Years ago, when reading about the Church's changes to the temple garment material and style, I found reading the comments below the article interesting. One individual commented about "having freedom" and "no one tells him what to wear." This controversy led to many posts. I found one comment concerning. The writer wrote,
"Hi, I'm a born and raised Mormon. I've made the choice not to wear garments. I still go to the temple; I take the sacrament, teach primary and participate in every church activity I want to. Garments are absolutely a choice. You can choose to wear them, and sometimes people choose to discontinue wearing them."
I thought about why this behavior was possible without knowing any other details about the writer and taking their statement at face value. I came up with three possible situations. I share them in order of concern.
The first possible explanation is "go to the temple" might mean visiting a temple site but not entering. There is peace that attends these dedicated pieces of beautifully sculptured land. The temple can be located on a major street full of noise, but once on the temple grounds, the noise melts away, and a feeling of peace is felt. Primary children sing, "I love the temple. I'm going there someday to feel the Holy Spirit. To listen and to pray. For the temple is a house of God, a place of love and beauty." (I love to See the Temple, Children's Songbook, number 95). So, the writer might do just that. They go to a temple to "feel the Holy Spirit" and enjoy "a place of love and beauty." However, only walking on temple grounds is like walking around a college campus expecting to receive a higher education.
Let's look at a second possible explanation. They go to the temple to perform baptisms for the dead. This a great act of service and love performed by youth and adults worldwide. Once, I attended an early wedding on a Saturday at the Payson temple. The plaza was full of youth waiting to enter the baptistery. No doubt, as they change from their regular clothes and dress in white, there is also a change in feeling. This feeling is enhanced when they are doing family names. They reverently sit in the chapel, watching others and waiting their turn. It finally comes, and they approach the font on the back of twelve sculptured oxen (Why? See 1 Kings 7:23-26). As they are immersed in water, they are helping someone else make the baptismal covenant outlined in scripture and the prayers spoken over the bread and water of the sacrament each week. Since baptism is an ordinance, we know, "Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest." (D&C 84:20). Baptisms for the Dead are a great way to feel the Spirit. Still, you are only having the appetizer rather than feasting upon the entire meal of the temple.
The final possible explanation for her comments is that she is lying to her priesthood leaders, which is shaky ground. We know as judges in Israel, these brethren represent Christ. Therefore, a lie to a bishop is a lie to Christ, which is undoubtedly a thing not to do. Your eternal salvation is at stake. As an example, think about Cain. After murdering his brother Abel. "… the Lord said unto Cain, where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?" (Genesis 4:9) Cain lied. He knew where his brother was. He was either lying in a pool of blood or in a shallow grave. From the top of the mountain, Jehovah commanded us to "not bear false witness against thy neighbour." (Exodus 20:16). In other words, thou shalt not lie.
Wearing the Garment of the Holy Priesthood is not a choice between it and Hanes. It is not about physical comfort. Instead, wearing the garment is an "outward expression of an inner commitment to Christ."