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BOE-2018-04-16--Beards and Special Privileges!


Jack Ryan
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To date, April 2018,  does the organization of Bart support men? Attached is the letter received from a brother who wrote in the US after robbing all his privileges for his elders on the SUP visit.

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I also wanted to point out for those that didn't notice:

This isn't actually a BOE as in a policy letter, it's a response to a question that an individual wrote in. Also, as usual they despicably send a reply to both the individual AND his BOE without his permission. This is enough to scare away anyone from asking sincere questions.

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The whole beard thing is weird. Especially as they just grow without concious effort.

Ancient peoples mostly loved them, just check the British Museum. However, Egyptians at some point didn't, apart from their gods, so high officials, particularly rulers (Pharoahs), had false beards as they were viewed as incarnations of gods. Even women rulers could have them as well (false ones).

Jews liked them, and Jehovah certainly appears to have with Law Covenant instruction on their management. Also, beards appear on visionary spirit persons. In fact, no beard to Israel was a sign of grief, shame, humiliation, or (ahem) loss of male equipment/functionality.

1st Century Jews, including Jesus, certainly had them a) because they were mandated by the Law Covenant, and b)as Romans had abandoned them, (not wanting to appear Greek, Macedonians excepted), the Jews didn't want to be seen as Roman sympathisers.

In and out of fashion since the 1st Century, beards (and their size and length) seem to have been governed by a variety of influences. These included the styles set by prominent people, notions of virility (courage, masculinity etc.), and, of course, religious dictates. Interestingly, the closer to Bible fundamentalism men have got , the bushier they became! Victorian beards, in all stratas, appear legendary!

20th Century Western cultural attitudes to beards, particularly in the secular and non-military realm, appear to have been dictated by corporations such as The Gillette Company and the American Safety Razor Company, with the assistance of Madison Avenue. The consequent influence of Hollywood, with it's portrayal of close-cropped, clean-cut heroes and bearded, foreign-accented villians, contributed. Latterly, the negative images of bearded bikers, anarchists, socialists, students, hippies, and the like, did little to enhance the image of facially hirsute men.

But, things have changed. Hollywood sports any number of bearded stars, although the rather sparce (Deppesque) beards of many would not likely make a dent in any heat of the world beard-mustache championships. More historically focussed beardy programs about Vikings and other medieval groups might make a better showing, as would the facial ornaments of virile, sporting figures such as Beckham and Cantona. Hipsters (whoever they are) seem to be making a play as well. But an ever more powerful driver may also be in the burgeoning cosmetics industry. Beard care forms a sizeable element of the global male grooming market which some estimate to be worth about USD 21.4 billion in total annually. With 17% of men estimated to have beards, and individuals paying up to £14,500 for a beard transplant!!... go figure!

This brings us to Jehovah's Witnesses. In more modern times, (IBSA times for them), beards were often magnificent (depending on your preferences), with Bro. Russell himself a serious contender for the championships mentioned earlier. But....where did they go? Likely the desire of (clean-cheeked) Bro. Rutherford to separate from Russellite influence brought an element of beardism to the fore, and for many years this prevailed. (@JWInsider may have a contribution here).

More recently, global expansion, the embracing of uncontroversial cultural diversity, reasonableness, and ever-growing spritual maturity with its emphasis on principal rather than regulation, has softened attitudes to bearded chins and their owners. Other postings refer to GB direction on such matters.

But of course, human juggernautical gymnastics are slower to execute than heavenly chariotesque manoevres, and it will take some time for a uniform and consistent approach to this matter, which, incidentally, does NOT constitute one of the "more important things" (Ph.1:10) that bearded Paul referred to.

Meanwhile, principles such as the following will help any reasonable person to handle beard control without unecessary bristling:

Ps119:135: "Abundant peace belongs to those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble."

All things considered, however, it will be some time before we see anything like this on a Kingdom Hall platform, if indeed we ever do: 

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