The Ancient Garment Check

 “I mean, I feel like it should take longer than 2 hours before you feel like its normal for you to put your mouth parts onto another stranger’s mouth parts. Right?”

leg touch     

I came home from my mission early. It was…. to put it plainly… the absolute worst. It was my fault. I just wasn’t ready. And it overwhelmed me and I felt like a fraud. But that’s not the worst part. The worst part is the walk of shame when you come home. That first Sunday back at church, less than a year after you just did your big send off speech about all the souls you were going to go save. Oh boy. Its a doozy. You can actually hear people’s eyes accusing you of getting someone pregnant in the country you served in. You can feel people wondering how much porn you were watching when your mission president caught you. Its the worst. Especially when none of those things are true. But there is no sense in explaining it. You just put your head down and quietly go inactive so that you don’t have to see these people anymore. So that’s what I did. But,after a while, I picked myself up, dusted myself off and decided to move out to Utah and find my way back.

 

When I was just barely getting back into Jesus life after a long time away, I had a recurring experience while dating women that came as a real surprise. This was a brand new world I had just entered, the world of “respectable dating”. You know, like where you ask a girl out face-to-face, as a man speaketh with another, and then you go on a formal date and talk? Instead of just looking at a girl and saying “Thats pretty I want that” and then figuring out a way to get “that”?

 

 

So I would go on these dates. And it was really great. I love good conversation, so often times I came away from the evening stimulated and having learned a lot about someone else and about myself. For about the first year or two of this new clean very Mormon life I was leading, I never once had a kiss on a first date. Which I was pretty proud of at the time. I was the model of a perfect gentleman I guess?

I mean, I feel like it should take longer than 2 hours before you feel like its normal for you to put your mouth parts onto another stranger’s mouth parts. Right?

So I never had that first date first kiss experience. However, I did have a different experience. And this was the one that surprised me.

I would say about 50% of the women who I went on dates with during that time, at some point during the night, knowing that I came home from my mission early and knowing that I was recently inactive, would find a way to gently caress one of my thighs, from the knee to about half way up toward my hip until they found what they were looking for.

If you’re not following me and your head is in the gutter, then I’ll explain.

They were doing a “garment check”. For those of you reading this who are not familiar with Mormonism, here’s what garments are: underwear that Mormons who regularly go to the temple wear. They wear them all the time (except when like working out, and in the case of most Mormons these days, when you are doing anything remotely physical where there is a chance you might break a sweat, and for the brunch, shopping, and movie after that, until you take a shower at night before bed) and to the trained eye its pretty easy to spot someone who is wearing them. They symbolize a covenant made with God in the temple and are worn as a reminder and as a statement of holiness and commitment.

Now…what’s a garment check do you ask? That’s when a girl thinks that you definitely must be a bad person because you came home from your mission early and she wants physical proof so she acts like you said something funny at some point in the night, usually while you’re driving, reaches over, grabs your leg and just gives you a nice friendly pet. The garment comes down and stops close to the top of your knee and it has a noticeable seam. So if its there, she’ll feel it. When those girls did that to me, and they felt nothing, as you could imagine… I got no second date.

she touched my leg

Its unfortunate. As for the girls, well, they found guys who were holier than me and now they’re all mostly married. For me, I got to the point where I felt comfortable wearing the garment again and ironically started being around girls who couldn’t care less. It all works out.

Here is the only unfortunate thing that lingers from that experience. Whenever I think about covenants, this whole garment check thing is what I think of first. Which is really sad.

This past Sunday, we talked about covenants. Specifically the covenants made with Abraham and his servant. Genesis 24: 2-3 says:

“And Abraham said to his servant, the oldest of his house, who had charge of all that he had,

“Put your hand under my thigh,

and I will make you swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and of the earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell…”

giphy

I had girls putting their hands on my thigh to see if they were in danger of marrying one of “the Canaanites” that Abraham is speaking of here. They wanted to make sure that they weren’t getting into a relationship with a heathen, one who was not of the covenant that they were a part of, someone who would slowly coax them into hell with his boxer briefs!

Abraham here is basically doing the same thing. He has been through a lot to make sure that his family is favored of God and that they remain pure and obedient to God’s commandments. That type of lifestyle becomes nearly impossible to maintain when you start bringing outside influences into it (For reference on this phenomenon, see: your own damn life when you try and have a holy Sabbath but also own a cell phone and a TV), especially if those influences are romantic and sexual. So having one of his sons marry an outsider was about the quickest way to destroy all that he had built. So he makes his servant absolutely swear that he won’t let it happen.

Back then, grabbing each other’s junk while you swore to each other was a normal practice. Its written about and found on almost all ancient cultures present around the time that Abraham was written about. In fact, the word testes in Latin is the same word used for “witness“. It makes sense. This is the place on Abraham’s body that literally contained the fulfillment of the promise/covenant made with him and God. This is where his seed was. And it was of utmost importance for his son to marry in the covenant to ensure that the promise was fulfilled.

Abraham wanted his servant to really feel the weight of that promise… figuratively and literally.

Now no one does that anymore but its funny to me that things like this are still sort of  happening.

Anywhere where there is a covenant people I guess you’ll find physical manifestations of their dedication to those covenants.

Whether you’re holding onto the genitals of your master while he makes you swear you won’t find his son a floozy to marry, or you’re a girl who just wants to make sure that the guy she thinks is cute and funny is also going to be dedicated to raising her children in a covenant focused home, we can be sure that most humans have always and will always be capable of taking promises seriously. And even though I’ll be teaching my daughters better manners than that, the lesson is not lost on me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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