My bishop recently said he’d like me to wear shoes during church because it’s respectful, but he won’t try to make me. I won’t fight with the church, so if that’s his wish, I’ll comply. But I’ve read in the scriptures about shoes not being respectful and that not wearing them can also be a sign of humility. In Matthew 10:10, in Christ’s instruction to the apostles to preach, he mentions that they’re not to bring shoes. And Exodus 3:5 and Joshua 5:15 state that shoes shouldn’t be worn on holy ground. So why would my bishop see it as respectful to wear shoes when, not only are they unhealthy, but the Lord also says not to wear them on holy ground? What do you think? Also, can a person go on a mission barefoot? Or at least with barefoot sandals?
Well, my young friend, I hope after my response to your question you will still love my answers and continue reading them. I recognize you have a heart desiring and seeking to keep God’s commandments, and this is a wonderful attribute. In scripture, we do find evidence of God asking people to remove their shoes from off their feet — Moses is a good example. However, in scripture we also receive no evidence that the Lord commanded Moses to keep his shoes off. I would assume Moses probably put his shoes back on before he traveled back to Egypt.
I also recognize, the current philosophy presented by different organizations speaking out against shoes and how they are unhealthy. I, personally, find shoes to be very comfortable when I walk and run. However, I have also worn shoes which were not comfortable and unhealthy creating severe pain in my ankles.
In light of these thoughts, please take a moment to ponder this thought; I don’t believe, think, we can separate the wearing of shoes from our current culture. Let me explain, the Church exists within a culture. There was a time when a professional man wore a hat. During that time, hats were a part of the uniform for missionaries. That culture has changed, and so if we want our missionaries to look professional, we must change the uniform as well. In today’s (Western) culture, shod feet are a sign of presentability and respect. When I was a child, I would run around the house barefoot. But when company came over, I was instructed to put on shoes to be presentable. It is no different than combing your hair to present yourself as someone who values and respects, not just the particular guests, but also yourself.
With these thoughts in mind, I wouldn’t recommend the desire to not wear shoes while on a mission. At Church, wear your shoes while you are walking around church halls and between classes. When you are attending class, sitting down, feel free to remove the shoes from off your feet (if you want), and then place them back on your feet when you need to walk the halls of the building. I don’t see anything wrong with this idea.