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Asked not to wear pants to church

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9 hours ago, Blossom76 said:

Wearing pants to church is not wrong, if it annoys some 'old school stuffed shirt' then good, he obviously needs to learn to not be so judgemental.

I didn't say wearing pants to church, in and of itself, was wrong. Doing something to intentionally annoy someone because they've annoyed you though?

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1 hour ago, DoctorLemon said:

In Texas, yes, women wear pants to church from time to time, and no one cares.  I didn't even know there was some (very slight) stigma against it until a couple of years ago.

The only real stigma against it is when it's done as a rebellious, feminist statement, putting yourself before others, power-statement sort of thing.

Edited by The Folk Prophet

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9 hours ago, Blossom76 said:
10 hours ago, The Folk Prophet said:

 Yes, I do believe that 'two wrongs make a right' was one of Christ's teachings. 

Wearing pants to church is not wrong, if it annoys some 'old school stuffed shirt' then good, he obviously needs to learn to not be so judgemental.

TFP's sarcastic point is nevertheless valid. The "two wrongs" he referenced did not include wearing pants to Church. Wrong #1 referred to the bishopric member's (or other person's) expression of disapproval for the attire worn. Wrong #2 would be intentionally annoying this man. TFP's point was that you do not correct a wrong by perpetrating another wrong. Two wrongs do not really make a right. I think his point is well-taken.

Edited by Vort

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10 hours ago, Vort said:

I base my judgment on the facts presented. I acknowledge that the OP may have a skewed view of the facts, but if she, an investigator, wore a modest pants suit to Church, I cannot see any situation where a bishopric member or anyone else would be justified in telling her that her choice of clothing was inappropriate, no matter how kind he tried to say it. Of course, there could be more to it than the OP told (or recognized) -- but again, I judge based on facts presented, unless the "facts" seem so utterly improbable that I can't take them seriously.

Being in a position where I interact with investigators and new members directly in my ward at the present time (WML) I tend towards understanding on these matters for the leaders and the complications they face. It is VERY difficult to introduce new ideas, ways of thinking, implications of humility (even social ones), etc., etc., to people who are entering an entirely new and different world from what they've known before.

And the idea that the social, cultural side of things don't matter a whit, as some imply, is simply invalid. They do. The young who refuses to ever buy into wearing a tie, no matter what, misses out. Humbling ourselves and being willing to do "WHATSOEVER" thing is asked of us is a core principle of the gospel. The social constructs may not "really" matter, but you can't go on a mission if you won't submit to the idea of wearing a tie, and not going on a mission means missing out on the blessings of going on a mission (as one example).

Teaching people to let go of themselves in all regards in favor of straight up humility is hard. It's very difficult to judge when someone is ready to receive such messages.

Two examples: We had a newly baptized family in our ward that still had their house filled with crosses. Not a big deal, from a certain perspective. But ideally, we don't use crosses, and someone who did would likely struggle to ever really fit in to a ward family. Case in point, they did struggle, they ultimately went back to their previous church. (And just in case anyone is presuming so, it was not because anyone condemned them for crosses or any such thing. They were very loved, very accepted, etc. And no one ever felt it was the right time to suggest they remove the crosses from their home, etc. They just couldn't let go of the culture they knew an loved -- the traditions of their fathers). 

Another baptism was a guy covered in tattoos and piercings. Right after his baptism, despite being told otherwise by the missionaries, etc., he went and got a new tattoo (of a cross, coincidentally) on his chest. He also went out and bought a bunch of vaping stuff. In this case, one of the members in our ward who knew him well and was friendly was blunt with him. (Something along the lines of "are you still Mormon or not dude?"), and he, personality wise, took it well. But I seriously worry about him (he's moved away now). Having tattoos, as we have discussed on these forums many times, is not a problem. Intentionally going out and getting new ones when you've been taught otherwise implies potential problems though. Vaping (particularly non-nicotine versions) isn't specifically against the word of wisdom (that I know of -- and certainly not in the eyes of a new member who's been told "no tobacco" as the rule), but I believe that teaching new members the idea of avoiding the appearance of sin, etc., is the ideal they should strive for. But when, and how to teach such an idea is always a challenge.

The plain fact is that when we bring new members into the fold they MUST adapt to a new culture or they run the risk of faltering and falling away. This is a huge challenge.

I don't know, of course, but based on my experience in callings, ward councils, bishopric meetings, etc., I do not believe that when a leader of a ward speaks to a new member about a cultural thing or the like that it is taken lightly or is typically an act of self-righteous piety. These things are discussed in depth. People make calls based on what they feel the Spirit is guiding them to do, and they act and speak when called to do so despite the difficulties of it. I know that isn't always the case. But my experience tells my it typically is. We get the offended's perspective on these forums. But that rarely reflects the truth, I believe.

And, as far as judging this man's actions to be inappropriate: How do we know that the act wasn't inspired by the Spirit? Can we judge on the "I'm offended" response of the receiver alone, or even on what seems an obvious social blunder? How do we know that there might not come all sorts of good from it? Maybe this very discussion is leading some to ponder in ways they haven't before, and thereby they will draw nearer to the path they should be on and closer to the Lord? How do we know, despite the offense, that in the long run, after consideration, line upon line, the experience will not be for the greater good of the OP?

As I said, the arm chair quarter-backing is easy. But the reality is complicated. My take: reserve judgement and advocate for humility, understanding, having an eternal perspective, and faith.

Edited by The Folk Prophet

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I agree with everything you wrote, TFP.

9 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

How do we know, despite the offense, that in the long run, after consideration, line upon line, the experience will not be for the greater good of the OP?

This is true for all experiences, no matter how horrific or traumatic. But that God can bring good about even from an offense does not justify the offense. The bishopric member may well have been inspired of the Spirit, though in general I don't believe the Spirit would guide you to criticize an investigator's choice of clothing (especially if they're modestly dressed).

Again, I'm judging based on the facts scenario placed before me. I could go the route of never judging any condition described on an internet discussion list, and in some ways that might be the wiser course. But not discussing an issue sort of belies the point of a discussion list.

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39 minutes ago, Vort said:

This is true for all experiences, no matter how horrific or traumatic. But that God can bring good about even from an offense does not justify the offense.

I'm not saying it does. But the right or wrong of the man's actions are NOT based on the offense. They are based on the man's having followed the Spirit or not and his intentions. Both things which we cannot judge. Which is my plain point. ;)

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17 hours ago, Just_A_Guy said:

There’s sort of an unspoken cultural standard that men wear ties and women wear skirts or dresses.

 

Actually, it's not an unspoken cultural standard.

As stated in the manual, "The Gospel of Jesus Christ":

"Dress:

Men and boys generally wear suits or nice pants with a shirt and tie. Women and girls wear dresses or skirts."

Source: “Worship with Us,” The Gospel of Jesus Christ (2005), 22–23

https://www.lds.org/manual/the-gospel/worship-with-us?lang=eng&query=dress+standards+at+church

Edited by Jedi_Nephite

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Another way to look at it:

(This is extreme, of course, and no way meant to imply that wearing pants is related in any way to the example given. The point is about the giver of criticism and his/her justification in the matter).

Let's say someone got on the forum and said something along the lines of: So this guy in my ward told me I was a child of hell.

The natural reaction we would likely jump to would be, "That's never appropriate." "That guy needs to repent." "Some people in the church are so smug and self-righteous." Etc.

But the guy on the forum is Zeezrom and the guy who told him He was a child of hell was Amulek.

Like I said...not comparing this to the wearing of pants in any way. Just the idea that because something sounds offensive doesn't render it automatically wrong.

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6 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

I'm not saying it does. But the right or wrong of the man's actions are NOT based on the offense. They are based on the man's having followed the Spirit or not and his intentions. Both things which we cannot judge. Which is my plain point. ;)

I understand. Do you understand my "plain point"?

If someone not from the US tells a story about seeing a man beat up a woman who had walked on his lawn, and then asks whether that was really an acceptable American standard, how do you respond?

  • "Well, that depends. Was the trespassing woman in the act of burgling his home? That would explain a lot."
  • "Maybe the woman on the guy's lawn was actually coming at him with a machete."
  • "What's the backstory here? Did the woman previously assault the guy and beat him up? Maybe he was simply protecting himself proactively."
  • "Are we sure the man was actually beating up the woman? We can't tell from the story alone. Is it possible that, for example, the woman on the guy's lawn was actually on fire? Maybe he was just putting out the fire, being a good neighbor, and here we are criticizing the poor guy when we should be celebrating his heroic actions!"

Any of the above things are possible. But would one of those really be your go-to assumption? Or would you more likely say, "No, of course not. The guy sounds like a sociopath and should probably be arrested"?

It is possible that the Spirit directed a bishopric member to tell an investigator that her modest pantsuit was simply not appropriate dress for Church. Though I admit it's possible, I find it highly doubtful. It's also possible that the OP's account is incomplete; for that matter, she may have made it up out of whole cloth. But if that's going to be our attitude toward what people ask, then we might as well not bother responding to anything and just adopt a solipsistic attitude toward the world. The most likely possibility appears to me to be that the brother mentioned in the story was simply out of line and a bit bizarre in approaching an investigator in such a manner. In the absence of information other than what was presented, does it not make sense to tell the OP that, in effect, that's not the norm for Mormon behavior?

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3 minutes ago, Vort said:

I understand. Do you understand my "plain point"?

Shrug. I think I do. But that doesn't mean I do.

What I see is that everyone jumps to the conclusion that a ward leader teaching an investigator to wear a dress/tie to church is inappropriate, mistaken, self-righteous, pious, etc. And with that I do not agree.

5 minutes ago, Vort said:

If someone not from the US tells a story about seeing a man beat up a woman who had walked on his lawn, and then asks whether that was really an acceptable American standard, how do you respond?

  • "Well, that depends. Was the trespassing woman in the act of burgling his home? That would explain a lot."
  • "Maybe the woman on the guy's lawn was actually coming at him with a machete."
  • "What's the backstory here? Did the woman previously assault the guy and beat him up? Maybe he was simply protecting himself proactively."
  • "Are we sure the man was actually beating up the woman? We can't tell from the story alone. Is it possible that, for example, the woman on the guy's lawn was actually on fire? Maybe he was just putting out the fire, being a good neighbor, and here we are criticizing the poor guy when we should be celebrating his heroic actions!"

Any of the above things are possible. But would one of those really be your go-to assumption? Or would you more likely say, "No, of course not. The guy sounds like a sociopath and should probably be arrested"?

Actually, I believe that you, specifically, would probably more typically discuss the nuance. ;)

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2 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

Actually, I believe that you, specifically, would probably more typically discuss the nuance. ;)

I actually chuckled out loud at this. Well done.

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2 hours ago, Jedi_Nephite said:

"Dress:

Men and boys generally wear suits or nice pants with a shirt and tie. Women and girls wear dresses or skirts."

Source: “Worship with Us,” The Gospel of Jesus Christ (2005), 22–23

https://www.lds.org/manual/the-gospel/worship-with-us?lang=eng&query=dress+standards+at+church

Jedi is not wrong.  But 2005 is not 2018.

I am officially old enough to have lived through an LDS cultural change.  I remember arguing on the internet (I think on the forum that eventually became lds.net, before it became mormonhub), that there was nothing wrong with my goatee.  I was in the minority, and the majority of posters (including the high-reputation frequent long-time spiritual-giant posters) were of a differing opinion.  The going notion was, while I might not be openly in rebellion, I should examine my motivation for wearing my goatee, because I would probably discover a gap between my personal discipleship, and what my personal discipleship SHOULD be.

Does anyone remember the name of that board?  It's on the tip of my tongue.

Edited by NeuroTypical

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17 minutes ago, NeuroTypical said:

Does anyone remember the name of that board?  It's on the tip of my tongue.

Kind of a weird name. I wonder how it got to be "lds.net".

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30 minutes ago, NeuroTypical said:

Jedi is not wrong.  But 2005 is not 2018.

I am officially old enough to have lived through an LDS cultural change.  I remember arguing on the internet (I think on the forum that eventually became lds.net, before it became mormonhub), that there was nothing wrong with my goatee.  I was in the minority, and the majority of posters (including the high-reputation frequent long-time spiritual-giant posters) were of a differing opinion.  The going notion was, while I might not be openly in rebellion, I should examine my motivation for wearing my goatee, because I would probably discover a gap between my personal discipleship, and what my personal discipleship SHOULD be.

Does anyone remember the name of that board?  It's on the tip of my tongue.

Before this reply I wanted to point out that I'm in process of working on a good ol' hipster beard at the moment. 

But I don't really see much of a cultural change at all in regards to what you've suggested above. I'm not weighing in on my view of whether and when facial hair is/isn't appropriate, specifically in regards to 2005 to 2018. If you were talking about 1975 to 2018 I'd buy into the point better.

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10 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

Before this reply I wanted to point out that I'm in process of working on a good ol' hipster beard at the moment. 

But I don't really see much of a cultural change at all in regards to what you've suggested above. I'm not weighing in on my view of whether and when facial hair is/isn't appropriate, specifically in regards to 2005 to 2018. If you were talking about 1975 to 2018 I'd buy into the point better.

Moreover, I'd argue that what the Spiritual Giants/Fuddy-Duddies said to NT in 2005 about our motivations for doing things is still just as true in 2018. Another way to approach the same point is to ask, If my bishop asked me to shave, would I comply or put up an argument? I think it comes down to the same point.

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17 hours ago, Suzie said:

I was like 14 and it was seminary graduation. I was so excited because they asked me weeks in advance to offer the opening prayer. When I reached the stake center, I saw my name printed on the program etc. I was beyond nervous but very happy! Everything was going well until they called my name to offer the prayer.

I slowly approached the pulpit...the Stake YW President saw me, came to me and quietly said: "Suzie, you cannot offer the prayer because you're wearing pants" and then she sat down while talking to other leaders and choosing someone else to pray. I stood there not knowing exactly what to do and I quietly sat down while everyone was just staring at me. It made me feel like I have done something wrong and of course, at that age, concerned that others would think I wasn't worthy to offer the prayer.

When they called someone else to pray, all I did was to look at my name printed on that program...

Believe it or not the same thing happened to me in the temple.  When I was in the dressing room, I couldn't find this item in my bag. (Later I found it in a pocket that I'd have no reason to use).  So, I went on without it believing it to be inconsequential. 

As I approached the endowment room, one of the temple staff looked and noticed the missing item.  He definitely stared for several seconds and acknowledged it was missing.  He found it odd, but said nothing.  I took this as a nod that it really was inconsequential.

Later during the endowment, one of the sisters officiating noticed and told me that I had to go out of the room until I could get the missing item.  So, I went and got it.  It delayed the ceremony a few minutes.  Everyone's eyes were on me and kinda wondering.  But I came back and the ceremony continued.

Notice that a man looked and didn't say anything.  A woman made a big deal out of it and all the men jumped at her request.  Yup, Mormon patriarchy at its finest.

To this day I don't know if this really was an important part or not.  But I haven't actually asked the temple president.  So, as soon as the Houston Temple opens again, I'll make it a point to ask him.

I just went and looked into the history of said inconsequential item.  If it is meaningful, I think I can figure out several meaningful symbols for this item.

Edited by Guest

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1 hour ago, NeuroTypical said:

 I remember arguing on the internet (I think on the forum that eventually became lds.net, before it became mormonhub), that there was nothing wrong with my goatee. 

41 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

Before this reply I wanted to point out that I'm in process of working on a good ol' hipster beard at the moment. 

I gotta ask both of you if you have helpful hints.  

For years I tried growing a goatee.  But it never looked quite right.  But I finally got past that problem after looking at some grooming techniques.

Today I have a different problem.  Mrs. Carb refuses to kiss me because she says that my hairs are like steel wires tearing into her flesh.  Remember I'm Asian with very coarse black hairs.  Is there some conditioner or something that will soften the hairs somewhat to provide more comfort to my wife's face?

Edited by Guest

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7 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

I gotta ask both of you if you have helpful hints.  

For years I tried growing a goatee.  But it never looked quite right.  But I finally got past that problem after looking at some grooming techniques.

Today I have a different problem.  Mrs. Carb refuses to kiss me because she says that my hairs are like steel wires tearing into her flesh.  Remember I'm Asian with very coarse black hairs.  Is there some conditioner or something that will soften the hairs somewhat to provide more comfort to my wife's face?

No idea. There's beard oil, beard balm, and beard/mustache wax. Beyond that....Google is your friend. Unless you hate Google. Then there's Bing or...um......others.

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1 hour ago, Vort said:

Moreover, I'd argue that what the Spiritual Giants/Fuddy-Duddies said to NT in 2005 about our motivations for doing things is still just as true in 2018. Another way to approach the same point is to ask, If my bishop asked me to shave, would I comply or put up an argument? I think it comes down to the same point.

Indeed.  No bishop ever asked me to do that.  But the folks at LDS.talk (and a few other places) took a stand that I wasn't being "Mormon enough" (my attempt to describe their words) for having a goatee.  And now here, look at the advice we're all giving our good truthseaker about how to dress for church.

I see a cultural difference. 

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2 minutes ago, NeuroTypical said:

Indeed.  No bishop ever asked me to do that.  But the folks at LDS.talk (and a few other places) took a stand that I wasn't being "Mormon enough" (my attempt to describe their words) for having a goatee.  And now here, look at the advice we're all giving our good truthseaker about how to dress for church.

I see a cultural difference. 

Fair enough.

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1 hour ago, Vort said:

If my bishop asked me to shave, would I comply or put up an argument?

Does anyone remember the scene in Ephraim's Rescue when Brigham Young asked Ephraim to shave his beard, then shave his mustache?  And I had to wonder about Brigham's beard as long as it was.  I suppose it was that only older men were allowed to have beards -- a right of seniority or something or other.

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33 minutes ago, SilentOne said:

That looked great, until I saw that it was scented peppermint.  Mrs. Carb can't stand any kind of mint including peppermint.  She refuses to buy the standard type of candy canes at Christmas time.  She only gets the fruit flavored type.

Now, the link you provided also indicated a citrus scented beard oil.  This is something I believe both of us would like.  But I wonder if it would change the way i perceived flavors if I were smelling citrus all the time.

Can't there be an Old Spice scented beard oil?

Edited by Guest

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5 hours ago, The Folk Prophet said:

I didn't say wearing pants to church, in and of itself, was wrong. Doing something to intentionally annoy someone because they've annoyed you though?

Well I certainly wouldn't intentionally stop wearing pants because it annoyed someone, thats their problem not mine

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