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The Best Beards in Mormon History: Best in Show

By: Ardis E. Parshall - October 15, 2010

[Update, 26 July 2011: Apparently PollDaddy polls go away after some period of time although the vote tallies are still visible to me behind the scenes. I’m adding those tallies to these posts. I wish newcomers could still vote, though!]

Time for you to take it on the chin, you bearded Mormons of the past – whose is best?

As I draft this, more than 300 readers have voted in last week’s  poll of the best beards in Mormon history. Some beards ran away with the vote for their categories; one or two have been running neck and neck (cheek to cheek?) with first one, then another edging ahead by a whisker. It’s possible that by the time this poll posts, the one who is down now by a hair will have pulled ahead. Nevertheless, I have plucked one winner from each category based on who was ahead at the time I typed this.

Just for fun, I’m throwing in Amasa Lyman as a wildcard.

So –

Who wins top honors as the Great Bearded One?

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Joseph F. Smith – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – George Albert Smith

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James E. Bromley – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Amos Milton Musser

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William Clayton – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Heber J. Grant

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Porter Rockwell – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Orson Pratt

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Benjamin F. Johnson – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Amasa Lyman (wildcard)

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Best Beard: Best in Show

Orson Pratt: 123 (65%)
Heber J. grant: 21 (11%)
Joseph F. Smith: 18 (10%)
Porter Rockwell: 10 (5%)
Benjamin F. Johnson: 9 (5%)
George Albert Smith: 3 (2%)
Amos Milton Musser: 2 (1%)
Amasa Lyman: 2 (1%)
James E. Bromley: 1 (1%)
William Clayton: 0 (0%)

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Consolation Prize: Best Beard Not Appearing on the Face of Orson Pratt

Joseph F. Smith: 39 (23%)
Porter Rockwell: 37 (22%)
Benjamin F. Johnson: 32 (19%)
Joseph F. Smith: 23 (14%)
Amasa Lyman: 16 (10%)
George Albert Smith: 10 (6%)
James E. Bromley: 7 (4%)
Amos Milton Musser: 3 (2%)
William Clayton: 0 (0%)

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UPDATE: 10:02 a.m.: Addendum for Chris H.:

Special Election: Best-in-Show

Mormon Blogger BHodges: 44 (65%)
Mormon Blogger BHodges: 24 (35%)

The series:

The Best Beards in Mormon History
The Best Beards in Mormon History: Best in Show
The Best Beards in Mormon History: Results Show



32 Comments »

  1. The second poll made me laugh, since my response to the first was that Orson obviously wins.

    Comment by kew — October 15, 2010 @ 8:30 am

  2. :D Well, I had to do SOMEthing to make it a horse race!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — October 15, 2010 @ 8:35 am

  3. Yes, I’m glad you put in the second poll– I voted for Orson, too, but I was thinking a lot of it had to do with his face and hair.

    I’m going to add Orson to my list of people to meet. His writings should have put him on there before, but now that I’ve seen his face…!

    Comment by Bored in Vernal — October 15, 2010 @ 8:47 am

  4. I am boycotting the polling. No Blair. No vote from me.

    Comment by Chris H. — October 15, 2010 @ 9:27 am

  5. OK, I voted.

    Comment by Chris H. — October 15, 2010 @ 10:36 am

  6. The Orson portrait is so…I don’t have the words for it. Everything you would expect?

    Comment by Mina — October 15, 2010 @ 10:41 am

  7. Fitting yes; expected, no.

    Comment by Randy B. — October 15, 2010 @ 11:00 am

  8. Is it just me, or does Heber J. Grant’s beard evoke thoughts of Sean Connery? Dare I say the beard is rather handsome, in a distinguished-prophet sort of way? I am somewhat grossing myself out as I type this…

    Comment by Becca — October 15, 2010 @ 11:25 am

  9. There IS a certain debonair Sean Connery-esque stylishness to Heber J. Grant’s beard (his whole appearance, really), isn’t there, Becca? No need to be grossed out, IMO!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — October 15, 2010 @ 12:03 pm

  10. This was tougher — Clearly Orson’s beard is the most amazing, but I voted for Heber J. Grant because his is one I’d most like to see (or have).

    Comment by Paul — October 15, 2010 @ 12:05 pm

  11. This cracked me up because I voted Pratt, then read the second question.

    For that I went with JFS merely on the idea of the folk tale I heard once that he wore the beard that way so he could go without a tie and with the top button undone. (I am sure it is only a folk tale, but It always makes me smile)

    Comment by Matt W. — October 15, 2010 @ 12:40 pm

  12. I am proud to call Orson Grandpa. Or rather Great, great, great, grandpa.

    But, I voted for Heber J. Grant

    Comment by Karen — October 15, 2010 @ 1:27 pm

  13. Comments 8 & 9: Could you just see HJG introducing himself–“Grant, Heber Grant.”

    Comment by Steve C. — October 15, 2010 @ 2:40 pm

  14. I sense a groundswell of admiration for the Dapper Dude Heber J. Grant … Is it enough for a stunning surprise upset? Stay tuned …

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — October 15, 2010 @ 2:55 pm

  15. Something about Orson Pratt’s facial hair reminds me of Cthulu, I’m not sure why though.

    Comment by KFab — October 15, 2010 @ 3:43 pm

  16. Heber J.! All the way!

    Comment by David Y. — October 15, 2010 @ 3:48 pm

  17. Orson is my great great great uncle. Had to vote for him to keep it in the family.

    Comment by Andrea R. — October 15, 2010 @ 3:55 pm

  18. count me in as another Heber J Grant enthusiast (nice groomed beard as well). He is the least studied prophet for the amount of his influence and length of Church service as President and Prophet.

    Comment by Jettboy — October 15, 2010 @ 4:39 pm

  19. Just for fun, I’m throwing in Amasa Lyman as a wildcard.

    I bet Joseph Smith said the same thing. A wildcard indeed.

    Comment by Brian-A — October 15, 2010 @ 5:01 pm

  20. Waiting for poll on best beards in the church today.

    Comment by Thayne — October 15, 2010 @ 5:43 pm

  21. KFab, I have to agree. Totally Cthulhu. For the less nerdy of you, see http://suvudu.com/files/mt-files/Cthulhu.jpg or http://media.gtanet.com/illspirit/randompics/cthulhu-08.jpg

    Comment by Ariel — October 15, 2010 @ 5:45 pm

  22. I think I got caught in the spam filter :(

    [Found and released. Dunno why that happened. — AEP]

    Comment by Ariel — October 15, 2010 @ 5:46 pm

  23. How could you all not vote for Porter Rockwell? His hair and beard are, by definition, the most awesome, regardless of what they looked like.

    Comment by E — October 15, 2010 @ 8:01 pm

  24. And now a quote from the Great Bearded One:

    “My normal haunts are in London, or Vienna, or even Persia, but Brigham assigned me here [St. George]. He would like to make a pioneer out of me. It is a rather tough task, because I am a man of words, of science, of speculation–not a man of a shovel.”

    (Those of us who have read his sermons can certainly agree with the “man of speculation” part…)

    Comment by Clark — October 17, 2010 @ 7:46 pm

  25. I voted for JFS straight down. He had so many styles of beards, mutton chops, etc., over the years that any contest which only showed ONE of his styles had to be fixed against him.

    Also, for the last vote, I think Blair should have been challenged by K Barney’s beard. It is a sad day indeed when Ardis can be bribed into fixing such a poll!

    Comment by Rameumptom — October 18, 2010 @ 10:57 am

  26. Hush up about the bribe, Ramey — I told you I’d split it with you! Just like I was trying to split BHodges’ vote against himself. Which one of him is winning, anyway?

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — October 18, 2010 @ 11:04 am

  27. Ardis, I think though, that part of what makes Orson’s beard so great is his hair.

    Comment by mmiles — October 18, 2010 @ 4:40 pm

  28. No doubt, mmiles — it’s the whole package. Sorta like her shoes determine who you vote for in the Miss America swimsuit segment. ;)

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — October 18, 2010 @ 6:25 pm

  29. Do they wear shoes in the Miss America swimsuit segment??? :-)

    Comment by Steve C. — October 18, 2010 @ 9:01 pm

  30. A historic LDS chapel in LA was restored a few years ago, and they had a huge gala thing for the rededication, including detailed historical presentation. There are simply fabulous photos of the original dedication event, with all the LA ladies decked out in furs (the kind with the heads still on). Heber J is there in the center of each as the guest of honor, managing to appear deeply humble while still fitting in flawlessly with his dapper styles.

    Comment by sister blah 2 — October 19, 2010 @ 12:42 am

  31. Don’t miss Cynthia L’s comment on FPR, y’all!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — October 19, 2010 @ 2:45 am

  32. Do you or others know what prompted Brigham Young and other church leaders to grow said facial hair ca. 1860? I think that’s about when Young grew his beard. Was it a growing trend at the time? Did others copy the church president? Was this all out of a hidden admiration for Abraham Lincoln’s fine beard?

    Comment by Smoothface — December 3, 2010 @ 1:04 pm

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