Our ward is on the Pres. Benson Modesty lesson.
The teacher asked for comments because she said felt overwhelmed. Boy did she get what she asked for.
2 points before I go farther, the teacher did a great job, and second I have no animosity for the sisters whose point of view was different than mine.
Here goes the saga. Stick with it till the end.
The teacher began by reading or having someone read The White Dress/Smoke house story.
A bit of discussion takes place, For Strength of Youth Pamphlet is brought up, etc. I can't sit any longer, up goes my hand. And I sayQuick recap - a girl is heading on a date, her parents want to teach modesty, they encourage her to wear her best dress, it just happens to be white. After she is ready and waiting for her date, her dad asks her to go to smoke house and bring a slab of bacon. She declines because the smoke house will soil, damage her dress. Then the parents explain that they want her to return home just as white as her dress.
As my heart is calming down, and I am trying to read the Sermon on the Mount to keep calm, a former RS Pres of ours sneaks out, as she passes she whispers something to me about my comment. I don't hear what she says so I let it go. I am assuming she didn't agree with me. I was wrong, as she comes back in, she drops a note in my lap, it reads,I will make it easy on everyone, I've been to the smoke house, I know people who have been to the smoke house, and I am okay with people who went to the smoke house, because as I have matured as an adult, I realize I have a Father in Heaven and a Savior who love me even when I go to the smoke house. They may even know I am heading that direction, but they still save a chair at the family table for me, no matter how long it takes me to not go to the smokehouse.
I nodded.Your comment was perfect and I am so glad you shared it.
Then SSM came up. That's the one I let slide, I didn't want that war to break out. I figure you choose your battles.
But then modest dressing came up, and suddenly the ---- hit the fan. It wasn't the teacher, it was the group of commentors. One woman went into a holy diatribe about how modest her girls were even in 100 degree Arizona, even though the Bishops daughter wore booty shorts. I read my scriptures even more attentively. The lady ahead of me is a convert, single mom, hard working, her little girl wears sleeveless dresses. The mom turned her head toward me, and asked, "How are you doing?" I could see by her face she wasn't doing good. I shrugged, said okay, and started paying attention.
This is where it gets good.
Following the Amazing Arizona Mother, another sister explained that she had just watched the churches 12 step video and how relieved she was that she never had those types of problems, because she made good choices, and finally the RS secretary told a story of how her husband took it upon himself to shame some girl for her skimpy church attire. Of course she didn't call it shaming. But she hit a nerve.
I was one of 4 hands that went up, gently, respectfully, women began to explain that love is more important that what some one wears or what they do. People shared examples of not growing up in the church and doing the best they could. One woman talked about how judgmental we as a people come off when we hold people to our standards. And that if people wear pants to church or sleeveless dresses we should love them. I put in my 2 cents, by talking about my favorite grandparents who were not active in the church, who had WoW habits and watched sports all day on Sunday, yet they were the lights of my life. I wrapped my comment up by explaining that their hometeacher never did the shirt and tie thing, never did the sit down lesson thing. He was their friend.
The time was running out, but the other two members of the Presidency added in their thoughts. Both of them spoke about Agency and the gift we received in the council in heaven.
The teacher wrapped up by going back to my first comment, and reading a scripture to support it.
We did the song and prayer, I was planning on heading out, but I was barraged with hugs, thank you's, etc.
One particular woman stayed longer, she was a previous RS Pres., her husband a previous and loved Bishop. All of their kids are disconnected from the church. I had ached for her during the 5th Sunday Sabbath Day Elder Bednar quotes. Today she bear hugged me from the back and thanked me for being vocal. She loved that my favorite grandma was a Mormon failure. So I told her I was worried about her during the Bednar bit, tears sprung in her eyes, she said,
Today was a win with a big kick of heart ache behind it. Most of all I was thrilled with other sisters, women who I see as very TBM and I separate myself from, showing me a different view of themselves and the world as they imagine it.I've learned to tune that out, it's the only way I survive. Then she said, I want the church to be more loving like you suggested.
I also hope Pres. Benson enjoyed it. I know I did.