I went to church on Christmas Day because the children and Ward choirs were performing. Hearing them sing is always a pleasant experience.
Getting dressed for church is always problematic. What should I wear? A white shirt is out. No sport’s coat today; it would take too long to dust it off. I found a pair of dark pants that still fit and a blue button-down shirt. To that combo, I added a bolo tie; it was a gift from a Navajo group. I’m not sure a bolo and button-down shirt are aesthetically and culturally compatible, but I decided to risk it. I wore shoes–something practical–since it was snowing outside, not a good day to wear my usual sandals.
Once at church, I chose to sit in the back on the folding chairs. Most of the men in attendance were wearing dark suits, dark shoes, dark socks, white shirts, and dull ties. The women wore long skirts or dresses. Most were a model of conformity. Fitting in. I kept asking myself: “Why do Mormons dress like this?”
Since it was Christmas, my thoughts naturally turned to Christ. I remembered something that Carol Lynn Pearson had recently written:
Jesus spoke sharp words against the political and religious leaders of his day. He was a social revolutionary who boldly spoke out against inequality, condemned the oppressor, warned against riches, and embraced the outcast.
I totally agree with that interpretation. So why all the conformity? In the way we dress and behave, we have somehow lost the message of Christ. We look and act like members of a corporation and not a Christ-centered church.
The Christmas readings that were made between musical numbers were little more than quotes from Mormon General Authorities. Isn’t anyone capable of an independent thought? I guess we’ve forgotten that Christ was a revolutionary. He was certainly a threat to the status quo. Joseph Smith and Brigham Young were certainly revolutionaries. How have we devolved into such conformists. We seem willing to stoop to anything to get along.