It is absolutely wonderful to be amongst you young people this evening. You were ordained to come forth in the fullness of times to be leaders in the Lord’s kingdom upon the earth. You are to defend the Church and its teachings always looking to the Church’s official website for direction. The Lord has great plans for you that will come to pass as you stay on the straight and narrow path of the gospel.
I wish to speak on a topic of great importance this evening. As a professional triathlete I probably understand more than most the importance of keeping the body clean and pure. I thank the Lord that I still maintain my youthful looks and vigour and attribute this largely to my keeping of the Word of Wisdom and not defiling myself in any way. I have always considered my body to be a temple of God where his holy spirit can dwell.
As I was pondering what to say tonight I felt impressed to share an experience with you to warn you of one of the great dangers and pitfalls of our day. Some time ago I was approached by a newly married return missionary named John who was utterly horrified to discover on his wedding night that his bride had a permanent tattoo on the back of her neck covered only by her hair. Cindy, who had always suffered from low self esteem, had done this when she was 17 in order to fit in with her peers and “be cool”. When she started dating John just 6 months later she was so afraid that he wouldn’t love her if he found out that she wore her hair in a manner to cover it up and never mentioned the tiny flower.
Two months later as John helped her out of her wedding dress he went completely pale and almost fainted upon the discovery that he had married someone who had disfigured and desecrated her body in such a manner. He knew from the Ensign that *“tattooing the body is analogous to spraying graffiti on one of our beautiful temples.” Having just been at the temple earlier that day John went into a state of shock and wondered if he had been betrayed. I tell you this in an attempt to impress upon your minds, young friends, that Cindy’s disobedience to the Lord had ended up ruining her wedding day and causing many bitter tears in the days that followed.
When I asked Cindy to join John and I in my office she explained “At first I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. It was the most beautiful flower I had ever seen, but now I am completely ashamed of it.”
I was able to show Cindy the link at lds.org where we learn that **“Those who have a tattoo wear a constant reminder of a mistake they have made. They might consider having it removed.”
This thought was very comforting to both John and Cindy who were unaware that tattoos could be removed.
I assured them both that this was definitely possible. In fact The New Era informs us of this saying ***“Although methods have been developed to remove tattoos, they are expensive, painful, and can leave scars. ” Cindy asked if the scars would be worse than the little flower on her neck. John was able to assure her that a permanent scar would be a small price to pay to remove a permanent tattoo. He also assured her that when we follow the counsel such as that given by our leaders on lds.org only then can we find true happiness and joy.
I pointed out that in addition to this The New Era warns that ****“Having a tattoo or body piercing can also be offensive to others. As members of the Church, we are instructed not to give offense....A pure body, unmarked, is not offensive.”
Cindy felt terrible and started to shed tears at the thought of all those poor innocent souls who would be offended if they found out she had a tattoo.
We also learned from this article that “Some members of a congregation may be distracted from the reverent feelings they come to church services to gain, by the piercings or tattoos of those called upon to participate in the program.”
Cindy assured me that she would always be extra careful to keep the tattoo covered until it was removed so as to not distract members from the feelings of reverence that they had come to Church to enjoy.
My young brothers and sisters this situation and all of the associated heartache could so easily have been avoided had Cindy heeded the words of the Lord in the first place. Latter-day prophets have strongly discouraged the tattooing of the body and those who disregard this counsel show a lack of respect for themselves and for God. The Apostle Paul taught of the significance of our bodies and the great danger of purposefully defiling them when he wrote “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”
Please do all you can to keep your bodies clean and free from alcohol, tea, coffee, skinnny jeans and tattoos that you may enjoy life to the fullest and be free; this is my prayer which I leave with you in the sacred and holy name of our Lord and Saviour, even Jesus the Christ, amen.