SALT LAKE CITY — Latter-day Saints wear ceremonial clothing when participating in sacred rituals within their temples. That clothing has been slightly adjusted, according to a Friday news release from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
During a common temple ceremony, patrons wear a robe, apron and sash over white clothing, as well as white shoes and socks. Men wear a cap and women wear a veil. The robe, apron and sash are kept in a white “envelope” that allows patrons to carry the clothing during the ceremony until it is needed.
Now, the tie on the cap and veil will be removed, and the veil and robe will sport a simpler design. The plastic insert from the cap will also be removed, and the robe, cap and sash will be made out of the same material as the envelope that holds the temple clothing — a more durable fabric that lasts longer and is easier to care for. The apron will not change.
“The adjustments to the temple ceremonial clothing are intended to make the temple experience more simple, comfortable, and accessible. The adjusted ceremonial clothing is easier to put on, care for, and afford. The adjustments do not change temple symbolism or doctrine,” according to a letter from top church leaders.
The new clothing will be available on March 31. Patrons of the temple may continue to use the clothing they already have, and men may alter their caps by removing the string. No other alterations are permitted, according to the letter.
The clothing adjustments follow slight changes in the temple ceremonies themselves, which occurred a little over a year ago.
With the announcement of clothing adjustments, the church also released a video similar to one released in 2014 that explained the purpose of temple clothing and garments — sacred underclothing faithful members of the church wear every day after participating in certain ceremonies within the temple.
The video is identical to the 2014 version but replaces footage of old temple clothing with the new.
“From ancient times, men and women have embraced sacred music, different forms of prayer, religious clothing full of symbolism, gestures and ceremonies to express their innermost feelings of devotion to God,” the video says. “The variety of these forms of expression is as wide and diverse as the human family, yet all have the same ultimate purpose: to connect the believer with the object of their devotion in the most personal way. To draw close to God.”
The video notes that, while to those outside a particular faith, the ceremonies and clothing may seem unfamiliar, they can “stir the deepest feelings of the soul.” The video equates the temple clothing and garments members of the church wear to other religious clothing like a nun’s habit, a priest’s cassock, the Jewish prayer shawl, the Muslim skull cap and the saffron robes of the Buddhist monk.
“All are part of a rich tapestry of human devotion to God,” the video says.