Tuesday, May 28, 2013

More on modesty.

This article kind of reiterates what we've been saying. I thought it was good.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Lots of time on my hands....

So for anyone not aware, I've been at home drugged up after a tonsillectomy this week (and a lap chole two weeks ago), friends have been watching my kids, and I've slept all day most days this week.  In my spare time, I've been sparring online.  

My question to you all, is do you think I've been rude?  I really have been trying not to be.  And have I made sense?  I feel pretty loopy so, it's questionable.  

ME (after Carrie's last reply)
So if we rationalize that we’re obeying the spirit of the law, we can do whatever we want?

Reply (someone other than Carrie)
Kami – the point is we should never “just obey”. This means we are turning off our brains and not think about anything. Are you suggesting blind obedience?

Adam offered sacrifices without understanding why. Abraham was ready to sacrifice Isaac without understanding why. Given those examples, yes, I think sometimes you have to trust the faith you do have in the gospel, and trust that the Lord knows more than you, and yes, just obey. I have had specific instances where a principal or practice has been confirmed to me that it is truth, such as with tithing and visiting teaching. However, there are many times that I do things in the church simply because I know the Book of Mormon is true and that we are led by prophets, not because I have unshakeable faith in that one small doctrine (like modesty). I also believe that until you obey a law through faith, you won’t have a witness of validity. My testimony of the truth of tithing and visiting teaching came after I was already doing those things, like in this scripture.

Ether 12:6 And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.


So if you were asked to do something by our leaders that you knew as morally wrong, like Abraham having to kill his son you would have no issues with that? Can our leaders do no wrong ever?

Or like practicing polygamy (á la Nauvoo)? This would be a better example for your question, I think, since Abraham wasn’t following a leader, he was asked by God, two very different things. And he alone in all the scriptures was ever put to such a test. So if I was asked by the prophet to say… start practicing polygamy again, I think I would have to do what other saints have done before me and pray and fast to receive a spiritual confirmation that the counsel was correct. And if I received an affirmative answer, then I would hope I have the spiritual fortitude to follow that counsel. Polygamy is not the *best* example I realize, because it is part of our doctrine already, but back when it was first introduced it is exactly what you describe of being “asked to do something by our leaders that you knew as morally wrong.”

As for your question, “Can our leaders do no wrong ever?” I think it’s pretty clear from church history and people I’ve known, that everyone has their agency, regardless of their position in the church. General conference addresses from apostles are edited occasionally. And all people are a product of their time. However I don’t believe the Lord would allow the prophet to do anything that would separate us from the Lord or hinder our exaltation. Because basically it boils down to either there is a prophet guided by revelation or there isn’t. This is the one and only true church or it isn’t. Without latter-day prophets our church can’t be possibly be true.

Other Reply
If you have received a confirmation of the principles of tithing and visiting teaching, then you are no longer “just obeying”. If a mother tries teaching her children modesty as the church has outlined it, and she notices a deterioration in her child’s confidence and/or attitude towards others… that would be the opposite of what Moroni was talking about, right? So, it would make no sense under those circumstances to keep “just obeying”.

For the record, I don’t think anyone her is arguing against the principle of modesty. Just the way it is approached and taught to children. When so many people who have tried living the hard lines drawn in For the Strength of the Youth have come away with less than ideal results, at what point is it okay to question it? “Just obeying” until you get the confirmation of the Spirit only works if there is eventually a confirmation of the Spirit…

I actually disagree with your statement that you don’t think anyone here is arguing against the principle of modesty. As I see it, Carrie is taking a straight forward principle and rationalizing it away, so that she feels comfortable dressing her children in whatever she wants. And I know I just sounded really mean and judgmental, when in honest truth, I don’t care if little girls come in sundresses to church without sleeves etc. I know a lot of people think that little kids don’t need the same standard. As I said in my first comment, I teach my kids young because I think it’s good for them to learn to obey young. Plus, what would then be the cut off for them to start obeying? When they’re 12? That seems so arbitrary to me. And what really bothers me the most about Carrie’s article is not that she’s suggesting a different standard for young kids, but that’s she’s suggesting it’s wrong for anyone to teach immodesty/modesty to kids, because of possible peer judging. I know kids can be hurtful and cruel to their peers, but if your child’s confidence is based on wearing sleeveless vs. sleeved dresses, I think there might be other issues besides modesty involved, such as a huge bullying problem or body image issues.

I honestly fail to see how “people who have tried living the hard lines drawn in For the Strength of the Youth have come away with less than ideal results.” What do you mean, less than ideal results? I’m not being sarcastic, I just don’t understand. What results are people expecting? To me, it’s just the way you dress, and it sometimes makes it harder to find clothes you like when shopping. End of story. I don’t expect any other results. So what do you mean?

Other Other Reply

Carrie is not arguing against the principle of dressing modestly. She is presenting an argument about the pedagogy and the etymology of modesty.

In your argument of obedience, as you have presented, you have committed the classic logical fallacy of presenting a red-herring argument.


Carrie’s main points as I understood were A:

“As we teach our children to focus on their clothing choices, we are also teaching them to focus on the clothing choices of their peers.”


“When we think of modesty in it’s true manner- that it is a way to dress to prevent sexual attraction of others, then it seems absurd that we are teaching our children that other children dressed in a tank top are immodest and thus, dressing in a way to encourage sexual attraction of others.

And C:

“We need to take a step back and examine what we are really meaning to teach our children, which is probably that it’s important to keep our bodies covered…..I think that the use of modest/immodest terms while our children are young need to go. At the very least, let’s get rid of immodest. We need to stop drawing a line in the sand because what is immodest in one family, is not immodest in another.”

I think I addressed all these points in my first comment. A. I don’t think kids are overly critical from teaching about modesty, simply being in a peer group makes kids aware of clothing.
B. I don’t think modesty is about anything sexual.
C. I think we should follow the prophet and live the standards outlined in FTSOY–as opposed to what Carrie says of living whatever standard your family sets.

Red herring or not, my point was that I disagree with Carrie’s arguments in their entirety and I outlined why.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Oh, and one more thing. I love it how every single person who talks about "not drawing lines" or "the spirit of the law is most important" is arguing for a LOOSER STANDARD (i.e. shorter shorts are ok, sleeveless is ok, etc.)  If it's really not about the specifics, it's about our hearts----then why is there NEVER someone saying, "You know, I don't think FSOY goes far enough here. Girls shouldn't be wearing pants."  Or, "In our family, sleeves have to go down to the elbows."  You'd think if they were really so anxious to find what is right "for them," that SOMETIMES that would actually agree or be more conservative than the so-called "lines in the sand."  But no.  What a coincidence!!!

It's not that I don't think different families can have different ideas about this, but I just think it's funny.


I agree with what you ladies are saying. The article rubbed me the wrong way, also (as did another thing I recently read about modesty, and how there's "too much emphasis" on it). It does have a feeling of defensiveness about it, to me. I had a problem with this statement in her comment:
"But for me, and many others, our children and teenagers are capable of being modest while wearing tank tops and shorter shorts, irregardless of what FTSOY lays out as approved/not approved."

I don't understand all the whys and whats of modesty, necessarily (like, is there some ultimate divine standard of modesty, or is it mostly a cultural construct?) but I just don't get that statement. You are capable of being modest while not following the cultural standards our church has set about modesty? Okay, I get it, modesty has cultural ties (if we were that tribe in "The Gods Must be Crazy" we would be wearing only loincloths and it would be totally acceptable) but whether or not these are FOREVER or UNIVERSAL standards, they ARE the current standards for US. If the temple garments change someday to be midriff-baring, and sleeveless, or whatever, then that's fine. But until then, this is what we've got. I don't get how you can "be modest" without obeying what our prophets say is modest. That's like saying, "I'm perfectly capable of keeping the word of wisdom while drinking coffee, 'irregardless' [and, btw, that incorrect usage annoys me to no end] of what the Doctrine and Covenants says about it." Um . . . no?

As for cjane, I think I better confine my comments about her to a more private place . . .

And Andrea, I loved the article you posted awhile back about the "ordain women" website. I liked what you said about the site, that the women there seem to be sincerely trying to do the right thing (I think I agree . . . mostly) but I thought it was interesting how different I _felt_ in reading the two things. I generally try not to use my "spiritual feelings" as a bludgeon to stop further discussion on something (does that metaphor even make sense?)---but---when I was reading the Valerie Cassler article I felt confirmation of some truths within it. I like her vision of womanhood and even though I didn't agree with ALL of her suggestions for how to improve, I felt she was on the right track with the way she viewed our birthright as women. I LOVE the "two trees" idea she mentions here (and expands on in other articles). This way of thinking about our roles really works for me, and helps me understand some things in the temple that I had never understood before. And it just made so much SENSE---why should women look to men to "give them" their power? They already HAVE it!

Conversely, as I read the "ordain women" website, I felt worried/conflicted/upset, all the same feelings I have when I come across anti-Mormon stuff online. It felt palpably "darker" (as in, UNenlightening) as I read it, contrasted with the enlightenment I felt reading the VHC article. Like I said, I'm not trying to set my spiritual feelings up as the ultimate authority (who knows, maybe the ordain women thing really is ok) but it certainly was a stark contrast.

And incidentally, that Pres. Hinckley quote about "no one is agitating for" women to have the priesthood----I suppose it could be taken the way they took it, as a "challenge to women"----but that's not how I would have read it all. I read it as saying, "In our church, we DON'T 'agitate' for things, because we believe the Lord is in charge!---we may be open to and even pray about change, but we don't pretend that WE know better than the Lord or His timing!" I don't see that willingness to be content with what is currently given us as laziness or complacency, but as patience and faith.


Interesting read.  On a side note, Josh and I have known the couple that started that blog for quite a while.  Josh since college - me since we moved to Oregon 12 years ago and they moved into our ward soon after.   They've had some interesting things to say...

I LOVED all the "we shouldn't judge" and "spirit of the law" and "blind obedience" comments.  My response to that would be that:
a) we are supposed to judge, we are just not supposed to condemn.  If we are being taught by the Lord to differentiate between right and wrong, at some point we have to make a judgment call.   A judgment is an opinion, and every single anti-judgment person that commented had a strong OPINION.  ;-)   Besides, if there were no judgments allowed, wouldn't it follow that there could be no absolute truth?   Everything goes! Wear whatever!  The Lord doesn't care.  In fact, temple garments are just a general guideline.  If they don't work for a particular shirt you bought that you know is still modest - you know you are still obeying the "spirit of the law", right?    Give me a break!

b) spirit of the law usually means to me that you either pick and choose what you obey OR that you are trying too hard to be an exception to a rule.  In the case of modesty, we have actually been given specific guidelines by a prophet. I love when people treat those as some sort of  lesser law for those who don't truly grasp the true spirit of the law.  Because if we all truly grasped that true spirit (which is, of course, non-judgmental), we wouldn't need prophets to be so specific in detailing what the Lord would have us do.

c) blind obedience?  I don't think the Lord ever expects total blind obedience.  I do think he expects obedience and sometimes he doesn't tell us all the reasons.   I believe that we can feel confirmation from the Spirit that we should follow specific commandments without needing to be told all the whys and wherefores. But sometimes, I guess I think he just says "do this" and we demonstrate our faith by doing it.    Am I wrong?

For me, I have found that teaching your children to make judgments for themselves without condemning people is a useful tool.  We are constantly going to come across people both in and out of the church that interpret things differently than we do.  I understand that, and I'm okay with that.  We are all progressing in various ways and my understanding will continue to grow along with everyone else's.  But we still have to have our own personal line in the sand.

Oh my

So just to be clear here, I'm about to do a whole bunch of judging.  WHAT IN THE WORLD????  Seriously I am never reading anything online ever again.  I hadn't read CJane in forever because I was getting too bugged, but then I was bored one night and glanced through her old posts and read the one where she claimed to have great feelings of truth and spirit that our Heavenly Mother is actually the Holy Ghost.  Hold the presses!  Revelation from on high.  Oops, sorry.  Revelation from a blogger.

As you all know about me, I'm a letter of the law kind of gal.  I think that the spirit of the law of modesty is that we don't draw attention to ourselves in inappropriate ways.  The reality is that how women dress affect men (think porn industry) so the spirit of the law in this case can only go so far before hitting the brick wall of natural man.  Trying to argue that wearing whatever we want is fine as long as we "feel modest" is ridiculous in this day and age.

I don't think that children can be immodest.  I do think that training children in the way they should go from birth is the correct choice.  There, I said it.  How judgmental of me.

As for CJane--I wish she could explain to me, with all her further light and knowledge, how our Heavenly Mother can have a resurrected physical body AND be a personage of Spirit at the same time because, sadly, I just don't have the spiritual wisdom to understand.

I saw this on Facebook

I saw this posted and shared on Facebook a couple of times.  I let it go at first, but after seeing it again and again, I decided to voice my opinion to the world.  Then I decided to share it here, because I wanted Andrea to read it.

The Modesty Line

So here's my response to this.

So, I don’t want to be offensive or anything, but I totally disagree with this article. I think at some point, we need to stop worrying about supposedly “sexualizing” our little kids, and just obey. To me, it has nothing to do about anything sexual. I let my little kids run around the house in all sorts of states of undress but I make sure they’re wearing sleeves and one piece bathing suits out in public. I do teach them about being immodest and modest, and yes I have had embarrassing experiences where they’ve pointed out to others their lack of modesty. I’ve had similar experiences with people smoking as well. Should I not teach them smoking is bad? I want my kids in good habits young so it’s not even a question when they’re teenagers. I don’t even care about them being used to it for when they go through the temple and start wearing garments. Garments lengths and styles have changed ALOT over the course of the years and really isn’t my main issue. The main point for me is that prophets have asked us to dress modestly and outlined clearly in The Strength of Youth what that standard is. It’s easy to obey or easy to not obey. I am so imperfect at so many things, this is one thing, like tithing, that is a no brainer for me. As Elder L. Tom Perry said this last conference, “We must not pick and choose which commandments we think are important to keep but acknowledge all of God’s commandments. We must stand firm and steadfast, having perfect confidence in the Lord’s consistency and perfect trust in His promises.” Anyway, that’s just my opinion. And as a side note, when teaching modesty I hope I correctly teach the message of wise judgement, not judging others. I doubt there is any validity to teaching modesty=increased focus on peer’s clothing. However, studies have shown that the younger a kid attends preschool or daycare, the sooner they are aware of peer’s clothing and what is “cool” and what is not (as in brands). Which has nothing to do with what a parent teaches, just their exposure to a peer group.

And here's the author's response to my comment:

Smoking is clearly bad for your health. Wearing something sleeveless… not so much.

On the note of making a good habit of what you wear when you are young, for me the fact that my child is wearing clothing is a good habit.

I think it just depends on what you feel you want the end result to be. It’s different for everyone, even though we all belong to the same faith.

For some, they want there to never be a question of what the standards are and they want to follow exactly what has been spelled out. If something was always the rule, then your teenagers can’t question it. Done.

I get that. I really do. It makes sense for a lot of people. And I am fine if that’s the way you want to go.

But for me, and many others, our children and teenagers are capable of being modest while wearing tank tops and shorter shorts, irregardless of what FTSOY lays out as approved/not approved.

As for what is outlined in the For The Strength of Youth, I think our leaders felt like they did need to draw a line to enforce what they felt should be the standard. Many members of our church need lines drawn for them. Look at mission rule handbooks.

While many feel that this spelled out standard of modesty is something that should be unquestionable obeyed, many members in our church do not agree with it.

I do not feel that we should be drawing a sweeping line in the sand for all to adhere to. What happened to the spirit of the law?

I cannot in good conscience teach my children that something sleeveless is bad. I just don’t feel like it’s immodest, regardless of age. I feel like the FSOTY drawing lines for us to then “just obey” is not the way to go.

Clearly, I’m more of a “spirit of the law” kind of gal.

I’m hoping to teach my children the spirit of the law and let them govern themselves knowing that their clothing choices are about them and how they feel in it. I feel that how they feel about themselves and being able to recognize the spirit is far more important than a spelled out dress code that is enforced by guilt and shame.

And here's what my sister Kayli said on the matter:

So I just skimmed the article, but I got the gist. To me, the thing is, I would have been fine if she had just said, "I feel that it's okay for littler children to have a bit different standard of dress that is appropriate." Fine- I personally don't agree- but obviously people feel differently about these things. But instead, she goes on and on about sexualizing and peer shaming blah blah blah, which to my thinking is only teaching that if we rationalize something, we can do what we want. Then her daughters are more ready to do that in junior high, when there's one fashion that for this or that reason is okay in this instance, and then when they're in high school, and then when they're married. Quit making excuses. I feel like she overkilled the issue, and it almost makes it seem like she's talking herself out of her own niggling feelings of guilt.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

RS/YW Combined Activity

Here's what we decided to do for this session of our semi-annual combined RS/YW.  The value was education and our Bishop wants most of our activities to have to do with self-reliance.

Theme of Activities: Self-Reliance and the value Knowledge

May 28th, Financial Self-Reliance: The YW and the RS sisters who adopted them will hear from the Dean of the College of Education at Weber State about the necessity for women to have an education that will provide the financial support necessary for a family.  Following the speaker, the YW will have an opportunity to hear from a panel of women with diverse career skills and ask the panelists questions about their career choices and how well their careers work with mothering.

June 4, Self-Reliance through Basic Life Skills: ALL RELIEF SOCIETY SISTERS ENCOURAGED TO ATTEND.  This is our June Enrichment night,although it is a Tuesday night and not a Wednesday night.  We will start off the evening with a life-skills rendition of The Price is Right.  Following the game, our YW will have an opportunity to visit the displays put up by the RS sisters demonstrating the numerous life skills necessary to fulfill our earthly missions well.  We hope to encourage our YW to take every opportunity to learn because all knowledge is valuable and blesses ourselves, our families, and our communities.

June 11, Spiritual Self-Reliance: The girls will participate in three round-table discussions concerning the three ways our church leaders have asked them to step-up their game and start building the kingdom and their testimonies at younger ages.  These three ways are: 1) be prepared for and participate in Sunday discussions as per the new youth curriculum; 2) be prepared to serve a mission (whether or not you end up serving one); 3) participate in family history work and serve in the temple more frequently.  After the round-table discussions the girls will join together in the primary room for a musical number, testimony bearing, and a special gift from the RS sisters to our RS sisters-in-training.

(We bought the girls a scripture journal from the Red-headed Hostess.  You get a discounted price for YW groups.)

And yes, the Dean of the College of Education at Weber is my dad.  He has some pretty sad stories about women trying to go back to school with numerous children and no income to speak of.  I hope this goes well.  We're envisioning a kind of science fair project look for the June 4th activity.  I'm putting together a display about how much money we save because I make my own bread and I'll have bread samples there.  We have people signed up for lots of fun things, from crocheting to gardening to laundry soap making to toilet bowl cleaning.  Awesome.

We'll see how it goes.  :)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Talk That Wasn't

Thank you Kelly, for your kind thought.  Sadly, the first speaker took up the entire meeting and I bore my testimony and sat down.  However, I told the bishopric that I wanted to give my talk so they said they would schedule me for  . . . sometime.  Hmm.  We'll see what happens.
Andrea, I hope your talk went well today!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

An interesting read--want your take on it

I just read a really interesting article: "Ruby Slippers on Her Feet: Reflections on the Ordain Women Website" by V. H. Cassler.

I've gone to the Ordain Women website and was favorably impressed with the tone of the website (there is no bashing of church leaders, for example).  If you haven't heard of it, you will.  It is a website agitating for the priesthood for women.  They use this quote under the FAQ section:

In questioning Church policies, aren’t you questioning God?

No. In fact, the challenge to advocate for women’s ordination was articulated by former Church President Gordon B. Hinckley in a 1997 interview with reporter David Ransom. When Ransom asked if the policy on denying priesthood to women could be changed, much like it had for black men, President Hinckley responded, “Yes. But there’s no agitation for that.”
Ordain Women joins a new generation of faithful Mormon women who are rising up and responding to this challenge.

This quote always gives me pause.  What does it mean???  I've long believed, due to the temple, that women will have the priesthood in the hereafter and that the more stringent male/female roles outlined in the Proclamation will not really exist there.  Especially as I believe quite firmly that there will be no church in the hereafter, and only family units.  Since we are perfect equals in a marriage here and in the hereafter and creation can only take place in the Celestial Kingdom, it seems clear that those roles are more interchangeable.  

But I am still on the fence about ordination in this life.  Not that I wouldn't follow the prophet on this issue either way since there is no scriptural basis for preventing women having the priesthood, but I wish I knew for sure how I felt about it.  I really like that my husband gives my children blessings--it connects him to our children in a powerful way.  I certainly don't want the priesthood here in this life, and I don't feel that I have been in any way subordinated within the church as it currently operates.  

But then there is the quote by President Hinckley and the temple ordinances.  

So . . . enough about me.  Read this article http://squaretwo.org/Sq2ArticleCasslerRubySlippers.html.  I think she sums up a lot of how I feel--that I don't need to hold the priesthood to claim my power as a daughter of God and especially as a daughter of our Heavenly Mother.

Then read this: http://squaretwo.org/Sq2ArticleCasslerPaulsenPulido.html.  I'm downloading the article and am pretty sure that my mother's day talk in Sacrament meeting will be all about our Heavenly Mother.  

See--I'm not really for the priesthood for women--mostly because I don't want it, but I am for some of the changes being made like Mission Leadership Councils and articles in the Ensign specifically written to dispel old cultural myths (http://www.lds.org/ensign/2013/04/equal-partnership-in-marriage?lang=eng) about women's subordination to men because of the priesthood and more information about our Heavenly Mother (I want to know everything possible about Her!).  Does that make me a radical that those things make me happy??

I'm off to bed.  Would love to hear your thoughts.