The Mormon Garment
Mormon garments are underclothing received when a member becomes fully endowed in a Mormon temple. These garments are sacred, symbolic, and a sign of obedience. Mormon garments are a standard for modesty, a reminder to members of the covenants they have made with God, and a reminder to be obedient to God’s commands.
The garment covers from the shoulders to the knees, and members are asked to only remove it for activities such as swimming, showering and physical intimacy with their spouse. Members are also told that the garment should not be exposed, thus members must wear outer clothing that covers from the shoulders to the knees. All members of the Mormon Church–not just endowed members–are asked to keep this standard of modesty. This also helps members remember that bodies are viewed as sacred temples. Also, the garment protects the wearer if he or she lives worthy. This protection is said by Church leaders to be protection against evil and temptation. Gordon B. Hinckley, the President of the Mormon Church has said, “Modesty in dress and manner will assist in protection against temptation. It may be difficult to find modest clothing, but it can be found with enough effort. . . . You can be attractive without being immodest. . . . Draw some rigid parameters, a line in the sand, as it were, beyond which you will not go.”
The Mormon garment is supposed to be a reminder of the covenants members make in the temple. In this way the garment has also come to represent a member’s commitment to the Mormon Church’s teachings—the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. However, unlike many religions that have outward signs of their commitment to a specific faith, the garment is worn under clothing and not to be exposed. This too helps remind members that they should follow the gospel not to be praised by man, but because it is the right thing to do and because it is God’s law.
From the beginning sacred clothing has always been something given by God to man. Genesis states, “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” Throughout the Bible there are numerous references to “holy garments,” “glorious garments,” “garments of honor” and other holy articles of clothing, most of these references are in connection with the tabernacle or temple rites. The wearing of the garment by endowed members of the Mormon Church is a sacred command and one of the most important reasons why it is worn.