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Burkas, modesty rhetoric and where do we go from here


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45 minutes ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

And even when cultural norms were that women wore tops, publicly feeding babies and children has been generally accepted in most non-Islamic societies.

I love this illustration of a Latter-day Saint sacrament meeting from an 1871 issue of Harpers Weekly that shows not one but two women nursing during the service:

Breastfeeding is completely different from toplessness (at least in my mind).  And that's a cool illustration.  The chapel I attend also has a painting that shows a women breastfeeding in the background.

46 minutes ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

It's actually not as common as you might think, and definitely not universal (and therefore not innate).

 

Yeah, I agree it isn't universal, but it is pretty widespread and pretty old.  I read the article and I'm not sure it helped me that much.  It mentions a society where toplessness was only allowed for the lower class:

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Before Muslims entered north India in the 12th-16th centuries, only upper-class women covered their breasts; in the southwest region of Kerala, the majority ethnic group (Malayali) only allowed women of the Brahmin (priests and teachers) and Kshatriya (the ruling and military elite) castes to wear tops until 1858.

 

The article also talks about the French and English courts that had women wear extremely revealing tops.  But I search online for the paper that it talked about and that paper (https://www.thefreelibrary.com/Revealing+Mary%3A+Angela+McShane+Jones+asks+what+depictions+in...-a0113938170) mentions:

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Low-cut fashion had been popular in courtly circles in Western Europe since the fourteenth century and in England since the late sixteenth century.

So, before the 14th century, "low-cut fashion" would have been out of style.

I found https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2012/09/kate-middleton-topless-photos-when-did-bare-breasts-become-taboo.html which says:

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When did bare breasts become taboo in Western civilization?

Probably around 3,000 years ago.

That's a long time for it to be taboo.

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7 minutes ago, webbles said:

That's a long time for it to be taboo.

Yes, but the West isn't the world. Toplessness in warm climates and/or during warm seasons was the historical norm across the Americas, Oceania, Southeast Asia, much of India, sub-Saharan Africa, and even in many parts of central and northern Eurasia. European colonialism and the spread of Islam have done much to obliterate this reality, but there are still numerous places on this planet where the female breast hasn't been sexualised, even in Christianised societies. In my regional 'neighbourhood', there are still places where women (and men) attend church topless.

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11 hours ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

Yes, but the West isn't the world. Toplessness in warm climates and/or during warm seasons was the historical norm across the Americas, Oceania, Southeast Asia, much of India, sub-Saharan Africa, and even in many parts of central and northern Eurasia. European colonialism and the spread of Islam have done much to obliterate this reality, but there are still numerous places on this planet where the female breast hasn't been sexualised, even in Christianised societies. In my regional 'neighbourhood', there are still places where women (and men) attend church topless.

Temple endowed men and women?

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3 minutes ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

Nope.

Why not?

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Deleted

Edited by Bernard Gui
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23 minutes ago, Bernard Gui said:

Why not?

Probably because they wear garments which they are supposed to wear nearly all the time.  That doesn’t have anything to do with the country they live in and its culture of not sexualizing breasts especially if church members are a small percentage of the country.

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2 minutes ago, Rain said:

Probably because they wear garments which they are supposed to wear nearly all the time.  That doesn’t have anything to do with the country they live in and its culture of not sexualizing breasts especially if church members are a small percentage of the country.

Thank you. I was thinking more in the context of modern modesty being a European construct and the antiquity of the garment as a God-given covering of nakedness.

 

 

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37 minutes ago, Bernard Gui said:

Thank you. I was thinking more in the context of modern modesty being a European construct and the antiquity of the garment as a God-given covering of nakedness.

 

 

But what does that even mean?  Garments used to cover more than they do now. We know they were different in Adam's time though we don't have really any detail on that.

People who haven't made covenants with God don't wear them.  I would imagine that even in antiquity there were a great many who didn't wear them.  

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1 hour ago, Rain said:

But what does that even mean?  Garments used to cover more than they do now. We know they were different in Adam's time though we don't have really any detail on that.

People who haven't made covenants with God don't wear them.  I would imagine that even in antiquity there were a great many who didn't wear them.  

Fortunately when we reach the Celestial Kingdom we will all be naked.

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1 hour ago, Mike Drop said:

Fortunately when we reach the Celestial Kingdom we will all be naked.

Unless you are just living up to your moniker…

All those who have come to earth from the presence of God have been described as wearing clothes. John foresaw that those who reside in the Celestial Kingdom will be clothed in white raiment. When we are caught up at the resurrection, we will be clothed in robes of righteousness. When Jesus comes down again, he will be wearing a glorious red robe.

 

Edited by Bernard Gui
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4 hours ago, Rain said:

But what does that even mean?  Garments used to cover more than they do now. We know they were different in Adam's time though we don't have really any detail on that.

People who haven't made covenants with God don't wear them.  I would imagine that even in antiquity there were a great many who didn't wear them.  

Of course the whole world is not bound by temple covenants nor do they wear temple garments. A minuscule portion of God’s children have ever worn them, but we believe they eventually will. 

To me it means that the standards for modesty we observe in the Church are not just a Euro-Puritanical-Colonial construct that has been imposed on folks, but rather they have deeper and more gracious roots. Scriptures and the temple indicate they were given by God to man from the Fall. Whatever the current iteration of the garment may be, clear boundaries are indicated by placement of the holy marks. 

Edited by Bernard Gui
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1 hour ago, Bernard Gui said:

Of course the whole world is not bound by temple covenants nor do they wear temple garments, A minuscule portion of God’s children have ever worn them, but we believe they eventually will. 

To me it means that the standards for modesty we observe in the Church are not just a Euro-Puritanical-Colonial construct that has been imposed on folks, but rather they have deeper and more gracious roots. Scriptures and the temple indicate they were given by God to man from the Fall. Whatever the current iteration of the garment may be, clear boundaries are indicated by placement of the holy marks. 

The bolded part is very interesting to me because do we believe that we will wear temple garments in heaven?  I've never thought about it before and I don't think I've ever seen that taught anywhere.  The resurrected beings that have been described in the temple did not seem to be wearing them, which makes me wonder.

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4 hours ago, bluebell said:

The bolded part is very interesting to me because do we believe that we will wear temple garments in heaven?  I've never thought about it before and I don't think I've ever seen that taught anywhere.  The resurrected beings that have been described in the temple did not seem to be wearing them, which makes me wonder.

OK. Let’s agree that may or may not be what we wear. Nevertheless, everyone who is exalted will have been clothed in holy garments either in life or by proxy and will be clothed in white raiment in the Celestial Kingdom. These are described as robes. Jesus will come in a glorious red robe. The garments we have worn throughout the Restoration have well-defined placement of sacred signs. 

Edited by Bernard Gui
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1 hour ago, MustardSeed said:

We know nothing about clothing in the after life. 

Yes, we do. People have seen it.

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4 minutes ago, MustardSeed said:

People have seen the after life? 

Yes. Beings on the other side of death have visited mortals on earth. As far as I can tell, they were all clothed. 

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1 hour ago, Bernard Gui said:

Yes, we do. People have seen it.

We have seen what messengers wear to interact with mortals. I don’t think this automatically means this is what they wear normally, work clothes or leisure. Maybe they wear robes for visions and visitations because that is what expected of them….like how someuse archaic language in prayers because it sounds more spiritual.

Edited by Calm
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I have wondered if modesty as we discuss is really just a Euro/Puritanical/Islamic imposition. Several years ago, Sister Gui and some friends read and discussed Wendy Shalit's book “A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue” On their recommendation I read it. http://www.wendyshalit.com 

She addresses modesty, femininity, masculinity, and the sexual revolution from an Orthodox Jewish woman’s point of view. It seems to me to be quite compatible with that of conservative Latter-day Saints. It surely would not be too far off. Comments welcomed.

I have also read a number of Chaim Potok’s books that describe the modern Conservative and Hassidic Jewish cultures as well as websites about Jewish life. I find we have much in common. As far as I can tell, their social mores and practices of modesty come from ancient roots rather than Western Europe and the USA. 

I found this one very interesting. https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/modesty-tzniut/

I am neither a sociologist nor a cultural historian.  I am not interested in rehashing past discussions about modesty. Just putting this out for consideration.

 

 

 

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39 minutes ago, Calm said:

We have seen what messengers wear to interact with mortals. I don’t think this means this is what they wear normally, work clothes or leisure. Maybe they wear robes for visions and visitations because that is what expected of them….like how someuse archaic language in prayers because it sounds more spiritual.

The eyewitness descriptions of them are the best information we have on the subject. There is no reason to assume otherwise.

Edited by Bernard Gui
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1 hour ago, Bernard Gui said:

The eyewitness descriptions of them are the best information we have on the subject.

The Prophet's description of Moroni:

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His hands were naked, and his arms also, a little above the wrist; so, also, were his feet naked, as were his legs, a little above the ankles. His head and neck were also bare. I could discover that he had no other clothing on but this robe, as it was open, so that I could see into his bosom.

Bosom as defined in Noah Webster's 1826 American Dictionary of the English Language: 'The breast of a human being and the parts adjacent'. 

Female angels no doubt wear identical clothing.

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There is no reason to assume otherwise.

How many colours are there in the spectrum? I have at least that many reasons to assume that we won't be spending eternity dressed exclusively in white.

Edited by Hamba Tuhan
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1 hour ago, Bernard Gui said:

It seems to me to be quite compatible with that of conservative Latter-day Saints. It surely would not be too far off. Comments welcomed.

Quote from one of your linked sources:

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The principle of tzniut rejects all nudity, not only in public, but also before family members at home.

I don't find that compatible at all with Latter-day Saint beliefs or practices, nor do I find it healthy or commendable. I grew up bathing with my mum, my dad, and my siblings. Though we once had a family in my current ward, the father of which once confided in me that he had never once seen his wife unclothed, I would be really worried if that were common amongst Church members.

When I spent a weekend with my mate who was studying at BYU before my mission, the showers in his residence hall were all in a single open space. That was the same experience I had at the MTC in Provo. I have spoken with older men who remember when Deseret Gym's pool required no clothing. I was endowed before recent alterations designed, in my opinion, as a response to increasing prudishness, and I'm fully aware that for many decades ordinances in the temple were performed without any shields in place.

So no, doesn't sound like the Church to me at all.

I respect my rabbi friend very much, but whenever I see his family in public, his wife steps behind him as we talk, and I have never been allowed to shake her hand. It freaks me out, and I think we very much should avoid admiring these kinds of attitudes. Having lived in a predominantly Muslim nation, I have seen first-hand the psychological damage that Middle Eastern norms of 'modesty' can wreak on all members of a society. It's just a different kind of over-sexualisation.

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57 minutes ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

The Prophet's description of Moroni:

Bosom as defined in Noah Webster's 1826 American Dictionary of the English Language: 'The breast of a human being and the parts adjacent'. 

Female angels no doubt wear identical clothing.

How many colours are there in the spectrum? I have at least that many reasons to assume that we won't be spending eternity dressed exclusively in white.

No doubt.

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