Garments and body image

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
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HSAB
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Garments and body image

Post by HSAB » 20 May 2012, 10:56

Hi, I am new to this site and so excited to be here! What I have seen here has made me feel like this is exactly what I need right now. I am 28 years old, have been an active temple worthy church member my entire life and am about to get married. I am having a lot of anxiety about garments. I have struggled on and off with an eating disorder in the past, but have been healthy for the last few years. I had friends get me garments of every kind and cut the symbols out. (I needed to understand what I was committing to.) I just can't do it. I put on the shorts and I feel disgusting, fat and ugly. I also feel like a boy. So I'm left with the decision of do I get married in the temple or not? Should I make commitments to God knowing that I probably will not be keeping them? It's also spiraling me downward in the rest of my beliefs a little bit, because if I don't believe garments are necessary-which I'm pretty sure I don't. (But, again, haven't been through the temple yet.) Then, what else might not be true or necessary? I've been doing a lot of research on the history of garments and it's making me feel like they were not meant to be what we use them as now. Has anyone been through something similar? Does anyone have any insight? I know 100% I believe in the book of mormon and that the priesthood power is real, but aside from that I am starting to really question.

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SilentDawning
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Re: Garments and body image

Post by SilentDawning » 20 May 2012, 15:00

Try wearing something sexy underneath the garments. Then you'll feel like you're wearing workout spandex for the bottoms. The top might feel like you're wearing a camesol or something... That is what I would do in your situation. No one is going to check! And if they did, they'd be up in front of a Church court.

Plus the TR interview just asks if you wear them, not the order on which they touch your body. There may be some myth floating around about the order in which you put them on, but honestly, if coping with your body image means you put them over top of something else, then do it.

We are all different...in spite of systemized rules that intentionally, or unintentionally treat us as though we are all the same.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

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wayfarer
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Re: Garments and body image

Post by wayfarer » 20 May 2012, 15:03

welcome.

I'm not sure what you're really asking with this. If you are 100% sure of the book of mormon and have faith in the restored gospel, then the appearance of the garment on your body would be a subordinate issue to obedience to what your heavenly father wants you to do.

The temple can be a very uplifting place, although initially there are a number of things that may concern you. I went in 'blind' as it were, way back in the mid-70s. The garment then was a single-piece contraption that never felt comfortable. fortunately a few years later they got more modern. But still, they aren't very feminine, nor are they intended to be. They're an inner, personal symbol of a commitment you make in the temple -- much like people of other religions do when they commit to a consecrated life (e.g. catholic priests/nuns, orthodox jews, sikhs, and others all have some sort of sacred, hidden clothing).

My point is this: if you're going to the temple because you want to be married there and you value the idea that you will be sealed to your husband for time and all eternity, then wearing the garment is the sacrifice you pay for that rite. I wouldn't go into the temple with the intention of not taking the temple and its covenants seriously.

However, how and when you wear the garment is a personal matter. If I were you, I would have a very frank discussion with your fiance, to determine how he feels about wearing the garment. If you both have a 'flexible' definition of when to wear it, then, perhaps, things will be easier than if he thinks it should be 'religiously' worn day and night no matter what.

i agree with silentdawning's post as well...
"Those who speak don't know, those who know don't speak." Lao Tzu.
My seat in the bloggernacle: http://wayfaringfool.blogspot.com

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bridget_night
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Re: Garments and body image

Post by bridget_night » 20 May 2012, 16:37

My non-member mother in law caught me in them when she came to unexpectably visit after my first baby. She was appalled by them and told me that will not help me keep my husband; very unsexy. I also saw a cartoon once with a couple wearing temple garments with the heading: Mormon birth control. I did not like wearing them at all and glad not to wear them anymore. I do understand the purpose though to remind you of your promises and covenants. It did help me stay moral just before leaving on my mission at 21.

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hawkgrrrl
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Re: Garments and body image

Post by hawkgrrrl » 20 May 2012, 18:03

They are certainly worse for women than for men in that they resemble women's underwear so little that the change is dramatic. It may help to think of them, not as underwear, but as a ceremonial piece of clothing you wear under your clothes to remind you of your divine purpose. I too hated them at first - I don't love them now - but they become comfortable, and they have some benefits over regular underwear - no VPL for one thing! There are changes to design that are making them better, although not in hot & humid climates like I live in where any clothing at all is too much.

You only need to get square with your own husband about them. And not wearing them when you feel sexy is a way to divide daily life from your romantic life with your husband. We called them passion killers in college, and they certainly work that way outside of marriage (unless both are endowed, and then the body still has its own mind). You still wear something sexy when you want to have sex. Your MIL's comment is based on her shock at them and isn't really true. Marriage is long. It's not all lingerie and sex toys. Just partly.

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Re: Garments and body image

Post by Curt Sunshine » 20 May 2012, 19:21

Night and day doesn't have to mean all night and all day. ;)

I love the symbolism of the garment, even as I recognize that the functionality for men and women is WAY different. So, as others have said, wear something else when you want to feel sexy - and wear regular underwear beneath them if you want, so they don't feel like underwear to you. (Frankly, if you have regular underwear under them, it actually might heighten sexual excitement. Maybe not, but maybe.)

That's my only real concern about the garment now - making them feel like common old underwear. If women can wear things under them during menstruation and while nursing due to the issue of blood and milk, why not always?

It's not like our bodies stop secreting stuff outside those times. Just sayin'.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

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HSAB
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Re: Garments and body image

Post by HSAB » 21 May 2012, 00:09

There is some great stuff on here, I am so glad I came to this website! I really appreciate all of your comments!
So, first, I have discussed this in great depth with my fiance. Of the two of us I am the more "Mormon" one. He was just starting to come back to church when we started dating (we've been together 1 1/2 years) and he would honestly prefer if I did not wear them, although he tries his best to be supportive and make me feel like it will be ok. He is much better than I am at just not letting the things that he doesn't really believe in get to him, but I always want to fight the issue. I think this is a huge reason why I've stayed so strong over the years. I question and argue the issue until I come to some sort of peace with it. The temple and garments are hard for me because I am committing to something-but I don't know what I'm committing to-except garments. And for me that means committing to feeling bad about myself and my body for the rest of my life, or feeling bad about not keeping the promises I've made, or finally, feeling bad that my future family is not sealed. The tops are much easier for me, (although I still don't like them because my shoulders are my favorite body part.) but the bottoms play into my body image way too much. When I look at myself in the mirror in them I see a fat, thick gross body. My legs are my trouble areas. Since the mental impact of eating disorders are never "cured" I am so scared I'll fall back into that. My fiance is ok with me wearing the tops and him wearing the bottoms and since we are "one" we can rationalize that we are wearing them everyday. I actually prayed about just wearing the tops and that's the first time I've felt peace about going to the temple. I felt like it was important that I go, even if I never wore my garments again. So, technically I have my answer...but then it's hard for me, having been the strong one my whole life to suddenly become the "luke warm Mormon" overnight. So I still feel conflicted. I almost feel like God is more ok with what I might do (or not do) than I am.
Second, this whole situation is making me question the core of my beliefs. When I said that I believe in the book of Mormon and the power of the priesthood it was because that's what I'm sure I believe in (As far as Mormonism goes.). But this is making me question almost everything else. I don't believe that garments need to be what they are. If they did they would not have changed since they were originally made. So to me, the thought of feeling unattractive for the rest of my life because someone decided that our symbol of commitment should be (mens) underwear-it just doesn't hold up. That thought process is causing me to question the other things that I have issues with, and I just wonder how Mormon I really want to be. It's also hard for me because I am SUCH and open person, but if I want to stay active in the church I almost feel like I need to keep my questions and concerns to myself.
Third, I have never been a fan (although I appreciate the comments and thought) of the whole "wear regular underwear when you want to feel sexy/have sex" thing. Is it bad that as a woman I would like to feel sexy everyday, and not just when I'm having sex? No one even sees them right now, but it still helps me feel sexy everyday when I put on my cute underwear. Maybe this is shallow, but it's honest.
Bridget_Night, can I ask you what your experience has been like with choosing not to wear them anymore?

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bridget_night
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Re: Garments and body image

Post by bridget_night » 21 May 2012, 04:39

HSAB you asked: Bridget_Night, can I ask you what your experience has been like with choosing not to wear them anymore? Because my husband and I no longer believe the lds church is the one and only true church (we never got the witness of the BofM or temple work) we do not believe it is necessary for us to wear garments. We do believe there are many good teachings in the lds church though and live by them.
I used to have a fear that if you did not wear them you would not be protected in accidents etc. It was strange and a bit guilt feelings when you first stop wearing them. But, it did not take long to realize that God loves and protects us no matter what. God truly looketh upon our hearts and sincerity and our relationship with God did not change.

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hawkgrrrl
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Re: Garments and body image

Post by hawkgrrrl » 21 May 2012, 07:53

"Is it bad that as a woman I would like to feel sexy everyday" Of course not! Of course, feeling sexy while I'm at work doesn't do me much good, so garments are fine for me most of the time. I definitely disliked them at first, but they do become very comfortable eventually, at least for lounging around in. But honestly, the church is there as a vehicle to help you develop your own relationship with your Saviour. I wouldn't throw out the baby (the gospel and the support the church will give you and your husband as you raise your family and go through your marriage) with the bathwater (unsexy ceremonial clothing that you wear to remind you of your covenants - you don't actually covenant how you will wear it, but you are instructed to wear it).

Let me give you a few positives about garments:
- as previously mentioned, no VPL
- it does work for many couples as a visible reminder of their marriage commitment
- your clothes take less wear and tear - it really does preserve them much longer, believe it or not

You may want to try different fabrics. Under pants I like the 3/4 length drysilque fabric because they leave no seams showing. Tops I prefer the camisole neck tall length (tucks in better). I hate the cotton ones. Many love the carinessa which is more form fitting and gives you a light "spanx" effect on the bottom half. I just can't wear them where I live as it's too hot & humid.

Roy
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Re: Garments and body image

Post by Roy » 21 May 2012, 11:43

HSAB wrote:The tops are much easier for me, (although I still don't like them because my shoulders are my favorite body part.) but the bottoms play into my body image way too much. When I look at myself in the mirror in them I see a fat, thick gross body. My legs are my trouble areas. Since the mental impact of eating disorders are never "cured" I am so scared I'll fall back into that.
I know so little about eating disorders, but I was reading an article the other day that was discussing them. The doctor that was being interviewed said that having an eating disorder was not primarily a personal choice nor was it primarily due to upbringing (nurture) but had more to do with brain wiring with the others playing contributing roles. I remember this because I am continually surprised at things that I used to assume were results of personal decisions and now I'm finding out that it’s not that simple. The doctor continued that you can't talk someone out of an eating disorder and that talk therapy is often insufficient, but that the brain needs to learn alternate ways of doing things/different coping mechanisms.

My point, HSAB, is that for you wearing the garments may be akin to asking an alcoholic to wear a 40 oz. bottle of Jack Daniels around the neck. Does that analogy seem to fit? Am I correct in this line of thinking?

If this is correct then the garments are not the real problem - the eating disorder is and the garment is merely a trigger. Unfortunately, it is a problem that you get to live with for the rest of your life and no amount of explanation about garments is going to make them less of a trigger.

It sounds like you have an honest relationship with your Fiancé. That is important. Whatever the two of you decide upon together, I believe that it will be the right choice and that our loving Heavenly Father (who knows you and loves you completely) will back your play.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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