Beliefs Columns Culture Jana Riess: Flunking Sainthood Opinion

How to create ex-Mormons

Last week on Facebook, I saw an advertisement for “Mormon Prom,” a formal dance for older teens. I don’t know where or when this dance is going to take place (and I’m pretty sure I don’t want to), but I think a better title for it would have been “How to Create More Ex-Mormons, Especially Among Girls!”

The flyer contained clear and unambiguous dress standards. For boys, a button-down shirt and tie were required, and low-riding pants were regarded as objectionable.

For girls: No bare shoulders, naked upper arms, visible cleavage or bra straps, sheer fabrics, low necklines, low backlines, bare midriffs, tight or revealing clothing, or hems more than three fingers above the knee. As a preventive measure, girls were required to text a photo of their dress beforehand to obtain approval from a leader in the Young Women program.

The boys’ guidelines took up a single line of space; the girls’ rules comprised the bulk of the poster. And just in case there was any ambiguity, there were promises of public disgrace for any girls who disobeyed: “We will have lovely cardigans and maxi skirts for those who show up without meeting these guidelines.”

Nothing like a good old-fashioned dose of slut-shaming at a church activity, calling public attention to any girls whose clothing doesn’t pass muster.

It struck me, immersed as I am right now in data and stories about Millennials, that this poster perfectly encapsulates the gendered double standard of the Church AND a pervasive culture of judgmentalism that focuses on outward appearance as a sign of inward worthiness. It’s almost as if it is designed to be a turnoff to young people who might be serious about deeper questions of faith.

I wish church members would be more careful about judgment. I’ve mentioned here before that in addition to all the questions the Next Mormons Survey asked current Mormons about their beliefs and behaviors, we also surveyed former Mormons, including questions about why they left. Among Millennials, “I felt judged or misunderstood” tied for the number-one reason out of 30 possible reasons for leaving the Church. It was third among GenXers and seventh for Boomer/Silent Mormons.

There was a clear gender difference too. Among former Mormon women as a whole, judgment ranked first. And when asked what, if anything, might have induced them to stay Mormon, women’s number-one answer was “if ward members had been more loving and less judgmental.”

The theme of judgment also came up with some regularity in interviews for the book, especially among women. One shared the humiliation of getting ready to speak in sacrament meeting and having an elderly lady cover her legs with a coat in front of the whole congregation, because her skirt was deemed too short. Another told of a Primary president who booted two autistic boys out of Sharing Time one day because they weren’t sitting quietly; she also told them that they would not be worthy to hold the priesthood when they turned twelve. So many painful stories. Obviously, these were balanced by other stories of love and acceptance, but women who had experienced the sting of judgment did not forget.

I’d love to see the Church reflect more carefully about this, particularly about the dangers of an unhealthy interest in policing the bodies of girls and women. The good news from the Next Mormons Study – and there was plenty of good news! – was that young adult Mormons are deeply spiritual, and that they are interested in devotional practices that are often rigorous. They have high rates of daily prayer and sharing the gospel; they are strong believers in core Christian ideas; they do their home and visiting teaching. Women were especially vibrant ambassadors of their faith.

Can we please try not to screw that up for them?

In an era of widespread religious disaffiliation, some of the exodus of young adults out of the LDS Church is frankly out of our hands. Mormonism is not an island, and it’s very, very hard for any religion to entirely resist the pull of larger forces operating in the religious landscape. If young adults are leaving organized religion in large numbers, it’s unlikely that the LDS Church can remain wholly aloof from that.

But neither do we have to contribute to it further with our judgmentalism, effectively handing Millennials and GenZers an engraved invitation to leave.

 


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About the author

Jana Riess

Senior columnist Jana Riess is the author of many books, including "The Prayer Wheel" (2018) and "The Next Mormons: How Millennials Are Changing the LDS Church," which will be published by Oxford University Press in March 2019. She has a PhD in American religious history from Columbia University.

154 Comments

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  • Girls cause good Mormon boys to sin. Otherwise they wouldn’t. It’s why Mormon girls need so much more supervision than Mormon boys, because Mormon boys are just boys, and Mormon girls are daughters of eve, and boys just can’t control themselves around them.

    Woody won’t he? Woody won’t he? Woody won’t he? Woody won’t he?

  • Let me guess, plug’n play or paint by numbers? How are heaven points accumulated, by the sin? Male or female? Degree of violence?

  • The only prayer that I know from Jesus is when he taught the disciples to pray, the one we call the Lord’s Prayer. He never taught anything called a sinner’s prayer.

  • Let Mormon Prom require everyone to wear pants above the hips and buttondown shirts with ties.

  • Standards are wonderful. How we approach young women and how we address the standard in public is the important discussion. Myself and so many women I know grew up hating their bodies because they were turning into women and the message was skewed like this flyer. Men have a much easier esthetic in this culture. The shaming is the problem, not the standard.

  • In my ward (former) and stake, they also added the ever-so-important condition that NO SAME GENDER dates or dancing would be allowed at the Mormon Prom sponsored by the stake. Shame on the leaders of that stake for not realizing the damage they are creating. Shame on the LDS Church. Thank you, Jana, for keeping up hope and trying to better things.

  • This post didn’t even touch the other issue that should be raised in this context: Bishops interviewing young boys and girls, one on one, with the door closed, and asking them about sexual experiences and masturbation. How much more shaming goes on in these closed door sessions? How many kids leave the church as a result of inappropriate questions by their bishops? We’ll never know, but it needs to stop.

  • I’m sure it wasn’t the author’s intention, but this article reinforces every negative stereotype about Millenials and women imaginable.

  • God has set the standards.
    Those who disagree with the standards would be better served by addressing their complaints to the One Who set the standards, rather than whining to the world at large.

  • So it’s a prayer someone made up and named and certainly isn’t anything Jesus taught anyone, “Go into all the world and have everyone recite the Sinner’s Prayer.”

  • I agree. To paraphrase: in the important things unity, in the less important things liberty, in all things charity. (The original statement is better, but I don’t have time to look it up.) But our emphasis on charity shouldn’t be so strong that our standards morph into suggestions.

  • I’ve seen several articles lately similar to this one. There are standards of dress that need to be upheld, and frankly women’s/girl’s clothing tends to be more revealing than men’s. So the standards make sense. How would you communicate this to YM/YW without being specific? I think they are so specific because they have likely had experience in the past with youth wearing inappropriate clothing, so they are trying to head that off.

  • Mormons believe in the Christianity of the New Testament era. Catholics and Protestants believe in Fourth Century Creedal Christianity. Here are the differences:
    1. Baptism by immersion by the father (who has the authority) of the family
    2. Lay clergy
    3. Baptism by proxy for deceased ancestors
    4. God and Jesus organized the world, rather than creatio ex nihilo.
    5. Belief in a tripartite anthropomorphic Godhead
    6. Belief in theosis or divinization (that faithful Christians can acquire god-like attributes).
    7. Belief in sacred esoteric ordinances which allow faithful Christians to ascend to the highest heaven. Cyril, Bishop of Jerusalem, administered these ordinances until 350 AD.
    8. Belief in Eternal Marriage, as recorded in the Book of the Apostle Philip.

  • These eight beliefs should convert “doubting Thomas” ex-Mormons to active Mormons. No other Christian denomination has even one of these eight essential beliefs of New Testament Era Christians.

  • Think of the damage done by same gender matches. God has let us know what he thinks of homosexuality in Sodom and Gomorrah.

  • No, it reinforces religious negative stereotypes. All religions want to control women. For some reason, men are not responsible for heinous acts. They blame the victim.

  • Where are the standards written by god? Did he actually say there should be nothing shorter than 3 inches above the knee?

  • Are we really out to simply retain people and add numbers? The Church is not true based upon how many people stay or go. Drop the Ten Commandments, serve snacks for sacrament, bring in R-rated movies and sporting events to replace talks, and make clothing optional. Maybe that will do the trick for retention. I knew a guy who refused to come to sacrament meeting until people would make the kids be silent during the meeting. What about his retention? I knew another who said the women were dressing like ***** (his word not mine) and refused to come. Ridiculous, yes. But what about his retention? I am a moderate on some of these issues. There is no commandment that says a woman must wear nylons to be modest, for example, but there are plenty of older Church members who thought there must be. Look, a key idea missing here is the concept of reverence (showing high respect for God and for others in appearance, dress, speech, manners, etc.). Dress standards are partly cultural as to what dressing respectfully means. However, cultures, even the LDS culture, have the right to draw some lines as to what is the most respectful to God and others, and what promotes commandment keeping and what does not. Maybe people can stop judging others for judging them and just try to conform to the cultural norms of respect within the Church. They can live with the concept of both divine and cultural standards even if the line is a bit blurred at times. It is better than leaving the Church because somebody thought you were showing too much knee. Let’s dress like we have high esteem for God and respect for others. Wear more than a bikini to sacrament meeting…or don’t be retained because somebody judged you.

  • One solution regarding the dress standards for young ladies is to have them wear pant suits to the prom.

  • Not really, but that’s the story told by people who haven’t read it, or, of they have, didn’t understand it, or if they did, didn’t care because it interfered with their religious and political agenda.
    God also said not to judge, but that never stopped anyone.
    god also said no divorce except for adultery, but that also never stopped anyone.

  • The LDS (Mormon) church is the only TRUE church of Jesus Christ on the earth. Christ is at the head, and the commandments, rules, regulations, and organization are perfect.

    The PROBLEM is that Christ calls good but normal mortal men to lead HIS church, and these men are FALLIBLE and IMPERFECT, and are often the cause of ex-Mormons.

    Smart members stay focused on CHRIST, while tolerating and forgiving the failings of HIS chosen leaders.

    Conclusion? The ONLY true church having the TRUE authority of GOD, lead by Christ, managed by imperfect men and women, doing their best. (PLEASE don’t shoot the messenger!!!)

  • “God has set the standards.” Prove it. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Hitchens chapter 1, v. 1. /s

  • Funny, but the part of the story I recall is Lot offering his daughters up for mob rape if the mob will leave the strangers alone. Which is the greater sin? Consenting adults using other than christian-approved orifices during lovemaking or offering up one’s own daughters for rape?

  • Sure, I’ll not consider Joseph Smith’s marrying 2 fourteen-year-olds when he was around 38 (not normal even then), or that he pressured them with threats of eternal consequences, or that since Joseph Smith none of the so-called prophets have prophesied of anything, or that the Book of Abraham is provably not from the scrolls in Abraham’s own hand as he claimed, and a myriad of other overlooks, sure I’ll focus on Christ.

    But why not just focus on Christ in an organization that does not have the serious problems the Mormons do, and doesn’t require 10% of your gross for you to qualify for the highest VIP heaven? And doesn’t slutshame its women, or tell them their eternal place is to share their husbands with other females and produce spiritual offspring?

  • Look…I’m glad you like a book. Great…more people need to read. But just because you like a book doesn’t mean the contents of the book are factual nor do you get to have things be like in the book. I can;t go to the White House waving a Green Lantern comic and demand I want a Green Lantern ring. I read it in a book I like..make that real now.

  • From what I recall..the curse of Sodom and Gomorrah had more to do with inhospitable townspeople to strangers. At least that is how the early rabbis interpreted it.

  • Good question!! Many of the 15 million members worldwide have humbly knelt down
    and have sincerely asked GOD, in the name of Christ, if the LDS Church is HIS true church.

    Because each one asked with a sincere heart, with REAL intent, having faith in Christ, the truth was given to them by the power of the Holy Ghost, and they could not deny it.

    The power of the Holy Ghost is undeniable, evidence can be refuted. The Mormon missionaries are everywhere, they can help you follow the steps and receive your own proof from God.

  • You have committed the Fallacy of Ad Popularum (appeal to popularity)

    The number of people who believe a thing says nothing about that thing’s veracity.

    If we use your logic..mormonism must be false since most people are not members.

    You need to understand that every devoutly religious person will claim the same experience and none of you have offered compelling evidence.

  • Lucky you did! I’d have to sic a few of those Mormon girls on you otherwise, and it wouldn’t be pretty.

  • There are a number of interpretations of it. The one that holds no water whatsoever is the one fundamentalists seem to prefer. Google “the woman of gibeah” for further reading, and then wonder why it was never turned into a condemnation of heterosexuality.
    No, actually you won’t have to wonder. :0)

  • Follow the steps above and receive your evidence directly from GOD. You should not join the church, nor will you be permitted to join, until you KNOW it is true. In other words, GET YOUR OWN EVIDENCE.

  • Skin is not sinful.

    Women have boobs.

    If you can’t handle that, buy yourself a pair of blinders to protect your overly sensitive eyes.

    It is not the responsibility of every female on the planet to protect you from your own hangups.

  • This isn’t just shaming, it is sexual abuse. It is a creepy old man getting a sexual thrill from a series of teenagers.

    But let’s worry about the important things, like whether a teen girl shows a bra strap. /s

  • The bible states that plainly. (In Ezekiel).

    But that does not fit the “let’s hate gays” narrative so christians ignore it.

  • Come on. The bible never condemns rape. And women are property. So the answer is clearly consensual sex using unapproved orifices.
    /s

  • A better solution is for men to stop trying to control what women wear.

    Women have skin. They have curves and breasts. Get over it.

  • well the 10 commandments to start – but we believe in a living prophet who has set standards of dress and if you dont like dont participate – the church is a voluntary organization – no one makes you attend – if you dont want to live according to our standards – than find a church where you are comfortable with and attend there – why belittle us – go live your life according to the dictates of your own conscience and allow us to do the same –

  • To sumnarize: A guy who does not like what females wear must be accommodated because men matter. A woman who wants to choose her own wardrobe must not be accommodated because women do not matter.

  • You will soon be doing your own thing in a ghost town, because fewer and fewer people want anything to do with your religion or any other.

    Have you read the 10 commandments? It is a pathetic moral guide.

    Or does morality not include –
    Do not rape people.
    Do not own people.
    Do not torture or mistreat people or animals.
    Do not beat your wife or children.
    Conform your beliefs to scientific reality, not the other way around.

    None of those things are addressed by the 10 commandments. And some are specifically permitted (owning slaves) or required (beating children).

  • if God does not exist and he does not communicate to man – than why are you spending so much of your time – which I assume is valuable – trying to prove this to the rest of us – why not just laugh at us silly people and be done with it – why be so motivated to prove something that you can not prove – your actions only reinforce my beliefs in God – other wise you wouldn’t be wasting your time with people who believe in something that you acknowledge as real

  • There will always be judgement and thoughtlessness. It seems to me that those who leave for theses reasons have some responsibility to forgive. From the article: “women who had experienced the sting of judgment did not forget.” Women seem to hold things FOREVER-

  • It’s not your job to question why or how I choose to discuss these matters. This seems like a lazy attempt to divert the topic from the issues at hand to your imagined idea of my motives. So we’ll just not do that..mmkay?

    Why would you perceive my asking a question as making some claim or trying to prove anything? I am assuming by your non-answer that you have no evidence.

    Either answer the question or we’re done. Period.

  • but it is your job to question our beliefs – again why do you care so much about what we believe if it is all hocus pocus – i dont spend any of my tiime trolling hindus or budhists – so whats the deal – answer the question – why are you -diverting – if there is no God – why are you trolling people who believe in God – why cant you answer the question – why waste your time –

  • Once you start holding other people responsible for your own problems, then it never ends. How far will you demand women restrict themselves and sacrifice their own liberties? Will you demand they wear full-body burkas? Because there’s some wingnut in the Middle East who’s saying even that isn’t far enough and wants women to cover one of their eyes too. Maybe you need to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling and quit making women jump through hoops because you never figured out how to relate maturely to others.

  • Because you lot want to control other people’s lives because you think an invisible space wizard told you that you should. Stop bothering other people and forcing yourselves on us, and we’ll stop telling you that you believe twaddle for no good reason at all.

    It’s hilarious that you’re trying to silence people rather than deal with the very real damage your tribe is doing to the world.

  • You seem to be advocating banning anyone from this forum who dares ask a probing question about your beliefs.

    You fail to understand that some people are interested in the psychology of religion.

    Your defensiveness is odd to me. If you do not like answering my questions..just..umm.don;t. No need to project whatever ambivalence you feel to me.

    “why are you trolling people who believe in God”

    I’m not trolling. You are either ignorant as to what trolling is or being willfully dishonest.

    Now, Mc, we can either continue to have a rational, courteous discussion, or we can end this if you continue to flail around assigning incorrect motives to my discourse. Which is it?

  • Why should the standards for the dance be different from standards in the chapel for a Sacrament meeting? Clue: We don’t turn people away at the door who aren’t dressed “nice”. The man or woman who comes to worship comes to Christ as they are. Not everyone owns a suit, or a tie. Not every woman owns a Molly Mormon Burka Dress.

  • “Mormons believe in the Christianity of the New Testament era. Catholics and Protestants believe in Fourth Century Creedal Christianity.”

    This is incredibly misleading and oversimplified. The truth is that we only have a general understanding regarding ante-Nicene beliefs and practices and Catholics can trace just as many of their beliefs to early Christianity, if not more. The key is understanding not just belief statements, but what exactly was meant by these statements and practices. I’ll go through your points one by one to highlight why they don’t necessarily support the Mormon perspective.

    1. The Didache, which outlines Christian practices of the first century, states that “Baptism is to be conferred “in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” with triple immersion in “living water” (that is, flowing water, probably in a stream). If that is not practical, in cold or even warm water is acceptable. If the water is insufficient for immersion, it may be poured three times on the head (affusion).”

    From the above we can see that both Catholic baptismal methods are mentioned, but not Mormon, since Mormons do not do triple immersion. So Catholics are actually closer to early Christian practice, based on what the evidence shows. It should also be noted that the Eastern Orthodox Church continues to perform triple immersion baptism as the norm, so they are closer than either Mormons or Catholics.

    2. There is nothing in early Christian texts that speaks against paid clergy. In fact, in several documents it states that the congregation should strive to meet the needs of clergy if possible. Because economies were much different in the early Church it is anachronistic to draw too strong a connection to either the paid clergy of Catholicism or the lay clergy of Mormonism. It is also important to note that there are paid clergy in Mormonism, such as the twelve apostles. Once again, the evidence, or lack thereof, does not support your claim.

    3. There just isn’t any strong evidence for normative, proxy baptism for the dead aside from one ambiguous verse in 1 Corinthians that is mistranslated and taken out of context.

    4. It is still strongly debated among biblical scholars whether or not Genesis implies creation ex Nihilo, but what we do know is that both Jews and Christians prior to Nicea did believe in creation ex nihilo. Consider this verse from 2 Maccabees: “I beg you, child, look at the sky and the earth; see all that is in them and realize that God made them out of nothing, and that man comes into being in the same way.” Regardless of whether or not you accept 2 Maccabees as scripture, it is evidence of what 1st century Jews believed. Creation ex nihilo is also a more philosophically sound perspective as it gets around the problem of infinite regression.

    Here is more on whether early Christians believed in creation ex nihilo: https://earlychurch.org.uk/article_exnihilo_copan.html

    5. Once again, the evidence is just too sparse or ambiguous to draw a definitive conclusion regarding how widespread anthropomorphism or its alternative were in early Christianity. What we do know, however, is that the belief that God is immaterial spirit existed long before Nicea.

    Tatian, Address to the Greeks (A.D. 165), 4

    Our God has no introduction in time. He alone is without beginning, and is Himself the beginning of all things. God is a spirit, not attending upon matter, but the Maker of material spirits and of the appearances which are in matter. He is invisible and untouchable, being Himself the Father of both sensible and invisible things. This we know by the evidence of what He has created; and we perceive His invisible power by His works.

    Matter is not without a beginning, like God; nor is it of equal power with God, through being without a beginning. It is begotten, and not produced by any other begotten beings; but is brought into existence by Him alone who is the Creator of all things.

    Athenagoras, Supplication for the Christians, (A.D. 177), 4

    Is it not unreasonable to apply the name of atheist to us, who distinguish God from matter and teach that matter is one thing and God another, and that there is a great difference between them, the Deity being unbegotten and eternal, able to be known by reason and understanding alone, while matter is produced and perishable?

    Much more here: http://vintage.aomin.org/ONEGOD.html

    6. Yes, early Christians believed in something called “theosis” and so do Catholics, Orthodox Christians, and even some Protestant Christians today. Nowhere in early Christian manuscripts is theosis described in the way that Mormons today preach it, so once again the evidence undermines your claim.

    7. I’m not even sure what you mean by this, so moving on.

    8. In connecting Mormon eternal marriage to the Gospel of Philip, you are likely referencing the passage regarding the bridal chamber. This passage is ambiguous and has absolutley no clear connection with mormon views of eternal marriage. this is the epitome of grasping at straws. Additionally, the Gospel of Philip was most likely written in the 3rd century, making it one of the latest “gospel” texts and contains many statements that Mormons would find problematic, such as the claim that those believing in a future resurrection are in error.

    Mormons have a habit of grasping for evidence erratically and in eclectic fashion, but upon closer examination it is most often revealed that they are grasping at straws or taking things out of context. Catholics have just as much, if not more grounds for claiming to be more representative of early Christianity than is Mormonism.

  • I agree that hateful or hurtful things should not be said, especially at church, because we go to church to be protected from those types of typical worldly or secular mean statements.
    Jesus Himself would not approve.
    A big part of the MO Prom, the LDS private celebration of school age kids, is to be protected and celebrate modesty. I never attended one but I have children that do and will, and it is a place of refuge where boys and girls feel safe and among less judgmental eyes of those that do not hold their same values.
    Jana Riess presents some compelling evidence of why some kids and adults tune out, but I think she misses a lot of the bigger picture. Boys and girls like to have a place of fun and modesty.
    These are principles and values that we cherish. Swimming parties and beach barbecues can have different standards.

  • Thank you, finally a Mormon actually saying they are not Christians.

    You people believe that God organized the world and did create everything?

    Before every Mormon apologist said they believe i the Holy Trinity and you show you do not.

    Wow … and you say you can become a god — definitely not a Christian belief.

  • There you go … saying you’re Christian again when the OP admitted Mormonism is not a Christian religion.

  • Oh, Jana, is there a bandwagon you have ever resisted jumping on? Congratulations! You got to use the word “slut-shaming” in a criticism of the church. Now you can check that one off! You are far more righteous and enlightened than all the rest of us who simply try to keep church standards and not be judgmental. It’s a good thing you’re not judgmental.

  • So, we call them garments, not the mocking or bigotted way you refer to them. You may as well harass Jewish or Muslim people for their holy and traditional clothing. Just a head’s up: they are used to it and would have no problem taking care of a buffoon like you.
    For me today, my garments have served as a constant reminder that I am committed to Christ and His kingdom, that I have taken sacred vows to put him first.
    I wish you could know the assurance and peace that having and wearing them is.
    You will have chances in the future. Please don’t let foolish hatred or ignorant prejudices prevent you from learning the best stuff you could ever learn, know, or experience.
    No joke, bro.☺

  • Since RNS cut out the link to an online essay, as posted in my previous comment, I advise readers to google it up, as Dennis Prager’s essay, “Male Sexual Nature: A Primer for the College-Educated.” Jana, how about taking a dose of reality, as per Prager’s essay, before you set forth encouraging vulnerable young women to take offense where no offense is intended.

  • I said exactly the opposite. Every one of these eight beliefs can be substantiated by Early Christian writings. For example, I’ll show you their belief in theosis:

  • Irenaeus (2nd Century): ” we have not been made gods from the beginning, but at first merely men, then at length gods”

    Clement of Alexandria (2nd Century): “worthy men are called
    by the appellation of gods, being destined to sit on thrones
    with the other gods that have been first put in their places
    by the Savior.“

    Justin Martyr (2nd Century): “all men are deemed worthy of becoming ‘gods’, and of having power to become sons of the Highest . . .”

    Athanasius of Alexandria (3rd Century Coptic) wrote: “The Son of God became man, that we might become God

  • Jerome (4th Century – translator of Bible into Latin) wrote that God “made man for that purpose, that from men they may become gods.“

    In 1 Corinthians 8:5-6 “There are many gods . . . . To us there is but one God, the Father, and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him”

    Origen (2nd Century) said “Now it is possible that some may dislike what we have said (in 1 Corinthians 8:5-6) representing the Father as the one true God, but admitting other beings besides the true God, who have become gods by having a share of God . . As, then there are many gods, but to us there is but one God the Father, and many Lords, but to us there is one Lord, Jesus Christ. ” .

  • Harper’s Bible Dictionary: “the formal doctrine of the Trinity as it was defined by the great church councils of the fourth and fifth centuries is not to be found in the New Testament.”
    Emperor Constantine introduced a Greek term, homoousious : the Son “consubstantial” (one being) with the Father. Not in the New Testament.

  • Mormons are the most authentic Christian denomination. The others have all deviated from New Testament Christianity.

  • So your cool with all the women in your family dressing like street walkers? Do you walk around showing as much midriff as possible? You have your own dress standards, so why mock theirs?

  • Right on, Joseph K! Bandwagon SJWs sorta wear me out. They stand there on their weedy lot throwing stones at neighbors who are busy mowing their lawns.

  • There is no “scientific” reason to avoid any of those things, as there is no real moral science.

    Rape is adultery and theft of bodily autonomy, both prohibited by the ten commandments. Slavery is also theft. You’re only supposed to punish your kids for bad behavior, not beat them for evil purposes. Plenty of other parts of the Bible condemn torture and mistreating your family. Is murder bad in atheism and if so why?

  • Does it give you pause that you quote Hitchens as if he was God? What exactly constitutes an extraordinary claim, and what constitutes extraordinary evidence? Vague claims like that require extraordinary clarification.

  • Read your book.

    A man owns his wives and concubines (sex slaves) and can demand sex without consent. That, per the bible, is not adultery.

    Likewise, none of the many passages giving instructions for acquiring, owning, beating and inheriting slaves treats slave ownership as theft.

    The bible says disobedient children should be stoned to death.

    Perhaps you might share the verses that prohibit torture, animal abuse, and slavery.

    Read your book. Really read it, including the parts your preacher does not mention.

    Human morality is like human language. Having morals is part of who we are and is a necessary component of social functioning. Every group group from a local bicycle club to a nation has formal and informal standards of behavior and group members are penalized for violating group norms.

    The details of what behaviors are acceptable vary among human groups. Throughout history, nations frowned on murdering and stealing from members of the group, but had no qualms murdering or stealing from those considered outsiders.

    This is clear from the bible as “thou shalt not commit murder” did not stop the Hebrews from killing their neighbors. Nor did it stop 19th century Americans from wholesale slaughter of Native Americans.

  • That is a Post Hoc fallacy — assuming your conclusion in your premise.

    You would need to first demonstrate said god exists and then demonstrate said god provide any standards whatsoever.

    You may be right and some god exists. But it could be that said god has no interest in providing humans with any standards (per Deism for example).

  • “when did you stop beating your wife?”

    Doesn’t work that way, skippy. If you claim I am a bigot, the onus is on you to demonstrate your claim.

  • I’m a Mormon. I’m African. I live in Africa. What liberalism has done to some of you Americans I can’t begin to comprehend. Why don’t you leave the LDS Church to be the RELIGIOUS organization it is?!!! Must everything tow your skewed line? And don’t remind me the LDS Church has a skewed line too; it is a religious organization – free to join, free to leave.

  • No, you don’t have to see the tiger to know it’s tracks. Feel free to throw all Biblical morality to the wind and see what happens if your feeling frisky.

  • No, that the divorce rate for all marraiges but tons of those divorces come from a small subset of people who get several divorces. Most people who get married don’t get divorced.

  • If it was, would you mock its silly prudishness, or realize there is too much decadent partying going on these days?

  • Did you only read the old Jewish tribal rule parts? Did you miss the other 90% where Paul says you should free your slaves, where Jesus says wishing bad on anyone is a ticket to hell, where the Kings of Israel we’re condemned for their child sacrifice? Quit playing dumb about the Bible, you know the vast majority of its moral precepts are things you agree with.

  • No it doesn’t. Read it yourself again, Sodom was condemned for a multitude of sins, most of which are not listed. And yes, parts of it are wrong, just like parts of Newton’s Principia are wrong, just like parts of Darwin’s Origin are wrong, just like parts of all books are wrong, but the vast majority of it is true and useful. You don’t piss away Newton’s laws just because they make errors sometimes, don’t piss away God just because sometimes the Bible is wrong about what He did or said.

  • You need garments to tell you that, Ed? Where is that in your Scriptures, by the way? I await your reply…?

  • You are right, holy garments are not necessary to “tell” or inform me about my commitments to Jesus Christ and His Gospel. But it is a consistent reminder and awareness, and it is physical as much as spiritual, sort of like a flag or guide-on represents a nation or a unit, or a uniform symbolizes a cause or “side”. We believe it helps us identify us on the Lord’s side, His cause.
    Noah in Genesis more or less is described as having them. Joseph of Egypt was given a coat of colors, likely holy garments that caused his brothers to envy him.
    There are other parts of the Old Testament that refer to garments of the believers.
    Some parts of the New Testament refer to them.
    But, at the end of the day, scripturally based or not, temple ordinances and covenants are based on faith and instructions from a Living God, not papers or papyri.
    Even without the Bible or Book of Mormon, Latter-day Saints have sufficient authority and knowledge to know how to worship and devote themselves. Revelation and guidance from God comes in all times, even in 2018. Hard to believe for many, but that is how we believe: God actually is communicating and guiding His people as He always has been. Scary to some, awesome to they that believe it.

  • There is a difference between opinions and instructions. There is difference between personal choices and controlling the choices of others. We can have opinions, but that doesn’t give us a right to disrespect people who make certain choices.

    I’m female, and I don’t like dresses. I would wear blue jeans every day if I could. That’s me. I have opinions of 5 inch stilletto heels and hijabs (specifically, in both cases, “wow that looks uncomfortable.”)

    My opinions do not give me the right to disrespect another person or dictate their choices.

  • At an event you put on you can’t even make up your own rules. No one is forced to go to the dance, and if they want to put on non midriff, non twerking extravaganza why not let them without mocking them?

  • If heterosexuality were not the predominant m.o., you would not have people reproducing for no other reason than the worst one: they can.

    Just because people are gay does not mean they don’t value children and family. Or won’t reproduce. Quite the contrary. Some have and some do, when we are not busy adopting the castoff and unwanted products of irresponsible heterosexual reproduction.

  • If only the church would keep its purely theological concerns out of the lives of people who are not members of the church. Free to believe, free to worship, but not free to tell others how to live their lives

  • And yet. Not one of those persons is mentioned in the Bible. All were writing 100 years later.

    You’ve just proved that Mormons aren’t Christians.

  • In the United States folks are totally free to bring their analyses of issues to the Public Square, be those analyses based on theology, philosophy, science, delusions, voices in their heads, or any thing else that motivates and informs them.

    And the majority decides.

  • Absolutely free to do so in a secular republic with a fairly well demarcated line between church and state.

    Just as I am bsolutely free to participate in theological discussions among church members who would like to keep it an exclusive club where hey de die whether to interfere in the lives of people who do not share their purely theological concerns.

    I do realize that some people really don’t like that. But there you have it. Free country and everything. So really too bad.

    Don’t have your debates in public. What’s sauce for my goose is sauce for your propaganda.

  • Absolutely free to do so in a non-secular republic, like the United States.

    And you are absolutely free to participate in theological discussions where you demonstrate near total ignorance and wind up looking like an eccentric who hates “religionists”.

    I love it when you do it – it leads to a target-rich environment.

  • God did not say not to judge.

    No divorce except for adultery stopped a lot of people.

    Then the mental health profession offered its opinion, the law was liberalized, and five decades later the mental health profession (e.g., Judith Wallerstein) discovered it was not a panacea.

    Ooops.

  • Actually it’s not if perpetuating the race and building a society on a foundation of families is not a goal.

  • No, the Bible does not state that the sin of Sodom was “lack of hospitality”.

    That’s a LBGT exegesis that has no history of any kind prior to the 20th century.

  • Ezekiel 16, circa 600 BCE

    49 “‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. 50 They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.

    Facts are your friends.

  • You can’t be a fully gay dude and also get it up for sex with a woman, because if a woman gets it up for you must be slightly hetero too. Everyone can’t be gay and have the species survive, that why most people are not gay.

  • No, not really. Only to a certain class of so called Christian hiding behind religious belief. As far as I can tell, heterosexual supremacy isn’t doing a particularly good job of that.

    All of us have the capability of building families and society, not just Christians, not just heterosexuals, and certainly, not just you

  • KJV

    “50 And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.”

    Orthodox Jewish Bible

    50 And they were haughty, and committed to’evah before Me; therefore I took them away as I saw.

    The Hebrew word “to’evah” (abomination, abhorrence, plural to’evot) has a very precise meaning. To’evot are prohibitions within the cultural framework of Israel. What is an abomination for those in the household of Israel is what God calls an abomination, period.

    Just as the tribe of Abraham is distinguished by its dietary restrictions, so it is distinguished by its sexual restrictions. If you want to belong to the tribe, you live by the rules of the tribe. You can live by other rules, but you won’t belong to the tribe.

    “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.”

    The rabbinical texts make it clear that homosexual activity is prohibited, period.

    The rabbis find the roots of that prohibition as threefold: it is to’evah per se; it violates the primary command to Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply; it is intrinsically unnatural and therefore opposed to the purposes of creation – homosexuality undermines and threatens the Jewish ideal of family life, of marriage and children, articulated in the Torah.

    There is no antecedent to your suggested interpretation earlier than the 20th century, which seems to support the conclusions that it is a politically motivated gloss.

    Yes, facts are my friends.

  • Based on your posts, “a certain class of so called Christian hiding behind religious belief” is code for people who oppose you, period. They might be orthodox Jews, but your version plays better.

    The research on “(a)ll of us have the capability of building families” is slim indeed.

    Conducting another experiment on society like the liberalized divorce fiasco to see how it might work out is foolish in the extreme.

  • If you want to keep playing dumb about the vast majority of the Bible being anti slavery, that up to you. Are there any moral claims in the Bible that you think are true?

  • First…let’s lay off the childish insults, bud

    Second, if you can demonstrate with actual verses that the Bible is anti-slavery, I’m all ears.

    There are dozens of references to how it’s ok to capture and keep slaves.

    “Are there any moral claims in the Bible that you think are true?”

    Not sure what you mean by moral claims being true.

    There are in all ancient texts from Hammurabi to the Bible to the Buddhist texts that offer moral precepts that are indeed useful and beneficial to harmonious human relationships…that’s no surprise. Humans need certain behavioral norns in order to survive and thrive.

  • I didn’t say skin was sinful. The church has modesty standards which it bases in its scriptures and guidance from its leaders. It is much more fashionable for women to show a lot of skin today (which would be immodest according to the scriptures and the LDS church leaders) than for a man to show a lot of skin. I’m sure if a young man showed up with skin tight clothing highlighting his crotch or with his shirt unbuttoned to show off his chest, he would be asked to correct it.

  • God did set the standard. Here it is …
    EVERY scripture story where God or Christ interacted with someone who was naked or found lacking in clothing was given clothing (or the instruction to us was to give them clothing) but here is the catch … it was to meet that individual’s NEED and never was there ever a reference to protecting the eyes or minds of the people who were seeing their nakedness. Adam and Eve, once they realized they were naked chose for themselves to cover themselves up with fig leaves. Adam did not dictate to Eve or visa versa. Let’s act with compassion all around. The flier should have encouraged all dance attendees to dress in a way that shows respect for our own self worth. A brief reference to the For Strength of Youth pamphlet would have answered specific questions if people wanted them.
    I have watched a non-member YW who was hopeful to have a good time have their entire evening ruined when their cap-sleeve dress was deemed too revealing “necessitating” an “invitation” to wear a sweater over a well thought out and modest outfit. She had already read the FSoY guidelines and cleared the outfit with her member friends.

  • According to these standards, a guy could show up in shorts, or in just his underwear, as long as he’s got on a button shirt and tie. In other words, it’s not specific at all for young men. It does seem like a double standard.

  • I do not want to believe you are compelled in America to believe or worship. Heck, that’s not even done here in Africa. If you are or was once a member of the Church then you accepted certain things before getting baptized – to live certain standards, which obliged to. Otherwise, you are not compelled to listen to General Conference, read publications on Church policies, or listen to missionaries from the Church. You are at liberty to do what you want. Do not whine about what you have control over!

  • I didn’tt realize I had control over the millions the Mormons and the Mormons church, not to Mention the Catholics and the cstholic Church or the fundamentalists and the fundamentalist churches poured into antigay intitiatives over the past 40 years.

    If I had, I would have told that lots of children in Africa were dyingwhile they were doing it.

  • Apparently they’re all out to get someone, and you appear to be ground zero.

    Don’t let them tell you you’re paranoid.

  • I would say “Youth are encouraged to follow the dress/grooming standards outlined in For the Strength of Youth” and then not modify appearance or refuse admittance to anyone based on what they’re wearing. Give a guideline, and then welcome EVERYONE.

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