Mormon Garments Explained

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


Mormon garments, also known as temple garments or simply garments, hold profound significance for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also called Mormons. They are worn by faithful members who have made covenants in a Mormon temple ceremony. These garments hold deep symbolic, spiritual, and personal meaning for those who wear them. In this exploration, we delve into the history, purpose, symbolism, and misconceptions surrounding Mormon garments.

History and Origins of Garments

The concept of wearing special garments as a reminder of covenants with God is found throughout the Bible. In Genesis, for instance, after Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit and realize they’re naked, God gives them garments made of “coats of skins” to wear. In the Book of Numbers, the Lord also instructs the Israelites to wear tassels on their garments as a way to remember God’s commandments (Numbers 15:37-41). Latter-day Saints see temple garments as a continuation of this religious tradition.

Mormon garments trace back to the early days of the LDS Church in the 19th century. Joseph Smith Jr. was the founder of the Mormon Church and Mormons believe that he was a prophet of God. Smith described receiving instructions, or revelations, about sacred temple ceremonies and Mormon temple garments to be worn by those who participated in these ceremonies. He first shared this revelation with leaders of the church in May of 1842 while living in Nauvoo. 

Purpose and Significance

Not all Mormons wear garments. Those who choose to make covenants with God in temples are expected to wear the garment throughout their life. To make these covenants in the temple a person must be at least 18 years of age and have been baptized for at least one year. Additionally, Mormons who make temple covenants are required to affirm their belief in various doctrines and to live certain standards.

Temple garments serve several purposes for Latter-day Saints. First and foremost, they are a constant reminder of the covenants that members make in the temple. These covenants involve striving to live a moral and ethical life by keeping God’s commandments, serving others, and keeping oneself pure before God. The garments are a physical reminder to members to stay focused on their commitments. 

Second, temple garments are seen as a source of spiritual protection. The general handbook for the LDS Church says that garments are “a reminder of covenants made in the temple and, when worn properly throughout life, will serve as a protection against temptation and evil.” Members believe garments also represent Jesus Christ and his atonement. As such, when worn properly, Mormon garments offer a degree of spiritual safety from evil influences. This belief is not based on any magical properties of the garment itself, but rather on the sacred promises associated with wearing the garment.

Garment Design

Over the years, Mormon garments have undergone some changes in design and materials, reflecting advancements in technology and changing cultural norms. Temple garments are designed to be worn unobtrusively beneath everyday clothing. The Mormon church offers a variety of styles and fabrics to accommodate different climates and personal preferences. 

However, the core symbolism and purpose of garments have remained unchanged. The LDS Church periodically issues guidelines regarding the wearing and care of garments, emphasizing their sacred nature and the importance of treating them with reverence.

Members are expected to wear the garments at all times, with exceptions for swimming, exercise, and intimacy. In such cases, the garments are simply removed and put back on as soon as possible.

Some Mormon women describe garments as uncomfortable, or causing medical problems, especially in humid climates. Part of the changes in garment design has been to alleviate some of these issues. The church often seeks to improve comfortability, design, and fabrics used for female Mormon garments.

Today, the garments consist of two pieces: an undershirt and knee-length shorts for men, and a top and knee-length bottoms for women. They are typically worn day and night, serving as a constant reminder of one’s commitment to their faith. Garments are white, with symbolic markings. The meaning of these symbols is considered sacred and not publicly discussed by church members. However, members generally understand the garments to represent their commitment to following Jesus Christ and living a Christ-centered life. The Mormon Church released a video about garments in 2014.

Misconceptions and Stereotypes

Despite their sacred nature, Mormon garments are often misunderstood by those outside the faith. Misconceptions and stereotypes abound, ranging from viewing them as magical talismans to symbols of oppression. The concept of garments as being magical likely stems from various anecdotal stories of garments protecting people from physical danger. However, the church and its members believe that the protection that garments offer is spiritual in nature.

The perception that garments are oppressive is something that Mormons disagree with. It is a choice to make covenants and wear temple garments. Similarly, there are religions all around the world whose adherents choose to wear special clothing as a reminder of their commitments and promises to God. So, Mormonism explained, just like Mormons wear temple garments, Sikhs, Muslims, Jews, Christians, and others all have followers who wear clothing as a reminder of their religious convictions. 

Such misconceptions about Mormon garments fail to grasp the nuanced role garments play in LDS spirituality. They are not meant to confer special powers or segregate believers from the world but rather to serve as a personal reminder of sacred promises.


In conclusion, Mormon garments represent more than just pieces of clothing; they embody a rich tapestry of faith, symbolism, and devotion. Members who have made the choice, wear them as a sacred reminder of covenants made with God. They serve as a source of strength, protection, and unity within the LDS community. While misconceptions and challenges may exist, understanding the deep significance of garments is essential for fostering respect and dialogue across religious boundaries.

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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