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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Holy Mormon Underwear

And here it is... in the interests of cultural competency, an article on holy Mormon underwear!

Fundamentalist Mormons, as well as observant mainstream LDS folks like the Osmonds, wear a special undergarment under their clothing directly against their skin. For most devout Mormons who wear it, the garment takes the place of regular underwear. If conventional underwear is worn, this undergarment is worn beneath their conventional underwear. This undergarment is alternatively known as “temple garments” or the “sacred undergarment” or “holy Mormon underwear” to outsiders. Devout Mormons understand that in only a very few instances might the garment be removed, such as for swimming, showering or bathing, using the toilet, or during sexual intimacy. The garment is worn even during sleep. 

Mormons begin wearing the temple undergarment during their first visit to the Temple or Endowment House, wherein they receive individual instruction on how the garment should be worn and cared for, during the Temple Endowment Ceremony. More about the Temple Endowment Ceremony in a future post. The AUB have their “Endowment House” in Bluffdale, Utah, and no doubt the Browns have undergone the Endowment Ceremony in Utah at the AUB Endowment House. 

According to the LDS Church, the wearing of temple garments serves a number of purposes. First, the garment provides the wearer with a reminder of the covenants made in the Endowment Ceremony. Second, the garment "provides protection against temptation and evil". Finally, wearing the garment is "an outward expression of an inward commitment" to follow Jesus Christ. The garment is thought to "strengthen the wearer to resist temptation, fend off evil influences, and stand firmly for the right."

Devout Mormons believe that wearing the undergarment provides "spiritual protection.They also believe that the undergarment provides physical protection, as many devout Mormons credit their temple garments with helping them survive accidents and injuries.

Holy Mormon underwear consists of a top and bottom piece, usually made from lightweight white cotton fabric. There are two styles of temple garments, one for men, and another for women. The garment is white as white symbolizes physical and spiritual purity. Mormons are encouraged through the modest length and cut of their temple garments to always dress appropriately, because if they do not, the temple garment will be visible. The temple garment is not to be altered in any way to accommodate immodest clothing.

The undergarment has four Masonic symbols embroidered onto the white fabric, in the region of the chest, navel, and knee. One of the embroidered symbols is related to the Squares and Compasses, symbols of the Masonic Order into which Joseph Smith, the Prophet of Mormonism, had been initiated about seven weeks prior to his introduction of the Mormon Endowment ceremony. Thus, the V-shaped symbol on the left breast of the garment was referred to as "The Compass", while the reverse-L-shaped symbol on the right breast was referred to by early Mormon leaders as "The Square". In Mormonism, "mark of the Compass" represents "an undeviating course leading to eternal life; a constant reminder that desires, appetites, and passions are to be kept within the bounds the Lord has set; and that all truth may be circumscribed into one great whole"; the "mark of the Square" represents "exactness and honor" in keeping the commandments and covenants of God; the navel mark represents "the need of constant nourishment to body and spirit"; and the "knee mark" represents "that every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is the Christ.”