This article makes an important point, but I think it hasn’t fully
addressed the main reason some Latter-day Saints do this.The author
recommends we “distinguish between Christ’s doctrine and LDS
cultural practices,” butthe expectation to “avoid extremes in
clothing, appearance, and hairstyle” is not merely cultural; it’s
counsel from living prophets, given in multiple ways over multiple decades.
Christ’s doctrine is to follow the prophets and help others do so as well.
So the problem is not that these Saints need to stick to the doctrine of Christ
instead of culture (they’d say they are sticking to the doctrine, and in a
way they are). The problem is that they need more guidance on how to apply the
doctrine.Articles are more persuasive if we acknowledge the
doctrinal basis behind their (misguided) actions, rather than concluding that
they are just “certain LDS cultural practices” in conflict with true
Some years ago, I was bishop of a ward which was very accepting of differences.
A young man joined the church and was worthy in every way. He had flowing long
hair, well below his shoulders. He passed and blessed the sacrament many times
with his long hair. I had the impression if he was allowed to magnify his
priesthood the rest would take care of itself. He eventually married in the
temple and cut his hair to missionary length without being asked to do so. It
impressed me if I would have made his long hair an issue we'd have chased
him out of the church. To my knowledge, he is still an active, strong member of
the church. Patience with those who don't exactly conform to grooming
standards, the word of wisdom, etc. is a good thing. We need to be chasing
people into the church, not out.
Rockyrd, that's a great example of acknowledging the standard while also
being judicious in what to do about it. It sounds like your ward put things in
the right order, without omitting anything. Well done.
nathan000000, is it possible that some counsel from living prophets and apostles
is in fact cultural? You seem to be implying that dress and grooming are
pertinent to salvation. I don't have any problem hearing the counsel,
recognizing it as inspired, but also acknowledging that it is 100% cultural