Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Dress, Diet, Desires

This is one post in an A-Z series of 26 where I am writing about living as a Mormon in the wilderness of Kuantan

The Mormon Church outlines standards for its followers and invites them to adhere. The 3 most notable involve dress, diet and desires, otherwise known as Modesty, The Word of Wisdom, and the Law of Chastity. In order to enter a Mormon temple, for example, a candidate is questioned on their level of adherence to standards of dress, diet and desires.

From the Church's own publication, "True to the Faith," we are presented with four areas of modesty including dress, grooming, language and behaviour. It revolves around us developing an understanding that the search for attention to self leads to pride and that ultimately our bodies are gifts from God, to Whom we should direct the attention. Which is why Kim Kardashian and Donald Trump don't go down well with Mormons.

Modesty is not given as a stringent law or commandment. It leaves a lot to individual choice, of us taking responsibility for our own virtue and consulting with God as to what course of action may be right for us.

Despite living in a spiritual wilderness far away from the noticing eyes of other Mormons, I have no inclination whatsoever to bow to peer pressure and 'have a drink.' This is a concept of health that doesn't require the church to tell me what my own mind determines. I just don't see the attraction in or benefit of alcohol and cigarettes.

The Word of Wisdom is however, neither exclusively specific nor deep in its scope of what we should or shouldn't consume. It leaves a lot to individual choice, of us taking responsibility for our own health and consulting with God as to what course of action may be right for us.

The Law of Chastity is the church's standards concerning our thoughts, words and actions. Mormons are to abstain from sex before marriage and are to enjoy having sex with their spouse, and spouse only, after marriage.

This law represents a sensible approach to handling our natural desires. How we carry out these requirements leaves a lot to individual choice, of us taking responsibility for our own sexual urges and consulting with God as to what course of action may be right for us.

Controlling our dress, diet and desires have physical benefits, but are also proposed to allow us to have a more personal relationship with God through being closer to the Holy Spirit. Being in a state of worthiness to receive impressions, promptings and guidance of the Spirit will increase the likelihood of our making good, positive decisions and will qualify us to receive light and truth in greater abundance.

Yet for all the suggestions, laws and commandments, not one of them can trump Decision. We are not robots and our ability to decide for ourselves is a power that we can either misuse or channel great strength from.

For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.
Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;
-D&C 58:26-27

How does individual choice, as opposed to being commanded in black and white, strengthen your resolve to live in worthiness of God's guidance?


  1. I can see why Kim Kardashian and Donald Trump don't go down well with Mormons :D I am an atheist but felt a sense of peace reading your post. Some sensible advice in there and great that it is left to the free will and decision of the individual.

    1. Hi durba, thank you for taking the time to visit and comment. I am glad you enjoyed this post and felt positively about it.

  2. Thank you for this post. I love learning more about different traditions and religions. This was very informative.

  3. Having the choice ourselves can lead us to where we should be or where we shouldn't, all choices we make. Agreed, never saw the point in cigarettes or alcohol.

    1. Hi Pat, thanks for dropping by. It's true that we can always choose the actions we make but we are not free to choose the consequences. I have chosen to avoid cigarettes and alcohol because I too don't see the point in harming my body with them.

  4. I think it would take strength of spirit to adhere to these principals even if you are given free choice.


    1. Hello Jo, thanks for coming over. You are right. All choices we make carry consequences, some of which may be positive, others negative. There are times though where being strong in spirit can make the difference between standing for these principles or giving way to peer pressure.

  5. I was raised a Protestant but don't adhere to any religion now nor do I believe in God. But. I would like to believe. It would be extremely comforting. Nevertheless, I don't need God to tell me that if I truly want to honor what is good in me then I shouldn't smoke or drink. The body is a temple and you want your temple to last for as long as possible. Or at least I do! As for Kim and the Donald, I can only imagine God shaking his/her/its head and wondering what sort of parents they had. My thoughts are not as kind.

    1. Mshatch, thank you for sharing your thoughts. It is comforting to arrive at a point where you are confident in that God who knows the details of our lives.

      I feel rather like you with a lot of things in Mormon doctrine or principle - I don't need an organisation to tell me that alcohol is going to slowly damage my liver or that cigarettes are going to gradually destroy my lungs. I have felt from a very young age, being very active and sporty, that I want to look after my body the best I can so I can lead an active lifestyle.

      I sometimes wonder indeed what God must be thinking about what goes on in the world today

  6. Enlightening post. Although we are guided by what we read in the Bible, it's also important to be guided by our conscience.


I welcome comments and discussion on all perspectives relating to Mormonism and Christianity and the personal quest for acquiring truth and developing a relationship with Deity.

Go ahead!