We have a shiny new topic today, in the form of a letter written by a gentleman who is worn out by going to the same meetings and hearing the same talks over and over again.  I’m betting you’re going to have lots of advice for him, but first we have two last letters on the subject of formal attire at church.  They represent both ends of the spectrum, and I’m running them in the order in which they were received.  Here they are:

I’m sending you my comment on your latest article regarding the debate about prom dresses. 

I do not consider myself petty or vindictive or vain, but I do not approve of wearing a party dress to sacrament meeting.  I was raised on the East Coast, by a Presbyterian mother who believed in following the rules of etiquette.  When in her home and under her tutelage (what a great word!), I was taught that there is different attire for different occasions.  What is appropriate dress for one occasion is not necessarily the correct or appropriate attire for another kind of occasion.

Sunday dress is and should be our best dress, but “best” does not mean that it should be our fanciest or most expensive. There is formal attire, party attire, and Church attire, as well as attire that is appropriate for other occasions.  A prom dress may fit the first two categories, but, in my mind, it is not a dress fit for the Sabbath or worship, no matter what religion you are. 

So there!

YoMama’s LDS

Mount Airy, Maryland

Love your name, Yo!  I also really like the word “tutelage.”  My own mother was high church Episcopalian, and I spent my childhood being unable to go to church unless I was wearing a hat.  That’s one tradition I’m glad has dwindled away over the years!  You’re right about choosing our attire to fit the occasion, though.  Thanks for writing.

I am simply shaking my head in disbelief that there are so many who are so passionate about this subject, which is a real non-issue in my book. Some of your readers would be highly offended at the regular attire of the members of my ward. We live in a very small, very rural Arizona town. Many of the men are miners, farmers, and ranchers. They have their everyday jeans, and their Sunday-go-to-meeting jeans or Wranglers. These are good, faithful Priesthood holders. As an aside, some of the miners, ranchers, and cowboys, when called to the high council and asked to shave their (gasp!) facial hair, have obediently done so.

The youth in our ward do wear their prom attire to church the day after. It has never occurred to me to be offended or think I cannot worship properly because of it. My husband is the bishop and he too, thought this topic was a little on the silly side. In my mind, most issues boil down to my business, your business, and God’s business. Most issues are absolutely none of my business. Whether a teen wears modest clothes, flip flops, or prom attire to church is the business of that teen and his or her parents (unless a policy has been established). I teach my children what our standards are as far as I understand.

Even in the case, when flip flops have been mentioned in general conference, we take that information for our own growth and direction, not as information to beat people up with or judge them.

Rural Sister Bishop

I love what you wrote about “your business, my business, and God’s business.”  What a perceptive statement!  I wish there were more people out there like you. 

I’ve been having obnoxious computer problems lately, and now that my computer is finally getting up I’m still having trouble with my wallpaper program.  It has shown the same picture all day today.  I know I took it in January, but I have no idea where in the Caribbean I took it.  It’s a sign that bears this legend:

 

THE 4-WAY TEST

of the things we think, say, or do

1.     Is it the truth?

2.     Is it fair to all concerned?

3.     Will it build goodwill and better friendships?

4.     Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

 

Kidd_sign

I’m sure many of you readers are going to think those words are trite.  Maybe they are.  Nevertheless, when I’m sitting in church and listening to the people sitting near me offer a running fashion commentary on the other people worshipping in our ward, I want to know what in the world good they think they are doing.  The “4-Way Test” may indeed be trite, but we might all be better off if we took that test before we opened our mouths to belittle others. 

Now for today’s topic:

This is something that has been going on for years with me. Simply put, it is caring enough to go to church. In all honesty I can be lazy, but it goes beyond that. For years it has been very difficult for me to go to church on a regular, consistent basis. After being a member for nearly 41 years I am tired of it — the same talks, the same testimonies, the same everything.

Part of it is being single, and as we all know (or should know), the Church is set up and geared to married people, not singles. I will argue that with anyone who says otherwise.

In a nutshell, I guess I am tired. I wish I cared, but I don’t. I notice no difference in my life when I go to church as compared to when I don’t. Life continues pretty much as it always does.

I recently moved to a new ward and I went for the first six weeks or so, but it has been more than two months since I have been back. No one has called to check on me and see how I am — no home teachers — and I am fine with that. My feelings aren’t hurt; it’s just the way things are.

The best analogy I can come up with is that it’s sort of like a 40-year marriage. Nothing new — just the same old things year after year.

Thanks for listening.

Disillusioned in Georgia

Thanks for writing, Disillusioned.  What advice do you have for our friend?

People, let’s not digress to the subject of being single.  We all know that’s a challenge in a church that puts such a huge premium on eternal marriage, but hashing it over in this forum isn’t going to make any headway.  Let’s stick to the subject of what a person can do when he finds himself in a spiritual rut — for whatever reason.  That’s a subject that can benefit all of us — married and single alike.

Please be sure to send your letters to [email protected]Do not use the form provided here, because those letters tend to get lost.  I don’t want technology’s shortcomings to deprive us of what you have to say.

Until next week — Kathy

The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.

Ellen Parr