As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we have been taught numerous messages about looks and physical attractiveness, often as negative or cautious messages. Namely, that looks don’t matter much, that a looks focus is overly prideful and superficial, that focusing too much on your looks is a poor priority, etc. On the other hand, being a single member of the church necessitates a focus on looks to a degree to help attract others and produce greater opportunities for dating and marriage. So, how do we reconcile these two opposing forces?
Spiritual Teachings on Looks:
One of the most popular scriptures regarding looks comes from the Old Testament. In I Samuel 16:7, it says, “…for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” From this scripture, many have concluded that a focus on the outer appearance is less spiritual and is morally inferior to a focus on inner qualities. Such sentiment is often repeated in warnings by our general authorities of having an excessive looks focus. For instance, Elder Richard G. Scott said “Satan has unleashed a seductive campaign to undermine the sanctity of womanhood, to deceive the daughters of God and divert them from their divine destiny. He well knows women are the compassionate, self-sacrificing, loving power that binds together the human family. He would focus their interests solely on their physical attributes and rob them of their exalting roles as wives and mothers.”
Such messages can give the impression to some members that physical attractiveness is not only not that important to emphasize, but could actually make you less of a good member with proper standards and priorities. Some of these ideas have been created and reinforced by fellow members in wards in a cultural way often even stronger than the emphasis given in the scriptures and general authority comments. Nevertheless, in general, clear warnings are given by our church leaders against overly emphasizing outer appearance and neglecting or minimizing focusing on more inner, personal qualities.
Conflict as Singles:
As singles, physical and sexual attraction is essential to attract dating and relationship opportunities. And while dressing modestly is clearly promoted and emphasized by the church as a moral standard, looking attractive is undoubtable important in the dating arena at the same time. A lack of physical attraction is a common reason why a potential dating partner may conclude another is only looked at as a nice “friend”.
Suggestions to Resolve the Looks Issue as Single Members:
Singles working to improve their looks through diet, exercise, modest yet attractive fashion and makeup, and other efforts to make for a more attractive appearance are, in my opinion, still keeping within the spirit of church standards. Remember, to date and marry is also a church standard promoted to all as an ideal to strive for—along with modesty and chastity. Therefore, blending modesty with increased opportunities for dating and marriage through attractiveness is a balance that can be challenging yet achievable.
An emphasis on looks is only one way to increase attractiveness. There are many other ways to show attractiveness as well. Being strong and active in church demonstrates spiritual attractiveness. Working on personality and social skills increases interpersonal attractiveness. Developing career, income, and monetary stability increases financial attractiveness. Developing homemaking skills of cooking, cleaning, yardwork, etc. demonstrate practical/household attractiveness. Developing intelligence through college and other studies shows intellectual attractiveness. So, working on developing physical attractiveness is important, yet only one numerous potential areas of attractiveness to develop. All are important areas to work on. Nevertheless, remember that physical appearance is often the first thing noticed in others as a person initially decides whether or not you will be a possible love interest or a friend. So please, work on all of these areas including your physical attractiveness.
Remember that there is a difference between immodesty and making efforts to be physically attractive. You can look, dress, and act attractive and still keep within the standards of the church. It might require some carefulness and creativity, but it is possible. Instead of resisting or resenting others who work on their physical attractiveness, you can work on this as well and make it an asset and an important part of your own personal attractiveness. Men and women are built and designed to physically attract one another, and this attraction is a big part of what helps bring them together. So instead of fighting against this concept or ignoring it, work with it. Make it an asset and a strength, and your dating and marriage opportunities will increase. And remember that “…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.”—1 Corinthians 11:11
P.S. If you can questions, comments, or a future article request for me, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|2019-07-08||Randy Gilchrist||Dating, Health and fitness|
About the author
Hello, my name is Dr. Randy Gilchrist (aka "Dr. G"). I am a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage & family therapist, and a certified hypnotherapist in private practice in Roseville, CA (www.dr-rg.com), practicing since 1997. Also, I am happily married in the temple (Manti) since 1996 and have 4 sons. I am a volunteer writer and contributor to LDS Dimension. I use my training, education, and experience to share insights with LDS Dimension on all things of interest to the LDS dating community. Please read my articles and columns on this site to assist you in your online dating journey. Also, to be considered for an answer in a future Q and A column, please email me your dating/relationship oriented questions to email@example.com. Finally, I also offer a powerful, effective worldwide custom hypnosis recording service just for LDS Dimension members for weight loss, pornography, and many other issues of concern to those in the LDS dating community (please learn more now at www.dr-rg.com/lds; email me questions to firstname.lastname@example.org).