Mormon Underwear


  Personal Preparation for Temple Blessings, Ensign (CR), May 2001, p.32

Elder Russell M. Nelson, Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

The latter- day restoration of temple ordinances included instructions concerning the wearing of the garment of the priesthood. Members of the Church who receive their endowments in the house of the Lord (1) covenant to wear sacred priestly undergarments throughout their lives. The undergarments have symbolic marks of spiritual (2) significance to the wearer. These garments are manufactured and distributed by an agency of the (3) Church.

In a letter dated 10 October 1988, the First Presidency wrote: “Practices frequently observed among the members of the Church suggest that some members do not fully understand the covenant they make in the temple to wear the garment in accordance with the spirit of the (4) holy endowment.

 “Church members who have been clothed with the garment in the temple have made a covenant to wear it throughout their (5) lives. This has been interpreted to mean that it is worn as underclothing both day and night. The promise of protection (6) and blessings is conditioned upon worthiness and faithfulness in keeping the covenant.

 “The fundamental principle ought to be to (7) wear the garment and not to find occasions to remove it. Thus, members should not remove either all or part of the garment to work in the yard or to lounge around the home in swimwear or immodest clothing. Nor should they remove it to participate in recreational activities that can reasonably be done with the garment worn properly beneath regular clothing. When the garment must be removed, such as for (8) swimming, it should be restored as soon as possible.

“The principles of modesty (9) and keeping the body appropriately covered are implicit in the covenant and should govern the nature of all clothing worn. Endowed members of the Church wear the garment as a (10) reminder of the sacred covenants they have made with the Lord and also as a (11) protection against temptation and evil. How it is worn is an outward expression (12) of an inward commitment to follow the Savior.”

Observations of Mormon Rules Concerning Their Sacred Underwear

(1)         Mormons pledge allegiance to wearing sacred underwear in their temples.

(2)        Temple Mormons view their sacred underwear with spiritual significance.

(3)        Mormons can only purchase their sacred underwear through the LDS church.

(4)        Mormons are to view their sacred underwear as a holy covenant with their god.

(5)        Mormons are to wear their sacred underwear throughout their lives.

(6)        Protection from evil and blessings is conditioned on their sacred underwear.

(7)        Mormons must wear their sacred underwear at all times including work and play.

(8)        However, Mormons may remove their sacred underwear for swimming.

(9)        Wearing sacred underwear will keep Mormons modest.

(10)          Mormons are reminded of their sacred covenants via their sacred underwear.

(11)          Mormons look to their underwear for protection against temptations and evil.

(12)          Mormons view their sacred underwear as a commitment to their god.


Keep it covered

Parents shop around, set rules and even add layers to help daughters dress modestly for school

By Magdalena Wegrzyn

Publish Date: 8/20/2009
Longmont Times-Call

LONGMONT — There’s a steadfast rule in the Miller family when it comes to clothes.

It’s called the “head, shoulders and knees” rule.

“Basically, if you raise your hands, it has to cover your stomach,” said Angela Miller, the mother of five children — two of them teenage daughters. “And if you bend over, I don’t want to see anything hanging out.”

Finding trendy and modest clothing is a constant struggle, said Miller, a Mead resident. She orders the bulk of her daughters’ clothing online at boutiques like DownEast Basics and Modbe Clothing. The Utah-based companies sell basics the Millers layer under revealing tops.

“Our closets are packed to the gills,” Miller said, explaining that for most outfits, the girls need modifiers — shrugs, jackets, wraps, shawls, cardigans, tank tops and undershirts.

Most immodest clothes can be layered to be suitable for teens, but Angela said buying inappropriate clothes and altering them is like “voting with our wallets” and sending a message to designers that their clothes are acceptable.

Alyssa Miller, a junior at Skyline High School, estimates her closet contains nearly 30 undershirts. It’s a staple for almost every outfit, the 16-year-old said.

“I like to have self-respect,” she said. “What you wear changes how you act.”

Brynne Miller, 14, conveniently has a “modesty mole” that serves as a guide for plunging necklines.

“I have a mole here, so that’s as far as I go,” said Brynne, a freshman at Mead High School, pointing to a dark brown spot on her left clavicle.

At Kohl’s Department store in Longmont last week, the Miller girls and their friends filled out the rest of their back-to-school wardrobes.

“You’d have to get a bigger size,” said Angela Miller as Alyssa modeled a form-fitting button-down shirt. “I don’t like how tight it is.”

Alyssa protested, tugging the shirt down and promising to wear a tank top underneath, but it was a fruitless effort. Mom’s raised eyebrow and stern look prevailed.

As her daughter trudged back into the dressing room, Angela sighed.

“It’s hard when they have their peers buying things that aren’t appropriate,” she said.

When Alyssa pranced out in the same shirt, one size bigger, Angela nodded in approval.

“Oh, see, now that one’s cute,” she said.

The Millers, a Mormon family, hold modesty in high esteem. Part of the reason Angela said she insists on modest clothing is that endowed members of the Mormon church wear undergarments that need to be covered by their regular clothing. Although her daughters have not yet been endowed — something that usually occurs at marriage or before a mission — Angela said she wants to prepare them for the day when they will be.

Alyssa Olson, a Skyline High junior and good friend of Alyssa Miller, said that in high school, wearing “sluttier” clothes is one way to attract a certain type of attention. The Olsons are not Mormon, but strict rules, like the “two-finger rule” for tank top strap width, are still enforced, said Alyssa’s mom, Sandy Olson.

Sandy recently refused to let her 16-year-old daughter buy a T-shirt with a Tootsie Blow Pop on it.

“You don’t wear anything that somebody could look at and take the wrong way,” she said.

The St. Vrain Valley School District’s dress code draws the line at “clothing that bares or exposes traditionally private parts of the body.” Enforcement and any additional criteria is up to each individual school.

But the Millers and Olsons take it a step further, policing their children each morning at breakfast.

“To me, that’s our way of controlling our kids’s environment,” said Angela Miller. “If my kids are dressing certain ways, they’re portraying themselves a certain way.”

And although the Miller sisters won’t be attending the same high school this year, Alyssa said she gave Brynne some helpful advice when it comes to clothes:

“If a guy only notices you for how you look, he’s not gonna be worth it,” she said.

Dressmaker creates dream gowns for Mormons - sleeves included

by Jaimee Rose - Dec. 20, 2008
The Arizona Republic

Mormons hate talking about their underwear.

They're as uncomfortable talking about their underwear as they are wearing their underwear.

A symbol of their faith, the to-the-knee, sleeved underwear is bunchy and billowy and decidedly not modern.

But eventually it must be discussed because they don the church-designed underwear every day. And while they sleep. And on special occasions - even on their wedding day. And to the anguish of Mormon brides, most wedding dresses don't come with sleeves.

Suzanne Novak watches the brides as they sift through the racks of silk and chiffon in her Gilbert bridal shop, their hope dwindling as they try on dress after impossible dress. She watches them fall in love with ivory strapless lace, with sleeveless satin and rhinestones, with spaghetti straps of all sorts, some crafted entirely out of beads.

Novak, owner of Suzanne's Bridal Boutique, sees the corners of their mouths drop when they find the small rack of dresses they can wear tucked away in the back of her shop: high-necked, high-backed, sleeves to the elbows. Dowdy and Matronly Row, Novak says. The dresses all look alike, very '80s prom, deeply Cinderella chic.

But brides today don't want to look like Cinderella, Novak says. They want to look like Heidi Klum.

"I'll fix it, honey," she promises the brides who prance about the store wearing strapless gowns, desperately twining stray sashes around their arms. "We can fix it."

Novak is the sleeve goddess of Gilbert. Her name is whispered among Mormon brides as a miracle worker, a seamstress divine, who can conjure fabric from the ether and turn a trendy strapless dress into a gown both modern and Mormon-approved. She sews sleeves on almost 200 wedding dresses a year, about a third of the dresses she sells.

She sits in the back room of her sunny Gilbert shop for up to 14 hours a day, sewing barefoot, a collection of pens stuck through the graying dark bun piled on top of her head. She is 56 and Hawaiian. She feeds the strip-mall cat, has been known to fetch her UPS man lunch and will bead sleeves until her eyes are blurry to make her brides happy. She loves almost all of them - "Sometimes, we get a stinker," she says - and they love her.

Novak can fix anything. She knows how to drape chiffon just so around the shoulders, how to turn tank-style tops into elbow sleeves. She orders fabric from the dress manufacturers to get the match just right. She can craft white bodysuits to wear beneath tulle and plays patchwork with lace. She folds damask into sleeves so intricate it's impossible to believe they weren't there before.

She has brides try on sleeve templates, just to catch the vision. Then she draws the imaginary gown, sticks her pen in her bun and heads to the workroom to bring it to life.

Bodice wrangling

As a Christian, Novak has never worn Mormon underwear, but she has the contours down pat. The sleeves on women's underwear measure 5inches from the tip of the collarbone downthe arm, the lace-trimmed V-neck hits just at the top of the decolletage and the shorts go to the knee.

The guys have it easier: Their underwear looks like a T-shirt and boxers, only longer, and a tuxedo disguises all. The ladies must wear their underwear beneath pantyhose and even bras, and they scour malls for clothes to cover them, hoisting up low-rise jeans, bemoaning every tank top in sight.

The underwear comes in fabrics such as cotton, nylon and polyester. Some, Novak says, work better than others.

"Honey, you're wearing the wrong ones," Novak tells 20-year-old bride Afton McAferty one evening. McAferty had fallen in love with a gown with spaghetti straps, and her friends had shared the legend of Novak: She won't ask you to explain the underwear; she'll just work around it.

"The cotton is all bunchy, and that's why you can't move your arms," says Novak, who cut the bodice off McAferty's dress and started over. "Try the silky ones next time you come, OK? They fit a little closer to the body."

Sometimes, Novak will put sleeves on a gown and watch a Mormon bride get a little wistful.

"They fell in love with the dress the way it was for a reason," she says. It's hard for them, sometimes, to resist the gowns they see on everyone else, say, the strapless Ariana with the whipped-cream bottom. Sometimes, Novak says, "It depends on whether the mother's with them or not" - a bride might wish out loud that she could wear a strapless dress.

She admires their dedication to their faith and the underwear that it implies.

"They know they have to deal with it," Novak says, "and they do."

Promises and princesses

The "garments," as they call the underwear, are among the most sacred traditions held by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormons. When faithful church members reach adulthood, they are eligible to attend Mormon temples, a building separate from regular church meeting houses. Inside, weddings and other sacred covenants take place. After members attend the temple for the first time, the underwear is worn every day as a reminder of the covenants made within.

The official church statement on garments goes like this: "Garments are worn beneath street clothing as a personal and private reminder of commitments to God. Garments are considered sacred by Church members and are not regarded as a topic for casual conversation."

The underwear hasn't evolved much in silhouette since 1979, but wedding dresses have.

The '80s were good to Mormon brides: the days of puffed sleeves, Dallas and Princess Diana. The '90s were harder, when less became more, when Vera Wang and Calvin Klein put lace and beads upon skewers, and brides wanted the slinky sleeveless gown of Carolyn Bessette Kennedy.

Now, the bridal trends are just plain Mormon torture: strapless, sleeveless, backless, cut-to-there, even see-through tummies. Brides want red carpet, not castle. In the latest issue of Martha Stewart Weddings, there are 154 dresses. Three of them would cover Mormon underwear.

Novak thinks about this a lot. She calls manufacturers and begs them to stop sending such Disney-like dresses.

"No one wants 'em. Just because you want to be modest and covered up doesn't mean you want dowdy and matronly," Novak says. "They want to look pretty."

I feel pretty

It's not so hard, Novak thinks, to pacify this one little corner of the female psyche. You listen. You linger. You invoke the word "beautiful" as many times as necessary. You watch their faces for the moment when it clicks, when they feel pretty, too.

She has been calming the addled panic of dress-seeking females for more than 30 years, outfitting eight years of Miss Arizonas, spending decades in Valley bridal shops. For the past seven years, she has presided over her own, where the motto is "happy brides." She has always loved weddings.

She grew up poor, she says.

"We didn't have dolls. We didn't have toys," she says. "My mom says now I'm just playing with my life-sized dolls."

She just married off her only daughter, and while she sews and beads at her shop, she plays mom to the pack of young salesgirls who flit about. ("What did I tell you about marriage and compromise?" she tells them. "You're the woman. You're going to be making a lot of compromises. It's usually us.")

But a wedding dress, Novak thinks, should be sacrosanct from compromise. She thinks she can fix this, too. Sometimes, Novak daydreams about designing her own line of Mormon-friendly gowns: pre-sleeved, but glamorous, too. There's a market for it: More than 361,800 Mormons live in Arizona.

Today is Emily Streeter's last fitting. She's wearing a lacy strapless gown that Novak nipped into a mermaid style to show off Streeter's tiny physique. The dress started strapless but now boasts sequined lace sleeves, a high Victorian collar and a long row of tiny buttons down the back.

"I feel magic," says Streeter, 22, of Tempe.

"Your fingers are magic, Suzanne," a salesgirl whispers.

Novak beams.

"Suzanne reminds me of, like, an aunt - an aunt that takes care of you," says Streeter, who doesn't want to take her dress off. She can't wait to show her sister.

"My sister can't believe I want to cover up," Streeter says. But hard as they are to dress around, the Mormon underwear has its bonus, she says. Streeter watched her sister wrestle with her own wedding dress on the big day. She did not marry in the temple and was in full strapless regalia, yanking, tugging and wiggling all day to keep her dress up where it belonged. The sleeves Novak added to Streeter's gown will knock out all such nonsense.

"The temple is a really sacred place to me, so it's important to wear what's appropriate," Streeter says. "When you're going, you want to be able to be focused on feeling (God's) spirit, and not, say, falling out of your dress."


Airman says commander told him to remove Mormon undergarments

SALT LAKE CITY A Mormon airman claims his Air Force commander threatened to kick him out of his entertainment unit unless he removed his sacred undergarments.

Airman First Class Andrew Howells of Salt Lake City says the commander complained that the garments, worn by observant Mormons, showed through his uniform.

Howells told the church-owned Deseret Morning News that he finds the situation ironic because he's in the military "to defend religion and freedom."

Mormons are instructed to wear the white garments, which are symbolic of purity, at all times and remove them only for very specific activities.

Utah Congressman Matheson has filed an inquiry on Howell's behalf with the Air Force Congressional Liaison Office.


Latter-Day Sportswear

Do Mormon athletes wear the temple garment under their uniforms?

By Michelle Tsai
March 16, 2007

On Thursday night, Brigham Young University's men's basketball team was narrowly defeated in its first NCAA tournament game in three years. Do athletes from the Mormon school wear temple garments during games?

No. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints allows athletes to forego the traditional underclothes during games because they're impractical. Mormons are encouraged to wear the temple garments at all times, although they can swap them out if they're playing sports or going for a swim. (Hall of Fame quarterback and devout Mormon Steve Young used to take off his temple garments before each 49ers game.) In situations where the garments might draw attention or mockery—like an army barracks, for example—Mormons can also put on regular underwear. Those willing to field questions from curious bunkmates, though, can pick up a set of brown, military-style temple garments.

Not everyone on the BYU team wears the temple garments when they're off the court. Only church members who have gone through a ritual of commitment called endowment can don the special clothes. In this ceremony, members are washed, anointed, and dressed in ceremonial clothing before they are ushered through re-enactments of the Lord's creation of the world. Members make formal promises and learn about sacred signs during this rite, which usually takes place before a Mormon goes on a two-year mission for the church or when a woman gets married. The basketball team probably has both players who have and have not been endowed.

According to Mormon doctrine, the garments are reminders of each person's covenant with God. In fact, they're so sacred that they can't be discussed in casual conversation, and you can buy them only from the church's Beehive Clothing stores with proof of church status. (Occasionally an anti-Mormon will sell garments on eBay.)

The white, sleeved undergarments come in a one-piece suit or a shirt and shorts made from cotton, nylon, or fabrics that wick moisture. The design covers the torso and extends to the knee. Men's shirts commonly feature scoop necks, while women's shirts often have cap sleeves and lace trimming and are to be worn under bras. Embroidered symbols called the "compass" and the "square" decorate each side of the chest, while single embroidered lines grace the navel and right knee. Each of these marks serves as a witness to the covenant. The line at the knee, for instance, is a Biblical reference to Philippians 2:10-11: "Every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

Explainer thanks Kim Farah of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Carri Jenkins of Brigham Young University, David Knowlton of Utah Valley State College, and Arlene White.


The Sacred Garment of Mormon Theology

Beehive Standard Weekly

The Temple Garment: A Symbol of Progression in Spiritual Matters

It is true that some Mormons wear an undergarment unique to the Mormon faith. As a curious reader, you should know that the "garment" as Mormons refer to the article of clothing is sacred and in the Mormon faith is believed to be representative of the covenants God made with man since Adam and Eve. As such, those who mock or ridicule the garment are not only inconsiderate of the faith and beliefs of others, but strike at one of the most sacred items within the Mormon belief system.

In short, having a knowledge of the garment should help others recognize what the article of clothing is and how to interact with Mormons when the topic comes up in discussion.

In general, the garment is obtained through a process of obedience to commandments and knowledge of Mormon doctrine. Where the entrance to the Mormon faith is baptism by immersion in the name of "the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost," the garment is representative of a higher level of commitment to establishing the Kingdom of God upon the earth.

To understand how the garment fits into a person's spiritual progression, it would be helpful to start at the beginning and follow a standard course of a convert.

Let's first assume that a person decides that the Mormon faith is true and correct and they join the church. They would first be baptized and then they would receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Baptism is accomplished by going into a pool of water and then being fully immersed in the water by someone having authority from Christ to perform the ritual.

The next step is to receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost. In the Mormon faith, the Holy Ghost is believed to be a member of the Godhead and a personage of spirit that can enter into the physical soul of man to testify of truth. In other words, when the message of Christ is shared with another person, the Holy Ghost enters into the soul of that man or woman and there is a confirmation of the truth of the message by the workings of the Holy Ghost. It is a physical manifestation of truth. Every soul upon the earth is entitled to this physical manifestation of the Holy Ghost or special witness in order to help them find truth, or more specifically, to find the message that Christ is the Son of God and Redeemer of mankind.

After about a year after baptism and the receipt of the Gift of the Holy Ghost, adult men receive the priesthood so they can begin to minister in supporting roles in the church. The Mormon faith has a lay clergy, or rather, they do not have paid ministers or pastors. Women do not receive the priesthood in the Mormon faith, but are vital in their leadership and service in the church. After a full year, women have had many opportunities to serve and contribute to their congregations as well.

In each case, after a full year of activity in the church, the man or woman should have had many experiences to help confirm their faith and advance the work of Christ upon the earth. At this point, those who desire to enter the LDS Temples to make a higher level of commitment to Christ are typically given the opportunity -- especially married couples.

It is within the Mormon Temples that the most sacred covenants between mankind and God are made.

But Isn't Baptism Enough?

Many would ask at this point, why is anything other than baptism necessary for salvation? It is a valid question.

Baptism is for the individual and one of the most important steps in one's progression. In truth, baptism is the entrance to the Kingdom of God and is essential. It does not, however fully define God's realm. Higher covenants are reflective of the commitment one makes to a spouse, a person's family and to God.

Mormonism's first prophet and founder, Joseph Smith, taught that marriage is a sacred ordinance and covenant, just like baptism. When a man marries a woman, that union is just as important as the baptismal covenant because it allows a man and a woman to participate together in the Kingdom of God as servants with Christ. in Mormon theology, this marriage covenant is essential to one's eternal progression. Through marriage, men and women become part of the hierarchy and government of the Kingdom of God. They are primarily responsible for their children and families, but also share the responsibility to share the gospel and care for the entire human family.

So where baptism is relevant to one's personal salvation, the covenants in the temple represent one's commitments to others, first to God, then one's spouse, then children, then the other Children of God upon the face of the earth. That commitment, along with a showing of obedience, qualifies a person to participate at a higher level within the gospel.

On a side note, some would argue that one cannot be saved by works and Mormons would not argue against this point. They would, however, state that without works their faith would be dead and as such the covenants they make to work in the Kingdom of God upon the earth simply illustrates their level of faith. Mormons believe that you are saved by "grace" after all you can do.

A Symbol of Commitment to Others

Mormon marriages are performed in the holy temples. Before a man or woman marry each other, they enter into covenants with God to honor the pledges to be made in the marriage. These covenants state that they will respect the marriage covenant into which they will be entering as well as follow the commandments of Christ.

During the process of taking on these covenants, men and women are clothed in garments which represent these higher covenants and commitments. In essence, the garment reflects the promise to each other and to God to obey God's laws for their own benefit, for the benefit of their marriage and ultimately for their families.

Those married in the temple are significantly more likely to stay married than those married outside of the LDS temples. At one time, the divorce rate was only ten percent, though this figure has been increasing in recent years.

Eternal marriage also allows the woman to participate in the priesthood covenants of her husband without directly receiving the priesthood. In a similar fashion, by example, a queen shares the royal privilege of the king, who may have the authority to reign in a kingdom. Through marriage and the sharing of the covenants made in the temple, woman are entitled to the same blessings as their husbands, nothing more and nothing less. The men, however, by receiving the priesthood directly are responsible for the administrative affairs and church governance.

Now, let's return to the discussion of the garment.

The Mormon Garment is not worn in such a manner as to display the covenants made by the individual to the world. Where a pastor or preacher might wear a white collar or robe to indicate authority and covenants to God, Mormons are very personal in their commitments and wear the garment under their clothing. In short, it is a statement that the covenants established are between that person and God and the opinions of others don't count. There is no show-and-tell because the covenants are sacred, and because of their personal nature, secret. It is somewhat like medical records or financial information. It is not something that is considered appropriate for public disclosure. As they say, it is what you do when people are not watching that really matters.

The Garment and Society

It is inevitable with millions of Mormons in the United States, that everyone will at some point encounter a Mormon wearing the garment. Between locker rooms, gyms, public pools, dressing rooms, hospitals and the like, it is almost unavoidable. This is especially true in the military where general housing of troops will most certainly reveal the differences in under-attire during the course of a day.

So how does one react when it is clear that the person dressing next to you is wearing the garment? First, the Mormon man or woman is already aware that they stick out like a neon light in a mine shaft, so bringing additional attention to that fact doesn't really help matters. In truth, Mormon men and women probably won't think much about it if you don't say anything. Just don't stare. Mormons get enough of that already. Go on about your business as if they were wearing BVDs or Fruit of the Looms.

If for any reason you needed to handle the garment, such as in an emergency at a hospital, understand that the garment should not touch the floor. If ever you come into possession of a garment, you should place the garment into a plastic sack and give it to a loved one or church leader, even if it is soiled.  There is a proper procedure for destroying the garment that should be respected. The garment is not like "underwear" to Mormons. They reverence the garement like a soldier would respect the American flag. To see the garment treated like Fruit-of-the-Loom briefs would be offensive to Mormons.

In terms of when the garment is to be worn, Mormons are counseled by their leaders to wear the garment as often as possible; however, there are times and places where it would be inappropriate. For instance, in a football game or at a gym, where a great deal of activity would be exerted by its bearer (the garment is not suitable for athletics). Likewise, a stage performance where the bearer might subject the garment to ridicule or scorn would also be inappropriate. Despite the exceptions, the garment is intended to be worn while sleeping or lounging about the home, during work - even construction type jobs, and play, such as going to the park or easy hikes.

Some may wonder if the garement interferes with normal marital relations. It would be unusual for Mormon couples to wear the garment during intimate encounters.

Ultimately, when to wear the garment is a personal decision, though it is clear that the leadership of the Church would prefer it be worn most of the time, both day and night.

The Mormon Mafia

Mormons have a little secret. It is the way Mormons identify other temple-worthy Mormons. Non-Mormons can identify Mormons the same way, or at least the worthy Mormons who have entered into the temple covenants. The temple garment usually has a t-shirt like appearance under one's shirt. For men, this is not a tell-tale sign as many men wear t-shirts underneath their dress shirts and even casual shirts; however, for women, it is a little more obvious. For women, the garment is often trimmed in lace.

To see if a person you know is Mormon, man or woman, look for an undergarment "line" stopping at or about the knee. If you see such a line, you are probably talking to a temple-worthy Mormon.

Young women in the Mormon faith who want to know if a Mormon man is worthy to marry them in the temple will often let their hands "accidentally" rest on the man's knee to see if they can feel the garment below. If it is not present, the dating might take a quick step back as the man has not yet established his worthiness to marry in the temple -- an all important step in Mormon culture. Men don't have the same advantage. In Mormon culture, men receive their garment shortly after receiving the ministering priesthood, before they go on two year missions for the church. This is at about the age of nineteen. Women normally receive their garment immediately before being married. As such, Mormon men have no excuse to touch the knees of their dates.

Of course, peer pressure can cause unworthy persons to go through the temple simply for the appearance of worthiness, so the garment is only a single step in determining another person's dedication to the faith. A person inquiring into the worthiness of a Mormon would typically consider other factors such as whether a person is from a family of actively attending members, whether the person has gone on a mission (both men and women can go on missions), what position of responsibility the member has held in the volunteer oriented church, whether they regularly read the scriptures or pray frequently, etc. Of course, with great scrutiny can also come great deception, so Mormons look upon these conditions as guide posts, not facts of worthiness and dedication.

Some call this screening activity the basis of a "Mormon Mafia" a humorous reference to a secret society of harmeless do-gooders. It is the functional equivalent of the Little Rascals Club Super Secret Code Word. It might get you in the club house, but after you are in, it is all cheese and crackers.

Of course, like any major movement, just because a person claims to be a Mormon and wears the garment doesn't mean that they are honorable or trustworthy. In fact, Mormons and Non-Mormons alike should be very cautious of those who are engaging in irregular behavior who are wearing the garment. If they can't live up to the covenant of their God and spouse, to what degree should they be fully trusted?

This, of course, is an oversimplification. Some men struggle with alcohol or tobacco addiction who have made the commitment to live at a higher level and are having a tough time staying away from old habits. Such addictive behavior is hardly a commentary on trustworthiness, but rather human frailty and imperfection; however, seeing a man or woman in a strip club is an entirely different matter as the covenants Mormons make deal directly with sexual purity. Sexual promiscuity is considered a major sin in the Mormon faith.

Seeing a person wearing garments should be a sign of trustworthiness, but it is not a guarantee. In other words, Caveat Emptor (Buyer Beware).

Culture Lesson

To Non-Mormons the garment should never be used as a ego lesson to demean another person. For instance, in an argument, a person who would use the garment as a means to prove a point or win a battle of words is shallow and base. For instance, let's assume that you have had a disagreement with a general contractor who you know is Mormon and is wearing the garment. To say to him in heated discussion "I can't believe you would wear your holy garment and then lie to me to my face," is a pretty low blow. A difference of opinion or even a human frailty is common to all men -- including Mormons.

The garment and what it represents is between that man or woman and their God. Trying to use that to your advantage in a dispute or argument is a classless act. Even Mormons in the most heated disputes would not sink that low. Don't use your knowledge of the garment as a way to get leverage over Mormons. That would simply be improper. It doesn't mean that you can't challenge the person to do the "right thing." That works much better on Mormons as they are typically grilled by spiritual leaders to conduct themselves honorably in business and their personal lives.

Voyeurs Not Welcome

There are those who want to find out every little detail about the Mormon garment for mere voyeuristic curiosity. There is not a single website on the Internet sponsored or endorsed by the Church of Jesus Christ that exists that describes the garment in detail. The reason, of course, is that the garment and what it represents is sacred to Mormons. Of course, that won't stop thousands from satisfying their carnal desire to take a peak at unofficial, and often times slanderous, websites that demean and poke fun at the religious beliefs of Mormons. For those seeking such religious pornography, the information is there for the taking, though you might consider taking a shower after reading some of the articles.

The temple garment is unique to the Mormon faith and even within the faith. Children do not know the meaning of the garment until they go through the temple as adults. It is a rite of passage and in a perfect world, should be an expression of worthiness. The garment is rarely discussed, even in church settings among those who wear it. Those who are not familiar with the concepts underlying the garment should refrain from discussing it in detail out of respect for those who have made the commitments and hold the garment sacred.

One of the basic tenants of the Mormon faith is to respect and show tolerance for others and their beliefs. Mormons only ask the same in return. 

At the Beehive Standard Weekly, our Internet analysis tools allow us to see what some people are searching for on search engines such as Google, Yahoo! and the like. Time and again, we see searches for "Mormon Underwear" coming up in our keywords section.

There appears to be some appetite for those who are curious as to the undergarment that some Mormon men and women wear.  Rather than the void being filled with some anti-Mormon lunatic or those who might only desire to ridicule, we thought it would be appropriate to give a discrete response to those who might be genuinely curious, but who don't want to read the bigoted slander that exists on the world wide web.

Webmaster Note: Mormons demand respect and tolerance but rarely show those qualities when questioned about their beliefs and religious practices.


Rick Majerus: Is Nothing Sacred? Not Even Underwear?!

Mar 25, 2008

Back in January Rick Majerus offended local Catholics (and particularly Archbishop Raymond Burke) when the Saint Louis University basketball coach publicly stated his support of stem-cell research and abortion rights.

SLU coach Rick Majerus prefers Hawaiian shirts to "magic underwear."

Now it seems Majerus has insulted yet another religious populace: the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Speaking on the syndicated radio program The Dan Patrick Show last week, Majerus opined that nothing -- not even Mitt Romney or Mormons' "magic underwear" -- would help Brigham Young University defeat Texas A&M in the first round of the NCAA basketball tournament.

The comments came at the close of a ten-minute interview on Monday, March 17, in which host Dan Patrick asked Majerus to quickly provide his picks for the tourney. "Let me run down the list," said Patrick. "You just say who you like. You don't have to tell me why unless it's a really insightful comment that the listeners will say, 'Damn, that was insightful.'"

When asked about the BYU-Texas A&M matchup, Majerus responded, "A&M. I don't like BYU from my Utah days. The magic underwear Mitt and those guys send themselves."

Huh? During his tenure at University of Utah, Majerus apparently learned quite a bit about the Mormon culture, including the practice of wearing temple garments under their clothes. The garments -- often referred to as "Mormon underwear" -- are traditionally worn by adherents as a reminder of their promise to live a virtuous life. Though as Slate reported prior to BYU's entrance in last year's tournament, few Mormons wear the garments while competing in sports.

In response to Majerus' comment, a laughing Patrick quickly changed the subject: "You're going to get me put on probation." But not everyone was willing to forgive and forget so quickly.

Posting last week on the sports site, blogger Andrew Perkins compared Majerus' comment to Don Imus' ill-fated musings on Rutgers' women's basketball team last year. "Whether or not he has any love towards Mormons is not the issue," wrote Perkins. "The issue is that Majerus said something that is discriminatory and disrespectful to a specific group of people."

Perkins isn't the only one whose shorts are bunched over the remarks. Responding to Perkins' blog post, a reader named Tracy Hall commented, "If Majerus had made a derogatory comment about a Jewish player's 'magic beanie,' he would have been fired on the spot. It's time to realize that anti-Mormons and anti-Semites belong to the same Klan."

No matter whom you support -- the SLU coach or the Mormons -- you can't argue with the coach's pick. The ninth-seeded Aggies beat number-eight seed BYU 67-62.