Aieeeeeeee! Or, On Women Wearing Pants to Church

 

Pants to church? Horror! Blasphemy!  Rebellion!  Wickedness!  Zzzzzzzzzz.

 

I think I’m going to resolve to notice whether any women wear pants to my ward’s sacrament meeting on Sunday.

 

(This coming Sunday is evidently International Defiantly Wear Pants to Latter-day Saint Church Meetings and Strike a Blow Against Oppressive Patriarchy Day, or something like that.)

 

But, first, I need to resolve to care.

 

And that, I think, is going to be very difficult.

 

I’ll almost certainly forget to notice.

 

 

  • StBalthasar

    Amen. What’s next? A “Women Wear White Pants (instead of dresses) On Their Wedding Day” movement? Tell me that there is a legitimate belief that pants are on the same level of “dress up” as men wearing suits? Whenever the focus is on “ME!” rather than on “Honoring Him” I think it is difficult to care. That said, I don’t really think He cares whether I wear a tie to Church (or for “dress up” for that matter); Jesus never wore a tie, after all (NOTE: neither did He EVER wear pants to synagogue). I would therefore be in favor of men wearing no ties to Church – let’s set a date (and continue on with the “new” tie-less tradition ad infinitum…)

    • EteU Spencer

      Cute….. maybe men should wear dresses to church

      • Jeremy Alleman

        You mean kilts and robes. :-)

  • RG

    Why do you do this to yourself? You know that people are going to take this as “Daniel Peterson doesn’t care about women.” Seriously, why?

    • Ray Agostini

      Of course, which reminds me of an old “dog joke”:

      There were these two hunters, see, and one of them had a dog. The owner
      of the dog spots a duck, and shoots it–it lands in the middle of the
      nearby pond. So the owner orders the dog to go fetch the duck.
      Obediantly, the dog walks across the top of the water to retrieve the
      duck, and brings it back to his master.

      The owner is amazed, so he puts the duck back into the water, and once again orders the dog to retrieve it. And, once again, the dog walks across the top of the water, and fetches the duck, bringing it back to his master.

      The owner then turns to his friend and, beaming with pride, he says, “Do you notice anything special about my dog?

      The friend says, “Yeah, your dog can’t swim.”

      The benighted “critics” will find fault with Dan, no matter what he does. If you read the Mormon Discussions board, you’d think no greater villain since Hitler ever lived.

    • DanielPeterson

      I suppose it’s a reading test. When I say, as I do, that I really don’t care whether women wear pants to church, at least one of the interpretive options that readers allow for that statement should be to take it to mean that I really don’t care whether women wear pants to church.

      Another way of putting it is that, if women wear pants to church, I don’t care.

      Or here’s another way: On the matter of women wearing pants to church, I don’t care, one way or another.

      Interpreting that to mean that I don’t care about women as such is . . . well, a trifle weird.

      But, of course, for certain people who seem to start off with the assumption that I’m an evil apologist, a political reactionary, and an all-around reactionary troglodyte, it seems to be pretty much their first thought. And, in quite a few cases, their last.

      • RG

        Who are you testing, and why?

        • DanielPeterson

          Oh, it wasn’t DESIGNED as a test. But, clearly, it’s functioning that way for at least a few people, who are failing it.

          It’s been quite astonishing, really.

          • RG

            Surely when designing this post you anticipated that it would function for some as a test. Is your assumption that all those who “fail” this test would have inevitably taken it as a test and failed? Or is it possible that some who fail this test would have in other circumstances not failed?

            In other words, surely you anticipated being misread. Do you assume that all who misread you would misread you regardless of how you say what you say? Or is it possible that good charitable people misread you because, well, your meaning isn’t clear?

          • brotheroflogan

            Let’s look at this another way, RG. Who are you testing? And when will you stop eating puppies?

          • RG

            I think asking Dan about his perception of possible misreadings is a legitimate question.

            Here’s why:

            If we take something like Stephanie’s post below at face value (and, no, I do not know her; and, yes, I realize there may be reasons not to take it at face value), she doesn’t begin by assuming the worst of Dan. She provides a possible interpretation of his post. Now, it may be an incorrect interpretation, but given what he’s written, reasonable people could come to the same conclusion as Stephanie.

            So, if fully active members of the Church _might_ read him as apathetic, I think it’s reasonable to ask about whether or not he’s aware that he’s opening himself up to offending these members.

          • brotheroflogan

            I see that you did not deny eating puppies. I would think you’d be more sensitive than that.

          • DanielPeterson

            I suspect that RG DOES eat puppies. And I find that abominable.

            I love puppies.

          • Kenngo1969

            Hush puppies are delicious!!! ;-D

          • kiwi57

            RG: “… given what he’s written, reasonable people could come to the same conclusion as Stephanie.”

            It might be valid to argue that, if only any reasonable person had come to the same conclusion as Stephanie.

            However, no reasonable person has.

            In order to support her conclusion, Stephanie has had to read a lot of stuff that Dan didn’t write.

            And she even realises that what he said really only amounts to “I just said I didn’t care if they wore pants or not!” All the dishonesty, cowardice, malice, disdain and “juvenile passive aggression” is not what he wrote, but what she chose to read.

            It appears that Stephanie is part of the Sisterhood of the Sacrament Pants. It seems to aggrieve her that someone might not notice her gesture. Perhaps she feels it will be wasted if she doesn’t get a rise out of someone.

            Oh well.

          • RG

            See my comments below.

          • Kenngo1969

            RG: “[Stephanie Lauritzen] doesn’t begin by assuming the worst of Dan. She provides a possible interpretation of his post. Now, it may be an incorrect interpretation, but given what he’s written, reasonable people could come to the same conclusion as Stephanie.”

            From where I sit, anyone who comes to the same conclusion as Ms. Lauritzen about what Dan wrote cannot do so without making certain a priori assumptions, and people who do that are not, by any definition, “reasonable.”

          • DanielPeterson

            I always expect to be misread. It’s as certain as death and taxes.

            If I write that the sun is shining, somebody out there will find something immoral, cruel or dishonest in it.

            Incidentally, I’ve seen Stephanie Lauritzen’s name before. I can’t recall the context, but it was definitely online and I’m virtually certain that it was in a context of criticism of the Church/Mormonism. Which makes me suspect that there’s an untold backstory here. So no, I don’t take her comment quite at face value.

          • Kenngo1969

            The sun is shining … Really! What an uncaring thing for you to say, Dan! The reality is that it’s raining SOMEWHERE! But does Dan Peterson care about the people upon WHOM it’s raining, who, at this very moment, likely are having to face the deluge with only a few scraps of clothing (if even that) for protection, and who face the very real prospect of catching pneumonia and dying as a result? No. He’s such an unfeeling, uncaring dolt that such a prospect never even entered his mind! As long as it’s sunny in Dan Peterson’s world, he couldn’t care less what happens to the rest of us!

          • DanielPeterson

            It’s as if you’ve looked right into my black, unfeeling heart, Kenngo1969.

            Uncanny.

          • RG

            What do you make of her first paragraph:

            I don’t think you are an evil apologist, a political reactionary, and an all-around reactionary troglodyte (I just copied and pasted that, hence the font change.) And I imagine you do care, in general, about women and their well-being. I don’t know you well enough to say much about you, and honestly, the only thing I’ve read from you is this post.

          • DanielPeterson

            I have no real opinion on it. I’m glad that she recognizes that I’m not the devil incarnate, of course.

          • RG

            Here’s why I ask.

            Take your post:

            I think I’m going to resolve to notice whether any women wear pants to my ward’s sacrament meeting on Sunday.

            (This coming Sunday is evidently International Defiantly Wear Pants to Latter-day Saint Church Meetings and Strike a Blow Against Oppressive Patriarchy Day, or something like that.)

            But, first, I need to resolve to care.

            And that, I think, is going to be very difficult.

            I’ll almost certainly forget to notice.

            Taking it on its own, it can be interpreted a number of ways:

            1) I’m going to try to notice women wearing pants on Sunday. It’s a part of some event, afterall. But first I need to resolve to care about what people wear to church. I’ll almost certainly forget because I don’t care what people wear to church.

            2) I’m going to try to notice women wearing pants on Sunday. It’s a part of some event. But first I need to resolve to care about the event. I’ll almost certainly forget because I don’t care about the event.

            3) I’m going to try to notice women wearing pants on Sunday. It’s a part of some event where some women feel oppressed by the supposed church patriarchy. But first I need to resolve to care about these women. I’ll certainly forget because I don’t care about them.

            4) I’m going to try to notice women wearing pants on Sunday. It’s a part of some event, afterall. But first I need to resolve to notice what people are wearing because I tend to focus on things other than clothing.

            Now, suppose someone doesn’t know much about you and visits this post. They might not know which of these readings to go with (and of course more than one is always possible). It seems that Stephanie’s first comment is trying to figure out which is the right reading(s). Her first comment is an attempt to explore 2 and 3. To me it says, “I don’t want to believe 2 and 3, but you seem apathetic.”

            Your response is that her misreading is “miraculous.” As if how in the world could she misread you?

            At which point she retaliates by calling you a “coward” etc. And you retaliate by picking her statement apart.

            Now, we all bring our biases to bear in the act of reading, but if we allow for the same kind of charitable reading that you seem to expect from a reasonable reader, then in granting Stephanie that same charity we should take that first paragraph into account, which expresses a willingness to dismiss readings 2 and 3. Yet your response provides no reasons to foster that willingness.

            If you want an example of your supposed meanness then here it is. It works as follows:

            A) Make a vague statement open to multiple readings.

            B) When people question which reading you intend by inquiring into the more nefarious ones, accuse them of misreading you in a way that belittles them.

            C) When they respond to your meanness with meanness, use it as further evidence of their original intent to smear your.

            Now, I say this as someone who has experienced this precise meanness here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/danpeterson/2013/01/a-hasty-note-on-martin-luther-king-day.html

            But also as someone who is fully active in the church and who knows other active members who have been offended by your supposed meanness.
            Can you resolve to care about your likely misreadings?

          • RG

            This is at least the second time we’ve come to this point in our conversations. At some point in the future I hope you’ll be willing to proceed further.

  • rockyrd

    I lived in a rather rural, cowboy-cowgirl-oriented community for a time. We saw women in pants frequently. No big deal. What concerns me is that some feel they are on the outside looking in and therefore must rebel.

    • Jeremy Alleman

      What people miss is that the principle is to wear our best for church services, and that will change from location and culture. What we wear is less important than the attitude we bring.

      • DanielPeterson

        Precisely, Jeremy Alleman. Precisely.

  • Stephanie Lauritzen

    I don’t think you are an evil apologist, a political reactionary, and an all-around reactionary troglodyte (I just copied and pasted that, hence the font change.) And I imagine you do care, in general, about women and their well-being. I don’t know you well enough to say much about you, and honestly, the only thing I’ve read from you is this post.

    But I am a little concerned with how proud you are of your apathy, since that is the antithesis of what the Savior taught, and the antithesis for our purpose here on earth. The Savior commanded us to love one another, and that is pretty darn hard to do when you are so apathetic that you forget to notice the very people the Savior would have you serve.

    Because that’s all the Savior did, was notice. He noticed the blind, and the lame, and the sinners, everyone. He didn’t always agree with them, or their beliefs, but he noticed them, and he healed them.

    The Women who wear pants to church on Sunday might have silly reasons to do so. They might have legitimate reasons. But if the Savior can commanded us to be like the good Samaritan, A man managed to remember to care for a man he was socially conditioned to hate, what makes you think you are above caring for the women (or men wearing purple) that you have been socially conditioned to ignore?

    So I would encourage you to remember to care. And if you notice a woman wearing pants, maybe try talking to her. Maybe her pants aren’t even a political statement, and she just came from her job as a shift manager at McDonald’s, and it is what she has. Maybe she’s a radical liberal feminist kicking at pricks. Jesus did not write you a get -out- of- love- free card just because you don’t like someone or disagree with them.

    And maybe, instead of writing an inane post about how much you don’t care, maybe if you spent this much time on Sunday showing someone how much you did care, even if you don’t have any common ground, maybe people wouldn’t feel the need to wear pants to church as a statement anymore.

    This isn’t the Church of Be Nice Only to People you Like, and Christ’s commandment to Love One Another doesn’t allow room for apathy.

    So I’ll tell you what everyone told me last year when I wore pants: If you don’t like what the Church really is about (learning to be like the Savior) maybe you should just leave and find a church based on apathy.

    • DanielPeterson

      It strikes me as virtually miraculous that you can take a post in which I say that I really don’t care whether women wear pants to church or not, transmogrify it into an admission on my part that I’m so apathetic that I don’t notice people who are hurting and that I disdain people who need help or might vary from my rigid and heartless orthodoxy, and then, right after acknowledging that you don’t know me and haven’t read anything else from me, proceed to lecture me on my supposed character defects.

      Good grief.

      • Stephanie Lauritzen

        By their fruits shall ye know them. If you didn’t want this as a potential first impression,you shouldn’t have written it. And your friend’s appeal to authority (He was a Bishop!) simply doesn’t do much. It’s a hasty generalization (all Bishops are good, so you can’t criticize them,) that doesn’t hold up to reason.

        And yes, after writing this, I looked you up, did some research. I stand by previous statements. You may be well-educated, smart, and may very well have been a very good Bishop. But it doesn’t change the fact that you wrote a public post discussing how very much you don’t care about members of your church. You also did it in a deliberately disingenuous way so you could hide behind “I just said I didn’t care if they wore pants or not!” as a defense if anyone criticized you.

        But your tone and word choice betrays you. “This coming Sunday is evidently International Defiantly Wear Pants to Latter-day Saint Church Meetings and Strike a Blow Against Oppressive Patriarchy Day, or something like that.” If you really didn’t care, you wouldn’t need sarcasm dripping with obvious disdain for people who are your brothers and sisters. Your tone is not loving, Christ-like and supportive, nor, upon further reflection, is it truly apathetic, so I take that back. Your tone is disdainful and unkind. You do care. These women bother you. But you don’t really want to admit that because that gives them some power, so you feign apathy.

        So really, you’re just a coward. You write a post about how you don’t care, (hint, and honest post about not caring, by nature of not caring, wouldn’t exist.) You write it in a deliberately obtuse way so that you can claim no malice, but load it with just enough barbs to let people know just how beneath your care and notice these women are.

        I don’t need to know every aspect of your biography or person to know meanness when I read it. However, I would be more impressed with you if you were just honest: You don’t agree with the “Pants” movement so you refuse to care or find out more about members of your ward who might participate. You think the women/men participating are dumb (hence your cute barb on the name’s day,) and therefore not worth engaging.

        I wouldn’t agree with you if you had written that post, but I could at least respect your position instead of feeling a little icky about your juvenile passive aggression towards women who have not and cannot actually hurt you.

        I find it miraculous that you find your audience so dumb as to not notice what you’re doing. Go ahead and fall on your cherry-picked “I just said I didn’t care” quote as much as you may need to make yourself feel better. If that doesn’t work, go on and tell me I can’t be critical of anything you write until we sit down and have a heart-to-heart (Oh wait, I wear pants to church, so you wouldn’t notice me.)

        If I can’t criticize you without knowing everything about you, what gives you the right to obliquely criticize women who wear pants without knowing everything about them? I find that pretty miraculous too.

        • DanielPeterson

          Stephanie Lauritzen: “If you didn’t want this as a potential first impression,you shouldn’t have written it.”

          But, of course, I DIDN’T write it.

          Stephanie Lauritzen: “you wrote a public post discussing how very much you don’t care about members of your church.”

          No I didn’t.

          I wrote a public post saying — hardly “discussing,” by the way; the post is very short — that I don’t care about whether women wear pants or not.

          Stephanie Lauritzen: “You also did it in a deliberately disingenuous way so you could hide behind “I just said I didn’t care if they wore pants or not!” as a defense if anyone criticized you.”

          No. I said that I don’t care if they wear pants or not. The supposedly secret real meaning of what I said is your own invention.

          Stephanie Lauritzen: “But your tone and word choice betrays you. . . . If you really didn’t care, you wouldn’t need sarcasm dripping with obvious disdain for people who are your brothers and sisters. Your tone is not loving, Christ-like and supportive, nor, upon further reflection, is it truly apathetic, so I take that back. Your tone is disdainful and unkind. You do care.”

          I don’t care, not even slightly, whether women wear pants to church. And I haven’t cared for a very long time. Perhaps ever. I think that the first time the issue ever came to my attention was decades ago, when I was a graduate student. Somebody criticized the fact that some women in the ward wore pants. And I said then, as I say now, that I’m perfectly fine with women wearing pants to church.

          I truly, honestly, don’t care. And I wonder why that bothers you so much.

          I do care, though, about using worship services to make political statements. I free acknowledge and openly state that I don’t do that myself, and that I don’t appreciate it when others do it. Even if I agree with them.

          Stephanie Lauritzen: “These women bother you. But you don’t really want to admit that because that gives them some power, so you feign apathy.”

          Amateur, ideologically-driven pop psychological analysis, worth every penny I paid for it.

          I’m not “feigning” anything. I don’t believe that I can say that I don’t care whether women wear pants to church any more clearly than I already have. But, just to reiterate my stance: I don’t care whether women wear pants to church.

          Stephanie Lauritzen: “So really, you’re just a coward.”

          My my my. You’re really revealing yourself, Ms. Lauritzen.

          Stephanie Lauritzen: “just enough barbs to let people know just how beneath your care and notice these women are.”

          This is pure fantasy.

          And it’s obvious, too, that, if you weren’t out to score negative points, you could just as easily read my post in a positive way: I don’t care whether they wear pants or not because I value women for who they are, and not for what they wear.

          But you plainly have a different goal in mind.

          Stephanie Lauritzen: “juvenile passive aggression . . . dumb,” etc.

          Merry Christmas to you, as well!

          Stephanie Lauritzen: “Oh wait, I wear pants to church, so you wouldn’t notice me.”

          You’re flatly making this stuff up. I never said that I wouldn’t notice women at church. I said that I wouldn’t notice whether they were wearing pants. I truly, genuinely, couldn’t care less.

          I simply don’t notice what people wear. Sometimes, after an event, my wife will ask me about so-and-so. When I ask “who?” she’ll sometimes say “Oh, he was the guy with the purple pinstripe shirt” or “She was dressed in a dark blue silk dress,” and that never helps, because I’ve seldom if ever noticed and remembered.

          Why are you so eager to demonize me that you have to invent accusations? It doesn’t speak well for you or your apparent cause that you feel such a need to invent an enemy and to insult him.

        • utex

          Stephanie, put the brakes on, dear. You could be having some fun with this meaningless topic but you are driving yourself over the cliff.

        • kiwi57

          Stephanie Lauritzen: “By their fruits shall ye know them.”

          And so we do.

          Stephanie Lauritzen: “But it doesn’t change the fact that you wrote a public post discussing how very much you don’t care about members of your church.”

          Did he? Where?

          I’m afraid I missed that one.

          What he actually said was that he didn’t care what they wore. That doesn’t actually mean he doesn’t care about the people.

          If someone doesn’t notice that I’m wearing my red Christmas socks to Church, should I start sulking because they don’t care about me?

          Or are the two things essentially unrelated?

          Stephanie Lauritzen: “If you really didn’t care, you wouldn’t need sarcasm dripping with obvious disdain for people who are your brothers and sisters.”

          Shocked to learn of this disdain, I re-read his post. Alas, obvious though that dripping disdain is, it still eludes me.

          Stephanie Lauritzen: “Your tone is not loving, Christ-like and supportive, nor, upon further reflection, is it truly apathetic, so I take that back. Your tone is disdainful and unkind.”

          So the only way to be “kind” is to support the gesture, is it?

          Evidently it’s not possible to kindly disagree with anyone who wants to go along with it.

          Stephanie Lauritzen: “So really, you’re just a coward. You write a post about how you don’t care, (hint, and honest post about not caring, by nature of not caring, wouldn’t exist.) You write it in a deliberately obtuse way so that you can claim no malice, but load it with just enough barbs to let people know just how beneath your care and notice these women are.”

          Speaking of being Christ-like, what do you understand Matthew 7:1-2 to mean?

          How Christlike is it for you to call Dan a “coward” based upon what you imagine he is thinking?

          Stephanie Lauritzen: “You don’t agree with the ‘Pants’ movement so you refuse to care or find out more about members of your ward who might participate.”

          That’s not what he said.

          He said that he probably won’t notice if women are wearing pants.

          Not that he doesn’t know or care about them.

          Just that what they are wearing won’t make much of an impression.

          Why, exactly, is that wicked?

          You see, Stephanie, there seems to be something that you and the rest of the Sisterhood of the Sacrament Pants are missing: and that is what we go to Church for.

          So I’m going to tell you.

          We go to Church for three purposes: to worship the Lord, to renew our covenants, and to fellowship with the Saints. We don’t go to make any sort of “fashion statement,” much less a political gesture.

          So if someone tries to make some sort of political gesture by what they wear, I’m going to refuse to let that person hijack my Sabbath worship.

          And if I don’t even notice their attempt to do so, then that’s all to the good.

          That doesn’t mean that I won’t notice them because they are wearing pants. It just means that whether or not they are wearing pants makes no difference to me.

          As, I rather suspect, it does to Dan.

          Speaking only for myself, I do think that the Sisterhood of the Sacrament Pants are wasting their time on a silly and pointless gesture.

          But I outright reject the notion that it is “unkind” and “dismissive” to disagree with them.

        • Sharee

          Stephanie, I don’t think Dan was saying he didn’t care ABOUT women who wear pants to church, just that he didn’t care if they did. I don’t think most people do. Wearing pants to church is okay. It’s not my thing, but I won’t object to any other women who want to do so. In other words, it’s a non-issue..

          • DanielPeterson

            Precisely. Exactly. Absolutely right.

            Thank you!

        • Bernardo_Gui47

          I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t just seen it with my own two eyes – an actual puerile on-line Dan Peterson-inspired meltdown, right here on Dan’s own website. I had heard about them and thought they might be a bit of an exaggeration, but now I have witnessed one. This is the stuff of which legends are made, sagas are written, songs are sung, and future scholars study. Thank you, Ms Lauritzen! You made what was an ordinary day extraordinary.

      • brotheroflogan

        You quoted Calvin and Charlie Brown in one post. Well done. :)

    • Ray Agostini

      “I don’t know you well enough to say much about you, and honestly, the only thing I’ve read from you is this post.”

      “But I am a little concerned with how proud you are of your apathy…”.

      “And maybe, instead of writing an inane post about how much you don’t
      care, maybe if you spent this much time on Sunday showing someone how much you did care, even if you don’t have any common ground, maybe bpeople wouldn’t feel the need to wear pants to church as a statement anymore.”

      Dan is a former bishop who spent more hours counseling, helping, and encouraging members, than most of those who post on his blog. That, along with his academic demands and deadlines, would have been a merciless schedule. I’m a former bishop myself, and every Sunday was virtually a “write-off” as far as doing anything personal. So for you to write, “if you spent this much time on Sunday showing someone how
      much you did care” is breathtakingly myopic.

      For goodness sake, give the man a break.

  • Bernardo_Gui47

    “If you don’t give me the Priesthood, I’ll just have to wear my pants to church! And if that doesn’t get your attention, I will hold my breath until I turn purple and die. And it will all be your fault. And then you will really be sorry!”

    Is sacrament meeting really the appropriate venue to vent about whatever the Church does that gives you acid reflux?

  • IamMeWhoareYou

    Looks like the Church doesn’t care either.

    From the July 1971 Ensign -

    Dress Standards.

    A recent statement from the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve on women’s and girls’ dress has been issued:

    “The Church has not attempted to indicate just how long women’s or girls’ dresses should be nor whether they should wear pant suits or other types of clothing. We have always counseled our members to be modest in their dress, maintaining … standards … [that] would not be embarrassing to themselves and to their relatives, friends, and associates. We have advised our people that when going to the temple they should not wear slacks or mini-skirts, nor otherwise dress immodestly. We have not, however, felt it wise or necessary to give instructions on this subject relative to attendance at our church meetings, although we do feel that on such occasions they should have in mind that they are in the house of the Lord and should conduct themselves accordingly.”


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