Sunday, February 13, 2011

Go Ahead And Skip That Temple Wedding

I'm not normally in the habit of telling other people what they should or should not do, but this is the time of year when a lot of young LDS couples get engaged and start nailing down their wedding plans for the spring. So I'm going to go out on a limb here and offer some valuable counsel to the youth of the church. Here it is:

Don't get married in the temple.

By all means, get yourselves sealed in the temple, especially if you lovebirds plan to stick it out for time and all eternity. But before you get sealed, do what the early latter-day Saints always did: get married first. Don't confuse getting sealed with getting married. The sealing is a priesthood ordinance, while a wedding is -and was always meant to be- a public celebration of your union.

Somewhere down the line, we Mormons began conflating these two events into one. Exactly how and why that occurred makes an interesting and convoluted tale. For, hard as it may be to accept after decades of conditioning to the contrary, the idea that Mormons should be married openly and in a public place, with all their friends and family present, is a position firmly rooted in doctrine.

Whereas on the other hand, the common credenda that if a couple doesn't get married in the temple first, they are somehow less worthy or lacking in the faith, is a recent tradition only a few decades old and wholly unsupported by scripture.

To Conjoin a wedding with a sealing makes about as much sense as conflating a birthday party with a baptism. When a child in this church turns eight years old, family and friends usually get together to celebrate the big day. It is, after all, a milestone; for now the child is of baptismal age.

But no one would think to bilk that eight-year-old out of his birthday party, rush him to the baptismal font, dunk him, and exclaim, “Well, kid, there's your big day!”

There is a relationship between the two events, yes, but they are not one and the same.

At least they didn't used to be.

The Official Original Mormon Rules For Marriage

In the early years of this church, all weddings took place in the open where friends and family members were welcome, including all the little brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews. No one was excluded. Weddings in Mormonland were pretty much the same as weddings anywhere else in the country, and not much different than weddings anywhere and everywhere throughout recorded history.

It was of such importance to Joseph Smith that weddings not be held in secret that the policy was codified in the Doctrine and Covenants:
All marriages in this church of Christ of Latter Day Saints,” the scripture stated, “should be solemnized in a public meeting, or feast, prepared for this purpose..."
...The persons to be married,” are to be “standing together, the man on the right, and the woman on the left...” (Emphasis mine.)
That was the first part of what became known as the church's Rules for Marriage. They were first presented at a general conference in 1835 and voted on by the whole membership. Joseph Smith, who had been preaching in Michigan and therefore not present at the conference, later approved the Rules for inclusion in the first edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, as part of section 109. Seven years later, the prophet had the Rules reprinted in Nauvoo's paper of record, The Times and Seasons, so there could be no question of his position on the matter. That was in 1842.

But after Joseph Smith's death, Brigham Young changed the rules, and it's still unclear by what authority he did so. Brigham Young admitted to not being a prophet (JD 5:77), and no one in the church during his lifetime referred to him as "the Prophet."  He was the president.

Before the Saints uprooted and headed west, President Young took to presiding over a handful of secret marriages in the Nauvoo temple. Usually “the happy couple” wasn't even a couple. In most of those cases the bride and groom -almost always some high ranking leader in the church hierarchy- were already married, their “real” wedding having taken place earlier in church like most everyone else's.

What was usually happening in these temple ceremonies was that President Young was marrying the bride and the groom's new girlfriend. It was necessary to conduct such marriages secretly because the practice that would one day become known as The Principle had not yet been made known to the church membership at large. Also, there was a little matter of The Happy Triple running afoul of state and federal bigamy laws if the menage a trois was openly discovered.  Best to keep it on the down-low for the time being.

After polygamy was abolished, many Mormons, particularly in Utah, continued the tradition of having temple marriages, although it was by no means rare to get married outside the temple first, particularly by the 1940's and '50's when the church was gaining a great many new converts.

Very few of these converts would have considered excluding their non-member family and friends from sharing in their joy, even if they were worthy to enter the temple, so Mormon church weddings or weddings conducted by a Justice of the Peace were often the norm back then. My mother, a Utah farm girl from Mapleton, married my father, a California based Marine, in a ceremony where his non-member parents were present  and his marine buddies attended in their full dress blues.

My parents were both worthy to enter the temple at the time (the Los Angeles temple was only an hour away), but they opted to have all their friends and family present at the wedding. There was no shame in that option at the time. My grandparents also had a church wedding first with family and friends in attendance. Depending upon your age, it's very likely your own parents or grandparents had a public wedding before heading to the temple to have that marriage sealed.

Back then, not many members thought it odd when an active LDS couple chose not to have their wedding take place in the temple, if it meant family and friends would be excluded from sharing in the moment. They could always go and get sealed in the temple later.  Few people thought there was anything wrong with them simply because they chose a church wedding first.

Blame It On Austin Powers

As the 1960's unfolded, American and European society increasingly promoted sexual promiscuity among the young. The Church responded to this onslaught by teaching the youth the importance of keeping oneself unspotted from the sins of the world. To assist in giving the young people something to aim for, a tangible goal was presented. That goal was for every young man and young woman to so conduct themselves that they would at all times be found to be "temple worthy." 

Mormon boys were taught that if they lived sufficiently chaste and virtuous lives (and served an honorable mission), they would one day be eligible to take a lovely young woman to the temple to there be wed for time and all eternity.

Young LDS girls were reminded to continually guard their virtue, and live so that one day they would be a worthy mate for a fine young man who would take them inside that glorious place to live together for eternity.

Within two or three generations, a sacred sealing ordinance that was meant to bind in heaven what had been bound on earth, had been converted in the minds of most members of the church into the only legitimate wedding ceremony a devout Mormon should ever consider.

This completely laudable goal of raising chaste and conscientious young men and women has, over the years, resulted in at least two unforeseen and unintended consequences.
  1. Those members of the church who were married in the temple could hardly help passing silent judgment on those who, for whatever reason, were not. Those who chose a church or civil marriage came to be seen as something akin to second-class members, persons who were somehow weak, or lacking in the faith.

  2. The false idea was inadvertently nurtured in the imagination of many a young Mormon girl from a very early age, that if she kept herself worthy, one day an equally worthy returned missionary (the ultimate in handsome manliness) would sweep her up like prince charming and carry her to the temple which was, in her imagination, a magic fairy castle where she would be dressed as a princess and celebrated by all within on the glorious day of her wedding. And then, as a reward for a lifetime of continence, she would live the rest of her life happily ever after with all her dreams fulfilled.
To any young girl whose fantasies resemble even a portion of that description, forgive me while I disabuse you of your illusions.

If you thought your temple wedding was going to resemble in any way the wedding of your girlhood dreams, you are in for a sore awakening. The temple is not the place for your fantasy wedding. It has been more accurately described as “a wedding factory.”

Some time after your arrival at the temple, you will discover that you are not going to be the special bride that day. You will be waiting in a room with about a dozen or more other girls who have also come to be married.  If the line of bridal candidates gets backed up, you'll be lucky if they give you twenty minutes.

That beautiful wedding dress you spent so much time and money on will be covered by shapeless white robes and an incongruous dull-green apron. The beautiful veil that matches your dress will be taken from you and swapped out for some ugly generic thing they keep in a bin with a hundred others just like it.

When your turn comes, you will be herded into a small room in which those few family members who were able to wrangle a temple recommend will already be waiting. Even if there are only a few guests present, they will be crowded in together, because man, that room is tiny. A temple worker will place you into position.

You will not be walking down any aisle. Your father, assuming he could get in, will not be giving you away. There will be no music, no flowers, no maid of honor, no attendants, and no exchange of rings. Some old man you likely don't even know will conduct the ceremony, asking you to kneel across the altar from your soon-to-be husband, holding his hand in that awkward grip you learned the day before. Some words will be spoken, you will give your assent, then you will be told you may kiss each other if you wish.

In an instant, it's over. Your loved ones will tiptoe over, milling around you quietly, extending their congratulations in muted whispers so low you would think there is a sleeping baby somewhere everyone is trying not to wake.  They are happy for you, but they are extremely reserved.  This is, after all, The House of the Lord, and no place to be expressing joy. 

But that doesn't last long anyway because you will all be ushered out quickly so they can get going on the next lucky couple.

What many wedding parties don't know about is that very often the temple workers are running a quiet little side tally about the number of weddings it looks like they'll be chalking up by the end of the day. A good friend of mine who goes by the online name of "Insana D" has aptly declared that when the folks at the Salt Lake City temple brag that they performed 168 sealings in one day, it should put the whole thing in perspective:

Run em’ through...we're moving, we're walking, keep going...yeah, yeah, say your vows, blah blah blah, time and eternity, and’re done...”


I've had more intimate experiences,” she says, “at the DMV.”

You have probably heard about, or even seen, a bride sobbing inconsolably through her own wedding reception for reasons no one present was able to fathom.  Now you know why. This was not the direction she expected the happiest day of her life to go.

A Plea For Common Sense

Doubtless you've heard of the Temple Wedding Petition currently circulating on the web. It's sponsors are asking the current leadership of the church to reconsider the divisive policies that currently drive the modern LDS approach to marriage.

These policies dictate that a couple who chooses to begin their marriage with a traditional church ceremony in order that they may include their loved ones in the celebration, must thereafter wait a full year before they can go to the temple to be sealed.

This policy doesn't take into account the temple worthiness of the couple, or how devoted they are to the gospel. What matters is that they defied current Church protocol and made a choice, on their own, to be wed in the manner they felt most most suitable to them. In the eyes of the Magisterium, that is rebellion, and rebellion must be punished.

This practice of forcing a couple to wait a year for their sealing ordinance is not doctrinal; it did not come to the leadership of the church through revelation. And here's an irony for you: if both the husband and wife are recommend holders, they can go to the temple during the time of their probation and, acting as proxies, be sealed for their dead relatives. They just can't be sealed to each other.

It's difficult to come to any other conclusion than that this policy is vindictive, especially because the policy is unfairly applied according to one's geographic location.

Since governments in many foreign countries will not recognize a marriage performed in secret, the LDS Church makes special provision for those foreign members. The church “allows” those couples to be married civilly out in the open to satisfy local laws and customs, then lets them be sealed in the temple as soon after the wedding as is convenient for them. But if you live in North America and have a civil marriage first, you don't get that privilege.

This double standard shows that either God's law is subordinate to civil law, or that the leaders of the Church are acting arbitrarily. It's your guess.

Why A Petition?

We are living in a time when there are more part-member families in the church than ever before, and even many of us who were raised in the church have close relatives who for one reason or another find themselves ineligible for a temple recommend. It wasn't always thus. In the old days all it took to gain access to The House of the Lord was a simple recommendation from your bishop, who knew you and was acquainted with your good character.

If your father drank a cup of coffee in the morning, or took a chaw of tobacco, it was no big deal. Petty vices like that would not have kept him from attending your wedding.

No longer. Over time, requirements for admission have gotten more stringent and the list of qualifying questions so numerous, that no matter how virtuous, lovely, or of good report you and your fiance may be, some of your loved ones may not make the cut. If you're planning a temple marriage, it will probably be a lonelier affair than you expected it would.

Pity the young convert bride whose father is completely baffled by a religion that won't allow him to give his own daughter away at her wedding. Church headquarters now advises stake presidents to have part-member families all meet together in the stake president's office a week or two prior so non-members can have it explained to them how the temple is a holy place where only certain worthy members can gain entry.

These meetings rarely help. No matter how hard the stake president tries to couch it all in terms the parents will understand, all that religious bibble-babble really translates to “Tough luck, Pops, you're gonna miss your daughter's wedding.”

Why Not Take Your Time?

I join with the fine folks behind the petition in calling for an end to the stigma that often attaches to those who marry outside the temple. Happily, there is a growing number of young Mormon couples bucking the trend and reclaiming their power. They recognize that this is their wedding, and they don't give a hang what anyone thinks about their worthiness or devotion to the gospel.  No man and no institution of men will have control over their personal happiness. This will be the celebration of their love, and they will share it with everyone who loves them.

Although I'd like to see the negative stigma of a civil wedding removed from Mormon culture, I don't have anything against the happy couple waiting a good year or so before entering the temple to have their union sealed. In fact, I recommend it. But how long they wait should be their decision, and no one else's -certainly not someone who claims "authority" over them.

I strongly believe the ceremony that seals you and your soul-mate for time and all eternity is a solemn procedure that should not be rushed. That's why I think placing it up front amid all the distractions of the wedding day detracts from the sacredness of the occasion. The holy nature of the ordinance is lost amid the frenzied hustle and bustle leading up to the typical marriage, reception, and honeymoon plans. The numerous distractions demanding the attention of the participants can often blur or bury what should be a calm and thoughtful commitment.

Both the bride and groom have plenty on their minds on their wedding day. The bride has her mind on the reception to follow, while the groom is usually busy thinking about what's going to happen after the reception.

There's a story of a young cowboy from Spanish Fork and his bride-to-be in the temple sealing room, kneeling across the altar from one another. As the officiator is preparing to perform the ceremony, he asks the groom, “Isn't this the greatest moment of your life?”

Not yet,” the kid grins, “but we're gittin' there.”

I think it's a good idea for a  married couple to take their time and let the marriage marinate a little before being sealed together, because then the sealing ceremony will have a much deeper meaning. Get to know each other; get those first dozen or so major quarrels out of the way and behind you, settle in with each other a bit, get in a lot of loving.

There is a deep, indescribable spiritual unity that develops in a couple after they have had sufficient time to experience the intense physical connection that comes with marriage, a shared intimacy that I feel should already be in place at the time the sealing ordinance is performed. A husband and wife who know what it is to be both spiritually and physically bonded, and who come to the altar with a calm, sober appreciation of their holy union are, in my opinion, more capable of appreciating the sacred ordinance that further binds and seals them together forever.

An experience like that is simply too sacred and special to be wasted on newbies.  We don't baptize our kids just because they turn eight.  First we prepare them.  Likewise, we should allow our young people to be prepared for the ordinance of an eternal marriage. The best preparation for an eternal marriage... is marriage.  You deserve to have some experience in it.

Let The Spirit Guide Your Choice

Joseph Smith was killed two years before the Nauvoo temple was completed, so we can't know for certain if he would have changed his mind and approved of the clandestine marriages that later took place in that holy edifice.

But we do know the purposes to which he put the Kirtland temple. In that sacred building the prophet introduced washings and annointings, gave lectures, and even held church-style meetings. There is no record indicating that secret marriages ever took place in the Kirtland temple.  Such procedures were introduced later, after Joseph Smith was dead.

In the 19th century history of this church, a wedding created a marriage, and a sealing was a special ordinance the purpose of which was to seal that marriage forever.

I think we should take the founder of our faith at his word when he affirms that all marriages in this church are to be solemnized in a public meeting or feast. Inexplicably, when the Doctrine and Covenants was reprinted in Utah in 1876, that section was quietly dropped without any reason given. It no longer fit with the views of the current management, and if left in the scriptures, it would have stood as an awkward reminder that at one time the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had actually been run by a living prophet.

Personally, it doesn't matter to me if those verses are not present in my current Triple Combination. Until I'm permitted to see a revelation from the Lord declaring those rules null and void, I'm going to have to assume they still stand. 

Sometimes the old ways are the best.

Update June 10, 2012: Jean Bodie, originator of the petition for changing the policy that requires couples who are married civilly to wait a year before being sealed, was interviewed for a recent Mormon Expressions Podcast available at the link below. Her story is a fascinating and delightful listen:

Mormon Expression Voices


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mikaellewis said...

Very interesting article. Thank you for posting.

It's interesting to note that in Ireland and the UK (and other countries I presume) where a temple marriage is not recognized as a legal marriage, weddings always take place in a church first. The couple then goes to the temple a few days later.
It's despicable that the church in the US insists on excluding family and friends who are not "temple worthy" or perhaps not even members. A wedding should be a joyous experience that includes all friends and family of the couple.

Black Jebus said...

I have to wait because my wife and i, wisely i believe, chose to marry in a civil ceremony. I agree with you strongly with regard to this post, the dropping of that d&c verse and presidents maybe not being prophets. Good work!

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I've added an update at the end of the post above linking to an interview by Jean Bodie on the temple sealing petition Jean recently provided at Mormon Expression Podcast.

NewNameNoah said...

Have you seen my hidden camera temple videos on YouTube yet?

Kristine said...

This is an issue that I currently have with "the Church." As we (I had a license also) have accepted statism repeatedly, God is being squeezed out. I recently told my daughter to not get married in the temple. I told her to find one of the churches in the US that are not beholden to the 501c status and marry her husband with the permission of the Lord alone. There are several out there which have awakened to their responsibilities (see The Patriot Pastor for a listing of churches which gather witnesses and marry men and women through God's laws.

This seems very hypocritical as we can read the following in The Declaration On The Family (4th paragraph) We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, LAWFULLY wedded as husband and wife.

We all know the difference between legal and lawful. This was not an error by the brethren. I believe my accountability is to God, not to man. So does "the Church" if they would hold to that principle.

I have a deep and abiding testimony of marriage and I am grateful for the opportunity to marry eternally.

Kristine said...

What's the purpose of that NewNameNoah? You only discredit yourself.

Rock - This corporation status is going to be the reason for the upcoming division in the Church (IMO). As more and more awaken to a terrestrial law and realize that our leaders are in a telestial state leading us (barely) to a terrestrial glory, the individual will have to have a testimony which does not reflect any teachings of the current Church. The celestial will only be achieved through personal revelation with no dependency on a prophet, church, or mortal entity.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I agree, Kristine, and commend you for your advice to your daughter. Any Church that requires you to produce evidence of permission from the state before they will marry you before God, has a serious problem.

If, after being married in public, a couple wishes to be sealed for eternity, they should only need to produce a certificate of marriage, which differs from a license as it is a document that certifies a marriage has taken place.

Anonymous said...

Great post, very interesting stuff. Just one suggestion - I'd edit out "gyp." It's a slander referring to "Gypsies," and not very polite to equate them with the concept. Really no different from using "Jew" as a pejorative verb ("He 'Jewed' me down to $550")

Alan Rock Waterman said...

A worthy suggestion, and one that my own nephew brought up some time ago and I promptly forgot about. (Who pays attention to family members, anyway?)

So, now that a second witness has suggested a correction, I've gone in and changed "gyp" to "bilk."

It's interesting that the only times in my life I ever heard the word "jew" tossed around in the context you refer was among my own righteous Aaronic priesthood brethren in the deacon's quorum. That term was used constantly to describe cheating one another out of something, or trying to get something past another. I don't think a one of us at the time ever knew it was a denigrating reference to the tribe of Judah. We 12 year old boys didn't know anything about such stereotypes.

jo said...

This is all totally false doctrine.

Jon said...

Just heard you on Mormon Stories talking about this topic. In that same section they talk about marriage and government together being civilized. I think it is uncivilized. What do you think?

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Well, I certainly don't think obtaining permission from government in the form of a license adds to the civilizing of society; bringing the government into a marriage displaces God's role in it.

If I had it to do over again, my wife and I would draw up a fancy looking "Certificate of Marriage." That would satisfy any requirements needed to "prove" we were married.

Zoee_Hancock English 12 said...

I am so glad you said something. I was considering maybe having a civil marriage first because my fiance is a convert and his family would not be able to attend. But when you said you loved God more than pleasing your family I realized that you are right.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing this. I wonder if I will have the nerve to share it with my step-daughter who I believe will find herself engaged soon. The thought of her getting married without her father in attendance, or her little brothers and sister breaks my heart. The anxiety I already feel for something that hasn't even happened yet is terrible.
I have known this child since she was 4. I have watched her grow into a beautiful, intelligent woman that I couldn't love more if I had carried her myself. My children adore their big sister, she's a rock star in this house. How on earth can I explain to them that they can't share this day with her... that our family is deemed unworthy at best, and (by some accounts I've read) "unclean" at worst. It is my hope and prayer that she agrees to have an open ceremony first, and have the sealing ceremony a year later.
I was particularly struck with what you wrote about the importance of waiting a year. LDS or not, that first year of marriage is eye-opening, isn't it? Waiting a year, knowing a bit better what marriage really is, would definitely (in my non-LDS opinion) make the sealing more meaningful.

JR said...

I went on a mission (I am female) and married a man who did not go on a mission. It did not bother me. I wish we had done a civil marriage first - hindsight is 20/20. Not because I wanted my father to walk me down the aisle because he did not care about me, but a civil marriage would have been easier and less expensive. I am going to tell my children they can do whatever they want when it comes to their weddings. Great info. as always!

Jeff said...

I’m not sure how this author’s temple wedding went, but his description of a temple wedding sounds absolutely nothing like my own. There were no other couples there to be married. We had fully half an hour in the gigantic, ornate sealing room. My wife wore a gorgeous dress that was in no way diminished by her robes, and she had no reason to swap her veil for another because she had no other veil.

The room was not crowded—there was seating for at least 100—and the maid of honor was there with my wife. We exchanged rings over the altar, and we held hands in a not-at-all-awkward grip that she had known for weeks. And yes, when we were finally married, our loved ones were quiet and reverent, as would be expected. Why would anyone want it any other way? We then changed back into our street clothes, went out to the gorgeous Christmas display in the adjoining Visitors’ Center, and headed on to our wedding lunch before sending our loved ones back home so we could return to the hotel for the first leg of our honeymoon.

Again, I don’t know what the author’s problem is, but here’s a little tip: your experience is far from everyone’s.

baadwoof said...

In 1954, President McKay is said to have appointed a special committee of the Twelve to study the issue. They concluded that the priesthood ban had no clear basis in scripture but that Church members were not prepared for change. This issue is exactly the same. When members want it.. it will happen..

Rachel Doyle said...

I too feel the same way. I had a recommend and my husband did not - he hadn't been a member long enough...How I mourned and how we were scorned...

Rachel Doyle said...

Same thing happened to us.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I was actually surprised to learn from your letter that there is a spacious 100 seat sealing room, so I checked with my wife, who has been to more sealings than I have, and yes indeed, she's seen that room. It can apparently be reserved in advance for particularly large groups.

You were indeed fortunate to be sealed in that room. However, your experience does not seem to be the norm for most people. I think you'll find that most people were assigned sealing rooms that were much more intimate.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

This would indeed be a nice compromise, but I have heard of several instances where bishops refused to allow such a ceremony to take place. For some time, the official Church policy was not to allow a couple to even hold a ring ceremony among their friends.

Now of course, bishops and church leaders actually do not have the power and authority to prohibit a couple from holding an open wedding after their sealing, but we live in a day when many members will blindly obey any order coming from a bishop or stake president. So this avenue is effectively not available for most.

SunnyDeelite said...

I've just spent 2 days reading through this whole blog and the comments (that weren't deleted.) It was a good experience, but I feel like I have more unanswered questions than I started out with. (Perhaps that was intentional?)
So just what is marriage? According to Rock's comment above all it takes to be married is for the couple to claim it, cohabit and the addition of children is a bonus validation. (It looks to me like he's paraphrasing a state's definition of marriage, as that was what I found there.)
According to the Church it seems to be: if your civil authority deems it valid, we do too. But in the long run only an eternal marriage counts for anything, and we get to say what that means, and how you can get one. Oh, and by the way if you don't do it our way you're doomed for all eternity. Not to mention your friends will condemn you here and now. So, just be safe and do it our way, ok?
According to the scriptures it appears to be dependent on what verse you're reading and how you view that author. (Was Paul really authorized to preach and dictate policy? Was Brigham Young? Did Joseph Smith really authorize section 132?)
So in summary we have 3 authorities claiming what a marriage is, State, Church and Scripture. Where do they get THEIR authority?
The State, in America, supposedly gets its authority from the consent of the governed. (And you're the one who can say you're married and we'll accept it.)
The Church purportedly gets it's authority from God. (Yet some say that since BY left and basically usurped the authority isn't that the same as a catholic saying their authority is through Peter? Is everything after Joseph died completely invalidated?) But God will force no man to heaven, so it's again up to you to choose to follow. (But the Church (tm) gets to decide just what current policy is, except that it's really based on what the people will accept. So... it's up to popular opinion.)
The Scriptures also get their authority directly from God, through a Prophet, but .. they've been tampered/mistranslated/botched/written to suit current policy. And are always interpreted so differently by everyone who reads them. People use the same exact verse to justify or condemn a given practice.(Am I really back to it's up to me?)
Am I supposed to be my own authority? Am I supposed to rely on public opinion/sanctioned opinion? What the Holy Ghost whispers to me? In the end does it matter? I'm really hoping to get some answers - before I actually need it.
For the record I've been raised in the church, hold a TR, (in reality only renewed it so I could witness my sister's sealing) and haven't ever married. I always want to keep the commandments, but lately it feels like that's so vague. My first disillusionment with the church was when I discovered that they incorporated. God, Inc.?

SunnyDeelite said...

Oh, and as a matter of interest, I've seen a lot of "marriage has always been a religious ceremony not civil." In "Saints and Strangers" by George F. Willison (a history of the Pilgrims), it was said that the pilgrims thought that it was a civil ceremony, and it was many years before any marriage was performed by religious authority. They used the Geneva bible.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Marriage was ordained of God, which resulted in the acceptance of marriage ceremonies being conducted in churches, for reasons such as any such union is a family and community celebration, and it's always a good idea to have witnesses of one's intent to contract together. Nevertheless, the decision to marry is a private one, and it was only in the past few centuries that governments began issuing permission slips we call licenses. Connor Boyack has just weighed in on the history of such usurpations on his blog here:

I think most of the questions you raise above are answered in that article.

Anonymous said...

YES! No more elastic headband lines on the groom's forehead during photos!

Oh and REAL wedding photos not you looking like you are exiting a business building and the sardine in a can shots at the same five spots as the earlier 100 couples.

Anonymous said...

I agree. The Church seems to so often cave & change their stance on even the most vital of doctrines, changing things that were once called 'abominations' into 'not considering it sin at all anymore', when there is enough pressure to do so from within the Church or from without (like the government rightly forcing them to stop polygamy).

I believe the Church will eventually even cave and allow and support 'same sex marriage', even in it's temples, within probably 10 or 20 years, when the majority of the members will push for it, and it's getting there. For the Church has changed much worse things into being ok now.

Anonymous said...

Jeff, apparently you are unfamiliar with how Joseph wanted the marriage ceremony to be, he even put it in the original D&C, and said it could not be changed or done differently or it would be false.

But of course after Joseph died, Brigham Young took out Joseph's teachings to make way for his new kind of marriage, polygamy, which went against everything that Joseph taught, for Joseph never preached or practiced polygamy either.

While I myself had a nice experience when I was married in the temple, I would not do it again if I could go back. I would never be married in the temple at all for I believe it is all false & invented by BY. I still feel so sorry all these 25 years later that not one person in my husband's whole family could be at our wedding ceremony, & not just how that must have hurt them, but also how it hurt 'him' to not have any of his family there, especially his parents. He was the only member of his entire family.

But I was a young dupe back then, not having awoken to the truth yet.

I do not believe Heavenly Father would ever want to keep a loving mother & father from seeing the wedding of their son or daughter, for they more than anyone deserve to be there, from all the sacrifice they gave in raising them. It is a greatest insult & abuse to not allow them to be there. God would never do that, but the likes of Brigham Young would.

I attended 2 family civil weddings this last summer and it was a new experience for our family, for all others had married in the temple before these 2. Yet I came away with the feeling that the civil weddings were much more romantic and special and with the Spirit there. I really enjoyed the beautiful music that was played and added so much to the Spirit. All the children and family & friends could be there and it was wonderful!

I know know why & what Joseph Smith was talking about when he taught that marriages should be public ceremonies for all to attend and enjoy & add to the happiness of the couple.

Temple weddings are completely against the scriptures (original & true D&C), which scriptures Joseph said are the true test to see if something is true or not.

The exclusion of family & friends, the serial polygamy (allowing & encouraging men to be sealed to multiple women, the false vows they make where only the woman gives herself to the man and not visa versa as it should be, are all indications that it is all completely false and even evil as it teaches false doctrine & excludes those who most deserve to be there no matter what religion they are.

I believe in Christ and Joseph Smith's words & teachings, not Brigham Young who taught completely contrary to them.

As Joseph taught, people who blindly follow men who call themselves prophets always easily fall for false prophets and usually never know it.

Toni said...

That's pretty much it.

Truth is, it's God and us, individually, in this world. Closeness to God is what will see us through, not closeness to any man/woman or organization.

Anonymous said...

I just have to say I felt very rushed, I was bride 45 out of 150 that day. We were very much rushed. I didn't even get to really fix my hair. We were in and out in under 5 min. I was very disappointed in the whole temple wedding experience. It was something that I had worked hard for being a single mother and waiting a long time to find the right person. And then to have my dress that was hand made,covered by symbolic endowment( not sealing) robes and aprons and my veil taken from me, and my family unable to attend, it was heartbreaking, and then to learn that I was promising myself to him, but he did not promise himself to me and we both agreed to Polygamy (celestial Marriage). Yup It was disappointing in so many ways. I wish I had been married civilly first. Now I wish I had never married /sealed at all in the temple.It's a precious day/ceremony my husband of 16 years and I can never get back.

Anonymous said...

"We have been told that... the current prophet is the first we should follow if there seems to be conflicting doctrine."

1st, why would you just believe that, just because someone said it? 2nd, You have to disregard & throw out so much doctrine that Joseph & ancient prophets and Christ taught that the Church looks completely different because more current leaders teach totally opposite past ones.

Blind obedience is always blinding and causes our minds & spirits to go dark & be easily deceived. Satan loves blind unquestioning obedience. He loves church leaders who say they trump past prophets and even Christ, like the current LDS leaders teach.

Whereas, 'true' prophets never say those things, they always say "don't trust my words" go & find out if what I say is true or not, by comparing it with Christ & his scriptures. True prophets never want blind unquestioning obedience, they command us to question, test & prove 'all' things, that means everything & everyone, especially those who claim to be prophets.

Christ and ancient prophets continually warned us today to beware of the many false prophets who would come among us, and who would deceived 'everyone' in the Church, members & leaders alike, except a rare few.

But the problem is most LDS don't want the personal responsibility for their own salvation, they want to play follow the leader and not have to think, reason, test, study, search, ponder, prove or pray. Blind obedience & believing that your church leaders can't fall or won't ever lead you astray, is so much easier to go with, then Christ's & true Prophet's warnings.

As the Book of Mormon prophets who saw our day foretold, everyone in the Church has been deceived by false prophets who preach & practice false doctrines & whoredoms since Joseph died. We must awake to our awful situation in the Church and realize we are in the same situation Alma found himself in in his corrupt Church.

Soon Christ & Joseph will return to earth to restore the true Church to the earth. We must live according to the holy scriptures until then and not listen to the contrary doctrine of so-called prophets today.

For Joseph warned that those who are deceived by falsehoods & false prophets will lose their exaltation & standing in the Celestial Kingdom. And he said most people fall for these false prophets, thinking them to be true ones, because they don't test them & their doctrines to see if they are preaching contrary to Christ & the scriptures that Joseph gave us, that would be the BoM & the original D&C (1835 edition)

Anonymous said...

Truth is truth and it can come from any source. Joseph approved of the marriage article or he wouldn't have left it in in later editions.

It is very easy to see that Joseph only approved of monogamy and public weddings.

I believe the secret weddings (& ordinaces & endowments, etc.) in temples was all made up by Brigham Young to aid his desire to live polygamy & collect wives to himself.

Everyone has authority to reveal truth, if they live worthy of such revelation, they just don't have the authority to force it on the Church, but any true prophet would gladly appreciate & learn from any person in the Church who could expound greater truth to them. Prophets learn line upon line just like the rest of us & get things wrong too, for they need all the help they can get from God & all of us, for even great prophets like Joseph were deceived to call evil men in to high positions like apostles. Many ancient great men & prophets in the scriptures fell to immorality and pride & lead many people astray and still do today who read of their abominations, for many justify the same by saying that a prophet did it so they can, not realizing that the prophet was wrong to do it & lost his exaltation.

Anonymous said...

All 1st marriages & families are forever, no matter what religion you are or no religion at all. (as long as both spouses consented to the marriage & neither had been married before)

We will always be the children of our parents in eternity, whether they were good or bad and we will always be the spouse of our spouse in eternity, whether they were good or bad and our children will always be our children in eternity, whether they were good or bad.

Not everyone in the family may make it to the Celestial Kingdom, some may go to the Terrestrial and some may go to the Telestial, but the higher ones can always visit their lower relatives throughout eternity. We will always know & love & stay close to our relatives throughout eternity no matter where each of us end up.

Plus there is the opportunity for valiant spouses to save their unrighteous spouses & take their spouse to the Celestial Kingdom with them, (after the errant spouse totally repents in hell of course). Thus the righteous spouse won't have to be single forever (for there is no 2nd chance at marriage if both consented to it, your 1st spouse is who you get forever, that's why Christ taught there is no divorce & that remarriage is adultery) they will have their original spouse who is now a perfect spouse once again.

Thus this whole 'sealing' business is complete nonsense and totally unneeded. For all families & marriages are eternal, even if they don't all end up in the same Kingdom, though spouses eventually will, if at least one was righteous & earned the right & power to save their errant spouse. Otherwise both spouses will be in lower kingdoms, though probably not married and definitely not with the power to pro-create worlds. But they will still know & love their spouse but be sad they didn't achieve what they could have together as a couple & as a family.

Anonymous said...

I believe it was Brigham Young who made up 'sealing's & temple endowments, etc. to go along with his whoredom of polygamy.

I believe Joseph had nothing to do with the temple ceremonies & endowments & teachings in the temple, for Joseph understood that all 1st marriages are eternal for any couple of any religion. Remarriages after divorce are just adultery as Christ and prophets have taught. Remarriages after the death of a spouse is not eternal either, for there is no polygamy in heaven and if people remarry after the death of a spouse they prove they didn't keep their covenants to the original spouse to be faithful & true their entire lives until death. Without faithful unconditional true love for our spouse for our whole life, never seeking or desiring anyone else, no matter what, even if our spouse has died or divorced us, we can't achieve the Celestial Kingdom & exaltation.

No righteous person would ever dater or remarry after the divorce or death of their spouse. True exclusive life long love for one's spouse, is and always has been, the true test of righteousness & Exaltation, but even Christ's apostles thought it was so high a law that even they weren't sure they could live it. Few there be that can.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I find it interesting that "Anonymous" above would prefer to follow a doctrine (i.e. "the current prophet is the first we should follow") that the Lord never revealed nor endorsed, bolstering the argument by stating the Kirtland temple was used for different purposes than the modern ones.

Why does he/she not wonder WHY latter temples have been used in ways the original Kirtland temple had not been? Should we not wonder why the purpose of the temple veered so dramatically from the pattern after Joseph Smith's death?

Yes, God did reveal the design and layout of the Nauvoo temple to Joseph Smith, but Brigham Young altered it. Who authorized BY to make those changes?

Some modern LDS would rather dismiss the teachings of the founding prophet because "we have been taught," because, as the able respondent pointed out above at 12:52 am, it's easier than confirming through scripture as we are instructed to by the Lord.

And we wonder why people accuse us of being a cult.

Good Will said...

My wife was not a member of the LDS Church when we married (and neither of us were living "worthily" of a temple marriage, anyway), so we had to wait (several years) to be sealed, together with our three children who were later born to us.

It was the holiest, most sacred and happiest day of our lives, being sealed in the temple as a family. When our three young children were brought to be sealed to us, they ran into the room saying "Mommy! Daddy!" It was like resurrection morning. It wouldn't have been the same experience without them.

I know this for a fact, since I have been married "worthily" twice before in the temple to two other women. Those ceremonies were NOTHING like my experience being sealed to this woman to whom I had already been married for many years and with whom I had children.

Those first marriages were, as they say, strange, rushed, and oddly off-putting affairs, considering that (for both of those previous marriages) NONE of our extended families (on either side) could attend the ceremony, as we were the only members of the Church.

I tried to make the experience holy. But, frankly, knowing what would come "after the reception" (as the author pointed out) was a significant distraction for both of us. In fact, both of my previous temple "marriages" had a negative impact on my marriages. The "secret" ceremonies created friction between us and our family members and friends and destroyed intimacy that otherwise would have developed between us as a couple.

The author is right: a culture of perceiving any who marry outside the temple as "unworthy" is certainly true today. (I've attended a few of those "chapel" weddings. The unspoken "understanding" is that they were "sleeping together" already and couldn't marry in the temple.) That's unfortunate. It's supposed to be a public celebration of love and commitment to each other, not a public bishop's court.

Spencer W. Kimball and his wife, Camilla, married in their parents' living room before they traveled to the temple. It was the custom of their day.

I wish it were our custom, as well.

Good Will said...

The Church requires marriage licenses from those who would be married in the temple to preclude polygamists and bigamists from unrighteously abusing the privilege. (At least polygamists will have to break the laws of the land if they dare to violate the laws of God, as well.)

Anonymous said...

This is so awesome. I am an active member of the church, and, being a teenager, I have been pressured to think about the kinds of people I date, and of course, marriage. I've been planning my dream wedding since I was nine, and it is completely different than a temple wedding(especially sine I want my dress to be blue). I remember distinctly, my first year of girl's camp. We were on a hike, and every so often, we would stop along the trail and have a mini-lesson. One lesson really sticks with me. A leader told us about marriage. She said many things, including how she felt bad for one of her friends because she married a non-member, and couldn't be married in the temple. When the lesson was almost over, she said something super disturbing. She said, "Isn't it better to be married in the temple, even if your family can't be there?" I was shocked. I thought, and still think, that if I can't have everyone I love at my wedding, then it's not good, and something has to change. I told my mom how I felt, and she completely understood. She didn't put me down because what I wanted wasn't what I was supposed to want according to the church. The opposite happened when I told my leaders what I thought. Today, my mom emailed this blog to me, and I have to say, I am so relieved. I felt horrible and torn when my leaders said that I should have a temple wedding no matter what. I thought, if I marry someone who isn't a member, I'll have the wedding I planned. If I marry a member, I'll have my wedding and a temple wedding. I thought that I had to settle, but now I'm so happy that I know that temple weddings weren't even supposed to be. I know I have quite a while before I get married, but in the last few minuets as I read this, I felt a weight lift off of my chest. Thank you!!

Anon 23 said...

Isn't truth wonderful?! It brings with it such joy & enlightenment & casts off the weight of false doctrines.

I know Joseph Smith was right, that public weddings were the only type of weddings intended by the Lord. Joseph said that if anyone ever, then or today, teaches different than that, then we will can know that they are wrong & teachings falsehoods.

Heavenly Father would never want loving parents excluded from seeing & enjoying the marriage of their children. That would be one of the biggest insults he could do to parents and the tremendous sacrifices they have made raising those children.

But Brigham Young changed marriage ceremonies so that he/they could hide their secret illegal & adulterous polygamous marriages from the world, in my opinion.

God would never expect or ever want us to listen to men like Brigham Young & those who followed him, for they all preach & practice so opposite to what Christ, Joseph Smith and the ancient Prophets taught. And that is a sure sign of false prophets & false doctrine.

So glad you are finding out the truth so young, your spouse & children will be blessed because of your ability to see truth from error & not let yourself be deceived.

Minor Details said...

Can anyone tell me what a "sealing for time only" is? To me it seems a total oxymoron since a sealing is meant to bind a relationship on earth and in heaven eternally, so I can't figure out what or how you "seal" til " death do you part". Why do we do it at all? My recently widowed FIL is getting remarried and happily announced he got permission from his temple president to be sealed for time only to his new fiancé. By marrying in the temple, he will not be able to have 3 of his six children and 3 of his four siblings at his wedding. ( a family event that automatically excludes half the family! ). Where did this tradition of man start because I cannot find any scriptural documentation for such a practice?

Alan Rock Waterman said...

That's certainly a new one on me. It sounds like a sealing for time only is just a fancy word for what they're calling a wedding, but I don't know why they would even be performing that in the temple. But then, they've already drifted so far from the meaning of "sealing" that I shouldn't be surprised.

Han anyone else heard of this practice?

Anon 23 said...

I have heard of this too. It sounds like his fiance is sealed to her former husband or they would allow your FIL to just be sealed to her too and his 1st wife.

I agree with Rock, that it is just a fancy way of saying 'married for this life only'.

It is so sad they don't just have the wedding outside the temple so everyone could be there, for it doesn't make a difference on the actual marriage, they are still only married for time.

The longer I live the worse I feel about being married in the temple & having to exclude my husband's entire non-member family, especially his parents,(& most of my younger siblings & others) from being able to see us married.

They were all very gracious about it, but it was such a terrible thing to do to them, parents especially.

I do not believe for a moment now that Heavenly Father would ever want loving parents excluded from probably the greatest event in their child's lives.

I believe as Joseph Smith taught, that marriage is supposed to be in a public place where all can join in & see & celebrate the couple's marriage.

It is the biggest insult & abuse to parents to exclude them from such a wonderful thing after all their hard work & sacrifice.

I now see & firmly believe that the temple ceremonies & endowments are just false & all Brigham Young's making, so he could secretly perform his adulterous polygamous marriages & teach women the false doctrine that they have to submit to husbands and to bind people to the feeling of obligation to the Church, making people scared to leave the Church if they ever thought it has gone into apostasy.

When actually Joseph Smith taught people to not feel obligation to or blindly obey any Church or prophet, for they often go into apostasy, and to be very aware of such a possibility & to abandon such leaders or Church if it does.

Baptism for the Dead, which can be done outside a temple, is the only temple ordinance I believe in today.

Becky said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Becky said...

Amen! Thank you, Anonymous, for sticking up for your beliefs and saying something. I agree with you 100%.

Becky said...

I disagree strongly with this article. Circumstances vary and I would never judge a couple harshly for choosing to have a civil marriage first. But as a general rule, I do not believe that having a separate civil marriage is the best course of action.
This author argues that we should go back to our roots, but he mistakenly assumes that Joseph Smith revealed everything about the Lord’s church in his lifetime, and that everything was revealed in its fullness all at once. The Lord’s principle of line-upon-line, taught by Isaiah, refutes this. God reveals his doctrines gradually, piece by piece. He gives milk before meat (D&C 19:22); therefore, doctrine from the earliest days of the church should not be considered more correct than that which was revealed later.
As a prophet, seer, and revelator, Joseph Smith gave all those same keys to each member to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, one of which was Brigham Young. Thus, Brigham Young was a prophet. When he became President of the Church after Joseph’s death, Brigham became THE prophet, authorized to receive revelation for the entire Church. Every president of the Church since then has inherited the same authority.
The leaders of this church are called of God. I uphold and sustain them, and I testify that the Church’s policies are instituted by God. No Church policy is vindictive. I don’t know the exact reasoning of the brethren or of the Lord in why it is necessary for couples who have a civil marriage to wait a year before they can be sealed together in the temple.
Perhaps (and this is just my own reasoning) the wait-a-year policy is meant to discourage member couples from getting the civil union first, in the hopes that they will make getting to the temple a higher priority. Sealing in the temple is so much more than an ordinary marriage. Elder Cree-L Kofford of the Seventy said, “A civil marriage has two basic ingredients: 1. The bride and groom make certain promises to each other, 2. The bride and groom can then legally live together under the laws of the land. Of course, the one officiating will dress it up as much as possible… But no matter how it’s packaged, that’s all a civil marriage will ever be. Adorning the ceremony with a minister or even an LDS bishop, a beautiful church or other building, tuxedos, limousines, music, and all of the other trappings will not change that. An empty box is not given substance by the most beautiful gift wrapping.” (“Marriage in the Lord’s Way” June 1998 Ensign) Both kinds of marriage create a legal contract between the husband and wife that are recognized by the law of the land. But a mere civil union is not lasting, and where a civil marriage has accoutrements, trappings, and festivities, a temple marriage has sacred covenants, heavenly counsel, and the assurance that God approves the union and will recognize it in the eternities.
Whenever I have a serious gospel question, I like to turn to the basics. And so, this simple quote from the April 1987 Ensign article “Teaching our Children about Temple Marriage” sums it up for me: “By their very nature, temple vows imply a deeper, more serious commitment. With the many wonderful blessings that come with a temple marriage, what Latter-day Saint couple would willingly settle for second best?”

Anonymous said...


If you believe Brigham Young was a true prophet, you probably don't really know much about him or his personal life and how he treated his wives or women. I would encourage you to study him further and all the other church presidents after him, if you can stomach it, for it is all so sickening & revolting, completely contrary to how Heavenly Father wants his daughter to be treated.

Also, if is clear to me that Joseph Smith believed that couples who were married civilly were married forever, no need for a temple marriage like BY later invented for his polygamous agenda.

If you believe that BY was called of God & had authority just because he was able to get a group of members (probably not even a majority of the Church) to follow him after Joseph died, then you have to admit that Joseph's brother William, who was also an apostle, who was President of the RLDS Church, was also called of God and had just as much authority to lead & continue the Church, etc. He lead many members to join the RLDS church just like BY lead members to join his branch of the Church, so you have to admit that the RLDS Church is true too.

Of course not both can be right & believe neither churches were a continuation of the true Church, though I believe William Smith was a good man where as Brigham Young was an abusive adulterer who lead that part of the Church completely astray to commit whoredoms.

If you believe in Brigham Young's teachings & Church then you are not familiar with Christ's & Joseph Smith's teachings, which are the 'meat' of the Gospel. Joseph Smith said that no prophet or person can teach anything contrary to what Christ & the scriptures say, or we will know for sure that they are teachings falsehoods.

Since Brigham Young taught and acted completely contrary to Christ's teachings & the holy scriptures, we know for sure he was a false prophet, unless you believe Joseph Smith was a liar and led the Church completely astray.

I believe you would benefit from studying the true words of Joseph Smith more, the word's he published before he died that we know for sure he said. He condemned polygamy and secret private marriages and many other things that Brigham Young did.

From studying the words of Joseph Smith, I believe that Joseph knew Brigham Young was wicked, certainly Emma & Joseph's apostle brothers did, and thus Joseph was about to excommunicate BY & other apostles for adultery (polygamy), but Joseph died before he could do so.

I know what you are thinking & how you feel, for I once believed in these false prophets too and their false temple ceremonies & endowments & whoredoms. I now shudder how I could ever go along with such evil and wonder why I didn't see it sooner. I keep trying to wake up more & more to anything else I was deceived to believe.

wacky chipmunk said...


Jean said...

An update on the temple wedding petition

Anonymous said...

Excellent from start to finish!!!

Anonymous said...

The Bible also commands us not to gossip or speak ill of one another. Isn't promoting members to gossip about one another who are not married in the temple the exact opposite of christlike behavior? It is up to God to judge our actions, not our fellow men. We are all sinners in God's eyes. Did you read the story in the Bible that Jesus befriended prostitutes? I am guessing that did not help his appearance of evil. Just a thought!

Anonymous said...

It is a shame that most people have lost sight of the fact that the church,only Jesus Christ, is perfect.

Jesus Christ commanded us to Love one Another. Period.

He did not command us to come up with a gazillion man made rules that make it nigh onto impossible for anyone to totally embrace and live by. Any rule devised by men or groups of men dirties the beauty of Jesus'works, and muddies the water. All rules are exclusionary.

Mormons are like all other organized churches. They have too many ridiculous rules and not enough compassion. Just Love One Another. Period.

Do not make multitudes of rules, and do not judge one another because someone else doesn't stick to all the rules does not mean he or she is a waste of skin.

Weston said...

Alan, while I'm more or less with you regarding the need to consider how church policy has changed over time and the totemization of temple marriage, I'm less on board when the point is to defend "the wedding of your girlhood dreams" or familiar practices like walking down the aisle.

Because I think one of the things we do well in LDS culture is our generally pared-down expectations compared to big-production weddings and our focus on a bigger picture than the wedding day. Our ceremonies are certainly much less personalizable, but they're much less about the wedding than the marriage itself, which is both intensely personal and personalizable. And while I could wish that we had fewer Mormon couples having their reception lines under a backboard (whether by having fewer receptions in a "cultural" hall, or by having basketball less institutionalized), I think it's *awesome* that we generally avoid the expectation that people should spend five (or even four) figures to get married.

Judging people who don't get married in the temple should stop, flat out. But while we may have inappropriately totemized temple marriage, a lot of the way we do things combats the idolization of big production weddings and the concept of "MY wedding DAY".

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I'm absolutely with you, Weston. I do not favor big production weddings. A wedding should not be a time to show off how off or go into debt, which is sadly the case with too many gentile weddings I've attended; big extravagant outdoor affairs with lots of money involved.

I prefer a wedding in the chapel, and if "big" is defined, it's only in the number of friends and family on hand to join in the celebration of a union.

I do feel there is much to recommend certain ceremonies, and though quaint, the idea of the bride walking down the aisle with her father is one tradition I think many people still embrace. I wedding should be a solemn occasion as well as a happy one, and it's a sad thing that we so reject these types of traditions that in an LDS church wedding, the playing of The Wedding March has been banned.

When I wrote of the wedding of a girlhood dream, I was not thinking on a grand scale, but more about the way little girls often play dress up, holding a bouquet and walking down the aisle. There is no need for extravagance, but I see no harm in standing on ceremony and a certain amount of tradition.

Church weddings are one of the reasons people of faith gather together in celebration. It's too bad we have all but eliminated that most important community event.

Anon 23 said...


I went to 2 outdoor weddings recently and was so moved by how emotion filled they were, with the beautiful music playing and the bride walking down the isle on her father's arm to the waiting (tear filled) groom. It was so wonderful. I enjoyed it much more than all the temple weddings I've attended.

How sad that so many family members and friends have had to miss out on the most beautiful, important and inspiring day of couple's life!

All because Brigham Young came up with the idea to exclude family & friends (unless they were obedient to him) and have secret weddings (cause they were usually illegal ones).

How sad that so many have fallen for his gross falsehoods and pretenses of authority.

I hope many more members will awake to the wonderful truths about marriage and weddings that Joseph tried to teach us.

isaacblackwrites said...

Great post. Something I started thinking about during the Prop 8 thing was that, to my knowledge, a hetero couple that is civilly married can still be members in good standing--they can take the sacrament, serve in callings, etc. But why would that be, if the only "valid" wedding is a temple wedding and the Lord doesn't recognize the authority of men? In God's eyes, wouldn't they be unmarried and therefore living in fornication? I'm not saying that civilly married couples shouldn't be in good standing, I'm just pointing what to me looks like a contradiction. I know these are rare cases and will probably be swept under the rug, but what happens when gay Mormon couples become legally married? Obviously they won't be considered in good standing, but I'm just wondering what will happen to the rhetoric.

LDSDPer said...

ha, ha--

it's over a year later, and I have something to report.

Rock, you're kind to let your blog be a 'show and tell' sort of experience--

Yesterday our family was invited to the wedding of a couple who are near neighbors of ours.

These people are 'gentle' souls, truly. We invited them to a number of activities at our church, and they VERY graciously attended (music events)--

but few of our ward members noticed them. This couple is biracial, and they have the sweetest garden, but that is not relevant to the 'story'--

Our neighborhood is modest, but many of the people here own the homes, and there is a sense of community--

these people are what I would call just above 'working poor'--

Anyway, we've been friends for years now; they have been living together for four years, and they planned this wedding for months--

one of our family members was asked to provide the music, and a very low rate was asked (out of neighborliness)--

these two special people (in their late 40s; one had been married before quite long ago and has two children from that previous marriage)

recently joined a storefront church in our town. The pastor (we met him; he was very gracious and very humble)--

has long hair and wears khaki shorts and sandals; his wife is very much a gentle soul, as is he.

We actually attended the rehearsal, and then the wedding, reception and dinner were yesterday--

it was a joyous feast and celebration for these two very kind-hearted people--

who are amazingly good neighbors--

another neighbor family was there (a young couple with their little children)--

our family sat near them--

and there was a lot of comraderie--

I've lived in places where there were a lot of LDS, and there were these huge receptions held in the cultural hall--

but nothing could match the joy and sense of community that existed at this wedding yesterday--

yes, 4 years of living together--

but they are so proud to finally be getting married; they wanted to do everything 'right'--

and they struggled, because they haven't always been treated well (being black and white)--

I even had a few moments, though we have been so happily married, of regret for our sterile little sealing wedding . . . so many decades ago--

nobody dared to speak above a whisper, and though many loved ones were there, and there was much hugging--

it wasn't the joyous celebration these people had--

and I felt some regret. What to do; what to do!

Anyway, thanks for letting me 'show and tell', and--

I daresay nobody will see this, but I just had to relate the difference--

between our staid, somber little ceremony and this amazing celebration--

Anonymous said...

Thank you! Loved your views! I agree completely. I was baffled at the thoughts of some of these people. So sad that they're hearts are bitter toward something so beautiful and to the church in general. If you choose not to marry in the temple, so be it. I certainly will not judge and 90% of the members I know wouldn't either. Same goes for returned missionaries versus non. And I've NEVER heard anyone in the church give any advice to rush into marriage! I've only heard to choose wisely and carefully as it's for eternity.

favour said...

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Marie Brennan said...

In Indiana and Kentucky we have to have a marriage license or the marriage isn't recognized by the state and you don't actually need a legal divorce, if things don't work out. That can be convenient I guess, but in order to be legally and lawfully wedded we need a marriage license. When my husband and I got married in the state of Connecticut, 42 years ago, in the Catholic church, we needed a civil marriage license. I was 21 and my husband was 22. We had to have a blood test to make sure we didn't have an STD, and our banns had to be published for three weeks ahead of the marriage in case there were any valid objections to our being married. We joined the church a year after our wedding and we waited another year to be sealed in the temple. We are each the only members of the church in our families. We actually joined the church because we wanted a forever marriage. The temple ceremony wasn't rushed or impersonal. It was sacred and meaningful. We went through the temple with the parents of the missionary who baptized us. I am personally thankful for all of our experiences. I feel that God was watching over us and preparing us for our marriage. Even though a non-temple wedding has advantages, and I believe that a temple sealing is important and necessary, the marriage itself and the keeping of promises long term are what really matter.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. I agree with your "rosy marraige" illusion. Temple marraiges have most of the same challenges that a civil marraige has. One may also choose a less desirable partner because of the pressure to marry LDS in a temple. Such marraiges under religious pressure places a lifetime grey cloud over the entire marital outlook. It's one thing to marry your ultimate sweetie. It's another feeling to marry the LDS guy or girl because my ultimate sweetie could not take me to a temple.

However, in defense of modern temple marraige pressures, we must consider that the 1960's brought a breakdon of sexual moralities, open affairs amoung the married and acceptable divorce. With such moral turbulence, the church's decision to enforce
"worthiful" power marraiges may have been the smartest move. Young couples would need this reinforcement to withstand the moral decay prevelant in open society, that did not exist in former years where few marriages fell apart due to fear, social ridicule and women's submissive role...inspite of physical abuse and other horrids they endured behind closed doors.

I have been married twice. I have first hand insight into the commitment standards of a temple sealing and a civil convenience marraige in modern day. The church evolves with the times and you can waste your precious life away expressing your issues, or just go with the flow. Frankly, I have taken upon myself "free" agency (which isn't so free) and did not understand the scope of its sad consequence for even 10 years later when I had the hindsight, perspective and character growth to percieve how this action cost me productivity and opportunity in my life. We all have blinders in the moment; full 20/20 vision of the choices we made and their ultimate impact can be sorrowful. But, this is life. To make choices and learn by the results we created later.

Little Dutch Holly said...

I just stumbled upon this tonight, and really loved and enjoyed it. I'm getting married soon, and my fiance and I have every intention of being sealed when we are both prepared. I have often wondered how some 18 and 19 year olds I see are spiritually prepared to take on the covenants of the temple, when they still spend so much time being immature in every other aspect. I love what you're trying to do, with getting to the real doctrine. It's my opinion that every aspect of the gospel is true, it's just so muddied up by the philosophies of men that we have to dig deep to find it.

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Steve Florman said...


I read this with interest (I just discovered your blog this morning and am now wasting more time at work than I can afford). My sweetheart and I were required to provide a valid marriage certificate at the Denver Temple in 1989; else the marriage would not have been legal.

In fact, we made an error in grip at the altar during our wedding which was not noted by the witnesses, came back to the temple the next day and realized the error during the endowment session, and when we brought the error to the attention of the temple presidency, they re-sealed us to make sure it was valid, while reassuring us that, for purposes of not being ex-ed for fornication, we had been legally married the day before. :)

We live in Minnesota, and I am curious as to how the Church will deal with "legally and lawfully married" now that same-sex marriage is legal in this state. I have an acquaintance, active in the Church in San Francisco, legally married to a non-member of the same gender and someday I'll work up the nerve to ask her how that's handled, but that whole question is tangential...

Putt said...

I was married/sealed in the temple when I married my one would tell me what to expect...what would take place. Now I wish we would have done it differently. None of his family was there and only a few of mine. I was so not ready for what I experienced. My grandfather, who worked hard to be "worthy" to be there (I was the only grandchild whose wedding he attended) was not allowed to hug me...I was devastated. I used to be like Sierra. Now, after many years and a wonderful husband, I realize that just because the "Church" says it, that doesn't make it true. I am so grateful I have had these experiences to allow me to learn and grow and continue searching for truth. We must rely on the Lord, NOT the arm of the flesh.

Anonymous said...

You had the exact words I had in mind. I'm glad there was someone here who had a decent mind.

Anonymous said...

I am a young woman and I am currently preparing for my temple wedding. I am so grateful to find a Church leader here. Rest assured my faith won't be shaken because of what they have posted here. I know the church is true and I know that Temple Marriages are important.

Anonymous said...

The Church and the leader do not promote gossip. President Monson has repeatedly counseled us to "judge not". If members of the Churh do such things as gossip, then it is their fault, because of the natural man that is in them, and it is therefore not to be assumed as the Church's fault.

Anonymous said...

Dear Alan,

In your description of the temple sealings, you are supporting the idea that couples are "sealed" by priesthood authority for time and all eternity and that what is sealed on earth is also sealed in heaven. In the words of the ceremony, the sealer states, "You are now only annointed to become such; if you are true and faithful, the day will come when you are called up, washed, and annointed, and sealed, etc." This is variously referred to as the second annointing, higher blessings, etc. and includes the "washing of the feet". This sealing is unconditional and very secretive. I would think this knowledge supports your invitation to couples to marry civily before going to the temple for a conditional sealing that is NOT for time and All eternity. I also support the church allowing couples to go to the temple and be sealed after a civil ceremony. I think the bottom line is money--if you don't pay it, you can't enter the temple and cash flow is all important to the current leadership of the church.

Anonymous said...

You must be fuul fledge catholic or you would KNOW that you don't baptize an infant for they are not accountable for adam and eves transgressiosn GEEEZ you gave your self away

I. Willet deVale said...

You must be a full-fledge moron, Anonymous, or you would KNOW that Andrew was employing sarcasm in his comment above about child baptism. GEEEZ you gave yourself away.

Andrew T. said...

OK, making this post w/o having read any of the comments and having read the initial post a few months ago.

Requiring a year wait is all about money. It's the way the Church keeps 40 - 60 something men paying their tithing. They don't want to miss their children's weddings. If the kids could get married and then walk over to the temple and get sealed, you'd see a decline in tithe payers. People would figure the civil ceremony is good enough.

Anonymous said...

This post is a blessing. I have literally just been sitting here at my desk crying over my checkbook (it's christmas and I don't have enough money to even finish shopping for my kids) - if I pay my tithing right now (I've never missed - ever and have always paid gross on my paychecks) - I wont have enough to even buy groceries. My dilemma for the last hour has been "do I pay tithing and trust that God will provide for needs" or "do I pay the other bills sitting here" - I have been trusting in God for the last five years that our business has suffered and we are NOWHERE! In fact, we just filed BK and I am sure the Trustee is thinking "what the hell are you spending $590 a month on 'tithing'?" Tithing has let me down. This church has let me down. At great personal sacrifice (almost losing my home and now in BK) - have I paid tithing! At one point, when we had to let go of our bookkeeper (we eventually had to let all of our 28 employees go and our office - we are hanging by a thread now) - I started taking over the books and saw that there was an account in QB listed as "loan to shareholders" - that would be my husband and myself. Apparently, any monies we took out of the business were being booked as "loan to shareholder" - this made me realize that we had not paid taxes on these, nor had we paid tithing!! (this was obviously not going to get paid back by us ever since it was approximately $300,000 (over a 10year period of time) - I literally wrote a check to the church for $30,000 to cover this money so that I could feel like I was being honest in my efforts to tithe and not "rob" God. This $30,000 came at a time when our business was failing and we were letting employees go. Where was this post in 2008? I could sure use that $30,000 right now. This post was a needed blessing in that - I just voided my tithing check for $590 and changed it to $116 - 10% of my surplus. Thank you. a huge burden has been lifted. huge.

Robert D. Blackburn said...

Whereas on the other hand, the common credenda that if a couple doesn't get married in the temple first, they are somehow less worthy or lacking in the faith, is a recent tradition only a few decades old and wholly unsupported by scripture.

William Wilson said...

Now this is something I totally agree with you on Alan. I was married civilly first and am I so glad that I was. Our marriage was a disaster that if we had taken to the temple would have made things a lot worse for the bride and I. Especially since in our culture, living with the person before marriage is grounds for excommunication. I do think we could have been "compatible" she won't say that but I will. I'm not going to go into any details because it is a long story but basically she married me and didn't love me the day she married me.. She says she was confused.. Why marry me in the first place!? Anyways, back on track. I think this is some of the best advice I could give anyone. And I don't like how most of the members shove the idea of "If you don't get married in the temple, there is something wrong with you," down other peoples' throats. It is absolutely disgusting. To think if I had been married in the Temple, I don't know what I would do at the moment. I would be stuck in the most miserable of relationships with someone who doesn't love me and who isn't willing to try at all. It would be hell in honor of a foolish tradition. Hey I know a lot of people who make it quite well after their temple marriages. But I feel sorry for those who get stuck in situations like I was in and can't get out. And if they try to get out they have to go through a very tedious process. And in our culture today. Since I had to leave early from my mission and now I am divorced. I don't see any young Mormon girl even taking a look at me. They find those two things out and I'm theoretically tossed into the garbage can. It really sucks because I would love to find a girl with my beliefs, that would love me and care for me unconditionally. Which unfortunately was not something I was able to experience in my 1st and only marriage. I'm scared I'll never be able to find a good Mormon girl my age. Another mistake I made though was getting married at 20. Oh how I wish I had waited.

William Wilson said...

And another comment. To those above who think temple marriage only. Where does it say this in the scriptures because I definitely did a lot of scripture study before I chose to do my civil wedding first. The scriptures say a lot about being legally and lawfully wedded but nothing about going to a temple and performing the sacred sealing ceremony. Again I am glad I never did. The woman I married didn't want to be with me no matter how hard I tried to show her I loved her. I tried with all my might. Tried the counseling, tried to talk with her. Share my feelings ect. The whole nine yards. Getting married to her civilly did not mean that I did not love her. I loved her and STILL LOVE her to this day. Every time I see her or speak with her, I hold back tears wishing that our marriage would have worked and that she would have tried a little harder. But to this day she believes that she didn't really love me which I do not think is true. She forgets the times we had together, the passionate meaningful and close conversations. So to someone like me do you say that I DID NOT LOVE my ex-wife because we chose to not get married in the temple? I know I shouldn't get offended but it makes me deeply offended. These comments just verify what I said in my last one. The woman of our culture are being brainwashed to thinking of the "Perfect" husband and most won't look to anything else even if that man could love her more than any other man could love her. If they don't have that mission and they are divorced well then "See ya later!" I feel quite repulsive towards this attitude and it makes me sick to my stomach. A guy that made a mistake early on in his years is condemned for just that, a mistake. All humans make mistakes.

Thomas said...

Is change coming to Mormon temple wedding policy?

See this article/blog on the Salt Lake Tribune's website dated 11-Feb-2014:

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