Sacred Temple Clothing

From ancient times, men and women have embraced sacred music, different forms of prayer, religious clothing full of symbolism, gestures, and ceremonies to express their innermost feelings of devotion to God.

The variety of these forms of expression is as wide and diverse as the human family. Yet all have the same ultimate purpose: to connect the believer with the object of their devotion in the most personal way—to draw close to God.

To those outside a particular faith, the ceremonies and clothing may seem unfamiliar. But for the participants, they can stir the deepest feelings of the soul, motivate them to do good, and even shape the course of a whole life of service.

The nun’s habit. The priest’s cassock. The Jewish prayer shawl. The Muslim’s skullcap. The saffron robes of the Buddhist monk. All are part of a rich tapestry of human devotion to God.

Not all such religious clothing is on public display. Some clothing is seen only in special places of worship. For example, temple robes of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, known as the robes of the holy priesthood, are worn only inside Latter-day Saint temples and reserved for the most sacred ceremonies of their faith. Simple white clothing symbolizes purity and equality. The most senior Church leader and the newest member are indistinguishable when dressed in the same way. Men and women wear similar clothing, which evokes religious symbolism reminiscent of temple practices described in the Old Testament.

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, there is no special outer religious clothing in regular Sunday worship services.

However, many faithful Latter-day Saints wear a garment under their clothing that has deep religious significance. This modest underclothing comes in two pieces and is usually referred to as the “temple garment.”

Some people incorrectly refer to temple garments as magical or as “magic underwear.” These words are not only inaccurate, but also offensive to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There is nothing magical or mystical about temple garments, and Church members ask for the same degree of respect and sensitivity that would be afforded to any other faith by people of goodwill.

Temple garments are worn by adult members of the Church who have made sacred promises in the temple to keep God’s commandments and live the gospel of Jesus Christ.

To Church members, the modest temple garment worn under normal clothing and the symbolic robes worn during temple worship represent a sacred and personal aspect of their relationship with God and their commitment to live good, honorable lives.