mormon underwearFrom out of nowhere and shocking to some members of the Mormon faith, myself included (to be honest), on a relatively quiet Saturday afternoon The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released an unprecedented video about the sacred, holy temple garment worn by covenant members of the Church -- with photos, titled: Sacred Temple Clothing (a.k.a. Mormon underwear). And, Mormons are reacting...

The reactions by Mormons, mixed to say the least, aren't just about the temple garments being neatly laid out for the world to see, but also shown is the temple clothing (robes of holy priesthood) worn only inside a Mormon temple; sacred to members of the Church. So sacred, that most don’t purposely show the temple clothing to their own children until they are preparing to go to the temple themselves – as adults.

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One sister, after viewing the video said “The times they are a changin. This is sacred and NOT for public viewing. I'm shocked and appalled. The gospel isn't supposed to change. Why is this being changed? No one besides those worthy are supposed to see this.” Many, after reading her comments, did their best to help her work through these initial feelings. But, she’s not alone – other faithful Mormons are having similar reactions.

Mind you, most reacting with some discomfort about the Church video are fully aware that anti-Mormons and apostate members find great joy in displaying our sacred temple clothing across the Internet to mock the faith and humiliate us -- and worse. We know that Google is more than accommodating to the curious or critical in providing these unholy shares, the likes of which offensive to those who hold this part of our personal faith sacred -- not secret. And, we get that having the Church address the curiosity by taking charge of the conversation will be a net positive.

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I like how this sister, from my WBMW Facebook community, put it: “I'm very happy that this video has been produced by the Church. People have been viewing temple garments on-line for years, because some… have put them online. This video teaches a sacred principle and takes the shock value away from those who would try to scorn or mock. A bold move.”

With that said, however, showing the garments and robes as if it's no big deal, just part of the faith (similar to others), well, that's taking some Mormons time to digest -- for a few reasons; all legitimate. In fact, I shared the video immediately and did so as a positive. Though it hasn’t yet taken away the background discomfort I’m feeling particularly when so many are sharing similar reactions – I totally get it.

Before the release of this new video about "Mormon underwear" in most settings the spiritual maturity of an individual has often been the guide, or policy, used to introduce the wearing of Mormon temple clothing. Because of that this sudden exposure, if you will, by the Church, has come across as somewhat confusing to not a few members. I might add, that most pushback is coming from older members (although I hate to admit that), rather than from Millennial Mormons who right off the bat think it’s pretty darn cool and see it as super awesome! ;)

Like this, from Jake Oakey: "Our youth now have a resource they can turn to to learn more, which still maintains the sacred nature of temple ordinances. Learning about sacred things should be done in sacred places when the learner has been adequately prepared. The temple is such an amazing and special place. I am grateful the Church is opening up some of that special sacred knowledge to others."

Which means, because our wonderful and faithful Millennials are the future of our faith, the rest of us best come up to speed. Right? I think so. But I do feel there is some value is recognizing and validating the concerns swirling around the new openness of the Church and together focus on the positives going forward for our faith.

One sister I spoke with yesterday (young I might add) suggested “it would have been nice if the Church had given us a little head’s up about the video -- a letter perhaps?” Honestly, considering the sacred nature of temple clothing, to so many members, I had to agree; it would have been nice. Onward.

I really like these thoughts, extracted from various online conversations about the new temple garment video, helping me and others to reconcile our temporary, uncomfortable feelings: 

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“I think this is good for members and non members. Some of us don't know what we can say, share, etc., even with our own kids. We are watching this for Family Home Evening this week. My parents were very guarded about letting us see their temple robes, etc. I was totally surprised when I went to the temple for the first time (my parents have been valiant members of the church who love the temple and go often my whole life- but they must have missed President Benson's talk about his memories of watching his mom ironing her temple robes- I never saw my parents' temple robes before we went to the temple). I wish I had. This video does a wonderful job talking about these sacred- not secret- things.”

“Why not show it appropriately? Go to YouTube. Many non-members have posted far worse. Being the only member of the church in my family, and always being asked about my "magic underwear", this makes it easier for me to share that part of my life with my family in a way the church deems appropriate! I understand this makes people uncomfortable, because for so many people this has been something not up for open discussion for so long, but with the invention of the Internet, so much floats out there already, better to address it."

“I am so thankful the Church decided to do this. They did this in a tasteful way, and in a way that the sacred nature and words of the covenants that are made in the temple are not divulged or infringed upon, and are kept sacred. The exact meaning and symbolism of the temple clothing and garment is kept sacred as well. This clears up misconceptions, speculations, distortions, and downright falsehoods that are made all the time about our faith and our temple worship. This is a great thing!”

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“ For some of us it is a little shocking to talk about "temple stuff", but we have to remember that what goes on in the temple is "sacred", not "secret".  Let's follow the Church's lead and carefully share the scriptures that verify what is taught in the temple to our children, friends, and neighbors. We don't have to feel awkward about testifying of the covenants we've made in the temple. Without verbalizing everything, we can still promote our sacred beliefs without being weird about it. Everything we do in the temple is in the scriptures and is available to all those who faithfully desire. The Church is opening the door for us as members to share what is truly important to us.”

“So much better that our church leaders explain it reverently and correctly than our detractors being the so called "authorities" on this topic. I'm very glad they're done this video.”

“Wow... I don't know how I feel about this. This is just too sacred, but at the same time I understand that sometimes certain decisions in the church are necessary. All I know is that following the prophet is what's right!”

“When my children were sealed to us this summer I didn't know how much to tell them. This answers my kids questions about the clothing. I am so grateful this was put out. I can show them and now they will understand.”

“What an eloquent way of dispelling the myths. I'm questioned often about temple garments and this is a wonderful little video that explains without going into too much detail. I love how the garments were displayed. A very usable tool for Temple Prep Classes.”

I'm feeling much better already. I hope you are, too.


Kathryn Skaggs 

Mormon Newsroom Update 10/22: Church Updates Temple Garment Video

Photos: screenshots taken from video

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