Friday, September 10, 2004

In My Own Fashion

There is an interesting phenomenon in the Book of Mormon: almost every time it describes a prideful person/people, it also slips in a line about how they wear costly apparel (do a search for “apparel”, the results are staggering). Whether it is the cause or the result of their pride, expensive clothing seems to be the whipping boy. Strangely, The Book of Mormon is much more silent on matters of alcohol, R-rated movies, debt, pornography, and wearing white shirts to church. I don’t even think sexual sin gets as much ink (in The Book of Mormon). Nor did President Benson mention this phenomenon in his famous sermon on Pride.

This begs a couple questions:

1) Why don’t we ever talk about expensive clothing, even though Book of Mormon prophets emphasized it in most of their teachings on pride?

2) What is so bad about expensive clothing? Are we not supposed to appreciate and enjoy the finer things that God has blessed us with?

I think the problem of fashion is that we are dealing with something the world offers that has a capacity to make us feel good about ourselves. I often think of sin as a variance from righteousness. Beauty, confidence, fine materials are all good things God has given us. It’s easy to see how each of these things can be skewed into pride.

I have personal issues with fashion. I find it to be one of the most reprehensible, self-indulgent, wretched entities in existence. It encourages (mostly) girls to do unnatural/dispicable things to/with their bodies, it skews our perspective of needs vs. wants, and provides a platform for judgement. It also thrives on the selling of sex. And if Fashion is the devil, the Cosmetics industry is Cain. An industry that thrives on the message “how you look right now is not pretty enough, you need to buy our product to be beautiful and feel good about yourself.” Are they not pushing a product/lifestyle that is more addicting than alcohol or tobacco? (I submit that these appear to be a bit extreme, which might be the case, but I live in New York and am exposed to the extremes of this industry.)

Having said this, I must admit that I succumb to its devilish enticings as much as the next guy. I won’t wear pants that are an inch too short...or that have pleats. I find Banana Republic morally superior to Old Navy, however, thrift store clothing is morally superior to Prada. Black will always be the new black. I have too many clothes for a poor, straight, married guy.

Again, how do I find myself (and I presume at least a few others) in this moral quandary and yet we never talk about it?