I want to take a moment on behalf of all men to personally thank the virtuous women who dress modestly so that we can keep our thoughts pure and clean. I am so grateful for the virtuous women throughout my life that dressed modestly so I wouldn’t have bad thoughts. Those righteous girls I dated in high school and college helped me stay worthy and pure so that I could serve a mission. In fact, my wife would like to personally “thank you for helping me remain worthy to fulfill my priesthood duty to serve an honorable mission, marry in the temple and be a worthy father” (Elaine Dalton, “Be Not Moved!”, General Conference, April 2013 – italics added by me).
Now, to all those women that helped me become the person I am today, and to all other virtuous, modest women everywhere, I have just a couple of favors to ask:
- First, I am now a father of four boys and I’m really going to need your help again. I need you to raise your daughters to help my boys be worthy priesthood holders so one day they can serve missions and marry in the temple. Please teach your daughters to cover their shoulders, wear long shorts, and please tell them to avoid tight-fitting clothing (as instructed in the “For the Strength of Youth” pamphlet). Thank you so much! I know by doing this you will help my boys stay pure, clean and on the right path.
- Apparently BYU did not get the modesty memo about helping young men like my sons keep their thoughts clean and pure. I thought BYU was the Church’s school! What happened to the honor code? Didn’t our Prophet and the Quorum of the Twelve write the honor code? My second favor is actually not exclusive to the virtuous and modest women, but is a call to action for everyone. I would like to start a letter-writing campaign to BYU to stop immodesty! What will my boys think when they see the young women at BYU dressed immodestly? One should “never lower your standards of dress… or use a special occasion as an excuse to be immodest” (For the Strength of Youth) – like a sporting event for example! Don’t they know “that the principle of modesty is a protection” (Elaine Dalton, “Love Her Mother,” Ensign, October 2011)? “Your personal purity is one of your greatest sources of power” (Elaine Dalton, “Be Not Moved!”, General Conference, April 2013). This is an excerpt from the BYU honor code: “Clothing is inappropriate when it is sleeveless, strapless, backless, or revealing; has slits above the knee; or is form fitting. Dresses, skirts, and shorts must be knee-length or longer” (BYU Honor Code). You tell me if the examples below are in violation:
How are my precious sons going to deal with all this “walking pornography” on campus? Don’t they know that women are “magnifying this problem by becoming pornography” (Elder Oaks, “Pornography,” Ensign, May 2005 p. 90)? How are they supposed to have pure thoughts with this going on on campus?? We need to stop it immediately! Please help me in this campaign.
I know you just can’t wait to start writing your letters, so I’ll stop writing and give you the address. Please address and send all letters to:
44 CONTROL YOUR OWN THOUGHTS
MODESTY CITY, OUT OF CONTROL 84601
WHAT IS WRONG WITH US? Seriously, when did this spin out of control? Something has gotten a hold of our Mormon culture and the Pharisees have taken over! Why are we ultra-focused on modesty, specifically with holding our women responsible for men’s thoughts? Just last month Elder Robbins of the Seventy spoke at a BYU devotional claiming that if a woman dresses immodestly that the fault lies with the woman for arousing the young men. Can we not see the issues here?
Why do we hyper-focus on rules and hemlines? Why? Well, because it’s the easy, measurable way to teach modesty. So is counting the steps I take on Sunday so I make sure I keep the Sabbath. But holding women responsible for men’s thoughts is even more STUPID, DUMB, IRRESPONSIBLE, UNHEALTHY, DAMAGING, AND DANGEROUS. STOP IT. SERIOUSLY STOP IT. Dangerous you ask? When we tell women that they are responsible for men’s thoughts, where does this leave the men? We cultivate the rape culture with this type of teaching: “I couldn’t control myself – did you see that skirt she was wearing? She was asking for it!” STOP IT NOW.
If we were really serious about this concept of women being responsible for men’s thoughts then all of these women athletes would be covered up. There would be no swim team, dive team, or gymnastics for crying out loud. Women in bathing suits – can you imagine?!?! Yes, you can because it happens EVERY DAY!
So, women, you are not responsible for men’s thoughts. Men are responsible for men’s thoughts. I am responsible for my thoughts. I am responsible for me and I will teach my four boys the same. If you are on the soccer team, go ahead and wear short shorts because that is appropriate attire for soccer. If you are on the tennis team, go ahead and wear what tennis players wear because that’s what is appropriate for the activity.
Here are some concluding thoughts: Wear what is appropriate for the activity or event; boys, you are not animals – you can control your thoughts and actions! How’s that? Are we done now? Thank you BYU athletes for showing us how to dress appropriately when playing a sport. Go Cougars!
Paul, I think you enjoy looking at young women in short skirts and shorts. Why the hell else would you think you have the right to tell people how to dress – to protect YOUR modesty? learn some self control and focus some of your energy on issues that really matter in God’s world today. Believe me, the least of your problems is the “problem” of girls dressing in a way that makes boys look at them sexually. What about we try feeding starving kids in Africa, or stop kids being killed in Syria? What do you say?
I didn’t realize when I clicked this page that I was going to be exposed to pornography (pronounced punography).
Ha ha! Well said Ann!
You forgot to post pictures of the BYU Men’s Swim Team in Speedos! No immodesty there, of course, since they’re men. (some of us are gay, ya know…)
ha ha true Neal!
I’d like to see those photos!
Not to argue against your point, but what is up with the flash dance water spray in the pic of that gymnast? Do the have sprinkler gymnastics at the Y?
It was a BYU gymnast publicity photo shoot.
Thanks for this! I’m so freaked out by this growing culture! I remember (before I got married to a respectful and in control of his thoughts and actions non-LDS man), dating LDS guys who thought I was trying to seduce them because I…wait for it…have big boobs. Come on. I can’t help the way my body developed when I hit puberty and if I could have, I would not have chosen to have boobs that draw so much attention. It pretty much sucks. But I’m also not going to wear a size XXL shirt when a size Medium fits better everywhere except on my chest just because I don’t want anyone to see that I (gasp) have boobs. Ugh.
Oh, I can’t tell you how much I love this!! No witty comments to add — just THANK YOU!
Thank you for your comment Andrea!
P.S. I just read your piece on suggestions for altering garments and can I just add that for some of us, the garment tops are woefully inadequate. Even the “full bust” tops are way too small for someone who has a small torso but a larger chest. Oh how I would love to see changes to garments.
Tawnya – I have post coming up on this very topic! Stay tuned!!
So…… does this also mean I shouldn’t put blame on the fast food chains for me being 100 pounds overweight, the credit card companies for my shopping addiction, the beer companies for my drinking problem, and the NFL for my low church attendance on Sundays? Well I’m screwed.
I was going to write a long statement explaining how each of those statements above were completely fallacious, but then I decided that anyone who makes a statement like that is either ignorant or completely devoid of self control, I’m guessing the latter. It’s incredible to me that someone would put blame on an athlete for wearing a school supplied uniform. Those girls didn’t choose to wear those uniforms, though I’m sure they would because those outfits are standard for each given sport. Shame in this guy ^ for implying something so irrational.
Did you read the whole post? Did you read the last sentence of the post?
The “well I’m screwed” part? If it was supposed to imply sarcasm then I completely missed it haha, seems to me like he was passing blame onto someone/something else. I got the feeling that was contradicting the entire point of your article.
Sarcasm, friend. Sarcasm.
If you read the entire article you will notice that it is satire. He is completely on your side in this. Holding women responsible for ments thoughts is dumb and dangerous.
White middle-class male here: I think the girls in these pictures are really cute. Hell, my wife was one of them! She played/coaches tennis and I love it when she wears tennis attire. I love even more when she takes it off (healthy sex life? guilty). But as a boys tennis coach at a junior high, she should know, and I told her, that her outfit means the same thing to her adolescent male athletes as it does to me, only I get to do something about it. Honestly, part of my being respectful and a gentleman and treating her fairly when we were dating had to do with wanting her, not to mention her making me want to be a better person and my life feeling incomplete without her. But until the time came (multiple times, thank you very much), I was/am in charge of my own thoughts and actions, no matter what she or any other female athlete wears.
I will pose a question, though: What if a woman shows skin or figure IN ORDER to draw sexual attention from men? Should she be reprimanded or asked to change? If yes, who should do the asking? Should her intentions even matter? I would be put off if she were looking for that kind of attention and got upset at me if I did NOT give it to her.
IOW, who gets to decide how one is seen by others? That person, or others?
(Dear Moderator: Feel free to edit the “multiple times” part. I can see that may be a little much.)
How about not caring how you are seen by others, but being a good person, regardless of how others see you. Because the ones who matter will see you the way you are, no matter what you wear. If someone’s intention is to draw attention, then that is their choice too. But the main thing is not to make women/girls responsible for men’s/boy’s actions, because males do have brains and are capable of thought. The same goes for females, of course.
Thanks Paul – the endless policing and preaching about girls modesty has gotten ridiculous and I believe it is sending a terrible message to men/boys. When the focus is all about the girl and what she’s wearing and the resulting uncontrollable hormonal responses that this causes in men….we are quietly reinforcing that men are not responsible for themselves. That somehow it’s the girls fault when/if he loses control and makes poor decisions. That message is harmful to both the men and women.
Seriously people. Read it all the way through.
Don, I for one am agreeing with Paul and have moved ahead. I am also commenting on the the stupidity of the current hysteria. Try to grasp that before you put someone down.
Seems like Don didn’t read what Alison said.
It is a terrible and dangerous message.
Women’s Choice in Clothes = Boy’s/Men’s Thoughts
Therefore, women are responsible for boy’s/men’s thoughts
Do mormons realize what a misogynist road they have gone down?
It’s time for this stupidity to end
TL DR ?
Don, I for one am agreeing with Paul and have moved ahead. I am also commenting on the the stupidity of the current hysteria. Try to grasp that before you put someone down.
The best part is it isn’t just the mormons! It’s the entire world. Have you ever seen a rape case that questioned what the woman was wearing or how she was acting before the guy raped her? Oh, only about every single one of them.
Yep we aren’t the only ones. And that would be the worst part about it.
Preach it, Paul!!
To the rooftops!
Those girls are waaaay hot. I need to go to BYU to get me somes!
In defense of the volleyball players, their knees are covered.
That is perfect M’Lisa.
Ha ha! Dang I should have added that! Perfect!
Paul, Elder Robbins said if she is aware that she’s dressing immodestly the fault lies with her. Subtle difference although it offended me just the same. I can’t find a transcript but I remember backing it up to make sure what he said.
But you make valid points, of course.
Oops thanks – I’ll look for that transcript and clean that up
And yes because some one dresses a certain way of course the men have permission to go crazy… Ugh the message still gives in to the rape culture and victim blaming
Paul, this was excellent.
My kids have one of those “Gospel Standards” posters. Next to the part that says “I will dress modestly…” I wrote, “And I will not judge others who dress differently and will show them respect.”
Good idea Gina!
Once again, Paul, clear and irrefutable. Keep ’em coming!
Thanks for cutting through the thick layers! Have you seen this? Thought you might appreciate it..
Yes Amy, that is an amazing article!!
Thank the Lord someone get’s it!!! And Bonus, It’s A MALE.
You know why I love this Paul.
This is right on. Thought I would share a blog on modesty by my 17 year old daughter who “gets it”. http://www.experttextperts.com/2013/08/modest-is-hottest-latter-day-oxymoron_31.html
Wow! Great article! I’m sure you are very proud, thanks for sharing.
Derrick….to answer your question….it is neither your job nor my job nor anyone else’s job to judge a woman based on her clothing. If you try and interpret why a woman is wearing certain clothing there is a better than average chance that you are going to be wrong. Yes it is possible for a person to make a statement with their clothing. Yes it is possible of a woman to be suggestive with her clothing. However, just because she can make a statement does not mean that is what she is doing. Maybe she is just wearing what fits her….maybe she is wearing what is comfortable….maybe she doesn’t have enough money for anything else….maybe it was a hand me down….the point is you don’t have a clue and neither does anyone of us. So the answer to it all….quit focusing on a woman’s clothing. Quit hyper sexualizing women. Quit blaming women for men’s thoughts and actions. This is an issue on which the church is completely wrong. There is zero inspiration on it. They need to get out of the business of hyper sexualizing women
This gets the Boise 13th Ward Young Women’s Beehive Advisor stamp of approval. -Queen Bee
Thanks for the shout out from Boise!!
Thank you for a very well done essay–
I’m sending this immediately to someone I love who has these same concerns and will be uplifted by your words.
I hope they like it too!
“When [foundational Christian] disciplines degenerate into law, they are used to manipulate and control people. We take explicit commands and use them to imprison others. Such a deterioration of spiritual disciplines results in pride and fear. Pride takes over because we come to believe that we are the right kind of people. Fear takes over beacause we dread losing control.” From Richard J. Foster’s “Celebration of Discipline-The Path to Spiritual Growth.”
No, my friend, all is not well in Zion.
I love that Melody!!!
“How are my precious sons going to deal with all this “walking pornography”” Okay I don’t want to be mean or anything and I am not saying I disagree with this entirely, but honestly this is not how it should be addressed. I am not some helpless victim who needs to be coddled. I am a man and as such I have 100% responsibility in keeping my mind clean. How am I supposed to have pure thoughts? I am going to have some self dignity and self control. It is my mind they are my thoughts, and no one else can be given the blame for them. If I can’t control it, it is my fault and no one else. MEN ARE NOT HELPLESS beings with no self control so stop blaming the women for men’s inability to responsibly control themselves. If people expected more out of men and stopped treating them like spineless children we might start having men who act and carry themselves as men.
Dear sweet Kendall, it sounds like you stopped reading right there. Please read the rest of the post.
Funny thing – My 17 year old daughter started the Summer off wearing shorts and tops that my wife thought was less than modest. A few spats ensued and I counselled my wife to let it go. Lo and behold, the rest of the Summer my daughters hemlines went the right directions and my wife’s modesty baseline went the right direction as well…Somehow when it stops being discussed as “an issue” it simply stops being “an issue”….
I almost didn’t finish reading this because I was getting so upset over the comments you wrote on all the pictures. Luckily I kept going. Thank you for your words. It’s so refreshing to know that not everyone blames the girls. Boys do need to exercise self control and be taught how to do so. It’s part of nature for us to be attracted to each other but there are clear boundaries set to live by. We need to teach both young men and young women those boundaries.
Emily! I’m glad you finished… the first part is pretty rough!! 😉
The post is mostly correct although I think some adolescent girls wear entirely too little clothing. But you made a good point.
And since we are talking about sportswear that is too short and also offensive, can we talk about what the NBA players use to wear in the 80’s? Seriously, it was completely out of control then.
John Stockton is offended by your comment
This was hilarious. Great post!
Glad you liked it!
OMG! Started reading….started feeling upset. Continued reading…started laughing…uncontrollably! (Nostrils flaring and Oinking like a piggy included.) Fabulous. Just fabulous. Thanks for sharing! And I must say I totally enjoyed all the comments too. 😉
Glad you stuck with it!!! Always good to get the nostrils flaring!!
Even as a member, I have a lot of problems with this article. My biggest one is this: Why is it *our* responsibility, as women, to make sure that others do not have impure thoughts? It is not my responsibility as a woman to make sure that every young man I come in contact with (especially if I do not know him, or he sees me randomly across the street) will not feel threatened by my personal choice of dress, regardless of how modest I may be. I also feel as if parents need to have frank conversations with their children about the importance of modesty and why it’s important and to be able to differentiate between someone who is dressing in an immodest fashion to be of the world, and one who is simply wearing a school-regulated uniform. Also: If this were *such* a big deal, the school would have done something about it by now.
This, in my mind, comes down to the parents not doing what they need to be doing: Teaching their children about things that exist in the world. They can’t live in a bubble their whole life.
Another note: As a gymnast, competition-level leotards are long-sleeved. Practice leotards are typically short sleeved or sleeveless because they’re so. darn. HOT when you’re working out for over 5 hours at a time. Also think: Women’s uneven bars? It wouldn’t be safe to have a lot of extra fabric on your skin because it can get caught up between you and the bar, which seriously hurts (shorts included). The judges need to see everything that the body does. Not for pleasure purposes, but to gauge athleticism, grace, and strength.
And that’s my two cents. I’m done. 🙂
Adrian thanks for commenting. I’m sure if you finished the article we would be on the same page. Go ahead and finish the article and then let me know what you think.
i have a massive amount of love for this article thank you for being so great about this issue!!
Glad you liked it!!
Amazing! Wonderful! Perfect! Thank You! Thank you from my sweet son and daughter. We are each accountable for our own thoughts and actions. I almost quit reading and am glad I waited to see where you were going with this post.
I’m glad you stuck it out! There are some that couldn’t make it!
Okay, let’s also acknowledge what we generally ignore.
Women and men are responsible for their own thoughts and actions. The actions are the important part. When you see a sexy, scantily clad woman, it’s stimulating. Thoughts will be entertained.
If we can’t acknowledge that THIS isn’t the end of the world, we won’t get anywhere with this kind of thing.
The underlying problem is the fanatical desire to suppress our sexuality (not just control it).
“Women should dress like prudes.”
“Men should just have superhuman mental control.”
I say neither is all that healthy.
You’re repulsive. This is 2013 there are wonderful women who love Christ dearly that should not be discriminated for their sports attire. I cannot comprehend that you believe women should be covered head to toe to make sure your precious sons aren’t demented with a single lustful thought. Satan exists and there is NO ignoring it, but allowing God to be deeply incorporated in your life allows young men to walk away from those lustful thoughts.
You need to step back and evaluate yourself and the “standards” you’re setting for the world around you.
GET A WAKE UP CALL!!!
Ha ha make sure you read the whole essay – let me know what you think when you get to the end
I JUST love this.
You’re a tool.
Adam were you able to complete the whole article?
I personally feel that some of our church leader’s words have been a little misconstrued in some instances. I believe that the words preached on modesty were meant to be a call for love and unity in helping each other reach our eternal goals. If my best friend were setting goals to diet and lose weight I would refrain from eating ice cream and cookies in front of them out of love for them and in an effort to support them in their goals. Does this absolve them from all responsibility if I choose to eat dessert in front of them and they choose to eat some as well, hindering them in their goal to lose weight? NO! But, at least I am not making it harder for them to reach their goals. I believe the intention of those words was to remind us that we can do little things to support each other in purity. Also, I think the modesty of a woman helps both her and men to respect her body more as a beautiful creation of God rather than something to be “used” to achieve gratification of sexual desire. This alone helps both men and women along their path to purity.
The problem I see with this line of reasoning however, is that EVERYONE is struggling with something, and at which point do we draw the line? What about people who have a hard time with envy? Do we not sing too well in front of them, or wear nice clothes because our looking good makes them feel uncomfortable? Or people who are struggling with social anxiety (something I’ve known many members struggle with.) Do we not have large group activities or limit ward temple night to 10 people only? Don’t get me wrong, I do believe in helping out individuals with their particular needs, and sometimes we DO make special exceptions as a group to honor and help a struggling individual, but the way modesty is taught is as if all men are porn addicts who are on the verge of a sexual breakdown. That’s a terrible way to teach it and creates an awful tension in men and women that sometimes would not otherwise exist.
The other thing with the diet metaphor is that a diet is not a normal state of things. People go on diets temporarily to lose weight so they cut back on things they usually would consume more of. When people are off a diet they go back to eating a regular amount of calories. By saying all men are on a diet, are we saying that they need to not think about anything sexual at all? When do they go “off” the diet? If they are on one their entire lives, then of COURSE they’re going to be starving and binge like 99% of all people do who diet all the time. Sexual desires are not evil, but like food, they just need to be expressed and understood in healthy, beneficial ways that don’t harm the individual or others. But withholding them is a recipe for a binge later on, and often that is what leads to addiction.
Did you read the whole post?
I wasn’t responding to the post, but to Robin.
Brilliant arguments, Paul! BYU students probably shower immodestly, too! Total double standard!
Hahaha this is a little over the top for my taste!
Paul I love what you have to say about this issue I agree with you completely I think half the responses to this are over the top though haha sorry I should have emphasized that better!
I remember a time when the BYU volleyball team wore knee length warm up shorts to cover their uniform shorts, which at the time, the style was shorter than they are now–even the length of a swimsuit. Unlike their opposing team, they came out to warm up wearing these ridiculous looking knee length things (ridiculous only because the opposing team made wore the uniform shorts during the warm-up and the contrast seemed obvious).
Now, 20 years later, they are able to pose for glamour, spot=lighted team photos in their actual uniform shorts. Their muscle toned legs that are a result of their rigorous training is apparent and serves as a role model to young women who want to excel in fitness and muscle toning. Hooray.
Of course, my college was the one, back in the day, that was the contrasted non-skin-camouflaged uniform 20 years ago–hooray for my college.
I love it! You make such wonderful points.
My only suggestion would be to follow up with a post about actually reading an entire post before responding to it. 😛
How can you survive in a world where you cant even look at people at BYU. You are so judgmental its jaw dropping. Good luck in the real world bud.
Andrea, thanks for the comment… I invite you to continue to read the rest of the article, you might be pleasantly surprised
Um…Andrea, it’s satire. You should finish the article.
Well played, sir.
I am very into swim team. My family has raised me to be a Christian, but they don’t really push us to dress modestly. Ever since I was twelve, I’ve gotten more into the topic of modesty because my younger sister wears tank tops and bikinis in the summer and my mom would buy me these too but I refuse. I am quite stubborn. When the weather warms up, sleeves disappear and pants shrink. I have swim team and I have been swimming for seven years, and hate that we have to wear those racy suits with open backs. I would wear a burqa if my parents would let me. I really don’t want to quit swimming because I go to high school next year and am super excited to be on their team but I can’t stand those suits and if I wear a burqa I’ll drown!!!! My parents think I’ve gone cuckoo about this modesty thing but I can’t stop myself!!!!
So, your "bad thoughts" are the fault of young women who do not wear loose, full body covering garbs? These photos you have shown are of athletes. Athletic garments are tight fitting to avoid hangups and allow for mobility. You are just a closet pervert that has to blame everything but YOUR OWN mind for your impure thoughts about young women. Like you said earlier, "I cannot even begin to address everything that is wrong with this picture." EXACTLY.
Your a stick in the mud!
You should probably read the whole thing
Hahahahaha brilliant, you had me going there for a while. The scary thing is that some actually believe it’s the women’s fault. If they taught their boys to look at women as people instead of a sexual object then they wouldn’t have such “bad thoughts”.
Anything that you make as forbidden or secretive etc is going to make kids even more curious, teach them it’s only a body then that’s what they will think.
Not only for his son’s. It’s protection for the woman, girl or daughter. A woman wants a man to fall in love with “her”, the whole her. When a woman dresses immodestly, very powerful hormones and chemicals influence why a man is interested in her. If they get married because of false love the chemicals create, it will make for a hard road ahead. A man who fall’s in love with a girl will love her body no matter what. That’s what the chemical hormones are for. Once your married and let the chemical’s loose the man will love what ever body come’s with “her”. I do not want to fall in love with a body. body’s get miles, kids and years put on them. I want to love her in all the stages of life regardless of what stage her body is in. Simply put – I want to be in love with HER, and no I’m sure this isn’t an answer to the epic question “what do women want” but I know high on that list is a husband who loves her through life into old age. and they both lived happily ever after…