Friday, June 24, 2016

To shave or not to shave?

Beards are making a weird comeback in popular culture. Even the weird curly mustaches are starting to be popular, yet if you have a beard some church members will think you're an immoral Satan worshiper unless you take a razor to your whiskers.

Let me back up: I'm not in any way criticizing the church, church policy, or the gospel, and frankly, outside of the mission field and BYU honor code, beards are not against any standing church policy. In fact once upon a time missionaries were encouraged to grow beards in order to look older and more mature, which isn't such a bad idea. Have you seen the 18 year olds going out? I sometimes wonder if they're just dressing up Sunbeams...

But I digress.

So if anti-beards aren't in the scriptures, church handbook and haven't been brought up in a conference since the 60's, what's the problem? Well the problem starts in the 60's, when beards were no longer seen as a professional and mature symbol, but as a symbol of deviance and counter-culture. Not having beards made elders look different and more dignified.

The First Presidency at the time said that the policy was fluid, not doctrine, and is based on the culture at the time. In 2016 the beard has become more mainstream, as a more casual look has become the new adult. So if someone wants to have a beard and has a job where it's seen as perfectly acceptable, are they unworthy?

The answer is no. In no way shape or form are they bad because they have a beard. It is facial hair, let's get over it.

Now I'm not going against any bishop or stake president who says that beards need to go for their specific areas. I'm  just some guy with a blog and a lot of free time. But I hate it when culture and doctrine get twisted together and good people doing what's right take on shame and anger because someone is stuck in the wrong age. Bishops and stake presidents, I implore you. Are you acting based on the spirit, or based on a tradition you grew up with?

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