With the exception of the first of the following clips, I don’t think any of these were written specifically by Mormons – they were tucked into odd corners of the Millennial Star by a staff who seemed extraordinarily focused on whiskers in 1859, and who apparently culled support from whatever sources crossed their desks. Nevertheless, they come from a Mormon source! They were all presumably endorsed by an apostolic editor! They are expressions of Mormon morality!
Let us know how well they play with that stake president who wants you to shave, O, bearded ’ninnies.
Emigration. – “Good morning, brother G.! How are you? Emigration is the spirit of the times just now. How do you feel about it? Are you going to start and push Zionward next spring?”
“I would like to do it, but I’m afraid I can’t.”
“Can’t! Such a word is not in the ‘Mormon’ vocabulary, when the Priesthood say, ‘Do!’ I am really ashamed of you, brother G.! Just look at yourself in the glass and see the stout, burly, big-whiskered mortal who has so little faith in his own energies as to believe that he can’t raise means enough in another year to emigrate!”
Fashion verus Nature. – It is ordained among the laws of nature that hair shall grow upon the chin and upper lip of man; but Englishmen for the last 150 years have declared that this hair is a disfigurement and a nuisance, that Nature made a mistake in putting it there, and that they will diligently cut if off! Query: have they any reasonable and sufficient ground for thus attempting to contravene one of the laws of their existence? There can be no mistake as to Nature’s intention with respect to the beard. No law of hers was ever more distinctly uttered than that which ordains that hair shall grow upon the lips of man; and when Fashion presumes to contravene that law, and to require of man that he shall engage in a laborious contest with Nature, ending only when the coffin-lid is nailed over his shaven face, she is beyond her sphere, and has no authority on which to claim obedience. Englishmen have waged this war with Nature for a century-and-a-half, but they have not gained in all those years one inch of ground. nature still utters her protest unceasingly, though in silence, and will utter it to the end of time. the beard still grows as vigorously as it did five generations back, in spite of all our efforts to extirpate it. And the very fact (well known to those precocious boys who shave their downy lips in order to entice the hair to sprout,) that it grows only the more vigorously after the application of the razor, should be to us convincing proof that Nature rebels against this nudity, and strives earnestly to restore the true order of things which our folly has disturbed.
Use of the Beard. – The delicate and complicated mechanism of the throat can have no surer protection than the beard; and if man will cut this off, no artificial envelopes of silk, linen, or wool shall preserve him from cough, stiff neck, sore throat, and miserable hoarseness, without at the same time destroying all free movement of the head. Let the beard grow, and any other covering which is required may be of the simplest and most comfortable kind. The beneficial action of the moustache as a natural respirator, in all the changes of this variable climate, has been practically proved by numbers of persons who have adopted it, and may easily be imagined by those who have not. Who shall say how much of that English and American plague – consumption, which is still on the increase, has been originated, in the male sex at all events, by our shaven chins?
Shaving. – Any one who has had the misfortune to scrape his upper lip with a dull razor, or without having sufficiently moistened the bristly stubble before hand, must be painfully conscious, from the smarting and watering produced in the eyes, that there is a close connection of some kind between the two parts. It is a fact well worthy of investigation; and it would be interesting to know whether diseases of the eye are most common among those who are accustomed to shave the upper lip.
The Human Beard. – While writing about clothing for men, it may not be amiss to mention that, if they will suffer her, nature will provide them with clothing for the face and throat, that will prove most useful during the journey across the Plains. I think the beard eminently useful, and to most persons ornamental also. Lock up your razors, and try to believe that you cannot improve God’s greatest work. It is not true that the beard makes a man look like a bear or a monkey. On the contrary, the fact is, that there is not an animal in existence that is provided by nature with the moustache and beard like man. then, while on the Plains at least, allow your great characteristic to remain; and at the end of the journey you will thank me for my advice, and be very much tempted to advocate the total abolition of razors. – From the “Illustrated Route,” &c.
Shaving. – It is a frequent reply of the shavers to those who make objection to the practice as unnatural, that it is in every way a similar operation to the cutting of the hair or the pairing of the nails, and that if we are to let the beard grow because nature bids it, we ought to leave the hair and the nails alone for the same reason. There is a sophism in this argument which it is not very difficult to expose. Is the cutting down of a tree at the root a similar operation to the pruning of its dead or broken branches? Is it equally justifiable in man to pare a horse’s hoof, for the convenience of shoeing him, and to cut the hoof off altogether for the gratification of some morbid fancy These instances are not perfectly analogous to the case in question, but they are sufficiently so to indicate the kind of difference which exists between the two operations. Nature everywhere asks for man’s assistance. She gives the germ and leaves the cultivation to his skill and taste. But he is not, therefore, entitled to set his judgment above hers, or to contradict what she emphatically asserts. he is at perfect liberty, as far as the present argument is concerned, to arrange and cut his beard according to his particular taste and pleasure; but in removing it altogether he entirely prevents the purpose for which Nature has especially ordained it, whatever that purpose may be, and places himself in a position of antagonism to Nature which must inevitably result in defeat and damage to himself. In trimming the hair and nails, we are obeying a natural law as much as in allowing them to grow; for it is ordained that, if we omit to do this, both hair and nails, by splitting and withering at the ends, shall gradually trim themselves, although after that rough, uneven fashion in which Nature usually performs the work of disintegration.