Are you decent?
Mrs. Utah hopes so.
Armed with the platform that that title provides, recently crowned Karmel Larson on Saturday began a "decency tour" that will run throughout her reign and, she hopes, blossoms beyond that.
The Provo woman will spend the next year speaking to different groups of leaders — from parents to educators, from law enforcement to church officials, from politicians to the military — throughout the state, all in the hope of putting the divergent on the same path to improving Utah's decency.
Larson acknowledges that the word packs a lot of ambiguity. That's why many people have asked her how she defines "decency."
"It's about upholding the moral standards of society, which is also up to interpretation," Larson said during a kickoff event at the Sweet Library that attracted a few people. "How I define 'decency' is promoting anything that promotes strong family values or speaking out against profanity, violence, indecency, pornography. Anything in the media that pulls down society's values is what I want to speak out against."
But Larson is not using her Mrs. Utah title to start her decency-promotion efforts. It's more of the reverse, with her decency platform helping her gain the title in her first-ever pageant. Larson's experience on decency issues began in 2006 when she became president of the Utah Valley Chapter of American Mothers Inc. She's also served as the Utah County director for the Parents Television Council, a roundtable member of the Utah Coalition Against Pornography and the Utah County liaison for www.strengthenthefamily.net.
"Up until this point, I was just a really passionate mom," she said. "But does the Rotary want a really passionate mom to come speak? No, they want Mrs. Utah or someone with a title. People will listen if I have a title instead of just 'mom,' and already that's the case."
Larson hopes that a year from now, schools throughout the state will celebrate White Ribbons Against Pornography week, beyond those at a few Utah County schools. She hopes that city councils throughout the state will have adopted community-standards resolutions. She hopes that people will have signed up for weekly e-mails at KarmelLarson.com and tapped into resources listed at teamdecency.com. She hopes that people will have taken some sort of action to foster decency and not just talked about doing something.
But a year from now, Larson won't be finished, even though her title time will have lapsed.
"I don't plan on quitting after one year," she said. "I think it will continue to grow."
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