|Oakland CA Temple|
What age to wear garments
Officially you can attend the temple and begin to wear garments at age 18 if you are worthy. Most leaders discourage doing so unless you are preparing for a mission or marriage to ensure readiness, necessity, and maturity. However, all worthy members may attend the temple and wear garments regardless of mission service or marital status. Newly baptized members must wait one year so they can learn and grow spiritually. Keeping temple covenants is serious, and leaders want to make sure you are prepared and willing to take on that responsibility, no matter what your age.
How to order garments
To order garments, go to your local distribution center, which is usually next to the nearest temple. If there isn't one close by, then you can order garments online at store.lds.org. You will need to verify your Church membership by typing in your name, birth date, confirmation date, and membership record number. You can get this information from your ward or branch clerk.
Garment types and sizes
The employees at the distribution center will show you the different fabrics and styles and can measure you for size. Fabric and sizing information can also be found online at store.lds.org (lds.org account required).
How to care for garments
The employees will tell you how to care for each fabric type or you can find the information online at store.lds.org. Always be respectful of garments: don't throw them on the floor or treat them lightly, and wear them properly as instructed in the temple. When garments start to get dingy, buy new ones. To learn how to dispose of old garments, ask a Church leader or temple worker or look it up in the new Church Handbook at lds.org.
Garments and exercise
It is your choice to wear garments or not during exercise and sports activities, but leaders strongly recommend wearing them for protection and modesty. Some people do not like to get garments sweaty and dirty or accidentally expose them (like with basketball shorts). Others like to wear them out of comfort or habit. In deciding, examine your motive: are you taking off your garments to take a break or wear immodest clothing, or to wear a required uniform or avoid exposing your garments?
I believe that the better your understanding and testimony of temple covenants, the more you will see garments as a blessing and joy and not a nuisance to you, and your desire to wear them continuously will increase.
Garments and regular underwear
There is no need to wear other underwear with garments since garments serve the same purpose as underwear. Some women like to wear panties over or under their garments when they have their period. Bras can be worn over or under the garment top.
How to explain garments to others
The following excerpt is from Preparing to Enter the Holy Temple:
There may be occasions when endowed members of the Church face questions on the garment.
On one occasion one of the brethren was invited to speak to the faculty and staff of the Navy Chaplains Training School in Newport, Rhode Island. The audience included a number of high-ranking naval chaplains from the Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish faiths.
In the question-and-answer period one of the chaplains asked, “Can you tell us something about the special underwear that some Mormon servicemen wear?” The implication was, “Why do you do that? Isn’t it strange? Doesn’t that present a problem?”
To the chaplain who made the inquiry he responded with a question: “Which church do you represent?” In response he named one of the Protestant churches.
He said, “In civilian life and also when conducting the meetings in the military service you wear clerical clothing, do you not?” The chaplain said that he did.
He continued: “I would suppose that that has some importance to you, that in a sense it sets you apart from the rest of your congregation. It is your uniform, as it were, of the ministry. Also, I suppose it may have a much more important place. It reminds you of who you are and what your obligations and covenants are. It is a continual reminder that you are a member of the clergy, that you regard yourself as a servant of the Lord, and that you are responsible to live in such a way as to be worthy of your ordination.”
He then told them: “You should be able to understand at least one of our reasons why Latter-day Saints have a deep spiritual commitment concerning the garment. A major difference between your churches and ours is that we do not have a professional clergy, as you do. The congregations are all presided over by local leaders. They are men called from all walks of life. Yet they are ordained to the priesthood. They hold offices in the priesthood. They are set apart to presiding positions as presidents, counselors, and leaders in various categories. The women, too, share in that responsibility and in those obligations. The man who heads our congregation on Sunday as the bishop may go to work on Monday as a postal clerk, as an office worker, a farmer, a doctor; or he may be an air force pilot or a naval officer. By our standard he is as much an ordained minister as you are by your standard. He is recognized as such by most governments. We draw something of the same benefits from this special clothing as you would draw from your clerical vestments. The difference is that we wear ours under our clothing instead of outside, for we are employed in various occupations in addition to our service in the Church. These sacred things we do not wish to parade before the world.”
He then explained that there are some deeper spiritual meanings as well, connecting the practice of wearing this garment with covenants that are made in the temple. We wouldn’t find it necessary to discuss these—not that they are secret, he repeated, but because they are sacred.
The garment, covering the body, is a visual and tactile reminder of these covenants. For many Church members the garment has formed a barrier of protection when the wearer has been faced with temptation. Among other things it symbolizes our deep respect for the laws of God—among them the moral standard.
For more great resources on understanding garments, search for temple garments in the Gospel Library on lds.org. For more FAQ, click here. For another post on garments, click here.
Challenge: Strengthen your testimony of wearing garments by learning more about them, attending the temple, and wearing them properly.