Spicing up your church experience: Women’s edition


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

[2 Nephi 25:26]

Stop shaving:

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

[D&C 107:18-19]

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
very costly
and anointed the feet of Jesus
and wiped his feet with her hair
and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment

[John 12:3]

and did wipe them with the hairs of her head
and kissed his feet
[…] Jesus said

seest thou this woman?

[Luke 7:38, 44]

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

[Mark 14:8-9]

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

[1 Corinthians 11:6]

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

And to:

  • Fast
  • Pray
  • Hear the word of God
  • Speak about the welfare of each other’s souls
  • Preach
  • Exhort
  • Pray
  • Supplicate
  • Sing

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.

*Class ended*

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.”

Other ideas?

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

Next Article by Justin: Paul and the church at Judea

Previous Article by Justin:  Group worship in the church of Christ

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33 Comments

  1. yay! wow, that was quick 🙂
    I’d also add wearing pants to church, though I don’t think I’d have the guts for a while yet…

  2. Beautiful

  3. When I saw the title, I wasn’t going to read the article because, honestly, I thought it would not be interesting. I’m glad I got into it. It’s a keeper.

    I wouldn’t be brave enough to do all of the things mentioned (though I did nurse in Sacrament meeting until my baby got old enough to get into the habit of lifting my shirt up to my neck). And I have always nursed in Relief Society (not sure why some women were too afraid to, but there were women who were).

    I do some of them – and agree with the non-shaving premise that men are being conditioned to be turned on by pre-pubescence.

    My 15 year old has begun to shave. All he can grow is a light moustache, but I’d really like to see him grow it. He doesn’t want to. Also, there may be a school policy against that (he is in public school and intends to stay there or drop out – which, is still up in the air).

    Sometimes, when I read LDSA articles, I wish I had a spouse (not just any spouse, but one on board with the things I believe). It would be greatly empowering to do some of the things mentioned in this blog – with the exception of the multi-husband, multi-wife thing. I fail to see that in scriptures. Neither has the Spirit told me that it is something God wants us to do. You don’t need to convince me; I do believe that you should be free to pursue the gospel as you see it and that I should be free to do the same.

    Thanks for the great article.

  4. Toni — glad you liked it.

    Sometimes, when I read LDSA articles, I wish I had a spouse…

    Sorry if some of the suggestions seemed like they were catering to only married women — I wouldn’t want to leave anyone out.

    It’s just my wife helped me come up with these — so they obviously come from the perspective of someone married.

    It would be greatly empowering to do some of the things mentioned in this blog – with the exception of the multi-husband, multi-wife thing.
    […]
    You don’t need to convince me; I do believe that you should be free to pursue the gospel as you see it and that I should be free to do the same.

    That’s great to hear. Like I wrote to liv435:

    I wouldn’t propose we allow only monogamous marriages — nor that we should only allow polygamous ones.

    To focus on the number of spouses removes us from the core purpose of marriage, which is knitting people together into strong families.

    I think our beliefs on marriage should be informed by:

    whoso forbiddeth to marry
    is not ordained of God
    for marriage is ordained of God
    unto man

    If that leads to consenting adults to monogamy — then good for them, I hope they have a fruitful life.

    But it should be just as free to go the other way — and lead consenting adults to polygyny, polyandry, or multihusband-multiwife families — and that not be judged as any more or less righteous.

  5. Great article! I am on record as a member in the church so I have had visiting teachers. I loved when they came because after enduring whatever they read from their magazine we would have great conversations about the gospel. I talked “incessantly” about Christ and they loved it! I would even plan ahead what to bring up and I really looked forward to their visits. One day they were over and one of them said to me, “you’re our favorite sister to visit because this is the only place where we ever actually discuss the gospel” and the other lady nodded in agreement! I was quite surprised.

    Being “fundamentalist” I guess I am in the dark a bit about how the church works but our family has sacrament together. Is this not allowed in the church? As a matter of fact we have had a couple of gatherings at Passover where my father in law with his wives and all my husbands brothers with their wives came and we held sacrament with homemade wine, unleavened bread and broiled fish. We ate and drank until we “were filled” and the spirit attending was awesome! I can’t imagine that church members can’t do this type of thing outside of church. Is this true?

    Now, I’m sorry, but I have to disagree with your ideas on modesty. But I’m sure you saw this one coming. Dressing modestly makes me feel virtuous and lady-like. As
    A matter of fact if I dress like a whore I feel like a whore. If I dress like a man I feel like a man. It’s not just about how others perceive you, but how you perceive yourself. If I were to practice nudity in my home, aside from totally traumatizing my kids (especially the teenage boys) I would feel like a nut case! So, ya. Won’t be trying that one.

  6. Being “fundamentalist” I guess I am in the dark a bit about how the church works but our family has sacrament together. Is this not allowed in the church?

    As I wrote in the OP — the church’s jurisdiction ends when gatherings of believers in Christ are family. Only among non-related believers in Christ does the church authority have jurisdiction.

    However, I’ve heard that just recently — the church has been trying to clamp-down on gatherings of family where members partake of the sacrament.

    New directive: No more independent sacraments

    There are a lot of good comments on the subject in LDSA’s post Tribal worship services.

    Also, I wrote in Tribal Rituals that:

    Because communal meals are more intimate [the sharing of food] and occur more frequently than other rituals — they carry with them great power to direct and connect the mind. Thus, religions, states, and corporations seek control over them, to use them to concentrate power within their respective hierarchies.

    referencing the Catholic church’s Council of Laodicea in AD 364 — which did essentially the same thing — trying to outlaw what were called “agape feasts” among members — because they were outside the “church control”.

  7. Now, I’m sorry, but I have to disagree with your ideas on modesty. But I’m sure you saw this one coming.

    Dressing modestly makes me feel virtuous and lady-like. As
    A matter of fact if I dress like a whore I feel like a whore. If I dress like a man I feel like a man. It’s not just about how others perceive you, but how you perceive yourself.

    I’d say that what you call “dressing like a whore” — goes in with what we teach our daughters. I wrote:

    modesty is really about living life in such a way as to not draw undue attention to yourself.

    You see — such a thing like “dressing like a whore” exists in the first place because Satan introduced the whole concept of “dressing like _____” at all. With clothing we can distinguish ourselves with the outward appearence: I’m wealthy, I’m important, He’s poor, She’s a whore — whatever.

    I agree that using clothing to entice, to create the illusion of sexiness, to flaunt power and prestige and money, to say I am better than you, more beautiful than you, etc. — is satanic.

    Our family isn’t complete nudists — we dress. It’s just we don’t teach that body modesty is in any way tied to your relationship with God, your sexual purity, etc.

    LDSA wrote in Body Modesty is not a principle of the gospel:

    It is [Satan’s] intention to have everyone break the law of chastity. If everyone were naked, the law of chastity would be broken less, not more. He needed to first cover our parents up and create the illusion of shame, so that the enticement of sin could allure people into uncovering “the sinful parts,” followed by the guilt of acting shameful.

    Satan works by using secrets. Occult knowledge is secret knowledge. Secret combinations can only work in the dark. Devilish logic follows that genital parts must become “secret parts.” Thus, we have the (apparently) strange command of the devil to our first parents to abide by the principle of modesty!

    Notice, though, that now the devil has made even the breast a “secret part.” Adam and Eve originally covered up only their genitals with fig leaves. Now, society will have us believe the exposure of the female (not male) breast is immodest.

    By all means — wear clothes if you feel more comfortable clothed.

    Wondering [on the subject of body modesty in general] — do you feel that nudity and modesty are or are not opposites? Do you feel that they can or cannot co-exist beyond married persons in the bedroom with their door closed?

  8. I don’t believe nudity is evil. I think I can agree with you on what “modesty” entails, and maybe everyone in heaven walks around naked. Although, anytime heavenly beings appear to men they are clothed in robes. In my own lifes experience I have seen girls who dress scantily are not respected as much by men or boys. They appear to be inviting advances, and generally end up giving in to these advances because they get so much pressure. Now the girls who always cover up, especially if they wear dresses and skirts are treated with much more respect and thought of as ladies. They tend to keep their virginity until marriage. Now I have associated with a lot of different fundy groups and this has been the case over and over again. In the group I’m in now their are a couple familys who require their girls to wear skirts an I think they are lovely. We are more liberal with our own daughters and have encouraged them to dress like ladies but we let them wear pants. I can honestly say that seeing my oldest daughter, who is as virtuous as a girl can be, walking around in her tight jeans with her curves showing to any boy around I want to throw a blanket around her and force her to dress the way I want her to. But ultimately we feel like if she doesn’t make her own clothing choices to some degree then she will rebel at some point. But I would never, ever let her wear revealing clothes in public. All that does is invite lustful eyes and its hard enough getting our kids to marriage intact without letting them “walk around naked”.

  9. “Every man and woman has a unique odor.”
    “Of course, none of this works if the body’s scent is masked with chemicals — or if all the hair is shaved clean off.”

    Humans are attracted to others on a sub conscience level due to the scents that we give off. One of the most important factors in attraction is scent. There are specific disease/genetic irregularities that each of us have immunities/tendencies towards. We are attracted to the scent of those who have different immunities than we do. That way our offspring will be better adapted and have a better chance of survival.

    A few issues that our modern lifestyles create are: perfumes and hormone affecting pills (birth control, etc). These alter our scents and someone might be attracted to someone who they physical aren’t attracted to. So years later when the romance wears off and a couple stops wearing perfumes or taking hormone altering substances, the couple’s bodies are no longer physically attracted and it affects their perception of each other.

    “Heterozygosity of HLA can be detected through scent as well: in this case, heterozygosity confers greater ability to recognize a wider variety of antigens.[12] Females, especially when not on contraceptives, are more attracted to the scent of males heterozygous for HLA. The same attraction is not held by males for heterozygous females. Males are, however, more attracted to the scent of females with rare HLA alleles.[6]”
    Check out the wikipedia page with a sample of links
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_odor_and_subconscious_human_sexual_attraction

  10. I didn’t mention it in the post — but as I brainstormed through ideas with my wife — and I suggested the “Wash and anoint your husband’s feet:” — her reply was:

    Yeah, that’s a good one — but it might not spice up someone’s church experience as much as it spices up their sex life.

  11. About the “Mark your own clothing as priesthood clothing”
    Isn’t that forbidden? I heard once a talk of a Stake President saying that there were some who sew their garments tighter or d(r?)eformed it, and that sush an act is a sin.

    “No longer promote body modesty as a gospel principle:”
    Well, i guess that one’s a hard one.
    What I see with the generation, they control each other… Iets see… Young Women in my ward, were oh, so horrified to find one of them in summer with a sleveless shirt… Seeing nude arms is already considered a sin. To top it all that girl has two earholes on each ear. I never saw it until of course heard some YW talk about it. I heard her older sister had that too, but i never saw it as a piercing since the 2nd earring is on top of where the “normal” is. The YW has become more of an totaly biased group of who is the holier or who’s the purest one of them which in my eyes is not ok.
    Also I wear what i like… not what others tell me to wear or what the newest fashion dictates me (i like to follow the fashion seasons but i don’t buy everything, and there are many pieces i wouldn’t wear even if it’s “IN” at the moment.)
    I would recommend to wear leggins instead of troussers… with a cute/pretty long blouse that covers the bottom.

    Skipping the RS
    Can cause some problems… if not for you then for your family.
    I heard of one sister who the bishop didn’t want to renew her temple license. A big drama, anyway the new stake president gave his permission. And i think the bishop wasn’t too happy about it.
    Anyway, the reaction of the RS to that woman was cruel… but you know what? The sad thing is, it would have happen in my ward too.

    Btw, would you be interested on making a post about church in the US vs. Europe vs. South America etc?

  12. About the “Mark your own clothing as priesthood clothing”

    Isn’t that forbidden? I heard once a talk of a Stake President saying that there were some who sew their garments tighter or d(r?)eformed it, and that sush an act is a sin.

    No — it is not forbidden. I know the CHI says:

    3.4.3 Making Temple Ceremonial Clothing
    Members may make their own temple aprons
    only if they use the approved apron embroidery and sewing kit. This kit is available from Church Distribution Services. Other temple ceremonial clothing may not be made.
    Nor may temple garments be made.

    However, members cannot be brought up on charges for not conforming to the CHI because charges must be based upon the canonized word of God that we covenant to submit to [i.e., the scriptures].

    So an established policy document can be published by church leaders — but it cannot be used to conform behavior. So the CHI’s oral-law can say whatever the church leaders want to put in there regarding the garment of the priesthood — I continue to take my instructions from the word of God — and since the temple recommend question refers back to a “covenant obligation to wear [the garment] according to the instructions given in the endowment,” I continue to wear priesthood clothing that I’ve marked myself.

    Church leaders cannot say that I’m obliged to wear priesthood clothing according to the instructions given to me in the endowment ceremony — and then give me instructions for wearing the garment that are not contained in the endowment ceremony.

    Also,

    Btw, would you be interested on making a post about church in the US vs. Europe vs. South America etc?

    I’m certainly interested. I said in this OP that:

    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.

    So I’m certainly aware that there would probably be interesting differences. However, I have no experience with the church experience outside of the US — so I don’t know if I’m the one to write such a post.

    Perhaps Elder and Sister Chantdown and dyc4557 could provide their perspectives of the church outside the US…

  13. Thanks Justin for clearing that up!
    It’s funny many don’t know about it (well i’m young) but even my own mother didn’t know of it.
    I thinks the LDSA is pretty cool, i find it great that i learn a lot from the scriptures here. I often got a bit tired and bored if members recycled all the known Prophets/Apostel/Elders Quotes.
    Besides all that i could talk with my parents and discuss it all… If been since young interested in the scriptures, always wanting to find some hidden clues that wasn’t discuss yet in church. But in my teens i basically let it be, cuz church became boring.

    I was also wondering about the racism issue that our church has… like the McConkie Quotes etc. I wondered if the Church News statement kinda classified it as “non Canon”…?
    Then again I find it funny, i was in an LDS forum and they talked about it. Many took the position if it was said by a prophet or an elder then it had to be true… Thought that even News messages had to aproved by the Prophet… anyway, would be glad to hear your thoughts on it.

    If been to some places… i can give you my thoughts on it if you like. But honestly, the places or countrys that are labeled as poor are pretty much the best places i’ve been to church. Bery humble… and you truly can feel the holy ghost…

  14. Sorry about the typos… Writting long posts on Smartphones isn’t the easiest thing to do…

  15. Many took the position if it was said by a prophet or an elder then it had to be true… Thought that even News messages had to aproved by the Prophet… anyway, would be glad to hear your thoughts on it.

    Just because an LDS apostle reviews and approves material published by the LDS Church [given that actually is what happens] — without being canonnized by the common consent of the church, it isn’t any more “official”, “true”, or “binding” than if any other LDS who is not an ordained apostle approved and published it.

    The title “apostle” can carry no more weight or authority in giving a correct interpretation, than does the title “deacon” or “member”.

    no power
    or influence
    can
    or ought
    to be maintained
    by virtue of the priesthood

    No LDS will be judged by how closely they followed the words of men with impressive titles written in manuals and magazines. All will be judged solely according to the word of God, which is found in the scriptures. The Lord doesn’t care about how closely you follow an interpretation of His word — but how closely you conform your life to the word itself.

    So the First Presidency [with or without the Quorum of the 12] can publish a letter with an interpretation of doctrine or an expostion on appropriate practice — but this is their interpretation and is not binding [unless, of course, it is canonized, then that changes the situation].

    What church leaders sign their names to is only representative of themselves and the corporate LDS Church. A member can choose to believe that interpretation, or choose not to.

    Before baptism, no one is presented with all the First Presidency letters ever written and all the Ensign and General Conference addresses ever published — but they are presented with the standard works. This is because only the standard works are binding upon members.

    All things must be done by common consent in the church. Official publications are not voted on by the church. They are just written by a man or groups of men and sent out. If people wish to follow that counsel and interpretation, then that is their privilege. If they wish to canonize it, then the church is free to do that too. That is what canonization is for — the binding of the saints down to a written word that they have covenanted to obey.

  16. Toni asked:

    Totally off-topic, but I don’t know how to contact Justin and I was wondering what he thought about this article. I was wondering, also, if he’d write an article about it (of course, it would be all right with me if any of you on LDSA chose to write one on it).
    http://signaturebookslibrary.org/?p=1171
    Chapter 17 of Women and Authority, about women having the priesthood.

    Right off — I think when most LDS address women and the priesthood, they’ll typically always tie it to anointings and blessings for healing. Which we administer by virtue of the Melchizedek priesthood — but which is really a “sign following them that believe”. Women administering anointings to the sick in the same way we have elders do it today was undisputedly done among early LDS. The question really is — was that evidence that Joseph Smith meant to give them “priesthood” in the same way we think of elders holding priesthood.

    I also think the minutes from the establishment of the Relief Society make a good case that it was set-up to be an independent quorum of priestesses with jurisdiction over their own

    However, the strongest case that LDS women are in full possession of the rights of the priesthood is in our temple ritual [I posted this comment here because most of what follows comes from the OP].

    The rituals of the temple establish what was termed 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 — there are only kings/priests and queen/priestesses. And how are women ordained priestesses if not through the reception of the rights of the priesthood?

    Now — “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 fulness of the rights of the priesthood when they receive the key-words [audible word] and signs/tokens [silent gestures] of the priesthood — clothed in the garments and robes of the priesthood — etc.

    When a believer receives the rights of the priesthood it comes with all of the keys of the priesthood — albeit in an unactivated state. The various keys needed to justifiably perform the work of the Lord are then activated by the consent of the members of the congregation to which that person belongs.

    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 hierarchy [where the greater are “above” the lesser” and are habitually obeyed] — instead of a gospel-based anarchy [where the greater are “below” the lesser and covenant to habitually serve them]. No congregation [that I know of] has voted in favor of a woman receiving a calling we’d typically think of associated only with male “Priesthood-holders”.

    I guess that would be the thing to do. A ward would need to just start calling and voting in favor of women in priesthood offices/callings [or the formation of priestess quorums and callings]. And then we’d see how the male leadership handled it.

    Until then — when we usually talk about the “Priesthood”, it’s as the administrative arm of an oligarchical patriarchy [rulership by a few men with power] in Salt Lake. Women can definitively be said not to hold that “Priesthood” — that’s the male-only “power” to broker the kingdom, to pass bread, to sit in high seats, and to control budgets.

    However, none of those things are evidence that a believer in Christ actually “holds the priesthood” — or has actual “power in the priesthood” given to them.

    Whether or not LDS women should hold that “Priesthood” [which I think they should] is a separate matter entirely. But I think people agitating for women getting “the priesthood” need to be clear about what it is they actually want. We shouldn’t imagine that holding that “Priesthood” will give our women anything more than the appearance of authority and power [which is all that the current male leaders “hold”].

    Instead — endowed LDS women [just like endowed LDS men] 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 appearance of it.

  17. I think your analysis of the Relief Society minutes is correct. If I recall correctly the Relief Society was supposed to organize offices paralleling those used by the men. Therefor the Relief Society would have Deaconess, Teacher(ess), Priestess, etc. I don’t know to what extent this was actually done but it is not at all present today.

  18. We can see [for example] that women were the first commissioned witnesses of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Greek word apostolos existed prior to the Christian community. An “apostle”, in the broader or general sense, applies to any commissioned messenger or one who’s sent forth with orders.

    Now, as the word began to be used within the Christian community, there grew out a more specific form of apostolos that applies to a quorum of 12 men who hold a particular office and calling in the priesthood [just like “redemption”, “sin”, “justice” and “mercy” were all originally financial terms that were later applied to describe religious contexts].

    It’s when the existence of both a general and a specific sense of a word are forgotten – that we could create confusion when the Greek scriptures use apostolos, yet we assume it’s only in the specific sense that the scriptures were written [best example would be Romans 16, which names Phebe as a diakonos [or deacon] Junia as an apostolos].

    As such, we can see Mary Magdalene as the first apostle [the first apostolos] of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Because she was the first commissioned witness of the reality of His bodily resurrection — and it was male disciples who failed to believe her witness.

    Now, whether or not that means she was to be considered [in the later-developed specific sense of the word] “an apostle” in the priesthood quorum of the church or not – and whether or not the male priesthood suppressed and did away with what should have been a female quorum of priesthood – are entirely different questions altogether.

    So getting back to the Relief Society preceedings:

    [Joseph Smith] proposed that the Sisters elect a presiding officer to preside over them, and let that presiding officer choose two Counselors to assist in the duties of her Office— [and] that he would ordain them to preside over the Society— and let them preside just as the Presidency preside over the church

    [… and] If any Officers are wanted to carry out the designs of the [Society], let them be appointed and set apart, as Deacons, Teachers, etc. are among [the male quorums].

    The 2nd Epistle of John, 1st verse, was then read to show that respect was then had to the same thing; and that [is] why she was called an Elect lady because [she was] elected to preside.

    I think it’s quite obvious Joseph intended there to be more to Relief Society than a place for the women to go and be “under the direction of The Priesthood”.

  19. Nefertari – “Skipping the RS
    Can cause some problems… if not for you then for your family.”

    Nefertari, I was RS secretary for a few years. To be counted as “active” all one needs to do is attend RS once a month. The total numbers for each month are turned in. Not sure how this would work in a recommend interview with someone who didn’t follow that, though.

    Justin – “No LDS will be judged by how closely they followed the words of men with impressive titles written in manuals and magazines.”

    AMEN!!

    Justin, thank you for answering – and thank you for writing about women and the priesthood.

    The chapter I linked to said that Joseph Smith gave women the priesthood. In a talk to the RS, he talked about it. Patriarchs gave blessings to women talking about them having the priesthood. The idea was that, for most women, they received the priesthood via the endowment (a few were told they’d had it from birth or before). Original wording was used, in the chapter I linked to, to prove it was true (i.e. minutes from RS, patriarchal blessings, etc.)

    Originally, the priesthood was separate from the positions in the church for both men and women. Women were not called to be elders and such in the church, but they did/do have priesthood, so the chapter says.

    Unfortunately, some of the words explicitly saying so, were changed when the history was written from the original documents. The chapter I linked to says it MUCH better than I can.

  20. I think Justin has a good and clear view on the reality of the situation, ” But I think people agitating for women getting “the priesthood” need to be clear about what it is they actually want. We shouldn’t imagine that holding that “Priesthood” will give our women anything more than the appearance of authority and power [which is all that the current male leaders “hold”].”

    I was speaking with a friend, who gave me the classic/typical response, “I’m going to be humble and obey my bishop.” It’s regarding something the bishop told him to do.

    I understand why some people would want the women to have “the priesthood,” but what they want to be involved in, isn’t a good thing. There is this whole structure as Justin has noted, that is of men. I wanted to give a scripturally backed response to my friend and others, so I searched out every scripture in D&C about Bishops. Nearly all of them are about the law of consecration and dealing with the temporal needs. A few are about specific people, like Newel K. Whitney, and a few more are related to being on counsels for judgement courts for excommunication type stuff and then covering when elders are absent. That’s it, nothing they really do today is based on the scriptures. Running the local congregations the way they do isn’t even in their duties unless others are absent.

    I told my brother who said, well, that’s what a bishop does, but most are high priests, so when they are telling people what to do, it is as a high priest. So I searched every time high priest is mentioned. I’m gonna do a post with a cool infograph of the results for both on my blog. High priests are to sit in those judgement counsels, but other than that, they are traveling spiritual ministers. Some of the verses refer to high priests are talking about the Q12, the others are for local stake levels and they are local traveling ministers.

    So there is this huge structure and organization that is made up. People should really be concerned about the bigger picture, rather than getting caught up, adding to this false structure. This isn’t against anyone in particular, just a general feeling from reading other blogs about the topic of women and priesthood.

  21. Right — to put women into the same man-made hierarchy we have right now would just “change the hats”. Instead of an oligarchal patriarchy, we’d have an oligarchal matriarchy. We can’t put different people in charge to fix a dynamic that’s broken because there are people in charge.

    An egalitarian dynamic would require we:

    seek not for power
    but to pull it down

    Or as Hugh Nibley wrote:

    There is no patriarchy or matriarchy in the Garden; the two supervise each other. Adam is given no arbitary power; Eve is to heed him only insofar as he obeys their Father—and who decides that? She must keep check on him as much as he does on her. It is, if you will, a system of checks and balances in which each party is as distinct and independent in its sphere as are the departments of government under the Constitution—and just as dependent on each other.

  22. Ya, I joined a group on facebook, that is a bunch of people from different restoration branches/churches. They are better off in that many had the balls to head back to Jackson County area. The thing is, it seems that they are just different people trying to do exactly what was done before. They feel that it will work out differently with different people, or that this time the Lord will make it work. I don’t fault them for their desires. It’s just that it isn’t going to work and the biggest evidence (other than history) of that is their attitude and the way they interact. Basically just like Justin says, “We can’t put different people in charge to fix a dynamic that’s broken because there are people in charge.”

    If we go about “church” the way outlined and mentioned on this blog, through tribes, it will be totally different. It will be in harmony with the temple and then the priesthood will truly be manifested. The signs that follow true believers will actually occur, among all genders and ages.

  23. This,

    The thing is, it seems that they are just different people trying to do exactly what was done before. They feel that it will work out differently with different people, or that this time the Lord will make it work.

    Sounds just like:

    Mormon history is full of examples of believers going off to form “United Orders” – communal groups where they attempt to live the “higher law” of consecration, meaning to share all that they have with everyone else in the community. These endeavors have always met failure, and it’s because of one common feature that connects them all – they have always attempted to do so while keeping many small, separate families.

    [from, Community, Intimacy, and Connection]

    Which came out of what I had written in Zion will not be established by unrelated persons:

    The type of community described in Acts 2 [which is Zion] is not established by groups of unrelated people. Without kinship ties, community will only be maintained by sheer effort of will. When things get difficult, people will defend family first. Most non-related groups of LDS that go off to form their own Zion community run into failure because, no matter how pure the intentions up front, when things get stressful or tough we align with family, which causes division.

    The same thing is seen among other Christians who want to “get away” from the institutional church experience by starting a home church. These attempts to “do church” more scripturally just end up being slightly less controlled replications of the same dynamic that they were trying to get away from.

    This is all because a sense of familial love must exist prior to gathering — it does not come as a result of gathering. Without charity pervading, such communities will only have joy in their works for a season.

    The “church” are the called-out ones. It is the assembly of justified believers in Christ — and it comes as a manifestation of the communal feelings generated by virtue of their relationship as one family under God. Think about your own family. You meet together — but you don’t have meetings. You meet because of the feelings that being a “family” produces — the feelings of family are not produced by your meetings.

    which came from stuff Joana and I had been talking about at the time.

  24. That Anonymous was me, I forgot to type in my name.

    It’s interesting, that this post relates to your other post. Everything is connected and all these different principles and truths that we try to focus on or follow, are part of others. If we really embrace that, then things will make sense, instead of compartmentalizing everything and trying to view them on separate plates. Church, priesthood, gender, Zion, etc, they are all one and it just gets more exciting the more I’ve started recognizing these things.

    The more you get into it, the more Christ makes sense.

  25. “That’s it, nothing [bishops] really do today is based on the scriptures. Running the local congregations the way they do isn’t even in their duties unless others are absent.”

    Wow, Rob. I’ve never studied this, so I didn’t know it.

    And as for the priesthood being an appearance only, I’m noticing from Denver Snuffer’s book, “Passing the Heavenly Gift’ that that is true. The priesthood has been conflated with the positions in the church organization.

    “So there is this huge structure and organization that is made up. People should really be concerned about the bigger picture, rather than getting caught up, adding to this false structure.”

    I’ve nothing to say to the above quote; I simply thought it was worth repeating.

  26. One of the suggestions in this post was:

    Vote “opposed” to church callings:

    I saw Any Opposed?: Weekend Poll at Wheat & Tares — which suggests that 83% of LDS participating have either never been opposed to any calling for any reason, or have been opposed but either raised their hand in favor anyway or just didn’t raise their hand at all.

    What a bland church experience !

  27. The first comment on this post, written by Melissa on March 3, 2012 at 5:19 am, was:

    yay! wow, that was quick 🙂
    I’d also add wearing pants to church, though I don’t think I’d have the guts for a while yet…

    Wouldn’t it be funny if the idea for a Wear Pants to Church Day actually began at the LDS Anarchy blog, because of this post and that comment?

  28. … I’d like to think so.

  29. A few months old now — but I just read this post from Feminist Mormon Housewives about a woman who was released from her calling because she was nursing her baby without a cover over her boob — and was told that if she refused to comply with the instructions to either leave while nursing or to cover herself up — then she’d lose her temple recommend.

    That’s an “attaway to go” award for sticking to one of the tips in this post for spicing up your church experience!

    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.

  30. When I was but a lad, I heard a general authority, I believe it was S. Kimball, go on a tirade about how natural and important it was for mothers to be able to breast feed their babies in church.

    In it he pointed out that there was nothing wrong or immodest about it. It was a manifestation of the essence of motherhood.

    It left a huge impression on me.

    I have since tried to find the talk but cannot find it.

  31. watcher: im pretty sure that was kimball around 74

    women, you should encourage your friends sisters and daughters to stop wearing bras. aside from them being stupid and pointless (like corsets, foot binding, circumcision etc) they cause breast cancer and other health problems, and interefere with breast-feeding

    http://wakeup-world.com/2013/11/08/dressed-to-kill-the-link-between-breast-cancer-and-bras/

  32. Justin, I appreciate your insight into the recent interest in certain LDS circles to push for female priesthood ordination.

    I am very sympathetic to the power hierarchy that exists in the administrative structure of the LDS church, and women are largely excluded from it. However, I have been surprised that in my interactions with proponents of female ordination, both online and in person, I have yet to encounter anyone who takes your stance. I have walked away from each conversation with the same, distinct impression (granted, I realize this is colored by my own experience and I do not pretend it is universally applicable; I just found it uncanny).

    These advocates recognize that as far as power and “leadership” go, it is really only the males who have a seat at the table. This is an observation I wholeheartedly agree with (although I am certain there are exceptions, wards/areas where women are included). But the underlying reason I am given for promoting female ordination completely baffles me. They advocate for a place at that table, so that both men and women can sit at it and have access to power and “leadership.” Whereas when I see the problem of this female exclusive power hierarchy, my immediate desire is to go up to that table and flip it over or break it into pieces.

    The idea that we should exercise power and authority over one another is very troubling to me. Scripturally it is a practice seen at the heart of the apostasy and dissolution of multiple cycles of Nephite churches. I have no doubt that a female priesthood, for lack of a better word, exists, and was historically exercised among the saints. I just believe that a full restoration of that priesthood will not be possible when we, as a church, cannot exercise the priesthood we presently have as outlined in D&C 121:41-46. The priesthood isn’t about power and authority at all, at least in the sense of wielding it over others.

    I apologize if this does not contribute. I get shut down whenever I have shared this in the past, and am hoping this community will at least be tolerant of the idea and not dismiss it outright (which has happened elsewhere).

  33. I apologize if this does not contribute. I get shut down whenever I have shared this in the past, and am hoping this community will at least be tolerant of the idea and not dismiss it outright (which has happened elsewhere).

    No worries Paul — I don’t think any opinion like this:

    …my immediate desire is to go up to that table and flip it over or break it into pieces

    or

    The priesthood isn’t about power and authority at all, at least in the sense of wielding it over others.

    would ever get shot-down by people who contribute at this site.


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