521. Our words, our actions, and our dress are daily, living preachers, gathering with Christ or scattering abroad. This is no trivial matter.
522. Turn away from the fashion plates, and study the human organism.
523. 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.
524. In dress we should seek that which is simple, comfortable, convenient, and appropriate.
525. A plain, direct testimony is now needed, as given in the word of God, in regard to plainness of dress. This should be our burden. But it is too late now to become enthusiastic in making a test of this matter. There were some things which made the reform dress, which was once advocated, a decided blessing. With it the ridiculous hoops, which were then the fashion, could not be worn. The long dress skirts trailing on the ground and sweeping up the filth of the streets could not be patronized. But a more sensible style of dress has been adopted, which does not embrace these objectionable features. The fashionable part may be discarded, and should be by all who read the word of God. The dress of our people should be made most simple. The skirt and sack I have mentioned may be used, not that just that pattern and nothing else should be established, but a simple style as was represented in that dress. Some have supposed that the very pattern given was the pattern that all should adopt; this is not so, but something as simple as this would be the best we could adopt under the circumstances. . . . Simple dress should be the word; try your talent, my sisters, in this essential reform. . . . Let our sisters dress plainly, as many do, in having the dress of good material, durable, modest, appropriate for the age; and let not the dress question fill the mind.
526. The sum and substance of true religion is to own and continually acknowledge by words, by dress, by deportment, our relationship to God.
527. Perhaps no question has ever come up among us which has caused such development of character as has the dress reform.
528. Simplicity of dress will make a sensible woman appear to the best advantage. We judge of a person's character by the style of dress worn. Gaudy apparel displays vanity and weakness. A modest, godly woman will dress modestly. A refined taste, a cultivated mind, will be revealed in the choice of simple and appropriate attire.
529. 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.
530. Taste should be manifested as to colors. Uniformity in this respect is desirable so far as convenient. Complexion, however, may be taken into account. Modest colors should be sought for. When figured material is used, figures that are large and fiery, showing vanity and shallow pride in those who choose them, should be avoided. And a fantastic taste in putting on different colors is bad.
531. Let the wearing of useless trimmings and adornments be discarded. Extravagance should never be indulged in to gratify pride. Our dress may be of good quality, made up with plainness and simplicity, for durability rather than for display.
532. There is no need to make the dress question the main point of your religion. There is something richer to speak of. Talk of Christ; and when the heart is converted, everything that is out of harmony with the word of God will drop off.
533. There is no use in telling you that you must not wear this or that, for if the love of these vain things is in your heart, your laying off your adornments will only be like cutting the foliage off a tree.
534. "Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil." . . . Be not hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Fashion is deteriorating the intellect and eating out the spirituality of our people.
535. As soon as any have a desire to imitate the fashions of the world that they do not immediately subdue, just so soon God ceases to acknowledge them as his children.
536. Those who have had the light upon the subjects of eating and dressing with simplicity, in obedience to physical and moral laws, and who turn from the light which points out their duty will shun duty in other things. If they blunt their consciences to avoid the cross which they will have to take up to be in harmony with natural law, they will, in order to shun reproach, violate the ten commandments.
537. Physical loveliness consists in symmetry -- the harmonious proportion of parts.
538. Dress reform . . . includes every article of dress upon the person. It lifts the weights from the hips by suspending the skirts from the shoulders. It removes 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 proper provides for the protection and development of every part of the body.
539. Woman's dress should be arranged so loosely upon the person, about the waist, that she can breathe without the least obstruction. Her arms should be left perfectly free, that she may raise them above her head with ease...The compression of the waist by tight lacing prevents the waste matter from being thrown off through its natural channels. The most important of these is the lungs. . . . If the lungs are cramped, they cannot develop; but their capacity will be diminished, making it impossible to take a sufficient inspiration of air. . . . The compression of the waist weakens the muscles of the respiratory organs. It hinders the process of digestion. The heart, liver, lungs, spleen, and stomach are crowded into a small compass, not allowing room for the healthful action of these organs.
540. The dress should fit easily, obstructing neither the circulation of the blood, nor a free, full, natural respiration.
541. Our Creator made no mistake in fashioning the human body. He gave appropriate space for the free action of every organ, and formed us in such a way that every muscle could come into play without trespassing upon the function of any other muscle.
542. Lacing causes displacements, and this form of disease is increasing with each successive generation.
543. Many have become lifelong invalids through their compliance with the demands of fashion. Displacements and deformities, cancers and other terrible diseases, are among the evils resulting from fashionable dress.
544. Half the diseases of women are caused by unhealthful dress.
545. The hips are not formed to bear heavy weights. The heavy skirts worn by women, their weight dragging down upon the hips, have been the cause of various diseases which are not easily cured, because the sufferers seem to be ignorant of the cause which has produced them and they continue to violate the laws of their being by girding the waist and wearing heavy skirts, until they are made lifelong invalids.
546. This heavy weight pressing upon the bowels, drags them downward, and causes weakness of the stomach, and a feeling of lassitude, which leads the sufferer to incline forward. This tends further to cramp the lungs and prevents their proper action. The blood becomes impure, the pores of the skin fail in their office, sallowness and disease result, and beauty and health are gone. . . . Every woman who values health should avoid hanging any weight upon the hips.
547. The most of us wear clothing enough, but many fail to give every part of the body its due proportion. . . . If any part of the body should be favored with extra coverings, it should be the limbs and feet, which are at a distance from the great wheel of life, which sends the blood through the system. The limbs should ever be clothed with a warm covering to protect them from a chill current of air. . . . If the feet are clothed with good-sized, thick-soled, warm boots or shoes for comfort rather than for fashion, the blood will be induced to circulate freely in the limbs and feet, as well as other portions of the body. . . . If we give the lungs and feet ample room to do the work God designed they should, we shall be rewarded with better health and a clearer conscience.
548. There is but one woman in a thousand who clothes her limbs as she should.... Women should clothe their limbs as thoroughly as do men.
549. The portions of the body close to the life springs, need less covering than the limbs which are remote from the vital organs. If the limbs and feet could have the extra coverings usually put upon the shoulders, lungs, and heart, and healthy circulation be induced to the extremities, the vital organs would act their part healthfully, with only their share of clothing.
550. The extremities are chilled, and the heart has thrown upon it double labor, to force the blood into these chilled extremities; and when the blood has performed its circuit through the body, and returned to the heart, it is not the same vigorous, warm current which left it. It has been chilled in its passage through the limbs. The heart, weakened by too great labor and poor circulation of poor blood, is then compelled to still greater exertion, to throw the blood to the extremities which are never as healthfully warm as other parts of the body. The heart fails in its efforts, and the limbs become habitually cold; and the blood, which is chilled away from the extremities, is thrown back upon the lungs and brain, and inflammation and congestion of the lungs or the brain is the result.
551. It is impossible for women to have, habitually, chilled limbs and cold feet, without some of the internal organs' being congested. . . . The many extra coverings over the chest and back and lower part of the body, induce the blood to these parts, and the animal heat, thus retained, weakens and debilitates the delicate organs, and congestion and inflammation result.
552. When the extremities, which are remote from the vital organs, are not properly clad, the blood is driven to the head, causing headache or nosebleed; or there is a sense of fulness about the chest producing cough or palpitation of the heart, on account of too much blood in that locality; or the stomach has too much blood, causing indigestion.
553. The length of the fashionable dress is objectionable for several reasons: -- (1) It is extravagant and unnecessary to have a dress of such length that it will sweep the sidewalk and street. (2) A dress thus long gathers dew from the grass and mud from the streets, and is therefore uncleanly. (3) In its bedraggled condition it comes in contact with the sensitive ankles, which are not sufficiently protected, quickly chilling them, and thus endangering health and life. This is one of the greatest causes of catarrh and scrofulous swellings. (4) The unnecessary length is an additional weight upon the hips and bowels. (5) It hinders the walking, and is also often in other people's way. If women would wear their dresses so as to clear the filth of the street an inch or two, their dresses would be modest and they could be kept clean much more easily, and would wear longer.
554. You have worn too great an amount of clothing, and have debilitated the skin by so doing. You have not given your body a chance to breathe. The pores of the skin or little mouths through which the body breathes have become closed and the system has been filled with impurities.
555. I advise invalid sisters who have accustomed themselves to too great an amount of clothing, to lay it off gradually.
556. Disease of every type is brought upon the body through the unhealthful, fashionable style of dress; and the fact should be made prominent that a reform must take place before treatment will effect a cure.
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