Invited to Zion, but What Would I Wear?
Quotes of the Prophets & Personal Writings on Modesty
By Nate Richardson
Available at RichardsonStudies.com
Table of Contents
“Do not underestimate the important symbolic and actual effect of appearance. Persons who are well groomed and modestly dressed invite the companionship of the Spirit of our Father in Heaven and are able to exercise a wholesome influence upon those around them. Persons who are unkempt and careless about their appearance, or adopt the visual symbols of those who often oppose our ideals, expose themselves and persons around them to influences that are degrading and dissonant. Outward appearance is often a reflection of inward tendencies” (The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, ed. Clyde J. Williams , 220).
“Wont you be so kind and so good as to take those pins or the india-rubber cords out of the back of the skirts of your dresses, so that you will look comely. They make you look uncomely, to see your dresses drawn around you, showing your form. Mothers ought to be ashamed of teaching their children such things.” (Brigham Young JD 19:64-65)
Thomas S. Monson teaches we can be lively vibrant and beautiful in your dress while living within the standards of modesty the Lord has set.
“Immodest clothing includes short shorts and skirts, tight clothing, shirts that do not cover the stomach, and other revealing attire. Young women should wear clothing that covers the shoulder and avoid clothing that is low-cut in the front or the back or revealing in any other manner. Young men should also maintain modesty in their appearance. All should avoid extremes in clothing, appearance, and hairstyle. Always be neat and clean and avoid being sloppy or inappropriately casual in dress, grooming, and manners. Ask yourself, “Would I feel comfortable with my appearance if I were in the Lord’s presence?”…Do not disfigure yourself with tattoos or body piercings. If girls or women desire to have their ears pierced, they are encouraged to wear only one pair of modest earrings.” (“Dress and Appearance,” For the Strength of Youth: Fulfilling Our Duty to God, (2001 https://www.lds.org/manual/for-the-strength-of-youth-fulfilling-our-duty-to-god/dress-and-appearance?lang=eng&query=monson+dress)
“Dress in such a way as to bring out the best in yourself and those around you. Avoid extremes in clothing and appearance” (Preparation Brings Blessings Thomas S. Monson President of the Church, April 2010 Conf. Report http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2010/04/preparation-brings-blessings?lang=eng)
“Plan and attend dances where dress, grooming, lighting, dancing styles, lyrics, and music contribute to an atmosphere in which the Spirit of the Lord may be present.” (That We May Touch Heaven Thomas S. Monson then Second Counselor in the First Presidency https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1990/10/that-we-may-touch-heaven?lang=eng)
“Modesty is an attitude of propriety and decency in dress, grooming, language, and behavior. If we are modest, we do not draw undue attention to ourselves. Instead, we seek to “glorify God in [our] body, and in [our] spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:20; see also 1 Corinthians 6:19)…Central to the command to be modest is an understanding of the sacred power of procreation, the ability to bring children into the world. This power is to be used only between husband and wife. Revealing and sexually suggestive clothing, which includes short shorts and skirts, tight clothing, and shirts that do not cover the stomach, can stimulate desires and actions that violate the Lord’s law of chastity…In dress, grooming, and manners, we should always be neat and clean, never sloppy or inappropriately casual. We should not disfigure ourselves with tattoos or body piercings. Women who desire to have their ears pierced should wear only one pair of modest earrings.” (LDS Topics: Modesty at official LDS site https://www.lds.org/topics/modesty?lang=eng)
“40 And again, thou shalt not be proud in thy heart; let all thy garments be plain, and their beauty the beauty of the work of thine own hands; 41 And let all things be done in cleanliness before me.” (D&C 42:40-41)
“There are many examples that show that people tend to act according to the way they are dressed. I believe that’s a good general rule to follow…Dressing modestly is a mark of spiritual maturity. You should already be developing this kind of maturity as you prepare to go to the temple. Learning to dress modestly now means you will have fewer dress or style conflicts when you finally receive the privilege of wearing temple garments (*the garments to a ways down the arm so shirts must have some sleeve)…The scriptures also give us advice about clothing. They indicate that costly apparel can be a source of evil pride (see 2 Ne. 28:13). They tell us that the main purpose of clothing is to cover our nakedness (see Mosiah 10:5). They indicate our responsibility to provide clothing for the needy (see Jacob 2:19). And Alma 1:27 tells us that the good Church members “did not wear costly apparel, yet they were neat and comely.” But the scriptures also talk about being clothed with righteousness, light, charity, and glory (see D&C 29:12, D&C 45:44, D&C 65:5, D&C 84:101, D&C 85:7, D&C 88:125, D&C 138:30, Moses 7:3). This says to me that what we are is much more important than what we wear. I think it is significant to note that when the Savior appeared after his resurrection, he was simply attired. “They saw a Man descending out of heaven; and he was clothed in a white robe” (3 Ne. 11:8). Here was the Master of Creation! He could have worn anything he desired, but he chose a plain, white robe. This teaches me an important lesson. Just as we can be too casual in our clothing, we can also be too pompous. The Savior’s presence brought dignity and honor to the situation. He didn’t need to impress anyone by what he wore. In the temple, this also holds true. Each person dresses in white. It is the right clothing for the spiritual climate. It adds to the sacred beauty of the setting. And it reminds us that there is no social status before our Father. What distinguishes our souls is their righteousness, and to be clothed in righteousness is what matters most of all.” (Right for the Climate by Elder John H. Groberg of the Seventy https://www.lds.org/new-era/1992/03/right-for-the-climate?lang=eng)
“Clothing is more than a superficial matter. Clothes were provided by God to shield and protect us against not only the harsh elements of nature but also the temptations of our fallen natures, which the adversary seeks to exploit. Clothing allows us to express our individuality and to develop one of the most gracious of all virtues—modesty. The word modesty ultimately stems from the Latin term modus, meaning “measure.” Hence modesty connotes balance, proportion, restraint, and (from the same root) moderation. Its opposites would be excess, extremity, lack of restraint, outlandishness, intemperateness, immoderation, and so forth. Thus modest dress is measured, as are modest speech and conduct. Like charity, modesty “vaunteth not itself, … doth not behave itself unseemly.” (1 Cor. 13:4–5.) It does not seek undue attention, does not flaunt itself, but shows respect for the feelings of others. Though it means much more than merely good manners, modesty belongs among the social virtues because it requires sensitivity and tact. Modest people are aware of prevailing standards of taste and decency.” (To Clothe A Temple by John S. Tanner, Ensign Aug. 1992, John S. Tanner is president of the Brigham Young University Fourth Stake. https://www.lds.org/ensign/1992/08/to-clothe-a-temple?lang=eng)
“Modesty requires sensitivity about what our dress communicates to others…What we wear serves more than the practical functions of keeping us warm in the winter and shaded in the summer. Dress is a language that we employ to express who we are—to make statements—and dress that is modest in what it covers may still be immodest in what it communicates…The Lord’s Church does not take a position on the innumerable fashions the world invents in its endless retailoring. In this, as in so many other things, we must learn to govern ourselves based on correct principles…—Does my attire call improper attention to me? Do my clothes cause people to focus on my outward appearance in such a way that they might either misunderstand me or misjudge my character? —Is my attire revealing? Does it properly cover my nakedness? (Here, the temple garments might serve as a guide to the Lord’s standards.) —Does my clothing suit the occasion? Does it fit the environment in which I am wearing it? For example, we are asked to wear our best clothing (whatever this may be) to the temple and to Church meetings in order to lend reverence, restraint, and dignity to the atmosphere where sacred ordinances are performed. —Do I feel comfortable with my grooming and dress in the presence of those I most respect and admire? Does my dress set a good example for those I love—my children, siblings, co-workers, fellow Saints? (We might choose different swimming, jogging, or car-washing attire if we knew we’d meet the prophet while we were wearing it.) —And finally, does my attire and grooming require so much of my time, attention, and means that I neglect more important, weightier matters? A sonnet by Shakespeare vividly raises this issue. The poet laments the attention he lavishes on his outside while letting his soul “pine within and suffer dearth.” He asks himself: “Why so large cost, having so short a lease, Dost thou upon thy fading mansion [body] spend?” Rather than starve the soul, he resolves: “Within be fed, without be rich no more.” (Sonnet 146.) …As parents, we can use the child’s earliest years to instill principles of modesty and to form correct habits. My wife, for example, remembers the time during her childhood when she enthusiastically brought her mother a picture of a woman in a strapless gown. “Look how pretty this dress is, Mommy,” she said. Her wise mother quietly replied, “Oh, no, Susie, we don’t wear dresses like that,” and then explained why. Thus she prepared her daughter as a child to dress in a modest way after she grew to womanhood. My wife, in turn, taught her daughters from their infancy not to go without shirts and not to wear bikinis and other immodest types of swimwear. Likewise, we gave our son a coat and tie when he was baptized so he could begin to dress like the priesthood holders he saw passing the sacrament. Our conviction was that children needed to begin early to form habits that will help them be modest adolescents and adults. Even more important, they should come to know and to feel that the body truly is a temple. (See 1 Cor. 3:16; D&C 93:35.)…Teenagers need to learn to balance the sometimes competing demands of what’s in vogue and what’s virtuous.” (To Clothe A Temple by John S. Tanner, Ensign Aug. 1992, John S. Tanner is president of the Brigham Young University Fourth Stake. https://www.lds.org/ensign/1992/08/to-clothe-a-temple?lang=eng)
“Peculiar literally means we are his special treasure, purchased with his blood. Latter-day Saint teenagers show themselves peculiar in the true sense when their dress and demeanor reflect their spiritual identity as covenant citizens of “an holy nation.” (See 1 Pet. 2:9; see also “Peculiar,” Bible Dictionary.) Many teenagers feel the need to dress like others in their peer group or to wear styles that enhance their sense of themselves as individuals, as attractive, and as different from adults. This is not wrong, so long as their fashion also sets them apart from the crude and vulgar and unworthy, and so long as their dress is conducive to the Spirit. Like children, adolescents also need to be explicitly taught principles of modesty. Adults sometimes forget that the adolescent who suddenly looks so grown-up may not comprehend the changes in his or her body. Teenagers are sometimes still children in big bodies who do not fully understand their own new emotions, much less the effects their physical development may have on the emotions of others. A teenage girl, for example, may not have any idea how her appearance in a swimming suit might affect the boy with whom she often goes to the beach. She needs to be taught by her parents—gently and delicately—about adult emotions. Similarly, most teenagers need to learn new sensitivities about how to sit and walk and carry themselves, as well as learning what various fabrics and cuts of clothing do on their particular bodies…Yet for teenagers as for children, modesty is finally much more than a matter of tight pants or spandex swimming suits, of hemlines or necklines. Rather, it’s a line drawn in the heart; it’s the result of truly believing that the body is the temple of the spirit. The same holds true for adults, who may be the worst offenders against the principle of modesty. Certainly their guilt is greater to the degree that they are more knowledgeable. Further, adults who have received their endowments wear a reminder from the temple that the body is a temple, too, for both are sacred sanctuaries of the spirit. The Lord has provided the Saints a powerful shield and protection against immodest dress. Many, however, seem to be lax and casual about wearing temple garments. Yet strict observance of this obligation still remains a precondition of temple worthiness, just as necessary as observing the laws of tithing, chastity, honesty, and the Word of Wisdom. Though the Church has not developed pharisaically detailed rules regulating our manner of dress, we are asked to declare our obedience in this matter. If we must err, we should do so on the side of caution.…our temples are kept beautiful on the outside. I spent many, many hours grooming the temple grounds—weeding, watering, planting flowers, doing all I could to make the exterior reflect the sacred spirit inside the Lord’s holy house. Surely the Lord expects us to groom and care for our physical tabernacles also—not as the world does, but in order that the Spirit of the Lord may find a fit sanctuary to dwell with our own spirits. This is the ultimate aim of modesty. (To Clothe A Temple by John S. Tanner, Ensign Aug. 1992, John S. Tanner is president of the Brigham Young University Fourth Stake. https://www.lds.org/ensign/1992/08/to-clothe-a-temple?lang=eng)
“The way an individual dresses reveals a lot about attitudes and priorities. Okay, I know—we’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover. But it’s hard not to form an opinion of a woman who always wears plunging necklines and short skirts, or a man who goes out in public wearing nothing more than a pair of skintight biker shorts.” (Joseph Walker, More than Hemlines and Haircuts, Ensign Feb. 1992. Joseph Walker, national media specialist for the Church’s Public Affairs Department, is second counselor in the presidency of the Bountiful Utah Orchard Stake. http://www.lds.org/ensign/1992/02/more-than-hemlines-and-haircuts?lang=eng)
“In many modern societies, standards of modesty and even decency in dress have all but vanished. Styles that once might have been seen only in a cocktail lounge or an inappropriate magazine are now being marketed to children—and at younger and younger ages.” (Jan Pinborough, Everything Good and Beautiful, Liahona Magazine, https://www.lds.org/liahona/2003/03/everything-good-and-beautiful?lang=eng)
“One mother reinforced these points in a family home evening lesson. She began by showing a picture of the Salt Lake Temple and one of a gambling casino. The family discussed how architects strive to harmonize form and function as they design buildings. They noticed how the towering spires of the Salt Lake Temple lead the eye upward toward the heavens, inviting reverence and awe. “I explained that the temple’s outer dignity and grandeur accurately reflect the sacred purpose of the building—to lead us toward God,” the mother says. Then the family discussed how the casino’s exterior reflects the purpose of that building. “We could see how the gaudiness of that building indicates excess. It beckons people to seek worldly pleasures,” this mother continues. The family talked about how building materials, colors, and design all contribute to the overall purpose of a building. “When I held up pictures of a person in modest clothing and one in immodest clothing, our children immediately made the connection that clothing can reflect the purpose of a person,” she explains. The family could see that immodest clothing draws attention to the body of the person wearing it. They could also see that modest clothing allows the spirit of the person wearing it to radiate. “We ended by discussing how the way we dress can either contribute to or detract from our divine purpose as children of God.” (Jan Pinborough, Everything Good and Beautiful, Liahona Magazine, https://www.lds.org/liahona/2003/03/everything-good-and-beautiful?lang=eng)
“Eliminate from your home any entertainment that dulls children’s sense of what is appropriate and what isn’t. Every visual medium—movies, computer games, television shows, music videos—carries a message about clothing. If a child’s favorite pop star dresses provocatively, a young child may want to copy him or her and may begin to think these styles are not so bad. If you cannot find appropriate clothing, sew or have someone else sew for your children if possible. Write to or visit stores to let them know that you want wholesome styles for your children. Even when you or your children are participating in athletics, your clothing can be modest and tasteful as well as appropriate for the activity. If your child is required to wear an immodest uniform or costume for a school or an extracurricular activity, work with the coach, teacher, or principal to find a more appropriate style. You may even need to help your child consider giving up an activity that requires inappropriate dress. Don’t buy clothing that looks unwholesome or “borderline” simply to help children fit in with or be popular with peers. Help them feel comfortable with looking different by explaining that this kind of “differentness” is one way they can affirm their faith and be a light to others. Of course, modesty goes beyond the exact length or style of a clothing item. A crude logo can make even a sweatshirt immodest. Modesty involves both the motives and attitude of the wearer. Those who flaunt their bodies or use them to get attention do not look modest, regardless of what they wear. Does my clothing draw attention to my body or to my beliefs? Do I look provocative or wholesome? Am I dressing for success in a worldly way or dressing for the respect I deserve as a child of God?” (Jan Pinborough, Everything Good and Beautiful, Liahona Magazine, https://www.lds.org/liahona/2003/03/everything-good-and-beautiful?lang=eng)
“We can create a style of our own. … We must be different. We need not do anything we do not wish to do. We can create our own style and standards. We can influence the patterns among our own people, and we can also help to develop proper community patterns.” (President Spencer W. Kimball, “On My Honor,” Ensign, Apr. 1979, 3)
“Did you ever think that your body is holy? You are a child of God. Your body is His creation. … How truly beautiful is a well-groomed young woman who is clean in body and mind. She is a daughter of God in whom her Eternal Father can take pride. How handsome is a young man who is well groomed. He is a son of God, deemed worthy of holding the holy priesthood of God.” President Gordon B. Hinckley (“A Prophet’s Counsel and Prayer for Youth,” Liahona, Apr. 2001, 37)
“You have heard the phrase ‘Your actions speak so loudly, I cannot hear your words.’ Our actions indeed speak volumes about us. We need to stand tall in following the counsel of the prophets to attire ourselves modestly. … Mothers, you can be our examples and conscience in this important matter. But remember, young people can detect hypocrisy as easily as they can smell the wonderful aroma of freshly baked bread. Parents, counsel your sons and daughters and then join with them in standing tall against immodesty.” Bishop H. David Burton, Presiding Bishop (“Standing Tall,” Liahona, Jan. 2002, 76)
“All Israel are looking to my family and watching the example set by my . . . children. For this reason I desire to organize my own family first into a society for the promotion of habits of order, thrift, industry, and charity; and, above all things, I desire them to retrench from their extravagance in dress. . . .…I am weary of the manner in which our [young] women seek to outdo each other in all the foolish fashions of the world…“I desire [our girls] to retrench from their extravagance in dress, in eating and even in speech. The time has come when the sisters must agree … to set an example before the people of the world worthy of imitation. … I want you to set your own fashions … and set the style for all the rest of the world. … I want my daughters to learn to work and to do it. … There is need for the young daughters of Israel to get a living testimony of the truth. … I wish our girls to obtain a knowledge of the Gospel for themselves. For this purpose I desire to establish … a Retrenchment Association, which I want you all to join, and I want you to vote to retrench in … everything that is bad and worthless, and improve in everything that is good and beautiful. Not to make yourselves unhappy, but to live so that you may be truly happy in this life and the life to come.” (President Brigham Young (1801–77), quoted in Susa Young Gates, History of the Young Ladies’ Mutual Improvement Association (1911), 8–10.)
“I wonder sometimes if we as mothers are the ones who make our children feel the pressure to be popular and accepted. Educating our desires so our standards are the Lord’s standards sends a clear message that in the Lord’s kingdom there are no double standards. … These scrutinizing young people notice. They notice how short your shorts are or if you had to tuck and pin to wear that blouse; they notice what you wear (or don’t wear) when you are working in your yard; they notice which line you are standing in at the movie theater.” Sharon G. Larsen, former second counselor in the Young Women general presidency (“‘Fear Not: For They That Be with Us Are More,’” Liahona, Jan. 2002, 78)
“[The] youth received a lot of attention when they put on a local fashion show that not only displayed modest fashions, but demonstrated their love for the gospel…The fashion show came after the young women and young men in the stake spent a year preparing and building community support for their efforts to promote modesty. More than 4,000 community members signed a petition encouraging stores to provide more modest clothing options, and more than 500 attended the fashion show, which was held at the stake center…In the show, the Laurels modeled, and the priests were ushers and escorts. On the runway the young women wore clothes from their own closets to show others it is possible to find modest, stylish clothes without spending purse-loads of money.” … “Dressing modestly gives me self-respect,” Amelia Weinert, 17, said. “I want boys to like me for me. Wearing the kind of dresses you find in most stores, you get attention for the wrong reason (New Era LDS Magazine, Jan. 2005, “Cute and Modest”, by JACQUELYN BENSON, MARY LEE CALL, AND EMILY O. JENNINGS, https://www.lds.org/new-era/2005/01/cute-and-modest?lang=eng)
“You see them on TV, on the covers of magazines, in the movies, even at school—girls with bare midriffs, wearing tight clothes and spaghetti straps, short skirts, and even shorter shorts. Revealing clothes are not in short supply, either. Most stores have shelves and racks full of them, especially in the summer. No wonder that as young women we’re having such a hard time finding something stylish to wear that is also modest. Instead of looking a little harder, we may be tempted to give up. Some girls may dress in the latest style without giving modesty a second thought because “that’s what everyone is wearing.” Others feel they have to dress to impress…a member of our stake presidency was asked, “How would you describe the trends and fashions for young women these days?” He replied, “More and more revealing, tighter, lower, shorter, anything to emphasize the physical body.” A recently returned missionary said, “I don’t feel like I should hang out with young women who dress immodestly because I get distracted from what I need to be doing.” … “There’s a line between suggestive and attractive. A lot of young women try to play the line, not just in their clothes, but in their makeup and attitude, too. It’s unattractive when they look suggestive and act stuck up.” (New Era LDS Magazine, “Dressed Up!” by Nikki Miner, https://www.lds.org/new-era/2003/05/dressed-up?lang=eng)
“I think it has been taught by some that as we lay our bodies down, they will so rise again in the resurrection with all the impediments and imperfections that they had here; and that if a wife does not love her husband in this stand she cannot love him in the next. This is not so. Those who attain to the blessing of the first or celestial resurrection will be pure and holy, and perfect in body. Every man and woman that reaches to this unspeakable attainment will be as beautiful as the angels that surround the throne of God. If you can, by faithfulness in this life, obtain the right to come up in the morning of the resurrection, you need entertain no fears that the wife will be dissatisfied with her husband, or the husband with the wife; for those of the first resurrection will be free from sin and from the consequences and power of sin.” (Brigham Young, JD 10:24)
“Sisters, I testify that when you stand in front of your heavenly parents in those royal courts on high and you look into Her eyes and behold Her countenance, any question you ever had about the role of women in the kingdom will evaporate into the rich celestial air, because at that moment you will see standing directly in front of you, your divine nature and destiny.” (Elder Glenn L. Pace (First Quorum of the Seventy, 1992-2010) in a Brigham Young University Devotional, March 9, 2010.)
“Wont you be so kind and so good as to take those pins or the india-rubber cords out of the back of the skirts of your dresses, so that you will look comely. They make you look uncomely, to see your dresses drawn around you, showing your form. Mothers ought to be ashamed of teaching their children such things.” (Brigham Young, JD 19:64-65)
“If I were a lady I should be careful whom I married: I should want to be pretty sure that the nam tried to live his religion as revealed to us. Young folks generally marry because they love, sometimes because they are pretty. It is said that beauty is “only skin deep,” and I believe it is so, it will shortly fade away. We should be reasonable on this subject, as well as on others; but when a person is love struck, there is no reason in them. We should never be struck very bad. We should love so that we could throw him off at any time if he does not do right.” (John Taylor, JD 19:167)
“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 and who looks in the mirror to tidy herself up before he comes home. Every woman has a right to be married to a man who keeps himself clean, physically as well as morally, and takes pride in his appearance. A husband should hurry home because of the angel who awaits him, and that angel should be watching the clock awaiting his arrival.” (Your Refined Heavenly Home by Douglas L. Callister, A BYU speech given September 19, 2006, https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/douglas-l-callister/refined-heavenly-home/ )
“President Joseph F. Smith, the sixth president of the Church, owned few things, but he took care of them. He 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.” (Your Refined Heavenly Home by Douglas L. Callister, A BYU speech given September 19, 2006, https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/douglas-l-callister/refined-heavenly-home/ )
“A great many women are more nice than wise. If they can get a man with a pretty face, they think it is all there is about it. Some men think if they can get a woman that has a handsome face, that is all there is of it. But it is that woman that has a head and sensibility,- I do not care if her head is three feet long,- it has nothing to do with the character that lives in the body. It is the character that is in the man’s house, the spirit that is in the man; it is the spirit that is in the woman and in the house that makes the woman and that makes the man.” (Brigham Young, JD 5:92)
“Let the sisters take care of themselves, and make themselves beautiful, and if any of you are so superstitious and ignorant as to say that this is pride, I can say that you are not informed as to the pride which is sinful before the Lord, you are also ignorant as to the excellency of the heavens, and of the beauty which dwells in the society of the Gods. Were you to see an angel, you would see a beautiful and lovely creature. Make yourselves like angels in goodness and beauty” (Brigham Young, DBY, 215). (see also Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, (1997), 131–36 Ch. 19 The Relief Society and Individual Responsibility; see also https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-brigham-young/chapter-19?lang=eng)
“If Jesus lives, and is the Savior of the world, Joseph Smith is a Prophet of God, and lives in the bosom of his father Abraham. Though they have killed his body, yet he lives and beholds the face of his Father in Heaven; and his garments are pure as the angels that surround the throne of God; and no man on the earth can say that Jesus lives, and deny, at the same time, my assertion about the Prophet Joseph. This is my testimony, and it is strong (Brigham Young, DBY, 459). (See also Chapter 47: President Brigham Young’s Witness of the Prophet Joseph Smith; Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, (1997), 343–51, see https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-brigham-young/chapter-47?lang=eng)
“Let the people build good houses, plant good vineyards and orchards, make good roads, build beautiful cities in which may be found magnificent edifices for the convenience of the public, handsome streets skirted with shade trees, fountains of water, crystal streams, and every tree, shrub and flower that will flourish in this climate, to make our mountain home a paradise and our hearts wells of gratitude to the God of Joseph, enjoying it all with thankful hearts, saying constantly, “not mine but thy will be done, O Father” (Brigham Young DBY, 302). (See Chapter 31: Thrift, Industry, and Self-Reliance, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, (1997), 225–33; https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-brigham-young/chapter-31?lang=eng)
“Beautify your gardens, your houses, your farms; beautify the city. This will make us happy, and produce plenty. The earth is a good earth, the elements are good if we will use them for our own benefit, in truth and righteousness. Then let us be content, and go to with our mights to make ourselves healthy, wealthy, and beautiful, and preserve ourselves in the best possible manner, and live just as long as we can, and do all the good we can (Brigham Young, DBY, 302).
“Every improvement that we make not only adds to our comfort but to our wealth.” (Brigham Young, DBY, 302)
“It is your right, wives, to ask your husbands to set out beautiful shade and fruit trees, and to get you some vines and flowers with which to adorn the outside of your dwellings; and if your husbands have not time, get them yourselves and plant them out. Some, perhaps, will say, “Oh, I have nothing but a log house, and it is not worth that.” Yes; it is worth it. Whitewash and plaster it up, and get vines to run over the door, so that everybody who passes will say, “What a lovely little cottage!” This is your privilege and I wish you to exercise yourselves in your own rights.” (Brigham Young, DBY, 200)
“Make good houses; learn how to build; become good mechanics and business men, that you may know how to build a house, a barn, or a storehouse, how to make a farm, and how to raise stock, and take every care of it by providing proper shelter and every suitable convenience for keeping it through the winter; and prove yourselves worthy of the greater riches that will be committed to you than this valley and what it can produce.” (Brigham Young, DBY, 302)
“I have been into houses which have not had the least convenience for the women, not so much as a bench to set their water pails on, and they have to set them on the floor, and yet their husbands will sit there year after year, and never make so much improvement as a bench to set the pail on. Yet they have the ability, but they will not exercise it.” (Brigham Young, DBY, 198–99)
“Let the husband make an improvement upon his kitchen and pantry and upon his bedrooms for the benefit of his family, and improve his gardens, walks, etc, beautifying your habitations and their surroundings, making pavements and planting shade trees.” (Brigham Young, DBY, 198) (See Chapter 31: Thrift, Industry, and Self-Reliance, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, (1997), 225–33; https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-brigham-young/chapter-31?lang=eng)
“People are contending, quarreling, seeking how to get the advantage of each other, and how to get all the wealth there is in the world. … But suppose we go to work to gather up all that there is in the bosom and upon the surface of our mother earth and bring it into use, is there any lack? There is not, there is enough for all. Then do look at these things as they are, Latter-day Saints, and you who are not Latter-day Saints, look at things as they are. And I do hope and pray for your sakes, outsiders, and for the sakes of those who profess to be Latter-day Saints, that we shall have good peace for a time here, so that we can build our furnaces, open our mines, make our railroads, till the soil, follow our mercantile business uninterrupted; that we may attend to the business of beautifying the earth (Brigham Young, DBY, 295).” (See Chapter 31: Thrift, Industry, and Self-Reliance, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, (1997), 225–33; https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-brigham-young/chapter-31?lang=eng)
“The Lord has done his share of the work; he has surrounded us with elements containing wheat, meat, flax, wool, silk, fruit, and everything with which to build up, beautify and glorify the Zion of the last days, and it is our business to mould these elements to our wants and necessities, according to the knowledge we now have and the wisdom we can obtain from the heavens through our faithfulness. In this way will the Lord bring again Zion upon the earth, and in no other (Brigham Young, DBY, 294).” (See Chapter 31: Thrift, Industry, and Self-Reliance, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, (1997), 225–33; https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-brigham-young/chapter-31?lang=eng)
“We will have to go to work and get the gold out of the mountains to lay down, if we ever walk in streets paved with gold. The angels that now walk in their golden streets, and they have the tree of life within their paradise, had to obtain that gold and put it there. When we have streets paved with gold, we will have placed it there ourselves. When we enjoy a Zion in its beauty and glory, it will be when we have built it. If we enjoy the Zion that we now anticipate, it will be after we redeem and prepare it. If we live in the city of the New Jerusalem, it will be because we lay the foundation and build it. If we do not as individuals complete that work, we shall lay the foundation for our children and our children’s children, as Adam has. If we are to be saved in an ark, as Noah and his family were, it will be because we build it. If the Gospel is preached to the nations, it is because the Elders of Israel … preach the Gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth (Brigham Young, DBY, 291).” (See Chapter 31: Thrift, Industry, and Self-Reliance, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, (1997), 225–33; https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-brigham-young/chapter-31?lang=eng)
“If happiness is the most attractive accessory a young woman can have, then a smile would have to be the most charming cosmetic. Make-up, if applied tastefully and in moderation, can enhance appearance. But no amount of eye shadow, lipstick, or mascara could possibly compete with the natural attractiveness of a genuine smile. It brightens the room. It cheers others. It communicates friendship, love, and optimism so much more than any cosmetic ever could. It puts people at ease and is welcoming. Truly in the world of glamour, there is no close second to a genuine smile.” (Nov. 2008 New Era Magazine, True Beauty By Elder Lynn G. Robbins Of the Seventy https://www.lds.org/new-era/2008/11/true-beauty?lang=eng)
“If you are discouraged about your appearance, it will help to see yourself through the eyes of those who love you. Hidden beauty seen by loved ones can become a mirror for self-improvements. This phenomenon of the person internalizing the expectations of others with subsequent positive change has become known as the Pygmalion effect, after the famous play in which the “guttersnipe,” Eliza Dolittle, becomes the refined My Fair Lady. The beauty was always there; Eliza only needed help from others to discover it. Our Father in Heaven provides the perfect example of this principle. He sees our divine nature. We are His children. The way He sees us, because of His love for us, is perfect. The mirror which He holds constantly before us, if we will only raise our sight to look, is the one in which we should trust. Its image is always true and never distorted. He reminds us, as He did Moses, “Thou art my son [or daughter]” (Moses 1:4).” (Nov. 2008 New Era Magazine, True Beauty By Elder Lynn G. Robbins Of the Seventy https://www.lds.org/new-era/2008/11/true-beauty?lang=eng)
“And they did impart of their substance, every man according to that which he had, to the poor, and the needy, and the sick, and the afflicted; and they did not wear costly apparel, yet they were neat and comely.” (Alma 1:27)
“And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.” (2 Ne. 23:19)
“Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.” (Psalms 29:2)
“And it came to pass that the Spirit said unto me: Look! And I looked and beheld a tree; and it was like unto the tree which my father had seen; and the beauty thereof was far beyond, yea, exceeding of all beauty; and the whiteness thereof did exceed the whiteness of the driven snow.” (1 Ne. 11:8; the tree refers to the gospel of Jesus Christ)
“I saw the transcendent beauty of the gate through which the heirs of that kingdom will enter, which was like unto circling flames of fire;” (D&C 137:2)
Isaiah speaks of babylon having it’s red and scarlet robes, and all sort of gaudy adornment, but them the gospel being simple and truly beautiful. When Jesus comes to the Nephites from the sky, he is simply wearing a white robe, and is shining!
“When thou with rebukes dost correct man for iniquity, thou makest his beauty to consume away like a moth: surely every man is vanity. Selah.” (Psams 39:11)
“Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the , she shall be praised.” (Psalms 31:30)
“In that day shall the Lord of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of his people,” (Isa. 28:5)
“And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.” (Psalms 90:17)
“But thou didst trust in thine own beauty, and playedst the harlot because of thy renown, and pouredst out thy fornications on every one that passed by; his it was.” (Ezek. 16:15)
“Honour and majesty are before him: strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.” (Psalms 96:6)
“Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.” (Ezek. 28:17)
“And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the Lord, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the Lord; for his mercy endureth for ever.” (2 Chronicles 20:21)
“All that pass by clap their hands at thee; they hiss and wag their head at the daughter of Jerusalem, saying, Is this the city that men call The perfection of beauty, The joy of the whole earth?” (Lam. 2:15)
“And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty.” (Isa. 3:24 pronouncement upon the wicked)
“For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.” (Isa. 53:2 prophecy of the Mortal Messiah Jesus Christ)
“And from the daughter of Zion all her beauty is departed: her princes are become like harts that find no pasture, and they are gone without strength before the pursuer.” (Lam. 1:6 pronouncement upon the wicked)
“Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower, which are on the head of the fat valleys of them that are overcome with wine!” (Isa. 28:1)
“I shall not attempt to paint to you the feelings of this heart, nor the majestic beauty and glory which surrounded us on this occasion; but you will believe me when I say, that earth, nor men, with the eloquence of time, cannot begin to clothe language in as interesting and sublime a manner as this holy personage. No; nor has this earth power to give the joy, to bestow the peace, or comprehend the wisdom which was contained in each sentence as they were delivered by the power of the Holy Spirit! Man may deceive his fellow-men, deception may follow deception, and the children of the wicked one may have power to seduce the foolish and untaught, till naught but fiction feeds the many, and the fruit of falsehood carries in its current the giddy to the grave; but one touch with the finger of his love, yes, one ray of glory from the upper world, or one word from the mouth of the Savior, from the bosom of eternity, strikes it all into insignificance, and blots it forever from the mind. The assurance that we were in the presence of an angel, the certainty that we heard the voice of Jesus, and the truth unsullied as it flowed from a pure personage, dictated by the will of God, is to me past description, and I shall ever look upon this expression of the Savior’s goodness with wonder and thanksgiving while I am permitted to tarry; and in those mansions where perfection dwells and sin never comes, I hope to adore in that day which shall never cease.” (Oliver Cowdrey in the Book of Joseph Smith History in the Pearl of Great Price, also in Messenger and Advocate, vol. 1 (October 1834), pp. 14–16.)
“Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined.” (Psalms 50:2)
Clothing represents attitude, perspective, & character. Let’s look into the nature of sacred vs profane, the history of clothing, the continuum of modest vs sexy, and discover the will of God in this challenging subject. Only when well informed on these matters can we muster the faith and courage to put away the false traditions of our fathers and put on the whole armor of God like unto them of old. Let us be bold and rise to the standards set forth in the temple & by the prophets so that we may see the face of God in the beauty of holiness to the Lord. When we understand the plan of salvation, modesty becomes the obvious choice.
“And again, thou shalt not be proud in thy heart; let all thy garments be plain, and their beauty the beauty of the work of thine own hands;” (D&C 42:40)
“For Zion must increase in beauty, and in holiness; her borders must be enlarged; her stakes must be strengthened; yea, verily I say unto you, Zion must arise and put on her beautiful garments.” (D&C 82:14)
“To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified” (Isa. 61:3).
“Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart; Yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul. And it pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man; for unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion. And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments” (D&C 59: 18-21).
Haydn “dressed in his best clothes to compose because he said he was going before his maker.” (Reid Nibley, in Hal Williams, “Dr. Reid Nibley on Acquiring a Taste for Classical Music,” BYU Today, April 1980, 14.)
Brigham Young said that beauty is our surest safeguard. When we see beauty we feel joy. We can trust those feelings to guide us a right! (see teachings of Hugh Nibley in Approaching Zion)
Awake Oh Zion, Put on Thy Beautiful Garments!
Modesty is one of the touchiest subjects of all religious thought. While my perspectives in this book are given bluntly, I want to emphasize that I respect whatever choices others make, and seek to defend the freedoms of everyone. I can say this even while I call for more strict dress standards, as what one choses to do with their body is up to them.
Our loving Father in Heaven has given us all agency. We all have different backgrounds experiences and understandings of how things ought to be. It is not the place of any of us to judge what another person does. This being said, I will put forth my opinions of how we should dress in general as a Zion people. I resolutely affirm that immodest dress degrades society and does not belong in public life.
I have many friends who do not share my views on modesty. I enjoy spending time with them, and value them as individuals with much to contribute to society. I lament their choices in this matter and foresee negative consequences which will exist in their lives as a result of these choices, but I still love and value them.
I believe that Christ’s teachings on modesty as voiced by the prophets will begin to increasingly come to light. A mighty Zion society will embrace these teachings and will embrace their Lord who taught them.
I do not believe that we, as a society or a church, are doing as well as we ought in implementing teachings on modest dress. I hope this book will help inspire many to reach for a higher standard along these lines as they come to a better understanding of the ‘why’ behind the counsels of modesty.
Surely as we reach Zion there we will find a universal standard of modesty, that which is practiced around the throne of God itself. The temple of course is the key to this mystery.
Some places certain things ok, others no, depending on location and time period. Therefore I say there’s only one right standard, the temple, and we are cursed until we align with that.
There’s no principle, for example, in piercing ears; If some cultures say have plenty of them, and others say one, there is no principle in it.
As sisters in Bab’lon will work ‘gainst each other, to tear down and defame one another’s good name.
We’ll flaunt our bodies for discounted prices then harvest the treasures of the rich whom we spoil.
We are daughters of Beelzebub who hates us yet we serve him yes we serve him.
We have no morals left we’ve spent them and played them and now we have nothing no children no food.
We’re all going crazy so let’s curse God and die for faith is non popular, so lets eat drink & be merry!
In a powerful message given by the great Truman G. Madsen, a compelling sermon on sacrificing like unto Abraham, he made a final statement saying something to the effect of, “and seeing all this, will we want to be known as the generation who complained about BYU dress codes? Such trivia is beneath our dignity.” Surely the issue of modesty is a great sign of rebellion of the sisters of our day, and giving it up when so many around them wont is perhaps one of their Abrahamic tests indeed.
(See “Power from Abrahamic Tests | Truman G. Madsen”)
I saw a very powerful music video recently on modesty by a Christian singer Matthew West called Modest is Hottest. Not surprisingly, the public Christians outraged against this, and made such a complaint, that he took the video down and made a public apology. I was heartbroken! Here was someone who actually stood up for what is right, and the pseudo-Christians ragged him out. Why wasn’t this man more brave in the face of opposition? Was it cares for his career, for his selling of music to an audience? Whatever it was, the incident was tragic. All the video did was to call for women to stop wearing short shorts, tops which are revealing, and ultra-tight form fitting clothing. Woe to those who cry against such things, they will fulfill the prophecies of Isaiah, which speak of the daughters of Zion becoming bald and stinking, war-torn and in dismay.
I’ve recently reviewed some Christian films called God’s Not Dead. They certainly have some good messages. I’m saddened to see in them the Christian women parading around in short shorts. What do they think they’re doing? They think that just because of their religion they can act however they want? Again, this is another sad episode of how the trial of modesty is simply more than many women can stand. How far we are from Zion!
Some suggest that modesty is a fallen concept introduced by Satan &, that in heaven no one wears clothes, including God himself. This essay responds to that false doctrine.
- AMERICANS OBSESSED WITH NUDITY DUE TO PURITAN ROOTS?
- DRESS AS A SYMBOL OF BOUNDARIES FOR YOUTH AND OLD
- GOD & ANGELS SHOW UP CLOTHED
- SATAN STEPPING IN AT EDEN
- NUDITY OK FOR BABIES & THE TOTALLY IGNORANT
- ARE MODESTY ADVOCATES PERVERTS?
- MODERN REVELATION CLARIFIES & EMPHASIZES MODESTY
AMERICANS OBSESSED WITH NUDITY DUE TO PURITAN ROOTS?
Some suggest the Puritans were overly obsessed with modesty, and this lead to an underground obsession with nudity. This is absurd. They taught righteous principles of covering the body. How much fornication and adultery existed in their society? Relatively none. Compare that to our modern society who wears tight and revealing clothing: saturated with sexual sin and crime. We here use Jesus’ formula for telling whether something is good or evil by looking at the fruits. The fruit of Puritan society was chastity, the fruit of modern society is unchastity.
Some say Americans are deprived in their modest culture so they stare at nudity as if obsessed with it. But in reality they’re shocked at seeing it just as they would be at seeing violence during breakouts or rudeness of children to their parents. The Europeans on the other hand, appear to be desensitized to this evil. Americans are not accustomed to public nudity, and they shouldn’t be.
The body itself is not evil but displaying it publicly without covering IS evil. The casual viewing of nudity can lead to a sex-for-sport culture that rips decency away and destroys families. What should be sacred and reserved for marriage – human intimacy – with all its beauty and potential can be shattered in such a culture. It’s like a gun. A gun is not inherently evil. In fact it can do great things such as ascertain food for hungry people, or defend life. However, when used in a bad way, the situation becomes evil. The Americans are not accustomed to public nudity, as they shouldn’t be.
DRESS AS A SYMBOL OF BOUNDARIES FOR YOUTH AND OLD:
In an exalted / utopian station, there are always CHILDREN. Children need to be taught boundaries. We teach them to keep a healthy distance from intimate knowledge of the bodies of others by wearing clothing and teaching standards of chastity.
In an exalted / utopian station, if there was a group of only adults, would they remove clothing? No. Clothing is SYMBOLIC. Some symbols of clothing include vulnerability. Not just any two people should be completely vulnerable to each other. It is a symbol of contracted agreement to work with a partner. The only partner who is totally savvy to our business secrets, to our methods, who is on the same playing field, who can be trusted completely, is one’s spouse. Then, when you are around other trustable people, the clothes still remain as a symbol of devotion to the spouse.
It is against human nature to expect a moral society where the literal and symbolic boundaries of clothing are not employed. Laws and boundaries are part of a moral society. The Founding Fathers of the US said even the best of people need to have morals in order to maintain a utopia, like what they set up in the US.
GOD & ANGELS SHOW UP CLOTHED:
Whenever God appears, he is dressed in a robe. The endowment shows God as clothed before Adam was clothed, so clothing originates with God. He also was dressed when He appeared with Jesus Christ to Joseph Smith in 1820. This indicates that his modus operandi is to be clothed! If God wanted to reveal the order of heaven to us as nudity, wouldn’t he show up nude? Well it’s not, and he doesn’t. The idea of nudity being the modus operandi of the gods in utopia is blasphemous.
Did Moroni show up unclothed? Moroni was wearing a robe, which is very different from nakedness. He likely had an undergarment which his robe covered. The robe was a V-neck type of gown. It would be an absurd manipulation of the Joseph Smith account to assume that Moroni was in any way immodestly dressed.
SATAN STEPPING IN AT EDEN:
Covering the body didn’t originate with Satan; it is an eternal principle. Satan usurped it and tried to be the boss and ‘enforce’ the law of God, making himself a demi-God, doing things on his time and in his way rather than in Gods time and Gods way. Remember God further clothed Adam and Eve in coats of skins even after Satan told them to clothe in leaves. Those coats of skins helped them on several levels. One of those was the symbol that like how the blood of the animal was shed to cover them to physically protect them, so would the blood of Christ be shed to cover & protect them spiritually.
Leaving innocence is important as virtue is a combination of knowledge and experience all bridled appropriately. Satan tells half-truths. The truth was to wear clothes when innocence left, the lie was making them feel they needed to hide from God.
NUDITY OK FOR BABIES & THE TOTALLY IGNORANT:
God was fine with Adam & Eve being naked in the same sense that we are fine with a newborn baby being naked. The accounts are clear: they were in a state of innocence, knowing no good or evil. Their nakedness was symbolic of their immaturity and absolute dependance upon God to meet all of their needs. When Adam grew into maturity, that became no longer appropriate. Satan’s involvement in this scenario was simply his attempt to change the pace of the process, and step in as a steward in place of the rightful leader, God.
Native American Indians who are known for historically wearing relatively nothing also do this in ignorance. Sometimes this is done out of rebellion rather than ignorance. The Book of Mormon rebukes them for going about in only a short girdle about their loins in rebellion. It was a symbol of their rebellion against civilization and God’s laws governing relationships.
ARE MODESTY ADVOCATES PERVERTS?
Well did the scriptures prophecy that in the last days, men would call good evil and evil good! I reject it not because I’m a pervert, but because I respect God’s laws.
Some say that those who advocate modesty are people who have an obsession with sex, a hypersensitivity due to an addiction. But I ask: Do you accuse God of these deviations and addictions? God is the Lord of all, and it is He that commands modesty. He knows full well the consequences of immodesty, and out of love for us gives us commandments which, if followed, can allow us to avoid the issues that stem from immodesty and unchastity which follows soon thereafter.
The Titus example of ‘to who are pure all is pure’ can’t be taken out of context. Some use this scripture to say good people doing bad things become good things. Not so. We can’t say rape robbery or incest are pure, etc. Think of renaissance nude art: the prophets likely wouldn’t want to be portrayed nude, they read Genesis, they know it isn’t aligned with Gods standard. The case of Isaiah being naked was an object lesson showing how people would be cursed for their wickedness: the state of nakedness represents slavery, vulnerability, depravity, poverty, destitution, and shame.
MODERN REVELATION CLARIFIES & EMPHASIZES MODESTY
We can’t be like the protestants and demand a specific bible verse for everything. Clothing is one of the basic standards of social life. The no-clothing argument is akin to arguing we don’t need protein, friends, married parents, scripture, or the Holy Ghost, etc., it’s just so basic that it’s hard to see how anyone could argue against it. But they certainly do.
What’s the point of me listing sources when you reject any source that comes from the church which isn’t in the bible. When I explain what the brethren have said concerning things many just say, “That’s a great story.” There’s more to scripture than just the bible, and more to law than just the standard works. There’s common law standards of public decency, etc. It boils down to whether the brethren speak with authority or not. If not, no amount of reasoning can correct them. If yes, then no amount of anti-Mormon jargon can defame them. They aren’t perfect but they’re the best that ever lived. In addition to their upright character, they have the keys of the priesthood.
Many of your beliefs don’t even align with but bible thumping protestants. They believe it’s right to wear clothes. They believe sex without marriage is sin. Though I’m sure there are some ‘progressive Christians’ out there who would say otherwise.
“Why did devotees of female-styled hair for men struggle so fiercely to encourage an unnatural adornment? “Doth not even nature itself teach you,” Paul asked, “that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?” (1 Corinthians 11:14). And the same Paul said, “But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering” (1 Corinthians 11:15). Not all men whose hair is tossed back and forth are effeminate, but surely there is some question about it. How far, we wonder, will men and women go to pay ovations to the god of style? Will men wear rings in their noses when style dictates? Will young people still fall prey to their god of style, which they worship? “Everybody does it.” Tell me: Is it not true that the dress, the grooming, paints an immediate picture and classifies a person? The famous Jerry Rubin says: Young kids identify short hair with authority, discipline, unhappiness, boredom, hatred of life and long hair with just “letting go.” Wherever we go, our hair tells people where we stand on Vietnam, lawless campus destructions, and drugs. We’re living TV commercials for the revolution. Long hair is the beginning of our liberation from sexual oppression. What group do you wish to follow and with which group do you wish to identify? Will you turn down authority and discipline and rebel against everything that is? Do you wish to be in classes with men who look manly or men who look effeminate?” (Spencer W. Kimball, “Be Ye Therefore Perfect” 1974 Devotional https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/spencer-w-kimball_ye-therefore-perfect/)
There is also something to be said about overly emphasizing the outward appearance, as expressed by Hugh Nibley, apparently speaking about the BYU dress code which he saw as overly pharisaic: “…the worst sinners, according to Jesus, are not the harlots and publicans, but the religious leaders with their insistence on proper dress and grooming, their careful observance of all the rules, their precious concern for status-symbols, their strict legality, their pious patriotism. Longhairs, beards, and necklaces, LSD and rock, Big Sur and Woodstock, come and go, but Babylon is always there: rich, respectable, immovable… We want to be vindicated in our position and to know that the world is on our side as we all join in a chorus of righteous denunciation; the haircut becomes the test of virtue in a world where Satan deceives and rules by appearances.” (Hugh Nibley, 1973 lecture that Nibley gave at BYU, later reprinted in the collection, What is Zion? Joseph Smith Lecture Series 1972-73)
“I am shocked frequently to see people who wear the worst they possess instead of their best. Grubby clothes certainly have some relationship to grubby people. There is something uplifting when people dress up and attempt to be seen at their best.” (Spencer W. Kimball, “Be Ye Therefore Perfect” 1974 Devotional https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/spencer-w-kimball_ye-therefore-perfect/)
Elder Eduardo Gaverette visited my mission and taught us that the outward appearance reveals the inner man. Naturally a bad person can look good to deceive, but what this Elder was teaching remains true, that we must be conscious of the messages we send by our appearance.
Though sometimes discouraged in and out of the church, the choice of whether a man should wear a beard is up to him. There is no commandment against it. A beard can be a handsome style if we are sure we are not sloppy in our appearance. A person isn’t better or worse based on his facial hair, but of course choices in these regards should reflect a well-kept grooming and handsome presentation.
Beards anciently were a symbol of masculinity, independence, and allegiance to God. Perhaps the time for beards is returning in this the restoration of all things!
There is much more to a person’s demeanor than the beard which can be telling of his character. Does he slouch? Does he have a firm handshake? Does he look you in the eye when speaking? Does he show up on time to work, church, and other appointments? Does he work hard, and care for the needs of his family? A righteous man can use a beard to contribute to his handsome appearance and as a reminder of his devotion to God and liberty. But a slothful man can have a beard as a symbol of mere idleness. The character of a man will shine through, beard or no beard.
Though frequently a bearded man himself, Brigham Young told Ephraim Hanks to cut off his beard at a dance. When he returned without a beard, Brigham told him to cut his mustache. He did this too. Brigham said “here is a man I can trust with great responsibility, he did everything I asked.” The point here wasn’t so much to shave as it was to be obedient to counsel. There may be times and seasons where a beard is not the thing to do.
Many prophets of this dispensation wore beards. Should godly men wear neat beards to remove the stigma?
Pastor John Weaver gave an interesting sermon on the history of beards. Here are some highlights of his sermon:
- He talks about beards being removed in times of apostacy.
- 90 percent of criminals are clean shaven.Beardless and long hair on men is a repeated sign of paganism.
- Liberal Germans promoting shaving.
- Egyptians banning beards. Egyptians putting on false beards to show themselves as Gods. Egyptians depicting their enemies with beards. Egyptians depicting false gods without beards.
- Many scriptures favor beards. (one about a man allowed several months in hiding before returning to his family as it would be disgraceful to reappear before them without his beard, etc.)
- Beards keep growing back [this point isn’t very valid as hair keeps growing back too but the New Testament still counsels men to have short hair compared to women].
- Beards distinguish men from women.
- Oaths were made by the beard.
- To have it cut off involuntarily is an insult.
- To kiss the beard is a sign of honor.
- Ancient to say the value of something you compare it to your beard. The woman compares it to her husband’s beard.
- To be without beard is the sign of a slave.
- Long hair of woman symbolizes her submission to her husband. Beard of man symbolizes his submission to God.
- Hebrews had full beards. Goatees, or cutting the corners of the heard, was what worshipers of Baal did.
- Egypt Greece & Rome pagans always tried to blur the sexes by cross dressing, etc.
- There is a movement of beard wearing now, men are getting tired of being effeminate. Tired of being slaves.
[End of lecture highlights from Pastor John Weaver]
A woman’s hair was anciently considered a symbol of her devotion to her husband. The natural hair color is preferred as being that with which God has endowed you. Long hair is one of the things that separates men from women, as stated in the New Testament, that long hair brings honor to woman, but shame to man. Christ likely had a medium length hair to the shoulders. When we say long hair, we refer to that which extends below the shoulders. Long hair for women can also serve as an aid in modesty, as it can cover some of the sacred parts of the women’s body.
Starting out with some quotes:
“It is not difficult to become perfect in avoiding a swearing habit, for if one locks his mouth against all words of cursing, he is en route to perfection in that matter.” (Spencer W. Kimball, “Be Ye Therefore Perfect” 1974 Devotional https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/spencer-w-kimball_ye-therefore-perfect/)
“Profanity is the effort of a feeble brain to express itself forcibly.” -Spencer W. Kimball
“The foolish and wicked practice of profane cursing and swearing is a vice so mean and low that every person of sense and character detests and despises it.” -George Washington
“To swear is neither brave, polite, nor wise.” -Alexander Pope
“By swallowing evil words unsaid, no one has ever harmed his [or her] stomach.” – Winston Churchill
“If you wouldn’t write it and sign it, don’t say it.” – Earl Wilson
“Profanity is the last refuge of the truly ignorant.” – Anonymous
“Such as thy words are, such will thine affections be esteemed; and such as thine affections, will be thy deeds; and such as thy deeds will be thy life.” – Socrates
“A vessel is known by the sound, whether it be cracked or not, so [people] are proved by their speeches whether they be wise or not.” – Demosthenes
“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” – Tom Stoppard
“Let thy speech be better than silence, or be silent.” – Dionysius of Halicarnassus
“Using bad language is like chewing up horse droppings. It doesn’t look very good and the smell is offensive to most people.” -Unknown
President Thomas S. Monson asked the saints to please not swear.
A few reasons not to swear:
To be polite & civil.
To be non-offensive.
To respect women & sex.
To have boundaries & be professional.
To respect authority figures.
To not appear lacking self-control & immature.
Refusing to use foul language at all times will prevent the slip of the tongue for the many instances in which its use would have bad results.
Compared to Zion standards, profanity is disrespectful regardless of society’s increasing acceptance of it.
It isn’t the words – it’s the feeling of casual aggression behind them. We have some serious swear words these days which make a mockery of the sacred. They suggest extreme violence, recreational sex, resentment, & hatred.
“All major religions have objections to the usage of bad language. One of the integral Jewish beliefs is that the Jews’ weapons are their speech and language, so using profanity is like causing their sword to become rusty. Part of Christian doctrine is that sin is a condition of the heart and is manifested in speech, and using bad language is giving evidence of the sin in their heart, and they must repent. Part of the Islamic ideology is that cursing shows a lack of self-respect, and the simple act of using bad words can escalate into worse sins. One of Mohammed’s teachings is that using bad words in reference to another Moslem is like killing them.” (https://sites.google.com/site/bleeporganization/reasons-not-to-curse)
Someone said, “Elevate language and you elevate thinking. The first thing any professional does in any field is to start with a clean space. If want to change attitudes, change thinking, and to change thinking, change language. It’s really the MOST important thing to do.”
What you think, say, and do becomes part of who you are. Therefore, your words are a reflection of what you want to be.
In many settings you will not be taken seriously if your language is vulgar. It is very difficult to get ahead when others perceive you as foolish or trite.
If you are sloppy on the little things, few will trust you with the big things.
Vulgar language puts on a false/pretend attitude of power.
Vulgarity is offensive to the Spirit of God. It is not humble. It is proud, not teachable.
Before you eat me alive and call me anti-scientific, let me assure you I’m familiar with the study showing that clothing worn by rape victims varies along the spectrum of immodest and modest alike. It is true, we can’t blame one woman for what she was wearing when she was raped. Rape is a crime. Wearing immodest clothing is inconsiderate, but typically not a crime (though private groups can have dress standards which, if not adhered to, result in removal from the group; this is the idea of ancient Israel: live like us with us, or live somewhere else). Public indecency can be criminal, perhaps we need to tighten the belt on this. We should punish rapists to the fullest extent of the law when their criminal behavior can be proven beyond reasonable doubt (not just he said she said, him vs her). The definition of rape is sexual involvement against the will of one of the parties. Rape is the fault of whoever wasn’t voluntarily interacting in the encounter.
This doesn’t mean that a drunk girl can say the next day ‘that was stupid… I didn’t REALLY want to do that, but I was drunk and not in my normal headspace… I guess I was raped’. Studies show that MOST people, men and women alike, often regret sexual encounters when drunk (refer to publications of Dr. Warren Farrell for those studies).
The victims that the rapists choose are those they perceive as weak. In our culture, we view immodest women as bold and strong (though in reality usually the opposite is true, and women use public immodesty as an attempt to get attention to cope with a sense of powerlessness). Rapists prey on the weak and the simple. This is one of the reasons that modest women are often the ones raped. Criminals don’t always rape the immodest (they rape anyone), but immodesty does contribute to the evolution of a predator. It effects their minds, and this connection should be taken seriously!
Statistics about what a woman was wearing when she was raped are completely irrelevant! The only statistic that we should worry about are the number of women raped. We should use that statistic as an alarm indicating that we need to change the way our society deals with sexual things. What is worn in public is one of those sexual topics that should be addressed.
It’s not about what the victim was wearing, it’s about what makes the rapist a rapist. By the time he approaches and attacks his victim, he is already mentally deranged. The rape is a fruit of seeds planted long ago. Some of those seeds were from seeing immodest women in public frequently, and dealing with the frustration of seeing the sexual side of a woman, and not having access to it, day after day.
Immodest clothes tease and torment men, and deliver a message of ‘don’t you wish you had this’. The man turned rapist is frustrated at constantly being shown what he can’t have. Do we excuse his behavior? Of course not! Do we recognize the link between immodesty and his devolution? We must!
The rapist, long exposed to immodesty, starts to see even modest woman with a ‘what would she look like naked’ lens. These deranged men (it’s usually men) also think, ‘ill bet my odds of getting away with touching her are higher because she looks quiet, so maybe she won’t talk, and she also looks timid, so she’ll be frightened if I threaten her.’
We can eliminate one of the root problems: women exposing themselves publicly. This leads to poisoning of men, throwing the men into an overly sexual mindset. This takes place over a long period of exposure. This is the result of a society who makes things meant to be private as acceptable in public. When society cannot understand the boundaries of sacred vs public, things break down.
We can’t just look at rape statistics, we must look at sexual promiscuity statistics. Look at how society doesn’t wait for marriage for sex. Look at how willing people are to be sexually active with strangers they’ve only known for a few minutes.
Sex has gone from a sacred guarded communion between people who have covenanted to care for each other forever, to a sort of a fleeting sport to be enjoyed by bored individuals. When the lines of when it’s ok to be sexual have been so distorted, is it any wonder that some men think it’s not a big deal to get someone to play this sport when they don’t want to? When people dress immodestly, they are essentially showing up in “sport” apparel, is it any wonder that men assume they want to play the sport? The naked body is the uniform for the ‘sport’ of sex. Sometimes people walk around in clothing which almost completely exposes their entire bodies.
Rapists often target people among their associates, modest or not. If the person they want is modest, they won’t let that stop them. This is another reason why rape occurs for the modest and immodest alike.
There exists a phenomenon that sexual predators, in the heterosexual world and homosexual world, attack those they perceive to be virgins, seeking to be the one to initiate them into the world of sex. There exists a fantasy in the mind of the predator of winning a young virgin to themselves. Traditionally, marriage was between two young virgins. The predator wants the ‘happily ever after’ scenario of marrying (or at least sleeping with) a young virgin, and in his twisted psychosis, he therefore attacks a woman who, as sometimes manifest by a modest appearance, he perceives to be a virgin.
Predictors may perceive modest women as not being in a relationship due to our culture that suggests modesty correlates with inexperience and abstinence. Fantasies of predators often include their victims happily participating in the sexual encounter, rather than being terrified & traumatized. The predator has a false hope that his victim will learn to love him and agree to be in a relationship with him due to their encounter.
Since rape sometimes happens to modest women, does this mean all women should dress immodest to avoid rape? No, it means if we cultivate public nudity, we get sex culture, and in sex culture, we get people who want sex but don’t know healthy ways to get it, so they take it by force from whom they calculate to be the least risky candidate.
One critical component in the solution for ending rape culture is for women not to show their bodies in public. Let the women say by their dress ‘there are things that are meant to be private, and not accessible, even for viewing, to the public.
Can anyone deny that those of centuries past would be shocked and appalled at what we wear in public today? What would they say, if you asked them, what some possible results would be of dressing this way in public? They might say ‘your society is obsessed with sex!’. They might say, ‘I’de be worried sick about my children’s safety in such a society!’. They might say, ‘this is an amoral and Godless people, and they will doubtless have no regard for sacred things!’. They might say, ‘women who don’t clothe themselves are putting themselves in serious danger!’ They might say, ‘women who don’t clothe their beautiful bodies will be in part responsible for corrupting men!’ To them, the body itself was sacred.
Consider a temple. It is closed to the public. Its exterior is beautiful, but not revealing. Only the interior unlocks the mysteries. To enter, one must have a recommend. When a woman makes her body visible to the public in sexual ways (meaning taking the way she dresses to the extreme by tight form fitting clothing, and low cut or absent clothing), she is in essence saying, ‘I am not a temple, anyone may see what goes on here.’ The modest woman is saying ‘I am a temple, the details of my person are limited access for my husband only. He has made an oath to be faithful to me, and therefore only he may access the glory of my temple.’ The immodest woman is setting herself and society at large up for failure by sending a message that ‘my glory has no requirement, no standard for viewing; the corrupt and the holy alike may behold my glory.’
Consider God the Father: to look upon him would be death, as we are not prepared to be in his presence; the majesty of his presence would consume us; so why do we give access to the masses, when God has set the example of limited access?
Anciently nudity is associated with mating (sex). It wasn’t every day that you saw the intimate curvature of women, and especially not frequently and in high numbers. Men are biologically programmed to think of sex when they see the details of a female body.
Men’s brains can go from day to day activities to sex in a split second. Read any book on sexuality, and you’ll see that the scientists are saying that male and female sexuality are different in some fundamental ways. Better said, sexual thoughts knock on the door of men’s brains more frequently, especially when they are exposed to nude or semi-nude females, especially healthy ones, as every man is attracted to healthy women. Some attribute this to an evolutionary biological foundation of males mating with more females to keep populations alive. There is a socio-historical tradition of polygamy in many ancient societies. Men are hard wired for sex.
Men are more capable of emotionally detached sexuality than women. The one-night ‘hook up’ culture leaves women particularly dissatisfied.
Women are historically (and today) the ones who focus on beauty more so than the men, making men the seekers and women the givers, so to speak. Yes there is the peacock, and other cultures of male beauty, but by and large the female is the beauty historically and at present. While woman has the right to be attractive, she should present herself as more than a sexual being, which would in turn help men not develop sex addictions.
In the atom of human sociology, men are the electrons, and women are the nucleus. Women are the center around which men build their lives. Men go to work to support the more important things the woman is managing at home. Without the woman doing the holy work of rearing children at home, the day to day work of man is essentially pointless. Don’t give me that nonsense about man building the economy. Economy is a secondary value compared to child rearing. When we view ourselves as an economical rather than moral family oriented people, we will fall both economically and emotionally into poverty and depression in mass.
If you are in doubt as to whether our clothing is based in sex and therefore contributing to sex addictions, you need to look no further than to the one single most popular word we use to describe clothing that we like: SEXY.
When the clothes we wear in public are associated with sex (we call them sexy), how dare we deny that it affects our psyche, and thereby our behavior! The go-to status symbol of our society has become a continuum of how sexual (sexy) someone is. By the way, can a modest appearance truly be called sexy? No. Modesty and sexiness are two polar ends of a continuum. The definition of those words makes that clear: sexiness tends toward sexuality, modesty leads away from sexuality. Modesty covers, sexiness exposes.
Sex is a powerful drug. Anyone over stimulated on it will develop a tolerance to it, and seek to consume it in higher quantities and new ways than those historically found in nature, or in other words, in the nature of a civilized people.
Many therapists are overloaded with cases dealing with pornography addictions. Overexposure of a powerful substance leads to addiction. This invariably numerically leads to more people who don’t know healthy ways to satiate their abnormal hunger for copious amounts of sex, which will result in rape (taking it weather it’s offered to them or not so as to feed their monstrous growing passion). This fact is obvious in the world of addiction. Addicted persons often resort to theft to get their fix. Rape is theft by a sex addict. Addiction distorts the mind, blurring the natural consequences for crimes.
Overstimulation to sex in our society is something that no one is willing to admit, just like how we are all addicted to food, and no one’s willing to admit that either; we’re all seeking too much pleasure; Studies have shown that eating food brings similar pleasure levels as sex. Anyone who is overweight is, as the famous nutritionist Joel Fuhrman states, addicted to food.
I propose that anyone who wears immodest clothing is addicted to sex, and anyone who seeks immodest women is likewise addicted to sex. Well have the prophets said that men who give romantic attention to immodest women are men of little character.
Let’s remember that the prophets have said that tight form-fitting clothing is also immodest. Does anyone care? Hardly! Social norms are changing fast. The doors to social woes are, with tight fitting clothing and other trends away from the sacred nature of the body, swung open to a society full of sex addicts. The trend of increasing tolerance for evil is also evident in health science. Many are over the suggested BMI, and our ‘healthy’ BMI is far above that of societies with the greatest longevity historically. 23 not 25 is the BMI average of blue zone societies who live the longest, yet our culture of tolerance for obesity has said 25 is the healthy BMI. We are beginning to consider a certain level of overweight as the new normal, just like how we are considering a new level of immodesty as normal. These unhealthy new norms are not without serious consequences.
Jesus Christ is a brilliant psychologist who understands the workings of the mortal mind, and knows which safeguards should be put in place to preserve morality happiness and freedom. When women trying to be beautiful cross the line and become immodest, a weakness in their character is revealed. This same character weakness is revealed in men who flirt with immodesty. The standards of morality have been revealed – let us guard these moral standards with modesty.
The reason I write this is because often people try and justify immodest clothing saying it has nothing to do with sexuality.
Extramarital sex and rape are two different things, but the immodest woman is more likely to accept rather than reject the sexual advances. If the man is determined, which unfortunately he often is, this will result in the modest woman being raped, and the immodest woman having just another affair. We have so much unchastity now that many don’t require marriage for sex.
If we were to track the sexual activity of both victims of rape as well as consenting persons, I predict we would see through the roof increased sexual encounters of those who dress immodestly compared to those who dress modestly.
Modest dress sends the message that ‘this body is not open to the public!’ Immodest dress, though not permission to touch, suggests a much more casual attitude regarding the body and the interpersonal limits pertaining to it. Immodest clothes communicate the message that sex is a diversion more so than something that only takes place when a long term commitment has been made.
We need to be a more chaste society, and though we rebuke the rapist 10000-fold, we should also rebuke the immodestly dressed person even if only 10-fold. Immodesty and rape are forms of unchastity. Rape is obviously a MUCH more serious crime than immodesty, but we must confess the fallen nature and serious consequences of both.
- Make pornography illegal in every particular.
- Make consensual adultery illegal (it harms society in a similar way that consensual homosexuality harms society, or that any other negative behavior of consenting adults harms society. Just because two adults consent doesn’t make something ok!).
- Make immodesty a crime in Zion (let gentiles to their own destruction, and let us flee to Zion), and crack down on it (public indecency is already a crime but we need to crack down on it, raising the standards which are currently basically non-existent gwith exception of full nudity). Give tickets/fines to immodest people for indecent public exposure and disturbance of the peace. (When Cleon Skousen was chief of police in Salt Lake City, prostitution and other crimes were virtually eliminated because he cracked down on these crimes; then the people thought he was being too strict, particularly a liberal politician trying to find a way to get elected, and so they appointed someone else as chief of police who wasn’t as strict, and lo and behold, the crime rates went back up! Too many of us saw that coming. I can’t imagine that if Jesus Christ were the chief of police, he wouldn’t crackdown on crime. The kingdom of heaven is a place without crime, it is not tolerated there. Satan and his 1/3 were indeed expelled! Did not Jesus teach us to pray ‘thy kingdom come and thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven’? if you want to do crime there you’re welcome to go somewhere else. An old saying goes that if you want to live in Zion, live like a saint. But if you want to live like a pagan, then go live in Babylon.
- Sexuality is tolerated (and essential) only inside marriage, not outside of it. Adultery used to be illegal. Let it be illegal again!
- Limit sexual product exposure such as underwear to a women only section of a store (it’s not uncommon today for these products to be made quite public). What a disgrace. People who do this are women haters. No respect. They’re exploiting women to try and lure people to give them money. The entire immodesty industry is just about money: getting insecure or flagrantly boisterous girls to give them money in exchange for the cheap attention it will buy them from men.
- Women, stop dressing immodestly. Only one in a million men has the strength to avert his eyes in the presence of an immodest woman. Like the dealer of drugs, so is the vendor of immodest clothing playing on the weaknesses of men’s character, and his profits are what the scriptures call ‘filthy lucre’. These exploiters are indeed filthy! We know what the scriptures say about filthiness; it has no place in the kingdom of God. The healthy female body is beautiful, but those who exploit it or make it a cheap thing treated casually, those are they whose hands are not clean. The Psalmist assures us that none with unclean hands will ascend to the mount of the Lord.)
- Encourage a culture of marrying at a younger age; here we have people who are biologically sexually activated a decade before being allowed to be sexually active. We tell them ‘don’t marry (and be sexual) until your late 20’s!’ We can teach the standard of abstinence until marriage, and simultaneously teach the standard of ‘don’t rape people’ by creating a culture of marrying a younger age. Puberty is when a person becomes sexual, and waiting a historically long period of time before marriage and sexuality is setting up for failure. When mature, an adult should not delay marriage.
(And for those who say waiting for marriage for sex is bad, statistics show that the more people you’ve slept with before marriage, the more likely you are to get a divorce. And I don’t need to explain the detriment of divorce (it being particularly cruel on the psychology of children who have the right to two parents from beginning to end). Saving sex for marriage is common sense, but our generation seems to be running low on that.)
- Men here’s something you in particular can do. Immodest women turn heads. It’s a simple fact. But you must muster the superhuman strength (usually exclusively available via prayer) to not look at immodest women. Pay them with your attention only when they don’t dress in a way that contributes to sex culture. Save your sexuality for the marriage bed, just like they should be doing. Sexually delight only in whom the Lord has given you permission to sexually delight in.
- Stop giving immature children access to cell phones and social media. They have no clue how to appropriately use these. This is a powerful tool designed for mature adults. Like not allowing youth to drive before 16 (or thereabouts) and to not allow them to date before 16, so should we limit this most powerful tool News flash: Everyone with social media is dating! Their tender stage of development isn’t designed to combat such potent evil as can be accessed via phones. The reason children live at home until they are mature is because they need extra help fighting off evil while their prefrontal cortex’s are developing. Don’t expect them to be masters warriors in arenas they should never have to enter. If you insist on giving them a phone, don’t give them social media accounts. Don’t give them Wi-Fi passwords. Don’t give them 24/7 access to those phones. There is more to life than phones. Don’t give unlimited calls and texts or data. Check phones to see if they’re deleting things, remove phone if they are. Well did Elder Jeffrey R. Holland say, “Second only to your love, your children need your limits.”
Thesis: Modesty is the opposite of sexy, you can’t have both. Sexuality shouldn’t be on public display, but should be reserved for married couples in private settings. Women shouldn’t seek to be the center of attention by their dress. The temple is a model of modesty we should emulate. Tight clothing is immodest, aka sexually provocative. The phrase “modest is hottest” isn’t true, since modest clothing shouldn’t elicit sexual arousal, as indicated by the word ‘hot’.
There’s a new company advertising in Utah to sell clothes that are ‘sexy modest’. Here’s how it goes. There is a continuum. On the one side, is modest. On the other is sexy. They are 2 opposites. The modesty side suggests to the audience a person, just a person. An intelligent person who you can interact with to build society. The other side of the continuum suggests to the audience ‘sex’.
Look at the word ‘sexy’. The ‘y’ on the end means ‘pertaining to’. If something is ‘fruity’ it pertains to fruit. Fluffy pertains to fluff. Spongy pertains to sponges and sponginess. So sexy pertains to sex.
On the far end of the continuum on the sexy side is a healthy nude woman presenting herself for immediate mating with her husband. A little further on the continuum toward modest is a woman in per se a bikini, and so forth. If women are trying to be modest and sexy at the same time, it’s not going to happen! It’s like trying to turn left and turn right at the same time, won’t happen folks! So, let’s stop obsessing over being ‘sexy’ and settle for all things relating to sex to be left to married peoples’ bedrooms. The Sexy Modest company could better call themselves “Sort of Modest Clothing” or “Only a little bit Sexual Clothing”.
Another popular term I reject is “Modest is Hottest”. To say a woman is ‘hot’ comes from a sexual connotation. In the Spanish language to say ‘estoy caliente’ (I am hot) means ‘I want sex’. Technically speaking, the ‘hottest’ is the far end of the continuum on the sex side. So no, modest isn’t hottest, and that’s ok! Public clothing shouldn’t be “hot”! It shouldn’t make people get ‘hot’, aka shouldn’t sexually arouse other people. Is modest dress the most attractive to wear in society? Yes certainly! Nothing to me is more attractive than to see a person clothe themselves with dignity! That is attractive! That is the kind of person I want to associate with, the kind of person I can have an intellectual moral conversation with! But the purpose of public life is not to sexually attract each other. The attractiveness we seek is of character and dignity. Truly our society is a million miles away from heaven culture!
Further, parents should be more involved in the mating of their children. I’m not calling for arranged marriages, but parents should accommodate settings and relationships from youth which are wholesome, and then not get in the way when the youth are ready to wed at an earlier age than the parents typically allow. Mature young people should marry others similar to their age.
One pitfall concerning modesty that many fall for is the tightness issue. Hate to break it to you, but tight clothing is immodest clothing. Has everyone forgotten this? It was common knowledge not long ago. Tight clothing reveals more of the sexual components of a person. The ‘strength of youth’ manual makes no qualms about this and says to avoid ‘tight or revealing clothing’. Brother Brigham called out the sisters of his day, telling them that having their dresses drawn tightly around their forms makes them unattractive (JD 19:64-65). So no, I don’t need to know the exact shape of your breasts buttocks and thighs to appreciate you as a person! Please show dignity and respect for bystanders who never asked to see that. Believe in yourself, your value in society is more than skin deep. One movie depicting the Little Woman book has a part where one of the girls wears a short skirt. The other says to her “you’re better than that.” Oh what rare character to be able to identify this as inappropriate! Cheers for this girl who recognized that immodesty is selling oneself short!
Where is the woman who is reserved in her manner of dress? She is becoming extinct. I prefer to see someone humble, reverent, meek, reserved, content, unpretentious, docile, unobtrusive, and polite, than someone who is brazen, overbearing, domineering, pushy, rude, haughty, inflated, conceited, flamboyant, boastful, imposing, pompous, bragging, imperious, egotistic, arrogant, proud, and flaunting themselves as though there were no law, no restrictions, no guidelines, only self-government, as though there were no God to hold them accountable for their interactions with their fellow beings. Immodest women demand worship/praise without doing anything to earn it. They biologically hijack the unsuspecting passer by and drug them with the quick release pleasure of their overbearing appearances.
People say, ‘ah but its ok to be attractive!’ I don’t disagree with that. But so many cross the line. Women have to be satisfied without being the envy of the world by their dress. Modest dress simply won’t attract as large of an audience – deal with it! So you can’t be as adored by the masses as the queen of Egypt, deal with it! For the sake of your dignity, men’s sanity, and the precious innocence of children please, cover your powerful bodies! Ditch the public sexy life! The temple is an example of a place where there is NO PUBLIC DISPLAY OF SEXUALITY whatsoever. Let’s model our society after the temple, and keep sexiness where it belongs!
I never said men are excused in rape because of sexual clothing of women. I disagree with you on your ideas how women should dress but we can agree to disagree. As for celebrating the body as a temple, temples are closed to the general public. I think our bodies should be too. Here is a question for you: why don’t we just walk around in the nude?
We shouldn’t try to be ‘sexy’ in public. Yes, the word sexy has become synonymous with attractive, but I think it sends a bad subliminal message to young people (and everyone else). I’m also a bit skeptical of some of what we call modest, we like to wear tight clothes that I think push it too far.
A friend had this to say, “I too found the name to be Contradictive. As a woman I am concerned by those who feel that they have the Right to wear whatever they want to wear, but then say that the men DON’T have the Right to look, feel, or think how they want too. Why are Her rights more Important than His? While she’s saying, “How dare he look at me that way?” He could be saying, “How dare she dress in a way that makes it hard for me to look away?” I have 4 sons who have been taught to respect women. Why are women no longer taught to respect men?”
This company likely sells lots of modest clothes it’s just not good that they advertise being sexy, and they obviously don’t understand the meaning of the words ‘sexy’ and ‘modest’, however ironic.
Yoga pants are a plague. Can someone explain to me how those don’t qualify as ‘tight fitting clothing’ which the For the Strength of Youth standard booklet bans?
Perhaps I am taking all of this too seriously; I’m just trying to make the point that modest and sexy are 2 opposites, and it’s weird / dangerous when people think they can have both. On the far left of the modest sexy continuum is a woman presenting for mating. On the far left of that continuum is something like a temple robe. We’re lost touch with what the word ‘sexy’ means, it means pertaining to sex. How detestable that we’ve made being sexy a desirable public thing. Everything pertaining to sex should be reserved for married people in private.”
Some suggest temple garments vary in coverage which indicates immodesty is ok. I am fine with the variations of temple garments as sold by the church. One big issue is that lots of immodesty today is about tightness of clothing, and garments don’t stop that. Showing more skin than what garments cover is obviously misusing the garment, but so is extreme form fitting clothing.
I want to be somewhat sensible in how I wrap this up, but my apologies in advance, my opinions on this topic are quite serious and there’s really not a gentle way to go about this. I feel that to understand the point I’m trying to make we need to step back and get a bigger world view, so here it goes. My attack isn’t focused against this “Sexy Modest” clothing company, which is probably trying to do a good thing, but more so against what their name reflects about our present society, and implies for our society in the near future. The attempt to bridge modest and sexy is a reflection of a sex obsessed society. This company’s title (Sexy Modest) both a reflection of this obsession, and breeds more of the same. I will also attempt to show what’s behind the ‘it’s just language shift’ argument.
This isn’t an attack on any one person, it’s an attack on our societal norms, the which are most difficult to escape, and often quite hidden from our understanding. In fact, we eventually get to the Noah principle, which is that when things get really bad in our society, the most merciful option God can use, and hence the one he eventually employs, is to burn society down and start afresh. The rising generation have decreasing power to succeed the more saturated our culture becomes in evil. Well did Joseph Smith say, “Noah came before the flood, I have come before the fire.” In fact, in Matt. 24:22 Jesus prophecies that in the last days, unless the 2nd coming happens soon, we’re not going to make it, “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” God will have mercy on us and soon remove us from this thoroughly corrupt society. Not a few prophets have declared that this generation is parallel in evils to Sodom, and that deliverance is neigh.
(PS – if any LDS person still feels that the 2nd coming of Christ is scores or even hundreds of years distant, I invite them to review these messages from our prophet Russel Nelson: “You are True Millennials (2016) and “Youth Battalion of the Lord (2018).)
ON WORD MEANINGS & AGENDAS:
Should we go with the flow in the shift from sexy meaning pertaining to sex to it meaning ‘attractive’? If the word sexy has changed from its original/root meaning, we should fight to put it back. It’s like saying anyone who can sing about “Jesus Rockstar” is a Christian. Another definition we have lost is Sabbath. Sabbath is now associated more with holiday than holy day. We’ve lost the term ‘courting’ to ‘hanging out’. We’ve turned the term ‘unchastity’ into ‘testing sexual chemistry’. We say, “she’s hot!” when that too is a sexual reference. As before mentioned, in Spanish, “estoy caliente” (I’m hot) means “I want sex”. It suggests that someone’s appearance is triggering our sex hormones, increasing our body temperature, etc. Sure, we’ve adapted to our environment and can control our thoughts from always going to sex when a woman is immodest, but being modest has merit in and of itself. And we will lose less young people who haven’t developed this control yet if we shift to a modest culture and dialogue. There are scores of examples of how people with an agenda have changed the words we use to make good not seem so good, and bad not seem so bad. Language does influence culture. The book 1984 by George Orwell and the book Brave New World by Aldous Huxley have brilliant commentary on language becoming a political weapon to change culture. Let’s not go with the flow on these revisions, let’s make a separate side society which hasn’t lost its mind. “The Emperor” has put on a nice set of new clothes folks! Will we just let him strut around like that or will we speak up?!
Have you guys seen all the restaurants and banks advertising that their business is ‘the sexiest’? They suggest that the more you use their products, the sexier you’ll become! To me it’s this simple: We are obsessed with sex! We’ve made sex and sex-ness our measuring rod for cultural excellence and desirability. Intellect? Not interested!
Here’s an idea, let’s just change our coinage to be called sex! I can see it now: “That’s going to cost you 2 sexes sir.” “Ah what a rip off! A piece of junk like this should only cost 1 sex!” “Nah man this is super-hot, I would give at least 2 sexes for this baby!” “Did you bring the sex?” “I’ve been saving up my sex all week now let’s go spend it!” etc. WHAT THE HECK! This is where we are going folks. Actually, our slang “F” word has essentially already accomplished this, and it’s a matter of time till the slang becomes the norm. Even in the past decade the “F” word and its sexual connotation has made leaps and bounds of being publicly accepted as normal language. End the trend of allowing vulgarity in the name of expression. Yes, clothing, not only speech, can be vulgar and coarse.
Just ask people who lived 100 years ago – if you would have told them that the word ‘sex’ would be the new word for ‘cool/attractive’, they would have gasped and called you a charlatan. Imagine how ugly that could get. I will spare you from offering specific examples, but people really do just that, they take a word about a sexual body part, and use it in speech to express any excitement, and even any disappointment. So, what’s it going to be like 100 years from now? (or 10 from now; Actually, I’ve even heard people speak in this very way at the present date. It breaks my heart and leaves me speechless. The go to swear word of our time, the “F” word, is commonly understood to mean 2 things: to destroy or damn, and to participate in sexual intercourse.) You think me crazy for using this logic, but I have proven that given the dramatic shift in the past 100 years in language, dress, chastity and overall respectfulness, that these future predictions aren’t radical but logical outcomes of our current trajectory. Well was it said by a builder of this nation Samuel Adams that a people universally corrupt in their manners cannot be governed by even the best of systems. Alas, as the prophet Isaiah has said, we soon we find ourselves torn from war in our own and, and we will sit upon the ground and weep (as he said while describing the curses that follow the proud and haughty daughters of Zion).
It becomes harder and harder to teach my children not to be obsessed with sex in our sex obsessed society. A young person, even if subconsciously, thinks, “if being sexy is the ideal, if I have sex, I will be ideal!” In other words, you could hear a young person say “oh Jon said my shirt is sexy, that I am sexy. Hey, wait a second, I remember a word just like sexy which could help me get Jon for my boyfriend, sex! Why didn’t I think of this before! Sex, sexy, they’re almost the same word! Jon seems to like things pertaining to sex and sexiness, maybe if I have sex with him, he will like me!” (If this isn’t making sense, consider this analogy: if vanilla was a favorite thing in society, we could say “that’s so vanilla!”, or “that looks/tastes like vanilla!”. Eventually, the female would logically say to herself, ‘this boy keeps commenting about whether things are “vanillay” or not, he must love vanilla, I will give him vanilla so he will like me!’) Yes, there are young women who have said that the way they know whether a boy likes them or not is by weather the boy will speak to them after sex. This proves sex has become a societal measuring rod of excellence. It’s a low bar. We’ve got some problems people!
I may find myself having this conversation, “What are your goals in life son?” “Um, duh dad, were you born last century? My goals are centered on frequent sex with as many women as possible!” I’ll respond “Well actually son I was born last century… At any rate, we’ve got some talking to do. If you stick to your current philosophy, you’re going to hell.” Then of course we would explain why such a pursuit would lead to the misery of hell, and eventually the location of hell, essentially due to failing to understand and uphold the dignity of human life, and leaving a wake of chaos and depression for generations to come.
Hopefully television has a very limited invitation in our homes, lest this doctrine of sex seeking be relentlessly taught and hardly resisted, even if subliminally and subconsciously taught.
Birth control is a great plague of our time. It may perhaps be justified when there are extreme health conditions but by and large its effect has been to create promiscuity like this world has never seen before, crushing the ancient societal norms and dialogue from ways of duty to ways of indulgence. Sex was the sacred ritual of life which took place between the two people who had vowed to stay together to care for all of the natural fruits of their love (the children). Now it’s too often used as a mundane beastly pleasure hoard fest, like the priests of King Noah, they spend all their strength with harlots rather than doing productive things in society. Oh but don’t call anyone a harlot, that’s offensive. Feminism is famous for saying “Men are sexually promiscuous without repercussions, in the name of equality, help us to have that too!” Rather than what they should have said is, “Men are being scandalous! Women, you must take the moral high ground, boycott scandalous men, and if anyone forces themselves upon us, castrate them and jail them for a decade!” Part of our problem is that we don’t punish provable rape severely enough. But another problem is that sex is taken so lightly in general. Would we see so much rape if sex wasn’t viewed as casual and inconsequential sport? No, and history vindicates that. In societies where sex was in its proper sacred role and modesty was a given, these type of crimes were virtually non-existent.
And then there’s that pesky biological attraction factor which says the more sexual a woman appears, the harder for a young untrained man to resist her, and the harder for the trained man to keep his thoughts clean. Many psychologists agree that women often fail to realize how powerful the appearance of a woman is to a man. President Spencer W Kimball said that immodest dress of women leads to impure thoughts of man, and that the immodest dress is a sin of the woman (men can be immodest too, but usually their crime is in rewarding immodest women with undue attention and robbing the well clothed of any attention at all). He agrees that women often fail to realize the effect they are having on men with their dress (ref).
Women dress immodesty for attention because it works! All that hassle, goodness me, it’s a lot of work to put on such a pompous presentation, but they do it because it works. Supply and demand. So really this rebuke isn’t just directed to women, it’s also directed to men for brewing up such nonsense of our women folk.
Here’s one many haven’t thought of before that one of my BYU professors brought up in a marriage class at BYU: The adults are too obsessed with sex too. Adults have been taught that chastity is something we strap ourselves down to until marriage then they are free! No more restraint! But really, it’s disabling the Elders of Israel to have them living with sex-oriented goals. They go to business college so they can get plenty of money so they can attract a model wife and have plenty of sex. Well did Nibley point out that a theme of Babylon is that they insist on having plenty of sex (ref)! This is part of why divorce is so high today. Spencer Kimball said sex is one of the if not the very top issue people divorce over (ref). We’re teaching bad ideas about sex and expecting marriages to resist it. Fail!
Yes, there is moderation and gray area, but I submit that in and out of the church, we are too immodest. Seeking sexiness in our clothing is not helping.
There’s a principle called Hegelian dialect. The basic premise is that if you take something you want to change, and start shouting for the extreme, eventually the people will ‘meet in the middle’ which is what they wanted in the first palace, or at least closer to what the extreme they wanted, at which point they apply the dialect again to push things further. This happens over and over until what was once far right has become far left. It’s like Lachoneus, “come down just a little. Ok now a little more. Very nice. Coming along very nicely now…” So, we have the 2 polar opposites: modesty (essentially temple robes) and sexy (essentially nudity). The more people call for sexiness, the more the modest people feel they need to move to the left to be more tolerant and ‘realistic’. We move more and more left, and before you know it, like the frog put in the pot of cold water slowly heated to a boil, we never saw it coming. Big issues come along as the fruits of immodesty and sex-oriented culture. We have accepted the modest sexy dogma, that ‘slightly sexual is the new modest’. Though the church isn’t as corrupt as society at large when it comes to modesty, we’ve seen in the past 50 years how small compromises of accepted public behavior have led to essentially women walking around in bikinis in the summer. We’re almost as bad as Europe with this stuff, they have plenty of nude beaches, lots of nudity everywhere in Germany. Europe leads the way in social corruption. America resists European trends but eventually follows them. Similarly, the LDS resist American trends, but eventually follow them. The Church stays ahead of society, but trails the world, sadly. Zion thinks she is ok when she is better than Babylon, but in reality, Zion’s destiny is to be completely different than Babylon, its antithesis. Look at childbearing for example. US went from about 4 to 2 average, LDS have gone from about 6 to 4 average. LDS still ahead, but falling proportionately with the masses. We are, as a people, inevitably influenced by the culture we live in. We have not embraced the separation Zion requires. The Book of Mormon explains that the Lord’s people are the only ones not lead astray, BUT EVEN THEY err because of wicked doctrines surrounding them, “They wear stiff necks and high heads; yea, and because of pride, and wickedness, and abominations, and whoredoms, they have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men.” (2 Ne. 28:14) God told the great Joseph Smith that “you cannot always tell the wicked from the righteous” (D&C 10:37). So not even Joseph, that mighty archangel of the last dispensation, could always tell who was to be trusted. This means we shouldn’t think it strange that it’s possible for us to get lead astray on some matters. We are not fool proof yet. Alexander Pope’s famous poem comes to mind, “Vice is a monster of so frightful mein, as, to be hated needs but to be seen; Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face, We first endure, then pity, then embrace.”
Some people are such adamant advocates for women’s right to wear whatever the blazes they want that I must ask them: so why do we wear clothes at all? Once they answer that question, which they often don’t, we can start to talk about where to draw the line, and why we should try to be modest at all.
The “For The Strength of Youth” handbook says we should avoid tight and form fitting clothing. Here is the quote, “Immodest clothing is any clothing that is tight, sheer, or revealing in any other manner. Young women should avoid short shorts and short skirts, shirts that do not cover the stomach, and clothing that does not cover the shoulders or is low-cut in the front or the back.” (https://www.lds.org/youth/for-the-strength-of-youth/dress-and-appearance?lang=eng ) The prophets have declared their message, and now we see how the saints respond to the word of God. We teach the doctrines the prophets have taught, and hope the saints catch on and do something about it. When the people reject the words of the prophets, the word of the Lord is withdrawn, and they’re left to figure it out on their own while they sort our their elected curses. Alma teaches this in Book of Mormon. Alma 12:10-11 says “10 And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full. 11 And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell.” This is what happened with socialism, for example. By and large the prophets don’t preach against socialism now because in Utah, a good sample of the LDS people, Utahns voted for FDR 4 times in a row, etc. in flagrant opposition to counsel from the brethren. Now because the people rejected the prophets on this point, we suffer the consequences of decreasing liberties, heavier tax burdens, etc. We used to hear more hard lines about modesty. Stake presidents would call out yoga pants, etc. But the more people have embraced immodesty and sex culture, the more their hands are tied on this, and the curse sets in. One quick example: let’s say a society is eating too much McDonalds, but they’re also committing adultery. God’s messengers can say stop eating so much McDonalds so they can honor their temples and have the spirit, but they’re going to focus their message on getting them to stop being adulterers. Thus it is with getting the saints to stop being immodest. There are bigger fish to fry. However, this doesn’t mean immodesty is irrelevant. Indeed, the smaller issues can be roots to the bigger problems. Therefore, we try to perfect ourselves and stay away from “the line”, “the edge”, etc.
(PS – McDonalds can overstimulate the pleasure chemicals in the brain by rushing calories into the bloodstream, and thereby act as a gateway drug to other cheap illicit pleasures, getting us used to the rush.)
History is replete with strong people who just got too close to a ‘slippery slope’ and fell. Like David. In essence, the masses are saying, “let Bathsheba bathe in public! She has rights! So maybe God did create us, then why hide the beauty God has blessed her with! Why should she be ashamed of her body! Why should she be limited because of how men who don’t know how to control themselves!” Oh ye rising Davids, GOD HELP YOU!
It seems there are 2 aspects of immodesty (3 if you count inappropriate corporal and linguistic attitudes & advances): 1. Showing too much skin and 2. Too tight of clothing. Society at large has a big issue with both aspects. The LDS, thanks to limitations of temple garments, don’t have a huge issue with showing too much skin, but they do have a big issue with wearing too tight of clothing. Our clothes aren’t flowing gloriously, they are clinging. Tauntingly we squeeeeeze into our clothes. (Humorously, there’s also a trend for female hospital staff to wear tight scrubs. Must they hack at the once noble reputation of that trade?) Yes, in the temple the women’s dresses do have some amount of curvature, but very minimal. Temple dresses are elegant and attractive, but very different from our outside of temple dress norms. I say the more we pattern our lives after the temple the closer we will get to God and Zion. Who will resist that doctrine? Only those unacquainted with the beauty of eternal Zion. What is the temple? It’s where heaven meets earth. It’s God’s way of saying, “Good news children, those of you who have accepted my gospel within my church and become temple worthy, have proven yourselves worthy of a peek into what it’s like where I live here in heaven!” Temples are heaven. We will learn in time how to truly become a temple (Zion) people, and walk and talk with God himself! Well did the grand latter-day saint scholar historian Nibley teach that our social standards are million miles away from celestial civilization! This is why prayer can be so hard: Prayer to God in heaven is epic culture shock! We kneel down and attempt to pull ourselves away from this fallen world. We seek to approach the gates of heaven, and the very throne of God. We essentially have to break down the gates, to pound on them incessantly, until God sees us fit to enter his realm, being purged of the ideas and mantras of Babylon. Well did the early latter-day saints choose as their theme that Millennial slogan, “HOLINESS TO THE LORD!”
A quick story: When I was in the MTC in 2011, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland came to speak. He did sort of a Q&A. It was asked how to obtain and keep the Holy Ghost. His reply I will never forget. He had 3 suggestions and some explanation of each which I will related here to the best of my memory. First was to pray. Really pray. To go to the gates of heaven and bang on those doors, claw at them, until you’re admitted. Second was scripture study. To go deep and get serious about it. Third was to not lose the spirit once we have it by foolishness.
Look at society 100 years ago vs society today. Yesterday’s underwear has become todays outerwear. Some old film will show a woman being terrified by being seen in her sleeping clothes or undergarments, which were in every standard more modest than what we wear on the outside today. There are 2 options: are they crazy, or are we? I say today and forever, we are the crazy ones. Take a step back: civilized people have covered their bodies with clothes for the past 6,000 years. The queen of Egypt and other such historic minorities aside, including fallen cultures like loin cloth Lamanites who are specifically identified as a fallen society in holy writ, are we so bold as to say the past 100 years of dress standards are wiser than the past 6,000 combined? I for one think the past 100 years are the crazy ones. We’re obsessed with the new, the trendy.
Brigham Young said the women in the church in his day were starting to wear too tight of dresses (which begs the question of what Brother Brigham would have to say about the current generation), “Wont you be so kind and so good as to take those pins or the india-rubber cords out of the back of the skirts of your dresses, so that you will look comely. They make you look uncomely, to see your dresses drawn around you, showing your form. Mothers ought to be ashamed of teaching their children such things.” (Brigham Young JD 19:64-65) I declare Brigham taught an eternal principle here, and we have only strayed further from the Zion standard.
Let it be clear I’m not arguing for women to be ugly. I’m arguing for a movement toward beauty and away from sexiness. Here is Brigham Young again saying how women should try to look pretty, “Let the sisters take care of themselves, and make themselves beautiful, and if any of you are so superstitious and ignorant as to say that this is pride, I can say that you are not informed as to the pride which is sinful before the Lord, you are also ignorant as to the excellency of the heavens, and of the beauty which dwells in the society of the Gods. Were you to see an angel, you would see a beautiful and lovely creature. Make yourselves like angels in goodness and beauty” (DBY, 215). (see also Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, (1997), 131–36 Ch. 19 The Relief Society and Individual Responsibility; see also https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-brigham-young/chapter-19?lang=eng)
Here the Lord says let our garments be plain, “And again, thou shalt not be proud in thy heart; let all thy garments be plain, and their beauty the beauty of the work of thine own hands;” (D&C 42:40)
You’ll also note in the above scripture about clothing being ‘the work of thine own hands.’ Brigham Young taught that it was so important to avoid ‘Gentile fashions’ that the saints should make their own clothes. If it was important to avoid ‘Gentile fashions’ back then, oh how much worse is our predicament today!
The Book of Mormon was written for our day, and it says in 2 Ne. 13:16-17, “16 Moreover, the Lord saith: Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched-forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet—17 Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion” Can the term daughters of Zion have any other meaning than church members? I suppose it could refer to women living in America in general since America is, as JS taught, the land of Zion. Either way, we’re in trouble. Someone said we don’t need to be like the Amish or Islam in our dress, but notice how he doesn’t say ‘the daughters of Islam/Amish are cursed”. The Lord is angry about how we dress at least here in the US, and likely in the church, the ‘daughters of Zion’.
Joseph F. Smith rebuked LDS mothers for sending their daughters into public half naked, “It is almost past belief that there should be mothers who take pride in seeing their daughters go dressed immodestly, if not indecently, but there are such mothers, and their actions are astounding if not execrable …We complain that our daughters go…half-naked before the public. It is an outrage, and should not be tolerated by Latter-day Saints under any conditions…In this matter of dress and social conduct, then, the mothers have a deep responsibility, and their great organization—the Relief Society is a fit instrument to bring about reforms by having the mothers make the effort in the homes of the Saints. (Improvement Era, Dress & Social Practices, JFSmith, Dec 1916, http://www.ldswomenofgod.com/2008/06/05/modesty-a-call-to-the-women-of-the-church/)
While garments shield many adult church members from immodesty pitfalls, what about the young women? The Relief Society Magazine (which was an official RS publication of the Church) expressed sorrow that mothers in the church allow their daughters to go out in public “half nude”: “The dress should be made to cover the shoulder and upper arm; the round or V neck should not be extreme; and the skirt not immodestly short. Very sheer material, while beautiful in itself, is not in good taste unless worn with underclothing which properly covers the body…Mothers who have persistently violated modesty and their own covenants…these mothers would naturally view with entire complacency the half naked condition of their daughters in public places. But when these examples spread, and we hear good Latter-day Saint mothers defending such looseness on the ground of expediency, or common custom, it is time for public teachers and watchers upon the towers of Zion to arise and cry out a warning note. We can refuse to read or buy books and magazines that exploit adultery and loose moral standards. We can remain away from theaters and picture shows that portray vice and sin in glittering colors and suggestive references.” (RS Magazine, RS in its Attitude to Dress & Social Customs, Feb 1917; RS Magazine, Social Work: Dress, Apr 1917)
I suggest our use of tight clothing in the church often puts us with what I call the “body worship” movement, a movement I’m nervous about associating with. This movement includes ultra-form fitting clothing. The participants often have done well in covering their skin, but I liken it to wearing paint of a different color than your natural skin tone, and going in public. It’s pretty near that. This is a trend which some religious people participate in unwittingly, but I’ve seen it more particularly manifest in areligious people who seem to have no standards whatsoever concerning physical boundaries. Hand in hand with developments like this we have seen a rise in premarital cohabitation, out of wedlock births, single parent households, etc.
I find ‘pioneer’ dress more appropriate than most of the dress we use. Let us awaken to the eternal dress code. Some say USA dress is more fun and entertaining than pioneer dress, but life isn’t about being entertained all the time. It’s about, as Brigham Young said, learning and preaching the gospel. “Men are that they might have joy” doesn’t equivalate “men are that they might be entertained all the time”. We spend so much time on trying to ‘look sexy’ that we don’t have time to read books. Some are appalled by the dress in Islamic nations, and I agree if such is forced, but electing to dress that way may not be such a bad thing after all. At some point we need to start giving citations for public indecency. Remember the temple, how do we dress there? Shouldn’t that hint to us that tight clothing is not of God? When prophets have theophanies (personal appearances of God to them), what is God wearing? Let me give you a hint – it’s not tights. Do you want to become like God? Then turn those tights into dish rags, and praise God for the wonder of having a body like Him and your Mother in Heaven! Promise to God that you will from this point forward, respect that body, and not show it off in public as you have hitherto done. Be beautiful, but be modest. Don’t emphasize your sexuality through your dress. Emphasizing sexuality through dress is the name of the game in Babylon, this is why Brigham Young instructed the early saints to make their own clothing rather than buy into the clothing fads of Babylon. What a cheap trick, to present yourself to society with your sexual-foot forward, rather than your best foot forward. Your best foot is your knowledge of your divine identity and destiny. Show this best foot forward by dressing in a way that reflects your simple divinity rather than your sub-feature of sexuality. Sexuality is part of the status of the Gods, but it is kept within the strict bounds of marriage. If sex is exclusive to marriage in God’s plan, shouldn’t being ‘sexy’ also be exclusive to marriage in God’s plan? So the question boils down to this: how interested are you in God’s plan? You might become more interested in God’s plan when I remind you that the privileges of sexuality in eternity are only to be enjoyed by those who have espoused to follow God’s plan in this life. Truly, our sexual nature and power is a message from God that great things are in store for the faithful, and is a key to the knowledge, that the Gods themselves procreate. Why would God give us such pleasure in this life only to rip it away in the blessed heaven that awaits? Surely he would not do that to the faithful. Read into this further, and receive the shocking message that you are the spiritual progeny of the Gods, and can become like them of you live within the bounds which they have set. They too began as spiritual beings of their Heavenly parents, received bodies on their probationary earths, and passed through those stages excellently, resulting in their eternal exaltation, their now unfailing bodies forever combined with their spirits, to enjoy the unthinkable powers and privileges thereof.
Some point out that women feel empowered when they wear ‘sensible attractive clothing’. Indeed! But notice the difference between the disposition of a woman thus clothed verses a woman whose goal is to look ‘sexy.’ Here are words that come to mind when someone suggests modest dress: humble, reverent, meek, reserved, content, unpretentious, docile, unobtrusive, and polite.
Now these words come to mind when someone suggests ‘sexy’ dress: brazen, overbearing, domineering, pushy, rude, haughty, inflated, conceited, flamboyant, boastful, imposing, pompous, bragging, imperious, egotistic, arrogant, proud, and flaunting.
I propose that though our societal definition of sexy has shifted to mean attractive in general, it still carries with it these negative connotations. You can test this by asking: If someone is sexy, which set of adjectives would you associate them with? Now how about someone who is very sexy? Now how about someone who is extremely sexy? You see, the further left you go on the modesty sexy continuum, the more you go away from humility and go toward pride. So, we see that along with modesty on far right, humility is far right. Along with sexy on far left, we see pride on far left. Do we compromise and be somewhat prideful? The scriptural answer is an obvious no.
When you think of Christ and the modesty sexy continuum, where would you place him? Is Christ sexy? Is he modest sexy? Or is he just modest? To assist you in your diagnosis, consider this scripture about Christ, “I am meek and lowly in heart” (Matt. 11:29). Also consider “he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him” (Isa. 53:2, a Messianic prophecy). In light of this conversation, the phrase “he had no form” may take new meaning – he didn’t wear skin tight clothes! He didn’t try and fix himself up to be flashy! We can at least draw from these scriptures that Christ didn’t spend lots of resources (time, money, thought) in making himself attractive. This seems to but heads with the fashion industry who essentially promise eternal youth and forgiveness of sin when you use their products. You’ve heard the commercials, “young living oils!” “a new you!” “feel renewed and rejuvenated!” “get a new start!” How ironic that the Messiah, the one who really has and offers these gifts, had little to nothing to do with trendiness and appearances. We could even make an argument that the fashion and beauty industries are forms of priestcraft!
Just to get you thinking, I’d like to bring up Orthodox Jews and swimming. Yep, gender segregated swimming at the beach (not to mention their wonderful modest bathing suits). Want another example of gender segregation? Latter-day Saint temple instruction. What’s the point? Think twice when you think a colony of mostly nude people getting together is normal and wonderful. The other point: we get much too casual with each other in our everyday dealings and recreation. Males and females are biological creatures which do well to set limitations among themselves to keep order and enable unobstructed learning. Lest you say, “don’t use the Jews as an example of good behavior, they look beyond the mark!”, recall this Book of Mormon scripture (meant for our day) which tells us to have respect for the Jews, “the Jews, mine ancient covenant people. And what thank they the Jews for the Bible which they receive from them? Yea, what do the Gentiles mean? Do they remember the travails, and the labors, and the pains of the Jews, and their diligence unto me, in bringing forth salvation unto the Gentiles?” (2 Ne. 29:4) and, “Yea, and ye need not any longer hiss, nor spurn, nor make game of the Jews, nor any of the remnant of the house of Israel; for behold, the Lord remembereth his covenant unto them, and he will do unto them according to that which he hath sworn.” (3 Ne. 29:8) There is a concept known in our and other churches called ‘holy envy’. Essentially it is that we respect other religions for strengths they possess which we do not. Since we’re on this highly controversial topic of how other religions dress, let’s bring up every American’s and every Christian’s favorite: Islam! I’m not in favor of forcing women to dress a certain way (a key difference between Godly societies and evil ones is freely elected exalting virtue vs forced minimal virtue like a prison), but I’d rather see us dressed in robes than dressed in tight circus monkey clothes. The circus monkey spandex clothes really delete respectfulness and reverence for the body. One more note about Jews, Latter-day Saint prophets have said that the Americans who killed Joseph Smith were just as wicked and apostate as the Jews who killed Christ – so don’t think we’re so much better than the Jews as a society!
One more note on the topic of swimming, though some level of clothing adjustment may be required, we too often take bathing suits too far. The “For the Strength of Youth” manual says, “Never lower your standards of dress. Do not use a special occasion as an excuse to be immodest. When you dress immodestly, you send a message that is contrary to your identity as a son or daughter of God. You also send the message that you are using your body to get attention and approval.” Surely the waters are cursed due to the open sex culture that prevails there! The Devil has a hay day with getting saints to walk around nearly nude whenever they get by water! Beloved saints, does your recreation truly require so much of your flesh be exposed? Nay!
America is the most prosperous nation in the history of the world. But while we have excelled economically, we have not been the most spiritually enlightened people of late (in contrast to the spiritual maturity of our founding fathers and other pilgrims who loved this promised land before us). According to Joseph Smith, Elder Bruce R. McConkie and others, we are not as spiritually enlightened as the ancient patriarchs. They were taken to God as in Enoch’s city, Melchizedek’s city, and others like it we have not record of. Brigham Young taught that the reason the latter-day saints didn’t get to stay in Missouri is because they were not worthy of it. The ancient patriarchs had spiritual knowledge and power which we don’t have but easily could have had if we would have just followed counsel). The reason? Our limited willingness to magnify gospel callings (not limited to but certainly including formal church callings). We must not be slow to follow the prophets, even when they ask “hard” things of us. The pioneers called objections to God’s councils “useless cares” which they sought to drive away in that old battle hymn “Come, Come Ye Saints!” They also called honest differences with the prophets akin to honest differences with the Almighty Himself! In other words, it is not profitable to disagree with the prophets, you might as well disagree with God. This being said, Joseph Smith clarified that a prophet is only a prophet when acting as such (ref). The problem with the saints (and everyone) is that they often discount prophetic messages.
Let’s not push the line and see how close we can get to the edge of Babylonian culture, let’s be different! Let’s show them how strong we can be as an independent people who set their own standards, completely independent of their trends! Like Daniel in Babylon, lets show them what God can make of a people who obey His laws! The Lord invites us in our day (the Doctrine & Covenants (D&C) applies to all not just Joseph Smith), “And now I command you, my servant Joseph, to repent and walk more uprightly before me, and to yield to the persuasions of men no more” (D&C 5:21). He also chastises us, “And behold, how oft you have transgressed the commandments and the laws of God, and have gone on in the persuasions of men.” (D&C 3:6-7)
I don’t talk much here about men’s need for modesty. Like women, the way they dress, speak, and generally present themselves, can send a message of holiness to the Lord, or of selfishness and spiritual immaturity. Another sad note is that men promote immodesty by giving their smiles attention and kindness often to only what they deem the more ‘attractive’ sexually forward women. Everyone is hungry for acceptance and love, everyone wants to be noticed. If the men would react to the modest women with the same favor they do to the immodest women, immodesty would disappear overnight.
Some consider this article to be prudish. As for dressing like a prude, that’s tricky. What many call ‘prudish’ today was yesterday’s norm. For example, Brigham Young told the sisters of the church that he didn’t like how their dresses were drawn so tightly around their bodies, he said “Wont you be so kind and so good as to take those pins or the india-rubber cords out of the back of the skirts of your dresses, so that you will look comely. They make you look uncomely, to see your dresses drawn around you, showing your form. Mothers ought to be ashamed of teaching their children such things.” (Brigham Young JD 19:64-65). He also spoke of how it’s ok and good for women to try and look attractive, but there is a point where being attractive can turn into vanity if we aren’t careful.
Responding to “What’s wrong with wearing yoga pants in public? Why not just let people live the way they want?” Includes discussion on public dress, privileges of religious societies, privileges of non-religious societies, the grace of Jesus not being a do-whatever-you-want-clause, US dress vs Islamic nations dress, and possible outcomes of accepting immodesty as a cultural norm.
The real question at stake here is “what is wrong with immodest clothing in general?” To that we could have a very lengthy conversation.
I know of at least one Brigham Young University professor who says the moment he brings up the modesty epidemic in his classes, the students outrage and write bad reviews about him; these hateful reviews literally threaten his job, so he doesn’t do it anymore. Amazing! I am not alone in my belief that modesty issues are the quintessential manifestation of pride among the sisters of the church – a flagrant disregard of prophetic council.
There are a lot of potential issues with the “let people live the way they want to” idea…. I’m not calling for a law banning yoga pants in public (you’d think we could figure that out on our own), I just think the degree to which they expose the body is indecent. Private institutions could ban yoga pants however, and that is a splendid idea! For example, it is against the BYU dress code to wear them, though many do as the discipline is spineless, the students have not caught the vision of the purpose of that university as stated by Brigham himself, who was opposed to many manifestations of humanism. Truly one form of corruption is in having bad policies, but another, perhaps even more deadly, is having good policies, but not enforcing them. This gives members a form of godliness, while allowing them to deny the power thereof!
The basis of religious societies from the beginning of time is the idea that a group of people want to live with certain values, so they flee society as a whole where they can safely live those values in peace and prosperity. Indeed, without gathering together away from Babylon, Zion cannot fully blossom. As far as our society is not any longer a society governed by the laws of God (to the lament of Nephite prophets, pilgrims, the US founding fathers etc.), we will not push them to the standards of God. The only people who should be governed by the laws of God are people who voluntarily enter that governance, and of course even the laws of man should conform to some extent of the conscience. Inasmuch as this world is a telestial or low kingdom, it has low standards. However the citizens of it aren’t even living up to telestial law in many instances, and punishments for such are forthcoming. In eternal telestial kingdoms (post-final judgement eras), more law is enforced than what we see now in this probationary testing stage.
I don’t think less of people who wear the stuff in public, I just don’t like it. Wearing a form fitting outfit in public means married men see you. Women may not understand this, but when a man (or particularly an adolescent) sees a woman in something quite like underwear, he has a devil of a time not letting his thoughts fall (which is the beginning of a vicious cycle and the loss of the companionship of the Holy Ghost). He has a hard-enough time controlling himself around a beautiful woman dressed modestly. Please, put down your weapons! Yoga pants are often so extremely form fitting that it’s a kin to merely painting the nude body a different color and going in public. Further, when an adolescent or child is exposed to a basically nude woman’s body, it triggers and or heightens hormones which weren’t supposed to activate until a slightly later age when he can better handle sexual arousal. So why do women insist on these clothes in public? It’s mean to children, and a society without children never was nor will be, worlds without end. This isn’t to say adults can meet for frenzies without their children, let mature people always be exemplary in holding a standard of boundaries with all of the symbols the boundaries of modesty bring. Truly modesty is the eternal standard for societies in both adult and family settings. Only in the bonds of marriage can the body be fully vulnerable.
For good reason, the restored church of Jesus Christ has counseled against “tight or form fitting clothing.” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is an institution generally in favor of family-based values. Basically, exposing the body to persons to whom you are not married to undermines the concept of marriage. The art of the human body is a private mature art, exhibited in the private quarters of sacred matrimony. Truly the body is sacred. The definition of sacred is restricted access, the opposite of profane. And rest assured all celestial bodies are more beautiful than even the greatest beauties now present on this telestial earth, as difficult as that may be to comprehend. Brigham was clear about that doctrine of the kingdom. God has favored us with the faces and hidden forms of neigh angelic bodies on occasion in this world, but the hope of the eternal world includes all of this and, somehow that we cannot understand, greater.
Sexual exposure and sexual union are to be kept in marriage, otherwise marriage is disincentivized and the commitment aspect of marriage is undermined, the commitment aspect being fundamental when things are hard in a marriage, especially raising children. Without marriage, pregnant women are more likely to live in poverty, abandon their children or neglect or abuse (or to abort), so marriage is critical for the survival of the human race! Further a child may see a seminude woman and investigate full nudity since the seminude was such a pleasurable experience, which leads to pornography, first soft core, then hard core. Studies show pornography teaches inappropriate messages about human sexuality including animalistic misogyny and a total lack of commitment toward sexual partners. Without marriage/commitment to a sexual partner, society falls apart, children not having 2 parents etc., or the next generation of children never being born at all (childlessness/diminished childbearing being a critical issue right now in all nations except Africa, the repopulation quota being below the minimum amount (about 2.3 children per couple)).
Let it be known that I never said single or unmarried parents are evil people, I know plenty of them who are good people whom I love and respect. I merely said more problems are more likely to arise when there are parents without marriage. Marriage is the ideal situation for adults, and especially for parents. And let it be known that the quickest and surest way to glory is and always will be righteous parenting in the content of marriage.
I have no issue confessing that while it is not the woman’s fault if she is raped, she will be held accountable before God for how she dressed and acted in general, whether or not she happened to be raped. Seductive women are not blameless in the world. Anyone who denies this is a godless creature who knows nothing about the laws of the cosmos. Only the uninformed heathen can remain guiltless in the face of such a crime. Unfortunately immodest clothing is so engrained in our society that many women use it without realizing they are. We have a sexually obsessed climate in our public schools etc. in a unique combination of ignorance and rebellion, which is one of the main reasons many parents homeschool their children. We can perhaps reteach our children some history etc. that they will have learned incorrectly in public schools, but we cannot so easily erase the ungodly attitudes learned there.
Immodest Protestants (and Catholics, etc.) ask, “Where can you find a verse in the bible about dressing modestly?” in an attempt to down the argument. Though I could point to several passages, I respond this way: That’s a major problem with Protestants, they always want a scripture for everything. As far as my religion goes, yes, we do have prophets who have spoken on standards for modesty and their words are as binding of scripture in my religion as any of those found in your sacred texts are in yours. They’ve said that we should not wear revealing tight or form-fitting clothing! You look to dead profits for all your instructions; they cannot clarify all of the issues that you will find in your life. If you reject the living prophets, you have only your conscience to guide you. The conscience is a powerful tool, but living in a society so steeped in sin, it is easy for even the best of people to make serious mistakes in their lifestyle choices. That is why the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ is near; the fire will be similar to the flood. The reason for the flood was because things got so bad that people learn bad things from their parents (which engrain deeply) to the point where there was no hope for the rising generation. The fire will come for a similar reason to spare the innocent and rising generation who have no resource for finding answers to their lifestyle choices, their fathers having rejected the prophets, and their conscience not having much of a chance from such evils surrounding them on every side. When agency is thus voided, the purpose of life on earth itself has become void, and the reset must be operated. There are far worse things than death. Trust the Lord, who giveth life, and taketh it away. He is a loving Father incapable of acting contrary to our best interest. The need for modern revelation is a subject of which I have written in further detail elsewhere.
I was asked by a Protestant, “but doesn’t Jesus save us in our sins? Do you think Jesus can’t forgive?” He was suggesting that there should be no real requirement or expectation in regard to our actions because of the bounty of Christ. I said this: Just because Jesus is graceful and forgives us of sins doesn’t mean he approves of sins; if the Bible doesn’t make that clear enough, The Book of Mormon says it in plain English that Jesus does not save us in our sins, but he saves us from our sins. The idea of Jesus saving us in our sins suggests that the need for repentance is not really pressing. Jesus saves us from, not in, our sins. Repentance is an absolute requirement to gain salvation. Repentance means confession and forsaking of sin. Sin is when people willfully rebel against God. If a person knows immodesty is bad, they are sinning when they indulge in it. If they are ignorant, God will take that into account; but everyone has conscience which they must be accountable for. Conscience is the light of Christ given to every person who enters the world, but it can be squashed by repeated dismissal.
Once a Protestant suggested that my views on modesty are similar to Islam, and suggested that I should leave the USA and seek an Islamic nation. He seemed to approve of the way we live here in the US when it comes to modesty; I responded that indeed Gods people are pilgrims and strangers in this land and we seek for a better! When it comes to dress, Islam does a lot of things better than we do here in the US; I don’t approve of everything they do but I can take my hat off to a lot of what they do as far as modesty goes. The way that latter-day saints dress in their temples suggests that we are far removed from heavens dress standards here in the USA; I don’t have any shame in admitting that, in fact I’m embarrassed for people who approve of the way we dress here.
In Islam of course the bad thing is that they force the women to dress that way and they hurt or kill them if they don’t; this is never God’s way; even in ancient Israel if someone was breaking one of the laws of God they had two choices: suffer the punishments written in the law book of Israel which is often death, or option two was to get out of dodge! In other words if you want to live in Israel you live like an Israelite, and if you want to live like a pagan you live with the pagans. Israel will receive her award, and the pagans will receive theirs; religious persons volunteer; in volunteerism you can’t be forced to do this, force was in fact Satan’s plan – he wanted to force people to be good and that is the most evil thing ever, yes, the definition of evil! (Note: this is one reason government forcing us to share our money with the poor is pure evil, as in graduated income taxes, and other socialist wealth distribution laws). This is not to say that religion as a whole is evil, but that certain aspects of it if interpreted as a need to abuse or kill women are evil.
One suggested these views are anti-woman. She said that though I confessed it is not a woman’s fault when she gets raped, that my other comments diminished that, and so I responded this way: Indeed I respect you very highly for standing up for your convictions, often time I have more respect for people who stand up for a view contrary to mine then I do for people who have a few similar to mine who don’t stand up for it. I hope that in these series of messages I’ve expressed the idea that if a woman thinks she can dress however she wants without it affecting anyone, that such is not reality. Further, I believe that the effect we have on other people will be a very important aspect of our interview with Jesus Christ at an upcoming date. It’s not that we can control other people’s feelings and actions, but to say that our actions do not influence others is a very large and dangerous idea.
This conversation reminds me of the philosopher Thomas Moore’s book on a cannibal Utopia. Towards the very end says something like ‘their Utopia had its weaknesses and strengths, but you know the strangest thing about them? They didn’t wear any pants!’
We have reverted to the “short skin girdle about their loins” style, which Enos describes as the degeneracy of them of old… (Enos 1:20)
Many of us do wear pants, but yoga pants don’t count that’s as good as painted nude skin. We tolerate the pant-less folks in our society for some reason.
Think of the reaction to booty shorts in the 1800s, such would not be considered civilized dress! The reaction would make them go out of style in mere days, or get locked up for promoting flagrant immorality akin to prostitution. Some stores say no shirt no service, they should start saying no pants no service (that used to go without saying)! By the way, underwear isn’t pants either. If our underwear are longer than ‘pants’, we have a problem. And no, we should not make exceptions for the beach (the beach clothing morality is so off track its hard to even talk about).
If you disagree, oh well. I’m still your friend but I would have you know my feelings on the matter.
Immodesty tempts men. We are trying to be good, please have mercy on us! We love you for you, not for your body. You are beautiful but please express it in appropriate ways and settings (the only acceptable setting for emphasizing sexuality is in the privacy of marriage).
True, in Babylon, they reject you if you are modest, but come to Zion, where we love you for your moral courage! In Zion, we recognize you as sisters, not as objects! In Zion, we praise your intelligence and leadership, rather than obsessing over your bodies! Your bodies will be employed in the full pleasurable measure of their creation, and indeed shall be admired by your spouse, but to display such a masterpiece in the public square defiles it. True the charm of handsome women and men is a pleasing and important part of strong society, but do not walk after the ways of Babylon, wherein they publicly display the sacred, thereby making it profane. Come to Zion, where respect and honor are arrayed in all their glory!
Well did the prophet Brigham Young denounce the sisters of his day for tying their dresses around them too tightly to show their form.
Some things are so special and so beautiful that showing them in public is nothing short of a tragedy. Too much power in the hands of those not ready to receive it. Displaying something so powerful to the public will result in doing more harm than good. Instead of promoting art as the common argument proclaims, immodesty rather promotes delinquency and the dissolution of the family. Family is the bedrock of society itself, where beauty can find correct and exalting expression. The beauty of Zion is in that it enthrones the family. The body is so wonderful, that we spawn more of them. The family is simply the expression of pure love, including caring perfectly for all of the fruits (children) of that love. Parents are people who are in effect saying, ‘life with my spouse is so wonderful that I’m going to create more humans so they too can have a chance at having this.’
Well has the Psalmist said that beauty is the essence of Zion (Psalms 150:2)! When expressed within the bounds the Lord has set, beauty remains forever, and becomes an eternal fountain of joy. Is it not written by Isaiah the prophet that the women walking haughty with outstretched necks will receive baldness and stench? Well did Brigham Young teach that those who obey God will become as beautiful as the angels which surround the throne of God (ref)!
In the Book of Mormon we are told that we are to give strict heed to the commandment to not reveal more than God allows. This passage pertains to priests teaching the people. They aren’t to reveal the mysteries to the dogs, the pearls to the swine, the meat to the children only capable of handling milk, etc. A similar doctrine is in modesty. The intimate parts of ones body are only to be shown to ones spouse. The body is good and beautiful, but like the Priesthood, the doctrines of the kingdom and the mysteries thereof, when used in the wrong way, or in the wrong setting, or shared with the wrong audience, it’s a disaster. What is meant to be glorious and eternal becomes degrading and sinful. Yes, we are at risk of not obtaining celestial bodies if we don’t live a celestial law in this life. Because the body is beautiful, we must wait and use it in ways ordained by God. As we do this, we will become more beautiful than ever. Our self-expression will increase- not in showing intimate parts of our bodies to people, but in using that where it’s ordained: in marriage; and we will be endowed with power to express ourselves in a satisfactory way deeper than our fondest expectation. We will find ourselves not just fitting in in society, but in an eternal society which will not vanish like the one we are in now. We will not only find romance, but healthy, ultra-fulfilling and eternal romance, brought to deeper fonder and more powerful levels than we could have ever imagined. That realization can begin in this life, and reach ultimate fruition in the next as we perfect ourselves on the gospel path.
Once a young man in the church had many racy pictures of women on his walls in his bedroom. Brad Wilcox, a professor of BYU and former mission President, went in and taped word bubbles next to the mouths of the characters saying things like “I hope they call me on a mission!” and “I love to see the temple!” and “I’m a daughter of my Heavenly Father who loves me!” and “I am of infinite worth!” and “Keeping covenants keeps me safe!” The boy thought this funny at first but then realized the meaning of it, and he took all the pictures down.
Modesty is a bold statement about what we think we are worth, and weather we think we have to sell the sacred parts of ourselves to gain the acceptance of others. The Devil would have us sell every precious thing for something of little worth, such as the praise of this world or the comforts thereof.
There is a difference between sensuous (appealing to the senses) and sensual (sexually arousing).
Through your dress and appearance, you can show the Lord that you know how precious your body is. You can demonstrate your attitudes toward life and the holy gospel plan of our Lord.
Prophets of God have always counseled His children to dress modestly. The way you dress is a reflection of what you are on the inside. Your dress and grooming send messages about you to others and influence the way you and others act…Never lower your dress standards for any occasion. Doing so sends the message that you are using your body to get attention and approval and that modesty is important only when it is convenient. Immodest dress sends the message that you are either unacquainted with or in open rebellion against the teachings of the prophets. Even the ignorant ought to have some idea of the importance of modesty in that all are born with an innate sense of right and wrong (that sense is called the light of Christ).
Be not ashamed to be pioneers of faith like your forefathers! You may stand out for being different, so did they, so did Christ in the battles of his time. This is one of the great battles of your time.
A key reason why women are immodest when they are it is largely from the wickedness of men. The men are the more forceful gender. Traditionally they preside and call the shots in dating etc. They like their woman to appeal to their carnal nature. The men themselves like to look manly, so they do so (except for the off shoot branch of boys who dress like woman in tight pants etc., having no self-esteem or sense of identity). The men would feel uncomfortable in wearing tight clothes normally. They would feel out of place, showing their bodies to the public. They wouldn’t put this burden on themselves! But they make the women do so, not considering how the woman don’t enjoy being placed on the public market any more than them men would. Men, persuading others to sin is a sin indeed. The women say “ah if my shorts are higher or my neckline lower or the curves of my flesh more revealed by the tightness of my clothing, I’ll turn more heads. Boys will pay more attention to me. Men are the leaders in this marriage and matching up game. They ask the women on dates, they ask the woman to marry them. It’s them whom I must appeal to. They are in charge here. What they say goes. I am in bondage to the whims of their will.”
Is this to say the woman or people in general must not be beautiful? Heaven forbid! The angels around the throne of God are more beautiful than we can imagine (and Brigham Young promised we would look like them if we are true and faithful, reaching exaltation). But modern society’s definition of beauty is a million miles away from the truth inasmuch as they teach that public exposure is needed to express beauty. We don’t need to show off beauty inappropriately. The body is a temple, and temples aren’t open to the public! They are glorious even from the outside appearance, but they do not expose the sacred parts!
When someone speaks out against how the woman truly is not attractive in tight clothing or revealing their sacred body to the profane public, the woman takes great offense. “I have my rights! I don’t have to be traditional! I am progressive!” But I say they are making excuses for being in the bondage of men. Why give yourself to the undeserving masses when you could be a peculiar treasure for the prince of your choice?
We are in a time in history like that which has happened before, we see in some ancient art that the people were portrayed to be natural, like the Greek sculptures. Then in Roman art the people are portrayed as focusing on the metaphysical aspects, yes, and their bodies are painted in unrealistic proportions etc., like legs so skinny that a dress could curve in and out like a wave, or a waist so skinny that one hand of a man could encompass it. Then renaissance artists pushed humanism too far, however skilled. Now we are forcing that on each other, expecting it. Our heroes, the movie stars, are all bulimic, or anorexic, or drug addicts, and all of them photoshopped, to try and keep up with the Jones on this. It’s a never-ending battle they fight against themselves. (On occasion some of them legitimately keep up with natural health (often taking it to extremes and ironically becoming unnatural) but most don’t bother.) I recently heard of a Herman foreign exchange student who was shocked to see how in America, students wear makeup every day at school rather than just at special occasions.
So what is to be done? The woman could change, but a major component of female immodesty is from the men. Men, stop abusing the women in demanding immodesty to be accepted by you!
Watch a film of the old west, where fiddles played in their music, where dances were held in the open daylight, and men respected the women they danced with. They asked their hand for a dance, and bowed to the woman when the dance was done. They immediately shift your gaze to a modern dance, where the room is dark and massive, you don’t know most the people there, strobe lights are going to make you aware of only glimpses of the people around you, people jump up and down like crickets in no particular rhythm or congruity, there is booming music which sounds only like a drum rolls with occasional squeal, people dance in herds rather than in couples, acting like animals rather than humans. It’s not conducive to dating, but is more like a pornographic film, where bodies are waved endlessly in front of you until you vomit, faint, or do something stupid. It’s so loud that you can’t talk to the people at the dance, so that forces the mode of communication to be by touch, but not in the traditional affectionate way, but rather a fierce passionate frenzied sexually provocative touch. The scene is dark, whereas years ago it was light. The contrast is stark fearsome and real. Surely the darkness symbolizes their attempt to hide their open rebellion. Some pop stars now use bright themes, not even attempting to hide anymore. No wonder so many are uncomfortable with popular dances these days. The setting and style are absolutely ridiculous and debased.
This being said, I guess it’s time to go to the store and get some modest clothes! Oh wait… “Your feet are throbbing, your back hurts a little, and you have been walking for hours. Although this may describe the way you feel after a long hike at camp, it could also describe the way you feel after shopping for a modest dress…” (To read more from the article about how youth put together a clothing design company for modest clothing, and appealed to stores for modest clothing, and were interviewed by the Wallstreet Journal, the British Broadcasting Corporation, and The Kansas City Star, see Jan. 2002, New Era LDS Magazine, Caroline H. Benzley, https://www.lds.org/new-era/2002/01/evaluate-your-style?lang=eng)
Logos is the word to describe Jesus Christ in the book of John. It means “the word”. The word was with God it says. ‘Logos’ can be translated in many ways, but it’s many meanings boil down to this: logos is the thing that separates the human race from the beasts. That is the purpose of the gospel of Jesus Christ, to keep us from becoming beasts, and to get us back on track when we are lost. We are not, as evolutionists suppose, derived from animal lifeforms. We are offspring of deity, let us live up to this divine nature. The gospel encompasses everything decent and uplifting. It embraces the thoughts of cherishing each other, of loving others for who they are, for what they stand for rather than what they look like.
Animals are savage; they focus on sex and food. They don’t wear clothing because they want to advertise their sex appeal freely. That is their nature and is appropriate for them. But humans are an entirely different creature: they have superior intelligence and divine heritage. They organize more. They wear clothing in an attempt to take the focus off of the carnal appetites, and focus the attention on the mind and character. They are called to a higher more complete plain. They only show their sex appeal to their permanent partner, whom is their legal spouse of the opposite gender. They preserve sexual relations for marriage because they know that the family is the basic unit of a functioning intelligent society. Why would we desecrate the sacred symbols of marriage to the triviality of day to day public life? Unfortunately, some debase themselves to that of the beast by the clothes they wear – or don’t wear. For example, when someone wears tight clothing, they expose so much of their body that they appear to have nothing on at all.
What is so bad about being a beast? Christ means “the word” which is “logos” in the original Greek text of the New Testament. There are many meanings to the word logos, but one significant trend in those meanings is something that is superior to that of a beast, the things which cause humans to be separate from beasts (speech, language, sermons, large story, reason, logic, intellect, inquiry, study, biology, council, court case, etc.). The things which lift the human to a higher plane. (Interpretation analysis of logos by Stephen Bay, Brigham Young University Dr. of Ancient Greek).
The human race will go wherever we want it to, what will we choose to be a part of? You have to be the one to say no to the dross, and only accept the holy pure and uplifting. But let us be acting like animals leads us to become animals. Instead, vote against uncivilized activities by choosing and creating alternatives.
-secular= lack of sacred
-sacred= only for those worthy; not secret, but must be qualified for.
-temple= beautiful and ecstasy, but only allowed in with recommend
-body= a temple
-immodesty= no temple recommend access to see the sacred
-sacrament to who is unworthy= damnation
-seeking false gods= pleasure in ways other than appointed methods of temples
-immodesty= idol worship
This essay illustrates Sacred vs Profane & Bodies as Temples in A strange episode of current events at a Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show
This is why this country is going to fall; in an immoral immodest fashion show by the company Victoria’s Secret, the only thing people are saying is that it is racist. Though racism is bad, they are here straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel, ignoring the real vice of this project. This is looking beyond the mark.
They’re not calling it what it is: soft pornography, but pornography none the less. This society has decided to call immorality, “culture” so that it cannot be shunned. Granted it’s not “complete” nudity and the act of sex itself on display, but it’s close enough to corrupt us.
Are not our bodies temples? Is it not written that temples are the house of God, holy places? Profane means in the open, sacred/holy means private, not open to public viewing. If the temple is holy, and thus closed off to the general public, so should our bodies be. What happens when we profane the temple of God, and the temple of our bodies? The wrath of God is sent among the people.
What is immodesty? It is the prequel, the gateway drug, to draw the weak into pornography. It is all of the Devil. Are women beautiful? Since the fall in Eden beauty on earth has been fleeting, but many indeed are beautiful. However, we should refuse to admire those who break commandments of modesty; admiring the uncovered body of a woman other than one’s wife leads to the corruption of the soul. And yes this can include renaissance art. This is one of the reasons the Lord councils us to marry as young adults, not late adults. We are meant to enjoy beauty, but it must be within the bounds which the Lord has set.
Truly those who procrastinate marriage are setting themselves up for more temptations, more trials, more sorrow, less pleasure, & more risk of guilty associations. Getting married is good, getting married soon after a full-time mission is much better. Well did Brigham Young counsel to focus on seeking marriage after a mission, even to suggesting that six months after returning is ample time, and suggesting that deliberately single people over age 25 are a menace to society. This is easier to understand when we are familiar with the Family Proclamation, which states that family units are the bedrock of society.
What is the Devil counterfeiting with showing the female body and the union of bodies? He is displaying the eternal order of the priesthood, and making it public to anyone with money. Anyone with money and power is who gets the girl in his game. You don’t need to have good character, you don’t need to treat her well, you just need to be so rich that the crumbs you throw to her from your table are more than she ever imagined possible by way of riches. She comes at no real cost to you, and you accordingly treat her like an animal, giving not a second’s thought for her emotions, for her needs, for her entire person, which is so much more than her body. The priesthood order is unity of man and woman, perpetuating endless generations in righteousness. Satan’s version is a cheat, without posterity, and without eternal unity of man and wife.
Now the Devil has done the same thing which he did with the tower of Babel, and with the prototype of Babylon in every generation. He has told the people that they can obtain exaltation, obtain the highest privileges, without going through the real work. This is the same thing that was done in premortality: Satan traded Gods plan for a quick fix plan of his own, which like our economy, is a bubble about to burst, built on phony credit and non-backable coinage. Satan simply cannot deliver on his lofty ‘get eternally rich quick’ schemes.
The female body here we will say is a representation of the temple of God. Only the candidate with the correct authority enters into that house. It is closed to the public. It is cloaked from the full view of the common man. I speak respectively of the entire human race. Each female is only to permit her male husband. What is the kingdom of God? It consists of this and this alone: each person building up his family unto eternity, and as parents together, the man and the woman couple becoming God’s themselves. Wherein is the admittance to the highest kingdom of God? Marriage in the temple and the perpetuating of the seed righteously. The secret of life is revealed, our whole business in being here is to form families, and to not wait around about it! Marriage in the temple is the only sure way that we can obtain exaltation. Without marriage in the temple and obedience to that covenant including righteously propagating our species, there is no exaltation. Yes there is salvation, but the fullness of salvation (aka exaltation) is that we become like the express person of Jesus Christ himself, Jesus being the prototype of a saved being, just like his father is the prototype of the ideal man. Jesus strove to be like father. In Father we see the standard, in Christ we see one who, though faith and obedience, reached the standard. Now we do likewise. Joseph Smith said to obtain salvation we must do it in the same way Christ did, namely obedience to the laws set before us. Thankfully for us, repentance, meaning righteous lasting whole hearted repentance, is one of those laws. So what have we in the exaltation of man? We have eternal youth, the eternal union of man and wife, and all the splendors that involves. Not only do we have our family in the world to come among the exalted, but we have perfected bodies to enjoy, which we do not have here. Even the most healthful and beautiful of persons do not have the joy and satisfaction, the strength and immaculate glory which the resurrected celestial candidates receive with their bodies of absolute perfection. Satan uses immodesty then pornography to lure people into thinking that they can have a woman, and a fine beautiful strong woman at that, without any real effort and outside of the bounds the Lord has set, and while setting aside the New & Everlasting Covenant of marriage. In reality, the only candidates who will have a woman not only in this blink of an eye short life, but in the resurrection and world to come, are those who attain to the glory of the Lord.
The man has great desires for the woman, that is his holy nature to so desire. Satan says that woman, seemingly forever young, can belong to man without the gospel plan. But in reality, only the gospel plan offers eternal access to the marriage relationship. Those who do not honor the laws of God will not be privileged with the bodily functions of reproduction and sexual interaction in the resurrection. The great power of procreation and the pleasure that comes with it is one of the greatest tests given to man; God is giving us a large taste of the power of Godliness to see what we do with it, and we will give an accounting to him for what we did with it. Based on that accounting, He will determine whether we will have continued and greater access to that power and pleasure, or whether that power will be taken from us entirely.
Satan ever seeks to be in charge. He says come follow me and I will bring you the divine. He climbs over the wall instead of going through the gate. He inspires men to build the tower of Babel to get to heaven without temples and covenants with God. But his promises are never delivered. He seeks not to become strong and help others become strong, but to be the only one strong, and to keep all others subject to him. See Elder Christofferson’s address titled “A Message at Christmas” a BYU Devotional December 2017 for more on this subject in great and powerful detail.
Is the display of the body bad? In public, yes. There is sacred, and there is profane. The world as taught by Satan recognizes no difference between the two. But the body itself, the sexuality and extreme beauty thereof, these things are divine, and so powerful, that they must be kept within the eternal bonds of marriage.
Plainly stated, the only way a man and woman can enjoy each other’s bodies forever, and those bodies to remain forever young (made possible by the resurrection (and the best (celestial) resurrection is given only to the true followers of Christ)), is by living the gospel of Jesus Christ. Satan knows this a fundamental component to eternal joy, and he tries to make us think that he has the corner on that market. But in reality, what he offers quickly fades away and doesn’t offer the entire package. His counterfeit doesn’t include the emotional closeness and the trust that can exist between two faithful spouses. Social scientists have long known that those components of an intimate relationship not only increase the probability of the relationship being long term, but they also increase the sexual satisfaction experienced by the couple. And obviously, Satan’s plan doesn’t include eternal pleasure, or the hidden depths of pleasure in store for the faithful, heretofore unknown to mankind. Well have the prophets said that Satan’s great punishment for his rebellion is in that he has never had, does not have, and never will have a body.
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, 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 often changed their comely appearances for the strange trends of the day, and in my opinion, lose much of the beauty they had in the story. I’m not talking about special effects and excessive makeup from the movies, I’m talking about the long hair and robes, or other ancient styles which are so foreign to our day. Why prioritize fitting in over being beautiful? God wants us to be beautiful. I cringe when the woman once enthroned in long natural hair (personal preference I suppose) appears with very short and discolored fashions in an attempt to fit in with the world! Or when the man, once groomed handsomely in fitting apparel, has lowered his standards to those of shabbiness, slothfulness, or other bizarre fashion trends. The tattoo artist draws on the finished work of God (the human 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? What are we waiting for, lets make these dreams a reality!
There are objective standards of beauty, and maintenance of the body. Rather than letting the body go wherever the wind blows (due to idleness 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. [add mom quote holland on pg5]
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.
The following is a letter I recently wrote to BYU President Worthen on the increasing immodesty on campus.
I am a recent BYU graduate. In my wonderful years at BYU, I was terrified by how immodest the women dress. Please take greater measures to enforce the dress code. The skirts are shirt, & the pants are tight. This is very distracting. Many women have no clue how this affects men. This is a religious school. Those who don’t respect our religion do not need to attend. When going to a Muslim or Catholic school, they have their standards, take it or leave it. We too should have standards, those who object can find an education elsewhere. The Church subsidizes this university with the tithing dollars of the saints, and I have subsidized it with many of mine, but the way things are going, I hesitate to encourage my children to attend here more than about anywhere else, as our standards aren’t much better than other places (and other places don’t pretend to be following prophetic standards). Since the students are proving incapable of governing themselves in these matters, I strongly suggest a school uniform. Truman G Madsen used to speak about how pitiful it is that we have the fullness of the gospel, but aren’t willing to live BYU dress code. I fear that the code itself is far too lenient (and very loosely enforced). We live in a secular world, but we don’t need to follow all trends to consider ourselves educated modern and kind to others.
Well did Brigham Young encourage the saints to make their own clothing rather than following the fashions of the merchants of Babylon!
Too many saints today think that if their swim wear isn’t ‘extreme’ that it’s appropriate. The issue is that the definition of extreme gets pushed further back all the time, while the standards of the Lord and the culture of the kingdom of God in heaven, which we seek to emulate on earth, remain stationary.
In reality, many of the clothing & swimsuits suggested even by latter-day saints and other religious communities today are simply back in time a decade or so, when in reality, modesty likely died at least a century ago. In today’s secular culture, there is little to no difference between racy lingerie and public swimwear. Swimwear used to not be form fitting until about 1930. Swimwear in a 2-piece bikini style became socially acceptable around 1950.
Instead of just trying to be more modest than the world at large, we the saints should seek and only settle for God’s standard, however different it may be than the society that surrounds us. Surely the Amish and other similar societies with high dress standards are proving much more righteous than many of the members of the restored church in these matters.
The 1960’s sexual revolution dramatically changed modesty standards.
The Pope smashed and covered nude art, then later another pope endorsed it again. Was all of this right or wrong? Michelangelo says nude art is in the image of God, representing Gods glory. This may be the case, but in this essay I will take the other side of the argument, suggesting that nude art should be avoided.
Some suggest that nude art is tasteful and that there is a grey line which differs from person to person regarding what is appropriate. But I declare that there is an eternal standard in heaven. The art galleries in heaven do not have nude art. Nudity is reserved for the privacy of marriage, where individuals can trust that their vulnerability is safely protected. Some say modesty in heaven is discontinued due to the removal of carnality. I disagree, and have a testimony that the symbolism & boundaries of clothing are used eternally.
Do you think David wanted to be on display in the buff? He read Genesis, he knew Gods standards of modesty, he would not approve.
Art and sculpture do not need to depict nudity in order to be genius and inspiring. In heaven, there is no nude art.
Nudity is expressly reserved for the marriage relationship. Marriage is, in fact, the culture of heaven, and it satisfies all longings for beauty.
Let us protect virtue and chastity of each individual by upholding the Lord’s standards of modesty!
President Nelson and his 2020 gratitude talk brief talk in November said we thank God for the arts which renew our souls. But these arts do not go beyond the bounds which the Lord has set.
God does watch over us and can see everything, but his interests in so doing are strictly parental and are like that of a physician. His choice memories of us are when we gave a crust of bread to the poor, and visited the sick. When we dressed the wound of a child, etc.
Access to the inspiration and beauty of the body of another person is one of the blessings of exaltation, and is not available to lower stations. Exaltation is the only setting wherein marriage and physical intimacy exist, and nudity only exists in the marriage relationship. Here in this fallen testing ground telestial world many abuse the body and display it in rebellion to the laws of God, but in the eternal kingdoms of glory, such things are not allowed. Each kingdom has a law, and residents of those kingdoms must abide those laws. Those who break the laws during this probationary state who aren’t even holding up a telestial standard will be sent to hell. Eventually if they agree to live the law of a telestial world they may graduate to that level, and remain there eternally, thanks to the grace of Christ, who puts an end to death and hell. In the lower degrees of glory, the law of chastity is enforce, and there are no sexual relationships whatsoever. The entire ability to functions sexually is removed in the lower kingdoms, as residents of them did not prove worthy for that divine privilege. This life is the opportunity to receive an eternal kingdom of glory, be it celestial, terrestrial, or telestial which is the lowest (other than the few sons of perdition who get no glory at all, namely Satan and his angels). May we make the choices needed to merit the great eternal reward.
God enjoys celestial beauty and the fullness of the body in his marriage relationship(s). He has no need for nude art due to his eternally married status. He experiences live art of the body regularly in marriage. Marriage is designed to fulfill those needs in all of us. Let us use the Lord’s plan of marriage to meet our needs for beauty, and not the ways of the world. Let us be patient for all blessings to be fulfilled in the due time of the Lord.
The following are some supportive comments on this topic shared with me as I was researching for this essay:
“Having pondered this through many classes at the university in art and art history as well as a study of the Renaissance, it is my opinion that nudity is not alright in art. One of the first acts of God during our first parents’ foray into mortality was to dress them. I think it is the harkening back to pagan arts, which indeed were often highly developed by talented artists, that Christian art went wrong. I think even the Reformers saw this problem in the “rebirth” that found people trying to free themselves from the apostasy/dark ages by reaching to the ancient Greeks and Romans wherein were seeds of destruction and apostasy instead of the dignity of man commanded by God in the Bible. Ultimately it seems we should be able to comprehend the absurdity of Adam and Eve being ashamed of their nakedness once their eyes were opened, and yet endlessly depicting Biblical scenes peopled with shamelessly naked saints. Imagine the real David seeing himself in represented in statuary striding to meet Goliath unclothed. Having taught school for a long time and having included art in much of my instruction, I have found cues from children to always be accurate in judging these things – they are uncomfortable with nakedness no matter how it may be explained, and I have not even shown the art to them (I let parents decide about that) but have explained about it. I have no discomfort about the beauty of the human body as appropriately treated in marriage, in health instruction and in medical fields of study, but I think that God has universally commanded us to be modest. Nakedness/nudity has no place in just for show, and certainly not in movies/shows with people violating the sacredness of behavior that is meant to be both sincere and private.”
“I’m not a fan of nude art. I don’t see its purpose. It’s distracting to me, even if it isn’t sexually arousing. It can make young people who are innocent uncomfortable as well.”
“A good rule of thumb would be to use the temple and church houses as a guide. Would it be appropriate to be in those places? If not, I’d it appropriate? Or, would you feel comfortable sharing or viewing it with the Bishop, Stake Pres, etc? I would feel comfortable watching sports with them, but viewing nude ‘art’? No thanks.”
At the minimum, nude art should be generally restricted to art galleries or other solemn occasions. I do not believe that the Gods walk around without any clothing. If nude art is appreciated in heaven, it is kept in its place. Nudity is not the modus operandi anywhere in God’s plan, not in heaven or earth. God is the master artist, and creates the bodies of the human race, and does so magnificently. But the fact remains that there is a separation which is meant to be in place. The standard for social interaction is that people should be clothed. Clothing has deep symbolic meaning, and serves its purposes not just for the young, but even for the Gods. There are times and seasons for all good things, and we should not overly exaggerate the body, nor seek to display its full glory at all times. Such would detract from the holiness and significance of the body. The body is a temple, and there is great meaning in this truth.
Ballet is arguably the single greatest expression of the power and beauty of the human body. It is a wonderous art form and often compels the audience to be better people.
One of the biggest favorable arguments for ballet is the music that it is danced to – classical! Classical style music is the most divine and genius expression of music that mankind has ever known. Yes, it is a revelation. The classical genre isn’t flawless, and a person can discern poor quality or disturbing songs even here, but it is the most pure genre of them all, and includes many choral masterpieces.
In ballet, some costumes are more modest than others. We can be sensitive to the intent of the dancers, and seek to find and create the best costumes. Ballet emphasizes the majesty power and grace of the human body, and there are possibly unique guidelines for this art form.
Some techniques and dance forms are more appropriate than others. Some moves would only be appropriate between husband and wife. Some ballet groups who perform ridiculous scripts which involve fondling and rude silliness which do not respect proper interpersonal boundaries.
I am typically anti cheerleading due to their suggestive outfits not to mention the fact that granting and raving about something so ridiculous as a sport. Most cheer outfits are different than the ballet outfits they are more suggestive, more sexually oriented. Most cheer routines could be done in much more modest costumes, whereas ballet may require other accommodations for the extreme skill and graceful setting of that art. Sport arenas are cheap and lowly, whereas ballet is often graceful, and performed to classical music, all of which cultivate an entirely different atmosphere and intent than cheering sports.
I also don’t think the use of ‘yoga pants’ for exercise is necessary. Sure, it accommodates the stretching, but other more modest clothes could too. And would you kill over dead if you put some sort of blouse over it, to wear a longer shirt perhaps? People tend to wear those pants to the store and just about anywhere. They’re also the number one clothing for pregnancy these days, and none of that is necessary. In day-to-day life we should not wear tight clothing.
I could be wrong in making allowances for ballet costumes. The atmosphere of these dances are often graceful and dignified, and I don’t see the costumes as detracting from that environment. However, it does seem like there may be a higher way. There are many lovely dresses, shirts, etc. which can easily accommodate this dance form and allow the majesty of the art to be manifest while still maintaining boundaries. May God lead us along as a people. Brigham Young always said when you can’t find something up to standard, make your own. The calling of the saints to lay hold upon everything good, lovely and praiseworthy is a daunting task indeed!
The following are supposedly modest swimwear companies. I’ve not looked into them a lot, I leave it to you to decide.