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Misunderstanding Modesty Part 2: Op Ed Meridian Magazine

Who knew modesty was such a controversial issue? I took a lot of heat and criticism about “The Costs of Misunderstanding Modesty” article, and even some personal attacks. But those comments were out shadowed by the outpouring of gratitude and appreciating for my willingness to speak up and share my thoughts. I decided to write a follow up article responding to comments, questions, and criticisms, and to provide clarity. Here’s an excerpt from the article…

Thank you to those who posted thoughtful and articulate comments on my article “The Costs of Misunderstanding Modesty”. I had no idea that this blog post would spark such intense conversation and elicit so many varied responses and questions. No matter what you thought about the article, I think it is a good thing for us, as individuals and as a group, to reflect on and discuss our approach to teaching modesty.

I’d like to address a few themes and questions that prompted some to (passionately) disagree or take exception to (parts of) the article. It seems that some of you may have misunderstood my intent in writing it. Hopefully I can clarify some of those misunderstandings. The following are questions or concerns gathered from emails, messages, online comments and discussions:

Q: Are you are suggesting something different than the standards in the “For the Strength of Youth” (FTSOY) pamphlet? Are you saying that our girls can wear two-piece bathing suits and not have to worry about it?

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Marvin Gaye and the Far-Reaching Effects of Child Abuse: Celebrity Legacies

I provided commentary on the life of Marvin Gaye for “Celebrity Legacies” on ReelzChannel. His life is unfortunately a sad reminder of the devastating long-reaching effects of child abuse.

Airing Aug. 19 10pm Eastern, 8PM Mountain on Reelz

Celebrity Legacies

Singer-songwriter Marvin Gaye was instrumental in helping shape the movement of Motown. He first started performing professionally as part of the Marquees, then later became a solo artist where he found fame with such timeless hits as “Heard It Through the Grapevine” (1968), “What’s Going On?” (1971), and “Sexual Healing” (1982). Gaye would greatly influence future musical generations, chiefly in his use of R&B and Soul to explore themes like social activism, religion and spirituality, and human sexuality. But behind Marvin’ professional achievements and public persona lay the dark secret of a severely abusive childhood that culminated in a lifetime of problems and a tragic end.

Sadly, it has become almost cliché for a successful Hollywood musician or actor to come from a broken home and experience abuse (physical, emotional, spiritual, sexual, etc.). And while all abuse is tragic, that which was suffered by Marvin Gaye is truly horrific. His sister explained that their father, Marvin Gaye Sr. would brutally whip them for every small shortcoming. Marvin later clarified the extent of the abuse: “It wasn’t simply that my father beat me; by the time I was twelve, there wasn’t an inch on my body that hadn’t been bruised and beaten by him.” The injustice he suffered at the hands of his father damaged nearly every aspect of his life:

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The Costs of Misunderstanding Modesty: Op Ed on Meridian Magazine

Yesterday, Meridian Magazine published my article on the unintentional consequences of narrowly defining modesty and hyperfocusing only on “what girls wear.” I have written many blog posts in the past several years that have been well received, but this one has spread like wildfire. Since it was published, yesterday the article has over 90 comments and has been shared 21,000 times on Facebook! It looks like I’m not the only one who is concerned about the modesty obsession all too common phenomenon in Mormon culture and the pattern of hyperfocusing on what teen girls are wearing.

Here are a few of my concerns:

When we reduce the concept of modesty to what females wear, we are reinforcing the very thing that modesty is supposed to help avoid: the sexual objectification of women’s bodies.

Overemphasizing modesty gives others implicit permission to judge and measure a woman’s dedication to the gospel, or “worthiness,” based on physical appearance.

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How to Reduce Mom Guilt: Studio 5

Moms have a lot to do, and we often take pride in accomplishing tasks and checking items off of our to-do lists. But when we don’t achieve what we set out to, unfortunately we can beat ourselves up (this happens particularly during changes and chapter endings, such as summer winding down and kids heading back to school). It seem to be human nature to focus on what we didn’t get done, but focusing on our shortcomings (perceived or real) can lead to great unhappiness and emotional distress. Here are 5 ways to resolve mom guilt: Read more

5 Ways to Avoid Burnout: Studio 5

Women expect a lot of themselves: a strong marriage, healthy children, time to pursue personal goals and interests, etc. These are wonderful aspirations, but we also need to “get real” or risk burning out.

Physical and emotional burnout is a real problem, particularly in our community. LDS Living recently conducted a survey in which they found that 95% (of 1900 individuals surveyed) reported that they had experienced burnout (specifically in a religious/ spiritual sense). This is an epidemic that is affecting many of us, and clearly, something has to change. Here are 5 steps to prevent and avoid burnout:

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Join Me! Discussion Group on ‘Aspirational Shame’ in Mormon Women

Last week AspiringMormonWomen.org published my essay “Healing Aspirational Shame.” Since then, I have been received many comments, messages, and responses to the article expressing appreciation for giving a label to the thoughts and feelings surrounding the incongruity between women’s aspirations and the messages from LDS leaders about women’s roles. I am curious to know more about the stories of other LDS women and continue to define and “unpack” this cultural experience or ‘aspirational shame.” So, if this article resonates with you, please me for a free online discussion group next week (Wed is still available, Tues pm group is full). See details below…

(Here’s an excerpt from the article)

Reserve your spot via the form below

  • Please select a date and time to reserve your seat.
  • Groups will be limited to 10 participants.
  • Feel free to contact me with any questions here.
  • I look forward to continuing the conversation!

3 Mormon Cultural Myths that Make Us Miserable

It’s no secret that there are some very specific myths in Mormon culture. These can range from our family size (15 kids and counting!) to our vocabulary (“oh, my heck!”), and even to our food (green jello, anyone?). While certainly not all (or even most) Mormons embody these stereotypes, most of us can have a good laugh at them from time to time.

Other myths concerning our faith, however, are not as funny or lighthearted, During my years as a clinical therapist, I’ve witnessed how faulty spiritual equations can cause some Latter-day Saints great emotional pain and rob them of happiness and peace. These ideas are often not out in the open, but are instead internalized beliefs that can distort our thought patterns and our emotions. Here are 3 common spiritual myths:

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Redefining “Christ-Like”: Moving Beyond the Cultural Norm of Nice

From the time that we were young, we as Latter-day Saints have intrinsically understood that the most important thing we can do as Christians is to love one another. When Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees, he explained that the first and second great commandments are to “love the Lord with all thy heart…” and to “love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matthew 22:37,39). We also know that charity is the “pure love of Christ” (Moroni 7:47). From these and other scriptural passages, many interpret and use the term Christ-like to refer to words and behavior that are always loving. In Mormon culture, a common belief is that if we’re genuinely trying to be loving, like Jesus, we are always kind, happy, and positive.

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Emotional Self-Care Keynote

I offered the keynote this morning at the PEHP Wellness Council Conference on emotional self-care. What a delightful group! Thank you for your warm welcome, and I hope you’re enjoying the rest of your day. I was made aware that some of you requested copies of my powerpoint slides…so here you go!

Emotional Self-Care Powerpoint Slides 6.10.15 (pdf download)

Also, I mentioned a “Feelings Word List” in my presentation that you can use to identify and name your internal experiences:

Feelings Word List (pdf download

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