Garments are Symbols of the Atonement

P. Anderson blogged at the Exponent as Starfoxy once upon a time, but entered retirement in order to build a reputation as a bloggernacle cryptid. She lives with her family in the Phoenix metro area, and just got a new solar oven.

Screen Shot 2018-05-17 at 8.58.16 AMI had a conversation years ago where I expressed a desire for the women’s garment pattern to change to a camisole type top. The woman I was talking to stared at me blankly and asked, “Then how would we stop women from wearing sleeveless shirts?”

I wanted to shriek.

Thankfully I did not shriek. (Though after the rant I went on, perhaps my friend would have preferred the shriek.)

It should not be surprising that most people associate garments with modesty. I would argue that most of the mental energy members give to the garment on a day to day basis is centered on keeping it covered. It’s not then, a stretch to assume that ‘keeping it covered’ is the reason we have it. Most of the advice and concern about preparing women for the temple and wearing the garment are centered around building an ‘acceptable’ wardrobe. I suspect that many, if not most people would say that modesty is the primary purpose of garments. If modesty is not the purpose garments then what is? Perhaps the next most common answer would be ‘remembering our covenants.’ While that’s not a bad reason to wear the garment I would argue that ‘covenant reminder’ is just a bonus feature.

I feel confident saying that modesty and covenants aren’t why we wear garments because we are explicitly told in the temple what garments represent; they represent the coats of skins given to Adam and Eve as they left the Garden of Eden.

‘But!’ I hear you say, ‘God instructs Christ to prepare these coats of skins for Adam and Eve because they have discovered they are naked. Needing to wear clothes to cover nakedness is obviously a modesty thing, right?’

Well, no. We currently live in a clothing rich society where genuine nakedness is vanishingly rare. If you saw some guy walking down the street naked your first assumption would be that he’s a deviant, and you’d likely call the cops. You would not think “oh, man that poor guy can’t even afford pants.” We have such reliable access to clothing that it has taken on an entirely social function, our primary concern about clothes is often what those clothes say about us. The protective function of clothing is often a given, not even worth considering. This state of affairs is relatively recent. For most of human history “clothing the naked” was right there with “feeding the hungry” and lack of clothing can have similar survival implications to lack of food.

Sending a couple humans out into a world with rain and snow, sun and wind, claws and thorns is a risky move. They need something to keep their soft, hairless hides safe. Clothing is protection. It’s no accident that we are told garments can be a protection for us.

But lets go back to Adam and Eve and when they discovered their nakedness. It was actually Satan who pointed it out to them when he suggested they make their leafy aprons.

“Aha!” You say. “Satan was introducing sexual sin and shame into the world. So the coats of skins may have been a protection thing, but they were also definitely a modesty thing.”

No, again.  Immediately before he started passing out bad fashion advice, Satan and Adam were having a conversation about Satan’s clothes that went something like this:

Adam asks (paraphrasing) “What’s with those clothes you’re wearing?” And Satan replies, “These? These represent my power.”

Clothing = Power.

That nakedness that Adam and Eve were trying to hide? That was their impotence, not their private parts. The aprons they made? That was a claim to to power they didn’t have, and that’s why it offended God.

You might also notice that this pattern of putting on or changing clothes to symbolize new access to power and authority is a recurring theme over the remainder of the endowment ceremony. It’s not just some thing Satan made up to distract us.

If we accept that clothes represent power in this story, then the leafy aprons they made rather accurately symbolize the power they actually had. Clothing made of leaves would be fragile, ineffective, not durable, and offering no protection from thorns, claws, weather, or fire.

Coats of skins, though? Leather? Leather is durable. It can be soft and flexible. It offers such reliable protection from physical harm that people *still* use leather as protective gear in an assortment of situations. Riding motorcycles, working with dangerous animals, and dealing with incredible heat, trimming rosebushes are all made safer by leather clothing.

Sadly, the amazing protection offered by leather comes with a price; in order to get leather an animal has to die. When you wear leather for protection it means someone died to keep you safe.

The coats of skins Christ gave to Adam and Eve, and the promise of the protection they offer is a heavy-handed symbol of the atonement and the resurrection made available to us through Christ’s death.

Adam and Eve were sent away to face the dangers of the world clothed in veritable armor provided to them as a symbol of Christ’s sacrifice. It may be hard to see the leather suit of armor of the atonement in our uncomfortable, cotton-poly underthings, but that is what they are meant to represent to us.

And that’s why I wanted to shriek when my friend saw the garment as a tool for enforcing sleeved shirts on women. The garment is an expansive symbol of God’s love for his children. Reducing its function to “I’m safe from committing adultery when I dress modestly,” is frankly, insulting. Shrinking the symbol of Christ’s power to save our eternal souls to little more than a mystical source of protection from physical harm is childish.

But here’s the thing: while the garment is meaningful and inspiring symbol of the protection of the atonement, the execution leaves much to be desired. Garments as they exist are not comfortable. They can be expensive. They’re not friendly to the planet. We’re expected to use them as underwear but they aren’t able to do the specific things women’s bodies need from underwear and so women wear additional underwear. They’ve become a stick for us to beat each other with, and a visible ruler we use to measure our neighbor’s righteousness.

My thinking is that a secret set clothes we wear under our regular clothes is just one of many things we could use to symbolize the coats of skins Christ gave Adam and Eve (which were, themselves, symbols). The form of the symbol is far less important than the concept it represents. Moreover, a symbol is ineffective when its intended audience no longer sees the intended meaning in it.

I believe that a complete re-thinking of the garment could go a long way towards bringing it back in line with the intended meaning. My suggestion would be to replace it with a simple sash. The sash may or may not be white (perhaps it could be made in the various shades of natural leathers so as to be more invisible against human skin, and more reminiscent of actual leather). The sash may or may not have symbols on it. It could be thin and stretchy. It could be worn tied (or hooked, snapped, whatever) underneath the clothes around the waist, on the chest, over a shoulder, or even looped around the ankle. It could be tucked in a pocket, or carried on or near the body in a wide assortment of ways. This is just one idea. It could be anything- a simple durable item of jewelry, an actual piece of leather (or faux leather), a slip of paper.

If we can’t bring ourselves to consider a redesign of the garment, then anything we can do to move away from the puritanical fixation on hemlines and modesty that we’ve developed in conjunction with garments would be welcome. At the very least we should move away from telling those that find garments unworkable that there is virtue in their continued suffering. Christ died in part to relieve our suffering, to bear our burdens, and make our yokes light. It does not honor his sacrifice to suffer for the sake of wearing a symbol of his gift to us.

Comments

  1. I love this. I love re-thinking what they mean, and creating a new relationship with that meaning. I value the idea of carrying a religious reminder with me throughout my life, but the reality of garments is so fraught for women in particular. I’ve often wished I could write the symbols on my body rather than tug and pull and tuck uncomfortable unders all day. Regardless, I love your thoughts here. Thank you.

  2. Michael says:

    This is insightful. I learned a lot.

    I have two questions:

    1. The analysis of the symbolism of the garment seems right but for me this raises the question of why the apron isn’t abandoned after an early point in the temple ceremony. Is it supposed to take on a new meaning? Or serve as a reminder of the fall? Or something else?

    2. The author suggests a sash as a reasonable alternative and says that the sash may or may not have symbols on it. My question is, how important are these “lesser” symbols and is it acceptable to be rid of them? I think one could argue convincingly that they currently distract from the central symbolism that the author describes, but I think it’s an open question whether they ought to be replaced or modified or removed entirely.

  3. Chompers says:

    I’m not sure about the sash idea, but that’s a great perspective on garments. I’ve always been a bit puzzled by Satan’s comment.

  4. Thank you for this insightful post. To enlarge on your garments as sacrifice section, recall that Adam and Eve had never yet encountered death. Witnessing the sacrifice of the lamb necessary to create those garments of skin (or light–the Hebrew word ‘or is a homophone for both so there is a fun play on the meaning there) required the death of their friend–a lamb they had named, cared for, known and loved. So every time they put on those garments, they would think of his death and how it was for their protection. How the sacrifice of the eternal Lamb would save and protect us all. And the word “covering” is the Hebrew root of the word for Atonement, kippur/kapah (think Yom Kippur, the kippah hat). A very rich Atonement metaphor indeed, to wear the garments of sacrifice that cover our nakedness and all our sins. I think it’s also powerful to consider that scriptures were later inscribed on animal skin–literally written on the body of the Lamb as well.

  5. Deborah Christensen says:

    Does anyone know about the garment in the early days of the church? Was it worn only during the temple ceremony or did they have clothing 24/7 like we do now?

  6. A Turtle Named Mack says:

    Thanks for this! Like you, I want to rant when someone brings up modesty. The temple garment is not about modesty! I loathe that it is used as a way to enforce norms of modesty. Also, they simply do not work for many women, and men, in everyday ways that have nothing to do with being dressed inappropriately. For many people, they are simply miserable and have become a point of resentment. Resentment not toward the meaning of the garment, or the covenants that are made, but resentment at the basic discomfort or inconvenience they pose. This is often parlayed into a sense that we must suffer for our covenants. I can’t make this point strongly enough, but the point of the temple garment is NOT to make us suffer. Yet, suffering is perhaps the most common experience among those who wear the garment. They are not about modesty, and we are not meant to suffer! And it’s not alright that Salt Lake gets to inflict that upon us.

    OK, I’ll end the rant…for now.

  7. I find myself loving and hating this at the same time. I stopped wearing garments after 30 years of faithful wear to the point that I pulled down the leg on my one-piece back in the early 70’s to make sure the knee mark was on my knee. Since I no longer believe in a litteral creation and Adam and Eve story, garments make no sense to me. But I wholeheartedly agree with the writer about what, for a believer, the meaning ought to be, rather than the trite reasons generally given for the necessity to wear it.

    And I love her suggestions for a replacement.

    I also agree that many women “suffer” while wearing the garment. Recently, a friend took exception to my use of the word when referring to wearing the garment, calling it a “first world” problem. But I definitely suffered when I wore it in the hot humid Deep South for 20 years. It kept me indoors much of the summer, from activities I would have otherwise enjoyed. I believe God wants me to enjoy summer. While I wouldn’t compare this type of suffering to that which I endured watching two of my three children suffer and die, it was suffering nonetheless.

  8. To Michael’s questions- I personally see the continued wear of the apron as a works/grace type thing. We must contribute all of our power, even though the power that really saves us is Christ’s power. But I don’t have a whole lot to support that theory.
    I think the symbols can definitely contribute to viewing the garment as a symbol of the atonement because we encounter those symbols at a place where we interact with the Lord. That said I think familiarity changes the weight of the symbols. We see the symbols on our garments so regularly that it ends up working out that for most people the symbols in the Temple remind us of our garments rather than the other way around. I don’t know that there’s a structural fix for that.

  9. Thanks for the thoughtful insights. I have always put the garments into the same category as the Word of Wisdom, as physical, material things we do and touch on a daily basis to remind us of greater spiritual truths. This adds a deeper perspective on that for me.

  10. felixfabulous says:

    Good post. A few points I want to make:

    1. The temple recommend interview question asks if you wear the garment day and night as you covenanted in the endowment. I have asked a lot of people (including a temple president) and no one has been able to give me an answer when you ever covenant to wear the garment. It’s an instruction to wear it throughout your life. The question is phrased in a way that makes people think they need to be keeping a promise they have never made. That seems really unethical to me.

    2. The garment was seen in the early days of the Church as a magic talisman to protect from physical danger. Joseph and Hyrum were said to have been killed because they were not wearing their garment in Carthage. I remember being on the tail end of this as a kid in the 80s in Utah County and hearing stories about the physical protection of garments. We have really moved away from that and now we try to say it’s a reminder of covenants and a way to be modest, which are much less compelling reasons than the promise of physical protection.

    3. The garment has essentially become a boundary marker and an indication who is in (temple recommend holding, been through the temple) and who is out. Unfortunately, it’s essentially a control mechanism and, as has been pointed out here, a way for women’s modesty to be controlled and a way for us to police each other. The main reason I wear garments is so that people won’t judge me or see me as an outsider.

    4. Eliminating the garment outside of the temple has been considered and almost passed the Q15 on two occasions that I’ve read about. I keep hoping that will happen eventually. Another option would be to just stop asking about it in TR interviews and let the people who want to keep wearing it do so and the rest of us off the hook.

    5. Good piece of marital advice for believing married couples, when you go on dates, take a break from garments. When you go on a vacation with the two of you, leave the garments at home. It will really improve your marriage!

  11. Jack Hughes says:

    Excellent post.

    One problem I see with garments is that for many members, myself included, they don’t represent power so much as they do the loss of it. We are literally outsourcing the choice of our underwear–which is one of the most personal daily decisions each of us makes–to a global organization that does not care very much about us as individuals, and has everything to gain by keeping it’s members obedient. For me, garments are really a tangible symbol of being under someone else’s control, and losing individual agency.

    We have wandered so far away from the intended purpose of temple garments that we need to get rid of them completely, and perhaps replace them with a more practical symbol, like the sash mentioned in the OP. I’m told that in the early days of temple worship, the garment was not an everyday clothing item, but only worn when performing temple work. Maybe we could revive that practice as well. It would also go a long way to helping us jettison harmful modesty rhetoric, as well as getting past all the folklore about garments stopping bullets and whatnot, not to mention sparing church members from additional ridicule about “magic underwear”.

  12. maebridge80 says:

    I love all of this and think that it provides a beautiful explanation for the existence of garments while opening us up to more ways that we can conceptualize a physical reminder of the atonement. However, I could not help but think of the cross as this simplest possible reminder. I have been wondering for a while not about the company line about crosses- we don’t like them because we don’t want to focus on the Savior’s death. This seems terribly disingenuous when the temple tokens focus almost entirely on the cross/death. Could it be that mainstream Christians/Catholics have already been doing what we should have been doing all along by simply wearing a cross?

  13. maebridge80 says:

    To Jack Hughes comment: Amen. This is what garments are to me first and foremost. Sould crushing every day.

  14. Love this post. I’ve had much the same thoughts.

    – I’ve expanded this idea of nakedness and being covered by the atonement to the incident with Noah and his sons.

    – I hate the idea of a sash, simply because we seem to have no idea how to wear the sash in the temple (it’s not a belt!), and would end up being even more inconvenient to wear, despite the expanded options your give.

    – If you take the Eden story literally, I don’t see how you can incorporate literally killing a lamb to make the garments, unless you had an exceptionally large lamb (big enough to cover two people neck to knee) or the original garments being bikinis.

    – I’ve always compared the garments to the yarmulke/kippah/little Jewish hat. Our is less visible (not invisible from those who complain of people looking for garment lines), but both are a reminder of who we are as a people. I wonder if any of our Jewish converts have decided to wear both.

    But again, love the post, as I generally have any time I’ve come across StarFoxy’s work.

  15. I stopped wearing my garments a few years ago in conjunction with a faith transition. I do miss the symbolism but I feel like I got so much mental energy back not constantly thinking about my underwear. I don’t even really dress any differently, but not having to worry if my skirt was a millimeter too short, or a boat neck might stick out a little bit-the impracticality of wearing an outfit under my outfit always crowded out any affection for the symbols for me.

  16. Oh, and for me, the apron is one of those Old Testament God type punishments. “You did this stupid thing, now you and your children have to wear it til I get over it”. Kind of the the “mark of Cain”.

  17. Jack Hughes says:

    I recall a Mormon Stories interview awhile back with Sean Carter, an African-American legal humorist who converted to the LDS church as an adult. He mentioned being deeply conflicted about temple garments because in the community where he grew up, a common euphemism used to say about someone being in prison is “now, someone else is picking out [his] underwear”, often used in a cautionary tone toward youth who might be headed in the wrong direction in life.

    As I suggested earlier, we’re at a point where the negative connotations of temple garments have outstripped the positive ones, so something significant needs to change on this front.

  18. Thank you for your post. An additional issue: Many church members live far, far away from distribution centers. It may seem like no big deal in the era of online shopping, but it has been an additional burden of time and $ for me. Ready access to new underwear, particularly during pregnancy, breast-feeding, refluxy babies, and the fun/unpredictable periods that forever follow these epic body transformations, is IMO up there with clean drinking water. Plus garment styles have been a-changing (YAY the new iron on symbols). It seemed like whenever I finally found a style that I could deal with, it would change. I envied my sisters and friends who could stop by a distribution center, shop, discuss, finger samples, and buy a new assortment, knowing they could easily return the (unopened) styles they didn’t enjoy, or stock up on the styles that were soon to be discontinued.

    Some garment changes were for the better. Others were just impossible. The constricting elastic around the arms of the drisilque chemise a few years ago had me at a breaking point. It was the one style that provided any comfort and now with the change I could not deal. I could not deal because I’m prone to yeast infections in my armpits. Gross. I know. I felt completely and terribly divergent in a shameful way. Other women weren’t having this problem, because this was the new inspired style. I was a sweaty, smelly, disgusting outlier, who also happened to be living in 117 degree temperatures. Maybe I should try a different style? But that requires time and $ and it takes a few tires to hit on the right sizing and ugh. I hated my body. I hated how the garment bottoms dug into my stretchmarked and scarred tummy. I hated how I could never, NEVER keep my garments white. Sweat apparently doesn’t mix with garments.

    A friend whispered about bamboo garments. I made the call. I was overwhelmed with the measurements I was supposed to provide. The woman on the phone, while sympathetic to my medical issues, told me that these garments were very expensive to produce so maybe I should call back when my weight had settled out after the baby. And then the research that said I should subtract a solid two inches from every measurement so the bamboo garments would fit, had me in tears. I get it. I’m not a super model. I just wanted to wear underwear that didn’t exacerbate my already embarrassing health issues.

    Sigh. I prayed. I prayed. I prayed. I prayed. I told my Heavenly Father everything. EVERYTHING. And my answer came from Mark 2:27: “And he said unto them, the sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath.” God cared about me. He didn’t care about hair-shirts. He didn’t care about fences around modesty (which is just another type of fence). Garments were not supposed to be a curse, they were supposed to help me. Wearing them was not more important that my happiness or my health.

    I gently wear my garments these days. Often I think of my t-shirts and capris as garments. (If the military, police, and other civil servants can send anything they want in to SLC for the iron on symbols, why can’t I?) and let my bra and panties do the job of underwear. My wedding band also serves as a nice reminder of covenants made and kept. Why couldn’t symbols be engraved on the inside of a ring if people really need that reminder? I wear my SLC issued garments now and then. I’ve not started wearing sleeveless shirts. (Although I pray for the day when we can step away from sexualizing shoulders, mainly because summers are very hot where I live.) My shorts are still all Bermuda length. (Again I pray for the day when we can step away from sexualizing a woman who is dressed in a midlength short. It’s just hot people.) My dresses go to my knee cap.

    I hope we can walk back from men in leadership asking women (or anyone) about underwear. I hope SLC will continue to expand and experiment with garment styles, maybe even offering the option of members adding their own markings/embroidery to camisoles, bandeaus, and slips. If someone in a different part of the world wants to trade an inch of their exposed tummy and cover up their ankles because its what their culture has always done to beat the heat that IS NOT a problem.

  19. Brittany says:

    I’m one of many people I’m sure who has always begrudgingly worn garments because of the physical discomfort and the emotional baggage associated with modesty. Thank you so much for sharing this perspective. I don’t know how much garments will change in my lifetime, but I hope reconfiguring their symbolism in my mind will help me wear the ones I have with more gratitude.

  20. Kevin Barney says:

    I wish instead of garments we could get some sort of symbolic tattoo. You’d only have to pay for it once, not for the rest of your life, there would be no issues with fit, comfort, etc. as we have with garments. if anything it would reflect a more significant commitment, and so forth. But I guess we’re so anti-tattoo that that would never happen.

  21. Heptaparaparshinokh says:

    Turtle Named Mack: maybe we should take the Opus Dei route and wear a barbed chain around one thigh to inflict pain on ourselves a couple times a day. :)

    To the OP: the superstition and folk doctrine that surrounds the garment have gotten out of hand. One is reminded of how many Mormons of previous generations would make sure that a finger or toe was always touching the one-piece hanging on the hook next to the shower or bath. I like Kevin’s tattoo idea, or perhaps some sort of ritual scarification. (How very Burning Man of me.)

  22. Dog Spirit says:

    I just want to second maebridge’s eminently sensible suggestion that we utilize the cross as our symbol of the atonement.

    As for tattoos, sure they’re more comfortable, but for those of us who were traumatized by the temple, perhaps a permanent brand on our flesh isn’t the best way to go. Garments are uncomfortable, psychologically as well as physically for some of us, but they’re much easier to remove than a tattoo.

  23. jaxjensen says:

    Do they hold you down and cut out the tattoo when you are excommunicated?

    In the Army, the garment symbols were simply put on the inside of the brown t-shirt that was part of the BCU (uniform). This meant only one shirt, not a shirt with garment underneath. I preferred this so much that even after discharge I wore only those Tee’s for quite a long time. They went just fine with Levi’s or shorts. If we can do such a thing as attaching them to T-shirts for military, why can’t it be done for everyone? Something like iron-on patches could be used to add them to any shirts/pants the person wanted.

    The sash is an interesting idea, and much easier than adding symbols to all your clothes, but I think it’d have to have the symbols the garments have, for the same purposes. When it comes to changes like this I have to ask though… how much of current garment design is OUR’s, and how much of it is what God has told us he wants from us? If we had an answer to that, then it’d be easier to convince people that it is alright to change what has been done before OR to convince people to accept God’s will. The uncertainty leads to dissatisfaction.

  24. anon for this one says:

    Love all of the post and the discussion. I love the symbology of the atonement with the garment – I am not the best listener but I do believe that is the first time I have heard that interpretation and I appreciate it so much. I don’t believe in the modesty enforcement aspect at all and frequently wear sleeveless shirts and dresses (it is soooo comfortable in the summer). I used to trim the sleeves of the tops until I stopped wearing tops all together, worn out by grey lacey bits peeking out of my collars and the embroidered symbols showing through my shirts.

    I also do not wear the bottoms when I am on my period as they are completely and utterly useless. What I would give to do a powerpoint presentation for GAs going through the ins and outs of periods and the actual functions of womens underwear. The awkward silence would stretch for miles…

  25. Kevin – I agree, I have thought about this as well, but since visible tattoos are frowned upon they would have to be done with invisible ink that only shows up under ultra-violet light that can only be seen when black light bowling or when being scanned for entrance at the pearly gates.

  26. I think having the symbols tattooed in a freckle-colored ink (whatever that means for your unique skin tone) would be good, and is something I have considered for years. I might actually do it someday.

  27. anonforthis says:

    Brilliant! As an exploration of what garments mean and what they should mean. Also as an illustration of a woman’s point of view. I think the same idea written and posted by a man would sound very different, and be lesser for it.

    As another long-time wearer and now long time not, I’ve found that wearing a cross does all the symbolic work for me. I know that’s counter-cultural and it might be idiosyncratic, but symbols can be imbued with meaning in all sorts of ways.

  28. Rigel Hawthorne says:

    My wife has struggled with garment wearing for a long time–for many reasons already cited by women commenters here. The digging in of the arms, the bunches of fabric not needed, the difficulty of using feminine hygiene products with them, the bunching of elastic in the middle of the chest, the lace around the sleeves. When Jana Riess wrote her article, “Hallelujah! Mormon Women’s Garments Just Got A Whole Lot Better, ” and sang out praises for a new garment design, I stopped with my wife one day at a Distribution Center we were passing and asked the worker to help find my wife a new pair of these improved garments. Well, my wife couldn’t stand them. The waist hem of the garment top kept riding up to the bra line like it was a ‘crop top’ and the bottoms felt like she was wearing leggings instead of underwear. I took those back and got a new pair of the DriSilque Women’s garments that did not have lace on the sleeves, but at that point, she experienced a defining moment. She decided to leave these new garments in their bags and move on and not fight the garment battle anymore. I don’t know what this means for the future…whether she will go back to the temple or attend a temple recommend interview. I hope so. She asked me how I can not feel constrained by having my choice of undergarment decided for me and whether there weren’t times that I wanted to wear something else. I answered that sometimes I do, but my parents wore garments, my grandparents wore garments, so I continue to do as they did. I also mentioned that as a missionary, I learned to enjoy the sense of unity with other Elders standing unitedly for our beliefs. Those purposes were not meaningful to her, and the importance of any symbolic meaning as described in the OP has been lost in the years-long battle of trying to be obedient in spite of ill-fitting designs and misunderstanding of women’s needs. My wife is a wonderful, obedient, faithful, spiritual person. If there had been a way to endure through this, she would have done it.

  29. Deborah Christensen says:

    I wish we could get the iron on symbols and put them on underwear from the store. This way everyone gets the clothing they can/need/afford, then have the reminders on them

  30. This is a really good post I wish would be published in the Ensign. One popular belief among many LDS is that they literally provide physical protection to the wearer. My mother asked why I don’t jog in my garments. My response was “well, Mom, if I were to wear my garments during my long runs in the Arizona summer they might literally kill me.”

    I’m also reminded of my mission 25 years ago when some of my companions and I wondered if we had to have sex with garments on. Thankfully that myth is mostly dispelled although I’m sure some people do.

    I take the statement read during the temple recommend interview to heart – that decisions about wearing the garment are between us and the Lord.

  31. Autumn Meadow says:

    Great post. One thing that occurred to me a few months ago while preparing my Primary lesson is that the important difference between the apron and the garment is also illustrated in the story of Cain and Abel. God accepted Abel’s offering of a firstling from his flock, but Cain’s offering of the fruits of the field just didn’t cut it.

  32. anon for this one says:

    Rigel, your wife has all of my empathy (and sympathy too). Of course it will be up to what your wife feels is right for her, but for what it is worth I still keep a temple recommend even though I don’t wear both garments night and day, or even most of the time. When asked in interviews I reply that how I wear my garments is private. Most of the time the bishop and Stake President read me the paragraph about wearing the garment and then the interview moves on. I feel that I am keeping my covenants and in any case it is not any of the bishop or stake president’s business how I wear my underwear.

  33. anon for this one says:

    Also – kudos for supporting your wife.

  34. Heptaparaparshinokh says:

    Toad: there’s a possibly apocryphal statement attributed to Brigham Young in which he declares that he conceived all of his children through the hole of his garment, which is just NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE.

  35. Rigel Hawthorne says:

    Anon,
    Thanks for the helpful pearl and your understanding and kind words. Reading them was very affirming to me!

  36. Heather Arnita says:

    These discussions are always interesting and helpful to me because my experience with garments has been so vastly different. I appreciate hearing people’s difficulties with wearing garments, it helps me to have more empathy. For myself the first time I put on garments I felt like I had come home. I love the way the garments feel. They are not uncomfortable for me at all and in fact not wearing that makes me extremely uncomfortable.

  37. Heather Arnita– thank you for sharing that. Sometimes it’s easy for me to think that everyone else is also muddling along and barely ‘putting up with’ their garments like I am. If that were the case then it’s also easy to view the decision makers as callous towards the misery some of us are dealing with. Hearing that there are folks who unreservedly *love* wearing garments makes it easier to see the balancing act going on.

    Autumn Meadow– I’ve seen things pointing out other stories that parallel the fruit/plant v meat/animal sacrifices and hadn’t considered adding this to the list. Thanks for pointing that out.

    I like Frank Pellet’s take on the apron as an albatross. Lots to think about there

    I have mixed feelings about the tattoo idea, but on the whole I think it’s probably not a good idea for everyone. Many of us were deeply uncomfortable with some unexpected touching and ponchos. Replacing that with fully-exposed skin and a palsied temple worker wielding a tattoo gun is the stuff of nightmares.

  38. Heptaparaparshinokh says:

    I’m in the camp of those who enjoy wearing the garment as currently constituted, but I’m also a dude. For women, that they were told for decades to put a bra over their garment top is awful enough.

  39. Roy Sandstrum says:

    The garment is worn to help us remember many things. The Atonement is one. Not just the sacrifice of the Savior but of the Father. There are multiple reasons for wearing the garment. Can it not include all the ideas mentioned? If modesty is dismissed then what is the standard of modesty? Where else is it taught in a better way? And…maybe modesty isn’t really apart of our religion. If the church believes in being modest then we need to know its definition in some way. Just some thoughts. Thanks for the post. A lot of thought went into your writing.

  40. nobody, really says:

    Just because someone is wearing temple garments doesn’t mean they are modest. Or even that they are dressed modestly. I used to work in the most cliché Mormon company in history in Provo – had an expectant mother there who seemed to think the bottoms were nothing more than bike shorts that were meant to peek out from under a cute maternity top. Another woman had a favorite every-Thursday outfit that included a sheer blouse and a black bra over the traditional Mormon underpinnings. I’ve also seen EQ basketball night were a good seven inches of white underwear was hanging from underneath athletic shorts.

    I’ve also had some people try to tell me that garments should be worn during triathlons. Um, just, no. Swim in the Snake River, then put a chaffing seam full of agricultural run-off between your skin and a bike seat. I can’t handle that amount of blood loss and still try to run a 10K.

  41. Roy Sandstrum says:

    I will ask the question again. Does the church believe in modesty? If it does, where is it defined?

  42. Modesty in dress is defined quite plainly in the For Strength of Youth pamphlet– though one could argue that this is a standard for youth and not adults.
    I think a far more useful definition of modesty is found in the Book of Mormon, but that focuses far more on the *cost* of the clothing and the status that grants the wearer rather than the coverage those clothes provide- something I wish modern mormons would pay more attention to. I cringe every time LDS living puts out a list highlighting ‘modest’ gowns worn to award shows- gowns that cost obscene amounts of money worn with jewelry that costs more than my house.
    One might say that focusing on the cost of clothing still doesn’t tell me how long my hem needs to be. I would say that’s a pharisaical approach and suggest that if one is approaching modesty in earnest then their interest will be focused on comfort, community, and practicality. “Getting away” with a few inches of sexy, sexy skin showing will not be their motivation. If one is not approaching modesty in earnest then hardline dress codes will not create that earnestness in them and they will skirt the law wherever possible.

  43. For a decade I have watched these painful discussions. Sadly nothing of import has ever changed. The wearer gets to decide and take the consequences of the choice. It is a beautifully written vent. I hope the writing helped. I have stopped wishing for a change. It isn’t going to happen.

  44. HotAsHell says:

    https://www.lds.org/youth/for-the-strength-of-youth/dress-and-appearance?lang=eng

    Those questioning modesty…..go read For the Strength of Youth! This is the dress standard ALL members of the church should be living by. Not just the youth of the church. These are the guidelines given by the First Presidency of the Church.

  45. This was a wonderful post and has given me much to think about. Thank you, Starfoxy.

    For those pointing to the the For the Strength of Youth. The last line is the most revealing (pun intended): Ask yourself, “Would I feel comfortable with my appearance if I were in the Lord’s presence?”

    Either this is liberating–because, you know, God looketh on the heart and would never be party to such worldly concerns–or limiting–because you know, God would definitely judge you by how you look (which FTSoY) reinforces. But for me, God is the first one.

    And this is before we ignore its blatant focus on hem-length and line for women while ignoring the same for men.

  46. Roy Sandstrum says:

    The comments make it sound like we had no standard of modesty concerning the way we dress until there was a Strength of Youth Pamphlet.

  47. We actually kind of didn’t. The culture outside the church had a much stricter standard of modesty than we do now, so it does make some sense for the church to start drawing up standards as the ones in the cultural backdrop dissipate. But it’s important to remember that the church’s teaching on clothing has become far more strict on this subject in particular since the early 80’s especially. There’s a quite famous picture of the BYU homecoming queen from the 60’s wearing a lovely sleeveless dress in her official portrait.
    See here for more information.
    https://rsc.byu.edu/archived/volume-8-number-3-2007/promoting-peculiarity-different-editions-strength-youth

  48. My recollection goes back to the (I think) November 68 issue of the Improvement Era with the centerfold of a girl wearing a pink ruffly puffy sleeved dress. Every mission apartment had one proudly tacked to a wall for a few months.

  49. Thanks for this very interesting post. I made a vow a few years ago to stop complaining about my garments, but sadly, it did not take me long to break that vow. And I don’t have nearly the problems that other women experience with them. When I think about it your way, the symbolism is beautiful, but unfortunately it is too easy for me to forget the symbolism when I’m struggling with the literal day to day reality. Sometimes I think wearing them all the time has made them less special, or has made it easier to think of them as not special. I would love it if they went back to being ceremonial, but I’m not holding my breath. I think we’ll see the two hour block first. (And I don’t think we’ll see the two hour block in my lifetime.)

  50. This is such an interesting take, Starfoxy. Thanks for sharing it!

  51. Emily U says:

    Great post, Starfoxy. Thinking about the symbolism as you explain it almost makes me want to wear garments again. Almost.

  52. Kristine says:
  53. Cheryl W says:

    This post and many of the comments make me a little uncomfortable. One important thing I do take away from the Temple is a striking lesson about whom we may trust to be our teachers. The first test is, are they able to keep sacred things sacred.

  54. This was lovely. It reminded me of my public speaking teacher in college (who also had his own church) who talked similarly about fig leaves versus leather, with the button “Let God cover tour heinie”.

    Heptaparaparshinokh, I am of the “bra on top” generation of instruction. I keep doing it only because it helps keep my tops in place. If I didn’t, I’d have to resort to turtlenecks to keep them covered!

  55. Lily C Darais says:

    I loved this article. Thank you for helping me see the garments as a symbol of the atonement. It literally never occurred to me that they symbolized this–which drives home your point exactly. I wear them as a hair shirt–as if my suffering will somehow advance my prospect of exaltation. This is doctrinally untrue, I do realize. I also often think of them as pharisaical phylacteries, Mormon cultural addendums that are irrelevant to salvation and distracting from grace.

  56. EnglishTeacher says:

    Same here, minus instruction. It was put to me as, “It’s the easier way to wear them” rather than, “This is the only way to wear them.”

  57. I have to mention how garments affect a couple’s sexuality:

    1.) If I get into bed with them off (on the rare occasion) for personal reasons, (tight waistband unbearably uncomfortable with belly bloat or pregnancy or menstruation or yeast infections, or hot flashes) it’s automatically assumed sex is going to happen, because they should only come off in bed at night for sex. My body is objectified by my husband. He’s irritated that it’s not happening that night.

    I’m angry that a couple can’t choose whether to wear them at night or not. I need to feel close to my husband at night, whether or not sex occurs, I want to feel him, not his garments
    .
    2.) Since the recommend goes above and beyond what was actually said in the temple, we assume we are sinners if we don’t wear our garment at night. I have been a faithful wearer for more than 20 years. G’s go right back on after intercourse, and my need for intimacy and closeness and skin contact afterward are denied.

    3.) I don’t like my body in garments and it stifles our marriage’s sex life. I don’t love seeing my husband in them and I have a hard time getting aroused when I see myself in them. I don’t feel pretty in them.

    4.) It’s absolutely humiliating that these reasons even need to be mentioned to leaders. I only speak out because surely others have felt the toll garments have taken on their marriage.

  58. Wonderful article, Starfoxy, this was beautiful.

    Ann’s comment prompted me to say something, as I’ve been debating for the last two days whether or not to add my opinion. I felt hesitant because compared to some of the struggles others have had, my challenge has been a lot smaller. I’ve had issues with fit, yes (which has never made sense to me. I’m 5’2″, the statistical average for a female, why is it so hard for someone like me to have garments that actually fit?), but the bigger issue I have with garments is aesthetics.

    They’re just…. ugly. I don’t mind them on my husband, because they don’t seem that different from typical male boxers and undershirt, but I feel ugly when I wear them. Always have.

  59. MDearest says:

    I can’t fully give an accounting here of the damage wearing garments has done in my life. I won’t share this with the all-male church leaders I have, with whom I am barely acquainted, why should I waive my privacy, even anonymously, with blog readers. Wearing garments as instructed exacerbated problems in my life in so many different ways, the body image issues are not even the biggest part. Blind obedience and suffering the proverbial hairshirt for your salvation is a terrible idea. And most definitely, on women, they are ugly, and no matter how much I denied it, they made me feel unattractive in the extreme. My post on this topic would be too dark for our dear readers; Starfoxy: well said.

  60. Given how garments are presented as a representation of what was prepared for Adam and Eve as they were cast out into the world, it would make sense to me for garments to be something to wear when you are out of your house, but are not needed when you are in your house.

  61. I have not read all the comments so forgive me if this has already been mentioned. Nineteenth century underwear was designed to be worn under nineteenth century clothing. Wearing nineteenth century underwear under twenty-first century clothing is problematic for many many reasons especially for women whose clothing styles have changed a lot more than men’s styles over that same period.

    Modernizing women’s garments (and by modernizing I’m talking circa 1920) would go a long way toward eliminating the hair shirt aspect for women of wearing garments. But I’m not holding my breath. Until then it’s hard for me to look past any other symbolism than that of forcing women to wear nineteenth century clothing. Think about the symbolism of THAT.

  62. @jader3rd, interesting idea. Reminds me of the idea of the most holy parts of the city of Zion will not need a temple, because it will all be considered as a temple. Likewise if a home or perhaps certain parts of a home are a sacred enough space, and dedicate for that purpose, maybe it could be considered itself a personal sacred refuge for the body, acting in place of the garment. I believe the time will come that temple authority will be more broadly recognized and we will see a greater flexibility and individual empowerment in these issues, that the specific needs of the faithful can and will be met.

  63. Jennifer says:

    I haven’t read every comment but I read most of them. The recommend interview does not go out of bounds in asking about garments being worn. We do covenant to wear them and not defile them during the initiatory. I actually do initiatories a lot and it’s in there about the garment being a protection so long as we don’t define it. We are told in that ceremony to wear them every day. So it actually is something we covenant to do in the temple.

  64. Jennifer says:

    That being said, I’m not suggesting that a rethink of how they are worn or styled or whatever is a bad thing. They are horribly uncomfortable and they frequently don’t fit people properly, etc. all the problems people have mentioned. I’m just correcting the erroneous belief that covenanting to wear them is not in the temple. It is.

  65. No Jennifer: We are told to never defile them and to wear them. We do not covenant to do so. We are not asked if we will or if agree with the charge. There are many things that we are told to do, but this does not make a covenant.

  66. Folks, just a gentle reminder to be very careful with detailed discussion of temple language. Nobody has crossed a line, but we are tiptoeing rrrrrrrrrrright up to it. Please be sensitive. Not everything has to be sorted out on a blog.

  67. Brad S. says:

    A sash? Really? That’s your idea??

    You “expound” what you believe as doctrine and then you discredit the entire article by proposing, a sash?

    Wow. Thanks for wasting 5 minutes of my life while also showing why the Brethren don’t ask us for our ideas…

    This article is a great example of what the Savior warned about in 3Ne 11:40:

    “And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same comets of evil…”

  68. “comets of evil” is probably my favorite typo ever.

  69. Ryan J. says:

    @ Brad S. Funny! a little harsh, but funny.

    What I didn’t like about this article was the taunting tone for LDS who believe in modesty and remembering their covenants. As if these truths were old fashioned and trivial.

    Why didn’t the article highlight a couple of modern-day LDS leaders who have established those as valid and important? There are 100’s of quotes, and recent. Anyway,

    I believe garments are good, and that God does care how we cloth our bodies.

    I also believe covenants are important, and the garment can help me remember them.

    The article is decent at best, but the sash idea has to go!

  70. Harry B. says:

    I, for one, feel that our religious and cultural reverence for garments borders on misplaced worship. There are so many (often unofficial, hushed, yet still culturally real) injunctions as to how it should be worn, treated, and disposed of that it entirely subverts any personal discretion that one is theoretically entitled to. Thus, even though we’re told that the wearing of the garment is between the individual and the Lord, it’s often a tool through which people are elevated or demoted within our wards and families.

    The ironic thing about this reverence is that typical members receive only scant instruction about where garments come from, their significance, and why we wear them (as the OP argues), and due to the sacred silence outside of the temple, discussing them in a genuine way or with an eye to improvement is frowned upon. In other words, the reverence for garments is based on fiat (just trust that they’re sacred and leave it at that) and faith-promoting hearsay, and genuinely not because of people’s testimonies of garments per se.

    Consequently, I like the OP’s suggestion of re-thinking the garment and how we could make it more meaningful. I personally don’t see how a sash is obviously preferable, but I like the invitation to explore this in a creative way that acknowledges the personal authority that we have as children of God.

    In response to Brad S.’s comment above on 3 Ne. 11:40–couldn’t one make the argument that Joseph Smith’s introduction of the garment is, of itself, declaring more than “this” as Christ’s doctrine? Take a closer look at verses 31-39 preceding verse 40, in which Christ defines what he means by his doctrine–I don’t see any reference to temple garments in there. I’m not saying that JS can’t receive further revelation to help in the restoration of the gospel, but using that scripture to defend a practice that JS himself added beyond Christ’s original guidance is a logical fallacy.

  71. BetsyCat says:

    Aaaaaand cue the puritans/zealots weighing in, who hate discussions like this.*eyeroll* I’m to the point where I’m personally past worrying about the opinions of people who don’t want to actually think about anything in life. They’d rather have all the thinking done for them (which is against gospel doctrine by the way-hmmm). How can I ever turn to those kinds of people for insight, advice, guidance? I couldn’t, because the deepest thought they ever want to have is “Follow the prophet” (they don’t even know what that means, because there IS no definite meaning to it). Ok moving on-

    For me I’m female and garments were a learning curve at first but I actually think they’re cute and feminine. In a pioneer sort of way (by the way, I’m not from Utah – pioneers are big other places besides Utah believe it or not). They feel sacred to me and special, and they’re comfortable for me too. I’m not above pulling or shrinking them if fit isn’t perfect. But overall I wear them right and I don’t have comfort issues – I actually didn’t realize that many women do. I’m glad I know because I think those needs are important and there’s no reason they shouldn’t be met. I don’t know why we can’t order garments according to our measurements, especially for women outside of Utah (I do live here now).

    That said (half the readers aren’t going to read my actual entire comment and won’t know I’ve said this) – I don’t see why people would think that garments have anything to do with sex. Like, feeling that there’s any need to put garments back on immediately after intercourse, or to wear them before intercourse, or to stipulate to yourself whether you should go to bed naked or not… sounds a little silly. We’re taught principles and then we govern ourselves. I never for a moment have worried about any of these things- sex and sensuality is huge for me and I make logical choices for my own sex life.

    If someone has guilted you into thinking otherwise, they are in the wrong and honestly we could do with a lot less of that kind of thinking in religion in general.

    I too love the symbol of a cross. Our church chose not to espouse it – fine. I think it was more of an arbitrary cultural decision rather than a specifically inspired decision. It doesn’t matter either way. I can wear cross necklaces or have crosses in my home if I want to. It’s a beautiful symbol, and a symbol is a symbol – it’s what it means to you.

    Which brings me to the main topic – The Adam and Eve story, and temple symbols and garments are the ones that we have, and we’re not 100% sure why. There’s nowhere that says these are the only possible symbols or the only possible garments or even the only possible creation story. From what I understand garments and the temple procedures have changed vastly since Joseph Smith’s time – vastly! It’s because the meaning behind all of it is the MOST important thing.

    I’m ok with the possibility that the garments are partially for the symbols and partially for modesty principles and partially for protection. I believe in many metaphysical concepts and phenomenon so this isn’t at all out of the realm of possibility in my experience.

    But again – Teach them correct principles and let them govern ***themselves***. I take this to heart. I make many decisions in my daily life that are based on gospel principles and concepts but I make decisions for *myself*. What works for me might not work for another. Garment fit is a perfect example. When and where and how to wear them – govern yourself!

    When we get too puritanical about things, it makes me think that yes, it’s becoming superstitious rather than sacred. It’s becoming the letter of the law with no spirit of the law. There’s too much justice and no mercy. It’s unbalanced.

    I think this is a major cultural problem in the church today, but lately we’re seeing some very, very positive changes which I’ve been thrilled to see :)

  72. BetsyCat says:

    Also – I too lately, have realized the lack of teaching that takes place about what all the Temple ceremony symbols mean. Yes there’s teaching that they are symbolic- but that’s it. No teaching of why and what they’re symbolic of. I actually think the sacred silence is more referring to the actual covenants, rather than the meaning and story behind them. Plus, you can’t really have a discussion about it in the celestial room anyways. It’s a time of quiet, not for sitting there for 2 hours discussing doctrine. So, lately I’ve taken to discussing some of the meanings with friends (as has been done in this article) because I, finally, want to understand. I don’t want to go my whole life just doing this out of rote repetition. I want to learn and grow. It’s becoming strange to me that people feel compelled to discourage learning. I think we may see less fallout of people dumping temple covenants the moment they disagree with church doctrine if they had understood the meanings in the first place. Some people can connect the dots on their own but not everyone is good at that.

  73. From the official church website it states we are obligated to wear the garment. Here is the direct quote- “Once people are endowed, they have the blessing of wearing the temple garment throughout their lives. They are obligated to wear it according to the instructions given in the endowment. Those who have been endowed in the temple must remember that the blessings that are related to this sacred privilege depend on their worthiness and their faithfulness in keeping temple covenants.”

  74. The official church website states – “Once people are endowed, they have the blessing of wearing the temple garment throughout their lives. They are obligated to wear it according to the instructions given in the endowment. Those who have been endowed in the temple must remember that the blessings that are related to this sacred privilege depend on their worthiness and their faithfulness in keeping temple covenants.”

  75. Ryan J. says:

    @ BetsyCat

    Your article is an excellent example of why we shouldn’t be writing on blog posts past 1am.

    Thanks,

  76. Harry B. says:

    @Ryan J — Your sarcasm is not charitable. I encourage you to drop it.

    And though BetsyCat’s comment did meander a bit, I felt she contributed to the discussion. Even if you (apparently) disagree with her comments, she is just as entitled to a perspective on the topic as you are. And if you read it closely, her comment expresses a lot of faith to covenants and the spirit of the garment–it’s discouraging to see that she gets harassed for expressing something that offers a little nuance.

  77. Betsycat, great comment. I also lament the lack of instruction around the temple and its symbols. There is no place to discuss these things that are such a huge part of our lives. And as symbols drift in meaning from their original intent- like garments becoming something of a hairshirt- they need to be re-evaluated to see if they are performing their intended semiotic function.

  78. Adel – thanks, but as already stated above, being instructed to do something and making a covenant to do thing you were instructed to do are two different things.

  79. Either way we are “obligated to wear the garment”. Yet we always have agency.

  80. @Adele, I find saying “we always have agency” to be an intellectual lazy way of saying “Don’t question to status quo.” No one here is questioning our agency.
    I know for myself that I don’t want to start doing something which I will need to repent of. I do want to be righteous to the covenants I made, but not to some pharisytical hedge built up around those covenants. So is there some aspect to current practice that’s a hedge and not part of the actual covenant? What aspects have actually been revealed vs. what was misremembered, but written down by Brigham Young’s “We should probably write this stuff down” committee?
    The Lord doesn’t want slothful servants who need to be commanded in all things; so is there some way that I can change what I’m doing where I’m still keeping my covenants, and can still get more out of this mortal experience? God isn’t going to give us blessings when we make decisions where we think we are being more righteous, when in reality we’re missing the mark.
    So yes, I have my agency; but I want to use my agency to mature spiritually, not remain a spiritual adolescent by never understanding what I’m actually supposed to be becoming from living the commandments.

  81. Descent says:

    I appreciate you writing this post and making the connection between garments and animal
    sacrifice. Is it possible then that the garment then symbolizes the Temple sacrifices of animals for atonement? Animal sacrifice was a symbol and foreshadowing of Christ’s ultimate sacrifice which then converts the garment into a symbol of his protection offered by the Atonement. Otherwise, wouldn’t the garment be a outmoded symbol?

    I’d also love more discussion on the power conferred by the garment. The Temple, both ancient and modern, infers that we become like God when we participate in Temple worship, that’s it more than a symbol but a literal promise that we will be transformed into heavenly beings. Clothing, as you said, is used as a symbol of that transformation throughout the endowment ceremony.

    Lastly, yes, anytime we can connect a daily practice such as wearing garments to the command to feed, clothe and shelter is an important part of fulfilling the most basic of the command to love others. Christ symbolically fed and clothed us all who are symbolically Adam and Eve in the Temple and we in turn must do likewise for all those is need outside its walls.

  82. Mike H. says:

    Nice to see that Starfoxy is still around, under another name.

    Kevin Barney, my Father used to make that crack about just tattooing the markings on people, There’s a an element of truth behind that, like the markings in the 1970’s & before had square pieces of fabric sewn inside the garment at the marking. Before around 1940, the garment worn outside the Temple was to the wrists & ankles.

    “I’m safe from committing adultery when I dress modestly”. One RM at BYU told me, before my Mission, that garments were designed to make you have to take them off to have sex, to remind you, if you are having sex with someone other than your spouse.

    “I too love the symbol of a cross. Our church chose not to espouse it – fine.” I talked some with the Author of “Banishing the Cross” at a pre-Sunstone Snacker. The Church was kind of neutral on the cross, Brigham Young had made a statement about Missionaries riveting themselves to memory of the Cross, for one statement. David O. McKay pushed for hard to eliminate any use of the Cross.

    There was also the change at the Temple in the mid 1970’s, where Endowment (& Endowed Sealing?) participants removed there normal garments, and, put on the ceremonial ones. This was one of the things that changed under SW Kimball.

    I’m one of those Liberal types, that feels there was reproduction & death in the Animal World, before the Fall, but, still, animals getting killed for human benefit for the first coats of skins must have shocked Adam & Eve. To say nothing of then being required to sacrifice animals.

    It’s also sad that women are expected to wear the garment, even if menstruation, childbirth recovery, yeast infections, etc. make it difficult to impossible to do so. So, are women supposed to buy new bottom garments ever month, and destroy the ones ruined by bleeding onto them, or, have to wash them 5 times in a row in bleach, to remove the blood? We talk about not defiling the garment, but, that phrase does not reassure women with these issues!

    ” I get it. I’m not a super model. I just wanted to wear underwear that didn’t exacerbate my already embarrassing health issues.” Sigh. The sizing can leave a lot to be desired.

  83. “What I would give to do a powerpoint presentation for GAs going through the ins and outs of periods and the actual functions of women’s underwear. The awkward silence would stretch for miles…”

    Best comment ever!
    There would be awkward silence for sure from some of them and I think compassion from others that something intended to be a hopeful reminder of something profound causes many people grief and pain in daily practice. I found this blog post & comments encouraging. I learned something from the post and feel from reading the comments that *maybe* in my lifetime some of the ideas for change will happen.