By request of baffo
, here's the skinny
on one of the weird
er elements of Mormon
ism. Many members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
who are above 18 wear special undergarment
s. No kidding
! I'm actually wearing some right now. Unlike many crazy things people think Mormon
s do, this one's for real.
A male LDS member will start wearing garments before they leave on their mission, or sometime after they're older than 19 or so. Women often start wearing garments when they get married, or in their mid-20s otherwise. I'm really not sure if there are any exact rules for this. A member will start wearing their garments after they've gone to a Mormon Temple and recieved their endowments. The endowment is an ordinance to prepare oneself for the afterlife*. The endowment ceremony is also closely connected to sealing, which is Mormonism's pumped-up version of marriage.
The garments themselves are pretty simple. The men's top is basically just a normal undershirt. The shirt sometimes sports a dipped neckline. This dip can sometimes be seen through the shirt, or the impression can be seen on clothing and is sometimes called an eternal smile. ::shudder:: The other half of the men's garments is very similar to knee length boxer briefs. I'm not as familiar with the female garments. The bottoms are just like the mens though. They are available in several different fabrics for either sex. Mormon Garments can only be purchased through the Church and the tag states they are authentic. They are, of course, only available to members.
There are a few rules with regards to one's garments. Members are admonished to wear them at almost all times. Except when showering, swimming, excercising or doing anything that would get them overly dirty you're supposed to keep them on. Your outside clothing should completely cover your garments. This is why it's so common for Mormons to wear knee length (or longer) shorts. Garments are supposed to be treated sacredly. Most Mormons try to keep them off the ground and wash them by themselves. If they become extremely soiled or fall into disrepair they are to be destroyed. Wow! Just like the flag!
Ok, so what are the benefits of wearing funny underwear? By far the biggest benefit is that they cut down on the chafing caused by jeans. Anyway, many Mormons feel they gain a certain amount of protection from them. Mormon Urban Legends are filled with stories of the faithful surviving fires with burns only outside where their garments were. Since there isn't really any mention of garments in Mormon scripture it's hard to say exactly what the real benefits are. One commonly mentioned benefit is that they serve as a constant reminder that you're a follower of Christ. Garments aren't used in any daily ceremonies or prayers.
The use of garments doesn't totally come from out in left field. The Old Testament does mention special ceremonial and "holy garments" worn by Aaron and the priests. There are other religions place significance on some clothing as well, like the vestments of Catholic Priests.
*You may have noticed I didn't go into a great deal of detail with some things. As a practicing Mormon I'm actually not allowed to discuss certain aspects of the Temple
and the garments. The reason give is that they are sacred
topics and not to be discussed lightly. E2, where I can have this node
softlinked to how to give good head
, isn't the best forum for such things. Go ahead and /msg me if you have any questions though and I'll add to this WU.