Modesty: An Expression of our Commitment

Modesty is an outer expression of an inner commitment to follow the Savior.

Readiness: Hold up several items where the very appearance represents something (for example: a heart represents “love” OR a skull represents “poison,” OR an olive leaf represents “peace”). Then, after a few objects or symbols are discussed, hold up a picture of someone (it can be a family member, yourself, or a random person nobody knows).

*Be cautious here to set the rule that we are not judging, just discussing the general idea of what this person represents.

Question: How might the way a person dresses teach another what they believe?

Principle: Modesty is an outer expression of an inner commitment to follow the Savior.

Scripture & Quote: 1 Cor.6:19-20

Do not underestimate the important symbolic and actual effect of appearance. Persons who are well groomed and modestly dressed invite the companionship of the Spirit of our Father in Heaven and are able to exercise a wholesome influence upon those around them. Persons who are unkempt and careless about their appearance, or adopt the visual symbols of those who often oppose our ideals, expose themselves and persons around them to influences that are degrading and dissonant. Outward appearance is often a reflection of inward tendencies. (Teachings of Harold B. Lee (1996), p.220; Ensign, February 2002, p.44)

Question: How does our outward appearance reflect our inward tendencies?

True to the Faith

Modesty is an attitude of humility and decency in dress, grooming, language, and behavior. If you are modest, you do not draw undue attention to yourself. Instead, you seek to “glorify God in your body, and in your spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:20; see also 1 Corinthians 6:19).

If you are unsure about whether your dress or grooming is modest, ask yourself, “Would I feel comfortable with my appearance if I were in the Lord’s presence?” You might ask yourself a similar question about your language and behavior: “Would I say these words or participate in these activities if the Lord were present?” Your honest answers to these questions may lead you to make important changes in your life. The following information will help you in your efforts to be modest.

Prophets have always counseled us to dress modestly. This counsel is founded on the truth that the human body is God’s sacred creation. Respect your body as a gift from God. Through your dress and appearance, you can show the Lord that you know how precious your body is.

Your clothing expresses who you are. It sends messages about you, and it influences the way you and others act. When you are well groomed and modestly dressed, you can invite the companionship of the Spirit and exercise a good influence on those around you.

Central to the command to be modest is an understanding of the sacred power of procreation, the ability to bring children into the world. This power is to be used only between husband and wife. Revealing and sexually suggestive clothing, which includes short shorts and skirts, tight clothing, and shirts that do not cover the stomach, can stimulate desires and actions that violate the Lord’s law of chastity.

In addition to avoiding clothing that is revealing, you should avoid extremes in clothing, appearance, and hairstyle. In dress, grooming, and manners, always be neat and clean, never sloppy or inappropriately casual. Do not disfigure yourself with tattoos or body piercings. If you are a woman and you desire to have your ears pierced, wear only one pair of modest earrings.

Maintain high standards of modesty for all occasions. Do not lower your standards to draw attention to your body or to seek approval from others. True disciples of Jesus Christ maintain the Lord’s standard regardless of current fashions or pressure from others. (True to the Faith, p. 106-107)

L. Tom Perry (Quorum of the Twelve)

President Kimball delivered a great talk many years ago at Brigham Young University entitled "A Style of Our Own." He encouraged us not to be among those who would follow worldly, immodest styles, but to have the courage to dress in a way which will send a message that our standards are different. Our dress will reflect the way we intend to live, founded on principles of the gospel of our Lord and Savior. It is impossible to expect a child who has been taught to love to dress in the immodest style trends of the day, to then change overnight to an entirely different wardrobe when they enter a Church university or a missionary training center, or when they are married in the temple, or even when they dress for the Sabbath day. Modest, proper styles must be taught almost from birth. ("Train Up A Child," Ensign, November 1988)

For the Strength of Youth

Never lower your standards of dress. Do not use a special occasion as an excuse to be immodest. When you dress immodestly, you send a message that is contrary to your identity as a son or daughter of God. You also send the message that you are using your body to get attention and approval. (For theStrength of Youth, p. 6-7)

Question: What role does the garment of the Holy Priesthood play in this discussion?

Handbook 2: Administering the Church (2010)

Church members who have been clothed with the garment in a temple have taken upon themselves a covenant obligation to wear it according to the instructions given in the endowment. The garment provides a constant reminder of the covenants made in a temple. When properly worn, it provides protection against temptation and evil. Wearing the garment is also an outward expression of an inward commitment to follow the Savior. (Handbook 2: Administering the Church, 21.1.42)

Quote that illustrates how wearing the garment properly reflects so much more:

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. (Elder Asay, August 1997 Ensign, “The Temple Garment: An Outward Expression of an Inward Commitment”)

**Show video the church created to teach the role the garment plays in the church

Additional Scriptural References about the Garment & Modesty

Ephesians 6; D&C 27; 2 Nephi 1:23—Armor of God

Exodus 28:1-3—Moses put garments on priests of Aaron

D&C 82:14—put on our beautiful garments

1 Corinthians 6:19-20—Our bodies are the temple of God