Modesty Through Example

by Jen

By Jenny Longenecker

Everyone in church is always taught to be good examples because we can have a big influence on non-members. Though this may sound cliché, it is very true.

My extended family plays a big part in my life, but, outside of my immediate family, none of my relatives is a member of the church. This creates interesting moments during family parties, whether my grandmother is asking questions about the church, or my dad is saying a blessing over food in a midst of Catholics. It has also allowed me to share some things with a particular cousin of mine.

My cousin Elise* is one year younger than I and completely into the fashion scene. Several years ago when I was about twelve, we had gotten together at her house and decided to go through her closet. Elise took out some clothes that she wanted me to try on. However, I refused because they were immodest. Modesty was a foreign concept to Elise. I spent some time explaining that I would not wear tank tops, or two piece swim suits, etc.

This came into play later one summer at a birthday party for my dad’s cousin’s daughter. A Slip-n-Slide was set out for the kids. I had not brought a swimsuit, but Elise and her mom had brought two of Elise’s swimsuits: a one piece and two piece. My aunt told Elise to allow me to wear the two piece. But Elise said to her mom that I did not wear bikinis and that I would rather wear the one piece. Without any prompting from me, Elise had known what to say. By telling Elise my beliefs, I didn’t have to speak up for myself. Although Elise does not share my belief of modesty, she respects it.

I had another chance to teach someone else about my beliefs in modesty. I went shopping once with a friend of mine who decided to pick out an outfit for me. My friend went around the whole department of clothes, and nine times out of ten, picked out a piece of clothing that was immodest. I told her several times, “I won’t wear that.” She retorted that she was picking the outfit. My reply: “You can pick it, but I won’t wear it.” After awhile, my friend picked out clothes that were modest and I was willing to wear. Like Elise, she does not fully understand where I am coming from, but respects what I have chosen to wear and not wear. She also liked the aspect that in my religion, it is not just we cannot wear that, we cannot listen to that—we’ve made the decision not to.

If we want to be good examples, may I offer a quote to be of some help: “Live in such a way, that those who know you, but don’t know Christ, will want to know Christ, because they know you.” I think that is something we should and can all strive to do and be. One day our example will truly have an effect on someone, now or in the future.

*Name has been changed.

Jenny Longenecker lives in Bettendorf, Iowa. She is currently a freshman in high school. Jenny has one brother and loves to write. She also enjoys playing the flute and the piano.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous January 19, 2006 at 7:12 pm

Good job!! be true to your self!!


Anonymous February 12, 2006 at 3:06 pm

Good 4 u! I have thought of other people being inmodest and going against the chuch as an excuse for me to also but you show the example that you can be modest even when it’s not popular. thanx.


Anonymous April 10, 2006 at 10:22 am

That’s so great!
I’m actually the *only* member in my family. It got really tough going shopping with my mom becuase she would want me to try on all of these immodest clothes. Actually, the funny thing was, that never before would she would have allowed me to wear something so immodest, but somehow after I became interested in joining the church, and even after I did (much to her dismay) she continues to give me immodest clothes for my birthday etc. My friends on the other hand, are much more understanding. Not living in Utah, it was really hard to find a modest formal for Homecoming. My friend came with driving all around town looking for a modest a dress. And guess what? We found one! I really do mean that — one!

This is such a great site. It’s great to hear from people who understand and believe in modesty.


Anonymous May 21, 2006 at 6:21 am

I would recommend all of you to stand up for your standards of modesty!
Don’t worry so much for what people will think, because all “descent” people will respect your values. Questions are not always critizism! Here is my story: I’m not LDS, but I have always felt discomfortable about dressing immodest. I had a friend in high school who was LDS. I thought she always dressed pretty! We had a talk about fashion and modest clothing, and the funny thing was, we both had the same opinion about immodest clothing! Some days later she showed me a new era-article about modesty and explained what “rules” she followed (no bare shoulders, etc.). When I read it, I immediatley felt that it was true. Since then, I always follow those “rules”! You are all role models, remember that!


Anonymous June 22, 2006 at 1:36 pm

I understand modesty in dress and manner, but I was wondering if modesty also applies to hairstyle?


Anonymous September 1, 2006 at 12:30 pm

I think modesty does apply to hairstyle as well as clothing. Think about it. Would you show up to sacrement meeting with a blue mohawk?


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