Some folks are wise and some are otherwise. -Tobias Smollett
Question #40619 posted on 11/07/2007 3:01 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I am in the military and have been stationed overseas for the past few years. I met a member of the church and am now fully active the the L.D.S. religion. My enlistment is over soon and I am interested in going back to school. While in the military, I have received a few tattoos, two of which are visible (one on each wrist and both are 2 square inches in size). What is the policy on visible tattoos at BYU and in the church in general?

- Prouldy Defending -

A: Dear Proudly Defending

The general church counsel is against getting tattoos. However, obviously since the church is actively proselyting across the world there will be people baptized who already have tattoos. And there are also certainly members who obtain tattoos as well.

At BYU it is an honor code infraction to get a tattoo while a student, but there are no rules about attending the university with visible tattoos. A few years ago there were a couple news articles about a minor controversy, some people thought BYU had air-brushed the tattoo off of a basketball player for the media guide. It turns out that the photo was from an earlier season, and that the player in question, Rafael Araujo, had obtained a new tattoo in between seasons. The issue raised lots of discussion about BYU's policy on tattoos. One of the articles about the controversy can be found here. It explains:
This year, though, it's not hard to spot players' tattoos in the media guide.

In fact, 14 different pages show players with tattoos. Another two pages show midriffs on women.

BYU policy permits students to have tattoos but counsels against getting them while studying at the university.

Getting one while student does count as an Honor Code infraction.

"It's extremely rare for a student to be suspended for dress and grooming violations," Jenkins said.

In Araujo's case, Jenkins only responded that the situation had been "dealt with."

"Our goal is to counsel with them," Jenkins said. "Ninety-nine-point-nine percent of the time that is all that is needed."
So, you shouldn't have any problems attending BYU with visible tattoos.

-Humble Master
A: Dear defender,

You are the MAN. Thank you for your service to this country, and bless you for finding the Church. I know I'm gonna start sounding cliché if I keep saying things like this, but I grew up in the Air Force, and I'm just humbled by the dedication and duty of servicemen. Seriously. You rock.

A: Dear Defender,

See also Board Question #1767.

- the librarian
A: Dear Defending (and thanks for that),

Rock the visible tattoos all over campus. Mine aren't really visible, so someone else needs to take the proverbial bull by the horns and shake things up around here. We all know that there needs to be more exposure to the outside world and its elements, such as tattoos, in our tiny little bubble.

And big oops. I didn't know it was an Honor Code infraction to obtain a tattoo while a student. I'm pretty sure I checked all the fine print before-hand... Oh, well. Good thing the Board is anonymous.

-twice marked
A: Dear Defender,

I'm impressed by your commitment to God and country.

I'd like to answer a question you didn't ask, but which may be helpful. For most people here, your having tattoos won't be an issue. However, you will probably run into a small percentage that may treat you differently. Tattoos aren't commonly seen around here, and sometimes people forget to mind their own business. So be forewarned that you may get the occasional comment. However, I'm confident that the vast majority here will treat you quite well.

—Laser Jock