Mormon.org FAQ: Modesty & Chastity

Hawkgrrrl Mormon 41 Comments

We’ve explored some of the answers members have posted on the mormon.org site in the church’s new profiles campaign.  So far, we’ve discussed member answers to questions about polygamywomen& the priesthood, politics, parenting, prophets, and priesthood ban.  Today, let’s see what members had to say about chastity & modesty.

Here’s the FAQ:  How are modesty and chastity related?  How can parents teach their children to be modest in dress, language and behavior?

This sounds like another question nobody asked us, but hey, let’s answer it anyway.  However, it might be a good way to see how Mormons raise their kids and what Mormons believe about chastity and modesty I suppose.  Personally, modesty is the thing that always sets my mo-dar off (especially at Disneyworld):  families with great white teeth wearing knee-length stuff with sleeves and no bare midriffs in 100-degree weather.

Answers I liked:

  • Attitude vs. Clothes.  I like the idea that modesty as it relates to chastity is a state of mind, not just what you wear and how you affect others’ states of mind.  I also liked those who acknowledged that they like cute clothes.  Otherwise we sound like a bunch of stuffy Amish people who claim we love our drab rags.
    • “In my opinion, modesty isn’t only defined by the clothing worn by a person; it’s an attitude of being unassuming and humble.”
    • “if we dress sexy, we tend to act sexy and often think sexy.”  So, should married people dress immodestly to encourage healthy sex lives?
    • “Modesty is an attitude of humility and decency in dress, grooming, language, and behavior.” That quote is from a gospel reference book called “True to the Faith.” The way that you dress is a reflection of your inner self and how you view yourself.” 
  • Self-esteem advice.  OK, I really could have gone the other way on this one (especially as most of these assumptions seem directed only at girls), but as a parent, I actually liked some of the advice about immodesty being one way for teens to seek attention.  It’s definitely not the only one, but especially in a conservative environment, I think parents should notice signs that their children need attention.
    • “a young teen who needs more attention than that may resort to unnatural hair colors or argumentative attitudes or picking on a younger child or spray-painting graffiti.”  Also nice that it’s a boy example and one that’s not just about dress!
    • “I do remember being angry at my parents when they addressed only the symptoms of my teenaged cries for attention instead of fixing the gaping hole in my heart.”  I love this.
    • “I like feeling attractive while modest.”  I think it’s important that modesty should not mean you never feel sexy or attractive.
    • “I’ll be honest this one is a struggle for me. I love cute clothes, and how they can flatter your figure and having all eyes on you let’s face it–it’s great!”  Keepin’ it real at least.
    • “Dressing modestly shows confidence.”

I felt mixed about this type of answer:

  • Parents’ Examples.  This just seems like foolhardy advice.  Are teens modest because they want to dress like their parents?  I thought the point of being a teenager was to rebel against your un-hip parents.  I would wager that if parents were immodest, more teens would dress modestly because they would be so grossed out.
    • “Parents teach best by example, but should also be active in their children’s lives to give them good counsel on how to live, but not be overbearing.”  I actually think this person got it right.
    • “Rules seem too much like limitations without purpose, an order from someone in authority which make us bristle and resist. What to wear, for example, is largely molded by peers and media. Parental rules which go against media models are questioned by our children.”  Nicely put.
    • “Parents have to be an example to their children, teaching them from a very young age how to dress and encouraging them to stay modest even though the world is now.”  Is now what?
    • “Because I respect my parents, an easy way for me to judge what choices to make was to not do anything that I would be embarrassed to tell my parents about.”  Aw!  I want one of these.

Things I didn’t love:

  • Girls Only!  Especially when it’s a man saying it, this just strikes me wrong, like women are being held responsible for male sexual response or like a defense for blaming the victim is being set up.  Girls aren’t to blame when guys have no self-control.
    • “Rule number one for clothes: if it’s not on sale – don’t advertise it!”  Ouch.  So, immodesty = prostitution?  Good to know.
    • “To girls, young women, women, wives, & mothers:  Firstly, men are attracted to you no matter what. If you feel that you are not noticed…you are.  Isn’t that liberating?”  Not so much liberating as creeping me out.  But at least a woman wrote it.
    • “I was talking to a good friend on Sunday. He is single, 26, a really good man, but very discouraged. “Is it too much to ask a woman to dress modestly? Does she not think enough of herself? The tightness of clothing worn by some women is very disturbing. Why wear anything at all if it’s going to be that tight?””  This guy is creeping me out.
    • “Elder Oaks was initially talking to the men of our church about the evils of pornography but then he added this warning to the women, “And women, please understand that if you dress immodestly, you are magnifying this problem by becoming pornography to some of the men who see you.””  Ick.
    • “I want to feel gorgeous but I try to think of how it makes me feel when another woman is dressed showing waaaaaay too much in front of my husband. What is she trying to say to me and especially to him???”  Maybe you should scratch her eyes out.
  • Immodesty is Sloppiness?  I’m a little floored by this notion.  Certainly, I’ve seen some bare midriffs that had no right to be so, or tank tops with bra straps showing, but to me, it’s equally sloppy to go out in public in sweatpants.  Yet, it’s not immodest.  On the contrary, if you have a cheese doodle stuck to your shirt, you are more likely to turn off sexual attention, not attract it.  You may attract flies, though.
    • “People who are not modest, who don’t care how they dress, or how they talk, or how they treat each other, don’t live up to their best. And worse still, they tend to drag other people down with them.”  I’ve seen loads of frumpy modest people and loads of stylish immodest people.
    • “When dressed lazily, we act lazily. When dressed formally, we act formally; and likewise, when we are dressed immodestly, we are inclined to act immodestly.”  Perhaps she is not equating immodesty with laziness, but it sure sounded like that.
    • “I don’t ever want to be “walking pornography.””  Well, who does?
  • Little Kids.  I am not a fan of sexualizing our very young (prepubescent) children with restrictions on sundresses or making shorts be knee-length or the notion that everyone needs to be dressed as if they are already wearing garments when they are not yet, so they can “be ready.”  Their lives will be over soon enough.
    • “I have three young girls, and have made it a point to teach them from a young age what modesty looks like and feels like.”
    • “If you start with they are infants then as they grow and mature acting and dressing modestly is a habit.”
    • “It is also increasingly difficult to find modest clothing in stores, even for a four year old!”
    • “I think modest should be taught at an early age. Even with little girls at a young age should dress modestly so they will be use to it.”
  • Live in Isolation.  [Shaking head].
    • “Associate yourself with same faith friends and those who will HELP you live your standards of living, dress, use appropriate language.”  So, every member a missionary, except my kids because I don’t want them associating with the rabble?
    • “Surround the family with other families who share the same beliefs and the children will follow what they see being emulated around them.”  Only families with the same beliefs are modest?  No Mormon kids are immodest or ever break the law of chastity?  Hmmm.  See how that works out for ya.
  • Humor Alert!  Some of the things people said just sounded funny.
    • “When we dress to show off the private parts of our body we are sending the wrong message and we attract the wrong people and the wrong situations.”  Tee hee!  She said ‘private parts.’  I’ve seen some immodesty in my day, but I’m still pretty sure private parts were not hanging out.
    • “When we dress immodestly in pervokes bad thoughts in others around us.”  Pervokes?  Is that a cross between “provokes” and “perverts”?

What I might say:

  • Being committed to chastity is something that will affect your attitude and demeanor.  For example, you probably will decline to star in Basic Instinct.
  • It’s possible to be sexy and modest, under all this clothing.  Likewise, being sexy is a state of mind.
  • Teens are especially vulnerable to immodest and unchaste attitudes that erode self-esteem, so open communication is critical.

How would you answer this question?  Do you think Mormons are too obsessed with modesty?  Do you think it’s a good or bad question?  Discuss.

Comments

comments

Comments 41

  1. I don’t think Mormons are too obsessed with modesty. If we truly understand that our bodies are temples, we hold them sacred and choose to dress modestly. Modesty is a manifestation of self-love and also a demonstration of our love for our Savior, as we seek to honor and follow Him.

  2. “How are modesty and chastity related?” They are completely unrelated concepts, one inspired of God and the other inspired of the devil.

    “How can parents teach their children to be modest in dress, language and behavior?” By word and by example. Let the parents live the law of chastity and teach their children to live the law of chastity, while practicing nudism in their own home. This will fully prepare children to live the law of chastity and resist the deceptions and temptations of the devil, for all the mystery and about the human body will have been removed by their parents. Because children are naturally curious, knowledge and familiarity with human body, in an environment of chastity, will take all the punch out of the enticements of the devil.

  3. How does heavenly Father clothe us when He sends us here to Earth? He sends us here naked, or clothed in flesh.

    Is any part of our physical bodies clothed or covered when we get here? The male glans is covered by a foreskin and the female clitoris is covered by a hood.

    As the body matures into adulthood, does anything become covered? The genitals and armpits of both sexes become covered in hair. The face of males also becomes covered in hair.

    This is the standard of modesty I give my children. As long as you still have your pubic hair and clitoral hood and penile foreskin coverings, there is no need for shame because you are dressed modestly. Everything above and beyond that standard is man-made.

    Who told thee thou wast naked?” Let’s answer that question: Who told Adam and Eve that they were naked? Who taught them to be ashamed of their nakedness? Who originated body modesty? LUCIFER: “See — you are naked.

  4. #4,

    That’s a heck of a way to start out the morning. Does that also mean we should relive ourselves where ever we want because we can?

  5. From the OP: “If you start with they are infants then as they grow and mature acting and dressing modestly is a habit.”

    Yeah, until they are two and strip off all their clothes and run naked in the front yard…

    Nicely done as usual, HG.

  6. #5:

    I wasn’t speaking of nudity as a matter of “can” — as you were with urination/movements — I was describing the standard that God has provided b/c I think it is the best place to start. People should know the line between what God expects and what society expects — and then be able to make a choice as to where they stand. I, for example, am wearing clothes right now — but I have no sense that God requires this of me — it is only b/c of the fear of men that I do.

    When we teach that proper clothing is expected of God, we are doing Satan’s work for him — b/c it is he who divides according to outward appearences and dress and it is he who likes the idea of “secret” parts that entice and tempt us.

    Likewise, when we teach that the law of chastity is broken by kissing of touching a breast — we assign guilt to person who has not broken the law as outlined by God. We are adding our own “good ideas”, or the commandments of men, to the law as He has defined it.

    It’s the “anything more or less than this cometh of evil” principle.

  7. It’s interesting to see the variety of responses of how people interpret modesty. I especially like the idea that modesty reflects the inner person.

    My 2 cents, specifically as it related to garments and modesty:
    – As a man, it’s not that big of a deal. Most of the time, I’d wear a t-shirt anyway. When it’s hot, it is extremely annoying to have essentially 2 shirts on, but ok.

    – I think it is MUCH different for women. Having watched my wife try to buy dresses and things, it’s a struggle. They are not immodest by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s really hard to not have the garments stick out around the arm-pit area. I’ve seen her go through a dozen nice, formal dresses to find something that works. And even for “regular” clothes, many LDS women have to wear yet another layer of undershirt to cover up the garment underneath a “regular” shirt that, again, isn’t immodest.

    I don’t know why they can’t make more of a camisole top for women. The markings could still be in the same place. It would involve removing probably 2 inches of fabric from the shoulder area on each side. The garment has already been modified FAR more than that. When Joseph Smith instituted the garment, it went down to the wrists. Over the years, various leaders have already removed probably 18 inches or more from each arm to get it to it’s current version. Removing 2 more inches is certainly much less than that. And it wouldn’t affect the markings at all. In the military, they silkscreen the markings on the inside of basically a t-shirt anyway, which people wear with NO shirt over top of it, so there is precedent for that as well.

    Just my 2 cents.

  8. Ooooooh! You picked my favorite topic! We have one rule for modesty in my house. Don’t dress like a skanky ho. IMO, this about covers it. And I think that by extension one could assume that if I don’t want you dressing like one, I certainly don’t want you acting like one. So there you go. Modesty and Chastity. But if I hear one more person (or see one more standards night dedicated to) saying that flip-flops are immodest, I’m gonna flip my lid. (Flip flop my lid? Seriously, a couple of years ago, YW in excellence in our stake included having the girls sign a “no flip-flop at church” pledge).

  9. Another danger of misunderstanding modesty/chastity is what #8 and 9 mentioned — they are used as a tool of discrimination against women.

    Hawkgrrrl your previous posts have left me with the impression that you are sensitive to the issue of women discrimination within the Church. What about modesty talks only being directed towards young women — and on the subject of flip-flops no less.

  10. #5 — Justin, you’re baiting and you know it. Continue in your mind along the dialog you quoted and you’ll see the Lord recommended clothing.

    FWIW, For the Strength of Youth addresses modesty for young women and young men. That said, it also blurs the line a bit as it lumps modesty into a “dress and grooming” discussion, which may be how we wander off to suggest silly things like flip flops’ not being modest.

  11. #2

    ““How can parents teach their children to be modest in dress, language and behavior?” By word and by example. Let the parents live the law of chastity and teach their children to live the law of chastity, while practicing nudism in their own home.”

    Let the church say amen.

  12. #12 Paul, our first parents were naked, “the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” The Lord said unto Adam: “Who told thee thou wast naked?

    Continuing my dialog, I then found that Satan pointed out the nakedness, defined it as something to be covered with clothing, and encouraged Adam and Eve to go hide. Why did he do this? Because the law of chastity is of God and it is his intention that everyone break it. If everyone were naked, then the law of chastity would be broken less — not more. It is Satan who covered up Adam and Eve and created the illusion of shame, so that the enticement of sin would allure people into uncovering “the sinful parts” — followed by guilt and shame.

    Notice, though, that now the devil has made even the breast a “secret part”. Now society will have us believe that the exposure of the female (but not male, of course) breast is immodest.

    The Lord looks upon the heart — not outward appearence, the Lord sends naked angels (Moroni) and naked prophets (Isaiah), the Lord provides clothing, yes, — but for functional purposes, not to cover nakedness. So you have leather coats for protection from the elements and from the thorns and briars. You have priesthood garments for spiritual significance and symbolism.

  13. Mike S,
    what you fail to realize is that, in changing women’s garment tops to a camisole style, you would enable women to bare that foulest part of our anatomies- (gasp!)- the Shoulder!

  14. I didn’t think the church was obsessed with modesty because I honestly don’t remember it being emphasized that much when I was in Young Women, but now that I’m a YW leader, HOLY COW. It seems like every single lesson brings up modesty – lessons on integrity, lessons on charity, even lessons on writing letters to the missionaries (yes, there is an entire lesson on writing letters to the missionaries – but that’s another post.) I know the Young Men don’t talk about it that much.

    I would LOVE it if the garments were adjusted to a camisole style top. It’s crazy the lengths I have to go to just to keep them covered – and I have no desire to be immodest. Actually, the way the tops fit now I could easily show quite a lot of cleavage, but my dirty sexy shoulders are covered!

  15. Why are women so concerned with not letting parts of the garments show? Where in the inititory are we instructed to never let anyone see any portion of them under any circumstance? Who cares if a little lace shows thru at the shoulders?

  16. Justin,

    I am not sure what your motives are, but I did want to address one of your points:

    “It is Satan who covered up Adam and Eve and created the illusion of shame, so that the enticement of sin would allure people into uncovering “the sinful parts” — followed by guilt and shame.”

    This was true at first because Satan wanted to create the illusion that they should hide from the Father because of the nakedness. The transgression was the eating of the fruit, not their nakedness.

    You actually see the same behavior in young children who hide from their parents when they are undressed and that is not taught, it seems natural.

    But, ultimately, it was the Father who clothed them correctly.

  17. I don’t see the coats of skins as God’s attempt to properly cover the shameful nakedness of Adam and Eve. I have noticed the opposite trend in the behavior of children with respect to nakedness — mine prefer nudity to clothing. I think the hiding behavior is socialized into them thru the words and deeds of parents/teachers.

    My motives are based in concern for how a misunderstanding of modesty leads to breaking the law of chastity. I think saints would be benefited to know that Satan originated the law of modesity — while God originated the law of chastity. They are two seperate laws and have no overlap within the gospel.

  18. Justin,

    Funniest doctrinal viewpoint I’ve read in a long time!

    Jeff,

    I think you’re way off base as to kids and modesty. It’s a total culture thing. If modesty was the way of the natural man, why do the Young Women need to be blasted every sunday on the evil thoughts inspired by shoulders and toes.

    Defining modesty is like the old proverb “nailing jello to the wall.” As mentioned in the Supreme Court cases on pornography…”I’ll know it when I see it”. To ramble further, one of my favorite scenes in Far and Away is when the guys on the boat are checking out Nicole Kidmann’s peek-a-boo ankle showing from below her skirt.

    And if anyone thinks that men breasts and women breasts are different, needs to go to the beach more often and check out some fat dudes. Fat deposits are fat deposits.

  19. I forgot to answer one of the questions:

    “Do you think Mormons are too obsessed with modesty?” Yes. I agree with #16 Back Row. As she said, “It seems like every single lesson brings up modesty”. And not just the lessons. The women of my family who are LDS, take these lessons home on Sunday and then throughout the week inflict guilt and shame and judgment upon any female relative who do not exactly conform to their standard of modesty. It’s like a broken record 24 hours a day.

  20. Species373,

    “I think you’re way off base as to kids and modesty. It’s a total culture thing. If modesty was the way of the natural man, why do the Young Women need to be blasted every Sunday on the evil thoughts inspired by shoulders and toes.”

    None of my young men were in Young Women, but exhibited the modesty behavior. We did not teach it to them. Modesty may be a natural tendency, but the world around us tells us a very different story.

  21. HG, I’d score this one a “gapper”…you didn’t “touch ’em all”, but still a solid hit and provokes (pun intended) a fair degree of excitement.

    Would agree that Elder Oaks comments about a woman possibliy being “walking porno” is just a bit over the top, though well-intended. It’s an “eye-of-the-beholder” situation anyway. If I go the gym and see an athletic, well-figured young lady wearing tight shorts and or other figure-flattering attire is working out, the young fellows might get a randy though or two, but an old (well, middle-aged) grunt like me would just smile and turn it to something useful (add another ten lbs. each side for the bench press and do another set). Of course, for the same attractive young lady to walk into a sacrament service in gym clothes would be way inappropriate, of course. Setting and purpose dictate appropriateness of attire. Hopefully by teaching the young men to see the young sisters in their true beauty and w/o indulging their lusts, we put the onus where it truly belongs.

    And rather than get into details and heuristics about what is modest and what isn’t, I would and have my daugthers thus: dress so that the fellows know that you’re an attractive young woman, but also let them know in no uncertain terms that you are a LADY.

    Being a former cast member of Disney World myself I can appreciate the spectre of well-scrubbed families. At the time, I never realized how many fellow cast members were LDS. And as for the modesty of Disney characters, most do well, with some examples (Fantasia, Make Mine Music) pushing the envelope for the standards of the time. My youngest is out of the “Disney Princesses” stage (but the granddaughter picks it up), and, unfortunately for Jasmine, her bare midriff makes her unwelcome with the more frumpy LDS. I still remember when the kid was four telling me “Jasmine’s not modest ‘cuz she shows her belly button”).

  22. Does anyone else wonder how many of those answers are even related to the question? Most of what I saw there didn’t answer the questions that were being asked. They meandered down different paths that are kinda unrelated.

    The questions didn’t ask about feeling sexy. They didn’t ask about the perceptions of others. It asked about why modesty is important and how to teach it to children — the message one is broadcasting and why it’s important.

    The lack of “staying on topic” is what annoyed me. haha.

  23. Does anyone else wonder how many of those answers are even related to the question? Most of what I saw there didn’t answer the questions that were being asked. They meandered down different paths that are kinda unrelated.

    The questions didn’t ask about feeling sexy. They didn’t ask about the perceptions of others. It asked about why modesty is important and how to teach it to children — the message one is broadcasting and why it’s important.

    The lack of “staying on topic” is what annoyed me. haha.

  24. <blockquoteI am not a fan of sexualizing our very young (prepubescent) children with restrictions on sundresses or making shorts be knee-length or the notion that everyone needs to be dressed as if they are already wearing garments when they are not yet, so they can “be ready.” Their lives will be over soon enough.

    Agree re: the idea that taking too much care with “modest” clothing for young children, is a form of sexualizing them, inappropriately.

    Re: “their lives will be over soon enough,” I’m also inclined to agree — but I do have to say that there may be something to encouraging young Mormons to dress garment-compatible before the Law goes into effect in that regard. Believe it or not, going from my usual 6-inch-inseam on shorts to the Mormon-standard 9 was enough to shake my pre-mission complacency — my temperament was inherently conservative, socially and morally, so there were no real sharp points of contact with Church matters to trigger questioning — into seriously asking myself whether I believed what I had been taught. And it didn’t help that there was a Masonic lodge right across the street from my high school, whose compass and square emblem on the wall facing my algebra class triggered a “hmm, that’s familiar” moment a bit later.

    The point is that if your plan for your children is to keep them from questioning their received faith, grit your teeth and dress them garment-compatible. Not because it’s “immodest” otherwise, but rather because you’re trying to give them as few reasons as possible to apply skepticism to the Church – a process which will invariably lead a certain number of people out of it — for as long as possible.

  25. And if anyone thinks that men breasts and women breasts are different, needs to go to the beach more often and check out some fat dudes. Fat deposits are fat deposits.

    Congratulations on having a remarkably undiscriminating eye.

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    species237 #20 – the beach is not necessary. There’s a shirtless guy on the adjacent street that we see daily and have taken to calling “manboobs.” I don’t know why his wife isn’t preventing him from going out in public like this.

    Justin 11 – yes, I think the real issue with linking modesty to chastity is that it’s all about men. Women do not have the same link between seeing an immodestly clothed man and wanting to jump his bones as men do with women. So, when the church emphasizes modesty as the means to chastity, they are leaving women’s motivations out of the discussion. Women simply become the gatekeepers of men’s sexuality, and that sure doesn’t seem right. It also implies blame for the victim if women who are dressed immodestly are targets of male sexual aggression. Walking porn indeed. People aren’t porn. We can’t make women sex objects then blame them for being objectified.

  27. I have learned from experience on my mission that there is nothing wrong with nudity. What is wrong is the attiitude of the person who is nude (ie their reasoning for going nude) and the person looking. Adam and Eve walked in the garden of Eden naked and God was with them at times talking to them, etc and they were not worried about being naked until Satan told them. We are taught that there are angels watching us every second of the day (although my thoughts are that when a husband and wife get together they leave the room as this is sanctioned). That means in the shower, in the toilet, making out with a girl/boyfriend, etc. If there is nothing wrong with them watching all this, then there is nothing wrong with being nude.

    I agree that in a rape situation it is totally the perpetrators’ fault regardless of how the victim is dressed.

    Modesty, to me, has nothing to do with clothing a naked body, but how that clothing is utilised to portray your character, thoughts, etc. Modesty is not just covering up, but also not wearing expensive clothing to out-do others.

    Chastity is another thing altogether as it deals with the self discipline of a person.

  28. RE: #30

    “Modesty, to me, has nothing to do with clothing a naked body, but how that clothing is utilised to portray your character, thoughts, etc.”

    And that is why the issue of modesty in a chaste nudist setting such as a club or family resort just doesn’t apply. Sorry but nudity as such does not equal sexuality or immodesty. clothes and how they’re worn do far more to sexualize people than nudity ever did.

  29. re: #18, “You actually see the same behavior in young children who hide from their parents when they are undressed and that is not taught, it seems natural.”

    I’ve never seen that with kids. If anything, it is us parents who instill in them the idea to cover their nakedness. My kids were always all too happy to run around naked and would have preferred it up until the age of 5 or so when my beating them over the head with “you’ve got to wear clothes” finally set it. Now, I’m beginning to wonder if that was more than just a bit over the top. Our notion of “natural” is totally and entirely clouded by Americanized values. Take a flight to some non-westernized country and you’ll see a lot more nudity, with absolutely no parental or societal issues whatsoever.

    re: #30, “We are taught that there are angels watching us every second of the day (although my thoughts are that when a husband and wife get together they leave the room as this is sanctioned). That means in the shower, in the toilet, making out with a girl/boyfriend, etc. If there is nothing wrong with them watching all this, then there is nothing wrong with being nude.”

    While I may tend toward agreeing with your conclusion, the premise you base that on is one which creates a god who’s that crazy Santa figure, watching us every day, always knowing what we’re up to, yada yada yada. It’s a fear-based way of reasoning, fear which can’t lead us to life-long transformation, but rather only a momentary reformation of behavior. Instead of inviting us to enter into relationship with the Living God, it pushes us away with feelings of inadequacy and repetitious failure.

    re: #29, totally agree. As a male, I’m floored by the amount of indoctrination we spew on the young women on this issue. It’s taught over the pulpit in everyday wards, over the pulpit at General Conference and in magazines sent to nearly every household in the church. Women simply must watch what they wear because they are temptresses lying in wait to seduce us by the clothes they put on, or so the reasoning goes.

    “Gatekeepers for men’s sexuality.” Well said.

    But, then again, what do we expect when elsewhere we’re taught that what we wear (male + female) demonstrates where our heart and spirit really long to be. How we dress “greatly influence[s] our obedience to commandments and devotion to covenants.” (An actual direct quote from someone.) This same person also stated, “In time our dress may even determine who our friends and associates may be, thus influencing whether we live worthy of enjoying the blessings of happiness in this world and for eternity.”

    So when I dress up as a slouch, with unkempt hair (white man’s afro), that means I’m a spiritual slouch who has no desire to be with or like Christ. And, lest that be it, my standard of dress also influences whether I can live worthy of enjoying “blessings of happiness in this world and for eternity.” Oh my!! It’s a seditious doctrine (IMO) which is the only way to govern when we live in a thoroughly Babylonian society, when appearance rules the day.

  30. #17 – I try to keep the garments from showing through my clothes to avoid questions from coworkers and other nonmembers. I didn’t care too much the first few years, but I have a feeling that may have been one factor in the harassment I had to deal with for the final two years of graduate school.

    Keeping them from showing on me leads to several additional restrictions besides just the cut of the clothing. I don’t wear thin, light colored sweaters or silk blouses (shows the lace and sometimes the markings), cap sleeves (my shoulders barely keep up the garment sleeves as it is), or any pencil skirts in any thin fabric (the lower leg seam is almost always visible on me). Most solid color sheath-style dresses are also out. All that plus picking what would look good on my body type makes shopping a real PITA.

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    Anon- amen to that. The extra layers for women = fewer fabrics that can be worn. There are really a lot of hidden restrictions to the G’s.

  32. Why did the Lord command the phylacteries, the prayer shawl, mezuzot etc? Because he wanted his covenant people to be visibly different — visible to themselves and others.

    Why should we gripe so much if we are expected to not follow the pack instinct in the world?

  33. I’ve wondered about the effect of garment wearing on women who are investigating the church. I wonder how many women might pause when they realize that they can no longer buy a dress from Ann Taylor, or JCrew, or Banana Republic. These are usually not places where one goes to buy skanky stripper attire. It’s not quite so bad in the winter months, but even then the necklines are frequently not good. Most dresses that would be considered modest by current cultural standards won’t work with garments. I could see how this could be one of those things that people would feel like they weren’t told. Granted, I live in a very warm climate but most women here would need to get rid of a lot of their clothing if they joined the church and went to the temple.

    I don’t think most men get it. You don’t have to figure out how to cope with bras, and periods, and yeast infections, and hot flashes under all these layers. Your g’s don’t typically interfere with your ability to wear mainstream clothes. I appreciate the guy in an earlier post who talked about how difficult it was for his wife to shop for a dress. As a very petite woman, I got really upset a few years ago when they lengthened the legs of the garments. Apparently too many tall women were buying petite garments so the legs were lengthened. Some girls really do have shorter femurs than others. They always made a point at the Beehive clothing to tell me that the petite garments are only shorter in the rise anyway. Well, some women are 5′ tall, and others are closer to 6′. I’ve heard many faithful LDS women complain that they feel that these things are very difficult. I don’t think they are trying to be immodest.

  34. #37 – a good lady friend of mine anticipates that very issue, at least for summer attire. Since she’s an ex-gymnast (alternate on two Olympic teams) and insufferably petite and slender (4’11 – 3/4″ and 97 lbs. soaking wet), her summer uniform was heretofore short shorts and either a tube top or a bikini top. Needless to say she’ll have to acquire a new warm weather wardrobe.

  35. Pingback: The Garment « LDS Anarchy

  36. Sometimes I do think we get a little ridiculous over it…with children, particularly. ( However, that all seems to go out the window at adulthood, as Mormon women seem on the rise to take over Most-Likely-To-Get – A- Boob -Job votes…and, funny, I see this in Utah more than anywhere, not that we Canadians are immune ) . But it has gotten under my skin more than a few times when I have been at the beach with babies/toddlers and with LDS friends who can’t help but make their comments about immodest child swimsuits…no I would never put my 2 -yr old in a sequined string bikini, on principle. BUT I also thinks its just as icky to sexualize small children  and frankly, I’d let them run naked on the beach if I didn’t have to worry about someone else’s possible creepy thoughts. I see a certain wisdom in the familiarity and importance of introducing modesty at a young age, I just can’t help but feel a compulsion to let up on the little guys and let them have their naive, unselfconsciousness as long as possible. On a side note, I found it rather hilarious when an lds mother I knew let me know her daughter would not be attending a birthday party for little girls that both our daughters were invited to because they would be henna art and that was just WAY too much like a real tattoo, coming from someone who’d had her boobs   recently resized. Too funny.

  37. Sometimes I do think we get a little ridiculous over it…with children, particularly. ( However, that all seems to go out the window at adulthood, as Mormon women seem on the rise to take over Most-Likely-To-Get – A- Boob -Job votes…and, funny, I see this in Utah more than anywhere, not that we Canadians are immune ) . But it has gotten under my skin more than a few times when I have been at the beach with babies/toddlers and with LDS friends who can’t help but make their comments about immodest child swimsuits…no I would never put my 2 -yr old in a sequined string bikini, on principle. BUT I also thinks its just as icky to sexualize small children  and frankly, I’d let them run naked on the beach if I didn’t have to worry about someone else’s possible creepy thoughts. I see a certain wisdom in the familiarity and importance of introducing modesty at a young age, I just can’t help but feel a compulsion to let up on the little guys and let them have their naive, unselfconsciousness as long as possible. On a side note, I found it rather hilarious when an lds mother I knew let me know her daughter would not be attending a birthday party for little girls that both our daughters were invited to because they would be henna art and that was just WAY too much like a real tattoo, coming from someone who’d had her boobs   recently resized. Too funny.

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