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Open About LDS Temple Garments

The Secret

When I received my endowments a week before my wedding in 1985 I was able to see the different styles and fabrics of the ceremonial robes. I was also able to try on all the various garment styles, as they had unmarked garments available.

Open About Temple Garments

By the time one of my daughters was married in 2011, this practice had stopped for some reason. Instead, selecting garments was a very expensive hit and miss prospect and was a frustrating situation for both of us.

In early 2013, another daughter was preparing to receive her endowments. We went to LDS Church Distribution located in the Deseret Book in south Orem. We stood in line to go to the private room to select her ceremonial temple clothing. Once it was our turn, the attendant asked her which style of veil she wanted. She asked what her options were. The woman began to describe the choices. I suggested that she take out a sample of each and just show them to my daughter so she could see the differences. The attendant informed me that since my daughter had not been endowed, she could not see the robes. She told my daughter to turn her back to us so that I could see them and describe them to her.

I noted that the robes are openly on display on the body of the decedent in every LDS funeral that has an open casket with an endowed member, but I was unable to change her position. Another odd moment in ceremonial clothing.

Snicker Sneer Sniggle

Let’s face it, when your religious vestment is underwear, it’s awkward. It paints a giant target on members for everyone from 5-year-olds through junior high bullies and up to adults who have no sense of decorum to aim at. (Which these days includes most of society.) So the constant ridicule about our “magic underwear” got old when I was prepubescent. 

This week the church came out with an article and a video about LDS garments. The article is on the newsroom site and the video is on YouTube.

[Note: This is an updated video. The original was edited to remove some images that included someone who had been convicted of a crime.]

I admit I was more than a little surprised. Not that you can’t find garments plastered all over the internet with a simple search (I actually didn’t know this experientially until just a moment ago when I was searching for the new article because, well, I’ve never tried to google garments before), but now the church has created a video explaining LDS ceremonial attire including images of both men’s and women’s garments and men’s ceremonial robes. (The women’s are only different in that we wear a veil instead of a cap.)

I’m not sure if the presenters planned the thumbnail of the video to be a long shot of men’s garments laid out on a table, but there they are in all their glory!

Not So Magic

Some people incorrectly refer to temple garments as ‘magical’ or ‘magic underwear.’ These words are not only inaccurate, but also offensive to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In all my years, I can’t recall a single use of this verbiage that was more than in-your-face mocking. So whether or not we’ve just learned to ignore it, in my estimation it’s always intended to be offensive. So, yes, grow up people. Get over it.

On the other hand, I think we have perpetuated the notion, given the myriad tales told of people being protected by their garments, etc. If it were true in a general sense that garments offered physical protection, I think we should wear them on our heads, rather than over our thighs and shoulders! So while we ask others to be respectful of our underwear (in a world where no one anywhere is respectful of anyone’s underwear), let’s stop talking so much about it’s magical properties, too.

Hmmm

My only complaints about the presentation are small.

  1. “Similar in design to ordinary, modest underclothing…” – I agree that the garments are similar to men’s boxers with a tee shirt — so similar that LDS men often let the top of the higher necked garments show under their shirts like a regular tee. But they aren’t remotely similar to a bra and panties. Let’s just be straight up about that. In a culture where leaders still teach women their dresses should be “long enough to cover the subject, but short enough to be interesting,” garments kind of put a damper on sexy. And given that (generally speaking) the only person who ever sees my underwear is my husband, I’m not opposed to “immodest” underwear. Perhaps the “modest” is supposed to be the caveat there, somehow indicating that if, indeed, there is “modest” female underwear, this is what it would look like. However:
    • Most people — even those preoccupied with modesty — don’t feel the need to have “modest” underwear, given that it’s under clothing.
    • There is no “ordinary” women’s underwear that is that modest in US culture.
  2. There is nothing magical or mystical about temple garments.” – Nothing magical, true. But isn’t the entire point that they are mystical symbols?

Still Awkward

This presentation is much needed to give some context to what endowed members wear in the temple and every day, given that it’s no longer remotely private. Sometimes the best defense is a good offense and I suspect that an open presentation directly from the church is a better approach than pretending no one knows about it because no one would be so crass as to discuss someone else’s underwear, right?

I suspect the conversation about religious underwear will continue to be awkward. But it is a step in the right direction.

What did you think about the new presentation about ritual temple clothing?

Interesting Responses

Mormon Underwear, Revealed by Emma Green

Mormons explain their sacred undergarments by Kate Seamons

Members react to new LDS video on temple garments by Erica Palmer

 

{ 61 comments… add one }
  • Madge October 19, 2014, 10:33 pm

    Somehow I missed this whole thing. Tend to agree. Pretty good. Necessary. But why can’t we do something other than underwear? A necklace? A tattoo? ANYTHING!

  • Cherish October 19, 2014, 10:39 pm

    I, for one, am really glad the church officially said the underwear isn’t magic. Maybe we can now stop the “faith” promoting stories about burn victims.

  • Kristine A October 19, 2014, 10:47 pm

    I like the video. If we are going to tell people to stop saying they are “magical” then the church has to specifically tell people to stop believing they are.

    Srsly, last time we had a lesson on covenants and garments in RS and the “protection” they provide and pushed back and said, “the only protection we receive is the blessings from being obedient” and afterwards several people came up to me to share their “magical underwear” stories to show me I was wrong.

    We can’t get mad at people for calling them magical, when we’re running around believing they are magical….

  • IdRatherNotSay October 19, 2014, 11:10 pm

    I honestly wish they’d stop changing the sizing on us. It seems that every time I go to buy new sets, the sizing has changed and I must purchase several pairs for the sake of trying them on until I can find the right size. This is costly. Is there a reason why the distribution centers cannot reintroduce the non-marked “try-on” sets so that we can all save a little dinero?

    Also, I am not sure if anyone has noticed but the tops have suddenly become more “modest.” Think you can wear those ever-so-popular Downeast Basic cap sleeved shirts, ladies? Think again!!!

    This is not to say that I am not grateful for the opportunity to be endowed. Please do not misunderstand me.

  • Bethany October 19, 2014, 11:54 pm

    I liked it. It compared garments to other religious vestments, and I think it was a good and understandable comparison for those who think it’s “weird” and unfamiliar. I have never heard them referred to as “magic” but I have, of course, heard stories of people who have avoided physical harm because of them. (To Kristine:)We believe that they are a spiritual protection, but I can’t say with certainty that these stores are all untrue, and that no one has ever been protected physically while wearing them. To call them “magic,” (or to perpetuate the idea that those who believe in the stories agree that they are “magical” even if these stories aren’t “mormon myths”), is offensive, and I would say as offensive as called the Holy Priesthood a “magic power.” It’s not.

  • Angie Gardner October 20, 2014, 6:42 am

    I’m glad the church has put out information about this. However, it is getting to be more than awkward that everyone is sharing it on their FB timelines.

  • D October 20, 2014, 7:58 am

    One of my biggest peeves is when we call garments underwear. I know… BUT I really think that there should be a distinction. I wear underwear when I work out – garments are different and I think that distinction is important.

  • Katie October 20, 2014, 8:50 am

    I definitely took note of the part of the video that said comments about garments are offensive. I wanted to comment on my friends’ posts, “Um, I’m not offended by that,” but it didn’t seem that it would help, so I didn’t 🙂 I’m glad someone else feels the same way!

    I would’ve been so upset at the Distribution Center worker not showing the robes! My mom showed them to me before I went through the temple. Maybe she’s more of a rebel than I thought. Or not — I guess if they’re putting them in this video, it likely never was a rule to not show them — it was probably always LDS urban legend.

  • IdRatherNotSay October 20, 2014, 8:51 am

    True, Angie. You have a good point. Now I wish I would have kept my mouth shut on this one.

    I don’t imagine that everyone else in the world would appreciate their underwear being a widely-discussed enigma… Let’s give those of us who are LDS the same respect! Can’t we all just mind our own business? Sorry for griping – this was not the right place for that!

  • Kathy October 20, 2014, 9:09 am

    There’s a story (Mormon Myth?) – A pair of Elders doing their laundry at a laundry mat were short a pair of garments. The next day they went back and found them on the bulletin board, with a slurry sign about magic mormon underwear. They left, taking the garments with them – a week later there was a mysterious fire in a dryer that burned the laundry mat to the ground. Freeky.

    At first, I was shocked seeing the picture of the garments on facebook. Now that I have listened to the film I like that the church has decided to come out and remove the “mystery” in the temple clothing and garments. If the church puts it out there with accurate information, then there’s no reason for others to try and post mis-informed and derogatory things about it. It will cease being “weird” and start to become “no big deal” to others outside our faith. The film was tasteful – made comparisons to other religions without revealing any of the sacred or symbolic nature of these two clothing’s. Well done, Brethren.

  • Alison Moore Smith October 20, 2014, 11:16 am

    Madge, I’ve often wondered how the idea for using underwear started. No idea. I would love a change as well. Military garments indicate that there may be nothing doctrinal about the current design and I can’t see a doctrinal basis for it. (Anyone?) Given that, I think it makes our practices unnecessarily primed for ridicule.

    Personally, I’d advocate for:

    • decent fit (particularly in light of impact on periods, pregnancy, nursing, ongoing female issues (hint: if you can’t use a panty liner with them, the fit is not decent enough))
    • markings screenprinted on the inside (like military garments)
    • no cap sleeve (it’s not because I’m hankering to bare my über sexy shoulders (that will, of course, force men around the world to search longingly for a glimpse at my bra), rather, I get really tired of unrolling and readjusting them all day long

    Given how much the church touts Al Fox, maybe it’s time for the tat revolution!
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  • Alison Moore Smith October 20, 2014, 11:19 am

    Kristine A, not surprised. I’ve heard so many in my life that the jokes seem par for the course.

    So, could a piece of extra fabric protect a body that is, say, skidding 100 yard across concrete after a motorcycle accident? Sure. Would the unintended stunt person be glad for the protection? Sure. But to conflate that with some kind of garment priesthood protection is the problem.

    I, too, am glad the church clarified this, but do not suppose this will stop the claims.
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  • Alison Moore Smith October 20, 2014, 11:24 am

    Good grief.

    When I was living in south Florida — and not acclimated to 98% humidity — I was searching desperately for clothing that could be worn with garments AND which would not result in heat prostration.

    I came on a trip to Utah during the pregnancy and spend a couple of days finding shorts that would work. I wore my garments, of course, tried on dozens of pairs. I stood, sat, bent over, looking for telltale signs of my religious devotion to peak out.

    Finally I found four pair that could get me through the brutal summer.

    Just before we left for home, we went by Distribution to pick up some garments. (They are not cheap.)

    When we got back to Florida, none of my shorts would work with my new garments. I called Distribution to tell them there was a problem with the sizing. I was told, “Oh, last year we made them three inches longer.”

    Because they weren’t modest enough, I guess. 🙁

    Anyway, yes. I’ve experienced the same frustration and sincerely do not understand the need.
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  • Alison Moore Smith October 20, 2014, 11:26 am

    Haha. No kidding! Every time I go to Facebook someone else has a link with the big old HERE ARE MEN’S GARMENTS thumbnail. Yea.

    Of course, it bothered me so much I just HAD to blog about it. But, you know, it’s out there. At least I won’t be chastised quite as much now when I dare to talk about them.
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  • Alison Moore Smith October 20, 2014, 11:28 am

    D, are you saying they are NOT underwear? I realize they look different and have religious significance, but aren’t garments an underwear subset?

    To me that’s like being bugged at someone saying a kippah isn’t a cap. 🙂
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  • Alison Moore Smith October 20, 2014, 11:33 am

    My daughter saw mine, too, but they were 28 years old and not representative of the various styles.

    As I said, you can see them at most LDS funerals, so the idea that they can’t be seen by the unendowed was just bizarre. Mostly I decided that it wasn’t a hill to die on. I could have demanded the “manager of women’s ceremonial robes” (or something) come in and make sense of it. But I don’t know that would have made the experience for my daughter LESS awkward than it already was. (And since when has policy ever had to make sense anyway?) 😉
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  • Jettboy October 20, 2014, 9:26 pm

    “Madge, I’ve often wondered how the idea for using underwear started.”
    Really? Please go to the Temple again and listen whenever garments are discussed. They are a symbol of our mortal bodies without actually being our bodies.

    “tat revolution!” My guess is you have no idea how possible this is, and would be very skittish if actually came about. That still wouldn’t take the place of garments considering the important symbolism they still represent.

    “But isn’t the entire point that they are mystical symbols?”

    Yes, yes, and more yes. I also have to go with what Bethany said that they may not be “magical,” but the Temple doesn’t specify that protection is Spiritual only. There is great reason to believe that because they are a spiritual protection, that includes possible physical protection. It somewhat upsets me when the physical protection aspect is dismissed as it limits the power and blessings of God to those who honor the Covenants associated with wearing them.

  • Left Field October 21, 2014, 6:26 am

    That’s totally weird that they wouldn’t let her see the clothing before being endowed. For that matter, you’re not technically endowed until you go through the veil, and by then you’ve not only seen the clothing, but you’re wearing it. Or if you’ve been to a funeral. So it’s still not true that you can’t see the clothing before being endowed. You’re not allowed to see the clothing except when you are.

    In the video, I would have just deleted both instances of the word “modest.” For myriad reasons, but mostly because the “modesty” rhetoric doesn’t strike the same chord with the public that we seem to think it does. Despite that quibble, I think the video is great.

    The temple tells us what the garment is protection from, and it’s not physical harm. I don’t think Satan has power to directly do us physical harm. That said, I’m still resistant to the idea that any purported physical protection constitutes “magic.” If we want to stretch the definition of magic that far, then every religious practice is magical, and the term still ends up being a simple pejorative, rather than a descriptive. Prayer, yarmulkes, rosaries, crosses, and garments could be called “magic,” not because it’s an adjective that describes some property of the item, but only because the speaker wishes to ridicule.

  • Steve October 21, 2014, 9:29 am

    I’m male so I hope my comment isn’t immediately dismissed as “you just don’t get it.” Admittedly, I’ve never breastfed a child or had to deal with the monthly period, but my wife and daughters have and I haven’t heard concerns from them.
    Some of the comments along the lines of you can’t wear this or that with garments infuriate me. I was once in an elevator with two younger women who were discussing garments. One said, “the thing that is sucky about garments is you can’t wear a lot of cute things.” Any time I hear that I have to question whether the person really understands the nature of the temple ceremony, the endowment, the washing and anointing ceremony and the sealing ceremony. Really, who places cuteness above a symbol of your covenant with God and the blessings He has promised? Are we that shallow?
    Why can’t it be a necklace or hat or tattoo? I don’t know; maybe because the Lord wants something else? Everyone who wears garments knows what they symbolize. I don’t know why that is so important to the Lord, but it is. Everyone who wears garments has been washed and anointed and has been instructed as to what the garment will do for you “so long as you do not defile it.”
    I agree that the stories about how garments protected someone physically get a little old. Maybe lessons should focus more on what the symbolism is and why it’s important rather than the benefits we receive.
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  • Katie October 21, 2014, 12:14 pm

    Steve,
    Yeah, you really just don’t get it. When I am wearing THREE shirts and my garments still show, something is wrong. When I was getting into wearing a lot of colors, I would wear a tank top underneath a v-neck shirt. The tank top would have a higher straight-across neckline. The v-neck would have a lower neckline, but would be closer to the neck. Then, over that I would have a *cardigan* — practically a symbol of dowdiness and modesty.

    Yet my garments would still manage to escape all 3 layers. I could dredge up a picture if you still don’t believe I was modest.

    Tell me again how I just don’t understand the temple?

    This is just one example of garments and modest clothes not working together nicely for me. I have many.

  • Katie October 21, 2014, 12:18 pm

    I said “The v-neck would have a lower neckline, but would be closer to the neck.”
    I mean it would be closer to the SIDES of my neck.

  • Alison Moore Smith October 21, 2014, 11:48 am

    Jettboy, I love how you always approach a discussion as if you’re the only person who has ever had a cogent thought.

    Really? Please go to the Temple again and listen whenever garments are discussed.

    Yes, I’ve been to the temple. (Really!) And, yes, I’ve listened to it, too! The weird things about symbols is that they can represent ANYTHING because…SYMBOLS. In other words, ANYTHING could represent ANYTHING else and can be meaningful as long as the person using the symbols understands the relationship. In more other words, it doesn’t HAVE to be underwear as far as we know.

    My guess is you have no idea how possible this is, and would be very skittish if actually came about.

    What does this even mean? You think I have “no idea” that tats can be (and are) symbolic in some cultures? (Hint: I have shrine to Samoa in my family room.) You think I would be appalled at getting a tattoo? (Hint: I used to have myriad piercings, including in thick cartilage. Plus 11 pregnancies. I’m OK with pain.)

    That still wouldn’t take the place of garments considering the important symbolism they still represent.

    Of course they COULD take the place of garments. Symbolism changes all the time as the culture changes. Do you notice that there is no official LDS teaching source that emphasizes the right hand for taking the sacrament any more? Even though that SYMBOLISM used to be very strictly taught and in some cases enforced. The church didn’t make a statement, but my guess is that (1) it was problematic, (2) didn’t matter that much (partly because of #3), and (3) the symbolism of right and left has largely been lost in our culture.

    Symbolism is only meaningful if it’s MEANINGFUL. Given the publicity and ridicule of the garments, I’d guess that much of the meaning is lost, as often happens in a culture where something is dismissed and derided. (To be clear, it’s not about YOUR personal feelings on the matter, it’s about how/if younger people will respond to the symbolism.)
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  • Alison Moore Smith October 21, 2014, 11:51 am

    Left Field, yes, it was weird. My point about funerals made no difference. Agree with your quibble, too.

    Love your point about “magic.” Very well said.
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  • Katie October 21, 2014, 1:01 pm

    Steve,
    Here’s a picture of what I’m talking about. Is it OK if I get frustrated that I can’t wear cute outfits like this without my garments poking out constantly and constantly having to be shoved back into place?

    s10.postimg.org/tsk06j6ex/823613_10100760389001319_1603368088_o.jpg
    You’ll have to fix the link where it says (dot org), as Alison’s comment form won’t accept the URL.

    Women are given multiple choices in garments; I realize that. For me the choices work something like this:
    1 – comfy fabric (in the winter; summer is sauna/sweat lodge time), but no neckline except a turteleneck will ever cover all of it
    2 – very wide and low neckline, breathable fabric, but all edges are covered in razor-like lace that ranges from uncomfortable to downright painful and sometimes produces rashes.

  • Alison Moore Smith October 21, 2014, 12:08 pm

    Any time I hear that I have to question whether the person really understands the nature of the temple ceremony, the endowment, the washing and anointing ceremony and the sealing ceremony.

    Anytime I hear someone question the faithfulness of someone from elevator eavesdropping, I question their understanding of their covenants. (Hint: If you daughters (or granddaughters) ever did have problems, I’m guessing they would tell you.)

    Really, who places cuteness above a symbol of your covenant with God and the blessings He has promised? Are we that shallow?

    Almost without exception, my wardrobe didn’t change when I married. (OK, a REALLY cute mini skirt…) It wasn’t a big deal. But if you’re going to simply chalk up someone’s concern to being “shallow” you’ll probably never learn some important things.

    Generally speaking, in today’s world the endowment and garment requires MUCH more accommodation and removal from typical culture from women than it does from men. No, that’s not more important than eternal life and salvation, but if you dismiss it as meaningless, it’s just one more female issue that “doesn’t matter.”

    Why can’t it be a necklace or hat or tattoo? I don’t know; maybe because the Lord wants something else?…I don’t know why that is so important to the Lord, but it is.

    I’d venture to say that none of us actually know if the Lord demands that the symbol be underwear at all.

    Maybe lessons should focus more on what the symbolism is and why it’s important rather than the benefits we receive.

    Agreed.
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  • Converse October 21, 2014, 3:50 pm

    Love the post and Katie’s comments. I’m so with you, girlfriend!

  • Genee October 21, 2014, 3:59 pm

    Yes, “similar to underwear a hundred years ago” just doesn’t have the same appealing ring, does it? I may have guffawed a little when I heard that line of the otherwise helpful and interesting video.

    In my opinion, the garment has become the LDS equivalent of a hairshirt. Going to the temple, especially for women, entails making a lifelong sacrifice of reasonable comfort and attractiveness. We agree to be hot, itchy, bulky, and constantly worried about our underwear poking out because modern women’s clothes, even when they are modest, simply are not designed to accommodate this kind of undergarment. Menstruation, pregnancy, nursing, and menopause all become even more unpleasant. But we agree to this suffering because it is seen as holy. In my opinion, the Savior doesn’t require us to submit to a cilice to remember Him.

  • some dude October 21, 2014, 4:40 pm

    Comment 1: CHI Book 1 3.4.5 “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.”

    Comment 2: I wish male garment tops came in tank-top version; similar to the female tops.

  • Marie Thatcher October 22, 2014, 10:24 am

    In the pioneer era, the marks were sometimes cut into outer clothing as well, at Brigham Young’s direction. So while the symbolism has always been attached to underclothing in Mormonism, it’s also been attached to outer clothing. For what it’s worth.

  • Katie October 22, 2014, 12:10 pm

    somedude —
    I have never seen a tank top version for women. It is possible you may have seen some women buy their garments small and shove the sleeves up on top of their shoulders, giving it the look of a tank top? But even the ones with the smallest sleeves still have sleeves. I do acknowledge they’re much smaller than the men’s sleeves.

  • IdRatherNotSay October 25, 2014, 8:06 am

    Steve,

    I know you probably mean well but just because your wife and daughters haven’t complained to you doesn’t mean they haven’t had the same issues that the rest of the endowed LDS female population have experienced.

    Look, I made a commitment when I took upon myself those covenants. I will do everything in my power to be as obedient as humanly possible. I hold dear to my heart the fact that I have had the opportunity to be endowed… But let’s not say this is something it isn’t. While men’s garments may be “similar to typical undergarments,” (per the video) women’s are not even remotely reminiscent of typical women’s underclothing. They are nearly impossible to conceal. Even when technically hidden under 3 shirts as Katie described, their lines show beneath clothing. Women’s bodies are biologically different than men’s and that is not taken into consideration in the design of LDS garments. (Notice how, as a man, there is a convenient “slit” for doing your business the way there are in every-day boxers… See any conveniences like this designed to accommodate women’s bodily functions? No!)

    This is just another example of how men and women experience life, and religion, differently.

  • IdRatherNotSay October 25, 2014, 8:11 am

    I just want to say that I am sure someone is going to point out that there are maternity and nursing garments made for women but that is beside my point. I am talking about every-day accommodations for the female body and frankly, I’d rather not get into that here.

  • Alison Moore Smith October 25, 2014, 10:08 am

    Katie, I’m appalled that you would wear such a skanky outfit!! No wonder it doesn’t work with garments!!!

    Sorry about the link. I made it clickable. The comments are set to mod at more than two links, but never to refuse, so I’ll see if I can figure out why it blocked your comment.
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  • Alison Moore Smith October 25, 2014, 10:13 am

    Yes, Genee, sometimes I wonder, “Who wrote the copy? Who was in the screen test group?”

    Sincerely, I think sometimes the screen testers need to be from outside the bubble. And by that I mean by real people who do not feel a moral imperative to agree with everything suggested by leadership.

    Wow, I think the hairshirt analogy is pretty good! And we do need to acknowledge the very real accommodation this requires.
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  • Katie October 25, 2014, 11:22 am

    I *loved* the maternity bottoms, but I was fairly alone in that opinion, even among my very faithful/believing LDS friends.

    I want to applaud whoever made an effort to help nursing women, but the nursing garments are pretty much the worst ever. I gave them a try with my first baby, and abandoned them fairly quickly. I heard a *rumor* that they were being redesigned a few years ago, but I haven’t bought nursing garments in 12 years, so I don’t know.

  • Alison Moore Smith October 25, 2014, 10:23 am

    Comment 1:
    If your point is that 3.4.5 proves that my daughter shouldn’t have seen garments, I’d disagree for a host of reasons on this as proof. If your point is that the church broke rule 3.4.5 by producing this video, I guess I would concur.

    However, given that CHI is mostly a policy manual, church administration is free to change policy at it’s discretion.

    Comment 2:
    I wish female garment tops came in a tank-top version, too. Or a camisole version like, “ordinary, modest underwear.” As of today, they do not.
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  • Alison Moore Smith October 25, 2014, 10:25 am

    Marie Thatcher, that is interesting. Do you have a source for that? I’m assuming it was in Utah with mostly members, but still an interesting addition.
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  • Alison Moore Smith October 25, 2014, 10:37 am

    IdRatherNotSay, well said. This brings up two things in my mind:

    (1) When I brought up BYU football’s sleazy advertising, some castigated me for my unfaithfulness in “questioning the brethren.” Because, you know, BYU football is a BYU institution and BYU is owned by the church and the church is run by “the brethren.” So they must have hand-picked Carl’s Jr. as the model fast food chain in the nation.

    On the topic of garments, I think it’s fair to say that most mainstream Mormons feel it is a sacrilege to acknowledge problems with garments.

    As with the Pew research poll, you have to incorporate Mormonism’s required submission as part of the calculation when you make claims about what people actually think.

    Like it or not, Mormon culture dictates that anything less than glowing support of things sent down (or across or sideways) from correlation is akin to apostasy.

    (2) If “the brethren” actually believe that women’s garments are representative of any modern “ordinary, modest underclothing,” again this speaks to the need for gender diversity in leadership. I don’t think any woman of any age would make that claim.
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  • Alison Moore Smith October 25, 2014, 10:39 am

    Maternity garments are just stretchier and more flowing. The nursing garments. Oh, my. I have no idea who thought that was a good idea…
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  • Kristy October 25, 2014, 2:45 pm

    Let’s not forget about how “inappropriate” it is to wear the bra under garments. At least that’s what I was told when I went through the temple until a RS president told me it was my choice.

    I wonder if anyone has even written the RS general President about problems with garments and what the response was.

  • Steve October 25, 2014, 4:08 pm

    IdRatherNotSay, you couldn’t have come up with a more condescending and dismissive opening sentence (“Steve I’m sure you mean well but….) had you tried.
    OK, I’ve been labeled the clueless male who doesn’t get it. So please, educate me.
    “They are nearly impossible to conceal.” You mean like bra straps, the scoop neck under a white shirt on men, or the bottom leg hem under everyone’s pants?
    “See any conveniences like this to accommodate women’s bodily functions? [oozing snarkiness].” Well, not in the two piece version but yes in the one piece. But more to the point, I don’t see it in mainstream women’s underwear either.
    “Let’s not say this is something it isn’t.” What then is it if not a complaint about a symbol of your covenant with God?
    What comes across to me is a passive-aggressive attitude. Such as “if the brethren actually believe that ….” The clear implication and direct conclusion is this is just another example of a bunch of men repressing women, this time by dictating that they wear uncomfortable, unfashionable and impractical clothing.
    Perhaps I stumbled into what used to be a private, front porch or over the back fence type of conversation. No problem with that. But when the conversation gets published on a blog and the blog is linked on LinkedIn, you have to expect clueless people putting in their two cents’ worth.

  • IdRatherNotSay October 25, 2014, 4:45 pm

    Steve,

    Forgive me but I do not know how to comment directly to your response so I must do so here.

    When I said “I’m sure you mean well,” I meant it. I really did think you meant well. It is evident to me now that you didn’t but I guess I am allowed to misread a tone if you are. It’s too bad that you took it the wrong way. I was hoping to enlighten, not anger and clearly I’ve done the latter.

    I understand that I’ve hit a nerve with you here – I’m not sure why or how and certainly, you’re entitled to your opinions but please do not put words in my mouth or tell me what I think. Nowhere did I say that “the bretheren designed my garments and are oppressing me.” Firstly, I have no idea who designed them but I’m sure it wasn’t President Monson or any of the 12. Secondly, until you have to wear three shirts to cover your underwear, please do not pretend to know what it’s like to have to do so. It is expensive, frustrating and hot, especially to those of us living in humid and/or hot climates.

    “Clear implication and direct conclusion?” Are you kidding me? Good heavens. How do you draw a conclusion and determine my “implication” by a few paragraphs? See, this just reinforces to me that when women calmly voice concerns, we’re automatically labeled as irrational, insubordinate, “passive-aggressive” and anti-male. How is THAT for condescending? They always say that the accuser is really the perpetrator. How about this? Maybe it’s not about you for once! Maybe it’s about someone else! Try to imagine that!!

    Can we just agree that unless you’ve walked in the shoes of someone else, you can’t completely understand what life is like in their world? Rather than spitting rude comments at a stranger on a blog, one could certainly benefit from reading/listening from others’ perspectives and better appreciating others’ life experiences. We’d be richer people for it… and by “we,” I mean you.

  • Lana Lou October 28, 2014, 2:38 pm

    There are so many issues with the purchase process. When I went for the first time I had NO idea what size to get, so I went with the measurements on the packages, and ended up with saggy baggy ones that wrinkled under all my clothes. I’m really thin and need tight stuff so I can wear my normal clothes. Then I went back to get new sizes and the girl that was helping me looked like my exact size. I asked her what size she wore, and whether they were more fitted or not, and she said, “I’m not allowed to discuss my sizes with customers.” I just blinked at her for a minute. Is it a crime to help a girl out on her first garment shopping trips? I told my mom about it later and she said that was not a rule and that girl was seriously misinterpreting the privacy of garments. I had to contact a bunch of my friends and ask them what to do so I could stop spending so much money on stuff I couldn’t wear, and couldn’t throw in the garbage, and couldn’t even TRY ON.
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  • Cindy October 29, 2014, 1:29 pm

    One question I have about garment use–and excuse my candor but I just don’t know where else I can ask this question–but are we required as faithful members to keep garments on during intercourse? I’m a newlywed and my husband insists that we keep them on…he says his mission president told him our children were to be conceived “through the portal of the priesthood.”

    I have asked a few friends, and they say my husband is wrong…any suggestions or ideas?

  • Emma October 29, 2014, 4:04 pm

    I stopped wearing garments a few years ago, pregnancy, breastfeeding, weight gain all made it difficult. I found a style I like in the top (carinessa – feel it’s just like the type of top you might wear to the gym) but the bottoms are just too long – even modest knee length skirts show them off if I move and the shorter drisilque type are awful around the waist! So unflattering when you’ve got a flabby baby belly.

    I’m glad they released the video in a way because an overweight recent convert complained of thigh chafing and someone said, oh that will get better after you’ve been to the temple, and the convert had no idea. Also, I had no idea about the priesthood robes until I was preparing to go to the temple – and my grandad had an open casket, don’t know how i missed that!! So I think it would help people to prepare for the temple.

    BUT – people are saying they don’t know why it has to be underwear. I thought it was because in genesis it says that Adam and Eve made coats of skins and that is what the garments represent.

  • Alison Moore Smith October 29, 2014, 5:06 pm

    Cindy, I’m honestly thinking you’re a troll, but I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt (for just a second) and answer as if this is a legitimate question.

    Heavens, no.

    BTW, exactly how is that supposed to occur? (Immaculate inception comes to mind…)
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  • Alison Moore Smith October 29, 2014, 5:17 pm

    Emma, Adam and Eve made breakfast, too. But we’re not required to wear sacred oatmeal.

    (Actually, Genesis says the Lord made coats of skins for Adam and Eve. There is not indication that the coats of skins were undergarments and I see no scriptural mandate of (1) something to represent the coats of skins nor (2) of underwear.)

    This is an interesting post about the meaning of garments among various groups (including Mormons): Garments of Skin?
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  • Marie Thatcher October 30, 2014, 12:07 am

    Alison: I first heard about it from an Institute teacher about ten years ago. He didn’t give a source, but I’ve found one since. There may be others.

    Minutes from a meeting in the City Hall in Salt Lake City, Oct 10, 1869, West room 6 p.m.
    Present–of the [First] Presidency–B[righam] Y[oung], G[eorge] A. S[mith].
    [Present] of the Twelve. O[rson] H[yde], O[rson] P[ratt], W[ilford] W[oodruff], L[orenzo] S[now], F[ranklin] D. R[ichards], C[harles] C. Rich, E[rastus] Snow, Geo[rge] Q. C[annon].
    B[righam] Y[oung][:] Some enquiry [was] made as to how many have their shirts marked–[A] few rose with them marked–Pres[ident] Y[oung] said he took the scissors & soon made the marks. [Even] if [the] shirt [is] colored[,] mark it–[I]f [there is] flannel or buckskin between [the] shirt & garment[,] that also should be marked. An overshirt worn as a vest should not be marked.

    It was cited in the book The Development of LDS Temple Worship 1846-2000, edited by Devery S. Anderson.

  • Steve October 30, 2014, 1:08 pm

    Allison the doctrinal basis for garments representing the coat of skins is in the temple ceremony, both in the initiatory ordinance and the endowment ordinance.

  • Alison Moore Smith October 30, 2014, 1:28 pm

    I know, Steve. I said that. The question wasn’t what they represent, but whether or not our “outward sign of inward commitment” is doctrinally required to kind of, sort of mimic the referenced coat of skins.
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  • Ben Taylor October 31, 2014, 9:41 pm

    Kristy – Temple Matrons have recently changed directions in the past year and instruct women it is ok to wear panties and bras underneath the Garment. My wife heard it from one of her friends who went to the temple. She questioned it and asked the Matron and they confirmed it – Wear them underneath – but you can always ask for yourself.

    Here are my thoughts of Garments as a Male. I really feel sorry for Women. You really have horrible sizing, horrible choices, and need styles that do not have sleeves. The whole business of wearing bras on the outside was freakish and I’m glad the church has changed that directive. I know my wife complains about them bunching up and she has resorted to getting the long leg versions to stop the “legs bunching up”.

    I also think we should have the option to make our own garments. I just spent 85 dollars and know that I would have spent around 40 at Walmart for Hanes or Fruit of the Loom.

  • Alison Moore Smith November 1, 2014, 10:07 am

    Actually, Ben, the “official” (meaning unwritten but somehow authorized by someone “up there”) policy changed from “next to skin” to “however it works” over 30 years ago. But that’s the problem with an “unwritten order,” isn’t it? It can take decades to trickle down and even then it’s not complete.

    People used to be able to make their own. I think this was supposed to be for those who were far outside the norm or has particular adaptive issues, but I’m not sure. I believe that option was removed (at least the website seemed to indicate that at one point). Correlation of underwear? :/
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  • Jessie March 3, 2015, 11:18 am

    I went sans garments for menstrual reasons (i get a horrible rash if I wear pads with them) and my husband /growled/ at me. Good grief. And when I first started wearing garments, I spent a lot if time si sweaty that I was convinced I had peed myself. How is this ok?!

  • Missionaryinpreparation June 6, 2016, 12:11 pm

    That’s the thing though, thy symbols arnt mystical but sacred. They are in fact symbols, just like the symbols embroidered onto the popes robes. Also, garments are supposed to be modest, while typical women’s unders are ment to be sexy, or allow women to show more skin. In the case of the burn victims and many others the garment IS protection, protection from Heavenly Father because of your faithfulness and your choosing to wear the garments. They aren’t magical but Heavenly Father blesses those who wear his garments. Finally, the comment about the necklace or tattoo is extremly offensive! Is fashion really so important that you would break covenants with Heavenly Father? Is fashion so important that you would alter his holy garment, the garment that reminds you of your covenants made with him? Just so you can wear clothing that shows more skin? Skin that we already have been encouraged not to show? Look at the sweet missionaries, are they not fashionable? Are they not cute? Do they not dress attractively? Garments do not affect your ability to be beautiful, you can be extremly attractive to men while properly wearing and covering your garments, in fact more so. Because you are showing your devotion to God and he will be attracted to YOU your personality, your smile, your laugh, and not to your body alone.

  • Mckayla June 6, 2016, 12:32 pm

    Steve is right!
    Your argument of “it could be anything” or “who know what Heavenly Father wants” is offensive to the very basics of our faith. WE KNOW this is what God wants because our prophets (who are heavenly fathers mouth price on earth) have told us so. This is his church! Run by him! So yes if you think it could be anything else you need to go sit through Primary and the temple sessions again! Heavenly Father told us through his prophets what he wants. What he demands. And if you don’t sustain the prophet or do not believe him to be exactly that, a prophet of God, who does exactly as it says in Amos 3:7 “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.”
    If you don’t believe that Heavenly Father designed the garments then I suppose you do not believe that the Book of Mormon is true, that Joseph smith was called of God to restore his church. That president Monson has been called to lead us in this day and age? These are the garments. His garments. End of story yes the garment styles can be frusterating but deal with it. The church just came out with more styles and I have never delt with what you have described. Are your shoulders worth breaking those covenants you made? It’s not about comfort it’s not about fashion or what is “cute” it’s about your relationship with Heavenly Father and the covenants you made. So deal with it. I’m 19! If there is anyone who wants to wear the cute tank tops and dresses it’s me! But I work around it. Because Heavenly Father is so much more important to me than a fashion fad.

  • Mckayla June 6, 2016, 12:39 pm

    you don’t ever go sans garments unless it’s one of the 3s’s swimming sports and well intimacy.
    I get the period thing but of course your husband growled at you! Just wear normal underwear underneath for that time frame! Don’t go without that sacred symbol of your covenants that you made with God, and your husband! (I even talked with the temple matron on that, she says it’s ok) really you people!!! Again is this worth sacrificing covenants made with God?

  • Alison Moore Smith June 6, 2016, 2:46 pm

    Missionaryinpreparation, I get the impression that you skimmed quickly in order to counter, rather than understand.

    That’s the thing though, thy symbols arnt mystical but sacred.

    mystical:

    1. having a spiritual meaning or reality that is neither apparent to the senses nor obvious to the intelligence
    2. involving or having the nature of an individual’s direct subjective communion with God or ultimate reality

    So, yes, mystical.

    Also, garments are supposed to be modest, while typical women’s unders are ment to be sexy, or allow women to show more skin.

    First, only some “typical” women’s underwear is designed to be sexy. Much is simply designed for function and comfort. Still, my statement is supported. Garments are not similar in design to ordinary underwear when you’re talking about the women’s side of the aisle.

    In the case of the burn victims and many others the garment IS protection, protection from Heavenly Father because of your faithfulness and your choosing to wear the garments.

    In the case of some burn victims the garment fabric can serve as a protective layer. In others it can cause more problems. That depends on the circumstance of the injury, not the faithfulness of the wearer.

    They aren’t magical but Heavenly Father blesses those who wear his garments.

    The discussion has never been about whether or not we are blessed for obedience, but the specifics of what those blessings ential, particularly in regard to physical protection from garments. For the record, faithful garment wearers die ever day.

    Finally, the comment about the necklace or tattoo is extremly offensive!

    Bad spelling is really offensive, too. Just a heads up on that.

    Still, what in the world is offensive about preferring a different symbolic item over one that has historically been an enormous source of ridicule for church members and, thus, makes missionary work harder. (You know, there’s a REASON the church made this video, right?)

    Is fashion really so important that you would break covenants with Heavenly Father?

    This entire flailing rant is so non-sequitur I don’t know where to start. Missionaries in prep should be better at listening, reading in context, tact, kindness, and comprehension than in accusation and belittling.

    Garments do not affect your ability to be beautiful, you can be extremly attractive to men while properly wearing and covering your garments, in fact more so.

    Well, good. Because if we aren’t turning on the men, we’re pretty much good for nothing.

    Your argument of “it could be anything” or “who know what Heavenly Father wants” is offensive to the very basics of our faith.

    Apparently you have a source. Where is the source that demands underwear as a symbol, so basic to our faith?

    WE KNOW this is what God wants because our prophets (who are heavenly fathers mouth price on earth) have told us so.

    Honey, you’re going to get slaughtered on a mission if you don’t wise up. I’m sure you haven’t missed an iota of General Conference, giving your overwhelming righteousness and all. So do you remember Uchtdorf noting that GAs make mistakes? Now, lets’ take that authoritative tidbit and just look at church history. For example, how did we get the Word of Wisdom? I’ll let you do a little googling on that. And, to be clear, it didn’t happen by God poofing it to Joseph Smith.

    If you don’t believe that Heavenly Father designed the garments then I suppose you do not believe that the Book of Mormon is true, that Joseph smith was called of God to restore his church.

    Which version of the garment do I need to believe was designed by God himself in order to be righteous enough to meet your standard? Also, why did the church recently survey selected members (myself included) about fit and function of the garments that you believe God personally drew the plan for?
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  • Alison Moore Smith June 6, 2016, 2:49 pm

    Same song. Third verse.
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  • Katie June 6, 2016, 3:42 pm

    “Which version of the garment do I need to believe was designed by God himself in order to be righteous enough to meet your standard?”

    I suggestion that Missionary and/or Mckayla (I suspect they are the same person) go back to the original garments – linen fabric, sleeves to the wrist, legs to the ankle, tied at the neck with bows (NOT buttoned), symbols cut into the fabric (not embroidered on).

    I found a history today of changes made to the garment. It was fascinating:

    upwardthought.blogspot.com/2014/09/timeline-of-lds-ordinance-changes.html

  • Alison Moore Smith June 6, 2016, 3:54 pm

    Yes, they are the same person. And I think your suggestion is spot on. Original garments are closest to the source. Let us know how that works out for you, Mckayla.
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