I enjoy reading your question & answer articles. Now, I’ve got a question for you. Why is there such a strong unwritten policy on facial hair for men in leadership positions in the Church? When I look back at our beloved Prophets, it wasn’t so long ago they all had beards. I know that the hippie days of scraggly beards are over, but do you think there is a place for a well groomed beard in our Church these days? Sincerely,
Pat, from Arizona
I think that the key words are “a well groomed beard.” Social customs change from time to time. In the earlier days of the Church, when men shaved with straight razors, beards were generally grown and were perceived as a mark of distinction and good grooming. With the advent of more efficient shaving methods, fully shaved faces became more popular. Then the anti-establishment group began to use scraggly, unkept beards as an expression of defiance of the establishment. An unkempt appearance still gives the impression of a person in rebellion or without much self respect. But I would imagine that a neatly groomed beard would still give the impression of a person who held himself in esteem and would be perfectly acceptable in the Church as well as in the respectable community.