Female Garments: The Underwear Business

knee length shorts – good today, bad tomorrow

The history of garments is complex.  At one time they were made by members from patterns.  The marks used to be cut rather than embroidered.  And modifications to the styles have been made on several occasions, particularly changing the styles for women to feminize them and make them more practical (elbow and knee length vs. wrist and ankle, also the change to two-piece).  The church has made changes so that they fit better, so that women have more options, to allow those serving in the military to wear them, and to use new fabrics as they’ve become available.

And yet, despite all these changes, many women find garments problematic at one time or another for a variety of reasons.  On the positive side, women report finding garments spiritually comforting, a reminder of their covenants.  Many also appreciate the lack of visible panty lines (at least not where you expect to see them!).  I appreciate both of these things myself.  Some women consider them to be very comfortable, particular for lounging around the house.  But I have also experienced many of the drawbacks women discuss when only other women are present.

People are encouraged by Beehive Clothing to provide feedback regarding garment design; however, many women report receiving no personalized response.  When there is a reply, suggestions seem to be limited, allowing for no alterations to the garments or even suggesting women add even more layers to their clothing.  One woman received a response that seems to have come from an outsourced contact center. [1]

Women’s Predicament

Women may feel embarrassed to talk about these issues.

In 2010, the church instructed bishops and stake presidents to read a statement regarding how the garment is to be worn in temple recommend interviews, reinforcing the requirement to wear it only in the prescribed manner without any alteration.  For women who are experiencing real issues with garments, this injunction is problematic.  It is also questionable and possibly ill-advised to share some of these highly personal problems with a male church leader behind closed doors who may not understand women’s health concerns.  And yet the statement being read in the recommend interview puts some women in an unworkable situation.

“It is expected that members will wear the garment both night and day according to covenants made in the temple. Members should not adjust the garment or wear it contrary to instructions in order to accommodate different styles of clothing, even when such clothing may be generally accepted. The garment should not be removed, either entirely or partially, to work in the yard or for other activities that can reasonably be done with the garment worn properly beneath the clothing.”

Women who require individual adaptation due to health or psychological issues won’t find much of an open door in a discussion that starts with that statement being read.

Based on feedback I’ve heard from a variety of women firsthand and in online forums, the issues women describe fit into three categories:  design, physical, and psychological.  I asked 250 endowed, believing women to provide feedback on issues they have personally experienced in wearing garments.[2]  I’ll share their feedback and provide some suggestions to address the issues they’ve identified.

Design

243 women reported issues with fit.

“bat wing” shoulders will probably poke out of this dress.

Bunching.  Women’s clothing is more varied than men’s, and likewise, so is women’s underwear.  Accommodating different styles is not generally a question of modesty.  Different fabrics that provide plenty of coverage and are not form fitting still show the wrinkles and bunching of garments.  Garments also require constant tucking and adjusting to keep them in place throughout the day.

  • Suggestions:  I believe the Carinessa garments were designed to address this issue.  However, we need an alternative for hot or humid climates that likewise doesn’t bunch up under clothing.

Maternity & Nursing.  Some women reported that the maternity panel on front of the bottoms was painful during the final trimester.  Many women (22%) said the nursing tops were impractical (some respondents had not used them).

  • Suggestion:  These are specialty items in regular underwear for good reason.  Pregnancies vary greatly.  Some women carry high, some low.  Some women get wider, some have bellies that go straight out.  What happens in the bra region (which already varies greatly without pregnancy) is another difference in pregnancy from woman to woman.   More options are needed or the ability to forego garments in favor of undergarments that provide the right kind of support in pregnancy.

Bottoms.  Women reported that due to consistently increasing length in the legs of female garments, they found that newly purchased garments didn’t work with their existing wardrobe, and it was not possible to buy all new clothes every time garments wore out.  This was not an isolated issue – 45% of the women I polled reported this issue!  One women laid her garments out next to her husband’s and found that the legs in hers were 3 inches longer!  Women also reported that the bottoms often roll up under pants or pantyhose creating an inner tube effect.

  • Suggestion:  The legs in women’s garments should never exceed the length in men’s.  That’s a rather obvious design flaw.  It has been suggested elsewhere that going to a “boy short” or “hipster” design would be a big improvement.  If this kind of change is considered too radical, I suggest simply making sure there are plenty of length and size options so that short and thin women are not unable to find something that fits.

Tops.  Many women report issues with the waistband going to their bra line or even higher in some cases.  As one Mormon man commented, “We don’t want our wives wearing grandma panties!”  Some report issues with the length from shoulder to bust.  “The difference between my tall and non-tall ones is only from shoulder to bust, and nothing different below that. Last I checked when people are tall in the top, its from waist to hip, not shoulder to bust.”  Women also reported problems at both ends of the spectrum of bra size:  some found them ill-fitting because they were large chested while others found the cups to be far too large.  Many women said that the shoulders don’t stay in place, slipping off and hanging down the arms, making the garments visible even when clothing has a short sleeve.  Likewise, women indicated that the backs of the shoulders stick out like bat wings making them visible under clothing with cap sleeves.  Some women report tightness under the arms.

  • Suggestion:  Forgo the cap sleeves which cause difficulty in getting the torso length correct for all body types.  Instead, use an adjustable camisole strap (similar to a bra strap) over the shoulder.  This change instantly resolves nearly all design problems with the tops.  It also enables tops to be purchased based on bra size.

Quality.  A former employee of Beehive Clothing explained that garments are not made with white fabric, but are dyed white.  This is why bleaching them causes them to yellow or gray.

  • Suggestion:  Provide an informational card with all garment purchases on the best methods of washing them to retain their whiteness.

Garment sizing can be very tricky, especially when they change.

Sizing.  I call them “wishful sizes.”  Garment sizes are essentially about 4 sizes bigger than whatever size one wears in other clothing.  I am a fairly average sized tall woman (5’8″), and I usually wear a size 6, but in garments I have found there are only a couple of sizes smaller than the ones I wear.  Since I’m by no means the smallest person wearing garments, I can only imagine what smaller women encounter.  For these smaller women, their garments must simply hang on them.

  • Suggestion:  Overhaul the sizing to get it back to norms.

Physical

42% of women reported at least one instance of rashes or infections (including yeast infections) due to wearing the garment.

Yeast Infections.  This is the most common health issue I’ve heard about from women who are endowed.  Many fabrics do not breathe sufficiently.  Also, women who have had one yeast infection are prone to have them again.  Doctors recommend women with yeast infections do not wear underwear at night and that even during the day they only wear a cotton panel panty that breathes well.  Even garment bottoms with a cotton panel crotch create problems because the legs add layers that bunch around the crotch area; moisture in this area is the leading cause of recurring yeast infections.

  • Suggestion:  Provide women with better guidelines when they purchase garments to ensure they are making healthy decisions about when to wear them and what types to purchase.  Trust women to make appropriate choices to forego wearing garments to prevent or heal from yeast infections.  Women need to be educated on this issue; unfortunately, the statement read at the temple recommend interview encourages women to continue to wear garments rather than taking appropriate measures to treat infection.  This is not an isolated incident.  Many women experience this problem.

Menstruation.  Because the crotch is not snug (due to the legs), women who are menstruating often experience problems keeping a pad or panty liner in place.  This results in leakage that can ruin clothes and cause personal embarrassment.  78% of women had experienced an issue with this.  Some women have been advised to wear regular panties under their garments during menstruation, but this adds another layer below decks at a time when a woman is already bloated and may have a hard time with clothes being more snug.

  • Suggestion:  Trust women to make their own personal adjustments to garment wearing during menstruation, including foregoing wearing them when not practical.

Rashes.  Women experienced rashes from seams and elastic and from heat being trapped against their skin.  One story:  “On my mission I started getting rashes which a doctor said were fungus from having damp fabric against my skin while biking (and sweating) all day. Gross.”  If I’m not mistaken, I believe that’s a phenomenon we called “missionary butt” in my mission (men also experienced this).

  • Suggestion:  Provide wider waistbands like many panty styles have today that do not put elastic directly against skin.  Provide flat-seam alternatives for a higher cost.  Eliminate elastic bands from the legs of the cotton and cotton-poly style.

New wicking fabrics are available now; we need these!

Fabrics Don’t Breathe.  74% of women reported this problem.  Some rashes were exacerbated by fabrics not being suitable for hot or humid climates.  For example, the much-celebrated Carinessa fabric is particularly bad in terms of ventilation.  In a hot or humid climate, it simply doesn’t work at all, functioning as a personal sauna.  Even the drisilque fabric causes problems in humid climates:  “the drisilque, though cooler, stick to the skin once damp and become impossible to dry off in.”  Apparently, there are bamboo fabrics available for special order, but only women who have complained are aware of it.  The fabrics also contribute to the prevalence of yeast infections.  Another issue is that women’s body temperature varies greatly at different times in the month and during menopause when many women report hot flashes.  The additional layers of the garment contribute to these episodes.

  • Suggestion.  Continue to experiment with wicking fabrics like bamboo to find better options for hot, humid climates.  Options today seem mostly geared toward the dry cold climate of Utah.  Options should be pilot tested in a variety of climates and with different body types and times of life.

Psychological

Women are prone to imagine they are fatter than they are.

Body Image.  For some women, adding layers to their stomach or thighs below their clothing triggers body image problems.  Some women report regressing to anorexia, bulimia or cutting as a result of how garments feel.  In my case, I was deeply depressed for a week after my endowment and began extreme dieting.  In time and after losing a few more pounds, I got used to how garments felt, and I tried corban (the drisilque of yesteryear) instead of cotton-poly thanks to my roommates’ recommendations.  This helped, but I never had serious issues with body dysmorphic disorder as do up to 2.5% of women.  I just struggled to get comfortable with additional fabric bunching up around my legs and waist which made me feel fat.  While 74% of women I asked said that garments made them feel fat or unattractive, only 14% went so far as to say that they contributed to a body image problem.

  • Suggestion:  For most women, better fitting options and more fabric choices should help.  For women who truly struggle with serious body image problems, there should probably be more allowance for variation in how frequently the garment is worn (e.g. only at night).  Speaking to male priesthood leaders about an issue that so disproportionately affects women is not going to provide them much support.

Sexual Arousal.  When I was at BYU, garments were jokingly called “passion killers” by most of the women I knew.  We were single, so we assumed this was to keep people clean from sexual sin.  22% of the women I asked said this was a problem for them (some were single and therefore did not reply). One comment that succinctly explained the problem:

The first time I heard a newly wed couple complain about the way the garments looked (really un-sexy), I laughed it off and judged them as being shallow and faithless. Since then, in both my personal life and my conversations with others, I have realized that the garment design and the admonition to wear them all the time, unless having sex, bathing, or exercising (and some do it even then) really does interfere with intimate relationships for many people. Women tend to feel fatter, and have their confidence suffer because they can’t dress to flatter their figure. Couples feel they can’t be naked together unless they’re having sex. They have a harder time desiring sex when their partner is always completely covered, and in something that is actually unflattering at that.

Can be a barrier to intimacy, requiring a scheduled appointment for sex.

These issues can be even more difficult when the husband is not a member or not temple endowed.

  • Suggestion:  Relax the wording in the statement that is read at the temple recommend interview; trust married church members to make good choices about how to wear the garment to ensure a healthy married sex life for both the man and the woman.

The garment is a sacred reminder of our covenants; that doesn’t mean we are skilled at designing intimate clothing that works for all body types, in all climates, and at all times of life.  Women’s underwear is extremely complex as you can see if you go to any department store and compare the size of the women’s underwear department vs. the few shelves dedicated to men’s underwear.  There’s no store called Victor’s Secret.  As someone phrased it: “The Church needs to get out of the underwear business.”  I would say we need to either get out of it or actually get in it.  Women who are deeply committed to their faith and their covenants deserve a professional redesign and the flexibility to avoid physical and psychological problems.

To illustrate the importance of this problem and why it is not being addressed, I’ll share another tidbit from the women I heard from.  Despite the fact that nearly everyone had experienced one or more problems with design or health related issues due to garments, only 7% of women reported having made unauthorized alterations to the garment to address their issues.  And nearly all women expressed extreme reluctance to discuss these highly personal issues with male priesthood leaders.

Discuss.

_______________________________________________________________________

[1]  A written response referred to a yeast infection as a “posterior infection,” clearly a misunderstanding of what a yeast infection is and perhaps what a posterior is.  Additionally, the advice to add another layer of clothing would in fact cause a yeast infection to be worse.

[2] This was an informal facebook poll, not a scientific survey.  Women who participated self-identified as believing and temple endowed.  The poll allowed for “write in” categories and comments to explain their input.  While 250 women gave feedback, the group was disproportionately younger which skews results; additionally, while various climates were represented, most participants were US residents.  If an official survey were done, it would be better to deliberately target different age groups and climates.  For example, given the symptoms of menopause (e.g. hot flashes) , there are likely some physical issues not represented in this sampling.

Comments

  1. Really interesting stuff, Angela. Thanks for sharing.

    As an endowed female member, I admit that just yesterday my husband and I were complaining together about how the ridiculous length of my Carinessa garments makes it hard for me to wear a few of my knee-length dresses. Many dresses sold for women come just to the knee, but I’m nearly 6 feet tall, so most of those dresses hang 1-4 inches above my knees. When my garments hang longer than that, it makes me feel bad for wanting to buy and have adorable dresses. I’ve never complained about adjustments, because of that ridiculous statement that basically tells me I’m a bad person for wanting to adjust or just not wear my garments sometimes. I’ve participated in plays where the costumes just didn’t work with garments, so I’ll not wear them, and then I’ll feel bad for not wearing them.

    I swear, we need group therapy for women who wear garments.

  2. Did you just go there?? It is about time someone addressed this. The church really does need to get out of the underwear business. I am an active member and I’ve been modest my entire life. I can’t stand the garments. I feel faithless, awful, and guilty most of the time but they are: uncomfortable, super long (i’m short), and weird (I’m a convert). I think there is a way to still remain very faithful and not have to bust out in these unless of the 3 reasons you mentioned. When I tried to express my struggle with garments with my bishop, he called me to repentance. It’s just really weird and very LETTER of the law. I used to be Catholic and I know they have some really weird ideas too and although I didn’t get much out of the religion, I did like how they stayed out of the bedrooms, underwear, etc. I think the church would retain a lot of its membership if it didn’t force everyone to be so alike in every way. Perhaps there is another way… I hope so. I have had a lot of friends go inactive or leave the church because the garment thing freaks them out. I don’t blame them.

  3. cookie queen says:

    Great article. If an official survey were done,
    and people were honest, then they would
    HAVE to chane them because they are horrible. Full stop.

  4. Discuss? The temple garment should not be discussed in public. There’s an official statement on this, which you’ll find if you search for past posts on BCC on the topic. Steve Evans can tell you about it.

  5. angelandsimba says:

    That’s part of the problem that these ladies are complaining of. There’s really only one place and time that they’re “allowed” to talk about these problems and it’s not exactly a person, or place that is inviting for the kind of conversation that needs to be had.

  6. Rachel Whipple says:

    Bob, if we don’t discuss it, how can anyone with the authority to fix the problem know that a problem exists?

  7. Great post. I’m wondering why we don’t go ahead and make a “spanx” bottom while we’re at it. I mean, we have to wear them, so why not kill two birds with one stone? We have the technology.

    Also, as to the unique and personal problems created by poor ventilation, infections, rashes: I’m not sure what to say about that. I’m fortunate not to have had serious problems there. I’ve been able to find or slightly alter garments to fit my 5’9″ size 10 body . . . and since the garment is a symbol that represents something else, I make my peace with God about my devotion to the associated covenants and how/when/where I wear the garment. I honor my covenants and consider the garment sacred. However, I do not sacrifice good common sense to the apparently rigid all-seeing eye of “the church” or temple recommend questions. I simply and honestly answer “yes.”

  8. Mark B. says:

    That statement that is to be read during the temple recommend interview was from long before 2010. I don’t remember the date, but I’d guess you’re at least 10 years late.

    And, another issue you don’t mention: color. For women with dark skin, the white garments in the summertime are completely visible, unless thick or multiple layers of clothing are worn. Take a hot climate, add two layers of underwear, throw on a blouse and another top to keep the garments from showing through the blouse, and you may as well just sign up for heat stroke right now.

  9. I’m surprised you didn’t address what is one of my biggest irritants, the tags and markings. I have repeatedly requested that the tags be silkscreened, as in every other t-shirt/camisole one buys these days, and marks could be as well. I have sensitive skin and have to cut the tags out, which means I never know what size the item was to refer to, and it often rips at the seam there or leaves an itchy edge. (Particularly the tag in the carinessa garment bottoms is placed at such an awkward location poking a body crevice!) I once looked into ordering special garments for sensitive skin, but it required a doctor’s note and about a dozen measurements (instead of just requesting the normal size one would buy), too much hassle.

  10. Angela C says:

    melodynew: I think the Carinessa bottoms are intended to be semi-Spanx-like. They do hide a multitude of sins, but they are definitely hotter than blazes in the climates I’ve lived in since their release. On the upside, the fabric on the legs does not roll up under pants. I haven’t tried the Carinessa tops as they were not released before I left the US.

  11. Anonymous says:

    By far the biggest issue I’ve had is the back center seam on every single bottom I have tried (please correct me if there is a style without this seam). Not only is it irritating, but I’ve had surgery in the area, and this seam irritated my incisions to the point that I now need another surgery. I’ve since stopped wearing the bottoms, but I wish I would have even thought to place my health concerns over the “letter of the law” before this all happened.

  12. The Carinessa tops are a major improvement, fit and cut-wise- but the fabric is the same unbreathable sauna as the bottoms.

  13. I can definitely agree with the need for greater variety in both sizes and fabric options. As a short (5’1″) but also curvy (DD) woman, I find good fit to be a huge issue. I only purchase petite bottoms, but I have to buy tall tops (for that extra inch between the shoulder and bust). The options for fabrics are even more limited in specialty sizes, like petites and talls, so with my susceptibility to fungal skin rashes (thanks to my mission in Brazil), I am left with basically one option for tops and one for bottoms. I have had to refrain from wearing my garments at night on occasion due to skin issues, but I have personally never felt guilty about doing so. I suppose that I have just paraphrased the scripture about the sabbath being made for man, not man made for the sabbath, to apply to my garments.

    Although I seem to be the only woman I have ever known for whom the maternity garments fit well, nursing tops were another problem. I gladly paid $100 each for my size 42G nursing bras, but when I tried to buy a “full cup” nursing garment top, I was told that all nursing tops were “full cup”, or DD. There was no option for those of us who needed a full cup prior to nursing. I would have been happy to pay extra for custom tops, but the process for doing so was not only expensive but incredibly time consuming. It involved interviews with priesthood leaders, taking of measurements at a distribution center and significant lead time before the custom tops would be available. For a new mother with young children, it just wasn’t worth the bother. While I never consciously altered my nursing tops, the elastic at the tops of the cups quickly ripped and the seams gave out, allowing me slightly more room in the bust. After I learned about the silk screened marks on military garments, I really wished for that option in nursing tops, where the stitching was placed perfectly for chafing, if you know what I mean.

    Now that the child-bearing phase of my life is over and I’m moving on to hot flashes, I would love some choices of wicking/athletic fabrics. My husband has recently discovered Under Armour for working out, and both he and I have agreed that the church could definitely benefit from exploring some of the technological advances in performance fabric when making garments for both sexes.

  14. Loved this article! I’m currently pregnant, and can not find a good fit!! The “old style” dri-silque that WAS great (until they got rid of it), but the new ones are too tight to stretch with pregnancy, and the wider waist-band is horrible! I refuse to buy the pregnancy panel ones since NONE of my maternity clothes go over my waist – they all go below the belly. My suggestion on this (and – actually ALL of my issues with the female garment bottoms) would be to offer a “low-cut” alternative instead of the super-duper high waist on all the female garments. Many of us “younger generation” like to wear them around our hips instead of above our belly button.I also miss the looser-fitting leg in the drisilque since those stayed in place MUCH better than the new ones! I think The looser fit in the older styles was great because it expanded with pregnancy. I wish there was just one “boxer style” for the women. Maybe I’ll switch to the men’s instead!

  15. Kristine says:

    Bob M.–I just reviewed the section on garments from the Handbook, and find no prohibition on discussion. I’d be very interested in your source.

  16. As a lurker on fMH’s FB group and married man I knew some of the concerns women had about garments, but even still, after reading this my reaction is “Yikes!” I often struggle to understand the value of garments anyway: for me, the temple is about making specific covenants to encourage more Christlike behavior (obedience, chastity, consecration, etc) and whether I live up to those has nothing whatsoever to do with my underwear (I guess wearing them is an arbitrary sign of obedience, but I prefer to imagine that the principle of obedience encompasses things that, you know, matter). But I also have difficulty with several aspects of the temple that aren’t related to those specific doctrinally-focused covenants, and getting into that strays far from the OP. Returning back on topic, I’ll just second concerns about the inherent antisexiness of garments from my male gaze, however valid that is :)

  17. Angela C – thank you. Good point.

  18. “Discuss? The temple garment should not be discussed in public. There’s an official statement on this, which you’ll find if you search for past posts on BCC on the topic. Steve Evans can tell you about it.”

    Yes, I can! There is no such official statement. Glad I could be of service.

    I agree however that we should not discuss anyone’s particular garments, b/c ick factor.

  19. marginalizedmormon says:

    @anon at 7:30–

    This is what I was told when a skin condition and a health problem made it very difficult for me to wear garments, though I persevered.
    A doctor’s note assumes that you have an understanding doctor or even a diagnosis from a medical professional, which is not always possible, especially when there is something that can’t be or won’t be diagnosed–
    I persisted, firmly but respectfully, and I finally got what I needed. Now wearing garments no longer causes me pain–
    but it was very complicated. I got help from a family member to get accurate measurements, and my garments are very weird (cover more than normal garments, but that’s all right); at least they don’t hurt anymore. When I was told that I couldn’t get special garments without a doctor’s note, I broke down and cried, because doctors can’t find out what is wrong with me and assign a name to it–
    which is another matter altogether.

    A family member continued to call, and finally I called and said, “I don’t have a diagnosis; there is no possibility of a diagnosis; I just need garments I can wear without suffering”–
    and someone kind finally worked with me. There were a number of people (women) who were less than kind, but one person stepped up and was a human being.
    I prize my new, odd garments; I tell few people about them; there’s no need–
    but in my case the squeaky wheel finally got the grease–
    If it were assured to be fair trade, silk would be a reasonable fabric for garments, but I’m afraid most of us won’t be able to afford that in the present economic situation–
    bamboo sounds hopeful, and cotton is doable for many. For many years I have dressed FOR my garments, not for fashion, but I’ve gotten used to it, and I don’t think I look like a troll–
    sorry if this offends those who believe this shouldn’t be discussed, but I can’t stand the thought of those who are hurting–there’s no reason for it. Just be firm and consistent–
    I don’t know you, but I’ll be praying that you can get the help you need. Used to be, when I laundered my garments I felt like sighing inside; now I look at them and smile–

  20. usandthings says:

    I’m so glad we’re talking about this.

    When I moved to Tucson, Arizona in the middle of the summer when I was pregnant a few years ago wearing the garment in the triple digit heat plus third-trimester discomfort plus the high humidity of the monsoon season made me superlatively uncomfortable and added to my hatred of my new town and general sour disposition. With the top tucked into the bottom panel, plus the panel from my shorts, then my shirt on top, that was at least 4 tight layers over my belly in a climate that calls for loose, breezy fabric. I confided to my mother about this problem, and she told me about when she went for a recommend interview after she had had a baby in the 70’s and the bishop asked her if she wore the (one-piece) garment as instructed. I can picture the difficulties with this: panties under a one piece; you’d have to get fully undressed every time you went to the bathroom! She said, “Well… I just had a baby…” She said the bishop stopped her right there and said, “The Lord understands.” And he moved on.

    So, I took a break until after the baby was born. I didn’t council with the bishop because I felt like it was an extremely personal decision that I made with the Lord for my personal health and well-being and none of his business.

  21. Garments aren’t hairshirts. They’re meant to be reminders of covenants, not some Opus Dei self-inflicted punishment.

  22. Amen, Steve Evans.

  23. A thousand amens. Also, has anyone else experienced the Distribution Center ladies being disapproving about what sizes you purchase? I’m quite thin so I buy the smallest sizes, and I often feel as though they’re judging me for wanting my garments to conform to my body shape. I’d say 60% of the times I’ve gone in, I’ve been repeatedly encouraged to upsize 1 or 2 sizes, and there’s always lots of “Are you sure?”s and disapproving “Hmmmmm”s. Fortunately I don’t have any issues with body image, but I can imagine that would be hurtful to a woman who did.

  24. Yes, Jessie. Instead of “service with a smile” there seems to be a slogan something like “judgement with a smile” going on with a few of those good sisters.

  25. Just a point of information — when I was doing temple recommend interviews in the early 2000s we were reading those paragraphs on garment use — well before 2010. The statement has had minor changes over time, so what you cite may be the 2010 version. (I haven’t given TR interviews in five years.)

  26. Thomas Parkin says:

    I love the names of the marks and the explanations of them at the veil. I doubt if any single thing has influenced my view of my religion more. I think about them often. Used to be I would mentally remind myself of them, sort of recite them to myself, whenever I put the garment on.

  27. cookie queen says:

    Thomas Parkin, You’re point being …….??????

  28. My biggest issue is one that isn’t mentioned here. I’m a very plus size woman, and I have serious sensory issues. The only garments I can stand wearing are the cotton-poly. The others feel wrong in the extreme, and can cause anxiety issues. But. the cotton-poly tops don’t go up to my size, although other materials do. So I’m stuck wearing garment tops that don’t fit right, which leads to other problems. It gets really frustrating.

  29. Joshua B. says:

    Edit:

    I once had an exceptional cases̶ of diahrrea and one day didn’t… make it in time. I threw them out. I have no plans to speak with my bishop about my improper disposal of the garment.

    @2 (Lucy): I think most of us won’t w̶i̶l̶l̶ walk out of a public bathroom with nasty underwear just to subscribe to the letter of the law. It’s none of their business. Not all of us obsess over other people’s underwear, and I’ll see if I can go through the trash one of these days for those that do.

  30. Sharee Hughes says:

    I really enjoyed this discussion because I, too, have some garment problems. I have no problems with wearing them–I don’t have any clothes that don’t cover the garment, but I have trouble finding tops that fit. I am short, but have an ample bust and you can only find full-cup garments in the tall sizes–which makes the cup come further down my body than my breasts are. I have filed out a comment card more than once, even including my e-mail address for a response, and have never received one. Obviously, the garment designers don’t care if they fit properly.

  31. john harrison says:

    In terms of the TR interview, I’m pretty sure that the language about yard work in particular is new. Not only do I not remember it from before, but I was told in my interview that it was a new inclusion from the last two years or so.

    On the topic of the workers at Beehive Clothing, some are saintly. Others are a living embodiment of the fact that D&C 121 applies to both men and women:

    We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.

  32. Garments are a problem. Even the most faithful members in my ward in all leadership positions complain about them. While everyone appreciates what they represent, there is a lot of resentment about the struggles that garments cause.

    In case anyone thinks the “current” version of garments is the “official” version as originally revealed – it’s very clearly not – as I wrote about in a post a couple of years ago. From that post, Joseph F. Smith emphatically stated:

    “Each individual should be provided with the endowment clothing they need. The garments must be clean and white, and of the approved pattern; they must not be altered or mutilated, and are to be worn as intended, down to the wrist and ankles, and around the neck. These requirements are imperative; admission to the Temple will be refused to those who do not comply therewith.”

    While this sounds similar to the statement that we hear today in the TR interview, things are obviously much different. Things change. The vast majority of people who go to the temple today do NOT wear wrist and ankle length garments. We’ve already taken 18 inches or more off the arms. Taking a couple more off to make a camisole is far less of a change, for example.

  33. Thomas Parkin says:

    Nothing more than what I said, cookiequeen.

    Oh, yeah, you’re all going to hell. I’m happy to add that I’ve never seen any of my wives or mistresses naked because we always keep our garments on while, you know. I wear them throughout my life, including when I’m gardening, playing church rugby, doing my home teaching, as well as during my more secular endeavors like contemplating the scriptures, waiting for my wife to bring me dinner and showering.

  34. cookie queen says:

    ;)

  35. Maybe the church could outsource garment manufacturing to companies who specialize in making clothing. They could sign agreements with companies like Under Armour, Hanes, whoever, and retain exclusive distribution/retail rights. The price would probably be higher, but quality and variety of fabrics/technology would certainly be better. And maybe they’d be consistent in cut/length/etc.

  36. hawkgrrrl says:

    Or we could baptize Calvin Klein.

  37. For those of us blessed with much hair on the body (but little on the head), garments can be a real difficulty. Some fabrics pull hair (not cool to stand up and feel like the chair just gave you a Brazilian wax), others don’t breathe (I’m nearly as furry as an ape and you want me to wear two shirts!?), and the constant rubbing of a stubborn seam can result in an uncomfortable bald spot (as if there was any other kind of bald spot). This is a good conversation to have. I hope it’s had somewhere besides the Bloggernacle as well.

  38. I agree, garments are a huge problem, especially for women.
    I hate that the statement says, “It is expected that members will wear the garment both night and day according to covenants made in the temple.” I never made a covenant to “wear the garment both night and day” when I went to the temple. I wish people would stop inventing covenants. I once had a teacher tell me that I shouldn’t take communion when we visited other Christian churches because “you made a covenant to obey the word of wisdom.” Yeeesh.
    Also, “The garment should not be removed, either entirely or partially…for other activities that can reasonably be done with the garment worn properly beneath the clothing.”
    Well, I guess if my activity is “sleeping naked with my husband,” that can’t “reasonably be done” with garments on, so I’m good. A hearty Amen to those who called them “passion killers” and noted that they make you feel fat and ugly, not good things if you want to have a healthy body image or sex life. It’s always seemed odd to me that, for many Mormon women, the day they get married and start having sex is day their underwear gets less attractive, not more.

  39. The people have spoken…. Change is coming.

  40. “We’ve already taken 18 inches or more off the arms. Taking a couple more off to make a camisole is far less of a change, for example.”
    Excellent point, Mike S. Totally in favor of a camisole strap replacing those awful batwings.

    I remember talking to my mom about how poorly garments were made and how irritating they were and why couldn’t they just make a low-rise bottom already? That’s how women–especially younger women–wore their pants, and I was tired of pulling my waistband up to my bra. Her response was that “they’re not made to conform to trends or the world’s standards,” to which I say, “Rubbish!” There seems to be this trend in the church that we should be willing to sacrifice and endure discomfort for the Lord. And,while there are some things we should do that are uncomfortable or hard, it doesn’t follow that the fact that something is hard or uncomfortable makes it holy. Arbitrary sacrifice and discomfort aren’t sanctifying, they’re just annoying.

    Also, why has no one yet mentioned makeyourgarments.com ?

  41. whizzbang says:

    I am a man and I find the garment top comes unloose a lot and I have to constantly tuck them back in and the tags at the back are annoying, so I cut them all off.

  42. ErinAnn says:

    I’ve heard that when the garments were first instituted that they were only worn at the temple. Any truth to that? I’d sure prefer it. Honestly, I would like to see a huge swing in ho the Church talks about all clothing — by talking about it a lot less. Suggestions quickly become expectations and now “the church” polices nearly everything I wear. Length of skirts, sleeves on shirts, sheerness of blouses, fit of pants, footwear (no flip flops at church!), how I wear my garments, even how many earrings I have.

    The direction at the Temple has changed in recent years and now the workers are told to not say anything about what patrons wear — just welcome them to the temple. We should do the same with all church services.

    And,Bob, I don’t care about whether or not we are “supposed” to discuss them in public. For so many women to have these problems and then have their church forbid discussion on the topic is just plain manipulative. I will not be shamed into silence. I’m just about ready for ultimatums.

  43. When I stand up, my mesh garments rip hair from really sensitive places. Holy Brozilian, it hurts.
    Also for men’s garments, the waste band rides above my navel. I roll it down.

  44. I’m so glad you brought in the psychological issues that come with the physical issues of fit! I’ve always dressed and wanted to dress modestly, but I’ve also struggled with body issues (of the sob in the dressing room because nothing fits, fits right etc. variety) It took years, but I was making progress with accepting myself the way I am now and learning to find the designs that would work with my body type (short, stocky, large chested). I even had a few years where I loved to go shopping and rejoiced in how good I could feel when I felt like I looked good in my clothes.. Then I got married and garments just about blew me back to the dark days of my teenage years. I had to throw out all my knee length skirts because the garments that fit my waist go BELOW my knees by at least an inch. I have some garments that fit at the knee and some that fit at the waist, and neither really works. I can’t layer the way I used to without feeling ridiculously over layered. Then there’s the sweat issues when I do wear layers (sorry self-esteem, you lose today). The top makes buying bras difficult and the cap sleeves are always bunching and showing through my clothes. Shopping is no longer fun, and I’ve had to resort to learning to sew to make skirts that fit my needs without feeling like I’m dressing pioneer style. I despise every day that in order to be the kind of Mormon I want to be, I generally hate my clothes, which translates very easily into hating myself, and in either condition I get to feel uncomfortable 24/7. Some days I feel like it’s just the sacrifice I have to make. Other days I feel pretty sure I’m not gonna make it in this religion that now makes it so difficult to dress both modestly and comfortably like I used to. It’s hard for me to remember what the garment represents when all I can think about is how much I hate wearing it. And the worst part is it feels like a simple fix to me: size and sell by actual measurements (waist, inseam, cup size etc), lose the cap sleeves (I for one will still cover my shoulders, so it’s not like we need the sleeve there to mandate it), continue to explore better fabrics, offer low and high waist options (or you know, everything you pointed out in your post that I love so much).

    Apparently I needed to vent about this so thank you so much for the opportunity. Since this is not a topic that comes up often in conversation, I can start to feel like I’m the only one with garment issues.

  45. Mark B. says:

    When you’re writing about underwear, you really should take the time to make sure you spell “waist” correctly. Or, if you did spell it correctly, we don’t want to hear about that.

  46. Here’s my question. From a male perspective, non-garment underwear is pretty straight forward. Boxers or briefs, with the occasional “speedo” style. T-Shirt? Regular or wife beater. And for women? Certainly there are more styles: Thong, bikini brief, low rise, grandma style, and so forth. There really isn’t much of an equivalent for tops except a camisole. Anyway, I don’t know if you could make garments to fit every body type and preference. Women already have a lot of choices of garnment styles and materials compared to men. Victoria’s Secret lists the following types:
    Thongs & V-Strings
    Cheekies & Cheekinis
    Hiphuggers
    Bikinis
    Briefs
    No Lines & Seamless
    Which “style” of underwear do you want garments to follow? At some point, it just seems almost impossible to make everyone happy.

  47. The wording in the actual ceremony is “throughout your life”, and the admonition is to treat the garment with respect. I respect it greatly, but I don’t like some of the culture that has arisen around it. For me, personally, wearing regular underwear beneath the garment would be more respectful – since it would change the garment to symbolic clothing instead of substitute underwear (and keep them cleaner and less “defiled”) – but I realize that would be adding one more layer for people with body image issues and those in hot climates.

    I wish we could stick to the simple standard, incorporate additional options, not be Pharisaical about it and let people focus on the symbolism of the garment and the markings. I wish the question could be nothing more than:

    “Do you wear the garment and treat it with respect?”

  48. Great post and topic. I believe we can do a better job in offering improved fabrics and more customizable options to our members as far as garment wearing goes. Personally, I have several issues with the temporal aspects of the fabric etc. I also agree that the garment is great at reminding me of the covenants I’ve made in the temple. I think we can distinguish between those two aspects.

    That said, I do find the author’s use of only part of the statement read to members to be a little misleading. The final paragraph was omitted. It states: “Members who have made covenants in the temple should be guided by the Holy Spirit to answer for themselves personal questions about wearing the garment. These sacred covenants are between the member and the Lord, and the proper wearing of the garment is an outward expression of an inner commitment to follow the Savior Jesus Christ.”

    My interpretation of both aspects of the statement is the Brethren try to lay down a wide-sweeping rule for the vast majority of the membership with the “do not adjust”, “wear night and day” specificity of the rule. However, they do provide for individual customization upon consulting with the Lord. In the end, we can say whatever we want to our bishopric and stake presidency members during the interview, and Pres. Monson isn’t doing a garment check on his visits around the world. Many of the complaints voiced in the post and the comment thread should be dealt with individually under this squishy language.

    I have issues sleeping at night with a shirt on. On really warm nights, I’ve been known to shed my shirt to finally fall asleep. Its not my common practice but on occasion, I feel fine doing that and still being able to keep my temple covenants. I think the key here is to focus on the salvation aspect of the doctrine and not to get hung up on what trivial aspects affect us daily because of our human state.

    Lastly, I cannot imagine any sister in my ward openly discussing their underwear with me in a private setting – talk about awkward. This is a great point. I think the statement is trying to encourage members to solve these problems on their own through prayer (think 2 Ne 32:9) and not to be chatting with their priesthood leaders about their uncomfortable garment wedgie.

  49. Sorry – quick follow up – I completely recognize the limitation to the “pray to feel better about slight changes” approach and will only go so far with sisters.

    I know my wife struggles with many of the issues pointed out here and would whole-heartedly support an increase of options for her. Just wanted to point out the Brethren did leave us a little wriggle-room.

  50. The TR question always seems disturbing and creepy to me. I’m just dying to tell the next person who interviews me for a TR “I’m sorry, I don’t feel comfortable discussing my underwear with a man I’m not married to.” I will probably never have the guts to actually say that, though, sadly, because I don’t want to make the interviewer uncomfortable, and I know he’s just asking the questions he was told to ask. But part of me knows that no one will ever hear those concerns unless it goes up the chain of command, and that means making a fuss. That’s one more problem with excluding women’s voices from institutional hierarchy.

  51. Chris Kimball says:

    Filling in some history alluded to in the first paragraph, an excerpt from “Temple Admission Standards” by Edward Kimball, Journal of Mormon History, Vol. 24, No. 1, 1998 (obviously does not reflect changes since 1998). What I take from this is that there is accommodation and change from the top, and space for individual members to interpret (“between the member and the Lord”), and nothing in between. Perhaps that is wisdom, but it does make this conversation in BCC very very unusual.

    Concern whether the previously endowed applicant wears the temple garment was expressed in each handbook from 1940 (129) to 1989 (6-3). Some exceptions apply (for example, military service, athletics, or medical treatment), but generally the interpretation of that covenant “is between the member and the Lord” (1989, 6-3). Although the General Authorities have altered the design of temple garments to accommodate somewhat changing clothing styles, individual
    members are not to make unauthorized changes or wear garments only part of the time. By 1957 the question asked was whether applicants wore “regulation” (later “approved” or “authorized”)
    garments; and since 1976, the question asks whether the garment is worn night and day. The 1996 instructions emphasize that wearing the garment night and day is “in accordance with the
    covenant you made in the temple.”

    Notes:
    .Evelyn T. Marshall, “Garments,” Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 2:534.
    .During World War II, the First Presidency allowed nonwearing if the garment would be unavoidably be exposed to scoffing. Clark, Messages of the First Presidency, 6:186. During the Korean War, “scoffing” was defined as more than “curiosity and light comment,” but the endowed soldier was allowed to use removable markings or marked two-piece underwear if required by military regulations. Ibid., 6:287; Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power, 836. These instructions were repeated in 1964 and 1969, when dyeing garments green was also
    permitted. Ibid., 858; repeated in Bulletin No. 2 (October/November 1985).
    .In 1893, temple-goers were to wear garments that extended to the wrists, ankles, and neck. Clark, Messages of the First Presidency, 5:110-12. Joseph F. Smith in 1902 denounced as “covenant-breakers” members who “mar their garments by cutting off the sleeves” and also insisted that garments must be white. Larson, Ministry of Meetings, 449, 578. Substantial modification occurred in 1923. Buerger, Mysteries of Godliness, 142, 150, 154. The First Presidency by letter of 15 December 1979, authorized two-piece garments.

  52. There may perhaps be some “wiggle-room”, but the reality is that many members take it upon themselves to be “fashion police”. My daughter wouldn’t wear a beautiful white dress to church last week because it “wasn’t allowed”. It had 1-1/2″ wide straps, but as explained by a member of the Primary presidency on a previous occasion to the entire Primary (which I was attending at the time) – “Modesty is keeping your shoulders covered at all times.”

    Seriously ?!?!?!? My daughter is 9. Despite the “wiggle-room” you talk about, far too many members of the church have attitudes like this and try to press them on others, as if their opinion is right. And when the Ensign air-brushes cap-sleeves on famous paintings of angels and the Friend has fictional stories about 4-year-olds who wouldn’t go to the zoo in a tank top, it’s being pushed from an institutional level on down, it’s hard to argue with people like the Primary president. It’s maddening…

  53. The only garment bottoms I can stand having around my waist are Carinessa. The rest of them are terribly uncomfortable. But I’m 5’2″ so the Carinessa bottoms hit me about 3 inches below my knee. I can’t wear knee-length dresses or skirts without my garments hanging out and it’s super frustrating.

  54. Foodie Day says:

    Yeah Mike -I agree. My daughter burnt her shoulder yesterday in attempts at making mom breakfast in bed. She is 8. She had a spaghetti strap dress on that she planned to cover her shoulders with a shrug (I think as much to keep from being cold). Anyways, after she was burned, there was much discussion of leaving the shrug off so she could keep the burn moist with aloe vs. the fear of appearing immodest in church. What one interprets hopefully into a statement and how others react or respond to it are different things.

  55. BCC being brilliant, again. Well done Angela!

  56. LK, we don’t adhere completely to everything that was taught when the Church was formed. No matter how we might feel individually about this issue, we aren’t fundamentalists in that regard as a church, so basing your argument on those grounds is a bit of a non-starter here. You are free to be an advocate of the Reorganized Church line (and provide a url to a bookstore for that group), but it’s not going to get much traction here.

  57. I was just released form being a counselor in a bishopric a couple of weeks ago. In the 2 years I conducted recommend interviews, twice women commented on the paragraph I read, and vowed to change how they would wear the garment. They provided more detail than I needed to hear, and I was a bit embarrassed by the comments, but said simply that how they wore them was between them and the Lord.

    About the comment about women in the distribution center who second guess orders, the solution is to order them online.

  58. One of the most annoying thing about men’s garments are the different cuts depending on fabrics. The mesh garment has shorter sleeves and a larger neck hole than the other fabrics. With the mesh I can wear nearly any v-neck shirt that’s on the market. With any of the other scoop necked garments, I can only wear the most conservative v-neck shirts (unless I were to go from small to larger sizes, which would be terrible since the small is already too much fabric for a scrawny guy). I would love to see a larger scoop for non-mesh fabrics. And since they already do it for the mesh, then there really shouldn’t be a problem since that cut is apparently okay.

    Also, the bottom lengths are pretty frustrating, not for me, because I’m tall, but I’ve had shorter friends who have to wear longer-than-knee length shorts to cover up. A person’s height shouldn’t force these kinds of clothing decisions. There needs to be some design changes or more variety.

  59. I just got endowed a week ago, and it has been the hardest thing since. I’ve been in such a depression over nearly everything over the temple and the garments. Lately, I’ve noticed that I’ve become completely preoccupied, at times even obsessed, over my garments — uncomfortableness, nitpicking, if they’re showing — I have never thought more about how my body looks or what I’m wearing more than in this last week and it has led to several breakdowns. I get frustrated that I’m only 24 and I’m feeling like I’m having to dress way older than my age, all of my dresses that I thought were modest no longer are because they’re just a couple centimeters too short when I sit and my garments are exposed. They certainly are difficult to get used to. Did Jesus wear garments? Where’s that in the New Testament?

  60. I used to have a friend who insisted that the mark on the knee was supposed to be low enough to make sure our knees were covered, and therefore no knee-length shorts should be worn by anyone. Her staunch viewpoint was that all LDS wearing knee-length shorts were in violation of their covenant. She tried to get me to say that I would be embarassed if an Apostle or Prophet saw me wearing my shorts (which covered my garments, btw) and she could not be convinced that I was fine with them, and would be fine if “caught” wearing them by an Authority. These sorts of ideas just strengthen the argument that we are becoming Pharisees.

  61. amyb, here’s a discussion of what type of religious garments Jesus may have worn:

    http://www.ukapologetics.net/12/tassel.htm

  62. Ray,

    I’m not an advocate for the Reorganized Church, I do not believe in that Church, but one of their members left it and spent decades searching out the real truth about Joseph Smith and then compiled it in a book, which I believe is a valuable source for anyone searching for the real truth.

    I am only an advocate of the teachings of Christ and Joseph Smith, which the LDS Church claims to be founded upon and which even the Church leaders claim they can’t teach contrary to, but they do anyway.

    The test of this life is to see who we will follow and believe, either Christ and Joseph Smith or Brigham Young and the leaders today, for they teach opposite to each other and we will be held accountable for falling for and following false prophets, which Christ and Joseph foretold would come among the Saints and deceive them and lead them astray if they were not vigilant.

  63. amyb,

    Good questions. No, we have nothing to think Christ or Joseph ever wore garments. People may say they did, but they themselves never taught such things. Prove all things, especially with the scriptures as you are doing, continue asking questions, don’t just follow blindly.

    Heavenly Father never wants you to do anything or follow anyone you are not completely sure is right and true. Search, ponder and pray, Heavenly Father will lead you to the truth about all this. I know many who had the same experiences you are having and they finally came to realize why they felt so confused and upset about it all. Keep searching and praying, you will find your answers.

    Study the life and words of Joseph Smith too, from true proven sources, not hearsay or what others quote he said or wrote in his journal that you can’t verify.

  64. Here, here!

    Mary, your friend would have died had she seen what I saw as a Temple Square missionary: an apostle washing his car wearing tennis shorts that were definitely too short for garments to be worn.

  65. I’ll second the comment on the request for lower rise waistbands in the bottoms especially. If the goal is to keep the waist covered with the garment, then I can still do that with a lower rise bottom. The long tops tuck in pretty far for me (I’ve got a decently small torso.)

    As a matter of discussion as well, I’ve always found the comment on wearing not adjusting the garment kind of interesting. I know that certain tops have wider shoulders than others – I have square tops or round-neck tops and they all sit differently in the different fabric options. I’m not really “adjusting” them, but I am acknowledging that I have tops that fit me differently and I wear them for those purposes.

  66. Speaking as a former Bishop and a faithful, active member of the LDS church, the only reason – the ONLY reason – I can see for wearing garments at all is to faithfully satisfy a draconian requirement imposed blindly by good people who assume, incorrectly, that God cares if we do it or not. I wear the garment day and night and all that. But if it’s a commandment or a revealed principle, then I would love someone to show me when the revelation was given, to whom it was given, and what the exact words of the revelation were. If there’s some revealed or authoritative basis for the ridiculous rules about what underwear I should wear, then show me the revelation.

    Even if we assume (without citation or any offer or proof or even explicit allegation I’m aware of) that the temple ceremony itself is a revealed rite, the temple ceremony doesn’t contain ANY of those stupid rules. It says nothing about modesty. Nothing about when or how the garment should be worn. Nothing about altering it, nothing about the cut or design. Nothing. No revelation I’m aware of contains any of that, and no ceremony does, either. As a Bishop, when I read the statement about wearing the garment day & night as instructed, I read it literally: Because the temple does not instruct that the garment should be worn day and night and contains no instructions whatsoever about when or how the garment should be worn, members should feel no obligation to wear them in any particular way. I did not expound along those lines, of course, but simply read the statement to members and left it up to them to interpret it – hoping the light to go on in their head to realize how stupid garment rules are in the context of what is actually in the temple instructions.

    We talk about wearing the garment “as instructed.” As instructed by whom, when, and by what authority? If we eliminate every garment-related instruction given outside the temple liturgy, I am under no obligation or covenant to buy or wear garments at all – the temple does not tell me to buy more or to wear them every day. All it tells me is to wear it “throughout my life.” I’ve done plenty of things throughout my life that I don’t do everyday or even every year. I can make my own to any pattern I desire. I can buy commercially-available underwear and put marks on it however I want. In fact, I can just wear it when I go to the temple, and consider that to constitute wearing it “throughout my life.” I’ve filed a federal income tax return throughout my life – that’s once a year. And if we eliminate every garment-related instruction given without citation to revelation, then we eliminate the temple liturgy, as well, since it is, as far as I can tell, not a revelation, cannot be cited or relied on in analysis of doctrine, and is not open for debate at all.

    I wear the garment because I’m a Mormon and I’m part of Mormon culture and, ultimately, I’m willing to put up with it because I don’t want to put up with the flak I’d get if I didn’t wear it. I don’t want my wife, family, and friends to think I’ve lost my faith and, for cultural reasons, I don’t want church leaders and others to think I’m “disobedient” (though really, I think it’s virtuous to disobey unrighteous commands, so maybe I should be true to myself instead of obeying nonsense). But the Church has given me no reason to believe that the garment is anything more than a ridiculous cultural artifact with no doctrinal support that continues as part of our church because millions of people are willing to simultaneously claim reliance on revelation and also believe every stupid little thing anyone in authority ever says without ever questioning whether there’s even an allegation of divine direction.

    Just imagine how much stupid garbage in the Church we could eliminate just by refusing to believe in or follow any instruction not accompanied by a citation to an actual revelation. “You have to wear Church-made underwear” is such a ridiculous, oppressive, and obviously wrong thing that it should surprise no one to learn that – in a church that prides itself on being the recipient of ongoing revelation and divine guidance – there is not even an ALLEGATION that that particular dogma actually came from God at all.

  67. This is an excellent discussion. For me, the big takeaway is: Quit trying to micromanage obedience and “trust married church members to make good choices about how to wear the garment.” Treat faithful members with trust and respect. Period.

  68. zflowerz says:

    I am grateful I have never struggled in any way with garments. I’m a 5’1″ size 14 female. I wear the men’s ‘silky'( not sure what it’s called)garment bottoms, and I don’t feelbad about it. The men’s bottoms are much less contricting to my stockier legs. I discovered this by accident when I had to borrow a pair of husbands while I was doing laundry and was so happy how much more comfortable they were and I’ve never looked back. I wear the women’s poly cotton tops and even being short, get the long because I hate them coming untucked. People need to do what works for them.

  69. The comment about the distance between the knee and the waist being more or less constant and difficult for short women. I think that the Church recognizes that the average people order the short garment for obvious reasons: the knee moves up and shorter dresses can be worn. Therefore the shorter women are paying the price for the sins of the taller women.

    A six or seven years ago I, a male, bought a couple of short bottoms. They were really short, short enough to wear under basketball shorts or hiking shorts. I recently went to purchase more of these but they are no longer available, at least when I looked.

    My great grandmother in the later 19th century, a very dedicated saint, took the wearing of the garment very seriously. It was an age where people only bathed once a week, in a galvanized tub in the kitchen. She would carefully remove the soiled garment but keep it on one foot while she bathed. Before she bathed the dirty foot she placed a clean garment over the clean foot. I dare say that none of you are that observant.

    So, what is more disrespectful of the garment, working hard and filling the garment with sweat and grime, or removing it until the hard work is over and the body can be cleaned?

  70. Thomas Parkin says:

    ” If we eliminate every garment-related instruction given outside the temple liturgy, I am under no obligation or covenant to buy or wear garments at all”

    Also, if we eliminate all reference to “Eternal Families” outside the temple liturgy we have no obligation to believe in that, either. The only thing Jesus ever said about families, in the New Testament, is that His reality would tend to take them apart, and that if anyone loved his mother more than Him, that person was unworthy.

    “I am only an advocate of the teachings of Christ and Joseph Smith”

    *shakes it off*

    “Did Jesus wear garments? Where’s that in the New Testament?”

    We also don’t have a record of Him going to the bathroom in the New Testament. I’m assuming that He didn’t. We also don’t have a record of him growing up in the New Testament. Therefore I’m assuming he burst like a new spring flower into his 30th year. Why it would take Him 30 years to grow up when it only took Him 7 days to create all of everything it quite beyond me.

    (But I am sorry you’re having a tough time with your endowment. I’m of the opinion that we send lots and lots of people to the temple before they ready for the experience. We think it solves problems because many of us find solutions to our problems there. I feel the same about baptism. There is such a rush, that almost anyone who agrees to be baptized is rushed right along, without much real consideration whether said converts actually understand the covenants they are about to make. I don’t think these converts can be held responsible for covenants they do not understand, and i feel the same about the temple. Many leaders fail to imagine and therefore anticipate the contexts in which the temple will be a problem for people. Also, a lot of the teaching that used to prepare people for the temple has been jettisoned.)

  71. I’ve always thought it was interesting that men are allowed to have part of their top showing – my husband routinely wears the crew neck tops under his polo shirts or buttondown shirts, the neck of his garment top shows and it just looks like a T shirt – whereas on women they must be completely covered up, regardless of the style. Or maybe my husband is wearing his wrong. I just think it’s interesting.

    A friend turned me on to the chemise style tops a long time ago – I think they are intended for smaller busted women but as a larger busted woman, they actually solve a lot of fit problems by eliminating the underbust seam. (They’re also a lot less likely to wander around at the shoulders.) As far as intimacy… I will never forget our 80-year-old YSA branch president emphasizing to us that racy lingerie was A-OK. He also told us it was okay to sleep together naked. Awkward conversation, but…

    Amy, I’m with you – discussing our underwear with men we are not married to doesn’t seem like the kind of thing the Church would encourage! I’m sure it’s just as awkward for the second counselor in the bishopric as it is for me. I don’t think anyone would complain if that question was removed!

    I can’t imagine life during the wrist length/ankle length/one piece era! Especially because this was when women wore corsets and petticoats and basically couldn’t get dresses by themselves. I wonder how many women lived with terminal bladder infections because it was such a hassle to go pee? And what must it have been like post-childbirth?!

  72. Rigel Hawthorne says:

    My wife is a faithful member who quietly endures the wearing of garments. Through multiple pregnancies and long periods of breastfeeding, she faced the impracticality of the nursing garment/nursing bra combination, ultimately just using regular garments and stretching the neck in order to breastfeed. She recently showed me a central seam that is present in the chest center of one of her garment tops that she reported is very irritation to the skin. “Wouldn’t you think someone would know that a seam there would be uncomfortable?”, she asked?

    I downloaded several images of commercial underwear from the internet that somewhat resemble garments and suggested that we order them and sew in the marks ourselves. “Aren’t we not supposed to do that?”, she replied? My response that ‘I think our Deities would not be that concerned about where we purchased our garments’ wasn’t convincing enough. I thought there might even be a business opportunity… kind of like CleanFlix did with DVDs, where you can buy online commercial undergarments that have had marks added or send in your own and have marks added. But, I’m sure such a business’s popularity would come to an end quickly with one statement read over the pulpit by the FP.

  73. Catherine Agnes says:

    I want to add an issue I have had with garments that isn’t mentioned in the post: the marks show through many of my shirts! This could be avoided by silkscreening the marks instead of sewing them into the fabric.

  74. - “I dare say that none of you are that observant.”

    Observant of what, exactly?

    – “Also, if we eliminate all reference to “Eternal Families” outside the temple liturgy we have no obligation to believe in that, either.”

    Really? I was under the impression that eternal families are a doctrinal principle established in actual recorded revelations and scriptures, contrasted with temple garments, which are nowhere to be found in any actual doctrine and which are tied specifically and exclusively to the temple endowment. The temple recommend question explicitly asks whether I wear it “as instructed in the endowment and in accordance with the covenant you made in the temple,” thereby specifically stating that the only true rules as to how and when to wear the garment are those contained in the endowment ceremony itself. That the recommend question also refers to a requirement that is nowhere to be found in the ceremony indicates to me that the person who wrote the question wasn’t paying attention in the temple. But I’m reading it charitably, of course.

    Thomas Parkin, I ask this with all possible respect and reverence, because this is an issue that I have considered quite a lot and a principle that I follow strictly even though I can think of no reason to believe it is actually a divine doctrine: Do you believe there is some revealed doctrine about how, when, and where the temple garment is to be worn? If so, can you point me to exactly what that revelation is, who received it, when they received it, and what the wording of the revelation is? The temple instructs me only to wear the garment “throughout [my] life.” The recommend interview question asks me specifically if I wear it as instructed in that ceremony. If you know of some actual doctrinal (i.e. with a citation to revealed authority) reason why I should consider any additional rules binding, I would really appreciate it if you would point me to that reason, with a citation.

  75. Having worn the old style garments, from wrist to ankle, the garment was split down the middle, the hinge being from neck to buttocks, and held together with ribbon ties. It was told to me by them that knew, it was just the old 19th century underwear with marks sewn in. That being said, that style underwear was not meant to be taken off, that was what the split was for. Everything that needed to be serviced was available and accessible. The underwear was like a second skin. I disliked this immensely because it left the pudenda effectively free to wander often in contact with the outer layer of clothing.

    With some slight modification, one could, hypothetically, wear briefs over the garment with little disadvantage.

  76. Thomas Parkin says:

    Hey SGNM,

    I’m doing this while I should be doing other things, and now have to run off to class, but promise to engage you respectfully within 24 hours. :)

  77. Peter LLC says:

    “I’ve always thought it was interesting that men are allowed to have part of their top showing”

    And even if it’s technically covered with a white shirt, the mormon smile is practically a hallmark of the faithful mormon man.

  78. angelandsimba says:

    Mike at the time of that statement, garments were ONLY worn during temple service.

  79. Victor’s Secret! What a great business idea!

  80. The Church is a church of works. The garments are a sign of those works, like the phylacteries and the unshorn sideburns. If someone takes them off, or wears the knee a little high, or changes the design to fit their needs, they are at the brink of the cliff where hellfire burns at the bottom according to some. That may be, you will have to decide. Rational and thinking people can make up their own minds.

    The question the bishop asks is to assess the content of your heart. How else you interpret that question is your business.

  81. @ SGNM. I’m curious, do you believe that refraining from coffee and/or tea is currently a commandment in the church? And do you believe this principle ought to be obeyed by faithful members of the church?

  82. angelandsimba says:

    I would gladly go back to the days of the one piece Ankle to wrist garments if that also meant going back to the day of only wearing garments when actually serving in the temple.

    And I’ll probably get crucified for saying this but I don’t understand the whole “I don’t want to discuss my underwear with a man I’m not married to” With ALL of the questions in the interview, I believe that time to discuss those questions is long before you ever have the interview. If you know you can’t answer one of the questions in the interview “Correctly” then why have the interview? You will also notice that the interview consists of about 15 yes or no questions. This is by design. Yes or no questions are not meant to invite discussion.

  83. I’m also really, really glad that we no longer make our own. I have enough stuff piled on my sewing table, thanks.

  84. From the Church Handbook of Instructions, section 21.1.42: http://www.lds.org/handbook/handbook-2-administering-the-church/selected-church-policies#21.1.42

    Church members who have been clothed with the garment in a temple have taken upon themselves a covenant obligation to wear it according to the instructions given in the endowment. The garment provides a constant reminder of the covenants made in a temple. When properly worn, it provides protection against temptation and evil. Wearing the garment is also an outward expression of an inward commitment to follow the Savior.

    Endowed members should wear the temple garment both day and night. They should not remove it, either entirely or partially, to work in the yard or for other activities that can reasonably be done with the garment worn properly beneath the clothing. Nor should they remove it to lounge around the home in swimwear or immodest clothing. When they must remove the garment, such as for swimming, they should put it back on as soon as possible.

    Members should not adjust the garment or wear it contrary to instructions in order to accommodate different styles of clothing. Nor should they alter the garment from its authorized design. When two-piece garments are used, both pieces should always be worn.

    The garment is sacred and should be treated with respect at all times. Garments should be kept off the floor. They should also be kept clean and mended. After garments are washed, they should not be hung in public areas to dry. Nor should they be displayed or exposed to the view of people who do not understand their significance.

    Members who have made covenants in the temple should be guided by the Holy Spirit to answer for themselves personal questions about wearing the garment.

  85. @Steve, I believe that refraining from coffee and tea is currently a commandment in the church in that the church has, in fact, commanded it. I believe members of the church should come to their own conclusions about what church policies to obey and which ones to disregard. For myself, I choose to obey that particular instruction, just as I choose to wear the garment. Although I did use the term “faithful” to describe myself above, I sort of have a problem with that term, since it is loaded with assumptions and implicit judgment. Is it possible for someone who drinks coffee or tea or who, though endowed, does not wear the garment daily to be a “faithful member” of the church? Absolutely, yes.

    @Hagoth, I’m familiar with the handbook. It’s an interesting and useful piece of administrative material. But the temple recommend interview asks me if I wear the garment as instructed in the temple ceremony, not if I wear it as instructed in the non-canon, non-reveals, doesn’t-even-claim-to-be-inspired handbook. Is there any allegation or reason to believe that the handbook’s instructions were received by revelation? If so, by whom was that revelation received, and when, and what, exactly, is the verbiage of the revelation?

  86. @SGNM. I also believe refraining from coffee and tea is currently a commandment in the church, but I am confused why you believe so when it is there is no specific revelation that contains such a commandment? (Since D&C 89 was not given by way of commandment, and furthermore never mentioned coffee or tea explicitly)

    What to you made this a commandment?

    And how does it differ from the First Presidency interpreting/clarifying the meaning of “throughout [one's] life” to mean “both day and night” followed by explicit instructions of what members should and should not do (and finding this instruction so important that it is required to be read in every temple recommend interview)?

  87. This. This! I have experienced nearly all of the complaints you mention. I really don’t have anything to add to the discussion, but can I just air my grievances? Since there really is no other vehicle for doing so…

    I have long figured that garments must be designed by some men in Utah who really hate their jobs. There is certainly no female input, because some of the issues that we deal with are just ridiculous, especially when it comes to maternity and nursing garments. I found the fabric options for maternity garments really deplorable. I have sensitive skin and need to wear cotton, but (at least a few years ago) that wasn’t an option. So I went with the poly blend (or something like that), but holy Hannah, that top was ridiculously hot in 100 degree weather for a pregnant woman who runs extra hot anyway. And I cried for an hour when I first tried on those maternity bottoms. Okay, hormones, yes, but: the elastic was so tight around my tender midsection that it was painful. And there was NO WAY those would work over or under any size of pregnant belly. I ended up just wearing my regular garments a little low.

    Then I ordered some nursing tops. I would really love to know who designed those. On the more superficial end of things, they really don’t work with commercially available nursing clothes (shirts, dresses, bras). On the health side of things: whose idea was it to put elastic across the boob??? Not only was it terribly uncomfortable on sensitive breasts, but any tightness can cause breast infections, especially in the first weeks of nursing. My solution was to order my garment tops a few sizes bigger and just pull them down. I’m sure everyone in my ward loved that on Sundays.

    The whole becoming-a-mother-and-garments experience left me really disappointed, and my complaints extend well beyond the design of maternity and nursing garments. I feel really unimportant if the powers that be don’t care enough to make some really common-sense changes to garments that I wear faithfully.

  88. SGNM, I wasn’t speaking directly to you and don’t wish to be drawn into your vortex. I’m just throwing out information that is relevant to people’s evaluation of what the Lord’s current representatives believe are the Lord’s expectations with respect to garments. That may inform their decisions about how to approach these covenant symbols and therefore their covenants. Read, follow, disregard, etc. at your will.

  89. I say we just get rid of garments period. We get it. We need to be modest. We’re told over and over and over again. Now let us have our free agency already. I know garments are uncomfortable for men too, but as a woman it’s a whole new level of uncomfortable. Different body types can make can make the garment thing ridiculously hard to keep under wraps. I have to layer every single shirt with a long tank top so my garments don’t hang out because I have an extremely long torso and regular shirts are almost always too short by themselves. And the psychological thing is huge for women. We feel fat, ugly and unsexy in garments. Lets please get rid of them!!!! We are grown adults people. I think we should be allowed to make our own choices about underwear and modesty!!! And when did showing some leg above the knee & our shoulders become immodest???!! People are becoming fanatical with this modesty issue in the church, especially with our little girls. A sleeveless dress is not necessarily immodest. Please stop judging parents who are okay with our little girls not wearing a sweater over every single dress.

  90. @Steve, I didn’t say I believe it’s commandment from God, just that I believe the Church itself has commanded it. I don’t think God has ever commanded us not to drink coffee and tea.

    What to me made it a commandment? The church commanded it, and it is, therefore, a commandment of the Church. It is not, as I noted, a commandment of God. That’s a distinction that I think a lot of people in the church simply do not make, and it’s a huge problem, in my opinion.

    – “And how does it differ from the First Presidency interpreting/clarifying the meaning of “throughout [one's] life” to mean “both day and night” followed by explicit instructions of what members should and should not do (and finding this instruction so important that it is required to be read in every temple recommend interview)?”

    Off the top of my head, two differences are

    1) The coffee/tea thing is talked about in church, General Conference, etc. and is interpretation of actual doctrinal canon, whereas the garment question is only discussed behind closed doors in a setting where the power relationship is such that inquiry and discussion are discouraged by, at the very least, cultural convention;

    2) The statement about garments immediately follows the asking and answering of a temple recommend interview question that directly contradicts the statement. The Word of Wisdom temple recommend interview question, in contrast, is open ended, allows the member full interpretive authority;

    3) The coffee/tea rule is at least ostensibly tied to a canonized scripture and is interpretation of a purported revelation, whereas the garment rules are not tied to any canon, revelation, or doctrine, but are instead invented from whole cloth, without citation or even any allegation of divine guidance.

    It’s fascinating to me that tithing and the Word of Wisdom are, in the temple recommend interview, doctrines that are 100% open to interpretation by the member, whereas the temple garment – which has (as far as I know) no doctrinal basis, no scriptural origin, no establishing revelation, and no divine mandate – receives an official interpretation instruction that directly contradicts the interview question itself. Is wearing the temple garment just right more important than paying the right amount of tithing? If so, why has God never given any revelation about the temple garment, and why does the Church not even claim that the garment (or, indeed, the temple ceremony) is a doctrine received in some specific revelation?

    Again, I wear the garment as instructed in the statement and the handbook. And I obey the Word of Wisdom as indicated in the handbook and in the Church’s teachings generally. But does God care if I wear the garment at all, let alone how and when I wear it? If so, I’d love someone to show me where God said so. Because, as far as I can tell, it was pulled out of thin air a long time ago and we’ve been making it up as we go ever since.

  91. Left Field says:

    I will point out that there wasn’t a “change” to two-piece. Rather, two-piece was made available as an option. Also, some of the problems discussed (e.g., bunching, chafing, rashes, waistbands) are in my experience, alleviated by wearing one-piece.

  92. I vote for, “Do you wear the garment and treat it with respect?” THAT’S ALL. END OF QUESTION. When you wear it is up to you.

  93. After I had an appendectomy last year, my garment bottom waist rubs on my healed incisions and are so annoying I have quit wearing them. I have a chubby belly and wearing them under my belly rubs another incision scar. I can also no longer wear pants with a waist for the same reason. I always wear yoga pants or carpis as they have a wide soft waistband that does not irritate my scars. I have not discussed this with my bishop, even in my TR interview. Because we’re told to wear the two pieces together, I no longer wear the top either. I was endowed forty years ago when there were only one piece garments and those were awful. I wore garments thru nine pregnancies and breastfeeding. SO bulky and messy. I too, thought that early garments were only worn in the temple and wish we could abide by that again. Makes sense. Now that I’m older, heat affects me too and I can’t stand layers in the heat. I don’t feel I’m wicked or evil and do not believe Mother and Father want us to be miserable. Seems to me the admonition to wear G’s day and night, and that they are a protection is more recent. And I do not recall even hearing the words in the temple about the garments that are in the handbook. So the question is – what do we obey/do? The temple instructions, the CHI, our Bishop’s admonitions or do we simply follow the Spirit?

  94. more relevant data http://www.lds.org/bc/content/shared/content/english/pdf/callings/military/military-garment-special-orders.pdf?lang=eng

    Note that endowed military personnel can get their marks silkscreened onto the inside of their t-shirts, thus eliminating the need for one more layer of clothing since the military already requires them to wear their t-shirt.

    An open question–if you were told you could wear something else for support (bras for women, jock/and/or cup for men), were you told which layer had to be closest to your skin, in other words, that you have to wear the bras or jock/cup over the garments? My wife remembers being told to always wear a bras over her garment top. I don’t remember any such instruction for men (for jock straps).

  95. What about us OCD people: it drives me crazy that the bottoms are asymmetrical – as far as symbols go – unlike the symmetrical tops.

    As for my wife, she definitely would appreciate tighter crotches to accommodate for the monthly visitor so she doesn’t have to wear underwear underneath the garment.

  96. Sharee Hughes says:

    I am short, but I have never had a problem with garments showing below my skirts. I like my underwear to be snug, so the size I wear may be smaller than some who are my size would wear and they end several inches above my knees (and I’ve never had any of the clerks at Beehive Clothing give me dirty looks for buying these sizes). I could wear the skirt Ann Romney wore that everyone was saying “How can she wear her garments with that?” about and not have my garments show. I prefer the cotton, as it is a natural fiber and allows the skin to breathe. It also has some give, and most of the synthetics do not. However, the full-cup tops come only in poly-cotton, so I don’t have a choice here. I just wish that when we do fill out the comment cards they have at Beehive Clothing that someone would read them. It is obvious these are not read. And, given that the garments are died white, not made with white fabric (how stupid can you get?), are we expected to discard our garments once they get gray (it doesn’t take beach, just repeated washings). Does anyone know someone who works at Beehive Clothing who might be able to give us some answer?

  97. @SGNM. So if I understand what you are saying, you do not believe that Joseph Smith’s restoration of the ordinance of the endowment in Nauvoo with covenants, signs, tokens, garments, etc. was based on any ‘establishing revelation’ that he had? Do you really believe it was “pulled out of thin air”? And furthermore, do you really believe the endowment ceremony has no bearing on our salvation? (Or if you believe it does, would you presume to know which parts are essential and which are not?) Joseph Smith didn’t seem to find the endowment irrelevant, rather it was his anxiety that the temple would be finished in order that he could reveal these things to the Saints and thus fully establish that which he was sent to restore to the earth. He did not teach it in any other way than an ordinance as essential to our salvation/exaltation as any other ordinance he restored, and the garment was a part of that which Joseph Smith revealed. As I understand it, he told Brigham Young that the complete organization of the ceremony was not yet perfect, and so when Brigham Young took over he claimed it was by divine inspiration and revelation that he more perfectly organized the ceremony. I don’t think Brigham Young or any church president holding the keys of the kingdom would categorize this as “making it up as we go”. Do you? What gives you the liberty to say otherwise?

    “does God care if I wear the garment at all, let alone how and when I wear it? If so, I’d love someone to show me where God said so.” D&C 1:38 – “…whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.” I would also point to D&C 28, where it says among other things that the person at our head who is appointed to hold the keys of the mysteries, is the only one who has right to write by way of commandment. Since the President of the Church holds those keys, and has written to the church specific should and should nots concerning the matter of the garment, I think it is presumptuous to assume he is not exercising his keys in this instance.

    Does God care whether we follow the commandments of the church as given to us by those holding the appropriate keys or not? I think so. Furthermore, I think it is arrogant and potentially spiritually damaging to try and decipher which commandments “really” came from God trying to discover which of them God “really cares about” us keeping or not. Do you believe it is not important for us to follow all of the commandments as given to us by the church, by those holding the keys of the kingdom?

  98. I have been noticing the women’s bottoms getting longer. I have short legs and the last time I bought bottoms I noticed the petite was the same length as a former regular length pair I had. It seems to me that women’s garments are becoming more of a modesty enforcer rather than a covenant reminder. As I age, I can’t tolerate the heat caused by layers of non-breathable fabric. The all cotton top works until summer and a loose fitting Drisilque bottom was workable year round. Only when I went to replace the bottoms after some weight loss, they had changed to a body fitting style with a rolled hem that is too tight. I have tried my best to work with these horrid designs for decades but I don’t see any more options now. I didn’t know there was a bamboo fabric but a non-member doctor’s note? Seriously?? How insulting. It was bad enough having to announce a medical condition no matter who was in the room to get special order cotton tops in the style I wanted. I can’t imagine who is designing these ridiculous things or why they would think that every woman in every climate can be comfortable in such limited selections. I feel so sorry for women in tropical climates. It makes me sad that our leaders have so little trust in us that we are herded into uncomfortable and even unhealthy clothing. It makes no sense.

  99. Hagoth, my daughter asked directly about regular underwear when she went through the temple for the first time, prior to leaving on her mission. She probably would have done what she wanted to do in that regard, but she was told that there is no prohibition against wearing regular underwear beneath the garment and that such a decision is completely up to her – end of discussion.

    Sometimes we collectively ask too much and, therefore, get too many answers we wouldn’t need if we’d just shut up and exercise our agency. I think this is one such case.

  100. Dog lover says:

    I have many issues with garments. Heavy periods require double protection for me. Wearing undies, pad, garments and pants gives me a heat rash. As I am aging some nights I wake up drenched from hot flashes and put on regular undies and a tank. There is no way I feel the need to share this with a neighbor man during the TR interview. It is between me and The Lord.

    Also, who doesn’t at times just want to snuggle naked with your husband throughout the night. It would be inappropriate to share that with a someone else’s husband.

    We need wicking materials, tanks and waistbands that don’t come so high.

    I have often joked that womens garments are designed by endowed gay men. I so wish we had other options.

  101. Ray “Sometimes we collectively ask too much and, therefore, get too many answers we wouldn’t need if we’d just shut up and exercise our agency. I think this is one such case.”

    Amen. I’m not suggesting anyone ask, but for those who did or who were told anyway–I’m just wondering if as many variety of official opinions were shared with board participants as I suspect. On this topic, I suspect they make it up as they go and I don’t think it gets discussed with men. I remember no instruction at all.

  102. @Steve – I’ll try to be extremely concise in answering your questions.

    1. So if I understand what you are saying, you do not believe that Joseph Smith’s restoration of the ordinance of the endowment in Nauvoo with covenants, signs, tokens, garments, etc. was based on any ‘establishing revelation’ that he had?

    As I sit here right now? No, I don’t believe that, because I’ve never seen any concrete allegation by the Church that that is the case. Does the Church even teach that what you’re claiming is true? I’ve been a Seminary teacher, a Bishop, a Gospel Doctrine teacher, and plenty of other things, and I’ve never encountered anything that suggests that the modern Church actually teaches that. I’ve you’ve got some authoritative citation on that subject, I’d be more than happy to consider it. I’m not inclined to even consider the possibility of believing it if the Church doesn’t even teach it. If the Church does teach it, then I’ll want to look at historical analysis and scholarship, ponder, and pray about the matter to determine whether I believe that the Church is teaching the truth in that regard.

    2. And furthermore, do you really believe the endowment ceremony has no bearing on our salvation?

    I believe that the endowment ceremony has some bearing on our salvation.

    3. Or if you believe it does, would you presume to know which parts are essential and which are not?

    I presume to have an ever-evolving opinion on the matter. But I do not presume to claim that my opinion is necessarily correct. I do, however, presume to claim that my own opinion and analysis are more reliable than Mormon folklore.

    4. Do you really believe it was “pulled out of thin air”?

    The temple ceremony? No. The garment? Yes. But, as I noted above, that’s just because I’ve never been able to find any reason to believe otherwise. If you have some reason to believe otherwise, I would sincerely love to know what it is. I find it incredibly frustrating that the Church asks me to do something so preposterous as buy and wear special underwear without even making the most basic attempt to explain to me the origin of the requirement. The post-hoc justifications the church offers are not really helpful, either.

    5. I don’t think Brigham Young or any church president holding the keys of the kingdom would categorize this as “making it up as we go”. Do you?

    I don’t think holding the keys and making it up as we go are mutually exclusive propositions. In fact, I think making it up as we go is about 99.999% of even the most inspired church leader’s M.O.

    6. What gives you the liberty to say otherwise?

    God does.

    7. D&C 1:38 – “…whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.”

    That scripture explicitly is referring to “What I the Lord have spoken.” Did the Lord speak, commanding me to wear the garment in a particular way, at particular times, etc.? If so, I would like to know when, to whom, and what, exactly, he said. God’s servants say lots of things that are not actually the Lord’s words or will. I’d like to know if there’s some reason to believe that God – not God’s servants, but God himself – cares whether, when, and how I wear the garment. A discussion of the intended meaning and overreaching interpretation of D&C 1:38 could be interesting, but I’ll just say here that I don’t find that response satisfying in the least.

    8. I would also point to D&C 28, where it says among other things that the person at our head who is appointed to hold the keys of the mysteries, is the only one who has right to write by way of commandment.

    But again, that speaks not to God’s will, but to the will of the person who happens to hold the keys. I wear the garment as instructed because, yes, our leaders have instructed us to do so and I don’t consider this a good hill on which to die. But I view cites like the ones you’re making as usually (and perhaps this is not your intent) attempts to just shut down discussion and analysis, rather than good faith efforts to seek and find truth. Again, my apologies if this is not your intent.

    9. Since the President of the Church holds those keys, and has written to the church specific should and should nots concerning the matter of the garment, I think it is presumptuous to assume he is not exercising his keys in this instance.

    Just by way of clarification, I have not asserted that the President of the Church is not exercising his keys. I have noted repeatedly that I have never seen even an allegation that the instructions are inspired, revealed, or even that they are an interpretation of revealed truth. If there is some, I’d like to see it. I hate that I blindly follow the garment instructions based on administrative rules rather than doctrinal principles.

    10. Does God care whether we follow the commandments of the church as given to us by those holding the appropriate keys or not?

    It depends, I think. I think there have been many instructions – “commandments, as you’re calling them” – given over the years by Prophets and Apostles that God absolutely did not want us to follow. I think there have been myriad unrighteous “commandments” given by church leaders at every level, and I think God wants us to think for ourselves and only follow instructions that have his approval and the confirmation of the Spirit.

    11. Furthermore, I think it is arrogant and potentially spiritually damaging to try and decipher which commandments “really” came from God trying to discover which of them God “really cares about” us keeping or not.

    I’m not going to start quoting or citing scriptures or anything, because I don’t think that’s productive. But I will say that I disagree with you on that point, perhaps more strongly than I have ever disagreed with anyone on any point related to the gospel. Indeed, I believe that trying to decipher what “really” comes from God and what God “really cares about” is the founding principle of the restored gospel and possibly the most important thing we can do in life. I don’t understand how someone can purport to even be a Mormon if they believe it is arrogant to try to decipher what really comes from God and what God really cares about.

    12. Do you believe it is not important for us to follow all of the commandments as given to us by the church, by those holding the keys of the kingdom?

    Not even a little bit.

  103. >You will also notice that the interview consists of about 15 yes or no questions. This is by design. Yes or no questions are not meant to invite discussion.<
    Is that really a good thing? Do we want our temple recommend interview to be a series of rapid fire questions with no discussion? If that's the case, there is no reason we can't do it online, like applying for a job or registering to vote, simply checking "Yes" or "No" in each box. Then you'd get your recommend in the mail a few weeks later. It would certainly ease the burden on bishoprics/stake presidencies but I've always thought that the reason we need to meed with our priesthood leaders *in person* is that we are guaranteed to have a sit-down discussion with them, at least for a few minutes every two years.

    Re: bras… wearing them over your tops, I swear, makes the bra last a LOT longer since they don't absorb all your sweat and funk.

  104. On that last point, let me clarify, @Steve. Your question was: “Do you believe it is not important for us to follow all of the commandments as given to us by the church, by those holding the keys of the kingdom?” I realize, reading my comment, that my answer was misleading because of the way your question was phrased. Let me answer more completely and, I hope, clearly:

    I do not believe, even a little bit, that it is important for us to follow all of the commandments given to us by the church, by those holding the keys of the kingdom. I believe it is important for us to question every alleged commandment, to study it out in our mind and determine what we think is right, and to then go to God to ask for confirmation. I strive to follow the example of Nephi, who, whenever his father claimed to have received revelation from God, responded by immediately seeking confirmation and understanding from God directly, accepting his father’s instructions as divinely ordained not because of his father’s title or office, but because he received confirmation himself. I would also note that Nephi did not consider everything his father said as if it came directly from God. In fact, the Book of Mormon provides an excellent example of God’s prophet saying things that were not to be interpreted as coming from God (1 Ne 16:20).

  105. kingsandcosmics says:

    @SGNM, I appreciate your comments and agree with what you’ve said.

    Some of the things that baffle me about garments in addition to what’s mentioned in this article:
    – It bothers me that those in the Army can have different fabrics, say, for if they’re on active duty in a hot country, but the actual residents in that very same country have to stick with regulation garments (no wicking benefits for you!) which is just ridiculous since it acknowledges that different garment fabrics are needed for different climates, then denies those fabrics to the very people who live in such places permanently. This lack of universality is troubling, for a gospel that is supposed to fill the whole earth.
    – if garments are to symbolise Adam and Eve covering their nakedness, well, I wear clothes on a daily basis that do that job specifically. The markings (which were initially snips in the garment made at the veil) were a contemporary invention of symbolism that have been heavily adapted over time (the actual marks are no longer snips, David O McKay interpreted new meanings to the markings, etc). Silk Screening markings inside our own clothes as a reminder doesn’t seem that much of a stretch to me here.
    – garments are meant to serve as a reminder of covenants we make, covenants to sacrifice X for God (in return for Y, often) but does the reminder of the covenants also have to be a sacrifice? Are we more holy for martyring ourselves in the name of a covenant reminder?
    – As it’s been mentioned – we are under temple instruction to wear throughout life, yet the comments made by many prophets and in the handbook even interpret that statement to mean 24/7. I think those that wear the garment faithfully are entitled to understand why it has been interpreted such
    – trivia perhaps, but JS removed his garments on occasion due to hot weather and since he started this whole thing, I’m not sure at which point we decided this was not alright to do, even though it’s the sane thing to do
    – garments are meant to be an outward expression of an inward commitment, but what actually happens is it becomes a Pharisaical tool, a means of judging others – don’t tell me no one here has either been a victim or perpetrator of looking for garment lines on another. It’s ridiculous.
    – Boyd K Packer appreciated that ‘garments fostered modesty’. Since when has a reminder of a covenant been used to regulate a culturally specific behaviour not covenanted to?

  106. An official change in the garment (either to reduce the coverage or the amount of time it is expected to be worn) would do far more to increase my testimony of continuing revelation than practically anything else I can imagine. Mostly because advocating something like that is currently a well accepted sign of heresy and is unlikely to be pushed for by anyone in a position to actually make such a thing happen.

  107. Angela C says:

    Hagoth: You asked whether women have been instructed to wear the bra over or under the garment. I was told to wear it over, but I know that when my sister went through about ten years after I did that she was told she could do either. I believe the trend now (based on what women said in this poll) is to give women the option of over or under. Personally, the benefits to wearing it over are: 1) it anchors those floating garments into place, and 2) it keeps the bras from getting as sweat-soaked as they otherwise do, making them last longer. But women should do whatever works for them.

    Steve: “Furthermore, I think it is arrogant and potentially spiritually damaging to try and decipher which commandments “really” came from God trying to discover which of them God “really cares about” us keeping or not.” It’s neither arrogant nor spiritually damaging; it’s our mandate to seek personal revelation and to be guided by the spirit. The church continues to make general pronouncements, but to allow for individual adaptation. When members abdicate their responsibility to seek personal revelation, they also create a situation in which the general advice is applied as if it works in all situations equally (which it obviously cannot). This then causes members to judge one another based on those cultural norms and so-called ideals and to drive people away from the place that should enable their further inspiration, the church. Clearly that’s not God’s plan. Now who was it that said we should all just shut up and do what we’re told? Oh, yeah. That was someone else’s plan.

  108. @SGNM. I think our approaches fundamentally differ in how we approach commandments from our sustained prophets. I feel it is important to decide to obey those things which have been expressly commanded by those who are the authorized mouthpieces of God on earth, and and at the same time seek confirmation for why the Lord has spoken such through them or why at least the Lord allowed such to be spoken through them. However obedience first should not be prerequisite on immediate revelatory confirmation. There may be exceptions to this rule in the case it appears someone’s rights of life or liberty are severely infringed on by such a commandment, but the shoulds and shouldn’ts surrounding the garment hardly fall in such a category. I think furthermore, one can privately disagree with a current commandment, believing it to be a mere policy not of God. But I think openly opposing such is in direct conflict with the established order of God’s kingdom, and sows the seeds of disunity within the church. This is why I said, “I think it is arrogant and potentially spiritually damaging to try and decipher which commandments “really” came from God trying to discover which of them God “really cares about” us keeping or not“. Because I don’t think it is arrogant to try and decipher, but only in an attempt to decide which commandments you should and should not follow. If you have a testimony of the church and prophets and the established order of the kingdom, and are a member of the church, we ought to have loyalty to the men who are authorized to speak for God. It is my understanding that testimony and revelation often comes after the trial of faith in keeping the commandment. What a sorry thing it would be then to only be willing to follow a commandment when an answer has come first. According to the pattern of revelation described in the BofM, one could then be stunted from ever following a commandment that could have blessed their life by living by such a principle (of only following after getting an answer from God). Or in other words, without a negative affirmation, I choose to follow the commandments of the prophets believing they may have greater spiritual understanding than my own, and I seek for the time for God to reveal to me why He spoke such through them, or at least allowed them to command the principle.

    You will not find a source revelation for any of the endowment including the garment, yet if we believe Joseph Smith is a prophet who restored the ordinances of salvation for the Kingdom of God on earth, I find it wisdom to follow what he restored (which includes garments) even if you haven’t received a testimony yet from God. There is far more risk in presuming no revelation where there is one, than to assume a revelation where there is none in the case no one is being hurt. I do have a personal testimony of the blessings of the endowment, and also a testimony of the spiritual blessings that come as a result of wearing garment as prescribed by our prophets. I think it is good you follow this council, despite not having this testimony for yourself, although I do not find commendable the reasons you listed for doing so. I think it is damaging the brash way in which you treat the way we are told to wear the garment. My guess is with the attitude you display towards this principle, it would be difficult for you to obtain revelation on the subject. But of course I am not your judge, and I could have misunderstood your intent or heart in the matter.

  109. Kristine says:

    “But of course I am not your judge, and I could have misunderstood your intent or heart in the matter.”

    Thou hast said.

    Since you recognize that it is not your place to judge, it might be wise to refrain from publicizing your judgment.

  110. Kristine. It was his destiny.

  111. @ Angela C. I agree with what you are saying. I think I wrote what I did poorly, and I tried to clarify my meaning in my last response.

  112. Steve Evans says:

    The thing is, on a sentence-by-sentence basis I don’t disagree with much this Steve guy says, but the total conclusion is that of telling someone they’re an apostate (in a very calm, very Utah way).

    It’s also written by a dude who has never had a yeast infection or awful genital rashes. Perhaps guys should have more crotch pain issues because I bet a lot of the people who are most vociferous re: garments 24/7 would change their tune if wearing that garment became seriously uncomfortable.

  113. @Steve:

    If, as you now seem to be saying (still without any cite, but whatever), the endowment was not received by revelation, why do you believe it is an ordinance of salvation? Is it just an ordinance of salvation because God’s servants say it is, and God is bound by whatever his servants say, so God is required to deny salvation unless people do whatever thing his servants make up?

    You wrote: “There is far more risk in presuming no revelation where there is one, than to assume a revelation where there is none in the case no one is being hurt.”

    If no claim or allegation is made that something is a revelation, what reason is there to believe that there is one? Should I believe that every single thing the Prophet or the Apostles ever say is a revelation, just to be safe? Wouldn’t doing so go directly contrary to what they have taught regarding how we are to receive their words?

    You wrote: “What a sorry thing it would be then to only be willing to follow a commandment when an answer has come first.”

    As I’ve said several times now, I do wear the garment as instructed in church policy, in spite of the fact that it contradicts what is taught in the temple and in spite of the fact that the temple recommend question contains a false statement of the content of the temple ceremony. I’ve been doing so now for a couple of decades. How long do you think someone should wait to receive an answer to prayer before determining that what they’ve received is a stupor of thought indicating that the principle about which they’ve been praying is false? If I diligently obey an instruction by church leaders for more than 20 years and gain no testimony of it, have I not tested the principle sufficiently to decide, honestly, for myself that the principle is not correct? I’m not saying I’ve reached that point, mind. I’m just asking what, in your opinion, is a reasonable period of time to obey a non-doctrine policy and seek a testimony of it before reaching any conclusion on the matter.

    You wrote: ” I think it is damaging the brash way in which you treat the way we are told to wear the garment.”

    I’m not sure what you’re referring to. How is it “brash” for me to do exactly as you say I should do? I do exactly as I have been instructed, even though that instruction is not even alleged to be inspired or revealed, and I seek to understand where that belief came from, why the instruction was given, and to know what God’s will actually is. Can you explain to me how that is “brash” and why it would, in your words, be “difficult for [me] to obtain revelation on the subject?”

    How am I to receive revelation if I do not study the matter out in my mind and ask God? How do YOU expect to receive revelation if you do not study it out in your mind and ask God?

  114. What Steve Evans said.

  115. @Kristine. Good point. It probably wasn’t fair to say that. @Steve Evans. Haha, true. To be clear, I find the OP to be a fair and useful discussion, not apostate in any way.

  116. Jacintha says:

    I wonder what percentage of women (or members in general) think they made a covenant in the temple to wear garments. There is no such covenant!

    The temple question about garments (as repeated by President Hinckley and others) is purposely misleading. There is simply no time at which members are required to agree to wear garments for any period of time–throughout their lifetimes or not. In the temple you are “told” tht you “must”, but are not out under covenant to do so.

  117. Thank you, Jacintha.

  118. Lisa O. says:

    “Also, “The garment should not be removed, either entirely or partially…for other activities that can reasonably be done with the garment worn properly beneath the clothing.”
    Well, I guess if my activity is “sleeping naked with my husband,” that can’t “reasonably be done” with garments on, so I’m good.”

    Amen!

  119. Correct, Lisa O.

  120. Lisa O. says:

    My biggest complaint is that the length of the bottoms shrink up over time, leaving the elastic stretched uncomfortably somewhere mid-thigh. Sadly, nothing seems to shrink the vast amount of real estate between the elastic around the top of the bottoms and my actual waist.

    A couple of years ago I bought some colored tanks to wear under low-necked sweaters in the winter. They had a spanx-like panel around the middle that was very slimming. It would be nice to have the option of buying garments with the same features.

    If anyone asked me, I would vote in favor of: wide, adjustable camisole shoulder straps, built-in spanx, and an elimination of the huge amount of extra fabric around the waist.

  121. @SGNM. To clarify my position, I do think the endowment was received by revelation, although maybe not specifically written, and that subsequent organization and adaption of the ceremony over time has also been led by revelation and inspiration. Here are a few quotations as you have requested:

    The Church is not fully organized, in its proper order, and cannot be, until the Temple is completed, where places will be provided for the administration of the ordinances of the Priesthood.
    Joseph Smith. History of the Church, 4:603.

    What was the object of gathering the . . . people of God in any age of the world? . . . The main object was to build unto the Lord a house whereby He could reveal unto His people the ordinances of His house and the glories of His kingdom, and teach the people the way of salvation; for there are certain ordinances and principles that, when they are taught and practiced, must be done in a place or house built for that purpose.
    Joseph Smith. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith (1976), 307–8; paragraph divisions altered.

    The question is frequently asked “Can we not be saved without going through with all those ordinances, etc.?” I would answer, No, not the fullness of salvation. Jesus said, “There are many mansions in my Father’s house, and I will go and prepare a place for you.” [see John 14:1–2] House here named should have been translated kingdom; and any person who is exalted to the highest mansion has to abide a celestial law, and the whole law too.
    Joseph Smith. History of the Church, 6:184.

    “Your endowment is, to receive all those ordinances in the House of the Lord, which are necessary for you, after you have departed this life, to enable you to walk back to the presence of the Father, passing the angels who stand as sentinels, being enabled to give them the key words, the signs and tokens, pertaining to the Holy Priesthood, and gain your eternal exaltation in spite of earth and hell.”
    Brigham Young. Journal of Discourses 2:31

    “The blessing of the endowment is required for full exaltation…”
    Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 1966, p. 577

    “The ordinances of washing and anointing are referred to often in the temple as initiatory ordinances…. In connection with these ordinances, in the temple you will be officially clothed in the garment and promised marvelous blessings in connection with it”
    Boyd K. Packer, Holy Temple, 154, 155, 75

    I cannot immediately find the sources, but I also recall Joseph Smith defining the endowment as the fullness of the Holy Ghost, being able to step from darkness into light, would help the elders to detect false spirits from true, would teach people how to approach God and receive answers to their prayers, and that an endowment is necessary to overcome all things. I bet if you do some digging, you’ll find the sources for each of these listed items. To me it seems like a necessary ordinance to obtain all the blessings the Lord has in store for us. And to me, the garment plays a part in these blessings.

    I do feel like a lot of my feelings on the subject are a matter of personal testimony and revelation. I really can’t answer why if we are praying concerning the same things, we may be getting different answers. I guess it is clear though that for now, we just have differing feelings on the matter. I’ve asked you a lot of questions, and you’ve given me your answers. I hope with these citations, I have also been able to make my position clear. So for now, I think it’s just okay that we do not see eye to eye at this time.

  122. I wouldn’t be surprised if most people wear the garment out of habit or superstition.

  123. “I wouldn’t be surprised if most people wear the garment out of habit or superstition.”

    I would be.

  124. @Steve: Thanks. I’m familiar with all those quotes. I attend the temple regularly and I have a testimony that agrees with most of those quotes. What I don’t see there – or anywhere – though, is any claim by any Prophet ever that the temple rites were received as revelation from God or that the many significant revisions were received as revelation. And I’m perfectly cool with that.

    Getting back to the point, though: If we take the temple ceremony at its own word, there is no covenant to wear the garment, no instruction to wear it everyday, night and day, not to alter it, to buy it from the church, or for it to take any particular form. The General Handbook of Instructions gives suggestions as to what members “should” do with regard to the wearing of the garment, but closes with a catch-all sentence that negates all that: “Members who have made covenants in the temple should be guided by the Holy Spirit to answer for themselves personal questions about wearing the garment.”

    The recommend interview and statement misstate the temple liturgy covenants and do not say what is “required” or what is “commanded,” but only what is “expected.” It seems to me that we Mormons like to make up extensive rules in addition to those that are actually part of our doctrine, and that nearly every “rule” we have that is related to the garment is an example of that.

    I’d ask this of the readers, writers, and moderators of this site generally, and I’m genuinely curious as to the answer: If I pray earnestly about it and feel that the Holy Ghost is cool with it, is there any reason at all why I should not just go out and buy underwear I like and put the marks on that, instead of buying what the Church sells? Honestly, the only reason I don’t do that currently is that a) I’m lazy and my men’s garments are not that bad, and b) I worry that other members of the church would be judgmental and jerky about it and incorrectly consider me an apostate, and I worry more about the judgment of others than I do about the judgment of God, I guess.

  125. This link has some specific information that might help.

    http://www.ldssdf.org/v2/default.aspx?g=topics&f=6

  126. “I say we just get rid of garments period. We get it. We need to be modest. ”

    Ashley,

    The garment has absolutely nothing to do with modesty. I know that recently it has been appropriated for the modesty discussion, but that only demonstrates how imaginatively narrow and poor current church discourse has become.

  127. I take that back. It has very very little to do with modesty.

  128. Amen, Thomas.

  129. For those who have problems with the garments I hope the evolution of the garment will address your issues. For those who think garments are “spiritually useless” I disagree.

  130. I don’t have time to read all the comments. Can someone please point me to the Top 5 CRAZIES so I can just read those for a good laugh? Thanks.

  131. @Mike: Who are you quoting? I don’t see anyone here having said they think garments are “spiritually useless.”

    @Aaron: I’m pretty sure I’m in the Top 5.

  132. Men’s garments are very challenging as well. The distance between crotch and waistband has grown so significant that it requires me to roll the waistband down or have it cross above my bellybutton (not a good look for a man).
    Men’s bottoms have also grown in length over the years. When sitting down in knee-length shorts, all men’s garment bottoms can be seen. This has grown so common that in Mormon company it’s accepted. Everyone suffers with this problem. But out in the world it shows off too much of what should be sacred and hidden.
    In both men’s and women’s garments flat seams must be an option. Everyone gets seam indents and this adds to their discomfort. It’s hard enough to be happy in life, without having to do so while constantly being uncomfortable.
    Lastly, I sleep poorly in garments. When turning over they twist and slip against the sheets, forcing me to wake up and readjust or wake up when turning to prevent this in the first place.
    After wearing garments for 20+ years, I’ve grown more (not less) annoyed with them. But I do try to look at them as a “cross” we carry for membership or a personal sacrifice to demonstrate my commitment. I think there are blessings even in this seemingly archaic requirement, but as the Nephites looked forward to an end to the heavy weight of the Law of Moses, I also sit on the edge of my seat hoping for even the smallest of garment changes.

  133. Publius says:

    “My guess is with the attitude you display towards this principle, it would be difficult for you to obtain revelation on the subject.”

    You may be able to use the Bloggernacle to suggest that General Authorities have a mindset that inhibits revelation, but don’t you dare suggest that about one of the Bloggernacle’s own.

  134. I love the garments and am grateful for them, even with some minor inconveniences. But there is one other issue that was not raised. What about all the sisters with breast cancer? I had a mastectomy last week. The surgeon gave me a prescription in advance for a post mastectomy camisole. It zips up the front, which allows access to the drainage tubes and is easier to put on since getting putting a top over the head is painful with limited arm movement after surgery. It also has a pocket to put a “fluff” to replace the missing breast and protect the area during recovery before a prosthesis fitting. When I saw the post-surgery camisole I could see how a garment could be made/altered with a zipper to accommodate the needs of a woman during this time. I called the distribution center and asked about it. I was told if I could give them all my measurements (about a dozen different ones) and describe what I needed they could make me something in 8 to 10 weeks. I just sobbed that day. Few women have that long between a diagnosis and surgery. I wanted to wear garments, but there was not option to get anything before the surgery. Surely there has to be enough women worldwide that experience breast cancer that some type of option could be readily available.

    (For that matter, Nordstroms (and others) will sew a pocket into any bra purchased there to hold a prosthesis–would be nice to have an option of putting a pocket or buying a garment with a pocket for a “fluff” if needed. I talked to one post-mastectomy woman to help me figure out the garm ents. She told me she always wears a heavy, thick bathrobe at night now because she doesn’t want her grandchildren to notice her missing breast. Would be nice to have a garment that could hold a fluff or a prosthesis for those times.)

  135. I wasn’t quoting anybody, just referring to a general sense I got from some of the posts.

    I would add that some arguments made here struggle for credibility when words such as “stupid,” “silly,” “ridiculous,” and “preposterous” are used in regards to instructions re the wearing of garments. Tone it down a bit and you’ll likely carry more weight. [BTW, being a former bishop, GD teachers, etc., don't really care much weight, as I've read of those having held those very positions who have left the church]

    Finally, to the person who exclaimed that she wants her “free agency”: You have it, and you’ve always had it. If you don’t want to wear the garment, don’t. What you are asking for is not free agency, but the ability to make decisions w/o consequences.

  136. @Mike: My apologies if I gave the wrong impression. I didn’t mention my various callings in an effort for my opinion to carry weight, but to indicate that I’ve been around enough that I really have done some searching and paying attention for explanations of whatever divine origin there may be to the garment, its form, its use, etc. I have not left the church, nor do I have any intention or reason to do so. But I find it troubling that my opinion would be given more or less weight based on that sort of thing.

    No one in this thread has said the word “silly.” I did call the garment rules ridiculous. And I said that it is preposterous for the church to require me to buy underwear from it without giving any doctrinal basis for the rule. I stand by those characterizations, but if there are other words you’d prefer I use, I’m open to suggestions. I thought I was toning things down quite a bit, frankly, since I think the rules – which are, as far as I can tell, unsupported by revealed truth or doctrine – are frustrating, illogical, and baseless but not so bad as to rise to any level beyond merely ridiculous and preposterous. I didn’t call them unrighteous dominion or wicked, after all; I don’t think they are either of those things. After all, I think the Church’s actual rules are very different from the preposterous, ridiculous ways the members of the church misinterpret and culturally enforce those rules. Maybe I should have stated it that way from the start.

    It’s a difficult issue. For example, you say that the person who wants her “free agency” is “asking for . . . the ability to make decisions w/o consequences.” But it’s not clear when you say that what you think the consequences actually are, nor is it clear whether or not you realize that the temple does not actually have any covenant to wear the garment, such that someone could honestly answer “yes” to that particular recommend interview question even if the only time they ever wear the garment is in the temple, or whether you noticed the sentence at the end of the Handbook excerpt that says that members do, indeed, have the discretion to disregard all of the Church’s instructions on garments if they do so prayerfully and with the guidance of the Holy Ghost. What, in your opinion, are the consequences of following the Church’s directive to “be guided by the Holy Spirit to answer for themselves personal questions about wearing the garment?” Do you think they are negative consequences?

    I’m also curious what arguments you think I’ve made here that struggle for credibility. I’ve said that I wear and have always worn the garment as directed and that I’ve searched without success for an answer to the question of whether or not there is any revealed divine origin to the practice and guidelines. I don’t expect the comment section of a blog post to be an exhaustive source, but I still haven’t seen anyone claiming that the design and use of the garment is something God actually told someone he wants us to do – let alone any support for the notion that we should be required to buy our underwear from the church. What I get for writing openly about my sincere question – a question I ask even as I fully comply with the rule I’m asking about – is someone saying I struggle for credibility precisely because of my views and someone else saying that, because I am asking whether or not there is any actual divine basis for the rules, I am not in a position to get an answer to my prayers. And that really is preposterous.

    So, Mike, do you have any reason to believe that the design for the garments (currently or at any time in the Church’s history), the policy stating that they should be worn day and night every day, the requirement that they be purchased from the Church, etc. are doctrinal principles that were received by a Prophet as part of an actual revelation from God? If so, I would really appreciate it if you would point me to the source. If not, I posit that you and I are probably on just about the same page – assuming, that is, that you wear the garment as instructed in spite of your having no reason to believe that those instructions are doctrinal or God-given.

  137. Really, I think it is extremely valuable to have a temple liturgy that is completely open to personal interpretation and that is so closely guarded among the church membership that it is never, ever the subject of open debate or authoritative interpretation by church leaders. The temple is not just a place to find quiet contemplation or access to the spirit, or to participate in saving ordinances. It is the one place in the church where our interpretation and personal insights are completely our own and where nobody tells us how to believe or understand what is taught. The recommend questions being yes/no questions with broad room for interpretation enhances and supports that aspect of the temple, as all a member has to do to gain entry to the temple is live up to their own interpretation of the standard – without being second-guessed. When I enter the temple, I know that, no matter what kooky way I interpret the teachings, it’s between me and God. I’m not there to judge anyone and they’re not there to judge me. It’s sublime and sacred. And it would be nice if our practice with regard to the garment could continue the beauty of that experience once we leave the temple.

  138. SGNM and others who’ve said a lot: let’s let others carry the conversation for a while? You’re fine, I’m just saying for variety’s sake.

  139. I left this comment in a similar thread at Mormon Mentality, but i repeat it here because I think it is relevant to this discussion:

    When I was on my mission, in an extremely poor country, a local returned missionary asked my senior comp if she could have her disgusting used garments when she went home because she could not afford to buy new ones from the church monopoly and she didn’t want to break the rules by sewing her own. She was not even close to my comp’s size, by the way, but what could she do? I think it would be wonderful if the church got out of the underwear business and offered iron-on marks for people to put on their own clothes.

    Also, here are my thoughts on maternity garments: http://www.the-exponent.com/maternity-garment-wishes/

  140. Sara's Mom says:

    I have been endowed for 25 years and have never been a person who looked for excuses to avoid garments. I am average height and wear a size 6 jean. I prefer the midcalf style because I find them more comfortable with jeans and trousers. However with this last redesign of fabrics and styles, I’m losing it. Last week, I spent a day touring in a hot and humid city. When I got home that night, I had heat rash all over my legs from the carinessa style. The whole day my skin was crawling and I almost wondered if I was having an allergic reaction. This isn’t the first time I’ve had the problem, but it is the first time that I bought a new pair of the corban/drisilque whatever they are in a size I have worn for years and they are too snug and “wedgie” prone. I’ll be taking back the unopened packages.

    The problem is that instead of being a reminder of my covenants, they are becoming a distraction. When I’m itching, scratching and miserable, I’m not thinking about obedience and sacrifice, I’m thinking about Benadryl and hydrocortisone. I understand and honor the intent of wearing the garment and I welcome it in my life. However, I’m at a loss about how to buy new garments when my closest distribution is 4 hours away and experimenting with different sizes, styles and fabric isn’t exactly easy with mail order. The distribution ladies aren’t always helpful. I’m trying to live the spirit and the letter of the law, but I’m at a loss how to problem solve this. Help!

  141. I’m preparing for a temple recommend interview (hopefully that’ll happen soon), and I’m thankful for my friends who have been honest and open with me about garments. I’m African American, and I have a belly, large thighs, and large bust. Most of my wardrobe is thankfully already good for garments because I’ve made conscious choices in my shopping. I’m so thankful for the frank and honest discussions about garments so that I can choose wisely. I live in Texas, so my top priority will be comfort. I’m a school teacher, and I’m up moving around, I’m kneeling, and sometimes, it gets hot. That’s why I’m hoping to go to the temple sooner, rather than later so that I have time to get used to them before the fall semester starts back up again. I understand that the temple is sacred, that the endowment is sacred, and it takes time to get used to the change to wearing the garments. Thank you for this.

  142. Really a good post. Thinking is also good indeed. Carry on.

  143. I can see how they are viewed as ‘modesty enforcers.’ I don’t actually think that is the point of wearing them (after all, we don’t have ‘tithing enforcers’ or ‘Word of Wisdom enforcers’ and those ARE commandments) but I can see how members would think otherwise. We don’t make a covenant of modesty at any point in our lives, but we do covenant to the law of chastity and as anyone who has come up through the YW program knows, we have an unfortunate tendency to treat modesty and chastity as if they are interchangeable. For my own purposes, I’ve taken the view that modesty is incidental to wearing them, and not the other way around.

    I admit that when I first saw this post I thought “Gasp! You can’t talk about THAT on a blog post!” (notice how I am even uncomfortable using the G-word – at home I just call them ‘underwear.’ And I went to the temple over a decade ago.) This reaction, of course, says a lot more about me than it does the blogosphere. I do think it’s interesting, and a little sad, that some of the things which are most impportant in our lives as Latter-day Saints are the things we are most reluctant to have a public discourse about – this discussion being one, sex being another. (What the CHI has to say about sex between married couples: “Don’t do what you’re not supposed to do,” basically. Hey, that’s helpful!)

  144. I have nothing to add on the topic itself, but Angela, I think it’s wonderful that you’ve brought these issues out and outlined them so systematically. Since the powers that be don’t appear to be interested in getting feedback through formal mechanisms, let’s hope that your starting this conversation will get them to reconsider things.

  145. After I read this article, I decided to measure my garment bottoms with my husbands. He is 6’3″ and I am 5’5″. I wear size small/petite bottoms. My bottoms are 4 inches longer in length AND 4 inches higher in the rise to the waist. I am 8 inches shorter yet my garments are 8 inches longer, top to bottom. I am going to switch to wearing men’s bottoms!

  146. I love the OP and the discussion and I hear your pain. My two cents worth as a 50-something woman is that I haven’t struggled with long garment bottoms because I have the old ones (they hit above the knee) and they never wear out. I have no idea what they are made of but they are like iron. They fit under shorts and shorter skirts. I have the midcalf ones to wear under pants. And luckily for hubby and I my husband’s mission president taught him that its okay to remove your garments for sex. I believe his words were that you can place your garments under your pillow for the night (wink, wink).

  147. mountaingirl says:

    Jessie, yeah last time I bought garments I was quite sternly told that I was not buying the appropriate-sized bottoms because I am tall. And don’t you worry, those puppies still come up to my chest and down to my knees.

  148. farnsies says:

    Sheesh. This whole discussion makes me want to yell: this is your life! Do whatever you need to do to be comfortable and happy. Since neither the church nor its representatives have any business regulating your underwear, as long as you are true to your real covenants, you can answer ‘Yes’ with a perfectly clear conscience no matter what you choices you make regarding your private intimate apparel.

  149. quote: “SGNM and others who’ve said a lot: let’s let others carry the conversation for a while? You’re fine, I’m just saying for variety’s sake.”

    Actually, SGNM, I think you have largely won me over. You came out the pen smelling like a raging troll on this issue, but I think your arguments are solid. Thank you for expressing them.

  150. “I think it would be wonderful if the church got out of the underwear business and offered iron-on marks for people to put on their own clothes.”
    That’s an intriguing proposition. I’m just trying to imagine the economics of what would follow. If they did offer the iron-on solution, would the church have to get out of the undergarment business? It does seem that the demand for church-made garments would decrease sharply, and the smaller production that would follow would lead to higher unit costs. This might have the unintended consequence of having to offer fewer styles rather than more exacerbating the problems outlines in the OP. It would probably spiral down to where at least most women in first world locations would opt for standard market garments, and it does seem that the church would eventually have to get out of the garment business altogether. Would third world locations miss the options that were available to them? Do they have several options in regular markets for white undergarments that cover the stomach, and reach reasonably toward the knees? If we’re saying expenses are too high now for those in poorer locations, this would lead to cost being far too high to offer church-made garments to our third world brothers and sisters. Can everyone in these locations make or have specialized garments tailored in such a situation? Is this a preferable option? In first world locations, I think men would have about the same variety of options available in the standard markets, but I’m curious about women’s options. Men’s boxer brief styles are common, but can women find a wider variety of white undergarments in the standard markets that extend towards the knee, to meet their specific needs? Or would going to the standard markets actually limit the options under these basic guidelines?

    I really like the idea of an iron-on solution, and I think standard markets are generally better. But with our unique undergarment needs (i.e. white, covers stomach, covers much of the thighs) would it actually be harder to find a wider variety of options in the standard markets for some or most endowed members? Definitely a cool idea though.

  151. “. . . no matter what choices you make regarding your private intimate apparel.”

    Really? No limitations whatsoever? I understand that hyperbole is often used to make one’s point, but “no matter what”?

    Surely there must be limits for a conscientious, faithful member.

    I recognize that the ladies behind the counter at Beehive Clothing have no business “guiding” people in their purchases, but I don’t see how a faithful member can simply assume that the current prophet has not only not approved the statement about wearing garments, but that he’s not even aware.

    I’m not telling people how to wear their garments–that’s between them and the Lord. But I also think it’s awfully presumptuous to say that our prophet has nothing to say on the matter (and further that he’s not guided by the Lord on the matter). (Just so I’m clear, by requiring that the statement be read to members in the TR interview, the prophet has spoken. And I also recognize the part at the end of the statement re going by the Spirit).

  152. farnsies, that’s easy to say. But people worry about the details because the Church teaches us to worry about the details. Sure, people can come up with plenty of Pharisaical concerns on their own, but when the temple recommend interview not only brings up wearing garments, but mentions a specific activity (yard work), it suggests the GAs are concerned with regulating garments at a very fine level. You dismiss this as obviously invalid–“neither the church nor its representatives have any business regulating your underwear”–but how do you come to this conclusion? It seems like you could just as easily say that the Church has no business regulating what you eat and drink, and tell people they should do whatever they need to in order to be comfortable and happy while feeling they’re in line with their covenants when it comes to the Word of Wisdom.

  153. Steve, you make a really good point about costs. I wonder if it would be possible to use tithing funds to subsidize garment purchases for the truly destitute. I’m sure that the Church distribution center is selling them to us at cost or close to cost, but it takes a pretty big chunk out of the budget even for a middle-class, American family. After all, we’re subsidizing BYU with our tithing, and one’s BYU attendance has a *lot* less to do with eternal salvation.

    It would be interesting to see if the Church leadership could relax the prohibition on making one’s own in the poorest and/or hottest countries of the world. They would be able to select fabrics appropriate for the climate (I’m pretty sure a member in sub-saharan Africa knows more about dressing for comfort in sub-saharan Africa than does a committee member in Utah), they wouldn’t be bearing the cost of having items shipped all the way from SLC, and it could potentially be treated as a cottage industry allowing widows, single mothers, etc. to supplement their income.

    Another point I haven’t seen mentioned here: The Rules (TM) state that the garments should never be allowed to touch the floor. While I usually take care to follow that rule, sometimes they end up on the floor when they are, ahem, removed in a hurry. Does this mean I don’t get to go to the Celestial Kingdom? Or are we once again conflating the value of the symbolic object with the value of the thing it symbolizes? Does the Lord believe I don’t value the Atonement when the husband and I indulge in a quickie when we get home from church? Or does the Lord place a higher value on sex – sorry, “the sacred powers of procreation” – between married couples than he does on certain pieces of fabric? I choose to believe that it’s the latter.

  154. A few unrelated thoughts on garments but first, a sad anecdote from my childhood: I saw my parents wearing garments as a child, but did not know exactly what they were or why my parents wore underwear so vastly different from my own cotton panties. Since both my parents were overweight, I falsely assumed they were “fat people underwear” [sorry, that's what I called them as a child] and was secretly very glad that I didn’t have to wear them. Imagine my surprise when I finally learned what they were and that I would probably someday wear them myself.

    Shortly after I got endowed, I developed painful vaginal cysts (often attributed to tight and/or unbreatheable material) that I finally had to have fixed by surgery. It’s only been well after the fact that I’ve recognized that the wearing of garments (specifically the Carinessa bottoms) probably directly contributed to my medical problems. I switched to the Drisilque bottoms as they were less weighty than the other options, but I still wear cotton panties to hold them in place and it’s absolutely absurd that I wear two pairs of underwear just to feel moderately comfortable.

    I can’t even begin to calculate the amount of money I’ve spent on ill-fitting garments that I’ve only been able to wear once because the sizes change so frequently, particularly from material to material. I won’t even begin my diatribe on maternity/nursing garments. It helps that I live closer to a distribution center now and I can buy one size at a time and see what works, but it was impossible when I had to order from the distribution center and it would take 6-8 weeks to receive my order. (Why must it take that long?!?) It was especially problematic when I was pregnant and waiting on my order to arrive. I outgrew my garments before the new ones arrived.

    It’s a small (and sad) consolation to know that I’m not the only person who has issues. It seems that for the majority of us, we WANT to honor the promises we have made to wear the garment faithfully but there are so many medical, financial, personal, comfort and fit issues that get in the way and make it very very difficult.

  155. Vinniecat says:

    My husband and I conscientiously followed the counsel of our stake president and would promptly put our garments back on immediately after sex. I’ve been married nearly 20 years and recently snuggled nude with my spouse and slept without garments for the first time in my life. It was wonderful. I really believe the church leaders should stop giving specific counsel and let individual members understand that the wearing of the garment is an individual choice and respect us to decide for ourselves how we interpret that. There is so much policing that goes on for the women about how we dress, it’s suffocating. I recently purchased a new temple dress as my old one, which the ladies at the distribution center insisted was the right size, could have housed two of me.

  156. Correct me if I’m wrong, but church already subsidizes garment costs.

    I would love to see the marks silkscreened into our normal everyday clothes, like the church does for the military, firefighters and the like.

  157. Rigel Hawthorne says:

    We put our garments on after sex, but our definition of the ending of sex is awakening in bed together the following morning. :)

  158. Thank you for the post. My husband said that he and most men never think about how different wearing garments are physically and mentally for women. He now believes that if men were getting rashes, yeast infections and having to wear 3 layers of clothes under a normal shirt there would be changes to the garments! I related how garments for women would be similar for men if men had to put on baggy boxers, then a jock strap, then stuff all of that into garment bottoms and then finally put on a pair of jeans. A light bulb seemed to turn on how the issues in this post could happen to women and not men. There are so many of us that have been suffering for YEARS yet we still try to follow the counsel given. Could we not allow for the adult women of the church to be responsible for themselves in this matter? Could we stop making garments the ultimate way to judge and police one another?

  159. I’m to the point of frustration where tatooing the symbols on my skin sounds more comfortable than the new changes. I’m past desperation!

  160. IME women’s clothing sizes in general drive me crazy. Why don’t we have a length AND waist measurement…hips would be helpful. I do not get shorter as I get thinner. There’s this crazy happy medium-that only works for a few months post partum when my belly magically matches my leg length in the fashion world…then as I get bigger, I’m supposed to get shorter again. I don’t get it. Breast size is also not related to waist size or arm length or shoulder width. My body is not an iPad figure you can morph all in on by pinching or spreading It took me years to find brands that work for my body with it’s long torso and long legs and such. Then whatever I learned was tossed in the blender during every pregnancy and postpartum…

    I generally like garments. I like the reminder, especially as I have lived far from the temple at times. They are not always comfortable and they don’t always fit. But consider how I feel about the fit of other clothes…I have pretty low expectations. I have put in my two bits to the garment opinion people…quite frequently. I wish medical issues were handled more easily.

    i’m forever grateful to the beehive clothing person who suggested kindly that maternity garments were not very comfortable and suggested I wear two sizes up in drysilque. or 4 sizes up for twins…I so wish I was kidding. I don’t like the underbellysupport band maternity clothing, or the “waist” high waist. My belly doesn’t grow to fit in the little belly pouch. I do like the newer maternity tops, for nursing as well. Nursing tops are crazy unhelpful. the elastic is uncomfortable, breaks or dies easily…then it’s all sorts of saggy sadness.

    It’s never occurred to me to have even a moment’s concern about doing whatever I need to at that particular time of the month.

    I’m blessed with a body that LOVES heat and humidity.

    i take a relaxed approach with garments around nursing and pregnancy, and try to gently encourage others to do the same. It frequently comes up when people hear the elevator birth story…why weren’t you wearing garments…because I was giving birth. because I was in transition and my husband knows darn well he was lucky to get me dressed in anything at all. Most people get it and with a few people a little light goes on …OH it’s not supposed to be impossible torture. huh. we can actually be practical. huh

    It doesn’t occur to me to play that is she/he wearing garments game that apparently people play

    I wish the tall maternity bottoms came back. I guess tall people -and despite my family role as midget I DO fall into this category-are not allowed to get pregnant any more. it must be a sign.

    I’m fine with my body. It’s not perfect, but I sure enjoy it. It’s done some great things for me. I don’t have experience with garments strengthening or weakening body image…except in that garments help me think about things that are more lasting and enduring-that perspective is great for my body image

  161. farnsies says:

    No hyperbole intended, Mike. I meant precisely what I said. After reading the experiences of so many people in this thread with yeast infections and other medical issues, it broke upon my mind like a sudden light that this sort of thing was never intended. The periodic annoyance of having to buy new, impossibly long shorts because the hem length of my new garment bottoms is suddenly a full 1-1/2 inches longer than the previous model is just an inconvenience. But the fact that some women must suffer debilitating infections, ill-fitting undergarments that negatively affect their body image, or that cause menstrual woes clearly goes beyond mere inconvenience. It is at this point that it is reasonable to step back and say “Wow! I am ceding control over my underwear to someone else, and I’m not sure who that is.” Certainly there is nothing in the scriptures about new fabric types. There is no Ensign article announcing a revelation saying that new garment lengths must drop 1/2″. These are decisions made by paid employees: middle managers and others. Perhaps they are inspired Priesthood decisions, but can we assume that when our actual physical health is on the line? Just like the occasional busy-bodies at the distribution center having no business clucking disapprovingly at our choices, it is possible (and likely) that many manufacturing or styling decisions with a real negative effect on people’s lives are made for strictly economic or pragmatic reasons by mid-level bureaucrats having nothing to do with inspired direction from the Lord. We just don’t know. No, what seems presumptuous to me is imputing to the Lord a level of micro-management worthy of the pointy-haired boss in Dilbert regarding our underwear. “Be modest in word and in deed” is the level of specificity we generally find in the scriptures. I find it reasonable to believe that the Lord wants us to dress in a modest and becoming way and not one that endangers our health or causes us daily discomfort. So unless the Church comes right out and flatly states precisely what the Lord has decreed through revelation and what has been decided by others for business reasons, then it is incumbent upon each person to interpret the degree to which he or she is willing to suffer inconvenience, discomfort, or even ill health in pursuit of obedience to the Lord’s actual “published” directives. Basically, unless our underwear choices actually contravene an official published scripture or a “Thus Saith The Lord” decree spoken by the prophet from the pulpit in General Conference, then we can feel perfectly justified in obeying what IS published in whatever way our conscience or personal revelation directs.

  162. That’s all well and good, but that’s not what is meant by “no limitations whasoever.” No limitations means no limitations. IOW, you can wear them on the outside of your clothing, you could die them bright orange, you could do absolutely anything to them, wear them absolutely any way you wish, or never wear them at all, because there are no limitations whatsoever.

    But that’s not really what you’re talking about. You and others are talking about health and/or fit issues. My comments are directed as much or more to the person(s) browsing these comments looking for guidance, and “no limitations whatsoever” I think is dangerous guidance.

    I agree that there should be much more variety in sizes and fabric available, as well as perhaps more specific guidance re medical issues. I think with more options available in fit and fabric, each person can work out with the Spirit how they deal with the rest.

  163. Jonathan Love says:

    Garments used to identify those that practiced polygamy…
    Then they became endowed member wide, which was a good thing after Joseph Smith died.
    As much as I love the gospel and its teaching, I find garments extremely uncomfortable and unattractive…
    Please raise them higher off of the knee…

  164. “I teach them correct principles” and then stand back and listen to them complain……

  165. “It seems like you could just as easily say that the Church has no business regulating what you eat and drink”

    The temple recommend interview leaves interpretation of the Word of Wisdom completely in the hands of the individual and there is no statement read to the member offering instruction or interpretation of it. It’s a simple question: Do you keep the Word of Wisdom? If you say “yes,” that’s the end of the inquiry. The Church does not require you to buy food and beverages from the Church, either. You get to buy, grow, or make whatever food and drink you want and decide for yourself, with zero oversight, whether or not it is in line with the Word of Wisdom.

    As for garments and how to wear them, let’s actually look at the recommend interview and the “Wearing the Temple Garment” statement:

    – The endowment does not instruct to wear the garment night and day, so even if I never, ever wear the garment, I can truthfully answer that yes, I wear it night and day as instructed in the endowment. It would be the same answer if the question were “Do you wear a New York Knicks uniform night and day as instructed in the endowment?” There is no such instruction, so the question’s premise fails and the answer is honest whether it’s “yes” or “no.” I had my temple recommend interview a month or so ago, and I answered this question by pointing out that there is no such instruction in the endowment but that yes, I wear the garment night and day anyway. I passed (hooray!).

    – There is no covenant in the temple to wear the garment night and day, either – or any covenant that mentions the garment at all. So the truthful answer is “yes” to that part of the question, as well, no matter what the member’s actual practice is, unless the member wants to argue with the question, which I don’t think is a great idea.

    Now on to the statement: Wearing the Temple Garment, I won’t quote the whole thing here. But, reading through it, there is no mention of any obligation, requirement, or rule about how to wear the garment – only suggestions of what is “expected” by some unnamed person and suggestions of what members “should” do. Again, there’s a mention of wearing it “both night and day, according to covenants made in the temple,” which means there is no reason to wear the garment night and day, since the temple covenants and ceremony have no such provision. The statement gives only one example of an activity that for which the Brethren believe the garment should not be removed: Work in the yard. For everything else, the member is given complete discretion (in addition to the discretion implied by use of the word “should,” rather than “must”), with the instruction saying only that the garment should not be removed for “other activities that can reasonably be done with the garment worn properly beneath the clothing.” So, other than yard work, it is completely up to me and entirely within my own discretion to determine what I believe is “reasonable.” And even if I completely disregard the statement, I can still truthfully answer “yes” to the actual interview question, right?

    Finally, the statement closes by negating nearly all that came before, by saying that members should be guided by the Holy Spirit to answer for themselves personal questions about wearing the garment.

    Now let’s turn to the General Handbook, which is not canon and is a policy manual, rather than a doctrinal guide, and which does not claim any divine origin or revealed content. In fact, it’s not actually written by the Prophet at all, though it is certainly approved by him. I don’t know whether he actually reads the whole thing before approving it, but I’ll give the Handbook the benefit of the doubt and assume that the Prophet does a line-by-line edit and that he is inspired in his edits. I know of no allegation that this is the case, but my anecdotal experience suggests that it is at least a possibility.

    The Handbook starts off with language that appears to be nominally more imperative than that contained in the interview statement. Specifically, it says that sacred clothing “may be purchased through Church Distribution Services,” and then goes on to say “Nor may temple garments be made.” I’m going to assume that “may” means that the church does not permit it, since there’s no claim that God does not permit it or that there has ever been any revelation on the subject. But that instruction appears to be mandatory: We are not allowed – by policy, commandment, whatever – to make our own garments. No reason for that rule is given, so I won’t speculate here at the moment. That said, the temple recommend interview does not ask the member whether they wear garments bought from the Distribution Center or ask whether the member makes their own garments, so I see no reason at all to follow this rule. I’ll still pass the temple recommend interview if I make my own garments, so if I am actually guided by the spirit to make my own, then that’s fine. The recommend interview question trumps the policy manual, right? Even if it doesn’t, the Bishop and Stake President aren’t supposed to be asking me about that stuff anyway, so they’ll never know if I don’t tell them, and I have no obligation to tell them. Right?

    The next sentence, which precedes all the “should” suggestions, is the only one in any church policy I know of that purports to set forth any actual obligation regarding the garment – so this is the important sentence: “Church members who have been clothed with the garment in a temple have taken upon themselves a covenant obligation to wear it according to the instructions given in the endowment.” Everything from there on is merely a suggestion, and explicitly so.

    So, what’s the actual rule? To wear the garment according to the instructions given in the endowment. What instructions are given in the endowment as far as how, when, and where to wear the garment? None, other than to wear it throughout our lives, with no further discussion of what that means. The endowment contains no instructions as to whether it’s OK to roll down the waistband instead of wearing it above my navel. It contains no instructions as to what the pattern should be, says nothing about it covering my thighs or shoulders, nothing about the neckline, or anything else. No instructions as to whether I can make my own, what color they should be, whether it’s OK for me to buy underwear I like and draw the marks in them with a Sharpie. Nothing. I have an obligation to wear it according to the instructions given in the endowment. And that’s all. That’s the only obligation the Handbook says I have, and it’s the only obligation the temple recommend interview says I have. In fact, when it says “[m]embers should not adjust the garment or wear it contrary to instructions,” that suggestion can only be understood if we keep in mind what the instructions actually are.

    Then, the Handbook says “Nor should they alter the garment from its authorized design.” What authorized design? How am I supposed to know what the authorized design is or whether I am altering it from that design, as opposed to alterations within the design? And authorized by whom? The use of passive voice throughout the Handbook is really problematic. It’s a good thing it’s merely a “should” suggestion and not an obligation, I guess.

    And I would echo what Joni mentioned above: The Handbook says that garments “should be kept off the floor.” Again, there’s no obligation there, just a “should” suggestion without any claim of divine origin. But how many people get judgmental about that particular suggestion the way they get judgmental about perceived failures to abide by the other non-binding suggestions and folkloric expectations about the garment?

  166. @Mike: “IOW, you can wear them on the outside of your clothing, you could die them bright orange, you could do absolutely anything to them, wear them absolutely any way you wish, or never wear them at all, because there are no limitations whatsoever.”

    According to the Handbook, our only obligation is to “wear it according to the instructions given in the endowment.” The endowment does not say it’s underwear. It does not say it should be worn under your clothing. It does not say what color it’s supposed to be. It does not say how you’re supposed to wear them. In fact, if we are to wear it “according to the instructions given in the endowment,” we can wear them absolutely any way we wish, and only often enough that we, guided by the spirit, are satisfied that we have met the obligation set forth in the ceremony itself.

  167. As an investigator, I found this interesting.

  168. Mike,
    Until there are actual garment design overhauls the issues women face will not change. It is not just about fabric or fit, but about the LAYERS of extra clothes women have to wear to keep garments in place. This leads to increase body tempature which leads to increased moisture which leads to many of the physical problems, and body image issues.

    Why can garments not be made into tank tops with adjustable straps with the symbols silk screened on the inside? This would allow women to wear just a bra and the garment, similar to how men just wear the garment and their shirt. Instead currently women most days have to wear garment, bra, shirt to hold everything in place and cover symbols and then regular shirt. It would decrease body tempatures which helps to prevent moisture, and help with body image issues.

    The same could be said for the length of the bottoms for women. When garments were first allowed for women, women wore only skirts and dresses which allowed for airflow to reach the areas prone to yeast infections even though they went to the ankle. Most women today are stuffing garment material past their knees into pants which allow for zero airflow. Many even wear an additional layer of normal underwear over their garments. All of this extra fabric causes more heat and therefore more moisture in an area already susceptible to issues for women. That is the main reason modern women’s underwear is not at all like men’s modern underwear, less fabric means less moisture trapped in that area.

    These simple changes would allow for the differences between men and women’s natural bodies while protecting the symbolism and sacredness of garments.

  169. “I teach them correct principles…” Operative word being “TEACH.” Not “I make them guess at correct principles.” Comparing this principle to the Word of Wisdom is valid but only up to a point – we simply don’t have the culture of silence surrounding the WoW, we talk about it openly and often on every level from General Conference down to the nursery manual.

    I don’t think that asking for specifics shows a lack of faith, and I don’t think that giving specifics will render us unprofitable servants. The Lord doesn’t seem to have a problem giving us specific direction when it comes to tithing. He doesn’t simply say, “Pay tithing as you were instructed;” he tells us what percentage and even whether that comes out of our gross or our net. With a principle as important to our salvation as wearing the garment, it doesn’t seem right that we should have to resort to “Well, my sister-in-law’s mission companion’s stake president said…”

  170. Capozaino says:

    I think Dax inadvertently stumbled on the real issue. Garment design is specifically intended to force women back into skirts. So much for the “wear pants to church” movement.

  171. anonlds says:

    This discussion is about the garment of the holy priesthood. Since women can’t exercise their priesthood outside the temple, they aren’t required to wear the garment outside the temple. Since men do exercise the priesthood outside the temple, they have to wear them all the time. Seems logical. How can the same people claim that women don’t hold the priesthood also claim that women are required to wear the garment of the holy priesthood?

  172. Does this sound familiar to anyone else? Alma 30:
    “13 O ye that are bound down under a foolish and a vain hope, why do ye yoke yourselves with such foolish things? Why do ye look for a Christ? For no man can know of anything which is to come.
    14 Behold, these things which ye call prophecies, which ye say are handed down by holy prophets, behold, they are foolish traditions of your fathers.
    15 How do ye know of their surety? Behold, ye cannot know of things which ye do not see…16… behold, it is the effect of a frenzied mind; and this derangement of your minds comes because of the traditions of your fathers, which lead you away into a belief of things which are not so.
    22 And it came to pass that the high priest said unto him: Why do ye go about perverting the ways of the Lord? Why do ye teach this people that there shall be no Christ, to interrupt their rejoicings? Why do ye speak against all the prophecies of the holy prophets?
    23 …. And Korihor said unto him: Because I do not teach the foolish traditions of your fathers, and because I do not teach this people to bind themselves down under the foolish ordinances and performances which are laid down by ancient priests, to usurp power and authority over them, to keep them in ignorance, that they may not lift up their heads, but be brought down according to thy words.
    24 Ye say that this people is a free people. Behold, I say they are in bondage. Ye say that those ancient prophecies are true. Behold, I say that ye do not know that they are true.
    43 And now Korihor said unto Alma: If thou wilt show me a sign, that I may be convinced that there is a God, yea, show unto me that he hath power, and then will I be convinced of the truth of thy words.
    44 But Alma said unto him… Will ye say, Show unto me a sign, when ye have the testimony of all these thy brethren, and also all the holy prophets? …
    48 Now Korihor said unto him: I do not deny the existence of a God, but I do not believe that there is a God; and I say also, that ye do not know that there is a God; and except ye show me a sign, I will not believe.”

    Or maybe I’m seeing parallels where there are none. And of course I don’t think this is passage is relevant to those who are pointing out real health concerns or who suggest that there could be design or other ways to improve the system.

  173. Jonathan Love says:

    They should just eliminate the symbolic features on the garment as they are from the Masonic ritual. If we were able to remove the throat slashing and the stomach ripping out oaths, then why do we need the symbols. We can leave the secret handshakes, although I do not understand why the Savior would judge me on that issue…
    I use the handshake at church to get a sense of who in my congregation is a follower in truth…

  174. As a bisexual member, I might comment that while many find garments ‘unsexy’, there is a niche of men with same gender attraction who find male garments desirable to the point of fetish. I’m not in that category, but I find it interesting that some websites can make money by posting pictures of handsome men clad only in garments. Another blog encourages gay LDS men to post their own pictures in state of being garment-clad as a means of losing an inhibition and accepting their homosexuality. A striking difference between male/garment indentity with female/garment identity

  175. @SGNM, there is that whole Handbook training where 9 members of the Quorum of the 12 plus President Eyring in 2011 reviewed the source of the handbooks and they all affirmed exactly what Elder Dallin Oaks said:

    The handbooks are doctrinal.

    In the first meeting where the handbooks were introduced in 2010, President Monson presided and following his remarks Elder Oaks explained their full origins:

    While handbooks do not have the same standing as the scriptures, they do represent the most current interpretations and procedural directions of the Church’s highest authorities. As President Monson just said, “They have been read and reread, corrected and reread.” Under the direction of the First Presidency, individual chapters were written, read, and approved by the Presiding Bishopric, by the general auxiliary officers, and by General Authorities assigned to the various Church departments. The proposed text was then reviewed and approved by the Quorum of the Twelve, assisted by the Presidency of the Seventy. Finally, the total text was read, modified, and approved by the First Presidency. Throughout this work we have been guided by a sweet spirit of inspiration.

    But as the saying goes about Worldwide Training and especially the Handbooks, they’re almost the equivalent of the sealed portion of the Gold plates given how closely many leaders approach them. ;)

  176. SGNM – Being a lawyer myself I understand the temptation to parse everything written about the temple garment and see that I am in compliance only with what is actually, technically required.

    But being a member of the church, I also understand the need to consult the Spirit in these matters, as indicated at the end of the TR statement re garments. I’m not sure how to state this without seeming judgmental, so I won’t worry about how it reads. I don’t believe that the Spirit would guide me to take a hypertechnical reading, as is done above, and ignore the counsel that has been given. I would fear that the same approach might be taken toward my life at judgment day, and any good that I might think I’ve done in this life would be explained away through the kind of parsing that occurs here.

    Not that this goes to your central point, but Elder Oaks in the 2010 Worldwide Training introducing the latest iteration of the handbook took a few moments to discuss the process that occurred in drafting it. As I recall, every member of the First Presidency and the 12, as well as a host of others, read the entire thing, perhaps several times, relied on the Spirit, etc., etc. If anybody is curious as to what, precisely, his comments were, I’m sure that video is available at lds.org.

  177. DAX. You probably ought to re-read my comment. I specifically mentioned health and fit issues (fit issues includes the layering; health issues include infections, etc.).

  178. Steve, you get the prize for the most entertaining post, which is no small feat since you had competition from a bisexual garment fetish post. You managed to work Korihor’s denial of Christ into the discussion? I need to go grab some popcorn.

  179. Just doing my best to lighten the mood :)

  180. Inspired by a few of the comments here, I just tried on my husband’s bottoms…They are about a thousand times more comfortable than my best-fitting women’s bottoms! The “waist” is actually below my belly button, instead of up to my bra! The crotch of the fabric actually matches up with my crotch (I could see myself not needing to wear another pair of underwear when I need to wear a pad)! The waistband is wide and stretchy enough not to give me a muffin top! The legs managed to stay in place without all the itchy lace, plus they were about six inches shorter than the legs of my own garments! The crotch flap thing is a bit weird, but I am seriously considering switching to men’s styles. For goodness’ sake, it’s like women’s bottoms are designed by blind aliens, whereas men’s bottoms are made with human bodies in mind or something.

  181. So in some comments a few female garment wearers noted that they have switched to wearing men’s garment bottoms for the sake of comfort, medical necessity etc. No complaint or concern from me on that at all. But what about men who might want to buy and wear women’s garment bottoms? Suddenly that seems to me something that could easily be regarded as a bit sexually transgressive–dude wearing a lady’s undies to church and such because the silkiness feels way better than thick cotton. Women’s garment tops are scads less bulky and long in the sleeve and restrictive around the neck and might appeal to some men (and some men have large chests, muscular and otherwise, that might benefit from a little extra space).

    I guess what I am getting at is the question of whether garments are gendering or gendered. Men’s garment bottoms (these days) are equipped with an, um, equipment flap for urination. Does that make it a religious (?) necessity for wearers to have extendable and manipulable urethras? Do the busts on the women’s garment tops demand female mammaries? If it is just the symbols that are important, would your average Mormon early twenty something undergrad freak out a little to be in the BYU men’s locker room and see one of his profs standing in front of the mirror combing his hair in front-flapless women’s silky garment bottoms and a lacy-fringed, capped sleeve, bust expanded top? Probably. No, definitely.

    Weird nexus, piety, gender, and underwear.

  182. Jill Clark says:

    Nobody has mentioned the areas that bother me: 1. The washing and drying of all that fabric as it is bad for the environment, while traveling and trekking, very difficult to wash. If we are in emergency preparedness mode (as we are constantly told we will be) – how will we keep physically clean? When we are told how much water to store, does it include the additional water that will be necessary to wash garments? Our missionaries are converting many poverty stricken people in third world countries who don’t have means to wash their clothes let alone garments. 2. Also when traveling, the extra room required to pack (minor issue).
    I receive comfort and enjoy feeling obedient when wearing my garments, but couldn’t it be done with a small strip somewhere on the body with the symbols on it?

  183. anon from 1:10 says:

    A further question is why the lace at all on women’s garments? Somebody ‘splain that to me (with appropriate theological/doctrinal backing/mythologizing).

  184. Well, this has been pretty thoroughly discussed, so I will just echo the following sentiments/issues:

    1. Pregnancy/Breastfeeding — Garments are a complete joke for anyone involved in either of these two activities. I will conceed that most maternity/nursing clothing is also ridiculous and generally ill-fitting and impractical, but why add to the discomfort of childbearing by demanding that women wear underwear that fits NOBODY (at least not any of the many moms I’ve discussed this with).

    2. Women’s health issues — periods, yeast infections, vaginal cysts, heat rash, and can I add mastitis/breast infections to the list? Amen to the horsehair shirt comment above. I do not believe a loving God wants us to prove our faithfulness through unneccessary physical suffering.

    3. If you are a short person who is larger than a size 8, garments will likely hang past your knees. Why does anyone assume that being of a larger weight means you are also eight feet tall?

    4. Modesty, for me, is not the issue. I would dress the same way regardless of what my underwear looked like. (And when I opt out of garments for any of the above issues, nobody would know it based on my clothing choices. It does not mean a quick downward spiral into hoochiedom. Most of us can make good choices without being forced into it by our underwear. For that matter, you can still be what some members would consider immodest and wear garments. I know some expert “tuckers!”)

    5. I am 100% uncomfortable with the idea of discussing these issues with any person who is not my husband, sister, or mom. I am assuming they would be equally uncomfortable discussing my underwear with me. If we’re going to have some outward manifestation of an inner conviction and commitment, particularly if it’s going to be mandated and controlled by our leadership (ahem, men), why must it be underwear??? Why couldn’t they give everyone some sparkly necklace with the temple marks, or a nice ring, or, you know, ANYTHING less awkwardly discussed?

    Someone once told me that garments are special because they are the one bit of the temple you get to take with you. And I really tried hard to embrace that attitude for a while. But I hate garments so much for the above reasons that it made me start to feel negative feelings toward the temple, and that is just sad, because there is so much beauty in the temple and in what it represents. My thought on this is that we are a practical church, full of ingenious people and pragmatic leaders. There HAS to be a better solution than what we are currently offered. (And my personal opinion is the best solution would be to do away with garments altogether, or just make them part of the temple clothing.)

    As for me and my underwear, I’m going with the idea that what I do is between me and God, particularly as I navigate child bearing and other women’s issues. I’m sure there are lots of people with their own judgmental opinions on that approach, but I’ve never concerned myself much with the opinions of people who feel like it is their place to police others. I always ask myself these questions, “Can you feel the Spirit? Are you close to God?” If the answers to those two questions are yes, then I assume I am good.

    I would love to see this discussed in a real-world church setting, where all of these thoughts, issues, and opinions could be passed along to the higher-ups. We all want to be faithful, I believe, but up until now I feel like the entire church has just quietly disliked them and felt unfaithful for feeling that way.

  185. Anon @ 1:10 – no lace on the Carinessa styles!

  186. anon from 1:10 says:

    So here is some brainstorming on the lace:
    1. It is there to make the female wearer feel slightly sexy.
    2. It is there because women’s garments needs something to make them feminine (but not too feminine).
    3. It is an insulting sop to the frustrated (married) male gaze.
    4. It is (presumably) only regularly seen by the wearer, her spouse, and deity. The question of for whom it is there is kinda unnerving.
    5. Folks back in the day liked lacy things and it is a cultural relic.
    6. Folks back in the day were titillated by lacy women’s undergarments and the Victorian attitudes that we normally impute to previous generations is totally wrong: they loved them some lacy lingerie.
    7. Gonna stop before I freak myself out any more.

  187. Another complaint, sorry. I bought my husband the spandex bottoms. He really liked them at first, but by the end of the day, his, uh, man parts ached and throbbed by the snugness (they were the appropriate size, I was sure to get the right size). His work-out underwear have a cup-like shape to account for “manliness”, but the spandex men’s bottoms make no allowance for that.

  188. Jonathan Love says:

    @Flaxen – I believe the spandex are ahead of the times and were meant for the afterlife when there is no need for the extra space…

  189. AlsoAnon says:

    @Jonathan- actually, to all appearances, we don’t have to be afflicted with garment wearing in the next life. All Moroni was wearing was a loose robe. :)

    Also, AMEN to the complaints about nursing and maternity garments being really impractical for either situation. For my most recent pregnancy I was due in mid July and living in an apartment without any air conditioning. I gave up on garments altogether until after the baby was born.

    And also, ““The garment should not be removed, either entirely or partially…for other activities that can reasonably be done with the garment worn properly beneath the clothing.”
    Well, I guess if my activity is “sleeping naked with my husband,” that can’t “reasonably be done” with garments on, so I’m good.” Ha! Love it!

  190. “I don’t believe that the Spirit would guide me to take a hypertechnical reading, as is done above, and ignore the counsel that has been given.”

    I don’t think my reading was hypertechnical. It is the only reading of the actual policy that anyone has done in this discussion, though, which is interesting, I guess. Given how much attention the Brethren give to exactly what is contained in the Handbook and, as set forth above, the fact that it is read, edited, re-read, and re-edited multiple times at the highest levels of the Church, I think it is reasonable (and, indeed, necessary) to give due weight to exactly what words were chosen when it was written. If there’s some other reasonable interpretation of what the ceremony, the interview, and the Handbook actually have to say on the matter, I’d love to hear it.

    It’s vexing to me that so few people seem to care what the temple, the recommend interview, and the Handbook actually say on the matter, compared with the number of people who freely admit that their beliefs about the garment come not from those sources but from what a Stake President, Mission President, or some random temple worker said to them one time.

    As for my own practice, I wear the garment night and day according to all the “shoulds” in the Handbook (though I admit that I don’t observe the suggestion to keep the garment off the floor – judge me however you will, I guess). I have not received any guidance from the Holy Ghost (that I’ve noticed) to deviate from that, but I also haven’t received any revelation indicating to me that the Handbook’s contents are the words of some revelation or that the “should” statements are actually God’s will or commandment. What I see above re: Elder Oaks and the Handbook editing process confirms what I’ve been saying: The Handbook and the garment “rules” (that are not actually rules) are not revealed truth or God’s revealed will, but the carefully-worded advice of church leaders acting in an administrative capacity. It is a little shocking that so many intelligent people could carefully edit the thing so many times and never catch that it blatantly misrepresents the content of the endowment ceremony. I’m not sure what to make of that. Ultimately, I think our customs and “rules” for the garment are a classic case of doctrine following practice, rather than the other way around.

    I’m still eager to know if anyone is aware of any allegation that the garment itself or the instructions on how and when to wear it are revealed principles. Having now been compared to Korihor (thanks for that, really), I guess I need to turn to what Korihor actually said: “Behold, these things which ye call prophecies, which ye say are handed down by holy prophets, behold, they are foolish traditions of your fathers.”

    Do we call these things prophecies? I’m not sure we do. I’m not looking for a sign. I’m just asking if any prophet in the history of the church has ever claimed to have received revelation from God on this subject and, if so, who, when, and what the revelation was. Is there really something wrong with wanting to know whether any prophet has ever claimed to have received as revelation something that people in the church believe in? And if there is something wrong with it, is that not also an indictment of people like David O. McKay, who searched and searched to determine whether the policies in place during their lifetime had actually been received as revealed truth or whether they were merely policies that had been accepted for generations without any divine origin?

    Call me Korihor all you want, but I appear to be the only one here actually reading the Handbook and seeking knowledge as to whether the principle came from God.

  191. AlsoAnon says:

    Question- someone mentioned somewhere in this comments thread (can’t find it now) that we’ve been counseled to only wear the tops and bottoms together. Is this actual counsel given somewhere? I don’t wear garment bottoms for the one week a month that I’m on my period since I find that having 3 waist bands at once (one on the garments, one on the panties to hold the pad, one on my pants) really chafes my skin to the point that it’s unbearable. I figure even if I can’t wear the bottoms, I can at least show God I’m trying to follow the guidelines by wearing the tops- is this really against actual counsel given somewhere?

  192. Mike….glad to hear that you and others do not mind changing the total design of women’s garments. Such as turning them into tanks with screen symbols to end the need for extra shirts, or shortening the length.

    I’m use to most men saying that altering the design in such a way is “dangerous and a slippery slope” or that women are exagerrating their discomfort with garments and could make the current design work if they were more faithful.

    The church is always saying that men and women are different. Why then would garments not need to be different?

    Well hope these changes happen. Then women would almost wear the same amount of layers as men and it would help with many of the issues.

  193. @AlsoAnon: Handbook 2, section 21.1.41 states (among lots of other things): “When two-piece garments are used, both pieces should always be worn.” Note that it says “should” and not “must,” in contrast to the language earlier in that section that relays the only actual obligation with regard to the garment, which is to “wear it according to the instructions given in the endowment.” Assuming the Brethren chose the word “should” intentionally, this is a suggestion, and not a rule. Indeed, the temple recommend interview is careful to exclude such suggestions and only ask whether you wear the garment as instructed in the endowment ceremony. So if you sometimes don’t wear the bottoms, you’re not in violation of any rule and you are fine with the recommend interview. Moreover, if you approach the issue prayerfully and feel prompted by the Holy Spirit that your reasonable, rational analysis and conclusion on that deeply personal issue is in line with God’s will, then you are well within the Handbook’s instruction that you should be guided by the Holy Spirit to answer for yourself personal questions about wearing the garment.

    Here’s a link to the handbook on the Church’s site. If you do a ctrl-F search for “12.1.42,” that should lead you to the relevant section.

  194. DAX – I certainly have no issue if the church does it. Not sure I’d want to go about changing the design on my own.

  195. AlsoAnon says:

    @SGNM- thanks for the reference to where it is in the handbook. I knew it was in the handbook somewhere, but there’s a lot of stuff in there, it’s sometimes hard to find what you are looking for. Will have to ponder on that particular part of the guidelines and decide what I should do about it. :)

  196. Lisa O. says:

    A couple of years ago, my Relief Society had a 5th Sunday class on the garment. One of the things that I learned was that there is no prohibition against wearing men’s garments if they were so inclined, but they are so thick and bulky that they don’t seem good for anything but sleeping.

    Anon – although she never said anything about whether this idea swung the other way for men, one could assume that it would since we are all alike in the eyes of God!

  197. Thanks for opening up the discussion. I have two suggestions for improvement.
    The neckline for the men’s tops is too high, so that it shows above a t-shirt. This may be a usual sight in the USA, but in other countries to wear what looks like a t-shirt under a t-shirt is just plain weird.
    For hiking etc, a merino version would be excellent. I suggest the chemise style, as it is nice and versatile. (Merino is a very soft wool, that works like a polyprop, but doesn’t get stinky. It breathes and is warm and cool.)
    Where should I send these suggestions?

  198. @SGNM. I didn’t say which posts I thought those scriptures paralleled, nor whether I thought it only reminded me of a single persons posts (which was not the case). But I will admit that some of your posts were among those that reminded me of these scriptures with Korihor. But let me clarify that I do not think your thoughts are on the level of Korihor, I don’t think you are an anti-Christ, only that some of your posts and others reminded me of the line of reasoning in Alma 30.

    You keep asking for a source revelation, and I think you may be overlooking the obvious. It sounds like you believe the endowment is an ordinance of salvation, that you believe Joseph Smith when he said a person must have an endowment to overcome all things, and that you believe Brigham Young when he said that you must have an endowment to pass by the angels and obtain your exaltation. So correct me if that mischaracterizes your position. If you believe this, and you believe Joseph Smith restored this ordinance of salvation to the earth, do you believe Joseph Smith restored such without divine aid and revelation from God? How could a prophet restore what you accept and characterize as an ordinance of salvation without the aid of divine revelation?

    To my mind, it is clear that it could have only been known by Joseph and restored to the earth through the aid of divine revelation. This then is the source revelation. Like D&C 89 is for the Word of Wisdom. The difference being, that the endowment is an eternal principle and ordinance, where as the WofW came as only a warning specifically for us in the last days. But just as the prophets have the keys and authority of interpreting D&C 89 to include coffee and tea and to make it a commandment of the church, so also the prophets have the keys and authority to interpret the meaning of the “throughout [one's] life” in the ceremony to mean something more specific. Joseph Smith mentioned the organization of the endowment was not perfect, so is it reasonable to think that there may have been cultural influences that were embedded in the ceremony that are not eternal? I think yes. May some of those still have been guided under inspiration to be to our benefit? I think yes. Might there then be policies or commandments surrounding the endowment and garment that may not be eternal and may not be wholly beneficial? It seems possible. But is it within our rights or authority to publicly proclaim our own personal interpretations of which parts are eternal in significance, and which may be mere current policy? Or which portions may bless us or not? No, I do not think we who do not hold the keys have that right. We may have personal opinion, and may even have personal revelation on the matter, and may even be able to publicly raise questions, but that does not give us liberty to proclaim as correct that which is contrary to the policies and commands currently given by those who hold the keys of this authority.

    That said, I do agree that the current policies explicitly state that many of our decisions should be guided by the spirit in the wearing of the garment. And I think this is for the express reason of allowing wisdom for the many unique situations, medical and otherwise, brought up in this post for which explicit policy should not have to be made. I don’t think this means that “should” means “could” and is only meant as a passive guideline, rather I think “should” means “ought” where special exceptions/circumstances do not apply. Of course everyone is still entitled to personal interpretation, only that we should not try to publicly endorse those things which reasonably seem or are contrary to the policy put in place by those who hold the right and keys to do so.

    Anyway, I promised myself this is my last post, so there you go.

  199. “Call me Korihor all you want, but I appear to be the only one here actually reading the Handbook and seeking knowledge as to whether the principle came from God.”

    or not

  200. @Steve: “It sounds like you believe the endowment is an ordinance of salvation, that you believe Joseph Smith when he said a person must have an endowment to overcome all things, and that you believe Brigham Young when he said that you must have an endowment to pass by the angels and obtain your exaltation.”

    I’m not sure I’d say I “believe” Joseph and Brigham when they said those things – just that I accept it and that I seek to have faith in it. Given that the endowment they were talking about no longer exists in the Church, I have to take what they said as something to expound, not something fixed or immutable.

    – “If you believe this, and you believe Joseph Smith restored this ordinance of salvation to the earth”

    I don’t know what that means. Is there some allegation somewhere that the temple endowment and the garments existed on the earth in their current form at some time prior to the 1800s? I do not reject out of hand the notion that the temple ordinances were restored, but I know of no reason to believe that they were, either.

    – “do you believe Joseph Smith restored such without divine aid and revelation from God?”

    Right now, I don’t know of any reason to think that Joseph Smith himself believed that. I can find nothing in any searchable church materials that claims Joseph Smith brought the the temple endowment ceremony and the garments to the Church by way of a revelation. If Joseph Smith didn’t believe it and the current Prophet and Apostles don’t believe it, why would I believe it?

    – “How could a prophet restore what you accept and characterize as an ordinance of salvation without the aid of divine revelation?”

    See, now we’re getting somewhere. I completely agree with that line of thought. If there’s no revelation alleged, then it is absurd to conclude that there was one.

    – “To my mind, it is clear that it could have only been known by Joseph and restored to the earth through the aid of divine revelation. This then is the source revelation.”

    I don’t understand your logic there. You seem to be assuming that the mere fact that Joseph did something is evidence that what he did was done through revelation. That makes no sense. There are plenty of ways Joseph could have come up with the temple ceremonies and garments other than through divine revelation. He came up with things without revelation all the time, just as you and I do. Why assume there was a revelation if none is alleged?

    You say it’s like D&C 89, but Section 89 is a record of an actual alleged revelation, whereas, as far as I can tell, there is no allegation that the temple rites were the subject of any revelation. Again, I would love to be wrong about this, so I hope that if I am someone will interject to point me to the revelation.

    – “But is it within our rights or authority to publicly proclaim our own personal interpretations of which parts are eternal in significance, and which may be mere current policy?”

    Yes, it is absolutely within our rights and authority to publicly proclaim our personal interpretation. Come on. You’re here doing that, as well, it’s just that your personal interpretation differs from mine.

    – “that does not give us liberty to proclaim as correct that which is contrary to the policies and commands currently given by those who hold the keys of this authority.”

    I don’t think I’ve proclaimed as correct anything contrary to the policies and commands currently given by those who hold the keys. But I believe I have every right to do so. I can hold any opinion I want and I am free to state my beliefs, even if they differ from those of the Brethren. Indeed, the Brethren disagree with each other and freely proclaim their own interpretation, even when it differs from that of their colleagues.

  201. Valentine says:

    AlsoAnon,
    I also don’t wear garment bottoms during my period. I used to (on top of regular underwear), but the multiple waistband thing was painful and uncomfortable for me too. I do still wear the top during that time and I don’t plan on ever discussing this or clarifying it during a temple recommend interview.

    I’ve also had discomfort with maternity garments in the past. I am short and there was no way I could wear my regular garment bottoms under the belly; I got bigger all the way around when I was pregnant. I wore the maternity drisilk ones but had to buy at least 2 sizes during my pregnancies. I used the ribbed chemise tops during my last 2 pregnancies (5 years ago and more than 5 years ago) and they were ok except for ridiculous extra “sleeve” fabric that hung out below modest short sleeve t-shirt sleeves.

    For nursing I used cotton round neck non-nursing tops but pulling the elastic down to nurse did cause plugged ducts for me.

    The constant changing of sizes has really irritated me. I used to wear 100% cotton round neck tops for 14 years, the same size the whole time except during pregnancy. About 2.5 years ago they changed the fabric and the sizing on those. I had to go down 2-3 sizes but doing that meant the top was now too short (and the heavier fabric made them uncomfortable). So I had to switch to another fabric I don’t like as well. I like the way the “sleeve” is constructed on the carinessa tops but they fit too tightly in the bust and I don’t like the fabric.

    I’ve also worn 100% cotton petite bottoms most of that 14+ years. They have gotten shorter, longer, snugger, looser. They always change. Currently (ones I have bought in the last few monoths) they have a short rise and a fairly short leg. I often see women at church wearing the carinessa bottoms with a knee length skirt and those garments show if your skirt has a slit in the back. Even a very modest one.

  202. The following analogy helps me to explain how I see the garment:

    If my body is a temple because it houses the “divine spark” within me, then the divine spark is the center of the sacredness (comparable the Holy of Holies or Most Holy Place). Or more specifically God is the center of the sacredness and my spirit is sacred in the context that it is connected to Him.

    My physical body is also sacred as the house of my spirit just as the temple is the “House of the Lord.” It makes sense that my body should be treated with respect and care but it is not the source of the sacredness. From Solomon’s temple I might compare it to The Hekhal, or Holy Place, (1 Kings 8:8–10), also called the “greater house” (2 Chr. 3:5) and the “temple” (1 Kings 6:17); the word also means “palace.”

    I have viewed the garment as special clothing that has been given to cover the nakedness of the physical body. It has significance of its own but is not as important or sacred as the physical body or the spirit within me. From Solomon’s temple I might compare it to The Inner Court (1 Kings 6:36), or Court of the Priests (2 Chr. 4:9). Treating the garment with respect in this sense is a way is an indirect way of treating the body and the spirit with respect and honor.

    There is also outer clothing that serves many useful purposes. We can show honor and respect for our undergarments, body, and spirit by the way we dress. To continue the analogy from Solomon’s temple, this might be comparable to The Great Court that surrounded the whole Temple (2 Chr. 4:9). It was here that people assembled to worship. (Jeremiah 19:14; 26:2). I do not wish to imply anything about what styles or length of clothing someone might wear, only that I would wish them to dress to honor and respect their body and spirit.

    The point of this analogy I believe is that it goes in a descending order from spirit to body to garments to outer clothing. If the needs of the spirit or body require a modification to the garments or outer clothing then that seems like the right thing to do. I believe it would be putting the cart before the horse to place the integrity of the garment our outer clothing before the needs of the spirit or the body. The [garment] was created for man, not man for the [garment].

    P.S. This is my own analogy that seemed fitting to express my feelings about the garment. If there are any flaws or improvements to be made to this analogy, I am open to those things.

  203. “If the needs of the spirit or body require a modification to the garments or outer clothing then that seems like the right thing to do. I believe it would be putting the cart before the horse to place the integrity of the garment or outer clothing before the needs of the spirit or the body. The [garment] was created for man, not man for the [garment].”

    This.

  204. I’ll just weigh in to say I actually appreciated the back and forth between SGNM and Steve. A little lengthy for my taste, and Steve needs to learn how to use paragraphs better, but overall well done.

    One more thing: the statement about wearing garments day and night has been around a while but the part about removing them for yard work is newer and screams “we added this because too many nosy Utah neighbors can’t make their own decisions so we’ll just pre-empt the flood of questions we get” rather than spiritual revelation. After that piece was added it was harder for me to take the rest of the statement seriously as doctrine.

  205. Rigel Hawthorne says:

    I’ve envisioned some couples I have met over the years having the following exchange:

    Mike: “Well honey that was fantastic”
    Carol: “Yes, honey, I have to agree.”
    Mike: “Well, lets put our garments back on now and go to sleep.”
    Carol: “Okay”

    They are probably not readers of this blog.

  206. Jaramiah says:

    I only have a few complaints about the male garments:

    The older tops get yellow/crusty armpits–and then I realize I’ve been wearing the same top too many years.
    The mesh fabric looks good, but doesn’t breath as well for me and leaves me with more body odor.
    I can’t see any real man wearing those shiny silky fabrics.
    The cotton Y fronts seem to always catch “Mr. Happy” in between layers, necessitating a stealth Search and Rescue mission.

    Overall I like the garments. They have helped keep my wayward, weak self from going to establishments that I should not be in. I feel part of the ‘team’ when I see others with an eternal smile, wide thigh high leg band, or knee short witnessing. I don’t care to see the marks showing through against snug or thin shirts, so brethren, please keep em hidden.

  207. or

    Mike: “Well, honey, that was sacred.”
    Carol: “Yes, honey, I have to agree.”
    Mike: “Rearrange your garment, and let’s go to sleep.”
    Carol: “Okay”

  208. So now we’re mocking those who choose to wear their garments when they’re not having sex?

  209. whizzbang says:

    Just talked to my mom about garments…she was taught there are six “S”s when you don’t wear your garments but she can only remember four 1), sick, 2), sex, 3) showering, 4) swimming and so maybe someone else heard this as well? she was endowed in 1978

  210. DSmith: “After that piece was added it was harder for me to take the rest of the statement seriously as doctrine.”

    Apparently, that’s been the problem–many people don’t take seriously the counsel regarding garments. It may well be that many people just weren’t ready to go to the temple when they did, but did it anyway because of social pressure, etc.

    As alluded to earlier, we each have our agency and can choose as we wish. The problem is that we want to choose and then be free from counsel, guidance, guilt, consequences, etc. If the Spirit has told someone that they should do yardwork without their garments on, then why worry about what anybody says, or what the counsel is?

  211. whizzbang: Mormons can have sex?

  212. whizzbang says:

    yes! that’s how yours truly came to be here!

  213. “So now we’re mocking those who choose to wear their garments when they’re not having sex?”

    Mike, I think you weren’t serious, but if you were . . . no.

  214. Angela C says:

    Re: working Korihor into the discussion, I’m going to call this the Mormon equivalent of Godwin’s Law.

  215. KerBearRN says:

    @Ray–

    Ewwwwwwwww. FTW!!

  216. KerBearRN says:

    (I meant Rays comment at 5:43. Context gets lost when u don’t refresh.)

  217. If wearing garments creates so many difficuties, how in the world would we ever live the Law of Consecration if called upon to do it more fully?

  218. Angela C says:

    Ann: The church’s current teaching is that the law of tithing IS the law of consecration as we are asked to live it. Going back to bartering in chickens and sacks of grain may sound like a higher law, but it’s obviously impractical in a global church and a non-agrarian society. Are you really implying that women who experience issues with fit or physical problems like yeast infections and rashes yet have endured the garments unaltered and unquestioningly for decades are unwilling to make sacrifices? Nice.

  219. Everything you said here is TRUE TRUE! I have said to my husband before since the day before we got married I’ve never been truly comfortable. I wear them because I want to be good but they make me miserable. I love the temple, but the wish I could do so without being so uncomfortable all the time and let’s be honest about this…there isn’t every going to be anything in the handbook about periods, yeast infections, leaking breast that don’t fit in the cups, tops that roll up under your bra, but when you are a lady this stuff is real, you don’t need a handbook to know that. :)

  220. AngelaC: I don’t think Ann was trying to say women with health issues should just buck up. There seems to be an implicit argument that members should be able to wear the garment how they please, regardless of health issues (IOW, they should be able to work in the yard sans garments because they’re too warm).

  221. Economist says:

    The solution is simple–we only need one or two competitors to Beehive clothing (still sanctioned by the Church)–and we will see innovation in fit and comfort of garment styles.

  222. Ha, Economist!!

    Yes, why do we have to put up with the gospel being polluted by a bunch of American right-wing political dogma (evils of feminism and “the dole” etc) when it comes to everything except free market for garment manufacturing! Worst of both worlds.

  223. Thanks Mike. Yes, if garments are causing health issues you do what you must to be healthy. If that means only wearing garments in the temple, so be it. But a lot of the complaints in the comments have been over things a lot less serious than health issues. How many different styles and fabrics would you have to have to satisfy everyone? It would be good if there was some official way to make your suggestions for improvements, and know you were heard. It might be we just need to take more notice of that thrid paragraph of the TR interview question concerning the wearing of the garment (the one you didn’t cite), and less notice of the 2nd one.

  224. One of the points of the post that many men are missing (and some women I’m sure) is that garments are not designed for women’s bodies thus women’s experiences of the garments are vastly different than that of men.

    People debating wether the top brethern mean all of the time or part of the time does not change the design issues that women face. Our bodies are different, the normal clothes we wear are different, our mental picture of our bodies and their purpose are different, we become pregnant and nurse, go through monthly cycles and menopause to just name a few. These things make women women. The problem arises when men do not acknowledge the differences and expect women to conform to their desired standard of garment design which is made for men’s bodies.

    Also when many men hear of yeast infections and plugged breast ducts they think that is a rare few in number, I’m sorry but it is not. What many men do not understand is that in order to wear the current design of garments most women have to wear at least 3 layers under their normal modest shirts. Talk about moisture and overheating issues! So unless the garments are changed in DESIGN women will continue to suffer both physically and mentally.

    I am very happy that garments do not bother some men and women or that they look at their discomfort as a sign of their devotion to God. Please though do not assume that because your experience is different than others that they do not have valid concerns.

    I hope the brethren will be open to the idea of true design changes for women instead of simply saying a doctors note should be allowed. Why don’t we address the reasons women have to see a doctor in the first place?

  225. No intention of ever trading in my sexy VS underwear for this nonsense. Hooray! Freedom!

  226. To be clear, when I say design changes I mean big changes. Perhaps turning the top into a tank top with adjustable straps with silk screen markings on the inside. Turning the bottoms into boy shorts in length.

    Most men wear their garments and their shirt and pants. They are finished with 2 layers of clothes period. Also most men in our culture wear a undershirt under a dress shirt anyway.

    Most women wear a bra, garment, a shirt over bra/garment to hold the garment in place and keep it from bunching/showing, then their regular modest shirt. That is a total of 3-4 layers period just to get out the door.

    If they are on their cycle etc. they may wear normal underwear over or under the garment bottoms to hold things in place. Then stuff that into pants. On the bottom we are looking at 2-3 layers total.

    So that’s 3-4 layers on top, and at least 2-3 on the bottom. That is a crazy amount of fabric that lds women are having to deal with daily. Not even taking into account the heat/moisture/women issues that come into play.

    That is why it would be so helpful to change the design and thereby the number of layers women have to wear.

  227. I tried to write a silly haiku bloggernacle-style but there was more emotion left in this memory than I remembered. My endowment day was impossibly difficult for me and the fit of the garments was the last straw that left me sobbing at home afterward.

    Ceremony was over
    My head was spinning
    I found my locker again.

    Right-size Carinessa brushed
    my shins so gently
    walking out of the temple.

    My favorite below-knee skirt
    did not cover them.
    My new garments were showing.

    For no truly good reason
    I felt so ashamed.
    Everyone saw me walking.

    It was a very long walk
    after a long day
    before I got to the car.

  228. @George–welcome! You caught us out, this is the real nitty gritty :-) Hope your investigation turns out well, as most of us here truly do love the gospel and the temple (and even garments). Or we wouldn’t bother to discuss this at such length. May you feel the Lord’s blessings upon your search for answers.

    @whizzbang–the 3 Ss I learned were sports, sex, and shower

    a nice thing about women wearing a men’s top is using it as a tshirt to sleep in–the crewneck top is pretty great. I wish they’d silkscreen marks on a nightie/long t-shirt version/

  229. It’s probably important to note that at the time I was 5’2″ and weighed about 145 pounds. The garment fit me, it was just extremely long. I hadn’t expected that because my mother’s garments always hit her mid thigh or slightly below and I assumed all garments were about the same length aside from the calf-length kind. It hadn’t occurred to me that my below-knee skirt may be “immodest.” (At that time I defined modesty as wearing clothing that covers the garment.) I’m surprised tonight that it’s still such an emotional issue for me.

  230. A nonmember says:

    Interesting to read as a non member of this church. My opinion is God wouldn’t care what underwear one wears. This really is a requirement by this church? Sounds cultish to me.

  231. UnderCover Brother says:

    @Angela C:
    Fantastic article. Been discussing this all night with my spouse.

    @SGNM:
    Wonderful, my friend. Wonderful. You have clarified so many things for me. I am very grateful for your research efforts.

    All:
    Thank you for all your thoughts and comments. This so much needs to be continually discussed.

  232. Non member – Religious clothing is worn by most world religions as a reminder of God: Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Jews and Catholics all have similar things. Protestants are the exception, not the rule. You could just as easily call all religions cultish.

  233. This is one of the best BCC posts I’ve ever read. I’m glad someone is bringing up these issues in a fact-based way (enhanced by anecdotes in the comments) and I hope that someone who can make real changes reads it.

  234. Exponent II linked to her own blog post on maternity garments, and I have to say I’m just the teensy tiniest bit assuaged that, at some point in garment history, at least one woman was involved in design. The results are still shoddy, but I’ve always assumed that it was men sitting around a table,

    “Women are shaped like this…” [draws boxy t-shirt shape, arms sticking straight out the sides]
    “They have BOOBS!!!!…” [draws boob sacks]
    “And their crotches are two feet below their waistline.”

    This tweet comes to mind:

  235. I remember once hearing a rabbi say something like, “I try not to worry about why God doesn’t want me to eat a ham sandwich. I just rejoice in the fact that God cares what I, a lowly mortal, am having for lunch!” I suppose a similar thought could apply to our clothing issues.

  236. Mark B. says:

    Haiku in English are by definition ridiculous, but at least you should get the syllable count right. It’s 5-7-5, not 7-5-7. A 757 is an airplane built by Boeing.

  237. I know, Mark. I found myself really unable to do what I set out to do, i.e. to write a haiku about the silly problems garments cause. I ended up with something non-haiku and non-funny. I think it perhaps mirrors my view of the garment, actually- wrong syllable count (size) and not a joke.

    One thing my family members do is express love by correcting others, so I’m going to assume positive intentions here.

  238. Your underwear, your body, your clothing–wear them as you would like and take back your lives from LDS authorities. Why would one join a church that does all the thinking for you, and dictates to you your every move. There is no reason to share information with the bishop, either, should he ask, “Do you wear the approved temple garment both day and night?” It’s simply not his business. If you want a recommend, say “yes.” Lie or not, who cares? Do you want a temple recommend so you can witness the wedding of your beloved daughter? Do what is necessary.

    I am saddened that my own DW still feels it necessary to wear her awful and uncomfortable bunchy prescribed Mormon underwear despite her numerous complaints. Her garments are ugly and unnecessary to being “saved.”

  239. I remember one day counting and realizing I was wearing five waistbands (normal underwear because I needed a pad, garments, pantyhose, slip, knee-length skirt). And it was the middle of the summer and I had so much fabric bunched up against my legs I was going to go crazy, not to mention that each thin waistband cut across my middle in a slightly different place. It’s hard to be nice when your clothes are attacking you.

  240. Left Field says:

    The lack of a waistband is one of the reasons why one-piece garments are so awesome.

    Regarding the instruction to wear both parts of a two-piece garment, I’ve always understood that as a general rule for ordinary circumstances. I don’t think it means that we are “prohibited” from wearing just one part in extenuating circumstances. When I’m in the hospital, with the IV and all, it’s pretty much impossible to wear my usual one-piece, or the two-piece top. However, I’ve been known in some circumstances to put on a two-piece bottom, just for comfort, and a bit more coverage than afforded by the hospital gown.

  241. Yes, by all means lie to get your temple recommend. God doesn’t really care about integrity, honesty, etc.

    Seriously, though, while God may or may not really care about the temple garment, I suspect he cares a little about whether we’re humble, submissive, have a broken heart, contrite spirit, that sort of thing.

  242. Mike, trolls are part of interaction on the internet. They aren’t indicative of 99% of the participants here, and it usually is best to ignore them.

  243. Ray, I understand that. My responses, while it may not be apparent, are mostly geared toward others who might stumble upon this discussion.

  244. @SGNM. I’m going to have to break my promise to myself, because I feel sorry seeing others potentially thinking your characterizations are based on accurate research.

    – “I can find nothing in any searchable church materials that claims Joseph Smith brought the the temple endowment ceremony and the garments to the Church by way of a revelation. If Joseph Smith didn’t believe it and the current Prophet and Apostles don’t believe it, why would I believe it?”

    This is a gross mischaracterization of what Joseph Smith and the subsequent prophets and apostles believe(d). George Q. Cannon quotes Joseph Smith as saying, “Hurry up the work, brethren, let us finish the temple; the Lord has a great endowment in store for you, and I am anxious that the brethren should have their endowments and receive the fullness of the priesthood.” Notice that Joseph didn’t say “Joseph has a great endowment in store for you.” He clearly believed he was giving the Saints something from the Lord, not something from Joseph that “he pulled out of thin air”. And of course the D&C is full of revelations where the Lord promises an endowment to his people when they would build a house or temple unto Him. It is also clear from the quotes I provided already that Joseph believed an endowment was required to overcome all things, and that it was necessary to obtain the full blessings of exaltation.

    But here’s an additional quote for you, in 1843 after the restoration of the Nauvoo endowment the Prophet said: “If a man gets a fulness of the priesthood of God, he has to get it in the same way that Jesus Christ obtained it, and that was by keeping all the commandments and obeying all the ordinances of the house of the Lord.” (emphasis mine). Notice that Joseph Smith says that ‘all’ the ordinances are necessary, and additionally says by going through them, we would be doing it the ‘same way’ Jesus did it. This implies that ordinances in the house of the Lord were not merely made up by Joseph Smith, but a restoration of something more ancient that even Jesus himself went through.

    I hate delving into too many quotes from Joseph Smith concerning the temple on a public blog, so I will refrain, but there can be no doubt for those who become familiar with Joseph Smith’s beliefs in Nauvoo, that he believed the endowment he gave was a restoration of something more ancient. Maybe you don’t believe it is true, but you cannot accurately say that Joseph Smith did not believe so or at the very least claim to believe so. Certainly Brigham Young and the apostles following Joseph’s death also believed they were a restoration of ancient ordinances, and it is a mischaracterization to say otherwise. I have also heard many modern talks by our GA’s discussing the restoration of the temple ordinances and blessings. What evidence do you have that any of our current or past prophets and apostles believe this did or even could have happened without revelation? It’s an odd proposition.

    – “I don’t understand your logic there. You seem to be assuming that the mere fact that Joseph did something is evidence that what he did was done through revelation.”
    No, but if he did something and additionally told us that it was required for our salvation/exaltation, how could he know such a thing without revelation from God? You can’t just make something up and then say the Lord requires it for exaltation (righteously); only the Lord decides what He requires, and therefore if Joseph Smith said it was required, he could have only known such by revelation. Otherwise, he did just make it all up and unrighteously burdened the Saints with unnecessary ordinances, falsely claiming they were necessary. But I don’t believe that was the case. I don’t think any GA past or modern ever believed such a thing either.

    “Yes, it is absolutely within our rights and authority to publicly proclaim our personal interpretation. Come on. You’re here doing that, as well, it’s just that your personal interpretation differs from mine.” And “I don’t think I’ve proclaimed as correct anything contrary to the policies and commands currently given by those who hold the keys.”

    I am not claiming that any portions of our current ordinance and subsequent interpretations/requirements are “stupid” “draconian” or “ridiculous”, which characterizations seem to me very contrarian to “to the policies and commands currently given by those who hold the keys”. Of course you have the just as much right to state opinion that undermines those in authority as you do to sin. But that does not make it the right thing to do.

  245. pangwitch83 says:

    by far the best part of living a post mormon life is no garments. better than coffee alcohol, sundays off , and no tithing combined. by far!

  246. Rigel Hawthorne says:

    “1), sick, 2), sex, 3) showering, 4) swimming and”

    mmmm…..could it be ‘skinny dipping’? Probably not, as that would fall under #4.

    ‘surgery’? (Or doctor’s appointments in general?) May fall under #1

    ‘sports’? (Remembering Steve Young’s interview about garments)

    “Rearrange your garment, and let’s go to sleep.”

    That was good Ray!

  247. I can see the point SGNM is trying to make especially in context with the new introduction to Official Declaration #2:

    http://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/od/2?lang=eng

    “Early in its history, Church leaders stopped conferring the priesthood on black males of African descent. Church records offer no clear insights into the origins of this practice. Church leaders believed that a revelation from God was needed to alter this practice and prayerfully sought guidance.”

    So, I can see how the way we wear the garment may have been skewed over time by the Church leaders to act as ‘modesty enforcers’ as mentioned in other posts. The above quoted intro to Official Declaration 2 stops short of saying those Church leaders were wrong to deny ‘black males’ the priesthood, but I believe they were. That being said, I think that denying the Priesthood to ‘black males’ certainly fit with the culture of the pre-Civil War times. I don’t think that means that the Lord condoned it. I think that the Lord does his work with what he’s got. At the time, it was a bunch of bigots. Thankfully, we have made great progress since then.

    The point SGNM has been trying to make (as I read it) is that the statement “throughout your life” does not dictate what Church leaders are dictating. Further, “Church records offer no clear insights into the origins of this practice” of why we should wear the garment day and night.

    Personally, I’ve really enjoyed following this post.

  248. @Anon. And I totally agree with that idea that interpretations, policies, and commandments from the church can change over time, and often necessarily so to progress. So inasmuch as SGNM promotes the idea that he personally ‘thinks’ the policy ‘may’ not be perfect, I have no problem. I don’t take issue with somebody saying they think something ‘may’ change, or that they ‘feel’ a policy isn’t necessarily eternal in nature, or that they believe there are issues that would be beneficial to address. But I think it becomes a problem when someone says because they can’t see a reason for a particular policy, then it must be an old, outdated, culturally-inspired and not God-inspired policy. And then to call these policies stupid and/or ridiculous just because it doesn’t fit their current worldview. This goes too far, and it enters the realm of setting one’s personal beliefs as light in front of the church. This type of attitude is subversive and damaging to unity and order in the church. One of the purposes of the keys of the Kingdom is to establish order for revelation and change. For those who believe the church to be true, unless we have reason to believe serious rights of life or liberty are being infringed, I believe we should follow this established order and sustain those who have the authorized keys to speak for the Lord. In other words, I believe we should not disobey for mere convenience purposes only. As for the policies surrounding wearing the garment, it seems to me that there are adequate caveats given to allow for the unique circumstances, medical and otherwise, to allow people to put the body before garments where necessity demands. Or restated, I think the policies do allow for the garment to be for man, and not man for the garment as Roy mentioned. But just as in keeping the Sabbath, this doesn’t mean doing whatever convenience alone dictates. And so I think it is wrong to assume the policies are not inspired, and to say that mere convenience should dictate our actions.

  249. …and of course this obedience does not take away from the imperative that we seek spiritual knowledge for ourselves on why commandments have been given. Ignoring this responsibility is a whole other problem, since knowledge/salvation is objective of our obedience.

  250. @Steve: You say: “This is a gross mischaracterization of what Joseph Smith and the subsequent prophets and apostles believe(d).”

    You seem to be misunderstanding what I’ve said. I’ve said that I’m not aware of and have been unable to find any source claiming – with citation – that Joseph Smith believed that the endowment and garment – in their form at that time or in their current form – were received as part of an actual specific revelation from God. Did Joseph Smith believe that the endowment and garment were something God wanted us to do? Without question. Did he believe that because God actually told him so in a revelation? He makes no such claim, does he? Did God dictate the temple endowment to Joseph? There is no such allegation. Did God dictate that a garment should be involved somehow? There is no such allegation. Did God dictate what a garment should be like, what it symbolizes, how and when it should be worn, etc? There is no such allegation. But, once again, I would love to be proved wrong about all that and I am practically begging you and anyone else reading this to point me to the allegations I’ve been unable to find.

    Yes, Joseph and Brigham and others believed that the temple ordinances and garment were a restoration of something that they thought had previously existed. But they never (as far as I can tell) even so much as alleged that their belief in that regard was the result of anything God ever told them. I don’t think there’s any reason at all – as a faithful member of the LDS church either then or now – to accept every assertion made by Joseph, Brigham, or any other Church authority as if it is true just because they said it. I think we all have a duty – a divinely-mandated duty – to question everything and to decide what to believe not just because someone in authority said so, but because we believe they had some actual basis for saying so. Joseph Smith said TONS of stuff that I’m sure you do not believe. He said TONS of stuff that the Church today absolutely does not believe. So “because Joseph Smith said so” or “because that’s what Joseph Smith believed” is not, I posit, a valid, reasonable, or even faithful basis for belief in a purported doctrine.

    But again, I’m not saying Joseph Smith was necessarily wrong. I’m just saying that I can find not only no reason whatsoever to believe that Joseph Smith’s belief about the temple ordinances and garment were the result of any actual revelation, but no reason to believe that the Church even CLAIMS that that is the case. Does President Monson believe that Joseph Smith received a revelation containing the temple endowment ordinance and instructions regarding the garment? Does he believe that every subsequent change to the ordinances, instructions, and garments was the result of and consistent with an actual revelation from God dictating those changes? As far as I can tell, President Monson has never, ever claimed to believe those things. If even the President of the Church does not profess such a belief, and there is no factual or evidentiary basis for such a belief, why should I even entertain the notion? I don’t have to believe it to pass the temple recommend interview. I don’t have to believe it to comply fully with the Handbook and all of its suggestions. And I don’t have to believe it to be 100% in line with every belief that the President of the Church has ever professed on record.

    Is there any reason at all for me not to conclude that the belief that Joseph Smith or any other Prophet has ever received revelation dictating God’s will about the temple garment is pure speculation and well outside actual LDS doctrine?

    – “No, but if he did something and additionally told us that it was required for our salvation/exaltation, how could he know such a thing without revelation from God?”

    He could analyze scriptures and other materials and information and conclude, based on his analysis and pondering, that he believed it was required. And he could have been wrong, just like he was wrong about a great many other things he told us. It’s not like there are no examples of him fervently believing in stuff that was totally wrong.

    – “You can’t just make something up and then say the Lord requires it for exaltation (righteously); only the Lord decides what He requires, and therefore if Joseph Smith said it was required, he could have only known such by revelation.”

    Actually, yes, you can totally make something up and then say the Lord requires it for exaltation. You are likely to be wrong, just like Joseph Smith and every single one of his successors has been on numerous occasions. You’re assuming Joseph Smith never said anything wrong, because you seem to think he was incapable of ever doing anything erroneous or unrighteous. I assure you that he was perfectly capable of both, but I invite you to back up your assumption that Joseph Smith was both perfectly righteous and 100% infallible if that’s really what you’re claiming.

    – “So inasmuch as SGNM promotes the idea that he personally ‘thinks’ the policy ‘may’ not be perfect, I have no problem.”

    What if I think it’s impossible for the Church’s policies to ever be perfect, thereby necessitating continuing revelation and constant re-evaluation and analysis?

    – “And then to call these policies stupid and/or ridiculous just because it doesn’t fit their current worldview. This goes too far, and it enters the realm of setting one’s personal beliefs as light in front of the church.”

    Really? So, let’s posit for a moment – hypothetically – that, at some point in its history, the Church puts in place a policy that is, in fact, both stupid and ridiculous. Is it unrighteous for someone who correctly recognizes that fact to express that opinion?

    Tell me this, Steve: Do you personally believe that, during his mortal ministry, Jesus Christ wore a temple garment night and day that fit the physical description of what has existed at any time in the LDS church’s history? If so, which version of the garment do you believe he wore? The first one Joseph Smith put in place? The second one, with the butterfly collar that Emma suggested because it was stylish? The current one? How about the ancient apostles? Garments to the wrists and ankles 24/7?

    If you believe those things, do you think that I, in order to be a faithful member of the church, should believe them, as well?

  251. Steve, one of the points of this post is to highlight the fact that “garments are made for MAN,” not women.

    The fact that garments cause such physical and emotional issues for many women demonstrates that the current design IS the problem.That is why caveats are needed in the first place.

    It is not natural for women to have wear 3-4 layers of clothing on top and 2-3 on the bottom but we must in order to be respectful of the garments. The multiple layers cause the issues and the need for exceptions.

    So I disagree that there are enough “allowances” for women in this matter.

  252. Steve’s and SGNM’s debate reaches much farther than how we should look at garment-wearing policy. (By the way gentlemen, from Strunk and White: Omit needless words). Ultimately the debate rests on the larger question, how do we know when something is inspired? The Holy Spirit, of course, but I don’t think I’m the only one who God doesn’t give a clear, direct answer when I pray about these sorts of things. When some policy such garment-wearing mandates sits in an authoritative source but lacks a clear connection to anything revealed, should we trust or be skeptical? I’m not trying to threadjack this fascinating post and the comments. Let’s just keep in mind that there are two radically different ways at approaching these sorts of policies, and they both have merits and drawbacks.

  253. @DavidF: “Ultimately the debate rests on the larger question, how do we know when something is inspired?”

    Can you give me any reason why the first step should not be to find out whether there is any allegation that it is inspired in the first place?

    – “When some policy such garment-wearing mandates sits in an authoritative source but lacks a clear connection to anything revealed, should we trust or be skeptical?”

    That’s an interesting hypothetical, but the actual situation here is that the authoritative source does not contain any mandate other than to abide by the instructions in the endowment session, which do not mandate any of the things suggested as “shoulds” in the Handbook. When the Handbook not only fails to allege any divine origin but also does not claim that its suggestions are mandates, should we not take the Handbook at its word that those suggestions are not mandates?

  254. I haven’t had time to read through the comments, so I apologize if this has been brought up already. Full disclosure: I haven’t worn garments in nearly two years now and don’t miss them at all. Back when I was wearing them, I used to get so aggravated that the bottoms didn’t provide enough support. I used to wear briefs and bikinis before I was endowed and never wore boxers. I never really got used to the way garments felt. So a couple of years before I stopped wearing them, I started wearing regular underwear underneath. Sure, it was an extra layer, but at least I was finally getting the support I needed.

  255. Maybe there is some misunderstanding happening over the semantics of “revelation”. I agree there is no specific citation saying which portions of the endowment came directly from God or not. But I think you would agree that that doesn’t help us know where there wasn’t revelation, and I think it is reasonable to believe that there was some base revelation involved since Joseph Smith claimed it was necessary for our salvation. How are these claims any different than any other claim he made, or how are they any different from revelations as found in the D&C or any other knowledge he claimed to receive from God? Did not many of the D&C revelations also change over time? I definitely believe the endowment and those things connected with it like the garment are to be as highly regarded as anything else Joseph Smith purported to restore: priesthood authority, priesthood power, baptism, the laying on of hand for the gift of the Holy Ghost, baptism and ordinances for the dead, temple sealings and all temple ordinances. Any doubt you express towards the endowment, garment, etc. could be equally applied to any other revelation. And if you are going to go so far as to toss one out on lack of certainty over its perfect status, you might as well toss out all of it.

    “Joseph Smith said TONS of stuff that I’m sure you do not believe.” I don’t think so.

    ““because Joseph Smith said so” or “because that’s what Joseph Smith believed” is not, I posit, a valid, reasonable, or even faithful basis for belief in a purported doctrine.” Maybe if subsequent Prophets have overturned a doctrine, but “because Joseph Smith said so” is pretty much the basis of the entire restoration, with additional witnesses on very select things. His testimony is the basis of just about everything we believe as a church. Of course in addition, we are asked to obtain a testimony ourselves, and keys have been given to continue to guide the church as a whole by continuing revelation.

    “Does President Monson believe that Joseph Smith received a revelation containing the temple endowment ordinance and instructions regarding the garment?” My guess is yes.

    “Does he believe that every subsequent change to the ordinances, instructions, and garments was the result of and consistent with an actual revelation from God dictating those changes?” Probably. You seem to think that dictated revelations come through perfectly, whereas those not dictated are not. I think both types suffer from the imperfection of man, and share your belief that they will never be perfect, but I think we owe our allegiance to the degree of light and knowledge revealed by the prophets.

    “He could analyze scriptures and other materials and information and conclude, based on his analysis and pondering, that he believed it was required. And he could have been wrong, just like he was wrong about a great many other things he told us.” And “Actually, yes, you can totally make something up and then say the Lord requires it for exaltation.” Yes, but that is true of everything Joseph Smith restored and any revelation he received. You could reject the whole of it on this principle, but I’m guessing that’s not our faith as members of the church. I believe Joseph and other prophets are definitely fallible, I guess I just don’t believe they are wrong as numerously as you seem to think.

    “What if I think it’s impossible for the Church’s policies to ever be perfect, thereby necessitating continuing revelation and constant re-evaluation and analysis?” I would agree.

    “So, let’s posit for a moment – hypothetically – that, at some point in its history, the Church puts in place a policy that is, in fact, both stupid and ridiculous. Is it unrighteous for someone who correctly recognizes that fact to express that opinion?” To the point of being critical, yes.

    “Do you personally believe that, during his mortal ministry, Jesus Christ wore a temple garment night and day that fit the physical description of what has existed at any time in the LDS church’s history?” I think it is possible, but not necessarily so. I think he went through something comparable to an endowment, just like he went through all ordinances, like baptism. The garment itself may or may not be an eternal principle, but since I think it is possible, and it is currently part of the endowment and church policy, I except on that basis alone that it may bless me, in addition to my personal testimony that this is true.

  256. I guess in summary, I accept the ordinances of salvation that we accept and practice in the church as just as much a part of the cannon as the written revelations. And that both are equally subject to further adaptations, clarifications, and interpretations by those who hold the keys. Therefore our loyalty should rest in the keys, where the authorized continuing revelation and progression for the church as a whole must ultimately come from. It is the living constitution of the church and our aid to work towards our individual and collective salvation. Without the keys, there could be no collective order nor an ultimate source of authority on earth that we could collectively look to as a community of believers. Because of our imperfections as mortals, it then follows that is right that we have allegiance to an imperfect but ever improving system that God has granted His authority to and oversees and directs in this progression.

  257. @Steve: “And if you are going to go so far as to toss one out on lack of certainty over its perfect status, you might as well toss out all of it.”

    I’m not tossing anything out. Moreover, it’s not a lack of certainty, but a total lack of even any allegation that any part of it was received from God.

    – “You seem to think that dictated revelations come through perfectly, whereas those not dictated are not.”

    That’s not my intention. I think dictated revelations come through imperfectly just as do those that are dictated. I think that if someone never even claims to have received a revelation about something, it makes no sense to believe that they received a revelation they never claimed.

    – “I believe Joseph and other prophets are definitely fallible, I guess I just don’t believe they are wrong as numerously as you seem to think.”

    Here’s the thing. I haven’t said Joseph was “wrong” about the garment or the endowment. I said that I find no allegation that he received any part of either of them from God by revelation and, therefore, no reason to believe in that which has never been alleged.

    – “To the point of being critical, yes.”

    Can you explain what that means? During the time when the church erroneously believed (without any evidence) that some unidentified past prophet had received revelations about black people, curses, and priesthood bans, in spite of the fact that no prophet had claimed to have received any such revelation, was it unrighteous for members of the church who correctly believed that those policies and doctrines were not of God to openly state that they believed the Brethren were teaching false doctrine (as it turns out they definitely were)?

    Is it unrighteous for me to be critical of the First Presidency’s statements about race that the church now disavows doctrinally, or should I refrain from openly acknowledging the undisputable error in those statements? Is there some point where something the Prophet says is so egregiously wrong and contrary to the will of God that it’s OK to be critical, or should members of the Church refrain from criticism no matter what? Would it have been unrighteous for people in David’s time to openly criticize their prophet’s adultery and murder? (Again, I would emphasize that I am not saying the Prophet is wrong in the present instance – just that I can see no evidence or even any allegation that anything having to do with the garment is revealed truth.)

    – “The garment itself may or may not be an eternal principle, but since I think it is possible, and it is currently part of the endowment and church policy, I except on that basis alone that it may bless me, in addition to my personal testimony that this is true.”

    I agree with you on that point. I think I’ll be blessed – in nearly every instance – for following the counsel of those who hold the keys, regardless of whether their counsel comes from God. But do you (or anyone else here) know of any reason to believe that any Prophet has ever, in the history of the world, taught that God ever said anything about the garment at all?

    Frankly, I’m absolutely shocked that this discussion has gone on this long on a forum with so much knowledge about the Church without a single person offering even any attempt to cite to any allegation by any Church authority that the garment is a revealed principle according to some actual alleged revelation. I am baffled that I cannot find any such allegation anywhere in searchable Church materials.

  258. Mother in Zion says:

    Got halfway through the comments and need to move on to other things. But if no one else mentioned it, I’d like to add that dealing with stress incontinence is very difficult with current styles. I was told to send a drawing of an idea that would help, which I did years ago. Nothing came of it. I’ve had three doctors say, “I don’t know what your underwear is, but whatever you’re wearing, get rid of it now.” I have had many medical issues — one creating another, etc. — and have suffered. But I have used common sense to heal, and then try to find another fabric, style, size — all the above — to go forth. They don’t remind me of my covenants, I admit, because I’ve suffered so. My scriptures do my reminding each day. Garments are anything but attractive, and I honestly have not experienced anything positive from them. However, I have had neighbors tell me I’m ridiculous for being outside in the heat in my modest attire. I’ve had a group of my fellow office workers gather around my desk to ask me what that is they see faint lines of under my blouse/bra. And once I went shopping with a non-member friend in southern California. We went to the dressing rooms to try on clothes, and to my horror, there were no doors or curtains there. I tried to say I changed my mind, but my friend was adamant. It almost became a scene. So I tried to really hurry, but the women across from me caught a glimpse and froze in staredom! But……in an effort to be obedient and faithful, I have endured. Yeah? I don’t really think it will be counted unto righteousness because in my heart, I sincerely hate them. I am uncomfortable with ritual to begin with, and 24/7 reminders seem extreme to me. I’d rather have tattoos to mark the symbolic items.

    I just don’t know if I can ever fit in with celestial culture. Some of it is so strange and peculiar, and I don’t seem to ever “feel” that it’s in a good or healthy way. I’m sure it’s me…. Like I said, I don’t think I really belong.

  259. “Frankly, I’m absolutely shocked that this discussion has gone on this long on a forum with so much knowledge about the Church without a single person offering even any attempt to cite to any allegation by any Church authority that the garment is a revealed principle according to some actual alleged revelation.”

    Frankly, most of the people here probably stopped reading the exchange quite a while ago, since there really hasn’t been anything new added to it by the last (insert number of comments here).

    It also is hard to read multiple comments that each rival the OP in length. I’m not sure even RTS wrote anything as long as some of these.

  260. Yeah, that’s probably true. The actual post at the top of the page is outstanding. I’d love to see a BCC post about the history of the garment, its provenance, etc., and an examination of why and how the church apparently fails to engage regarding whether and how it has anything to do with any actual divine command. Elder Asay’s August 1997 article has some interesting assertions and implications, for example, and it would be fantastic to see an in-depth look that actually delves into the actual doctrinal and historic basis for it.

  261. Haggoth says:

    SGNM, the Asay article comes closest to what you are asking for, particularly the quote from President Joseph F. Smith, “The Lord has given unto us garments of the holy priesthood, and you know what that means. And yet there are those of us who mutilate them, in order that we may follow the foolish, vain and (permit me to say) indecent practices of the world. In order that such persons may imitate the fashions, they will not hesitate to mutilate that which should be held by them the most sacred of all things in the world, next to their own virtue, next to their own purity of life. They should hold these things that God has given unto them sacred, unchanged and unaltered from the very pattern in which God gave them. Let us have the moral courage to stand against the opinions of fashion, and especially where fashion compels us to break a covenant and so commit a grievous sin.”
    The second first presidency letter also comes close.

  262. “unchanged and unaltered from the very pattern in which God gave them”

    If this refers to the markings and their meaning, fine; if it refers to anything else, not so fine.

  263. Frankly, most of the people here probably stopped reading the exchange quite a while ago, since there really hasn’t been anything new added to it by the last (insert number of comments here).

    It also is hard to read multiple comments that each rival the OP in length. I’m not sure even RTS wrote anything as long as some of these.

    Yeah, what Ray said. Srsly people, when you notice that you’ve said 5x more than the original post, time to put yourself on the bench for a while and let others talk.

  264. Non-member here, but my ILs are all faithful, garment-wearing LDS.
    My question is: why would the church ever change its design as women have asked it to? Garments are understood are being necessary to keep your TR; questioning how to wear them and whether or not to wear them is usually seen as tantamount to questioning the church. The church could change the design to address many of the (valid) issues women have experienced by wearing them, but why, when the faithful will continue to wear them so that they may retain their TRs? In addition, since the only distribution company is church-owned, there’s no competition the way there is with “regular” underwear – so where is the motivation for the church to change the design of the garment?
    It seems as though the garments are designed by and approved by older men, who do not fully comprehend what women must experience throughout the course of their lives (menstruation, yeast infections, pregnancy, postpartum healing, etc.), and I don’t think there will be a significant change in the design of the garment until there is a significant change in the age of the Quorum of the 12.

  265. @SGNM. Maybe I have to thank you in part, because after our long exchange I feel like a light has turned on in how to better compartmentalize and explain what I’ve been trying to get at. I believe accepted ordinances of the church are analogous to written revelations and can be thought of as part of an overall accepted cannon. And so I view your request/desire/need for a source text that claims revelation as fundamentally flawed. As I see it, when Joseph brought an ordinance to the church, and said it was necessary for salvation, this would be an analogous situation to dictating a revelation to the church. When the church accepts and then puts this ordinance into practice, it is analogous to putting a written revelation into the written cannon that then becomes binding on the church.

    Asking for a source text thereafter would be like asking for a source text for D&C 89 or any other section in the D&C. The only source you can give is that it was a purported revelation from Joseph Smith (or some other prophet), and that the church accepted on such and such date. While their may be other revelations that clarify or add upon a certain revelation, the revelation itself is its own source text. So also when asking for a citation of revelation or source text for any given ordinance (in this case the endowment), the only only source you can give is that it was a purported ordinance of salvation from the prophet Joseph Smith, and that it was accepted and implemented in the church on whatever date. There maybe other scriptures or revelations that clarify or expound upon such an ordinance (like D&C 132 for eternal marriage), but the ordinance itself is its own source text, and stands on its own (i.e. to know that the sealing ordinances are revealed from God is not dependent on D&C 132). In each instance, whether a written revelation or a revealed ordinance of salvation, neither needs to be explained in a separate instance as being a revelation once accepted by the church, because this is already implicit when being given to the church by the prophet and being accepted by the church.

    And so I think our accepted and practiced ordinances can rightly be considered part of our overall accepted cannon. And thus these ordinances are implicitly considered revealed and subject to expansion, subtraction, clarification, and interpretation by those holding the keys in the same way canonized written revelations are. You need no longer search for a source revelation, as the ordinance stands on its own.

    If you do not accept this line of reasoning, I guess to each his own, but this is where I’m coming from. Thanks for the in depth discussion, all the best!

  266. AnonCA you may be correct. I hope though that through honest discussions such as these the design will change. If not it will be business as usual for most women as they will continue to suffer in silence rather than voice their concerns. For others though they will reach a point that they just leave the church. Both options are very sad and depressing to think about.

  267. Angela C says:

    AnonCA: “My question is: why would the church ever change its design as women have asked it to? Garments are understood are being necessary to keep your TR; questioning how to wear them and whether or not to wear them is usually seen as tantamount to questioning the church.” On the contrary, the designs change frequently and there is a long history of change.
    “The church could change the design to address many of the (valid) issues women have experienced by wearing them, but why, when the faithful will continue to wear them so that they may retain their TRs?” That goes to motivation and the pace of change, a valid question. It does seem that change comes very slowly.
    “In addition, since the only distribution company is church-owned, there’s no competition the way there is with “regular” underwear – so where is the motivation for the church to change the design of the garment?” Correct, but as pointed out in the OP, this was not always the case. There used to be various designers as well as patterns to make your own. But nobody’s got time to make their own underwear in this day and age. And the church has also standardized them by bringing them under one manufacturer.
    “It seems as though the garments are designed by and approved by older men, who do not fully comprehend what women must experience throughout the course of their lives (menstruation, yeast infections, pregnancy, postpartum healing, etc.), and I don’t think there will be a significant change in the design of the garment until there is a significant change in the age of the Quorum of the 12.” My understanding (albeit anecdotal) is that at least some women are involved in the design, although final options may be subject to approval from the Q12. Regardless, women are also capable of making bad designs. Hence my invective to either get out of or actually get into the underwear business. Right now, we seem to be somewhere in between.

  268. UnderCover Brother says:

    Angela C, Steve & SGNM: I spent some time updating my wife on how much I’m enjoying the back and forth discussions between Steve and SGNM and the insights they have provided me regarding the subtleties of practice and doctrine, obedience and agency. Her response? ‘I really don’t care. All I know is I’ve suffered for years wearing garments, mentally, physically and spiritually. Angela C’s OP with her suggestions and the responses of others really resonate with me, but unless we do something it will be just another discussion that disappears into the ether. I want to do the right thing, but should I continue to suffer for doing so?’ (May be this is one of the differences between a man and woman: ‘Validity vs. Utility’?).

    The question I have is: what shall we do then so that this does not become one of those that disappear into the ether?

    – Is it appropriate to forward this link to our local and Stake leaders and explain to them that this is how people are feeling?

    – Should we ask the leaders to forward up the ‘food chain’ and ask that they provide a response on how these things will be addressed and continue to do so until we do get some sort of response?

    – Should we ask for a venue where local, faithful members can discuss these things with our local/Stake leaders openly and honestly without fear of some sort or reprisal? (I’m still stunned there is no venue on Earth to discuss something that can be so potentially damaging to our physical and emotional welfare)

    – Should we do some sort of letter writing campaign where we write to the General Authorities and/or General Relief Society Board, explaining to them the continual high physical, emotional and spiritual cost of living this commandment (especially when there may be no ‘doctrinal underpinnings’ to the instruction)?

    These are just some of my thoughts and there may be others. Some deep and moving concerns and great suggestions have been captured here. But, as Elder Oaks once said,’Therefore, what?’

    would really like to say to my wife: ‘You really are not alone with this. Here’s what we with others can faithfully do’.

    Your thoughts?

  269. Dog lover says:

    Good luck with that! A few days ago having read this blog and seeing someone mentioned bamboo fabric available, I headed to distribution services. I have hot flashes and have been sleeping in regular underwear and a thin tank so that I can get some sleep. I was excited about possibly wearing garments at night. Oh my. The 20 something year old worker gave me a piece of her mind. Even though I had tried all the fabric options, blah, blah blah. There was no way to try the bamboo fabric since I just sweat, don’t have allergies. She was quite snarky about letting me know that “it is my choice to take them off at night” and they had no plans to help with a wicking material. I figure if a young woman could be so outraged that a woman going through menopause would want to sleep and not have to sleep/change garments in the night there isn’t much hope for us.

  270. That’s unfortunate that patrons get treated like that. Makes one wonder if they’re receiving training that would create that attitude.

  271. Perhaps the OP could be printed out, along with the comments that actually address problems we have had (ie. minus the men’s doctrinal discussions) and the resultant document sent to the RS general presidency. It would seem they should be willing to advocate for us.

  272. Martine says:

    I can’t read all the comments. I have written and read about garments more than any other topic, I think. I never ceases to amaze me how many comments such posts generate. And the Brethren just ignore it. They refuse to invest the millions necessary to purchase the machinery required to produce a 21st century garment. (Yes, I know for a fact the the Presiding Bishopric refused to spent $2 mil for a certain type of machinery). The message I got from that refusla was, “the women of the church are not worth the expense”–you may not get that message, but I did.

    So, what’s the answer they have chosen? Issue edicts about how you should wear your underwear whether or not it works for you. Cause angst and guilt in women, either when they adapt the garment to their circumstances or when they forgo it on occasion. Cause women to be afraid of consequences both physical or spiritual if they do those things. Run to the bishop to ask if “doing this or that is ok?”

    One of the two garments designers –she was still there 2 years ago but could have retired now–told me, face to face, that a request was made several years ago to the brethren on behalf of an elderly, well-connected, brother to have the marks silk-screened for him, as he had scaring from war wounds that were irritated by them. HE WAS TURNED DOWN. THE REASON GIVEN BY THE BRETHREN–not some low level person–WAS THAT “THERE SHOULD BE NO WRITTING ON THE GARMENT.” That is just crazy talk, in my opinion.

    Don’t missionaries get told to identify their garments with a permanent marker?

  273. @Martine, I would love to chat with you about this topic away from this thread, if you’re willing to do so. I don’t know what the site protocol is for exchanging contact information for that sort of thing, though. I created a specialty e-mail account just for this and I’ll post the address in this comment – but I would ask the moderators to be patient with me if that’s not something that’s done here and, if they decide to delete the comment, to give me some guidance on how to give you a way to contact me if you want to. The e-mail address is SGNM@hotmail.com Thanks.

    (And I’d be happy to chat with anyone else, as well. I think that’s probably more productive than filling this comment thread up more with my comments.)

  274. Martine says:

    Dog Lover. I got some bamboo tops a while back. I never wore them. I just looked for them but it looks like I discarded them. I’d have been happy to send them to you. Shoot!

  275. Martine says:

    SGNM: I’ve emailed you.

  276. I’m going to print this out and hand-deliver it to my local distribution center, for what it’s worth…

  277. “If this refers to the markings and their meaning, fine; if it refers to anything else, not so fine.” My understanding is that the meaning of the markings have also changed.

  278. I just read all of these comments!

    I hate you all.

  279. @sgnm
    The Initiatory is part of your endowment even if later temple service seems to disconnect these two items.
    I do remember from the initiatory, “That you should wear throughout your life” and “Do not defile it.”

    IF the statement read at the beginning of the temple recommend interview is indeed inspired, then perhaps rather than looking at it as being “Incorrect” you could see it as a clarification of something instead of being an attempt to create a commandment where there is none.

    Finally Ladies I know it’s uncomfortable, but if you ALL start sharing in your next interview, then maybe by the one after that we won’t have that statement read anymore.

    Or you could do as I do and realize that asking if you wear the garment as instructed no more invites a “Discussion of my underwear with someone who isn’t my husband” than does asking Do you live the law of chastity invite a discussion of your sex life.

  280. Undercover Brother, Ann, and Anon…those are great ideas. Who knows? If enough people write in maybe the church will address the issues.

    Ron….it would be great if Bishops left the garment question to a yes or no. However what are women suppose to do when they are called in to “check in on things” and it becomes about how other people have noticed you are not wearing your garments anymore. And yes that does happen.

    Still here is to hoping that this information finds its way to the people in power and that change can occur once more.

  281. Dax I’m SO not surprised that you just said that. That being said, This post deals with the TR interview.
    The appropriate response to that would be. “Gee, I don’t REMEMBER lifting my shirt for anybody but my husband and I don’t think HE would have complained.”

  282. Ha ha Ron that’s a great response! Won’t end the “are things ok” meeting but pretty funny to watch them squirm for a moment before the inquisition continues.

  283. farnsies says:

    Aaaaagh! I’m all garmented out and I don’t know how to unfollow this thread. Somebody please help – I’m drowning in emails!

  284. Farnsies: to get away from email drowing, I think you can “unclick” the area below where you’d post that says “notify me of follow up comments via email”.

    thanks for such a wonderful thread and article..so many wonderful points and I hope they will be considered, for instance the info on risk of infections due to lack of breathability. I especially appreciate the points about the time of month..I used to keep “old ones” for that time so the new ones didn’t get damaged. But for those who prefer pads, the garments just don’t work!

    Another thought is when we go to the doctor or try on clothes in a dressing room (ie cameras as I understand).

    I didn’t read the comments but my understanding there are ways to have a garment adapted for someone w/a disability..I recall seeing that on lds.org where you order garments.

  285. This comment from someone above said ““Discussion of my underwear with someone who isn’t my husband”, I recall a time when I was asked the garment question and I replied sometimes I didn’t if I wasn’t caught up on laundry. How embarassing to then have the counselor conducting the interview counsel me on being better w/laundry. There are better uses of their time I think. I’d rather have more spiritual advice than something of that nature.

  286. Angela C says:

    Thanks everyone for your comments.

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