Spicing up your church experience


Combating Cultural Mormonism with a Little Anarchy

In my estimation, there seems to be a growing number of LDS that are starting to recognize the difference between doctrinal Mormonism and cultural Mormonism, with a discontent concerning the latter.

I, personally, worry that cultural Mormonism is killing too many of these good people with boredom.  So, if there are any out in Cyberspace who are tired of the Utah culture being exported to every part of the globe, here are some suggestions from your friendly, neighborhood LDS Anarchist to spice up your church experience and bring a little leavening to the doughy masses.

Feel free to run with any of them and to encourage your LDS and, depending on the suggestion, non-LDS friends to do the same.  With enough people doing the following small things, the church will quickly be de-culturalized, leaving only doctrinal Mormonism left.  But even if only a very few people do these things, it will still cause a tremendous shift of attitude among the saints and bring about significant cultural change.  Lastly, if it is only you working, and you are not having any effect, at all, upon the Cult of Conformity, at least you will have de-culturalized yourself and removed much of the boredom you might have been going through.

Bring back the visual cues of manhood

  • Men and boys, grow your beards out.

This is a very easy thing to do, as there is nothing that needs to be done.  It is a passive act.  You simply allow the facial hair to grow out.  This will save you time, energy, electricity (for electric shavers), damage to the skin (no more nicks and cuts) and money (no more shaving equipment needed.)

Many men desire to grow a beard but use the excuse that it grows out in patches and ends up looking horrible, so they cut it.  The truth of the matter is that if you just let the hair grow, even the patches start to sprout hair and eventually everything looks even and full, but sometimes it may take six months for a very patchy man to have a full beard.  A little patience is all it takes.

Teenage boys of 15 and 16, when they start to notice that their peach fuzz is turning into terminal hairs, will immediately start shaving it off.  This is a mistake, as the facial hair is a visual cue that manhood is now upon them.

Young men, aren’t you tired of people treating you like a child?  Grow your facial hair out and watch how quickly people begin treating you as a more mature individual.  Watch the reaction of your parents, male peers, school teachers and the young women of your age.  A beard is a very strong visual cue of manhood and everyone will start to treat you as an adult, especially when your voice deepens.  Remember, things should match.  A deep voice goes with a full beard.  A high pitched voice goes with a clean-shaven (boyish) face.  These visual and audible cues were given to us by God on purpose.

Men, unless you are in a profession that requires you to be clean-shaven, let the hair grow out into a full, bushy beard.  Ditch the fads and trends of trimming into this or that beard style.  You don’t need a goatee, you need a full beard.  You were created in the image of God.  He’s got a full beard.  You’re supposed to have one, too.  Be like God in heart and look like God in image. Don’t trim his image.  If the mustache gives you trouble when you eat, or if you find that the beard becomes a “flavor saver” (because food gets stuck in it), just exercise the patience of the saints and let it grow until it is long enough to no longer get in the way.

Now, I say grow a full, bushy, untrimmed beard because that is the most manly of beards. Short beards, even when full, indicate young men, whose beards have not yet attained the length of a fully grown man.

Women, compliment your husbands and sons on the fine beards they are growing.  You are hard-wired to find beards attractive.  Why?  Because beards are manly, and women love manliness.  So, dump all the (beardless) Roman and (beardless) homosexual propaganda that has filled your head and embrace the real image of Christ. You don’t want a beardless Roman, now do you?  Remember, the beardless Romans killed the bearded Christ.  You want a Christ-like man, right?  So, encourage the growing of the beard, ladies.  Besides, you know that women constantly complain of how grown, adult men act like immature 12-year olds, right?  Well, have you ever considered that they act like 12-year olds because they still look like 12-year olds?  Can you really expect your men to grow up and be adults if they just look like bigger versions of beardless kids?

Men, women and children should consider the functions of the full beard and respect them.  Here are some examples:

  • Beards come in quite handy during intimacy.  (I ain’t gonna elaborate on this one.)
  • Beards help to develop the manual dexterity of infants and toddlers, who, as they are held by their fathers, grasp the beard, which fully develops the hand and fingers of the child.
  • Beards help to distinguish the father from the mother in the eyes of the child, causing them to view the sexes as very, very different.  (“Viva la difference!” as the French say.)  This causes young girls to develop into very feminine women and young boys to develop into very masculine men.
  • Bearded men (full, bushy beards, mind you, not the sissy trimmed beards) elicit an involuntary reaction upon all who see them.  Beards emit power and virility and evoke instant respect.  Big, clean-shaven men with tattoos all over the place, piercings, etc., who look for confrontations, involuntarily avoid bearded men because they don’t feel manly in the presence of bearded men.  In point of fact, bearded men look upon beardless men as less manly.
  • When two bearded men enter an area and spot each other, they are naturally drawn to each other, involuntarily complimenting the other for their fine facial hair.  (This is significant, as men normally do not give compliments of appearance to one another.)  A bearded man talking to another bearded man feels like he is talking to a man. A bearded man talking to a beardless man feels like he is talking to a boy. All beardless men know this, or feel this inferiority of manliness when in the presence of fully bearded men.  There is no worse feeling to a man than to feel less than manly.
  • Conversely, there is no greater feeling to a woman than to feel feminine, but femininity must be contrasted with masculinity to get its greatest effect.  A fully bearded man gives the highest contrast of manliness to a woman, which is why women who have experienced fully bearded men don’t want them to ever cut the beard off.  They feel supremely feminine in the presence of such a manly man.  (Of course, cultural conditioning can take away this natural affinity that women have towards manly beards.)
  • Fully bearded men have an air of authority around them that children and women (and beardless men) respond to.  There is something in our psyche that still remembers Heavenly Father and that responds to His bearded image.
  • There may be many other reasons to grow a beard, but I’ll end with this one: if the Lord ever wants to send you out among the people to prophesy like one of His prophets of old, shouldn’t you look the part?

Worldly trends to eliminate beards Can you imagine a homosexual male with a full beard?  Kind of hard to picture, isn’t it?  Ever wonder why adult, homosexual males are almost always clean shaven, or have a minimum of facial hair?  Every wonder why the “playboy” image, started by Hugh Hefner, is clean-shaven (kind of like the homosexuals?)  Homosexual males don’t have children because they don’t get into long-term, committed relationships with females (otherwise known as “marriage.”)  “Playboys” (or nowadays the term is “players”) don’t get into long term, committed relationships with females, either.  (No marriage.)  You think the parallels between homosexual males and players is mere coincidence?

How about the sex performers and industry?  The only hair on their bodies (male or female) is found on their heads (and sometimes not even that for the men.)  Ever wonder why all this shaving of armpit hair, pubic hair and facial hair?  All of the visual cues of adulthood (for men and women) are snipped off by this industry, by the homosexuals and often by the playboys.  But think about it, if you take away this hair, what does an adult look like?  Answer: A large child.

None of this is coincidence.  Just as the hair that develops during puberty is designed by God to be a visual cue that the body is becoming an adult and getting ready for its sexual function between ADULTS, the world would remove all this hair so that it looks like CHILDREN are performing these sacred acts.  Thoughts to consider.

(After writing the above, which is based upon my own, personal observations, I did some Internet surfing and came across the following web site that confirmed what I had perceived about beards.)

All About Beards (beards.org)

Pay your tithing in silver

Stop writing checks or paying in cash.  Take whatever cash amount you would spend on tithing and convert it into silver coins, specifically, this silver.  Package and mail the coins off to your bishop, along with a tithing slip inside.  Make sure the slip is filled out so that you are anonymous.

Leave boring sacrament meetings after partaking of the sacrament

If you are tired of banal, boring, lame sacrament meeting talks and seriously consider going inactive, don’t.  Just go to church, partake of the sacrament, and as soon as the priests and deacons are dismissed to sit with their families, walk out and go home. You can return later to attend the Gospel Doctrine class, Relief Society or Priesthood Meetings, if you want or need to.  If Gospel Doctrine is lame, skip that, too. (However, to remain in good standing, priesthood holders must attend their priesthood meetings, even if they are boring.)

Doing this will allow you to keep your sanity for a few more years.  Also, if enough people in your ward participate in collective ditching, the bishopric may get the message that boredom is not a generally accepted principle of the gospel and may make needed improvements to the sacrament meeting.  But don’t hold your breath on that one.

Ditch the necktie and white shirt

Last I checked, you can’t be ex’d for that, or even disfellowshipped.  But some anally retentive bishops may decide that you are no longer worthy to bless or pass the sacrament, give talks, teach classes or perform ordinances of church record, so, if you are looking for a breather from a heavy church load, conveniently make sure that every Sunday your white shirts and ties are too dirty to wear and dress in nice, comfortable, casual clothes, instead.  And if you are called to give a priesthood blessing to some sick person in the ward, don’t be anally retentive yourself and rush home to get dressed in a white shirt and tie.  Just go as you are and bless them.

Grow your hair long

Jesus did it.  Samson did it.  Who is more manly than those two?  Long hair and a full, bushy beard complement each other.  If you have the Roman hair (short cut) and the Israelite beard (full and bushy), it will almost look hypocritical, like having one foot in Babylon and one foot in Zion.  Put both feet in Zion and grow the hair out.  You’ll look a whole lot more handsome and manly if you do.  Plus, you’ll save on all the barber shop money you spend.  (Or, to appease a wife that is unaccustomed to long hair, tell her that you are going to the barber, but instead come back with chocolates and roses…and uncut hair.  She’ll soon look forward to your “barber shop” excursions and will end up being the one insisting you never cut your hair.)  If anyone asks you why you are not cutting the hair, say you are trying to be like Jesus, or that you have taken a Nazarene vow, or that you’ve noticed that your strength increases the longer your hair is, and you’ve decided to enter a strongman contest.

Call everyone brother and sister so-and-so

And I do mean everyone.  Bishops, presidents, missionaries, apostles, prophets and all General Authorities.  Everyone.  And make it part of every sentence, too, when you are called out on the practice.  So, for example: “Hello, Brother Brown.’  “Uh, I’m the bishop, Brother Green.”  “Yes, I know, Brother Brown.”  “Well, it is customary to call one’s bishop by the title bishop and not brother.”  “I was aware of that, Brother Brown.  But thanks for the information, anyway.”  You get my drift, right?  If anyone asks why you are doing this, just get all emotional and, if you are able to, shed a few tears while giving him (not her) a big hug and saying that you love him as your own brother.  Fairly quickly, no one will ask you again about it.

Print out your own set of scriptures

Include whatever canon you want.  Let it contain the four standard works (any version of the Bible you want, or multiple versions, or the red-letter version, etc.), the Apocrypha, the Inspired Version, etc.  Use a desk-top publishing program and a good printer and take it to a binding shop to get it professionally bound.  Remember, the saints set the canon.  You are a saint, so set your own canon.

Reverse the order of prayer

Instead of ending “in the name of Jesus Christ,” make it a habit of starting with “Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, …” and then end with a simple “Amen.”

Reverse the order of priesthood blessings

Instead of saying, “John Smith, by the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood, we lay our hands on you…etc.” and then ending with, “…and we leave this blessing with you in the name of Jesus Christ, amen,” just begin with, “John Smith, in the name of Jesus Christ and by the authority of…” and end with, “amen.”  Sure, you”ll undoubtedly get elders telling you afterward that you screwed up the blessing and must do it again because the order was reversed, but stick to your guns and teach them a thing or two, namely, that stating the authority is what is required, not the order in which the authority is stated.

Drop all the archaic expressions of prayer

Don’t worry, you won’t tick God off by calling him “you” instead of “thee.”  Lol.  That is a Mormon cultural artifact, nothing more.  Use plain, modern English when talking to God and drop all the thees, thous, wilts, etc.  Do this in private and in public, after all, it’s going to take practice to get out of this habit.  But it’ll be well worth the effort both to witness the expressions of horror by the LDS around you after you’ve said your prayer, as well as seeing how more accepting Christians are of you when you’ve said a prayer without archaic, “holier-than-thou” expressions.

De-McConkie-ize the church: stop ending talks with “In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”

This practice was started by Bruce R. McConkie.  The early saints just said, “Amen.” to end a talk, or just ended it however they wanted to end it and then sat down.  Surely you don’t think your entire talk speaks for Jesus, now do you?  So, leave off speaking in His name except for ORDINANCES which require speaking in His name and for those times when you are filled with the Spirit and are prophesying in the name of God.  (Now how many times has that happened, huh?)

Build an altar in your home

Purchase bottles of vodka and leave them out to be seen

Use the vodka to wash your bodies, as directed by the Word of Wisdom.  Make sure they are conspicuously displayed and then invite some church members over for dinner.  Have fun with the discussions that ensue.

Other ideas

Obviously, these are just ideas to get you started.  Cultural Mormons will probably call you a sinner for doing these things.  But then, they also see anarchy as evil, which it isn’t.  Just smile and do them anyway.  Eventually, the tide of Mormon cultural crap will turn.  If you have any other ideas to offer, or if you are already doing some of these or other things, feel free to leave a comment and inform us all of your experience.

Next Anarchism/Anarchy article: Anarchism

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49 Comments

  1. It’s funny how much a Church culture that encourages ultra-traditional gender roles tends to look down on actual beards.

  2. I think the beard thing is because all the General Authorities — at least Quorum of the 12 — have been filled with American business men. The corporate ethic, authority structure, and dress code have become the norm for our leaders, and it is what they teach as doctrine to the members.

    Members in my ward are often confused about why my wife and I go to Gospel Essentials instead of Gospel Doctrine. They assume we are ward missionaries, have brought investigators, or are teaching the class — none of which are true. Mix up your 2nd hour by going to Essentials instead.

    If you have the means to make your own grape wine, then you could bring it to your Bishop to begin using for the sacrament.

    While offering a prayer — you could choose different postures. You could remain seated [I like to remember that the Zoramites and the Pharisees like to stand up to a podium lifted up above the members and offer their prayers], you could raise your arms into the air instead of folding them [Many evangelical Christians will pray this way], or you could kneel [This is the attitude of prayer the Savior typically assumed].

    You can not teach the FIrst Presidency message during your home teaching visit.

  3. Brilliant.

    I’m already doing the long hair and ditching the tie. Soon I will drop the white shirt for another color. Still want to do the bear thing but just haven’t stuck with it long enough.

    I like all these ideas. Instead of calling everyone “Brother” and “Sister” (last name), lets switch to the first name, like brother Joseph. It sounds more personal and less flaunty.

    Ohhhhhh I have a great idea.

    Drop the initial in all the names of the GA’s. From now on Thomas S. Monson is just Thomas Monson, David A. Bednar is just David Bednar. People will think that you are 1 step away from being the devils own.

    If you want to really get people to notice you drop the formal parts of their names and go with shortend versions like

    Tom Monson
    Dave Bednar
    Russ Ballard
    Jeff Holland
    Russ Nelson
    Tom Perry

    I personally guarantee if all the church stopped calling them by those ridiculous extended, authoritative names, then within 5 years they would cease to be the doctrinal authorities that we consider them.

    (not saying they are bad men, just saying that the extended names are simply a method to instill respect in the minds of the members, they need to go. Jesus would never want us to call him by an extended name).

  4. I meant “beard” thing.

  5. Absolutely wonderful thoughts. You have a gift. Keep it up.

    You should think of some way to spice up testimony meeting….

  6. You mean like just bearing your testimony and leaving out the long story that goes along with how you got that testimony?
    No one would know what to do if you did that.

  7. What a great post.
    As I was reading the part about ‘Amen.’ I was thinking about the last time i heard someone in the congregation voice a loud ‘amen’ when they heard something agreeable. Wouldn’t it also help people to stay awake if the monotone was interrupted occasionally?

    On a serious side, what more can be done through correlation to drive the spirit away from our meetings?

  8. Great stuff! This is the most fun part about remaining with the sheep, affecting change. You could always have a brew and not be worried about it.

    pay tithing, some of it anyway, in fast offerings so it stays local. Never through the tithing donation slip. Give your tithing, in reality consecrated goods, to others whom you feel are also seeking Zion. I found your Anonymous line quite funny,, as I am fully in this boat, as well as most of the others!

    Thanks for the post.

  9. I would suggest that during sac. meeting you stand up and speak in tongues. Then have one of your children follow up by interpreting what you said.

    But keep the topic basic, don’t get into any deep doctrine, so as to not freak out the newbies.

  10. I guess I am a better anarchist than I thought. Of the 13 things you mention above, I can already check off 9 of them as ‘yep, I do that’

  11. This web site is the best. I think about this kind of stuff all the time.

    Personally, I do need to be excommunicated, and I want to be – for apostasy and disbelief. Am I entitled a trial hearing or to an excommunication court? I do want my day in court with the stake high counsel. Could I pick my own reprsentation? If so, I would certainly pick someone who thinks out of the box and who has an extensive knowledge of LDS doctrine (like just about everyone who posts here).

    Is that taking spicing your church experience a little too far? I can’t tell.

    Would anyone be interested in representing me?

  12. […] example, the reason for pornography actors shave their pubic hair is to make them look more like large children – people can choose to turn away from such perversions.  Instead of demonizing sexual expression […]

  13. Found this at BCC http://bycommonconsent.com/2010/11/20/the-nones/ — though I wouldn’t recommend commenting there — I did find the conversation telling.

    The inactivity rate for Young singles is 70%. That’s from the church statistical dept when my husband was bishop right in Salt Lake City, 3 years ago. It is real. The church is very concerned about it but doesn’t seem to know how to reverse the trend.
    From here

    The problem is real. Along the Wasatch Front in Utah, the activity rate for YSA aged 18-30 is between 15-19%. This includes a very liberal definition of “active” that includes people who I wouldn’t necessarily include as active. It is a BIG problem that the leadership is really struggling with.

    I have my own theories for why this is happening, but they don’t really matter.
    From here

    Perhaps if only more people would spice up their church experience — these youth wouldn’t feel so terribly bored.

  14. I read 1 Corinthians 11-14 last night — just wondering:

    Grow your hair long
    Jesus did it.

    1 Cor. 11: 14
    Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?

    What do you think?

  15. Shame is a BIG problem in the LDS church especially for new converts who are baptized and then ordained into the priesthood while still combating an addiction. If a man is ashamed of his body because he is fat, by all means, lose weight, address food addiction head on dead center. If an LDS member is ashamed of an addiction to cigerettes or alcohol, yes, overcome it, be free of bondage, but shame is not the door to freedom; love is. Love heals. Shame is part of a downward cycle.

    If a man is shamed by others for having long hair, that just seems shallow to me.

  16. “In talking about head coverings and length of hair Paul is saying that believers should look and behave in ways that are honorable within their own culture. In many cultures long hair on men is considered appropriate and masculine. In Corinth it was thought to be a sign of male prostitution in pagan temples. And women with short hair were labeled prostitutes. Paul was saying that in Corinthian culture, Christian women should keep their hair long. If short hair on women was a sign of prostitution, then a Christian woman with short hair would find it even more difficult to be a believable witness for Jesus Christ. Paul wasn’t saying we should adopt all the practices of our culture, but that we should avoid appearances and behavior that detract from our ultimate goal of being believable witnesses for Jesus Christ while demonstrating our Christian faith.” (NIV Life Application Bible)

  17. It would appear that this then applies to Paul’s thoughts on seeking the good of others.

  18. This post is intended as a joke right? I was reading through it, at first feeling a bit frustrated at the….absurd(?) reasoning, weirdly absolutist language (eg. “In point of fact, bearded men look upon beardless men as less manly.” this might be true of some men, probably a minority, but I and many of my friends have beards and I certainly don’t see beardless men as less manly…I can’t say manliness is a big concern of mine), misogyny and homophobia, until it dawned on me this is probably intended as a joke and then I found it funny. But looking through the comments which seem to take it seriously has left me confused. So I guess I am asking a question. Is this a joke or is it serious?

  19. i mean, claiming god has a beard? You can’t honestly really believer that, right? Why would you think god has a beard? Or doesn’t have a beard? Based on artist’s paintings of jesus? Or that jesus has long hair…why would you think that? Maybe he did. Most jews of his day didn’t, so maybe he didn’t. This is the sort of thing that makes me pretty sure this is a joke….but I honestly can’t tell.

  20. Why would you think god has a beard?

    I’m just going out on a limb here and assuming that you are talking about God The Father. When I observe that God(s) created Adam(s) and Eve(s) in Gods’ image; then I guess my laughable, misguided deduction is that the Father has a beard (or some kind of facial hair).

    Thanks for your uplifting comments. Glad we could make you laugh.

  21. “Remember, the saints set the canon.”

    Is that a statement of historical fact, or one aiming to assert one’s rights? Couldn’t honestly tell from the context. I’m not sure that jives with historical facts, but if it’s aimed to assert one’s rights, then I’m all for it.

  22. It probably doesn’t jive with post Heber J. Grant history. But the vote of the Saints was required to accept the Doctrine and Covenants. I don’t know if they voted on the Bible or Book of Mormon.

    So it’s both. Saints has set the canon, and do set the canon.

    I vote for the Book of Enoch.

  23. Zo-ma-rah:

    I might agree with that, but it seems the original post is speaking specifically about the bible, book of Mormon, etc. Saints (as in historical Christianity) had nothing to do with setting the canon in either. Heck, in the book of Mormon is was all decided by one guy. I do agree that Saints (as in LD-Saints) play a major role in setting the canon, though don’t tell anyone else that because no one really believes we need to vote on anything these days to sustain any canonical changes.

    Just curiousity.

  24. Oh. yeah. I’m not aware of the Bible or Book of Mormon were voted on by the church as is or if they were just accepted. They have been or should be voted on.

  25. You guys will love this article:

    “According to The Times, “facial hair has long been considered a potential blight on career advancement.” They report the results of a survey: “60% of businessmen without beards or moustaches feel that these features are a bad sign. Some feel that the person can’t be bothered to shave and others that they are hiding something.”

  26. Some feel that the person can’t be bothered to shave and others that they are hiding something

    Sounds like me alright. Oh yeah, the next Time article [or will it be Ensign?] will be about how sloppy dress at church means that I don’t care about Jesus.

  27. Already been done, Justin. WFZ discussed it and quoted the following:

    “How we dress … demonstrates where our heart and spirit really desire to be. When we know who we are—children of God—and understand that our outward appearance affects our inward spirituality and ultimately our behavior, we show respect for God, for ourselves, and for those around us by being modest in dress and behavior. … how we dress will greatly influence our obedience to commandments and devotion to covenants. … In time our dress may even determine who our friends and associates may be, thus influencing whether we live worthy of enjoying the blessings of happiness in this world and for eternity.” (Robert D. Hales, Aug. 2008 Ensign, “Modesty”.)

    There are a LOT more quotes that say essentially the same thing on LDS.org.

  28. From a commenter [troy, #17] at a Wheat and Tares post:

    After I read [Spicing up your church experience] on beards, and getting tired of the “clean shaven” look, I decided to grow a beard. This was 1+ years ago or so. I was also growing my hair out at the same time because I’d had the same hairdo since my mission days 10+ years prior.

    And, with the combination of long hair and a beard, I’ve never had so many weird looks and lack of conversations at church. It’s only anecdotal evidence, but the minute I began growing my hair long and having a beard, I was released from a calling and haven’t had one for nearly 1.5 years.

    A friend of mine who had sported a mustache for 20+ years was asked to shave as a prerequisite for serving in the temple (he had likewise sported that same mustache while serving in 2 separate bishoprics in 2 different wards). He did as he was told and shaved.

    A good family friend (former stake president) was constantly asking me to shave mine this summer and cut my hair. He even gave me $20 to get the hair cut. Most of the time it was in jest, but I think there was a bit more hope behind that jest. My brother, who happened to have much shorter hair than me, but did sport a beard (he is in his late 20s) was likewise asked to shave on more than one occasion, but mostly by family members.

    His response, which I loved, was this: “My job is to make you look on the inside, not the outside.

    It didn’t work, but it was a clever line.

  29. FYI – on BYU and beards:

    http://bringbackthebeard.blogspot.com/

  30. I had a home teacher once who asked me if I wanted regular (monthly) visits or if I just wanted him to help me when we needed it. I opted for the latter and we were both fine with it. He was one of the best home teachers I had. His help was genuinely given. So, I’d add this option to the list of things one could do.

  31. hey, could you do a similar post for the ladies? How our sisters could spice up their experience? I loved your post, but it was much more man-oriented 🙂

  32. Melissa:

    I’ll ask my wife for some — but any women who read this can post some suggestions also — and I’ll put a post together.

  33. Melissa:

    Done

  34. I enjoy this site to the fullest!
    Makes me want to go back to church (guess i am on of those YAS that aren’t active)

    Abou the Beards…
    Lol, lol & lol.
    It’s funny how some people act, but when they see one of the Portraits of the old Prophets with beards (Young, Woodruff etc) they are in awe.
    In Switzerland in one ward there was a young Bishop with beard… the only one in his beard.
    I also got to meet the future, Stake Pres with full beard… thought he shaved for that calling. It would be interesting if he did it on his own accont or if there was some pressure. Both are fine good men.

    Oh, i i was a boy i would go with Sneakers instead the shiny ledershoes.
    Wear a white suit and a black Shirt…

    And for women, why don’t try some Lady Gaga hairdos? Lol
    Also i had back in the day some blue hair meches (there is a Color Mousse that can be washed of your hair).

    Members act always very funny when they see someone outside their normal pattern of behaviour or dress code. Which is hard for the newbies or the ones who are just interested.

    – Drink in a beerglass a non alcoholic drink that looks like beer… ( inspired by a story i heard of a guy who went out to drink with his non member friends… They ordered a beer but he had a drink know as “Rivela” which is yellow and looks like beer. Like it always goes some members saw him and went to the bishop, the bishop called him etc.).
    I got once in trouble for holding a friends cigarette… I never smoked in my life but exactly that day a member had to cross my way, and of course it ended going the bishop… Thank heavens, he just laughed about it.

    And one thing i did once was going to the bishop telling him I was lesbian just to see his reaction (triggered by a story of a friend).
    I thought my bishop was too good to be true, so i tested him with that… and that guy did pass the test.

    Again, i did this stuff about 10 years ago, back in my teens… now i’ve heard if you sign up for a camp there is a whole list of things that aren’t allowed (piercings, haircolor, way of clothing etc.) if you don’t meet the standarts you are send home… So basically no one can invite a non member to a camp.

  35. TYPO!
    In Switzerland in one ward there was a young Bishop with beard… the only one in his WARD.

    Not beard…. Lol

  36. I also got to meet the future, Stake Pres with full beard… thought he shaved for that calling. It would be interesting if he did it on his own accont or if there was some pressure.

    I’m sure there was “pressure” — or “firm counsel” to “follow the lead of the brethren” and to “prayerfully consider his own worthiness in the matter”, etc.

    The stake president for my in-laws requires anyone called for the “higher up” calling [e.g., bishopric, executive secretary, elder’s quorum presidency] to shave their facial hair.

    He also requires female choristers to stand on the opposite side of the stage [away from him] because he finds “their movements” distracting.

    For your suggestion:

    Drink in a beerglass a non alcoholic drink that looks like beer

    I personally just drink beer in a beer-glass — and if asked by people who know I’m LDS, I tell them about the word of wisdom:

    all grain is good for the food of man…
    nevertheless…
    barley for…
    mild drinks
    as also other grain

    [D&C 89:16-17]

  37. that’s pretty sad, I consider beards as something “fatherly”.
    Not to add up, most sister were shocked how good looking he was without his beard.. haha

    Distracting is when I see the Bishopric in front of us sleeping. Which is pretty contagious.

    “I personally just drink beer in a beer-glass — and if asked by people who know I’m LDS, I tell them about the word of wisdom:
    [D&C 89:16-17]”

    Well, that’s a hard one, but I would have done it if I wasn’t so allergic to that strong smell beer has (any type).
    If I remember well, we as ward once made an Activity and as Desert there would be some Ice Cream. There was Chocolate and Vanilla, and since the Store Portions are pretty small unlike the US Family Version ones, they bought a lot. The guys who bought it bought one Pint of Coffee accidentally.
    Anyway, it was kind of funny see the two groups of People discussing about what to do with “that”.The Bishop then served himself a portion of that Ice and saying, It’s has more food/flavor-additives than anything in it… some didn’t see why to make such great noise about it, and took it too.
    Well, I don’t need to tell you, that some were pretty disturbed and yes I saw some angry people there, too. All just because of Ice Cream!

    I have one more suggestion…
    Answering to fake “How are you?” Questions.

    I see this more like an adaption of the American culture, as a Church one. Some people just ask without releasing it and are surprised if the other gives an answer and don’t know what to do at all If someone answers “I don’t feel well”.

    Dunno, it doesn’t go well with it, if I ask this Question then I would like to talk to that person.

  38. David McKay said [about rum in cake]:

    At a reception McKay attended, the hostess served rum cake. All the guests hesitated, watching to see what McKay would do. He smacked his lips and began to eat. When one guest expostulated, “But President McKay, don’t you know that is rum cake?” McKay smiled and reminded the guest that the Word of Wisdom forbade drinking alcohol, not eating it.

    I guess the same applies to coffee ice-cream — not only is it no longer hot, it’s not even a drink anymore.

  39. That McKay story just made my day… 🙂

    My LDS Friend, I shall call him James, told me once that he meet some people in Greece, and one guy invited him to his house because they became in that short time friends. He told me that guy was a humble man and his Family didn’t own much but were quite happy. The mother of that guy made special for the Guest a Coffee Smoothie (it was a hot day).
    So James was there in front of that big Glass and seeing how the people were basically waiting for him to take the first Sip he drank from it. He said that was a story that he couldn’t tell someone in the church, and he needed to tell the Bishop and it made him feel like he betrayed God and the Prophets ( to top it all he said it was delicious).
    I laughed about it, and asked him what he thinks Jesus would have done? Long Pause… “Ask for water?”. I laughed and mocked him, it was only that time and i don’t think the church will throw Stones at him for that.

    Next time I see him I’ll give him a HUGE Starbucks Coffee Smoothie and tell him the Story of McKay and send him a link to this blog! 🙂

  40. This whole “spice it up” article is about turning the attention on you instead of the Savior. “Grow a beard” “Intentionally use different wording in prayers and ordinances”, blah blah… I am sorry, it’s not about you, or Utah Mormons, the Bishop, visiting authorities, or anyone else in attendance, but about the Lord Jesus and serving others. If what you are doing is distracting from Him, then it isn’t a good idea. Stop trying to make a statement by being obnoxious. Sounds like some attention hungry people here. You could always join the circus, might be a better fit 😉

    Make a statement by following Christ… doing that will make you unique enough.

  41. I love the circus:

    If Jesus was, in fact, bearded — then wouldn’t the general practice of clean-shaven leaders direct our attention away from Jesus?

    Also — If you don’t like this post — there’s a 2nd “Spicing up your church experience” [Women’s edition] that has, as an example:

    Talk incessantly about Jesus:

    as one of the suggested practices.

  42. @Justin:

    Growing a beard in and of itself is absolutely harmless. With that said, if I thought growing a beard made me more like Jesus, I’d be all over it. Unfortunately, like me you may have observed from other bearded guys walking around, it doesn’t seem to do much to increase spirituality.

    My point is really about intent. It appears this post (and much of this blog) is about intentionally doing things to be distracting in a concerted effort to be different. Using different wording in an ordinance is fine, but when it is encouraged as a way to “shake things up” or I should say, “spice” things up, the intent is in the wrong place. Intentionally doing things to stand out is an effort to be noticed, and Church really isn’t the environment for that. Am I right or am I right?

  43. I tried to sum-up the spirit in which both of the “Spicing up your church experience” posts were written in — in the introduction I wrote to the “Women’s edition” one that I wrote:

    There are a growing majority of people starting to recognize the difference between the doctrine of Mormonism and the culture of Mormonism — and who are finding it harder-and-harder to deal with the culture of it.
    […]
    This culture of being “A Mormon” — like it’s a brand-name or product — is sending too many good people running for the hills. We say “The Church is the same everywhere you go” — like it would even be a good thing if it were — but I’ve found that it’s really not anyway.
    […]
    The impression of uniformity among Mormons is just a facade of being built on a solid foundation —
    […]
    The diversity is there among Mormons already — it’s just everyone knows what to do/say to keep up the appearance of conformity so that it doesn’t manifest outwardly.

    Any time we’ve gotten closer with other members and talked openly about the church with them — I’ve always been surprised at how similar our views actually are — once we get to know each other.

    So how to you break the ice and get to know other members who feel the same way you do?

    Introduc[e] a bit of anarchy
    […]
    The more people that are doing these small things, the quicker the church can be de-culturalized — leaving only the diverse spectrum that the pure doctrine of Mormonism manifests. But even if you don’t change the whole world — it’s always fun to introduce a little anarchy, shake up the cult of conformity, taking a little boredom out of your own church experience.

    That’s not so bad, is it?

    Am I right — or am I right?

  44. lol, I love the switch.

    Anarchy isn’t productive. I would say, how about you be yourself, be kind to the guy next to you no matter how they look, and be real?

    You don’t have to grow a beard to do that, or pay your tithing in silver, or purchase bottles of vodka. That seems as silly if not more so than conforming to the culture you are trying to dispel. Just be real and keep the commandments. That would bring us all closer together and dispel the conforming culture quicker than anything else.

    Are we right or are we right?

  45. How about you be yourself, be kind to the guy next to you no matter how they look, and be real?

    Just be real and keep the commandments.

    That would bring us all closer together and dispel the conforming culture quicker than anything else.

    I agree with this — so I guess we are right [but then again, what other choice was there, heads we were right, and tails we were right].

    The point [I think] of the tongue-in-cheek “Spicing up your experience” posts is to get at that “being real” and “keeping the commandments” in a “conforming culture”. There are many LDS [who are potentially ex-LDS now] who simply wouldn’t agree that the church is a place for just being real with the guy next to you.

    Both posts state that these are all obviously just ideas, suggestions that can get your own creative juices flowing in a similar direction.

    They are all things that seem to be against the commandments, but are really just against conforming Church-culture. The idea is then that inspired agents openly keeping commandments in a non-confomist [one might even say “anarchic”] way actually is productive towards dispelling that culture of conformity.

    He’s free to correct me if I’m wrong — but I doubt LDSA was attempting to declare that any LDS who does not purchase vodka to prominently display in their home is a sinner.

  46. Talking to my daughter just now about the sacrament, I told her that although the sacrament does not entirely conform to the scriptural directions, it was within her right to try to make if fit, nonetheless. I suggested that one way would be to take a handful or two of bread instead of a single morsel when offered the sacrament. This would necessitate the blessing of more bread, for there would not be enough to go around for everyone, which would be an inconvenience, but not a sin. In other words, there could be no action taken against such a person. If more than one person did this each meeting, the sacramental service actually might end up occupying the entire hour (instead of talks) and the priesthood would have to accommodate the meeting to these eat-until-filled-ers, by bringing and blessing and offering more bread.

  47. Form the Wikipedia entry on beards:

    Mormonism

    Modern Mormon men are strongly encouraged to be clean shaven.[40] Formal prohibitions against facial hair are given to young men entering their two-year missionary service.[41] Students and staff of the church-sponsored Brigham Young University are asked to adhere to the Church Educational System Honor Code, which states in part: “Men are expected to be clean-shaven; beards are not acceptable.”[42]

    That first footnote (40) links to this talk by Dallin H. Oaks, given when he was president of Brigham Young University (published in the Ensign in December of 1971):

    Standards of Dress and Grooming

    Here is an excerpt of that speech, the part that covers facial hair:

    Beards and Long Hair

    The rule against beards and long hair for men stands on a different footing. I am weary of having young people tell me how most of our Church leaders in earlier times wore beards and long hair, which shows that these are not inherently evil. Others argue that beards cannot be evil because they see bearded men enjoying the privileges of the temple. To me, this proposition seems so obvious that it is hardly worth mentioning. Unlike modesty, which is an eternal value in the sense of rightness or wrongness in the eyes of God, our rules against beards and long hair are contemporary and pragmatic. They are responsive to conditions and attitudes in our own society at this particular point in time. Historical precedents are worthless in this area. The rules are subject to change, and I would be surprised if they were not changed at some time in the future. But the rules are with us now, and it is therefore important to understand the reasoning behind them.

    There is nothing inherently wrong about long hair or beards, any more than there is anything inherently wrong with possessing an empty liquor bottle. But a person with a beard or an empty liquor bottle is susceptible of being misunderstood. Either of these articles may reduce a person’s effectiveness and promote misunderstanding because of what people may reasonably conclude when they view them in proximity to what these articles stand for in our society today.

    In the minds of most people at this time, the beard and long hair are associated with protest, revolution, and rebellion against authority. They are also symbols of the hippie and drug culture. Persons who wear beards or long hair, whether they desire it or not, may identify themselves with or emulate and honor the drug culture or the extreme practices of those who have made slovenly appearance a badge of protest and dissent. In addition, unkemptness—which is often (though not always) associated with beards and long hair—is a mark of indifference toward the best in life. As Elder Sterling W. Sill has observed:

    “A let-down in personal appearance has far more than physical significance, for when ugliness gets its roots into one part of our lives it may soon spread to every other part.” (The Quest for Excellence, Bookcraft, p. 38.)

    A young bishop of my acquaintance can testify to the impact of unkempt appearance on those around us and its relationship to the drug culture. One evening last June, Bishop E. Wayne Nelson of the South Shore Ward in Griffith, Indiana, received a telephone call from a jailer in an Indiana city, fifty miles from his home. The jailer was holding two Mormon boys who were charged with possession of narcotics. Bishop Nelson made several visits as these young men waited in jail for their cases to be heard. He learned that both were from Utah, the sons of active Latter-day Saint parents. Both had tampered with drugs in this state. Both had adopted an unkempt appearance, including shoulder-length hair. Soon after they arrived in Gary, Indiana, to look for work, and while they were walking down a street, a peddler of narcotics approached them and invited them to make a purchase. Faced with that temptation at that time in that place, the boys chose not to resist. Soon after this transaction they were arrested and charged with possession of the drugs they had purchased. After the bishop heard their story in jail, he asked them, “Why do you think the peddler approached you?” One boy responded, “I guess it was our appearance; we just looked like users.” These young men had taken upon themselves the badges of the drug culture, and they were easily identified and approached by those who sought to profit from their weakness.

  48. if Jesus doesnt have a beard then all of our pictures of Him are wrong lol.

    also I cant grow a beard for some reason I lack the facial hair to do so. I can grow a good mustache, a very patchy beard, I do however have plenty of hair on my head. I am otherwise not a hairy guy. I dont know why.

    but I dont know why but your comments on a beard are dead on and I hadnt thought of it before. It is true the only time men compliment looks on each other are in relation to some form of facial hair. must be something to it.

  49. This scientific research study was first published on 22 August 2016: The masculinity paradox: facial masculinity and beardedness interact to determine women’s ratings of men’s facial attractiveness


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