Understanding the Blessings That Come from Embracing Modesty

Digital Only: Young Adults

Understanding the Blessings That Come from Embracing Modesty

When I realized my identity and worth as a daughter of God, modesty became second nature to me.

Young girl with long red hair.

A few months after I received my endowment, I was driving in a blazing hot car with a friend when he pointed out that the shorts I was wearing were really long.

“Aren’t you hot?” he asked.

“I sure am,” I answered cheerfully.

We both laughed.

“But knowing you, you wouldn’t wear shorter shorts even if you weren’t wearing garments now. You’ve always been super modest,” he said teasingly.

I considered that statement.

“You’re correct,” I said, laughing.

But truthfully, I found his statement a bit unsettling. What did he mean by “super” modest? Had I been taking modesty to an extreme? Did he think I was weird?

And beneath that question were more questions that I had been considering for a while but had been too afraid to ask: Why was I so committed to dressing modestly? Did it really help me become a better disciple of Christ? Did it even matter?

Looking for the Blessings of Modesty

Some of us may have questions about modesty, especially about what it has to do with our discipleship. But as we seek guidance through the Spirit, we can begin to understand the why behind this commandment.

When I had questions about modesty and was feeling pressure from the world to lower my standards, I took my questions to Heavenly Father. Little by little, I remembered many instances where choosing to be modest—in both appearance and behavior—blessed my life immensely.

Here are just a few of the blessings that I have experienced from embracing the principle of modesty.

1. Modesty Can Build Confidence

Our bodies are sacred vessels for our spiritual selves and serve as tangible reminders of how perfectly we are loved by our Heavenly Father. It is a true privilege to have a body, as it allows us to become like Him. When we consider that miraculous and incomprehensible truth, why wouldn’t we be confident in who we are?

If you take a moment to look around, you’ll notice that, because of the adversary, the world showcases bodies differently than Heavenly Father intended. They are criticized and compared, and immodesty is often glorified. The world wants to convince us that behaving and dressing a certain way will help us fit in and feel more self-assured than ever before. But the confidence that stems from this is fleeting.

Lasting confidence comes from understanding our divine identities—realizing that our bodies are sacred instruments through which we get to experience life, not ornaments to be adorned by the world.1

In Doctrine and Covenants 121:45, the Lord teaches, “Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God.”

And it’s true! When we have modest, virtuous thoughts, they are reflected in our behavior, language, and appearance, and we can experience true self-assurance.

At times, my temporal desires have been at odds with modesty, like wanting to wear certain clothes to feel attractive or longing to fit in by acting a certain way. But as I came to truly comprehend my divine identity, I wanted to represent that truth, and behaving and dressing modestly eventually became second nature to me. And my self-confidence grew as well—after all, true confidence has little to do with our appearance and more to do with living in a way that reflects our divine identity.

2. Modesty Can Deepen Our Relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ

When seen as rules, the commandments of the gospel can seem restricting. But when we focus on Heavenly Father’s eternal perspective and love for us, we can build our testimony on the truth that His commandments are meant to protect and bless us. They stem from His perfect love.2

In pondering how modesty had blessed my life, I once considered the question President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, asked regarding our love for God versus the things of the world. He said, “How would we answer the question ‘Lovest thou me more than these?’”3

I realized that the world may be filled with temptations, but when I consider what Heavenly Father and the Savior have done for me out of love, choosing to be modest is one thing I can do to show Them love in return. Modesty is a reflection of my inner commitment to Them, and as I continue to show my devotion, I feel myself deepening my relationship with Them, which is a blessing on its own.

3. Modesty Can Invite Joy

Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught: “His commandments are not grievous—just the opposite. They mark the path of healing, happiness, peace, and joy. … And in obeying Their commandments, we feel Their perfect love more fully and more profoundly.”4

And we read in 1 Nephi that God’s love is “most joyous to the soul” (1 Nephi 11:23; see also verse 22). When we choose to follow the commandments, including modesty, we are able to feel His love and partake of the fruits of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the source of true joy.

Dressing or behaving like the majority of the world might allow me to feel happiness for a moment, and I’ve felt that temptation at times. But I am most joyful when I strive to keep the commandments and my covenants, because doing so allows me to feel Heavenly Father’s perfect love.

Treasuring Our True Identities

During that conversation with my friend, I assumed he thought I was a bit of a prude. But several years later, this friend actually became my husband, and he explained that he always appreciated how my commitment to Christ was reflected in my appearance, language, and actions.

Choosing modesty won’t always be easy, because “the voices and pressures of the world are engaging and numerous.”5 But I know the blessings and joy I receive when I embrace modesty are worth so much more than anything the world can offer me.

If you have questions about modesty, I invite you to seek personal revelation and consider how it has blessed your life. And remember, let’s not judge others’ worthiness according to their choices regarding modesty. As we choose to embrace modesty, let’s offer compassion to others—the same compassion the Savior offers us.

Modesty is one of the greatest ways we can learn to treasure our true identities, come closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and feel joy in our lives. It has been for me, and I know it can be for you too.