Modesty is an attitude of propriety and decency in dress, grooming, language, and behavior. If we are modest, we do not draw undue attention to ourselves. Instead, we seek to “glorify God in [our] body, and in [our] spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:20; see also 1 Corinthians 6:19).
Dress and Grooming
If we are unsure about whether our dress or grooming is modest, we should ask ourselves, “Would I feel comfortable with my appearance if I were in the Lord’s presence?” We might ask ourselves a similar question about our language and behavior: “Would I say these words or participate in these activities if the Lord were present?” Our honest answers to these questions may lead us to make important changes in our lives. Prophets have always counseled us to dress modestly. This counsel is founded on the truth that the human body is God’s sacred creation. We must respect our bodies as a gift from God. Through our dress and appearance, we can show the Lord that we know how precious our bodies are.
Our clothing expresses who we are. It sends messages about us, and it influences the way we and others act. When we are well groomed and modestly dressed, we can invite the companionship of the Spirit and exercise a good influence on those around us.
Central to the command to be modest is an understanding of the sacred power of procreation, the ability to bring children into the world. This power is to be used only between husband and wife. Revealing and sexually suggestive clothing, which includes short shorts and skirts, tight clothing, and shirts that do not cover the stomach, can stimulate desires and actions that violate the Lord’s law of chastity.
In addition to avoiding clothing that is revealing, we should avoid extremes in clothing, appearance, and hairstyle. In dress, grooming, and manners, we should always be neat and clean, never sloppy or inappropriately casual. We should not disfigure ourselves with tattoos or body piercings. Women who desire to have their ears pierced should wear only one pair of modest earrings.
Language and Behavior
Like our dress and grooming, our language and behavior are expressions of our character. Our words and actions can have a profound influence on us and on others. We should express ourselves through clean, positive, uplifting language and in actions that bring happiness to those around us. Our efforts to be modest in word and deed lead to increased guidance and comfort from the Holy Ghost.
We should avoid the filthy language and the casual, irreverent use of the Lord’s name that are so common in the world, and we should withstand any temptation to participate in extreme or inappropriate behavior. The irreverent nature of such language and behavior impairs our ability to receive the quiet promptings of the Holy Ghost.
Scripture Study Resources
Topical Guide, “Chastity, Chaste,” “Modesty,” “Purity, Pure,” “Virtue, Virtuous”
Messages from Church Leaders
“Questions and Answers: Modesty in Sports,” New Era, January 2014
“Modesty Matters,” Ensign, June 2006
Jan Pinborough, “Everything Good and Beautiful,” Liahona, March 2003
In the News
“Modesty Reflects Discipleship, Commitment, Leaders Say,” Church News
Teachings of Presidents of the Church
Stories and Activities for Teaching Children
“Modesty,” Lesson Helps for Teaching Children