Be Ye Therefore Perfect: Saints and Cosmetic Surgery

“So, what would you have done?” Conversing with some of the least vain people I know, the question surprised me. However, with the growing incidence of teenagers going under the knife , Sister Tanner and Elder Holland’s talks at the last General Conference, and the $12.4 billion Americans spent on cosmetic surgery in 2005, can it really be that surprising? How far are we going to achieve perfection?

We are all commanded to be perfect. And we all fail. It’s part of the human experience. Most LDS that I know tend to break the enormous responsibility into bite-sized, manageable pieces, like being perfect in paying tithing, weekly church attendance, keeping the Word of Wisdom, etc etc. However, these are rather discreet ways of being perfect … talking about them exudes a distasteful and ostentatious air reminiscent of the Rich Man in the parable of the Widow’s Mite.

So, when did the search for perfection become public? Even with the Book of Job in the Old Testament, why is the law of the harvest so insidiously entrenched? Why do we associate wealth, abundance and beauty with righteousness, and poverty and the absence of physical beauty with unrighteousness? In the Lord’s name, Samuel passed over seven of Jesse’s sons, “for the Lord seeth not as man seeth, for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart (1Sam 16:7),” and chose David. Coincidentally, David was “withal of a beautiful countenance and goodly to look at,” but maybe that was just spiritually. Or maybe not. Somehow, humanity cannot get past the idea that what looks good must be good.

Cosmetic surgery is becoming more acceptable to the American public; and with better technology and financing, it’s becoming more common than I ever believed.

“More and more, Americans are coming to accept and embrace the tremendous benefits of cosmetic surgery. According to a study, appearing in the March 2005 issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, nearly fifty percent of all young women would consider plastic surgery by middle age and forty percent would consider it in the near future. According to an AARP survey, 60 percent of women and 35 percent of men say they would undergo plastic surgery if it could be done safely and effectively. It seems the majority of Americans see plastic surgery in a favorable light (”

When I was a little girl, I longed fair skin, red hair and green eyes. Back then it was impossible, but with skin lighteners, hair color and colored contacts, my childhood fantasy is within reach. Yes, I would probably look like a freak, but so does Joan Rivers, and she makes a fortune and gets to mock celebrities to their faces.

In the LDS singles scene, women are haunted by the specter of Barbie … tall, buxom, blonde, blue-eyed, with very low FP (or Fat Potential, as a guy friend once disgustingly put it). In a community with limited resources (righteous, active, single men), how can consumers (women) hope to get a competitive edge? Apparently, cosmetic surgery has been one tool that’s blossomed in the Deseret. Utah boasts one of the highest per capita incidence of cosmetic surgery in the nation. We could try to pin it on the non-member granola types who tend to gravitate to Utah, but that theory just doesn’t hold water. We are the ones searching for perfection and happiness in all the wrong places.

In the Last General Conference, Elder Holland stated, “In terms of preoccupation with self and a fixation on the physical, this is more than social insanity; it is spiritually destructive, and it accounts for much of the unhappiness women, including young women, face in the modern world.”

In the same General Conference, Sister Susan W. Tanner eloquently stated the
right places to look search for joy.

“Happiness comes from accepting the bodies we have been given as divine gifts and enhancing our natural attributes, not from remaking our bodies after the image of the world. The Lord wants us to be made over—but in His image, not in the image of the world, by receiving His image in our countenances.”

To this end, I’d like to restate the complete scripture, with one little addition. “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father (and Mother) which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matt 5:48)

As an Asian-American, I can never hope to (uncosmetically) fit the Barbie mentality that represents the Northern American, and particularly mormon, standard of beauty. That isn’t to say that I don’t still struggle in the beauty wars, because I occasionally do (as evidenced by how fantastic my hair is going to look after I get it cut this afternoon). However, the larger (and more complete and beautiful) picture is that I am vying for spiritual perfection. Yes, I have to break them down into manageable, bit-sized pieces, but I intend to savor each of the courses offered at the celestial feast. Care to join me?

And, to answer the first question, our anonymous answers were: hair plugs, lipo and nothing at all.


Jana is a university administrator and teaches History. Her soloblog is

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  1. AmyB says:


    You seem to be saying there is a uniquely mormon standard of beauty. Can you say more about that? I did notice on my last trip to Utah (I’ve lived in NY for a few years now) that when I went to the mall, there seemed to be a trend of moms trying to look like their teenage daughters. Not sure if that’s a Utah thing or a suburban thing, or unique to that mall, or what. In NY there are classy and hip ways for non-teenage women to dress and look that seemed lost on the Utah crowd.

    It’s also my experience that I get constant comments on my looks from women in my branch in Brooklyn. I think I’m pretty average looking, but in this particular branch they can’t stop talking about how I look like a model/movie star. I am youngish and white in contrast to most of them, so that may be at play. At first it was flattering, but now it really bothers me. I’m not sure what it all means.

  2. jana says:


    I really appreciate this post. A part of me feels indignant about the number of women willing to go under the knife. As someone who’s had more than my share of non-elective surgery, I can’t fathom anyone willingly choosing such an option.

    However, I also have certain parts of my body that really annoy me. And if I had the resources to change them, I might just get the courage to do it.

    But just the other day I met someone who’d had a _lot_ of work done. Her face resembled Meg Ryan’s (as if she had brought a picture in and crafted her look quite purposefully). Her lips with the upturned corners and falsely-full cheekbones–not to mention the unwrinkled skin that covered her face–looked so odd. I found myself wanting to stare long and hard because her facial muscles didn’t seem to follow her skin as she spoke. In short, it was creepy.

    I wish that people could love their bodies as they are. I wish that there was more variety in the media to encourage variety in colors, shapes, and textures of bodies (including soft and wrinkly bodies). I hope that as I age that the joys and sorrows of my life are etched meaningfully onto my face. It seems a canvas that any artist (including me!) could be proud of.

  3. AmyB says:

    “Utah boasts one of the highest per capita incidence of cosmetic surgery in the nation.”

    Can you say where you got this information? Off the top of my head, I would think that California, New York and Texas would lead the pack. I would also think that wealth, average age, and ethncity of the general population would be variables.

    As an anecdote, however, the ward in which I grew up in Utah Valley acquired the nickname “The Silicone Ward” because so many women had breast implants.

    I like your thoughts and scripture references. Regardless of whether or not mormons are more vulnerable to the high value placed on looks in society(I’m not convinced) it’s a great reminder to me focus back on my own inner beauty.

  4. Starfoxy says:

    At first I thought the initial question was “what would you have done?” as in “what action would you have taken?” Anyhow now, that I know what you meant…
    Plastic surgery bothers me on many many levels. I would think that LDS people would be more likely to be vehemently opposed to plastic surgery, given the importance placed on having a body in general and recognizing the body as a powerful tool and a gift from HF. I suppose when people hear of having perfected bodies after the resurrection they think that means thin, large chested, and hairless legs, and full ‘pouty’ lips. I guess I can’t blame people for thinking that what the world continuously tells us is perfect is the same thing as what the Lord promised us. I, however, look forward to having hairy legs.

  5. Caroline says:

    Dora, Thanks for this wonderful, thoughtful post.

    I am coming at this from a unique perspective because…um….I’ve had plastic surgery. I came from a town where in So Cal where plastic surgery was very common. At 18, my two best friends got nose jobs. So did I, because I couldn’t stand the bump on my nose. It made me so self conscious that I wouldn’t wear my hear in a pony tail because I wanted to cover up my profile as much as possible. This bump, which I realize now was not that bad or that important, caused me a lot of angst as an adolescent.

    A decision I made at 18 is not the same one I would make at 28. I realize now how I was playing into what the media told me was the right and wrong way to look. I ache for young girls who feel inadequate because they don’t fit the Barbie mold.

    But, I can’t deny that my nose job did wonders for my self confidence. I got to college and thought I could conquer the world. I flirted with boys for the first time. I was vivacious and lively because I was confident and happy. And as stupid as it sounds, much of that stemmed from the changed self-perception I got from my plastic surgery.

    While my confidence really did grow as a result of this decision, I realize now, as I did not then, that it would have been better if my confidence had stemmed from other things – brains, niceness – rather than my looks. I have to acknowedge, though, that having the horrible albatross of the bumpy nose gone may have played a part in unlocking my confidence in other aspects of my life.

    Anyway, Dora, you can see that I’m ambivalent. But the older I get, the more sympathetic and appreciative I am of talks like Holland’s. I think the world would be a much better place if the world didn’t obsess over females’ looks so much and promote unrealistic ideals of beauty. Also, of course, the world would be better if females were able to develop the inner strength to not care so much about what society tells them they should look like. (harder said than done)

  6. Dora says:

    I think I jumped the gun. I have heard so many times that Utah was in the top five for per capita incidence of cosmetic surgery, that I believed it to be true. I have been unable to find any hard data that supports this. The 2005 data from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery does not contain any information with regards to geographical location, and the National Clearinghouse of Plastic Surgery Statistics site has been unopenable this evening. I will keep on looking for info, and update as I can, although the per capita theory may still stand up. 2004 populations stats: California 35,893,799 (#1); Texas 22,490,022 (#2); New York 19,227,088 (#3); Utah 2,389,039 (#34). (brief pause while I take a bite of tough and stringy crow)

    I don’t think that the BHBE standard is uniquely mormon, but I think that the mormon culture has adopted it from the larger western US culture. I’ve been told three times in my life that I couldn’t possibly be mormon, because I didn’t have BH or BE. I also think that LDS women (whatever their marital status) are particularly aware and vigilant about their appearance. The singles’ wards I have visited in CA and UT have sometimes seemed more like fashion shows than places of worship.

    About staring long and hard … I’ve had conversations with guys about who they think has had cosmetic surgery, especially breast sugmentation. They do notice changes, and it’s not always beneficial for the lady in question.

    Obviously, the issue of cosmetic surgery is getting attention at the church HQ level. Who knows if they will come down in cosmetic surgery as hard as they have come down on tattoos and multiple piercings. However, the spirit of the law is clear.

    For those in close proximity to SLC, you might check out Women’s Week 2006 at the U of U. It’s free, and will be focused on the commercialization of the female body.

    Interesting about the Silicone Ward. Reminds me of that scene in the movie LA Story. Steve Martin says to his girlfriend, “Your boobs feel weird.” Girlfriend replies, “Oh, that’s because they’re real.”

    And regarding the resurrection, I’d think that the body would reject foreign parts as it gains perfection in the eyes of our Father in Heaven. I could be wrong. But if I’m right, Michael Jackson and sundry other extremists are going to want a refund.

    And yes, given the money and the opportunity, I think that most of us would be ambivalent. In the end, I think that official church stances against cosmetic surgery will go the way of the United Order … it’s fine when you’re working within a closed community, but the desires of individuals probably won’t be stifled when in regular contact with those who don’t “do as we’re doing.” However, I do think that we as a church can do better to help girls develop a stronger sense of self-esteem, ability and confidence so that they won’t feel like the only plausible solution is cosmetic surgery.

    (Sorry, but I’m unable to publish the links for ASAPS, the National Clearinghouse and Women’s Week 2006 at this time, but are easily accessible via Google.)

  7. Susan M says:

    I’ve been thinking that as time goes on, and more and more aging celebrities have plastic surgery, that horrible stretched-back face/eyes and stretched out mouth is going to become a look that everyone grows used to. Since we see celebrities all over the place, all the time.

  8. Ian says:

    There is something gross about most people who have had face lifts etc. Like Michael Jackson, I think that people can develop a sickness regarding their looks. I am wondering if a lot more people would look like MJ if they had the money.

    I am truly saddened that so many people have self esteem issues. But I can totally relate. When I was younger, I was picked on for having terrible acne and glasses, and I had a terrible self esteem. I would have done anything to get rid of my acne I think.

    I hope that I can sufficently build my childrens self esteem so that they will have a better self image than I had, regardless of wether they have as bad acne as I had.

    Also, rest assured, I will find the best medicine possible to help get rid of my kids acne.

  9. Tracy M says:

    I think helping a child with acne is not in the same moral boat as having your face peeled and changed… I too will help my kids with acne if they experience it.

    Thanks for the thoughtful post, Dora. I have wondered about the resurection, too. What is going to happen when our bodies are perfected? It has alwasys seemed to me that society’s idea of perfection probably doesn’t jive with what the Lord considers perfect!

    That said, I have had a breast-reduction to alleviate pain in my back. Totally elective, I didn’t require it to live, but it sure did improve the quality of my life. I guess people who live in glass houses (that’s me)… I really am hoping that I don’t get my huge chest back though…

  10. AmyB says:

    I’ve heard several times that there are more women in Utah taking prozac than anywhere else. While I haven’t checked out statistcs (if they are even available), my suspicion is this idea came from the same rumor mill as Utah leading the pack in plastic surgery. I wonder what it might be about mormon psychology that promulgates ideas like this.

    Ian, there is an actual diagnosis for people like Michael Jackson who are addicted to plastic surgery and still never satisfied with their looks. It’s called Body Dysmorphic Disorder.

    I’m sure this whole issue that Dora raises will be come tremendously more poignant to me if I have children, especially daughters.

  11. Dora says:


    I don’t consider breast reduction to be cosmetic surgery, which I view as unneccesary procedures for aesthetic purposes. I know many women who are interested in BR, and I think it can be a viable solution for women who suffer from backpain, etc due to large breasts. After resurrection? I have no idea what to expect on that front, but I’d like to think that a happy medium (C cup?) is within reach.

    The funny thing about the “more cosmetic surgery in Utah” idea is that I’ve only heard it from men up until this point. As for prozac, I’m not sure. I know some fantastic “10” women in LA who get down on themselves because of the perceived burden of perfection (and not only physical, there’s a whole spiritual dimension that I haven’t even gone into).

    As for children, it’s rather a theoretical problem for me at the present time. However, I’d like to think that I’d be able to teach them everything they can do to maximaize their potential, and help them over humps when they need extra special care.

  12. AmyB says:

    On the flip side of this issue, I loved watching many of the women’s events in the olympics (like skiing and snowboarding). These women were powerful, skilled, successful, and were on international television with no make-up and hair in ponytails. And they were beautiful!

  13. Mike says:

    I was a little embarassed when I told my mom that my then fiancee had a nose job. But I told her because I wanted her to circulate it around the family so that no one would crack some joke about plastic surgery in front of my fiancee not knowing that my wife had it done.

    But, sweetie-pie, I would have still married you with that bump on your nose! (Of course, I’ve never seen you with the bump, so we’ll never have to test that promise…)

  14. Caroline says:

    Whoa, Mike, your mom told your whole family????? How come I didn’t know this before? Oh well. At the time I probably would have been angry with you, but now I don’t care that much. I am what I am, and that includes a formerly bumpy nosed person. I just chalk it up to one of my life’s experiences. Glad to know you don’t mind interesting noses, as our children are bound to have doozies. (Mike has a, shall we say, distinctive, nose himself.)

  15. Caroline says:

    And I’ve been thinking that there are a lot of gray areas with plastic surgery. Someone brought up the issue of acne, and I definitely believe in getting people help for that (though that’s not plastic surgery – just medical intervention to make people look better.)

    I’m also 100% behind people who get breast reductions. This seems beneficial health-wise to me, though I suppose it might also make a person look better too.

    What about orthodontics? I had braces and went through years of discomfort related to them (12 teeth pulled, torn up mouth, etc.) But in the end I’m glad I did it, and I would probably do the same for my kids. Even if it was for purely cosmetic reasons (I’ve heard some say that it’s for health of teeth also), I’d still do it. So while I’m becoming increasingly uncomfortable with things like nose jobs and face lifts, I’m not quite sure how getting braces is all that different.

  16. Sarah says:

    I have a facial birthmark (port wine stain), that covers the left side of my face. When I was a young teenager, I joined an online support group for people with my type of birthmark. I talked with women whose husbands and children have never seen them without makeup on, kids who’ve never gotten up late to school because it takes 30 minutes for their Dermablend to set, and a dozen or more competent, successful adults shocked that I would take a job at Wendy’s, because that requires you to constantly meet strangers who will look at your face — and I don’t wear the makeup necessary to hide the birthmark. Their reactions when I started working at Disneyland were heartbreaking.

    The only cosmetic surgeries I’d ever consider are laser surgery (in my 30s, my PWS will start “cobbling” and oozing 24/7, so it’s more of a necessity than it might appear), braces (the PWS impacted the left half of my mouth, so I can’t quite close my teeth together without twisting my mouth a bit, and the teeth are spaced in a way that makes eating slightly uncomfortable) and breast reduction, maybe, if I start having back pain.

    I may never get married, but doing anything else would be way too much bother, and far more psychologically scarring than twenty-five years of “what happened to your FACE?” questions from strangers could ever do.

    (maybe I’m rare, but while I’ve had a few laser surgeries as a child, I’ve never even colored my hair… it’s probably just laziness, truthfully.)

  17. shannon says:

    I had to laugh when I read your comment about the attention your looks get at church. It reminds me of when I lived in Japan – — I can’t tell you how many people said I looked like a movie star – everyone from Julie Andrews to Sharon Stone – quite hilarious! I really think it has more to do with being around people who have distinctly different features, in general, as in your case also.
    Back to the original post theme . . . I admit I have always felt that having plastic surgery in nearly all cases is morally wrong and was thrilled to hear the two Conference talks addressing the issue. I find myself even judging people for becoming plastic surgeons, though I know some who are helping many people with “more serious” problems than “cosmetic surgery.” I have always been grateful that I somehow escaped all the fuss over looking beautiful – but unfortunately don’t know many LDS women whom I haven’t heard express some major complaint about their bodies. Yes, it’s natural to want to change something about our physical appearnce, but I think this must be recognized as part of the “natural (wo)man” tendencies that we should strive to “put off.”
    It’s even more important now to me as a mother, as I’ve read and recognize the great influence that mothers’ attitudes about their looks influence their daughters. I would never want my daughters to hear me lamenting over some flaw in my physical appearance – I’ve already seen how quickly they pick up on my other bad behaviors (losing my temper, speaking unkindly)
    I’m curious to know – of those women out there who have had cosmetic surgery – how much did your mothers’ attitudes about herself affect your own attitudes and perceptions?

  18. Caroline says:

    Compared to most people in my community, my mom was not very looks focused. She wears lipstick and powder, but nothing else. Though she does dye her hair. And she makes comments here or there about how she needs to lose 10 pounds. I think my mom was just so tired of hearing me wail about my nose that she was finally like, “Well why don’t you do something about it?” She has no moral issues with plastic surgery. Her opinion is that if it makes a person feel better about themselves and happier, it’s ok. I would imagine that idea has limits though. Repeated cosmetic surgeries probably wouldn’t resonate much with her.

  19. Dora says:


    I checked out Famima earlier this week, and was transported back to fond childhood memories of summering with my Japanese relatives. However, in the magazine section, I was intrigued by a Japanese Newsweek cover. It was a woodblock-esqe likeness of a Japanese woman in traditional kimono and hair looking at herself in a handheld mirror. The image in the mirror was an anime girl with blond hair and blue eyes.

    Anyhow, back to Sister Tanner and ELder Holland’s GC talks … I was impressed on how the women of the church have a responsibility to set the example for the children and youth. How are we (mothers or not) to raise up the next generation of women to be self-confident and engaged in the world around them if the only things they hear from us are frettings on our physical appearance?

    Regarding braces … I don’t lump these into the realm of cosmetic. I had the burden of wearing and paying for braces in my early twenties. I needed them to correct my bite. Yes, my teeth are pretty and straight now, but it was more about having a functional mouth and teeth that would last as long as the rest of me did, than about having a pretty smile.

    Thank you for your input Sarah.

  20. Raine says:

    “I’ve heard several times that there are more women in Utah taking prozac than anywhere else.”

    This link contains an article referring to that statistic:

    Interesting post, BTW. 🙂

  21. Daisy says:

    It has been shown time and again that Casey Jacketta not only used bad data, but interpretted it incorrectly in her article about utah and prozac. In fact, she is in fact re-hashing bad data from other stories several years earlier. This urban legend is as incorrect as the one saying Utah has the most child abuse of all the states. Again, totally false. Im guessing the plastic surgery “data” is just as false

  22. Dora says:

    Yes, Daisy, I’ve already eaten crow on the “data.” I suspect that you haven’t read all of the commentsyet, but will soon. However, now that the American Society of Plastic Surgeons site ( is back on-line. here are some interesting stats:

    State rations of plastic surgeons to population (1996):
    UT – 1:39,034
    NY – 1:43,951
    CA – 1:47,762
    TX – 1:58,509

    And yes, they’re 10 years old, but these were the most current ones I could find on this site.

    Hass anyone looked at the actual study that Jacketta is basing her info on?

  23. Mike says:

    Sarah, I think it’s cool that you took jobs at Wendys and Disneyland. You must have some good come-backers for people who stare at your PWS!

    Caroline, How kind of you to refer to my nose as “distinctive.” That’s a nice way of putting it. But the last laugh is on you if our kids have my nose!

  24. Daisy says:

    Your numbers per capita may be old, and the order has most likely changed, but you are also miss-using data.

    Although Utah may have a high number of Plastic Surgeons per capita, you are ignoring the fact that the rural populations of the other states skew the data.

    Dallas and San Fransisco both claim the highest number of Plastic surgeons per capita for their metro areas. Both Metro SF and Metro Dallas have several times the population of the entire state of Utah.

    Utah may have alot of Plastic Surgeons, but the Plastic Surgeon Density vs the Population Density is nothing near the same number as other urban cities like SF Dallas Vegas LA etc.

    Utah or even Salt Lake City is defenately not the center of US Plastic Surgery. Thats part of the danger of the internet. Information is available, but you still have to use it correctly.

  25. Dora says:


    When I posted the statistics on plastic surgeons to population, I didn’t make any value judgements on it. Those are the raw numbers. Of course, there are various ways to manipulate numbers to get the stats one wants, as you so deftly showed us. Anyway, actual numbers (and citations) as opposed to assertions would be more supportive of your arguments, and more correct use of data.

    However, the main point is that the “problem” of cosmetic surgery has become important enough for it to be addressed in two talks at the same General Conference. Or do you disagree?

  26. Daisy says:

    I didnt mean that to sound snobby. I definately agree. The trend (whether LDS or not) to resort to surgery is not only a body image issue, I think it is also an instant gratification/laziness issue in alot of cases.

  27. Anonymous says:

    One thing I think is not to judge people for having surgery. I come from a familly with bery large noses with a bump on them. For thoses of you who have little noses, having a large nose can make a girl feel ugly. I don’t see any thing wrong in getting the bump taken off so she feels better as long as its not taken to to extreme. It is easy to say don’t let the media tell you need a nose with no bump but its an other to actually do it. But surgery should not be taken to an extreme and of course only is someone really wants it not someone telling them they should get the bump taken off. Also haveing just come from a singles ward where
    ,likemost, there were twice as many girls than boys. And of course the ugly girls were usually the ones not with a boyfriend. Of course ugly girls et married too but they get the really ugly guys. Not that looks are important but they are important to the young menof the church.

  28. Greg says:

    “Not that looks are important but they are important to the young men of the church.”… and just as important to you evidently, or you would have ended up married to one of us “ugly boys”. Talk about a double standard

  29. dangermom says:

    I’m so glad to see this topic addressed (though I’m late!). It’s something that has worried me for some time. I’m not at all sure that it’s right to try to live up to that impossible Barbie standard through surgery.

    I’ve become very grateful to my mother and how she raised me; she’s more of a granola type and was a good role model that way, I think. She’s one of the very few women of her age in her ward that doesn’t color her hair, even. Because of her attitudes (no Barbies allowed!), I escaped a lot of the focus on looks (not all of it of course–but as it is I was miserable, for I was a hideously plain teenager)–and now I’m completely uneducated on how to do all those things. I really have no idea, for example, how to do anything with hair except braid it.

    Anyway, I think I’m very lucky to live in a part of California where looks are not particularly emphasized. I can say with some confidence that women in my town/ward don’t generally go in for plastic surgery. I’ve been very struck by the differences when I’ve visited other places and seen women obsess so much more over their looks; it’s very discouraging. I have not got much idea what to do about it, except to show people that it’s not something I’m going to buy into.

  30. Anonymous says:

    I don’t know if any of you remember the Swan on TV. I found that show very disturbing for telling normal looking women you need to have certain plastic surgery to look pretty. And of course they did basically similar things to all the women. Nose jobs and Breast implants. I watched it once of curosity and never watched it again because it bad me sick. But I also think that all plastic surgery should not outlawed in the church. There will always me women that have a certain body part that may actually make then very self conscious.. Even a breast implant, if the women is a hardly even a A cup and wasnt to be a B cup just to look more normal. OR course there is nothing wrong with being flat but i know a women who was tramitized by it and wanted to feel more like a real women. She had the surgery became a B cup (still smaller than US average) Yes it would be nice if she didn’t feel the need. but she did and she felt much better about her self after. i think the key is not to take things to an extreme, but look on it a case by case basis

  31. Dora says:


    Honestly, I can’t decide if you’re trolling or not. However, on the chance that you are entirely genuine, meaning that you are exactly the type of person I had hoped to reach, I will attempt to respond.

    I am sad that your friend felt “traumatized” by her body, and that she needed surgery to alter her body to make her, “feel more like a real woman.” As daughters of heavenly parents, we all have so much potential, and were gifted with amazing mortal bodies that come in all different sizes, shapes and colors. As we grow, the challenge is to keep the clothes of clay as fitting a temple to house the spirit within, as when we first arrived.

    Frustratingly, we are all plagued by demons (inner and outer) that tell us we aren’t good enough. I fear for women who bow under the pressure and feel that changes to the outer self will solve the problems of the inner self. The fact is, without a thoughtful and earnest examination of the inner self, any changes to the exterior are temporary and faulty fixes. Women who view cosmetic surgery as the answer to issues of low self-esteem are getting the short end of the stick, rather like the cosmetic fixes to the New Orleans levees, when a total overhaul is needed to protect from the upcoming hurricane season.

    The disparaging voices will never be silent. Rather than dance to their frenetic tune, I’ve found the resources to build my own sanctuary, where they have no hold. Loving family and friends, service opportunities, developing talents, prayer, spiritual searching … these are at once my defense against mauraders and the tools with which I beautify my space.

    And, to conclude on a totally sappy note, the magic is not in the feather, but in our inherent ability to fly. Go Dumbo!

  32. Caroline says:

    My impression is that anonymous is not trolling. I just think she’s more open to plastic surgery than some. Honestly, I’m somewhat sympathetic with her viewpoint. While I’ve become more and more turned off by plastic surgery in the last few years, I do feel like there are times when I could be supportive of it. Take a cleft pallet. Or a woman where one breast is an A and the other a C. Or a boy whose ears stick straight out of his head. I understand that for some, these cases wouldn’t warrant surgery, but for others they might, and I think that’s a legitimate choice. Like anonymous mentioned, there are a couple of warning bells even for me: a)excessive surgery b)surgery meant to sexually attract the opposite sex (i.e. breast implants). Those are the ones that make me most uncomfortable.

  33. Dora says:

    Yes, there are situations when plastic surgery is definitely indicated … such as reconstructive surgery for burn/trauma victims, cleft palate repairs, breast reconstruction for those who’ve had mastectomies, and so on. My point is that frivolous surgeries to enhance beauty do not address the central issue of why the patient feels the need in the first place. Per anon’s example, if a female does not feel very womanly, will breast augmentation solve or exacerbate the problem? Will having larger breasts automatically make her feel more womanly, or will increased male attention to her body solidify the idea that men are more attracted to her physical attributes than to any other part of her being.

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  40. Anonymous says:

    Hi I’m from australia. I enjoyed reading this site. My sister recently had breast implants after having 3 children and breastfeeding over a year with each. As a result she was left with just loose skin and a sunken chest. My brother (who doesn’t attend church anymore) had a disagreement with her about the fact that to get the surgery was no different than his tattoos.
    To look at my sister, I don’t blame her, but was it the right thing to do? Even her children have mentioned how good it is to see her happy! I wouldn’t have the surgery myself.