If garments don’t feel oppressive, are they?

I recently read the fantastic opinion piece by Mette Harrison via The Huffington Post entitled “If We Don’t Feel Oppressed, Are We?” and it really hit home with me. When discussing matters that bothered me in the church, in particular the inequality of women and men in leadership, the argument I received (and echoed in Mette’s article) was: “Well, I don’t feel that way.” In fact, a PR representative from the church in response to women asking for church leaders to pray about the role of women in the order of the priesthood said, “Women in the church, by a very large majority, do not share your advocacy for priesthood ordination for women and consider that position to be extreme.” To pass it all off as kosher we tell women how wonderful they are. And somehow by saying this the masses are placated. Women, when told how innately motherly they are, suddenly forget how much they rocked their business law class because they now feel like becoming a working professional is a role that is less important. We tell women how righteous and spiritual they are and how special it is that they have all these special divine roles that men don’t. Because women have a uterus. Because babies. I’m not arguing that women don’t or shouldn’t posses these qualities. Many women do. BUT, so do many men. And many women posses strong leadership and spiritual qualities often attributed to men. It’s frustrating to me as a woman in the church to see women reduced to their body and what it produces. That because they can give birth they are somehow equal to men and God. Because they’re so special they don’t need anything other than motherhood. Children are enough. Being a mother is enough. I’ve written a few times about modesty in the church and the problem I feel it holds when we focus on lines. I have talked about how it teaches members to focus on the body of the person and...

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Garments, Lies and Videotape

Nov 11, 14 Garments, Lies and Videotape

Posted by in Featured, Honesty, Lying, Truth

If deception is an art form, the LDS Church is fast becoming Botticelli. The people who brought you the Mormons-don’t-believe-they-get-their-own-planet canard are at it again. And this time, it’s about the temple. In a recently released video (and accompanying essay) on its official website, the LDS Church discusses both temple robes and the garment of the holy priesthood. The video likens the “garment of the holy priesthood” to “the nun’s habit, the priest’s cassock, the Jewish prayer shawl, the Muslim’s skullcap, and the saffron robes of the Buddhist monk.” Crossing the Line While the comparison may be apt in some respects, the video crosses the line into duplicity when it states: Some people incorrectly refer to temple garments as magical or “magic underwear.” These words are not only inaccurate but also offensive to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There is nothing magical or mystical about temple garments, and Church members ask for the same degree of respect and sensitivity that would be afforded to any other faith by people of goodwill. Now, I get the fact that the main thrust of the paragraph is to try to keep people from calling the garments “magic underwear,” an admonition repeated in the closing paragraph. But pretty much every Mormon knows that there is, in fact, something very “magical or mystical about temple garments.” And that something is that they are a protection from harm. In a famous 60-Minutes interview aired April 7, 1996, Willard Marriot recounted a personal experience in which he was protected from injury by his temple garments. Mike Wallace: Do you wear the sacred undergarments? Willard Marriott: Yes, I do. And I can tell you they do protect you from harm. Mike Wallace: Really? Willard Marriott: Uh-huh. I was in a very serious boat accident. Fire–boat was on fire, I was on fire. I was burned. My pants were burned right off of me. I was not burned above my knee. Where the garment was, I was not...

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The Word of Wisdom: We are Doing it All Wrong

Aug 13, 14 The Word of Wisdom: We are Doing it All Wrong

Posted by in Featured, Word of Wisdom

A couple of years ago I wrote a series of posts about revelation, specifically about revelation or inspiration received through a human filter. Part of the series was a three-part post in which I dissected the Word of Wisdom (through my own filter, obviously). You can read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, and Part 3 here.  In those posts I related how the Word of Wisdom was a product of Joseph’s time and his worldview and perspectives. Today, most Mormons believe that the Word of Wisdom consists of abstaining from coffee, tea (green and black), alcohol (excluding Nyquil), and tobacco. Although the Word of Wisdom does not specifically mention illegal drugs, they are on the blacklist today too. I think it would be fair to include the abuse of legal drugs also. I don’t think there is an official church stance on medical marijuana. If I’m wrong, please post a comment and the source. First and foremost, the Word of Wisdom was intended as counsel, not as a commandment: D&C 89:2 “To be sent greeting; not by commandment or constraint…” But somehow, over time, the intention changed. The culture changed. Things got specific… 89:9 “…hot drinks are not for the body or belly.” What exactly does this mean? Well, it evolved from literally not drinking anything hot – including soup – to just not drinking coffee and tea (green and black tea). If you ask Mormons why those two things are singled out, most will rattle off something about caffeine (while slurping down their ice-cold Diet Cokes). Fortunately, the church recently stated that caffeine is in fact not part of the Word of Wisdom. All closet Diet Coke drinkers breathed a sigh of relief and felt worthy again. Dr. Peppers on the house! When the church’s statement about caffeine came out, I got the sense that we as a people want to be commanded in all things. We want to be told what is good and what is bad. For a lot of people...

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What Not To Wear

Mar 31, 14 What Not To Wear

Posted by in Featured, Temple

Have you ever seen the TV show “What Not To Wear” on TLC? In case you haven’t, it’s a reality-based show starring two fashion experts, Clinton and Stacy, who help people in desperate need of fashion makeovers (these people are nominated by their friends and/or family). The show is great. Clinton and Stacy ambush the nominees in some clever way and then in front of their friends and family – not to mention all the video cameras – they have to commit to take their entire wardrobe to New York (usually for complete disposal) and shop for a new wardrobe following Clinton and Stacy’s fashion rules. If they agree they receive $5,000 to spend on that new wardrobe. To kick off the process, Clinton, Stacy, and the nominee sit down together and watch video footage showcasing all of the nominee’s fashion disasters that was secretly filmed weeks in advance. They do this so the nominees can see how they look like from someone else’s perspective. During this segment of the show Clinton and Stacy try to find out why the nominee makes the clothing choices that they do – what is his/her motivation (or lack of motivation in some cases)? The most commonly heard justifications include comfort, time constraints, and indifference. A lot of times the nominees don’t want to draw attention to themselves due to an underlying issue such as lack of confidence or low self worth. Clinton and Stacy are truly gifted at helping people. Each fashion rule is tailored specifically for the individual nominees. They work with all body types and their most important rule is finding clothes that correctly fit each body type. Often nominees wear baggy clothing to try to hide their trouble areas, or sometimes they wear clothes that are two sizes too small simply because they want to “fit” in those clothes so badly. As mentioned, Clinton and Stacy’s number one rule is wearing clothes that truly fit the body. The shopping rules are designed to highlight...

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Mar 15, 14 #doublestandard

Posted by in Featured, Modesty, Mormon Humor, Mormonism

  BYU recently held it’s Pro Day where NFL scouts come to watch players. It looks like things started out well, but eventually all hell broke loose and we had football players in underwear. I mean sports attire. I’m not sure what they were thinking posting those pictures. They know that women and kids would see these pictures of men in form fitting and almost no clothing.  And these aren’t just any men, but very attractive men. We women didn’t even stand a chance when these images assulted us in our Facebook feeds. These images may stay with us for years and could even lead to bigger problems like pornography addiction. Seeing extremely attractive and fit men leaving nothing to the imagination is a mere stepping stone into that dark and dangerous world. These men need to try harder for us because we just cannot control how we feel when we see them dressed like this. #impurethoughtsabound    #leavingeverythingtotheimagination #mormonpornforthemodest #livingrightonthefield #ryangoslingtomodestmormongirls #allmenaresupposedtobebeautiful #lustingafterhim #womencanthelpit #nomatterwhatyouwear   #wearingashirtisnotunreasonableforparticipation #orshorts #strippingimeanstriplingwarrior #askingforit #hairlust #mormonporn   #wearingashirtIStotallyunreasonable #shortstoo #mengetthewomentheydressfor #makingmesin #noselfrespect #avertthineeyes #hemakesittoohardtostrivetobepure #cannotunsee #entertainingthethought #thoughtsareseedsforactions #notjustaskingforit #demandingit #garmentfriendly #couldtakemetothetemple #leavinglittletotheimaginationthough #formfitting #thebodyismeanttobeattractive #thankyouforhighlightingthatwithyourpants #totallyleavinghimanoteinthelibrary #notestingcenteruntilhechanges #exercisepantsmustbeloosefitting #wanttotouchthehiney #modestishottest #itakethatback #thisishotter #runningporn #toosexyformyshirt #tryingtoseehimasachildofgod #singingassistersinzion #singingmakesthebadthoughtsgoaway #notouchdownsplz #dressingforthekindofwomanhewants #Idontknowwheretolook #bareshoulders #sexualshoulders #havemercy #largeinstature #toeingtheline #byunipples #pleasedontchafeandruinthisforme #Icantcontrolmythoughtsaroundhim #noticingeverythingabouthim #totallynormalforwomentodo #protectingmyvirtue #tacklingmodesty #eldercallistershomeboy #proofthatyoucanreasonablydothisactivitywithmodestclothing #iwouldtackle #imsurehehasbeautifuleyes #andasweetspirit #imagininghisthighsimeaneyes #tryingtokeepmepure #baremidriff #helloabs #whereiseldercallister #byufootballmademegay #thankgoodnesshehasgloveson #priesthoodpower #BYUfootballmakescougarsroar #meow #winkface #riseandshoutthecougarsareout #greatandspaciousbuild #toobeautiful #freegame #bromance #byumendosportsinunderwear #halfwaymodest #soclose #icantbelieveheworethat #noshortsnoproblem #notheyaresportsattire #mayaswellbewearingunderwear All pictures  used were found on BYU’s Football Facebook...

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So What Kind of Underwear Are You Wearing?

Jul 08, 13 So What Kind of Underwear Are You Wearing?

Posted by in Featured, Mormonism, Temple

So, what kind of underwear are you wearing? Has anyone ever asked you that before? Was it your spouse? Was it a friend? An associate? How about a complete stranger? If it was someone other than your spouse did you tell that person how inappropriate the inquiry was? I think everyone would agree that asking other people about their underwear is probably inappropriate – that kind of information is personal, private, and frankly nobody’s business but your own. Please nod your head yes. While most people agree that asking about someone else’s underwear is inappropriate, active temple-attending members of the Church are asked specifically about their underwear every two years as part of an interview to determine worthiness to participate in the temple. Here is exactly what they are asked: Do you keep the covenants that you made in the temple? Do you wear the garment both night and day as instructed in the endowment and in accordance with the covenant you made in the temple? Now, because those two questions are put together, we often just assume that at some point we have covenanted to wear the garment, but the second question actually gets it right – it states that we are instructed. Specifically, during the temple endowment members are instructed to wear the garment “throughout your life.” There are absolutely no covenants made regarding the garment and there is nothing said in the temple about wearing the garment both day and night. And does anyone else think that second question is kind of weird? How about if we “un-church” it a bit: Do you wear this kind of underwear? Do you wear it all day and night? Are you wearing this underwear right now? Now, after those questions have been asked and answered, the interviewer then reads out loud this part of the Church handbook: “Wearing the garment is the sacred privilege of those who have taken upon themselves the covenants of the temple.  The garment is a reminder of these covenants...

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The Grown-up Modesty Line

Jun 10, 13 The Grown-up Modesty Line

Posted by in Featured, Modesty

After I read this fantastic post I started thinking again about modesty in the context of our lives as Latter-day Saints. Heaven knows, the Mormon blogosphere has been fascinated with the subject for some time now, but for the sake of the conversation, and partly to underscore how absurd it seems to be to focus on tank tops or shorts when speaking of children’s clothing, I submit the following: Are the people in this photo dressed modestly? I’m interested in your responses. All these folks are active, temple-married, garment-wearing Latter-day Saint adults. I’m the one in the middle with the SPF 30 clothing. (Call me old fashioned. And medically-minded in all things sun-related.) The others are two of my children and their spouses. Each person had his or her reasons for their choice of hiking gear in Moab. Each person felt happy and content. We had no discussion about what anyone wore. And I doubt anyone even thought about the modesty issue because, well, we are all modest people. None of us is dressed to draw attention to ourselves or to arouse sexual feelings in our fellow-hikers. It’s hot. People sweat. Chafing is involved. There may be a second issue here, which is: When must garments be worn and when is it acceptable to not wear them. I’m not addressing that here. But you are welcome to comment about that if you feel so inclined. That could be an interesting discussion. What I would like to put forth is my personal feeling that if these adults are all dressed modestly, (you’re welcome to your own opinion about that) a primary-aged child simply cannot be dressed immodestly in something like an orange tank-top. How can a ten-year-old be immodest in a pair of hiking shorts? Well, she can’t. That’s how I see it anyway. I know it’s been said before, but I’ll say it again. Let’s stop the prepubescent immodesty insanity. And for the record, I think the above-linked article had value. There were lessons taught...

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New Years Resolutions for the LDS Church – Top Twenty Something Changes

Jan 01, 13 New Years Resolutions for the LDS Church – Top Twenty Something Changes

Posted by in Featured, Feminism, Homosexuality, Mormonism

I’ve compiled a list of New Year’s resolutions for our Church! And just like me getting in better shape, these resolutions probably won’t happen; but we can hope, right? I know I’ll probably get some a lot of criticism for creating this post, but I guess I take the whole “we are the body of Christ” statement pretty literally – to me it means that we as a church (the people) can make things better. So, please actually read over my list and consider my suggestions before making any comments about how crazy I am to suggest changes. Also consider the following examples from our LDS church history which illustrate that changes are not always top to bottom, but many things are bottom up: In the early church, the garments used to go down all the way to the ankles and all the way to the wrist. They also had other features like a collar and bow, which had symbolic meanings to some, including John Taylor. Complaints were heard from the women… those pesky women!! It was not easy cleaning with those garments on. They had to roll up the sleeves and roll up the sleeves of the garments to clean around the house.  It wasn’t practical. Their legs looked bulky when they wore leggings. Garments were being exposed due to the patterns of clothing. Did those women have legitimate complaints about the garment? YES! Were they seen as complainers, whiners, dissenters or apostates for making those suggestions? In fact many members said the women should stop complaining, stop wearing leggings, and just wear other clothes that didn’t expose the garment. In 1923, however, President Heber J. Grant issued changes: shorter legs, no collar, no bow, no buttons, and shorter arms. President Charles W. Penrose of the First Presidency explained some of the reasoning behind the changes to the garment, which included: Freedom of movement Cleanliness Practicality (hard to do housework for women since they were always rolling up their sleeves) Elimination of undesirable...

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Know Your Religion, Don’t Show It

Nov 04, 12 Know Your Religion, Don’t Show It

Posted by in Featured, Mormonism

This post breaches a sensitive topic among Latter-day Saints. I will openly discuss the LDS garment, hopefully in a respectful way. This post spawned from a recent, lengthy discussion that I had with my wife. If you choose to continue reading, please do so with an open mind. Before I even discuss the actual LDS garment, I want to discuss why they are worn: “Garments are a symbolic gesture of the promises that Mormons have made to God. The garment is always worn under other clothing, next to the skin. In fact, for most people who wear it, the garment takes the place of regular underwear….It serves as a constant reminder of the covenants made during the temple endowment.”  (LDSChurchTemples.com) While the garment means something different for everyone who wears it, in general it serves as a reminder of the promises and covenants made in the temple. As I worked on the past revelation series for this blog regarding LDS temple work, I saw that many changes were due to practicality. This is especially true for the garment that participants are instructed to wear once they go through the temple. Before any changes were made, warnings were stated about changing the original garment: In 1906, Joseph F. Smith characterized any attempt, in the name of changing fashion trends, to modify the 1840s garment pattern, which he characterized as “sacred, unchanged, and unaltered from the very pattern in which God gave them” as a “grievous sin.” (“Editor’s Table”, Improvement Era 9) President Joseph F. Smith emphasized the heavenly origin of the garment again stating: “The Saints should know that the pattern of endowment garments was revealed from heaven, and the blessings promised in connection with wearing them will not be realized if any unauthorized change is made in their form or in the manner of wearing them” (Mysteries of Godliness, pg 150). In 1923, just 17 years after this comment was made, the garment went through some major changes. President Heber J. Grant issued a letter regarding garment modifications:...

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Revelation Bias Fair & Balanced Part 6c: The Temple

Oct 31, 12 Revelation Bias Fair & Balanced Part 6c: The Temple

Posted by in Featured, Gospel Topics, Revelation

In Part 6c of this series on revelation we will continue to closely examine the evolution of the LDS temple worship. If you have not read Part 1 of this series, I highly recommend that you do so before reading this post (you can read it here). And if you haven’t read Part 6a in the Temple portion of this series, click here to read it and for Part 6b click here before you continue. The point of the posts in the revelation series is to show how culture, bias, and worldview affect the way revelation or inspiration is interpreted.  We pick up on the timeline with the Richards committee era in the temple evolution all the way to the present day. Most of the information I present here is from a well-written book, “The Mysteries of Godliness, A History of Mormon Temple Worship,” by David John Buerger. I highly recommend it!  Unless otherwise noted, all references come from his book. 1924 – St. George temple president David H Cannon balked at changes the formed Richards Committee suggested, claiming he (David) had the original endowment given from Brigham Young. Cannon was told to burn the old rulings or send them to SLC (pg 139). 30 January 1926 – President Grant issued a letter restricting second blessings or anointings to only those recommended by the President of the Church or Council of the Twelve (pg 157). 1927 – The First Presidency issued a letter with changes to the endowment (I’m only listing a few changes from the extensive list): Avenging the blood of the prophets was omitted Kissing when sealing the dead was omitted (but ok when doing non-proxy work) Language of penalties was tempered (pg 140-141) 6 April 1927 – Recommends for second anointings were stressed again – only those that received a recommendation from the President or the Twelve qualified for the second anointing (pg 157). 27 August 1927 – The Presidency affirmed that they did not want to use motion pictures in the ceremony (pg...

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