As promised, here I am to share some thoughts about LDS garments as well as some other principles of my faith. I know that among members of my faith as well as many who are not, there are so many questions rolling around about how, when, and how much to wear the temple garment these days. What is “right?” Will you be in trouble if you don’t wear them? Who is interpreting the instructions about when to wear the garment in the “right” way? Who has it all wrong? Is this a symbol of losing your faith if you do x, y, or z without them?

It’s not just on this blog where the topic has come up over and over again. It is all over social media. And in discussions. And deeply intertwined in hearts. I think there is a big shift as many are trying to dig down and figure out how they really feel about this part of our religion. And sometimes the “figuring out” is messy.

I do think there are some very valid questions asked on this blog. Some are asked here with real intent seeking to understand. Thank you for those! They help me dig deeper into what I believe. And I love to hear and learn from the perspectives of others.

As a preface, this is a post about the garment, not my children. I love to discuss any questions about my beliefs and faith. But out of respect to my children, please keep them out of the comment section. Also, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this matter. If you leave comments, please remember that true growth and learning happens best when we have mutual respect.

What are LDS garments?

Before I dig into my thoughts let’s first back up and talk about what garments are in the first place. I love this description from the church website:

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

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

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

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

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

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

My favorite part is this explanation of the “why” of the garment: “to connect the believer with the object of their devotion in the most personal way–to draw close to God.” How beautiful is that? Sometimes I don’t think we teach this part as fully as we could.

How does a garment help draw us to God?

It acts as a reminder of the covenants we have made with Him. There are marks in the garment that symbolize and remind us of different things we can do to remember Jesus. Because of this, I love to think about the garment being like “putting on Christ” each day (Galatians 3:27). And when we truly try to follow Jesus, we are automatically drawn closer to God.

What are the instructions for wearing the garment?

When we chose to go to the temple for the first time to make covenants, we are given instructions to “wear the garment throughout our lives.” I think people have a wide variety of interpretations of what that means. Especially right now in our day and age. Some feel like the instructions are as straightforward as can be. Especially because it is recommended that the garment “should not be removed for activities that can reasonably be done while wearing the garment.” But others are really trying to figure out what that means to them. Because the instructions also say, “Endowed members should seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit to answer personal questions about wearing the garment.”

My first experience with garments

When I went to the temple for the first time, I honestly never thought twice about garments. I knew what the garment symbolized, but I didn’t think much about it. It was just what people did. So I did too, and never looked back. Sure, I was a little nostalgic leaving behind the sleeveless things I wore before. All those dresses I made myself from huge floral fabric. (Ha! That’s a story for another day!) But I went with the flow. That’s what my friends of my same faith did, too. It was just “the way.”

It helped that I was heading off on a mission. As a missionary there is a specific dress code. Garment-wearing was a given.

Over the years I have come to love garments. At first they were just a thing I put on each day. But little by little, the symbolism has become real to me. Like anything else in life, when we seek to understand, we find what we’re looking for. Oh, it’s not a done deal. I’m still sometimes seeking. On this and many things in life. I am far from perfect (whatever perfect might be). But I’m grateful for this beautiful daily remembrance of the covenants and promises I’ve made with God. A reminder that I can take God with me in this often-difficult journey of life.

A new generation of garment-wearers

Fast forward to this new generation where kids are so much more about the “why.” I think in so many ways this is such a good thing. As far as faith is concerned, digging into the “why” has the potential to help build much deeper roots.

Because the “why” is on so many minds, some are really delving in to figure out how they feel about the garment in their own hearts. Or maybe they’re not. Maybe they just don’t want to wear them. Or maybe it’s a whole combination of things. This is sometimes difficult for those who feel like the “why” is already explained and everyone should just “get” it.

But the process of discipleship is a long and complicated journey. We all take on religion in such different ways and from such different vantage points.

admonitions/commandments/covenants to help us stay close to God

So here’s the deal. There are all kinds of things that, like the garment, have the power to help us draw closer to God. We can find them in a variety of sources, specifically in the scriptures. But we also believe in continuing revelation. (See our 9th “Article of Faith” for more on that.)

As we study and work to follow Jesus, we have several admonitions. Here are some of the top ones that come to mind to me:

  • Be charitable, benevolent, tolerant and pure…care for the poor and needy
  • Kindle your faith and build a foundation on Jesus Christ. Strive to follow His ultimate example
  • Repent daily
  • be baptized by immersion for the remission of sins
  • Receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and utilize it in our daily lives
  • Keep the Sabbath Day holy
  • Partake of the sacrament each week, use it as a time for personal introspection and personal repentance
  • Pay an honest tithe
  • Go to church and to the temple regularly
  • Keep the “Word of Wisdom
  • Wear the temple garment throughout our lives
  • Stand as a witness for Jesus Christ
  • “Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth” — Genesis 1:28
  • Keep the Ten Commandments
  • “Feed my sheep” (one of the most beautiful admonitions ever in my opinion)…which leads to…
  • The “two great commandments:”

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

Matthew 22:37–39

So many beautiful avenues to help us cultivate our relationship with God. We may believe fully in all of these things and work to do them well, but try as we might, we will all fall short. We also may not be on board with some of them, but really working to sort them out. Everyone is in a different stage of this journey through life.

The tricky thing about the garment

Although most of these things listed above are things we do privately and intimately in the fleshy tables of our own hearts, some are more visible in our outward appearance and actions. The garment is one of these. Which naturally makes it an easy target for judgment. I am sorry to say that I have been guilty of that judgment as well. Although I know full well that everyone has their own story, it’s easy to wonder why others may not do things the same way I do.

Someone may feel so confident in things like the way they keep the Sabbath day holy, pay their tithing, and yes, wear the temple garment that they have a hard time when others do it differently.

But we need to keep this human nature in check because it goes against perhaps the key element of being a Christian: strive to be like Jesus Christ. When we are judgmental of how others translate the “law,” it has the power to really hinder the growth of others. Not only that, and perhaps even more damaging, it has the power to hinder our own growth if we are too worried about what others are doing.

I’ve learned that there are many things we grow into in life. All the gospel principles, don’t you think? And I have learned, through trial and error, that just because you believe in something doesn’t mean your neighbor might have the same convictions. It is so important to give each other TIME and GRACE to take our own separate journeys.

Take away the “stumblingblocks”

Let’s go to the New Testament in the book of Romans for a minute:

But why does thou judge thy brother? or why does thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before they judgment seat of Christ.

For it is written…every knee shall bow…every tongue shall confess…so then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way…

Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

Romans 14: 10-13, 19

I believe that Christ will meet us where we are. Whether we are in the midst of some pretty damaging decisions or striving our best to follow Him. He’s not waiting for us to be perfect. Perfect people don’t need a Savior.

May we join Jesus in not waiting for others to be perfect to learn from them. May we recognize that everyone has their own stories. May we be cheerleaders for each other in any way we can. Because let’s face it, life can be brutal sometimes. We need each other.

Being truly converted is a personal journey

I think it’s interesting to note that the temple recommend questions have evolved so much over the years. As have many other things like “home centered church” and the “Strength of Youth” pamphlet. Where it was once filled with specific guidelines, it is now filled with nurturing explanations and encouragement. It is now called “a guide for making choices.” So many things have evolved in our church to give much more agency to make our own decisions and govern and nurture our own faith.

Why do you think this is happening? Has the church softened in handing over the opportunity to make our own choices and seek our own guidance? I don’t believe this is because we are lowering the bar, but rather we are raising it.

There are some who would welcome a detailed dress code answering every conceivable question about the wearing of the temple garment. They would have priesthood leaders legislate lengths, specify conditions of when and how it should and should not be worn, and impose penalties upon those who missed the mark by a fraction of an inch. Such individuals would have Church members strain at a thread and omit the weightier matters of the gospel of Jesus Christ (see Matt. 23:23–26).

Most Latter-day Saints, however, rejoice over the moral agency extended them by a loving Father in Heaven. They prize highly the trust placed in them by the Lord and Church leaders—a trust implied in this statement made by the Prophet Joseph Smith: ‘I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves.’”

Elder Carlos E. Asay

The “Gift” of the Garment

The blessing we need to look for is the transformation that comes to our hearts when we let God come on this journey with us. When we use our covenants to become closer to Him, and to remember to let Him into our lives. When we transform the “have to dos” into the “want to dos” because we want to change our hearts. We want to give them to God. That’s where the power comes.

If we are living a life of checkboxes and “have to dos” growth is hindered substantially.

But when we seek to understand the “whys” we learn to appreciate the things that can help us draw close to God.

I LOVED Emily Belle Freeman’s talk in our last General Conference. It speaks to all these thoughts:

Why should I walk a covenant path? Do I need to enter a house for making covenants? Why do I wear the holy garment? Should I invest in a covenant relationship with the Lord? The answer to these good and important questions is simple: it depends on what degree of relationship you want to experience with Jesus Christ. Each of us will have to discover our own response to those deeply personal questions...

[We can choose] “to tether our life with [God]. He has promised to walk with us in the way…we must remember: it’s not the course alone that will exalt us; it’s the companion—our Savior. And this is the why of covenant relationship.”

So will we be damned if we don’t wear the garment all the time, even when we’ve promised to do so? I just think sometimes we think about this all wrong. The garment is a gift. It’s a gift that helps us remember that companion: the Savior. The One who has overcome the world. When we put on the garment it has the potential to help us remember the covenants we make. The ones that help us let God in.

The garment is a gift. But only if we chose to make it so. And sometimes it’s hard to chose to make it so depending on which part of the journey we’re in. Aren’t we all so glad that life is long?

What is our responsibility as neighbors and friends (and strangers)?

So, if our neighbor or friend is wearing garments all the time, awesome. And if our neighbor or friend, or a stranger for that matter isn’t wearing that holy garment as much as we think they ought to, let us be like Jesus and love them anyway.

Let’s dig in even deeper with a question that has been asked quite often in the past:

Why would someone go to the temple if they don’t intend to wear the garment? Isn’t it morally wrong to promise to do something and then not do it? (i.e. wearing the garment).

Try as we might, we can’t know what thoughts are roaming around in the hearts of others, nor their deep-down intentions. Chances are that they may be as aware of the symbols and covenants as we have worked to be, or more so, and just doing it in a different way.

OR maybe they haven’t really given it much thought. Maybe they went to the temple to make promises to God but don’t relate the temple garment to that promise. Perhaps they just think it’s a nice reminder of the covenants they make. They may have different convictions, be in the middle of a faith crisis, have medical conditions, searching to dig deeper into the “why.”

The point is, most of the time we just don’t know what’s in the hearts of others. But isn’t that when we need to love even more?

If God is willing to give our neighbors leeway on that, then we should too.


Perhaps you are reading this post and you are struggling with your own faith or garment conviction. If so, I challenge you to keep turning to God and trusted sources for answers. Convictions don’t just happen. We have to put in the work. We follow the thoughts we feed. May we dig deep to strengthen our own personal foundations. May we put ourselves in the places and spaces where we can deepen our connection with God. May we hold ourselves to our personal highest standards and push ourselves to let God in AND be loving and accepting of others and they way they chose to live their lives.

May we be the best cheerleaders to those around us as they work at their own pace in their own unique ways. And if they are different from us, may we love them anyway.

Back to the question at hand:

Back to my original questions about the garment from the beginning of this post:

“What is “right?” Will you be in trouble if you don’t wear them? Who is interpreting the instructions about when to wear the garment in the “right” way? Who has it all wrong? Is this a symbol of losing your faith if you do x,y, or z without them?”

We have our own choices to make as we “seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit to answer personal questions about wearing the garment.” Sometimes our personal convictions take a long, long time to muddle through. Through hills of glory and sometimes valleys of sorrow. Sometimes we’re born with the answers. They’re easy. Sometimes we learn by trial and error.

I do know one thing: when we choose to let God into our lives, it is a blessing. And wearing the garment out of gratitude and sometimes hard-earned understanding rather than obligation has the power to strengthen our relationship with God. To remind us of sacred covenants that help lead us back to Him. And to “call” Jesus to our rescue in our loneliest and most difficult times. That is the blessing.

Some thoughts to end on

Some quotes I’ve written in my “notes” lately:

  • Sometimes people get in the way of our growth. Sometimes we need to get out of the way and let people grow. 
  • Sometimes we focus so much on avoiding sin that we forget the gift of the atonement and the power of love.
  • Find the “why”
  • We’re called to be gatherers, not sifters.
  • Take God with you. His presence in our lives isn’t earned, it’s always there. We just have to choose to let Him in.

Sending so much love on out there into cyberspace as we all work to determine what it means to be a disciple of Christ, and act on the promptings we receive.

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  1. I truly appreciate your thoughts on this topic and applaud your message of less judgment and encouragement toward deepening our relationships with Jesus Christ. Beautifully said!!!

    I would add for members of our shared faith that I truly grew to love the temple garment as I served in the temple as an ordinance worker. The temple’s initiatory ordinance explains its purpose so simply and powerfully. It also reminds me that as we exercise even a small amount of faith and trust in God, He blesses us in priceless ways, beyond measure. I feel so grateful for those blessings and promises each time I put on the holy garment. <3

  2. I don’t believe I’ve ever left a comment even though I daily read your blog and have for years. Your faith helps strengthen my own and I thank you tremendously for your words here.

  3. I LOVED this post. It helped me to understand so much as a non-LDS follower. Thank you for taking the time to write it all down! I love your blog always, but this is one of my favorite posts, ever <3

    1. This post and your perspective
      are beautiful. It is impressive how you respond with love and teach on this topic. I’m reminded again of why I like you so much!

  4. Thank you, Shawni, for reminding us to give grace! So many things are between us and God and sometimes that is forgotten. And THANK YOU for reminding us that this is your blog and to leave your kids alone. You’re a great example to many!

  5. Genuine question as a former practicing Mormon myself: do they not ask in the temple recommend interview about wearing garments at all times any more? I may be mis-remembering since it’s been about 9 years, but I feel like that was a quesiton. It was much more black and white when I attended church, and I’d be curious to know if they have left that more up to interpretation in the actual interview since that part is not mentioned in your post.

    I really do love that the church is leaving up those kinds of decisions to individuals now, rather than a blanket “must do” rule like you mentioned. I was guilty of making judgements based on peoples’ outward expressions of those rules. I love your reminder that it doesn’t really matter. It should be and should have always been between the individual and god, but I don’t think it was really that way for a long time.

    1. Hi MJ, thanks for your thoughts. The question in the temple recommend interview is this: “Do you keep the covenants that you made in the temple, including wearing the temple garment as instructed in the endowment?”

      And the instructions include the phrases I included in this post. Here’s the paragraph that includes them:

      When we chose to go to the temple for the first time to make covenants, we are given instructions to “wear the garment throughout our lives.” I think people have a wide variety of interpretations of what that means. Especially right now in our day and age. Some feel like the instructions are as straightforward as can be. Especially because it is recommended that the garment “should not be removed for activities that can reasonably be done while wearing the garment.” But others are really trying to figure out what that means to them. Because the instructions also say, “Endowed members should seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit to answer personal questions about wearing the garment.”

      I hope that answers your question.

      I agree with you, these covenants are so personal, between the individual and God.

      Sending you much love.

    2. Great post Shawni! Enjoying the comments as well, such thoughtful people. And yes, they updated the temple recommend questions from a straight expectation (“day and night”) to “as instructed throughout your life” – everything is shifting to trusting personal more and more, and less prescriptive. Now it’s just up to us members to follow through on that regarding our neighbors and families. This next generation will get us there!

  6. You have so much wonderful information here, and a lot of encouragement to not be judgmental. I think that’s something all of us need to keep hearing. I would like to add one thing, and that is that all members are supposed to have six temple preparation lessons before they go through the temple for the first time. These lessons are intended to prepare each person before making eternal covenants with God. During the lessons, temple garments are talked about so that everyone is aware of the covenants and expectations for wearing them before they make any promises.

    1. Yes I think when those temple preparation classes happen they can be so helpful! Would be good to really prioritize that time before attending the temple. There are also some really good books that we have found to be helpful. I should share those here. Please share anything else you know of that could help people going to the temple for the first time.

    2. I am grateful for this post. I have similar viewpoints as you. You put into words my thoughts and feelings in a way I just couldn’t. I have been trying to unlearn some of my judgement because I truly feel everyone is on his or her own journey and I want to honor and respect each person. Thank you for taking the time for this post.

  7. Thank you so much for the time and thoughtful work you put into this post, it’s so helpful. I am working hard to not judge others who choose to exercise their faith and understanding differently than I do. It’s harder than I want to admit to myself, and this has been one of those areas that I’ve really been working on. The ideas you presented about possible different interpretations or understandings of what I always saw as black and white are so very helpful. I felt as though I literally heard a click and felt my mind open a new door when I read that part of your post. It had never occurred to me, and I’m embarrassed to admit that. So thank you, and I’m going to keep working on improving myself and hopefully that will keep me so busy I don’t have time to worry about how others are working on their own faith (said jokingly, but really isn’t that the truth?!)

    1. Oh I love this comment, and yes, that is the truth! It is such human nature for us to worry about how others are doing things. I think it’s always a work in progress for us to remember that everyone has their own stories. Sending you lots of love!

  8. Such a Beautiful post!!!
    I am the same age as you Shawni and same here, went on a mission. Wore garments and I’ve never had an issue so when my daughter got married as much as I thought I had prepared her, she had a completely different experience. The garments felt uncomfortable and itchy no matter what material. She does have a sensory disorder and at first I’ll be honest I was a little annoyed at her . Or maybe not at her but definitely worried about what people would say especially her new family who are extreme conservative when it comes to dress and garments.
    It caused a lot of stress and in the end I decided, that 1 she’s a grown ( though young) married women, and really it’s none of my business! I’m here to anwser questions and guide her with her relationship with Jesus as she navigates a little faith question. I want her to know that she is loved and that we are cheering for her, and praying and loving.

    If you find yourself judging please stop and think “ what can I do
    To show this person they are loved” it will get you so much further in life!

  9. What a beautiful post!! Thank you for explaining the ins and outs of this. What a beautiful way to honor your relationship with God!

  10. Thank you so much for sharing this! It must feel super high-pressure to articulate your thoughts, with the deluge, shall we say, of comments that you get about it. Interesting to read how honoring the sabbath and ‘be fruitful and multiply’ are likewise admonitions but you and your daughters don’t get admonished (heh) for your adherence to those. I actually would be curious to hear your thoughts on honoring the sabbath in a world of club sports/homework/modern life, but maybe fodder for a different blog post.
    Very, very tangentially related – I’m also into sewing clothing clothes and I have it on my list to make myself a shirt just like the one you have on in your bio pic. I got an sheet at Goodwill to make it out of 🙂

    1. Ha! I love that you could make that! That is a rare talent these days that I’m sure my floral dresses couldn’t hold a candle to!

      I did write about club sports on Sunday a while back, I’ll have to find that post. It’s such a difficult balance. But I think it’s another thing we “should seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit to answer personal questions” about.

  11. Thank you for the time, research, and study that you put into writing this post. It was beautifully written and as usual, you have opened my mind to other ways of thinking and interpreting. I especially loved your words on comparing our interpretations of wearing the temple garment with our interpretations of other areas such as keeping the sabbath day holy. Such a great analogy to think about!

  12. That was a wonderful post. I appreciate all the thought that went into it. It helps explain a lot that I previously didn’t fully understand.

    I do think though, that originally, the wearing of garments was not “open to interpretation”. I think in years past, when the rule was made, you were just expected to wear them pretty much all the time, and that is what you promised to do.

    Any rule, promise, etc – can be “open to interpretation” – especially by those that do not want to follow that particular rule, or fulfill that promise. The “out” is to simply say “I don’t interpret it like that, so I am fine…”

    Maybe they are fine, maybe not. Maybe Heavenly Father will see their “interpretation” for what it is – a reason not to live up to what they promised to do.

    That is not for us to judge – that is what people will have to be able to justify in front of the Heavenly Throne when they stand before it. Only then will they know if they “interpreted” correctly.

    1. I agree. People have to figure out what they feel in their own hearts is “right” and do it. You’re right that it’s so easy to justify things to fit them into what we feel like works for us. Often when we really dig deep and work on our own convictions, we all find we have work to do. I just don’t think we can do this for others, only for ourselves. And it actually ends up hurting us if we get too worried about what others are doing.

  13. Thank you for all the beauty and understanding for this non-LDS long time follower. Thank you for the time spent writing this post and for “dumbing” it down for me also. I love how committed you are to your faith!

  14. You are always so kind in your posts and I hope I can share my thoughts in the same way. I am not LDS and raised Catholic (by very religiously adherent parents). I no longer am practicing for many reasons. If religious garments or wigs or head coverings or what have you helps someone feel closer to their God, I of course respect their right to make their choice but, honestly, the rules, and the ordinances, and the endless mindless mindbending interpretation of all of it to support or reject a person’s choice has nothing to do with God and all this stuff is human created (in all religions). It is my belief that the relationship is simple withput barriers and based on love. No god has time for all the rules and machinations to make rules work for different people. Again, if a particular garment or habit helps someone feel closer to God, it is obviously their choice. But when it is a “rule”, I think wow, does God in any form they exist have time or desire to care about these rules? Is God creating a hierarchy in his love and thise who follow the rules the best get more love? TBH many of these rules, across religious, were created to keep people chaste and women bore the greater responsibility and shame in that regard. I celebrate the younger generations questioning of “why”.

    1. So well said, Lkt. I am grateful for these thoughts and I agree. I think “rules” tend to make people feel like they need to “check the boxes” rather than change their hearts. But I think religion in general is here to help us do just that: change and turn our hearts to God. I, like you, don’t believe in a God who cares about rules. But I don’t think we’re talking about rules here.

      I do believe there are things that can help us intentionally connect to God. Reminders that we are His. It could be going out into nature or doing an act of service each day or studying the scriptures and yes, the wearing of the garment. I believe when we do these things seeking connection, we will find it.

      I too celebrate digging into the “whys.” Such power there to really fortify our faith and connections.

      1. I’m late to the discussion so you may not see this comment..

        Shawni – please. You don’t believe in a God who cares about rules? Then you are associated with the wrong church. Yours has lists and lists of rules. And I don’t think they were put there for no reason. You can’t pick and choose which ones fit your lifestyle. You have to try to obey them all. And yes, I know, no one is perfect, we will never be able to keep them all… but the point is – we have to TRY. Not skirt around them, and compare wearing garments to taking a walk in nature.

  15. Love that you are a brave woman to take on this explanation. I’m significantly older than you and could not have come close to your explanation. I’ve always been an “active” member, and should be able to explain it more.
    You are certainly correct: it’s the “why” and no one else’s business (especially not mine).
    And again, having children humbles us in so many ways!

  16. I’m always amused and confused by this topic. I think a few JW who followed their pamphlets as if they were scripture read the blog get quite hung up with strength of youth pamphlet and other handbooks. The most obvious exposure most nonmembers have is the BYU athletics. Most of the athletic attire is not garment friendly. And many have been through the temple. The obvious answer is no, you don’t wear them all the time. There are activities when you don’t wear them. I also find the topic quite sexist. They never ask about the male members? Why are women like that to other women?

    1. Because the male members are generally covered up enough that you can’t tell if they are wearing them or not.

      The female members, at least in this family – are not. It is obvious they are not wearing them since they have on short shorts and sleeveless tops. They are flaunting not wearing the garments, and don’t care. And this is not while doing sports or exercising. It is while taking tours of cities, going out to eat, going to plays and museums… all of which would be garment-friendly activities.

      They are not sorting anything out, or interpreting anything. They choose not to keep their promise.

  17. Kristine, you nailed it with this!!
    “They never ask about the male members? Why are women like that to other women?”

  18. love this, have you ever had to talk with your daughter about wearing garments or do you just let her do her own thing and whatnot? has it ever caused a strain that she doesnt wear them?

  19. I’m a little confused. As much as I appreciated your words. Are we still sugar coating? This is the exact words spoken at the time of your temple recommend interview.

    The garment should not be removed for activities that can reasonably be done while wearing the garment. It should not be modified to accommodate different styles of clothing”.

    The Priesthood leaders reads it and then asks “ Do you wear the temple garment as instructed” how can you answer “ yes” if you are wearing sleeveless or clothing that would not cover garments to go on a date , or to go out for a walk? How can you say “ yes” it doesn’t say if you feel like it . It’s say you should NOT.
    I think we are still trying to justify our kids, grandkids not being truthful in their answers.

    1. I agree with Amy. Of course there are medical conditions, and perhaps other reasons that wearing the garment is impossible, and it must be very hard on those people who want to wear them but can not. Otherwise, it seems clear to me what the instructions are and how to answer honestly during the interview for a temple recommend.

    2. I really appreciate this thought, Amy. I want to be very clear that I am not implying it would be ok to answer falsely for questions in the temple recommend interview. “Do you strive to be honest in all that you do?” is one of the most important recommend questions in my opinion. If we are not wearing the temple garment as instructed and are not seeking the guidance recommended in the temple interview, I hope we would not say “yes” to that question. To me it seems that would be a great time to discuss honest worries and questions. That’s where the growth comes.

      But again, we cannot answer for anyone else but ourselves.

    3. So a priesthood leader is supposed to ask the question and the person interviewed is supposed to answer. Got it! Why all this talk outside the interviews?

  20. Shawni, such beautiful thoughts, as always. As someone who struggles with medical and sensory issues with garments, they have become a source of great frustration, personally. I am sure I am not the only one.

    I recommend listening to the podcast with Afton Southam Parker on At Last She Said It, titled, Let’s talk about Garments. . . at last! I wish more women would speak up about the very real challenges that some (not all) face, and feel comfortable talking more openly about this issue.

    1. Yes I have listened to that podcast and it has so many great points. There are absolutely challenges for some that are real. I just wish they would have balanced out the “wishing garments were different” with more talk about what a gift the garment can be.

  21. I don’t think wearing garments shows more devotion or less devotion. I know a lot of people who do feel like they are super restrictive and clostrophobic. Plus the church doesn’t realize they are literally in the underwear business which takes a ton of research, different fabrics, consideration of different skin tones and different climates. Gone are the days where it’s a one size fits all and members are just willing to accept that. More time, research and honestly an openness for what others choose to do. I couldn’t care less if someone chooses to wear or not wear and I don’t think it has anything to do with their worship or devotion to God. The early members wore the garment only during temple worship so it’s interesting that a long the way it’s turned into this all the time thing.

  22. Thank you for your example in handling these questions with grace and openness.
    I think sometimes what sounds judgmental often comes from a place of defensiveness. When we have come to love and appreciate something as sacred, and been taught and counseled repeatedly about the weight and sacredness of the covenants we make in the temple, we want other people to value them the same way we do. We also count on each other to be good representatives to the rest of the world of the things we hold dear.

    For many people I love, the choice to stop wearing the garment has been a tangible ”last stop” or a sign to everyone else that they are separating
    themselves from “the church” because they don’t just stop wearing it, but pair its removal with clothing that makes it clear that they aren’t wearing it. This is understandably met with concern for people who love them and want to be “in the boat” together, so to speak. It makes me want to do better at checking in and supporting my people spiritually all along the way.

    This post and comments have also left me pondering how we can support the process of seeking revelation and working things out for oneself AND exercising faith in the meantime. I don’t think we’re punished for the times when we’re figuring things out, but if we aren’t wearing the garment, we can’t access the promised blessings for doing so.

    1. I so agree that we often come at things like this from a place of defensiveness. That is such a good explanation why it’s so difficult to sometimes let things go. We want our loved ones to value things that we hold so dear. Things we believe will make their lives better because they have changed our own lives in the best ways. But, and I’m going to sound like a broken record here, we just aren’t in charge of the decisions others make.

      We are in charge, however, of the decisions we make. And if we make a decision to show love unconditionally, we have the power to build relationships as Jesus would. Our loved ones will let us in and share their thoughts and concerns. Do you think sometimes we’re scared of that? I do.

      I LOVED this part of Sister Runia’s talk at conference:
      “Sometimes all we can see is [an] up-close, magnified view of those we love. Tonight, I invite you to zoom out and look through a different lens—an eternal lens that focuses on the big picture, your bigger story.

      “As humans, we have an earthbound point of view, but God sees the grand overview of the universe. He sees all creation, all of us, and is filled with hope.

      “Is it possible to begin to see as God sees even while living on the surface of this planet—to feel this overview feeling? I believe we can, through the eye of faith, zoom out and view ourselves and our families with hope and joy…

      “I went through a rough patch my senior year in high school when I wasn’t making great choices. I remember seeing my mom crying, and I wondered if I’d disappointed her. At the time, I worried that her tears meant she’d lost hope for me, and if she didn’t feel hope for me, maybe there wasn’t a way back.

      “But my dad was more practiced at zooming out and taking the long view. He’d learned from experience that worry feels a lot like love, but it’s not the same. He used the eye of faith to see that everything would work out, and his hopeful approach changed me.

      “When I graduated from high school and went to BYU, my dad sent letters reminding me of who I was. He became my cheerleader, and everybody needs a cheerleader—someone who isn’t telling you, “You’re not running fast enough”; they’re lovingly reminding you that you can.

      Oh I just couldn’t love that more. It was her dad’s “hopeful approach” that changed her, not the worry from her mom. (The whole talk is here, and I love it:

      Sometimes we don’t realize how much our worry for others hinders them. And we forget that our love can transform them and us. So, instead of wringing our hands with worry looking for that “last stop” you’re talking about, I think it’s so much more powerful to zoom out and dig deeper to love more. To get curious with respect for what they are going through. To be a real friend.

      I also think that everyone who is genuinely reaching to God for guidance and direction, they will find it. This is not contingent on whether they are wearing the garment.

      I can tell your concern comes from a place of love. Sometimes it just helps to zoom out to figure out the best way to show it. I’d love to hear your thoughts on that and dig deeper if you don’t agree.

  23. Hey Shawni!
    It’s certainly a delicate topic. I remember leading a tour on Temple Square with a group of people. For context I had been kind of cracking some tiny jokes before the tour started. As we started, some guy trying to be funny actually yelled out, “Hey Jeff are you wearing the magic underwear now?” I should have been a little softer, but I replied back with, “Dude! Barely 1 min into the tour and you’re already asking about my underwear? We’ll have some fun, but this not is not THAT kind of tour and while I could make a lot of money, I don’t do a dog and pony show.” Smiling of course. Everyone laughed and his wife told him to shut up. The tour went on and good times. This is another fun side of wearing garments. I’m sure you and your sisters have had plenty of ‘fun’ experiences similar in nature to this. I’ve had tons more, mostly co-workers on business trips while I was the designated driver 😇.

    This line you stated…. “ there are many things we grow into in life. All the gospel principles”. True!!’ This is like our kids teeth coming in. They come when they’re ready. Each person has their own timeline of when they’re ready for more Gospel Principles. CFM and daily BofM can speed that up. If you’re willing.

    Well done and excellently articulated with grace and courage. Outstanding! In the Arena is still as entertaining as ever.

    1. I so agree that we have to put ourselves in the places where we can do that “becoming.” We have to put in the effort.

  24. This is so lovely. I can feel your love for others through your writing. As I read I had a couple of thoughts about those who may choose to wear garments differently, and then you stated my thoughts perfectly when you said “wearing the garment out of gratitude or hard earned understanding” that is actually the point isnt it? We should all put in the hard work before just reducing something so beautiful to obligation. It’s important to love others who are putting in the hard to become closer to our Savior isn’t that what we want for everyone? It’s very possible the outcome of those who are digging deep to find understanding are the people who can teach us the greatest lessons. Thank you for all of your words and the gentleness yet directness of your post. I love all of it and I’m grateful for your words!

    1. Thank you so much Laura. I so agree that’s what we want for everyone. We all have our own unique personal journeys to discipleship. May we put in the work (because it does take work!) to keep turning to God. Over and over again.

  25. I’m surprised at the length you wrote about responsibility to neighbors and strangers. Isn’t “it’s none of your business” enough? We’re talking about an intimate undergarment AND an intimate relationship with God. Why do we care enough to need to rationalize it in our minds? Respect privacy. It doesn’t matter what the person has chosen to wear. It’s not *an outward symbol*.

  26. One of the best articles written on Temple Garments is “The Temple Garment: ‘An Outward Expression of an Inward Commitment'” by Carlos E. Asay. It can be found on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints website.
    We are all at different stages in our commitments, and I certainly appreciate the grace shown to me in the areas I am weak in and I certainly want that same grace shown to my children. I appreciate the kindness and compassion in your writing.

    1. Yes, but LDS youth are so strongly encouraged to “go through the temple” – and when they do, they are making very serious promises, including to always (within reason) wear the garments. I agree about the commitment. But if the CHILDREN are not ready to commit, they should not be pressured to do the temple thing, because that IS commitment – not “I’m still searching but not sure”.

  27. Why do people care at all about the underwear other people are wearing? How is it remotely appropriate for a middle aged man to ask a young woman about her underwear?!?! T

    1. @Jenny also –

      Honey, it’s not about the underwear, and you know it. It’s about making a commitment before God and then blowing it off – under the guise of “I interpret this differently” or “I’m not really sure I’m ready..”

      You’ve been reading this blog long enough to know this, and to know that in this family, rules and promises are made to be sidestepped – as long as you are a good person…

  28. April 2024 update: please note the church has spelled it out clearly (it was clear to me before but not for everyone apparently) that garments are to be worn day and night throughout your life. New temple recommend questions and the statement on the garment spells it out very clearly. It’s not open to interpretation. Please, Shawni, use your voice to promote and encourage their use not make excuses or think up reasons not to. The prophet is super clear. Please rethink your thoughts on the garment post to throw support his way.

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