September 2, 2012
Upon reading the Sunday paper I found the topic of my next essay.
This is not a rant but merely an observation.
Robert A. Rees, a practicing Mormon and Professor of Theological Studies at a private college, takes on the skeptics and satirists in his Opinion piece, No Joke: Mormon rite may seem strange, but garment wear is sacred.
Not secret but Sacred!
So- he goes on to state that this wearing of undergarments is supposed to bring the wearer into a closer relationship with his deity, and reminds all adherents that they are to do good, and behave themselves.
As I read that article I was reminded of the conversation among former Mormon women who wanted to discuss the garments in conjunction whether they should be worn next to the skin and with a brassiere over the garment, or garment over bra.
These garments serve as an identifier of Who is Good and who has been naughty, as there is the famous Garment Feelup during Sunday services, where men can slap another on the back and feel the tee-shirt line under the white shirt.
Women can be checked for Proper Garment Wear when they dress in frumpy long skirts, long sleeve blouses and baggy knee length “shorts”.
This peculiar piece of under wear serves as an identifier and gang color.
The other clothing items that were mentioned in the article included yarmulke, (Jewish) turban, (Sikh) elaborate robes (Catholic priests) and various examples from the Bible.
None of these articles of clothing protected the wearers from harm, as some Mormons have been known to claim, but to the contrary, often signaled that a target for hate crimes was present.
I used to walk in a New York neighborhood where shrines to the Virgin Mary were in front yards like garden gnomes in Harry Potter stories.
I was thinking that this custom could be dangerous in that it signified a certain religious membership, and would have provided a handy marker for a drive by shooting or Molotov Cocktail. In some neighborhoods that has been known to happen.
Scarves for Muslim women are being banned in France, and this has caused much uproar in the press. Turbaned Sikhs have been attacked in the mistaken idea that they were Muslim terrorists. The Jews had to wear yellow stars to set them apart for culling.
Hats are banned at schools in San Diego, because they are a symbol of gang membership and a disruption to the class room order. I witnessed the near riot that this ban caused complete with S.W.A.T. team and hovering police helicopters.
Clothing has historically been used to set people and tribes apart: witness the banning of the Tartan after the battle of Culloden.
In this day and age of instant information via the internet, we can find all about anybody’s style and meaning of clothing, so there is nothing really secret anymore.
The Mormons took their secret Temple robe styles from the Masons, as the founder, Joseph Smith was a member of the Masonic order at one time.
Photos of these styles, complete with green apron and baker’s hat are readily available in living color on You Tube as are the modeling of the under garments.
Once something has been revealed to the mass public, it is no linger secret and hardly sacred, as the sacredness depends on the items being held in private.
I should think that wearing identifiable items of clothing would not be wise if a person would wish to remain anonymous looking, but the call of the tribe and demands of the cult customs make this impossible.
So go on people, wave that red flag! Set yourself apart! Identify your religion, your ethnicity, your political party, but keep the Magnum .357 handy.