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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Anonymous said...

Excellent! It was great to hear more about the history of "temple marriages". While I believe in Plural Marriage I also believe that the Rules of Marriage are scriptures. They should not have been removed from the Doctrine and Covenants.

I think public marriage did happen in the Kirtland temple. So if we still used temples how they were intended, it would be possible to have a temple marriage that everyone could attend, and then also have a sealing later.

Yes, temple marriages are very unromantic and utilitarian(that might be the right word). I wonder if the temple/magical palace idea becomes more ingrained with temples like the one in San Diego.

The only thing I wished you would have touched on is that marriages don't require a marriage license to be valid. But other than that it was great.

That is interesting about the special privileges for members in nations that require a civil marriage. Yet, when Official Declaration 1 councils members to marry according to the laws of the land; no special privileges are made for members in countries where polygamy is legal.

This whole thing would be much simpler if the leaders would actually print revelations for us to review. But heaven forbid any of us lowly members would need to read anything so boring as "administrative revelation".

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I did want to touch on the topic of marriage licenses, Zomarah, but the thing was already getting too long, as usual. I have enough unsaid on the subject of marriage to fill another post or two, so I'll probably write more in the future.

If I remember correctly, Connie and I were required to present a marriage license at the temple before we could be sealed. Odd, that the Lord's church would need to see that we'd been okay'd by the state before we could be "married" under God's law.

Katrina said...

Wonderful! Oh how I wish I could have heard this perspective before our own civil wedding. Instead of mourning for the temple marriage that wasn't, I would have embraced the situation more and appreciated it. We couldn't be married in the temple because of my husband's prior marriage/sealing.

jen said...

While I personally no longer believe in marriage, I found this very interesting. I was told and I believed that the ONLY marriage that counted was a temple marriage.

The guilt and shame of NOT getting married in the temple probably would have killed me. I would love to see the stigma gone.

I don't really ever see that happening though.

Anonymous said...

Insana D will be subject to immediate deresolution!

End of Line

aka said...

My son was married two months ago, she is the only member in her family so none of them witness the wedding. They were very good about it. To me I saw no sense in the situation they were placed in. I was a little embarrassed that day because of it.

I also see no sense in denigrating, tearing down and tearing at something a person no longer believes in.

Only Love is real, Everything else an illusion, -Carole King-

simplysarah said...

Very interesting post, nicely done (and entertaining commentary as well! LOL!).

MarkinPNW said...

Wow, what an interesting post. My wife's first marriage to a "worthy Returned Missionary" was a traumatic event she compared to cattle being driven through a cattle chute at a stockyard, made even more traumatic when she discovered the reason the spirit kept telling her NOT to marry the guy in spite of the intense pressure by all family and church leaders to marry this "worthy Returned Missionary" (a reason that culminated in his spending several years in prison).

Then, when our daughter got married to a convert, the only member in his family, it was quite an effort to explain and include all of his family including having them wait at the waiting room of the temple and having our former bishop explain to them about our marriage beliefs while the ceremony was taking place in the sealing room. They all seemed to take it in stride, however.

In our neighborhood with a lot of active members (for living out in the "mission field" rather than in the zion curtain) there are two very sweet, wonderful non-member widows who will have nothing to do with the missionaries or the church primarily due to one of them being offended by being excluded from her only daughter's wedding in the temple.

Michael said...


Another great post! Your insights and viewpoints are something I look forward to in each new post.

Speaking of marriage licenses, does anyone know for sure where these originated? My understand was that licenses were first issued as a way to prevent mixed-race marrages between whites and blacks.

Regardless, the whole idea of having to "license" a marraige is ridiculous and should be done away with...two adults can decide to marry without the intervention of the state. Certainly, there is no need for state approval for the Lord to recognize a valid marriage. (Rock, you are correct - you do have to show a valid marriage license at the temple prior to being "sealed"....hmmmmm).

Keep up the great work!

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Thanks for that confirmation, Michael, I was wondering if I had just imagined having to produce a license at the temple.

You are correct regarding the origins of the marriage license. It sprang from slaves requiring permission from their masters before they could "jump the broom." Post slavery, since miscegenation was illegal most everywhere, permission was required for mixed race persons to marry.

If my memory serves, Tennessee was the first state to offer marriage licenses to everyone; someone in state government thought it would be a nice way for the state to pick up a couple of extra bucks here and there as licensing fees. Other states followed Tennessee's example once they saw the money rolling in.

Prior to marriage licenses, a Marriage Certificate was the norm. It didn't require asking permission from the state to do something God already approved of. It simply certified that your marriage had taken place.

Prior to that, people recorded their marriages in the family bible.

And prior to that, if a man wanted to be married to a woman, he "went in unto her" as the bible tells us Jacob did. That seems like the simplest program.

Frank said...

My brother and his wife married in an open ceremony, conducted by their Bishop, at which all of the family was in attendance. This was very fortunate, as only our mother would have been able to attend a temple wedding. They were then sealed in the temple less than a week later. They were able to pull this off because his wife had the anniversary of her baptism during that week. I really thought this was the best possible outcome for them, and I wish more young Mormons could do the same.

doubtingmo said...

Wow! Interesting blog, thank you. I wasn't aware of the history of marriage within the LDS church, so that was great to read about..not so great to hear about that section of the D&C having been removed, though not surprising in the least! I'm from the UK where we have to have the civil wedding first, and I'm happy that it's that way over here, though I recently read from an active LDS woman, that she didn't like the fact that she HAD to marry civilly here first, because it stood in the way of the REAL ceremony at the Temple...poor, misguided whatever..

bdbeal said...

Amen. Great post.

Dave P. said...

I actually first read this last night but couldn't get my thoughts in order on what to comment about until this morning. While I was together with my ex, I was the one who was adamant about nothing less than a temple marriage, though my rationalized justification was to try to convince her that if she couldn't commit to be temple-worthy then how could I trust her to remain committed to the marriage? Of course I've since learned about the phony claim of temple "worthiness" but still feel like I dodged a bullet by not getting married. I broke up with my ex for the basic reason that she expected me to save her. I was that "knight in shining armor" who would get her away from her dysfunctional family and allow her to live a lavish lifestyle while I did all the work. A good term I recently learned that would have applied perfectly is that our marriage would have been "unequally yoked."

Moving away from my specific example to a more general case, "temple marriage" is also yet another example that the corporate church uses as a measure of division and control (with a steady stream of incoming tithing funds already mentioned).

Examples of terms and some sub-sets of those terms that end up dividing people:
* Member vs. non-member
** Baptized child vs. unbaptized
** Worthy Sacrament partaker vs. unworthy
* Temple worthy vs. unworthy
** Full tithe payer vs. non/partial
** Word of Wisdom keeper vs. non
* Temple marriage vs. civil marriage
** Married vs. unmarried (Could do a post of my own on this)
* Priesthood holder vs. unordained
** Even "higher" offices vs. "lower"

I likely missed a few, but the point I wish to make is that, in God's eyes, the only distinction that He ever even mentions are those who are Disciples of Christ vs. those who aren't. And even then He'll say, "That doesn't matter, love them with all your heart and judge not."

Examples of lies/control:
* Only marry a returned missionary.
** Or, in general, don't marry a non-member.
** Once you're married in the temple, all of your problems will be over.
* Obey all leaders without question/trust in the arm of flesh.
** "The prophet will never lead you astray."
** "When the bretheren speak, the thinking has been done."
* If something bad happens to you and someone else is responsible (especially a leader), it's still your fault because you must have sinned.
** Sex scandals caused by higher-ups, including bishops and stake presidents (including then-Bishop Thomas S. Monson, allegedly).
* Strict conformity to obtain a temple recommend and threats of losing it if one "steps out of line."
** Never reveal the signs/tokens in the temple or (pre-1990 endowment) "suffer your life to be taken."
* "All is well in Zion."
* Surrender your agency to leaders/spouse/children/etc.
** Husbands, do everything to please your wives (I had two cousins who tried to do that and the wives divorced them anyway).

Again, just a small set but the overall point is to take a step back, look at this and the previous list and compare it with the two plans presented that ignited the War in Heaven: God's plan of free agency, Atonement/repentance, /experience/working out our own salvation vs. Lucifer's plan of lies, deceits/secrets, and control with the attempt to usurp power and set people up on pedestals as infallible gods.

Whose plan is the church following today?

Anonymous said...

It makes me crazy that this is really only an issue in America. In Europe, it's required by law to be married publicly, so there you have to be married civilly first - and the Church is JUST FINE with it. I don't understand why the Church can't extend that same privilege to couples in the United States who wish to marry civilly first and then go to the temple instead of making them wait a whole year.

In retrospect, I kind of wish I hadn't married in the temple. I'm the only member in my family, and his family is mostly inactive. At the time, though, his parents were still on the rolls, and they stayed active long enough to see us married in the temple. They haven't darkened a doorway since that day. It makes me mad because I feel like they abused their membership for the privilege of seeing us married, when in truth they didn't believe in the gospel any more than my non-member parents did. With a civil marriage, this wouldn't have been (and wouldn't still be) an issue for me.

Steven Lester said...

Well, shoot! Even though I am gay, here I had a easily manipulated young lady all atwittered about marrying me and waiting until the 1st resurrection (when my newly restored body will be all perfected and not only willI be able to fly and walk through walls like Jesus, but I won't be gay anymore either) when we can do the procreatin' that Rock extolls so highly above but which I, right now, can only describe with a loud euwwwwww. We could live completely separate lives, even live in different cities or countries, but we'd be sealed together for eternity, just set for the festivities during the future soon to come. But, now I don't know. She wanted a Temple Marriage but I didn't and don't, mainly because I haven't paid tithing in two decades and am too poor to start. Things are going badly, even though I play the lottery every week, and just last month won 3 dollars on a $20 ticket! Soon. Soon. Fortunately, she has no other prospects, being "big boned" and unacquainted with books, shall we say. What to do? What to DO?

Anonymous said...

Great blog ! As a UK non-mo with plenty of TBMs in my extended family, I find it hard to visualise the two-tier marriage system. Been to several weddings in the chapel, and as words in the ceremony fulfil English law, the couple are married there and then. As an observation, no matter what feelings the bride and groom have on their big day, there seems to be no real joy expressed in the wedding service, no real sense of exuberance or excitement - everything seems to be, well, rather sedate. Never seen any pics or video taken inside a chapel, nothing that a couple could look back on and show to their children...all a bit functional really.

Anonymous said...

Not trying to start any argument, so I say this all respectfully, but we have been told that while we should still follow the counsel of past prophets, the counsel of the current prophet is the first we should follow if there SEEMS to be conflicting doctrines. There had to be a reason for what he said in this article. Did they have a temple at the time he said that? Did they have the sealing power? My guess is no. Joseph Smith today would say the same thing that President Monson says about this topic.That's what a prophet does. He gives the current counsel from the Lord directly. If President Monson were wrong on this topic then the Church would not be true and temple marriage would not be necessary. Thankfully, he is a prophet, and he says to get married in the temple.

Oh...I read the rest of the article....Joseph Smith said that stuff before they had temple marriage. You can't have a temple marriage without a temple right? Kirtland temple was not set up for the same reason as every other temple that followed. From what I understand, it didn't have the endowment ceremony. I don't think you needed a recommend or anything there. It was used as a general meeting place. ALSO, we do know that Joseph Smith would have done temple marriages because the Lord gave the design/layout of the Nauvoo temple to him.

Last thing...temple marriages are not designed to be secret. Nothing in the temple is designed to be secret. You can read ALL the Church manuals and you will not find the word secret in relation to the temple. Everything in the temple is sacred. It's a big difference from secret. You don't want something sacred to be taken lightly.

Dave said...

I found this most insightful and spot on. Some of the comments were a bit over the top tho. I was married in the Temple in 1976 after returning from my mission in 1974. My mother-in-law couldn't attend because she was not active. If I had it to do over again I would get married to the same girl (even tho we are now divorced) but we would have a series of frank discussions and expectation settings a civil ceremony and then gotten sealed in the temple.

There are a lot of unrealistic expectations that young people go into as Mormon newlyweds and it is unfortunate that the culture does very little but perpetuate those unrealistic expectations.

Dave P. said...

Anonymous @ 9:09,

I'll just leave this here and encourage you to read it:

Dave P. said...

" one time the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had actually been run by a living prophet."

I must have missed that statement the first time I read the post since it just now really jumped out at me and I wish to help elaborate it a bit.

First off, Joseph Smith was the only prophet in this dispensation whom the Lord called and whom the Lord repeatedly chastised in the D&C. Joseph was warned multiple times not to fear man more than God and not to follow after his own carnal lusts and desires. From 1830-1837 Joseph did a pretty good job in obeying the Lord, but from 1838-1844, prior to his repentance, Joseph began to be more influenced by satan because he was following after those carnal desires. This follows a parallel of Joseph of Egypt in that Joseph Smith would be "like unto him" by having 7 years of plenty followed by 7 years of famine. Joseph's 7 years of (spiritual) famine began after the unauthorized printing of the second edition of the Book of Mormon that made fundamental changes to the text therein. He did have moments of repentance during this time (Liberty Jail), but also several counterfeit revelations from satan that ran contrary to previous revelations already accepted by the church as scripture. If you compare Joseph's teachings in Nauvoo to those in Kirtland, you'll find numerous contradictions rather than "additions" to what was already known.

Fast-forward to 1844, Joseph began to repent, but once again feared man more than God by not fleeing to the Rockies and was summarily killed soon afterwards. This lead to a crisis of succession in the church and Parley P. Pratt feared that everyone would split away. Parley received a revelation stating that Joseph Smith still held the keys of the dispensation and that Parley was to help keep things in order until all of the Twelve returned from their missions. This leads to the classic account of Sydney Rigdon proposing that he lead the church vs. Brigham Young calling for the Twelve to lead as a group. The church, via common consent, chose Brigham Young's idea (the story of Brigham "taking on the appearance and voice of Joseph Smith" is an embellishment that Rock already covered).

Fast-forward another few years to after the saints have settled in Utah and Brigham Young suddenly reverses his position on the Twelve leading the church as a group and he becomes the second president of the church under his own authority. But wait, where did he get it? Joseph still held the keys and the Lord had given no revelation authorizing Young to do that! After Brigham's death, John Taylor simply succeeded him because he was the senior apostle and thus the chain continued that way until Thomas S. Monson. Thus the church may have chosen to consent to follow a First Presidency, but that doesn't mean the Lord necessarily called those members as prophets because the Lord will call whomever He chooses and, even then, many are called but few are chosen. In short, the only reason I can find to call the president of the church a "living prophet" today is because he's the one who happened to outlive the rest of the group of old men.

It doesn't matter what a person's position is, because it's possible for any and all of us to fall and need to repent, including (and MOST ESPECIALLY) church leaders because they're tasked with the literal burden of leadership.

Donnell Allan said...

My husband and I, both converts, waited out our year probation and were married/sealed in the Salt Lake temple in 1976. Our parents and family and friends were left out of everything that day. They were all nice about it, but now that I have left the church my extended family is sharing with me how upsetting it is to not be included in a family wedding. If the church wants to do some really good PR, this is an area in which they could make great strides. I think that there are a lot of bitter feelings that polite people are keeping from their LDS acquaintances about the exclusionary nature of the church.

When my youngest daughter was reaching marriageable age, she was very conflicted because she wanted to follow the counsel of church leaders, but she also wanted to include her large extended family in her special day. I counselled her to have the wedding she wanted and then be sealed later, but the thought of the stigma from church members was horrible for her. She knew that the gossip would spread wide that she must have become unchaste.

I hope your article is effective, Rock. This is something that really needs to be addressed and changed.

P.S. Steven Lester, you are a funny guy. I hope you will keep writing. I loved your last comment in particular. :o)

Heather said...

I've always cringed at the LDS culture's propensity for young people rushing into marriages with people they barely know. So, I think it's a great idea that they hold off making eternal commitments until they are SURE their marriage is the real deal and not some hedonistic decision based upon hormones and immaturity.

Great post. I always enjoy your blog immensely.

Though, are you SURE we don't marry our young just because they are 8?

Dave P. said...

I can't believe I forgot one of the biggest terms/labels that's used to cast judgment on and divide people within the church:


This of course includes the sub-sets of those missionaries who came home early for whatever reason vs. those who "returned with honor."

And Heather,

That attitude of "Get married now!" is magnified many times worse at BYU. Then again the same can really be said for any TBM attitude and BYU. I'll remain fully on topic now.

Stake Pres. said...

Brother Waterman are you misleading the youth again with your posts? First you tell them to drink beer and now you want them to have civil weddings. Where does it end?

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Thanks to all of you who are sharing your stories and experiences. Keep 'em coming!

I neglected to mention after your first comment above that I agree with you about the possibility that open, regular weddings most likely took place in the Kirtland temple. I am not well read on Kirtland, so I couldn't cite anything. I defer here to your superior knowledge on the subject. If I recall correctly, there were also public, non-secret (pardon me, I meant "non-sacred") weddings, and even DANCES(!) held in the Nauvoo temple.

I second Dave P's recommendation of that piece on Zomarah's site. It's absolutely the clearest most fascinating, well researched analysis I've ever seen on the subject of Thomas S. Monson as Prophet, Seer, Revelator, and translator. It is not to be missed. I hope everyone here goes right over there and checks it out. That link again:

Dave P:
Your ex-fiance got one thing right. I feel I know you quite well, and I can verify that you really ARE a knight in shining armour.

Stephen Lester:
Your contributions here are always a delight. Let us know if you ever marry that big-boned breeder.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Stake Pres:
Welcome back! I was concerned that we had frightened you off.

Anonymous said...

I'm in Month Two of our year-long probation. At first I (the convert) wouldn't submit to a temple wedding on the grounds that most of our family wouldn't be there (she's a half-Mormon, and even then three-quarters of that are inactive). Then I got from here the scriptural precedent for my position. It nonetheless was a long and bitter few months, with several fights of our own and her childhood bishop absolutely refusing to do the ceremony. Looking back, though, we wouldn't have it any other way.

Still, though, I don't like the idea of being punished for not submitting to the extent of Salt Lake's control even if my wife doesn't mind the year as much as she thought she would (we're working it out like a second honeymoon). The day is coming when we'll be bleeding members for things like this, and Salt Lake will have no one to blame but themselves.

--Anthony Bennett

Sierra said...

You makes some valid arguements and it is very well written, but I can't say that I agree with you on everything. If someone has never been to a temple sealing before, this post would scare them away. And frankly, it's not true. It's sad that you see a temple sealing as something so impersonal and unspiritual. It makes me feel bad for you that you view your wedding in that way. It was one of the best days of my life. And yes, I wore my temple veil and apron on top of my dress, but I didn't feel any less beautiful. Anyone with a knowledge of the temple doesn't have the fallacies of a *typical* wedding. I knew my dad would not walk me down the aisle. I knew it would be different than all the weddings on tv. It's not a secret. It's not better or worse... just different. So I guess if all a girl dreams about is a perfect movie wedding, then that's what they should do. Also, they do not rush you. They only allow so many weddings per hour so that each sealing has plenty of time and is not hurried. The sealer, though he doesn't know you, knows you. He spoke some very specific things, and gave us advice for over 30 minutes before the actual sealing took place. I found our sealing much more intimate and special because it was just my closest friends and family, and not a bunch of people I don't really know that well or who really don't care about me. If I could do it over again, I would chose a temple marriage every time.

My paternal family is all Catholic. So none of them could attend any of our wedding ceremonies. Even my mom and dad got sealed in the temple, and my grandmother couldn't go. But my parents told us "We would have rather set the example and show her how important it was too us, instead of conceding our beliefs to appease others. She respected our religious beliefs that much more because at a crucial decision, we stuck to our guns." I will never forget that. My mom said the hardest thing she ever did was to pull out of the driveway to go get sealed to my dad and have his mom staring out the window crying, but nodding as if to say "You're doing the right thing." (And she was a die-hard catholic).

I do agree that the church should look at the "wait for a year" rule, and have it be based on righteousness and not "a year no matter what." Because I do know plenty of people who have chosen a civil wedding so their imediate family could attend, and then had to wait a year even though they were worthy. But... those are the rules. And if a temple marriage is the most important thing to you, you will make it the priority of you wedding. That really is for each person to decide for themselves.

While the vast generalization is probably true, not all people married in the temple think they are more worthy than those who don't. Speaking from experience, I know plenty of people who had civil weddings who are more than me. It has little to do with how righteous you are and more to do with what is going on in your life at the time. But you makes a valid point... people use that as a way to physically chalk up their righteousness, the way some people use having children to prove they are righteous.

It all comes down to the fact that, people should spend more time planning a marriage and less time planning a wedding... then maybe we wouldn't have so many divorces (temple or not)

Sierra said...

It doesn't mean we love our families any less. It means I love God more than I love pleasing my family. And instead of doing what was best for everyone else, I did what was best for me. Isn't that who MY wedding is about anyway, after all? What is more respectable than someone standing up for what they believe in, despite the world trying to convince them that they are wrong? In a world with so little faith and hope, we should stop trying to tear one another down.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

By all means, if a temple wedding serves you, far be it from me to object. The point is YOU and your mate are the ones to decide how you will be wed. As I hope I made clear, it is a myth that being married in the temple initially is a requirement of God's. So let's allow everyone to marry whom and how they may.

Sierra said...

I appreciate that, but by using scare tactics like this post, you are using the letter of the law against the spirit of the law. LDS members know a marriage and sealing are not the same thing. But many of us choose to get sealed and married at the same time so that instantly we are sealed as husband and wife forever. I have had multiple friends do a civil wedding ( worthy of a temple sealing) and had their husbands die before they could get sealed. So to encourage people to just get married civilly so their family can attend and wait to get sealed is asking them to potentially give up eternity with their spouse. You don't have to agree with our beliefs about that, but based on what we believe that is what this post is saying. I realize there are ways around that (post humanous sealings, etc) but the gist of your post is telling people to not get sealed first, and that's not what our church teaches

Calimom said...

Anonymous from 9:09am

You did make your comments respectfully :) I appreciate them and that you are defending what you believe! The fact that you are reading Rock's wonderful blog most likely means that you are seaking for more of something (knowledge, light, information, understanding, etc.) I just recommend that where ever your seaking leads you, you keep an open mind and then God will continue to teach you - even things you didn't know you didn't know!

Regarding your comments about the differences between the Nauvoo and Kirtland temples, maybe you will find this interesting. (I did! And it took me a long time to find it and I'm still trying to get a better understanding of it!)
The original Nauvoo Temple had the same floor-plan as the Kirtland. The attic floor of the Nauvoo was originally meant for offices and classrooms, but was retrofitted after Joseph's death for the endowment ceremony similar to what we have now. So, maybe Joseph Smith wouldn't have done sealings there? Or maybe he would have. I'm still undecided about what Joseph taught about people being sealed together. This is something that I'm still seaking after and the journey is fascinating!!!

I even wonder if polygamy was never involved, would we even have celestial marraige at all in the church today? There is such a disconnect between what we know Joseph said/taught about such things and what other people said he said/taught - people I don't view as trustworthy any longer. I'm still trying to find the idea of temple marriage that isn't soley connected to polygamy. In the early church, after Joseph's death, EVERYTHING in the church revolved around polygamy - even all terms regarding marriage, family, and the temples. With the polygamy aspect taken away - as it stands now - is there anything left from what Brigham his successors taught? What does it all mean??? (I'm guessing this is an argument used by pro-polygamists :) But since I soooo do NOT believe polygamy is a true principle, I have to go back further and deeper to find what I'm looking for!

By the way - does anyone have any idea when the "families are forever" mantra took hold in the church - became such a part of the correlated gospel? Or especially how it survived the nixing of polygamy? I've read many journals from the early Utah days, and their main concern was having mutliple wives so they could gain exaltation. The way we look at families now without polygamy is so different.

Anyway, the Kirtland Temple did offer a different endowment. Some who post here may think it was a lesser endowment but I think the fruits of each temple (what occured at Kirtland vs. what happened to Nauvoo) say it all! The events of Kirtland's dedication were amazing - a true endowment from God. Unfortunately, I think things spiraled downward from there.
Just a few of my random thoughts after reading this post and its comments. THe topic is especially timely for me as I have a daughter in Young Women's and it seems that every other lesson is about the do-or-die necessity of Temple marraige. (If she wasn't boy crazy before, she certainly is now with ALL the talk about boys relating to their future romance/wedding/husband/..and they lived happily forever after story:)

Heather said...


If there is no doctrinal reason for the required waiting period, then why cling to it? Simply because it's what we've been told to do? Shouldn't there be good reason for what we're told to do? And if the fruits of some arbitrarily imposed rule are heartache and familial strife, then shouldn't that rule be re-evaluated? Why should one have to harm their family to please God? Is that REALLY what our Savior would have us do? Honestly, it's not as if the choice is between good and evil. It's not as if the slighted families are asking their loved ones to slay a child or burn down a building to solemnize their marriage.

Why can't the two be done the same day? That is how it's done in Europe.

The point is that it's an arbitrary rule that only hurts people. I am personally baffled by the rule because its natural fruits are hard feelings toward the church. Why not accommodate families so that they have good feelings toward the church? Would that not be an immensely positive missionary tool? Perhaps if it were done this way, the sealing would be viewed as a positive thing in the eyes of the nonmembers, rather than a negative thing bent on tearing families apart.

It's nice that it worked out for your father's family. But not all families are the same and we shouldn't expect people to be happy with being excluded from very important days in their lives.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

"Scare tactics"?!

Yikes, Sierra, you're scaring me.

You're also misreading me.

"What our church teaches" should not be the standard that guides us in anything. Only the word of God is relevant, especially to a people who profess divine revelation.

Have you forgotten Lehi's dream? Those who relied on the arm of flesh (teachings of men) fell off the path, while those who held to the iron rod were safe. The iron rod is the word of God, not the arbitrary opinions of men, no matter what their office and title.

No church leaders are allowed to just make up the rules, especially if they contradict those rules that have come before. Unless a prophet is clearly speaking by revelation, his words are not binding upon the church.

In my youth, the church leadership felt that it would be a worthwhile goal if every young man and young woman in the church strove to become "temple worthy". I agree, being temple worthy is a worthwhile goal. It keeps one focused on righteous living, and those MIA programs prevented many thousands from falling into a life of sin and sorrow.

It does not follow, however, that being temple worthy means you have to have a temple marriage right off.

For many righteous, worthy latter-day Saints, an initial marriage in the temple was clearly not the right choice. It did not serve them, though at the time, they believed they were obeying some unwritten commandment from the Lord.

This does not mean YOU should not be married in the temple if that is what the spirit tells you is right for YOU. But what is right for you is not necessarily right for another.

That's why we have been given the gift of the Holy Ghost. We're expected to use it to guide us. But we are not to use the promptings given to us as a reason to compel other people.

Calimom said...

I just read the comments posted while I was writing mine. Oh my goodness, I used to be Sierra! What a difference a couple of years makes. I respect Sierra and her position - just as I respect everyone wherever they are on the path we all travel! I even still see great value for the limited (in my view) current teachings about the temple and eternal marriage. It serves a purpose for us to experience these things as part of our growth toward God. I know if I hadn't in my past felt the way Sierra does now, I wouldn't be able to appreciate, learn, and search for ever-more truth.

andrew said...

ahh sierra i could have guessed you were from utah. perhaps rock's meaning was lost on you; his point being the church HADN'T been teaching this up until recent decades, and there's no scripture to back it up (CHI doesn't count as scripture, IMO). and what of the examples of those commenting here; europe and asia don't seem to have a problem with civil marriage before the sealing, why just the united states...err, utah?

and explain how a civil marriage is asking people to give up eternity with a spouse? perhaps we should be baptizing infants too, just in case they die before the age of accountability

Jacque said...

I was married in a civil service and sealed a little over a year later. My marriage was an amazing garden wedding, an incredibly romatic, loving experience.

My husband eventually became disaffected from the church. I am so thankful that my wedding day had nothing to do with mormonism. While dealing with pain of his disaffection was difficult, it was comforting for me to know that his distaste for the temple had nothing to do with our marriage.

I cannot say this strongly enough: Have a civil wedding first, go to the temple later!

Jean said...

Why would Mormons worry about one of a couple or even a complete couple dying before they get to the temple? Isn't that what temple work for the dead is all about?

And in places where a civil marriage first is required by law, the couple still has to travel to the temple. This makes for a really long day and not the most alert drivers; an accident could actually happen BECAUSE they are rushing off to the temple.

Let the church make its own excuses; you don't have to make them for it. There is NO good reason why marriages cannot be separate from a sealing and I like the idea that Rock presents, that they wait until they are ready.

Anonymous said...

Yes Rock, I believe they did do those things in the Nauvoo Temple. In the Nauvoo Temple there was the baptismal font in the basement. Then the first and second floors were meeting halls. Then in the attic was where endowments took place. But the attic was not designed for endowments. It was designed as offices which could them be easily modified using curtains to form endowment rooms.

But it is true as calimom said. Brigham young redesigned the Nauvoo temple after Joseph died. In my Twelve Olive Trees post i show a comparison between the planned Nauvoo Temple and the completed one.

During Joseph's life the Nauvo Temple was only completed to the height of the moonstones at the base of the columns. The design was pretty much a fancy Kirtland Temple with a watch tower.

The principle of eternal marriage was developed independently of Plural Marriage as there is record of a member talking about being with his wife eternally, or something like that. But the ideas became pretty much mixed around Joseph's death. I think Brigham Young took it a bit far by saying it was a requirement for exaltation. I believe it is only required if God commands a person to practice it. Otherwise it is as Joseph publicly preached. But anyway.

The way modern temples operate is like taking the attic of Nauvoo and making that the focus of the temple. really endowments, even in Kirtland, were a very minor part of the temple's overall function.

And when looking at how stakes of Zion should be built. Temples(24 in the case of New Jerusalem) really are the focus and part of everyday life. But not because of work for the dead, but for worship services, meetings, offices, social gatherings, weddings, storage, etc. The temples are the heart of the City/Stake

I read a website that said in early Christianity the Saints worshiped at the temple almost daily. Such temple involvement would be possible IF we built temples according to the pattern revealed by God.

Carla Schmidt Holloway said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MarkinPNW said...

Reminds me of a recent Ensign article about a young Russian couple, both returned missionaries, and I believe both were the only members in their respective families, and how they got married civilly according to Russian law and then embarked on a multi-day honeymoon train trip to Stockholm, Sweden for their temple sealing. So the precedent is certainly there in other parts of the world, and even celebrated in the US edition of the church magazines.

MarkinPNW said...

Another intersting fact, I remember being very surprised when reading the biograpy of Spencer W. Kimball to find out that he married his sweetheart Camilla in a civil ceremony in his hometown in Arizona, and it wasn't until 8 months later, apparently after saving up enough money for the trip, that they traveled to the St. George temple to get sealed. Imagine that, a future Prophet getting married outside the temple, and getting sealed later (and somehow they did not have to wait a full year in those days).

Anonymous said...

I "married" four times: FIRST - civil marriage in Spain, SECOND - ceremony in church (bishop's blessing is how we call it)in Spain also, THIRD - ceremony in church, in Italy, were bishops have legal authority to marry people, FOURTH - got sealed in the Swiss Temple.
All of them within two weeks. Tons of friends and relatives 60% of them had never step over a chapel or even heard of mormons.
That was fun for sure! And very mormon by the way (no us-mormon but mormon anyhow)

Anonymous said... glad we have guys like this around to let us slave Mormons of the new latter day regime know how sheepish and stupid we are.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 6:05 AM -- Not every criticism of the church is a personal attack on you. If you're so defensive and easily offended don't read the blog.

Stake Pres. said...

Don't worry brother Waterman I have not been scared off. It is important for leaders such as myself to clarify the doctrines of the church. Consider for a moment the young LDS couple who get married by their bishop in a chapel. What do all the members assume has happened? That's right! they assume that the couple were denied a temple marriage due to sins committed (sins that were most likely next only to murder in gravity). Does this set a good example to the other single members? Should they do likewise? No they should not and I will tell you why. Because avoiding the 'appearance' of evil is a very important part of gospel living and a necessary step in strengthening others testimonies as well as ones own.

Dave P. said...

Anonymous @ 6:05,

While it's hard to tell if someone is being sarcastic in writing, the really sad thing is that, taken seriously, yours is a completely true statement. Moroni does a brief commentary on secret combinations in Ether 8 and tells us outright that we are commanded to "awake to our awful situation" in these last days.

A lot of people aren't going to figure out what's going on simply by sitting around and being spoon-fed from a tiny dish when there's a veritable feast to be had at the table. People like Rock, Zomarah, and others are currently working to provide what they can to add more to that table for us to consume. It may not be "cooked perfectly" and may even "taste bitter" at first, but the old saying is that the worse the medicine tastes, the better it is for you.

Say... I need to write this analogy as a full parable for the next time I speak in church. I told myself that I would NOT hold back on laying it all down on the table.

Marsha Judkins said...

I am a first-timer reading your blog, Alan, and I have only read this post. I like a lot of the points you bring up, though your scorn of currant Mormon tradition shows through a little strongly at some points. However, the real reason I am commenting is that I wonder if Calimom and Andrew realize how condescending they sound towards Sierra. Calimom--"...I used to be you..." until what? You reached greater enlightenment now that you are so much further "up" the path? It sounds like you are implying that maybe someday Sierra will be as smart as you. Andrew--"Aaah Sierra, I could have guessed you were from Utah." What a stereotypical, disdainful, useless statement.

It is interesting that people who seem so interested in free agency and free expression use personal attacks (however subtle) when someone has a different opinion or experience than them. It is so much more effective and interesting if you just stick to the issues.

Steven Lester said...

I used to be like Rock, all intelligent and searching for the truth. I'd work for hours creating speeches to be given during Sacrament Meeting, only nobody ever asked me to speak and so I'd file them away under "Messages To The Future Damned", and there they lie, like atomic warheads under the South Dakota prairie just waiting to be unleashed to the destruction of the hated brother "over there".

But lately, I've just decided to let Rock do all the work, and I can lie back and say "good going" every so often, so as to seem to be working hard myself. It is a great system, and yes, it is fun to feel superior to your neighbor. It is better than feeling inferior to them, isn't it? It is either one or the other, isn't it? Our ENTIRE economy is based upon citizen comparison with each other, isn't it? So, you want to knock down America even more than it already is? I think you must be a communist, Marsha...and I'm not.

Insana D said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris Tolworthy said...

This topic is highly relevant to the polygamy debate. Since marriage and sealing were entirely separate, interesting possibilities arise.

According to Dialog 16:1 there were many kinds of sealing, and the question of women was highly sensitive. It would make sense for Joseph to approach a brother or father first if a woman was to be sealed, whereas men and boys would be routinely sealed with little preparation.

Years later, when "sealed" came to mean "married," these women would naturally agree that they were married, and their families would report how it was planned in secret. Memory would then embellish the details. If indeed Joseph Smith opposed polygamy, this would explain many if the journal entries, written years later, that suggest otherwise.

Miguel said...

I wonder when you will get the so called "court of love"....

Another great post, keep them coming!

Jillaire said...

There is one factual problem with this blog post: The one-year rule that everyone so reviles does not actually apply the way you-all think. Newly-baptized members must wait one year to be endowed in the temple. (They can do baptisms for the dead right away.) If couples are married civilly they do not automatically have to wait a full year to be sealed in the temple. I know this because friends of mine were married civilly and then were able to be sealed once the groom had been a member for a full year, which was just a couple of months after their wedding.

I do not know what the specific "rule" is, but I suspect when a couple is married civilly first, that they counsel with their leaders before being sealed. A recommend for a living ordinance that is separate from your regular recommend is required, no matter when you're married/sealed, so EVERYONE who is going to be sealed in the temple goes through this counsel.

Regarding the marriage license: You show that to the temple if your sealing is also your wedding. This is not for the temple to be subservient to the law, but rather for the temple to be able to fill out everything and get signatures of the officiator and witnesses so that your marriage license is then valid for the government. Whenever/wherever you're married, your marriage license has to be validated by whoever performs the ceremony.

I like what Sierra had to say and appreciate Marsha standing up for her. I am married to a convert and have been through a temple sealing where members of his family and mine were excluded. It was hard, but that one day does not define every other day of our marriage or of our relationships with extended family. I agree with the statement that people ought to take more effort planning their marriages than they do their weddings. THAT'S the important thing, whether you're married and sealed at the same time or separately.

Jean said...

@ Andrew. It is not just the US or Utah that has this restrictive POLICY; it is anywhere the church has control. In all of Canada the same rules apply; the one year waiting penalty, the stigma etc. In South Africa it used to be that one had to be married civilly first but since that country's laws have changed, the church has moved right in and implemented the same policy to which we are subject.

If you go to you may see a world map with as much up to date information as we could find when we first put up the petition website. So, without telling any members about their coercive policies the church just goes on to change and make new rules. There are members in other countries who have no idea that we have this divisive policy on the books at all. Why?

Someone said that the CHI is not considered scripture and the reason for that is very clear, it does not present official church DOCTRINE for the ordinary member to read. The church owns and protects the Church Chess rule book while the members who are playing the game must play without a copy of the rules - they only have the scriptures which do not synch with the rules.

It is so refreshing to read the posts of those who are faithful to their own perceptions of what the church used to represent instead of defending the Church at the cost of their own cognitive awareness and authenticity. If I had met more members like you people, I may have stayed in the church; the cost of leaving has been steep and painful.

AJOtterstrom said...

I signed the temple wedding petition!

Jean said...

@ Jillaire; I am sorry dear but you are incorrect. You ARE correct about the waiting for a year after baptism, but incorrect about the temple wedding. I have a letter from Michael R.Otterson saying:

"I have been advised by the Office of the First Presidency to acknowledge your letter of September 6, 2010, advising of the planned delivery of petitions regarding the accommodation of family and friends who are unable to enter the temple to witness the marriage of a child, family member, or friend.

The Church is very aware of the issue you raise, and it has been exhaustively discussed over many years. This is a sensitive and difficult issue, with many complexities, not all of which are always apparent.

While we do not foresee any change in the POLICY (my uppercase) regarding this issue, I or senior members of my staff (I OR SENIOR members of MY staff - sounds like a Walmart customer complaints dept) would be happy to meet with you and another member of your organization so you can express your feelings personally. I will be happy to convey those feelings subsequently to Church leaders.

I hope you will understand that the Church will not be a party to a staged media event, at which a petition will be presented for the benefit of publicity. It is certainly your right to choose to pursue that course, but I'm afraid you will have to do so without our assistance. In my experience, such artificial events tend to harden attitudes on both sides, rather than help develop understanding.

Kindly let me know if you are interested in pursuing a private meeting with us.
You can reach my PERSONAL ASSISTANT , Laurel Bailey, on 801 240 2122 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              801 240 2122      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

Michael R. Otterson
Managing Director"

A lofty title for a damage control guy for Walmart:)
All of the capitalization is mine for emphasis.

But as you can see, this is the policy of the LDS Church and it IS painful and divisive. People are not showing love for God but love for the LDS Church leaders. God said love everyone and he included all kinds of 'sinners' among his circle of friends. People who are faithful to God but whose beliefs are different from LDS suffer from this policy too; being excluded from a beloved child's wedding does nothing for them but generate hostility.

This letter arrived the day after I returned to Canada from Utah on Oct 20th 2010. Too late to have a sit down meeting. I assure you that the wording in the petition was clearly spelled out at the top of each page of signatures, so the receivers would know exactly what the topic was.

I know that it hurts to find out that our church is less than perfect; bin there, dun that and in so doing discovered just how imperfect I am for finding out those things. One can only believe that which is believable. If you find that my letter from Otterson is unbelievable then I guess that is the way it is.
However, I believe it, I have it sitting here right beside me on Church letterhead with a date of September 22 2010. I'm sorry, I bought into the whole perfection thing and suffered terribly as a result of discovering 'real history'.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

There are exceptions, and anomalies have been known to occur, but the official position of the corporate Church as stated in the CHI is that "a husband and wife who were married outside a temple may be sealed after one full year from the date of the civil marriage." This is the primary criticism of the Temple Marriage Petition; it seems to be an arbitrary rule with no basis in scripture, nor any reasons put forth.

Also, I don't know why a marriage license would be necessary to copy down the information if the initial marriage is about to be performed right there at the temple. All the principles are there and can furnish their names on the spot. No law I know of requires a license (permission)to marry in the United States of America, though it may well be a requirement for marriage in less free countries.

If a couple is married in the House of the Lord by the priesthood, a certificate to that effect should be issued as evidence of the marriage. Would a couple furnish a certificate of marriage before they were wed? It wouldn't make sense. The marriage hadn't taken place yet. Why then furnish a license with that information on it?

I still question why the church -any church- needs to see evidence of permission from the state before it weds anyone. Marriage is instituted of God, not the state. It is the state's place to recognize a marriage performed by a church, not the other way around.

Insana D said...
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Anonymous said...

Rock, your posts always contain several historical and technical inaccuracies, which, in many cases, act as a false premise upon which you build the remainder of your logic. Nevertheless, you bring up some very good points, and I'm always open to the possibility of anything being true. I don't believe that just because the Church has a certain policy that it's automatically and necessarily right. You may be correct in your conclusions regarding marriage and sealings.

I do not, however, believe that Brigham Young was without authority pertaining to church doctrine and practice. He may have claimed that he was no prophet (at least not in the same sense or to the same degree that Joseph Smith was), but he still maintained that he held authority. He told the 12 that he was their god and their king back in 1847, and that every time he spoke to the people it was revelation and scripture. He held the same keys Joseph Smith possessed, and thus the same authority. He bore the same relationship to the Church during his administration as Joseph Smith did during his.

And it is very clear from the Nauvoo High Council minutes in 1843 that Hyrum read D&C 132 to the Nauvoo high council, which proves that Brigham Young did not fabricate it later as the reorganized Church likes to pretend. And I also don't believe that William Clayton's diary entries about Joseph interacting with his wives were retroactive forgeries. Joseph Smith was the originator of "the Principle" in this dispensation.

According to some of the apostles, Joseph Smith was upset about the Article on Marriage (separate from D&C 134, although you mention that the article on marriage was part of D&C 134 [D&C 134 was a separate article on governments]) getting approved for publication in the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants. The conference did, as you indicated, vote upon it in Joseph's absense. But yes, Joseph certainly did cite the article on marriage to defend himself against his accusers in Times and Seasons. If he disagreed with the article, he certainly used it to his advantage.

Joseph F. Smith was the first, that I know of, to teach that it was wrong to get married outside of the temple. He said he would rather go to the grave than see his children married outside of the temple. He said this on several occasions.

Your analogy of celebrating one's eighth birthday, and getting baptized, isn't really valid. Birthday's weren't invented as a priesthoodless apostate replacement for baptism. Civil marriages, on the other hand, were created as a replacement for temple sealing. In ancient times, getting "sealed" was the only kind of marriage. When people rebelled against the priesthood, and started their own systems of religion and government, they instituted their own forms of marriage.

According to Church doctrine, the only legitimate authority to perform a sealing is the Priesthood. And the only legitimate authority in civil government is the Priesthood (according to Christ). So the Priesthood is the true civil authority, and the authority to perform marriage.

When men apostatized anciently, and set up their own civil governments, and did their own marriages, it was without the Priesthood. These were the first "civil marriages"--marriages performed by a false priesthood--by an illegitimate civil government that lacked any real authority.

I'm going to use your idea of baptism, and transform it into a more correct analogy as I see it: When a child turns eight years old, he goes and get's baptized at the local Protestant church, to appease relatives and extended family, and once that's done, he goes and get's baptized by the mormon elders with the real authority. This would be considered by most people making a mockery of baptism, or disrespecting the priesthood. This is how the Church sees it when you get married civilly, and then go get sealed afterwards.

Anonymous said...

W. W. Phelps and possibly Oliver Cowdery were the authors of the article on marriage. They had no authority to reveal new doctrine, or make an officially binding statement on doctrine for the Church. That authority belonged to Joseph Smith alone, and he had nothing to do with that article's creation or its inclusion in the Doctrine and Covenants.

Michael said...

For clarification, the policy regarding the sealing of couples married civilly is as follows (from the 2010 Handbook of Instructions #1 - section 3.6.1):

A husband and wife who were married outside a temple may be sealed after one full year from the date of their civil marriage. However, this one-year waiting period does not apply to worthy couples in the following cases:

1. Both the civil and the temple sealing take place in countries that do not recognize a temple marriage and that require a civil marriage.

2. The couple live in a country where there is not a temple and the laws of the country do not recognize a marriage performed outside the country.

3. A couple could not be married in a temple because one or both had not been a member of the Church for one year at the time of their civil marriage. They may receive their endowments and be sealed at any time after at least one year has passed from the confirmation date of both members.

In the first two cases, worthy couples should receive their endowments and be sealed as soon as practical after their civil marriage. They may be sealed in any temple convenient to their circumstances.

Worthy couples who were married in a civil ceremony and have been members of the Church for at least one year may receive their own endowments and participate in all other temple ordinances except their marriage sealing any time within the year following civil marriage.

Only the First Presidency may grant exceptions to the preceding policies. The stake president may seek an exception if it appears to be justified. The couple should not go to the temple to be sealed unless they are notified that the First Presidency has granted an exception. They should bring this notification with them.

When issuing recommends to a couple for sealing after a civil marriage, priesthood leaders should make sure the civil marriage was valid.

(end policy)

...I apologize for any typos or errors...

Anonymous said...

The problem about temple ceremonies is that none of them are in the scriptures. I know the New Testament talks about baptism for the dead, but we have to trust primarily Brigham Young for the modern content of temple ceremonies.

I can't understand why the church does so much proxy work for the dead. Most or many of the people for whom the work is being done will never accept it anyway. Wouldn't it be better for them to accept the work before it is done? And is is mathematically impossible to do all the temple work for the dead of this planet anyway. I think it is just a way of getting people back to the temple after their own endowments. A control mechanism.

I also don't know why we need tokens, and handshakes to get into the Celestial Kingdom. Seriously, don't the sentries know who belongs there or not? What about people that have left the church and have the information. Will they be able to bluff their way into the Celestial Kingdom?

Why don't dead people need temple recommends? Why does a living proxy bear the responsibility of righteousness? Why can a wicked dead person have temple work done but a life good person needs a recommend?

I'm asking a lot of rhetorical questions here. I am serious though. I have a lot of unanswered questions.

Anonymous said...

Also, in your analogy you compare baptism to the temple sealing, and a birthday party to civil marriage.

But the civil marriage isn't the party/celebration/feast. That's what the wedding reception is for. The civil marriage itself is a ceremony where someone with false authority performs an illegitimate counterfeit ordinance. No civil authority has the authority to pronounce a couple husband and wife. Only the Priesthood can do that.

Couples who choose to get sealed in the temple WITHOUT a civil marriage first should be content with a wedding reception, where every non-temple worthy individual may come and celebrate.

Anonymous said...

Dead don't need a recommend because we assume the ordinance doesn't become valid until the spirit "accepts it" or becomes worthy of it, even if that should be a hundred years after the vicarious work was done.

And the standard works were never meant to be an exhaustive resource on every revealed subject, and they were never meant to be more reliable than the President of the Church. We shouldn't blindly trust either. The Holy Ghost can verify the words from either source, and both sources have the potential of being wrong, so I don't consider one more reliable than the other.

Michael said...

@anonymous at 6:54pm:

I can say that D&C 132 specifies that for any ordinance to be "valid", an ordinance must be made, entered into, and sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise (D&C 132:7).

So, an individual who was endowed and left the church would likely not have completed those three steps (again, I'm making an assumption here). Such a person could have the knowledge of the signs and tokens, but not have them "sealed" upon him by the Holy Spirit of Promise making the knowledge essentially worthless.

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Jean said...

Rock, I think Anonymous was saying you would make a good apologist. "Rock, your posts always contain several historical and technical inaccuracies, which, in many cases, act as a false premise upon which you build the remainder of your logic."
I'm sure that those are the needed qualifications; why don't you apply for a job with FARMS or FAIR?

Anonymous said...

@ Insana D,

Thanks for posting those quotes from Brigham Young. I'm familiar with them, and like every one of them.

By the way, there's more than one "anonymous" poster participating in this conversation.

All I was saying is that Brigham Young did not claim he had no authority--he claimed that he did. You missed the whole point of what I was saying. I never said whether I agreed with Brigham Yougn or not. Rock said Brigham Young claimed he wasn't a prophet (which is true, he did say that), but Brigham Young did claim he had authority in matters of doctrine and church policy, and that his words were scripture.

I personally think that some things Brigham Young did as President of the Church were wrong. But as far as his doctrinal teachings go, I believe what he says, because it makes sense, and it "tastes good" (to borrow a phrase from Joseph).

Ron Madson said...

Another well written/thought out non-"truncated" piece, but worth every word. My best man and brother was left out of my wedding/sealing ceremony. Didn't have to be that way, but as one GA told me years ago, "you may be right, but the Church is like the Queen Ship Mary--it turns but turns very, very slowly." Not very comforting or confidence building considering the many hazards dead ahead...

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Anonymous at 4:41 and 4:42:
You bring up many points worthy of a lengthier response than I'm able to give here but I won't address them now. I intended from the beginning to do a follow-up piece to this one on marriage, so I ask you to stay tuned.

That future follow-up piece won't be immediate, though, so in the meantime, anyone here who wishes to respond, as Insana D has quite adequately to one particular "can of worms," Anonymous opened up are invited to have at and weigh in with their own thoughts on his objections.

Anonymous, in response to Insana D's quotations of Brigham Young's , you declare your belief that many of the things he taught were "wrong", while also declaring you accept his doctrines. How can that be? The very things you admit are wrong were presented to the Saints as doctrine.

When, in my early twenties, I excitedly bought my expensive set of the Journal of Discourses and enthusiastically prepared to delve in, I was told by an authority that the Church discourages the members from reading those works. I thought that odd, because Brigham Young declared all his words to be scripture. Why would the Church not want us to abide by all the scripture available?

Once I started in reading, I understood why. Quite a bit of LDS "scripture" is an embarrassment to the modern Church, as well it should be. Brigham Young and his immediate successors took this church in a direction that completely diverted it from its original mission. In the process of attempting to get the train back onto the tracks, twentieth century leaders had no option but to simply hope the members would ignore, or never hear of, a lot of the stuff that was taught by Young, Taylor, Cannon, and Woodruff.

Dave P. said...

Rock, your comment right there is more than enough to shatter the following myths of the modern LDS church:

* "Anything said by the bretheren over the pulpit is scripture." - I don't know what religion Brigham was practicing, but I'm unaware of the Lord advocating rituals of human sacrifice and blood atonement.
* "The prophet will never lead the church astray." - Funny how they reject a lot of other things Woodruff said, but keep that.
* "The church is perfect." - If that was the case, why has it been cursed and condemned for 175+ years?

I also wish to add something of note in regards to Brigham Young establishing himself as a king and a god over the church: That is, was, and always will be Satan's plan! To establish false gods who try to usurp the power, authority, and glory of the one true God and who will "save" everyone through lies, deceit, control, and secret blood oaths with a "My way or the highway mantra!" Brigham Young was an evil, EVIL man and the church was completely suckered into following his ambitions and doctrine!

Daniel 7:23-26 states,

23. Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.

24. And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.

25. And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.

26. But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.

The fourth beast is the American empire as it is currently in the process of devouring the whole earth and breaking it into pieces. The first of those ten kings was Brigham Young.


Dave P. said...

And in my research I have come to the conclusion that Section 132 is a false revelation given by satan during Joseph Smith's 7 bad years for the following reasons:

* It contradicts itself, especially in the regard of the speaker telling Joseph to "prepare to receive the following" when he supposedly had already received it before.
* There are no other scriptures that talk about the necessity of a "celestial/temple" marriage, thus the Law of Witnesses is not upheld.
* Joseph Smith burned his written copy of this revelation during his repentance prior to his death and the section itself wasn't added until nearly 50 years later.
* Plural marriage is an abomination to the unchanging God as Jacob talks about in Jacob 2 and verse 30 is not talking about potential exceptions.
* The story of a supposed angel with a flaming sword basically forcing Joseph to accept practicing plural marriage is either a fabrication or outright falsehood. The Lord does NOT violate our free agency like that!
* Finally, and most importantly: Marriage is not essential for salvation! In 3 Nephi 11:28-40 the resurrected Christ tells Nephi three times (a symbol of superlative emphasis in Hebrew) the His doctrine is to come unto Christ, repent, and be baptized and anything "more of less cometh of evil." No washing and anointing, no endowment, no marriage: just repentance and baptism.

This is backed up by the Lord declaring in the D&C that the Book of Mormon contains the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

"But wait, Dave P., a while back someone claimed that Jesus himself was married!" Yes He was, but that doesn't change the fact that he never said marriage was a requirement. He was married for two reasons: First, he HAD to be married to become a rabbi as it was Jewish law. Second, He set the example for us in everything He did, and that included only one wife.

What does this do to the church's claims of "Families are forever?" I don't know and, frankly, it's none of my concern because of first things first: The church is in need of cleansing and the false prophets, apostles and bishops either need to repent or be cast out.

Dave P. said...

I said this in a private email to Rock but it bears repeating here: The analogy of the church as a ship or a train being carried along an ocean current or a set of tracks is a good one. However, instead of talking about the issues related to the current course that the church is taking, what we need to do (and what the D&C tells us) is to go back and correct the false notions and issues that caused the church to turn in the wrong direction in the first place. You can't kill a tree that bears evil fruit by plucking leaves or trimming branches; you have to strike at the root!

Anonymous said...

Rock, I said I disagreed with some things Brigham Young did, not the doctrine that he taught. When I say "did," I mean his personal behavior or actions. He wasn't infallible. A few examples are his treatment of some of the other apostles, or use of Church finances. Overall though, I believe he was a good man. also believe his doctrine is completely accurate and reliable, not because of infallibility, but just because he knew what he was talking about.

Dave P. said...

15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

20 Wherefore, by their fruits ye shall know them.

21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven.

22 Many will say to me in that day: Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name, and in thy name have cast out devils, and in thy name done many wonderful works?

23 And then will I profess unto them: I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

- 3 Nephi 14:15-23

Insana D said...
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Anonymous said...

Thank-you so much for posting this. It was informative, interesting, and should be discussed.

In 2.5 weeks I will be getting married and sealed in the Ogden Temple. Why? After much reflection, it's because I'm weirdly obsessed with the Ogden Temple as it currently looks.

Like many Mormon girls, I grew up with the vague desire to be one day married in thet emple.When I became engaged, we immediately discussed temples. It's... what you do.

I didn't think of anything else until we started worrying about the time frame of my fiance's sealing clearance letter. Would it arrive in time? That's when we began to discuss other options.

And I really wasn't all that bothered. My thing was "I want the Ogden Temple before rennovation!" And that was it. I don't think I would have minded a civil ceremony, and no one in my big Mormon family seemed to mind either.

Well, we got the clearance, and we will be married there in the temple.

Here's the deal with me: I'm not a romantic. I don't care about guests and flowers. To me, the temple marriage is killing two birds with one stone. I have actually liked the idea of eloping. I don't want a fancy wedding.

But some people do, and there is nothing wrong with that.

I can't think of a single good reason for the year delay. It's... stupid, policy, not revelation.

Yes, be sealed in the temple! Strive for that! I'm all for that.

But I see your point.

It actually bugs me when people bash the Church for not letting familes see temple weddings. I've always thought that should be a family decision, not the Church's fault. But there really is a problem of expectations and the Church culture doesn't help.

Insana D said...
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Steven Lester said...

Sometimes I think that the Brethren would be more in touch with reality if they got out more and weren't worshipped so much. They live in their own little world that nobody normal is allowed to breach. I think that not one of them would consider disguising himself as a peasant, jumping over the castle wall, and hobnobbing with the great unwashed so as to see how the rest of the Universe lives and dies. All of this reluctance comes from intergenerational inbreeding where only clones might apply for inclusion therein.

Oh, by the way, I've always been afraid that Packer might outlive Monson, but after watching him on The Mormon Channel last night give his last idiotic speech I am no longer worried. The guy looks OLD. I was amazed he could even stand that long at the pulpit. This gladdens my heart as almost nothing else could. When his death is announced, hopefully soon, all I will say is, "goodbye Packer".

Brett said...

Great post, Rock. And great information.

My favorite sealing, other than my own, was shortly after I returned from my mission. I got a call from a good friend... while I was away he and his girlfriend had "messed up". A civil marriage followed and then the birth of a beautiful little girl. The call from my friend was to invite me to their sealing. And, it was amazing. Nobody was concerned with the usual (albeit important) trappings of the wedding day -- the focus was on the ordinance. As it should be.

I've never understood why we won't let couples marry civilly. More so after my mission to Argentina where civil marriage first was required (as you noted).

And, if it is so important that they marry ONLY in the temple, why have we not built sealing rooms to accommodate Mormon-sized families. There is a family in our ward with nine kids. I've wondered what it might be like when the youngest gets married and likely may not even have enough room for all of her family members (who have recommends, of course).

Anonymous said...

I was married in the temple about two months ago. I was to be married a while before that, but because of worthiness issues, we were forced to push it back. I cannot describe the shame I felt. I felt I had no choice but to wait to be married in the temple if I didn't want my mother and grandparents to be ashamed of me. So rather than having a civil ceremony, I spend six months miserable when I should have been married. My father and closest friend were unable to attend. I thought of my mother saying how only so many of her children were married in the temple.

In retrospect, many things worked out in my life because I waited to get married as far as school, housing, etc. Now, I don't know if I would have waited. My wedding day was lovely, but I sometimes think that walking down an aisle with my father would have been nicer.

Anonymous said...

Wow! What a post. Lots of points to ponder. I admit, I haven't read all the posts, but I'd like to make one that I didn't see come up.
A couple doesn't have to wait a year! Simply, have your temple ceremony first (you know the "20 minute sling-shot ceremony you described). You can have your civil ceremony directly after. You can even make it a huge civil ceremony with everyone you have ever met, your family, and everyone who you are Friends with on Facebook. Just make that covenant with God in a Sacred Ceremony first - only 20 minutes, right?

PallasAthena said...

Appreciate the post and agree with every word. My wife and I were married civilly in a simple ceremony performed by our bishop then sealed later. We were both worthy but went this direction for personal reasons. Last Sunday, we both gave talks in Sacrament Meeting, after the meeting a brother came up to us and started chatting, he asked about us and our history. He was noticeably appalled when my wife mentioned we got "married" and then "sealed" later. This is not the first time someone has not been able to conceal their shock. Though some people may feel ashamed, my wife and I tend to find satisfaction in appalling shallow mormons.

Anonymous said...

My brother and his fiancée are in a real pickle because of this problem. He refuses to marry her outside of the temple but his bishop will not issue him a recommend. They have been engaged for years and have set benchmarks, deadlines, goals, etc. They love each other and are committed to making it work but the brainwashing of "temple or nothing" is preventing them from getting married and causing an incredible amount of stress. I have recommended they get civilly married and sealed later and his fiancée wants to but he will not. He is a return missionary and refuses to "compromise".

Tom said...

This is to all the angry people:

I get that you’re angry. I get that you’re pissed off. I get that you think your life is ruined because of your Mormon experience. I get that ex-mos are entitled, in varying degrees, to some degree of anger and need to vent their frustrations, emotions and feel validated in some way or another. Posting rants to that effect is one way to validate your new found path. I’m cool with that and am totally fine with it in most regards.
However, do you think we could temper the vitriolic diatribes with a little reason? A little sanity amidst the insana D?

First off: we can all believe whatever the hell we want to believe. If you want to believe in some religion, believe in it. If atheism trips your trigger, by all means jump in headlong. The same for Buddhism, Vipissana Meditation, Hinduism or whatever –ism you feel you need to latch on to.

Second: No matter what –ism you latch onto (including angerisms), I think a little tempering is in order. Humanity and humans are much more complex than we ever give it credit for being. Brigham Young, for example, said some incredibly boneheaded things and may have been a large bigot, and certainly one of the more vocal ones. But you know what, so were the majority of people living in the 1800s. I happen to disagree with MOST of what the man taught. But, even so, we learn from the past. As much hate, animosity and anti-doctrinal things as he preached are being preached by an angry mob today - fighting scorn and ridiculousity with their own version of scorn and ridiculousity.

We tend to think and view ourselves as "enlighted", luminaries able to see the errors of history. And yet, we're just like Brigham. He might have hated blacks, might have advocated for blood atonement, might have enjoyed his harem and taking money from the corporation interest free. But, the angry ex-mos (and others) have their own group of people they hate, advocate for spiritual blood atonement, enjoy their own intellectual harems and other similar tracks. TBMs, likewise, hate anyone who doesn't see the world in their "one true way," advocate their own form of spiritual blood atonement and refuse to engage in any harems because they're too righteous (and they'll tell you that until you're blue in the face). And on and on.

If you would have taken a recorder and archived my beliefs even 5 years ago, I’d be ashamed at approximately 99% of them today. I would have been viewed as anti pretty much anything that wasn’t taught in church on Sunday. My point is, some people change. Some of us are fortunate enough to change outside the spotlight of adoring fans or members. Point is, we should all be ashamed of things we do.

It’s easy to point the finger at those we consider philanderers, liars, whoremongers or whatever, but it’s much more useful to find ways to better yourself and change yourself. And, truth be told, some of the above statements aren’t entirely truthful in what they state, so the pot and kettle are getting it on in the midnight air. Good for them.


Tom said...

(cont. from above...)

I’m as pissed off about some of the LDS church’s practices as others (tithing, leader worship, etc). Even so, you can either go all histrionic on everyone and lambaste them for being sheeple and more dense than you, or you can change what you do as an individual and influence them by reason, persuasion and logic. I happen to have chosen to change my personal beliefs and practices (thanks, in part, to some level-headed individuals who didn’t go all medieval on me for not being as enlightened as they are/were, and as some here profess to be) into something I think works better and no longer give to the corporation.

I guess my long-winded sentiment can be found here: be angry. Go ahead. Piss on the world. Piss onto it both into and with the wind at your back. Sometimes it’ll work, other times you’ll be wet. Be a resource of hate, darkness, anger and frustration.

Or, calm yourself and find a different (better?) way. Enlighten others. Edify others. Be a resource of love, light and hope for others.

Steven Lester said...

Nice try, Tom, but what part of the term "outlet" did you not understand? Nothing that we write in this blog will change the Church Itself in the least. We write what we write because we are angry and aren't going to take it anymore and we need an outlet to get it out of ourselves, and afterward we feel better about things. Packer might come out with another of his idiotic speeches or Monson might call up another pogrom on the gay community, but we've expressed our derision in this blog, by God, and so we are better able to endure the daily-expressed hate and cruelty that permeates the Church from tail to snoot.

We also learn stuff about the Church that we never knew before, enough actually to tip a few to leaving the Church completely, which I am myself closer and closer to doing, although I haven't yet. I am trying to decide whether staying in a corrupt organization is the same as saying such an organization has a right to continue as it is. So far, I haven't seen or heard much to convince me otherwise. I know now that the Church's claim to being the Only True Church is a crock. Why stay, anyway?

We are glad that you have attained such an enlightened plane of existence such that you can now look over the edge of its' border and judge the rest of us as miscreants and inferior savages who only know how to kill and maim. We wish you well, sir, and hope that you will continue to toss a few crumbs of thy vast wisdom down upon our heads from time to time whenever our grunts and cries of howling anger get too loud for you. Peace. Out.

Dave P. said...


In the D&C 88:81 the Lord says, "[It] becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor."

Warn them about what? The need to repent and return to the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Lord is not happy with the church and hasn't been for a long time. The church has been cursed and condemned for over 175 years and people like Rock who have awoken to that fact are letting people know about this through blogs and other means of "Shouting from the rooftops" via the internet.

And for those of us who were raised in the church since birth are definitely going to get angry because we feel lied to and betrayed when we learn just what kind of secrets the church keeps. Even if Brigham Young's attitude was "normal" in the 1800s, it still wasn't in harmony with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

People are free to choose what to do with this information and whether or not to leave the church behind entirely. I choose to remain a member because I still believe in God and that the Book of Mormon is a second witness of Jesus Christ, and that is all I need for the foundation of my testimony. No "families are forever" or "Thomas S. Monson is the prophet today" that gets parroted every first Sunday of the month. I have had things happen to me that I cannot disregard or deny because of the powerful effect they've had on my life and also because they happened entirely independent of the church's involvement; including seeing the Savior in a dream and Him giving me comfort in it. I can't even think about it without getting teary eyed at recalling the feeling of love and peace I felt. It was that same feeling that helped me to get through the guilt of "failing" as a missionary by coming home early.

And, because I have been warned about the need for the church to be cleansed and how the Lord has already begun the process, like Jacob, I can't remain quiet about this. Although I haven't yet done enough original research to warrant confidence in starting my own blog, I have been able to share what I do know with people via other mediums. I may have been angry at the beginning, but that anger has been replaced with a feeling of love and devotion to help my neighbors who are ready to listen, both online and off, to awaken to their awful situation and realize the great things that are about to take place.

Tom said...


I understand all that and agree with it. Where in my 2 original responses did I suggest stopping any warning voice? Please, let me know. Reread what I said: it wasn't about not warning, but rather "how to" warn from my point of view.

What I was saying is that there is an immense difference between an angry response that is filled to the brim with enough histrionics to make me gag, and a thoughtful response that is tempered with reason. Very, very few people respond to anger. You can yell, scream, fight, lambaste, deride and scorn people about their beliefs all day long and until you're both blue in the face, but if the tone isn't resonating with the party to whom you're "warning," then they'll walk away, most likely strengthened in their beliefs. The fruits of anger don't win many converts to your side of the coin.

Now, take that same conversation and approach it on an a different level, using reason, logic, persuasion and kindness, then, at the very least, the other party won't be turned off by your anger. That approach might not work either, but the fruits of anger (and ego) are evident well before the discussion even begins.

Likewise, I never said anything about BY's attitudes being in harmony with the gospel. My point was that many people decry BY as bigoted, materialistic, angry fool, while exhibiting the very same mentality themselves, only in a different medium and with different ideas. It shouldn't take a rocket scientist to recognize the similarities. I have no problem highlighting his many missteps, but when that highlighting is underscored by your "superior" way of life, I say "bah!". So: Bah!


I get that you need an outlet, but I can't say my comments were directed at you in the least. I enjoy your humor simply because it's a different way of resolving the underlying anger issues. And, perhaps most importantly from my point of view, humor is a great way for people to think about deeper issues. Anger - undiluted anger (i.e. saying everyone is a liar, LDS scripture is based of lies, everyone in the LDS leadership is a fraud, idiots, morons, imbeciles and every other name under the sun) - rarely, rarely gets people to think or change. It just doesn't happen. More often than not it only serves to get them more hardened in their beliefs and does very little good.

And, I think we all need to stop pretending that we're the only ones going through something. Many, many disaffected people are experiencing the same things, learning the same things and trying to resolve them.

I'm not pretending or claiming or feigning any state of enlightenment... it's simple human relations. People can see the fruit of any person if they stop to think and analyze that person. That's why many people have issues with LDS members, because there is most an underlying motive (whether it's to convert them, or correct them, or take them to a "court of love" - very few do it out of genuine interest for the person). When they see anger, odds are they turn away from that person.

I think it's perfectly possible to learn all the idiotic things the church does, beliefs and practices and channel the anger felt when learning these things into something constructive (i.e. poignant humor, pointed remarks where people might feel impressed to study that remark out on their own, etc.).

A great, great book on this subject (from an non-Mormon point of view) is: So You Don't Want to Go to Church Anymore by (

There is a great lesson in there on anger and being angry about what controlled, organized religion does to our individual psyches and beliefs and how we can move beyond that anger towards something more productive and based on love.

"In a controversy, the instant we feel anger, we have already ceased striving for truth and have begun striving for ourselves." - Abraham Heschel

Dave P. said...

Looks like I misread then. Sorry about that.

Anonymous said...

I believe that the policy of making couples wait a year is mostly about money. The most common reason that an LDS person has for being denied a temple recommend is for not being current on tithing. The number of mothers and fathers that pay up in order to become worthy enough to attend their son's or daughter's wedding equates to millions of dollars every year. That's tithing dollars that the church would miss if they changed this policy, and that's a mighty compelling reason to keep it in place! Those same parents might not be so quick to "worthy up" if they could see their children married civilly first.
Just sayin'

Tom said...


Probably my fault you misread the original. I have no issue with people venting - I've been there and still doing it - just that the anger some exhibit takes the original message of the OP and detracts significantly from it.

For example, I am appalled by the "assembly line" mentality in the temple (i.e. we did 168 sealings today). Making that comment in the OP, by itself and absent anger, made me realize a few things and think through a few additional insights. Take that same comment, only word it in some vehement overtones and it's almost certain that I'll just skip over it and pay absolutely zero attention to it.

That's just me: your mileage may vary.

Re: Tithing

This may only be applicable to some half in/half out members who want to keep the peace and make it look like they're paying tithing, but there is a way you can work around it. The COB has provided an address where you can send tithing and keep it out of the purview of local leaders. You send it in (you can send as little as $0.01 I suppose). At the end of the year, your bishop will get a letter that you paid tithing, but they won't see how much. The actual amount is kept secret and outside of their view. For all they know, then, you are a full tithe payer.

I don't have the address handy, but I did just look through my copy of the verboten Church Handbook of Instructions (Book 1) and didn't see it in there.

Keep that in mind.

I'd also recommend this:

A good article on what tithing was originally supposed to be, how it was supposed to be used, how it was supposed to be a small amount and how it absolutely was NOT to support a bureaucracy, immense building program, build temples, etc.

As always, Rock, well said.

andrew said...

marsha j: useless statement, perhaps. maybe i should have put a smiley at the end of it to convey my light-hearted jab at the land of [anti]zion. that aside, it made my response to sierra no less pertinent; all things utah != all things doctrinal (or even right), and learn to accept not all truth comes from 'homebase'. spoiler alert: there really is other truth out there!

jean thanks for the clarification. sad that the church feels it has to have such say in such a personal decision where ever it has the opportunity to

oh how we preach to judge not, yet have an entity, via its absurd policies, nearly place the judgement rod in our hands

Bina said...

I wish my parents understood this concept! All they keep telling me is that the only reason not to marry in the temple is if you're pregnant. I'm not pregnant but I don't feel worthy enough to get married in the temple as well as my fiance isn't as active as I'd like. We vowed to get sealed later on in life but I hate how people in my community look down upon those who choose to have a civil marriage first. What would you say would be the best advice to someone going through what I'm going through. We're nineteen and twenty one and my parents are beyond upset at the choice we've made to not get married in the temple :(

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Bianna, If I were in your situation I would include in your wedding invitation a statement something like this:

"Although the bride and groom are fully worthy of being married in the House of the Lord, they choose to follow the counsel of the Prophet Joseph Smith and have their initial wedding held publicly, where all their loved ones can share in the joy of their union."

"A Temple Sealing to follow at a future time of our choosing."

Then I'd print up a copy of this blog entry and include a copy with each invitation.

Steven Lester said...

You know, I cringe every time I read the word "worthy". This is because there are none on the earth worthy of anything sacred, no matter how hard they try or how much they pay in. Only Christ was and is worthy by virtue of His perfect life and matchless sacrifice offered with both love and obedience. We can only attach ourselves to his shared worthiness and without it in our lives things will go much harder for us. Yet, it is also true that the worth of a soul is great to God, but that worth is intrinsic, automatic in His eyes, always there no matter what. So, for an organization/sub-culture to claim the right to give and to take away what in the eyes of God is always there in spades is the height of arrogance and the depths of Satanic control of minds and hearts. It is one of the most insidious devices of control I have ever come across. It works seemingly every time, too, because it uses the human ego as the battery, so to speak, and there isn't much more powerful than that. If God loves me just as I am "up there", who down here doesn't unless I tow their line? Worthy? None are worthy save for Jesus Himself. Didn't Paul write that somewhere? Well, somebody big did, big enough to even silence the COB were they ever inclined to listen.

C. L. Hanson said...

It is the state's place to recognize a marriage performed by a church, not the other way around.

Performed in a church or somewhere else. With that addendum, I agree with you completely (see just write it down). I think that deputizing clerics to notarize civil contracts -- and having a civil-contract-signing as a central part of the church/temple wedding -- does a disservice to the religious ceremony (Mormon/temple or otherwise).

Since I've been living in Europe, I've attended weddings of devout Christian friends in both France and Switzerland, and in both cases the paperwork takes place 100% at city hall, and the beautiful religious ceremony stands on its own merits.

I like your analogy about birthday-party-vs-baptism, and -- since you're planning to write another post on marriage -- allow me to ask you to think about analogies with other legal kinship papers that governments issue, such as birth certificates and adoptions. In the case of birth certificates, the state obviously did not cause the birth or create the parent-child relationship through a contract, yet has good reason to make a legal note of it (since parents have certain rights and responsibilities with respect to their children). With adoption papers, it's a little different because a child does not have the legal right to choose his/her guardian. The act of parenting makes the parent a parent, but the legal paper is often necessary to make it happen. A marriage is kind of between the two since a marriage-type relationship (with all of the personal, community, and divine recognition) is not called into existence by the state-approved legal contract. Yet the state has an interest in writing it down since it affects rights and responsibilities such as inheritance, immigration, next-of-kin, etc.

p.s. to the angry poster @February 17, 2011 8:21 PM:

I've found this to be an incredibly fascinating and thoughtful discussion overall. If you're sincerely interested in contributing to a two-way exchange of ideas, I'd highly recommend you drop the passive-aggressive opening paragraphs about people you disagree with needing to validate themselves, etc.

Jean said...

Binnna - My advice is; don't get married yet. STOP in your tracks right now. You are still a child but you don't realize it, you think you are an adult because you have adult sexual feelings and romantic feelings. This does not mean that you have to go through a ceremony binding you to your fiance; not yet. Is chastity an issue for those who wait? You betcha and that is why the brethren have you by the short hairs.
"You must be married in the temple."
"In order to marry in the temple you must be worthy in every way" - tithing, W of W, chastity and so on ad nauseaum - super human in other words.
You need a piece of paper from a man, signed by another man and checked by yet another man at the door of the temple - why give MEN all this power over you?
Have you noticed that all of your leaders who have any say in your life are MEN right down from God, Jesus, the Holy Ghost, Prophet and his cohorts, their cohorts, down to the SP and then your bishop; all telling you how to run YOUR life. The only woman with any clout in your life is your mother and even she has bought into the MALE domination theory.

LDS women (girls) get married much younger than the average North American girl and many would see this as an example of the fact that the 'other' girls are somehow less worthy than their mormon counterparts because they engage in sex before marriage. If they do, it is their business. If LDS girls waited until they were older, many of them would give in to that wonderful desire that nature endowed them with. The church likes to control everything; right down to YOUR sexual choices and it is none of their business so don't give it to them. By taking away your agency to masturbate or engage in some form of sexual activity they are creating a need for marriage and that can only be done their way. I was told that any form of sexual activity that was 'unnatural' with my own husband was to be avoided and I complied because I was a faithful obedient servant. Is that what you want to be? Or do you want to be a strong, independent woman who makes her own choices, owns her own achievements and mistakes and becomes a wonderful adult with understanding of herself.
This is my advice and I am on your side; I don't know how many times I have wanted to whack myself alongside the head for my sheepleness. Be yourself honey, grow up a bit more and tell them all to go to heck:)

Anonymous said...


The Holy Ghost is a women. The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. It's a family.

Steven Lester said...

Jean, the only reason that men hold on to their power so tightly is because, deep down inside, they KNOW that women are superior to them in every tangible way except for physical strength (and sometimes not even in that). They, in the Church, kind of allude to that intrinsic knowledge/fear when they have said that women "don't need the Priesthood because they already are superior spiritually", or something to that tune, then they quickly move on to other subjects. I ALWAYS vote for the female candidate in any election there is, even if she is not the incumbent, because I know this (but I'm gay too, so I don't need a woman in my life). Everybody should do this, so that our country can be great again.

But, you are wrong about the dominated woman not being able to express herself in the Church. There are at least two outlets. I once saw this cartoon years ago in Sunstone. It showed a Priesthood holder leading some type of conference and he is announcing that the Choir is about to sing that favorite Mormon hymn "Honey, get your biscuits in the oven and your buns in bed". I can just hear the rousing tune in my head right now. Can't you?

andrew said...

you know, i have been wondering recently, why are the requirements to enter the temple seem stricter than the actual covenants made within? i mean, if we don't covenant to be chaste until the temple, why is that a requirement?

Justin said...

C. L. Hanson: "A marriage is kind of between the two since a marriage-type relationship (with all of the personal, community, and divine recognition) is not called into existence by the state-approved legal contract. Yet the state has an interest in writing it down since it affects rights and responsibilities such as inheritance, immigration, next-of-kin, etc."

Yet it is called a "marriage license" -- not "marriage certificate". A license is legal permission from the state to do something that would otherwise be illegal.

To say, "We got our marriage license" so to say that "we obtained formal permission from our government to be a wedded couple." It is not a notary or written proof [certificate] -- it is a permission [license]. You give the state vested interest in your marriage family when it has granted you the permission to be married.

C. L. Hanson said...

Justin, I don't really understand your point about the difference between a marriage certificate and a marriage license. I'm talking about the difference between the marriage and the state's recognition of the marriage.

I think that having a civil-contract-signing as a central part of the church/temple wedding does a disservice to the religious ceremony because it leads people to believe that the civil contract is the marriage, and that the state somehow creates the marriage at the moment that the appropriate papers are signed. My position is that a marriage is more like a birth: the birth certificate does not create the parent-child relationship, and the marriage license or certificate does not create the marriage. The marriage is created by individuals committing to share their lives -- and making that promise public before their community and before their God(s) (if applicable). The state has an interest in providing documentation of the union because it carries legal kinship rights and responsibilities. But the paperwork should require no more than the couple and their witnesses affirming the marriage before a notary or other authorized civil magistrate.

ke da wei said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I think one negative with being married civilly & then later sealed, is that after a year or so both spouses have usually awakened to the negative realities of the other's true character.

That, coupled with the Church's seeming acceptance of divorce today & changing spouses as often as you like, for whatever reason, (though I know God doesn't agree with or allow that, even if the Church does) I don't think even half of those civilly married would ever get sealed, but would actually sooner & more often divorce, especially without the seriousness of the covenants of the temple hanging over their heads.

andrew said...

but adultery is being unfaithful to one's spouse; by definition it can't apply to those not yet wed. however the temple covenant goes beyond that and applies to everyone, wed or not, who agree to it. don't get me wrong i am not advocating promiscuity by any means (and perhaps that was a poor example, but it was the first thing that popped up in my head). what about the word of wisdom then? heck tithing isn't even made mention in the temple either

ke da wei said...

@andrew Well, it's not listed in the Ten Commandments, but fornication is definitely a sin according to the Bible. I guess my point was that we agree to live the law of chastity, word of wisdom and pay tithing before baptism, generally long before we go to the temple.
Whether the current interpretation of the Word of Wisdom or Tithing is correct is another story, but members do know what they're getting into before baptism.

Anonymous said...

C. L. Hanson -- it might be best for Rock to expound on the distinction between a legal certificate recording/notarizing/officially recognizing an event [like you describe with a birth certificate]...

...and a legal license which grants permission to do a certain thing [like is the case with marriage].

You seem to be describing as "your position" marriages without a marriage license [which are ordained of God].


P.S. Rock, this comment form always gives me trouble. Might just be me?

Steven Lester said...

You know, ke da wei, you give me HOPE! Nobody explained the law of chastity or the word of wisdom or about tithing before I was baptized 34 years ago (that I can remember). I just wanted an organ to play on a daily basis and the Ward was more than willing to let me do it, so I joined so as to solidify my claim. It wasn't until later that I found out that there were RULES. At least, that is the official memory. That was a long time ago.

So, if they didn't do that, and I was baptized (my fifth baptism, by the way) in spite of that, then I can get away with not doing any of it and God will still be pleased. Right? I've asked this of the Lord a number of times, but He never said "no" (He never says anything, actually), so I'm scott-free. right? Yes!

Bjorge Queen said...

Awesome! Posting this link on my facebook wall lost me a friend, but that's okay because it was no big loss. I won't miss that kind of judgment from my life.

I married in a civil ceremony to a non mormon and we were probably more "chaste" than a few couples who lied through their teeth that day to get into the temple so that people wouldn't speculate about them.

The stigma needs to be removed. Civil marriage is not a transgression or a sin!

Anonymous said...

A Manipulation Most Vile
by: SLDrone of RfM

I was reading elsewhere a post regarding non member or inactive member parents unable to attend temple weddings of their own children. Stop for just a moment and consider the greed and heinous intention of any organization that would do this to a family. Why would they do this to anyone? One word, MONEY.

This is entirely a money issue. At the end of the day, pretty much everything LDS Inc does is a money issue.

As a former Bishop, MP etc. I can only make an estimate, but my estimate given my own experience is that "event" tithe payers make up as much as 20% of the Church's tithing revenue in any given year.

Event tithe payers are those that have been remiss in the payment of tithes but for a period of time preceding an event, like a temple wedding, the "sinner" repents of his omission and begins to pay tithing. These payers quickly fall back into the status of non or partial tithe payer shortly after the event. I've seen individuals write checks for 10's of thousands of dollars on the spot to bring themselves current and "worthy" of a temple recommend.



I have personally seen the computer matrix analyzing increased revenues from temple districts where new temples are constructed. Even the grandeur of these temples is determined by a cost benefit analysis. It is evil genius. In areas where temples don't exist, tithing participation is very low. In areas were temple attendance and temple events such as weddings are common, tithing adherence is much higher. Tithing is the NUMBER ONE issue that keeps individuals from being able to get a temple recommend. IT'S ENTIRELY ABOUT THE MONEY.

This is exactly why there is such a build up to the dedication of a new temple, and why there are multiple dedication ceremonies, as if God didn't hear the prayer the first time. They are just selling more seats. The cost of admission? you guessed it, full tithe payer for a year prior.

In the case of temple weddings, many families began to cope with the issue by having a civil ceremony on the same day, even treating the temple version as a formality before the main event. As the Church realized this was happening they cracked down hard beginning the the 80's. This was not done for any spiritual reason, but in the realization that their manipulation had a flaw, it was a strategy that cut in to cash flow.

It's a racket, pure and simple, without regard for the hardship and heartbreak it causes.

It's a manipulation most vile.

Tom said...

Re: SLDrone of Rfm (February 22, 2011 @ 7:03AM)

Is it possible to contact you off this board? I had a couple of questions I wanted to bounce off you based on your above comment... I've heard something about the mini-temples and GBH's intents that I want to bounce off you and see if you've heard anything similar, as well as a few others.

Love your comment and thank you for stating it. Insana D is right in at least one area: it's the Mormon version of Indulgences.

If you want, you can email Rock and he can forward that to me, or you can let me know the best way to contact you.


(PS: Justin - I've had issues with the comments issue as well, but find that if you hit "preview" before you post your comment, it generally corrects itself. In the past I'd write something, then hit "Post Comment" and it'd disappear into oblivion. Since then, I hit "Preview" first and it seems to solve the issue. Now, hyperlinking is another issue altogether, and that I haven't figured out.)

ke da wei said...

@Tom To create hyperlinks in the comments, you can us html tags:
<^a href=""> Google <^/a> (remove the ^ symbols)
becomes Google

Toes said...

Rock, reading here is like breathing fresh air. Thanks.

Dave P. said...

You know, a good question came to mind while pondering more about this post and also thinking about how tough I was on my ex for her occasional drink (though I stand by my stance on breaking up with her for the reasons I did): Who gave the general authorities the right to determine what constitutes sin?

True, King Benjamin stated that there are countless ways to commit sin, but he also gave great advice on how to avoid it. If we have the spirit with us and do something that causes us to be cut off, then we can know that it's sin. However, like revelation, such things can also be counterfeit. Back in one of Rock's early posts, a commenter by the name of James did a full self-evaluation on his spirituality after trying his first beer and gave a positive report since he drank it responsibly. Now then, if I feel guilty when having a drink, watching an R-rated movie, or listening to "non-uplifting" music, is that guilt coming from the feeling of the loss of the spirit or because I disobeyed something that man, not God, has said?

My answer is almost always going to be the latter because it is entirely possible to overstep the bounds of responsibility and moderation. I still have not touched a beer, but I've already promised myself that I will never have more than 1 a day and, if I should ever have enough to get drunk, I'll cease it entirely. Regarding movies and music, yes there are some wonderful tales/songs out there that may have squicky moments, but I also know where I draw the line (explicit sex, obscene lyrics, violence and gore for the sake of being violent and gory, etc.) And while some things may be entertaining, there's also the huge difference between fantasy and reality. As a gamer, one of the most fun things to do is repel a zombie invasion by blowing the tar out of 'em, but that can only be a stress release in a fantasy realm.

I could keep rambling like this regarding several other vices that make me human, but the point I want to make is that God alone can determine what cuts us off from His presence. We may hear people tell their own stories of what happened to them after committing sin, but that doesn't automatically entitle them to declare something different as one automatically.

(On a side note, I never want to automatically assume that someone leaves the church in order to "justify a sin they're committing." Much like the, "they were offended," argument, it's not always that simple. After all, we've heard stories of people who were excommunicated for living the gospel as outlined in the scriptures (and even proving their case and innocence by the scriptures), but because they were doing things contrary to what the "brethren" taught.)

Steven Lester said...

Beyond the Redemption and the Repentance sides to religion, one of the most fun and enticing blessings of joining a sect or cult is receiving the right to judge everything around you with impunity. In the Mormon Church, this is almost the entire reason for existence (I don't know how to spell the fancy french translation) of the popular subculture, the identity of which can be pinned down with precision, and not only does belonging to the subculture give one the right to judge, but it offers the person who truly belongs and thusly is worthy of everything Heaven can offer the completely justifiable stance of moral superiority. This part of the blessings promised by the Church is about all we've been talking about within these comments.

It is also what gives the Brethren their immense power over millions of lessor human beings. "I'm worthy and you're not. The Brethren just said so." While I was a kinda/sorta active member I felt the superiority quite often myself, and I enjoyed it. If I were that way still, and I got drunk and even enjoyed the feeling of the buzz (which, Dave P. you ought to try out in the privacy of your home just to see what it is all about. Oh, wait. You are morally superior to me and the Brethren said no, so you never will. Well, all I can say is, your loss.) I'd keep completely quiet about the exercise, not because I was afraid that God, somewhere unknown, would be angry at me, but because the community would judge me negatively.

There is only one way to get away from the power of this perversion of a fundamental law of God (Judgement is Mine, saith the Lord), and that is to leave the environment itself. Loving to Judge and feeling superior to all the non-gods around me is the main reason religion continues to be popular around the world. Don't be swept up in it. One sees it happening. Why does one continue to remain?

Dave P. said...

I don't know about others but I can answer your question for myself: I remain to observe and to avoid logistical problems with my neighborhood. I have no desire to become the "ward project" so, until I move out and for the sake of my parents, I continue to do just enough so they'll leave me alone while I also continue to observe. I'm also excited to watch and see what will happen regarding the cleansing that I believe is taking place and will only accelerate. It'll be a hoot to see how people react to upcoming events.

Sarcasm aside, the reason I have no desire to ever get drunk is simple: I want to enjoy the health benefits that come from moderate drinking while I remain control of the habit instead of chancing it taking control of me since I'm more afraid of myself than anything. I even told my ex that it was a good thing that the conversation that triggered our breakup happened over the phone rather than face-to-face because I very well would have done something horrible to her out of the rage in the nearly uncontrollable anger I had. But, in the end on what we do, it feels so much better to go with the "To each their own," attitude rather than the, "Don't do this because a group of old men said not to."

Anonymous said...

Mitt Romney was 'civily' married in MI., which was CONVENIENT for her Never-Mo parents to attend; the couple then 'immediately' hopped a plane for SLC (with Gov George & wife onboard)& got sealed.
I wuz living in Seattle (pre-Temple) then, & I asked Bp & SP about it...they (embarrassed) said that didn't apply to (engaged) me... WTF???

frank: where/when?

Mormons create these 'exceptions', then accuse questioners of 'Making Waves'... POO ON THEM!

Dave P. said...

Simply another case of someone "high-profile" having more privileges than us "common" members. Guess what, GAs, the Lord doesn't work that way!

Guy Noir, Private Eye said...

the exclusionary way the Temples work Does Serve One Purpose: It (fuels criticism/cynicism that policies) 'guarantee' that lots of people will claim (some falsify) that they're Full tithe-payers, thus strenghening/reinforcing the Revenue Stream...

Anyone with an ounce of sense knows that lots & lots of LDS ONLY pay tithing so they can have a TR.

Guy Noir, Private Eye said...

btw; does the 1 year "rule" apply in Canada, other N. & S. American countries?
my quess it that it's just where laws require a civil ceremony done 'in public', i.e. european localities...

calimom said...

Marsha - If I sounded condescending to another poster, I sincerely apologize. I certainly didn't mean to imply that I think I am smarter or more enlightened than others - but after re-reading what I wrote I can see how it could be taken that way. It just shocked me a bit how differently I see things now compared to just a short time ago when I would have written a response nearly identical to Sierra's after reading a blog like Rock's. I tried to say that I respect all others wherever they are in their beliefs or faith. I do happen to believe that we are each evolving toward God and I think many of us probably need, at one point or another, the lessons taught us by rigid dogma/religion as found in the current church. I certainly did! (I'm not talking about the eternal lessons that everyone needs as contained in the teachings of Jesus Christ that may be found in the church or outside of it!) Just because I may have learned some of these particular lessons from my church experience, doesn't make me think any better of myself. I KNOW that there are many, many, many more things that I still need to learn that Sierra or others probably excel at!

Alan Rock Waterman said...

According to the folks at Temple Petition, Canada also falls under the wait-a-year rule. Most South American countries do not, as they require weddings to be public.

whitehusky said...

It is not actually best to have a civil ceremony first. If you must have a civil ceremony to satisfy friends and family, do it after the temple sealing. Otherwise you have to wait a year to go through the temple together.

Personally, I think it makes no sense to waste a lot of money on a fancy civil wedding when you can have a one that is beautifully simple in the temple of our God.

Anonymous said...

Whitehusky, if you have the civil "ceremony" after the temple sealing then you aren't really allowing your friends and family to watch you get married because the official marriage took place in the temple. Whatever you did after that would be pretending you were getting married again - a show. Where as the other way around they would actually see you get married and then an official sealing would take place later in the temple. The question is - why the waiting period? And the wording "to satisfy your friends and family" makes them sound like unimportant nuisances.

As to your second point, have you seen how much money is spent on the receptions after these "simple" temple ceremonies?

whitehusky said...

The reality is that the church has a waiting period to go through the temple after a civil ceremony. I therefore think that the temple sealing should take place first. Why make it so you have to wait?

You make a good point about the expensive receptions. One of my cousins had a temple wedding followed by a large reception (tasteful, but also very expensive). Well, the guy turned out to be a real rotten apple. She had to divorce him, less than a year later I think. So the whole expense went *POOF* up in smoke.

I don't think it's wise to have an expensive wedding and/or reception. How about saving the money to celebrate your 50th wedding anniversary instead?

Elizabeth said...

I found this post and all of the comments very interesting. I am a convert to the church. I joined 17 years ago, just before my 19th birthday. My parents were very upset about it. My dad had (still has) very anti-Mormon feelings and even teaches classes about cults (including Mormons). My mom's only real objection was that she wouldn't get to see my wedding. I had no marriage prospects at the time so it didn't worry me too much. I was very active in the church but didn't find anyone to marry until quite a few years later. I got married when I was 31 years old to a non-member. It was absolutely the right decision for me. We had a beautiful wedding that my family and friends were able to attend. I had a discussion with two LDS friends before I got married and we were talking about temple sealings. One of them said that it is the "end of the journey, not the beginning". She talked about it being the ultimate goal, not the start of anything. I loved that point and it has stuck with me ever since. I know plenty of people who had that temple wedding that was so important to them and they are divorced because their spouses were abusers, adulterers, etc. My husband was previously married and has two older children. Before meeting him, I never would have considered marrying someone who had been divorced and wasn't a member of the church. I don't know if my husband will ever join the church and I'm okay with that. I will never regret my decision. I got my endowments many years before I was married and I'm still very active in the church.

In response to several comments: I'm glad that I was older when I was married and became a mother. I would have been a terrible wife at 20 yrs old. I needed those years to grow up and find out who I am. My age has helped me to deal with a lot of marriage stress (including multiple military deployments).

I was fascinated about the history of marriage licenses since my marriage is an interracial one.

Someone mentioned the lessons in Young Women all concentrating on Temple Marriage. I just had this discussion on a recent Girls' Night Out (with all LDS women). We talked about how these lessons imply that getting married in the temple leads to all happy endings like in fairy tales but it doesn't actually prepare any of the YW for what marriage is really like. One of the women had tried to tell it like it is in one of her lessons and was chastised for it. We all agreed that more reality was called for in teaching about marriage and how temple marriage does not ensure happiness.

Anonymous said...

"Why make it so you have to wait?"

A wonderful question to ask the Church.

You seem to be justifying the rules of the Church by citing the rules of the Church. That's fine, but don't expect it to hold much water in a place dedicating to holding a light to the rules of the Church.

--Anthony Bennett

Bradley Barnhart said...

Wow! So much to read in the way of 'comments'. It's a great study.

Rock, I wanted to point out that the Article on Marriage was Section 101 in the 1835 D&C. In later editions it was Section 109.

Some who have commented used the typical LDS claim that since Joseph was on mission in Michigan at the time the Article on Marriage was presented to the conference for vote, that he didn't support it. Rock, you presented the fact that Joseph republished the document later as well. Joseph is on record republishing it at least twice in the 'Times and Seasons' in relation to the John C. Bennett problems to show to the church condemnation to spiritual wifery & polygamy. Joseph Smith, Jr. absolutely supported the Article on Marriage (original D&C 101)

Another issue that was the typical LDS response was in relation to the Nauvoo High Council in August 1843. Most LDS don't realize that both Joseph & Hyrum Smith responded to claims made in the 'Nauvoo Expositor' in the Nauvoo City Council Minutes, which were published in the 'Nauvoo Neighbor' June 19, 1844. (just days before their deaths.) [I have a photocopy of this in my possession] Hyrum specifically denied that the document he read to the High Council in 1843 had anything to do with polygamy in their day. It was certainly not LDS D&C 132 as claimed by the commentor. I'd love to see the 'original' minutes of the Nauvoo High Council. Bring it on! :)

Anonymous said...

Amen! This is spot on. Full of common sense. Thank you brother Waterman for sharing your thoughtful and well stated point of view. We live in a time when so many members of the church no longer have the ability to think for themselves or dare question any of the issues that secretly gnaw away at the foundation of their faith.

Thanks again.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Bradley, thanks for pointing out that the articles on marriage were in section 109, not 134 as I had stated. I've gone back in and made that correction.

Thanks also for your additional information. Hyrum Smith was adamantly opposed to plural marriage, yet I still come across those who are believe they've seen evidence that he supported it. The evidence shows that he was a fiery opponent of the practice, as was his brother, Joseph.

Anonymous said...

I get the feeling as I read over your posts that you're arrogant and you think you know best.

So if you do know best, why not try to help fix things?

People who complain, but never try to *actually* fix things drive me insane. I get what you're doing with this blog is something you think will ultimately help others, but why not actually FIX things.

I have issues with some things that are taught, so I'm working through the proper channels to try to create change. Real, physical, everyone in the Church can see it change.

I don't just write about it.

~Clint~ said...

Anonymous @ March 23, 2011 11:40 AM

Well, I don't think Rock needs me to come to his defense, but just from my perspective he is trying to fix things. As for arrogance, I think it is pretty hard to define. I could say that you sounded arrogant in your reply, and I think you did a little, but at the same time, I genuinely believe you are trying to solve issues the best way you can.

On that note, I am very interested in an example of what you think proper methodology to pursue for fixing things in "The Church" is.

You weren't very specific in your reply above but I can honestly say that if you have specific examples of how you are handling issues you think need correction, or suggestions on how issues such as the one in this thread can best be addressed, I would be very interested in hearing them.

Steven Lester said...

Change? The only changes that would be allowed in the Church are what will not abuse the power that the Brethren enjoy. Indeed, were you to couch the request to change something as a request to increase their power, you would be virtually guaranteed to have it done quickly, but only then.

I never listen to people who are too cowardly to give their names (assumed or otherwise) to accompany their comments and complaints. Identify yourself, or stay silent, please.

Anonymous said...


Want of privacy is not cowardly. But thanks for jumping to conclusions.

Also, it seems that there is a lot of "back-patting" going on in the comments. So excuse someone who is questioning and looking for clarification (what this blog seems to be about) from wanting to have a bit of privacy in case they are attacked as you just did.

I will remain anonymous for now. I had thought about using my only name for future comments since Clint had been amiable, but I will now maintain my privacy.

Anonymous said...

I noticed a typo. I wrote "my only name" instead of "my online name."


Anonymous said...

third times the charm? (it keeps showing up and then disappearing...)


I had typed out a response, but it seems I didn't not hit finish posting it and it's now gone. *sigh*

What I had said is this, the change I'm working on is something I'd like to keep private for now. Sorry, but I feel this is the best option for me.

I started by talking to my bishop, I then worked up the ladder of "command," if you will. I remember a letter being read over the pulpit that asked for those with concerns to take them to the Bishop. He could then refer you to the Stake President, and so on. I did this, and got to talk to a General Authority, who has helped point me to people in the organization who can help me. I don't feel like I'm being shuffled around, because each step has led me one step closer to reaching the right people. I'm finally at the right people.

Was this a quick and easy process? Not so much on the quick, but it was fairly easy. Everyone has been really open to what I'm saying and they have all agreed with me. I don't think this is going to change.

So taking this post into consideration: what is Rick's purpose in this post? To get us back to open marriages? If so, why is he only writing a post about it? Why isn't he (and maybe he is) talking to people? Why isn't he trying to create REAL change?

Also, I feel like some of the connections made are slim at best. I'm a researcher by trade (read: academic) so I am constantly reading things critically. Thinking things like "did that really answer the question?" "does that substantiate his claim?" or "where is the proof of what he's claiming?"

I'm glad to see his citations, and I appreciate the effort behind what he's done. But, I can't help but think a lot of it is conjecture. Claiming to know the real motivations for why things have changed, without substantiating it completely.

(I'm not trying to come across as arrogant. I'm trying to explain why I felt there was a bit of arrogance in what was written. I hope this helps.)

Alan Rock Waterman said...


I have to go with Clint and Steven on this one. It seems to me that opening a dialogue is the first and best way to effect change. The recognition that change within ourselves is best effected through introspection often begins with a discussion among other people. That's what this blog is for: to discuss.

Please notice I said nothing about effecting change within the Church. It is neither my place nor my intention to "fix" the Church. As Steven affirms (quite accurately, I believe), the Brethren are not exactly receptive to suggestions from us mere mundanes. Paul Toscano, the one-time the editor of the Ensign Magazine, wrote an open letter entitled "A Plea to the Leadership: Choose Love, Not Power." The leadership responded by choosing power; they excommunicated him for daring to call the great King Noah and his Priests to repentance.

If I have any motive other than the expression of my opinion, it is to encourage my fellow members to think for themselves. I hope that's what has come through on this piece regarding weddings within the church. It used to be that the doctrine of Free Agency was paramount among the Saints. Today, too many believing members are willing to give away that precious gift of agency to anyone wearing a tie and a priesthood title.

For those who prefer to have all their friends and loved ones present at their wedding, my purpose was to remind them that there is no shame in a church or civil marriage. A public wedding is, and always has been, the only acceptable method by which couples are to be wed in this church. The practice of encouraging that wedding to take place in the temple is a de facto doctrine; that is, it is no doctrine at all, merely a practice that has become the accepted way through custom and unscriptural teachings.

I maintain that no official "doctrine" is valid if it contradicts a formal declaration by the founder of our faith, unless through clear revelation from God himself. I have not yet seen any such revelation.

The only charge God gave me is to fix Rock Waterman. The Church can fix itself.

andrew said...


i don't know how long you have been following this blog, but the reason it sounds like back-patting is because, at least my theory, many of us have come independently to these same conclusions that rock presents. not specifically regarding temple marriages, but what passes for rock-solid doctrine in the minds of the general membership, simply isn't at all, and we have happened upon this blog in our search and discovery process. but that's just my story

something's amiss in the church, and the wonder of the internet has brought like-minded souls together. and honestly, unless you know rock personally, how do you know he, or anyone else, hasn't tried to become an agent of change in between posts and comments? i'll admit readily that i haven't. at all. at least not by picking up the mantle and running head-on in the face of leadership, but i do talk about it amongst family and friends. i've let the church take a back-seat in my life, but i haven't lost my testimony of MY savior, and of the gospel, but in the church itself? not so much

now as far as your academic analysis of rock's ideas, why don't you present your ideas, opinions, and theories on why church policy has changed, and list your sources. or start a rebuttal blog. just don't claim 'revelation' or 'divine inspiration' and site the brethren. i consider that 'begging the question', and don't think it holds much water here

and privacy? it would take quite the internet sleuth to find out who you are, even if you simply chose your first name under 'name/url' option under 'comment as'. that's what i do, and nobody has come knocking on my door or called or emailed me. you could probably find out my address by going through all my posts and other blogs, piecing information together, and using a couple of internet search engine queries. in fact, i'll even challenge you to do so, just for fun. but for MY privacy's sake, if you happen to find me, don't put my address. city will do

Sunbeam said...

I love that the leadership of the church encourage the youth to set goals and continue to raise the bar. Young couples that choose to marry in the temple are blessed with an added spirituality to their union that is just not present in it's counterpart.
This whole post reads spiritual man vs natural man.
Your piece here is more in line with the natural man's desire to continually lower the bar.

I disagree with your assertion that a "sealing is a priesthood ordinance while a wedding is and was always meant to be a public celebration of your union."
Marriage throughout time and across various faiths is and was always performed by clergy/priests and been referred to as "holy" matrimony. It has always been about the sacred union of a man and a woman not a "celebration."
The celebratory gathering is the reception.
I have attended many weddings both in and out of the temple.
All have been followed by joyous celebrations of these unions and for you to imply a temple marriage is less than it's counterpart is disingenuous and leads me to ponder why you would attempt to assert such a bald faced lie.
The truth as you and I both know it Rock is that the only real difference between the two is the one holds the keys that bind for eternity over the other til death do you part.
Temple marriages are always the goal. Implications there may ever be anything to rival one is simply ludicrous.

Dave P. said...


I think you missed the point that Rock very clearly stated within the post itself: There should be no reason to "look down" upon those couples who wish to have a public ceremony prior to being sealed. There's nothing "natural man" about these people who want their families to be a part of their potentially happiest day of their lives. Meanwhile, the church's "raising the bar" of the whole thing has created unrealistic expectations that a lot of people who try to live them perfectly end up being crushed under the burden or feel that they cannot be redeemed when they make a mistake. Meanwhile, with the church issuing more temple recommends and having more young people have more kids, they're securing more tithing income for its pet projects.

The temple recommend is used as a tool for conformity and control. Whereas the church basically says, "If you don't 'qualify' for a temple recommend, you aren't eligible for exaltation," whereas the Savior simply said, "Repent, be baptized, and come unto me with a broken heart and contrite spirit." Nothing about flawless perfection (with the "Be ye therefore perfect" scripture being better translated as "ripe" or "pure"), blind obedience, or even paying to get in.

Why did the temple switch from being a place of public worship where even dances were held to a reclusive place where only the "qualified members" could attend? Because it is full of secrets and has been since Brigham Young turned the endowment from a purification ritual for departing missionaries into a "required" ordinance that deceives the members into swearing an idolatrous blood oath.

As you can see by my words, there's much more to the issue than just civil vs. temple marriage here. We need to be willing to find out the truth behind the origin of the current temple ordinances and strike at the root. But here's a good statement to start with: The only temple in this dispensation that the Lord has accepted is the one in Kirtland. All of the others have been cursed. See Section 124 and the history of the Nauvoo temple to find out why.

Sunbeam said...

@ Dave P
I did not miss the point. I am clearly stating the point attempting to be made here is without merit and in reality serves no man.

In learning there are varied degrees of growth and ability. In public schools you have a good example of this point. As a class/grade of students are presented information they are inevitably going to grasp it at varying speeds based on many factors. When this learning curve is not honored for what it is students are woefully deprived of their full potential.
In math for instance where concepts are built upon one another, a student may become lost easily if concepts are not "line upon line, precept ..." In turn students grasping concepts more readily are stifled when held back to the lowest common denominator. It is truly a lose/lose proposition.

Because some receive a B does not in any way point to failure, merely future growth opportunities and work yet to be done.

Sunbeam said...


What a wrongheaded notion it is, attempting to sell a B as an equivalent of an A.

"...created unrealistic expectations that a lot of people who try to live them perfectly end up being crushed under the burden or feel that they cannot be redeemed"

Christ's atonement negates this foolishness.

Counseling a student to give up hopes of ever getting an A because of one B received? and further preaching all students in future should shoot for the B at best so those that stop at a B will not feel left behind? are the heart of Rock's piece here and have "natural man" written all over it.
He can couch it in a thinly veiled "temple vs civil" and you can go off on infinite tangents ( imagined sinister motives, blood oaths, money grubbing etc.) from there but "Don't get married in the temple" is the quote and the message.

"If you don't 'qualify' for a temple recommend, you aren't eligible for exaltation," whereas the Savior simply said, "Repent, be baptized, and come unto me with a broken heart and contrite spirit." Nothing about flawless perfection”

Exaltation does not equal salvation, two different animals you reference here and they are quite literally worlds apart.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I have to stand with Dave on this one, Sunbeam. You seem to have missed my point entirely.

Being temple worthy is a laudable goal and I am all for it. A couple can, and in my opinion ought to be, "temple worthy" -that is, chaste- at the time of their wedding. It does not automatically follow that the couple's initial wedding should take place in the temple.

According to the law established by our founder, ALL weddings are to take place in public where all are available to witness the occasion. Joseph was very clear on this.

The purpose or object for being "temple worthy" seems to have changed over time. The MIA Presidency seems to have meant to encourage virtue and morality in the youth, but over time, the charge to be "temple worthy", came to be understood (wrongly, I maintain) that the couple should actually have their initial wedding take place in the temple in a closed ceremony, same as in the days of polygamy.

I find no evidence to support this presumption.

If I understand you correctly, Sunbeam, you have presumed I don't support chastity before marriage. You would be mistaken. Chasity is the ideal.

Nothing you have argued convinces me that we have the option to toss out the only manner in which weddings have ever been officially approved in this church, and that is the manner in which the Prophet Joseph INSISTED on. Merely because practice and custom have usurped the doctrine does not nullify it.

You may feel that a public reception is a suitable substitute, since that event is public, but I fail to see how that becomes legitimate. It is the wedding, not some party afterward that is of importance here. The Prophet never said "all receptions in this church should take place in a public place." He said ALL WEDDINGS.

This church is supposed to be guided by direct revelation. No changes in the marriage policy can issue without a valid, public revelation from God, read to the congregation and voted on by the membership after they have had opportunity to individually obtain a witness of the Holy Ghost to confirm to them that this change did indeed come from the true head of the Church, and is not simply a policy change desired by those in power.

No one in the Church, whether member of the MIA board or member of the First Presidency, can overturn a doctrine promulgated by the Prophet merely by wishing it so.

Sunbeam said...

"If I understand you correctly, Sunbeam, you have presumed"
No presumption on my end. Your point stated as clearly as mine, no presumption necessary on either end. This is an interesting habit, this not hearing what is being said and attempting to twist facts for a purpose in which they are not intended.

"Don't get married in the temple." your direct quote and your "valuable counsel to the youth of the church"
"Temple marriages are always the goal. Implications there may ever be anything to rival one is simply ludicrous." my direct quote

All else found herein is of equal worth/truth and is of no benefit to humanity in their daily minute by minute struggles with the natural man.

The prophet Joseph Smith clearly stated (where no presumption is necessary)in the 9th article of faith His belief on this matter that continually plaques you - otherwise Rock we would still be functioning under Mosaic law.

It is wise to receive as much personal revelation as possible which is most difficult if our energies are continually engaged in pontificating on our own musings based on our continual often misguided presumptions.

Simplicity is key.

This is the way of the Master.
To be as a little child and wonder at the absolute, pure simplicity of it all is His counsel.
Have a glorious morning my old friend.

~Clint~ said...

Sunbeam, I’m not sure what you are trying to accomplish by calling people friend "sarcastically".

Here are some of the issues/questions I have in relation to this topic and “Raising the Bar”.

D&C 132 ensures the highest degree of the celestial kingdom to those sealed in the temple, but there are a few catches. First, the new and everlasting covenant is polygamy, requiring the sealing at least 2 women to one man.

Brigham Young set the Bar in this case. He did have the advantage of not having to have his wives die before he could get remarried though.

How is it that celestial marriage is so different from the revelation that created it. In D&C 132 it states there is only one man on the earth at a time who can perform this ordinance, Joseph Smith in this case. No-matter who this “one man” is today, this would make a lot of invalid temple marriages/sealing.

Another confusing issue is once this “New and Everlasting Covenant” is sealed by “the Holy Spirit of Promise” you are guaranteed the highest degree of the celestial kingdom, no matter what you do. D&C 132 is very clear that “the Holy Spirit of Promise” is Joseph Smith, or by inference who-ever the “one man” on the earth with the sealing power is. This concept “of a Get into Heaven Free Card" is so contrary to Gospel Principles that I don’t even know where to start. Further complicating the matter is why these keys belong to Hyrum Smith in 1841 (D&C 124:124) and Joseph Smith it 1843.

I expect there is an argument to this that God (or the Brethren) changed it to how it is now at some point, but this creates a whole new issue. When will it change again and if these things can all be changed then there is no guarantee in them anyway.

Why are you (we, me, any of us) fine with all of these doctrinal and policy changes that have completely changed the nature of the revelation of celestial marriage.

If I am wrong about my assertions please enlighten me, but from where I am, I just don’t see the consistency you are talking about in this “supposed” raising of the bar. The bar hasn’t really been raised, it has been completely re-created.

Jean said...

Those of you who are feeling like you actually need to DO something in order to allow the church leaders to know how you feel and to ask the very simple question, "Why do worthy couples have to wait a year just because they choose to have a civil ceremony first so that they may include all loved ones?"
There is something simple you can do; sign the temple wedding petition. Will the leaders make any changes? I doubt it but that doesn't absolve us of the responsibility to let them know that they are making a grave mistake in pitting a bride's love for her mother against her allegiance to the church. This is cruel and unnecessary. There is a map on the website showing some of the areas where the church has no control over the civil part of the ceremony which actually IS the marriage ceremony. A sealing can occur after one year correct? That must mean that it IS a separate ordinance. Outside of the church nobody has an eternal wedding ceremony called a sealing.
Rock is correct in saying that Britain, Holland and most South American countries require a civil ceremony to make it legal. The law has the power to say that a marriage is valid; the Church; seals it by the power of God if that is what you want. It is no problem whatsoever to those faithful saints in other countries. They do not think their system is inferior and would be very insulted to be told that it is. You may read more and sign the petition if you wish at.

Anonymous said...

Interesting post. My husband and I got married in the temple but also had a wonderful outdoor ring ceremony where we had our bridal party walk down the isle, explained a little bit about the temple wedding, exchanged rings, and expressed our feelings of love to each other. Many of our friends and much of my husband's family are not LDS so it was a great way to include everyone and enjoy the day. I would recommend it to others because in the temple you do not get a chance to really express how you are feeling and why you love your spouse, etc. I know some people are against ring ceremonies in the church, and even our bishop kind of made fun of us, so we just did it off the grid and it was wonderful.


Alan Rock Waterman said...

That must have been some years ago, Em. Today the leadership is very firm about not allowing couples to have ring ceremonies afterward. I don't know where they think they have the authority to ban the practice, but many couples will be meekly obedient when their bishop tells them not to do it.

Of course, since most receptions take place in church cultural halls, the local leaders do have the ability to prevent ring ceremonies from going forward.

The frantic reaction some local leaders demonstrate when they see a ring ceremony start up, you'd think the couple was about to have sex right there on the table. The unrighteous and completely undoctrinal control these guys think they have over the marriage of two sovereign individuals never ceases to amaze me.

Dave P. said...

It's not just over marriage anymore, Rock. Keeping up with the discussions on recent SL Trib articles has been very enlightening as people tell their stories. Even had one guy relate a story about how the church leaders told his parents to write the kids out of their wills and leave everything to the church instead.

The sad thing is they can claim a request like that is justified courtesy of the covenant people are tricked into taking during the endowment as they swear an idolatrous blood oath to consecrate everything to the church and not of God.

Dave P. said...

I found the account that I mentioned above:

"My parent's are retired, and very, very TBM. They believe and obey everything, absolutely, 100%. If the COB decreed that they should sell everything they own, give 100% of everything over to TSCC, and move into a commune, they would do it. No questions asked. So as they've been retired I've watched the COB:

"- Send them on 2 missions outside of their home
- Assign them to 2 missions while staying at their home

"On one mission, they put over 50,000 miles on their own, personal, vehicle in one year. They were driving all over the damned country side, giving out free BoMs and Bibles. Couple missionaries are required to support themselves. So while on these missions they essentially had two homes to maintain. The house the mission provided them in one area was not provisioned with dishes and other necessary items, meaning they had to stock and purchase these items themselves. While on this mission my daughter had a major surgery. My mother called me, crying on the phone, because she wanted to be there with my daughter. They were very close, and my mother ALWAYS wants to be involved with her children and grandchildren. I told her that we would be ok, and I called her a couple of times a day. We were doing ok. Sure, I missed her. Mission rules stated that she could not come home to visit, for any reason. My mother was suffering over this. One of my siblings told her to just hop on a plane. What would the COB do about it anyway? There was no way my obedient TBM mother would even consider such a thing. So there she stayed, worrying over my DD and desparately wishing she was at the hospital.

"A mission that was local to their home required that they feed an office of volunteers, using their own funds. So everyday they made lunch for a dozen or so people, they did this for a year.

"A mission that is ongoing, and hasn't stopped for over a decade is hours and hours of typing genealogy information into a computer. I would estimate that they spend about 2 hours a day on this.


Dave P. said...

"And lastly, I guess somewhere recently an arrogant, self serving, money-grubbing church someone or other declared that parents should not leave their inheritance to their children. It was declared that their children should be able to take care of themselves. And if they couldn't, well too bad! That'll learn 'em! And that the church needed their inheritance more than their children did. hmmmph. On a personal level, yes, I can take care of myself. I have siblings who are struggling, and could use help more than the COB needs more money. But what bugs me the most on this is the absolute utter balls with no shame. They have milked my parents over and over and over their entire lives, and even into their retirement years, and they want to continue doing so even after they are dead! It is appalling! Scam artists do less and spend years in prison!

"To me all of these things that the COB encourages, asks and requires of old folks to do is unethical beyond belief. They are a multi-billion dollar organization that is very aware of the influence they have over people's very thoughts and actions. An influence that they constantly cultivate, nurture, and enforce correction when the influence is questioned. I'm no longer prescribe to any religion, or belief system. I do remember from my church going days what was taught as Christ like. And taking advantage of people, especially old folks, ain't it! It is the behavior of a CULT.

"Missions are not to bring in new converts to the Mormon Church, Missions are to de-program the missionary and set them up to be lifetime paying members.

"Missions for the Mormon Church serve to take a young man out of his element and deprive him of his family, friends and familiarity - all the while cramming his entire day full of rigorous priorities centered around obedience to the Cult.

"Two years of this and you have a human being who will spend a lifetime obeying the Cult - and two of the most important aspects: Will pay a lifetime of $$$, have children and repeat the process over."

Alan Rock Waterman said...

A real shame. Thanks for posting that, Dave.

Has anyone else noticed that just as the federal government is getting more ballsy and arrogant in their insistence that the citizens are the government's property to do with as they please, so has the Church(tm)accelerated its infringement of it's member's time and money? Tyranny is tyranny, whether instituted by government or by religion, to paraphrase Thomas Jefferson's viewpoint.

doyle_megan said...

You know what I hate? I hate that the church allows people to marry in the temple for "time" only. What's that about? If you're going to marry for "time" only, don't even bother to go to the temple. Besides that, I guess you don't really care about eternal marriage since you'd rather be like the world and marry as many spouses as you please while you can grab 'em and go ... right here on earth, and hang heaven. What's the good that attitude, anyway? It certainly isn't celestial.

~Clint~ said...

doyle_megan said:
I hate that the church allows people to marry in the temple for "time" only.
What's that about? If you're going to marry for "time" only, don't even bother to go to the temple.

A scenario where this might come up is a woman who wanted to be remarried after the death of her husband, but had already been sealed to a previous man. For example, if your husband died, and you were to remarry, you could only be married for time. If on the other hand, you were to die, and your husband was to remarry, he could be sealed to his new bride as long as she had not been previously sealed to another man. Am I to understand that you would be against women in this situation being married in the “for time” in the temple ?
doyle_megan said:
Besides that, I guess you don't really care about eternal marriage since you'd rather be like the world and marry as many spouses as you please while you can grab 'em and go ... right here on earth, and hang heaven. What's the good that attitude, anyway? It certainly isn't celestial.
I must admit I am not entirely sure who this addressed to, but let’s talk a little bit about what is “celestial”.

Lets start with a summary of the revelation that celestial /eternal-marriage (originally referred to as the New-and-Everlasting-Covenant) is based on, which is D&C 132:
1. The doctrine of having many wives and concubines = the New-and-Everlasting-Covenant
2. If ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned
3. All covenants, not sealed by the Holy-Spirit-of-promise, have an end when men are dead
4. The Holy-Spirit-of-promise is a single person (only one on the earth at any given time)
5. If you are sealed by Holy-Spirit-of-promise into the New-and-Everlasting-Covenant, then you are guaranteed the highest degree of glory and to become a god (unless you murder someone who is innocent)
6. If you are NOT sealed by one with authority into the New-and-Everlasting-Covenant, then you are damned (partly defined as never being able to reach the highest degree of glory and/or becoming a god, and also that you are a servant to those who do meet the conditions listed in item #5)

Continued on next post ...

~Clint~ said...

Well, I had posted a continuation of the previous comment, but it didn't take, and I didn't save it and don't feel like trying to write it again, so there is that.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

All is not lost, Clint! Your part two ended up in my email box, so I'm posting it below.

ke da wei said...

I think the main reason they allow people to marry in the temple for time is to reinforce the expectation that "righteous" people always marry in the temple.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

(Below is the continuation of the post Clint left yesterday. For some reason it doesn't want to stick here even when I post it -Rock)

Clint Said:
Now I imagine that what I have written here is pretty far from your idea of what celestial-marriage is, and that at the very least you don’t believe that polygamy is synonymous with it and don’t believe there is only one man on the earth who can perform this ordinance. The free pass to Godhood part seems contradictory me, but you might not have a problem with that, since it works in your favor. Still, this is what the source of the doctrine on eternal-marriage says.
It has been changed to be more palatable to the current membership. So the question that I have is: do you think that the current incarnation is different because God changed it (without giving a revelation to the whole church) or do you think the brethren just changed it as they went?
If the brethren just changed it without Gods word, well, let’s just say the brethren trumping God doesn’t sound quite right. And if God changed it, well then it doesn’t really matter, because He might just change anything at any time, and He may, or may not, let us know what the new rules are, but that would kind of makes it hard for us to exercise faith in Him.
Now, I am not sure where your level of hostility is coming from, and am guessing this is just a reflective reaction to church doctrine designed to make an individual motivated by telling them they are better than other people.
But if I am wrong and you have actually have any knowledge about what you are talking about as opposed to self-righteous ramblings and accusations, please explain the current doctrine of celestial-marriage, why it has changed from its polygamous origins and show that you have some understanding of what you are espousing as “the only righteous way”.
Otherwise, I think it is pretty fair for anyone to simply dismiss you as self-righteous. Unfortunately, I imagine that as your words seem designed to provoke, insult and anger people that this may very well be the result for some. Still please do continue to read and reply as I am most curious to hear any response you have and I am being totally sincere in that if you have the answers to these sorts of questions I am extremely curious to hear them.

doyle_megan said...

Clint, if the Lord meant for people to have multiple spouses, he would not have sent down just Adam with just Eve. That's one man and one woman.

Truly, I cannot see how you can object to reserving the temple for eternal marriages only. If we're going to follow celestial law, let's follow it. Let's not walk in the ways of an Esau.

Mike S said...


Great post. I noticed it when someone referenced it in an essay I posted yesterday on W&T entitled "If I Were In Charge: Separate Marriage From Sealing", and I've encouraged people to come read yours in the comments. This one is more in depth than mine (as are all of your essays).

Thank you for this - it's quite good.

~Clint~ said...

doyle_megan, honestly I have serious doubts that being sealed to multiple wives and many of the other requirements of D&C 132 are essential to enter into the presence of God, but the inconsistency in front of me is that the doctrine from which all this derives states otherwise.

I am therefore left in a state where I must either question the doctrine at the center of the idea of celestial/eternal marriage, or embrace it as correct as it is written. At this point I lean toward the first.

Perhaps if you can define what you mean by Celestial Law and refer to the doctrinal source from which you pull that definition I would understand your point more clearly and we would have a common reference point from which to frame our discussion.

As for "how I can object to reserving the temple for eternal marriages only" I do not see any doctrinal evidence that this was the intent. Can you explain what doctrinal foundation you base this assertion on?

I wonder seriously at the evolution and/or changes that have occurred from the inception of the scriptural basis for eternal-marriage to the present day incarnation which shows little to no resemblance to its doctrinal origin.

It seems to me that main thing that has really changed is the Church has gone from the early secret and veiled doctrine of plural-marriage to the present secret and veiled doctrine of celestial marriage and I find the scriptural evidence to support that either are directly from God lacking.

This is an important issue to me, and I will continue to look into it, but that is where I am at right now.

doyle_megan said...

It seems that the comments have disappeared.

The Lord set forth the pattern of marriage with Adam and Eve: one man, one woman.

Celestial law is once married, always married. Therefore, taking "temporal" spouses for time only violates the law of the Lord. Obviously, these type of marriages don't belong in the temple.

~Clint~ said...

doyle_megan: has been having some global issues the past couple days, including not allowing new posts for a day or two and also that some posts that looked like they had stuck disappeared. Sadly, this appears to have affected many if not all of its sites.

To the topic.

I have a friend who thought that "Celestial law is once married, always married". His wife was unhappy. She moved back to live with her parents, later met another man and wanted a divorce so she could be remarried in the temple.

My friend wrote the first presidency saying that he did not want his eternal marriage dissolved and he knew it could be worked out. The first presidency granted the temple-divorce in-spite of this, with no response or explanation to him, and his ex-wife was sealed to another man in the temple. So it doesn't sound to me like the First-Presidency believes: "Celestial law is once married, always married"

As to the statement: Therefore, taking "temporal" spouses for time only violates the law of the Lord

This sounds like something I might hear in church, but my question would be, what law are you talking about, and what is the scriptural or revelatory basis it comes from?

Clint said...

(Continued from May 10th post)

Now I imagine that what I have written here is pretty far from your idea of what celestial-marriage is, and that at the very least you don’t believe that polygamy is synonymous with it and don’t believe there is only one man on the earth who can perform this ordinance. The free pass to Godhood part seems contradictory me, but you might not have a problem with that, since it works in your favor. Still, this is what the source of the doctrine on eternal-marriage says.
It has been changed to be more palatable to the current membership. So the question that I have is: do you think that the current incarnation is different because God changed it (without giving a revelation to the whole church) or do you think the brethren just changed it as they went?
If the brethren just changed it without Gods word, well, let’s just say the brethren trumping God doesn’t sound quite right. And if God changed it, well then it doesn’t really matter, because He might just change anything at any time, and He may, or may not, let us know what the new rules are, but that would kind of makes it hard for us to exercise faith in Him.
Now, I am not sure where your level of hostility is coming from, and am guessing this is just a reflective reaction to church doctrine designed to make an individual motivated by telling them they are better than other people.
But if I am wrong and you have actually have any knowledge about what you are talking about as opposed to self-righteous ramblings and accusations, please explain the current doctrine of celestial-marriage, why it has changed from its polygamous origins and show that you have some understanding of what you are espousing as “the only righteous way”.
Otherwise, I think it is pretty fair for anyone to simply dismiss you as self-righteous. Unfortunately, I imagine that as your words seem designed to provoke, insult and anger people that this may very well be the result for some. Still please do continue to read and reply as I am most curious to hear any response you have and I am being totally sincere in that if you have the answers to these sorts of questions I am extremely curious to hear them.

doyle_megan said...

The Lord ordained marriage to be eternal.

It's just that simple.

Any other deviation from this plan is not according to his will.

P.S. I feel sorry for your friend.

whitehusky said...

Temporal marriage is of man's making. The Lord's way is eternal marriage. It seems to me that anyone who takes a wife for "time only" does not love and respect the daughter of God he is taking. Any real marriage is forever. Anything less is just meaningless.

doyle_megan said...

Let's review temporal marriages, shall we? Now we have so-called "gay" marriages that are considered legal by temporal law. People are always busy convincing themselves that their laws mean something when it's the Lord's law that matters.

~Clint~ said...

I am confused when those who hold the "supposed" standard of truth the highest, while waving it around in the face of all who disbelieve, seem to have absolutely no interest in, or ability to, produce any standard of evidence.

So my questions are:

whitehusky: Is there any revelatory and/or scriptural basis for your comment?

doyle_megan: When you say it is "the Lord's law that matters", what Law are you referring to, and where is it written?

andrew said...

i think we need to define what "marriage" is to everyone. let me start by saying that i believe marriage is to be a decision made between two persons, in which no external entity has any right to decide its validity

i would go as far to say a common-law marriage is just as valid in the eyes of the lord as one sanctioned by the state (which, in my opinion, has no real benefit to the couple and is only done for legal/record keeping purposes), and the church(tm) has made itself, and thus by representation the lord, a slave to the state

whitehusky said...

Clint, if you don't know that the Lord's ways are eternal and his laws are eternal, I suggest you read all the standard works again.

As for the question about the Law of the Lord, I'd say it refers to giving your whole heart to the Lord and obeying him in all things. The only way you're ever going to do that is to develop a personal relationship with the Lord (yes, the Lord, and by that I mean Jesus Christ) and walk with him.

Andrew, the Lord will determine which marriages are valid. Absolutely. Now, if someone lives by the light of Christ to the best of his ability, he may in fact have a valid marriage, while someone who is married in the temple and breaks his covenant does not.

Again, it's the Lord, not the state or the individual, who determines the actual legitimacy of anything, especially marriage.

~Clint~ said...


You got me, I guess I need to read all the standard works again since I don't know the scripture that substantiates your comment that people who aren't married in the temple don't really love each other and that their marriage is meaningless.

whitehusky said...

How about this for a start?

"For God doth not walk in crooked paths, neither doth he turn to the right hand nor to the left, neither doth he vary from that which he hath said, therefore his paths are straight, and his course is one eternal round." (D&C 3:2)

The Lord is our Eternal God. He does not substitute eternal love for temporal satisfaction.

Yes, I would suggest you reread all the standard works, if you think temporal law has any significance with the Lord. All his laws are eternal.

"Wherefore, verily I say unto you that all things unto me are spiritual, and not at any time have I given a law which was temporal; neither any man, nor the children of men; neither Adam, your father, whom I created." (D&C 29:34)

~Clint~ said...

Your scriptural references talk about the nature of God, but they say NOTHING about marriage or eternal marriage.

Its origin is all from D&C 131 and 132, which Joseph Smith chose not to present to the Church, and which as we all know is heavily contingent upon the principle of polygamy.

In spite of that the LDS church has had evolving doctrine on this ever since Brigham Young produced it. Yet no-one has ever received any further scriptural revelation on this. It is all secret hand-shakes, politics behind closed doors and evolving temple ceremonies.

Temple Marriage is not mentioned in Old or New Testament, or even the Book of Mormon.
Why? Because God didn't think it was important enough? or maybe he just wanted to only save a few people born after 1841?

The most direct scriptural quote I can find from Christ on marriage says: "For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven."

And of course, people can find a 1000 reasons why He didn't really mean this statement, but will cling with mathematical literalness to whatever scripture supports their chosen belief system.

So, personally I think your scriptural evidence for this is laughable.

But if it makes you feel better to think that you are better than other people because you are married in the temple

And if it makes you think you and your spouse love each other more than other people and that you are part of the elite .0001% of marriages that really matter to God, whereas 99.9999% of marriages that have ever occurred on earth are meaningless events between people who don't really care about each other ...

Well then, believe what you need to believe to feel good about yourself.

Anonymous said...

What I appreciated most about your post is the approach to accepting others and yourself wherever you are at. I find many in and out of the church that struggle to truly accept and love themselves and/or others when they aren't in the same place or state of progression and learning as them. Fortunately, God doesn't suffer from this - because I am not in the same place as him.

I'm not on board with all the things you present and I'd look to the current prophets as a guide on how the Lord would have me live and then apply my own agency and faith to understand what I need to do.

Thanks for the article.

~Clint~ said...

@ Anon on June 26, 2011 4:57 PM

In regard to your comment: "I'd look to the current prophets as a guide on how the Lord would have me live and then apply my own agency and faith to understand what I need to do."

The phrase "current prophets" is key, because as we know they change their mind on policy frequently. And this article is talking about policy that has been re-branded as pseudo sacred bureaucracy .

Taking on the title of Prophet, Seer and Revelator means nothing if the person can’t actually fulfill the roles.The song should go:

... to teach us that thou requirest polygamy, then condemnest polygamy, art named Adam, then art not named Adam, denieth blacks the priesthood, then giveth blacks the priesthood, thinketh civil rights is a communist conspiracy, then thinketh they’re OK, hateth gay marriage ...

Anonymous said...

i saw a Cartoon this week i will not say where. The Couple where lying in Bed clothed side by side. Banner saying just married accross the Bed. Caption Said: The Female saying, "I just want to let you know that I do not believe in Sex after marriage either".

The saddest men and sometimes women will be the Bride or Groom or both after their Temple Wedding Night. It will amount to the start of a quick finish.

So get Married in the Regular way 1st Have Sex and if somthing does not happen just have it annuled and move on. Leave the Sealing for later. If at all. Gives you time to work out the kinks and get on the same track. Many Men and some Women think that Getting married gives you a license to have Sex when ever you want. In 2011 that is just not so. If you have not talked about it then you might be to different ends of the Mormon Spectrum The fairly Sexually Normal person vs a Reproductionist Extremeist.

You also have Size and Compatibility and basic desire mixed with Reglious Aggenda.

Some people feel that less Sex some how Honors God more and they really want to Honor God, plus your to big/small Cum to quickly or she flat backs, or the guy never lets her on Top, or worse you think one position is it. Or you won't get naked. All in all Sexual Compatibility need to come first.

Anonymous said...

Of the small present of Marriages that are ended because of failure to cunsummate, vastly most of them have to do with religious people. Usuall the female but sometimes the male.

Doubting Thomas said...

I doubt the long-term value of this policy. Poor feelings and negative experiences can last a life-time.

So much good would come from celebrating marriages where there are non-members closely associated with the bride and groom.

Reason leads me to believe this policy will change in the future.


Alan Rock Waterman said...

I sure hope so, Thomas. In the meantime, the best course is to boycott a practice that is neither scriptural nor beneficial.

Brian said...

Since I haven't read through all of the post I don't know if I am reiterating something that may have already been pointed out. But it seems to me that it would be just as easy to have the temple ordinance first and then a public ceremony display later. It seems like a lot of hand ringing over what appears to me to be a minor logistical impediment. If the temple ordinance has great import to you it would be foolish not to take care of that first. The following public display can easily be scheduled in such a way as to not exclude anyone and a ceremony provided to make it "official" in the minds of all those deprecating the temple ordinance. How the logistics are handled appear to me to be more a reflection of the priorities, maturity and dedication of those making the choice than in a uncaring, unfeeling or demanding church leadership forcing the hand of those seeking the temple blessings.

Brian said...

While this issue in my mind is really a "non-issue" as it appears to me to be simple quibbling over logistics which are easily controlled by those seeking temple blessings there is a real question in my mind regarding the difference in the view of Common Law marriage vs. Statute marriage. Before licensing (which is simply contracting with the state to receive permission to do something which you can already do by right without the permission)most everyone in America was married by common law. Now it often is viewed simply as "shacking up" rather than being a "legitimate" marriage. Common law marriage is "lawful" in every state in the union. Now before anyone jumps all over me for saying this by pointing out those states which allegedly have abolished common law marriage, I must point out that the common law is the source of the Constitutional limitations on government. It is the law of the common man which is that law accepted only by common consent. Yes, I know that many reading this are going to be jumping up and down to "school" me, but ultimately the common law recognizes the rights of man. Crime under the common law can only occur if someone is damaged or injured by the willful acts of another. Statutory crime on the other hand is a crime created by going against the dictates of the state whether or not a real person has been harmed or even cares. Licensing allows the state to have some legitimacy in exerting control over you, your family, and your children whenever they wish to exercise the terms of that contract which you entered into willingly. Why would anyone want to let the government into their marriage or family I don't know. But a carefully crafted written contract permitting loving arbitration of friends and/or family in case of a breach would be preferable in my mind to the abomination which now takes place in "family courts". Without contracting with the state by begging for a license or permission to do what you already can do by right I believe there is greater chance for freedom and equitable solutions in case a marriage fails. While not all states "facilitate" common law marriages in order to favor the revenue generating licensing, child protection services, and family court industries of the state, all states ultimately must recognize a marriage entered into by common law. So the attitude that somehow a common law marriage is not legal or lawful forces couples into the hands of a corrupt state contract which I for one intend not to enter into again. When I marry again, which I have hopes to do at some point, I will be attempting to marry in the temple by common right which is what the first saints all did and which is still legal and lawful to do in this country.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Right you are, Brian. All it takes for a couple to be married is that they decide they are married. They can certify their marriage on paper if they wish, but no license is required. After all, the definition of "license" is permission to do something that would otherwise be illegal or unlawful.

There is nothing unlawful about two people joining themselves together in holy matrimony.

Here is all the proof necessary that a couple is married:

They claim to be married.

They have physically consummated that marriage.

They cohabit.

If there are children running around, so much the better. That's evidence of a marriage.

When Connie and I were married, we were young and stupid, so we proudly framed our fancy marriage license and hung it on the wall.

Many years later, we took that license down, because we were ashamed that we had ever sought permission from government to do something God had already approved of.

Anonymous said...

I guess I'm a little late to this party =)
Last time I was at the temple participating in an endowment, I recall references to the law of the land in respect to one of the covenants, specifically whether or not one was in violation of that covenant. So apparently the laws of the land to matter to the Lord. Relating to common-law marriages, they are sanctioned by the church (very discreetly.) I'm referencing my own experiences here. One fine couple we taught and baptized in the Philippines were common law. The law of the land in the Philippines stated that no divorce was allowed (unless you could bribe judges & gov't officials with $10-50K, but that's another story.) He had separated from his previous wife (forget why) and was living common law with his current wife. They were able to be baptized, he received the Priesthood and became a branch president a couple years later. I didn't hear anything about the temple so I'm not sure there. Again, the laws of the land DO matter to the Lord. I think that he realizes that we live on earth and are subject to earthly governments, (Article of Faith 12 anyone?) and that sometimes when the earthly government and celestial law are mutually exclusive, he defers to the laws of the land, and I do not believe we will be unduly penalized for it. I can imagine him thinking that he'll let earthly governments have their fun, but in the end, he'll have the last laugh.
One obstacle I see often in church is that in the our effort to do things right, we wind up treating people poorly (in violation of the second great commandment.) Punishing people who opt to have a civil ceremony by not allowing them to be sealed for one year hence is in my humble opinion, one of these times.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Megan,You're never too late to this party.

A common law marriage is consistent with the laws of the land, which is in turn consistent with the law of God; requiring a couple to obtain marriage license in order to be wed is not. The precise meaning of the "laws of the land" is often misunderstood within the church. For an accurate definition of the term, please see here:

Anna Buttimore said...

Lucky me. I had a lovely traditional wedding ceremony in the chapel of the ward meetinghouse with our non-member families taking full part. We then had the reception in the cultural hall, and were waved off to the London Temple where we were the only "live" sealing of the day - a Saturday in August. It was perfect in every way, and the sealing was so meaningful because it really did "set the seal" on the marriage. I really hope the petition is successful and US saints can enjoy this sort of perfect day. I even got to have two wedding dresses - a gold and green one for the chapel ceremony, and a temple standard one for the sealing.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

THAT is the perfect kind of wedding day I like to hear about, Anna.

gerry said...

Be careful, you are getting very close to the point the church will find you as an apostate because you are getting way to close to discovering the whole truth or untruth about mormonism and how it contradicts itself and changes the rules as it becomes convenient.I am surprised you are so open with your thoughts and knowledge.On your mission if you were reading the jd you would have been counseled if you continued to read it you would have been sent home from your mission.I don't think reading and learning outside the bounds the church has set is allowed.The only reason I am still a member of record is because my children have ased me not to have my name removed.I have learnd too much to be a follower of anyone but Christ ,My Savior. God bless you and keep you strong and thanks for sharing your knowledge

gerry said...

Be careful, you are getting very close to the point the church will find you as an apostate because you are getting way to close to discovering the whole truth or untruth about mormonism and how it contradicts itself and changes the rules as it becomes convenient.I am surprised you are so open with your thoughts and knowledge.On your mission if you were reading the jd you would have been counseled if you continued to read it you would have been sent home from your mission.I don't think reading and learning outside the bounds the church has set is allowed.The only reason I am still a member of record is because my children have ased me not to have my name removed.I have learnd too much to be a follower of anyone but Christ ,My Savior. God bless you and keep you strong and thanks for sharing your knowledge

Gerry said...

Be careful, you are getting very close to the point the church will find you as an apostate because you are getting way too close to discovering the whole truth or untruth about Mormonism and how it contradicts itself and changes the rules as it becomes convenient.I am surprised you are so open with your thoughts and knowledge.On your mission if you were reading the JD you would have been counseled if you continued to read it you would have been sent home from your mission.I don't think reading and learning outside the bounds the church has set is allowed.The only reason I am still a member of record is because my children have asked me not to have my name removed.I have learned too much to be a follower of anyone but Christ ,My Savior. God bless you and keep you strong and thanks for sharing your knowledge

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I recall in my institute days there was something floating around to the effect that the Church discouraged the reading of the Journal of Discourses, which only peaked my interest. Sometime in my twenties I was able to purchase a full set and set out to read all 26 volumes. I petered out somewhere in the Taylor administration, but I became convinced at the time that those doctrines the Church had de-emphasized -plural marriage, blood atonement, Adam/God, Seed of Cain- were evidence that the Church had fallen away from its roots.

Now, of course, I'm of the opinion that it was the ADOPTION of those teachings that began the Church's slide into apostasy, not the abandonment of them. That's when I began to judge the true doctrine by what Joseph Smith actually taught openly, rather than what Brigham Young said Joseph taught him privately.

So I can see why the corporate Church would rather pretend the JD doesn't exist. It would have been better for the Saints if those old conference addresses had never been delivered.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I choose a civil marriage because of extended family being non-members and therefore unable to attend the temple. My husband is still trying to let go of the anger he had over the various priesthood leaders who refused to let us be wed in "their" chapel or stake center because they thought we were unworthy or planning a shotgun wedding.

I still do not reget waiting to be sealed, despite the comments made and the gossip spread.

I put my family first, for that I will not be punished nor will I let the condescension of imperfect people bring me down!

Anonymous said...

Hi Alan,

Very interesting post! However, I think you misrepresented one section: You said, "Brigham Young admitted to not being a prophet (JD 5:77)"... I read JD 5:77 and Young said "I don't profess to be SUCH a Prophet as were Joseph Smith..."

Young said "SUCH a Prophet", which to me means - not as the same level as JS, but still a prophet nonetheless. The word "SUCH" changes the meaning. Your sentence omitted the word "such." Your thoughts?

With that said - I'm enjoying all of your posts and have felt the same on many issues you have discussed. However, I've never been able to back-up or get confirmation on my thoughts, until now.

I was brought up in the Church.

Looking forward to reading a lot more on your blog.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I take Brigham's statement to mean that he does not receive direct revelation or prophecies such as Joseph Smith or Daniel were known for. The rest of his sentence , "but I am a Yankee guesser" implies that he has the knowledge and common sense to extrapolate from scripture (and the teachings of the prophet Joseph Smith)further light and knowledge.

The Saints who elected to follow Brigham Young did not do so with the expectation that he was the prophetic successor to Joseph Smith. They chose him because he persuaded the saints that the authority to lead the Church lay in the twelve apostles as a body. In Brigham's lifetime, whenever someone referred to "the Prophet" it was never presumed they were speaking of the current president of the Church, but of the late prophet Joseph Smith. In the minds of the early Saints, there was only one prophet, and it was not Brigham Young, George Cannon, Lorenzo Snow, or Wilford Woodruff.

This idea of the president being a prophet, seer, and revelator on a par with Joseph Smith did not enter the common thinking until sometime in the mid twentieth century, and has become a part of our common myth.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your getting back to me. You do raise some interesting and valid points. Why then did Brigham Young say that everything he said was scripture, and also made many prophecies?

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