"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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!"
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.
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.
"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.
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!
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.
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).
arent you just stinkin adorable! can't wait to share this with my YW!
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.
Still don't find this interesting.
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 !
re:JoeBlowAgreed - 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.
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.
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!
Fitting in is an issue regardless of anyone’s religious persuasionI
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 doI 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 causeLearning 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 notThen 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
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.
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
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
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!!
"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
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. :)
What a special young lady.She gives me hope that maybe my sons will
come back to the church some day . . .
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
i'm so proud of your decision to respond without anger. You totally chose
the right!..Wishing you all the best..much love!
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
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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
My stepdad has tattoos from when he was inactive as a young man and joined the
Navy. He's a sealer in the temple.
All I have to say is I understand. Glad you hung in there. Its the only way, the
right way. Good for you.
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.
Wow! Kudos for her reaction. I wouldn't have been able to do that.
@JoeBlowFar 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
"Choose. Choose daily. Choose God."AMEN!!I've recently learned this in my own life. It's so necessary to have
this attitude. Awesome!
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! :)
This young lady has wisdom and maturity beyond her years and courage that dwarfs
her physical stature.
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!
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
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?
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...
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?
We need to be much more open to difference in our culture. And if we cannot be
open, at least be respectful.
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.
We need to be more open to difference in our culture. And if we cannot be open,
at least be respectful.
"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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
@ 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.
@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.
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.
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.
What an inspirational attitude and outlook on life. Power to you, Al Fox!
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.
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! :)
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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...
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.
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
there is nothing wrong with getting a tattoo.
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.
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!
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!!
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!
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
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.
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