Temple Garments

This article comes from a section from the Mentoring Handbook that we have available at our bookstore or you can download it for free on the site.

It is a compilation of LDS doctrines we’ve looked at and compared to biblical standards to see is what Joseph Smith taught and the modern-day LDS still adhere to today.

~Sandals are scriptural/shorts are optional~

Part of leaving Mormonism behind is finding the strength in disrobing.  While I understand that sounds horribly ungodly, stick with me here for a moment to understand the mindset of the Mormon.  The Mormon is taught that in order to truly be saved they must make it to the Celestial Kingdom – the highest level of heaven.  There is no true salvation outside this level.  In order to get there you must be temple worthy and once you’re temple worthy you are awarded the “honor and blessing” of purchasing temple garments.

The Encyclopedia of Mormonism says this about the Celestial Kingdom on page 260;

Celestial glory comes to those “who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial,…and who overcome by faith, and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true” (D&C 76:51-53). Within the celestial glory are three levels, and to obtain the highest requires a temple marriage or sealing.”

Temple garments are a thin layer of plain white clothing that is worn next to your skin and under your “street clothing”.  The “TBM” (true blue Mormon) wouldn’t be caught dead without their garments on and after they’ve worn them awhile they become “a part of them”.

In other words, they feel as if they’re naked without them; be patient but firm in this area; in order for them to be truly free from the Church they must discard these items of clothing.

Make sure they don’t go through the rituals of what the Church tells them they must do with them when getting rid of them.  The Church instructs its members to burn them so “outsiders” won’t have the chance of mocking them.  Suggest they simply throw them away without burning them.  In our volunteer Melissa’s case she was told to cut the markings out and throw that part away in the trash.  The rest of the garment could then be used as a dust rag or whatever you chose to do with it.

Reassure the ex-Mormon they are not under the edict of the Church; but under the counsel of Jesus now!

It’s going to take some time before the ex-Mormon feels all right about this monumental decision, but it is necessary they take this important step.  I was speaking at a church once when a woman approached me to say she was an ex-Mormon, but just couldn’t ever feel as if she’d been freed from the daunting spirit of Mormonism.  After looking at her clothing while she was speaking to me I could see that she was still wearing her temple garments.  I took her to the women’s restroom and waited outside the bathroom stall while she took them off to hand them over.  We ended up throwing the garments away and from what I understand now she has lived a Spirit filled life being set free from the hold of Mormonism!  Paul tells us in Col. 2:16-7;

Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the abbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.”

Because we have been set free in Christ we are no longer under the Law.  There is no dietary Law now that Jesus has paid the price for us!  I’ve searched the Bible front to back and have never found a scripture that tells the believers to wear garments like the Mormon Church tells its members they must do.

This would also be a good time to insert a word study on garments!  In the Greek this word is “himation”; the transliteration for this word is cloak, clothes, robe, raiment, or vesture.  No where in the NT does it say we must wear this type of apparel.

The time it does talk about garments is in Rev. 3:4 and 16:15.  In this sense the garments of righteousness are the inner man.  They are white robes of justification because of the blood of the Lamb.  Not because they’ve been washing them in a Maytag!

Also remind them of the era that John was writing in.  The “garment” was worn by soldiers who were serving as guards for the governor or king.  If they were caught sleeping during their shift, their garments were taken away to shame them, thereby leaving them naked and disgraced.  The analogy was made to show that we didn’t want to be caught off guard ourselves at the end and be ashamed that we hadn’t followed Him.

The following definition of temple garments is taken from the Encyclopedia of Mormonism, pg. 534;

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….A biblical tradition teaches that Adam and Eve, prior to their expulsion from Eden, wore sacred clothing.

The significance of the lie in that last statement is incredible!  They wore clothing because they were hiding their shame caused by their sin!  Incredibly the LDS Church has taught their members that original sin was sanctioned by God.

As a mentor I would take the above reference from EM, pg. 534 and pick it apart scripturally speaking.  Have the ex-Mormon sit and read, study and see how many lies he/she can pull out of that one paragraph.  For example:  how does wearing garments show respect for the attributes of God?

2 Nephi 2:25 says; “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.”

Times have certainly changed over the past twenty-five years and with it so have the styles in clothing.  While growing up in Utah as a Mormon the dress code I experienced was much stricter than what the non-Mormons experienced.

Having said this, keep in mind that with the Mormons here and now, not a lot has changed for them because of the dress code and dietary laws they must follow.  While the Church has changed the style of the temple garments somewhat over the years, they are still cumbersome and not always conducive to the clothing you or I might enjoy.

Summer shorts for women are usually frowned upon because they come up over the knee.  Sleeveless blouses were an absolute no-no, the temple garments usually only come in short-sleeve lengths.  It is my understanding they have since changed this in the past couple of years, but don’t expect the Mormons to be changing the way they dress anytime soon.

Keep in mind also the further away you are from Utah, the more watered down the religion becomes.  Not all Mormons think that shorts and sandals are a bad thing.  I wouldn’t have dreamt of wearing anything of the sort even though I wasn’t a temple Mormon, but I grew up being taught Utah Mormonism.  I bought my first pair of shorts and sandals when I was 32 years old.

Ironically enough, the Bible talks about sandals throughout its text.  There is the story of when Boaz took off his sandal when telling his relative that he would be the “kinsman redeemer” for Ruth, to the gospels mentioning John the Baptist saying he wasn’t worthy enough to unlatch the strings on Jesus’ sandals.

If sandals were good enough for Jesus I can’t imagine they wouldn’t be good enough for me.  The reason why sandals are frowned upon is because it serves as yet another way to bare yourself.  As I mentioned before, times have changed and it seems the Church’s idea of modesty is evolving as well.  Never mind those teachings were originally placed upon the members as a direct revelation from God.

With Love in Christ;


1 Cor. 1:18