Some people make the current format of garments into a “Sacred Molehill” I would change them. Before immediately discounting this, there is a very good rationale, so please read on. And as mentioned in last week’s introduction to this series entitled “Stop Counting Earrings“, I don’t actually suggest changing anything doctrinal, so the suggestions regarding garments aren’t really that radical.
So why this topic? A few months ago I went shopping with my wife for a dress for a more formal type of event. We were looking at fairly nice dresses which were all very classy. As we went through around 5-10 different dresses, it was quite frustrating. Why? Garments. They would peek out the arm hole of the dress. They would creep up in front and need to be pulled down. They would bunch up. And these weren’t risqué or revealing dresses. I’ve also seen her frustration with garment bottoms that come up to her belly button or are a struggle with various types of pants. In seeing various comments over the years both online and in talking to people, this is a common frustration.
Garments are a personal thing and a sacred thing. They represent important covenants. And different people feel differently about how they are worn and what they mean to them. On my mission, I would come home in the evening, take off my dress clothes, and put on a pair of shorts and a t-shirt for the 30 minutes or so I had to wind down and do a few things before going to bed. Depending on which shorts I was wearing, occasionally my garment bottoms would hang an inch or two below my shorts. One of my companions talked to me one day and said he would prefer if I kept them covered at all times. For the sake of harmony, I just wore a pair of longer shorts. No big deal if it was that important to him. Later, he mentioned that he appreciated it, but then wondered if I would keep my knees covered even though the garments didn’t go down that far. I didn’t really take him up on that suggestion, but was soon transferred. So, two different people. Same covenants but two different ways to respect the same covenants. Neither was right or wrong – just different.
So, before getting into how I would change garments, let’s see what’s actually vital to their role or doctrinal, and what aspects of garments might be more variable:
Material: The initial garments were made of plain, unbleached cotton. For decades, this is what all garments were made of. There are now a wide variety of fabrics and materials used to make garments. So the material is NOT important.
Cut: The original design for temple garments was from Joseph Smith himself. He modeled them after long-johns that were common in his time. They were designed to be one-piece, with as few seams as possible. They were designed with ties and did not have any buttons. According to instructions given to temple workers in the late 19th century:
“When Joseph Smith received the endowments and revelation from the Lord to be given to his people by authority, he also received instructions as to how to make this garment. None had ever seen anything like it and the sisters who made it were under his direction and when it was submitted to him, he said that it was right and the way it had looked to him and he accepted it. This garment had a collar and it had strings to tie it and sleeves that came to the wrist, not to the hand, but about an inch above, and the leg came down to the ankle joint. This was the pattern given and it is right for Aunt Eliza Snow was the governess and seamstress in his house at the time the first garments were made and heard the instructions to the sisters.”
For a long time, this was the only kind of garments allowed, as it was felt that the design was fundamental to the role of garments. The importance of this design was emphasized by President Joseph F. Smith when he was president of the Salt Lake Temple around the turn-of-the-century. He taught:
“Each individual should be provided with the endowment clothing they need. The garments must be clean and white, and of the approved pattern; they must not be altered or mutilated, and are to be worn as intended, down to the wrist and ankles, and around the neck. These requirements are imperative; admission to the Temple will be refused to those who do not comply therewith.”
– President Joseph F. Smith, “Instructions Concerning Temple Ordinance Work”
Since then, however, many things have changed. The length of garments was shortened. When I was younger, the only garments were still one-piece. It was a shock to some people when 2-piece garments came out. Lace has been added to the collars of women’s garments. Garments today are completely different today than the original design given to Joseph Smith. While prophets earlier taught that the design was NOT to be changed, subsequent changes have shown us that the cut also DOES NOT MATTER.
Length: As mentioned above, garments have been modified significantly in length. They used to come down to 1″ above the wrists and down to the ankle bones. Out of curiosity, I measured how much my own garments vary from this original design. On my tops, my garments end 17″ above my wrist, and around 24″ above my ankles. I’ve never owned a pair of garments that actually covered my knees. So, the length of garments DOES NOT MATTER. Neither does the fact that they don’t actually cover my knees.
Color: The original color for garments was white, and most garments are still worn in this color. For the military, however, Beehive Clothing also makes garments in desert sand color. And for other people (military, police, fire fighters, etc.) you can actually buy a shirt in ANY COLOR required and send it in to have garment markings put on it. There’s even a standard form to have this done. So the color of garments DOES NOT MATTER.
Markings: These have also changed over time. The initial marks at the time of Joseph Smith were actually cut into the garment at the time of the endowment. The marks are currently sewn into most garments today. But for some people, including the military, the marks can even be silk-screened on the inside of a regular shirt. Therefore, the standard t-shirt of someone in the military might actually be garments, and you’d never know. So, the specific style of the marks DOES NOT MATTER.
So, if all of these things don’t matter, what IS important with garments? The fundamental thing is to remind a person of their sacred covenants. It seems that marks can be sewn into or silk-screened on the inside of different types of clothing of all different lengths, styles, colors, etc. and still be valid as garments. Marks on bottoms are generally not over the knee, but are just in the general area to serve as a reminder of specific covenants.
So why even talk about changing garments? There are a number of people for whom temple covenants are very important, but for whom the current style of garments is difficult. They ride up, they need adjusting, they hang out of clothes, they have unsightly lines, they are a problem. Also, current garments styles are just not very sexy to many people, and there is nothing wrong with someone feeling sexy for their spouse. It is a struggle for someone trying to balance covenants vs an attempt to feel good about how they look. And it is an unnecessary struggle.
Before I give my suggestion, also understand that I would not want to change ALL garments – I would merely ADD to existing styles. If someone feels the current styles best represent their covenants, perfect. Beehive Clothing still makes one-piece garments for people who feel that best represents their covenants. Perfect as well. It SHOULD be a personal thing between a person and God.
Given how much garments have changed over the years, it is somewhat ironic that some people have made a “Sacred Molehill” out of the current iteration of garments. I would change them:
Women’s Tops: I would make a camisole top with the markings silk-screened on the inside. It could be a lightweight fabric just like other camisole tops out there. The most likely color would still be white, but I don’t see a reason why other colors wouldn’t work either.
This wouldn’t affect the locations of markings AT ALL. It would involve removing around 2-3 inches from the cap sleeves on current garments, but this is much less than the 12-18″ that have already been removed from the sleeves of women’s garments over the years. There is nothing obscene or immodest about shoulders. A strap from a camisole top might show, but the entire garment already shows in a military t-shirt that has the markings silk-screened on the inside.
Women’s Bottoms: I would make a modified “boy-short” type of bottom, perhaps a bit longer than standard commercially available “boy-shorts”. I would make the waist low enough that it doesn’t come up to someone’s navel. Again, standard white would probably be likely, but a couple of other colors might be nice. I would also make sure the seam on the leg is unobtrusive like commercial products.
Again, the mark might not actually be over the knee, but it generally isn’t over the knee anyway. It might be 4-5″ shorter than current garments, but they have already been shortened over 18″ already over the years.
Men’s Tops: Men are much less impacted by garments. You can currently get a cotton t-shirt type of garment that is basically just like a standard t-shirt. The few changes I would make here would include the option of having the marks silk-screened on the inside of the shirt. I would also make a sleeveless t-shirt for people that might like that style. I personally don’t really like the “wife-beater” look, but some people might and it is a simple option without changing the location of the marks.
I would also make the tops available in a polypropylene-type fabric for active sporting type of activities. With silk-screened markings, this could be used for hiking, running, etc.
Men’s Bottoms: Again, less impact here for men (like most things in the Church). There are a few things I would do. I don’t know the reason why there is a 1″ wide seam at the bottom of my garments. It is terribly ugly when I sit down and looks like a line of tape across the middle of my thigh. Why not make a normal seam there? And I would also make a simple pair of cotton boxers that are about the length of normal boxers. I measured this on me, and it would be around 3-4″ shorter than my current garments, which again is much less than the 24+” that garments have already been shortened over the years since they first started.
So, those are my changes. They don’t affect the marks. They do not involve any changes that haven’t already been done to garments over the years. And if they make someone feel better about themselves while wearing garments, all the better. An earlier post talked about how convert rates are down, how people are leaving in increasing numbers, and how activity rates are falling, particularly among the younger generation. The whole point of this series is changing NON-DOCTRINAL things that might be stumbling blocks. If changing garments like this makes only 1% of people more likely to wear them, it’s certainly worth it.
Why might these changes NOT be made? I can think of 2 reasons:
1) Control: The definition of “modest” is different between cultures, generations, locales, etc. Ideally, the concept of modesty is between an individual and God. The Church, however, attempts to get in the middle of this and define “modesty” for us. And this may actually backfire, as discussed in an article by Amelia at The Exponent entitled “The Modesty Myth: Why Covering Up Just Won’t Do“. Making these changes to garments would involve having individuals define what is modest for themselves as opposed to having someone at Beehive Clothing decide what they think is modest.
2) Generational: Just like with earrings, this is a very big part of it as well. When President Monson was born in 1927, this is how people dressed when they went to the beach. Many of the ideas about what is “modest” or not are generational as opposed to actually being doctrinal.
So, garments can be an imposition, especially for women. Historically, many things have changed about garments, including the fabric, the cut, the length, the color, etc. But the function and symbolism hasn’t changed. If I were in charge, I would add a few more styles to garments. I wouldn’t expect everyone to fit to my idea of what the “best” garment is, as that is between them and God, but I would give them more options. The suggestions I gave above are certainly within changes that have been done in the past. They are certainly modest. And, most importantly, they would give some people the option to feel better about what they are wearing while also feeling good about honoring their temple covenants.
NOTE: This post is one in a whole series. To see other similar posts, here is an “Overview & Topical Guide” to the other posts.
- How do you feel about current styles of garments? For men? For women?
- Do you wish there were more options available?
- Did you realize that garments can be of any color, fabric, and/or have silk-screened markings?
- Do you think that the suggestions in this post are reasonable?
- Do you think that the Church should define modesty (for example – making cap sleeves) or should it be between a person and God?
- What changes would YOU make?
This doesn’t really have anything to do with the post, but I was at Six Flags Magic Mountain this week and saw the following sign. Is it a new trend?
I agree with much of what you said. I know keeping the cost of the garments down is also a large determining factor for Beehive clothing. As a woman who struggles to find clothes to fit as well, my suggestion would be to have an option where the sleeves or necklines could be shown some. If the garment is supposed to cover our nakedness, it seems a bit redundant to cover the covering that is covering our nakedness. If we had an option where we had a finished neckline and finished sleeve and it showed a little and was fine, it would certainly go a long way in reducing all the layers that are required for a modest woman to wear most clothing. It is the most frustrating thing to have to wear yet another shirt simply because a small portion of my garment shows under my arm, or because I’m wearing a modest v neck t-shirt and the top of my neckline peaks out some. I want an option where we had finished edges and it was acceptable to not have to cover up every single inch of them; after all I am still covered up. That and in my dreams since I am a mother of 6 children, I would love to have an option of a more body shaping/smoothing option. The new Carinessa tops go a long way, but I would love to have a middle panel made out of the same material that they use for the mens athletic bottoms. Hopefully one day….
Just a historical note. Joseph F. Smith had a sign placed at the entrance of the SL temple that only those wearing the traditional garment would be admitted. When Heber J. Grant became president he had it burned.
When I was endowed in 1964 I wore the traditional garment with color and ties. Very strange.
Good post Mike S.
I agree with all the changes you suggested as it doesn’t make any sense to make the garments any more inconvenient or uncomfortable than necessary, given their stated purpose.
I think that over time, other purposes have developed that make people resistant to change. For example, the 1 inch hem at the bottom of mens’ garments and the “celestial smile” on the tops serve to enable others to know whether or not someone else is wearing garments without getting their clothes off. Many a young woman has used this to determine whether or not a man was date worthy, and members use this all the time to identify each other as a possible fellow Mormon.
The biggest changes that I would like to see are (1) shorter length for mens’ bottoms and (2) a decent wicking fabric
(1) When I left on my mission in 1998 I could easily wear knee length shorts and cover the garments. When I bought more upon returning home, the garments were all 1-2 inches longer so my shorts had to be below the knee to provide appropriate coverage. I don’t know if I just got an errant batch at some point, or if in the late 90s the church was having a problem with men showing too much thigh and turning on too many women. Anybody have any idea about this change?
(2) I rock climb and backcountry ski regularly and a non-wicking fabric is both extremely uncomfortable and downright dangerous during these activities. When transitioning from periods of high exertion (sweat) while climbing a mountain to gaining a high ridge with associated wind and colder temperatures, if your base layer won’t wick effectively, hypothermia is a real and present danger. I just don’t wear garments any more during these activities because it isn’t safe.
Ironically, my disaffection with the church began a few years ago when trying to find a pattern on the internet so I could make my own garments out of a decent fabric so I could wear them while skiing, and stumbled upon other not so faith promoting material on the way.
A camisole top would fit the bill perfectly. It would NEVER show through the arms. It would let you wear V-neck shirts. And having the strap from a camisole top show is no different than what many people wear anyway.
And there is nothing inherently wrong about having some of your garment show. As mentioned in the post, entire T-shirts that some people wear ARE garments with the markings discretely silk-screened on the inside.
GREAT perspective. Thank you for that.
I don’t presume to assume if you are still wearing garments today, but if so, do they still remind you of your covenants. They have been dramatically changed just in your lifetime, but I would bet they still mean the same thing.
That is why the smaller changes I talk about in the post ALSO wouldn’t make a difference.
Garments absolutely have been made longer by an inch or two. Shorts I could one time wear no longer worked.
I think the 1″ seam and the “eternal smile” are quite silly. Some people may like this – perfect. Let them still buy garments that have this. I hate it. I only buy crew-neck cotton garments.
And I also absolutely agree with you. Not having a wicking material for hiking, skiing, climbing, mountaineering, etc. can be dangerous. My solution – I simply don’t wear garments for any of those activities. It would be nice if they made something that worked, but until they do, it’s not worth it.
The biggest change that I would like to see would just be for the women’s garments top to be made such that they wouldn’t look like underwear peeking out. My husband’s garments show all the time under his shirts, but that’s fine. I have to constantly adjust, even with normal t-shirts. If it just looked more like a camisole, it would be perfect. I do like the more recent women’s garments, however. They fit so much better than they did 10 years ago when I first started wearing them. I also noticed an increase in length a couple of years ago though. I was a little frustrated by that because I hadn’t heard anything about that happened, it just sort of did.
I think the color does matter. Actually, I think the symbols and the color are the only things that really do matter because the color is part of the symbol. All the modesty stuff is just incidental, but since the purpose of the garments is to keep us in mind of our temple covenants, the color is significant. The exceptions are based on the safety of the garment wearer and I don’t think they should extend to everyone else. I think it’s similar to how the endowment can be adjusted for those with disabilities because otherwise they would have to be excluded. As a military wife, I’m very grateful that they made an exception for the troops so that they could continue to wear garments. My husband has been on long deployments and it would have been difficult if he wouldn’t have been able to wear them.
I would love to see a camisole top for women, preferably in organic cotton. I have severe chemical sensitivities, so I have to wash all new clothing multiple times before wearing it. Organic cotton is the only really comfortable fabric for me, but I settle for the cotton tops, though they don’t come in longs and they shrink, so they are very short on my long torso.
@5 Mike while that may be true for Mens crew neck garments, I have seen or met anyone with the white garments/non military that felt it was okay for womens garments to peek through. Just like the other comments that when they made the legs longer it made wearing previously appropriate shorts unacceptable. Without having to alter the style/cut if it was okay to show the underarm or neckline in womens garments then many problems for me would be solved. But right now it just looks like undergarments showing through, instead of a layered shirt.
*I have not seen or met…*
Just to say something positive…living in Montana for the past ten years, my husband and I have found that the thermals make for very comfy winter PJs.
under these rules, is there any reason we couldn’t have a thong cut garment?
I’m a big proponent of simply tattooing the symbols on ourselves and buying off-the-rack undergarments. I know this would never fly but I can still hope.
Paul M, there is actually some scriptures that can be implied to mean we should do just that, depending on how literal the interpretation. That said, I don’t buy into the idea that we should conform as a Church to the values of the culture around us. That seems the very opposite of what we are asked to do as Saints.
Make a nice logo from the symbols embroider them on a tag and attach it to a broad variety of almost normal looking underware – just different enough to make you think twice about undressing to break your vows.
Like the tattoo idea…but as a guy, I’d be very uncomfortable (i.e. in pain and agony) with the two chest tattoos if they go where I think they’re supposed to go.
We take all these changes to mean that they are all acceptable. Every instance of change you note you justify away with the thought that since the change at one time took place, it doesn’t matter if we change it more or allow more change.
At what point is the real thing lost to some form? What if it was never supposed to be changed, but we did to appease the worldly trends at the time? What if garments were never to be worn but on special occasions (i.e. not daily)? You talk away a lot of points by saying that since the change happened, it doesn’t matter.
But, what if it DID matter at one point and we walked away for convenience sakes?
The one change I would like is the seam up the back on the garment bottoms – a side seam would be much more comfortable!
I have wondered why we worry so much about covering our coverings.
I mostly mourn for women in this regard. Both in my ward and online, I have found that most women fret about whether or not their clothing is covering the garment or whether to wear panties/bras under or over the garment. Shopping is difficult for them, etc. If the garment is intended to be our covering — then why care so much about covering the covering?
Prior to entering the initiatory, our clothing [garments] is the same as that worn by other non-LDS people. After the initiatory ordinances of the temple, we receive a new type of clothing called the garment of the priesthood, or “garments.” We learn what it is that converts normal garments [normal clothing] into priesthood garments [priesthood clothing]: i.e. the marks on the garment.
Coming out of the temple, we again read D&C 42:40-41 and now understand that we are to make our own priesthood garments, for these are the garments we are to wear throughout our lives to cover our nakedness, as per the temple intructions.
Now, typically, people comply with these instructions by having two sets of garments: normal, everyday garments [such as those worn by non-LDS people], and a set of priesthood garments [that have the marks of the priesthood in them]. We then wear two sets of clothing — while complaining about poor fit, difficulty finding working sizes, and about how they get in the way of everything, especially when it’s hot.
But there is another way to comply with the instructions found in the temple and in D&C 42:40-41, and that is to simply take all the garments that we typically wear to cover our nakedness and make them all priesthood garments. In this way, the priesthood garment you wear will conform to the environment and customs you find in your area, but will still be recognized by the Lord.
Besides, no one complies with section 42:40-41 anyway because everyone just buys clothing from stores — operating in this way will actually bring one into compliance, b/c you literally will be making your own [priesthood] garments out of already made clothing.
If garments are intended to cover one’s nakedness, then it is the intention that the garment or covering be seen instead of what is below the covering [the nakedness].
The two sets of garment interpretation removes this function of the priesthood garments because the upper set acts to cover one’s nakedness and not the priesthood garment.
So, for me, the main issue isn’t style or fabric used in making LDS garments — it’s that everyone feels obligated to only wear the Distribution Services-approved garments and wears them as a form of sacred underwear — when neither of those was what we covenanted to do.
If you find the regular men’s bottoms are too long, get the men’s short length. The standard got longer when they introduced short lengths.
I wear standard so the bottom seam doesn’t show. It is great for that purpose, but if you are wearing shorts can cause other issues. Get the short sizes.
Justin, I don’t think:
meant what you take it to mean when delivered.
Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Kirtland, Ohio, 9 February 1831 … May 6, 1833 revelation to build the Kirtland temple.
Interesting thought though.
#8: Jen states: I think the color does matter. Actually, I think the symbols and the color are the only things that really do matter because the color is part of the symbol.
I think that the symbols are the only thing that matter. If color was truly part of the symbol, the Church wouldn’t make garments in non-white colors.
That being said, for many people, white is an important part of what garments represent. Even if they were available in different colors, I would likely still buy white garments because of that same reason.
But all you need to prove that white isn’t ESSENTIAL is a single pair of official garments in a non-white color, and those obviously exist.
I agree about having a top like that. I actually use the cotton-shrinkage to good effect. I buy 100% cotton bottoms in one size smaller than I normally would. I then wash and dry them as hot as I can. This shrinks them enough that they don’t hang out the bottom of a reasonable pair of shorts.
#10 ads: I’m sure it is “ok” to have garments “peeking” out, but I agree that it looks frumpy. It is much different than seeing the top of my garments, which look just like a white t-shirt.
That’s why I think a camisole top would work great. The marks wouldn’t be affected. It would only really involve removing 2″ from the cap sleeves. And since 16″ have already been removed from the arms, it’s not too much different.
#12: I agree. My wife wears the calf-length in winter for the same reason. And also so the “seam” doesn’t fall mid-thigh and leave an unsightly crease in her leg.
#13: I don’t know about the “thong” garment. That may be pushing it a bit. Who knows, though?
#15: Jettboy said: That said, I don’t buy into the idea that we should conform as a Church to the values of the culture around us. That seems the very opposite of what we are asked to do as Saints.
If we DIDN’T do this, we’d still have wrist and ankle length garments that tied in the front.
The fact is, we DO live in the world around us and the culture around us. We DO have to change with the times. It is reality. But we can do this while still maintaining the purpose of garments by making a few simple changes.
#17 Ryan. You bring up some good points.
I don’t know the answer to this. I do assume two things, however. First, I assume that the highest leaders of the Church are aware that garments no longer come to their wrists and ankles. And second, I assume that God will tell them if they are doing something that is truly wrong. Since, through our leaders, garments have changed so much, I have to assume that NONE OF THE CHANGES MATTER. Perhaps all that matters are having the symbols somewhere in their general vicinity. I don’t know that having cap sleeves, for example, has anything to do with the symbols. In my mind, the cap sleeves have nothing to do with the eternal purpose garments, but more to do with the generation that makes decisions about garments.
There is actually something to this. There is much to suggest that Joseph Smith actually meant garments to symbolize polygamy, and were never meant for every day life. There is much to suggest that they WERE for special occasions only. And when Joseph Smith was killed, he wasn’t actually wearing garments himself.
(He also drank a bottle of wine that morning, not for sacrament, but to lift his spirits)
We do A LOT differently in the Church than in Joseph Smith’s time. It does make me wonder why when the church leaders in the meridian of time changed things, it was apostasy; but when our church leaders make just as drastic changes, it is inspiration and continued revelation. But that’s a topic for a whole other post.
I agree with your concept. The wearing of multiple layers is impractical and annoying. The only reason Joseph Smith used essentially a pair of long-johns in his time is because that is what they wore anyway.
And as far as just modifying a perfectly normal article of clothing to be a “garment”, there is a mechanism for that. The Church will officially do it according to the link in the original post. There are restrictions (obviously, probably not on a Jimi Hendrix shirt), but it is possible.
That’s an interesting idea based on what seems to be a false premise. The usage of “garment” in sec. 42 doesn’t suggest any relation to the “garment of the holy priesthood” that I can see (which would also render your judgment that contemporary LDS are in violation of some garment making imperative unfounded). Before your argument can work you’d have to more rigorously demonstrate that (in 1831 no less) the Lord or Joseph were discussing what we think of as “garments.” Actually, even finding a direct comment on what we think of as “garments” in the doctrine and covenants is futile because none of them seem to be direct at all. Some could be related to garments, but none are strictly and exclusively discussing garments, at least that I am aware of.
I like your creative thinking, but I just don’t think it pans out in the end.
And as far as “covering a covering” is concerned, while I agree that not letting anyone ever see garments may not be doctrinal, it is also not in violation of any doctrine either. Some view it as a manifestation of keeping their covenants “sacred,” while others could view the displaying of their garments as a missionary tool. Neither is intrinsically better than the other, and the fact that Mike S pointed out concerning the silk-screened military garments clearly substantiates the idea that garments do not have to be hidden (but it also doesn’t mean that those who do hide them are in violation either).
Just because a particular article of clothing is meant to cover one’s nakedness there is not preclusion against covering the covering. I may be wrong, but it seems that you are arguing that covering a covering is somehow wrong-headed or misguided, and while I agree that there is no eternal commandment to cover one’s garments, the act of covering them doesn’t seem problematic to me at all. Inconvenient at times, yes, but that’s why we take them off (as individuals) or create new styles that are more accommodating (which is what the church does).
There are only two types of clothing [garments]:
Ordinary clothing, as is worn by every non-LDS person,
and Priesthood clothing, as temple-attending LDS have been authorized to wear.
Having been thru my initiatory ordinance, I have covenanted to only wear priesthood clothing [garments] for the rest of my life. I have also been commanded to make my own garments [clothing].
As I said, currently no one complies with D&C 42:40-41 anyway b/c everyone just buys their clothing from stores. However, making ones ordinary garments into priesthood garments will actually bring one into compliance, b/c you literally will be making your own [priesthood] garments out of already made clothing.
As far as
goes — I don’t see why those who have been authorized to wear priesthood garments for the duration of their lives and have been instructed as to the placement of the marks that convert ordinary clothing into priesthood clothing need to have an official Church(TM)-authorized channel — when a sharp blade and needle and thread are all an LDS really needs.
No James — the problem is that people do not choose to cover their coverings. They act under the pressure of conformity to “current Church practice”. For example, I have currently only converted my ordinary clothes bottoms into priesthood clothing — b/c I have always worn an undershirt even before joining the church.
As an Active Duty bloke, I have really appreciated the silk screen’ed Gs. It is a life saver when we have to take off our blouse and not have to worry about explaining what the marks are. I only wish that Silk Screening would become the norm for all of them. Sure would make explanations a thing of the past.
Regarding the length…I am currently stationed in Japan and buy the Japanese garments (they seem to be MUCH shorter).
but, again, this is where being a man is much easier. My Gs can actually pass for military skivvies. For a female, not so much. those just look atrocious.
As others have mentioned, there are plenty of times I don’t wear garments. For those fancy dress occassions, my wife just leaves them at home. It adds to the “naughtiness” afterwards!!
Geesh…only mormons would find it naughty when our significant others actually wear underwear.
Continuing from above [#30] —
What doesn’t make sense to me is why people will bend to the fear of staying well-integrated in the Church-culture and choose to comply with their temple instructions by trying to wear two sets of clothing [ordinary on top of priesthood] — and then go on to complain about poor fit, difficulty finding working sizes, and about how they get in the way of everything, especially when it’s hot.
Not saying that there is anything wrong with wearing layers of clothing — just only if its a problem for you, then it’s a problem.
Even worse to me is when I hear of someone giving up on priesthood garments [thereby breaking the covenant he/she made with God] only b/c they have trouble wearing strange underwear underneath ordinary garments.
“Garments” aren’t the problem — it’s when people are pressured with fear tactics of the accepted Church-culture and try to make two kinds of clothing work.
If the ones that the nice ladies at the distribution centers make don’t work for you — then don’t go on complaining about things, don’t subject yourself to poor fitting clothing, and certainly don’t cease from wearing your priesthood garment altogether.
If they do work [like the white crew-neck shirts work for me] — then by all means purchase the Church-produced product.
I totally agree with the principle of this article. For me, it is symptomatic of a larger issue, that only recently I’ve really struggled with. Take any number of issues that define Mormons: temples, word of wisdom, garments, etc. We willingly adhere to these because of our belief in the gospel and all it’s implications for this mortal life. If we have an ‘eternal perspective’, then 1: we do not question any statement from our church leaders, and 2: our many restrictions appear
insignificant. But when we find out that most of these regulations have been altered drastically since their inception, it becomes a little harder to believe in the eternal significance of, say, obstaining from tea. Put another way, it would be much easier to unquestioningly wear garments and believe in their eternal significance, if they weren’t so obviously changed by cultural pressure.
But unfortunately, there are just too many church policies that get elevated to infallible doctrine, and they rarely get demoted. So while I completely agree with this article and would welcome the change (and it would actually make me more enthusiastic about the church), I see no evidence that it will happen. We can hope though…
Why must we assume that God will tell leaders when they’re doing something wrong when God doesn’t always tell people they’re doing something wrong? Many scriptures discuss both the ADDING to and TAKING away of things as evil (i.e. adding to commandments/scripture as the “new” standard, or taking away from something that’s too hard to make it easier), but even if there were an absence of scripture to dictate such things I wonder why we’re so easily pleased by assumptions. It’s akin to infallibility’s one-way street.
Instead of confronting these changes and seeing if they do matter (where you assert they simply cannot because those in the high seats decided that they don’t matter), we simply trudge merrily along and have discussions about how to make the most of those changes.
It’s a bizarre culture.
So, if the leaders don’t at least acknowledge this – much less know about it – then how come do we assume that the changes they make incontrovertibly mean that the changes don’t matter?
Maybe they were changes out of ignorance, and enlightenment could/should encourage a retracement in order to see the “proper” route.
I’m in total agreement with your suggested changes, Mike S. I think that garments have unfortunately become as much about enforcement of superficial and, as I point out in my modesty post, damaging modesty codes and about mutual enforcement of conformity (think of the eternal smile and raised seems mentioned by Aaron L #4). Neither of those seem appropriate functions for garments.
I’d be much more likely to wear garments if they weren’t a pain in the ass to wear.
in #16, Howard says that a different style of garment would be fine as long as they were:
“just different enough [from normal underwear] to make you think twice about undressing to break your vows.”
Is this really something we expect or want garments to do? To serve as one last final hurdle to committing sexual sin? I just don’t understand this. During a temple recommend interview, a bishop once asked me if my garments would keep me from having sex with a married man. My response was that no, of course they wouldn’t; my integrity would keep me from having sex with a married man. I really think it’s *terrible* that we even think about garments in this capacity because doing so authorizes a really shallow version of ethical and moral behavior. It shouldn’t take getting to the moment of removing garments to think, “wait! sex with a married person is Bad!” Or whatever else. Frankly, if you get to the point at which the only thing that stops you from sinning is that you have to remove your garments to do so I really don’t think the fact that you stop at the last moment says much good about you.
Ultimately garments are a symbol and that is all. They represent God’s care for his children and our commitments to God. That is all. They can do that in any form, including thong form, uncomfortable though that may be. There’s no reason on earth they shouldn’t be designed so that they are comfortable to wear and so that they do not make it unreasonably difficult to find clothing appropriate to the situations in which we find ourselves.
I think one of the problems with suggesting change with the garment now is that somewhere along the line, the garment became tied into principles of modesty, which we all clearly know, has almost nothing to do with the purpose of the garment, which has everything to do with convenants.
Whereas changes many years ago probably were taken in stride, I think people squirm at making changes now because it would be “conforming with the world’s standards of modesty,” when in reality, modesty is entirely a social concept.
I love your changes and agree with whoever said that making the women’s tops so they could show and not look like your frumpy underwear is showing. A camisole-type top would be far more convenient for so many women and would look fine if it peaked out. Or at least get rid of the dorky lace. Or a waistband that isn’t more suitable for a grandmother.
I should stop, I’m getting starry-eyed with all this crazy talk.
Not to pile on Howard but the idea of garments being different from normal underwear and therefore having the capacity to change individual behavior doesn’t seem likely to me.
If I am wearing garments consistently (as we are instructed to do), then that *is* normal for me. While I am aware that garments are different than ‘normal underwear’ I don’t look at them and think “Gosh what weird and unusual underwear” every time I see them. In that way taking off my garments to commit sin would be no different than taking of my garments to take a shower.
The most central problem I have with your interpretation is right here: you are using a stretched interpretation to condemn others. The problem is that even if we say that the verse isn’t referring to priesthood garments, but just to everyday clothing I still think you are misreading the quote (of course, if you think I’m seeing it wrong, please feel free to respond with the same respectful rigor that you have in the last post).
When the verse states that some sort of clothing should be made of your own hands, the Lord is using “hands” as a synecdoche for “community.” The Lord is not saying that every man, woman, and child must make his or her own clothing or else they are in violation of God’s will. According to your interpretation, children would be required to run naked until they had the requisite proficiency to fashion themselves some clothing.
For this reason I say that there is a synecdochic relationship between hands and community. This means that the church making garments for all members is in no way a violation of this verse because it is the community creating clothing for itself. It comes down to how broadly or narrowly an individual chooses to define community in order to adhere to 42:40, because, ultimately, if you define your community as America, then anything sold in America was effectively “made by your own hands.”
It’s cool if you choose to make your own garments, but my perspective is that your decision to do so must be founded in your own personal inspiration and reasoning because scripture doesn’t justify or condemn the act in and of itself.
Changes to women’s garments are long overdue, but specifically a few that bear repeating.
While I appreciate that many would like the shaping qualities of a Carinessa fabric, it’s only good for climates with cold weather like Utah has. No real advances have been made to really find a decent wicking fabric, which would make garments much more bearable in hot climates, and we have many many members in hot climates.
The seams of garments are often very itchy to those with sensitive skin. The tags are likewise unbearable against the skin (give me a rash), and when you tear them out, the seams often come apart. Elastic around the bottoms of the thighs on the women’s cotton garments make zero sense and are also bad for those with sensitive skin. And the marks themselves can irritate sensitive skin – I don’t see why they are not ALL silk-screened which would have no such effect.
Since I am not attempting to change my dress to what is “immodest” by church standards – I too experience the same issues outlined in the article:
– arm holes show the garments even when the dress has a cap or short sleeve. The armpits of garments are very high under the arm – fine for a cold climate, but impossible to accommodate in a hot one.
-garments bunch up under certain fabrics, making them visible and weird looking like wrinkly elephant skin.
– the waist level of garments is much higher than the waist level of every article of clothing currently being sold, making an extra line in clothing.
– the tops and bottoms vary so much in how they fit women that it’s impossible to tell when something is going to show during movement and when it is not (both at the neckline and at the hem). Even if you are fine while trying something on, you may have a problem after you’ve already paid and left the store.
And one thought as to why I think changes to the garments are not likely to happen any time soon? Mainly because misery loves company, but also because of 1) generation gap between decision makers (including women whose opinions are solicited) and the rest of us, and 2) Utah-centricity of input, leaving other climates out of practical consideration.
While I agree with your interpretation that hands can = community [rather than just my own personal hands], the very existence of this post demonstrates to me that the Church(TM) doesn’t see this as a “we in the community” sort of thing.
They make the One True pattern that all must wear as underwear — which neither scripture or the temple ceremony justifies. In a “community” the voice of women and men having trouble with the One True pattern for priesthood clothing would be respected — rather than being told to just humble themselves and submit.
Again, I don’t mean to say that Church-approved priesthood clothing is not justified. Simply that if people are having trouble with what the “community” produces for them or that the “community” requires that they wear two types of clothing [one on top of the other] — then in that case it would be best to make your own priesthood clothing from the ordinary clothing you already have.
First — the scriptures state that, “All children have claim upon their parents for their maintenance until they are of age.”
And secondly, getting rid of the Satanic notion of body modesty seems like a good idea to me anyway.
Besides my general dislike of the NOM nomenclature of Church(TM), I think I would agree with your response, especially with your assessment of the way the notion of community is often erased by the overemphasis on the top-down hierarchy within the church.
And as far as the modesty issue, I’ve seen you comment somewhere else in the recent past concerning the way the idea of modesty first originated with Satan, and I do like the insight. I don’t think your observation is an absolute refutation of modesty as such, but I do think it puts helpful pressure on the practice of modesty being taken to far and treated like an eternal doctrine.
#31: Dr Horrible
Thanks for the input from someone who actually uses the silk’screened garments. I’m sure it’s made a big difference.
Here in the states, we obviously can’t buy the Japanese garments, but I do buy the “short” version of the garments even though I am over 6 feet tall. The length seems to be about the same, but the waist is shorter. This keeps the garment bottom from coming up to my navel.
And we don’t say it enough, but with last night’s reminder, thank you to you and all of your colleagues that keep us safe. I appreciate your sacrifices.
#34 Ryan states: Why must we assume that God will tell leaders when they’re doing something wrong when God doesn’t always tell people they’re doing something wrong?
I’ll let President Wilford Woodruff answer your question:
Regarding 16 Amelia wrote: I really think it’s *terrible* that we even think about garments in this capacity because doing so authorizes a really shallow version of ethical and moral behavior.
I agree. I wrote it partially tongue in cheek because I agree that integrity is better but think it reflects a multigenerational gap of parental attitudes of past leaders and what else are they for? Sure they are to remind us of our covenants but the embroidered tag I suggested can do that. They offer no physical protection if they offer spiritual protection what is it if it isn’t to make you think twice about undressing to break your covenants? The fact that your Bishop asked that of you indicates that he has considered this.
Thank you for your comments.
As I mentioned over there, your post provided much of the impetus for this one. If anyone hasn’t read Amelia’s article referenced near the end of the post above, I’d encourage you to do so.
I think conflating “modesty” with “what may cover the cap sleeves on a woman’s garment” is a bad thing. It perpetuates the check-list mentality we encounter in our Church.
I think modesty should be something that someone develops between themselves and God in the context of their culture. I think it should be something that someone internalizes, and that it incorporates more than just clothing, but actions, speech, etc.
This is completely different from garments, which are supposed to serve as a reminder of temple covenants. They can still serve as a reminder in many different formats as posited above. Some people may prefer them to go to their wrists. Others may prefer a camisole top. The important thing is what it important TO THAT PERSON – not to someone else.
Love the ideas Mike S. I really sympathize with the women. The only complaint I really have is the lack of a “under armor” style of shirt to match the bottoms. It’s REALLY frustrating to go on a long hike or something and have to wear a cotton or cotton-poly top that absorbs all the sweat but doesn’t dry quickly.
Oh how I wish your changes would come true.
I am a middle aged woman who gets hot at night. It has hit the point due to “hot flashes” that I just wear other underwear at night often. I also don’t tell when I go to recommend interviews. I don’t feel that comfortable telling the neighbor man what I go to sleep in.
Plus garments are incredibly unattractive. I don’t mind my husband’s because they are just a t=shirt and long boxers, but I feel I look horrible in mine.
I find the comments tied to vanity rather amusing since vanity is an issue of pride to some degree. Certainly, garments are not meant to be fashionable or to fit with today’s fashions. Fashions have a way of changing and what is going as fashionable today will not be for long.
They are meant as the handbook says and as we have all been told ,to be a reminder of our covenant. Perhaps a post-it note would also work as a reminder to some. You just have to carry it in your pocket.
I find this much ado about nothing personally.
#35 Amelia: Is this really something we expect or want garments to do? To serve as one last final hurdle to committing sexual sin? I just don’t understand this.
Amen to this. I think that someone that is truly going to commit some sort of sexual sin has already gone so far down that path in their mind that garments won’t make any difference whatsoever.
Those are great comments, especially from a woman, who I think is much more affected by garments than men are.
I also absolutely agree with your comment about why things won’t change:
I would also LOVE an UnderArmor type of garment for long hikes, etc. My solution is to just wear an UnderArmor type of garment and consider it a “sporting” activity, even if it were a multi-day hike, climb, etc. If there was an “official” option, I’d reconsider, but until then, siempre hay esperanza.
Since you find this all much ado about nothing, and since you think all of these changes are vanity, I assume you still wear the full-length garments down to your wrist and ankles. They still make them. And they still make one-piece garments.
Or have you appealed to your own vanity and comfort and wear two-piece garments than end above your knees and near your shoulders?
Mike (re: 45)
Saying something – no matter your position – doesn’t make that something true. Truth is truth irrespective of office or standing in or outside of the church. Perhaps, therefore, we should look a little closer at that comment.
For a further discussion on this inane comment by Woodrow, I’d highly recommend this article, The Mind and Will of the Lord. From that, I borrow this quote:
While you can nitpick that particular quote (and I actually agree with you to be honest), the ATTITUDE revealed by that quote lives on ever stronger.
I remind you of ETB’s 14 fundamentals, particularly number 4:
This was repeated TWO TIMES in conference within the past year. It is taught in our manuals.
And, since I assume that all of the many changes made to garments in the past few decades were approved by the First Presidency and Quorum of Twelve, I have to assume that they are also approved by God.
There is not much more sacred in the LDS Church than temple covenants, so I would assume that if God did NOT approve of the changes made to the garments representing these covenants, then He would have told His only direct representative on earth.
I agree with Jeff that we shouldn’t be requesting garment changes for vanity’s sake, but I’m not seeing much of that in this discussion. Comfort and safety are much more important. Like Hawkgrrrl, I have very sensitive skin (a condition called dermographia and also allergies and chemical sensitivity) that makes most of the current garment offerings very uncomfortable and some of them downright unsafe for me to wear. (Thanks, Mike S #22 for the suggestion on cotton bottoms. I will definitely try that, though the women’s have lace on them, which I have take off.) The Church has bent over backwards to accommodate the needs of military personel (and rightly so), but when it comes to people with disabilities, they’ve just left it up to individuals to decide what works best for them. A little more accommodation to medical needs, different climates, and activity needs wouldn’t be that hard to do. I would gladly pay more for organic cotton with less seams, no tags, and screen printed markings.
“Or have you appealed to your own vanity and comfort and wear two-piece garments than end above your knees and near your shoulders?”
I wear the ones which were available after I was baptized and was going to the Temple.
To me, it’s not a big deal and I am willing to forgo my personal vanity for the commitment I made. If I had to wear the floor to ceiling type, I guess I would.
I remind you of ETB’s 14 fundamentals…
Referring you to #1 does it bother you that ETB was President Q12 not a sitting President of the church at the time he presented them?
I wear garments and manage to make them work just fine. I think I dress in attractive, fashionable clothing. I am happy that wearing them signals a commitment.
If garments were full-length long johns I am sure I would make that work too.
“Or have you appealed to your own vanity and comfort and wear two-piece garments than end above your knees and near your shoulders?”
“I wear the ones which were available after I was baptized and was going to the Temple.
To me, it’s not a big deal and I am willing to forgo my personal vanity for the commitment I made. If I had to wear the floor to ceiling type, I guess I would.”
Agreed. I personally am glad to not have to put up with funny looks and stupid questions in the locker room at the YMCA anymore. I have no problem with the covenants but I’m not sure I need a couple of masonic symbols as reminders. Maybe people needed to feel they belonged to a secret society at one time to feel special and chosen but I hope we’re past that.
It’s easy to proclaim (rather self-righteously I think) “I am sure I would make that work too.” It would be interesting to see when push comes to shove what any of us would do.
If a person can fashion one’s own garments ala Justin, why can’t one modify the garment to make it more acceptable to one’s needs. Just askin.
Referring you to #1 does it bother you that ETB was President Q12 not a sitting President of the church at the time he presented them?
Yep, it actually does bother me. We’ve had discussions on here in the past about this exact subject, especially about the fact that ETB was “reprimanded” about this talk afterward and made to apologize/retract some of it privately afterwards to some of the GAs.
That being said, it is repeated often enough that many people in the Church believe it is fact. This includes the 2 general authorities that believe it enough that they quoted it themselves in Oct 2010 General Conference.
So, I think the general feeling among the majority of the Church members is that there won’t be any changes made without at least the implicit approval of God, if not the explicit approval.
It feels like I’m in the twilight zone, reading your comments.
The Catholics say the same thing.
You don’t have to assume anything – you choose to assume. I can’t tell if you’re being facetious or not, given how I’ve read your posts in the past, but we simply do not have to assume anything about anything. You can choose to assume the route of infallibility – and assume the one way street it presents – or you can take a piecemeal approach (among other approaches) and take the good and leave the bad.
Simple because the leadership of the church does something does not make that something a divine decision, even if and when it’s taught in the lesson manuals, over the pulpit at GC or wherever else.
His only direct representative on the earth? Are you being serious with this?
I’m obviously giving the “Church” answer for the sake of discussion.
I think the majority of things done in the Church today are merely the opinion of whoever happens to have the highest position at the time, and the people around him merely go along with it for the sake of unity.
That is the whole point of this series. If you look at the situation with earrings, as referenced in the post above (which was the first post in the “If I Were In Charge” series), it was NEVER doctrinal.
– Hinckley represented that he didn’t really like earrings. Personal opinion.
– Bednar elevated this in general conference to the point there a potential marriage was broken up because someone wasn’t “following the prophet”
– This has now permeated Church culture to the extent that a high school student isn’t allowed on the BYU campus if they have two sets of earrings. It is now seen by many people in the church as a litmus test of faithfulness.
– And all from an opinion.
I feel the same way about garments. The only consistent thing about garments is the symbols. EVERYTHING ELSE has changed, and is therefore NOT eternal and, in my opinion, NOT ESSENTIAL. We are therefore left with a style of garments dictated by a generation of people who design to what they feel is the “right” design based on their own cultural preferences.
That’s the whole point of this series – to point a spotlight on things which are non-doctrinal “doctrine”.
If I truly believed that everything done in the Church was under the direct hand of God, there would be no point for the series.
•How do you feel about current styles of garments? They are so awful that I gave up wearing them.
•Do you wish there were more options available? Of course. But then again, I stopped wearing my garments once my resentment against them had become so great that I started my own research and decided it was all a bunch of superstition.
•Did you realize that garments can be of any color, fabric, and/or have silk-screened markings? I suppose…?
•Do you think that the suggestions in this post are reasonable? Sure
•Do you think that the Church should define modesty (for example – making cap sleeves) or should it be between a person and God? Between me and God
•What changes would YOU make if you were in charge?
You also say that you feel in the twilight zone reading some of my comments – I feel the same way thinking and reading about some of these issues.
There are very real problems with some of these things:
– If a potentially beautiful marriage is broken up because of a pair of earrings, what was ultimately just someone else’s opinion, that is a real problem.
– If someone ends up leaving the Church over the discomfort of garments, that never actually had to be that uncomfortable but were only made that way because of someone’s opinion, that is a real problem.
For all these things that are essentially based on opinion, but which are made into stumbling blocks, we should get rid of them. For someone like Jeff Spector, who really doesn’t care about garments, there are people who have commented above who have left the Church over the issue. And that is a very real problem.
Everyone has an issue which is personal to them. Some are insurmountable. If someone thinks Jesus Christ doesn’t exist or that Joseph Smith was a deceitful con-man, than there’s probably little that can be done in reconciliation. But if someone is really bothered by something that is non-doctrinal, why don’t we change what we can?
“- If someone ends up leaving the Church over the discomfort of garments, that never actually had to be that uncomfortable but were only made that way because of someone’s opinion, that is a real problem.”
You can find an instance of someone leaving the church for just about every reason you could possible think up.
So, I do not think that is a very good reason to change the garment.
Which, BTW, I care very deeply about, in spite of what you said. I just do not have a problem with them the way they are.
#67 – “If someone ends up leaving the Church over the discomfort of garments, that never actually had to be that uncomfortable but were only made that way because of someone’s opinion, that is a real problem.”
Clearly I don’t have a personal interest in this debate, but I will agree with Jeff’s comment regarding this particular statement. I think you’re on very shaky ground any time you start talking about people leaving the church “because of” some external force or event. People leave the church for one reason and one reason only: because they choose to. That’s certainly not to say that some people don’t have exceptionally valid reasons for feeling the way they do. In my time in the church I saw people experience things that I don’t know if I would have been able to get past. At the end of the day, though, if a person believes the church is true and they still leave, that’s got to be on them, period. I respect your opinions as much as anyone’s on this blog, MikeS, but I think it’s just a big copout to even imply that people’s apostatizing from the church could ever be blamed on something like this. That’s just way too easy.
That doesn’t mean that the church shouldn’t be mindful of making non-doctrinal decisions with an eye toward making the church as user-friendly as possible, which I think is really what you’re saying in this post (if I’m not mistaken). I just think the above quoted comment is a big red herring.
I don’t think people quit the church over any individual stumblingblock either – be it garments or erroneous statements in GC or whatever – but too many of these can really mess with one’s suspension of disbelief.
I think there are also some of the older gen who view garments as superstitious protection from physical harm and are reluctant to reduce the amount of bodily coverage because they literally view it as a physical shield and protection. My mom told me once about a member who drowned in a boating accident, and she said that his body was in the river long enough to have been eaten by fish, but where his garments were, he wasn’t marred. The lesson she took from that was that the garments protected his body from desecration. The lesson I took was that garments were so synthetic that fish wouldn’t eat them, and that he was dead, so I’m not convinced of the physical protection they afforded him.
Off topic, but I noticed there is another Jen commenting on this post. That’s the first time I’ve seen another Jen on here, maybe I need to add something onto my name so we can be differentiated.
Jeff & brjones:
I agree and actually typed the comment too quickly so it didn’t really represent what I meant. I, too, have done lots of things I don’t necessarily agree with as a part of being a member of the Church. I suppose I just look at them as the price for being a member of the “club” – if I’m going to stay a member, I follow the rules.
But I still stick with the original premise that lead to this back in the post on Church membership numbers:
Our convert rates are going down. Our “leaving” rates are going up. Our activity rates are down. There is something about what we are doing that isn’t working.
There are some doctrinal things that CANNOT change. These are fairly eternal and unchanging. But there are many things we CAN change to hopefully make being a member more appealing to people who aren’t members, and to make staying a member more appealing to people who are.
Garments are a perfect example. For a woman, a comfortable camisole top would be MUCH easier from just about every one I’ve talked to. It would still have the marks in the right place. It would still serve as a reminder. And it would require much less change to garments than has already been done.
So why not change them?
Interestingly, just about all of the comments about garments being “fine” the way they are have come from men. And women are just about unanimously FOR changing them. This is the problem with how things are. The decisions are made by elderly men who don’t see a problem with garments, because it really doesn’t affect them.
So, if it doesn’t really matter – why NOT change garments?
For what it’s worth, Mike S, I agree with you on this issue, and on all the issues you’ve brought up in this series. The interesting aspect of it for me is that I think the reason people are gravitating away from the church, and away from religion in general, is because of those doctrinal things that can’t be changed. And as an aside, it’s debatable whether there are really many doctrinal points in the church that are truly unchangeable. But that’s a digression. I think it’s a fair question to ask why not change those things that are easily and obviously changeable, if there are probable positive results to be gained. I think the answer is generational. The church is still run by men who grew up pre-WWII. They are making decisions and setting standards based on their values and priorities. When our generation is running the church, is there any question things will be significantly different? I find it hard to believe that this generation of leaders is going to take the suggestions of a bunch of young punks with no respect for their elders. It’s about as likely as my dad admitting that professional sports are better today than when he was a kid. It will never happen. It’s a matter of perspective. Everyone thinks theirs is right.
“The decisions are made by elderly men who don’t see a problem with garments, because it really doesn’t affect them.’
I find this to be somewhat disrespectful. I cannot see the leaders of the church sitting in their nice comfy chairs saying, “Oh, the women of the Church find garments uncomfortable and not fashionable?” Nope, sorry, not going to change them. too bad, just get used to it.”
I see changes happen when they need to happen. I didn’t see the changes coming in the Temple ceremony 20 years ago either. A lot of people speculated it was because of complaints. If that was the case, the “Elderly Men” must have woke up long enough to make the changes they did.
So, in the case, if changes are needed, they will get made at some point.
“It’s about as likely as my dad admitting that professional sports are better today than when he was a kid.”
Because it was.
One thing that I’ve noticed about the women’s tops is that they cover my shoulders in name only, so to speak.
Unless I constantly readjust the fabric of the sleeves throughout the day they invariably end up in a bunch on top of my shoulders.
In light of this, removing the sleeves would only serve to remove the bunched up fabric around my arm rather than decreasing the amount of skin covered.
I actually DON’T find it disrespectful. I think changes only come when the leadership actually decided to study and ask the questions. God appeared to JS when he asked which church was right, not before. The Aaronic Priesthood was restored when JS asked about it from reading it in the BofM.
Similarly, the issue with blacks and the priesthood didn’t change until society changed enough for the leaders to actually ask the question.
So, with regard to garments, I don’t think it’s disrespectful. I just don’t think that the generation of men currently in charge see the problems that women their grandchildren’s age have with garments. And unless they see the problem, they are certainly NOT going to study it out and make changes.
Also, I agree about sports being more about “sports” then. It seems it’s now about marketing, clothing lines, reality shows, contracts, agents, etc.
I agree. My wife struggles with the same thing. It’s just a mass of bunched up cloth.
#78 – I think we need a separate post on this topic.
I have to second what Mike S is saying about why the problems aren’t being effectively addressed. Which women are given input on garment design? Women who are middle aged, who work for the church, who live in Utah. Also women who are related to the Q12 will be heard. I’m in no way convinced that these are a representative sample of women in the church by a long stretch.
As a leader, when you are surrounded by people constantly telling you there’s no problem or that all your decisions are great, why would you ever think otherwise?
Lol — quit waiting for an androcratic oligarchy to make an “authorized” change for the women and just take the clothing that you typically wear and convert them into priesthood clothing.
Ta-da, the priesthood garment now conforms to the environment and customs you find in your area, and will still be recognized by the Lord — since you have been authorized and instructed in wearing priesthood garments.
For some other views on the Church’s retention issues and some ideas about possible changes, I’d also refer you to a nice post by Winterbuzz on FMH entitled “The Church is Losing Us…. How Can They Keep Us?”
#81 (HG) – were it a strictly guy thing, I’d say “Old Farts rule…”
I feel bad for any sister with a modicum of style and the looks where it could be reasonably (and tastefully) appreciated, in that she’s confined to styles that tend towards the “frumpy” in the name of modesty.
I find it only a bit of an issue with regard to exercise wear. I’ve gotten criticised because I rarely wear the “cloth” when hitting the gym. If some fanatic wants to wear ’em 24/7, fine, but that’s not how I interpret it. Or, to lift a quote attributed to Erin Brokovich, “As long as I have one ass instead of two, I’ll wear what I like.”
CatherineWO and other sensitive-skin types (if you’re still reading):
Are you aware that you can special-order garments made of specific types of fabric with thread/seams/labels that work for you?
Ask about it the next time you’re looking to purchase.
Well, I am just waiting for my Spanx Gs…
I understand that the choosing of a new president is pre determined by seniority. When did this begin and is it just tradition.
I keep hoping the 12 will put in someone young (under 75) liberal and able to address such problems, is this possible?
It has been a custom since Joseph Smith died. There were various groups claiming various types of succession (ie. hereditary, counselor in presidency, quorum of Twelve, etc). Various groups claimed visions and other spiritual manifestations showing why their claim was strongest.
Ultimately, Brigham Young “won”. This set the precedent that the next president of the Church is decided by seniority in the quorum of Twelve. While some look to the stability this offers without “jockeying” for position, it does create the situation we are currently in – that of a generation in charge that is one, two or more generations removed from the bulk of church membership.
This is not likely to change any time. For someone to even be considered for the quorum of Twelve, they have typically been a bishop, a stake president, a mission president, etc. These things all take time. Even if someone were bishop at age 30, stake president at 35, mission president in mid-40’s, etc., it still means they are getting near 50 (at least) before they make it to the quorum of Twelve. They then have to outlive everyone who has more seniority.
And even with this, the president is usually an outlier to get that that seniority. President Monson, for example, was made an apostle at age 36. President Hinckley was an Assistant to the Quorum of the 12 at age 47 (plus lived to age 97). Ezra Taft Benson was made an apostle at age 44. Joseph Fielding Smith was made an apostle at age 33 (by his father who was president of the Church at the time).
Another problem is that even is someone “young” is put in to the Quorum of Twelve, because of seniority, they generally defer to everyone above them. This even includes such minor things as the order they enter a room or who gets to choose from a box of chocolates first.
“I think the reason people are gravitating away from the church, and away from religion in general, is because of those doctrinal things that can’t be changed”
This is just anecdotal, but actually, these little changes would have gone a long way in keeping me in the church. I still believe in the doctrine I love about the church, I just attend in a place where I feel welcomed and comfortable and appreciated. I still believe in the Atonement, Heavenly Parents, eternal progression, the plan of Salvation, and continuing and individual revelation. Plenty of other churches are ok with all of that, and don’t care if you are single working woman dating a non member that felt like garmets were an incessant, daily reminder of all the things you didn’t like about the church.
(this is my first time to check out wheat & tares, by the way! nice blog!)
Thanks for stopping by.
I absolutely agree with you. I think there are many unnecessary stumbling blocks that have been raised in the Church. Some people choose to throw themselves on these for the sake of “obedience”, but it’s not needed. It’s kind of like the Buddha. He first tried following all of the ascetics around him, starving himself, following rules for the sake of following rules, etc. Once he finally realized none of those artificial things made any sense, he achieved enlightenment.
Similarly, the whole point of this series is to see if we could perhaps CHANGE the non-essential things in the Church so that people, both within the Church as well as those investigating, might instead be able to focus on the beautiful parts of the gospel that you mentioned.
On a similar vein, stay tuned for the next post in this series on Tuesday afternoon, “If I Were In Charge: Separate Marriage From Sealing”.
Coming late to the party, but . . .
I’d LOVE to be able to sew my own markings. My grandparents used to buy garments at ZCMI or white long johns from places like Lands End and sew their own markings or take them to Beehive clothing to be sewn. Look in the church mags from pre ’50s (when there used to be ads) and you’ll see these places advertizing white long johns. I want to buy pure white silk (not synthetic drisilk).
Here’s a quote from a book which parallels exactly what you stated here [a book I’d recommend, btw]:
We might match that description a little too closely…
I trust you’ve read [this write-up of the same topic] recently?
I always thought it would be nice to make your own garments. They could give specifications to minimum lengths and so forth and we could make them to fit our different bodies. I hear some people’s bodies just don’t fit well into many of today’s models.
I think we should keep them white. But I understand if they make garments to fit a uniform like in the military. However, there really doesn’t seem to be a need for every color garment, or sticking with every trend as they go in the world today.
I would suggest that the location of the marks have significance. And if the knee mark isn’t over the knee, at least it should be closer to the knee than to the hip. Sleeves or no sleeves for women or men don’t seem like an issue for me. But if it doesn’t change, no problem for me either. Garments aren’t what’s going to break me from the gospel (even if I do love to spend a summer day in just swimming trunks and a t-shirt). I love the principles taught and know everyone’s not perfect. I can live with little annoying things, especially if they don’t matter one way or the other.
Interesting thoughts. I like being able to consider different ideas like this.
P.S. If you were my missionary companion, I wouldn’t care if you walked around in garments. Also, if my companion were gay, I would appreciate him telling me to cover up to make it easier on him. No sweat.
as a young, bosomy (i bring it up only to emphasize that my body is not a man’s body) woman in the church i can only concur that garments simply do not suit women’s bodies. not only are the current styles frustratingly out of sync with all of today’s clothing for women (and that high line pinches, no matter what size you buy), but they are simply not physically practical for women.
jeff spector expresses some hope that the gentlemen on the stand are trying to understand women’s needs – i hope he’s right. but to me it could not be more obvious that they are generally oblivious to them. you think it is a coincidence that current garment styles are synonymous with current male underwear styles? and it was the same in joseph smith’s day – different style, still masculine. no one has ever made garments in women’s underwear styles, suited to women’s bodies. they just give us men’s clothes (only cinched around the navel). no wonder they fit wrong, pinch, billow, and what have you. they aren’t made for us.
the style says it all about the church’s lack of concern for women’s needs, so i won’t even bring up the more practical issues so many women have trying to navigate bras and periods with garments – again, issues i doubt occur to the GAs. everyone is colored by their upbringing and their social group – since none of the GAs are women, who there can speak for women’s issues, garment-related and otherwise?
but that is a whole ‘nother can of worms.
i should rephrase my third paragraph – i don’t think the church in general is not concerned about women’s needs. but the fact that the authoritative hierarchy (i.e. those with power to change things) is entirely masculine makes the communication channels for expressing and responding to those needs quite complicated, far more so than men’s needs. and it shows.
ha and p.s. i’m also currently pregnant, and don’t even get me STARTED on the roller coaster that has been, garment-wise.
perhaps one of the saddest things is how seeing the concern from mike makes me feel much more hopeful than anything i’ve seen on any women’s sites about this topic. your series is called ‘if i were in charge,’ and maybe, mike, someday you will be. i sure hope someone sympathetic like you is, because neither i, nor anyone who looks like me or lives in a body like mine, will be.
It’s kind of hilarious that someone is wishing for a youngster – under age 75 – to be called to the Q12 and make waves! Cuz that’s so young.
Welcome to the site, Enna. Hope you enjoy it here.
Henry – noble sentiments, but of course it should be noted that you walking around in your garms may not tempt gay men universally any more than it tempts straight women.
I think there is point where the cutting and trimming has to stop though.
You took 3″ off the sleeve. Why not take the whole sleeve? Silk screened tube-tops can remind someone of their covenants. And how about just silk screening the marks on my chest and six pack (just kidding it is more of a keg), because in the summer I really do prefer to go shirtless and having the marks where I can actually see them will be a much better reminder of the covenants they represent.
This is a great post though. Provokes a lot of thought. An LDS co-worker and I hashed out a similar line of thought several years ago. Both of us disliked ALL of the material choices for garments. Cotton? The tops were ho-hum but the bottoms were miserable to wear. Cotton-poly? Those lost all form, felt about an inch and a half thick, and refused to wick moisture. Mesh? Have you worn mesh with a close fitting t-shirt? It’s like getting waxed… all day long. The silky stuff? DOES NOT BREATHE. Our solution: Go buy some high quality undergarments and sew the markings in ourselves. I mean really, did the pioneers have a “Beehive Clothing” way back in the beginning? I’m not sure, but I’ll bet a dozen bottles of applesauce they didn’t. They made their own. Why can’t we make our own?
We never did this, but we talked about it, and wondered if the Lord would approve. Well, neither of us wondered enough to “enquire of the Lord” so we’re both still suffering with the suboptimal fabrics currently used.
Best line of the day so far. 😉
Oh gosh. Thank you thank you thank you. I HATE my garments. I get mad every morning when I get out of the shower and put the blasted things on. I wear them because I covenanted to wear them but that doesn’t make them any less uncomfortable or ugly. I hate trying to shop for clothes with them. And being pregnant or nursing in them is it’s own kind of nightmare. I love the ideas you posted. Now the question is, how did the previous changes come about? If enough people send emails to Beehive clothing, can we make this happen?
I can assure you that if you think back to your temple ceremony — you did not covenant to wear the priesthood clothing that the Distribution center sells.
I try to keep separated that which I was told about the garment by others and that which I actually covenanted concerning the garment.
For those of us who are living a mainstream LDS life, we are asked (in order to obtain a temple recommend) very very specific questions about how we wear our garments. So I don’t think it’s as easy as saying we didn’t covenant to wear them (which I believe is correct). Continued access to the temple requires compliance with those specific questions.
I can assure you from my own LDS life — not wearing the Distribution Services-approved garment and not wearing the priesthood garment as a form of sacred underwear does not come up in an interview and does not keep me from holding my current recommend.
Temple recommend question:
Yea — very, very specific indeed. I noticed a heavy emphasis on being in accordance with the actual ceremony, not what is current, mainstream LDS practice.
Also –from the CHI:
Which was the point of the post on the garment that I linked to above.
What the ceremony says: [I was initiated post-2005, so mine may differ from older members]
So typical — after stating that members have a covenant obligation to wear the garment according to the instructions given in the endowment — the CHI then goes on to list many instructions that are not in the list above.
It’s one thing if you like to make two sets of clothing work — but it’s sad for me to hear people express such strong negative emotions towards trying to comply with the temple instructions by having two sets of clothing: normal, everyday garments on top of the priesthood clothing, complaining about poor fit, difficulty finding working sizes, and about how they get in the way of everything, especially when it’s hot, etc. — all b/c ecclesiastical abusers beat them over the head with the “access to the temple” stick.
If the ones that the nice ladies at the Distribution center make don’t work for you — then don’t go on complaining about things, don’t subject yourself to poor fitting clothing, and certainly don’t cease from wearing your priesthood garment altogether. The covenant to wear priesthood clothing is important if you have indeed made it.
Justin, how long has it been since you went for a TR interview? The last 6 years they’ve been reading a statement from HQ before asking the questions. The statement is very specific about the way in which the garment is worn.
From the handbook:
3.4.3 Making Temple Ceremonial Clothing
Members may make their own temple aprons
only if they use the approved apron embroidery and sewing kit. This kit is available from Church Distribution Services. Other temple ceremonial clothing may not be made.
Nor may temple garments be made.
I understand the point that you are making.
On a practical basis, do you wear any type of clothing of your own or other make that has any specific “markings” on it?
I don’t know that sending a message to Beehive clothing would do any good. I’m sure that they don’t make ANY changes without the express consent of someone “higher up”. And I would guess something like that would be run past the Quorum of the Twelve if not First Presidency.
Since I stated that my recommend is current — my last interview was within the span of the last 6 years.
I referred you to the actual recommend question, not the additional material they read to you. The question: “Do you wear the garment both night and day as instructed in the endowment and in accordance with the covenant you made in the temple?” — is easily answered in the affirmative if one happens to make their own garments.
Yes — I’ve read that before. I guess I’m not in conformity with the CHI. I suppose that any priesthood leader who sees me wearing my normal, everyday clothing that I have made into priesthood clothing is going to have to call me in for a meeting.
I wonder if members can be brought up on charges of not conforming to the CHI? My understanding is that charges must be based upon the scriptures. This is very interesting, indeed.
Needless to say, I don’t really care what the Oral-Law says regarding the garment. I’ll continue to take my instructions from the word of God — since the recommend question and the initial comment from the CHI both refer me back to my “covenant obligation to wear [the garment] according to the instructions given in the endowment.”
Lol — You can’t say that I have only obliged to wear priesthood clothing according to the instructions given to me in the endowment ceremony — and then give instructions for wearing the garment that are not contained in the endowment ceremony.
Yes — any of my normal, everyday clothing that I would normally wear as a single layer I have made into priesthood clothing by cutting the marks of the holy priesthood into them and then stitching them up so they don’t fray.
So far I’ve cut marks into all of my shorts that cover the knees, all of my pants, and three of my t-shirts [though I usually just wear my Distribution-approved white shirts when I want to wear a single t-shirt].
The shirts take more time than the pants [three marks instead of one] My plan is to make all my clothing into priesthood clothing — just not jackets and other second layer-type of clothing, only first-layer clothing gets the marks.
Jeff: is the CHI scripture and can [should?] it be used to conform behavior?
“Jeff: is the CHI scripture and can [should?] it be used to conform behavior?”
Huh? The CHI is a policy document. In the case where a clear scriptural basis does not exist, a policy is established.
Jeff — lol, that doesn’t answer the question. Should policy on issues where the scriptures are silent be used enforce behavior?
Again — since the recommend question and the initial comment from the CHI both refer me back to my “covenant obligation to wear [the garment] according to the instructions given in the endowment,” — how can your established policy document define instructions beyond that which is given in the endowment?
I have been thinking about your comment where you stated: …how did the previous changes come about? If enough people send emails to Beehive clothing, can we make this happen?
I don’t know the answer to this question, but as I’ve thought about it, I assume it can only be through feedback from the people who wear garments. I’ve therefore decided to see what we can do.
I’m going to package this post together and send it on, including all of the great comments that people have shared. With feedback from more people, it will hopefully have more impact.
So, here’s what I’m asking:
If you haven’t already, please leave a comment and share any feedback about garments that you might have. If possible, please leave specific issues with garments as well as specific things you might want changed. These may be things already mentioned above, or new things no one has mentioned. And please share this link with anyone else who you think might want to comment as well.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve never commented here (or anywhere) before. You can remain anonymous and leave any name you want. It asks for an email address, but this is NOT published and will be left off. (It’s also not even checked to see if it’s valid)
I don’t know if what we send in will make a difference, but it’s still worth trying.
“Jeff — lol, that doesn’t answer the question. Should policy on issues where the scriptures are silent be used enforce behavior?”
This is just another obfuscated question in a long line of questions which do not directly addressing the issue.
We all know what the long-standing Church practice is with regard to the garment. We are instructed to wear the authorized garment available only from Beehive clothing. We all remember going to the store to BUY our first garments.
That is the practice and the handbook clearly states we are not to make our own.
Now, you are free to do as you wish in spite of the very clear instruction we receive. And you can try to justify it seven ways from Sunday and the same result will still remain.
Another thing. Perhaps, you remember when you thought it was an honor to wear the garment as a reflection of commitments and covenants you made to God and perhaps a spouse. I do. I still think about that. I think about how it sets us apart from the world. I do not think they have magical powers. And they are only as protective as we are willing to honor those covenants.
It would never had occurred to me to remember that and then complain about having to wear them.
Fallacy of appeal to tradition.
Homer [#111] asked you if the CHI is a document that ought to dictate behavior.
My point is that our church should be unique in not appealing to tradition [unless we are going to be Catholics] — but rather in an appeal to the word of God.
Our standard for judgement is the standard works [hence the name]. The “standard” is
What the CHI has created is a church of people who openly proclaim one thing as the standard and then covertly enforce a bunch of other things beyond that.
Look, if the “long-standing Church practice” is actually the standard — then just put it into the endowment ceremony as a part of the covenant obligations that members take upon themselves to adhere to.
But they don’t do that. The recommend question and the initial comment from the CHI both defer back to a
You have not yet addressed how your established policy document can then go on to define instructions beyond that which is given in the endowment — if that is what is the standard.
If wearing the priesthood garment according to the traditional LDS practice really matters — then show that it matters, we’re a church with an open canon for heaven’s sake.
I see it as a back-hand admission that “tradition” is not revelation when new editions of established policy documents are being published instead of new editions of revelations being canonized.
Jeff — this is our conversation in my head:
Speaking of obfuscated… since when does a “long standing practice” signify anything beyond a “long standing practice.” Or, simplified, it’s “tradition.” Does that imply a correct or false tradition?
I don’t remember being instructed to “…wear the authorized garment available only from Beehive clothing.” In fact I’m pretty certain that no one said anything about Beehive Clothing in the temple or Endowment ceremony…
Are you suggesting that making my own priesthood garment makes me no longer capable of feeling honored to wear the garment as a reflection of my commitments and covenants to God and my spouse?
If you require wearing two sets of clothing with you priesthood clothing purchased only Distribution Services to think about that — then you do that.
Nothing in what I wrote as my understanding of the nature of priesthood clothing would preclude that.
But stop beating other people over the head with your “long-standing Church practice” — as though that is what is required of them and there is something wrong with them if they can’t just get with it.
In my experience with people — they don’t complain about having to wear clothing that has the marks of the priesthood cut into them.
They complain about having to wear two sets of clothing for everything. They complain about the fabric choices of Distribution Services. They complain about poor fit, difficulty finding working sizes, and about how wearing two sets of clothing gets in the way of everything, especially when it’s hot.
“Garments”, per se, never seem to be the problem for people — it’s when a culture of “established Church tradition” pressures them with fear tactics and makes them feel guilty [like they can’t honor covenants made to God and spouse] when they can’t make two sets of clothing work.
If the ones that the nice ladies at Distribution Services make work for you — then by all means — buy them. But don’t hold the thing up as though it were the standard that all members covenanted to adhere to.
Out of curiosity, Justin, don’t the marks that you so yourself show? And don’t we covenant not to show them to those who don’t understand?
I think you’re delusional, but that’s sort of beside the point by now.
Of course — if the priesthood garment is intended to cover my nakedness, then it is obviously the intention that the garment [being the covering] be seen rather than what is below the covering [my nakedness].
There is no covenant made to cover your coverings.
If someone asks me about the marks on my clothing [which has yet to happen BTW — other people are far less concerned with our garments than we are], I plan to just respond with something similar to what is explained in the temple since it will always draw it back to Jesus Christ:
These are religious marks to keep my mind focused on Jesus Christ. They serve a similar function for an LDS as a crucifix or scapular serves for a Catholic, ritual fringes for a Jewish man, or the veil for a Muslim woman, etc.
[I doubt anyone would find that all that delusional when it is compared to the practices of other religions.]
This mark suggests exactness and honor in keeping the covenants I’ve made with Jesus.
And this mark suggests an undeviating course leading me back to Jesus — a constant reminder that desires, appetites, and passions are to be kept within the bounds Jesus has set — and that all truth may be circumscribed into one great whole.
And this mark suggests the need of constant nourishment from Jesus to both body and spirit.
And this mark suggests that every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is the Christ.
That’s a pretty rude thing to say to Justin. Just because his views are not mainstream there is no ground to call him “delusional.” You might want to look at yourself and see that being Mormon means that you probably buy into all sorts of stuff that could be termed “delusional,” but somehow your acceptance of Joseph Smith seeing God, finding scriptures made of gold buried in the ground, and translating those plate using magic rocks are not delusional at all. Justin’s ideas, when taken in the context of Mormon thought, are not all that strange. I don’t happen to agree with Justin (as you could see for yourself in the conversation), but your dismissal of him comes across as self-righteous and rude.
And no, we don’t covenant to not show them to people who do not understand. It’s probably been a while since you’ve done initiatories, but that’s not part of the covenant. That little tidbit comes from oral tradition. Next time you’re at a ward function, or any place with lots of male Mormons wearing t-shirts, take a look at the top of the neckline and there it is, garment poking out. If we covenanted to not let the garment show, then most men in the church are covenant breakers.
Again, you are free to do as you wish.
Reading through your exchange with Justin made me realize I have a question. It’s one you or anyone else could answer.
My question is this: Why is the CHI a binding document on my behavior and membership? I’m not trying to dismiss the legitimacy of the the CHI, I’m just realizing that I’m not sure what the line of reasoning is for why it’s valid.
I guess one could say that because the church is true and it produced the document, it is binding for that reason. But that doesn’t make much sense and sounds like the problem Luther had with people not having access to the texts which dictated how they should live as well as their standing before God.
So the idea that b/c the church is true, the CHI is true doesn’t quite work, so there has to be a more sophisticated reason for why the CHI functions much like scripture. Has there been some sort of revelation or an interpretation of some section of the D&C which informs the way we view the CHI?
I get how the CHI could legitimately function as a standard for church operation on an institutional level, but I don’t understand how/why/when the CHI became a binding document on the way the saints live their lives.
I’d really appreciate any thoughts from anyone on how the CHI can be viewed as a binding document on individual behavior when it, as far as I’m aware, does not function on the principle of revelation, but on the principle of expediency and efficiency of church operation.
What is it in Mormon thinking that leads to the conclusion that members are obligated to adhere to the guidelines in the CHI? I’d like to argue to Justin, for instance, that he should wear the garments as the CHI says he should, but I can’t for the life of me recall or come up with a reason that not being in conformity with the CHI is the equivalent to not being in conformity with Christ’s restored gospel.
Maybe there’s a simple answer to this question that my mind is skipping over, but whatever the response, I’d welcome the feedback.
While I addressed my previous comment to Jeff, it really should have been directed to everyone. FYI
My own 2 cents:
The doctrine of the Church is contained in the scriptures. At the end of the day, a person’s spirituality is between him/her and God. All of our circumstances are unique, and we always find ourselves in different situations. Living a good and faithful life is what is important.
The LDS Church exists to facilitate an individual’s relationship with God. Like any organization, there have to be policies so there is at least some consistency within the organization. The CHI is the set of “policies” for the LDS Church. It helps our lay leadership answer questions they might encounter.
While some leaders unfortunately interpret the CHI as “doctrine”, they are not the same. The CHI is a set of guidelines. It says IN the CHI that a leader’s personal inspiration is the most important thing. And if you were to ask the majority of the Church leaders they would say the same: they have to publicly give the “official” policy of the Church, but things should be implemented on an individual basis as prompted.
As far as the comments regarding Justin’s practices:
I doubt you will ever see an official pronouncement teaching that what he describes is how things should be. At the same time, it is ultimately between Justin and God. If he feels it serves as a reminder of his covenants, and is comfortable with it, great. So be it. And if someone else wants to wear the original one-piece wrist and ankle length garments. Also great.
The whole purpose of this post is to point out the fundamental purpose of garments and try to get over things (like cap sleeves) that have absolutely no significance yet which are annoying to some people. Get rid of unnecessary stumbling blocks.
Perhaps it was rude, but it’s frustrating when I’ve been following a thread that is supposed to be about the way the vast majority of the church practices the way the garment is worn and the changes that could be made to accommodate more men and women and Justin keeps insisting that everyone is doing it wrong and should quit it and fashion their own garments based on his own personal interpretation of a single verse of scripture.
It is unhelpful at best, and off-topic and arrogant at worst to suggest that we are all doing it wrong because we are doing what the church is suggesting.
I loathe having to sleep with a shirt on. I would love it if there was an option to remove mens’ tops completely. Why not just put all the symbols on the shorts? Is the location of the marks critical?
I would love a sleeveless garment top for women. The little cap sleeves hit right in my underarms, and when the weather gets warm and I perspire, they chafe. I’ve tried several styles and fabrics, and they all do that.
I’m not sure how it’s off-topic… the whole OP is about what Mike would do if he were in charge. Justin advocates his POV. I advocate mine. Jeff advocates his. You advocate yours. Of all the POVs, I find Justin’s at least the most based in reason/logic.
If Mike can originate a post that discusses how what the Church ™ is suggesting is based not on doctrine, but on “tradition” (Jeff’s POV), then why can’t we all proffer our positions without you calling those who offer such positions arrogant, delusional and the like?
I would really like to get rid of the lace trim around the edges of womens garments, they itch. The new caranessa bottoms don’t have the lace, and are much more comfortable.
I’d like the carinessa tops to be made out of the same material the bottoms are. I’d also like to see the sleeves on the camisole and carinessa tops made like the other style of tops. The sleeves on the standard tops have much less material in them and don’t bunch up under clothing nearly as much.
I would love it if the tops could be used with the finished neckline or sleeve visible under other clothing, like the mens shirts are made so that the collar looks like a t-shirt and can show under other shirts.
I’m not real. Did you know it a sign of craziness to talk to yourself?
I would love for our garment bottoms to be a tad shorter. I buy long shorts that go over my knee, but my G’s still poke out the bottom sometimes depending on which pair I put on that morning. I’m not trying to wear shorty-shorts, but I don’t want my shorts to extend to my shins either.
Beansdude, if by the “dude” part of your name I am right in concluding you are a man, then I wonder, do you use the “short” version garments sold at Distribution Services? I have pretty short legs, and the short garments are still about three inches above my kneecap. The regular length usually comes down to my knee or slightly lower, so switching to the short ones has been great.
“Why is the CHI a binding document on my behavior and membership?”
Who said it was binding on anyone? It’s not. It’s only binding on those who choose it to be. Because they have enough trust and faith in the leadership of the Church for that to be the case.
The CHI is a guide for leaders to run the Church. It is only as binding as you own trust and faith in the laders allows it to be.
I find it offensive Under Armor is copying my garments. They don’t understand what under armor really means.
I am very unhappy with the current style of garments. For something that we are required to wear, there should be more options. They are often uncomfortable and show underneath my clothes.
I did not realize that garments could be any color, fabric, or have silk-screened markings. I wish this was the norm because wearing bright white under a black dress has caused me to choose fashion over covenants more than once.
The suggestions in this post are EXTREMELY reasonable, and I believe modesty should not be mandated by the Church.
On the face this seems reasonable, but I can’t help but sense some undertones of judgment. Namely, that those who don’t choose for it to be binding are seen as less faithful – you’re comment specifically suggests this.
Is faith measured by obedience to leaders and the policies they enact (with no say from me, and in a book that is largely confined to those in the ranks of leadership), or is faith measured by one’s devotion to Christ? Those two things aren’t the same thing, though many think they are. Many can attest to the stipulations the institution would impose when and where the scriptures and Christ’s own words are silent on the issue.
To that end, I think it’s important that we at least consider that the scriptures frequently talk about doing “no more” and “no less” than what the scriptures state. In other words, we don’t need to ADD to the scriptures, or TAKE away from them. We simply allow them to speak for themselves. By adding to them we unnecessarily impose restrictions where God likely never intended them… and then use those restrictions to judge the “faithfulness”, as you stated in your comment.
From the above hyperlinked article, I like this comment:
P.S. I would add Romans 14 to my original comment. There is a mighty fine message in there about not forcing your stipulations or interpretations on others… and, when others fail to meet your standards, about not judging them as not having as much trust or faith as you do.
I don’t think that quite works.
“Who said it was binding on anyone? It’s not. It’s only binding on those who choose it to be.”
That’s sorta like saying “God never said you HAVE to obey the commandments. He only said those who want to go to heaven have to obey them.” What your saying is that, assuming someone has felt the Spirit testify of the truthfulness of the restored church, it is only binding for people who ACTUALLY believe.
Yes there has to be trust, but what your espousing pulls us out of the restoration which focuses on the individual studying and praying to learn the truth, and places us smack dab in the middle ages where the general populace of the Catholic church was not allowed access to that material upon which their behavior was to be predicated.
Trust is fine, but I don’t think you can make a strong doctrinal case for blind trust, which when we don’t have access to the CHI but, if we are believers, are still bound by it is exactly the predicament we find ourselves in.
Since we don’t have the access to the CHI to study it and to pray about it, then what is its status in cultivating our relationship with Heavenly Father? If you are saying that the CHI is secret scripture which God expects us to adhere to without being able to read, then you need to give a more substantive answer than just “trust your leaders.” How am I to know if I am not in harmony with some aspect of the CHI? If someone wants to learn God’s will and live it, how can s/he do that if the CHI, which you say is binding, is not available to most of us? If we say that the CHI is not scriptural and not necessary for salvation as the reason it is not made generally available, then what is its status? If it is not necessary for salvation, then why is someone in the wrong for choosing to not adhere to it? If the CHI is not itself scripture, then shouldn’t it base itself in the revealed word of God rather than a non-revelatory policy based in tradition in order to be binding?
I don’t think I’m in conflict with the CHI in any way that I live my life, but how would I know if I were? As a believer who has faith in my leaders, how can I trust something I have no knowledge of? Sure, you could just again say “trust your leaders,” but the question is, trust them in what? If it is unclear what the role of the CHI is in bringing about salvation and how it applies to me, then how would I act in accordance with that which I don’t know as a manifestation of my trust in my leaders?
The easy answer is just “do what you’re told.” That answer erases any complexity in any situation and makes it easier to be a “good” member of the church because it relieves me of the responsibility of seeking revelation and studying the scriptures to learn God’s will, because as long as I just do what I’m told I’m demonstrating faith and trust in my leaders. That simplistic thinking of “just do what you’re told” wasn’t good enough for Joseph, it wasn’t good enough for Brigham, and it wasn’t good enough for Nephi, and I would say the same for most any prophet. Just because you trust someone is not enough to “just do what you’re told.” God expects us to study, learn, and take responsibility for behavior, and not just think “well, I’ve heard that this or that is in the CHI, and while I don’t really know what the CHI means for the plan of salvation, and never actually studied it myself, I might as well go along because I don’t need to know truth for myself as long as my leaders know it.”
Like I said, your answer is just not satisfactory. I like the sentiment of trusting our leaders, but that doesn’t help me understand anything concerning the questions I raised about the CHI.
You say, “While some leaders unfortunately interpret the CHI as “doctrine”, they are not the same. The CHI is a set of guidelines. It says IN the CHI that a leader’s personal inspiration is the most important thing.”
I like that idea of inspiration being more important then the exact text of the CHI, but that still leaves members in general in an awkward relationship to it. I’ve always heard that the reason the CHI is not available to the general membership is because the church wants that flexibility, but how are members supposed to view the binding nature of those guidelines? If the CHI’s status is unclear, then how should a member respond when s/he finds his or her self on the wrong side of it? If it is not doctrine, then on what grounds is enforced as such, and on what grounds should members adhere to that enforcement?
I hope my questions don’t seem like a threadjack: while they are not specifically about garments, they are (in my mind at least) about how members understand the relevance and binding nature of policy.
Simply love these ideas. Anything that makes wearing the garment easier should be considered!
Amen to SILKSCREENING the marks and TAGS!!
Especially those tags on the side of the womens tops and halfway down the rear on the bottoms. So itchy, cut them out and there are holes left…
#124 – That’s a great question, one that I think about often.
I think it in part comes down to the church leadership wanting to maintain control, without having to be ultimately accountable if something they say turns out to be wrong or shortsighted. When you come right out and say something is a revelation, that’s a pretty serous charge – it is powerful in fostering obedience, but it also it makes your whole organization look pretty foolish if when the said revelation ends up being incorrect or bad advice. Coming out with policies and what I like to call “quasi doctrine” like what is found in the CHI, allows church leaders to have their cake and eat it too. It works for them because at least some people treat every little policy like doctrine and obey, while at the same time calling them on any BS is like nailing jello to a wall. That’s the best explanation that I can come up with for why the church claims modern revelation as one of it’s greatest benefits, and what sets it apart from the rest of Christianity, but hasn’t received a revelation for over 30 years, and only a handful since the mid 1800s.
If the GAs don’t have the cahones to call a pronouncement, rule, or anything else a revelation from God, as far as I’m concerned it’s just somebody’s opinion. You are free to take it for what it is worth.
I like the sentiments you express, and maybe that is the only way to see it, but I wonder how those who thinks the CHI is as binding as scripture and temple covenants reasons out why it is binding.
The problem is that the CHI is a bit more serious than say, President Hinckley’s advice on earrings because, as far as I know, you aren’t going to be disciplined for having extra earrings, but you could be officially disciplined for violating the guidelines in the CHI. That means that whether or not someone views the CHI as opinion is irrelevant because that person could still be disciplined harshly based on what, to the person, is only opinion. When a person can be punished based on what is written in the CHI, then it becomes pretty significant for a person who would like to stay in good standing with the church.
I didn’t realize there was an option for shorter lengths, I’ll pay closer attention the next time I go to purchase more. I’ll bet that I have a combination of both longer and shorter pairs in my collection. That would explain why I’ve been noticing that some stick out, and others don’t.
If they have never ever made changes, then it would only seem like we are asking for changes because we are worldly and care more about personal comfort than commitment to covenants.
But the prophets and apostles have sanctioned changes, so it seems fair game to suggest reasonable requests for change.
I still think most would think that doing so is a sign of worldliness, and not received well. If you really want changes, the way to go about it is get Pres Monson’s daughter to agree to it, then let her influence change. If left up to the men, they’ll just think people should suck it up and deal, and not complain…things were more like that beach picture when they were young…so stop complaining.
If only the movie Inception was real….then maybe change could be planted???
I don’t doubt that it happened, but suspect that punishment for violation of something in he CHI, but not otherwise scriptural, claiming to be revelatory, and/or even available to the general membership is relatively rare.
As far as I can tell, one of the main purposes of publishing the CHI was simply to give local leaders a correlated answer to difficult questions that they would otherwise have no idea how to answer, as a way to provide uniformity in the church and to prevent local leaders from going off the deep end with their personal advice. If you feel capable of making the difficult decisions on your own, just pray about it don’t ask the opinion of the church. It likely isn’t their business anyway.
I frankly would love to see the church try to punish me or anyone else for a quasi doctrine that wasn’t scriptural and that they didn’t even tell me about beforehand. It would be laughable.
That being said, ultimately being in good standing may come down to being obedient even when it defies logic, fairness and common sense and personal revelation. Personally, I’d jump ship long before that ever happened.
Just look on the package when you by them, the short ones have an “S” after the waist size. The tags on the garments will also have the number indicated waist size immediately followed by the “S.”
I, for one, love the shorter versions because I can actually wear normal mens’ shorts and not have to worry about looking stupid with my underwear hanging out the bottom.
#148: Heber13 stated:
But the prophets and apostles have sanctioned changes, so it seems fair game to suggest reasonable requests for change.
This is the whole point. If garments had NEVER changed from the time they were first created, then it is safe to assume that the actual form was given directly from God and was essential to their function.
However, because they have changed with regards to length, form, color, format of markings, etc (and in some cases quite drastically), these things CANNOT be an essential part of the garment. It is therefore quite reasonable to ask if the FORM of garments can continue to be modified, while not changing their FUNCTION.
I agree with the changes you suggested (Although, I would prefer white to be the norm as for some reason the thought of blue garments just does not seem right.) as it doesn’t make any sense to make the garments any more inconvenient or uncomfortable than necessary, given their stated purpose.
As a temple worthy member who wears garments because “I have to” I can honestly say that I truly detest wearing them. It is not that I want to wear immodest clothing or forget the covenants which I have made it is just that they really are uncomfortable. Who wants to wear layers in the summer? Who wants to have lines in their clothing? Who wants to wear white and have everyone know that you have your garments on? Who wants to be judged when someone can’t see your garment lines and assume you don’t have them on and then you explain to them that you are wearing CAPRI garments so, you DON’T have the lines.
A camisole and boy shorts seem to me to be a good upgrade but, honestly…still layers. Rather than having a sense of protection and gratitude towards the garment I often times am so annoyed by them that I can’t respect them the way that I should. And let it be known that I am not trying to wear daisy dukes and tube tops. I am 5 foot 2 and dealing with garments that come up to my belly button. I am dealing with sweaty armpits from the extra material rubbing there in the heat. I get heat rashes on my thighs in the summer. They are uncomfortable! I hope that the leaders of our church might recognise that my love for the gospel and the Savior and for the Temple and for my standing in the church should not have to come down to wearing an extra layer of clothing! And yes, while feeling sexy for your husband is a bonus, being able to put on a tank top and garden (without feeling like I am going to lose a temple recommend) when it is 100 degrees outside would really be the icing on the cake!
Members are known for being a modest bunch and I believe that modesty is not even in question. Would I start rolling around in itsy bitsy clothing? Absolutely not! I have a sense of self worth and integrity that would not alter. I wish that I could be in charge of my modesty and be held accountable for my own choice of clothing rather than have the choice made for me.
Wow, I guess you struck a nerve. It is nice to have a place and a moment to vent. Do I think this will change anything? No. But, it is always nice to try. I guess the bright side is that we are not wearing Hijab.
I do think the response to this comment is representative to the whole point of this post. James has found a style of garments that works better for him, yet still allows him to keep his covenants, yet at the time of this post, 2 people have voted dislike and 0 have voted like.
Just for the history of changes, Heber J Grant authorized the change to the short-sleeve, short-leg version in 1923 (27?). The long-leg long sleeve version continued to be used in the temple through the 1960’s. The two-piecer was authorized by S.W. Kimball in about 1978.
Other readers of this blog are MUCH better historians than I am, and since I’m pulling the dates off the top of my head, I may be off by a few years.
FWIW, the change to short sleeve garments is one of the items fundamentalist groups claim is a sign that mainstream LDS is apostate…
Went to this website in despair over the gossip that’s been circulating about me and my garments!!! I, like many on this forum, struggle with garments – the bottoms slip down lower and lower as the day progresses – so constant hitching especially if they are not new. The tops ride up and up so I’m pulling them down all day. I’m sure me work colleagues (all non members) think I have a twitch or something. The worst time was when a colleague was admiring my tanned legs and pulled my skirt up – she got more than she bargained for!
Then there’s the thrush, soreness, sweating, linage and so on…
All this I can handle but it’s the members that are doing me in. I have recently been called to primary. There I am – sitting on miniature chairs, marching up and down, being ‘hinges’, stretching up, bending down – all bad stuff for garments. And the gossip has started – my garments show – they don’t like it as there are ‘men in the room.’
No-one tells me though – they ‘kindly’ mention it to others and word gets round, finally, to me. Now I’m going to serve, wondering what I’m showing, and which small-minded women might be taking offence.
I admit I don’t wear skirts down t my ankles – like many in our ward do. However, I am ‘modestly’ dressed – and my dresses sit on my knee.
On design: What about petticoats? Why can’t we have them with marks? Who finds they can’t wear white? Even think rotten t-shirts / trousers show the odd shape of the garment underneath especially if I’m trussed up with a bra as well. Who wear a bra OVER their camisole? Lots of non-members get the camisole concept- but the bra on top??? However, I need a bra to keep everything in place – otherwise the garment ends up under my chin.
Just needed to get this out there.
Oops – not think rotten – thick cotton! Freudian slip…
o fi, i’m so sorry people are talking about you! i wonder if they talk about me too…i am in primary also, and in those tiny chairs? forget about it! of COURSE my g’s are gonna show! maybe if they’d allow us to wear pants i could cover them properly, right? not to mention i’m super pregnant and can’t even cross my legs. i sit on the front row with the sunbeams and figure hey, if the ladies up there are offended by it, maybe they could just RELEASE ME (i don’t love my calling, can you tell?).
i’m also surprised at the shock in your ward because ‘there are men in the room!’ based on the experiences of those posting here, most women (and their partners) find garments rather DAMPENING to the sex drive, rather than enflaming. they’re coverings, after all. not revealings. making sacred coverings into scandalous revealings is a sad and deeply inconvenient (for the ladies, anyway) move our church culture has made. garments should not be associated with modesty. how do we untangle that thread?
Something else that needs untangling –
The idea that wearing garments will somehow prevent me from infidelity. If there was a barrier to prevent me from being involved in not being faithful to my wife, it would be my love for her and my integrity, not some extra layer of clothing. The idea garments would stop me after those things didn’t is preposterous.
Thanks for making me laugh and feel better – hadn’t considered my underwear would be so titillating to the men!!!
I actually LOVE wearing the garment and having a daily reminder of my covenants. Having said that, I’m open to the changes you outline.
PLEASE add a provision specifically for maternity tops–I wasn’t so fond of wearing them when I was pregnant. The bigger my baby bump got, the more noticeable the marking became. Everyone’s gaze fixed permanently on that part of my body for several months (because you can’t NOT look at a pregnant lady’s bump), and I know people were wondering what that marking was all about…
Silk-screened markings in maternity garments should be standard-issue!
if you’re going to submit this to church leadership, may want to edit out some of the comments and back and forth. just a thought.
Agreed. I was going to leave actual comments about actual experiences real people have had with garments, people’s feelings about garments and temple covenants, and suggestions people made. I am also going to make sure that everyone’s anonymity is preserved.
The goal is for this to hopefully be a productive effort and not just a rant session.
Email Feedback@store.lds.org !!
They need to know.
I did and gave them some pointers about garments and they gave me a phone call back.
Thanks for the insight. I’m going to wait another week or so to see if there are any more comments, then package all this together and pass it along. I may also talk to a few church leaders as well.
Just out of curiosity – what types of pointers did you make and how well were they received?
Amen… would love to hear what they said…
For all this talk of “enforcement” and compliance… I’ve never had anyone check and see if I’m wearing my “church-approved” garments. Whether I wear them and when I wear them is up to me. I believe that if I suddenly chose to make my own…No one but me would ever know and as far as I understand, I would still be keeping my covenants.
I agree with having different garments. I haven’t been through the temple yet, but I feel aprehensive about doing so because the garments seem like something my 50 something parents should be comfortable with, but aren’t necessarily the best fit for a 21 year old. If there was a camisole top and shorter/tighter bottoms to make wearing normal clothes possible, I think I would feel a lot more okay about wearing garments. Older generations of the church have to understand that things are NOT the same for young people as they were for them. As much as they want them to be, it is not going to happen.
Thank you for your honest feelings.
Again, this is the point of this post. The temple is the pinnacle of the LDS experience. Yet there is an understandable reticence to go through the temple because of the “burden” many people feel with the current design of garments.
Garments have been changed substantially throughout the years as fashions and materials have changed. We should continue these changes (as people have pointed out above) so that garments are a little of an imposition on people as possible, yet still serve their essential function. Things like cap sleeves or waists that come up to the navel are NOT part of the essential function, so should be changed.
I’d just like to point out that the cap sleeves are completely useless anyway because they just end up rolling and bunching up! So a cami with a 1-inch strap or something to that effect would definitely be nice and would have basically the same effect.
The only other thing I will add is that I would pay more for garments that are more workable – flat seams, no lace, wicking fabric, kill the cap sleeves or at least widen the pits. People in hot climates are sweating like a bunch of suckers. We are grody. OTOH, it does protect my clothes from wear and tear due to sweat, and that much I like.
Like #163, 3 years ago, i got a call from one of the two garment designers following a lengthy letter I’d written with my positive suggestions regarding the 100% cotton chemise. I could have written a very critical letter about everything else but chose to be positive. The designer–a wonderful woman in her 60s–was very open and VERY POSITIVE herself. The Carinessa II top was in the works at the time–it took 4 years to design and produce that top! It was an older woman at Beehive who vetoed the sleeve removal, NOT A MAN, NOT THE Q12 or Presiding Bishopric and, I wish to be clear, NOT THE DESIGNER!
The question is not should women have a boyshort panty or a thong or underwear to their knees. This is not someone else’s decision to make. Women–and men, for that matter–should be able to choose and wear what is comfortable to THEM! Commercial underwear comes in sooooo many styles because what is comfortable to one is irritating and distracting to another.
My one request regarding the new Cari II top was a “generic” neckline, that is not lace or “cute, feminine” lace. That was discussed by Beehive–because I’m not alone having that preference–but in the end, the vote was for a ‘feminine” neckline.
Garment prices are subsidized by the church–at different levels in different parts of the world. The Cari II is the highest cost garment they make. They really don’t care that some of us would pay alot more for garments; they have to be affordable to the poorest in the church.
Great post, btw. I’ve said the same things until I’m sick of saying them.
What’s needed is a huge paradigm shift. So many of the comments show that many members believe garments should be “this and that” when there’s no basis other than tradition for them. Even the White thing. Joseph’s garments were unbleached muslin, NOT WHITE.
hawkgiiirl: more flat seaming was vetoed because of cost. The Cari II has one set of flat seams. They take more thread and time.
For those with allergies, you can have special order bamboo knit garments made. i don’t guarantee the fit–mine were huge! Also, I have a friend who, after explaining her allergies issues was given permission–that makes me laugh that we feel we need “permission” to make an intimate article of clothing work for us–permission to remove all lace and serge the all edges. She also turns all the seams to the outside. Essentially, she has to remake every garment she wears. The has eczema scars on her arms where the lace use to rub.
Mike — have you sent the contents of this post and the comment section off to Salt Lake yet?
I was going to wait a bit to make sure I had all comments. I actually plan send it off this week. Life has been crazy with finals for kids, house projects and Memorial Day trips. I’ll put up another “official” post when I do so with any responses.
Here is a story from the Friend in June 2011. Doesn’t it seem like we’ve taken this WAY too far when a 4 year old can’t wear a sundress from her grandma?
I recently posted on my blog about saying “Goodbye to garments”, and one of the commenters referred me to your post. I’m so glad he did, because this was just fabulous! Thank you! Pretty much my whole point was that the garments are an outward symbol of an inward devotion or commitment. I personally don’t wear mine anymore, because I disagree with parts of the temple covenants, and so I don’t want to wear a representation of those covenants on my body as a reminder. However, there are so many members who would love to wear a symbol of those covenants, but the garments are just so inconvenient, and seem very arbitrary in their design as you have showed. When I was in my zealous phase, I never knew that. I thought current garments were the gold standard, and that was that. I had no idea about all the changes that had already been made.
One commenter on my blog made the interesting observation, that even though we are instructed in the temple to wear the garment, we never actually covenant to do so. I haven’t been to the temple in a long time, but I don’t remember garments being a part of the actual covenants in the endowment ceremony.
Anyway, thanks so much for your thoughtful post!
I find this post very sad. Obviously, many members have lost perspective about what the garment represents and the protection that it gives you. The church has been very accomdating when it comes to different styles and fabrics for the garment. But they all still cover the same parts of our bodies and offer the same protection and remind us of sacred covenants we have made personally with God. They are not always convenient, but they are worth it. We may go to a non-church related function and have to deal with the temptation of alcohol, coffee, tea, physical temptations but our garments are a reminder of our values. How can we expect God to keep his promises to us if we can’t even keep a small promise to wear a reminder of our sacred covenants with him.
We don’t start saying obeying the word of wisdom is an inconvenience. We don’t start saying our marriage covenants and etermal family blessings are an inconvenience. We don’t start saying our blessings from obeying our coventants are an inconvenience. But we say so of our sacred garments? How selfish do we have to be? These are things of the world that we feel we are missing out on. Yeah, in the summer I get hot. It is worth the sacrifice. We don’t have to wear our garments all the time. I don’t wear mine to exercise or swim or to be intimate in my marriage. I can still feel sexy with my husband no matter what I wear.
As for the different colours of garments. Those exceptions are specifically for those who have jobs (uniforms) in which they cannot wear the white garment. It is not for their personal lives. Such as the coloured garments for those in the army,/navy/marines they have these special garments so they can still wear them while they are serving their country because they would not be able to wear them otherwise. Like I stated before, they are not always convenient, but they are worth it.
Our covenant to wear our garments when we go through the temple is between us and God. Each to their own. It is very easy to count the things we would love to change. Maybe, we can also see how wonderful we may feel to count our blessings instead of the small inconveniences of this life.
Yes, it is sad
I’d really like a garment in the style of a brief, not a boxer. Because of a medical condition I need the support for my testicles that briefs provide. I wear briefs under the garment, uncomfortable as it is, but I have gotten lymph node infections a few times due to excessive sweating in the groin region caused by wearing three layers of clothing (brief, garments,pants) in the hot southern California climate. I wear the garment the majority of the time, but if I get an infection, or if the weather is hot or I am going to be outside for hours at a time I have to go without the garment to keep from getting an infection.
Change is glacial in the Church and because of that slowness many members are leaving. Garments are a huge issue for many good, faithful members of the church. Asking for modifications for comfort, safety, and INCREASED modesty do not make one unfaithful.
I write increased modesty because the way in which women’s garments are made actually make me feel more immodest. They bunch up, they slip down, they show lines that look awkward and all of that brings visual attention by members and non-members alike. Add in a job where you are standing in front of hundreds of teenagers each day teaching and wearing garments becomes an exercise in subterfuge.
I have no wish to spend my daily life hiding my garments from those who would laugh at them, abuse them, and spit on them if they had the chance. It is stressful.
Garments should fit closely to the skin, be wearable without falling out of my sleeves or crawling up to my neckline, in colors that match the clothing I wear over them, have options of lace or no lace, sleeves or nor sleeves.
These modifications would not change the purpose of the garment, the reminder we are covenanted children of God who love Him and keep his covenants.
It saddens me that the hierarchy in charge of these decisions refuses to listen these types of reasonable suggestions. It smacks of the type of control that does not belong in a church of God, who gave his children the right to think for themselves and choose.
Thank you for this thread. I wrote a letter to the RS general President and got a canned response back. No one in slc is listening!!!!!!!! Has the threads author heard any feedback yet?
Does anyone know the process for special ordering g’s – like the bamboo ones? I’m quite interested in that route…
I just got a new style top- and it’s a big improvement. So, someone is listening.
I hope they are listening. I’ll give more of an update when/if I hear back.
In the meantime, I saw a sign at Six Flags Magic Mountain this week. I took a picture of it and added it as an addendum to this post. Is it a new trend? 🙂
John, you can ask for the special order garments at a DC or on the phone. Be prepared to be made to feel unworthy–but maybe they only do that to the women. The friend I mentioned earlier was in tears after she called requesting those. I placed a call to the garment designer who had told me to have my friend to go that route and she was appaled at the treatment my friend had received. They give women the third degree but they may not treat men that way. Anyway, you can’t get the bamboo just because you feel like it but, on the other hand, they don’t ask to see a doctor’s note.
Alice, the overwhelmingly positive response to the new top is really sad. It shows how desperately women wanted a change that they’ll settle for such a crappy design. Huge tag, refusal to include more flat seaming–because we, women, are not worth the extra expense–flat seams use more threat and take more time. Refusal to silk-screen the marks on the inside so if the garment is worn over the bra–so my bra would actually fit–the marks are invisible and do not attract attention to a part of my anatomy I thought I was supposed to not attract attention to. Made for narrow shoulders so that the neck creeps up and shows inside an open color. Yeah, great improvement! Of and the “feminine” neck finish most of us would rather do without.
..and that would be “appalled” and “collar.”
Haha…. yes, the tag in the back was uncomfortable. I could do without the heart elastic at the neckline, and I’d love silk screened marks (although that can be fixed by wearing looser fitting shirts (I like snug fits, so I wear my bra on top to avoid those problems).
Obviously the new design isn’t perfect, but it’s still an improvement. I plan on emailing and letting them know what I love and what I don’t love about the new tops.
I really like the new bottoms that don’t have lace around the bottom, and have the wider waistband.
Sad Ellie – “Yeah, in the summer I get hot. It is worth the sacrifice.” All due respect, if you live in a low humidity climate (AZ, NV, and UT are all exceptionally arid climates), then you don’t have any idea what you are talking about. What I find sad is the lack of empathy in your comments and your assumption that your wilting fellow members are worldly sin-seekers. If so, why are we wearing garments in the first place? We’ve made the same covenants you have.
I joined the church years before I became active. Once I was active I was married in the temple 5 months later…and what a shock that was. The day I went through the temple was one of the worst days of my life. The missionaries do not prepare new members for all the rules, hidden agendas, and crap members will go through. This is why so many fall away. I went through and was in utter shock. I thought the temple was going to be spiritual and give me the feelings I had in the movie Families Can Be Together Forever. Ha! I wanted to run out and scream when I was in the endowment session, but instead the temple president came and spoke with me. I felt stuck because I was getting married a day later. My wedding day my mother and my family were unable to attend and I was stuck at an alter in weird crap with people I barely knew. It was an unfortunate day. The garments have been a concern for me for 12 years now. I am a petite little thing so the waste of the bottoms goes up to my chest or if I pull it down, the crotch hangs to my knees. My husband laughs and thinks it is ridiculous. My shirts hang off my shoulders and is a pain. I never believed in the temple or the garments but I did it in hopes I would understand and that everyone would notice and judge me if I didn’t wear them. I honetly can say, I still think they are silly and so I don’t care what people think. I don’t wear them anymore. I was wearing them for the wrong reasons. Maybe some day I will understand them, but for now, I feel that I don’t appreciate them and they really are meaningless to me. I shouldn’t wear them just because I’m scared of what so and so will think. I think the are digrating for a woman and the church is still very man made. Men, have no problem wearing them. They typically wear under shirts and boxer briefs, but for us woman….come on now. I think its great if you do have a testimony of them. More power to you. Come visit me in one of the lower kingdoms. 🙂
I agree with the changes. A camisole top would be perfect, and boxer-type shorter shorts for women and men also. My garments go below my knees, and this makes it impossible to wear shorts and many skirts.
I live in Brazil. It is very hot, and very, very humid. Almost nowhere has air conditioning. Wearing 2 sets of clothing makes me so hot and sweaty I get nauseous, so some days I need to go without at least the top.
Also, different countries and cultures have differente standards of what is acceptable in terms of how much skin is showing. Brazil is very lenient. It’s hot, so people do wear smaller, shorter and more revealing clothing, and nobody bats an eye or goes nuts. Women breastfeed openly with no problem.
Nursing and maternity gGarments also badly need a review, because the current models juts don’t work.
I’m all for change!
Thanks for the feedback. I think the Church thinks that making a different fabric will solve the problem for members like you in Brazil. In reality, if we are going to be wearing 2 layers of clothes, we should make them as minimal as possible, still respecting the markings. A camisole top and boxers would be great.
Oh man! I vote for you. The whole reason I googled undergarments is because of my struggle to wear them, and you covered every issue, word for word! Man, if you can ever be in a position to propose to make this happen, DO SO! Just remember to make adjustable ones with more comfortable waistbands for pregnant women so they don’t have to go buy a week’s worth of expensive undergarments every month or two weeks, becaue it’s true…. as the baby grows every week, so do we. That is my biggest struggle right now. I vote for your designs all the WAY, believe it!
I stumbled to your website while doing an online search “where can I give suggestions for changing Mormon garments?” I wear them about once a week and I find myself frustrated the entire day. I dress modestly and still can’t wear a dress that goes to my knees because the garments will show while I walk and why do these things go SO HIGH, why above my belly button!!!??? Even the short version goes to my belly button. Ridiculous. I don’t even want to get started about my issues with the tops, but here are a few: tucking in my tops is annoying and frustrating because they come untucked (I hate tucking to begin with), buying long tops is not an option because that’s more material I have to fight with, I wear collared shirts and STILL the garment shows, the sewing is terrible and rolls, they are poorly made and twist or are cut at a weird angle, the ruffle/lace is okay because it doesn’t roll but why does it have to be so obvious and ugly…. I could probably go on for a while. I’ve been battling this for some time and the more people I talk to about them seem to feel the same way – frustrated. Especially women. I’ve had this garment battle for almost 5 years and I completely agree with the changes you’ve suggested. I wear camisoles almost every day, and I don’t have to fight to keep them in place or to cover them with more and more clothing; most importantly, I’m not embarrassed to wear them because of the random underwear lace or thick seam. I wish I could find a suggestion box that goes straight to the top of the food chain 🙂 Thanks for letting me vent.
Nikki & April:
I just noticed your comments – it has been a while since I’ve checked back on this post. Thanks for dropping by and leaving your thoughts. This is a topic which seems to affect just about everyone. I have received messages from around the world regarding this.
I’m getting something together regarding this, so stay tuned for an upcoming post relating to this. And hopefully, it will “bump up the food chain”.
As a man I find men’s garment bottoms extremely uncomfortable and sometimes painful without wearing a supportive garment underneath — particularly when it is hot. I am surprised that I have not heard of many other LDS men having this same feeling.
I emailed the LDS store and asked where we can send our suggestions and comments:
You can use the Feedback link on the online store to submit suggestions to Beehive Clothing. This link is in a brown ribbon towards the bottom right-hand corner of any page of the store.
I agree, I would like to see a nice fitted one piece for under dresses that does not have sleeves that hang out under the sleeves of the evening gown.
I don’t see why we couldn’t have a brazier type, with a boy short bottom high enough to have everything needed on the garment.
It’s not about modesty, I’m all for modesty, it’s about bunching and hanging out where there is simply nothing you can do about it…
great post! i agree 100%.
are you saying,
if I went out and bought a t-shirt from Gap, and I silkscreened the markings on the inside of the T-shirt, it could still count as a garment top?
I completely agree with this post. I got married at 18 last year, and feel as if I am forced to dress as if I am 90 years old just to comply with my temple covenants. I love my savior and still have the highest respect for the church and my covenants, but I rarely, if ever, feel pretty/sexy for myself or my husband. I have struggled all year and will continue to struggle with feeling frumpy and unattractive unless something changes. At only 5′ 2″ even the petite garments are far too big for me. The waistline on the bottoms extends to my bra line, and the tops extend several inches down my thighs, so when I tuck them in, there is unattractive bunching at my hips. The changes you have suggested would be beyond perfect for me and many others I am sure.
I agree whole heartedly, as I have had a very hard time with this because I know that the only thing about them that’s doctrinal is the symbols. I’m an athlete, and being female as well makes it even harder. And I understand wanting to help young people define what is modest and what isn’t, but we are adults by the time we are able to enter the temple, we know what’s modest and what isn’t. Also, having garments a certain length, etc. isn’t stopping people from rolling the bottoms up from the knee to wear slightly shorter dresses or skirts, or rolling them down at the waist to make them more comfortable and wearable with pants. We like to cover ourselves, but we also like to look attractive and feel good about our bodies, especially when we are married. Ironically, my first year of Girl’s Camp was in New Orleans and my shorts were at mid-thigh and no one had any problems with them or the sleeveless t-shirts (not tank tops) that a few of my friend’s had. However, when I wore a pair of soccer shorts (also mid thigh) when I moved to Washington, I was asked to leave a youth conference activity because my shorts were too short because my knees were showing.
The other thing this reminds me of is when the Church came out to comment on the sales of drinks at BYU and how none of them were caffeinated. It was the first time that the church actually gave it’s official statement when it comes to caffeine. It’s neither for or against it. Coffee is a no, but Coke, Pepsi, etc.? They want us to make our own decisions about it. I feel it should be the same way with modesty. I agree, knees and shoulders are nothing to be ashamed of, they’re not immodest. Showing cleavage and upper thighs, yes, that’s too much, but I feel that if the Church put into practice the changes you have stated here, we wouldn’t have those issue anyways. So kudos and thank you for posting this! It was an absolute joy to read!
Mike S, has there been any response from Beehive Clothing, or HQ? I would be thrilled to know that someone is actually listening to the members. Until then, I’m going commando.
Still very interested in if there was any response from the church to this.
I enjoyed reading these posts except barely skimmed the ones that didn’t directly have to do with garment styles. My problem is allergies and ill fitting female garments. I also have a daughter whose husband is not a member and she regrets going to the temple without him and having to live with his ridicule of her garments. She has more allergies than I do and hers fit her even worse. We have tried all the styles. She is a trooper in wearing them still, but is having serious doubts, especially knowing that her grandparents and great grandparents all were able to make their own garments and that the church even used to have authorized patterns for people to make their own. We were told at the Beehive clothing center that you could special order garments to fit you if needed. However when we asked we were denied because we did not have odd measurements as they deemed. We have also been told that it is a sacrifice we need to make to show our commitments. I don’t agree with this theory. I think we can wear garments that do not sacrifice our basic comfort. I don’t think we should have to put up with rashes, bunchiness, to name a few. I believe we can have and wear garments that are fully modest, complete with the cap sleeve and knee length without sacrificing comfort. I know this is also the goal at Beehive clothiers even though they don’t satisfy everyone or hardly female currently. So my suggestion would be that we are allowed to either make or buy underclothes that live up to garment specifications, and either have the church or ourselves put on the markings, just like our faithful grandparents did, and waalaa, we are good to go – no guilt, only comfort.
I know the church has made the policy that people can no longer make their own garments because people were getting so diverse and the church couldn’t control it all – too much of a burden on a global scale, so they are taking a one size fits all type of approach, while trying to accommodate with different styles and fabrics that maybe satisfy some people. However I’ve rarely come across someone that didn’t have a complaint about fit – that was female. Right now the only style that is comfortable to me is a mens garment. My husband is adamant he not see me in it or else! So basically I rarely let him see me in garments, have become very private that way. I’m starting to ramble, but bottom line is I hope they give us back some freedom in letting us make garments that actually fit us and are comfortable.
Have you thought about asking God if it’s okay with him for you to make your own garment? If you feel that you receive an answer in the positive, is it anyone’s, and I mean anyone’s business that you have done so? If you feel that you are in line with the Lord and your covenant, just answer the temple recommend question as you would if the Lord were asking you, and don’t offer any details. It’s a bit weird that we have men asking us women about our underwear anyway. Believe me, I doubt they will pry, and if they do, just tell them that you are keeping your covenant.
I would love for some real changes to be made in women’s (and men’s) garments. People are not one-size-fits-all, and our gospel is definitely a one-size-fits-all!
I have a great desire to wear my garments, but find the discomfort unbearable and the heat intolerable. I have resorted to rarely wearing them, except the occasional day that I am feeling particularly sacrificing. But I am angry, itchy, and fidgety all day. Saints used to make their own garments, and I believe this is more a practice than a principle. I believe the principle is to wear certain symbols that remind us of temple covenants and truths. I think all the bunched sleeves, constraining lace-ends, higher-than-heaven ride-ups and anxiety over your whites showing constantly (even when your outfit is very modest and you were certain you’d be ok) is making that hard for me. I think God wants us to be happy, obedient, and probably resourceful. To be properly covered, I wear coverings, modest base layers to cover my coverings, and on top of that, normal clothes to cover my coverings covers. I live in a hot climate and its too much.
I think after this post I will make my own garments. I can find comfortable article of clothing that fit current garments standards and put in the symbols myself. If I make my own garments, I can better remember their true purpose without all the uncomfortable distraction.
I think God wants us to be agents unto ourselves, capable of looking at what information we have, and then make a decision with our eyes towards heaven. I love the truths taught in the temple, but I hate the one-size-fits-all manufactured garments we are currently sold. I know that the symbols are important and unchanging, while cut, color, material, and method of manufacturing have changed over time for various reasons. I also know there is a difference between principle and practice. Using my ability to think and solve problems, and my love for God, I will very thoughtfully and lovingly pick out appropriate articles, put in garments symbols, wear these garments faithfully and fulfill temple instruction in remembering my covenants, and commend my effort to God.
I really appreciate the ideas put forth in this blog. It is also very considerate of females, which I feel is lacking in our current garment production. I think we all have different struggles, and we need to be loving, encouraging, and not judge our brothers and sisters.
Michaela, you might enjoy this piece I wrote over at BCC: http://bycommonconsent.com/2013/05/13/female-garments-the-underwear-business/
amen! great post.
YOU TOTALLY NAILED IT!!!! Thank you, Oh thank you for writing this post!!! You took the words right outta my mouth!
If I were in charge of men’s tops, I would get a softer material for the name tag or just print the information on the shirts. The tag is stiff and hard and takes a while to soften after several washes.
I just wish they had women’s garments that were actually functional. When it comes to clothing, I like what’s practical and comfortable. I’ve appreciated many comments here, but am surprised that more women haven’t mentioned how impractical garments are- they simply do not make garments that are comfortable for pregnant women- practical or functional for nursing women, and especially for wearing during your period. They have attempted (and failed) to make garments that work when pregnant and nursing, but have never addressed the needs of every woman who has a period- I can only conclude that it isn’t expected that we wear them all the time- because it simply isn’t possible with our current options.
What about this:
“It was while they were living in Nauvoo that the Prophet came to my mother, who was a seamstress by trade, and told her that he had seen the Angel Moroni with the garments on, and asked her to assist in cutting out the garments. They spread unbleached muslin out on the table and he told her how to cut it out. She had to cut the third pair, however, before he said it was satisfactory. She told the prophet that there would be sufficient cloth from the knee to the ankle to make a pair of sleeves, but he told her he wanted as few seams as possible and that there would be sufficient whole cloth to cut the sleeve without piecing. The first garments were made of unbleached muslin and bound with turkey red and were without collars. Later on the prophet decided he would rather have them bound with white. Sister Emma Smith, the Prophet’s wife, proposed that they have a collar on as she thought they would look more finished, but at first the prophet did not have the collars on them. After Emma Smith had made the little collars which were not visible from the outside of the dress, Sister Eliza R. Snow made a collar of fine white material which was worn on the outside of the dress. The garment was to reach to the ankle and the sleeves to the wrist. The marks were always the same.””
Dont think that was ok change anything.
I must say that the discussion surprised me. Trying to make yourself comfortable comes first. I do not get it. God has given us so important information through the Prophet Joseph Smith. Garment is a shield. So much I wish to wear one piece. such as in the time of the Prophet when he saw angel Moroni In the garment. From wrist to ankle. since 1975 I can’t. even one piece (short) are no longer. Hete I read a discussion that shocked me. Just wait some time. fashion wins over sacredness.Joseph F.Smith warned before this. Until 1975 had everybody possibility to wear original garment. Not now. Sad. Really is the fashion soooo important? Why should be word of God be changed?