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Mormon underwear is made from material similar to other underwear. It is available in several versions of cotton, polyester, or nylon. It is always completely white, except for colored ones available only to active-duty military members. There is a top and bottom piece. The top is like a T-shirt, covering the shoulders and hanging below the waist. The bottom resembles boxer-briefs, but extends to the knee. The design is to promote modesty and should be completely covered by outer clothing. Mormon underwear is worn directly next to the skin and replaces any other underwear. For women, even brassieres are to be worn on the outside of the underwear.
There are occasions when Mormon underwear may be removed. Bathing is the most obvious. Likewise, swimming, vigorous physical activity, and marital relations are others. There is no official list; rather it is left to the discretion of the individual. God will not strike down the individual who wears it inappropriately, and such severity is not dictated by the Mormon Church. The counsel is simply to wear them at all times unless it is deemed inappropriate to the activity, and not to find excuses to remove them.
A Mormon will begin to wear this underwear as part of the initiatory ordinances of the Mormon temple ceremony. It is here that they will first put on this underwear and promise to always wear it the rest of their life. It is symbolic of a covenant made with God, and the reverence that is shown in wearing these garments is evidence of the reverence toward the covenant made. Part of this reverence is not discussing the symbolism outside of the temple where it may be (and is) taken lightly. This is why it has been incorrectly referred to as “secret.” Part of the symbolism is scriptural and can be discussed. The Lord clothed Adam and Eve with coats of skins when they discovered their nakedness. There is also mention of “holy garments” that Moses was commanded to make for Aaron (Exodus 28). In all of these occasions the special clothing is part of divine instruction and a sacred covenant. The faithful observer of this covenant is promised that it will become a protection to them. This is where the adjective “magic” derives from. Contrary to the opinion that Mormon underwear is impenetrable armor, the promise is of a spiritual nature that has much anecdotal evidence of being manifested in physical protection too.
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