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Al Fox: Tattooed Mormon

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  • Gael Ridire Farmington, UT
    April 20, 2014 5:16 p.m.

    I joined the LDS Church in the fall of 1976. 18 months later on a mission to western I pulled out my current drivers license. The investigator's jaw nearly hit the floor, the photo ID showed me with hair below my shoulders out to the sides sprouting a Fu-manchu mustache. He said, "When you came through the door I knew you had been hip once." After he was baptised he told me he wasn't going to cut his hair or remove his ear ring. I said he didn't have to, but. . . one day he would. Fast forward to today; I write this with grey hair turning white hanging once more to my shoulders, only it isn't as full as the mane I had before and it's nearly gone on top and I have a long white beard. I get stares, but I'm a background actor for such productions that need such a look. I'm an old Hippie at heart who happens to be a Mormon.

  • jjmitchell94 Gig Harbor, Washington
    April 16, 2014 1:06 p.m.

    So much good can come from responding with Christ's love instead of becoming offended and reacting defensively. Thank you so much for that very personal story illustrating this principle. I'm so glad we're sisters.

  • Xmormonmom Castle Rock, WA
    April 16, 2014 11:21 a.m.

    My adult daughter has a few tattoos.....one is her nephew's footprints (baby) on the top of her feet, like he is standing on them. The other is a oriental one behind her ear and I forget what it means but nothing bad. She also has plans to put some kind of memorial tattoo for each of her two children, but money is tight, otherwise it would already be done. Not of this means anything BAD about her. It is all about remembering the ones she loves. No, I don't agree with tattoos but yes, I still love her and try to overlook this. Loving MOM

  • Ed Vandenburg Hanna, WY
    Feb. 14, 2014 8:50 a.m.

    I am a Preisthood holder and I have made my endowments in the Temple and I am sealed to my wife and daughters for all enternity. I live the Word of Wisdom.I pay my tithing. I do my home teachings. I attened my Sacrament and Priesthood meetings. I am an active and devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I am politically and socially conservative. I also have tattoos on my arms.
    My choices are between me,my Heavenly Father, My Prophet, and my Bishop.If you are not one of those then your opinion of my tattoos is irrelevent. It is not your place to set in judgement of me or my choices.I'm not a member of the Church to "fit in". I am a member of the Church to have a relationship with my creator. Period!

  • jad.kins Soda Springs, ID
    Dec. 2, 2013 1:04 p.m.

    YouteFan,

    Great comment! I know Heavenly Father rejoices when any of us, those with visible problems or more hidden struggles, make it back to the path to return to Him!!

  • amzg82 Springville, UT
    April 17, 2013 9:41 p.m.

    Such a good story. An example to me, I probably would have gotten mad, but it's wasted energy. Al your also really cute too, lol. Anyway, I'm 31, and single, just moved back here from Orange County. I have no idea who actually will see this, but if you do, hit me back, lets go on a date, lol!

  • NamasteMom usa, UT
    April 16, 2013 1:25 p.m.

    Al, as the mother of 2 tatted boys, and a church going gal, I have to stand and applaud you! You speak for me, you speak for my wonderful boys. Thank you for your message, Don't judge, or think inked people aren't pretty or worthy or loved by God. I personally have my own horror story. My best friend of 12 years was relaying a story to me. It was of visiting a YMCA pool. There were a group of "silver hairs" doing water aerobics. In the middle was a younger man, inked significantly. She thought it was odd. Then it hit her..."he was obviously a convict, doing his community service". As we walked that day, and she told me about her trip. I remained quiet for a few seconds, then I softly replied, I hope people don't assume my boys are convicts. In that moment, she had horror cross her face. She apologized profusely. I was blessed with the spirit to let her apologize and not be angry. I felt I stood up for my boys, did not degrade her, but acted appropriately. We still walk everyday, My hope is that she had a change of heart.

  • Y-Ask-Y? Provo, UT
    April 11, 2013 7:03 a.m.

    there is nothing wrong with getting a tattoo.

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    April 10, 2013 11:51 a.m.

    Beautiful girl and story. You are welcome in my ward any day of the week. Hope on. Journey on. Fan the flame of your faith.

  • GeoMan SALEM, OR
    April 10, 2013 8:11 a.m.

    Personally, I had assumed that all wards (even in Utah) had numerous members with tattoos. Mine does. That is not because there is nothing wrong with getting one (there is), but because it has become so common in our society that lots people get them either before the find the straight and narrow path or when they deviate from it (as all of us do in one way or another). The adversary likes mistakes like smoking or tattoos because those mistakes are obvious to others and can therefore be used as a stumbling block. That is a stumbling block for both the bearer and the observer. It can be a two for one deal. Yes, everyone should overlook and look beyond the smell of tobacco or the mark of a tattoo.
    That doesn't need to be extended to asserting that there is nothing wrong with getting a tattoo.

  • BlueCoug Orem, UT
    April 9, 2013 5:11 p.m.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences Al!

    You're a great example of learning not to judge a book by its cover, but by what's inside.

    ---------

    btw,

    I think you may live in the same ward as a couple of my daughters.

  • Just an Observer Salt Lake City, UT
    April 9, 2013 1:57 p.m.

    One more thing I would like to say is that, yes, I can see a Mormon "judging" someone else here in the way Al says she was, and particularly more so depending on where she was in the valley. However, I also know Mormons who have left the church who would say something like that--partly out of curiosity, partly due to repressed feelings of guilt (remember, these are people I know personally; not painting all who have left the church with the same brush), and partly out of a desire to dissuade someone else from investigating the church. I really would like to know more about the story. How did the person respond? Was he indeed an "active" member? Did he say it just because he didn't know what to say and was looking to start a conversation, as some have speculated? I can very easily see that. Tell us more, Al!

  • Just an Observer Salt Lake City, UT
    April 9, 2013 1:52 p.m.

    From a Mormon who was not raised here in Utah: Utah is an interesting place. Everyone outside Utah thinks it's one way, yet the diversity (if not racial, then in viewpoint and behavior) is amazing within the Salt Lake Valley. Everyone is Mormon, right? Not even close; I have worked with non-LDS from out of state who have said their entire neighborhood here is non-Mormon. And the Mormons are all the same, right? There again, I see distinct differences based largely on where people live. I have lived in areas where, sadly, Robert Redford's portrayal of LDS as "plastic" would actually fit pretty well. I have also lived in areas where the LDS are anything but that. Similarly, I have had non-LDS acquaintances lament the fact that their non-LDS neighbors will wave to them as they go by, but the LDS ones will not. Again, I can see that might well be a reality based on where he lives, but not in many others.

  • als Atheist Provo, UT
    April 9, 2013 11:56 a.m.

    If my wife and I could work it out to move out of Utah, we would do it in a heartbeat. The righteousness competition and judgmentalism is stifling.

    It is a shame when people are effectively driven from their homes by self-righteous intolerance. But it is happening a lot.

  • Blackws Logan, UT
    April 9, 2013 9:42 a.m.

    I note a few try to defend themselves saying we don't treat people like that - but I know that people do get stares from us, even if they are just out of curiosity. The thing to do is look at our own hearts. Are we hypocrites? Are we thinking something about someone else when what we are thinking we have internally (whole mote and beam stuff). Another thing I remind people when this happens is - look at your hand as you point at someone. You are pointing a finger at them, but there are 3 pointing back at you...

  • Mike in Cedar City Cedar City, Utah
    April 9, 2013 8:05 a.m.

    How unfortunate for someone to move to Utah with skin markings just when the LDS church comes out publicly advising (same as commanding) against them. The culture in Utah likes to see itself as tolerant and fair, but the sad truth is that it is neither. Take it from someone who has lived all over the country, in at least 10 different states in all sections. This is easily the most intolerant and mean spirited state that I have ever lived in, and I was raised here.

  • bbuie Louisville, CO
    April 8, 2013 7:05 p.m.

    The thing I love most about this story is the one thing that many members never find out, that coming to church is just as much about the lessons you can teach as the lessons you are taught.

    Thank you for sharing your story and reminding us of a very important lesson, that we are all children of God.

  • Fiche Bountiful / Davis, UT
    April 8, 2013 5:28 p.m.

    Wow. I really appreciate the bit explaining how to teach those who don't want to listen. It's nice to see that there's someone who'd have as much an excuse as anyone to be offended and turn away, but decide instead to be an example to those have strayed.

    Thank you

  • sid 6.7 Holladay, UT
    April 8, 2013 4:43 p.m.

    Patriot;

    I don't agree with you often but I couldn't have said it better myself. Judge Ye Not.

    I am a non practicing Mormon and I have several tattoos all of which are concealed. My work doesn't allow any visible tattoos or piercings but if given the opportunity I would have sleeves just like the girl in this article. My tattoos all have individual meaning to me, my wife and my son. I'm not sorry for having them nor do I feel I have sinned for getting them. In my opinion, the tattoos and the piercings are just a part of the bigger picture. What about Breast Implants, Face Lifts, Tattooed Mascara, Fake Nails? Are all of the obedient Mormons who partake in those activities sinners as well? I think not.

    I wish this young sister all the best in her journey with the LDS religion. May it give her peace and tranquility for the rest of her days. I also ask those who judge others to pray for the courage and strength to accept all of their Brothers and Sisters as they are.

  • Iancook Nevada, MO
    April 8, 2013 1:27 p.m.

    Of course, not all who live in Utah are judgemental, but that was my experience. I'm an active member of the church and an RM with 3 kids. We lived in Utah for all of four months and attended our ward every week we were there. We had planned on living in Utah for at least a year, but we we never felt welcome at our ward. No one welcomed us or spoke to us, and I'd say we tried pretty hard. We weren't treated different because we were non-lds, I wish I could tell you why we never felt welcome. On top of that, I worked for a company who was owned by a Scientologist, and most of my direct co-workers were decidedly non-LDS. I was never welcomed there either. We left after 4 months because of this. It was a bad experience. I can definitely relate to anyone who didn't do well in Utah.

  • Joneb Bountiful, UT
    April 7, 2013 6:25 p.m.

    A beautiful daughter of our Heavenly Father who is not afraid to let her light shine. Would that we all could be for faithful and forgiving.

  • tigger AMERICAN FORK, UT
    April 7, 2013 2:02 p.m.

    Crud, I need to learn from this story. However, I am more likely to judge a woman who looks like a soccer mom as being superficial. It's a lesson for all of us.

    I hope the commenter meant the statement as an "ice-breaker" not a judgement.

  • Sunnymae Salt Lake City, UT
    April 7, 2013 1:47 p.m.

    I think everyone can relate to the social stigma here in Utah but this is such a refreshing point of view! I found her inspiring because she was proactive! Instead of wallowing in her feelings, she became an example and is now a blogger and inspirational speaker! It's good to hear a POSTIIVE role of social media for once!

  • amigaryj TOOELE, UT
    April 7, 2013 8:50 a.m.

    It is sad when people judge, but I think that many times we jump to the conclusion that people are judging us, when maybe they are just curious. Perhaps the man in the line just wanted to know more about this unusual girl in the line, and that was the way he decided to start the conversation. I have experienced the opposite side of judging. I am a Utah girl through and through. For 6 months during military training my husband, myself, and my daughter moved to Oklahoma. My first Sunday in this new place I met a woman in Relief Society who, once I told her where I was from, went on and on about how awful Utah is and that she would never live there. That really hurt my feelings because I love Utah and have many wonderful experiences here. So, I guess what I'm saying is that while Utah has problems, it is also full of wonderful people who just are just curious and want to get to know you!

  • gypsie ,
    April 7, 2013 7:52 a.m.

    I have a tattoo, I got when I was 19. I met the Church at 27. I am now a Temple worthy woman of faith. My past doesn't make who I am today. So long as I don't 'go there' again.

  • Spikey Layton, UT
    April 6, 2013 11:50 p.m.

    Beautiful on the inside AND the outside!

    I would have noticed you too, but would have beamed with pride watching you clutch that book! I, too, am a convert (though I have no tattoos), and I can say I would NEVER go back to my pre-church days. My life is so rich, and so blessed now. I am happy! :)

  • nturtypicalsaint Lehi, UT
    April 6, 2013 11:41 p.m.

    I, also have added some beautiful art to my beautiful body. It is a reminder of who I was and who I always will be, a daughter of God. For some, it's ink. For others, it's piercings or implants. We put cream on our faces to reverse the agony process. We color our gray. We all have insecurities and imperfections but the one thing that remains the same...our Heavenly Father loves us. I, for one, think my tattoos look beautiful in temple white and I know I set an example to the youth in my ward, that we can be different and still belong. I will raise my children to have compassion and tolerance for those who look different because I am NOT your typical mormon.

  • bw00ds Tucson, AZ
    April 6, 2013 11:40 p.m.

    What an inspirational attitude and outlook on life. Power to you, Al Fox!

  • PACoug Warwick, RI
    April 6, 2013 5:09 p.m.

    Most comments reveal far more about the commenter than anything else.

    I'm a Mormon in an aggressively secular state (RI). So I face judgmental people all day long and the funny thing is many of them seem to have gotten it into their heads that I'M judging THEM. There's no need to feel judged or defensive around me. Got tattoos? I don't have any idea where or when you got them. Safe to say when you got that tattoo, you wanted to send out the messages the tat sends effortlessly without you having to do anything.

    A tattoo separates people neatly. You can tell who is really uncomfortable with it from how they act, and it serves the additional purpose of pushing those people away. If you are a Mormon, there's no better way to say "get off my back" to your fellow LDS than a big, visible tat.

    Here in RI, you can accomplish a similar feat by wearing a white shirt and tie on Sunday. It brings the haters right out of the woodwork.

  • AZDZRTFOX Hucahuca City, AZ
    April 6, 2013 3:07 p.m.

    My beautiful convert wife is a 'tattooed Mormon'. After nearly 13 years after being baptized she still gets those odd looks, and still has some reservations about what she wears; some people still get the wrong idea and pass unspoken judgement on her for her tats. I'm sure Al Fox and my wife have much in common.

  • LetsDebate PLEASANT GROVE, UT
    April 6, 2013 2:00 p.m.

    @JoeBlow - I believe sin is generally known to be rebellion against God and his servants, so being rebellious is not a good thing. That being said, I don't think nonmembers, and especially those who don't even know about God's servants, commit sin by doing many things contrary to our unique beliefs, such as disobedience to our Word of Wisdom code or getting tattoos. When members do so, who have covenanted to follow the counsel of our prophets, then it certainly reflects a rebelliousness that probably calls for repentance. I doubt Al Fox had to "repent" of getting tattoos in order to get baptized, and none of us should hold it against her even in the slightest degree.

    What a beautiful woman, inside and out, with a beautiful story and the courage to share it.

  • Jackuepru Lehi, UT
    April 6, 2013 1:10 p.m.

    @ the caravan moves on.

    The comment directed at her about the irony of her holding a LDS book was not a simple observation like observing the color of the sky. That is very silly.
    There is nothing ironic about it. That was a very closed minded comment. It makes me wonder about the persons testimony.
    As a convert with tattoos, I totally get her feeling like an outsider to a very exclusive club.
    I really give her a lot of credit for how she reacted. She is an example to us all about not allowing others to control us. It is very scary having to adjust to a whole new lifestyle. We need love and support. I don't think there's anything wrong with a person thinking that the sight is ironic, but I don't understand actually saying that to a person at all.

    It reminded me of President Uchtdorf's comment about not judging someone bc they sin differently than you.

  • JayTee Sandy, UT
    April 6, 2013 12:45 p.m.

    When you wonder what people are thinking about you, know this: They usually AREN'T thinking about you; they're more often wondering what YOU'RE thinking about THEM. I always tell people that if there's anything they don't like about me, then just go ahead and find something else to think about. It's a big world with lots of things to ponder and be involved in, so don't waste the time evaluating everyone you happen to see.

  • Woodyff Mapleton, UT
    April 6, 2013 12:31 p.m.

    When I first joined the Church at 30, a wise man said to me, "Remember that people are people, but the Church is true". I have remembered that for over 35 years as a member of the Church. It sounds like you are strong in your testimony and you should not worry about what people say, but only how you serve! I believe in your circumstances you are provide the rest of us understanding. Thanks for being who you are.

  • zoressa Rocklin, CA
    April 6, 2013 12:24 p.m.

    We all have tatoos. Some are physical and some are spiritual. I saw a man in the temple with tats all the way down his arm and on his neck. It caused me to admire him for the life he left behind to be there.

  • LifeLibertyHappiness Draper, UT
    April 6, 2013 12:03 p.m.

    goalie84044

    "As I got older and started thinking for my self, I realized that most mormons in Utah are the most judgmental, hypocritical people I have ever met in my life."

    Perhaps you should follow your own implied advice here to not judge? Do you know "most Mormons"? Do you know me? Your statement is no different than someone making an absurd assumption such as most people with tattoos do drugs. There are judgmental people in all walks of life and in all faiths. Everyone is imperfect and doing the best they can given their experiences in life up to that point. The key to change is changing ourselves. Then we can see the world differently, become more accepting of the weaknesses of others and maybe even be a strength. Al Fox showed incredible strength in responding positively and is a great example.

  • Wingnut1 USA, UT
    April 6, 2013 12:06 p.m.

    This girl is incredible. It could've been so easy for her to judge the man for what he said, but she decided to be positive about it. Some people think that they are entitled to love from everyone no matter what they do which "should" be completely true, but then they judge the other person for not loving them which is an oxymoron. This girl did quite the opposite. She still wanted the love from people, but when it didn't exactly come at first she still loved the man anyways. I am sure that his opinion of her was very positively influenced. "We loved him because he loved us first" That scripture carries a lot of truth in it :) But what scripture doesn't? haha :)

  • sharrona layton, UT
    April 6, 2013 11:50 a.m.

    Mormonism and Tattoos are compatible, Lev 19: 26 “‘Do not practice divination..28 “‘Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord

  • DFox Cedar City, UT
    April 6, 2013 11:45 a.m.

    Wow !! I admire her. It takes a Strong and Spiritually connected person to do what she has and continues to do. I have seen many things, experienced a lot as well. Almost two years ago, I lost my 17 year old son. I miss him greatly. I also have regrets about some ways I treated him. Now that he is not here, amazing things have happened. Many Youth who knew him are changing their lives and affecting others in a positive way as well. All of us make decisions that sometimes leave evidence. Some physical, most not. I have learned that there are always stories behind the images (Tatoos). Some of those stories are about amazing changes in their lives. This is one example. In a New Group that I attend here in Cedar City, UT., there is a Topic titled "Overcoming Negativity". Strong message for everyone. It is hard not to Judge others, we must though in order to enjoy Peace and Happiness and not add to our pile of Regrets in our lives. Thank You for the Story.

  • SundanceKid27 OREM, UT
    April 6, 2013 11:01 a.m.

    "And while I was waiting in line I felt very tense. I could feel stares in every direction; it felt like lasers. I stood there stiff trying to ignore it but I couldn't. I could physically feel the stares from everyone."

    I don't mean to be a sore thumb but wasn't she judging those people in Cafe Rio by assuming that they were staring at her with a condemning to purgatory attitude?

    She was placing the responsibility of her decisions on those who were at the restaurant. Maybe there were some who were with that attitude but I bet people were looking at her just because she did stand out.

    Judging is mostly a double standard.

  • Jazzfan18 Cedar city, UT
    April 6, 2013 10:59 a.m.

    We need to be more open to difference in our culture. And if we cannot be open, at least be respectful.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    April 6, 2013 11:02 a.m.

    So what if Al wasn't LDS?

    I'm pretty sure the comments here would be a lot different.

    Judgmentalism is a huge problem in our society and among the religious.

  • Jazzfan18 Cedar city, UT
    April 6, 2013 10:58 a.m.

    We need to be much more open to difference in our culture. And if we cannot be open, at least be respectful.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    April 6, 2013 9:19 a.m.

    Well then, can we add long hair and facial hair to the list of things that can help us to recognize bad people? Maybe baggy pants as well?

  • Wilf 55 SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    April 6, 2013 9:04 a.m.

    KristinD said: "People continually say that we here in Utah are closed, judgmental. I have RARELY seen or experienced that. I think it is more of an urban legend than reality. And I have lived here for years and years as a child, young adult, and adult."

    Precisely. When you have lived here for so long, you cannot notice it. Come here from abroad in a local LDS ward and you would be surprised...

  • Wilf 55 SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    April 6, 2013 8:10 a.m.

    Let's face it. In the Catholic Church, the Pope speaks about war and peace, human rights, world poverty, the environment, the family, and the sanctity of human life. I've never heard the Pope say a word about tattoos or earrings. Perhaps we could learn something from the Catholic side as to what is important and what is trivial?

  • Eriborges Usa, MD
    April 6, 2013 8:04 a.m.

    Great article! It just made my day....I recently got baptized and I also have tattoos, and most of the time I think that I won't be able to find someone because they are looking for a 'temple worthy girls'.....and when I think that I also think that everyone deserves a second chance, and when I decided to get baptized and follow the savior it was more important than my past mistakes! I can help others being an example as you said! Thank you so much, your words really helped me and encouraged me to avoid the feeling of rejection!!!:)))

  • pmtucker2 Bunnell, FL
    April 6, 2013 12:59 a.m.

    I'm impressed with your determination to follow the Savior where-ever it leads you. Welcome to the family. Yes, life will be a little harder for you because, of the visual choices you made prior to becoming a follower of Christ. But there are others in our fold who have just as difficult of a time which are not as visual as yours may be. People flock to those with whom they feel comfortable. I don't think it is judging as much as making friends with someone with the same interest. It is hard to get past, the outward appearance to begin with. People with physical handicaps experience the same feelings of judgement as someone with tatoos, beards, piercings etc. They just have to work a little harder to show that they have turned to Christ and we share the same heart felt feelings. There is a scripture stating, a man looketh upon the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh upon the heart. Show them that it is worth getting to know your heart. Show them they have found someone of like mind and heart as a new friend. Stay strong and remember GOD LOVES YOU!

  • Rod Mann Highland, UT
    April 6, 2013 12:44 a.m.

    This young lady has wisdom and maturity beyond her years and courage that dwarfs her physical stature.

  • Paislie Eugene, OR
    April 6, 2013 12:16 a.m.

    I have an amazing friend who is a LDS and her husband is not. Both have tattoos, the husband way more than his wife. Both are wonderful people. The fact that my amazingly wonderful friend has tattoos in no way diminishes her ability to be an active member of the church - in fact, she is the Primary President. I have never asked about any of her tats - not really any of my business. That fact is there are many members of the church, converts and those "born in the church", who have tattoos. Perhaps LDS members in Utah just aren't as used to seeing them as those of us who don't live in areas of high LDS concentration. If I had seen Al in an Oregon restaurant clutching a church book I would have been more fascinated by the fact that she was holding an LDS book than I would have been by her tats. It is all in the perspective.
    You go girl! :)

  • Supporting LDS Church Salt Lake City, UT
    April 5, 2013 11:15 p.m.

    "Choose. Choose daily. Choose God."

    AMEN!!

    I've recently learned this in my own life. It's so necessary to have this attitude. Awesome!

  • 32843 PROVO, UT
    April 5, 2013 11:10 p.m.

    @JoeBlow
    Far East USA, SC

    ""They should be looked as people who are trying to repent or have repented. "

    Rick, maybe you are missing the point.

    Why cant a believing Mormon like tatoos? Nothing wrong with a little rebellion.
    And a tatoo does not signal the need to repent.

    Tatoos have nothing to do with sin."

    Hi Joe,

    You do realize that the whole mess Satan found himself in began with him thinking there's "nothing wrong with a little rebellion." Look where that kind of thinking got him.

    As for tattoos, like it or not, tattoos do represent a way of thinking and, more often than not, the individual sporting tattoos also engages in certain behaviors and a lifestyle that is in contrast to the way you would think a believer in the Gospel lives. That, alone, is reason enough to avoid tattoos. However, another reason is because the body is the Temple of God and when you tattoos the body you're, in effect, putting graffiti on a sacred edifice.

    Space doesn't permit discussing exceptions to the rule, but, by and large those are reasons to avoid tattoos.

  • DHan Syracuse, UT
    April 5, 2013 9:55 p.m.

    Wow! Kudos for her reaction. I wouldn't have been able to do that.

  • runnerguy50 Virginia Beach, Va
    April 5, 2013 9:23 p.m.

    We need more Al Fox's which means we in the Church need to show more love. Maybe thats why I love my ward. Members with long hair, beards, tattoos and hearts filled with love reaching out to those that need the Gospel.

  • Minnie T. mesa, AZ
    April 5, 2013 9:07 p.m.

    All I have to say is I understand. Glad you hung in there. Its the only way, the right way. Good for you.

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    April 5, 2013 8:53 p.m.

    My stepdad has tattoos from when he was inactive as a young man and joined the Navy. He's a sealer in the temple.

  • youtefan Bountiful, UT
    April 5, 2013 8:34 p.m.

    I was in the Temple as a worker when a young man with a pony tail and tattoos from his chin to who knows where was attending our session! My fellow workers were whispering when someone asked me what I thought? My answer was simple...isn't it wonderful? I can not imagine what he has been through but it has made it!!! His Father in Heaven must be rejoicing!, silence gripped the room....

  • lloydlewisjr Montrose, CO
    April 5, 2013 8:23 p.m.

    We, with all our knowledge, can be so stupid and say the most unkind things. Miss Fox, you have done well, and tattoos do not the person make. I myself wouldn't have one, but it is because I don't like needles. (any kind) I have two daughters with tattoos, and behind each tattoo they have a reason which for the time they were added, I understand. I don't criticize, I just love those girls. I have seen so many new converts with tats I no longer think of it as artwork, but more of a mark of challenge. You rose above the challenge. You are awesome, and a daughter of God. Keep on keepin' on. You are leaps and bounds ahead of those who judge you. Thanks.

  • Joe Schmoe Orem, UT
    April 5, 2013 8:09 p.m.

    I had a missionary companion from Manaus Brazil in the Amazon jungle. He had a tattoo of a dragon all the way down one arm and a snake down the other. He had joined the church two years previous to leaving on his mission. He wore long sleeves every day of his mission and I never heard him complain once.

    We could all take a lesson on judging what is inside instead of the outside.

    My favorite is the guy that has all the Mormon prophets tattooed on his back. I'm sure a quick search will quickly find it.

  • t702 Las Vegas, NV
    April 5, 2013 7:46 p.m.

    awesome story Al! Looks like you have it all figured out. Your story reminds me of "...when thou art converted strengthen thy brethren" and that's exactly what you were called/prompted to do. keep it up!

  • Kralon HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA
    April 5, 2013 7:40 p.m.

    Many years ago, while I was attending BYU, I met a new roommate in Provo. He came into our apartment wearing a sleeveless leather motorcycle gang jacket with tattoos covering his massive arms (he was about 6 foot three and 280 lbs). Scared the heck out of me!

    We found out he had just been baptized and left California to get away from his old life. Turns out he was the nicest, most gentle and loving roommate I ever had. Great lesson for me!

    Some of us need these type of lessons in life, especially when I was younger and knew everything. Thanks Al Fox for being a great person regardless of how others treat you before they know you!

  • NeilT Clearfield, UT
    April 5, 2013 7:31 p.m.

    I am curious as to how the person in the cafe responded. I do feel many LDS are to judgemental of others. Especially those who embrace extreme conservatism. I am single and I hate attending church and sitting alone. That is why I drove to SLC to attend a singles ward. I have been to the polynesian cultural center. many of the dancers had tatoos. Nothing vulgar. I remember one had a rose on her ankle and one performer was covered with tatoos from the waist up. It was cultural. I admire her for the courage to move here. I have often though it would be difficult to move to a new place without friends or family support. Judge not lest ye judged was the counsel Jesus gave. Enough said.

  • goalie84044 magna, UT
    April 5, 2013 7:33 p.m.

    This is a truly amazing article with a lot of great morals that everyone can learn from. I have lived in Utah my entire life and was raised mormon. As I got older and started thinking for my self, I realized that most mormons in Utah are the most judgmental, hypocritical people I have ever met in my life. I have tattoos and im not afraid to show it. I don't go to church and haven't for years simply because of the people. Another great lesson that is preached all across the mormon community is, "don't judge someone by the way they look, you need to look deeper at what is inside. This girl obviously a very strong individual and she shouldn't be judged! I salute you Al Fox! Truly inspirational story!

  • teniO Laie, HI
    April 5, 2013 6:58 p.m.

    i'm so proud of your decision to respond without anger. You totally chose the right!..Wishing you all the best..much love!

  • mikron2dlmj Tooele, UT
    April 5, 2013 6:54 p.m.

    Al, I left Utah shortly after I returned from my LDS mission in 1989, vowing never to return because of the judgmental / hypocritical attitudes of many of around me. Like you, the Lord called me and my family back to Utah and it was a bit of a hard pill to swallow for me. It's very eye opening to see the negative attitudes of some folks here, vs. how "the world" views these truly Christ-like people.

    Regardless, it's how our Savior views all of us. Just remember He didn't dwell among the rich, famous and popular, but the humble folks. Too bad some of the "saints" don't remember this little factoid. Keep the faith and God bless you.

    "Don't judge me because I sin (or look / behave) differently than you" - Bumper sticker; attributed to Pres. Uctdorf

  • kitsutsuki South Jordan, Utah
    April 5, 2013 6:49 p.m.

    What a special young lady.

    She gives me hope that maybe my sons will come back to the church some day . . .

  • austin b Rexburg, ID
    April 5, 2013 6:35 p.m.

    Great post. I'm happy for you. Having a good attitude in a touch situation must have been so difficult. Your example is a great one. I have two daughters ages 5 and 8. I can't wait to share your story with them. :)

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    April 5, 2013 5:54 p.m.

    "I guess you have never heard the prophet say we shouldn't get tattoo's or the scriptures say the body is the temple of God."

    You are correct. I have never heard it. When he said it, was he speaking his opinion or was this Gods word? Often times, in LDS history, things that their prophet says are discounted in hindsight as the opinion of a fallible man.

    As far as temples of God, I have seen lots of temples with colorful artwork.

  • GrantDavis Turlock / USA, CA
    April 5, 2013 4:59 p.m.

    it is always better to have the sins that can be easily seen than have the sins that can be hidden. I am not sure having a tattoo is a sin at all. Other than respecting the temple the Lord gave us to house our spirits.... that said my son is 26, and has had a hard time with addiction which runs in our family. he has been doing well for several years now but if anyone were to judge his book by his cover, tattoos, scar's, big ear ring things, etc... But his heart is the softest of any of my children. He started going off and on to a singles ward in Dallas, and he feels very aware that he doesn't look like everyone else and is carrying the scars figuratively and literally of a hard 10 year battle with addiction. But he loves the Lord, believes in the gospel, and helps others overcome the same issues he had... It isn't what you were that matters it is who you are becoming.... Thanks for the blog!!

  • p.evans Bluffdale, UT
    April 5, 2013 5:01 p.m.

    I really enjoyed your article in LDS Living. And I particularly love everything you said here. I can't imagine saying it a better way. My stake president once said that if someone comes and sits down next to you in church and smells like smoke, what do you think? Do you think "You don't belong" or do you think " I am so glad you are here" I always choose the "I am so glad you are here" I am so glad you were baptized and even braved moving to Utah!!

  • Rick2009 MESA, AZ
    April 5, 2013 4:31 p.m.

    Joe,

    I guess you have never heard the prophet say we shouldn't get tattoo's or the scriptures say the body is the temple of God. I think it is you who missed my point. I applaud her for joining the church with the tattoo's.

  • JohnJacobJingleHeimerSchmidt Beverly Hills, CA
    April 5, 2013 4:30 p.m.

    I welcome all with an open mind and heart, that is what the Saviour teaches. I wish the best for everyone out there who feels like they don't belong to know that God's love is more powerful than the pettiness some people chose to usher on others. We will be judged on our kindness, we will be judged for put lack of kindness when treating others different than us poorly.

  • Counter Intelligence Salt Lake City, UT
    April 5, 2013 4:26 p.m.

    Fitting in is an issue regardless of anyone’s religious persuasion
    I am not LDS but I don’t drink very much - which means I don’t always fit in very well with many of my drinking acquaintances – who accuse me of either being a religious freak or an AA member because I don’t act like they do
    I am homosexual but have no patience for extreme gay politics - so I don’t always fit in with my gay friends who expect inflexible orthodoxy to a cause
    Learning to be your own person is part of growing up: Most of the comments about acceptance or judging apply pretty much to anyone and all groups; Mormon or not

    Then on the other hand: I am always confused by people who wear things that are designed to attract attention – then act surprised or wronged when they are actually noticed

  • Shawnm750 West Jordan, UT
    April 5, 2013 4:13 p.m.

    The simple message of this article is: None one should judge anyone else by their outward appearance. The guy in the restaurant probably didn't mean any offense, and Al handled the situation the best way possible. We've all made mistakes, we all have faults, the results of which are sometimes evident in our appearance. But ShakenBake's comment hits the nail on the head. Too often we dismiss or judge people unfairly based on their appearance, or because of things they say or do. I've found that by taking the time to get to know the person beneath the clothes, or by listening to the voice under the profanities, I've found there's often a wonderful person whose ideas and feelings aren't all that different than my own. I don't have to agree with all their choices or support their decisions, but by showing a little empathy and mutual respect I've formed some strong friendships.

    That being said, variety is what makes relationships exciting and shows us things in a new light. Some people are the salt of the Earth...some are the sugar...and a few of us are the cayenne pepper!

  • Red Salt Lake City, UT
    April 5, 2013 4:01 p.m.

    Great job! Thanks for taking the high road.

    You made the same decision that most of us try to make everyday when we face our own accusers.

    Keep up the good work.

    Life is for all of us to learn from.

    Don't give up.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    April 5, 2013 4:04 p.m.

    re:JoeBlow

    Agreed - tattoos do NOT signify sin. Unfortunately there are too many LDS and other Christians who do associate tattoos with sin. I suspect it has to do with the fact that they see gang members with tattoos and therefore deduce anyone with a tattoo has the values of a gang member. I look at gang members or rappers and their tattoos are usually pretty bad - profanity or nudity or a violence or a combo of all three. On the other hand a tattoo of a beautiful sun flower may be symbolic of some inspiration for a person or perhaps a tattoo of the name of some special family member that gives them inspiration. Big difference.

  • U 90 Corona, CA
    April 5, 2013 3:33 p.m.

    We need more people like Al in our church. She doesn't look like the typical Mormon on the outside, but perhaps looks better than the typical Mormon on the inside. Way to go Al !

  • SportsFann Bountiful, UT
    April 5, 2013 3:22 p.m.

    Still don't find this interesting.

  • Civil Salt Lake City, UT
    April 5, 2013 3:20 p.m.

    Always ironic when people judge others for judging...

    Or assume the person stating a fact is judging -- or LDS.

    It IS ironic, on many levels, that someone covered with tattoos would be reading the Book of Mormon. Take 10 minutes, and you can probably think of several:

    - The Prophet taught not to have them, yet this tatted woman loves the same book as they do, and loves them, too!
    - The Nephites in the Book of Mormon who rebelled put a "mark" upon themselves to be distinguished from the faithful, perhaps not unlike a tattoo.
    - The Lord never gives up on anyone, tats or not. The woman's tattoos may be evidence of this -- and THAT, my friends is the story. He did not give up on her, she chose Him, and continues to do so by choosing to love His Children.

  • lovemy4kids orangevale, CA
    April 5, 2013 2:59 p.m.

    arent you just stinkin adorable! can't wait to share this with my YW!

  • donn layton, UT
    April 5, 2013 2:48 p.m.

    RE: JoeBlow ", Why cant a believing Mormon like tattoos? Nothing wrong with a little rebellion. And a tatoo does not signal the need to repent. Tattoos have nothing to do with sin.

    Leviticus 19:28 (NET) You must not slash your body for a dead person or incise a tattoo on yourself. I am the LORD(YHWH).
    There was to be no disfiguring of the body like the pagans. Tattoos was a sign of morning to secure attention of their diety(gods).

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    April 5, 2013 2:03 p.m.

    I would dare say there are many in Utah whom are LDS who mistakenly think you can't get a temple recommend with a tattoo. You can. I would also venture a guess that the same bunch think drinking Coke is against the Word of Wisdom (Sec 89 D&C). It isn't. So many members of the LDS church build up there own version of the gospel and they live by it religiously. The Savior taught "judge not that ye be not judged for with that same judgement that ye judge ye shall also be judged". Yikes!! In other words there are going to be a lot of surprised faces come judgement day. Behold not the mote that is in your brothers eye but overlook the beam that is in your own eye (paraphrased). Christ taught extensively about hypocrisy and the incident with Mary Magdalene is case n point. We all need to be careful about judging wrongfully.

  • AFCoug Colorado Springs, CO
    April 5, 2013 2:03 p.m.

    While new to my mission in Germany in the early 90s my companion and I were randomly talking with people on the street, he on one side and I on another. I stopped the scariest guy I could have as a new, barely German speaking Elder. Was one of the best expierences of my mission. The guy was never baptised but we became great friends. I placed a BofM with him and later visited his trailer in the middel of a junk yard. He talked of leaving the book out so his friends would ask him about it and he could tell them how true it was and what a great book it was. Had he been able to make a few changes he would have been a great member. As it turned out he was a great person who loved the BofM, loved the gospel, came to church several times (black leather, shaved head, tattoos and all). Great Story!

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    April 5, 2013 1:24 p.m.

    "They should be looked as people who are trying to repent or have repented. "

    Rick, maybe you are missing the point.

    Why cant a believing Mormon like tatoos? Nothing wrong with a little rebellion.
    And a tatoo does not signal the need to repent.

    Tatoos have nothing to do with sin.

  • Rick2009 MESA, AZ
    April 5, 2013 1:02 p.m.

    It is interested to see people with tattoos in the church. However most of them are converts and i am sure now wish they hadn't gotten them or maybe they are people who got them during a time of shall we say rebellion. They should be looked as people who are trying to repent or have repented. Unfortunately the tattoo shows out very loudly where most of our sins are hidden or covered up. None of us are perfect except one.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    April 5, 2013 12:52 p.m.

    I have a daughter with tattoos. My other kids are model LDS - missions , temple marriage etc... My daughter with the tattoos has come a long long way - a personal journey from anorexia to other personal struggles and she has now found her Savior Jesus Christ and The Book Of Mormon simply because of some returned missionary home teachers in her student ward who looked past the tattoos and treated her like a daughter of God - thank goodness for home teachers and thank goodness for missionaries who themselves have worked with people - cultures of the world that are far different than Happy Valley. We all do it here in Utah - we judge quickly without much thought - it just happens like a habit that is engrained within us since we were small. I have certainly done it and I have to catch myself often times and try to think how the Savior would think - with compassion and charity. I wish the tattoos would get removed - I have to be honest - and one day maybe they will be but I have learned that the Holy Ghost is more than skin deep and so is the worth of a soul.

  • mream Parker, CO
    April 5, 2013 12:48 p.m.

    Very well said, sister.

    I believe there is altogether too much judging and bad feelings all around. Maybe I should stop reading the Trib's message boards. ;-) but it's everywhere, especially on the internet.

    "Don't judge me because I sin differently than you!"

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    April 5, 2013 12:26 p.m.

    Great article.
    Hang in there, and stand by those thoughts and words.
    You will need them.

    Don't tell them know you are not a Republican - or might even be "Liberal".
    It's the un-pardonable sin here in Utah.

  • The Caravan Moves On Enid, OK
    April 5, 2013 11:57 a.m.

    Article quote about what the stranger in line at the restaruant said to the author: "You know ... it's pretty ironic you look the way you do holding that book."

    What's offensive about that?

    The sky is blue. The grass is green. And, typically, though not always, but, yes, typically, someone who walks around clutching a Book of Mormon does not have their arms covered in tatoos. That is simply a fact.

    Now, does that mean that someone who has tatoos all over their arms can NOT gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon?

    Of course not.

    Does that mean that every story of a Utah Mormon being unkind to new people/outsiders (or those who may appear to be outsiders) is false?

    Of course not.

    But I, for one, am tired of those who oppose the LDS faith and its members (as many will here) claiming that every single Utah Latter-day Saint is unkind, judgemental and just generally a jerk.

    You think they don't claim that?

    You should read what they post here and, especially, on the Trib.

    I applaud this young woman's courage to follow the Lord. Keep up the good work!

  • hubbardesquire Alabaster, Alabama
    April 5, 2013 11:48 a.m.

    Such times as when people judge us might be a good time to remind them that Jesus said that he was sent to earth to find those in need of a physician, and not those who were already whole in body and spirit. Also, how Jesus sought after the outcasts and not the "in-crowd". I think that the most wonderful thing about the Gospel is that the Lord judges by what is in our hearts and not by outward appearances. I might also smile at such people and tell them, see how I am an example of how the Lord and his Restored Gospel can change a person. I might also ask them if they want to hear my story.

  • KristinD Saratoga Springs, UT
    April 5, 2013 11:50 a.m.

    Great blog and greatly needed. I would add, also, that it is my vast experience that those who feel they do not "fit it" or who feel judged are usually only judging themselves. I know there are those few who may be judgmental. But the vast majority of us are understanding, compassionate, and not judgmental. And sometimes people stare just because they are seeing something unusual. That does not necessarily mean they are being judgmental. People continually say that we here in Utah are closed, judgmental. I have RARELY seen or experienced that. I think it is more of an urban legend than reality. And I have lived here for years and years as a child, young adult, and adult.

  • ShakenBake Orem, UT
    April 5, 2013 10:55 a.m.

    "But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart." -1 Samuel 16:7

    "How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked?" -Psalms 82:2 (The wicked referred to are not necessarily those people covered in tattoos...)

    Two scripture we all need to memorize and ponder.