spencerwkimballGive the Lord Your Loyalty

Integrity (the willingness and ability to live by our beliefs and commitments) is one of the foundation stones of good character, and without good character one cannot hope to enjoy the presence of God here or in the eternities. We must not compromise our integrity by promising what we will not do. By taking our covenants lightly, we will wound our own eternal selves. I use the word covenant deliberately; it is a word with sacred connotations, and I mean to use it with all its special spiritual force. It is easy and tempting to excuse our conduct, but the Lord explains in modern revelation that “when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, (or) our vain ambition … the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and … (man) is left unto himself, to kick against the pricks”. Of course, we can choose; the free agency is ours, but we cannot escape the consequences of our choices. And if there is a weak spot in our integrity, that is where the devil concentrates his attack. I assure you that all Church standards, both those relating to moral conduct and those relating to dress and grooming, are the result of intense, prayerful consideration by Church leaders. Young adults whose clean and wholesome appearance demonstrates that they feel no need to follow after the pattern of the world—which often revels in filth and disorder and garish fads—and young men and young women who look like men and women, who have not succumbed to the morally destructive trend toward identical dress and grooming for both men and women, are people living cheerful, orderly lives., devoted to improving their ability to serve God and their fellowmen. Shakespeare had Polonius truly say, “the apparel oft proclaims the man”. We are affected by our own outward appearances; we tend to fill roles. If we are in our best Sunday clothes, we are not inclined to be rough, boisterous, or violent. If we dress for work, we are drawn to work; if we dress immodestly, we are tempted to act immodestly; if we dress like the opposite sex, we tend to lose our sexual identity or some of the characteristics that distinguish the eternal mission of our sex. Now I hope not to be misunderstood: I am not saying that we should judge one another by appearance, for that would be folly and worse; I am saying that there is a relationship between how we dress and groom ourselves and how we are inclined to feel and act. By seriously urging full conformity with the standards, we must not drive away (exclude) brothers and sisters, for there are some who have not heard or do not understand. They are not to be rejected or condemned as evil, but rather loved the more, that we may patiently bring them to understand the danger to themselves and the disservice to the ideals to which they owe loyalty, if they depart from their commitments. We hope that the disregard we sometimes see is mere thoughtlessness and not deliberate.