"We are not measured by the trials we meet -- only by those we overcome."
- - Spencer W. Kimball
December 5, 2014
More to LDS Garments Than Meets the Eye
by Jeff Lindsay

The LDS Newsroom at LDS.org recently offered a new announcement and video on the LDS temple garment. The video includes views of LDS temple robes and LDS garments, the simple clothing items that our foes love to call "magic underwear" or other offensive terms.

The LDS Newsroom resource should help thoughtful people better understand this aspect of our faith, and might help LDS members know how to better answer some common temple-related questions. Nicely done, IMHO.

Our critics assume that Joseph Smith just plagiarized the concept of the Temple from pieces of Free Masonry mingled with scripture or other influences from Joseph's environment. There is no question that there are some common elements with Masonry, as I discuss on my LDSFAQ page on temples and Masonry. For those wondering if the Temple is a modern invention, I raise several issues there that point to its ancient roots.

One issue that I haven't discussed in any detail on my site is the antiquity of the LDS concept of temple garments, including the use of some simple marks on the garments to remind us of covenants to follow God. For those interested in better understanding the ancient nature of the LDS temple and its practices, there are some outstanding and thought-provoking resources you may wish to consider.

I suggest beginning with Blake Ostler's detailed analysis in the article "Clothed Upon" in BYU Studies, 1982. Brother Ostler explains the numerous connections between the endowment and sacred garments in the ancient world.

There is a reasonable case to be made that the LDS temple and LDS temple garments can be viewed as a restoration of ancient concepts that are not easily explained as elements from Joseph's environment. There are some intriguing surprises in that article.

After reading Ostler, take a look at a later article from John W. Welch and Claire Foley, "Gammadia on Early Jewish and Christian Garments," BYU Studies, vol. 36:3 (1996–97). There you will find more interesting connections with the ancient world of Christianity and Judaism.

Many minor details in the LDS temple and in temple clothing can change with time, but core elements are unchanged and speak not of modern copying but very ancient roots, in ways that can enhance our respect for the temple. There is more to it (and to temple garments) than meets the eye.

For more from Jeff Lindsay, see Mormanity at http://mormanity.blogspot.com and his Mormon Answers section at http://jefflindsay.com/LDSFAQ/.


Bookmark and Share    
About Jeff Lindsay

Jeff Lindsay has been defending the Church on the Internet since 1994, when he launched his LDSFAQ website under JeffLindsay.com. He has also long been blogging about LDS matters on the blog Mormanity (mormanity.blogspot.com). Jeff is a longtime resident of Appleton, Wisconsin, who recently moved to Shanghai, China, with his wife, Kendra. He works for an Asian corporation as head of intellectual property. Jeff and Kendra are the parents of 4 boys, 3 married and the the youngest on a mission.

He is a former innovation and IP consultant, a former professor, and former Corporate Patent Strategist and Senior Research Fellow for a multinational corporation.

Jeff Lindsay, Cheryl Perkins and Mukund Karanjikar are authors of the book Conquering Innovation Fatigue (John Wiley & Sons, 2009).

Jeff has a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Brigham Young University and is a registered US patent agent. He has more than 100 granted US patents and is author of numerous publications. Jeff's hobbies include photography, amateur magic, writing, and Mandarin Chinese.

Copyright © Hatrack River Enterprise Inc. All Rights Reserved. Web Site Hosted and Designed by WebBoulevard.com