Where as ldssdc.info is no longer available, I’m reposting this to keep the information available.
The Standard of Truth Part 3
What’s the Truth about Garments and Nudity?
By Michael S. Ai, Southern California
According to the literal interpretation of the Adam & Eve story, after Adam & Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden for partaking of the forbidden fruit, God gave them coats of skin “to cover their nakedness.”
We’re instructed that these coats of skin represented the “garment of the holy priesthood.” Those to whom the garment is given are instructed to wear it night and day throughout their lives.
Using a literal interpretation to the above, the following conclusions have been drawn:
- Because God gave Adam and Eve coats of skin to cover their nakedness, nudity is against God’s will, making it evil
- The garment is to be worn at all times
Do these conclusions meet the Standard of Truth?
Now, let’s evaluate these conclusions to see if they meet the Standard of Truth.
In Part 2 we discussed that Adam & Eve were husband and wife, and were the only two people on the earth. We also discussed the idea that most people, both in and out of the church, believe today that it’s perfectly okay for husband and wife to be nude together.
The Standard of Truth requires that if it’s okay for husband and wife to be nude together today, then it would have been okay in Adam & Eve’s time, both before and after the fall. If so, why would God give them something to cover their nakedness? Similarly, if it was evil for Adam & Eve to be nude together then, it would still be evil today.
If the conclusion that God gave Adam & Eve the coats of skin to cover their nudity is true, then we can only conclude that it’s evil for husband and wife to be nude together today. There is no other possibility.
This, of course, creates a terrible problem for virtually every married couple on the face of the earth.
Now, carefully consider this statement: The sure indicator of sin is the loss of the Spirit. So, the question to ask is this: When you are nude with your spouse, do you feel a loss of the Spirit?
My guess is the answer is, no. Why?
First, because I’ve never felt a loss of the Spirit when nude with my spouse; and second, because the vast majority of members believe it’s okay to be nude with their spouse, they obviously haven’t felt a loss of the Spirit either. If they had, most would withdraw from that which causes them to feel that loss of Spirit, causing them to conclude that it’s evil to be nude together with their spouse.
The fact that most believe it’s okay is evidence that they’re not experiencing a loss of the Spirit when nude together. Unless, of course, they’re ignoring the loss of the Spirit and being nude together anyway.
One final thought: If nudity is evil, why didn’t God ever give any instructions that it is? All we read is that He gave the coats of skin to Adam & Eve to cover their nakedness. Further, all we read throughout the entire scriptures is that clothing covers one’s nakedness. We never find any specific instructions that directly or indirectly forbid nudity.
In fact, if we’re taking a literal interpretation, we’ll find examples where God commanded prophets to go naked for certain time periods, and we see righteous people who were naked and not chastised by God or Christ for their nudity.
If God gave the coat of skins, which today is the garment, to cover one’s nude body, then why is the garment “underwear”? Why do we wear clothes over the garment? Why is the garment virtually see-through? Why is it considered to be “wrong” to see someone else’s garments?
Consider this: How many LDS parents walk around their homes wearing just their garments thinking they’re “covering their nude bodies” when their kids can easily see through their garments to see their nude bodies? What are they really hiding?
If the garment was designed to cover our nakedness, why do we need additional clothing to really cover it?
Clearly, the garment fails to “cover our nakedness.”
The idea that the garment is to be worn night and day is another primary argument of the “nudity is evil” proponents.
Again, “night and day” is interpreted as meaning “at all times.”
However, most members have standard exceptions for this instruction, which include being nude for swimming, for sex, for showering or bathing, for sports, and for medical examinations.
Consider this: A family enjoys boating, waterskiing, and wave running. They buy a boat and some wave runners and often go to the lake for vacations. The husband and wife believe that an acceptable exception to the garment-wearing instruction is swimming, so whenever they wear their swimsuits, they don’t wear their garments. Because they spend most of the day out on the water or on the beach, they spend most of the day out of their garments.
At the end of the day, they may shower and put their garments on for the night. The next day they remove their garments to put on their swim suits for another day of fun in the sun, in the water, and in the boat. At the end of the week they return home. However, for the week they were at the lake, the husband and wife spent the vast majority of their time out of their garments. The longer their vacation, the more time they spend out of their garments. Yet, because this is an acceptable exception, they think nothing of it, and everyone thinks it’s perfectly okay to spend that much time out of their garments because it’s an acceptable exception.
Consider this: A professional athlete removes his garments for practice and games. Because he spends a significant portion of his day “working,” he’s out of his garments for that time, which may consist of several hours per day. During the pre-season with multiple workouts per day he may spend the vast majority of the day out of his garments. Yet, again, because this is an acceptable exception, he thinks nothing of it, and everyone else accepts it as well.
I could go on and on citing exception after exception. However, the idea of exceptions is totally contrary to the Standard of Truth, for the Standard of Truth requires that there can be no exceptions.
Consequently, the fact is that, if we take a literal interpretation, virtually no one can honestly say they wear their garments at all times, which is what “night and day” refers to. If anyone removes their physical garment for any reason, they have not worn their garments at all times, even if the time spent out of their garments is a few seconds.
Therefore, according to a literal interpretation, everyone violates this instruction to wear the garment “night and day.”
What ramifications would this have for those being interviewed for temple recommends? How can they honestly answer the garment question according to a literal interpretation of scripture?
On the other hand, if we take a symbolic interpretation, we can wear our “spiritual garment”—our robe of righteousness, our clothing of glory—at all times regardless of how we dress or undress our bodies. We can be perfectly nude and still wear our “garment.”
Of course, another primary argument of the “nudity is evil” proponents is that because the body is sacred, God wants it covered. Is this true?