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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Bountiful, UT

The way LDS are dressed is considered immodest to Moslems. In other words there is no universal standard when it comes to modesty.

Just Wonderin'
Midvale, UT

At a time when I was starting to come to church, one of my daughters went to a church dance. She was told by the chaperones (from a neighboring stake) that she was supposedly immodest and could not attend. She was wearing plain, footless tights under a dress that fell about 1" above her knee. Honestly, I think she was targeted solely for her tights because the chaperones fixated on her "leggings" (even though her dress was sufficiently long.) Sadly, our own stake president later saw what she had on and had absolutely no problem whatsoever with what she was wearing, and no one else I showed pictures of her to felt she was inappropriate either. I was really quite furious about these judgmental chaperones (who then went around smearing my daughter's reputation) and the host stake president who lectured me about her appearance (but having never actually seen her.) I ended up shedding some tears about how badly we had been treated that night. Needless to say, I haven't been back to church since. Maybe I shouldn't feel that way, but I do. People can do more damage than they realize when they try to police others.

Chaplin Hawkeye

I am somewhat conflicted by the position the moderator and others have taken. I am an ex-member who has gained a better testimony and relationship with Father-in Heaven. I have been corrected on one occasion as I speculated on the Lord's dealings with His children thru the course of the Earths history. Apparently I said something wrong and was corrected by a member of the Stake High Council in front of others. Yes, I have rethought the experience several times and felt shame and or embarrassment about it. However, I feel I am better because of it. I would rather loose one of us struggling to return than children that are vulnerable no matter their ages. If I starve you for three days and then invite you to attend a Thanksgiving dinner how are you going to fare? I stand by the very concerned father. Immodesty and pornography are 'devouring' the unseasoned 'warriors' by the hour! Quit being critical of the everyday struggling member and have the courage to stand up for major proprieties. That said, I would rather hear Heavenly Fathers view than those not in authority to lead! Thank you!

Cottonwood Heights, UT

I am appalled that anybody would even think of approaching this woman and talking to her about modesty.
Years ago, one of the young woman leaders who was also the bishop's wife gave a lesson to my daughter's group at church and railed at them for wearing flip flops to church. Then to top it off, she left the lesson on the doorstep of the young woman who wasn't there and who she wanted to target with this message. This was my neighbor. Her mother cried to me and told me how she could only afford the 2 pair for $5.00 flip flops. The whole family was incredibly hurt and the girl did not want to return to church. I took the girl and my daughter shoe shopping and bought her a beautiful pair of church shoes and told her not to worry about the cost. Her mom called me in tears telling me how much it meant to her and the girl returned knowing she was loved.
It's about love, not being judgmental. Hope this guy and every other person reading this keeps their mouth shut forever toward these people.

Sandy, UT

It's amazing how people tend to get wrapped up in what they consider flaws and deficiencies in others, but are totally blind to their own faults. I know some very judgmental people who don't even have the basic integrity to return phone calls after leaving voicemail messages promising to do so--yet they're right there to criticize someone else for the color of shirt someone wears to church. The first step in advancing is growing up, which implies some development of basic interpersonal skills and the wisdom to know when to be quiet. Also, notice: Gossip is NOT a social skill.

Sweet Grass, MT

Much good advice here. Also, the quickly adverted glance and the look of disgust can do as much harm as the preaching this father wishes to do. A warm welcome with a genuine smile will do much for the sister. As noted , she will observe the dress of the other sisters, and make her own decisions about clothing. Each sister has the privilege of having a personal sense of style and, especially, following the Saviour in her own way. Too often, Mormon Pharisees try to impose their own standards upon others, when the only standard that matters is the Lord's, He who dined with the sinners.....

East Carbon, UT

We also had a mother of 2 in her 30's come to church dressed inappropriately, no one ever spoke a word.. I have seen men with long scraggly beards and raggedy clothes.. I don't believe Jesus cares what they look like of what they wear.. I think he is just tickled that they are there.. it is so easy to judge, instead teach your children.. in the end those who are different turn their lives around,, the dress becomes modest and the beard disappears.."As I have loved you, love one another"!

Ernest T. Bass
Bountiful, UT

The church focuses on such strange, benign things to worry about.

City, Ut

Dear Dad--

Well, you've got pretty blasted in most of these comments,haven't you?

I'm on your side and instead of wanting to castigate and chastise you for being "so judgmental" , I agree with the few who think maybe this could be a springboard for conversations with your sons about how now is the time to decide how they can perceive and react to this situation that will be continuous in their lives. I know it seems like there should be at least one place on earth that you don't have to worry, but as President Packer pointed out in his talk Lehi's Dream and You, these days we are living IN the Great and Spacious Building. In all places now, on their missions, everywhere, this is reality.

As has been said, quip your sons with tools to handle this for now--and for their future lives. And let them know they have a Dad who they can always come to for help and advise.

Good luck-

And know there are a few of us out here who applaud your being an engaged and caring father, concerned for your boys.


When I saw the headline my stomach immediately felt sick. This is a horrifying question--I can't imagine anyone who considers himself a Chirstian, follower of Christ, or member of a Christ's church to even entertain this as a valid question. I'm so glad the answer was to shut up and not say anything. How inappropriate would that be, and bordering creepy! And helping YM get control of their crazy bodies and changing hormones has nothing to do with eliminating any triggers in their environment. Their bodies are triggering with or without any external factors. It's an internal process of becoming self-aware and gaining the ability to be responsible for one's own self. It's a process not a problem to be solved by daddy, or the church, or well-intentioned old ladies. The answer to me missed the point however, by hoping that eventually a nice lesson on "modesty" would solve the problem. Who cares in the end how someone else is dressed? Stop worrying about other people.

Cottonwood, CA

If we don't have someone dressed differently,or smeling of tobacco or alcoholorsomeother thing we don't regularly see,that's not good. Where do new members come from? People figure it out eventually. Your busybody urge is not from the Spirit. Be their friend and show a good example.

NotInMiami, FL

While father definitely should not confront the woman, at least he asked before acting. What is disheartening are the many judgments commenters are making about this father (fully half of the 1st page of comments judge or cast aspersions at the father). They attack him for questioning whether or not to cast a stone by casting their own at him.

Provo, UT

I agree with the comments and the answer given in regards to not confronting this sister about her dress. But I would also like to commend the dad for seeking out advice on how to handle the situation. Some of the comments beret this dad for his question but as a father isn't it his duty to be concerned about the spiritual well-being of his children. That is why I agree that a better course of action would be to teach his sons about loving others unconditionally and about controlling their thoughts. We live in the world and there is temptation around every corner. I liked Elder Richard G. Scott's talk in this past conference. When speaking of those who had been converted by the teachings of Ammon and his brethren began to be slaying by those not converted, they did laid down their weapons of war even at the risk of being slain, and many were, their example lead to many others being converted and laying down their weapons.

Aurora, CO

I have to agree with Angela here. I'm suprised by how we pick and choose those we are critical of. We seem as a Church to have no problem with the dress at the polynesian cultural center. We also don't criticize Bill Marriot for allowing the viewing of pornography in his hotels. How can we in good conscious say anything to anyone?

Tu Ne Cede Malis
Phoenix, AZ

Overall I appreciate Angela's advice, however:

"If it's really that big of an issue, a fun idea might be to have your wife suggest a Relief Society activity focused on in style and modest fashion options. We all need the help sometimes. Plus, this would be fun and if done well, no one would feel singled out."

This could be considered as quite "passive aggressive".

I suggest you focus your attention on teaching your sons that they are responsible for their thoughts, no one else. Let this woman dress as she likes for as long as she likes, even if she never chooses to change, simply write it off as a person who has made different choices than you, but is still welcome at church without you, or anyone else, telling her what to wear.

layton, UT

@ I want women to be modest in their appearance] They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes. For women who claim to be devoted to God should make themselves attractive by the good things they do. (1Tim 2:9-10 NIV)

RE: bigv56,If we don't have someone dressed differently, or smelling of alcohol.
What God commands Christians regarding alcohol is to avoid drunkenness (Eph 5:18). The Bible condemns drunkenness and its effects (Proverbs 23:29-35). Christians are also commanded to not allow their bodies to be “mastered” by anything (1 Corinthians 6:12; 2 Peter 2:19).

Jesus changed water into wine. Jesus drank wine on occasion (John 2:1-11; Matthew 26:29).

Mapleton, UT

When we lived in another state, the RS decided to make an "apron" for a new member in a wheelchair who only wore pants. They thought they were doing her a kindness. What it said louder than words ever could, was, "you're not good enough for us in those pants." She never attended church again, and told anyone and everyone she could how horrible, self-righteous and intolerant Mormons are to others. Seventeen of her extended family members had attended her baptism and were in the process of having the missionary discussions. Ask those missionaries how they felt about the actions of those sweet RS sisters. All seventeen of the investigators quit, and joined their mother (grandmother, aunt, and friend) in condemning the church to this day.

What would Jesus do? Love. ONLY love.

St Joseph, MI

Great answer, and refreshing that most who have commented feel the same and "get it". Church is not a place for policing one another, but is a place in which we practice love and tolerance and provide a safe setting into which all can come and learn and change. There are those who The Lord has positioned to help, in a careful, discerning and private way, and they are the only ones who might be able to broach the subject and help, and even those persons, from the vantage point of their positions would most likely opt to say nothing and allow time and love to work.


Dear Dad,

Short answer, you can't.

Longer answer, you shouldn't. While making church "safe" for your boys, you are making it unsafe for this woman. As so many have stated, as she is welcomed, loved, and feels the spirit, she will make changes on her own.

Want to teach your boys something? Teach them the beauty of watching the process of change as people come to Christ. That's what their missions will be about. Perhaps initiating that process of changing hearts could begin in your home.

george of the jungle
goshen, UT

Even I'm smart enough to know when I'm not wanted. Sure, it makes me sad. I know who they are and stay away.

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