Beard stories. Nothing but beards.

by Open mind 57 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Open mind
    Open mind

    I've done a JWN search on beards and had some great reads.

    I've learned the history of Russell vs. Rutherford and Knorr and the hippies.

    Here's what I'd like to hear about.

    Either you or someone you know who grew a beard and the fallout because of it.

    For me, I'd love to hear about the squeaky clean elder who decided to grow a beard and got removed because of it.

    katie kitten, from England, on another thread told the story of her Dad, the squeaky clean elder who grew a beard in the 70's and got away with it.

    I don't think that would happen in California 2009.

    Anyway, what are your beard stories?

    I'm all ears.

    (And my ears are freshly plucked. Ewwww.)


  • lurk3r

    Hey there. My family lives in Canada, and my mother went to England about 10 -15 years ago on a vacation. While she was there, she went to a meeting, and the brother who gave the talk, had a full beard. True story, and perhaps my timeline is out, but the bearded elder was not. At the time bearded brothers in Canada were not eligible for positions, therefore she took note.

    If this all sounds fishy, I could get the details.

  • JeffT

    About 1980 or so an elder in the congregation I was in developed a skin condition and couldn't shave for about a month. They gave him no end of grief about it. I thought he looked pretty good with it.

    I grew mine back long before we sent the DA letter.

  • WTWizard

    As with so many other issues, they are trying to control personal preference matters. There is no inherent harm in growing a beard--yet, they want everyone to look like Boozerford (even though Boozerford was a drunkard, which is expressly condemned in the Bible that they claim to abide by).

    I guess Boozerford didn't like popular music very much--or for people to have regular sex, to spend money or time on themselves and their families, or to show real compassion toward others. And especially when that compassion is shown to worldly people that need and deserve it more than any witless ever will.

    All this just goes to show that they want to control you--and do not give a f*** if there is a good reason why you should stand out. As I see it, one should grow a beard if they so desire, they have a medical condition that prevents reasonably cutting it off, or if their job would benefit from their having a beard. Or, if you are in a very cold climate, and a beard makes it more endurable during the cold months.

  • Leolaia
    Here's what I'd like to hear about.

    Either you or someone you know who grew a beard and the fallout because of it.

    Around 1980 a black guy (whom I remember was very nice and kindly) was studying in our congregation and he attended meetings on a regular basis. But he had a beard because of a skin condition (ingrown hair) and he was told he had to shave the beard off if he planned to get baptized. One day he came to the hall with the beard gone but he wasn't happy. And soon I never saw him again.

  • cabasilas

    At Brooklyn Bethel and Watchtower Farms in the mid 70s, the issue was not beards, but moustaches!

    I remember shortly after I started learning how to operate a Smyth Sewing machine (for books, not clothes!) in the Factory overhearing the floor overseer Gary Ellis tell a more experienced operator why he had been moved away from the view of the tours. (This brother was missing the attention of the young sisters who would come through on tour and now he was back by the windows overlooking the Manhattan Bridge instead.) Gary Ellis explained that since this brother was now sporting a moustache he could not be up and front for the tours to see as he was not "a good example"! I still remember the disbelief in this young brother as Gary explained this to him. At the time, I was a self-righteous no-good Bethelite and I thought Gary was doing the right thing. This would have been late 1973 and I think Brooklyn "liberalized" about moustaches soon afterwards, however.

    But, not Watchtower Farms. In 1975, I was transferred to Watchtower Farms and I well remember what some of us white brothers called "The Moustache Rebellion." The Farm Overseer, Harlan Mathes, was dyed-in-the wool against facial hair above the lip. The only guys who were tolerated with moustaches were African-American and Hispanic brothers because it was supposedly okay in their culture. Still, one black brother named Kyle who was originally from Queens was grilled about his moustache. He told us about the questioning. "None of the Governing Body have moustaches," he was told. His reply: "Do you want me to jump into a bleach vat, too?!" (This was before Sam Herd was appointed to the GB.) They gave up on trying to convert Kyle to shave it off. Late Spring, a couple of the Farm brothers decided they'd test the waters on this and started growing moustaches. By this time, I'd gotten less "theocratic" and felt that this was an unnecessary restriction on our Christian freedom. I even joined in this mini-rebellion, but my change in appearance was not immediately visible as I was still young and my facial hair grew slowly. At the Farm, however, it was not a question of possibly stumbling tours of brothers (some of whom already had moustaches!), but there was the hint we might get the boot if we continued in opposing Brother Mathes. The ringleader of our rebellion was called into Mathes' office and he recanted and at the noon meal we saw him clean shaven. We all soon abandoned the cause.

    A few months later, Mathes was replaced by Bob Lang, who was much more reasonable. I left the Farm soon thereafter, but I imagine the restriction on moustaches was relaxed before much longer.

    In 1977, the best man at our wedding (in Eastern Oregon) was a Brooklyn Bethelite who sported a nice moustache. (Originally from our home area, he had grown it after arriving at Bethel.) My pioneer wife-to-be was stumbled when she saw it and asked him to shave it off in order to be in our wedding. (A mini-crisis the night before our wedding!) I defended him and his moustache and it still graces the pictures of our wedding day!

  • donuthole

    No beards in my midwest USA area but the black brothers got by with "soul" patches. Mustaches were not uncommon.

    For a kick look at the progression of the "bible study" in the "What Does God Require Brochure?". The study loses his airbrushed on sideburns as he qualifies for field service.

  • donuthole

    I looked up beards in the CD-ROM and could find no real prohibition of them. What I did find was as quite a bit of subtle and not-so-subtle condemnation. Even the "Watching the World" would have news blurbs about corporations that banned beards for professional appearance or factory workers for safety reasons.

  • IronHill

    I'll be honest, this is something that has bothered me extremely. There is no biblical reasoning for this whatsoever. It is one of those unwritten rules!

  • cabasilas

    The May 1, 1968 Watchtower "Question From Readers" argued against beards (though finally admitting that Jesus had one!) and basically tells JWs that beards won't be allowed until the new system:

    Doubtless the early Christians followed the custom of the time and locality in which they lived, with regard to the wearing of a beard. The Roman custom was beardlessness. Romans converted to Christianity would very likely continue in the Roman custom, while converts from the Jewish community would continue in the Jewish custom of wearing a beard.

    Today Christian ministers, like the early Christians, are concerned with neatness and cleanness, but they strive to dress inconspicuously, so that their appearance does not in any way detract from the dignity or the effectiveness of the message they bear. (2 Cor. 6:3, 4) In recent years in many lands a beard or long hair on a man attracts immediate notice and may, in the minds of the majority, classify such a person undesirably with extremists or as rebels against society. God’s ministers want to avoid making any impression that would take attention away from their ministry or hinder anyone from listening to the truth. They know that people are watching true Christians very critically and that to a great extent they judge the entire congregation and the good news by the minister’s appearance as a representative of the congregation.

    In paradise restored on earth it would not be out of order if men returned to wearing beards, in perfect fashion, like Adam in Eden.

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