The Times Profiled Some ‘Young, Hip’ Mormons

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TO GO WITH AFP STORY - US-VOTE-2012-RELIGION-MORMONISMMembers, visitors and investigators sing a hymn during a Sacrament Meeting of the Washington DC 3rd Ward at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints October 23, 2011 in Chevy Chase, Maryland.  The Washington DC 3rd Ward is temporarily meeting at the Chevy Chase church while the Church of Latter Day Saints build another structure on 16th street in Washington for the Ward.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is part of the Mormon religion, a Christian religion founded by Joseph Smith following his publishing of the Book of Mormon in 1830.   As the battle for the Republican presidential nomination gets into full swing, the issue of religion has resurfaced, with frontrunner Mitt Romney forced to defend his Mormon faith.  While critics have called Mormonism a cult and anti-Christian, those who belong to the church say the possibility of a Mormon winning the White House could help the faithful to make their beliefs better understood.    AFP PHOTO / Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Mormons not reading fashion magazines. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images/2011 AFP

Observant Mormons often have trouble looking cool, the Times reports, and struggle with the church's disapproval of things like beards: "Facial hair in particular can be a complicated issue. Common on church leaders in the 19th century, beards are now deemed inappropriate for missionaries, as well as for students at B.Y.U., according to the university’s honor code (students are allowed trimmed mustaches)." Tattoos are a whole other conundrum, apparently. "Tattooed Mormons have managed to find one another and form a kind of subculture. 'I was blown away by the amount of tattoos I viewed in the showers,' said James Peterson, 32, about his missionary training in Provo, Utah, in the late 1990s. When he went off on his mission to Spain, he and other missionaries would trade issues of tattoo magazines, taking care to cut out images of topless women or devils." [NYT]