Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Modesty is another issue where we have sometimes allowed the rules overshadow the doctrine. At the risk of sounding cliché, consider the very large amount of money and time that the Church spends on grounds keeping and upkeep of temples. It is no insignificant amount! Likewise, as important as the temple ordinances are (essential for eternal exaltation) look at what the Lord required of the Saints in the beginning of this dispensation. Years were spent hauling stone, when they barely had enough to survive on. If the ordinances are so important, why didn't the Lord simply allow the people to get by with a nice tent?

It is not because the ordinances, per se, must be done in a nice place. At times, mountain tops and wilderness places served as temples. But what is essential, is that we treat the temple and its ordinances as extremely sacred. The building and grounds help us remember that, as well as the reverent voices and music inside. It is why we take especially care of our temple garments.

By treating the temple as sacred, we are reminded in physical form the sacredness of the temple ordinances and the covenants we make there. It is as physical a symbol as our bodies themselves are.

Considering how much effort the Lord insists of us, in order to have a temple building (the Salt Lake Temple took 40 years to build), modesty is becoming the temple that we ought to be. We need to see ourselves, body and spirit, as sacred – literally in the image, or the likeness of God, literally the
(צלם) resemblance of God. He is serious about this, and is saddened when we do not treat it seriously as well. We can not treat it lightly without diminishing the degree to which we take God seriously.

An idea that is common to the point of taken for granted, is that what we are in the inside is what really counts. And like all misconceptions, there is a great deal of truth to that. The deceptive part is where we think of the outside and inside a separate parts. Clothing is as much an important part of mortality, as receiving a body is.

The primal man, is not the naked dirty caveman of lore, but Adam our Father and Eve our Mother.

Naked is what happened to a person who has been nake-ed. Nake is a old verb meaning “to remove clothing”. The naked man is not our primal ancestor, but rather one that has been stripped of the clothing he has on.

God the Father clothing Adam and Eve was one of the first things that ushered them from their proto-mortal state in the Garden of Eden, to life in mortality.

Elder Hales said:
Modesty is at the center of being pure and chaste, both in thought and deed. Thus, because it guides and influences our thoughts, behavior, and decisions, modesty is at the core of our character. Our clothing is more than just covering for our bodies; it reflects who we are and what we want to be, both here in mortality and in the eternities that will follow.

Clothes express who we are, and what we believe. There is more than a bit of literal truth to the maxim, Clothes make the man. The once you have made a decision to wear something that is below your standards, or to view something below your standards, your standards are already changing.

As in theatre, we become what we wear.

How we clothe ourselves is no small issue.

1 comment:

  1. Hi! I thought you might be interested in sharing a fun music video my family and I made about modesty. Here is the link to the video: http://youtu.be/UXzWNQT1cJk . My husband and some friends wrote the song as a means to communicating the sensitive subject of modesty to a show choir at the University of Utah's Institute of Religion some years ago. It was a big hit and we feel like it might help young women to get the message. Thanks, enjoy!