I have some very sincere self image problems. I feel that I am a very unattractive (both facially, and bodily) person. I know that I can improve my body through exercise, but I will still appear, in the mirror, to be “ugly” (for lack of a better term). I know that here on earth, I look and resemble like my earthly parents, as I am almost a splitting image of my dad; but that is my earthly body. After the resurrection, will my visage be of my earthly “looks” or my spiritual “looks”?
I am extremely sad to read this question not because of the nature of such, but because I can sense this topic has caused you pain and sorrow. I hope that my answer not only brings you hope, but through it, you can feel the amazing Love God has for you.
First of all, I need to make it clear that you are not the only one who feels this way. There have been times that even I, as well as many other people around the world, have felt like you. It is impossible to escape the copious amount of propaganda in the media about beauty and beauty products and tying them together to mean “happiness” or “beauty” and how they are intertwined with each other.
Secondly, I truly believe that Lucifer is the protagonist of this ideology mainly because he is jealous of our own bodies. You see, he will NEVER have one of his own and wants to drag us down by whispering in our ears that we are worthless and “ugly” and that there is no possible way that anyone could ever “love us” because we aren’t visibly appealing!
Interestingly enough, I recently read an article written by Kristen M. Oaks, President Dallin H. Oak’s current wife, in which she shares an anonymous letter that he received, asking him this exact question. In the letter, the question was this:
“I am writing to you because I am unhappy and have been unhappy for years. I am at the point right now that I need someone to give me clarification and guidance so I can begin to exercise faith to change my life; otherwise, I feel I’ll never change.
I am in my upper twenties and am single. Being single is not the underlying problem. The problem is that I am not a [physically] attractive person. I don’t have any abnormal growths or anything, but I’m just not what girls would call good looking. Most girls think I have an awesome personality, super genuine and nice, and have everything going for me. The phrase I often hear is, ‘He’s perfect in every way, but I just don’t have those feelings for him.’ I can’t work on my jawline or the shape of my eyes or other features of my face. I just want to be attractive and have my wife think I’m attractive. What this means is that I have had very little opportunity over the years to date girls that I am interested in.
As a result of this, my faith and patience with the Lord have been tried. I keep telling myself He could have made me handsome, but He didn’t. Why? Why am I ugly and a lot of my close friends are attractive (and married, too). At this point in my life I have very little hope of ever being happy. I feel like what’s the point of being good? What’s the point of keeping the commandments? To what end? To what end?
Every one [of my mistakes] stems from all this [my ugliness]. I get so depressed being turned down, again, by girls that my resolve to be obedient is gone. I find repentance pointless. The only reason I am still trying is because of the great peace it brings into my life. But while I may have peace, I am still unhappy.”
“P.S. Do you ever think about what you will look like in the next life? Are you 100 percent comfortable with how you look? I would ask this same question to everyone, not just you.”
It saddens me to think that some times, we allow our internal dialogue to drive us down into a state of despair and self-sabotage.
President Oaks’ response to this young man’s letter is not only wise but impactful:
Though we don’t normally respond to anonymous letters, I am responding to your letter expressing your concerns and unhappiness with your physical appearance. You say you ‘just want to be attractive.’
I will not say that looks are not important, but I do think you have built a definition and pedestal for attractiveness that is far higher than it should be. We teach that true beauty is founded on righteousness, virtue, and gospel living.
All one has to do is look around an old folks home to see how transparent skin-deep beauty is. Or compare the attractiveness of some people before twenty and after fifty. The long-term beautiful people of the world are people of generosity, thoughtfulness, and all the other basic Christian values. Further, when you look at the skin-deep beautiful people of movie stardom and see how often they move in and out of marriage, it is apparent that attractiveness is not synonymous with happiness.
To highlight this truth consider this description of the Savior in the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah:
‘Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant . . . he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.’
Even in the life of Christ himself, physical beauty was not important; and consequently, we should not let it become too important to us.
You ask if I am concerned about what I will look like in the next life. I spend no time fussing about this relatively unimportant matter. I work on conducting my life in a way that reflects my testimony of Jesus Christ. I recommend you do the same.”
[Dalin H. Oaks] (President Oaks’ Perfect Response to a Young Mormon Man “Just Wanting to Be Attractive” by/Adapted from Kristen M. Oaks in “A Single Voice” | Jan. 31, 2018)
I recommend you read the entire article, to gain a clearer view of the love Heavenly Father has for you, and do it every time you fall back into this state of mind.
Know you are loved and worthy of love.