Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Finding the lines

So tattoos and body piercings are strongly—very strongly—discouraged by the church. However, there is no ecclesiastical sanction if you get one, nor does having one preclude you from participating in any ordinance. So i have to wonder: Are tattoos and body piercings really against church rules?

6 comments:

Steve Finnell said...
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Heather the Mama Duk said...

I think it's a sort of personal and obedience thing. There are things you cannot do if you have visible tattoos and piercings.

David B said...

Such as? I’m trying to think of one, and i can’t come up with anything other than attending a church school if you have multiple piercings (visible tattoos are actually okay, though getting one while enrolled may be out).

The Margin Wight said...

Perhaps there's a parallel with the Word of Wisdom here. In the beginning, as I understand it, the WoW was not strictly enforced. Then, somewhere around 1920, societal images of the Muscular Christian kicked in and the WoW became much more important and began to define the difference between a "good" and a "bad" Mormon. It began to be attached to temple attendance. If there is a parallel here, we could look for sanctions in the future against those who choose to be inked or pierced.

Heather the Mama Duk said...

I've known a couple converts who joined young enough that they could still go on missions, and wanted to, but the tattoos they got before joining were in a place that precluded them from being allowed to go. I also know one guy who was my age who grew up in the church, but was inactive by 13-14, and got a tattoo when he turned 18. Some time between 18 and 19 he returned to the church. He wanted to serve a mission, but could not because of the tattoo. You CAN serve a mission if the tattoos can be covered and never show, but these would have been visible while wearing missionary standard clothing.

David B said...

Perhaps oddly, i found nothing at all about tattoos and serving as a full-time missionary in the church’s Handbook (including book 1). I did, however, find a 2006 article from one of the church magazines that said that visible tattoos may limit where one can serve to a place where visible tattoos are culturally appropriate (which, let’s be honest, includes pretty much anywhere in the United States).

You’d think that if that’s the current policy, they’d’ve included that in the Handbook, though, you know?