For the Strength of YOUth

In a recent post, frequent commenter Ardis noted her experience with the standards of the church that have been pushing similar themes since the mid-1960s.  This reminded me of a post I did elsewhere noting some of the “timeless standards” from the 1965 pamphlet.

There is a new trend in the church to elevate the For the Strength of Youth standards to something that should be applied to all members, not just the youth.  I’ve experienced first hand and heard online from others that local wards have reviewed the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet and standards with the adults, explaining that it applies to them as well.  In our Singapore stake, this was presented in a talk called “For the Strength of YOU.”  What’s behind this trend?  Here are some possible theories:

  • Elevating FSOY to Scripture.  We’ve already seen wards using the Proclamation on the Family as scripture or claiming that it is scripture, despite Pres. Packer’s statement in General Conference that it was “revelation” being removed when the talk was published.  If FSOY becomes scripture, what’s next?  The White Bible?  The Church Handbook of Instruction?  The Fourteen Fundamentals?  The cleaning list in the janitorial closet?
  • Got Milk? These standards are basic and fairly easy to follow (unless you already have a tattoo when you join the church – sorry!).  Meaty?  Not really, but not everything can be deep and complex.
  • We Love Rules.  We like rules, checklists, habits that come in groups of seven, and bulleted lists.
  • Out of Ideas.  This sounds a lot to me like someone has scraped the bottom of the barrel to come up with teaching materials.  Here’s an idea I’ve pitched before.  How about we just move to a two-hour block and quit straining so hard to come up with something to talk about for three hours?

Clearly, the 1965 version of the pamphlet was incredibly timeless as these snippets will demonstrate:

  • “Few girls or women ever look well in a backless or strapless dresses.  Such styles often make the figure look ungainly and large, or they show the bony structures of the body.”  (Like those ungainly hags Angelina Jolie and Katherine Heigl).
  • “When at home working in the yard, hiking, traveling in the mountains, camping, or participating in active sports, girls or women may appropriately wear slacks.”  (The word “slacks” sounds like someone’s double-knit pants rubbing together as they walk.  *shudder*)
  • “Pants for young women are not desirable attire for shopping, at school, in the library, in cafeterias or restaurants.”  (peopleofwalmart.com is evidence of that!)
  • “Young men should always dress appropriately for the place and the occasion.  For special school or church dances, they should wear a suit with dress shirt and tie, but never tennis shoes or “T” shirts.  Sports jackets or dressy sweaters are appropriate apparel for the more casual dances.”  (I defy any man to open his closet right now and find a dressy sweater.  If you found one, was it next to your clip on bow ties?  Do you also play the accordian?  Do you also own a pair of cropped coral Chinos?  Some natty wingtips?)
  • “Girls should always try to look feminine in their dress.  They should not dress like boys or try to give a masculine appearance.  Dress often determines their actions.”  (What actions will be determined?  Will they pee standing up?  Chew tobacco?  Impregnate a cheerleader?)
  • “A “real lady” does not go out in public, to the market, or to shops with her hair in curlers.”  (I would like to know why “real lady” is in quotes.  It reminds me of this Chris Farley sketch.)
  • On dancing standards:  “The dance should not be a grotesque contortion of the body such as shoulder or hip shaking or excessive body jerking.”  (I’m speechless.)
  • “Members of the church should be good dancers . . . ”  (I’m actually surprised that being a good dancer is a requirement for church membership.  I’ve been to enough church dances to know that it’s not routinely enforced) ” . . .and not contortionists.”  (Cirque de Soleil performers will be disappointed that to hear they are not welcome.)
  • “Extreme body movement should be avoided, and emphasis should be placed more on styling and clever footwork.”  (Whew!  Riverdance is in!  Actually, the only “clever footwork” I’ve ever seen at a church dance was break dancing.  Mostly I’ve just seen the two-step side-to-side shuffle.)

I’ve only culled some of the best tidbits from this blast from the past, but it begs the question, what will today’s For the Strength of Youth pamphlet look like in 45 years?  It’s hard to say.  Obviously, I’m a product of my own time, so the 1965 pre-sexual revolution pamphlet is hilarious.  It’s hard to be objective.  Plus, since I graduated high school in 1986, we didn’t use a For the Strength of Youth pamphlet when I was a teen.

  • Has your stake or ward presented the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet as binding for the adults as well?
  • Are For the Strength of Youth standards helpful and necessary in leading and parenting teens?  Are rules more effective than principles?
  • Are the For the Strength of Youth standards equally appropriate for adults as for teens?
  • What from the current pamphlet do you think will sound ridiculous in the future?  Is there some of it that sounds ridiculous to you now?

Discuss.

*This post was an update on a previous post of the same title I did at Wheat & Tares.

Comments

  1. Several conversations at Keepapitchinin have resulted from quotations I’ve posted from late 19th/early 20th century condemnations of “round dancing” (waltzing). We smile at the antique flavor, but I’ve been proud of my readers and myself for not descending to arrogant ridicule. Instead, we’ve discussed *why* Church leaders taught what they did. There are true and timeless principles embodied in old-fashioned dress in those out-of-date admonitions.

    Same here. Rather than casting the standards of our parents’ or grandparents’ generation as hopelessly obsolete and worthy of scorn (and, in the process, projecting that same worthlessness onto current standards, because, hey, they’ll be just as contemptible to future generations — and so we’re justified in discarding them today?), you’ve missed a great opportunity to consider what might be true and timeless here, despite the “square” words.

    We might, for instance, recognize that the advice on what to wear in public and at dances focuses exactly on what BCC readers have complained is absent from current modesty discussions. In the clips you’ve extracted, it isn’t the number of square inches of exposed skin that matters, it’s what is suitable for the particular setting or activity. The details of exactly what is in good taste have changed, but the principle is there, is true, and is clear in a way that seems absent in today’s discussions.

    There’s humor in the disconnects between the 1960s and the 2010s, sure, but mockery and cynicism aren’t humor.

  2. Ardis, clearly your approach is superior, but you’ve missed a great opportunity here to consider what might be true and timeless in Angela’s post.

  3. My bishop is ordering the pamphlets for the entire ward but for all the adults, he has asked that we cross out the “th” in youth. True story.

  4. You’ve missed the opportunity to identify that for me, Steve.

  5. Reblogged this on karen alyse – unconditionally me and commented:
    I love this. It’s hilarious! But anyone who reads this should note that the FTSOY pamphlet we use today is very different. :)
    -Karen Alyse

  6. Angela C says:

    Ardis, sorry you did not like the post. Better luck next time I guess. I agree with you (as stated in the post) that the underlying themes haven’t changed much since the original FSOY. I also think that the current version is written in a more timeless manner (more principles and fewer specific cultural markers than the 1965 one), but then again, it’s hard to say when we are stewing in our own juices. Time will tell. The biggest change I note is that it is now being touted for adults, something not previously done.

  7. Mark B. says:

    Didn’t people back in 1986 talk about graduating FROM high school? To hell with standards about strapless or backless dresses–let’s instead talk about using standard English!

  8. Reminds me of a debate my mission companion had once with a member who was attempting to further the idea that members themselves would do well to follow the guidelines in the white missionary handbook (aka “the white bible”).

  9. Kevin Barney says:

    I too grew up during a crease of time when there was no FTSoY pamphlet. No one (yet) has tried to give us adults copies and suggest we live by it, but I have seen it quoted in talks as a kind of parascripture on a par with the Proclamation.

  10. Angela C says:

    Mark B – sorry, but not in my PA Dutch community. We said we were riding bike, not riding A bike, just as we said we were graduating high school, not FROM high school. We didn’t clean up the room, we ret it up. We drank wooter from a spicket and had dippy eggs for breakfast. We also said we were going to outen the lights, and if there was no more of something, it was “all.” Now, quit nix nootsie, you schnickelfritz.

  11. Mark B. says:

    Arrrgggh!! The barbarians are taking over. But when I’m done dinner I’m going down the shore. And drowning myself.

  12. Capozaino says:

    My dressy sweaters look fantastic, and you leave my natty wingtips out of this!

  13. Look at your face in the mirror first, Mark B. It needs warshed.

  14. Nobody here in my ward has suggested FTSOY is for adults too.
    As a parent I appreciate the church trying to put together a booklet like FTSOY. I like having family rules but I appreciate the support that having a community with standards brings my children.
    You can see what a mess some schools are because they are limited in being able to teach standards or expectations of behavior besides the very, very minimum and their community isn’t doing it etiher. It is easy in white upper middle class neighborhoods with college educated parents to claim that FTSOY is silly, too black and white, and too specific. However, when you see that some kids in the church do not have the family and community support for some of the basics of decent behavior you see the wisdom in trying to have something concrete and brief for the youth to refer to.

  15. I shouldn’t have made it sound like uppermiddle class teens with good parents don’t need the stuff in FTSOY. American culture doesn’t do a good job in teaching honesty, for instance. When reading the Honesty & Integrity section I can see why some people might want to teach it to adults too or use it as a resource only might be appropriate.

    Here are some great snippets from FTSOY to celebrate!!!!!
    1. Be honest with yourself, others, and God at all times.
    2. Being honest means choosing not to lie, steal, cheat, or deceive in any way.
    3. When you are honest, you build strength of character that will allow you to be of great service to God and others. You will be blessed with peace of mind and self-respect.
    4. Dishonesty harms you and harms others as well. If you lie, steal, shoplift, or cheat, you damage your spirit and your relationships with others.
    5. Be honest at school; choose not to cheat in any way.
    6. Be honest in your job, giving a full amount of work for your pay.
    7. Do not rationalize that being dishonest is acceptable, even though others may think it does not matter.
    8. Integrity means thinking and doing what is right at all times, no matter what the consequences.
    9. When you have integrity, you are willing to live by your standards and beliefs even when no one is watching. ”

    It is easy to poke fun of the dress standards or other things that do change with time, but there is plenty in there that is timeless.

  16. Here are some other great things in the FTSOY. Enjoy!

    1. Developing the capacity to work will help you contribute to the world in which you live. It will bring you an increased sense of self-worth..
    2. Help your family by willingly participating in the work necessary to maintain a home. Learn early to handle your money wisely and live within your means.
    3. Develop self-discipline, and be dependable.
    4. Do not waste your time and money in gambling
    5. Live with a spirit of thanksgiving and you will have greater happiness and satisfaction in life. Gratitude will turn your heart to the Lord and help you recognize His influence and blessings in your life.
    6. Express your gratitude to others for the many ways they bless your life.
    7. To care for your body, eat nutritious food, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep.
    8. Avoid any drink, drug, chemical, or dangerous practice that is used to produce a “high” or other artificial effect that may harm your body or mind.Use of these substances can lead to addiction and can destroy your mind and your body. Addictions harm your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. They damage relationships with family and friends and diminish your feelings of self-worth. They limit your ability to make choices for yourself.
    In all aspects of your life, seek healthy solutions to problems.
    9. Maintain an enthusiasm for learning throughout your life. Find joy in continuing to learn and in expanding your interests. Choose to actively participate in the learning opportunities available to you.
    10. Often the most meaningful service is expressed through simple, everyday acts of kindness. Seek the guidance of the Holy Ghost each day to know whom to serve and how to help meet their needs.

  17. Naismith says:

    The other difference since 1965 is not just the vintage, but that a much higher percentage of members live outside the US. So it has to be not only timeless, but workable across a wide range of cultural practices and expectations.

    I haven’t looked at it in a few years, but the version that I used five years ago was a model of readability: short sentences, simple words. It clearly had been well tested.

    Thanks jks, for pointing out the positives.

  18. I have posted some of the great things in FTSOY to show that for every one thing that seems too narrow, too specific, or doesn’t really apply in your opinion, there are 10 or 20 really good things that we should be glad are being taught to our youth.

  19. I just glanced over the latest online FSOY and unless the church gains a new appreciation for gambling I can’t find much that might seem obsolete in the future–unlike the 60s version it’s all written very broadly now. Maybe some of the technology references. Much of the advice is pretty western-centric; even if it applies universally it’s basically geared primarily toward the challenges of middle-class white America, so maybe we’ll see subtle changes if international church membership grows. Even then the church tends to prefer fitting new problems in the boxes it’s already created to creating new boxes, so I’m not sure what form those changes would take.

    Also, I’m 100% in favor of the two-hour block; anything to spare me from the horrors of Sunday School!

  20. Overall, I like the pamphlet, a lot (and some of the most recent changes are wonderful and very progressive) – but giving it to adults and teaching that adults need to live by it, as well? It’s no different than taking the counsel for youth to avoid R-rated movies and prohibiting adults from watching any R-rated movie.

    At some point, we need to stop being children of God, grow up and become adults of God. (h/t Angela C.)

  21. Spending my morning burning my dressy sweaters, silently wiping away tears.

    In all seriousness, great post. Most people struggle to predict future changes (Back to the Future II takes place in two years, folks!) and that’s especially true with evolving and shifting values, mores and normative concepts of right and wrong. Add the LDS cultural belief that just about anything the church publishes or decrees is the divine will of God, and you’ve got a formula that elevates current cultural expectations to the level of scripture. I think Angela is spot on in why FSOY is growing more and more important in the church.

    As an aside, I wish I had a dollar for every time an adult cited FSOY as evidence that Mormons shouldn’t watch R rated movies. That specific prohibition isn’t even in there (or wasn’t a couple of editions ago), but people are so accustomed to its black and white rules, they had actually convinced themselves it was.

  22. Rebecca says:

    The talks given in sacrament meeting in our ward are usually based on a section of the FTSOY. Our youth are smart enough to recognize the hypocrisy of asking them to live standards not required of adults. And as a mom of two teens I have no issue with leaders asking me to live them.

  23. okay I just scanned through the for the current Strength of Youth pamphlet, and I’m having a hard time fathoming what exactly in it are people taking issue with having adults follow. It looked to me like everything in it was good advice for people of all ages and I would say most of it is scripturally backed for how to live a life like Christ.

  24. POTF isn’t scripture, but a summary of church doctrine and positions. Is quoted through out the church handbooks, which again aren’t part of the Standard Works, but I’m comfortable with the content. As for FSOY, I had stumbled across the 1965 version while cleaning out some bookshelves at my in-laws. I read parts of it to a our ward youth at a fireside several years ago as part of our discussion of how things change. I agree that parts of it seem very outdated, even as things existed in the 60’s. But, I rather think if youth had adhered to the counsel given, their lives would have been blessed for having been obedient to the counsel of prophets, seers and revelators. The same goes for the youth of today. Should adults follow the current version? With very little exception, I would say “yes.” I certainly don’t believe in a version of “Do what I say, not what I do” when it comes to telling youth, much less my children, how they might live and be happy if I’m not willing to live the same way.

  25. Ray I don’t suppose you’re an exalted adult God? If so the last thing you’d be doing would be posting quasi petulantly on a forum that you are mature enough to watch R movies for informational entertainment or enlightenment. I don’t suppose our Father does this so if you need to emulate him that’s certainly not the place to start– but it also wouldn’t be included in the “to do” the list.

    There are few things in today’s pamphlet we shouldn’t wisely apply to ourselves. It’s actually liberal and not staunch conservative to look beyond the scriptures for good principles to apply to ourselves. Only a staunch conservative would complain “it’s not in the scriptures I’m not elevating it to that level”. The pushback here seems to be that apparently it’s not liberality in the “right” direction.

  26. Mahalo, thanks for the radical mis-characterization of me and my comment. Seriously, just about nothing in your comment describes me accurately.

    I hope all of us recognize a few things:

    1) There is a difference between youth and adults (lots of differences, actually, that are important and profound);

    2) The tendency to want to be commanded in all things is part of the natural man and not in harmony with the process of eternal progression and eventual exaltation;

    3) Movies with the same rating vary radically, in every way possible – and I never said or implied I was any more mature than anyone else with regard to what movies I can or cannot handle watching (I’m sure you would be surprised at my movie watching choices, based on your response.);

    4) I actually said, “Overall, I like the pamphlet, a lot (and some of the most recent changes are wonderful and very progressive).” You actually said, “There are few things in today’s pamphlet we shouldn’t wisely apply to ourselves.” I don’t see any substantive difference in those statements.

    Please drop the sarcasm, pick a different target or address what I actually said accurately – especially when I clearly agreed with one of your primary thesis statements.

  27. The dress code for the “65 version of the pamplet sounds very much like my high school dress code in California (class of ’66.) We were allowed to wear slacks one day a year, Olympic Day, the rest of the time it was skirts, nylons and often small heels. I did not wear the nylons, could not afford 5 pair a week, they usually only lasted a day. If it was cold we wore tights, leggings did not exist. The dances were all pretty much semi-formal and dress sweaters on a guy were nice to cudddle up to. Times and what is acceptable change. My grandmother wore a hat and gloves to go shopping, now it is pjs often as not. Laugh, if you must, at our old ways (I was not yet a member) but remember your laughter at the old generation when your grand-children dress or act in a way you find unacceptable. It will happen.

  28. Can someone direct me to the portion of For The Strength Of Youth that instructs the youth not to watch Rated-R movies? I’m searching it and cannot find any reference to the MPAA rating system at all. If there was a reference to it in some previous edition, can someone point me to the actual language of that edition in that regard?

  29. it's a series of tubes says:

    Reviewing the four different copies I have at home, I didn’t see it anywhere. I’m not aware of specific instruction on that issue other than ETB’s April 1986 conference talk, which stated “We counsel you, young men, not to pollute your minds with such degrading matter, for the mind through which this filth passes is never the same afterwards. Don’t see R-rated movies or vulgar videos or participate in any entertainment that is immoral, suggestive, or pornographic. Don’t listen to music that is degrading.”

  30. MDearest says:

    Correct me if I have this wrong, but don’t younger missionaries and older couples and single missionaries have different rules? Younger elders and sisters have much stricter rules than do older missionaries, even in the same missions.

  31. Rob Perkins says:

    As much as I can recall, it was started with a general authority talk sometime after the ratings system began to use the symbol “R” and it was directed at the youth. Local leaders all over then began teaching that if the content was bad for the teens, it was bad for the adults, too, and shouldn’t we all show an unimpeachable example?

  32. Rob Perkins says:

    MDearest, they do. I regularly spoke with my parents by phone during their mission. Had to; I was managing their domestic finances while they were gone.

  33. For me, the dead giveaway that this is not for adults is the part where it mentions that it is for the strength of youth. I’ve not been referred to as a “youth” in quite some time (and when I was it was more likely to be pronounced “yoot” a la My Cousin Vinny) so that is how I can tell it is not made for me. I won’t be infantilized.

    Are there some good general guidelines for all age groups? Sure. I doubt many married men will be happy if their wives were not able to arouse any sexual feelings within them though.

    Ray is right–being commanded in all things is no good.

  34. XiGauss says:

    Perhaps this trend was influenced by the following, from a March 1996 BYU devotional and then reprinted in the Ensign:

    “The standard of the Church with regard to morality is clearly outlined in the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet (1990), which even adults do not outgrow, even though they are no longer in Young Men and Young Women.”
    M. Russell Ballard, http://www.lds.org/ensign/1996/12/when-shall-these-things-be?lang=eng

    Its context is a plea for the membership of the Church to “be vigilant in your entertainment choices”.

  35. Our Stake encourages adults to use FSOY as personal guides. They even encourage grown women to do Personal Progress, with or without, daugthers in the YW program. It just occurred to me as I type this, there is no encouragement for the grown men to do the Duty to God program. (Now I wonder why the women are so lacking they are encouraged to do things aimed at teenage girls. j/k.)

    @JKS, you don’t really need those principles laid out in a pamphlet in order to teach them to your kids, do you? Most of that stuff are routine standards and principles ordinary Mormons believe and strive for without a FSOY pamphlet to guide them.

  36. SGNM. I suspect you won’t find anything related to R rated movies in there. This is because not all countries use the US standard. In Australia an R rated movie is equivelant to a MA+ rating. You would find that not too many movies have an R rating here and therefore would be meaningless to our youth.

  37. I have to say that I think the FSOY is great and we use it with our youth. In Oz we tend to get the tail end of the US cultural imperative. But thank goodness that we dont get the full dose. Although we are influenced by US culture there are some thing that are just very foreign and quite frankly disturbing. By and large we avoid or ignore these cultural anomalies.

  38. The FSOY advice on matters other than movies, music, clothing, etc. is such valuable advice – regardless of the fashions of the day – that it’s a shame it gets overshadowed by the stupid superficial stuff like whether music has a sinful beat (ridiculous) or whether women are wearing the right clothing.

  39. I don’t see anything about a sinful beat in the current one. The context indicates that it is talking about the vulgar content.

  40. It’s great that we all laugh at the silly 1965 dress code rules for women. Im sure though for some members back then they looked at pant wearing women as being disobedient and sinners.My question is what kept the church culture from taking the “suggestion” not to wear slacks except for physical activity and running with it? Why are we not a church of non pant wearing women? Why/how did the church culture back then ignore the FSTOY rules and evolve? How did part of the lds culture allow for a shift to take place so that pant wearing was not instant cultural shame? Was the FSTOY just viewed as a suggestion vs todays almost scriptural mindset as the post suggests? I am very interested because soon it will be an urban myth that there was a time that non endowed mormon YW/children were allowed to wear tank tops and normal shorts and that is very sad. It’s so hard to tell in the church what is culture and what is doctrine!

  41. The NEW version of FTSOY doesn’t include a mention of rating. The older version did.

    rb – Yes, I do want the church’s pamphlet so my kids can look at it and learn from it. Half of my kids are old enough that I want them to be figuring out their religion’s standards for themselves, not just having it filtered through me. It is an important part of growing up.
    You may think that most of that stuff are routine standards and principles ordinary Mormons believe and strive for without a FSOY pamphlet to guide them, but how would my kids know what ordinary Mormons believe? My son’s best friend at church last year was a convert of less than a year with a addict mom and an abusive father. The only girl in our ward his age (who he has a crush on because she is beautiful) called him up and asked him out on a date because she is a convert with a nonmember dad and a recently reactivated pregnant out of wedlock mom.
    Perhaps your ward is full of ordinary Mormons who were born knowing some basic standards, but every ward I grew up in had a few kids with word of wisdom problems, honesty problems, and I assume the adults had issues too.
    As a parent, it isn’t that I can’t teach this stuff. It is that if I am the only one teaching it to my kids there is a problem.
    As a youth in our ward, the kids get assigned to give a talk on “choose something from FTSOY” or they get assigned a specific one to give a scout campfire devotional on. Duty to God assigns reading in it. It is something that they themselves can look up and read what their church teaches and it isn’t based on Brother So and So’s idea or the less than stellar example of Sis. So and So or the crazy teachings of Old School Brother So and So.

  42. Sorry, I left out that my kid and his crush were 7th graders. rb’s “ordinary Mormons” would know that 12 year old Mormons don’t date just because they were baptized but this girl who asked out my son didn’t know that despite her 2 whole years in the church.

  43. JennyP1969 says:

    Standards are not doctrine. They are standards. I taught Seminary and was vehemently instructed in training meetings to teach the doctrines of Christ only, and not Mormonisms. To be honest, at first I had no clue what this meant. But examples were given that soon clarified. For example, only wearing one earring per ear is a Mormonism. Jesus had nothing to do with this guideline from President Hinckley. Thankfully, we have developed some wise standards to use for guidelines. But they are not doctrines of Christ. I served in YW for 2 decades and have seen the benefit of these guidelines. They do strengthen young people who follow them. They prevent heartache and sorrow. I’ve seen many young people accept what’s written in the pamphlet when they fought their parents who had established the same standards for their families. Indeed, I witnessed many grateful parents.

    I’ve also seen over the years many adults who flounder and find themselves adrift with little sense of purpose and direction. I’ve helped some who were women apply Personal Progress on an adult level, and witnessed lovely transformations in their lives. When Duty to God came out, I was captivated and quietly went to work for a more formal effort on my part to come closer to Christ, and in “trying to be like Jesus.”

    So I encourage each of us to take what is of worth to us in FSOY, grow it to our level and stage of life, and let it be a lovely standard bearer to uplift our souls. Make it your own — personalize it privately. Men and women can lead more fulfilling lives by using both Duty to God and Personal Progress at any level they are living. Truly, these programs and this standards booklet need never be infantalizing. As adults we are more than capable of making these things as mature and challenging as we wish to make them. I hope we can catch the vision of sustained improvement which no one should ever outgrow.

    Let’s roll…..

  44. Michael says:

    We had a special fireside in a former stake where I attended where the entire program was members giving talks on each section of the FSOY. We were asked to apply the pamphlet just as the youth.

    I am surprised that no one has pointed out the obvious problem with saying if it’s bad for youth, it’s bad for adults. Broad principles will almost always apply to both ages, but many more specific things will not. Solid food is harmful to babies. Adults still eat it. It is a bad idea to allow 11-year-olds to drive. But adults exhibit the behavior of driving, and it’s somehow OK.

    Similarly, we have sections on dating and sexual purity that are expressly for youth, and once adults mature and are married, the things that were once prohibited are considered acceptable.

    Ultimately, we all need counsel and guidance in our lives, but youth sometimes need more direction than adults do, because youth often don’t have the experience or the knowledge that adults have many times acquires by simply living and experiencing life.

  45. Zarahemlite says:

    Hey–Leave my sweaters out of it! :)

  46. Jesus had nothing to do with this guideline from President Hinckley.

    Do you always dismiss modern-day prophets this way, or only when your superior judgment alerts you to their ignorance and general lack of communion with Jesus?

  47. “We’ve already seen wards using the Proclamation on the Family as scripture or claiming that it is scripture, despite Pres. Packer’s statement in General Conference that it was “revelation” being removed when the talk was published.”

    I too have noticed a trend among members to try to elevate the Proclamation and the FSOY to divine revelation, when they were obviously the product of some committee somewhere in Salt Lake. Its so sad to me that the membership is so desperate for evidence of ongoing revelation that they feel the need to manufacture it. Its even sadder that a church that claims to have a “living prophet” hasn’t produced any actual prophesies or revelations in years; just bi-annual regurgitations of prior pablum.

  48. Why no FPP yet on the updated missionary grooming standards? Seems to be ample fodder

  49. Porter, fwiw, I’m so tired of that simplistic charge.

    That’s all.

  50. Matt W. says:

    Is there any council in FTSOY that is bad council for adults for some reason? Also, I basically posted this same post at NCT years ago. Small world…

  51. From a quick glance through For the Strength of Youth, there were several items that would not be applicable to adults.

    * “Obey [your parents] as they lead you in righteousness.” (In our society, making the transition to adulthood should mean that you no longer have the responsibility of obedience toward your parents. Adult children should owe their parents respect and consideration, but obedience on the part of the child or the expectation of obedience on the part of the parent could suggest an unhealthy relationship.)
    * “Avoid going on frequent dates with the same person.”
    * “When dancing, avoid full body contact with your partner.” (This should specify unmarried to be applicable to any adult, but really, I can’t imagine we want to discuss this point.)

    And unless I missed something, that’s about it, since the section on sexual purity notes that certain guidelines are applicable before marriage and not after, and then states those guidelines clearly.

    My conclusion: in general, although it may be possible to quibble with a point or two in the booklet, it’s a very practical and well-written guide to living a Christian life.

    * * *

    Someone mentioned above that the women in one stake were being encouraged to do Personal Progress, but the men were not being encouraged to do Duty to God. This could be because of the structure of the different programs. Duty to God is based on activities in the three successive quorums, so it would not be easily adaptable to an adult. On the other hand, just having finished the Personal Progress program a month ago, there were very few changes I had to make to the program to be able to do it as a Young Women leader and mother of a young woman.

  52. It seems to me that the Fsoy is a precursor to the BYU hon

  53. Post got chopped. What I was saying was that the FSOY seems to be a precursor to the BYU honor code minus the monitoring and reporting of others unless one considers cultural shame similar. The Fsoy has many wonderful parts as does the Y honor code. Both can be very helpful in giving youth a framework to build on. It is odd though that both are so similar and now being applied to not only teens but also adults (yes I consider college students adults hence why I find the Y honor code so problematic). I think there is a difference between what adults are prepared for in their spiritual framework vs youth. There comes a point when the do’s and dont’s list of FSTOY when applied in the manner it is can cause the church culture as a whole to focus on a checklist of potential “sin” vs learning the doctrine of the gospel.

  54. Dax – sorry I don’t see it being a precursor to the BYU honor code. FSOY has quite a few categories that the BYU honor code doesn’t have like: Family, Service, Gratitude, Education, Physical & Emotional Health, Agency & Accountability, Friends, Tithes & Offerings, Work & Self Reliance, Go Forward with Faith, Repentence, Dating, Music & Dancing.
    BYU’s Honor Code does include a lot of church standards but BYU’s Honor Code for student behavior was created for very different purposes than FSOY standards for youth.

  55. Just had a similar conversation at my family reunion this weekend. I was telling a certain family member that what my family member chooses to wear after church is not the gospel. I was trying hard to teach my family the gospel of Jesus Christ. This family member said FTSOY pamphlet is the gospel. Really? Where was I when it was canonized?

  56. kc, that is an obvious example of not understanding the meaning of the words “gospel” and “scripture” and “counsel” and “command”. We conflate too many things in the Church, and this is one of the best / worst examples of that tendency.

  57. I did a quick google search and found Sisters Beck and Dalton may be the source of the adult-fication of “FTSO You”

    ” Sister Dalton: I call it For the Strength of “You.” It applies to all of us.

    Sister Beck: My copy has my name on it, and it’s marked for me. The standards are not gender or age specific; they’re for children of God.”

    https://www.lds.org/ensign/2007/10/for-the-strength-of-you?lang=eng

  58. Interesting people know lots of stuff and have had interesting experiences. Does the FTSOY guide make interesting people? Can interesting people be acceptable to God?

  59. Read the preface to the 1965 FTSOY that the first presidency endorsed and recommended the pamphlet to ALL church members and not only the youth… Perhaps this is not a “recent” trend as suggested in the post.

  60. Angela C says:

    Ardis asked an interesting question about why leaders emphasized what they emphasized in these specific standards. I wanted to add some thoughts on that question which I’ve been thinking about since she posited it:
    – casual vs. dressy. There’s an element of “appropriate” for the occasion, but anything considered too casual is definitely decried here. In the current church, it seems we still have this tendency (we dress up more than others when we go to church and dances and at BYU), but it’s also come down quite a bit (denim and jersey knit skirts at church, sandals). There are those who really want to cling to the “dressy = better” thinking, though (e.g. requiring nylons, banning flip flops or open toed sandals). Likewise, the BYU clean-shaven look seems to be motivated by this theme.
    – modesty focus. The guidelines above are less about modesty than we hear today, IMO. But that’s partly because these older guidelines were more scattered in focus.
    – gender essentialism. This was an interesting one. We really don’t hear much gender essentialism in dress guidelines any more like we did in the 1960s. Dress is more unisexual now (all wear jeans, tee shirts, sweaters).
    – anti-materialism / high-fashion. I sense a bit of this (perhaps wrongly) in the guideline against fancy backless ball gowns. I could be off base, but this is another one we don’t hear as much any more if so. There used to be a real emphasis on making your own clothes (when that was cheaper than buying things made in SE Asia), and that seemed firmly in the provident living camp. Maybe we have lost something by no longer having much focus on avoiding the immodesty of high cost apparel.
    – body shaming. I was actually a bit shocked by the comment about women looking ungainly or bony in backless evening gowns. It reminded me of a friend who used to point out women who were wearing bikinis and say how ugly that made them so that this daughters would not want to wear them. I questioned this parenting tactic for several reasons: 1) his daughters would have to see he was wrong about the “ugliness” – many of the women were stunning, 2) it contributes to believing that female bodies are inherently ugly and must be covered up (that’s not the right reason to cover up), and 3) it was very judgmental and mean toward these women who were not doing anything wrong, and it encourages his kids to treat others poorly based on how they are dressed or their lack of adherence to Mormon standards even when they are not Mormons.

    The good dancing part seems to be about cultivating talents related to courtship, another theme we still hear but in a much different way. The type of dancing they are encouraging (clever footwork) is also more structured and partner-focused vs. the individualized free form dance styles that have since become more popular. That could easily be a metaphor for dating.

  61. “avoiding the immodesty of high cost apparel.” When reading this I got stuck on the use of immodesty. I had to intellectually define it in my brain as “extremes.” I know that you used the word correctly but when viewed through my particular prism, “immodesty = scantily clad.”

    Perhaps it is like “molestation” or “intercourse” that have now become so connected to the sexual definitions that they no longer need the sexual qualifier to be understood as such.

    In summary, I would like to expand my definition of “modesty” and it helps me when people use the word in other contexts. Thank you!

  62. Thomas Parkin says:

    “Can interesting people be acceptable to God?”

    Snort. Exactly.

  63. we haven’t had any push for adults to follow FSoY . That said, when I have heard such things I’ve always assumed the speaker KNEW they were speaking to adults and the handful of not applicables would be easily recognized and dealt with appropriately. I guess I’ve assumed adults aren’t idiots. A majority of the book applies to anyone. It’d change the world if people were honest and hard working and kind. Much of the world would assume the obey your parents still applies. A reminder to be a little better isn’t a bad thing.

  64. Here are some questions that matter more than “Are adults expected to follow the guidelines in FTSOY”:

    1. Why did The Lord inspire his apostles and prophets to include these guidelines in FTSOY?
    2. What does the answer to question 1 tell me as an adult living in the same world and time as the youth of the Church?
    3. What message is implicitly given to our children when we ask them to stick to some standards which we, ourselves, disregard?

    In any case, I’m willing to bet that what annoys you the most in the current booklet is the section on entertainment and media :-)

  65. How about the following versions of those questions:

    1. Why did The Lord inspire his apostles and prophets to call the pamphlet “For the Strength of YOUTH”?
    2. What does the answer to question 1 tell me as an adult living in the same world and time as the youth of the Church?
    3. What message is implicitly given to our children when we don’t teach them the difference between youth and adulthood – even as we generally live most of the same standards we ask them to live?

  66. @Ray your version of question 1 isn’t a version, it’s a completely different question that also has merit. Your rhetoric doesn’t convince me much that I should gratify myself with violent movies just because I’m an adult.

    Regarding question 3, which standards are you advocating we wouldn’t benefit from living? I’m extremely intrigued and curious as to your answer to this one?

  67. All I know is that I was pure when I was born. That’s why I lay about and gibber all day and take my nourishment from my wet nurse.

    On a more serious note. I actually read through this pamphlet quite often, as it sits in the bathroom. There is nothing in it I disagree with. A young person who followed it would be a really great young person. (If incomplete as an adult.) What bothers me about it is …

    What it doesn’t contain.It doesn’t give any real idea of what righteousness looks like. Righteousness is vigorous and lively and curious and expansive. This picture of the way to be lacks humanity. This feeling that goodness is about protecting oneself above all else. It strikes me as so many things do that are written in glib Mormon speak – it is like the movies that portray Dr, Jekyll as dull because he is good. Mr Hyde is the vigorous one. But in reality goodness enlivens. The fact that so much around Mormon culture and the churchy aspects of our lives are so painfully dull doesn’t speak to a general goodness.

  68. “Your rhetoric doesn’t convince me much that I should gratify myself with violent movies just because I’m an adult.”

    Good, since it wasn’t intended to do so.

    “Which standards are you advocating we wouldn’t benefit from living?”

    I’m not advocating anything except that youth and adults don’t need the same counsel in all things. I just looked through the pamphlet again, and there are at least 10 things that are directed at youth that are not universally applicable to adults. (I only counted the ones that are obvious.) I’m saying it was written for youth, not adults. That’s all.

  69. @Thomas, I think it depends which glasses you’re wearing while you read it. I think it’s a bit unfair to conflate the FTSOY booklet with “Mormon culture”. The book contains many “doing” principles, not just items of self-protection. More importantly, it points to the scriptures, where youth really should obtain their understanding of what righteousness looks like.

    So I look at the booklet with the eye of faith instead of the eye of criticism, skepticism, or cynicism, and suddenly it has much more value to me and my family.

    But it’s the same booklet.

  70. @Ray, fair enough, but what are your thoughts on the “Media and entertainment” section?

  71. That, generally, it’s very good advice, especially for youth. It also is subjective and lacks definition, which I believe is a good thing – much better than the idea that extra-church standards can be applied without discretion to church members. Just like the other sections, I like it – as I said in my first comment in this thread.

  72. @Ray I agree with you, but I think “Do not attend, view, or participate in anything that is vulgar, immoral, violent, or pornographic in any way” is fairly well-defined.

    However I agree with you that we must ultimately learn to read our own moral compass instead of being guided by the hand. I believe that if we do, we will refrain from such entertainment not because we’ve been warned against it, but because we acknowledge its effects on our spirituality and value the companionship of the Spirit too much to jeopardise it for something so trivial.

  73. Angela C says:

    nicolasconnault – words like vulgar, immoral, violent and pornographic mean very different things to different people. Even the supreme court justice defined pornography as “I know it when I see it.” Hardly precise, consistent or repeatable. As another example, when I was on my mission, I overheard one of the DLs talking to the president about a reward for hitting a goal: a district outing to see a popular PG-13 movie that had just been released. The president agreed that would be a motivating reward, and was ready to approve the request. A visiting seventy was standing near and quickly interjected that the movie the elder suggested was unsuitable. He said it was full of “pornographic violence” and that the president should not approve it. I got the feeling president had already seen the movie and didn’t object, although he didn’t contradict the seventy. Clearly the term “pornographic violence” was being used as hyperbole.

  74. @Angela — I agree, and that’s why I’ve (mostly) let go of my habit of telling people what their standards should be. Now I just tell them that they can happily live without any TV, and they should give it a go :-)

    I have to admit I was appalled by the example you gave of a mission president rewarding missionaries with worldly entertainment for completing a missionary goal. It’s completely counter-productive. Anyway, that’s the SDT researcher speaking here, wrong forum and off-topic :-)

  75. “I’ve (mostly) let go of my habit of telling people what their standards should be.”

    It’s good to know that your repentance is half-way done. Best go all the way with it.

  76. @Thomas Yes bishop :-)

  77. Angela C says:

    nicolasconnault – I’m not sure how I feel about rewards for missionary work in general either. I do think the tracking and celebrating / shaming associated often resulted in some dodgy behaviors among missionaries, who frankly weren’t that prone to be spiritual anyway. But then again, dealing with a bunch of kids, I’m not sure what works best.

    I agree with those who say that you really can’t preach one thing to the youth and then have the adults do something contradictory (or have the members do one thing but leaders something different), but I also feel that’s why the best parts of the pamphlet are the least specific in guidelines; the principles are fairly timeless if not that quotable.

    When it comes to the specifics, there are matters of context to consider when we try to judge what is appropriate. It’s “appropriate” to wear running shorts to exercise, but maybe not to a church dance. It’s “appropriate” to see a movie that includes some profanity but is educational and uplifting (e.g. The King’s Speech, Shawshank Redemption, Schindler’s List), but it’s not appropriate for younger ages (King’s Speech is fine for all ages, IMO, and only carried a PG rating in Singapore).

  78. @Angela,

    Self-Determination Theory research includes hundreds of studies during the last 40 years, all pointing to the most robust effect in social psychology: when you reward someone with an extrinsic reward for doing something, their interest in doing that thing for its own sake (intrinsic motivation) diminishes. Since our world is still largely dominated by Skinnerian behaviourism (I can manipulate people into doing things through rewards and punishments, like we do with animals), that finding makes many people feel uncomfortable, and they conveniently ignore or downplay it. But it’s now an established fact, no longer a point of debate.

    Regarding the King’s speech, since its only issue is the language, it’s quite easy to tone down during the dubbing process, hence the lower rating for other languages. I might go see it in French.

    That being said, I feel we are too quick to attribute virtues to the televised media, as if it had the monopoly on upliftment and inspiration, or could deliver on these better than any other form of communication. TV excels at entertaining, and does a mediocre to OK job at anything else. It especially sucks at stimulating viewers into action (other than consuming!). Read Neil Postman’s “Amusing ourselves to death” for an excellent treatise on this subject.

  79. Angela C says:

    On the King’s speech, just to clarify, Singapore is English speaking, and the movie was neither dubbed nor censored. It carried a PG rating as originally filmed. The ratings in Singapore are based on Singaporean moral values, and they don’t care about swearing in any ratings. They do however rate the show Modern Family M-18 because there are homosexual characters and homosexuality between men is technically illegal there (although not generally enforced, and lesbianism is not outlawed). Further I would add that removing the language substantially changes the most pivotal moment in the film. The swearing is the climactic plot point. I don’t see how you remove it plot-wise.

    Personally, I think the MPAA is very arbitrary in US ratings. Violence is anything-goes, but swearing and smoking are R rated? It’s a little off to me.

  80. @Angela I don’t care much for MPAA or any such committees, I won’t trust the judgement of people whose moral character I know nothing about. This is less an issue of standards than one of spirituality: if a movie contains elements that offend me and negatively affect my ability to receive revelation for myself or my family, I abstain from it.

    And yes you guessed it, that means I don’t watch any TV and almost no movies, and I don’t play computer games. I used to, but I would be unwise if I kept ignoring the lessons I have learned about entertainment throughout my life.

    So I do worry that your OP may lead some people to decide to ignore the FTSOY guidelines on entertainment, just because they’re adults. If anything, the older you get, the stricter your own self-chosen standards should be, as the influence if the Spirit refines your sensitivity to and your discernment of what is lovely, praiseworthy and of good report.

  81. “If anything, the older you get, the stricter your own self-chosen standards should be.”

    Substitute “I” and “my” for “you” and “your” in that sentence, applying to you, and I would endorse it. Personal statements with regard to this topic are fine with me; universal statements, not so much.

  82. Oh, and I don’t think anyone who comments here ignores the guidelines. I think many differ in exactly how they define the words used – and I am completely fine with that, since the wording itself lends itself to that outcome, and I believe it’s intended to do so.

  83. @Ray, I understand if the universal nature of my statement bothers you, but are you saying you find it of no value for yourself?

    If not, can you explain why?

    I actually didn’t intend to make an unqualified sweeping statement, so I will append this to it: “If your goal is to become perfected in Christ”. See, now it’s a conditional sweeping statement!

  84. As a missionary working with Cambodian refugees in Salt Lake City, in the mid 1980s, our mission president asked us young missionaries to watch the movie ” The Killing Fields” ( rated R). I spoke with some people who had actually been through many of the the horrendous experiences portrayed in the movie and they were very grateful that the movie existed and that people could get a small idea what went on over there. Sometimes reality isn’t G rated. The Bible isn’t G rated. Jesus’ story was violent and what some people would call “pornographic”. ( He wasn’t hung on the cross with his clothes on.) Joseph Smith’s life was very violent. Does God stop watching our life when it gets R rated?
    What I’m saying is that movies can teach us to be more compassionate if they are done well. Sure, if we watch violence to glorify it, that is sick.
    It is like comparing nudity. A nude body can be a beautiful creation of nature, or it can be porn. Depends on how it is portrayed and how you look at it.

  85. Sorry, I was just commenting on the idea of the standards of the Strength Of Youth being for adults as well as Youth in the area of movies. Maybe someone up there knows this and it is why the book no longer specify s rated R movies.

  86. @Kartep, I think what matters more is our intent when watching something. If we are seeking to be entertained, no violence or nudity is justified. The Book of Mormon is quite clear about how God views chastity, and how the truly converted view the shedding of blood. It was certainly a good intent that prompted your mission president to ask you to watch this movie, yet if a missionary had seen it while seeking to be entertained by the violence, he would have likely had a very different experience that was intended.

    And I don’t think the rating was ever part of the FTSOY,as someone already mentioned.

  87. I have two pre-school age children, and we’ve been reading to them from the illustrated Book of Mormon. My wife also teaches junior primary.

    Both the illustrated Book of Mormon and the lessons for junior primary contain incredibly graphic stories–stories that might be “R” and would certainly be PG-13 if portrayed at all realistically in a movie.

    Let’s just say I really don’t want to teach my 4-year-old about the bloody act of Ammon chopping off a huge number of people’s arms.

    Clearly, maturity plays a role in what media (and I include the Book of Mormon in “media”) is acceptable. Historically, the church hasn’t always realized this, which is why I have to skip certain chapters when reading the Illustrated Book of Mormon to my kids.

  88. @Tim, I’m personally not keen on the illustrated Book of Mormon, especially the latest edition. Despite the style which I find terrible, there is a fundamental issue in converting a book of scriptures into a pictorial format: most of the doctrine gets lost, and we are left only with stories, which mostly involve people fighting each other (“bad people” as my 3.5 year old calls them). Whereas war takes up only 10% of the verses of the whole Book of Mormon, it probably makes up the bulk of the illustrated version.

    However, calling it incredibly graphic is a bit of a hyperbole in my opinion, and leaves little language for describing games like Postal 2 or movies like “Hostel”…

  89. nicolasconnault,

    I’m not familiar with those movies. I consider the edited-for-TV version of Braveheart to be incredibly graphic, and would put the chopping of arms in about the same category. Okay for adults? Sure. Okay for small children? No.

    But that’s just me. I’m sure you have your own limits on those things.

    I also mentioned that that particular description of violence is also in the manuals for the junior primary classes…

    I’m happy, at least, that the church has moved away from an arbitrary “No R-rated movies” to having positive reviews of R-rated movies on its newspaper’s pages, as well as newspaper articles about how silly the ratings system is.

  90. @Tim, sorry if I misunderstood you, but I don’t see what’s “graphic” in either the manuals or the illustrated scriptures. The violence may be described, but it is not “graphically” portrayed or even described in any amount of detail. I really don’t understand how they can be compared in any way with the dismemberments, impalings and other torture portrayed with gory detail in Braveheart.

    How would you compare them with scriptural accounts of the crucifixion, then? Does that all fall under “incredibly graphic”? :-) how would you describe something even more graphic? Sometimes I find it useful to use an arbitrary scale when comparing things like these, rather than using hyperbolic adjectives. For example, you might say “on a scale of 0-100, where 0 means no violence whatsoever, and 100 means the level of violence portrayed in movie X, the chopping of arms gets 60″. Now that would be more conducive to a fruitful conversation.

  91. No joke, a counselor in my YSA ward bishopric said that these standards apply to all single church members. Because obviously you stay a youth till you get married and the maturity fairy sprinkles you with her magic dust…

  92. “@Ray, I understand if the universal nature of my statement bothers you, but are you saying you find it of no value for yourself?”

    No, and I haven’t come close to implying that in m y comments. This is at least the third time you’ve made that leap about something someone else has written. May I suggest you take only what people actually write and not make unwarranted assumptions about other things they might mean? In other words, it’s a good idea not to read between the lines in discussions like this, since, generally, there is nothing between the lines to be read.

  93. Consider this, nicolas: When you end up appearing to argue with someone with whom you seem to agree in primary principle, there is little room for constructive dialogue. It feels like you are assuming you will disagree and, therefore, are looking for reasons to disagree even if the comments alone don’t warrant it.

  94. @Ray, I’m sorry I made some incorrect assumptions. But maybe my phrasing gave you the wrong impression too. I wasn’t trying to imply that you were disagreeing with my statement, I genuinely wanted to know if you found any value in it for yourself, since you said you would only endorse it if I applied it only to myself. I’m trying to understand your point of view so I can adjust my own. Isn’t that the point of any constructive dialogue?

    I know I tend to across as aggressive and argumentative, and is apologise for that, it’s a personality trait I am becoming more aware of and am working on.

  95. Thanks for the clarification, nicolas.

    The following is a long response. Just a warning upfront.

    I really like most of what’s in the pamphlet – and the points where I have any concerns at all tend to be minor points that aren’t worth nit-picking. Each of my kids has a pamphlet, and I would love it if they followed the spirit of almost everything in it.

    My primary concern is the idea that what’s right for youth is automatically right for adults – and that concern is addressed perhaps most beautifully in the following words of Paul, the apostle, in his wonderful treatise on charity in 1 Corinthians 13:

    “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” (verse 11)

    One of the central parts of Mormon theology is the idea of eternal progression – of growing from grace to grace and learning line upon line, precept upon precept. This vision depends on individual and communal evolution, on putting away childish things (things that are completely appropriate for children) and picking up adult things, instead. It requires our willingness to be children and youth, with standards applicable to those stages, and then move into adulthood, with a lessening of external constraints, a strengthening of internal control and a recognition of the need for “opposition in ALL things” – including the appearance of nuance and ambiguity that breaks down the former black-and-white boundaries of childish and youthful absolutism. It requires a broader view of what is “virtuous, lovely, or of good report, or praiseworthy” than what sustained us in our youth.

    For example, as a child, I might have insisted that God does not recognize or honor the religious efforts of those who lack “The Priesthood” as we accept it in the LDS Church – but adulthood has brought me the ability to recognize and honor another religion’s baptisms, for example, and still hold to the need to perform temple baptisms for the people who were baptized. I am able to believe in both the symbolic and literal power of such ordinances (or either the symbolic or literal power) without devaluing or dismissing in any way the faith of the people outside the LDS Church who don’t understand or accept temple ordinances. That is an evolution of understanding that can occur with age and maturity, and I can believe in teaching the principle in different ways to children, youth and adults.

    “Standards” are the same. I can have no problem with other people living “according to the dictates of their own conscience” – and even grant that some of our modern Mormon standards are not universal and better than other standards for other people. I can have no problem with the general outlines of our dress standards (and I chose that phrasing carefully), but I also can have no problem with another culture that chooses to wear no clothing at all, as long as their sexual practices also value chastity, fidelity, loyalty and the rejection of sexual objectification.

    “Standards” are not the same thing as “the Gospel” – and whenever we tend toward treating adults as children, I believe we move away from treating them as developing gods. (Some of the practices of our Young Adult and Single Adult programs are the best/worst examples of this, imo.)

  96. Angela C says:

    nicolas: “So I do worry that your OP may lead some people to decide to ignore the FTSOY guidelines on entertainment, just because they’re adults.” If so, they brought that to the OP. Nothing in my OP even mentions entertainment guidelines.

    “whenever we tend toward treating adults as children, I believe we move away from treating them as developing gods” As Ray already knows, he & I are perfectly aligned on this point.

  97. @jks

    You inadvertently nailed it. These are white, upper-middle-class standards, which I guess is great if you want your kid to become a lawyer, filmmaker, or hipster, but is hardly gospel. A lot of classism inherent in the “gawd, curlers are SO tacky!” ideas from 1965 to today.

  98. I loved this post (and found it really funny), Angela, and I’m quite glad that I also went through YW during a time in which FTSOY wasn’t pushed (1984-90). I managed to get quite a lot of church counsel during that period despite the lack of a pamphlet to remind me of what I believe or the standards I should live. I’m mostly glad that I was given modesty as a principle, rather than a concrete set of guidelines, so I didn’t grow up worried about being judged for things like wearing a perfectly modest sleeveless shirt in the oppressive Louisiana heat. I was trusted to make good decisions. I’m much more of a fan of “teach them the correct principles and let them govern themselves,” even if that means that the governing may look slightly different from person to person. There’s much too much uniformity and peer pressure in current Mormon culture, and I think emphasis on FTSOY contributes to that phenomenon. It was much more pleasant to be a Mormon teen in the 1980s.

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