on-one meeting where your bishop asks you questions about your “personal worthiness.”
If that fails to creep you out, consider that bishops conduct annual “worthiness interviews” with children, beginning at age 12. Ironically, a culture that generally opposes sex education in school sees no harm in letting an adult male neighbor ask their kids about what they do with their genitals.
The interview itself is a form of child sexual abuse.
Sometimes the interview gives kids ideas. The Mormon church is rife with tales of parents who ask their kids, “What on earth gave you the idea to try that?” only to be told, “I never heard of it until the bishop asked if I’d ever done it.”
When an organization makes your personal business its own, it erodes your individuality, your will to be yourself, and your ability to recognize it and stand up to it when authority overreaches. This is a cult hallmark.
No wonder a good number of people raised Mormon fall prey when yet more oddball cults come along, from polygamy to political extremism.
For a stirring story of standing up to a cult, we commend to you this post by “Scarlet A” on the website Ex Mormon Mavens. It is a lovely tribute to her father who helped her stand up to cult abuse. We hope not just Mormons but all parents read it.