See also: Leviticus 19:28, Gordon B. Hinckley, “Stay on the High Road”
The practice is growing among young people of tattooing and piercing their bodies. The time will come when they will regret it, but it will then be too late. . . .
It is sad and regrettable that some young men and women have their bodies tattooed. What do they hope to gain by this painful process? Is there “anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy” in having unseemly so-called art impregnated into the skin to be carried throughout life, all the way down to old age and death? They must be counseled to shun it. . . .
I submit that it is an uncomely thing, and yet a common thing, to see young men with ears pierced for earrings, not for one pair only, but for several.
They have no respect for their appearance. Do they think it clever or attractive to so adorn themselves?
I submit it is not adornment. It is making ugly that which was attractive. Not only are ears pierced, but other parts of the body as well, even the tongue. It is absurd.
We – the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve – have taken the position, and I quote, that “the Church discourages tattoos. It also discourages the piercing of the body for other than medical purposes, although it takes no position on the minimal piercing of the ears by women for one pair of earrings.” — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Your Greatest Challenge, Mother,” General Relief Society Meeting, September 2000; Ensign, November 2000, p. 97; Booklet “Walking in the Light of the Lord, A Message for Mothers”
The mortal body is a temple, a “most important and sacred of God’s creations,” Elder D. Todd Christofferson said leading into counsel against tattoos and body piercings. He recalled recent teachings on those matters by President Hinckley.
“Why would the prophet of God talk about things so seemingly insignificant? Because they are not insignificant. Defiling or defacing God’s creation, His temple, makes a mock of that which is sacred. This can be perceived as insignificant only to one who has lost a sense of the sacred.”
Other matters of importance are immodest fashions and pornography, he said, noting that pornography is motivated by “someone’s lust for money.”
“The body is the temple of God, and pornography and revealing clothes are evidence that money changers are again desecrating the temple.” — Elder D. Todd Christofferson, CES Fireside, November 7, 2004
Acknowledging these truths and the direction of President Thomas S. Monson in last April’s general conference, we would certainly not deface our body, as with tattoos; or debilitate it, as with drugs; or defile it, as with fornication, adultery, or immodesty. (“Preparation Brings Blessings,” Ensign, May 2010, 64–67.) As our body is the instrument of our spirit, it is vital that we care for it as best we can. We should consecrate its powers to serve and further the work of Christ. Said Paul, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God” (Romans 12:1). — Elder D. Todd Christofferson, “Reflections on a Consecrated Life,” Ensign, November 2010, pp. 16-19