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Mormon Ladies Wear Pants; Some Mormons Freak Out

blackpantsOne of my wife's brothers has turned Mormon. He's marrying a nice Mormon girl. I anticipate lots of excitement at family gatherings as we discuss the Mormon church's oppression of women.

Today's exhibit: Mormon women can't even wear pants to church without drawing lunkhead comments and threats of violence:

"Wear Pants to Church" was the idea of Stephanie Lauritzen of Salt Lake City. She and some fellow Mormon women who belonged to a group called All Enlisted posted an events page on Facebook on Dec. 9. Within days, thousands had pledged their support, but one person threatened to shoot women who showed up in pants. Ms. Lauritzen, 26, also received threats on her own Facebook page that are being investigated by Facebook and the local authorities, she said.

On Dec. 11, the Salt Lake City-based church leadership issued a statement: "Generally church members are encouraged to wear their best clothing as a sign of respect for the Savior, but we don't counsel people beyond that."

The All Enlisted "friends" page has drawn hundreds of posts, both for and against the idea. JoEllen Swarts of Las Vegas wrote: "What is wrong with all you women??? If you're not happy with the LDS church, move on, find another place of worship. You will not change Mormon Doctrine."

...On Monday, a private All Enlisted Facebook page had collected about the same number of "negative experiences" as "positive experiences" from women across the country. Julie Tuovi Baker Hansen, a lawyer in Burbank, Calif., who participated while visiting a Salt Lake City suburb, said she was surprised to see a man raise his hand and say, "Women who want to wear pants, they just don't know how to follow the Lord" [Timothy Pratt, "Mormon Women Set out to Take a Stand, in Pants," New York Times, 2012.12.20].

Mormon doctrine doesn't officially forbid women from wearing pants, but the attitude of some members shows the kind of misogynist, hierarchical thinking that Mormon doctrine fosters.

Mormon doctrine does forbid my Lutheran wife from testing the dress code, since neither of us is worthy to enter a House of the Mormon Lord.


  1. Jerry 2012.12.20

    What is the real difference between Mormonism and Islam? Not too much, in my view, after reading all of this. Geesh, what a sad commentary to think that this is 2012, not 1220. What is really weird is the women going along with it. Talk about a brain washing, this is it.

  2. Eldon 2012.12.20

    This is silliness. Anyone who knows anything about LDS meetings knows it is suggested that those in attendance wear clothing that shows their reverence for the occasion and is modest. This is not a time to try and draw attention oneself but to draw attention to Christ. Come on Sunday...I dare ya. And find out how oppressed and unhappy LDS women really are.

  3. oldguy 2012.12.20

    Eldon I spend quite a bit of time in SLC. What you say is true as on a whole Mormon families are very happy and nice people who always try and help you. The thing that I anyways amazed at is they are so nice. I was at the airport one day while a couple young men were going away on mission work. In the lobby there must have over a 100 people with signs saying good by. The family unit is doing well in SLC!!!!

  4. Douglas Wiken 2012.12.20

    Is it OK if they wear the magic underwear?

  5. Rorschach 2012.12.20

    I remember in NW Iowa being castigated by my Christian Reformed neighbors for mowing my lawn on Sunday. And I'm not even Christian Reformed. Some folks want to enforce their personal non-doctrinal religious beliefs on others outside the tabernacle. So Mormons are judgmentalizing on behaviors occuring inside the tabernacle, huh?

    I disagree with them on the pants. I disagree that those southern fundies ought to be handling snakes in church too. Maybe these things are not our concern.

  6. DB 2012.12.20

    "Maybe these things are not our concern."

    1st world problems...complain about a private groups take on pants.....

  7. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.12.20

    Eldon, the text recommends dresses for women. Do you contend that pants aren't modest clothing for women?

  8. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.12.20

    Dan, when private groups exhibit behavior that symbolizes broader inequality, it's worth pointing out. Have men ever felt the need to organize to dress the way they feel appropriate at a Mormon gathering?

  9. Douglas Wiken 2012.12.20

    :USD used to require coeds to wear skirts. Literally freezing ass cold weather would then shut down the campus.

  10. bob newland 2012.12.20

    If I ever go to a church, I will dress appropriately for a group who worships a myth, i.e., very carefully.

  11. Eldon 2012.12.20

    Cory...the link you provided refers to recommended attire for temple attendance. An LDS temple in simple terms is more of a holy place than a local "meetinghouse." Pants, skirts, and dresses can be either modest or immodest. Part of what is considered appropriate dress for an occasion is influenced by culture. You might be curious to know that some men in certain parts of the world wear what we would describe as a skirt to LDS Sunday meetings. But due to climate and other factors it is not considered immodest or irreverent to do so.

  12. thxsparrow 2012.12.23

    This is such a non-starter. Both women and men wear what they want to Mormon meetings. Although, if you were meeting the President of the United States, you would dress in your best - out of respect. You might also choose to do the same when you attend church - out of respect. But, is it mandated? No. When you go to Symphony, you usually dress differently than when you go to the grocery store. But, you can wear overalls, coveralls, jeans, suits, dresses, pants with holes, etc to Mormon meetings - though you just might decide you want to wear your best for an appointment with God. And if you don't believe in that, then why is it such a big thing to you.

    And the obsession with "magic underwear" - get over it. I don't see anybody railing on priests and ministers because they wear the collar, or nuns for their habits, or Hasidic Jews for their undergarments or yamakas. So what is the point of ridiculing clothing that is worn by some underneath their regular clothes? This is important to somebody else - Why?

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