Mormon website digitally adds sleeves to sundress of seven-year-old girl to maintain standards of 'modesty'
A Mormon website has digitally altered a picture of a seven-year-old girl to add sleeves to the wide straps of her sundress.
LDS Church News originally published the picture in June to illustrate a story about serving in the Primary, a children's programme for members of the faith, but when it was used again for the official website, the photograph had been doctored.
The previous image that exposed the bare shoulders of the Salt Lake City resident as she sat on the lap of an adult mentor, was deemed inappropriate by LDS.org's standards, according to a page on its site.
Before and after: A Mormon church publication ran a picture in June of a girl with a sleeveless sundress but when it was reused by LDS.org, sleeves were added to the image of the seven-year-old girl
'Because of the need to present women and girls modestly, regardless of age, please avoid submitting photos of them in sleeveless tops and dresses or short skirts,' the policy reads.
But fellow Mormon and computer science lecturer at the University of California in San Diego, Cynthia Bailey Lee, is bothered by the attention given to women and young girls.
Sacred: Adult members of LDS are required to wear the white garments night and day as a reminder of the covenants they made in temple and to protect them from temptation
Yay or nay: While women are given a series of guidelines for dress that include no short skirts, sheer material or exposed shoulders, men are encouraged to simply look neat and tidy
After posting the before and after photographs on Mormon blog, ByCommonConsent, she wrote in an email to Salt Lake Tribune.
THE MORMON DRESS CODE
Though there is no strict dress code, Mormons do adhere to set of guidelines aimed to preserve their modesty.
Women are encouraged to stay away from tight-fitting, sheer or revealing clothing
Women are advised to keep skirts on the knee or an inch above
They should also avoid sleeveless tops and dresses and anything low cut
Men on the other hand are urged to keep 'clean' and 'neat'
Both men and women are instructed to avoid anything 'extreme' such as tattoos and over the top hairstyles
Adult members of the Church of Latter Day Saints are required to wear sacred white undergarments day and night under their normal clothing
'The policy is not simply a matter of preparing saints of all ages for eventual [temple] garment-appropriate wardrobe in an evenhanded sort of way,' she wrote.
'This is singling out females as requiring "modesty," saying that female bodies are objects of a sexual nature in a way that male bodies are not, and - most disturbingly - saying that sexual nature applies to toddler girls' bodies. All ages.'
On the photo standards page, only one
guideline is offered for men that suggests they do not roll up shirt
sleeves when in church.
page directed at youth outlines the importance of modesty as a means to
express the sacredness of the body but is clearly weighted towards a
While female members of the Church of Latter Day Saints are warned away from anything that is tight, sheer or revealing, men are told simply to maintain modesty and present themselves as 'neat and clean.'
'Young women should avoid short shorts and short skirts, shirts that do not cover the stomach, and clothing that does not cover the shoulders or is low-cut in the front or the back,' says the passage.
Ms Lee used a series of images of Mormon heroes in her blog post to highlight the imbalance in expectations as revered characters like King Noah and Jesus both appear baring skin.
Of the recent alteration she appealed to her fellow Mormons: 'I may be shouting into the wind, I may be tilting at windmills.
'But if nothing else I am an optimist, so I cling to the hope that this message reaches somebody who can make it stop: Stop. Please, please stop. Please stop doing this. This is madness.'
Adult members of LDS wear sacred white undergarments that are considered a way of protecting the body from 'temptation' and the 'evils' of the world.
They also serve as a constant reminder of the covenants they made in temple and are seen as expression of their commitment to follow Jesus Christ.
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