Sunday, January 5, 2014

Why I Have a Problem With This City Creek Center Ad

This is the ad for City Creek Center, a mall in downtown Salt Lake City. A mall which the LDS church built for billions.

But I'm not going to talk about the morality of  a church building a multi billion dollar mall.

I want to talk about this ad which advertises the mall. Not specific stores in the mall, but the mall itself.

Keep in mind that personally, I see nothing wrong with the way this woman is dressed. Her back is lovely. I see no immodesty. She looks elegant. Frankly, I wish I could look like that.

However, the church teaches that this is immodest. The church demands that those who go through the temple wear garments that would not allow this type of clothing. The church often asks young women to wear t-shirts and long shorts over bathing suits while at girls camp. The church has strict rules at BYU about clothing that doesn't even allow skirts above the knee with leggings.

Women in the church are told to keep their shoulders covered - no sleeveless, and their skirts and shorts to the knee or below. We even teach our children to cover up. No sundresses on little girls.

So how can the church justify this ad? Sure they're trying to appeal to people outside the church and there's no expectation that those outside the church should follow the same rules.

If this were an ad for a particular store I would see nothing wrong with it. The church doesn't own the stores, just the mall.

If this were an ad from a Mormon owned business, I would still have no problem with it. Mormons are free to run any ads they wish even if it doesn't jive with their own personal standards. They are free to sell alcohol they wouldn't drink or clothing they wouldn't wear. I don't see this as hypocritical because individuals are not the ones who tell others what to do and have followers who believe that following them is imperative to eternal life.

The LDS church on the other hand is a church. It has rules that it expects it's adherents to follow. Not only to follow but told that if they don't they put their eternal life with God in jeopardy. Included in that is the ability to go to the temple. To go to the temple you have to dress a certain way which would include covering up your back.

This beautiful young model in the lovely gown is not dressed in a way that meets the requirements of the LDS church.

Not only that, but it's unnecessary. It's not as if putting her in an elegant dress that does cover her is going to make people gawk and say "what is that weird thing she is wearing". It's not as if she needs to wear a burqa or a pioneer costume to sell City Creek Mall and meet the church standards. She can still wear church standard and look like a modern day woman.

So why the disparity? Why is the church using an ad showing a woman dressed in a way that would cause an LDS woman to get in trouble on the BYU campus, or frowned on at church or prevented from going to the temple?

Seems to me if they want members to do what they say, they should set the example.


  1. Seeing that larger than life ads on buses and trains downtown in Salt Lake several years ago troubled me as well, Same with their ad for City Creek with the woman in the strappy gown holding what was obviously a glass of alcohol in her hand. What poor judgment they used in approving those ads. It was inconsistent with the church's teachings. I went to BYU and dressed the dress code, always paid tithing on my gross income, prepared Gospel Doctrine lessons even when I had no time for it, and sacrificed, sacrificed, sacrificed to do what is right. Those ads felt like a slap in my face. A betrayal that caused me to feel quite awful and disturbed, questioning after that the integrity of the men at the top of the institution and realizing that I had been misled about everything, including about who and how they are and what they are all about.

    Also, when Monson said over and over again that the member's tithing funds were not being used for the Mall, something seemed off, like unbelievable about it, at the time. Though, I was taught not to question, so I put my own intuition about it on the shelf. Now, we learn from a church whistleblower that tithing funds WERE used, or at least the interest earned on them was used. They also lie and say they have an entirely lay ministry. What about the bloat at the top and the personal royalties they gain from writing books for Deseret Book, not to mention huge stipends and salaries for so many.

  2. Oh, and by the way, thank you, Anna, for calling this hypocrisy and misogyny of the Mormon/LDS Church's male leaders to the world's attention with your little blog. I salute you. I love you. You have a strong moral compass. I remember thinking as I'd see those ads riding by me while walking from my vehicle to work meetings, doesn't anyone else find these ads shocking and offensive? How can they show that they care less about the arbitrary standards they have made me obey for my entire life and that they kicked my niece Lindsay M. (alcohol) out of BYU Idaho for failing to obey? I had to teach my new converts as a missionary also to obey the dress and grooming rules. Then the church said basically in these ads that the standards don't matter. They should either care or not care, not selectively care. Those ads were very odd.

    And I see my other two nieces who now go to BYU Idaho dressing like tramps in every photo they post on facebook online. What is THAT all about? The honor code office apparently lets the students wear what they want. Even if their students look tacky and horrible as a result of their off-code off-campus clothing choices. I would havebeen kicked out of BYU had I done what they are doing. Many times while travekingand as a missionary, I was asked to do modelling work, but because of the LDS standards for what we wore, which while not on campus, as a matter of integrity, I always declined, sacrificing so much for the church and its clothing rules. Those ads show disrespect for me and others like me who look great in "immodest clothing" yet do not wear it because we are Mormons.

  3. I no longer believe in Mormonism. But still keep the church's arbitrary standards.