bikinis and diet coke... a long post about mormons...

Our wedding day in front of the San Diego Temple where we were married :)

If you read my blog you would know that I am Mormon. I have the ever so common "we believe" button on my blog that bloggers link to, and I have talked about being a Mormon a little bit on my blog before. Heck, my husband goes to BYU Law School, if it wasn't obvious enough that we are Mormons!

If you haven't noticed there are a lot of Mormon bloggers. Because of this, I often see people asking questions about certain bloggers who are Mormon in regards to their faith. I can only imagine how confusing some things must be or seem if you don't know the culture or certain aspects of this faith.

I constantly see people asking questions about Mormons online and I always want to answer them, especially the ones that are based on Mormon culture.

So first things first, why do so many Mormons have a blog? What is up with that?
I have often wondered this myself! First and foremost, I do not write this blog to "convert" others to my faith, which is something that is often suggested about Mormon bloggers. I blog about my life, and a big part of my life happens to be that I am Mormon. Considering just how big of a role it plays in my life, I am surprised I don't write about it more.

I feel like there are many reasons why there are so many Mormon bloggers out there. Mormons are taught from a young age to value journaling and documenting your history and life. I feel like the younger generation has taken those values and applied it to the modern world of social media. Blogging is a form of journal keeping, and using the internet is really relatable to the younger generations such as myself. This is why I personally love to blog.

I have read other blogger's say one reason they have a blog is because of a church leader (Elder Ballard) who publicly encouraged the Church members to participate in the growing online discussion about the Church.

Other then those reasons, I have no idea why there seems to be so many Mormon Bloggers out there! I am as lost as you!

So now that, that is out of the way I thought I would dive into some of the questions I have seen about Mormons floating around online that I am itching to put my two cents on. I would like to add that I am not trying to do anything here but give you some information on the Church and the culture of the Church based on my experiences as being raised LDS and being an active member in the Church today. Again, this is MY opinion as an LDS member.

First off "Mormon" is a nick name. The Church is actually called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We have the Book of Mormon (another testament of Jesus Christ) which is where the "Mormon" nick name comes from.

Growing up outside of Utah as a Mormon is a different experience then growing up in Utah as one. If you are really behind, Utah is home to A TON of Mormons. With that said, not everyone who lives here is Mormon. I have a lot of non member friends here who hate getting asked "are you Mormon?" the second they tell someone they are from Utah, haha. I have talked all about the term "Utah Mormon" on my blog here.

Growing up in San Diego, most of my friends were not LDS (another nickname for our Church). One of my family's really good friends like to call our family "Normans" basically saying that we were Normal Mormons, and not the "crazy" kind.

Let's just be honest. Every religion, group, community etc. is made up of all different kinds of personalities and people. I don't think a whole organization should be judged based on the way one person acts (que radical Muslims) however people DO. With that said, I don't consider myself a very conservative Mormon, nor do I consider myself a liberal Mormon. So that is where my perspective is coming from in answering some of these common questions I have seen lately about Mormons.

MORMONS AND MODESTY - Wait, she is wearing a Bikini?! I thought she was Mormon!

Oh Mormons and modesty, the number one question online about Mormon Bloggers. Especially Mormon Fashion Bloggers. From a young age we are taught to be modest in our dress. We are encouraged to dress modestly at a young age in preparation to wear Temple Garments someday (I will get to those next). This means, in part, to avoid wearing clothing that is too revealing or extreme. Modesty rules apply to both men and women. Both genders are expected to properly cover their bodies. The Mormon Church has made it pretty clear what their guidelines for modesty are. One thing I love about my faith, is that we are more progressive then some might think. The Church believes in teaching correct principles, and then letting the members "govern themselves."

Because of this, you will see some Mormons who wear bikinis, and other's who don't. I will always remember when people attacked Elaine from Clothed Much because she wore a bikini on vacation. Elaine is a well known Modest Fashion Blogger, emphasis on the Modest. So when she posted pictures in a bikini, it was as if everyone felt she had broken the main rules and foundation of her blog.

Where do I even start with the Bikini topic within our religion. No where in any official Church statements regarding modesty does the Church even address swimwear (if you know of anything that has, PLEASE share it with me). If people want to live the gospel to the "letter of the law" then they wouldn't even be "allowed" to wear swimsuits at all! The modesty guidelines set by the Church do not talk about swim wear, so where people got the idea that wearing a Bikini as a Mormon is a NO NO, just fascinates me. It is culturally derived.

It is culturally accepted that you shouldn't wear a bikini within our Church. Now is a one piece probably more modest then a bikini, sure, I guess it is, or should I say it CAN be. I am very flat chested and so for me I feel like a bikini is just as modest as a one piece. You will never see me with my "chest" hanging out because I don't have one! I have seen some incredibly revealing one pieces, those monokinis, or super low plunging necklines on your one piece doesn't all of a sudden make your swim suit more modest then my bandeau bikini top!

What's the difference between a one piece and a two piece? Showing your stomach? To be honest I don't see what is so revealing about my belly button, heck, most of us women want to COVER our bellies!! For me personally modesty in swim wear has more to do with covering up your cha chas. But some women can't even help that, if they are heavily endowed sometimes no swim suit in the world will keep those in, and so what, they are supposed to wear a shirt over themselves when they go to the pool?

There are some things the Church has come right out and made very distinct decisions about, others they haven't. Swimwear is one of them. So the idea that "Mormons can't wear two piece swimsuits" just annoys me and is a very prevalent idea within the culture of the religion.

MORMONS AND THEIR UNDERWEAR - What is all this talk about "magical" underwear?! 

Garments are the basis of where dressing modestly in the Mormon Church comes from. Garments have many purposes to us, they are a reminder of the promises and covenants we make in the Temple. They are also a way for us to remember to keep our bodies modest. We believe they are sacred, and that is where the word "magic" has come up from people who don't understand them. Garments are not something I am going to be able to explain fully in a way you could understand in a blog post, so I will just talk about them in regards to Mormons and their lifestyle/modesty.

Garments are for those who have prepared themselves for the temple, and are living their lives a certain way to be able to attend the temple. Not all members of the Church have gone through the temple, which means a lot of members don't wear garments. Being a member of the Church does not mean you have to be temple worthy, however, it is the goal. Typically you go through the temple before you get married, or you go through before you serve a mission for the Church.

Garments come in different cuts and fabrics etc. to fit what a person likes. They go to just above the knee, and cover the small cap of your shoulders. Those who wear garments should always have them covered by what they are wearing. You are not supposed to "alter" your garments to suit the needs of what you are wearing. It can be obvious when some people do this, but how you wear your garments etc. is between you, God, and twice a year your bishop when he asks you if you are wearing them appropriately to renew your temple recommend.

When I went through the temple, I was told that I was to wear my garments when it was reasonable. What is reasonable? Well I was taught that you should always wear your garments, except for during the three S's. S.S.S. Sex, Sports, and Swim. HA :) I always thought that was clever. So that is the quick background on garments. You will see Mormons who wear them, Mormons who don't, Mormons who don't wear them appropriately - at the end of the day that is just how someone is practicing their religion. Everyone is at a different stage in their faith.

MORMONS AND CAFFEINE - What, why is that Mormon drinking a Diet Coke, Mormons can't drink soda?

Oh the great debacle of caffeine and Mormons. What is funny about this is that the Church actually came out with a statement recently regarding this because it is such a funny cultural aspect of our religion that apparently it needed to be addressed. Yes, I say cultural. My favorite thing is meeting a Mormon who drinks her Diet Coke every single day yet has an issue with a girl wearing a two piece. Let me explain why. In the Mormon Church we have something called the Word of Wisdom. It teaches us guidelines of things we should or shouldn't eat or drink to help our body be the best it can be. That is why you will meet Mormons who don't drink coffee, tea (we do drink herbal tea), don't smoke etc. People and Mormons themselves seem to only care about the "big" ticket items as I call them in the Word of Wisdom. There is a lot more to the Word of Wisdom then just alcohol and coffee.

There is a lot of great health advice in the Word of Wisdom, and where the caffeine one comes into play is the idea that we should avoid addictive substances. In my family, we did not drink caffeine growing up because my parent's viewed it as an addictive substance. I am actually grateful because I am not a big soda drinker at all because of that. But as we have gotten older I have had some siblings start to drink caffeinated drinks. Do my parents think they were bad Mormons? Not at all. The Word for Wisdom outlines some things very specifically, and others that are up to members discretion, which is the same thing as the bikini issue in my mind. See the connection to two pieces and diet coke?

Trevor has no problem drinking a coke, well I have decided to stay with the idea that soda/caffeine should just be avoided. I have NEVER even had a coke, diet coke, dr. pepper, pespi etc. before in my life. And I sure don't feel like I am missing out on anything when I see people "needing" to have one. However, I could care less that your drinking it, Kapeesh?

So basically Mormons are just like any other religion. We have members that are all at different levels of their personal faith. We have some that follow the letter of the law, and others who follow the spirit of the law. You get the idea? Despite what people think, the Mormon Church is more progressive then you might think. It leaves room for members to question and come to conclusions on their own. Yet they do put out guidelines to help us along the way.

These were just some topics I saw floating around online about Mormons that I wanted to explain a little better from my personal perspective. If you have any more questions, I would love to answer them! Yet again, please remember these are my personal opinions and the way I see my religion.

192 comments

  1. Thanks for sharing all of this! I am an atheist, but I was raised Catholic and I have always been fascinated by religion and how it impacts people in their daily lives. Plus, soda isn't good for you anyway, so I'd say you're not missing anything! ;-)

    Sarah @ Life As Always

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    1. I am Mormon, was raised mormon. I didn't know about the bikini thing. I am so relieved to finally know what is up with that. I drink soda, always have. Always confused when people said, "Aren't you not supposed to drink caffeine?" People think that because of the coffee and tea thing. But no, it is a special ingredient in the coffee and tea that is bad for our bodies.

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    2. I am Mormon, was raised mormon. I didn't know about the bikini thing. I am so relieved to finally know what is up with that. I drink soda, always have. Always confused when people said, "Aren't you not supposed to drink caffeine?" People think that because of the coffee and tea thing. But no, it is a special ingredient in the coffee and tea that is bad for our bodies.

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  2. Great post on your religion and you answered the qns really well! ThAnks for this informative post. At the end of the day, we're all the same, different religion or not. :)

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  3. I really love when the "Mormon bloggers" I follow write up a quick post about their religion. I am not Mormon, but grew up in a town in which Mormons were the majority. I have always heard different things from different people about the religion, which got to be extremely confusing and sometimes frustrating because it just never seemed to match up. However, I definitely agree that it's ALL religions that are this way, because even though you're part of the same Church, it is still made up of individuals who all have different ways of living out their faith. The main point: thank you for sharing!

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  4. thanks for sharing this! i appreciated reading it as a mormon myself :)

    ps: I am hosting a giveaway on my blog -- http://brookefield.blogspot.com/2013/05/firmoo-sunglasses-giveaway.html

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  5. There is an old quote from President O'McKay that talks about swimming suits being designed the way they are for as specific purpose and that ones that show your stomach are not appropriate. He also goes on to say that you should be covered when coming and going from the beach/pool. But there are also lots of quotes from Brigham Young discussing modesty when the when garments used to come down to women's wrists, so...
    And I totally agree that some one piece suits are so much worse than bikinis. But with the vintage trend, I feel like there are so many more options now for 1 piece suits than there were back in the days of Britney Spears.

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  6. This is an awesome post! I grew up in an Irish Catholic family, in a very Catholic community so I can't even say that I have ever personally known a Mormon. I love to learn about different religions because every religion is stigmatized one way or another which isn't fair because most of its followers do not fall into the stigma. I love that your religion leaves things up to the follower as I feel that is something that is missing from the Catholic religion - it's either their way or the highway most of the time. Thanks so much for sharing!

    Shannon [ lifeofpoole.blogspot.com ]

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  7. This is really well-written and I think you did a great job sharing some insight on the CULTURE of the LDS people. With any religion, I agree that sometimes the doctrine of the church and the culture of the church can clash, and be confusing to those not of that particular faith.

    Thanks for sharing this!

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  8. This was a great, informative post! I had never known a Mormon until I moved out West and now I find your religion fascinating. (although i still don't understand much about it) My husbands boss lives in Utah and is Mormon and when he said he didn't drink caffeine my jaw dropped! But I admire him so much for his discipline/drive/faith at the same time. Me and Steven love him to death, he's a great guy and I think his faith has a lot to do with it.

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  9. One of my best friends is Mormon and she got married in the SD temple too, SO pretty!

    xx
    Kelly
    Sparkles and Shoes

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  10. Being a Mormon myself, I like to take the issue of "modesty" in its context, which does not just refer to clothing styles. Being modest means we're not trying to call attention to ourselves, and very revealing attire (such as many bikinis) would not fall into the "spirit of the law" of modesty, at least as far my interpretation would go. However, the wonderful thing about the gospel is that each of us is free to make our own decisions. I think that's one reason why we've been commanded not to judge because we don't know where someone else is in his/her spiritual progression, and it's definitely unfair to judge on something such as righteousness or faithfulness based on outer appearance alone.

    Just some thoughts I had. Cool post!

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    1. I totally meant to add that I was just addressing modesty in the fashion department, because yes, I totally agree that modesty is much more then just what we are wearing!!!

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  11. Thank you! Finally someone is sharing this.
    I'm a Mormon teen living in Iowa.
    I'm going to share this on my blog's FB page.
    All of this needed to be said, and you were able to cover all the right bases with the right wording.
    Thank you, thank you!

    PS-Have you seen this about the swimming suits?
    https://www.lds.org/new-era/2011/03/to-the-point?lang=eng

    -XO Abbigayle Rashae
    -trueblueabbi.blogspot.com

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    1. That is interesting Abbigayle! I hadn't seen that before, thanks for sharing!

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    2. I had never seen that before either! Thanks for sharing. Did you guys find it was still kind of "beat around the bush" though? I feel like if the Church wanted to make a hard stand on it they would, I mean they have with double piercings and tattoos?

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    3. I mean, they still used the word "guidelines" in that explanation.

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    4. I agree. They leave it up to you and your family's thoughts on everything for modesty.
      I've seen Mormons who cover past the knees and wouldn't dare to wear a top without something underneath, while there are others (some of my friends included) who wear short shorts and tank tops.
      And yes, I agree that they have said 'no piercings or tattoos' quite clearly, although I have other Mormon friends who've done that too.
      You can sort of do what you'd like, but the church does have 'guide lines' that they would appreciate if you followed.

      -XO Abbigayle Rashae
      -trueblueabbi.blogspot.com

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    5. All of this is totally my opinion though, aha.
      I don't exactly know what you guys think on everything.
      That's just what I've seen and understood.

      -XO Abbigayle Rashae
      -trueblueabbi.blogspot.com

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    6. I think it's pretty clear in there that they intend for swimsuits to cover the mid-section and for bottoms to be longer: "They are better fitting and have longer tops that cover the torso. The bottoms come in more modest styles too. So the guideline not to wear a two-piece swimsuit is not as helpful as it once was, but the goal to dress modestly remains."

      Just what I thought :) I also really like this quote by John Bytheway, from his book "Are your standards fences or guardrails?"...he said, "It's not about hemlines, it's about your heart." Personally, I would only ever wear a bikini if I were around just my husband. I would feel extremely uncomfortable otherwise.

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    7. The idea that it is okay to only wear a bikini with your husband is an interesting one. I have heard it a lot. I know people who go on vacation with their husband and wear bikinis then, but how is that any better? So if you feel a bikini is immodest why is it okay to be immodest sometimes? Unless you saying you would only wear it if it was just you and your husband and no one else was around?

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    8. Yeah, that's what I meant. I would only wear it if we were on the lake by ourselves, or on a private beach alone, because I would be uncomfortable around anyone else. Again, that's just my take. Sorry I didn't clarify that :)

      I've read through other comments, and as far as the double-standard...I think speedos and short, tight swim trunks on men are gross and immodest. Haha.

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    9. And then I wouldn't post pictures of myself wearing one, because *I* would feel immodest doing so.

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    10. I agree it is up to every person to make their own decision, but in the posted link it states "At that time, “two-piece swimsuits” meant bikinis, which are very revealing."...and we are taught to not wear revealing clothing of any kid. So, I still side with those who believe bikinis are inappropriate. It's still up to you what you decide

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    11. I feel like you have to use discretion here. For example, they say avoid rated R movies. However these days I have seen some PG 13 movies that are just as bad if not worse then a rate R movie. Not all one pieces are modest, not all two pieces are modest, but I have some two piece bikinis that are more modest then some of my friend's one pieces. At the end of the day just being a certain body type could make any swim suit immodest. The Church will not put out "exacts" because styles are constantly changing, bodies are so different, what is modest for one could not be modest for another.

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    12. I agree with that. Although the Church has never implied that all one pieces were game either. Just because there are immodest one pieces out there doesn't mean it justifies wearing a high necked two piece. A stomach bearing monokini is just as revealing as a bikini- both are innapropriate, ya know?

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  12. Always love reading about someone else culture and religion. I learned some things that i never knew about Mormons. Thanks :)

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  13. Nailed it. Love this post!!!

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  14. I knew about the modest dress and Mormons, but I had no idea about the soda!

    Something else I noticed about Mormon bloggers is that basically all of them are GORGEOUS and well dressed:-)

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  15. I've always wondered why there are some many mormon bloggers. I guess I'll just keep wondering. Maybe it's just people notice it more because of the We Believe button?! Great informative post!

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  16. i like this post. :) the main thing i notice about mormons is how nice and caring everyone is! ps i love your wedding pictures. i remember when sarah posted a picture of you two and all i could think was how gorgeous you look!

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  17. This was great to read! I had no idea about "magical underwear" and as soon as you mentioned it, I thought to myself, "they have magical underwear...I'm intrigued!" haha
    I have to agree on Whitney on this one. Every single Mormon blogger that I've come across is always incredibly well dressed and takes the most beautiful photos. I want in on the secret ;) I have a few Mormon friends that I met back home in Wisconsin and also in the Air Force. I always love learning how people grew up and what we can learn from each other. Thanks for sharing, this was awesome :)

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  18. This is interesting. I have always wondered why every mormon blogger I know of is wearing a wedding dress with sleeves in their wedding photos. I assume it's because you are wearing the garments underneath?

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    1. YUP! If you got married in the temple, you would be wearing garments, which would mean your shoulders need to covered. It is pretty easy to spot a Mormon bride because of this :)!

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  19. This is great. I think you've answered common questions really well. hanna

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  20. such a great explanation! thanks for representing our faith so well! XOXO
    the well-traveled wife

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  21. Oh, I adored this! I am a non Mormon and just really enjoyed getting to know your ideals a bit better from a learning standpoint. Very informational in a conversational way and clear. Loved it:)

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  22. You are so great. I'm LDS, and sometimes the things people write about our religion online makes me cringe! This was so reasonable and clear. I found it refreshing. Way to represent.

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  23. I know close to nothing about your faith but follow a number of Mormon fashion bloggers just by chance - I never had many questions about it either just because I feel like, your faith is your faith and people shouldn't be all judgey or nosey - but this was extremely interesting! Thanks for sharing!

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  24. Great post!
    As a non Mormon it has been great to have a few things clarified! My husband and I had a Mormon roommate for some time, and I was always intrigued by his faith. I feared I would sound ignorant if I asked questions.
    Thank you for sharing!

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    1. I think Mormons are used to people not knowing much about their religion. You should have totally asked him! I don't think its ignorant at all if someone is trying to get more informed :)

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  25. Oh i am so happy your wrote about this Alicia! i think you did awesome at explaining everything!

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  26. I LOVE posts like this. I think when you're Mormon and you have a blog, at some point you have to do a FAQ like this because religion is such a big part of our lives that it will come up eventually. If we don't address it directly then that's where all these weird rumors come from...like, the other day one of my coworkers told me that I didn't believe in oral sex. When I replied, she refused to not believe my answer and insisted on telling me what I believed...

    My favorite part was when you said something about how every religion has crazy people and every religion has normal people. That's just the way it is haha!

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    1. I HATE when people "tell" you what you believe... soooo annoying haha

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  27. So refreshing! Being LDS myself I shared this on my FB page and it was shocking that within minutes people were attacking it saying that bikini's were bad and members who wear them are hypocrites.
    But I think you did such a wonderful job at expressing that, in it's simplest form the gospel is about love and charity...not about bikinis and diet coke.
    I think if everyone could be as good about not judging each other as they are about not drinking/smoking/etc (those obvious topics) than everyone would be happier.

    Anyway! Basically I love the posts you do on religion! You and I, I think, are on the same page! So keep them coming :)

    Glenna May
    www.finallysomethingtoblogabout.blogspot.com

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    1. I am not surprised you got that reaction! I know that other members do not feel this way. I just wish they could see how hypocritical they might be acting. I mean, with the Word of Wisdom, do they eat meat sparingly, or treat their bodies well? I had a bishop once ask what was more important, reading your scriptures everyday or exercising. Everyone said reading your scriptures, and he said no, they are equal. God has commanded you to read your scriptures AND take care of your body... it is all about the balance. Yet no one would ever think someone having bad eating habits as being a "bad" member. And guess what THEY AREN'T, but it is just as bad to judge someone else for areas they are working on in their faith etc. Hopefully that made sense.

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    2. I find this all very interesting too. When I was a Mormon teen, my mother allowed me to wear spaghetti strap dresses to Prom and a bikini if I wanted (I usually didn't because of self confidence issues). I never felt like I was a rebel Mormon or anything, but later I was surprised to find out that some of my friend's mothers were concerned about my path and somehow assumed I was a loosy-goosy becasue I wore a certain design dress to Prom. It was obviously wrong. There is so much judgment out there when it come to how "Mormons" dress. It creates so much more of a stigma and I think that's why all these rumors get out of control. If I were going to the beach/pool with my family, I would wear a two-piece bathing suit without judgment, but if it was a church beach trip/pool day a one-piece would be more appropriate. I think there is so much more judgement among member more than anything. Just some thoughts...

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    3. Melody I totally know where you are coming from. It is sad that most of the judgement we can feel sometimes is within our own faith. We are all just trying our best, even those that judge, so hopefully we can be more aware of it!

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  28. Fellow Norman here! :) At least I hope so. I LOVE your take on the two piece swimming suits. Back in the day, when my blog was even smaller than it is now, I wrote about that. The young women leaders in our ward told the girls that for a combined YM/YW activity, the girls HAD to wear a one piece and if they chose to wear a tankini, they had to safety pin it so their stomachs wouldn't show. I think modesty has so much more to do with self respect and honoring your body than it does with whether or not your belly button is showing. It especially bothered me when the girls were told, "The boys will see your belly button and they don't need that temptation." Anyway...loved this post. I think it will help clear up any questions for a lot of people and spark some good thoughts for those of us who share your faith.

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    1. THANK YOU SHARLEE! I responded above to a comment like this, and I just hate that statement. Women are not responsible for men's behavior and thoughts. It portrays men as weak and not in control, and that is just plain stupid.

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    2. I'm sorry, we're not RESPONSIBLE for their behavior and thoughts, but we can do things to help them. YM don't need that kind of temptation, especially at a YM/YW outing. Why does no one understand why modesty is so important? It is not only to respect your body, but also show respect to others. I feel that when girls dress immodestly, especially in bikini's they are not showing respect to YM who would feel uncomfortable. My husband has a hard time feeling comfortable around women in bikinis because it is hard for them to keep their thoughts clean. It is different for them then it is women. Why would we not do everything we can to support men and YM with the priesthood to keep their thoughts pure and make them feel comfortable around us?

      Also, for some, and mostly this refers to young girls, wearing a bikini makes you feel more "sexy", makes them feel like they are getting the "right attention" from YM. I have been there, and I know how that feels to be leered at. That wasn't a time that I felt my body was respected by me or others around me.

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    3. I of course believe modesty is important. I also think once you veer over to what you choose to wear for sports wear or swim wear it becomes more of a grey area on what is modest or not. No matter what a woman decides to wear a man can be attracted to her. I hate the idea that modesty is linked to men being "weak minded." Modesty should be a personal thing you do for yourself to show respect to your body, not to help a guy out with his "temptations." This is NOT why we should be teaching young woman to cover up!!

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    4. Thank you! I wish we could focus more or the YM learning to look a girl in her eyes and not at her stomach or chest. It is not a girl's job to make a guy think a certain way by her dress.

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  29. Bikini's are revealing and show a lot of skin. That turns men on.Think about what you wear when you want to turn your husband on to have sex, it doesnt take much ladies. And the difference between most lingerie and a bra/underwear bikini is not much. I personally wouldnt want to be the cause of a bad thought, or even a relapse of a pornography addiction because I was immodestly dressed for the sake of "wearing a bikini". Its not about it being called a one piece or two piece that is really making the difference. there are both modest and immodest one piece and two piece swimsuits. Its about being modest. and yes, young boys seeing girls dressed in harldy nothing is a temptation for MOST boys!! Statistics say that is when most pornography addictions start. I dont know when or why it became a "cultural norm" for bikini's to be okay and modest! WHAT IN THE WORLD! I completely disagree. But to each their own. Everyone sins differently.

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    1. Way to be supportive and not judge! You're calling someone out for what you perceive to be their sins. I respect that you feel that you have the right answer, but what Alycia is saying here is that there are many ways to interpret the covenants of LDS and practice as a Mormon. Ladies need to support one another in life and faith. This comment seems pretty harsh to me.

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    2. So the reason we shouldn't wear bikinis is because it turns men on? Now we are responsible for a man not being able to control his emotions and sexual urges? THIS type of mindset is exactly the reason why many women in the church feel that our approach to modesty and sexuality is so damaging to our young women...because we teach them that they are responsible for another individuals feelings and choices. They become responsible for a pornography addiction because of how they dressed?? That is such crap. Men are responsible for their own individual feelings and choices. They have agency, women do not steal their agency to either sin or choose the right by dressing a certain way. I am in no way endorsing immodesty. I am just saying that explaining why you choose to dress modestly by involving men is horrible. I choose to dress modestly out of my own self respect and covenants that I have made with God. Not because I am afraid a man will be turned on and then as a result, I will be responsible for his sinful behavior. Good grief.

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    3. I am going to have to agree with Jaimie here. The idea that how a woman chooses to dress makes her responsible for a man's behavior and thoughts really upsets me. When I was growing up I went to early morning seminary and lots of us wore our pajamas since it started at 6:00 a.m. I wore baggy pants and a sweatshirt and I had a leader tell us that they didn't want us in pj's anymore because it gave guys bad thoughts to see us in our pajamas. Seriously? So basically I can't wear anything because guys will ALWAYS be attracted to my body?

      I just don't like the idea that women are somehow accountable or responsible for how men think, and how
      men are again and again depicted as weak and out of control.

      I mean, a guy could wear short short swim trucks, or a speedo, and somehow he is modest? I just don't get the double standard?

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    4. I don't have to wear a bra/underwear or a bikini to turn my husband on. If I'm wearing some leggings it gets the job done. So do we as women have to walk around in mumus and sweatshirts for fear that a man will get turned on?

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    5. Heck a pair of jeans can be a trigger.

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    6. First, let me preface this by saying that I am someone that strongly believes that when choosing swimwear, I choose the most modest option for myself. I believe that yes, we are given doctrine and we are to interpret in the way that we feel is right. And for me that means a one-piece. BUT, everyone is free to choose for themselves!

      I take issue with women feeling they need to manage the thoughts of the male populace in how we dress. I am choosing for MYSELF to be modest, because I am following the commandments that I believe in and know to be true. I am not choosing to be modest because I fear that Jonny across the street will get turned on by something I may be wearing. That is his problem, and if he is having problems, maybe he should work on garnishing his thoughts unceasingly!

      My husband has been known for being turned on by me in baggy, grubby clothes while cleaning the house. I don't think clothes are connected! haha!

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    7. AWESOME response, Lauren. I also choose a modest one-piece or tankini. I will admit that I've been surprised by some of the swimwear that I've seen other LDS women wear, and have thought some judgmental thoughts, but I really like the discussion going on here.

      And I mean, my husband caught a guy checking me out when I was wearing skinny jeans and a baggy sweatshirt, so....

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    8. hahaha I love you Lauren, "baggy grubby clothes" yeah, I don't it matters what we wear, guys will always find women attractive.

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    9. "Statistics say that is when most pornography addictions start." Please share with us these statistics. And please let them be from academia.

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  30. Thank you for writing this post!! You did a great job exclaiming and representing the LDS faith. I think I will share this with others.
    Xoxo
    Amanda

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  31. I dont mean that to be mean. I understand everyone is different. I just want people to be aware of the real affects it could have. Im not perfect by any means and i dont intend to preach. Just share my honest opinion.

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    1. No worries at Arianna, I don't think it was mean :) I love discussion and I want people to feel comfortable stating their opinion. I know that people will feel differently then me on some things and I love to hear it!!

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  32. Thanks for sharing this. It's interesting to read. I'm a non mormon so it was really good to have a few of these things cleared up! Thanks so much.

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  33. I'm really pleased you wrote this. I'm not Mormon myself, but very interested in the religion (as an atheist!) as I read a lot of Mormon bloggers AND have real life Mormon friends. I really appreciate how accepting you are of the fact that everyone must come to their own conclusions of how to practice their faith. It helps me fight the sense that organised religion breads "sheep"- ie herd like mentality along the lines of the quote "religion is the opiate of the masses". Individualism is so, so important.

    I really appreciate your dissection of the reasons why you choose not to drink Coke/diet Coke etc. From the outside looking in, it's niggled at me because I have always thought that as the Word of Wisdom was written so long ago these drinks are just the modern equivalent of the substances mentioned. It seemed hypercritical to promote drinking them, but then I'm coming from an outsiders point of view and truly believe that each individual has their own relationship with his or her god.
    Please note that I am not trying to call Mormons who drink caffeinated soda hypocrites. It just seemed odd to me so I like the way you worded it about it all being personal choice.

    I'd be really interested to hear what you think about the recent Mormon feminist pants wearing issue. That seemed to sort of peter out in light of the school shooting tragedy at the time but still seems really important. It is clear that within the LDS church and all churches there is a vast difference between the word of the religion and the culture of the religion. Absolutely fascinating to someone like me!

    Now I might just have to write a blog post about why I am an atheist and the cultural context of my non-belief! I really do believe that education will bring people closer together. We don't need to agree, we don't need to like each other, but if we understand and respect one another then great things are possible.

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    1. Loved this!!! I actually did write a post about the Mormon Woman Pants Issue, I just thought the whole thing was rather stupid actually. http://crowleyparty.blogspot.com/2012/12/mormon-women-equality-and-pants.html

      I would love to read your post about your faith!!

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    2. Haha my husband and I were just talking about the Mormon Woman Pants issue , and we thought it was pretty stupid , because nowhere does it say a woman can't wear pants to church. We've only been told Sunday best.

      If you happen to think your Jeans or whatever is Sunday best, then wear them. Won't get any grief from my husband and I. Also , some people just don't have/can't afford nicer clothes. The Lord doesn't care what you wear in my opinion. He just wants to see the effort you're making to come close and worship him.

      Rant Over.

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  34. I emailed you.. thank you for this! Perfectly perfectly stated! xoxo

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  35. Thank you so much for sharing this. I know a lot of Mormons and I appreciate being around them. Reading this made me understand a lot of things. :)

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  36. I loved this post Alycia. I am Christian, not Mormon but find this fascinating! I loved learning more about this faith! And yes, it is totally weird how many Mormon bloggers there are. I think half of my blog roll consists of Mormon bloggers! I find you all are so gorgeous and always inpecably dressed!!

    Love it!!!

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  37. Wonderful post, thank you! I have always been so curious about the topics you covered, but never wanted to ask a fellow blogger in case I came off being nosy or rude!

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  38. AMEN! This is an awesome post! I think it's so true, while I personally wear a bathing suit that does cover my stomach, it's not like I'm out there covering up other girls who don't! And that makes me so sad that someone even said something to Elaine about wearing a bikini on her blog! Sheesh!

    Shannon
    http://GBOfashion.com

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  39. Loved this post.. I've written a post on this very topic and never hit the publish button. Though not LDS, I had this knack for accidentally dating Mormon guys ever since high school.. and then I married one. He is currently inactive, maybe I will talk him into going back one day. I was raised Seventh Day Adventist, and though so different from LDS, I've always felt a strong connection. Modesty and healthy living. The online fascination with Mormon bloggers is huge. I've noticed all my favorites.. they're always Mormon. I read somewhere that the name for this phenomenon is the "blogger-nacle" I love the sense of community your church provides, and the family priorities. I think you guys do it better than anyone in fact. Nice to see someone address this. HUGE Mormon fan right here, HUGE!

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    1. You are adorable :) Mormon guys are raised to be such good gentlemen, so I know your husband must be a great catch!!!

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  40. Alycia, you nailed it! I feel like there are so many questions about our religion, these 3 being some of the biggest! You addressed it so perfectly. Thanks for sharing this! Gosh, if anyone ever asks me I am sending them to you to explain ;) And I just saw the picture of your new hair color and am in LOVE it is so perfect! I'm debating going blonder and that just may have persuaded me! Happy Thursday girl.

    xoxo Jamie
    www.bnjsefcik.blogspot.com

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  41. Girl, this is good. One of my favorite reads in blogger land in a long time. I wish everyone could have similar nonjudgmental perspectives.

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  42. some of my bf's and my good friends are mormon. One of them just got married and were trying so hard to get married at the SD temple.

    I literall lived right across the street from it! It's gorgeous! Love every time Christmas rolled around, they would always decorate the temple so beautifully.

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  43. Alycia this was an AWESOME post!! I totally agree with everything you posted and I like the way you put it--that the way all mormons live their lives is different and that we really shouldn't judge anyone if they drink caffeine or wear bikinis or do anything else. Anyways, I just think this was really great and a wonderful way to tell people a little bit about Mormons :)

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  44. such a well written post! As a mormon, i love reading posts like this so I know how to answer my friends' questions in a way that makes sense. You explained everything so well, and in simple terms. love it!

    lifeaccordingtoS.com

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  45. Whoa Girl!!!!!! You are taking a load on here. And I'm going to give some more!!! Hahhahahaha. Just kidding. I read it and I think most of it was well said. As a fellow Mormon, I was a little uneasy about your discussion with the one piece and two piece. And then I read some comments, whoa!

    Alycia, there is church policy regarding this issue and if you go to LDS.org you'll find it. Church guidelines have stated that two piece swimsuits should be refrained from. Now, the issue arises because fashion has changed giving us the Tankini. Robert D. Hales is quoted in a talk called "To the Point" saying,

    “In everyday living, immodest clothing such as short shorts, miniskirts, tight clothing, shirts that do not cover the stomach, and other revealing attire are not appropriate” (Robert D. Hales, “Modesty: Reverence for the Lord,” Ensign, Aug. 2008, 34–35).

    He is speaking of clothing, and the traditional two piece does not cover the belly, I would think it safe to group it comfortably here in this council.

    I just read this and thought it good council as well...Instead of "how far can I go, let's think, How well can I follow the standards."

    Further up in your comments you had some heated comments, wow. I wish I could discuss things with those women friend to friend. I see where they are both coming from. Men being tempted, and women not being responsible for men's choices, thoughts, etc.

    If we lived in this culture alone, we wouldn't have to worry about how we effect others. But, we do live with men, women, children, elders all around us. What if this certain commenter applied her argument to her own children? Does she want to be an example to her sons, to her daughters to her husband? Yes, she does. I love what she said, "I dress modestly because I have made coventants with the Lord and I want to keep them." I agree! And I also want to be respectful in my dress for everyone around me. It's not about pornography, necessarily, this is a very narrow view, but having respect for one another. Also, you talked about the garment and I really think the one piece, if modest, is more in coordinance with the garments.

    Alycia, you're brave. Well done. Take care and talk soon. All my love,

    Shauna xoxoxo

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    1. Hey Shauna, thank you for bringing this up! I was always taught to wear a one-piece bathing suit (my mom didn't even let us wear tankinis!) and my young women leaders enforced this heavily when we had pool parties and such. So I was confused when I went to a singles' ward activity and a couple of the girls were wearing bikinis. It is a thing that I struggle with, knowing that these girls were taught the same standards I was taught. I felt uncomfortable that they were wearing bikinis only because it was the last place I thought I'd see someone wearing one, ya know? And I agree~ I feel that one piece bathing suits are MUCH more in coordinance with temple garments than a bikini. Not to say that some one piece suits aren't modest either. If we're being totally honest, no swimsuit is completely "modest"!

      And thanks for the Hales quote too!

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    2. I will be the first to say that a one piece is more than likely going to be the more "modest" choice in swim wear, however, I have heard that quote before and just want to point out one thing...

      “In everyday living, immodest clothing such as short shorts, miniskirts, tight clothing, shirts that do not cover the stomach, and other revealing attire are not appropriate”

      Did you notice the TIGHT CLOTHING part of that? What is tight clothing? Could that be, the tight skinny jeans everyone wears? Could that be your tight pencil skirt? Or those popular tops from lets say Down East? Those are extremely tight. I actually had a friend whose bishop told her she shouldn't wear that top because it was too tight and extenuated her chest.

      My problem is when people pick up on only certain aspects of the guidelines and ignore the others. They do it with the Word of Wisdom all the time.

      In our Church it is culturally accepted to wear some tight jeans, or that tight top, yet a bikini is bad?

      In regards to the men and modesty, I also don't understand why it seems modesty is only applied to women. What is the difference between showing my stomach vs. a man showing his? Does being a woman somehow make the modesty standards mean more to me?

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    3. That is exactly what I was trying to get across, thank you for saying it better than I could! It got me heated because pornography has had a very negative affect on my family and we have to "gear up" for the summer because people naturally wear less. I dress modestly to respect the covenants that I have made and to be respectful to others and their families. I understand that men have a responsibility for their own thoughts but I dont want to make it harder for them. I want to support them as much as I can. I didnt mean to cause a stir, that wasnt my intention at all. But I probably was a little heated and feeling intense when I wrote it. Sorry.

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    4. Arianna, you should feel totally comfortable expressing your opinion!! :) I love it.

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    5. “In everyday living, immodest clothing such as short shorts, miniskirts, tight clothing, shirts that do not cover the stomach, and other revealing attire are not appropriate” So like leggings?

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    6. I wear leggings, but I wear them like I would wear tights, with a dress that goes below the garment line or at the knee. But, Alycia is correct in that our church teaches us that we can govern ourselves. One girl may not wear leggings the way another will. Hope I'm not stepping anyone's toes here. :)

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    7. Swimming is not everyday living... Which is why any of them are considered appropriate.

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  46. Mormons confuse me.

    BUT -- having said that, with SO MANY freaking Mormon bloggers around EVERY CORNER, it's definitely made me interested in the religion. I love it when people open up about their faith like this. i really appreciate it :)

    XO,
    Samm
    www.dysfunctionaleverafter.com

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  47. This is such a well-written explanation of many of our beliefs, and I admire you for writing about it! Modesty has always been a big issue at my house, and your thoughts on it (especially the "spirit of the law" versus the "letter of the law") are spot-on. Thank you for sharing this and doing such an eloquent job of explaining what we believe. I wish I could be so brave. :)

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  48. I'm not Mormon either, nor do I know one in real life (I live in Europe, and the religion is not that common here). I've been raised as a Christian, both in my family as in the schools I went to, though no one in my family practices the religion fully. I've been "intrigued" by many things I've read about the Mormon believes and I found this post very helpful to place all the negative commentary I've read about the church :) Honestly, I really don't get all the negative comments. I feel like the Mormon believe has some great values, especially about family, that I can only support with my whole heart and soul :) x

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  49. LOVE this post. I'm a Normon! (Um, am I the only one who sing songs like going "Normon Mormon!") Yeah, I thought so.
    Anyway, great post! I think with our religion being in the media recently that it really has brought up a lot of questions and I love how we can help spread understanding of it over the internet!

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  50. Wow, definitely interesting to read as a non-mormon. It is so important to understand other cultures and their reasons behind their actions!

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  51. interesting! thanks for sharing :)
    have a nice weekend

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  52. This was a great post! I have a lot of Mormon friends and had wondered about some of this but just didn't feel like it was my place to ask them the what/whys of their religion.

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  53. so enlightening Alycia! what a refreshingly candid post about faith, personal interpretations of faith and common sense. while not Mormon myself, I was raised to be understanding and accepting of other people's faiths and chosen way of life. your approach seems very similar to mine. your explanation of the way you act out your faith daily seems so very reasonable, open minded, and balanced. loved reading this! think more people could stand to talk about their faith in the way you've written about yours above. well done!

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  54. Interesting post. Well worded explanation about a number of things. I do have questions about your discussion on the “bikini” issue. I was wondering if you could answer a question for me – as honestly as possible please. Why do you choose to wear a bikini? I guess I don’t really understand the choice especially when there are so many options for cute swimwear designed to modestly cover (including stomachs). I am not trying to be particularly critical – just curious. Is it to make a non-conformist statement, tan your stomach, fashion?

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    1. Growing up I was actually not allowed to wear a two piece. When I approached 17, 18 I started to make my own personal decision on what I was going to wear. The Church is pretty clear on how we are supposed to wear our garments and dress, yet things tend to get a little grey area when it comes to when we are not required to wearing them, for example the little sports, swimming, sex acronym I mentioned above. For example, when working out it is okay to not wear your garments, but does that mean you still stay covered even though you are not wearing them? Or can you wear those little running shorts and tank top? I personally feel like showing my stomach in a swim suit is not immodest, now is it THE most modest option? No. But what is the most modest option in regards to swimwear? You could take it the other way and say we should only be wearing board shorts that go to our knees and a rash guard. For me, if my chest is appropriately covered, and my bottom is appropriately covered, I am not worried about people seeing my belly button. I totally understand that people do not agree with my opinion regarding swim wear in the Church, but I feel like I have studied the doctrine and guidelines and am totally comfortable with my stance.

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    2. I would like to add I wear all kinds of swim suits :)

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    3. You still didn’t really answer my question…why do you personally choose to wear a bikini when there are other options?

      I have a hard time following the logic behind your justifications – interestingly it seems most of them are based on the “letter of the law” rather than the spirit of the law. I was once taught that if I was wearing something that drew more attention to my body than my face I should take a step back to evaluate what I was wearing (this of course goes beyond swimwear). When people look at me I want them to look me in the eye – more of who I am. I just hope that people understand that modesty is a principle designed to respect women and teach that while our bodies are miraculous – there is much more to a person than that. I feel that staying covered shows that I respect myself and the other women around me. I also feel it sets an important example to my daughter – they have a hard enough time with the media telling them that they should be showing off their bodies for attention.

      While I certainly think there is a happy modest medium between bikinis and rash guards/board shorts if there is a question of dress I guess I would err on the side of modesty.

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    4. I actually did answer you, I said that I sometimes wear a bikini because I don't think they are immodest. I wear all kinds of swim wear, and I don't think that someone wearing a bikini draws anymore attention to someones body then any other swim suit does. I also don't think if someone chooses to wear a bikini that they are are trying to show off their body for attention. My point of writing this was to address cultural aspects of the religion that confuse bloggers and express my opinions on it.

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    5. I also don't consider my explanations behind my opinion as justifications. You say you think there is a happy medium between bikinis and rash guards/board shorts, but if you follow the logic that you should wear the most modest swimwear, one could say that is a justification.

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    6. It was interesting to read your opinions. Thanks for sharing!

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    7. Ditto Keri, I appreciated your thoughts, thanks for participating in the discussion!

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  55. Great post! I live in Mesa, AZ so I know lots of people who are LDS. Question regarding the garments...It seems like there is a sort of double standard with showing them. I've noticed a lot of white collars on men that I am assuming are their garments. With the girls that I know they are never showing and they don't use their garments as an undershirt (if a shirt is sleeveless the women I know wear a shirt underneath). Is it ok for guys because it looks like an undershirt? But it's not an undershirt so why is it ok to show?

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    1. The cut of a men's garment and woman's garment is different in regards to the tops. For example, a woman's garment is actually cut much lower then a man's top, so that is why you might see some of it pop out of man's dress shirt etc. At the end of the day, it isn't like if you see that someone is wearing garments that, that is "bad." For example it is totally find if my shirt moved when I went to go grab something and it popped out and you saw it. The rules are to keep them covered in dress, not make sure no one ever notices you have them on ever. Did that make sense? Let me know if that didn't really answer your question.

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  56. Hi Alycia, I'm just commenting back here instead of up by my last comment. I read your reply and I can see that you have some frustrations with a double standard. I hear what you're saying for sure. It's like you pointed out, girls could choose a one piece and it could be completely immodest, therefore not really following the counsel given. And herein lay the beauty of our faith and that is what you pointed out, "we are left with our agency to govern ourselves." You could do a whole other discussion on this blog about modesty guidelines and what kinds of fashion really follow those guidelines. But, some women and men will feel differently about how they follow these.

    My point above in the first comment was to show that there is in fact church policy on baithing suit attire, and you mentioned in your discussion that, "there is no real church policy on the issue of one piece, two piece."

    I noticed a comment above that said, "I don't know what's up with all of the negative comments." I'm hoping you don't see mine as negative. Just trying to give you some added information here.

    I actually really like that you had this discussion, I think it's healthy and good for LDS people to talk things out to really have an added reason to think about why they do, wear, and say what they do. For me, sometimes with the connsel given I have to think "I will try to have the faith that is needed to follow principles, guidelines and standards." And in doing this I also try so hard not to judge and mistreat others that aren't following exactly like me because I am in no way perfect and would not like to be treated as such. It goes back to what you said, "free to govern ourselves." I love this about our religion, so much. Again, my point was in citing church policy that went along appropriately with your discussion on modesty and bathing attire.

    Have a nice day Alycia, and take care,

    Shauna

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    1. Thanks for your response! I don't think anything you are saying is negative, I like the discussion and people are entitled to their opinion. I agree it is healthy to discuss it so people can better understand a form opinions.

      While I do believe what apostles say can be used as doctrine, there is a fine line with opinion and what is considered church doctrine. There have been apostles in a conference setting say that we shouldn't be using birth control, so what would your opinion be on that?

      That quote is talking about how we dress and isn't specifically talking about swim wear, but if you want to have it apply then I feel like we would need to make it apply all the way. Wouldn't the most modest form of swim wear be a rash guard and board shorts to our knees?

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  57. Great post, Alycia!! And you brought up some really good discussion points. Thank you for always being more brave than me and inspiring me to speak up more :)

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  58. I love reading about Mormons and LDS culture and religion, so thank you for your post !
    About the modesty issue, isn't a big part of it about posting the pictures on blogs. When you're wearing a bikini at the beach, you're in this context, almost people around are wearing swimsuits too. But putting up the pictures just shows off your body ? Just a thought...
    (I hope I was clear. I'm French and my English is a bit rusty !)

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    1. Great point! People have brought up how modesty is much more encompassing then just what we are wearing, but how we live our life. I would totally agree. I guess there is a balance, I mean having a blog where you share about your life and post a ton of pictures could be considered not very modest? However if we are just talking about wearing a swim suit to the beach but taking a picture in it makes that swim suit more immodest doesn't make much sense because it doesn't take away from the fact that you wore, whether or not people saw it.

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  59. I knew very little about Mormon's and Mormon culture until I started blogging (it amazes me how many LDS bloggers there are!) and until my hubs started optometry school. There is a large group of Mormon guys in his class and they are all married and have babies already (they're all from Utah). I know they have a tight community and I'm sure that is really great support while they live away from home.
    Great post and I hope you don't get too much flack from more conservative individuals. I appreciate you providing answers to general questions about the LDS culture. I've been curious. I grew up Christian and in conservative church schools so I am familiar with the modesty and no caffeine stuff. I agree that that is all a culture thing and really depends on where you're from/live. The important part is that people understand that being modest or drinking caffeine is not a salvation issue and that we can only be saved by faith and God's grace. I guess I'm not sure where LDS stand on that perspective...

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    1. the LDS church does not believe in grace alone, but in works to get you there. They are FAR different from the Christian faith in that aspect!

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    2. I feel like this opportunity to share a little of my beliefs on this subject is too important to pass up. I know there has been some questions raised on what Mormons believe about faith and works. I am a Mormon and hope that my explanation is clear and know that it comes from my heart. First of all, the actual name of our church is not “Mormon” but “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints”. Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of our religion. We recognize Jesus Christ as our Savior.

      We believe in a loving Heavenly Father that wants all of his children to return to him someday. There is a plan (in our church we often refer to it as the Plan of Salvation) that allows us this opportunity. To return to God we believe that we need to be without sin. Because our loving Heavenly Father recognized that all of his children who came to the Earth would sin he provided a Savior – Jesus Christ, to provide an Atonement for us. We recognize that without the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and His atonement on our behalf we would have no hope of salvation. Truly it is the sacrifice of our Savior that brings us hope and is our only way to God. In that regard we certainly believe in “grace” and having faith in our Savior.

      Another important element of our religion is that Jesus Christ provided a perfect example for us and that we ought to be striving to become like Him. We are taught to try to become better, to become more, to become like our Savior. We believe that Christ’s atonement is not only is for our benefit after this life to help us return to God, but we believe that we have access to the power of Christ’s atonement daily as we strive to become a little better each day. We recognize that each day we will fall short but that we have the opportunity to repent (using the atonement) and try again.

      I have learned through experience that the many guidelines and commandments that our church gives us are for our protection and to help us in our quest to follow the example of our Savior. Living the way we do isn’t designed as a checklist for us to get done but rather a process to help us become something better. And the reason for all of this? Living and loving like Christ brings happiness and our Heavenly Father wants us to be happy.

      As a Mormon, it is certainly my life’s quest to become more like my Savior, Jesus Christ. Is this a daunting task? Yes. Is it worth my best efforts? Yes. Will I ever achieve this perfectly? No. Does that affect God’s love for me? Not one bit. Heavenly Father loves me perfectly and his love is not conditional upon what I do. I feel his love daily. Do I need the atonement of Jesus Christ? Daily. It is my only hope for salvation and I feel deep gratitude for his sacrifice for me. The gratitude for my Savior’s sacrifice makes me want to try harder to do better and help others.

      Hope this explanation helps a little…mormon.org is a great place for more info as well.

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  60. I'm really glad I read this because I will admit, I had some misconceptions about the faith but I'm finding it really fascinating learning about it!

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  61. Bravo Alycia. I'm honestly really impressed with how well you got this information across! Some of it can be a bit heavy so you doing it in a way that was straight-forward yet practical was really impressive. I also learned something! I have been a Mormon all my life and had never realized that we have never been given specific doctrine on two piece swimsuits! This actually makes me really happy because I have one as well but always kind of figured that I was just "bad" for having one. But it's totally true, my two-piece is way more modest than my plunging one piece so I will now and forever live my life with a little less guilt because of you. ha seriously I feel like I have had an epiphany! So thank you for that. :)

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  62. Thanks for the educational post! I just started following blogs recently, and my first thought was, "is everyone in the blogosphere Mormon?" The whole garment thing makes more sense now.

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  63. Hey there Alycia!
    As a momo youth myself, living in San Diego, you can probably relate to the swimsuit dilemma and judgment. I always thought of it as an issue of worthiness, more so than what's covered. At Girl's Camp, they always ask us to wear swimsuits that cover the belly, and if I weren't comfortable in it at Girl's Camp, I don't think I should wear it all.
    Of course, this is what I want for myself, in no way do I harbor hard feelings for you :} You're not slaughtering kittens, right?
    Somebody brought it up, but there is the "To the Point" article from the New Era in 2011 that helped me distinguish guidelines :}
    :For example, several years ago Church guidelines said not to wear two-piece swimsuits. At that time, “two-piece swimsuits” meant bikinis, which are very revealing. Now fashion has changed, and some two-piece swimsuits are actually among the most modest swimsuits you can buy. They are better fitting and have longer tops that cover the torso. The bottoms come in more modest styles too. So the guideline not to wear a two-piece swimsuit is not as helpful as it once was, but the goal to dress modestly remains."
    and the link: https://www.lds.org/new-era/2011/03/to-the-point?lang=eng
    Thanks :D!

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  64. I was just randomly blog hopping and then I saw your post. I hesitated at first but then thought, "Maybe I'll learn something new!" And I did! What a well thought out post. I have often had these questions in my head, but I felt like it was none of my business to go around questioning people of any other religion so.. I just wondered quietly. Way cool!


    Mimi
    http://akuhei.nu

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  65. I ask this question in love, I ask it because I care deeply for people. I care so deeply that they know the truth that is the grace of Jesus Christ.

    I don't know how to ask these questions with out them sounding offensive but please, please know it comes from a place of love and were prayerfully considered before being typed out :)

    Does it ever get tiring keeping up with LDS culture? As a Christian of the Protestant faith, it seems like a person in LDS culture might never feel like they achieve "full potential" or "full requirements." There are so many legalistic rules, "do's" and "don'ts," and rules that have changed over time because of different Prophets and culturally accepted norms.

    Has your church ever told you that you're good enough EXACTLY how you are? I just wonder if the people of LDS faith ever consider that the grace of Jesus Christ is more than enough and sufficient for you?

    I know that most people in the LDS faith are so deeply rooted in its' culture that the concept of faith in Christ's grace alone without any type of works might sound absolutely wild. But I just ask that you consider it, pray and ask your Heavenly Father to show you what grace is and ask Him if you're enough with out doing all of these things.

    I have an influx of Mormon friends after entering the blogging world so I've done a vast amount of research on the church this last year and the more I learn, the more I want to talk to Mormons about the grace of Jesus Christ. It is so good, it is so fulfilling. You are MORE than enough with out works and ritual. You are enough just being you <3

    Respectfully in Christ,
    Nicole :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I should also add that I applaud you for discussing your faith so openly especially with such a large readership over controversial topics. I enjoy understanding your culture more deeply!

      Delete
    2. While I will admit that there is an LDS culture, I don't really let it bother me. So I do not feel like I am trying to "keep up" with anything. I know it might seem like there are a lot of rules in the LDS Faith, but in reality these are guidelines to help us on a better path of righteousness. Because I believe in my Faith, it doesn't really seem like "work" for me. While we believe in the scripture you shared about grace, we don't think that is all you need. We believe you need to be doing your best and that then grace will come in and help fill in the gaps. The LDS faith is more then just a belief, it is a true lifestyle that members are striving to live everyday. We will not achieve perfection here on earth, but it is the idea that there is work to do. We do have to make an effort to become better people and more Christ-like. And when we are not? Our Church is actually full of lots of love. The whole reason we believe we are here on earth is to be tested, learn, and experience, so that someday we can live in the presence of our Heavenly Father again.

      Delete
    3. Hi Alycia :) Thank you so much for posting. I have never commented on one of these, so I am not sure what I am doing... Haha, but...

      I so appreciate your boldness to address such controversial subjects. I am currently an "investigator" and all this judgement I have seen was starting to scare me off, but your loving, accepting and Christ-like views have made me feel welcome and intrigued again.

      Things like caffeine, bikinis, tattoos, piercings, etc, have way too much emphasis on them. Judgement scares people off and prevents people from feeling the love of our Heavenly Father. Judging someone's faith based on these details (that in the eyes of God, probably seem petty) seem as unChristlike as possible... So, I so appreciate your bold and courageous heart to defy these misconceptions.

      The Word of Wisdom and other rules are just simply advice on how to stay spiritual, but certainly not a measurement of what one feels in their heart. We are all imperfect, beautiful beings. I once heard that "Heaven will not be filled with the perfect. It will be filled with those who kept trying, never stopped loving."

      I felt your love for God and for others while reading this and your faith is inspiring.

      I do have a couple more personal questions, that I would like to ask you, but am afraid to ask them with the backlash some critics on here have given you and other open minded people... Could I possibly email you (katherinebonner@aol.com) or my name is Katherine Bonner on Facebook...

      Delete
  66. I have never had a carbonated beverage before in my life and when people find that out they always ask "oh are you Mormon?" So many misconceptions out there!

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  67. Thanks for sharing this :) I think it's important that people understand that just because one "mormon" does something, doesn't mean that all mormons do, or even that it's wrong. People all have different relationships with God and their own personal spirituality, I think you shared your thought very well in a clear and positive way.
    -Lauren
    www.millermemoires.com

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  68. Thanks for sharing. As a Mormon blogger in utah I loved this piece. I think utah Mormons have a stigma (most) not all. I feel it's a little more strict here. Like if you are an lds blogger and utah lds members see you wearing a bikini... Prepare for the wrath! Whereas California Mormons would be like eh whatever bikinis aren't bad. Same religion I just think ppl get lost in the law and forget the love. Do you think God is going to focus on the fact you wear bikinis or drink coke or have a tattoo... Or is he going to focus on what you do in this life, how you treat others. Is not the law that saves us it's the love and compassion that saves us. Yes I appreciate the rules set out or us and I try so hard to follow them. We are human, imperfect and not saints. But he loves us unconditionally. People forget the love... And do one of the worst things... Judge.

    http://www.nightchayde.blogspot.com

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  69. Cayli Johnson. California mormon here, and many of us have a higher standard of modesty than the majority of Utah mormons I know (I spent the first half of my life in Utah and the second here!)

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  70. Thank you so much for this post! I have a REALLY hard time living in Utah sometimes because of the stigma that we have set for ourselves as mormons. I am a mormon, I was married in the temple, I wear garments, and I consider myself worthy to go inside the temple and to hold my temple recommend. I also choose to wear a bikini, wear running shorts and tank tops when I work out, and have extra piercings in my ears. I have since I was 16, which myself and my mother decided was old enough to make decisions for myself. I honestly believe that the choices you make in this life are between you and the lord, and nobody else. I still sport my bikini at the local pool during the summer, and go to sacrament meeting with my extra ear piercings, and drink diet coke :) Others may have their opinions about me or what I choose to believe, but the LDS religion is MY religion and what I choose to believe, and interpret from my leaders is nobody's religion or opinion but my own. So THANK YOU for being brave enough to discuss these things! Sometimes I feel like it needs to be said so that people can learn to be tolerant of others and just love as Christ taught us to.

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  71. When I tell people that I BLOG, they always ask about all the "Mormons". To be honest, I don't even really notice. Other than the "modest" dress and the "I Believe" buttons there isn't much difference! We are all just enjoying this blog world together ;)

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  73. I loved the way you wrote this post. Very to the point. I especially liked how you said that most of us are trying to cover our bellies -- I thought that was great in the bikini section. :)

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  74. Alycia you said this so well! THank you for this post :) I totally agree with you on the bikini thing - it annoys me so much! I'm a temple-married Mormon and I wear bikinis and have the occasional caffeinated soda. I don't view that as bad at all! I agree that there is room for interpretation in our religion and some people (even members) just can't see that sadly.
    Jessi
    haircutandgeneralattitude.blogspot.com

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  75. Thank you so much for sharing this and explaining some of these topics as I am not mormon but always fascinated by the religion and curious as to the do's and don'ts

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  76. wow, very interesting post. I have been wondering about a lot of these questions! I actually have a friend in seminary (Christian reformed) and I have been asking him a lot of questions about the Mormon religion, it is intriguing. Glad to hear there are normal Mormons out there, just like there are normal Christians ;) thanks for sharing!!

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  77. I have been following your blog for some time and think you are a dear heart. That being said, the bikini part of this post didn't jive for me so I did some digging. You are right in that there is no "official" stand point on bikinis, however up until a few years ago, the wording in the 'For the Strength of the Youth' pamphlet discouraged two piece bathing suits. Here is something you might want to read... I send this in love, meant to inform, not to offend.

    https://www.lds.org/new-era/2011/03/to-the-point?lang=eng

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    Replies
    1. Hey Jody! Thanks for your input :) I am not easily offended I realized when posting this that there would be major differencing of opinions on the subject.

      The point of my post was to talk about how culture creates definitions for certain aspects of the faith. When going into the details a lot of different opinions could be made. For example that article you shared had a quote


      “In everyday living, immodest clothing such as short shorts, miniskirts, tight clothing, shirts that do not cover the stomach, and other revealing attire are not appropriate”

      Did you notice the TIGHT CLOTHING part of that? What is tight clothing? Could that be, the tight skinny jeans everyone wears? Could that be your tight pencil skirt? Or those popular tops from lets say Down East? Those are extremely tight. I actually had a friend whose bishop told her she shouldn't wear that top because it was too tight and extenuated her chest. Even a pencil skirt could fall under "tight clothing."

      My problem is when people pick up on only certain aspects of the guidelines and ignore the others. They do it with the Word of Wisdom all the time.

      In our Church it is culturally accepted to wear some tight jeans, or that tight top, yet a bikini is bad?

      It is like people skip the part about tight clothing and go straight to the not covering your stomach part. If we followed the letter of the law in regards to doctrine and statements we should all really be wearing board shorts and rash guard tops which would fully cover the body while swimming. I feel that members put more importance on some standards then others, and that is really the point I was making in connection to the caffeinated soda drinking and bikinis. Some people might look at my opinion of bikinis being okay as pushing how far one can go in modesty, yet the same could be said when you look at it the other way. When I mentioned how if we were truly wearing the most modest form of swim wear we could, and how we should wear board shorts and rash guard tops, someone commented saying they didn't think we needed to take it that far, and members could reasonably wear a one piece. Is that not a justification?

      Delete
    2. Sheesh, Alycia, I feel like all you do is justify, justify, justify. Instead of addressing what people are trying to show you, you just say, "But wait! Look at this part of the article! People are doing {insert wearing tight clothes, not exercising, etc, etc...} and instead of maybe just admitting you could be wrong (and by being wrong, I'm saying wrong in what the church teaches), you just try to justify it away by pointing out all of the other wrong things people are doing.

      The truth is, none of it is right. You're right about that. Tight clothing shouldn't be worn. We should only take healthful food into our bodies. We should always try our best. But the fact of the matter is, people aren't perfect. So maybe you could just admit that, no, bikinis are not the most modest swim suit choice. But you choose to wear one anyway because you have that agency.

      I actually wrote a comment on here right after you posted this topic last year, but I deleted it because i thought it sounded a little harsh. But i think you can take it. I mean, you're opening up yourself for criticism here. And while I am not judging you in any way for wearing a bikini, I feel like you should just come out and say that you know it's wrong because let's face it, all of your justifying it away and excuses are pretty thin.

      Delete
  78. This was a really interesting read. I really learned a lot thanks for sharing.

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  79. I'm reading through this again and am planning to write a similar blog post! I'm going to link this post and possibly quote you on the whole garment discussion, because I think you've handled that topic really well! Thanks for writing this post <3

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  80. Regarding the topic on bikinis, the church may not have come out and directly stated that "you cannot wear bikinis or a certain kind of swimsuit," but I do believe the church has said you should not reveal your midriff ("shirts that do not cover the stomach"- http://www.lds.org/topics/modesty?lang=eng), which you clearly do when you're wearing a bikini. Just food for thought. I do believe that bikinis, in a way, sexualize our bodies because so much of your body is exposed. I mean if you ask yourself, "would I be comfortable wearing a bikini around Heavenly Father or Jesus Christ?" and you begin to feel uncomfortable at the thought of that question, then I think you should really reconsider wearing a bikini.

    ReplyDelete
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  83. Just want to point out.....people keep bringing up that the Strength of the Youth pamphlet mentions to cover up your stomach and say that means you shouldn't wear a bikini. Well, the pamphlet also says to cover your shoulders....Almost no one-piece swimsuits cover your shoulders. Does that mean you are supposed to sew on extra fabric or something? And unless you wear long shorts, one-piece swimsuits don't come down to your knees either. The pamphlet also mentions "tight clothing" well, one-pieces often cling to your body. I am just saying...those standards are meant for EVERYDAY living, not every recreational activity. Your logic doesn't make sense if you jump on the stomach thing and leave out shoulders and tight clothing. I personally think the bikini thing, like the r-rated movie thing, is something that is culturally derived.
    Jefferey R. Holland:
    “You don’t need to be told how many inches or what kind of swimming suit. You aren’t a good servant if you must be commanded in all these things.”

    ReplyDelete
  84. I feel like I might have commented on this last year when you posted it, but I just read it again, and you NAILED IT. This is such a great post! Especially the part on bikinis, that drives me insane in the membrane when people harp on that. I feel very passionate about my right to wear a bikini!! haha. But seriously, good job. And I should maybe lay off a little diet coke :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I also love sporting my bikini as well as shorts that hit well above the knee and cute tank tops. I'm not LDS, but am still trying to understand why mormons don't wear wet suits at the pool. I think the lord would be more approving of that. I'm not sure he likes buttocks creases and cleavege shown at the local pool near many small children.

      Delete
  85. Thank you so much for this post. I had some Mormon friends growing up and was always interested by their faith and culture but did not feel comfortable asking. I am thankful for your candidness.

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  86. I also think there is big double standard that goes on. What about the guys? It is totally accepted for guys to show their stomachs when swimming at a church pool party. So who decided that it's so much worse for a woman to show her stomach? In fact you could even argue that a woman in a bikini top and shorts is more modest than a guy in board shorts because at least part of her upper body is covered. If people try to use the for the strength of the youth pamphlet quote to say that you shouldn't wear bikinis, well they would have to also say guys should cover their stomachs when swimming too. I get that a guy getting turned on is more dramatic than for a woman, but seriously unless some guy is really sheltered, there are ALWAYS going to be immodest women no matter what, and it's his responsibility to control his thoughts.

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    1. I have heard an LDS guy joke about "showing off his abs" when swimming. If a girl said something similar that might be perceived as immodest, but not with the guy. But what's the difference, really??!

      Delete
  87. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  89. If you wear a bikini you're a sinner, it's that simple, and ladies you don't have the priesthood, so don't even try to understand it. Just kick off your shoes get in the kitchen and between popping out babies bakes us men some bread! I think God is frowning that you women are even discussing this. If you can't figure out what's ok and what's not okay then just never leave you garments. My heavens!

    ReplyDelete
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  94. http://www.ldschurchtemples.com/mormon/underwear/ " Mormons further understand that in only a very few instances might the garment be removed, such as for swimming, using the bathroom, or being intimate in marriage. The reasons for keeping the garment on far outweigh the reasons for taking it off. " so does swimming include sunbathing? because that sounds like manipulation of the official word.

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  95. I was born and raised in Utah, have LDS family members, and still am confused about many of the beliefs. You mentioned in your blog that caffeine is taught to be avoided because of its addictive qualities. What about sugar? It has addictive qualities similar to drugs and also contributes to the development of cardiovascular disease, fatty liver disease, hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, obesity and kidney disease. Of course there are many harmful food items, but a whole foods eating regimen would be FAR more helpful (as in saving church members lives) than simply avoiding caffeine. So why does the church only recognize specific items rather than the whole picture? The bikini talk also is confusing beyond words. If you are taught to dress modestly, why is swimming or working out an exception? Wet or dry suits are perfectly made for the water! Also swimming areas are usually highly populated, which means many people will see the bottom crease of the buttocks along with cleavage, etc. I am not trying to criticize, just simply trying to understand the logic.

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  102. I'm a heterosexual male, a husband, a dad, and oh yeah I'm a Mormon. I'm amazed at the shallow conversation and justifications in many of the comments about why bikinis are okay. The blog already pointed out that we Mormons believes that we are left as members to "govern ourselves," but it seems that many people interpret that to mean that "the church will comment only on truly important things, so if they don't comment or give strict guidelines then it must be okay, or at least not that bad"... and then they essentially give up their own self governance to a made-up non-law. Rather than using knowledge of the Gospel and understanding of human nature (sexual desire, attraction, etc.) to govern themselves, they essentially end up following "the letter of the non-law" by having to justify everything by how it is not a strict guideline. FYI, I just searched on lds.org for "nudist" and "nudism" and got 0 hits (i.e. no counsels against nudism). Why don't you just cut the the strap and go free, because there is nothing official saying otherwise? Do you get the irony? The point of any past guideline on modest swimsuit fashion was not an algebra lesson! Past council had NOTHING TO DO WITH ACTUALLY COUNTING THE NUMBER OF PIECES--it was not a Sesame Street episode. The point has always been about covering the body and making wise judgements, so comments like "I have seen plenty of two piece swimsuits that are way more modest that many one-pieces" are about pointless. Fashions change, but the intention of any counsel on modestly has not changed.

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