Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Our Refined 1950's Heavenly Home

Today as I was preparing for my afternoon meditation session by reading the new June 2009 Ensign, I ran across the article by Elder Douglas L. Callister (Our Refined Heavenly Home) which he previously gave as a talk at BYU and was printed in BYU Magazine.

The talk/article is about appreciation for fine art, music, literature, etc. Then comes a whole section on the importance of physical appearance, which I found extremely interesting and insightful. Here's a sampling (taken from the BYU Magazine version, which differs only slightly from the Ensign article):

"Many years ago an associate of mine decided he would please his wife by sharing with her a very specific compliment each night as he arrived home. One night he praised her cooking. A second night he thanked her for excellence in housekeeping. A third night he acknowledged her fine influence on the children. The fourth night, before he could speak, she said, “I know what you are doing. I thank you for it. But don’t say any of those things. Just tell me you think I am beautiful.

She expressed an important need that she had. Women ought to be praised for all the gifts they possess that so unselfishly add to the richness of our lives, including their attentiveness to their personal appearance. We must not “let ourselves go” and become so casual—even sloppy—in our appearance that we distance ourselves from the beauty heaven has given us. Every man has the right to be married to a woman who makes herself as beautiful as she can be.

Some flippantly say, “How I look has nothing to do with how God feels about me.” But it is possible for both earthly parents and heavenly parents to have unspoken disappointment in their offspring without diminished love."

Elder Callister provides wisdom beyond his seventy years by painting a vivid picture of every forward-thinking man's dream:

1. The Dad is at work and his wife is at home

2. The wife is cooking and housekeeping (this one even achieved "excellence in housekeeping"!)

3. Mom influences the children for good (making up for Dad's example?)

4. Women really need to be praised for their beauty. Never mind her wit, charm, humor, intelligence, wisdom, etc. It's the beauty (and not to be confused with 'internal' beauty) that really counts. Cooking and housekeeping can come in a distant second.

5. Man has the "right" to be married to someone who makes herself as beautiful as possible. (This precious point was left out of the Ensign article)

6. God is disappointed when our beauty is not up-to-par

I'm already planning the next Young Women's activity around this eternal advice! We'd kick off the evening with a talk about man's expectations for a woman's appearance, provided by a High Priest - perhaps Brother Hamm. Please, Sisters, do not be offended if you're asked to provide an example of someone that has, "let themselves go," or is, "casual - even sloppy." It's for the good of the Young Women as they seek to present the best face possible to their future mate.

For the activity part, each Young Woman could then cook a home-made pie, and clean up afterwards. We'll invite the Priests in to judge the homemaker abilities, awarding a, "Future Homemaker of Excellance" medallion.

If there are any suggestions on what to include in this YW's activity, I'm all ears!


  1. Dear Bishop,
    Everyone is not always dealt the same deck of cards to work with in the beauty department. Every man has the right to be married to a woman who "makes" herself as beautiful as possible . . . How do you think Elder Callister feels about plastic surgery? Is there anything in the handbook about the extreme measures women are allowed to go to in the beauty area? I have been contemplating some . . . how should I put it . . . augmentation (I didn't say what area I would be augmenting!) How do you think I should proceed?

  2. Considering Sister Vanessa’s comment I feel the question of body augmentation is far to complex for mere mortals (and especially women) to handle. This type of thing should only be considered after much fasting and prayer by a Priesthood holder, preferably a High Priest.

    Even though I am very busy I would like to volunteer my services as the ward “Body Part Coordinator”. Females desiring augmentation should contact me for a private interview. We can take care males over the phone. After the interview and inspection I will submit a written report to the Bishopric for review.

    I think we should start ASAP as there is much work to be done.

    Sister Rasmussen can submit her list directly to the Bishop.

  3. Dave - I think you're on to something, Brother. What a great idea to have a seasoned High Priest review and make recommendations on the possible body enhancements. Final review by the Bishopric is perfect. I feel a calling is imminent...

  4. I think many sisters mistakenly overlook one of the benefits of the "loud laughter prohibition: fewer laugh lines. I'm struggling with that one as I read this. Must repent.

  5. Bishop,

    Through his words, Elder Callister has clearly established that his years and experience have provided him much wisdom in handling a woman. He has the ability to fulfill a woman’s emotional needs, with appropriate and loving compliments, while at the same time provide her instructions on improving her outward appearance. He does so in a manner that, in my opinion, isn't threatening or demeaning. To summarize his comments, a woman should be an asset in keeping an orderly home but at the same time be pleasing in appearance. In this way, her husband (who she submits to and promises to obey) will find her appealing and loving, as will her God. Case in point…I insist that my wife be pleasing in appearance, even while performing such tasks as scrubbing my urine off the toilet seat (oopsie) or ironing my shirt for the following days work.

    Food for thought...If we were to dig a little deeper, I'll bet Elder Calister is the kind of authoritative man that would support limits on a woman's right to vote, hold property, work outside the home, or hold positions of political influence.

    While I support Elder Calister’s viewpoint, both in theory and in practice in my own marriage, I struggle with it conceptually when I consider my daughters. When I imagine them in a relationship like the one portrayed in Elder Calister’s talk, I have feelings of anger. To be blunt, if my daughter (God forbid) were to marry someone like Elder Calister, I'd be likely to knock the guy’s teeth down his throat for treating my daughter like his personal property instead of a partner. Bishop, how can I overcome those feelings?

    Also, I’m curious do you know how many cows Elder Calister received in trade for his daughters?

    See you Sunday!

  6. Angela - Yes, I can imagine the nervous chuckles now...

  7. Dear Bishop,

    I'm wondering if you (or perhaps one of the fine homemakers in the ward) might give a new wife a bit of counsel on the following quote gleaned from Elder Callister's talk: "President Joseph F. Smith .... was fastidious in his appearance. He pressed his dollar bills to remove the wrinkles. He allowed none but himself to pack his overnight bag. He knew where every article, nut, and bolt of the household was, and each had its place."

    First, would I be overstepping my role as homemaker and helpmeet if I packed my new husband's bags for his next business trip? I would appreciate the opportunity to serve the man I love, but I do want to follow the prophet's advice, you know.

    Second, do we need to hold a FHE so I can show my husband where I put the nuts and bolts and such away? He works all day and doesn't always know where things are, even though I do put them in their proper places. Is this knowledge a priesthood responsibility, or can I suggest it as a lesson topic later in the month?

    Finally, about ironing the dollar bills. I'm already pretty busy ironing the white Sunday shirts. Is it okay if we just iron the tithing money? But if we pay by check, maybe that won't work, now, will it? I'll have to think about that. Maybe if we launder the money real well and then stick it under the mattress to dry the wrinkles will be pressed out enough? My best is none too good for the Lord, and I don't want my "heavenly parents to have unspoken disappointment in" me.

    Oh, and one more thing - if I'm reading my scriptures and listening to good music and radio programming from the Church's new radio station via the internet, does that turn all of those good things into musical - or literary - "french fries"? Should I ditch the Kindle and MP3 player and spend my time in the library and the concert hall instead?

    Thank you so much for your inspired leadership - I just don't know what I would do without such a great bishop.

  8. Monomo - Something about the article makes me want to find a picture of Callister's wife just to see where all this outer-beauty fixation is coming from. I have my suspicions... (Also, I'm leaving his daughters out of this. Surely they deserve that).

  9. lrhgenes - Well, I'm certainly no Seventy - yet - but I'd suspect that your husband knows where his nuts are located. Bolts may be a different issue.

    As for the comment about ironing his bills, it sadly appears to me that Elder Callister is misinterpreting Joseph F. Smith's obvious OCD in favor of some vague religious principle. But hey, that's probably why I'm not sitting in one of the big cushy chairs. Someday...

  10. Dear Bishop Young,

    Mother has told me that augmentation is a good thing. She wanted me to know that she has been augmented on numerous occasions. what does that word mean? Should I get augmented?



  11. Dear Bishop Young,

    Just thot of something. Mother must REALLY be beautiful cause all of her boyfriends drive big ol' pickup trucks and they all have the same name of Bubba. Still lookin' for your ward. We need to know what part of town to live in. Your friend.