91: Garments, Part 1

This is part 1 of a series about garments, where Denver discusses temple garments, wedding garments, and other clothing as mentioned in the scriptures.


Marriage was the first ordinance, it was introduced before the Fall, and it was introduced before man was instructed on sacrifice. Go back to the Book of Moses in chapter 4, verse 27. This is after they had transgressed, but before they had been sent out of the Garden: “Unto Adam, and also unto his wife, did I, the Lord God, make coats of skins, and clothed them.” [Now it’s important that, while the account sometimes refers to Adam by meaning both Adam and Eve, in this case, it was necessary for a clarification to be made. The garment that was given unto them to clothe their nakedness, is also referred to in the temple, as the garment of the Holy Priesthood. God wants the record to be clear: “Unto Adam, and also unto his wife, did I, the Lord God, make coats of skins, and clothed them.” Therefore Adam was not clothed and then told, “You go and do this and clothe your wife,” God clothed them both. God did not expect Adam to intercede when it comes to the clothing of the woman who had been given him. God treated her as if she too were about to embark upon the journey into mortality that would require her likewise to understand the principle of sacrifice. Think about it for one moment. You learn that they practiced sacrifice thereafter, but when were they taught the principle of sacrifice? They were taught about sacrifice at this moment, when they were clothed in the skins of an animal. The animal gave its life to cover them.]

There are legends about this event. They show up in a variety of ways, they even show up in mythical characters. These legends are about the animal chosen by God to be slain as the first sacrifice. A choice had to be made for the sacrifice, in order to clothe them with the skins of an animal. I rather like the theme of many of those, which is is that when the animals were brought to Adam, and he named them, there were some he really liked more. But there was one particular animal he liked above all the rest. It was that animal, and that animal’s consort, who were slain in order to provide the clothing for Adam and Eve. So Adam and his wife Eve could understand the principle of sacrifice came at an enormous price. So the animal was no longer left in this sphere, having been slain while yet in the Garden, to provide the coats. It was this great loss which was used to drive home the point about the sacrifice required in order to clothe the nakedness of the man and the woman. To “cover their shame” there was a great price to be paid.

That first sacrifice was performed in the Garden, before they were driven out. It brought such sadness in verse 27 of chapter 4, that occurred before they were driven out of the Garden. But sacrifice was simply a commandment to repeat the process. Adam and Eve then did as they were commanded. It was some time later, many days later –and “many days” is not defined—before this was explained. It appears to me from the context as we go further, that “many days” in this context means “many years.” In fact, it means more than “many years,” it means “generations.” There are many generations of their descendants alive on the earth before the explanation of why they were offering sacrifices is finally provided. And you’re impatient. And you want to know more, and you want to know it now. And you don’t think that God tries the patience of all those to whom He will eventually come to comfort. 

So reading between the lines of the Old Testament (because the record doesn’t make it clear), we can assume that the garment that was given to Adam in the beginning was handed down through each of those, just like the records were handed down through each of those; and it was that garment that came into the possession of Joseph that the jealous brothers took and destroyed—well, damaged; a remnant of it remained, all of which proved to be an allegory to what history would show about that family.

We don’t know if, at the time of destroying the relic of the garment, they destroyed the relic of the records of the fathers, because the record is silent about that. But it’s pretty clear that if they couldn’t share in the prize, if they couldn’t ​share in the artifact, if they couldn’t share (and from their perspective, this is probably the correct way to categorize it) in the ​talisman—

See, when Abraham received the records of the fathers, he got it from his father who was an idolater. He regarded those records as nothing more than a talisman, a good luck charm. Abraham regarded it as something different, and he worshipped the God of Heaven, and through them he connected to the God of Heaven. Well, the brothers who were jealous of this passing down of a relic (that’s more “talisman” than “meaningful source of inspiration and knowledge about God”) may well have destroyed it. They may have ​copied it; there may have been other versions of it that were made available or parts of it, if they were interested in it. But I think the original of that may, just like the garment that was given to Adam, have been destroyed at that point.

We’re reading in the Joseph Smith ​Testimony [History], look at the next verse: ​While I was thus in the act of calling upon God… ​In the act ​of calling upon God! If you are in the right way, with the right faith, looking for the right answers, you don’t even get to finish the sentence. God knows what ye have need of even before you ask. It’s in the Sermon on the Mount. Christ tells you that. That horrible aching, that longing, that hollowness, that emptiness within you is what Christ was designed to fill. That’s His purpose in coming to His temple.

So while he ​was in the act of calling upon God, [he] discovered a light appearing in [his] room, which continued to increase until the room was lighter than at noonday, when immediately a personage appeared at my bedside, standing in the air, for his feet did not touch the [ground]​. As an interesting aside, I want to ask the question: Why? Why did Moroni stand in the air with his feet not touching the ground? It’s an interesting topic we’re not going to talk about here. It’s off subject; it won’t get us Zion anyway, but there’s “stuff” here.

Oh, and look at this:

He had on a loose robe of most exquisite whiteness. It was a whiteness beyond anything earthly I had ever seen; nor do I believe that any earthly thing could be made to appear so exceedingly white and brilliant. His hands were naked, … his arms also, a little above the wrist; so, also, were his feet naked, as were his legs, a little above the ankles. His head and neck were also bare. I could discover that he had no other clothing on but this robe, … it was open, so that I could see into his bosom.

Notice this. This is not ceremonial garb, as a consequence of which I can tell you that it’s okay to be buried without temple regalia, because you’re not going be wearing that stuff in the resurrection anyway (if you inherit what the angels of God, including Moroni—who is certainly exalted—wear).

You can read about the description of what Christ wears in the scriptures, as well. Ceremonial garb is just that—it is ceremonial garb. It is designed to teach you about the creation, to endow you with certain knowledge about the process of being exalted. But it is not the attire that you’ll see on the streets of heaven. I actually think… I think they look Egyptian. I think their attire looks Egyptian, but that’s neither here nor there.

This is a guy who was wearing only a robe. It’s not ceremonial. He doesn’t have shoes on his feet. He doesn’t have a bonnet on. He doesn’t have a variety of things that we would associate with ceremonial dress. You can read a description of Christ’s attire in 3 Nephi 11:8, and the description there is very much like the description that we have here—Christ and Moroni wearing the same kind of thing. And then, hey, just for the fun of it, let’s go back to Exodus 28.

Exodus 28. I want to revert back to my Cecil B. Demille-esque stuff:

And these are the garments which they shall make; a breastplate, and an ephod, and a robe, and a broidered coat, a mitre, and a girdle: and they shall make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, and his sons, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office. And they shall take gold, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen… ​(vs. 4-5)

…and yellow and green and purple and orange and mauve and… I’m sorry. You can read it; it’s in here. Ooh, the ​ouches of gold and ​the chains of pure gold (vs. 13-14). I mean, he dresses you in funny attire, okay? God goes through the ceremonial attire, and he dresses you up, and the purpose of the dress is ceremonial to communicate to you, ​through symbolism​, knowledge about certain things. But they are not an end; they are a symbol. Six days of creation: six articles of clothing, each one of which can be associated with one of the days of creation. Therefore, as you enter through the veil, it is as if the entirety of all creation is redeemed in your person. You represent salvation for the entirety of creation, because in you, should you be able to be rescued, creation itself continues. These are symbols. They communicate to the mind ideas—ideas that are eternal. They are not ends in themselves.

Well, keep that in mind, because you’re here to be trained. You’re here to learn something. You’re here to learn about the power of godliness. And by “here,” I don’t mean this room tonight, although I think that is certainly true. I’m talking about this lifetime in which you find yourself—this place, this terrible fallen world, this glorious opportunity in which sacrifice is actually possible. You don’t avoid it, and you don’t necessarily seek it out. But when it comes upon you, you face it down bravely. And you stand where God places you. And you don’t let any ​man ​move you from where it is that God would have you be, because therein lies salvation. You’re obeying a law ordained before the foundation of the world. You can’t lay hold upon such blessings, unless you obey the law upon which it is predicated. There will always be, in absolute numbers, only a few who will find that straight and narrow path. There will be an overflowing abundance of those who will fight against it. Because ​they serve ​their ​master. You don’t have time to worry about them. You serve yours. And that Master needs to be Christ. 

In D&C 45 verse 16 He says: “And I will show it plainly as I showed it unto my disciples as I stood before them in the flesh, and spake unto them, saying: As ye have asked of me concerning the signs of my coming, in the day when I shall come in my glory in the clouds of heaven, to fulfil the promises that I have made unto your fathers.” This is how He intends to return. He will come “in His glory in the clouds” to fulfill the promises.

Go to D&C 49 beginning at verse 22: “And again, verily I say unto you, that the Son of Man cometh not in the form of a woman, neither of a man traveling on the earth. Wherefore, be not deceived, but continue in steadfastness, looking forth for the heavens to be shaken, and the earth to tremble and to reel to and fro as a drunken man, and for the valleys to be exalted, and for the mountains to be made low, and for the rough places to become smooth—and all this when the angel shall sound his trumpet.” This is how He promises to come. It will not be as a man traveling on the earth. In His present state of ascent that would be problematic. He has “attained to the resurrection” and therefore any further descent into mortality is no longer possible.

He may send messengers walking as men on the earth. He may send people to say something from Him. But when He returns He will do so in glory.

In Section 133, beginning at 46 we read: “And it shall be said: Who is this that cometh down from God in heaven with dyed garments; yea, from the regions which are not known, clothed in his glorious apparel, traveling in the greatness of his strength? And he shall say: I am he who spake in righteousness, mighty to save. And the Lord shall be red in his apparel, and his garments like him that treadeth in the wine–vat.”

I should add parenthetically, that His apparel is red, period. He will be clothed in red, period. I do not correct other people’s “prophecies” because I have not been asked to do so. Therefore I remain silent. But I can tell you that if someone tell you of a vision that varies from this description, I will add my voice to Joseph’s. When He appears, His apparel will be red.

Now I want to refer to a verse, and refer to this verse in the context of the temple. Apply these words solely and exclusively for a moment to the temple. ​“Do not expect to eat the bread or wear the garment of the laborer in Zion.”9 If you oppose the work, if you stay your hand, if you refuse and others do the labor, don’t expect to eat the bread or wear the garment.

Now here’s a sober moment that I want to remind you about, which need not continue. Go to Ether chapter 12. This is Moroni as he is completing the translation of the Jaredite record his father said would be included as part of his father’s book, the Book of Mormon. But his father did not translate that record. So Moroni translated it and included within the Book of Mormon. And as he is wrapping up his translation he includes a dialogue between himself and Christ. It is a very sobering dialogue in Ether chapter 12 beginning verse 36: “And it came to pass that I [this is I Moroni, the translator, this isn’t Ether, this is Moroni’s interlude] prayed unto the Lord that he would give unto the Gentiles grace, that they might have charity. And it came to pass that the Lord said unto me: If they have not charity it mattereth not unto thee, thou hast been faithful; wherefore, thy garments shall be made clean. And because thou hast seen thy weakness thou shalt be made strong, even unto the sitting down in the place which I have prepared in the mansions of my Father. And now I, Moroni, bid farewell unto the Gentiles.”

Do you see what happened in the exchange? Moroni begged the Lord to give unto the Gentiles, grace. And the Lord says, “It doesn’t matter to you if I do not give the Gentiles grace.” Christ did not give Moroni what he asked for! He would not promise that the Gentiles would receive grace! The Lord could not do that, because it would abrogate both the law (grace for grace), and our agency, because we are free to choose. Therefore, the Gentiles inherited the Restoration with no promise from Christ to Moroni, that those who would receive this record would receive grace of God. That is dependent upon you.]

“And now I, Moroni, bid farewell unto the Gentiles, yea, and also unto my brethren whom I love, until we shall meet before the judgment–seat of Christ, where all men shall know that my garments are not spotted with your blood. And then shall ye know that I have seen Jesus, and that he hath talked with me face to face, and that he told me in plain humility, even as a man telleth another in mine own language, concerning these things.” [This is that Lord who, when you pass through the thunderings and lightnings, you will speak with. He talks in plain humility. It is not His position to cause fear in your heart, but to bring to you comfort. His purpose is not to leave your comfortless, but to come and comfort you.18 It’s you that imposes the barrier. It’s you that brings the fear. That is rightly so, because we ought to fear. But what we should fear is our own weakness and our own sins. Our greatest sin is our ignorance.]

“And only a few have I written, because of my weakness in writing. And now, I would commend you…[this is Moroni commending us, the Gentiles, who are going to receive this book] …I would commend you to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written, that the grace of God the Father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of them, may be and abide in you forever.” [He first asked for grace to be given. God cannot give it and therefore would not promise it. Then he turned to us and he asks, “You Gentiles, please, seek for His grace, it cannot otherwise be given you.” The Book of Mormon’s assessment of us is sober indeed. The foolish arrogance with which we read that book blinds us to our predicament.]

The plea from Moroni to us is to, “seek for grace.” It is through grace we obtain charity. It is through charity we are able to bless others. Because the fact of the matter is you cannot bless anyone or hold that priesthood primarily designed to minister blessings and not cursings, unless you have charity for others. This is never given unless you are willing to do things you would rather not do, thereby offering a sacrifice to God. You do not get trusted by God to hold this honor unless you are willing to subordinate your will to the will of the Father. It is the purpose of the Father, and the purpose behind His higher priesthood, to bless all of His offspring. Therefore, it is only through grace you can acquire what you need to be of use to God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ. 

So when Christ begins his planting He’s actually a restorer of an earlier religion. Instead of this being something altogether revolutionary and new, Christ was a restorer. He was an antiquarian. He was bringing back something which once had been. He was trying to get people to understand. See, the religion that Moses was trying to restore was originally significantly greater than the one that he wound up restoring because the people were unwilling to accept the earlier version so those things were broken, destroyed, discarded, and a new innovation was established through Moses the great law giver, who gave a law of lesser performances, observances, rites in order to point forward to something else that would be coming so that maybe when that something else, when it came, could explain to them what the law was intended to have them observe. The paschal lamb that occurs where the blood on the lentil on the door post saves you from the destroying angel is a type of Christ because Christ’s blood will save you from destruction. The rites involving the shedding of blood in the courtyard of either the tabernacle or later the temple was designed to be a propitiation, a form of paying the debt for sin. The wages of sin are death. Therefore, it’s necessary that death be demonstrated through the sacrifice of animals in order to have your mind pointed forward to some great sacrifice whose effect will be saving you from sin. In the courtyard of either the tabernacle or in the temple, when you sacrifice animals and you spill their blood by cutting the neck and letting the blood flow out, blood gets all over the ground; it gets tracked, it gets splashed, it gets upon you. And prophets use this analogy of blood and sins, and blood on your garments and shaking the blood off of your garments as an analogy that’s based upon the effect of performing the law of Moses, which itself is intended to point you to Christ. And Christ demonstrated, by His teachings and actions, that He fully understood that was what was happening, and that was who He was and what His role was. When Christ knelt to wash the feet of the disciples, one of the things that washing feet in that culture accomplished was cleansing the blood off the feet, that was tracked everywhere when you got near the courtyards of the temple, in order to show that they were unaccountable for sin. He was removing from them the guilt that the blood was intended to exhibit. 

Question: This is decidedly limited in what is appropriate to be said, but the question is about: Since Christ came to fulfill the law, and the practice of animal sacrifice was done away with, and what we’re to offer is a ​contrite broken heart and a contrite spirit as a sacrifice, and animal sacrifice was a type to teach the people of the coming Messiah—He fulfilled that. Why would animal sacrifice be reinstated?

Answer: OK, as— I don’t want to get out ahead of where we are at this point, but let me say, it will be done for entirely appropriate purposes that will be perfectly satisfactory to the understanding of those that are involved. It’s not gonna be some kind of temple-turned- slaughterhouse. It’s not gonna be a production line in which the hems of your garments (and the blood shaking from the hems of your garment) becomes a cliché because of the abundance of the flowing of blood in the courtyards of the temple of Solomon and later the temple of Herod. It will be decidedly confined, limited, for purposes that will be adequately understood by those who, on the rare occasions when that practice is reinstated, participate, witness. But I think that’s all that can be said. You won’t be disappointed. 

The Gospel is delicious. Get rid of that stale wretched stuff you consume as part of an organized and stifled herd, and go on to find the Life, the Light, and the vigor contained in the words of scripture. The doctrine in our scriptures is delicious! Stop putting barriers around the scriptures. Stop forcing them to mean what you have been told they must mean. Let them tell you what they say without your preconceptions distorting their meaning. There is no rigid “orthodoxy” that governs or correlates their meaning. You will discover they are filled with a new religion altogether. In that religion God is speaking to you directly. He is alive, and He is involved in your life. If you will partake of it and prepare yourself, you can improve this estate in a way that will reflect credit into the next estate. Don’t forfeit the opportunity.

Thus they become high priests forever.” They become high priests, and when they have exercised faith and shown good works that status lasts forever. They qualified before the foundation of this world. They come here, into this cycle, and they have authority here. But their authority began before the foundation of this world, and they can confer blessings that will continue into the next life. Therefore they can bless and you are blessed indeed.

“Thus they become high priests forever, after the order of the Son, the Only Begotten of the Father, who is without beginning of days or end of years, who is full of grace, equity, and truth. And thus it is. Amen. Now, as I said concerning the holy order, or this high priesthood, there were many who were ordained and became high priests of God; and it was on account of their exceeding faith and repentance, and their righteousness before God, they choosing to repent and work righteousness rather than to perish; Therefore they were called after this holy order, and were sanctified, and their garments were washed white through the blood of the Lamb.” 

You say you want to be baptized and to be cleansed from all sin? I say have at it! But in addition, the “prototype of the saved man” requires that you do something in addition. You may only achieve a limited amount of grace in this life, but to that limited amount of grace you must hold fast. You cannot receive more if you will not receive what is offered to you now. But if you will receive what is offered now, you will be added upon. 

None of us is spared from mutual failure. We are not Zion. We will never be Zion if we do not repent. All of us must repent, turn to face God with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy, or we will not establish godly peace among us.

The Answer to the Prayer for Covenant and the Covenant are the beginning blueprint. That blueprint teaches the need to be better people. Following it is more challenging than reciting it. No one can learn what is required ​without doing​. Working together is the only way a society can grow together. No isolated spiritual mystic is going to be prepared for Zion through his solitary personal devotions. Personal devotion is necessary, of course, but the most pious hermit will collide with the next pious hermit when they are required to share and work together in a society of equals having all things in common. Do not pretend it will be otherwise. Failing to do the hard work outlined in the covenant is failing to prepare for Zion. It’s failing to have oil in the lamp. It’s failing to put upon you the wedding garment.

If you think you are one of the five virgins who will be invited in when the bridegroom arrives and have never attempted to obey the Lord’s commandments, you will find yourself left outside when the door is shut. If you come from the highways and byways without a wedding garment because you failed to keep the covenant, you’ll be excluded. 

There is work to be done. Almost all of it is internal to us. The five prepared virgins and the strangers who brought a wedding garment will be those who keep the covenant. It is designed to give birth to a new society, new culture, and permit a new civilization to be founded. 

The foregoing are excerpts taken from:

  • Denver’s 40 Years in Mormonism Series, Talk #9 entitled “Marriage and Family” given in St. George, UT on July 26th, 2014
  • The Denver Snuffer Podcast, episode 60 entitled “The Third Root,” released March 10, 2019
  • Denver’s 40 Years in Mormonism Series, Talk #1 entitled “Be of Good Cheer” given in Boise, ID on September 10th, 2013
  • Denver’s 40 Years in Mormonism Series, Talk #7 entitled “Christ, Prototype of the Saved Man” given in Ephraim, UT on June 28, 2014
  • Denver’s conference talk entitled “Things to Keep Us Awake at Night” given in St. George, UT on March 19th, 2017
  • Denver’s 40 Years in Mormonism Series, Talk #8 entitled “A Broken Heart and Contrite Spirit” given in Las Vegas, NV on July 25th, 2014
  • Denver’s Christian Reformation Lecture Series, Talk #4 given in Sandy, Utah on September 7, 2018
  • Denver’s conference talk entitled “Civilization”, given in Grand Junction, CO on April 21, 2019; and
  • The Q&A Session following that talk on the same day.