Mormon Undergarment: What Is It?
Kathryn Ramirez is a lifelong member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (“Mormon”). Until her recent retirement, she developed computer software. Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Kathryn has been married for over 40 years “to the same kind, incredibly patient man!”
Throughout history, people of various religions have worn sacred clothing that is both special and meaningful to them alone. Often times, this clothing may be visible to others, because it is worn on top of other clothing. Examples of such sacred clothing are beads, shawls, and special head-coverings. In other situations, this special clothing may be worn under one’s outer clothing, next to the skin. The Jewish tallit katan, for example, is a white garment worn under the clothing in remembrance of the Lord’s commandments (see Exodus 19:6, Numbers 15:38 and Deuteronomy 22:12).
Adult members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (“Mormons”) are encouraged to live in such a manner that they may be worthy of the privilege of attending one of the Church’s more than 130 operating temples worldwide, and participating in sacred ordinances (i.e. religious ceremonies) there. Among these ordinances are a symbolic washing and anointing and an endowment ceremony which involves both instruction and the making of sacred covenants, or promises, with God. Once an individual has received these ordinances, he is to wear a special undergarment throughout his life. The purpose of this “Mormon garment” is to serve as a constant reminder of the covenants made in the temple, a little bit like a wedding ring is a reminder of the promises made to one’s spouse as part of his wedding vows.
You may have heard someone mockingly refer to the temple garment as “magic Mormon underwear,” but you would never hear a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints do so. The garment is sacred to us. It is not magic in any sense of the word. While the garment is associated with the Lord’s protective care for us, this protection is understood as being primarily of a spiritual nature. When we are wearing the garment, we are conscious of the promises we made to God and are less likely to be tempted to break them.
The sacred Mormon garment (not “underwear”) is white (with the exception of a khaki version for those in the armed forces), and there are several approved styles and fabrics, for both men and women, all of which require that they be worn with modest clothing. As Mormons throughout the world know, however, modest does not mean unfashionable, dated or strange. We are instructed to wear the garment day and night. We may, however, remove it to shower or bathe, when having intimate relations with one’s spouse, and when participating in certain sports which would typically require special clothing, such as a swimming suit.
Learn more about the Mormon undergarment at the official site of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (inadvertently called by friends of other faiths as the “Mormon Church”).
The Book of Mormon is a companion to the Bible and another testament of Jesus Christ. Request a free copy.
Attend a local meetinghouse.