Tuesday, April 17, 2012

What is fullers' soap anyway?

Reading the Old Testament with the seminary kids. Here are some verses that gave me great food for thought today:

Malachi 3:2-3 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap; And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.

So I know what the refiner's fire is. Great heat, burning out the impurities, etc, etc. But what is fullers' soap?

Thank you, google search. On the website of the Church of God's Daily Study, fullers and their tools were described in this way:

"A fuller was someone who cleaned and thickened (to make it "full") freshly-woven (usually woolen) cloth. The process involved cleaning, bleaching, wetting and beating the fibers to a consistent and desirable condition. Fuller's earth was a variety of clay that was used to scour and cleanse the cloth. Fuller's soap was an alkali made from plant ashes which was also used to clean and full new cloth. Since fullers required plenty of running water, along with the natural substances described, a fuller's field was a place where all were available for the fullers to conduct their profession."

So a relationship with the Lord will act to 'clean, bleach, wet and beat' our spiritual fibers to a 'consistent and desirable condition.'

The goal is for us to become 'full'--consistent and desirable. Like the purifying process, it probably isn't much fun at the time, but it works to prepare us to 'make an offering in righteousness' when He arrives.

That puts daily trials and the wickedness around us in a whole new light for me, both for myself and for my children.

It is easy to think Satan is winning in the world right now. There is a lot of wickedness keeping Heavenly Father's children from knowing and coming to the Savior. However, if we can help them come to a knowledge of Him--not just activity in the Church, but gain a testimony and an understanding of the Gospel and a real relationship with Jesus Christ--then they will be made 'full' over time, and their testimonies will become pure and thick and deep.

And this happens not just in spite of the wicknedness around them, but often because of it. When we turn away from sin, we choose for ourselves righteousness.

The cleaning and bleaching come to all of us differently. At the very least, it involves learning to turn away from the things of the world and turning to the Lord. Sometimes it is trials we don't ask for, and sometimes it comes as we make mistakes and then repent.

As parents, it seems like we can help this process by putting the things of God first in our own lives and in our families, taking time to read and pray and go to church and have family home evening and repent.

Pretty awesome and motivating stuff to understand, I think!

30 comments:

whit said...

Yes it is! Thanks for sharing. :) Love you

Jeri Pettingill said...

Thanks. I have heard a lot about refining silver in connection with this verse but didn't know about fullers' soap. Now I do and I will remember. Thanks for sharing.
Love, Grandma P

Zach the "Riah" said...

Thanks for your comments and helping me understand fuller's soap.

Amanda said...

Thanks for this post! I don't know you, but I was also searching for info about fuller's soap and your post came up. Your thoughts on these scriptures provided some great insights for me. So just in case you ever wonder if what you're writing is helping someone, know that it does!

Jim said...

Thank you...and by the way, I found your blog through a Google search for "fullers' soap"!

Eve said...

I searched too and found your blog. God has used it to encourage me tonight. :)

Wise1 said...

God bless you for these words of wisdom. I also googled "Fullers' Sope" and I felt led to select your blog. I will be sharing this teaching with as many people as possible.

kelleen said...

I came across your blog after searching on google about this topic. It was very helpful and enlightening. Thank you for sharing!

Helena Ives said...

Very helpful and just what I needed. Thank you! Nathan

Stacey Touchstone said...

Thank you, your explanation of this scripture is true. It gave me more insight.

Thanks again

S. Touchstone

Deborah said...

I really enjoyed this post! Thank you for your great connection with the fuller's soap :)

Dave said...

Same here :)

K. Bran said...

Thanks, Your a blessing!

K. Bran said...

Thanks, Your a blessing!

Nanna said...

I, too, was reading my scriptures (the prophet Joseph Smith quotes this scripture in D&C 128) and found your great post when I Googled "fuller's soap." Thank you for taking the time and effort to share your insights and testimony! Hugs!

Mom W said...

Don't forget that wool will shrink if handled too roughly but if it is carefully done it becomes a very strong garment for all sorts of weather protection and beauty. Here (http://www.ebay.com/gds/How-to-Shrink-Wool-Fabric-/10000000178630600/g.html) are some rules for wool and you will notice that attention is needed at every step and all but one method stress gentleness. Even the "rough" washing machine method requires extra work on the workers part to insure the garment is not ruined. Bless God HE is the one deciding what we need and HE is careful. Thank you for your posting.

Cheryl Crayton said...

Good edification, as I studied my Sunday School lesson today! Thanks!

LittleArrows said...

Same again:) reading verse with fullers soap. Googled and found you! V insightful..... And also the commentor on the"careful wash for wool!"
Rgds In Christ,
UK

SLCphoto1 said...

Enjoyed your post very much. Posted the link to my FB wall. Hope that's ok.

SLCphoto1 said...

Wonderful extra insight!

Pastor Phil said...

You seem to focus on our actions, but the text clearly indicates that it is the Lord who does the action of refining us. It is the Lord who is able to purify us, we are not. Secondly, you make an assumption that we know what the allusion to refiners fire is about. Silver refiners knew that silver was properly refined when they could see their reflection in the surface of the liquid silver. Once again, this only makes sense if the one refining us is God.

Lover of Jesus said...

Pastor Phil, I find it best to present clarification in an encouraging way to those pressing into God's Word. Your clarification that He is the One who is the Refiners Fire and the Fullers Soap is good but could be presented as an "addition" rather than assuming the writer did not know that. And it is good to add or clarify for the newer seekers in our journey together.

White Cloud said...

Just read this, I see it has been around for a while. I was researching fullers soap due to info sent to me from Peter Popoff! He may be a fraud but I believe God is making that crooked path straight, so to speak. The scent of the soap is intoxicating & lingers when I am in prayer

Ted Sharon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ted Sharon said...

Thank you for this wonderful post. It is good to know that so many of us are on the same wavelength, and looking for the subtle details in Scripture - it makes life a little bit better.

The Special K's(0: said...

Sometimes fullers used natron, a combination of alkali salts also used as a preservative in embalming. So many parables spring to mind.

Jackie said...
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Jackie said...

Thank you for this explanation!

Christy Satfield said...

Who would have thought that your blog defining "fuller's soap" would influence someone four years after you posted it! Thanks for doing the research. I like learning definitions of terms I've read many times in the scriptures. Today it was 3Ne 24:2. Hip hip hooray!!!

MamaColonel said...

Like Christy, I too found this post while preparing my Gospel Doctrine lesson this week on 3 Ne 24:2. (And subsequently spent a half hour reading other posts!) You are very talented and truly have a gift. I hope that you and your lovely family are well and that it is the busyness of life keeping you from continuing your blogs. Know that the thoughts you have posted are lifting many you will never meet. God bless!