Tales from a Garment Wearer

These days, I wear my garments. Almost every day. It’s been about 5 months since I decided to put them back on, after a year long hiatus. Last year’s pregnancy combined with breastfeeding defeated my longstanding garment wearing habit.

In the past, my attitude about garments reflected my attitude towards lots of things in the Church. I tried to make it work. I adjusted, I tucked, I pulled, I rolled. I made it individual. I didn’t sweat the small stuff. I did what I could to make it tolerable. To a large extent, I still feel like this. And I still do all the above. But 5 months ago, when I put them on again, I decided to try to endow them with new meaning – a meaning that reflected my own personal beliefs about Jesus’ inclusive love, and our Heavenly Parents’ all encompassing compassion and concern. I can’t say that I’m always successful at viewing them with this new symbolic meaning, but I love the idea of wearing them because of what they symbolize to me, not simply out of some sort of desire to be obedient.

I’ve been thinking about garments because I recently got an email from someone who was struggling with garments and was worried about the temple recommend interview, as well as what friends and family might think of her, if she was clearly not always wearing them. Her questions made me wonder if there might be a lot more flexibility about garment wearing than some of us assume. I was heartened once when a friend told me that her bishop didn’t even pursue the question when she admitted that she struggled with garments, but that she was doing her best. This made me hope that, amongst our leaders – and perhaps among the general LDS population – there is perhaps a large segment who don’t take a hard line about such things.

I’d love to know about others’ experiences with garment wearing. Do you wear them traditionally or have you found a need to make adjustments? Why? Do you sense that people are judgmental towards those who don’t wear garments traditionally?

Caroline

Caroline is a PhD student in Women's Studies in Religion and mother of three.

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49 Responses

  1. Keri says:

    I was endowed about 6 years ago, as a college student. I attended a Catholic university, and I’m a ballet dancer. I generally consider myself to be a traditional garment wearer, but I have made some adjustments to suit my situation.

    I modified my leotard so that I could still wear the garment while I rehearsed. Basically, since I don’t sew, it consisted of getting some knee-length bike shorts in the same color as my leotard, and wearing them underneath. I also chose to wear a 3/4 length sleeve leotard instead of the traditional spaghetti strap style. My teacher never said anything about my choice of attire, but I’m sure she would have been supportive if I had felt the need to explain myself. (One of my classmates was Muslim and wore a headscarf during rehearsal because we had a male pianist.) I never had a performance where I couldn’t wear the garment under the costume, but my plan if it ever came up was to wear a skin-colored unitard over the garment and the costume over the unitard.

    I also make an adjustment for menstruation, but I understand that it’s a fairly common adjustment. I prefer pads to tampons, and I find that winged pads provide better protection. During the few days when I’m flowing, I wear panties underneath the garment to hold the pad. (We’re talking Hanes here, nothing cute or anything.)

    My general attitude is to wear the garment whenever reasonably possible. I don’t actually give much thought to its meaning, although I should. It’s like the novelty and wonder has worn off, but the comfort still remains.

  2. matt thurston says:

    I’m a 40-50% wearer of garments, at best. For me, garments are more a cultural symbol than a religious or spiritual symbol, something that unites me with my tribe.

    People imbue symbols with meaning; symbols are not inherently meaningful or intrinsicly endowed with spiritual or mystical powers.

    I fully understand and support Mormons who imbue their garments with spiritual and religious meaning. I also recognize the Church’s right to make certain symbols (like garment-wearing) or ceremonies (like baptism) a condition of full membership.

    Unfortunately, the above two facts come packaged with two negative side-effects:

    1.) Pharisaical-like judgments of fellow members of the tribe who fail to toe the culturally-accepted line, leading to unnecessary heartache and grief between spouses, friends, and family members hold a different view on the matter.

    2.) Anxiety and guilt for those who don’t wear them with the frequency or zeal they think they should. I’d also add “fear” in this category as well. Fear of physical harm because one is not wearing the protective shield, or fear that one may not achieve a certain kingdom in heaven because one is less-than-valient in the garment-wearing department.

    So I hope you are right, Caroline. It would be nice to see a less hard-line approach to garment-wearing, one that focuses on the spiritual importance of garments, and not on the obedience aspect that separates the faithful from the unfaithful based on something as innocuous and inconsequential as underwear.

  3. LCM says:

    I just recently broke down and started wearing a sports bra and tank top with capris when I exercised. I was just getting too hot. I am fairly religious(excuse the pun) about wearing mine. My husband, on the other hand, doesn’t feel bad at all about taking them off when he’s hot or sleeping. He does have a shoulder problem and sometimes the t-shirt bothers him, but it bothers me that he only wears them basically at work. And the bottoms at the gym. I nag him, but it’s not my responsibility. I still believe we are supposed to wear them as much as physically possible. I do do the period thing, I just wear regular underwear for about 2 days every month.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Caroline,
    Great post. I too am very interested in others points of view. I’ve been endowed for less than two months now and I’m just now getting used to the garment (except for at night, I want just pajamas or just garments, but not both!) When I participated in the temple preparedness classes, before my endowment, the first thing I noticed is that the decision to remove the garment is a hot topic in my ward, just like caffeine consumption. There were numerous people in the class, some preparing to be endowed; the others were already endowed but there to offer support etc. I’m not trying to generalize but the older brothers and sisters in the ward were very adamant that the garment should not be adjusted or removed to suit whatever your current situation. The younger brothers and sisters were a little more flexible in their opinions. I have no opinion of my own yet, other than adjusting for my menstrual cycle. Your question regarding what others think of you when you don’t wear garments in the traditional manner is an interesting question. I must say that I never really paid attention before, but now I notice things, not in a judgmental way mostly just curious. I understand those who want to remove the garment while participating in sports, due to the fact that they don’t want to soil the garment with sweat stains etc. My problem lies with those who remove it under those pretenses but then don’t make an effort to dress modestly. For example there are many women in my ward who like to jog for exercise. Others are more serious and train for marathons. I’m bothered when they are jogging the neighborhood in a sports bra. If your reason for removing the garment is not to soil it with sweat, wouldn’t you still strive for modesty by wearing a t-shirt over the sports bra? I also appreciate men who wear t-shirts under their basketball jerseys. I don’t know if they have their garments on underneath or not, but I appreciate the effort to remain modest in dress.

    But what do I know, I’m a rookie at this.

  5. matt thurston says:

    The two posts that follow mine basically confirm my point that many people seem to be more concerned with the hows and whys of others wearing their garments than with what really matters: what their garments mean to them personally.

  6. Dora says:

    Caroline!!! You must have read my mind. I’ve been working up a post on “Looking versus Living the Gospel,” and how much the culture of the church focuses on outward indicators of righteousness. Stuff like:

    the “Clean Hands” anti-porn program at BYU (complete with apartment stickers that signified those who are in the program)

    only one set of earrings for women

    anti-beard stance

    white shirts for men on Sunday

    and inappropriate judging of others’ dress as (possibly mistaken) correlated with righteouness.

    I think my ideas on the topic are best represented by the beam/mote parable.

    As to the specific question of garments … I wear them. Infact, they’re quite comfy. I suppose someone who was very orthodox in their views might be disturbed by how I occassionally wear them.

    The thing is, for women at least, garments can be worn differently depending on how you buy them. Extra small on the top to show some mid-drift. Or very large to show cleavage. Or petite bottoms for short skirts. Etc etc. I try not to concern myself with how others interpret their wearing of the garment … again, mote vs beam. I think garments should be a personal barometer, not a public display of righteousness. he savior taught in parables so that all could learn at their optimal level. And so do people act based on their present optimal level of understanding.

    One area that I am more liberal in my use of garments is dancing. I don’t wear them when I go out for dancing, generally lindy, WCS or salsa. Both because they restrict movement, and because dancing is very energetic, and I tend to … glisten, which makes additional layers of clothing a liability.

  7. Liz W. says:

    I would say I wear mine about 90% of the time. I do it as a daily reminder of the covenants I’ve made. It’s a personal thing for me.

    I could care less if others wear theirs or what people think about me wearing mine.

    Sometimes they’re uncomfortable (especially when it’s hot) and sometimes I wish I didn’t have to hasle with buying clothes that cover them, but overall, I’m fine with it.

    I look at it as a small sacrifice for all the I’ve been given. And it really helps me to focus on what I value (which I can easily forget as a go about my day in this chaotic world).

  8. RoAnn says:

    I have always been very grateful to wear the garment in what you would probably term a traditional way. To me the wearing of the garment is a daily reminder of both all the blessings I have, and my desire to live up to the temple covenants as well as I can.

    After experimenting with various fabrics (and trying new ones over the years) and sizes, I have found several styles that are comfortable with different types of clothing (with pantyhose that could slip, with pants that might show a line, etc.). I have never felt the need to make any sort of “adjustments.”

    At one time I worked one day a week as a Church service missionary in a local garment distribution facility. At that time I learned that some people may have problems with comfort because they are wearing an incorrect size.

    Although some members seem to believe that garments must be worn next to the skin, the guidance is to wear them as underclothing; thus there need be no concern about wearing something under them (i.e. panties, nursing bras, etc.), when necessary.

    One thing that has always given me pause when I have read posts on garments in the Bloggernacle, is the concern about feeling too hot in garments. I have lived in several countries (as well as in Florida) where it is very hot and humid. In many places people don’t have air-conditioning. Not only do members usually have no problem wearing their garments, but many of the local non-member citizens (not all) seem to live and function wearing relatively modest clothing in spite of the heat. Think of women in past ages, whose clothing often covered them from neck to wrists to ankles. Not to mention Muslim women who wear burkas in hot countries even today. One really can adjust. 🙂

  9. janeannechovy says:

    Really? Wearing them for dance or to work out at the gym? I come from a very conservative home, and even so I always understood that there is a “3S” exception to the “day and night” requirement to wear the garment: sports, sex and shower.

    As for me, I’m not a huge fan of the temple, but I don’t particularly mind the garments, and I wear them almost all of the time (subject to the 3S exception). I really appreciate how the bottoms prevent inner-thigh chafing when wearing skirts in hot, sticky weather.

  10. Caroline says:

    Keri, LCM, anonymous, Liz, Roann, Thanks for all the contributions. It’s interesting to hear people’s different takes and experiences with things.

    I will comment directly to a few of you. Matt, I agree with you on the downsides of this tradition. This post was actually sparked because I was concerned for someone who was feeling some of that cultural heat because she has decided to do her own thing with her g’s.

    I have personally decided that my garment wearing habits aren’t going to be the thing that keeps me from the C.K., but I sympathize with those that really do feel that fear and guilt that you are talking about.

    Dora, that sounds like a great post! I hope you still do it. And I definitely agree that there are ways for women to make g’s work. I personally am a big fan of the oversized top since I tend to wear a lot of V neck shirts. And as for petite bottoms – I never wear any other type. Otherwise the crotch would be down to my knees. (And i’m not even short).

    Jane Anne, I too am a bit surprised that some people feel like they need to wear garments to work out. I had always heard of the 3 S’s also. I too am not a fan of the temple. But like you said, garments do have some practical advantages, aside from any spiritual meaning someone gives them. I like how they keep me warm.

  11. Dora says:

    Just to clarify … I’m not advocating that anyone change how they wear their own garments. However, these are some of the ways that I have, and have heard, that women have dealt with garments. In the end, it’s a very personal issue, that requires a personal solution. I have a friend who always wears the long garments when she wears pants because she can’t stand having a line across her thigh.

    I remember a post a while ago on FMH about using large tube tops to cover the lower back area and prevent garment flashing wbile wearing jeans. I searched for it a while back, but couldn’t find it. Any one have a lead on this?

    I think that fit will always be an issue with women and garment tops. I can’t think of one woman who has found a top with “boobie pouches” that fit. I welcomed the chemise tops enthusiastically, since there were no awkward and ridiculous BP’s. However, the chemise tops are awful to wear when it’s hot, and stain really easily. Does anyone have any design suggestions that could be broached with church leaders? I’ve thought about it a lot, and just can’t come up with any workable solutions.

  12. Keri says:

    I just wanted to clarify my previous comment. I’m aware that I don’t have to wear the garment when I exercise, but I choose to anyway, and I certainly don’t look down on anyone who chooses not to.

  13. Anonymous says:

    “The two posts that follow mine basically confirm my point that many people seem to be more concerned with the hows and whys of others wearing their garments than with what really matters: what their garments mean to them personally.”

    That’s because you’re original premise is flawed as it relates to this issue. Most Mormons don’t wear garments because it “unites us with our tribe,” we wear them because we believe God wants us to wear them–and wants us to wear them most of the time and in most conditions. Thus, to see a spouse not do those things could suggest that the spouse may not have the same commitment to that ideal, and that’s all kinds of disconcerting to a believing member, particularly given our eternal family doctrine. As a result, I think it’s really unfair to tell someone who is concerned that a loved one is possibly no longer as committed to the gospel as they once were that they should ignore those feelings in favor of an “I’m okay; you’re okay” analysis. Clearly, if my spouse to whom I’m sealed is showing signs that she no longer takes her temple covenants seriously, that’s going to be a big deal for me. Period. And it has nothing to do with me being in or out of a “tribe.”

    -jimbob

  14. Anonymous says:

    As an older (late 30s) never-married woman in the Church, I grew to resent my garments and ultimately removed them for good.

    I resented the idea that because of my unmarried state, I had one fewer reason to remove my garment at will (2 Ss, not 3; see a few comments above mine).

    I resented that I felt forced to wear 19th century-derived underwear that did nothing to underscore my sexuality or bolster my body image.

    I resented that I took direction from older, married (or widowed) men about what kind of underwear to buy and wear.

    This resentment led me to (for various reasons) question the Church and ultimately leave it. I think that for those who desire to stay within the tribe, the “proper wearing of the garment” is a good thing.

  15. matt thurston says:

    My premise is no more flawed than yours, it’s just my premise. I understand it is not your premise.

    It’s interesting how everyone in the world thinks God thinks exactly like them. You think God wants you to wear garments. Others think he/she wants them to wear burkhas. Others yamakas. Amish don’t wear buttons, only hooks and eyes. Sikhs wear daggars. And on and on…

    Either God accepts all symbols and covenants, or he accepts none. As such, I think we do need to adopt an “I’m okay, your okay” mindset, even when it comes to family members, don’t you? If it is between the individual and God, someone’s decision not to wear garments is just as valid as someone’s decision to wear garments.

    If Caroline believes not wearing garments will keep her out of the C.K., who am I to say otherwise? But doesn’t that go vice versa for those like the second “anonymous” who choose not to wear their garments? Even if that person is your wife or husband?

    This goes double for friends or fellow ward members. My wife often goes to the park on play dates with a group of Mormon women. The topic of which brother or sister in the ward is wearing or not wearing their garments comes up with such frequency it turns my stomach.

    Are garments a measuring stick of righteousness, or a personal covenant with God? Caroline mentions that her friend is feeling “cultural heat.” Lame. To me, this is what the post is about.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Here’s my idea for those in charge: if men can show their tops without isssue (collar showing under top button), why can’t the women’s garment tops be like those ubiquitous shade tees? then we’d have one less layer to wear… make it so the neckline and hemline are edged to show, and long enough to stay down but ok if it peeks out when bending over.

  17. Anonymous says:

    There is only one reason a person should wear her garments, because she covenanted to. To not wear your garments, or to adjust them improperly is a direct refutiation of your temple covenants.

  18. Dora says:

    Refutiation? Did you mean repudiation?

    I think it would be wise to remember that ours is a church of modern revelation. We should always be prayerfully ready for change, even if it comes as a glacier’s pace. Change is always threatening to some. Maybe members of the church felt the same way when they changed the garments lengths to upper arm and knee length?

  19. Heather Mommy says:

    Matt Thurston said

    “Either God accepts all symbols and covenants, or he accepts none.”

    I don’t really see the logic behind this statement. God accepts the symbols and ordinances that he authorizes. Sure lots of people in the world run around saying they are following God. But there is only one God, once church, one doctrine. I believe I have found the true church with God’s true and only authority. I guess we will all find out for sure after this life!

    The wearing of garments isn’t an issue of culture or tradition, it is an issue of obedience. When I first put on garments I literally had the sensation that I was coming home. I feel so honored and blessed to be able to wear them. To me they are a symbol of God’s love for me. I do take them off for the 3s. I don’t really worry about how other people wear their garments. That is between that person and God.

  20. Bo says:

    This is an interesting subject and I feel that maybe I shouldn’t intrude since I probably am the oldest (50’s) and may have a somewhat archaic view. However, I just wanted to say that when I first put on the garment in 1972 (!) in the temple on my wedding day, I felt so clean and pure. I wanted that feeling to last. I did have issues at first, especially when I wanted to wear the things I wore before (cutoffs and halter top), to fit in with the times. I only went without garments a few times in the beginning, gradually adjusting to being more modest. I can’t imagine being without them now, even though I do get hot at times, especially with menopause. Of course I did without after childbirth, etc. Speaking of change being difficult, when I first was endowed, we wore separate temple garments that were long sleeves and ankle-length, which really contributed to that secure, modest, righteous feeling I felt in the beginning. When they announced that we would be wearing our street garments in the temple, I was shocked and murmured. I gradually saw the benefits.

    As previous posters have mentioned, I too feel how you do or do not wear the garment is personal. It’s something only you can decide for yourself. Concerning spouses, my long-standing problem has been a spouse who would like to sit around the living room just wearing garments. For whatever reason, I don’t like it. Especially since he looks like an old man!

  21. Anonymous says:

    Matt,

    I appreciate you trying to break this issue down into simple sociological terms (with a smattering of ecumenism), but I just don’t find it as simple as I think you’re trying to make it as it relates to loved ones. Of course, any idle gossip about a random ward member’s personal righteous is never okay, whether it regards garments or some other issue. But that’s a world away from me being concerning that someone I’m sealed to isn’t taking the covenants they made as seriously as I am, if for no other reason than that that decision doesn’t just affect them.

    -jimbob

  22. Caroline says:

    Heather said:
    “God accepts the symbols and ordinances that he authorizes.

    I would like to think that God does indeed accept and appreciate the symbols and sacraments of other faiths. I can’t imagine God not being pleased with an Anglican who faithfully and prayerfully participates in that faith’s sacraments.

    “Sure lots of people in the world run around saying they are following God. But there is only one God, once church, one doctrine”

    I think it’s important to not confuse God with the Church. God is much bigger than the Church. Even the B of M talks about how God has given truth and knowledge to all different cultures and peoples of the earth.

  23. Heather Mommy says:

    Caroline,

    I feel bad that I came across differently then I meant to. I know God accepts other people’s attempts to do good and follow him according to the best of their knowledge. God hears and anwers prayers no matter what church you attend, etc…And of course there is a lot of truth out there. What I was refering to is there is only one church that has the whole truth and God’s authority. That’s one of our basic beliefs as LDS people. Saying there is only one true church doesn’t diminish other people’s genuine faith and goodness.

    God is bigger than the church but this is His church, despite all the imperfect people, me included 🙂

  24. Caroline says:

    Heather,
    Thanks for clearing that up. 🙂

  25. Caroline says:

    Anonymous, I totally agree with your suggestion about making garment tops more like shade T shirts. It always strikes me ridiculous that I might be wearing up to four layers (bra, garment, cami to cover garment, and shirt) when it’s 100 degrees outside.

    Everyone, thanks for sharing your stories. I enjoy reading them.

  26. .G says:

    beautiful post caroline.

    thankyou.

  27. Anonymous says:

    I have been wearing garments for about eight years now and they are a very spiritual part of my life. I also remember feeling like they were a sort of “spiritual hug” from the moment I put them on in the temple and I like to feel them close to my body. At the same time, it has taken a number of years to find fabrics and cuts that fit my lifestyle. I love the chemise tops, but the little sleeves are annoying and tend to bunch up too much under things.

    I also had the experience two years ago of coming home from church to find out that my husband (who had left after sacrament meeting) had gone out and bought himself new underwear to replace his garments. It was a very difficult thing and we are still adjusting from this change in our marriage. He had been having doubts about the church for a while, but removing the garment was his way of making a definite break with tradition. It was devastating for me because it signaled how much he had changed. However, we are adjusting to the fact that he is no longer active. I thought it was interesting that when I mentioned to a bishop that my husband no longer wore his garments (I was distraught and trying to explain what the problem was), the bishop was convinced that my husband had committed some sort of major sin, like adultery. He couldn’t get that my husband just didn’t believe in the covenants he’d made any more and didn’t feel right wearing the garment anymore.

  28. G says:

    anonymous said “when I mentioned to a bishop that my husband no longer wore his garments …”

    I am glad my spouse has been a little more discrete and understanding. .

    I’m trying to understand… you were distraught, probably thought your marriage was falling apart (maybe it is)… and maybe (HOPEFULLY) for the two of you your disclosure to ecclesiastical authority will somehow bring you closer…

    personally if DH “ratted me out” it would have been a real wedge and a betrayal of trust between us.

    but then, for you, his taking off his garments was probably a real wedge and a betrayal of trust.

    for better, for worse, for apostasy (or even just sincere questioning)…
    difficult stuff.

  29. Anonymous says:

    I did feel horrible about saying that to the bishop because I did feel like I was ratting on my husband. I didn’t know how else to describe the problem. He wasn’t drinking, smoking, cheating, skipping church (at the time), or anything like that. I’m young and inexperienced and didn’t know what else to say. I don’t usually talk to bishops about anything, but he caught me crying in the hallway at church and asked me to talk to him. I told my husband what I had told the bishop and he was OK with it.

  30. Anonymous says:

    I also think it would be an interesting post to discuss issues of marital privacy in situations like that. Like I said, I’ve never been in the habit of discussing personal issues with a bishop before. But if something my husband is doing is affecting my mental/spiritual health, how do I talk about it with anyone without “tattling” on him? I’ve never known how to resolve that conflict.

  31. AmyB says:

    anon, do you have good girlfriends to talk to? The issue of marital privacy would indeed be a good discussion topic for a new post.

    I hope things are getting better for you. Best wishes.

  32. Anonymous says:

    I don’t find the “marital ratting out” any more unseemly or insubordinate as an unrelated male asking a single or married woman what kind of underwear she has on!

    Think about it: every bishop and every stake president knows what every LDS woman in his neighborhood is wearing (or promised to wear) underneath her clothes. And he asks each one of them about it periodically.

    I’d rather discuss my husband’s not wearing garments (ratting though it may be) than explain to a bishop that I do or don’t wear them! It’s none of his business. I *should* be able to sleep with only two drops of perfume on and nothing else if I want to, and NOT answer to some guy behind a desk I barely know.

    Doesn’t anyone else see how problematic this is?

  33. cchrissyy says:

    Dora (8/16) are you thinking of my Belly hugger ? I think it’s been linked on FMH regarding nursing and g’s before.

  34. cchrissyy says:

    “The topic of which brother or sister in the ward is wearing or not wearing their garments comes up with such frequency it turns my stomach.”

    Matt, oh my goodness, thankfully around here the LDS women I get together with for parks and such have NEVER been overheard gossiping about garments, and I’ve been heavily involved in that scene for several years and in multiple wards. how awful!

  35. Leah says:

    The Bishop’s business is to ask Do you wear the regulation garments? AND THAT IS ALL he needs to ask. Any one who is asking you what kind of underwear are you wearing now, deserves to be told: YOU SHOULD NOT BE A BISHOP. THAT QUESTION IS IRRELEVANT.

  36. Leah says:

    The Bishop of my ward is a very religious decent guy. During one of his talks he said:
    ” Do not be fanatical about the garments. There are times when people needs to be without the garments, be it because the excesive hot weather or for work reasons or whatever reasons, but do not act fanatical about it”
    To me, that is serving God in a very honest way.
    The Lord is not going to condenm me for not wearing it while I am at the Gym! I do not wear them at the Gym, neither at the beach. Lets not be fanatical.

  37. Anonymous says:

    Whether details are asked for or not, a bishop or stake president is still responsible for asking all temple-endowed people (sisters included, and single sisters included), what type of underwear on:

    1. Is it church-issued, and
    2. Do they wear them night and day.

    As I said, it’s NO ONE’s business (except mine and my husband’s) whether I wear underwear or not, what kind it is or isn’t, and whether I buy them from Beehive Clothing or Frederick’s of Hollywood.

    It’s kind of ridiculous IMO for any church clergy to ask women what kind of underwear they have on, whether they promise to wear it, what time of day or night, etc.

  38. Tammy says:

    anon- I don’t think of garments as being exactly equivalent to underwear. It takes the place of underwear, but its purpose is much more meaningful. Also, the question is only asked in reference to attending the temple, the same place where the covenant to wear the garment took place.

    When the bishop asks me whether I wear my garments as directed I say yes and I feel that I am giving an honest answer. However, do I wear them 24/7, no. The three s’s as mentioned earlier are obvious exceptions, but sometimes I need to sleep naked next to my husband, or wear some pretty lingerie to bed in order for me to feel sexy and attractive. This isn’t a nightly, or even a weekly occurrence, but when it happens I feel absolutely no guilt about it.

  39. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the replies, Tammy. Different strokes for different strokes, I guess.

    I see a direct relationship between nosey ward members gossiping about other members’ garment-wearing patterns and bishops’ asking members whether or not they wear garments. Garment lines can be seen through thinner clothing, and it’s obvious that a woman isn’t wearing them when she’s in a sleeveless shirt.

    It bothers/bothered me that wearing the garment “night and day” is some sort of ecclesiastic matter. It simply is nobody’a business.

    It bothers me that there are weightier questions that truly could assess a person’s spirituality (if that’s really what’s being measured in TR interviews).

    It concerns me that garment/underwear questions are being asked when garment wearing is NOT a covenant: unless it’s a new thing in the last two or three years, which is entirely possible.

    I would much rather see/hear TR questions about the decibel level of one’s giggle (is that opaque enough?) than whether someone wears a certain kind of sacred underwear.

  40. madhousewife says:

    It is certainly no one else’s business if you don’t wear the garment both day and night, or at all. Just like it’s nobody’s business if you pay your tithing or not, or whether or not you drink frappuccinos. And it’s probably nobody’s business if you have a testimony of the restored gospel, or faith in Jesus Christ. And yet these are all questions in the temple recommend interview, and as such they are the official indicators of worthiness, so the bishop *has* to ask these questions before he can issue a temple recommend. If you don’t like these questions, maybe you shouldn’t sit for an interview. I don’t see what’s prurient about a bishop knowing that you wear your temple garments as instructed. That’s overthinking things a tad, in my opinion. I mean, assuming all bishops have current temple recommends, you know what kind of underwear HE’S wearing–how much do you dwell on that?

    One could argue about the relative importance of these issues. When you come right down to it, I suppose the only essential thing is that you have faith in Jesus Christ. So maybe once every two years we should go in and reassure the bishop that we still believe in Jesus, and therefore we can go into whatever church building we please. In other words, we could be Protestants. Then we wouldn’t even need a temple. No more nosy questions!

    Personally, I wish that the church would emphasize the spiritual symbolism of ordinances like baptism, rather than insisting that everyone’s got to have these things done by proxy lest the earth be smitten with a curse. I’m being completely serious. I don’t *get* why baptism or the endowment is necessary, except that it’s a commandment–aka an obedience thing. The garment issue is really not any different.

  41. Tom Sawyer says:

    This eloquent post and subsequent comments inspired me to elucidate my confessions as a garment-wearing malcontent:

    http://theculturalhall.com/?p=135

    🙂

  42. Caroline says:

    Anonymous,
    I’m sympathetic to a lot of your concerns. Like you, I don’t like strangers asking me about my underwear, or about the state of my testimony, etc. so I choose to not put myself in a situation where that would happen. Even though I could honestly and in good peace of mind say the right things to get a recommend, I choose to not get one.

    I’m not sure what it is about interviews like that, but they creep me out. Maybe it’s just that I don’t like giving a stranger that kind of power over me.

  43. woundedhart says:

    Has anyone suggested to the garment committee, or whoever, that women’s garments could have visible tops like the men’s crew neck? Because I think that’s why they started making the chemise tops and the spandex bottoms. I think they take into account that people are more likely to wear them “as directed” if they are comfortable, or at the very least, not mind-blowingly distracting. And having one less layer to cover them up would of a surety be more comfortable. And why the heck not?

  44. Debbie Mayhew Zufall says:

    Don’t sweat the small stuff. I think of it as a case by case business. Obviously older women who suffer from incontinence have to wear something under them. For sports it depends on the uniform: yes for martial arts, no for outdoor tennis. The main thing is that the garments remind me that I am a celestial being living a terrestrial existence, and not a terrestrial being who might find her way to heaven some day. I am glad to have this constant reminder.

  45. Old timer says:

    I was endowed in 1974 and for most of the past 33 years wore my garments “religiously” if I might use that expression. With the one piece, I pulled the leg down so the mark reached my knee cap. Ro Ann, I too lived in hot, humid climate–Louisiana– for 20 years and for quite a few years i continued to wear garments “next to [my] skin–that was the strict instruction for many years–,day and night, every day of [my]life.” My friends who’d lived there longer than me told me I would get used to the heat/humidity. I never did. So like most LDS women I knew, I lived an indoor life for a good six months out of the year. From an air conditioned house, to an A/C car, to an A/C mall, grocery store or church building–or all day at the local pool w/o g’s. After 10 years of that, I layed my garments aside from June 1st to Sept 30 every year and told my stake president in a TR interview. I started to live again. I did wear them to church on Sunday, not because I was a hypocrite, but because I was going from A/C house to car to church for 3 hours.

    We lived in the south for ten more years. In the heat I turn a dark shade of red that looks dangerous. I’ve had store clerks invite me to sit down saying I look like I’m about to have a stroke. No, I’m not heavy.

    This summer, living in Utah, I have given up my garments much of the time and have been oh, so comfy. I’ve enjoyed, yes, enjoyed 100 degree days. I believe the breeze I feel in my back is my HF’s natural A/C which he wants me to enjoy; it’s meant to cools me.

    As far as wearing bra under garments…..the g’s are not designed to fit well, the way a commercially manufactured are, over a bra.They slip off shoulders, ride up in the neck. As someone who wears a 34 DDD, I made do for 30 years wearing my bra over, but I will not accomodate the garment [read garments designers] anymore. I’m an experienced seamstress, better designs and fabrics are possible.

    And as far as officials listening and responding–I’ve heard they do but that has not been my experience. Three weeks ago while shopping at Beehive I was promised by a suprevisor a phone call to listen to my comments and suggestions….I’m still waiting.

    This summer I rediscovered the 100% cotton top w/o lace (plain binding) and have worn those over bra–that’s the only way for those–under V-neck t-shirts. Two things they need to do with those, use a lighter weight cotton with 2% lycra so the bottom hem isn’t all stretched out at the end of the day, and mark them in permanant ink on the inside so the marks don’t show under a fitted t-shirt.

    And yes, we don’t wear the one piece anymore or those down to the ankle or a burka. But the fact that things have changed or that others wear something worse doesn’t apply to my experience and doesn’t make me more comfortable or less hot. And I’ve not even experienced menopause yet.

    I have simply come to the realization that my loving HF does not ask me to go thru my entire life uncomfortable. That sounds too catholic too me and i thought I left that mindset in my teens.
    I’m sure if he designed it, it would be beautiful and comfortable.

    The best thing I’ve yet read on the topic was in FMH. Someone asked the following question, “If the Church were restored today, would the garment look like 19th century inspired underwear?”

    You need to remember the original garments were unbleached muslin(not white, so that was not a big deal originally) and the marks, after they’d been cut on the individual during the endowment, were sown in red to represent blood spilt.

  46. Caroline says:

    old timer,
    Thanks for your story. So interesting to hear how different people tolerate garments more or less easily than others. If I were in your situation, I think I probably would have done as you did, laying aside garments for the months when they were simply intolerable.

    I’m going to have to check out that plain binding cotton top. I didn’t even know those existed.

  47. Old Timer says:

    The plain cotton tops were only available by mail at first. I found out about them about two years ago from one of the Beehive Clothing pamphlets which listed them. Since you never know how they will fit, I ordered a s,m,and l. They’ve been ok to wear some of the time this summer, although I do notice a big difference in my back–hot and sweaty when I have them on–but I’ve been willing to “suffer” most of the time with them. They work well as a “shade” shirt underneath a low cut t-shirt right now, but I can’t imagine wearing them with any other apparel–it’s a thick cotton. (One little aside, compare the men’s and women’s cotton and Drilux; you’ll find the women’s fabrics are heavier, they use a ribknit for women and that’s thicker) In fact, I’d stored the first ones I’ve had for two years because I coudln’t see any use for them. As I indicated I usually wear my bra over drysilk because that way i can control where the neckline and sleeves sit.

    I own a 100% cotton garment top made in Switzerland for the European saints. The cotton is fine, of better quality and cool to the touch. The neck is bound in a narrow silk binding. The botton edge is not serged, not hemmed, it’s the selvage–that is the side end of the bolt– and it contains a little lycra-like thread that keeps in from stretching. On the pant legs, it stays put and is very comfortable, not binding. I don’t have a bottom but have seen them. The person who gave me the top couldn’t spare a bottom.

    I took the top to Distribution in SL where the female supervisor looked at it, handled it and pronounced it “beautiful” and told me to buy my garments in Europe, they they simply could not do that in the U.S. it would be too costly to import such fabric. There was no suggestions that, perhaps, they could ask a U.S. manufacturer to produce something like it.

    I plan on writing Julie Beck, General RS pres., to see if something could be done.

  48. Caroline says:

    Old timer,
    That is exactly what I want – a garment top I can wear as a Shade shirt.

    Please do write to Julie Beck about this!

  1. June 21, 2010

    […] half, taking them off at times, deciding to take them off entirely, putting them back on after a hiatus, or disposing of them reflects a person’s faith?  What do they represent to […]

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