Why I wear a Dress to Church

We may earn money from the companies or products mentioned in this post.

Sorry for the interruption today. I don’t talk about my religion much on here. I don’t want you to feel like I’m preaching or pushy.
Today, however, I feel a strong desire to say what is weighing heavily on my heart.  It has to deal with a movement I became aware of yesterday “Wear Pants to Church day”.

This movement has my heart feeling heavy. I am so sad that this is even happening. Please, bear with me, as I tell you why I will continue to wear a dress to church every Sunday.

I am a woman.

Plain and simple. I wear a dress because I feel, for me, it shows greater respect for worshipping my Father in Heaven.  I don’t wear a dress every day of the week. In fact, I only wear a dress for special occasions. Every Sunday is a special occasion for me.

Sunday is a day I set aside for the sole purpose of learning and worshipping. A day I focus on my family, and the eternal importance they are to me. It is a day I take to reflect on my Savior and His gift of Life.

When I wear a dress, I feel different, and so do those around me.

Wearing a dress, means I have to be more conscious of how I act, how I move my body, and the care I take in looking nice.  A dress gives me the time to ponder on my Savior’s life, because I can’t go for a run in a dress. I can’t sprawl out on the floor and be lazy in a dress. While wearing a dress, I just feel better. I feel closer to my Father in Heaven. 

Recently while going out to do my monthly Visiting Teaching (a program in our church, where 2 women visit a list of other women to check on their well being, and leave them with a spiritual message), my partner noticed I was in a dress.  It was laundry day at my house, and my skirt was the only thing clean to wear.  However she told me “We should wear a dress every time we go visiting. I think it would help us feel the Spirit more.”

And you know what? I think she’s right. When I visit these women, I want to take with me the Spirit of Christ, that we may be more receptive to what the women may be in need of.  It’s obviously not just me, but my partner felt that Spirit more as well, just from wearing a dress.

I am not inferior to men.

I am so so so very tired of being told that because I wear a dress to church, or because I can’t have the priesthood power, that I must be inferior to men, and therefore am subject to them, and am living an old way of life. I am tired of being told that times are changing and I need to get with them; that somehow because I enjoy the old way of life, I must be brainwashed and am a victim of male domination.

I am here to tell you I am not any of those things.  Mark and I work as a team. We both have divine responsibilities set forth from our Father in Heaven. Who am I to tell God He is wrong?  Who am I to go against what I feel is the divine role of women?  Would you like to know what I feel is my role as a women?

By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.
The Family: A Proclamation to the World. Given By Gordon B Hinkley (Prophet, Seer and Revelator) in 1995

I truly believe my divine role as a mother is to nurture my children. To see to their needs both physically and spiritually. To comfort them when hurt, sick, and afraid. To guide them with an eternal perspective.  This is my role, and I am proud of it. I take great pride in teaching my children eternal principles – self worth, respect, love and more.

As the Proclamation states, I am an equal partner to my husband. I help support him in providing our children with the necessities of life and protection. In turn, Mark also helps with the nurturing at home. He is present in our daily family prayers, and embracing the teachings we want our kids to understand.  Together we are a team, and without each other, our family life wouldn’t be the happy place it is.

In essence, my whole idea of making our house a home, would not happen, if we were competing with each other to be the provider, or the nurturer. I don’t feel inferior. I feel divinely inspired to stay home where I can watch over the well being of my children, morning noon and night.

I enjoy feeling feminine.

I actually like being a girl. I’ve told you before that I’m no girly girl. I don’t wear makeup daily, I struggle making my hair and the kids hair look fancy (or even just really nice), but I love dressing up. I love knowing that I’m a girl at heart. I enjoy kisses in the moonlight, Mark holding my hand, wearing high heels and perfecting the poise needed for stilettos. I love crying at sappy movies while cuddling up with Mark.  This is who I am.

I like cooking. I enjoy having a warm meal for Mark to come home to. I feel accomplished when I can 6 jars of peaches for my family to eat throughout the winter. The smells of cookies/bread/pie baking are some of my favorites to indulge in.  Sewing is another passion of mine. I enjoy making pretty things for my kids to wear/play with. Seeing their smiles because I made something just for them (even if it’s not that great), warms me to the core.

My message to the Feminists reading this

Please leave politics out of my sacred time at church. I want to go to church and feel the Spirit. I personally don’t care if you want to wear pants. As long as you come ready to learn and worship with me, you could be naked for all I care (OK really please don’t go that far, I might blush).

Your mindset is wrong. I truly believe that The Church of Jesus Christ is led by a Prophet of God. I believe Joseph Smith saw God our Father and His Son Jesus Christ in a grove of trees in New York. I have been in that grove and felt something amazing.
God is our Father. He loves each of us equally, because we are His Children. He is no respecter of persons. God looks on the heart.

Making a political statement at church is to me, equivalent of telling God He is wrong, and needs to change. Your heart isn’t in the right place. He knows that if you come to church wearing pants, and you feel that is your best dress, then He won’t care. He will love you for coming to Him.
But if you come to church intent on telling others they are wrong for wearing a dress, that they should seek “gender equality” because somehow they are inferior, your heart isn’t at church. You aren’t there to worship. God knows that.

Thank you for reading my thoughts on this subject. I have prayed about writing this.  I don’t want to offend. I just needed to get this out there. I need the feminists to understand where we women who don’t embrace your movement are coming from.  Why we feel the way we do. We are happy with our roles, and would very much like you to stop telling us we are inferior. We don’t feel that way, and we are sorry that you do. 

With that I’d like to end with this quote from church leadership

The Church has not attempted to indicate just how long women’s or girls’ dresses should be nor whether they should wear pant suits or other types of clothing. We have always counseled our members to be modest in their dress, maintaining such standards in connection therewith as would not be embarrassing to themselves and to their relatives, friends, and associates. We have advised our people that when going to the temple they should not wear slacks or mini-skirts, nor otherwise dress immodestly. We have not, however, felt it wise or necessary to give instructions on this subject relative to attendance at our church meetings, although we do feel that on such occasions they should have in mind that they are in the house of the Lord and should conduct themselves accordingly.
Church Policies and Procedures. 1971

According to that, you can wear pants to church. So why you must make a big deal out of it, I don’t understand. It just shows more that your heart is not at church. Again, I am sorry to any women who feel like they are less, but please don’t tell me I must feel that way. I don’t. I am happy with who I am, and my divine role.

*I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Many know us as Mormons. If you’d like to learn more about our church and what we believe, please visit Mormon.org  or feel free to ask me any questions. I am an open book.

24 thoughts on “Why I wear a Dress to Church

  1. I just wanted to say how glad I am we are friends and you put down exactly how I feel and I am grateful for that!!

  2. I'm not a Mormon, but I'm a Christian and I LOVE the way you articulated your beliefs regarding this issue! I personally don't have a problem with wearing pants to church, but I agree with so much of what you said. Being at church is about worshiping God, not about what we're wearing. Additionally, thank you for what you said regarding the current form of feminism. I choose to stay at home with my kids. I believe God created me to raise them in a healthy, loving manner, and the best way for me to do that is to not work outside the home. Loving being a woman and reveling in my nurturing role does not make me inferior. Thank you for this post!

    1. Thank you Colleen for stopping by, and sharing another Christian view on feminism today. We have so much in common. I hope as sisters in Christ we can learn to love each others differences, and not put so much emphasis on outward appearances. It is what I strive to teach my children daily – love has no bounds when we look on the heart instead of the clothes.

  3. I love when other people can say exactly what I'm feeling when I am feeling inarticulate. Thank you so much for being in tune with the Spirit and posting this AWESOME response to this whole ridiculous thing.

  4. I am really proud of you Adelina for stating your beliefs. It is frightening to put yourself out like you did. I think Americans in general need to think more about the appropriateness of their dress for many situations. Too often I see people at parent conferences, school functions, churches, etc. not dressed with respect for the occasion.

  5. How wonderful that a young woman can stand and say what she truly feels about our Heavenly Father. I have always felt that wearing a dress to church was the propert thing to do. As a young girl going to church with my family every Sunday was special. I grew up a Baptist & dressed in lovely dresses, hats and gloves (oh, I felt so grown up at age 6). We joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and wearing a dress to church every Sunday did not change for me. Fashion trends of course change and I no longer wore hats & gloves (at least during warm weather). When someone comes to church in pants, embrace them with fellowship & love. Thank you for sharing your sweet thoughts with us.

    1. So… a woman can stand and say what she feels about our Heavenly Father if she's talking about wearing a dress, but if she's talking about wearing pants her "heart is not at church" and she should stop "making such a big deal out of it"? Hypocrite, much?

    2. scrappy, thank you so much for your perspective from a convert. I always wanted to wear hats and gloves to church – as a child I always thought that was the prettiest thing ever!
      You are right, we should embrace everyone with fellowship and love, no matter what they wear. It's what I am trying to get everyone to understand. We don't need a "wear pants to church day" because we can already do that, and shouldn't fear exclusion from it. But by having this day, the women supporting it, are telling me that I'm wrong by wearing a dress.

  6. i appreciated this post and the kindliness with which it was written. i do think however that it comes from a misunderstanding of what this day is about. we are by no means trying to get women to stop wearing dresses. we are not trying to get women to stop being stay at home mothers (in fact i am one of those! and i love it! i am also a feminist). it is not about exclusion, but about widening our circle of inclusion. many of us have seen and experienced ourselves stories where women (both members and investigators) have been excluded and judged for dressing outside the norm, whether by choice or necessity. as you mention, the leaders have counseled us that our dress to church is our own business and affair, so long as we are respectful. therefore i am wearing pants to church on sunday to show solidarity with the leaders' position, as well as the women who have been neglected and excluded for choosing to commit an act that is doctrinally harmless, but culturally fraught. this aspect of our culture is harmful (not the ability to wear a dress, which i support, but the perceived requirement), which is why i deem it worthwhile to stand up and let people know it is not, in fact, true doctrine.

    thanks for listening, sorry my post is long.

    1. a.maren Have you ever lived outside of Utah? I feel like your attempt to make a statement is something that only a narrow minded utah member would say. Outside of Utah people are accepted at whateveer spiritual,physical, or mental place they are at. In the '80's members from mexico would travel up to Mesa to attend the temple. Most traveling for days, sometimes in pants. Never did I ever see someone with a current temple recommend ever be turned away from temple worship because of their attire.

    2. Um… "narrow minded" is exactly the opposite of what she said. You might want to read it again. She is simply reporting on her experience, and your disbelief in it is a form of exclusion. Also, she did not "attempt" to make a statement. She did.

    3. a.maren I'm sorry for the anonymous response you've received here. I appreciate your opinion, and telling me how you feel on the subject. I said it in above comment, but I'll repeat here, this isn't about widening the circle of inclusion. By having a day to wear pants, which is a non issue, this movement is telling me and all the women who wear a dress that we are mean, that we have excluded people, that somehow because we feel that a dress is our absolute best, we are wrong and need to change. You are doing to us, exactly what you say we are doing to you. But from everyone I've talked to, they could care less if a fellow sister wears pants to church, as long as they are there to worship and feel the spirit.
      This movement is taking the feeling of the Spirit out of church, because people are choosing to make it a political statement (yes it is a political statement). I'm not sure how much you've looked into this movement, but the lady who has created it, is also seeking to be given the power of the priesthood. do you agree with that? do you think because a bunch of women wear pants to church, God will change His mind, and let a woman be a bishop? I don't think so, and so this just drives out the spirit for everyone.
      I think this is a very fine line we are walking.

      Anon, please be respectful. We can disagree nicely without calling names.

    4. adelina, i really appreciate your response. i especially appreciate your call for civility. it's so important, in this time of contention and intolerance. the events of today make me feel like there is so little love in the world, so little kindness. it's good to see it can exist, even among those who disagree on some things.

      i just wanted to reply that i'm sorry this movement seems to accuse you of intolerance. from where i am at i am certainly not thinking of it that way. i am not looking through the crowd at church, narrowing my eyes at people i think might be intolerant. i feel that if you have not excluded people and been mean about others wearing pants (and only you know if you have, i am in no place to judge that about you and am not trying to), then none of the critical aspects of the movement are aimed at you. i am thinking of the women who HAVE been hurt by wearing pants (and yes, for many it is a non-issue, as it is for me, so i consider us as on the same side), because unfortunately it does happen. i want to reach out to them and let them know they are welcome and wanted, even if they don't dress like everyone else. and for the record, i love skirts, wear them almost every sunday, and have zero beefs with people who love and wear them too (including this sunday).

      as for the founders of the movement, they represent one aspect of a wide spectrum of feeling about gender relations in the church. if they were pushing for ordination of women, i might not join in the event. but the wearing of pants seems to me something relatively harmless, and standing up to say that yes, it IS allowed, is not a position i have a problem with.

      finally, i think whether we feel the spirit in a meeting is within our own control and related to our personal relationship with god, not what others are wearing.

      i appreciate you responding to me. it's very helpful for me to know where others are coming from and what is driving some of the strong feeling among those who are offended by this.

    5. and re: anonymous, i grew up in salt lake city but live outside of utah right now. it's true that my current ward is much more open-hearted and tolerant than what i saw in utah
      (although there were many wonderful people too), and i'm grateful to be here. i am hoping that the church in utah might become more like the church is out here, and people standing up to the culture is one way to get there (and that's how i see this, standing up to an unkind culture, not to the church itself, which is in support of women wearing pants if they feel it is their best).

  7. I don't know what these comments about Utah are about. I've lived in Utah and have been in many different wards/neighborhoods. Most of them have been completely non-judgmental and go out of their way to invite people to church even if they can't wear a dress or nice suit, even extending an offer for a ride! Only one or two wards/neighborhoods have been terrible as some people describe.

    Aside from that, I want to say to Adelina that your post is so great on this subject! I loved every word. I also do not like when women tear down the view that God has for us in the name of feminism or "equality". We are already equal in God's eyes, but we are DIFFERENT. Men and women are different and the devil wants us to believe that a man's role in society is "more important" and "valued" because they are out there slaying the dragons and being the faces of invention and success. The funny thing is that no one can look past that and see who raised those men. In many aspects women contribute so much more and are the foundation of what has been built in this world. While feminism tears apart the true virtue, respectability, and roles that women inherently have, society is crumbling bit by bit as that "foundation" I spoke of is weakened because women feel like they are less if they are performing their natural roles. The wearing pants to church ridiculousness proved nothing but pettiness. If it is truly about other people feeling so judged that they couldn't attend church that is a problem to be resolved in their own hearts. Sometimes we just have to deal with cruel and ridiculous people in life. If they're going to judge a woman by the fact she is wearing pants to church, that is not an issue with the church, that is an issue with those members.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.