October 25, 2014

Mormons: Our Underwear is Not Magic

English: Temple garments, underwear worn by me...
Temple garments, underwear worn by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS; Mormons). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
According to Kate Seamons' recent article for Newser, the LDS Church recently put out a video to clear up misconceptions about their infamous "temple garment." What they want to address, specifically, is the suggestion that there is something "magic" about these garments.

Good for them! For entirely too long, they have attempted to cloak much of their temple ceremony in secrecy, fueling all sorts of rumors and wild speculation about what happens there. More transparency probably would help their image considerably. It is baffling that it took them as long as it did to comment on something as widely discussed as their underwear. I have to think this is a good move on their part.

Not magic underwear. Got it. And yet, the title of the video is "Sacred Temple Clothing." So, "sacred" but not "magic." What's the difference? We're told that "sacred" is about one's connection to gods, and I suppose this wouldn't be true all varieties of magic. It does not seem like a terribly clear distinction, but I suppose we'll have to take it since it is all we're likely to get.



In the video, we learn that "magic underwear" is "offensive" and that "church members ask for the same degree of respect and sensitivity that would be afforded to any other faith by people of good will." I'm not sure why any degree of respect should be afforded to any set of beliefs that has not sufficiently demonstrated its veracity and value. I'll gladly extend respect to people who believe strange things and to their right to believe strange things; however, I stop short of respecting the strange things they believe merely because someone labels them as faith.

I'm also quite wary of the notion that any of us should change the content of our speech simply because someone decides to claim offense. That seems like a recipe for silencing dissent and criticism. Then again, "sacred" garments do not strike me as any less absurd as "magic underwear," so maybe the terminology is irrelevant.

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