Does this mean that ecclesiastical abuse is rampant?
This past weekend the St. George East Stake had a stake conference during which John R. Center, mission president of the Utah St. George mission, advised the audience on how to help the youth prepare for mission service.
Reportedly, “a big part of his talk”, in the context of “especially pornography, or any sexually related problems”, was for “youth leaders to…have very deep and penetrating interviews (with the youth).” This is disturbing. I do appreciate him normalizing professional counseling and saying “medication is okay” depression and other psychological concerns.
Below is a larger section for the entire context (emphasis mine). You can read the entire post here.
Elder Center, the Mission President, especially encouraged parents and bishops to help young prospective missionaries be able to totally confess and repent of any disobedience to Gospel principles, especially pornography, or any sexually related problems. Also to those who have been known to be depressed or have anxiety, they should be helped and receive counseling before they come out. To be on medication is okay, as long as it is under control.
He said there are many who have committed sins, and then repented privately of them, and think that is enough. Then when they get on their missions, they can’t live and teach by the Spirit, if they haven’t been honest with their bishop before their mission. He has received phone calls which say “President, I need to talk to you!” and he usually knows that is the problem — something they should have taken care of before they came out on their missions. So that was a big part of his talk — as parents, and youth leaders, to first of all teach them what they should, and should not do, and then have very deep and penetrating interviews. Some missionaries can repent in the mission field, but others need to be sent home. That is always very hard! But he said that even if they had to be sent home, and repent of something, that is better than if they hadn’t come at all — as they may never have repented on their own, and carried that burden all their lives.