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Comments about ‘Ask Angela: A dad wonders how to approach an immodestly dressed woman at church’

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Published: Monday, Oct. 14 2013 10:00 a.m. MDT

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Goldminer
Salem, ut

It is interesting that in several of the comments the "problem" became the Dad who asked the question and NOT the Sister. If saying something to the Sister is criticism we should not engage in, why should the Dad be the focus of criticism because of his question? After all, HE was seeking guidance was he not?

I have had this problem is several wards and we let the Relief Society provide the guidance to the women. They know how to do it in a sensitive manner and teach the eternal principles of modesty. The Priesthood can, and should, also teach these principles to the Men.

I think guidance needs to be provided in an appropriate manner and venue. The actions of those behaving or dressing inappropriately should NOT be perceived as "acceptable" and off-limits. They are not. But, they can be addressed for the benefit of all.

Confused in AZ
Chandler, AZ

Maxx- reread the article and you will get your answer. Apparently, you missed a sentence.

toosmartforyou
Farmington, UT

Well, when I see an immodestly dressed woman I feel compelled to look another direction. And helping your sons realize that this is a problem of theirs if it bothers or entices them, can be clarified by making sure your family does two things:
1- Dress modestly yourself; and
2- Don't worry about how others dress.
In our ward some of the teenage girls seem to think certain dresses are appropriate and my wife and I will remark about how we wouldn't be happy with our daughter dressing like that, but we don't say any more about it or NEVER approach another person with the subject. As others have said, in time the opportunities to teach modesty in the ward surface and that is the best approach.

Once at work a lady I supervised dressed in an inappropriate manner so I visited with the lady at H.R. and she talked to the person and suddenly things changed for the better. No one was offended, just instructed as to what was the proper way to dress for work, and no big issue was created.

Kjirstin Youngberg
Mapleton, UT

The absolute best advice I've read recently came from the pastor of another congregation. I can't paste links here, so I will ask him to Search: "Nate Pyle Seeing A Woman" as it is the advice he needs. I pray "attentive father" reads it, absorbs it, and lives it, passing it on to future generations. Thank you, Nate Pyle, for expressing this truth so well.

For too long, we as Church members have self-righteously believed rapes and assaults are the result of women dressing immodestly, when the fault lies wholly with the attacker. This belief, if continued to extreme, will result in burka-wearing or putting women away from lustful eyes. This false belief also results in women who were raped-some of them older women dressed in winter coats-to feel lifetime guilt that it was somehow their fault. Get real, people!

Teach your sons, and daughters, for that matter, to look into a persons eyes. The eyes are where you find the soul-and that, after all, is what we all seek.

LittleStream
Carson City, NV

Having a granddaughter we are trying to raise modestly, this is a problem. If they was a young woman in the ward that I wanted someone to talk to I would ask the Relief Society President to maybe ask her visiting teacher, or a Sunday School teacher. I think most people in church would not want to offend a new member, or returning member. But if not talked to she will also have a problem making friends. I think when they attend often they notice that everyone else is wearing clothes different. A visiting teacher might then bring her a dress, saying that she say it and thought of her friend and thought she would like it.

MaxxFordham
OREM, UT

To "Confused in Arizona:"
No, I think I got Casey See's point all right. I was just trying to make a small side-point back.

Plus, even if it *were* supposedly about rereading something, it wouldn't be about rereading the article, but about rereading Casey's comment. But really, it's not about *my* rereading anything, but *your* rereading of both Casey's comment (at least where that person says "Sunday's..." something...) and mine. Eventually you'll probably understand what I was trying to get at.

reesegirl
Orem, UT

I was one of these women coming back to activity. People were offended at my clothes, no doubt. I wasn't in a place spiritually to understand.
It took every ounce of courage to return, but knew I needed to. I felt I wore a sign listing my sins; returning was the hardest part of repentance.
Fortunately people were kind and I felt welcomed.
Had I been approached in my fragile spiritual state, I would have stepped back into inactivity, validating my feelings of not being good enough, and being judged by self-righteous members.
I'm a strong member today due to members who overlooked my clothing and focused on me.
When I see women dressed inappropriately at church, realize they're still in the right place. They'll learn modesty by continued attendance and being touched by the Holy Ghost.
Do not intervene in behalf of the Holy Ghost. You cannot mimic His influence, no matter how well put.
Do NOT be the reason this fragile spirit falls away.
Teach your sons the atonement. Learn to effectively guide lost sheep back to the fold.
Love people back, don't push them before they're ready.

pogo8702
SOUTH SALT LAKE, UT

Serving as a member in a bishopric, even we will hesitate to do this kind of thing. Time and the good influence of the people around her will solve this EVERY TIME. PLEASE don't say anything. I live in one of the highest baptizing missions of the church, right in SL valley...and the lifetime members here show a huge amount of sensibility to these situations..

Speaking of judgmental... I've grew in Utah..been in and out of Utah all of my professional career. .... getting a little worn over all the Utah Mormon comments I see in these comments. That's a very individual thing, as I've been in some pretty embarrassing situations in wards from North Carolina to Detroit and Denver. Yes, there is a familiarity in the West (try southern Idaho on as well as Phx area) which can be cringe-worthy. There is also a strength. Traveled enough and attended enough wards to know that it's very good to be pretty careful about thinking much less voicing such comments.

Think twice, please. Nobody .... anywhere ... will get it right every time, including a few GA's I have known.

bellsandbells
Columbia, MO

JoeBlow, I MUST add this to your comment on SLC members who have not lived in the real world. I worked with a sweetheart Christian lady who had lived in Manti, UT for a few years. I asked her how she liked living in Mormon country. I expected her to tell me that the neighbors offered to help them move in or brought them a meal since they were not able to cook anything yet or AT LEAST offer to babysit while they unpacked. NO!! NOT knowing that I was LDS, she said, "OH! It was awful. My husband told his company to NEVER send him back there again. The people would not talk to them because they were not the same religion. The people said they "were righteous and we were not" because we were not Mormons. Their children were not allowed to play with our children. The children in the community told our children they could not play with them because they were not RIGHTEOUS." OH>>> who are the UNRIGHTEOUS here?

MaxxFordham
OREM, UT

Oh my goodness, Bells and Bells, those "Mormons" are bad examples! I can't believe they were doing that! We should never shun nonmembers just for being nonmembers! What kind of "missionary work" would that be? Geeze, I feel bad for that lady and her family because some self-"righteous" LDS treated them like that. It's certainly NOT the way to be, and we've been instructed of that at general conferences previous to this most recent one. I hope that lady and her family run into some truly caring LDS people soon who will befriend them and fellowship with them instead of shunning them!

Gildas
LOGAN, UT

When you receive training in your employment the chances are you will be instructed in appropriate dress. You may be fired for not following some basic rules. Yet in the Church you would be called "unkind" for mentioning those things - witness the responses on this thread.

Short, tight and low cut dresses and pants worn hanging down and underwear showing are not appropriate for anyone at Church. There I've said it, and this was regularly taught in the MIA, and it is still taught in Conference talks etc.

I agree it can be a difficult or embarrassing subject, but we are taught that men and women should observe some dress standards both in and out of Church. Some are only required at Church, the temples etc. Deacons are told they need to wear a tie when passing the sacrament and men usually wear a tie at Church anyhow. Most people do follow those standards. You deal with it as best as you can but it should be discreetly dealt as has been suggested, as soon as it can tactfully done.

Peanuts01
London, 00

My inactive daughter moved to London to go to University - we turned up at the Stake Center. Saw a Sister outside and she told us that we needed to speak with her husband who was the Bishop. He was wonderful and said would love to be able to help her and include her in the ward. Now my daughter was going through her Goth faze. Black clothes and make-up very dark and a dog collar (spiked) round her neck. This wonderful Bishop said that she needed to come to Church and it didn't matter what she wanted to wear! He and a lovely Institute Teaching couple loved her back to Church - she was studying to be a Children's Nurse and did shifts - they contacted her and made sure she was wanted. Her clothes were not everyone else wore but she attended. They realised she was a Child of God and loved her and her striped tights. Now to a few years down the line she is married and sealed in the Temple to an RM and has three almost four children. Don't judge by their clothes love them as children of Heavenly Father.

Peanuts01
London, 00

My inactive daughter moved to London to go to University - we turned up at the Stake Center. We spoke with the Bishop & he was wonderful and said would love to be able to help her and include her in the ward. Now my daughter was going through her Goth faze. Black clothes and make-up very dark and a dog collar (spiked) round her neck. This wonderful Bishop said that she needed to come to Church and it didn't matter what she wanted to wear! He and a lovely Institute Teaching couple from Utah loved her back to Church - she was studying to be a Children's Nurse and did shifts - they contacted her and made sure she was wanted. Her clothes were not what everyone else wore but she attended. They realised she was a Child of God and loved her and her striped tights! Now to a few years down the line she is married and sealed in the Temple to an RM and has three almost four children. Don't judge by their clothes love them as children of Heavenly Father.

DrGroovey
Salt Lake City, UT

A few years ago when I was serving in our bishopric, we had something like this come up. But in our case it was some sisters in the ward who were overly concerned with how another sister's fashion style would impact their husbands. Unfortunately, one of these sisters took it upon herself to talk to the sister in question and the outcome was not good. Hurt feelings, rumors, gossip, and in the end we had an entire family that stopped attending church.

The ironic thing is that when we discussed the issue in ward council, none of the men had even noticed anything wrong with the sister's attire, but all of the sisters had. For what its worth, I think that oftentimes the sisters are harder on each other with matters like this than the menfolk are.

KinCO
Fort Collins, CO

Sorry, Gildas, coming to Church is not at all analogous with keeping a job. We do not have dress requirements at Church, even though we encourage our children (and adults) to observe some basic standards (and those DO vary from place to place, btw). What one guy's "immodest" might be someone else's "perfectly fine". Women's clothing is not as codified as men's--should we have someone at the door of the chapel measuring hems? Checking the coverage of a woman's blouse? Maybe we could have a guy deciding whether he is prompted to "inappropriate thoughts" by the appearance of each woman as she comes in. Silly, obviously (or maybe we need to get the burkas out--except undoubtedly someone finds burkas enticing). Here's the thing--someone coming to Church as an inactive member or interested nonmember is not a member of the congregation yet. The "rules" do not apply. It would be like a business requiring a certain attire from their customers before they would agree to sell them anything. Kind of ridiculous, yes?

JLR
Eagle Mountain, UT

I don't think this dad should say a single word. You can't "protect" your kids from all immodestly dressed people. This is a wonderful learning opportunity to show that people have free agency. She's already come back to church, don't make her feel like an outcast. Your precious darlings will survive this.

InspectorC
Wasatch Front, UT

Words are inadequate to state how TOTALLY INappropriate it would be for a Priesthood holder to approach a woman like this in his ward --particularly a single sister!

DON'T YOU DARE ("attentive dad") say a word to her (except warm words of fellowship, support and encouragement!)

IF the problem is so extreme that you and your wife just cannot live with it, my suggestion is to have your WIFE meet privately with the BISHOP, and express your concerns to him. Then LET THE BISHOP take it from there!!

Perhaps the Bishop could involve the R/S Presidency to help guide this wonderful sister in a loving, Christlike way. But for a male member of the ward to approach her directly is absolutely WRONG.... on SO many levels.

InspectorC
Wasatch Front, UT

TO: reesegirl (from Orem) at 9:53 AM----

AWESOME POST!! If I could give your comments 100 "likes", I would do it in a heartbeat.

Thank you so much for sharing your amazing insights! This is one of thee best posts I've ever seen on ANY comment-board!

So glad you "came back" to the church, and were here to share these profound thoughts today. Many blessings! 8^)

Gildas
LOGAN, UT

@ Kinko

I don't know what you have against "guys" or what church you represent but, in our LDS Church, there are standards that are explicit and, as much needed as dress standards are in the workplace.

As one poster commented the sisters can also be very vigilant as well as very forgiving.

Here's food for thought:

"And of some have compassion, making a difference: and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire,; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh". (Jude: verse 23)

What do you make of that? For latter-day saints, or those so aspiring, there is a similar scripture in Doctrine and Covenants 36:6.

Inhliziyo
Provo, UT

I don't want to make too many waves, but I just want to point out a sad inconsistency with some of the comments here. Many are condemning the father for his desire to have his sons exposed to good things at church. These comments are inconsistent because if it was a mother concerned for her children and she wanted to approach the offending party everyone would support her, though they would offer advice for how to do it nicely. Yet here, this father has been tagged as shallow for asking such a ridiculous question. He hadn’t even done anything yet. In fact, his question was how to approach it, not how to talk to the woman. How many of us ask similar questions in our own minds? At least he had some sense to ask it and not just be impulsive.

Now, I do want to say that I agree with the advice given; for sensitivity is definitely needed along with time to change. However, let’s give this father at least the benefit for being involved and concerned. We don't know the full story, so let's give him the benefit of the doubt.

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