LDS adults are asked to wear a specific set of underwear, called temple garments, to remind them about having a deeply personal relationship with God. And since they’re shaped like a loose t-shirt and shorts, the underwear also makes sure that Mormons dress modestly.
But the garments aren’t always comfortable, especially for women. According to one Mormon blog, the garments bunch up, show through clothing, and aren’t always snug, which leads to embarrassing problems during menstruation. Plus, Mormons are discouraged from making any alterations.
Beehive Clothing, the church-owned company that makes the garments, has released a survey to better understand the issue, a church representative confirmed to the HuffPost. It's a move that Jana Riess, a Mormon blogger for Religion News Service, says is “encouraging.”
“For the record, I love the whole idea of the temple garment. It delights me that there is no concept of something being irredeemably profane in my religion,” Riess writes. But, she says, “I do not always love the garment in practice.”'
The fabrics used are economical but synthetic. They don’t typically breathe well. The inside neck tags are so nightmarishly itchy for me that I admit here in front of God and everyone that I sometimes cut them off. And for women, a whole host of other problems arise with garments. The one I hate most is bust cups whose seams dart directly across the breasts. So much for modesty and subtlety. But other women have additional complaints. Petite women, in particular, say that the bottoms are so huge they ride all the way up to just underneath their bustline. One tiny woman I know has to roll her waistbands over at least once, and sometimes twice, just to get them to approximate where her actual waist is located.
The survey asks Mormons to review and offer suggestions about specific garment styles and the fabrics used.
The garments were used since the earliest days of the church, Riess told HuffPost. Pioneer men and women originally wore one-piece garments that covered everything from the ankles to the wrists. Over the years, the garments became shorter -- eventually splitting into two pieces in the 1970s.
Last October, the church released a video that tried to dispel myths about temple garments. The church quashed idea that Mormons believe the garments are somehow “magical,” instead comparing the underwear to the holy clothing worn by members of other faiths -- like a Jewish yarmulke and a Catholic nun’s habit.
"I’m grateful that they are surveying members’ experiences and problems with their garments, because in my experience many people, especially women, are not satisfied with the fit or fabric of the garments," Riess told HuffPost via email. "The quality could be improved."