The notion of special “Mormon underwear” has long been a matter of curiosity for some non-Mormons. It can be difficult to understand, especially for a person who has notgrown up around Mormons or in a Mormon family. However, leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, inadvertently referred to as the “Mormon church,” have spoken about this topic many times.
The Proper Name for “Mormon Underwear”
“Temple garment” is the proper name for “Mormon underwear,” and is very important for endowed members. An endowed member is someone who has been to the temple. Not all Mormons are endowed. In order to enter the temple, Mormons must meet standards of worthiness. Elder Russell M. Nelson, an apostle and leader of The Church of Jesus Christ, explains the importance of the temple garment and why Mormons wear it always. He says:
Wearing the temple garment has deep symbolic significance. It represents a continuing commitment. Just as the Savior exemplified the need to endure to the end, we wear the garment faithfully as part of the enduring armor of God. Thus we demonstrate our faith in Him and in His eternal covenants with us (“Personal Preparation for Temple Blessings,” Ensign, May 2001.)
The reason they are worn under regular clothes, instead of exposed, is because our covenants with Heavenly Father are personal. Fittingly, the reminder we have to keep our covenants is also personal.
A covenant is a promise we make with Heavenly Father. We covenant, or promise, to do certain things, and He covenants, or promises, to give us blessings. In a covenant, receiving blessings is predicated upon us keeping our promises. Making a covenant with God is serious, and should not be entered into lightly. Heavenly Father expects us to keep our covenants, and when we do, the blessings we receive far outweigh any sacrifices we may have had to make to keep the covenant.
While the temple garment is a reminder of temple covenants, Mormons also make other covenants outside the temple. One such covenant is the baptismal covenant. At baptism, Mormons covenant to keep God’s commandments, stand as a witness of God, and always remember Jesus Christ. Every week at Church, Mormons partake of the sacrament, similar to communion, to renew their covenants and remember the promises they have made. In return, God covenants that we will always have the Holy Ghost, or Holy Spirit, to be with us. The baptismal covenant is the first covenant that Mormons make, and is very important.
Mormons believe that modesty in dress and appearance is very important. In 1 Corinthians, Paul states: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” For Mormons, this means that our bodies are temples. A physical body is a gift from God, and we need to keep our bodies clean and pure so that we can have the spirit of God with us. Because our bodies are temples, modest dress is very important. Elder Carlos E. Asay, a leader in The Church of Jesus Christ, instructed that one of the three main purposes of the temple garment is “a symbol of the modesty of dress and living that should characterize the lives of all the humble followers of Christ” (“The Temple Garment: ‘An Outward Expression of Inward Commitment’,” Ensign, Sept. 1999). Even Mormons who are not endowed—youth and young adults—practice modesty in dress to prepare for temple covenants.
Mormons wear the sacred garment to remind us of the covenants we have made. Elder Carlos E. Asay said:
I like to think of the garment as the Lord’s way of letting us take part of the temple with us when we leave. It is true that we carry from the Lord’s house inspired teachings and sacred covenants written in our minds and hearts. However, the one tangible remembrance we carry with us back into the world is the garment. And though we cannot always be in the temple, a part of it can always be with us to bless our lives” (“The Temple Garment: ‘An Outward Expression of Inward Commitment’,” Ensign, Sept. 1999.)
Mormon leaders have frequently spoken about the holy temple and the covenants members make inside. To read more of what living prophets and apostles have said about the temple, please visit the following links:
Megan is a graduate of BYU-Idaho and recently married member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She is a writer and avid reader, and loves music, hiking, and her family.