The no beard or facial hair rule

by Soldier77 47 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • cantleave

    My old congregation secretary has grown full beard. He came to visit the other day and I must say he looks good. Apparently apart from a couple of older sisters no-one has said anything negative to him.

    Lets see what the CO says next time he visits.

  • Juan Viejo2
    Juan Viejo2

    Nathan Knorr was very "corporate" in his approach to running the WT Society. He and all of his henchmen wore modern hats, suits, wingtip shoes, and stylish ties. Looking at them now, they don't look stylish, but they were in the 1940s and 1950s. They wanted all of the Congregation Servants and top KH servants to follow their lead. If you look at photos from those time periods, all the men were dressed like that, even in poorer areas where a nice suit was what you bought to go to church on Sunday and to be buried in. Most men of those times wore fedora hats - it was considered bad form for a man not to have a decent hat.

    In the 1950s, the culture of the "gray flannel suit" for businessmen became the new standard. If you were in middle management, sales, or outside accounting, you were expected to follow the corporate format. The Watchtower followed that same principle - and made sure that all DOs, COs, and CongServs followed the same pattern. Beards were considered old and out of date. This is when the WT started showing Jesus as clean shaven, while the Jewish religious leaders and the disciples, even John the Baptist, were shown with beards. Beards were considered as lower class; clean shaven was "high class."

    In the 1960s, the IBM and Xerox field sales teams were all ordered to toe the line. They were supposed to wear tailored dark wool blend suits, white shirts (very light blue on less formal occasions), black or cordavan lace shoes, long straight ties (not bow-ties). Beards were out. Mustaches were discouraged. Early in the 1970s, all of the IBM dress code was published in the book, "Dress for Success." Every major corporation, including the Watchtower, and most political parties made sure that their management employees had that book and followed it whenever they were out in public. Before President Kennedy, hats were required. After Kennedy, hats were discouraged.

    It didn't matter that Jesus, like his apostles, was both a Jew and basically homeless. Even if Jesus did shave, he would most likely have had several days worth of growth on a normal day because he was always traveling between towns and villages. Jesus, though, would have had a beard because he was part of the Jewish culture, not the Roman or Greek. Even most Greeks wore beards - they felt that having a beard showed maturity and intelligence. The Romans took on the clean cut look because of most of their leaders were soldiers. Not having beards was an advantage because an enemy could not grab it and use it to hold the head and neck during close combat. The Roman soldier also shaved so that the wounded on the battle field could be identified easily - Romans who were injured were identifiable by their lack of beards and rescued. Anyone with a beard that was wounded was speared, had their throats cut, or were beheaded.

    The WT wants its field soldiers to all look like corporate wonks and to appear to stand out as shining examples of what "good Christians" should look like. On the other hand, it makes sense that in Scandanavia and other northern countries, beards should be worn for both warmth and because they are considered acceptable among all levels of the population. Some African males cannot shave every day because of a serious skin rash caused by razor burn - so for them it should be based on personal choice and medical reasons.

    So having a beard or not has nothing at all to do with any Bible admonition or teaching. It has everything to do with the WT being a publishing company, the JWs are their door-to-door salesmen, and elders looking like corporate managers.

    It also proves that no one in the headquarters writing and art departments had enough balls to stand up to guys like Rutherford and Knorr and say, "Hey! Are you out of your freaking minds? Jesus with no beard? A Jew in Palestine in the first century without a beard? They all had beards if they could grow them. Only the Romans and their mercenary soldiers did not have beards. You want us to make Jesus look like a Roman? A gentile?"

    So much for Biblical and historical accuracy.

  • serenitynow!

    I hate mustaches. Goatees though are totally hot! Even an average guy can look sexy with a Goatee

  • Nostromo

    In Scandanavia, it's 100% a matter of taste. There are lots of elders with beards.


    I dont know where you got this information, at least in this Scandinavian country I live in there is not ONE elder with beard. Its not acceptable here, no way.

  • cantleave

    Even an average guy can look sexy with a Goatee

    YEP!!!!!!! See my Facebook

  • wannabefree

    sexy goatee ??

  • IMHO

    In the UK beards may be acceptable in some areas but it's certainly not the 'official' stance.

    You will not find anyone working in Bethel with a beard and you will not be used on an assembly or convention part if you have one.

    Even for 'period' dramas you will have to shave it off and have a dummy one stuck on.

  • BluesBrother

    My experience as an elder in the U K from the mid seventies was that in the 70's /80's beards were a definite NO.. for Elders and M/S's .

    The "reasoning" at that time was not based on Scripture, just that they were a fashion adopted by hippies and extremists and "who wants to look like them?"

    As time has gone by I think that things have relaxed and I have often seen "brothers" with neat and short facial hair....not an elder though....

  • Lady Viola
    Lady Viola

    Well... in the Netherlands beards are tolerated, but..... you can't have a talk at any big meeting: DC or assemblies. Not only that but you can't be interviewed as well if you have a beard.

    My dad has a beard and is a MS, and we have 3 more MS's with beards. My husband wears a beard too, but they said to him last year (the elders) that if he wanted to be a MS it wouldn't be a problem in this cong. but he had to think about how important the beard is to him. Because if he wants to give a talk or whatever on the platform they would ask him to shave it off.

    It is so rediculous that every time this subject comes up, steam goes out of my ears!!

    (for your information: we're trying to fade, but family is asking us so many questions where we were etc. The only solution is to move, but we haven't got the money yet.)

  • Room 215
    Room 215

    Beards: A great way to opt out of the "reaching out for greater responsibility" rat race....

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