Feb 27, 2014

Redeeming Elder Callister: The Lord's Standard of Morality

By Susan Knight

Living in Utah means a lot of media about Mormons. If I still lived in Pennsylvania, I never would have heard comments on an article written by a general authority in the Ensign on the evening news. However, my attention was drawn to a segment on the news this week about Elder Tad R. Callister’s article entitled “The Lord’s Standard of Morality.”

Though the ladies (sisters in our church) on the news were complaining and rebelling against what was said about modest dress, I agree wholeheartedly with what was written. I have friends who probably would agree with those sisters on television, but, after living in the wake of a divorce due to a breach in morality, I couldn’t agree more with Elder Callister.

In speaking about the “Tentacles of the Adversary” reaching out to "cause us to break God's standard of morality," Elder Callister went on to write about "Pornography" and "Immodest Dress." He wrote, "The dress of a woman has a powerful impact upon the minds and passions of men. If it is too low or too high or too tight, it may prompt improper thoughts . . ." Having lived through the ignominy of immorality in my marriage, I now know immodest dress is a trigger for those men who have a pornography addiction, are fighting and trying to recover, or who are “. . . striving to be pure,” as Elder Callister stated.

I never realized how contemporary women dressed in the workplace until I got a job in corporate America here in Utah. Until then I worked in small businesses with only a few employees. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been embarrassed by what women are wearing where I now work. If I am embarrassed, imagine how the men must feel.

I don’t agree that men should just keep their thoughts to themselves or try not to think lustfully when they see a scantily-clad woman. Elder Callister wrote, “. . . most women get the type of man they dress for.”

This reminds me of what a young woman I know—now a young mother—said to a classmate when she was in high school. She was asked by a friend why she dressed the way she did—modestly, shirts with sleeves, prom dresses with sleeves, etc., while her friend went low-cut, sleeveless, short skirts and shorts.

That young woman profoundly answered, “What kind of message do you want to send to the boys in school? What kind of guys do you want to attract?" After that, the young woman she spoke with started dressing modestly, and they are best friends to this day.

Here is an excerpt from my blog, “Divorce: Steps to Climb,” which speaks to this same subject.

“Contemporary women in the workplace think men should control their sexual impulses as they flaunt their scantily-clad bodies, but many men have trouble doing so. One of my pet peeves is women wearing provocative clothing at the office. I balk and wonder, ‘Why is that woman dressed like a prostitute? What is she thinking?’
I pity the poor men I work with. They have to shield themselves in the workplace at every turn from cleavage, strategically-placed tattoos, fishnet stockings under too-short skirts, spiked heels, and lingerie worn on the outside, instead of hidden underneath. Men are visually oriented. Get it?”

I know some women will disagree, as said sisters on television did. Don’t judge my opinion. I have found this argument to be a truth in my own life. I had no idea what my (ex) husband was viewing every day on the job. In pornography and addiction jargon, immodest dress is called a “trigger.”
Women need to "get it."


  1. Well said, Susan. Thank you for speaking up and sharing your thoughts.

    1. So glad it was taken in the right way. It's something that really gets to me. Had to speak up to defend our general authority--and the Lord's standards!

  2. Brava, Susan!

    Sometimes I wish I carried around a stack of dickeys that I could slip to women in the workplace so they could cover up their cleavage. It's very unbecoming to let the light shine on most bosoms, since few are perfect, and fewer should be seen at the office!

    Don't know what a dickey is, Reader? There's a dictionary app for that.

    1. Marsha, I'm afraid dickey's wouldn't be long enough to cover the cleavage of some women. ha ha. They'd look like an odd scarf. LOL. However, it's not a laughing matter. It's a real dilemma for this gal at work. I feel like they should all be on "What Not to Wear."


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