The Garment

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.

Next Article by Justin:  The World I See

Previous Article by Justin:  Connecting with Pixels

See also:  Body Modesty is not a principle of the gospel

Agency: The Single Principle of a Continuous War

Note: I found this essay while surfing the Internet this past week.  I took it from the mormon_anarchy Yahoo group.  Wake_Up posted it there on Sun Oct 6, 2000, as the seventh message and now I’m re-posting it here in a slightly edited fashion (I tried to correct some typos). I have also re-posted three more of his essays.  (See Why Father is an Anarchist, What the Priesthood Is, and Congruence vs. Obedience.)

Please keep in mind that I did not write this article. I tried to contact the author, (whose real name, according to Stirling D. Allen, is Jahnihah Wrede), but my email was returned as “Undelivered Mail Returned to Sender.”  If you want more information about him or his views, I suggest you visit his (now defunct) web site, which you can view by using the Way Back Machine.

Agency: The Single Principle of a Continuous War

Freedom of choice. Free agency. The absolute ability to choose.  Isaiah taught us about a great war in Heaven between Christ and Lucifer over which of two plans were to be implemented here on earth; one of freedom to choose to sin and repent to become congruent, and the other of compulsion to live only in obedience.  Both were presented to ‘save’ mankind. Both were based upon adherence to righteousness. Both recognized the availability of free choice prior to coming to earth, but only one attempted to violate that eternal principle. Lucifer’s plan of compelled righteousness was rejected by God, and he was cast down to earth according to Isaiah.

Today we have BOTH plans available to choose from. We are either exerting compulsion or refraining from exerting compulsion during our progression here. The principle of free agency can not be violated without violating Heaven itself for they are co-eternal (see: D&C 121 & King Follett Discourse). Lucifer’s attempt to end free agency violated eternal congruence and harmony as it always existed. His own end of congruence to those principles were available, ironically, only because he had the freedom of choice and exercised it.

According to all of Holy Writ, we have no other indication as to any other principle being of any issue or cause for this War in Heaven, except for that of free agency.

Today we have the opportunity to gravitate towards either compulsion, or freedom, as a matter of fulfilling our potential to become like Lucifer or to become like God, respectively. All of it has its foundation in the principle of freedom of choice. Without it, all of us could not experience either good or evil, and choose which one we would be congruent to, and consequently which Master we choose.

There is a grand Key in understanding free agency as a principle. It allows one to discern by what means a person or system is operating, and hence who it is they follow. If free agency is the single principle that Lucifer fell over, and caused a War to be waged in Heaven, then certainly it is a serious issue worthy of a great deal of attention and understanding.

Because agency is available to everyone, it is necessary to determine the parameters and boundaries someone’s agency extends before it violates another’s agency, else we may violate this eternal principle even as Lucifer did, and fall ourselves.

D&C 121: 34-46 (emphasis & colors, mine)

121:34 Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen?

(Please remember the context Father is speaking in, is to the Elders & High Priests, not gentiles who don’t even read the BoM.)

121:35 Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this ONE lesson–

121:36 That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon principles of righteousness.

(This means that righteousness alone – which [is] a correct attribute – is NOT the ‘controlling’ or ‘handling’ power of Heaven & Priesthood, but there IS SOMETHING ELSE.)

121:37 That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.

121:38 Behold, ere he is aware, he is left unto himself, to kick against the pricks, to persecute the saints, and to fight against God.

(He is an enemy to God at this point.)

121:39 We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.

(Remember, this is spoken by Father to the High Priesthood, not to the world although the principles still apply there, too, in secular positions of ‘authority’.)

121:40 Hence many are called, but few are chosen.

Now we have the parameters within which the congruent operations of the ‘Priesthood’ can function on earth, and in Heaven. But now we need to find out what this ‘Priesthood’ is, so that we can operate it in the parameters congruent to Father’s will, and in Harmony with Heaven itself.  Continuing:

121:41 No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;

(Again, “That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but…”, in any degree of unrighteous dominion, the Priesthood is immediately withdrawn – no ‘vote’ or court hearing’ is needed – and the conference is rendered invalid for the Priesthood is WITHDRAWN, and no man may by mere name of the ‘office’ – BY ‘VIRTUE’ – they now hold ultra vires officiate or exercise any authority without blaspheming Father, and condemning themselves.)

121:42 By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile–

121:43 Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou has reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;

(This is an excellent verse, but it distracts from the focus of the attributes themselves, and their POWER, so try reading past this verse a few times before letting it enlighten you with it’s rich intent)

121:44 That he may know that thy faithfulness (Charity) is stronger than the cords of death.

(Faith is an attribute of Charity, and Charity never faileth, so ‘faithfulness’ does not convey the intent as accurately as ‘Charity’ does.)

121:45 Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distill upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.

(These verses are the beginning of the ‘doctrine of the priesthood’.)

121:46 The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.

In this is contained the fallacy of ‘obedience’ and ‘righteousness’ as the sole means whereby typical ‘Priesthood leaders’ rely to exert their will. It is time to uncover that darkness with Light and Truth.  Congruence and Free agency in operating Priesthood is the only way Father allows, withstanding all the traditions of men – be they called ‘prophets, seers, or revelators,’ or ‘president, father, or patriarch’.

To ignore this is to deny that Eternal foundation upon which men may become even as He is. This single principle of free agency is what the War in Heaven is fought over, and continues even now, because upon it hinges the Priesthood, it’s Rights, and Power both in Heaven and on Earth. They are all as Eternal as the rest, but to destroy free agency is to destroy everything; including saving every living soul without compulsory means.

Holding fast to free agency FIRST, and applying Priesthood only in the manner described above shall ensure being congruent to Father, for this is how He is Himself. Just as stated above, any degree – which includes INTENT – of violation of free agency, will IMMEDIATELY result as if they never had Priesthood in the first place, but because they HAD IT, and violated the covenant and Trust inherent in using it, they are accountable and left unto themselves as an ENEMY to God, until they fully repent.

There are only two verses of scripture that are identical, excepting ONE WORD, when discussing being an ‘enemy’ to God.

“Satan is an enemy to God….”
“Carnal man is an enemy to God…”

[Note by LDS Anarchist: the scripture being referred to appears to be Mosiah 16: 5.  There are other scriptures, though, that also speak of being an enemy to God.]

In this light, on a personal level of understanding, the ‘man of sin (enemy to God) revealed in the Temple (body) of God’ IS the man/woman who violates the free agency of another, and repents not; being that the principle of free agency is the discerning Key to true or false Priesthood. Hence the War in Heaven continues with every choice; yea, even every intent of a man/woman’s heart. We wage war inside of ourselves to obtain congruence, and we manifest that outwardly in all of our choices. Are we violating free agency and thereby becoming an enemy to God as Satan? OR, are we taking seriously the weightiness of all our intents and choices, being careful to truly allow all men/women their agency, and thereby keep from falling and able to hold fast to the Holy Priesthood, and have the Holy Ghost as our constant companion?

I suspect a very serious and honest introspection is long overdue upon this one issue. I hope that we are filled with Charity to overcome the temptation to deny the strong delusion we’ve deeply slept under, in condemnation, and to fully repent of the awful situation that has come upon us to ourselves personally, and also to the world affected by the choices we each have made, that we are reconciled to the Father, that we are seen to BE even as He is: congruent.


Previous Guest Contributor article: Congruence vs. Obedience

Complete List of Articles authored by LDS Anarchist

The many definitions of adultery

Note: This post deals with physical adultery in marriage and not with spiritual adultery (committing adultery in thought or committing adultery against God by going after idols, etc.)

The Bible’s Definition of Adultery

  • Adultery = “Unlawful breach of a marriage covenant; consisting of a man (married or unmarried) having sexual intercourse with a woman who is either married or betrothed to another man.”
  • Adulterer = “A man who has sexual intercourse with the wife or betrothed of another man.”
  • Adulteress = “A married or betrothed woman who has sexual intercourse with a man other than her husband.”

The Hebrew word for adultery is na’aph and refers to a “woman that breaks wedlock.”  (See Strong’s #5003.)

To explore the biblical definition of adultery, lets set up some imaginary couples with which to mix and match and come up with an ADULTERY or NOT ADULTERY conclusion.

Two Non-Temple Marriages Aaron and Abigail were married to each other outside of the temple.  Brad and Bertha were married to each other outside of the temple. Two Singles Charles is a single man.  Deborah is a single woman.

So, using the above imaginary people in pretended affairs, we come to the following conclusions:


If Abigail and Brad have an affair, both are guilty of ADULTERY because Abigail is married to (belongs to) Aaron and not Brad.

If Bertha and Aaron have an affair, both are guilty of ADULTERY because Bertha is married to (belongs to) Brad and not Aaron.

If either Abigail or Bertha has an affair with Charles, all parties are guilty of ADULTERY because Abigail and Bertha are both married to (belong to) men other than Charles.


If either Aaron, Brad or Charles has an affair with Deborah, this is NOT ADULTERY because Deborah is not a married woman (does not belong to anyone.)

If we add a polygynous marriage (which was practiced during the time of the Bible) to the above couples, we get the following:

One Polygynous Non-Temple Marriage Peter is married to both Polly and Patricia outside of the temple.

All the same rules apply as above when you mix and match people in affairs.  Also, when you put Peter with either Polly or Patricia, you don’t get adultery.


If Peter is with Polly, this is NOT ADULTERY as Polly is married to (belongs to) Peter.  If Peter is with Patricia, this is NOT ADULTERY as Patricia is married to (belongs to) Peter.

Scriptures that pertain to this definition:

And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.  (Leviticus 20: 10)

If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.  If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour’s wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you  (Deuteronomy 22: 22-24)

(See also Proverbs 6: 207: 27)

To understand the above, it is important to grasp the concept of the biblical marriage covenant or contract.  In all the biblical marriage contracts, the woman was joined to the man, not vice versa.  Thus, the woman was given to the man and the man received the woman, not vice versa.  So, the married woman belonged to the man, meaning that she was his property (according to Encyclopaedia Judaica) and he had exclusive right to her and not vice versa.  This is why the biblical definition of adultery always deals with what occurs between a married woman and someone other than her husband.

In modern civil marriages, each one is said to belong to each other and/or to give him or herself to his or her spouse and they often exchange vows.  This was not what occurred with the people of the Lord during the time of the Bible.

To read an in-depth exegesis of the biblical laws concerning marriage, adultery, etc., please review the following, well-written articles courtesy of the Christian (non-LDS) Righteous Warriors web site:

Biblical Polygyny (part 1): Definition of Words

Biblical Polygyny (part 2): Polygyny in Scripture

Biblical Polygyny (part 3): Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage

Biblical Polygyny (part 4): Common Objections to Polygyny

Biblical Polygyny (part 5): Clash of Cultures

An Open Letter to the Christian Church Regarding Polygyny

Biblical Definitions of Important Terms

These same articles, and others, are also listed on their Controversial Truths page.

The Definition of Adultery Given by the Lord to Joseph Smith

The following revelations were given by the Lord to the Prophet Joseph Smith when he inquired about adultery:

And as ye have asked concerning adultery, verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man receiveth a wife in the new and everlasting covenant, and if she be with another man, and I have not appointed unto her by the holy anointing, she hath committed adultery and shall be destroyed.  If she be not in the new and everlasting covenant, and she be with another man, she has committed adultery.  And if her husband be with another woman, and he was under a vow, he hath broken his vow and hath committed adultery.  And if she hath not committed adultery, but is innocent and hath not broken her vow, and she knoweth it, and I reveal it unto you, my servant Joseph, then shall you have power, by the power of my Holy Priesthood, to take her and give her unto him that hath not committed adultery but hath been faithful; for he shall be made ruler over many.  (D&C 132: 41-44)

And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood—if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent, and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery for they are given unto him; for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him and to no one else.  And if he have ten virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery, for they belong to him, and they are given unto him; therefore is he justified.  But if one or either of the ten virgins, after she is espoused, shall be with another man, she has committed adultery, and shall be destroyed; for they are given unto him to multiply and replenish the earth, according to my commandment, and to fulfil the promise which was given by my Father before the foundation of the world, and for their exaltation in the eternal worlds, that they may bear the souls of men; for herein is the work of my Father continued, that he may be glorified.  (D&C 132: 61-63)

It is important to realize that the temple ceremony which unites a man and his wife for time and all eternity by the holy priesthood, has it so that the man is under no vow to his wife and also that the man receives the woman and the woman is given to the man and not vice versa. In fact, the wording of the above revelation indicates that the woman then belongs to the man, just as the ancient Jews were married.

Now, lets make up another imaginary group of people, with temple marriages included, as well as a polyandrous marriage:

Three Temple Marriages Ephraim and Ethel were married to each other in the temple for time and all eternity.  Felipe and Fanny were married to each other in the temple for time and all eternity.  Felix and Fiona were married to each other in the temple for time and all eternity.  Also, Felipe has been “appointed unto Fiona by the holy anointing.” Two Non-Temple Marriages Garrett and Gigi were married outside of the temple, Garrett taking a vow of fidelity.  Henry and Harriet were married outside of the temple, but Henry took no vow.  Two Singles Ian is a single man.  Jill is a single woman.

So, using the Lord’s definition of adultery given to Joseph Smith and the above imaginary people in pretended affairs, we come to the following conclusions:


If Ethel has an affair with Felipe, Felix, Garrett, Henry or Ian, all parties are guilty of ADULTERY because Ethel is married to (belongs to) Ephraim and not to any of these other men.

If Fanny has an affair with Ephraim, Felix, Garrett, Henry or Ian, all parties are guilty of ADULTERY because Fanny is married to (belongs to) Felipe and not to any of these other men.

If Fiona has an affair with Ephraim, Garrett, Henry or Ian, all parties are guilty of ADULTERY because Fanny is married to (belongs to) Felix and not to any of these other men.

If Gigi has an affair with Ephraim, Felipe, Felix, Henry or Ian, all parties are guilty of ADULTERY because Gigi is married to (belongs to) Garrett and not to any of these other men.

If Harriet has an affair with Ephraim, Felipe, Felix, Garrett or Ian, all parties are guilty of ADULTERY because Harriet is married to (belongs to) Henry and not to any of these other men.

If Jill has an affair with Garrett, this is ADULTERY because although Jill is married to (belongs to) no man, Garrett is under a vow to Gigi.


If Fiona has an affair with Felipe, this is NOT ADULTERY because Felipe is “appointed unto her by the holy anointing,” meaning that she is married to (belongs to) both Felix and Felipe, her husbands.

If Jill has an affair with Ephraim, Felipe, Felix, Henry or Ian, this is NOT ADULTERY because Jill is married to (belongs to) no man and none of these men are under a vow.

If we add a polygynous marriage (which was practiced during the early days of the restored church) to the above couples, we get the following:

One Polygynous Non-Temple Marriage Peter is married to both Polly and Patricia outside of the temple.

All the same rules apply as above when you mix and match people in affairs.  Also, when you put Peter with either Polly or Patricia, you don’t get adultery.


If Peter is with Polly, this is NOT ADULTERY as Polly is married to (belongs to) Peter.  If Peter is with Patricia, this is NOT ADULTERY as Patricia is married to (belongs to) Peter.

The Lord’s definition of adultery coincides with the biblical definition, with the addition of two points: that a man who is under a vow can commit adultery with an unmarried woman and that polyandry (a wife with multiple husbands) is a sanctioned practice if appointed by the holy anointing.  Thus, the marriage laws revealed by the Lord to Joseph Smith is rightly called plural marriage or polygamy as it encompasses both polygyny and polyandry.

Modern Dictionary Definition of Adultery

If you look at any modern dictionary under the entry of “adultery,” you’ll find a definition similar to the following:

“voluntary sexual intercourse between a married man and someone other than his wife or between a married woman and someone other than her husband; also : an act of adultery”

(Taken from Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary’s entry on adultery)

Most, if not all, churches and legal entities (governments) subscribe to this modern view of adultery.

During the time of Joseph Smith, the dictionary in use was Noah Webster’s first edition, published in 1828.  Under the entry of “adultery” that dictionary give the following definition:

ADUL’TERY, n. [L. adulterium. See Adulterate.]

1. Violation of the marriage bed; a crime, or a civil injury, which introduces, or may introduce, into a family, a spurious offspring.

By the laws of Connecticut, the sexual intercourse of any man, with a married woman, is the crime of adultery in both: such intercourse of a married man, with an unmarried woman, is fornication in both, and adultery of the man, within the meaning of the law respecting divorce; but not a felonious adultery in either, or the crime of adultery at common law, or by statute. This latter offense is, in England, proceeded with only in the ecclesiastical courts.

In common usage, adultery means the unfaithfulness of any married person to the marriage bed. In England, Parliament grant absolute divorces for infidelity to the marriage bed in either party; and the spiritual courts divorce a mensa et thoro.

(Taken from

It is interesting to note that the 1828 definition is essentially the same as the 2008 dictionary definitions, which means that Joseph broke away from the definition of “adultery” that was current for his time and returned to a practice that almost exactly matched that of the biblical definition.

Modern LDS Church’s Definition of Adultery

In the book, True to the Faith, published by the Church, we read under the Chastity entry the following definitions of the sins of adultery and fornication:

The Ten Commandments include the command that we not commit adultery, which is sexual intercourse between a married man and someone other than his wife or between a married woman and someone other than her husband (see Exodus 20:14). The Apostle Paul said that it is “the will of God” that we “abstain from fornication,” which is sexual intercourse between an unmarried person and anyone else (1 Thessalonians 4:3). Latter-day prophets repeatedly speak out against these sins and against the evil practice of sexual abuse.

This definition is identical to the one found in modern dictionaries and is how most people define adultery, nevertheless, it departs from both the biblical definition as well as the one given by the Lord to Joseph Smith.

Definition of Sexual Intercourse

Although I don’t know the exact standards given to our priesthood leaders as to what kind or kinds of sexual intercourse could result in adultery, I do know from my experience in talking with two women who have broken the law of chastity that oral sex does not constitute, in the eyes of the priesthood leadership, adultery. This was surprising to me, as I believe most Americans think that a married man or woman having oral sex with someone who is not his or her spouse is adultery. But on this point, the leadership breaks with the ideas of modern society.  Full frontal intercourse definitely qualifies as possible adulterous activity, but I do not know about “the back door” kind.


All of this shows that adultery is defined in various and sundry ways.  Adultery is widely interpreted and assigned to all extramarital affairs—extramarital being anything outside of the first marriage, as polygyny and polyandry is not recognized as valid—by modern legal systems and churches (including the modern LDS Church), whereas the biblical model narrows it down quite a bit to only extramarital affairs involving married women and excluding polygynous relationships.  The Joseph Smith model adopts the biblical model and expands it to include vow-breaking men, while narrowing it to exclude polyandrous relationships anointed by the priesthood.  And finally, the world looks upon any extra-marital sexual activity to be adulterous, while the Church has more narrow definitions.

It may be helpful to keep all of this in mind the next time you hear that someone has had an “adulterous relationship.”  Depending on the model you choose to use to define adultery, the act may more aptly be titled fornication.

Next Chastity article: Does legalized, same-sex “marriage” break the law of chastity?

Previous Chastity article: Why the long process?

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