Episode 167: Modesty and The New For Strength of Youth with Amanda Louder

Nov 12, 2022

 Episode 167: Modesty and The New For Strength of Youth with Amanda Louder


Welcome back to the podcast. Everyone, I'm here with my good friend and fellow coach, Zach Spafford. Hey, Zach, good. How are you? Good, now you've been on the podcast before with your lovely wife.  Darcy, she's amazing I love her so much. Hey, how are you doing I'm so good? She's awesome. Yeah. But maybe you should just introduce yourself again.

I'm Zach. Darcy and I are ah the hosts of thriving beyond pornography which is our podcast, and we help Latter-day saint couples who are struggling with pornography in their relationship at some stage, whether it's the beginning or you know you've got it. Pretty far into making sure that pornography's part of your life. Not part of your life. But ah yeah, so it's however you want? Ah but, ah, we're helping people who are looking to not just eliminate.

Or maybe it is a habit but really recreate the relationship that they want and then Thrive Beyond pornography in real and meaningful ways. Sweet. Awesome, well Zach and I are really good friends I mean, we've been having a lot of fun together lately. Um, and we seem to have always had these really great discussions around different aspects of the gospel. Um, yeah.

That we see that is so problematic for so many of our clients in different aspects. So the topic that we're going to talk tackle today together is modesty now full disclosure. We decided to do this podcast before the new for the strength of youth pamphlet came out. Totally. I think it's still going to be very applicable. Yeah, I wholeheartedly agree with that because I think that even though we have a new guide, I Don't think people have really put enough thought into it yet, and there will continue to be some trickle-down of old ideas. For sure, and so I'm in the young women's presidency in my ward. So I see you know firsthand what a lot of these things are happening in real-time. I also am involved in some Facebook groups for young women leaders, and so I see a lot of the young women leaders coming and saying. Yeah.

Okay, now my girls are coming and saying oh now I get to just do whatever I want and wear whatever I want and all this Stefan. So I think really having this discussion is going to be really great for parents. You know, young men, young women, leaders Bishop Ricks and maybe even the youth themselves.

Well, I've got a little tiny piece of the story that I'm going to tell you later, but we met us. We met someone who is on the young women's general board I'm going and tell you the rest of that story later because I think it's a cool story, but 1 of the things that she mentioned when we spoke with her was that.

Oh yes, Yes, it's a great story. The seminary teachers and the people on the front lines of this The people who are the adult teachers of youth in our wards but she was specifically referencing a seminary teacher who had come to her and was  I don't know how to discuss this because of exactly that sentiment which was. I Can just do whatever I want now because it doesn't say that I have to follow this rule and I don't think that that's the meaning of this and  I'll tell you more about that. Ah, our conversation with her. But I think that we really have to be clear as the adults in the room that it doesn't just mean well.

It means you can do whatever you want right? Because you have an agency you always could have thought right? You always could have done whatever you wanted. However, is that driving you towards the person that you want to be towards your values, and towards the gospel that you want to live, and more importantly than that? For sure because you always can have been able to do whatever you want. 

Yeah. Exactly 100% so maybe I mean for the people who don't understand why the past you know guidelines we've been given around modesty. Towards your heavenly father. Yeah. Have been problematic. Maybe we should talk about that first. Yeah, well and maybe this is a good place to tell my story because so I'm going to I want to be really clear about this I'm not going to be speaking about my current stake president. So I want to be really clear I'm not trying to underbust him I'm not trying to um. Say he's totally wrong and I'm totally right I want to be really clear and respectful of the culture that has been the culture of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints in Utah specifically but also possibly in other parts of the country and Maybe even parts of the world I Want to be respectful of that because I think that this is where we were and many people are still there and so this is really about being willing and able to not just think Beyond the rules but think more towards.

Ah, yeah. Agency and spirituality in a new and more I think important and effective way. Yeah, and again also want to be clear both of you. Both of us are strong members of the church. We love the gospel. We love our leaders we're not here to bash our leaders in any way shape or form. But I think you and me.


No absolutely no. Agree with this. We have seen a maturing happening um president Nelson I think has been really instrumental in that that you know as a membership as a church. We need to move beyond the checklist and mature into more.

Um, yeah. Empowered integrity-based agency-based way of living our lives and um I think you agree with me on this that my belief is that many of us are feeling this calling of becoming life coaches to help the individuals. Yeah, I think that's really important. I also think it's important to recognize and just say upfront that you and we're not speaking for the church. That's not her job. Well, these are our opinions. These are our positions I believe they're well-considered. But I also recognize that we are not. Adjust to that change.

No, we're not. That's not our job. Yes. Speaking in any sort of official capacity for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints. So all of those caveats aside, what's the problem here? Yeah so about a year and a half ago. Our daughters came home. Ah, and I think this story just encapsulates the problem in itself. Our daughters came home with.

Correct. Yeah, okay so tell your story because we want to hear it. Here. A packing list for young women's camp and it was no shorts, no tight Pants. No Tank tops. It was very prescriptive. It was all of these really? Um, specific guidelines around what the young women were to wear to camp and are. Sons came home and I kid you not This is a direct quote from their packing list wear clothes appropriate for camping right? and so you know I'm talking about this with a member of our ward and he's well that's for their safety and I think you're incorrect there. 

But. He can't think so he could not think his way out of a wet paper bag. So I just dropped it with him but what I did do was I actually just had my temple recommend interview already scheduled and I said to a member of the state presidency. We think this is a problematic way of addressing things and we're concerned that this is what. Is being taught to our children not because we don't teach them about how to respect themselves and respect their bodies but because what this message sends is a message that your body is dangerous and it's not okay for you to be comfortable in your body. Even if that means that someone else sees more of you than they think they ought to and so this was really interesting I mentioned it to him. I said this is problematic and you know whatever we get a call from the State Secretary State Executive secretary and he's the State president would to meet with you.

Okay, um, all right? Well and so he brings us in, and he's well you know we checked around with other members of the steak and we just don't have an appetite currently. For changing this rule so Darcy and I proceeded to explain to him why it's a bad idea to have this rule and we're going to probably talk about some of these things more in detail here in a minute but we really so were striving to convey to him that this way of thinking. Creates some really difficult meaning frames for young women right? if I write if I have to control what I wear so that I can help the boys out so that don't think bad thoughts which are.

Yeah. Well, Teenage boys know you have breasts under your shirt whether you're they're covered or not, and guess what That's what they should actually be thinking about oh new idea I know.

Well, it doesn't matter what you're wearing if a guy thinks you're Hot. He's going to think that the thoughts he's going to think right. Write write. Yeah, right? So we offered our opinion to the State president and in part of the conversation. He said you know well the strength of youth is the for the strength of youth pamphlet of the time is the guideline and I straight said to him I said you know that's not.

But yes, keep going. Doctrine right? and he yeah. A lot of people do consider it doctrine which is crazy to me I mean I've had this discussion with so many people, and no, it's doctrine doesn't change the first strength of youth pamphlet changes consistently.

Right? Yeah, if you read the one from the 1960 s you'll be really surprised, but my point in saying that to him as  I understand what you're saying is that the brethren have offered this ah to us as a guideline. However. Think it's really clear that some of the languages here can become problematic if we don't teach them properly and that was really the extent of our conversation. Although I will tell you that afterward that conversation. The state presidency was speaking to our then elders corn president.


Just happens to be our good friend and neighbor and he was who are these Spafford's my friend as well they're not Utah Mormons to which the state president replied. Ah, there's no such thing as a Utah Mormon to which my friend replied.

Um. Oh, and go back. You know what? I mean which is simply to say that there is a culture that is purveyed here locally and in some parts of the country that is very much Um, you know these are the rules and we follow these rules and we look at this and we always will look this.

Yeah. And I think it's really important to recognize that This is a global church and this is something that the person that we spoke to who's part of the young women's general board said she said we have to stop creating rules for middle-class upper-middle-class white people. That's a direct quote.

Um, okay, and really because for us that I think all those rules might have made sense to a certain degree but they do but they don't necessarily reflect the reality on the ground in every part of the world and that's why you said we did not plan to talk about this. To a certain degree.

Now for the strength of Youth pamphlet. But um, the furtherance of this story so that we ended that conversation I Pretty much felt we were not listened to and that may not be true I'm only speaking from my own personal perspective I'm not trying to again I'm not trying to tell. you guys that my state President's a bad person because he's not. He's a really good kind Human I Just think sometimes it's hard, especially when you're in a position of leadership and very new to that position of leadership. It's hard to think beyond what you believe is exactly what you're supposed to do.

No. Well and we've been this way of thinking has been perpetuated for many many many many years and if again if you've been living you know, especially in Utah but in some areas outside of that and I mean I have I went to high school back east. I lived in Texas as an adult I haven't lived in Utah my entire life and but it is very prevalent within the Utah community I would say it's still prevalent in some places outside but not as much. So yeah.

Sure? Yeah, I would agree with that. So fast forward a little bit. Um so fast forward almost a year and a half to the latest general conference and the news for the strength of youth pamphlet comes out and I just. I text the state president and said hey Darcy and I would love to do a standards night on the new strength of youth pamphlet because these are the things that we talk about and we have been talking about this for years and you've heard us talk about these things right? And it was really um and this is again. This is on me. It's 100 % on me I'm not.

Yeah, um, hundred percent yeah. Putting anything on the state president. But I did not get a response, and for me, I felt that meant that I was I don't belong it was a really hard weekend for me I'll be really honest with you. The thoughts of I should leave this church I should.

Yeah, take my family away from these people who do not value our ideas or position or thoughts and who are just willing to ignore us outright rather than be open to a dialogue and a conversation about what I believe to be the direction of the gospel. Which are personal accountability personal revelation and both understanding and living the principles of the gospel without necessarily making it all about rules specifically so it was a really very tough weekend for me.

Yes, Well and I'm so sorry that you felt that way I mean I remember we were actually messaging back and forth when they were introducing this new for the strength of Youth Pamphlet really feeling so encouraged by the direction. You know we still I think both of us feel there are still some parts that might be a little problematic but for the most part, It's a really good direction. 

Yeah. I think it's exactly the right step and so after that weekend I just decided I'm all in it's not about him, and it's not about what he thinks it's about me living the Gospel Fast forward a little bit more that weekend. So the following weekend after the conference we went to dinner.

Yeah.With some coach friends of ours because we only ever hang out with coaches. That's not true, but it kind of seems it didn't all my stories and we're at dinner and we are talking about these things where you know it's about. It kind of just seems I think that's true for many of us too. Not just you guys? 


Yeah. Taking personal responsibility. It's about um, not just having a rule but living based on the values that you have, and just we were just discussing that with this older couple who are also coaches or she's a coach, and ah we get up to leave and this guy stops us. Can I talk to you and we're and it turns out that his wife is a member of the young women's general board, and I'm not going to mention her name, not because I Just don't want it I don't want it to seem this is being endorsed by the church. That's all, um, I'm just telling you this story. 

So, that's a little ominous. Yeah, right. There it is you do whatever you want with it, and she says we're so glad you've caught the vision of this and we've been done. Ben had the vision of this right for us. This has been ongoing, right? and 1 thing she said was that they have been working on this for five years

Yeah, this has been years. Ah, she has been part of that committee for 5 years they thought it was going to come out about two and a half years ago this new for the strength of youth pamphlet. But for me, and this is just my own personal. Thank you from heavenly father or to heavenly father about this for me that was ah ah a witness to me a testament to me.

That I'm on the right track. No matter what the state President does or doesn't do my decision to stay and to be active and to be the person that I hope I can be in all these interactions. That's the right direction for me, so that was really neat for me to be able to.

Yeah. To really need experience. Have that come full circle. Um, and yeah and there's lots to that story. But I think the point of this conversation is, what is Modesty because we sat down and we were we should have a conversation about what Modesty is.

Yeah, well maybe even say so we were at an Lds life coaches retreat together. Um, and it was a couple of months ago. There were a lot of coaches there and a lot of moms there that had been. Just taking their daughter's homecoming dress shopping and so these conversations were coming up where okay I know that I need to think differently about this but I'm really struggling to figure out how I have these conversations with my daughter and how do I Not so.

Yeah. You know, stay with the conditioning that I have had for so long about this. So just a little history on my end. I grew up I mean I've talked a little bit about my parents just they weren't the best at talking to me about sex right? They still don't want to talk to me about sex.

They really were great parents. I have great parents, but they really did conform to many of the checklists that you know were prescribed for so long, and from the moment that I turned 12 I was expected to wear clothes that I would be able to wear with garments. So my clothing had to be garment ready, and I remember um we moved back yeast when I just turned 14 right before my freshman year of high school, and I was involved in the show choir. And we were doing a cabaret, and I was one of the dancers as well as singers, and I came out on stage in a dress with spaghetti straps. man I mean and I saw the look on my parent's faces and. I mean they were in shock and they were so upset at me, and I could see it out in the audience when I got home that night. It was how could you do that? What? What would you say if Jesus walked in or the prophet walked in, and you felt so horrible about yourself?

Yeah. Instead of being really happy about this wonderful experience I had being part of this great show and so it then proceeded to I had to go to my choir teacher and say I either have to drop out of the choir because I can't wear this dress again.

Yeah. Or we've or you've got to make it so that I don't ever have to wear this dress again because it is not okay with my parents we can wear our robes. We can wear something but I cannot wear this and her compromise was that she had a seamstress.

I am so sorry. Create a drape to go over my shoulders. There was one other girl. Um, there were actually 3 girls in um, the choir that was LDS the other two girls' parents didn't have a problem with it mainly probably because they weren't from Utah. Okay. Um, but there was 1 other girl that was not a member of our church, but she was very large-chested and uncomfortable showing that much cleavage and so for the next two years because I was there for 3 years the next two years anytime the choir wore that dress.


I wore this drape over wards, and it made me stand out even more, and it was so awkward and uncomfortable. But then I also here's where my thinking when I got married and went through the temple I had 1 shirt and 1 dress. Well. And 1 pair of shorts that were all just slightly not garment ready. So I only had to throw out 3 items of clothing when I got garments, and I felt really proud about that at that point. Now I see it's kind of ridiculous, but I was making a choice Because I was afraid of my parents' reaction and not because I was making a choice from a place of agency.

Yeah, and I might my question is what is that rule really giving you in terms of value? A lot of shame. I mean it. It made me ashamed of my body and made me ashamed of myself. You know I mean I think it contributed to my struggles with my sexuality. Um, in my teenage years feeling. It was problematic. And then leading into my marriage, where we know it was problematic in my first Marriage. So I think it led to a lot of shame for me now. Fast forward I've got 3 daughters, and I probably did some of that early on with them too right? But started to see some changes but my daughter's now I'm just are you comfortable? Is it appropriate for the occasion and if they're comfortable and it's appropriate for the occasion   I feel that conditioning coming back in where I want to say something and then I'm? This is an issue for me. This is not your issue. This is not a clothing issue and I really have to I have to rein it in myself and go Okay, what is actually at play here it always comes back to me and my conditioning.

I know too it's this to me is okay well what? What were we trying to accomplish when we set up these rules because that's what they are. They're rules, and to me, if to be clear and I had at one point I sent a text message to. A member of the state presidency because again at Camp One of the things that our girls came home with was that they had to wear pants and shirts to bed. They couldn't wear camisoles or shorts to bed. They were told, and I said when are we going to stop? Offering rules for outcomes to our children and teaching principles and letting them govern themselves So to me this is the idea that has been rattling around in my brain for a lot of years it's about principles and letting them govern themselves versus what I think.

We have spent a lot of time doing which is rules for specific outcomes, and unfortunately, those specific outcomes become problematic right? So right? Um, my daughter and my all my kids go to seminary all my older kids go to seminary half our kids go to seminary, and there are 4 of them.

And they were discussing modesty at the seminary, and one of the girls was well, we got to, you know help the boys out, and then another one of them did the well, what would you be comfortable wearing that if Jesus were here and I kid you not this was my oldest daughter's response Yes, good girl. But no, but so many times we're offering these messages as a way to help the boys out and help them control their thoughts there. Um, there was what and I was listening to a podcast.

Ah, because he's not, but I understand oh good. I think it was the Qe Moore podcast with rosemary card, which I love, and she was talking about how there was a ward council where they were talking about girls' camp, and you know, one of the priesthood holders as well they can't wear leggings because that's inappropriate it brings up feelings in.

You know men, and they're waiting. It brings up feelings in men, or it brings up feelings in you, and if you're having feelings about girls being and leggings, you don't need to come to girls' camp that is your issue; that is not their issue. Do you remember that guy who told you that he couldn't think his way out of a wet paper bag? He told that same story to you. Yeah, at young women's camp to all the girls. There was this girl who came and she was wearing a swimsuit, and it gave me the feeling.

Maybe he didn't say it gave me the feels, but he was. It just made me uncomfortable I Think that's what he said made me uncomfortable. Okay, well, here's the problem. This is the long-term downstream effect of this kind of language and this kind of teaching if we tell our young women your body's dangerous and they have to cover them. It made me uncomfortable. Yeah.


Because it's dangerous to people and they might have thoughts, feelings, or urges that you will be responsible for, then we are telling them that they're responsible for the thoughts, feelings, and actions of other people and here's a problem and this is what we often see with what we do.

Thrive Beyond Pornography we find that there are wives who come to the relationship and they think I am in charge of the sexuality of my husband and I can control him I can control his sexuality. That's a really. Really interesting idea I can control the sexuality of my husband and so what does that lead to? Yes, right? So what that leads to is lots of duty sex. Not a great deal of intimacy ah resentment in the long run and then and specifically in the work that we do. We find that.

Yes, they have to be the gatekeeper right? They have to be the gatekeeper for their husband's sexuality. They feel completely rejected when their husband chooses pornography and oftentimes many times. Their sense is oh I'm not enough for him I'm not enough for him because he chose pornography, and I didn't do my job to manage his sexuality.

So this is the long-term downstream effect of this kind of language, and you may not quite see it I know that many people don't see that, but I want to tell you that this is these are this is the language that we hear out of this is this has been our experience. This has been the experience of our clients, and that may not be your experience, but it is. Anything. And has been a great deal of the work that we are doing is helping people just kind of claw back from this idea.

Well, and in the work that I do, I see so many women who are being the gatekeepers of sexuality if I just you know let us be sexual we're going to go straight to hell.  that's really the thought about if I just let it go then it's going to take us straight to hell and then also so many body issues because we're teaching women that their bodies are not okay as they are yeah.

Yeah. Right? And that's so sad, and I don't know if you notice this if you've looked through the strength of Youth Pamphlet Modesty The word Modesty is mentioned just one time, and it is in the appendix. Yeah, the new One. It's in the appendix.

It's so sad. This is the new one. And it references ah pages I think it's 24-25 and really what it is your body is sacred, and if you go through that the principle is your body is sacred, and that's what they're teaching to treat your body in ah in a sacred way treat yourself.

As though you are an eternal being, and what does that mean? Well, I don't know what that means, and I think this is going to be a really tough concept for a lot of people going forward, especially those who are used to saying this is what a good Latter-day Saint looks like that it will look different for every person.

And let me give you an example, my daughter before this new strength of youth pamphlet came out came to my wife and said hey I want to pierce my earrings for a second time dun du duh right? And my wife at first was no, you can't do that, and as she thought about it. She.

Kind of realized that the reason she was saying no is because she thought that she would be judged for it and that people would look at her and look at her differently because she was not following the rules and as you know, she kind of went through that mental gymnastics. She Went back to my daughter and first, she apologized and said listen I'm sorry that I told you no that that wasn't really the right response? I want you to understand what it means to choose this some people will judge you, but I also want you to recognize that this is 100% a decision that you get to make And that that really has to be something that you decide based on who you want to be and how you want to live your life not based on a set of rules that are basically arbitrary and and and then she went ahead and did this, and I think that's an I think what you're going to see when it comes to. 

A lot of the ways that we have up to this point kind of lived as Latter-day saints. There will still be quite a bit of homogeny I mean, people will kind of look the same That's how the world works. But I think if we're not careful. We will be rejecting people who want to be with us spiritually. Because they look different and what we will see if we are very careful and we're clear about what the purpose of the gospel is which is love. We're going to see people staying and looking different, right? We have a sister. 


I would hope so when it's supposed to be based on love. But we're putting rules and regulations that are arbitrary often in front of loving people. Oh totally. Are. I think that's a huge huge problem, and I think that's one of the things that we still need to work on in a lot of areas in our church. Unfortunately. Let me give you 2 examples. One we have a dress code here in the steak for steak dances, and it's you have to wear a button-down shirt and ah or a shirt with a collar and a tie to stake dances. So they had a 50 s themed dance, and this is when my oldest was 13 or 14. They weren't old enough to drive, and the stake center's not very far from us because we live in Utah, but ah, he gotta a leather jacket and was wearing a white t-shirt, and he kind of went with the theme not knowing that. They would kick him out so he shows up with him and 7 or 8 of his friends to this stake dance, and they must have been 14 because you can go to stake dances when it's 14 yeah, so they and they're you can't come in. You cannot be here because you're not following the dress code. And so all 8 of those kids. 

They just walked home to our house. They walked to our house, and we had a party at our house, but to me it was you're putting a rule ahead of what's right? and when we lived in Wisconsin, I was part of the state young men's presidency, and we had this. What we call Mormon prom out there, and every year they put on Mormon prom so that all the Latter-day saint kids can get together in the two stakes, the north and the south st, and anybody else who wants to come from Madison or whatever and one of the rules is you got to address modestly and as we're kind of. Going back and forth about this, I'm saying to the member of the state presidency there I'm saying this is not our these young women. If they show up, they're at their best. They've done their best to get there, and they have chosen to wear something that they believe makes them feel good, that makes them look good, and that they feel good in.

And for us and so the rule was if your dress wasn't long enough or you showed too much skin on top. They had shawls and skirts for them. Yeah, and I said to him I said what where is in is Essence saying to these young women is that you're not enough. You're not good enough to be here as you are, and we're not showing you love. What we're showing you is discipline, and this was really heartbreaking for me in part because it's really frustrating to have these conversations with people who cannot see it.

You know they're very much no this is a rule I follow the rules, and I get that I totally get that I am a rule breaker. So I understand that I am not that if there is a rule and I don't think that it makes sense or I don't value it, I will try and break it at some point, but I also. I think it's important for people to recognize wait maybe rules are good for me, but maybe a rule is not necessarily the way that everyone needs to behave, and this right and this was the problem because this member of the state president was we're not going to let these girls who show up I'm modest. Um, well, and it's, and it's not more important than loving people.

Ruin it for everyone else I'm that you're missing it. You're totally missing the point I essentially said I would not participate in that conversation, and I think it's unacceptable for you to ask the state young women's presidency to participate in that conversation because this is what I've told my daughters if somebody comes to you and says.

You're missing it. I don't think that you're dressed in an appropriate way. Their response to that person is to be if you have a problem with how I'm dressed. You're welcome to have a conversation with my father about it because it's none of their business, and I will tell you my girls dress probably more modestly than anybody.

It's awesome. Nope. Right, I know it's It's so crazy I mean, I think you know clothes do send a message about who you are and how you feel about yourself. We're always communicating messages about who we are. But we, from the outside, just get to love these people. So I'm in the young women's presidency in my ward. We had stake girls' camp this year, and it was great. It was, but we agreed as a president and advisors.

We will not enforce a dress code if they come out with one, and what we told and they did wasn't it wasn't too bad. They did say no shorts, but that was more of a safety issue than they didn't say any leggings hallelujah. Okay, but they did say no shorts just because there are ticks.


And stuff, so just as a safety issue, but we even said with the girl's look, if you want to wear shorts, that are up to you but just, so you know, there are ticks up there, so it would be wise to not, but we are remembering you are going to be camping.

In the woods, dress appropriately, and beyond that, we didn't care. We had a swim party a few months ago; half the girls came in 2 piece bathing suits, right? and I was, yes, they're here. Yay! I'm so happy that they're here and how Fabulous. Is it that they are confident enough in themselves that they love their body enough that they feel that that's so that it's okay for them to wear that I was overjoyed? 

I so again me talking to the state president. Well, so they came out with rules. Our girls did Moab this year. They did a wai water rafting down Moab, and they were told one piece. Okay, how hard is it to go to the bathroom in the woods in a 1 piece bathing suit? Bathing suits, and I fumed over this sweet. 

This? Yes, right? Ok, so I fumed over this for a whole week I was ok; do I have to go in and have this conversation with the state president again? Because this is not a good idea. This doesn't make sense. This is a bad precedent to set. This is not a good thing, and instead, I did not call him I called my friend, who is part of the young women's presidency and happens to be my cousin 1 generation removed back to wild Bill Hickman, who is a contemporary of Porter Rockwell, really deep right? Oh yeah, it was one of those days when you pulled out ancestry on your phone. You're who my relatives are, and she was one of them. Anyhow, so I called her, and I was, hey, and this is what I'm hearing from my girls, and I just want to understand what's going on. And I also want to ask? Um, so first I said I want to ask if you guys will just I don't care what my girls wear if you will just make sure that nobody talks to them about what they're wearing because I don't find that appropriate and she was yeah totally, and then I said so about peeing in the woods.

Which was exactly what's more immodest, taking the entire bathing suit off or just pulling your pants down and going and pee, and I was this is, you know, this doesn't make sense, and she was   I was going to bring this up because I know I'm going to wear a tankini and I can't imagine making these girls wear 1 piece, and it was just one of those things where I was okay.

Lights on somebody's home. We're making progress at the very least a little bit, and you know I didn't have to call in the national guard or yell at the State president or anything, but it's going to be slow, and it's going to be a shift, and it's not going to happen overnight and. This is one of the things that we were talking about up at Bear Lake is that we have to be in there. You know, if these are the sorts of things in the ways that you agree that this needs to be done, and I hope you agree because I believe it's the gospel, I believe teaching principles for self-governance, which by the way, that's what you did with those young women.

What did you do, you said? You wear shorts. Don't wear shorts. That are entirely up to you. Here are the risks, and they figured it out. Yep! David did there, and some of them were Schwartz, and that was totally up to them. We didn't say anything about it because it's not my job to nitpick every little thing that someone else is wearing or not wearing. We give them principles and let we and we let them govern.

Well, and I think this is one of those things that's tough for people who are institutionalists when you're in a leadership position in a large company. So I've been in a leadership position and in a very large company I worked for a company for many years, and I had a job to do and that. I often looked at creating conformity within the ranks of the people who worked for me. Unfortunately, when we take that same mentality to the gospel. What that means is we create rules based on our own personal opinions that don't have anything to do with Doctrine or the gospel. 

But. That we believe this will bring conformity, and by the way, these rules are designed to help us live the principles of the gospel. Even though they may not, I fully recognize the intent behind them, which is a positive intent, and I fully recognize the fact that. The people who were offering these and these good intended ideas were completely unaware of the ideas that are the way that it would turn out the ramifications, right? Yeah, but I also think it's really important, especially as a body of the church.

Yeah, the ramifications of these things. Members as the body of Christ as people who are, you know, trying to build the gospel in essence that we really are clear about what is actual doctrine and what is just my opinion based on what I think this would look right I don't know if you remember this when I was grown up there were people who were well i.


We don't eat. We don't drink soda because it's our the caffeine in it. That's not the gospel. It's not. It doesn't have anything to do with the gospel. You know there are people out there who were, I'm not going to eat chocolate because there's caffeine in it.

Yeah, Nope, it's not. It's not me. Caffeine minute I know you if you want to do that, right? I know I know well and remember what we're talking about. We've quoted Joseph Smith several times on, you know, teach them principles and let them govern themselves right.

You know all that chocolate. You don't want you to send it over to me I'm in, right? 

And it was that way for a long time. It wasn't until president Mckay that we started getting a lot of these checklists. Okay. This is my favorite because it really was, so my dad remembers this so before president Mckay was the prophet, keep the sabbath day. Holy was the principle, and that meant.

Go figure it out, and president Mckay said well, we don't shop on Sunday. That's what that means my dad was a deacon or a teacher, and at that time, you had 3 different meetings. Um, and you would go to church, and then you'd go home, and then you'd go back to church. So between. Priesthood, and whatever the next meeting was, I think it was a sacrament. They would go across the street and get treats from the bakery and the entire priesthood body. Not just my dad and his misbehaving friends. It was them, and all their leaders and the bishop were sitting there having scones or whatever with them. And so I have a cousin who has talked about this with me, and he basically said from that point through president Monson he believes that was the rules for outcomes era of the gospel, and it's interesting, right? Because president Hinkley I feel.

Feel I tell these stories all the time, and if Darcy was standing here. She'd be are you gonna help this story again? But this is a really cool story I think we've talked about this it. So it's hard because I know these people who are listening. They have never heard these stories, but so we did a fireside. We did a youth fireside for a youth conference for the award. 

No, and we've we talk about these stories. But yes. Talking about Pornography which is what we love to do, and we do it for free. So if you want us to do that, come let us know. But yeah, it's not that conversation that you think people are going to have about pornography. It's totally different, and it's fantastic, and people love it. Ah, and I, Even if I do say so myself. But we. Um, and they're amazing at it.

We were at this fireside, and we were talking about it. You know, living values and understanding principles and making choices based on an agency, and this guy brought we I brought up the earring story about my daughter, and this guy was, well do you want to know how that actually came about I was oh yeah, of course, I do. And he was talking. He told us a story about how when he was in a bishopric in Iowa during his ah college years. They had a visit from president Oakes who came and sat in their correlation meeting and basically president Oakes's story, and of course, this is all apocryphal. So again. don't write the church and be these people are terrible I'm just telling you the story as I heard it, but he basically said we were getting a lot of letters into the church office building about how many earrings were the right number of earrings and that is when president Hinkley came out with one earring that's when that rule happened.

That's so crazy. Well, here's what's interesting, right? Yeah right? Hey, how many earrings are the right number of earrings? But here's the thing people want rules, and people rules. Do you know why we rule it's easier to follow the rules than it is to figure it out? It's so much easier to have a rule That's what They do. To figure it Out.

Wear one earring if you wear more than one earring. Then obviously, you're out of the gospel, right? and that was that's essentially how that came about, but here's what's really interesting I think this could have is what I would have seen happen, and again, please don't tell my mom that I'm criticizing the church because I'm not.  just from a new angle, giving an idea if you will, what if president Hinkley had instead gone and in that fireside where he said 1 earring what if he had instead said, hey, we get a lot of letters about how many earrings is the right number of earrings and the truth is we don't know. Because we want you to treat your body sacred, and that's an important part of the gospel, but is 1 earring too many is 2 earrings too many is 42 2 earrings too many. We don't know because that's not really the important part of the gospel. The important part of the gospel is that you treat your body with sacred intent.

And if you do that, you will know, and you will be able to figure out when it's time to get 1 or more earrings if that applies to you and even though that makes you look different than maybe the girl who's next to you that doesn't make you wrong and in some cultures.


Wearing earrings more earrings is important because it's part of your culture. In some cultures having many tattoos is important because it's part of your culture, and that doesn't mean that we need to run out and all get tattoos or get earrings. But it does mean that we have agency, and it's our opportunity to say what is it Philippians where say. It's your responsibility to work out your salvation between you and the lord with fear and trembling, and if you look at the ancient version of that text, fear means reverence, right? So what he's saying there? Yeah right? What he's saying there is go figured out.

Reverence Yeah, respect. Yeah. And what it may look for. You may not be what it looks for the person next to you, but what it will look like is genuine, honest ownership of your agency now, of course, had I been writing speeches for president Hinkley at the time. That's what I would have written, but it's a different world.

But that is also what we teach our clients. Yeah, this is also what we teach our clients to be solid in themselves in their choices, to look inside at what they really want, and are these choices bringing them closer to the person that they want to be. This is a different world than what he had. Not to the relationships that you want to have or not, and if not, then change it and what it might look like for you. It might look different for someone else.

And that's the progression that you get to have, so I have a client who is in her thirties. She's never been Married. She is ah well Anyhow, So she's a great person. Wonderful woman. She struggled with Pornography. We worked on that she doesn't struggle with Pornography anymore. But she came to one of my open calls, and she said I'm struggling with masturbation, and it's happening pretty Ah well, it's happening on her cycle, which is very normal for women. That's a time when and when heightened hormones create a greater desire. Want to note if you look at the new strength of Youth pamphlet. The word masturbation is not to be found at all. It's not to be found. Oh, really interesting. Hope wasn't in the last one, either. It aroused feelings in yourself or others. But the word masturbation hasn't been in there for a very long time.

Okay, so she came to me, and she said well, how do I stop this and I said okay, is it time to do that is that up to you or sorry, is that up to me is that something you actually want to stop is. Masturbation is a part of reality. Ah, the fabric of most human beings' life at some point because of sexual development full stop. So the science behind it is really clear, and my question to her, you know, it might be when you're five, it might be when you're 35 that you decide.

This isn't any longer serving me, and if it's no longer serving you, then that's when you'll stop if it still serves you in some capacity, I don't see anything in the literature that indicates that this is not an appropriate activity I don't see it I could be totally wrong.

Well, again, it's one of those things that you get to work out with the lord with fear and Streamlight. Yes, with fear and trembling with reverence and understanding, and this, I think, is the thrust of this new for the strength of Youth Pamphlet, and I know this started as a conversation about Modesty because, you know, we had been looking at this. Because that's what we are originally going to talk about? 

But really I think when I look across the Breadth of this new for the strength of Youth Pamphlet. It's really clear it starts with let me teach you the eternal truths, let me teach you the principles and then it goes to let me invite you to live those to the best of your ability. It's not well, let me invite you too. Follow these rules because these are the right things to do all the time, every time, and then it says, here's what you know. Hear the blessings that you may receive as you live these principles.

And then it gives you know some questions and answers. But what I really about this new for the strength of youth pamphlet is that it says it's a guide for making choices. Darcy and I used to refer to the old one as the how to judge and your neighbor book.

I know I love that so much. But because that's what it felt and I think you know the scripture on the very back of the pamphlet is,, I think really telling it says, look unto me in every thought doubt not fear, not what I think the lord is doing there is he thought. Offering us an opportunity to continue to grow, I was crying due I had to stop there for a minute.


I've got tears in my Eyes. You guys can see it, but I think we were both. We're both because this is the work that we do with people, and this is what we want. To see in everybody's life.

yeah yeah, I one ah hundred percent agree with that, and if you're a mom or dad or you know, just somebody who talks about this with the youth or anyone and you feel understanding. It's okay to just go down and apologize and just say hey, listen, I screwed up I messed something up. I think repair is one of the principles that we need to be teaching people in relationships I know I haven't, you know, especially in those early days I didn't handle things well with my children.

I've talked about, I think before I did not handle things well with my oldest son when it came to pornography and different things, and I've had to go back and say I'm sorry I didn't handle this well, and here's what I think and believe now, and I love you and. You know, let me know if you want to talk more about it, and I think that goes so far I have so many clients who   I have grown children, and then they're struggling in their marriage because of what they've seen from me and how do I go back, and I said you go back and you apologize. Just doing the repair is so important, and it's so important for our youth to see us apologize and the changes that we can make in ourselves because then they know it's okay for them to make those.

Well, that's the essence of repentance to change to have a new mind. So if you look at the Greek root of the word, which is metanoia, it means to have a new mind. It's one of the meanings. But that's the meaning that I take and if you think about it. What's your mind if it's not your thoughts? And once your thoughts change, once your belief structures change, and you understand better than you have repented, and that's when you get a stand on solid ground and say, hey, listen, I'm a little bit better now than I was I used to suck more. 

Oh, man Zach thank you so much for having this conversation with me I think it's gonna be so valuable for the people listening. I 100% agree I'm so grateful for  -minded people who can see just see beyond the culture and see beyond the ideas that we were offered and find, I think, greater and more valuable truths. That pearl of great price, as it were. Yeah, so if you have listened to this conversation and know that you have some work to do, feel free to reach out to Zach or me, and we are happy to help guide you in making those changes so that you can also not only change in yourself but a guide. Your youth and your children to doing this, in reality, the way that shows love and respect for yourself and for others, Zach, why don't you tell them where they can find you?

Yeah, you can find me at  or you can find me on social media, thrive beyond underscore for couples on Instagram I'll be honest with you if you message me there. You're going to be talking to my wife, so if you want to reach out.

And you want us to come and do a fireside or anything, whether it's about pornography or about modesty or whatever it is the new guidelines. We would love to do that. Darcy's favorite thing to do is to do these kinds of events, and although she's never spoken in the church from the pulpit, which is what she loves.

I know I love her so much in real discussions. Yeah, and the same goes for me as well because I think these conversations are so important. She loves to have real discussions with real people, and we would love to do that. You can email me at [email protected] Ah, right, Zach. Thanks so much for being here. Anytime See ya.



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