BuzzFeed campaign reporter McKay Coppins tackles "perhaps the most awkward question of the 2012 (election) cycle" in a blog post that explains the sacred undergarment worn by many observant LDS men and women.
Responding to a widely retweeted photo of Mitt Romney in which the neckline of the presidential candidate's undershirt can be clearly seen through the open-collar shirt he is wearing, Coppins says that while the subject has been "a point of political curiosity, debate and derision," the reality of the sacred undergarments "is far less exciting."
"The principle behind Mormon garments would be familiar to any Baptist who's worn a 'What Would Jesus Do' bracelet, or any Jew who's worn a yarmulke or tzitzit (woven threads Orthodox Jews wear on shawls under their shirts)," writes Coppins, who is LDS. "As the website for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints puts it, garments are worn as 'an outward expression of an inward commitment.'"
With care and tact Coppins explains what the sacred undergarments are, who wears them, what they look like, when they are worn and how Mormons get them. He also responds to the "magic underwear" comments that are often associated with this article of clothing.
He closes with a quote from the late Elder Carlos E. Asay, who said that the sacred garment "is given to remind wearers of the continuing need for repentance, the need to honor binding covenants made in the house of the Lord, and the need to cherish and share virtue in our daily living so that promised blessings may be claimed."