A woman who had broken away from a religious organization found herself in hot water when she attended a church service in the attire of her choice.
Redditor teainhell chose comfort over conformity and the resulting backlash led her to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit to ask:
“AITA for wearing offensive clothing to visit my family?”
The Original Poster (OP) started her post by describing an earlier time in her marriage when she and her husband were on the same spiritual page.
“I (25 F[emale]) have been married to my husband (27 F[emale]) for four years.”
“When we first got married we were both Mormon, but not long after, I discovered the truth and stepped away from that church. My husband supports me but none of our families do.”
“Fast forward to today. My in laws invited us for an at home church service and lunch. I agreed to go to the church service even though I normally wouldn’t attend, since it was just at their house due to social distancing.”
“In the Mormon church women usually wear skirts or dresses to church. It’s not a rule but it is an expectation.”
“I wore a nice pair of dress pants and a simple top today, because I don’t like dresses and I wanted to be comfortable. I also didn’t think it mattered much since we didn’t actually go to church.”
“When I got there my female relatives were all wearing dresses. I thought it was kind of silly and brushed off the weird looks they gave me.”
“But I mentioned this to my mom later and she got very upset. She said they had the right to be very offended, that I was being disrespectful in their home. And that it would’ve been easy for me to just wear a dress and not hurt our relationship, and I was choosing to pick a fight.”
The criticism only revealed her rebellious intentions.
“However since I spent the first 20 years of my life in a church that controlled the way I dressed, now I don’t want to give them that control.”
“So AITA? Should I have just worn a dress?”
Anonymous strangers on the internet were asked if and where guilt belongs by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
“NTA. Respecting someone’s religion or beliefs does not mean you have to abide by their customs.” – SharpNectarine8
“NTA Just because their religion makes them dress a certain way doesn’t mean you have too.”
“Plus wearing a normal shirt and pants shouldn’t be considered offensive at all!” – Ramxcus
“NTA. Dress pants and a top is not offensive. It’s not like you turned up in a ultra short mini skirt and a hail satan t-shirt.” – RamblingManUK
“I’m a practicing Mormon, NTA. Some Mormons are really judgmental and backwards, especially in regards to women.”
“You wore something nice, and the fact you even went to service with them was respectful.” – jumanji-mongie
Still, the OP didn’t seem to be helping the situation.
“NTA, but they are your in-laws and you were once a member of their church. Once having been a member, you probably understand the norms better than someone who was never a member.”
“That said, I don’t think you’re the AH at all, but you probably haven’t made it easier for them or your husband to get along. You probably just gave them ammo critique you.” – uberchelle_CA
“Yes and no. I know that my female relatives wear dresses to church.”
“But I didn’t think it mattered as much for today, since we were just in their living room and no dress code was specified.”
“And I probably should have made this more clear in the OP but progressive women do wear pants to church and are allowed to participate. My family is conservative though.”
This Redditor argued that the OP didn’t technically break any rules here.
“As long as her shoulders were covered, her pants covered her knees, and she didn’t show any cleavage, she was comporting with Mormon modesty rules.”
“And she didn’t even have to do that much, since technically those modestly rules are there to prevent showing one’s temple garments (aka ‘magic underwear’). Since OP presumably wasn’t wearing her temple garments, there was nothing to risk exposing.” – fiveoclockmocktail
These actual members of the faith criticized the in-laws for their reaction.
“This is ridiculous, NTA.”
“I am an active member of that church. I will agree that it is ‘normal’ for women to wear skirts or dresses.”
“But It has never crossed my mind that it would be bad or ‘sinful’ or rude if a woman were to wear slacks.”
“While my family and I are doing church at home basically our only rule is to not be wearing pajamas. My mom usually wear a dress.”
“My dad and I will wear a casual button up shirt and some more casual pants.”
“The idea that your in laws are acting so crazy over you not wearing a DRESS but instead wearing something that is still nice and put together is absolutely ridiculous.”
“That isnt what the actual doctrine and scripture of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints supports. In fact, it’s contrary.” – nrmarther
“I’m mormon, NTA. They’re being dramatic.” – mechamal001
“Those expectations do not include wearing a dress. There is a difference between ‘church dress’ and ‘casual.'”
“’Casual’ is how Mormons dress most of the time. ‘Church dress’ is not expected at home church.”
“Source: Am a woman who is still technically a member of the church, and was a faithful attendee for almost 40 years.”
“Also, nothing in particular happens at age 13.” – ResidentLadder
This person believes the in-laws lost out on an opportunity to bring the OP back into the church.
“NTA – I am Mormon, and the church teaches that members should just be happy that a non-active, less-active, or non-member even showed up.”
“Judging them for what they wear just pushes them away again. Sure, your family might have certain standards for themselves, but you’re more than old enough to make your own decisions, and I think it’s nice that you at least decided to dress up a little when you didn’t even have to do that.”
“My family has also been having church from home, and I show up in my PJs.”
“If they’re anything like the majority of other Mormons I know, they are probably trying to get you to come back to the church. If so, then they should be happy that you even showed up. Criticizing you for your outfit is counterintuitive.” – AdrienneMorrisa
Reddit’s consensus was that the OP—especially as someone who was no longer a member of the church—was not obligated to abide by the expected dress code.
Many agreed that her mere presence was enough to warrant praise.