ICYMI: The Mormon Church Loves #BeardShaming

Brigham-Young-BeardsEvery religion includes some fashion oddities: Old-time Pentecostal women still make their own clothes that look like tablecloths, many Muslim women have to wear the headscarf, Catholic women choose to apply their makeup in the liquor store in case they see someone they know, etc.

The Church of the Latter-day Saints, however, is in the midst of a communications breakdown based on an outdated fashion faux pas. No, not the “holy underwear” — that’s haute couture. We’re talking beards.

The #BeardShaming is so bad that on Utah campuses of higher education that campus police are actually on the prowl for order of the coif. 

This story and the above picture via Vocativ taught us that “beard exceptions” are a thing on campus and should be noted in the honor code for campus police.

Utah has effectively banned hipsters.

Brigham-Young-Beards-ExceptionWhen Paolo Quezada, a student at LDS Business College, who was asked to grow some hair on his chin for a role in a Mormon-sponsored film about the Bible, he had to seek permission from his school.

After receiving approval, he had to carry the “Beard Exception” card seen here so he wouldn’t be flagellated, tarred-and-feathered, or whatever punishment one receives for letting it all grow out.

Across town we find Brigham Young University. According to a story in the New York Timesone BYU student has begun a campaign to bring beards back to the school and its 30,000 students:

“We want the option and ability to express personality through facial hair,” said Shane Pittson, 23, a tall, blond, clean-shaven student whose goal is to have the administration consider a change at the end of the school year.

Brigham YoungSure. Why not? Note this heavily coiffed individual. Sure, he’s old, but he carries a certain panache. He also happens to be the father of the Mormon church — Mr. Brigham Young. And that’s not an aging ferret resting on his face; it’s a big beard.

According to popular LDS folklore, beards were a large part of Mormon life: “male students often participated in a yearly tradition: a three-week beard-growing contest that concluded with prizes for the handsomest and heaviest growths.”

But no goatees allowed today. Like some other religions, the LDS has chosen to resist the modern world rather than adapt to fit within it — and that decision creates its own ongoing communications problems.

Publish date: December 9, 2014 https://stage.adweek.com/digital/icymi-the-mormon-church-loves-beardshaming/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT