What Latter-day Saint women are saying about the new option to wear slacks as missionaries

Return To Article

Commenting has temporarily been suspended in preparation for our new website launch, which is planned for the week of August 12th. When the new site goes live, we will also launch our new commenting platform. Thank you for your patience while we make these changes.


  • joewillie12 Corpus Christi, TX
    Dec. 28, 2018 12:45 p.m.

    @worf
    "Just don't make the pants too tight or the skirts too short. No leggings.

    This shouldn't be a problem with sister missionaries, but for many women, they are in the fog."

    Another way to say this is, "Just don't let men continue to define what women are 'allowed' to wear in the 21st Century."

    This is how hijabs, abayas, burkas and other pre-Medieval goat-herder ideas persist.

    LDS burkas known by another name are still burkas.

  • Husker2 , 00
    Dec. 26, 2018 9:41 p.m.

    I understand the importance of modesty standards but women should be able to wear pants to church. There is nothing immodest about pants.

  • One of Vai's Cousins DC, Washington
    Dec. 26, 2018 11:30 a.m.

    For 35 years I was active LDS who hung on to every change of any sort as if it were another revelation from God. The past 15 years I have continued to be interested and frankly intrigued by the LDS faith and culture that used to influence everything I did.

    It is so intriguing to watch members define these obviously logical, pragmatic administrative decisions as revelation. I used to do the same thing.

    As a part of stepping back from activity in the Church, I redefined revelation and miracles. Found keys, wardrobe changes and meeting times used to fit the definition. Now, a loving all powerful God would never use His/Her power to reveal meeting changes, primary and mission ages, or removal of the word Mormon, while thousands of innocents suffer and die daily with ZERO intervention. I guess the bar for divine revelation and intervention is much higher now than it was as an active member. Back then it was anything the Bretheren uttered. I definitely prefer my new perspective.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Dec. 25, 2018 5:04 p.m.

    The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.
    Deuteronomy 22:5

    Since, however, women of our faith have doggedly worn pants for decades now, when not at church for a formal meeting, we seemed a bit too insistent, to many people, about this issue.

    As for modesty it depends on the dress and the pants that are worn and the activity for which is intended (a meeting, a visit, sports etc) . Men and women are not to reveal more than is conducive to good behavior in a given situation. Swimming is not the same situation as walking down the street or showing up at the workplace (unless you are a lifeguard at a swimming pool).

  • Rikitikitavi Cardston, Alberta
    Dec. 25, 2018 9:06 a.m.

    I foresee very little change in attire worn to partake of the Sacrament. This sacred ordinance with its covenants we take upon us, ensures that we are modestly and reverently dressed. What we wear really does matter. Worldly dress , casual dress, do not invite the desired Spirit which accompanies this sacred ordinance.
    Sure, we will witness the occasional individual dressed in casual attire, let us not get distracted nor judgemental as we know nothing of the situations of any individual.

  • Just saying 7 Indianapolis, IN
    Dec. 25, 2018 5:04 a.m.

    Women kept their legs warm in cold climates just fine. They wear wool leggings under dresses and knee high boots.

  • Seagull Suz Sandy, UT
    Dec. 24, 2018 8:11 a.m.

    ...I continue to be wowed and grateful for the many recent cultural policy changes that have come forth...and welcome more as President Nelson alluded to...

    ...as for the dress code news for sister missionaries, bravo!

    ...as for other perceived dress code issues in general...why is it that men’s wear fashion trends seldom make church headlines?...skinny suits for men in particular (worn by missionaries, GQ-type brethren leaders, and millennial aged members everywhere)...no more front pleats and baggy slacks...and those one button slim jackets cinched in at the waist...scandalous!...really?

    ...the Gospel is true...love one another...

  • Applelovernow Henderson, NV
    Dec. 22, 2018 9:36 p.m.

    “Welcome to the 20th century. How is this even a thing??“.

    I’m pretty sure this is the 21st Century.
    I agree with the sentiment though. Both my mother and mother in law switched to wearing pants only in their elder years. Frankly, they couldn’t get hose on anymore and handling bathroom needs was much easier in slacks. What matters is what is in your heart not what is covering your legs!

  • Cubby1 Rupert, ID
    Dec. 22, 2018 7:18 p.m.

    I am glad to see it. For women in places where it is cold or not part of the culture, what about wearing pants under your dress, or a nice dress with pants, I've seen some really nice ones in some cultures where the women wear a dress that is made to be worn with pants underneath.
    I know ladies who did not got to church because they felt their legs were too ugly or misshapen and did not want to be seen. It is time for a change.
    Personally I like to wear a dress at church, but I like dresses anyway.

  • Hi , 00
    Dec. 22, 2018 6:26 p.m.

    It doesn’t say anywhere that this is a revelation. Personally I woman act different in pants than in a dress and I’m disappointed to hear this but I’ll take it to the Lord if and when I need to have some peace of mind. We are to become better people yet it’s the little things that make us better people and so many people at church are casual about looking nice and their actions.
    I look at this as another way of separating the wheat and the tears in the church.

  • CMTM , 00
    Dec. 22, 2018 1:32 p.m.

    mebs - ,We are a peculiar people, we are different, and our dressing up and looking respectable is part of that.

    The Peculiar People was a Christian movement an offshoot of the Wesleyan denomination from the KJV 1 Peter 2:9 a peculiar people." The Peculiar People is also a phrase used by the Quakers, SDA, and Mormons.

    Modern translation NIV 1 Peter 2:9. “God's special possession.”

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Dec. 22, 2018 12:10 p.m.

    The biggest changes related to missionaries in the history of the Church have to do with who was sent on missions.

    Some of the changes are hard to document. Until about 1970 there were many missionaries throughout the world who were called not under the authority of the First Presidency but by their local mission president, and served in the mission they resided in.

    Such a pattern of serving in their home mission still is common for saints in Tonga, Samoa, Haiti and several other mon-mission countries with largely unique cultures.

    However since about 1970 or so most calls have been centrally issued even if to the local place.

    Another fact is that while the first single sister missionaries were called in 1898, sisters called to serve with their husbands, including Lucy Woodruff Smith wife of George Albert Smith pre-date that. A big difference was that until after World War II married men were often called to leave their families and young couples were often called as missionaries. In some places, such as Tonga, young couples serving as full time missionaries still existed in the 1970s.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Dec. 22, 2018 12:06 p.m.

    Considering that these directives still require dresses or skirts at church meetings among other places, those who would use this change to justify women wearing slacks to church have moved beyond the mark.

    I have to admit my nostalgia has about the same reaction to this as to men no longer being required to wear suits as missionaries outside essentially the same times that women are required to wear skirts and dresses.

    That last change came with a major emphasis of vibrant colors for sister missionaries.

    When my grandmother was a missionary in Great Britain from 1948-1950 male missionaries were required to wear hats. No they are not allowed to wear hats. In the late 19th-century male missionaries were required to wear beards, now it is not allowed.

    One way to approach this for some may be long pants or leggings or thick tights covered by an angle length dress.

    I am still waiting for a comprehensive cultral history of missionaries and missionry work to be written. I sometimes think I should do it but doubt I am a skilled enough scholar to pull it off.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Dec. 22, 2018 11:57 a.m.

    A close reading of the actual statement indicates that while dress guidelines are affected in all 407 missions, not all missions or at least all areas of all missions are approved for dress slacks for sister missionaries. The change in those areas where such is not culturally acceptable allows angle length dresses or skirts in non-meeting times if desired. This recognizes that certain issus of safety and modesty mean that the traditional profesasional look of knee or calf length skirts does not adequately meet the actually needs of sister missionaries in many situations.

    This is best seen in the context of the missionary safety survey, changing cultural trends, and a decision to prioritze missionary safety as a top concern.

  • mebs ,
    Dec. 22, 2018 7:25 a.m.

    I hope sisters continue to wear dresses and skirts in areas where they don’t have concerns. Obviously in some cases dress pants are really nice.
    I served a mission and had no problem with dresses or skirts.
    I also hope this doesn’t trickle down to church. That’s one thing that drew me to the church was the way people dressed for church. I grew up in a different faith and people came in whatever they felt like. I know it doesn’t matter what you wear but it does change the feeling in a way. We are a peculiar people, we are different, and our dressing up and looking respectable is part of that.

  • jeanie orem, UT
    Dec. 21, 2018 10:16 p.m.

    About women wearing pants at church -

    There is a very conservative 80+ year old sister in our ward who occasionally wears a beautiful pants suit to church. It surprised me at first, considering her reputation, but she didn't make a big deal of it and it looked just as respectful as any dress I've seen. She wasn't there to make a statement. She was there to participate in church services.

    I don't think the Lord much cares what cultural norm we follow. The point of church is to worship God and learn how to bring our life more fully into alignment with Christ's.

  • andyjaggy American Fork, UT
    Dec. 21, 2018 4:50 p.m.

    Because I said I see no problem with women wearing pants to church you are assuming that I see no problem with people not dressing to show respect, that's a pretty far stretch and you are putting words in my mouth.

    I still fail to see how a women coming to church in a nice dress suit with pants is failing to show respect or is in any way a distraction to anyone else. How about we worry about our own spiritual journey and let others wear what they are comfortable with.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    Dec. 21, 2018 4:18 p.m.

    @andyjaggy: "..no rule against a woman wearing pants to church. ...more modest than a lot of the skin tight dresses ...."

    There are very few rules in The Restored Church of Jesus Christ except for missionaries or students at hurch-operated colleges and universities. And modesty is but one principle guiding our dress and grooming standards.

    Muddy jeans are every bit as modest as a freshly pressed suit and tie. I've had occassion to attend church service in some dirty work clothes. But they are not my usual choice and modesty has nothing to do with that decision. When I attend church services, I wear my "sunday best" whatever that best is at the time. On assignments far from home where my best clothes were the dusty cargo pants I was wearing, that is what I wore. On vacation without a suit and tie, I wear the best I have. Where I have a suit and tie, I wear them. I recently saw a man in a lava lava and sandles at the temple. Appropriate for him. Probably not for me.

    It is about showing respect to the One I worship and not being a distraction to anyone around me. But, I've never seen anyone turned away or scorned for being "under-dressed" inlcuding myself when away from home.

  • Tweety Modesto, CA
    Dec. 21, 2018 4:01 p.m.

    Long time coming. Two more words. Common Sense.

  • omahahusker Modesto, CA
    Dec. 21, 2018 3:28 p.m.

    Revelation, maybe not. Administrative change backed by prayerful consideration. That's why some posters referred to it as common sense. I am sure it's welcome news for Sister Missionaries, with guidelines when to wear a dress. This is a positive change any way you look at it!

  • Slcut Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 21, 2018 3:00 p.m.

    The sisters will look nice and comfortable in the pants. Maybe shorts next for the guys. Modern looks make the church look more appelling to possible converts. President Nielson has had some good revaluations I hope to see more.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    Dec. 21, 2018 2:58 p.m.

    @ConradGurch: "Do you really need a revelation to keep warm? What happened to common sense?"

    @ConradGurch: "All of the changes seem a little odd. Things have been working just fine for quite a few years, why aren't they working now?"

    And a couple of comments read back-to-back might cause one to wonder whether some posters just like to be contary or to agitate without reason.

    Dress and grooming standards change over time, often in response to various social pressures or what is considered modest and conservative, vs what is considered rebellious and outrageous. Beards or clean shaven for men, top hats vs bolos vs no hats at all; gloves and petticoats for ladies, shaved heads or long hair.

    Bottom line, missionaries are representing the Restored Church of Jesus Christ and His Prophets and Apostles are called and sustained to determine what dress and grooming standards are appropriate at what times, in which situations.

    I suspect that available fashions that are both modest and comely for women play as much role in this change as anything to do with warmth or other reasons. Gender is an eternal trait; women and men should look different, and be different in divine ways.

  • andyjaggy American Fork, UT
    Dec. 21, 2018 2:44 p.m.

    @Mayfair

    Last I checked there is no rule against a woman wearing pants to church. Frankly it is more modest than a lot of the skin tight dresses I see women wear to church.

  • Mayfair Logan, UT
    Dec. 21, 2018 2:13 p.m.

    The most interesting part of this article for me was the returned sister Missionary who now sometimes wears pants to church.

    That is not for mosquitos--that is just to be contrary.

    Lots of fence sitters in the church that like to be provocative and contrary like this.

  • BJMoose Syracuse, UT
    Dec. 21, 2018 12:37 p.m.

    I graduated from high school in 1968. The following year the requirement that the girls wear either a dress or skirt/blouse combination was dropped. One can form their own conclusion.

  • UtahBruin Eagle Mountain, UT
    Dec. 21, 2018 11:33 a.m.

    @JaneB

    You might consider reading the article other than just the headline.

    To be perfectly honest, wear shorts and a t-shirt to church for all I care. But then again, I understand why people don't. It is a matter of respect, and I don't mean to other members. In the article it clearly states, "Latter-day Saint sister missionaries will continue to wear skirts and dresses when attending the temple and during Sunday worship services, baptismal services, mission leadership and zone conferences." It does not say it in the article, but I would imagine that the same standards would be hopeful and appreciated if its members who attend weekly with the missionaries followed the same standard.

    Yeah, it makes sense.

  • nonceleb Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 21, 2018 11:11 a.m.

    I never understood what the problem was with slacks. I was in high school in the 60s when girls were allowed to wear slacks in the classroom for the first time. It most certainly could not be a modesty thing. Knee-length dresses and skirts, whether a girl was standing or sitting, were far more revealing and titillating to a teenaged boy than slacks. I am guessing it was because attire was one of the factors differentiating genders and there was religious resistance to the perceived trend toward androgyny and a unisex society.

  • explorer686 davis, UT
    Dec. 21, 2018 10:57 a.m.

    Welcome to the 20th century. How is this even a thing??

  • dordrecht Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 21, 2018 10:32 a.m.

    I never read that these changes came about due to a revelation. Was it?

  • Furry1993 MSC, UT
    Dec. 21, 2018 10:25 a.m.

    @JimInSLC - Dec. 21, 2018 1:34 a.m.
    The beauty of their spirit will shine as bright, in dress or slacks. But, I hope that I never see them wearing pant suits.
    ------
    Why? What is wrong with women wearing pant suits? That's just the female equivalent of the suits men wear all the time to church.

  • worf McAllen, TX
    Dec. 21, 2018 10:21 a.m.

    Just don't make the pants too tight or the skirts too short. No leggings.

    This shouldn't be a problem with sister missionaries, but for many women, they are in the fog.

  • Furry1993 MSC, UT
    Dec. 21, 2018 10:07 a.m.

    EightOhOne - Dec. 21, 2018 8:46 a.m.
    RE comment by NoNamesAccepted :

    . . . Also noticed that you've disregarded another recent revelation by referring to the Church as "LDS"
    -----

    NoNamesAccepted wasn't referring to the Church as LDS. He was referring to the Latter-day Saints who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Two different things.

  • LivinLarge Bountiful, UT
    Dec. 21, 2018 10:07 a.m.

    I remember about 50 years ago when girls began to be allowed to wear pants to school...they seem to have done just fine.

  • Meckofahess Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 21, 2018 8:59 a.m.

    As a long time church member, I applaud the many recent changes and especially the change to a 2 hour Sunday meeting block! The only question about allowing the sister missionaries to wear pants is why did it take so long for this change to happen? Most of the reasons given to justify the change have existed all along. But better late than never!

    I just hope the beautiful revelatory season we are in continues and that our Prophet continues to receive these wonderful revelations that are resulting in so many good changes which all will make a very positive difference for our church.

  • JaneB Wilsonville, OR
    Dec. 21, 2018 8:54 a.m.

    Long overdue change. Now we need to not shame women who wear pants (gasp) to church. It's really no big deal, people.

  • Laurels Sandy, UT
    Dec. 21, 2018 8:52 a.m.

    It's about time.

  • EightOhOne St. George, UT
    Dec. 21, 2018 8:46 a.m.

    NoNamesAccepted - St. George, UT

    Wow, you got all that out of FreeMan's tongue-in-cheek comment?? Not that serious. Also noticed that you've disregarded another recent revelation by referring to the Church as "LDS"

  • bamafone Salem, UT
    Dec. 21, 2018 8:24 a.m.

    Settle down Conrad, it’s a wardrobe change, not a doctrinal change.

  • zipadeedoodah Lehi, UT
    Dec. 21, 2018 7:56 a.m.

    For those who struggle with the church's announcements of change (but not doctrine), good thing you did not live in the days of Noah, Moses, Jesus or the first 25 years of the church when change was a constant.

  • KimmyP Grantsville, UT
    Dec. 21, 2018 7:24 a.m.

    The reasons listed for the change in attire are all good, and make sense, but why not simply list the reason as: it is nearly 2019. Enough said.

  • ConradGurch Salt Lake City, Utah
    Dec. 21, 2018 6:31 a.m.

    @NoNamesAccepted - St. George, UT

    Do you really need a revelation to keep warm?

    What happened to common sense?

    Not saying it can’t happen, it just seems odd.

  • JimInSLC Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 21, 2018 1:34 a.m.

    The beauty of their spirit will shine as bright, in dress or slacks. But, I hope that I never see them wearing pant suits.

  • Susan Quinton Draper, UT
    Dec. 20, 2018 10:36 p.m.

    I’m so happy for the sister missionaries! We froze on our mission and weren’t allowed to wear warm pants or boots under our skirts- this will be so helpful all over the world now.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    Dec. 20, 2018 4:48 p.m.

    @ConradGurch:

    Seems to me that when it comes to complainers, churches are danged if they do and darned if they don't.

    The antis get all bent out of shape if a church doesn't change to "keep up with the times" but at the smallest of changes, these same folks start proclaiming the change is proof that there is something wrong since God is supposed to be unchanging.

    In the Restored Church of Jesus Christ we believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and that He will yet reveal many important things, as well as some things that seem small to the understanding of man.

    For those LDS living in Utah, the change from separate meetings throughout the day and week to a consolodated 3 hour block seemed small. To members living in the mission field with a 60 minute one-way drive to church during the gas crunch, the change was huge.

    I expect most members never noticed much change between having Area Authority 70s and not. But maybe it made a difference for Stake Presidents or the Twelve for a seaons.

    I always thought the great sifting would be a Prop 8 kind of thing. Maybe it is a 2 hour block that leaves us more time to really decide where our priorities lie.

  • ConradGurch Salt Lake City, Utah
    Dec. 20, 2018 4:15 p.m.

    @FreeMan - Provo, UT

    All of the changes seem a little odd. Things have been working just fine for quite a few years, why aren't they working now?

  • FreeMan Provo, UT
    Dec. 20, 2018 3:37 p.m.

    Ancient Israelite: We had miracles like manna every morning, a pillar of fire, and the parting of the red sea.

    Us: Oh ya, we had 2 hour church and pants for ladies!!!

    :) Cracks me up how changes to administrative procedure are so mind blowing to some people. Last I checked it's still faith, repentance, baptism, and enduring to the end, right?

  • Samwise Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 20, 2018 3:35 p.m.

    My Mission Please never put sisters in bike areas because they couldn't wear pants. I know many RM sisters who did serve in bike areas though, and always felt a little bad for them. Riding a bike in a dress or a skirt does not sound fun. I'm glad that won't be a problem now.

  • Mack2828 Kenton Vale, KY
    Dec. 20, 2018 3:15 p.m.

    Awesome! Another historic and revelatory announcement. I wish they would have waited to announce it in General Conference so we could hear the excited gasp and murmur go through the crowd.