About Tattoos...

by Mastodon 37 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Mastodon

    Somebody was asking me about tattoos and what the biblical rules about them are. I also remember that a magazine (an Awake!?) mentioned that getting a tattoo is a matter of conscience. Anybody got any light to shae about this? anybody remember that article about piercings and tattoos?

  • doinmypart

    Here's the article...

    g03 9/22

    Young People Ask . . .

    Should I Get a Tattoo?

    “Some tattoos are cute. They are very artistic.”—Jalene.

    “I dreamed about my first tattoo for two years.”—Michelle.

    TATTOOS are everywhere—or so it seems. Rock stars, sports figures, fashion models, and movie stars flaunt them. Many teenagers have followed suit, proudly displaying tattoos on their shoulders, hands, waists, and ankles. Andrew contends: “Tattoos are cool. Having one or not is a personal choice.”

    Says the World Book Encyclopedia: “Tattooing is the practice of making permanent designs on the body. It is done by pricking small holes in the skin with a sharpened stick, bone, or needle that has been dipped in pigments with natural colors.”

    Although exact statistics are hard to come by, one source estimates that 25 percent of all 15- to 25-year-olds in the United States have a tattoo. Sandy says: “It’s the popular thing to do.” Why are tattoos so appealing to some youths?

    Why So Popular?

    For some, a tattoo is a way of making a grand romantic gesture. Michelle relates: “On his ankle my brother has the name of a girl he used to go out with.” The problem? “He’s not dating her anymore.” According to Teen magazine, “doctors estimate that more than 30 percent of all tattoo removal is done on teen girls who want the name of an ex-boyfriend taken off.”

    Some youths view tattoos as works of art. Others see them as symbols of independence. “I’m in charge of my life,” proclaimed Josie, adding that getting a tattoo was “the only life decision I’ve ever made.” Tattooing allows some youths to experiment—to feel they have control over their appearance. Tattoos can also serve as a symbol of rebellion or of alternative life-styles. Some tattoos thus contain obscene words and drawings or provocative slogans.

    The majority of youths, however, may simply have become caught up in a fad. But just because it seems as if everyone is getting tattooed, does it mean that you should?

    The Ancient Art of Tattooing

    Tattooing is by no means a modern practice. Tattoo-bearing Egyptian and Libyan mummies have been found that date back hundreds of years before the time of Christ. Tattooed mummies have also been found in South America. Many of the tattooed images were directly related to the worship of pagan gods. According to researcher Steve Gilbert, “the earliest known tattoo that is a picture of something, rather than an abstract pattern, represents the god Bes. In Egyptian mythology Bes is the lascivious god of revelry.”

    Significantly, the Mosaic Law forbade God’s people to tattoo themselves. Said Leviticus 19:28: “You must not make cuts in your flesh for a deceased soul, and you must not put tattoo marking upon yourselves. I am Jehovah.” Pagan worshipers, such as the Egyptians, tattooed the names or symbols of their deities on their breast or arms. By complying with Jehovah’s ban on tattoo markings, the Israelites would stand out as different from other nations.—Deuteronomy 14:1, 2.

    While Christians today are not under the Law of Moses, the prohibition it laid on tattooing is sobering. (Ephesians 2:15; Colossians 2:14, 15) If you are a Christian, you would certainly not want to make markings on your body—even temporarily—that smack of paganism or false worship.—2 Corinthians 6:15-18.

    Health Risks

    There are also health concerns you should consider. Dr. Robert Tomsick, an associate professor of dermatology, comments: “What you’re doing is breaking the skin and introducing pigmented material into the area. Even though the needle only goes in a little way, anytime you break the skin, you have a risk of bacterial or viral infection. I think [getting a tattoo] is generally a risky thing to do.” Dr. Tomsick continues: “Once pigment is in, even if there’s no infection, there’s always the chance of contact allergies, dermatitis and allergic reactions that can cause skin to get red, swollen, crusty and itchy.”

    Despite the intended permanence of tattoos, various methods are used in attempts to remove them: Laser removal (burning the tattoo away), surgical removal (cutting the tattoo away), dermabrasion (sanding the skin with a wire brush to remove the epidermis and dermis), salabrasion (using a salt solution to soak the tattooed skin), and scarification (removing the tattoo with an acid solution and creating a scar in its place). These methods are expensive and can be painful. “It’s more painful to have a tattoo removed by laser than to get the original tattoo,” says Teen magazine.

    What Will Others Think?

    You should also give serious thought to how others might feel about your wearing a tattoo, as many react negatively. (1 Corinthians 10:29-33) On a whim, Li, a woman in Taiwan, got a tattoo at age 16. Now she is a 21-year-old office worker. “It bothers me the way my co-workers stare at the tattoo,” Li admits. British mental-health worker Theodore Dalrymple says that to many people, tattoos “are often the visible sign that a man . . . belongs to a violent, brutal, antisocial, and criminalized subculture.”

    An article in American Demographics magazine similarly observed: “It is clear that most Americans consider it risky to have visible body art. Eighty-five percent [of youths] agree with the statement, ‘people who have visible tattoos . . . should realize that this form of self-expression is likely to create obstacles in their career or personal relationships.’”

    Consider also whether choosing to get a tattoo would enhance or undermine your claim of being a Christian. Could it be a “cause for stumbling” others? (2 Corinthians 6:3) True, some youths have had their tattoos placed on hidden areas of the body. Even their parents may not know about these secret tattoos. But beware! An emergency trip to the doctor or simply taking a shower at school could make your secret common knowledge! Better it is to “conduct ourselves honestly in all things,” avoiding foolish deception.—Hebrews 13:18.

    Like all fads, tattoos may lose their appeal over time. Really, is there any garment—whether a pair of jeans, a shirt, a dress, or a pair of shoes—that you love so much that you would commit to wearing it for the rest of your life? Of course not! Styles, cuts, and colors change. Unlike a piece of clothing, however, tattoos are hard to shed. Besides, what is “cool” to you when you are 16 might not be very appealing when you are 30.

    Many have come to regret making permanent alterations to their appearance. “I got a tattoo before learning about Jehovah,” relates Amy. “I try to keep it covered. When others in the congregation happen to see it, I feel embarrassed.” The message? Think before you ink. Don’t make a decision that you may regret later.


    Some of the names have been changed.

    [Picture on page 26]

    Tattoos are often associated with rebellious life-styles

    [Picture on page 26]

    In time, many regret getting a tattoo

    [Picture on page 27]

    Think before you ink

  • doinmypart

    Here's a snippet from another article, along with the society's doubletalk:


    g00 8/8 p. 19 Body Decoration—The Need for Reasonableness ***

    Whether or not an individual decides to accept these risks is a personal decision. But one who seeks to please God recognizes that becoming a Christian involves the offering of oneself to God. Our bodies are living sacrifices presented to God for his use. (Romans 12:1) Hence, mature Christians do not view their bodies as their exclusive property to be damaged or defaced at will. Especially those who qualify to take the lead in the congregation are known for their moderate habits, soundness of mind, and reasonableness.

  • Mastodon

    Thanks y'all, that's exactly what I needed!!!

  • tetrapod.sapien

    bruce is going to have to make some changes before he starts reaching out in the congregation for finer priveleges:

    heh heh eheh TS

  • lonelysheep
  • Darth Yhwh
    Darth Yhwh

    That is hilarious Tetra! Your commentary makes the photo!

  • kittyeatzjdubs
    “I got a tattoo before learning about Jehovah,” relates Amy. “I try to keep it covered. When others in the congregation happen to see it, I feel embarrassed.”

    wow....her congregation must be really loving.

    that article is so retarded. they are completely oblivious to the fact that tattooing has come a long way and the sterilization techiniques are on par with a doctors office. and people are also less judgemental about tattoos nowadays. the president of our company has a full sleeve on one of his arms. he's always asking people around here if they have any tattoos b/c he likes them so much.

    i'm getting a backpiece done myself on the 24th. i'll post pictures!

    luv, jojo p.s. that's picture is gruesome tetra! i think i read somewhere that that lady died or something b/c her piercings were hard to care for and got infected or something......

  • tetrapod.sapien

    ha ha ha ha!!!

  • DocBob
    Significantly, the Mosaic Law forbade God’s people to tattoo themselves. Said Leviticus 19:28: “You must not make cuts in your flesh for a deceased soul, and you must not put tattoo marking upon yourselves. I am Jehovah.”

    Funny how they quote than one and skip over the previous verse: (Leviticus 19:27) "‘YOU must not cut YOUR sidelocks short around, and you must not destroy the extremity of your beard."

  • GoingGoingGone
    What Will Others Think?

    Oh horror! Someone might not like it! um... can you say GroupThink??!!

    Funny how they quote than one and skip over the previous verse: (Leviticus 19:27)"‘YOU must not cut YOUR sidelocks short around, and you must not destroy the extremity of your beard."

    ROFL! I'd like to see the JWs with sidelocks and beards....


  • Highlander

    I have mixed feelings on the tattoo subject. I probably will never get one, and if I do, it will be tasteful.

    Generally speaking, when I see a person with a tattoo it's really no big deal. However, I do pay special attention to any tattoo I see, as many tattoos are gang specific.

    Living in Los Angeles, I'm aware of the typical prison tattoos(signifying the person has done time in prison) and various gang tattoos. If I see someone with a gang/prison

    tattoo, I'm sorry, but I don't approve of those, or of that person for being proud of his/her prison time or gang affiliations.

  • cyd0099

    Being in a college town in NW Washington state, tattoos are pretty commonplace, even on people 50+. The only thing holding me back from more is the money issue.

  • DavidChristopher

    I have 2. a evil clown ripping out of my right shoulder, and a spider web on my right ankle. (prison tattoo)

    I may get another one day.

  • theinfamousone

    i havent gotten any yet... i wanna get a pheonix on my right shoulder and forearm... and i want to get some lines from some of my poetry written on my back... dammit, i want lots, but theyt all have to be black...

    the infamous one

  • Highlander

    At least the spider web is on your ankle,, I see them on the elbow out here.

    May I ask what you were in prison for?

    I've been to jail before,, when I was young I tried out running the police on my motorcylce,,, the police cars couldn't keep up,, but the helicopter did.

  • carla

    My jw hides his from everybody, even in summer if possible.

  • Oroborus21


    Just to set the record straight. While strictly speaking getting a tattoo is a personal choice (aka conscience matter), the article cited is quite slanted against tattoos and meant to give the clear impression without saying it directly that (true) Christians should not get a tattoo.

    The quote (at the beginning of the article) that was highlighted contains a cue word specifically: "Andrew contends ...

    The use of the word "contend" in Theocratese is often used to set up that the position following is an incorrect one and will be thereafter shown why it is wrong.

    Also note that it is not the Bible or any scripture which says that tattoos are a personal choice, or even the Society, but rather that is what the ("misguided") youth, "Andrew," states. The rest of the article then goes on to lead the reader to the "correct" view of not getting a tattoo in regular JW fashion.

    Like virtually all clothing and appearance aspects of the JW culture, these are lagging behing mainstream Society and stuck somewhere in the Knorr Era.

    As already noted having a tattoo is pretty much meaningless (in terms of rebellion or a "statement") and is widely prevalent today - even among the local business class - which is the "rule of thumb" that JWs are supposed to emulate as far as formal Service appearance goes.

    Personally, I have never seen a tattoo that I thought added any value to the person and I've seen far too many that just seem plain stupid or pretentious. I think the human body is beautiful enough - but not beautiful enough to go unclothed for most :-) that it doesn't need any such further adornment as a tattoo.*

    I hope everyone gets a tattoo and piercings and goes crazy with all kinds of body modifications, etc. because maybe then just being clean, with no tats or piercings will become what is cool.


    *Tattoos for ethno-religious reasons are probably the only exception.

  • Oroborus21

    Just thought I would add, many Jewish people do not get tattoos, some for religious reasons and some because the Nazis tattooed the holocaust victims (in some camps) with their number. But I am not sure if Jewish youth have the same compunctions today. -Eduardo

  • Hellrider

    No, they don`t. I saw a jew with a Lion and star of David-tat once.

    I have 6 tattoos now, a big one on each upper arm, and 4 small ones. I regret a couple of the small ones, which were my first ones, done in my late teens/early twenties, when I was fresh out of JW-land, rebellious etc. Noone should get a tattoo before they`re at least 25, and when they do, don`t think solely on getting something that "means something" to you, because that often changes over time, think about how it`s gonna look on your body.

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