A Uniquely Mormon Social Drama

Brigham Young
Brigham Young

Beards of Iniquity
The Atlantic, April 2009, p17

Although Brigham Young wore a beard, today’s Mormon leaders insist that a clean-shaven face shows piety and obedience. But some bearded Mormons are resisting: they say they feel shame and resentment when told to shave, because their beards express “deeply felt, even intimate, identities.” Appearance is a “highly charged” marker of loyalty in the church, and growing a beard is increasingly becoming “a serious breach that sets in play a uniquely Mormon social drama.”

Mormons have a plethora of unique social drama. Unfortunately I have to endure it whenever I am near my still-active family members. :(

“Men’s Grooming in the Latter-Day Saints Church: A Qualitative Study of Norm Violation,”
Mental Health, Religion & Culture

2 Comment

  1. I often had this problem when I was active in the church. I have always liked wearing my hair long, and would feel very uncomfortable every Sunday at church with the entire congregation looking down their nose at me. Didnt matter what I thought or what I knew, I was different and therefore wrong, just because I wouldnt cut my hair. When I asked “How does the way I look make me a better Mormon,” I was told I was being disrespectful. How am I disrespectful if I have the same hair style as they guy whose pictures are on the wall of every room in the building?

    1. Damien – Thank you for the comment. Your last sentence is very funny. The social pressure to conform in the Mormon church is intense.

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