Many people are curious about so-called “Mormon underwear.” Perhaps they have friends or family who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (or Mormon Church), and they have possibly learned something or another about the members’ beginning to wear this special kind of undergarment after going to a Mormon temple. It is the goal of this article to address this curiosity and help people not of the Mormon faith understand the details behind this seemingly strange practice.
First of all, it should be understood that Mormon underwear is actually called by Mormons a “garment,” which word suggests a fine article of clothing. Mormons consider their garments sacred, so such a connotation is very appropriate. Garments are a symbol and personal reminder of special covenants or promises that Mormons have made with God in Mormon temples.
The garment or Mormon underwear consists of a top and bottom piece, and it is made from a variety of lightweight fabrics. There are some special colored garments that can be worn by members of the armed services, but for most Mormons, garments are always white. This constitutes an emblem of physical and spiritual purity. The garment is always worn under other clothing, next to the skin. In fact, for most people who wear it, the garment takes the place of regular underwear. As a matter of practicality, an ordinary supportive bra may still be worn by a Mormon woman, but it is placed over the garment rather than under.
Mormons do believe in being “in the world, but not of it,” and the garment helps in privately yet consistently setting faithful adult Mormons apart from the world. A particularly sharp contrast is apparent in today’s society, where morals and modesty have deteriorated to a most shameful level. Many moviemakers and clothing manufacturers, for example, design their respective products to reveal so much of the human body that virtually nothing is left to the imagination. Mormons, on the other hand, are encouraged through the modest length and cut of their temple garments to always dress appropriately. (Garment bottoms extend from the waist to the knees, and tops are much like undershirts, covering the shoulders, chest, back, and midriff. Tops of women’s garments approximately follow the bra-line.) Devout Mormons understand that in only a very few instances might the garment be briefly removed, such as for swimming, using the bathroom, or being intimate in marriage, in dance, and for sports.
The reasons for Mormons to keep their garments on far outweigh the reasons for taking them off. Blessings of physical protection are one reason. Although Mormons avoid too openly sharing personally sacred experiences, there have still been numerous reports of, for instance, a person’s outer clothing being chewed up in a chainsaw accident while the garment and skin remained perfectly intact; or a person suffering severe burns to the arms and legs in a fire, yet the bodily damage showed a distinct cutoff point right where the garment sleeves and legs began.
Such miracles are certainly not guaranteed to happen. A person’s faith and faithfulness can come into play, and a far greater factor is simply the will and wisdom of the Lord, our Heavenly Father. Mormons know that through all His actions, including giving and taking life, He seeks to touch our hearts and motivate us to turn to Him in ever increasing faith, love, obedience, and gratitude; those are just some of the attributes that will help us find happiness and true success in this mortal life and the life to come.
Another reason for consistently wearing Mormon underwear is spiritual protection. When a Mormon keeps covenants he or she has made at baptism and in a Mormon temple, including the very promise to wear the garment, added strength against temptation and spiritual confusion is granted. The person is more empowered to care for family, to read the scriptures and pray for deep insights, and to remain pure in a dangerous and dirty world. The person can receive a stark reminder of duty to God through the garment. Even if a Mormon has foolishly fallen so far into temptation, flirtation, and stimulation as to be on the verge of committing a tragic sin like adultery, hopefully the garment will provide a last-resort wakeup call that will cause the person to stop, get out of the situation, and earnestly, permanently repent of said foolishness. If the person does not stop, the removal of the garment serves as a strong symbol that the person is utterly betraying God and sacred promises made with Him.
As suggested before, Mormons begin wearing the garment during their first visit to a Mormon temple, wherein they receive individual instruction on how the garment should be worn and cared for, and furthermore, they undergo a sacred ceremony called the Endowment. From then on, both day and night, Mormons have their garments as a token of their worship, a reminder of covenants made during the Endowment, and a protection against physical and spiritual harm. In this light, the Mormon garment is no oddity, but is actually a great privilege and blessing. It is something that our loving God wishes us to utilize for our good.