What are Mormon Garments?
Most members of the Mormon Church are talking about the garment when they refer to Mormon underwear. The garment is underclothing received during the initiatory ordinance in the temple. It is more properly known as the garment of the holy priesthood. Mormons who have received the garment are asked to wear is as a sign of being an endowed member of the Church, and are informed that they should wear the garment at all times unless participating in activities such as swimming that do not allow for wearing them.
Before receiving the endowment members of the Church are not authorized to wear the garment. Those who have been disfellowshipped or excommunicated are also asked to not wear the garment. The garment is white and two pieces; a t-shirt and knee-length boxer briefs. Women can get garment tops with different necklines and sleeves. There are four marks on the garment that are of symbolic significance. These marks are to remind members of the covenants they have made in the temple. When a garment is old and worn out the Church has asked that these marks be cut out and destroyed. The rest of the garment is then to be cut up so that it is not recognized. The rest of the garment can be thrown away or used as rags, because it is no longer considered sacred.
The garment also serves the purpose of being a standard for modesty. Because members are asked not to allow the garment to be displayed they must then cover the garment completely with clothing that covers from the shoulders to the knee. This standard for modesty is not just for those members who are endowed. Church leaders encourage all members of the Church to wear modest clothing from the time they are young. This also helps many members when making the transition from not wearing garments to wearing them, because their clothes are modest enough to cover the garment.
A Church owned company called Beehive Clothing is the only company authorized to make garments. These stores are located throughout the world usually near Mormon temples. Members can also order garments through catalog. Beehive Clothing offers garments in ten different fabrics and customized garments such as a brown garment for those serving in the military, and garments for individuals with special needs.
The temple garment is considered sacred and although members are not expressly told to restrict discussion of the garment, it is generally something that most members do not discuss especially with those outside of the Mormon faith. Public display of the garment is discouraged. In certain situations this is impossible to avoid, such as athletes using locker rooms, and members of the Church who are in the military and dress in open barrack. In these cases members are asked to be as discreet as possible and answer any questions others may have.