Mormonism: Underwear vs. Armor
Religion vs. FAITH
By Jason Decker
This idea all started last February 2002, when Dad and I were driving the 15 hours back to Seattle from the Winter Olympics in Utah. A few months ago, while changing in the locker room at my health club, right before my eyes, I saw the undeniable truth that the guy next to me was LDS. He was wearing these strange white garments with weird markings.
The wearing of garments is an undeniable difference between Christians and Mormons. The use of "special undergarments" is often an issue at which non-Mormons laugh at because they don't understand. But to the LDS, it is serious and important. After all, just why would someone wear such uncomfortable stuff all day, every day of their life as a temple active Mormon?
Garment of Holy Priesthood (Garment, Regulation Garment, Temple Garment) is distinguished as the only article of Temple clothing members are expected to wear outside the Temple confines. It represents the garment given to Adam when he was found naked in the garden of Eden. It is an undergarment with religious significance and has four symbols known as the "Marks of the Holy Priesthood" sewn into it. Over the left breast is "the mark of the compass"; over the right breast is "the mark of the square"; over the navel is a mark, and another appears over the right knee (the latter two are one-inch horizontal lines). These marks remind the wearer of the covenants assumed in the temple ritual. There are currently a variety of Church-approved Garment styles available for wear (manufactured by the LDS-owned Beehive Clothing Mills). Garments are currently available in one-piece (ankle-length, long sleeve; ankle-length, short sleeve; button front; knee-length, short sleeve) and two-piece styles, some of which are available in square back, V-back, crew neck, maternity and nursing varieties. They may be made of cotton, polyester, nylon, nylon-mesh, rayon and/or rayon-nylon (Bemberg) fabrics. Early Garments were reportedly made of unbleached muslin and/or cotton. (Excerpts from http://www.algonet.se/~daba/lds/tgarment.htm )
The whole reason why LDS wear these outfits is because they are garments of protection, thus LDS believe that by wearing them, they are afforded protection from the enemy (Lucifer/Devil). Christians also believe in protecting themselves from demonic attack and agree on the issue that spiritual warfare does in fact exist, and has a direct impact on us individually.
During the car ride, as I asked my father about the garments he once wore when he was a temple active Mormon, He said: When I was a Mormon and went through the temple for the first time, I remember the awe and sanctification I felt in receiving my own garment of the Holy Priesthood. I had been washed and anointed with oil and pronounced clean before God ... and then I was given the garment to wear as my protection during my 'sojourn' on earth. Later in another part of the ritual, the temple workers told us:
"You have had a Garment placed upon you, which you were informed represents the garment given to Adam and Eve when they were found naked in the garden of Eden, and which is called the "Garment of the Holy Priesthood." This you were instructed to wear throughout your life. You were informed that it will be a shield and a protection to you inasmuch as you do not defile it and if you are true and faithful to your covenants. [New temple ceremony wording]"
This is such a foreign concept to one coming from the mainstream Christian perspective. It's just amazing how Mormonism can be so close to Christianity, but at the same time almost completely opposite. We [Christians] too believe we need to be protected from the enemy. Our understanding is that God has provided us with the "Armor of God" that Paul mentions in Ephesians Chapter 6. But since the devil is a spirit, this battle is a spiritual battle and therefore exists in the spiritual domain of our existence.
"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints" -- Ephesians 6:10-18 NKJV
Then how does one "put on" the armor of God? It's not like stepping one foot at a time into some strange pants and putting a shirt over your head. We put the Armor on by FAITH. Christianity is based on FAITH and Mormonism is based on religion, based on what people do and don't do. It's because the core tenant in LDS theology is works, not grace through Faith in Christ.
We put on the armor of God the same way we became Christians, by praying out loud and confessing. Using the above scripture, I encourage you right now to pray this. "In the name of Jesus Christ, I put on the armor of God. I put on the helmet of salvation and renew my mind; I put on the breastplate of righteousness and pick up the shield of faith, which is able to quench all the fiery darts of the enemy. I pick up the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God and fight the devil like Jesus did in the wilderness saying " It is written ..." and so on!
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things, which are seen, were not made of things which are visible." Hebrews 11:1-3 NKJV
Romans 10:17 "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." In this specific scripture, the GREEK word used for "word" is RHEMA - which means spoken.
The Bible clearly shows us that faith is not about the stuff we see and do, because that does NOT require faith to believe. Faith goes beyond belief. Belief is like empirical evidence and that is limited only to the natural.
The third "Articles of Faith" of the LDS says: "We believe that through the atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel." What this means is you now have the opportunity to climb the spiritual ladder to heaven (also known as THE LAW OF ETERNAL PROGRESSION) But if you don't make it, then it's your own fault. And for women, if you aren't married to a priesthood holder, or if your husband is a sinning fool, then you are in big trouble, because you aren't going to make it to the celestial kingdom.
This is an essential divide between Christians and LDS because this is against what the bible teaches. Christianity is based on what God has done for us and Mormonism is based solely on what you can do for yourself, this is the very reason they have a temple and we don't.
The Apostle Paul tells us: " But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." Ephesians 2:4-9 NKJV
The power of the spoken word is what faith is all about. Because its that faith that gives you the understanding to speak the words "Jesus, I need you, come into my heart, please forgive me for what I've done. I'm tired of doing things on my own and need you to be my Lord now. I don't know you since we haven't spent much time together. Help me to get to know you more, I want you to be the center of my life." - a prayer like that is all it takes to be saved. Why so simple, because God Himself created everything by faith .... speaking out and saying: "let there be light, let there be man" ...etc.
- "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9-10 NKJV
- "If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:9NKJV
Next Issue, I will write part 2 of this article and examine the use of Temples and how this contrasts Mormonism and Christianity.