The official statement from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) says the following about the purpose for temple garments:

Like members of many religious faiths, Latter-day Saints wear religious clothing. But members of other faiths — typically those involved in permanent pastoral ministries or religious services — usually wear religious garments as outer ceremonial vestments or symbols of recognition. In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, garments are worn beneath street clothing as a personal and private reminder of commitments to God.

Garments are considered sacred by Church members and are not regarded as a topic for casual conversation. (LDS Newsroom)

I’ve personally never really paid that much attention to why people of various religions wear certain clothes…especially their underwear!  However, as a Mormon, somehow this topic gets brought up on occasion and I can understand our friends of other faiths having questions about why we wear garments. 

For example, I was on a business trip a few years ago and shared a room with a colleague.  When we were changing he looked at me and had a hard time not doing a double take.  He had questions…a lot of them.  All I knew was that it is emphasized that garments are not used for casual conversation and I’m afraid I confused him more than helped him with my vague explanation of why we wear garments. 

Today I was reading in the scriptures and also a talk on how the garment is an outward expression of an inner commitment.  The verse I read today that impressed me was in Alma 34:36:

…the Lord hath said he dwelleth not in unholy temples, but in the hearts of the righteous doth he dwell; yea, and he has also said that the righteous shall sit down in his kingdom, to go no more out; but their garments should be made white through the blood of the Lamb.

I’m not sure why I hadn’t really paid attention to this before, but one purpose for the garment is to remind us of the suffering that Jesus went through for all of us and to remind us that our sins are washed away through his blood.  I then became curious and thought I’d look up more scriptures with this imagery and I found quite a few that share similar imagery.

I’m sure if I had sat down with my friend and showed him the scriptures related to the garment, it would have made a lot more sense to him rather than giving a vague answer and telling him it is too sacred to talk about.  Our friends may or may not agree with wearing the garments, but they should definitely gain more understanding if we approach it with confidence and understanding from their perspective.

Have any of you had a similar experience?  If so, what approach have you taken on explaining the purpose behind wearing the garment?

Other Good posts about Garments:

Some History of Mormon Underwear

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