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Reconciling "Mormon" misconceptions
dagadahon Offline
#1 Posted : Tuesday, May 6, 2014 10:58:14 AM(UTC)
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We, my wife and I, have a question for those of you that have had to deal with teaching your children about misconceptions taught at church. First off I bear my witness that I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true. I also bear witness that chaste social nudity can bring you closer to God. That said, I come to my dilemma; our oldest child is 10 and will probably soon start getting lessons about modesty and pornography. How have you all handled teaching your kids about the seeming contradictions of modesty as it's currently taught in church - entirely focused on clothing not attitude? How do you approach pornography?

Our biggest fear is that one day the kids will come home from church thinking our chosen lifestyle is wrong, or that we aren't being modest. Any sage advice? Though I'll take any advice at this point in time BigGrin. I figure preemptive lessons will help, but kids can hold on tight to things their teacher teach them. We don't want to undermine what they learn in church (though we should always earn our own testimony of what is being taught), but we don't want what's being taught at home to be undermined by cultural Mormon misconceptions either.

We chose to switch to a clothing-optional home after much study and prayer. Some of the benefits we've seen have been in deeper understanding of modesty and better tools to fight against pornography. We don't want to have what we've worked for undermined by someones over-broad definition of pornography as 'pictures of naked people' or modesty as 'having to wear clothes that come to your knees and upper arms'. We are trying to equip our kids with teachings and tools that were not available to us growing up that would have made a world of difference.

We have been a home naturist family for a few years (3 - 5) and have not participated in any socially nude activities outside our family unit. Maybe having some activities outside our home with other nudist/naturists would help reinforce our teachings, then it wouldn't just be their 'weird old parents' ... any thoughts on this regard?

So, to sum up, what approaches have you all used in reconciling the misconceptions that can be taught at church?
Frontiersman Offline
#2 Posted : Tuesday, May 6, 2014 4:57:30 PM(UTC)

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This topic interests me as well, not because I have children but because the woman I am dating has two young children. She has expressed to me that she feels teaching them the appropriateness of when and where clothing can be optional is too difficult explain or too difficult for them to understand. Not having kids I clearly can't say yes or no to that from my own experience, but being in a childhood development class I've learned that children are fast learners. When more gets said on this topic I just may have to introduce her to the forum. Angel
De oppresso liber
Ravenwarbird Offline
#3 Posted : Tuesday, May 6, 2014 6:32:52 PM(UTC)

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I too can not speak from personal experience as I have yet to have any children to raise. However I think what you are doing is pretty good and only you know your kids well enough to know what, when and how to teach them. Really though your example is the most influential means of teaching you have. Children lean mostly by seeing and doing so if they see you doing what you say they will remember that more than anything someone else tells them as you spend a lot more time with them they anyone else.

I must also comment on this clothing based modesty thing people keep saying is taught and pushed on our youth. I can not deny it is true to a degree but not so much in my experience as what others have lead me to think is common. I have always been taught that modesty begins at home and is a part of everything we do. Clothing is only a personal reflection of the modesty in ourselves. Modesty is the way we live not what we show the world, the world sees us as modest (and conservative) because of the way we live. I was taught that is is more important to be modest in our wants and desires than in our clothing. If you are modestly minded you will not want to dress immodestly or live in a manner beyond your means or needs. To live the best you can with what you have and you use what is given you in the best way possible. Do your deeds and works for the eyes of GOD not to be seen of men/woman. This does not mean you can not have beautiful things, just do not have them because you want others to see that you have them. Let the world see the beauties of GOD in everything you are and do. When you world looks at you they should see your FATHER, Creator, God in you and in what you do and say. This is the goal not the starting point. We are TRYING to be like Jesus in everything we do and say because we are not there yet; that is why we are here, learn what it takes and how to do it.

These are the things I was taught as a child and these are the things that still ring true to me because I have seen them in others for the good and the bad. I have seen Saints who live modestly on the outside but immodestly on the inside. I have seen good honest Saints who in my opinion dress a little flashy but are still modest in many other ways. There is one mother and daughter in my parents Ward who make their own clothing and it is beautiful and modest in the body coverage department but is kind of.... how to put this? big and reflective in other ways. It is hard not to notice them in a crowd at Church but at school the daughter blends in with the best of the crowd. They are good humble people who love to show their creative gifts but I do not believe they do it to be flashy or to draw attention to themselves. They do it because it is fun to make stuff with your own hands and why make it if you are not going to wear it.

I think my rant went on long enough (for now) and a little off topic but it was fun and good (IMHOP).
Remember the simple things are the fundamentals of life. Choose ye your path this day. Si prima non succederet usus duct tape.
Mormondad Offline
#4 Posted : Tuesday, May 6, 2014 10:44:08 PM(UTC)

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I believe and have found in my experience and observation that example is the best method of instruction. As parents we should be willing and able to model the right behaviors and beliefs. If you are comfortable walking around the house nude, and letting your kids see you nude in the right and appropriate situations they will quickly learn and adjust to that. Where I had some difficulty was that I tried to change to a more naturist lifestyle after my kids were older. My youngest at the time were pre-teens and thus at the age that they would 'explore the boundaries' which caused some minor issues. My wife and I recognized this as the real issue and worked hard at not over reacting and using the situation to express the right behavior and timing. Overall my kids quickly adjusted and accepted the right standards and boundaries. It also helped with a couple of FHE lessons on our bodies/nudity and modesty as well as proper and acceptable touch.

My older kids took the opportunity to study, ponder and pray about the situation and thus come to their own decisions as to whether it was ok or not. Each one that did got the same answer which made all nudity issues much easier to deal with.

In my experience many parents are not nearly as direct and to the point with their kids and seem to think that they can't or shouldn't be so explicit and complete in their discussions. This tends to create ambiguity in what is presented and later problems. Be direct, support with scriptures and actual quotes from the prophets. Then discuss it with them, don't lecture. This way you ensure that they understand what is being said/taught.

I'll give an example of what I saw as a positive result of my teaching my kids. My daughter while attending seminary had a lesson on the Law of Chastity/modesty. During the lesson the teacher stated that "sex was bad and nasty" trying to indicate that sexual relations outside of marriage was wrong. My daughter was quick to speak up and stated that he was incorrect, that sex was good and awesome, just problematic outside of the bounds of marriage.

We teach our kids that modesty is the outward expression of an internal issue and I do not believe they have any lack of understanding as to what real modesty is versus what many at church seem to think it is.


RWB:
You must have some great youth leaders in your area. Unfortunately (especially here in Utah) the predominate teachings on the matter of modesty have little to do with the real definition of modesty and more to do with covering your body, it seems that a burkha might not be sufficient for many here.
"Modesty died when clothes were born."
---Mark Twain
Roamer Offline
#5 Posted : Wednesday, May 7, 2014 7:19:59 AM(UTC)
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Mormondad wrote:
RWB:
You must have some great youth leaders in your area. Unfortunately (especially here in Utah) the predominate teachings on the matter of modesty have little to do with the real definition of modesty and more to do with covering your body, it seems that a burkha might not be sufficient for many here.


A lot of that probably comes from being in the diaspora of the church rather than back with the "main body" here in the Intermountain West. The Nth Generation BIC groupthink mentality that has locked in the "traditions of the church" isn't quite so prevalent, and harder to maintain for those that are Nth Generation BIC as they can't so easily maintain an exclusively LDS Social circle that is comprised mainly of fellow BIC's.
Ravenwarbird Offline
#6 Posted : Wednesday, May 7, 2014 5:51:52 PM(UTC)

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I can not claim "Mormon Culture" is not a factor here, my area is jokingly called Utah North and the the main conjunction in my High School was commonly called Mormon Hall because that is where the Mormon's hang out and gather before and after Seminary. Also hem and collar height was peg in with every modesty lesson as it is part of Church standards and was in the "For the Strength of Youth". I just don't think I was being drilled and hammered over the head by it as much as what some people have said was done to them. I was taught that how you dress is part of a modest way of living but is not the be all end all of it. Like I said before, I was taught that inner modesty was more important than outer modesty. Oh, and yes I believe I had some great Leader whom I loves dearly and had great influence in what I believe and do because I saw in them that I wanted in me, divinity.
Remember the simple things are the fundamentals of life. Choose ye your path this day. Si prima non succederet usus duct tape.
dagadahon Offline
#7 Posted : Thursday, May 8, 2014 1:24:12 PM(UTC)
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I appreciate all your comments! Through them, I've thought of other things we can try - and have had some of my anxieties lessened. Mormondad, I appreciated hearing that when your kids searched pondered and prayed 'Each one that did got the same answer which made all nudity issues much easier to deal with'. We'll remember discussions and FHE. I really dislike telling my kids that their teachers are wrong, I'm hoping we'll be able to use gentler approaches to explore differences in understanding. Like when we tell them that we understand things differently than their coffee drinking grandparents.

We have tried to be examples in this and in other things as well. For instance, we eat food that has been prepared in traditional ways. We don't eat processed sugar and try to avoid processed white wheat. We eat meat that has been raised on it's traditional diet in unconfined areas. This places a lot of extra work on us to prepare these things. We were guided to this style of eating via the Spirit - as we were guided by the Spirit to naturism. We have seen great benefits and blessings come from eating in this manner. Those that know of our eating habits think we put undue effort and strain on ourselves to follow this regime. In all honesty it does put a lot of stress on us. It can be terribly inconvenient and socially ostracizing (food is almost always present in some form in our current Ward ...). We have had 'fights' with those in our Ward whom don't understand and continue offering unapproved food to our kids. When everyone in primary is getting a cookie and our kids are given fruit, it makes them sad. However, as hard as it is, we will not go back to the 'Standard American Diet' (SAD). Whenever we have said 'oh, just this once' there have always been repercussions - getting sick, tummy aches, head aches, teeth pain and more. But beyond this is the fact that we have been lead to this state by the Spirit and for us this is what we need to be doing.

Naturism is the same thing, we were lead to it by the Spirit - and barring it being decried as evil from the pulpit by a prophet; it is not something we will turn from. For us it is what we are supposed to be doing. There are tools and teachings here that will protect our children from immodesty and pornography with greater effect than the churches 'avoid it'. What happens when you can no longer 'avoid it' because the world is pushing it at you from every angle at every second. The church will need more tools, it currently needs more tools. We will continue to stand as an example to our children, and help them to understand the tools that naturism can bring them.

I'm still afraid that there will be battles to fight on differences of understanding of our children and their teachers. I know our kids will make it through it, just as they've learned to say 'no thank you' when offered food that isn't prepared in our way. They are good kids!
nude_explorer Offline
#8 Posted : Friday, September 5, 2014 12:35:52 AM(UTC)

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It is interesting how we can all be members of the same Church, yet how varied the interpretations of some doctrines are with the members. Some times it comes from old family traditional beliefs. Some times it comes from comments made by persons speaking or teaching in the meetings. One of the Apostles commented that there were many things that the apostles got credit for saying that they never said.
Before I can reconcile the misconceptions to my children I have to deal with them my self. That's the challenge to me.
Sarafina Offline
#9 Posted : Friday, September 5, 2014 3:23:34 PM(UTC)
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I have often pondered these issues of how one person or group of people view Gospel teachings/standards and came up with this imagery. Picture a funnel tipped upside down, so the narrow end is up and the wide end is down. The sides of the funnel represent our self imposed boundaries between what is right or wrong or perhaps what is allowable vs. not allowed. When one is spiritually at the bottom of the funnel the limits of acceptable or allowable behavior/actions are the farthest apart. As a person or group increase (rise) in spiritually the walls of the funnel get narrower and things we once considered OK become not OK. i.e. many in the church have no qualms about drinking Coke, Pepsi or Mt. Dew because they are not specified in the WofW. While others refrain from these drinks because of their caffine content. Not being commanded in all things comes to mind. These kinds of decisions are left between the individual and the Lord. Therefore, I try not to judge concerning these kinds of decisions. I need to state here that ones height of spiritually is not necessarily a flat plane as we all have our own weaknesses and foibles.

Ours or others feelings concerning naturism can easily fit into such paradigm. Family traditions and cultural influences often determine how we view things like naturism. Until a few years ago I thought that naturism could not be an acceptable activity for a member of the LDS Church. I believe that I was guided by the Spirit when I discovered this site and LDSSDC. My readings, ponderings and prayers about it have changed my paradigm concerning nudity and naturism. Hope this is helpful.
mane Offline
#10 Posted : Wednesday, November 19, 2014 12:43:59 AM(UTC)
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One "misconception" I am pondering is the concept of "sexual relations". I went through 10 Ensign talks about the subject, and never saw one real definition. I have always assumed that it meant "having sex" ie sexual intercourse. The old temple definition of chastity was said "have no sexual intercourse other than with husband, wife" etc. Now the words are substituted with the phrase " no sexual relations other than with husband, wife" etc. Why the change, unless it is to broaden the prohibition--ie, "sexual" being broadened to include somehow social nudism. I have always heard and appreciated that "social nudism" is non sexual, ie, no sexual intercourse. "Relations" defined by the free dictionary online seems to hint that "sexual relations" means sexual intercourse when it says:
1. A logical or natural association between two or more things...connection: the relation between smoking and heart disease...
4. The way in which one person or thing is connected with another: the relation of parent to child.
5. relations a. The mutual dealings or connections of persons, groups, or nations in social, business, or diplomatic matters: international relations.
b. Sexual intercourse.


Would somebody like to comment, pls?
RetiredOkie Offline
#11 Posted : Wednesday, November 19, 2014 1:56:33 AM(UTC)
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Well, maybe it just means if you are single you are forbidden sexual relationships of any kind.
But, if you are married, you must include your spouse always, no sexual relations with any one else unless your spouse is included. "With"
😎
But , I have never been married , so what do I know?...... I know nothing, nothing, nothing. 🙊🙈🙉

😏
retiredokie

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GBSmith on 11/19/2014(UTC)
GBSmith Offline
#12 Posted : Wednesday, November 19, 2014 9:11:22 AM(UTC)
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mane wrote:
One "misconception" I am pondering is the concept of "sexual relations". I went through 10 Ensign talks about the subject, and never saw one real definition. I have always assumed that it meant "having sex" ie sexual intercourse. The old temple definition of chastity was said "have no sexual intercourse other than with husband, wife" etc. Now the words are substituted with the phrase " no sexual relations other than with husband, wife" etc. Why the change, unless it is to broaden the prohibition--ie, "sexual" being broadened to include somehow social nudism. I have always heard and appreciated that "social nudism" is non sexual, ie, no sexual intercourse. "Relations" defined by the free dictionary online seems to hint that "sexual relations" means sexual intercourse when it says:
1. A logical or natural association between two or more things...connection: the relation between smoking and heart disease...
4. The way in which one person or thing is connected with another: the relation of parent to child.
5. relations a. The mutual dealings or connections of persons, groups, or nations in social, business, or diplomatic matters: international relations.
b. Sexual intercourse.


Would somebody like to comment, pls?


The temple covenant was changed because people were engaging in oral sex, mutual masturbation, etc. and believing they were not violating the command because it wasn't "intercourse". It doesn't apply to social nudism because as practiced by me and others here, I'm sure, is not sexual and has anything to do with anything related to sexual arousal. Until you are able to separate the idea that nudity means sex it will be hard for you to understand but typically about 5 minutes in a safe social nudist setting, either a club, resort or beach and it will all become clear.
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Roamer on 11/22/2014(UTC)
rjmma Offline
#13 Posted : Wednesday, November 19, 2014 10:25:46 AM(UTC)

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I think GBSmith has nailed it. That was my understanding of the change when it happened.
Ordinary Joseph Offline
#14 Posted : Wednesday, November 19, 2014 9:01:54 PM(UTC)

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Caffeine, on the other hand, was cleared in 2012. Here's an account from the Trib. The article that Stack saw on the church website seems to have vanished.

So, Diet Coke, OK. If I recall correctly, shortly after this an enterprising student at BYU set up a service to deliver Cokes to students on campus on demand.
LazerusLong Offline
#15 Posted : Thursday, November 20, 2014 9:31:22 AM(UTC)

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Ordinary Joseph wrote:
Caffeine, on the other hand, was cleared in 2012. Here's an account from the Trib. The article that Stack saw on the church website seems to have vanished.

So, Diet Coke, OK. If I recall correctly, shortly after this an enterprising student at BYU set up a service to deliver Cokes to students on campus on demand.


This is one of those issues that started out as a BYU policy... that got transferred to somehow become folklore doctrine. Like beards. Don't even get me started on the BYU policy against facial hair. Facial hair... the most outward sign of manhood, and BYU banned it, in an anti-hippie effort in the 60's... I'll stop here... on this subject. But I have volumes more to say.
The ways of God, government, & girls are all mysterious & it is not given to mortal man to understand them. - LazarusLong
Mormondad Offline
#16 Posted : Thursday, November 20, 2014 10:32:18 AM(UTC)

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Yes there are a lot of 'doctrines' out there that members of the LDS faith purport as official LDS doctrine, even or perhaps especially when it comes to nudity. I do get frustrated when I see or hear people purport some issue as doctrine with little or no scriptural or official stance on it. As I understand it, the true doctrine of Christ is quite simple.
"Modesty died when clothes were born."
---Mark Twain
Frontiersman Offline
#17 Posted : Thursday, November 20, 2014 7:10:27 PM(UTC)

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LazerusLong wrote:
This is one of those issues that started out as a BYU policy... that got transferred to somehow become folklore doctrine. Like beards. Don't even get me started on the BYU policy against facial hair. Facial hair... the most outward sign of manhood, and BYU banned it, in an anti-hippie effort in the 60's... I'll stop here... on this subject. But I have volumes more to say.

Did it start as a BYU policy? I'm an ordinance worker in the temple and I was told I cannot wear a beard as per Temple Department recommendation and my Temple President's enforcement. I am not to happy at all about the policy, but as with nudity, I won't let it get in the way of my commitment to the church.
De oppresso liber
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#18 Posted : Friday, November 21, 2014 4:20:47 AM(UTC)

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The thing I always found annoying about the supposed beard policy is that there was never any source for it - nowhere I could go and read it. If the prophet had issued a statement, or said it in conference, or put it in the handbook I would know where I stood. Even if I didn't like it, I could accept that as an unusual but clearly stated part of our religion, along with not drinking alcohol.

But I have no idea where it comes from or what the reason is, yet there is clearly something somewhere, judging from accounts of brethren being asked to shave by visiting church leaders, and judging from the fact that not a single GA has had facial hair for decades.

There are men in the church with beards, including in local leadership positions, but it is still seen as being a bit rebellious, and I have heard people joke that so-and-so is growing a beard in the hope he doesn't get called as the next bishop.

I have usually heard it suggested, as LazerusLong said, that the reason is because beards are associated with hippies (which was maybe true 40 years ago). I have an alternative theory, which is that beards are associated with polygamists. But I don't actually know any history about this so I have no evidence against the generally accepted hippie explanation.
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#19 Posted : Friday, November 21, 2014 8:01:31 AM(UTC)
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Mr Moonella wrote:
The thing I always found annoying about the supposed beard policy is that there was never any source for it - nowhere I could go and read it. If the prophet had issued a statement, or said it in conference, or put it in the handbook I would know where I stood. Even if I didn't like it, I could accept that as an unusual but clearly stated part of our religion, along with not drinking alcohol.

But I have no idea where it comes from or what the reason is, yet there is clearly something somewhere, judging from accounts of brethren being asked to shave by visiting church leaders, and judging from the fact that not a single GA has had facial hair for decades.

There are men in the church with beards, including in local leadership positions, but it is still seen as being a bit rebellious, and I have heard people joke that so-and-so is growing a beard in the hope he doesn't get called as the next bishop.

I have usually heard it suggested, as LazerusLong said, that the reason is because beards are associated with hippies (which was maybe true 40 years ago). I have an alternative theory, which is that beards are associated with polygamists. But I don't actually know any history about this so I have no evidence against the generally accepted hippie explanation.


The reason for no beards at BYU was Ernest L. Wilkenson, president at the time. He didn't like democrats, rock and roll, dancing other than ballroom, and hippies. I had a beard on and off from 66-69. Starting 9/69 you couldn't have any facial hair and register. I came back at Christmas to visit some friends and was bearded at the time. They sold me a ticket to a movie at the varsity theater but when I got to the door, wouldn't let me in. Sometime about 15 years ago the no beard policy for temple and veil workers was announced. I noticed a man in our ward who was a retired CES instructor and temple worker had shaved his beard. The was something in the news at the time about the policy but when I asked him a church if it was true he denied it but later that day admitted it was and said they were told to not talk about it. My guess someone somewhere wanting to be more Mormon than the prophet and to distinguish himself from the pack lobbied for the change and now it is what it is.
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#20 Posted : Friday, November 21, 2014 10:06:28 AM(UTC)

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The primary reason for no beards when it comes to the GA's is the notion of setting the right appearance. The standard in the business world is clean shaven, thus the leadership in an effort to appear professional and thus more acceptable with fewer perceived obstacles have chosen to be clean shaven. Others have jumped on this, often without even knowing the reasoning why and have extrapolated it into some form of doctrine beyond what it really is. As to the temple policy? I wouldn't be a bit surprised to find that there is and never has been any prophet or apostle to take on the stance but a lower level leader has established it. In my experience I have seen many such issues that the senior leadership have allowed, even those things that go beyond the actual doctrine, as a means of allowing those in positions to learn, grow and develop on their own pace. Only when it comes to being purported as actual doctrine and in a manner that can cause problems with the church as a whole do they step in. (Case in point was during the Obama/Romney race when a member was interviewed on national TV and stated that drinking caffeinated drinks was against the Word of Wisdom and the following week a blurb appeared on the LDS.org site which clarified it and said it wasn't so.)
"Modesty died when clothes were born."
---Mark Twain
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