Thursday, September 2, 2010

Why we’re better than the rest

I just ran across this absolutely marvelous 1973 quote from Hugh Nibley:

The worst sinners, according to Jesus, are not the harlots and publicans, but the religious leaders with their insistence on proper dress and grooming, their careful observance of all the rules, their precious concern for status symbols, their strict legality, their pious patriotism…The haircut becomes the test of virtue in a world where Satan deceives and rules by appearances.

This, of course, is why nobody in any leadership position of our church cares whether boys and men wear white shirts or ties, or whether they wear beards, or whether they have long or short hair, or for that matter whether women wear skirts or dresses, or whether they have multiple earrings. Nope, nobody in our church is concerned with those sorts of things at all.

p.s. I’m considering moving this blog from Blogger to the WordPress platform, possibly hosted on my own server. I know there’s three or four people who read this blog semi-regularly, some of whom are bloggers themselves. Any input on that idea?


Anonymous said...

1. I don't know the full context of the quote but I don't find it persuasive that upholding standards for grooming and appearance is a bad thing, if that's the implication. Yes, they can get out of hand and there are charlatans who deceive those who only determine one's worth on such superficialities.

My father-in-law had to shave his 30+ year old beard off this week to become a worker in the SLC temple. I don't understand why and don't think he would be required to elsewhere (he had the beard when he was a volunteer at the DC temple). But he was willing to shave it despite his misgivings and I respect him for that.

2. It's been a while since I tried Blogger or other platforms but I would strongly recommend switching to WordPress. I did several years ago and never looked back. I know you are quite experienced with all things internet, but if you have any questions, feel free to ask.

David said...

Obviously I don't have the OpenID stuff down but I do know a few things about WordPress

Heather the Mama Duk said...

I think the part about being strict and that it's for status symbols is the key there. There's a difference between between ridiculously legalistic and encouraging proper/respectful dress and grooming.

I've never used anything but Wordpress for my own blog. It annoys me that JavaScript doesn't work on it, but other than that I've been happy with it. I used Blogspot when some friends and I had a group blog and I found it kind of clumsy on the backend compared to Wordpress, but I figured I was just used to Wordpress.

David B said...

The context of the quote was the expansion of BYU’s honor code into what it has become—a rather rigid document outlining behavioral norms largely unrelated to academic behavior and achievement.

Nibley, as he often did in his role as Mormon social critic at large, was pointing out that one of the problems with elevating behavioral norms with only a minimal (at best) relationship to religious requirements is that it starts a dangerous game—codifying fences around the law means that eventually those fences will have to be protected by further fences as they (rather than the actual religiously-required behaviors) become the target.

Rebekah said...

I love Nibley and that quote! lots of us have issues with following one rule or another, it's just that those with dess standard problems are EASILY judged by others while lots of other problems are EASILY hid.