Q:

What is the history of the Mormon sacred garments?

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Quick Answer

The Mormon sacred garments, also known as temple garments, were first distributed in 1842 by Joseph Smith. They were originally designed for men who had entered the priesthood. They consisted of a one-piece garment that covered every inch of the body from the neck to the ankles, including wrist-length long sleeves. No buttons were used; instead, string-ties held the garment in place. Made of unbleached cotton, each garment had a little collar and special secret markings.

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Full Answer

Members received their garments at a special ceremony and were expected to wear them every day. The garments were made by Mormon women, even though they wouldn't be able to wear them for decades. After women got the approval, they were given the same garments as the men. It wasn't until 1965 that church leaders approved a different design for women. The white outer robe, worn in the temple, remained the same.

The garments were still uncomfortable and ill-fitting, but altering them was not allowed. Women who made adjustments were denied entry to the temple if the tampering was discovered. Warnings were put up stating that the design came from the Saints in Heaven and was to be respected as such.

Eventually church leaders gave approval for some newer designs that used buttons and were cut more for a women's figure. Bras were still supposed to be worn outside the garment. The latest change was in 1979 when the Church came out with two-piece garments for both men and women. A special design in olive-drab green was later approved for military personnel.

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