In college I had a job as a “courtesy clerk” at a Save Mart grocery store in central California. It was just a fancy name for a box boy. In a quirk of California labor laws and union rules, I had to wear a white shirt and tie to work every day. I don’t know if this is still the case today, but 40 years ago a white shirt and tie was legally considered “business attire”. The law was that an employer was required to purchase any uniform that was required for your employment. The one exception was business attire. They could force you to wear a white shirt and tie without having to buy it for you.
So after just completing two years in my mission to Chile wearing nothing but white shirts, I came home and wore white shirts and a tie for another three years. Then for another 20 years I was counselor in several bishoprics, EQ and YM Pres twice for both, and then bishop for five years. I was over the white shirt thing. 15 years ago upon release as bishop, I stopped wearing white shirts.
Blue is my preferred color, but in light of a recent announcement about LDS missionary dress, I may need to change that. According to the announcement: “in approved teaching areas, young men (commonly known as elders) may be able to wear a white or plain blue dress shirt with or without a tie.” My wearing of blue shirts is well known, and often commented on during EQ meetings, usually in jest. In fact just a day after the above announcement, I got a text from a friend in my ward that said “Now that missionaries are able to wear blue shirts you’ll have to wear a different color to stay out of the line of fire”.
So why blue? Is blue the new white? Is it because the sky is blue? It would be fun to have listened into the debate among the Q15 about what colors would be acceptable. Maybe Uchtdorf lobbied for light green, Christofferson for pink? Who was the last holdout, Oaks? Bednar? Do you think God cares if it is blue or green?
The announcement made it clear that the wearing of blue shirts “will be determined by Area Presidencies”. I wonder if after deciding that their area will allow blue shirts, a new Area President could come in and change it back to white, or are there some unpublished rules the Area Pres will follow in making the determination so they take the person preference out the the equation?
In a church where changes are generally evolutionary and not revolutionary, is this announcement much ado about nothing? Is the church just 30 years (or more) behind the times, and just catching up to Apple and Google, and leaving 1960’s IBM behind?