Friday, March 26, 2010

I have always hated pantyhose – or, why I’m not a Mormon

I suppose it seems a bit strange to put hatred of pantyhose and the rejection of Mormonism in the same sentence, but if you were raised in the Mormon church like I was, it makes SO much sense, doesn’t it?

It’s not really the pantyhose itself, I guess (although believe me, for me it was a BIG part of it), but it’s what it represented for me. Here, I’ll try to summarize:

PANTYHOSE = dressing up on Sunday = you weren’t good enough to come comfortable, you had to come prettied up = you needed to be constantly improving because = there was a big female ideal to live up to.

Sometimes I hear people, when they are talking about their faith, describe all those little moments that happened in their lives that spoke to them and confirmed that they were on the right path. Times when all the planets seemed to align at once, when God seemed to speak to them in the midst of a difficult decision. Or how hearing something in Church that just made so much sense to them, that shook them to their core. For me, it was the opposite. I have memories of being in Church and feeling uncomfortable, manipulated, confused, and sometimes, just downright indignant!

I’ll give you one example. I remember sitting in Young Women’s group one Sunday and listening to the teacher tell us about what they men are destined for in the church – their important roles – what they should be striving for in adolescence. Perhaps I had already been subliminally pissed off by the fact that the dang boys got to hold their priesthood at 12, that all the men were up in the front of the chapel sitting in seats of authority. Perhaps I was just an obnoxious teenager. But, I asked what I feared would be too ‘ballsy’ of a question. I asked, “Well, what should the women be preparing for” and her answer was “As young women you need to insure that the men are morally clean so they can go on a mission”. What???? Ooo, I just get angry again thinking about it.

Someday I’ll write a post on the obsession with female purity later. . .
And back to the pantyhose, what’s with all the dresses anyway? When I turned 40 I vowed to never where pantyhose again – and I only dress my daughter in comfortable clothes so she can run and play and climb trees with the boys if she wants to.
I’ve talked a lot about the ‘Mormon mold’ with my dear neighbor, who is an extremely devout Mormon and hails from Provo, in the thick of it. Luckily, she’s also pretty open-minded. I’ve asked her about pantyhose.

Incidentally, last Sunday, I delivered some homemade lemon curd to her. She had just come home from church. I mean, JUST. And she was wearing slacks. So, maybe things do change.


  1. "Things" do change. I'm sorry you had the experiences with the Mormon church that you did, I really am... you were told it was your responsibility to keep the boys clean? Yikes. As a YW president, I can assure you not all YW leaders are that way. I encourage my YW to dream big in all areas of life (education, career, hobbies, self-development, etc.) and to do all they can to chase those dreams. I don't tell them to plan on marriage or family... in fact, I tell them to plan as if that isn't their future. And if that "opportunity" comes along, and it's an opportunity they want, then go for it.

    I'm a strong devout LDS woman, but I'm far from fitting "the mold." In fact, I think the minority of LDS women fit it. My younger sister, who also left the church, often talks about the "mormon moms who sit at home and do crafts all day and talk with soft voices about all their blessings." I can think of only one mormon woman that kind of fits that description. And I know plenty of mormon women. My opinion is that most of us are more like your open-minded neighbor, from the brief description you gave of her.

    I'm always interested to hear reasons people leave the church. And I enjoyed reading your post. I hope my comments are interesting to you as well.

    (Also, I can't think of the last time I wore panty-hose to church... perhaps when they were still in style back in the 90s. :)

  2. Hi Darcie,

    You sounds like you are a fantastic YW leader! My post was really written from the perspective of my teenage self - at that time all I knew was that I wasn't comfortable in the church, did not by a lot of the traditional guidelines and expectations, and - frankly - hated wearing skirts and pantyhose. Maybe it is different now, but I can say that certainly didn't happen in my time. Of course, there are much bigger issues than pantyhose - and as I've matured and grown older I have definitely pondered these issues ad infinitum. To sum it up, basically, I don't buy or believe in Church doctrine. But most of my extended family are still members, including my dear parents - and I respect their beliefs. It's just not for me. However, I will admit, that I do have a curiosity about whether or not the role of women is changing in the church - it seems like something that should change from the inside out - maybe by people like you. Thank you for your comment!

  3. It's admirable you did some serious study of the doctrine and in the end, just didn't decide it was for you. I respect that. Many people leave because of the members... this sounds cliche, but the people in the church aren't perfect (far from it), but for me, the doctrine is. Thanks for your response.


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