I really like President Uchtdorf. But I did not like him at first. I wasn’t sure why—it was something to do with his appearance. Maybe he looked too “big business-ish,” too suave, too “upper management” for my taste. (And no, I’m not saying that if he HAD had a big business background he couldn’t be a wonderful GA. I’m not saying that at all. Just that it’s harder for me to sense humility through that kind of background.) Anyway, after I heard about his upbringing and heard his talks, I realized that I had sadly, sadly misjudged him, and I started to look for what it was that led to my wrong impressions of him. After all, he didn’t dress any differently from any of the other General Authorities, and I hadn’t been turned off of them by their business suits. What was it?
Finally I realized what it was: it was the back-comb.
I’ve never liked a back-comb. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been suspicious of them. Which explains some of my early dislike of Mitt Romney, back in the Olympics days. Granted, he IS a big businessman. But I’d like him a lot more with a different haircut!
It took a lot of personal psychoanalysis and deep foraging in my past to find out where I picked up my aversion for back-combs. But I found it. And here it is: Blowdry Brad. Blowdry Brad was my first experience with having my peers hold leadership callings. Brad was a fellow freshman living in Deseret Towers, and he was the Gospel Doctrine teacher, partner of my roommate Jennifer. I don’t remember anything about the lessons they taught together (but I’m sure your parts were great, Jen) except that Brad was my first exposure to the very earnest, very emotionally-manipulative, very seemingly-phony-righteous kind of preaching that has always left a bad taste in my mouth (like saccharine).
(ALERT: I KNOW I am not being charitable here. Who was I to judge how honest and humble this guy was? He was 18, for crying out loud! He was probably a really nice, earnest, intelligent guy. I am just showing you what my own immature 18-year-old mind was doing.)
But the thing I couldn’t forgive him for was his hair. It looked like he spent more time on that blow-dried back-comb than I ever spent on mine. And somehow that hairdo became associated in my mind with people whose lives have been easy, wealthy, and full of absolute surety that they have all the answers.
But President Uchtdorf has taught me I was wrong in my judgment, and now I need to repent. So forgive me, Brad, Mitt, and President Uchtdorf. Though I don’t like your hair, I no longer believe it necessarily describes the kind of person you are. And, heaven forbid anyone ever judge me by my hair, which in NO WAY EVER looks the way I wish it would, let alone providing an accurate reflection of who I am (I really, really hope).
(I guess this means I should quit judging women, especially General Relief Society leadership, by their hair, too.)