Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Modesty

Guilty Secret asked an interesting questions that I wanted to address.
I'm really interested in how your religion / culture effects how you dress... hope this doesn't sound rude because it isn't meant to be, but how come it is ok to post un-modest pictures of yourself on the internet but not hang them in your house? Is it because it might offend elders but younger people are more relaxed about it?
So there are really two questions here I think. The first is how my religion affects the way I dress, and the second is the dichotomy I created by stating that I won't wear a strapless dress, but I seem to be posting all kinds of them on my blog :)

Let's start with the first.

In the LDS church we are taught to be respectful of our bodies. This can be translated into different things for different people (as with all religious precepts), but for me, and most other young women that means not having bare shoulders, trying to keep skirts at least fingertip length, avoiding cleavage (that so easily spills out with my overly large chest), and trying to avoid what I consider extreme things like multiple piercings, tattoos, multi-colored hair, etc. In high school I wasn't that terrible, but I did fight against these concepts a little bit as I tried to develop my own self-image. Now that I am old enough to make decisions without the help of my parents, I actually enjoy following these guidelines, and the significance that they create for me. It's all about acknowledging and enlarging your "divine worth" as we like to say.

And the second, much trickier question, is why I am not okay with wearing strapless things, but okay with posting the photos online.

As I have stated before, having sleeves on my dress is a very important part of my dress selection process. A gown that follows the modesty guidelines that we try to uphold is necessary because of the promises that I will make when I get married in October. I will go through the temple and participate in a ceremony where I make promises to God about how I will treat my body. I haven't made these promises yet and so the modesty guidelines are just that, guidelines. After the ceremony they will become something much deeper. As with all things related to religion, there is much that must be left up to interpretation. I know many girls who wore/wear bikini's and strapless dresses and then ended up making those same promises that altered the way they dressed. I had to make a choice regarding the message I want to portray and the kind of standards I want to set for myself. There are likely many in my church who would disagree with this choice, but I think what is most important is feeling comfortable and happy with the decision.

I don't want to wear something strapless for this bridal shoot in Rome because I want to be able to display these picture in my home even after these promises are made. I will also be encouraging my own daughters to one day adopt those standards, and I want to be setting a positive example for them.

I don't want this to be a religious or preachy blog, and so posts like this will be few and far between. However, my religion is an important part of who I am and affects almost all of the decisions I make daily. Hopefully this post will help you understand a little bit better who I am, and why I am creating the type of wedding that I am. If you are interested in learning a little bit more about my religion, please visit the Mormon website here.

8 comments:

Guilty Secret said...

Thank you for answering my questions (and for the link love!) It made for a very interesting post.

Although I am not religious and I don't believe it God, I love the idea of 'acknowledging and enlarging your (divine) worth.' I think to acknowledge and enlarge our worth as human beings is something we should all be striving for.

I understand your reluctance to get too religious on your blog. (I have been considering for months whether to go there on mine!) However, I just wanted to tell you that I find it very interesting and as long as you are just talking about yourself and why you see things the way you do, I'm sure you won't be seen as preachy!

I'm really glad I found your blog :)

Miss Capitol Hill said...

Man I wish you were a wedding bee...it'd be so informative for everyone to see an LDS wedding in the making.

I don't know if you read the blog, Oh Happy Day http://jordanferney.blogspot.com/
(it's not a wedding blog...just a pretty things type of blog) but she's LDS and this morning she posted a little pic from her wedding 3 yrs ago ...her dress was modest and looked really elegant.

Another photography blog I stalk..vantage pictures did an LSD wedding and the bride was more traditional but her dress was very classic in a grace kelly sort of way - http://vantagepictures.typepad.com/vantage_pictures_weblog/2007/11/leah-nathaniel.html

Jennifer said...

Thanks for the information! I am not LDS, but I think LDS is a very misunderstood religion and having you post (even if few and far between) some answers and clarifications makes a difference. Like guilty secret said, since you are explaining your decisions and your actions, it isn't preachy, but rather informative! Thanks again! :)

A Bride in the Making said...

I agree with all these ladies. Not preachy at all. Very well written and interesting. I am also not particularly religious but I do share your view point when in comes to dress. Thank you for taking the time to answer those questions.

Emily said...

Very well put Jenna!

Lady T said...

this was perfect. each word and sentence so carefully chosen.....

as stated previously, I dont know very much about your religion. But i do believe it is greatly misunderstood. And I appreciate you sharing tidbits here and there that help shed a little light.

I had an aquaintance freshman year in college who was LDS and got married the summer following our freshman year. We weren't able to come to her ceremony but were invited to the reception. A few friends were upset about this, but I understood to some degree and wanted to be respectful....

And all these leads to a question of course, lol.

I understand that the actual ceremony is very private and you probably aren't able to offer any details on it at all. (if you can, email me) My question is, can you personalize your ceremony or is it a standard layout that must be followed to the letter?

Jenna said...

guilty-I'm really glad you kept reading :)

misscapitolhill-I wish I was a weddingbee too. I have a subscription to Oh Happy Day, but I never get around to reading it because I have so many wedding blogs to get distracted by. I might start reading now that I know she is LDS, it's always nice to read posts of people I have something in common with. Thanks, as always, for the fantastic links. You have such great taste, and always send me the best stuff to look over.

jennifer-Thanks for the support, it will make me a little less nervous to share about things in the future.

abride-I will have to go back through your posts and see what you are wearing for a dress then, finding something modest is so hard!

emily-Thanks! Representing the church is so hard. I didn't serve a mission so I haven't had any practice!

ladyT-I'll be emailing you about this question soon! If anyone else is curious about the ceremony itself please let me know, I think as it gets closer to the big day I will write a post about this as well.

Peonies and Polaroids said...

This was really interesting, it's great to learn more about LDS and hear your reasons for picking your dress.

I really look forward to hearing more about your wedding and how your religion affects your planning.