“I Confess”: You’re the Bishop (Poll # 15)By: Bishop Bill
You are sitting in your office after church one Sunday, and a young woman (16 yrs old) from another ward that meets in your building asks to speak to you. She is a long time friend of your daughter, and has been in your home many times over the years.
She sits down, and proceeds to confess to you that she has had sex with her non-member boyfriend. She tells you she has since broken up with the boy, and feels really bad about it.
The first words out of your mouth are that you are not her bishop, and she needs to talk to her own bishop, as you don’t have any jurisdiction over her repentance. She tells you that she does not like her bishop, and she will not confess to him. She is afraid that he will make her tell her parents. You talk to her for over an hour, but are unable to convince her to talk with her bishop.
Over time, even though you have spoke with her several more times, she still refuses to talk to her bishop. She has also told you not to tell anybody.
The state you live in recognizes your position as minister, and as such you are authorized to receive confessions from practitioners of all faiths. State laws thus recognize her confession as Priest–penitent privileged communication, and you are prohibited by law from telling anybody the content of her confession without her permission. The only exception is if she is a danger to herself or others, or if she was molested. None of these situations apply as the boy she had sex with is her same age, and the sex was consensual.
It is now a year later, and she still attends her ward regularly, and participates in YW leadership positions and attends temple youth baptisms.