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Do other religions wear religious vestments, like Mormon Garments?

Todd Noall

Todd Noall

Source Expert

Todd Noall is an author and religious scholar at Mormonism Explained with a focus on the history and theology of religion.

Fact Checked by Kevin Prince

Kevin Prince

Source Expert

Kevin Prince serves as the Source Authority at Mormonism Explained. Mr. Prince is a religious scholar as well as a technology industry CEO and entrepreneur.

Updated July 3, 2024

Many religious groups and individuals wear special clothing to show their commitment to God. These groups include Roman Catholics, Sikhs, Muslims, Mormons, and many more. Religious clothing often represents a religious commitment that an individual makes to God. Some religious clothing can also serve as a reminder of certain codes of conduct that the individual should adhere to. Mormons wear their garments as a reminder of their commitment to God. 

 In the Mormon Church, temple garments were introduced in Nauvoo when the first temple ceremonies were initiated by Joseph Smith. Mormons who make covenants or promises to God in temples receive garments as a sign of their commitments. Mormon garments are sacred to the people who wear them. 

Mormons believe in the agency or choice of every person to make covenants and wear garments. To Mormons, garments are an outward symbol of an inner commitment to follow Christ. The garment is also a symbol of the protection of the atonement of Jesus Christ

Mischaracterizations of the Temple Garment

Mormons don’t often talk about their covenants or temple garments, as they feel both are sacred. However, some Mormons have shared stories about how they believe their garments have offered them physical protection. These types of anecdotes have led some to call temple garments things like “magic underwear” or other similarly flippant names. Mormons do not agree with this characterization of their temple garments.

Another mischaracterization of Mormon garments is that they are dictatorial. Because clothing is seen as a form of self-expression in the modern world, it might seem odd when someone’s clothing is restricted or determined by their religion. However, religious clothing is a significant part of worship for many adherents of various religions. For example, Sikhs wear turbans, Muslims wear a skull cap, and Christian priests wear cassocks. Wearing these vestments for Mormons and members of other religions alike is a personal choice. 

These misunderstandings about the nature of garments come from the fact that Mormons don’t often talk about their garments. In an effort to avoid further misunderstandings about temple garments, the Mormon Church has made and shared a video about temple garments.