In today’s LDS youth programs, especially those for young women, modesty has become even more of an emphasis than in years and decades past. Of course modesty is important, but are some of the ways modesty is being taught today more harmful than helpful for youth who are undergoing important transitions in their lives? Is modesty being taught too often as an end in itself rather than as a fruit that flows from a life and self-image rooted in healthy spiritual, emotional, and physical confidence? Furthermore, is modesty being taught too early, becoming an emphasis far ahead of when it is healthy and appropriate to discuss, causing an unconscious sexualizing of even pre-pubescent girls and boys? Finally, are subtle and not-so-subtle messages being conveyed to our youth that modesty is just about sexuality, skin, and arousal, that their bodies are something to be ashamed of and covered? And especially for young women, are they being taught that it is primarily their responsibility to control whether or not boys or men have sexual thoughts?
Please join Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon and panelists Heather Olsen Beal, Chelsea Fife, and Erin Hill for a far-ranging discussion of this important issue. Can we as a church and a culture do a better job of teaching principles that will naturally lead toward a strong desire to be modest while still building healthy views about bodies, sexuality, and what it means to be—as our whole selves—daughters and sons of God? This panel answers this question with an emphatic “yes” and shares many thoughts that might contribute to these important goals.
After listening, we hope you will contributed to a spirited and constructive discussion in the comments section below!