What are temple garments?
Temple garments are underclothes that act as a reminder of covenants made in the temple. They are white, are made from a variety of fabrics, and have markings with spiritual significance.
When were they “invented”?
Who came up with the initial design?
It's unclear. There are no firsthand accounts of how Joseph Smith[BIO] arrived at the design of garments. However, there are some thirdhand accounts that indicate that Jesus wore the garments in the First Vision.
Is there some connection between garments and Freemasonry?
Yes. There are similarities between symbols on temple garments and important Masonic symbols, including representations of the compass and square.
What is the purpose of garments?
The Church Handbook states that the "garment is a reminder of covenants made in the temple. When worn properly throughout life, it will serve as a protection against temptation and evil."
Aren't garments somehow supposed to protect people from physical harm?
Maybe? Some Church leaders and members believe this, although the Church has never made an official statement related to this idea.
The idea that they may offer physical protection is a traditional belief that may originate from secondhand reports about Willard Richards[BIO] being protected in Carthage jail because he was wearing temple garments—whereas John Taylor,[BIO] Joseph, and Hyrum[BIO] were not wearing their garments and were injured and killed.
But aren’t there stories about people being saved from danger from their garments?
Did everyone use temple garments in the early Church?
No, not at first. During Joseph Smith's time, only a relatively small number of people received temple ordinances and wore garments. After Joseph Smith was killed in June 1844 and the Saints were preparing to leave Nauvoo, more Latter-day Saints had received their endowment at the Nauvoo Temple and wore garments.
How were they made?
Women in the Relief Society made them by hand and instructed sisters how to cut and make the garments and temple robes.
Don't garments just control sexuality and modesty?
Yes, in some ways. Their primary purpose is to act as a reminder of the covenants made in the temple, including a covenant related to the law of chastity. Garments aren't designed to be particularly attractive, so it's possible they discourage sexual activity.
The garments also align with modesty standards for dress in the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet.
Did the Church ever teach that you had to wear your garments when you had sex with your spouse?
No. The Church teaches that garments should be worn day and night but that "purposes requiring the baring of body" are legitimate reasons for removing the garments.
However, this idea is sometimes found in the media or in material critical toward the Church.
Do other religions have anything like temple garments?
Yes. It's not uncommon for religions to have clothing that reflects their religious tenets. Sikhs and Zoroastrians both wear sacred underclothing. Many Orthodox Jewish men wear yarmulkes and a tallit katan and Orthodox Jewish women wear wigs. Some Buddhist monks wear robes. Some Catholic nuns wear habits, and some monks wear cassocks.
Is it true that you could buy temple garments at JCPenny in Utah back in the day?
Have the garments been changed? Could they change again?
Yes and possibly. The garment cut and style have changed many times over the last century.
The Church authorized the change of the garment from body-length to knee-length and from wrist-length to short sleeves. Members were also told they could remove the collars and replace string-up attire with buttons.
Garments changed from a one-piece to a two-piece.
The Church discontinued certain fabrics and certain styles while also announcing stretch cotton garments.
Women's stretch cotton garment line was extended.
Were the changes because of modern fashion changes?
Aren’t garments really uncomfortable, especially for women?
Are you allowed to wear “regular” underwear under your garments?
Yes. In 2019, the Church clarified that it's acceptable to wear garments over regular underwear. For example, women may choose to wear garment tops over bras.
Are members allowed to talk about garments with non-Latter-day Saint people?
Yes. When Mitt Romney[BIO] ran for U.S. president in 2008 and 2012, many people became curious about garments. In 2014, the Church released an informational video explaining the purpose of the garments.
- Laurie P.
“Starting to wear my bra under the shirt was an absolute game-changer.”
- Shane W.
“Important to note that we covenant to wear our garments. We’re instructed to wear them and promised spiritual protection as we do. Two-way promise ergo covenant. Temple recommend questions and handbook say the same.”
“I'm a convert and was recently endowed. I have issues with traditional modesty, and so sometimes I don't want to wear them. The symbolism and their place in the temple endowment is amazing though.”
“When I was a missionary in Finland in the late 80s, one of the Elders (a Finn) had olive drab colored garments, which he said were available to individuals in the armed service.”
“They have already reduced the size of the sleeves on Womens Garments. They should just eliminate the cap completely and let women wear sleeveless dresses and outfits.”
- Connie S
“I love wearing my temple garments. I feel comfort when wearing them.”
- Happy G
“They are not uncomfortable to me and never have been. As they have changed the fabrics over time that gives choices to be comfortable in any season.”
- Helene Z
“Garments feel like a warm hug , to me.”