Thursday, January 18, 2018

A Perspective on Modesty - My Study Notes and Thoughts

This past September I was asked to teach a combined Young Women lesson on modesty.  I was nervous but excited for the opportunity, since it has been almost four years that I was released from the young women's organization.

To begin the discussion, I showed this picture and asked the following questions:

  • What do you notice about the exterior of this building?
    • Answers included: it was once a really cool house, old, dirty, run-down, unclean, etc...
  • Based on the exterior of this building, what do you assume you might find inside?
    • Answers included: dirt, dead bodies, spiders, mold, homeless people, etc...
  • How might you feel spending time in this building? Why?
    • Answers included: dirty, scared, unsafe, etc...
  • In its current state, is this building as valuable as it could be?
  • What changes would need to take place for this building to be restored to its original beauty?
Then I showed this picture and asked the following questions:
  • What do you notice about the exterior of this building?
    • Answers included: it's bright, lots of lights, it's a casino, flashy, gets your attention, etc...
  • Based on the exterior of this building, what do you assume you might find inside?
    • Answers included: gambling, money, alcohol, slot machines, lots of people, etc...
    • I added that they may also find people laughing and having a good time, dance clubs, a bar, and potentially a strip club.
  • How might you feel spending time inside this building? Why?
    • Answers included: some girls said they would be scared to be kicked out and overwhelmed.  Others said they would be fine.
I made sure to point out to the girls that I found the bright lights to be very fun and inviting.  I wanted to set the stage for them to know that being honest about how they perceive things is okay.  It's okay to say that you find a casino inviting, it's designed to be that way.  I also included the talk of alcohol and strip clubs on purpose.  Again, I wanted them to feel it was acceptable to discuss things we usually don't talk about.

Next, I showed this picture and asked the following questions:

  • What do you notice about the exterior of this building?
    • Answers included: it's pretty, it's the temple, etc...
  • Based on the exterior of this building, what do you assume you might find inside?
    • Answers included: people dressed in white, Celestial room, font, the Spirit, beauty, ordinances, and covenants, etc...
  • How might you feel spending time inside this building? Why?
    • Answers included: love, peace, joy, hope, etc...
Finally, I showed this side-by-side comparison:

I asked the girls to look at these two buildings.  I asked the following questions:

  • What lasting value is found within these two buildings?
  • Which of these buildings is more beautiful?  Why do you feel that way?
  • Which do you believe will provide you with lasting happiness?
As much as we would like to think it isn't so, we make assumptions based on the appearance and behavior of people and things.  We've just done that with these three buildings.

Then I told them I was there to talk about modesty.

I'm not going to post verbatim the rest of the lesson.  I'm just going to share my study notes and what I used to help guide the discussion that followed.

What is modesty to you?
Ask the girls for a brief overview of modesty standards:
  • Dress – too small, too short, too low cut
  • Behavior – keep legs crossed or together, no boob shots on social media
  • Language – keep it clean, even through text and on social media
  • Thought – if you wouldn’t say it or do it, chase the thought away

A Man's Perspective

In an effort for full disclosure and to show the girls I was serious, I told them I had talked to my husband, my two sons, and the bishop about what they would have me tell the girls.
  • My husband, who serves in the bishopric, said that he can't count the times he has seen underwear during his Sunday visits to the YW.
    • The girls were very shocked and embarrassed by this revelation.
    • I told them to keep their legs closed. Crossed legs don't help the situation and in most cases, make the problem worse.
  • My two sons said that for the most part, they felt the girls in our ward dressed modestly at church, but that they didn't at school.
  • My oldest son said that he wished the girls understood that he tries not to think about them inappropriately, but that he wishes they understood that when they dress for attention it doesn't make him "like" them or make him interested in getting to know them more, he just lusts after a body. He views them as objects.
    • I really hope the girls understood this part. I tried to help them understand that lust and love are not the same things. Dressing for attention is not going to get you love and acceptance.
  • Bishop's thoughts are toward the end.

Modesty is

“Modesty is a God-given principle that can help us learn to use our bodies appropriately here in mortality.

The definition of modesty in True to the Faith is “An attitude of humility and decency in dress, grooming, language, and behavior.” Modesty is not vain or boastful. Modest people do not use their bodies or their behavior to seek approval from the world or to draw attention to their own real or supposed accomplishments or desirable attributes.” [Carol F. McConkie]

“…the way we dress accurately reflects who we really are and what we are about.” [Jan Pinborough]

  • Modesty shows we know who we are.  We recognize our identity as a daughter of God.
    • “…the choices we make to appear and behave modestly send a powerful message that we understand our identity as sons and daughters of God and that we have chosen to stand in holy places.” [Carol F McConkie]
    • Our clothing is more than just covering for our bodies; it reflects who we are and what we want to be, both here in mortality and in the eternities that will follow. [Elder Robert D. Hales]
  • Modesty is an outward expression of our testimony of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
    • “When we choose to wear modest clothing and behave with a modest demeanor, we wear and we live our testimony of God the Eternal Father and of His Son, Jesus Christ. We witness by our physical appearance that we are Disciples of Christ and that we live His gospel.” [Carol F McConkie]
    • For Latter-day Saints, the way we dress demonstrates our understanding of and commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  In a world that constantly tries to undermine our sense of who we are and what we can become, observing the principle of modesty can improve our confidence. [Silvia H. Allred]
  • Immodesty is rebellion, self-centered, and a denial of our identity.
    • Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught, “To those who know and understand the plan of salvation, defiling the body is an act of rebellion [see Mosiah 2:36–37] and a denial of our true identity as sons and daughters of God.” We choose to care for and protect our bodies so that we may be instruments in the hands of God to bring about His glorious purposes (see Alma 26:3). [Carol F McConkie]
    • We don’t break God’s commandments, we break ourselves against them.
  • Modesty shows we understand and keep our covenants.
    • Modesty in dress, appearance, thought, and behavior is evidence that we understand the covenants we have made that bless us, protect us, and empower us in our preparation to return to His presence. When we were baptized, we stepped out of the world and into the kingdom of God. Everything must be different for us. Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught: “By choosing to be in His kingdom, we separate—not isolate—ourselves from the world. Our dress will be modest, our thoughts pure, our language clean.”  [Carol F McConkie]
    • Ultimately, how we dress will greatly influence our obedience to commandments and devotion to covenants. Dressing modestly will guide our attitudes and behavior as we conduct our daily lives. In time our dress may even determine who our friends and associates may be, thus influencing whether we live worthy of enjoying the blessings of happiness in this world and for eternity. [Elder Robert D. Hales]
  • Modesty invites the Spirit to be our companion.
  • Modesty is a defense against evil influences.
    • Modesty is a defense against such evil influences and a protection of chastity and virtue. Listen to these words in For the Strength of Youth: “Before marriage … do not do anything … that arouses sexual feelings.” Immodest appearance and behavior will often arouse sexual feelings and will break down barriers and invite increased temptation to break the law of chastity. [Carol F McConkie]
  • Modesty is a requirement for a disciple of Christ.
    • Modesty enables us to “stand as witnesses of God at all times” (Mosiah 18:9). Each of us reflects the Light of Christ when we are modest and pure and keep the commandments. Modesty is a witness of our testimony of the Savior and of the gospel of Jesus Christ. [Carol F McConkie]
  • Modesty is where purity and chastity are rooted.
    • Modesty is at the center of being pure and chaste, both in thought and deed. Thus, because it guides and influences our thoughts, behavior, and decisions, modesty is at the core of our character. Our clothing is more than just covering for our bodies; it reflects who we are and what we want to be, both here in mortality and in the eternities that will follow. [Elder Robert D. Hales]
  • Modesty means you guard the virtue within yourself and within others, especially those who hold the priesthood.
    • Being a guardian of virtue means you will always be modest not only in your dress but also in your speech, your actions, and your use of social media. Being a guardian of virtue means you will never text words or images to young men that may cause them to lose the Spirit, lose their priesthood power, or lose their virtue. It means that you understand the importance of chastity because you also understand that your body is a temple and that the sacred powers of procreation are not to be tampered with before marriage. You understand that you possess a sacred power that involves the holy responsibility of bringing other spirits to earth to receive a body in which to house their eternal spirit. This power involves another sacred soul. You are a guardian of something “more precious than rubies.” Be faithful. Be obedient. Prepare now so that you may qualify to receive all the blessings that await you in the Lord’s holy temples. [Elaine S. Dalton]

Satan’s lies about modesty and our bodies

  • You need the attention of someone else to feel good about yourself or to be special.
  • Physical attention or intimacy will make you feel good, special and worthy of love.
  • Your body – how it looks and how others view it – is what defines your worth.
  • Your behavior, dress, attitude, and language only affect you.

Teachings against these lies:

Elder D. Todd Christopherson
  • “…revealing dress …not only debases women but reinforces the lie that a woman’s sexuality is what defines her worth.”
Elder Robert D. Hales
  • Our bodies are the temples of our spirits. Additionally, our bodies are the means by which we can bring souls from the presence of God to their mortal state. When we recognize our bodies as the gifts they are and when we understand the missions they help us fulfill, we protect and honor them by how we act and dress.
I spoke with our bishop while preparing for this lesson to understand what he would want the girls to know about modesty.  These were points that I wanted to make sure the girls understood

Bishop wanted to girls to know – church should be a safe place for everyone.  That includes individuals – young men, men, young women and women who struggle with pornography.
  • When we attend a Church meeting, our purpose is to worship our Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ. Our clothing should show our reverence for Them. We do not dress to attract attention to ourselves, thus distracting others and causing the Spirit to depart. [Elder Robert D. Hales]
    • If we dress or act with the intention to distract others at church, that is wrong.
  • When we dress for attention, we are not inviting the Spirit to be with us. We act differently when we are dressed for the world’s attention. Moreover, what we wear will influence the behavior of others toward us. How we dress affects how people react to us. It also demonstrates where our heart and spirit really desire to be. [Elder Robert D. Hales]
  • How we feel on the inside shows on the outside. We show love and respect for ourselves and others by our attitude, speech, and dress. We show love and respect for Church leaders and ward or branch members by speaking, dressing, and behaving in a manner that does not bring inappropriate attention to ourselves. We show love and respect for friends and associates when our language, dress, and behavior are not provocative or unduly casual. And we show love and respect to the Lord through humble dress and behavior. [Elder Robert D. Hales]

Who we need to be

Margaret D. Nadauld, “The world has enough of women who are tough; we need women who are tender.  There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind.  There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined.  We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need women of faith.  We have enough greed; we need more goodness.  We have enough vanity; we need more virtue.  We have enough popularity; we need more purity.”
Back to the pictures from the beginning of the lesson:

  • When I look at the casino, I am reminded of the word, “vanity”.  When I look at the temple, I think of the word, “virtue”.
    • Vanity means excessive pride in or admiration for one’s own appearance or achievements; the quality of being worthless or futile; old English = empty
    • Virtue means high moral standards; virginity and chastity; a pattern of thought and behavior, power
      • Vanity is empty.  It is nothing.  Virtue is power, chastity and a requirement for a Disciple of Christ.  
    • Immodesty is the casino.  There is nothing of lasting value inside or out. It is vain, or in another word, empty.
    • However, if we treat our bodies as they really are, a temple, we will have virtue – strength, hope, peace, confidence.
  • So what if you find yourself in the mindset of the casino or the old run-down house?  Is it too late for you?
    • It's never too late to make a change.
    • It's never too late to use the atonement of Jesus Christ.
    • You came to this earth with an individual worth that is unchanging. No matter what you do or say here, your worth does not change.
    • You are a daughter of God. He loves you and his love doesn't change.

FYI - these notes in no way cover this topic completely.  I prayerfully considered and studies this topic to present the discussion from a place of love and concern.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Amelia's First Youth Talk - My Feelings About the Book of Mormon

This lovely young woman spoke as a youth speaker for the first time this past Sunday.  She spent the week prior gathering her thoughts and getting them typed up on the computer.  Saturday, I went through her thoughts with her and we put them in an order that would flow well.  Because she struggles with her reading fluency, she practiced her talk over and over until she felt comfortable.  

Just before the end of 2017, I was called to be the Ward Music Chairman. I was acting as chorister this past Sunday and got to sit on the stand next to her.  As the meeting started, I leaned over to ask her if she was nervous and she said yes.  I reminded her that she could pray and ask Heavenly Father to help her feel calm and confident.  During the passing of the sacrament, I leaned over again and asked her how she felt.  She said she felt calm and ready. And she was! She did a terrific job!

Here is the talk she gave.

In True to the Faith, it says, "When holy men of God write or speak by the power of the Holy Ghost, their words shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation."

This means that the Lord teaches us through the Book of Mormon and other scriptures about how we can be come like him and return to live with him again.

On September 22, 1827, an angel named Moroni - the last Book of Mormon prophet, deliverd these records to the Prophet Joseph Smith.  By the gift and power of God, the Prophet Joseph translated the record into English.  Joseph Smith said that the Book of Mormon is the keystone to our religion.

The primary purpose of the Book of Mormon is to convince all people "that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations."

In 2 Nephi, chapter 25, verse 23 and 26, it says, "For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God...  And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins."

I am grateful that ancient prophets wrote the Book of Mormon so that I can know that I can repent and live with my father again.  I am also grateful that I learn about Jesus Christ in the Book of Mormon.

My favorite part of the Book of Mormon is when Jesus Christ comes.  I like that he invited the children to come to him and that he blessed them.  It shows me that even though I wasn't there, if Jesus came today, he would invite me to come to hi and he would bless me and he would show me my Heavenly Father's love.

I know the Book of Mormon is true because when I read it I feel a special feeling.  I know that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon and that he was a prophet of God.  The Book of Mormon teaches us that families can be together forever, and I know that's true.  I know that Presidnet Monson was a true prophet and that he did a lot for us.  I know that Jesus made a way for us to get back to our Heavenly Father.  I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus love me because they look out for me and help me in hard times.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Some 2017 Randomness

In October, Jared's phone broke.  Aunt Tiff had a phone he could use, so she mailed it to him.  She didn't want it to break so she placed it inside this hot pink Hello Kitty bag.  We told Jared he had to use it.

In early November, Isaac's football team won their Championship game.  We were very proud of Isaac and his team!

Coach Buck and Isaac

Sometimes, if you ask nicely, they'll hold your hand in public. September 30, 2017

We noticed on December 30, 2017 that Isaac was officially taller than me.

In September 2017, my dad, along with the help of my brothers, shot his once-in-a-lifetime elk.

In early September 2017, Jared started his first job at Arctic Circle as a cook!

In October 2017, Nathan started a new job. He looks so handsome all dressed up for interviews!

We were lucky enough to be invited to a pre-season tailgate party at BYU and were filmed for a promotional video.  Here are a couple of still shots from the video.

On June 26, 2017 this lovely serious of photos was taken:

On May 26, 2017, the kids and I went with Grandma Carter to put flowers on a few graves.  Here we are at the American Fork Cemetary putting flowers on my Grandma and Grandpa Brown's graves.

 And finally, this charming young lady took 3.2 billion photos using Snapchat filters.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Holidays 2017

I didn't take a lot of pictures from our holidays this year, but we did have a Merry Christmas and a fantastic time at the cabin ringing in the new year.

Christmas Eve started with us going out to dinner and then hanging out at home for a while.  The kids had a good time rough-housing with Nathan.

At one point there were feats of strength in which Nathan did push-ups with people on his back and then he back squatted the boys.

 It wouldn't be Christmas Eve without a trip to Shane and Roni's house, where the kids opened new pajamas.

As we were driving home, snow was falling and Nathan received a text that he would be needed at work the next morning to clear walks and roads.  He had to be there at 6 am, so we told the kids they would have to wait for Christmas until Dad got home.  They were good sports about it.

Nathan got home around 9 am, and we started Christmas.  I am truly awful at capturing these moments adequately.

A few days before New Years, we packed up the truck and the snowmobiles and headed to the cabin.

 I had a picture of Jared sleeping in the truck on the way up to the cabin, but I'm not sure what happened to it...

A 360 view of the top of the mountain.

Welcome, 2018!!

Friday, December 29, 2017

All She Wants for Christmas

On November 9, 2017 Clara lost her the final front tooth.  They had both been barely hanging on for severla weeks.  After about a month with no front teeth, we went to Grandma Carter's work Christmas party where she was able to sit on Santa's lap.  She told Santa that she would like her two front teeth back for Christmas.

While we were at the cabin for New Year's, I happened to notice this!!

Looks like Santa did bring her what she wanted for Christmas.


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