BuzzFeed responds to recent ribbing of Mitt Romney with a helpful primer on “garments,” the underclothes worn by Mormons:
Though it’s common in Mormon-mocking rhetoric to use some variation on “magic Mormon undies” to describe the garment (paging Bill Maher), there’s nothing especially mystical about them.
Mormons are taught that by putting on “the whole armor of God”–a Biblical metaphor regularly employed in LDS discussions of the subject–they are afforded protection from temptation, in that they have a physical reminder not to sin. But there’s no magical guarantee involved. Just as cheating spouses ignore the vows symbolized by their wedding ring, plenty of garment-wearing Mormons sin. The power is in the symbolism of the garments, not any kind of miracles that result from wearing them.
Within Mormon folklore, there are stories of garment-wearers receiving physical protection–being spared from injury in a car accident, for example–but this isn’t part of official LDS doctrine, and it’s not widely preached.
Elder Carlos E. Asay, a high-ranking church official, explained the garment like this: “It 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.”
More here. None of this sounds very weird or nefarious to me. I have my disagreements with Mormonism (to say the least) but I have no sympathy for those who mock practices of the LDS that, to secular eyes, look very similar to the use of scapulars, religious medals, and cinctures by Catholics.