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9 years ago  ::  Jan 25, 2009 - 6:37PM #1
Posts: 2
So my husband has been studying for a few months now. He has been making wonderful progress: attending and preparing for meetings, commenting, not to mention changing a number of personality traits. He recently approached an elder to express his desire to become a publisher. The elder commended him and then mentioned that it would be necessary to shave his pinch. His pinch is always well kept, never long. I tried to find some info about this requirement on my own but have been unsuccessful. Can anyone here direct me in the right direction? I understand that there could have been question of seeming too worldly in the past, but it seems that well kept facial hair has become more tolerable as of late. My husband is rather put out about the suggestion. And perhaps I am also too attached to his pinch. If anyone can help me reason this out I would appreciate it.

Please don't reply if you are not a Witness in good standing. I am looking for an up-to-date answer from someone knowledgeable.
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9 years ago  ::  Jan 26, 2009 - 3:25AM #2
Posts: 21
This topic was mentioned on another forum. I gave a reply, based on my own experience.
I quote my reply:

"Several years ago i had a goatee beard, which was somewhat frowned upon at first, though no scriptural objections were raised; (i was one of three brothers in our congregation with one).
However as i kept it neat and short, peoples reservations/comments evaporated. I even gave a couple of public talks whilst having my beard. Even the Circuit Overseer ignored the fact i had it.
I did though decide to shave it off a few years back.

As regards the societies guidelines on such a matter, back in the late sixties/seventies it was occasionally referenced. I believe this was because of the association with hippy-types who wore long unkempt beards, and others who were viewed as non-conformist. For example, see Watchtower 1975 page 501.

Page 133 of our latest ministry school guidebook states, in the chapter on 'Good Personal Appearance': "For men, a neat personal appearance may include being clean-shaven"

Thats about as far as it goes. Local custom and conscience i suppose have to come into play."
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9 years ago  ::  Jan 28, 2009 - 1:28PM #3
Posts: 992

Audj wrote:

Please don't reply if you are not a Witness in good standing. I am looking for an up-to-date answer from someone knowledgeable.

I probably shouldn't answer since I am not a JW yet. I am supposed to be baptized in April, but I still feel that I can shed some light on this. I too have a goatee that I shave before service and meetings. Like the poster mentioned, there really isn't scriptural grounds for shaving. However, let me ask you a question. What is facial hair associated with? Remember what your purpose is in service. We are bringing Jehovah's word to the people. That is a serious job!

Depending on where you are in the world depends on how facial hair is perceived. In most of the US, elderly folk especially, associate beards and facial hair with undesirable elements. Some older women I've meet are literally afraid of people with facial hair. When we go out in service we don't want people to run from us. It's like going for an interview. You put on your best clothes, and generally strive to convey your best appearance to reflect a desirable disposition.

Unfortunately that means we must sometimes dress for another's perspective instead of our own. A person's personality is not restricted to how one acts. It is everything about that person. How they dress, act, think, and function. Putting on the new personality is a vast assortment of sacrifice. We want people to hear what we say. Sometimes that means dressing to suit another's perspective. It has nothing to do with scripture. It has everything to do with another's perception of us.

For example: if someone smokes cigarettes and I don't, no matter what that person says all I can focus on is the smell of cigarettes. It doesn't mean smokers are evil, but it reflects an individuals overwhelming perception of essence. This is similar to facial hair. Some people may not hear what we have to say if they have preconceived notions of facial hair. That is what it means to put Jehovah first. We set aside our perspective to ease another's.

I hope this helps.


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9 years ago  ::  Jan 31, 2009 - 8:11AM #4
Posts: 2
Thank you for your replies. My husband did shave. I think I'm making more of a fuss about it than he is.

In my research I did come up with a couple of Bible principles:

(Romans 15:3) For even the Christ did not please himself;

(1 Corinthians 6:12) All things are lawful for me; but not all things are advantageous. All things are lawful for me; but I will not let myself be brought under authority by anything.

(2 Corinthians 6:3-4) In no way are we giving any cause for stumbling, that our ministry might not be found fault with;

Another interesting tidbit that came up was most helpful. It can be found in the Insight book under Beards:

Herodotus (II, 36) says the Egyptians shaved the hair both of the face and of the head. For the men it was a sign of mourning or of slovenliness to let the hair and beard grow. For this reason Joseph, when taken out of prison, shaved before being brought into the presence of Pharaoh. (Ge 41:14)
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9 years ago  ::  Jan 31, 2009 - 10:55PM #5
Posts: 2,702
It is also a way of preparing us to be obedient when it really counts. Shaving a beard may not seem like a big deal in the over all scheme of thikngs and maybe even seen as trivial. BUT:

(Luke 16:10) 10 The person faithful in what is least is faithful also in much, and the person unrighteous in what is least is unrighteous also in much.

In addition it keeps us focused so that we do not become a bit sloppy. We all know that if someone takes and inch they will take a mile. It is a normal thing for us to go further and further, if we aren't careful. Nipping it in the bud is an aid to us.
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