A couple of weeks ago a movement started among some LDS women to wear pants to church last Sunday. This movement gained quite a bit of attention in the blogging world in the days leading up to Sunday. Since then even media outlets like the New York Times have commented on it. More than one person has asked me if this is a sign of change in the LDS Church.
(It is only fair to note that the LDS Church has never officially adopted a policy that women can’t wear pants to church. But, as is evident by how much ink has been spilled talking about, it is also fair to say that LDS culture has made this pretty much a taboo.)
Whether or not this signals a strong movement for women having a more prominent role in the LDS Church, including the attaining of the priesthood, no one knows. I, for one, don’t think it does. But it is impossible to predict what small event will trigger significant change. Only time will tell.
But what is significant about all this is how this clearly illustrates how a “rules mindset” dominates Mormonism. Non-Mormons are regularly taken aback at how many rules and regulations populate Mormonism. Furthermore they are surprised when their LDS friends don’t even recognize that because they have become so accustomed to it.
Most significantly of all, this rules mentality carries over into Mormonism’s teachings on salvation. From the step by step process of repentance to the checklist for becoming temple worthy Mormonism focuses people on rules they have to keep in order to be acceptable to God. Yes, Mormonism does mention Jesus’ atonement but when you step back and look at the whole picture, it usually does that only in passing. What Mormonism emphasizes are the laws people must keep.
Mormonism instills a rules mentality in people and directs people to what they have to do. The Bible instills a grace mentality in people and directs people to what God has done for them. They are complete opposites.
It is my prayer that many more Mormons will simply read the Bible and take to heart its amazing message of God’s grace for all people. It is also my prayer that many more Christians will lovingly but boldly share this amazing message with their Mormon friends and family.