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Where Is My Village When I Need Them?

Immodest Role ModelI am the mother of three daughters, who are growing up all too quickly. My oldest just turned 12, and as she enters the Young Women program, I realize how much I appreciate the example of righteous women who are helping me to lead and guide her on her journey.

Remember when Hillary Clinton gave her famous “it takes a village” statement? She took a lot of flack for it, and while I’m no Hillary fan, I kind of get it now. As a mom of preteen girls, I DO feel like I need the help of my fellow villagers. Can my husband and I handle this parenting thing on our own? Perhaps. But it is so much easier and nicer when there are many others who are “on our side” and helping us to raise our children in the gospel. I suppose I do have a certain expectation that my sisters in the gospel will have my back as I try to teach my girls right from wrong, set a righteous example, and help them to see the joy in living well.

Which is why I have been pretty disappointed lately in the example of some of the women who surround me. While there are several situations we have experienced where LDS women did things that caused my children to ask some hard questions, what I want to focus on here specifically is the image we are presenting to the world in the way we dress.

I don’t recall a change in the temple recommend interview about wearing your garments. Did it somehow change to, “Do you wear your temple garment except when it’s not convenient, comfortable, or cute?” and I missed it? In the last several months I have seen either in person or in photos, temple endowed women (most of them moms of young children themselves) in strapless ball gowns (for a wedding and formal ball), bikinis, sleeveless tops with miniskirts (for a night out with the girls), short shorts (for walking around I guess?), and tank tops. Honestly, it baffles me a little bit. I mean, it seems so…overt.

I am certainly not saying that I live a perfect life, or that it’s better to hide your transgressions so no one sees them, but it seems so odd to me to post a picture of yourself in such a state on FaceBook or your blog when you know that people you go to church with (and young girls you influence) are going to see it. I have seen dozens of these pictures come and go and have really tried to be nonjudgmental. But really, it kind of stinks to try to teach your daughter the way a faithful LDS woman should dress when some of her examples are obviously…um…not dressing that way.

What is most disappointing to me is that almost all of these women (I am thinking of seven of them right off the top of my head…sorry if you are one of them and are offended by my post) are serving or have recently served in leadership positions with youth either in Primary or Young Women. Do they not think people notice what they are wearing? Is it okay to teach girls about living the gospel and staying worthy to marry in the temple and then go on a cruise and wear a strapless gown to formal night? I’m just a bit befuddled.

I don’t consider myself to be an especially prudish person — I do understand the desire women have to take care of themselves and present themselves well. All of these women take incredible care of themselves and they look absolutely fantastic. They would look just as fantastic in something they could wear their garments in!

I remember so many women I could look up to as I was growing up — they were beautiful, smart, strong, and modest. I wanted to be just like them. Of course this was “back in the day” before FaceBook and before we told the world all our business. Maybe those women I looked up to did the same things but I just never saw it because the technology didn’t exist to share it so easily. Somehow though, I doubt it.

I do feel that there has been a shift in the attitude of some LDS women in recent years — that as long as you are doing it most of the time, it’s okay on special occasions to make an exception. I have to say, that attitude really bothers and scares me. Does that also mean it’s okay to have a little drink here and there, as long as it’s only on a special occasion? How about skimming a little off the books, as long as it’s for a good cause? What about a little flirting with the cute neighbor next door as long as I tell him I’m married while I bat my eyes and girly giggle?

I love these women (some are good friends, some are relatives, and some are former or present ward members) and I am grateful for the other ways in which they do influence my girls for good. I am trying really hard not to judge and to understand why they would do this. As a mom though, I just hate it when I have to tell my daughters, “You can be like Sister Jones in every other way, just don’t dress like her!”

I’m hoping my fellow villagers will step up and put something on.

{ 68 comments… add one }
  • Jil April 7, 2011, 12:56 pm

    This so hit home in many ways. In our last neighborhood we had several neighbors that thought it was ok to exercise in their sports bras and shorts and then continue to wear them throughout the day instead of getting dressed in something more modest.

    It also reminded me of a day when my youngest daughter went to the neighbor’s pool after being invited. She asked my neighbor why her daughters were in bikinis. At the age of 7 she didn’t understand that the girls were dressed in what their mom bought them. Needless to say, she wasn’t invited back to swim very often.

    I too don’t understand how it’s okay to do it once in awhile. In the Temple questions, doesn’t it ask if you wear your garments night and day? How do these women answer that and think they are doing so honestly?

    Good luck, I hope the women in your ward will step it up and realize that this is when the chaff is being sifted from the wheat!!
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  • jennycherie April 7, 2011, 4:20 pm

    nice article! I have seen the same thing, from time to time, though clearly not as often!
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  • Angie Gardner April 7, 2011, 5:01 pm

    Jil, I think we must have lived in the same neighborhood. 🙂 Actually, wouldn’t it be nice if it were limited to only one neighborhood!? Sadly, I think it’s not.

    Jennycherie, it has been a fairly new phenomenon to me too. It started mostly last year, when a relative lost quite a bit of weight, then went to Hawaii, and of course the bikini pics came out. I was quite surprised and disappointed considering this person is in a leadership calling with the YW (she is still in the same calling and has since posted even more such photos). I know the topic of bikinis is controversial anyway (obviously, you aren’t wearing garments with ANY swimsuit)…and yet somehow a bikini just doesn’t seem to fit the “Would I feel comfortable with my appearance if I were in the Lord’s presence” question (that is a quote from the “For the Strength of Youth” pamphlet, page 16). My point with it is that I have taught my daughters to wear a modest one-piece suit and it’s awkward to try to explain to them why someone they look up to wears one.

    I also have a friend who had bikini pics on her facebook until she was called as YW president. Then they came down. 🙂

    Some of what I have seen is cultural. This year, for example, I saw several photos of my southern Louisiana friends at Mardi Gras balls in sleeveless gowns. I know that these are BIG events there, and that type of dress is definitely the norm, but if you want to find formal modest attire it is possible. Most of these women I refer to are converts to the church and may simply not understand that the “wear your garments at all times” really means that. Perhaps there needs to be more education given when someone is going through the temple for the first time. I know when I went, the temple matron talked to us and was pretty clear that we should wear them ALWAYS unless we are engaged in vigorous athletic activity (which I assume includes intimacy hehe), and even then we should return to garments and modest clothing as soon as possible afterward. Maybe that’s not the teaching that is happening everywhere?

    I think we are dealing with a couple of different issues here – one is women who know better and are either pushing the issue in the hopes that the church will lighten it’s stance or just willfully disobeying because they look good and want to show it. Then there is probably another camp who just need a little more education about the subject.

    I also think we need to start teaching modesty in a different way. I’m working on a post now that discusses this somewhat, so I won’t say too much now – but in essence, most of what I hear about modesty in church focuses on “don’t dress sexy because if you do you are going to give the boys bad thoughts”. I think that’s completely the wrong motivation to have. For one thing, boys and men need to take responsibility for their own thoughts. A girl dressing immodestly does not give them free reign to start having sexual fantasies or aggression towards a girl. For another thing, girls should be taught to dress modestly because of how they feel about THEMSELVES, not because of what someone else will think about them. They should know that a virtuous daughter of God dresses in a manner where she uses self-respect and respect for God and his commands. I think we are too “external” about it now and we need to teach it as “internal”…an outward display of what we feel about ourselves inside.

  • jennycherie April 7, 2011, 5:32 pm

    ooooooooooooooooh – Angie – very wise! I like this part:
    “For another thing, girls should be taught to dress modestly because of how they feel about THEMSELVES, not because of what someone else will think about them. ”

    I admit, at our last standards night, I really appreciated the direct manner in which the leaders addressed modesty and talked about how visual cues affect young men. I think our young women are naive in that respect. But really, I would much prefer that my daughter dress modestly for her own self respect and so she does not sexualize HERSELF or see her own value as being related to flaunting her body.
    jennycherie recently posted…The Good Old DaysMy Profile

  • Tracy Keeney April 7, 2011, 6:33 pm

    I totally understand, Angie! It’s awkward having to explain to my girls when they see fellow Saints– grown women, nonetheless, dressing in direct contrast to the standards set in FTSOY and as preached over and over again by church leaders. It’s one thing for them to see it in other youth– they “get” that some kids are going to push the boundaries, and they understand that parents sometimes “pick their battles”. But it’s been a little uncomfortable for me when they notice the few women in our ward who are clearly hiking up their garment bottoms and tucking in the what short amount of sleeve there is under their bra straps. (Either that or they’re not wearing garments at all, or are purposely buying the petite sizes even though they are rather tall women) And they are temple going sisters…. so it’s not a matter of church discipline, either.
    The interesting thing here, is that the temple recommend interview has changed. About 5 or 6 years ago or so, they added a whole different section to the interview. The Bishopric or Stake Presidency member, after asking if we wear our garments night and day as directed, then takes out a letter he has to read WORD FOR WORD, that specfically addresses the issue of hiking up garments.
    I think there is a general problem with dress at church period– especially among the females. Pants, flip flops– I’ve seen quite a few girls wearing those “dresses” that just look like a long blouse/top that BARELY cover their rearends — or short skirts that clearly would count as mini-skirts– but they wear those tight legging/pant things underneath. I guess they figure that as long as their legs are covered in something opaque that it’s okay?
    Maybe I’m just as old fuddy-duddy. But the really “casual” stuff bothers me period. My girls have tried to wear their zip-up sweatshirt kind of hoodies to church. I’m like– “Um… no way Jose. You don’t wear a sweatshirt to church.”
    “But mom, it’s a jacket.”
    ” It’s a zip-up sweatshirt with a hood. If you WEAR it like a jacket, and take it off when we get there and hang it up before you go into the chapel that’s one thing. But you’re not wearing a sweatshirt in Sacrament meeting, and I don’t want you wearing through the other meetings either.”
    I’m such a meanie!!! 🙂

  • Angie Gardner April 7, 2011, 6:39 pm

    Darn, I posted a response and I’m not seeing it. But here is a more brief version: I do think we need to be more direct, and I definitely think boys and girls have different responses to things and we need to be aware of that. In other words, a boy very well might have a sexual response to a scantily clad girl. But I think that girls need to think more about their motivation for dressing the way they do.

  • Marie K April 8, 2011, 12:32 am

    Hello there!

    I recently found this site and have been reading with great interest ever since.

    I see the same here in Sweden. Leaders of all kinds dress immodestly. Usually it is too short dresses, and I mean, really short. Or leggings and a tunic. In church! In the summer it is sleeveless. It makes me a bit sad and a bit upset. When I was in YW 20 years ago (am I really that old?), I remember being taught a lot about this. I remember my parents teaching me when I was only a child. They didn’t let me wear sleeveless tops as a child. This so that I would be used to the fact when I became a teenager and later as I got married in the temple. It made things easier.

    I like to think I dress modestly but really nice for me! When my husband became SP 6 months ago, we had a small discussion about my way to dress. I told him that I will continue to dress like me, I’m 34 not 64. We should not compare ourselves with anyone else. He made comparisons with other SP wifes, most of them old enough to be my mother. They dress really nice but older. And I am still me. By the way, my husband is a great person, he was just nervous about his new calling. Appearances do mean something. Especially when everyone “know” you but you don’t know everybody.

    I hope I don’t write to weird since english is not my first language;-)

  • Alison Moore Smith April 8, 2011, 1:07 am

    Marie K, just wanted to welcome you here. Your input and perspective are greatly appreciated. 🙂
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…What Is a Mormon Wedding LikeMy Profile

  • Angie Gardner April 8, 2011, 6:14 am

    Marie, welcome and thanks for your comments!

  • Trilce April 8, 2011, 8:04 am

    This is very sad!!, :(….I live in México, and I thought this things happen here, because the wather. But it is true, it is something ” internal” and spiritual thing… The good part is see women concerned about it.

  • Tracy Keeney April 8, 2011, 9:01 am

    Hi Marie! You’re English is amazing. In fact,it’s so good that I assumed you were an American living in Sweden until you said English wasn’t your first language! I’m not kidding, either!
    You know, as this subject has been bouncing around in my head since my post yesterday, I asked myself a few questions. Mostly, WHY does this bother me so much? There are SEVERAL points where people push the envelope of various church standards– what they read, what movies they watch, what clothing they wear, the language they use, the activities they pursue on the Sabbath, etc, etc. And I accept the fact that people have the right to make their own decisions. Besides that, we’re all on the same journey and we grow as we go. Someone who doesn’t think it’s a big deal to go out to eat after church on Sunday, or wear what’s essetially a long blouse/tunic and tight knit pants to church, may one day “evolve” and grow to the point where they STOP going out to eat on Sundays and wear dresses/modest skirts to meetings. We didn’t use to have family prayer and scripture study every night, but I don’t think there’s been one night missed in the past 8-10 years. We “grew” to that. So I was pondering all this, I asked myself WHY does this issue bother me so much. And I realized that it’s because this happens AT church.
    A sister wearing a skirt so short that when she sits down you can see right up her thigh and CLEARLY see that she’s not wearing garments (or she’s hiked them up so high that they don’t cover anymore than a pair of bikini panties would) wouldn’t bother me as much if she was doing it at home or at work. I guess that seems weird. I can see how one might say, “Well, if she’s doing one thing at work, then “playing Molly Mormon” at church then she’s just being a hypocrite.” And I can see the point. On the other hand, at the VERY LEAST, by showing up to church in more modest clothing, she’s at showing that she RESPECTS the church’s standards even if she doesn’t necessarily live by them outside church building walls. Do you see what I mean?
    A simple example– I don’t have a problem with my kids wearing flip-flops. But if their school’s standard is “no flip-flops at school” because they’re a safety issue or whatever, then my kids aren’t going to wear flip-flops to school. Not because I think they’re a safety issue, but because that’s the rule. The schools have a no “short-shorts” rule, but the girls show up in shorts that would reveal the fat of their bottoms if they bent over. They honestly don’t cover anymore of their butts than a pair of regular underwear. And even though I consider that style of shorts “immodest”, what bothers me more than the fact that THEY don’t see them as immodest, is the utter DISREGARD for the rules. (And the faculty members who keep letting them get away with it– but that’s an entirely seperate issue– you don’t want me to get started on that one!!!)
    And I guess it’s the disregard, the disrespect aspect of it that bothers me the most. My thought is “If you don’t think it’s a big deal to hike up your garments, or rationalize that it’s okay to wear a mini-skirt as long as your not bare-legged or wearing nude stockings underneath, or that a long shirt constitutes a “dress” as long as you’re wearing leggings underneath–then okay– fine– you’re free to choose you’re own clothing. But why do you wear it to CHURCH when you know or *should* know that the Church’s standards would deem it inappropriate or immodest?
    I know people who’ve joined the church, but have slipped back into old habits of smoking or drinking coffee. But none of them would DARE to light up at church. They do it at HOME, but out of respect for the church’s standard, sit through meetings DESPERATE for a cigarette, but resist the urge for those 3 hours and wait until they get home to light up.
    People who might watch rated R movies at home wouldn’t think of bringing a rated R movie to church for a youth movie night. Even if other members already know they watch rated R movies (they may have even watched them together), they KNOW not to bring it into the church.
    Somehow the clothing thing doesn’t work out the same way.

  • jennycherie April 8, 2011, 9:14 am

    Welcome Marie – your English is great! And welcome back Tracy!! 😉
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  • MB April 8, 2011, 11:16 am

    One of the things I learned while raising teenagers:

    If I was frustrated or annoyed with the behavior of members of our ward, my teenagers would either
    a) become frustrated, annoyed or judgmental towards those members
    b) defend the behaviors I was annoyed about.

    Neither of those was good.

    On the other hand, if I taught correct principles and and actively expressed appreciation for the good things that those members were doing in spite of my sense of disappointment with one or another aspect of their public behaviors, my teenagers
    a) didn’t need me to point out that I found the behavior in question not up to my expectations as they, already knowing what my thoughts were about correct behavior, could figure that out for themselves
    b) learned how to learn good things from imperfect people, a skill that is very important as one faces adulthood in the church

  • Heidi April 8, 2011, 10:46 am

    Thanks for warming my old heart, you young ladies. I am 72 and when I was young I loved sleeveless clothes. But, gave them up when I got married. Then, lo and behold, the Ensign published a nice big picture of Lenore Romney in a sleeveless dress. She was George Romney’s wife and Mitt’s mother. George was a stake president in Michigan at the time. My eyes just burned. I think there was some sort of brou hah at the time about the picture but my feelings are still hurt. I loved the clothes I gave up but did so willingly. My grandmother always taught, “Wear the garments correctly.”

  • MB April 8, 2011, 11:53 am

    Hi Trilce. Are you new here or is it just me? Nice to have you here.

  • Darcee yates April 8, 2011, 11:04 am

    This is a very interesting topic and I think it has been an issue for years even decades. Basically, I think it is as old as the hills.

    As a women, I find that how I dress affects how I feel about myself which affects my mood which affects my ability to cope with work, exercise , personal goals.

    Example: if I go running in a paint splattered boxy t-shirt and plaid knee lenth shorts I can only run half as far as when I,m wearing all black fitted stretch sports clothes. And for me, tanks in the summer(for running) are a neccesity, i get overheated by mile 3 otherwise. The
    mental self image of being fit propels me further than when I’m feeling
    that I’m flopping along fat and sloppy. (read -I need the tight stretch to hold the gush in). I think exercise isVERY important and I no longer have issues about other peoples judgements of what is appropriate for me to exercise in.

    Church- I think you may have hit the nail right square on the head when you said we need to be teaching the standard differently. I often see young girls or mid 20’ish or 30’ish women dressed in the attire described and think that although it would be appropriate for a backyard barbque (the ones I’ve seen are wearing garments you can see the line in the tights). For me it leaves something lacking for church. And i would feel uncomfotable. And maybe thats the key. Some people are more formal in Thier everyday life and don’t even wart jeans on. Thier ‘home’ days. I do think we need to be careful though. In my own ward I saw a women coming to church in pants for the past 6 months and then a few weeks ago she was baptized . Tho I didn’t dwell on them much there were certain immediate judgements and questions that-flitted through my head when I would see her in pants.
    Please forgive mispelling throughout as I’m doing this from my phone

    Last-my least favorite style of dress are womens suits. And I felt that way long before I became a fight attendant and had to wear a suit 74% of the time. My personal wardrobe could be described as gypsyish. I like ruffled cottons and flowery flowing feminine fabric. I’ve never seen of the ladies from salt lake with this particular personal style but I feel we have the same spiritual grounding and love for the gospel.
    Last -I think if a woman is dressing in a manner that is sending a bad message she may not be entirely aware of how her apparel is viewed by others.

  • Angie Gardner April 8, 2011, 12:10 pm

    Great comments everyone!

    Tracy – I too have asked myself why this bothers me so much. Am I jealous because I don’t look as good? Am I a Pharisee looking for the nitpicky things to catch people on? I mean, really, I’ve wondered – why do I care? And to be honest, I DIDN’T care that much until I had daughters of YW age. In the past, I might have had a “thought” about it (yes, a judgmental thought, granted) but I certainly wouldn’t vocalize it or anything, or think less of the person in other ways. I might just wish they would dress a little more modestly and move on. But then this thing with our family member happened, and I will admit it has stuck with me. I’m hoping she isn’t reading this, and if she is I hope she will forgive me for my judgment. It comes from a place of love, as my girls (and all her other nieces) worship this aunt of theirs. She works in the fashion industry and is seen by all the girls as being very hip and stylish, fun to be around, and relates well to the girls (she has about 15 nieces). When she first posted these bikini pics, she was the YW president in her ward. Now she is a counselor in the stake YW. My point is just that my daughters and her other nieces love her to death and really look up to her – and she has a lot of influence I am sure with the girls she works with in her ward and stake. My girls love her and want to be just like her, and that’s great except in this area. I really don’t want them thinking it’s okay to dress this way (the bikini is the main issue with her but she does push the limit on length, tight clothing, “almost” sleeveless, etc. as well).

    So for me, it is about EXAMPLE to the younger generation.

    Additionally, I think this issue gets me because it is just so overt and public. If someone is watching rated R movies, going to dinner on Sunday, not reading their scriptures, having word of wisdom issues, etc. those are things I’m most likely not going to be aware of. And certainly my kids aren’t going to see it. But pictures of their aunt in a bikini all over her facebook? Yeah, they will see that and I’m sure wonder if she can dress like that and be the YW president, why can’t I dress that way too?

    MB – You make an excellent point and I agree with you. This modesty thing has not been a huge harping issue in my home (I’m really not that kind of parent in any aspect that I can think of.) My husband and I have always been of the “teach them correct principles and let them govern themselves” camp. We try to set an example for them and lead quietly. When we shop, from the time they were little they only look at things that are modest, because that’s how they were raised. It would never have crossed their minds to even look at 2-piece swimsuits, for example, until now.

    When we first saw these vacation photos, I didn’t say anything to my girls about it. I did ask my husband what he thought of his sister’s attire and he just rolled his eyes. This of course is at the same time she is getting tons of flattering comments on her photos by the rest of family saying how good she looks. My strategy at the time was to make positive comments on all the OTHER photos and just skip over those. But then, my daughter said something, which was to pretty much ask point blank why her aunt is dressing like that.

    I could see the wheels turning in her head – she was shocked as I think we all were because we love her and look up to her and wouldn’t expect this of her. My daughter knows the expectation and has made her own choice about how to dress and will stick by it. But it’s just disappointing – this sister-in-law of mine is someone who I love and expect to be part of my “village”. Trust me, I have plenty of family members who I wouldn’t even attempt to set up as any kind of example – but this one has usually been great in every other way in helping the girls to become their best. Where much is given, much is required, I suppose. Had it been almost anyone else in the family I probably wouldn’t have even cared.

    As I’m writing this, I’m thinking I should just tell her how I feel. I never mentioned it to her but in fairness to her I should let her know that my girls look up to her so much and that I hope in the future she’ll at least keep the bikini shots private (I allow my oldest daughter a facebook page “early” -she’s only 12 – because we live far away from our family and we have family groups that she participates in. That’s another topic entirely perhaps but I’m just throwing that out there to show that this aunt of theirs knew they would see the photos when she posted them, because they are facebook friends).

    Anyway, that’s my own personal dilemma. The women in sleeveless ball gowns do not bother me nearly as much as someone that my kids look up to and want to be like. I hope that makes sense and doesn’t sound too harsh.

    Darcee – I understand your points about exercise attire and I don’t have a problem people being comfortable as they exercise. However, I do have an issue when your workout clothes from your 6 a.m. run also become what you wear to take your kids to school, run to the grocery store in, etc. If you “just came from exercising” (which is often the excuse I hear, sometimes 10 hours later haha) then at least throw a top on over your sports bra, you know?

    Oh, one other thing, sorry this is long. Tracy – I wanted to comment on the letter you mentioned. I do remember that letter being read once to me. It was several years ago. I wonder how commonly it’s still in use, even if it is supposed to be. I know in my last several recommend interviews (and I’ve had 2 in the last year because of a lost wallet) it hasn’t been read, and it wasn’t read to me the entire time I lived in Louisiana either. So it’s been at least 4 1/2 years since I’ve heard it. Is anyone getting it as a regular part of their recommend renewal, just curious?

  • Darcee yates April 8, 2011, 11:17 am

    When I say salt lake city women. I speak of wives of authority’s or women in the general women’s organization presidency. I’ve wondered at different times if they changed Thier personal style to a conservative business suit for appearances sake, the same as missionaries are asked to do, or if it was Thier personal favorite to begin with.
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  • Darcee yates April 8, 2011, 11:20 am

    MB-You always cut to the quick! Excellent thought.
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  • jennycherie April 8, 2011, 12:39 pm

    Angie – I heard the letter the at my most recent interview!

    You know – I saw bikini photos of one of “my” missionaries when we got back in touch. I just put it on the list of “things I don’t understand” and try not to think about it. I *know* her testimony because it influenced me deeply. I *know* she is sincere in her testimony and that she is full of goodness so, in this case, I just try not to worry about it and thank my lucky stars that my girls are generally horrified by bikinis for now.

    MB – thanks for that! It is so true that what we say about others has an effect on our kids!
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  • Angie Gardner April 8, 2011, 12:42 pm

    Yay for the letter in interviews! 🙂 Now I guess the question is – is it doing any good? My hunch is that it’s the same way with everything else in the church – those who really need to hear it have already excused their behavior and reconciled it in their own minds, so they don’t think it refers to them.

    I think your attitude about your missionary is perfect.

  • jennycherie April 8, 2011, 12:44 pm

    Darcee – I agree that what we wear really does affect how we feel! I don’t mind seeing others in appropriate exercise clothes and I think that, when exercising, fitted clothes are often more safe (for those of us who are accident prone.) I also notice, however, that when I do wear something tight, I have a tendency to watch my posture a bit more and. . .magnify my assets, which is usually how I can tell when I need to get rid of a blouse because it is too tight!

    “I’ve never seen of the ladies from salt lake with this particular personal style but I feel we have the same spiritual grounding and love for the gospel.”
    That’s interesting – I have wondered a time or two if the ladies in General Conference wear suits as a way to dress their “best” as the men do by wearing a suit (rather than a shirt/tie), or if it is a sincere preference that just happens to be shared by all the women in the general auxiliary presidencies. 😉 This is one of those things that I would really like to know – – is it a coincidence or is it requested of them?
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  • Alison Moore Smith April 8, 2011, 12:24 pm

    Trilce, welcome to MM. (Thanks for the heads up, MB!) We’re glad to have your input here.
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  • MB April 8, 2011, 2:00 pm

    My guess is that there are two reasons why women on the stand at general conference wear suits. One is the same reason that women giving speeches at universities or addressing congress wear suits; simply the general understanding they all have that if you want your message to be taken seriously, dressing professionally will aid that.

    And the other is probably the fact that many people, when they are going to be speaking at a venue that is new to them, almost automatically look to see what the respected people before them in that position have worn as they decide what might be appropriate to wear. In this case, it’s suits! Just basic human psychology.

  • Keri April 8, 2011, 2:58 pm

    Re: the letter in temple recommend interviews

    I’ve had regular temple recommend interviews over the last several years, and I’ve never heard the letter. All I’ve been asked is if I wear the garment day and night as instructed in the temple.
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  • Darcee Yates April 8, 2011, 2:44 pm

    Here’s another thought on clothes.

    I live in Utah. It’s snowing outside right now and in the summer when it gets hot- it’sl just a dry heat. Garments are a welcome layer.

    But- I grew up in Orlando, Florida and moved away before I was married. I never had to wear garments in that hot humid place on a regular basis.

    Last September I had a semi-reunion with all my sisters and mother on Sanibel Island on the gulf coast of Florida. Our hotel was right on the beach. I showered 3 times a day and anytime I went out to the beach put my swimsuit and shorts(2 inches above the knee, which is where my garmets would have hit if I were wearing them) and thin white cotton cover up, to stroll along the beach. –And my 50 year old hot flashes were still beating me up. With garments on they would have been taking me to the emergency room. I don’t know how the saints do it in the warmer climates. I really don’t. Especially the menapausal ones.

    My mom (bless her heart) suggested that she didn’t think the saints in samoa had to were garments; that they’d been given permission not to. I just had to check out that rumor. I asked my stake president when I went to get my recomend signed a month ago. YES, they DO have to wear their garments just like everyone else.
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  • Janiel Miller April 8, 2011, 4:03 pm

    Marie, your English is excellent. Welcome! And I agree that you can be yourself and be modest and appropriate. Modesty does not mean boring. It means keeping things covered that should be covered. If we teach our children when they are young, as your parents did, they won’t even have to think about it when they get older. Great comment.
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  • Janiel Miller April 8, 2011, 4:05 pm

    Welcome, Trilce! I agree, it is very sad. Your comment and Marie (from Sweden)’s comment makes me realize it’s a much bigger problem than I thought. But women have great power to influence. We just need to keep influencing and teaching and never let it go.
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  • Janiel Miller April 8, 2011, 4:07 pm

    Heidi! Thanks for calling us “young ladies.” 🙂
    And thanks for your comment. It is hard to see people doing things we are taught not to do–especially those in leadership positions. And it is SO hard not to judge. I guess we just keep going and teaching and being a good example.
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  • Janiel Miller April 8, 2011, 4:27 pm

    Julie Beck recently spoke to the students at BYU about modesty. It’s a big issue there. I go on campus to visit my daughter, and it’s a different place than when I attended.

    It’s everywhere. LDS Moms are wearing bikinis (whilst I look like a matronly albino eel in my one-piece and shorts–not that I’m bitter), and I have to explain that to my kids without imparting a judgmental attitude to them.

    The movie “The Singles Ward” showcased a lead actress in low cut and unbuttoned shirts while espousing living the gospel and its standards. A confusing message at best.

    I would wonder where this shift was coming from, but it can only be coming from the adults. If we parents are wearing immodest clothing and dressing our toddlers in bikinis, of course this is going to be the fall-out.

    Everyone’s comments here have been great, and I very much agree that we must teach our young women that modesty is love for themselves, and FREEDOM. Modesty frees us from stares and comments we wouldn’t want, from perceptions we’d be shocked by, from unwanted advances, from judgment, from ever worrying or wondering if anything is showing, from being responsible for causing someone else to have unrighteous thoughts–whether they are from boys or other women judging them, from being a bad example and leading others astray, and from anyone ever wondering what our standards are and how we live their lives. I have also found that my personal modesty as impacted the things that men will say and do around me. It has made a big difference–particularly when in business settings.

    Hopefully, since we all feel strongly about it, we can do as much as possible in our spheres of influence to teach the benefits of keeping the standards of the Church.
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  • jks April 8, 2011, 4:39 pm

    I understand. Now that my older kids are 11 and 13 I really, really want them to have good examples. I appreciate when other adults & teens are honest, modest, and live up to the church standards.

  • Angie Gardner April 8, 2011, 5:14 pm

    I lived in Southern Louisiana for 3 years, where it is hot and humid like…always. We lit fireworks on New Year’s Eve in our bare feet one year. I now live in Michigan and so enjoy having 4 seasons again.

    I never had a problem wearing my garments there. They have such good fabrics now, and usually on the especially awful days people just stay inside anyway. If I worked outdoors or spent a lot of time out there, I might feel differently, but I didn’t think it was a huge issue.

  • Tracy Keeney April 8, 2011, 5:50 pm

    The letter was read to me at my most recent interview last summer.
    For those who haven’t heard it, I’ll bet it’s one of those things where from some reason, the Stake hasn’t gotten the info OR they got it and didn’t pass it on OR when people are released and someone new is called, they aren’t made aware of the change.
    — I just asked my husband who was previously in the Bishopric and had to do interviews allt he time if he could verify that the letter was something from the First Presidency and not just something our Stake was doing. He said the letter was on Church letterhead, and began with instructions to the Bishopric and Stake Presidency members that the letter was to be read during all recommend interviews.

  • mel April 8, 2011, 5:54 pm

    I enjoyed reading the discussion. I appreciated the mention of talking openly (and privately) to the women involved, since this seems like the most direct avenue to gaining more understanding of their perspective and ensuring that your concerns are understood. Obviously, this would be a delicate subject to broach; I can easily imagine situations where the most prudent path would be not to bring up the issue, but I think it is worth considering.

    As I read I was also struck that this really is an example of an issue that confronts lots of church members at different times in life: people will disappoint us in their failure to live gospel teachings, including people we look up to. It may be a bishop or a YW president; it could be a sibling or spouse or parent. These can be painful, confusing, even spiritually disorienting experiences, especially when they happen during the testimony-building years, which is likely the case for many teenagers. It raises difficult questions like–how do we interact with the person in a Christlike manner? How do we remain unshaken in our personal commitment in spite of the situation? From my own life, these have been difficult, at times wrenching experiences…but I have definitely grown as a result. Your daughters have the benefit of a concerned, committed mother–the lessons they learn from your example of how to handle this type of situation may outweigh (or at least counterbalance) any negative experiences they have due to the examples they see around them.

  • Jil April 8, 2011, 9:44 pm

    Wow, what great comments. I didn’t realize there were so many others that felt the same way I feel. I am glad for the support out there, even in other countries. I guess it’s a worldwide church, and therefore we all are dealing with the same problems.

    RE: the letter regarding garments in the Temple interview, I’ve never heard of it.

    Also, just an fyi. We had a SP that was made an Area Authority and is now in the first quorum of the Seventy (don’t know if that all should have been capitalized). Any how, when he was called his wife had to go through training as well as he did and she now wears suits when she accompanies him to meetings. I think they ask the sisters in positions of authority to also wear them, thus setting an example.

    At the recent RS general leadership meeting in SLC that I attended, sister Beck made the comment that the sisters in Stake RS and also ward RS presidencies should dress appropriately and set an example for their sisters. (At the time I had been contemplating purchasing a pair of cowboy boots to wear with a long ruffled skirt). Now I feel that this may be inappropriate to set an example. Maybe I’m being a little overboard, but I wasn’t sure what to think and so felt it better not to purchase them and be on the safe side. Again, I think we need to dress in a way that we are comfortable with and that other’s are comfortable being around us in.

    As a mom I also taught my daughters quietly in our home and now they are old enough to govern themselves. My youngest daughter just went to her first Prom and I’m happy to say that her first concern was that her dress be modest yet beautiful. We were able to successfully find a beautiful dress that was modest and she had a wonderful time and didn’t have to worry about anything inappropriate showing. The really neat thing is that the new area we moved to is full of beautiful women (her YW leaders) and young women that are modest and she doesn’t feel any pressure to be anything but modest. I am so grateful for this! It makes it alot easier on us a parents.

    Angie, I’m sorry that you’ve been placed in this position. It’s especially hard when it’s someone that you love and expected more of. I hope she will appreciate your input and think twice before she makes her pictures public in the future. I guess we never really know who is watching and who will be influenced by what we do and say.

    Good Luck!
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  • SouthernMan April 8, 2011, 11:40 pm

    As a man and a father and grandfather of young women and young men, I wanted to say something that has stuck in my mind, as mentioned in a couple of posts here.

    Modesty works both ways. My young men have no business having a “sexual response” no matter what they see on a young woman. A young man can be responsible for his own modesty, and I believe rather than an unwelcomed physiological response, my young men should feel as I do, that is, embarrassment for the young woman, not lust or sexual thoughts.

    Too little is said to the young men about their responsibility, and many of them as a consequence push things to the limit due to their own greed and selfishness. Let us all be responsible for our own thoughts and actions. Modesty is an attitude, not just what you wear. James in the New Testament tells us to show your faith by your good works. I take that a little further, show me your modesty by your dress and your actions (and thoughts) towards one another.

    And lets stop telling these young women, and older women as well, that its their responsibility not to tempt the men, because bless their hearts, they just aren’t strong enough to control themselves. That offends me and should offend any of you who know and love a man. We all have the same responsibility to live our lives worthy of being followers of Jesus. Lets show our modesty through our actions.

  • Janiel Miller April 9, 2011, 12:15 am

    Erm, I changed voice from third person to first person in my second to last paragraph up there, so if anything doesn’t make sense, that’s why. “Them” and “their” should be “us” and “our”.

    Sorry. The English major in me couldn’t leave that alone.
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  • Janiel Miller April 9, 2011, 12:24 am

    Hear, hear, Southern Gentleman–and thank you for being a southern gentleman. I agree that our young men should be taught their responsibility in all of this. Thank you for pointing that out. Definitely not enough emphasis on it. Nevertheless, I’m happy to teach Young Women not to make it hard for the Young Men.

    *sigh* It’s so much easier to just do the small stuff. Then the big stuff isn’t such a problem.
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  • Janiel Miller April 9, 2011, 12:29 am

    Great point.
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  • jennycherie April 9, 2011, 5:31 am

    “Let us all be responsible for our own thoughts and actions.”

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  • Tracy Keeney April 9, 2011, 6:18 am

    Wow– having the Church Handbook online will sure make things easier! There’s a section all about Temple Clothing and Garments and I’m pretty darn sure that much of the wording is exactly what’s in the letter. As I read this section, it sounded very much the same.
    And if I remember correctly, during the recommend interview, they read the letter first, then ask you if you’re wearing the garment as directed. This is the wording that’s very similar if not exactly the same as in the letter:
    “Endowed members should wear the temple garment both day and night. They should not remove it, either entirely or partially, to work in the yard or for other activities that can reasonably be done with the garment worn properly beneath the clothing. Nor should they remove it to lounge around the home in swimwear or immodest clothing. When they must remove the garment, such as for swimming, they should put it back on as soon as possible.

    Members should not adjust the garment or wear it contrary to instructions in order to accommodate different styles of clothing. Nor should they alter the garment from its authorized design. When two-piece garments are used, both pieces should always be worn.”

    There’s quite a bit more. You can read the whole thing here: http://lds.org/handbook/handbook-2-administering-the-church/selected-church-policies/21.1.42?lang=eng#211

  • MB April 9, 2011, 7:53 am

    I would not agree that taking this issue up with the sister-in-law would be a good idea.

    I have nieces who wear bikinis. They are lovely, thoughtful, intelligent girls who just don’t get it in this particular area of their lives. It is not my stewardship to discuss their swim apparel with my them or their mother (my sister-in-law) who wore bikinis as a young woman. It would not aid my relationship with them or my ability to be of service to them. It would create a feeling of antipathy between me and my sister-in-law who knows I love her and appreciate so many things about her. It would reduce the opportunities for my daughters (who do wear modest swimwear) to be seen by their cousins as allies and comrades in all the good things they do.

    In my situation, the best thing is to get over any sense of disappointment, take a deep breath, smile and be grateful. All of us fall short of the mark. I am sure that there have been times when my choices in other areas have been less than my brother and sister-in-law would have liked them to have been and I appreciate their never bringing that up. I think it’s important that I extend the same kindness to them and trust that, because they are good people and trying to do what’s good, the Lord will get through to them on this point as well.

    I think of the parable of the mote and the beam……

  • MB April 9, 2011, 8:00 am

    Thanks for the information about 70s training. It would be interesting to know if the instructions were specifically “suits” or, instead, “be sure you are appropriately dressed” which she decided was best followed by wearing suits. Any way to find out?

  • Pattyann April 9, 2011, 8:58 am

    I love this post. It is something that I see often. I have raised many children (7 girls and 4 boys) and the last three girls I think I am doing a better job with. I have never in their lives allowed them to wear sleeveless or bikinis or short skirts or dresses. They have always dressed cute and modestly. Now that two of them are young women, they are even more concerned with it. They have never once asked me to buy them something that is even the least immodest. We talk about the temple and how Heavenly Father would want them to dress. They make some pretty amazing decisions, even if the youth around them do not make the same choices. Then we talk about our own choices and responsibilities. I am amazed at how much easier it is to teach them when we just take the time to talk with them and don’t make any allowances for that type of dress in our own life. Here is a link about my daughters choice. She is amazing and I am continually awed at how important it is to her to make the right choices. http://pitterlepostings.blogspot.com/2010/11/modesty-freckle.html
    Our youth can make amazing choices!!
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  • Angie Gardner April 9, 2011, 2:26 pm

    SouthernMan – thanks for your comments. I agree.

    Pattyann, that post was fantastic. You should be so proud of your daughter! It does seem that our youth are perfectly capable of making these decisions themselves, and are often willing to stand up and do something even if it is hard or awkward for them. Not only is she following the example of righteous women, but she is being an example of a righteous woman herself. Kudos to Miracle! (Is that her real name, by the way? I make up names for my kids on my blog…Sis, Lou, and Pippy haha).

    MB – I think there is a big distinction between saying something to an adult who is an example to others, and saying something to a youth. I also have nieces who wear bikinis (and have babies out of wedlock and drop out of high school too) and I would never dream of saying anything to them about how they dress or act. For our youth, I think we set the example, lead righteously, and let them make their own choices. Depending on the youth and our personal relationship with them, we can certainly set some expectations as well. With my own kids, they know that dropping out of school is just not an option – but I’m not going to go around and preach that to my nieces or even the young women I work with. However, I may very well teach such things in my lessons and hope that they internalize the message and make decisions wisely.

    I’m still undecided on if I will say something to my sil or not. I probably won’t unless she reads this and I have fences to mend with her. And to be honest, there are some of my relatives and friends who I would never dream of saying anything to regardless. The whole reason I even care about this particular relative is that she is such an example to so many girls. If it were me in her shoes, I would appreciate knowing that there are people who look to me as an example of an awesome person and leader of young women, and that as such a little more might be expected of me. Definitely I think it varies by situation and should only be done with in the spirit of love. I DO love this lady and I think she is a fantastic person. I WANT my girls to hold her up as an example, because she does great things in her life and she loves them and is attentive to them. Therefore, I might care a little more about how she is acting than I would about another aunt. It’s just my opinion, but I think that those who lead our young women need to take a special look at themselves in this regard. They might not realize how much the girls really do look to them to know what do and how to act as a righteous LDS woman.

  • Alison Moore Smith April 9, 2011, 6:48 pm

    I could kiss you SouthernMan. Kiss kiss kiss. Seriously.
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  • MB April 10, 2011, 3:56 pm


    You know your relationship with your sister-in-law better than I do.

    With my adult sister-in-law, who is a fabulous person whom I adore, pointing it out would be mote-and-beam-like, but your situation is not mine.

    Do what you feel is most loving and best.

  • Darcee yates April 11, 2011, 12:53 pm

    We are all on a journey and our path is ours to choose. It seems to me you are saying that your Sis in law is perfect in every other way and some how it’s your job to point out the one thing in your opinion that is keeping her from being 100% perfect. Are you there yourself yet? Please don’t take offense but if I were your sis in law I would be offended. The best tactic is to look at your own life and see where you may be lacking.
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  • Angie Gardner April 11, 2011, 1:54 pm

    Ha, I do look at my own life and see where I’m lacking – all the time. I don’t claim to be perfect, and I don’t expect anyone else to be either. Likewise, I wouldn’t say that my sil is perfect in every other way either.

    She does, however, have a lot of influence on young women and in most areas of her life I feel comfortable with my kids and other YW emulating her. I just feel like she knows better and can do better in this area.

    As I mentioned in my other post, I probably won’t say anything to her about it, and I’ll love her all the same. I just don’t want my girls thinking they can dress like her, that’s all.

  • Angie Gardner April 11, 2011, 2:09 pm

    I also want to say that agency is a two-edged sword. Sure we all have our agency to choose on our journey, but we also have consequences to what we choose, for good or bad. Additionally, when you go through the temple you make certain covenants that do limit your choices somewhat, or at least up the consequences for those choices.

    So in this case with modesty – of course you have your agency to choose how you want to dress. But if you choose to dress against church standards, you shouldn’t be surprised if people don’t want you influencing young women in that area. As a parent, I bristle a bit when the lesson on modesty is coming from the lady in the miniskirt and sleeveless top, you know?

    The temple garment adds another element to this. Attending the temple is a conscious choice, and when you choose to do so you accept that your dress is going to be in line with that standard. You are asked in every single temple interview if you are maintaining that standard. Justifications abound, but bottom line is if you aren’t wearing your garments with your clothing, it’s a conscious choice. And of course anyone is free to choose that if they’d like, but there will be consequences (yes, including feeling judged).

  • MB April 11, 2011, 2:27 pm

    Which is why we all try to teach our daughters the difference between emulating another good human being and coming to know and follow the Lord.

    All of our children’s earthly mentors and role models, even the most saintly and revered of them, will prove, at one time or another, to have one or more undeniable (and sometimes disconcerting) flaws which our children will recognize and will be tempted either to rationalize or become disillusioned by. Our children need to learn instead to see each of those mentors/admired people with charity and forgiveness and gentleness while continuing on the right path as best they can. That’s good for them to understand. And knowing how to do that will also help them to repent and to forgive themselves as they recognize their own errors and sins down the road. That’s important. Sounds like you’ve got a good teaching moment.

  • Angie Gardner April 11, 2011, 3:14 pm

    Thanks MB and Darcee, you both make great points. I do think this is a great teaching opportunity for me. MB, your point about role models is a great topic for a future post. While we want our children to have positive role models, we certainly can’t expect those role models to be perfect. It’s dangerous to do so. As with my feelings on modesty (that it needs to come from inside us) I think in any area our testimony of a principle needs to come from within and not be based on hero worship. Put anything in the hands of humans and we’ll mess it up and disappoint! 🙂 And heaven knows I don’t want to be the one up on the pedestal who gets knocked down. No fun. So maybe the point is that it’s unfair of me of expect so much of people who have great influence, especially with youth.

    I do also want to point out (lest you think I’m really being a witch to my sil) that I’m not calling for a public hanging, scarlet letter, church court, or withdrawn recommend from any of this. I am only hoping that perhaps a woman or two out there will see themselves in this situation and make a minor correction that can go so far towards being a positive example for young girls in every way. I think with modesty it’s just that it’s an obvious thing that a lot of people will see. You can hide your secret coffee habit or lack of tithe paying easier. We all have our faults, that’s for sure.

  • Darcee Yates April 11, 2011, 2:29 pm

    Angie- Sorry, I was typing my earlier response from a smart phone and the words came out a bit more harsh than I intended.

    I do see your point. When I had young daughters, the issue I felt most concerned about,(being as I was in happy valley) was the clique=-ishness that existed among the young women in the ward, and I just felt it was so wrong. And being that the bahavior ‘seemed to be condoned’ by some of the yw leaders, it felt really wrong, and very hurtful. I felt pretty helpless to do anything about it. I have a daughter that doesn’t go to church now, in fact- ‘hates’ the church and it’s supposed hypocrosy, and I feel it is in part in reaction to that tricky time in their life.

    I didn’t know how to handle that then, I don’t know how to handle it now. But I know it’s a whole lot easier to handle anything when our emotions aren’t tied up in it – or the stakes aren’t so high–i.e. – our daughters and their spiritual future.

    But to be fair, I don’t know that the choices my daughter made would not have been exactly the same given whatever circumstances she was raised in.

    I see your concern, but think you need to have faith in your daugher’s abiltiy to ultimately choose aright, and fatih in God’s plan. Your daughters see right and wrong choices all around them all the time. You won’t be able to stop that. What you can influence is how you live your own life and hope that in the end, they will ultimatley choose that. I’m still holding out hope for mine. In fact, more than hope. Faith. The plan works. That’s why we chose it.
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  • Alison Moore Smith April 12, 2011, 1:19 am

    Great comment. 🙂
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  • Janiel Miller April 12, 2011, 8:49 am

    Agreed. Great comment.
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  • Shelly Greenhalgh-Davis April 12, 2011, 9:24 am

    THANK YOU, MB, for making such excellent points and bringing some good experience and enlightenment to this discussion.

  • Jil April 12, 2011, 1:36 pm

    I totally agree Darcee. What a great comment. I also liked the one by MB.

    I hope that I’ve taught my daughters that we are all here to learn and grow together. We will all make mistakes, and that is why we have repentance. Hopefully others will show kindness and not judgments that hurt and tend to make others feel condemed.

    I think they also know that I have a lot of trust and faith in them and the decisions they will make. As a mom you can pray and teach and love, but in the end each child has to make their own decisions with their own free agency. You just hope that you instilled within them the desire to do those things that will bring them closer to their Heavenly Father.
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  • MB April 12, 2011, 8:38 pm

    No assumptions of witchiness. 🙂

  • Angie Gardner April 13, 2011, 3:09 pm

    Have you all seen the 195 Dresses video? Here it is, if you haven’t. I thought it was very timely and shows that we can indeed dress modestly with a little effort. https://lds.org/youth/video/195-dresses?lang=eng

  • Alison Moore Smith April 13, 2011, 4:29 pm

    Angie, that’s great! Thank you for the link. 🙂
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  • Marie K April 15, 2011, 1:50 pm

    Thank you Tracy for your kind words. I’m all Swedish (except for a little bit of Norwegian) but have American in-laws.

    I agree completely with your comment. Disregard for rules makes me upset. But the thing is, we don’t have to agree or even understand the rules to obey them. Obeying rules that God set up is a way of showing God that I will do as He say, even when I don’t agree or understand. A way of showing that I trust God to know better than me. Like tattoos for instance. I do not believe that it would be awful if a had a small, beautiful and discreet tattoo. But God has his reasons and I trust him (just an example, I’m not into tattoos). It’s like Abraham sacrificing Isaac, not knowing why. I think we all find different circumstances in our lives that are our own Isaac.

  • Lisa April 21, 2011, 1:25 am

    Great topic…with interesting views.

    As for my own views of modesty…In non-garment wearing individuals, I have never felt that shoulders were immodest. I do think there are varying degrees of sleeveless that go from appropriate (even in some workplaces) to immodest–like spaghetti straps. Having said that, I do think that what you wear to church shows how much you respect yourself and Heavenly Father. I also think that anything you wear that draws attention away from the meeting or the spirit, whether a modest issue, or other, is inappropriate for church.

    As for garments, I also will wear tighter excercise clothes for working out, and wear without my garments. However, I wouldn’t workout in just a sports bra anyway. Just like I wouldn’t post ANY pics of myself in ANY swimsuit on Facebook. I think those that do are looking for a different kind of attention than I am. As a side note, a friend just bought new ones last week, and they are literally below her knee cap. (Although, I also don’t believe that showing knee is immodest). It seems maybe they are getting longer and longer to counteract those pushing the envelope.

    As for others…I was taught that the church is perfect, not the people. I heard it over and over growing up, and I guess that has given me a tolerance for other’s shortcomings. I don’t know if there is a way to address it with someone without coming across as judgemental, as that’s what it is. I totally agree that if you have taught your children the standards, they will make their choices accordingly. If they ask about “so and so” then answer their questions, in the kindest way possible. Teaching our children to do right and not judge others that don’t is a powerful tool they’ll draw on for the rest of their lives. It comes down to an obedience issue, either you’re going to keep your covenants or you’re not. That’s what I teach my children.

  • Alison Moore Smith April 24, 2011, 1:06 am

    Just like I wouldn’t post ANY pics of myself in ANY swimsuit on Facebook. I think those that do are looking for a different kind of attention than I am.

    Well, I can tell you that the kind of attention my swim suit pic would draw isn’t the kind ANYONE would want.
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  • momma7 June 29, 2011, 9:28 am

    I haven’t read all the comments, as there are like 63, but I did browse thru some. =)

    I am the oldest of 4 daughters. My parents taught us the whole modest thing. I remember before I was baptized I had this cute 2 piece swim-suit. It wasn’t a bikini, now mind you. But as soon as I was baptized, I never saw that swimsuit or a few halter-tops that I had, again. I was always modest in dress, even though I did dream about that sleeveless or low-cut Prom dress once I got in high-school. Prom did come. I had my dress all planned out, and went to Austin, Tx to find it. Gramma went with me as she was buying it as a graduation/birthday present all in one. I found the dress at Highland Mall. It was sorta sleeveless, but not really. It could be on the shoulders, or it could be pushed down below my shoulders to have that straight-across the arms, bust area look. Mom was not pleased. I was 18. Prom night came. She tried her best to have me keep the “sleeves” up, but no way, no how. The date and I took pictures, sleeves not as far down, but not all the way up either. I thought I did a compromise. I look back now, and I’m like GEEZ!!! Not even a week after graduating, I left for a nanny job in New Jersey. All by myself, money to shop, and no one to tell me what I can and cannot do. I bought a sleeveless dress to just wear. It was awesome. Wore it all the time while I was there. I thought I was so cool. Then I came home. Wore it the very next day around my parents. Ya… never wore it again.

    Then I got married in the Temple, and now I have 7 children (which 4 are girls). And, yes, it bothers me as well with some of the “standards” that some of the leaders have around my kids, especially the ones who are temple worthy. Ok, I can’t think of any right now in my ward, but let’s say my sisters. 2 of my sisters were married in the Temple. 1 was exed before she was 18. So, she kinds doesn’t count, but does because she was raised the same as the rest of us with modesty. I found out one summer that one of the sisters would wear her swimsuit all day with a short sun dress or short shorts instead of putting back on her garments. Kinda bothered me some, until I went clothes shopping with her. Found out she had quit wearing them, but that my parents didn’t know. I was very upset with all of this. Her husband had quit too. Then church wasn’t important anymore either. Then they both started drinking, partying, tattoos, had affairs, and now in the process of getting a (very messy) divorce. 3 kids caught in all of this too. 3 kids now not being raised in the gospel, and who can do whatever they want, from swearing to having opposite-sex sleep-overs at their house. Ya, all because “garments are a pain.” The one sister, who I never dreamed of becoming like that, well, is starting. Not sure about the garments yet, but now she has 7 additional piercings ON HER FACE! When I asked her about going to Young Women’s Camp and the piercings, she said she “didn’t care what the stake YW leaders or parents thought, because my Bishop said I could.” Wow. I know I will be totally PISSED-OFF if in 2 weeks when my daughters come home from camp, telling me about a leader like that. It’s only a matter of time, I think. A few weeks ago she had to teach Lesson 35 in the RS book (ya, go look it up!), and she said in her blog that she didn’t even get home that day until 6am from staying at a friend’s house ALL NIGHT!! And this passed Sunday, she “forgot” to get up for church. Uh, huh. 3 kids too. Husband says he is fine with it but I don’t know. He is in the military… gone for the next 15 months. And the sister that was exed— 4 tattoos, but not all visible, and not bad bad, even though…

    So, I have to really stress to my children how this is NOT THE WAY!! It’s way hard!! Our oldest is on a mission, so I know I’ve done something right. My 2 older girls now (both high school) don’t want to be around people like this. They must follow the prophet… follow the “For the Strength of Youth.” It’s very crucial. These sisters know how I feel, and the 2 who have been married in the Temple are my “worse enemy” with it. They think I need to get a life.

    On another note: I am not perfect though. I allowed 16 year old daughter to attend a Prom in a modest dress 28 days before her 16th birthday. Why? Because every situation is different. You do what is best at that moment. Her date lived in an EVEN smaller town than us, with NO LDS GIRLS, and he really wanted to take an LDS girl. We aren’t even in his stake. We live right on the border of the stakes. We talked about it, his parents talked about it, and we both agreed that it was okay. The magic of cell-phones too!! They called us just before they left Prom, was back to our house in 30 minutes. I texted his parents to say they were here at the house. They, along with my next 2 older kids, all went upstairs to watch Pirates of the Caribbean 2, and had chowed down on food. He stayed upstairs to sleep, rest came downstairs for bed, and then the next morning, we fixed pancakes, and all that, and he left to go home at 8:30a. **I also have allowed this daughter to buy a 2 piece swimsuit, with her own money, to only get a tan in. She can’t wear it to a pool or anywhere else where there are people. I was allowed the same thing when I was a teenager. And I think I turned out fine. 😉

  • Lola June 29, 2014, 10:45 pm

    Wow. This is the most judgmental post! And so many mean judgmental comments here as well. How about instead, mind your own business. Their decisions are between them and god. Not you. You batty women give Mormons a bad name. Use all that angry energy into doing some good in this world. Geez. Teach your daughters what you want to teach them and stop the judging. I’m really embarrassed to be a Mormon sometimes because of women like y’all.

  • Angie Gardner June 30, 2014, 8:56 am

    Lola, thanks for your comments. Since this post is 3 years old I don’t remember what it even said, nor the comments, and I don’t have time to read through them now. It’s probably safe to say my views have probably evolved some in the last 3 years, but I still appreciate when other Mormon Mommas have my back.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 30, 2014, 8:38 am

    Lola, the irony is rich in its circularity.

    You don’t like judgment, I take it. Reread your own post. Golly, I guess you don’t mind judgment after all, do you?
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…Clean One-Pan PastaMy Profile

  • jennycherie June 30, 2014, 10:05 am

    Skimming back through, this wasn’t a particularly passionate or emotional discussion, just a good discussion of differing experiences and viewpoints. I guess it all depends on how we read things and what subjects make us the most defensive.

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