23 February 2014

"The Lord's Standard of Morality" by Elder Tad R. Callister

I wanted to write this post with an open mind, so in preparation I have read the following four articles:

by Tad R. Callister

by Natasha Helfer Parker (in response to Tad R. Callister's talk)

by Rebecca Moore

by Rachel Held Evans

Recently there has been much talk about women dressing modestly and how that can affect men's thoughts, passions, addictions -- and even crimes. I have to tread lightly here, but I will try to make my point as well as I can. 

In my teenage years, modesty wasn't a concept that concerned me. Through experience, maturity, and becoming temple-endowed, the way I dress has changed entirely. From someone who has been in both places, I can confidently say the type of men attracted to me before are significantly different from the type of men that show interest in me now. It is what it is. 

The March 2014 Ensign magazine publishes Elder Callister's talk, "The Lord's Standard of Morality." The backlash he has received makes me sad. Contrary to what some have suggested, there is only one short paragraph talking about immodest dress, and in no way does it place blame on women for mens bad thoughts. Elder Callister simply said, women can "contribute to the moral purity of men." To say otherwise is ignorance. And "contributing to" is very different than "being responsible for." 

It seems to me this is becoming a matter of pride: "We -- as women -- don't have to dress a certain way for the sake of someone else! And since we don't have to, we're not going to!" 

I think we can all agree that women are not responsible for the decisions men make. However, the stubborn fact of the matter is the way women dress can - and often does - affect men's thoughts. And understanding that, why wouldn't we want to help? If I had a friend who was an alcoholic, I would try my best not to put him or her in a situation where alcohol might be a temptation. If I had a friend who was serious about losing weight, I would not suggest we go out for fast food or ice-cream. Is this really that much different? I believe if we women were willing to take a more selfless, Christ-like approach, if we were willing to drop our feelings of entitlement and justification, if we were simply willing to be our brother's keepers, I believe we would be willing to watch - and even change, if needed - the way we dress.

With all of that being said, at the end of the day, I choose to stand by my church leaders, who I know (from much personal experience) have specifically been called and ordained by our Father in heaven to lead and guide this church. And for myself, I personally pray to be humble enough to sort through their words, and simply search for the intent of their hearts.