The Garment, with additions

The following represents a follow-up on my “The Garment” post, which was originally written as essentially an open-ended question on the subject.  In that post, I wrote the kinds of things was I told about priesthood garments prior to attending the temple, things like:

  • Garments should be kept completely white in color.  No stains, etc.
  • Garments should not be left on the floor before or after doing laundry.
  • Garments should be laundered separate from other clothing.
  • Garments should not show under the other clothing you wear.
  • Garments should only be removed for absolutely necessary reasons, e.g. showering and having sexual relations with spouse, and should be put back on as soon as reasonably possible.
  • Garments must be touching your skin, i.e. no panties or bras under the Garments for women [my wife was told by a temple matron that during menstruation, the pad should be applied directly to the Garments instead of using panties].
  • Garments offer physical protection from injuries such as burns.

And then, I wrote out what I was told in the post-2005 ceremony, which was:

  • The officiator was under proper authority
  • The garment was now authorized
  • The garment is to be worn throughout life.
  • The garment represents what was given to Adam/Eve when found naked in the garden.
  • The garment is called the garment of the holy priesthood.
  • Inasmuch as the garment is not defiled — meaning the wearer is true and faithful to the covenants — it will be a shield and a protection against the power of the destroyer until the earthly probation is finished.

I then wrote about some of the things I saw as divergent between what members are told about their priesthood garment and what we are actually instructed as the standard with respect to our priesthood garments — leaving the matter at that.

Well, between the comments I got on that post, as well as the subject of garments coming up at the-exponent and Wheat & Tares blogs and my comments at those sites — I’ve formulated this post [which is currently still included in the Gospel-based, Egalitarian, Multihusband-Multiwife Tribal Anarchy Model book project].

Typical View:  Garments ≠ clothing:

LDS will typically divide their closets and drawers into two categories:  garments and clothing.

A “modest” human being is expected to wear clothing at all conceivable times — whether they have been to the temple or not.  And then, once, as an LDS, you go to the temple, you will then begin wearing garments in addition to your clothing.

Garments are considered [in the typical view] to be nothing but a newer and more sacred form of underwear.  Your outside appearance as an LDS who has just started wearing your garments will not change — unless you were in the habit of wearing non-modest clothing before-hand — then, that would need to change so that the garments you are going to start wearing under your clothing won’t be seen.

Actual View:  Garments = clothing and clothing = garments:

There is a dividing line [of sorts] between clothing in your closet, but it is not a division between clothing and garments.  All garments are in fact clothing and all clothing are in fact nothing but garments.  What there is in actuality is two types of clothing [or two types of garments].  There are:

  • Normal, everyday clothing — as worn by all non-LDS
  • Priesthood clothing — as all temple-attending LDS have been authorized to wear

The words “clothing” and “garment” are synonymous.  They both signify that which is used to cover your nakedness.

clothing |ˈklōði ng |
1. items worn to cover the body


garment |ˈgärmənt|
1. an item of clothing.

So, that which are called “garments” [in the typical view] are actually [in the actual view] a special type of garments [or clothing] that endowed LDS have the authorization to wear and that are marked to show that they are in fact priesthood clothing [rather than normal, everyday clothing].  Your outside appearance as an LDS who has just started wearing your priesthood clothing would, of necessity, be different than before-hand — unless you get in the habit of wearing non-priesthood clothing on top of them — so as to appear just like everybody else on the outside.

Covering the coverings:

Insofar as the priesthood garment is given to represent the coats of skins given to Adam and Eve when they were found naked in the garden of Eden — it should be a practical piece of clothing.  However, I’ve found that most find it to be quite the opposite:  an irritation and a generally unpractical thing to have to wear under your everyday clothing.

This is all such a problem because LDS are taught through oral tradition to worry about covering their coverings?  And since the subject of the priesthood garment is linked closely to the subject of body modesty, women are uniquely impacted in this regard.  Among my family members, in my congregation, and online, I have found that most women must fret constantly about whether or not their clothing covers their garments or whether they ought to wear panties/bras under or over the garment, etc.  Shopping is difficult for them.  They experience poor fit, have difficulty finding working sizes, and complain about how garments get in the way of everything — especially when its hot.  If it is the intention of the priesthood garment to be our covering — then why care so much about covering the covering?

The intention of the priesthood garment is to cover the nakedness of men and women while they work out their mortal probation.  Given that purpose, it is obviously the intention that the priesthood garment [being the covering] be seen rather than what is below the covering [the nakedness].

Let all thy garments be plain […] of the work of thine own hands:

And again, thou shalt not be proud in thy heart; let all thy garments be plain, and their beauty the beauty of the work of thine own hands; And let all things be done in cleanliness before me.

The issue with this verse is that most who read it have been raised according to the typical view of garments vs. clothing [rather than priesthood clothing vs. normal, everyday clothing] — as such, they will come to the text with the assumption that since this usage of “garment” came before the endowment proper was formulated and the garment of the holy priesthood administered to members — that the word obviously just means our normal, everyday clothing [which, funny enough, we don’t comply with anyway.  We all shop at stores don’t we?]

Prior to initiation, our garments [or clothing] are identical to those worn by other non-LDS.  In the temple endowment, LDS are authorized, put under covenant, and instructed in wearing priesthood garments [or clothing].  At the veil, we are taught what converts a normal garment into a priesthood garment — i.e. the marks.

What they misunderstand is that what the Lord is saying here is that any-and-all garments [or clothing] ought to be made by our own hand.  Meaning — the verse applies equally to normal, everyday garments and to priesthood garments.  Whether you wear one or the other — they are to be plain and their work and beauty should be done by your own hand.

Now people will typically comply with the temple’s instruction to wear the priesthood garment both night and day by wearing two sets of clothing — normal, everyday garments on top of priesthood garments.

However, one is equally free to wear only the priesthood garment that is the work of their own hands, in accordance with D&C 42:40-41, by either making clothing from scratch or by converting their normal, everyday clothing into priesthood clothing by cutting and sewing in the marks — as they have been authorized and instructed in doing.

After reading that scripture and doing some more research — I also found that this practice is more in line with what was done by early LDS.  The minutes from an October 1870 meeting in Salt Lake reveal that:

Some enquiry was made as to how many have their shirts marked — A few rose with them marked — President Young said he took scissors & soon made the marks.  Even if the shirt is colored, mark it — If there is flannel or buckskin between the shirt & garment, that also should be marked.  An overshirt worn as a vest should not be marked.

Thus, in accordance with the scriptural instruction and a historical precedent, any normal, everyday clothing that one would typically wear as a single layer may be made into priesthood clothing [garments] by cutting the marks of the holy priesthood into them and then stitching them up so they don’t fray.  Jackets and other second layer-type clothing need not receive any marks.

Keep your covenants:

The 2011 General Church Handbook of Instruction [CHI] states that:

Church members who have been clothed with the garment in a temple have taken upon themselves a covenant obligation to wear it according to the instructions given in the endowment.

This point of general instruction is based on the temple recommend interview question, which asks:

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?

Though ecclesiastical leaders will read extra material to you after the temple recommend interview and though the CHI goes on to expound on a paragraph’s worth of extra instructions — neither of these are contained in the temple endowment  — and therefore can be ignored when any LDS is addressing their personal compliance with temple covenants.

What is important to remember is that an initiated LDS has covenanted to wear priesthood clothing for the remainder of their mortal life.  And, in the gospel, we must honor and keep all agency-based vows we have freely entered.  However, no one has covenanted to wear the priesthood clothing that is sold by Distribution Services — nor has any one covenanted to hide the priesthood garment from the eyes of others by wearing normal, everyday clothing on top of them.

This is not to say that if making two sets of clothing [normal on top of priesthood] works for you and the ones sold by the Distribution Centers fit you comfortably — that you are not free to continue to wear your priesthood garments in that manner or free utilize that resource to buy them because that still technically fulfills the vow to wear priesthood clothing throughout your life [albeit a strange way to do it].

However, for many, the sizes and fabrics do not fit well and do not conform to the local environment or culture.  If the latter is the case, then please do not go on subjecting yourself to poor fitting clothing and the uncomfortableness of trying to wear two sets of clothing at once.  And certainly do not cease from wearing priesthood clothing altogether.

Rather, you should strip away all the cultural conditioning and social pressures away from the covenant you have made with the Lord — and perhaps see if wearing priesthood clothing in accordance with D&C 42:40-41.

Next Article by Justin: It maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no [one]‘s person

Previous Article by Justin: To serve Him is to follow Him; that where He is, the servant may be found

You can check this out too — it’s unrelated but I really enjoy the author’s work [she’s a collaborator on the GEMTAM book as well]:  I Am You



  1. I don’t see why the statement made by the officiator during the initiatory, e.g. “having authority, I place this garment upon you…which you must wear throughout your life,” should necessarily be understood to mean that any kind of covenant is being made on the part of the initiate, especially when contrasted with actual covenant language used later in the endowment proper,which involves the initiate’s direct, explicit involvement by squaring the arm, bowing the head, and saying “yes.”

    The initiatory language as related to “the garment” seems to be more akin to the language of the baptismal ordinance, which ordinance we also mistake as a “covenant;” the act of baptism, according to the Book of Mormon, being a witness to show one’s willingness to have a covenant with Jesus, the promise of a covenant if you will, to be later ratified and accepted by Him by the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost.

  2. Yes Chuck — fair point I think. There isn’t a — bow your head and say “yes” moment when the garment is placed on the initiated.

    However, baptism is a public witness that a covenant has indeed taken place. Meaning, though it may not itself administer a covenant as is typically thought — there can be no true baptism without a covenant.

    You have had a garment placed upon you, which you were informed represents the garment given to Adam when he was found naked in the garden of Eden, and which is called the garment of the holy priesthood. This you were instructed to wear throughout your life. You were informed that it will be a shield and a protection to you if you are true and faithful to your covenants.

    Thus, there is no covenant directly associated with the priesthood garments — but it comes part and parcel with the covenants made in the temple.

    At least that’s my understanding. Is it your suggestion, Chuck, that there actually is no, “covenant obligation to wear [priesthood clothing] according to the instructions given in the endowment.”?

  3. Oh yeah — and good call on the garment/baptism association:

    For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

    The two intersect interestingly — symbolically speaking.

  4. Have you looked at all into the possibility of silk-screening the marks onto the interior of the garments, as is currently done with military garments, or reverting to the 19th-century practice of cutting the holes with a knife and then sewing that up?

  5. Ascentury:

    …or reverting to the 19th-century practice of cutting the holes with a knife and then sewing that up?

    Yes — I mentioned that in the post:

    However, one is equally free to wear only the priesthood garment that is the work of their own hands, in accordance with D&C 42:40-41, by either making clothing from scratch or by converting their normal, everyday clothing into priesthood clothing by cutting and sewing in the marks — as they have been authorized and instructed in doing.

    because that is what I currently do.

    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 priesthood into them and then stitching them up so they don’t fray.

    So far I’ve cut marks into all of my shorts, all of my pants, and a few of my t-shirts [though I usually just wear the Distribution-approved white shirts when I want to wear a single t-shirt] — collared shirts I’ve always worn with undershirts anyway, so I still continue that.

    The shirts take more time than the pants [three marks instead of one], but 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 will get the marks.

  6. Justin,

    Thanks for your thoughtful response.

    Is there a “covenant obligation to wear [priesthood clothing] according to the instructions given in the endowment?” Not based on my current understanding of the instructions given during the initiatory or during the introduction to the endowment, though I’m open to other interpretations. Does “throughout your life” necessarily mean “all the time?” I guess that’s for each of us to decide. There is a specific promise mentioned with the command to wear the garment, but only as it is associated to one’s is “faithfulness” to the other covenants made during the endowment ritual, none of which involve our promising to wear the modern “authorized” and poorly-fitting two-piece affairs, manufactured for us using “sacred funds” in S. American factories (not to be read sweat-shops) and sold to us at a profit, every minute of every night and day (unless participating in any corporate-approved activity which might create the risk that some gentile might catch an accidental glimpse of them, thus somehow desecrating their “sacredness”).

    It’s also my understanding that without a covenant, all ordinances are meaningless. I simply make the point that, as I read the scriptures, we have no promise solely because we choose to participate in any ordinance or are willing to take upon ourselves a covenant. Perhaps these are different ways of saying the same thing.

  7. Chuck:

    Is there a “covenant obligation to wear [priesthood clothing] according to the instructions given in the endowment?” Not based on my current understanding of the instructions given during the initiatory or during the introduction to the endowment…

    I could only agree with you insofar as we then say —
    you are free to stop wearing priesthood clothing and resume wearing normal, everyday clothing at any point, but insofar as you choose to do this, the “shield and protection against the power of the destroyer” aspect is removed — until such time as you resume wearing your priesthood clothing.

    [All of this scenario would also assume that the person has consistently been true and faithful to the formal endowment covenants throughout this time].

    However, can we agree that, “this garment is now authorized — you must wear throughout your life — inasmuch as you do not defile it, but are true and faithful to your covenants, it will be a shield and a protection to you against the power of the destroyer…
    is the “covenant obligation to wear the garment according to the instructions given in the endowment” that the temple recommend interview question and the CHI refer members to?

    Does “throughout your life” necessarily mean “all the time?”

    I asked that in the original The Garment post, and my current thinking is that no, it does not. To say that the former necessarily means the latter would mean that human beings are meant to cover their nakedness at all times [excepting maybe just bathing, swimming, and sex] — which I don’t feel has been properly established as true.

    So I take, “throughout your life” to mean — during any time at which you will be wearing clothing to cover your body, such clothing should be priesthood clothing from this point on. For example, we largely practice nudism in the home — so unless I’m about to cook bacon, or have guests over, or go to work, etc. — I don’t cover my nakedness. The environment of our home is such that I don’t need the temperature regulation or physical protection afforded by clothing — so I see no reason to have to be clothed.

    So, in that case, I agree that it is, “for each of us to decided” because [as far as I know] there is no scriptural standard given for when we must cover our nakedness and when it is not expedient to do so.

  8. Justin,

    I suppose I could agree that a covenant associated with garment wear is being made if it involved more than some guy mindlessly repeating the words of a “stage play” version of the endowment to me, and if that same guy had any kind of real “athority” to seal on earth and in heaven which would make his “authorization” of the “authorized” garment valid, which I’m sure he doesn’t, as this godly power is not reckoned by the ability to trace one’s authority through a long line of corporate suits back to Joseph the Prophet, all OK’d by the “keys” of common consent. Lacking this, I expect I would have to actually utter some covenant words myself, then seek for direct ratification of those words by Him with whom I seek the covenant. Just my experience, but thanks again for your thoughts on this; I always appreciate your contributions to the blog.

  9. Justin:
    [though I usually just wear the Distribution-approved white shirts when I want to wear a single t-shirt]

    So do you wear the round neck or crew neck? Because a round neck nylon mesh would be hysterical. If you wore that to a ward basketball game or other activity, you’d be my hero. Someone would have to record it. Nothing against your approach, it is more of the aesthetic style of that piece that reminds me of the fishnet tank tops that are gross/funny.

    I plan on doing the military style silk screening as Ascentury suggests and as it was commented on the original garment post.

  10. Chuck — thanks for stopping by and giving your perspective.

    Rob — since my endowment, I’ve always purchased the cotton crew-neck, as that is essentially what I’d been wearing under all of my shirts prior to joining the church. Wearing the priesthood clothing as a second layer of garments was an easy transition for me in that regard. I never liked V-neck undershirts, and the round neck garment tops felt even worse to me than that.

    I’m comfortable wearing two shirts since I’d always worn an undershirt before I was a member — so the single layer shirt [wearing the church-produced top] is something I largely do for casual things around the house, work outside, running errands, etc.

    And I always wore boxers, so the bottoms [again I had always bought cotton] weren’t too big of a deal to wear under all of my pants. Shorts were admittedly difficult to swing with the two layers — and that’s why those were the first things to get the marks.

  11. “I plan on doing the military style silk screening as Ascentury suggests and as it was commented on the original garment post.”

    You mean to tell me that more than just two people (Justin and I) now make their own garments? If anyone else is doing this or is considering doing this, I hope you post a comment here. I’d love to know by a show of cyber-hands how many people might be considering taking this power back.

  12. I’m considering doing it. The silk screening idea is interesting but It’s probably cut mine. I was thinking of making an embroidered outline around the mark shapes and then cut out the space between. This was it would be cut but then still look nice to me. I’ve been debating whether or not to tie the point of the two chest marks so they don’t go flapping in the breeze.

    Another thing I think we should keep in mind is that the modern endowment is a corruption of the original endowment. While there may still be much truth in the endowment as practiced today, should we be taking instruction from a corrupt ordinance? Or is something better than nothing? Just something I’ve been thinking about for a while.

  13. You mean to tell me that more than just two people (Justin and I) now make their own garments?

    I’ve never heard anyone else testify to making their own priesthood clothing online or in person. I’ve only heard either support for or opposition against the idea of making your own priesthood clothing — or even against the very idea that priesthood garments actually are clothing at all.

    I too would like to hear a report on anyone else who’s started administering priesthood clothing by their own hands — rather than assembly-line produced, “approved” designs.

  14. Zomarah:

    While there may still be much truth in the endowment as practiced today, should we be taking instruction from a corrupt ordinance? Or is something better than nothing? Just something I’ve been thinking about for a while.

    Therefore, sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God, and the days will come that you shall see him; for he will unveil his face unto you, and it shall be in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will. [D&C 88:68]

    And inasmuch as my people build a house unto me in the name of the Lord, and do not suffer any unclean thing to come into it, that it be not defiled, my glory shall rest upon it; Yea, and my presence shall be there, for I will come into it, and all the pure in heart that shall come into it shall see God. [D&C 97:15-16]

    Joseph’s first “endowment” was seeing two heavenly personages face-to-face. He went on to behold various ministering spirits, resurrected angels, Jesus Christ, etc. — all personal appearances, face-to-face.

    After the Kirtland temple was dedicated and the ordinances there were administered, Joseph wrote:

    The Saviour made his appearance to some, while angels ministered unto others, and it was a pentacost and enduement indeed, long to be remembered for the sound shall go forth from this place into all the world, and the occurrences of this day shall be handed down upon the pages of sacred history to all generations, as the day of Pentecost.

    Seeing the Lord and angels face-to-face seems to be the foremost purpose of the temple ceremony. Such a eye-to-eye witness was key to what was formulated as “the endowment”.

    Essentially — that was the endowment Joseph was trying to give the saints [not special underwear and secret hand gestures]. Joseph said: “All who are prepared, and are sufficiently pure to abide the presence of the Savior, will see him in the solemn assembly.”

    Zomarah — your question essentially mirrors the sentiment of Chuck, where he wrote about the temple ceremony being:

    some guy mindlessly repeating the words of a “stage play” version of the endowment … and … that same guy [having] no kind of real “athority” to seal on earth and in heaven which would make his “authorization” of the “authorized” garment valid, … as this godly power is not reckoned by the ability to trace one’s authority through a long line of corporate suits back to Joseph the Prophet, all OK’d by the “keys” of common consent.

    I personally take little instruction from the current ordinance. In reading opinions online [especially from Mormon feminists, but not only them], that is not an uncommon position for most LDS. I think the ordinances there have reached that point where the meaning of the thing was lost long enough ago — that even the leaders among us have no idea what to make of the thing and what it’s all about.

    When you ask people things about the temple, you’re usually told to just speak with the temple presidency on your next visit — but when I tried that, every question I asked was brushed off with a, “We don’t know why such-and-such“, “Such-and-such has not yet been revealed” and [I’m not making this one up], “Who knows why that is, just look at the bows on the cap, I mean, what’s that all about?

    However, no other priesthood keys have been authorized by the keys of the church — except those administered in the LDS church — so now what? Well, the tribe’s keys can authorize the priesthood keys to administer the inititory and endowment — but that’s about the only bone I have to throw you on that.

    Someone else may have some thoughts to add to that.

  15. I thought of something else too — your question, Zomarah, assumes that it’s the jurisdiction of the temple workers to give form [or life] to the image of the priesthood garment [or the temple ceremony at large].

    Should it be reasonable to expect church leaders to initiate you into the meaning of the images — rather than just initiating you into the images themselves alone? Sure.

    But that’s not the state of affairs right now. However, all that means is it’s on you [not them]. They administer the forms — but you must then go on to make the word flesh, you must bring the forms to life.

    To just take the empty forms they are administering and do nothing with them just perpetuates the whole problem — take their empty forms and create with them.

  16. I’m on the verge of doing it (`it’ being manufacturing my own garments), which is why I’ve thought about how I might go about it. I think that there’s been a discernible decrease in the quality of the material, particularly that used for the bottoms (i.e., dissolving in six months instead of years), so I’ve been looking for a suitable undergarment that will hold up (since I don’t like boxers and I don’t like briefs; guess where that leaves me ;)). In that case, making garments of at least my jeans and trousers would facilitate my continued usage of the garment greatly.

  17. I’m intrigued by the notion of producing my own garments. I, currently, wear “authorized” bottoms and an Under Armor top. Both are the epitome of comfort for me. I’ve thought of using the Under Armor tops and producing my own garment tops using them,yet, even though they are never worn as an exterior garment (personal preference) I can’t help feeling that it would be a bit inappropriate to create garments from clothing with a corporate logo so close to a priesthood symbol. Any thoughts?

  18. Good to hear Ascentury — I hate to hear LDS say that they are going to stop wearing their priesthood clothing altogether because of problems they have with the “approved” pattern.

    In my experience, no one complains about having to wear clothing that has the marks of the priesthood cut into them. “Garments”, per se, never seem to be the issue for people — but the culture of “established Church tradition” that beat them over the head with fear tactics and make them feel guilty [like they can’t honor covenants made to God and spouse] when they can’t make two sets of clothing work.


    I get the point about the corporate logo. Though I think that’s largely a matter for you — meaning if it makes you feel uncomfortable, then don’t do it — if you don’t have a problem with it, then I think it’s fine.

    Some of the t-shirts I’ve converted into priesthood clothing have material printed on the front — but the marks still went in the same location [even if that was on top of something printed there].

    I think the “garment” is about wearing priesthood clothing [clothing with marks] rather than wearing normal, everyday clothing [clothing without marks]. Meaning, I think the temple instruction is that once endowed, whenever you are covering your body with clothes, priesthood clothing should be what’s on you — anything else you’d like to also put on yourself beyond that is a matter left entirely up to personal discretion and is completely unrelated to your temple covenants.

  19. Has anyone lived on or visited one of the islands like Vanautu where people don’t wear much clothes other than a covering on their crotch or a skirt?

    What is their approach to the garment?

    I really don’t see someone going through the temple who then starts to wear the garment, then a shirt and shorts after a whole life and culture of never wearing such clothes.

    Anyone have any insight on this?

  20. I’ve said it previously, and I think it applies to what you’re asking Rob — that I take the “throughout your life” instruction to mean:

    during any time at which a person will be wearing clothing to cover their body, such clothing should be priesthood clothing from the point of their initiation on.

    Now, in tropical climate zones, human beings have very little need for clothing. We are good enough at thermoregulation [with sweat glands, etc.] that in such conditions, there is no biological need to be clothed [like there would be in more temperate regions]. So if you are not clothed [you have no need to be clothed], then you do not have to wear priesthood clothing [for that is what you ought to be clothed in].

    Now, perhaps when hunting, tribal men will put on some clothing for camouflage and/or protection. At this time, the clothing that they put on for such purposes would need to be priesthood clothing [meaning it would need to have the marks cut into them].

    Also, the only thing I’ve heard about the church’s relations with tribal cultures is that when my wife’s cousin served his mission in South Africa [maybe a decade ago now], they were forbidden to preach to the indigenous/tribal population because the women in their communities did not wear coverings over their breasts.

  21. Throwing up one cyber hand (for my wife).

    So my wife is pregnant and a few weeks away from her due date.
    A couple months back she went to a distribution center to get some garments for the pregnancy. The lady there started measuring around her belly for the waist size on the bottoms. My wife told her she wasn’t going to be wearing them over her the middle of her belly and gave her a “how weird would that be” look.

    My experience with the people who work at the centers is that most are completely out of it. Not just religious stuff, but normal common sense stuff too.

    So they ordered some sizes that they said would work. They arrived and didn’t fit at all. So my wife wore them anyways and a few weeks ago it got so bad that all day the tops would roll up over her belly and she’d basically have a shirt scrunched up top. I just laughed.

    A week ago, I went to buy some iron on print sheets to make my own garments. My wife has always been a little weary of me not going with the Mormon norms. But one of the requisites when I was looking for a wife was that she was open minded. So even though it went against her background (raised in the thick of Salt Lake City), she has been able to be open and give my ideas a chance. Anyways, I come home one day and she tells me she made her own garments. She ironed on a bunch of her bras, and sowed her pants and shirts. I was pretty excited that she beat me to it.

    So she sowed the symbol on the knee of her pants, as well as on the belly of her shirts and the other two were iron-ons on her bras.

    At first she said, she didn’t feel too weird, just different. But within that day she said she felt totally okay with it. She was going to tell my brother and his wife about it when we hung out with them a few days later, but wussed out. She said she still wasn’t as comfortable as she thought she was with it. But that could be her personality as she normally wouldn’t talk about that kind of stuff.

    I’m going to turn my street garments into priesthood garments tonight. I’ll let you know how it goes.

  22. I only got baptized in July and had not been to an LDS church before June 2011. I have been married three times and I am now desperately worried that when I do eventually take my endowment I will be heading for another divorce. I would be happy to wear the garment all day every day but at night infront of my husband who is not in the church? I am so scared what will happen. I know I should have faith and put God first but I am being realistic in assuming my husband is not going to be impressed and that it will lead to fights between us.

  23. WorriedMrsBigPants-
    1) Does your husband have a favorite sports team? Just wear one of those shirts to bed each night and he’ll love it.
    2) I’m sure if your sex life is great and you initiate intimacy, he’ll be cool if you wore long johns to bed.
    3) Justin will probably have some good advice and better understanding on the necessity of wearing the garment when you normally wouldn’t wear clothes. From what I understand, it is to be a covering, but if you wouldn’t wear a covering (which there are many situations where that occurs) then you don’t necessarily need the garment.

  24. WorriedMrsBigPants — thanks for coming by with your question,

    I would be happy to wear the garment all day every day but at night infront of my husband who is not in the church?

    Then I would suggest you do that very thing. Wear your garment all day, every day [whether you choose to wear the LDS-approved “underwear” garments under your normal garments — or you choose to make your own garments as described in this post] — and then removing your coverings for night-time with your husband.

    Also, have you talked with him about how you plan on taking a covenant obligation to wear priesthood clothing for the remainder of your life — and what they might mean/be like? If he just thinks you’re going to start wearing “magical underwear”, he might be more put-off — than he’d be in you explained that you want to wear clothing that have the authorized marks to remind you about Jesus:
    * to square your life by Jesus’ gospel
    * to keep appetites and desires in the bounds Jesus has set
    * to be constantly nourished by Jesus
    * to remember to always bow the knee to Jesus, your Lord.

    The actual garment is not as strange as the garments-as-underwear doctrine currently practiced.

    I am so scared what will happen. I know I should have faith and put God first but I am being realistic in assuming my husband is not going to be impressed and that it will lead to fights between us.

    This is all about expediency. If he really would leave you for taking upon yourself the covenants of the temple and wearing priesthood clothing as your coverings throughout the rest of your mortal life — then your choice is whether it’s worth it to hold off on the temple while you spend time bringing him around to the idea, or if you’ll do it anyway, trusting the Lord to soften his heart.

    Anyway — that’s my thoughts on it — for what it’s worth.

  25. Thanks for the advice. I smiled when I read the bit about the sports shirt. When I first met my husband I used to wear his rugby shirts as they were warm and comfy to slouch about in. Normally all I would wear to bed is a smile so he would freak out if we can’t sleep skin to skin most of the time. My husband has not minded my commitment to God so far and has supported me. He came to my baptism and he regularly allows missionaries to come in for dinner. I don’t want to hurt him by putting a layer of cloth between us at bed time.

  26. Thanks Justin I haven’t discussed the underwear yet with him but I have made up my mind to wear it all day every day and take it off at night just before getting into bed. I will let him see me in it and I am hoping he will not be too turned off by it. Maybe if I explain it like you said he will be able to accept it better. Or maybe I could make my own. It is better to wear a more brief version with the correct marks than to leave it off altogether. I will let you know what the outcome is. Thanks again.

  27. I was hanging out with some friends last night. Jacqueling is the partner of a good friend from high school. I didn’t know anything about her beliefs, I had just met her a few hours before. I was showing my sister-in-law which has ancient basilicas and chapel artwork with the apostles clothing showing symbols, some of which are like those on the priesthood garments we’ve discussed here.

    So Jacqueline comes up and gets involved in the conversation. I showed her the symbols on my garments (thanks to Justin for giving me the idea to share it with others). She had virtually no experience with Mormons, she didn’t even know about drinking tea 🙂 So I explain what each mark means. Then we spoke about how I make my own garment symbols into my normal clothes.

    It was an awesome conversation. The Spirit was there. My Sister-in-law who was raised very traditionally in the Mormon ways, was surprised at me sharing my garments with others, but then said later how she felt the Spirit so strongly and that the conversation was amazing and opening.

    Jacqueline thought the concept of symbols in our clothes to remind us of beliefs that are personal to us is very awesome. She got excited. She then said, “Well that’s cool, because then you could put symbols on their that are specific to you, as an individual. Something that has special meaning to you. This is just an example, but a butterfly might have a symbolism for me, but mean nothing for you. So I would put a butterfly on my clothes.”

    That is actually a great idea. My son’s name is Asher and I carved a tree symbolizing the tribe of Asher for a necklace for my wife. It has so much meaning and importance to us. I connected with that and thought that it would be a great idea because there are things in our lives that carry deep meaning and importance. I don’t know if I have such a symbol I’d add since I’m still learning the four that I put into my garments now.

    What do you guys think?

  28. I think many people will be surprised how open most people will be to the restored gospel when it is shared in an open, up-front, and honest manner. I know many former converts report feeling cheated once they got “further into” Mormonism — like things were hid from them with the whole “milk before meat” meme.

    It’s become this cultural burden LDS have put on themselves to feel “weird” about their religion — and so we treat pretty normal things about our religious practices with a “pearls before swine” mentality that I think turns people off and turns them away.

    People joke about them being “secret, magic underwear” because that’s how many members treat them when around mixed company. I think your story demonstrates that when we don’t hide the plain meaning and experience behind something like the garment — people respond openly with an, “Oh, OK I find that to be an interesting thing there that I could find value in…”

  29. I recently read an article that I wish I could find To reference it, but it talked about how in the early restoration the Priesthood garment was worn during ordinance work and not all the time during daily life. Does anyone know anything about this?

  30. I do know that Joseph didn’t seem to think that wearing priesthood garments day-and-night, no matter what — was as essential of a feature of priesthood clothing as we consider it today.

    There’s the church history story about how he recommended everyone going to Carthage Jail remove their garments and just wear regular, everyday clothes.

    And I do know that the garment and temple ordinances in which the markings of the garment were made/explained to members — was originally tied with the “inner-circle” to whom Joseph expounded on the doctrine of plural husbands and plural wives. That it wasn’t for every member, and wasn’t all the time.

    But I don’t have a source in my mind that I could look up — I just know I’ve read those things here-or-there.

    …someone else may be able to turn up a link or an article, etc. …

  31. The Prophets have instructed us to wear church approved garments, and have also told us that they should not be worn openly. The Prophets of this dispensation commune with Heavenly Father himself, their word is Scripture. Also, we’re instructed that the teachings of the living prophet take precedence over all other teachings. I encouraged the author of this article, and those who agree with him to pray and fast earnestly and consult your Bishop concerning the proper wearing of these sacred garments.

  32. The most recent Word of the Lord from our Prophets of this dispensation [which they’ve published in the official Handbook of Established Church Policies of 2011] tells us that:

    Church members who have been clothed with the garment in a temple have taken upon themselves a covenant obligation to wear it according to the instructions given in the endowment.

    …note that part at the end:

    a[n] obligation to wear it according to the instructions given in the endowment

    If the Prophets wish to instruct us to wear only the Church-approved, underwear-style priesthood garment patterns and to not wear them openly — then they are free to use their office and position within the church as Prophets to alter the instructions given in the endowment.

    As it stands, the matter of either wearing church-produced/approved priesthood clothing or priesthood clothing that one has cut the marks in themself appears to be an open matter of free-choice for saints to make. I would not want to tell worthy, temple-attending LDS that they MUST do one or the other — when the Lord Himself has not instructed us in the endowment that we must do one or the other.

    If heavenly Father has indeed communed with our Prophets and told them by His own mouth that this is to be the case [that we are only authorized in purchasing the priesthood clothing produced by Distribution Services only] — then I would invite them to pray and to fast earnestly and present that revelation to the church [assembled this weekend for General Conference] — so that we may pray and fast earnestly about it, and sustain that new Word of the Lord as genuine revelation, binding upon all latter-day saints.

    …until then — I’ll take my instructions from what’s given in the endowment.

  33. I’m very interested in this idea of manufacturing my own garment and must admit, my sewing knowledge is quite limited. To those of you with experience converting everyday clothes to priesthood clothing, what techniques to you use? Do you cut the symbol then sew over it? Do you support the cut from the back with a sturdier small piece of fabric to the shirt itself (especially t-shirts) does not tear around the sewn-in symbol? Do you notice an increase in wear/tear? Do you avoid cutting and simply oversew the symbols directly onto the garment? Do you match the thread color to the fabric of the shirt (I’m guessing so)? I’m not as concerned about shorts or boxers, as the fabric at the knee tends to be more robust. If there is another forum that discusses this in greater detail, please let me know. As always, thanks for the great information!

  34. When I used to do this, at first I would use iron on symbols. Then I would cut the symbols into my clothing and sew the cuts up with thread that matched the clothing. I found that the process of hand sewing was very special. I would sit there and try to be in the moment. I would listen and think about the symbolism. It was nice.

    That was a stage I was at and it helped open further light and knowledge. I no longer where the priesthood garments of any kind. Just typing what I did above, is an interesting symbolism of our lives, how we live and the process of making priesthood garments. I think it is great what you are doing Paul at this time in your life. Keep seeking

  35. I no longer where the priesthood garments of any kind.


    Why did you stop?

  36. It seems there is an interesting principle and pattern. When we step out and venture, as we seek, revelation occurs, awakening occurs. When I started taking the garment seriously and made my own, I changed and as a result, the symbolism of the garment became clear. The garment had taught me the lesson it was created to teach us. Adam was given the garment as well, to teach him something about himself (the same thing is true for us all).

    Once the lesson is learned and one understands, there is no longer any reason to continue with it.

    You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one

  37. Is this one of the reasons for wearing (and making all clothing into) garments?

    Introducing “enclothed cognition” – how what we wear affects how we think

  38. unrelated but i found this the other day. see what happens when you try to get rich off selling garments instead of teaching the membership to make their own? other corporations follow suit

  39. I just read this comment from a woman named Michaela, at the Wheat and Tares post about the priesthood garment:

    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 was happy to hear that someone is choosing to go with priesthood clothing that is the work of their own hands [instead of tossing off the garment altogether] when they feel that the Church-approved, underwear-style garments aren’t working for them.

  40. Justin brings up the principle of “work of their own hands.”

    We disconnect with who we are/what we are. We talk about veils, but sometimes it’s not a covering, it’s just an issue of distance. We get so far away from things that we can no longer see or hear them well and we get a fuzzy perspective. Many times we get so far apart, we forget completely.

  41. When we get back to connecting, getting our hands into things, the spiritual connections are there as well. The garment symbolism becomes alive and we understand and comprehend.

    People talk about Monsato (and similar companies) being the problem, but the problem started before Monsato was ever around. The problems are rooted in our disconnect from the land. Even now some are trying to learn to “live off the land.” Which is quite a funny saying. “Off” the land? I get that is preferable to many rather than live how most of us live. Yet there is the disconnect again. We started as dust and will return to dust. Return to dust. Return to who you are. No longer off the land, but be the land.

  42. Monsanto is definitely a problem they have altered genetic code in ways they and no one else fully understands and their “mutations” are aggressive in breeding, their “patented” genes having been found even in highland Oaxacan landrace strains of corn, changing the taste and causing irregular growth patterns, and allowing Monsanto the legal opportunity to sue campesinos for “patent infringement” while I appreciate the sentiment that the problem has deeper roots, the secret combination of Monsanto and their lawyers now controlling the US courts is a huge threat to biodiversity and the health of plants on the entire earth. I wouldn’t be surprised if our plant genetics got so messed up our only hope was priesthood power healing the DNA and the city of Enoch returning with good seed stock

  43. I know I’m late to the comment party on this post, but why not just tattoo the symbols and ensure your clothing covers them? Curious what the opinions are, not looking for some antiquated piety on what modern “prophets” and “apostles” have said on the social acceptability of marking ones skin.

  44. I was watching Ali Shakur’s video in which he “decoded” the audio conversation between Clipper’s owner Donald Sterling and Sterling’s girlfriend, which was leaked this past weekend. Shakur mentioned “branding” and clothing brands and how it goes back to the hot iron branding of a slave’s skin for identification, and it made me think of the Lord’s words in which He said to “let all thy garments be plain.” Plain simply means unadorned, without ornament. I wonder if such instruction was to keep us un-branded by wordly influences, or free from identification with this or that Gentile clothing trend, company, corporation or movement. The only identifying marks our clothing is to have are the ones given to us by the Lord, so that we are identified as His people.

    Oh, and alterathletics, to answer your question, my understanding is that the skin is already marked (nipples, areola, belly button, right knee), so there is no need for tattoos.

  45. You all have way too much time on your hands.

  46. Use your time to lift the burdens of others.

  47. It’s funny that you should say that Anonymous … because I’ve been told by three fellow members that the current cultural practice LDS take towards the garment of the holy priesthood felt like a “burden” and that once I expounded what I wrote about in this post that their burden felt “lifted”.

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