The following post has an updated version, “The Garment, with additions“
Any member who has received initiation into the kingdom of God has been authorized to wear the garment of the holy priesthood — called “Garments” by most members. My wife’s family, my ecclesiastical leaders, and my temple’s presidency spent a decent amount of time preparing me for receiving the garment. These garments play an important role in the identity of Latter-day Saints.
What I was told:
- Garments should be kept completely white in color. No stains, etc.
- Garments should not be left on the floor before or after doing laundry.
- Garments should be laundered separate from other clothing.
- Garments should not show under the other clothing you wear.
- Garments should only be removed for absolutely necessary reasons, e.g. showering and having sexual relations with spouse, and should be put back on as soon as reasonably possible.
- Garments must be touching your skin, i.e. no panties or bras under the Garments for women [my wife was told by a temple matron that during menstruation, the pad should be applied directly to the Garments instead of using panties].
- Garments offer physical protection from injuries such as burns.
What the ceremony says: [Note, I was initiated post-2005]
- The officiator is under proper authority
- The garment is now authorized
- The garment is to be worn throughout life.
- The garment represents what was given to Adam/Eve when found naked in the garden.
- The garment is called the garment of the holy priesthood.
- Inasmuch as the garment is not defiled — meaning the wearer is true and faithful to the covenants — it will be a shield and a protection against the power of the destroyer until the earthly probation is finished.
What I see as divergent:
Where is the physical color of white stated as important? My stake president put a lot of emphasis on laundering our garments — inspecting and destroying an pair that become discolored. Is the focus on the outward color a manifestation of dogmatism and focusing on the outward [clothing, behavior, etc.] in general? Why focus on getting the garment physically soiled as a manifestation of “defiling” it — instead of on turning away from the covenants?
Why should we worry so much about covering our coverings? I mostly mourn for women in this regard. Both in my ward and online [here, here, and here], I have found that most women fret constantly about whether or not their clothing is covering their garments or whether to wear panties/bras under or over the garment. Shopping is difficult for them, etc. If the garment is intended to be our covering — then why care so much about covering the covering?
When worn, the garment will cover your nakedness. We have previously discussed how this is only secondary — meaning the covering of nakedness is not the express purpose of the garment. If this is the case, then why be so concerned with constantly wearing the garment? That the garment covers nakedness does not imply that we should always cover it. And, of course, there are the stories of members who believe in having intercourse will keeping the garment on — however, this may be an urban legend because I have never direct a direct anecdote from someone who does this [maybe someone here has]. Further, the garment is a shield and a protection inasmuch as it is not defiled — not inasmuch as you keep it on your body.
What I still wonder:
How does being instructed to wear the garment throughout one’s life relate to the truths learned from the Body Modesty post?
How problematic are the changes to the initiatory ordinance as it relates to nudity. Mainly I wonder — when are we sprinkling? I plan on redoing the washing, anointing, and clothing in the garment for my wife and me under tribal authority because I fear what the Church (TM) has done by succumbing to pressure to appease feelings of body modesty in members.
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