marriage bed symbol

marriage bed symbol

Monday, October 20, 2014

LDS Doctrine or Cultural Myth: Mormons Don’t Make Love Naked

You may have heard the stories. I’ve heard several.

 For example, the brother who claims that there is never a reason to take off the temple garment and all of his children were conceived while wearing them. The sister who was so unsure about when it was appropriate to take off the garment that she never took them off and even bathed in them. I also heard one story of a temple matron who was teaching that the garment must be touching the skin at all times and nothing should be worn underneath the garment.

The Lord Jesus Christ taught us that we should be living by the spirit of the law and not do as the Pharisees do with the doctrine by looking for a letter of the law in every little detail, while ignoring the purpose of the doctrine. (Matthew 23:23-24 )

I believe this also applies to the wearing of our sacred garments. When it comes to making love to our spouse, I have found nothing that supports the belief that we should never take them off. What I have found is instruction that there are times when it is inappropriate to wear them.
Endowed members should wear the temple garment both day and night. They should not remove it, either entirely or partially, to work in the yard or for other activities that can reasonably be done with the garment worn properly beneath the clothing. Nor should they remove it to lounge around the home in swimwear or immodest clothing. When they must remove the garment, such as for swimming, they should put it back on as soon as possible.
Members should not adjust the garment or wear it contrary to instructions in order to accommodate different styles of clothing. Nor should they alter the garment from its authorized design. When two-piece garments are used, both pieces should always be worn. The garment is sacred and should be treated with respect at all times…”
(Handbook 2:Administering the Church, 2014,  21.1.42)
 I was unable to see anything in this that suggests it is inappropriate to take the garment off while sexually intimate with our spouse. For the full bonding experience of sexual intimacy to take place, there must be skin to skin contact. This allows ions to be exchanged and chemical receptors to be activated. Always having something between you, I believe, allows a physical and psychological barrier that impedes complete mental, emotional, physical and spiritual connection. In this, I find sexual intimacy classifies as an "inappropriate" time to wear the garment.

For this purpose, I have to put “myth” on the belief that we as married Saints are not allowed to take the garment off while having sex with our spouse. The only caveat with this I see is that the garment should be "put back on as soon as possible". Because circumstances vary, a spirit - of - the - law provision is built in. We have some flexibility to decide when to put it back on, but also should keep in mind that it has nothing to do with the material garment itself. The garment is only a reminder of the deeper covenant we have made with the Lord.

We wear it and keep it on because we love the Lord and respect the promises contained in our covenants. We keep in mind that those covenants also help enable us to keep the spouse we proclaim to love and want to keep for eternity. It would do our marriage a disservice to focus it all on sexually pleasing our spouse while at the same time ignoring our covenants with God. But, as we say "let the Holy Spirit guide." After a love making session, he's our best gauge of when it's time to put them back on.

To help quell any concerns about the appropriateness of discussing this sacred topic regarding the garment, I hope those with concerns will note that the directions for how the temple garment should be worn is posted by the church online for all to read: ( )

The Church has also posted this video that openly discusses and shows the sacred temple garment in an effort to also help dispel any myths or concerns outsiders have about our faith. It is also done in the hopes of dispelling prejudice toward our faith through education. The video can be seen below or on YouTube.

I will accept any honest questions, but ask that all be respectful with addressing this sacred topic. Disrespectful comments will be deleted.


Justin Thyme said...

Overall I find your post reasonable and agreeable. I would like to think that we as church members have moved well beyond this this type of thinking (or belief, or whatever you want to call it), but sadly, I'm sure there are still members referring to old First Presidency letters retracted soon after they were released in the early 80's, so all bets are off on how much this needs to be said.

I will quibble (because I'm like that) with just one statement you made

"I only see that the garment must be put back on immediately after we are done with the activity."

Of course, you may not be implying anything like I might think you might be implying, but because this is as such an authoritative church and many members are seemingly ill-equipped to deal in shades of grey, I see where that statement (especially since it's not being handed down from an authority) could be problematic for some members.

You left out what I believe is the most salient part of the statement that we as bishoprics and stake presidencies are to read to every member renewing their temple recommend (I am currently serving as a Bishop). That is

"Members who have made covenants in the temple should be guided by the Holy Spirit to answer for themselves personal questions about wearing the garment."

I don't believe that it is useful to make such declarative statements as "immediately". That just opens up a big can of worms. Like, what is "immediately"? Does that preclude post-coital cuddling without garments being worn? And if not, then for how long is appropriate? What if you fall asleep in post-coital embrace with the garments off? Is that wrong? Is it even considered sinful?

And then what "activities" would you consider to be condoned sans garments? Strictly when intercourse is involved? Or are there other forms of marital intimacy that may take place between and husband and wife without garments being worn that are acceptable?

I'm not trying to argumentative here. Just trying to point out the slippery slope that develops when making such declarative statements. That is why it I believe that it is more important for individuals and couples to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit as opposed to seeking interpretation and "permission" from a blog post. When individuals ask me for guidance, I simply smile and refer them back to that statement. The questions they have must be answered by themselves with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

CoachSam said...

Dear Bishop? Thyme,

Thank you so much for reading and for your well thought-out comment.

I wholeheartedly agree and greatly appreciate you making that clarification.

Follow what the Spirit directs is exactly what I try to teach here.

To quote the Handbook of instruction of what it actually says is "When they must remove the garment, such as for swimming, they should put it back on as soon as possible."

So you're right. It does not say "immediately after."

I hope any reading this will also do their homework and read what the official sources say, and above all, follow what the Holy Ghost directs.

I will review and re-edit the article.

Thank you again.

Latter-Day Marriage said...

I consider afterglow every bit as much a part of being intimate as foreplay and intercourse, so I don't feel a compulsion to leap out of bed the instant after my climax and race to put them back on like somebody up there has a stopwatch to time me. When we are ready to move from afterglow to sleep or whatever, then we'll put them on but sometimes that is quite a while after climax. The garments are symbols, they are not imbued with mystical powers and should not be thought of like that.

CoachSam said...

Thank you for sharing your insights and perspective Latter-Day Marriage. :-)
Very helpful.