A Testimony (?) of Modesty

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dande48
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Re: A Testimony (?) of Modesty

Post by dande48 » 08 Aug 2018, 18:30

Heber13 wrote:
08 Aug 2018, 15:46
Does modesty for women in the church equate to men wearing white shirts and ties to church? I don't know if I'm mixing ideas up. Sorry if so.
I think what modesty is supposed to mean, it does. But as a side, sort-of-off-topic note, I don't understand why people wear ties. It's one of the the stupidest societal norm we conform to in Church. While I don't fully agree with the modesty standards for women in Church, guys are very limited in what they are allowed to wear. I'm happy that we're breaking away from white shirts, allowing dress shirts of certain other colors... But beyond that, it's slacks, button up shirt, tie, dark socks, and dress shoes.

Maybe modesty in part means fitting in with societal norms, to make others more comfortable. Even if those societal norms (ties) are pretty stupid. But people think they look nice and respectful (for some reason). So we wear them.
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Heber13
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Re: A Testimony (?) of Modesty

Post by Heber13 » 09 Aug 2018, 07:53

It is all based on outward appearances judged by others.

And that reveals the minds of others...which is what Hawkgrrl is saying is such a big part of the problem for women.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

Curt Sunshine
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Re: A Testimony (?) of Modesty

Post by Curt Sunshine » 09 Aug 2018, 08:58

What Heber just said.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

Roy
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Re: A Testimony (?) of Modesty

Post by Roy » 09 Aug 2018, 09:27

I am thinking of a story to illustrate what I think would be the differences and similarities between the clothing expectations for men and women.

I am thinking back to the story by Dr. Suess of the star bellied sneetches. Suppose that men are expected to wear a star on their bellies. The star inspector comes by and says to the man, "I see that you are wearing your gold star, good for you." For women the problem is their very bodies are seen as dangerous, distracting, temptingly sinful. The star inspector comes by and says to the woman, "I see that you are wearing lots of gold stars, unfortunately they don't cover everything and I can still see parts of your core (shoulders, torso, thighs). I particularly notice the shape of your butt when you bend over to pick something up or to get a drink from the fountain. I need you to work on that."

Also as strange as it is for someone to say "Testimony of Modesty", it would be stranger still for someone to say "Testimony of white shirts and ties".

Wearing a white shirt is surface level and cosmetic - whereas modesty, its messages and implications, go much deeper.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

Curt Sunshine
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Re: A Testimony (?) of Modesty

Post by Curt Sunshine » 09 Aug 2018, 10:54

Just to consider:

Our cultural modesty norms were determined by heterosexual men. That is obvious, since there are no "temptation-based norms" for what men are expected to wear that are not so extreme as to be obvious to pretty much anyone. (e.g., Don't wear Speedos during a baseball game.)

Perhaps the best example of this is church basketball. I don't know about now, but it was more than just common to have male basketball games in church end up being played with team uniforms being "shirts and skins". It wasn't seen as immodest specifically because the perspective was set by men who weren't aroused by bare male chests. There apparently was no thought whatsoever to the reactions of women, homosexual men, or anyone else who might be aroused to varying degrees by males not wearing shirts.

"Immodest" became synonymous with "what turns us on sexually" - with "us" being defined as "church leaders" - which, by default was "heterosexual men" - and which became, over time, "what turns even only a few of us on" - which is why shoulders and knees eventually got included in the definition.

Seriously, look back on church magazines back in the 50's and 60's. There are a LOT of bare shoulders and mid-thigh clothing in those magazines. The counter-culture, hippie movement of the late 60's and 70's, as well as Pres. Kimball's focus on modesty, altered the discourse greatly in the Church - to the point where we can hear about someone "having a testimony of modesty".
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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mom3
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Re: A Testimony (?) of Modesty

Post by mom3 » 09 Aug 2018, 15:43

Well explained Curt.

The same couple I referenced earlier in the thread, he was wearing a tank top. Not a wife beater one. But I bet a billion dollars no one notices him. But her - whether anyone says anything or not, heads are exploding in judgement.

BYU Homecoming Queens of the 1960's were in sleeveless dresses for their formal photos. Likewise parade float queens.

My testimony of Modesty has to do with people whose lifestyle is less than modest. Size of house, amount of toys, these things are pride all over the place. I can't find many references to covered shoulders and knee's in scripture. I sure do see a lot of pride warnings.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

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hawkgrrrl
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Re: A Testimony (?) of Modesty

Post by hawkgrrrl » 10 Aug 2018, 16:05

I turned this discussion into a post on W&T: https://wheatandtares.org/2018/08/07/a- ... f-modesty/

There was a spot on comment from Damascene that bears repeating.
Women are being taught that anything in words or deeds that draws attention to oneself is immodest. When those talks are analyzed for context, the lesson is that women are to limit their personal success. “Do not be financially successful in a noticeable wayif you are a woman” is the lesson being taught. Be a pretty, petite, covered-up woman who stays home is the lesson. . . The modesty lessons diminish options for women.
Nobody is telling men to be modest because it's really about women being submissive, about women agreeing to be quiet, to bow their heads and submit, not to stand out. Even in the FTSOY, it ascribes motives to women who dress "immodestly," claiming that they do this to gain attention (!). How the hell anyone can make such a judgment about women who wear a tank top in hot weather or shorts--it's just mind-boggling!

I agree with mom3 that in scriptures modesty is really about wealth and pride, not covered shoulders or knees. I believe the woman who said "testimony of modesty" was really talking about just submitting to the patriarchy, finally just giving up and giving in to what others thought rather than trusting herself to make appropriate choices. That's a hidden subversive side to modesty, that it's really just a way to keep women in line.

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Heber13
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Re: A Testimony (?) of Modesty

Post by Heber13 » 13 Aug 2018, 14:47

I didn't think this article was too bad in LDS Living:

http://www.ldsliving.com/5-Ways-to-Help ... ly/s/78052
Note: This article focuses on modest dress, but the same principles and ideas can and should be applied to modesty in thoughts and actions.

1. Teach youth to be sensitive and respectful of other people’s interpretations and practices of modesty.
...
2. Refrain from blaming girls for “putting bad thoughts into boys’ heads.”
...
3. Focus on the doctrine of modesty, not just the specifics.
...
4. Teach youth to trust themselves and rely on the Holy Ghost when it comes to modesty.
...
5. Teach youth that it is not vain, worldly, or a sin to dress nicely—you can dress nicely, stylishly, and modestly.
Nice ideas. It is all in the practice on how the ideas get implemented that matter.

I would add...for #4...we should trust the youth...guide them when they want help...but you know what...as they learn to trust themselves, they will make mistakes. They need to know what it feels like to wear a certain shirt or style in order for them to learn what they feel is right.

So...that means let them make mistakes and let them learn for themselves how the feel...not shame or let others shame them.

In other words, don't make it such a big deal is someone shows up in a tank top.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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mom3
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Re: A Testimony (?) of Modesty

Post by mom3 » 13 Aug 2018, 22:12

LDS Living surprises me in many ways. They seem to be gently move the ship to a more moderate tone. I hope it helps.

I wish the word "modesty" was changed. Like so many other words I think we have lost sight of it's accurate intent. I don't know what word to substitute for it but we need one.

I also wished as a church we spent more time on our hearts than our bodies. We had a convert bare her testimony after joining the church. It broke my heart. It was a confessional of all the things she didn't/couldn't do. First it was WoW. The woman liked coffee. Now she was allowed to adjust to diet Pepsi. Then there was the tattoo issue that she was "sorry for". Next came the clothes she had to get.

I looked around the ward. Everyone was nodding and chuckling. I was cringing. My Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ wouldn't have "made" her do all that. Sure it may have been an end wish, but not a starting out of the gate requirement.

I am all for comely appearance. I love that so many Southern friends still wear Sunday Best to church. I personally find our lazy summer clothing more appalling than some tan skin. But that's my thing.

Didn't God say, "He looketh on the heart." ?
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

Roy
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Re: A Testimony (?) of Modesty

Post by Roy » 14 Aug 2018, 10:40

In reading the LDS Living article (which was a step in a positive direction) I came across this quote from Carol McKonkie.

"Modesty is a principle that will help keep us safely on the covenant path as we progress to the presence of God. Modesty in dress and appearance and in thought and behavior will help prepare us to make and keep sacred temple covenants."

The way she talks about modesty, it would seem to make sense to develop a "testimony of modesty". Modesty guides us on the path to the presence of God. This led me to read more from the talk of Sister McKonkie.

https://www.lds.org/ensign/2014/10/cour ... y?lang=eng

3 Blessings of Modesty: 1) Invite the HG. 2) Protect us from destructive influences of the world ... Protection of chastity and virtue. 3) Modesty helps us stand as witnesses of God.

In reading this talk, I get the strong impression that "Modesty in dress and appearance and in thought and behavior" is code for not dressing, doing, or thinking in anyway sexual and that not reading or watching sexual material in media would be considered part of "Modesty ... in thought." It seems to me to be a "hedge" about the law of Chastity, a buffer to help get our youth to the temple as virgins.
Modesty is a defense against such evil influences and a protection of chastity and virtue. Listen to these words in For the Strength of Youth: “Before marriage, … do not do anything … that arouses sexual feelings.” Immodest appearance and behavior will often arouse sexual feelings and will break down barriers and invite increased temptation to break the law of chastity.
As an aside, I was particularly tickled by the way that Sister McKonkie misused Moroni 10:31.
Moroni records, “Awake, and arise from the dust, … yea, and put on thy beautiful garments, O daughter of Zion; … that the covenants of the Eternal Father … may be fulfilled” (Moroni 10:31; emphasis added).
The beautiful garments are the robes of righteousness, worn by those who have kept their covenants. Are we preparing our children to put on these beautiful garments?
I believe that Sister McKonkie was proof-texting or looking for scriptures that would seem to support her arguments. A full quote of this verse shows that the 'daughter of Zion" is Jerusalem and/or Israel. The covenants mentioned here are in the context of the coming forth of the BoM and the eventual Millennial reign. It is decidedly not about modesty or temple covenants.
31 And awake, and arise from the dust, O Jerusalem; yea, and put on thy beautiful garments, O daughter of Zion; and strengthen thy stakes and enlarge thy borders forever, that thou mayest no more be confounded, that the covenants of the Eternal Father which he hath made unto thee, O house of Israel, may be fulfilled.
The Moroni quote itself ties back to Isaiah 52 and reading that chapter is also helpful for context.
Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.
Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down (NIV adds enthroned), O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion.
God keeps his promises and redeems his people from bondage to glory! Halleluiah!
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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