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I'm a Christian, married to a wonderful man, Steven, and mother to a wonderful little son. I have many interests and a few noteworthy journeys in life and I enjoy sharing them.

Friday, April 1, 2011

My Body, My Temple

The LDS have some interesting and strict rules about appearances. While some make sense, such as modesty, others don't.

I believe very strongly--and everything I've read in the New Testament supports this--is that our appearance doesn't matter so much as long as our hearts are right with God. He cares about a relationship, not about how we look. The outward appearance is only a problem if it reflects something on the inside that isn't right with God, such as sexual immorality, rebelliousness, disregard, or lack of good stewardship.

I heard all my life as a Mormon that I should never get more than one piercing and that only in my ear, guys should never get piercings, tattoos were a big no-no, and modesty was all-important. Why? "Your body is a temple."

Okay, well, let's look at that. Why is my body a temple?
1 Corinthians 6:19 "Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?"
1 Peter 2:5 "you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ."

Believers in Christ are temples because God the Spirit lives in us. Through this, we share in Christ's priesthood and are saved through his living sacrifice for sin. We are to give our lives to Christ as "spiritual sacrifices," as was done in the ancient temple. We are not sacred temples because our bodies are sacred, but because our bodies house the most sacred being in existence.

Colossians 2:
 16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. 18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind. 19 They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.
 20 Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence. 

I feel like that should say it all, but I also feel I must explain. Let me rephrase what this is saying. Rules that may seem wise are not necessarily as good as they seem. Rules that restrain a believer so that they appear good on the outside do not necessarily make things right on the inside!

Not even six months after leaving the church, I got a second piercing in my ears. It wasn't a rebellious act; I'd said for years that if I ever were to get another piercing for any reason, it would be a second one in my ears so I could wear studs with my hanging earrings that I'm so fond of. Now, I'm very seriously thinking about a couple tattoos (maybe only one, and I doubt more than two), beginning with one of the cross of Jesus on the upper right of my left shoulder blade. Please tell me where the sin in that is? If I regret it later in life, that's my own fault. However, I seriously doubt that God will love me less or count it as a sin against me.

Rules like the requirements of appearance imposed by the LDS church simply give people room to judge others, and to appear perfect on the outside while they are lost and broken within. There's a reason that Utah is the state the proscribes the most Prozac and does the most boob jobs--the LDS are under so much pressure to look just right in everyone else's eyes, both physically and in their lifestyles, that they are put under tremendous and unwarranted pressure. Its just not right.

So, I will probably get my tattoo. If I don't, its not going to be because I think God will count it as a sin against me, but because I decide its not right for me.

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