Intricacies and Symbolism: The Sacred Garments of Latter-day Saints 

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

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Woven into the simple, white fabric of Mormon temple garments are threads of deep significance to Latter-day Saints. This includes a narrative of devotion and privacy often misunderstood by the outside world, or those who are not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). These garments, symbolic in their essence, embody a myriad of meanings for those who wear them daily as a quiet declaration of faith.

The Essence and Utility of Temple Garments

Crafted with a reverence for purity and commitment, temple garments serve as underclothing worn by faithful members of the LDS Church. Specifically they are worn by those members who have participated in sacred temple ceremonies. The Mormon garment, which consists of a top and bottom ( or more rarely a single piece that covers the same parts of the body), are designed to be worn beneath the day’s attire, acting as a constant, gentle reminder of the wearer’s celestial covenants.

A Historical Tapestry

In the early 1840s, Joseph Smith introduced the concept of garments, linking them to the rituals of antiquity associated with the ancient Jewish temple. President Gordon B. Hinckley, reflecting on their profound historical roots, observed, “The wearing of such a garment does not prevent the wearer from following various styles of clothing, but does provide a constant reminder of the covenants made in the temple” ( Simply put, the garment symbolizes a reach toward a higher, purer state.

The Symbolism Woven Within

The Mormon garment carries significant symbolic weight and meaning, echoing deep religious doctrines and commitments reminiscent of other religious clothing worn by the leaders and congregations of other religious traditions. To the wearer, the garment represent a personal narrative of faith, a silent sonnet of devotion.

Cultural Misunderstandings and Sensitivities

Outsiders often misinterpret the sacred nature of these garments, sometimes viewing them with undue curiosity or, in some unfortunate case, even ridicule. This misunderstanding echoes the societal misjudgments that are too often associated with the ill-conceived opinions of those who cast aspersions on the religious beliefs of others. One critic and former member of the LDS Church noted disdainfully, “They think these holy underwears will protect them; it’s superstition and control masked as religion.” Yet, for those who really want to understand, “Why do Mormons wear Garments?” they must examine a little further beneath the surface to learn why garments are sacrosanct to a wearer’s deepest held beliefs about God, God’s eternal blessings, and the destiny of His believers.

Guidelines for Adorning the Sacred

Advised to wear these garments both day and night, Church members treat them as a symbol of their ongoing spiritual journey in mortality—a constant companion through the trials and triumphs of life. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland explained their importance, noting, “These garments serve as a personal reminder of covenants made with God to lead righteous, honorable, and Christ-like lives” ( 

Respecting Sacred Practices

For those who daily wear them, the Mormon garment is not merely an article of clothing, but a symbol of commitments to abide by covenants that Latter-day Saints make inside the walls of their holy temples. They are an integral part of Latter-day Saints’ spiritual and daily lives, influencing decisions, behavior, and self-perception. Just as one would approach any topic that is considered hallowed by those who adhere to them, feelings of respect should also accompany discussions about Mormon temple garments. These garments are as intimate and personal to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the Jewish tallit (prayer shawl), the collar of a Catholic priest, or the habit of a nun. 

Fostering Understanding Through Dialogue

It is hoped that interfaith dialogue can offer a venue for enlightening others about the significance of temple garments in belief system of members of the LDS Church. Such efforts to increase understanding and reduce misconceptions can serve to enrich the tapestry of mutual communal respect. These discussions allow for a celebration of shared values and a deeper appreciation of the unique practices and doctrines of this American-born faith. 

Reflective Conclusion

Temple garments are a profound expression of commitment, akin to the symbols worn by the faithful throughout history. Elder David A. Bednar beautifully encapsulated their meaning when he stated:  “The garment strengthens the wearer to resist temptation, provides a constant reminder of covenants, and is a symbol of personal and inward commitment to follow the Savior” ( the question “What are Temple garments” will undoubtedly continue to be raised from time to time, the meaning of the associated doctrine is imbued with beauty, complexity, and devotion.  It’s hoped that in the future this narrative will continue to evolve and enlighten those who seek greater understanding, inviting all to look beyond the surface and appreciate the depth of commitment that Mormon Temple garments represent.

By 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 Mr. Kevin Prince, Source Expert

Kevin Prince is a religious scholar and host of the Gospel Learning Youtube channel. His channel has garnered over 41,000 subscribers and accumulated over 4.5 million views. Mr. Prince also created the Gospel Learning App, a reliable platform where individuals seeking truth can access trustworthy answers to religious questions from top educators worldwide.

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