THE WEDDING GARMENT
It is not our intent in this article to take that which is sacred and make it profane. We understand the sensitivity of an article that discusses a matter so sacred as the garment of the Holy Priesthood. However, if we avoid totally the discussion of that which is sacred with the interpretation that it is taboo then we risk the perversion of the truth as there is no platform remaining in which to keep the truth alive. With this in mind, we will discuss this honorable topic while keeping its sacredness at the forefront and pray that none of the “children of light” are offended for the subject matter before they have benefit of hearing the truth.
There are some that will read these words that have little or no knowledge of there ever having been a change in the garment. Others, although knowing, have given little thought to the significance of these changes.
Below is a reduction of an 11x14 poster that hung in all the temples after given by President Joseph F. Smith in 1916, until they were ordered taken down and burned probably sometime in 1923 when official permission was given by a later president to “mutilate” the garments.
Notice that it is first given as an imperative.
Notice that it is first given as an imperative rule. That this is the approved pattern, to be worn as intended, down to the wrist and ankles, and around the neck. Anything else would be to alter or mutilate the garment and should be cause to refuse admission to the temple. Probably the most important statement made was that the pattern was revealed from Heaven. There have been several related accounts other than the statement of President Joseph F. Smith, of the pattern being revealed from heaven.
Emma gave Nartha Harris Smith (the wife of Hyrum Smith and mother of Joseph F. Smith) the original garments that were cut out by two angels... (Read and Weep, pg. 11, Francis M. Darter)
Some have even suggested who the two angels were:
It was from Lorin C. Wooley that we learn that it was (his father) John W. Wooley who stated in a meeting that the two angels who revealed this garment to the Prophet Joseph Smith was no other than our Savior and one of His wives. (Read and Weep, pg. 9, Francis M Darter)
John the Revelator, under the direction of Jesus Christ, taught Joseph Smith the pattern of the garment. He cut out a pattern and had Joseph cut out to know how he could do it. (Book of Remembrance, pg. 18, Joseph Musser)
Although there seems to be confusion when others attempt to be specific, one can be sure that the pattern was revealed from heaven.
The Prophet Joseph Smith called a meeting of the Saints at Nauvoo and told them that an angel had visited him and instructed him to have them wear the garments of the Holy Priesthood, an sample of which the angel showed him, explaining all the features pertaining to it, and told him it must be worn all through life, and it would be a protection to them against physical and spiritual dangers if they were always faithful to the covenants they made with the Lord. Accordingly Joseph had a garment made after the exact pattern the angel showed him, and took it to the meeting, held it up before the people and explained to them all what the angel told him to do. He then instructed them to go home and make their garments and begin to wear them. (Early Pioneer History, Eliza M.A. Munson)
Benjamin F. LeBaron wrote the following in his autobiography:
Mother told us children many incidents of her experiences at Nauvoo. Her mother and all the family except her father joined the Church within about two years of its organization. Her father did not join, but his work has been done in the temple. Two of her sisters, Almera and Dolcena Johnson were married to Joseph Smith. He also asked for her, but she was then engaged to father. He lived with my Aunt Almera as his wife. Mother said Joseph Smith was a real sport as well as a true prophet. She was at the meeting at Nauvoo when he presented the garment to the Church, and held it up before them and said it was the exact pattern of the one the angel showed him, and was called “The Garment of the Holy Priesthood,” and must be worn all through life, and would be a protection to them against all physical and spiritual dangers if they were always faithful to the covenants they made with the Lord. He explained all the features pertaining to it, and told them it should never be changed from that pattern. She was so impressed that she made union suits for us children and had us wear them so that we would be used to such a garment when we became eligible to wear it.
I have always worn the original garment, the exact pattern of the one the angel showed to Joseph Smith, and have learned to love it, and I felt very bad when the Church authorities allowed a change. (Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin LeBaron, copied by the BYU Library, 1946, pp. 1-2)
There is much significance to the original pattern of the garment. It was Daniel R. Bateman that stated:
On the 27th of September, 1886, I was at an 8 hour meeting of John W. Wooley’s home in Centerville. In that meeting the importance and sacredness of the garments were explained by President John Taylor. Part of the time he stood in mid air with a halo of light around him. President Taylor told us the time would come when changes in the garment would be made and it was necessary for the brethren to have the correct understanding of the pattern and meaning of the marks so as to be able to teach the Saints of that time. He told us it was the pattern of the garment given Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and it all had a sacred meaning.
The Collar: My yoke is easy and my burden is light (crown of the priesthood).
The strings: 3 strings on each side, had a double meaning. The strings being long enough to tie in neat double bow-knots, representing the Trinity. The double bow-knots meaning the marriage tie, man and wives.
The compass: A guide to the wearer as the North Star is a guide in the night to those who do not know the way they should go.
The Square: Representing the justice and fairness of our Heavenly Father, that we will receive all the good that is coming to us or that we earn, on a square deal.
The Navel Mark: Meaning strength in the navel and marrow in the bones.
The Knee Mark: Representing that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ.
Adam and Eve, he told us, were without clothing and the garment was also given to cover their nakedness and for the protection from the enemy. The sleeves reaching to the wrist and the legs to the ankles; not fitting tight but flowing. This pattern was given to the prophet Joseph Smith by two heavenly beings.”(signed by by Daniel R. Bateman, original copy from Francis M. Darter)
Below is a crude drawing of the original garment as it appeared in both an 1879 and 1906 endowment expose’ in the Salt Lake Tribune.
It is our hope that we can be purveyors of this “correct understanding” in these last days so that many might know the truth of the matter.
In all fairness, Heber J. Grant only permitted the “mutilation” of the garment in his day without totally eliminating the revealed pattern. It was not until the days of Spencer W. Kimball that the garment of the revealed pattern was totally rejected, even inside the temple. It is indeed ironic that the revealed pattern, once the only pattern permitting the patron to enter the temple, is now a matter preventig admittance to the temple by its wearer. “Mutilation” was, however, not new even in the days of Heber J. Grant. It was once again Joseph F. Smith that said:
The Lord has given unto us garments of the holy priesthood, and you know what that means. And yet there are those of us who mutilate them, in order that we may follow the foolish, vain and (permit me to say) indecent practices of the world. In order that such people may imitate fashions, they will not hesitate to mutilate that which should be held by them the most sacred of all things in the world, next to their own virtue, next to their own purity of life. They should hold these things sacred, unchaged and unaltered from the very pattern in which God gave them. Let us have the moral courage to stand against the opinions of fashion, and especially where fashion compels us to break a covenant and so commit a grievous sin. (Improvement Era, President Joseph F. Smith, 9: 813)
President Anthon H. Lind, President of the Salt Lake Temple under President Joseph F. Smith said of how serious a matter this was:
If you mutilate the garment by cutting off the sleeves or legs or changing it in any manner, it loses its identity and is no longer a garment of the Priesthood. Those who do this forfeit their standing as members in the Church and the only way they can get back is by the waters of baptism. The Truth Magazine, 16:44-45)
PROTECTION AGAINST TRIBULATION
Brethren past have told of the time when one would not be able to tell the difference between a Jew and a Gentile, a “Saint and a blackleg.” It is of seemingly greater necessity to differentiated as some of the prophesied judgments come to pass. The Saviour spoke of the tribulation that would come to the unrepentant Gentiles in the last days.
But if the Gentiles will repent and return unto me, saith the Father, behold they shall be numbered among my people, O house of Israel.
And I will not suffer my people, who are of the house of Israel, to go through among them, and tread them down, saith the Father.
But if they will not turn unto me, and harken unto my voice, I will suffer them, yea, I will suffer my people, O house of Israel, that they shall go through among them, and shall tread them down, and they shall be as salt that hath lost its savor, which is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of my people, O house of Israel. (3 Nephi 16: 13-15)
Of course, the house of Israel referred to as the Lamanites who, as it is written, shall tread down the unrepentant Gentiles that have sinned against His gospel. This along with the visions and dreams of some that have seen the Lamanite warriors grabbing these Gentiles by the collar to see if they were righteously wearing the original style garment and killing those who were not, has given cause to Francis M. Darter to nickname these Lamanites the Lord’s “battle-axes.” They would go before the main body of Lamanites and destroy those that have become just as any other Gentile. Before one scorns this thought, we need to look at some history of the Lamanites in their recognition of the Holy Garment:
After father )Mosiah Hancock) returned to Utah, the Indians broke out in war, making much trouble for the white settlers before the soldiers were called from Fort Apache, Arizona, to help defend the whites. The redskins killed a man by the name of Robinson and wounded another. They also burned the Pinedale home of father’s oldest son, Lyman, destroying all this family’s goods. They shot at mother’s brother, John, and made the bark fly from a tree just in front of him. And they set fire to a field growing wheat that mother and her brother had planted at Pinedale. While ransacking through Lyman’s things, they found a photograph of father, as Lyman’s wife, Miriam, related later. One Indian held up the photo and called out “Elk! Elk!” Already they were sorry they had robbed the home of Elk’s son. They named father this, for he had outlasted their own fastest runner, “Lightening,” in a 75-mile walking and running race. Lyman’s father had been a missionary among them and they liked him. Strange Indians, not knowing whether to kill him, would open his shirt front, and seeing the LDS garment, given for bodily protection, would release him. (Journal of Mosiah Hancock, pg. 55, 1883)
The following incident was related to the writer in the St. George Temple in the presence of the acting president of the temple, George F. Whitehead, and others. The narrator was Elder David Cannon, a member of the presidency of the Temple, who said that his famous father, David H. Cannon, a prominent pioneer in Southern Utah, was once captured by the savage Navajos, who were anxious to kill him for revenge, one of their braves having been killed a short time before by a party of whites enroute to California.
Many of the native tribes in the southwest had agreed that the Mormons were their friends and should not be molested. For this reason they were requested to keep their hair clipped up to the top pf their ears when traveling in Indian territory. Brother Cannon, who could speak the language of many Indian tribes, had neglected to keep his hair cut in the stipulated manner, and thus his captors refused to believe that he was a member of the society they were pledged to protect. He was tied to a tree, an archer was selected to send an arrow into his chest, yet he contended with that chief that he was a Mormon, whereupon the chief ordered the archer to put aside his bow and arrow for a moment. The angry leader of the Navajos approached the trembling white man and tore open the front of his shirt. When he saw the marks of the priesthood upon his clothing, the spirit of the war-party instantly left the face of the chieftain, and the smile of a friend played upon his rugged features. Removing the buckskin thing which bound the captive, the venerable red man explained: “Many moons ago, when my people were good, and the Great Spirit often visited them, they were permitted to wear those same marks in their clothing, but when my people went to war, and forgot the teachings of the Great Spirit, he never came to them anymore, and they were not permitted thereafter to place those marks in their clothing. (Mormonism and Masonry, pg. 157-158, E. Cecil McGavin)
Another story that would lend more credence to the Lamanite’s background knowledge of the Holy Garment is that of the discovery of a set of garments found in an ancient Indian grave. Cecil McGavin related:
A few years ago Bishop E.P. Pectol, of Torrey, Wayne County, Utah, was excavating in the sand-covered ruins of an ancient Indian village and found several articles of clothing made from buckskin. Mr. Frank Beck, a non-mormon, was among the first to call attention, through the public press, to this remarkable discovery. He did not scruple to label these ancient articles of wearing apparel “The High Priest’s Vestiment.
Soon after after its discovery, Bishop Pectol wrote this description to that author:
Yes, we found a set of skins undoubtedly intended for a burial suit from the condition under which they were found. A child had died and was buried in a small cave. Ten feet from the child a larger grave had been started and this roll of tanned skins placed in one end. The soil was then replaced. This tells the story that the one who buried the baby was to be buried later by its side and clothed in these skins.
Only one edge of what we call the robe was evened off by the knife. By the mark we call the left breast mark is a patch of splendid workmanship, indicating that this mark was wanted or it also would have been patched over. Placing this mark at the breast and letting the skin fall as it naturally would, a mark appears in the proper place for the navel mark and very similar. Fold the skin about about you and another mark like that of the knee cones to the proper place. Now from the left breast, passing the skin under the arm and then over the right shoulder, a perfect right breast mark appears at the tight place. Four belts of equal length that would fasten this robe to the body were in the bundle. We liken these to the girdle. A skin with hair on we call the apron, and another smaller one we call the cap. The marks are in the robe. Whether this is a coincidence or not, you can use your own judgment as well as I. If this truly intended for the purpose this suggests, then the shields I have represent the remainder of the Temple ordinances. (Mormonism and Masonry, pg. 72-73, E. Cecil McGavin)
The Gentile historian, F.S. Dellenbaugh related this:
Another kind of defense armor, though its qualities were purely imaginative, is the so-called “ghost skirt,” made of cloth or skin, and resembling the ordinary warskirt of the Dakota. This skirt came into notice during the “Ghost Dance” excitement that began about 1890 and lasted six or eight years. It was worn by all men, women, and children who accepted the “Ghost” doctrine, either as an outside or undergarment, and it was implicitly believed that no bullet or other weapon could penetrate its sacred material.
The Utah Mormons wear undergarments supposed to have such resistance. The idea may have come from them. (The North Americas of Yesterday, pg. 262, F.S. Dellenbaugh)
PROTECTION AGAINST HARM
If one fails to believe that the original revealed garment will provide protection against the tribulation of the prophesied future treading down by the Lamanites, it could well mean his or her life, but it cannot be denied that the original garment has been, in the past, a protection to the wearer. Ebenezer Robinson wrote this:
Notwithstanding a cloud of witnesses testifying that polygamy existed in Nauvoo in 1843 and 1844, yet the editors of the Saint’s Herald persist in representing that polygamy, and its attendant evils, including the endowment house, robes, etc., were introduced by Brigham Young and his associates, and that Joseph and Hyrum were innocent in the matter.
We here state a few facts which came under our personal observation. As early as 1843 a secret order was established in Nauvoo, called the HOLY ORDER, the members of which were of both sexes, in which we were credibly informed, scenes were enacted representing the Garden of Eden, and that members of that order were provided with a peculiar undergarment called a robe. ‘It was made in one piece. On the right breast is a square, on the left a compass, in the center a small hole, and on the knee a large hole.’ This is the description of that garment as given to the writer in Nauvoo, in Joseph Smith’s lifetime. It was claimed that while they wore the “robe” no harm could befall them.
In confirmation of this idea, we quote the 2nd verse of the 113th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, Plano edition, speaking of the Providential escape of Willard Richards, who was in jail with Joseph and Hyrum at the time they were murdered.
"John Taylor and William (Willard) Richards, two of the twelve, were the only persons in the room at the time; the former was wounded in a savage manner with four balls, he has since recovered; the later, through the promises of God escaped 'without a hole in his robe.'” It was stated that Willard Richards was the only one of the four, who had on his 'robe' at the time, therefore that he escaped through the promises of God, 'without a hole in his robe.' (The Return, Vol. II, No. 4, pg. 252, from the BYU Library, Film 200, #5, April 1890, Ebenezer Robinson)
Indeed, Joseph Smith removed his garments prior to going to Carthage Jail so as to not allow his enemies to see his garments. He counseled Hyrum and John Taylor to do the same, but Willard Richards refused. What design was the garments worn by Joseph Smith?
My mother Julia Bowen Dalton ... was very intimate with the Prophet Joseph Smith’s family and particularly with Emma Smith. My mother was living in the Mansion House at the time the Prophet was killed. The enemies of the Prophet had attempted several times to assassinate the Prophet. Just before going to Carthage, he came to one of his wives and stated that (if) it was to be that he should lay down his life as a martyr to the testimony he bore, but that his enemies could not take his life while he was wearing his garments. He took them off before leaving for Carthage. My mother stated to me that the garments at that time had the collar and strings on. (Notarized statement by Sarah Loise Dalton Elder given September 22, 1940 at Ogden, UT, from the N.B. Lundwell Collection, film 298, #119)
Some have contended that Patriarch Eldred G. Smith has in his possession, a two-piece garment worn by Hyrum Smith at Nauvoo. They have said so ignorantly because it was common among the brethren to wear marks as close to the surface as possible without exposing them to the infidel. Many would have their shirts marked if they were wearing a coat or if they were not in the presence of unbelievers so as to bring these symbols outward as much as possible. It would therefore not be unusual to have those marks placed even on their nightwear to have them outward at all times possible, especially during a time when vision were most prevalent.
The original revealed pattern was so important that when, even for convenience, a substitute could not be used.
Sister Zina D.H. Young submitted a knitted garment something like our garments, which is made in the East and asked if such may be marked and have a collar put on and used as a Temple garment. It was decided (by the first Presidency) that such garments should not be used in lieu of the pattern given. (Journal of L. John Nuttal, Vol. 3, pg. 227, December 8, 1890)
Since the pattern was intended to remain the same, some have wrongly stated that the material should be of a particular fabric. However, we find that the garments have been made from many types of fabric available over the millennia. Adam and Eve had garments made of skins. The garments in the days of Moses were of linen. It was stated that Peter and Jesus had on woollen garments in the Kirtland Temple. It is known that the garments in the early part of the restoration were made of unbleached muslin. Obviously all owing to the availability of material at their times. In all cases, the important fact is that they were white.
It was decided (by the First Presidency and Twelve) in answer to a question that people should wear only white garments whether they they be cotton, woolen or linen. Colored garments should, however, not be used. (Journal of Abraham H. Cannon, December 1893)
Joseph Musser in an interview with an early temple attender determined that the mark of the square had been reversed on the garment when the individual told him that he “believed” the marks had been changed, but a close examination of the picture of the garment printed in the 1879 Tribune expose’ and also of the symbols as they appear to this day on the Endowment House in Spring City, constructed in 1876, predates any supposed changes in that mark.
Although Beehive Clothing Mills supposedly will make a garment with ties for anyone requesting it, the Church will take disciplinary action against anyone found wearing this garment that for years was accepted as the only revealed pattern as worn by even the Prophet Joseph Smith himself. Most conscientious Latter-Day Saints have found it necessary to make the garment themselves and then covertly wear them, with a belief that it is absolutely essential to wear the garment of the revealed pattern to correctly live the covenants made with God and receive the promised protection through wearing them, both now and in the near future. The seriousness of not wearing the proper garment known also as the “Wedding Garment” is illustrated by this scripture:
And when the king came to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on the wedding garment:
And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speachless.
Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
For many are called, but few are chosen. (Matthew 22:11-14)
Let us be the chosen that will avoid the tribulation due to our faith and good works, I pray!