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Mormon women reclaim their bodies
November 27, 2013 7:51 AM   Subscribe

Mormon Women Bare is an art project spearheaded by Katrina Barker Anderson, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It's designed to challenge the LDS Church's strict views on modesty and the value of "virtue" by having Church members pose naked in an attempt to reclaim their bodies while protesting the belief that they need to be careful of inflaming the passions of men.
posted by inturnaround (69 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
Defying the Church is better than obeying it, but ignoring it is best.
posted by Segundus at 7:58 AM on November 27, 2013 [18 favorites]


If the bedrock of your spiritual existence is telling you your body is not your own and "to remain passively in restraint until my eventual husband could make my body ours", that should maybe prompt a deeper reevaluation of the entire system.
posted by crayz at 8:01 AM on November 27, 2013 [14 favorites]


The front page is more-or-less SFW but just in case you are worried and still want to read about it, here's a totally-SFW About the Project page and the FAQ page.

And holy shit from what I know about the LDS community, participating in this is brave.
posted by griphus at 8:04 AM on November 27, 2013 [14 favorites]


90% of what these women have to say has is not in any way unique to being Mormon, but rather to being women.

If the bedrock of your spiritual existence is telling you your body is not your own and "to remain passively in restraint until my eventual husband could make my body ours", that should maybe prompt a deeper reevaluation of the entire system.

For many women, the bedrock of our cultural existence tells us that our bodies are not our own and that they are passively in restraint until validated by someone else. This should indeed prompt a deeper re-evaluation of the entire system.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:19 AM on November 27, 2013 [81 favorites]


This is a really beautiful project. I grew up catholic,going to the catholic schools, and from what I know catholicism is much less cultish than LDS. However the culture of expecting women to be submissive, accommodating, loving, forgiving, receptive, modest, attractive, loyal through anything, beautiful, chaste, responsible for causing male desire if it happens, guilty and shameful for sexual urges and also simultaneously manage to defend against males sexual advances (which of these traits is supposed to help with defending against male advances again?) was what I experienced in those formative years. It was ridiculously confusing.

As DarlingBri just said, this is not unique to particular religions but exists outside of that as well. The idea that women's bodies exist to provide sexual pleasure to others and that being naked or just "immodest" in dress (as subjectively applied by anyone's random urges) gives others the right to objectify, dehumanize, blame you for their own desire, and use your existence for their sexual gratification is a really messed up belief system.

I don't think "modesty" is itself bad in terms of being kind that other PEOPLE, male and female alike, might have sexual or romantic feelings and being careful not to abuse any such feelings or tease people or lead them on-- it's not bad value in and of itself, but really it should be taught as basic kindness and awareness that sexuality exists in human relationships, not something related to types of dress or being ashamed for having sexual feelings or that someone else has sexual feelings for you.

I really love this, I think people should feel comfortable in their body, and dehumanizing and objectifying people is, I personally think, a social trend applied to sexuality (and more) that I really don't think we have to feed and maximize in the way many industries and social trends do.
posted by xarnop at 8:31 AM on November 27, 2013 [12 favorites]


as a woman who grew up mormon (and struggled muchly with the issues on display here, added with being told that although my chastity was stolen, i was still unclean and would be forever, even after repentance), flipping through this page just gave me full body chills. thanks for posting it.
posted by nadawi at 8:39 AM on November 27, 2013 [10 favorites]


These were powerful to read. Thank you.
posted by bigbigdog at 8:46 AM on November 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


in fact, i find myself wondering if she'd find a reason to travel to my part of the country since i see in the faqs that she photographs former mormons as well...
posted by nadawi at 8:47 AM on November 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


If the bedrock of your spiritual existence is telling you your body is not your own and "to remain passively in restraint until my eventual husband could make my body ours", that should maybe prompt a deeper reevaluation of the entire system.

The system in question from which this thinking was drawn is something called "the entirety of civilization". Recent uproars in the rationalist community concerning women who are being disbelieved when they report rapes and sexual assaults seem to indicate that this is not exclusively a problem of religion, and I wish people would stop pretending it is.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:49 AM on November 27, 2013 [30 favorites]


For many women, the bedrock of our cultural existence tells us that our bodies are not our own and that they are passively in restraint until validated by someone else. This should indeed prompt a deeper re-evaluation of the entire system.

This is like saying the bedrock of the United States is crony capitalism, so your personal awakening to this fact shouldn't stop you from voting straight-ticket GOP.
posted by crayz at 8:50 AM on November 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


crayz - did it completely miss you that some of these women have left the church, and in fact the woman you quote has a bikini tan line and as such might just be one of those former mormons? lds are hardly the only group shitty to the women but even if you want to posit that they're worse than everyone else (which is wrong, but whatever) your critique seems misplaced or misinformed.
posted by nadawi at 8:56 AM on November 27, 2013


This is like saying the bedrock of the United States is crony capitalism, so your personal awakening to this fact shouldn't stop you from voting straight-ticket GOP.

That is a total misreading.

I really liked the writing as well as the photography. I'm not LDS but I've had lots of friends who were current or former members, and many of them have struggled to reconcile the parts that they loved with the parts that caused pain.

90% of what these women have to say has is not in any way unique to being Mormon, but rather to being women.

I favorited your comment, but I think I'd say it more like that this project is a classic example of intersectionality. These women face all of the issues of women in the US, plus the issues of women in the LDS church. The two connect and build off of each other, rather than sitting independently or being able to be divided 90/10.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:02 AM on November 27, 2013 [21 favorites]


The front page is very gently and gracefully SFW, while still being clear about the nature of the project. I like that. I like it a lot.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 9:03 AM on November 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


I wondered if this would show up on MeFi. I'm glad it did.
posted by The World Famous at 9:20 AM on November 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


They're all so lovely!
posted by Sublimity at 9:23 AM on November 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Interesting to see that two of the ladies have tattoos, and in another's gallery she appears to be leaning on a kitchen counter with an open can of beer behind her.
posted by MuffinMan at 9:25 AM on November 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Not Safe For Patriarchy
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:28 AM on November 27, 2013 [12 favorites]


I hope these women have a safe network and support system in place to deal with the backlash. Incredibly brave and commendable.
posted by jnnla at 9:45 AM on November 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


...as a woman who grew up mormon (and struggled muchly with the issues on display here, added with being told that although my chastity was stolen, i was still unclean and would be forever, even after repentance), flipping through this page just gave me full body chills. thanks for posting it.

The frequency of stories like this are the primary reason I doubt that the net effect of fundamentalist religions in society is a benefit. I think in sum they do great harm and wish that as a society we could move past the need for such harsh and irrelevant organizations.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:45 AM on November 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't think it's fair or accurate to refer to mainstream Mormonism as a "fundamentalist religion." It certainly has its problems, some of which are severe. But if it is "fundamentalist," then virtually all mainstream religions are also fundamentalist, and the term "fundamentalist" loses all meaning.
posted by The World Famous at 9:49 AM on November 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


Mormonism is a desert religion, just like Islam.
posted by telstar at 9:50 AM on November 27, 2013


Interesting to see that two of the ladies have tattoos, and in another's gallery she appears to be leaning on a kitchen counter with an open can of beer behind her.

The FAQ says some may be former members, that there was no distinction on level of Morom/LDS involvement made.
posted by kellyblah at 9:51 AM on November 27, 2013


at the same time, The World Famous, you and i have talked before that while we were members of the same religion - learning under the same lesson plans set from salt lake - i was in what i'd describe as a very fundamentalist strain in middle america. the way that the lds church wants to focus on it being the same no matter where you go (the mcdonalds principle) makes it hard to differentiate from the outside, i think.
posted by nadawi at 9:52 AM on November 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm curious about the fundamentalist thing - are there sects within Mormonism that take the Book of Mormon to be figurative rather than literal? Who believe that it's not important whether such historical peoples existed in the Americas? Are there Tillich-type post-theistic Mormons?
posted by fleetmouse at 9:55 AM on November 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mormonism is a desert religion, just like Islam.

No, it's an upstate New York religion, just like all of the denominations in the Second Great Awakening. And feminism and abolition, along with various and sundry utopianists, for that matter. They ended up in the desert after being forced to repeatedly move westward, but it isn't a religion formed in the desert.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:56 AM on November 27, 2013 [23 favorites]


The front page is very gently and gracefully SFW

It's actually not, or at least it wasn't for me.
posted by EmGeeJay at 9:59 AM on November 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


Front page was not SFW for me. Large picture of a topless woman on the front page.

Thanks for posting this. Wonderful project!
posted by zarq at 10:04 AM on November 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Mormonism is a desert religion, just like Islam.

desert religions are particularly weak against water religions, but can be an asset when teamed up with stone religions
posted by threeants at 10:07 AM on November 27, 2013 [34 favorites]


desert religions are particularly weak against water religions, but can be an asset when teamed up with stone religions

Now you're making me wish there was a pokeball powerful enough to contain all the world's fundamentalism.
posted by trackofalljades at 10:08 AM on November 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


there are offshoot sects which aren't claimed by salt lake and then the rest of the church - for my purposes, i'm not discussing any of the offshoots, just the main church, what everyone thinks of when they say lds or mormons - and technically inside of that there are no sects, no real or provable divides - but, there are huge differences to how the church affects members lives and how overarching it is on all their decisions.

i get the sense that california mormons by and large are just like any other christians besides a few different beliefs and a little more focus on not working on sunday/being modest/etc. they view most utah mormons as sorta nuts and maybe a tad overbearing. TWF can speak more to this if he cares to.

from my viewpoint in middle america, it was very different where the church touched everything in my life. i was made to repent for being molested, i wasn't allowed to hold my nephew in church because he was born out of wedlock to teenagers, the rules about caffeine were seen to be strict laws not suggestions which could be followed or not, there was a wider group of stuff that was considered doctrine and as such the rules were were expect to follow were harsher. we viewed utah mormons as permissive and too willing to cut corners because they were surrounded by other believers, they didn't have to constantly be examples like us in the south. i didn't even have a concept of california mormons until much later, but i know as a 10 year old they would have blown my damn mind.

as such, when TWF discusses his experiences with the church and his view of their fundamentalism he's coming from a very different place than i am. neither of us are wrong, i don't think, we just experience it differently. and that doesn't even get into just how different the church is overseas.
posted by nadawi at 10:11 AM on November 27, 2013 [9 favorites]


I'm curious about the fundamentalist thing - are there sects within Mormonism that take the Book of Mormon to be figurative rather than literal?

Sects? No. There are no "sects" within the LDS church. There are, however, infinite varieties of individual belief and interpretation, which are embraced by and accepted by the faith as a whole, with only a few rare exceptions. I also take issue with the term "figurative" in your question, as I don't think it's clear what you mean, and it seems to create a false dichotomy of "figurative" versus "literal," but that's a huge derail from this thread and I don't really want to get into it here.

Who believe that it's not important whether such historical peoples existed in the Americas?

There are plenty of us who believe it's not important whether the peoples of the Book of Mormon actually existed in the Americas as commonly believed by many Mormons. I'm one of them, and I'm not outside the mainstream of Mormonism at all. It is both possible and very common to be simultaneously both unorthodox and accepted by the mainstream in the LDS church. In fact, I tend to side with Joanna Brooks on the premise that unorthodox Mormonism is probably the norm in the church, as opposed to the exception (I also tend to side with her on just about everything else, FWIW).

Indeed, I have seen no evidence to suggest that the current First Presidency of the LDS church claims to believe in what most people I know in the church would hold up as the fundamental tenets of Mormonism in the way that most people view those tenets. For example, Thomas S. Monson does not claim to have ever had a vision or spoken face-to-face with any divine personage and has not, as far as I've been able to tell, ever made any such allegation. The general membership of the church is a lot more "fundamentalist" than its leaders, in many cases. But there are also competing factions among the Apostles, as well - what some friends of mine refer to as "Uchtdorf Mormons" and "Bednar Mormons." That's getting really super inside baseball at this point, though. (There are even people online running actuarial projections to predict the course of the church's doctrine in the future based on who will likely be the future Presidents of the church - but, if history is any indicator, the super orthodox guys don't always last very long in the high office, even when they're young and seemingly healthy when they ascend to that position.)

i get the sense that california mormons by and large are just like any other christians besides a few different beliefs and a little more focus on not working on sunday/being modest/etc. they view most utah mormons as sorta nuts and maybe a tad overbearing. TWF can speak more to this if he cares to.

California Mormons seem to be their own kind of crazy, in my experience, and run the gamut from super conservative to quite liberal. I'm a Midwest Mormon who now lives in California, and I've seen huge variation in the church depending on where in Southern California I've been. Orange County Mormons put Utahns to shame in the conservatism department (see Prop 8), while there's a lot more variation in Los Angeles Mormons from place to place. But yeah, Utah is its own horrible beast. I have some great friends there who I would not lump into my uncharitable characterizations of Utah generally, so I'll refrain from making nasty statements about Utah here and stick to making them in person ;-)
posted by The World Famous at 10:19 AM on November 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


and looking over my comment now i would change just about everything about it. i'm sorry, TWF, i didn't mean to call you out or make it seem like you're forced to respond - just trying to explain how i see fundamentalism inside the church to be more of a continuum rather than officially formed sects. which, makes it pretty much like all religions - some people are very strict about what they perceive their faith to be and some are looser. mormons are seen as peculiar/different (both internally and externally) and the more extreme tales are the ones that get retold with ease for all sorts of reasons. i agree with TWF that the lds church isn't all over a fundamentalist religion, but i do think it has its share of fundamentalists (and some of those sit at the very tippy top, further muddying the waters).
posted by nadawi at 10:19 AM on November 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


(And nadawi is correct that there are "sects" of Mormonism that are separate from the LDS church, but they're largely irrelevant to and ignored by LDS church members nearly all the time.)
posted by The World Famous at 10:19 AM on November 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


If the bedrock of your spiritual existence is telling you your body is not your own

One more reason to just toss Paul out the window, I suppose.
posted by weston at 10:23 AM on November 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


I've had one active-LDS girlfriend (Houston area) and one former-LDS girlfriend (lives in SLC). We had some interesting chats (while dodging the "not supposed to talk about that" bits) about how parts of Mormon temple ceremonies were originally adapted/borrowed from Freemasonry (I'm a Master Mason).

I saw nothing but friendly, good people in my experiences with LDS folks around here, and an INCREDIBLE community of support and caring was shown when the wife of a friend of my girlfriend suddenly passed away unexpectedly. It was like someone put up a bat-signal for the Mormon Ladies' Baking and Support Squad.

I was welcomed by everyone - not unpleasantly, but with a distinct "outsider" feeling sometimes, and there were not-entirely-jokes about my girl and I of "We need to get you converted and get you two married!"

The project in the OP is incredible, and I'm sending the link to my ex (whom I'm still very good friends with) as soon as I get home this evening.
posted by mrbill at 10:24 AM on November 27, 2013


This makes the "wear pants to church" day protest pale in comparison.
posted by mecran01 at 10:25 AM on November 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


reading up on the photographer, i find myself wondering if she got the idea from the kerfuffle over women breastfeeding in the chapel. from the outside looking in, as a feminist and former mormon, i'm fascinated by the growing mormon feminist movement.
posted by nadawi at 10:34 AM on November 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Every time I see FPPs about fringey Mormon endeavors, I kick myself for not having thought to post it first.

Also, because MeFi skews pretty leftist/nonbelieving/liberal on religion, it also gives me a bit of a wakeup call to see how Mormons are "seen" on the outside.

For example, when people talk about fundamentalist religions w/r/t a conversation on Mormonism, I wonder -- is this just because people have an overinclusive idea of what "fundamentalism" is (e.g., everything that is not mainline, basically?), or is it because Mormon-connected folks tend to be underinclusive? (same thing with any discussion of "cults".)

I note that there are *actual* denominations from the Latter Day Saint restorationism that are "fundamentalist Mormons" -- actually still practicing polygamy, actually still contemplating ideas like "blood atonement" and other boogey monsters that only exist in the historical closets of the mainstream LDS church....so it seems strange to me to call the main church -- which seems more like a theologizing of a snapshot in time of 1950s Americana -- as "fundamentalist". Sure, it's culturally odd and out of date, but in a 1950s way, not an 1850s way. (Although, to be fair, the main LDS church would love if no one would consider the polygamy-practicing groups as "Mormon.")

I'm curious about the fundamentalist thing - are there sects within Mormonism that take the Book of Mormon to be figurative rather than literal? Who believe that it's not important whether such historical peoples existed in the Americas? Are there Tillich-type post-theistic Mormons?

The World Famous has already addressed this once, but if you're talking about *Mormonism* (a larger movement of groups originating from association with Joseph Smith at some point in their history), then you could say that the Community of Christ (formerly known as the Reorganized LDS church) kinda "fits" the whole "Book of Mormon is figurative rather than literal." But as TWF also said, the whole "figurative/literal" dichotomy is a little hairier than expected. And then, you could point out that the polygamist sects are the *real* fundamentalists, and the LDS church is somewhere in between.

But when most people talk about Mormonism, they generally just mean the LDS church. And in this case, there aren't sects within. However, even though the church tries/has tried to standardize lessons (as nadawi also mentioned in comment)...there's a lot left up specifically by location, by individual, etc., hence, nadawi apparently grew up where caffeine was actually forbidden, whereas in my ward growing up, the Bishop's son was basically addicted to Mountain Dew, and although his withdrawals (!) were a source of amusement to everyone else, there was certainly no disciplinary action or even negative social consequences.

On my fringe Mormon internet sites (typically blogs, FB groups, etc.,), I frequently speak with people who de-emphasize the historical claims (or even claim alternative histories...for example, in the comment, it says "existed in the Americas" but what if it wasn't the Americas? What if it was only a part of the Americas? a lot of variations are possible), or who are post-theistic, yet fully active and engaged in their communities. This works or doesn't work to varying degrees based on their communities, local priesthood leaders, etc.,
posted by subversiveasset at 12:07 PM on November 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


I had the disjointing recent experience of finding a woman I was quite fond of to be Mormon and who since discovering this about I was in a strange state about. I think the worst part was that I realized it was a patterned response on my part. The things I would think of her poorly for, certain antagonisms that we in default society consider well past consideration, have never manifested and to presume she'd be that way indicated /my/ closed-mindedness about the majority view of her religion. Still totally hot even with temple garments; if anything that's to her credit.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 12:17 PM on November 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


oh yeah, totally forbidden - drinking caffeine was a reason to not receive a temple recommend. i was also threatened with "discipline" if i didn't stop my (not deep) friendship with "pagans" (which my bishop described far more broadly than most of us would). i totally agree that the church as a whole isn't fundamentalist, but within the church there are absolutely fundamentalists, or as TWF terms them, conservatives. for instance, there's a pretty strong strain of doomsday preppers in the church - that's not just a 1950s way of thinking.
posted by nadawi at 12:20 PM on November 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


FWIW, I really appreciate the fantastic comments above, but I'm going to bow out of this conversation, as I feel like it should be a discussion of the subject matter of the link, which I think is more about women's struggle in the patriarchal society of Mormonism and broader society than is reflected by a conversation that falls into the standard trap of discussing Mormonism generally. As a Mormon man, I am wary of commenting heavily in a discussion that should rightly focus on the fact that Mormon men tend to culturally and officially dominate all discussions in Mormonism. With that, I'll be a spectator from here out, and hope to see a lively discussion of the issue.
posted by The World Famous at 12:24 PM on November 27, 2013 [22 favorites]


they're largely irrelevant to and ignored by LDS church members nearly all the time.

Until they bomb a church. Kind of hard to miss that.

Ignore at your own risk.
posted by Brocktoon at 12:24 PM on November 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


This makes the "wear pants to church" day protest pale in comparison.

Kinda "don't wear pants not to church" day.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:47 PM on November 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


thinking back on it - i think the first time my modesty was policed using the church as the reason was when i was 7 years old. a bunch of boys in my family (and their friends) were generally mucking around outside - little bit of play fighting and running up the sides of trees and such, so i joined in. quickly i was called inside and scolded. in our home (and the home of lots of my friends) the rule was that you couldn't do anything on sunday that you couldn't do in your church clothes - and since boys wore pants and girls wore dresses this just meant that boys could do more things. it was presented as "and that's just the way it is." i tried to push back but was then given a lecture on modesty and about how jesus didn't want any other boy besides my eventual eternal husband to see up my skirt so it was my duty to make sure my skirt was always below my knees.

i still can't bring myself to wear anything around my mormon family that isn't modest by their standards.
posted by nadawi at 12:49 PM on November 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


I have to say, one thing that was nice about the Salt Lake City airport was that nobody batted an eye when I opted out of the backscatter scan.

Presumably the scanner attendants were more used to concerns about modesty than security theater, but I still appreciated the effect.
posted by aniola at 1:27 PM on November 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


For example, when people talk about fundamentalist religions w/r/t a conversation on Mormonism, I wonder -- is this just because people have an overinclusive idea of what "fundamentalism" is (e.g., everything that is not mainline, basically?), or is it because Mormon-connected folks tend to be underinclusive? (same thing with any discussion of "cults".)

None of the above. In modern day parlance, fundamentalist, when applied to religion, means it's sexist, homophobic, socially conservative, and proselytizing. No one considers Baha'i, Unitarian Universalism, or Quakers fundamentalist.
posted by nooneyouknow at 1:34 PM on November 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


When I asked some LDS coworkers about the caffeine thing, they said that their church ruled that soda was fine, which may or may not have been decided around the same time the church had invested heavily in coca-cola stock, but that coffee and tea were still strictly forbidden.

Was this just a total fabrication?
posted by hobo gitano de queretaro at 1:35 PM on November 27, 2013


not a fabrication - just one of those things that varies heavily among members of the church. i know people who only abstain from coffee. i have family that doesn't do caffeinated sodas at all, but love an herbal tea and hot chocolate. i've known others who think even herbal tea and hot chocolate is borderline. basically everyone agrees that coffee is right out (but i've seen spirited disagreements about decaffeinated coffee, and some wishful thinking arguments for iced coffee). here is the wiki page for the word of wisdom where all this comes from.
posted by nadawi at 1:52 PM on November 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Interesting to see that two of the ladies have tattoos, ...

That is interesting, MuffinMan, and is suddenly making me think that Mormonism could elegantly finesse the whole increasingly awkward net-like "Garment" you're supposed to wear 24/7 business (I think the diamond-shaped openings in that garment are the origin of the diamond skin of the vampires in Twilight, by the way) simply by substituting a discreet, symbolic mesh tattoo for it on a few unobtrusive spots and calling it Good.
posted by jamjam at 1:52 PM on November 27, 2013


I think the diamond-shaped openings in that garment are the origin of the diamond skin of the vampires in Twilight, by the way

They don't have diamond-shaped openings or any openings other than the openings everyone else's underwear has. They have small symbolic markings based on the elements of the temple liturgy derived from Masonic rites, none of which are diamond-shaped.

posted by The World Famous at 1:58 PM on November 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


Mesh is just one of a variety of fabric choices. There are indeed diamond shaped openings in the mesh garments, but they they have no ritual significance.
posted by Bruce H. at 2:11 PM on November 27, 2013


My Mormon classmate from Emerson wrote a novel in which the main character has premarital sex with another Mormon before the book begins. She is allowed to continue to attend services, but not participate fully. During the course of the novel she meets someone who is willing to convert, marries him and has a kid. At the end of the book, she is able to be completely involved in services, but it isn't explained why. The only reason I could infer was that she proved her reproductive system worked within her LDS approved marriage.

She regularly eats coffee ice cream, her justification being that she's not drinking it.
posted by brujita at 2:43 PM on November 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


or, you know, she followed a path of repentance and then living the principles so her and her leaders decided she was ready to fully participate again. a similar thing happened with my parents - they weren't sealed in the temple until the youngest kid was just about to be born.
posted by nadawi at 3:09 PM on November 27, 2013


The World Famous: I don't think it's fair or accurate to refer to mainstream Mormonism as a "fundamentalist religion." It certainly has its problems, some of which are severe. But if it is "fundamentalist," then virtually all mainstream religions are also fundamentalist, and the term "fundamentalist" loses all meaning.

nooneyouknow: In modern day parlance, fundamentalist, when applied to religion, means it's sexist, homophobic, socially conservative, and proselytizing

In it's original sense, "fundamentalism" refers to religious movements that are reacting against modernism. Evangelical Christianity in the USA is, historically, a reaction against fundamentalism. The LDS are not really part of either of those movements - they were split off on their own before the modernist religious controversies in the USA in the 1920s. They currently have some cultural overlap with both fundamentalist Christians and evangelical Christians, and noooneyouknow is right that a lot of people lump all three groups together, because they do have some things in common.
posted by straight at 3:46 PM on November 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


I belong to a dessert religion.

Nearer my mmmm, mmmm, mmmm.
posted by sneebler at 5:42 PM on November 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


She regularly eats coffee ice cream, her justification being that she's not drinking it.

Oh my goodness! She's Conservative!
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:32 PM on November 27, 2013


Good on them. You have to love (or like, or in my case, not laugh at when naked in front of a mirror) yourself before you can love anyone else.

I have not been able to extend that theory, to the detriment of my dating life, to laughing at anyone else naked without severe repercussions.
posted by Samizdata at 8:42 PM on November 27, 2013


Snopes on Mormons and Coca Cola.

Generally I just send my elderly mother to Snopes.
posted by mecran01 at 5:16 AM on November 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


yeah, i think the coke and mormons thing comes from herber j. grant counseling mormons to not drink coca cola, and then the coca cola company met with him and he reversed his position, kinda.
posted by nadawi at 5:47 AM on November 28, 2013


I did not know that--makes sense.

On October 15, 1924, representatives of the Coca-Cola Company called on President Grant to complain that non-Mormon Dr. T. B. Beatty, state Health Director, was using the church organization to assist in an attack on Coca-Cola. They asked President Grant to stop him, but he refused at first, saying that he himself had advised Mormons not to drink the beverage. Beatty, however, had been claiming that there was four to five times as much caffeine in Coke as in coffee, when in fact, as the representatives showed, there were approximately 1.7 grains in a cup of coffee and approximately .43 grains or about a fourth as much in a equivalent amount of Coke. After a second meeting, President Grant said that he was "sure I have not the slightest desire to recommend that the people leave Coca-Cola alone if this amount is absolutely harmless, which they claim it is." Beatty, however, insisted that he would still recommend against its use by children. The question was left unresolved, and evidence indicates that while the First Presidency has taken no official stand on the use of cola drinks, some members urge abstinence. source
posted by mecran01 at 7:15 AM on November 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


The modern LDS are not fundamentalist, but there are fundamentalist LDS (this hasn't been stated yet?). The "mainstream" religions are just as kooky, when you stack up the belief system and rituals next to each other. The LDS are a threat to the bigger faiths, so calling them a cult is a weapon used to fight that encroachment.
posted by Brocktoon at 1:38 PM on November 28, 2013


yeah, i'd mostly agree with that. i think they're closer to southern baptists than church of england, but that's just a question of degrees. i absolutely don't think mormons are a cult (unless all religions are cults). as an ex-mormon who grew up in a very conservative lds situation and who holds some anger and antipathy for the church, i feel like if it were a cult, i'd be the first to call it out as that. i don't think the religion affected me more than someone who grew up in a strict catholic or evangelical home.

the last part there about lds being a threat to the bigger religions, i don't know so much about that - i think it's probably just more misunderstandings and the relative newness of the church. if things keep going on how they are, in another 100 years they'll be termed more like megachurch evangelicals and less like the jehovah witnesses.
posted by nadawi at 2:10 PM on November 28, 2013


Fundamentalism was a reactionary theological movement in Protestant Christianity and I get confused when other groups are defined as "fundamentalist"; if it's going to be used as a generic term it should be for something that has similar characteristics and not just a synonym for "conservative" or "too religious".
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:35 PM on November 28, 2013


Joe, I think it's legitimately used for any religious group that is defining itself in reaction to modernist religious (and/or social?) movements. For instance, I think it makes sense to refer to Islamic groups that stake out positions in reaction to modernist social trends as "fundamentalist."

But yes, it's most legitimately used to refer to the early 20th century Christian movements that refer to themselves as Fundamentalists.
posted by straight at 4:08 PM on November 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


This was excellent.

Fundamentalism was a reactionary theological movement in Protestant Christianity and I get confused when other groups are defined as "fundamentalist"; if it's going to be used as a generic term it should be for something that has similar characteristics and not just a synonym for "conservative" or "too religious".

It's experienced much the same evolution as "fascist" has. Started out as a fairly technical definition for a very specific historical phenomenon, then because more of a moral judgement/generic negative label for a whole range of only somewhat related traits.
posted by AdamCSnider at 4:31 PM on November 28, 2013


A fundamentalist is anyone that adheres to strict, literal scripture interpretation, and rejects reforms like Vatican II.
posted by Brocktoon at 6:37 PM on November 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I used the word "fundamentalist" as an adjective to "religion" in the common sense of the word when related to religions: "indicating unwavering attachment to a set of irreducible beliefs."

I realize that there are technical uses of the word (hey, there are fundamentalists in all major religions!), and one is a twentieth-century Christian movement cited above, which for some reason, no one capitalizes, even though that movement was self-titled and routinely capitalized the Fundamentals for which they named their movement.

All very strange, but in the interests of us community members communicating with each other, it would be helpful to take the meaning offered rather than nit-picking.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:09 AM on December 1, 2013


Mental Wimp, when a number of people including actual members of the LDS join in to a discussion of the term's applicability to their church then I don't think you can say it's nit-picking to say that the term is better kept in its original context. I mean, I would have said that a "fundamentalist" movement is necessarily one which exists in opposition to a modernising or liberalising movement; and that its use in relation to the LDS is problematic because a "fundamentalist" would necessarily be subject to the church's hierarchy. Other Mormon-ish churches might well be described as fundamentalist, I suppose, but even there I would describe them as schismatic and conservative: the fact that they proclaim "unwavering attachment to a set of irreducible beliefs" isn't really dispositive, while the fact that they are break-aways is.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:21 PM on December 1, 2013


I'm pretty certain that the way I used the term in my original comment is very commonly used and those reading the comments certainly realized I was not trying to say that the LDS was part of the Fundamentalist movement (capitalizing it to distinguish it from the context in which I meant it). And note that I did not refer to the LDS as a fundamentalist denomination, but was responding to a woman who was told things that reflect a fundamentalist orientation (in the commonly used sense of the word) by her particular flavor of LDS. Whether that reflects the LDS in general, I have no idea, but the defensive response to it leads me to believe this is a sore point (i.e., the subordination of women based on doctrine is probably rampant in the LDS). Nit-picking the use of words is a very lawyerly trick to deflect from the actual issue at hand in hopes that "the jury" will not notice that the original point was not addressed. Everyone in on the conversation is perfectly conversant with the various uses of the word fundamentalist, including its most basic meaning. I stand by my statement and have heard nothing to refute or counteract its veracity.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:58 PM on December 1, 2013


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