MODESTY DIED WHEN CLOTHES WERE INVENTED

I have heard it said that modesty died when clothes were invented.

You know, its funny, reading earlier issues of church magazines there seems to be a focus on boys having long hair is bad and not modest. This is from the 70’s. Today we would think nothing of it and it would not be an issues but in the church culture having long hair as a boy was a terrible thing and almost a stigma that if you did you were a wayward youth who needs help to see the light and come back to the gospel.

This long hair look was a hippy look and often associated with smoking weed and drinking thus it was bad.

Nudity, and the way we dress is the same way, immodest dress and nudity is bad because it is associated with something bad, promiscuity, sex, sluttieness etc… not because it is of itself bad, but because of how we associate it in our minds and culture. What is immodest dress as well is largely determined by our culture not religion.

This is just one example of how standards of modesty are not determined by doctrine but rather by culture, and pre-conceived notions of what is good or bad. No one cares today that some guy in the church has long hair. Attitudes can change, and so can our perceptions and ideas of what is modest or immodest. It is up to us to change the way we think.

What is immodest in one culture is not in another. And thus it is not about doctrine but about our attitudes and perceptions. Wearing clothing has become an important part of functional society, and should remain so. It has many purposes. We wear clothing to church dressed in our Sunday best to worship God. We wear special clothing in the temple to assist us with our temple worship. Professional wear clothing that identifies them as members of certain professions. Clothing keeps us warm and protects us from the elements. Clothing can help us tell a story through film, and theater. It can be functional in numerous different ways and in general is a good thing for numerous reasons.

However with that comes the problem of modesty in appearance. When we step back and actually look at what modest in appearance means both within and without the church it is entirely focused on our choice of clothing and how it fits on our bodies. This has led to the assumption that simple nakedness is immodest, bad, to be avoided and not seen except our selves and our spouses. I do not believe that we should go out of our way to be naked around everyone all the time. There is as always a proper place and time to be naked and dressed, with or without others. When speaking of things outside our homes and in many cases within our homes, being naked is not proper. But nor is it wrong to be naked within our homes.

I was thinking about this when having a conversation with my daughter about a dress she was wearing at church. It has a split up each side that runs up her legs on both sides. When she sits down or positions her legs a certain way the dress can fall to one side or another exposing her legs up to her underwear. Because it can fall to either side in such a way me and her mother have asked her to wear pants or shorts with the dress so that is not a problem.

My daughter, who was not wearing shorts or pants last week with the dress was becoming frustrated and upset by this because shorts and pants she states are just not comfortable while wearing them under her dress. I encouraged her to read For the Strength of Youth dress standards on her LDS gospel library app on her phone. Despite my stance on nudity in general I do want her to adhere to church standard in her dress when she needs to be dressed.

I can’t help but be frustrated, not with her but with the entire standard and perception of modesty to begin with. For the strength of youth dress standards of modesty are extremely heavily focused on women’s dress and men’s is barely mentioned even in passing. The issue with whether her dress is modest or not is entirely and issue because she is wearing a dress to begin with. It’s not that I want her to wear immodest clothing or show up at church naked. I simply want her to wear or not wear what makes her comfortable without artificial constructs of modesty in relation to clothing. I am frustrated because she is not immodest, her dress is not immodest but rather it is very nice dress that flows down to her feet. And yet I find myself having to worry about whether her underwear is even slightly visible because of the way her split in her dress is when she sits. As she is a baptized member of the church and part of the young women’s organization she has the choice in the end. The frustrating part is that we even need to worry about it in the first place. Should it really matter as long as she is dressed for church in her Sunday best?

Lets be honest here, any person within the church who makes any comment with regard to whether they felt her chosen manner of dress is immodest is not likely looking at her thinking any in-proper sexual thoughts but rather commenting based on something they have been told over and over again without really understanding why. Or at least still believing what they have been taught which is people and especially men are carnal and would think nothing but sexual thoughts about her if they see even the slightest hint of immodesty in her manner of dress. The irony is the ones who would make such comments likely would not even recognize their own reasoning. It is just the way it has always been.

In conversations with others it seems to come down to the idea that fallen man is carnal and lustful. while there is certainly some truth to that, it is this christian cultural obsession with covering up that has done more to drive the lustful appetites of man than simple nudity. This is evident in non western cultural attitudes towards nudity. Nudity is not seen as something lustful and sexual. African tribes that live naked and have for thousands of years and still have not degenerated into lustful orgy fests of rape and sex due to men and women being unable to control themselves at the sight of another naked human being.

The scriptures state we shall know them by their fruits with regard to false prophets and doctrines. This idea of modesty widely accepted by Christians and western cultures  relating to how covered or uncovered we are has not had good fruits. Lest someone get the wrong idea I am not trying to say the church is preaching false doctrine. They are not and the dress standards of modesty are good and important and inspired by God to be given to us via church leadership. The problem is not in what the church teaches but rather the way in which we have internalized this idea of modesty and projected it onto others within our culture. If you were to visit the Polynesian cultural center seen below

maxresdefault  polynesian_cultural_center

You would see that the traditional dress for the shows that are put on does not meet For the strength of youth standards. There skirts easily expose skin up to the waste, well beyond the knees. The dresses are tight and form-fitting with shoulders and arms exposed above the breasts. The men are often bare-chested wearing little to nothing except around their wast. This is a church facility run by the church at a church school which is BYU Hawaii. If a church facility can get away with immodest dress on their performers then perhaps our idea of modesty is not what we perceive it to be. Otherwise the church would be hypocritical. I cannot believe that is the case. My testimony is that the church is led by God and so their must be some other explanation to this standard of what is truly acceptable or not. Modesty then has more to do with intent than just level of dress.

I had written a bit about the consequences in my own life regarding this false idea of modesty in a previous post called What I have learned from losing the nudity taboo. In Utah, where LDS culture rules supreme, we find that the state has the highest rates of pornography consumption in the united states. Countries with the highest amounts of porn consumption are also the most “modest” when it comes to dress standards. Middle east countries where woman are fully covered except their eyes have the highest in the world. (a quick google search confirms this).

Based on what I have learned and seen, the more focused on clothing and whether it is modest or immodest, the more we are drawn to the sexual nature of our fallen and carnal state. The very act of trying to cover up and hide our nudity has the effect of driving our desires to see that which is hidden from our view. This has been termed the forbidden fruit effect and we continue to perpetuate it by our desperate attempt to suppress those things which are and should be the focus of our natural sex drives. I do believe however that we can obtain a happy medium in our dress. Being overly dressed drives one to think “what are your hiding” While skimpy revealing and formfitting clothing has the effect of drawing attention to ones sexuality. Because this forbidden fruit effect has been programmed so heavily into our psyche I must ensure my daughters dress properly. Dresses in the happy medium between dress meant to draw attention to her body verse looking like she is trying to hide something.

What if anything can we do about this. The sad thing is that I feel that for me and my family personally nothing. I cannot do anything to change the way my daughters may or may not be perceived by those around them or what kind of thoughts they may think when other see her. Because of this I must do everything in my power to protect her from those who would think such things. The Irony is that whether she is wearing clothes or not, or “modest” or “Immodest” clothing people will think what they will. I still must ensure she is covered up properly to protect her from the natural and carnal mind of man and to ensure she is not being immodest because being naked in a room full of clothed people is not modest. That however has nothing to do with how much or little clothing is being worn however, but rather the programming of the human mind and what we are taught virtually from birth about the human body.

We can be the change we want to future generations by stopping the repetitive cycle of condemning the human form. Teaching the purpose behind modesty to our children and helping them understand the principle not pre-determined ideas of how to act and behave and dress. We need to help them understand what modesty is and not just routine and conformity based on cultural pre-conceived notions.

And that is the Gospel according to Andrew

TRUDEAU’S “REAL CHANGE” IS NOT REAL CHANGE

justin-trudeau-in-calgary-confederation

This past Monday October 19th Canadians across the country went to the polls to elect Canada’s next government. The results were a majority Liberal government with Justin Trudeau as Prime Minister elect, son of the previous Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. I think we all knew that the Conservative government under Stephen Harper was going to come to an end. What we were left wondering was would it be a Minority Liberal government or a Majority Liberal government.

There are just a few points of his overall platform I want to focus on rather than a detailed analysis of all that he has promised. The Parts of his policy that stand out to me are his foreign policy regarding Canada’s role in the middle east, Legalization of marijuana, Bill C51; Canada’s anti terror bill, Infrastructure investment and deficit promises, and Election reform.

FOREIGN POLICY

Justin Trudeau has promised to bring Canada’s troops home and remove them from combat missions in the middle east. He states he will bring our planes, and soldiers home and stop bombing raids and end combat operations. However he is not withdrawing from all military activity in the middle east. He will be leaving some there to aid in training forces there in combat related operations and roles.

While I am happy that he will withdraw our troops from combat, I do not believe this goes far enough when it comes to foreign interventionism. Our military should have no role other than defending our country. Our troops should NOT be involved in foreign conflict to any level or extent. We need to withdraw from all military involvement with anyone period. The only justifiable reason for military actions is in defense of our own nation.

The problem with foreign policy is that it changes with every election, nothing is written into law or the constitution. Because of this fluctuating positions on how much or litter we interfere in the affairs of other nations Justin Trudeau’s stances in the end is meaningless without meaningful reform that ensures it cannot be changed on the whims of the elite ruling class when it suits their purposes. While Justin Trudeau may pull our troops out of foreign combat today, he has not made any promises about what he will do in the future. This does not give any hope for real change and no matter what he does now regarding this it will be subject to change when it suits his purposes. In the end we still lose when it comes to foreign policy because we are subject to the whims of the government of the day on who we will invade or not invade.

LEGALIZATION OF MARIJUANA

This is one of his campaign promises that we have not been given a time line on so we do not even know at this point if it will be fulfilled at all. While it is my hope that it does happen and he keeps his promise on this issue, I am skeptical as to how it will be done or if done right at all. We all know how much governments like their taxes and legal weed is a opportunity for millions more in taxes.

There are many examples of government monopolizing drug sales in this country, just look at our health care system. Ontario liquor sales are one more example of this. Only government stores were allowed to sell alcohol, and legislation in place prevents private breweries and stores from selling at a competitive rate. Will Justin’s idea of legal weed be the same?

One of the biggest problems with his plan to legalize marijuana is that there has been no mention of how he would deal with those who have been affected by this substance being illegal in the first place. Will he expunge all criminal records relating to marijuana possession, use, sale, etc…? Will he release all those in prison for marijuana related charges? will he drop all charges against people currently in our court system relating to marijuana? Will he make sure that all the current illegal pot dispensaries in Canada, most notably Vancouver and Victoria be made legal? If he fails to do any of these things then he is not really serious about legalizing marijuana. At least it will not be about repairing the damage done by making it illegal in the first place and will be more about scoring political points while proclaiming he has created “real change.”

When it comes to drug policy legalizing one drug is a good start regardless of the motives however more needs to be done. All drugs needs to be legalized along with all criminal records, sentences, charges etc should be expunged from all government and public record. once that is done we can take the hundreds of millions of dollars a year we spend on enforcement and put it to addiction recovery, public education and awareness. This needs to be treated as a public health issue, not a legal issue. Addiction is not criminal, it is sickness that needs to be treated.

BILL C51: THE ANTI TERRORIST BILL

The liberals it seems, have convinced many Canadians to forget or ignore that they voted in favor of this bill in parliament. Trudeau who proclaimed “real change” has been elected in-spite of the highly controversial bill that gives CSIS and other Canadian law enforcement agencies such as the RCMP vastly greater powers with little oversight to spy on Canadians. Things such as speaking out against the government of Canada can be taken as an act of terrorism or even sympathizing with terrorist and thus criminal. This bill will bring you security at the expense of your liberties. Rocco Galati, who is a well-respected constitutional lawyer has stated

“Bill C-51 “creates a modern-day Gestapo”.

He insisted that this is “no exaggeration”, noting that German and Italian versions of this bill were passed in the 1930s. And that’s why he’s planning a court challenge.

 “It takes all your private information and shares it with all government agencies, including foreign governments,” Galati said. “And for some Canadian citizens, that becomes an eventuality of torture or death when they’re travelling abroad.”

In addition, Galati noted that the bill arbitrarily restricts who can travel. According to him, it also criminalizes freedom of expression concerning how the government addresses terrorism.

“So words and thoughts become an act of terrorism under this bill,” he stated.

(source:http://www.straight.com/news/465916/lawyer-rocco-galati-says-bill-c-51-creates-modern-day-gestapo-canada)

This is apparently the kind of “real change” Trudeau campaigned on. Support of this bill is not real change. While he states he will amend the bill, it would be stupidity on our parts to believe for a minute he would amend it to benefit us. It is not that far fetched to believe that he will amend the bill to benefit him and his supporters.

INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT AND DEFICIT

Justin Trudeau has stated that he will not run a balanced budget while in office but rather borrow more and more money to “invest” in infrastructure to create jobs for Canadians now. Like most politicians he believes that the government creates jobs and has no problem paying for it with my children’s and grandchildren’s labor, racking up more and more debt that will never be repaid.

Governments love “economic stimulus” through infrastructure spending because all building projects come to and end and create temp jobs. This works well in government’s favor because they can keep promising more and more money every 4 years in a constant repetitive cycle. By doing so it makes them look good like they are doing something for us (while getting themselves more votes) while at the same time maintaining control by convincing the masses that without them the jobs would not exist. Like brainless zombies the people keep voting for this over and over again thinking they are doing something good.

It is not the governments jobs to create jobs. That is the free markets job, something we don’t have and desperately need. I am not convinced that this is a good idea. Infrastructure is needed to support growing demand, but throwing money at it that we don’t have for the sake of “job creation” off the backs of hardworking Canadians is wrong.

But of course the more people work the more money government gets via taxation. So they stand to benefit from this scheme. While yes some people may get jobs which they need, surely there is a better way  to improve our economy that does not involve borrowing billions from our futures to pay for things now. One method I would suggest is getting the government out of the business of economic stimulus and allowing the market to flourish without government controlling every aspect of business and economic stimulus.

ELECTION REFORM

The Liberals have stated in their platform the following

“We are committed to ensuring that 2015 will be the last federal election conducted under the first-past-the-post voting system.

We will convene an all-party Parliamentary committee to review a wide variety of reforms, such as ranked ballots, proportional representation, mandatory voting, and online voting.

This committee will deliver its recommendations to Parliament. Within 18 months of forming government, we will introduce legislation to enact electoral reform.”

Considering Justin Trudeau and the Liberals have 55% of the seats with 39.5% of the votes proportional representation would not benefit him. I am skeptical that such a change would be implemented. Had such a system been in place during this election he would have 140 instead of 185 seats, and be in a minority government situation. Clearly first past the post has tremendous benefits to him, giving him all the power in parliament.

Mandatory voting would be worse than first past the post. To legally compel or force anyone to vote in the first place violates the non-aggression principle. It is bad enough that the government already knows who is voting and who is not. While working on Meghan Porters campaign I was given a list of every registered voter in the riding. Not just names but addresses as well. When you vote your name is checked against this list. I did not open it or even look at it. I don’t think it is any of my business who you are or where you live, even while running for office.

All the ideas presented in his electoral reform platform I do believe are better than the first past the post system we have now, with the exception of mandatory voting. I have yet to see a government in this country make a legislative decision that did not benefit them in some way and so I am not holding my breath for reform. At least not for any reform that benefits the people.

Real change needs to happen, but if you voted liberal expecting that they would be the ones to bring real change, then you will be disappointed. Real change cannot and will not happen till the people of Canada take the time to really understand the issues and demand freedom and Liberty. They must work past the rhetoric and see the truth that is there before them. You can refuse to open your eyes and see truth but you cannot avoid the penalty of the abyss your refuse to see. Real change comes when you embrace liberty, freedom and peace, not when you vote for the status quo. In the end it does not matter which flavor of pop you choose. you can vote for Coke, Diet coke, Pepsi, or diet Pepsi they are all just as bad for you. If you truly want real change, the Liberal party is not the one for you. None of the status quo parties are. Its all pop, slightly different flavors of the same poison.

2 MUCH TV

'Don't you know too much TV is bad for your eyes...and your morals, attention span, intelligence...'

As many people know I work for the local cable company and have for just a little more than 5 years now. I love my job, I love my staff discounts on services. I love TV. however I think I may love TV a little 2 much.

Most nights I just come home and sit down in front of the TV. Pick from one of the 20 some odd series recordings or hockey games or some other sports game recorded. I find myself just sitting and not doing anything productive in my spare time. I do love my TV. I don’t think I could really give up watching it completely. Especially my Hockey. That would just not go over well with me. I am a bit of a hockey nut just like your stereo typical Canadian.

There have been many times where I have thought that If it were not for the fact that I basically get cable for free I would not have it. That is probably true but given I do get it free I have it. In reality it would actually cost me more to get my hockey online via NHL game center live than I would save by canceling cable so the cable stays.

Of course this comes with all kinds of shows I find myself watching on the side. Some of my favorites would be Vikings, Game Of Thrones, Da Vinci’s Demons, Sleepy Hallow, Gotham and Big Bang Theory. Along with these shows however comes a whole lot of others.

I started thinking about whether I watch 2 much TV when I was trying to teach my 5 year old one of her home school lessons. I would explain it to her, then have her go and do the work, while she tried to do the work I kept watching my hockey game. She was not understanding however and becoming frustrated.  I was watching my game and I was just not being very productive. My wife also has asked several times if we can eat together as a family at the table which we almost never do because I am too busy watching a game or other TV show.  On the rare occasions that we have eaten together at the table I think every time, this is nice, why don’t we do this more often. Maybe working for the cable company has spoiled me to an extent.

My wife asked me the other night if having cable is really worth it. I had told her that we would not have it if I did not work for the cable company. I would still want my hockey at the least so the cable stays. we would save nothing so we might as well have it instead of paying out-of-pocket for NHL game center live. I did tell her however that perhaps I do spend too much time with the T.V. and I could probably stand to find a way to drastically reduce how much I do watch.

I looked through all the series recording I have set up and asked myself “would I be willing to pay to watch this show if I did not get free cable” The results were no on well over half the shows I had been watching. So many of them are on services like Netflix or Shomi already or likely will be at some point in the future. Both of which are services that I subscribe to. Crave T.V. is another streaming service that I may get in the future once it is available for everyone. Nice thing about those services is that you can watch the shows anytime and don’t have to worry about how much space is filling up on the PVR.

I went from 20 something series recordings to 6, mainly shows that I have come to really like and enjoy. Only 3 of which are currently in season. While I do read my books in the morning before work for about an hour this will give me more time to spend with the family, my books (which if you know me I most definitely cannot live without!) and focus on other things of high importance, like not spending time fighting kids over chores. Maybe even help them out with the chores.

I certainly am not giving up TV, but I can certainly stand to watch a lot less T.V. I have decided to implement an experiment to see what happens when I do not watch TV every day. I have created some rules for myself when it comes to T.V.

  1. No T.V. on work days, it stays off
  2. There is only one exception to rule number 1, and that is I am allowed to watch my hockey, basketball, football, soccer game etc… on work days but only those games and only on days that there is a game on. (After all I do not want to get behind)
  3. I will only follow one hockey team instead of 4-5 (this reduces the amount of games I would watch by 66-75%)
  4. My days off become my “T.V.” days but only for a limited time. No more than 4 hours max.

These simple rules would effectively reduce my overall T.V. watching from 20-25 hours/week to 10-15 hours per week. That is an additional 10-15 hours a week I can focus on things like family, and quiet nights reading after the kids go to bed, dinner at the table and other things. We could do things like going swimming after work instead of waiting for a day off which is often busy with things like watching T.V. and grocery shopping, napping etc … To put this in terms of days, I have literally been spending anywhere from 43-54 days a year watching T.V. by reducing my T.V. watching time I can give myself back 21-32 days a year to spend with my family.

With this freed up time I can focus more on writing my blog. I can be more effective in helping my wife with home schooling our children. I can maybe take my kids to the park after work instead of shooing them off to watch their T.V.  Take the dog for a walk more often which lets face it, she is a fat little mutt that needs more exercise.

It has often been said that time spent with kids is more about quality than quantity, but it is hard to have either if we are caught up in T.V. land and not spending any time with the kids at all. God knows I love my children but sometimes you just need to take some time to step back and think about how your behaviors really reflect where your priorities are. While my family is most definitely my priority an outside observer may think otherwise if all they saw was that I come home and spend time with the T.V. rather than my family.

Our families are important and It can become very easy to get caught up in modern conveniences and entertainments. T.V. is just one of those modern conveniences. There is nothing wrong with T.V. however like everything else, all things in moderation. We need to ensure that we are taking time to step back and really evaluate what is important and ensure we are not neglecting those things which are and should be important to us.

It is my hope that by doing this I can be a better example to my children and they too will focus more on those things that are most important in life.

And that is the Gospel according to Andrew