BY T.F. STERN
My friend David Nell asked if I’d share an experience regarding the Temple, something that could be described as a life altering moment. There have been several ‘Temple Moments’; but this evening I’ll focus on only one of them.
About 13 years ago my friend Richard Sutton was President of the Houston Temple. He was also a member of my home Ward and so we often got to visit in the hall after meetings. He mentioned a change of policy for Temple Ordinance Workers that had gone into effect Church-wide. Men were no longer to sport facial hair like mustaches or beards; instead, they were to present themselves clean shaven, much as young missionaries serving a full-time mission.
In that moment, the conversation registering in my mind, I had to consider how I’d react to being asked to shave off my mustache and beard, something I’d enjoyed for quite some time. I wasn’t a Temple Worker; but there was something in the way the conversation was going, a tone in President Sutton’s voice that hinted that he wanted to hear my response.
I remember pausing before answering as I considered how unimportant, in the scheme of things, how unimportant my beard and mustache were. I’d accidentally shaved off most of my beard when I got careless with the razor; but it grew back in a short time.
“Not an issue, Sir”, I remember addressing him as if he were my commanding officer in the military. “I’d shave it off, if asked”. He nodded and I couldn’t say if the conversation continued at the time. But, I did go home and shave off my mustache and beard to prove to myself that they really weren’t that important, that I would still be me with or without the facial hair.
Several days went by and we were sitting on the sofa watching a movie when my son looked over at me and asked, “Did you get a hair cut; you look different for some reason?” Nobody had noticed I’d shaved my beard and mustache; that’s interesting and worth noting.
A couple of weeks went by and my Bishop asked me to step into his office. Apparently President Sutton had requested I become a Temple Ordinance Worker, sent over the required form and wanted to know if I’d accept that calling. I’ve been working at the Houston Temple ever since, a little over 13 years now.
I did grow some facial hair for about a month during the Temple closing due to the COVID 19 Virus; but decided that I’m better off with a smooth face, having an industrial grade broom on my lip isn’t stylish and it itched something fierce.
Self-Educated American, Senior Editor, T.F. Stern is both a retired City of Houston police officer and, most recently, a retired self-employed locksmith (after serving that industry for 40 plus years). He is also a gifted political and social commentator. His popular and insightful blog, T.F. Sterns Rantings, has been up and at it since January of 2005.