Episode 178: Modesty in Mormonism

John, Zilpha, Robyn, Jessica, and Tierza discuss the recent BYU Idaho skinny jeans controversy and other dress and grooming standards of the Mormon church.

Skinny Jean Letter

Episode 178

80 comments on “Episode 178: Modesty in Mormonism”

  1. Anonymous Reply

    I think past experience has shown that BYU (and the Church for that matter) will only change ridiculous policies (like some of the modesty standards) when there is enough publicity to highlight how ridiculous the policy is. Everyone probably remembers the following story about another BYU modesty issue back in the 70s:

    “In November 1978, a coed who was refused entrance to the BYU testing center because she was ‘wearing pants of denim material’ left the center, removed her pants, buttoned up her overcoat, and was admitted, pantless, without question. In a letter to the editor of the Universe, she added, ‘There is something strangely perverse and incongruous about a dress code which demands that a girl dressed in nice denim pants [be] rejected from a campus facility, while a girl in underpants and a coat is acceptable. Is it that vital that we expose the lower half of our legs?’ (DU, 14 Nov. 1978). This event, which received national attention, may have contributed to BYU’s eventual capitulation on the jeans issue less than three years later.”

    I also heard a rumor that the student involved in this fiasco was future Utah attorney general Jan Graham (not sure if that is true or not). I think BYU-Idaho will do something to lighten their dress code in the future, but it will be a while so that no one thinks that the “skinny jeans scandal” caused the change.

  2. Dan Reply

    Good podcast.  I wanted to clarify something that was said though because I think its important.  John, you read the BYU honor code for dressing and grooming but what most people don’t realize is that the honor codes are actually different at BYU-Idaho than at BYU, especially in regards to modesty.  BYU-Idaho has always had a culture of living the “higher law” over BYU when it comes to the honor code.  Below is the dressing and grooming honor code at BYU-Idaho (additions are bolded that are not part of BYU- Provo honor code)

    “WomenA clean and
    well-cared-for appearance should be maintained at all times. Clothing is
    inappropriate when it is sleeveless, strapless, backless, or revealing. It
    should not have slits above the knee or be formfitting. Dresses and skirts must
    be knee-length or longer (even
    with leggings worn).

     

    Pants, slacks or jeans should not be patched,
    faded, frayed or torn and must be ankle length—no capris or shorts may be worn
    on campus. Hairstyles should be clean and neat, avoiding extreme styles and
    unnatural colors. Caps or hats should not be worn in buildings. Excessive ear
    piercings (more than one pair) and all other body piercings are inappropriate.
    Shoes should be worn in all public campus areas. Flip-flops and other casual
    footwear are inappropriate on campus.

     Men

    A clean and well-cared-for appearance should
    be maintained. Pants, slacks, and jeans should not be patched, faded, frayed or
    torn and must be ankle length—no shorts. Hairstyles should be clean and neat,
    avoiding extreme styles or colors, and trimmed above the collar leaving the ear
    uncovered. Caps or hats should not be worn in buildings. Sideburns should not
    extend below the earlobe or onto the cheek. If worn, moustaches should be
    neatly trimmed and may not extend beyond or below the corners of the mouth.

     

    Men are expected to be clean shaven; beards
    are not acceptable. Earrings and other body piercings are unacceptable. Shoes
    should be worn in all public campus areas. Flip-flops and other casual footwear
    are inappropriate on campus.” http://www.byui.edu/StudentHonor/UniversityStandards.htmNote the ban on capris, flip flops, shorts, and hats on campus.  This is why the skinny jeans issue at BYU-I is so typical and doesn’t surprise anyone because they have always been pharasaical when it comes to these issues. This is just one of many differences in the honor code and I think a whole podcast should be dedicated to Byu-Idaho.   For example, when visiting the opposite sex (off-campus housing by the way), the honor code still states that blinds must be open and three other people of the same sex must be in the apartment.  The sad thing is that everyone is told that these types of rules are endorsed by the church leadership. Why different honor codes at two church sponsored schools?  Do the brotheren think that BYU_Idaho students are less competent of being responsible for themselves?  There is simply no trust given to adult students to obey principles on their own at this university. BYU-Provo is quite progressive when you compare it to BYU-Idaho….(end of tangent)…

  3. Dan Reply

    Good podcast.  I wanted to clarify something that was said though because I think its important.  John, you read the BYU honor code for dressing and grooming but what most people don’t realize is that the honor codes are actually different at BYU-Idaho than at BYU, especially in regards to modesty.  BYU-Idaho has always had a culture of living the “higher law” over BYU when it comes to the honor code.  Below is the dressing and grooming honor code at BYU-Idaho (additions are bolded that are not part of BYU- Provo honor code)
    Women
    A clean and well-cared-for appearance should be maintained at all times. Clothing is inappropriate when it is sleeveless, strapless, backless, or revealing. It should not have slits above the knee or be formfitting. Dresses and skirts must be knee-length or longer (even with leggings worn). Pants, slacks or jeans should not be patched, faded, frayed or torn and must be ankle length—no capris or shorts may be worn on campus. Hairstyles should be clean and neat, avoiding extreme styles and unnatural colors. Caps or hats should not be worn in buildings. Excessive ear piercings (more than one pair) and all other body piercings are inappropriate. Shoes should be worn in all public campus areas. Flip-flops and other casual footwear are inappropriate on campus. MenA clean and well-cared-for appearance should be maintained. Pants, slacks, and jeans should not be patched, faded, frayed or torn and must be ankle length—no shorts. Hairstyles should be clean and neat, avoiding extreme styles or colors, and trimmed above the collar leaving the ear uncovered. Caps or hats should not be worn in buildings. Sideburns should not extend below the earlobe or onto the cheek. If worn, moustaches should be neatly trimmed and may not extend beyond or below the corners of the mouth. Men are expected to be clean shaven; beards are not acceptable. Earrings and other body piercings are unacceptable. Shoes should be worn in all public campus areas. Flip-flops and other casual footwear are inappropriate on campus.” Note the ban on capris, flip flops, shorts, and hats on campus.  This is why the skinny jeans issue at BYU-I is so typical and doesn’t surprise anyone because they have always been pharasaical when it comes to these issues. This is just one of many differences in the honor code and I think a whole podcast should be dedicated to Byu-Idaho.   For example, when visiting the opposite sex (off-campus housing by the way), the honor code still states that blinds must be open and three other people of the same sex must be in the apartment.  The sad thing is that everyone is told that these types of rules are endorsed by the church leadership. Why different honor codes at two church sponsored schools?  Do the brotheren think that BYU_Idaho students are less competent of being responsible for themselves?  There is simply no trust given to adult students to obey principles on their own at this university. BYU-Provo is quite progressive when you compare it to BYU-Idaho….(end of tangent)…

  4. Megan Reply

    I’m curious – do the RS manuals talk about being attractive the way the YW manuals do? If not it brings in even more conflict as women are supposed to be attractive and asexual but as soon as they are sexual their attractiveness isn’t important anymore…

    • guest Reply

      I can’t really comment on the RS manuals. I was put into YW shortly after High School. I guess I didn’t learn it right the first time. (I was pregnant at 17). One way of reinforcing the Church teachings is to make members teach the doctrine. One reason I quit going to church, I felt way too hypocritical teaching what I didn’t really believe. 
      I could go on and on about this topic. This is an interesting article about what extreme modesty teaches young women.
      http://www.alternet.org/belief/153227/how_creepy_conservative_christian_modesty_doctrines_harm_young_women?page=1My daughter got sent home from school for wearing flannel PJ pants, (brand new and homemade… or school made in home ec.) for being too casual. and also got talked to about wearing a tanktop and spandex like shorts at a track meet. 

  5. Christopher Allman Reply

    While I’m sure the brethren can give reasons for many of their principals in regards to modesty and the like, I think it often comes down to simply being a matter of personal taste. Which to me is an  illustration of a primary disfunction that organized religion has: Many religious principals are simply one man’s personal preference (influenced by culture) that get made into arbitrary morality. Hinckley doesn’t care for multiple piercings? That makes multiple piercings immoral. The brethren have a personal preference for well groomed  mustaches and not beards? Then mustaches are somehow more moral than beards. A good illustration of this is this page  http://missionary.lds.org/dress-grooming to quote one part “. Wear boots or similarly colored nylons to avoid showing the bottom of the legging.”   Apparently someone in the hierarchy doesn’t like to see the bottom of leggings and now this becomes a church guideline which, to many members, makes it a moral issue.  This extends into broader areas tool. Someone in the twelve has a preference for a particular style of prayer or testimony? He gives a talk about it, now everyone must share his tastes too or be seen as less than. Even something like daily scripture reading or prayer. For some it can be very uplifting, so they command that everyone has to do it even though for other people it is just another daily chore that causes more stress than it helps. 

    Religion is personal taste codified into morality.  Since personal tastes can be so varied, if you are unfortunate to not share the same preferences as the brethren, you may end up feeling like something is wrong with you for liking things that are not in line with their preferences. I know that was the case for me as a Church member.

    • Anonymous Reply

      Your comment reminded me of my mission at Temple Square five years ago and how hellish is was to find approved clothing and shoes. The Temple Square mission had a very specific (read: hideous) dress code that was WAY different from every other mission. Standards would change depending on what the mission president’s wife thought was appropriate or inappropriate.

    • Anonymous Reply

      Perhaps something deeper lies beneath the “personal taste” – as in evolutionarily deeper – as in an innate disposition for high status (alpha-) males to control mating within their social group.

      In other words, dress-code prescriptions may seem arbitrary on the surface, but they are driven by innate moral emotions.  They percolate up from naturally-selected unconscious cognitive mechanisms instantiated in our brains over million years simply because they got “fitter” genes into the next generation.

      This means (both the leaders and the rank-and-file) have no introspective access to them. So we go along with the confabulated narratives that explain them using the concepts that become chronically accessible by indoctrination.  

      Religion, generally speaking, about creating narratives to support what human’s value as social creatures – which are the values nature, and culture (in as much as it fits our evolved cognition) selected.  

      It seems to me the most powerful narrative religions have happened upon is the idea of an ultimate authority in the sky – an intuitive universal pseudo-explanation that also provides authoritative leverage mortal leaders to enforce in-group altruism, loyalty, and protection from out-groups.  It helps that most people are happy to oblige.

      Can one look back to Joseph Smith (or, more recently Rulan Jeffs) to see this mating control/modesty connection?  

      Recall how he had exclusive control over who married who?  
      Recall how he leveraged God’s authority to accomplish multiple mating partners?  
      How he exercised power over other men by taking their wives.

      I can imagine any number of Joseph’s wives saying, “Oh, Joe … you big ape you.”

      • Christopher Allman Reply

        Hey Jturn, On one hand I agree with your point in regards to general principals, but I was referring more to specific ones. While I believe that the evolutionary psychology model is the most useful tool we have for understanding human behavior and that most human behavior can be understood as  efforts for status as a way to secure mating partners and I agree that in a broad sense religion is a reflection of our innate, evolved moral tendencies, it is the details where it becomes a matter of personal tastes codified as morality and it is to this that I spoke in my comment. Broad principals, which most religions have in common are probably a reflection of innate evolved tendencies, while details unique to a particular religion or small subset of religions would, I believe, best be understood as personal tastes made into morality, things like, how many earrings are appropriate or what style of prayer is best or what style of art is most sacred or if mustaches are holier than beards or sideburns or if the bottom of leggings should be seen and I think these things are, by and large a reflection of culture and personal taste, otherwise we would expect to see all or most religions having the same guidelines about facial hair or sideburn length or prayer style etc.  So, I agree with your point, but I think we are talking about somewhat different things.
        But I found this line of your comment to be very insightful:”This means the leaders (and the rank-and-file) have no introspective access to them. What they do have is confabulated religious narratives made up of concepts that have become chronically accessible by indoctrination.”
        I totally agree  that in most instances, whether based on personal tastes, cultural influence or innate human tendencies, the justifications of religious principals are mere confabulations and the actual reasons tend to be subconscious and inaccessible through introspection.

        • Anonymous Reply

          Christopher,

          Yes, I agree with your points. Sorry that I wasn’t as careful about absorbing your comment in its entirety before going off on the general idea.

          Professor Jonathan Haidt of the University of Virginia does interesting research on the evolutionary foundation of moral emotions. I’ll look up the reference and edit it in later.

          Thanks for your response,

          JT

          • Christopher Allman

            No worries, I don’t think I had worded myself very clearly, so your comment was helpful to clarify and expand upon what I was trying to say. And thank you for the link, it is very interesting. P.s. I’ve found that your comments are always among my favorites.

          • Christopher Allman

            JTurn, since you share my interest in the evolution of morality, I think you might share my enjoyment of this book http://www.amazon.com/Moral-Animal-Science-Evolutionary-Psychology/dp/0679763996 I personally find it to be the best book written about the evolution of human morality. And thanks again for the link, I’ve been perusing it and find it fascinating.

  6. Guest Reply

    Jon, your modesty whiplash effect as it relates to breastfeeding reminded me of something our last stake president counselled families: that only mothers should change their children’s diapers because if a man did, it might lead him down a road to where he could start sexually abusing his OWN FUCKING CHILD.

      • Guest Reply

        It was during a talk in stake conference. He was advising stake members against practices that he had seen that were leading to sexual abuse situations that had happened to children in the stake. He counselled against sleepovers and then dropped the diaper bomb. 

        • JT Reply

          I would not have minded avoiding a few diaper bombs in my day…or am I misunderstanding what that means?

          🙂

        • JT Reply

          Obviously the stake president did not have his diaper securely pinned or he wouldn’t have dropped his bomb.

    • Anonymous Reply

      Ho-ly shit.  I can’t help but think many in the congregation didn’t like it at all at first, but then remembered that he carries the mantle of SP and speaks for God so…the mantle of leadership in the Mormon church, it covereth a multitude of fucking stupid ideas.

    • Jessicacrook Reply

      Totally! I thought it was ridiculous.  What about the divers at The Mayan?  Some of them were maybe on the BYU diving team. What about the marathoners in the Olympics? If the body form itself is part of the masterpiece, then let’s see it!

  7. Anonymous Reply

    Thank you for doing a podcast on this subject! Several weeks ago, a handful of lds friends on facebook, thinking they were sharing their superior morals with the world, posted a youtube video titled “Should Christian women wear bikinis?” This video filled me with so much rage it took me several tries to actually finish watching it. It basically stated that women are responsible for how men treat and view them based on what they wear. I grew up in the lds church and can attest to the damage that the message of “modesty” can cause. As an overweight teenager who lacked confidence in every way, I deeply believed that I would never get married because I was simply not attractive or good enough. I have lived the majority of my life trying to be thin, pretty, righteous, modest and virtuous enough for the men in my life. This message of modesty tells females of all ages that her worth is only in her relationship to men and that when she fails in being “worthy”, she therefore has no worth or value. As a consequence of this, I’ve struggled with depression and feeling like the world and everyone in it would be better off without me in it. Since leaving the lds church I’ve battled with this view of myself and feel like I am now free to create a new identity free from misogynistic expectations. My non-member husband can’t understand why I still sometimes feel like a ‘bad’ wife if we disagree or if I put on a few pounds. It’s because even as an adult I continue to battle with the damaging message in my head that my value as a human is dependent on and defined by being a good daughter and wife and mother.

    • Anonymous Reply

      Did the video reference a study that claims men look at immodest women as tools, rather than people?  If so, my friends were also posting the same video.  Someone in the VIP lounge posted a link to the actual study and, surprise, surprise, the man in that youtube video was lying about the study.  The only men who objectified women were men who fell into the “hostile sexist” category.  Meaning they already had low opinions / objectifying opinions of women.

      • Anonymous Reply

        It was the same ‘study’ I think. They showed men pictures of female bodies dressed in bikinis with their heads cropped out and then pictures of female bodies fully clothed. My problem with the ‘study’ along with the issues you pointed out is that the debate was should Christian women wear bikinis vs being fully clothed, not bikinis vs one piece swimsuits. I’m positive that the “results” would have been the same should the female bodies had been clad in one piece swimsuits. The whole video made me crazy, especially the part where the male host informed the high school girls in the audience that the only woman willing to model the first bikini was a stripper. It was a nice touch.

        • Anonymous Reply

          Yep!  Same video.  I posted responses to my friends on facebook pointing out that the guy in the video was lying about the study.  The response I got?  *CRICKETS*  They were all in love with the video when it supported their point of view.  But as soon as I pointed out that it doesn’t, they didn’t want to talk about it anymore.

          • Anonymous

            Heather, that’s the TBM playbook.  No back and forth.  No interesting dialogue.  Once something comes up that even remotely challenges their house of cards, they take their ball and go home, and sometimes lob an anti-Mormon jab as they go…

          • Anonymous

            I made one comment on facebook making it very clear how offensive I found it to be and nobody was willing to have any sort of discussion about my point of view because I didn’t find it ‘so true!’ I also brought it up with an lds friend at a party and all I got was an impatient sigh and an eye roll. I read the post on the VIP lounge and can relate to feeling frustrated over the idea that because I don’t attend church my opinions and views are only worthy of sighs and eye rolls.

  8. niceteets Reply

    Loved the podcast.  Let me just say.  There is nothing like a nice tight ass and tits out to here……if you own them…own em!  When I go to the grand canyon I sit and stare…if I see a nice set of hooters….it’s the same thing….God’s creations in there full glory.  Are we teaching our YW to put there lights under a bushel?….oh no…let em shine.

    xoxo

  9. Mike Reply

    I’m sorry. “Someone should be able to stand in front of you naked and you can control what you do /(and implied by the podcast) think.” I don’t know any men who would have absolutely no sexual thoughts if there were a beautiful naked woman standing in front of them. I suppose someone who’s reached their full inner zen may be able to accomplish this, but you are fooling yourselves if you think the majority of healthy men out there are going to see a naked woman stand before them and not think about it. 

    • niceteets Reply

      Damn right!  I….and every part of my body would stand at attention given the circumstances.  I’ll bet even Boyd’s nubber might flinch on the dickometer.

    • Anonymous Reply

      Maybe I shouldn’t be speaking for others.  But I doubt anyone on the podcast was implying that a man won’t have sexual thoughts when looking at a naked woman.

      • Anonymous Reply

        Might I also add that women will have sexual thoughts when looking at a naked man.  Or maybe I’m just a pervert.  ;^)

    • kh Reply

      Of course you will have sexual thoughts.  No matter what you do or wear or say someone at some time or another will have a sexual thought about you.  We are human; we think about food, we think about sex.  It’s time for men to stop giving their power away and take responsibility for expressing themselves in a healthy way.  Women are not responsible for the actions of men.  Everyone is responsible for their own actions.  Grow up….I say with love.

      The sad thing is that all the prep we give to yw to save themselves for the temple is that when they get there all the feminine has been taken out of the sealing (wedding) cermony.  I think for many it becomes a big disappointment.
      Femininity has been taken out of the church in general.  In my opinion this hurts everyone in the church and the organization itself.  This is the real harm in all the modesty talk, it masks the real problem.

      If you don’t allow real feminine you can’t have real masculine.

      I think it shows in our leadership.  They seem to not be able to take strong stands on important things, they seem not to lead but to be a “dollar short and day late” on important issues.  Our buildings are practical the meetings lack creativity, emotions and social aspects.  They seem to govern and make up rules out of fear.  They remain little boys who want women to be mothers who have never had sex.  (Virgin Mary)  Sometimes people who are afraid of who they are or what they have to do take the focus off themselves and put the focus on controling and limiting others.

      Everything remains on a shallow surface level because to go deep requires everyone equally ( feminine and masculine) to grow up and bring who they fully are dependant on each others strengths.
      Feminine ( not necessarily women) can run countries and companies.  Masculine ( not necessarily men) can care for home and children or visa versa. Feminine and Masculine shouldn’t define roles, but should define what each human needs to have to gain deep rich, rewarding relationships and lives.
      In a very broad general terms I would define feminine as emotional, nurturing, expressive, creative, and spontaineous.  Masculine defined as physical, strong, energetic, practical, driven and brave.  When a masculine can hold a strong safe place for a feminine to be expressive and creative and than add the practical aspect, a feminine can then trust masculine and open up so that both can have a deep physical and emotional connection
      When the church welcomes feminine our masculine will be able to grow up too and we can stop limiting each other.
      Clothing and thoughts of sex are masking the real problems.
      ( sorry—a bit of an issue for me)

    • anon Reply

      The whole point is that men will have thoughts of sex whether a woman is naked or dressed.  But that isn’t the woman’s responsibility.  It also isn’t the woman’s responsibility to determine what a man does with his sexual thoughts.  It’s his.  The problem with mormonism and modesty is that they attempt to make women responsible for men’s thoughts and therefore actions.  

      A woman should be able to stand in front of a man naked without him attacking her.  And if he does attack her, it should never be considered her fault.  Its time for men to be accountable and responsible for their own sexual actions and thoughts.

      On the other hand, it is a wonderful thing that a woman can take her clothes off when she is sexually interested and bam!  ready and willling male partner. ;o)

    • Caitlin Sticco Reply

      That’s not the point, Mike. The point is that women aren’t responsible for those sexual thoughts in men–you (all people) are responsible for your own thoughts, for whether you dwell on them or let them pass, for whether you act on them or keep them to yourself. There is virtually no other circumstance in life where we are told we are responsible for other people’s thoughts, much less that our appearance is responsible for other people’s actions. For example, no one is told that they should not dress in expensive name brands because it might make other people have jealous thoughts, leading to them spending too much on their credit card. For shame! Are you contributing to the debt of your neighbors? No, the very idea is ridiculous.
      And for the record, there are plenty of men who can see a naked female body and ignore any sexual thoughts that might come to them or learn to prevent them before they arise. It is simply a matter of acclimation. Doctors and artists are required to learn this skill, and other men could, as well. It’s really not that tough.

  10. fromthepulpit Reply

    Enjoyed the podcast.  Here is the real reason for below the knee skirt length standards.  When I was in a bishopric years ago and as we sat on the stand the geometric positioning of the stand and the last pew on the aisle is an interesting angle.  The bench from this angle was generally occupied by one of the young women who was quite attractive and had a propensity to wear short skirts.  Need I say more?We ended up dedicating a fireside on dress standards for the good of the entire bishopric.  We also talked to the young womens leader about proper posturing – kind of a life skill.  I really wanted to give the other counselor the name “Woody” but there is no room for light mindedness in this church.  Waay too many distractions from the pulpit.

    • Ella Menno Reply

      So, why do the brethren frown on women wearing pants to church?  Totally “modest”.  How is that “disrespectful”?  Come on, girls!  Modest is hottest!  Wear pants to church! 

      • Kevin Reply

        I agree with the brethren, but I’m not sexist about it. Nobody should wear pants, ever. Thus saith the Lord, or someone, I forget.

      • fromthepulpit Reply

        We had pretty much a 180 degree range but the natural head position was such that you had to cock your head/eyes away from the source.  Plus, the aisle from the pulpit was wider up front ending in a smaller zone – as mentioned in the post below “the high heaven zone”.  Anyone sitting on the stand was getting a free show.  But I think your point is whether the leadership are just a bunch of perverts and cannot control their thoughts and/or actions regardless of the cicurmstances.  There is an unspoken pressure placed on leadership, one of piousness that effects your behaviour.  The question for some may be:  Is it wrong to look and not get caught or look and get caught do so.  There are consequences internally and externally for both. 

  11. Aaron Lowry Reply

    Once in a while my wife leaves it up to me to get our two little girls dressed for church.  Last summer I tried put our 7 month old in a little sundress since it was August and it must be miserable enough having to wear around a diaper in that kind of heat.  Upon discovering my choice of dress my wife promptly told me to put a sweater over the dress since having the baby show her shoulders was clearly immodest.  I snidely replied that for the sake of consistency she ought to cover her lower half in below the knee shorts – after all, we don’t want her turning anybody on during sacrament meeting.  She didn’t like it, but I think she quickly saw how ridiculous she was being as she ended up letting the baby go to church as she was, bars shoulders, thighs, and all. 

  12. Anonymous Reply

    This is a quote from Joseph F. Smith given in 1913:

    “In my sight the present-day fashions are abominable, suggestive of evil, calculated to arouse base passion and lust, and to engender lasciviousness, in the hearts of those who follow the fashions, and of those who tolerate them. … It is infamous, and I hope the daughters of Zion will not descend to these pernicious ways, customs and fashions, for they are demoralizing and damnable in their effect.”

    “We hear it reported, from time to time, that some … mutilate their garments, rather than to keep them holy and undefiled. … We see some of our good sisters coming here to the temple occasionally decorated in the latest and most ridiculous fashions that ever disgraced the human form divine. They do not seem to realize that they are coming to the house of God.”

    If this is how Joseph F. Smith viewed the fashions of 1913, I wonder what he would think about modern-day fashion. Also, ironic that the Church eventually “mutilated” the garment in 1923 to the short sleeve/short version.

    • niceteets Reply

      I personally know some of the descendants of JSF.  One member of the family claimed that he had a “mote” stuck up his ass and was therefore full of shit.  JSF fathered 43 children with his ladies….  “Pernicious ways and customs”?….”demoralizing and damnable in their effect”?….was he talking about plural marriage or fashions?  The best mutilation was made back in ’78 when they cut the g’s in half and made two piece jammies.

  13. Anonymous Reply

    Sorry, I loved this podcast. I just wanted to share one more quote that Susan Bednar gave in 2001 at a BYU-Idaho devotional (regarding modesty):

    “A few months ago I was sitting on the stand in this building when I counted the girls on the front row who were wearing dresses for devotional, and then I noted how many of them were sitting modestly. There were just a few. Now you might say, ‘Sister Bednar, come on, lighten up. They wore dresses. Give them a break.’ But girls, when you wear a dress, you need to sit with your legs together, close together. When you are sitting up in the bleachers, put your feet down in front of you, not up on the next bleacher; you’d be amazed at what you can see. You need to make sure that when you cross your legs your dress isn’t so short that you can see to high heaven! I felt sorry for the priesthood leaders on the stand with me that day because of what those girls revealed. You would have been embarrassed, too. You can wear a modest dress and still be immodest by the way you sit.”

    First off, I love that she referred to the view up a dress as “high heaven.” Also, Sister Bednar, don’t feel bad for the priesthood brethren that were on the stand that day, for most certainly they saw the glory of the highest heaven that day 🙂 How could the Priesthood brethren resist such a sight?

    • SIMS Reply

      That talk is so revolting, especially when she says she feels bad for the priesthood leaders.  Seriously.  Grown men.

      This reinforces yet again, the crap that girls are responsible for boys thoughts and behaviors.  So damaging for both genders.

    • Chuck Borough Reply

      At a parade in Salt Lake City, David O. McKay was asked about the girls on floats dressed so immodestly. He countered, “Oh, I hadn’t noticed; they just all looked so beautiful.”

      • Anonymous Reply

        The way I heard the story was that someone complained to David O. Mckay about one float in a 24th of July parade carrying local beauty pageant contestants wearing bathing suits, and he replied: “I didn’t see anything in that parade that wasn’t beautiful.”

  14. Anonymous Reply

    “remove the taboo and remove the obsession”.  Priesthood holders just need to man-up and take responsibility for there hard-ons and quit blaming women.

  15. Anonymous Reply

    CRACKS ME UP LIVING AMONG THE PIOUS WHERE A THIRTY YEAR OLD WOMEN NEEDS A BOOB JOB, A FAKE DIAMOND RING BIGGER THAN HER NEIGHBOR, AND AN ESCALADE, AS A SIGN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS…BUT NOW I GET IT, THEY WERE DEPRIVED FROM FORM FITTING CLOTHES IN COLLEGE.

  16. Kevin Reply

    So John, your opinion of child slavery has changed since you left the church? Were you in favor of it then, or did you mean that you are in favor of it now?

    • Anonymous Reply

      It bothered me before but it really bothers me now. I guess it is the “clean from the blood and sins of this generation thing”. I would now say we are culpable when we participate even in consumerism.

      Since for me there is no God to set things straight in the afterlife, we have to do it now.

      • Anonymous Reply

        This reminds me of the apocryphal story that went around the church starting in the 70’s when the church was first really fighting the young men wanting to wear long hair but when a young man said to President Kimball “what’s wrong with long hair?  Jesus had long hair!”  And Kimball’s response was, “Not the last time I saw him.”

        I must have heard that story 10 times in church.  Reinforces two myths.  Morality is tied to hair fashion and the prophet actually talks to Jebus… 

      • Chuck Borough Reply

        Interesting picture. Also, when He returns, he will be an illegal alien without the required papers. Will all these hell-bent anti illegal aliens just hypocritically welcome this particular one?

  17. Mike Michaels Reply

    I would suggest that the girl at BYU-I subjected to the rejection for “skinny jeans” was in truth turned away due to the white top and how the color white accentuated her voluptuous breasts underneath.  The “skinny jeans” was merely false justification as she wasn’t even wearing skinny jeans.  It’s just very difficult for a functionary to declare that well-endowed girls cannot wear tight fitting white tops.

  18. Ozpoof Reply

    Moustaches are permitted???? What decade is this? The only time I have seen a real-life moustache is during Movember when men grow them to raise money for prostate cancer.

    So according to the BYU honour code, Adolf Hitler could walk on campus with his uniform on and he could not be kicked off for any infraction. I’m sure if he arrived with a swag of pink triangle patches for the gays to be identified by, he would be given an extra special welcome.

    IMO, if you go to BYU you deserve to go there.

  19. Hermes Reply

    This one really nailed one of the biggest problems with modern LDS culture: objectification of people.  People are not objects.  Any time you deal with people as objects, you act immorally (or “in a morally inferior manner” if you prefer), even if you try to make them into “nice” objects (as opposed to “nasty” ones).  Our love of objectification is what leads to problems with gay people, women, and basically anyone who doesn’t fit comfortably into the Leave it to Beaver model that we have declared to be God’s final word on how people are (or should be).

    I have been thinking about this problem with our culture for a while, e.g. in the following:

    http://argeiphontes.blogspot.com/2011/03/theory-without-practice-faith-without.html
    http://argeiphontes.blogspot.com/2011/09/what-is-pornography.html
    http://argeiphontes.blogspot.com/2010/04/religious-integrity-and-church.html

    While it is relatively easy to find the problem once we pull our heads out of the hat (and stop staring at those peepstones; I wonder what Joseph really saw in there: Fanny?), solving it can be tough, particularly when you have family and friends still firmly planted in the faith.  As human beings, we naturally reduce things to generalized expressions of our own concrete experiences (i.e. we create stereotypes).  We take random data samples and find meaning in them (where really all there is is randomness).  We preserve illusions of control by telling ourselves that we really could stop everything bad in the world if we just dressed right (for one pertinent example).  Pulling one’s head out of the Mormon hat doesn’t altogether fix this (not for everyone, anyway), and plenty of never-Mormons suffer from this very Mormon disease.

    It’s a tough situation that appears embedded in the human condition, to some extent.  Thanks for talking about it. 

    • Kevin Reply

      I like the idea of a Leave It to Beaver model.

      “Hey Wally, me and Whitey are gonna blood atone Larry Mondello. Wanna come?”

    • Elder Vader Reply

      This reminds me of Terry Warner.  His version of LDS apologetics kept me content with the LDS construct for a long time.  Nice blog.  I cruised around it for a while and clicked on all the Rick Perry / Newt Gingrich ads.  Hope you get a few dimes for it.  

      • Hermes Reply

        Thanks.  For the record, I am not voting for Perry (who is crazy) or Gingrich (who embodies my personal definition of “political whore”), but it’s always interesting to see what Google thinks my little cadre of readers will like.

  20. Chuck Borough Reply

    My little mother was a feisty and active Mormon. She would be near 100 now if still alive. When she was about 60, we had a Saturday choir rehearsal in the chapel. There was a rule then against any kind of pants for women in the chapel. My Mom was the pianist for the choir, and rehearsal would be handicapped without her. She was wearing what was popular then, a pants-suit, consisting of long pants to the ankle and over the pants a very short skirt. A man would not allow my Mom to enter the chapel, because of the pants. In the foyer, in front of everyone, she removed the pants, fully embarrassing the janitor, while all the rest of us laughed, and proceeded into the chapel in the very short skirt and completely bare 60-year-old legs. Go Mom!

  21. Anonymous Reply

    I very much appreciated this podcast, and John – I am so glad you speak to these things in the direct way you do. 

  22. Anonymous Reply

    I found this podcast through my brother, who happens to be Nate Koch.  I have listened with fascination this week to several of your podcasts.  I just had to comment on this one though.  I swear I am not making any of this up:

    The first Sunday that I was in Relief Society after I graduated from high school, there was a lesson on modesty/chastity.  There was a woman in my ward who was the mother of four boys.  (Keep in mind that these boys were known among the young women as being very “handsy”)  She raised her hand and said, “All you mothers with daughters really need to teach your daughters that they should not incite the boys in this ward.  The girls need to have the responsibility of stopping any inappropriate activities because boys can’t help themselves.”  I about fell out of my chair.  I raised my hand and when I was called on said “Actually, what I think you need to teach your daughters is that they will like the inappropriate activities as much as the boys. And that they won’t necessarily want to stop either.  I think that it is a mutual responsibility to keep things under control.”  I like to imagine that there were audible gasps at my remarks, but I don’t really remember.  I just remember being absolutely incensed.

    I think that one of the biggest disservices the church does to women is teach them (whether directly or indirectly) that they are not sexual beings and that sex is only for men to enjoy.  

  23. Anonymous Reply

    I’m a little late to this conversation, but my husband works for the testing center at UVU, and recently took a business trip up to BYU-I’s testing center. After spending time with the director there, this topic came up, and apparently, this girl was turned away for wearing “skinny jeans” (we all agree these were boot cut, however, right?) by an over-zealous young man who was working the counter at the time. It cracks me up…maybe he liked what he saw and it scared him? Anyway, apparently, she was not technically violating any policy, and this particular employee just took it upon himself to set some standards. No word on if he was reprimanded, fired, etc…Just another example of sexual repression making mountains out of mole hills, perhaps?

  24. Fernando Garcia Reply

    I am deeply saddened by the mockery of true standards here. I am not what you all claim I am.

  25. Pingback: Modesty and Gender in Mormonism | Trudging Toward the Telestial Kingdom

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