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BlueDreams

Temple workers and cultural identity

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I applaud this.  

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I hope to see us move more in the direction this article indicates. Elder Bednar told us that the apostles are working to take us away from culture and more to doctrine. It' can't come soon enough, in my opinion. Some of the current rules for temple workers were only introduced around 2000 and were in response to complaints about inconsistency, we were told. We need more 'inconsistency'.

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I think he is a handsome rad dude.  A powerful statement:  “The Lord asked us to be one, not to be the same,” Jackson-Vann said.

I have a lifelong friend who is a biker with long hair and beard and likes to wear Harley Davidson paraphernalia.  He and I would attend the Bountiful Temple and there are always patrons who do a double take.

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Posted (edited)

Two things struck me when reading the linked article:  1) I have been asked many times during my lifetime where my people come from - my maternal grandfather is Swedish, maternal grandmother is Scots-Irish, and my dad's family has been in this country since the 1600s. I enjoy the questions and enjoy talking about my heritage. This same question when asked of a this man is perceived as racist or offensive. This is one of the reasons I think racism is often perception rather than overt act. 

2)  An individual wants to wear a specific hairstyle in order to feel closer to their ancestral roots of Ghana, Ivory Coast, and Cameroon. Hmm, is the hairstyle part of their ancestral roots. This individual just got finished informing another member where he came from - "Georgia" - so, how do dreads fit into Georgian history, culture, etc.?

Basically, I would want to know how this specific hairstyle fits into one's roots. Dreadlocks have a long history, but the most common recent history was with the great Bob Marley (play it - Buffalo Soldier, No Woman, No Cry, Exodus, and countless other hits that make me happy when I listen to the four albums I have of his music). Among the reasons he wore dreads were both spiritual and cultural. The article in Wikipedia was worth a read

If a white person had asked me the same question - I would say no. No, because dreads don't appear to be clean and for the political statement it makes. Why should it be different for a black person? Racism is more about perception than the overt thoughts and actions of others. 

Edited by Storm Rider

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We have a Temple worker who is vegan and a relentless missionary for it. I told him I bet the hardest part about being vegan is getting up everyday at 5am to milk almonds. I don't go to the Temple for the workers, so hair doesn't bother me

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1 hour ago, BlueDreams said:

But beyond hair I think it points to something that i see as a major thrust in President Nelson’s goals and actions: to help better separate church culture from gospel doctrine. I see this in several changes to temple policies to allow more people to serve as temple workers who are otherwise worthy to do so. I also see it in general church initiatives, such as the hymn book, to better represent what people in varying areas view as spiritual

I remember Elder Uchtdorf giving a talk a few years ago about how charity applies to how to treat people who look, dress, speak differently than the local norm/tradition.

I think the Church is approaching this not from the angle of accommodating and representing what people view as spiritual (we know where that can go!), but from how broadly, liberally and diversely the light of Christ is actually manifest.

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27 minutes ago, Storm Rider said:

Two things struck me when reading the linked article:  1) I have been asked many times during my lifetime where my people come from - my maternal grandfather is Swedish, maternal grandmother is Scots-Irish, and my dad's family has been in this country since the 1600s. I enjoy the questions and enjoy talking about my heritage. This same question when asked of a this man is perceived as racist or offensive. This is one of the reasons I think racism is often perception rather than overt act. 

2)  An individual wants to wear a specific hairstyle in order to feel closer to their ancestral roots of Ghana, Ivory Coast, and Cameroon. Hmm, is the hairstyle part of their ancestral roots. This individual just got finished informing another member where he came from - "Georgia" - so, how do dreads fit into Georgian history, culture, etc.?

Basically, I would want to know how this specific hairstyle fits into one's roots. Dreadlocks have a long history, but the most common recent history was with the great Bob Marley (play it - Buffalo Soldier, No Woman, No Cry, Exodus, and countless other hits that make me happy when I listen to the four albums I have of his music). Among the reasons he wore dreads were both spiritual and cultural. The article in Wikipedia was worth a read

If a white person had asked me the same question - I would say no. No, because dreads are not clean and for the political statement it makes. Why should it be different for a black person? Racism is more about perception than the overt thoughts and actions of others. 

Killjoy! ;)

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11 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

Killjoy! ;)

LOL - you make me smile. 

One of the lessons I learned while serving in the temple was that as a temple worker, our actions should simply be to facilitate the experience for others. Our actions, demeanor, etc. should never detract from the experience of each patron. The moment that our actions become about us - as in the individual - then we detract from the session. 

For these reasons, our jewelry should not be noticeable or remarkable, our attire should closely resemble others, our hair styles should be uniform and conservative, etc. What is conservative and culturally acceptable in the US may very easily not be ideal in Tonga, Japan, China, India, or any other part of the world. 

If we are going to serve in the temple, then serve in the temple 100%. It is not a place for satisfying a personal agenda. If that is what is most important for an individual, then serving the temple is probably something that should be delayed until such time as serving others becomes of primary importance. 

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When I received a copy of the rules/guidelines for ordinance workers, I just smiled.

I was also smiling when I asked on my first day as an ordinance worker what the penalty was for the first offense on the no gum chewing rule.

Culturally, we definitely take ourselves too seriously.

I would definitely smile if I saw this good brother in the temple as a patron or an ordinance worker, as I believe would all of our brothers and sisters on the other side of the veil for whom works is performed in the temple.

 

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3 hours ago, BlueDreams said:

This story was a bit of a big deal in some of  the black social groups. Before it could be rectified it caused a number of people to actually call the temple (from what i read) and several were very frustrated with the temple president’s initial decision. But it came with a very positive ending and represents to me a part of the cultural church that could be removed. In our stake there’s still this (dumb) expectation that people with certain male leadership callings must be shaved and hair cut short. 

But beyond hair I think it points to something that i see as a major thrust in President Nelson’s goals and actions: to help better separate church culture from gospel doctrine. I see this in several changes to temple policies to allow more people to serve as temple workers who are otherwise worthy to do so. I also see it in general church initiatives, such as the hymn book, to better represent what people in varying areas view as spiritual. 

Here I see this sometimes when people often extrapolate what happens in Utah or their own individual ward to represent the whole of the church. It can be a nice reminder that our assumptions based on a geographic location may sincerely not hold in another area or even a ward over. 

 

Also liked the quote at the end: The Lord asked us to be one, not to be the same

 

 

https://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/faith/payson-temple-worker-s-hairstyle-opens-bigger-discussion-on-diversity/article_6c57851c-55f5-5d7f-b3ee-d83decf59063.html?fbclid=IwAR05G_ja6GudYFOatfqvmNVS260xPwhXsGUfrTl49HtsdPXDb0IXF1S7c6M

 

Anyways thought i’d share and see what others here thought of the article. 

 

With luv, 

BD 

We live in a state (with a wonderful Stake president and counselors that I love) that requires HC and bishoprics to be clean shaven and it drives me crazy!  My parents' bishop has a beard, but in my stake you have to shave or you aren't qualified for that calling.  It makes no sense and I really hope they change it soon.  

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18 minutes ago, bluebell said:

We live in a state (with a wonderful Stake president and counselors that I love) that requires HC and bishoprics to be clean shaven and it drives me crazy!  My parents' bishop has a beard, but in my stake you have to shave or you aren't qualified for that calling.  It makes no sense and I really hope they change it soon.  

During my time of serving in the temple, temple workers were not allowed to have any facial hair, unless there was a special skin condition that was remedied by not shaving.  I have heard of similar policies in specific stakes. I used to wear a full beard. As a young father and moving into a new ward, I was asked to be a coach to the ventures. I was happy to serve, but then told by the 1st counselor that those who worked with the youth needed to be clean shaven and asked if that would be a problem. My response was, "No".  The 1st counselor wore a mustache. After telling my wife, she was not very happy about me losing my beard. I reconsidered her request and rejected the call. We then moved out of the ward within a few months. I was happy to leave that ward.  

 

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I have to be honest, if I saw this guy in the temple, I would think, ‘nice looking man’ and would likely not give it a second thought. 

 

But apparently conforming to one look is important to other people.  Its preferable to me that we be “allowed” to be individuals.  Anything we can to do combat claims of cultish behavior and to include people regardless of what they look like is preferable to me. 

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3 hours ago, bluebell said:

We live in a state (with a wonderful Stake president and counselors that I love) that requires HC and bishoprics to be clean shaven and it drives me crazy!  My parents' bishop has a beard, but in my stake you have to shave or you aren't qualified for that calling.  It makes no sense and I really hope they change it soon.  

Same. I don't get what hair style has to do with the calling. I told my husband they'd have to change to policy if they called him to something like that, because I wouldn't agree to it :P. I love his hair longer and his face with a little scruff. 

 

With luv,

BD

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7 hours ago, Storm Rider said:

No, because dreads don't appear to be clean 

Seriously?  They can be as clean as any other hairstyle.  Given how many women and men go to the temple with hair full of gel or spray and the bouffant styles of past years, I don't see much difference between beehives and dreads.  The important thing is what they mean to him, not what baggage they carry for some.  I am with the guidelines, clean and cared for is enough.

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6 minutes ago, BlueDreams said:

Same. I don't get what hair style has to do with the calling. I told my husband they'd have to change to policy if they called him to something like that, because I wouldn't agree to it :P. I love his hair longer and his face with a little scruff. 

 

With luv,

BD

A former stake president turned it into a test of obedience when I asked him if my husband would have to shave his beautiful beard when he became an HC.  Honestly I would have respected him more if he had just said "it's a pet peeve of mine, hope you understand" or just said it's expected like missionaries wearing suits.  I lost some respect for him that day.  There are so many things we need to be obedient for coming up with arbitrary trivial tests to prove someone's spiritual worthiness is petty in my view.

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Could this man be an ordinance worker in the temple?
tattoo_proph_lg.jpg.2ae84474107bc76189478de09e1de20c.jpg

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20 minutes ago, BlueDreams said:

Same. I don't get what hair style has to do with the calling. I told my husband they'd have to change to policy if they called him to something like that, because I wouldn't agree to it :P. I love his hair longer and his face with a little scruff. 

 

With luv,

BD

Me too.  My husband sports facial hair for me.  I love it. Plus apparently it’s kept him out of demanding leadership positions. ;)

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9 minutes ago, JAHS said:

Could this man be an ordinance worker in the temple?
tattoo_proph_lg.jpg.2ae84474107bc76189478de09e1de20c.jpg

Lol that’s devotion!  And not particularly romance inspiring but I guess that’s when lights out is a good thing 😆 

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Posted (edited)

Iirc, he is not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, so no.  (I was curious about him when I first saw his picture years ago and looked up his story.)  Just as a side note, his face is included in the group of prophets, which I found interesting (we all should be prophets for ourselves and those we care for imo).

I assume if he was a member, he would be wearing a shirt in the temple, so even the foolish imo act of tattooing others' faces on one's own skin shouldn't be an issue.

Edited by Calm

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19 minutes ago, Calm said:

Seriously?  They can be as clean as any other hairstyle.  Given how many women and men go to the temple with hair full of gel or spray and the bouffant styles of past years, I don't see much difference between beehives and dreads.  The important thing is what they mean to him, not what baggage they carry for some.  I am with the guidelines, clean and cared for is enough.

Amen.  My white BIL had them for years.  I learned all about dreds and I find them interesting and would love them, or braids,  myself if I wasn’t old and if I had thicker hair. 

I’ve seen some pretty offensive hair but this guys hair is fine.  

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15 minutes ago, Calm said:

Iirc, he is not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, so no.  (I was curious about him when I first saw his picture years ago and looked up his story.)  Just as a side note, his face is included in the group of prophets, which I found interesting (we all should be prophets for ourselves and those we care for imo).

I assume if he was a member, he would be wearing a shirt in the temple, so even the foolish imo act of tattooing others' faces on one's own skin shouldn't be an issue.

I agree. I know lots of men and women who have tattoos that work in the temple; especially those men who served in the armed forces in the war.
I wonder if a member's face was tattooed if they would be allowed to be a temple worker or would that be too much of a distraction?

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8 hours ago, Storm Rider said:

Two things struck me when reading the linked article:  1) I have been asked many times during my lifetime where my people come from - my maternal grandfather is Swedish, maternal grandmother is Scots-Irish, and my dad's family has been in this country since the 1600s. I enjoy the questions and enjoy talking about my heritage. This same question when asked of a this man is perceived as racist or offensive. This is one of the reasons I think racism is often perception rather than overt act. 

2)  An individual wants to wear a specific hairstyle in order to feel closer to their ancestral roots of Ghana, Ivory Coast, and Cameroon. Hmm, is the hairstyle part of their ancestral roots. This individual just got finished informing another member where he came from - "Georgia" - so, how do dreads fit into Georgian history, culture, etc.?

Basically, I would want to know how this specific hairstyle fits into one's roots. Dreadlocks have a long history, but the most common recent history was with the great Bob Marley (play it - Buffalo Soldier, No Woman, No Cry, Exodus, and countless other hits that make me happy when I listen to the four albums I have of his music). Among the reasons he wore dreads were both spiritual and cultural. The article in Wikipedia was worth a read

If a white person had asked me the same question - I would say no. No, because dreads don't appear to be clean and for the political statement it makes. Why should it be different for a black person? Racism is more about perception than the overt thoughts and actions of others. 

 

1.) I obviously don't think racism is simply perceived. There's a difference in questioning between when people ask about my ethnic heritage and when the questions/comments about heritage come with loaded race-based assumptions. I don't have a problem talking about my heritage. I enjoy my many peoples. And if that's where it ended, it would be an enjoyable and reasonable experience. What I get from  Tekulve in this article isn't about these questions but the ones laden with assumption. Such as assuming that he must be from a foreign country....often' has an assumption about who would immediately be considered american (usually white). For me there are experiences that make me feel more invisible. Such as when I explain my heritage, and they then refer to me only by one side, because they're used to having nice clean racial categories. Or assuming that my experiences as a mixed woman must be difficult because....well I'm mixed (cue tragic mulatto stereotype here). Or assuming who I should or would date based on race rather than personality and interests based on their expectations on dating cross-racially.  I would note that most the racism in UT that I've seen is based more in ignorance and lack of exposure than to open hostility. 

 

2.)  That would be a good question to ask him. But a large part of the african diaspora and african-american heritage entail reclaiming experiences and identity that were forcefully lost due to forced migrations, slavery, colonization, and imposing white standards of grooming and dress onto them. Locs are part of the natural hair movement and efforts to reclaim a heritage that entails a heavy focus on hair and removing the idea that "good hair" is closest to white/straight hair styles. (you can also replace good, with "professional, clean/unkempt, etc" and still have the same ethnocentric value standards shine through)   Again, I can't answer for him specifically, but here is an article and a video about locs and their significance for african americans...from black sources:

Article here: https://www.ebony.com/style/history-dreadlocks/

 

 

Lastly assuming equality in an experience and the assumption about cleanliness simply shows a cultural ignorance about black communities and cultures. It's often not the same experience for a black person v white person with a similar hair style. For one, for black people's hair this may be a healthier choice to maintain natural hairstyles v chemical perms/more damaging hairstyles and may link to a cultural and historical experience that's about reclaiming lost heritage. Most white people adopting these styles do it because it looks cool...there's usually little deeper than that to it for them.  

 

With luv,

BD

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47 minutes ago, Calm said:

A former stake president turned it into a test of obedience when I asked him if my husband would have to shave his beautiful beard when he became an HC.  Honestly I would have respected him more if he had just said "it's a pet peeve of mine, hope you understand" or just said it's expected like missionaries wearing suits.  I lost some respect for him that day.  There are so many things we need to be obedient for coming up with arbitrary trivial tests to prove someone's spiritual worthiness is petty in my view.

yeah, that reasoning never works for me. I'm too anti-authority in personality for that to roll well with me. I'd start asking to explain where God mentioned this as necessary and point out to the many many examples of bearded long haired men as spiritual leaders and often being commanded or expected to have long hair due to spiritual edicts. I'd also be pretty adament about wanting to know how hair length effects my spouse's ability to bring people to Christ. If I was really in a mood and knew the person well enough to crack a joke, I'd point out that my husband may do better in the being Christ-like, since he so often rocks His style seen in the art :P 

 

With luv,

BD

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9 hours ago, BlueDreams said:

This story was a bit of a big deal in some of  the black social groups. Before it could be rectified it caused a number of people to actually call the temple (from what i read) and several were very frustrated with the temple president’s initial decision. But it came with a very positive ending and represents to me a part of the cultural church that could be removed. In our stake there’s still this (dumb) expectation that people with certain male leadership callings must be shaved and hair cut short. 

I used to be asked all the time, “Bill, are you going to keep that beard”? After a time, I started telling those who ask, “it is the natural state of men to have facial hair, and every picture of Jesus Christ, is with facial hair”. To this day, I cannot serve in the Temple as a worker, because I am not clean shaven. Which would mean, many of our previous Prophets, nor Jesus Christ, would be allowed to serve as Temple workers, unless they shaved. The Church does make exceptions for men who are professional Santa Clause’s, because it is their professions. But, not for police working undercover, it would seem. So this (dumb as you called it) still seems to still exist. My problem is from serious facial surgery that killed nerves.The last time I tried to “fit in”,  and become “worthy” to work in the Temple, I could not feel the razor over a portion of my face, and cut myself enough for it to set up a serious infection. Sadly my Bishop and Stake President, suggested I go to a professional barber. When I said I could not afford a shave each day I served, they suggested I have my wife do it. I told them that if I could not feel the razor, where I have nerve damage, how will I tell my wife if she is shaving too close. Then I made a joke, that “there are days I would not prefer to have my wife holding a razor to my throat”. This was defuse my previous comments with a light hearted remark. 

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