Monday, April 1, 2013

In which I did not wear a tie

So, over at Times and Seasons, there's been a conversation about men and ties at church. Jonathan Green provided a terrific summary of a discussion he had with his 12-year old son about wearing ties to church. (I thought it was terrific; not every commenter agreed, but what else is new?)

As for me, I wear ties to church. I do not wear one to work every day because my employer does not require it of me, but I do sometimes wear ties for work. Before I lost weight last year, wearing ties had become uncomfortable, despite my buying the "big & tall" shirts (I am not tall, but I was big). Now that I've lost the weight, ties are no longer uncomfortable, but I still don't wear them all the time.

But I do always wear a tie to church. Well, almost always. Yesterday I didn't.

We are on vacation and we visited my daughter's ward in Pennsylvania. Last time I visited, I wore a bow tie. (I asked my daughter if she thought that would be ok; I had brought a necktie as well, but thought it would be fun to wear a bow tie, since I wear one about 1/3 of the time in my home ward, following the example of a former counselor in our stake presidency and a few other men in the stake. She wondered why I thought anyone would care.) But this time, as I was dressing on Sunday morning, I realized I had forgotten to pack a tie.

My daughter assured me it was no big deal; many of the men in her ward came to church without ties. Yeah, true enough, I thought. But I don't go to church without a tie. I couldn't remember the last time I hadn't worn a tie to church.

Of course no one said a word about my tie-less-ness. And of course, I had to make a joke about it to the bishop. He laughed and told me a similar experience he'd had the week before while visiting his brother's ward in another state. (He had not forgotten his tie, but chosen to leave his suit at home and wear only slacks and a dress shirt and tie.)

It is odd to me how I find comfort at church. I do find comfort in conformity, in routine. I was happy to be made to feel welcome this week in my daugher's ward, and I was not at all surprised. But I'll be glad to have my tie next time I go to church. :-)


  1. Paul - would you accept the call to serve as a temple worker if it meant having to shave your beard? You don't have to answer. Facial hair, along with the white shirt/tie stuff, is tough to figure out. I commented over at T&S that I wear a tie because I figure if my PH leaders can do it, so can I. And I don't have facial hair because I am a veil worker. Again, a small sacrifice, but a requested obedience. Man I wish I had lived in the early 1900's!

  2. Anon, not only would I, but I have. And as I said to a young friend at the time who questioned why I would have to, I said I would happily shave my head to work in the temple if it were asked of me.

  3. hi paul!

    i wasn't sure how to contact you because i couldn't find an email address on your blog, so i figured i'd write a comment on one of your recent posts.
    i am a religious Jew living in israel and have been part of a very special project involving a young lady named Aviva Krainess, who has a terrible auto-immune disease and is virtually blind. Her project is an attempt to bring quality, AUDIO entertainment that carries positive, wholesome messages to children around the world (not just Jewish children, but ALL children). it occurred to me that you might be interested in such a project, given all the overly not-so-wholesome garbage that is out there affecting our children, and in reality even ourselves.

    please take a moment to see her video and audio trailer on her project page:

    hope you enjoy and find this new project inspiring and useful! :)

    - if you wish to share the video in particular the link is this:

  4. Oh boy! Church with no tie. I'd feel stressed in those circumstances (says plenty about me). I think that it's pretty clear that there is comfort in the good old white shirt and tie. I don't think i've ever seen a written pronouncement about white shirts and ties but it feels alien to go without.