Video: LDS Church discusses temple garments, says term ‘magic underwear’ is offensive

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SALT LAKE CITY — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a video this week that explains the meaning behind the undergarments some members of the LDS Church wear, which have attracted curiosity and comment in the past.

The video states members believe the garments are sacred temple clothing, and says terms like “magic underwear” are both inaccurate and offensive. The video offers historical background and some of the theological details regarding the garments. The narrator states that while the practice may seem unusual to some, it is considered very sacred by church members.

The practice of wearing the garments has attracted attention in the past and even generated headlines in 2012 when Mitt Romney, a member of the LDS Church who wears the temple garments, was running to be President of the United States.

The Huffington Post published a piece titled: “Mormon Temple Garments–They’re Not Magic” on July 14, 2012.  BuzzFeed ran a piece on January 25 of that year titled: “A Brief Guide To ‘Mormon Underwear'”.

The video “Sacred Temple Clothing” from the LDS Church was first posted to YouTube October 16, and Mormonnewsroom.org displays the video along with additional information. Click here for that post. The text presented with the video is reproduced in its entirety below:

“From ancient times, men and women have embraced sacred music, different forms of prayer, religious vestments full of symbolism, gestures and rituals to express their innermost feelings of devotion to God.

The variety of these forms of expression is as wide and diverse as the human family. Yet all have the same ultimate purpose: to connect the believer with the object of their devotion in the most personal way—to draw close to God.

To those outside a particular faith, the rituals and clothing may seem unfamiliar. But for the participants they can stir the deepest feelings of the soul, motivate them to do good, even shape the course of a whole life of service.

The nun’s habit. The priest’s cassock. The Jewish prayer shawl. The Muslim’s skullcap. The saffron robes of the Buddhist monk. All are part of a rich tapestry of human devotion to God.

Not all such religious vestments are on public display. Some are seen only in places of worship. Temple robes of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, known as the robes of the holy priesthood, are worn only inside Mormon temples and reserved for the highest sacraments of the faith. White symbolizes purity. There is no insignia or rank. The most senior apostle and the newest member are indistinguishable when dressed in the same way. Men and women wear similar clothing. The simple vestments combine religious symbolism with echoes of antiquity reflected in ancient writings from the book of Exodus.

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, there are no outer religious vestments in ordinary worship services.

However, many faithful Latter-day Saints wear a garment under their clothing that has deep religious significance. Similar in design to ordinary modest underclothing, it comes in two pieces and is usually referred to as the “temple garment.”

Some people incorrectly refer to temple garments as magical or “magic underwear.” These words are not only inaccurate but also offensive to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There is nothing magical or mystical about temple garments, and Church members ask for the same degree of respect and sensitivity that would be afforded to any other faith by people of goodwill.

Temple garments are worn by adult members of the Church who have made sacred promises of fidelity to God’s commandments and the gospel of Jesus Christ in temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

To Church members, the modest temple garment, worn under normal clothing, along with the symbolic vestments worn during temple worship, represent the sacred and personal aspect of their relationship with God and their commitment to live good, honorable lives.

The Historical Background of Temple Garments

Biblical scripture contains many references to the wearing of special garments. In the Old Testament the Israelites are specifically instructed to turn their garments into personal reminders of their covenants with God (see Numbers 15:37-41). Indeed, for some, religious clothing has always been an important part of integrating worship with daily living. Such practices resonate with Latter-day Saints today.

How should media report on temple garments?

Because of the personal and religious nature of the temple garment, the Church asks all media to report on the subject with respect, treating Latter-day Saint temple garments as they would religious vestments of other faiths. Ridiculing or making light of sacred clothing is highly offensive to Latter-day Saints.”

39 comments

  • Finny Wiggen

    I don’t know that I would call the term offensive, so much as immature.

    I always find it interesting that very often the few ignorant individuals who use this term, themselves hold certain items as sacred, such as a cross, a scroll, a book, etc. Yet they fail to see the irony in the relationship between their own beliefs, and in those they try to scorn.

    • RobR

      The difference is that those other don’t believe that their garments make them fireproof, impervious to knife wounds, etc as the Mormon ‘ s do. (It’s true, read the Joseph Smith papers)

      • Ken Dahl

        Listen closely to the endowment ceremony (available on Youtube) where an explanation of the temple garment is made. It sounds to me like it has special powers, albeit directly related to the faith of the person wearing the garment. Perhaps “magical” is a bit derogatory. Surely someone will come up with a suitable synonym.

    • Finny Wiggen

      You seem confused. Read my comment again. I made no mention of the garments of any other faith.
      Rather than looking for points of contention, it is generally much more effective to look for points of agreement… but by all means, live your life as you choose.

      The rest of us grew up a long time ago…

      • happy gentile

        “The rest of us grew up a long time ago…”

        Well, in your case, you really haven’t…you’re still wearing (MAGIC UNDIES)!

    • Voiceofreason

      What one must understand is that it is ‘open season’ on Mormons and mocking and ridiculing them is fair play in their eyes. The wildly popular Book of Mormon musical is one blaring example of this, and it is just sad.

  • Wow

    “In Mormon folklore, garments have sometimes functioned as a classic amulet that has power in itself independent of the righteousness of the wearer: Mormons tell stories of members in fires having all of their clothing burned from their bodies except where their garments were. The only burns suffered are on hands and feet, which are not protected by the garments” im still calling them magic underwear if your already gonna do these things for the lord why do you need a pair of garments to prove it.. Its just so weird and yes a little crazy

    • Dex

      Fokelore is not doctrine. A small distinction, but an important one, particularly if you have any understanding of how the Church operates.

  • Destiny

    It makes me sad how much the Mormon church puts inbetween you and a real relationship with God. You have to wear special garments, tithe your 10%, do your temple requirements and then be as good as you can and then maybe, just maybe your will get to the celestial kingdom. If people would just read the Bible they would see that God requires nothing of you except to have faith in Jesus and repent of your sins. Jesus paid it all, you can’t work your way to heaven it’s not possible. It just breaks my heart, a relationship with Jesus should be freeing not consumed with guilt because you aren’t perfect because guess what? The only person who was perfect was Jesus. There is so much more that I could say to refute Mormonism, I’ll just end with this, a relationship with Jesus is freeing and if you compare Mormonism with the Bible they are so very different. We are most definitely not even close to being on the same page.

    • happy gentile

      I totally agree with everything that you said Destiny….Yes, it is sad that these people believe these things…What’s worse though is that when they die, there will be NO CK…They will only go on face to face with the Lord. Then, they’ll be ask “why did you follow the FALSE prophet”…You were WARNED but you did not listen…You did NOT follow The Commandments…You allowed yourselves to be deceived”…Then, They will be judge!!!

      Lot’s of work that mormons have to do for WHAT???

    • Corisa Ford

      Being born in the Mormon church, people expect me to be like them. I went to an Assembly of God church for years. I moved back to Utah because I have to have help from my family. I have spent many hours discussing , “arguing” with grandpa about how they make everything harder than it is. I have influenced many with my simple mind of salvation. Now i have a child that isn’t supposed to live past puberty. Guess what! My God is bigger than any illness or injury. I don’t have to pray in these and thous and thy. I just talk to Him with my heart.
      yes, I have seen amazing things with garments. I have seen and experienced great things through oil anointed prayer. I just know that the plan of salvation is so much easier than they make it.

    • Adam

      I think you msy be misunderstanding some concepts! Tithing has nothing to with our salvation! God asks us to give back 10%. The temple is where sacred covenants are made with the lord! The garments do have special symbolism and meaning to those who righteous go through the temple! I invite you to read actual church doctrine. (Not outside sources) Then when you know the facts of our belief make an educated decision.

  • Ivan

    Don’t get your magical underwear in a bunch. If you are offended by that term then you should get over it. By putting out this news release you are just making it worse.

  • Kittychemist

    Beautiful!as a Mormon convert who is Jewish(race)I am grateful the church came out with this video. People should be respectful of others religious beliefs and the things that they hold sacred. As a Jew I know the anti-Semitism of the Nazi regime was propaganda to make Jews seem less than human.as a Mormon I find it very offensive when people make fun of our temple rights and our sacred clothing. When I see anti -Mormonism it reminds me of anti-Semitism very much. I’m grateful to worship God in freedom.and to let others do the same.

    • Mike Hunt

      Maybe they should not be so fast to judge if they don’t want people judging them. All the silly liquor laws, forced morals, and bigotry by the LDS has created this resistance to the LDS in Utah…

      • Kurt

        You can’t say that every member of a religion is judgmental… why, that’s judgmental! And I guess I’m judgmental for saying you’re judgmental. Funny how this works…

      • Big Mike

        Silly liquor laws? you uneducated idiot. Why don’t you check out liquor laws in the bible belt, which spans across this entire country!?

    • Oh Please

      HAHAHA! I have been told by LDS missionaries that my religion is not the true religion and to learn more about the LDS church and your beliefs and how true they are. If your missionaries can’t respect my beliefs without telling me it isn’t the “true religion” why should I respect yours?

    • happy gentile

      Guess what KITTYCHEMIST….your complaints are way too common for your cult!

      You’re not the first to make such winy comment…I’m sure there will be lots of you morgbots to follow!!!

      “We don’t bash your church, why bash ours?” Yesss, I’ve heard this more and more!
      You said you were convert??? Well I guess it’s time for you to open your not so called gospel…This is what you’re going to see about “BASHING” other religions!

      1. “I was answered that I must join none of them (Christian churches), for they were all wrong…their creeds were an abomination in [God’s] sight; that those professors were all corrupt” (Joseph Smith—History 1:19).

      2. “Orthodox Christian views of God are pagan rather than Christian” (Mormon Doctrine of Deity, B. H. Roberts [General Authority], 116).

      3. “Are Christians ignorant? Yes, as ignorant of the things of God as the brute beast” (Journal of Discourses, John Taylor [3rd Mormon President], 13:225).

      4. “The Roman Catholic, Greek, and Protestant church, is the great corrupt, ecclesiastical power, represented by great Babylon” (Orson Pratt, Writings of an Apostle, Orson Pratt, n. 6, 84).

      5. “All the priests who adhere to the sectarian [Christian] religions of the day with all their followers, without one exception, receive their portion with the devil and his angels” (The Elders Journal, Joseph Smith, ed. Vol. 1, n. 4, 60).

      6. [Under the heading, “Church of the Devil,” Apostle Bruce R. McConkie lists:] “The Roman Catholic Church specifically—singled out, set apart, described, and designated as being ‘most abominable above all other churches’ (I Ne. 13:5)” (Mormon Doctrine, 1958, 129).

      7. “Believers in the doctrines of modern Christendom will reap damnation to their souls (Morm. 8; Moro. 8)” (Mormon Doctrine, 1966, Bruce R. McConkie, 177).

      Do you know what your cult said about black people???

  • OneStep

    ” . . . similar in design to ordinary modest underclothing.” Well, maybe for men. I thought their arrangement of the female ones was deceptive when compared to the arrangement for the mens. Anyone unacquainted with them would be surprised by its extraordinary length and it seems they were trying to hide it.

  • Offended

    Dear LDS,
    Your bigotry is offensive. Your silly liquor laws are offensive. You snooty behavior to non-members is offensive. Your treatment of women is offensive. Do not give if you cannot take it.

    • Kurt

      Wow. You really are offended. But I guess it’s okay to then say that ALL lds people are evil and stupid. Good job…

    • CI

      Every one keeps talking about liqueur laws well there are crazy liqueur laws all over the country like Jack Daniels can’t be sold where it’s made and as far as acting better than others happens every where depending on the dominant religion just realize there are not so good people in every religion and every where just be happy with who you are and not what everyone else is saying and doing :-)

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  • Kurt

    Good video! I’m glad the church put that out there, as I usually only see bitter people talking about magic.

  • common sense

    You are like YIPEY little dogs nipping at the feet of the Big Beuatiful Dog ! Jealousy is so unattractive !

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