Posts Tagged ‘magic mormon underwear’

I got this dress for $20 at TJ Maxx when I returned from Florence. I planned to buy a dress in Italy, but couldn’t find anything I wanted to bring home with me that wasn’t 1,000 euros or more.

When my roommate saw me wearing it, she said I was “channeling the Duchess of Cambridge.”

I was terribly flattered.:)

 

Kate Middleton is the epitome of a woman with class. I’m in an intense lace phase as evidenced by one of my Pinterest boards  and she stars in it quite a bit.

There’s her creme lace dress, along with her blue lace dress. 

It isn’t just in lace where she looks fabulous. There’s this lovely golden dress as an evening gown and this springy yellow dress during the day. And I absolutely want to wear this military style outfit to work.

It wasn’t until I came across this article that I realized in addition to Kate’s overall class, I’m a pinaholic for her style because it’s modest.

(Yeah, I know, slow on the uptake with this one. But, gratefully, not THAT slow.)

I mean, she added sleeves to her Jubilee dress. A woman after my own heart!

I don’t know if there’s a sleeve standard for British royals or not, but all of her choices so far that I’ve seen (and anytime she steps out her image quickly spreads all over the Internet) have been what a Mormon would consider “modest.” This means, keeping the cleavage covered and for those who have received their endowment in the Temple, wearing sleeves. For more on how Mormons wear underclothing as a reminder of their promises they make to God in the Temple see:

Mormon Underwear: A Constant Personal Reminder to Always Remember Jesus Christ and Keep His Commandments

Magic Mormon Underwear Gets a Mention at the Believing Brain Discussion

MacGyver Groupie and Lengthy Leggings

My Easter Dress, “Mormon underwear” mentioned…again and Mormon Defense

Cher Doesn’t Get the Underwear Concept Anyway

Sleeves on the Midnight Blue Dress? Sold

The best part is that modesty is trending with more than the Duchess. This article reports that Victoria Beckham’s modest fashion sensibilities  have inspired other leading designers to make it fashionable to cover up.

I might be tearing up a little. That’s so beautiful—on multiple levels.

 

 

 

 

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The singer Cher stirred controversy for her anti-Romney tweet.  The Supreme Court’s healthcare decision mobilized a large number of voters to rally around the not-Obama candidate, Mitt Romney, for his promise to lead the repeal of nationalized healthcare if elected. In just the four hour period following the Supreme Court’s announcement, Mitt Romney’s campaign raised $1 million.  

Cher’s concern led her to Twitter to warn her fans.

About Obama she wrote: “I Feel if he doesn’t get all his DUCKS IN A ROW we’ll b forced 2 listen 2Uncaring Richy Rich! The whitest man in MAGIC UNDERWEAR in the WH.” 

I’m glad to see that Cher is a concerned citizen. My first reactions:

  1. Is anyone forced to listen to the US president?
  2. Isn’t Cher white? Is a white man in the White House a problem?
  3. Isn’t Cher rich? Isn’t the American dream defined as the opportunity to rise from modest means to wealth as Mitt and Ann Romney have done?
  4. “Magic underwear” got all caps? Wow, she must be really worried about this possibility.

Two points

The first is related to Romney’s wealth and his Mormonism. Latter-day Saint (Mormon) congregations are determined by geographical boundaries called wards. Wards usually cover a large enough area that congregants span the economic spectrum. These wards have a strong sense of community since the Mormon baptismal covenant includes a promise to like Christ “mourn with those that mourn and comfort those who stand in need of comfort”  (Mosiah 18:8-9).  This means that by virtue of their Church involvement wealthy Mormons become personally involved with the lives of the economically poor members of their faith community. Further, the LDS Church has a lay ministry. I’m currently one of the lay ministers for my congregation. In addition to my full time job and my evening grad school, I serve in the Church about 15 hrs a week. This responsibility leads me to be intimately involved in counseling with members of the congregation who need help. Challenges span from economic challenges, spiritual discouragement, past abuse, depression and much more. Mitt Romney has had similar experiences through his Church service. His responsibilities as a stake president (a leader for several wards) led him to be even more involved in these kinds of issues than I am currently. Unlike typical wealthy Americans from which many politicians spring, Mitt Romney has been personally involved with and cared for people outside of his economic bracket. It’s unfortunate that he can’t talk about his faith publicly because this aspect of his faith community provides him with experience that others vying for public office never live.

I don’t know much about Cher. But, I doubt she spends much time with others who cannot enjoy her same lifestyle.

Next, “magic underwear” is a mocking term generated by the atheist community. Or was it the secular humanists? Or the nontheists? I’m not sure. It’s one of those. I was familiar with the phrase years ago by word of mouth. Then the night I wrote about wearing “the garment” when Michael Shermer and I had an exchange about it at Sixth and I, I found a Youtube video with the “magic underwear” term. You can see it in the comments on that post.

I’ve written about wearing the garment on this blog.

Mormon Underwear: A Constant Personal Reminder to Always Remember Jesus Christ and Keep His Commandments

Magic Mormon Underwear Gets a Mention at the Believing Brain Discussion

MacGyver Groupie and Lengthy Leggings

My Easter Dress, “Mormon underwear” mentioned…again and Mormon Defense

Sleeves on the Midnight Blue Dress? Sold

I write about it so much because Cher joins a large group of people who disparage this practice.

You can go to these posts linked above to find out about the doctrine of why Mormons wear an underclothing as a reminder of their covenants to “always remember Jesus Christ and keep His commandments.”

To what I’ve written before, I’ll add this.

This last week I accompanied a friend in my ward to receive her endowment in the Temple. This means that she promised to wear the garment as a reminder of the promises she was making with God. As I sat next to her in a beautiful room with mirrors and chandeliers in the Washington, DC Temple, the assistant to the Temple matron (kind of like the first lady of the Temple) told her that in addition to other purposes the garment  symbolizes the sacrifice of Christ.  Like the garment covers the body, Christ’s Atonement covers our sins, she told my friend. It added another layer to why I appreciate this reminder God has provided for me. With the many demands on my time, it’s sometimes easy to forget God. The garment keeps the reminder close. Wearing it requires some creativity in my wardrobe, but I don’t mind.

For example:

This week when Derechosaurus Wrecks  knocked out my power in 100 degree heat, I went to Marshalls  to cool off. I didn’t intend to buy anything, but I found this dress for $20 on clearance.

It was a little wrinkled on the hanger and I didn’t have electricity to iron it, but I wore it to Church the next day just the same because I liked it so much.

I rarely wear the Downeast Basics undershirt I paired with it to cover my garment because the neckline is so high, but it was meant to be with this dress. I’m glad I could help them find each other.:)

Wearing the garment has deep spiritual meaning. If someone understands it carries this depth and then mocks it, I accept that. My issue comes when people don’t know anything about the meaning of the practice and the only thing they know about it is Cher’s label.

It’s extra annoying because Cher doesn’t really get the over all underwear concept anyway, but whatev.

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When my sister and I were little, our Mom made us dresses for Easter every year.We loved them. It was an exciting part of Easter. As we got older, when she was able to provide it, we’d go shopping for them.

Those are fun memories.

This week, I was at Ross to get a few things now necessary because of  my new move.

Of course, I had to browse the dresses.

I’ve written before about a more mindful approach to my purchasing behavior. When I saw this dress, I just had to have it. I paused wondering if all the lace dresses I’ve pinned on Pinterest  influenced my want or if I couldn’t have lived without it regardless of my virtual pinboard. Still working on that one.

As I went back and forth with how I really  shouldn’t buy more clothes because I have plenty, I justified it to maintain tradition.

It’s now my Easter dress.

I really like the waistband and the length.

And the pockets.

And I love love love the lace!

I also like how I didn’t have to do that much with it to “make it modest” as a Mormon  girl would say. I wear an underclothing as a reminder of my covenant with God. I promised Him to always remember His Son and keep His commandments.  It makes clothing shopping a treasure hunt and a venture in creativity.

Since this underclothing, called  “the garment,” has short sleeves and covers cleavage, if I were to have it, I added a brown undershirt to the crème dress. I liked the length because the garment falls a few inches above the knee.

Just a day in the life of the average Mormon woman.

I’ve written several times about wearing the garment. The post Mormon Underwear: A Constant Personal Reminder to Always Remember Jesus Christ and Keep His Commandments explains the doctrinal background and belief behind the practice. The post MacGyver Groupie and Lengthy Leggings shows some of the attempts to make clothes modest. And the best one was the time when I asked Michael Shermer  a question at Sixth and I about his new book and once he found out I was Mormon, he asked if I “wore the underwear.” It’s worth checking out: Magic Mormon Underwear Gets a Mention at the Believing Brain Discussion.

This week BuzzFeed reporter McKay Coppins tweeted a conversation between Time magazine columnist Joe Klein and Buzzfeed head honcho Ben Smith.

 

Speaking of Mitt Romney, Klein said:

 “I don’t know what the extent of this is, but I think the fact that he’s a Mormon, leads him to be mistrustful about the outside world and what it can handle about him…I think there’s something very close to the core of his being on a very personal level, and this is just speculation on my part, to mistrust the rest of the world.”

Joe Klein’s analysis of Mitt Romney speaks more to his own mistrustful mindset than it does of Mitt Romney’s.  A Pew study recently found that Mormons are among the most happy and settled of Americans.  They are characteristically optimistic about the world and its possibilities. Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s inspiration for their Broadway hit came from their personal acquaintance with Mormons who seemed to them ready to burst into song at any moment. The theme of Mormon cheerful naivete runs throughout their production. And being a member of the Mormon community myself, I can vouch that we have an optimistic worldview. Because of our view of God as our Father, the possibility of repentance made possible by His Son and how we view the purpose of life and its difficulties, it makes for a doable go at life. Oh, and I almost forgot the strong community support. Friendship expanded with the Holy Ghost makes life very beautiful.

Mormons are, however, on the defense.

It’s not that Romney’s Mormonism, if he’s not a complete outlier from these common trends, makes him mistrustful. It’s that Mormons feel misunderstood by the world around them, which was another finding  from  the Pew study. Here we are enjoying a rich spiritual life and then Robert Jeffress calls us a cult. What?  You can sense my defensiveness in the response to it: Jeffress: Cults–any religious group not Evangelical Christian (Catholics get a backhanded pass).  Klein here represents many in the media who just don’t get religious people, let alone the religious group of the Mormons who are new to the public consciousness. He knows of the cult name calling, he’s heard of the posthumous baptisms and he doesn’t understand it, therefore, he doesn’t trust it.

My take is that Romney carries the optimism characteristic of Mormons. It’s clear in how he talks about America, which he likely uses as a surrogate to talking about his faith. He’s not mistrustful of the world. But because many of the gate keepers to his nomination in the Republican party consider Mormonism a cult and because many in the media that report on him come from secular backgrounds and lack understanding of religious motivation, it’s just a much better strategy not to talk about his faith.

As a Mormon myself, I wouldn’t want Mitt Romney to be elected president just because he is a Mormon. However, I definitely wouldn’t want him to be denied the presidency only because he is Mormon. The same policy goes for candidates’ race and/or gender. Yes, their experiences inform their worldview and it’s important to understand who they are because of it, but let’s be sure we’re not projecting our own mistrust on others instead of accurately understanding what motivates them.

Further, Klein shows more of his mistrust after Ben Smith responds very well to his suspicions. (I wonder if Smith is Jewish, he seems to get the religious approach to life and respect it. If he’s not Jewish, maybe he’s just done his due diligence as a journalist to understand people in his American community. Good for him.)

Well, there’s the underwear…,‘ Klein says.

Smith draws the very similar comparison to making fun a yamaka. This is something that is deeply meaningful to someone else. It should be respected, whether you value it personally or not.

Wearing the garment for me is similar to taking Communion with me everyday. When I have to go about the demands of daily life where it’s easy to forget God, I have a constant very personal reminder  of my promise to remember Jesus Christ. It’s a tall order to “always” remember Him. (Mosiah 18:9-10) God has provided me tools to be better at my effort. I appreciate it.

In short, I have a rich spiritual life because of the framework the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints provides me. It includes practices, such as wearing the garment, that I’m happy to talk to about when people are respectful about it. Mormons are optimistic about the world and their place in it, but get on the defense when they’re misunderstood. I don’t expect others to suddenly want to adopt the practice themselves, but as citizens of a shared American community, the First Amendment especially requires we respect others’ pursuits of conscience. When members of the media, such as Joe Klein, misunderstand religious communities and their motivations, it creates a glaring blindspot in their competency as journalists.  May he bring himself up to speed  if a Mormon is in the next general presidential election.

 

From this blog about Mormon Temples 

Mormon Temple Wedding: A Ceremony Centered in Christ

“What’s in a Name?” A Whole-lotta Faith in Jesus Christ

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“He has great taste,” my friend said before we began yesterday’s leadership meeting.

“I picked it out,” I replied. I had just told her that Steve, a man I taught as a full time missionary, bought me the dress for my birthday I was wearing. It’s probably one of my new favs.

It’s a Shabby Apple dress. Some Latter-day Saint business women run this company. Turns out there’s a market for stylish modest clothes.

You can find previous posts about how Mormons wear a special underclothing as a reminder of their covenant to remember Jesus Christ at:

 Magic Mormon Underwear Gets a Mention at the Believing Brain Discussion

 Mormon Underwear: A Constant Personal Reminder to Always Remember Jesus Christ and Keep His Commandments

MacGyver Groupie and Lengthy Leggings

This dress is called Overboard and can be found here. It doesn’t come with the belt pictured.

I got this red belt at a BYU lost and found sale for $2.00. I’m just waiting for the day when some BYU grad (there are many in the DC area) reveals they lost one just like it.

Several people at Church independent of each other told me that I looked like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. The married missionary couple said it, the ward clerk and my friend who is “investigating” as we call it when someone is considering joining also mentioned it.

I was going more for the Fourth of July picnic in the middle of winter look, but whatev.

Remembering teaching Steve makes me smile.

An area leader came to our mission and promised us that if we contacted all the “part member families” in the ward, then by Christmas (in 6 weeks), we’d be teaching someone who would accept the restored gospel.

My companion and I prayed diligently in every single prayer, which as a missionary is a whole lotta prayers, that we could realize that promise in our little part of the vineyard.

Our ward clerk printed a list of everyone who did not have a member spouse.  Then we went about outreaching to people on the list.

I’ll never forget that day. Steve says he knew “it was over” when he saw us walking up because he felt it in his heart. We had no clue. At this point lots of people had shot us down, but we kept praying and kept inviting. We believed someone would be ready.

He had been taught by Sister missionaries years before, which is how he came into the Church. He had gone “less active” as we call it when someone has been baptized and quits participating in the community of Christ.  He was even an ordained high priest and served in that capacity for years before going less active. Being a high priest and walking away is a big deal to Mormons. Because such a person has a great deal of knowledge, God will hold them accountable to that knowledge.

Bishops had visited him many times before to invite him back and so did other missionaries. To put it politely, he wasn’t very nice to them.

Now was his time.

I asked if we could teach him the missionary lessons. Gruffly, he said he already knew the lessons—he even used to teach them himself.

“Then we can teach each other,” I replied.

“There’s no point in me going to Church because I’m not worthy to take the Sacrament,” he said.

“Then you can become worthy,” I replied.

The Sacrament to a Latter-day Saint is a sacred ordinance reminding us of the body and blood of Christ. It renews the baptismal commitment to always remember Jesus Christ and keep the commandments. If you quit keeping commandments, you are to abstain from the Sacrament until you realign yourself with them.

Steve said he was drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes, both are against the health code we believe is revealed from God for our time.

He agreed to have us back.

When we returned we were prepared to invite him to quit coffee right away and in later visits we planned to work with him on the cigs.

It was a Sunday when we came back. I was the one that invited him to stop drinking coffee.   He said he would and that he would stop smoking, too, and if he could stop smoking by Wednesday, he’d be to Church on Sunday.

I wish I had a picture of our faces. I hope I get to see that at judgement when my life is reviewed. We were surprised to say the least.

I asked if he was sure.

He was.

And he did.

Now he serves in the Dallas Temple every Saturday.

It was his time.

And we did find a part member family that we were teaching by Christmas and who later received the gospel by baptism. Well, they found us. We wouldn’t have otherwise found them because they weren’t on our list, but that’s another story.

I have lived over and over in my life that when we exercise faith through prayer, the Lord gives us spiritual power to bring about His goodness.

As I’ve mentioned before, God is really good at connecting people who should meet at the right time if we but exercise faith in Him. He works according to our faith.

I believe that a modern prophet prayed about where I should be called as a missionary and by the spirit of prophecy, I was sent to connect with certain people at the right time and invite them to come unto Christ and receive the restored gospel.

I’m not feigning modesty when I say it’s amazing to see it’s God working through me. Realizing answers to prayers isn’t because I have stored up awesome-ness. It’s God. But I do have a part in preparing myself to be His messenger.

Feeling the power of God move through me has forever changed my life. It motivates me to continue seeking after Him.

As I do, I meet  people like Steve.

That makes life oh so good.

 

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Tonight I attended a lecture at sixth&iwhere Michael Shermer talked about his new book, The Believing Brain: From Ghosts to Gods to Politics and Conspiracies.It was a full house with at least 200 people in attendance, maybe 300.  In it, he argues that the brain naturally looks for patterns as it processes its environment.   The brain then forms these patterns into belief that people confirm with self selected proof, ignoring evidence to the contrary.  Further, through these beliefs, the brain can even produce experiences perceived as supernatural, especially when the social human is alone or sleep deprived.

My friend invited me to attend with him. This was a response to my prior invite for him to attend a panel discussion with me at the Religious Freedom Education Project out of the Newseum. I don’t frequently attend atheist discussions with my Saturday night, though it’s likely something I would have done if Michael, the author, was on campus during the week.

Believe it or not, in the Q & A, Michael asked me whether I wear Mormon underwear.  After a bit of an exchange, I said that I blogged about it and wanted to provide those links for anyone from the sixth&i event who may visit the MormonInside tonight. I’m planning on writing a response to Michael’s remarks within the week, so be sure to come back.

Mormon Underwear: A Constant Personal Reminder to Always Remember Jesus Christ and Keep His Commandments

MacGyver Groupie and Lengthy Leggings

How’d we get to “magic mormon underwear” in the Q & A, you ask?  Good question. It was quite priceless, actually.

I’m in the process of choosing a thesis topic in my master’s in American Studies program at Georgetown University.  I want to do something with public school education, the Constitution, and religion. I’m concerned with the taboo status of teaching morals in the public school system. As a result of this problem, we are creating a generation not bound to a sense of moral or civic responsibility.  If this trend continues, the experiment we call America will fail because our form of government relies on the people’s civic virtue and engagement. Whose morals should get priority in such a prime forum?  America’s, of course; shared values embodied in the Constitution should be the promoted ethics. I’m ruminating arguing that religious communities are a vibrant source within American society to contribute to the development of civic virtue, though it is not the only source.  Since secularists often portray religionists as stupid or ridiculous and because religion is increasingly portrayed as ruining everything, the potential of religious communities increasingly goes untapped in countering this problem.

That background motivated my question.

The mission of the host organization, the Center for Inquiry is to “foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry and humanist values” and the author described how morality, or in other words treating someone respectfully, is a natural means for humans to perpetuate genes. So, I asked how his views would contribute to an educational approach moving forward. As students increasingly think within a scientific method framework,  how should morals, which are value judgments, be taught?

In addition to referring me to Sam Harris’ The Moral Landscape, he suggested using the scientific approach in determining what makes a good society. North and South Korea measurablely demonstrate some political forms are better than others in achieving good health, well being and personal freedom, he said.

Then in jest, he said something along the lines of how it was difficult to determine morals because some people like the Mormons “morally” lead  teenage girls into  polygamist relationships;  a system where the man wouldn’t otherwise “be getting any.”

Unable to with hold my smile, I thanked him and said that I happened to be Mormon and that as we discussed tonight there are various views and religious sects in the world and I am not part of that sect. :)

He responded laughingly and the room also filled with a sense of amusement. He recovered a bit by saying that those are the Mormon fundamentalists and all the mainstream Mormons he knows have been really nice people.

He then asked if I wore the underwear.

I said, “You’re asking me about my underwear?” I intended for this to be a playful way of feigning offense at an otherwise very impertinent question from a middle aged man of a young woman (if it wasn’t religious clothing).

A man sitting closely in the pew (yes they were pews, sixth&i is a synagogue) attempted to help me understand Michael’s question and said something about “magic mormon underwear.”

I said, “Yes, I do wear a reminder of my covenant with God.”

The whole thing was really priceless. :)

I just spent a few minutes googling the term “magic mormon underwear.” I’m not sure who started this term, but it’s really disrespectful.

Calling the reminder of my covenant “magic mormon underwear” is kind of like saying you’re going to beat up my mom. It’s rude, but I roll with it.

After we stood in line for my friend to get his book signed by the author, we talked a bit with a man born into the Jewish community, but who does not accept any of the beliefs. He told us that secularists are now building community in the same way that religious groups do. I suggest that as this group gains more of an identity and they seek to encourage rationality in society, they couple it with showing respect of beliefs or practices special to others, even if they don’t see any scientific value. Maybe secularists could consider that my attitude and behavior with regards to wearing the garment may contribute to making me nice, like Michael noticed in other Mormons.

Maybe a religious practice is not so ridiculous if it contributes to the creation of a peaceful and civil society.  Not every religious practice is akin to jihad.

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The weather is changing. When spring weather hits, my mood-o-meter peaks out at this-is-the-life-if-it-could-possibly-get-any-better-I’d-have-no-room-to-hold-the-happiness. The Masonic George Washington memorial in Alexandria in winter is now only a memory.

Changing weather means wardrobe changes.  Some girls in my ward host a “fashion-free-cycle” where they invite women (well, anyone really, but only women show up) to go through their closet and pull out clothes they haven’t worn in a while. They set up their darling front room with tables and racks and everyone fills it up with give-aways. Whatever isn’t recycled at the end of the evening gets donated to Goodwill.

Latter-day Saint (Mormon) women consider modesty first in their choice of clothing. It’s quite an easy task in the winter, but gets to be a bit more of a challenge in the warmer months. In the post  ”Mormon Underwear: A Constant Personal Reminder to Always Remember Jesus Christ and Keep His Commandments” I explain how and why covenanted faithful Latter-day Saints live modestly inside and out by wearing a sacred reminder under their clothing. This means when it comes down to wearing something new and trendy and wearing this reminder, called “the garment,” a faithful Latter-day Saint will always, always choose clothing that respects the sanctity of the garment. In other words, you don’t dismiss the garment to rock a halter top on Saturday night and then pick it up again on Sunday.

This means that LDS women layer—a lot. And my latest layering tool is leggings. I love them. I’m not very tall, so often dresses are long enough to cover the garment—if I don’t move at all that is. Leggings make it possible to wear my preferred dresses without flashing the reminder of my covenant to the world.

I wonder how long I’ll hold onto leggings after they go out of style. You know, like those people who sport the MacGyver mullet while they’re singing along with the BlackEyedPeas.

You don’t know who MacGyver is?

That’s okay, he’s not still around. If he were, he’d likely have used my leggings to descend a Pakistani compound camelflouging the world’s worst terrorist to take him out with a paper clip and some duct tape.

Actually, that might be hot.

You can have your MacGyver mullet in 2011 if I can have my leggings in 2019. Deal?

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Faithful Latter-day Saints (Mormons) frequently think differently than the current public. The public often views living God’s guidelines, which are called commandments, as someone telling them they can’t do something or they have to do it. Faithful Latter-day Saints live these guidelines because by faith they see the opportunity to be schooled by God in how to draw closer to Him. As a result, when faithful Latter-day Saints properly wear the sacred underclothing associated with the endowment ceremony in the Temple, it draws them closer to God.

The public also often views “Mormon Temples” as secret and exclusive places because a person must be a baptized member of the Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints and currently be living the commandments to enter. Plus, members do not talk about the specifics of Temple ordinances outside of the Temple. However, Temples are not secret, but sacred and God wants all of His children to prepare themselves by baptism and commandment keeping to be able to worship there. It is literally the House of the Lord.

“So, what is done in a Mormon Temple ceremony? What is this Mormon underwear all about?”

In an endowment ceremony Church members strengthen their commitment made at baptism to keep the commandments. At baptism, Mormons promise to “mourn with those that mourn” and to “stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things and in all places” (Mosiah 18:8-10).

The practice of baptism as an ordinance was given to Adam and Eve as part of the process to overcome their fallen state. They first were instructed to repent and believe in Jesus Christ, be baptized and they would receive the Holy Ghost” (Moses 6:57-61).  God is consistent with His formula of overcoming the Fall, therefore in our time we too exercise faith in Jesus Christ, repent, are baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost as the first steps to overcoming our fallen state.

As the Lord prepared Adam and Eve to exit the comfort of the Garden of Eden and enter the challenges of the world, He made “coats of skins” as a covering for them (Genesis 3:21). Where did the coats come from? They likely came from a lamb that was offered as a sacrifice that Adam would later learn symbolized the Savior (Moses 5:4-8).  Any time that God has had His gospel in its fullness on the earth, He has introduced wearing the garment among His people.

In the endowment ceremony held only in the Temple, members strengthen their promises made at baptism and are symbolically clothed in the garment as a constant reminder to them to keep their promises or covenants.

Then, during the weekly Church Sunday services held in chapels, members renew their promises made with God by taking the Sacrament or “Lord’s Supper.” By doing so members “witness” unto God “that they are willing to take upon them the name of [Christ], and always remember him and keep his commandments” (Doctrine and Covenants 20:7).

What!?! Always remember Him? How is that done in the daily grind? God is a Master teacher. He designed the garment as a very personal reminder to help His children remember, remember, remember the two way covenants they have made with Him. God is perfect and faithful in keeping His end of a covenant (Alma 37:17).  His children need help keeping their end. He designed the garment to be a help.

Specs and Guidelines for Faithful Members in Wearing the Garment

Guidelines for wearing the garment are best explained in “The Temple Garment: An Outward Expression of An Inward commitment”

  • The garment is a sacred reminder of Jesus Christ and the covenant to live His commandments. Treat them as such.
    • Pictures of the garment on the Internet (or other mistreatment) are extremely offensive to members who understand and honor  its sacred purpose.
  • Avoid placing it in a position where it can be mocked. It is sacred.
  • Keep it covered.
  • Wearing it properly fosters modesty.
  • The tops have short sleeves and the bottoms fall a little above the knee.
  • It should not be cut or altered to follow the fashions of the world.
  • When worn faithfully and properly, it will be a shield and a protection.
  • It should be worn night and day.  In activities where the garment cannot be worn, like in swimming or athletics, it should be restored quickly instead of lounging around without wearing them. We should look for occasions to wear it, not to take it off.
  • It is associated with the endowment ceremony (“Mormon Temple Ceremony”), which members receive when going on missions, getting married or when they consider themselves spiritually prepared to strengthen their commitment to the Lord they made at baptism.

My personal practice

Preparing since my youth. The standards of modesty in dress for the Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints stem from the coverage established by the garment. As a teenager, my shirts always had sleeves and the hem of my shorts fell closer to my knees than my hip sockets. I even designed my own prom dresses and had them made because it was practically impossible at the time to find modest prom dresses that were not the epitome of frumpiness. As a teenager, my early commitment to modesty taught me to put the Lord first before the changing trends of the world. It probably benefited my heart more than it benefited anyone’s eyes. I didn’t have to change how I dressed when I received my endowment (which was at 21 years old) and started wearing the garment. I was looking forward to making the covenant and having to change my modesty standard would have distracted me from the significance of the promise I was making. I’m glad I took the time to prepare.

Rockin’ the modest fashions Modesty excludes lots of fashion trends, but Latter-day Saints don’t dress like the Amish, thank heavens. A lot can be accomplished by layering. Whoever came up with the business model for Downeast and Shade are now making bank. These companies began with shirts that can be worn under spaghetti strap shirts and the like. I especially like wearing these kinds of shirts even if you can not see them because I like to smooth over the line between my low-rise jeans and the waistline of the garment bottoms, which falls a little above. I also like to rock the midcalf bottoms when I wear leggings or certain kinds of jeans so I don’t have a line at my thigh.

A faithful Latter-day Saint would choose wearing the garment properly even one day over not wearing it (though not wearing it during swimming or athletics is appropriate). For example, a friend of my sister’s asked her to be a bride’s maid, but the chosen dresses were strapless. If the bride was set on having all her bride’s maids wear exactly the same strapless thing my sister would have declined the invitation. Gratefully, my sister and the bride were friends and the bride knew how important it was to my sister, so she had a little jacket to go with the strapless dress and if you ask me, she was the most beautiful of all the bride’s maids, but I’m incredibly bias in this department.

Shield and Protection I’ve heard stories about how the garment has been a shield and protection to faithful members when they needed it. I usually accept them as folklore, such as burn victims who received no damage where the garment covered them. Though I do not count these as impossible, I don’t wear the garment properly because of these rumors. However, I have heard from a more credible source, my Dad, that before he was a member and knew anything about the garment, he was logging with a man who faithfully wore it. This man got his chainsaw stuck in a tree and when he pulled it out, it kicked back and sawed through his chaps, but the fabric from his garment got caught in the chain and it cut the chainsaw’s engine. My Dad, characteristically aware of his safety tells the story as he thought, “I have to get me some of those.” J Now my Dad understands the much deeper significance of wearing the garment than viewing it as chainsaw protection.

While at Brigham Young University for college, I frequently went canyoneering in Zion National Park, which I consider the closest place to God on the earth apart from the Temple. My roommate, who at the time was not endowed, asked me if I was going to wear the garment on the trip. Pine Creek at that time of year was expected to have several swims and some people were wearing bathing suits under their hiking attire. Since, I was looking for an occasion to wear it, rather than not to, I told her jokingly (but it was one of those jokes that she knew I actually meant) that if I got into trouble in a canyon, I hoped I could cash in on some of my blessings I was storing up from wearing it properly.:) Later trips progressed us to bigger and better canyons including wetsuits where I continued my same attitude and practice.

More than a physical shield and protection,  it is a spiritual one. As I previously discussed the Lord views breaking the Law of Chastity as next to murder on His list of serious sins.  I think of how one would first have to discard the garment, which is a sacred reminder of their promise to keep God’s commandments, including the Law of Chastity, in order to break it.

The locker room

My first two years of college I played on a women’s volleyball team for my school in Florida. I’ve often wondered what I would have done in the locker room if I had been endowed then (I had yet to serve a mission, so I had not yet received my endowment). As a team, we practically spent all of our time together either in the classroom, the weight room or on the court, so we all became friends. In hindsight, if I had been endowed then, I would have talked to each teammate individually about the significance of the garment and if there was a complete consensus of respect from everyone and I didn’t feel like I would be putting it in a position to be mocked, I would have been fine with changing with the group. However, the locker room at the gym I attend now is a different story. I only see those people in the locker room. Sometimes they are the same people, but since I’m quite modest, I try to give others as much privacy as possible and try not to even look in their direction. It doesn’t exactly foster friendship. Since we’re not close and since I have no inclination to break the ice with a first hand lesson in religious diversity, I just change in the stall.

“So like that’s kind of weird.”

American cultural ideas of what underwear should look like (and how we should look in it) mostly comes from Victoria Secret marketing and similar sources. Covenanted and faithful Mormons wear underwear day and night that acts as a special reminder to always remember Jesus Christ and to keep His commandments and well, that’s not ordinary. It’s quite extraordinary, actually. God began instituting the wearing of the garment with Adam and Eve and He has reintroduced it in every time period the gospel has been on the earth in full, including the present. I sincerely love what wearing the garment does for me. It changes my heart every time, which is all the time, I remember its significance and it draws me closer to the Lord. I consider it a privilege.

Why Mormons Build Temples

 

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