What is their official explanation for not allowing beards?

by keyser soze 53 Replies latest jw friends

  • krejames

    Hi all - long time since I posted but I always enjoy reading the topics. Yes, guilty of lurking. But as this is a favourite topic of mine I just couldn't resist ;) ......

    I don't think the whole beard thing is such a big thing in the UK anymore - so as someone said earlier in the thread, it depends where in the world you are...but there is indeed a ban on the beard for convention and assembly speakers.

    I grew up in a liberal congregation too. I grew a goatee when I was about 25, and none of the elders said anything negative. I think they secretly liked it. I remember the Presiding Overseer ( as coordinators were then known) saying something along the lines of "some people say brothers shouldn't have beards, but that's only if they grow long. Yours is well trimmed".

    BUT the sisters and non-appointed men were a different story. it was the sisters that used to tell me to shave it off. One sister from another congregation came to our book study one time and was shocked I was allowed to read the paragraphs. She also told me in no uncertain terms to shave it off (that was before she herself stopped going to the meetings after her elder-husband had an affair). Another brother (not elder or MS) who had always taken a disliking to me used it as yet another excuse to criticise me.

    I did give in and shave it off eventually until I moved to a new congregation and did exactly what James Mixon suggested:


    "A thought, for you guys still stuck in the organization for whatever reason,

    grow a beard. You can't get DF, you don't have to prepare for parts for the meetings, no FS..You will not be ask to do anything."

    Didn't work! I was appointed as a ministerial servant! Admittedly at one point I was asked whether I wanted to give a talk at the assembly and warned about the proviso of no beards for speakers. I declined.

    Just to support what others have said - I was told it had its roots in the hippie movement, whereas in Italy it has its roots as being an identifier for communists (again probably about 50 years ago, so no relevance to the modern world!)

    Pharasaical? much? lol

  • Giordano

    Russell and his top level followers all favored beards. When Rutherford took over he didn't want anyone in a responsible WT roll to emulate Russell so big bushy Russell beards were discouraged. To be fair that was also a trend for politicians, corporations, athletes, professionals etc.

    The Society still has a lot of issues with grooming and dress....over the years those 'issues' became not only part of the JW culture but also a part of their beliefs.

  • Vidiot

    krejames - "I grew a goatee when I was about 25, and none of the elders said anything negative. I think they secretly liked it."

    Similar for me.

    I grew one in my early 30s... got compliments, too, including one from an elder's wife; she said I finally looked like a man (I've always looked very young for my age).

  • leaving_quietly

    Years ago, when I was a lowly MS, an elder showed me a letter a brother in the congregation wrote to the branch asking for an explanation about why brothers could not wear beards. The branch responded. It basically said that a brother could wear a beard if he so desired, but could not have any privilege in the congregation, nor give public prayers. The only exception was if a beard was covering an embarrassing facial blemish (e.g. deformity, rash, etc.)

    I knew one elder who had a beard because of a facial blemish.

    I knew another elder who got removed because he grew the tiniest bit of hair below his bottom lip and refused to shave it off. He was deemed "proud" and "haughty" because he wouldn't accept counsel based on man-made rules. He was a real nice guy. I think he faded soon thereafter due to the way he was treated.

    Oh, and if you want to see how much beards are frowned upon, take a look at the illustration on page 13 of the Good News From God brochure to see the progression of a resurrected man. Better yet, here it is. Of course, the relevant question to ask is: If God resurrected him WITH a beard, why does he have to shave it later???

  • James Mixon
    James Mixon

    So that's new, no facial hair in paradise. Will there be barbers shops in the new


  • jwfacts

    Here is a comprehensive article on JWs and beards - jwfacts.com/watchtower/beards-jehovahs-witnesses.php


    leaving_quietly - that is a interesting photo. It is not quite a beard, but amazing that they expect the resurrected to comply with today's fashion. Why not the fashion of Moses, or Jesus, or Adam?
  • CalebInFloroda

    I find the JW illustrations highly anti-Semitic.

    You never see Jews in the Witness paradise, no yarmulkes or facial hair, no prayer shawls or other indication than anything other than Gentile pagan customs will be the rule of the land.

    Shaving is a pagan practice, and if you notice from the way they make you dress even today a Jew would be forced to assimilate in order to be accepted. Witnesses think they are free from paganism, but they are just ignorant of how pagan they really are.

  • blondie

    *** yb74 pp. 97-98 Part 1—Germany ***

    But more equipment was needed. For that reason Brother Balzereit asked Brother Rutherford for permission to buy a rotary press. Brother Rutherford saw the necessity and agreed, but on one condition. He had noticed that over the years Brother Balzereit had grown a beard very similar to the one that had been worn by Brother Russell. His example soon caught on, for there were others who also wanted to look like Brother Russell. This could give rise to a tendency toward creature worship, and Brother Rutherford wanted to prevent this. So during his next visit, within hearing of all the Bible House family, he told Brother Balzereit that he could buy the rotary press but only on the condition that he shave off his beard. Brother Balzereit sadly agreed and afterward went to the barber. During the next few days there were several cases of mistaken identity and some funny situations because of the “stranger” who was sometimes not recognized by his fellow workers.

  • steve2

    The correlation of having a long, untrimmed beard and being a student in "revolt" is simply an added "justification" for frowning upon beards. They were well into developing an anti-beard culture long before the students who "revolted" were even born.

    For an organization that spouts "We simply follow what is the Bible" at every awkward moment, the beard ban has no Scriptural precedence whatsoever. It is simply 1950s "middle" American male grooming etiquette. The Witnesses are cut from the same cloth as Seventh-Day Adventists and, in particular, Latter-Day Saints (Mormons). In fact, the only way to distinguish a JW adult male from a Mormon JW adult male is the latter group usually have a higher number of damn good looking men in their ranks.

    Whilst the JW organization is stuck in 1950s American style and grooming etiquette, the world has moved on:

    Indeed, a man sporting a well-trimmed and tidy beard can look very distinguished and even cut a dashing figure.

  • Village Idiot
    Village Idiot
    I recall an elder telling me that the reason behind the beard ban was that they wanted to respect community standards. I responded by bringing out that there were male models with beards in a Sears catalogue that I had.

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