Month: July 2014

Keys, Divine Decrees, and Shopping Sprees

I heard a lot of members who were happy about Elder Oaks talk addressing the concerns raised by the Ordain Women movement. However, I was rather disappointed  Here is a paragraph from his talk, (emphasis mine)

The divine nature of the limitations put upon the exercise of priesthood keys explains an essential contrast between decisions on matters of Church administration and decisions affecting the priesthood. The First Presidency and the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve, who preside over the Church, are empowered to make many decisions affecting Church policies and procedures—matters such as the location of Church buildings and the ages for missionary service. But even though these presiding authorities hold and exercise all of the keys delegated to men in this dispensation, they are not free to alter the divinely decreed pattern that only men will hold offices in the priesthood.

 

Problem #1

First, I want to say that he misses the point entirely in his response.  As he is a former Chief Justice of the Utah Supreme Court, I’m reluctant to think this was unintentional. He most certainly is at least remotely aware of their petition, that the Presiding Authorities take the question to the Lord for an answer as to whether women might be ordained.  Yet, instead of answering that relevant question, he issues a “ruling” on a totally separate matter.  He instead chooses to answer the question, “Oh, come on… Can’t you just ordain me right now!?” This reminds me of times when the Supreme Court decides to pass on really ruling on merits of a case, and rather rejects a case due to some minor technicality without addressing the more useful point of law. (more…)

Mormonism, Masturbation, and Growing Up Male

This is another post from the old blog. This one was born after reading a post at the old CulturalHall called “Confessions of Serial Masturbator/Repenter.”  A very interesting read, but I haven’t been able to locate it again to link here. 

My Story

 We’ll start at the beginning, my beginning. I grew up in a Mormon family… pretty much. We went to church every week. But there was very little religion at home, no FHE, prayers, scripture study, etc. I grew up more or less believing that the church was true, but never really had reason to doubt it either. When I was approaching puberty, my dad lost his job, and had to go back to school. Since we live in a rural area, that meant he was gone during the week, and came to visit on weekends for a few years. That meant dad was no longer coming to church. I’d also reached that age where you start to question things, and, long story short… I pretty much decided over the next few years that there was likely no such thing as God, and I was starting to be ok with that.
Discovery
It was during this time, when left with large open spaces, solitude, and a rather introverted personality, that I discovered masturbation. (more…)

Modesty, Garments, & Nudity within Mormonism – Part 3

Rape Culture
Finally, I must address a final aspect of the modesty issue.  The way modesty is taught in the church is harmful, I believe; to the men, women, boys and girls of the church. I think it is flat wrong to teach the young women of the church that it is their responsibility to control the thoughts of the young men, by dressing in a way that would not be sexually appealing to them. It tells the girls that if they do get inappropriate attention, ogled, harassed, or raped, that somehow it is their fault. And IT’S NOT!
Some will say they’ve NEVER heard that taught in church…. for which I’m glad.  Explicit statements like this are disappearing, I believe.   But, the implied message remains, and is picked up on by both sexes.

 

The World teaches our girls that:
  • A) In order to have value, they must be desirable to men.
  • B) In order to be desirable to men, they must appear sexually available
  • C) Clothing is used to indicate sexual availability
  • D) Therefore, our girls should wear X (where X= revealing, tight-fitting, you-name-it) to indicate they are sexually available, therefore desirable, therefore valuable. (more…)

Modest, Garments, & Nudity within Mormonism – Part 2

Please see part 1 here
Modesty.
So, back to modesty. What is it really all about? I think it’s about avoiding pride. If we look at it this way, the admonition to be be modest in our dress has more to do with dressing so as not to intentionally draw undue attention to ourselves, being “free from conceit or vanity.” Wearing a swimsuit to church would be immodest, because it would serve to draw attention to myself. Going swimming in tuxedo would likely have the same result. It seems that it is all about our attitude in the clothing choices we make. The outcome we desire has an impact on the correctness of an action. If my desire is to wear clothing that is suited to the activity and location, that’s fine. If my desire is to lift myself up above others, there’s a problem. (Note, this is not dependent on other’s reactions, simply our intentions. This is a complex topic as desiring others notice us and our appearance are normal human desires, and I don’t believe they are sinful or wrong.)

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Modesty, Garments, & Nudity within Mormonism – Part 1

This is an old post from the old blog, with some new editing, links and streamlining.

Modesty:

So what exactly is modesty? It’s really interesting, considering the increasing emphasis in the current church, that I wasn’t really able to find anything in the scriptures on the subject. A quick search of the scriptures led to a single use of the word modest, in 1 Timothy, Ch 2. Here, the use seems to fall in line with the traditional definition of modesty, which has nothing to do with dress per say. It’s about being humble. About avoiding what the Book of Mormon calls fine twined linens and costly apparel. About not being prideful.
Looking through the scriptures, I find lots of negative comments about clothing generally, and some neutral ones like admonitions not to worry about it. When it’s not mentioned negatively, any positive views are often talked about only in reference to clothing the naked. Here, it seems, it’s more about providing something to someone who is poor, no different than providing housing to the homeless.

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In the beginning

Once again, I set out on a blogging adventure.  I was, I think, a little overambitious last time.  My plan this time will be for less frequent but more consistent posts. I’ll be aiming to use this site more as a real collecting place for my thoughts, with the added benefit of some feedback from others on occasion.

The impetus for getting back into this has to do with the recent events involving John Dehlin, Kate Kelly, and Rock Waterman. I’ve been a big fan of John’s for a couple years now, and feel that his work with “borderlands” members has been invaluable to many, as it has with me.  Kate I wasn’t as familiar with until the episode, though I’d had passive exposure to the Ordain Women movement.  Though I have a pretty strong feminist side, I’m not convinced that ordination of women is necessarily the best solution, but definitely a viable option to consider.  Rock, I really look up to in his willingness to say what’s on his mind.  I definitely disagree with his posts frequently, but really appreciate the points he raises and think they’re generally great useful thoughts to consider.

I have concern about the possibility for less willingness on behalf of members to openly discuss difficult topics in the wake of these recent events.  I’m concerned about me being less willing to do so. Therefore, in response, I’ve decided to relaunch my blog as a way to push myself not to allow myself to be intimidated into selective silence.

To get things started, I’ll be pulling over a few of my old posts from my old dilapidated blog, and trying to update them a bit in the process.