Comments about ‘Ask Angela: The tattoo I never want my parents to see’

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Published: Monday, Feb. 24 2014 5:00 a.m. MST

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Carson City, NV

This one is tough for me. I have always looked at tattoos as graffiti on your spirits temple. My adult daughter and son both have a tattoo. They are both not going to be seen in church clothing. They did the same as you, didn't tell me until after the tattoo was in place. The question I have is why you wouldn't tell your parent? Put yourself in their position, you find out your child got a tattoo and kept it from you. The problem from the parents point of view is two fold; first, they don't approve of the tattoo; second, you were not honest with them and hid it from them. Having said all this, I deeply love and respect my children. My bet is your parents will still love you too. I agree with Angela, tell the parents before the vacation, don't wait and ruin the vacation for everyone, including you.

george of the jungle
goshen, UT

I guessing it, a girl with the tat. Some things are inevitable. Let it be known before before they find out for them self.

Far East USA, SC

I really wonder how many people really, personally, "think something is bad" or they are TOLD that something is bad (by church leaders perhaps) so they accept that.

Really, is a small butterfly tatoo on ones ankle really a big deal? How about a sleveless shirt on a woman? Or a skirt that comes just above your knee?

I am not saying, "anything goes" but sometimes we need to lighten up a bit.

How many people follow others "opinions" vs using their own judgement? Or let their own judgement be changed by others "opinions"?

South Jordan, UT

I guess I don't understand the tattoo thing. What goes on in a person's mind?

- "I want to express my individuality ... just like everyone else."
- "I think Chris Anderson (The Bird in the NBA) is the bomb. I want to look like him."
- "The people who love me most advise against it but, hey, my friends think it's cool."
- "I'm too young to be translated for perfect obedience so this will keep me safe."
- "Everybody has a touch of rebellion now and again. This is mine."

Seriously, what goes through the mind of "someone who knows" when they decide to get a tattoo?

West Jordan, UT

Or, as I did, they probably think. I like tattoos. I want one with meaning to me. I really don't care what other people think as I'm not putting it on their body. I could go on, but truthfully, most people who gets tattoos do so because they want one. And that is OK. Oh, and we don't care what it will look like when we get old. By then, our skin is sagging, so why shouldn't the tattoo. It's another story in what is hopefully an excellent life.

Brave Sir Robin
San Diego, CA

Tattoo: A permanent expression of a temporary feeling.


I have to agree to tell them before the vacation to avoid the drama during what should be a fun time. They love you. They may initially be very upset (disappointed, angry, whatever); but will come to understand that you an adult and allowed to make your own choices. It is not your job to live your life to please them.

All that said; I am a parent of a daughter with 3 pretty cool tattoos (actually 2 are cool - one is ugly in my opinion); I'm not LDS; and I've seen how so many LDS people get really overly excited about this issue.

I do know that parents love their children - even when they don't approve. And love finds a way.

Bentonville, AR

I was in a similar situation. I got a tattoo when I was 19 NOT on impulse but after a long and careful decision making process. When my mom saw my tattoo months later, she was upset but after I helped her remember that I was still very active at church, still temple worthy and still on the right path, she calmed down. Today, 14 years later, I'm married in the temple and still active at church so a tattoo is definitely not an indication someone is headed to heck in a hand basket.

My suggestion to this person, it down with them and explain it before the trip and put the tattoo in the proper perspective for them. Hopefully they will be reasonable and move on. Good luck!

Central, UT

There is no judgement here. Simple issue, child rebels, child regrets, parents accept. End of story.


Just tell them. You cannot control how they will respond to your choice to getting a tattoo anymore than they could control you to not get one in the first place. They have a right to not agree with what you have done, but as others have said they will still love you. Are you going to love them any less just because they may be upset with you for a little while?

Cedar Hills, UT


If you could do it over again, would you still get the tattoo? In the context of a temple going LDS member, will you encourage your children to get tattoos?

West Jordan, UT

If you are one who believes in a living prophet (or, even if you aren't), then my suggestion is to follow him. There are blessings who await those who are obedient. Laws, commandments, and the like are put in place as a protection to us. If we have made a wrong choice, then thankfully there is repentance and forgiveness when we change our heart. If we can fully repent, then we can feel the joy that comes when we are forgiven. There is no better feeling than feeling the love of God come into our hearts and feel the atonement of our Savior work for our benefit to make us clean.

sandy, ut


Probably the same thing people think when they get a nose job or breast implants. I am sure there is no solid answer that covers the thoughts of every individual who gets a tattoo. Those who don't want them don't have to get them. I have never liked the fact that there are Christians and in Utah, Mormons, who think a tattoo is such a bad thing because your body is a temple. These are often the same people who drink gallons of toxic coke or diet coke, or eat poorly, or who have other bad habits that severely affect their 'temple' (body). What one sees as defiling the body, one sees as not defiling. Nobody is perfect. She should just tell her parents and let the chips fall where they may. If she is an adult, she should be able to do as she pleases with no repercussions from her parents.

Joan Watson

No, one need not think they were/are bad parents. Sons and daughters have to answer for themselves whether they be wise or foolish, believing or rebellious.

Leo Femedlers
El Paso, TX

@ Vangroovin--good points, especially the one re the living prophet. I was recently reading about Alma's visit to Ammonihah. The people's hearts were hardened to the point that they would not listen to him. (Alma 8:9) It's been awhile since Pres Hinkley let the faithful know tattoos were a no no. I don't recall that direction being rescinded by the current leadership. So either he is a prophet or he isn't and we either listen to him or we don't. No grey at all.

Redlands, CA

Funny story about my sister's tattoo. My mom wasn't very happy about it, but hey, my sister was an adult and chose to do it. A while later, she's in a wedding and the photographer got a shot of all the bridesmaids, and my sister's tattoo showed in a fairly obvious spot. Then, the picture hung in a department store. Somebody came into the store my mom managed and started to degrade the picture, saying that ugly tattoo ruined the whole picture, it looked awful, who would let their child do that, and on and on. My mom finally got a word in, told the longtime customer that it was her daughter, of whom she was proud, and the tattoo didn't ruin their relationship at all.
At that point, I think my mom realized what she said was true, that the tattoo didn't change anything about her daughter.

sandy, ut

Leo Femedlers

Somebody having a tattoo is the least of the worries of our society. Also, prophets tend to give prophecies... when is the last time a mormon church president has given a prophecy? I believe the prophets have given many other councils such as no rated r movies, no multiple ear piercings, etc. Do you really think it is a sin to get a tattoo or have multiple piercings? Does god really disapprove of 3 piercings but is ok with one? I doubt any of these things will matter in the end.

Just one more opinion
Pleasant Grove, UT

Well, now that the deed is done and the tat isn't going anywhere, I'd say tell them the sooner the better. I'd also suggest that if she does have faith to pray that the Lord will soften her parent's hearts and that she'll have courage plus the patience to say what would help defuse a potentially ugly situation.

South Jordan, UT

BrahmaBull: My point wasn't limited to people who think their body is a temple. In the Navy, I never understood the allure of getting a tattoo in a foreign port. I understand there was peer pressure but that's a pretty weak excuse.

I understand that, for some (like many Polynesians), tattoos have cultural significance. That satisfies my curiosity about them.

However, I have yet to see the tattoo that makes someone more attractive. Most people I know who have a tattoo got it as a form of conformance (everybody else has one so I'll follow along) or a sign of rebellion against the people who love them the most (such as parents or church leaders).

Granted, this is not a scientific analysis. My anecdotal data comes from conversations with family and friends who now sport tattoos. Most have outgrown their immaturity and have some measure of regret. Some now have children and wonder how they will rationalize it to their children without seeming hypocritical when they try to teach them later. Almost all of them are a bit embarrassed that they fell in with popular culture instead of considering all the ramifications.

Cedar Hills, UT

This is one of those topics that will be heavily influenced by one's background and beliefs.

To LDS members and many other Christian denominations, tattoos are generally seen as graffiti on the body. The LDS First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve have declared that they discourage tattoos and multiple body piercings besides one set of pierced ears for women.

This doesn't mean that getting a tattoo condemns one to Hell. That isn't the intention of the counsel. The counsel it there to help us make spiritually healthy decisions including how we treat our spirit's earthly tabernacle.

And we should still love others even if we disagree with a decision they make. Loving someone doesn't mean that we have to agree with their decisions, and disagreeing with a decision or lifestyle doesn't mean that we hate someone.

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