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New dress guidelines announced for male missionaries — in some areas

In some very specific areas and cases, young men serving as missionaries will not be required to wear ties. Photo: Colby Walker, KSL NewsRadio

SALT LAKE CITY — New dress guidelines mean young male missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in your neighborhood may soon look a little different than what you’re used to.

New dress guidelines for missionaries

On Friday, church officials announced young elders in some areas will now be allowed to wear a plain blue dress shirt, with or without a tie, in addition to their customary plain white button-down shirt and tie.

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Under updated guidelines, the standard missionary attire is reemphasized, which includes a white shirt and tie and, in some areas, a suit coat. Additionally, in approved teaching areas, young men (commonly known as elders) may be able to wear a white or plain blue dress shirt with or without a tie. These exceptions will be determined by Area Presidencies. © 2020 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved

The exceptions to the dress standards were approved by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. They give local church leaders the ability to adjust the rules in their areas to “improve and maintain missionary dignity, safety, effectiveness, approachability and cultural sensitivity while properly representing the Lord and His Church.”

“Missionary attire has regularly adapted over time according to location, style and custom,” said Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and chairman of the Missionary Executive Council. “These exceptions are a continuation of that process. In all our considerations, we keep top of mind the missionary’s calling to represent Jesus Christ, their health and safety, and the cultural sensitivities of the places where they serve.”

What isn’t changing

The change will not totally eliminate the white shirt and tie that has become synonymous with the young missionaries.  In a statement, church leaders stressed that combination is still the standard for elders.

The church also says that all its elders will continue to wear a white shirt and tie (with a suit coat) in some areas. And those traditional dress guidelines will still be required for missionaries when attending the temple, Sunday worship services, leadership and zone conferences, missionary training centers, baptismal services and other church meetings.

“Missionary attire will always be dignified, respectful and approachable as missionaries fulfill their purpose of teaching people about the gospel of Jesus Christ,” said Elder Uchtdorf.

Similar changes were made to the dress standards of the church’s young female missionaries at the end of 2018.

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