The Parable of the Prom Dress (with the Parable of the Ten Virgins)

When we think about the parable of the ten virgins and how to teach it to young women, I think there are a few difficulties:  

1) Some young women feel embarrassed about the word virgin, which I am guessing was not an uncomfortable term to use in the Savior's day

2) Some people get tripped up by why the five wise virgins wouldn't/couldn't share their oil (although this clarification from the prophet clears that up for many)

3) The girls don't understand the culture at the time and the wedding celebration and procession.

Quick Recap

There are great resources to understand this parable more fully, and I think it's important to research them.  

As a quick recap, though, what I have been taught is that the wedding procession began as the bridegroom passed by, and everyone would file in after him until they reached the location for the wedding.  

So, all ten virgins were waiting for the procession and knew it was coming.  They were just sitting there waiting, invited and completely aware of what was going to take place.  Yet, for some unknown reason, five of them did not bother to get enough oil even though they knew they needed oil and even though they were expecting the bridegroom to come any time.

Prom Analogy

An analogy that might help the young women is that this is like being asked to prom (if she's old enough, of course).  

If you were asked to prom, and knew it was coming soon, would you wait until your date came to pick you up to go shopping for a dress?  If he arrived at your door and said, "Let's go!", would you suddenly say, "Oh no!  I knew you were coming, but I don't have a dress!  Let me hurry and run and get one."  

Now, first of all, we all know getting a prom dress is not usually as easy as taking a five-minute trip to some store and grabbing the first dress you see, then paying for it.  Even if there were no modesty issues, it's just not that quick.  Even if you didn't have to save up for a prom dress, it's not that quick.

How foolish would it be to not go get a dress until your date arrived?  

It would also be foolish to ask your best friend to split her dress with you, since that would most likely make it immodest and unworkable for both of you.  Likewise, if you took turns wearing her dress, you would both miss out on parts of the event.

No, if you know you're invited to a big event, you should prepare so when it comes, you are ready and have what you need.

We Know the Savior Is Coming

So, in our lives, since we know the Savior is coming, we may be just as silly as the five foolish virgins if we aren't preparing.  

How do we prepare?  

Spencer W. Kimball said, “Attendance at sacrament meetings adds oil to our lamps, drop by drop over the years. Fasting, family prayer, home teaching, control of bodily appetites, preaching the gospel, studying the scriptures—each act of dedication and obedience is a drop added to our store. Deeds of kindness, payment of offerings and tithes, chaste thoughts and actions … —these, too, contribute importantly to the oil with which we can at midnight refuel our exhausted lamps.”7

Let's prepare for when we see the Savior by filling our lamps drop by drop. That's something we all can do, and it can be calm and reassuring, not stressful. Here's to full oil lamps for each of us!