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LEHI - Why are we, members who have made the temple covenants, supposed to wear the holy garments at all times amd places? Is there a good explanation for it? Everytime I ask someone about it, they just say 'Because it is the covenant' or 'Because it protects us from dangers'.
JOEL - Those are some of the reasons. We wear it because we make a promise to God in the temple that we would wear it at all times. It is a reminder of the covenants we make in the temple. And because it reminds of the promises we make it can be a protection for us against sin. According to church teachings:
“The garment represents sacred covenants. It fosters modesty and becomes a shield and protection to the wearer. … The garment, covering the body, is a visual and tactile reminder of covenants made in the temple. For many Church members the garment has formed a barrier of protection when the wearer has been faced with temptation. Among other things it symbolizes our deep respect for the laws of God—among them the moral standard” (Preparing to Enter the Holy Temple, 20, 23).
As one is undressing to commit adultery it would be difficult indeed to not be reminded of the promise we made in the temple to not commit that sin.
There have been anecdotal stories about how the garment physically protected someone from harm on their body. While that might be true, it is certainly not the most important reason for wearing it.
Elder Carlos E. Asay said:
"There is, however, another piece of armor worthy of our consideration. It is the special underclothing known as the temple garment, or garment of the holy priesthood, worn by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who have received their temple endowment. This garment, worn day and night, serves three important purposes: it is a reminder of the sacred covenants made with the Lord in His holy house, a protective covering for the body, and a symbol of the modesty of dress and living that should characterize the lives of all the humble followers of Christ. . . .
The heavy armor worn by soldiers of a former day, including helmets, shields, and breastplates, determined the outcome of some battles. However, the real battles of life in our modern day will be won by those who are clad in a spiritual armor—an armor consisting of faith in God, faith in self, faith in one's cause, and faith in one's leaders. The piece of armor called the temple garment not only provides the comfort and warmth of a cloth covering, it also strengthens the wearer to resist temptation, fend off evil influences, and stand firmly for the right.
It is written that “the white garment symbolizes purity and helps assure modesty, respect for the attributes of God, and, to the degree it is honored, a token of what Paul regarded as taking upon one the whole armor of God (Eph. 6:13; D&C 27:15). … Garments bear several simple marks of orientation toward the gospel principles of obedience, truth, life, and discipleship in Christ.” (Elder Carlos E. Asay, "The Temple Garment: “An Outward Expression of an Inward Commitment” Ensign, August 1997, 19, 20, 21)
And finally, when we faithfully wear the garment we will reap the blessings that we are promised in the temple of health, strength, and spiritual power.