The Latest: Group calls for end to Mormon youth interviews
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Latest on a campaign to end closed-door, one-on-one meetings between Mormon lay leaders and youth (all times local):
About 1,000 Mormons and former faithful have marched to the church’s headquarters in Salt Lake City to deliver petitions demanding an end to one-on-one interviews between Mormon youth and lay leaders and the sexual questions that sometimes arise.
They carried signs saying, “Mormon children, we have your back” and “No more closed doors” as they protested the meetings that they contend lead to unhealthy shaming of youth.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints changed policy this week to allow children to bring a parent or adult with them if they choose. The protesters say that doesn’t go far enough.
The march had been planned for months by a group that launched a campaign last year.
Mormon spokeswoman Irene Caso says Friday that the church “condemns any inappropriate behavior or abuse regardless of where or when it occurs.”
A group of people demanding an end to one-on-one interviews between Mormon youth and lay leaders and the sexual questions that sometimes arise during the meetings plan to march to church headquarters Friday to show they’re not satisfied despite a rule change this week that allows children to bring parents with them.
Group organizer Sam Young, a Mormon father from Houston, says a parent or adult should be required for all meetings. He said sexual questions often become explicit and argues children should only be asked if they are obeying the faith’s law of chastity.
Church officials say the interviews allow bishops to get to know youth better and determine their religious habits and obedience to God.
Young is expecting several hundred people at the event that comes one day before a church conference.