“Is there anything wrong with boys wearing their hair long?” New Era, July 1971, 16
Answer/Brother C. LaVar Rockwood
Judgments of right and wrong are often imposed on questions that are not really moral issues. The length of the hair, the wedge of a shoe, or the style of a suit are not moral issues in the sense of rightness or wrongness in the eyes of God. However, they may be indications of the wearer’s attitudes and his feelings about himself.
Since time immemorial, youth have had their own styles, sometimes widely different, sometimes not too different from those of the adult generation. At one time it was moleskin pants, bulldog haircuts, wedged shoes for men, long skirts for women. All of us are caught in the constantly changing styles of clothes, homes, cars, and a thousand other things. Today many young people like their hair longer and thicker. Even some adults are wearing their hair thicker and fuller.
But in recent years, long hair has come to be associated with revolutionary, often rabble-rousing protesters and people from the drug culture who are overexposed on the television and in newspapers. As a result, other youth pick up these symbols of nonconformity and adapt them to their lives in an attempt to be different. Adults may then label these youth as being part of that revolutionary scene. Others from that scene may also think that you are a part of what they represent and assume you are a brother in sympathy with them, ready to be involved in rabid dissent or drug experimentation.
It is easy to see that it is the association by appearance that causes the problem. Anxiety of parents is created by the suspicion that you may be associated with that different culture. Thus, they feel cause for concern.
As Latter-day Saints, both you and your parents stand for that which is of “good report or praiseworthy.” To your parents, long hair represents the negative aspects of youth rather than the positive.
Excesses in almost any human behavior generally indicate a kind of unsureness. Of course, it would help if adults realized that this may be a part of growing into maturity, a part of one’s desire to discover a workable value system for himself. As a Latter-day Saint, however, you have received the gospel of Jesus Christ, and it has a value system within it, one that can truly give you happiness here and forever. All of us need to keep in touch with this value system of the gospel so that we do indeed become the “light on the hill” to those around us, and not the “salt that has lost its savor.”
If all of us will think about the role of the gospel and its meaning to us and others, such matters as different hair styles will fall into place for both adults and youth; gaps of misunderstanding need not develop for those within the circle of the gospel. And you will be able to select the kinds of styles that represent the kind of person you want to be.