Objective Beauty

A popular theme in pop entertainment & media is that “anything goes” when it comes to sexuality, health, and beauty. Well, anything doesn’t go. This essay takes apart the argument that all bodies are equally beautiful, that there is no standard of beauty, and that beauty is wholly subjective. With all due respect to those who have not been endowed with as much beauty as others, we must confess that all bodies are not created equal. In the resurrection, the faithful will all be immaculately beautiful, and the ‘thorns of the flesh’ will be removed. But we must not fall for the false doctrine that beauty is ephemeral and undefined. We don’t obsess over beauty, we keep it in it’s proper place, and trust that all things will be well due to the gospel plan of God.

We declare a universal standard of beauty morality and health as typified by the Gods. Every person regardless of their beauty is of infinite worth, but this doesn’t mean bad lifestyle choices such as those which lead to obesity or other scenarios of poor health, are equal to those which lead to good health.

Remember (I can’t emphasize it enough) that in the resurrection, all physical imperfections will be resolved provided that we are true and faithful. Joseph Smith’s teachings on this were clear when he stated that for the faithful, all losses would be made up to us in the resurrection. Brigham Young also taught that for those who reach exaltation, they will be made as beautiful as the angels that surround the throne of God. He taught that we need not worry much about beauty, as such will come in the resurrection. He taught that moral character, not just a pretty face, is how we should select the spouse. He encouraged people to take good care of their bodies and look their best (within reason), but to rest assured that God has much more beauty in store for us than we currently enjoy. Prophets have taught that it will be easier to get along in marriage and so forth in the resurrection, in part due to these promised blessings.

What’s weird is you’ll see some movie where the actors & actresses dress well, then when you see them in street clothes etc., they’ve usually made themselves uglier & weirder. Why prioritize fitting in over being beautiful? God wants us to be beautiful. I cringe when the woman once enthroned a long natural hair appears with very short and discolored fashions in an attempt to fit in with the world! Or when the man, once groomed handsomely and in fitting apparel, has lowered his standards to those of shabbiness, slothfulness, or other bizarre fashion trends. When the artist draws on the finished work of God, namely the body, rather than designing on a canvas of their own (for who could claim to improve upon the work of God?). Shouldn’t our taste of nobility as sometimes depicted in films, encourage us to live day to day in such a pleasing way?

There are objective standards of beauty, and maintenance of the body. Rather than letting the body go wherever the wind blows (due to idolness or fashion trends), let us rather seek true and eternal beauty. We do not judge others based on their health conditions and health choices, but we also reject the modern trend to just accept ourselves the way we are without striving for excellence in objective health standards. We do not condone indulgence or neglect of the body. The world would tell us to accept ourselves the way we are, Christ would tell us to come unto him, and improve ourselves. Christ IS the objective standard of beauty. He taught that in losing ourselves we find our truest selves. it’s been said that life is 10% about what happens to you, and 90% about what you do about it.

The Devil has no body, and wants us to live beneath our privileges of strength and self-esteem which come from maintaining a healthy body. Indeed, prophets have taught that the very punishment for Lucifer’s rebellion is that he will never have a body. Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother have bodies. They work together in the position called “God” as the title Elohim is the Hebrew plural for God. Though all die, all will be brought back to life with their bodies in what is called the resurrection. Jesus Christ is alive today and still has his body (he always will).

Joseph Smith taught that those who have bodies have power over those who do not. Our spiritual sensitivity is also dulled with we do not take care of our bodies. Dulling our spiritual sensitivity is certainly a chief objective of the Devil.

Several visions & revelations give further evidence of the objective beauty standard of resurrected bodies. The resurrected apostles of Jesus Christ appeared in the temple to a latter-day prophet, from the back of the room, he could not discern between them. Their appearance all resembled Jesus Christ, and only close up could he discern between them. In a vision of Adam and Eve on a throne, Joseph Smith saw that they were both tall with broad shoulders. Nephi saw a vision of Mary the mother of Jesus, and declared that she was a most beautiful woman, “fair above all others.”

From the fall of Adam, the human race hasn’t been beautiful all too often. Disease has set in, and we await the resurrection to receive the full stature of celestial bodies. Even a healthy and prototypically beautiful body here represents that of the lower kingdoms or orders, and doesn’t match the glory of the higher. Resurrection rewards differ based on the kingdom you rise unto. A celestial body is much more beautiful and powerful than a body of the other kingdoms. Brigham Young taught that those who reach exaltation will all become as beautiful as the angels that surround the throne of God.

Brigham Young taught that appearance matters not in this life. He said he would marry a woman with a 3-foot-wide head if she was righteous. Physical appearances are reconciled in the resurrection. This life is about faith, the next life is about beauty. The 3-foot-wide head spoken of here would be reconciled in the resurrection to a handsome celestial head resembling that of our Heavenly parents.

I had a BYU professor who taught against increased beauty in the resurrection. He claimed that we just can’t recognize beauty in our current state and that we should not look forward to enhanced aesthetic body features. But this professor contradicts not only the sense of beauty which we inherit from our Father in Heaven, but contradicts the words of many prophets. This professor was trying to reconcile our current state with that of heaven, and in this he did err, as the glory to come far exceeds that which we presently enjoy (or endure)!

Joseph Smith taught that if you are faithful, all your losses will be made up to you in the resurrection. Surely physical deformities and irregularities which persons must suffer with in this life are included in that recompense. Deformities build character, and are therefore useful to  us in this life that the works of God may be manifest. But in the resurrection, to think that such things remain would be scripturally ignorant and even blasphemous. Truly the blessings in store for the righteous are beyond comprehension. The desire for beauty is a righteous desire, which shall be answered gloriously for the faithful who endure the crosses of this world, considering them temporary things of naught. One song sung by Brian Stokes Mitchel on gratitude puts it well, ‘it’s not that I don’t want a lot, don’t pray for more, or hope for more, but giving thanks for what I’ve got makes me so much happier than keeping score.’ Yes, our current lot is gratitude. But our gratitude is not only for what we currently have, it is gratitude for the promises of the Lord unto us, that they will soon and forever be fulfilled! Surely the thought of the magnitude of eternal pleasures is enough to propel us through even the darkest of dungeons in the cause of Christ!

Let us not forget the promise of fertility. But only those in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom will have the power to procreate. See Elder Bednar’s talk on how those who misuse or neglect procreation here will be denied it there.

Zion is beautiful the scripture says. Brigham Young taught that though we obsess not over beauty, we do our best, and make ourselves attractive as we can. There is no sense in self defamation. But there is also no sense in wasting your time inordinately in beauty, including wasting your money in much beauty products in Babylon. Use things from nature to beautify as the scripture says, rather than expensive synthetic trendy items.

Let us, as we endure the trials of this life, remember that we should not show the details of our bodies in public. They are temples, and are only to be accessed by the authorized spouse, lest the temple become unholy. Let the saints be patient, and not tempt others by having presently to some extent those things which we shall all have in eternity. As the church is the symbolic spouse of Christ (which isn’t to say Christ has no literal spouse/spouses) and the church enters Christs temple house only as permitted, so should we reserve the sacred use of our bodies for our covenant marriage.

We are naturally more attracted to persons whose bodies are healthy, and who adhere to biological scientific standards of health such as the body mass index of height to weight ratios. There is a range within this index to account for those who are naturally smaller or larger than average, and such is within the range of healthiness, but we cannot claim that being overweight or obese are states of healthfulness. There is no such thing as an optimally healthy overweight person. Some suggest the optimal BMI as suggested by official state departments is too high (or low I guess) when compared to healthiest civilizations who live the longest, but the point remains that whether the BMI is right on target or not, the idea of certain weights for certain heights being healthy stands true.

Our whole society is in a trend (aka a Satanic movement) of making real beauty obsolete. Modern art attacks beauty. Some forms of music are objectively better than others. This is part of Satan’s plan to blur the lines between good and evil! These are no trivial or subjective matters! Be brave enough to call things what they are! Satan is trying to get us to us to believe that there are no standards of right and wrong, no objective lines of what is good and what is evil. He uses bad and unskilled ‘art forms’ to water us down against true beauty. He leads us further from the belief in God and reality by doing this. To believe in God is to believe that there is a right and wrong, and line between good and evil. It is to believe in objective truth. Not ‘your truth’, but THE truth. Yes we can have differing personalities which govern personal preference (vanilla vs chocolate, for example), but Satan is taking this truth and pushing a whole new world of falsehood. He is taking steps toward making individuality outlawed. Only in a context of truth can individuality have meaning. Within true beauty lie many categories of expression, but Satan doesn’t want us to know that. He wants us to hate good, and love evil. As Elder Holland said, he is set on destroying us. There is no beauty in the Devil or the place where he and his servants reside.

We look forward to the resurrection and the grand millennium, where we will become exponentially beautiful and talented. We endure our trials at present with faith, we find joy in what blessings God has already bestowed upon us, and we look forward to promised blessings yet to come with joyous anticipation. Even those with less-than-ideal circumstances can be optimistic that God has promised the faithful will gain salivation. Joseph Smith defined salvation as no less than to “put all enemies under foot”, or in other words, overcoming the barriers in your way to having a fullness of joy.

Let us rejoice in beauty while not defiling our bodies with evils such as pornography and immodest dress. Let us rejoice in a glorious future, and let us be other-centered, focusing on serving others so that we may be truly happy. We find joy in service, and patiently await all things foretold by the prophets including health for all in the glorious resurrection, and crowning beauty for the faithful!

One race is not superior to another. President Kimball in one of his landmark books ‘Faith Precedes the Miracle’ speaks of how historically many races have thought they were superior, only to be cut down by the Lord when they became ripe in their pride. Those in the USA are going to be cut down for their pride and rebellion soon too. President Nelson and President Oaks in the October General Conference of 2020 (in the context of significant world-wide race rioting,) made it overwhelmingly clear that God does not see one race as superior to another. They rebuked race-based violence and discrimination. The counsel to marry someone from the same culture as your own is not about race, it’s about how difficult it is to mesh two cultures or two religions in one marriage. May we gain our worth and identity from God, not from race. Our concern in this life is not about what we look like, but about whether our actions are morally just and merciful to our fellow beings. Race is a temporary mortal condition in which we are commanded to judge not, and to love one another as equals.

All human beings are the children of our Father & Mother in Heaven, and the righteous will eventually inherit all that they have. We will inherit not only their wealth & power, but their beauty. Our bodies will be no more fallen, as has been the case from the time of the fall of Adam, but will become celestial. One resurrection differs from another in glory. May the celestial be our goal, and may mortal cares fall by the wayside as we believe and know that God has in store for us such wonders. We will inherit objective beauty.

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