General Conference

Reactions to General Conference?  Comments?  Questions?  Epiphanies?  Post Below.

Comments

  1. Who is this woman speaking? And why does she think that we don’t know that we are supposed to teach our children about Jesus? What does she propose we do about it if life’s experiences are distracting us and “dulling” our sensitivities? Does she have to work a zillion hours a week?

    HELLO WOMAN! WE CAN ONLY DO THE BEST WE CAN. WHAT DO YOU WANT?!?

    “How do we teach out children? We can follow the example of the Savior.”

    That’s BRILLIANT!! I’ve only heard it thousands of times. Maybe her kids aren’t total brats. If not, lucky her. Most kids are, even if their parents are in denial. And most parents are in denial.

    “Peace in this life” HA! Not likely with tons of kids and “power” jobs that require zillions of hours and expectations that are impossible to meet and church callings that take up so much time and family activities that require your presence and so many things pulling you here and there that all you want to do is tell everyone to shut the hell up and leave you alone, especially preachy ladies with sickly sweet voices at general conference who don’t seem to have a clue about reality.

  2. Hubert,

    Why are you wasting time watching conference?

  3. …yes Hubert, why watch conference — you could be out there killing puppies or whatever psychos normally do.

  4. Dude, hubert. That’s both the funniest and weirdest comment I think I’ve read on the bloggernacle (and that’s going somewhere considering bcc.)

    I’m still trying to figure out if it’s supposed to be some kind of satire or not…

  5. I am not a psycho. I am very angry. I am a married father with three children, very active in my local ward, and sick to death of hearing talks like that of the sickly sweet primary person who spoke in the first session.

    I watch conference to get inspiration from my church leaders. But this time around their words don’t feel particularly inspiring. This time it is just making me mad.

    Every 6 months we hear addresses from Salt Lake City. This time around, I am sick of all of the pointless instructions issued from the pulpit. It’s like they don’t understand how hard we are already trying. It’s like they can’t comprehend how many hours we work, how much time and devotion we have given and continue to give to the church, and how so many of us have married young and had several children only to find several years later that children are not a bundle of joy and that marriage sucks- even celestial marriage.

    I am sick of being told that the purpose of life is to be happy, constantly being unhappy because I never sleep due to all the things that are expected of me, then told that if I’m not happy then I must be doing something wrong and it’s all my fault. Seeing the sickly happy faces at conference just drills in deeper how clueless these people are about the grinding and harsh realities of life- you work until you die, both temporally and spiritually, and then if you are lucky enough, you get to spend the rest of eternity working too. You can’t ever just die! I crave nothing more than to be left in peace and REST for a while.

    But hearing these talks, rest will not be on the near horizon. Instead, I will have to expend my efforts to be a “little bit better” and I get beat over the head with all the things I guess I *should* be feeling- like how wonderful little children are.

    But I am a (very) active Latter-day Saint who generally believes deeply in the doctrines of the gospel, but am just feeling completely exhausted because of all the expectations heaped on my head, reinforced every 6 months in conference, every year of my life, until I die- and even then I won’t “rest in peace” but will either spend eternity wondering what I might have done differently or spend it working to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. I almost wish I didn’t believe in the doctrines of the restoration- at least then there would be some meaure of rest to look forward to when I get to die.

    Anyway- conference is bringing these feelings to the surface, and Sickly Sweet Sister Primary PResident especially so. Now it’s time to go pretend enjoying to play with my kids again.

  6. Hubert, have you tried decaf? I’ve heard that Sanka is great, and if you have the right bishop, you can still get a recommend.

  7. Hey, give Hubert a little credit. He’s merely saying (rather freely, I suppose) that Sister Menlove’s remarks didn’t really resonate with him. The fact that Hubert WAS watching (hoping for something a little more up his alley) ought to get him a compliment, not sarcasm. Hang in there Hubert, maybe this afternoon will be the adult session.

    By the end of the Saturday morning session, I had developed a new term: “Correlated Conference.” But in the spirit of Pres. Monson’s plea that we embrace “the importance of being non-judgmental and treating everyone with kindness,” I won’t dwell on details.

  8. I will admit here that I am one of those people who actually goes to the chapel for every session of Conference in the chapel. It seems we’re a dying breed. Is mostly everyone listening at home?

  9. Minerva says:

    I think it’s interesting, Hubert, that you chose to heap your wrath upon the head of the only woman speaking in the session. I find it unfortunate that though we all seem to be so conscientious in not speaking evil of the Lord’s male anointed, we think it’s just a-okay to speak evil of His female anointed.

    That said, I agree with you that conference is absolutely overwhelming. I think that all of the people up there ARE aware of the realities of life; they are human beings after all. I just think that there is a common practice in GC of glossing over all of that and trying to be encouraging. I think the main problem is that part of the purpose of GC is to give council on how to be better; it’s just too bad that it all has to happen in a two-day blitz. It gets to be so painful and, as I said before, overwhelming. I have begun to just take everything in GC with a grain of salt. I know what I am working on with the Lord right now, and I’ll listen for stuff pertaining to that. There’s a whole bunch of stuff that’s going to addressed in GC that I cannot handle right now and that’s okay.

    Hubert, you sound like you need to let a few things go. Be still and know that God is God; stop being such an industrious bee for a while! That doesn’t make you a bad man or a bad Mormon.

  10. Daylan Darby says:

    TMS: Paperboy story???

    If the neighborhood petition ONLY said was “Please replace the paperboy” would YOU have signed it?

    Does this story imply that we shouldn’t complain/critisize/petition for justise when we have been “wronged” in a business deal?

  11. hubert is just mad that T&S is down…

  12. Should I be watching GC, or the news coverage of the Pope’s death? I’m a sucker for news “events” and GC happens twice a year. I’ve never experienced the death of a Pope before. Maybe I’ll flick between the two!

  13. Aaron Brown says:

    I don’t have time to watch conference, because I’m too busy reading bloggernacle commentary about conference.

    Aaron B

  14. Seth Rogers says:

    I suppose it would make us all happier if the speakers at General Conference all looked suicidal, bitter and angry.

    Misery loves company after all.

  15. Rosalynde says:

    Dave, any conference that has Pres. Monson sounding a downbeat–complete with a suicide story–would hardly pass correlation! I was actually quite shocked by the suicide anecdote–such an irruption of horror, like a story a few years ago about two neighborswhose dispute eventually ended in homicide. I hope his point–avoiding petty judgment and censure–will be emphasized by the horror of the story.

  16. Hellmut says:

    Hubert just figured out that the Church works on guilt. There is a reason why Utah is number one consuming anti-depressants.

  17. Hey all, how about laying off Hubert a bit. His first post was a bit much, but he clarified and admitted that he’s angry and posting out of emotion. It’s certainly something I can relate to, even if I think his case is overstated.

    He’s not alone in his feelings about General Conference, though again, he may be feeling it a little bit more strongly. And I personally have no problem criticizing the male and female speakers, regardless of their status. A boring talk is a boring talk, regardless of who gave it. I’ll happily admit that I see little point these days to General Conference, aside from the announcements.

  18. PM highlight: Elder Uchtdorf. This guy’s a keeper. The wave to the grandson was a nice touch. I caught a whiff of Hugh B. Brown in his remarks.

    PM lowpoint: the tithing zealot who preceded Elder Uchtdorf.

  19. Kristine says:

    Hubert, I agree that Sister Menlove’s talk didn’t seem very practical or helpful. Even the quotes from kids sounded like they were from people who float a couple of feet off the ground. Also, I confess that when she said “the recent disasters around the world have touched our hearts,” I leaned over to the person next to me and said “but not messed up our hair.” I am an evil, evil person :)

    Are your kids really little? When mine were 6 mos., 2, and 4, I quit going to conference for a while because I just couldn’t take it.

  20. Aaron Brown says:

    Speaking of Uchtdorf… I couldn’t seem to listen to him speak without experiencing uncontrollable giggles, as I had flashbacks to Mike Myers on SNL, announcing that “Now is the time on Sprockets when we DANCE!” My wife and mother did not approve, but they’re hardly ones to talk, since they spent the whole time discussing how good looking Uchtdorf is for a man his age (apparently he had very few wrinkles around his eyes), and my wife kept pestering me to grow more gray hairs, since that’s apparently just oh-so-sexy.

    Aaron B

  21. Aaron Brown says:

    I was only half-paying attention during Sis. Menlove’s talk, since her affected tone caused me to automatically tune out, but I do recall her quoting a young child expressing his or her testimony, and using the word “promptings.” What kind of child uses the word “promptings” anyway? I’ve never met one.

    Perhaps it’s time to grant Sis. Menlove early emeritus status and send her and her trumpted-up anecdotes to the Dunn-geon. :)

    Aaron B

  22. AB, that Sprockets comment was funnier at T&S. Trying out new material on multiple sites, are we?

  23. Aaron Brown says:

    Steve,

    Irreverent comments are always funniest the first time you read them. If you had read it here first, you’d think it was funnier here.

    Aaron B

  24. I did read it here first, that’s why I’m so perplexed…

  25. Seth Rogers says:

    Maybe we need to lay off Sister Menlove a bit. A typical Primary Presidency-style address isn’t going to stand a chance at the hands of a bunch of jaded bloggers.

    Moving along here’s quote I found interesting in light of recent events with Terry Schiavo and the Pope:

    “Death is not premature for those who are prepared to meet God … The sting of death is soothed by steadfast faith in Christ.”

    Russel M. Nelson

  26. Can you believe that President Monson wore that tie with that shirt? My goodness, I guess inspiration doesn’t extend to fashion!

    Actually, I don’t really mean that. I didn’t see him, because I heard it on the internet. I’m just saying it to parody the caddish, ill-bred comments that many of you (but not all, there’s been exceptions) have made here. Condemning someone of poking fun at him because you didn’t like his conference talk is pretty un-Christlike behavior. And I find it positively insufferable to hear someone claiming to be a feminist poke fun at another woman’s hairdo. It’s neither clever nor evil.

  27. Arturo, I guess our talent for making caddish, ill-bred comments is rubbing off. But I don’t think you picked up that pretentious tone from us. One of those other group blogs, maybe.

  28. I think it’s great that you’re being honest about your thoughts and feelings, Hubert. I suppose you could lie about them so it won’t hurt everyone elses nice squishy feelings. Sometimes you’ve just got to let it out and I’m glad you did. It reminded me or alot of the things I think and feel. Thank you!

  29. Dave: Arturo, I guess our talent for making caddish, ill-bred comments is rubbing off.

    ROTFLMAO. That’s very funny, Dave. Even so, is it a case of you all rubbing off on me, or vice versa?

    Dave: But I don’t think you picked up that pretentious tone from us.

    On the contrary…

  30. Kristine says:

    Arturo, I guess to me that perfect hair and perfectly sweet voice represent what I think is, for many people, the ideal of LDS womanhood. To me, it seems like a false front, and I long to know what is really there. I’m sure that Sister Menlove is extremely bright and competent and talented and probably even has opinions–the other General Primary Presidents I’ve been acquainted with or studied are forces of nature, not to be trifled with. But many of them have that supersweet, übercoiffed, perfect look, which I think is a requirement for fitting into the sometimes anti-feminist, anti-woman culture of the church, especially in SLC. *That’s* why I’m poking fun at it, not because I think it’s unfashionable or unattractive. It’s a perfectly nice hairdo.

  31. I was just thinking what a nice story it was, Elder Monson, praying with his son about Elder Evans, how much better a story than the son who didn’t want a blessing, but the following year, after being in a car accident he did (although that wasn’t Monson), and then he had to go and bring up the paperboy.

  32. Talks I liked: President Monson, Elder Wirthlin, Elder Uchtdorf

    Low point — Elder Scott welcoming new seventies and their wives(?) into the brotherhood, no welcome to new general primary presidency

    Downward spiral:

    (1) realizing no one will call me an “angel mother” after I’m dead
    (2) feeling irritated about “welcome to brotherhood” comment seconds after I just resolved to be less critical after Elder Wirthlin’s talk

  33. Ok, I must have missed the paperboy thing, but the part of Pres. Monson’s talk that I did hear I liked.

    I thought his comments on debt were great, and also right on target with good financial planning. Also what he said about two incomes was timely and the stuff about marriage. His remarks reminded me of the Spencer W. Kimbal talk, Oneness in Marriage. I am surprised that more people aren’t mad about that part of the talk.

    Oh, I also didn’t like the primary woman’s opening statement. How can all those natural disasters touch your heart? How about break your heart instead? And did you noticed she was smiling the whole time while she talked about that and about children who lost their families? She may be a great lady, but she is not a great speaker.

  34. gnosticbabe says:

    Is anybody going to address the substance of Hubert’s remarks?

    His comments are indicative of a deep questioning that is underway that needs to be brought to the surface.

    Who is serving whom? The organization is to serve the soul, not the other way around.

  35. Kristine: But many of them have that supersweet, übercoiffed, perfect look, which I think is a requirement for fitting into the sometimes anti-feminist, anti-woman culture of the church, especially in SLC.

    Anti-woman culture? If you think that you’ve suffered discrimination, then you need to watch the film at this website. It will break your heart. No Mormon women I know had to go the moon in a Cadillac.

  36. Is anybody going to address the substance of Hubert’s remarks?

    OK.

    I enjoyed hubert’s comments. They are worthy of The Onion or the Sugar Beet. I think the parody of a common reaction by way over a humorously over inflated statement is very well done.

    I think he’s mocking the (somewhat) common reaction because it’s one that’s non sequitur. We often feel overwhelmed by our responsibilities, but it does not follow that simple harmless comments from a Primary leader should cause us further emotional distress. I think he is parodying the way we sometimes tend to take ourselves too seriously and feel overwhelming guilt when leaders give us instruction. Again, very well done.

    Seriously though, there are many answers to the problem, but blaming the system is certainly not one. In fact, I would guess that blaming the system solves our problems about 0% of the time, give or take.

    I am sick of being told that the purpose of life is to be happy, constantly being unhappy because I never sleep due to all the things that are expected of me, then told that if I’m not happy then I must be doing something wrong and it’s all my fault.

    Can we look at this statement for a second? Let me paraphrase it.

    You tell me to be happy.
    I cannot be happy because of the things you tell me to do. Therefore, my unhappiness is your fault.
    You then tell me my unhappiness is my own fault.
    Therefore…various implicit claims that our hurt is justified and that the church is wrong for imposing them.

    This little statement deserves an award for most massive fallacies in a single claim. Such that I can’t even attempt the mountain of explanation required to undo it. Whole books have been written on this single belief, i.e. Ferrell’s The Peacegiver. I’m not going to address this statement here because any attempt would be both preachy and inadequate in such a forum.

    But let me just say that absolutely everything about the statement is wrong because, believe it or not, our feelings can be wrong – and often are. Righting our feelings is a very difficult process, but one that is possible.

    It is indeed possible to change – and that is the hope of the gospel.

  37. Michael R. says:

    I wonder if any others here are like me. I frankly find it easier to be Mormon if I avoid conference. General conference, stake conference, and even ward conference usually irk me (or worse) more than they uplift me. In terms of how it is said, I dislike the format (2 hrs is too long for young kids), and the style of speech (conference speeches have a certain ‘sincerity voice’ that just doesn’t agree with me). And sometimes even what is said fails to uplift me — though I don’t usually have a reaction like Hubert did above, talks like last year’s paperboy simply rub me the wrong way. In stake and ward conference the effect is the same, even though the delivery is less polished.

    So what do you think? Do you prefer reading the talks in the Ensign, listening to them on the radio / watching them on TV or live, or do you actually prefer no conference at all?

  38. Well, at least in the Priesthood session, President Hinckley substituted a talk about the evils of gambling for the usual talk about the evils of internet porn.

  39. I have a theory that all priesthood talks take their inspiration from scandals/”concerns” raised by relatives of the General Authorities. So, someone’s grandson (or gg-son) has been sneaking off to Wendover lately, or having Hold-em games in the basement.

    I defy you to disprove my crackpot theory!!

  40. Michael R., I find General Conference to be very uplifting, and I come away feeling like I’m genuinely edified. I find the GA speech cadence to be saccharin and all too stereotypical, but I learned to look past that by the time I passed through my teenage years.

    My family listens to it on the internet because my chapel is about 20 minutes away. If it were only 10 minutes, we’d take our family to the chapel to see it. I also read most of it in the Ensign in order to put together a home teaching message for the month.

  41. When my least favorite aunt got a general church calling several years ago, I learned that callings are sometimes given not because the person has a lot to teach but because they have a lot to learn. She grew a lot in her calling. Maybe Sister Menlove has too (or will?).

  42. Daniel the Burnt Sienna says:

    It looks like Hubert’s comments startled quite a few of us, so I’d like to volunteer my services; I’d like to translate his comments into a more accurate, understandable statement:

    Hi everybody, my name is Hubert.
    I had a very hard time watching conference today because I’m a miserable person and the things that were said by several of the conference speakers didn’t seem to reflect the reality I live with.
    See, I married way too young; I had boiling hormones and I met a girl and we didn’t do a good job of communicating our world-views and expectations and creating a realistic picture of what our married life would be like, how we would respond to disappointments and failures, what effect different career decisions would have on our free time, whether we were emotionally ready to have kids that may or may not be well-behaved, and on and on…
    So what I’ve ended up with is a wife I can’t stand and kids I can’t stand, and rather than accepting responsibility for my own bad or ill-timed choices, I choose to direct rage at the Church for not being the panacaea for my personal miseries. In fact, my lack of maturity causes me to feel deeply offended, even mocked, when someone gets up and presents an uncomplicated picture of their own personal happiness, and suggests that somehow this happiness is accessible to people like me.
    I mean, what have I not done to be happy? I do everything I’m told and I work my butt off; according to the Gospel, these things should result automatically in my happiness, right? So why are people like sister Monlove happy, and I’m not? Tell me!!! Shut up, woman! My head is exploding! Argghhhh!!!

  43. Seth Rogers says:

    No gnosticbabe.

    Apparently, nobody is going to address the substance of Sister Menlove’s remarks.

    I found Melissa’s comment that she knows what goes on behind the hairdo singularly unconvicing. This kind of judgmentalism is absolutely uncalled for.

    Toscanini’s rebuke was completely deserved.

    In Priesthood session, I especially liked Pres. Monson’s talk. The “deer-hunting” story was a real gem. There was also a lot of substantive commentary on the nature of the Priesthood.

    Pres. Hinckley’s talk was hard hitting and needed in my opinion. I’ve always held that state-sponsored gambling is essentially a tax for being stupid. Any way you look at it, the whole system is exploitive.

    Personally, I don’t see what the problem would have been if he had focused on internet pornography again. Pornography is currently the number one problem in the church. The industry is probably one of the most exploitive of women in existence and encourages similarly exploitive thought patterns in men’s personal relationships. Can’t say enough bad things about it in my opinion.

    I also found it interesting that Pres. Hinckley’s attack on gambling also seems to include playing poker without any money involved. He emphasized the unhealthy intensity that accompanies these games and then noted the addictive nature of gambling. Although he didn’t say it explicitly, the spirit of his remarks seemed disapproving of poker in general, regardless of whether there’s money in the pot.

  44. Seth,

    I agree about the value to Hinckley’s much needed comments.
    However, I didn’t understand him to say that poker without money was wrong.

    I made a similar comment at T&S that I believe got moderated because of the G-word, but I think you’re reaction is one that will be common among the saints. And pretty soon, people are going to start rebuking no-money poker games because “the prophet said so.”

    The thing is, he didn’t. He did say there were better things to do with your time, which is true. But there’s a lot better things to do with your time than playing Uno too.

    I think the situation is similar to when the prophet “told the church not to see Chicago” two years ago.

  45. just Johnna says:

    Hubert, and all of us who’ve been there,

    “I crave nothing more than to be left in peace and REST for a while.”

    And rest is what you should have. I don’t think we always do a good job of talking about this. Didn’t Christ say “Come unto me, all ye that blabour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is aeasy•, and my burden is light.”

    Sometimes I’ve been very frustrated, when someone came off at church very glib to me, when I am working so hard and running on empty. Then the promise of rest seems a mockery.

    “It’s like they don’t understand how hard we are already trying.”

    I think different people need different counsel. For some women, making it all pretty is a form of bravery. I’ve had to accept this is true of some of my friends. But it doesn’t resonate with me. There are so many exhortations for so many kinds of people at conference. I get one or two or three from a session or two. It’s not an all-fronts project.

    “because I never sleep due to all the things that are expected of me, ”

    The Lord directed the children of Israel not to muzzle the ox as it tread the gran for threshing. The ox was to be able to feed of the work being done. Paul reiterated this. I believe it is intended that we have joy along the way. The Lord wants his sons taken care of too. That’s you.

    Get more sleep. Running short on sleep over a period of time really wreaks havoc with most people’s moods.

    The Lord said he would not let the children of Israel in the wilderness enter the promised land because they had hardened their hearts. It’s reiterated in Hebrews 3. Hardness of heart and unbelief. But don’t make that another burden–instead stop and receive the care the Lord wants you to have. We love him because he first loved us. So stop trying to prime the pump on the well and let him do it. Ask. Sleep. Unmuzzle. Take it at the pace of where you are now. It is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. It is expedient to be diligent, and and a plan to win the prize, but that never meant 30 hours in a day.

    Our Father wants to show you the riches of his kindness (Eph 2:7) and strengthen you with might by his Spirit that you be rooted and grounded in love (Eph 3:16-17) You will do every good work he has ordained that you walk in. (Eph 2:10) Why don’t you slow down and ask him how Lord, and which now, and what now in what order?

    You sound to me like the only lesson you need right now is to receive his care.

    LET us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his arest, any of you should seem to come short of it….and find grace to help in time of need.

  46. Michael R. says:

    Thanks for the comment, Arturo. It is interesting that our experiences are as different as they are. I mean, you experienced the feelings I described while you were a teen.

    And I didn’t experience them until after my teens.

    I suppose that different people will reach different conclusions about that fact. Some will say that one of us is becoming more ‘something’ while the other is becoming less of that thing. I’ll just say that it points out that we all experience things differently.

    I am glad for anyone who feels uplifted at conference, even when I do not. I can relate to the feeling and have experienced it in my past. Just not now.

  47. “why does she think that we don’t know that we are supposed to teach our children about Jesus?”

    Because many Primary children know very little about Jesus.

  48. Bryce I says:

    Steve Evans said:

    I have a theory that all priesthood talks take their inspiration from scandals/”concerns” raised by relatives of the General Authorities. So, someone’s grandson (or gg-son) has been sneaking off to Wendover lately, or having Hold-em games in the basement.

    I defy you to disprove my crackpot theory!!

    Actually, they’ve been reading
    Kulturblog.

    Dallin is so busted.

  49. The real question is whether or not face cards are of the devil again or not…

  50. Kristine says:

    Eric, if your comment at T&S contained the word “poker,” it would have been automatically blocked because we get hit with online gaming spam so often.

  51. Daniel is, unfortunately, spot on correct. I don’t appreciate being condemned as “immature” but he is probably right about that too.

    But what’s done is done. I have married. I have children. I may have been immature then, but I don’t think I am now. I don’t think my problems are the church’s fault, and am sorry to have given that impression. Yet it is still inherently irritating for me to hear talks from people who have apparently “done everything right” and have these same people so glibly tell us that if we do X or Y then happiness will be ours. It’s not that simple, and it seems deceitful to somehow imply that it is.

    Eric Russell’s post was typical of church members’ complete lack of empathy towards people who, like me, have not found happiness for whatever reason. Our emotional statements may well be riddled with logical fallacies, but having that pointed out to us does not help us feel any better. Thanks for your empathy, Eric.

    Hearing talks on (seemingly) unobtainable happiness at conference has just been more than I can bear this time around. Sorry for spewing that here, and sorry for explicitly calling out Sister Menlove. I promise there were no more sinister and anti-feminist motives at play, though I do think it is amazing what people are willing to read into things.

  52. Last night, President Monson told the following crack:

    he likes to read obituaries, which often say “Gone Fishing” or “Gone Hunting.” He saw one the other day that said “Gone Home Teaching.” (Thanks, Bryce, for summing that up at M*.)

    The words rang true. I didn’t laugh. I grimaced. I pondered an eternity with no opportunity to rest. Even on the other side of the veil, we will still be expected to perform. “Gone Home-teaching” indeed. Isaiah says that there is “no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked.” Well it appears there is no peace unto the righteous either.

    Headstones on graves often say RIP = “rest in peace.” Indeed. If only that were possible. One of the messages I perceive from the gospel is that we will have to work FOREVER and never get an opportunity to rest.

  53. Hubert,

    You are right. I apologize. I ought to have been more empathetic. I also agree that we need more of that in the church; we need more of people loving one another unconditionally.

    And in the light of the principle which you have just illuminated for me, I come to another conclusion. The Celestial Kingdom is a community where everyone loves each other wholly, fully and absolutely. It is a community where people love each other so much, they want to home teach each other. Indeed, for them, it is a joy.

  54. masked avenger says:

    In defense of Hubert, the April Ensign has an article titled “The Balanced Life,” which basically tells people like Hubert to take a break. At the threat of making this comment too long, an excerpt or two:

    “When I served as a bishop, I discovered that my wife’s experience was not unique. Likewise, Elder Dean L. Larsen, an emeritus member of the Seventy, observed, “I seem to be encountering more and more frequently in my circulation among the membership of the Church, people who are honestly trying to avoid sin, who are really doing their best, as they understand, to live in accordance with the principles of the gospel but who are unhappy, frustrated, and disillusioned to a considerable degree.””

    and

    “Just as temporal imbalance can affect our emotional and spiritual peace, so can spiritual imbalance have a detrimental effect on every aspect of our lives. To maintain a proper spiritual balance, we must remember that the Lord does not expect us to achieve perfection while in mortality. The unrealistic expectation that we must be perfect in all we do right now actually retards true gospel living and stifles spirituality. When we fall short of our preconceived notions of perfection, we tend to browbeat ourselves with undeserved self-criticism and guilt or to exhaust ourselves with unrealistic efforts to work our way to perfection.”

    So the Lord doesn’t expect perfection, but I wonder, from where do the preconceived notions come? Ourselves, our fellow members?

    The full text of the talk is here

    http://library.lds.org/nxt/gateway.dll?f=templates$fn=default.htm

  55. “The Celestial Kingdom is a community where everyone loves each other wholly, fully and absolutely”

    Of course the telestial and terrestrial spheres are for the poor sods who couldn’t hack it. Or more accurately didn’t pay their 10%. Thank God we get the tickets to the big show as Church members.

  56. Seth Rogers says:

    OK, I think the Hubert thing has been thouroughly beaten to death. The original post bordered on threadjacking and surely there are other things going on this conference worth discussing.

  57. This morning, I watched the video version of yesterday’s morning session on the internet. I now have the following to say in defense of Sister Menlove:

    Kristine, in her grooming standards, Sister Menlove is indistinguishable from Hillary Clinton. Moreover, your critique of her “overly-sweet” method of delivery is the type of critique that is usually offered by someone who isn’t entirely comfortable with his own manner of presentation.

    To all the other criticizers: I thought her talk was very nice, and her words powerfully conveyed her love for children and her anxiousness that they be taught with love and by example.

    I did not find it to be overly simplistic. In fact, the talks that have had the greatest impact on me have always been the simplest ones. I find that I’m often busy with my head in the clouds, and these simple messages give me grounding and remind me of the wonderful clarity of many aspects of the gospel.

    But if you’re looking for anyone to tell you, “Don’t worry about magnifying your calling. The blood of those under your stewardship will not cry against you in the last day,” then you’re looking for priestcraft and not the restored gospel.

    So you struggle to magnify your various callings? So do I. In all probability, so does Sister Menlove. Einstein once said something to the effect that, “People often complain to me about the difficulties they have with math. I assure them that my difficulties are much harder.” So it almost certainly goes with GA’s and their callings.

    Honestly, all the complaints that I’ve heard so far (from the use of the term brotherhood to the paperboy story to Sister Menlove) sound like those of determined malcontents who have long since run out legitimate grievances.

  58. I like it when Pres. Monson conducts. He’s like a jovial MC. I’d like him to conduct my funeral (although that seems unlikely). In fact, I like him best when he’s conducting, more than when he speaks. He just seems like a nice guy.

    AT: maybe Sister Menlove IS Hilary Clinton! Can you imagine a better undercover persona??

  59. Steve Evans: AT: maybe Sister Menlove IS Hilary Clinton! Can you imagine a better undercover persona??

    Now that you mention it, perhaps Elder Neil Andersen is in on the secret, and this was his motivation evil behind his address last night in priesthood session on the evil behind the smiling eyes. (Which, I thought, was an outstanding talk. But it takes on new meaning when I think of it as “the evil behind [Sister Menlove’s] smiling eyes.”)

  60. 3:30 pm: pr0n makes its appearance. I was beginning to get worried…

  61. …and apparently, girls dressing immodestly = pr0n.

  62. Kristine says:

    “Moreover, your critique of her “overly-sweet” method of delivery is the type of critique that is usually offered by someone who isn’t entirely comfortable with his own manner of presentation.”

    Arturo, I’m not quite sure what you’re wanting to insinuate with this. If you want me to respond, please spell it out for me.

  63. Arturo — I can’t believe that I’m a “determined malcontent”. Maybe if I had said “seventies and their chicks” or “those chicks with new primary callings”, my comments would have been more palatable to you.

  64. Steve,

    The comment was worse than your summary indicates.

    I think what was said was,

    “Young women, by dressing immodestly you are magnifying the problem by becoming pornography.”

    Blaming young LDS women for this problem by characterizing them as living pornography was the low point of conference weekend for me.

  65. The rest of the talk was right on target, I thought.

    The counsel to the men to “Plead with the Lord from the depths of your soul that He will remove your addiction . . .” was particularly moving.

  66. I don’t think Elder Oaks was blaming LDS women for pornography.

    Rather, I tend to think he was acusing those who dress immodestly of magnifying the problem. But then maybe that’s just my crazy interpretation.

  67. I am officially going to hell. The foreign-speaking G.A. just sounds like Mario to me (of Nintendo fame). “Its-a-me, Elder a-so-and-a-so.”

    Like I said, hell-bound.

  68. I’d really like to here some of these foreign language general authorities speak in their original language. It can’t be any harder technologically than the heroic efforts that are already going on. It might seem like a token effort at first, but token efforts are helpful in making the rhetoric about a worldwide church ring a little more true.

  69. Rosalynde says:

    Okay, somebody help me work through this. I admire and sustain Elder Oaks. I accept his apostolic authority. But I find his objectification of women who dress immodestly as “pornography” to be deeply troubling. While I will teach me daughters to dress modestly, I will do so because of what it teaches them about their own worth and divine nature. I can’t think of a more negative, villifying, objectifying way to teach modesty than to label immodest dressers “pornography.”

    And yet I want to respond with meekness. What should I do?

  70. Not sure why Seth thought that my comments about Sister Menlove were “judgmental” since I was actually trying to defend her, but I would make the same comment about Elder so and so speaking now. Sometimes (often? always?)the callings we receive are for our benefit—so that we can grow instead for us to beneift everyone else.

  71. Rosalynde, I don’t have any answers, but I’d like to respond with meekness at well. I’ll post on this at FMH soon.

  72. Rosalynde,

    Mmmmm. I guess the thing NOT to do is what I did (immediately post about how upset it made me.)

  73. Nothing to add yet Rosalynde, except that you are not alone in your question.

  74. Rosalynde says:

    Melissa and Sumer–

    The thing that troubles me most is that, in all honesty, I think many young women and young women leaders will find this a powerfully motivating statement. It has the memorable shock of the unexpected, and plays into ways that women already see themselves as objects for men’s consumption. So, in the end, Elder Oaks’ statement may have the net effect of influencing women to dress more modestly–a positive effect that I’ll be happy to see. But at what cost to our culture of gender

  75. Anyone else notice lots of references to dreams as a vehicle for revelation? Both Bednar and Eyring made reference to dreams.

  76. Shhhhhhhhhhhh,
    I’m trying to pay attention to Elder Bednar!

  77. Rosalynde,

    I couldn’t agree more.

    My problems with the comment are two-fold.

    First, is a sort of petty little quibble about the imprecision of language, but one which does have implications. What is “modesty”? Standards of modesty have changed dramatically since the first modesty talk was given by President Kimball in 1951 when, for example, all shorts were considered more or less “immodest.”

    Second, and more significantly, in his talk Elder Oaks admirably goes beyond condemnation of viewing certain images. He counsels the careful guarding of one’s thoughts. However, this counsel to guard one’s thoughts doesn’t go quite far enough.

    Is the pornography problem just about a preoccupation with sex or is it about the more fundamental problem of how our culture conceives of women? Its portrayal of women begins with its conception of women. Instead of criticizing the more systemic problem, Elder Oaks’ comment seems to acquiesce to it. It seems to me that among those who struggle with pornography something much deeper has to change than just surface behavior. While outward stimuli certainly play a role our responses to things have a lot to do with our conception of what they are. To counsel the women to dress modestly is, therefore, not only to imply that pornography is at least partly their fault, it is also to misunderstand what the issue is about and even to encourage that misunderstanding.

  78. Tom Manney says:

    I thought Elder Oaks’ comment was extreme, but I think it needed to be. He wasn’t blaming young women for pornography, but he was suggesting that they can be part of the solution to a problem that is so profound that it pretty much demands extremist language to wake us up to its seriousness.

    Just yesterday I was telling my wife that I don’t look forward to the priesthood session anymore. It consists of really only two kinds of talks: the “my comments are addressed primarily to the Aaronic priesthood” variety and the evils of pornography variety. But obviously, no matter how often they repeat the pornography talks, the problem in the church is not going away and it sounds like it’s getting worse (which makes you wonder how effective conference talks are at all, but I digress).

    In all the history of the church, I can’t think of another single sin/temptation that has been so repeatedly preached against as has pornography. So maybe instead of zeroing in on the one sentence that make women feel a little defensive, maybe we should be supportive of the intent of the statement, which is that the church is in crisis and everyone can do their part to help us through it.

  79. Rosalynde says:

    Tom, I think it’s clear that we support Elder Oaks, and that we accept his counsel against pornography. And just imagine for a minute: if you’re tired of hearing that you shouldn’t *use* something evil like pornography, just imagine how tired we are of hearing that we’re *akin* to something evil like pornography.

  80. During Elder Oaks talk, I was struck by how it seemed to be solely addressed to the men and boys of the church. Could this have been an attempt to make this address an equal opportunity challenge to be chaste in every way.

    BTW, excellent analysis of the greater problem at the roots of pornography Melissa and Rosalynde.

  81. Rosalynde says:

    You make a good point, though, Tom: it was just a single sentence out of an entire discourse. I’m grateful that that single sentence didn’t structure the entire talk, and, compared to other treatments of pornography, Elder Oaks’ might be seen to retreat somewhat from the women-are-responsible-for-men’s-consumption-of-them idea. But because he phrased it so starkly and memorably–”You are pornography”–I think it will have a big impact.

  82. I enjoyed Elder Oaks talk but was also kind of dumb struck by his comment to the young women at the end. In a way, it seems like the “excuses” he talked about earlier in his talk. He counseled men not to make excuses for this behavior. The “if she didn’t dress the way she does, I wouldn’t have bad thoughts” excuse is a classic one. A few people that I’ve talked to that are addicted to pornography feel that the women are choosing to pose for the pictures and that they “like” being looked at. It’s an excuse that Elder Oaks was talking about. Yes, women may choose to be in pornography, some girls may dress less modestly than others, but it doesn’t excuse viewing and consuming pornography.

  83. Does it seem a little weird for them to be saying that going to the temple will help eliminate the desire for p0rnography? If I’ve got a problem with it, I’m likely not going to be worthy to go to the temple. Am I missing something here?

  84. Best conference moment:

    Something like, “our children can play with children of other faiths.” President Hinckley

    I cheered at this for a number of reasons. Not only because it was a sweet example of what he meant by there being no room in the Church for “self-righteousness, arrogance or denigration of others,” but also because it shows that President Hinckley doesn’t buy what many sociologists of religion used to posit as sociological fact, namely, that religious pluralism necessarily leads to secularization.

  85. Rosylande, Melissa, Sumer, and Kris: Keep your pants on. Elder Oaks was not blaming the women for the fact that men will objectify them. Elder Oaks was saying two things:

    First, he was saying that if you dress immodestly, many men will not treat you with deference and respect because they will objectify you.

    Second, he was saying that dressing modestly lends a helping hand to those who are struggling with the objectification of women.

    As soon as I heard Elder Oaks speak on the topic, I knew exactly who was going to be in a tissy about it and pretty much what they’d post—basically the “how-dare-you-call-me-a-chick” crowd. And the reason is because—for all your intellect—you’re hell bent of finding insults in anything said about women that isn’t so carefully parsed that its meaningless. Get off of your high horses and grow up.

  86. Tom Manney says:

    Rosalynde, good point about feeling akin to pronography. I don’t think the point is that woman are pornographic or even that immodestly dressed women are pornographic. Rather, the point is that immodest dress itself is pornographic. Maybe that sounds like hair-splitting, I don’t know, but I think the difference is crucial. Immodestly dressed men are just as pornographic, but I presume Elder Oaks didn’t mention them because the pronography problem is apparently much more of a temptation to the men in the church (and, presumably, in general) than it is to women.

  87. kris: Maybe if I had said “seventies and their chicks” or “those chicks with new primary callings”, my comments would have been more palatable to you

    If you’d have chosen such words, you would’ve at least convinced me that you’re sassy and have a good sense of humor. As it is, your comments were both boring and given to nit-picking and fault-finding. If I say that the sun rises and sets, does that mean that I’m trying to advance an agenda of Ptolemaic astronomy? Is it a slap in the face of all the astronomers who have worked so hard to advance the Copernican model? Of course not. Likewise, it’s asinine (not to mention tired) to complain that the use of the term brotherhood is insulting.

    Kristine: Arturo, I’m not quite sure what you’re wanting to insinuate [by your characterization of my critique]. If you want me to respond, please spell it out for me.

    I’m quite happy to clarify. Specifically, I’ve typically found that those who are really comfortable and talented presenting things and speaking in public are generally not reflexively derogatory about other people’s presentations. Conversely, I’ve also found that those who are reflexively derogatory about certain modes of presentation are usually not comfortable presenting things and speaking in public. In accordance with these generalizations, and in accordance with the notion that criticism often says more about the criticizer than the criticized, I intended to mean (and to mean very clearly, as opposed to insinuating) that your critique of Sister Menlove was born more of your own insecurity than of Sister Menlove’s weaknesses.

  88. Seth Rogers says:

    Sorry Melissa,

    I meant Kristine’s post. I don’t know why I thought it was your post.

    As far as Elder Oaks’ women-becoming-pornography statement:

    I didn’t see his statement as objectifying women. His statement was calling upon women to refrain from objectifying themselves.

    Women’s role in the pornography problem is not passive. They can take an active role in shaping society.

    Perhaps some might have been happier if Elder Oaks had said:

    “Young women, I’m sorry our young men are like this, but it isn’t your fault. Be patient, and hopefully we men will get our acts together eventually.”

    The problem is that this statement relegates the role of the woman to that of helpless victimhood. She must wait for the men to improve her situation. This attitude might coddle our young women, but it certainly does not accord them enough credit as free-agents.

    Elder Oaks was not objectifying women, he was empowering them to slap men upside the head and let them know that women are not erotic toys.

  89. Aaron Brown says:

    Rosalynde, Kris, et al.,

    I like to think of myself of having fairly feminist sensibilities for the average LDS male (though perhaps I’m fooling myself), and I’m not accustomed to playing the reactionary role in the Bloggernacle, but I quite frankly don’t get your beef with Elder Oaks. I’ve heard this complaint many, many times before, and I can’t quite get my mind around it.

    Pornography is apparently a much bigger problem for men than women. And most men are heterosexual. Thus, I read Oaks’ comments as just a request of LDS women that they recognize this serious problem (for men) and that they kindly play a small part in not exacerbating it. This is not to say that there aren’t plenty of other good reasons for women (and men ) to be modest. This is not to say that the responsibility of men to control their acts and thoughts are necessarily mitigated by female immodesty. I just don’t see the big deal here.

    Perhaps to make matters worse(??), I’m not clear what role discussions of pornography as “objectification” are supposed to play here. When Melissa says that Oaks’ counsel shows a “misunderstanding as to what this issue is about,” I am both anxious to hear more about what it is “really about,” and skeptical as to how reconceptualizing the pornography problem as about something other than base sexual gratification (if that’s indeed what you’re doing) is likely to impact the appropriateness of Oaks’ comments.

    Aaron B

  90. It might also be noted that Elder Oaks anthropomorphized Temptation as a She. I’m surprised that wasn’t seized upon even more than the statement about immodest women becoming pornography.

    Maybe it’s because the discussion started so immediately after the first objectification (the immodesty one) that nobody heard the second objectification (Temptation). Or is it that the latter is so familiar, while the first was novel?

  91. Kristine says:

    Arturo, that’s a pretty startling level of insight into the psyche of someone you’ve never met. I don’t suppose you’d believe me if I tell you you’re wrong, and that I’m not insecure about my abilities as a public speaker–clearly, you know more about me than I know about myself!

    For the record, I wasn’t “reflexively derogatory”–I made a specific and limited criticism of the way that I thought Sister Menlove’s style and presentation fit into the tortured way that Mormons deal with women in leadership positions. What I really don’t like is that our culture requires that women present themselves this way in order to have influence–they can wield institutional power only to the extent that they present themselves as personally powerless.

    (And please spare me the lecture on the nature of true power…)

  92. Kristine, I was very specific about what led me to make my statement, and I think that you’ll find that it’s (1) based on notions that are generally true, and (2) related to no particular “insight” about you personally. But it will take more than a self-serving profession of talent to convince me that I’m wrong.

    I do not have any lecture on power, since I really know next to nothing about it (I’ll leave that to the feminists and the Marxists). Nevertheless, your characterization of the Mormon cultural attitude about women is asinine. Moreover, I’m surprised that you impute to Sister Menlove a portrayal of personal powerlessness. It’s quite an insult, and she strikes me as no more powerless than any female senator I’ve seen. Again, I think your comments says a lot more about you than about Mormonism.

  93. Seth Rogers says:

    Not only that, but I don’t think I correctly read Kristine’s post either.

    That’ll teach me to post past my bedtime.

  94. Kristine,
    Doesn’t anyone have to present themselves a certain way in order to wield authority within a certain group? Is the way Sister Menlove presented herself more demeaning than the way Elder Ballard presented himself?

  95. Rosalynde says:

    All (except Arturo)–if Elder Oaks had said everything you’ve attributed to him, I’d have sighed and said, “Well, more of the same.” But Elder Oaks didn’t say “immodest dress is pornographic”, he didn’t say “Girls, you are empowered agents and you can make a difference in this struggle against evil,” and he didn’t say, “Women, I kindly request your help in not exacerbating the problem.” That’t not what he said. He said, “When you dress immodestly, you are pornography.”

    Now, maybe what you’re saying in answer to my question on how I should meekly repond is that I should ignore his actual words, and instead distill his intent–which I’ve already said I support. Maybe that really is the best way to go, although then it opens up a whole new fild of questions about how to determine his intent.

    Arturo–Funny, as soon as I posted my question about how I should meekly respond, I knew exactly who was going to puff up his bullfrog throat and start croaking away on his lillypad. And the reason why is that–in spite of his facility with quotations from Bertrand Russell–he’s hell-bent on assimilating anything said by any intelligent woman to his image of a feminist she-frog created in his own image: hoarse and croaking the same notes every night. Jump off your lillypad, Arturo, and paddle away until you actually want to talk to me.

  96. Kristine says:

    Arturo, it is a stretch to characterize “I’m not insecure about my abilities as a public speaker” as a “self-serving profession of talent.” As long as you’re going to read that way, I don’t think I want to provide any more grist for your mill.

  97. Julie in Austin says:

    I should probably stay out of this (esp. since we recorded the afternoon session to listen to after the kids are in bed), but I’ll assume R. is accurate in saying that Elder Oaks said, “When you dress immodestly, you are pornography.”

    I want to suggest a charitable reading of his words: “You, who are and should be temples of God, agents unto yourselves, actors in your own drama, worth far more than the visual appeal of your flesh, choose to degrade yourselves to the extent that you become no better than visual images designed to please men (i.e., pornography) when you dress immodestly.”

    As a feminist, I am horrified by immodesty, because it suggests that the girl or woman thinks that displaying her body for the (visual) gratification of men is a good thing. I think the we should be far, far less tolerate of immodesty than we are. Hopefully, Elder Oaks’ words will help us realize this.

  98. Actually, Rosalynde, I debated whether to include your name in my salutation. Your question was rather mild, and (after all) a question rather than an accusation.

    That said, your most recent comment has redressed any misgivings I may have felt about including you in my rebuke. I do not think that Elder Oaks said “When you dress immodestly, you are pornography” as an unqualified statement. We can resolve this when the audio archive becomes available, but if I remember correctly, he said something to the effect that (and I paraphrase), “When you dress immodestly, you become pornography to leering pornophiles.” This is consistent with the reading that I offered which was not a mere invitation to ignore his words.

    As far as who between us is more predictable, we’ll have to leave that one to more impartial judges.

    And Kristine, whether it’s a profession of talent or freedom from insecurity, it’s self-serving just the same. Even so, I’m surprised that you’d characterize yourself as grist for my mill.

  99. Shannon K says:

    Rosalynde, et. al.,

    Why don’t you just pray about it. Pray to discover the true meaning of Elder Oaks words and pray that you might find it in your hearts to forgive him. After all he is only a man.

    Shannon K

  100. Julie in Austin says:

    Shannon K

    I suppose I shouldn’t speak for anyone else, but I assume that Ros, et al are in the ‘study it out in your own mind’ phase of trying to understand. I think the Lord is pleased when we do a little legwork ourselves before seeking confirmation in prayer. I think R. made it very clear in her first post that she was interested in understanding his words, not dismissing them.

  101. Shannon, I don’t think anyone here is talking about “forgiving” Elder Oaks. I’m fairly certain that no one here thinks that he has sinned. We’re all aware, I think, that he is a man of the best intentions. But like Julie mentioned, his comments were worth thinking about and trying to figure out. I would hope that’s what this thread is for.

    As for what this thread isn’t for: calling people’s comments “boring” or “asinine,” AT. We don’t have to police your remarks here too, do we? You’re smart, but it would be nice if you were a little more kind. Same goes for your critics. Sure, I’m a hypocrite in saying this, but I’m a hypocrite with admin, and that’s what really matters.

  102. Shannon K says:

    Julie in Austin,

    I appreciate your words on the charitable reading of Oaks’ comments. I was eagerly awaiting an opinion that was consistent with feminist thought about the objectification of women and their bodies. And I appreciated your willingness to give the good Elder the benefit of the doubt.

    My comment was a bit tongue in cheek but I do find the discussion about Oaks just a tad bit uncharitable. I agree that the Lord is pleased when we do a little legwork ourselves. I think studying it out ‘in one’s own mind’ is always a valuable thing to do. I never interpreted that as ‘study it out (and/or criticize it) on a favorite mormon blog with a group of feminists and neanderthols alike (no offense Arturo–you know I love you).

  103. Julie in Austin says:

    No, Shannon K, I think blogging can very much be part of the studying it out process. It is a delicate art, tho, to not come across as criticizing. But I think Ros’s comment in #70 (which started this discussion) did an excellent job of NOT coming across as criticism.

  104. Carri B says:

    Maybe the Polynesian Cultural Center will be shut down soon. Or at least the nubile young dancers will finally have their shoulders covered. Maybe get them muu muus?

  105. Shut down the Polynesian Cultural Center? That’d be an even harsher measure than when the Church stopped leasing property to brothels in 1941!

  106. Mark B. says:

    Kudos to Julie for suggesting a reading of Elder Oaks’s comment in the spirit in which he gave it.

    Of course, I’m waiting for the men on the blog to start complaining that his entire talk was a long J’ accuse aimed at us, while the women got off scot-free except for the one “Dress modestly, lest you be viewed by [some] men as pornography.”

  107. “But it will take more than a self-serving profession of talent to convince me that I’m wrong.”

    Come on, Kristine. The threw down the gauntlet. Get over to Arturo’s and prove how wrong he is! He’s not going to just take your word for it!

  108. a random John says:

    It is probably unfortunate that Elder Oaks didn’t devote more words to the women of the church in his address in order to more fully explain what he meant. Everyone listening at my house had an audible reaction when he said that.

    I have to admit that my reaction was to say, “Well all of the young women in Brazil just went inactive.” This was meant in jest, and I hope none of my friends in Brazil are offended. It is just that the standards of dress are different in different cultures and climates and what is shocking at first to a member from Utah is something that you get used to over time, for better or worse.

    Back to the talk though… It seemed to me that the comment was in the context of living in a world full of morally weak men, but still, another sentence or two could have clarified many of the issues that are coming up here. I look forward to seeing the transcript. I am sure that it will be gone over in endless detail here and on other blogs.

  109. I don’t think that it would strike an appropriate chord to have an elderly Yule Brenner look-alike (think “King of Siam”) preaching to young women not masturbating.

    Nevertheless, usually the pornography issue is discussed in Priesthood session. The issue of women using pornography is a growing one, and the porn industry is increasing catering to “couples porn” and women are a large segment of the online porn audience. Look for the next women’s conference to contain an address on the issue from one of Kristine’s favorite super-sweet, übercoiffed, perfect looking church leaders to address the issue.

  110. The King of Siam teaching about pr0n? New meaning to “Getting to Know You.”

    Are we really worried about women’s pr0n in the Church? That seems unlikely to me.

  111. Minerva says:

    Women’s p0rn = fairly explicit romance novels. And probably “harder” stuff too. I think it’s a bigger problem than most people think.

  112. For those suffering angst over the “YW as pornography” quote — you are not quoting it right. He said “you become pornography” TO THE YM/MEN WITH A PROBLEM IN THAT AREA. He did not say simply “You become pornography.” There is a huge difference. Perhaps only a legal mind can justify the difference, but he is, after all, a lawyer.

  113. I think not acknowledging that women enjoy pornography is akin to the now-disputed theories that women are not biologically able to enjoy sex.

    I also think, in this context anyway, we need to stop portraying the women as the victims here. If a wife does not appreciate her husband viewing pornography, she shouldn’t fall apart and divorce him. Many people enjoy viewing sexually explicit material, and I don’t think these people should be demonized because they take a peek at Playboy once in awhile or play the sex scene in Top Gun over and over again.

    Granted, there are terrible situations out there because of addictions, but I think some of the talks have created more of a witch hunt-like atmosphere instead of addressing the issue with objectivity and general level headedness.

  114. The audio archive of the Sunday afternoon session is now available here. The relevant remarks are at 48:30-49:48. Following is my transcription of this portion:

    We must also act to protect those we love. Parents install alarms to warn if their household is threatened by smoke or carbon monoxide. We should also install protections against spiritual threats. Protections like filters on internet connections and locating access so others can see what is being viewed. And we should build the spiritual strength of our families by loving relationships family prayer, and scripture study. Finally, do not patronize pornography. Do not use your purchasing power to support moral degradation. And young woman, please understand that if you dress immodestly you are magnifying this problem by becoming pornography to some of the men who see you. Please heed these warnings. Let us all improve our personal behavior and redouble our efforts to protect our loved ones and our environment from the onslaught of pornography that threatens our spirituality, our marriages, and our children. (emphasis added)

    I believe that this resolves the dispute. Specifically, Elder Oaks did not say, “When you dress immodestly, you are pornography” as Rosalynd imputed. Nor is it easy to see how one can arrive at such a reading unless (as I indicated above) he’s “hell bent of finding insults in anything said about women that isn’t so carefully parsed that its meaningless.” I think that my reading is much closer to what is intended, and it does not require us to “ignore his actual words, and instead distill his intent.”

    What’s irksome about femenism isn’t how often its incorrect. It’s (a) that femenists are so convinced that their tired, repudiated ideas are somehow unconventional and fresh, and (b) that they have to create phantom issues because there’s so little left to argue about.

  115. AT, I agreed with you entirely until your last paragraph. Why be so abrasive? It’s hardly necessary.

  116. Steve, because it’s no fun to be right unless you can be a jerk about it.

  117. Come on, Ann. Give me a little more credit than that. I’m not just a jerk when I’m right.

  118. And for the record, I would have posted the transcript and a mea culpa had the reading been closer to that of the feminist critics.

  119. AT–how refreshing–an equal opportunity “jerk” ;-)

  120. Arturo,

    You are not right. You are wrong. Oaks is blaming women for the behavior of men.

  121. Yes, Guy, consistency is very important. And I’m an *sshole in real life, too (that’s one reason I’ll always be banned from Times & Seasons). Ask Shannon K, Matt Evans, or Jim Faulkoner; they’ve all met me.

    Even so, I’m not the one misquoting Elder Oaks in order to improperly recast his words as chauvinistic. As unsavory as you may find me to be, might I suggest that you’ve lost site of the forest for the trees?

  122. AT:

    Here is what is interesting: I remembered Elder Oaks’s comment exactly as Rosalynde, et al, remembered it. I genuinely remembered it that way; I wasn’t trying to “improperly recast his words” or anything like that. I think that is what happened: an honest mistake based on how whatever he indeed said made some of us feel. I don’t think any sinister motives were involved.

  123. AT–slow down my friend…I was only trying to inject a little levity into the exchange—you didn’t see the smiley face? I’m not taking a position or making a judgment. I’m just enjoying the repartee.

  124. Guy, see how consistently I’m a jerk? You shouldn’t have any problem believing that I’m an *sshole in real life, too. Incidentally, I enjoy the repartee as well. No offense taken.

  125. AT: BTW how does one get banned from T & S?

  126. Rosalynde says:

    Shannon K, thanks for a sincere answer to a sincere question. For what it’s worth, I wasn’t offended with Elder Oaks, so I don’t feel that I need to forgive him. But prayer will definitely be part of the way I work through this issue.

    Arturo, it was not kind of me to compare you to a bullfrog, and I apologize for doing so. I had sincerely asked for help in dealing with a difficult issue, and I didn’t appreciate your unhelpful response; nevertheless, I should hold myself to a higher standard than amphibian comparisons. Thanks for posting the precise citation. You’re right: the addition of “to some of the men who see you” softens the effect of the formulation. As I’ve indicated several times, what’s problematic to me is the phrase “becoming pornography” (which I orginally paraphrased “are pornography”), which, in fact, is the kernel of the sentence. My paraphrase was incomplete, but did not distort the substance of his remark.

    Your inability to accurately represent my position (not to mention spell my name accurately) suggests to me that we aren’t actually communicating on this issue. If you have anything remotely compassionate or helpful for me, I’ll be willing to resume the attempt; until then, I suggest we talk about different things.

  127. Basically, make posts like I do all over the bloggernacle on T&S (and as Steve has pointed out here, I do sometimes go over the top). In about 6 months you’ll find yourself in the moderation queue. In 8 months you’ll find yourself banned. I don’t know if their readers are more sensitive than elsewhere, or if T&S is just more responsive to its readers, but apparently they got a lot of negative feedback about my posts. As Steve Evens pointed out, I go over the top sometimes, I insist on using the term chick to refer to perfectly respectable women, and I’m not above making jokes that offend delicate sensibilities. Oh, and did I mention that I’m an *sshole?

  128. Rosalynde, I was not offended by being referred to as a bullfrog. I actually thought that was kind of clever. I’m happy to apologize for transposing the two middle vowels in your name, but that doesn’t seem to be the problem here.

    Rosalynde: My paraphrase was incomplete, but did not distort the substance of his remark.

    There is a world of difference between your formulation (“When you dress immodestly, you are pornography”) and what Elder Oaks said when taken in context. And there’s more in the context to qualify the statement than simply “to some of the men who see you,” though this qualification alone indicates that he’s referring to the subjective viewpoints of errant males and not some objective status. If you’re denying that dressing immodestly around pornophiles will not help them in their efforts to think clean thoughts, then we really do have nothing to discuss.

    Rosalynde: If you have anything remotely compassionate or helpful for me, I’ll be willing to resume the attempt

    My original comment on the matter did offer an answer your question.

  129. Bob Caswell says:

    I pretty much agree with everything said by Melissa and Rosalynde. The objectifying of women was the first thing that came to both my mind and my wife’s mind when we heard that comment by Elder Oaks. He may have had much better intentions, but he did a poor job of portraying them. If you take the comment at face value without benefit-of-the-doubt critique, it’s pretty bad.

    And Arturo, my friend, you are way out of your league here. These are smart women who have been fairly polite in putting up with your lack of communication.

    First you accuse pretty much everyone but yourself of misreading Elder Oaks, and then you turn around and say, “…I think that my reading is much closer…” You seem to be only concerned with self-congratulating yourself on this thread.

    And here’s a tip, if someone like Rosalynde says that you haven’t said anything remotely helpful, don’t just tell her to reread your comments, as that’s doubly not as helpful and only further promotes your self-congratulatory on-line persona, which no one enjoys here.

  130. Ted Cannon says:

    I don’t see how Elder Oaks’ statement objectifies women. He said immodestly dressed women “becom[e] pornography to some of the men who see [them].” Elder Oaks does not say the women are pornography, he says that some men view them this way. These men, not Elder Oaks, hold an erroneous view that objectifies women. I don’t think Elder Oaks condones this erroneous view; he just pointed out that women may be viewed inappropriately by some men if they dress immodestly.

    The part of the statement that I expected to draw fire is “if you dress immodestly you are magnifying this problem . . .” While immodestly dressed women may become objects of mens’ inappropriate thoughts, it seems to me that men bear the primary responsibility for their problem, and that women do not play a large role in “magnifying this problem.” In the context of the talk, however, the comment does not offend me, given that Elder Oaks devoted nearly the entire talk to condemning the inappropriate thoughts and behavior of men. I think Elder Oaks clearly and appropriately laid the responsibility on men to become clean.

  131. “Its portrayal of women begins with its conception of women. Instead of criticizing the more systemic problem, Elder Oaks’ comment seems to acquiesce to it.”

    So beautifully said. I’ve been trying to frame my own thoughts on pornography on the bloggernacle for a while, and have never done a great job. But I think this sums it up well. We have legitimate reasons for opposing pornography in the Church, but instead we’re focusing on the wrong ones. As usual, we’re worried mostly about the men. We’re worried about them doing it and what it does to them. But then we usually stop there. We do hear about broken homes and broken lives, but I wonder if that’s because we have actual reasons for the broken homes and broken lives. We’ve demonized pornography so much in the Church that we automatically assume someone who sees it is doomed, without looking beyond that assumption. We focus on the shame and embarrassment, on getting caught (like getting fired from work for looking at it there), on the addictive nature, etc.

    As a result, the demonstrable consequences of pornography are largely missed, such as the objectification of women, the lack of understanding the reality of what women need and want from a relationship, of why women might feel betrayed beyond, “cause the prophet said you shouldn’t,” and so forth.

    Usually when I hear the anti-pornography refrain, I can’t help but feel like we’re engaged in a good cause for the wrong reasons.

  132. Elder Oaks statement, “And young woman, please understand that if you dress immodestly you are magnifying this problem by becoming pornography to some of the men who see you.” is nonsensical.

    How does a person become a sexually explicit material simply by being dressed immodestly. If a female were to stand completely naked in all of her glory, and I do mean glory, that the Lord created her in, that is in no way shape or form, sexually explicit material. Very poor choice of words.

    Just what constitutes immodest dress? Are the BYU female cheerleaders dressed immodestly? Chearleaders are often the “object” of fantasy, the BYU cheerleaders don’t dress or look differently than other cheerleaders. How about the BYU female volleyball players with those short shorts? Are they now sexually explcit material becasue some guys think its hot.

    Is there much to teach young women about respecting their beauty and their bodies? Absolutely. Telling them that THEY MAGNIFY the problem by dressing inappropriately, is a poor choice of words, in my opinion.

  133. I’m trying really hard to figure out exactly how Elder Oaks statement is objectionable.

    Elder Oaks is not giving a sermon on the worth of women and reducing womanhood to a binary construction of sexual object/non-sexual object. That’s a pretty ungenerous reading if that’s how it’s being seen. Nor is Elder Oaks giving a sermon on the value of the body and saying that the primary reason for its care is, again, merely in relation to the opposite sex.

    Elder Oaks is talking about pornography. In a single line, he points to the many young women who knowingly buy clothes that are as tight/revealing as they can in attempts to win the attention of the worst boys. Although they are not posing nude in magazines, he is accusing them of a lesser – but similar – evil, of trying to use their bodies in an intentionally sexual way. The statement “you are becoming pornography to some of the men” is entirely accurate in this context.

    It appears that Elder Oaks, instead of objectifying women, is actually reprimanding girls for objectifying themselves. That is an entirely valid, and much needed, admonishment. And one, frankly, that I think feminists would applaud.

  134. Tom Manney says:

    I’m with Ted. Yes, the responsiblity is on the agent — “some of the men who see you” are solely responsible for any objectifying going on.

    So for Elder Oaks to suggest that immodest dress is partly to blame does a disservice to gender equality by invoking the “she wanted it or she wouldn’t have dressed that way” rape defense. It is a shame he did that.

    HOWEVER — and this is a point that not enough people seem to be getting — since the other 99% of the talk was directed at the real culprits, the (im)moral agents who actually look at pornography and objectify people for sexual gratification, I think it’s unfair to crucify Elder Oaks for the mistake. Thumb screws, maybe.

    Errors were made, feelings were hurt, life goes on.

  135. A Visitor says:

    Is it any surprise that fewer and fewer of our youth marry in their early-mid twenties? Starting with the “kiss your sweetheart as you’d kiss your mother” cousel of President Kimball to the present “you (are) becom(ing) pornography” of Elder Oaks, it’s a wonder the youth grow up to be normal, sexual beings interested in marriage at all.

    Ironically, Elder Oaks’ second wife married him when she was the age of his oldest child. She’d never been married before. Perhaps the Church’s new stance is to subtly enocourage young people to wait until they’re nearly or post-menopausal and numb beyond the height of sexuality to reach the marrying point at all.

  136. This entire discussion reminds me of a joke:

    A guy goes to a psychiatrist to get a Rorschach Ink blot Test. The doctor shows card #1, and the guy says, “It’s two people having sex in a car.” The doctor shows card #2, and the guy says, “It’s two people having sex in a theatre.” The doctor shows card #3, and the guy says, “It’s two people having sex on the beach.” The doctor puts the cards down and says, “Mister, you’ve got a dirty mind.” The guy responds, “What are you talking about? You’re the one with all the dirty pictures.

    So many people here insist that they love Elder Oaks and sustain him and support him and believe that he had the best of intentions. And then they proceed to wrest some offensive meaning from his words and then say how awful it is that he might have meant that. Surely, readers can understand why I find this disingenious.

  137. John H: As a result, the demonstrable consequences of pornography are largely missed, such as the objectification of women, the lack of understanding the reality of what women need and want from a relationship, of why women might feel betrayed beyond, “cause the prophet said you shouldn’t,” and so forth.

    From your reasoning, John H, it sounds like Gay porn is OK.

  138. Hellmut says:

    Ted,

    According to your interpretation Oaks is saying that there is something wrong with men therefore women have to change. If that is Oaks’ logic then we need to notice that he is making a non sequitur statement. Women should not be blamed for male misbehavior.

    More importantly, Oaks seems to be confused about the nature of sex. Women will always attract men. We can dress them in bourkas or wooden crates and the dynamic will still be the same.

    Heaping guilt on women does real damage. There are reasons why no one pops more anti-depressants than women in Utah. There are reasons why so many Saints find it necessary to blow thousands of dollars on self-confidence seminars. Young women have enough to deal with. No need to blame them for male issues.

  139. a random John says:

    Tess,

    Anyone who watches any part of Top Gun over and over again should be demonized. Or listens to the soundtrack while driving…

    Arturo,

    You have given yourself away now. I was wondering where DKL had gone…

  140. a random John, I thought that was resolved a long time ago (before I was banned from Times and Seasons) right here.

    And Hellmut, I haven’t said so thus far, because I didn’t want to get off-message about Oak’s statement and what he was saying. But here’s the earth-shattering truth: But both men and women can be blamed for each other’s behavior. And co-workers can be blamed for each other’s behavior. And husbands and wives can be blamed for each other’s behavior. And neighbors can be blamed for each other’s behavior. And teachers and students can be blamed for each other’s behavior. To any extant that we knowingly influence anyone else to do bad, we share in part of that blame. The feminist denial of this is akin to a denial that the sun rises in the east.

  141. a random John says:

    DK^H^H AT,

    I had completely missed that thread. I was Nibleyed out at that point. Don’t blame me for being slow on the uptake. Jimmy Olsen never figured out who Clark Kent was. Or, perhaps more appropriately in this case, none of the Jedi figured out who Senator Palpatine was and they were sitting there talking to him everyday. Wow, I got my daily dose of nerding in early today.

    I think the fact that DKL didn’t complain about being banned in every other post threw me for a loop. The only other person to complain so much about banning has been… Ed.

  142. a random John says:

    While I am at it, I should mention that Arturo has never, to my knowledge, gone on and on about how hard it is to fit a large number of carseats in a car. That would have been a dead giveaway. Similar to me changing names and then complaining about nobody in the bloggernacle running Slashcode or me extolling the virutes of Passover Coke.

    BTW, I still can’t find any Passover Coke in Boston. Anybody know where I can get some? I am getting worried.

  143. Top Gun was a cheap shot, but I used it as an example because a lot of my friends have said that the movie was their introduction to erotica (such as it is). Someone else told me that they were first turned on by Olivia Newton-John at the end of the movie Grease (when she’s all dressed up in black spandex, and John Travolta is all cleaned up wearing a letterman’s jacket).

    In any event, I think we should be a bit more clear on what we mean by pornography. Maybe it’s the “I’ll know it when I see it” definition, but this standard varies widely from one person to another. I personally think that most TV shows and movies fall into this category these days, but then I feel like a big prude. Much has changed since “Three’s Company” was banned at my house.

    a random John – I think the Star Market/Shaws on Brighton Ave may have some of your Passover Coke. Have you tried there? They have quite a large selection of matzo balls and other passover delicacies (although the gefilte fish selection looks a bit thin).

  144. Arturo,
    Here’s the real earth-shattering truth: no one can be blamed for anyone else’s behavior.

    Which means Hellmut must make a choice. You can’t insist that women can’t be blamed for men’s behavior and then turn around and blame church-leaders for women’s behavior. You can take Arturo’s position or mine, but you can’t have it both ways.

  145. a random John says:

    Yes, Saturday I went to Shaw’s on Brighton Ave, where I bought so much Passover Coke last year, and the year before. No yellow caps. There wasn’t any at the Stop and Shop on Harvard Ave either. In previous years all the Coke at both of these supermarkets was the good stuff, a month before Passover. I am starting to worry that I am going to miss it somehow. Also, I need to stop this thread-jack NOW.

  146. Seth Rogers says:

    If my last Priesthood Leadership Meeting is any indication, then church leaders are indeed aware of the growing problem of women addicted to pornography.

    In general, I think the statement “women’s pornography = explicit stories” is more or less on target. Of course, MTV and others seem to be encouraging women to imitate the guys more and more.

    I’m slightly surprised that eating disorders weren’t mentioned however.

  147. Shannon K says:

    “It appears that Elder Oaks, instead of objectifying women, is actually reprimanding girls for objectifying themselves. That is an entirely valid, and much needed, admonishment. And one, frankly, that I think feminists would applaud.”

    Well said Eric Russell!!! Great post!

  148. Eric Russell: no one can be blamed for anyone else’s behavior.

    I agree with the dilemma that you pose to Hellmut. But unless you intend something completely different than I take you to mean (in which case we’re talking past each other), I think this is simply wrong. For example, an endowed member can be excommunicated for encouraging someone to commit adultery if the person he encouraged commits adultery. And just as we will get blessings for bringing people to Christ, we will also get punished for leading them away.

    a random John, between the Beck book, the re-release of his own books, and his own death, one can be excused for reaching saturation point with Nibley. I think it even happened on the very thread that I pointed you to, since in the end we mostly ended up arguing about Fawn Brodie.

    You’ve named all of the places that would have been my first choice for passover Coke. There’s also a place called The Butchery in Brookline, which is the closest thing they have there to a Kosher grocery store. My Jewish friends also tell me that there may be a kosher store in Sharon, too, though that’s a bit far out.

    And, just to clarify, I’m not complaining that I got banned from Times and Seasons. I’m bragging about it. Whether it was Navy Elementary School, Flint Hill Prep School, Sidney Lanier Junior High School, Oakton High School, the Provo MTC, BYU, or Times and Seasons, I’ve never complained about getting thrown out of anywhere (and yes, I got thrown out of all the places I listed). On the contrary, I tend to be quite self-congratulatory about my distinguished record of ejection.

  149. Seth Rogers-

    I think it’s unfortunate that eating disorders and other diseases primarily affecting girls and women weren’t mentioned (such as cutting). It would be helpful and appropriate to make the link between low self esteem, eating disorders and the objectification of women (pornographic or otherwise), in order to understand the complexity of these issues. The media and society expect all women to be thin and beautiful, and this causes untold pain and suffering.

  150. I wish someone would objectify me enough to notice. (Sob.) Way back in comment #91 I said something about Elder Oaks personifying Temptation as a woman, and nobody noticed. (Sniffle sniffle.)

    The quote was something like, ‘When Joseph found himself in the arms of Temptation, he fled her immdediately.’

  151. Temptation is a feminine noun. We don’t use those identifiers in English, but in French at least it’s feminine. I don’t think there’s anything meant by it – it’s more correct than a singular they, at least.

  152. The quote was something like, ‘When Joseph found himself in the arms of Temptation, he fled her immdediately.’

    But in that case, the Temptation was literally a woman. So the anthropomorphism is probably appropriate.

    PS. I have an ignored question too. I meant it sincerely (it got ignored in an Arturo-related brouhaha). Why is it bad to expect Sister Menlove to dress a certain way if we expect the Brethren to dress a certain way too? Obviously, we can decide the expectations are inappropriate, but if expectations hit both sexes, can we argue that it is gender related?

  153. AT: “I’ve never complained about getting thrown out of anywhere (and yes, I got thrown out of all the places I listed). On the contrary, I tend to be quite self-congratulatory about my distinguished record of ejection”

    AT, I don’t want to add to your distinguished record, but you should know that you’re on probation around here. We’re glad to have you around if your comments are civil and considerate.

  154. “Why is it bad to expect Sister Menlove to dress a certain way if we expect the Brethren to dress a certain way too? Obviously, we can decide the expectations are inappropriate, but if expectations hit both sexes, can we argue that it is gender related?”

    If you’re talking about the gender-neutral professional dress code expected of men and women in the Church, then I agree with you. However, I would argue that discussing a person’s appearance is definitely gender related. I can’t recall many statements from Church leaders encouraging men to dress modestly, whereas women are chastised and admonished about this all the time.

  155. John C., I thought that your question was a rhetorical one, and so I thought you were making the point that there are expectations all the way around when it comes to dress and presentation. I think that this was a very astute point.

    There used to be a very kind and devout man in our ward who had a long beard and a pony tail. He wore multiple large rings with dragons on them, and he often wore dress shirts with detailed embroidery on the back. He was sometimes treated as an outsider. I imagine that this exclusion was not isolated to Mormonism either. Cultures and sub-cultures have standards of presentability, and it has nothing to do with anyone’s sex.

    We seldom deride the male church officers for their mode of dress, speech, or hair style. But this thread is not the first time that I’ve heard female church officers derided as females for a standardized mode of presentation. And it’s always been the self-identified feminists that I hear going after women for the way they look (in and out of the church). What makes the women fair game? I should be ashamed of myself to talk this way (and I believe that it’s OK to refer to perfectly respectable women as chicks!). Isn’t this sexist?

  156. I wish General Conference would actually be used to address real problems, real issues in the church – issues people leave over, issues people are confused about. Instead it’s the same old thing, over and over again. Stolen from another board:

    Predictions for Prophetic Counsel in the next GC:

    1. Don’t eat paste
    2. Don’t hit
    3. Pay tithing
    4. Don’t run with scissors
    5. Be honest
    6. Go to the temple
    7. Close the door when you use the bathroom
    8. Follow the leaders
    9. Be nice
    10. Go on a mission
    11. Be good
    12. The church is true
    13. Obey traffic laws on your way home

  157. My prediction was right. I told my wife the Bloggernacle would pick up on Elder Oaks’ comment and run with it. Sure enough.

  158. I think it was Joan Rivers who, when asked why she didn’t spend more time discussing what the men were wearing at the Oscars, said something like, “The men? Oh, who cares about the men.”

    General Conference is no different than the Oscars.

  159. a random John says:

    It seems to me that the male leaders of the church dress in a way that is considered conservative business attire. It would not look out of place in a boardroom. Do the women speaking in conference look like they would belong in a boardroom? I have been internet only for conference for a few years so I have no idea how people look, but my recollection is big hair, a big scarf, and a big brooch. If I say anymore I will probably offend, and there has been enough offense here already.

    Tess,

    It seems to me that addressing body image issues should be in a talk that isn’t focused on pornography. It is certainly a subject deserving of its own talk. Also, maybe it is because I am a guy, but I know/know of several guys that have a cutting problem, but I don’t know any women. I am probably not well informed on the matter.

  160. a random John says:

    I should add that the men have it easy fashion wise. Just head to Mac for the hook-up, very few decisions to make.

  161. a random John – I think it depends which kind of boardroom you’re in (i.e., non-profit companies and start ups are generally more relaxed), and the age of the attendees, but I’d say the standard business/professional attire for women is generally reflected in the dress of the women GA’s (can women be GA’s?). That said, most women professionals I know shy away from the more brightly colored suits (but women lawyers can be a bit more conservative). The form of attire you were describing leans a bit towards the Madeline Albright/frumpy side of the spectrum, but is definitely within the bounds of appropriate professional dress (especially for older women).

    Anyway, men are given so much more leeway on their appearance than are women. Even with today’s acceptance of metrosexuality, I’ve noticed far too many men continuing to blatantly flout the no excuse for nosehair rule.

    And as for the self-image problems, I think these issues are far more important than are gambling and pornography. If people are happy and secure with themselves, they won’t succumb to these addictive behaviors in the first place.

  162. Tess, I think that porn is a potential problem for any guy with hormones, a brain, and nerve endings. Self image isn’t really part of the equation.

  163. a random John says:

    My point is that the “bounds” for appropriate women’s dress are much wider, and therefore an easier target. What can a man do to really mess up fashion wise at GC? Wear a blue shirt? A Homer Simpson tie? A bright red suit? I would think that a Donald Trump style comb-over is probably about the worst thing that we might see from a man at the pulpit during GC, and even that is unlikely. Again, I am in audio only land, so maybe that has happened and I have missed it. Women have the extra burden of having a variety of choices, most of which don’t have the same shelf life as a white shirt, dark suit, and conservative tie.

  164. a random John – agreed that men have difficulty screwing up the suit and tie uniform. Matching socks can be an issue, though.

    “Self image isn’t really part of the equation.”

    Maybe self image isn’t really part of the equation for a healthy interest in viewing porn, but I think the violent and degrading addictive behaviors stemming from porn are generally caused by people searching to fill a need in their lives that they could fill more positively if they had the strength of character and a higher self esteem (i.e., train for a marathon instead of stay up surfing porn sites).

    Maybe we can move on to another thread, since we’re not really discussing GC anymore..

  165. a random John says:

    Prior to my mission I received a bit of advice that was very helpful. Buy 15 pairs of the same socks. That way, any socks you grab will match, and if one sock goes missing it isn’t a big deal. I would hope that someone has passed this tibit on to the Brethren.

  166. rJ, that’s about the best mission advice I’ve ever heard. Seriously.

  167. Michael R. says:

    Hmm. I was hoping that BCC would give me something to think about regarding the messages delivered at conference. I’ve read BCC periodically for several months, catching maybe half of the threads and often enjoying the stimulating perspectives I’ve read. But I’ve gotta say that this is just not my cup of Postum. I’ll come back another time and see if things here have changed. Or – who knows? – maybe I’ll see that I have changed by then, and this will be the kind of discussion that will do me good. As it is, though, it isn’t what will be most beneficial.

    I must admit that I did like Peter S.’s comment. It seems to convey about as much truth as any, and more than many. I add my “Amen” to his list:

    I wish General Conference would actually be used to address real problems, real issues in the church – issues people leave over, issues people are confused about. Instead it’s the same old thing, over and over again. Stolen from another board:

    Predictions for Prophetic Counsel in the next GC:

    1. Don’t eat paste
    2. Don’t hit
    3. Pay tithing
    4. Don’t run with scissors
    5. Be honest
    6. Go to the temple
    7. Close the door when you use the bathroom
    8. Follow the leaders
    9. Be nice
    10. Go on a mission
    11. Be good
    12. The church is true
    13. Obey traffic laws on your way home

    Sometimes it seems as though the LDS version of Standing for Something focuses more on how many earrings are considered too many, rather than on real issues of the day. Maybe I’m just expecting too much from my church. I’ll let the rest of you argue over whether scantily clad women = pornography = a major social issue.

  168. A Visitor writes:

    Ironically, Elder Oaks’ second wife married him when she was the age of his oldest child. She’d never been married before.

    For the record, Elder Oaks (born in 1932) became a widower in 1998. Kristen, his second wife, was 50 or older when they married in 2000.

  169. A Visitor says:

    She was in her late 40s. So was his eldest. I know them personally.

  170. Michael H says:

    Kristen McMain, who married Dallin Oaks as his second wife, was born 15 October 1947. Oaks had married his first wife, June, on 24 June 1952.

  171. Michael R., perhaps the reason why the messages are so simple is because whenever any of them ventures to say something bold, so many people are willing to join in a veritable chorus of criticism. It’s ironic, isn’t it? The same people who bemoan the blandness of correlation are so often the first to wax critical about anything said outside the accepted parameters of blandness.

    I don’t mean to criticize you, here, Michael R, because you’ve not been overly critical about specific comments. On the contrary, I’ve appreciated your point of view. In fact, I thought of your comment about how you didn’t like the tone of General Conference yesterday. I went to church to watch the Sunday morning session, because I had been invited to help ordain a new deacon immediately following the session (I’ll pause for a moment while everyone shivers with disgust at the mental picture of my involvement in church ordinances… OK, back to the story). I saw that a non-member husband was there to watch with his wife, and I was pretty sure that this was his first exposure to General Conference. The first thing that went through my mind was concern over how he’d take to the rhythm of GA-speak and the often contrived nature of the stories. I guess no matter how edifying I find it, it’s largely because I’ve tuned out so many of the things that turn other people off. Does this make me a committed Mormon or does it make me a sellout? Either way, I suppose it’s convenient.

  172. Hubert
    Please consider counseling or medication. I have some relatives who have recently been helped immensely by couseling. All counselors might not be great, but if you found the right one for you–I believe it could help.
    Also, you might consider medication. It is not always “normal” to feel like you do. I have experience post-partum depression. There is a very real difference between how I felt inside when I was “normal” and when I was not. Talk to a doctor soon. Medication may help you.

  173. I think if we are going to tell young men over and over that they are bad for looking at women and thinking about sex and that they shouldn’t look at porn, we should also tell young women that they should put some clothes on and not be porn.
    Young women watch TV. They want to dress sexy and in style. (So do I). I must say I have a lot of difficulty trying to wear clothes. Jeans are low rise. Shirts are small. What exactly do I do to not show 6 inches of garments when I bend over.
    Girls don’t have garments. So they are showing a lot of skin. And pants can come way down when you bend over or sit.
    ANyway, I think girls should be told not to be porn. Don’t pose for playboy. Don’t wear skimpy clothes.
    I’m trying to teach my 7 year old about appropriate body exposure. With what is on TV, I’m not sure she’ll ever really understand it.

  174. Here’s what gets me: how is showing shoulders or even a belly button pornographic? I know people who won’t even let their babies wear sunsuits. Now they’ll have a veritable apostolic blessing on their misguided ideas: ambulatory porn? A two-year old?

  175. Rosalynde says:

    So, JKS, when I’m engaged in marital intimacy with my husband, do I become porn? I really want to know how someone understands sex from your perspective.

  176. Rosalynde,

    Perhaps she understands sex as something intimate and not something to be done before the whole world. Isn’t that what “intimate” means?

  177. Steve Evans: AT, I don’t want to add to your distinguished record, but you should know that you’re on probation around here. We’re glad to have you around if your comments are civil and considerate.

    Of course, I’m wrong to take this as a dare. But how can I possibly help it?

  178. a random John says:

    AT,

    I dare you to help it.

  179. LOL. Good one, rj. First, I’ll address Steve’s dare. Then yours.

  180. This thread may be getting a bit tired, and I am late to the party, but I have to get two things off my chest.

    1. I love Elder Oaks. He has always been one of my idols.

    2. Young women dressed immodestly are not pornography to anybody, even though some men might find them quite attractive and even seductive. “Debbie Does Dallas” is pornography. I will teach my daughters about the need for appropriate dress, but I recoil in horror at the thought that they would be taught by anybody that merely by dressing immodestly (which, in church parlance would include a sleeveless dress or a dress that is too short) they become a pornographic image to some men.

    There, I feel better.

  181. Rosalynde says:

    Mark, it’s my understanding that most pornography is consumed privately, as well.

  182. Seth Rogers says:

    On the other hand, I thought the music from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir was excellent this year.

    They’ve improved a great deal.

  183. But it’s rarely produced privately. I mean, there’s the cameraman, the director, a bunch of other hangers on. (Have the film guys tell you how many it is.)

    It’s only private in the sense that abortion is private. In other words, it’s not.

    I trust that you recognize the difference between the private, intimate relations of a husband and wife and the “private” consumption (gotta love that word–conjures up Wormwood’s descriptions of the Boss consuming those he “loves”) of p0rn produced publicly.

  184. Julie in Austin says:

    Edith wrote, “Here’s what gets me: how is showing shoulders or even a belly button pornographic? I know people who won’t even let their babies wear sunsuits. Now they’ll have a veritable apostolic blessing on their misguided ideas: ambulatory porn? A two-year old?”

    I am one of those misguided people. I don’t have girl children, but I don’t let my boys wear tank tops or shorts above the knee. Here’s why:

    (1) Generally, most LDS parents think that modesty rules should ‘kick in’ when their girls hit puberty or thereabouts. I think this can send a confusing message to (some) girls: all of a sudden, it isn’t OK to show your body at a time when what’s happening to your body is complicated enough. If I had a girl, she would wear garment-covering clothes from the beginning.

    (2) Modesty rules should apply equally to boys and girls. No double standard.

    Hence, my little boys, pretty much from birth on, wear clothes than would cover garments. Of course, it’s different if we are going swimming, etc.

    This, Edith, is a long-winded way of asking you to not be so judgemental about other people’s parenting choices.

  185. Mark B. But porn rarely produced privately. I mean, there’s the cameraman, the director, a bunch of other hangers on.

    Not to mention the people who are a friend of a friend of someone and just come to watch (I believe these types are called “sniffers” by the professionals).

  186. I’ve missed large chunks of the above discussion, but I’ll agree with those a bit annoyed that Elder Oaks would call our daughters “pornography” because they don’t meet the senior citizen’s dress code. That almost seems calculated to offend people.

    Members have learned to tune out the “please obey traffic laws” as just an example of Mormon moral self-congratulation (“we’re so holy, we don’t even break the speed limit”) rather than actual counsel. If leaders don’t learn to tone down their anti-sex rhetoric, people will start viewing their sex statements in the same light (“we’re so holy, we think bare midriffs are pornography”).

  187. Dave, senior citizens dress standards? Have you seen what girls wear when they appear on the cover of Maxim or FHM? Where I live, there’s no shortage of girls whose mode of dress mimics this. Elder Oaks is not making “Elvis the pelvis” types of complaints.

  188. Dave, the “we’re so holy, we don’t even break the speed limit” interpretation has never before occured to me in my life. I think the Brethren say it precisely because of the opposite reason, because so many members of the church, who purport to be good, fail to even obey traffic laws.

    I think most members know it too. It’s not pride, it’s a call to be better. Honestly.

  189. Actually, I thought the traffic warnings were based out of reality — a lot of car accidents and fender-benders from people rushing home after Priesthood session in particular. If you’ve attended a stake center broadcast in UT of Priesthood, you know the post-session traffic can get hairy.

  190. AT: If Elder Oaks had directed his comments to young women dressing like those on the cover of Maxim, I would not have reacted the way I did to his comments. However, he referred to those who dress immodestly. In the church, “immodest” is a term often used to describe any mode of dress that is not garment friendly. Somehow I don’t think that he is particularly concerned about our young women posing half naked on the cover of FHM or Maxim.

  191. Rosalynde, will you engage on this issue with someone who promises to be less vitriolic than, well, others here?

    I trust your motives completely, and can easily conceive of a scenario in which you are humbly seeking understanding of the words of a man you accept as a prophet. No problem there. So let’s attempt to discuss the issues behind your question.

    First of all (while this is not really helpful to you, but might bring some clarity), I can’t figure out what you mean when you say that Elder Oaks’ statement objectifies women or girls who dress immodestly. In my view, his statement is analogous to the following: “if you break the word of wisdom by drinking alcohol in the home of a friend who you know to be a recovering alcoholic, you have become a temptation to that person, and are doubly culpable.” Do you object to this formulation? Probably not, because removes the core of your contention in that the tempter is simply offering temptation, rather than becoming the temptation himself.

    But that’s the problem, isn’t it? With sexual sin, the sinner becomes the vehicle for sin, doesn’t he? Tempting someone with beer is less personal, and less central to a person’s identity, so it’s less charged with political implications. But for those same reasons, it’s less serious a sin. Any person who knowingly provides temptation to sexual sin to another person becomes the temptation, as their body is the invitation and means to the sin.

    This fact suggests that our bodies, and to a lesser extent, our selves, can become objects. More precisely, they are indirect objects, used by the subject to tempt the direct object. If I lower myself to such tempting, there’s a sense in which I forfeit my status as a higher agent, and become something less– again, object is a decent word. Or, if this is too strong for you, say that rather than becoming objects in reality, we become viewed as objects in the mind of the lustful beholder. Either way, the objectification is partially the choice of the beheld.

    But this analysis is irrelevant to whether Elder Oaks objectified women in his comment. Whether or not you agree that women or men who pose temptations to others can become objects, or be seen as objects, Elder Oaks is not guilty of objectifying them. He’s guilty only of doing what I have just done– explaining his view that it sometimes does happen that women are objectified. He’s telling you what happens in reality, not actually doing it.

    All of this, of course, assumes that women who dress immodestly are actively tempting others, which I recognize is not always clear. As has already been hashed out a few other times in these pages, one’s culpability in crimes of immodesty depends on one’s intentions and level of knowledge. Still, Elder Oaks is seeking to elevate the level of knowledge of women in the church. If we take his definition of pornography, used earlier in his talk, which I paraphrase as “sexually explicit material intended to arouse lust in the viewer,” we end up with a pretty non-controversial statement: ” And young women, please understand that if you dress immodestly you are magnifying this problem by becoming [sexually explicit material intended to arouse lust in the viewer] to some of the men who see you.” He’s simply trying to make them accountable, so that they now know that putting on those clothes suggests an intention to arouse.

    The young woman who hears this statement should never conclude that she is an object to be consumed by men. I simply cannot see how such a conclusion would be warranted in any way. The proper conclusion is this: by virtue of my own choice to dress immodestly, I am capable of presenting myself as an object to be lusted after. This is both undesirable and avoidable. Further, it might also exacerbate the sexual struggles of those who see me.

    Is it possible that Elder Oaks could have meant young women to conclude something different? I’m having a tough time seeing it.

    As a final note, I also cannot understand the point, offered by others, that the statement blames the viewed for the sins of the viewer. Are we really all so unable to deal with complexity? Is there any chance that any of us would deny that a complex chain of interactions takes place when an inner-city black person becomes despondent and stops looking for work because of seething, silent racism? Isn’t it possible to hold that person accountable for that decision while also admitting that there are many causes for the outcome, and that many other factors could be adjusted that would make the surrender less likely? Wouldn’t such changes be eminently desirable? How is the immodesty scenario different?

  192. For the record, my comments above are not intended to apply to those who dress immodestly only under the technical, formal definition that Gary offers above. I’m speaking, as I believe Elder Oaks was (again, if there are two interpretations of the words of an apostle, please people, choose the one that makes sense!), about the kind of serious immodesty that truly presents sexual temptation to the viewer.

  193. I’m honestly surprised that so many people here are offended by Elder Oaks remarks. I think it’s pretty easy to understand what he meant, although given the reaction here I suppose he could have phrased it better.

    What I don’t understand, though, is what our broader attitude towards sexuality should be. The idea seems to be that anything that arouses us is, essentially, pornography. This seems like an unrealistic standard to me, or at least it could easily be misinterpreted as such. How is a young person supposed think about sexual desire? And is it ok for a woman to look “sexy?” Is it ok to look attractive? Why?

    I also don’t understand what the attitude towards sexuality even in marriage is supposed to be. I’d still like an answer to Rosalynde’s question: does a wife “become pornography” to her husband? The idea that porn production is evil and harmful industry is important, but it seems to me Oaks and others imply that porn is bad independent of how it’s produced, merely because of its effects on us. When is sexual desire/arousal good and when is it bad?

  194. R.W. Rasband says:

    I wish, just once, I could hear a GA say in Conference: “While it is sometimes necessary for serious artists to depict sexuality in their work, we nevertheless deplore pornography, etc. etc.” This might help LDS audiences to distinguish legitimate discussions of sex in media so they won’t be so darned puritanical that even “Schindler’s List” still can’t be shown uncut at BYU.

  195. Rosalynde says:

    Ryan, I’m always happy to engage any topic with you, and I appreciate your approach. Thanks especially for noting and accepting my sincerity.

    Let me first make what I feel to be a crucial distinction between body-as-object and pornography-as-object: pornography, as it’s understood in any reasonable context, is a signifier, it’s “material” (meaning a book, a magazine, a video), it’s a kind of “writing” (note its root “graph”)–whether in still images, moving images, or discourse–that is intended to be consumed by the viewer. The pornographic text itself, like any text, is an inert, passive, and highly mediated REPRODUCTION of a human body, offering an utterly unmutual pleasure to the viewer. Pornography has no subjectivity. By contrast, a human body, while undeniably an object, is unmediated, possesses a subjectivity, engages in mutual interaction, and consumes as well as offering itself for consumption. That is, a person is not a mediated signifier of a human body, but a “signified” in and of itself. Even the most aggressively and inappropriately sexual woman retains agency, subjectivity, appetite, will, mutuality.

    This is why Elder Oaks’ formulation is objectifying: to say that a woman is capable of “becoming pornography”–even only the eyes of some, though that admittedly softens the effect–is to reduce her (at those moments during which she is dressed immodestly) to something inert, mediated, “written,” consumable. Ironically, this is–as far as I understand–precisely the fantasy of pornography, which tends to present women as unresisting, infinitely consumable commodities–in short, as objects. So in telling women that they become pornography (passive, mediated texts), even only in certain contexts, Elder Oaks performs precisely the same reduction that fuels pornographic fantasy–and, I would argue, that motivates some girls to act in sexually provocative ways in the first place. If a vulnerable, needy girl understands herself to be a text for men to read, I promise you she’ll choose to be “Playboy” over the “New Era” every time.

    For your recovering alcoholic hypothetical to be analogous, it would have to read: “when you drink in the presence of a recovering alcoholic, you become beer.” Not only is this a little ridiculous, but if beer were freighted with the same weight of evil, vileness, and disgust that pornography is, it would promote a devastating self-concept for those who are already the most vulnerable.

    I have no doubt that Elder Oaks’ only intention was to motivate girls to dress modestly; nor do I think that he considers the dangers of pornography to be the most important reason for girls to dress modestly. And if Elder Oaks had said, “We all have a part to play in this battle. Girls, you can participate by choosing to behave modestly so that men will relate to you with the mutual respect that you deserve,” I would not have been troubled. I don’t think Elder Oaks intended girls to conclude that they are objects for men’s consumption, and his remark may even motivate some to dress modestly–which I applaud. But I think ultimately, if this remark is widely repeated and internalized by young women, it will have a negative effect on their self-image and behavior.

    Have I clarified some of my concerns?

  196. Rosalynde, it may be that Elder Oaks means something simple, something similar to what you’re saying in your final paragraph.

    However, if read deeply, I think his statement is also defensible on the level you’re discussing– in which the immodest woman does become the object, signifier, the consumable.

    One of the undercurrents of our doctrine of sin is that we have moral agency, but are capable of forfeiting that agency. The examples of this phenomenon are well known, and few would dispute that the more we hand ourselves to Satan, the more power he is able to exert in our lives. Humans are meant to act, not to be acted upon. Indeed, it’s this power that makes us humans, and sets us apart from all the other creations. But we can offer ourselves into the hands of a master, who will then act upon us, diminishing our power to act.

    Given this context, I don’t think it’s impossible to apply ‘pornography’ in its literal sense to a woman who willfully invites leering. And it is this possibility that provides a meaningful distinction between good sexuality and bad, as invited in your question about marital intimacy. If it is kept within the bounds the Lord has set, it will probably encourage the integration of one’s sexuality with the whole of one’s person, enhancing personality, agency– the ‘signified’ of the person. If it is presented as separate from the whole person, as in a girl who believes the gospel and goes to chuch, but chooses to put on a costume for a moment, of sexual availability and seductiveness, the girl becomes ‘dehumanized.’ Again, I’m using the word in a literal sense rather than a rhetorical one– the girl becomes less human, in the eye of the beholder, and in terms of her ability to exercise agency. Her sexual self becomes estranged from the rest of her identity, and thus, that sexual self, most embodied in her flesh, is more a thing than a person.

    Would this be more acceptable to you if Elder Oaks applied it to all sinners? (Yes, I am expecting ridicule for grouping immodest dressers with serious sinners, but I think the grouping works). For example, serial dishonesty pushes your identity into one controlled partially by the adversary, which diminishes your own determination of self. Or, if you watch pornography, you are surrendering a bit of what makes you human, and ceding territory to a version of you that is largely inanimate.

    Of course, these analogies are lacking one very important element: the presentation of one’s unidimensional non-self to others. In the case of the immodest woman, we have the element of ceding control and agency to satan and animalistic appetites, but added to that, there’s also the element of presenting that new, hollowed out version of the self to someone else, for them to enjoy specifically because it comes unencumbered with the trappings of real personhood. Again, we hear that pornography dehumanizes women. Are they dehumanized only in the eye of the beholder, or are they less human in themselves? My guess would be both. And I see no reason why this should not apply as well to the person who consistently engages in exhibitionistic behavior. (Again, I realize that all of my arguments become a bit ridiculous if we’re only talking about the innocent beehive who happens to wear tightish jeans and tanks from time to time).

  197. Julie in Austin, sorry you took offense. I enjoy your posts/entries.

    Please note that in my earlier posts the “misguided ideas” I referred to were “ambulatory porn…a two year old?”

    Unless you’re among any LDS who think a toddler in a tank top is “becoming pornography” please don’t think I was referring to you!

  198. Ryan: Perhaps you are correct, that my definition of immodesty is overly technical. I agree that we should try to give words an interpretation that makes sense. On the other hand, we should let authors speak for themselves and not intepret away the plain meaning of their words. Elder Oaks was one of my teachers in law school. Although I do not know him personally, I have heard him describe the painstaking process he goes through when writing articles, books or speeches. I have no doubt that this talk went through several drafts, and that he chose his words very carefully. He knows what constitutes immodest dress to his audience. He did not speak of women who intentionally dress in sexually provocative ways. He was not talking to or about wannabe Sports Illustrated or Maxim models. He used a term that is well understood by most members of his audience to include a sleeveless dress or a dress that is too short. I don’t think I am being unreasonable to take his words at face value.

    I agree wholeheartedly with Rosalynde, although your last post makes some important points. However, I just can’t imagine myself ever saying to one of the young women in our ward who sometimes dress immodestly that they are pornography to some men. When I heard that sentence, I recoiled. I hoped that my 15 year old daughter (who does not own any immodest clothing) did not hear it. I cannot bear the thought that somebody would suggest to my daughter to to her friends that their failure to dress appropriately made them pornographic. If a leader wanted to give the talk you just gave in your last post I would give it an enthusiastic two thumbs up. But telling them they are pornography is no way to talk to a girl or woman whose only sin is immodest dress. And by immodest, I don’t mean just the dress that is too short or the sleeveless gown. Even if they are dressed much more provocatively than that, I would still object to that particular approach.

  199. Rosalynde, if you’ll excuse the vitriol:

    I sincerely find your definition of pornography to be rather tortured. I don’t see that etymology has anything to do with modern usage. Moreover, I’m happy to substitute the term erotica to rid us of the root “graph,” if that pleases you.

    You’re correct, however, that erotica typically refers to depictions of sexuality. But this does not preclude participants from getting pleasure from being so depicted. Those with exhibitionist tendencies can be quite drawn to the notion of expanding their market of viewers.

    Moreover, the dichotomy that you offer between signified/mediated and unsignified/unmediated doesn’t work. Bare perception is no less mediated than photographic representation. Nor is a viewing photography any less interactive than ogling a girl as she walks down the street.

    And by your definition there is nothing pornographic about strip clubs, peep shows, or live sex acts.

    Lastly, your definition of the pornographic fantasy treating women as objects seems to buy into all the old misogynist myths about how women hate sex. Though there are as many categories of porn as there are of literature, most pornography portrays an egalitarian utopia where men and women alike exuberantly pursue sexual pleasure without inhibition. Why can’t we understand Elder Oaks as counseling young women not to dress as though they were part of this egalitarian utopia?

  200. Bob Caswell: And Arturo, my friend, you are way out of your league here. These are smart women who have been fairly polite in putting up with your lack of communication.

    How did I miss this one? By goodness, Bob Caswell, way out of my league? You’re killing me!

  201. I, too, was shocked by Elder Oaks’s comment, though I did not know exactly why at the time. It may have been a bit refreshing to me because it was so out of the ordinary a thing to say. It may have been refreshing because I do not think that women who dress immodestly are sufficiently mindful of the effects of their actions on others. Not that I think a woman is responsible per se for a man’s thoughts when he looks at her, I do think that we should all be down here trying to help each other to become better people, not tripping each other up.

    That said, I am quite amazed that no one ever talks about the effects of immodest dress on women in terms of their own sexual arousal. I firmly believe that when a woman dresses in a sexually provocative way, she is arousing her own sexual desires on purpose. For better or for worse, visual sexuality in our culture is centered on the image of the female body; when a woman dresses sexily, it arouses not just the men who see her but the woman herself.

    Now, as to whether that’s a problem or not, I don’t know. I don’t know where the boundaries are of normal, healthy sexual expression and inappropriate exhibition. This is especially difficult for celibate adults, I think. Sexuality is a huge part of being an adult human (right? or is that just a fairy tale they tell us unmarrieds?), and if you’re a 26-year-old Mormon with no spouse, don’t you still need some way to explore and come to terms with your own sexuality in an appropriate way?

    I would love to hear women’s sexuality discussed more openly in general conference; we hear men’s discussed all the time. I think it would really help me and others like me to figure out what is normal in myself and where I may be off track.

  202. Oh, heavens, I need a proofreader…

  203. Rosalynde says:

    Arturo, when it comes to defining terms, you lost your credibility with me and everyone else a long time ago. Remember this?

    Yes, all perception is mediated through one’s ideological framework. Nevertheless, any reasonable person can distinguish between looking at a woman as she passes on the street and looking at a centerfold, nor would he or she be hard pressed to explain the difference. Furthermore, any reasonable person will recognize that peep shows and strip clubs produce highly mediated theatrical spectacles, again easily discernible from the woman passing on the street. And no, I would not describe prostitution in and of itself as “pornographic.”

  204. Rosalynde says:

    Ryan, you make some interesting points about sin and agency, though it’s not clear to me from scripture whether the diminishment of agency you describe refers merely to natural consequence or to a metaphysical process. Inasmuch as immodest behavior (a term I prefer to immodest dress)leads to loss of agency by either of those routes, I don’t object to your analysis.

    But that’s not the kind of objectification (though the term is overused, and I dislike it) that results from Elder Oaks’ formulation: when the female body is the focus, the context inevitably, unavoidably includes the relentless fetishization and sexualization of that body–a situation that’s bad for women AND for men–and thus one must take special care not to replicate those processes. I realize that Elder Oaks’ *intent* was to counter precisely those processes; my point is that his method of doing so perpetuates them, however well-intentioned.

    Gary, thanks for the support. Like you, I intend to be strict with my daughters about modest dress and behavior, though, being my daughters, I expect they’ll put up the same (mild) resistance I gave my own mother! I don’t even dress my four-year-old in sundresses. But, like you, I literally shudder to think of my daughter understanding herself in *any* context to be pornography; I can’t imagine ever, no matter her infraction, telling her that she is becoming pornography.

  205. Rosalynde, how was I to know that you’d considered the definition of the word chick to be such a weighty matter? Is that why it’s been so long since our exchanges were good clean fun?

    Rosalynde: Nevertheless, any reasonable person can distinguish between looking at a woman as she passes on the street and looking at a centerfold.

    That depends on the context, so I’ll be as specific as I can: One can browse centerfolds in a book store or simply spend too much time looking at a lewd spam email or paste his eyes to the thighs and the thong lines on a 20 year old woman in a miniskirt as she bends over to grab a can of baked beans in the grocery store. In all three cases, he’s viewing women in an improper fashion, and if he does these with any regularity, he’s got exactly the same problem. But sadly, most Mormon women of my acquaintance are utterly shocked by the idea that nearly every Mormon man has viewed pornography at some time.

    Rosalynde: And no, I would not describe prostitution in and of itself as “pornographic.”

    That’s an odd turnaround on the etymology issue, since the porno portion of pornography comes from the Greek word for harlot. At any rate, as long as you’re pleased to use the term consume metaphorically to refer to men viewing women depicted in erotica, I don’t see why we need to have scruples about using the term pornography loosely to refer to the activity under discussion.

    Rosalynde: peep shows and strip clubs produce highly mediated theatrical spectacles.

    Only in the movies…

  206. It just occurred to me that my verbiage in post #200 has lead to a slight misunderstanding. When I referred to “live sex acts” I intended “live sex shows.” (And if you talk to anyone who’s ever seen one, they’ll tell you that they are seldom theatrical or glamorous in any sense. On the contrary, they typically involve people who are strung out, and they are generally quite seedy and mundane.)

  207. Bob Caswell says:

    Arturo,

    You know, sometimes you have some pretty decent things to say, sometimes… I’ve seen your comments elsewhere, and they’ve been mildly interesting at times. But when you get into your mode of seemingly not caring what anyone thinks while patting yourself on the back for your latest rhetoric, really, you’re not doing any of us any favors. You could spare us all this side of you and could try talking to yourself in the mirror perhaps.

    Witness how Rosalynde and Ryan Bell engaged in a fascinating conversation without trying to one-up each other. Try it sometime. But if you’d rather, quote some part of my comment and then reply trying to sound witty and funny instead.

  208. You continue to amaze me, Bob Caswell. From the minor leagues to “pretty decent” and “mildly interesting.” Either I’m growing more talented daily or you’re gradually coming around. (You’ll notice this means that I chose your last option. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to take my shirt off and recite Sylvester Stalone’s monologue from the end of “First Blood” in front of a mirror.)

  209. Singles Ward Sally says:

    I like Minerva’s question and have been hoping for an answer from someone else. What are single people to do, to feel or be sexual? Are we just not supposed to exhibit sexuality of any kind? We shouldn’t think about sex, have sex, kiss sexually, and now not even dress sexually, even for ourselves, whether or not guys will look at us in a lustful fashion? If guys don’t lust after us, how are we supposed to attract the kind of interest that will even get them to want to have sex with us or marry us? Most guys in their 20s and 30s don’t just want to be friends, after all.

    And who here married without lusting after their future spouses at some point (even engagement) in the first place? How realistic is it to say that we should be red blooded creatures without the blood?

  210. Rosalynde: You suggest that I was strict with my daughters. That made me smile, because I have never thought of myself that way. In fact, the only discussions I remember having with them about this issue were for the purpose of countering some of the harmful messages they were taught in YW about this issue. Their dress and behaviour was entirely a reflection of their values and the way they see themselves and the world around them. I know all children are different, and I can’t extract grand, universal principles from such a limited sample. But I do believe that repeated moralizing about what constitutes modest dress and teaching our daughters that too much exposed flesh makes them objects of lust among some and even pornography to at least some men is misguided. Where does it all stop? Is make up which is intended to make them more attractive to be discouraged for the same reason? I know men who can get pretty turned on at the sight of a beautiful, exposed face.

  211. danithew says:

    Singles Ward Sally,

    I am no expert on how to dress sexy — I like loose-fitting jeans and a t-shirt for myself. But I had a little discussion with my wife about the question of how women dress the other day. I was simply observing to my wife that women’s clothing manufacturers these days are absolute geniuses at using their technology to make the clothes flatter the female figure. When I was attending general conference, just seeing how a few women we passed were dressed led me to wonder whether the Lord would change some things when He comes. It wasn’t so much that these women weren’t wearing clothing that was officially immodest. The territory was covered. But the way the clothing they wore seemed to naturally accentuate their figures was almost unreal.

    I guess I’m just saying that even if a woman dresses modestly by todays standards, the clothes she wears are likely to still portray some kind of sexuality or elicit some level of sexual attraction to the opposite sex.

  212. the clothes she wears are likely to still portray some kind of sexuality or elicit some level of sexual attraction to the opposite sex

    And what, pray tell, is the problem with that? If we didn’t find each other sexually attractive, would that not be a problem?

    To underscore the point made already, there is a difference between sexual-attractiveness and sexual-lewdness. I know the difference. One is natural and good, the other is immoral.

  213. danithew says:

    Ronan, I’m not a huge advocate for the installation of mutaween in the United States or anything like that. And I don’t begrudge women the right to make themselves attractive.

  214. Greg Call says:

    Julie wrote: “(1) Generally, most LDS parents think that modesty rules should ‘kick in’ when their girls hit puberty or thereabouts. I think this can send a confusing message to (some) girls: all of a sudden, it isn’t OK to show your body at a time when what’s happening to your body is complicated enough. If I had a girl, she would wear garment-covering clothes from the beginning.”

    Perhaps this thread has become too unwieldy to have the discussion here, Julie, but I would like to hear more about your views on this. I have the (perhaps naive) view that little children are different than post-pubescent ones. Nudity is not all that rare in my house, and if my kids (1 and 3) don’t want to wear pants (in the house), I don’t make a big deal of it. I would think that an 11 year old would understand a speech along the lines of, “You’re getting older now. You need to wear pants all the time” (if they hadn’t already picked up the social cues). Of course, as a teenage boy I rarely wore a shirt during the summertime, indoors or out, so maybe I am simply cursing my kids with my own tendency toward immodesty.

    Also, I’ve never understood the garment to be a marker as to which part of our bodies are permissible to show, and which aren’t. Of course, if you are wearing garments, their sacredness requires them to be out of view, but I never took this as an issue of modesty. Am I misunderstanding you? Do you have sources on this?

  215. This conversation has gotten a bit out of hand. But since there appears to be an overwhelming interest to discuss standards of dress and undress- maybe we should have a dedicated thread for this issue?

    Women who dress provocatively get attention from men. I guess if men didn’t bother giving so much attention to sexy women, there wouldn’t be much of an interest to squeeze into the latest fashion trends. Women are pornography only if men view them this way. Why should women allow men to determine how they should dress? Granted, teenage girls should be fully indoctrinated as to why wearing micro mini skirts and five inch heels creates the wrong impression, but if you know the impression you’re trying to arouse, then it’s the person being aroused who should take responsibility and look the other way. Men shouldn’t hold women responsible for their feelings – sing a Primary song and get over it.

  216. I have no sources, but I know anecdotally of both men and women who had a very difficult time adapting to garments (and in some cases didn’t) because they were so used to wearing tank tops all summer — and also were somewhat enamored with the style as style (in other words, it wasn’t *just* a comfort thing).

  217. Greg Call says:

    But William, aren’t the garments *more* meaningful if we have to change our lives to accommodate them? I know that for me, it took me a long time before I could get comfortable wearing a shirt to bed, which in turn made my covenants all the more present in my mind. I knew that I was different than I was before going through the temple. I felt like Paul: “When I was a child…”
    If people are rejecting the garment based on style concerns, I would think that the solution is better teaching about our covenants, not making children dress as though they had already made those covenants so that the covenants because less obtrusive in their life.

  218. Bob Caswell says:

    Interesting thoughts, Greg. I too have separated “garments” from “modesty” in my mind.

  219. Greg:

    I don’t know that they are *more* meaningful. Whatever your previous habits of dress, they still are an obvious physical reminder.

    Of course better teaching about covenants is the best solution. But from what I have heard and read, taking out one’s endowment is a quite difficult even strange experience for some members.

    If one is already used to the modesty requirements that the wearing of the garment requires, then that can help members make the transition to someone who is a “templed” Mormon. It seems to me that for some members the first step away from renewing a temple recommend is not wearing garments — at first casually and then habitually. It then becomes a barrier in getting back to the temple and thus becoming more comfortable with what takes place there.

    It would be interesting to see stats on how many endowed members never return to the temple (or only go back once or twice).

    Of course, there are always other factors — and perhaps one might question a member’s committment to the temple if he/she can’t make the sacrifice of wearing garments.

    However, because of its very physical, ever-present nature, it is a huge adjustment to make simply in terms of lifestyle for some people — let alone the covenant/religious aspects to the whole experience. Why not help young people become accustomed to and look forward to the idea?

    Where and when and how that should start — I don’t have firm ideas on yet.

  220. …”if you know the impression you’re trying to arouse, then it’s the person being aroused who should take responsibility…”

    Huh?

  221. Kim -

    Yeah, I guess that probably doesn’t make sense, but I was trying to point out that people are responsible for their own lustful feelings. If you know someone is trying to turn you on – look away or get out of the situation, take a cold shower, whatever. I guess I’m getting impatient with the whole discussion about modesty, Elder Oaks’ comments included. Men should stop objectifying women, and stop using modesty as an excuse to control women and their own lustful feelings (meaning the lustful feelings of men who are the ones harping on modesty for women).

  222. Now that the modesty thread has been poached over to T&S, perhaps we could discuss another aspect of Elder Oaks’ talk. As a protege of Arturo Toscanini, I was naturally concerned about the demonization of “arousal on demand.” What gives? I mean, I thought we were about defending marriage, not demonizing it.

  223. A protege? Always two there are… a master and an apprentice.

  224. Andrea Wright says:

    I realize I’m late to this discussion but wanted to say that while I respect and appreciate Rosalynde’s tone of humility and sincerity regarding making peace with Elder Oaks’ comments — I just don’t relate. I just don’t see a problem with what Elder Oaks said.

  225. Minerva says:

    Tess,

    I just don’t think it’s that simple. We in the Church ARE trying to build each other up and help each other to become better people. I have a problem with this attitude that we are not accountable for the reactions people have to our actions. Of course ultimate responsibility for your actions lies within yourself. But others’ actions toward you can certainly interfere with your choices. For example, if I go up to someone and hit them, I should not be surprised if they hit me back. That may be the wrong thing for them to do and I can judge them for it, and I can say it’s not my fault they chose to hit me. But that really is very disingenuous. Can you agree that that is true? If a woman dresses immodestly and a man sees her, she should not be surprised if he gets turned on by her. He may be wrong in getting turned on and she can condemn him for it and can say it’s not her fault he chose to get turned on by her. This, too, though, is disingenuous.

    The question, though of immodesty and sexuality is very complex. I think when a woman dresses immodestly or in a sexy way she is not naive of the reactions she will get from men. The anticipation of this reaction can turn her on as well. I have never heard anyone else acknowledge this idea, and I’m wondering if I’m alone in holding the opinion that immodest dress turns the immodest dresser on as well.

  226. But Tess, don’t you see how inconsistent you’re being? Why are men expected to control the impact immodest women have on them, but women aren’t expected to control the impact leering men have on them? In other words, how can you blame men for encouraging women to dress immodestly (thereby removing from women the blame for their own actions), and simultaneously exonerate women whose provocative appearance has a tempting effect on men? Don’t get it.

  227. “In other words, how can you blame men for encouraging women to dress immodestly (thereby removing from women the blame for their own actions), and simultaneously exonerate women whose provocative appearance has a tempting effect on men?”

    Ryan – I didn’t mean to imply that women shouldn’t be responsible for their own actions. I recognized that women INTENTIONALLY dress immodestly to get attention. Women know the effect wearing short shorts or tiny mini skirts will have on the opposite sex, which is generally why they wear these clothes in the first place.

    My point was, if you, as a man, know that this woman is wearing this particular sexy outfit to get your attention, then ignore her! That will definitely take the wind out of her sails. In one sense, the pleas for modesty are a bit pathetic – “please don’t tempt me with your sexy body, I just can’t control myself when you dress that way!”

  228. Tess,

    Would that it were so simple! After all, isn’t the exact idea that such accoutrements make the woman _much more difficult_ to ignore?

  229. Singles Ward Sally says:

    If a woman is blessed with a beautiful figure, should she plan on wearing overly large clothing the rest of her life? Incidentally, a post at the FAIR board indicated that the poster’s stake president recently instructed the women to wear clothing several sizes too big so as to be shapeless, unsexy and “modest.”

    Oy…

  230. Again, I think we’re going a little overboard on the modesty issue. I guess I don’t understand how wearing tops with sleeves versus tops without sleeves shows more respect for your body (especially for a child).

    And if you want to get asked out and married to a Mormon boy, no Mormon boy is going to notice a girl wearing clothes three sizes too big. Let’s be real.

  231. Singles Ward Sally says:

    Touche, Tess. But apparently it’s a sin to feel sexual, appear sexual or dress in a sexually enticing manner, whether one is two or thirty two, as long as one is unmarried. Catch 22, huh?

  232. a random John says:

    Singles Ward Sally,

    Are modest and enticing mutally exclusive? That is news to me. Now frumpy and enticing I can see.

  233. Clothes 3 sizes too big=frumpy

  234. Singles Ward Sally says:

    a random John, modest and enticing aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive, but that wasn’t my statement. That was my question. I’m asking whether it’s wrong to be “sexually enticing,” not just “enticing.”

    Apparently the idea seems here to be that “sexually enticing” is bad, and that since shoulders, clavicles, knees (see President Kimball for this one) and other body parts are stimulating to some people, they must be covered up.

    And when the Cougarettes strut and sashay in pleated miniskirts and fitted tanks, no one gives a darn. Swimsuits (gasp!) are even allowed to be worn, even to Church functions where pool activities are held. So which is it: are the body parts to be covered up lest boys and men be particularly tempted, or is some skin okay in some contexts?

    My second point was that teenagers and unmarried adults *have to* be sexually attractive to some degree in order to appeal to the opposite sex. Not just “enticing” but (gasp!) *sexually attractive.* People in my singles ward have MANY sexual hangups and body image problems precisely because of certain puritan and prudish ideals that ****aren’t helped one iota***** by “becoming porn”-type comments.

    There are women in my ward and other singles wards in my stake who believe that anything showing any curves whatsoever is wrong until marriage, however late and however improbable that marriage may be. So for 30, 40, 50 years they shuffle around in shapeless shifts and wonder why no one asks them out.

  235. a random John says:

    Clothes 3 sizes too big != modest

  236. rj, are you sure that everyone here knows that != means “is not equal to”?

  237. Singles Ward Sally says:

    Oh, I know that clothes three sizes too big are not necessarily modest, but the poor saps listening to and sustaining their stake president might think that counsel is valid.

    This is how faith promoting rumor, ill-gotten advice, twists of doctrine and downright fallacy creep into the church. One overeager leader misinterprets or runs with a GA comment in GC and next thing you know, a whole stake is worried about whether their clothes cling too much and end up looking sloppy and foolish.

  238. a random John says:

    AT,

    I am pretty sure that most people would not know. It seemed like the appropriate way to respond to the silliness of #234. I can’t help myself sometimes.

    SWS,

    Are you telling me that someone can’t be dressed appropriately for church and also be sexually enticing? You’ve never been attracted to someone at church? How were they dressed? I agree with you that there are people that do not need to hear Elder Oak’s comment and for whom it might actually hurt them. That said, it is silly to say that Elder Oaks said that people should not dress in an attractive way at appropriate times and he certainly didn’t suggest that anyone wear clothes that are two big or frumpy.

  239. rj, they know now. I just wanted to make sure that some poor sap didn’t think it was a typo.

    Single Ward Sally, you’re right that 3 sizes is a really stupid standard. And unless the Stake President wants all women dressed in clothing that has drawstring (and I sure don’t), the 3 size rule doesn’t necessarily improve modesty. (Consider how a bikini would look if worn 3 sizes to big.)

  240. a random John says:

    uggh. Did I say “two big”? Well I guess Elder Oaks didn’t say that either.

    I would love to see exactly what it was this stake president said. My guess is that it has been interpretted as generously as the comments made by Elder Oaks.

  241. Good point, rj.

  242. Back to the modesty issue – I think too often the modesty discussion implies that if women aren’t dressed modestly, men have tacit approval to look at the immodestly dressed women with lust in their hearts. So when women are dressed a certain way, men feel justified in oogling (sp?) and harrassing them.

    Along these lines, what really bugs me is when I’m at the gym and men are obviously checking me out while I’m running on the treadmill or lifting, or whatever it is I happen to be doing. I choose my work out clothes based on comfort and performance – I don’t choose my work out clothes to titilate or arouse. But if that is the effect my clothes have on guys – it’s their problem. I’m at the gym to work out, not to impress anyone. And when guys ask me out at the gym, I politely tell them no thanks.

    The other day, I was walking to work in one of my most conservative, knee length, black lawyer-suits, and this guy was leering at me so intently as I crossed the street that he tripped up on the curb and fell flat on his face in front of about 10 other people. I smiled, stepped over him, and continued walking down the street. I’ve been dying to tell that story to someone, but it sounds like I’m bragging or something.

    Anyway, my point is, modesty is an issue mostly about self-control for men. As an adult, I choose to wear what I want to, and make no apologies for it.

  243. Singles Ward Sally says:

    Apparently the poster relating the stake prez. story on the FAIR discussion board said that the sp actually used size numbers to illustrate his point and encourage all sisters in the audience to follow this counsel(i.e. “If you’re a size 8, think about wearing size 12 or 14…”).

  244. SWS-

    If you listen to that advice, you’ll be in the Singles Ward for a long, long time (until they kick you out).

    Seriously, if more Mormon boys dated the girls wearing baggy/”frumpy” clothes, maybe we’d have fewer problems with immodest clothing (and eating disorders, negative self-esteem issues, etc.).

  245. Seth Rogers says:

    Clothing that fits is not immodest. Women should not be required to hide their sexual identity.

    What I am opposed to is promoting that sexuality at the expense of all other aspects of personal identity.

    The stake president should stick to the general guidelines outlined in “For the Strength of Youth” and refrain from making his own additions.

  246. Singles Ward Sally says:

    I guess that’s another good point. Singles aren’t “youth”, especially in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s etc. Yet Church leaders want us to be. Ther is no time for a single person, especially when endowed, to even wear a negligee or enjoy the shape of her shoulders. Then we’re treated like “youth” simply because we don’t accept a marriage proposal, and are ***told**** what to wear. We can’t even rejoice in the glory and beauty of our own bodies.

  247. a random John says:

    SWS,

    I would love to see a knock-down-drag-out between the stake pres being discussed here and the bishop of my childhood who had to deal with an aaronic priesthood full of boys wearing pants that were way too big.

    Given that we are getting this story at least third hand I don’t know that it is worth discussing much more. I think everyone agrees that it is possible to wear clothes that fit, are modest, sexy, and not pornographic all at the same time.

  248. Seth Rogers says:

    Note that I did support the official church dress code.

    I remember my stay at BYU as a single guy. There were a lot of beautiful young women on campus who were fully compliant with the basic standards and pulled it off with style. Yes, I did consider them very attractive … even sexy. Sorry girls, it’s just the way we’re wired, I guess.

    Contrast that with MTV’s Spring Break programming, and popular music videos. That was just trashy. Sure the exhibitionism gets the guys’ attention. But you’ve crossed a certain line where people are no longer attracted to you, but are attracted to your clothing (or lack thereof).

    Clothing should present and showcase a real person. Once the clothing starts distracting form the real message (you), it ought to be thrown in the garbage bin.

    Clothing is essentially communication to other people. Just as in conversation, you can’t focus only on your own thoughts and feelings. You have to be considerate of the listener/audience.

    “Is it comfortable?” is not the only question we should be asking ourselves when it comes to apparel. We need to be aware of the messages our self-presentation sends to the people we encounter. This isn’t about conforming to outdated or misogynistic notions. It’s about polite conversation.

    Really, immodest clothing is essentially the same thing as threadjacking. It hijacks the visual conversation you have with the people around you. Deep down, people (even hormone-driven guys) want to know who you are, what you’re thinking about, and what you represent. An immodest presentation basically intrudes itself upon the senses of the “listener” and draws all attention away from what you are really here to discuss. It’s just bad manners.

    Embracing your own sexual identity in clothing is fine. But when that clothing promotes only the sexual aspect of your identity, then you’re just engaging in deceptive and disrespectful conversation. For one thing, it obscures religious characteristics of your identity that are just as important as the sexual characteristics.

  249. Minerva says:

    Seth,

    Very well said.

  250. “Deep down, people (even hormone-driven guys) want to know who you are, what you’re thinking about, and what you represent.”

    I get the point of your thread, Seth, but I don’t necessarily agree with this statement. Most people (especially hormone-driven guys) don’t really care who you are as a person – and they don’t go too far beyond first impressions as it is. Take a look around singles wards – the sexy girls will always be more popular than the girls who don’t want to draw attention to their bodies.

    But, I think the real issue here is that sexy women have power over men. Women recognize that an enticing appearance has historically been one of the only sources of real power they have over men. By telling women to cover up, you’re asking them to give up one of the main instruments of control they have over their lives (and the lives of others).

    I think if women were valued and treated with respect for their intelligence and accomplishments, instead for their appearance, women wouldn’t have to resort to appealing to a man’s prurient interests.

    And I don’t believe that men have to be completely distracted by women dressing in sexy clothes. What if you had a secretary who looked like Kate Bosworth and dressed in short skirts and tight sweaters? Would you be able to get any work done? You get used to the way a person wants to dress after awhile. If you find it tacky or offensive, let them know. No big deal.

  251. Minerva says:

    Tess,

    Also very well said…

  252. Seth Rogers says:

    “Take a look around singles wards – the sexy girls will always be more popular than the girls who don’t want to draw attention to their bodies.”

    More popular with whom?

    They might get attention, but that doesn’t mean the guys are taking them seriously.

  253. Minerva says:

    Seth,

    Have you spent any time in a singles ward? These are indeed the only girls who get asked out. For real.

  254. Related to this conversation – check out this article that says if you’re good looking, you’ll get paid more than the ugly ducklings around you.

    http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2005/04/07/analysis_good_looks_may_mean_better_pay/

  255. Seth Rogers says:

    Yes I have.

    In fact I was responsible for coordinating the Ward FHE each week.

    I never saw “the beautiful people” at these gatherings. In fact, I often missed the “style crowd” at Sacrament Meeting as well.

    It was just a bunch of nice kids getting together Monday nights to play ultimate frizbee or Scrabble. I actually found the girls at these gatherings a lot more approachable and actually asked a couple out. I didn’t have much use for the people you seem to be describing (good looking or not).

    Popularity is really relative and depends on which crowd you hang with.

  256. Seth,

    I have to laugh at your charaterizations of faithful Mormons as nice and approachable–so unlike the marginally active good looking or stylish LDS.

    I know you aren’t trying to say beautiful people can’t be faithful–but thinking of all the articles in the New Era and films I’ve seen over the years to that effect gave me chuckle.

    On the other hand, from an organizational perspective, as a growth strategy it’s not a bad way of proceeding.

  257. Seth, your last post sounds like you’re one of those “nice guys” out there. If that is the case, I’m sure all this negative, cynical talk about power politics and gender wars doesn’t necessarily apply to you that much.

    I thought I had married the last “nice guy” out there, but maybe there are one or two left. The only problem is, most women overlook the nice guys (not saying this is your problem, Seth), so the nice guys feel like they have to act like jerks to get noticed.

    Anyway, good luck on your dates! Hope you find an awesome woman to fall in love with.

  258. Seth Rogers says:

    Oh, I’m just giving an example from my own ward. I have no idea if it’s generally applicable.

    Maybe they were out singing at rest homes … I don’t know. It just seemed like the “popular” people weren’t exactly the foundation of the ward in my neighborhood.

    Point is, you just need to find your own group.

  259. I thought they gave the “obey traffic laws” schpiel because Utah drivers are so horrible :::runs away, ducking:::

  260. Seth Rogers says:

    I think they’re actually transplanted Californians.

  261. jayneedoe says:

    Christian Y Cardall wrote: “It might also be noted that Elder Oaks anthropomorphized Temptation as a She. . . . .”

    Actually, this practically gave me a whiplash as I was turned away from the television at the moment. I couldn’t believe I’d heard him correctly.

    Steve Evans wrote: “Temptation is a feminine noun. We don’t use those identifiers in English, but in French at least it’s feminine. I don’t think there’s anything meant by it – it’s more correct than a singular they, at least.”

    In English “temptation” is neither feminine nor masculine. The correct pronoun, singular, is “it.”

    John C wrote: But in that case, the Temptation was literally a woman. So the anthropomorphism is probably appropriate.”

    How many young women are going to be versed enough in Genesis to know for sure that Elder Oaks was referring to Potiphar’s wife? I’m sure many would, but I know I would not have when I was young.

    Elder Oaks could have said “. . . follow the example of Joseph of Egypt. When temptation caught him in ITS grip, he left temptation and “got him out.” It would have been just as valid.

    Unecessarily personifying “temptation” as a “she” bothered me more than the young women/porn reference–and that one disturbed me greatly, for reasons that have already been articulated.

    Jaynee

  262. Could someone explain to me how showing the top of the shoulder is any more enticing/immodest/sexual than wearing cap sleeves?

  263. What are cap sleeves?

  264. If you’re interested in the Mormon male point of view on female clothing, you may want to read The Best Bloggernacle Modesty Discussion Ever. (It was good enough to skeeve out Rosalynde, at any rate.)

  265. Sumbody says:

    Why, oh why must we Mormons resort to scare tactics and hyperbole to try and instill morals or enforce cultural norms?

    First, sexual sin (masturbation, fornication, and on up) is next to murder.

    Next, wearing a sleeveless dress is potentially sinful and makes the wearer “walking porn.”

    What next?

  266. What are the GAs (and the bloggernacle’s) thoughts on beauty pageants, especially the “physical fitness in a swimsuit” category? Especially since at least one GA had a daughter win a beauty pageant.

    Check out Miss Utah in the Miss Universe pageant tomorrow. She’s a BYU student. Here’s her official pageant photo.

    http://www.missusa.com/delegates/2005/state/UT.html

  267. “Women recognize that an enticing appearance has historically been one of the only sources of real power they have over men.”

    Yes, but not one of the lasting sources of power. To quote Elder Faust, “To be respected is better than to be loved.” This is a power that is effective only over a certain portion of men, and I’m not sure that it is the kind of men you want to have power over. Further, it is of limited duration.

    “You get used to the way a person wants to dress after awhile. If you find it tacky or offensive, let them know. No big deal.”

    Tess, I don’t mean this in an offensive way, but this is a comment that reveals you are a woman. Men are visually stimulated. They do not get used to it — they may find other ways to respond and develop defense mechanisms, but they still have to consciously develop defense mechanisms and exercise them. You’re just plain wrong here. Also, you are contradicting yourself — if men just got used to it then women would not have the power you referred to earlier.

  268. Adam Greenwood says:

    Thanks, Signor Toscanini, for bringing up the Clavicle Discussion, truly T&S’ finest hour.

  269. I know you mean that facetiously, Adam, but I really do think that it is among the most engaging threads ever on a Mormon topic. I just re-read it the other day and found it to be quite amusing on several levels. Really. Who wants to argue about the shortcomings of Hugh Nibley or the strengths of Fawn Brodie or the inscrutability King James Bible (blah, blah, blah, blah….) when you can talk about chicks?

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