Unwritten 2×2 Rules & Regulations
DISCLAIMER: This list is not represented to be all-inclusive or universal. Customs vary considerably from place to place, worker to worker. The following are general statements regarding the group’s beliefs and practices gathered over many years from numerous sources. However, they may not be believed or practiced in total universally. Historically, depending on the time in history and/or the overseer in charge, differences have occurred regionally and likely will continue to occur. And as in any group, some individuals may hold specific beliefs/understandings that differ from the main church body. Corrections, additions, or comments are invited.
In the years after 2000, the enforcement of many of these rules has lightened up and many Friends are no longer following them; especially regarding TVs, movies, sports, alcohol and those concerning for women’s appearance.
Unwritten Rules for the Friends
FEMALES: Women/girls shall wear their hair long. Women to wear their hair up on their heads, and not hanging down loose. IDEALLY no bangs/fringes–no cutting/trimming their hair ever.
MEN: Shall wear their hair short (no ponytails tolerated) and ideally, will not wear facial hair.
AREA VARIANCES: More and more men are wearing mustaches and beards; some women are wearing their hair down and adopting short hairstyles regardless of the unwritten rule.
PROHIBITED: Necklaces, bracelets, earrings, rings (except wedding bands)
PERMISSIBLE: watches, wedding bands, hair jewelry, tie tacks, cuff links
AREA VARIANCES: Class rings, engagement rings common in youth; pins/brooches allowed in some areas.
3. COSMETICS & TATTOOS
IDEALLY: No artificial means of any kind to enhance appearance, ESPECIALLY colored eye shadow, colored nail polish, lipstick, hair coloring.
AREA VARIANCES: Some wear clear nail polish; light unnoticeable make-up.
Those with tattoos got them before/while they were not a part of the group.
4. APPAREL TABOOS
FEMALES: Not to wear slacks/shorts; sleeveless dresses/blouses; short skirts, low necklines, or sundresses. Not to follow fashion trends, and stay a good distance behind the styles “of the world.”
IDEAL: Dress modestly
MALES: No articles of clothing prohibited. Many men do not wear shorts.
AREA VARIANCES: Slacks OK when required to protect modesty in a special activity. Some old-timers believe any activity that would render a woman in a dress to be immodest should be avoided. Women on horseback permitted to wear slacks. Some areas: no red or white shoes; no sandals; no bare legs
5. DANCING and MOVIES
AREA VARIANCES: Many rent movies and see them through their Computer monitors or VCRs; Some areas permit attending musicals, plays
PREFERRED: Mixed-sex bathing/swimming once discouraged, now becoming more common.
AREA VARIANCES: In some places, women are prohibited from wearing swimsuits, and pin their dresses between their legs and only swim in very private waters. Some Hawaiian, Australian and New Zealand friends wear bikinis.
7. PARTICIPATION IN SPORTS & BANDS
PREFERRED: No participation in organized sports
AREA VARIANCES: Soccer participation allowed in some areas. Golf frowned upon in some areas.
PREFERRED: No tobacco/pot smoking of any kinds; no cigarettes, cigars, pipes or chewing tobacco
AREA VARIANCES: NONE!
9. DRINKING ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES
IDEAL: No alcoholic beverages imbibed (including wine) in the USA, however, some American friends serve/drink wine with some meals.
AREA VARIANCES: In Europe, beer and wine are drunk, but never spirits; however, that even varies from country to country. Wine is even served at Special Meetings by the workers.
PREFERRED: Not to own or allow a TV in one’s home
AREA VARIANCES: Divided homes given leeway. If workers learn a TV is in the homes, a meeting will not be placed there; or a meeting may be removed for this reason.
PREFERRED: No recorded music of any kind, but playing of instruments encouraged.
AREA VARIANCES: Radios and stereos used in many places. Some areas only permitted to play hymns on instruments (especially on Sundays)
PREFERRED: Christmas and Easter are not observed as religious holidays. Many friends do not observe the standard, traditional customs of their culture associated with these holidays (no gifts, cards, decorations, special meals, etc.)
AREA VARIANCES: Many exchange gifts and Christmas cards. Some put up decorations and trees (Xmas trees used in New Zealand) Many parents of small children decorate trees, hold Easter egg hunts. Practices vary considerably. Recommended that parents “be wise” with children in this regard.
13. VOTING IN NATION’S ELECTIONS
PREFERRED IN SOME AREAS: Not to Vote. (God is in charge of who becomes a leader/ruler)
AREA VARIANCES: Lenience or no instructions given either way in some areas
14. GAMBLING – TABOO
AREA VARIANCES: Many friends have visited Reno or Las Vegas and participated in gambling, usually as a one-time fun activity.
DISCOURAGED: Professions requiring carrying armed weapons; involving entertainment world, such as playing a musical instrument or in a band; sports; hairdressers for women; cosmetologists; vocalists, broadcasters.
16. SERVING IN ARMED SERVICES
IN WAR TIME: Choose Status of Conscientious Objector where one does not bear arms.
IN PEACE: Some join armed services as a profession–some to obtain special training and education they offer, who could not otherwise afford same.
PROHIBITED: Not to take the Lord’s Name in Vain
AREA VARIANCES: Slang, even “darn” or “gosh” is considered foul language (cussing) by some.
PROHIBITED: Christian symbols are not to be displayed on one’s body or in one’s home, such as the cross, dove, fish, or pictures of Jesus or Scripture, large coffee-table Bibles. Religious greeting cards are not used.
Going into the work is the highest choice for one’s life. Highly discourage marriage to Outsiders. Expected to marry someone within the group.
NO SEX before or outside of marriage.
AREA VARIANCES: Some are asked to quit taking part if they marry an outsider. A marriage between and Insider and outsider is termed a “divided home.”
Permissible when prior spouse is deceased.
AFTER DIVORCE: PROHIBITED–considered adultery.
AREA VARIANCES: In some areas after remarriage, participation in meetings and emblems denied to parties. In some cases, participation allowed, provided divorce took place BEFORE the person professed; allowed in some cases/areas AFTER some amount of time has elapsed. Customs VARY CONSIDERABLY in the USA, largely depending on the Overseer’s preferences. Colorado takes a non-judgmental stand. Other countries tend to be more strict.
To be Day of Rest. No working on Sunday.
Many recreational activities curtailed on Sunday. NO swimming, fishing, attending recreational parks, working of any kind, sewing, washing hair, clothes or cars, gardening, mowing lawn, changing oil in car, housecleaning, shopping, etc.
AREA VARIANCES: Some essential occupations exempted, such as dairy farming, nursing, etc.
REQUIRED in order to go to Heaven.
Failure to observe some of the above Rules has caused some to be denied the rite of Baptism and Communion.
23. MEETINGS and CONVENTIONS
IDEAL: Attend all meetings in your area unless ill. Attend one full convention in your area per year; attending several conventions encouraged. Use King James Version of the Bible primarily; use of other translations becoming more common. Do not read/use any outside Christian books/material, except for a Concordance and Bible Atlas.
AREA VARIANCES: Men to wear ties to Sunday morning meetings.
The regional Overseers of an area maintain absolute authority over all under their jurisdiction. Decisions made by that Overseer regarding those under his jurisdiction are neither reviewable nor changeable by any other Overseer; unless that Overseer has an Overseer over him. For the excommunicated person, there is no means of appeal.