Do Mormons Wear Magic Underwear?

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.


The word "garment" has a distinctive meaning to Latter-day Saints. Members who have received the ordinance of the temple endowment wear a white ceremonial undergarment. Members wear the garment under their regular clothing for the rest of their lives, day and night, to remind them of the sacred covenants they have made with God. It is an outward expression of an inward covenant and symbolizes Christlike attributes in one's mission in life. The white garment symbolizes purity and helps assure modesty and respect for the attributes of God. Scripture and ancient tradition point toward the significance of sacral clothing. The clergy and ministry in almost all major faiths wear special clothing. For Latter-day Saints, among whom there is no professional ministry, men and women from all walks of life share in the callings, responsibilities, and blessings of the priesthood. Their sacred clothing, representing covenants with God, is worn under rather than outside their street clothes.

The word "undergarment" or just "garment" has a distinctive meaning to Latter-day Saints. The white undergarment worn by those members who have received the ordinance of the temple Endowment is a ceremonial one. All adults who enter the temple are required to wear it. In mormon temples, men and women who receive priesthood ordinances wear this undergarment and other priestly robes. The garment is worn at all times, but the robes are worn only in the temple. Having made covenants of righteousness, the members wear the garment under their regular clothing for the rest of their lives, day and night, partially to remind them of the sacred covenants they have made with God.

The white garment symbolizes purity and helps assure modesty, respect for the attributes of God, and, to the degree it is honored, a token of what Paul regarded as taking upon one the whole armor of God (Eph. 6:13; cf. D&C 27:15). It is an outward expression of an inward covenant, and symbolizes Christlike attributes in one's mission in life. Garments bear several simple marks of orientation toward the gospel principles of obedience, truth, life, and discipleship in Christ.

An agency of the Church manufactures these garments in contemporary, comfortable, and lightweight fabrics. They are available for purchase through Church distribution centers.

Scripture, as well as legends from many lands and cultures, points toward the significance of sacral clothing. A biblical tradition teaches that Adam and Eve, prior to their expulsion from Eden, wore sacred clothing. "Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them" (Gen. 3:21). These were given in a context of repentance and forgiveness, and of offering sacrifice and making covenants.

In antiquity, priestly vestments were part of widespread tradition. The Targums (Aramaic paraphrases of the Old Testament) teach that these garments were "precious garments" or "glorious garments" or "garments of honor." Rabbi Eleazer called them "coats of glory." A rabbinic source asks: "And what were those garments?" The answer is, "The vestments of the High Priesthood, with which the Almighty clothed them because Adam was the world's first-born" (Kasher, Encyclopedia of Biblical Interpretation, Vol. 1, p. 137). In Moses' time those who officiated in the Tabernacle wore a certain kind of garment: "And [Moses] put upon [Aaron] the coat, and girded him with the girdle, and clothed him with the robe, and put the ephod upon him, and he girded him with the curious girdle of the ephod, and bound it unto him therewith" (Lev. 8:7; see Testament of Levi 8). Latter-day Saints similarly wear temple garments in connection with their priesthood functions.

The clergy and many of the committed in almost all major faiths wear special clothing. For Latter-day Saints, among whom there is no professional ministry, men and women from all walks of life share in the callings, responsibilities, and blessings of the priesthood. Their sacred clothing, representing covenants with God, is worn under rather than outside their street clothes.

In a Messianic passage Isaiah declared: "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness" (Isa. 61:10). In the current dispensation, the principle has been reaffirmed in prophetic idiom: "Zion must increase in beauty,…and put on her beautiful garments" (D&C 82:14). Latter-day Saints believe that all such clothing is symbolic of the submission, sanctification, and spotless purity of those who desire to serve God and Christ and ultimately regain their eternal presence (D&C 61:34; 135:5).


Nibley, Hugh W. Sacred Vestments, 38 pages. Provo, Utah, 1984.

Packer, Boyd K. The Holy Temple. Salt Lake City, 1980.

Do Mormons Practice Polygamy?


Plural marriage, popularly known as polygamy, is the practice of a man marrying more than one wife. Plural marriage was taught and practiced in the Church for a relatively brief period. Joseph Smith received the revelation about plural marriage as early as 1831 in answer to his inquiry concerning the appropriateness of revered prophets and patriarchs who had more than one wife. Joseph was reluctant to introduce the practice and did so only after divine warning. He first taught the principle privately in the 1840s. The Church began teaching it publicly in 1852. Plural marriage brought public hostility against the Church and eventually federal antipolygamy legislation that stripped Latter-day Saints of their rights as citizens, disincorporated the Church, and permitted the seizure of Church property. Plural marriage challenged those within the Church also. Early participants first wrestled with the prospect and then embraced the principle only after receiving personal spiritual confirmation that they should do so. Studies suggest that a maximum of 20 to 25 percent of Latter-day Saint adults were members of polygamous households during this era. Again by revelation, Church President Wilford Woodruff issued the Manifesto in October 1890 announcing an official end to the Church practice of plural marriage. Since 1904, it has been uniform Church policy to excommunicate any member either practicing or openly advocating the practice of polygamy.

Jeff Lindsay:

Ending in 1890, there was a nearly 50-year period in which polygamy was sanctioned and encouraged by the Church. It is now strictly forbidden. The practice commenced in the same way it ended: under direction from a prophet of God. I don't know why the Lord commanded it, just as I don't know why there was polygamy among some of the greatest prophets of God in the Bible (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and others). It is at odds with my cultural views and I'm grateful that it is no longer in force.

Adultery involves having sex with someone who is not your wife. Brigham Young and other past LDS polygamists were properly married to their wives - just the opposite of having extramarital relations. If having more than one wife is inherently sinful, then we also have to condemn the Bible which teaches that the old polygamist Abraham was a great and righteous prophet. Christ even spoke about God as being the "God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob" - giving tribute to flagrant polygamists. Polygamy is unacceptable unless the Lord authorizes, but it is not inherently sinful.

In 1998, President Gordon B. Hinckley made the following statement about the Church's position on plural marriage:

"This Church has nothing whatever to do with those practicing polygamy. They are not members of this Church. . . . If any of our members are found to be practicing plural marriage, they are excommunicated, the most serious penalty the Church can impose. Not only are those so involved in direct violation of the civil law, they are in violation of the law of this Church."

At various times, the Lord has commanded His people to practice plural marriage. For example, He gave this command to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, and Solomon (Doctrine and Covenants 132:1).

In this dispensation, the Lord commanded some of the early Saints to practice plural marriage. The Prophet Joseph Smith and those closest to him, including Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball, were challenged by this command, but they obeyed it. In 1890, President Wilford Woodruff received a revelation that the leaders of the Church should cease teaching the practice of plural marriage.

According to the Lord's law of marriage, it is lawful that a man have only one wife at a time, unless by revelation the Lord commands plurality of wives in the new and everlasting covenant. (D. & C. 49:15-17.) Speaking of "the doctrine of plurality of wives," the Prophet said: "I hold the keys of this power in the last days; for there is never but one on earth at a time on whom the power and its keys are conferred; and I have constantly said no man shall have but one wife at a time, unless the Lord directs otherwise." (Teachings, p. 324.)

The Lord, by the mouth of his Prophet Jacob, gave similar direction to the Nephites: "For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none; For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts. Wherefore, this people shall keep my commandments, saith the Lord of Hosts, or cursed be the land for their sakes. For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things." (Jacob 2:27-30.)

From such fragmentary scriptural records as are now available, we learn that the Lord did command some of his ancient saints to practice plural marriage. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob -- among others (D. & C. 132) -- conformed to this ennobling and exalting principle; the whole history of ancient Israel was one in which plurality of wives was a divinely accepted and approved order of matrimony. Those who entered this order at the Lord's command, and who kept the laws and conditions appertaining to it, have gained for themselves eternal exaltation in the highest heaven of the celestial world.

In the early days of this dispensation, as part of the promised restitution of all things, the Lord revealed the principle of plural marriage to the Prophet. Later the Prophet and leading brethren were commanded to enter into the practice, which they did in all virtue and purity of heart despite the consequent animosity and prejudices of worldly people. After Brigham Young led the saints to the Salt Lake Valley, plural marriage was openly taught and practiced until the year 1890. At that time conditions were such that the Lord by revelation withdrew the command to continue the practice, and President Wilford Woodruff issued the Manifesto directing that it cease. (Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, pp. 213-218.) Obviously the holy practice will commence again after the Second Coming of the Son of Man and the ushering in of the millennium. (Isa. 4.)

Plural marriage is not essential to salvation or exaltation. Nephi and his people were denied the power to have more than one wife and yet they could gain every blessing in eternity that the Lord ever offered to any people. In our day, the Lord summarized by revelation the whole doctrine of exaltation and predicated it upon the marriage of one man to one woman. (D. & C. 132:1-28.) Thereafter he added the principles relative to plurality of wives with the express stipulation that any such marriages would be valid only if authorized by the President of the Church. (D. & C. 132:7, 29-66.)

All who pretend or assume to engage in plural marriage in this day, when the one holding the keys has withdrawn the power by which they are performed, are guilty of gross wickedness.

What is the Book of Mormon?

The Book of Mormon

The Book of Mormon is a record of God’s dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas, brought forth by the grace and power of God in our day as a second witness that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior and redeemer of all mankind.

As part of the Restoration? of the gospel?, God brought forth the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ?. By the power of God, Joseph Smith translated this book from an ancient record written on gold plates?. The Book of Mormon is “a record of God’s dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains, as does the Bible?, the fulness of the everlasting gospel” (Introduction to the Book of Mormon).

The Book of Mormon is a powerful witness of Jesus Christ. It helps us understand His teachings, including those in the Bible. Examples of Book of Mormon witnesses of Christ include:

Nephi, who saw the birth and death of Christ in a vision ( 1 Nephi 11:13–15).

The brother of Jared, who saw the Lord because of his great faith ( Ether 3:7–16).

The prophet Samuel the Lamanite, who prophesied of Christ’s coming and gave the signs of His birth and death ( Helaman 13–14).

Christ Himself, who, after His Resurrection, appeared to the people of ancient America and invited them to come forward one by one to see and touch Him until “they had all gone forth and had witnessed for themselves” ( 3 Nephi 11:13–17).

In the Bible, Jesus told His Apostles?, “Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd” ( John 10:16). Soon after He was resurrected, the Lord visited these “other sheep”—the inhabitants of ancient America. During this visit to the American continent (recorded in the Book of Mormon), Jesus Christ:

Invited people to feel the wound marks in His hands and feet and side.

Taught His gospel.

Called twelve disciples to teach His gospel.

Healed the sick.

Prayed for the people.

Performed miracles.

In September 1823, Joseph Smith was visited by a heavenly messenger named Moroni?, in the same way that angels often appeared to Church leaders in the New Testament. Moroni informed Joseph that God had a work for him to do and told him that a record of the ancient inhabitants of the American continent was buried in a nearby hill. He stated that the record contained the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ ( Joseph Smith—History 1:27–34).

In September 1827, Joseph received the record, which was written on thin plates of gold. Joseph translated the book into English by the inspiration? of God and called the book the Book of Mormon. It is named after Mormon?, an ancient prophet who compiled the sacred? record. The book verifies, as another testament of Christ, the reality and divinity of Jesus Christ. It is, then, a second witness that affirms the truth of the Bible. Since its publishing in 1830, the Book of Mormon has blessed the lives of millions of people through its powerful message about Jesus Christ and His gospel.