Whether you’re a practising Mormon or simply curious about the faith, you may be wondering – can Mormons get tattoos?
While not strictly prohibited, tattoos are strongly discouraged among Mormons. According to the Church’s official statement on tattoos, the body should be treated as a gift from God, and body modifications such as tattoos are considered as disfigurement or mutilation to God’s divine creation.
While the Church condemns tattoos, you shouldn’t feel disheartened from pursuing this faith even if you already have ink.
In the rest of this article, I’ll explore the reasons behind the disapproval of tattoos in the Mormon faith, as well as how practising Mormons navigate being tattooed.
Why Can’t Mormons Get Tattoos?
Mormons, or more formally known as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints, believe in the purest of Christian values.
These values dictate many aspects of their everyday lives, including how they treat their bodies.
According to the Mormon faith, the body is a temple and a gift from God, and should be treated with the appropriate respect and care.
This is why getting tattooed has been likened to defacing a temple with graffiti. At a general conference in 2019, President Russell M. Nelson stated “Your body is your personal temple, created to house your eternal spirit. Your care of that temple is important.”
As President Nelson suggests, if you are wanting to uphold Mormon values you may want to consider how getting a tattoo could portray disrespect of your personal temple.
What Does The Scripture Say About Tattoos?
You may be wondering what is said specifically about tattoos in Mormon scripture, and why getting tattooed is likened to defacing a temple.
The Church of The Latter-day Saints use the King James Version of the Bible, along with the Book of Mormon to aid religious teachings.
In the Bible, the body is described as a “blessing received from being righteous in the premortal life” as outlined in Abraham 3:26. Mormon scripture also likens the body as a temple and a gift from God in Corinthians 6:19-20. Based on this, Church leaders urge practising Mormons against getting unnecessary body modifications such as tattoos.
Can Tattoos Prevent You From Becoming A Mormon?
Despite how strongly tattoos are discouraged by Church leaders, you shouldn’t let having pre-existing tattoos get in the way of you pursuing the Mormon faith.
Members of the Church believe that your appearance should not matter, saying “God loves all of His children equally,” and that having tattoos will not prohibit you from receiving God’s blessings or serving in the Church.
However, having tattoos may prevent you from serving a mission for your Church.
This is highly dependent on several factors, including the content of the tattoo, the size of the tattoo, the placement on your body, the meaning behind your tattoo and your current feelings towards it.
Your answers to these questions may impact the success of your missionary application.
In some cases, you may not be able to serve a mission for your Church.
In other instances, you may be placed on a mission in a colder climate where it is possible for you to cover your tattoo.
Are There Mormons With Tattoos?
There are in fact many practising Mormons who have tattoos! Most of these individuals got their tattoos prior to dedicating themselves to the Mormon faith, and have since refrained from getting any further tattoos.
There is also the option to pursue tattoo removal, however, this process can be painful and costly.
Do Mormons Judge Tattoos?
The answer to this question can vary greatly depending on the individual.
After all, there are nearly 17 million Mormons in the world who hold differing opinions on tattoos. The majority of accounts online seem to indicate that members of the Church are eager to welcome new people to the faith, regardless of whether they are inked or not.
New members of the Church who are tattooed may be asked questions about any visible tattoos, though these questions will often come from a place of curiosity rather than of judgement.
In this day and age, chances are that you will not be the only member of the Church with tattoos.
Mormons are strongly discouraged from getting tattoos in line with their belief that their body is a gift from God, and should be treated with the same respect as a religious temple.
Despite this, many practising Mormons are tattooed as this does not prevent them from becoming a member of the Church.
Now that you know the reasoning behind this belief, you can confidently navigate pursuing the Mormon faith or interacting with members of the Mormon Church.