Comments about ‘LDS Church tweaks dress and grooming requirements for missionaries’

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Published: Friday, July 12 2013 4:55 p.m. MDT

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MormonMedia Reviews

The biggest thing I love about this is no more back packs! I refused to wear one as a missionary because I thought it did not look dignified.

Thus began my obsession with messenger bags.

Springville, UT

I do not understand the backpack issue. How can you ride a bike with a shoulder bag? And like '2cents_EM' said above, there will be more back problems. Plus I think it is strange that this issue is coming up now, when the color of suits is changed. Seems like shoulder bags would have gone with dark suits more appropriately.

Name tags-- in almost every industry, name tags are worn on the left, not the right. And if a man is wearing a suit jacket, the tag is placed on the outside pocket of the jacket. I don't understand why the church now wants the tag to be worn on the lapel. It just looks dorky to me.

Sandy, UT

Well, there goes Mr. Mac's profit for the year....

ute alumni
paradise, UT

behind the 8 ball? huh? positive thinking will improve lives, try it. if you read the article it says most of these changes were made about three years ago, the website was just updated to reflect those changes.

Vince Ballard
South Ogden, UT

Skinny ties are out? What about those elders who went out back in the 1960's?

Logan, UT

I'm loving all these changes in missionary work. I served from 2009-11 and I had a light colored suit, skinny ties, used Facebook, emailed friends instead of just family, avoided wearing a suit coat as much as possible, chose a sweater over a suit coat, never knocked doors in the mornings, etc. It's almost laughable that all these things are allowed now. I do not feel as guilty anymore and I laugh at all my zone leaders who were super anal about everything.

Auckland NZ, 00

If it's gravitas that is desired, you're fighting a losing battle as long as missionaries are so young, and as long as they wear labels or nametags on their shirt or jacket fronts.

Evansville, IN

I didn't realize light colored-suits were ever illegal. Mine were all dark, but I always assumed most elders (or, more likely, their mothers) chose dark suits because they would not have to be cleaned as often (or at least one operated under the assumption that they were not dirty enough that they had to be cleaned).

Also, are we talking about khaki as a fabric or a color?

And I DO recall (20~30 years ago) wishing that sister missionaries were required to wear women's suits (tailored skirt and blazer) instead of being allowed to wear the cotton dresses that so many wore, which made them look like younger versions of Ma Kettle or Minnie Pearl. (If you don't know who they are, check wikipedia--they were WONDERFUL as characters on screen.)

Of course, since I was in Japan on my mission, no matter what clothing we wore, we were a loveable but dumb circus act anyway, as foreigners in suits on bicycles.

Evansville, IN

To Brother Benjamin Franklin
One could argue that suits themselves distract and detract from the mission of teaching the Gospel of Jesus. How odd and distracting it is to most people (north Americans, anyway) to have to deal with young men who are required to dress so strangely (and in a manner so unsupported by the Bible or Book of Mormon) unless we accept, by some uncomfortable stretch of belief, that they are representing something akin to corporate America. I recall thinking as a missionary that dressing in a suit was somehow noble. It is not necessarily so. It is often simply bowing to a fashion of the world that is (in many cases) incompatible with the Gospel of Christ. I am not sure why I spend so many years believing that wearing a tie was the/a mark of a (male) follower of Jesus. It seems so strange now to think that I once subscribed to such. (Especially odd since Jesus is never depicted in LDS iconography as wearing a suit and tie.)

Tomorrow I will probably wear jeans to church . . . and I want my greatest desire to be to worship the Lord, to love and serve Him.

Saint George, UT

Shoulder bags? A rose by any other name is still a purse. So now the elders can carry a purse... Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Lehi, UT

Glad the rest of the Church is catching up. When I was in Samoa 56 years ago, we were so excited when our mission president allowed us to "bare" arms and wear short sleeves when we wanted. I never tried the lavalava (ia faitaga) but have seen a lot lately.

David M
Metairie, LA

bigtommy, Some of the missionaries in our ward are on bike. Having them walk/ride public transportation would make them much less effective in their areas. I do occasionally see businessmen wearing white shirt/tie riding bikes here. If you don't have a car, or need a car, bikes are the next best thing - not public transportation that comes once an hour with long layovers. And walking 10 miles across an area?

The only issue I have is requiring shoulder bags. I bought one while in the MTC and never used it when biking on my mission. Have you ever rode a bike with a shoulder bag?

Provo, UT

However, it is so very important to not dress in a way that others will envy and covet our clothing. We should not call attention to our clothing or make a fashion statement. Think about it!

Lancaster, CA

Joy, unfortunately, mission presidents are "requiring" shoulder bags, even for missionaries who are already out. Moms are panicked. Some missionaries don't have the money for extra thing. I don't understand the issue the church has with backpacks. They are better for your back and easier to deal with when riding a bicycle.

And the outfit the "sister missionary" is wearing in the picture is absolutely horrible and distracting, in my opinion.

I also noticed the "typo" about where to wear the badges. Someone didn't do his job well!

The Dixie Kid
Saint George, UT

I could not have gone without a backpack on my mission. I was in all bike areas were using a backpack was the only way to carry all of the stuff we had to bring with us.

Florissant, MO

Back when I served, I wore nothing but dresses as a rule. We didn't wear skirts and tops or suits. We also wore colorful clothing. Don't know if the rules changed or if it just got easier for sisters to wear black suits. As for the Elders, felt bad that they had to wear those dark suits on hot days and such drab ties. I like the light suits, they look classy.

very concerned
Sandy, UT


In some ways no, God does not care what you adorn your body with. He will provide if you are on His errand. I think THAT is the message of the scripture you may have been referring to (see Matthew 6:28). but, in every case, he certainly wants people to dress modestly. In the missionaries' case, I'm sure His gospel wouldn't move at the pace it has if the missionaries wore cutoffs, ratty sneakers, and tee-shirts. So I guess, in a sense, He does care how you dress. There are several reasons::

1. The public takes them much more seriously when they do.

2. They show the gravity of their calling.

3. It is respectful of their Lord and Savior.

Regarding the sandals. What may look funny in one culture might not in another. And the mission presidents have the say on what the missionaries wear in their mission anyway. I would say, if you're serving in 41 degree Celsius heat (106 Fahrenheit) and you are in the poorer parts of the world, you will be more comfortable in these sandals, while still not affecting the impression you make on the native cultures.

Mom Johnson
West Jordan, UT

As Senior couples in Cambodia, our mission president reprimanded my husband for wearing khaki pants and for me wearing colorful (Khmer fabric) skirts. I hope he is reading this!

Pitt Man
New York City, NY

The skinny ties being abolished is odd, and an example of how Church policy is sometimes a result of Utah's regional culture. For the rest of the country, narrow ties have replaced the wide ties of the 90's and 00's, at least for the under-40 crowd. Utah is very slowly catching on. I'm hoping that the Church only means the extremely skinny ties, and will allow the Elders to wear the type of narrow ties that their slim-cut suits were designed to be worn with.

As for backpacks, I'm not so sure that this is really a change in policy. I seem to remember when I got my missionary intro packet eight years ago, that it said we were supposed to wear shoulder bags. It wasn't until I got to my mission that I realized that backpacks were just the norm anyway. It's just not practical to wear a shoulder bag on a bike.

Idaho Falls, ID

What is wrong with backpacks? They are so functional.
Now they are going to make them carry shoulder bags, i.e., man purses?

You're missing the point entirely. Dressing up in a suit and tie does 2 things--it sets you apart in uniform as a representative of the Church, and it shows respect and reverence to the work.

You say you are going to show up to church in casual attire to show your "desire to . . . worship the Lord, to love and serve Him." How do you do that when you can't show enough respect and reverence to dress up. If you are too poor, that is one thing, but if you can afford it, there is no excuse to present yourself in your Sunday-best.

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