Does the Church still get its panties in a bunch whenever they see people with tattoos or a girl with more than one set of earrings? When he was prophet, Gordon Hinckley sure made a stink about it and a new policy about tattoos and earrings was immediately adopted. The justification, as given in the talk, had nothing to do with revelation from God and everything to do with Hinckley's personal tastes and lack of understanding American culture.
"I cannot understand why any young man—or young woman, for that matter—would wish to undergo the painful process of disfiguring the skin with various multicolored representations of people, animals, and various symbols" he says.
Can Gordon understand why this older lady got her tattoos?
Well if you can't understand it, Gordon, it must be ludicrous, stupid, and maybe a little bit evil!
"Likewise the piercing of the body for multiple rings in the ears, in the nose, even in the tongue. Can they possibly think that is beautiful? It is a passing fancy [...]"
Yes, actually, some people can possibly think that. Is that a problem? Does it honestly concern you? Is this seriously a valid topic for you to weld your prophetic authority on?
Hinckley frames his comments in terms of "self-respect" and talks about "defiling" one's body/temple, but chooses to ignore the fact that the verses he reverences have everything to do with filling our meetings and lives with the Spirit and nothing to do with how we dress and ornament ourselves.
Dissing the JC!
I'll admit that I have plenty in common with Hinckley on this topic: I rarely see tattoos I like and I easily imagine a life of discomfort when I see someone with obtrusive piercings, but who the hell am I to say that no one else finds those things interesting or beautiful? Who am I to stop someone from wanting tattoos or piercings? And why are we so convinced that God, who looks on our hearts and who will supposedly give us a perfect body and a perfect understanding of that body, actually gets upset about how much ink you've injected into your skin or how many ornaments you have hanging from your skin?
And if Jesus is so concerned about all the ways we disrespectfully change our bodies, why haven't we heard a prophet outlaw nose jobs and breast implants?