Latest from Mormon Land: How much temple garments cost — besides that 10%

Also: Where the church is losing members; a new volume about Joseph Smith’s courtroom battles; the death of beloved scholar Melissa Inouye; a shift in tithing lawsuits; the Manti Temple rededication.

The Mormon Land newsletter is The Salt Lake Tribune’s weekly highlight reel of news in and about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Join us on Patreon and receive the full newsletter, podcast transcripts and access to all of our religion content — for as little as $3 a month.

Buying garments

The temple garments worn by devout Latter-day Saints may not win any designer prizes, but at least they don’t carry designer prices.

For women, according to the church’s online store, bottoms and tops come in a variety of fabrics (cotton, chemise, nylon mesh and assorted blends), ranging in price from 65 cents (for discounted items) to $5.75 apiece.

The website shows men can buy bottoms (boxer or brief styles) and tops made from multiple materials for 70 cents (discounted) up to $6 an item.

At Macy’s online store, a three-pack of boxers or briefs can run guys anywhere from $11.70, thanks to a boatload of sales, to $64.50, and undershirts cost $19 to nearly $50 each.

As one can imagine, women can pick from cartloads of offerings at Macys.com for underwear, ranging from $6.50 to $45. Women wouldn’t necessarily don an extra covering under their outer tops, but prices for, say, a camisole, stretch from $12 to (gulp) $188.

So temple garments appear to be a modest fit for bodies and budgets. Of course, there is also that qualifying charge: 10% of your annual income in tithing.

Where the church is shrinking

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) The London Temple is shown. The church saw its membership shrink in the United Kingdom in 2023.

We reviewed last week where the church grew fastest in 2023 (re: Africa, mostly). There are places, however, where the church’s rolls receded.

At the top of that list — or, perhaps more pointedly, the bottom — was the United Kingdom, which dwindled by 583 members, independent researcher Matt Martinich reported at ldschurchgrowth.blogspot.com, followed by war-rocked Ukraine (minus 291), Tonga (minus 196) and Japan (minus 155).

The templeless top 10

Martinich also noted the 10 countries with the most Latter-day Saints but without an existing or planned temple, led by Uganda, Malaysia, Togo, Jamaica and Guyana. The next five were the Marshall Islands, Benin, the Federated States of Micronesia, Zambia and Belize.

The latest ‘Mormon Land’ podcast: Near-death accounts

Explore how near-death experiences became apocalyptic and why they attract so many Latter-day Saints — in books ranging from “Embraced by the Light” to “Visions of Glory.”

Read historian Matthew Bowman’s column on the topic, and listen to him on the podcast.

Joseph Smith in court

(The Library of Congress) The slaying of Joseph and Hyrum Smith is depicted in this lithograph by artist C.G. Crehen. A new online volume details the 1845 trial of the accused assassins.

Many members know Joseph Smith was dragged into court numerous times. But did you know he wasn’t always the defendant? Sometimes he was the plaintiff or a witness or even the judge.

And are you curious about what went down in the 1845 trial of his accused assassins? Do you wonder about the estate the faith’s founder left behind?

Well, you can read all about that and more in the latest online release from the massive Joseph Smith Papers project titled “Legal Records: Case Introductions.”

From The Tribune

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Scholar Melissa Inouye, shown in 2019, died Tuesday, April 23, 2024. She was 44.

• Latter-day Saint scholar Melissa Inouye, whose life and writings exemplified — and expounded on — life’s struggles, dies at 44. Read the story and relisten to our “Mormon Land” podcast with her from last fall.

• In an exclusive Tribune interview five days before she died, Inouye opened up about helping others navigate faith crises, an existing patriarchy in the Church Office Building and preserving women’s voices.

• Several tithing lawsuits filed in multiple states accusing the church of fraud and seeking class-action status have been transferred to a federal courtroom in Utah, just blocks from the faith’s world headquarters.

• Why does Latter-day Saint law professor Nathan Oman drive six hours to buy liquor he will never drink? The fascinating answer has little to do with the Word of Wisdom and a lot to do with interfaith friendship.

(Nathan Oman) Rabbi Itamar Rosensweig, left, and Latter-day Saint contract lawyer Nathan Oman review an agreement to sign over to Oman the title to Jewish families' leavened goods during Passover. Oman paid for these items using the silver dollars pictured and gifted him by the rabbi.

• It’s not just Latter-day Saint women who have a problem with wearing temple garments, research by Religion News Service columnist Jana Riess found out. Men do, too, along with younger members overall. For his part, Tribune columnist Gordon Monson maintains that wearing — or not wearing — garments is personal and should stay that way.

• See what Latter-day Saints think about whether their church will or should solemnize same-sex sealings in their temples.

• A VIP makes a surprise visit to rededicate a Utah pioneer marvel, the renovated Manti Temple.

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) President Russell M. Nelson and wife Wendy participate in the rededication of the Manti Temple on Sunday, April 21, 2024.

• Sites are announced for the West Jordan and Lehi temples.