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The terms "underwear" or "undergarments" are routinely used in the garment industry, and retailers have entire departments and stores that sell these items. To most people, undergarments or underwear are thought of only as another article of cloting. However, if you mention the word "garments" to your mormon friend or neighbor, you'll get an entirely different reaction.
To millions of Mormons around the world, garments are a special piece of clothing worn as a symbolic gesture of the promises that they have made to God. The garment is always worn under other clothing, next to the skin. For most people who wear it, the garment takes the place of regular underwear. (For this reason, some people refer to the garment as mormon undergarments, temple underwear, or as mormon underwear. Most LDS prefer the simpler term "garment" instead.)
The garment is directly related to Mormon temples. It is here that faithful members first receive the garment after individual instruction on how it should be worn and cared for. The garment is worn as part of a special ceremony called the temple endowment. During the ceremony additional special clothing is worn for ceremonial purposes, but this ceremonial clothing is worn only inside a temple. The garment, on the other hand, is worn at all times (day and night) by members as a constant reminder of the promises they have made to God.
Statements from the LDS Church on Temple Underwear
“wearing the garment is a sacred privilege. … [It] is an outward expression of an inner commitment to follow the Savior Jesus Christ” (First Presidency letter, 5 Nov. 1996).
Wearing the temple garment has deep symbolic significance. It represents a continuing commitment. 20 Just as the Savior exemplified the need to endure to the end, we wear the garment faithfully as part of the enduring armor of God. 21 Thus we demonstrate our faith in Him and in His eternal covenants with us. 22 (Personal Preparation for Temple Blessings, Elder Russell M. Nelson
It is written that “the white garment symbolizes purity and helps assure modesty, respect for the attributes of God, and, to the degree it is honored, a token of what Paul regarded as taking upon one the whole armor of God (Eph. 6:13; compare D&C 27:15). … Garments bear several simple marks of orientation toward the gospel principles of obedience, truth, life, and discipleship in Christ.”(2. Evelyn T. Marshall, “Garments,” in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, edited by Daniel H. Ludlow, 5 volumes (1992), 2:534; emphasis added.)