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I’m Not Home Here

My daughter had the opportunity to take ballet this year from a sweet and talented girl. She opened her home and heart to offer her talent, free of charge, because she loves to dance and she loves to teach. My daughter and 5 other girls were the recipients of a beautiful experience. It was such a blessing.

The year of learning and hard work culminated in an adorable recital, hosted by one of the families, with an enjoyable potluck dinner and socializing afterward. When it came time to order the costumes, my daughter was elated when she saw the picture, and then she quickly said, with a sad voice, “I can’t be in the show.” 

As most ballet costumes are, they were immodest. I reassured my daughter that I would work with her teacher and see if we could find a solution. We talked about how pleasing God is always more important than pleasing man, even your friends and ballet teacher. We also talked about how the desire to show others what you can do is not humility but pride, and while it’s not bad or wrong to share your talents, it is best to be humble and teachable. Modesty is not something to compromise for participation. I assured her that her hard work and diligence would not disappear if she didn’t get to be in the recital. They were a part of her, in her soul, and nothing could take those rewards away from her. She listened and participated in the conversation, and, as was to be expected, was sad. I don’t feel the need to make everything better for my children.  I feel the need to teach them and train them.

We said a prayer. She exclaimed immediately after her amen, “Mommy! I feel happy. The spirit told me Heavenly Father loves me! Will you e-mail (teacher’s name) and tell her that it’s important to me to be modest and ask if I can wear a shirt under my recital costume?” I asked how she would feel if the answer was no. She replied with a smile, “There will be holes in the show where I am supposed to be. I don’t want my friends to be sad, or (name of teacher) to be sad. It will be sad, but I can do a show for you guys at home. That will be great!”

I sent an e-mail. We said a prayer. She prayed every night that she would be able to ‘dance modest’ in the recital. It was heart warming and wrenching all at the same time. I wanted so badly to be able to make everything work so she could dance. I knew this was not my life, but her life. I said all the mommy prayers I could.

The e-mail came about a week later. “Thank you for telling me how (daughter’s name) feels about having her shoulders covered and dressing modestly. It would be fine for her to wear a shirt underneath her costume. Please have it match in color. You may want to try a leotard instead. The shirt might bunch up and be uncomfortable.” We screamed with joy. We said a thank you prayer. She danced a beautiful dance and we had a wonderful time.

My daughter’s teacher takes ballet lessons with a large dance school. She invited her students to come see the year end performance.My two young daughters and I were so excited! We dressed up fancy and had a girls night out. I can not even pretend to put into words the excitement that filled their faces, and in turn my heart, with joy. They were even more excited than they were for the Nutcracker.

The first part of the show was filled with ity bitys, middles, and tweens, dancing ballet and tap. Then it was time. “A Taste of Swan Lake”, with my daughter’s teacher and her sister (the helper during ballet class), front and center. The first half of the show ended with 1/2 of the dance, the rest was to come after intermission. We could hardly contain ourselves. Our hopes were not let down, it was beautiful.

And then the rest of the show happened.

Hip Hop for adults followed the beautiful ballet dancing of Swan Lake. I felt like throwing up. We did not get a program upon entering the show. I had no idea. To be perfectly honest, I wouldn’t have known what it meant had I gotten a program to read. Now it is burned into my soul, forever. I whispered in my daughters ears, “This is not good music. Those outfits are not how we dress the sacred body Heavenly Father gave us. God did not intend for us to use our bodies like that.” They buried their heads in my lap and plugged their ears while I scratched their backs and twirled their ponytails.

To see these women, mothers and grandmothers, dressed like they were, and moving like that. I couldn’t beleive it. I really couldn’t. And then the crowd went wild. Absolutely, wild. The lyrics in the songs alone were enough to scorch ears and send fire (not the good kind) to my bosom.

Unfortunately, our teacher’s last dance was sandwiched among several different Hip Hop dances with children ranging in age from 3-18. Seriously? Every single time, the crowd went wild. Crazy wild, in a measurably different, and deafening, way than for ballet and tap. Every single time my daughters buried their heads, plugged their ears, and got scratches and twirls. I should have left. At least I did something.

There was a little boy (6-8) sitting in front of us. How do we expect boys to grow into men that respect the bodies God designed especially for women to conceive bodies to house the precious spirits he entrusts us with What can we possibly say when they are addicted to pornography and self stimulation. This stuff starts young, very young.

We need to take our heads out of the sand and recognize what the desensitization from: movies, books, video games, magazines, tv (and commercials), and yes, dance recitals, is leading to. There is no excuse. When we expose them to this kind of garbage, we have no ‘out’, no ‘get out of jail free card’. We are mothers. We know better, and if you think you don’t, I promise you do. Mothers know. We just have to be strong enough to stand for what we know. All the time.

I was truly perplexed that there weren’t more people than myself, twirling the ponytails of their innocent little girls (and scratching the backs of their young boys), while their faces were buried in laps with hands tightly covering their ears. Dumfounded, and really sad; that was me.

And suddenly, it hit me. Like a big Mack truck. This is it. This is the world. This is what people want. They pay money to learn how to dress like this and move their bodies in disgusting ways in front of their sons, daughters, and whatever perfect stranger will give them attention in their desperate and horribly misdirected plea for acknowledgment of their worth. They pay money to have their daughters taught that this is okay. This feels good. This is what you are worth. Horrific.

We found baby bunnies in our yard once. We accidentally came upon them while doing yard work. Their mother was out. We covered them back up and went about our business. A few hours later we went to check on them and show them to our little one that had been napping during all the excitement. They were gone.

We meant no harm, they were so cute. We are nice people. We would have protected those babies with all that we had. That momma bunny didn’t care. She smelled something and got her babies out of there. At the very first possible hint of something amiss, the very first scent of it, she bolted. There was no hemming and hawing. There was no checking with friends or neighbors to see if it might really be something damaging to their little souls. At the first scent, she was gone! She followed her heart and protected the innocence of her family. Those baby bunnies were not ours to protect, they were hers. She didn’t like what she smelled and she didn’t care what anybody else had to say about it.

I often feel alone in my views. My quest to raise children unto the Lord has me so far removed from the world, and all it’s pleasures. We avoid many things that are popular, even among LDS families, because I have been made aware by the Spirit that it is not good for us. I don’t claim to know what is best for anyone else’s family. I just know what’s best for mine. We live a quiet and happy life. It is peaceful. Somehow, the choices we make, leave lots of space for judgement. I realize judgement comes from a place of insecurity within, but sometimes it hurts and is hard to ignore.

World, you can have your Hip Hop and the music that goes with it. I understand what it means to the soul, and the consequences that are made possible because of such things, and I am going to stay away. Can you refrain from calling me a prude and a goody goody because it makes me want to run away as fast as I can? Probably not. I am going anyway. I have to answer to someone much higher than this world for myself and the way I choose to mother. Come on baby bunnies, let’s go.

All I know is I’m not home, yeah. This is not where I belong. Take this world and give me Jesus. This is not where I belong. (These words belong to a song by a christian music group. They are not my original thoughts. I couldn’t have said it better myself.)

{ 53 comments… add one }
  • jks June 10, 2012, 11:37 pm

    I haven’t seen anything like that yet so I can’t imagine the shock of the experience. I am saddened that the hip hop dance numbers are like that because I don’t want my dance daughter to end up in shows with inappropriate dancing. She is at a new studio this year with more kinds of dancing so I wonder what her recital this weekend will be like.
    However, I have a different opinion than you about the costumes. When my daughter was worried that her ballet costume wasn’t modest, I told her that her ballet costume was appropriate for ballet, just as a swim suit is appropriate for swimming.

  • Tracy Polyak June 11, 2012, 7:21 am

    My dd7 started a serious ballet class this past year (3 hours per week!). I, too, have struggled with the issue of modesty with this class. We are fortunate that the teacher teaches solely classical ballet and does nothing with the girls that is not respectable and professional. And with no other dances, like hip hop, I think it is easier to keep it that way.

    We did deal with the costume issue at her recital, and I concluded, similar to jks, that these were appropriate in the same way that swimsuits were appropriate for swimming. I did, however, buy a leotard to go under her costume, because the costume did not sufficiently cover her up in front.

    Nevertheless, I am so grateful that there are people out there that strive to follow the Church’s admonition to dress modestly. I find it really troubling to take my 7-yo daughter to church and see that all of the older girls there that my daughter looks up to wearing mini-skirts and spaghetti-string tops. Thank you for being such a great example to us!
    Tracy Polyak recently posted…Help for My Distractible ChildMy Profile

  • Angie Gardner June 11, 2012, 11:50 am

    I only have a few minutes so I cannot pontificate as I would like to, but it seems that there are 2 issues here: One being modesty and two being the hoochie music, hoochie dancing, and hoochie costumes.

    As to modesty, somewhat of a pet peeve of mine. I’ve blogged about it here before. I was bothered by it again yesterday at church. I don’t think I’m prudish, but I just don’t think it’s classy to wear a skirt so short that your g’s are either hanging out or we can all clearly see them as you cross your legs. I think it’s a huge problem in the church, and I wish it would be addressed more directly and often enough that WOMEN get the picture. Having said that, I don’t know what these costumes in questions were like, but I guess I would agree with the other commentators that for me dance costumes are similar to swimming suits. There are modest things that are sleeveless, and then there are the immodest. That’s just my opinion of course.

    As for the hoochie factor, that is getting so old. Butyou are right, people love it! People especially love to see little girls wearing hooker clothes and gyrating to a club beat. I don’t get it either, at all. Some of the moves I have seen are um…quite suggestive…and from little girls who have no idea what they are even simulating. And the crowd goes wild.

    This is one reason why we switched from dance to gymnastics long ago. But that’s another topic. We no longer do either, mostly because of the money factor (which brings me to my final point – FREE LESSONS? Holy cow that is awesome. I want some!)

  • Alison Moore Smith June 11, 2012, 1:30 pm

    Angie, I’m so glad you brought the word “hoochie” here. 🙂 When my third daughter took dance classes (at age five or six) in Boca, she was having a great time until the costume ordering time. They were expected to wear hoochie momma outfits with bare midriffs. We asked if the class could be more covered and I got a whole slew of lectures about how “no one else has a problem with them.”

    Eventually, the teacher let her switch to an older class that was going to wear more covered costumes. But after that semester, we just quit.

    In the years since, however, I’ve started to think I was overreacting. Not to this particular costume, but to costumes in general.

    With a daughter on BYU’s ballroom dance team, I can tell you that the team costumes are very often NOT “temple appropriate.” And even those that are, are not “temple appropriate” the minute a girl does a spin. (There’s a reason you always wear trunks under costumes.) Is this bad?

    With another daughter who attended multiple cheer camps at BYU — not to mention dozens and dozens of football games — I can tell you BYUs cheer costumes aren’t remotely “temple worthy.”

    Same goes for the basketball team, swim team, gymnastics team, track team, Cougarettes, theater ballet, modern dance team. You name it.

    But what you might notice is that they are generally modest WITHIN the genre we’re discussing. The cheerleaders aren’t remotely modest by a Sunday dress standard, but within the world of cheerleading, they are on the more modest end.

    Swim suits wouldn’t be modest at the temple, but a one-piece is pretty conservative at most beaches.

    If you look at the general RS presidency’s clothes, they would have been positively scandalous in Brigham Young’s Retrenchment Society. But by TODAY’s standard, they are conservative.

    It seems to me that modesty is a principle that is HIGHLY relative.
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…Best Home Organization ResourcesMy Profile

  • Amy Lockhart June 11, 2012, 8:08 pm

    I actually struggle with the swimsuit issue as well. I just feel that there are so many opportunities to say “This is what the Lord says, but we are going to do this other thing anyway.” I understand the logic behind an outfit being appropriate for an occasion, but for me it feels like justification. I have yet to ‘solve’ the swimsuit dilemma for myself. There is a wonderful company that makes modest swimsuits, but I can’t afford to buy them for my growing children that need a new suit every year. I am working toward a solution that feels right for us. Right now we wear swim shirts (the boys too).

    In my heart the connection is made that if I justify an outfit for an occasion, then the foundation I am working so diligently to lay is fairly shaky when it comes time for things like Prom and the like.

    I am also one of those people that has absolutely no problem with other people doing what is best for them. I believe whole heartedly that I am not here to judge anyone else. I am here to live the best life I know how and listen to the promptings that lead me closer to the Lord. My children were born to me because the Lord knew that within our family unit they would be able to get the best experiences for their individual growth.

    jks: you will navigate your daughter’s dance experiences perfectly because you are aware and confident. A confident mother knows what to do and doesn’t hesitate to make the best choice, especially when it’s not popular. Thanks for sharing in a respectful way and understanding that it’s okay when we make different choices and see things differently 🙂 I really appreciate that.

    Tracy: It is definitely difficult to deal with this type of things at church. I talk with my children, a lot, about how we don’t need to worry about what other people are doing we just need to do what is best for us. My greatest hope is that I can teach and train my children to the best of my ability while instilling in them a deep understanding of charity. If I can raise children to be confident in their choices while not judging others, that would be the best thing ever for me. It sounds like you are doing a fine job at being a great example 🙂 Thank you for your kindness.

  • Amy Lockhart June 12, 2012, 8:55 am

    Angie: Yummy! There are just some words that are better than a brownie. Thanks for pontificating 🙂 tasty, tasty.
    Amy Lockhart recently posted…My LatestMy Profile

  • Amy Lockhart June 12, 2012, 9:51 am

    Alison: I definitely see where you are coming from, but for me it doesn’t come down to what a group, no matter who they are, is doing. It comes down to living, to the best of my ability, the gospel as I understand it by the promptings and guidance of the Holy Ghost. Really, all points of the gospel are relative to each individual and his or her spiritual journey.

    I struggle with BYU being a standard to which people hold themselves to. I personally know many people that have done the BYU thing and ended up far from the gospel, but play the part of a temple going, church attending, calling holding (even Bishops), member of the church. Of course this is not the fault of BYU, but I believe there is always danger in putting our spiritual decisions in the hands of an earthly source. I plan a post dedicated to this soon.

    A while back, my oldest son read an article about a basketball player that wears a t-shirt underneath the uniform in order to be true to the standard of modesty they feel best about. I had never even thought of it before, but it struck him that there was a disconnect between what is taught in church about modesty, and sports wear. He began wearing a T-shirt underneath his sport shirts that have no sleeves. At the same time, he does not go around telling other people what they should do or that he is more righteous because he made this choice. It’s what feels best to him and he does it.

    When my daughter expressed that the ballet costumes were immodest, I felt it was not my place to give her justifications as to why it was okay, but rather to do my best to support her in her convictions. Again, it wasn’t an I am right you are wrong thing, she did what she felt best about out.

    We teach modesty in our home from the time our girls are little and worship princesses. They wear shirts (and shorts if needed) under their princess dress-ups. So far, it has not hindered their ability to be happy joyful children that partake in various activities. If the time should come when an outfit for a desired activity is required, and it is not in keeping with the standards the Lord has set, and we strive to follow, we will cross that bridge when we come to it. And we will cross it with the Lord, and seek diligently for His guidance.

    I desire that my children are willing to give up their will in any earthly endeavor. His will is always best. We rarely understand why at the time, but it is always for the greatest good of our soul.
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  • Alison Moore Smith June 12, 2012, 11:13 am

    Amy, thanks for responding.

    it doesn’t come down to what a group, no matter who they are, is doing

    I’m not sure that’s actually what I’m talking about, if I read you correctly. It’s not so much about “going along” with the group, but in understanding that perception comes from culture.

    In our culture, having ankles showing is not some kind of hypnotic turn on. In Brigham Young’s time, it was utterly scandalous. Our current female general leaders do not follow Brigham Young’s counsel in dress and, in fact, would have been considered highly inappropriate to him. Instead, they dress modestly for the culture in which they live.

    For the same reason, our church-published material suggests things like one-piece swim suits. They do not recommend that we resort to 1920s era swim outfits (that, btw, cause drowning due to their weight).

    The church now claims one piercing to be considered modest. My mom was born in 1925 and NO decent woman would get her ears pierced back then. It was considered completely slutty and, as my mom said, “Only loose girls get their ears pierced.”

    Tattoos are, I believe, similar. In our culture, tats have traditionally come from a coarser side of the culture: military, bikers, gangs. As that becomes less and less true, tats lose their stigma. Certainly in Polynesian some cultures, tattoos aren’t remotely counter-culture. Instead, they are signs of honor and responsibility.

    I believe there is always danger in putting our spiritual decisions in the hands of an earthly source.

    Well, the prophets are an “earthly source.” I think there is a marked difference between “putting our spiritual decisions” in the hands of BYU and noting that church approved and church touted groups have particular standards that aren’t Victorian.

    there was a disconnect between what is taught in church about modesty, and sports wear

    I actually don’t find there to be a disconnect. In fact, in multiple places we are specifically taught that various activities require different clothing than those we generally wear.

    it is not in keeping with the standards the Lord has set,

    My position is not that you should defy the Lord’s standard. I don’t think the BYU teams are doing that in any fashion. Rather, I think that the Lord’s standard for church wear isn’t necessary the same as it is for swim wear.

    Here is the kind of statement I’m referring to:

    New Era:

    Church standards for dress are based on both modesty and appropriateness. For example, shorts that would be worn appropriately while playing sports such as basketball would be inappropriate for attending a Mutual activity. A modest swimsuit would be the right thing to wear while swimming but would be immodest anywhere else.

  • Amy Lockhart June 12, 2012, 6:08 pm

    Your response seems defensive and I feel that you have used my feelings and experiences out of context, as well as my children’s. You have taken things I have said to an extreme that do not represent me, or what I have written.

    I do not believe Prophets are a worldly source. I also do not believe that any Prophet would come into my home and question any of our choices as far as modesty goes. Nor do I believe that a Prophet would question yours.

    Nothing in my comment to you was meant as an accusation or a stance against or towards any of your views. I was simply sharing my thoughts and feelings; how it is for me. I have no interest in being right or proving a point. Simply put; I get where you are coming from, and with no desire to prove superiority/inferiority, or right/wrong, I shared my thoughts, spiritual convictions, and my children’s experiences.

    If my son wants to wear a T-shirt under a sports shirt because he feels that is keeping him more in line with the Lord, I will support him. If my daughter chooses not to participate in a dance recital due to not being comfortable with the outfit, I will not convince her it is fine. I will work to find a solution that does not compromise her spiritual convictions. If my children are more comfortable in swim shirts, I say, “Hooray, I save on sunscreen!” There are middle of the road options between 1920 and 2012 swim wear, and I myself am grateful for them.

    I have no delusions, of any sort, that I have somehow figured it all out and know the best way to do anything for anyone else. I do know that the Lord sent me here to find my way home to Him, and I am striving to do just that. My path will always be different than everyone else’s, and no, it’s not quite such a throw back to the Victorian Era. It does make me a peculiar person though, and as I read it, that’s not such a bad thing these days.
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  • MangoMammy June 12, 2012, 10:48 pm

    With all due respect Amy, I don’t think Allison is the one being defensive. She didn’t attack you or your children. She’s just discussing her position on the same topic.

    I’ve been reading here for about 3 years but never commented until I just saw George/brother-in-law/Asian Mike’s lame responses on the porn topic. I come here multiple times every week because this is one of the few blogs that takes a faithful position, but still allows __thought__ and real discussion without telling me I’m wicked and evil. If it weren’t for this site I wouldn’t be in the church because I couldn’t see a way without being extreme.

    Instead of getting mad, just think and respond. No one expects you to change your mind. Just have a good discussion.

    By the way, it says my comments are moderated. Did I do something?

  • partone June 12, 2012, 11:05 pm

    Amy, I really liked this post. It’s good to read how other people look at things. We have so much to navigate here!

    I didn’t really understand your statements about *worldly sources* and such. There are unreliable worldly sources, but there are also reliable ones. The prophets are worldly even though they are inspired. But Brigham Young sure did go into homes and question modesty! Have you ever studied about that history? There’s a silly movie the church put out (maybe not so silly just really dated) about it. I can’t remember the name. Anyway, it’s true. And when the prophet talks about modesty in conference he’s in my home and when we are sent manuals and booklets that talk about it, it’s the same thing. There are just too many of us for him to physically come to my home.

    I hope you’ll stop being upset and just come back to discuss things. Your attitude is extreme, but I don’t mean that in a rude way. I think we need to hear the extreme part, too! It helps balance the other extreme we see in the world. 🙂

    Well, I hope that came out right. Sometimes I read my answers later and they don’t even make sense to me! Anyway, I liked the post and thought it was interesting to hear.

  • Oregonian June 13, 2012, 8:02 am

    i always struggle with where to draw the line.

    amy no one would tell you to convince your children to do something wrong but telling them the truth is good. what i mean is that if your child felt guilty for something that wasnt their fault or wasnt really a sin you wouldnt just let them agonize over what you call a -spiritual conviction-. i hope you would explain to them that it’s not sinful.

    the church officially says -and shows- that appropriate athletic wear does not have to cover the same way regular clothes do. explaining that difference to kids is just as much part of teaching the gospel as. teaching about covering up.

    i like reading other parenting dilemmas. my boys are older, but i teach in yw now so i

  • Oregonian June 13, 2012, 8:03 am

    sorry oops

    am always thinking about this stuff.

  • Amy Lockhart June 13, 2012, 12:42 pm

    My comment to Alison was me seeking to mend a fence if I had broken it. I do feel that she took experiences and phrases out of context and created an inference of extremism that is not true to my life, but I don’t feel she did it with any malice.

    I was concerned that it sounded as though I was attacking her position and choices in her own life and with her own children. I wanted to clearly state that while I see where she is coming from, and conclusions she has come to for her life and her family, our experiences differ and I did not mean, in any way, for it to seem as though I was seeking a right/wrong resolution, or a position of superiority over her.

    I am not upset, nor do I feel on the defensive. Truly sorry if it came off that way. I am fairly certain that I’ll hear from Alison if she takes issue with anything I have said. I could have read more into it than was there, as is easy to do when we do not know each other in real life. I wanted to make sure I didn’t offend.

    I am confident those that read this that know me in real life have a different understanding of the things I have said in comparison to those that don’t know me. There is only one that has commented publicly here that actually knows me, that is Angie. For those that don’t, I am glad that you comment so I can understand better how my written word may sound to some.

    I used to do this thing when I was writing; nearly everything I wrote was prefaced with some type of phrase or word that would identify it as my opinion. Of course it’s my opinion, I am writing it. It’s something I have worked hard on and quite possibly gone too far the other way? If I rewrote my response to Alison with that old habit in full force I think it might not have ruffled so many feathers.

    Semantics are a tricky thing sometimes, I could restate the Prophet portion of my response like so:

    I do not consider Prophets to be a worldly, or earthly, source. For me, they are divinely appointed for the time in which they live. Their messages come straight from God and I do not consider that to be earthly. What I hear from them is something like so; here is the standard, this is what is expected, but if the spirit directs more from you, then follow that. I say this hesitantly, because I am sure there are those that will want to apply it differently, and to things I am not referring to.

    For instance I am not implying that I would receive personal revelation that a bikini is okay. I am also not implying that my feeling a need to be more covered up applies to anyone but myself and my children, as they are in my care and I am entitled to revelation for my individual family unit. I would also not consider it my place to judge anyone else’s positions on modesty based on whatever reasoning, sources, or groups they look to. Please be respectful in your replies to this and do not refer to anything other than my choice to be a bit more covered up, on some occasions, than is acceptable by church standards. This was not stated as a broad reference to my ability to pick and choose doctrines and points of doctrine etc.

    All references to church material and statements are of course valid, but I have found that within the subcultures of our wards and branches (I happen to be in a branch) there are many interpretations of things that seem, to me, to leave little room for interpretation.

    For me, I need to live separate and apart from any type of culture or subculture. I equate this to living in the world but not of it, and yes that actually can, and often does, apply to the church world. This is something I have learned about myself through years of battling self doubt and an inability to do what felt best for me because the group or crowd was doing it another way. My journey is most probably different than yours. This does not mean that I do not participate in things of said sub/culture. It simply means that, in my life, I must be careful not to seek outside sources (referred to as earthly or worldly) to validate what is best for me and my individual spiritual journey.

    I seek to live according to what is best for my soul. This will be a lifelong process for me and I consider it uniquely mine. There are many things from my childhood and past that have shaped my ability to make decisions, stick with it, and not feel I am wrong (self-doubt) simply because it’s not the same as the prettier, more popular, super mom down the street. The fact that I am able to even write this stuff and post if here in this huge space is quite a feat for me.

    There is no negative connotation to the phrases outside/worldly/earthly sources. I do not infer that those seeking to live with exactness to church positions on modesty are doing anything that is not authentic to them and of the most benefit to their personal spiritual journey. I do consider BYU standards to be different from official church positions, and as Alison stated, and I believe I agreed with, modesty is relative.

    My journey has been, and will likely continue to be, different than yours. When I write I offer portions of me. I consider my writing to be more like points to ponder rather than issues to debate upon. That is not to say that only comments that are concurrent are allowed. It is just to say that I may not navigate the debate portion of things as well as others. I am willing to offer what I have, but there is risk involved and that can be a scary place for me. Here’s to personal growth!

    I do not look at anyone else that has done anything differently in a light of judgement or condemnation. As I stated previously we talk a lot in our family about making the best choice as individuals and not needing to be concerned with what everyone else is doing. For me, it’s important to extend that to church members as well. As Tracy and Angie stated there are lines crossed all the time at church, and with church members, and I feel it’s important to teach my children to do what is right for them, and then go have a great time associating with all their friends that may choose differently.

    I have not heard in my lifetime that it is extreme to wear a leotard underneath a ballet costume. I hardly think a swim shirt is an extreme position on modesty. I can’t really find any a place within me where I see a t-shirt under a sport shirt as ‘out there’.

    We do not cover ourselves from ankle to wrist. We wear shorts to the knee, skirts to the knee (with cut off tights for ‘insurance’ 🙂 ), and short sleeves. My girls prefer skirts but also wear pants and shorts, we stay away from tank tops and spaghetti straps (unless another shirt is underneath), and are careful that our knee length skirts are not cause for peep shows with the g’s, as Angie referred to. My boys don’t go shirtless or wear tank tops.

    I especially find it hard to make the extremist connection when my position has nothing to do with me being right and everyone else that wears a one piece without a swim shirt, just a sport shirt, or no leotard under a ballet consume, being wrong. That was never my position.

    My children do know exactly what the church positions are on modesty. There were never any feelings of guilt or sin expressed from either of my children in the circumstances mentioned. My daughter did not feel comfortable and so I worked toward spiritual and practical solutions that she could feel best about without compromising how she felt the Spirit was directing her.

    My son saw two separate articles (1 female and 1 male), in a church publication, addressing the subject of modesty and basketball shirts, and highlighting the choices of these young people to wear a t-shirt inderneath. He saw a disconnect. That point is not up for debate. There was no negative talk about anyone or anything. In fact, I did bring up the church’s official position. This was not a family discussion of how it’s wrong to not wear a t-shirt underneath.

    It was my son showing me what he read, telling me his thoughts, me sharing official church positions, and him making a choice. His choice was to begin wearing a t-shirt under his sport shirt. It was a simple act of recognition, introspection, and making a change toward what he felt best about.

    Many do not see a disconnect, but some do. We each get to follow our own path. My second son doesn’t own any sport shirts. We’ll see what he does when they are handed down to him.

    I’ll happily pass on the link to the swim suits I refer to if any would like, and if Alison approves. I have received quite a few requests for it, due to this post. The company is owned by a member of the church and she and her daughters sew them. They are cute suits with short sleeves and an attached skirt (sarong style) covering the shorts, that comes about mid-thigh. It’s all one piece which is great for staying put and not needing adjustments every time you move as is an annoyance with how many suits fit these days (at least my daughters and I), not so much at all like the 1920’s. Really it’s not much different than things you can buy in the stores and piece together yourself, but the one piece nature of it makes it extremely user friendly.

    Semantics gets me again as I used the word ‘any’ when referring to Prophets coming into homes without clarification. I live in this day (gladly so, yes I am aware of Brigham Young’s earnest and eager attempts to ensure modesty 🙂 ), with the Prophets of this day, and while I read, cherish, and ponder the words of all the Lord’s chosen Prophets, I understand that Thomas S. Monson is President of the church and is God’s current Prophet on the earth today. The day that I live in (and dress in).

    I am not aware of any Prophet, in my lifetime, that has stated that my eternal progression is in any way jeopardized if I (or my children) feel better in something a bit more covered than a one piece swim suit, would prefer to wear a t-shirt underneath a sport shirt, or choose to not participate in an activity (or find a solution) where the outfit is not in keeping with personal convictions regarding modest dress. We have found many articles and stories throughout church publications that have supported the choices we have made and we are comfortable sticking to them.

    On the other side, I will not claim that I have heard that any of the aforementioned things are immodest by church standard. Neither will I say that there aren’t just as many articles within church publications that support one piece suits and traditional sports attire. I cannot speak to the ballet costume as I am not aware of anything official by the church, but I am sure someone will send me something. Again, for me, it’s not about debate and proving I’m right. It’s about sharing my experience and my personal convictions without judgement.

    If at any point my opinions and experiences are seen to be harmful and of contentious origin meant to judge another, I would prefer not to offer them. That would not be a place where I am comfortable. I will leave that judgement to Alison as this is her site.

    I really do mean what I say when I refer to not having delusions that I have somehow figured it all out and need to tell you all how to do it. Maybe it was taken as flippant, it wasn’t meant that way. I come from a point of sharing personal experiences that have caused reflection, growth, and often change, in my own life. As long as that is something Alison sees as beneficial for this site, and as long as you all are willing to allow me room to grow in my ability to say things in ways that do not accuse or pass judgement, I am willing to offer what I have. I really was unaware, and remain so, that what I wrote had such a tone of judgement within.

    I mean no disrespect to anyone or their choices, nor do I offer a holier than thou, know it all voice, to my written word. We’ll hang out with any of you on the beach. We’ll support you in your dancing and sports endeavors. We won’t say a thing about what you are wearing or doing. Frankly, we likely won’t notice ’cause we just love to have a good time.

    I will, however, take my bunnies and run, if there is anything that needs to be kept from the minds of my impressionable boys and girls that deserve every opportunity to have a healthy, wholesome, and heavenly view of the body God gave them, and it’s many miraculous uses. I still won’t think less of you, or pretend in any way to know what is best for you. Could you do the same for us?

    I don’t know if I covered everything that I was put to task on, but I am sure you will let me know if there are more clarifications that you would like. 🙂
    Amy Lockhart recently posted…My LatestMy Profile

  • Tracy Keeney June 13, 2012, 3:43 pm

    I have to admit, I’ve been a little torn on the swimsuit/uniform issue too. The church’s standards of modesty are pretty clearly set, and yes, that standard DOES allow for wearing things that would be considered “inappropriate” outside their design for use ( example– a one piece swimsuit that JUST covers the bottom, often showing alot of the hip, exposes bare shoulders, etc or a Tankini that has “boy shorts” for the bottom that DOES cover more than the average one piece, but essentially puts you in a pair of “hot pants” that would be considered EXTREMELY inappropriate otherwise). However, I think alot of that goes to what Alison suggested– culture. Our culture (and the Church for that matter) has “accepted” the use of the standard “one piece” swimsuit as “appropriate” for swimming, despite the fact that generally speaking they are NOT modest and expose a lot more than what the church normally says is appropriate to expose. I’d love to hear someone explain how it’s “okay” to dance in an outfit that leaves you bare shouldered with legs fully exposed up to near the panty line as long as it’s for ballet, but NOT “okay” to dance in an outfit that leaves you bare shouldered and has a mid-thigh or just barely past the butt hemline in you’re at the prom. They’re BOTH dancing. What difference does it make? And let’s face it, in ballet legs are spread all over the place– the crotch area is exposed frequently– that rarely happens at a prom. Even the “skankier” prom dresses cover up a lot more than alot of ballet costumes. So what’s the difference? Culture. Culturally, it’s “okay” to dance around a stage, nearly naked in a see through costume that looks like a negligee. Put that same dress on a girl and send her to the prom and every Mormon Momma and any other proponent of “modest dress” would have a cow. But let’s be honest– is there REALLY any difference? They’re both dancing. We just “accept” the one, and “reject” the other.
    And I guess the thing that really bugs me, is that we’ve ALLOWED ourselves to be deluded into thinking that a certain style of clothing that we’d normally say isn’t appropriate, IS appropriate if it’s for a particular sport, swimming, dance, ice skating, etc, when the MEN’S wear for these things proves that the shortness, the tightness, the
    skimpyness, the shoulderless-ness, etc of the womens wear is ONLY for sex appeal, and not because it’s “necessary” for the occasion.
    Example: Except for the “speedo”– which honestly is a rarity by comparison, 95% of all men’s swim trunks are quite baggy and go nearly to the knee, if not past it. So WHY does even a “modest” one piece woman’s bathingsuit fit her body like a glove, with a bottom area that fits like a very tight pair of panties? Why does an “even more modest” tankini bottom fit like a pair of “hot pants”?
    Why do the mens’ volleyball uniforms have long baggy shorts, while the womens’ uniforms have supertight hot pants? Why do mens tennis uniforms consist of a short-sleeved shirt with shorts that stop a little above the knee, while women wear sleeveless tank tops with super short mini skirts that expose the attached panty? Why do the men wear long pants and long sleeved shirts when they are ice skating, while the women wear little “nightie” looking things that use “flesh tone” fabric to make them look even MORE “fleshy” than they already are? All this has NOTHING to do with freedom of movement– if it did, then the mens clothing would be just as exposing as the womens’. But we’ve been accepting the womens clothing as “appropriate for the activity”– whether it’s swimming, dancing, sports, etc. Should we?

  • Tracy Keeney June 13, 2012, 5:19 pm

    To be clear, I don’t mean to suggest that we *shouldn’t* be wearing tankinis, ballet costumes, etc, etc or that someone wearing them is breaking the church’s standard and is being “immodest”. Church leaders have set the standard, and by no means is someone who is LIVING those standards being “immodest” or doing anything wrong by swimming in a tankini. I think it would actually be wrong for anyone to go around preaching that wearing a tankini or the standard ballet costume isn’t “quite as righteous”.
    Like Amy, I too have had my daughters express that they didn’t feel like a particular piece of clothing was modest enough, when it in fact was perfectly in line with church standards. My daughter for example, always wears a pair of longer shorts with her low hip, sport looking one piece bathsuits. She’s uncomfortable with the way the bottom of a one piece fits like panties. Even though by church standards, her swimsuit is perfectly appropriate, I certainly wouldn’t encourage her to be LESS modest than she feels comfortable being. My other daughter got a Tankini– and even though it covers quite a bit more than the standard one piece, I can’t help but see her little bottom in those things and see “hot pants”.
    But again, I would think it’s inappropriate for anyone to suggest that her bathing suit is “immodest” and isn’t in line with church standards. It most certainly is in line with those standards. On the other hand, when all the boys are wearing long, baggy shorts to swim in, I can’t help but wonder how we (myself included) ever came to accept that anything that fits like tight panties or hot pants is acceptable for our daughters to wear in public– just because they’re getting wet in them.
    So I certainly don’t have any problem with someone trying to live an even higher dress standard than what’s required, as long as they aren’t being “Holier than thou” about it and aren’t trying to tout it as church standards.
    I feel the same way about all the Word of Wisdom stuff. The no refined sugar, no white flour, etc, etc is NOT a part of the WoW, so people shouldn’t talk about it as though it is.

  • Angie Gardner June 13, 2012, 6:58 pm

    Tracy, you make some really great points. Like you and Amy, I also have have a daughter who wants to be more covered than her LDS peers (and more than her sisters, for that matter). Just last night, they had a water activity for mutual and she wore her very modest tankini AND long shorts and t-shirt over it. If she would have gotten in the pool (which none of the kids did) she probably would have taken the shorts and t-shirt off, but just to stand around and hang out in a swimsuit…um, no not her style at all.

    Anyway, I think the point of all this, and it’s the same with a lot of things in the church but especially evident with modesty since that’s an “outward” thing, is that the *implication* is that if you choose something for yourself that is above and beyond the standard that you somehow think everyone should, or that you are better than those who just meet the mark (and certainly better than those who don’t even come close to meeting it.)

    I know Amy personally, and I know she’s not that way. I also know people with similar standards who DO look down on others, and their kids pick this up.

    I will give an example that has nothing to do with modesty, just because I think it is such a hot button issue. We don’t, and never had, allow our children to “hang out” with their friends on Sunday. The reasons this rule came into being are that 1) we as a family didn’t feel that it was Sabbath day observant to do the things that “hanging out” usual entails; and 2) it is the only day we really have to spend as a family. My oldest daughter was recently called a “goody goody” by her best friend at church because she was asked to hang out downtown after church and declined the invitation. What was wrong with hanging out downtown? They weren’t going to shop or anything, her friend just wanted to walk around. Well, my daughter just didn’t feel like it met with our family standard, and I was glad that she made the choice even though she took flack from her friend for saying no.

    Having said that, maybe it’s a double standard, because we DO socialize as a family on Sundays sometimes. In fact, we recently made a goal to have ward members over a couple of times a month for brownies and ice cream on Sunday afternoons to get to know different families better.

    What is different about that and hanging out downtown? I have no idea, really, it just feels different somehow. Justification maybe? But my point is just that each of us have to make choices based on what feels right to us, which is an accumulation of what church standards are, what your past experiences are, and what the spirit is telling you is right for you and your family. Just my opinion, of course. 🙂

  • Alison Moore Smith June 13, 2012, 9:14 pm

    Amy, I wasn’t offended at all. I’m sorry you were. I loved your post and perspective, even though mine differs greatly.

    To me, the entire point of the blog is to have a venue in which members (not just in name but, generally speaking, in activity) can openly discuss ideas, opinions, similarities, differences, perspectives, etc.

    In other words, I’m happy to have you explain your point of view and happy to have others express theirs.

    It’s about sharing my experience and my personal convictions without judgement.

    Exactly. Except that I don’t think it’s really possible to have personal conviction without judgment. Sure, we can determine that some behaviors best fit our families (like voice lessons or gymnastics lessons) without “judging” that everyone should. But when it comes to character/behavior, in almost all circumstances what makes GOOD character and GOOD behavior are things that our entire culture would be BETTER for embracing. And recognizing that IS a judgment.

    Sometimes when we try to decide how to behave, I ask my kids, “What would happen if everyone did what you want to do? Would the world be better or worse?”

    In many cases, that’s a good indicator that the behavior is should be encouraged or discouraged.

    So, really, I don’t object to judgment, because it’s usually really part of the equation anyway. So, let’s talk about it openly.

    Lastly, I’m not much on the personal revelation trump card as a blogging device. I absolutely believe that personal revelation is real and valid and incredibly important. But if the topic we’re discussing is only valid within the context of a special, unique divine dispensation, then there is nothing to talk about! 🙂 It might make a good family story, but it doesn’t really help others navigate their lives within a spiritual context.

    For example (in a slightly out-of-date context), President Benson tells women to stay home with their kids. When Sally keeps her job with the insurance company and blogs vehemently about how she just had a spiritual confirmation that she should keep working, what is there to say other than, “Well, OK”?

    What I’m trying to say is that I’m happy to have you post your thoughts and convictions and happy to have other discuss their thought and opinions whether they are similar or very different. 😀
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…Consumable Business ModelMy Profile

  • Amy Lockhart June 13, 2012, 10:30 pm

    I am not offended in the least and don’t know how you came to that conclusion. Glad you weren’t.

    You are quite good at taking things and twisting them just enough to benefit your point. I suppose I am going to have to get used to being misrepresented, or spend lots of my time going tit for tat with you. Maybe it will depend on the day.

    Not sure how you got that I was using personal revelation as a trump card. I don’t even know how to respond to that.

    I have no problem with differing views, and stated as much. The part that is difficult to understand, is when statements are taken out of context and inferences and extremes are attached to make it seem as though they are actually what a person said, or how a person lives, when in fact it is not. It’s not difficult to take and doesn’t offend me. It is just completely foreign to me, as I do not communicate that way.

    I actually do learn a lot from other’s experiences, or family stories as you referred to them. Wether they are similar or different than my own views, I enjoy listening to others and learning about them, without passing judgement. We are, quite obviously, very different in many ways.

    I am one of those people that doesn’t pass judgement. We do exist, sorry to burst your bubble. But, I can see that nothing bursts your bubble because you always have something better to say 🙂

    I do not claim to know, nor do I have interest in declaring, what defines good behavior or good character for individuals or an entire world. And no, I do not smoke weed and live in a VW van, nor do I drink koolaid that sends me to live with the nice aliens in outer space, sorry if I took material away from you there! teehee.

    You can have all your other points I am too tired to keep going. I will continue supplying you with debatable material as long as my brain doesn’t short out. Thanks 🙂
    Amy Lockhart recently posted…It’ll Build Your CharacterMy Profile

  • Alison Moore Smith June 13, 2012, 9:49 pm

    I’d love to hear someone explain how it’s “okay” to dance in an outfit that leaves you bare shouldered with legs fully exposed up to near the panty line as long as it’s for ballet, but NOT “okay” to dance in an outfit that leaves you bare shouldered and has a mid-thigh or just barely past the butt hemline in you’re at the prom. They’re BOTH dancing.

    I’d say the major difference is more than just an underlying cultural acceptance or rejection of dress. I think the difference (in ballet, ballroom, basketball, etc. (do you like my alliteration?)) is what the expected physical result is. You simply could not perform any of those expected activities in a most prom dresses, because they aren’t cut to allow the required movement.

    My fourth daughter attending cheerleading camp at BYU a couple of times. They were very clear to explain that the girls would NOT be allowed at camp in any skirt longer than specified (which is about crotch height, with a trunk underneath). Why? Because doing jumps and stunts with a longer skirt is dangerous and causes injury.

    Because we homeschool, I am often around the extreme end of the modesty movement (just a relative term, not a pejorative). A couple of years ago we attended swimming lessons (at the Lehi pool) where two sisters were required to wear “temple worthy” swimsuits. To be completely honest, it was positively dangerous. Now I absolutely agree that this was due to the style employed, but the poor girls struggled and struggled (they seemed about 8 and 12).

    I agree that there is a difference between men’s and women’s wear that is very often sexually motivated. But not always. I think some of it has come from having distinct female and male clothing that was then modified into athletic wear.

    For example, look at old photos of ice skaters. The women wore LONG DRESSES (because wearing pants wasn’t acceptable). As women were allowed to become more athletic, their FEMININE clothing was modified and re-modified to accommodate the more athletic movements they made.

    Another example, female cheerleaders are thrown and caught. Male cheerleaders are not. The women could wear tights under their uniforms, but that’s still not “temple modest.” They don’t have the option of wearing sweat pants for those stunts. Female ballroom dancers COULD wear pants (and sometimes do!), but if they dress in typical female dance attire (meaning dresses instead of pants), the skirts fly up. Again, they could wear tights underneath (in addition to their trunks), but are tights modest anyway?

    In some ways it’s hard to find modest FEMININE athletic wear. I know some LDS women who wholeheartedly objective to masculinizing women by androgenizing their clothing. :/

    Today some of the racing swim suits actually cover a lot more — kind of like biker shorts (some even ankle length) with tank tops. But of necessity they are super skin tight. Again, not modest by typical standards.

    I do have one thing to say about board shorts (because that’s generally what I wear over my suit). I’m more comfortable that covered, but find them incredibly uncomfortable in actual use. First, they are SO heavy when they get wet and when you get out of the water, you FREEZE because they are full of water and slap against your legs. Augh.

    By the way, we took the family to Ringling Brothers Circus in the Delta Center a few years back. President Monson sat two rows in front of us with an older gentleman and younger woman. When the Las Vegas style dancing girls came out and lined up around the arena (he was on the second row), my eyes shot straight to him to see what he would do. Would he leave? Nope. He just sat and stared straight ahead. So I felt OK staying there, too. 🙂 And was glad when they left the stage. (Of course the trapeze artist didn’t have much more than a swimsuit on, but flowing garb is kind of a health hazard in her business. 🙂 )
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  • Alison Moore Smith June 13, 2012, 9:55 pm

    Sorry to post YET ANOTHER comment, but they are getting SO verbose!

    is that the *implication* is that if you choose something for yourself that is above and beyond the standard that you somehow think everyone should, or that you are better than those who just meet the mark

    I think this goes both ways. When someone expresses a choice with regard to how they live the gospel and someone else expresses a different choice, their is a tendency for people to assume the second expression comes from the position of defense. That’s not necessarily true.

    When Amy expressed her position (which is very different from mine), I didn’t remotely take it like an implication that she thought she was better. I just thought it was DIFFERENT. So I posted my DIFFERENT thoughts. That’s what blogging is good for. A static website is good for disseminating information. A blog is good for discussion of differing ideas. 🙂
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…Math for BreakfastMy Profile

  • Perry June 14, 2012, 12:19 am

    **As most ballet costumes are, they were immodest. I reassured my daughter that I would work with her teacher and see if we could find a solution.**

    Two of my daughters are seriously into ballet. I don’t think the costumes are immodest for the kind of dancing they do.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 13, 2012, 11:48 pm

    I am not offended in the least and don’t know how you came to that conclusion…

    Your response seems defensive…I feel that you have used my feelings and experiences out of context, as well as my children’s…You have taken things I have said to an extreme that do not represent me, or what I have written…I do feel that she took experiences and phrases out of context and created an inference of extremism that is not true to my life…everything that I was put to task on…You are quite good at taking things and twisting them just enough to benefit your point…I suppose I am going to have to get used to being misrepresented…statements are taken out of context and inferences and extremes are attached…sorry if I took material away from you there

    ??? Amy, I would characterize these statements as being “offended.” If you define them differently, I apologize. I’m sorry to have bothered or surprised you. I’m sorry to have answered problematically.

    I’d like to answer the questions you posed, but want to be clear that I’m simply trying to discuss different viewpoints. If you think I’m twisting or misrepresenting you, PLEASE just tell me in what way you are being misrepresented! That isn’t my intent. I’m just trying to take written words and make my best interpretation. If it’s wrong, just clarify!

    Not sure how you got that I was using personal revelation as a trump card. I don’t even know how to respond to that.

    Thanks for letting me clarify. 🙂

    You presented a position about modesty. I presented a different one. Your response was:

    I definitely see where you are coming from, but for me it doesn’t come down to what a group, no matter who they are, is doing. It comes down to living, to the best of my ability, the gospel as I understand it by the promptings and guidance of the Holy Ghost. Really, all points of the gospel are relative to each individual and his or her spiritual journey.

    You don’t want to consider church group norms, you want to discuss the promptings and guidance you receive. But how can anyone else discuss that? Unless we are open to discussing many aspects of a posted topic, where do we go with personal revelation outside the context of actual church policy/doctrine? As I said, the only thing I can think of is having people agree or thank you for posting, but nothing in the way of having a discussion.

    I actually do learn a lot from other’s experiences, or family stories as you referred to them. Wether they are similar or different than my own views, I enjoy listening to others and learning about them, without passing judgement.

    This makes me think you misunderstood what I wrote. I’m not talking about passing eternal judgment or placing people on some righteousness continuum. I’m talking about regular, everyday judgment: discernment, the ability to consider decisions, coming to sensible conclusions.

    We can’t learn (from others’ experiences or anything else) without judgment.

    I am one of those people that doesn’t pass judgement. We do exist, sorry to burst your bubble. But, I can see that nothing bursts your bubble because you always have something better to say

    Amy, does this not sound like you’re offended? I don’t know how else to read that.

    But here’s what I meant: you can’t make decisions without judgment. You can’t live a godly life without judging what is godly and what is not. The whole point of being here is to discern between the opposing forces that “must needs be.” The scriptures area guide to JUDGING.

    Your post indicates that you take great care in how and what you teach your children and how you live your life. That requires a great deal of judgment so all I can think is that you misunderstood what I was discussing.

    In sincerely hope you are able to see that I’m interested in discussing issues from many sides and welcome many points of view.
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  • Tracy Keeney June 14, 2012, 12:55 am

    “You simply could not perform any of those expected activities in a most prom dresses, because they aren’t cut to allow the required movement.”

    True– but they (ballet costumes) don’t have to be strapless, or bare shouldered, see through nightie kind of fabric, or barely stop at the crotch, either. And honestly, I think the “required movement” thing stretches things a bit. Look at all the wild dancing they do on Dancing with the Stars– they do all sorts of throws, lifts, etc too, and they’re often wearing long dresses– (of course, their boobs are hanging out– but you know what I’m saying. 🙂 What would make the typical prom dress difficult to do ballet in, is a straight skirt that wouldn’t allow you to lift your leg outward, do an arabesque or jete. But even a knee length flowing skirt would do fine. There are plenty of ways to design a “modest” ballet costume that would still allow for the necessary freedom of movement.

    “They were very clear to explain that the girls would NOT be allowed at camp in any skirt longer than specified (which is about crotch height, with a trunk underneath). Why? Because doing jumps and stunts with a longer skirt is dangerous and causes injury.”

    Yeah, but who said they ever had to wear SKIRTS in the first place? The guys who cheer wear long PANTS. They do flips, hurdlers, pikes, herkies and all that stuff too. The girls often practice in long sweats, doing the exact same thing they do in the skirts. It seems to me that the whole “short skirt” thing is a sex appeal thing that we’ve merely become accustomed to. Top Gun went to the Worlds wearing long “under armor” style pants that stopped a couple inches above the ankle. Of course their tops stopped just below the breasts, completely exposing the middle. But if you took THEIR bottoms and combined them with the Maryland Twisters’ long sleeved (or even a short sleeved version) fully covering tops, (that they wear with little “hot pants”) you’d have a perfectly “modest” uniform that still allows for every single lift, throw, flip and jump there is. We’ve only become “accustomed” to female cheerleaders wearing short skirts– it isn’t actually “necessary” for safety reasons or otherwise.

  • Tracy Keeney June 14, 2012, 1:20 am

    Here’s a look at what I’m talking about.
    The tops Maryland Twisters F5 wore at Worlds this year

    Top Gun pants from Worlds this year:

    But if you look at another Top Gun video, you can CLEARLY see that the guys are doing all the same kinds of moves as the girls, but the girls are wearing the typical much more skimpy uniform, while the guys are fully clothed.


  • Perry June 14, 2012, 1:36 am

    I guess I should introduce myself. I am Perry and I live in Hawaii (Oahu) near BYU Hawaii. I have read hear for about two months after a friend told me she met Alyson from a trip here a few years back. She went to her ward I think. But I don’t post until I see that about ballet because my girls do ballet and they are not immodets girls. They need to wear what is required.

    I just read through all the comments and am feeling oh wow. Amy I pretty sure your offended by the way most people discribe offended. I like the post true but you have to look at whats real too.

    I think the judgement thing is good to talk about. There was a good talk about that by Elder Holland I think. About the difference? Does someone know what I’m talking about? It really opened my eyes when people always say “who are you to judge” or other things like that whenever you talk about good and bad.

    So I read the article on this page at the top to see if there was any judgment in it there is lots. Like these…

    ***a sweet and talented girl — you have to judge not sweet and not talented
    ***an adorable recital — you have to judge not adorable
    ***an enjoyable potluck dinner –what is not enjoyable
    ***they were immodest. –judge what is modest or immodest
    ***find a solution — judge what is modest not modest
    ***pleasing God is always more important than pleasing man — judge who to please
    ***desire to show others what you can do is not humility but pride — judge
    ***it is best to be humble and teachable–judge what is best
    ***it’s important to me to be modest and ask if I can wear a shirt under my recital costume?” — judge that shirt under costume is modest
    *** ‘dance modest’ in the recital. — judge what is dance modest
    ***She danced a beautiful dance and we had a wonderful time. — judge not beutiful dance
    ***We dressed up fancy — judge plain
    *** it was beautiful — judge not beautiful
    ***This is not good music. –judge good or bad music
    ***Those outfits are not how we dress the sacred body Heavenly Father gave us. — judge outfits we are supposed to dress
    **God did not intend for us to use our bodies like that.” — judge how bodies intended
    ***lyrics in the songs alone were enough to scorch ears and send fire (not the good kind) to my bosom. — judge bad lyrics
    ***When we expose them to this kind of garbage — judge garbage not garbage
    ***We know better — judge that people who like the music are wrong and know they are wrong
    **if you think you don’t, I promise you do. –judge other moms who think different
    ***I was truly perplexed that there weren’t more people than myself Dumfounded, and really sad; that was me.– judge that other mothers should have been doing what you did
    ***move their bodies in disgusting ways — judge disgusting or not
    ***whatever perfect stranger will give them attention –judge why they dance that way
    ***their desperate and horribly misdirected plea –judge
    ***Horrific. –judge
    ***My quest to raise children unto the Lord has me so far removed from the world, and all it’s pleasures. –judge that you are different by raising children right
    ***I understand what it means to the soul –judge what it means
    ***Can you refrain from calling me a prude and a goody goody because it makes me want to run away as fast as I can? –judge that others think bad of you

    I guess reading the post again after saying you don’t judge (what was the burst bubble thing about) is don’t understand it, because you don’t just judge like thinking things through, you also judge other moms and stuff. I guess I don’t think its so bad but you do so lets realize it.

    I know my writing is not so good, but I like to read and I read better than I write!

    Anyway, I like reading about different church ideas so keep the good writing. Its close to bed time so I’ll talk to you soon.

  • Angie Gardner June 14, 2012, 8:05 am

    Welcome Perry. We probably know some of the same people, as I have relatives from Hawaii near the BYU-H campus as well. 🙂

    For a short time, my daughters took ballet from a very strict ballet teacher. For their recital they had a very specific outfit (white tights, pink sleeveless leotard) and even hair (bun with no free hairs flying around). The teacher went to great lengths to explain to us (it’s been many years ago so forgive me if I can’t remember specifics) about how ballet costumes are designed this way specifically because they DO want the audience to see the body in great definition. If you notice, male ballet costumes also leave very little to the imagination. Apparently, the tone and definition of the body is very important in ballet. As a non-dancer (other than drill team in high school many moons ago) I don’t really “get” it, but I also don’t see it so much as sexual or even immodest, but just that they want to show the athleticism of a trained dancer. (Before anyone else says it – yes, I think that could be done more modestly…but that’s a different topic).

    As for the judging thing. We all have to judge every day, and if we say we aren’t it’s just not true. “Good, better, best” comes to mind. I had to laugh on Sunday when one of my college friends home from BYU for the summer made a comment along these lines (the lesson was on Elder Uchtdorf’s “Stop It” talk). She said when she started hearing him talk about how we need to stop judging others, the first thing that came in her mind was, “Yeah, I know a lot of people who need to start judging…oh…wait…” Made me laugh.

    To me, there is a fine line there between judging others (i.e. “you should not be going to the temple if you are dressing like that”) and judging choices for ourselves (i..e. “I don’t believe this outfit fits into the modesty guidelines I am comfortable with for myself”)

  • Angie Gardner June 14, 2012, 8:07 am

    (I meant “stop” judging…not “start”) need to get in the habit of proofreading.

  • Marnie June 14, 2012, 8:52 am

    Reading this article I was a little put off, not because the modesty position is extreme, but because it is so judgmental. The idea that you don’t belong here because no one else gets it and you do?

    Just reading the comments and judgment comes up. Asked my husband to read the article first for general impressions to see of I am way off. He said, “Well SHE knows more than us all!”

    I think there were good intentions here, but getting yes, VERY offended when others politely have other opinions doesn’t need to happen. I know it can be hard if you aren’t used to people commenting openly, but that’s why we come here.

    So keep writing with a more open heart!

  • Amy Lockhart June 14, 2012, 10:49 am

    Hmm, I really don’t even know where to start, or how to say what it is that is in my heart. Judging (I am sure you will all get a kick out of my use of that word. Just for clarification, I don’t mean that defensively because I am offended by motives that have been assigned to my previous words. I mean it in a fun and playful way; banter between friends.) Judging by the responses I am not effectively communicating what I had hoped to.

    I really don’t have the time to respond to everything so I hope I am successful at painting a broader picture by saying a few things. Here goes.

    My burst your bubble remark was meant in the same playful way as I poked fun of the possible interpretation of my use of the word judging above. I get the sense that Alison can hold her own, and felt confident that she wouldn’t take offense to my declaration that I don’t judge, even though she clearly stated something different. Hence her bubble would not be burst (oh my is it burst or bursted? I better find that out before my children ask me :)) by my not accepting her interpretation or assessment of my use of a word in application to my life.

    Trump card has superior connotations for me. The idea being, whomever has it wins, usually. It seemed to me that Alison was saying I was using my deeply personal, and spiritual, convictions and revelations as a trump card. For me, it is a misrepresentation as I am not here to win or claim superiority over anyone else. Again, not offended at all.

    The statement used to prove a point was not me seeking to use revelation, or anything else, as a trump card. I was merely trying to explain where I was coming from so that others might understand me, my experiences, and my writing better. My hope was to assure that I was not seeking to judge, and tell others what to do and how to live. I was relating experiences in my own way. Taken out of context it surely does take on a whole new meaning. That meaning was not assigned by me. I am fully aware now that this is not a forum where understanding others is the goal. And, yet again, just to be sure I have said it, it’s not a bad thing, just foreign to me.

    I don’t believe siting personal experience, revelation, or spiritual convictions halts a conversation. I see that others do and I now better understand what was meant by trump card and why siting personal revelation is something better left out of this forum, for me anyway.

    If most people are offended by all the things that were put back to me by each of you that did so, well then, I guess you will have to either believe me or not believe me when I say, I am not most people. If I were offended I would stop posting and let Alison know that I will not be submitting anything here again. I am not and have not, and don’t plan to anytime soon.

    My comment to Alison about being able to twist things just enough to prove a point, was meant as a compliment. I am sure she could win most debates anywhere. I am no match for her, nor do I plan to try to be. Hence my leaving it at either being fine with it, or going tit for tat, depending on the day. I am hearing that it was not perceived the way I intended. Sorry Alison, truly sorry. If I felt there had been malice involved this would be a different story. I don’t.

    For me this is a situation of different ways of communicating clashing with a virtual world where people don’t know me in real life. As I said previously, those that know me in real life will have a better understanding of things I say. That’s just the nature of it. I am admitting that this is a different experience for me and something I am not accustomed to at all, but I am not offended by anything that has transpired thus far.

    I have never been in a situation where my personal judgments and spiritual convictions were up for debate. They are just mine. When I say I am not offended, I take for granted that I will be taken at face value and not challenged with my own words. I have learned that will not be the case here. Learning is good, it helps me navigate this in a better way for myself.

    Language is a funny thing sometimes, and it seems that most of you are on a different page than I am. That’s totally cool with me. Humor is also a funny thing (ha ha!) and it seems mine has gotten me into trouble. Or at least in a situation where I have a whole lot of explaining to do.

    I feel what is going on here is a bit different than discussing different ideas and views. Not in every case, but for some of it. When responses contain narratives of extremes and definite statements referring to things that are actually quite subjective, I am not offended, but I do feel it paints an inaccurate picture of the person being quoted (often times out of context). This tactic is extremely effective in winning the debate, but not in accurate representation. That is where I feel inferences and misrepresentations are being made. It is nothing I am upset by. Just trying to determine how involved to be in my efforts to correct/explain.

    So far, it’s not doing me much good to try and paint an accurate picture of myself. I don’t necessarily feel it’s a bad thing either. It is an experience, and all experiences can be for my good.

    I am one to seek the meaning and not be snared in the words. It is easy for me to leave semantics behind and get the message. Of course, I am not always correct in my interpretation of the message. Again, this is in context of my own life, and is only said to represent me, where I come from, and how I see things. It may help some to understand that picking apart my post and finding every possible statement that could be construed as judgment upon others or otherwise, is not the best way of determining who I am, how I live, or what I do. It, of course, only help if If understanding is the goal. I am one who always seeks to understand others. It’s just who I am.

    It is not to say that focusing on the words is wrong, or that people who think and interpret that way are wrong. It is a difference, that is all. It would suggest though, that it might be difficult for the two groups to converse in a productive and positive manner.

    As far as modesty and judgment, and really all the rest of it go, I believe that everything in life is relative and subjective. I come from the place where I determine what is best for me (and sometimes my family, but they don’t always mesh, and we navigate those roads together) and I live it the best I know how. I really don’t pretend, in any way, to know what is best for, or works, for anyone else, even people belonging to the same church that supposedly play from the same ‘rule book’. (Please understand that my use of supposedly applies just as much to me as anyone else.)

    If it seems otherwise, I can assure you it is merely a matter of semantics and communication breaks. Again, you can take me at face value or think I am delusional, it’s really not up for debate. But you are welcome to debate it if you like.

    Alison, I am good. Are you?

    I say we all get back to the modesty debate, how ’bout it!
    Amy Lockhart recently posted…It’ll Build Your CharacterMy Profile

  • Alison Moore Smith June 14, 2012, 11:03 am

    True– but they (ballet costumes) don’t have to be strapless, or bare shouldered, see through nightie kind of fabric, or barely stop at the crotch, either.

    Of course not. I wouldn’t defend that (and haven’t), but I think the idea that athletic wear should conform to the same modesty standards of, say, church wear, is unrealistic.

    Look at all the wild dancing they do on Dancing with the Stars– they do all sorts of throws, lifts, etc too, and they’re often wearing long dresses– (of course, their boobs are hanging out– but you know what I’m saying.

    I don’t watch Dancing with the Stars (Tracy, I’m MUCH too pious for that! 😉 ), but of course ballroom dresses are often long. Smooth dancing (now, inexplicable called “ballroom” as opposed to “other” ballroom :p) almost always has long dresses. I didn’t make any kind of defense of skanky ballroom outfits (and they are many). What I said was that no matter the length of skirt, when you spin in a dress that MUST allow a wide range of leg movement, you’re going to see LEGS underneath. And not just legs below the knee. So, the costume will NOT be “temple modest.”

    Yeah, but who said they ever had to wear SKIRTS in the first place? The guys who cheer wear long PANTS. They do flips, hurdlers, pikes, herkies and all that stuff too.

    Like I said, I think it came from modification of traditional WOMEN’s clothing. I am not remotely a cheerleading expert. My entire exposure has been two BYU cheer camps with one daughter. I can only tell you specifically what they told me.

    That said — and again, I’m no cheerleading expert — I think I already covered what you’re asking. In the cheer we’ve been involved with, men do NOT do “all that stuff” that girls do. Specifically, as I mentioned above, they don’t get thrown and caught regularly. Those were the moves that were considered problematic with longer skirts.

    As was told to me, it’s dangerous to grab for a girl and get a handful of cloth. The girl hits the pavement.

    So sure, they don’t have to wear skirts. But if they don’t wear skirts, as I said above, they need to wear something form-fitting. So would you consider a super-tight set of tights and leotard or unitard generally modest? I wouldn’t. If one of my kids wanted to go to mutual or school or to the mall in a leotard, it wouldn’t matter to me if she had tights covering her legs or not. It would be no way.

    The girls often practice in long sweats, doing the exact same thing they do in the skirts.

    In my (ver limited) experience, this was simply not true. They didn’t ever practice flying and stunting with sweats. Sometimes lycra biker shorts or something, but never with anything loose.

    Even shirts had to be very tight. When kids would order sizes, they would specify that they needed to be very form fitting or they could not wear them.

    But if you took THEIR bottoms and combined them with the Maryland Twisters’ long sleeved fully covering tops, you’d have a perfectly “modest” uniform that still allows for every single lift, throw, flip and jump there is.

    I suppose that’s where we differ. I wouldn’t remotely object to a uniform like this, but if someone was in a nonathletic venue, I’d find it inappropriate. (I’m a PRUDE! 🙂 )
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  • Alison Moore Smith June 14, 2012, 11:20 am

    Amy, thanks for your thoughtful response.

    Trump card has superior connotations for me. The idea being, whomever has it wins, usually

    I can see how it could be read that way. I’m sorry. What I meant was that personal revelation can be used as a means to prevent discussion. “This is what was confirmed to me, it’s only about how we do things, I’m not telling you what to do, but I don’t want to talk about how you deal with the same situation.” With regard to blogging, I don’t see a point in that approach. If a topic is addressed (even in a very personal way), we need to be open to discussion on surrounding issues.

    I am fully aware now that this is not a forum where understanding others is the goal.

    I sincerely disagree. It’s a forum for both authors and readers to understand EACH OTHER. It’s a two-way street. Commenting is the life blood of blogging and trying to understand commenters (including how they differ) is central.

    For the record, I don’t think disagreeing with someone means you don’t UNDERSTAND them. In fact, I don’t think you can truly disagree UNLESS you understand. Does that make sense?

    If I were offended I would stop posting and let Alison know that I will not be submitting anything here again. I am not and have not, and don’t plan to anytime soon.

    Good to hear, because your input is most welcome.

    Alison, I am good. Are you?

    Of course. Look forward to future posts. 🙂
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  • Amy Lockhart June 14, 2012, 2:42 pm

    I am fully aware now that this is not a forum where understanding
    others is the goal.

    Alison said: I sincerely disagree. It’s a forum for both authors and readers to understand EACH OTHER. It’s a two-way street. Commenting is the life blood of blogging and trying to understand commenters (including how they differ) is central.

    Me: Thanks for clarifying that better than I did. I agree completely. I meant understanding more in an emotional way. If that makes sense. I am not sure I can explain it well enough, but applying it to broad generalizations about my character that have been made is what I was targeting there. Not in a way to prove I am not something that someone else wants to believe I am, but rather to apologize for any judgement, know it all attitude, or holier than thou stance that some have perceived due to, I believe, not knowing me on a deeper level than my words.

    When I tried to clarify, it didn’t seem to me that the goal was to accept what I was saying about my motives and move on, but rather to prove, by using my own words against me, that the motive behind said words, as determined by others, was fact. I genuinely do not want to offend others or come off in a way that is superior. That position is actually so far from my heart and how I live my life. I get that people I do not know are not going to understand me in that way.

    I do see how my words are not the same for others as they are for me. It’s not something I have come up against before. I hope it is at least somewhat apparent that I am sorry for anything offensive. Wether it was meant that way or not, it doesn’t matter to me. It does matter a great deal to me that it has happened and I only seek to correct it. I am putting forth effort, you go right ahead and let me know if I improve or not.

    Thanks Alison for sticking with me and understanding that I am trying to understand how best to communicate in this forum. 🙂

    Now, back to the post. I am extremely curious to hear somebody say something on how they think ‘hip hop’ and other types of suggestive dance, and the costumes that go along with it, effect young boys. The connection to pornography is clear to me, but I am certain others will see it differently.

    I am close to a great number of people dealing with this issue. Close enough to hear some of the intimate details, and first hand thoughts of how it begins, and takes over lives. I have three boys. Two within the age range that many have professed was when they became entangled in the nightmare. It was truly shocking for me to see that I was alone in that audience in my concern for young boys and this problem. It will probably help if you know that I live ‘in the mission field’ and was the only member of the church in attendance, to my knowledge anyway.

    That is where I felt alone, and not home, and wanting to take my bunnies and run. The feeling that I was surrounded by the world and completely alone in my views. That was my perception of course, and it really did make me sick to my stomach. The song lyrics fit perfectly there for me because I just wanted to not have to deal with it. To be removed for good and not need to worry about my boys ending up in a situation like I am watching others I care about go through.

    I just can’t see how images like that could be positive for me to expose my boys to. We wonder where it comes from, but it’s all over television, movies, video games, and even our own children’s dance recitals. How do we give boys a fighting chance (and nurture healthy and sacred body images for girls) with these kinds of things everywhere? Not only are they everywhere, but they are readily accepted by most in my little part of the world. Those of us that see differently are labeled as prudes and extremists. I’ll wear the label if it protects my children, but it doesn’t mean I don’t feel alone. I can’t follow logic that says there is not a connection for many reasons, but most compelling to me is the first hand testimony of those that actually struggle with this issue.

    In our family we stay pretty far away from most types of media. We do own a TV, we have a computer (obviously!), my son won an iPod touch recently, we do go to the movies, although not often. In fact, we stay further away than most other members of the church that we know. It’s not a judgement I make, but something I know because we have been mocked and criticized for our choices. I don’t understand the need to mock another for a choice simply due to its being different than your own.

    My position is to err on the side of caution, but I think we all know that by now! 🙂 I also maintain that my position does not need to say anything about anyone else’s position.
    Amy Lockhart recently posted…It’ll Build Your CharacterMy Profile

  • Tracy Keeney June 14, 2012, 3:16 pm

    Well, for the record, I don’t watch Dancing With the Stars either. When it first came on, we watched about 10 -15 minutes of it and my son kept turning his head away because he didn’t want to see everything the women were showing. We changed the channel and never watched it again. Yes, even when Marie Osmond was on it. Everyone at work assumed I was watching just because she’s LDS– but I didn’t even know she was on until they said so, and I still never cared to watch. But I’ve seen enough clips to see the kind of dancing they do.

    “As was told to me, it’s dangerous to grab for a girl and get a handful of cloth. The girl hits the pavement. So sure, they don’t have to wear skirts. But if they don’t wear skirts, as I said above, they need to wear something form-fitting. ”

    But that’s exactly where I disagree. If all your experience with cheerleading is what you’ve seen/heard from your daughter’s team then I can see why you might think that what you heard from BYU is true. But it just isn’t.
    I was a cheerleader myself for several years, until I chose marching with the band over the cheering. My all too wide behind used to be the smallest one on the squad. And though I was NEVER good enough to even come close to being on a competitive team (as opposed to a school or community sports squad) I’ve watched the NCA championships, Cheersport and USASF Nationals and Worlds several times over the years. So I’ve seen how the guys do in pants, what the girls do in miniskirts. And the pants, as you can see in the videos I posted are NOT form-fitting. I just never “put it together” I didn’t see the discrepancy– it wasn’t until a few years ago, when I was watching a televised competition and my daughter expressed her interest in cheerleading but complained that she didn’t think she could do it because of how immodest the uniforms are. We started talking about it, and suddenly, my eyes opened to what had been right in front of me for years. Guys fully dressed, doing the same things the girls were doing, only half naked.
    You indicated you’re not that “into” cheerleading– so I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of, or seen Premier. They’re an ALL MALE cheer squad– they’re the bases AND the flyers– doing the same high throws, jumps, extended scorpions and other stunts that the girls do. And they do it in a uniform that looks like they should be playing basketball. Short sleeved shirts and knee length gym shorts that are clearly not form-fitting. Hey! I found a clip on Youtube. Check out their uniforms. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=puq73ygIfUo&feature=related

    There really isn’t a reason why girls’ cheerleading uniforms couldn’t be designed the same way. So why aren’t they? Again, I really think it’s a sex appeal thing. Of course, I don’t mean to suggest that the girls THEMSELVES wear the super short skirted uniforms to BE “sexy”– it’s the standard uniform for girls, the way the manufacturer’s make them. But when the manufacturers are making perfectly “modest” uniforms for the guys, and putting the girls is micro mini’s, even though the guys (maybe not at BYU, but that’s not really the point) can do the same stunts in their non-form fitting long pants, then there really doesn’t seem to be explanation other than sex appeal and what we’ve accepted as “customary” for girl’s cheer.
    Same thing goes for other sports– ice skating, tennis, volleyball– the guys standard wear is generally very modest and STILL allows them the freedom of movement they need, while the women’s outfits are entirely different in that regard.


    Volleyball– men:

    women: http://www.google.com/imgres?hl=en&biw=1600&bih=783&gbv=2&tbm=isch&tbnid=SiybJV_JUCHf4M:&imgrefurl=http://www.champion-eu.com/official_supply/it/58734/Volleyball.aspx&docid=jxyIYYjwi_IFfM&imgurl=http://cms.arscolor.com/storage/sito133/offsupp_mens_volley_hellenic.jpg&w=800&h=642&ei=kFPaT8rCG6jy2QWU6oG6Bg&zoom=1

  • Tracy Keeney June 14, 2012, 3:31 pm
  • Angie Gardner June 14, 2012, 4:02 pm

    The whole sexualization of our society really bothers me, and particularly the sexualization of children – and sadly, girls/women are getting hooked on pornography and other inappropriate behaviors as well. I don’t know all the answers as far as where to draw the line or what is cause, what is effect, and what is just a symptom of the entire society struggling with this issues.

    As you know from being my friend, I do put myself out there more than you do as far as media and such goes. I like some popular music, movies, and TV shows that I know you wouldn’t. 🙂 I would try to explain it but it would just end up sounding like a justification so I think I will just stop there haha. I don’t know the answers except that it does seem that for some people, the threshold is very low as to what they can be exposed to without feeling negative effects. For example, I have a brother who is very sensitive to the spirit and seems to sense when there is something “off” in a group of people, a movie, a tv show, music, whatever, and he will remove himself from it because he can literally feel the spirit leave and he feels vulnerable during that time. On the other hand, I worked in high schools and there is very little that shakes me. 🙂 It doesn’t mean I like it, but I don’t feel “turned on” by skimpy outfits or offended by filthy language or whatever.

    My stake president recently gave a very interesting talk along these lines a few weeks ago in stake conference. I am still processing it. He said that when he was called as stake president, he packed up all of his music and some movies and books because he didn’t think they were “stake president material”. His wife “scolded” him and told him to get them back out because that “wasn’t him” and as long as he could feel the spirit in his calling that he could enjoy the things he had always enjoyed. He actually specifically mentioned being a Metallica fan 🙂 So here again, I really don’t know the answer. I love the theory of staying as far away from it as you can, and yet on another level I think it is just impossible to stay away from it completely and you have to find ways to live in the world but not of it. I’m still trying to find that right balance for myself.

  • Angie Gardner June 14, 2012, 4:12 pm

    Tracy, your comment about Marie Osmond on SYTYCD made me laugh. Did you know there are/have been quite a few LDS members associated with the show including Donny and Marie and Gladys Knight as contestants and Derek Hough, Julianna Hough, Lacey Schwimmer, Chelsey Hightower, and at least one other I cannot remember her name.

    Enough to make you blush, actually. Some of those moves Derek comes up with…whew! And that’s not even to mention the costumes.

    He made some comment once, wish I could remember the exact quote, but something to the effect that he “is still Mormon in Spirit” or something.

    As far as I know, none of the dancers except the one girls whose name I can’t remember (Ashley something?) are active. Not saying it’s because of the dancing or anything but yeah…

  • Amy Lockhart June 14, 2012, 4:31 pm


    I am curious where the “temple modesty” standards came in for you. Specifically, was it my post that you felt implied “temple modesty” was necessary? This was one of the points I took as misrepresenting me due to using an extreme to make a point. Just wanting to further understand if my wording implied that I require that type of standard and dress in my life and my children’s lives.
    Amy Lockhart recently posted…It’ll Build Your CharacterMy Profile

  • Amy Lockhart June 14, 2012, 4:43 pm


    And the reason I am so grateful for you as a friend is that you have never mocked me or judged me because our standards in media are different. I think I can safely say that you have never felt judged or treated differently by me either, no?

    You put it so well; we each have our own threshold. I am of the belief that our thresholds do not need to be identical to enjoy fulfilling relationships free of judgement. Thank you for being that kind of friend to me 🙂

    Now seriously I need some input on the dancing, pornography, young boys thing. If that’s about threshold too, then how do I possibly know where my boys’ thresholds are without playing with fire?! Maybe it’s as simple as living according to my threshold and letting them find their’s when they have been under my extreme tutelage until they leave the nest? Falling under the same thought behind my Not in Scope of Work post at my motherhood blog?

    Tell me true good friend, I know you have some personal insights on this. I am begging, can’t you see.
    Amy Lockhart recently posted…It’ll Build Your CharacterMy Profile

  • Alison Moore Smith June 14, 2012, 4:16 pm

    OK. So cheerleading outfits don’t have to be form fitting. That’s what we were told explicitly and repeatedly. But — and I’m completely serious about this — why don’t you write this up and send it to BYU’s team? I am repeating what they told me which I would guess was repeated to them. Or, better, write a post about it like, “An Open Letter to the BYU Cheerleading Coaches.” I think it would be a great topic. (Or do both!)

    Tennis, I think is another making women’s traditional dress more accommodating to movement. Women (including my mom who played tennis) wore dresses. It’s hard to run around a court in an mid-calf length dress. Volleyball, I have no explanation for. It went from panties to underwear. Beach volleyball being the worst, IMO. Did women even play volleyball back in the “only dress days”?

    Competitive swimming certainly requires a form fitting outfit no matter the amount of coverage. And, like I said, if you spin in ballroom, you’re going to show legs.

    My main concern isn’t specifically where we draw the line in every single event. It’s individual, not likely to be commanded, and can easily become a haystack fallacy.

    My point is mostly to note that for whatever reason, official church materials and church institutions recognize that some activities can appropriately be done without demanding “temple modesty” standards.
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  • Amy Lockhart June 14, 2012, 5:26 pm

    Extreme, no, but misrepresenting the swim wear I mentioned yes. It’s hardly temple worthy. Not that that would be a bad thing, it’s just not an accurate representation of it.

    Extreme would have been the jump to Victorian Era dress, covered ankle to wrist, Brigham Young references. Not bothered, just trying to understand the jump. For you it’s not a jump, or about making me look a certain way, and I get that now. Didn’t at first, but do now.

    Not that you specifically attributed these things to me and my life, but the inference seemed clear as there were comments made after yours that seemed to have taken your examples and references and applied them to my life. Thus, my feeling a need to correct the assumed misrepresentation. I no longer feel that need.

    I understand how you operate now and I really am okay with however it ends up looking to others that I am. I’ll chime in if I think something needs clarification 🙂

    Furthermore, not as an excuse at all, my husband is in the midst of his summer inspection schedule, which has him gone from Tuesday thru Saturday night for several weeks. With our baby’s special needs we have a deal, he does the night shift. Well, that all goes out the window when he’s not around, and I don’t do well on little sleep. My brain stops firing on all cylinders. It is quite probable that I have not fully comprehended all I have commented on 🙂 Totally irresponsible on my part.
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  • Alison Moore Smith June 14, 2012, 4:45 pm

    No, it wasn’t your post specifically. It was simply the general discussion of modesty itself.

    Generally in a church setting when we talk about modest dress, we ARE talking about clothing you could wear with garments and, in addition, that would be appropriate dress for someone who had been to the temple (I don’t mean “clothes you would wear to ATTEND the temple”).

    When we talk about covering shoulders and bringing down hems, that’s usually what we’re talking about. To a great extent, the garment defines modesty in an LDS context.

    In early church (and American history), showing ankles was considered inappropriate and immodest. Now our general leaders do it every day. I see much the same thing with shoulders. I don’t find the tops of arms and shoulders to be salacious and think very few in our culture see it as revealing. So when we talk about covering shoulders, it’s generally about covering garment areas, not about becoming “walking porn” by showing delts.
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  • Alison Moore Smith June 14, 2012, 4:52 pm

    BTW, I should ask what you thought about the term “temple modesty” did you think made you look extreme? That might better help me understand what bothered you.
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…Best Home Organization ResourcesMy Profile

  • Tracy Keeney June 14, 2012, 6:18 pm

    “why don’t you write this up and send it to BYU’s team? I am repeating what they told me which I would guess was repeated to them.”

    Yeah– I should. To be honest– and don’t anyone shoot me for this– I’ve never seen a BYU game, much less the cheerleaders’ outfits. I didn’t even know there was ever a concern over their uniforms until it got mentioned here.

  • Angie Gardner June 14, 2012, 8:29 pm

    Tracy, what you just said is major trouble. I am not sure I can ever think of you the same. No BYU games? EVER? Travesty. 🙂

    Amy, I am not avoiding your question. 🙂 I just think it is such a multifaceted thing that it’s really hard to say what is going to be the trigger for someone…what is going to cause them to take it a step further or stop it in its tracks. Not having struggled with this myself, it’s hard for me to guess.

    There is only one person close to me that I know of with a really serious porn problem. I’m sure I “know” others but I just don’t know that I know. But anyway, I would say for this person (who has become very open during his recovery, because he got caught and nearly lost EVERYTHING over it) it probably started with a very general desensitizing (part of the media/modesty/music/dancing thing you are talking about) and went from there to a curiosity and stimulation and then addiction.

    To be kind of blunt (and I hope this does not offend anyone) I think it’s different for everyone because different things turn us on. To use myself as an example – as a teenager, a naked man could have strutted right in front of me and it would have done NOTHING for me, but a really cute guy with beautiful eyes and a 3-piece suit who looked at me, smiled, and said something nice probably could have taken advantage much more easily than he knew.

    Even now, in my old lady days, this dancing does nothing for me. For some people, I’m sure it does quite a lot. To each his/her own, right?

    I do think that girls/women have no idea how many different ways men can be turned on and no idea that their seemingly innocent (oh so cute, look at that little girl in the black feather dance costume shaking her booty!) actions can cause this kind of a response in people. Thus, I agree with you that it’s better just to stay as far from “the line” as possible.

    Having said all that, the sad fact of the matter is that our children ARE going to be exposed to it. It’s not really a question of if, just when and how. It’s important for us as parents, I believe, to be prepared for this ourselves so that we don’t overreact when it happens.

    A few years ago I had to pick up my husband at the airport in Vegas. Because I had to drive at night alone from St. George to Vegas, I took my then 10-year-old daughter with me. Now, even I am smart enough to know not to take my kid to the Strip unless you are prepared to answer a lot of fun questions, but I had no idea that the simple drive to the airport would cause the same situations to arrive. What did we find ourselves behind in bumper-to-bumper traffic but a moveable escort service. I had no idea there was such a thing, but this was kind of like a box truck with very naughty pics on it and a phone number to call if you wanted a girl delivered. To avoid it, I changed lanes and then found myself next to even worse pics on the side. Sigh. So, I had a nice discussion with my daughter about what that was all about and her question was “Why would a girl do that for money?” Good question.

    Anyway, the point just being that for every story there is probably a different trigger, a different situation that “sets you off”. I am sure a lot of it has to do with your state of mind at the time you are exposed to the stuff and how desensitized you are by the things you have been exposed to (like the hoochie dancing).

    This is all just my opinion, of course. I have no training or experience in this, really.

    I will tell you one thing that terrified me when I first learned it (and terrifies me still) and that is the predatory aspect of this business. Make no mistake, the porn industry wants your business and they will do whatever they need to to get it. Usually, that is through helping little 10-12 year-old-boys into seeing it. I read an article once, several years ago, about how the sickos purchase up domain names that are very similar to legit sites (they gave as an example something like dinsey.com) so if you get a typo – boom, there it is. I am not sure how much of that still goes on but I do know that I stumble on stuff occasionally quite by accident, and if it happens to me, it can and does happen very easily to the very young and innocent. Even if they immediately turn it off and tell you, they have still seen it. No fun.

    Sometimes I feel like the only really fail-proof way to protect them is to stay by their side 24 hours a day. Since that is impossible, the next best thing I suppose (at least what I have come to decide for myself) is to teach them the principles and guidelines established in the church so that the desensitization is minimal, observe what I can as a parent, and establish open lines of communication so that they feel like they can ask me anything and we can talk about it and how they feel about it.

    My two cents.

  • Amy Lockhart June 14, 2012, 9:37 pm

    Thank you Angie. I will digest this and hope for more as I am sincerely concerned about doing what is best for my boys and feeling very much like a law of moses approach would be comforting to me, but might actually hinder growth, if that makes any sense.

    I am not afraid of talking with them and being open. We have had many open discussions about matters of the birds and the bees things. This just feels so difficult because I have witnessed so many awful outcomes due to men (boys at the time) feeling like there was something their moms could have done. There has not been blame on the mothers, but more a sadness that more wasn’t done to prevent the entrance of the beast.

    Like you said, we can’t be everywhere. Sometimes it seems easier if we could be. Anyway, I am tired and need to go to bed. Hopefully I will awake to someone having the perfect solution 🙂 Thanks again.
    Amy Lockhart recently posted…It’ll Build Your CharacterMy Profile

  • Angie Gardner June 15, 2012, 6:28 am

    I know this will bring great comfort to you, but I am so glad that I only have girls! 🙂

    (Just kidding)

    Sadly, girls can get into just as much, and with them you also have to worry about victim/participant side of things more. Well really, you have to worry about the offender/victim/curious observer/participant with all of them nowadays. It’s so sad to me, but is the state of the world I suppose.

    There was a piece years ago by Diane Sawyer that talked about the porn industry. One of her interviews was with a porn start who had grown up as a Mormon girl. Like I said, terrifying.

  • Love April 8, 2014, 4:43 am

    I stumbled upon this blog because my 3year old daughter, who is feeling a little under the weather, and I were watching Christian sing-along dvd and in one of the music videos,a little girl of about 8yrs old (rough guess) was dancing (ice skating) to the song in a lovely ice skating outfit but I had an issue with why her panties had to show as she turned and twisted.I,personally, didn’t think it was appropriate.I remembered I have always had this modesty issue/question and decided to google the question ,”Christians,why do we dance with underwears showing?” (I can’t remember exactly what I typed but it was just enough to get me something that I can read to answer my question or I would say,to find that I wasn’t alone in thinking we ought to be modest in all we do.
    Having read this post by Amy.I am 100percent in agreement with her.I am also in agreement with Tracy and Angie…even though I stopped reading after a while cos I got tired..sorry 🙂

    I do not intend to judge anyone but if my believing that we ought to be modest in all we do,dressing and all, is a kind of judgement, then I am happy to be that judge:) (I agree with Alison and Perry on their judgement-is-everywhere (paraphrasing) stance…sorry I don’t have enough strength to quote you).Amy and Alison ,especially,you write so well by the way.I admire the way you present your point, even though I don’t agree with a lot of your viewpoint(Alison, that is).You remind me of me on a good day …a lot of careful explaining.Some friends have even jokingly called me “The explainer”.hahaha

    However I will not go so far as to tell anyone they are destined for hell because of what they wear.(No one has done that here anyway…as far as I have read. I am just saying).

    Like Amy said and I agree,(paraphrasing) it’s all about the heart and what the Spirit leads you to do or not do.

    I believe that is the most important thing for us as Christians. The leading of the Holy Spirit. ..and not even church rules or standards (dare I say).
    Having said that,church rules are good but I know from experience (Yes,The Holy Spirit leading….Alison, this is time to say, “Well,OK” . Hahahah) that God can lead you to do or not do something different from what the Church believes should be done or not,respectively.
    So I put my Trust in God through His Holy Spirit because its the ONLY source I can COMPLETELY TRUST.

    Now ,the reason I actually wrote ( I rarely post on blogs simply because the point I want to make is already been made and “over made”anyway so no point in saying the same thing.This post is no exception) is that I would like to say (as respectfully and lovingly as I can…so please no head-biting afterwards.lol) that:
    Amy: I think you SEEM very offended and COME ACROSS quite sarcastic in your comments to Alison.I think it SEEMS quite defensive when you CLAIM to use the sarcastic comments playfully because you have been called out and also remind me of most people who are sarcastic (I used to be and God is still working on me daily about it.It’s easier to spot when others are doing it). My point being, I think you need to stop replying and explaining and re- explaining yourself. I honestly got tired of reading what you had to say because I felt you were repeating yourself over and over (once again, i have that trait and i have noticed how it can cone across.I am a work in progress so i spot these things)… I do agree with you though on most of what you wrote..that I read.hehehe

    Alison doesn’t SEEM to be offended and doesn’t COME ACROSS like someone who intends to misrepresent you or anything of the sort. She SEEMS to be just stating her different opinions.
    I still disagree with most of them and have a lot of statements that i could make concerning what Alison has written but i think the issue has been beaten to death and i don’t have the energy to go back and forth on this. I have read a lot of the posts and just couldn’t read anymore because it began to sound like bickering. Tracey asked a lot of the questions I had in mind about the difference in girl and boy clothing so “I rest my unwritten case” .hahaha

    Well,you all wrote very well and I admire the way Amy and the rest of you presented your cases.
    Let’s all agree to disagree.

    I will continue to raise my daughter in the way that The Lord leads.Whether it is in line with what the world(church and secular) believes is appropriate or not is not my problem.
    I believe it is the whole point of Amy’s post.

    Please,anyone, correct me on anything if I am wrong.
    I may have made some mistakes in grammer or spelling,etc..pls bear with me.

    I have written in love and humor,really because I had to laugh when I read some of your statements.

    God bless and it’s good to see that I am not alone,which is the whole point of my seeing and reading this. xxx

  • Ruth Batchelor July 21, 2015, 9:03 pm

    I know this post is several years old, but i want to thank you for it none the less. My daughter is three and has loved ballet for the last year. I have been considering putting her in ballet classes but the modesty issue has weight on my mind. I didn’t even consider what other forms of dance she could be exposed to as well. Thanks to your post, i will be ordering a traditional ballet dvd and letting her learn at home.

  • Weirdguy August 16, 2015, 9:49 am

    LOL I laughed soooo hard while reading this :’D!!! All those comments, like: Hip Hop is a inappropiate dance style. Or: my daughter is not allowed to wear those immodest dance clothes…(in ballet you need to dress like this cuz you need to see the “lines”) . The best part was when your kid buried their heads in your lap bc of the costumes, the dance style and the music :’D i literally died of laughter while reading this!!!! Btw.: I’m a professional ballet and hiphop dancer (no joke) and I’m not a mormon….

  • Alison Moore Smith August 16, 2015, 10:13 am

    Weirdguy, this wasn’t my post, but the weirdest thing about you (at least as far as this comment reveals) is that you offer nothing remotely substantive. You comment contributes nothing, you simply mock. In case you missed the memo, ad hominem and ridicule prove something about you and nothing more.
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…Boy Scouts, Sexism Blindness, Homosexual Leaders, and the Mormon Re-evaluationMy Profile

  • hunter December 14, 2015, 7:23 pm

    I’m glad you raised your daughter in such a way to know her body is a temple and should be respected; totally opposite to what the world teaches. Always stay true to the Lord and your values, even if you feel alone. God is always with you and I’m sure He’s very pleased with you. God bless

  • Miss-anthropy December 5, 2017, 11:38 am

    I am sorry to hear that you were triggered so badly that you felt like throughing up. (That was sarcasm) was it the dance moves, the secular music, or the fact that people were enjoying themselves? I personally have never found ballet to be “immodest” (depending on your idea of modesty yours I assume is rather strict) I really don’t see how 5 yr old boys seeing a hip hop dance will make them pornogrphy addicts later in life can someone please explain that to me preferably with some degree of logic and reason? Of course how you raise you kids is you business (I expect to be left alone therefore I tend to leave others alone as well) but don’t you think such modesty laws are a lot to put on little girls?! How is it there fault that men tend to be “lustful”? I suppose you think that it’s all Eve’s fault because she ate the apple and led Adam astray. If so that means that your “logic” on gender and how the world works in general are based off an ancient story that your religion stole from a much older belief sistem with a creation story very similar to your’s that made just a little more sense? Might I also mention that you can not prove in anyway at all that any of that took place. Sincerely Miss-anthropy.

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