|Provo Utah Temple|
Hold High the Torch
“You may know that I am the mother of seven sons. I know boys! It has been an exciting life at our house! I’ve learned a lot from them and from their friends, both boys and girls, and I could tell you a few of their secrets. Maybe I could just share one and hope that I won’t get in trouble. This is it: boys hate to be embarrassed. I remember the time a young man I know had a date for the prom. He brought her to our house before the dance so we could take pictures. When they got there he came into the kitchen, where I was looking for the camera, and said: ‘Wait until you see my date’s dress. She looks so beautiful!’ This boy had never said anything like that before so I could hardly wait to see what he meant.
“When I saw her I understood; she was lovely. The dress she was wearing was beautiful; I learned that she and her mother had searched everywhere for it. When they finally found this dress, they knew it would be perfect with some added fabric and finishing touches to meet their high standards.
“All their efforts were rewarded because she was absolutely radiant this night, but it was more than the dress that made her shine. It was her quiet confidence. As I looked at her, I was reminded of the scripture, ‘Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong.’ Where did this confidence that she had come from? I noticed that this young woman could focus on others because she was not worried about how she looked. She had taken care of that detail weeks before. The young man she was with felt comfortable and safe and happy when he was with her because her dress was not revealing. It was modest in every way, and this made her confident and happy. And that’s appealing. He wasn’t embarrassed by her; he was proud of her.
“The kind of young woman who can be a terrific torchbearer has high standards all the time, not just in her prom dress, but every, ordinary day. There are so many of you who are like that, and I salute you tonight. You have made modesty your way of life. It is more than how you dress. It includes at least six things that I can think of: (1) your behavior is decent and modest, and yet you are very fun to be with; (2) your language is never crude but happy and interesting; (3) you are well groomed, and that is appealing; (4) you are focused on developing your talents and achieving your goals, not piercing and tattooing and flaunting your body; (5) you play sports with gusto but never lose control; (6) you don’t seem to care about what the latest pop star wears or does because you have a certain style of your own. In summary, you do not imitate the world’s standards because you know a higher standard. You know who you are, and that puts you at a real advantage. You know that you really are a daughter of Heavenly Father. You know that He knows you and that He loves you; you want to please Him and honor His love for you. You know that even if you make foolish mistakes, He will help you if you turn to Him.” —Margaret D. Nadauld (2002)
Blessing Our Families through Our Covenants
“I once heard a mother say that with all of the evil influences facing her daughters, she had to choose which battles to fight. And so she had chosen not to fight their dress standards. But modesty is a battle worth fighting because it so often affects more serious moral issues. Now, this doesn’t mean that we have to demand that our daughters and sons are covered from neck to ankle, but it does mean that we help them dress in a way that shows they are children of God. Sisters, you are wise and amazing mothers. You don’t need a handbook outlining what is acceptable in dress. Follow the Spirit, and you and your children will know what is right.” —Kathleen H. Hughes (2002)
Stay on the High Road
“Modesty in dress and manner will assist in protecting against temptation. It may be difficult to find modest clothing, but it can be found with enough effort. . . . I do not hesitate to say that you can be attractive without being immodest. You can be refreshing and buoyant and beautiful in your dress and in your behavior. Your appeal to others will come of your personality, which is the sum of your individual characteristics. Be happy. Wear a smile. Have fun. But draw some rigid parameters, a line in the sand, as it were, beyond which you will not go.” —Gordon B. Hinckley (2004)
The Sanctity of the Body
“Modesty is more than a matter of avoiding revealing attire. It describes not only the altitude of hemlines and necklines but the attitude of our hearts. The word modesty means “measured.” It is related to moderate. It implies “decency, and propriety … in thought, language, dress, and behavior” (in Daniel H. Ludlow, ed., Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 5 vols. , 2:932).
“Moderation and appropriateness should govern all of our physical desires. A loving Heavenly Father has given us physical beauties and pleasures ‘both to please the eye and to gladden the heart’ (D&C 59:18), but with this caution: that they are ‘made to be used, with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion’ (D&C 59:20). My husband used this scripture to teach our children about the law of chastity. He said that the ‘word extortion … literally means to “twist out [or against].” Our use of … the body must not be twisted [against] the divinely ordained purposes for which [it was] given. Physical pleasure is good in its proper time and place, but even then it must not become our god’ (John S. Tanner, “The Body as a Blessing,” Ensign, July 1993, 10).” —Susan W. Tanner (2005)
To Young Women
“For you to fully claim Heavenly Father’s blessings and protection, we ask you to stay true to the standards of the gospel of Jesus Christ and not slavishly follow the whims of fads and fashions. The Church will never deny your moral agency regarding what you should wear and exactly how you should look. But the Church will always declare standards and will always teach principles. As Sister Susan Tanner taught this morning [see above], one of those principles is modesty. In the gospel of Jesus Christ, modesty in appearance is always in fashion. Our standards are not socially negotiable.
“The For the Strength of Youth pamphlet is very clear in its call for young women to avoid clothing that is too tight, too short, or improperly revealing in any manner, including bare midriffs. Parents, please review this booklet with your children. Second only to your love, they need your limits. Young women, choose your clothing the way you would choose your friends—in both cases choose that which improves you and would give you confidence standing in the presence of God. Good friends would never embarrass you, demean you, or exploit you. Neither should your clothing.” —Jeffrey R. Holland (2005)
Other posts from this blog on modesty: