Guest Post — I Want to Take My Body Back: My Struggle With Garments

by Mamie

Several months ago I shared my experiences on Exponent about feeling suffocated during circle time in Relief Society because of the years of abuse and trauma I suffered in childhood. Now I want to open up about my experience wearing large underwear under my clothes at all times as a requirement for entering the kingdom of heaven and being with my family forever.

As somebody whose mental health issues involve a daily struggle with claustrophobia and a pressing need for space, I have a very hard time with Mormon doctrine that says I must wear a full-sized shirt and full-sized shorts on under every outfit that I wear in order to maintain my temple recommend-level worthiness and marriage covenants. In the super-hot muggy summers of the humid climate where I live, I wear FOUR layers on top and bottom during my period, for a total of EIGHT layers on my body:

1) Maxi pad

2) underwear to hold the maxi pad

3) garment bottom

4) long, garment-length shorts or capris

5) garment top

6) bra

7) modesty top [because I am busty so most shirts aren’t garment standard over my chest unless I wear a giant sweatshirt]

8) shirt

(Note: that I received my endowment decades ago, when women had to wear bras over garment tops. I hear that that younger women aren’t doing this anymore, which is deeply upsetting because nobody ever updated me about this, which would have alleviated a lot of my suffering. I talked to temple matrons, garment store workers, and bishops about my bra-over-top suffocation issues at least annually, but nobody ever updated me about this change in the rules!)

These eight layers are extremely oppressive and make me feel like I can’t breathe. I’ve developed rashes and had fungus outbreaks in my vaginal area during the hot summer months because of all the moisture that collects underneath all those layers after a long day spent cleaning my house or working in the garden. I live in a large, older home that doesn’t have central air, just window units, because it is too old for a central cooling system, so I am never fully dry in the summer. I envy my neighbors who aren’t Mormon and are free to dress in clothes or underwear styles of their choice.

While traveling to a tropical climate that is humid like my home state, I met Mormon women in little shorts who told me that their local leaders gave permission to sisters there to skip garment-wearing due to infections or fungus problems like what I have been experiencing for years. This upset me greatly because my physical issues have always been compounded by my PTSD and other mental health issues related to my childhood trauma, but the leaders where I live never once granted me any relief from my garment-related problems. When I go in for temple recommend interviews and have to report to adult men about my underwear (which is a separate issue that we should be discussing, ladies!), I never received any relief for my complaints about the garment—I only heard testimonies about how protective the garment is and what a blessing, what joy, etc etc. But my garments haven’t protected me, not once. Just the opposite, they have been harming me for decades.

I’ve gained a lot of weight since I first went to the temple and started wearing garments. Over the years, my weight increased slowly so I barely noticed at first. When I was single, I always slept in pajama bottoms and a tank top or bottoms and a sports bra, so I used to see my skin out in the open and be very in tune with my body. Walking around my apartment with my abs and arms fully visible to me like that, I’d pass by mirrors and notice every pound gained, every slightest bulge, then I’d silently recommit to skip dessert for a week or two, or I’d drop and do a few pushups before bed if I noticed my arms looking a bit flabby. But ever since I was commanded to wear this extra layer of clothes in order to see my family again in the eternities, I am no longer as in tune with my body because my body is always hidden from sight under garments, so it slowly began to swell from extra pounds without me even noticing it.

It upsets me that when I was single, I could remove my bra or tank top in bed and sleep all night topless on my baby-soft sheets. What a boon this might have been to my marriage! But I married in the temple where I was instructed to sleep in my garments. Sleeping in garments, however, is a tangled up and uncomfortable affair that induces insomnia. I also feel frumpy and uncomfortable in my own skin now, whereas when I was single I luxuriated in cute intimate apparel instead of wanting to hide my ugly undies under the covers. I still wear cute special occasion pajamas sometimes, but I only wear them temporarily, then my garments must go back on, per church rules. I wonder how many Mormon self-esteems and marriages would improve if women were allowed to select their own intimate apparel and sleep in whatever clothing (or lack thereof) they deem appropriate, rather than in a full-sized shirt and shorts chosen by old men in Salt Lake City.

I want to be able to move and sleep, unencumbered by so many layers. I want to take my body back, but when I try talking to my husband, friends, or family about it, they practically accuse me of apostasy. My feelings about garments have nothing to do with my testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ, however. I love the Lord with all my heart. I am just struggling to believe that a savior who gave His life for my sins would require me to wear uncomfortable, humiliating, alienating underwear as a demonstration of my love for him.

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45 Responses

  1. PP67 says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this. So many of us women suffer with our garments. But no one will talk about it because that is just what is expected of us. Why do so many in the Church love to be martyrs? I used to be like that. If I was not suffering then I was not sacrificing all for God! I have realized now that is hogwash! A friend pointed out to me that we are told to “wear the garment throughout our life”. We do not covenant that we will wear them 24/7. I do what works for my body. I feel like if God is the one who made this body then surely he understands its limitations. I stopped wearing the top in the summer. I do not tolerate heat well at all and I start to go into panic mode when I am too warm. It has helped so much! Also, I too am a larger girl, and have very large arms so the small arm opening in the new garment tops is way too tight for me. I tried to special order larger openings in the arms through the Garment Center but they still did not fit right. I just cut them myself to fit me. My attitude is the garment is the vehicle for the markings. As long as I do not alter the markings then I am fine. Even in the winter I do not wear the top when I have a bra on. It is too uncomfortable. When I come home I take my bra off and put my garment top on. I sleep in just the top and bottoms. When I am on my period I wear what I like to call “civilian” underwear because they fit up close to my body. I do not try and wear the bottoms with it. My feelings are, why get them all stained when I leak? I want to keep them as nice looking for as long as I can. So, as you can see I am wearing my garments throughout my life but on MY body’s terms. When asked if I wear them night and day I say, yes, because usually at some point during most days and nights I am wearing either the top or the bottom or both.

    • Mamie says:

      “I do what works for my body. I feel like if God is the one who made this body then surely he understands its limitations.”

      Exactly how the doctrine of agency *should* be taught. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing, sister.

      Much love,

      ~ Mamie

  2. Anna says:

    I am like you in that the garments specifically triggered PTSD. My father sexually abused me, teaching me that I did not own my body. He was careful to take his garments off and never let them touch the floor, before raping his daughter. OK, Talk about twisted priorities. But those were the twisted priorities I grew up with. I COULD not wear the garments without all the feelings on the sexual abuse coming crashing down on my head. I Could. Not. Wear. Them. Without becoming suicidal.

    I talked with bishops about it and was instructed that I had to wear them. Period. There was simply no exception for becoming suicidal.

    If I have finally decided that a church that treats any child of God in that way is a bogus church. The church was abusive, on top of all the abuse I got as a child. I simply don’t need more abuse in my life. After fighting this whole bucket of crap for 40 years, trying to fix myself to be “good enough” for the church, I finally decided that it is the church that is not good enough for me. I have never in my life been happier.

    All the other problems with garments were just more of the same crap about my body is not really mine and I have to dress it in stuff that does not work for a woman’s body. The nursing and maternity garments mostly didn’t exist when I was that age, we were just told to buy them a few sizes larger, so when pregnant, they are falling off your shoulders and too tight around your baby bump. It didn’t help the PTSD a bit that garments were so horrible. But bishops always insisted that if I just wore them for a while, I would grow to love them. No, I just grew closer to going off the 14th floor balcony, or driving my car over suicide curve up the canyon. Bishops simply did not comprehend what the constant PTSD does to your brain. So, when I found myself going off the deep end, I dropped out of activity and took the cursed things off and got into therapy. Got things under control and thought maybe now I am fixed enough I can be a good Mormon and went back to church where a bishop insisted that I wear the garments. Then I went crazy again and inactive, therapy, feeling better, try church again. Rinse repeat.

    The church is abusive! So, I am out. Oh, technically, my name is still on the records. My husband doesn’t want me that far out because of the sealing of our temple marriage, but he saw the years of abuse I went through with the church and sometimes he is surprised that he stayed in through all of that.

    • EmilyB says:

      Thank you for this post, Mamie!!! Amen!! Anna, I am so glad that you took your body back. You deserve it. I am so sorry for the horrors you experienced. You are brave and amazing and I stand with you and every other woman who suffered abuse in Mormonism. I have been there, which is why your story strengthened me so much. You are amazing. Thank you for sharing your experience. You lifted me today. You are a true pillar. This is the REAL sisterhood, ladies—organized OUTSIDE the control of brethren/men and taking back our bodies and even our names, as I did, or choosing to leave it there for husband as you have done—important thing is WE CHOOOSE instead of surrendering all our agency to local leaders making arbitrary decisions or worse, elderly men whose rules change with each regime.

    • Mamie says:

      Anna, I stand with you too and I am so, so sorry. Please keep speaking your truth and hopefully other Mormon women will speak up too. We have all been covenanted into silence for far too long.

      Much love,

      ~ Mamie

  3. Stephanie Sorensen says:

    Thank you for speaking up brave and thoughtful friend. I want to validate and encourage you. Continue down this path. Continue wrestling with this. Don’t let your voice, your trauma, your reality be snuffed out or dismissed. My own personal journey has led me away from orthodoxy and garment wearing, because the temple represented the heart and soul of my deepest objections to Mormonism, so removing the garments became a welcomed relief. I had no idea that in doing so I would experience a sexual awakening, a profound enhancement of self-esteem, and a deepening of my intuition. To feel my thighs rubbing against one another when I wear a skirt, to go to bed in sexy intimates, to take ownership of my body, to feel sun on my shoulders….it has connected me to my body in a way I’ve never known. And to be connected to my body is to be connected to God. I had been hiding my light under a bushel in the form of Priesthood robes and patriarchal regulations. It was not honoring of my feminine power, and I postulate it wasn’t honoring my husband’s either. But for those who still feel at peace within orthodoxy, consider advocating in whatever way you can for the garments to become actual temple clothes, something you keel in your temple bag and wear as part of the temple ceremony. What an incredible shift that would be for the powerful, beautiful, sexy, intuitive women of this church!

    • Mamie says:

      “To feel my thighs rubbing against one another when I wear a skirt, to go to bed in sexy intimates, to take ownership of my body, to feel sun on my shoulders….it has connected me to my body in a way I’ve never known. And to be connected to my body is to be connected to God. I had been hiding my light under a bushel in the form of Priesthood robes and patriarchal regulations. It was not honoring of my feminine power, and I postulate it wasn’t honoring my husband’s either.”

      Thank you for these powerful words of counsel, sister!

      Much love,

      ~ Mamie

    • Joni says:

      That’s funny because *not* feeling my thighs rub together when I wear a skirt is one of the only things I like about garments (the other is that my bras last forever). I sometimes fantasize about being able to believe in a God who trusts His daughters enough to let us pick our own underpants. Maybe someday…

  4. Susan Mallamo says:

    I have a sense of what you are saying because of my own life experiences… Please consider EMDR to help lighten your emotional load. I has been a gift for me… Cheering you on with love. Susan

  5. Arganoil says:

    When the temperatures hit above the 28 degrees Celsius I take my garments off, I always sleep in the nude or anything me and my husband likes me to wear. I answer my TR interview that I wear them like I should wear them. It is between me and the Lord, I am not going to talk about my underwear habits to my bisshop or anyone else for that matter!

  6. DT says:

    Thank you for sharing your challenges with garments. I am plus size and tall. I have never been able to find a way to make garments comfortable. Every seam, elastic, and surface irritated my skin despite the sales flair of the women in the distribution centre.

    Serving a mission in Arizona, where we were required to wear nylons at all times on top of our garments and not allowed to wear clothes that matched the weather, started my distaste for rules that did not suit the circumstances of LDS women. I have sensitive skin and I get infections easily. I finally gave up my garments after years of following the rules and suffering. My discomfort only added to my body dismorphia and self consciousness. I feel much more like myself after letting my recommend lapse and wearing clothes that are comfortable and meet my personal needs. I don’t believe that God would endorse self flagellation as a condition of living a good life.

    • Mamie says:

      “I don’t believe that God would endorse self flagellation as a condition of living a good life.”
      Neither do I, dear one. Neither do I. The God I know just isn’t that controlling. He is good, loving, and wants his children to be beautiful and comfortable and happy. I don’t understand the draconian underwear rules. Thank you for sharing your story here. it has lifted me at a time when I sorely needed it! <3

      Much love,

      ~ Mamie

  7. B says:

    I have a sensory processing disorder and while I wore my garments for four years, I was conscious of them almost every moment of every day. They were insanely uncomfortable for me and I never found garments that fit my body (the sizing made no sense). Eventually I started sleeping nude, which solved my terrible insomnia issues almost immediately, and after a while I ditched the garments altogether. Besides contributing to sensory overload, they were a constant reminder of how uncomfortable I was with the temple, and the fact that every day I was making a choice that felt like a betrayal of my self.

    I’m definitely not saying everyone else should stop wearing garments, but for me it was a big factor in my path to becoming a better version of me. Like Stephanie says above, I suddenly started to feel happy in my body instead of just tolerating it. I could focus on things without tugging on bunching clothes and elastic. I became better at setting boundaries, keeping up healthy habits, and being gentle with myself. I am single and have continued to dress pretty much the same (loose and breezy), so it isn’t about showing off my body–just being in tune with it and respecting what it feels.

    • Mamie says:

      “I became better at setting boundaries, keeping up healthy habits, and being gentle with myself…it isn’t about showing off my body–just being in tune with it and respecting what it feels.”

      Wow, B–what a powerful lesson on caring for the temple-body in godly ways. Thank you for this. A perfect post-script to my conundrum about how to handle this garment issue. You’ve really helped me out. I live in an area where simply taking off my garments and declaring myself as a “yes” to the bishop won’t fly (we have tattlers in our ward who’ve turned in women after spotting them out and about in breezy attire; they’ve had their recommends yanked. It is a small town/rural life thing), so I have to really truly decide where I stand before I decide to take my garments off: do I care more about my body or about a bishop’s ruling, because the bishops around here are extremely conservative and tend to yank recommends over the silliest stuff.

      Thank you for helping me out with this agonizing decision!

      Much love,

      ~ Mamie

  8. Arganoil says:

    I think it is about finding a balance that works for you and that is different for everyone. When I went through the temple for the first time almost 25 years ago in the preperation room the friendly matron told to wear my bra over the garment. In the corner of my eyes I saw my mom who slowly was shaking her head. I had never heard before that that might be a rule and I knew my mom wore her bra underneath her garment.
    I have never even considered wearing it over. And during periods I wear normal underwear. Garments were neve meant to be torture equipment!

    • Mamie says:

      Your mother could have saved me from years of agony. I spent ages complaining about how bra-over-shirt was suffocating me and nobody, but nobody ever told me this was an option! Then I discovered that thousands of younger LDS women simply claimed that freedom for themselves without penalty and I was like what the wha–?

      Granted, I don’t live in an area where women are that free to make their own clothing choices, but still, I am in awe and grateful for such examples. thank you for sharing this. Inspiring and uplifting!

      Much love,

      ~ Mamie

  9. maria says:

    When my daughter had to go to the temple before serving a mission about 2-1/2 years ago, the assistant matron told her that she still needed to wear her garments when she went to fitness! I’m so glad that I had told her before this meeting to let it go in one ear and out the other and do what feels right to herself.

    • Mamie says:

      Maria, you are the mother I wish I’d had. My mother is a superMormon who taught me to “obey every word of command with exactness” (Alma 57:21). The result has been very bad for my spiritual, emotional, and physical health. Your daughter is very blessed to have you for a mother!

      Much love,

      ~ Mamie

    • Joni says:

      Sweating heavily into your garments means you need to replace them much more often, so… maybe that’s why!

  10. magentamidnightblue says:

    Hi Mamie, I have been very enlightened by this conversation, as I had no idea the problem was so widespread! It made think seriously and decide what I would do in this situation. Before a temple recommend interview, I would wear the garments as prescribed for 1 or 2 days and answer, “Yes.” You have explained the whole truth to some mortals who won’t listen. It is not their business to know or to decide what is right for you. The Savior would reply, “You are worthy. I only offer this symbolism for comfort, not suffering.” Sign the recommend and enjoy the temple, knowing that your covenants are with God, not anyone else.

    • Mamie says:

      These are great ideas. I think I could pull them off if I were not in such a close-knit community with a tendency for tattling. It has happened before (a sister spotted on social media in non-garment standard-clothes lost her temple recommend because members squealed to our bishop), so I have to decide how much my relationship with my savior depends on temple attendance. I am working through that right now. But definitely if I were in a bigger city or something this is what I would do and encourage other women to do–that would be SO empowering!

      Much love,

      ~ Mamie

  11. Cameron says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I wish I could reach out and help somehow. I have a lot of thoughts about this.

    > Most of my immediate responses / recommendations hit a snag when I realized you are married. It’s easy enough as a single for me to say “just don’t wear them at home!” but if your husband is garment-policing you, that’s not a helpful thing to say. If he is very rigid in his opinions about how you wear your garments, he may need a gentle reminder that only you have been given stewardship over your body.

    > I would start by not wearing garment bottoms during periods. There are many righteous, covenant-keeping women who wear only regular underwear while menstruating. Most men back off on the subject of periods.

    > You are not required to go into any detail during recommend interviews when it comes to how you wear your garments. It seems like you have appealed many times to bishops for help on this subject, and none of them have proven worthy of your trust. So do not trust them. This is something I have had to learn, and it is difficult to act upon, because I am very very inclined to trust my priesthood leaders (and people in general!). But they have got to earn your trust. You deserve no less.

    > Likewise, if the bishop asks you about something a tattletale has said, I suggest taking a Miss Manners-style approach. Sit up straight with your hands folded primly and say in a mildly offended voice, “I’m not sure who has been talking to you about my underwear, bishop, but that is a matter I’d prefer to keep private.” Channel your inner Victorian crone! Make him feel like an uncouth mouthbreather for even asking!

    > I take the policies with a large grain of salt. I think we have an individual responsibility to keep our covenants in a way that is pleasing to the Lord, and that may or may not end up aligning with the Handbook policies. Policy is not eternal.

    It seems like the true problem here is less about the garment and more about unrighteous dominion. You should not have to be afraid to lose your access to the temple over this issue. The fact that you do, and that you’ve struggled with this for so long, should be an indictment against our culture, not against you.

    • Mamie says:

      “You are not required to go into any detail during recommend interviews when it comes to how you wear your garments.”
      You’d think not, but I live in a small, close-knit community where other members go there for me – a lot of policing goes on both inside and outside my home. I almost lost my temple recommend because I got bad claustrophobia in Relief Society and was skipping third hour for mental health reasons because the RS sisters tattled on me for being absent so often (see my previous post), so can you imagine the penalty for taking off my garments?

      One member of our ward actually had to pack up, sell their home, and move away to different ward boundaries for the sake of her son or he wouldn’t be able to serve a mission (long story, but basically this bishop has SUPER old fashioned ideas about masturbating and her son, bless him, was a bit too honest in interviews). And it isn’t just our current bishop; he was trained by his predecessor!

      In any event, I do have a cousin in a faraway city who lives Mormonism more liberally and sounds a lot like the commenters on here. I just don’t think she realizes that it isn’t possible in other areas of the world. There are some areas where leaders and members alike are very letter-of-the-law. That is where I was raised and where I live now. I don’t have the resources to just pack up and sell/move like my friend did, alas.

      Thanks for weighing in and sharing these great ideas, tho–I hope they empower and inspire the sisters who live elsewhere! 🙂

      Much love,

      ~ Mamie

    • Andrea Jay says:

      I’m so glad you wrote these separate points out. Thank you!

  12. Em says:

    I stopped wearing garments regularly for purely practical reasons. When I was pregnant, tight clothing triggered my hyperemesis (super vomiting all 9 months) and I did not need more triggers. Then I had some very difficult complications with breastfeeding and I thought “nope, don’t need to make this harder.” And I kind of never went back. After months of reasonable underwear it was hard to jump back into things I found uncomfortable.

    Here’s what I do now: The temple instructs us to “wear them throughout our lives” We don’t covenant anything about them but we are instructed. I have enough sets to wear for a week if I want to. I try to remember to wear them to church, because I think wearing special clothing for ordinances is appropriate. Otherwise, I just kind of listen to my heart. Sometimes I feel “hey, I think I should wear garments today/tonight.” So I do. If in the middle of the day I start to get a rash or am uncomfortable, I take them off.

    I just can’t believe that God thinks this is the fundamental key to celestial life. They’re supposed to remind us of covenants, but they are not, in themselves, covenants. In the early church they were worn only in the temple. I feel like the focus on them can be a bit Pharisaical — that we’re being nitpicky about that kind of observance but then losing track of the actual higher laws.

    My husband has never said a peep about any of it, but that is his way. I’m not in your marriage, and I can’t tell you how to reconcile it. But I do think that you can focus on the spirit of garments — they are not there to cause you pain, humiliation, or to police your body (despite how they get used). They are there to help you feel close to God and motivate you to choose to be Godly. So do what you can to use them in that way, however that works for you.

    And I get it about feeling a bit miffed that you’ve been putting up with something awful only to find out you didn’t have to. See: temple changes.

    • Mamie says:

      “In the early church they were worn only in the temple.”

      I did not know this. I wish I had been able to learn more about these strange undergarments before committing to a lifetime of wearing them. They have caused me so much grief without me even knowing what they even are! It would be nice to get some knowledge about them. Then again, not knowing will make it easier to just shed them and be done with it, so maybe i prefer to just be ignorant, lol. Thank you for sharing this gem, and thank you for your insight here–like you, “I just can’t believe that God thinks this is the fundamental key to celestial life.”

      I believe that Jesus’ blood is what saves us and that living like Him exalts us, not underwear.

      Much love,

      ~ Mamie

    • Ziff says:

      I love your comment, Em. Especially this:

      “They’re supposed to remind us of covenants, but they are not, in themselves, covenants.”

      This is such an excellent point!

  13. Arganoil says:

    We keep forgetting that when we need guidance or advice about garments we can also go to our RS president. Why should it be the bisshop?

    • Mamie says:

      yeah but the RS president has no authority to grant me reprieve–it is the bishop who is the judge in Israel, charged with asking me about my underwear habits as part of the temple recommend interview process. I report these things to him for permission to go to the temple, not her, so I naturally felt like only he could grant me permission for a reprieve from garment woes, that way if anybody saw me without them I’d be safe from gossip that could otherwise rob me of my temple recommend.

    • Anna says:

      I tried talking to my RSP, and she just referred me to the bishop. She said how and when we wear our garments is a worthiness issue and as such it is not her place to discuss it with us women. So, no, you really can’t discuss problems with wearing garments with your RSP, any more than you can with your beautician or the random lady at the grocery store.

    • ElleK says:

      And honestly, I’ve often seen women police women much more harshly than men do. I think there’s a lot of suffering olympics (“if I have to go through this discomfort, so does everyone else!”) in our culture.

  14. LaryB says:

    Woman, my heart goes out to you. We come from a organization that emphasizes authority and that makes us want expressed permission for every decision before we move forward. What do you feel is right? In YOUR mind, in YOUR heart?

  15. Annon says:

    I haven’t worn them for years.

  16. Heather Brown says:

    I developed so many UTI’s from wearing garments, that eventually I couldn’t feel them anymore. Let me repeat… I couldn’t feel my UTI’s! This resulted in a major kidney infection that was only curable with a nepherectomy. When I realized that a high percentage of women in the church suffer from UTI’s brought on by their garments, I took them off permenantly. I refuse to sacrifice my remaining kidney! Once again, I don’t feel UTI’s, thanks to two decades of wearing UTI causing garments. When I told my husband and priesthood leaders that I wasn’t going to wear garments any longer…. well, all I can say is they felt very strongly that my remaining kidney (and life) was worth the sacrifice of wearing garments. I am no longer an active member of the church.

  17. m says:

    I am so sorry for all the issues so many women have wearing garments. I have sensitive skin and for whatever reason, I have found them far more comfortable than any other underwear I’ve ever had. In fact, these days I think I only keep a temple recommend so that I can order garms. I’m considering ordering a bunch and then letting it just lapse.

  18. Elizabeth says:

    Back when all we had was one piece garments I was instructed to wear a bra on the outside but I think that started more as a convenience thing as it was more difficult to deal with a bra underneath and then subsequent women interpret it as doctrine and it gets passed on that way. I remember a temple matron instructing us when two piece garments first came out that we should step into the neck of the top instead of putting it on over our head because that was the way we put on one piece garments so it must be the proper way. Luckily, even though I was very obedient I thought that was a little crazy.

  19. Bri says:

    This is spot on with how I have felt about garments. I have always loved my body and felt very comfortable with it until I was wearing garments; I felt disgusting and as though I needed to hide away, even from myself. I’m blessed to have married a man who respects what I believe and what I need. He was raised ultra-Mormon and it took a lot of communication and figuring out what we believed together. He, too, struggled with garments but he felt guilty even entertaining the idea that they may be a negative thing. After much discussion about the church and what we believe Christ would encourage/not encourage we have made a decision together to not wear garments. I can say without any doubt that it has strengthened our marriage immensely. Our intimacy has been strengthened, he has become more comfortable and aware of his body and it’s needs, as have I. Such a blessing to have a marriage where we can work together to become stronger and happier. That being said, if my mother knew I wasn’t wearing garments (which I speculate she is beginning to realize) I would hear lectures and judgements every time I was around her because she doesn’t understand and has always “loved” her garments. To each their own, I say. I wish you luck as you move forward in this journey!

  20. Di says:

    The kind of control you experience in your ward sounds awful. And like Em said – Pharisaical. I feel for you.
    I have sensitive skin and haven’t worn garment bottoms when sleeping for about 20 years. It’s not just the crotch area but the waistband as well – the whole thing just feels claustrophobic. I only addressed this in one interview and decided I wouldn’t ever bring it up again. On days when my vagina feels especially sensitive I wear 100% cotton briefs and feel absolutely no guilt about it. I wish you could find a way to do what feels best for you. That kind of control is not Christlike at all.

  21. Moss says:

    I took breaks from wearing my garments during my pregnancies (as an alternative to maternity nursing garments). That experience made me realize that garments were made for us, not us for garments, so of they’re not working for you it’s ok to reevaluate how you wear them.

  22. DD says:

    I only wore garments for a few years but that little time was difficult for me. I was/am a dance who learned that my body is to be celebrated. Garments and the fit and coverage caused cognitive dissonance from what I had learned for over two decades. I am not longer active and haven’t worn them in three years. Mamie, I hope you find peace and courage. It’s a difficult spot to be in and I send my love and hope to you.

  23. Cass says:

    Thank you for this post! I started to talk about this topic with my husband’s family…big mistake! My sister-in-law just thought I wanted to be “immodest” and my brother-in-law suggested I should probably just not wear my garments at all, since they “obviously aren’t serving their purpose”. I felt pretty hurt and needless to say, I can’t discuss this with family. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone in this struggle.

  24. M says:

    In short, I’m a very sensory overwhelmed person with a lot of anxiety, I struggle every day. I have anxiety disorders and would most likely quality for a sensory processing diagnosis as well. After years of guilt, shame, suffering, forcing myself to obey, I’m finally accommodating my struggles. I talked with my bishop in the Midwest and he’s been amazing!! He told me that whenever I can manage to wear garments, it shows even more dedication than the average mormon who wears them without thinking twice. He basically gave me permission to throw all my guilt out the window and do what I need to do to modify. I try to still wear them when I can. He’s a very Christlike example and really listened and heard my struggles. He kept me as his YW president and I’m an active member of ward council. I’m at peace that if any one tattles on me, the bishop already knows literally everything. I wish with all my heart everyone here could have the same experience with bishops-there are a few good ones out there!

  25. Rachel says:

    Does anyone know if there has been data taken to find out how women truly feel about garments?? Or a petition for change? I think if there was an anonymous poll or survey, we would see a massive number of women who feel the same way.

    I feel this is largely a women’s issue because men’s garments are almost identical to men’s “secular” current underwear. The sacrifice to wear garments as women is much larger (on so many levels as mentioned in comments) than that of men. That being said, I would love to know the data on how men feel about them too.

    I have struggled in just about every way that has already been mentioned in the comments. I feel for you, sisters.

    I have a hard time making sense of sacrificing so much of our well-being for what? I love when sacrifices yield positive fruits. ie: when you are tired and you go visit a friend in the hospital anyway and your sacrifice lifts their spirits, or you pay tithing knowing it will help build temples, etc.

    Wearing garments 24/7 for so many becomes a sacrifice of mental, physical, and spiritual well-being for what fruits? I mean it does make us feel humble–and ill, dangerously ill in a lot of cases.

    It also troubles me that we have no trial period with garments. We are instructed and promise to wear them 24/7, without ever having done it before? By contrast, we promise to follow Christ, follow the word of Wisdom, etc- all things we have practiced and done before! I just wish I could have known that garments would be such a trail in my life. It feels so unfair to promise something you don’t know if you can handle.

    I love the covenants I made in the temple, I love my Savior, and I love when we can make sacrifices that aid our purpose in becoming more like our Heavenly Parents.

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