After I read this fantastic post I started thinking again about modesty in the context of our lives as Latter-day Saints. Heaven knows, the Mormon blogosphere has been fascinated with the subject for some time now, but for the sake of the conversation, and partly to underscore how absurd it seems to be to focus on tank tops or shorts when speaking of children’s clothing, I submit the following:

Are the people in this photo dressed modestly?

Moab 2013

I’m interested in your responses. All these folks are active, temple-married, garment-wearing Latter-day Saint adults. I’m the one in the middle with the SPF 30 clothing. (Call me old fashioned. And medically-minded in all things sun-related.) The others are two of my children and their spouses. Each person had his or her reasons for their choice of hiking gear in Moab. Each person felt happy and content. We had no discussion about what anyone wore. And I doubt anyone even thought about the modesty issue because, well, we are all modest people. None of us is dressed to draw attention to ourselves or to arouse sexual feelings in our fellow-hikers. It’s hot. People sweat. Chafing is involved.

There may be a second issue here, which is: When must garments be worn and when is it acceptable to not wear them. I’m not addressing that here. But you are welcome to comment about that if you feel so inclined. That could be an interesting discussion.

What I would like to put forth is my personal feeling that if these adults are all dressed modestly, (you’re welcome to your own opinion about that) a primary-aged child simply cannot be dressed immodestly in something like an orange tank-top. How can a ten-year-old be immodest in a pair of hiking shorts? Well, she can’t. That’s how I see it anyway. I know it’s been said before, but I’ll say it again. Let’s stop the prepubescent immodesty insanity.

And for the record, I think the above-linked article had value. There were lessons taught about trusting one’s own feelings and honoring one’s comfort level with various types of clothing. But the suggestion of relative “goodness” based on what we wear made me uncomfortable. And the whole focus on modesty for young children is inappropriate so far as I’m concerned. How ’bout we spend our time (and printing budget) on more articles about caring for our bodies by, say, going hiking in Moab. How about more stories showing how much we love our friend, Lexie, by inviting her to go hiking with us regardless of what she’s wearing?


Melody earns a living as a registered nurse, grows a respectable garden, and writes when she's not building sheet forts with her grandkids. Her poetry has appeared in on-line journals, Segullah, Irreantum and small press along the Wasatch Front.

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