In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, there’s often a very large gap in the theological or doctrinal understanding of the garment, and the lived experience with wearing one. Predictably, Mormons will simply say that garments are symbols of their temple covenants.
On the surface that’s not very problematic. Almost all faith traditions have religious clothing that symbolises an aspect of faith. Carlos Asay has stated of the garment, that it is “an outward expression of an inward commitment.”
But, the fact that Mormon religious clothing is worn as underwear is for some people highly troublesome not for reasons of faith or belief but for health and physical reasons.
A few years ago, Nancy Ross and Jessica Finnigan set about trying to find out something about the relationship that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have with their temple garments. Around 4,500 Mormons responded to their question “What do your garments mean to you?”
Out of the survey data emerged some very strong themes, and to discuss their research Nancy Ross and Jessica Finnigan join me for a chat about Mormon religious underwear.