Returned Mormon Missionary Wins Ms. Virginia United States Title, Champions Modesty and Shares Faith

Bekah Pence, far right, won the Ms. Virginia United States Pageant. Image via Elaine Pence.

This article was originally published in Deseret News by Sarah Petersen. Below is an excerpt.

Bekah Pence, 29, didn’t enter the Ms. Virginia United States pageant for the glitz and glam or the 15 minutes of fame. The recently returned LDS missionary saw it as a way to continue sharing her beliefs.

“I didn’t get into this pageant because I wanted to. It actually was an opportunity that I felt like, by the Spirit, Heavenly Father wanted me to take,” Pence told the Deseret News.

After only a few months of preparation, Pence, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was crowned Ms. Virginia on April 12. She will compete in the Ms. United States pageant, for women ages 26 to 39, in Washington, D.C., in July.

Pence, who returned in October from serving in the Nevada Las Vegas Mission, had never competed in a pageant and wasn’t expecting to win, but she was eager to follow counsel she received before her mission.

“I got a blessing before I left on my mission, and it said something about a great work that I had to do after my mission,” Pence said.

Viewing the competition as an opportunity to inspire young women, she began looking for ways to represent herself modestly.

“I absolutely believe in modesty, and I believe that if Heavenly Father asked me to be modest, he will also help me find a way to make that happen,” Pence said. “I have to say, 100 percent, it was not easy at all. … I was even shopping in between events that were going on in between the pageant to get an undershirt or find a different dress, just so it was modest.”

While shopping with her standards in mind was challenging and time-consuming, both Pence and her mother, Elaine Pence, were undeterred.

“I am most proud that she makes decisions by the Spirit and that she keeps her standards under every condition,” Elaine Pence said. “And she won in spite of it and because of it. Because of her standards, she shone.”

To read the rest of the article, go to Deseret News.

Bridget is a newsroom writer at She graduated in April 2015 from Brigham Young University in communications with an emphasis of public relations. She served a Spanish speaking LDS mission in McAllen, Texas. She is a skilled pianist and an expert baker of chocolate chip cookies.