Coats of Skin

Yet another interesting difference between Mormonism and evangelical Christianity has caught my attention recently. The July 2009 issue of the Ensign magazine includes an article about modesty written by Silvia Allred, First Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency. As Ms. Allred discusses the principle of, and blessings associated with modesty, she also explains the doctrine behind the principle. She writes,

“From the beginning, the Lord has asked His children to cover their bodies. After Adam and Eve partook of the forbidden fruit, their eyes were opened and they became aware that they were naked. Adam and Eve tried to cover themselves with simple aprons made of fig leaves. But the aprons were not enough, so the Lord made them more modest coats of skins. (See Genesis 3:7, 21)

“God had a higher standard then, just as He does now” (Modesty, A Timeless Principle for All, Ensign, 7/09, page 29).

I don’t disagree that God has a higher standard than His creatures, and I don’t dispute the virtue of modesty. But I can’t help feeling a bit stunned over Ms. Allred’s portrayal of God’s provision (coats of skin) for Adam and Eve as a more modest replacement for their immodest clothing.

I suppose this is a logical outcome from the position Mormonism takes regarding Adam and Eve’s disobedience in the Garden. Because the LDS doctrine is that Adam and Eve did not sin when they ate the forbidden fruit but instead made the right choice between two conflicting commandments (see Joseph F. Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 1:114-115), why else then, other than for modesty’s sake, would they feel compelled to cover their nakedness?

In Christianity, however, Adam and Eve did sin when they ate the forbidden fruit. Their sin resulted in fear and great shame. Matthew Henry wrote:

“…the eyes of their consciences were opened, their hearts smote them for what they had done. Now, when it was too late, they saw the folly of eating the forbidden fruit. They saw the happiness they had fallen from, and the misery they had fallen into. They saw a loving God provoked, his grace and favor forfeited…they were shamed, for ever shamed, before God and angels. They saw themselves disrobed of all their ornaments and ensigns of honor, degraded from their dignity and disgraced in the highest degree… Fear seized them immediately… They hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God” (Matthew Henry, A Commentary of the Whole Bible, Genesis 3:6-8).

Where before eating the forbidden fruit Adam and Eve delighted in the presence of God, now they hid in fear and shame. They tried to cover their nakedness — their sin — by making themselves clothing. John Piper explains,

“The essence of the Fall and the essence of our depraved heart and of all its sins is the desire not to be dependent on God. And the other side of the same coin is simply the desire to substitute ourselves for God and to get the flickering glory and the puny sense of power that comes from self-reliance, self-confidence, and self-determination…

“‘The eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together’ (Genesis 3:7). Rebellion against God in the human heart is so contrary to the way man is designed to be, that he must constantly put on airs, clothes, make-up, poses to try to convince himself that he is not really a naked, helpless child…” (John Piper, The Emergence of Sin and Misery).

Adam’s and Eve’s fig leaf clothing was indeed inadequate, but not because it was too skimpy. They had become covenant breakers. Their effort to cover their sin was ineffective because they were trying to hide it rather than confess it and seek God’s solution to their shame. But God is merciful.

“…he clothed Adam and Eve with animal skins. This was not only a witness to the glory we lost and a confession that we are not what we should be, but it is also a testimony that God himself would one day make us what we should be. God rejected their own self-clothing. Then he did it himself. He showed mercy with superior clothing.

“Together with the other hopeful signs in the context (like the defeat of the serpent in Genesis 3:15), God’s mercy points to the day when he will solve the problem of our shame decisively and permanently. He will do it with the blood of his own Son (as there apparently was blood shed in the killing of the animals of the skins). And he will do it with the clothing of righteousness and the radiance of his glory (Galatians 3:27; Philippians 3:21)” (John Piper, The Rebellion of Nudity and the Meaning of Clothing).

God demonstrated His own love toward Adam and Eve, and to all of humanity. While they (we) were yet sinners, a sacrifice was made for them (us) to reconcile us to God (Romans 5:8-10).

What a rich passage of scripture God has provided in Genesis 3! It’s not about God’s desire for us to dress modestly; it’s about His awesome mercy and grace. In the Garden of Eden God extended loving grace to the undeserving. He continues evermore to show grace that is love for the guilty.

About Sharon Lindbloom

Sharon surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979. Deeply passionate about Truth, Sharon loves serving as a full-time volunteer research associate with Mormonism Research Ministry. Sharon and her husband live in Minnesota.
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62 Responses to Coats of Skin

  1. falcon says:

    Mormonism is such a mess you’d think eventually the most ardent TBM would just throw up his/her hands and say “Enough!”. Andy Watson showed us very clearly in facsimile #2 in the BoA as penned by Joseph Smith that the Mormon god (as dipicted by Joseph Smith) was in effect the Egyptian god Min who is sitting on some type of a throne exposing himself. Christians didn’t make this up. It’s the prophet Smith himself who provided this information. Then we have BY further confusing the picture by saying that the Mormon god is Adam and who else, Michael the archangel. Did I miss something? What is it with these Mormon prophets, amateur night?
    Yes of course I know, “there’s so much we don’t know”, “follow the leaders they will never lead you astray”, “it will all be revealed and proven true in the end”, and for added measure “I bear you my testimony”. For Mormons, it has to be true. The thought of any other possibility is too painful to consider.

  2. setfree says:

    Falcon,
    I agree. The twist and tangle of the LDS belief system is so much… you have to wonder why they have trouble at all with “the Trinity”. 😉

  3. bfwjr says:

    === MODERATED ===

    The moderator issued a level 2 yellow card on this comment.

    === MODERATED ===

  4. setfree says:

    bfwjr

    I am starting to read through the History of the Church, for investigative purposes of course. To say that the assignment less thrills me is an understatement.

    Anyway, from what I’ve read so far, I can already say:

    1- the “revelations” JS got sound like trips to the “weegie” (I know that’s not the spelling, but it creeps me out) board

    2- the “revelations” JS got read just like the BoM, BofMoses, and BofAbraham, and

    3- the “revelations” JS got read like someone who has borrowed a few pages from the Bible, cut them into separate parts, rearranged them, and spewed them out like they ought to make sense.

    I can hardly stand reading it, it’s so “anti” Bible.

    I think, if the BofM/PoG/D&C make sense to someone’s mind, it’s no wonder that the Bible doesn’t.

  5. Ralph says:

    Falcon,

    I wrote this on the BoA Part 2, and will give a summary here. If you want the full version it’s the 3rd last and last posts.

    Every one who is sincere in representing the LDS church, whether LDS or not, knows that we do not acknowledge Min as our God. For someone who says that they have done much research into the LDS church, to try and tell us and others that know nothing about our religion that we serve/worship Min, is a grave misrepresentation of the truth.

    But if we apply Andy’s logic look at a section of the Bible what would we find? Acts 17:22-23 “Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.”

    Paul saw the altar and idol of the Unknown God and said “Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.” Now on face value he is saying that the true God is already being worshipped by the Greeks, he is now going to tell them about Him. Does this mean that the true God is one of the Greek pantheon idols? No. As Paul goes into the explanation, he describes a God that is not an idol. He describes the true God in total.

    Whoever wrote the BoA (Just saying it like this so as not to cause an argument about who the author is) used the Egyptian figure and changed its symbology to mean something else/what they wanted while writing the text of the BoA. Because of this, the figure has 2 meanings, one Egyptian and the other ‘BoA’/LDS. Because it is the ‘BoA’/LDS version that we use and not the Egyptian, then it should be read in that manner, not in the Egyptian manner which is how Andy is doing it. So the figure is not equating Min as the LDS God no matter what Andy tries to say.

    Or does the Christian community really worship one of the Greek pantheon idols (Acts 17:22-23)?

  6. falcon says:

    Ralph,
    I really try to avoid getting in a back and forth with the Mormons here choosing instead to try and provide some information and a pathway out of Mormonism for those who the Holy Spirit is convicting regarding this false religion. But please, don’t do the Mormon version of Biblical interpretation. Just believe what you do because you want to…..period. One thing that I’ve learned on MC and that is that Mormons have no idea how to rightly divide the word of God. I’m not going to help you on this. I’ll let one of the other Christian posters who has more patience than I do take a shot at it.
    Andy slammed the door on the BoA and revealed that JS was totally clueless regarding the interpretation of the funeral text and his view of facsimile #2. JS identified “a god” and he either knew it or he didn’t. My guess is, Smith was so full of himself that he’d declare all sorts of things because the people following him had neither the information or guts to call him out.
    It’s the same deal with BY and adam-god. So I stand by my Min, adam-god, Michael the archangel and whoever else Mormons want to throw in there as their god. The Mormon god doesn’t exist anyway nor do the million billion other gods the Mormon polytheists worship.
    Bottom-line, if you don’t get God right, you don’t get anything right. Mormons don’t get anything right.

  7. bfwjr says:

    setfree, I’m in total agreement.
    You better make some coffee, if you read B.H.Roberts.
    Your statements:1- the “revelations” JS got sound like trips to the “weegie”. A self serving Ouija.
    2- the “revelations” JS got read just like the BoM, BofMoses, and BofAbraham, and
    3- the “revelations” JS got read like someone who has borrowed a few pages from the Bible, cut them into separate parts, rearranged them, and spewed them out like they ought to make sense.
    BINGO
    “I can hardly stand reading it, it’s so “anti” Bible.”
    In the end, just like the Talmud is pretty much a long exercise in getting around the Book of Leviticus, the BOM is an exercise in getting around the Bible.
    “I think, if the BofM/PoG/D&C make sense to someone’s mind, it’s no wonder that the Bible doesn’t.” One is the word of God, the others aren’t.
    Hey anyone have a copy of Adamsroad lyrics to Woe?
    I can’t find them or make all of them out (too much rock and roll in my younger years, wait that’s a lie, too much RandR now). I don’t know about anyone else but the pics on the vid are hard to stomach, but I guess that’s the point.
    Love to all

  8. setfree says:

    Ralph,
    You are right, that there could be a comparison made between the two, and that no LDS person (at least that I know) says that they worship Min.
    The problems with the Book of Abraham, of course, go way further than that. Like Liv4JC pointed out, JS got the geography wrong. Also, like I was trying to say, the whole “elohim” and JS studying Hebrew puts to light that JS was messing around with “Genesis” again. Also, the fact that JS had already received the “correct” version of Genesis. So whatever Abraham wrote, if he actually had, shouldn’t even matter. Plus, the language is the same in JS’s writings, ‘it came to pass’ overusage being a prime example. Plus that JS pronounced the scrolls the writings of Joseph and Abraham, but they are quite correctly the funerary documents that one would expect to find in with random mummies. Etc.
    I don’t think it’s that anyone out here is trying to ignore your thinking on this, just that it doesn’t stand up against the larger issues (to any who see it unemotionally/unattached).
    🙂

  9. falcon says:

    Much popular thought, uninformed Christianity, Islam, and many moralistic systems hold that sin consists only in willful actions. Morally free people simply make free choices; there is no such thing as a sin nature, only actual events of sin. Salvation is simply being better and doing good.
    Although many of these theories may appear to contain some insight, none takes the Bible as fully inspired revelation. Scripture teaches that sin is real and personal; it originated in the fall of Satan, who is personal, wicked, and active, and through Adam’s fall sin spread to a humanity created good by an all-good God.
    Adam and Eve were created “good” and placed in the garden in Eden, enjoying close communion with God. Because they were not divine and were capable of sinning, their continuing dependence on God was necessary. Before the fall Adam and Eve could eat of any of the trees including the tree of life.
    Because human nature was so damaged by the Fall no person is capable of doing spiritual good without God’s gracious assistance. This is called total corruption, or depravity, of nature. It does not mean that people can do no apparent good, but only that they can do nothing to merit salvation. Psalm 51:5 says that David was conceived in sin. Romans 7:7-24 suggests that sin, although dead, was in Paul from the first. Ephesians 2:3 states that all are “by nature objects (children) of wrath”. Corrupt nature producing corrupt offspring is the best explanation of the universality of sinfulness.
    (Systematic Theology-Revised Edition)
    Mormonism has no systematic theology. What it has is the mental meanderings of false prophets who, filled with pride, produce mind-bending pronouncements. Mormonism is a hit and miss concoction of make-believe produced by some self deceived ignoramus occultists that thought they were hearing from God but were just playing religion.

  10. jackg says:

    Shem,

    You need to think of sin as relational. Anything that separates us from God is sin. When Adam and Eve partook of the forbidden fruit, they were immediately estranged and separated from God, which is why God calls out: “Where are you?” Praying for you, Shem.

    Peace!

  11. Falcon wrote “Mormonism has no systematic theology.”

    …which would be absolutely OK if it didn’t present itself as something containing “gospel”, or “doctrine”.

    I mean, we have an abundance of social clubs here (USA likewise) that have no aspirations to present a particular world-view or philosophy. They are loosely arranged around an ethic of “lets get together regularly and do stuff that’s of mutual interest”; the “stuff” being anything from drinking beer, to building model railways to watching the local football team.

    So, I think this presents us with two problems;
    * Mormonism presents itself as having a theology, when it doesn’t
    * Evs who engage in Mormonism attempt to engage its theology, which is difficult because it does not exist

    I know Mormons will object. However, the evidence clearly demonstrates that the doctrines that they hold to today are bear only a superficial resemblance to the “restored” gospel of Joseph Smith. The only thing that appears to unite Mormons across the world and through time is their allegiance to the prophets, who, as demonstrated by the Adam/God thing and BoA, just make things up as they go along with no consideration of what has gone before.

    And why not? They aren’t answerable to anyone, not even God himself (they are God’s peers, not His creatures, remember).

    falcon, I fully agree with your concluding sentence.

  12. “Ralph, your cognitive dissonance is flooding the forum tonight please turn the values down to low but simmering.”

    “To all the ignorant fools posting on this thread I must say a few things”

    And the worst (just carded):

    “Outrage is one of the very few things that can keep the stupid from thriving. They tend to be sensitive to detection. One exception is mOrMonism and mOrMons [code for ‘morons’].”

    I’m going to shut the thread down. We can do better than this, guys!

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