User:Seanmcox/Suspect Words List

From Sean's Gospel Topical Guide
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The words on this list are here because they are often misused within the Church, and the continued misuse prevents people from understanding important principles that are taught.


How people misuse it
As a noun meaning conforming the dressing of the female body to some standard of body covering.
What it really means
The quality or state of being unassuming or moderate in the estimation of one's qualities. Unpretentious. Not boastful. Measured, careful.
Why it matters
Modesty can, in some ways, be contextual. We spend a lot of time teaching women to cover up, and this is important. Nevertheless, we fail to teach the principle when we teach a skirt length, a neckline, or a swimsuit style. If we learn what modesty really is, it becomes easier to answer questions about why one style is preferable over another, and it becomes extensible to other situations. It is wrong to teach that women should show less skin because of the affect that this has upon men. This is not an unimportant consideration when considering clothing styles, but it is not a consideration that has anything to do with modesty. The true definition of modesty is further important because, although it has application to women's fashion, it also has application to men's fashion, and to other ways that we boast of ourselves, from verbal boasting to keeping up with the Joneses.


How people misuse it
As a synonym for "quietness", and as a tool for politely telling people to shut up. To refer to a calmness that is undistracting.
What it really means
Deep respectfulness, with a tinge of awe.
Why it matters
Reverence is a quality we should cultivate all the time, not just when social queues should prompt us to be quiet. Reverence can be directed, and can also be misdirected and abused. To be reverent, or to be respectful, means to try to be aware of one or more people, and to act in such a way as to support them. In sacrament meeting, this might mean being quiet, so that others can hear the speaker, meditate, or pray. This demonstrates reverence both for God, and perhaps, to a lesser degree, for those who have come to benefit from the meeting and its purpose. Reverence is sometimes defined as worshipfulness, though this might be best described as an extreme of reverence. In many cases reverence actually requires activity and noise. An obvious example from outside of church is a sports event. (Or, inside of church, as in the case of church ball.) The principle of reverence can apply to any event, however. Going back to sacrament meeting, we might further suggest that travelmonies during fast and testimony meeting are irreverent. Reverence can be a little hard to judge because while the existence of reverence is generally manifest by behavior that is considerate of others, it is difficult to know what considerations a person is weighing when they engage in any particular behavior. (The behavior may seem to be inconsiderate of you, but perhaps there is another consideration which outweighs consideration for you.) Often times, when we undertake campaigns to increase "reverence", we fall into the trap of taking measures geared towards decreasing "noise", while inadvertently subverting the real purposes of our activities.
I had an experience once, where a social activity with food was organized after church once a month. It seemed like an awkward (and irreverent) activity on a few occasions when the other ward was meeting in the chapel at the same time, but somebody seemed to have realized this, and the activity was generally only held when such conflicts were not an issue. Nevertheless, it became a source of conflict within a ward that was home to too much conflict. On one occasion, when I dared to attend, some children (including mine), were running around the cultural hall playing, as is natural after 3 hours of meetings where they are told to be quiet and still. (As is natural on almost all occasions, really.) One of the older lady's who had been involved in the organization cried out, in protest of the childrens' playing, "be reverent, we're still in the chapel". That the building was a chapel was true enough, but it was also an indoor basketball court. Her line of reasoning seemed not to be apt for such broad application.

See: Suspect Doctrine List: Folded Arms and Bowed Heads


How people misuse it
As a synonym or euphemism for "chastity". (Particularly used by women.)
What it really means
Conformity to a standard of right. Power, effectiveness. Archaic: Manliness
Why it matters
The use of the word "virtue" as a euphemism for "chastity" suggests a discomfort with the topic of chastity. We need to feel comfortable talking about chastity. It needs to not be a taboo topic. I would suggest making sure that we use the word "sex". Furthermore, virtue, in modern parlance, means power, and is a word that is used in other places at church. Many young women get confused and interpret that they are being taught that loss of virginity equates with a loss of power. This is not what we want to teach, and to avoid such confusion we need to speak clearly. We need to teach that sex is not a bad thing and that sex is powerful. (ie. Sex can be virtuous.) However, just like any power, it can be abused, and that the abuse of this gift leads to a loss of spiritual power on the part of the abuser. This power is meant to be exercised by a husband and wife, and the willing misuse of this power constitutes unchastity. It is also true that while unchastity is unvirtuous, chastity does not guarantee virtue. The word virtue is used properly in many places in the world and at church. All of the young women's values are designed to promote virtue. To single out one as "virtue" itself seems odd. The Elders of the Church often give blessings by the "power", "authority", or "virtue" of the priesthood, and while they need to be chaste, they are not making a direct declaration of their chastity on such occasions.