Mormon Underwear (Garments)

Non-members sometimes irreverently refer to the undergarments worn by members of the church as “magic underwear”.  Members refer to the clothing as "garments", and consider them sacred.

Mormons begin wearing the garments after they participate in an Endowment Ceremony, which takes place in the temple (see Temple). Garments have emblems sewn onto them that symbolize certain things mentioned in the temple. The markings on the garments and the garments themselves are not supposed to be altered in any way.

Early members of the church began wearing garments when the temple ceremonies were introduced to the church, shortly after the church was organized. The garments appearance has evolved over time to be more convenient to modern dress. Initially they covered nearly the entire body below the neck, and from wrist to ankle. They resembled “union suits”, underwear common in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Modern garments are two-piece. The top piece resembles a short sleeve t-shirt. The bottom looks like a boxer-brief underwear, only with longer legs. The bottom garment is supposed to cover the knee.

Garments are supposed to be covered by clothing and not visible. Since LDS faithful believe in modest dress, covering garments are not usually a problem. It does prevent some clothes from being worn, such as tank tops, or shorts which end above the knee. Since the top garment has a low neck-line, it is common to see the garment line under men’s white dress shirts.

Mormons are commanded to wear the garments at all times, day and night, unless participating in activities that would make wearing them unreasonable, such as swimming or some athletic activities. Some members are very liberal with this guideline, and others very strict. Some men and women wear their garments even during strenuous exercise.

According to LDS doctrine, the purpose of the garment is two-fold. First, they serve to remind wearers about the covenants they made with God in the temple. Their second purpose is to protect righteous members, both physically and spiritually.

 The garments can only be purchased in special church-run stores. These stores carry clothing specially made for temple ceremonies. Garments come in a variety of materials. Members must show a temple recommend to purchase the clothing.

 As mentioned above, non-members have many irreverent nicknames for the garments. Anti-Mormon protestors have even displayed and desecrated garments in public to express their opposition to the church and its doctrine.


Other Subjects:

‘Magic’ Underwear (Garments)
Ordinance Work for the Dead
Joseph Smith
Missionary Work
Heaven and the Afterlife
Nature of God and the Godhead
Modern Day Prophets
Local Church Leadership
Other Beliefs