Mormon Garments, Explained

Introduction to Mormon Garments

In Mormon temples, many adult members of the church make covenants, or promises, with God. As a daily reminder of the promises, these members wear underclothing called the temple garment. Making these commitments is a choice. After making these promises, wearing the Mormon temple garment is a personal responsibility. Sacred garments or clothing have precedent in the bible. Mormons draw similarities between their temple garment and special clothing given to Adam and Eve in the Book of Genesis, the high priestly clothing spoken about in the Book of Exodus, as well as other types of religious clothing in the Jewish and Christian religious traditions. Similar to a nun’s habit, a yarmulke, or a Buddhist monk’s robes, temple garments are a sign of a personal religious commitment. Religious clothing also serves as a reminder of people’s relationship with God. To Mormons, the garment is a symbolic covering which, in addition to reminding people of their covenants, represents the atonement of Jesus Christ.

Critics View &
Factual Responses

What are Mormon garments?

Not all Mormons wear garments. However, Mormons who choose to go to the temple and make covenants with God are responsible for wearing Mormon garments. These garments consist of an undershirt and underwear...
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Why Do Mormons Wear Garments?

Some Latter-day Saints wear Mormon garments, some do not. Mormons who choose to make covenants, or promises, with God in temples are responsible for wearing the temple garment. The garment is a symbol of the promises between God and these covenant-makers...
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Do Garments Have a Biblical Basis?

In the Bible, there are multiple stories about those who made covenants with God being commanded to wear special clothing. Here are three examples: In Genesis 3:21 Adam and Eve wear coats of skins given to them by God...
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Is Mormon Underwear “Magic Underwear”? Do Mormon Garments Provide Physical Protection?

The general handbook for the Mormon Church says that garments are worn as “a reminder of covenants made in the temple and, when worn properly throughout life...
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Does the Mormon Church Control the Underwear that People Wear? Is it dictatorial or cult-like?

Religious vestments have been used for millennia to represent one’s commitment to God. Many people in modern-day wear special clothing as a reminder of their commitment to God: nuns wear habits...
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Are Garments Uncomfortable for Women?

There are anecdotal stories of women experiencing discomfort, even medical problems because they wear garments. The Mormon Church has consistently worked to make the garments more comfortable and suitable for a range of body types and for both genders...
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Garments and the Bible

Special garments and religious clothing have a basis in the bible. Genesis 3:21, Exodus 28, and Numbers 15:37-41 all describe special clothing, or garments, that God commands some of His covenant people to wear. There are also early Christian...
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Mormon Garments and Religious Clothing

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...
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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...
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Timeline of the Garments of the Holy Priesthood

Ancient Israel

In the Bible, there were multiple occasions where God commanded His children to wear special clothing. God gave Adam and Eve “coats of skins” to wear as they left the Garden of Eden. Biblical scholars suggest that these coats of skins showed God’s personal care for mankind and other scholars believe these skins represented the atonement of Jesus Christ. On another occasion, God instructed the children of Israel, after their exodus from Egypt, how to worship Him. Among these instructions, God commanded the Children of Israel to build the Tabernacle and commanded Aaron and his sons to wear special clothing in their duties as priests. This set the priests apart as representatives of God. God also instructed His covenant people to wear specific clothing in Numbers 15:37-41. Here, the Children of Israel were commanded to make garments with fringes at the border. Commonly known as the prayer shawl, this fringed garment’s purpose was to help the covenant people remember the commandments of the Lord.

    1842

    May 4

    Willard Richards was appointed to be the scribe for Joseph Smith in 1841. He was in the meeting with Joseph Smith and some other members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and members of the first presidency on May 4, 1842, in Nauvoo. At this meeting, Richards recorded that Smith gave the first introduction to the temple ceremony. Although the records do not explicitly talk about the temple garment, other sources agree that this was the first occasion that temple garments were introduced.

      1842

      L. John Nuttall kept a journal of the early history of the church. In one of his journals, he recorded Brigham Young’s description of the first temple ceremony conducted by Joseph Smith on May 4, 1842. In this description, Nuttall wrote that Young was clothed in garments.

        1879

        September 28

        The Salt Lake Tribune published an article entitled “Lifting the Vail” on September 28, 1879. It described the endowment house, a temporary building where the temple endowment was performed while the Salt Lake Temple was being completed. The article also published drawings of temple clothing and temple garments. The rituals and rites performed during the endowment were described. Mormons consider these rites sacred and are troubled when people talk about them outside of dedicated buildings.

          1950’s

          Rose Marie Reid was asked by the Relief Society General President Belle Spafford and President David O. McKay to redesign women’s garments. Reid was a fashion designer. She started her career by redesigning swimsuits because of her own experiences wearing swimwear. She disliked the way that swimsuits, made from wool, became ill-formed after being in the water. Spafford and McKay wanted Reid to take some of her experience with swimsuit fabric and design and apply it to standardizing garment fabrics and patterns. Reid stated that she viewed this new project as a privilege.

            2014

            The Mormon Church created a video called "Sacred Temple Clothing” in an effort to demonstrate greater transparency. The video shows temple garments or the underclothing worn by those who have made temple covenants. It also shows temple robes or the ceremonial clothing worn by those who are worshiping Jesus Christ in the temple.

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              • Ancient Israel

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              • 1842

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              • 1842

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              • 1879

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              • 1950’s

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              • 2014

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              Ancient Israel

              Garments and other Biblical Clothing

              Historical Context

              What Critics Are Saying

              Response to Critics View

              In the Bible, there were multiple occasions where God commanded His children to wear special clothing. God gave Adam and Eve “coats of skins” to wear as they left the Garden of Eden. Biblical scholars suggest that these coats of skins showed God’s personal care for mankind and other scholars believe these skins represented the atonement of Jesus Christ. On another occasion, God instructed the children of Israel, after their exodus from Egypt, how to worship Him. Among these instructions, God commanded the Children of Israel to build the Tabernacle and commanded Aaron and his sons to wear special clothing in their duties as priests. This set the priests apart as representatives of God. God also instructed His covenant people to wear specific clothing in Numbers 15:37-41. Here, the Children of Israel were commanded to make garments with fringes at the border. Commonly known as the prayer shawl, this fringed garment’s purpose was to help the covenant people remember the commandments of the Lord. info Information Sources: cancel https://search-ebscohost-com.byu.idm.oclc.org/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip&db=e025xna&AN=264889&site=ehost-live&scope=site https://www.fairlatterdaysaints.org/answers/Question:_Is_the_wearing_of_the_Mormon_temple_garment_not_supported_by_the_Bible%3F

                1842

                Joseph Smith Introduced the Temple Endowment to a Group of Men Who Were Given a Sacred Undergarment to Remind Them of Their Temple Covenants

                Historical Context

                What Critics Are Saying

                Response to Critics View

                Willard Richards Willard Richards cancel 1804-1854 Willard Richards joined the Mormon Church on December 31, 1836. He was called as a missionary the year after. Richards became a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on April 14, 1840. In the following year, Richards became Joseph Smith’s scribe and the temple recorder. He was later appointed to be Smith’s personal secretary and the Mormon Church’s historian.

                was appointed to be the scribe for Joseph Smith in 1841. He was in the meeting with Joseph Smith and some other members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and members of the first presidency on May 4, 1842, in Nauvoo. At this meeting, Richards recorded that Smith gave the first introduction to the temple ceremony. Although the records do not explicitly talk about the temple garment, other sources agree that this was the first occasion that temple garments were introduced.

                  1842

                  Brigham Young Stated That When He Received His Endowment, He Was Clothed With Garments

                  Historical Context

                  What Critics Are Saying

                  Response to Critics View

                  L. John Nuttall L. John Nuttall cancel 1834-1905 L. John Nuttall worked as a private secretary to John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff, both of whom were presidents of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He also wrote a journal that chronicled early church history.

                  kept a journal of the early history of the church. In one of his journals, he recorded Brigham Young Brigham Young cancel 1801-1877 Brigham Young joined the Mormon Church in April of 1832. He served three missions for the church in the U.S., Canada, and England. He was made a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on February 14, 1835, and then President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on April 14, 1840. After the murder of Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum, Brigham Young was recognized as the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormon Church, at a conference on April 7, 1845. He organized the Mormon Church’s move west to the Salt Lake Valley. He was President of the Church until his death in 1877.

                  ’s description of the first temple ceremony conducted by Joseph Smith on May 4, 1842. In this description, Nuttall wrote that Young was clothed in garments. info Information Sources: cancel https://bhroberts.org/records/09wgH3-ejQKCb/by_describes_first_endowment_use_of_garments

                    1879

                    The Salt Lake Tribune Published Images of the Garments and Other Temple Clothing

                    Historical Context

                    What Critics Are Saying

                    Response to Critics View

                    The Salt Lake Tribune published an article entitled “Lifting the Vail” on September 28, 1879. It described the endowment house, a temporary building where the temple endowment was performed while the Salt Lake Temple was being completed. The article also published drawings of temple clothing and temple garments. The rituals and rites performed during the endowment were described. Mormons consider these rites sacred and are troubled when people talk about them outside of dedicated buildings.

                      1950’s

                      Rose Marie Reid Helped Redesign Women’s Garments

                      Historical Context

                      What Critics Are Saying

                      Response to Critics View

                      Rose Marie Reid Rose Marie Reid cancel 1906-1978 Rose Marie Reid was born in Alberta, Canada in September 1906. She married Jack Crossman Reid in 1935 and had three children with him. They divorced in 1946. Reid began designing swimsuits in the 1830s out of cotton rather than wool. She ran a very successful swimsuit design and production company from Los Angeles, California throughout the 1940s and 1950s. Her swimsuits were worn in Hollywood films. She was a Mormon her whole life. One of her swimsuit designs was constructed by her local Relief Society Relief Society cancel The Relief Society was organized in Nauvoo, Illinois in 1842. It was organized as the women’s organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was given the commission by Joseph Smith to “relieve the poor and save souls.” It is a charitable charitable and religious organization.

                      organization and the proceeds went to help build the Los Angeles Temple.


                      was asked by the Relief Society General President Belle Spafford Belle Spafford cancel Belle Spafford was born in 1895 in Salt Lake City, Utah. She attended Brigham Young University and met Willis Earl Spafford, whom she married in 1921. They had two children together. Spafford was called as the ninth Relief Society President and served for almost 30 years.

                      and President David O. McKay David O. McKay cancel David O. McKay was born in 1873 in Utah. He attended the University of Utah and became an educator at Weber State. He married Emma Ray Riggs in 1901 and had seven children with her. At the age of 32 McKay was called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Following the death of George Albert Smith, McKay became the ninth president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1951. He served as president of the Church until his death in 1970.

                      to redesign women’s garments. Reid was a fashion designer. She started her career by redesigning swimsuits because of her own experiences wearing swimwear. She disliked the way that swimsuits, made from wool, became ill-formed after being in the water. Spafford and McKay wanted Reid to take some of her experience with swimsuit fabric and design and apply it to standardizing garment fabrics and patterns. Reid stated that she viewed this new project as a privilege. info Information Sources: cancel https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/relief-society?lang=eng https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/callings/relief-society/relief-society-presidents/belle-smith-spafford?lang=eng https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vvN4qJRBM0

                        2014

                        The Mormon Church Produced Videos Showing Garments and Temple Robes

                        Historical Context

                        What Critics Are Saying

                        Response to Critics View

                        The Mormon Church created a video called "Sacred Temple Clothing” in an effort to demonstrate greater transparency. The video shows temple garments or the underclothing worn by those who have made temple covenants. It also shows temple robes or the ceremonial clothing worn by those who are worshiping Jesus Christ in the temple.

                          Timeline

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