Saturday, June 12, 2021

Revealing Dignity

Something that has always becomes quite the important topic of discussion in the hotter months of the year is how people dress. I know I'm not anyone's judge and in this article I do not make any judgement calls as to the spiritual standing of anyone who chooses to expose more than their arms, heads and legs legs below the knee in public. However, there is a problem that seems to be a major issue no even since I moved here to Utah where, I must admit, at least a part of me hoped for higher standards of dress than I am seeing in most public places mainly from women.

My wife Collette has been just as bothered (if not moreso) than me by what we've seen in our last few trips out to get some needed shopping done so I know she echoes my sentiment.

A lot of this has to do with several things about which we felt great disgust as well as great gratitude and relief through our Saturday on June 5 here in Utah County.

For much of our travels that day we were listening to a talk by Mark E. Petersen about sexual sin and how the devil uses his carefully crafted sales pitch to make sex something to be made common and cheap instead of the beautiful, holy, sacred and special creation of God that it is.

Part of that talk is as follows:

"So what does [the devil] do? Oh, he doesn't some out with a band, a brass band, and go to work. Like every salesman, every clever salesman, especially those who are seeking to sell something that they know will glitter like gold but will by ashes in the end, he comes up gradually. Very gradually. Here a little, there a little. First of all he attacks our modesty and tries to destroy thoughts of modesty, standards of modesty in our mind. He makes you think that it's perfectly proper to expose the human body to various degrees. He sells the idea [by starting with truth] that the human body is something beautiful and in as much as it's something beautiful it's something which should be appreciated [another truth, but then] to be appreciated it is something that should be seen and after being seen it is something to clutch unto yourself. 

That's his sales talk. So he brings forth immodesty in dress. He brings forth bathing suits that are terribly immodest. Why? Because he wants to have our women expose their bodies to the public gaze. He brings forth other styles in other forms of dress, exposing the body to the public gaze. Remember the steps. The body is beautiful. it should be appreciated. To be appreciated it should be seen. And after being seen, then he gets in his great efforts. Do you see, young ladies, why we preach modesty in dress? Do you see why we try to persuade you to keep your bodies covered, to be modest, to protect that virtue, which is of greater value to you than life itself?...

A weeks ago, I was entertained at dinner in the house of a Stake President in between session of Stake Conference. It was a beautiful Sunday. We had had a beautiful Conference session that morning. We went to this home and sat down to a lovely dinner. A 17-year-old daughter helped the mother serve. If that daughter had come out into the living room, in the presence of two members of the Council of the 12, wearing nothing above her waist except a brazier, wouldn't the mother have been shocked and horrified? And yet that 17-year-old girl came out wearing that brazier and nothing over it except the sheerest kind of a waste, which hid nothing. I was embarrassed. My companion was embarrassed. There was nothing modest about the appearance of that girl. It detracted so from her appearance. She had a lovely face, but to thus expose herself? We, who were the visitors were embarrassed. The family should have been and above all the girl.

So you see, the sanctity of the body is so related to the sanctity of sex. Why make the body common? Why expose this sacred thing which is the temple of God to the public eye? I tell you, girls, when you expose your bodies, whether on the dance floor, or otherwise, you do yourselves a great injustice."

While getting some errands done on June 5th is year, Collette and I were frustrated at place after place we went. Whether it was Walmart, University Mall, downtown Provo or downtown American Fork, each place had so many women and even tweens and teens who might as well have been naked from the waist up (and some from the waist down). And if you are one of the parents who was accompanying your childing while wear clothes that were just as revealing, shame on you for setting such a bad example.

I was, therefore, so relieved to see at least one example of a bunch of women who a) valued their bodies enough and obviously felt secure about themselves enough to not display themselves as sexual objects and b) didn't use heat as an excuse to do so either.

This is a picture of those women and was taken with permission to share it on this blog and as an excellent proof that it is reasonable, possible and even desirable to dress modestly even on really hot days. They weren't even in the air-conditioned store. Lookin' good ladies. They are proof that there is no reason to dress like you're in an sex shop no matter how hot it is.

Yes, it is true that men should look away. They should control their thoughts. There is choice involved. But let me ask you this. When you see a toddler running out into a road when there's a car coming, what happens? What do you feel? The good natured human part of you is immediately and involuntarily terrified and if no one's around you'll either yell at the kid to get out of the way or you'll go pick them up yourself and save them. It's a knee-jerk reaction, the healthy kind of fear the Lord blessed us with, but which can be misused and manipulated.

The same thing applies to when you dress immodestly. The natural sexual and physical attraction of men to women and women's bodies is supposed to come to the surface quickly when more of the female body is exposed than should be. Men's minds were designed by God to have that desire to see more of and touch the body of and have sex with that woman. That's how marriage between a man and woman is supposed to work. It shouldn't be any wonder that the most sacred of all acts we can do as humans - to express sexual love in marriage and become joint creators with the almighty in bringing forth life - is something around which God has placed the most holy and spiritually heavy safeguards.

As someone who has recovered from more than 20 years of the darkest hell you can imagine in sexual addiction, I can tell you those thought patterns about wanting to see and touch the naked female body don't go away. They're not supposed to. They're supposed to be directed to our wives in the divine manner prescribed by our Father in Heaven.

When you dress the way so many are as the weather gets ever hotter, you are exploiting and unfairly manipulating that natural God-given inclination. Please stop. Those who say "my body my choice" also need to accept that while you have freedom to make your own choices, you do not have the freedom to pick the consequences to those choices. When you pick up one of the stick, you automatically pick up the other as well. You can't demand that boys and men to not oggle you when you do that. Wish they wouldn't? Yeah, me too. Please hope that they won't, but without taking any blame for it yourself? Not cool. In fact, blaming men for oggling and mentally undressing you when dress in a way that exposes or emphasizes the very parts of you you don't want them staring at is like touching fire on purpose and getting angry when it burns you. Doesn't make any sense.  Another saying, which is so true, goes "if you roll around in the mud, expect to attract pigs."

Last of all, please remember this isn't about hiding anything, it's about revealing your dignity and loving yourself enough to realize that the right men will be attracted to you, physically and socially, if you keep the sexually teasing nature of revealing attire for marriage, at home with your husband.