A growing number of Mormon women are pleading with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to redesign the official sacred undergarments that all practicing Mormons wear under their clothing, arguing that the garments are itchy, uncomfortable and harmful to the environment. vaginal health.
Since the 1840s, Mormons, both male and female, have been wearing special sacred temple clothing, a set of boxer shorts, and a matching T-shirt that are worn under their clothes day and night—while working, exercising, and even sleeping.
But while the undergarments have undergone a few design changes over the years, some Mormon women say they haven’t changed enough to accommodate the changing lifestyle and health needs of the female anatomy.
Speaking with the New York Times this week Mormon women point to itchy synthetic fabric, uncomfortably constricting waistbands and fabric that doesn’t breathe — which can lead to yeast infections — as issues to be addressed, but admit some are too embarrassed to discuss the issue with male leaders.
“People are afraid to be brutally honest, to say, ‘This doesn’t work for me. It doesn’t bring me closer to Christ, it gives me urinary tract infections,'” said Lindsay Perez, 24.
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints wear special sacred temple clothing under their clothing. The T-shirt and boxer-style shorts act as underwear and are meant to be worn at all times, including while sleeping
The undergarments look like a simple white T-shirt and long, fitted shorts with subtle religious markings and symbolize the Mormons’ devotion to the Church and its teachings.
“For church members, the modest temple robes, worn under normal clothing, along with the symbolic robes worn during temple worship, represent the sacred and personal aspect of their relationship with God and their commitment to living a good, honorable life the church explains. in an informational video released in 2014.
Because they are meant to be worn all the time instead of traditional underwear, church members have different pairs.
But several women are now speaking out about the need to update the design, with some plucking up the courage to contact church officials about the issue.
They have several complaints, including that the undergarments are itchy, especially along the seams and seams. Others point to the accumulation of dust.
But one of the biggest problems seems to be that the synesthetic fabric most undergarments are made of doesn’t breathe, leading to yeast infections and UTIs.
While there is a more breathable cotton version, some complain that it is made of a much thicker fabric and is too tight.
A growing number of Mormon women (including Sasha Piton, pictured) are advocating that they are better designed for women, including when they are menstruating
They have complained on social media, in private message boards and to the press that the clothing itches and stings
As a DIY solution, some have gone to the trouble of trimming problem areas of the clothing, including cutting out the crotch for breathability.
But a few are taking the issue up the ladder — and using social media to get more support.
Vaginas need to breathe. It’s a thing,” Church member Sasha Piton of Idaho Falls, Idaho wrote on Instagram.
“If you don’t know, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have the opportunity to go through the temple and make further promises to God. As part of that ceremony, we begin to wear the sacred garment, which becomes our underwear. We wear it under our clothes and it symbolizes our willingness to follow Christ,” she explained.
“But my LANTA, some of us struggle with skin infections, eczema flare-ups, urinary tract infections, yeast infections and so many other things… And many are afraid to prioritize physical health over the symbol of what the garments represent,” she continued.
‘You are not alone. There are a lot of people who struggle with the garment and in the end it’s about finding the balance and being connected to Christ and letting our vaginas breathe,” she told her followers.
A major complaint is that the synesthetic fabric is not breathable, contributing to rashes, UTIs and yeast infections, among other health problems
Her plea received waves of support, including comments from women sharing their own struggles
‘I personally? I don’t care because it’s personal and I’ve come to a place where I have confidence in making choices between me and God,” she said, later explaining to the Times that she decided not to wear the clothes anymore. wear during exercise and sometimes at night.
She closed with a plea for “butter-soft garments” that are “seamless” and a “thick waistband that won’t cut my spleen.”
Her plea received waves of support, including comments from women who shared their own struggles.
“Clothes are what I struggle with the most in church. Especially in the summer they are so uncomfortable,” wrote one.
‘We NEED softer waistbands!!!’ commented another.
‘Serious. What man thought it would be a good idea to have a seam in the middle of women’s underwear? Clearly someone unfamiliar with female anatomy,” argued a third.
There were many “amens” and “hallelujahs”, with some women suggesting options in a bamboo material
The garments symbolize the Mormons’ commitment to the Church and its teachings
‘FREAK YES to all of this, but especially the waistband!!!!!’ another supporter came in.
One said she suffered from vaginal health and urinary tract infections during her pregnancy so much that she had to go to hospital – and she now realizes it was because of the temple clothing.
“I wish women had talked about it back then, so I could have had some relief!” she said. “I will no longer feel guilty and feel the terrible shame that I know my Savior doesn’t want me to feel.”
Another admitted she is taking a break from wearing the clothes after years of recurring urinary tract infections.
According to the Times, there are also many complaints in private Facebook groups for Mormon women, with some sharing specific complaints about wearing the clothing on religious missions to hot, humid climates — and suffering from skin rashes and infections.
Changes are certainly possible, and the church has changed the design of the clothing before.
They made headlines in 2012 when Mitt Romney ran for president and photos hinted at the garments under his shirts
Men and women originally wore the exact same design, with longer sleeves and trouser legs. Those have been shortened, with slightly different designs for women and more fabric options.
The most recent improvements were made in 2018. According to Religion news, they include screen-printed markings that do not show through clothing, stretch cotton, the absence of tags, less constricting underarms and a different fit.
But the church has still not dealt with the problem of vaginal infections, even though the topic has been brought up.
One woman, Afton Southam Parker, said when she took her case for a church designer, it was suggested to her that “talking about pads and blood” was inappropriate.
But many still hold hope. Piton, the Instagrammer, has encouraged her followers to email the church, and her followers have expressed relief that the matter is being talked about so openly.