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Dear Gramps,
In reference to these scriptures does it mean that men are not supposed to shave? Help me to understand. My husband has stopped shaving because of these scriptures.—

Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt though mar the corners of thy beard (Leviticus 19:27).

They shall not make baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard, nor make any cuttings in their flesh  (Leviticus 21:5).

Tara, from Pocatello, Idaho

Dear Tara,
It is rather curious that your husband would choose to obey two verses from the five books of the Law of Moses without regard to all the other laws given by the Lord to the children of Israel when they were rescued from 215 years of slavery to the Egyptians. The Law of Moses was fulfilled by the Savior as he replaced it with the higher law of the gospel. However, there were people in His time who refused to accept the Savior’s higher law in favor of the Law of Moses, and Jesus and his disciples were chided for breaking that law—

And it came to pass on the second sabbath after the first, that he went through the corn fields; and his disciples plucked the ears of corn, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands. And certain of the Pharisees said unto them, Why do ye that which is not lawful to do on the sabbath days? And Jesus answering them said, Have ye not read so much as this, what David did, when himself was an hungred, and they which were with him; How he went into the house of God, and did take and eat the shewbread, and gave also to them that were with him; which it is not lawful to eat but for the priests alone? And he said unto them, That the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath. And it came to pass also on another sabbath, that he entered into the synagogue and taught: and there was a man whose right hand was withered. And the scribes and Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against him. But he knew their thoughts, and said to the man which had the withered hand, Rise up, and stand forth in the midst. And he arose and stood forth. Then said Jesus unto them, I will ask you one thing; Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save life, or to destroy it? And looking round about upon them all, he said unto the man, Stretch forth thy hand. And he did so: and his hand was restored whole as the other. And they were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus (Luke  6:1-11).

In addition, the two verses that your husband chooses to obey were given as commandments to conform with the social norms of the time, and they were changed as the social norms changed. In the time of the Savior Paul instructed the women to have their heads covered during prayer—

But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered (1 Cor  11:5-6).

And to remain silent during church meetings—

Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law (1 Cor  14:34).

Those were laws given in their day to conform with the social norms of the times. In our own day, the six prophets that presided over the Mormon Church between the first prophet, Joseph Smith and President David O. McKay wore beards, but the prophet Joseph was clean shaven, as were and are the seven prophets from President McKay to President Hinkley. Would your husband like to counsel President Hinckley and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles about not obeying the Law of Moses as the Pharisees counseled the Savior and his disciples about picking and eating corn on the Sabbath?
As social norms change with the times, facial hair today has in many cases become a sign of rebellion against the norms of society. So much is it a badge of disrespect for convention that if a person with facial hair were to be called to serve in a bishopric, for instance, or to serve as a worker in the temple, he would be asked to be clean shaven in order to accept the call. You may want to ask your husband if he would prefer to wear his beard in compliance with the Law of Moses, or if he would rather qualify himself to serve in the holy temple in compliance with the law of God?

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