A YSA bishop's post about wedding dresses, temple garments, and quick or unkind judgments is making waves throughout Facebook. With more than 2,600 shares and 600 comments, it's safe to say the topic has struck a chord with LDS members.
In his post, the bishop shares the experiences he has had with members after they've seen pictures of ring ceremonies he's been a part of. He talks about how hastily we judge others for their gospel decisions, especially when they are different from our own.
I know this topic has been especially relevant for me in my life. I related a lot to his comments about looking at bridal pictures on social media or wedding announcements and judging what they are wearing. There have been many times where I've automatically assumed whether or not the wedding would be in the temple because of the cut and style of the bride's wedding gown.
This, of course, was none of my business and I'm ashamed to admit I thought this way. I should've known better, having had friends and family members who didn't follow the traditional LDS marriage path and who would've have been deeply hurt to know I thought this way, or that others might have been thinking the same way about them.
But more than that, it shows an uglier, underlining ideology that a person's entire spiritual worth is wrapped up in her choice of a wedding dress. That's not to say that we condone or praise immodesty, but we can do a better job of respecting others' agency and thinking of them with love instead of criticism.
That's another thing that this posts largely addresses—how damaging it can be to both the person judging and the person being judged in situations like these.
As President Uchtdorf says in his April 2012 talk, "The Merciful Receive Mercy":
This topic of judging others could actually be taught in a two-word sermon. When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following:
It’s that simple. We simply have to stop judging others and replace judgmental thoughts and feelings with a heart full of love for God and His children. God is our Father. We are His children. We are all brothers and sisters. I don’t know exactly how to articulate this point of not judging others with sufficient eloquence, passion, and persuasion to make it stick. I can quote scripture, I can try to expound doctrine, and I will even quote a bumper sticker I recently saw. It was attached to the back of a car whose driver appeared to be a little rough around the edges, but the words on the sticker taught an insightful lesson. It read, “Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you.”
We must recognize that we are all imperfect—that we are beggars before God. Haven’t we all, at one time or another, meekly approached the mercy seat and pleaded for grace?
What I can do is be a good friend. I can show through example how these sacred garments bless my life, and when it's the right time and the right place, talk my experiences using kind and unconfrontational words. I can help someone through love and respect, instead of hurting them through shame.
Wouldn't that do more good than making someone feel unwelcome to the Church and all its eternal blessings because of what they wore on their wedding day? I know I'll be thinking more about this topic they next time I look at someone's wedding pictures.