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July 17, 2024

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LcAugust 19, 2016

I wrote a message like 5 min ago where I was upset because my personal comment about my experiences with being judged had been removed but I was just comforted by a great article that I think all those with negative comments to this article on modesty should read because I will let you know it just gave me comfort from all the hatred I feel from your comments

mominmdSeptember 28, 2015

I admit, I found many of these comments disturbing. The author is talking about a young girl choosing to wear a bikini and a horde of adult commenters are ready to condemn her. Have you considered that the girl might not be a member of the church? Might be struggling at home and acting out for attention? Might have made the choice to wear it, then felt uncomfortable and in her own mind, has already decided not to do it again? Might have borrowed the suit from a friend? Might struggle with wearing modest clothes but be the kindest, best member missionary around?? Might have done or thought or felt any number of other things which we, the onlookers, know nothing about? I am deeply disappointed. Modesty is important, yes, but so is patience as we teach the youth and allowing others room to make mistakes and learn from them. Haven't those of you self-righteously counseling your sons to stay away from this girl ever made clothing choices you regret? Or other choices you regret? Would you like to be judged and condemned for those choices? I know I wouldn't.

LauraSeptember 20, 2015

I appreciated this article. I have a daughter who by her every action is modest except her dress. I have come to believe she dresses inappropriately in order to determine who is judgmental and who isn't. It disheartens me that she uses this as a method because I feel that she is being judgmental herself, but it has been brought about my this culture in which she has been raised. She feels like it should not be a big deal. She is always respectful and helpful when she helps me shop for my clothes so that I am always temple worthy and look feminine and beautiful as well.

Madeline B.September 14, 2015

The thing that bothers me about the obsession with modesty is the rigidness of what certain people have deemed "appropriate". If your shorts do not reach exactly down to your knees-it's inappropriate, if your shirt does not cover your entire shoulder bone-it's inappropriate, if a hint of your clavicle bone is showing-it's inappropriate. We've taught girls that its more about the technical measurements of modesty than the overall spirit of what it really means. It is not just about the clothes we wear. Modesty is how we present ourselves, how we speak and act, it is about being humble, honest and not excessive in any aspect of out lives. When I get dressed in the morning I always think who I would be comfortable running into while wearing my outfit. Would I feel embarrassed if I saw my bishop or my grandpa, or even how would I feel if Christ saw me? I think it is a very personal matter and no one should be judged for what they wear, in any capacity. Non-endowed members do not wear sacred garments that need to be covered, so I believe it makes sense that they do not need to have the same strict standard of dress. When a YW Stake Presidency member is standing at the front of a youth stake dance with a measuring stick turning people away, I think we have gone too far. The shame and embarrassment that leaders inflict upon our youth, sometimes unknowingly or with good intentions at heart, has a damaging effect to the way they view their bodies, others' bodies and the Church. Sometimes leaders can be so worried about the letter of the law they don't worry about offending and really hurting the feelings of our youth. Modesty in dress should not take president over love, compassion and understanding, which I believe are the true pillars of the Church.

ShannaAugust 28, 2015

I remember being disappointed at my roommate who wore a one-piece bathing suit that was low cut, thereby showing her cleavage. She was a YW leader and had the girls over to our complex's pool for a party. As a leader it is extra important to be as modest as possible (in dress, action and word) as the girls look up to their leaders. What a leader does, some girls will assume it is OK to do also. We must set the example and as leaders we are under a greater responsibility to do so.

JaymeAugust 24, 2015

Modesty must be taught to both our young woman AND young men. It's about respecting the body the Heavenly Father gave us, and respecting ourselves and each other. When you look at a person, do you only see their physical appearance, or do you look for the soul, the real person they are inside? The same is true when we look at ourselves in the mirror when we are getting dressed each day. What you wear does effect how you feel about yourself. When other people see you, their first impression is generally based on your physical appearance, because that's all they know of you at first. When raising your children a good guideline is to be sure their clothing covers all parts of their body that would be covered by temple garments. And don't just say it arbitrarily, explain to them why those are your standards, and make sure you also abide by the same standards.

BetteGAugust 24, 2015

Jon P is right on target. Thanks so very much for the link. Essentially - follow the words of the prophets. And always remember to seek confirmation of their words.

Jon P.August 22, 2015

This article is very subtle. I don't doubt this good sister has good intentions, but the first thing that came to my mind was " the philosophies of men mingled with scripture". Stay close to the brethren. Here is an article on

Jackie C.August 21, 2015

Scott sums it up for me. I was once very active in the Mormon church and there is so much I still love about the gospel. The judgmental attitudes, self righteousness and dogma were deal breakers for me. I know ... it's not the gospel, but it is very prevalent human behavior in the Mormon church and I find that very sad. I love the Lord. I love Jesus Christ and in my heart of hearts ... I know He would rather have a young woman wearing a sleeveless top and a skirt two inches above her knee to a Church event, then feel she couldn't be there because of the ridicule she would surely face. There is a huge difference in dressing trashy and calling inappropriate attention to ourselves than some of the fine lines some church members get hung up on. I so agree that modesty starts in the heart and works outward. The new commandment is ... love one another. Peace.

Andrew DaviesAugust 20, 2015

When my wife showed this article to me, I was very impressed with it. As LDS parents of 5 with 3 girls (2 teenagers), we appreciated the emphasis on true modesty. I hope we can instill a sense of modesty in our children, but their clothing is only one limited reflection of it. We try to teach our kids self-respect, personal value, not drawing undue attention to themselves, and keeping their attention on respecting, loving, and serving others. Modest dress will be a natural result of those inner convictions. Ironically, overemphasizing clothing only draws more attention to the body and reinforces an unhealthy culture of objectification, titillation, and guilt. We are Christians, and that means we should live a double standard. We are to have high expectations of ourselves, but not impose those expectations on others. What if a Catholic priest thought his vow of celibacy meant that married people were less righteous? We would think him unreasonable! And yet, we LDS and Christians have made similar "vows" ourselves. These covenants with God make us a "peculiar people." That means we should have different expectations of ourselves than we do of others, including other Christians. "Judge not" isn't complicated. The bad PASSES judgement, while the good makes judgement CALLS. The bad emphasizes the past, while the good lives in the present. The bad imposes expectations on others while the good seeks to understand, love, and serve others without expectation. Don't pass judgement on people's deeds. Instead, make judgment calls for people's needs.

PekoorbAugust 20, 2015

Julie, thank you for the article. I have an almost 11 year old daughter and I really appreciated the points that you brought up. Your thoughts will be very useful as I continue to teach her modesty as she enters adolescence. Thank you for the words that caused me to want to be deliberate and wise in the way I teach this principle. Great article.

Melanie E.August 19, 2015

Why did the Lord create the temple garment? Couldn’t He have just said, “Your bodies are sacred-clothe them?” He certainly had a good reason for providing us this reminder of our covenants and doing it in this way. And he certainly expresses how the garment is to be worn. Go to the temple and listen carefully and then ask yourself, Why do we argue this?

Jared BullochAugust 19, 2015

I disagree that modesty is overemphasized. I agree with RachaelG that there is likely some lack of clarity or depth, but modesty is a true principle. To the authors point that we send a message that modesty does not apply to males see my response: Modesty in Men - same standard different temptations.

TaylorAugust 19, 2015

I really enjoyed this article and was please to read a fresh perspective. Thank you for sharing Julie.

Mixed MessagesAugust 19, 2015

Discussing modesty using a holistic approach is commendable. Discussing modesty without including the commandment to dress modestly is irresponsible. It seems this article wants to point fingers at people who "judge" vs. taking personal responsibility for our modesty choices. We all struggle to understand the concept of "judging others" and can learn more about that from Elder Oaks in his article "Judge Not and Judging". There is no doubt we can all improve in this area BUT if this article is about modesty then we need to include being responsible to God and others and the reason(s) dressing modesty is part of that discussion. Modesty is an outward symbol of our inner commitment to our Heavenly Father. Our modesty decisions include being committed to ourselves and others by dressing in accordance to Church standards. We are all on different places on the path back to God and we help each other continue on the path by doing our best to demonstrate in action, humility, demeanor, and dress what God has clearly stated in conference and FTSOY.

Me AgainAugust 19, 2015

I don't know if the author realizes this or not, but you just opened the door of justification for all the women who read this, who have been struggling with modesty, to go ahead and do it because an intelligent Mormon woman told them they could. From the comments above you can tell exactly how excited they are to now have permission to continue in the very behavior that will ruin them and others. Some people don't know the difference between doctrine put out from the church or opinions of LDS therapists. I'm worried that many take this as doctrine and will preach it to their young women like it came from the New Era. I'm worried at the confusion this will cause. I'm not writing this with any disrespect for the author or those who believe this article to be true.

UnsureAugust 19, 2015

After having a husband who struggled with a sex addiction (I know...his choices), and hearing the struggles of his mind and controlling it, my mind opened up to a different level of understanding modesty. It was like a mystery revealed. I feel foolish when church members post articles like this one. I so strongly feel the opposite of most of the things in this article, in fact, it was hard to read. My eyes have been opened to the vital importance of modesty. Its not a small thing. Women will be accountable for their immodest behavior in dress or attitude, as well as if they were honest in their dealings with others. And men will be accountable with how well they controlled their thoughts, etc. Our dress and behavior is an outward expression of our commitment, conversion, and love for God. To be modest is more out of respect for others and God than for gratifying oneself. I am all for allowing people to make their decisions, obviously no one should ever be forced, but I see a great divide in the church. Half going toward the vain things of the world who wear pride on their sleeves (or no sleeves for that matter..), and the other half trying, begging, pleading for those to stay away from Babylon. I know it seems dramatic, but the scriptures are laced with the Lord warning women of the church of the cost of vanity. I worry for them, and the poor men who are trying so hard to control themselves, but even when they think they are safe at church..they aren't. What a sad day it will be when we all realize what we've done in ignorance.

KatAugust 18, 2015

#firstworldproblems #UtahProblems The church is true the people aren't always. We all have our problems and issues. Maybe the modesty issue stems from something deeper like the porn issue. So maybe these boys weren't judging the girl as much as they were trying to protect themselves and it came out wrong? This world really stinks in trying to stay away from pornography and if the very idea of a girl in a two-piece (gasp) could be a trigger and they were in the right place doing the right thing, I don't know... Is this girl responsible for their brains- NO. But are they, not really. They are teen aged boys with teen aged hormones and an anatomy that they can't even control. I have sons and daughters. And really none of them even feel comfortable swimming without a rash guard. So lets just prevent skin cancer, save some sunscreen, and all be happy.

Glenda B.August 18, 2015

Jennifer WeaverAugust 18, 2015

Of course we have standards for dances and EFY and youth activities where we say "this is the dress code if you want to participate" and that is absolutely appropriate and youth can participate if they choose to follow the rules of the activity. But in most areas of gospel living, room is given for those who are not yet converted to that principle, and they are free to participate -without ridicule and unrighteous judgement! We do not turn people away from church and most church meetings/activities for immodest dress! Of course we should not turn them away socially or emotionally as well (to the woman who said tell children to stay away/don't speak to the yw in the two piece). Should we stay away from her if she is not a full tithe payer? If she fights with her brothers at home? This kind of "casting off" reminds me of the attitudes of members turning away the poor in outward appearance in the Book of Mormon from their houses of worship. Are we to turn away everyone who is "poor" in their understanding or conversion to a specific principle of the gospel at this time in their life? And if so which ones? And there is a scripture that I feel addresses the emphasis placed on female responsibility the author refers to when it comes to male sexual sin. Alma counsels his son Corianton after he went after a harlot in Alma 39:4, "Yea, she did steal away the hearts of many; BUT this was NO EXCUSE for thee, my son. Thou shouldst have tended to the ministry..." That's pretty clear to me. I believe this modesty issue is also an issue of stewardship, and it is the parents who have stewardship here and the Spirit will help them know what specific limits to set. Please consider, why is the gospel principle of modesty not like any other gospel principle where every individual has the privilege of learning line upon line until more fully converted to that truth? It is disturbing to me that any of us think we have the right to require an immediate change in someone else to whatever level of conversion we enjoy regarding a specific gospel principle. It's easy to do this when it comes to modesty because it is plastered all over our outward appearance and yes! "man looketh on the outward appearance." But what if we all wore our tithing status on our sleeve, or how often we attended the temple or how well we lived the word of wisdom - would we act out of our stewardship to force compliance and conversion? Recently there was a youth Q&A broadcast with Elder and Sister Bednar. When asked for specific answers to specific teenage behaviors, Elder Bednar said - they (teens) don't want someone to tell them what to do/not to do when they can figure it out for themselves. He then spoke of Elder Nelson's example of how teaching a principle can answer an application question using the Sabbath as an example. Principle: the Sabbath is a sign between God and His covenant people. Application: When considering an activity ask yourself, "what signal do I want to send to God." He said if we understand the principle than the application questions aren't that hard to figure out. It is easy to see how this same way of teaching can be applied to modesty. As a seminary teacher I love the new youth curriculum's doctrine centered (rather than behavior centered) teaching. I've found it IS best to teach the principle/doctrine and then the Spirit will bear witness of the truth to individuals and what (if any) personal changes need to be made, if their hearts are ready to receive. Behavior centered teaching however is a guaranteed fight as all are at a different place in their ability to comprehend and obey gospel law. As a member of this church since I was 19 I have slowly gained testimony and then personal conversion to gospel principles and that process has blessed my life! Each of those PERSONAL experiences has been a foundation for doing so again and again in the eventual loving and living of other principles of the gospel. We should not rob each other of this process! My hemline came down a half inch at a time as I gained a testimony and personal conversion to the principle of virtue and doctrine that the body is a temple. Testimony and conversion of THAT PARTICULAR principle and doctrine was of course tied to my outward behavior! But my hemline was NOT a sum up of my conversion to the gospel or love for my Savior and we should not treat people as if it is. When I went to the temple giving away half my wardrobe was a sacred experience and I treasure it. It was an expression of my faith and trust! I felt I was "giving away all my sins to know Thee!" I am so glad the members of the church gave me room to figure this out on my own, if they had pushed it before I was ready it would have created a whole new problem of overcoming teenage pride and hurt feelings. So yes, I teach my children that for BOTH men and women the hemlines for covering nakedness are the same - it is the temple garment. But I also recognize that like me, my children need to come to their own personal conversion in this and it is my stewardship help them to do so as a parent as guided by the Spirit which the details of which are different for each individual child. I do not appreciate when I see the "member monitors" trying to push along this very personal process for teens, it usually does way more harm than good.

Casey MeirovitzAugust 18, 2015

Folks, the author is seeking to help us remember the WHY of the gospel. She is not suggesting we should be immodest. Actually quite the contrary. She is only trying to help us return to the spirit of the gospel message, which is love and doing things for the right reasons, oh, and not judging is in there too. And Mr. Christopher Cambell, does being a CSM photographer give you the right to speak for the Brethren? I wasn't aware you had that authority. Or are you suggesting they cannot speak for themselves?

GwennaëlleAugust 18, 2015

I am so saddened by some comments on there. How come when when one advocate for a more Christlike attitude it is automatically turned into "you are teaching something different (opposite) from what the brethren are teaching"? Seriously have their teachings drift so much away from the gospel (good should ponder about the meaning of the word "gospel") that it feels like preaching it is similar to preaching against them?

KirbyAugust 18, 2015

Modesty is much more than just clothing styles. Sitting modestly is a big one. Talking modestly is often overlooked. Using expletives in your speech but replacing certain harsh words with made-up or non-sensical ones does not make the speech modest at all. What about other things like eating modestly, being modest by using manners, showing modesty in actions by being polite and generous. All these things are important and follow the spirit of the law, which is higher than the letter of the law, AFTER following what is spelled out in For the Strength of Youth. Excited and enthusiastic is not boisterous and greed. We shouldn't have to be told every single thing to do, but we are responsible for properly teaching our children how to dress and to how to think. It is possible to inform someone that they have dressed immodestly and do it in a Christian way. Often that is simply informing them like that if they wear that particular outfit outside in the sunshine the sun will make it almost transparent and let the person make their own informed decision. Another example would be to politely let a family member know that if they bent over to pick something up wearing that outfit it could cause a commotion. Often, when done this way it doesn't come off as judgmental but only observationally helpful. Its kind of the same way as telling someone they ought to change their shoes because they will be walking in the grass/weeds and flip flops just won't work out well in rough terrain. Maybe that person usually just walks on sidewalks and doesn't know or didn't think about it ahead of time. You are not judging their toenails, just trying to be helpful. Being called a shoe-nazi or some other stupid remark only shows the over defensiveness of the person.

JemaAugust 18, 2015

This article probably means well but is too complicated. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is so beautiful because of its simplicity. Our bodies are temples and therefore to be honored and respected. We clothe our temples in a way that we are able to wear our garments unaltered and show we respect our bodies. We respect others even when their standards our different from ours and love them as Jesus would. The end.

KrisAugust 18, 2015

I am in complete agreement with the comment from the former Stake President, Anon, from August 16... The split on this subject with those on the side of over-emphasizing modesty vs. those on the side of personal responsibility for one's own modesty is very telling. As a culture, those who LOVE the concept of over-emphasizing modesty have a wonderful opportunity to be judgemental about others. It must feel SO GOOD to be able to point out the sins of others. Not very Christ-like, but it sure does feel good, doesn't it? You people don't even realize what pharisees you are! Concentrate on your OWN SINS and perfect YOURSELVES. Ignore the supposed sins of others. You say that this modesty thing is preparation for going to the temple? WHO WEARS A ONE-PIECE, PERFECTLY MODEST BATHING SUIT TO THE TEMPLE? That isn't an intelligent argument, and you should be ashamed of yourself. Right here, RIGHT NOW, I am proving YOUR point by concerning myself with YOUR SINS. I should quit, go on with my day, and work on my own issues -- which I will do NOW.

Veronica JordanAugust 18, 2015

I totally agree, I've been a member since the age of 7, my parents never made me wear clothes that covered my shoulders or a one piece bathing suit, in fact it was the opposite, mum always told me to not be ashamed of my body, and as I've grown up, I've seen plenty of kids who were pretty much made to comply go less active as soon as they could. I grew up, served a mission and married in the Temple, and both my brothers are returned missionaries, one is also married in the Temple the other is still single. Preparing for the Temple does not take place with clothing, but with your heart and by gaining a strong testimony of the Gospel, clothes have nothing to do with it. Teach the youth to respect themselves and they will choose correctly, but while they are young they are still discovering what it all means and how they feel about themselves.

RandiLLBAugust 18, 2015

Alan :I think this article was meant for you. I wanna say that almost all adults have gone through youth themselves, and to equate a woman dressed (in one persons opinion) inappropriately, as "literally equivalent to being inappropriately touched" or molested by someone is disturbing and insane. I truly hope a man who took 40 years to control his thoughts and feelings around the opposite sex, you never held a position of power in the church where you ever looked at a woman. Forgive this if it comes off attacking. I just read that post and in terror pictured any of the elders viewing my preteen daughter in the way you described. She is a victim of abuse herself, and the disturbingly recent 10 years back view of an immodestly dressed young woman as "pornography," even as said by a prophet, promotes this continuation of violence and passively excuses people from their reactions to their feelings. Downplaying your role in your reaction to attraction is causing much more harm than you realize. Be respectful of everyone, whether or not they portray YOUR current allowable ideas of modesty. They are children of God. He couldn't care less about their two piece swim suit. Awesome article! Apparently much more necessary than you realized!

Paloma_bbAugust 18, 2015

I'm very confused by these comments but in particular Jennifer sorenson: I would like to point out that "some therapist" (ie a reputable and widely respected lds writer with a phd!!) in no way contradicted anything the prophet has said. Perhaps You and the other people so offended by this article are the very people God wanted to READ this article. the ignorance and blindness that is commonly accepted in the lds culture is the very purpose of the article. To distinguish the difference between what modesty actually is, and what YOU are spinning it to be personally ie: "I'm uncomfortable staring at women's certain body parts, especially shoulders!" I am disappointed that instead of understanding this topic most people are choosing to react defensively as if anything she said is offensive? It's not even controversial! I would recommend reading this article a few more times with an open heart and understanding of others instead of a judge mental, hate filled, closed mind. I wanna say some guy named Jesus Christ tried to teach that.

DarylAugust 18, 2015

I mean is this article approved by our leaders?? Because this is a good article, and I want to share this someday but I also want to be sure that this is approved by our leaders.

DarylAugust 18, 2015

Who is the author of this article?? thank you.. :)

ScottAugust 17, 2015

WOW. Many of the people commenting on here would likely be the ones that would stone a woman for driving a car or for taking off her burqa in the Muslim community. Why can men wear swimsuits that show their chests and stomachs, yet women can't wear a "modest" two piece? The problem with Mormon dogma like this is that it automatically sets up the youth to unrighteously judge others. You are talking about the FTSOY pamphlet that was made in the 50's or 60's and has barely changed since then. This is just like having to color in the yellow thread on Dr. Martin shoes in the MTC while I was there. Like some wards/stakes that mandate white shirts be worn to use the priesthood. I didn't even know that white button down shirts were around when Christ walked the Earth and performed miracles. A lot of you sound just like the people that rejected Christ because he associated with people that would have probably worn two piece swim suit equivalents back then. And to you members that use the garment as the guide to dictate how our clothes should fit, what about the fact that garments are continually changing? They used to go to the wrist and ankle. Then knee. Then lower thigh. Women's garments are capped above the shoulder now. Instead of being Lemmings and not following the counsel of GOD and JC about using your own brain, your own experiences, and the Holy Ghost to live your lives, you just accept whatever comes to you from the Dogma machine. Those of you that are taking offense to this would also likely judge the guy that drinks coffee or alcohol once in a while and still comes to church, while you are 80 lbs over weight because you eat too much and exercise too little. Another great "Mormon Dogma" that is widespread. We need to focus on being like Christ and loving one another no matter what. Saying hurtful things is not loving. I personally know many many women/girls that wear two pieces swimsuits, my wife and daughters included, that are amazing, modest, pure and honorable women. And likely not near as judgmental as some on this thread. (I know I am judging too, but I was too appalled at these comments).

LeeAugust 17, 2015

The thing we often forget when talking about dressing modestly is that we are preparing our youth to go to the temple and receive their endowments. Someone who is properly prepared to go to the temple shouldn't need to change their wardrobe after going to the temple. If they are properly prepared, they will already have clothing that is "garment friendly". All too often we resort to the reasoning that our Catholic and Protestant friends use when teaching their kids about the importance of dressing modestly. Instead, we should tell our kids that when they go to the temple they will make a covenant to wear the garments and that by wearing clothing that is compatible before they go shows that they are preparing to make those sacred covenants. As far as I'm concerned, the discussion of modest dress standards starts and ends with the temple and temple garments.

Christopher CampbellAugust 17, 2015

The leaders of the Church are very concerned about modesty. I can tell you as a CSM Photographer that *any* photo of either sex that does not meet dress standards will be rejected for Church use. That includes bathing suits, gym clothes, and the like. The Church *might* make an exception for specific event, but otherwise all persons in Church photos must be modestly dressed. No shorts, bathing suits, short dresses, sleeveless tops, low necklines, etc, whether you are male or female. This article sounds like an attempt to justify wearing immodest clothes. Fine, it is your choice. But know that the Brethren aren't buying your argument and they certainly are not teaching it.

Joseph from MinnesotaAugust 17, 2015

Many good points in the article, many good comments (some not) Thanks. One point that seems missing - "Am I my brother's keeper?" Each of us sin differently. As such, we are expected by Father to uplift and strengthen. If we create a situation where another with a particular weakness falls, then we have become 'the stumbling block' the Savior taught against. We not only are responsible to avoid overt sin, but we need to be concerned with becoming a stumbling block for another. While I completely agree we are not responsible for another's actions, for this is his/her choice. I will argue that we CAN be responsible for their thoughts. Thoughts precede actions. We chose to squash the thoughts or to act upon them. THAT is OUR choice. But any stimulus can initiate improper thoughts if that is their weakness, and we need to help them overcome the weakness, not condemn them for having one. We all need to be careful and in this case, part of the 'burden' of being a female is they share in this responsibility, like it or not. If they truly 'love' their brother, they will not tempt them. (Please don't use the extreme example that a woman can have her body covered head to toe and a man can still have improper thoughts.Yes it happens, it's not the norm, however) Thanks again for the great discussion.

Frank C.August 17, 2015

I would ask these questions of the author. Is showing one's cleavage at church or wearing low hanging pants--displaying underwear (for guys) modest? Is showing half of the thigh at church modest? Are tight-fitting skirts on girls or tight-fitting pants on guys or girls modest? Of course clothes are an important part of modesty. Of course we must judge for ourselves what it and what is not modest. But the author seems to think that whatever we wear is fine, and no one should judge as this may hurt someone's feelings--typical of so-called "therapists". I have asked both YM and YW to return home some Sundays to change into something 'less revealing'. The author suggests that modesty comes from within and is a manifestation of what an individual wishes to portray. Sure, but in adolescence, those boundaries are subject to influences and youth are very sensitive to those influences and need to be taught what is and what is not appropriate. Leave it up to them, and you end up with the atrocious and immodest habits we find among many youth in the church today.

GartinAugust 17, 2015

I fully agree with Alan, Levi Burnham', Sue, and Clark's responses. This article seems to focus so much on judgment upon others in a deeply offensive society. I am striving to teach my YW to find their worth and choose wisely. Helping them strengthen their testimony of Christ and their commitment to the gospel so they can enter the temple with comfort and joy when wearing garments of the Holy Priesthood. If they are confident and respectful of the Lord's standards they are helping other YM fulfill their commitments whether on a mission or sitting across the altar. YM and YW are to help one another by creating a place of standards that is not uncomfortable but respect. This is a two way street. It takes two to tango. It takes two for eternal marriage.

AleeshaAugust 17, 2015

I can solve this problem for you all. Teach your daughters and sons about modesty when they are young. VERY young. Then sexuality doesn't enter into the equation at all! It's not about covering up skinny 5 yr old arms or legs, it's about respecting our bodies, and honoring God. You know what else? Little kids point out when they see something - they can't help it! My little girl is forever pointing out someone dressed immodestly. While embarrassing; this gives me a great opportunity to teach my daughter not to judge. I say things about how we each make our own choices, and while we aren't going to choose to dress that way, that doesn't mean she is a bad person- just making different choices . We then point out things we LIKE about that person, to see past the clothes and realize we are about more than necklines and hemlines. Never once has sexuality or being an object come up in conversation. And when she's older, it will already be a part of who she is, and the reasons will be established.

Donn StoutenburgAugust 17, 2015

This is all very good! However there is one basic truth that the gospel teaches us especially in the Temple. The Lord created the world and all in it very beautiful! That includes the human body (which is a Temple) and spirit. I remember a story about David O. McKay. He was watching a parade and a float with beautiful girls went by. Pres McKay's associate was embarrassed for Pres McKay to see these girls in their beautiful outfits they were wearing. Pres McKay's response was something to the effect that he saw some beautiful girls and he was not offended by what they were wearing! So when we think of modesty we should keep in mind that all were made by the Lord to be enjoyed and admired!

MikeAugust 17, 2015

Like Greg's post on August 15. I agree with the author's main premise that modesty is conveyed in many different ways other than dress, but also like Greg's comments about everyone having responsibility to create a positive, wholesome and healthy environment. On this topic and any others which involve how our behavior can influence others, I have come to believe that while we are ultimately responsible for our own thoughts and actions, we shouldn't ignore that we all can have a considerable influence on each other as to the nature of those thoughts and actions, and how easy or hard it is to have good thoughts and do the right things. I think we also have to recognize that gender equality does not equal gender sameness, so it's no shame to acknowledge that men and women in many cases think, act and respond differently to different situations and failing to recognize that just ignores reality and encourages dialogue based upon false premises.

Harper ScoutAugust 17, 2015

If you are concerned/worried/aghast/appalled/disgusted with what another person wears, yet is still coming to church, THATS BEING IMMODEST. Let's check ourselves before checking others shall we? Also: When did Mormons become so critical, judgemental, and mean? Shame on us. How about we remember the two GREATEST commandments: love God, love one another.

Michelle MAugust 17, 2015

After attending a "special" RS/YW meeting on modesty and caring for our bodies at church yesterday I came home and wrote a position statement that reads: I own and take responsibility for my sexuality and will not make it someone else's responsibility. Nor will I take responsibility for another person's sexuality. By so owning my sexuality I can take the risk of choosing to intimately share this part of myself with my spouse. This risk can bless, strengthen, and bring pleasure and happiness to my marriage and my sense of self. It was refreshing to read this article today highlighting individual agency.

LoriAugust 17, 2015

The boys were wrong in talking about this to each other in public, they are not wrong in thinking it was inappropriate dress. We are commanded to use righteous judgement in certain situations. These boys are determining who to be friends with, who to date, and who they will eventually marry, this is where we are taught to use righteous judgement. I will continue to teach my daughters that it is inappropriate to wear a bikini, and my sons that the girl in the bikini is probably not the one to date. As a mother of teenage girls, I am happy there are boys who will say out loud that they dont think a bikini is appropriate. If this was my son, you would have gotten an ear full. So would he though, making someone feel shameful is not okay. We need to understand the difference and stop calling shame judgement. We must make righteous judgements, and we should not shame people.

JennyAugust 17, 2015

I love this article. There are some pretty nasty and narcissistic comments here. I have a beautiful and strong testimony of our church but more importantly of Christ. I know without a doubt in my soul that if our Savior was at that pool party, he would never pass judgement on that sweet little girl in the two piece swim suit. He would probably invite her over with the other children and drink some lemonade and talk about the beauty of the day and the love that he has for them. -- That doesn't mean that we shouldn't teach our children about wearing modest clothing, preparing for the temple and doing our best to follow the commandments BUT until we can all understand that we are all imperfect when it comes to decisions we make at times (especially when our children are teenagers and their brains are actually built to make mistakes so to learn from them.) I cannot stand all of the people who say things like "a commandment is a commandment, period" and "I'd be proud of my son if he were to recognize that that was immodest and know to stay away from her because she's not the right kind of person to be around," etc. That is so disturbing to me and disgusting, quite frankly. How about widen your horizons, learn more about love and just listen and open your mind to other feelings and opinions. We learn more about science and psychology of the human brain and are constantly gaining a better knowledge of what may be a healthier approach to situations and people. (Thou you can't get better than Christ himself) so, just get out of your little bubble and try to see the world from another view point or perspective for once. Lead by example and love. Shaming is not the way to go. That only creates lack of self worth. And yes, it is the responsibility of every individual to control their own thoughts, period. If you're "uncomfortable" if you see some cleavage that is your deal. Learn to harness the power of your brain and shut that off. Women are sexual beings as well... But fortunately and unfortunately we were born with beautiful ESSENTIALS to have and care for babies. End of story. We wear a beautiful garment to keep our bodies sacred not secret and shameful. Our culture has created the extreme sexualization and objectification of women. Teach your boys that women are beautiful daughters of God and they have the ability to harness their thoughts and not obsess. We all have attractions that are normal and we all have free will. Bless that sweet little girl.

AmandaAMAugust 17, 2015

Modsety is always partly about attitudes, not judging, and all those great and good things. As a Marriage and Family Counsellor my take is: Put on the temple garment, dress around it without compromise and you will always be modest.

Glen M. DanielsenAugust 17, 2015

Red Thunder, note also how "Anon" declines to use his real name. When someone hides behind a mask online it sends up a red flag for me about their credibility. I suspect we're not reading the words of a former stake president. There is much misinformation and lack of understanding in these posts. It is striking.

Red ThunderAugust 16, 2015

Anon - you probably didn't mean this but when you use your former position as though it carries more weight than the rest of us who have not been stake presidents – doesn't come across well to me. I hope we see that it's OK to teach what modesty looks like, feels like, and what our thoughts should be. I believe it's OK to judge whether a person's clothing, actions, and thoughts are modest or not – we don't have to judge the person - indeed none of us can judge the person because we can't see their heart and know their intent. Ultimately the desires of our heart will take us to whatever place those desires lead.

NJCAugust 16, 2015

Modest dress and virtuous thoughts are different things, but both are gospel principles.

R G KingAugust 16, 2015

The fabulous 10, the older daughters of Brigham Young wore their dresses almost off shoulder and the other women of the time wore corsets and bustles to emphasize their femininity. The fabulous ten turned the lights down at times when they entertained company in parlor but together in a group. Brother Brigham corrected that of course. In those days the mere glimpse of a woman's ankles was something to thrill or brag about? Our Puritan and Calvinist backgrounds may make us also boring old sticklers? Modesty and porn should not be talked about in the same conversations since they are not interconnected except by Satan who would destroy the natural attractions of the young. Leave them some mystery and allusions about "Life is beauty..."? As missionaries they will have to relate to people in the clothing of current fashion in the society they are in. They can control their actions reactions and choices.

AnonAugust 16, 2015

As a former stake president, I think the principle of this article is spot on, and I didn't find anything that even started to oppose the teachings of the prophets, nor FTSOY. Modesty, while including dress, is far more than dress alone. How about the size of our homes, the brands of our cars, our pious and judgmental natures, these can also represent immodesty. For those members here who are condemning the author, I suggest you reflect on your position and whether you are really following the teachings of the Savior.

Tammy J RizzoAugust 16, 2015

I agree with what R Winmill said, about how some would have our leaders legislate skirt lengths, and set out strict requirements with punishments for failure to comply. This, though, smacks of Lucifer's plan to MAKE us all live by the rules and deny us any chance for personal growth. Do my skirts come down to 2" below my knees? Probably not. My skirts never hang evenly, because I'm very big, with uneven and lumpy belly, hips, and butt, and commercial skirts never fit. Do my skirts cover my garments, though? Most likely. So do my tops. I have to buy two-piece swimsuits, because I'm a 20 bottom and an 18 top. Guidelines are more helpful than absolutes we can't physically achieve because of how we're built. When you're living the Letter of the Law to the extent that you carry a tape measure to make sure you and everyone around you shows no more than so much skin, then you have lost the higher Spirit of the Law, which is to think, act, speak, and dress with propriety and decency, to show your devotion to your covenants with God. Parents usually give strict rules to children who are still learning how to behave like a civilized human being, but usually allow their more well-behaved children a little more autonomy as they show they can still be civilized on their own. Heavenly Father is THE Perfect Parent. I imagine that fundimentalust behavior like measuring hemlines just makes Him sad that they've missed the point. And when asked if I would want Jesus to see me in my comfy slacks and tee-shirt, I say, "He's my brother. I hang out with my brother in these clothes all the time."

anonymousAugust 16, 2015

I would like to say that I am neither ex-Mormon, nor do I believe that this article states anything that goes against LDS doctrine. There seems to be this stigma going around this article that you must be some sort of apostate in order to agree with what is said here. That is not the case. For those who are not familiar with the spirit of the law in addition to the letter of the law, then perhaps you should reconsider what is written and think about it with what is taught by the leaders of the church. Perhaps you may still end up with you same opinion, but if you consider it with an open heart, you may also end up realizing that there is more to modesty than an outward appearance, that the person who is modest is responsible for their own behavior and not someone else's (I know that there really is a lot of shaming that really is happening in the church right now that it seems no one is really admitting to - I was one of them and it had led to difficulties in my marriage that are only now beginning to be resolved), in order to be modest on the outside you need to have humility and meekness on the inside, a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ and his gospel. We're not all expected live our lives exactly the same. We are given guidelines and are then asked to "govern ourselves." We have the Holy Ghost. Let that suffice and stop judging others!

A AgainAugust 15, 2015

Please, I beg of you to just read For The Strength of Youth. And also, why is nobody talking about the significance of garments? We need to be modest in dress ALWAYS.. there should be no exceptions to God's commandments.

AnonymousAugust 15, 2015

This article saddened me. While we should love everyone regardless of what "they are" wearing... there is no doubt that as followers and disciples of Jesus Christ that modesty should MEAN something to us. When we take upon ourselves the name of Christ at baptism and promise to stand as a witness of Christ at all times, and in all things and in all places.... that does MEAN something. For me what I clothe my body in does reflect what that promise means to me. And though I do believe men have responsibility to control their thoughts... you better believe that we do play a part in how hard that is for them. That's a no brainer. "For who can find a virtuous women?...for her price is far above rubies." Modesty is a rare, rare commodity in todays world. When our hearts change from a testimony state to a conversion state, modesty means something so much more. As parents we need to spend more time teaching the pure doctrine of this to our children both female AND male. If not, society will (and is) doing the teaching.

LDS in MDAugust 15, 2015

I have to admit, I am deeply disappointed by many comments submitted here by active members of the church. Judgemental, harsh comments, even applauding the boys for judging this girl. Do we know anything about her? Is she a new convert and still learning different aspects of the gospel? Is she a member at all? Did she forget her suit and had to borrow something so she could participate? Is she actually already feeling uncomfortable wearing it? Is she struggling at home and acting out, desperately needing support not disdain? I could come up with a dozen possible explanations for her wearing a two piece that have nothing to do with blatantly flaunting the guidelines of the church. Honestly, we don't know, and as ADULTS, perhaps we should be more supportive and caring about choices made by CHILDREN who are still figuring things out. Perhaps we should be glad she came at all and encourage the youth to be a friend instead of dismissing a person based on one choice she's made. Perhaps it comes of living in an area where we are in the minority, but I found many of the comments here to be very narrow minded. Motes and beams come to mind.

LizAugust 15, 2015

I am very tired of hearing people make statements regarding Christ not teaching modesty, as if somehow this makes wearing immodest clothing less important than other aspects of the law of chastity. Christ did not teach about modesty during his ministry because it was not an issue in his time (neither was breaking traffic laws, consuming inappropriate media, sexting, or a dozen other things we could say Christ did not talk about). Jewish women did not leave their homes dressed immodestly. If they did, they would have been stoned on sight. Even prostitutes covered themselves up out of doors. Christ has taught us how to be modest through latter-day prophets and apostles. These men receive revelation from him that applies to us, rather than to a civilization 2,000 years ago.

Caroline - againAugust 15, 2015

Yikes-- as of this moment there are now 120 comments. And I was sorry to read in one of them, that I mostly agreed with, the ubiquitous and crude and immodest word "crap" which I have heard in the temple, from the pulpit and from missionaries teaching. These words, and similar ones, . are so much a part of our culture that few people realize that they are not modest. They are are crude and ugly and immature and we slip into them because they are so common, But still at best lightminded. Not as bad as THE WORLD, but not focused on lovely and praiseworthy. This life is the time to prepare to meet God and He lives in a refined and beautiful home. Bless us all as we try to not judge one another, but to listen and think and become more like Him.

AnonAugust 15, 2015

The reality is that it doesn't matter what you think people should do, you can never force others to subscribe to your values. Remember that Lucifer's plan was to force everyone to be 100 percent obedient and that's not what Heavenly Father wanted. Yes, teach the principles of modesty at church but don't direct those teachings to one person in particular or single someone out. I don't think the author is suggesting to not teach modesty in clothing, but rather to teach it kindly and not inject your personal beliefs into the teachings. Many people have quoted the for strength of youth and that is a good example of what to teach in your Sunday school class. Simple and easy to understand. Teach it and then let it go, people always have the right to make their own decisions. If you think you deserve to control what others do or if you think you deserve to never be exposed to what you believe is wrong then you are going to be sorely disappointed. The beauty of life is we all have free agency. To add to this, teach the principle but let people feel safe at church. I know girls who were not members and went to church or church activities as investigators and we're told by a complete stranger that they were dressed immodestly, pointed out why, and told "shame on you." How many of those girls do you think came back after that? None. Even if you think someone "should know better" because they grew up in the church, still don't single them out because you don't know if they are already struggling with their testimony.

MacAugust 15, 2015

Thank you! Last summer, an older child told my 2 year old that she needed to put a sweater over her "immodest" sleeveless dress. The rage I felt over my daughter being shamed (and she was, she felt it) so young over modesty forced me to think about what my views really are. This article articulated much of what I've thought about as well. But much of what it comes down to for me is the Law of Chastity. I really believe that the type of modesty we talk about most in the church, or covering our shoulders essentially, is really best taught and understood by teaching and understanding the principle of virtue. A modesty in appearance is a natural extension of that teaching.

LizzyAugust 15, 2015

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! Growing up, I developed a "womanly figure" really early, and after having it hammered into my head that a woman's body is inherently sexual and that people will instantly objectify you if they see too much of your shape, I had a lot of shame and resentment regarding my body. I only just got over it, thanks to month's of my husband's patience and voice of reason. Also, about swimming suits: I attend BYU-Hawaii so I see A LOT of swimming suits worn by church members, and I can definitely tell you that just because something covers your belly (which seems to be the magical area with bathing suit modesty), that definitely does not make it modest. However, a girl with a modest two-piece that shows her belly would get in trouble with the Honor Code office instead of the girl with a revealing one-piece. It's not black and white, people.

CamiAugust 15, 2015

I think that the point of modesty is to respect your body. Dress as you would feel is respectful and appropriate for the activity. If people judge, then they judge. This can be applied to any situation. Any time you feel like someone is doing something wrong, you do not need to correct them, unless you are their parent. I have found that the reason why I get upset by how other people dress or act bothers me is because I don't agree with it. I use that to set a standard for myself. Example: I see a girl wearing something that I feel is inappropriate. I think to myself, "Ok, I don't think that is appropriate. I guess I won't ever dress like." End of story. I don't need to correct her. That's the real issue here. Guys should not shame girls and vice versa. Everyone deserves respect, regardless of how they are dressed.

CarolineAugust 15, 2015

With so many comments already, this modestly topic seems to be a very devisive topic, and we appear to divide into two camps: a. The modestly Nazis who measure hemlines at the door( not, I might add, under the direction of our real leaders) and b. Those who want to please God without offending the devil ( the sexy modest crowd) We ordinary people have more work to do to really define and teach what modesty is. Our prophets do it in a kind and gentle way, knowing that they can't force spiritual things but can teach correct principles. I have often thought that if I showed 100 young people a picture of a girl in a bare shouldered but high cut prom dress-- and a modest and sweet demeanor, AND a girl in a low cut prom dress with sleeves-- and posing like a strumpet, that 98 would say the girl with sleeves was the modest one. We have work to do in our heads and in our homes.

GregAugust 15, 2015

Much of this article is infused with the same type of thinking as the "teach men not to rape" movement. I think it would be better without that flavor. I absolutely agree that modesty is about more than how we dress. I agree that concentrating on that one aspect is less effective because it misses the big picture. Of course that big picture is that everything we outwardly communicate, whether through appearance, language, actions, associations, etc., needs to create a positive environment that fosters healthy and wholesome reactions in others. I appreciate that message and encourage more people to adopt a holistic view on modesty. I don't agree with the victimology/shameology about how emphasizing modesty in appearance teaches women's bodies are sexual objects. Biology, not education/teaching/doctrine or anything else, dictates that men (and boys) are visual and sexually aroused by what they see. It is a force of nature which no argument or teaching can change. It does not automatically make them bad or perpetrators, though. Training young men on how to bridle, control, and properly use this force of nature is an different subject--it is about mastering oneself as opposed to being mindful of outward communications we make to others. Modesty of dress is not emphasized to boys in large part because women are not visual in the same way as men. That's why men's/boys' fashion doesn't emphasize/highlight sexuality in the same way as women's/girls' fashion does. Instead, men must be more concerned about modesty in how they talk, e.g., locker room humor, and the things they persuade others to do. Again, men and women are fundamentally different, and so their challenges (and the associated solutions) are different. This reality is one of the major errors of third wave feminism (upon which the article owes much of its approach). Another flaw is the denial of personal responsibility. While it is true that it is people's responsibility not to steal, it's still my responsibility to lock my doors. We each are responsible to create an environment that promotes good things and discourages bad things. (Of course, that is different than being responsible for others' actions.) If we agree that modesty relates to the entirety of the outward communications we make (and thus the environment that is created) and is both important & necessary, then it must follow that it *is* our duty to be mindful of how we affect others, though modesty and everything else. E.g., considering a traditionalist dating scenario, it is absolutely the man's duty to think & behave in a way that fosters safety and wholesomeness, including how he communicates his expectations. It is absolutely the woman's duty to think & behave in in a way that fosters safety and wholesomeness, including how she communicates her expectations. The standard response to this line of thought is that women aren't asking to be taken advantage of regardless of what they wear; however, that's not claimed. I make no assumptions of anyone being taken advantage of. Rather, it is about communication and assumption of intent, standards, and expectations. A guy taking a girl out for dinner and a movie is perfectly fine, but if it's on a Sunday (for example), what message does that send? Most likely that he doesn't value the whole "keeping the Sabbath holy" thing. A girl who wears a revealing swimsuit to a pool party sends a message, too--not that it's okay to objectify her, but rather that she doesn't hold the same values as the other people there. That brings up being judgmental. Being judgmental is a different subject from modesty, and it appears that the example conversation falsely ties the two together. Yes, the boys were wrong for being judgmental, but teaching them to not be judgmental because modesty is neither logically sound nor practical. Modesty is how we outwardly c communicate and create a wholesome environment, while judgment is how we internally think of others. There are perfectly modest people who are judgmental and nonjudgmental people who are in no way modest. For the example, a girl not following the expected dress standard does not permit boys' being judgmental, but similarly, boys being judgmental does not excuse a girl not following the expected dress code. One party being in the wrong doesn't imply the other party is in the right. In short, teaching modesty does not make girls victims. Teaching boys to not objectify women does not absolve women of their responsibility to be modest. Teaching correct principles does not shame girls (or boys) nor does it permit/encourage being judgmental. We *are* responsible for creating an environment that fosters wholesomeness in others. Disapproving of immodesty is not "body shaming." And finally, just say "No!" to third wave feminism's concepts of victimization, shaming, patriarchy, and absolution of personal responsibility.

David Cruz-Uribe, OSFAugust 15, 2015

Thank you for this excellent article. I have summarized it and linked to it at the blog Vox Nova ( as it is related to a series of posts we had last year.

niqueAugust 15, 2015

TY - isn't your question exactly the point? Your son is NOT a pervert - struggling with his attraction to the girl would be natural, normal. Perversion is distortion, corruption. He is biologically created to feel so and had the wisdom to recognize his responses and the integrity to remain in control of them. My only concern would be that avoiding may ( or may not) be not that different from remaining focused on appearance, and being at the whim of that alone - the whole point of modesty is to not stay focused on that. Your son is admirable. It may be that the solution is not to avoid what may originally catch his eye but to commit to seeing past the appearance. He could get to know this girl, ask questions about her hopes, fears, dreams, disappointments... I can only guess the power of a two piece bathing suit would become less the focal point if his attention when he remembers the PERSON in it. You can only do that by putting your attention to realizing this is a person. Simply avoiding leaves him walking away from a 2 pc, but his feelings and thoughts remain his struggle. Change the thoughts - going deeper and seeing her as a complex human being (and soul) takes all the power out of some swimming fabric.

AndreaAugust 15, 2015

Great article and I love the one referred to also. Refocuses our intent to be Christlike. When will we stop judging each other as a culture? I have seen the judgement even escalate between judging modesty, judging physical fitness and attractiveness. "be Ye therefore perfect" has been taken too literally for these mortal imperfect bodies and is leading to more shaming and distancing of those who don't fit the cultural box. Christ didn't distance himself for those who didn't look a certain way. He embraced them and changed them with His love. The beauty of our religion is that it recognizes that Christ cared for all peoples. He SPOKE and SPENT TIME with the physically distressed, the poor (and probably not well dressed or good looking - let's be honest the fat people are our modern lepers - or nourished due to their poverty). Jesus was most likely quite fit walking so much, but his clothes, abs, and footwear are not mentioned. Selfies with the homeless or handicapped weren't on His agenda.

AnonymousAugust 15, 2015

I feel bad for being so irked by this article. But, I am thoroughly confused why everyone is praising this article? MODESTY IS A LOADED WORD? News flash. It doesn't have to be. If we would just follow the prophets' counsel exactly.. there would be no feelings hurt and no weird things felt towards modesty. IT'S NOT COMPLICATED. The way you dress is definitely a big part.. and I applaud everyone who is making a stance on the matter. I will teach my young women the exact doctrine. Not gloss over it and only talk about your attitude because I am scared to offend someone who wore a two piece. Like, why does everyone think it's okay to be in a gray area? Why are you preaching false things? Also, everyone who is agreeing is ex-Mormon. CONFUSION.

AAugust 15, 2015

I'm sorry but I don't agree with this article at all. I don't think the examples made any sense. And we don't need to make this complicated and to overanalyze this principle of modesty. We should never judge people, so that is correct. But, I don't get all these things that are happening in your ward or area.. I HAVE NEVER felt like my body was only for lust. I have never felt like everyone is judging for my spirituality by the way I dress. I don't feel any pressure. MAYBE IT'S JUST ME.. But, we should be going to the exact doctrine. Yes, it is great to be modest in your heart and in your intentions.. BUT, THE DRESS PART OF IT IS JUST AS IMPORTANT. And whatever, we can't control people.. But, I sure as heck doubt it is helpful to be wearing immodest clothing in front of everyone. Showing off parts of your body is not appropriate. It makes everyone uncomfortable. I am sorry that some people have felt these horrible feelings towards the "culture" that apparently has formed from "over-emphasizing" modesty. But, I think it is vital and important. However, like I said.. let's stick to what the prophets say. And let's stop trying to make everything a two-sided argument. There is only one way and it's the Lord's way.

AAugust 15, 2015

I am seriously so confused. Why does everyone have to over-analyze everything?? I have never felt like the modesty principle was beaten like a dead horse.. I have never felt misguided in the principle. We all know it's not just about clothing. But, we can't just stop talking about the clothing to make sure we don't offend people.. Never judge people. But, can we have an article that stands up for the exactness of the commandment. No, I do not control guys' thoughts.. But, why are we even bringing up the rape concept? I just think this is silly because we should be following all of the Lord's commandments and not worried about freaking girls out about their body and their sexuality.. I just have never had these issues because of people talking/teaching about modesty. I feel bad that you were affected poorly by the "Mormon culture". If we could all just go back to the actual doctrine from the prophets.. everything will be fine. I will not judge someone for wearing a two-piece, but I doubt I should be teaching.. OH WELL. She needs to learn to be modest in intent and heart. Well, you need to physically be modest in dress, too. It is just as important.

Richard WAugust 15, 2015

As Saint our covenants to God go beyond not causing offence to one another, but to mi inter to one another as Alma so beautifully explains: " as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light; 9 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life— 10 Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you? (Book of Mormon, Mosiah, Mosiah 18)"

EAugust 14, 2015

Some of the rational in both the article and the comments are absurd. Modesty is an encompassing principle, it truly takes in so much and I think the article does a generous job at attempting to explain those things. However, and do not misunderstand me... I think men and women are equal. One isn't more powerful than the other and neither should have the last say it what is right or wrong but I do simultaneously agree that women's bodies and actions and everything about their beautiful selves have a more swaying influence on society than men do. In terms of modesty. Its just how we are wired, both men and women. For example, if a man wears swim trunks without a shirt on less women are influenced by his appearance than if a woman wears a two piece bikini. Women do not always think sexually like men do. Other things come into play like personality etc. With that said I am not saying that men do not have a choice about what they think about or how they treat or think of women in the way that they dress. What I am saying is it's not about men and women and who must to abide by the modesty standards (whatever those are) it's about embracing the differences in men and women and being okay with that. What the writer said to those boys was something for them to think about but it was not by any means rational based on the context that was given. I would have had a much different conversation.

K. AshbyAugust 14, 2015

I appreciate the thoughts of this message as they pertain to bringing our thoughts in to accordance with the Lord's commandments, however I agree with many comments which discuss the almost tangible effect a person's appearance can have on another's thoughts. I have battled with pornography for well over half my life, and can confidently say that a majority of my struggle has been spurred on by women in tight or revealing clothing. Again this does come down to a personal relationship with God, but I would say that the "sexiest" thing about my wife is that she has the courage to keep the sacred parts of her body covered, even when others tell her she is being "old fashioned". And I hope with all my heart that my two daughters follow her example of modesty in thoughts and in dress.

Melva gonzalezAugust 14, 2015

there will always be 2 parties: one that wants personal freedom and the other that is happy and content obeying the basic primciples of the Gospel. There is no need to try to convince one or the other on what is right. Be your body if that is what you want....maybe you need more attention and your tiny outfit will get that for you...just be happy. My experience ( as an MD, PhD) is that usually no much good comes from getting attention to our body. It is MUCH better to show off our kindness and our minds....a lot more interesting and less risky (?)

Harper ScoutAugust 14, 2015

Thank you so much Julie. And please PLEASE, to those who expressed frustration and disagreement, please understand that Ms Hanks is not suggesting we get rid of modesty in our own thought and deed. But modesty is for us to use for ourselves, not to police others. For instance, the comment "I can't tell you how many times I have had to deal with some woman's cleavage in my face..." is not appropriate. It suggests that by merely HAVING cleavage thats bad. That Is body shaming. Please also understand the cultural aspect here. I'm not just talking about countries either. The culture of age, background, gender, location, etc. As with most things, what's perceived as appropriate in one culture may not be perceived as appropriate in another. So at the end of the day, that leaves us in control of....US. Instead of thinking "I don't understand why this girl wore a two piece to a YW activity.." maybe think "I'm glad these girls are here at a YW activity." Instead of thinking "Why do I have to look at women's cleavage in a temple recommend interview," think "I'm so glad we all have a temple to attend." THAT is modesty. There is nothing shameful about having a body, no matter the size, shape, age, or gender.

Natalie HorstmanAugust 14, 2015

THANK YOU JENNIFER SORENSON ... the whole time I was reading this article I kept referring to The Strength For Youth. Which if members do not remember that booklet was written by the prophets of God. I am proud of those young men who knew right from wrong...They weren't confused because they were deeply thinking they.. were confused bc they have been taught right from wrong and here comes an adult pretty much justifying that girls swimsuit is alright. ( which if not a member you teach them and encourage them, help them and show them the way to apply the teachings) I am tired of this hemline crap... Do we not want to prepare our youth for making and keeping Temple covenants.. which we wear! You can NOT wear a short skirt or low top and wear the temple garments. I know that those covenants are more than what we wear but it plays a HUGE role. And Yes the modesty guidelines are FIXED the Lord's way is never changing. The lords standard will never change despite what's going on in todays society. Yes we do influence peoples thoughts we are not responsible for what they do, but a seed can be planted. Yes there were points in this article that were correct about not judging or ridiculing and not being loving, and that there is more to modesty than appearance (even though the very first point is dress and appearance) but it was slightly twisted with view points of man and not of God.

DeWaine YearsleyAugust 14, 2015

I am so tired of therapist double talk. Always knowing the "truth". Media has ruined so many girls and women, yet therapist double talk always lets them off. Yes, styles change etc. Consider going to the beach a boy wears his typical trunks, girls the bikini. Two piece suits are not bikinis. Yet, the bikini is the preferred. Why because that is the style. The therapist came down on the boys - hard.

PattiAugust 14, 2015

Pres. Hinckley asked women and girls years ago to only have one pair of earrings and that's what we should do. Either we follow the Prophet or we don't.

Meagan M.August 14, 2015

I love this!! I've long thought about how such an overarching emphasis on dressing modestly impacts women (and men) in the church. We teach that modesty is important because it invites people to pay attention to our personalities rather than our appearance. But if we've gotten to the point where we scrutinize women's outfits to make sure that the sleeve reaches all the way to the edge of the shoulder and that the skirt reaches all the way to the knee, or if we make snap judgments about a woman's character based on whether or not her outfit exactly meets the standards in For the Strength of Youth, then we've come back around to judging people based on their appearance, and the point of the principle has been lost. I'm so glad more people are talking about what modesty really entails. It involves both the way you present yourself AND the way you view others. It also encompasses a lot more than how much skin is showing. For example, if your wedding dress has cap sleeves, but it costs $15,000, is it really modest? I would love to talk more about that kind of modesty and a lot less about hemlines. Thank you so much for publishing this article!

VanessaAugust 14, 2015

I'm attracted to men in suits. Should there be church rules against men in suits? Some males are into stockings. Should we women not wear stockings to church? People need to take responsibility for their own thoughts. It's disgraceful that we're holding women responsible for men's thoughts. Women and men are attracted to eachother. Of course they're wired to look for/at what attracts them. The principle here is self-control. It is a trait we see in our Heavenly Father. Maybe we need to learn it.

GregAugust 14, 2015

I am amazed at the number of commentators that believe that a woman is responsible for how a man perceives her based on her dress. This sort of thinking infers that males are feeble minded beings that must somehow be protected from salacious thoughts. The ignorance of such an idea is beyond laughable. Members of my gender are no less capable of controlling our thoughts and actions as that of women.To suggest differently puts you on par with the Taliban or ISIS where women are required to be covered from head to toe to prevent non related men from lusting after them. How about we teach our children both boys and girls to be modest in thought, instead of just focusing on a hemline or the number of pieces in a bathing suit. When I overheard my son and friends comment about a girls chest, I asked how he would feel if he heard someone talk about his sisters or mother that way. It was then he began to understand what it meant to be modest in thought and actions. He now is the first to say to his friends to respect women (and girls) NO MATTER WHAT without exception. Whatever happened to don't judge a book by its cover or better yet judge not lest ye be judged? When my (at the time) 11 year old daughter was publicly ridiculed by her Sunday School teacher for wearing a sun dress with 3 inch straps for being immodest because it didn't entirely cover her shoulders, it was a good thing that my wife kept me from throat punching the self righteous woman. I for one have not been given the ability to read another persons mind and determine what their intent is based on their outward appearance of modesty. Otherwise I might determine that a sister who is fully clothed but dripping in expensive jewelry might be covetous and indecent in her display of wealth. The same might go for a brother in a designer suit, he may appear prideful. I find it far easier to accept people as they are and always assume that in their hearts and minds they are intent on glorifying God ion body and spirit.

Melody CoxAugust 14, 2015

Love, love this and an Amen! I believe this is one of those "cultural rules" that has been taken way too far. (Remember the BYU homecoming queen in the 1960's with a sleeveless dress? GASP!) I understand preparing our youth for the temple, and it's all good council, but the extent of pressure put on girls about modesty in the church is unnecessary, in my opinion, and can often cause much more harm than good. We already appear so judgmental to those looking in. That doesn't mean cater to society's ideas, it means focus a little more on what's really important. Focus on who these young ladies are! How they are carrying themselves, and presenting their best example of Christ through love and compassion, not a hem line or two piece bathing suit. Some people need to really calm down in their judgments. Just because she's wearing a two piece bathing suit doesn't mean she's going to go sleep around! She's confident enough to wear one for crying out loud! With all the pressure on girls about weight and appearance can she get some kuddos for that? Let the judgement of those who are more spiritually aware and educated begin... As a side note, my step daughter who has always been very thin and ridiculed, being called "anorexic", has recently found enough confidence to wear a two piece bathing suit. I couldn't be more proud seeing confidence in her body grow! She feels beautiful and at 16, even a little bit sexy. Oh no! She is one of the kindest young ladies I've ever come to know. She is a wonderful example of Christ, and loves the gospel. She is also one of the first people to speak up when another girl at school is being judged unfairly. Most importantly she's beginning to have a broad understanding of the "big picture". Things are not always as black and white as many choose to believe. We each have our own journey, own struggles, and most importantly our own relationship with our loving Heavenly Father. I hope more people in our church can begin to open their eyes to what really matters. This is the reflection that will bring more people to Christ, spark the interest of those around us, and not leave a bad taste in their mouth before they even get a chance to learn who we really are.

AmiAugust 14, 2015

I don't disagree with this article, however, peers like those boys are important to help us stay out of the world. When I was a teen, no one told me my shoulders were showing or my shorts were inappropriate... And I found myself within a few months breaking the law of chastity. Don't shame these boys or anyone for pointing out a dip in standards. Not even my parents would tell me to go change when I walked out of my room. It is that seminary story about the water and the frog. Breaking modesty laws can lead to dishonesty and fudging the word of wisdom, stealing, lying... I am not saying everyone will experience this... But I do remember a young woman in our ward that wore super short shorts to an LDS activity and two years later she married someone that couldn't take her to the temple. Those young men (and my brothers!!) Don't want to date someone that can't follow the simple rules that have been put forward concerning dress. They are simple rules. Why do you feel you must judge people for being hyper-vigalant? As an endowed member, I have made covenants to protect certain things. The simplest way I can do that is by dressing modestly. With my sister now and my children as they arrive, I will be stringent on this because I am preparing them to go to the temple. Remember... LDS boys... For the most part... Do not look at an immodestly dressed girl and think I wanna tap that! Rather they feel deep concern and discomfort because their Sister in Zion does not respect herself or the laws her God has put out there... And on another note... The Bible/Book of Mormon does not talk about many things we have been asked not to do like multiple piercings, tattoos, explicit/adult entertainment, among other things we strictly follow... Do the council's of today's leaders not count as scripture? Because the vibe I am getting from your opinions is that I am a bad person for teaching my sister that modesty is crucial and teaching my brothers to not accept less than what our leaders have asked for.

Melody CoxAugust 14, 2015

Love, love this and an Amen! I believe this is one of those "cultural standards" taken way too far. (Remember the BYU homecoming queen in the 1960's with a sleeveless dress? GASP!) I understand preparing for the temple, and it's all good council, but the extent of pressure put on girls about modesty in the church in my opinion is unnecessary and often causes much more harm than good. We already appear so judgmental to those looking in. That doesn't mean cater to society's ideas, it means focus a little more on what's really important. Who these young ladies are! How they are carrying themselves, and presenting their best example of Christ through love and compassion rather than a hem line or a two piece bathing suit. Some people need to really calm down in their judgments. Just because she's wearing a two piece bathing suit doesn't mean she's going to go sleep around! She's confident enough to wear one for crying out loud! With all the pressure on girls about weight and appearance can she get some kuddos for that? Let the judgement of those who are more spiritually aware and educated begin... As a side note, my step daughter who has always been very thin and ridiculed being called "anorexic" has recently found enough confidence to wear a two piece bathing suit. I couldn't be more proud seeing the confidence in her body grow. She feels beautiful and at 16, even a little bit sexy. Oh no! She is one of the kindest young ladies I've ever come to know. She is a wonderful example of Christ, and loves the gospel. She is also one of the first people to speak up when another girl at school is being judged unfairly. Most importantly she's beginning to have a broad understanding of the "big picture". Things are not always as black and white as many love to believe they are. We each have our own journey, own struggles, and most importantly our own relationship with our loving Heavenly Father. I hope more people in our church will begin to open their eyes to what really matters. This is the reflection that will bring more people to Christ, spark the interest of those around us, and not leave a bad taste in their mouth before they even get a chance to learn who we really are.

MollyAugust 14, 2015

I'm an agnostic but shoot if this article doesn't have great things to say! My biggest problem with most organized religions is the inherent misogyny of some of the people who follow it and this article does a fantastic job of dissecting that. Well done, this is great!

sheriAugust 14, 2015

so if I'm not responsible for how other people think or feel or behave, and I tell my son over and over he's an idiot and he loses his self esteem at some point and thinks he is worthless, it's all his fault, right? I have no responsibility watchsoever? I thought we were suppose to be our brother's keepers. Aren't we supposed to bear one another's burdens? Wouldn't downplaying our sexuality by dressing modestly be a form of being a keeper/burden sharer by making it easier for men's thoughts to "not go there?" Modesty is not about shame. We don't cover our shoulders/breasts/thighs because there is anything shameful about them or sex. We cover them to be helpful, so we can be seen as something other than objects, to be obedient, to keep us from being overly materialistic by being a slave to fashion whims, to increase our self worth. If overemphasis means following the guidelines laid out by the church, then I'm all for it, overemphasize a way. Not judging? We are on this earth to chose right from wrong. Only way to do that is to judge. If a girl wears a 2 piece swimsuit to an LDS function, I'd say either she is new to the church or doesn't care about what it teaches about modesty (proclaiming to the world the Lord's teachings on the matter do not matter, she knows better). We can, do and should make judgments all the time about what we see, hear, read so we know what is true and right and how to live. Cultural context of modesty? Yep, but this article implies the current standards are fickle so therefore we don't have to abide by them completely, we can cheat a little like Lindsay Stirling did.

GourleyAugust 14, 2015

Its a good article to remember that modesty is also about tour thoughts and such, but you can't ignore lack of modesty. Those boys were correct in disliking the two piece swimsuit choice to a church event. She should have been wearing a one piece. We are seeing such an extreme lax in what we seem acceptable for women to wear and we are seeing an extreme lax in people not stepping up, in not standing for truth or righteousness. What are you afraid of people. You shouldn't fear what people can do or say for speaking out. Fear God instead and tell that woman, "hey that skirt is too short, I can visibly see your garments. The woman need to be thankful that someone loves them enough to tell them of their inappropriate attire and do something about it. Go home and get rid of clothing that will not cover your garments or future garments. This way of thinking needs to start early in life. Don't dress your infants and toddlers in strappy clothing without a shirt under it. Put leggings under a too shirt skirt. Don't let your toddler boys wear clothing that is too tight or let the go shirtless a lot including during summer, get them a light weight shirt. Everyone has to sweat in the heat, get over it. Start early in getting your kids ready to wear the sacred and precious temple garment. And maybe you as a parent should take time to really understand what the temple garment represents. Its amazing what a precious gift God has authorized us to wear after we receive it in the temple initiatories.

Debrah RoundyAugust 14, 2015

Excellent article, thanks Julie.

ChadAugust 14, 2015

I appreciate and agree with much of author's conclusions and have seen many of the disconcerting attitudes and messages she talks about foisted onto my daughters. As their father I recall what it's like to be an adolescent male (adult male for that matter) and have some idea what women are up against too. Body shaming, placing the full responsibility on women and even shaming young people for normal sexual human beings is not only not working, it sends harmful messages. How about we focus on the positives about relationships and not make the human body and sexuality seem dirty? Is focusing on fear really the best way to teach people to live and make choices? Isn't there a scripture somewhere saying "(women and) men are that they might have joy?"

Levi R. BurnhamAugust 14, 2015

Carmen, you are correct…we must focus on the difference between the Letter of the Law and the Spirit of the Law, especially as it relates to this principle of modesty. Stated plainly and simply…One cannot be disobedient to the letter of the law and live the spirit of the law. According to Elder Neal A. Maxwell, the spirit of the law is a higher law that can only be achieved if we are first living the letter of the law. “One of the ironies which is fostered, at times innocently, in the Church, is the feeling we have that the spirit of the law is superior to the letter of the law because for some reason it seems more permissive or less apt to offend others. The reverse is true. The spirit of the law is superior because it demands more of us than the letter of the law. The spirit of the law insists that we do more than merely comply superficially. It means, too, that we must give attention to the things that matter most and still not leave the others undone.” (“For the power is in them… - Mormon Musings”, pg. 46-47) We should live the letter of the law, not because of obligation or duty, but because we understand and are spiritually in tune with the doctrine upon which the letter is based. The Lord has said that he cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance (D&C 1:31) and the Bible teaches us that “to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17). We cannot expect to break the letter of the law and still be in tune with the spirit of the law.

RomanAugust 14, 2015

Allen, you can control your eyes and your thoughts. No one is forcing you to do or think anything. Addicts are addicted to lots of different things, but no one is forcing or controlling them to partake in their addiction or thoughts. Sounds like your healing is still a work in progress, but don't assign your healing to other people. Accountability is a key principle. It's this attitude that keeps people from progressing spiritually and seeing themselves and others through Christ's eyes. Women are recovering from porn addictions, too, yet there is no cry from you to alter men's dress. I ask you to be balanced. If we started dictating and having lessons on men's dress I think this discussion wouldn't be a discussion because there'd be such an uproar on the ridiculousness of it from the men. To have a modesty in dress discussion without having equal weight put on how the men dress is frankly abhorrent. Women struggle with visual erotic stimulation to no less degree than men. Ask any sex therapist. So, unless the men wanted to get their dress picked apart, be held responsible for women's thoughts and their spiritually judged and based on the form fitness of their pants I suggest you and everyone else give pause to this discussion. It is starting to backfire.

David PetersonAugust 14, 2015

This is an excellent article. The only thing I kind of disagree with is the wording "they are never responsible for another person’s thoughts, feelings, or behaviors." When I say kind of disagree, I mean I agree with what is meant but not with the whole message being communicated. I agree that we are responsible for ourselves, that's the whole principle of agency. Also, taking excessive responsibility for others' thoughts and actions is psychologically dangerous. But you are supposed to take responsibility for yourself and what you communicate so being 100% inconsiderate others isn't healthy either. Contextually, I agree that too much emphasis is put on this. Reality is people have agency. You affect yourself and others and they affect you. That's why we have modesty. While you can't control what somebody chooses to think, you are responsible for what you communicate to them, male or female, modesty or otherwise. Otherwise we'd be back to the "boys will be boys" types of mentalities, and it wouldn't be considered murder when somebody commits suicide because you told them they are worthless and they should kill themselves.

CaraAugust 14, 2015

Well put Levi! I disagree with the points in this article and think we should turn to the prophets and apostles for setting our standards. I feel standards for modesty can be summed up with this paragraph from the For The Strength of the Youth pamphlet. The last sentence being the most important. "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?” And concerning the young lady who wore the bikini, this comes from the same section in the pamphlet: "Show respect for the Lord and for yourself by dressing appropriately for Church meetings and activities, whether on Sunday or during the week." Of course we should not be judging other for their choice in clothing! But, making the person who is judging seem like the only one at fault is ridiculous!

AllenAugust 14, 2015

I agree that it's not fair at all that men seem to force women to be "modest". Each woman has been brought in different circumstances, cultures, and has had individual experiences that defines her character and personality. One girl's notion of modesty will be completely different from another. And, to be honest, it's taken me a long time to accept that and learn to deal with it. However I do believe that women can help men avoid impure thoughts by dressing modestly. Just as each woman has had personal experiences to form her life, we men have also had our own experiences. Many years ago I was taken ahold of by pornography. I was a slave for a few months before I eventually began the repentance process. I later served a mission and am currently very active in the church and attend the temple regularly. However, the scars are still there. My mind has been caked with degrading images and I have to fight each day to not think of them. It's hard, but nevertheless I am grateful for the experience I went through because it forced me to be a better man. Clearly I wish it didn't happen but that's not the point. Now return to modesty. I fully realize that what I did was entirely my fault and that I will suffer in my life for those consequences. However the way that women dress does influence me, whether I like it or not. It's not that I enjoy that my eyes immediately and uncontrollably shoot straight for the bare legs on women with short shorts or mini skirts or the breasts of women in bikinis or revealing clothing. I despise my mind for that, but I can't help it. Obviously as soon as that happens I force myself to look away from that woman. I wish that women saw modesty not as a chore but as an act of charity. Not one woman in this world knows what every single man has been through. But you might say, "Well, it's his fault that he scarred his mind like that so why should I have to suffer for it by wearing more clothing?" But that's a totally selfish question. Jesus Christ taught us to love our neighbor, he taught to be full of charity. Is it not an act of charity to help protect your scarred heavenly brothers? Does it not show love that you are taking into consideration how they feel? In the end of it all, we are on this earth to become like Christ, and I truly believe that the attribute of Charity can indeed be developed as women AND men choose to think of their brothers and sisters when they choose what to put on for that day.

Mary Ann PickeringAugust 14, 2015

I agree with all but # 8. Just because a world sets a standard of dress that changes seasonally (and not all cultural dress meets the standard ) does not mean dressing for a standard of modesty should change. We are encouraged to wear clothing that a temple garment can comfortably be worn under with out alteration. Amen to the rest of the article.

Jennifer SorensonAugust 14, 2015

Have we read For The Strengh of Youth. Here is a quote from it. "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. Young men should also maintain modesty in their appearance. Young men and young women should be neat and clean and avoid being extreme or inappropriately casual in clothing, hairstyle, and behavior. They should choose appropriately modest apparel when participating in sports. The fashions of the world will change, but the Lord’s standards will not change.". This article is sad to me. We should listen to the prophet and not some therapist.

jAugust 14, 2015

The adversary has gotten our culture to believe that our bodies are reduced to nothing more than erotic objects. Multiple studies have shown that it's women who are more visually stimulated sexually than men, yet we have all this focus on the women victimizing men with their exposed shoulders. Satan sure has twisted this concept of modesty, who's responsible for what and why and how, hasn't he? Covering our bodies out of shame and fear promotes improper dress. If the weight of power were woman centered in this world, and we dictated that certain cuts of pants that hugged a man's behind or crotch area were responsible for the ills of society, would that make any sense? I see men showing up to church in suits that are tailored in such a way that if I let my mind go there, would easily provoke erotic thoughts. How many women in the ward struggle with sex addictions that these men are clearly not being sensitive to and are almost asking them to fantasize about right there in Sunday School? Do I go running to the bishop and insist that he remedy this? I would be laughed out of the ward. Yet, we feel it completely justifiable to shame our girls' knees and shoulders. The clothing is not the problem. It's our relationship with Christ that is.

AjAugust 14, 2015

Alan, studies have shown that women are actually more erotically aroused by visual stimulus than men are, we just live in a culture that tell women to control ourselves more. Give me a break. Poor boys and their weak brains and impulses, right? What happens when a girl gets aroused by a boy who is dressed in a flaunting manner? Do we blame the boy? Do we say she has been assaulted? Clearly we need to teach our youth and ourselves to see people (and ourselves) through a Christlike lens.

AJAugust 14, 2015

In cultures where women are shrouded the most (oftentimes by law) as a result of religious edicts that are clearly focused on the outward appearance and not the heart are the cultures that have the highest incidence of violence against women. Clearly our worth and the way we treat each other is not predicated on the amount of skin shown or in what way. The adversary uses a completely shrouded way of dress just as destructively as a completely undressed woman or man. The adversary has gotten our culture to believe that our bodies are reduced to nothing more than erotic objects. Covering our bodies out of shame and fear promotes this. When she says modesty is an attitude, that is 500% right. You might be covering your body, but if you are doing so out of shame, fear or embarrassment you are making the problem of immodesty worse. Those who wear clothes - no matter what or how they are covered - and are happy, kind, and charitable are advocates for modesty because they are connected to Christ. If I am nursing uncovered in public and the top half of my breast is showing and I am projecting the love of Christ to all around me at the same time that is more modest and holy than the girl walking by me covered from ankle to wrist thinking condemning thoughts of my whore-ish behavior and how she is more worthy in god's eyes by not causing any man to think an impure thought or any woman a competitive thought because she is covered and hides in a secluded room to do nurse. I am an advocate of modesty in it's purest form. The way we speak, spend our money, act and dress is a reflection of our relationship with the divine, but the way we dress is really the last act of modesty. If you are wearing clothes that don't glorify god, you have been speaking, acting and spending your resources in an immodest way for a while. We should be spending our time teaching about that and then the aspect of dress is a non issue. Just like hitting someone is only a symptom of the abusers problem. The real problem goes much deeper and it's fruitless to focus on the hitting and expect the abuse to stop. Abuse, like immodesty, takes on many forms and hitting, like improper dress, is only a symptom that backfires to focus on. The first thought when we see someone clearly flaunting their money, status, or body shouldn't be to push back on them and shame them, but rather that they need to know their worth and what can you do to assist that. If the way someone is dressing is clearly a cry for help, then we should help and be their friend. Not get our feathers ruffled and assign your personal erotic or insecure thoughts as their responsibility. That is immodest to do. So, who is guilty of the greater sin? The girl in a flaunty outfit or the boy having condemning or erotic thoughts? Hugh Nibley said "…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." We have to stop focusing on dress and focus on the heart otherwise we risk losing our relationship with the divine.

RickAugust 14, 2015

"The lady doth protest too much, methinks" (W Shakespeare) Levi R. Burnham was right on the money. The only ones focusing on this are those who are shouting about it non stop. As a young men leader for over 30 years, we talk about it with young men all the time as well - no tank tops, keep your shirts on. We even discuss the appropriateness of the designs on their ties, particularly when involved with the sacrament. It just so happens that male fashions don't tend to push the boundaries. That statement alone should serve as a warning of how the lack of modesty in women's fashion is being used as a tool to undermine the Gospel. I have to admit, though, I think the article was less about modesty and more a veiled expression of the anti-male leadership sentiment rising in LDS pop-culture. The entire focus is really one of how males are once again mistreating women. Notice the whole article (and so many of those praising the article) are focusing in on how it's all because of the way men think and how they shouldn't be subject to it.

SarahAugust 14, 2015

Thank you Levi R. Burnham for giving one of the few comments that showed a voice of reason. So many articles have come out like this, and they give our youth the justification they need to wear immodest clothing. We are counseled by our church leaders, who are appointed by God, who is the head of the church, to dress modestly and represent Christ in everything we do and say. Don't you think we should listen to their counsel? They teach us to be modest. It reflects who we are, it reflects what we believe, and who we are ultimately trying to become like, Christ. They also teach us to be loving and kind toward others. We need to follow the leaders of our church. If people want to twist the prophet's counsel by writing articles like this and preach about over emphasizing modest that is up to you.

AlecAugust 14, 2015

Great, thought-provoking article. I will reevaluate my behavior related to the women and girls that I love. Modesty is not (solely or largely) how they dress. It is what is in my heart and theirs. And modesty really does apply to guys. Wow. Thanks for the insights. I know of the turmoil they feel as they try to shop for modest clothing and live their standards and feel judged by their clothing or its impact on others. I want them to be confident, happy, successful and joyous.

Natalie RumseyAugust 14, 2015

Awful post. The boys have the right idea when they judge a girl that wears immodest clothing. Maybe they shouldn't talk about it, but I am totally fine if my son thinks to himself "hm... she is immodest. I'd better stay away from her." Still be friendly to her, don't gossip about her, but take a mental note that she isn't the kind of girl you want to hang around too much. OR, tactfully point out to her that you wish she didn't wear immodest things because it might create the wrong impression. I'm so tired of people in our church trying to bend all of the rules and shame others for not being cool with it.

K HunterAugust 14, 2015

Not all this article is incorrect, not is it all correct. Imperfect people writing imperfect opinions. It's still not the true doctrine. Just ask yourself, would I be comfortable wearing this in front of Christ? Does this outfit or swimsuit express my love and dedication to the Lord and His standards? Are my thoughts ones I would be happy with the Lord knowing? Because guess what, all of those questions are valid, whether you want to think so or sit and try to justify yourself to others, there's Two you can't lie to or deceive. Remember, in the last days, even the elect are deceived.

Carol WightAugust 14, 2015

This goes back a long ways. My sister (who is 60now) went to a Stake dance where the "guards" at the door tried to pin a piece of material to her hem because it was too short. She refused to let them do it.Discipline by shame is never a good thing. I hope we can rise above it.

BeaAugust 14, 2015

Whilst visiting the US,I once came to church wearing clothes I was told was "inappropriate"; A "hippie" looking skirt,to my ankles,a turtle neck sweater, a long vest,and boots. I was told that "when you come to church, you dress for the Lord, and this is not appropriate".Not being born into an LDS family, this was a first to me. I answered her that "If I truly dressed for the Lord, I would go naked." I don't think she liked me much after that...Then Imagine this; If no-one wore clothes. At all. Ever. Sexuality based on what a woman, or man, wears -or not-would simply disappear. Seeing bodies in every shape, on a daily basis, would see to that.Clothing that covers only a little, make people think about what is "nearly there".This is why in pornography, the women will still wear long boots, necklaces etc. In an Ideal world, anyone should be able to go down the road wearing nothing, with no-one reacting.In an Ideal world, we should simply Know, what is right and what is wrong, what is moral, and what is immoral. In the meantime, parents of girls had better teach them how to reduce the chance of rape. Parents of boys had better teach them that a "no", means "No".And that no matter what a girl is wearing, she Never asks for it.Morality Is so much more than simply what a person wears.I'm inactive much because of just this; that in the States, where you should be strongest, too much of what is preached unfortunately only go skin deep.

Mackenzie FAugust 14, 2015

I believe the ideas expressed in this article apply beyond just modesty in women's clothing, particularly this one: "4) Overemphasizing modesty gives others implicit permission to judge and measure a woman’s dedication to the gospel, or 'worthiness,' based on physical appearance." I believe that overemphasizing anyone's clothing and appearance gives others implicit permission to judge and measures a person's dedication to the gospel, or "worthiness," based solely on physical appearance. I've long believed this, and I'm glad that some are starting to see this too, even if its just in the realm of female modesty at the moment. Hopefully we can learn to extend these same principles to all cases whatsoever in which they apply, and not stop our progression of learning good, truthful principles by not applying them outside the realm of women and modesty. Women and modesty issues is an important topic and realm, to be sure, but there are many topics and realms in which these principles can apply as well, and we would do well to apply them where ever they are applicable.

MeAugust 14, 2015

Bravo! Great read and I whole heartedly agree. However, I am disappointed by many of the comments; they clearly are not getting the author's entire point. I feel so many LDS men and women are well versed in saying 'I know we shouldn't judge, BUT . . . ' or 'Not to be judgemental, BUT . . .' A commentor mentions people not wearing their garments to the gym . . . 'Not judging, but'. A woman mentions women not being dressed appropriately for the temple, etc or young LDS married women in two piece swimwear . . . The list of judgements is never ending! Did we skim over tip #5 'Notice when you are judging someone else's level of modesty. Use this as an opportunity to reflect on yourself'?!

AnonAugust 13, 2015

I find many of these comments quite disturbing. To the person who is appalled at girls who abandon their modest dress for vacations, at home, ect, it's not as simple as thinking they don't care of don't have respect for the church. Clearly they don't have a solid testimony of the principle of modesty or they would dress modestly at all times. More likely they are worried about others judging them which is why they dress differently when they are "away" or at home. I can tell you that you aren't about to strengthen their shaky testimony by being so judgemental which they are already worried about. People can choose for themselves - that's what free agency means. Teach the principle with love and then others can choose to accept or reject it. I agree with this author because I know many women, myself included, that have been scarred psychologically from poor teaching of modesty. I understand that many are worried about modesty issues which is ok because you clearly have a stronger testimony of the principle than others and you are worried about them. However being judgemental or criticizing never helped anyone. Additionally I am troubled by the many comments about girls being responsible for boys thoughts. Maybe a male does think lustful thoughts about a female but that is a part of life that they need to learn to control. Even if everyone at church is always perfectly modest, they are going to see it at the mall, school, the beach, ect. Also in certain cultures women don't wear tops and men seem to be able to keep it in their pants. Teaching modesty with shame, criticism, and judgement creates emotionally damaged women and overly sensitive men. A man above mentioned being uncomfortable in an interview when a girl has a lower cut top. What does he do at work? Or when he goes to the beach with his family. Like it or not there will always be female members who do not dress perfectly modest because all members have different levels of testimony strength. Don't be unkind because some one has less of a testimony than you do. Be kind and let the holy ghost do its work. Teach the principle kindly and with love, just like other principles such as praying or reading scriptures, realizing that not all will accept the message. Then let others choose for themselves.

KateAugust 13, 2015

I could not agree more with this article. Growing up in Utah, in a very LDS community, as a tall LDS young woman, it has been hard. People always telling you your skirt is to short or too tight. Well news flash, they don't make skirts for tall girls. My skirts have always been 2-3 inches above my knees, but that's the way it is. I've been told that I need to dress modestly to protect the boys thoughts, but if I have to control my thoughts whenever I see soccer players without their shirts on, or baseball players in sliders, boys should be able to control their thoughts when they can see a little bit of my thigh. I really feel like I'm constantly being judged because my height doesn't allow me to follow church standards to a perfect T. If we want the youth that are raised in the church to stay in the church we need to accept whatever they can offer.

NicoleAugust 13, 2015

If we are truly modest in the way that the author pointed out, then our dress and appearance will follow. It is my job to try to be Christ like, loving, and modest in word and in deed. If I do that, then it follows that I will also dress in a way that is pleasing to my Heavenly Father. Who I AM, will always affect what I do. If we help our youth get modesty into their hearts, the way they dress will follow. I just also have to say that women are sexual creatures too. We notice attractive men. We're not so different as some men like to say that we are. It is so important that ALL youth learn the true principles of modesty. A wonderful article. I will keep it in mind as my children are growing up. DIY Brazilian KeratinAugust 13, 2015

Good points, but I think it is facile in the extreme to claim that women should not be be encouraged to be modest on the basis of the impact of sexually immodest attire on men's thoughts. Why not? Yes, men and women alike are ultimately responsible for their own thoughts but when it's known that revealing clothing has a sexually arousing effect on men, is it not Christlike to avoid creating this impact? Why would that be anything other than a good, considerate practice? I'm a woman with a strong sex drive and I don't particularly like it when men publicly flaunt their bodies in a way that should be reserved for their wives. Instead of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, we should be be teaching is that this counsel applies to both genders..

KaitSAugust 13, 2015

I agree with this article to some extent. Yes! We should be modest in the way we act and treat other people, but we can not forget the fact that our bodies are temples and should be treated so. In the Strength of Youth pamphlet, it states in page 6, "Your body is sacred. Respect it and do not defile it in any way. Through dress and appearance, you can show that you know how precious your body is." "Immodest clothing is any clothing that is tight, sheer, or revealing in any other manner." "Young women, if you desire to have your ears pierced, wear only one pair of earings.". The pamphlet says it all! Modesty in every way that brings everyone closer to Christ is the best! Opinion is good, but revelation from Heavenly Father is the most correct! The prophets and apostles receive revelation so we can know the right direction to take. If we seek it ourselves, we can know that being modest in every aspect of appearance, attitude, kindness, and respector of persons and of the Lord will always keep us on the path of righteousness.

TYAugust 13, 2015

So I like the premise and I agree with the non-judging part but I need some insight into an experience we had. My son was preparing to serve a mission and we went on a family vacation on a house boat with 2 other families (one of which we didn't know well). The 18yr. old daughter of the family we didn't know well spent the entire trip in a bikini and certainly had the body to rock that bikini. My son had to avoid being around her and so a lot of times, around us, because he was trying very hard to keep virtuous thoughts and it proved very hard around a womanly young lady. What would you do in this situation? Is my son a pervert because he had to remove himself from the family to avoid being in an uncomfortable situation?? I have given this a lot of thought and I can't find an answer.

Hermano HerlyAugust 13, 2015

Julie! I am sorry to tell you that you are misunderstanding men. and by doing so misunderstanding the whole modesty issue. You misread what the boys meant. In fact they were saying." My mom has taught me that girls and boys should wear appropriate decent clothing" that comes out in the form of " the girl should not be wearing a small 2 piece bathing suite". Why are you so literal in what they said? read between the lines. Feminist do that and that is how they get in trouble.(yup men is not the devil). There is a long list of reason why women should watch what they wear: future temple clothing,respect for their own body, etc.etc The fact remains people in general in the world are getting less and less modest on clothing. The most vulnerable are teenage girls thanks to the "moda". They are getting dragged along! More and more we see teen girls with shorter skirts felling "Comfortable" with it. People like yourself who try to justify or "reason" as of why it may be "ok" should also publish a stats about women raped and the direct relation with shorter skirts timeline. I have lived in south america where I have seen the picture of this trend 20 years in the future. It is a big issue. don't minimize it. I have 3 daughters. I am glad my wife is teaching them to be modest from the inside out (by the way she dress sexy,modest and classy). Its a constant battle when it come to buy a dress or skirt. Your misunderstood article is not helping.

MartineAugust 13, 2015

Outstanding article. Comments show it went over the heads of most readers.

GramAugust 13, 2015

As a little girl, I was completely baffled by the idea of modestly. Why all the fuss about my body and how it was, or was not, covered. I remember clearly the day I lost my innocence. I was about 13, but I looked like a woman. I was walking barefoot through a gravel parking lot in cut-offs and a halter top. I was trying to get to our boat so I could go water-skiing with my family, but the rocks were hard, and my feet were tender. I looked up suddenly and saw a group of boys and men, watching me tip-toe through the gravel. The looks on their faces, the grins, the sounds they made, the comments they exchanged to one another! Then I realized one of the men was my junior high school teacher. When he realized that I had seen him watching me, he was so abashed. And I felt so sorry for him. I felt angry at the rest of them, who were not at all embarrassed. How dare they assess me in that way? There was absolutely no intention on my part to be provocative. I didn't even know how. I was wearing what made sense to me -- swimwear. And suddenly I was forced into a state of being, and feeling, that I had never chosen, by the actions, and attitudes of others. How is that different from what happens to a young deacon who gets aroused for the first time, without his volition, by seeing a young woman's body. He is also taken into a state he does not want to be in by the behavior of others. It seems to me that part of the the remedy would have been PREPARING that deacon, for what he might feel, based on what he sees. And another part of the solution is to generate that empathetic sorrow in both our young men and women for the people they mistakenly cause to see them as objects. I am not sure what the rest of the solution is, but I am certain the answer is in being more Christlike, not in being more vigilant. We should not teach our children to dress modestly because we feel compelled to follow somebody's (and some time's) subjective rules, but because we feel Christlike compassion for those around us.

JustMeAugust 13, 2015

All the men here who talk of being "hard wired" and not being able to help themselves: you have bought into the lie. You are part of the problem. This is a clear example of how hyper focus on what females wear hurts BOTH the sexes. You are responsible for your reaction to those thoughts. Sexual response is normal and natural, but the moment you begin to entertain those reactions, it's all on you. Remember Jesus said that those lusting after a woman had committed adultery in their hearts; notice He had no condemnation for the object of that lust. A *scriptural* study of modesty makes it clear that it's much more about pride and costly apparel. To the guy complaining about cleavage during a temple recommend interview: your eyes should have been on your list of questions or looking those women in the face. And please, enough already with the Elder Oaks quote. 99% of that talk was directed to the MEN about pornography and controlling themselves. Why do we take that one line out of the very end of the talk and beat the women with it ovet and over and over.

MarieAugust 13, 2015

I grew up with so much shame concerning my body. It is absolutely ridiculous. I am still trying to recover. I'm 35 with three kids. I'm a member but not endowed. The fact that I get weird looks and labels put on me just for wearing a sleeveless shirt at the grocery store in Orem Utah is so discouraging - but more importantly, it is divisive. And it saddens me how divisive some of the comments are on here. I could go on about this forever, but suffice it to say that those of you who condemn women for not being perfectly garment-worthy modest, although, I know you mean well- what you may not realize is that you are a big part of why people leave the church or do not feel welcome in the first place.

OTGAugust 13, 2015

I'm very pleased by the article-- and terrified by many of the comments, which seem to veer sharply towards fundamentalism. I'm in particular troubled by Levi B's comment. If you can't handle cleavage, you shouldn't be interviewing women. I wouldn't allow my daughter to be interviewed by you. We send missionaries to countries with very different cultural norms about dress. They should be prepared to control their own thoughts regardless of how people dress. It's called being a grown up.

Jeanette WAugust 13, 2015

Years ago I found a helpful section in a lesson about modesty in the church manual "The Latter-Day Saint Woman" Part A, Lesson 9, page 64, print date 2000. Encourage Modest Dress Since the time of Adam and Eve, the Lord has asked His children to cover their bodies. Until Eve was tempted by Satan in the Garden of Eden, she and Adam did not know they were naked. After eating of the forbidden fruit, they became aware of their nakedness. They tried to cover their most sacred parts with aprons of fig leaves. However, the Lord's standards for modesty are greater, and He gave them coats of skins to cover themselves--even though at that time they were alone in the world. (See Moses 4:13, 27.) Reading that paragraph put the principle of modesty in a clearer perspective in my mind. You have pointed out important ideas in your article. There are valid points in the above comments also. I appreciate each one. Thank you.

ClarkAugust 13, 2015

Not good to judge, of course. Christ DID say, however, to judge righteous judgement (John 7:24). Looking down our noses at others is not the way Christ would have it done. I would note that the boys' attitudes towards modest in general are in the right direction and, hopefully, they will send a strong signal to girls that, "Hey, we're aren't into that." Remember, we're supposed to be a light and positive influence towards others. Sitting around and acting like nothing is wrong may not send the right signal either. Regardless, sending these signals with love is imperative. Being loving sometimes means disagreeing with people - it's not always about just agreeing with everything a person does and acting like everything they do is okay. Yes, men ARE responsible for their thoughts COMPLETELY. However, on point to 2 in the article, Elder Oaks said the following: "Young women, please understand that if you dress immodestly, you are magnifying this problem by becoming pornography to some of the men who see you (General Conference 2005)." We're all in this together. We DO influence those around us and we ARE responsible for the influence we give off to others through our dress.

MomAugust 13, 2015

I looked at Lindsay Stirlings dress and I don't see how it was immodest. It was just tan and black with cap sleeves. Sister missionaries can wear cap sleeves. I honestly don't get what the fuss was. I love my church with all my heart, but my daughter has been singled out in sunday school for wearing cap sleeves or hemlines that are too short. (Above knee) She has a hard time going to our ward without feeling judged. I think instead of materialism they are being worldy by practicing spiritualism. (I'm more spiritual than u because I read the scriptures daily and you don't type of thing, or I don't show my shoulders and you do, so I am more worthy than you.) Great article and a lot to think about.

SuzanAugust 13, 2015

We have been told wear clothing to prepare us for temple garments: that would clarify a lot. I like a lot of this article but I think it gives a free pass to some girls who know what is honoring our "temple bodies" and what is following society in the name of freedom of body expression. I have to agree with the brother above (Levi Burnham). I wouldn't want my husband-bishop to have to look at cleavage while conducting a temple recommend interview...

RicAugust 13, 2015

I have to admit that I had to walk away from the computer and go mow the lawn to get control of my emotions after reading this article and the comments about it. The spirit of contention is heavy and it hurts me when I see people pointing fingers at each other, especially when there is such a gender divide. I am an addict to pornography with sobriety of almost 3 years. I fought the addiction on my own from age 8 to age 25 and then again for about another decade after that. I have been taught through recovery and am still striving to learn that while I want to blame a multitude of people for this serious issue that has almost destroyed my life and all that I hold dear, there are only two people who I can really blame - myself and Satan. Elder Oaks strongly suggests that I was probably born with a weakness in this area and was bound to struggle with it. I could blame my parents for never teaching me about morality or modesty or anything else surrounding the realm of sexual intimacy. I could blame countless bishops who I went to for help only to be told I needed to pray harder, read more, and just STOP! I could blame the prophets for not having the foresight to have an addiction recovery program in place until almost 10 years after I sought for help. I could blame the world and the rampant immorality and modesty portrayed almost everywhere I go. But in the end, it is my life and I have lived it and suffered because of my choices. The one thing I have learned and I strongly believe is that we need to teach the youth from day one what the boundaries are and why they are there. We cannot for one second think that it is ok to just let them learn on their own. In fact I believe there is a scripture that tells that if we do not teach them to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God....the sin be upon the heads of the parents. I don't believe we can teach repentance without teaching the commandments. Do I blame my parents for my challenged life.. NO, but I certainly know I'd better be teaching my children about these things. To finish I just want to say Kudos to those young men who stood up for the moral standards even though they are still learning how to properly address them. Kudos to a young women's leader who addressed a higher law in hopes that it helps the young men in the long-term learning. Kudos to a young woman who is attending youth activities even without a strong understanding of who she is and what she represents. Kudos to young men and young women leaders who know how to set specific boundaries and ask for adherence by the youth so these situations don't happen. Kudos to church leaders who see the lack of spirituality in some activities and choose to schedule ones that will not have detrimental effects on the youth. Kudos to our leaders who spend countless hours of their time to help the youth learn to keep the commandments of God. And thanks to the Savior for his mercy and atonement that helps everyone, including me, have a chance to be better in this life!

TSK8August 13, 2015

I appreciate the substance of this article. point 6 states "Emphasize that modesty is about how you want to present yourself. When teaching the youth help them reflect on what kind of appearance feels congruent to them. What message do they want to send to others?" And here is the difficulty of the topic. Whenever we talk about modesty we tell people not to judge, but the whole point is projecting something consistent with how you want people to.... judge you. So when it comes down to it, the physical appearance part, whether it is clothes, how we wear our hair, or the way we talk, is always going to relate to judging - even thought we don't want it to. The obvious point being not judging others, but being aware that others are judging you based on your appearance, habits, mannerisms, etc. - a bit of a paradox.

CarmenAugust 13, 2015

Bravo!! It's about time someone wrote realistically about this subject. Unfortunately, after reading the comments it appears that only half of those who responded actually understand what the author is trying to say. We must focus on the difference between the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. There are those who are so hung up on their own issues over sexuality that it appears that they would be more comfortable if women wore burkas. If some of the LDS ladies out there are offending you so much I suggest you pack it in and move to Syria.

TellurainAugust 13, 2015

"an attitude of propriety and decency in dress, grooming, language, and behavior. If we are modest, we do not draw undue attention to ourselves" The above statement becomes almost a way to enslavement. I want my daughters to be immodest. I want them to have political ideas that create real change. I want them to set goals that exceed their grasp. I want them to stand out. I want them to pursue objectives and accomplish tasks that change society for the better. If their slip shows while they are accomplishing such heady tasks, I don't care. I am hoping my daughters can achieve an obscenely high level of success. What is that old saying about "Well Behaved Women .."

JoeyleeAugust 13, 2015

Lust and rape predates mini-skirts, bikinis and tank-tops. Women, children both girls and boys and even babies are lusted over regardless of what they are wearing. Ethiopian and Sri Lankan women are 2 of the most modestly clothed people being garbed from head to foot yet these countries statistics of rape are in the running for worst in the world. I was molested as a child and nobody can tell me I was molested because my pyjamas were immodest. In rape, the only person at fault is the rapist. So yeah, try defending your rhetoric that I was responsible for the lustful thoughts of that child molester. I think we should start discussing is male privilege in society regardless of race.

J NeilsonAugust 13, 2015

Thankyou, Levi R. Burnham for your remarks which so appropriately deliver a voice of reason..

KirstenSAugust 13, 2015

My only problem with this article is the fact that it completely ignores a big problem that I've seen in my generation. People (men and women) in the LDS community think that because they are on vacation, going on a weekend or day trip, working out at the gym, or even staying at home that modesty or even covenants don't matter. This saddens me! We as endowed members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints made a covenant to show an outward sign of an inward commitment. I think we do need to make some sort change in the way we are teaching this principle because people are either taking the letter of the law too seriously, or not realizing the importance of following the spirit of the law.

SoICanSpeak2August 13, 2015

Thank you so much Julie. And please PLEASE, to those who expressed frustration and disagreement, please understand that Ms Hanks is not suggesting we get rid of modesty in our own thought and deed. But modesty is for us to use for ourselves, not to police others. For instance, the comment "I can't tell you how many times I have had to deal with some woman's cleavage in my face..." is not appropriate. It suggests that by merely HAVING cleavage thats bad. That Is body shaming. Please also understand the cultural aspect here. I'm not just talking about countries either. The culture of age, background, gender, location, etc. As with most things, what's perceived as appropriate in one culture may not be perceived as appropriate in another. So at the end of the day, that leaves us in control of....US. Instead of thinking "I don't understand why this girl wore a two piece to a YW activity.." maybe think "I'm glad these girls are here at a YW activity." Instead of thinking "Why do I have to look at women's cleavage in a temple recommend interview," or "I'm shocked at what women come to the temple wearing," think "I'm so glad we all have a temple to attend." THAT is modesty. There is nothing shameful about having a body, no matter the size, shape, age, or gender.

QuitaAugust 13, 2015

yes to this post in so many ways! these kinds of things are why i purposely choose to raise my family in an area not dominated by members. when the lord's word, mandates and requests are reduced to things so trivia (like making modesty only about one's shorts touching the knee vs. being 1 inch above the knee), then we are no longer living his words because we do not honor the spirit of the law. and to those of you disagreeing with the article, you completely missed the point! she never said that we don't teach about covering the body in a way that is respectful to ourselves and pleasing to the lord, she said that to reduce modesty to the length of a hemline is to dishonor the lord's definition of modesty since we are requested to be modest in dress, speech, lifestyle, etc. in addition, why do we set our version of modesty to include bottoms to the knee, sleeves, etc.? it's not because someone who wears a sleeveless shirt that covers the shoulders is all of a sudden immodest and someone who has capped sleeves isn't in terms of showing off the body sexually, etc. it's because of the way our garments are created. if garments were sleeveless and went halfway up the leg instead of to the knee, then that's where our version of modesty would be. this is why we don't focus on those things as a determination of someone's dedication to the lord, their worthiness, their intention and their spirit. a hemline is not the end all and be all of someone's dedication to the lord and only he knows our hearts.

Pamela SmithAugust 13, 2015

Remember how Brigham Young was frustrated by the new continental railroad bringing into Deseret the styles of "the world", and how his daughters, in particular, were overly concerned about hair bows and hair accessories? There is nothing new today, as media does this exact same thing which he disdained. We must be as diligent as Brigham Young was in maintaining a "style of our own". Modesty of dress is just as important as "modesty of person" - a concept highlighted by Ernest L. Wilkinson even prior to BYU's honor and dress code. Worth researching and discussing with our youth.

AmyAugust 13, 2015

I would agree with the comments that say that we are not necessarily over emphasizing modesty, but emphasizing it incorrectly. The whole impact of modesty on the sexual culture and even what modesty physically looks like is a distraction from what the doctrine of modesty is. Alma 4 tells us about how modesty is a symptom of pride, and that the only way to combat pride is to bear and gain pure testimony. It is completely possible to talk about modesty, which should be talked about with all members of the church regardless of age and gender, without mentioning what girls wear and what boys think. I just posted an hour long fireside on my blog about modesty, not what we wear

Anne PearsonAugust 13, 2015

So glad you changed the original name of this article (The Problem of Over-Emphasizing Modesty). I don't believe we can ever over-emphasize modesty- using the full and complete definition of "modesty." The article is very good- and just changing that title gives one a whole different feeling when reading it. Thanks!

MichelleAugust 13, 2015

I am grateful for this article. One of the problems that comes from members judging girls based on modesty is that the girls may be pushed away from the church completely. I actually have two girls that were told by YW leaders during their very impressionable teen years (when they were already struggling with church attendance) that if they didn't dress more modestly, they were not welcome to attend activities. Instead of loving the girls and accepting them, and eventually helping them to want to wear longer shorts the leaders gave them a way out. Neither of my girls have been active since that time.

HBlackAugust 13, 2015

Thank you. I tire of hearing about modestly as only a clothing issue. Of our YW being taught the idea that they are responsible for policing male thoughts. And FYI to the people against two-pieces. Not all two pieces are bikinis. There are style options that cover just as much as a one piece and FYI, for woman that are busty, those two piece suits prevent accidental flashing. It provides a more secure fit than a one piece.

OxyfayAugust 13, 2015

For the Strength of Youth pamphlet sets the standards for modesty in dress very clearly. We should do as the Lord asks and follow these standards. However, no one should ever condemn or shun someone for not following these. I wish your list of ways to balance a discussion on modesty included a point about following the prophet/ the Lord.

Me1973August 13, 2015

Thank you for this article. I think it is important to note that she is not saying, "Don't be modest! The standards are dumb!" She is saying that there is a better way to teach these principles, a more Christlike way, more in line with what we learn about modesty in the Book of Mormon.

EmmaAugust 13, 2015

I love the different light this article points out, and agree, but also there are certain points I feel are important and should be thought of here that weren't remembered enough ot taken into account.. The article is important because it helps us recognize, take note, and remember what is of most importance, and to help correct; stereo typing, judging others, and also taking into consideration what modesty, and how men should be on the bandwagon as well, and even more so, self reflection. All important and glad was taken into account. However, i personally think and feel, that the with the point the article is making, (which is a good one) there wasn't a ballance and an equal emphasis as to the {why} in the first place there is such a focus in the LDS culture to watch our dress, and that in turn, with the good points being made, we shouldn't neglect for one second why taking what we wear so seriously into account here. With remembering the good principles mentioned above, there's an understandable reason as to why there is such an an intense focus within the church community regarding such high standards of dress. The part we forget, is to take the Lord's point of view as the only point if view that matters, and with that, have our dress be a reflection of that. Not only just to act accordingly,.. but to present, dress as so, and to treat our bodies as temples.

KateAugust 13, 2015

I agree there needs to be a balance, but that's doesn't mean we need to start focusing less on the hemline or sleeves. My girls get the whole deal when we talk about it. Modesty isn't just about covering our body, but that is definitely part of it, and it will be focused on, just like every other part. As for judging, there are good and bad judgements. It is important for us to know right and wrong when we see it. If I see and girl at church wearing a really short dress, no, I'm not going to start blabbing to someone about it. That is a negative judgement. However, I will make a mental note that it is immodest (in that aspect of modesty) and I may decide to talk to my girls (and boys, when they're older) about modesty again and all it encompasses and the whys, how it applies to them, and then remind them that if they see someone wearing something immodest, they might make a note that it is such, but their heart should be full of love despite the clothing. I admit, my heart has a little bit of sadness when I see girls underdressed at church, since I realize that they don't understand the importance of it, but I also feel the same way when a youth comes to church with their hair all haphazard and their clothes all grungy, etc. We want all to have the blessings and the feelings of peace that comes with following God's commandments, and so yes, my heart gets a little sad, but then it really just fills my heart with more love for them. Also, it is true that a girl can't make a boy think things or do things, but with the influence that it does bring, our girls and boys need to understand that it still isn't right. If I had a friend who was an recovering alcoholic, it would be wrong of me to put a bottle of alcohol in front on him. He would have his own choice, but if I truly cared about them, I wouldn't want to do anything that may even influence him to think or do things. That's another aspect of modesty. But then there is the part about focusing on God seeing us, and how do we take care of our body.... How do we show respect for our body in the neatness and cleanliness of our clothing? How are our thoughts? Are they kind and respectful to ourselves and others? How are our actions? It's sad that we're so far away from teaching our children to be 'ladies' and 'gentlemen'. But I will not back away from talking about the modesty part. I will give the whole package. Our bodies are beautiful. And we all need to see each other as children of God no matter what we wear, say, or do.

Cindy ParkerAugust 13, 2015

I think modesty in dress is actually really simple: 1. Follow the guidelines God has given through his leaders. 2. Don't judge/ condemn others who don't That said, it is important for youth to recognize when someone is not following the prophets' counsels, since this is vital when choosing an eternal companion. But never to judge/ condemn/ look down on/ shun, etc. Always be a friend and love :)

Don CarstenAugust 13, 2015

You are mixing apples and oranges. Modesty in clothing is a different issue than faithfulness, love for one's fellow being and all else you allude to in this article. It is not a matter of which bad behavior is worse. We need to do all the wonderful spiritual things of which you speak, and that includes the need to be modest in appearance This applies to both genders..

witheldAugust 13, 2015

Well, hallelujah momma!!!! How refreshing to read this. Growing up in the Church, there were too many negative messages that I received about my femininity, my body, my body image which leads to self esteem, etc. and I learned how to judge others and be critical of the OUTSIDE. Perhaps it came from the generation of leaders I had in YW as well as the generation of my parents. But, regardless, a lot of damage was done that is very hard to 'fix" through counseling.

PamelaAugust 13, 2015

Good thoughts. I must add that while we should avoid judging others, what we wear does send a message, either for good or bad.

TrevorAugust 13, 2015

Thank you so much for this article! The present obsession with this narrow, hyper-rigid conception of "modesty" is a disaster. I understand that people like tools that help them judge others' righteousness, but we are poisoning the minds of our young women (and young men) with distorted, unhealthy approaches to the physical body.

AmySoAugust 13, 2015

Thank you for writing this. It sums up so many thoughts I have had. I think many of the commenters might re-read tip #5: Notice when you are judging someone else’s level of modesty. Use this as an opportunity to reflect on yourself. I think that the church is failing to teach young men how to deal with the thoughts they have when they see someone dressed "immodestly." Evidence of this is how many adult men are bothered by women's clothing. The thoughts are always going to enter your mind, but if we can teach our young men what to do with them (remembering that it isn't a BODY in front of them but a PERSON, and that internal matters more than external, for example) might create a generation of adult men who can also deal with their thoughts.

LindseyAugust 13, 2015

Thank you for this beautifully written article. I feel like in our society we have the very liberal (the activist "Stop everything we've ever taught young women and teach them to accept themselves the way they are) vs. the very conservative (the letter of the law "living the implied gospel to a T, or you're doing it wrong"). Your beautiful article not only gets to the root of the problem ("ME" not "THEM"), but I love that you offer solutions to the problem that cover all ends of the spectrum. Thank you for writing something that doesn't further divide, instead it unites. By far the best article I've read on the subject. We're all responsible for ourselves, and for how we teach/live the gospel. (No blaming or justification needed)

maryAugust 13, 2015

I see a lot of similar articles floating around the internet (I like this one a lot more than the others I've read). I'm not sure where this culture comes from where we get up in arms about the message of modesty and it equating it with "women who wear tank tops deserve to be raped." I don't think any one had to spell it out for me that my dress influences how other people think and that is different than forcing people to think a certain way. And yes, as a teenager I used to roll my eyes at the apparent obsession of my mom and leaders with hemlines and sleeves, etc. BUT the reality is, the line has to be drawn somewhere so we're not driven about with every wind of fashion that comes our way. And even though I rolled my eyes, when I moved out of the house I found those words of advice and guidelines helpful when I was doing the shopping all by myself and had to remember who I was and what I stood for. The point is to not become obsessed with specifics like they are the most important thing. I agree wholeheartedly that leaders and parents everywhere should preach love and acceptance of people, even if their standards of dress don't match yours. Good for you for taking a moment to teach those boys about it. I like the idea of taking the opportunity to examine yourself and where you stand with the Lord.

Dannon StoryAugust 13, 2015

Thank you for this! Well-written, and definitely emphasizing what should be taught!

SharonAugust 13, 2015

I totally agree with you that modesty in dress should also be applied to boys/men. I have seen male members of the church wearing sweat pants and you can tell there is no underwear underneath, the same goes for spandex shorts. Although I haven't seen any LDS youth doing yet, the singers who grab their crotch when singing, even small boys have started doing it!

AleceAugust 13, 2015

I agree with most of this article, but I still think that it is inappropriate for women to wear two piece bathing suits and especially to wear bikini's -- which I see many of our LDS young women and even young "Temple" married adult women wear. I don't think that is the image our Father in Heaven wants us to put forward as women in the Church. I also don't think that the Lord wants his young men to wear speedos and thong type bathing suits, or suits that ride so low on their hips that not much is left to the imagination. Modesty DOES have to do with how both sides of the human family dress and present themselves to others; and wearing very little clothing -- to me -- does not portray an image of modesty -- no matter which gender you are!

JanAugust 13, 2015

THANK YOU. I cannot express the depth of the problems that "modesty" has caused among some girls and women I know. I know of several girls who hate YW because somehow the gospel of Jesus Christ got turned into making sure your shoulders are covered and avoiding second piercings. Such easy, visible ways to judge each other.

KarenAugust 13, 2015


Michele RichingsAugust 13, 2015

Great article, Julie. It is very timely. With my daughter I have tried to make sure the clothing she wore as a child was always modest. We just didn't purchase anything that wasn't. As she grew to an older teen, she began purchasing her own outfits. Some of these are NOT my favorites, but I've carefully pointed out what I like best about them, even if the hemlines were a bit on the short side. She picked out tank tops which otherwise look fine but for their lack of sleeves. Turns out she prefers to wear these with a sweater. The short hemlines are getting longer now, by her own choice. Yesterday she purchased a new pair of shorts to replace some she had worn out. They were shorter than I would have preferred, but still very nice. I pointed out that now she has graduated high school, she may want to make sure her clothing purchases include longer hemlines and longer shorts, like knee shorts. When she asked why, I said, "so when you go through the temple in a couple of years or so, you won't have to re-do your entire wardrobe." I have had to carefully make this not about her modesty, but about other things. She IS modest, but like most teens, wants to try things out for herself. I need to give her some sense of freedom to do so in order to encourage her to make great choices for the future. I think your article makes the best point: modesty begins in the mind and the heart.

AnnAugust 13, 2015

I so appreciate your thoughtful article. You articulate so well what I have tried to live myself and teach those under my influence. What we chose to wear should reflect our values. But equally important, what we think is also a component of modesty. While our clothing should help others be comfortable around us, our thought needs to be controlled for the same reason. To me the subject of modesty is much like the subject of forgiveness. We too frequently teach that modesty is all about clothing and not about thoughts much like forgiveness is more important that repentance. Maybe I say this because for years we had a lot of family drama and it seemed like everyone wanted to preach "forgiveness" to me while not addressing "repentance" to the offender. Many principles of the gospel have two-faces...each equally important to know, believe and live.

Levi R. BurnhamAugust 13, 2015

I can’t remember the last time I felt so frustrated by an article on Meridian. Who is overemphasizing modesty? Do the Brethren speak of it in every General Conference? Clearly they don’t. Immodesty is a huge problem and getting worse! I can’t tell you how many times I have had to conduct a temple recommend interview with some woman’s cleavage staring me in the face! I guess I’m a terrible person for feeling uncomfortable in those situations. What the article is doing is attempting to minimize the importance of the principle of modesty as taught by modern day prophets by shifting the emphasis away from the perpetrator and onto the victim. Yes, men are victims of immodesty and your beginning story is the perfect example. The young woman who wore a bikini to a church activity was immodest and inappropriate…PERIOD! She was the literal fulfillment of what Elder Oaks taught in April 2005 General Conference: “And young women, please understand that if you dress immodestly, you are magnifying this problem by becoming pornography to some of the men who see you.” These young men went to an activity where they were supposed to be protected from the negative influences of the world, not exposed to them. When they saw something that was clearly inappropriate and felt upset about it, they were promptly chastised for being judgmental and condescendingly told that Jesus never talked about two-piece bathing suits. I don’t remember him ever using the word “modest” or “modesty” either, does that mean that it is not an eternal principle? How absurd! People have to use righteous judgement each and every day and we are taught to judge situations, not people. Where it gets complicated is when people are the cause of the situation. These young men know the church standards on modesty (and so do you!). They have every right to judge a situation as inappropriate and to feel frustrated and upset by it, especially at a church sponsored activity! They should not condemn or belittle the young woman, but clearly they can judge when something meets the church standards or not. I am afraid that this article is going to be picked up on social media by young women (and some adult women) and used as justification for continuing to wear clothing that does not meet the church standards. Because of this article, there is the very real possibility for some to assume that they are absolved from responsibility because it’s the beholders duty to control their thoughts. It completely destroys the principle that I referenced earlier from Elder Oaks, but then again, based on this article, you may think that he has “(deeply) misunderstood and misinterpreted this principle.”

PamAugust 13, 2015

I am 72 and always went to small branches but spent many summers with my cousins in Utah. People who weren't wearing garments wore sleeves dresses, skirts were what ever the fashion and spaghetti straps were acceptable if not on Sunday were at parties. We seemed to know that low cut or super short was not modest but we wore strapless formals and party clothes. Now is much more strict. I agree, it gives the impression that women are responsible for men's thoughts or actions. One can be modest but knees and shoulders aren't exactly shocking.

stevie mckennaAugust 13, 2015

We are so fortunate to have the direction from the Lord through living prophets today and especially to know the will of the Lord with regard to many current problems. With regard to modesty in dress outlined in the For the Strength of Youth booklet, it covers all the areas of modesty. It doesn't focus just on dress and not just on girls/women's dress choices. If you read it you'll notice that it addresses all areas of concern equally. With such terrible examples of clothing choices being worn by celebrities today, I don't think modesty can be emphasized enough. There seems to be a connection between what a person wears and the way they think and behave as well. We know that we should be different than the world, an example, 'a peculiar people'. When we start to follow the world it becomes a slippery slope. So I really wouldn't be so judgmental about the boys in your example. That they recognize and apparently support the standards set for us by inspired leaders is admirable. It says a lot about their attitude toward dress and their recognition and willingness to follow the counsel of our leaders. There is such a pull on the youth of the Church to follow after the world today. I'm proud that those boys at least recognized and supported the direction we are given from the Lord. That takes guts! Good for them! They are a choice group of kids!

Anne PearsonAugust 13, 2015

Much good material here and many important principles to consider. But I think the problem is not over-emphasizing modesty. Modesty is a quality the Lord has included in his commandments to us. How can we emphasize too often any of the characteristics He has asked us to adopt? Would it not be better to speak of better understanding and emphasizing ALL those qualities and actions that are make up the definition of "Modesty" - including our manner of dress?

Emily DavenportAugust 13, 2015

I feel like all the consequences listed aren't about overemphasizing modesty - they're about not teaching it correctly. We've been counselled specifically about modesty in clothing, but as with all things the Lord has given us the holy ghost to guide us in all other matters of modesty. If we're teaching people to listen to the Holy Ghost I doubt this would be an issue.

deb in texasAugust 13, 2015

well said! as a mom with one daughter and three boys, i have tried to teach all of them the way you described here. boys (and girls--they judge each other harshly) need to be taught that how they speak and think about others is a reflection of modesty also. i will be passing this on on my fb wall. thank you for saying eloquently that which needs saying!

Tom JohnsonAugust 13, 2015

I still think that if a woman wears provocative clothing (or no clothing) that she, not the men, is responsible for the lustful thoughts that arise in men. And, of course, the reverse is true.

JenaeAugust 13, 2015

Thank you for this article! I keep finding posts from people talking about how they won't wear certain things anymore because it is contributing to men lusting after the female form. I have always had a problem with that sentiment. Why am I responsible for what men think or feel when they look at me? I'm not! I dress modestly because I want to, not because it might affect some guy if I don't. I don't want my daughters to dress a certain way because they are told they have to protect boys from themselves. The ideas for changing the discussion are great!

AlanAugust 13, 2015

I think this article misses the mark in many ways, especially from those boys' perspective. What they were probably really trying to say was something like 'it sure would be nice to get a break from the worlds non-stop sexual temptations and come to a church activity and not have to keep our guard up all the time. Our bodies are hard wired to be attracted to female bodies and when they're not modest it makes us have to work the whole time just to keep proper thoughts. That's not fun.' I'm sticking with what the prophets say about modesty in 'For the Strength of Youth'. I don't think this article helps.

SusanAugust 13, 2015

This is one of the best articles I have read in a long time. Amen to all the principals included.

hollandparkAugust 13, 2015

"While standards generally may totter, we of the Church are without excuse if we drift in the same manner. We have standards—sure, tested, and effective. To the extent that we observe them, we shall go forward. To the extent that we neglect them, we shall hinder our own progress and bring embarrassment to the work of the Lord. These standards have come from Him. Some of them may appear a little out-of-date in our society, but this does not detract from their validity nor diminish the virtue of their application. The subtle reasoning of men, no matter how clever, no matter how plausible it may sound, cannot abridge the declared wisdom of God." President Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign January 2005

Mama BearAugust 13, 2015

What would be a good response to a stranger or even a date if they commented on your clothes being immodest?

DarrelAugust 13, 2015

It seems to me that you have miss the greater point. What are the persons trying to be like? There is good way to dress and to talk. If you are not an investigator in church you should come as if you are going to the Temple. So do not down play peoples action.

sueAugust 13, 2015

I am 74 years old, and I must say that I disagree with this article. When I grew up we did not wear tight fitting clothing that emphasized the form of our body. Immodesty was not even a problem among women and girls, at that time. I have watched the styles change, and truly believe that what a woman wears can precipitate wrong thoughts from a male.I think it might be more appropriate to combine two ideas here. here. If you are a spiritually modest person, you will not wear revealing clothing, or clothing that draws attention to your body, but clothing that allows you inner spirit to shine forth.. I cringe when I see what women and young girls, and some boys wear on the streets and in church. Two of the three women of our former RS Presidency had a problem with how they dressed. Eventually, there was a change. Considering the problems with pornography addiction, a woman might want to be even more careful about the style of her clothing. One of my friends has a son who has gotten over his addiction to porn, but has a terrible problem going to church due to the revealing clothing and styles that women and young women wear. For me, femininity is a holistic concept that includes your thoughts, behaviors, as well as your way of dressing.

Chris MuellerAugust 13, 2015

Well done! In particular, I appreciate the part about males checking their own thoughts. We (males) have an ongoing battle to keep out thoughts appropriate.

William FoxAugust 13, 2015

Yes girls are not responsible for a boys actions, but to think they don't have some bearing on a boys thoughts one would have to live in a dream world. It is obvious that boys and girls,(men and women) think differently and to a large extent the Lord built it that way. One can sit back and say " to the pure all things are pure" but I have yet to find that person who is pure all the time and under all circumstances. Young men and women should dress modestly. That is why it is talked about in the Strength of Youth pamphlet.

Ken LindseyAugust 13, 2015


MayAugust 13, 2015

Tremendous article! I plan on sharing it with my family members and friends. Thank you!

R WinmillAugust 13, 2015

Elder Carlos Asay told this story which goes to your comments--isn't it all about making and keeping sacred covenants? "A few years ago, in a seminar for new temple presidents and matrons, Elder James E. Faust, then of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, told about his being called to serve as a General Authority. He was asked only one question by President Harold B. Lee: “Do you wear the garments properly?” to which he answered in the affirmative. He then asked if President Lee wasn’t going to ask him about his worthiness. President Lee replied that he didn’t need to, for he had learned from experience that how one wears the garment is the expression of how the individual feels about the Church and everything that relates to it. It is a measure of one’s worthiness and devotion to the gospel. There are some who would welcome a detailed dress code answering every conceivable question about the wearing of the temple garment. They would have priesthood leaders legislate lengths, specify conditions of when and how it should and should not be worn, and impose penalties upon those who missed the mark by a fraction of an inch. Such individuals would have Church members strain at a thread and omit the weightier matters of the gospel of Jesus Christ (see Matt. 23:23–26)."

SstephensAugust 13, 2015

What I have had in my heart and head since my oldest was shunned at girls camp for sunning herself by the pool, but have not been able to put into words. Thank you for this!

AlanAugust 13, 2015

Modesty Men are stimulated by visual cues. Having gone through youth myself, and having been involved in YM callings since the 80's, I'm convinced it takes most men at least 40 years to finally get in control of the thoughts and feelings to the level discussed in this article. To put it in perspective, a man seeing an inappropriately clad woman out of the blue is literally equivalent to being inappropriately touched by someone from the opposite sex -- it is quite invasive and the man has to deal with it. Unfortunately our society doesn't recognize this fact, and most women cannot fathom it. Our YM are being bombarded with these "inappropriate touches" from the opposite sex, and a great number of them are resisting well. Saying one is not responsible for the thoughts and actions of others is like yelling "fire" in a crowded theater. It is so important for YW (and YM) to understand that you ARE responsible for the thoughts and feelings of others -- at least to the point of not purposely provoking inappropriateness.

A Happy HubbyAugust 13, 2015

Julie - this is such a problem in Mormon culture right now. IMHO it is out of control. You also didn't mention how this can shape a woman's view of herself and her body in ways that carry into marriage in ways that really hurt marriages. Your message to the YM is so appropriate also. Thanks for speaking up on this!

kateAugust 13, 2015

YES!! Thank you. This is brilliant.

RachaelGAugust 13, 2015

I agree with this article. However, as a temple worker, I am sometimes truly shocked at the clothing that sisters come to the temple wearing. Yes, we need to refrain from being judgmental and unkind, but there are a lot of young women out there who obviously lack understanding about what modesty is and that it is evidence of an attitude of reverence for what is sacred. Of course that applies to speech and thought as well, but often the most obvious manifestation of those attitudes IS how we dress. I think that it is not necessarily that we are overemphasizing modesty, but that we are not teaching it with sufficient clarity and depth.



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