The Holey Garment

Those who have not yet been through the temple still know that once you receive your temple endowment, you are expected to wear temple garments the rest of your life as a reminder of the covenants made in the temple.  I’ve posted previously about some of the thoughts these garments brought to mind.

There’s a side effect to temple garments: you don’t throw them away like regular underwear.

It is a pain to dispose of temple garments.  They are not to be thrown into trees like college underpants or disposed of like regular underwear.  Temple garments are also more expensive than typical underwear: boxers at Costco go for $8.99 for a six-pack, while a single pair of men’s bottoms cost considerably more (and do not, IMHO, provide better manufacturing quality).

The culmination of these and other factors — cost, sacredness, awkwardness of disposal — lead me to believe that Mormons wear their underwear out a lot more than Gentiles.  While a pair of Hanes gets tossed following a particularly bad day, temple garments will be worn until they are no longer distinguishable as such.  I have limited data to back this up of course, but all this can change, thanks to your participation in our anonymous poll.  Please provide this information, which I will present at the next possible Sunstone underpants symposium.


  1. a random John says:

    This post has caused me to resolve to do a complete inventory and get rid of my garments that need disposal. Of course it takes a special sort of will power to do this in the summer since the old ones are cooler.

  2. Note to any who haven’t ordered garments in the past few years (like myself, up until recently) — there are no shipping charges on garments when ordered online, so if it works better for you to order one pair a month than ten pairs all at once, there’s no cost disadvantage (to you, at least).

  3. I think I have been scarred for life by my father’s refusal to buy new garments in a timely fashion, and his insistence on wearing them around the house as pyjamas. So if not for yourselves, please do it for your children.

  4. RobertaJ says:

    Most people find snipping or burning parts of their once-beloved underclothes a tad weird.

    They don’t wnat to not do it, so they get stuffed in the back of a drawer and never get “properly disposed of.”

  5. I change mine out when they get too gray. I hate wearing a white polo shirt with gray beneath it.

  6. Chad Too says:

    Don’t forget you need your membership number now when you order garments online/via the phone. There’s a spot for it on recommends now.

  7. lyle stamps says:

    what about an option for those that choose to redo the sewing on the seams when it comes apart?

  8. danithew says:

    This post is so real. As soon as I saw the T&S link I was chuckling about it, amazed the topic hasn’t come up previously.

  9. I think it’s come up before. Someplace (FMH? Mommy Wars? Heck, maybe T & S) had a discussion of the subject a while ago. And someone (Anne GB?) remarked about how Mormon men wear their G’s too long. I believe that the phrase “look like they were shot in the butt with a shotgun” was used.

  10. Good post Steve. I should have included this in my rationale for a non-fabric garment at

    And Steve, on a different subject, we never heard at how you pegged me as a Francophone missionary (

    Have a great weekend.

  11. Aaron Brown says:

    Mission Story:

    In my first area, my companion and I taught all 6 discussions to an extremely poor gentleman in our area. he lived in a hut composed of random scraps of metal and wood, and he wore the same outfit everyday: a white t-shirt with two big holes ripped in it, and a pair of shorts. For the sixth discussion, I was on splits, and so I taught the discussion with an elder from the adjacent area. This elder noticed something funny that neither I nor my comp had picked up on.

    As we were leaving, the elder turned to me and asked me if I recognized what the investigator was wearing. “Yeah,” I replied. “That same old ripped-up t-shirt that he always wears.” Then, it was explained to me that that t-shirt was an old Mormon garment top with the symbols cut out. I had been teaching an investigator who was wearing a temple garment during the entire investigation process, and I had never picked up on it.

    Moral of the story: Maybe you really should burn your garments when you’re through with them, cause if you don’t, someone out there may be wearing them, whether you’ve cut out the symbols or not.

    Aaron B

  12. Aaron Brown says:

    Question: Is it ever appropriate to intentionally “alter” your garments, say, with a sewing machine? My wife is a seamstress, and she has done alterations for herself (and maybe others) to make the garments fit better. Presumably, if one is trying to shorten the garment’s length, in order to be able to wear skimpier clothes, that is a no-no. But what if you’re just trying to make the proportions fit you better? I figure there’s nothing wrong with that, but what do you all think?

    Aaron B

  13. Tom Manney says:

    Another problem is that synthetic materials don’t exactly burn well, they just sort of melt into a gooey mess.

    My tendency has been to stow away old, unwearable garments in a bottom drawer and try to forget they exist.

  14. Aaron, while we are counseled not to alter the garment, I imagine making them fit better is kosher. Moreover, you do bring up an excellent point – one which I am reticent to believe has been left unexplored. Why on earth has no one invented the garment shredder?! I can see it now in the Deseret Books:

    Worried about scaries bringing the wrath of God upon themselves by sporting your old garments? Well, the engineers at BYU have developed the Immolator 2000. Now with cross-cut capabilities to ensure complete destruction of the holey garment.

  15. Katherine says:

    I think they’ve lowered the prices recently–I got 4 sets for 24 dollars–if you replaced them every year that’s still only 50 dollars a year. I don’t think it’s too bad, and that’s coming from someone whose household income is less than $15,000 per year.

  16. Cut the markings out, then cut up the garments until they aren’t recognizable as clothes, then use them as cleaning rags, then throw them away. Easy and cost effective. No need to feel guilty.

  17. Tom Manney says:

    Karen, my mon uses the scraps as cleaning rags, but it really bothers me. So I still feel guilty.

  18. Steve Evans says:

    “use them as rags…” another pioneer thrift throwback. Please, people, do we really want to be cleaning our homes with old underwear that is TOO OLD to be worn as underwear anymore??!?

  19. Maybe the “use them as rags” counsel is a euphemistic way of saying “you are now allowed to let your skivvies touch the ground.”

  20. jjohnsen says:

    “I think I have been scarred for life by my father’s refusal to buy new garments in a timely fashion, and his insistence on wearing them around the house as pyjamas. So if not for yourselves, please do it for your children.

    Ugh, I hadn’t thought about this. I hope my daughter is still young enough to recover.

  21. JA Benson says:

    We have a holiday tradition at our house. During the week of Christmas. My husband and I gather up our worn garments and put them in the fireplace with a stack of wood and have a nice holiday fire. We wear cotton garments and I highly recommend them as firestarters.

  22. When I bought new garments a few months ago, they were a lot cheaper. The lady told me the prophet had ordered them to lower the prices. How thoughtful that was.

    I’ve never burned my entire garments, I didn’t know you were supposed to. We pretty much wear them out.

  23. Come to think of it, annegb, I don’t really recall ever being told the proper way to dispose of the garmet. I’ve heard suggestions, like the many listed already, but never the authorized version from the church. Perhaps I missed that lesson somewhere along the way. I just wear mine out and stash them away, not knowing what really to do with them. Any insight of what exactly to do would be great.

  24. All I was ever told is to cut out and destroy the marks, then it’s just cloth to be thrown away or whatever. I don’t think its necessary to burn them (although if they make a great holiday fire, more power to you!).

  25. Some people are told in the temple to burn them.

  26. Tom Manney says:

    I was endowed at the Los Angeles temple in late December 1994 — it opened for one day during a two-week Christmas break for people who needed living ordinances done. Consequently, I was with a large group of mostly young men and women who were all getting their endowments at the same time (which was kind of cool). The temple president spoke to all of us beforehand, and he said we should burn old garments, but added that if this was difficult then it would be sufficient to cut out the marks and just burn them.

  27. I just hope that there is no eternal punishment for not discarding old garments correctly…at least if the discarder, like myself, was ignorant.

  28. “Please, people, do we really want to be cleaning our homes with old underwear that is TOO OLD to be worn as underwear anymore??!?”

    Ha! Steve, you can get some decent sized strips out of the t-shirt portion. If you have the cotton ones, they actually make pretty good cleaning rags. Now, if you’re wiping off the counter with the bottoms, then I probably don’t want to eat at your house.

  29. Growing up, old G’s were the only rags I knew existed. (cotton and cotton/poly blend, other types are less absorbant)

    I’ve cleaned everything with them. Everything. Call me cheap, but they’re still some of my favorite rags. I do however dispose of (how to say this delicately) hum . . . well . . .hum . . . the crotch. (I failed) (hate the word)

  30. Rosalynde says:

    FWIW, drisilque is pretty darn durable, and in my eight or so years of G-wearing, I’ve never seen it get threadbare in the way that the cotton and blends will.

    Nursing is hardest on my Gs; my technique involves a stretching of the neckline, and eventually the lace trim (that darned lace trim!) separates from the edge, and that’s it. I refuse to mend Gs.

  31. here’s a garment question:

    What if you wear garments, but don’t have a temple recommend (for a reason unrelated to worthiness)? How do you get new ones?

  32. Even if you don’t have a temple recommend for a reason that IS related to worthiness, you’re supposed to wear garments.

    You can get your membership number from a ward clerk.

  33. Is there a way to not have a temple recommend and not because of unworthiness? I only see two ways this is possible. One, it has expired. In which case, the solution is to renew it. The other possibility lies in the assumption that one or more requirements for a temple recommend have nothing to do with true “worthiness”.

    But if we assume that being able to answer affirmatively to the recommend question amounts to worthiness to enter the temple, how is it possible that you can not be able to get a temple recommend for reasons unrelated to worthiness?

  34. jenna, when you buy them in person at a distribution center, they do not ask for a recommend. They only ask for a recommend for ceremonial clothing.

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