Through its Newsroom website, the LDS Church recently released a new video and essay that depicts Mormonism’s sacred temple clothing, along with the garments worn by those who have gone through the temple and made covenants there. The video and essay frame temple robes and garments as continuous with the phenomenon of sacred clothing worn by adherents in many other faith traditions, speaks about their use in temple rituals and daily life, highlights how similar they are for both men and women, and even depicts Latter-day Saints at distribution centers shopping for garments. It also directly addresses the inaccurate and offensive use of terms like “magical” or “magic underwear,” and asks for the same degree of respect that people of good will give to religious symbols, rituals, and vestments worn by those of other faiths.
In this episode, Adam Miller and Rosalynde Welch join Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon in discussing the new video, its potential importance, what it covers and doesn’t cover (and what more they would like it to share about, if anything), and if and how it fits with other recent social media presentations that seem to be signaling that the church is becoming more open and proactive in teaching about the temple. They wonder if even more might be forthcoming. They also reflect on the “sacred vs. secret” dichotomy that is often playing in the background of all discussions of the temple. Is “secret” accurate, or are there better terms and ways of framing the need for not allowing total access to temple rituals and covenants? In what ways does the tension between being more or less transparent serve religious life and commitment to spiritual journeying?
We hope you will listen and then share your own reactions to the video and this discussion!
Temple Garments (LDS Newsroom video and essay)
Peggy Fletcher Stack, “Church Posts Pictures, Video Explaining Mormon ‘Garments'” (Salt Lake Tribune, 20 October 2014)
Jana Riess, “Mormon Underwear: Church Says There’s “Nothing Magical or Mystical” to See Here, Folks” (RNS Flunking Sainthood blogpost, 20 October 2014)
Charles Randall Paul, “The Sacred Secret Open to All: Ye Are Gods,” Sunstone, May 2009