GOD IS CALLING HIS PEOPLE BACK TO —
Modest and Healthful Clothing
WM 1607: DATE OF PUBLICATION: JUNE 2010
God is pleading with His people to return to
the Christian standards given them in earlier years. Please, let us obey
“Obedience to fashion is pervading our Seventh-day Adventist churches and is doing more than any other power to separate our people from God.”—4 Testimonies, 647.
“There is a terrible sin upon us as a people, that we have permitted our church members to dress in a manner inconsistent with their faith. We must arise at once and close the door against the allurements of fashion. Unless we do this, our churches will become demoralized.”—4 Testimonies, 648.
“The words of Scripture in regard to dress should be carefully considered. We need to understand that which the Lord of heaven appreciates in even the dressing of the body. All who are in earnest in seeking for the grace of Christ will heed the precious words of instruction inspired by God. Even the style of the apparel will express the truth of the gospel.”—6 Testimonies, 96.
“It is God who condescends to give us these instructions [on dress]; they are the declarations of infinite wisdom, and those who disregard them do so at their own peril and loss.”—4 Testimonies, 645.
“All heaven is marking the daily influence which the professed followers of Christ exert upon the world. My sisters your dress is telling either in favor of Christ and the sacred truth or in favor of the world. Which is it? Remember we must answer to God for the influence we exert.”—4 Testimonies, 641.
“We judge of a person’s character by the style of dress worn.”—4 Testimonies, 643.
“Why will not everyone who professes to love Jesus flee from these soul-destroying indulgences! The world is crazy after show and fashion and pleasures. Licentiousness is steadily and fearfully on the increase. Why will not Christians be true to their high profession!”—4 Testimonies, 647.
“Our words, our actions, and our dress are daily, living preachers, gathering with Christ or scattering abroad. This is no trivial matter to be passed off with a jest. The subject of dress demands serious reflection and much prayer.”—4 Testimonies, 641.
“It is only when we seek in all things to conform to the will of God that peace and joy will reign in the soul.”—4 Testimonies, 645.
“If the church would manifest a greater interest in the reforms which God Himself has brought to them to fit them for His coming, their influence would be tenfold what it now is. Many who profess to believe the Testimonies live in neglect of the light given. The dress reform is treated by some with great indifference and by others with contempt. . . God, in His providence, has given us the light upon health reform that we may understand it in all its bearings, follow the light it brings, and by rightly relating ourselves to life have health that we may glorify God and be a blessing to others.”—3 Testimonies, 171.
“Christ is ashamed of His professed followers. Wherein do we bear any resemblance to Him? Wherein does our dress conform to the Bible requirements? I do not want the sins of the people upon me and I will give the trumpet a certain sound. For years I have born a plain and decided testimony upon this subject, in print and upon the speaker’s stand. I have not shunned to declare the whole counsel of God. I must be clear of the blood of all. The fact that worldliness and pride bear almost universal sway is no excuse for one Christian to do as others do. God has said: ‘Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil.’ Do not, my sisters, trifle longer with your own souls and with God.”—4 Testimonies, 647.
“Especially should the wives of our ministers be careful not to depart from the plain teachings of the Bible on the point of dress. Many look upon these injunctions as too old-fashioned to be worthy of notice; but He who gave them to His disciples understood the dangers from the love of dress in our time, and sent to us the note of warning. Will we heed the warning and be wise?”—4 Testimonies, 630.
“The school is to supplement the home training; and, both at home and at school, simplicity of dress, diet, and amusements must be maintained.”—Fundamentals of Education, 288.
“No education can be complete that does not teach right principles in regard to dress. Without such teaching, the work of education is too often retarded and perverted. Love of dress, and devotion to fashion, are among the teacher’s most formidable rivals and most effective hindrances.”—Education, 246.
“Both by precept and example the young should be taught simplicity of dress and manners, industry, sobriety, and economy.”—5 Testimonies, 89.
“One of the points upon which those newly come to the faith will need instruction is the subject of dress. Let the new converts be faithfully dealt with. Are they vain in dress? Do they cherish pride of heart? The idolatry of dress is a moral disease. It must not be taken over into the new life. In most cases, submission to the gospel requirements will demand a decided change in the dress.”—6 Testimonies, 96.
“All that we urge is compliance with the injunctions of God’s Word. Are we Bible readers and followers of Bible teachings? Will we obey God or conform to the customs of the world? Will we serve God or mammon? Can we expect to enjoy peace of mind and the approval of God while walking directly contrary to the teachings of His Word?”—4 Testimonies, 644.
“Will men and women professing the most solemn truths ever born to mortals be true to principle? If they would have an influence to lead the world to serious reflection, they must be; their dress and conversation must be in strict accordance with their peculiar faith.”—5 Testimonies, 128-129.
“God is weighing our characters, our conduct, and our motives in the balances of the sanctuary. . . He has given us light and a knowledge of His will, so that we need not err or walk in darkness.”—3 Testimonies, 370.
“To protect the people of God from the corrupting influence of the world, as well as to promote physical and moral health, the dress reform was instituted among us. It was not intended to be a yoke of bondage but a blessing. . . He who knows the end from the beginning, who understands our nature and our needs—our compassionate Redeemer—saw our dangers and difficulties, and condescended to give us timely warning and instruction concerning our habits of life, even in the proper selection of food and clothing.”—4 Testimonies, 634.
“Simple, plain, unpretending dress will be a recommendation to my youthful sisters. In no better way can you let your light shine to others than in your simplicity of dress and deportment.”—3 Testimonies, 376.
“Remember that the King of Glory wore a plain seamless coat.”—3 Testimonies, 379.
“God would be pleased to see our sisters clad in neat, simple apparel and earnestly engaged in the work of the Lord.”—4 Testimonies, 629-630.
“We would not by any means encourage carelessness in dress. Let the attire be appropriate and becoming. Though only a ten-cent calico, it should be kept neat and clean. . . The little ones would look very inviting in a dress without a ruffle or ornament, but kept sweet and clean.”—4 Testimonies, 641-642.
“In dress as in all things else, it is our privilege to honor our Creator. He desires our clothing to be not only neat and healthful, but appropriate and becoming.”—Education, 248.
“Our clothing, while modest and simple, should be of good quality, of becoming colors, and suited for service.”—Ministry of Healing, 288.
“At the Sanitarium, physicians and helpers have greatly departed from the Lord’s instruction in regard to dress. Simplicity is now rare. Instead of neat unadorned apparel, which the pen of inspiration has prescribed, almost every style of fashionable dress may be seen.”—4 Testimonies, 639.
“But many who profess to be children of God feel no scruples against conforming to the customs of the world in the wearing of gold and pearls and costly array. . . Those who cling to the ornaments forbidden in God’s Word cherish pride and vanity in the heart. They desire to attract attention. Their dress says, ‘Look at me; admire me.’ When the mind is fixed upon pleasing God alone, all the needless embellishments of the person disappear.”—4 Testimonies, 645.
“The instruction that was given in the early days of the message is to be held as safe instruction to follow in these its closing days.”—Review, July 18, 1907.
“Christians should not take pains to make themselves a gazingstock by dressing differently from the world. But if, when following out their convictions of duty in respect to dressing modestly and healthfully, they find themselves out of fashion, they should not change their dress in order to be like the world; but they should manifest a noble independence and moral courage to be right, if all the world differ from them.”—1 Testimonies, 458.
“Something must arise to lessen the hold of God’s people upon the world. The reform dress is simple and healthful, yet there is a cross in it. I thank God for the cross and cheerfully bow to lift it. We have been so united with the world that we have lost sight of the cross and do not suffer for Christ’s sake.”—1 Testimonies, 525.
“We should not wish to invent something to make a cross; but, if God presents to us a cross, we should cheerfully bear it. In the acceptance of the cross, we are distinguished from the world, who love us not and ridicule our peculiarity. Christ was hated by the world because He was not of the world. Can His followers expect to fare better than their Master? If we pass along without receiving censure or frowns from the world we may be alarmed, for it is our conformity to the world which makes us so much like them that there is nothing to arouse their envy or malice; there is no collision of spirits. The world despises the cross. ‘For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.’ 1 Corinthians 1:18. ‘But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.’ Galatians 6:14.”—1 Testimonies, 525.
“As we see our sisters departing from simplicity in dress, and cultivating a love for the fashions of the world, we feel troubled. By taking steps in this direction they are separating themselves from God and neglecting the inward adorning.”—4 Testimonies, 628.
“They are conforming to the world in the matter of dress; and, while they are so doing, souls whom they might have helped by letting their light shine in good works are strengthened in their unbelief by the inconsistent course of these professed Christians.”—4 Testimonies, 629.
“My Christian sisters, face the mirror, the law of God, and test your course of action by the first four commandments. These explicitly define our duty to God. He claims the undivided affections; and anything which tends to absorb the mind and divert it from God assumes the form of an idol. The true and living God is crowded out of the thoughts and heart, and the soul-temple is defiled by the worship of other gods before the Lord.”—4 Testimonies, 632.
“ ‘For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch’ [Malachi 4:1]. The unbelieving world will soon have something to think about besides their dress and appearance; and, as their minds are torn from these things by distress and perplexity, they have nothing to turn to.”—4 Testimonies, 633.
“Those among Sabbathkeepers who have yielded to the influence of the world are to be tested. The perils of the last days are upon us, and a trial is before the professed people of God which many have not anticipated. The genuineness of their faith will be proved.”—4 Testimonies, 633.
“Many dress like the world in order to have an influence over unbelievers, but here they make a sad mistake. If they would have a true and saving influence, let them live out their profession, show their faith by their righteous works, and make the distinction plain between the Christian and the worldling. The words, the dress, the actions, should tell for God. Then a holy influence will be shed upon all around them, and even unbelievers will take knowledge of them that they have been with Jesus. If any wish to have their influence tell in favor of truth, let them live out their profession and thus imitate the humble Pattern.”—4 Testimonies, 633, 634.
“To protect the people of God from the corrupting influence of the world as well as to promote physical and moral health, the dress reform was introduced among us. It was not intended to be a yoke of bondage, but a blessing; not to increase labor, but to save labor; not to add to the expense of dress, but to save expense. It would distinguish God’s people from the world and thus serve as a barrier against its fashions and follies.”—4 Testimonies, 634.
“Another reason, which I offer as an apology for calling attention again to the subject of dress, is that not one in twenty of the sisters who profess to believe the Testimonies has taken the first step in the dress reform.”—1 Testimonies, 465.
“If we find ourselves condemned as we look into the mirror, let us not
venture further in transgression, but face right about and wash our
robes of character in the blood of the Lamb, that they may be spotless.
Let us cry, as did David: ‘Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold
wondrous things out of Thy law.’ ”—4 Testimonies, 632.
“One year ago the subject of dress was again presented before me. I saw that our sisters were departing from the simplicity of the gospel. The very ones who had felt that the reform dress required unnecessary labor, and who claimed that they would not be influenced by the spirit of the world, had now taken up the fashions they had once condemned. Their dresses were arranged with all the unnecessary adornments of worldlings in a manner unbecoming to Christians and entirely at variance with our faith.”—4 Testimonies, 637-638.
“Thus have been developed the pride of heart indulged by a people that
profess to have come out from the world and to be separate. Inspiration
declares that the friendship of the world is enmity with God; yet His
professed people have expended their God-given time and means upon the
altar of fashion.”—4 Testimonies, 638.
“It is a shame to our sisters to so forget their holy character and
their duty to God as to imitate the fashions of the world. There is no
excuse for us except the perversity of our own hearts. We do not extend
our influence by such a course. It is so inconsistent with our
profession of faith that it makes us ridiculous in the eyes of
worldlings.”—4 Testimonies, 641.
“I have been shown that the main cause of your backsliding is your love of dress. This leads to the neglect of grave responsibilities, and you find yourselves with scarcely a spark of the love of God in your hearts. Without delay, renounce the cause of your backsliding, because it is sin against your own soul and against God. Be not hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Fashion is deteriorating the intellect and eating out the spirituality of our people.”—4 Testimonies, 647.
“I have been shown that our church rules are very deficient. All exhibitions of pride in dress, which is forbidden in the Word of God, should be sufficient reason for church discipline.”—4 Testimonies, 647.
“Self, and only self, is the object of adoration, and one such professed Christian will lead many away from God.”—4 Testimonies, 648.
“Chaste simplicity in dress, when united with modesty of demeanor, will go far toward surrounding a young woman with that atmosphere of sacred reserve which will be to her a shield from a thousand perils.”—Education, 248.
“To protect the people of God from the corrupting influence of the world, as well as to promote physical and moral health, the dress reform was introduced among us. It was not intended to be a yoke of bondage, but a blessing.”—4 Testimonies, 634.
“Some in responsible positions have exerted an influence in favor of worldly customs and entirely at variance with the Bible standard. They have done their part in bringing about the present state of worldliness and backsliding.”—4 Testimonies, 639.
“God has been testing His people. He allowed the testimony concerning dress to become silent, that our sisters might follow their own inclination and thus develop the real pride existing in their hearts. It was to prevent the present state of worldliness that the reform dress was recommended. Many scorned the idea that this dress was necessary to preserve them from following the fashions; but the Lord has permitted them to prove that pride was cherished in their hearts, and that this was just what they would do. It is now shown that they needed the restriction which the reform dress imposed.”—4 Testimonies, 639, 640.
“When told of their mistake, many will immediately exclaim, ‘Why, such a style of dress would be old-fashioned!’ What if it is? I wish we could be old-fashioned in many respects. If we could have the old-fashioned strength that characterized the old-fashioned women of past generations, it would be very desirable.”—1 Testimonies, 461.
“We have counted the cost of appearing singular in the eyes of those who
feel compelled to bow to fashion. And we decide that in the end it will
pay to try to do right, though for the present we may appear odd in the
eyes of those who will sacrifice convenience, comfort, and health, at
the altar of fashion.
“This has led me to see the necessity of our sisters’ representing the
dress reform aright, by manifesting neatness, order, and uniformity in
dress. I shall have patterns prepared to take with us as we travel,
ready to hand to our sisters whom we shall meet, or to send by mail to
all who may order them.”—1 Testimonies, 522.
“The instruction that was given in the early days of the message is to be held as safe instruction to follow in these its closing days.”—1 Selected Messages, 41.
“Some have supposed that the very pattern given was the pattern that all were to adopt. This is not so. But something as simple as this would be the best we could adopt under the circumstances. No one precise style has been given me as the exact rule to guide all in their dress.”—3 Selected Messages, 254.
“Let our sisters dress plainly, as many do, having the dress of good material, durable, modest, appropriate for this age, and let not the dress question fill the mind.”—Child Guidance, 414.
“By walking in a forbidden path themselves, they lead others in the same way of disobedience and backsliding. Christian simplicity is sacrificed to outward display. My sisters, how shall we change all this? How shall we recover ourselves from the snare of Satan and break the chains that have bound us in slavery to fashion?”—4 Testimonies, 631.
“I would remind the youth who ornament their persons, and wear feathers upon their hats, that, because of their sins, our Saviour’s head wore the shameful crown of thorns. When you devote precious time to trimming your apparel, remember that the King of Glory wore a plain, seamless coat.”—3 Testimonies, 379.
“We would not by any means encourage carelessness in dress. Let the attire be appropriate and becoming. Though only a ten-cent calico, it should be kept neat and clean.”—4 Testimonies, 642.
“I do not consider the dress question of so vital importance as the Sabbath. Concerning the latter there can be no hesitation.”—1 Testimonies, 522.
“None need fear that I shall make dress reform one of my principal subjects as we travel from place to place. Those who have heard me upon this matter will have to act upon the light that has already been given. I have done my duty; I have borne my testimony; and those who have heard me and read that which I have written must now bear the responsibility of receiving or rejecting the light given. If they choose to venture to be forgetful hearers, and not doers of the work, they run their own risk and will be accountable to God for the course they pursue. I am clear. I shall urge none and condemn none. This is not the work assigned me. God knows His humble, willing, obedient children and will reward them according to their faithful performance of His will. To many the dress reform is too simple and humbling to be adopted. They cannot lift the cross. God works by simple means to separate and distinguish His children from the world; but some have so departed from the simplicity of the work and ways of God that they are above the work, not in it.”—1 Testimonies, 523, 524.
“Especially should the wives of our ministers be careful not to depart from the plain teachings of the Bible on the point of dress. Many look upon these injunctions as too old-fashioned to be worthy of notice; but He who gave them to His disciples understood the dangers from the love of dress in our time and sent to us the note of warning. Will we heed the warning and be wise?”—4 Testimonies, 630.
“Now, if conformity to the fashions of the world is right and pleasing to God, where is the need of making a change at all? But if it is wrong, is it best to continue in the wrong any longer than is positively necessary to make the change?”—4 Testimonies, 640.
“Some contend that what I wrote in Testimony for the Church No. 10 does not agree with my testimony in the work, entitled How to Live. They were written from the same view, hence are not two views, one contradicting the other, as some may imagine; if there is any difference, it is simply in the form of expression.”—1 Testimonies, 456.
“Fashion rules the world; and she is a tyrannical mistress, often compelling her devotees to submit to the greatest inconvenience and discomfort. Fashion taxes without reason and collects without mercy. She has a fascinating power; and stands ready to criticize and ridicule the poor if they do not follow in her wake at any cost, even the sacrifice of life itself. Satan triumphs that his devices succeed so well, and death laughs at the health-destroying folly and blind zeal of the worshipers at fashion’s shrine.”—4 Testimonies, 634.
“Inspiration declares that the friendship of the world is enmity with God; yet His professed people have expended their God-given time and means upon the altar of fashion.”—4 Testimonies, 638.
“Our people have been steadily retrograding in the work of reform. Wisdom and judgment have seemed paralyzed. Selfishness and love of display have been corrupting the heart and deteriorating the character. There is a growing disposition to sacrifice health and the favor of God upon the altar of ever-changing, never-satisfying fashion.”—4 Testimonies, 638.
“In order to be in accordance with fashion and custom, many parents have sacrificed the health and lives of their children.”—3 Testimonies, 136.
“The natural heart is ever pleading in favor of worldly customs, and any
influence tells with tenfold power when exerted in the wrong
direction.”—4 Testimonies, 638.
“Pride, ignorance, and folly are constant companions. The Lord is displeased with the pride manifested among His professed people. He is dishonored by their conformity to the unhealthful, immodest, and expensive fashions of this degenerate age.”—4 Testimonies, 634.
“While the visions have reproved pride and imitating the fashions of the world, they have also reproved those who were careless in regard to their apparel.”—1 Testimonies, 275.
“It is a shame to our sisters to so forget their holy character and their duty to God as to imitate the fashions of the world. There is no excuse for us except the perversity of our own hearts.”—4 Testimonies, 641.
“The making of changes in apparel for sake of fashion merely is not sanctioned by the Word of God.”—Ministry of Healing, 290.
“Christians should not take pains to make themselves a gazing stock by dressing differently from the world. But if, when following out their convictions of duty in respect to dressing modestly and healthfully, they find themselves out of fashion, they should not change their dress in order to be like the world; but they should manifest a noble independence and moral courage to be right, if all the world differ from them. If the world introduces a modest, convenient, and healthful mode of dress which is in accordance with the Bible, it will not change our relation to God or to the world to adopt such a style of dress. Christians should follow Christ and make their dress conform to God’s Word. They should shun extremes. They should humbly pursue a straightforward course, irrespective of applause or of censure, and should cling to the right because of its own merits.”—1 Testimonies, 458-459.
“We as a people do not believe it our duty to go out of the world to be out of fashion. If we have a neat, plain, modest, and comfortable plan of dress, and worldlings choose to dress as we do, shall we change this mode of dress in order to be different from the world? No.”—1 Testimonies, 424.
“Fashion is deteriorating the intellect and eating out the spirituality of our people. Obedience to fashion is pervading our Seventh-day Adventist churches and is doing more than any other power to separate our people from God. I have been shown that our church rules are very deficient. All exhibitions of pride in dress, which is forbidden in the Word of God, should be sufficient reason for church discipline. If there is a continuance, in face of warnings and appeals and entreaties, to still follow the perverse will, it may be regarded as proof that the heart is in no way assimilated to Christ. Self, and only self, is the object of adoration, and one such professed Christian will lead many away from God.”—4 Testimonies, 647-648.
“Young and old, God is now testing you. You are deciding your own eternal destiny. Your pride, your love to follow the fashions of the world, your vain and empty conversation, your selfishness, are all put in the scale, and the weight of evil is fearfully against you. You are poor, and miserable, and blind, and naked. . . Many, I saw, were flattering themselves that they were good Christians, who have not a single ray of light from Jesus. They know not what it is to be renewed by the grace of God. They have no living experience for themselves in the things of God. . . The third angel is leading up a people, step, by step, higher and higher.”—1 Testimonies, 189-190.
“As the truth is brought into practical life, the standard is to be elevated higher and higher, to meet the requirements of the Bible. This will necessitate opposition to the fashions, customs, practices, and maxims of the world. Worldly influences, like the waves of the sea, beat against the followers of Christ, to sweep them away from the true principles of the meekness and grace of Christ; but they are to stand as firm as a rock to principle. It will require moral courage to do this, and those whose souls are not riveted to the eternal Rock will be swept away by the worldly current. We can stand firm only as our life is hid with Christ in God. Moral independence will be wholly in place when opposing the world. By conforming entirely to the will of God, we shall be placed upon vantage ground, and shall see the necessity of decided separation from the customs and practices of the world. We are not to elevate our standard just a little above the world’s standard, but we are to make the line of demarcation decidedly apparent.”—Fundamentals of Education, 288-289.
“These lessons are for us. Those who claim to know the truth and understand the great work to be done for this time, are to consecrate themselves to God, soul, body, and spirit. In heart, in dress, in language, in every respect they are to be separated from the fashions and practices of the world. They are to be a peculiar and holy people. It is not their dress that makes them peculiar, but because they are a peculiar and holy people, they cannot carry the marks of likeness to the world.”—Fundamentals of Education, 311.
“I was shown that the people of God should not imitate the fashions of the world. Some have done this and are fast losing the peculiar, holy character, which should distinguish them as God’s people. I was pointed back to God’s ancient people, and was led to compare their apparel with the mode of dress in these last days. What a difference! What a change! Then the women were not so bold as now. When they went in public they covered their faces with a veil. In these last days fashions are shameful and immodest. They are noticed in prophecy. They were first brought in by a class over whom Satan has entire control, who, ‘being past feeling (without any conviction of the Spirit of God) have given themselves over unto lasciviousness to work all uncleanness with greediness.’ If God’s professed people had not greatly departed from Him, there would now be a marked difference between their dress and that of the world. The small bonnets exposing the face and head, show a lack of modesty. The hoops are a shame. The inhabitants of earth are growing more and more corrupt, and the line of distinction between them and the Israel of God must be more plain or the curse which falls upon worldlings will fall on God’s professed people.”—1 Testimonies, 188-189.
“Many will not attend the service of God upon the Sabbath, because their dress would appear so unlike that of their Christian sisters in style and adornment. Will my sisters consider these things as they are, and will they fully realize the weight of their influence upon others? By walking in a forbidden path themselves, they lead others in the same way of disobedience and backsliding. Christian simplicity is sacrificed to outward display. My sisters, how shall we change all this? How shall we recover ourselves from the snare of Satan and break the chains that have bound us in slavery to fashion? How shall we recover our wasted opportunities? How shall we bring our powers into healthful, vigorous action? There is only one way and that is to make the Bible our rule of life.”—4 Testimonies, 631.
“God leads His people on step by step. The Christian life is a battle and a march. In this warfare there is no relief. The effort must be continuous and persevering. It is by unceasing endeavor that we maintain the victory over the temptations of Satan.”—8 Testimonies, 313.
“Those who stand in the highest positions may lead astray. The wisest err; the strongest may falter and stumble. There is need that light from above should be constantly shed upon our pathway. Our only safety lies in trusting our way implicitly to Him who has said, ‘Follow Me.’ ”—Patriarchs and Prophets, 556.
“As the truth is brought into practical life, the standard is to be elevated higher and higher, to meet the requirements of the Bible. This will necessitate opposition to the fashions, customs, practices, and maxims of the world. . . By conforming entirely to the will of God, we shall be placed upon vantage ground, and shall see the necessity of decided separation from the customs and practices of the world. We are not to elevate our standard just a little above the world’s standard, but we are to make the line of demarcation decidedly apparent.”—Fundamentals of Education, 288-289.
“The love of dress endangers the morals and makes woman the opposite of the Christian lady, characterized by modesty and sobriety. Showy, extravagant dress too often encourages lust in the heart of the wearer, and awakens base passions in the heart of the beholder. God sees that the ruin of the character is frequently preceded by the indulgence of pride and vanity in dress.”—4 Testimonies, 645.
“I beg of our people to walk carefully and circumspectly before God. Follow the customs in dress so far as they conform to health principles. Let our sisters dress plainly, as many do, having the dress of good, durable material, appropriate for this age, and let not the dress question fill the mind. Our sisters should dress with simplicity. They should clothe themselves in modest apparel, with shame-facedness and sobriety. Give to the world a living illustration of the inward adorning of the grace of God.”—Child Guidance, 414.
“Do not encourage a class who center their religion in dress. Let each one study the plain teachings of the Scriptures as to simplicity and plainness of dress and by faithful obedience to those teachings strive to set a worthy example to the world and to those new in the faith. God does not want any one person to be conscience for another.”—Child Guidance, 429.
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
“Man was to bear God’s image, both in outward resemblance and in
character. Christ alone is the “express image” (Heb. 1:3) of the Father,
but man was formed in the likeness of God. His mind was capable of
comprehending divine things. His affections were pure; his appetites and
passions were under the control of reason. He was holy and happy in
bearing the image of God and in perfect obedience to His will.
“It was the adversary of all good who instigated the invention of the ever-changing fashions. He desires nothing so much as to bring grief and dishonor to God by working the misery and ruin of human beings. One of the means by which he most effectually accomplishes this is the devices of fashion that weaken the body as well as enfeeble the mind and belittle the soul.”—Ministry of Healing, 291.
“Satan invented the fashions in order to keep the minds of women so engrossed with the subject of dress that they could think of but little else.”—4 Testimonies, 629.
“Satan invented the fashions which leave the limbs exposed, chilling back the life current from its original course. And parents bow at the shrine of fashion. . . Even life itself is frequently sacrificed to the god of fashion.”—2 Testimonies, 532.
NOT ONLY MODEST BUT HEALTHFUL
“It [dress] should have the grace, the beauty, the appropriateness of natural simplicity.”—Ministry of Healing, 289.
“To protect the people of God from the corrupting influences of the world, as well as to promote physical and moral health, the dress reform was instituted among us.”—4 Testimonies, 634.
“In all respects the dress should be healthful.”—Ministry of Healing, 288.
“But dress reform comprised more than shortening the dress and clothing the limbs. It included every article of dress upon the person. It lifted the weight from the hips by suspending the skirt from the shoulders. It removed the tight corsets, which compress the lungs, the stomach and other internal organs, and induce curvature of the spine and an almost countless train of diseases. Dress reform properly provided for the protection and development of every part of the body.”—4 Testimonies, 635.
“With this style of dress, one light skirt, or at most two, are all that is necessary, and these should be buttoned to a waist or suspended with straps.”—2 Selected Messages, 478.
“It [dress reform] included every article of dress upon the person. It lifted the weights from the hips by suspending the skirts from the shoulders. It removed the tight corsets which compress the lungs, the stomach, and other internal organs, and induce curvature of the spine and an almost countless train of diseases. Dress reform properly provided for the protection and development of every part of the body.”—Counsels on Health, 599.
“An almost endless train of disease results from unhealthful modes of dress, and careful instruction on this point should be given. Impress upon the pupils the danger of allowing the clothing to weigh on the hips or to compress any organ of the body. . . The dress should be so arranged that full respiration can be taken and the arms be raised above the head without difficulty.”—Education, 199.
“The character of the climate, the surroundings, the condition of health, the age, and the occupation must all be considered. Every article of dress should fit easily, obstructing neither the circulation of the blood, nor a free, full, natural respiration. Everything worn should be so loose that, when the arms are raised, the clothing will be correspondingly lifted.”—Ministry of Healing, 293.
“It [our clothing] should provide warmth and proper protection.”—Ministry of Healing, 288.
“Many a poor girl, for the sake of a stylish gown, has deprived herself of warm underwear and paid the penalty with her life.”—Ministry of Healing, 290.
“Another evil which custom fosters is the unequal distribution of the clothing; so that, while some parts of the body have more than is required, others are insufficiently clad. The feet and limbs, being remote from the vital organs, should be especially guarded from cold by abundant clothing. . . Perfect health requires a perfect circulation; but this cannot be had while three or four times as much clothing is worn upon the body, where the vital organs are situated, as upon the feet and limbs.”—Ministry of Healing, 293.
“Perfect health depends on perfect circulation. Special attention should be given to the extremities, that they may be as thoroughly clothed as the chest and the region over the heart, where is the greatest amount of heat. Parents who dress their children with the extremities naked, or nearly so, are sacrificing the health and lives of their children to fashion.”—2 Testimonies, 531.
“Your girls should wear the waists of their dresses perfectly loose, and
they should have a style of dress convenient, comfortable and modest. In
cold weather they should wear warm flannel or cotton drawers, which can
be placed inside the stockings. Over these should be worn lined pants
which may be full, gathered into a band and neatly buttoned around the
ankle, or taper at the bottom and meet the shoe. Their dress should
reach below the knee. With this style of dress, one light skirt, or at
most two is all that is necessary, and these should be buttoned to a
waist. The shoes should be thick-soled and perfectly comfortable. With
this style of dress your girls will be no more in danger in the open air
than your boys. And their health would be much better, were they to live
more out of doors, even in winter, than to be confined to the close air
of a room heated by a stove.
“There is but one woman in a thousand who clothes her limbs as she should. Whatever may be the length of the dress, females should clothe their limbs as thoroughly as the males. This may be done by wearing lined pants gathered into a band and fastened about the ankle or made full and tapering at the bottom; and these should come down long enough to meet the shoe. The limbs and ankles thus clothed are protected against a current of air. If the limbs and feet are kept comfortable with warm clothing, the circulation will be equalized and the blood will remain healthy and pure because it is not chilled or hindered in its natural passage through the system.”—2 Selected Messages, 479.
“But our clothing, while modest and simple, should be of good quality, of becoming colors, and suited for service. It should be chosen for durability rather than display.”—Ministry of Healing, 288.
“He that framed us never designed that we should be deformed with hoops or anything to look like them.”—1 Testimonies, 277.
“Having the clothing neat and clean will be one means of keeping the thoughts pure and sweet. Every article of dress should be plain and simple, without unnecessary adornment, so that it will be but little work to wash and iron it. Especially should every article which comes in contact with the skin be kept clean and free from any offensive odor. Nothing of an irritating character should touch the bodies of children, nor should their clothing be allowed to bind them in any way. If more attention were given to this subject, far less impurity would be practiced.”—Child Guidance, 461, 462.
“Puritan plainness and simplicity should mark the dwellings and apparel of all who believe the solemn truths for this time.”—5 Testimonies, 189.
“Lead the youth to see that in dress, as in diet, plain living is
indispensable to high thinking.”—Education, 248.
“In all respects the dress should be healthful. ‘Above all things,’ God desires us to ‘be in health,’ health of body and of soul. And we are to be workers together with Him for the health of both soul and body. Both are promoted by healthful dress.”—Ministry of Healing, 288.
“It is impossible to have health when the extremities are habitually
cold; for if there is too little blood in them there will be too much in
other portions of the body. Perfect health requires a perfect
circulation; but this cannot be had while three or four times as much
clothing is worn upon the body, where the vital organs are situated, as
upon the feet and limbs. . .
THE QUESTION OF LENGTH
“In answer to letters of inquiry from many sisters relative to the proper length of the reform dress, I would say that in our part of the State of Michigan we have adopted the uniform length of about nine inches from the floor. I take this opportunity to answer these inquiries in order to save the time required to answer so many letters. I should have spoken but have waited to see something definite on this point in the Health Reformer. I would earnestly recommend uniformity in length, and would say that nine inches as nearly accords with my views of the matter as I am able to express it in inches. As I travel from place to place I find that the reform dress is not rightly represented, and am made to feel that something more definite should be said that there may be uniform action in this matter. This style of dress is unpopular, and for this reason neatness and taste should be exercised by those who adopt it. I have spoken once upon this point, yet some fail to follow the advice given. There should be uniformity as to the length of the reform dress among Sabbathkeepers. Those who make themselves peculiar by adopting this dress should not think for a moment that it is unnecessary to show order, taste, and neatness.”—1 Testimonies, 521.
“My views were calculated to correct the present fashion, the extreme long dress, trailing upon the ground, and also to correct the extreme short dress, reaching about to the knees, which is worn by a certain class. I was shown that we should shun both extremes. By wearing the dress reaching about to the top of a woman’s gaiter boot we shall escape the evils of the extreme long dress, and shall also shun the evils and notoriety of the extreme short dress.”—1 Testimonies, 464.
“The proper distance from the bottom of the dress to the floor was not
given to me in inches. Neither was I shown lady's’ gaiter boots. . .
MOTHERS AND CHILDREN
“I am filled with pain and anguish as I see parents conforming to the
world and allowing their children to meet the worldly standard at such a
time as this. I am filled with horror as the condition of families
professing present truth is opened before me. The profligacy of youth
and even children is almost incredible. Parents do not know that secret
vice is destroying and defacing the image of God in their children. The
sins which characterized the Sodomites exist among them. The parents are
responsible; for they have not educated their children to love and obey
God. They have not restrained them, nor diligently taught them the way
of the Lord. They have allowed them to go out and to come in when they
chose, and to associate with worldlings. These worldly influences which
counteract parental teaching and authority are to be found largely in
so-called good society. By their dress, looks, amusements, they surround
themselves with an atmosphere which is opposed to Christ.
“But the greatest evil is the influence upon the children and youth.
Almost as soon as they come into the world they are subjected to
fashion’s demands. Little children hear more of dress than of their
salvation. They see their mothers more earnestly consulting the fashion
plates than the Bible. . .
“The church should make the Word of God her standard, and parents should think intelligently upon this subject. When they see their children inclined to follow worldly fashions, they should, like Abraham, resolutely command their households after them. Instead of uniting them with the world, connect them with God.”—5 Testimonies, 499.
“Parents who would teach their children the evil of following the fashions of the world, have a hard battle. . . What can parents say? They should set a right example before their children, and although the example of professed followers of Christ causes the children to think that their parents are too careful and severe in their restrictions, yet God will bless the efforts of these consecrated parents. If parents do not take a decided, firm course, their children will be borne down with the current; for Satan and his evil angels are working upon their minds, and the example of unconsecrated professors makes the work of overcoming far more laborious for them. Yet with faith in God and earnest prayer, believing parents should press on in the rugged path of duty.”—1 Testimonies, 278-279.
“It may require effort to break away from the chains of custom, and dress and educate the children with reference to health; but the result will amply repay the effort.”—Ministry of Healing, 383.
“For breaking the spell of fashion, the teacher can often find no means more effective than contact with nature. Let the pupils taste the delights to be found by river or lake or sea; let them climb the hills, gaze on the sunset glory, explore the treasures of wood and field; let them learn the pleasure of cultivating plants and flowers; and the importance of an additional ribbon or ruffle will sink into insignificance.”—Education, 247-248.
“Some have said, ‘After I wear out this dress, I will make the next plainer.’ Now, if conformity to the fashions of the world is right and pleasing to God, where is the need of making a change at all? But if it is wrong, is it best to continue in the wrong any longer than is positively necessary to make the change? . . Would it not be praiseworthy to manifest at least equal earnestness to make it conform to the Bible standard? . . What are you willing to sacrifice to correct the wrong example you have been giving to others?”—4 Testimonies, 640.
“God holds mothers accountable for the diseases their children are compelled to suffer. Mothers bow at the shrine of fashion, and sacrifice the health and lives of their children. Many mothers are ignorant of the result of their course in thus clothing their children. But should they not inform themselves, where so much is at stake? Is ignorance a sufficient excuse for you who possess reasoning powers? You can inform yourselves if you will, and dress your children healthfully. Parents may give up the expectation of their children’s having health while they dress them in cloaks and furs, and load down those portions of the body with clothing where there is no call for such an amount, and then leave the extremities, that should have special protection, almost naked. The portions of the body, close by the life springs, need less covering than the limbs which are remote from the vital organs.”—2 Selected Messages, 470-471.
“Leaving the arms and limbs insufficiently protected has been the cause of a vast amount of disease and premature deaths. There is no reason why the feet and limbs of your girls should not be, in every way, as warmly clad as those of your boys.”—Review, January 9, 1900,
“Both by precept and example the young should be taught simplicity of dress and manners, industry, sobriety and economy.”—5 Testimonies, 89.
ADORNMENT AND JEWELRY
“In the professed Christian world enough is expended for jewels and needless expensive dress to feed all the hungry and to clothe the naked.”—Ministry of Healing, 287.
“To dress plainly, abstaining from display of jewelry and ornaments of every kind, is in keeping with our faith.”—3 Testimonies, 366.
“Let none dishonor God’s sanctuary by their showy apparel.”—5 Testimonies, 499.
Before this august personage stood the majesty of heaven, without adornment or display.”—Desire of Ages, 594.
“I would remind the youth who ornament their persons and wear feathers upon their hats, that because of their sins, our Saviour’s head wore the shameful crown of thorns. When you devote precious time to trimming your apparel, remember that the King of Glory wore a plain seamless coat.”—3 Testimonies, 379.
“I saw that the outside appearance is an index to the heart. When the exterior is hung with ribbons, collars, and needless things, it plainly shows that the love for all this is in the heart; unless such persons are cleansed from their corruption, they can never see God; for only the pure in heart will see Him.”—1 Testimonies, 136.
“In mentioning collars, I did not design to be understood that nothing like a collar should be worn or, in mentioning ribbons, that no ribbon at all should be worn.”—1 Testimonies, 135, footnote.
“Have not our sisters sufficient zeal and moral courage to place themselves without excuse upon the Bible platform? The apostle has given most explicit directions on this point; ‘I will therefore . . that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.’ Here the Lord, through His apostle, speaks expressly against the wearing of gold. Let those who have had experience see to it that they do not lead others astray on this point by their example. That ring encircling your finger may be very plain, but it is useless, and the wearing of it has a wrong influence upon others.”—4 Testimonies, 630.
“The Bible teaches modesty in dress. . . This forbids display in dress, gaudy colors, profuse ornamentation. Any device designed to attract attention to the wearer or to excite admiration is excluded from the modest apparel which God’s Word enjoins.”—Ministry of Healing, 287.
“Our appearance in every respect should be characterized by neatness, modesty, and purity.”—6 Testimonies 96.
“True refinement does not find satisfaction in the adornment and display of the body.”—2 Testimonies, 243.
“Self-denial in dress is a part of our Christian duty. To dress plainly, abstaining from display of jewelry and ornaments of every kind, is in keeping with our faith. Are we of the number who see the folly of worldlings in indulging in extravagance of dress as well as in love of amusements? If so, we should be of that class who shun everything that gives sanction to this spirit.”—3 Testimonies, 366.
“When their hearts are affected by the truth, it will cause a death to the world and they will lay aside the ribbons, laces, and collars; and, if they are dead, the laugh, the jeer, and scorn of unbelievers will not move them. They will feel an anxious desire to separate from the world.”—1 Testimonies, 136-137.
“God has been testing His people. He allowed the testimony concerning dress to become silent, that our sisters might follow their own inclination and thus develop the real pride existing in their hearts. It was to prevent the present state of worldliness that the reform dress was recommended.”—4 Testimonies, 639.
“Christians are not to decorate the person with costly array or
expensive ornaments. . . We need to understand that which the Lord of
Heaven appreciates and in even the dressing of the body. All who are in
earnest in seeking the grace of Christ will need the precious words of
instruction inspired by God.”—6 Testimonies, 96.