8 Threads of the Garments of the Priesthood

“And there, in the Garden, said I unto them: I wash thee preparatory to your receiving your anointings, that you may become clean from the blood and sins of this generation.” -Book of Remembrance 10:1

When one enters the ministry they are ordained to the priesthood. Their feet are washed by the leader of the group they are joining. And, they receive their Initiatories; they are washed and anointed. Our heads, ears, eyes, nose, mouth, neck, shoulders, back, vitals and bowels, arms, hands, loins, legs, and feet are washed and anointed. We are then, being clean, given the Garments of the Priesthood. These Garments represent the Garments given to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. In the Book of Remembrance, the Lord God sends Raphael to teach us the deeper symbolism of the Garments (See Book of Remembrance 13:1-7).

Hear the Word of the Lord

“And the first thread of the Garments of the Priesthood harmonizes with the ears; thus do not be deceived by hearing lies, nor hear the ending of the Word.” -Book of Remembrance 13:9

The Sefirot, Chakra, and the Five Graces all correspond with various body parts. In these, the ears are left out.  This is rectified in the Threads of the Garments. This puts hearing the Word of God first in importance to the ministry. As ministers it is our duty to teach God’s Word; to love God and love our neighbors. To do this we hear God’s Word. We must avoid deception. We must be in tune, spiritually, with God. By doing this we will enter Israel, or Yashar-El: the straight path to God. To know the path we must listen to the voice of the Lord. (See Book of Remembrance 13:8-10)

Behold the Glory of God

“The second thread of the Garments of the Priesthood harmonizes with the eyes; thus shalt thou see by raising up the eyes.” -Book of Remembrance 13:12

On the Tree of Life the eyes represent the Divine Masculine, Da’at (knowledge) and the Divine Feminine, Chokhmah (wisdom). Raphael teaches us to cast our eyes towards Keter, the crown of God, and salvation. As ministers we must seek revelation and inspiration from God to truly understand God’s will. Intellect alone is not enough. If we are to teach others to develop a relationship with God, we must first have a deep and meaningful relationship with God ourselves. As we develop this relationship our eyes are opened and in a very real way we will see God. (See Book of Remembrance 13:11-15)

Smell the Sweet Offerings of the Lord

“The third thread of the Garments of the Priesthood harmonizes with the nose. Let thy nose… smell the sweet scents of the Sabbath.” -Book of Remembrance 13:17-18

Like the ears, the nose is not represented in the Sefirot, Chakra, and the Five Graces. Smell helps us, in the mortal world, sense a great number of things. For example, one can tell the difference between the smell of a cooking meal and a dangerous fire. Likewise, we must avoid the sickly sweet sent of idolatry. Sin may “smell” safe and sweet, but anything that takes us away from God hinders both our spiritual progress and our ability to minister effectively to others.

Look at the example of Alma’s son, Shiblon. Shiblon was on a mission to the Zoramites and there he committed the “most abominable above all sins, save it be the shedding of innocent blood or denying the Holy Ghost” (Alma 19:7 RAV, 39:5 OPV). He followed the smell of idolatry to the harlot Isabel. This made teaching the Gospel to the people harder as they saw him as a hypocrite. Hypocrisy leads seekers and even disciples away from God, and this is why Alma deems it such a grievous sin. As minsters of the Lord God we must avoid such hypocrisy and stay with the sweet smells of the Lord’s offerings. (See Book of Remembrance 13:16-18)

Speak Forth God’s Praise

“The fourth thread of the Garments of the Priesthood harmonizes with the mouth. Have patience; let the tongue not speak words out of anger.” -Book of Remembrance 13:20-21

The Vishuddhi chakra and its associated Grace, Joy, correspond with the mouth and throat; and correspond with the fourth and fifth threads of the Garments of the Priesthood. As a Garment of the Priesthood, we are reminded to watch what leaves our mouths. Raphael teaches us to keep our oaths and covenants, not to take the name of the Lord in vain. As disciples and ministers of Christ we have taken His name upon us. When we act as hypocrites we take His name in vain. More than this, he teaches us to let the Holy Spirit be our bridal. We should remember the Sabbath, Hebrew for, among other things, rest. We learn patience when we rest our tongues. While unclean things may pollute us, Jesus taught that it is what leaves our mouths that defile us (Matthew 15:11). Rather than letting anger contaminate and control us, we must speak God’s Word, and praise. (See Book of Remembrance 13:19-24)

Bear up Thine Head

“The fifth thread of the Garments of the Priesthood harmonizes with the throat. Do not swallow any abominations, but maketh to eat unleavened bread, which is to say, only in righteousness and moderation.” -Book of Remembrance 13:26-27

The Garments of the Priesthood split the Vishuddhi chakra and its associated Grace, Joy in two, so to speak. While these represent both the mouth and throat, the fourth and fifth threads of the Garments of the Priesthood represent the mouth and throat respectively. While Raphael teaches us to watch what comes from our mouths in the fourth thread, he teaches us to watch what we “swallow” in the fifth. The Torah teaches us to eat no “unclean” animals. In Kabbalah we understand animals to represent our more fully developed desires. The head should stay upright by balance, and this is what Raphael teaches us. We are told to bear up our heads and to do all things in righteousness and moderation. If we are to stand upright before the Lord, we must stand firm in Him. (See Book of Remembrance 13:25-27)

Wield the Sword of Justice

“The sixth thread of the Garments of the Priesthood harmonizes with the hands. Do not lay the hand in sin and do not steal, but take hold of the Word of God.” -Book of Remembrance 13:29-30

On the Tree of Life, the Sefirot Gevurah (Justice) and Chesed (Mercy) are the hands. These represent the Holy Spirit on the left and Jesus Christ as the right hand of God. Raphael teaches us in preparation to receive our Endowments how to use the signs and tokens we will be given. Rather than grasping towards sin, the illusions of this world that we cannot hold onto, we are told to take hold of the Word of God. He tells us to open the temple doors with these.

What temple of God? Remember, there are four temples: the body, the home, the House of God, and the Heavenly or Spiritual temple. The signs and tokens made by the hands help empower us with God’s Endowment from upon High. This gives us the strength to minister using the Sword of Justice. What is this sword? Paul calls it the sword of the Spirit (the Holy Spirit is represented by Gevurah), and explains that it is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17). Only with God’s justice and mercy can we wield the sword of God. (See Book of Remembrance 13:28-31)

Be Fruitful and Multiply

“The seventh thread of the Garments of the Priesthood harmonizes with the loins. Do not commit adultery, but to thy house be true.” -Book of Remembrance 13:33-34

The Sefirot Tif’eret, the chakra Svadhisthana and the Grace Peace all tie together with this seventh thread. And, seven is a sacred number. We are told to be fruitful and multiply, but what does this mean? In the Book of Remembrance all those converted to the Gospel are known as the children of Adam and Eve (Book of Remembrance 18:5). Those seekers and disciples the Lord sends to us are our posterity. Missionary work is key to God’s work. It is our duty to “raise” them in righteousness. We should have joy in those converted to the Lord, worshiping together as one. (See Book of Remembrance 13:32-37)

Be Swift in the Paths of Righteousness and Truth

“And the eighth thread of the Garments of the Priesthood harmonizes with the feet. Thus, do not walk about after strange gods and thou shalt not stumble and fall.” -Book of Remembrance 13:39-40

The feet are represented on the Tree of Life as the Sefirot Hod (Glory) and Netzach (Eternity). Raphael teaches us to walk in the footsteps of YHVH, as we saw Jesus walk in the footsteps of the Father (John 5:19). There are many paths in this world, but only one that leads to God (see Psalms 5:8 ; 1 Nephi 2:44-69 RAV, 8:5-24 OPV, 4:38-40 RAV, 15:23-24 OPV; Avahr 3). As we hold to the iron rod in Lehi’s dream we can extend our hands to seekers, disciples, and fellow ministers helping them, through the voice of the Spirit, to stay on the path. Always remember that walking in Christ’s footsteps is to stand on holy ground, wherever we may be. (See Book of Remembrance 13:38-42)

The Body of Christ

“Greet the Church that is in their house.” -Romans 16:5a

As ministers of Christ we represent Him here upon the Earth. This makes us not only his servants, but the servants of the Church. Who or what is the Church? The Church is the Body of Christ upon the earth. We are the Bride, Christ is the Groom. The word “church” comes from the Greek “ekklesia,” meaning “assembly.” The Church is not a building, a denomination, or a set of ideologies, but a people. We serve the head of this body, Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:22–23). As ministers of Christ we must keep these eight threads of the Garments of the Priesthood in our hearts always. To love God is to love our neighbors. And so in service to both God and the Church we obey and live the Law. (See Book of Remembrance 13:43-48)

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