I’m a less-active member who recently got a tattoo because I like them. If I ever come back to the church, will I have to remove it? Or can I keep it because it’s part of my past?

(Comment originally posted in Spanish)

3 Responses to “If I come back, will I have to remove my tattoo?”

Mario Rios
2017-09-17 08:54:56
Hi Sister. Thanks for your message. First, let me state the obvious, which you probably already know. Though some tattoos are beautiful, as you well know God has asked us not to tattoo our body. I encourage others who read this answer to avoid tattoos.

That having been said, having a tattoo shouldn't discourage someone from coming to church. Many converts, for example, have tattoos that they got before they joined the church. The same is true of less-active members like yourself. People in the church tend to understand these kinds of circumstances.

I do encourage you to come back to the church, sister! Being an active member of the church doesn't solve all our problems, but it does strengthen our faith in Christ, which helps us better face those challenges. I suggest you chat with your bishop or the missionaries to ask for help coming back to the church.

I hope this answer helps! All the best.
Jeff Drake
2017-10-23 07:51:45
Mario's answer is great, but I'd like to add to it a bit:

While I would also counsel against getting tattoos in the first place, having them is far from a deal breaker for righteous living. Plenty of faithful Latter-day Saints have tattoos and are no less wonderful people than those who do not. Perfect example: my wife's former Relief Society President. She was a strong woman, extremely loving towards all, with a powerful spiritual presence--and guess what? She had a butterfly tattoo on her ankle. It was usually quite visible, depending on what she was wearing. Yet she was still a great Relief Society President, and I doubt anyone ever said word one about her tat.

Another great example is Al Carraway, the famous "Tattooed Mormon" (www.alcarraway.com). She's got tats all over her arms and probably other parts of her body, too. Yet again, she's a great and faithful Saint with a successful blogs, several published books, and a huge following around the world. Would it have been better if she'd never gotten her tattoos? Maybe, but if so, God has certainly made lemonade from those ostensible lemons!

The point is that ultimately, you just need to move forward, accept the Savior's atonement in your life (just like we all have to), and enjoy the great blessings He has for you. If you ever feel like having your tattoo removed, that's certainly your prerogative, but there's no general counsel that all must do so.

Hope that helps!

Mario Rios: Excellent answer, Jeff! Thanks for posting.
2017-10-17 15:07:35
Where is the scripture or doctrine where God says don't tattoo your body?

Mario Rios: Thanks for the question, Anonymous. Perhaps this link on the church's official website could help you. All the best!

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