Mormon women beg group to redesign sacred undergarments, insisting it’s giving them UTIs
PUBLISHED: 15:04 EST, 22 July 2021 | UPDATED: 15:31 EST, 22 July 2021
- Members of the group have worn special sacred temple garments under their clothes since the 1800s
- The T-shirt and boxer-brief-like shorts function as underwear and are meant to be worn at all times, including while sleeping
- A growing number of Mormon women are pleading that they be better designed for women, including for when they menstruate
- They’ve complained on social media, in private message boards, and to the press that the garments are itchy and pinch
- A major complaint is that the synthetic fabric isn’t breathable, which contributes to rashes, UTIs, and yeast infections, among other health issues
- The garments have undergone redesigns in the past, but one woman says her concerns ‘about pads and gore’ were deemed inappropriate
A growing number of Mormon women are pleading with the organization known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to redesign the official sacred underwear that all practising Mormons wear under their clothes, arguing that the garments are itchy, uncomfortable, and detrimental to vaginal health.
Since the 1840s, male and female Mormons alike have worn special sacred temple garments, a set of boxer brief-style shorts and a matching T-shirt that are kept on under the 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 that they haven’t changed enough to accommodate evolving lifestyles and the health needs of female anatomy.
Speaking to the New York Times this week, Mormon women point to itchy synthetic fabric, uncomfortably pinching waistbands, and fabric that doesn’t breathe — which can lead to yeast infections — as problems that need to be rectified, but admit that some are too embarrassed to discuss the issue with male leaders.
‘People are scared to be brutally honest, to say: “This isn’t working for me. It isn’t bringing me closer to Christ, it’s giving me UTIs,”‘ said Lindsay Perez, 24.
The undergarments look like a simple white T-shirt and long fitted shorts with subtle religious markings, and symbolize Mormons’ commitment to the church and its teachings.
Because they are meant to be worn all the time in place of traditional underwear, church members own several 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 problem.
They have several complaints, including that the undergarments are itchy, especially along the hems and seams. Others point to fabric bunching up.
But one of the biggest problems appears to be that the synthetic fabric that most of the undergarments are made of does not breathe, which leads to yeast infections and UTIs.
Though there is a more breathable cotton version, some complain that it’s made of much thicker fabric and is too tight.
As a DIY fix, some have taken to snipping away problem areas of the garments, including cutting out the crotch for breathability.
But that spoils their ceremonial and, in the minds of the group’s early prophets, protective nature; A few are taking the issue up the ladder — and using social media to garner more support.
‘Vaginas need to breathe. It’s a thing,’ church member Sasha Piton of Idaho Falls, Idaho wrote on Instagram.
‘But my LANTA some of us are struggling with skin infections, eczema flares, UTIs, 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 many people struggling with the garment, and ultimately it’s about finding the balance and being connected to Christ and letting our vaginas breathe,’ she told her followers.
‘Me personally? I don’t stress about it, since it’s personal and I’ve come to a place where I feel confident making choices between me and God,’ she said, later explaining to the Times that she decided to stop wearing the garments while exercising and sometimes at night.
She concluded with a plea for ‘buttery soft garments’ that are ‘seamless’ and have a ‘thick waistband that doesn’t cut into my spleen.’
Her entreaty was met with waves of support, including comments from women who shared their own struggles.
‘Garments are what I struggle with the most in the church. They are so uncomfortable, especially in the summer,’ wrote one.
‘We NEED gentler waistbands!!!’ commented another.
‘Seriously, though. What man thought it would be a good idea having a seam right down the middle on women’s underwear? Clearly someone unfamiliar with female anatomy,’ argued a third.
One said that while she was pregnant, she suffered so much with vaginal health and UTIs that she needed to go to the hospital — and she realizes now it was because of the temple garments.
‘I wish women had talked about it then so I could’ve had some relief!’ she said. ‘I will no longer guilt myself and feel the horrible shame that I know my Savior wouldn’t want me to feel.’
Another admitted she is taking a break from wearing the garments following years of recurrent UTIs.
Complaints also abound in private Facebook groups for Mormon women, according to the Times, with some sharing specific complaints about wearing the garments on religious missions to hot, humid climates — and suffering from rashes and infections.
Changes are certainly possible, and the church has actually tweaked the design of the garments before.
Men and women originally wore the same exact design, which featured longer sleeves and pant 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 included silk-screened markings that don’t show through clothes, stretch cotton fabric, the absence of tags, less constrictive underarms, and a different fit overall.
But the church still hasn’t faced the issue of vaginal infections, even though the topic has been raised.
One woman, Afton Southam Parker, said that when she made her case to a church designer, it was suggested to her that ‘talking about pads and gore’ was inappropriate.