J. H. Symington Vol. 119 page 266 (Neche, 13 July 1979)But, honestly, I'm going to tell you, I'm going to tell you something, — I couldn't persuade myself that it would be right to go downtown in shorts, or ride a bicycle around town in shorts. It reminded me, you know, of that old man that used to come out in the country. And it was muddy, — there was no gravel on the roads in those days, — and when he came on the train and got off the train, and it was muddy. He took off his boots and carried them, and he rolled his pants away up so that they wouldn't get muddy, and he plowed along through the mud. And he didn't know it, of course, but away off yonder they were watching him through a telescope. And the old lady said, I could see the hairs on his legs. Of course, nowadays, you know, it becomes a fad. You wear briefs, or cut-off overalls, or you wear any old thing, and it's supposed to be alright, and you can still criticize other people while doing it. It's not right. That is not right. And if you want trouble, you're sure going to get it doing those kind of things. Think you'll escape the righteous judgment of God, condemning what others do and doing the same thing yourself?
J. H. Symington Vol. 119 page 326-327 (Neche, 3 August 1979)You, Mr. --, you know because I took in your daughter, you thought you'd push in politically and persuade me to go your way, which I never will. You know that? It's time you knew it. You've wandered around in shorts and everything else, according to what you told me yourself.
Ans. It was all wrong.
J. H. Symington Vol. 127 page 188 (Neche 3 March 1980)You see, it goes back a long ways when a local sister used to wear chopped-off trousers, men's pants. Looked like something that belonged at least in Arkansas. And all I'm going to say, — it's returned. That garb has returned. What do you think of that? Oh, you're getting too personal and bold. I am not. Where is the judgment? There never was any. Time proves it, whether I've had a judgment or not, whether there's been a true judgment, or what has it been? Conformity to brethren's notions, — listen, the truth is what it is. The principles that govern God's house are fixed.
However, I don’t know which leader had the inspiration to use the verse in the Psalms about God having no pleasure in the legs of a man. It was one of Symington’s favourite quotations, and he used it in connection with his own infirmity, but not as far as I know in order to forbid the wearing of shorts. See JHS Vol. 70 pages 59-60 (Portland, 17 November 1979).
It is interesting as an illustration of his role in adjudicating between disputing parties, and his contempt for the medical profession.
So EV is quite right about it being a deep matter.What it's been in the buildup universally, but especially in Australia. Is that too difficult? Is that too hard? I had two phone calls today from the same place, each brother opposing the other one and each brother trying to get my support. And the second one happened to be a doctor. I asked him to please hang up the phone. I said, you're a doctor, aren't you? I said, I've no confidence in doctors. I'm impaired because of doctors, in my body; impaired, damaged by professionals. I don't think I'm going to die. I think I'm going to hobble around because I'm impaired. But you see, these lessons, they're deep but necessary. God has no pleasure in the strength of a horse, nor in the legs of a man.
JBS, CAC and JT also quoted the verse about the legs of a man but they seemed to understand what it meant. JND never referred to it.
We have it on the authority of BDH that JSH did not object to shorts, and on occasion he wore his old army shorts for swimming at the beach. Of course, he must have repented of that because he later condemned people that went to a beach. A beach is an unclean place. You might see some hairy legs or something.
On an adjacent page, Symington recalls a time when he fell into a ditch. This is from J. H. Symington Vol. 119 page 265-266 (Neche, 13 July 1979)
Well, I had a bitter experience today, Russell. I fell in the ditch. I didn't run off the road or nothing. I fell in the ditch, and when I knew I couldn't make it, I just let myself go and rolled into the bottom of the ditch. Now, do you think that happened for nothing?
J.H.S. Of course, it was abject weakness, to say the least, and I just wondered what I was ever going to do because there was nobody around to pull me out of the ditch. While I pondered it, I just relaxed in the bottom of the ditch and hoped, kind of against hope, that I'd revive enough to get back on my pins. And sure enough, I got up on my hands and knees, and finally, — I was tottering, of course, — but I was back on my feet. And really, I walked out of the ditch. Now if you think I'm telling you any story that isn't true, — this is strictly a true story. And why should I find myself right down in the bottom of the ditch?
J. H. Symington personally claimed the copyright of the above quotations.