Every year our ward planned a youth temple trip to do baptisms for the dead. For Montanans, this required a road trip to the nearest temple since we didn't have enough members to warrant a temple being built (yet). The cool part for us was it meant a 6-hour drive to the Idaho Falls Temple and an overnight stay. Planning meetings, fund-raisers, and excited anticipation permeated the young mens and young womens organizations for months prior to the trip.
As MWOM (Mormons Without Money), my brother, sister and I always had to scramble to make enough money to pay our way to the temple. My brother is a year older than me and my sister is a year younger. Having six younger brothers and sisters meant I had a lot of experience babysitting, as did Eric and Val. I remember being relieved that I was finally able to earn my own money so I could have more money for clothes, shoes, and. . .oh, who am I kidding?? CANDY. I loved babysitting because it fed my addiction to candy.
One particularly lean year, my mom came up with a plan for us to raise money for our trip. She got out the ward directory and divided the list of names into three equal groups. Each of us got a different group of names, and a bit of instruction on what to say.
Let the cold calling begin!
"Hi, Sister Hodges? This is Lisa from your ward. I'm trying to earn money for the upcoming youth temple trip, and would just like to ask you to keep me in mind if you need a babysitter in the next month. Thanks!"
I was so uncomfortable making those calls. Perhaps those calls are the reason I've never worked as a phone solicitor. But lo and behold, it worked. We always made enough money to go. Of course, we also worked at every single bake sale and every single car wash too. I used to envy my MWM (Mormons With Money) friends, because they could skip those lame activities and all that hard work if they wanted. We didn't have the luxury. We worked every single fund-raiser we could.
I remember my first temple recommend interview. I was twelve years old, uncomfortable and nervous because I didn't know what to expect. After asking me to sit down, my bishop proceeded to try to make me feel more at ease by asking about my family. I told him they were fine. He asked me if I was a full tithe payer. Yes. He asked me if I followed the Word of Wisdom by not drinking coffee, tea, or partaking of alcohol, tobacco, or drugs. I assured him I obeyed the Word of Wisdom. These questions were standard, so his next one caught me by surprise.
"Lisa, tell me how many boys you've kissed."
"NONE!" I kind of laughed nervously as if he had told a joke while I squirmed in my chair and looked at the wall behind his head. I could feel my face turning purple.
"Oh, come now. Surely you've kissed boys by now!"
"No! Not one! Sheesh!"
"Are you sure you've never kissed a boy, not even one? Come on, you can tell me. You must have kissed at least one. Tell me about it." He had lowered his voice to try to sound like a confidante who'd never tell my secrets.
What the hell?! I was starting to get mad. "Bishop. Listen. I have never kissed a boy. Ever. Why won't you believe me?" I was still beet red and my forehead had broken out into a cold sweat.
"I just find it hard to believe that someone like you has never even kissed a boy. You should tell me if you have. I'm your bishop."
"Well, I haven't, so the answer is no."
The interview ended quite quickly after that, thankfully.
Now that I look back on that interview with adult eyes, I realize things about that bishop that most Mormons won't acknowledge a priesthood leader could be capable of. I'm not sure what jollies he got out of just listening to a young girl talk about kissing other boys, but there can be no doubt that he had something going on that made him want to hear it.
My discomfort over being questioned wasn't for naught, however. I left the interview with temple recommend in hand. I was going to the temple, baby, the House of the Lord!