Tuesday, October 28, 2014

One of Best, Most Poignant Comments about Modesty I Have Read

Someone who posted under the name "Mother-of-Three-Sons" wrote a comment in a thread on By Common Consent last year (to which I linked earlier) about modesty that touched me deeply.  It is a beautiful statement about our responsibility to teach modesty better than we typically do - to change the foundation of how we approach this topic in the LDS Church. 

I am sharing it here as a separate post, with some parts in bold, and I wish it could be read and discussed in every teenage, young adult and adult third-hour meeting the the Church:

As a mother of three sons, two of which are now married, I know the goal to help them respect women and themselves. Recently, my son finished a mission to Peru. His native companions from various parts of the country seemed to look passed half-dressed or ‘what we consider -to-be-immodestly-dressed-females’ and stay focused on their work as missionaries. The American, especially, Utah / Idaho natives serving missions there were in a constant state of anxiety and fear. The Peruvian native missionaries revealed their secret.

It is reverence and respect.

The body is a beautiful masterpiece. It is deserving of reverence and respect. It is most beautiful as it comes into the world, naked, newborn, fresh from Heaven.

Have reverence. Respect your feelings. To look, turn your head, and stare at anything God has created, because it is so beautiful, is healthy.

As a young teenager, at age 16, I was banned from the end of summer – Seminary Swim Party — unless I came wearing a thick, long t-shirt over my one piece bathing suit. My swimsuit was a very modest, racer back, high necked bathing suit made by Speedo. I was a surfer, and a gymnast, but had large breasts. The mother’s of the guys in my seminary class complained about the size of my breasts and how I was immodest in anything I would wear.

When I received the message from my seminary teacher, I cried. I loved to swim. The guys in my seminary class were all good friends. None of them ever made flirty or lascivious, or even remarked about the size of my breasts. They were respectful. They taught me to surf.

I went to the seminary party, but decided to wear a new dress I had bought for the coming school year. I sat at a table poolside and watched with incredible jealousy as other girls swam, played and had fun with all the guys.
That fall, my senior year, I was nominated and came in second place for ‘best figure’ among the girls in my class. I dreaded that title. I wished so badly, I had been voted, ‘most talented’ or ‘most likely to succeed’.
I am 50 years old now, and a grandmother of four. I hope to continue to teach reverence and respect. As an artist, my favorite study has been portrait and drawing of the human figure.

God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

And they were naked.

And not ashamed.


R. Gary said...

And after the eyes of Adam and Eve were opened, they knew that they were naked and they "sewed fig-leaves together and made themselves aprons" (Moses 4:13, Gen. 3:7). Not satisfied with aprons, God made coats of skins "and clothed them" (Moses 4:27, Gen. 3:21).

Papa D said...

What is your point, R. Gary? I am not a nudist and don't advocate nudism - in this post or anywhere else.

Papa D said...

Also, anyone who reads this post and thinks it is about nudity has missed the entire point of the original comment and my reposting of it.

R. Gary said...

Re: "What's the point?"

Relax, that comment wasn't intended for anyone who doesn't immediately see the point and he who protests, "I'm not a nudist..." obviously doesn't.

So don't worry about it, Brother. Let it go.

Papa D said...

So we are in an insult contest. No thanks.

I actually would like to know the comment's relevance, but if you don't want to share it, that's fine.

R. Gary said...

The point of my original comment is thoroughly explained in a feature article that I wrote for the Ensign magazine. It was published in the Aug. 1989 issue. You can easily find it at LDS.org by searching for: r. gary modesty.

Anonymous said...

R. Gary-I read your article. It doesn't address this comment at all. You say in your article that we shouldn't let outside influences determine what is considered chaste. Exactly. It should be directed by God. I believe that what is being said here is that if we let our respect for the divinity of the human body direct how we address and view modesty then we will move beyond whether or not certain parts are being covered to whether we are treating and dressing our body as the temple that we are taught. It would extend beyond knees length shorts and sleeves to modesty in behavior as well. Seeing a woman breastfeeding her child would not be lewd but a powerful example of godliness in our humanity. A girl with a beautiful body (beautiful even when covered up) would be recognized for her dedication to fitness and magnifying the talent she was given. And recognized for wearing a one piece swimming suit that is exactly within the church guidelines. She shouldn't be chastised for being too pretty (I mean-come on. This story is completely ridiculous and unfair. The boys should have had to wear shirts if their pectorals were too defined or something by the same standards).

Papa D said...

Interesting article that doesn't address this post at all.

Anonymous said...

Based on R. Gary's comment and the Ensign article he referenced, it appears he believes that Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden were pornographic and obscene.

Anonymous said...

Thankyou for re-posting this Ray, it's beautiful to have the wonder of our mortal bodies acknowledged in their various forms and glories, and responsibility restored to each of us to respect each individual.The root of this is in not making any other the subject of our own gratification, we have no right to do so. As a mother of both boys and girls I've grieved to see my beautiful children objectified by others and being deeply harmed by that. I imagine it must make our Father very angry indeed.