Choose the Right Tattoo

September 26, 2014    By: Jacob J @ 4:47 pm   Category: Life,Mormon Culture/Practices

My wife recently made waves by adding “temporary tattoos” to the plans for an upcoming youth activity. There was already a face painting booth planned and she added temporary tattoos to that booth to increase the variety. Predictably, someone objected to having temporary tattoos as part of a church sponsored event. Not the sort of thing I would get my panties in a bunch about, but nonetheless something that I understand.

In response, my wife had offered a link to temporary tattoos available at BYU Bookstore. I thought she should instead simply rename it to “rub-on facepainting” pictures. Who can object to rub-on facepainting pictures at a facepainting booth.

This got me to thinking about tattoos, a topic which comes up frequently in my institute class. The attitudes of 20-somethings about tattoos is definitely different than those in the generation before them. But that doesn’t interest me at the moment. I have never wanted to get a tattoo for the one reason that I can’t possibly choose something that I would want to live with forever. If someone would invent a kind of ink that could be broken down in special light (or whatever, work with me on this) so that I could get a permanent tattoo which could be easily/painlessly/fully removed at any time, I would be in for a tattoo.

That said, there is one scenario where a tattoo appeals to me, and that is when it is a group situation of everyone getting a tattoo as part of a bonding/brotherhood/sisterhood kind of thing. I don’t know if any of the special forces have a tattoo everyone gets as part of initiation, but I hope they do because that would be awesome. My brother has always toyed with the idea of designing a family tattoo which all the kids would get at a certain age. This is the only time I get excited about the idea of a tattoo, but I don’t belong to any groups which offer such a noble tradition.

Which got me to thinking, wouldn’t it be great if there was a church tattoo. Like the Stay Puft marshmallow man, something harmless. Something we all loved from our childhoods. Something that could never ever possibly destroy us. Obviously a CTR shield is the ideal candidate. In addition to getting a CTR ring, all the eight-year-olds in primary should have the opportunity to get a small and discreet CTR shield tattoo. New converts could choose to enter into the culture by getting the tattoo as well. The camaraderie associated with this tattoo would be off the charts. It could also come in handy when contacting less-active members and they are trying to tell you they have never heard of the church. “Oh really? Because I see your CTR tattoo peaking out right there, maybe you want to change your story…”

CTR tattoo

I’m still unsure about the ideal placement for this tattoo. I’m sure at this point everyone is on board with this in theory (the idea sells itself), but please help me flesh out the details. Where should this tattoo go?


  1. Naturally somewhere on the right side of the body, but the rest of you will have to come up with the precise location.

    Comment by Anon! — September 26, 2014 @ 6:59 pm

  2. Obviously right smack in the middle of the forehead. If you’re going to wear a mark it might as well be displayed prominently.

    Comment by IDIAT — September 26, 2014 @ 7:50 pm

  3. One of the two missionaries who shares the gospel withe had a CTR tattoo right in the middle of his back. Got it the day before his mission started.

    Comment by Matt W. — September 27, 2014 @ 10:27 am

  4. What if it was temple related and mimicked our garments?

    Selling points: 1) no hot, extra layer, 2) permanent reminder of temple covenants regardless of attire (included would be dotted lines where the sleeves, neckline and pant leg line should be to solidify the current modesty standards)

    This putting on coats of skins would work well with Geoff’s “the Garden as Pre-Existence” allegory.

    Comment by Riley — September 27, 2014 @ 10:54 am

  5. Riley, I tried to consider your suggestion but then I had to wash my mind out with soap before I got done.

    Comment by Jacob J — September 29, 2014 @ 1:41 pm