This title comes from the Lord’s instructions to Samuel about looking for a king. It was as appropriate then as it is today. So much of our life in the church focuses on the outward appearance. The Mormon culture is fascinated about creating uniformity. Even among those on the outside of the culture there is a sense of claiming unity with the church means you are a Molly Mormon or a Peter Priesthood.
These focused arguments are for me tiresome and annoying. Honestly, tell me what role a white shirt has in the salvation of souls, or why someone needs to shave their beard to be a leader? It is cultural, not scriptural from what I can see. I understand that some may find this post surprising but let me tell you it has been something I have said before.
I do think white shirts have their place in our sacrament tables. I think clean appearance and Sunday best are important. But I also remember a Stake President who once said, “I love it when I come to church and smell smoke on a strangers cloths. Because I know they are either coming back or investigating the church. “
This all boiled to head for me over the ideas on hair.
I have friends who have had to face a lot of grief from a relative because they dyed the hair of a cousin red. The person was not the parent but someone related who got bent out of shape. As if doing that was somehow a bad example to that teenager.
I have told my kids they can do what they want with their hair. They might have to put up with some teasing but I am not going to stop them.
This in fact happened earlier this summer. My second son decided he wanted his head shaved. Well I was surprised, and just a bit appalled, but he got all his hair off. He looked like a Q-tip but hey it was his choice.
In the end I have said to my wife that these things are really not worth fighting about, kids will be kids, give them the opportunity to have some decisions on the little things and I hope it will allow me to help on the big ones. When the kids talk to me about these things I usually say, “Well I cannot say much as I had my hair dyed orange a few years ago, and since I started going grey at 21 I have used dye off and on ever since. I thought it somewhat ridiculous to look old early in life.
So my question for those who are not the parents of these children who have dyed hair or Mohawks or long hair, what have you. Do you think it is so important that you make a comment? Does it bring someone closer to Christ by attacking or isolating them for little reason?
Everyone makes choices, some you agree with some you do not. At the end of the day let them make them. If you disagree you can do one of two things. You can be over bearing and rude and attack someone or you can say you do not agree but allow others to decide.
I think of Heavenly Father and how he offers free agency to his children. I am always amazed how often when I screw up and must go back and repent how often I am forgiven. He sees my heart and not my outward appearance and he means it. For me that is more important than my desire to force conformity or judge others who conform.