Beards and missionaries.


PrinceofLight2000

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Why can't they grow them? :confused:

I understand the need for varying dress rules between countries so that the missionaries continue to have a respectful look about them wherever they go. However, it seems pretty apparent to me that beards are swinging back into the cultural norm in the US, both casually and professionally. I'm fairly certain a potential investigator would look strangely upon a missionary if he had an extensively long beard, whereas all I'm talking about is less than or equal to half an inch over the whole face, or a goatee.

Is the Church still afraid of the old stereotype?

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Guest mormonmusic

I think it's culture. I think it was Harold B Lee that had everyone adopt a more mainstream way of dressing that fit the 50's. That has continued in our day when the white shirt/tie/clean-shaven look is one of the acceptable available mainstream styles.

There are also limits on bearded men in the temple for certain positions, like veil worker. I was excluded one year because I had a moustache.

So, it's culture at this point. Look at the early prophets, they all had beards like Brigham, Lorenzo Snow, Wilfred Woodruff. It's just a matter of style, culture and policy now.

Take comfort that when you get home you can grow facial hair again provided you aren't trying to be a veil worker, or some other position prohibiting facial hair.

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I think it's culture. I think it was Harold B Lee that had everyone adopt a more mainstream way of dressing that fit the 50's. That has continued in our day when the white shirt/tie/clean-shaven look is one of the acceptable available mainstream styles.

There are also limits on bearded men in the temple for certain positions, like veil worker. I was excluded one year because I had a moustache.

So, it's culture at this point. Look at the early prophets, they all had beards like Brigham, Lorenzo Snow, Wilfred Woodruff. It's just a matter of style, culture and policy now.

Take comfort that when you get home you can grow facial hair again provided you aren't trying to be a veil worker, or some other position prohibiting facial hair.

As you said, at this point, there appear to be multiple acceptable styles.

I'm not worried about not having one (can't grow an entirely full one yet anyway, lol) but it seems a bit strange that culture has become more tolerant while the Church has not.

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I'm not worried about not having one (can't grow an entirely full one yet anyway, lol) but it seems a bit strange that culture has become more tolerant while the Church has not.

Culture has become more tolerant of a lot of things including moral issues. Again, do we follow the crowd?

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Culture has become more tolerant of a lot of things including moral issues. Again, do we follow the crowd?

Wait...

Aren't we supposed to be following the crowd by adopting a more culturally suitable appearance? :confused:

It seems now like society wants to have beards again, so we're making ourselves stick out like sore thumbs by prohibiting them.

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Aren't we supposed to be following the crowd by adopting a more culturally suitable appearance? :confused:

So guys with pants hanging down and girls with tank tops and stomachs showing have also become the norm. The norm seem to accept these today as well. So do we allow our Elders and Sisters to dress this way while representing the Lord's Church because it's now become culturally acceptable?

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It seems now like society wants to have beards again, so we're making ourselves stick out like sore thumbs by prohibiting them.

Hyperbole much? Beards are a lot more acceptable to mainstream folks than they were right after they were associated with hippies but we are far from existing in a culture (speaking of Western culture, if you live in Afghanistan things will be different) where not wearing a beard makes you stand out in a negative way.

Edited by Dravin
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So guys with pants hanging down and girls with tank tops and stomachs showing have also become the norm. The norm seem to accept these today as well. So do we allow our Elders and Sisters to dress this way while representing the Lord's Church because it's now become culturally acceptable?

Modesty precludes "cultural" dress.

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Hyperbole much? Beards are a lot more acceptable to mainstream folks than they were right after they were associated with hippies but we are far from existing in a culture (speaking of Western culture, if you live in Afghanistan things will be different) where not wearing a beard makes you stand out.

Prohibiting them does. I don't see why being clean-shaven is a requirement when the negative associations from the hippie culture are dead.

I don't see how modesty is an issue either, when a beard is well-kept.

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Prohibiting them does.

So does prohibiting dating, holding a job, going to the movies, listening to various music, growing your hair long, wearing other than Sunday dress most of the time, not being able to call your family more than 2 times a year and leaving your companion to go take a walk alone so you can cool down and have some alone time.

I don't see how modesty is an issue either, when a beard is well-kept.

It isn't in the strictest sense, much like prohibiting jeans and t-shirts while proselytizing isn't about modesty in the strictest sense. The standards of grooming are about presenting a respectable image for the culture you are operating in. While the culture is changing and beards are not seen as anathema to a "professional" imagine like they once were keep in mind you and I run in different circles than most of those in leadership position in this church, they remember the counterculture while we weren't alive for it.

At some point the scales may tip and we'll start seeing a grooming standard for beards if you choose to have one as opposed to against beards. As MormonMusic mentioned, it's cultural and policy not doctrine. I've posited before on the boards that it isn't entirely out there that Missionaries to a culture* where all men have beards and not having one means one is a boy and not to be taken seriously would not only allow beards, but require them.

* Hypothetical culture, only place I can think of that would be analogous would be Afghanistan under the Taliban and needless to say Missionaries wouldn't be been sent there.

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So does prohibiting dating, holding a job, going to the movies, listening to various music, growing your hair long, wearing other than Sunday dress most of the time, not being able to call your family more than 2 times a year and leaving your companion to go take a walk alone so you can cool down and have some alone time.

It isn't in the strictest sense, much like prohibiting jeans and t-shirts while proselytizing isn't about modesty in the strictest sense. The standards of grooming are about presenting a respectable image for the culture you are operating in. While the culture is changing and beards are not seen as anathema to a "professional" imagine like they once were keep in mind you and I run in different circles than most of those in leadership position in this church, they remember the counterculture while we weren't alive for it.

At some point the scales may tip and we'll start seeing a grooming standard for beards if you choose to have one as opposed to against beards. As MormonMusic mentioned, it's cultural and policy not doctrine. I've posited before on the boards that it isn't entirely out there that Missionaries to a culture* where all men have beards and not having one means one is a boy and not to be taken seriously would not only allow beards, but require them.

* Hypothetical culture, only place I can think of that would be analogous would be Afghanistan under the Taliban and needless to say Missionaries wouldn't be been sent there.

I'm thanking the bottom portion. I have no idea where you were going with the analogy up top.

Does having a beard (or long hair, for that matter. Long hair would still be excluded because it's currently seen as unprofessional) make one become closer to the temptations of Satan like dating, going to the movies, listening to music, having less than professional dress, having extensive communication, or being separate from one's companion can? While on a mission of course.

I have no problem with following the policy, and I realize that having standards are necessary especially in the case of the missionaries. I just don't see a reason why there needs to be a policy restricting beards when society and professionalism both lack a negative view toward them.

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I'm thanking the bottom portion. I have no idea where you were going with the analogy up top.

Pointing out that most people find the idea that missionaries are prohibited from doing quite a few things that are otherwise acceptable to be peculiar is a non-starter. In fact considering all the restrictions missionaries are under I imagine the grooming standards are some of the less perplexing ones to folks at large.

Does having a beard (or long hair, for that matter. Long hair would still be excluded because it's currently seen as unprofessional) make one become closer to the temptations of Satan like dating, going to the movies, listening to music, having less than professional dress, having extensive communication, or being separate from one's companion can? While on a mission of course.

Other than the aspect that disobedience to mission rules has consequences, no.

You are barking up the wrong tree, at least when talking to me. The grooming guidelines are about (unless one wants to get silly about it) creating a respectable image (whether you think aspects of it are successful or necessary is of course up to debate) not because having facial hair has some inherent ability to interfere with missionary work.

Edited by Dravin
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The portion on top are the other rules that missionaries must follow as well as grooming standards.

Yes, but the reasoning between them makes grooming standards and the other rules apples and oranges. Dravin lumped them all together.

Pointing out that most people find the idea that missionaries are prohibited from doing quite a few things that are otherwise acceptable to be peculiar is a non-starter. In fact considering all the restrictions missionaries are under I imagine the grooming standards are some of the less perplexing ones to folks at large.

Other than the aspect that disobedience to mission rules has consequences, no.

You are barking up the wrong tree, at least when talking to me. The grooming guidelines are about (unless one wants to get silly about it) creating a respectable image (whether you think aspects of it are successful or necessary is of course up to debate) not because having facial hair has some inherent ability to interfere with missionary work.

Non-members have brought the issue up to me, and have said restricting beards makes no sense given the society we're in as well. It's also become a mocking point because everyone else sees the policy (not belief or commandment) as silly and unnecessary.

This is my point. Why does there need to be a restrictive policy when the only danger or wrong is in disobeying the rule?

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Non-members have brought the issue up to me, and have said restricting beards makes no sense given the society we're in as well. It's also become a mocking point because everyone else sees the policy (not belief or commandment) as silly and unnecessary.

So we get back to the argument as to whether we allow society to dictate our standards.

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We are to be the light of the world, obedient to the Lord's servants, and conforming ourselves to the way Christ would want us to be. Being clean-shaven is among the least of what a missionary will be asked to do. How about teaching, preaching, and testifying of the importance of being obedient and following Christ and His anointed leaders?

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The church is not famous for intellectual missionaries. The selection of missionaries is not about the best means of “converting” everybody in every culture.

LDS missionaries are young and somewhat foolish as to the things of the world. But what is important is that those wishing to work in the L-rd’s fields and vineyards know and understand they are the L-rd’s. In order to serve the L-rd the first lesson a young man must learn is discipline.

And so a missionary is given rules – perhaps in appearance the rules seem unnecessary. But they are simple rules that anyone (even unworthy missionaries) can easily discipline and live by. Some in modern society find even simple rules too much discipline and thus demonstrate they “will” not represent the L-rd.

Some never really learn and struggle their entire missions and return without loving the opportunity to learn simple discipline. However, some learn discipline far beyond mission rules and apply what they learn to disciplined joyful service for a lifetime.

The Traveler

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Yes, but the reasoning between them makes grooming standards and the other rules apples and oranges. Dravin lumped them all together.

Because they are restrictions that others find peculiar. Apples and oranges are both fruit. Originally I took your comment to be one of a visual nature, that being unbearded made the missionaries look peculiar and stand out like sore thumbs. Once you clarified you meant the prohibition itself my response was mostly a shrug, they've a lot rules that are peculiar to an outsider.

This is my point. Why does there need to be a restrictive policy when the only danger or wrong is in disobeying the rule?

I imagine those who institute the policy might disagree that such is the only danger. Note also that I said inherent ability, this does not preclude an ability to interfere with missionary work due to culture. Personally I'm inclined to think the need for the rule is winding down if not gone, but I'm not in charge of the Church, have not prayed about the policy, nor am I entitled to receive inspiration about such.

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Because they are restrictions that others find peculiar. Apples and oranges are both fruit. Originally I took your comment to be one of a visual nature, that being unbearded made the missionaries look peculiar and stand out like sore thumbs. Once you clarified you meant the prohibition itself my response was mostly a shrug, they've a lot rules that are peculiar to an outsider.

I imagine those who institute the policy might disagree that such is the only danger. Note also that I said inherent ability, this does not preclude an ability to interfere with missionary work due to culture. Personally I'm inclined to think the need for the rule is winding down if not gone, but I'm not in charge of the Church, have not prayed about the policy, nor am I entitled to receive inspiration about such.

The peculiarity tends to cease with the other rules when we explain that we don't want there to be any threat posed toward the Spirit, or that long hair is seen as unprofessional. Beards, however, don't fall into either of those categories (anymore, in the case of the latter). I suppose we could claim a well-kept beard is unprofessional, but most people would tell you otherwise.

That's why I'm going to stick to following the policy even if I don't see a reason for it. :)

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I can't help wondering if your opinion on the matter isn't coloring your ability to play the apologist, if when you explain it you clearly think it ridiculous it doesn't surprise me that other's pipe up with, "Yeah, you can look professional with a beard, that's silly!" :)

Edited by Dravin
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Put like that I imagine most people would agree with you that one can look professional with a beard. I can't help wondering if your opinion on the matter isn't coloring your ability to play the apologist, if when you explain it you clearly think it ridiculous it doesn't surprise me that other's pipe up with, "Yeah, you can look professional with a beard, that's silly!" :)

I've never had anyone perplexed by the idea that the grooming standards are to portray a respectable image. If I said it was the only way to look presentable I imagine I would have received more, "Say what?" reactions like you seem to be.

That's exactly why people are weirded out by the complete restriction of beards.

Edit: lol, I beat your edit. mwahaha.

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