Perhaps you’ve heard from a friend or read something that talked about Mormons wearing “magic underwear.” Such a statement is considered by most Mormons to be offensive; it would be similar to saying that Jews wear a “magic hat.” The fact is, many Jews wear a yarmulke or kipa for religious purposes and many members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints wear temple garments for religious purposes.
Temple garments are worn by those who have participated in a temple ordinance called an endowment ceremony. The garments are worn under regular clothing, most often in the place of underwear. Garments are produced in men’s and women’s versions, in a variety of fabrics. The top is roughly the cut of a typical t-shirt; the bottoms are analogous to boxer shorts, reaching just above the knee.
The garment helps the wearer remember the covenants or promises that the person has made with God; it is a reminder of promises made and principles taught in the temple. Mormons believe that they will be protected from sin and evil as they keep the promises made in the temple and live the principles taught there. The protection afforded by the garment is therefore its symbolism as a reminder of those promises. The garment is not considered to provide physical protection from harm.
Mormons do not regard garments as “magical,” or as having special power in and of themselves. The garment serves rather as a symbol of their beliefs and promises; the garment is an outward manifestation of an inner desire to follow the Savior Jesus Christ.
Occasionally, critics of the Church will display or mock garments publicly. Such intentional disrespect is regarded by most Mormons as offensive. (By analogy, many Christians would likely be offended by someone spitting on a cross, Muslims would be offended if someone threw a Qu’ran into the mud, and patriotic citizens would object to seeing their nation’s flag burned in public.)
To watch a video on garments and temple clothing on YouTube, click here.
To download the video to your own computer, click here.
For more information on garments, please see here.