I want to be fair and present both sides of this situation, but I really have strong feelings.
My middle son, a returned missionary got the part of Christmas Present in our Stake’s production of Scrooge. He’s a redhead and decided to grow out his beard for the part. The first Sunday after he started the Bishop of his single’s ward stopped him and asked if he had broken his razor. My son explained he was growing out his beard for his part in the play.
The play is now over, he did a fantastic job…considerably better than the one in the movie. After PEC this week, he’s the ward mission leader, the Bishop and 1st counselor had him stay for a talk.
The long and the sort of the “discussion” was his beard was not appropiate for the ward, it is a “small” sign of rebellion, a “small” sign of wordliness and generally not a good example considering his calling. He was asked to shave.
Here are the two sides and I see it and as my son and I have discussed it. The brethern have never made a statement about beards and worthiness, nor demanded that men be shaved except for missionaries and at church schools.
However, the Bishop is the presiding authority in the Ward. When the Bishop sets a standard / goal for his ward he expects that the ward members to follow that standard / goal.
Obedience is the first law of heaven. My son brought up in the discussion that the brethern have said nothing in regards to his type of situation, nor does the handbook say anything, and he pointed out examples of men serving in Bishoprics who have facial hair – including his brother. The Bishop has his standards for his ward and would like my son to shave.
What’s your opinion?