Dear Writers and Readers of the 100 Hour Board,
I've somewhat recently been called to the young men's presidency in my ward and am in charge of the deacons. I've been wanting to teach a lesson on modesty, a proper one, where they learn it's a heck of a lot more than measuring hem lines. This will likely be their first lesson they've had on modesty in church (beyond primary anyhow), and I hope they can come to understand the principles and healthy ways they should approach the subject, as well as pitfalls to avoid. Over the years I've heard and read many comments regarding modesty, and I have lots of thoughts, but no conclusive encompassing definition or description. Fair enough, it's a complex subject, it's not going to have a slogan that sums it all up.
Are there any particular articles that you could link me to that you think are enlightened on this subject? What points would you want to see addressed? How about common mistakes made in teaching modesty to avoid?
Also, I realize modesty is for all genders, though I know it usually gets talked about more as a thing females have to follow. I definitely want to address that and how they should treat and view women, and I always want to discuss what it means specifically for them as well so they understand it isn't just for young women.
They're a good bunch, this lesson won't be lost on them.
Thank you for your expertise and help!
There's a lot of aspects to modesty. One I like to focus on is temple prep, which is really good for the youth. A lot of the "rules" we have about modesty (e.g. shorts should go to the knees) are designed to prepare us to wear the temple garment.
I think too often we get that turned around and teach that garments set a standard of modesty. That to show anything the garment would cover is immodest. I disagree. Saying that it's immodest to show a little skin above the knee seems a bit arbitrary to me. Garments have changed over the years anyway. Rather the "rules" exist so we can be ready to make those covenants.
These are the big points for me:
- Don't use your body to get attention in inappropriate ways. You can't control how others see you, but be aware of what messages you're sending.
- Respect your body and respect your future temple covenants. It's not about rules, it's a symbol to God of your respect (kind of like observing the Sabbath).
- It's not about fear. Your body is not evil, it is beautiful. Save the most important things for marriage, where they can be best enjoyed.