Jeff Cox from Seattle, Washington, writes:
This tattoo business got me thinking. Let's assume that after a spotless life of good works, I am elevated to the office of Tribal Council of the 94. I walk into my new office, with a suitcase so brim-full of seals and keys I look like a janitor at the City Aquarium. On my desk is the perplexing problem of Brother Lamar.
It seems that Brother Lamar spends his days stocking many copies of the Pearl of Great Price at the Deseret Book Store. He takes his Postum with cream and sugar and, after one or two too many cups, he restlessly wanders the gritty streets. He wakes up the next morning, much to his chagrin, with a splitting headache and a tattoo of Moroni on his bicep.
This problem is on my doorstep. First, I check the scrolls and discourses to see if this is a felony excommunication or a misdemeanor black mark on the recommend. The statutes are vague, so I decide to interview the suspect.
It seems that Brother Lamar is recondite, truly wallowing in remorse. He wails and bemoans his stupidity, and wonders if tattoos of Moroni appear on the list of the Seven Deadly Sins. I suggest that if he gets the thing removed, all can be swept under the rug, but the bookstore salary doesn't find that kind of thing in the budget. He is still paying off the $250 he paid for six horseshoe clothing hooks at the scout auction.
What do I do? I send Brother Lamar home under a black cloud while I wait for a revelation? Do I need oil for this sort of thing, or can it be handled by asking the patriarch to tune in to one of his Higher Frequencies?
Hopefully, they cover this sort of problem in the Tribal Council meetings. Solomon never had it as bad as this!
In a church with a living prophet, there are few tough questions. Um ?you already noticed that. No tats. Not even a CTR ring tattooed on your finger, in case you lose your metal one. Sort o' frees you up for more productive pondering, such as, “Oops maybe I need to be more careful of how quickly I judge people with body art of all kinds from their scalps to the beds of their toenails.” Happily, we are not required to critique anyone else's behavior or appearance. Only to follow our modern prophets as we study the ancient ones in the scriptures. Elder Cox can tuck his Pearl of Great Price under his arm along with his current Ensign, and scoot home to his family with a light heart. We at the Circle of Sisters recommend he whistle a medley of his favorite hymns during his commute.
A few years ago I was near tears while reading Application to Date My Daughter to one of our employees. When I got to line ten, he retorted, “Hey, I have a tattoo.”
“Oh …um …nevermind.”
I have since learned to perform a complete body check of my conversation companions before making tattoo jokes. It's safer that way.