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Positions of Church Leaders on Naturism/Nudism... from LDSSDC.info
LazerusLong Offline
#1 Posted : Thursday, May 14, 2015 3:13:10 PM(UTC)

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Whereas, LDSSDC.info is in Account Suspended state, I'm re-posting gems from the Archive!

This is perhaps one of the most important posts Mr. Palmer has written, and it is well worth re-posting here, as to not be lost in the ether.

Quote:
Positions of Church Leaders on Naturism/Nudism
Sunday, September 10th, 2006
Alan writes…

In the years that Kathy and I have been corresponding with LDS naturists, we have often been asked what our local leaders or General Authorities think about our naturism. That is a sensitive topic, as discussions between members and their leaders are fairly private, and cannot be construed as general policy or doctrine of the Church.

We are aware of the responses of several leaders, mostly at the local level, but also some communication with General Authorities (usually between the Stake President and the Authority.) We must not, of necessity, disclose that information publicly, out of respect to those leaders. We feel that to make specific names and opinions open to public scrutiny would be a gross violation of our promise to sustain our leaders.

However I did write up a document for a private audience three years ago that deals with that subject in a general way, which we hope will be helpful to others, without disclosing information of a strictly private nature. We’ve also added some commentary at the end as a wrap-up to this information.

One of the problems of being a church leader is sometimes not knowing what is “acceptable” if it isn’t in the handbook. If they aren’t prepared to summarily rule one way or another, they may instead try to get consensus from other leaders. They’ll usually ask up the chain of command, but occasionally they will ask the church member, “What have other leaders said or done?”
It’s important to talk about what other leaders have said and done in response to naturism. Our gospel originally comes from Jesus Christ, but many of our doctrines and nearly all of our policies are derived from less direct sources. Much of our church culture is an amalgamation of pioneer traditions, Christian traditions, American patriotism, perceived societal expectations, and so forth.

In short, we are a body that is driven by consensus. Whenever a moral question comes up, if there aren’t clear guidelines established or scriptural sources that clearly prescribe or proscribe, we look to our left and right in order to decide what to do. We draw from existing precedents.

The difficulty with naturism / nudism is that there are few precedents to draw from — much less so in the church. But we must realize that we are all establishing precedents. Every time one of us deals with our priesthood leaders on the matter of naturism, we are establishing precedents. The action that they take in the matter will potentially have impact on a future dealing with another member.

This may sound disheartening at first. But consider this: Some leaders are uninformed about naturism and have never dealt with it before. Their reaction to it may be harsher than that of other leaders. If we can make them aware of the kinds of responses that other priesthood leaders have made — particularly those leaning toward leniency or impartiality — it may help to stave off unnecessary overreactions. I tend to think that first reactions are likely to be worse than subsequent ones — because the leader will have acquired more understanding and even spiritual guidance on the subject in the interim.

At this point, there are far more LDS naturists than there are LDS General Authorities. And though our wisdom and influence doesn’t begin to compare with theirs, our understanding of naturism far surpasses their understanding of it — collectively or individually. So it falls to us to “steer” their response to naturism to whatever degree possible and appropriate. And while that may sound like an impossible task, I don’t believe it is.

What will influence a GA? Will it be our carefully selected scriptural citations? Our charisma? Our pioneer ancestry? Our flawless history of church service? Our consistent 100% home teaching or visiting teaching record? Some of that may be important to our local leaders, but not necessarily our GAs, who will look to the SP in question as to our worthiness. Indeed, little of that information is likely to make it up to our closest GAs, unless the SP who is communicating with the GA is specifically advocating for or against us.

The most well-considered treatise on LDS naturism is useless when it falls on deaf ears. Even if we were able to convince our SP, he would not be able to convince our GA on our behalf. But what CAN carry weight is for them to hear what other selected GAs and SPs have said and done. It might not bring a significantly positive response, but it may help secure the much-sought impartiality.

Impartiality IS the best response, in my opinion. It essentially means, “I am not going to get involved.” And that’s the best anyone could hope for at this point — that the GA would choose not to be involved further. Hopefully the SP and Bishop would take a similar stand, and agree to leave it up to the member’s best judgment. I have yet to hear of a case where a GA was neutral and the SP and/or Bishop decided to take a stand in spite of that fact. I would expect hierarchical compliance from 99% of priesthood leaders — if not downright mirroring of the viewpoint of their superior.

I just want to tie up some loose ends on this…
The above is mostly directed at those who have, for one reason or another, been put in the position of talking to their church leaders about naturism. It is our feeling, and our recommendation, that members should generally not proactively volunteer information to their priesthood leaders about their naturist interests, attitudes and practices. There are several reasons for this, none of which is a desire to disrespect or be dishonest with our leaders.

Rather, we feel that it is placing an unfair burden on these leaders to trouble them over the question of naturism. As the Church has no official policy, they are typically (and understandably so) unprepared to advise on the topic. We have yet to encounter a bishop that knows more about naturism than the member who approaches them. The exception would be the several bishops, past and present, who are naturist themselves — though if anyone in their ward has ever asked these naturist bishops about naturism is unknown to us. Indications are that it hasn’t happened so far.

Naturally, if a member doubts their own worthiness, or has committed sins about which they believe they need to talk to their priesthood leaders, that is another matter. We’re referring more to the more common, more basic question along the lines of: “Bishop, is it okay if I’m a naturist?” To that question, the likely answer — because it is considered the “safest” answer — is “no” in most cases. This is at least true in the US, where our culture trends toward body-negative thinking, and has no prevailing precedent of non-sexual nudity.

If you are someone who is considering naturism, our advice is to do your own homework. Don’t throw the burden on your bishop, who has far more important needs and issues to deal with, and is just doing the best that he can. You can better sustain him by not giving him the chore of finding out about naturism for you. It is spiritually lazy to turn to the bishop on matters that can be resolved on your own through prayer, study, and personal revelation.

The final disclaimer is this: Do as the Spirit directs you in all things.
The ways of God, government, & girls are all mysterious & it is not given to mortal man to understand them. - LazarusLong
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Skywalker20 on 5/14/2015(UTC)
Mormondad Offline
#2 Posted : Thursday, May 14, 2015 3:26:16 PM(UTC)

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A couple years back Channel 2 News in Salt Lake City did a story on Naturism. They went so far as to actually approach the church office and ask the question about naturism/nudism. The response: No official position. There was no negative response, but just a neutral no response. I believe that is the best all the way around as should the church take a positive approach that it might lead into problems with individuals who would take it to signify license and abuse the policy as well as others to condemn the church for what they think versus what the real policy is. Oh, they do that already don't they.
"Modesty died when clothes were born."
---Mark Twain
LazerusLong Offline
#3 Posted : Thursday, May 14, 2015 5:09:52 PM(UTC)

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Mormondad, I completely agree with you.
The ways of God, government, & girls are all mysterious & it is not given to mortal man to understand them. - LazarusLong
Mr Moonella Offline
#4 Posted : Tuesday, May 19, 2015 2:55:37 PM(UTC)

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Mormondad wrote:
A couple years back Channel 2 News in Salt Lake City did a story on Naturism. They went so far as to actually approach the church office and ask the question about naturism/nudism. The response: No official position. There was no negative response, but just a neutral no response.


I wish this were true. If the church were asked this question and actually gave this answer, it would be a massive deal for us, much more so than just never having said anything. If the church considered the matter of naturism and came back and said 'we have no official position', we could put it up in flashing letters at the top of our home page, because they would effectively be announcing 'it's the member's choice'.

The Channel 2 report (which is at https://www.facebook.com...114729405&comments.) just said that there is no official position, but it didn't say that the church had given this response. On the previous thread about this (http://ldssdf.org/v2/default.aspx?g=posts&t=28), I repeatedly asked if anyone knew whether they had approached the church, but nobody did. Everyone just misunderstood me and went off on a tangent. The impression I was left with was that they were quoting one of the LDS naturists that they had been talking to.
Frontiersman Offline
#5 Posted : Tuesday, May 19, 2015 9:51:06 PM(UTC)

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The official position of the church is found in Handbook 2 part 21.1.42, here is what it says about the garment. The last paragraph I think I've heard talked about on the forum before. It reads like the tithing question of the matter being between the member and the Holy Spirit.

Quote:
Church members who have been clothed with the garment in a temple have taken upon themselves a covenant obligation to wear it according to the instructions given in the endowment. The garment provides a constant reminder of the covenants made in a temple. When properly worn, it provides protection against temptation and evil. Wearing the garment is also an outward expression of an inward commitment to follow the Savior.

Endowed members should wear the temple garment both day and night. They should not remove it, either entirely or partially, to work in the yard or for other activities that can reasonably be done with the garment worn properly beneath the clothing. Nor should they remove it to lounge around the home in swimwear or immodest clothing. When they must remove the garment, such as for swimming, they should put it back on as soon as possible.

Members should not adjust the garment or wear it contrary to instructions in order to accommodate different styles of clothing. Nor should they alter the garment from its authorized design. When two-piece garments are used, both pieces should always be worn.

The garment is sacred and should be treated with respect at all times. Garments should be kept off the floor. They should also be kept clean and mended. After garments are washed, they should not be hung in public areas to dry. Nor should they be displayed or exposed to the view of people who do not understand their significance.

Members who have made covenants in the temple should be guided by the Holy Spirit to answer for themselves personal questions about wearing the garment.
De oppresso liber
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creekswimmer on 9/27/2016(UTC)
Mormondad Offline
#6 Posted : Wednesday, May 20, 2015 12:04:28 AM(UTC)

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Mr Moonella wrote:
Mormondad wrote:
A couple years back Channel 2 News in Salt Lake City did a story on Naturism. They went so far as to actually approach the church office and ask the question about naturism/nudism. The response: No official position. There was no negative response, but just a neutral no response.


I wish this were true. If the church were asked this question and actually gave this answer, it would be a massive deal for us, much more so than just never having said anything. If the church considered the matter of naturism and came back and said 'we have no official position', we could put it up in flashing letters at the top of our home page, because they would effectively be announcing 'it's the member's choice'.

The Channel 2 report (which is at https://www.facebook.com...114729405&comments.) just said that there is no official position, but it didn't say that the church had given this response. On the previous thread about this (http://ldssdf.org/v2/default.aspx?g=posts&t=28), I repeatedly asked if anyone knew whether they had approached the church, but nobody did. Everyone just misunderstood me and went off on a tangent. The impression I was left with was that they were quoting one of the LDS naturists that they had been talking to.


From my memory of the story it showed the reporter on the steps of the office building and he talked about asking the spokesman or someone about the church's stance on naturism/nudism. He was informed that there was no position and if I remember right questions of worthiness was generally left up to the local leaders, or at least something to that effect.
"Modesty died when clothes were born."
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Mr Moonella Offline
#7 Posted : Wednesday, May 20, 2015 5:59:10 PM(UTC)

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Mormondad wrote:

From my memory of the story it showed the reporter on the steps of the office building and he talked about asking the spokesman or someone about the church's stance on naturism/nudism. He was informed that there was no position and if I remember right questions of worthiness was generally left up to the local leaders, or at least something to that effect.


I included a link to the clip (https://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=630709077081&oid=39114729405&comments.) Unfortunately it doesn't say that anyone from the church said anything.
Skywalker20 Offline
#8 Posted : Wednesday, May 20, 2015 6:06:16 PM(UTC)

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It seems to me that there is a lot of debate here about a video that almost no one has seen, and we'd all sooner bang our heads against a wall Brick wall rather than find the right answer.

Let's just say there is no official statement, and we are all left to our own devices in discovering the validity or falseness of the subject of naturism and stop all this roundabout debate that is getting us nowhere fast.

Well, that's enough ranting on my part...

Mr Moonella Offline
#9 Posted : Wednesday, May 20, 2015 6:16:52 PM(UTC)

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Skywalker20 wrote:
It seems to me that there is a lot of debate here about a video that almost no one has seen,


I've posted the link here in this thread, anyone can watch it.

Skywalker20 wrote:
Let's just say there is no official statement, and we are all left to our own devices in discovering the validity or falseness of the subject of naturism


Yes, I agree that that is the situation.
Roamer Offline
#10 Posted : Wednesday, May 20, 2015 7:41:32 PM(UTC)
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Mr Moonella wrote:
Skywalker20 wrote:
It seems to me that there is a lot of debate here about a video that almost no one has seen,


I've posted the link here in this thread, anyone can watch it.


As MD himself said, he was going by memory, that news report was posted on the V1 forums after it first aired. Almost everyone who visited the forums around that timeframe watched it then. But the funny thing about memory is that it will rarely be 100% accurate on even most things.

Quote:
Skywalker20 wrote:
Let's just say there is no official statement, and we are all left to our own devices in discovering the validity or falseness of the subject of naturism


Yes, I agree that that is the situation.


Wether or not the church has gone out to "officially say" (in whichever channel/means they might have used) there is no official position. The reality is that the central leadership has seemingly gone to great lengths to not take an official position which would decisively settle it one way or the other. If anything, relatively "recent" moves by church leadership tends to make it look like they might be (inadvertently?) moving things in such a way that it is easier to build a case in favor of naturism instead of against it. (Such as the handbook guidance on the temple garments)

Which goes back to older conclusions drawn that the "higher law" as it is, probably is very naturism friendly, but due to both the nature of the world we currently live in and due the society that the church was initially founded in, it remains an item that is to be kept off the agenda as much as possible. The consequences of "coming out" in favor of the matter would likely destroy the church due to numerous internal and external factors. Which takes us back to the unofficial offical position seemingly being that they will take no position on the matter for the time being.
Frontiersman Offline
#11 Posted : Wednesday, May 20, 2015 9:15:09 PM(UTC)

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Roamer wrote:
Which goes back to older conclusions drawn that the "higher law" as it is, probably is very naturism friendly, but due to both the nature of the world we currently live in and due the society that the church was initially founded in, it remains an item that is to be kept off the agenda as much as possible. The consequences of "coming out" in favor of the matter would likely destroy the church due to numerous internal and external factors. Which takes us back to the unofficial offical position seemingly being that they will take no position on the matter for the time being.

This is the most intelligent thing I've read all day. Thanks Roamer.
De oppresso liber
Roamer Offline
#12 Posted : Monday, May 25, 2015 7:35:17 PM(UTC)
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Frontiersman wrote:
Roamer wrote:
Which goes back to older conclusions drawn that the "higher law" as it is, probably is very naturism friendly, but due to both the nature of the world we currently live in and due the society that the church was initially founded in, it remains an item that is to be kept off the agenda as much as possible. The consequences of "coming out" in favor of the matter would likely destroy the church due to numerous internal and external factors. Which takes us back to the unofficial offical position seemingly being that they will take no position on the matter for the time being.

This is the most intelligent thing I've read all day. Thanks Roamer.


It does, however raise more interesting questions. Although the easy answer is the "official guidance" or as close as we seem to be able to get is that it is between the member and the holy spirit. Which grants leeway in a number of different directions.

The issue is that there is something of a precedent already existing in the form of Official Declaration #1 and the official end of plural marriage being practiced by the faithful, as the main basis given for the retraction was the alternative being the destruction of the church.

So it becomes something of a catch 22 scenario. If someone pushes to much, to fast and to soon, and the answer may very well change towards the negative. Rather than no answer, as it is now. Which desn't work well in terms of a goal of working for acceptance.

About the only good resolution seems to be the one many have already gone for. Just take it back to the core scriptural and doctrinal principles, and hope people open their own eyes to the "traditions of men" as they encounter them, both within, and outside of the church. Patience is a virtue after all. ;)
EltonJ Offline
#13 Posted : Friday, July 31, 2015 7:21:13 AM(UTC)

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Roamer wrote:
Which goes back to older conclusions drawn that the "higher law" as it is, probably is very naturism friendly, but due to both the nature of the world we currently live in and due the society that the church was initially founded in, it remains an item that is to be kept off the agenda as much as possible. The consequences of "coming out" in favor of the matter would likely destroy the church due to numerous internal and external factors. Which takes us back to the unofficial official position seemingly being that they will take no position on the matter for the time being.


I think its because of what Joseph Smith wanted from the beginning. He wanted to build a Zion Society where all men (and women) would be equal to each other. Zion was to include a mixed society of the Natives and the humble followers of Christ. Instead, the people wanted a Church and be set apart from all societies. Which was exactly what happened. The General Authorities (President and Apostles) are basically good men. But the people want polarization on every question. The GAs are just completely stuck, between what the people want and what they want. Plus they have to placate the people every six months.

It's confusing and stressing for them sometimes. They must have strong psyches, or one or more of them would crack under the pressure. To give an official position on Nudism isn't more pressing than trying to say we have to be better. Think I'm glad there isn't an official position, though, because it would be more polarizing than their letters about homosexuality.
The resurrection is pure beauty.
Mormondad Offline
#14 Posted : Friday, July 31, 2015 12:42:52 PM(UTC)

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EltonJ wrote:
I think its because of what Joseph Smith wanted from the beginning. He wanted to build a Zion Society where all men (and women) would be equal to each other. Zion was to include a mixed society of the Natives and the humble followers of Christ. Instead, the people wanted a Church and be set apart from all societies. Which was exactly what happened. The General Authorities (President and Apostles) are basically good men. But the people want polarization on every question. The GAs are just completely stuck, between what the people want and what they want. Plus they have to placate the people every six months.

It's confusing and stressing for them sometimes. They must have strong psyches, or one or more of them would crack under the pressure. To give an official position on Nudism isn't more pressing than trying to say we have to be better. Think I'm glad there isn't an official position, though, because it would be more polarizing than their letters about homosexuality.


The GA's do have a strong psyche. They have to in their positions. I have known a few over the years. Often the apostles and prophets do know much more and are much more aware than most think. They have learned through trial and error not to comment on every question and issue brought before them as all too often we take it the way we wish and not the way it really is or the way they intended to communicate it. I often pray to gain truth, light wisdom, knowledge and understanding, not as I wish or desire it to be, but as it truly is.
"Modesty died when clothes were born."
---Mark Twain
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