Brigham Young and Jesus Christ would break the Mormons’ no-beard rule

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LDS Church President Brigham Young encouraged Mormons to vote for Democrats, in part because the Republicans were vehemently anti-polygamy. RNS photo courtesy LDS Church.

LDS Church President Brigham Young encouraged Mormons to vote for Democrats, in part because the Republicans were vehemently anti-polygamy. RNS photo courtesy LDS Church.

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SALT LAKE CITY (RNS) If they lived today, nearly half of Mormon church presidents would be forbidden from serving in the faith’s 141 temples worldwide. That’s because being clean-shaven is generally a requirement for men to be Mormon temple workers.

  • gilhcan

    Don’t count on it. You’re relying too much on art created by people who never saw Jesus. For that matter, no one has ever seen Jesus. Besides, what so important about facial hair?

  • Celeritas

    The rule is more in line with pharisaic law in which those who sought to appear more righteous will seek to differentiate and appear more righteous than others. Assistants to the president on the mission field will wear ties with bar patterns to match that of current tie style of Monson. Dark suits were the only colors allowed and all missionaries who brought light grey suits to the MTC were asked to ship them back in shame. Then all of a sudden a few months later Hinckley gave a talk with a light grey suit. The rule remained; Hinckley’s appearance in a light grey suit was a forgiveable “anomaly” our mission president said. For the rule to change Monson would need to show up to conference with a beard, but there would be massive protests and confusion at BYU.

  • J.Sperry

    As a divorcee, with a full Vandike goatee, I thought the odds of me ever being called to be bishopric were slim to none. So, I decided to grow it after divesting myself of the harlot, as a sign of independence and beginning a new phase of my life. My ex hated facial hair, and repeatedly told me that I’d never be bishop if I wore one. Frankly, I can’t stand egotistical people–or their spouses–who campaign to be Bishop. Needless to say, I was stunned to be called as first counselor in my ward’s bishopric. When I was interviewed by the Stake President, he asked if I intended to keep the beard. I looked him in the eye and said, “I’ll ask the Lord. If He tells me to shave it, I will.” It’s been over three years, I still have my goatee, and it hasn’t affected my ability to faithfully fulfill my calling yet.

    I did not respond to be prideful, but to teach a more important lesson. I really would shave if I’d have felt that I’d received an answer. I hold Abraham up as a model because he was willing to sacrifice his precious son to show his obedience to the Lord. Because Abraham demonstrated his faith in the Lord, the Lord provided an alternative sacrifice. What is important is developing a willingness to submit to the Lord’s will and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. Do you conform to fit in and be popular, do you secretly resent the Lord’s call and seek your own will over His in the marginal things, or do you immediately heed His call because you know, trust, and love Him?

  • Jsmith

    I think a lot of this is in your head. I’m a HP with a beard. My immediate past bishop had a beard. My HP Group leader has a beard. Never held any of us back at all.

  • A. Rick Anderson

    Brigham Young’s beard and hair-length would be the least of his issues in serving in or even attending a temple. Brigham Young was a polygamist. He also drank coffee, and recommended that the saints in Saint George area grow tobacco fields and vineyards.

    Over my life, I have had a beard, a mustache, shoulder-length hair, a pony-tail and shaved my head. None of these dress-code choices have impacted my ability or opportunities to serve in the Lord’s kingdom.

  • While I understand the substance of this article, the example of Jesus Christ sporting a beard as depicted by an artist is crossing the line of ridiculous for effect of sensationalism. There are no visual images of Jesus the Christ. No one knows what He looked like. If we are to believe an Old Testament prophet, whose writings are revered as Scripture, then the foretold coming of a Savior is one of a male whose physical features would not be those held as desirable by society. If we are to believe the disciples and other writers of the New Testament, Jesus was so nondescript that despite His fame and despite His notoriety that drew crowds of thousands to hear him speak, those who were sent to arrest him could not distinguish Him from the other disciples without the help of Judas.

    So, when we, in today’s modern world, continue to prop up the mythical (see lie) images promoted by the church (see most every Christian denomination) by presenting examples of Jesus as a foregone conclusion that He resembled the depiction rendered by European artists (we NEVER assume the images depicted of Him as a Black man are worthy of promotion and credence), then we must assume responsibility for further projection and cementing of the great lie of which the Christian church refuses to let go.

  • I’m curious about the mention of Jesus Christ sporting a beard. How does anyone know what Jesus looked like and whether he wore a beard? Can you please provide specific reference to biblical verses?

    Additionally, I’ve been to Mormon services and attended geneology class as well. I recall asking why the church promotes a false image of Jesus when the church is quite adamant about the impact of worldly images and the damage they inject in the eyes, mind, heart and soul. Yet, the church promotes a pervasive and globally popular notion of a European marketing campaign that has become inextricably tied to the presumption of what Jesus looked like.

    I asked why the church doesn’t simply remove such images from all of its buildings, classrooms, colleges and every nook and cranny wherein it professes truth. The answer I received was a blank stare and then … tears.

    Really? Yes, really.