SALT LAKE CITY — Sister missionaries now will be able to wear pants in all missions of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, church officials announced Thursday.
Sister missionaries will now have the option to wear dress slacks in all 407 missions across the world, according to an emailed statement from church spokesman Daniel Woodruff. The new rule for dress standards takes effect immediately.
The change is mostly motivated by concerns over the safety of the missionaries, Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, a member of Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, one of the highest governing bodies of the church, said in the statement.
“As we adapt these standards, we always carefully consider the dignity of the missionary calling to represent Jesus Christ, the safety, security, and health of our beloved missionaries, and the cultural sensitivities of the places where they serve,” Elder Uchtdorf said in a statement on Newsroom, the church's media website.
The First Presidency, the top leaders of the church, approved the dress changes, Uchtdorf said.
Sister missionaries will continue wearing skirts and dresses when attending temples and during other church events, including Sunday worship services, mission leadership and zone conferences and baptismal services, according to the Newsroom statement.
Sister missionaries in about half of the church's missions across the world already have been wearing pants for safety reasons, according to the Newsroom statement. Sisters have been wearing pants during the wet seasons in certain missions to help protect them from certain diseases that are transported by mosquitos.
"This is truly optional," said Sister Bonnie H. Cordon, general president of the church's Young Women organization, which supports female church members ages 12-17. “The sisters can wear dresses, they can wear slacks, whatever will help them in their service as they’re out amongst the people.”
For sister missionaries who entered a missionary training center before March 1, 2019, and have been working in a mission where they were not previously allowed to wear pants, the mission will provide funding for them to buy three or four pairs of dress slacks, according to a Thursday church memo released on Newsroom.
Sister missionaries who enter a training center after that date will be asked to buy their own pairs of pants, according to the memo.
Sister Cordon added that the dress standards change will allow sister missionaries who are serving in cold climates stay warm. It will make it easier for sister missionaries to ride bikes, Sister Cordon said.
"Sister missionaries are amazing people," Sister Cordon said in the Newsroom statement. "We want to make sure that they’re protected."