I am embarking upon a series of posts that explore what I call “Bloggernaccle Hysterics” or BH for short. I come at this new series as a mainstream lifelong LDS member with typical LDS views. I will explore common ‘naccle themes and expose them as being more smoke then fire in real world LDS living. I will then conclude the series with a post on an awesome topic that has never been covered in the bloggernaccle.

I wanted to start with dress and grooming standards for men.  I fully acknowledge that these are customs and are not doctrinal.  AKA White shirts, no earrings on males, ties, missionary attire, tats, The male missionary look etc.  One of my favorite church outfits is a dark grey suit with a lavender shirt and a tie that matches my burgundy belt and Italian dress shoes just for the record.  I am sure that Silus and Mikeweho would approve.

Often in the ‘naccle we hear of how damaging these grooming and dress customs are to the church. How it repels converts and chases away vulnerable young people. Based on my Exp in the church I can say that I find this to be not as serious of a problem as the ‘naccle seems to think it is.   This has 2 elements.  Converts and existing members.

Existing Members.

I am sure that from time to time somebody will claim that the reason they went inactive is that somebody made fun of their tat, told them to take off their earring, or told a 16 year old to wear a tie when blessing the sacrament.  In fact you may even have a story like that from your personal experience.  Even with me acknowledging that this may from time to time actually occur I would argue that people typically go inactive for more serious reasons (loss of faith, being offended, decision not to live up to church standards, rebelling against parents etc)  that somebody asked them to wear a tie and that they are using that as a smokescreen to avoid talking about the real reasons.

Missionary efforts

I have seen a lot of converts come and stay and come and go over my lifetime.  My current stake has several units that are full of adult converts.  Guess what?  A lot of these good folks have tats, wear different outfits etc and still come to church.  Do I think that there is some mostly unspoken social pressure on these folks to conform a little to the whitebread LDS grooming standards?  Yes I do!  Do I see it as causing problems for their retention?  It could potentially in a limited number of cases.  But again here I think the real reasons for inactivity or deciding not to get baptized are deeper.  For converts they are being asked to live the WOW, obey the Law of Chastity, pay 10% and one of the biggest obstacles is family pressure to not be LDS.  Sometimes I marvel when I look around at church and realize that a decent percentage of my whitebread ward is composed of converts and they actually stayed!!

So with all of this said… Does the typical post in the bloggernaccle oversell the idea that these customs are really damaging?  Or am I wrong?