Latest from Mormon Land: Why it’s OK to show photos of LDS temple garments

Also: Ezra Taft Benson nearly joined segregationist George Wallace’s presidential ticket; Black scholars address racism in the church; ‘Idol’ alum David Archuleta’s new song; and Moroni returns.

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Underclothing, known as temple garments, worn by faithful men and women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are shown in these authorized images from the Utah-based faith.

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Picturing garments

Some Latter-day Saints still recoil when they see pictures of temple garments appear in the news media — as they did this past week in The Tribune.

It’s understandable. The underclothing is, after all, private, intimate and, to the devout, sacred.

What many members may not know is that the global faith has become increasingly public about this private religious practice. The church has published videos, photographs and explanations of garments for the faithful, the faithless and everyone in between to see and read.

A church-produced YouTube video, lasting barely a minute while racking up more than 200,000 views, discusses the often mocked, maligned and misunderstood garments. It compares them to the spiritual attire donned by other believers, including “the nun’s habit, the Jewish prayer shawl and the monk’s robes.”

Many Latter-day Saints also “wear religious clothing, but underneath their regular clothes,” the narrator says, while the garments are displayed on a table (it’s the image The Tribune used). “Similar to ordinary modest underclothing, it comes in two pieces and is usually referred to as the temple garment. … They serve as a private and personal reminder of our relationship to God and our commitment to live good, honorable lives.”

We wrote about this video — and companion ones about temple rituals (one displays the robes members put on when worshipping in these edifices) — when it first aired in 2018.

On its website, the faith spells out its main request of the media when covering this topic: “Report on the subject with respect, treating Latter-day Saint temple garments as they would religious vestments of other faiths. Ridiculing or making light of sacred clothing is highly offensive to Latter-day Saints.”

That ask, we know, is widely violated by others on social media.

The latest ‘Mormon Land’ podcast: A garment crackdown?

Speaking of garments, a general authority Seventy recently complained that members are not wearing them enough and reportedly warned that church leaders were poised to make the rules more explicit. Is a garment crackdown coming? If so, what could that mean?

Listen to the podcast.

We’re on Instagram

You asked. We listened. Follow @mormon.land on Instagram, your go-to source for Latter-day Saint news.

Conference specials

At this time of year, what springs to mind for Latter-day Saints? Yep, General Conference. And with it, our special section of pre-conference goodies. This Easter edition features:

• The church’s recent acquisition of the Kirtland Temple — as seen through the eyes of historians from the view of the seller and the buyer.

• A storied Utah ranch served as a hangout and hideout for mobsters, prostitutes and polygamists along with, legend has it, the Book of Mormon’s Gadianton robbers and the Bible’s Adam and Eve?

• In an excerpt from his book “American Zion: A New History of Mormonism,” historian Benjamin Park revisits how apostle Ezra Taft Benson nearly became George Wallace’s running mate in a segregationist’s dream ticket.

(Brigham Young University; AP) Former Church president and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson, left, and former Alabama Gov. George Wallace.

• A philosopher who converted to Mormonism discusses free will, racism and the limits of science.

• A Black Latter-day Saint theologian says the church needs to be more explicit in teaching members what racism is.

(James C. Jones) James Jones, shown at Union Theological Seminary in New York, says Latter-day Saint leaders need to be more direct in teaching members about racism.

• Latter-day Saint scholar Matthew Bowman explains why the various explanations for slower church growth may all be wrong — or right.

• Since God looks on the heart, Tribune columnist Gordon Monson suggests, BYU should do the same.

• Tribune guest columnist Natalie Brown offers ways the church could help families (think lower tithing, free missions and child care at meetinghouses) while Eli McCann recalls the protests, preachings and, yes, bagpipes outside of General Conference.

• Americans are getting a parental primer on what it’s like to send a son on a Latter-day Saint mission, courtesy of one of Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City.”

David Archuleta’s new song salute his idol

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) David Archuleta performs at LoveLoud at the Delta Center in November 2023. The singer honors his mother with his latest song, "Hell Together."

• “American Idol” alum David Archuleta honors his mother in his latest song, “Hell Together,” for the support she rendered him when both stepped away from the church.

The chorus:

If they don’t like the way you’re made,

then they’re not any better.

If paradise is pressure,

Oh, we’ll go to hell together.

From The Tribune

(Chris Samuels | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Angel Moroni statue is placed atop the Salt Lake Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City, Tuesday, April 2, 2024.

• “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven.” OK, so it wasn’t exactly flying — as envisioned in Revelation — but the golden Angel Moroni statue, freshly repaired and restored, was lofted back into place this week atop the iconic Salt Lake Temple.

• Wrecking crews tore down part of a historic Latter-day Saint chapel — without authorization to do so.

• The church will release a dozen songs — including a fan favorite — next month that will be part of the new hymnbook.

• A former Young Women president, who had no children of her own but “mothered” hundreds of thousands of girls, has died.

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Ardeth Greene Kapp served as Young Women president from 1984 to 1992.