Poll: Garments

Garments are a bit of a mystery, even for those who have been to the temple. Not only do we have varying messages from temple workers of how to treat them and when to wear them, but there is the double standard of how much men are culturally allowed to reveal as opposed to women. Many complain that they are not designed well, while some celebrate the lack of panty lines. But it is generally believed that they are an important symbol of commitment to covenants and should not be treated lightly. How do you feel about the evolving nature of garments? Do you believe they represent a goal to strive for in this life, married or not? Share with us your garment wearing particulars in this week’s poll, and as always, please feel free to discuss appropriately and respectfully your opinions in the comments.

Corktree

Corktree is exploring life and spirituality in new ways and new environments while studying midwifery, reiki, yoga, homeopathy, herbology and evolutionary nutrition. She has 3 daughters and one son, which add up to what now feels like an enormous family of 6.

You may also like...

87 Responses

  1. Matt says:

    Corktree, always enjoy your polls. Are there any other organizations in the world that require a token of loyalty so intimate?

    • Jim Donaldson says:

      Well, there is that Jewish thing for circumcision.

      Does that count?

      • Matt says:

        Fair point. Though last I checked it was only boys and a large chunk of Christians were doing this as well. I guess what I’m saying is that the company week keep in this type of requirement may be surprising.

    • Diane says:

      I don’t know but, I think Berka’s would apply here, except only women have to wear them

  2. Jenne says:

    My biggest complaint is their poor fit and how difficult it has been to find sizing that works for me. I’m disappointed that members of the church are not longer allowed to construct their own garments. For a church which preaches self-sufficiency and divorcing oneself from the consumer culture, its done a good job of turning its members into consumers. I appreciate the low cost of garments but wish there was the flexibility to make the correct fit and to choose organic cottons or alternative fabrics (bamboo for example).

    • motion de smiths says:

      Yeah, they say you can’t. But who is checking up on these things exactly? Does God really care? Doubtful. I say go for it. No one should have THAT much control over your own underwear. If I start wearing mine again, you BET I’ll be making my own.

  3. Justin says:

    In re: to Jenne,

    I have wondered why we worry so much about covering our coverings? I mostly mourn for women in this regard. Both in my ward and online [Typically, I would put links here to women’s comments from other sites], I have found that most women fret constantly about whether or not their clothing is covering the garment or whether to wear panties/bras under or over the garment. Shopping is difficult for them, etc. If the garment is intended to be our covering — then why care so much about covering the covering?

    And again, thou shalt not be proud in thy heart; let all thy garments be plain, and their beauty the beauty of the work of thine own hands; and let all things be done in cleanliness before me. (D&C 42: 40-41)

    Per this scripture, we are to make our own garments. We often interpret the word “garments” in this revelation to refer to clothing [such as that worn by people who have never attended the temple], clothing being something worn to cover our nakedness. However, as the intention of the garment of the priesthood is to cover [or clothe] one’s nakedness, the priesthood garment is also clothing.

    [I wrote a post on my site about the garment, but I will just write my opinion below — instead of linking to it.]

    Prior to entering the initiatory, our clothing [garments] is the same as that worn by other non-LDS people. After the initiatory ordinances of the temple, we receive a new type of clothing called the garment of the priesthood, or “garments.” We learn what it is that converts normal garments [normal clothing] into priesthood garments [priesthood clothing]: i.e. the marks on the garment. Coming out of the temple, we again read D&C 42: 40-41 and now understand that we are to make our own priesthood garments, for these are the garments we are to wear throughout our lives to cover our nakedness, as per the temple intructions.

    Now, typically, people comply with these instructions by having two sets of garments: normal, everyday garments [such as those worn by non-LDS people], and a set of priesthood garments [that have the marks of the priesthood in them]. We then wear two sets of clothing — while complaining about poor fit, difficulty finding working sizes, and about how they get in the way of everything, especially when it’s hot.

    But there is another way to comply with the instructions found in the temple and in D&C 42: 40-41, and that is to simply take all the garments that we typically wear to cover our nakedness and make them all priesthood garments. In this way, the priesthood garment you wear will conform to the environment and customs you find in your area, but will still be recognized by the Lord.

    Besides, no one complies with D&C 42: 40-41 anyway because everyone buys clothing from stores, operating in this way will actually bring one into compliance, because you literally will be making your own priesthood garments out of already made clothing. If garments are intended to cover one’s nakedness, then it is the intention that the garment or covering be seen instead of what is below the covering. The two sets of garment interpretation removes this function of the priesthood garments because the upper set acts to cover one’s nakedness and not the priesthood garment.

  4. EM says:

    I can’t imagine what would happen if we all had the choice of making our own garments – they would be varied in style and colour indeed. In my mine the Lord’s house is a house of order; my body is a house that covers the spirit, therefore, garments are a symbol of order. The question is do we all treat these garments in the same way? I’d like to think I have respect for mine in the way I handle them and take care of them – I treat them differently than my other items of clothing. I even get upset when I see others (my children included) where their garments are yellowed due to improper washing, have holes in them, or just plain worn out. True there are some garments that are ill fitting, and it’s taken me a long time to find the perfect ones. I’ve just returned from a cruise and this time around I thought that I would wear a sun-dress – being so stinking hot and all; but I have to say that I felt naked and felt a whole lot better when I put them back on again. I guess they’ve just become a part of me and who I am.

  5. suzann says:

    I realize that most sane and worthy Mormons appear to struggle – NOT- with their sacred under ware, but I have had a personal war with mine for 48 years.

    The 1oo% cotton garments are the only ones that do not irritate ( as in itchy) my skin. The tops shrink with each washing until they end up chocking my armpits as the front scoop neck line shows up as decoration under everything I wear. Honestly, the neckline shrinks up to my collar bones! I need light weight, not bulky, 110% cotton tops, no nylon lace, with set in sleeves and a plunging neck line. I promise, my outer clothes will ALWAYS keep me modest.

    And, am I the only one wracking havoc as garment bottoms creep into
    unmentionable places?

  6. I have a hard time believing God cares much about our underwear.

  7. Hydrangea says:

    Garmets are indeed a reminder of the temple covenants.
    However, they bunch, tangle, and slide to places they aren’t supposed to. I always tell my husband that it is a product of a church run by men. 🙂 In the past 5 years I have had 2 kids and worn 4 different bra sizes. Through out it all I have worn the same ol’ ill fitting garments and have come to accept their tugging, creeping, ill fitting, pulling nature as simply part of life.

  8. Angie says:

    God cares about the symbolism of the underwear. And my promises to him in regards to those underwear.

    Wearing garments has helped me to dress more modestly, conservatively, and professionally. Also, the garments make certain styles and trends not an option. They help me to not be too materialistic or appearance-driven. My own personal feelings about garments – grateful to be able to covenant with God, to pledge my life to Him, to have a constant reminder and evidence that I follow Jesus Christ. It’s a privilege to serve Him.

  9. Rachel says:

    As one who started wearing the garment at 40 years old, I can say it was an adjustment. I only had to give up one skirt out of my whole wardrobe, so it wasn’t a change in modesty. It was just getting the right size/fabric. For the first 3 months I was at Distribution weekly, it seemed. Seriously. The ladies would say, “What do you want to try this time?” I probably could outfit 4 women for two weeks with the amount I own.
    And I love them. Finally. But it took awhile.
    What is always fascinating to me is women who technically wear them, but I know they must be wearing them in a way I don’t b/c they wear clothes that are way lower, way shorter, way arm-ier than most other women do.

    • motion de smiths says:

      Uhm…EVERYONE fits differently. My huge-boobed sister’s garments accommodate a lot of cleavage. My petite size allow me to show more leg. Your comment reminded me how happy I am to be OUT of Utah, where garments were just one more thing for the “saints” to judge one another by.

  10. CatherineWO says:

    I respect the garment and the covenant it represents. Though I have some issues with the temple ceremonies and no longer attend regularly, I do continue to wear garments. About fifteen years ago I was having some health issues which made wearing garments very uncomfortable. At that time I wrote a long letter to the then general R.S. president asking how I might make garments work in my circumstances. I received a very warm and personal letter back from her which basically told me to go with my own inspiration on the matter, that as long as I was wearing the garment and it was covered, it didn’t matter what I wore underneath or on top of it.
    Now I have other health problems that make it painful for me to sleep in one position, so I move around a lot in the night. Every time I change position, I have to adjust the garments and feel like I’m in a tug-of-war. One night last spring I was staying alone in a motel and having a particularly difficult time sleeping. I finally got up and just took the garments off. The rest of that night I slept in peace. My husband has suggested that I follow previous counsel (the R.S. pres.) and do what works for me, but I haven’t been that brave yet. I’m not sure I want to have to explain in my next temple rec. interview why I’m not wearing them at night. Part of me thinks it’s really nobody’s business.

    • Justin says:

      that as long as I was wearing the garment and it was covered
      CatherineWO:

      I’m wondering — did the general RS Pres. give an indication as to why she was counseling you to make sure you cover your coverings? By that I mean, did she give any reason as to why that which covers your nakedness is likewise supposed to be covered?

    • LuluBelle says:

      No– it’s NO ONE’s business. How and where you wear your underwear is PERSONAL and anyone who asks if you sleep naked or not needs to be seriously ignored.

      • Amy says:

        Unless they are asking you in a temple recommend interview – and asking you if you are doing what you covenanted to do! I would be surprised if they went into a lot of particulars about that.

  11. CatherineWO says:

    Justin, I would have to go back and read the letter again (which would require finding it). I’m not sure she used those exact words, but that is the generally accepted counsel, so I’m pretty sure she didn’t give a reason.

  12. LovelyLauren says:

    I just started wearing garments. Like last week. My impressions are still setting in, but I can’t get over how….old-lady-ish they make me feel. I have had to throw away quite a few very modest shirts simply because the necklines are so narrow on garments and I am in mourning because I have always liked showing off my collarbone. Some dresses with shorter hemlines have had to go as well. Is showing some skin above the knee such a sin?

    I wish they didn’t have the lace and were tighter, with wider necks and the marks silk-screened on. And cut narrower! I am very petite and they are so wide on me, even the very small ones. They could look so much less strange and perhaps I wouldn’t feel like a grandma in them. At 20, I think I am a bit young to be worrying about my husband finding me sexy. No one wears anything with a waist band this high since the 80’s.

    They are comfortable, I suppose, but so, so dated as far as clothing goes. My husband keeps saying they need to get Calvin Klein to design for the men so they wouldn’t be so irritating.

    I also have some concerns about wearing them since my first temple experience last week was so distressing, but that’s another entire issue.

    • Rachel says:

      Try the new Carinessa (sp?) bottoms.

      • LovelyLauren says:

        I have a few of the Carinessa bottoms and I like them, but they are quite a bit longer than the dri-silque ones and a bit heavier as well. As I live in Arizona, light fabrics are pretty important.

        The tops are the real issue. I don’t want anything with boobie pockets, so I wear the chemise tops, but the neckline is so narrow, especially on my very petite frame.

  13. Two of Three says:

    I gave up wearing garments last spring for reasons I won’t go into now. I just wanted to mention that the choices I make in clothes are still very modest due to the fact that I don’t want my LDS friends to know that I no longer wear garments. I know it sounds odd. I just don’t want the inevitable judgements that would come with it. Regarding my husbands garments, I still value his feeling about the sacredness of the clothing. I treat his garments carefully because they are sacred to him.

    • motion de smiths says:

      I’m like you in this regard. Since I stopped wearing mine, I think I’m actually more modest. My garments always allowed me to be cleavage-y. Now that I’m not taking them as the default standard of modesty, I think my clothing choices through much more thoroughly. I think the break from garments was essential for me. My negativity toward them, my dread of wearing them, and the physical and emotional discomfort they caused was detracting from the rest of the good stuff in our church. So the break was definitely needed.

    • LuluBelle says:

      Two of Three: I could’ve written your post. Garments were the single reason I started having huge issues with the church. I realized that if I kept wearing garments I was going to leave the church– that’s how big an issue they became for me. To stay in the church, and to make peace with it, and to maintain my relationship with God, I had to stop wearing garments. They became a hinderance to my faith. And it came down to this: Is God really that concerned with my underwear? I seem to think he is far more worried about my actions, my soul, my character and the abused and neglected people of the world than my panties.

  14. anon says:

    Two of Three–your LDS friends will be able to tell, believe me. My cousin recently chose that path and even though she still wore modest clothes, it was obvious to everyone at a family reunion, including our nearly 90 year old grandmother, that she was not wearing her garments. You just get used to looking for those seam lines. Haven’t you looked for garment lines on people ahead of you at Disneyland to guess if they were LDS?

    Justin–the handbook does not allow one to sew personal garments and the idea of having the marks on the exterior of our clothes seems out of line with current practice. When we see an apostle doing that, I suppose we can rethink. But current practice is that all garments must be covered. (In fact,
    I’m bugged by the fact that men can show their garment neckline at the open collar, but we women can’t have a Shade-type garment shirt and avoid wearing so many layers! And I have fit and fabric issues too, yet respect the covenant and cloth.)

    • LovelyLauren says:

      In fact, I’m bugged by the fact that men can show their garment neckline at the open collar, but we women can’t have a Shade-type garment shirt and avoid wearing so many layers!

      I agree with this so much! A shade-type shirt would be excellent. It’s so hard to find shirts that aren’t T-shirts that you don’t have to layer. I feel like the men’s garments look like ordinary underwear and women’s are the ones that look strange.

      • I was told by a pretty reliable source that the reason for the all-cotton chemise tops with the bound neckline (not lace) was so they could be worn like a Shade top, over the bra, to fill in the neckline of low-cut tops. Certainly I wore them that way, and I know many others who have, too. If men’s tops can show at the neckline, so can women’s.

      • Amy says:

        Very interesting Janeannechovy- I hadn’t heard that before, but perhaps that’s something I would check into as I also live in a warm climate!

    • Justin says:

      Anon:

      the handbook does not allow one to sew personal garments
      Well — if the handbook does not allow for something, then I’m sure saints should be bound by the handbook — instead of the scriptures and the Spirit. Good call! I wonder if members can be brought up on charges of not conforming to the CHI? My understanding is that charges must be based upon the scriptures.

      and the idea of having the marks on the exterior of our clothes seems out of line with current practice.
      Yet it does seem as though one could just say that these are religious marks to keep the mind focused on Jesus Christ — and then go into explaining the significance of each mark. One might also tell them that they serve “a similar function for a Latter-day Saint as a crucifix or scapular serves for a Catholic, ritual fringes for a Jewish man, or the veil for a Muslim woman.” I doubt any non-members would find them strange when compared to the practices of other religions [or when compared to the idea of “magic underwear”].

      Also, as the explanation of the marks points one immediately to Christ, it would be hard for a person hearing the description to not look upon the one wearing the garment as a believer in Christ, so that when the inevitable question of “what religion are you?” and the answer of “I’m Mormon” comes, the association is immediately placed in the hearer’s mind that Mormons believe in Christ.

      For me, personally, the best explanation of the marks to non-members is just to say:

      This mark suggests exactness and honor in keeping the covenants I’ve made with Jesus.
      And this mark suggests an that there is an undeviating course leading to Jesus; a constant reminder that my desires, appetites, and passions should be kept within the bounds Jesus has set; and that all truth may be encircled into one great whole.
      And this mark suggests the need of constant nourishment from Jesus to both my body and spirit.
      And this mark suggests that every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is the Christ.


      I think you’ll find most people are far less concerned with our underwear than we think them to be.

      When we see an apostle doing that, I suppose we can rethink. But current practice is that all garments must be covered.
      Well — you just keep waiting for that.

      (In fact, I’m bugged by the fact that men can show their garment neckline at the open collar, but we women can’t have a Shade-type garment shirt and avoid wearing so many layers! And I have fit and fabric issues too, yet respect the covenant and cloth.)
      Firstly: Another danger of misunderstanding body modesty [which is of the devil] and chastity [which is of God] is that it always leads to discrimination against women. For example, in addition to what you mentioned, there is the fact that all modesty lessons are geared towards the young women or the fact that the “current practice” is to regard the female breast as a “secret part” — while the male breast is fine.

      Secondly: Having fit and fabric issues is why the Lord commands saints to make their own garments — for who knows better what fits you, Anon, than you?
      I respect the covenants too — please note that no one covenanted to wear a garment purchased from distribution centers throughout the remainder of her or his life. And as for respecting the “cloth”, that strikes me as a very Catholic notion — “a man of the cloth” etc. — I’m curious where you got that notion from.

      • Justin says:

        LuluBelle:

        I think that you have me confused with someone who checks for under-garments — like anon above described [December 13, 2010 at 2:48 am] — “You just get used to looking for those seam lines. “

        The point of what I wrote in the comment you’ve replied to, and in my reply to Jenne above, is directed at similar feelings to what you expressed:

        And it came down to this: Is God really that concerned with my underwear? I seem to think he is far more worried about my actions, my soul, my character and the abused and neglected people of the world than my panties.

        My point is that there is no scriptural directive [or instruction given in the temple ordinance directly — rather than thru unofficial opinions of workers] that the garment is supposed to be underwear in the first place.

        As I’ve said above: “I have wondered why we worry so much about covering our coverings?“… or “By that I mean, did [the general RS Pres.] give any reason as to why that which covers your nakedness is likewise supposed to be covered?“… or “Having fit and fabric issues is why the Lord commands saints to make their own garments — for who knows better what fits you — than you? I respect the covenants too — but please note that no one covenanted to wear a garment purchased from distribution centers throughout the remainder of her or his life [as sacred underwear].

      • motion de smiths says:

        Or you could just put the symbols on the inside of your clothing?

      • Justin says:

        motion de smiths:

        You’re a genius — that’s a great idea.

    • LuluBelle says:

      Ugh! People who look for whether one is wearing garments – or not wearing the garments “corectly” — really need to get a life and butt out. The judgement this conjures up is really disturbing and disappointing.

  15. LovelyLauren says:

    I was trying to quote the first part from anon and it bolded. Whoops.

  16. Elaine says:

    I’ve been so uncomfortable in my garments for years & hinted here & there to my husband that I wanted to take them off. I’ve had four kids & my stomach was a squishy mess. Garments only made me more self conscious by creating a nice big line on the middle of my stomach. I went to the extremes of getting a tummy tuck to make my garments & clothes fit right. After the tuck, I was still uncomfortable & realized it was all because of the garments & not my clothes. I had a war going on in my head about this. I finally decided to take them off. I was seriously scared! I’m a little annoyed with myself that I can’t just own my decision. I guess it’s because I don’t want a lecture or judgments, so occasionally I wear a garment top under shirts where I think someone will notice. My husband only wears them occasionally now & got BUSTED by his mom when he leaned over & she saw BLUE underwear. She gave him a lecture about not going on a road trip without his garments because he needed the protection???!!. A little weird to be talking with your family about your underwear decisions.

  17. Hydrangea says:

    After reading this post I wrote an email to the LDS Distribution Center at feedback@store.lds.org with some recommendations.

    They emailed me back and said they had forwarded it to their product development department.. . .It was worth a shot, right?

    • Caroline says:

      Way to go, H. It certainly is worth a shot. If they got dozens more emails like that, I bet they’d bring it up with the people higher up.

    • Every time we go to the temple, i fill out a feedback card with the distribution people, telling them about the thin waist band that cuts into my belly.

      That’s been every time we go for the last 4 1/2 years.

  18. LuluBelle says:

    Justin: I wasn’t referring to your comment but to Anon’s who says everyone in her family, 90 year old grandma too, noticed when a family member stopped wearing garments despite the “modest” clothing (I put “modest” in quotes because I do not believe that the garment-wearning is necessarily more or less modest than someone else. I certainly don’t think showing a shoulder falls into the immodest category).

    • Justin's says:

      Ahh, then I am sorry because it was I who was confused.

      You’re right about the shoulder and the body modesty. Heavenly Father does have a standard for body modesty — and it is the one I teach my children. It is found in the answer to three questions:

      1. How did heavenly Father clothe you when He sent us to Earth?
      2. Was there any part of your physical bodies clothed or covered when you got here?
      3. As the body matures into adulthood, does anything else become covered?

      This is the standard of modesty I give my children. As long as a person still has their pubic hair and clitoral hood/penile foreskin coverings, then there is no need for shame because you have been clothed modestly by the Lord. Everything above and beyond that standard is man-made.

      Thus, both the current practice with respect to garments and the current rhetoric on body modesty work to oppress the female population. A woman is told how and how not to dress. She is taught this by her mother, by her Sunday school teachers and Young Women advisers, and by her priesthood leadership. All of this repression, if it ever is let out, leads to rampant breaking of the law of chastity [which is Satan’s plan]. And if she manages to not let it out, then it leads, largely, to depression [again, Satan’s plan — the misery of all].

    • Two of Three says:

      Agreed. Been know to wear sleeveless when I am out of town!

  19. LuluBelle says:

    So with garments, I gotta say that they nearly drove me out of the church for good. I took a Big.Leap.Of.Faith going through the temple because I was terrified of committing to wearing garments– the most unflattering, unsexy, unheigenic clothing imaginable. But everyone I knew told me/convinced me (haha– “lied to me”??) that they were great and once I wore them, I’d never wear anything else. So I got endowed, tried to get used to garments for a solid year and instead of them bringing me closer to the Lord, it took me much much much farther than I had ever been. No amount of prodding, tucking, trying new styles, sized and combos helped. The pulling of my leg hairs, riding up, sagging down, bunching up, and creeping out never ended. I would wake up drenched in sweat at night and just have to take them off and sleep naked. And the guilt was horrible for doing that. I would stand in front of the mirror in my garments and cry. I finally decided that, for me, God would never want me to be this uncomfortable and miserable. They felt controlling– controlled by men who had no idea about the female anatomy or even female hygeine. I grew to resent the church in horrible ways. And then I realized that to stay in the church, I need to focus on the parts that felt good and pure and right– and to me, garments didn’t. I prayed, I tried to talk myself into liking them, I just tried tried tried. The day I took them off was a day that I felt liberated and free and relieved. Instead of a daily reminder of the resentment growing inside of me, I was just free of it.

    I in no way mean to belittle anyone who loves them. I wish I could have– really! But I wanted to share at least my experience with them. For what it’s worth.

    • Kmillecam says:

      “The day I took them off was a day that I felt liberated and free and relieved. Instead of a daily reminder of the resentment growing inside of me, I was just free of it.”
      I could have written this word for word, that’s exactly how I felt on that day.

      • Elaine says:

        LulluBelle-
        “God would never want me to be this uncomfortable & miserable” * “The day I took them off was a day that I felt liberated , free & relieved”.
        I really wish I had a way with words like you do. You have described my exact feelings. I find comfort knowing I’m not alone.

    • motion de smiths says:

      Yes. Yes to everything you said! I am of exactly the same mind, and I went though almost exactly the same process. I would only add that the fact that they reminded me of my awful first temple experience did not help. I tried, but I just don’t have a testimony of the distribution center’s garments. I think that maybe there is power and significance in the symbols and the distribution center garments are maybe an easy way for the most number of people to wear them? I don’t know, I just know that they did not work for me. They, along with my bad temple experience were the source of my faith crisis. I was complying outwardly with rules that I didn’t inwardly believe, and could feel myself becoming more and more distant. The day I took them off, I felt like I could start rebuilding.

      Now that I wear normal underwear, I have a few suggestions to improve the design for people who want to wear the garment. First, the waistband. There needs to be an optional hipster, because no one my age wears belly-button high undies. I have heard distribution center ladies (by the way–find me a nice distribution center lady, and I’ll bake you a batch of cookies) say that “the reason we don’t make garments that come to the hip is because then some women would expose their mid section.” This incredibly patronizing attitude seems to be the accepted standard. Are the endowed adults so inherently untrustworthy that we need to control their standard of dress through ill-fitting and dated underwear? Kill me now.

      Second, there need not be a thin elastic band, or a thick one for that matter. I wear microfiber boy briefs that just stretch to fit–no band needed (and no panty line). It would be a great option.

      Screen print the symbols. I am so sick of seeing men’s raised symbols through their cheap white church shirts. And the fact that they’re practically in braile means that its much more difficult to wear them over the bra.

      • If you custom-order garments (yes, you can do this, though the niceness level of the helpers you get on the phone varies greatly), you can get them with a shorter rise. The otherwise-quite-comfortable Carinessa bottoms hit me about even with my bra band (I am short-waisted).

    • Amy says:

      So sorry, it’s been such a struggle for you. However, I do truly believe they do give us protection and sometimes that comes with a sacrifice. But, I feel a bit hypocritical saying that, as I don’t find garments to be too much of a problem. They are an irritation at times, but nothing what it sounds like you are going through. I hope you are able to make peace with wearing them. Best of luck to you!

    • LDSguy says:

      You would stand in the mirror and cry huh? I seriously doubt that. I am a faithful LDS and often fall asleep naked with my wife. When I wake up I put them back on. Never felt guilty.

      • Annie B. says:

        That is extremely belittling of you to say. I’ve felt the same guilt she’s felt and feel much happier and closer to God since I’ve stopped wearing garments as well. I think you’d be surprised at the number of women who’ve had similar struggles with garments, and similar feelings of extreme guilt for having struggled in the first place. It’s wonderful that you are free of these feelings, but don’t dismiss the experiences of others because you are lucky enough not to have them.

  20. Two of Three says:

    Really have appreciated this post, Corktree. I never seem to be alone here.

  21. Corktree says:

    Wonderful and respectful comments everyone! 🙂 I’m glad to hear that people have been able to make decisions regarding wearing them (or not) and have found peace with those decisions. I’m on the fence myself. While there are times and places that they bother me, there are aspects of them that I appreciate (no panty lines being a plus). I like that they added a cotton section to the new carinessa’s, but they have a long ways to go before they fit properly. Not showing skin in the middle is nice, but why do we have to look pinched midsection to accomplish that?

    I’m also giving myself more freedom to let them show. Certain nursing shirts just don’t work otherwise, so I’m over that aspect. Shade shirt styles would be nice, but not if it’s in the synthetic material. (Bamboo would be awesome!)

    Overall, they don’t bother me enough to take off at this time, even if I’m not sure how I feel about the covenants associated with them. Thanks for the discussion all!

  22. Oh, another note about presumptions on the part of nasty garment-worker-types. As I said to the (one nice) woman on the phone one time (I was telling her how glad I was that she was nice and understanding, in contrast with others I had spoken to in the past): I am in my 40s and have three children, and you have my measurements. Seriously, do you think I’m about to wear something midriff-baring?!?!

  23. CatherineWO says:

    After reading all of this discussion, I went on to the lds.org store last night to see just what was available these days. Apparently you can special order garments, but from what others have said here, there are definite limitations even there. I found it interesting though that people who work in the malitary, police or fire protection can special order tops that have the marks screenprinted on the inside, so that they can’t be seen on the outside. Military personel can actually send in their regulation military t-shirts and have the marks screenprinted onto them this way. This seems like such a simple solution to the problem of the marks showing through clothing. I imagine it is more expensive than sewing, but I would be willing to pay extra for this.
    My health issues make it very uncomfortable for me to wear a bra. (I’m very small-chested, so I don’t really need one anyway.) Yet, I have to wear one when I go out in the summer time, because the marks show through a t-shirt.

  24. Emily U says:

    Lots of interesting comments here. I don’t go to the temple anymore but I do wear garments because I feel a) I promised to (yeah, I know I’m being selective about which promises I try to keep) and b) it’s something I can do to be faithful to the parts of the temple that I can actually tolerate. Garments don’t bother me much. But I am wearing them the way I want to. For instance I took a garment break for a couple of months around the time my baby was born (just before & after). I also wear the tops over my nursing bra because I CAN’T STAND nursing garment tops. And I wear the tops around the house with nothing over them – men do it all the time, so why not me?

    I think quite a few Church members want so much to do the right thing that they’re looking for someone to tell them EXACTLY how to wear garments. I wish people could just relax and realize that wearing them is wearing them. Does it really matter what’s over or under them, and whether they peek out of your clothing?

    • CatherineWO says:

      Emily, I think you have a good approach. Reading this post and comments over the past couple of days has certainly helped me get a better perspective on wearing garments. I called the dist. center this morning and found out that I can buy 100% cotton tops with no lace for the same price as the regular ones (they aren’t special order, though they aren’t on the website). The website has a Q&A section that is interesting, but ultimately tells you to talk with your priesthood leaders about specifics. I really can’t imagine doing that though. I just need to do what works for me and my health considerations.

    • Justin says:

      I don’t go to the temple anymore but I do wear garments because I feel a) I promised to…

      EmilyU — thanks for mentioning that part. Thru all the complaining about the Church-produced priesthood garments, I think many of the people here have either forgotten or have stopped caring that they gave their word by covenant to be clothed in priesthood garments throughout the remainder of their mortal lives.

      Having issue with the garments Church distribution produces is one thing — choosing to not be clothed in priesthood garments at all is another.

  25. Martie says:

    A Carinessa II garment top will be out in the next couple months. I’ve had a sample for about 6 months. It still has a decorative neck trim. I campaigned hard for a plain neckline binding like the 100 % cotton chemise but there were manufacturing and quality requirements that went into that decision. The new top fits tightly and has two front and back side seams with a gusset under the arm so the sleeves don’t have all the extra fabric the cotton chemise have. The sleeve fits tightly too but is longer than i would like. It still has sewn marks; the Brethren have nixed the silk-screening for non-military garments. Keep writing and asking for it. Write the RS. The Brethren–Presiding Bishopric–said there should be no writing on the garment.

    Corktree–Bamboo knit is available in special order garments. I have 4 tops. you choose the style you want and they make them. If you have allergies, special orders are the same price as the Distribution Center. If you don’t have allergy issues, the price is high. I paid $60 for two chemise tops, the minimum order is two units.

    I’ve had long telephone conversations and one in person conversation with one of the two garment designers. Both are women, one is young and has a clothing design degree, the other one is older. She’s a wonderful, very sensitive woman who has tried to make changes–she even designed a sleeveless garment that was rejected by an older woman on a committee. She also sincerely believes that wearing the garment next to the skin gives the wearer added protection although she believes that it’s a personal choice. My personal belief is that too many members look at the garment as a sort of talisman. There is no promise of physical protection in the endowment for wearing the garment although members interpret it that way so that they’re terrified something bad will happen to them if they don’t wear it all the time.

  26. Jessawhy says:

    It seems so insensitive to me that the men in church leadership don’t notice or care that the garment markings show on women’s breasts (esp when they wear their garments on top of a bra).

    If men had breasts there would be silk-screened markings.

    • CatherineWO says:

      I agree Jessawhy. I have no plans to stop wearing the garment, but my health concerns (fibromyalgia and a skin condition that produces a rash under anything that fits tightly) make it painful for me to wear a bra. It’s no problem in the winter, because I just wear sweatshirts and sweaters, but in the summer, the marks show through almost everything without a bra on top.

    • Justin says:

      Where in the initiatory does it mention that when choosing to cover your coverings — a person should be concerned about the marks showing?

      You are already burdening yourself enough by choosing to wear two sets of garments [the priesthood garment and your worldly garments] — why burden yourself further by stressing over marks showing thru your worldly garments?

      • Kmillecam says:

        Justin, this may make sense to you, but many people aren’t interested in putting themselves in a situation where they need to hide what they are doing from their ward/family and explain to church leaders that they are reinterpreting garment-wearing. Whether or not the church culture as a whole pays attention to the wording in the initiatory, we all know what rules you must follow regarding garments if you want to stay well-integrated into your ward.

        Just because some women want better fitting garments and silk-screening doesn’t mean they are interested in tribal interpretations of Mormonism.

      • Justin says:

        I want everyone to have better fitting garments and silk-screening, etc.

        As per D&C 42: 40-41, we are to make our own garments. As I said earlier, we often interpret the word “garments” in this revelation to refer to clothing [such as that worn by people who have never attended the temple].

        However, as the intention of the garment of the priesthood is to cover [or clothe] one’s nakedness, the priesthood garment is also clothing. The terms are synonymous.

        After the initiatory ordinances, LDS learn what it is that converts normal garments [normal clothing] into priesthood garments [priesthood clothing]: i.e. the marks on the garment. Further LDS covenant to always wear priesthood garments to clothe their nakedness.

        What doesn’t make sense to me is why many people bend to the fear of “stay[ing] well-integrated into [their] ward,” and choose to comply with the temple instructions by wearing two sets of garments: worldly on top of priesthood — and then go on to complain about poor fit, difficulty finding working sizes, and about how they get in the way of everything, especially when it’s hot. Or even worse, some people then “give-up” on priesthood garments — thereby breaking the covenant he/she made with God.

        “Garments” aren’t the problem — people choosing [out of the fear tactics of the culture, which you described] to try to wear two types of clothing is.

        If the ones that the nice ladies at the distribution centers make don’t work for you — don’t go on and on complaining about it, don’t subject yourself to poor fitting clothing, and certainly don’t cease from wearing your priesthood garment altogether — just make your own, as the Lord has commanded in D&C 42:40-41.

      • Kmillecam says:

        “What doesn’t make sense to me is why many people bend to the fear of “stay[ing] well-integrated into [their] ward,” and choose to comply with the temple instructions by wearing two sets of garments: worldly on top of priesthood — and then go on to complain about poor fit, difficulty finding working sizes, and about how they get in the way of everything, especially when it’s hot.”

        Well, why don’t you to try and understand it then, instead of doling out advice on what women are and aren’t allowed to feel about their garments. Consider the fact that your interpretation of the gospel may not be right for everyone. Consider that your advice to simply make your own garments is completely unproductive for a lot of people: they may not have the time or knowhow to make them, they may not have the money to hire someone. Consider that you are unaware of how it must feel to be a woman dealing with garments.

        And most of all, I find it hard to believe that you truly do not understand why people wear two sets of garments. The vast majority of Mormons I have known in my lifetime wear clothes over their temple garments. It’s painfully obvious why people do it: it’s the way our culture has evolved to interpret those instructions. To incredulously declare that you don’t understand why people simply don’t adopt your perspective is incredibly arrogant, and smacks of quite a bit of privilege.

      • Justin says:

        they may not have the time or knowhow to make them, they may not have the money to hire someone.

        Why do you think that it would take those things for a member to simply take all the garments that they typically wear to cover their nakedness and make them all priesthood garments. It is as simple as a sharp blade and a little hand stitching. You have already been instructed on what the marks look like and where they go.

        smacks of quite a bit of privilege.

        My only “privilege” is the freedom that comes from the gospel of Jesus Christ — not the commandments of men. It is a great privilege indeed.

        Consider that you are unaware of how it must feel to be a woman dealing with garments.

        I am speaking from my personal encounters with women both in person and online conversations. I have found that most women fret constantly about whether or not their clothing is covering the garment or whether to wear panties/bras under or over the garment. Shopping is difficult for them, etc.

        My heart goes out to them b/c I can see that the commandments of men are restraining their spirit and causing them anguish — and worst of all, can cause them to be covenant-breakers by turning away from priesthood garments altogether.

      • Kmillecam says:

        I have already answered you regarding why all people are not on board with your interpretation of the gospel, i.e. using street clothes as garments by adding marks, wearing different garments, making your own.

        Just because you talk with women, or read what they write, does not mean that you know how they feel. It also doesn’t mean you have all the answers to their problems. Case in point: you seem to be missing the mark here on The Exponent quite a bit. I don’t trust you, and I don’t think you have women’s best interest in mind.

        And your misogynistic description of women as “fret[ting] constantly” is simply wrong. Some women may fret, but most of us are simply having a conversation about issues that affect us. If talking = fretting, then I don’t trust your opinions on how women feel at all.

      • Justin says:

        While you may have been successful at describing why you don’t trust me or why you think my experiences with women should be discounted — you have still never discounted what I’ve said about garments.

        Your miso-andro-istic attacks have been against the messenger instead of his message. That is very telling to me indeed.

      • Deborah says:

        Justin: I have read what you have said on this and other threads. Please bear in mind that the explicit mission of Exponent is as follows: “The purpose of Exponent II is to provide a forum for Mormon women to share their life experiences in an atmosphere of trust and acceptance.” While men are certainly welcome to comment, they are not our primary audience . . . so consider yourself a guest here. The didactic nature of many of your remarks are not in keeping with the (decades-long) tone that we strive to maintain. There are plenty of blogs that may be a better match for the types of conversations you keep driving here. We have a distinct mission, and we are A-OK not being all things to all people. . .

      • Justin says:

        I think that’s the nicest way I’ve ever been banned from a site. Cheers.

      • Kmillecam says:

        Sounds like you’re already gone Justin, but just to clarify:

        You said, “While you may have been successful at describing why you don’t trust me or why you think my experiences with women should be discounted — you have still never discounted what I’ve said about garments.

        Your miso-andro-istic attacks have been against the messenger instead of his message. That is very telling to me indeed.”

        I’m glad it’s telling, because that was my intent. I don’t care about your message, I care about this community here. I have no problem with your interpretations. I have a problem with the way you have conducted yourself while sharing them.

        People are free to choose whatever they like about garments; it’s a personal decision. Many conclusions may be right for each person.

    • Martie says:

      If more women wore the garment over their bra, men would notice it more and they would probably approve the silk screening but most women wear their bra over–even though under has been approved for something like 20 years–because the marks show…so, we’re stuck.

      The other common reason that women give for wearing the garment first is that the bra then keeps it in place, which is true. The garment is not designed to be worn over the bra like a camisole, that’s one reason it moves all over the place.

  27. spunky says:

    I know that a lot of the discussion is focused on the discomfort of women and the garment, but my husband hasn’t worn garments in years because he can’t stand the lack of support for him in the bottoms. It isn’t just women that are uncomfortable. My husband is a convert, so perhaps without someone to model garment-wearing behaviour it was more of a challenge for him, and he opted to go back to “normal” underwear. But for him, it wasn’t as guilt-inducing as it is for me to consider not wearing the garment. (I do wear them, but echo a number of the previous issues).

    • Kendrick says:

      Spunky, as a man I have the same feeling about men’s bottoms as your husband. I wear a supportive brief under the garment bottom. I have heard often that the garment should be worn next to the skin, but I do not remember what was told to me in the Temple other than to show respect for the garment — such as not leaving on the floor. Because of what I have heard, I felt a little guilty for not having the garment right next to my skin in this area. I asked my Bishop about this and his counsel to me was that we should not become too wrapped-up in the letter of the law like some Jews in olden time. I have tried the so-called “supportive” garment bottoms but they just press rather than support and keep things in their place for comfort and pain reduction. Without a supporter I am almost constantly wanting to adjust; I am surprised that I have not heard about more LDS men having this problem.

  28. Cathy Cann says:

    I am large breasted and a bra worn for support, not just for social convention, is not going to be able do its job worn over a “t-shirt”. Most women I know are aghast when they learn I wear my garment top over my bra. “Aren’t you supposed to wear it under!” is what I hear, accompanied with a look of fear and reproach. My husband wears jockey shorts under his garment bottoms. He has never once had even an ounce of worry over whether it’s “okay” to wear them under the garment and would never dream of wearing them over, what with all the bunching and such. I’m sure he’s not the only older guy, wanting more support, who does so.
    This whole garment wearing, design and angst is so female-centric. There are very few men with any garment issues, so it stands to reason that we aren’t going to see any changes in design or construction any time soon or at all. In the meantime, do what you think best.

  1. December 17, 2010

    […] two comments were written to me today have caused me to change my mind.  One from the conversation here: “Justin, this may make sense to you, but many people aren’t interested in putting […]

  2. September 18, 2011

    […] between the comments I got on that post, as well as the subject of garments coming up at the-exponent and Wheat & Tares blogs and my comments at those sites — I’ve formulated this post […]

Leave a Reply