Wednesday, September 3, 2008


We took a trip to the mall recently. While Maryann shopped for what she needed, I took the children to one of the play areas to have fun. The setup was perfect for romping children looking for good, clean fun—except for the background.

Perhaps wanting to have a prominent place near the food court, a women's underwear store lay directly across from the children's play area. As I sat and watched my children enjoy themselves, I had to consciously try to filter out the multiple immodest advertisements adorning the store's facade. This made keeping a watchful eye difficult.

I wished I could set my eyes as I would the lens of a camera: with the focus in one place, having all other depths blurred beyond recognition. Instead, I fought the mysteriously natural tendency of my mind to want to focus on the images and shapes in the background because of their shape and position.

As I considered my position, words of Isaiah came to mind that I always found funny when I was younger because of their almost comic use of great descriptive words (see Isa. 3:16-24). However, I found no humor in the predictions that day, especially as I observed the sweet smile of my pure daughter in front of filth, unaware as she was of what lie behind her (thankfully).

How can I help my dear children rise above the temptations of the world—which evil is increasing in both magnitude and frequency—while being surrounded by near-constant exposure? The knowledge that such are a sign of the last days (see 2 Tim. 3:1-7) is of little comfort as viewed from a very personal level; I'm talking about my children, not some abstract concept.

Perhaps one answer lies in the war chapters of the Book of Mormon. The people of the Lord were under attack in dangerous warfare (recall Alma 49&50), yet they found success through fortifications. They strengthened their defenses through inspired and innovative means and found protection.

What can we use for protection?

I think of the charge to "put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil" (see Eph. 6:11-18). This account gives, perhaps, more practical application of defense: we are provided with a list of things we can do to guard against evil. In the August Ensign (link), Elder Hales provides additional insight:

The “helmet of salvation” guards our reasoning, intellect, and thoughts.

The “breastplate of righteousness” helps us to have the Spirit with us always, guarding our heart and soul.

Having our “loins girt about with truth” gives us the foundation to build faith and develop our testimony.

The “sword of the Spirit” is the word of God to pierce the darkness so that we may have light and truth to guide our way in life.

The “shield of faith” helps us withstand the fiery darts of the adversary.

Having our “feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace” by reading and studying the scriptures helps us be obedient to the laws, ordinances, commandments, and covenants of God.

Returning to modesty. We know that "the way you dress is a reflection of what you are on the inside" (For the Strength of Youth). I want to thank my mother for something that she has done for our little Rebecca, perhaps unaware. After having seen cute, playful (and expensive) dresses at a shop, she ventured that she could make them herself for her granddaughters. A trip to the store supplied her with clearanced shirts and fabric. Armed with materials, skill, imagination, and large amounts of love, she set to work. The results of her "labor of love" are modest dresses that the children love (see Rebecca in one, below).

How does this relate to the "way you dress" quote from above? My mother knows who her granddaughters are, and she is aware of their divine potential as daughters of God. This loving act of making dresses has not only revealed one aspect of her unending love, but has given her granddaughters an additional bit of armor: pure love.

I hope that it will prove safe to practice the belief that if children find pure love, support, and the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ at home, then they will be able to withstand the evils of the world and remain unscathed.

1 thought:

Maryann said...

Very well said. I love your mom and she is the sweetest woman in the world.