There are a growing majority of people starting to recognize the difference between the doctrine of Mormonism and the culture of Mormonism — and who are finding it harder-and-harder to deal with the culture of it. For example, Mike S at Wheat & Tares has an “If I Were in Charge:” series based on this idea — covering topics such as who can be “Mormon”, the church’s for-profit ventures, and garments.
This culture of being “A Mormon” — like it’s a brand-name or product — is sending too many good people running for the hills. We say “The Church is the same everywhere you go” — like it would even be a good thing if it were — but I’ve found that it’s really not anyway.
We might participate in role-played discussions with pre-perscribed responses, but the impression of uniformity among Mormons is just a facade of being built on a solid foundation — but this image is built on the works of men and may have success for a season, but when shaken — it will suddenly crumble into its true picture: an institution built on sand, smoke, and mirrors.
The diversity is there among Mormons already — it’s just everyone knows what to do/say to keep up the appearance of conformity so that it doesn’t manifest outwardly. Any time we’ve gotten closer with other members and talked openly about the church with them — I’ve always been surprised at how similar our views actually are — once we get to know each other. So how to you break the ice and get to know other members who feel the same way you do?
Introducing a bit of anarchy — this time with women in mind:
I took Melissa’s suggestion, and with the help of my wife, I came up with some things sisters can do to spice up their church experience. This was written in the same spirit as LDS Anarchist’s list — and therefore, everyone [female or male, LDS or not] should feel free to run with any of them and encourage family and friends to do the same.
The more people that are doing these small things, the quicker the church can be de-culturalized — leaving only the diverse spectrum that the pure doctrine of Mormonism manifests. But even if you don’t change the whole world — it’s always fun to introduce a little anarchy, shake up the cult of conformity, taking a little boredom out of your own church experience.
Now, all things are lawful for you, but not all things are expedient or edify [1 Corinthians 10:23]. Some church leaders are often witch-hunters, always looking for someone to judge as unfaithful, apostate, etc. And the only valid reason, in their minds, for “contrary” points-of-view or “unapproved” behavior is worthiness issues. Although the scriptural law is innocent until proven guilty, when leaders see dissension, they take a guilty until proven innocent stance. So the best course of action is always to act prudently and not say more than is expedient. But even in a state of affairs where persecution for dissension can be common — much change can be effected without jeopardizing your good standing as a member of the church.
But, in any event, this list of small acts could go on and on. The point is that once agents of change, acting in these ways, are found among various congregations — it becomes obvious to even the most close-minded member that something is afoot. This can be what allows a healthy dialogue about what this whole “church experience” is really all about to begin.
Right now, the problem is we have no dialogue — and thus the status quo appears safe and sound. But that’s just hard-packed sand.
So take these and have fun with them.
Vote “opposed” to church callings:
It would be easy to just throw up your hand as opposed for every calling. Or, if you want, you could use the rational that D&C 121:39 states:
that it is the nature and disposition
of almost all men [not women]
as soon as they get a little authority
as they suppose
they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion
So that unless you know for certain otherwise — just vote in accordance with the most likely nature and disposition:
- For all women who are called to a position, whose character you are unfamiliar with — raise your hand in the affirmative, unless the Spirit tells you explicitly to oppose.
- For all men who are called to a position, whose character you are unfamiliar with — raise your hand in opposition, unless the Spirit tells you explicitly to affirm.
- If you come across another woman who indicates that she believes in maintaining the power or influence of any priesthood holder by virtue of his priesthood office and calling — then make a note to vote against her next time her name comes up.
- If you come across a man who indicates that he gives no regard to the priesthood office of another man, and that his only qualifications for following, or being influenced by, another person are those found in D&C 121:41-45 — then make a note to vote for him next time his name comes up.
Or just vote however your conscience falls on the matter on that particular day. The point is – it does not matter what the reason for your vote is, it only matters what the vote is. Even if your reason is totally ludicrous, your vote is still valid.
You might think that a single vote can’t change anything — because by majority vote, the calling still passes. However, if each week there is a single vote against, the claim to unanimity can no longer be made. Even closed-minded people are naturally curious — and every always remembers if there was a time that someone voted against a calling. The event is powerful and eventually certain members of the congregation will approach you and ask why you raise your hand against. That is a teaching opportunity which may lead to two, or more, inspired hands starting to go up.
In a secret ballot [like our state elections], a solitary vote against is essentially meaningless. But in the church, we have an open vote, where everyone in the congregation can see that one, contrary vote taking place. It can be quite powerful — especially if it becomes a common occurrence. Add two votes to the contrary and it becomes downright dangerous to any would-be priesthood abusers.
We are told that the practice of taking a dissenting member aside to find out the reason for their dissenting vote is a way to see if they have information on the worthiness of the person being called, which if known to the leader might make them reconsider the calling. But that is just how it is presented. In reality, taking aside and interviewing is a method of control. Leaders know there are secret dissenters among every congregation, meaning members who have dissension in their hearts but do not actively manifest it — but to discipline them, they have to get them to divulge their angst and get some dirt on them by which they can either be forced to conform to the standard of unanimity or be disciplined in some manner.
This is why the leadership have gotten to the point where they don’t use the word “vote” any more. The act of raising your hand for [not against] is called “sustaining” — while raising your hand against is always called “not sustaining” — and it is continuously taught that it is your duty to “sustain our leaders” [presumably by raising your hand for them].
By getting away from the word “vote”, which has no stigma if you vote your conscience — and by using the word “sustain”, the leadership have invented a new sin and multiplied guilt and fear. Now everyone is afraid to exercise their voice of consent and the priesthood is free to engage in ecclesiastical abuse with nothing to hinder its progress – without the voice of the sisters to keep them in check.
Talk incessantly about Jesus:
Mormonism has much truth – but as a church, we’ve essentially transferred all faith to the truths, and thus none of it is on Jesus.
Carry on every conversation at church by always getting it back to Jesus. This can be devastating to an idolatrous worship of prophets and of doctrines. More often than not — our conversations are centered on prophets and apostles, obedience to leaders and commandments, blessings of paying tithing, attending church and temple, and every other conceivable topic that has nothing, whatsoever, to do with Jesus Christ’s suffering, death, resurrection and judgment.
Instead, force every conversation with another LDS that starts to be about the relative, periphery matters — about how this-or-that issue of the day can be talked about in light of Mormonism – and get it back onto spiritual experiences with Jesus Christ. You’ll either grow closer to other members — or you’ll see them stumble, act vague, express doubt, and likely just say nothing at all because most people have nothing to say.
we talk of Christ
we rejoice in Christ
we preach of Christ
we prophesy of Christ
and we write according to our prophecies
that our children may know
to what source they may look for a remission of their sins
Leg, armpit, and pubic hair develop at the on-set of puberty and are visual cues of an adult women. However, the ubiquitous pornography-culture has essentially taught an entire generation that bodies and genitals are “sexy” when fully-shaven [appearing pre-pubicent]. So when the de facto means of sex education for an entire generation has been porn, it becomes conditioned to be aroused at the sight of bodies with no hair. Sadly, like Pavlov’s dogs — any encounter with fully-shaven genitals will trigger such a person’s neural reward-centers to pursue the reward.
Also, the pheromonal scent on a woman changes throughout her monthly cycle, depending on her fertility. When fertile, her scent becomes sweeter. The problem is that it is really hard to smell anyone these days. Men and women both use anti-perspirants and deodorants to cover up their smell — and women typically will completely shave-off their armpit hair. And both sexes also add additional chemicals in their perfumes, shampoos, lotions, etc. The hair follicle itself, embedded into the skin, is designed [upon movement] to stimulate the glands beneath and release a scent.
Every man and woman has a unique odor. If a woman allows her scent to be smelled [instead of the smell of chemicals], then there will be a physiological response in any heterosexual man around her. If he were to act on that initial attraction, then her specific scent would be linked to the attraction [olfaction being the sensory organ most closely linked to memory] — and all that is needed to re-stimulate the response would be to allow the scent to be smelled again.
Of course, none of this works if the body’s scent is masked with chemicals — or if all the hair is shaved clean off. So let that hair that develops at the time of sexual maturity — the hair designed by God to act as a visual cue of womanhood — grow as it is intended to grow. That hair is a part of the image of God considered as a woman — that every adult female reflects — and is beautiful.
Encourage your husband [and adult sons] to grow full beards:
Many men desire to stop shaving and allow their beards to grow-out full, but don’t because their wives are against it. They may think a beard is too rough or prickly or that it tickles when they kiss him, etc. However, facial hair in men [just like body hair for women] is a visual cue of manhood — and is a reflection of the image of God considered as a man reflected by every adult male.
A heterosexual woman is [by nature] drawn to bearded men because it is a sign of manliness — and women love manliness. So don’t complain when your husbands or adult sons haven’t shaved in a couple weeks — instead compliment them on the fine beards they are growing.
No longer promote body modesty as a gospel principle:
It was Satan who introduced the concept of body modesty to Eve and Adam — instructing them to cover up their genitals out of shame. This created an enticement for sin that could allure people into uncovering “the sinful/secret parts,” followed by the guilt of acting “shamefully“.
The target of virtually all talks on body modesty is females: It is she who is told how and how not to dress — and usually by men. All of this repression, if ever gets let out, leads to rampant breaking of the law of chastity [which is Satan’s plan]. And if it isn’t let out, then it leads to depression and an unsatisfactory marital sex life [again, Satan’s plan].
We teach our daughters [from as early-on as parents teach kids things] that clothing has nothing to do with their respect for God or for yourself. We teach them that “modest” has to do with being simple, plain, inexpensive, humble, and unpretentious — not with how much of the skin of their thighs or shoulders are showing. We teach them that their bodies were made modestly by God.
Now — we explain that the reason we wear clothes is for the sake of others. We teach them that when you are with those who are weak, you should share their weakness because you have a desire to bring the weak to Christ. It is best to try and find common ground with people, doing everything you can that you might save them.
We put clothing into its proper perspective. Religion has, unfortunately, lumped “modesty” in with sexuality — like being “pure” or having “high standards” — when modesty is really about living life in such a way as to not draw undue attention to yourself.
But nudity and modesty are not opposites, and can co-exist even beyond the context of married persons in the bedroom with the door closed. So focus instead on teaching your daughters to live the law of chastity, while practicing nudism in your own home. Because, remember — if God wanted us all going around naked, then we’d have been born that way!
Breast-feed openly and in public:
In most states, it is legal for a mother to breastfeed in any place she is legally allowed to be at. Meaning, if this is the case in your state — then even when asked to “cover-up” or to “stop doing that here“. You are free to openly keep your child on the breast as long as she/he desires to be.
The sex-culture has completely co-opted the breast and made it into another sexual organ. It shows how disconnected we all really are from our Mother — that anyone would dare insist that a woman feeding, bonding with, and comforting a child should “cover it up” or “go somewhere else“.
The ability to completely sustain a human life by your breasts is a Divine attribute that makes a woman the high priestess of her family. Such a thing should never be covered-up or hidden away in a spare closet.
Most LDS meeting houses provide a “nursing room” for mothers to go to when their children want to be on the breast. Stop using this room — and instead, as the men manifest the calling of a priest by openly displaying the image of Christ in administering the sacrament — stay in the meeting room and manifest the calling of a priestess by openly displaying the image of the Mother by administering life and love to a child.
Mark your own clothing as priesthood clothing:
Tired of trying to wear the garment of the holy priesthood by having two sets of clothing [one on top of the other]? Tired of one-size fits all, frumpy, poor-fitting choices from Distribution Services? Tired of difficulty finding working sizes? Tired of a second set of clothing getting in the way of everything you try to do — especially when it’s hot? Tired of fretting about whether or not your clothing is covering your garments — about whether you ought to wear panties/bras under or over the garment — about what to do during menstruation, pregnancy, or while nursing? Is shopping is difficult for you?
Then stop dividing your closet into two categories: clothes and garments. And stop trying to make wearing two sets of clothing work. Don’t subject yourself to poor fitting clothing, and certainly don’t cease from wearing your priesthood garment altogether. The covenant to wear priesthood clothing is important if you have indeed made it.
The Church Handbook states that:
Church members who have been clothed with the garment in a temple have take upon themselves a covenant obligation to wear it according to the instructions given in the endowment
and the temple recommend interview asks:
Do you wear the garment both night and day as instructed in the endowment and in accordance with the covenant you made in the temple?
Neither references the “standard LDS practice” of wearing the priesthood garment as just a newer and more sacred form of underwear – instead all the emphasis is placed on being in accordance with the actual ceremony.
Insofar as the priesthood garment is given to represent the coats of skins given to Adam and Eve when they were found naked in the garden of Eden — it should be a practical piece of clothing. However, most find it to be quite the opposite: an irritation and a generally unpractical thing to have to wear under your everyday clothing, and something that most definitely does not conform to the local environment or climate.
The intention of the priesthood garment is to cover your nakedness while you work out your mortal probation on the earth. Given that purpose, it is obviously the intention that the priesthood garment [acting as the covering] be seen — rather than what is below the covering [the nakedness below]. Since it is the intention of the priesthood garment to be our covering — then why care so much about covering the covering?
Now — one is free to comply with the temple’s instruction to wear the priesthood garment both night and day by wearing two sets of clothing because the garment is still being worn, just covered up with other clothing.
However, one is equally free to wear only the priesthood garment that is the work of their own hands [D&C 42:40-41] by either making clothing from scratch or by converting their normal, everyday clothing into priesthood clothing by cutting and sewing in the marks — as you have been authorized and instructed in doing.
Modifying everyday clothing is more inline with what early LDS did. In the minutes from an October 1870 meeting in Salt Lake it says that:
Some enquiry was made as to how many have their shirts marked — A few rose with them marked — President Young said he took scissors & soon made the marks. Even if the shirt is colored, mark it — If there is flannel or buckskin between the shirt & garment, that also should be marked. An overshirt worn as a vest should not be marked.
If anyone asks about your marks — tell them the symbolism you were instructed in during the ceremony. Each marks directs the mind to Jesus Christ and represents a great missionary opportunity:
- This mark suggests that I have exactness and honor in keeping the covenants I’ve made with Jesus
- This mark suggests I keep an undeviating course leading to Jesus — and serves as a constant reminder that my desires, appetites, and passions are to be kept within the bounds Jesus has set — and that all truth may be circumscribed into one great whole
- This mark suggests my need of constant nourishment from Jesus to both body and spirit
- This mark suggests that every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is the Christ
Non-members often joke about the garment being “secret, magic underwear” because that’s how many members treat them when around mixed company. When we do not hide the plain meaning and experience behind our garments — people respond openly with a, “Wow, I find that to be an interesting thing there that I could find value in…”
Now — it might bother the old ladies at church for my wife to wear a sleeveless dress to church [even though the marks of the priesthood are cut into the breasts] — but that’s what “spicing up your church experience” is all about!
Offer priesthood blessings to your family and friends:
It is not true that “men have the priesthood and women have motherhood,” — because the component to motherhood is fatherhood, and the component to being a priest is being a priestess.
The temple ritual establishes what’s called the “fulness of the priesthood” on earth – a priesthood order that is synonymous with kinship and salvation. There are no deacons, priests, or elders in heaven — only kings/priests and queen/priestesses.
The priesthood is the language of God — a language that uses the audible word and silent gestures to speak persuasion, patience, gentleness, meekness, kindness, and genuine love. Every adult receives the rights of the priesthood when they receive the key-words [audible word] and signs/tokens [silent gestures] of the priesthood.
Receiving the rights of the priesthood comes with all of the associated keys — albeit in an unactivated state. The various keys needed to perform the work of the Lord are then activated by the consent of the members of the congregation to which that person belongs [whether that congregation is the church or your family].
The Gentile LDS church [as it exists physically as a corporate entity] limits the roles of women in the church because the priesthood has been put into a Gentile power-pyramid or hierarchy [where the greater are "above", and are obeyed by, the lesser] — instead of a gospel-based anarchy, inverted pyramid where the greater are “under”, and are the servants of, the lesser. Thus, when we talk about the “Priesthood”, it’s as this administrative arm of the Salt Lake oligarchical patriarchy. Women can’t be said to hold that “Priesthood” — that’s the “power” to pass bread, to sit in high seats, and to control budgets.
None of those things are evidence that a believer in Christ “holds the priesthood” — or has actual “power in the priesthood” upon them. Whether or not LDS women should hold that “priesthood” [which I think they should] is a separate matter entirely. I do think the Relief Society should get back to being a quorum of priestess with their own jurisdiction – however I also think that women shouldn’t imagine that holding that priesthood will give them anything more than the appearance of authority and power [which is all that the current leaders “hold”].
Instead — endowed LDS women should worry about holding:
the keys of all the spiritual blessings of the church
to have the privilege of receiving the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven
to have the heavens opened unto them
to commune with the general assembly and church of the Firstborn
and to enjoy the communion and presence of God the father
and Jesus the mediator of the new covenant
For that is real priesthood — not just the image of it. That’s the power to call down angels to minister to your family, to call down healing by the laying on of hands, to work miracles, and to prophecy and see visions.
Wash and anoint your husband’s feet:
then Mary took a pound of ointment of spikenard
and anointed the feet of Jesus
and wiped his feet with her hair
and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment
and did wipe them with the hairs of her head
and kissed his feet
[...] Jesus said
seest thou this woman?
she hath done what she could
she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying
amen I say unto you
wheresoever this gospel shall be preached
throughout the whole world
this also that she has done
shall be spoken of for a memorial of her
There is a similar story in the Egyptian myths — the goddess Isis gently aroused her dead husband, Osiris, back to life by caressing his body with her hair. As a priestess, it is your right to perform this ordinance for your husband. Without it, he is not prepared for his burial. In fact, without the performance of this ritual — we cannot truly be said to have the fullness of the gospel — for the scripture says women would be administering this ordinance “wheresoever this gospel shall be preached.”
There is a lot of power in a woman’s head of hair — which is why male-power always seeks to cut it short or cover it up:
for if the woman be not covered
let her also be shorn
but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven
let her be covered
Long hair on a woman is wildly erotic and luxurious. It suggests a type of freedom that “restrictive purity”-type religions have always considered “demonic”. A liberated woman [like Mary, liberated from the "seven devils"] is often commoditized, objectified, degraded, or abused.
Instead of covering-up and hiding-away for fear that the insecure among the male priestly class will have some “indignation within themselves” – celebrate that priestess dynamic.
Hold family sacrament meals:
All believers in Christ should meet together in group worship often to:
- Bring forth bread and wine
- Sit down upon the earth
- Have one man set-apart among the group to break the bread, bless it, and give it to the group in remembrance of the body of Jesus
- Eat the bread until filled
- Have the one ordained man take the cup, bless it, and give it to the group in remembrance of the blood of Jesus
- Drink from the cup until filled
- Hear the word of God
- Speak about the welfare of each other’s souls
The current dynamic of group worship in the church of God is based on the doctrines and commandments of men — which is why there is no one prophesying or healing or speaking in tongues, etc. during our meetings. The commandments of men are never accompanied by any manifestations of power [just good advice, nice music, etc.]
We are missing a reliance on the Spirit — a state in which it is the Spirit that directs and guides the conducting of our meetings [and not any man or group of men]? In a meeting directed by the Holy Spirit — I’d also say that it would mean that nobody speaks a word unless the Spirit came upon them and led them to speak that word. And the scriptures say that everything must be done at the very moment, which means spontaneously, as the Spirit directs [not outlined in a program in advance].
Many families feel d-r-a-i-n-e-d after 3-hours of church on Sunday because our current way of “doing” church like a business “meeting” takes the religious experience and turns it into some commodity that is brokered by an all-male merchant-class who deal in religion and religious paraphernalia. It’s all image and no Life — because all the Life and Joy has been suffocated by the Box we’ve put Her in.
Now — the Church Handbook states:
Family home evening is sacred, private family time under the direction of the parents. Priesthood leaders should not give directions as to what families should do during this time.
And Dallin Oaks has said:
All priesthood authority in the church functions under the direction of one who holds the appropriate keys. But the authority that presides in the family [whether father or single-parent mother] functions in family matters without the need to get authorization from anyone holding [church] keys.
Priesthood found within a family setting, when authorized by the family members, is recognized as valid by the Lord. So take the time you meet together as a family and organize a family sacrament meeting and worship service.
Go outside to “sit down upon the earth“. Encourage your husband to show the image of Christ in your family by having him administer the emblems of the body and blood of Christ. Pray together for the spiritual gifts in the true order of prayer. Break bread and drink until you and your family “are filled” — instead of trying to feast on a morsel of bread and a thimble of water. Let the Spirit move on whomever She listeth [John 3:8] to speak a word, to sing, to exhort, to pray or supplicate. Give the kids something better to do than just sit there and be “Shhhh“ed for an hour.
Start skipping Relief Society:
If you’re not already.
Most of us spend more of our time making sure our family looks good on Sundays than actually preparing to receive the word of God. The purpose of classes and meetings seems to just be to put on a good stage-play or an act — except no one’s having fun or doing it for actual play. This can be many people’s experience with attending 3rd-hour Relief Society meetings.
Back when my wife used to go to Relief Society – during a lesson, a woman made a tear-filled comment about her husband wanting to leave the church and get a divorce. The teacher went right back to discussing the lesson topic — so my wife interrupted to say that since it seemed she just wanted to go on with the lesson and ignore that this woman needed some love and attention, that they should all stay after the class was over to give her some support.
Everyone got up and left except for my wife and this woman. The show was over.
A couple more stories like that — and she quit attending altogether.
Instead — administer actual Relief, skip the stage-show.
But what about:
Do you strive to keep the covenants you have made, to attend your sacrament and other meetings, and to keep your life in harmony with the laws and commandments of the gospel?
Though the one question is really asking three questions:
- Do you strive to keep the covenants you have made?
- Do you strive to attend your sacrament and other meetings?
- Do you strive to keep your life in harmony with the laws and commandments of the gospel?
You only provide one answer. And more weight is given to some of the components of the questions and less given to others. For example, my wife answers this question “No” — and when the interviewer probes further, she tells him that she purposefully avoids Relief Society meetings.
In our experience — every interviewer has told her that, “No one is going to keep you out of the temple just because you don’t go to Relief Society.”
This obviously just scratches the surface. Consider them ideas to get you started.
If you have any others to offer — or if you have a report about having done any one of these, or others — share it.
See also: The first “Spicing up your church experience“
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