The recent “Wear Pants to Church Day” got me thinking about what Mormons should wear to church services.
I realize the point of women wearing pants was not to encourage “dressing down.” But rather to illuminate the issue of gender inequality in the LDS Church.
But there is still the issue of what to wear on non-protest Sundays. An LDS Church spokesman stated that it is important to dress up to show respect for the Savior and his sacrifice. I don’t buy this.
In my many travels, I have attended a wide range of religious services. And at very few are there strict dress codes. Most seem to attend non-Mormon church services in comfortable clothes. I don’t see a relationship between how participants dress and their reverence toward the Savior.
In my Ward in Orem, I have seen all sorts of dress permutations. For a baby blessing, several of the male relatives wore kilts. For a confirmation ordinance, a newly baptized woman wore slacks. On a regular basis, the wife of our now Bishop used to wear a T-shirt, demin skirt, and sandals (with no socks). Some men wear colored shirts with no coats. I’ve seen others wear dark-colored denims. And some wear sweaters, with and without ties.
This obsession with men dressing like undertakers seems very strange to me. A dark suit, white see-through shirt, tie, and black shoes doesn’t spell reverence; it does spell conformity. James Goldberg (Sunstone, Jun 2012, p. 18) indicated the the word Momron conjusres up a caricature of a “conservative, bland, appearance-obsessed Pharisee sect.” Christ was a protest figure, not a follow-along type personage.
Church dress codes are difficult in many foreign countries, particularly those in Central and South America, Africa, and parts of Asia. In these areas of the world, dressing in undertaker garb is both culturally uncomfortable and can place an undo financial burden on church goers. It can also resurrect images from the colonial era. Let’s lighten up folks.