Temple Ceremonies and the Clothing

05 April

Temple Ceremonies and the Clothing

By Melissa Grimes

My journey out of Mormonism began with the Mormon Temple. One night my husband was watching a documentary on Freemasonry and noticed how similar their temple rites were to those we participated in at the Mormon Temple.  At this point of my Mormon experience I had doubts off and on about the validity of Joseph Smith’s claims yet never delved into any serious research. I was simply content in my ignorance, as I trusted in the words of the church leaders to quiet my concerns.

Instead of letting my husband’s discovery slip by like I did with so many doubts before I decided to check out his findings to see if there was any cause for concern beginning with the Mormon Temple. The Mormons are very ritualistic and symbolic when it comes to any of their religious ceremonies; everything has to be just right and done in a certain way to the point of being repeated until it’s done correctly.

You see this in their most basic rituals such the “sacrament” and “baptismal” ceremonies. In the sacrament ceremony if a priesthood holder misspeaks during the sacramental prayer he must start the prayer from the beginning. The baptismal ceremony is no different, the individual must be fully immersed in the water, if a piece of clothing, hair or a leg comes to the surface the individual is dunked again, if the priesthood holder performing the baptism flubs up the words the individual needs to be dunked again. When I was baptized into the Mormon Church I was dunked three times because I wasn’t fully immersed, or my Bishop messed up the words he was suppose to say.

Their temple ceremonies are no different as each handshake, sign and accompanying phrase must be spoken and delivered correctly. During the endowment ceremony each temple patron has a “packet” that contains articles of clothing they are to put on during the ceremony. The clothing has special meaning to the Mormon to the point of being buried in their temple clothing.

The Endowment Ceremony

The endowment ceremony is where the Mormons dress in their full temple clothing. Upon entering the temple, and before they can begin their endowment session, each Mormon must remove their “street clothes” and dress in their temple clothing as a way of leaving behind the outside world and entering God’s presence.

Females dress in a white dress, slip, the sacred undergarment, knee-high hose, and slippers.  Males dress in a white button-down shirt, tie, belt, and pants, along with the sacred undergarments. The reason for dressing in all white references purity, and since everyone is dressed the same there is a feeling of equality among the people.

It should be noted that those who are attending the temple for the first time will receive the “sacred undergarment” prior to dressing in their temple clothes, in a ceremony known as “the Initiatory”. Those who have been through the ceremony before will already have their undergarments.

(Women’s Temple Dress)

All Temple clothing including the dress, slip, slippers, white knee high hose (for women) and white shirt, pants, shoes

socks, slippers (for men) and the accessories which include:

green apron

sash

veil (for women)

hat (for men)

robe

These can be rented for a small fee or purchased in the temple. The green apron, sash, hat or veil and robe are all enclosed in a white cloth envelope.

After the Mormon dresses in their temple clothing they take their envelope containing the contents I mentioned above and head to the endowment room. While in the endowment room the Mormon watches a film that depicts the creation and fall of Adam and Eve from the church’s point of view. During the film the participants will also learn the significance of their temple clothing.

Endowment Room in the Mormon Temple

Green Apron

The first accessory they put on during the ceremony is their apron, which looks like this:

As you can see the apron has what looks like leaves on the front. The Mormon learns during the ceremony that this represents the fig leaves Adam and Eve made in the garden after they yielded to Satan’s temptation. According to the temple film after they realized what they had done, Satan tells Adam and Eve to take some figs leaves and make aprons to cover their nakedness, at this time the audience is then told to put on their aprons.

(As I look back on it now I wonder why we were commanded to obey Satan, and why have Mormons never made that connection?)

“Sacred” Undergarments (Female garments pictured)

After the Mormon puts on their apron they are told the undergarments they have on represent the “coat of skins” God made for Adam and Eve upon leaving the garden. Another question which comes to mind is why the Mormons would wear the green apron which represents the fall over top of the garments which represents what God gave Adam and Eve prior to being exiled from the garden.

Another thing I think about is why they need to wear the apron when they are wearing their temple garments.

As a Mormon I was taught that the garments would serve as a protection for me, as long as I was worthy to wear them.

This is one example of the counsel I received from my church leaders about the significance of my undergarments:

“The promise of protection and blessings is conditional upon worthiness and faithfulness in keeping the covenant. Members of the Church wear the garment as a reminder of the scared covenants they have made with the Lord and also as a protection against temptation and evil. How it is worn is an outward expression of an inward commitment to follow the Savior.” (Letter for the First Presidency, October 10, 1988)

Markings on the garments:

The Mormon undergarments have some very distinctive markings on them.  Below are the markings on the top portion of the garments.

Left Breast Mark, Right Breast Mark, and Naval Mark

When the garments became worn out, I was instructed to cut out the markings and burn them before discarding the rest of the material. Considering that after the markings are removed the garment material can be used as a rag or tossed in the trash, one has to wonder if they believe the “power” of their protection lies within the markings, and not the garment itself.

In my investigation into the Mormon Temple Ceremony I learned that Joseph Smith was a Freemason. After learning this it wasn’t hard to surmise that he had appropriated what he learned in the Masonic ceremony and drafted the first Mormon Endowment ceremony.

I say first draft because the ceremony has undergone many changes from when it was first instated by Smith until present day. Most Mormons are unaware of or don’t really care about Smith’s involved in Masonry.  Either way, it’s still a strong component in the core principles of their church and most of them wear it every day of their lives.

The “square” and “compass” markings found on the top portion of their undergarments are Masonic in nature. I’ve found there’s very little “official” doctrine which would give us insight into the meaning behind the symbols; most Mormon references only say the markings have a “sacred” significance. However the temple ceremony does give us some clues as the meanings behind markings.

After the temple film is finished the patrons are then instructed to proceed to the veil. The veil is a white curtain that goes from floor to ceiling; cut into the veil are the same markings found on the undergarments. According to the transcript from the endowment ceremony, the meaning behind the symbols are as follows:

The mark on the right is the square and it suggests to the mind exactness and honor in keeping the covenants.

The mark on the left is the compass and it suggests to the mind an undeviating course leading to eternal life.

The naval mark suggests to the mind the need of constant nourishment to the body and spirit.

The knee mark suggests every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is the Christ.

In Mormonism’s Temple of Doom we read:

“The placing of magick talismans in underwear is common in witchcraft.” (William J. Schnoebelen/James R. Spencer, Mormonism’s Temple of Doom, 1987, pp. 13-14)

I wonder if the Mormons have ever really thought about the association between the occult and the symbols on their undergarments. Non-Mormons have jokingly called the undergarments “magic underwear”. It sounds like they aren’t too far from the truth; even Mormons themselves believe they offer a protection from injury, temptation and sin. As I stated earlier it’s the markings the Mormons find scared not the cloth or design itself.

I think what gets me to the most about this special protective underwear isn’t so much that they wear a certain type of underwear, we all have our quirks. It’s that they are relying on a few strategically placed markings on a piece of cloth to protect them from falling into temptation or escaping in a car wreck unscathed. Instead, they should be putting their trust in God who promised to watch over us, be with us always, ( Psalm 121:1-4) and give us an escape from temptation ( 1 Cor 10:13).

The last few pieces of Mormon Temple clothing are:

The Robe, Veil and Sash –

The veil is tied under the chin; the women only “veil” their faces when praying during the temple ceremony.  The sash is tied around the waist over the robe, and above the green apron on the opposite side the robe is tied on.

As I close I can’t help but publicly thank my Father in Heaven for leading me out of this dark and oppressive religion. Mormons live in a very different world than most Christians do. For them everything is about appearances, whether it be at school, church, or the temple they believe it’s what’s going on on the outside that counts, the sad thing is they’ve been conditioned to believe this is how God  sees things as well.

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11 Responses to “Temple Ceremonies and the Clothing”

  1. brian June 1, 2011 at 10:41 pm #

    Hi Melissa, I am an Evangelical born again Christian who ended up investigating and joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Your connection of the “Mormon” temple ritual and the Free Masons has some merit but fails to continue tracing it’s roots. The Free Masons claim their origins began in the Old Testament with Solomon’s temple. If this is true then their temple practices, rituals, clothing and other rites in part come from God’s revealed pattern to ancient prophets. The Biblical record is clear in showing that God has always required sacred ordinances and covenant making from His people. Sacred clothing can be traced back as far as Adam and Eve and is mentioned throughout the Biblical cannon. Witchcraft and other pagan rituals are Satan’s conterfiet attempts to blind God’s children. If you will continue your search with you will find parts of the temple endowment and other symbols in nearly every culture and religion. This is as it should be if truth was taught from the beginning. This kind of evidence only has strengthened my testimony of the restoration. May you find peace in whatever path you choose. Your friend in Christ, Brian
    http://www.fairlds.org/Misc/Similarities_between_Masonic_and_Mormon_Temple_Ritual.html

    • An Ex-Mormon August 31, 2011 at 6:13 am #

      First Melissa, thanks for this great site. Lots of pertinent information and nice job for denouncing the Mormon church for what it really is.

      Now to Brian, I invite you to carefully look into what you are doing.I live in Salt Lake City, UT and I myself was introduce to the mormon teachings and doctrines around May 2010. I was, like you, “investigating” the church. By July 2010 I was baptized. I always felt that something wasn’t right. After almost 12 months of soul searching, praying, research, scripture pondering, now, in august 2011, my wife and I we have officially resigned from the church. We highly do believe that we have passed the test for “false teachings”. During this last year, we have learned sooooo much more about Christianity, other religions, etc…and it has reinforced our faith. You will hear so many excuses and justifications from the LDS church regarding all the embarrassing issues they are dealing with but stand your ground. They will teach you that you’re missing so much from the gospel without them, but truth is you’re not missing anything. It’s all in the Bible. Actually everything else they add is modern man-made BS. The LDS church is just a huge corporate entity controlled by a board of “directors” (MY OWN BISHOP TOLD ME THAT!!!) every decisions made by the President/Prophet/seer/revelator of the church has to be approved by the 12 other directors. ???? I thought that guy only respond to and get his stuffs from GOD directly… I guarantee you that if you weren’t raised in that cult/church you won’t last… Please my friend do your research.

      God bless you.

  2. CamdenC August 31, 2011 at 10:56 pm #

    Brian – Jesus said, “I am the fulfillment of the law and the prophets” and He talked about “the New Covenant” with the 12 at the Last Supper. All other covenants (except the ones God has with Israel, that have yet to be fulfilled) have been done away with. We are under Grace, not law. The veil of the temple was torn from top to bottom when He said, “It is finished”.

    Don’t you realize that we are no longer under the law? What is the purpose of the temple? Jesus was the final/last/complete/perfect sacrifice for all of mankind. Simply giving your heart and life to following Him is all that is required. His Grace is sufficient!!!

    There is no need for a temple, whether an LDS temple or the 3rd Jerusalem temple that has yet to be built. The LDS temple has no resemblence to anything described in the Old Testament or even the New. He doesn’t dwell in a temple made with hands, but dwells in the hearts of the believers. Just like the church is not a building, denomination, or religous organization. The “Church” is the body of believers. Church means, “ones called out” or “set apart”. The building means nothing, it is the people that meet there that are important.

    Just because many cultures and peoples have things that resemble happenings that go on in the LDS temples doesn’t prove anything. There was a lie that was told to Adam & Eve in the Garden that is still promoted in today’s religions around the world. The lie was that “we can become like God”. It is packaged differently in the New Age and Eastern Mysticism religions, and in Mormonism. But it is the same lie and has the same appeal to the “self-love” and pride that is inherently present in the hearts of mankind. Just about every ancient culture has a “Flood story” as well, but we know that happened because the infallible Word of God tells us so in Genesis…

  3. mike martin December 11, 2011 at 5:37 am #

    Celestial exaltation is a Satanic lie!

  4. Elizsia December 20, 2011 at 4:55 am #

    @ Brian… If you really Believe what you say about Freemasons and LDS. Then Why Do Freemasons Prefer to Take Part in a Separate Organisation… Why Dont Freemasons Just Accept The Church Of Jesus Christ and Convert to it….

    If all those Traditions are being Adopted by LDS and LDS is saying its the Only Ordained Authority, How Come Freemasons have not Adopted LDS Traditions…. How Come LDS Adopted Freemason Traditions instead….

  5. Bonnie September 3, 2012 at 2:40 pm #

    Brian, you speak 100% truth!

  6. CamdenC September 7, 2012 at 3:01 pm #

    Bonnie – Please refer to my posting… We are under Grace, not law. The LDS/ masonic temples are of no value…

  7. N. Carroll October 22, 2013 at 5:52 pm #

    I think the most important thing all of us need to remember is to not judge each other. We need to have respect and love for everybody. No matter what your religion or beliefs are it is Gods job to judge us. He loves all of us whether we are black, white, purple, muslim or catholic. He loves all of his children regardless and we should do the same I’m LDS and I have many friends who are of different faiths, catholic, baptist, non-denominational. We all get along great and have great respect for each others beliefs and religious practices.

  8. Melissa July 8, 2014 at 4:04 am #

    As a Christian I don’t see the need to tear down anyones belief system. We are told to judge not. If the LDS church was not for you why do you feel the need to belittle thier faith and rituals? Just walk away from it. Where are your sites denouncing witchcraft, paganism, agnostics, catholics lutherans, protestants, presbyterians and baptists etc. etc? This earth will never be as it should be because people can’t live and let live. Haters beget hate. NOT very Christian like.

    • TRACY JOHNSON July 18, 2014 at 11:00 am #

      actually thats UNTRUE… WE ARE MANDATED BY THE LORD to judge sin and EXPOSE IT TO THE LIGHT.. hate sin as HE DOES, BUT TO NOT JUDGE THE SINNER, WHICH WE ALL ARE!!!

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