Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Ties should not be mandatory for all Mormons

As the LDS church grows and expands internationally what role does the necktie play? The answer should be none if we are talking about the tie as an article of clothing. The scriptures give principles regarding dress and grooming but never since the law of Moses are specific articles of clothing dictated. 

So what are the principles? D&C 42 is a good start where the instruction to the Saints regarding clothing was for all things to be done in cleanliness before [Him], for their garments to be “plain” and “their beauty the beauty of the work of thine own hands.” Most important the overarching commandment preceding 
those instructions was “thou shalt not be proud in thy heart," a lesson we should learn from the Book of Mormon where pride almost always goes hand and hand with costly apparel. 

I would love to see greater liberty given to local cultural congregations to determine appropriate Sunday apparel. If we talk about 'dressing up' for church out of respect and honoring of the Sabbath-as a special day set aside from the rest the week- then I would propose that each culture will have the appropriate style or level of dress within their culture and not require an importation from the West.  Is there any good reason why these two pictures could not be pictures of LDS Bishops on Sunday?

In the West the appropriate style typically means dress shirts and ties for the men and typically dresses or skirts for the women. In other parts of the world those same principles can manifest themselves in different fashions. When I was in Ghana I loved the fact that the women dressed up in their bright brilliant dresses with colorful patterns, never over the top or an issue of pride but it was simply their cultural norm of dress for such a level of respect and honor. The men, however, in Ghana wore the business suits and ties of the West, despite having a local counterpart to the women's clothing. Of course in nearly all parts of the world the business attire of the West has some foothold but I don't think it should be demanded or expected that every deacon in Indonesia or every bishop in Uganda to be wearing a white shirt and tie. I think the white shirt and tie that the church brings with it into international areas of the church actually acts as a barrier for some investigators and potential members of the church. That extra bit of Western culture will cause the church to be viewed as an American church and somewhat elitist, bordering pride for observers from the outside.

3 comments:

O'Golly said...

I agree wholeheartedly. See my reply to an earlier post regarding ties-

Tania said...

Hello

I'd like to know more about the role of women in the community of Mormons. Can"t find a lot on the web. Anybody'd be willing to tell me why more please ?

I think that a woman is nevertheless really important for a society, non?

Wish you a very good day.

David Stoker said...

Hi Tania - here are a couple resources:

My personal answer when I was asked this previously :)

What are Mormon women like? Do Mormons believe in equality of men and women?

I have always been attracted by the enlightened view of women in Mormon doctrine, beginning with Eve as the heroine in the Garden story, having the faith and courage to make the conscience choice to begin this experience that would give us all the opportunity to ultimately reach greater heights.

Mormon teaching and culture produces women who are well educated and dedicated to family. They are ambitious and self-organizing.

Regarding equality, if anything I think the cultural norm in Mormonism is the view that women represent God's last and greatest creation, that women are naturally on the right hand of God, and that the men have the burden of the administrative priesthood in order to approach the natural inclination of women to care for and lift up others.

For a historical answer the entry about the Role of Women in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism is good starting point.

For modern Mormon women answering this question themselves the Frequently Asked Section on Mormon.org under Women is user generated content.

You might also peruse the mormon mommy blogs that received national attention recently.