I am not a Mormon, but a Born Again Christian faithfully attending a Protestant church. I have recently been involved in a study in which we examined other religions of the world, and spent two sessions on Mormons and the LDS. (I assume they are the same thing) His representation of what he called ‘Magic Underwear’ did not adequately explain its meaning or relevance in your relationship with Jesus Christ. Could you please clarify a bit for me? Thank you
You are correct that Mormons and LDS are the same. The Church’s full name, as designated by the Lord Himself, is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The members of the Church are thus properly referred to as saints, or Latter-day Saints. Given the novelty of our additional, modern scripture (The Book of Mormon), those not of our faith have given to calling us Mormons which has long since lost any bite to it, so it is also acceptable. I appreciate that you acknowledge individual Christian discipleship among our adherents. That same Christ-focus is institutionalized throughout the Church of Jesus Christ, as is evident in the name and the weekly services.
You will not often hear a Latter-day Saint talking about the religious clothing that we wear. For one thing, it is sacred, and we do not like to see things we hold dear mocked, even if we know that mockers and scorners are generally ignorant of spiritual things. For another thing, these clothes function fully as underwear and, presidential examples notwithstanding, underclothes are an odd topic of conversation. But since you’ve asked so respectfully, and because other readers need to be prepared to answer such questions when they turn up (at the gym, in the military, visiting a doctor, or when dressing the dead for instance) I will share with you a little about this.
Latter-day Saints who have received ordinances in the temple wear special clothing we simply refer to as “garments”. For anyone dressing modestly, the garment will not be noticeable to acquaintances. One of our modern apostles, Boyd K. Packer, has written about the garment to prepare members to worship in the temple. “The garment represents sacred covenants. It fosters modesty and becomes a shield and a protection to the wearer” (Boyd K. Packer, The Holy Temple, p. 75-79). The notion that the garment “becomes a shield and a protection” is where outsiders have taken to calling it “magic underwear”. We do not view it as such, and Packer even goes on to explain.
“The garment, covering the body, is a visual and tactile reminder of these covenants. For many Church members the garment has formed a barrier of protection when the wearer has been faced with temptation. Among other things it symbolizes our deep respect for the laws of God — among them the moral standard” (ibid.)
In this way, the garment is not unlike a wedding band in today’s culture. For many, it serves as a reminder of the vows made when married. It is a tactile reminder, visible to self and others, of those vows. Many members will compare garments to clerical clothing worn by those of other faiths officiating in their churches. And since those who serve in The Church of Jesus Christ also hold other full-time jobs we are dressed in both attires, prepared to serve God and our fellow man.