Hanging the garment out to dry on the line

The garment is one of the most peculiar pieces of our Latter-Day Saint religion. We are urged to wear them in thought of our temple covenants, treat them respectfully, be mindful of their sacred nature. We also may get a lot of flack and confusion from others outside the faith.

In recent years, while the garment’s sacredness still remains, it seems to be less secretive. The shock value of sneaks tossing photos of garments on the internet has been lessoned by the Church doing pretty much the same thing. We all know those Mormons wear them, let’s move on.

And yet, for good or for bad, some funniness remains. By all means, I am in favor of respecting my garments and treating them well, but I also raise an eyebrow at excessive weirdness. I once met a faithful man who said that if he were told to remove his garments at gun-point, absolutely he would in a heartbeat.

This isn’t about threats of life, but of something more daily: laundering the garments and, in focus, drying them. Today on Facebook (which I’m trying to avoid) the question as asked in a Latter-Day Saint group if it were okay to dry them outside on a clothesline. While it wasn’t the nastiest debate I’ve seen (quite tame, really) I was still shocked at the divisiveness on the subject. Absolutely it was okay. Absolutely it was not.

To give my own view, I have few qualms about drying garments on the line. We have a fairly private backyard and I doubt our neighbors spy so much anyway. Line drying freshens and in my imagination even whitens them. I get to pretend I save energy. It all seems to wholesome and natural.

Then I saw comments trying to play the middle. Paraphrased, it’s okay if it’s what you got to do. To me, this was implying that line drying was the lesser choice and other such comments supported that: Only line dry if you absolutely must.

Some of this perspective came from some alleged advice and instruction given in yesteryear. Folks had anecdotes of being told by someone or another they shouldn’t line dry the garment.

Yet the only proper source given was from the handbook:

Handbook 2

“The garment is sacred and should be treated with respect at all times. Garments should be kept off the floor. They should also be kept clean and mended. After garments are washed, they should not be hung in public areas to dry. Nor should they be displayed or exposed to the view of people who do not understand their significance”

So… the case seems to be that we shouldn’t be hanging them to dry out in public. Agreed.

But my backyard is hardly public. Once again, fairly private, my clothesline pretty much blocked by trees. Surely this is okay?

Yet there still remained those who said there was an issue that had nothing to do with the privacy/publicity: Hanging garments outside was disrespectful.

To what? The modern invention of the dryer that seems more particular to the United States?

Now I get convenience: I may love the ritual of hanging clothes out to dry, but the dryer is an awesome invention. I use it when it’s more convenient. Those who love the dryer are more than welcome to dry clothes and their garments in the dryer.

But let’s not pretend the dryer imparts the blessings of heaven to its contents. Let’s not pretend lying them over furniture is more holy, or even an indoor rack or line. The clothesline has experience a comeback in popularity. It does not mean poverty nor trashiness. It is not regulated to those poor Saints in third-world countries who must do the best they can until they receive the spiritual blessings of a clothes dryer.

I must confessed I chuckled at some of these insistences, these little rituals over what is appropriate with the garments, the lengths some will go to in protecting the garment. I respect and admire that dedication. I know I’m particular about keeping them off the floor, respectfully folded, and such.

But I also love drying them on the line. No one’s looking, they’re not out on the main road. They’re getting dry, deodorized. My method isn’t lesser, and I just can’t see it as disrespectful.


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