Nelson, Jane, and I dropped off our cousin, Jake, at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. He is preparing to serve a mission in South Dakota, Rapid City, Spanish Speaking. He is two days older than Jane. It was fun to see him again and we had a pretty happy farewell party unlike the people in front of us in line. They were all in tears and we were joking and laughing. I'm glad we had the chance to see him again.
Today I came across an article titled "How Modesty Doctrines Made Me Hate My Body" by "Sierra" from No Longer Quivering (http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2011/11/21/how-modesty-made-me-fat). Most of the time I don't mind feminist writings and if I don't agree I say to myself, "Self, they are allowed their own views just like you are." However, there are some times that I just cannot be quiet about something I've read. Like this article. This lady was not raised in the same faith as I was. I am SHOCKED that whoever taught her the principle of modesty taught her to believe these things: Modesty taught me that what I looked like was what mattered most of all; Modesty taught me that I was always on display; Modesty was not just about dress. It was also about moving like a lady; modesty was literally keeping me weak; modesty contributed to my eating disorder; Modesty taught me that I was a decoration; Modesty made me objectify myself; I couldn't grow like a normal human adolescent; When you argue that what's modest and what isn't is a valid concern for women, you tell them that their appearance matters most. You objectify them. I'm so grateful for my religion. Modesty is extremely important to us but not for ANY of the reasons this woman gave. Men and women are taught to be modest because our bodies are temples - given to us from God. We are taught to respect our bodies as they are in the image of God and Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, the Church is made up of imperfect people who are all trying to do their best. Sometimes these imperfect people teach perfect principles imperfectly. I know that as a young woman I was sometimes taught to be modest in order to help the boys not think impure thoughts. The problem with that teaching angle is that girls want the boy's attention and they will dress in ways that they might not otherwise in order to get that attention. Maybe the boys need to be taught to respect girls who dress modestly and not "reward" those who dress otherwise. Anyways, I feel badly for "Sierra" and the body issues she has struggled with because of the poor teacher she had. I hope that girls will learn to be proud but respectful of their bodies. If I ever have a daughter I hope I can effectively teach her the principle of modesty so she will truly understand her divine worth. You can be sure that we will be teaching William to respect his body, too.
In 2007 I was in my second year of college at Brigham Young University - Idaho. I was an English major and was enrolled in an Advanced Writing course which I ended up despising for various reasons (none of which will be discussed in this post). The one thing I really enjoyed about that class was that our professor had us sing a hymn before every lecture.
One day he asked us to sing hymn #37 "The Wintry Day, Descending to Its Close" and not one person in the class had ever heard or sung it before. NOTE: In all honesty, it's kind of a weird hymn. The other verses have nothing to do with the first verse so, there you go.We only sang the first verse and, in my opinion, it is one of the most poignant verses in the whole hymnbook:
The wintry day, descending to its close,
Invites all wearied nature to repose,
And shade of night are falling dense and fast,
Like sable curtains closing o'er the past.
Pale through the gloom the newly fallen snow
Wraps in a shroud the silent earth below
As tho t'were mercy's hand had spread the pall,
A symbol of forgiveness unto all.
As I have contemplated the atonement and how it changes lives, I have been drawn to the imagery of snow as a metaphor for forgiveness. In Isaiah 1:18 this same metaphor is taught by the Lord: "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be like crimson, they shall be as wool."
I'm not a fan of snow and on a day like today when the snow has not stopped falling, I am grateful for this imagery and a peaceful, beautiful reminder that Jesus, my savior, suffered and died for me. I am reminded that my sins can be forgiven, and that like Utah valley is beautifully blanketed in pure white snow, my soul can be purified through forgiveness and the power of the atonement.
Welcome to the first installment of "Things Denise Has Been Pondering".
We're gonna get thoughtful up in here.
Q: How do I show my respect for my husband? This is something that I feel I could really work on. The biggest challenge for me is that love and respect are not entirely the same thing. I've done all sorts of research on "Ways to Show Your Spouse You Love Them" but somehow those things don't always add up to respect. I've been thinking a lot about couples who are nearing divorce. I would imagine that would be so scary to feel like you are losing control of your marriage. So, what to do about it? Of the MANY suggestions out there, I think one overlooked tip is to learn to respect your spouse. That's right. It just doesn't happen overnight. I am so grateful for my temple marriage to my husband. The covenants I made July 16, 2010 are a reminder of what it means to respect my sweet husband. I certainly don't have all the answers about showing respect to a spouse but I came across a good example in an unlikely place. I've been watching "How I Met Your Mother" on Netflix and there are two characters, Lily and Marshall, who have been together for about 10 years. Lily always says "Baby, you have my full support." I think that telling your spouse "Baby, you have my full support" is a great way to show your faith in and respect for that person. Sometimes life sends couples BIG decisions to make but sometimes those decisions weigh heavier on one person in the relationship. For example, I've been seriously contemplating earning my Master's in Publishing. It's a hard decision to make because it would affect pretty much every single aspect of our life. I am grateful that Tyson listened to my concerns, my research, my excitement, my apprehension, and my self-doubt and then said "Denise, if you want this, I will support you 100 percent." I am so grateful to have a husband who will assuage my fear and just support me. I am still learning how to be like Tyson in this way. I get wrapped up in the details and the what-ifs when I should just trust and support. Luckily, my sweetheart is patient with me and I always come around. I'm sure that showing support is not the same as showing respect but I do think it's a huge step in the right direction. Add some love and tenderness to the equation and the answer to my question may not be as elusive as I originally thought it to be.