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CATHERINA - Are Polynesians or any other type of culture are allowed to get a culturual tattoo?
JOEL - We have been told our bodies are temples and that we should not defile our temples(1 Corinthians 3:16-17) both on the outside and from within.
God also said:
"Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh ...., nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD" (LEV 19:28)
Minor things like tattoos and the number of rings on a person's ear are something that our church leaders might give counsel on, but ultimatley the decision is ours on what we do with that counsel according to our own level of gospel living and our own personal circumstances. Noone who has a tattoo is denied any temple ordinances nor is their church membership in jeopardy. It is simply good counsel from our leaders who want to help us respect our bodies and live and represent a more Christ-like life.
In cultures like the Polynesian islands (where many inhabitants are Mormon), tattooing is part of the culture; not done just for fashion, but as an indication of leadership position in the community. In places like this the counsel on no tattoos might not be as strictly followed as it might be in the U.S. where it is only a fashion trend. But leaders are not going to command us in all things.
"For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward." (D&C 58: 26)
It is our responsibility to listen and heed the counsel from our leaders and use the spirit to help us make the proper application to our lives.