The beard issue

by Ray Frankz 23 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • stuckinarut2

    Well done.

    The real problem is that you dared to ask questions!

    You dared to THINK for yourself along non approved lines.....

  • stuckinarut2
  • UnshackleTheChains

    Hi Ray Frankz

    If you want to know why you went through your experience for simply growing a beard, here is an extract from jw.orgs Branch correspondence guidelines. Only elders are privy to these rules btw.

    The following is the extract on clothing and grooming. Note: I have highlighted the main points in bold and italics. Enjoy


    Clothing and grooming styles vary around the world. (g76 8/8 24-6; w66 12/1 735-6) The Bible, in giving sound counsel to Christian sisters, sets forth basic principles that should guide men and women in the Christian congregation as to appropriate clothing and grooming. Thus, the basic question to consider is whether a certain style would befit someone “professing to reverence God.” (1 Tim. 2:9, 10; w02 8/1 1719; w01 1/15 5) As ministers, we are under scrutiny, and therefore mere personal preference should not be the deciding factor. (1 Cor. 4:9; w75 8/15 499-501) Consideration should be given to the effect our clothing and grooming will have on the consciences of others, inside and outside the congregation. (g79 4/22 27-8; w73 3/1 137-40) Our choice of styles should reflect the fact that we represent Jehovah.—g98 8/8 20-1; w97 6/15 16-18; w88 8/15 17; w87 9/15 14-15.

    It is not wise to look to the world for standards on the subject of clothing and grooming. The Bible itself sets out principles to guide Christians. Without making rigid rules or getting involved in giving yes or no answers, elders should recommend what is appropriate dress and grooming by explaining Bible principles. (w77 3/1 149-50; w72 4/1 222-4) Draw attention to these, and encourage the brothers to make their decisions accordingly.

    Scriptural principles about appropriate dress and grooming

    Modesty is a Scriptural requirement.

    —Prov. 11:2; Mic. 6:8.

    Married women wisely consider the wishes of their husbands.—1 Cor. 7:34; Eph. 5:22-24.

    Minors should obey their parents (or guardians), submitting to their decisions.—Prov. 1:8, 9; Col. 3:20.

    Consider the effect on the attitude of others toward the congregation and its activity.—1 Cor. 10:29, 31, 32; 2 Cor. 4:2; Jas. 2:2.

    Personal cleanliness and neatness are desirable.—2 Cor. 7:1.

    When replying to specific inquiries on clothing and grooming, the following references in our publications may be helpful. Provocative dress: w87 9/15 14-15; w75 8/15 499-501; w72 4/1 222-4. Hairstyles: w91 6/1 30-1; w91 3/15 30; w73 3/1 140-1; w69 2/15 11415; w68 3/15 191. Jewelry and cosmetics: w91 6/1 30-1; w91 3/15 30. The wearing of a beard: g79 4/22 27-8; w75 8/15 500-501; w73 3/1 13740. Body piercings and decorations:

    g00 8/8 18-19; g00 3/22 11-13.

    Wearing clothing of the opposite sex is not proper if it is done for immoral purposes or in order to deceive another person. (Deut. 22:5) But this does not prohibit all wearing of slacks, work pants, ski suits in winter, and so forth, on the part of women. —w84 7/15 24-5; g76 8/8 25-6; w72 11/1 671-2; see also SEXUAL CONDUCT.

    Jehovah’s organization has provided suggestions in the publications on appropriate attire for Christian meetings,


    for the ministry, and for visiting branch homes.—w98 4/1 30; km 3/98 7; od 138.

    It should not be necessary to establish a lot of rules to govern what is acceptable on the platform or in the field service, but if styles are extreme or cause offense or stumbling, appropriate counsel can be given.—w77 3/1 149-50; w75 4/1 219; w73 3/1 138-9; w72 4/1 222-4; km 2/69 7. 

  • jp1692

    UTC quotes the "Branch Correspondence Guidelines":

    Without making rigid rules or getting involved in giving yes or no answers, elders should recommend what is appropriate dress and grooming by explaining Bible principles. (w77 3/1 149-50; w72 4/1 222-4) Draw attention to these, and encourage the brothers to make their decisions accordingly.

    Translation: We (the local elders) do not make rules. However, we have "recommended" that wearing a beard is not "appropriate dress and grooming" and we have "explained" that to you using "Bible principles." We therefore "encourage" you to make your "decision accordingly": SHAVE IT OFF!

    Note that the reference cited for "Bible principles" is NOT even to the Bible, but to two Watchtower magazines, one 40 years old, the other 45. These magazines are so old that it is unlikely that the majority of current JWs would have any possible way to read them and look up what they say. The website only has Watchtower magazines going back to the year 2000.

    But we don't make rules and we only follow the Bible. Yeah, right!

  • jp1692

    For context, here's an excerpt from the more recent WT article: Does Your Style of Dress Glorify God? (The Watchtower, September 2016, Study edition, pages 17 - 21, paragraph 17):

    What are some factors that may affect whether a brother wears a beard?

    17 What about the propriety of brothers wearing a beard? The Mosaic Law required men to wear a beard. However, Christians are not under the Mosaic Law, nor are they obliged to observe it. (Lev. 19:27; 21:5; Gal. 3:24, 25) In some cultures, a neatly trimmed beard may be acceptable and respectable, and it may not detract at all from the Kingdom message. In fact, some appointed brothers have beards. Even so, some brothers might decide not to wear a beard. (1 Cor. 8:9, 13; 10:32) In other cultures or localities, beards are not the custom and are not considered acceptable for Christian ministers. In fact, having one may hinder a brother from bringing glory to God by his dress and grooming and his being irreprehensible.—Rom. 15:1-3; 1 Tim. 3:2, 7.

    A careful reading of this paragraph reveals that it doesn't really say anything definitive one way or another. It is notable for being abstruse, that is: difficult to understand for its lack of clarity on an issue about which many people would like just that--clarity and a definite stand.

    I could easily argue any position--beard or no beard--from this wishy-washy, obfuscating drivel. So again, it just comes down to whatever the local elders are going to allow and/or prohibit. But they don't make rules. But they DO have the position of authority according to the religion's hierarchy and power structure. They have it and you don't.

    Again, it's NOT about doctrine or "Bible principles" no matter how frequently they say so with all the appropriate hand-waving; it IS about one thing: CONTROL.

  • Finkelstein

    I knew the bad view the JW in general have towards beards.

    The clean cut shaven appearance standard was implemented because the WTS heads wanted their male sales representatives to look wholesome, honest and righteous in the public's view.

    That's the real reason for the beard ban.

    Don't let anyone tell you different.

  • jp1692

    Rutherford wanted to squash Russell's image in the organization

    *** 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.

  • jp1692

    I researched this a few years ago and--as far as I can find--there is only ONE WT article that implies that JW men should not have beards. Here it is:

    *** w75 8/15 pp. 500-501 par. 9 - Do Not Let Yourself Be Ensnared by Fads and Entertainment ***

    Extreme hair styles can easily lead one into a trap of the Devil also, and cause others to stumble. For example, a young man in the United States was making fine progress in his study of the Bible, and he was moved to share with an experienced Witness in preaching to others about the good things he was learning from the Bible. From early youth he had let his beard grow, and since some in the business community wore beards, he felt that his wearing one in preaching to others would be acceptable generally. But in speaking to a lady he was unable to do more than introduce himself, when she said:

    “I’m sorry, young man, I do not want to become involved in student revolt.”

    No amount of explanation after this sufficed to clear up the misimpression. After the conversation ended with the closing of the door, he asked the experienced Witness what had happened. He was invited to consider his appearance in relation to what he claimed to be, a servant of God. Not wanting to be responsible for even one person’s being stumbled so as to miss the way to everlasting life, this new Kingdom publisher shaved off his beard. Would you be willing to do the same or to make similar adjustments if your appearance gave the wrong impression in a certain community? - Emphasis added

    So here's my takeaway: Because some unnamed lady sometime back in the '70s (or maybe even earlier) from "a certain [un-named] community" in some undisclosed location somewhere in the United States had the opinion that any young man with a beard would try to persuade her "to become involved in student revolt,"JWs all across the world can't/shouldn't have beards!

    Well that seems perfectly reasonable to me!

    I wonder whatever happened to that lady? Do you think she knew she was making Theocratic Doctrine? She must've been one of the anointed, a member of the "Faithful & Discreet Slave" class, no doubt!!!

    Hmmmm, ...

  • rebel8

    I remember similar things happening in my congregation related to hairstyles. If you shaved your sideburns, you couldn't carry microphones. Or skinny ties.

    I remember some young guys having a real issue with it. Looking back, I think it was their wake-up call and was not even the main issue they had with the religion. Something along the lines of, "You have f*(&)d up my life enough. The line must be drawn here. No further."

  • UnshackleTheChains

    Poppycock...I say!

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