I read Mormon stories in the news. It is the Mitt Mormon Moment, after all. I never comment. Those who log in are so full of vitriol and hate it is almost shameful to even engage. But I couldn't stand by today. To a reader's scandalized comment that ended with "what the hell is magic underwear?!" I gave the following response:
I would like to comment here, though normally I think it is wiser to avoid these types of conversations, if it can be called such. I am an active LDS person (Mormon) who has been to the temple. After attending the temple, we wear a particular style of uber modest underwear (it is basically a tee shirt/camisole and long boxer-style shorts) under our regular clothes. We consider them sacred, not "magic," and to a religious person this is not splitting hairs. To others in this forum it may sound that way, I know. These undergarments act as a constant reminder of the things we have committed to do--to serve others, to act in Christlike ways, and to be generous. Do we sometimes/often fail in these things? Of course, we are human. The best analogy would probably be to a Jewish boy wearing a yarmulke or his mother a prayer shawl. A Protestant Christian wearing a cross. An Islamic woman wearing her hijab headscarf. No doubt, to some (and for some) these outward religious symbols are intended to intimidate or put religiosity on display. For others, however, these important symbols serve as reminders about the people we wish to become. In Mormonism, we just choose to keep our symbols to ourselves.
No doubt others here will have much to say about what I've written, and, no doubt, much of it will be very unkind. Assuredly some of these will question my motives; but, believe me, I have absolutely no personal stake in improving Mr. Romney's chances. I'm a registered Democrat in the teachers' union, and believe firmly that government is best when it is run by men and women of principle (religious or otherwise) who understand that politics is the art of careful compromise, and who put people ahead of profits. I've been a stay-at-home working mom and in in-the-workforce mother as well as a combination of the two for the last 11 years. I understand that the religion in which I choose to practice is not without its flaws--the natural outgrowth of it having people in it. But my biology degree could never do more than satisfy my questions of the mind, not the heart.
In all my years in the Church, including the time I spent as a missionary, I have never seen as much vitriol directed toward it as I have in the last few years. As an American, and a firm believer in religious freedom (and freedom from religion) as a founding principle of our country, I find these current attacks very disheartening and out of step with the America I believe in: a place where people might work for the common good to achieve great things. Lately it seems that the only right people want to exercise is freedom of speech. Perhaps with the right of speech comes the responsibility to listen.