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Death and Garments

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I'm attending a funeral and I got a few questions.

If someone was baptised and endowed but somewhere along the line becomes inactive (however, never committing any serious sins but maybe was a coffee drinker) and then dies - is he or she still fit to wear garments before burial? And who makes this decision? In a slightly different aspect, what if a person was baptised/endowed and their only fault was not attending church. Is this individual considered worthy to wear garments at their funeral?

Personal experience. My grandfather was both baptised and endowed, however, inactive for most of his life. When he died, the family literally fought over whether he should or shouldn't be dressed in garments, and not because of the "worthy" factor but because some of the children were LDS members and some of the children were not LDS members. He died over ten years ago and I don't recall who won that battle but I remember it was a big sour deal. Three of his children wanted to dress him in garments, and the other three were very very opposed to it. What does the church recommend in a situation like that?

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How sad to be fighting over underwear at such an occasion.

I do not have an authoritative answer, but my understanding is that if the person could wear the garment in life, s/he should be dressed in it after death. Inactives can (and should) still wear the garment -- assuming they have been endowed, of course. My understanding is that all forms of Church discipline short of excommunication still allow the endowed member to wear the garment. So if the person was an endowed LDS member, s/he should be dressed in the garment at death.

I'm sorry your grandfather did not leave instruction in this matter. What a terrible time to have such a fight.

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The only qualifications I've found in Handbook 2 are that the deceased member was endowed (i.e, here: )

Where possible, deceased members who were endowed should be buried in temple clothing.

However, I'd think this is mostly a family matter. Your bishop might be the better person to ask, though.

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Note that LittleWyvern's quote of the Handbook was even more specific than just the temple garment. "Temple clothing" includes the ceremonial robes and such.

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How sad to be fighting over underwear at such an occasion.

I'm sorry your grandfather did not leave instruction in this matter. What a terrible time to have such a fight.

Just the other day I told my son about how I should be buried now that I am endowed. Maybe because I'm a widow and he's an only child - he's got to know what to do when the time comes - but I tell him this stuff now. I've seen too many instances of families thrown into confusion when a loved one dies - not because of garments, but because no one knows where the bank accounts are, where the retirement is, etc. Especially if you are a single person, you need to get in front of this stuff before it's too late.

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I think a person should write out their wishes - and insurances information and bank info, etc and review it yearly.

I was going in for an operation a few years back and I put together 2 pages for my wife just in case.

She didn't really want any part of it until I impressed on her how important it was 'just in case' and that I wouldn't be doing my duty as the person in charge of the finances in our family if she didn't understand them.

Luckily she didn't have to use them, but now she knows and I keep the info up to date and she knows where to find it.

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A member whom is Endowed whom has fallen away from the Church and therefore without a Current Recommend would not be allowed to enter the Temple, so is therefore not entitled to wear the full ceremonial clothing.

I thought that members were only allowed to be buried in full ceremonial garments whilst a full Temple Recommend holder immediately prior to death.

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I thought that members were only allowed to be buried in full ceremonial garments whilst a full Temple Recommend holder immediately prior to death.

I don't think this can be an accurate statement. What about those people who have had Alzheimers for years prior to their death? That weren't current recommend holders because they no longer understood the temple recommend interview questions. Or those those that have had a debilitating illness and wouldn't be able to attend the temple so didn't renew their temple recommend. I could think of all kinds of scenarios that would make this particular part of your statement false.

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It is hardly up to us to judge a persons worthiness when they arent even here to defend themselves. Wearing garments on a dead body isnt going to get a person to the right side of the spirit world. So why do we dress the body in garments at all? It all boils down to respect and love doesnt it? It certainly has no real effect on the spirit that has pass onto the spirit world.

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It is hardly up to us to judge a persons worthiness when they arent even here to defend themselves. Wearing garments on a dead body isnt going to get a person to the right side of the spirit world. So why do we dress the body in garments at all? It all boils down to respect and love doesnt it? It certainly has no real effect on the spirit that has pass onto the spirit world.

I was going to say, not allowing a person to wear Temple Gear when they die is like kicking a dead person.

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In my grandfather's case, it was not an issue of whether he was worthy to be buried in his temple garments. Like I noted, his children were evenly split down the middle, for it and against it, due to either being LDS or not being LDS. Unfortunately, he had never stated, written or otherwise, that he wished to be buried in his garments. I'm assuming this is because he had been an inactive for so long, the "issue" had not been something on his mind..

But my questions were answered. Basically, someone who has not been excommunicated (regardless of inactivity or minor sins), is to be buried in their garments if they wore them prior to death.

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My understanding was that if they have been endowed (no matter their standing - excluding excommunication) they were not only to be buried in their garments but the entire temple ceremonial clothing.

In cases where there is no endowed member to dress them or a family conflict issue the packet of clothing can be placed in the casket with them upon burial.

My mom is an inactive endowed member. She was talking to me about what her wishes were and so I asked her about the temple clothing. She just assumed when she went inactive that she would not be allowed to wear them and said she needed to think it over. If she never gets back to me then I will probably just request to put them in the casket with her.

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Why put the clothes in the casket? And for that matter, why dress people in the ceremonial clothing? If someone is getting cremated, do you still dress them in the ceremonial clothing? Is it thought that whatever they wore in death is what they will wear in the next life?

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Why put the clothes in the casket? And for that matter, why dress people in the ceremonial clothing? If someone is getting cremated, do you still dress them in the ceremonial clothing? Is it thought that whatever they wore in death is what they will wear in the next life?

I was going to ask this when I posted the original post but didn't, so I'm glad you did.

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Why put the clothes in the casket? And for that matter, why dress people in the ceremonial clothing? If someone is getting cremated, do you still dress them in the ceremonial clothing? Is it thought that whatever they wore in death is what they will wear in the next life?

Yes, when they are getting cremated they are dressed in their ceremonial clothing if possible. I don't know the why part- but why not? The LDS Store On Line sells ceremonial clothing for burial. The dress is not sewn closed at the back- has ties at the neck, and you just tuck the dress under the body. When my Mother was buried, the Bishop of her Ward placed the veil over her face after the services and moments before they closed and sealed the casket.

My sister weighed too much for us to dress her- over 650 pounds- plus she was being cremated, so her garments, ceremonial clothes, gown, socks, slippers were placed in her envelope and placed in her hands.

Is it thought that whatever they wore in death is what they will wear in the next life?

That is just in the movies, not as any doctrinal teachings. As Far As I Know.

On the other side of the clothing part, when we buried my Grandma- she was not LDS, her back was so bent from arthritis that they had to put padding around her to keep her from rolling on her side. She also only had sweat shirts with great V's cut into the neckline and sweat pants, she wore slippers she knitted. The last 8 years of her life she refused to wear bras or her girdle. We just could not see stuffing her into a bra and had no money for a dress and the trimmings. So, we dressed her in one of her new nightgowns, her favorite slippers and in a box we put her favorite broach, necklace, earrings and bracelet. She had told us that she didn't want to be buried wearing her wedding rings- but we could not get them off of her without trouble so they are still on her finger. Had she been an endowed member, she would have been dressed in Temple Whites.

Edited by Iggy

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I am trying to remember, but as I recall, the deceased is dressed nicely, but not all in white as you would in the temple, but the temple ceremonial clothes are placed on top of the non-white clothes. So, it's not required that the dressing of the body exactly match the temple experience. Also, there are not special rites to the dead as there are in other religions. There is a dedicatory prayer given to the grave site, but that is no different than a father dedicating or sanctifying a home, asking a special blessing on the space.

But I think it is an important remembrance and I know it's a very sacred time as the act of dressing the body is given to family and not to the funeral director. I also think unless you are excommunicated, you are still entitled to the rights (and rites) of temple clothing. You are still encouraged to wear garments even when fellowshipped.

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My understanding about wearing the temple ceremonial clothing is multiple reasons (mostly symbolic and out of respect for the endowed person).

The body is a temple and that is how we dress for/in the temple.

The symbolism about being prepared to return to god's presence (that is where we are headed when we die). In the temple the whole process is symbolic of preparing to enter the celestial kingdom and the ceremonial clothing is part of that process.

It's not about what our spirits will be "wearing" on the other side though I have heard myth like stories (not from church leaders or confirmed by them) about such being the case.

I have heard and can't find a reference for it so now I'm curious if anyone else has heard it, can provide the reference, or knows it's a myth.... We will be resurrected into the body we had when we died (I know that is taught) including the clothing we were wearing, if we are worthy of the celestial kingdom we will rise in our temple clothes so we do need them on or with us (that's the part I'm not sure about). Personally it would be nice to know I won't be resurrected in the nude. lol

On a side note I personally think the process is more for the surviving than the dead. I have had opportunity to help dress or prepare clothing for the deceased on multiple occasions. It's a very powerful experience. For those that had family there you could see the closure the whole process provided. It was truly an honor to be there with a daughter as she dressed her mother in the clothing of the temple. The temple was something they shared in their testimony, they had spent cherished time there together, it was a reminder that they had been sealed and would be together again. When we entered the room you could see the heavy grief on the daughter's face, she expressed concern that she would not be able to participate. When we left there was still sorrow but you could see a light in her eyes again as she smiled and caressed her mother's face and told her how beautiful she was and how much she loved her and seeing her again one day. The spirit was very powerful even for the funeral home director who respectfully observed from the corner and offered advise on the logistics of dressing a body. Even though she did not understand the temple and the covenants shared between this mother and daughter she knew what was taking place was different than anything she had experienced. I know her grief was lightened by the process. I know the process can help to heal those left behind.

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Perhaps the biggest reason for dressing in the temple clothes is to remind the living that because of the temple sealings even death can not truly separate us from our loved ones. As in the funeral service we are reminded of the purpose of the Atonement and that if we keep our covenants we will be reunited for eternity.

Thank you for this thread to help me to realize this for myself.

I am not a fan of funerals etc at all, not for myself at least. This helps me to see that some aspects of it are good lessons and reminders for our loved ones we leave behind.

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It's interesting to me that about the only place you can "legally" see someone dressed in the ceremonial clothing is at a funeral. Otherwise, we are very careful to keep those clothes from being seen by others--even in the temple, you cannot walk around in your ceremonial clothing. You must remove it to go to a waiting area or any other place besides the celestial room or dressing room.

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I've linked to Ardis Parshall's post on dressing the dead to her blog (Keepapitchinin) before; but here it is again.

There is an extremely thought-provoking comment there to the extent that from the day we are clothed in the garment of the holy priesthood, we are essentially wearing our burial shrouds; and that Mormons wear their burial shrouds in life as a symbol of ultimate victory over death.

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It's interesting to me that about the only place you can "legally" see someone dressed in the ceremonial clothing is at a funeral. Otherwise, we are very careful to keep those clothes from being seen by others--even in the temple, you cannot walk around in your ceremonial clothing. You must remove it to go to a waiting area or any other place besides the celestial room or dressing room.

Yes and no. There is still a respect required, and generally the full temple clothing are only put on just before the casket is closed. If you didn't know what to look for, you wouldn't even notice any special clothing at a viewing.

Oh, as far as what we wear when we are resurrected, I look to scriptural references to see what the resurrected Jesus wore and what angels wore. I can then assume we will wear something similar, although I suspect we will wear contemporary clothes, and not robes, but that's just my opinion.

And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; - Revelation 1:13-14

He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; - Revelation 3:5

And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles. - Revelation 15:6

And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them. - Mark 9:3

And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. - John 20:12

And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. - Matthew 17:2

And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; - Acts 1:10

Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. - Revelation 3:4

1 Nephi 12:11

11 And the angel said unto me: Look! And I looked, and beheld three generations pass away in righteousness; and their garments were white even like unto the Lamb of God. And the angel said unto me: These are made white in the blood of the Lamb, because of their faith in him.

3 Nephi 19:25

25 And it came to pass that Jesus blessed them as they did pray unto him; and his countenance did smile upon them, and the light of his countenance did shine upon them, and behold they were as white as the countenance and also the garments of Jesus; and behold the whiteness thereof did exceed all the whiteness, yea, even there could be nothing upon earth so white as the whiteness thereof.

Joseph Smith—History 1:31-32

31 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, and 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, as it was open, so that I could see into his bosom.

32 Not only was his robe exceedingly white, but his whole person was glorious beyond description, and his countenance truly like lightning. The room was exceedingly light, but not so very bright as immediately around his person. When I first looked upon him, I was afraid; but the fear soon left me.

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The symbolism in wearing the Temple Clothing when you die is amazing.

I also want to point out in Hinduism that they lay their dead on the side of the mountain to be eaten by birds. That is stinkin amazing too! The body is nothing when you die, your soul lives forever. It also stands as a testimony that every religion has some truth.

When we return to heavenly father we are wearing our temple clothing. However, it is not just clothing, it is clothing fit for a king and queen.

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Yes and no. There is still a respect required, and generally the full temple clothing are only put on just before the casket is closed. If you didn't know what to look for, you wouldn't even notice any special clothing at a viewing.

I admit, I don't know much about things such as this. But, I went to the viewing of our stake patriarch a couple of years ago. Not only were there about 5 or more stake presidents (or former ones), there was an Area Authority there as well. The patriarch was lying in his casket in full ceremonial clothing minus the hat.

So, I am not sure what you mean that the full temple clothing are only put on before the casket is closed. Because he had on all temple clothing, except the hat. And now that I'm trying to remember, I'm not even sure if that's true--he may have had his hat on. But, I distinctly remember the apron with the other clothes.

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I admit, I don't know much about things such as this. But, I went to the viewing of our stake patriarch a couple of years ago. Not only were there about 5 or more stake presidents (or former ones), there was an Area Authority there as well. The patriarch was lying in his casket in full ceremonial clothing minus the hat.

So, I am not sure what you mean that the full temple clothing are only put on before the casket is closed. Because he had on all temple clothing, except the hat. And now that I'm trying to remember, I'm not even sure if that's true--he may have had his hat on. But, I distinctly remember the apron with the other clothes.

My experience is that the body is usually dressed in temple clothing during the viewing itself. Often (but not always) a white sheet will be placed over the body from the waist down. Or, Mormons will opt for one of the split-lid caskets and only open the upper half at the viewing.

The hat/veil is typically placed in an inconspicuous spot in the casket during the viewing, and is positioned on the head after the viewing just before the casket is closed for the last time.

Interestingly, I think the Church's manual on dressing the dead discourages placing other objects in the casket but (IIRC) notes that a white handkerchief may be placed in the person's hand.

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