An Open Letter to Mormon Women: A Modesty Proposal

Dec 23, 13 An Open Letter to Mormon Women:  A Modesty Proposal

An Open Letter to Mormon Women: A Modesty Proposal

Dear Mormon Women, you are the greatest. Thank you so much for all you do in the Church. Some of my best friends in the world are women.

But I wanted to draw attention to something. My comments might not be politically correct, but they address an issue that really matters: personal purity. I’m speaking specifically of the kind of purity that is based on the Word of Wisdom. Culinary modesty, you might call it.

I’m not going to speak for all men here, but just for myself and some of the men I know. We ask you to please, please, do your duty when it comes to the Word of Wisdom. God has commanded us to avoid the very appearance of evil. And whenever a man sees a woman drink a Coke, all he sees is an aluminum can of delicious brown liquid. And then he has no choice but to break the Word of Wisdom. If the man hadn’t seen you drinking that Coke he wouldn’t have bought that beer, so therefore the blame falls at least mostly on your shoulders, even as appropriately clothed as they are.

My modesty proposal is simple: women, please be a little more considerate of the men in your life. It’s not that difficult. For example, just don’t pick up that Coke. And don’t even get me started about carbonated beverages in glass bottles, particularly the ones that look like alcoholic beverages (i.e. all of them). When a man sees something like that, what inevitably garnishes his thoughts is not virtue. Do you women really want to trade your purity for a Virgil’s Root Beer?

Let me give you another example: I saw a woman with a toothpick in her mouth the other day. Seriously? Seeing her do that was the proverbial straw that broke the very literal seal on my pack of Camels.

It is important to be clear here, dear LDS women, that even though we love you we can’t love the sin: a woman’s purity in living the Word of Wisdom depends largely on what happens in a man’s head when he sees her.

No more steaming cups of hot chocolate in your mug, because that makes men drink coffee. No more meat in times of warm or non-famine, because that makes men eat too much steak. No more chewing things because that makes us succumb to chewing tobacco. If you have acted in these ways you are at least partly to blame for the actions of the men around you.

I hope you don’t decide to be offended by this. I just felt a prompting that it was time for me to speak up against the trends of the world. I’m so tired of women’s lack of personal purity infringing on my ability to live the Word of Wisdom. Now, before the femimarxists jump all over me in the comments, let me just say that the guilty take the truth to be hard, and that the Lord just can’t tolerate impure behavior.

Some might say the issue is in men’s minds–that chewing a toothpick wouldn’t actually be a problem if I didn’t turn it into one. Some might think it’s an example of so-called “victim blaming,” or that men like me are creating a culture that asks women to blame themselves for their brothers’ weaknesses.

You might think my criticism is off the mark. Well, I hope my sincere words help you look beyond the mark and see things as they really are.

With love,

Your brother.

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Jeff Swift is married to a registered nurse, and with her and their two boys is finishing up a graduate degree studying digital activism and online deliberation. He has lived in Provo, New York City, Bulgaria, North Carolina, and California. He's into politics, the interwebs, good debates, and soccer. He also blogs at mormonliberals.org.

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12 Comments

  1. I know this is satire. But it still made me hate you.

    You know, if you hadn’t been writing an article that gave the APPEARANCE of so much evil, then I wouldn’t be having to deal with these unholy thoughts right now.

    Yet your last point gives me pause…could it be that I am CHOOSING to be offended?

    Wait…how is it that if a man reacts to the luscious temptation of artesian rootbeer in my hand with impure thoughts, I bear responsibility, but if I become offended when that man does something insulting, the responsibility is–what’s that–also mine? How do these two work together?

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  2. Mungungadin /

    And, this is why it is time to give up being Mormon. Female-blaming-for-everything translates as shaming and violence against women (witness Utah’s rape stats).

    We are just barely giving up white supremacy (admitting that blacks and God had nothing to do with our racism) but we’re not close to giving up misogyny.

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  3. Me and my daughters can’t stop laughing. Love it. -SKL

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  4. This was hilarious. How do leaders not realize how ridiculous the women-blaming rhetoric is!?

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  5. Jeremy Timothy
    Jeremy Timothy /

    This is nice, but to really be applicable to the issue at hand, shouldn’t you be blaming bars and Starbucks? You should also blame people with nice stuff for making you covet and tempting you to steal. You should also blame people who obnoxiously disagree with your politics (or I suppose disobedient wives ; ) ) for creating your murderous thoughts. Why is everyone making our lives so hard?

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  6. Marshall Bond /

    Jeff “Swift?” Nice. I assume that’s not your real surname.

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  7. Daniel Lewis
    Daniel Lewis /

    Brilliant!

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  8. Michele /

    Ha! Love it. I am going to go gnaw on a toothpick right now!

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  9. Apparently too few people are familiar with the works of your relative, Jonathan. Nice to see the tradition being carried on… and to much the same reaction as his work.

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  10. RIchDanny /

    I know this is satire but LDS really read this stuff and take it as gospel. Women trade your virtue for a Virgil’s root beer? Before we can accept the satire, we have to accept that there are really men out there blaming women for doing this, actually causing this. There are Sunday school teachers actually communistic in their way of teaching. Root beer is not allowed because it is the appearance of evil we must protect against while much more larger, actual evil is going on. Until people actually read and understand what LDS gospel is they shouldn’t do LDS satire because IT WILL be taken as guidance from God.

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  11. Otismatis /

    TRIGGER WARNING: this article contains references to substances that are against the Lord’s Law of Health. It also contains the words “woman” or “women,” several times. Those who are currently striving to overcome temptation from either of these siren songs will find it best to read something else, like the Ensign, or the Ensign.

    As for me, I will be weeping as I relapse into chain smokin’ and alley cattin.’

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