I have recently been called as second counselor in the branch presidency. I have a well kept goatee. I have had it for 10 years. I don’t keep it as any sign of rebellion or disrespect but because, my wife and myself both like the look. Nobody has told me to shave it, but I was wondering where the Mormon Church stands on it and is there any doctrine to support it.
Jason, from Cedar Vale, Australia
There is no scriptural doctrine on the wearing of beards. They are merely a custom of the times. The first seven presidents of the Church, with the exception of Joseph Smith, wore full beards. However, today, as you have implied, beards are often grown was a sign of rebellion or disrespect for authority, and they are discouraged on that basis. Here is a statement on the subject by Elder Paul H. Dunn, in the October conference of 1967—
“It is not an unusual thing for young people to rebel. Every new generation has its rebels. But a rebellion of sad young people with little confidence in their own rebellion is something quite unique. One needs only to have a brief exposure to a university environment to witness the demonstrations of rejection against proven values. Beards, long hair, grubby clothes, sit-ins, and the lack of restraint in matters of alcohol, chastity, and drugs are merely the symptoms of the problem that is, at its deepest level, a spiritual problem.”
That seems to be the position of the Church today. If you were called to be a bishop, you would very likely be requested to remove your beard. But I am giving advice from very far away. I would strongly suggest that you talk with your stake or mission president about the issue, and be prepared to follow their advice.