Modesty is an incredibly fascinating topic within Mormon culture. Discussions rage like wildfires across the internet and into our Relief Society and Sunday School lessons. This poignant idea of how to dress and act is deeply impressed into the minds of every young girl who enters the waters of baptism, and makes her way through Beehive, Mia Maid, and Laurel classes.
While modesty has always been a subject most discussed by the Young Women of the LDS Church, it rarely is heard of among the Young Men. The For the Strength of Youth pamphlet speaks directly to the youth of the Church about topics of importance like music, dating, integrity, sexual purity, and many others. Modesty is one of those topics that is generally flipped right past when the teacher’s quorum advisor plans a lesson. After all, modesty is for women, not men. Right?
Modesty isn’t always about covering one’s knees, chest, or shoulders. It’s a mindset of humility expressed through one’s dress, appearance, and actions. Modesty isn’t just for women, it’s for men as well.
If you have ever been on a camp-out or traveled with a group of guys, shirts seem to be optional. Trips to the Magic Kingdom are fraught with bro-tanks and short-shorts. Wearing a shirt in one’s apartment after spending the day outside seems like such a difficulty. Why does the standard of modesty not apply to men in the same ways it does for women?
In a previous argument about modesty stemming from respect of the garments, I think the men of the Church need the same stern reminder that women constantly get.
Respect your covenants.
I understand when it’s hot out that wearing an extra shirt feels like a death sentence. I truly do. It’s absolutely acceptable to go without wearing garments when doing sweat-intensive activities. What’s not ok is going without because of convenience.
My first summer after being endowed was my first experience in figuring out how to best respect my promise to wear garments, while also enjoying myself. On a family vacation I decided I would wear my garments to the pool under my shirt. When I got to the place I wanted to lay out I would take both shirts off, let my skin fry the appropriate amount of time, then put them back on. Sounds simple enough. Both of my parents chose not to wear their garments to the pool. No judgment on that front. When we got back to the hotel they put them back on. Too often however is the excuse that once you have taken it off for a legitimate reason, that reason extends the rest of the day to whatever activity you’re doing. Sorry Bro. Not how it works.
Going boating, then spending the rest of your day watching Netflix in a bro tank just isn’t cool. We can do better than that.
Women are held to a standard of modesty that our young men and men are not. If it’s unacceptable for a woman to spend her entire day wearing a bathing suit, then it is not for guys either. While it may just be the opinion of this writer, erring on the side of wearing Gs is far better than not.
As we begin to head out this spring and summer to enjoy the great outdoors, let’s consciously choose to keep our promises to wear garments. And let’s help others remember to do the same.