From my perspective, the white-haired 75 year old with a beard in the ward isn’t the one who has an issue with beards. It’s the 45-50 year old Stake President or bishop who works as a management consultant and went to BYU at any time after Ernest Wilkinson’s tenure as the university president.]]>
I think the outdated thinking gets passed from generation to generation by the 30-40 year-old parents more than the older people.]]>
I love our ward and have been in it longer than any other ward member (except my wife). Our ward is well balanced with a strong primary and very strong youth. I think there is a certain strength that comes with a wide variety of ages and backgrounds.
Part of who Rusty is and what he has become is because of the ward he grew up in. I think that has also contributed to his present viewpoints.]]>
It was the best ward ever.
Sure it was hard to keep the Primary staffed, but the Spirit in that ward was so strong, it was amazing. My husband was re-activated while we lived there and he always says he probably would not have come back to church in any other ward. When he started coming back to church, no one made a big deal about it. No pressure on him. Just friendly faces and greetings and open arms.
He told me once during a F&T meeting that he felt the Spirit so strongly he wanted to stand up and ask people if Christ was in the room.
I think one of the reasons the Spirit was so strong in that ward was that a lot of the retired people attended the temple weekly. It was three hours away but they carpooled.
Also, you’d think a ward full of old white people wouldn’t be very diverse, but it was. Because everyone had retired there from somewhere else, we had a rich pool of experiences and backgrounds. It was neat. There was a lady who was so classy and elegant–and she grew up in a shack in Alabama with no running water. Another woman had been a model and hostess during WWII and had entertained celebrities at a restaurant and later worked building airplanes. I loved that ward.]]>
i believe that a few “catalyst” people, of any age, can make all the difference. I can think of about 12 of these types of people over the years. i believe my husband and I have been two of these people. Ironically some of these catalyst types largely conform to the outward stereotype, in appearance, etc. themselves, but they are very accepting of a broad range of people and opinions.
Finally another example and thought. A couple of months ago a new young couple spoke in Sac. Mtg. He had a beard and hair down past his shoulders. Several weeks later he still had his beard but his hair was short. I don’t know of anyone who said anything to him about it. Maybe he just wanted to see if we would “accept him as he was” and since we did, he had no further need to make a “statement” with his long hair.]]>