The Reformists of the SDARM generally BELIEVE and TEACH:
- A range of bizarre views regarding dress, including: forbid naked limbs; forbid women wearing pants; prohibit women removing any body hair (such as shaving legs); forbid all types of cosmetics; forbid all types of jewelry.
- The SDARM consider their peculiar ‘dress reform’ standards a ‘salvation issue’ amounting to a test of fellowship.
The Reformists are WRONG because:
- The Bible recognises in Deut 22:5 that men and women should wear different clothing. However, what constitutes ‘men’s’ and ‘women’s’ clothing differs according to culture, time and location. For example, the dress of the ancient Jews and early Christians, consisting of ezor, kethōneth, simlāh and na'alayim, would probably be considered a woman’s dress in most Western countries today.
- The Bible promotes simplicity and humility of dress, and is concerned with overt consumerism. However, the Bible equally does not promote fanaticism in dress, which can equally become a fixation or idol.
- The Bible in passages such as 2 Sam 13:9 and Mat 24:17-18 does not forbid men to have naked sleeves.
- The Bible nowhere forbids women from wearing pants.
- The Bible in passages such as Num 8:7 make clear women are permitted to remove body hair, and in fact, it is good hygiene recognised in the OT.
- The Bible in passages such as Ex 30:22-25; 1 Kings 10:2-10; 2 Chron 16:14; Ruth 3:3; 2 Sam 12:20; Esth 2:12; Is 39:1,2; and Luke 7:34-46, 23:56 recognises some cosmetics are fine and good to use.
- The Bible in passages such as Gen 41:42; Jer 22:24; Esth 3:10,12; Hagg 2:23; Luke 15:22 and Jam 2:2 recognises some jewelry is fine and good to wear.
- The SDARM standards of dress are not biblical but rather their own peculiar ‘fashion’ derived from 19th Century America.
- The SDARM fashion of dress, such as a suit and tie for men, does not come from the Bible. Rather, it comes from military uniforms and luxurious courtly clothing.
- The SDARM do not follow the Bible strictly regarding dress anyway. For example, they wear shoes in their Churches, contrary to Ex 3:5.
- Ellen White made clear that her comments needed to be understood in her cultural context. She made clear, ‘No one precise style has been given me as the exact rule to guide all in their dress.’
- Ellen White made clear that dress reform should not be a test of fellowship.
The Official SDARM Position on Dress Reform
The official SDARM position is outlined in its fundamental statement Health and Dress Reform:
- Ezor: being a loin cloth, equivalent to modern underpants.
- Kethōneth: being an undergarment, corresponding to a modern long shirt, reaching down to either the knees or ankles, and which was often sleeveless.
- Simlāh: being the outer garment, or cloak or shawl, which was often removed for a man needed more freedom to move, such as performing manual labour.
- Me'ı̄l: being an outer garment like the simlāh, but was more expensive and used by the priestly elite or other men of rank.
- Keffiyeh: being a head covering roughly equivalent to head coverings worn by many men in the Middle East (probably best known for being worn by Yasser Arafat). Turbans, equivalent to those worn in India, may also have been common, especially amongst richer classes.
- Na'alayim: being sandals, usually made of leather.
- Pants: first invented by the horse-riding Iranian peoples of antiquity, where having material wrapped around one’s legs had obvious advantages when traveling and fighting from horseback; however, whilst trousers were not worn by most ancient Israelites (see Ex 20:26, and were scorned by the Romans and Greeks as clothes for barbarians), the High Priest may have worn long legging undergarments (Ex 28:42).
- Boots or shoes: from probably around 1000 BC, as military clothing, given everyday wear consisted of sandals.
- Suit jacket: from the French word ‘suite’ (as in a luxurious hotel room), which ultimately derives from the luxurious dress of the 17th century royal courts, attaining mass popularity during the British Regency period in imitation of the splendor of King Louis XIV court in Versailles.
- Tie: from the cravat, worn by 17th Century Croatian mercenary soldiers, also later adopted as a luxurious item by the French, and then in England as an item of high fashion of the royal courts.