Temple garments and the Don Draper effect

During each temple recommend interview the person conducting the interview has been asked to read a short statement on wearing the temple garment.  Recently the text of that statement has been altered slightly.

Part of the earlier version reads: ‘The garment should not be removed for activities which might reasonably be done with the garment worn beneath the clothing.  As members carefully follow these principles, they will be guided by the Holy Spirit in considering their personal commitment to wear the garment’.

The revised version reads: ‘The garment should not be removed, either entirely or partially to work in the yard or for other activities that can be reasonably be done with the garment worn beneath the clothing.  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 changes are unusual in two ways.  First they are minor and second they are strange.

First, the change around yard work.  Parenthetically, it clearly betrays the cultural imperialism of some of the materials produced by the Church.  Yards, for Europeans at least, are usually open spaces outside of factories or other areas of manual labour.  Yet, how can this change be explained?  Perhaps a series of nosy neighbours have been concerned about the rising level of shirtless yard work being done in the Salt lake valley.  Although this sounds somewhat facetious I am actually being serious. Aside from this I cannot think of a good explanation for this addendum.  This then raises the question of what, if anything, is the root of the concern.  I would be surprised if there are women who are partially wearing the garment while doing ‘yard work’ and so this seems to be aimed at men.  Perhaps we are seeing the first indications of what I call the ‘Don Draper effect’.  In an early episode of Mad Men, while Don plays with the kids in the garden wearing a (tight) white T-shirt, a friend of Betty Draper remarks ‘You are a lucky women!’  Could the sexual insecurity of some be the first intimations that men, too, are walking pornography?

The second shift is more interesting, but unfortunately has less to do with Don Draper.  This second change alters the work of the Holy Spirit in relation to keeping covenants associated with the temple garment.  In the first statement the Holy Spirit guides members in relation to their commitment while in the second statement the Holy Spirit provides answers for the individual members regarding how they should wear the garment.  The irony here, of course, is that as the statement has become more proscriptive it has also emphasized personal revelation and choice when making decisions regarding how to wear the garment.

In short, I find these changes somewhat confused and unnecessary.


  1. I wholeheartedly agree.

    We can swim in the backyard pool without a shirt but if we stop to pull some dandelions out of the lawn we’re sinning.

    So we can lay out in the yard for a suntan, but heaven forbid we get a suntan while doing something constructive like mowing the lawn.

    Even if you don’t take your shirt off, it is gross to wear the garment under your clothing when doing serious heavy yard work. I get sweatier working in the yard than when playing most sports.

    It seems to me that this is becoming a bit pharisaic. I wonder which GA’s wife doesn’t like to look at the chubby neighbor doing yard work with his shirt off…

  2. This basic instruction that specifically mentions yard work has existed for awhile in the instructions that accompany the recommend books. It just appears they’ve moved it to the part where its actually read to members.

  3. Dustin, certainly my post is not supposed to be all that serious but the question I am trying to get at is why make the change at all. Plus, the yard work change is not the only one.

  4. Overheard at the mall, while waiting for a daughter trying on clothes: (1) “I really love this.” (2) Get it. You can wear it to the pool or when you’re on the way to pool, or when you’re thinking about going to the pool (laughter) or in the yard or to the gym… (more laughter). (1) “Totally. I’m getting it.” I don’t think I’m a prude, but I think a lot of people trivialize them and I think it’s hard to trivialize the symbol for the covenant without trivializing the covenant. I’m not offended that reminders are to the point. Too much attention on wearing clothes that go right to the line instead of developing a culture of modesty is a problem we have, not that I think the leadership has. I really like this. But then I love the dress of many Asian and Middle Eastern countries, salwaar kameez, spangled hijabs, fun.

  5. The Don Draper connection is very interesting. Modesty for men seems to have been taken more seriously back then. I actually feel some weird validation when I see Draper in that crew neck undershirt. Men don’t usually look like that under their clothes any more. But I do. (Ironically, I don’t think crew neck garments were even in existence in the 60s.)

  6. Bonnie, I am not quite sure what your point is. I read you as saying that I am trivializing the garment and that I am offended at the reminder. Neither is true. Am I reading you incorrectly?

  7. I should also mention that the part about partial removal of the garment could also be aimed at women. While its doubtful many women are doing yard work completely shirtless as a man might, they could easily be observed doing yard work in tank tops or sports bras.

    I do find the inclusion of that specific activity of yard work to be very Utah-centric (not that yard work is not done outside Utah but the context of dress during yard work is different, along with heat and humidity levels, even in other areas of the United States, not to mention globally), which does seem to be out of place with the direction the Church has shifted to make its publications and statements as culturally context-free as possible (in other words, to be applicable to a global church).

  8. American Eagle says:

    I think some Mormons spend all day on Saturday in a swimwear or exercise gear. They head to yoga in the morning, then run errands, then do some yard work, all without wearing garments. Sometimes Mormons will spend days on vacation without ever wearing garments.

  9. 4 Bonnie – I think that would be less of a problem if we spent less time emphasizing and fetishizing “the line” to begin with. Specific prescriptions X strong obedience to leaders minutea = letter of the law > spirit of the law almost every time. Of course the cost to going to going the other way principles with no little specifics = seeing some women’s shoulders and knees and maybe a few more unfortunate outfits choices by some YW. Pick your poison I guess.

  10. “Perhaps a series of nosy neighbours have been concerned about the rising level of shirtless yard work being done in the Salt lake valley.”

    During a ward activity while I was a missionary there, the Bishop in Mulhouse, France stripped down to his garment top and started weeding the flower beds around the Church. It struck me as quite weird at the time, but it does happen.

  11. Aaron, I have spoken badly then. I meant that the conversation I overheard trivializes the garment and I think the garment as well. As a YW leader I heard a lot of “my mom said” about their clothes as well. I’ve also heard people comment about the changes in directives. I am a gardener. I lived 40 years in the Midwest where the humidity is 2000%. I sweat like a pig. Then I go take a shower. It seems a small thing. I do think people trivialize their covenants sometimes, but that’s probably Pharasaic since I’m not in anyone’s head but my own, so maybe I’m the one trivializing.

  12. I know endowed women who prefer to do yard work in shorts and a tank top and therefore would remove their garments, maybe even partially. Not saying it’s right or wrong, just that there could also be a Betty Draper effect at play here. Not that Betty Draper ever did yard work.

    The second change is interesting. On the one hand they’re telling people they don’t “need” to take their garments off to do yard work (and therefore “shouldn’t”) but on the other hand they’re also saying that folks don’t need to consult priesthood leaders every time they have a question about whether or not it’s kosher to remove their garments for activity x. I suspect that’s what the writers of the statement thought they were implying before. (It was certainly what I inferred.)

  13. “… and I think the covenant as well …”

  14. Bonnie, I am sure it was just my reading comprehension. Apologies if I was a little defensive.

  15. RJ and Dustin, I think you both could be right about the tank-top concern.

  16. Not at all, Aaron. #9rah, I agree wholeheartedly. The line mentality is destructive. So as a leader, what do we do about that? God tends to communicate to us in lines because it gives us extraordinary freedom to develop our own passion for obedience and to reap the commensurate rewards. I can’t be obedient without a line drawn somewhere because there would be no obedience. That I get goofy and focus on the line is my own immaturity. In negotiation we say that there can be no yes until you know where no is, but no isn’t where either sides wants it to end up.

  17. I like the statement so much better before revisions, and not just because of the convoluted grammatical contortions now present.

  18. Aaron, as someone who has spent his adult life in U.S. cities, the oddness of the gardening example struck me, too, when I heard about the change. Even in the U.S., some pronouncements from Salt Lake seem to come out of left field. I assume that someone thinks gardening in Utah/Idaho/California/ Nevada has become problematic, but there’s nobody in my ward that could garden without garments, even if they wanted to.

  19. Tracy M, I kinda like the convuloted grammatical contortions.

  20. Sam, that is really interesting point of view. Thanks.

  21. I know a girl who used to take off her garment bottoms for date-night with her husband so she could wear a super short skirt and thigh high boots. It was disappointing, but ultimately hers to deal with. For a while when I lived in the University ward in SL there were a great deal of newly married women in thigh high, or over the knee boots and enough of a gap between skirt and boots to know. And people freak out when I want to wear pants.

  22. Peter LLC says:

    I assume that someone thinks gardening in Utah/Idaho/California/ Nevada has become problematic

    It’s like they’re saying breaking the law is ok but we’re going to draw the line at covenant breaking.

  23. I thought there would be some reference to this last week’s episode, in which Don Draper takes off his shirt to fix a sink (to the enjoyment of the women in the room). Here’s images:

  24. Andy (23) I can see why the women are so pleased. :)

  25. EOR, some of us are trying to multiply and replenish the earth here. If garments get in the way – so be it.

  26. angelandsimba says:

    #10 Ben S.
    What’s funny is as soon as I read this I remembered you telling me that story. At least I thought it was you. Were you in Mulhouse before or after Tourcoing?

  27. 26 changed my name. This is Ron.

  28. Andy, I love Mad Men but do not have Sky(cable) and so I have to wait until it is released on DVD.

  29. I went from Mulhouse to Tourcoing around June of 97. On se connait?

  30. Can I just throw out there that I dislike wearing the garment and wish there were other ways to show respect for temple covenants – perhaps, for example, by simply following them? Since within Mormon communities garments signify outward faithfulness I continue to wear them, but I refuse to harbor any reverent feelings towards my underwear. Pardon my flippancy for anyone who holds them in higher esteem, but for me spirituality is unrelated to silly looking, uncomfortable underclothing.

  31. In the Utah neighborhood where I grew up there were many beautiful yards, which required constant care primarily from the women of the homes. It was not uncommon to see LDS women in short shorts and tank tops pulling weeds or planting flowers. They were clearly not wearing their garments. Of course, there were also many men (and young men) who would mow lawns and so forth, often shirtless.

    I agree that this is probably a case of Utah-centrism. But I’m not sure that it is meant as a specific restriction so much as an example of an activity that can reasonably be done while still wearing the garment.

    Of all the questions in the temple recommend interview, this is the only one that has accompanying clarifying text–a bit of a head-scratcher in my opinion–which seems to indicate that our leaders think that this is an issue that members seem to have some trouble understanding. I don’t find it all that surprising that they’ve added a little more context to the clarification.

    I’d be interested to hear how often others of you have had this statement read to you in a temple recommend interview. I can only recall having it read to me once, and I confess that I did not read it to others 100% of the time when I was giving recommend interviews.

  32. I’m a lady and I’ll admit, even when I was trying to wear garments faithfully, I felt no qualms about doing yard work in a tank top and shorts or even a swimsuit- a girl has to get tan somehow! And truly, if I had a swimming pool in my yard, no one would think twice about it.
    I agree with “SeeDee” wholeheartedly- I “wish there were other ways to show respect for temple covenants – perhaps, for example, by simply following them? Since within Mormon communities garments signify outward faithfulness I continue to wear them, but I refuse to harbor any reverent feelings towards my underwear”.
    Garments are just a means to an end- sometimes we focus more on the means than we do on the “end”. For some people, garments are very helpful at achieving that end. Someone close to me recently told me that his garments kept him from breaking his marital vows. I’m glad, then, that such a tool exists for him. That’s never been my issue and I really really doubt it ever will.
    For me, I look at them and they represent everything about the church I feel so disillusioned with: the masonic symbols, the Pharisaical prescriptivism, the idea that the MEANS have eternal significance (rather than simply being a tool to help us reach an end), the ability to judge other’s faithfulness based on how much shoulder or thigh they are showing. It all just feels very “lower law” to me.

  33. I can remember quite a few of these seemingly-out-of-left-field statements in the past 40 years — if you don’t know what’s behind something, they do sound disconnected (if you weren’t aware of the repeated trouble over members’ failure to follow proxy ordinance rules, you might have been puzzled by the recent letter threatening loss of NFS privileges, for example). This one seems like another of those “deal with the immediate problem” situations that doesn’t take into account the “solution’s” distorting effect on the general principles underlying a member’s relationship to the temple. But it also always seems as though when enough of these ad hoc statements have cluttered up the scene, eventually they come along and rewrite or reteach the underlying principles, and the clutter goes away again for a while.

  34. 29, Yeah, On se connait. I can still remember you saying Elder, wake up as you poked me in the ribs with a broomstick.

    In my last TR interview the Stake Presidency member who was interviewing me reminded me that the original garments were ankle and wrist length. I’m glad to live in the modern church. As for the topless gardening I haven’t seen it in my own little corner of West Jordan. I, like Bonnie, wear my garments to garden and do yardwork and even when I’m remodeling and sanding sheetrock. (Want to see somethings that makes your clothes gross? Try that.) Then I put my work clothes including garmnets in the hamper and shower, replacing them with clean ones.

    #30, I’m not quite so cavalier about my “G’s” as you are, but I too fail to see the point of viewing them , once I take them off, as anything other than dirty laundry.

  35. Ardis, I am sure that is correct. I remember being locked out our flat one night as a missionary. After waiting until 10.15pm, I took a rock and broke one of the small panes of glass and unlocked the door. A few weeks later, a new rule was initiated in the mission: Missionaries do not break the windows to their flats. I am sure that it was fairly unusual for those unaware.

  36. I actually like the addition of the example. It gives context to the general prohibition, which helps me think about it more concretely. Then again, I don’t do yardwork and often struggle to think in abstractions, so take that for what it’s worth.

    As to the wording, I am agreement that prooper grammer are the best way to right and/or articulate. I am often wishing the cHurch could speek more plainly.

  37. Ah, Ron is much more recognizable!

  38. That’s funny, Aaron! I can picture elders all over your mission scratching their heads and wondering why anyone would need to make that a formal rule, and imagining some rogue companionship breaking windows as a variation of a drinking game. But as long as the elders were properly garmented, I’m sure there would be no problem with that …

  39. Well I clearly seem to have misunderstood the purpose of the second revision. (I read the opening part of the post a while before I got around to the rest of it).

    “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”

    I took it to mean questions from anyone (including non-members). A remarkable new openness I thought, perhaps on account of all the comments in the media I thought… They’d better reword it quick if that wasn’t what they I meant. I can’t be the only one to make that mistake can I?

  40. anon to protect the guilty says:

    35, when I was in the MTC, I had a bunch of fairly rowdy Elders in my district. Every week, a new letter came out from the MTC president stating specifically what we were not allowed to do. There were multiple items that applied specifically to us. I started getting a little paranoid about how much we were actually being watched. Luckily for us and the MTC, we finally made it to the end of our 8 week stint.

  41. We have a large vegetable garden in our backyard here in Utah. Most of the time, my husband does the heavy manual labor for the garden. I have a love/hate relationship with the sun. I hate sweating and I hate getting very very hot. Usually in the summer, I choose to spend a lot of my time indoors to avoid feeling too uncomfortable. This year I’d really like to help around the garden. Unfortunately, I feel very uncomfortable wearing the garment while working outside. It gets super hot and I hate the way it stick to me and my close and gets all sweaty. I suppose I’m just being fastidious, but I also prefer to exercise without the garment. I have yet to find a pair of shorts that is comfortable to work outside in and that doesn’t show the garment. I’ve even worn my husband’s large gym short and still(!) they show. I supposed it’s because my garments are form fitting to the legs and my husband’s are as baggy as the gym shorts. Last week my husband suggested to me that I just remove the garments while I work in the yard. I protested saying that people who walk by will notice that I’m not wearing garments (or a bra!) and that I don’t want them to think badly of me. He almost had me convinced that it would be ok, until I read this article.

  42. #30 SeeDee, I’m totally in your camp. I wear them based on obedience and faith, but I don’t like it… at all. Were my undergarment choices up to me, my wardrobe would not change (although, I’d sleep more comfortabley).

  43. American Eagle says:

    We are an adaptive people.

    First we had all-wool, wrist-ankle with a trap door in the back.

    Then we went to elbow-to-knee all cotton.

    Then, in the 1970s we introduced polyester.

    During the 1980s, we came up with two-piece (which some people still think is blasphemous).

    Where are we headed?

    Maybe no garments at all?

  44. Pondering in Portland says:

    The Don Draper connection is interesting to me because it represents something I’ve pondered for awhile: that the contemporary Mormon image and value system has less to do with Mormon origins and more to do with sustaining or, perhaps more realistically, bringing back 1950s consensus culture. What develops as tradition generally does so at the point which people actively choose to no longer evolve (for better or for worse).

  45. Anybody who sweats in the hot sun doing yard work along the Wasatch Front is simply a lazy sloth who should have got his lazy backside out of bed and finished the work before the sun rose above the mountains and the day got hot. So I have zero sympathy for you.

    If you live in an inhospitable clime like Alabama or Louisiana, then you should hire some friendly immigrants to do the work for you, while you sit inside in air-conditioned comfort and sip lemonade. Or else move to some place that is fit for human habitation.

  46. Last Lemming says:

    Of all the questions in the temple recommend interview, this is the only one that has accompanying clarifying text–a bit of a head-scratcher in my opinion–which seems to indicate that our leaders think that this is an issue that members seem to have some trouble understanding.

    I thought the “clarifying text” was just a way to ask the question without engaging in a verbal conversation with female members about the details of their underwear habits.

  47. Kevin Barney says:

    My father was an old skool Mormon, a son of Idaho. He always struggled with the humidity of Illinois. In the relative cool of the evenings, he would often walk around the front yard of our house, wearing his garment top like a tshirt (with no shirt over it). To him, this was nothing, but I was mortified by it.

  48. #30 See Dee – Amen! You said it perfectly. I wear them faithfully, but I sometimes I wonder if their inherent impracticality and discomfort was by design. If we ever get too comfortable who knows where temptation would lead us? Don’t forget you are peculiar!

  49. Yay for SeeDee!

    I’m a convert, and have always been a little creeped out by my friends and neighbors interest in my underwear. I try to choose clothing that prevents others from discerning the almighty lines.

    I’m a little puzzled by the “while doing gardening” lines. Does anyone know if this change is worldwide, or just for the Wasatch Front?

    I am, however, very happy about the emphasis on individual members taking their concerns to the Holy Spirit. As a member of the bishopric, I have been asked far too many personal questions (and given information that I didn’t need) about underwear.

    My Heavenly Father and I should make the decision about reasonableness, not my neighbors, certainly not that retired seminary teacher with an A type personality who always checks out my legs and arms for the telltale thick seams of garments.

    I’d like to focus on living the law, not carefully drawing out the letters of the law and then making motivational posters out of it.

    (Max steps down off his soapbox, grins apologetically…)

  50. Off topic, I wouldn’t blame you if you remove this, but I’ve just got to say: Ugly and uncomfortable. Can we please wear yarmulkes?

  51. Mommie Dearest says:

    The older I get, the more cranky I become about discussing the details of my underwear with anyone in my bishopric.

  52. #45 Mark –
    Immigrants in Utah also are happy to do yard work for their more affluent neighbors.

  53. Wait, did someone say hijabs are fun???

  54. What about those for whom “yard work” activities are not hobbies but their vocation. And maybe I am cranky but who cares what others say whether you are or are not wearing garments. I recently had a conversation with a group of women about a ward RS basketball activity. One woman asked sincerely if the women wore their garments to play during a previous event. I aswered her honestly that I didn’t know…I hadn’t paid attention. She then explained that she didn’t want to show up wearing shorts and a tank top if everyone else was wearing garments. I told her–really, who cares?

    Ultimately this is is a personal decision that boils down to intent/motive. The only person who can acurately gauge that is you and God. We should stop trying to second guess those in the dressing room who may push the line or worry about wearing them to the RS b-ball activity because of what others might think.

  55. I am convinced that if SLC was as humid as, oh, say, Virginia, the church would pour tons of money into R&D for both new fabrics and fit for garments. It is so hot and humid in the summer, garments are miserable. Even if only walking to the bus stop.

  56. Aaron (35) – I have a friend who swears that his mission had a rule that missionaries could not play basketball naked in the gym. He really wanted to know the story behind that one.

  57. The older I get, the more cranky I become about discussing the details of my underwear with anyone in my bishopric.

    Is it the temple recommend question that makes you cranky, or do you find yourself involved in other conversations with the bishopric about your underwear? I don’t personally consider the TR interview questions to be “detail”-oriented, but I can understand (I guess) why someone just wouldn’t want to be asked whether or not they’re wearing their garments as instructed (regardless of whether or not they were in compliance). I think I find the questions about my personal faith more uncomfortably intimate than the question about garments. Maybe I just don’t associate garments with intimacy, considering how difficult it is for some people to avoid showing them.

  58. Kaie B. (55), amen. I’d up your VA to anywhere on the East Coast or Midwest, not to mention Latin America, Africa, southern Europe, etc.

  59. Katie B. in #55 for COTW.

  60. I remember several years ago reading one incantation of this passage to a member in a temple recommend interview. Just after reading that he could get his own answers to questions about the garment, he proceeded to ask me a specific question about wearing the garment while cycling (he preferred exercise). I was halfway through my opinion and I said, “Wait. I just told you you can get your own answers. Let me know how it comes out if you like.”) I think the discussion not only provides direction, but it may also stop otherwise well-meaning local leaders from moralizing about their own views of garment use.

  61. um, isn’t this the same path that the ancient Israelites fell victim to? To slowly limit the freedom of its people by proscriptions? Were they not allowed to walk on grass on the Sabbath?

  62. American Eagle says:

    I’ve heard that just as we should never let an American flag touch the ground, we should never let our garments touch the ground. Is that true?

  63. Meldrum the Less says:

    My mother worked as a secretary for the church offices in the 1950’s and maintained those gossip connections for years after. In the late 1960’s to early 1970’s women’s hemlines seemed to be heading towards their necks and many of the younger women in the church were getting rather creative. They were only a generation removed from making all of their own cloths and could skillfully alter the garments rather than not wear them. A little snip, snip here and there….

    The top leadership had a discussion, probably motivated by daughters and maybe wives more than the Utah heat, about what to do about the emerging underwear crisis. One suggestion was to consider making the garment part of the temple uniform and not require it to be worn anywhere else. All but two of the leaders thought this course of action was best in light of the upward direction women were taking in their wardrobe choices.

    A company that made the garment for the church at that time was owned by family members of one of the leader hold-outs and this suggestion would mean a large loss of income for his family. No action was taken without unanimous agreement. By the time the hold-outs died off, the issue had also died down and apparently the hold-outs had been replaced by others.

    If this story is true, or something close to it, I wish it was more widely known. A better example of the difference between doctrine and folklore? I can’t think of one that beats the admonition to wear odd church-made underwear night and day and now while doing yard work. I hope the recent yard work rule might reflect weakening of the resolve of the church to remain entrenched in the underwear department. I look forward to a day soon when the church members can be entrusted with their own underwear decisions.

    For the record, what I observe here in the Georgia heat is very low compliance in garment wearing during the summer by member and local leaders alike.We all play like we wear garments as instructed. It’s like a game of The Emperor Wears No Underwear. One summer, a well-respected leader went to a church luau where his polynesian wife got him up in front to dance. His pants fell down about half way briefly and he was obviously not wearing his garments. We have pictures, accidentally taken at the inopportune half-moon moment. He was later sustained as a general authority. I wonder what he thinks about the yard work rule. (If any church moles are following this discussion, we might expect a luau-garment rule shortly.)

  64. American Eagle says:

    @ Meldrum

    That story about almost restricting garments to the temple is one of the coolest things I’ve read on the Bloggernacle. I hope it’s true. Do you have any more details?

  65. Costanza says:

    I’m not sure what the implication of this is, but the language regarding yard work at swimwear isn’t really new. It is identical to a letter the FP sent out in 1988 regarding the wearing of the garment. Not sure why they added it to the letter read during the temple rec interview. Anyway, FWIW.

  66. I guess I’m going to hell because I don’t stress over the garments thing. I rarely wear them to bed and don’t fret if I don’t put them on immediately after waking, working out or other activities. Oh and I love it when my wife surprises me by not wearing them on occasion. So yeah, that’s probably about everything I want to say about my underwear.

  67. There’s a lot that’s Utah-centric. On the flipside of Utah’s problems being placed on center stage, I think some things aren’t brought up because they aren’t problems in Utah. For example, the societal addiction in Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay to yerba mate…

  68. 63 Meldrum for BCOTW for this gem: “I look forward to a day soon when the church members can be entrusted with their own underwear decisions.”

    Also, does anybody else find it ironic that somebody named American Eagle is commenting on a post about garments? I mean can anybody wear Garments under THEIR clothes?

  69. 43.American Eagle Says:
    April 20, 2012 at 10:51 am
    We are an adaptive people.

    First we had all-wool, wrist-ankle with a trap door in the back.

    Then we went to elbow-to-knee all cotton.

    Then, in the 1970s we introduced polyester.

    During the 1980s, we came up with two-piece (which some people still think is blasphemous).

    Where are we headed?

    Maybe no garments at all?

    How about special mormon tattoos?

  70. American Eagle says:

    @ Ron

    I didn’t take the moniker from the teeny-bopper clothing store, but rather from the national bird of the United States.

  71. Ha, Bambi, I can’t tell you how many times my sisters and I have joked about getting tattoos with the symbols rather than wearing them. We’re a blasphemous bunch, though.

  72. Second #59 (Katie for BCOTW).

  73. American Eagle says:

    What about a stainless steel necklace?

  74. In my church, a man who is one of my leaders and not my husband, takes me privately into a room in our church building and asks me questions about how often I wear my underwear and if I ever take them off.

    How do I prepare my daughters not to be as creeped out by this as much as their mother is?

    I have talked to my husband at length about this. When my husband served in a bishopric, he handed the statement over to the person he was interviewing, asked them to read the statement and then answer it aloud. This way he wasn’t asking intimate, personal questions about another woman’s underwear. However, he was still hearing about the personal habits of these women and it’s just never set right with me….

  75. Sam Brunson (58). Summer humidity in DC metro area is stifling. My heart goes out to those who live in areas where it’s worse. And there are a whole lot of places that fit that description!!!

  76. KC that’s why they read that statement. They should not be asking anything else beyond “Do you wear the garments as outlined?” That’s a long way from asking how often you wear underwear and if you take them off. They phrase the questions to encourage self reflection about your committment to the ideals of the gospel, but they phrase the answers as either yes or no so that you are not sharing intimate details with the interviewer.

  77. Elouise Bell says:

    As a twenty-something having recently received the garment, I was told by many friends not to let them touch the floor. Some advocated washing them separately from all other laundry. One roomie said her mother always hung the garments on the clothesline in such a way that they were shielded from alien eyes by the bedsheets. In the Mission Home, the MP’s wife instructed our troops that Clorox was ONLY to be used when washing handkerchiefs and not other clothing. Don’t know if that was a housekeeping hint or a matter of higher principle.

    There are a couple of wonderful stories, bordering on the folk tale in style, about people’s first experience with the garments, but since they are set in the temple itself (though only in the locker room), I reluctantly omit them here.

  78. I’ve never worn garments. My ex husband was a non member and I didn’t serve a mission, so I’ve never done endowment work. I’ll be honest, I am super scared about it. I get extremely hot, when I get hot I get angry, and you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry. EOR SMASH!!!

  79. Mommie Dearest says:

    I’ve managed to avoid discussing the details of my habits with my underclothing with men who are not my husband, so I’ve never had a truly squirmy moment…yet. But I know the potential is there. My dh has never been to the temple, and consequent to this there are some adjustments I’ve made that might not pass muster with the G-Force. I’ve given it plenty of consideration, and I’m not inclined to offer that up to the scrutiny of another man who I barely know in a recommend interview. I wear my g’s all the time, except when I think I shouldn’t. ‘Nuff said.

    The recommend questions about my faith aren’t so invasive that they’ve crossed any of my boundaries there either.

    And the worst experience with uncomfortable garment misery I ever had in my life was in the midwest during a normal day of sweltering summer humidity. And I live, do yard work, and hike around in southern AZ.

  80. #16 Bonnie I probably take exception with the blanket statement that God “communicates in lines”. It seems that God prefers for us to learn principles and resorts to minute rules as a last resort. Christ wasn’t to complimentary of creating arbitrary lines just show we can show obedience, otherwise we would be celebrating the Pharisees for their righteousness. It seems to me the modesty and garment thing can tilt dangerously in that direction. Resist I say!

  81. I haven’t read the comments, so pardon if this is a repeat, but I don’t think it applies to only men. Last year I helped my in-laws do some yardwork and got quite uncomfortable in my double-layered clothing, so I vowed then and there, when I have a yard, all work will be done sans garments. Or maybe just sans garment top and with a tank top or something more breathable.

  82. I think the new version of the second part (the part not dealing with yardwork) is much better than the first one, since the first one reads like a bit of a commitment guilt trip, but the seond one removes “commitment” completely from the statement.

  83. Nameless says:

    #77…I believe the Clorox suggestion (rule?) was likely housekeeping. Many times white clothes are dyed white not bleached white. So if you use chlorine bleach, the color will be stripped and the fabric will eventually not be white. The same way a red shirt would eventually not be red if you used bleach on it.

  84. Joseph S. says:

    I distinctly remember my father being called into the bishop’s office because a neighbor reported him doing yardwork shirtless. It seemed ridiculous then, and is even more ridiculous now.

  85. NewlyHousewife says:

    #77, my sister, who just returned from her mission, was told by the MP’s wife that garments are dyed white and using any form of bleach will turn them gray.

    Right now I’m not wearing G’s because I’m nursing and the temptation to wear anything and everything is driving me crazy. On the other hand, if one more mom brings up nursing tops I’m gonna go crazy–it was hard enough getting my kid used to me, I’m not going through another battle only to not need it 6 months later.

  86. 84- If that ever happened to me, I’d be out in the yard, shirtless, every afternoon! Let’s hear it for passive-aggression!

  87. I do not know what a yard is. I do hope to do some work in the garden today, though. Is there a rule for that?

  88. “I do hope to do some work in the garden today, though. Is there a rule for that?”

    Aye-yup. Smile while you’re doing it. Otherwise your neighbors might think Mormons are unhappy, or a cult, or something. Fake it till you make it, brother.

  89. Grrr to Deseret Mormons! For those of us who live in less reliably sunny climes, mowing the lawn without a shirt is not about tempting the neighbourhood ladies (who will need Oakleys to shade their eyes from my white skin) but about getting vitamin D and avoiding rickets. One must protect one’s health.

  90. hawkgrrrl says:

    It seems likely to me that those who don’t wear their garments while doing yardwork have already followed the spirit’s guidance and made their choice. I agree with your points. The word “yard” doesn’t even translate for the members we were teaching in Spain on my mission. Interestingly, I’ve heard them talk about how they had to give up alcohol to join the church except just a little bit now and again when it’s cold outside to take the chill off.

  91. Speaking of humidity, try wearing g’s in SE Asia in stifling heat and humidity – no air conditioning either. It’s almost unbearable. Now I live in the middle east where I have a/c, but walking outside in the summer? Brutal with layers!
    I think the TR question that asks if you wear them “as directed” is tricky, because there can be so many exceptions, like, I think I do, but what about…? I’m a person that’s naturally hard on myself, so I feel like I can’t answer Yes if I take them off for anything.

  92. #77, my sister, who just returned from her mission, was told by the MP’s wife that garments are dyed white and using any form of bleach will turn them gray.

    It appears that the MP’s wife was unfamiliar with the characteristics of cotton fibers.

  93. I’m sorry, my mind wandered after you conjured up the image of Jon Hamm in a tight white shirt…

  94. I’m late but Perhaps a series of nosy neighbours have been concerned about the rising level of shirtless yard work being done in the Salt lake valley. Although this sounds somewhat facetious I am actually being serious. … has been being raised, on and off, since the late 1970s/early 1980s. There has been a significant and enduring group of men who basically use various excuses to strip to the waist and do things. Whether or not this is something that really needs addressed (and I’ve seen a number of attempts over the years) or not, that is what is being addressed.

    91 — I’ve been in Saudia. The arabs all dress in layers, for coolness.

    Costanza — yes.

  95. angelandsimba says:

    ‘The garment should not be removed, either entirely or partially to work in the yard or for other activities that can be reasonably be done with the garment worn beneath the clothing. 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.’

    what it means to say is not to remove it for yard work that could reasonably be done with the garment beneath the clothing. If I’m mowing the lawn in 90 degree heat in Utah I can reasonably do it with my G’s on. If I’m mowing the loan in 90 degree heat somewhere in the south that’s a whole lot less reasonable.

    My SP counselor who interviewed me last said it best. “We know there’s times where it doesn’t make sense to wear garments, but don’t go looking for excuses not to wear them.”

  96. Here is my take on garments:

    As a theoretical symbol: Amazingly successful- they are the first things you put on the last you take off, they are worn closest to the skin, should rarely not be worn, and as underwear they are private. They should be the ultimate symbol of a private commitment to dedicate every aspect of your life to Christ, but not in a way to be “seen of men.”

    As a symbol in practice: Fail- in large part because they are not actually private. For me the tell-tale garment lines are one of the first thing I look for when trying to decide if someone I’m meeting is Mormon and a key indicator of how “committed” they are. As underwear they are also subject to the same (or more given the larger surface area) to all the bodily grit and grime. And the extremely paternalist wearers guidelines means that they don’t so much symbolize my understanding of my unique relationship to Christ, as my acceptance of the Brethren’s definition of that relationship. Also in the minds of at least some members they have become a tool to enforce the view that seeing the human body is wrong (women’s bodies because they are sexually threatening, and men’s because they are “disgusting”)

    In addition to the symbolic nature of garments they also need to function as underwear- as men’s underwear they’re okay, if I didn’t wear the garments, I’d likely be wearing boxers and a tee shirt under my dress clothes (which I wear to work most days anyway), being “forced” to wear them under shorts and a tee shirt is a little strange though.

    As women’s underwear they are a Major Fail. Often women are wearing a complete other set of underwear in addition to their garments because the garments just don’t function as women’s underwear (no support so a bra almost always needed, and as I understand from my wife, it is not uncommon for women to wear “normal” underwear to support a pad during menstruation.) The complaints from women about fit and comfort are ubiquitous whenever the topic of garments comes up even in RL and even from women who fully embrace the symbolism. They are also fairly incompatible with a large range of women’s clothing, which forces them further in into the public eye- either directly when shirts ride up in the back, or slip on a shoulder, or by forcing the wearer to wear yet another layer to keep them conspicuously covered.

  97. #92- the majority of garments are not 100% cotton but rather cotton blends. Synthetic fibers, in general, do not react well to bleach, yellowing or graying as the case may be, so that was actually an accurate statement.

  98. #96 They could improve a lot if they made them like regular undies and then just extended the length and sewed on marks. I find myself wearing Tightie Whities under them when I play sports.

  99. At least they seem to be more consistent in the manufacturing. When I went on my Mission in ’97 I bought 10 identical sets and I swear I had 5 different lengths.

  100. Never having worn them I always wondered what they figured women were supposed to do when Aunt Flo came around. I guess I am not the only one in the dark about this. I agree with angelandsimbs(95) what constitutes reasonable in some situations does not constitute what is reasonable in others. If I do ever get to the garment wearing phase of my life I am going to have to take a long hard look at how I want to approach it.

  101. I do want to go on record as saying I don’t like it when people disparage garments though. In my mind, it trivializes the covenant by trivializing the mark of the covenant. I think if people don’t like them, they just shouldn’t wear them is all.

  102. Maybe I wouldn’t be so tempted to take them off all the time if they weren’t so ugly, frumpy, hot, and annoying. I hvae chronic yeast infections, so I can’t even wear the bottoms half the time anyway. No matter what the fabric type, there is just too much of it.

    I’m always annoyed when I hear/read comments like EOR’s 21:

    “I know a girl who used to take off her garment bottoms for date-night with her husband so she could wear a super short skirt and thigh high boots. It was disappointing, but ultimately hers to deal with.”

    Well excuse me for actually wanting to wear something sexy for my husband once in a while. I’m all for a symbolic bracelet instead. Or at least a camisol/boy shorts combo that would allow me to wear normal clothing.

  103. I think the revision is just as focused upon women as it is on men. It leaves me with an overall feeling of everyone being too nosy about how everyone else is using/wearing their underwear. For those who have problems with Susie the runner who continues to wear her workout gear through out the remainder of the day, they need more problems on their plate if they are worried about how she chooses to wear her underwear. I happen to be an avid runner (I am also female) and I would actually find it more disrespectful to be sweating profusely upon what is deemed “sacred clothing” than not to wear it at all. I guess wearing my workout gear through out the remainder of the day is something I’ll have to talk to God about when I die because I don’t find that to be a serious transgression, nor do I find wearing a string bikini, but that’s neither here nor there. I personally think that wearing your garments is between you and God and it’s no one’s business how I wear them and when I choose to wear them. And while I’m on my soap box, I happen to have just had a baby three months ago. Any woman who has been pregnant knows how uncomfortable you are anyway on top of wearing incredibly tight garments that would put indentations in my skin and the additional hormones of pregnancy cause your temperature to be through the roof, even during the winter. I say garments should be optional during pregnancy as well as if you are nursing. Without going into too much detail for all the men in the audience, garments and nursing DON’T GO TOGETHER for MANY reasons!!!!!!!!! And garment bottoms just aren’t meant for women and what they have to deal with on a monthly basis. Too much info you say? Well, sharing my underwear habits is too much info. for me to share! I would love the garment bottoms if they were more of the style of “boy shorts” and made by Under Armor….just sayin…..I don’t think my husband would mind either….. ;) I’m not sure who is the designer of garments, but I’m pretty sure it’s a bunch of 70 year old men who have no idea how difficult/uncomfortable/frustrating it can be to women to wear. Sorry.

  104. ingridlola says:

    I’m so glad to see that many other women have the same problems with garments I do. Having to wear 2 extra layers of clothing (garment + shade shirt to keep garments from showing) is extremely frustrating, and hot.

  105. 102 LovelyLauren I am always annoyed by people who don’t read a comment all the way through and cherry pick what they THINK others are trying to say and want to be butt-hurt about it. I couldn’t give a rat’s left paw what you want to wear for your husband. Go out naked for all I care.

  106. NewlyHousewife says:

    103 blonde, there’s a lady who lives in a nearby town that’s on the garment committee (the locals see her has a saint because she fought for women to have the option to wear their bras underneath–I think it’s a little creepy she had to fight for it in the first place). According to her there are in fact 2 women who represent the female half. No word on how many represent the other side.

  107. As far as nursing goes, I always just wear my bra under my garment top. Way more practical, and those nursing tops are WEIRD. Also, the temple matron when I got endowed said bras can go either above or below garments. A bit of a change, I think, but this was still over a decade ago.

  108. I don’t think men have any idea how qualitiatively more difficult it is to wear garments as a woman than a man. Physiologically, culturally, wardrobe-wise. Well most men. Chris 134:2 seems like he has a clue. High five, Chris.

  109. I wish all members could be given guidelines and permission to place embossed marks on work clothing like military, fire & law enforcement personnel. It would allow more privacy and preclude all the multiple layers.

  110. 109 JCC I could be wrong, but I am pretty sure I read on the online store that military personnel can send certain clothing to them and they will mark it.

  111. You are right. I wish we civilians could do the same. I’d mark quite a few shirts.

  112. Sarah W. says:

    Another person from the South. I stopped wearing garments entirely about a year ago. It felt amazing to get rid of all of the layers!!!! I have four young children, one that is medically fragile, and am a SAHM. There’s no extra money to hire a special needs babysitter to attend the temple. Let alone pay tithing (can we say medical/therapy/assistive equipment bills???), but that’s another post entirely!

    I’ve come to peace with it. The temple simply doesn’t have a place in my worship of God. So what is the point of garments, especially at this stage in my life?

    I have always despised the poor fit. It is clear that the people who created them DO NOT care about female comfort. I still wear clothing that covers my shoulder and knees (most of the time), so no one would notice at church unless they are looking harder at me than they should. Frankly couldn’t care less if they did.

    I feel great about my decision and entirely at peace spiritually. Flame away.

  113. EOR, I am not butthurt, but I think your comment was judgmental and nosy, especially the “it was disappointing part.” Why are you disappointed in someone else’s underwear choice?

    And I completely second Cynthia that men have no idea what women go through wearing garments and how much more difficult it is to choose clothing that’s attractive, to feel sexy, just to get underwear that fits right. It’s telling that any conversation on the internet remotely related to garments turns into a conversation about how much everyone (but particularly women) hate the fit, the feel, the difficulty of finding attractive clothing to cover them, the layering, the frumpiness.

  114. I don’t want to give offense, and I understand the complaints about various inconveniences, but its sad to see so many missing the point.

  115. Amen, Chris. Good grief. I think it would be a little inconvenient to cross the plains and bury family members. I think it would be a little inconvenient to travel three days to take my family to the temple for the one time in our lives we might likely get the chance. I think it’s been a little inconvenient to do most of what I’ve done most of my life. Dealing with inconveniences turns whiny sissy-butts into grownups. “A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for, from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things. It was through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life.” This is not a flame; this is a rant, and I should probably delete this, but I’ve been landscaping all day, working with people who wimp out after a few hours (where in the HECK are the people who were raised on farms and can handle a few inconveniences), and I have an attitude problem. By the way, I got danged hot, in my garments, and I’m still breathing. What happens when we’re presented with a really serious issue?

  116. Thanks Cynthia L, but credit I think goes to my wife, and the women here and FMH for their willingness to speak up and let their voices be heard.

    Unlike 115, I don’t believe that asceticism enhances the garment, or it’s meaning (and Mormons don’t have much of an asceticism doctrine anyway.). The discomfort, the public nature of what should be private, and the culturally enforced wearer’s rules combine to build-up resentment and diminish the spiritual benefits.

  117. Chris 114, and Bonnie, Just because several women have started talking (or complaining in your eyes) about wearing garments doesn’t mean they are missing the point. I didn’t mean to be the voice of descent, but obviously this is a subject that is very relatable and difficult for a lot of women. I love how every time anyone has anything that is even slightly negative about anything to do with the church, we always refer back to the pioneers. “Well, the pioneers walked across the plains so I just need to buck up and never ever complain.” Really? We’re going to chalk up all of my life’s trials as a bowl of cherries because the pioneers endured so much more than I ever will? That’s not fair to make that comparison. Bonnie, although probably unintentional, your comments are belittling to everyone who has ever had a religious concern and that is why so many are afraid to have a voice when it come to the subject of religion. I for one have often felt like if I say what I feel is on my mind, that I will be judged exactly as you have done. I am not going to put my tail in between my legs because I have something that might not be so positive in your eyes to say about wearing garments. Maybe I feel like I’m being micromanaged about my underwear. The fact that we are even talking about having to talk to church authorities about our underwear and which activities are deemed acceptable to wear them would make the outsider probably laugh! I feel like it’s no one’s business how I wear my underwear (of which my friend lovingly calls a white ninja suit). Chris, perhaps you don’t truly understand the complaints and inconveniences at all because it’s clear you have never had to deal with any of the inconveniences that can at times completely overshadow the purpose of wearing them. I don’t think any man can fully know what women go through on a daily basis with garments and much of it has just become a fact of life, and normal. It’s normal for me to shove the massive amounts of excess material into my bra cups. It’s normal for me to choose between certain materials of garments to wear that day because I want to wear shorts (knee length) and caranessa garments are much longer than all the other ones, so I purposely will wear a different type (even though they all CLAIM to be the exact same size). Do I like doing this? No. I’m sorry, but a bra does not do its purpose in supporting what needs to be supported when there is material underneath it preventing it from defying the laws of gravity on top of creating a sweltering environment. I don’t think you understand that most women wear 1)garments 2)bra 3)undershirt to hide the lines and obviousness of the garments and 4)a shirt or blouse 5) possibly another layer like a sweater or cardigan. Reading others comments I was shaking my head at the thought of wearing yet ANOTHER layer of “regular” underwear during menstruation. I think after five layers I finally put my foot down and say enough is enough. Men on the other hand sacrifice little in terms of comfort when they begin wearing garments. They are used to wearing boxers or briefs and most men wear a white undershirt anyway. As far as women’s garments, I don’t understand why the length from the waist to the crotch has to be twelve inches and I have to decide whether I’m going to hike my garments up under my boobs because that is the “unaltered” way of wearing them or if I should roll them down to where it feels best and is right where my jeans rest as well and risk being damned to hell because I’m “altering” them. Men don’t have this problem. In fact, the one time I wore my caranessa style bottoms where they were “supposed” to go (clear up to my boobs), my husband started laughing and told me to stop riding my garments up. I told him I wasn’t riding them up at all and that this was where they were supposed to go. Obviously there needs to be a change in the cut and style of the garment. I appreciate their purpose and that they are sacred, but I don’t want to feel like I will forever be damned if I “alter” my garments by pulling them down around my waist versus four inches above my belly button. Why aren’t men’s garments the same way? I don’t see my husband hiking his up above his navel….Two years ago I did go through the temple and get sealed to my husband, but for the longest time the biggest thing holding me back was that I didn’t want to wear garments. It may seem trivial to some and it wasn’t that I was wearing extremely immodest clothing either, in fact most ward members assumed that I had been married in the temple first off and was wearing them anyway. I admit that it IS a sacrifice for me to wear them, but I wear them every day and do so because I hope and pray that I may come to some sort of religious epiphany and finally love them and see them for their purpose and symbolic significance that they hold instead of being overshadowed by how hot, sticky, unattractive, poorly fitting, uncomfortable and unhygienic they are to the female anatomy. Doing initiatories in the temple has been the only thing that has helped me see their true significance and each time I go I learn more about their importance and sacredness. Right now I’m just going on blind faith, but I hope to have a greater appreciation for them in time. But I guess I’m being a wayward saint for complaining?

  118. I’ve often thought that one of the main problems in the subject of the political dimension of marriage in the United States is that the legal, civil marriages can be conducted by religious figures, causing an essential conflation of the religious and civic realms that is diminished in other nations (e.g. in Argentina, no religious marriages are recognized).

    Just as civic marriage might be treated as a sacrament because institutionally it can double as one, the fact that the garment often doubles as “underwear” loads it with lots of secular connotations that make it and the regulation thereof sound incredibly strange or invasive. Perhaps if a way were discovered by which the garment would no longer double as underwear, some of the awkwardness could be averted – for example, emphasize its role as a liturgical vestment, in contrast with supportive or other underwear.

  119. LovelyLauren (113) for the same reason one is ever disappointed when someone they are close to or care about does not follow rules that they claim to hold dear. I do not judge her for it, and considering she is the one who brought it to my attention I wouldn’t call it nosy either.

    I can see both sides of this issue. One one hand I definitely think garments are important and should be treated with more respect and reverence than they are, and on the other hand I can understand how people (especially women) can be frustrated by the (lack of) fit and the heat and uncomfortableness that attends yet another layer of clothing. As a busty gal I cannot even begin to imagine how garments will mess up the sleight of hand I need to perform in order to wear a proper bra. Maybe it will never come up and I can simply leave my temple work to be done by some eager member who is super into proxy ordinances.

  120. blondechronicles: who said I was speaking to you or that you were nominated to be the voice of dissent? I have no idea what your trials are and made no judgment about them. Clothing is trivial; I don’t think there’s any way to get around that and I stand by the pioneer comparison, which, again, was not directed personally to you. Personally, it helps me to gain some perspective. Ever since my sister buried her baby last year I look at life differently. I’m assuming there’s something more challenging than clothing in your life. And yes, I don’t think a whole lot is solved by complaining. Sue me.

    Regarding whether people are tortured by the unwelcomeness of their complaints, I’m really at a loss. We all have to solve in our own minds whether or not we’re going to be limited in our conversation or behaviors by what others think, but personally, I think that’s a high and fast road to mental illness or hell, take your pick. I say, if you think it’s none of anyone’s business how you wear your garments, then say so when you’re asked in the interview and be done with it. It’s either going to initiate a conversation that needs to happen or it’s not, but I doubt you’re going to be consigned to outer darkness for making the statement. Seems to me if we made our stands more consistently with the appropriate people we wouldn’t have so much dithering and complaining happening.

    Wow. Now I’m belittling to everyone who’s ever had a religious concern. Phenomenal cosmic powah…. who knew.

    Buy smaller garments. Get the petite cut. Why on earth would you wear 5 layers – oh, we’re talking about those t-shirts so thin you can poke your finger through them. Rolling down the waist to your own waist isn’t what they mean by altering; they’re talking about people cutting and pasting. Buy a few garments in carinessa two sizes too small for menstruation and wear them like bike shorts – they actually work better than traditional underwear if you wear pads and it doesn’t make any difference how they fit if you wear tampons. The cotton are very comfortable for people who need the breathing. The lace on the tops makes my back itch insanely. It’s a family joke that whoever wants to be on mom’s good side will scratch her back at the end of the day along her garment lines. I offer to a free pass on chores to anyone who scratches my back without me asking. Be pragmatic. There’s a solution that demonstrates your love of the covenant you made and eases the difficulty. Climb the mountain with sixteen small stones.

    It’s inconvenient to get all wet for a baptism. It takes a long time in sacrament meeting to pinch up bread and pour water in little cups and then send it down rows in which people sneeze all over the whole mess. We do physical things to underscore our covenants, just as, prior to the Savior’s advent, men whacked off a very sensitive piece of skin. Our God loves metaphor. I trust, as you seem to as well, that there is reason enough in it to wait him out.

  121. Bonnie, the pioneers made their own garments, meaning they could choose their own fit and fabric. All handcarts aside, I envy that.

    I find it presumptuous to claim that people are missing the point of the covenants when they complain about the garments. Personally, if they were easier to manage and less distracting/ugly, I think association with the covenants would be a lot easier and more intuitive. How am I supposed to gain any spiritual benefits from something that constantly annoys me and many, many other women?

    If you can deal with it then bully for you, but don’t belittle other women because their complaints aren’t your complaints. When you claim something shouldn’t be a big deal because it isn’t one for you, it’s called belittling.

  122. Is it missing the point of baptism to complain about having to dry one’s hair afterward? Um, yes. And it’s not belittling to say that. God is really fairly uninterested in whether keeping our covenants is easy, and that was why I commented. I can’t think of much that God asks us to do that we should feel the need to complain publicly about, but I guess that goes back to the “suck it up and go milk the cows” farm upbringing.

  123. When you get baptized, you don’t have to dry your hair afterwards every day for the rest of your life. Just because it’s not a problem for you doesn’t mean it’s not real. And personally, I think God is interested in my daily comfort, particularly since my underwear habits have very little to do with the way I live my life.

    Considering the changes made to garments in the past, I don’t think God cares about our underwear styling much at all.

  124. I agree completely that he’s less interested in the style than in our obedience. There’s something spiritually tangible to be gained by “submitting to all things, as a child submits to a father.” Have you tried praying to have an appreciation and love for your garments? One of the great tender mercies is to take the leap of faith to express a willingness to obey before we find it easy. There’s a boatload of stuff that it’s been hard for me to obey. This has worked for me. Like the people of Alma, it really did make my burden lighter.

  125. Sarah W. says:

    Dear Bonnie:

    I handle the “real challenge” of a medically fragile child with grace and humor. Wearin Gs has zero to do with how I handle challenges. Also, We all take away different things from significant challenges. From the death of your neice, you grew closer to the church and their commandments. That is wonderful for you! However, for me, the day to day challenge of keeping a child alive gave me clarity about how I should spend my Limited energy and time and resources. I simply do not have any extra to give to a church that asks for so much that it even wants money that is not there and wants to dictate my underware and cause me to be uncomfortable.

    My sincere condolances to your family. Best.

  126. Nameless says:

    I wonder if no one complained in years past, if we would still be dealing with one piece garments?

  127. Left Field says:

    One-piece garments for me are far, far more comfortable than two-piece. Thank goodness we still have a choice.

  128. @ 120

    But, Bonnie, when I climb that mountain with garments on, my two (decent sized) stones start glowing in a really awful sort of way.

  129. Costanza says:

    Left Field, I completely agree. Sadly, the selection of one-piece garments is slowly shrinking as the demand for them drops down to almost zero. I might have to start stockpiling.

  130. One of the things I find interesting about this whole situation is the way garments are being used as a guideline for modesty. I’ve done some research on garments, their creation, and their original intentions. I don’t believe their purpose was ever to keep people modest, or serve as a guideline of what we should and should not be showing. In Joseph Smith’s day, garments were not even worn all of the time, but generally reserved for sacred occasions such as going to the Temple. Not to mention they were ankle-length, wrist-length, cream or grayish wool, and closed with ties. The habit of wearing them all the time grew after Joseph Smith’s death. There is good evidence that people saw how the only survivors were the ones who had their garments on *at the time*, and that stricter rules on wearing them, as well as ascribing actual physical protective qualities to the garment, grew out of that. And now here we are, discussing whether it is appropriate to wear them while doing manual labor in the yard or when we’re working out, and how people take the modesty thing too lightly. There is no evidence, in ritual or writing, that garments were ever intended for that purpose. If that were the case, we’d all still be covered up to the wrist, ankle, and neck.

  131. Left Field says:

    #129: Yeah, it’s been years since they’ve even been available at regular distribution centers. Mail order is more convenient for me anyway, but still I ask for them if I ever happen to be at a distribution center. I don’t want them saying that nobody asks for them. I try to keep at least six or eight on hand unopened because I just don’t know when the supply will dry up completely. It gives me hope that at least there’s a few others out there who wear them. I wore the two-piece for a few years when they first came out before I finally figured out that my old one-piece were just a whole lot more comfortable. I hate that band around my waist, I don’t like the various issues associated with the annoying top/bottom junction, and with the right size, the one-piece just fit better. I do keep a couple of pairs of two-piece on hand for when I go to the doctor or have some special need, but then I get back into my comfy one-piece garments at the earliest opportunity.

    If people find the two-piece garments difficult and uncomfortable, I always encourage them to try the one-piece. But most people dismiss the idea without ever trying a pair.

  132. Left Field- are you a woman? I am all for trying new things to find garments that work better for me, and I wonder about how one pieces work with all the woman-specific matintenance we have (like peeing sitting down).

  133. Left Field says:

    I’m not a woman, though I can certainly see that there might be different issues. Regarding urinating while seated,
    I find the one-piece to be easier. I just pull up the trousers and I’m done. No pulling up the garment bottoms and readjusting the top/bottom junction. In any case, they’re not that expensive. It can’t hurt to try a pair (maybe 2-3 different sizes) and see how they work. One-piece might work better, at least in some circumstances.

  134. #128 swassy – :D
    #132 Moss – my mother still loves her one-piece in the summer – she throws them on, they hang from her shoulders and barely touch her, she wears the cutest sundresses and she feels practically naked while she’s all covered up. Swears by them.
    Sorry for being snarky everyone. People shouldn’t comment when their backs hurt. Isn’t the world just grand this morning? ;)

  135. StillConfused says:

    I don’t do the garment thing… at this point in my life I am more comfortable with the Christian Heaven rather than the Mormon Heaven. But in any event, I am reading though the comments and we have some ladies having some kind of a snark-fest… over underwear. Seriously, sometimes I think … Mormonism is so strange; you have people arguing over underwear.

    p.s. I see some people spell it underware… is that a British spelling?

  136. NewlyHousewife says:

    ifrit, I agree. The more I learn about the history regarding garments the more I disagree with what the current rules are. Even now the statement about how it’s an outward sign of faith, but yet make sure you don’t show anyone, is baffling.

    [end of comment removed –ed.]

  137. # 135

    Are you a Mormon?

  138. Instead of using bleach on white clothes I use Rit’s Whitener and Brightener.

    Anyone have any secrets to keeping their white clothes white and bright?

  139. If you, like me, made the terrible mistake of washing your old, yellowed robes in bluing (yes, it turns them a lovely pale green) and you happen to live close to a temple with a laundry, you can do what I did. I went down there and asked their secrets for whitening and the director offered to try. They were like new when he was done with them. I asked him what he did and he showed me an industrial compound he used; it didn’t even have a name on the bottle and he said “normal people” couldn’t buy it. So, if that’s an option, you could try that.

  140. I’ve actually heard to use dishwasher soap to whiten them back up.

  141. Don’t wash your G’s in bleach. They’re dyed white. It will make them turn grey faster.

  142. I live with my parents while I’m finishing up my degree and my mother is a freak about the laundry. She won’t let anyone but her use the washing machine. If I get garments, is it okay to let her wash them? Or should I wash them myself in the sink?

  143. @Moss-

    As a woman, I cannot recommend the one piece enough. Now there are two types of women’s one piece’s, the regular and the flare leg–get the flare leg. The regular has a flap that doesn’t stay closed and alternately gives you a wedgie and leaves your lady business exposed. The Drisilque flare leg has wide thigh holes, and to go the bathroom you just pull the leg to the side. It’s just one nice piece of silky goodness under your clothes. No bunching, no lace digging into your legs, no tucking and untucking, and they’re easier to wash, fold, and pack. I’ve tried all the garments, and they are by far the most comfortable. I feel like they’re the best kept secret in the church.

    Speaking of which, they are indeed getting harder to find. Just last week I tried to order some from the store on lds.org, and was told that because of low demand you couldn’t buy them online and had to order over the phone. I got 20 pairs because I’m stockpiling!

  144. EOR #142, garments are clothes just like any other. Anyone can wash them. There’s no intrinsic sacredness to the fabrics that go in the washer. Now, if you have non-member family, you may (or may not) feel uncomfortable having to explain why you’re wearing these, what they are, etc. That is an entirely different matter.

    My mom came and stayed with us after a baby arrived, and did laundry more than once without any lightning striking her. :)

  145. That’s really interesting. On my mission, it was a rule that non-members couldn’t wash missionaries’ garments; if you couldn’t find a member, you had to wash them yourself.

  146. @ haycockm 145:
    You’re making it sound like you think it’s a rule because it was a rule in your mission. I wouldn’t ask a non-member to wash my garments; but don’t forget that when it comes to Mission Rules we’re talking about a bunch of 19 and 20 year old boys. (Women too, but they’re not the problem.) When I think of Mission Rules, I remember the passage in Mosiah chapter 13:30

    ” 30 Therefore there was a law given them, yea, a law of performances and of ordinances, a law which they were to observe strictly from day to day, to keep them in remembrance of God and their duty towards him.”

    Let’s all remember that mission rules, while helpful for missionaries are not the same as guidelines for the average church member.

    @Jenn #140,
    I don’t care so much about my garments being shiny and white, but but I do have a couple of “Gray” shirts that I wonder if that trick would work on?

  147. #146 – Of course I know that. I wasn’t supposing that my mission rules were universalizable across the church; that would be absurd. I was just reporting what the practice I’d encountered was. Moreover, it was the *only* stance on non-members washing the garment I had heard of until now. (Mind you, when I’ve studied abroad with host families, I’ve let others wash my garments and even hang them outside, but just didn’t know if that was kosher or not.)

  148. #146
    They’re gray because they’re faded, not because they’re dirty. Garments are dyed white, not bleached, so as they get older, the color fades and they take on grayish tones. I learned this when I worked at a Distribution Center.

  149. it's a series of tubes says:

    the majority of garments are not 100% cotton but rather cotton blends. Synthetic fibers, in general, do not react well to bleach, yellowing or graying as the case may be, so that was actually an accurate statement.

    I don’t always purchase white clothing, but when I do, I prefer 100% cotton.

  150. Bonjo (144) yes, she is a non-member, that is why I asked. I wasn’t sure whether or not that was okay. She pretty much knows what garments are already (she is voting for Mitt Romney, grrrr!) so she asks me Mormon-y questions all the time. When she heard about Mitt’s “magic underwear” she had to know more.

  151. Wow, this topic sure has wings. I am a little saddened by some of the comments made. I have never found the garments uncomfortable, difficult to cover yes but never uncomfortable. I am even sadder to hear that it is such an issue that some feel they can no longer wear the garment. Ultimately it is their choice / between them and God, that’s all I have to say about that aspect of this thread.

    As for the future of garments; I doubt the bottoms will ever get shorter because of the location of the symbols but I wouldn’t mind seeing a tank top for men. The women’s tops are practically sleeveless anyway. It would also be neat to see silk screened marks on the standard garments (like on the military versions) of course that eliminates the tactile feel of the marks. It is interesting that there may have been a conversation about only requiring garments in the temple. At a time one piece garments were required in the temple even though the shorter versions were authorized outside of the temple. If garments were ever made optional outside the temple I imagine I would still wear them (and I doubt I would be alone) at all times.

    FWIW: I wash all of my garments (except my tan military ones) in bleach. They have never turned gray or yellow. That includes the nylon mesh, corban, extra support material, and the drilux fabric.

  152. “The women’s garments are practically sleevless.”


    Kate M., can you wear the flare leg one piece under jeans? I imagine that wouldn’t work too well.

  153. LovelyLauren said:
    “The women’s garments are practically sleevless.”


    I am not sure which style you wear but the ones my wife wear have sleeves that are much shorter than mine. Perhaps we have different ideas of sleeveless?

  154. My idea of sleeveless is no sleeves. The women’s garments DO have sleeves. Yes, they are shorter than the T-shirt sleeves of the men’s. That does not mean they are sleeveless. (Does the word “sleeves” look really weird to anyone else just now?)

  155. That is why, in my original comment, i used the phrase “practically sleeveless” and not “literally sleeveless” I believe they are officially known as “cap sleeves” if you can see shoulder is it really a sleeve? and yes the word sleeves does look funny.

  156. EAG, the comments I made regarding the garment’s original usage (eg, not always being worn outside the Temple) were purely historical. They are fact, and I would hope that you would not be saddened by my commenting on something that is simply a part of history. If you do research on the origins of garments, how and why they were made, and how they were originally worn, you will find that things have changed a lot. I don’t think there is a problem with evaluating those changes, to make sure that we are keeping with the original purpose and spirit, rather than creating “hedges around hedges”, as Christ says in the Bible.

  157. Whimps, all. In Panama I wittnessed the MP at a conference at 90F 90% stand up and orate for 45 minutes at the end of a 2 hour meeting in a navy blue suit, the only one visible in the whole congregation. And you complain about garments in the yard! God meant us to be HOT. It is a form of birth control, (motility, etc.)

  158. If God had intended for us to be hot he wouldn’t have made a north. We are not meant to be hot, but I do think that being hot is a whack reason to not wear garments.

    I am a city gal so I don’t garden anyway, but I believe I would fancy a one-piece flare leg garment as was mentioned earlier.

  159. ifrit: my comment wasnt directed at your spicifically but I do feel that too many view the garment as an “ugly” “uncomfortable” and “frumpy” thing rather than see the blessing and privilage it is to wear it and to be able to do so at all times. At the same time I do understand that the garment is a symbol. I don’t believe it has any power of itself.

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