The LDS Church has its own standard of dress and grooming guidelines. In general, both men and women are counseled to dress modestly in order to respect the identity of being sons and daughters of God. Clothing that are too tight, too revealing, too short..etc are not encouraged. Mostly members refer to the standard from the handbook “For the Strength of Youth”. Several passages in the handbook connect our body’s sacredness to the way we dress. The often-use scripture “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?... The temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” (1 Cor 3:16-17) is a blow and shout to all members of the Church when encountering dress and grooming issues.
No, I am not going to talk about what should be wearing and what should not be wearing in this article. I innocently believe that people know the appropriate clothing to wear to represent themselves, or represent themselves as members of the Church. I innocently believe that people are mature enough to know the commitment that they have made to be a witness of Christ at all times and in all things, and in all places. (Mosiah 18:9)
My purpose of writing this article is to ask all of you to think of experiences you have had in dealing with dress and grooming issues in the Church and how you deal with it. From my observation, members of the Church are both inclusive and exclusive in dealing with dress and grooming issues. I would like to use some examples/scenarios to illustrate to what extent members are inclusive and exclusive.
1. An investigator dresses in revealing clothing, nonetheless, as members we should not discriminate him/her. We should make him/her feel welcome. However, (here comes the exclusive part) we should teach him/her to dress modestly when he/she comes to Church next time.
2. It is always nice to see members dress nicely and modestly on Sunday. It is easy to recognize them as faithful and committed to the Gospel by the way they dress. However, (here comes the exclusive part again), some brothers/sisters are not well-dressed. He always wears this blue color shirt and she always wears this skirt that are a few centimeter above her knees. Are they worthy members?
Some members tend to be a stickler for the dress and grooming issues, even 0.5cm matters to them. Some members tend to not deal with this issue, because it is very sensitive. Throughout the years I had the opportunities to handle issues in dress and grooming. From a stickler (enforcing Honor Code at BYU-Hawaii) to a believer (being a Youth Leader), my own experiences tell me that I should trust people I encounter with are doing their best in the way they dress, instead of being judgmental. Trust is the key. Sometimes I thought to myself, “Does that (how they dress) really matter??”