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Nine Moons » Blog Archive : Non-Members at the Wedding and a Fair Deal » Non-Members at the Wedding and a Fair Deal

Non-Members at the Wedding and a Fair Deal

Seth - June 17, 2009

If you’ve been hanging around the Mormon online community a while, you know that non-member family members at an LDS wedding is a sore spot. To date, I must have heard half a dozen accounts of people who regretted not having non-LDS parents present at the marriage ceremony. In the worst cases, relations with the in-laws were sometimes even damaged by the slight.

But what do you do about it? No temple recommend – no admittance. The end, right?

There are a variety of coping solutions for the prospective newlyweds that I’ve heard of. One is to pick the default option, and leave the non-members in the care of some temple staff who can explain the temple and maybe find them something to do.

I dislike this option. For one, I’ve been to several temples and, unless it happens to be Temple Square, Salt Lake City, there frankly isn’t a lot to do – except maybe watch a cheesy Church video and stroll the grounds.

Another option I’ve heard in the online community is to simply hold a marriage ceremony somewhere else first, and then go to the temple. This has it’s advantages. For one, the non-members are much less likely to feel like they missed the “main event” and will have an opportunity to have a moment of solidarity with all the other well-wishers. Then when you have the temple sealing, there will be a little less of a sting to it for the non-member parents.

The problem this runs up against, is possibly Church policy. Someone more knowledgeable than me will have to chime in here. But I think that having an actual civil wedding prior to the Sealing ceremony in the temple means you have to wait a while before you can have the temple ceremony. Handbook gurus feel free to fill in the details here. Some may also get disapproving mutters from Mormon relatives – if you care about that sort of thing.

Another option is to elope. Ditch the entire family, and seal the deal yourselves. An option fraught with it’s own set of troubles – depending on your family.

I’d like to propose an alternate route – make the sealing ceremony private. Just the bride and groom and temple sealer. Then have a ring exchanging ceremony later – somewhere else. You could have a Bishop, or preferred pastor, or even a close friend or family member “officiate” over the ceremony. You could hold it in a backyard, a church, or any venue you want. Make it as simple or elaborate as you want, as formal or informal as you want. All family are present and none of them feel like they are being excluded from something everyone else is “in” on.

The disadvantage is that it takes some of the “family” aspect out of the sealing ceremony. We are a family Church, and our theology is about binding not only husbands and wives, but children and grandchildren with parents and grandparents. That aspect is lost here, and family is pushed out of yet another ritual in some small way. It’s not like our modern society needs another move toward individuality at the expense of community.

Another disadvantage is that it possibly denies the Mormon parents the opportunity to emotionally “say goodbye” to their son or daughter.

Honestly, I think you could get around this if traditions and expectations could bend appropriately. Hold a send-off party or something at the venue. Then the family waits until the newlyweds return – then you have the ring ceremony, kiss the bride, and all that. It could be rather nice, depending on how you handled it.

Of course, this isn’t going to appease mom if she’s been plotting and scheming the wedding, and how it will be, for years now… Yeesh…

But anyway – it is fair to everyone.

At present, of course, I’m just throwing this out there as a private solution that a couple may consider to meet individualized family problems.

But in the interest of general discussion, I’m going to pose this as a general question that everyone can sound off on:

Could the LDS Church, as a matter of policy, make the actual temple sealing ceremony a private matter between bride, groom, and the sealer (who in Priesthood capacity – represents God in some sense)? Could what I’m talking about be encouraged on a Church-wide level? How would it be if President Eyring or someone appropriately authoritative made the announcement that as of five years from this date, the policy will be to make the temple sealing ceremony closed to all but the bride and groom?

Problems? Advantages?

Discuss.

118 Comments »

  1. Hey Seth … we both spent a lot of time on our respective posts today. It would be great if they both got the attention they deserved. Would you mind pulling this post and holding it a few days?

    Comment by Silus Grok — June 17, 2009 @ 10:15 am

  2. We were discouraged by our bishop (reading, I believe from the handbook) from making our ring ceremony anything like a wedding, because that would detract from what had just happened inside the temple. We planned a sort of devotional celebrating love & explaining the temple, instead, with rings exchanged at the end — and it did not go over well at all. I heard from the non-LDS side that it was weird and classless, beyond the usual (and completely understandable) How Could You Bar Us From Our Own Child’s Wedding?! complaints. I hate my wedding day. The beauty of the sealing was vastly overshadowed by the hurt of everything else (which still stings today, nearly 8 years later, on the non-LDS side).

    I like your proposed solution, but I’m not sure it answers the concern our bishop counseled us against. The sealing is still the primary thing, and making that more private would only encourage big fat “fake” weddings afterward.

    I like the requirement of some foreign countries (as I understand them — please correct me if I’m wrong). Because they don’t recognize LDS sealings as marriages, the couples are legally required to be married civilly — and then they go to the temple on their own (or with their LDS friends and family, whatever). But the non-LDS families truly don’t miss out in that instance — they don’t get to see some pretend ceremony that everybody knows is a sham — and the bride and groom don’t have to wait for some arbitrary amount of time to pass before being sealed.

    So put me down in support of civil unions all around, I guess. ;-)

    Comment by RCH — June 17, 2009 @ 10:54 am

  3. Seems to me that eliminating the waiting period between civil marriage and sealing would be a lot easier and less drastic than decreeing that all sealings be private. Such a change would come as a shock and major disappointment for most families, I suspect. Eliminating the waiting period would only affect those families that have the problem, and the effect would be positive.

    I understand the rationale behind discouraging a bid wedding ceremony before the sealing. There is a danger that the wedding becomes the focus at the expense of the sealing. But I think that devout members can keep things in perspective and that the risk is a small price to pay for those families for whom this is an issue.

    Comment by Tom — June 17, 2009 @ 11:03 am

  4. the policy will be to make the temple sealing ceremony closed to all but the bride and groom?

    Problems? Advantages?

    The sealing ceremony requires two witnesses. You would have to forbid family members from being witnesses, too, which just seems weird.

    I’m with the others. Do a civil ceremony first. Require that it either be held at a Justice of the Peace’s office or an LDS chapel to keep the bigness thing from emerging. Then go straight to the nearest temple for the sealing.

    Comment by Last Lemming — June 17, 2009 @ 11:14 am

  5. THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO
    ST MATTHEW
    CHAPTER 10

    32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
    33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
    34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
    35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
    36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.
    37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

    Comment by T.E. — June 17, 2009 @ 11:41 am

  6. Why the five year heads up? Mormons don’t go for multi-year engagements.

    Comment by John Mansfield — June 17, 2009 @ 11:43 am

  7. Honestly, I think you could get around this if traditions and expectations could bend appropriately…It could be rather nice, depending on how you handled it.

    Isn’t this true no matter which alternative you take?

    Comment by Bret — June 17, 2009 @ 11:46 am

  8. Sorry about that Silus. I threw this up this morning and left for a client meeting.

    I’m fine with whichever, but not really tech-savvy enough to do anything about it (how do you pull a post anyway?).

    Comment by Seth R. — June 17, 2009 @ 12:17 pm

  9. I’d rather do a civil ceremony then a temple ceremony.

    Comment by Kim Siever — June 17, 2009 @ 12:55 pm

  10. But I think that having an actual civil wedding prior to the Sealing ceremony in the temple means you have to wait a while before you can have the temple ceremony. Handbook gurus feel free to fill in the details here.

    This is the policy in places where the nation will recognize a Mormon wedding, and the waiting period is typically a year. Other places, where the state will not recognize a Mormon wedding, the marriage usually takes place civilly (something akin to a justice of the peace) and then the sealing is done right away, assuming the couple wants to be sealed right away.

    Which is to say that the church could easily “waive” the year probation in all cases, and all of your above-described problems would be solved: the couple could get married in whatever setting would allow all family and friends to attend, and then could be sealed a few days later.

    But the church won’t do that. I believe the rationale is based on making the temple the apex of the wedding experience, rather than an afterthought. I can understand that, I suppose, but I think that that concern is severely outweighed by the unnecessary anger that non-member family members feel at these times.

    Comment by jimbob — June 17, 2009 @ 12:57 pm

  11. RCH,
    I’m sorry your experience was so bad. Our bishop encouraged us to have a robust ring ceremony after the wedding, which we did with a member (or former member) of my wife’s Stake Presidency (who was a close family friend) conducting/MCing, with my sister singing, a prayer, the exchange of rings, and I’m sure other things that both the intervening years and the fact that it was my wedding day have now obscured.

    And while I don’t think that it is the perfect solution, I do think it worked very well for us. We had a small wedding in the temple (only family and five friends who had travelled a long distance), and a very-carefully planned ring exchange, a really nice reception unconnected to the Church, and 3 days before the wedding of the two families doing stuff together. And, of course, at my FIL’s request, his dance with his daughter was to the theme from Shaft. (I don’t think he thought we’d do it, but who can say no to Isaac Hayes?)

    YMMV, of course, and there will probably always be people who react negatively (either because they are hurt or because the don’t understand), but even within current constraints, it’s possible to show that the couple has worked their behinds off to be as inclusive as possible.

    Comment by Sam B. — June 17, 2009 @ 2:01 pm

  12. In my situation, lingering hurt / anger over the temple has prevented any potential for missionary opportunities with non-LDS family members. You’d think that welcoming more into the fold would take precedence over performing ordinances for those already in the fold (particularly when a sealing and a wedding are not synonymous). But not under current policies.

    Comment by RCH — June 17, 2009 @ 2:12 pm

  13. Thanks, Sam. I’m glad yours worked out well. (We did work our behinds off to be inclusive, btw — there’s just nothing that would have been enough.)

    Comment by RCH — June 17, 2009 @ 2:16 pm

  14. The current policy is actually something I’ve given a lot of thought to – and something that I truly do not understand. I very much wish that a civil ceremony could accompany the temple ceremony.

    I think that our policy about weddings does not just hurt when a person getting married has non-member family members (although it certainly causes an especially tremendous amount of pain and anguish in these instances). I think that because weddings are such an important cultural ritual, the private LDS-only ceremony effectively creates a barrier for members of the church to get over when forging strong friendships and personal relationships with those who are not LDS.

    One of my closest friends from college is not LDS, and once said something about me being a bridesmaid in her future (hypothetical) wedding. How terrible is it that such a close friend would not even be able to come to my wedding if I get married in the temple? My church membership should not be a barrier to close friendship with non-members, but it creates an imbalanced friendship when I cannot reciprocate inclusion in important life events.

    If marriage is so important to us as members of the church – and I believe it is – why do we bar others who do not share our faith from celebrating the ritual beginning of it with us? Especially for converts, where those barred aren’t simply friends, but family members who quite likely already view the church as something that takes away from their relationship with the convert.

    It is not that I think that the temple ceremony is unimportant or that the focus ought to be on the wedding instead of the eternal marriage. I just think it is very sad that we exclude ourself from this very important cultural ceremony and the bonds that it can build, and instead needlessly replace it with something that not only does not strengthen relationships with non-member family and friends, but creates hurt feelings and perhaps damages friendships and family relationships beyond repair.

    Weddings ought to be about celebrating a union between two people. However, it seems the further you get away from Utah, or the more non-member family/friends a person has, the more likely it is that the wedding is not a celebration of the couple, the union, or the sealing. Instead, it is a day of stress, hurt, and division, which also detracts from the true meaning of the sealing ceremony – and perhaps more so than including a civil marriage ever could.

    Comment by Megan — June 17, 2009 @ 3:08 pm

  15. Coming out of hiatus to say…

    If I’d been LDS (which would have meant being a convert with a very not-understanding non-member family) I’d have likely done the option Seth suggests: Get sealed in the temple as early in the day as possible with no family and friends invited to attend, then do an elaborate “ring ceremony” afterward which looked almost exactly like a wedding ceremony with all friends and family invited to attend.

    I’ve heard that the bishops usually discourage elaborate ring ceremonies, but that confuses me. Is it really your bishop’s business how your family celebrates after you get married? Does he have to know just how elaborate your ring ceremony is? Is big brother watching?

    That option is an unfortunate work-around to a divisive, theologically unnecessary policy which really shouldn’t exist in the first place (i.e. forcing people to wait a year to get sealed if they have a civil ceremony first), but you do what you gotta do.

    And BTW, the non-LDS relatives and friends would really appreciate it if Mormons would stop:

    1) Self-righteously parroting Matthew 10:32-37 & Luke 12:51-53 as justification for this policy. This policy does not have to exist. You don’t get Jesus points for causing superfluous strife in part-member families.
    2) Using the ring ceremony as an opportunity to preach to non-members in the family about the importance of temple marriage and what it means to be “worthy” to enter the temple. If you really think a group of people who have just been barred from witnessing the wedding of their beloved son/daughter/friend might actually be receptive to hearing a missionary-oriented message at what is supposed to be their crappy consolation prize for not getting to see the wedding, let me be the first to say… LOL.

    Comment by Bridget Jack Meyers — June 17, 2009 @ 5:13 pm

  16. Not only non-member relatives are barred, but so are temple worthy non-endowed siblings (and friends) of the bride and groom. Families are forever? B*llsh*t!

    Comment by ed42 — June 17, 2009 @ 9:13 pm

  17. To Bridget:

    “Self-righteously parroting Matthew 10:32-37 & Luke 12:51-53 as justification for this policy. This policy does not have to exist. You don’t get Jesus points for causing superfluous strife in part-member families.”

    Matthew 10:32-37 is not something to be “parroted” to the relatives. It is something that the couple to be sealed should ponder and understand. The “strife” is not caused by any policy. The division comes when the couple follows the Lord’s way and not the world’s way. Only the ways of the world would compel a couple to desire any sort of ceremony or the like outside of the temple sealing.

    Comment by T.E. — June 17, 2009 @ 9:53 pm

  18. Wow! As a member of the church and being married to an athiest for 42 year I can say that, if I were to do it again, my marriage vows would between me, him and God. I would hope that the people that love me would be more concerned about making the day special for me than about a large party for them.

    Comment by Bonnie Kerns — June 17, 2009 @ 10:16 pm

  19. T.E. ~ Only the ways of the world would compel a couple to desire any sort of ceremony or the like outside of the temple sealing.

    Is that so, T.E.? Then tell me, why is it that every LDS couple I’ve ever known who got married in the temple has pictures of themselves posing outside of the temple in a tuxedo and wedding dress? We both know those aren’t the clothes they got married in—well, I guess the bride may have been wearing her dress for the ceremony, but if she did she she was wearing so much ritual clothing under and over it that it looked nothing like a normal bridal ensemble, and it was optional anyways. And why do most LDS couples have wedding parties consisting of bridesmaids, groomsmen, maids of honor, best men, and sometimes ringboys and flower girls when those have no function in the LDS ceremony? Those are all elements of worldly wedding ceremonies, so why do LDS couples desire them? Better yet, why doesn’t the church prohibit them?

    For folks who aren’t supposed to desire “the ways of the world,” you all do a marvelous job putting on a big dog and pony show to make your weddings look like the weddings of the world when they don’t. I suggest Mormons quit polishing the outside of the cup and find a way to include the part of the wedding celebration that actually matters: the family.

    Comment by Bridget Jack Meyers — June 17, 2009 @ 11:00 pm

  20. Yeah, I’m gonna have to pull a DKL and disagree with Jesus on this one. Flies, vinegar, honey and all that.

    Comment by Bryan H. — June 18, 2009 @ 2:23 am

  21. Bridget said “And why do most LDS couples have wedding parties consisting of bridesmaids, groomsmen, maids of honor, best men, and sometimes ringboys and flower girls when those have no function in the LDS ceremony?”

    Good question. I also wonder why.

    Comment by T.E. — June 18, 2009 @ 9:32 am

  22. T.E., your extrememe view is not one that is advocated by the church or embraced by the vast majority of members. The fact is that the scripture you quoted has nothing at all to do with wedding day ceremonies whatsoever. You do not “confess Jesus” by having a temple ceremony only, nor do you deny him by having a civil ceremony, else why would the church allow them at all? The wedding day is about celebrating the couple but it is also the one opportunity that family and friends have to come together for that celebration. All possible allowances should be made to give them that opportunity.

    Is it really your bishop’s business how your family celebrates after you get married? Does he have to know just how elaborate your ring ceremony is? Is big brother watching?

    Right on Jack! The couples I know who have done beautiful ring ceremonies have not regretted it, and there have been no repercussions, other than gratitude on the part of non-member family and friends.

    I wish very much that we had done something like that with our wedding. One thing that is missing in the a temple sealing is the opportunity for the couple to recite vows that they have written themselves, or really to speak at all. I think having the couple speak their own vows can potentially be a wonderful addition to any couple’s wedding day and I would have liked that opportunity.

    Comment by MCQ — June 18, 2009 @ 10:07 am

  23. I guess I just feel envious of religions and cultures that actually do have distinctive rituals and traditions. It makes me feel a little let down to observe Mormonism and see that – by and large – we appear to have mostly just adopted the norm of American Protestantism, and shoehorned a temple ceremony into the process as kind of an afterthought.

    Comment by Seth R. — June 18, 2009 @ 10:20 am

  24. I like the way it’s done in the UK: Civil ceremony, followed by a temple sealing and then a reception for everyone. That way everyone should be happy, and it complies with this other scripture from Mathew, which seems to me to be far more applicable:

    Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.

    Comment by MCQ — June 18, 2009 @ 10:23 am

  25. Seth, I don’t see why the temple ceremony should be perceived as an afterthought unless you make it that way. Your prescription of barring everyone from the sealing except the bride and groom actually sounds more like that. If you give the temple sealing its due importance, yet also have a ceremony that is for the state, you can make the civil ceremony look however you like, and also exercise some creativity with the reception. It need not follow any American Protestant tradition, it can be whatever the couple wants it to be, including a full Jewish stomping of the glass, etc.

    Comment by MCQ — June 18, 2009 @ 10:28 am

  26. Wow! As a member of the church and being married to an athiest for 42 year I can say that, if I were to do it again, my marriage vows would between me, him and God. I would hope that the people that love me would be more concerned about making the day special for me than about a large party for them.

    Regardless of what you do, I think Bonnie brings up a very important perspective here.

    Comment by Bret — June 18, 2009 @ 11:06 am

  27. True, Bret, but that perspective is not relevant to at least some of the concerns being raised. In most cases the non-mormon family members and friends are not complaining about whether they get to come to a large party. They are simply wanting to participate with their loved one in what they see as one of the most important events of his/her life. Feeling excluded from that event can create some bad feelings that are not at all about whether you get to attend a party.

    Comment by MCQ — June 18, 2009 @ 2:21 pm

  28. I’m going to have to agree wit BJM here. As a part-member family, my mother is already tied in knots about my kids’ potential weddings. My kids are 7, 5 and 3.

    There is no way in *&%$ any missionary effort is going to reach a family that’s just been told they are “not worthy”- no matter how you candy-coat it. I’m a member in good standing who attends the temple regularly, and I can see that clear as day.

    Comment by Tracy M — June 18, 2009 @ 4:15 pm

  29. MCQ,

    But that’s what she is trying to say. A wedding IS a party, for all intents and purposes here. I’m pretty sure that’s what she meant by a ‘party’. I certainly understand all the concerns being raised and they all of COURSE are very valid and very difficult. Being single as I am, I very well may run into these problems when I get married.

    The thing I think Bonnie is trying to emphasize is that a wedding is for the bride and groom first and foremost (especially the bride). Hopefully they will be as accommodating and inclusive as possible, whatever they decide to do but it is THEIR day. Everyone else should be trying to make it the most wonderful, happy and enjoyable day they can for THEM and not the other way around. Again, hopefully they will be extremely gracious and humble about it all, but is about them, not about we, the friends and family.

    That’s all. That perspective I think is important to keep in mind no matter what anyone plans. (and these suggestions I think can be very good plans)

    Comment by Bret — June 19, 2009 @ 12:35 am

  30. I’m going with Bret and Bonnie on this one. ESPECIALLY when the couple goes out of their way (and their bank account) to plan a ceremony for all their loved ones to attend after the sealing (Full Disclosure: This is what we did). The stress and pressure that people selfishly put on a couple the day that they are supposed to be focusing on a commitment being made for eternity is so extraordinarily self-centered that it boggles my mind.

    As for the whole idea of destroying a missionary opportunity — that’s a lie. It’s an attempt to blame the church for a person’s unwillingness to respect the wishes of the couple over their own self-interest. Nobody is offending them. they choose to be offended. They are perfectly capable of taking some time during the sealing to put their own wants aside and go learn about something that is supremely sacred and beautiful to their loved one and to simply patiently wait and ponder and be glad that their loved one is joyfully experiencing the highest ordinance in their spiritual life. Instead, they choose to complain about how someone else didn’t make them feel special enough. Even if the church changed policies, this type of mindset would only find another way to be offended.

    Comment by Ryan — June 19, 2009 @ 1:24 am

  31. Don’t be a jerk, Ryan. Why don’t you talk with my best friend, who came to visit and sit my mother who was crying all day about not seeing her only child being married 2000 miles away in a ceremony she would have flown out to attend, yet to be told by my future ex-wife that she wasn’t worthy to attend. Why don’t you talk with the missionaries who were angrily thrown out of my mother’s house after they told her (re: the temple) that Mormons don’t cast pearls before swine (yes, he actually said that to my mother). Why don’t you talk with my mother herself, who had been receptive and interested in this new church he son joined – only now to hate everything related to Mormonism.

    in this case, family is more important than the temple.

    Comment by Phouchg — June 19, 2009 @ 5:26 am

  32. I enountered this problem when I married because my wife’s family were not members, and I had to advise several couples about this issue as a YSA ward Bishop. In my own case, it was a disaster with repercussions that have never gone away, after 32 years. It is highly offensive to be told you cannot attend your child’s wedding, and there is just no way around that. Sure, some people are very understanding and don’t make a big deal out of it, but those people are still usually deeply hurt.

    I performed several ring ceremonies for couples. Although the Handbook discourages ceremonies that look too much like weddings, I did make them look as much like wedding ceremonies as possible. I agree that preaching about the importance of temple marriage, and what it means to be worthy to enter the temple in that forum is ridiculous and offensive. People want to see their child engaged in a ceremony that has great meaning to them, and we should give them that. On those occasions I would describe the temple ceremony as a private religious ceremony, and that the ring ceremony is a more public ceremony in which the couple wanted to exchange rings and pledge their love and commitment to each other surrounded by their beloved friends and family so that all could celebrate their union with them. Usually people genuinely appreciated the ring ceremony and I encourage it, although it will not work for some.

    If I were to do it over again, I think I would get married in a civil ceremony and then get sealed a year later. I have encouraged couples to seriously consider that option, because I believe that in many cases the damage done to family relationships far outweighs the benefits of not waiting. By waiting, the couple can still go the temple and receive their endowments, they can still enjoy all the benefits of a temple sealing a mere one year later, but they don’t offend their loved ones and create divisions that never really heal. I don’t know of any policy that creates as much unnecessary and enduring ill will among non-members and within part member families as this one. In almost every other country in the world, couples must get married civilly before a temple sealing, and changing the policy to permit that in the U.S. would be a great thing.

    Comment by Gary — June 19, 2009 @ 7:01 am

  33. If the couple being married don’t have reasons of their own to wish to begin their marriage with priesthood sealing in the temple, then maybe they should put off being sealed and do whatever their mothers want.

    There is something odd about Seth R.’s proposal when put together with his oft-repeated wish to get government out of the marriage business, and stick to merely registering who is household-partnering with whom. His idea seems to be to get temples out of the marriage business too, and have them stick to playing a strictly spiritual role that most people can ignore. Just a place to quietly, almost surreptiously, receive your sacraments, then leave, and get on with the real business of life.

    Comment by John Mansfield — June 19, 2009 @ 8:14 am

  34. I am sooooo late in coming to this, but my proposal:

    Life isn’t fair.

    Sure, it sucks, but seriously? Reducing a marriage sealing to something trivial just to appease the in-laws (or your own parents)?

    And just to head off any “oh, you don’t understand” things –my in-laws couldn’t be at our sealing. And they understood. Our realtionship has not suffered because of it, and I think it’s due to one simple fact:

    We are grown-ups.

    We also love each other –and that was waaaaay more important than whether or not they were allowed inside a Mormon Temple. They got it, and so did we.

    Comment by cheryl — June 19, 2009 @ 9:31 am

  35. Cheryl,
    I agree that it would be silly for people to let this destroy a relationship. But I think the pain that people feel is legitimate. Just imagining what it would be like to not be allowed to be present at my kids’ marriage is painful. So I can’t tell people to just get over it, even if I’m not sure I’m in favor of policy changes that would minimize their pain.

    Comment by Tom — June 19, 2009 @ 10:22 am

  36. T.E. = Total Esshole?

    Comment by Steve Evans — June 19, 2009 @ 11:10 am

  37. Phouchg (31.)-

    You seem really excited about everyone meeting your mother.

    Comment by Scott B. — June 19, 2009 @ 11:18 am

  38. One thing I do really like about Mormon weddings, and why I might suggest one regardless if everyone can attend or not (besides the obvious inherent sealing value, that is) is that they tend to cost a lot, lot less. There’s only so much expensive pomp and circumstance you can plug into the process if you’re getting married at the temple, and having your reception in a cultural hall/gym.

    And as to the latter, I’ll say this: its really tacky to put a circular flower arrangement on the basketball hoop, but man does it save you a load of dough over almost every other venue.

    Comment by jimbob — June 19, 2009 @ 12:24 pm

  39. Cheryl: Who suggested reducing a temple sealing to something trivial? Where does that notion come from? I am arguing for precisely the opposite. By separating the temple sealing from the civil ceremony we add to the dignity of the temple sealing. It then becomes a purely religious, priesthood ordinance that can be conducted in an atmosphere free from the tensions and divisions that are created when we try to combine the priesthood ordinance with the civil ceremony.

    Comment by Gary — June 19, 2009 @ 12:44 pm

  40. An LDS couple can do whatever type of ceremony or celebration they want after their sealing. If there is non-member family involved, they can exchange vows, exchange rings, or have as big of a “civil” ceremony as they want. They can even have an open bar.

    The only catch is their bishop will likely not allow it to be held in the chapel. But there are plenty of non-church venues (private homes, a hotel, reception hall, VFW, firehouse, etc.) that can accommodate such celebrations. There, the bishop doesn’t preside and the couple/family can do as they please. The bishop doesn’t even have to be invited.

    Comment by Eddie — June 19, 2009 @ 1:06 pm

  41. @31

    “yet to be told by my future ex-wife”

    I’m no marriage expert, P.F. Chang, but I think that in any culture it’s a bad idea to enter into marriage with this mentality.

    Comment by jimbob — June 19, 2009 @ 1:35 pm

  42. Re: T.E. = Total Esshole?
    Comment by Steve Evans — June 19, 2009 @ 11:10 am

    John, Chapter 15

    18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
    19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

    Comment by T.E. — June 19, 2009 @ 2:04 pm

  43. PhouchG: Hang on a second there, I wasn’t being a jerk. Both cases you cited involved someone being rude to your Mother. They just happened to use the temple ceremony as a vehicle to drive their condescension (I imagine that same missionary is the type who likes to go around self-righteously labeling the Catholic church as “Great and Abominable).

    Neither scenario has anything to do with my statement that a person who chooses to turn the day of an ostensibly holy ordinance into an emotional nightmare for the couple just because their own desires aren’t being met is undeniably self-centered. I’m not trying to be a jerk, I’m trying to point out that a couple of common human failings are at play here (i.e., blaming others for your emotional state and selfishness).

    Comment by Ryan — June 19, 2009 @ 4:08 pm

  44. Was my last comment even coherent? I think my brain threw up on my keyboard and hit “submit” before I could organize everything into clear sentences :)

    Hope it made sense.

    Comment by Ryan — June 19, 2009 @ 4:13 pm

  45. BJM said:

    Get sealed in the temple as early in the day as possible with no family and friends invited to attend, then do an elaborate “ring ceremony” afterward which looked almost exactly like a wedding ceremony with all friends and family invited to attend.

    I know a couple who got married in the temple with only a handful there and the ring ceremony was the following day as the temple was several hours away. Their “ring ceremony” was so much like a wedding that a visitors who weren’t paying attention might not have noticed it wasn’t a wedding. They were able to plan a ceremony just the way they wanted (it didn’t take place in an LDS chapel), and according to what I was told the family of the groom (whose family was nonmembers) was very pleased with it. For this couple, it was the ideal solution.

    If one of my kids ends up getting engaged under similar circumstances, I’d probably counsel him/her to do the same thing, or to have a non-temple wedding and get sealed a year later. The sealing would probably have more meaning them them at that time anyway. Ordinances are an important part of salvation, but they’re not the only part. In my view, how we treat family counts for a lot more.

    Comment by Eric — June 19, 2009 @ 5:50 pm

  46. I wonder what Cheryl’s opinon would be if instead of her in-laws was her parents. And if her parents would have lived their lives dreaming about attending their child’s wedding. Would it still remain as strict and orthodox? Or could she actually be a human being?

    Comment by Manuel — June 20, 2009 @ 3:11 pm

  47. I sense T.E. will be surprised when he meets the real Jesus.

    Comment by Manuel — June 20, 2009 @ 3:13 pm

  48. “18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
    19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”

    T.E. I didn’t agree with Steve’s comment about you or his approach.

    But it is incredibly pompous of you to automatically assume that this verse is describing you.

    Comment by Seth R. — June 20, 2009 @ 6:23 pm

  49. A wedding IS a party, for all intents and purposes here

    I think you’re confusing the wedding with the reception. The wedding is a ceremony. That’s what most people are distressed about missing, the ceremony. To say they are upset about not getting to attend a party is a flippant and offensive way of trivializing their very real and legitimate pain.

    Nobody is offending them. they choose to be offended.

    You are absolutely a jerk for saying this. It can, of course, be said about anyone who is offended. The harder, but more responsible, thing would be to actually try to understand their offense and do something to avoid it. If you are a jerk, however, you don’t care enough to try that.

    There’s only so much expensive pomp and circumstance you can plug into the process if you’re getting married at the temple, and having your reception in a cultural hall/gym.

    It’s acomplete fallacy to correlate those two things. I know many people who have been married in the temple who never even considered for a moment having their reception in a gymnasium or cultural hall.

    Comment by MCQ — June 20, 2009 @ 7:11 pm

  50. MCQ ~ I really like your use of Matthew 22:21 for this situation.

    Gary ~ You’re a good man. I like you.

    I’d like to point out that it’s extremely fallacious to argue lower wedding costs as a justification for exclusionary temple weddings. A wedding ceremony is as expensive as you make it. You can run it into the hundreds of thousands with elaborate gowns and floral arrangements or it can be as simple as the couple, their minister, and the guests in folding chairs on a grassy hill or sandy beach. My non-temple wedding cost about $2,000, and I’ve seen plenty of LDS temple wedding celebrations (with the reception held in cultural halls even) which cost more than that.

    I’d also like to say that getting a cultural hall for the reception was by far the hardest part of planning my interfaith wedding. I figured we’d do the ceremony at my church and the reception at his ward, good interfaith wedding plan, right? Ha. His student ward building had an airtight “no wedding receptions” policy. I contacted over 15 wards in the Provo/Orem area and was told the same thing every time: the student wards had strict no-wedding-receptions policies and the family wards would only let us use their cultural halls if we had a family member in the ward. I almost wound up contacting another evangelical church and asking to use their facilities for the reception, and I thought it was pretty bloody sad that my husband’s church leaders showed zero interest in helping one of their own find a cultural hall for his reception.

    Comment by Bridget Jack Meyers — June 20, 2009 @ 7:55 pm

  51. I have already worked out this senerio should one or more of my children marry a convert. Two ceremonies in one day. Two separate invitations. Depending on where the families of the bride and groom live; one reception/open house. It is nobodys business what we do. If they can do it this way in the UK, this is a policy not a doctrine.

    It is not worth hurting the feelings of my children’s future in-laws. A former neighbor’s daughter eloped. My neighbor was so hurt to not see her daughter take out her vows. I do not want to be party to such harmful feelings. I would want my child’s in-laws to have warm fuzzy feelings toward the church. Who knows maybe they would join.

    Comment by JA Benson — June 20, 2009 @ 10:17 pm

  52. BJM,

    Have you and your husband left Provo? :)

    JA Benson,

    Amen! And same to all who have expressed similar views in this thread. ~

    Comment by Thomas Parkin — June 20, 2009 @ 10:54 pm

  53. Thomas ~ Yup, moved to western Washington in 2006 and will be moving to Chicago later this year. I’m sure eventually I’ll return for visits, but I can’t see anything in the near future.

    Comment by Bridget Jack Meyers — June 21, 2009 @ 12:31 am

  54. JAB: Depending on what you mean by “two ceremonies”, there could be a complicating factor in your approach. Only one of those ceremonies can be the legal wedding ceremony. The temple won’t perform a wedding ceremony without it also being the legal ceremony, complete with the necessary legal papers. As a result, the other ceremony won’t be an actual, legal wedding ceremony. There is nothing to stop a couple from repeating “vows” and having all the other trappings of a wedding ceremony (other than the Handbook, of course which we both agree is best ignored in these cases) but the officiator will not be able to act in any legal capacity. That may or may not bother the non-member family.

    BJM: Thank you. I like you too.

    Comment by Gary — June 21, 2009 @ 7:05 am

  55. Gary good point. The Temple would have to be the legal one. Legal takes a back seat to “eyes of God and family” imho.

    Comment by JA Benson — June 21, 2009 @ 8:12 am

  56. MCQ,

    I don’t know if you realized it but you mixed and matched quotes from mine and Ryan’s comments. PLEASE be careful next time as though I may share some of his views, I most definitely have a different perspective.

    Now as for my part of what you quoted about the wedding being a party I will admittedly try being more clear. There certainly IS a big difference between the wedding ceremony and the reception and I didn’t mean to confuse the two. The ceremony can still be construed as a party, however. But, that doesn’t matter as my point, or rather Bonnie’s original point was that although the wedding couple should try to be as accommodating and helpful as they can, the perspective should still lie in everybody’s mind with the fact that this ceremony (as well as everything else) is for THEM and not the other way around.

    Comment by Bret — June 21, 2009 @ 11:39 am

  57. Bret: I must disagree with your statement that everything related to a wedding is about the couple being married. Marriages are about the creation of a new family and the uniting of families, and the wedding is an event that is extremely important to the entire family. All couples would do well to remember that it is decidedly not just about them. The people who have loved them and sacrificed so much for them in order to get them to the position they are now in are an integral part of this new union. Surely Mormon theology (not to mention common decency and unselfishness) would teach each young couple that much. The very nature of an eternal sealing should teach us that we are about the uniting of families together, and a couple is off on the wrong foot if they believe that this ceremony is just about them, while their loved ones are merely interested bystanders. Those extended familiies will play a very important role in the future success of their marriage and in the lives of their children. A oouple would be wise to remember that, and to do everything in their power to include their parents and loved ones in the ceremony which means so much to so many.

    Comment by Gary — June 21, 2009 @ 7:49 pm

  58. MCQ said:

    It’s acomplete fallacy to correlate those two things. I know many people who have been married in the temple who never even considered for a moment having their reception in a gymnasium or cultural hall.

    Then they’re doing it wrong.

    Ms. Meyers said:

    I’d like to point out that it’s extremely fallacious to argue lower wedding costs as a justification for exclusionary temple weddings.

    Well it’s a good thing that no one is arguing that, then. It doesn’t even appear anyone has even intimated it.

    Comment by jimbob — June 22, 2009 @ 8:22 am

  59. jimbob ~ Well it’s a good thing that no one is arguing that, then. It doesn’t even appear anyone has even intimated it.

    Um, you did:

    One thing I do really like about Mormon weddings, and why I might suggest one regardless if everyone can attend or not (besides the obvious inherent sealing value, that is) is that they tend to cost a lot, lot less. There’s only so much expensive pomp and circumstance you can plug into the process if you’re getting married at the temple, and having your reception in a cultural hall/gym.

    There’s plenty of expensive pomp and circumstance you can plug into LDS temple wedding celebrations and plenty of ways to make non-temple weddings dirt cheap. Lower cost is a crap justification for excluding part of the family with a temple wedding.

    Comment by Bridget Jack Meyers — June 22, 2009 @ 8:35 am

  60. Ms. Meyers:

    You seem intent on misreading me for reasons I’m not clear on.

    You are (somewhat haphazardly) conflating two separate concepts. I’m not arguing any justification for an “exclusionary policy.” See my comment 10 above. What I am saying is that my experience is that Mormon weddings–because so many are done in the temple and then at the “cultural hall”–tend to run cheaper than, say, the several Methodist weddings I attended while living in Dallas, which by my guess cost upwards of $50,000 to $75,000. As a result, given the policy as it is now and all other factors being considered equal (which I think would be impossible for any believing member), I would recommend that any couple contemplating one over the other would pick the Mormon one simply because it’s cheaper, even if that means family can’t attend. Or elope. Or anything to not start your marriage in debt, regardless of who gets offended. Because marriages that start in serious debt are statistically much more end prematurely.

    As to your larger point: can middle-class couples outside Mormonism get married on the cheap? Sure. Do they very often? Not to my experience.

    Comment by jimbob — June 22, 2009 @ 8:59 am

  61. Gary,

    I totally agree. It certainly isn’t just about them in the least, especially in a Mormon temple wedding, but it is about them and their new family first. This new union represents a new family before it represents the uniting of two families. And like I’ve said all along, I just think that’s the perspective everyone should keep in mind. The couple should certainly try to be as accommodating as they can.

    Comment by Bret — June 22, 2009 @ 9:56 am

  62. jimbob ~ You seem intent on misreading me for reasons I’m not clear on.

    And you seem to have a very odd concept of what it is to “not even intimate” a position. You clearly wrote that you’d consider recommending a temple wedding regardless of the fact that it excludes family members due to lower costs, so if I misread you it’s because your position was poorly stated. Elaborating on what exactly you meant (which you finally did in your #60) would have gone a lot further than this defensive “who me?” routine.

    We could quibble all day about what is “often” done at LDS v. non-LDS weddings, but if we’re agreed that a couple can make their wedding as cheap as their needs require, I think that’s all that matters. I’d also point out that without fail, all the parents I’ve talked to who were barred from their son or daughter’s temple ceremony would have gladly helped pay for the costs of a non-temple ceremony if money had been a motivator. Their children were never interested.

    Comment by Bridget Jack Meyers — June 22, 2009 @ 10:29 am

  63. so if I misread you it’s because your position was poorly stated.

    Or, possibly, it’s because you’re so hyper-sensitive about this issue, you’re looking for any fight you can, even with mine, which was intended tongue-in-cheek. But I appreciate the writing tip, and will be sure not to use any subtlety or humor next time I’m responding to a pet issue of yours.

    Comment by jimbob — June 22, 2009 @ 10:49 am

  64. Assuming no change in church policies on this subject, if I had it all to do over again I would get married civilly in the Lutheran Church (the Church of my wife’s family) and then wait my year for a temple sealing. There’s not even any contest. I would not get married directly in the temple again and exclude both my wife’s entire family and virtually all of my own, including my own parents (my father dying the night before my reception). I just wouldn’t do it.

    (The powers that be appear to have no concept of how vast the amounts of goodwill are that we lose with existing policies. Because if they had a clue, they would change the policies. To me the no-brainer option would be to simply extend the practice in Europe and South America of waiving the year wait between civil marriage and temple sealing. Also workable would be to remove the restrictions on anything actually remotely resembling a marriage in ring ceremonies. But I don’t see either happening anytime soon.)

    Comment by Kevin Barney — June 22, 2009 @ 11:08 am

  65. The thought of being disinvited to my own daughter’s wedding is incredibly painful. Ugh, what a useless, destructive policy. This is one I pray will change. Actually, I expect it will, eventually. I just hope it happens sooner than later.

    Comment by Katie L. — June 22, 2009 @ 11:27 am

  66. Kevin,
    How hard and fast are the ring ceremony restrictions? Because (and it was years ago) the only constraint I remember was we were told not to exchange vows (again, IIRC). Which for me isn’t a problem because, aesthetically, I’m not a fan of self-penned vows. (I should also note that I’m not a fan of toasts or stories about youthful indiscretions told by a relative/best friend/uncle/whomever or basically of anyone who seems to enjoy attention speaking at weddings or receptions.)

    And Jack, that’s totally sad, but I’d guess it’s a Provo thing and, like most Provo things, should be disregarded as dumb. I’ve seen, if not plenty, at least a number of interfaith receptions held at LDS buildings, but I’ve only ever been to one reception in the Provo area, and I think it was in the Springfield Museum of Art (or something like that).

    Comment by Sam B. — June 22, 2009 @ 11:27 am

  67. Katie L.,
    Disinvited totally sucks. My cousin married a woman (actually, a really cool woman) who (apparently) freaked out a couple weeks before their wedding. I remember my uncle calling my mom to tell her that she and my dad (along with all of the rest of the guests) were no longer invited to the wedding. (Of course, my grandma already had tickets to the place of the wedding, etc., etc., and there was all sorts of familial drama). Most of the guests were disinvited via (dis)invitation card.

    Not being invited in the first place also sucks. But it sucks in a completely different way than being disinvited.

    Comment by Sam B. — June 22, 2009 @ 11:34 am

  68. Sam B., disinvitation is lousy, but it beats going through with a wedding for the sake of the guests.

    Comment by John Mansfield — June 22, 2009 @ 12:36 pm

  69. jimbob ~ Or, possibly, it’s because you’re so hyper-sensitive about this issue, you’re looking for any fight you can, even with mine, which was intended tongue-in-cheek. But I appreciate the writing tip, and will be sure not to use any subtlety or humor next time I’m responding to a pet issue of yours.

    Ad hominem. You lose.

    And if you expected readers to understand your initial “lower cost” argument as tongue-in-cheek, yeah, you really do need writing lessons. Good luck with that.

    Sam B. ~ It was definitely a Provo thing, and I don’t count too much of it to the LDS church at large over it. I’m sure that almost any ward outside of Utah and most of the wards outside of Happy Valley would have been more than accommodating.

    Comment by Bridget Jack Meyers — June 22, 2009 @ 12:58 pm

  70. John,
    No question about that. My only point was the ways disinvitation suck are different from the ways not being invited in the first place suck.

    Comment by Sam B. — June 22, 2009 @ 1:04 pm

  71. In my opinion, the Church should change its policy so that everyone gets married for time only at first – in the chapel. Then after seven years, allow the couple to be married in the temple and have any children sealed to them, if the marriage is still intact, the couple is temple worthy and so on.

    Comment by Mark D. — June 22, 2009 @ 1:26 pm

  72. correction: “sealed in the temple”

    Comment by Mark D. — June 22, 2009 @ 1:26 pm

  73. Ad hominem. You lose.

    And if you expected readers to understand your initial “lower cost” argument as tongue-in-cheek, yeah, you really do need writing lessons. Good luck with that.

    Speaking of ad hominem…

    Comment by Peter LLC — June 22, 2009 @ 1:47 pm

  74. Sam B., it’s going to vary by bishop. If you happen to get one who is laissez-faire about it, great. But the handbook is pretty restrictive on ring ceremonies such that you can’t do anything to give it the appearance of a wedding. The ones I have seen have been completely lame and useless and not anywhere near sufficient as a sop to the non-LDS relatives.

    Comment by Kevin Barney — June 22, 2009 @ 2:32 pm

  75. Ad hominem. You lose.

    Ms. Meyers,

    Quickly, just a few points:

    1. It may be time for you to review what exactly ad hominem means. I didn’t say you were wrong based on who were were, but based instead on other comments you’ve submitted, such as comment 14, wherein you argue so shrilly in favor of points which were not in serious dispute and in such a confrontational manner that I found myself wondering if you had an axe to grind on this issue. You’ve done little to disabuse me of that possibility.

    2. What exactly did I “lose”? Is this a competition for you?

    And if you expected readers to understand your initial “lower cost” argument as tongue-in-cheek, yeah, you really do need writing lessons. Good luck with that.

    3. As long as we’re classifying arguments, I’ll go ahead and call this one an out-and-out insult. I certainly hope it made you feel better.

    Comment by jimbob — June 22, 2009 @ 2:38 pm

  76. Peter LLC ~ Speaking of ad hominem…

    Bullcrap. Ad hominem is when you attack the person or some aspect of the person instead of dealing with his argument. Doesn’t apply when that person proffers said aspect of himself as part of his defense like jimbob did by claiming I was missing the subtlety, irony and humor in his writing.

    Comment by Bridget Jack Meyers — June 22, 2009 @ 2:41 pm

  77. jimbob ~ such as comment 14, wherein you argue so shrilly in favor of points which were not in serious dispute and in such a confrontational manner that I found myself wondering if you had an axe to grind on this issue.

    I didn’t write comment 14. Either you meant comment 15 or you’ve moved from argument fail to reading fail, but whatever the case, I wouldn’t care in the slightest that you found me “shrill” and “confrontational.” That’s just more ad hominem.

    It’s all beside the point though because it doesn’t matter how much of a “pet” this issue is for me. It doesn’t matter if I go to my journal every night and draw little pictures of temples with skulls and crossbones over them and stab the paper furiously with my pen while I cry through my black eyeliner and cut myself. It doesn’t matter if I have a dart board in my room littered with pictures of angel Moroni statues which I use regularly for target practice. It doesn’t matter if I beheaded my “Modest Wedding Dress” Barbie and attached her to my car antenna. You’re not my psychologist; it isn’t your job to diagnose what my “pet issues” are and whether I focus on them to the extent that it clouds my judgment.

    What you are is some guy on the Internet, and your job is either to respond to what I’ve actually written or GTFO, because I’ll tell you up front: I don’t give a damn what your personal assesment is of my feelings on this issue.

    What exactly did I “lose”?

    The argument. Duh.

    As long as we’re classifying arguments, I’ll go ahead and call this one an out-and-out insult. I certainly hope it made you feel better

    I’m fine with that, but next time you insult me, could you try to make it clever and entertaining? I’ve got an Intarweb full of people who are pissed at me for some reason or another, so I only really have time to hear the interesting insults. I’m sure you understand.

    Comment by Bridget Jack Meyers — June 22, 2009 @ 3:19 pm

  78. The Handbook says the following:

    “After their temple marriage, a couple may exchange rings at locations other than the temple. If such an exchange is made, the circumstances should be consistent with the dignity of their temple marriage. The exchange should not appear to replicate any part of the marriage ceremony, and the couple should not exchange vows. . .

    A couple may arrange with their bishop to hold a special meeting for relatives and friends who do not have temple recommends. This meeting provides an opportunity for those who cannot enter a temple to feel included in the marriage and to learn something of the eternal nature of the marriage covenant. The meeting may include a prayer and special music followed by the remarks of a priesthood leader. No ceremony is performed, and no vows are exchanged.”

    As I stated above, I believe that strict adherence to the Handbook is, in most cases, a serious mistake and will only alienate the very people we should be seeking to include. However, I know that some bishops are willing to ignore, or at least very liberally interpret the Handbook.

    Comment by Gary — June 22, 2009 @ 8:30 pm

  79. Jack, RE: #77. LOL!!!!!!

    Comment by Katie L. — June 22, 2009 @ 8:39 pm

  80. Mark D.,

    I can have a starter wife with no repercussions up to seven years and then dump her %&^*? Sweet!>:)

    Comment by Bret — June 22, 2009 @ 9:06 pm

  81. Ms. Meyers,

    Thanks again for the candid reply. The recriminations and vitriol therein have done much to persuade me that when you read my comment, you were doing so in a calm, objective manner, and not just looking for something to latch on to.

    You stay classy.

    Comment by jimbob — June 24, 2009 @ 12:22 pm

  82. I think calm and objective arguments are highly overrated.

    Comment by Seth R. — June 24, 2009 @ 1:26 pm

  83. jimbob ~ Thanks again for the candid reply. The recriminations and vitriol therein have done much to persuade me that when you read my comment, you were doing so in a calm, objective manner, and not just looking for something to latch on to.

    Translation: “It totally sucks when people show no interest in my personal attacks and psychoanalyses of them and instead insist on replying to what I actually wrote with citations of specific examples, something that I myself have failed to do. Poor me.”

    You stay classy.

    And you stay butthurt. That’s at least a little entertaining.

    Seth ~ I think calm and objective arguments are highly overrated.

    Amen to that.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I have another “Modest Wedding Dress” Barbie to decapitate.

    Comment by Bridget Jack Meyers — June 24, 2009 @ 1:39 pm

  84. Dealing with online strangers whom you probably will never meet does not give license to be rude.

    We get it. You’re right and the other person is wrong. Welcome to the internet.

    “If there are rats in a cellar you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not create the rats: it only prevents them from hiding. In the same way [an online] provocation does not make me an ill-tempered man; it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am. The rats are always there in the cellar, but if you go in shouting and noisily [or in a face-to-face discussion] they will have taken cover before you switch on the light.”
    -C.S. Lewis (adapted)

    Some people go online to conceal their identity, but the internet is actually the perfect place to see a person’s true character.

    Comment by Thaddeus — June 24, 2009 @ 2:46 pm

  85. Ms. Meyers: So that we can put this to bed, I’ll go ahead and state that you are now, have always been, and will almost certainly always be, correct as to this and every other matter in which you and I may or may not engage conversation. Furthermore, I hereby state that I am now, have always been, and will almost certainly be, incorrect as to this and every other matter in which you and I may or may not engage conversation. Unlike in almost every other case, where miscommunication is a result of both parties making erroneous assumptions and judgments, this is a case wherein I am solely to blame for any and all misunderstandings between us. You are categorically correct as to my patent inability to write, read, reason, or function in civilized society. Any comment of yours I previously considered over-the-top or unreasonable is hereby deemed absolutely justified for all purposes and all occasions. Regardless of any indication I may have given you before, communicating with you in this forum has been the zenith of my intellectual life, such as it is, and I look forward with anticipation to any future correction you might provide me.

    Finally, I hereby pledge to remain “butthurt,” though, frankly, I have no idea what that means, and I’m a little frightened to find out.

    I sincerely hope this public apology brings you whatever level of catharsis you were seeking.

    To everyone else: my apologies for my involvement in this exchange. I should have stopped three or four comments ago, at the least.

    Comment by jimbob — June 24, 2009 @ 3:51 pm

  86. Thaddeus ~ Dealing with online strangers whom you probably will never meet does not give license to be rude.

    Who’s been doing that? I take my license to be rude from things like being personally attacked, and I’m just as rude about it in real life.

    Some people go online to conceal their identity, but the internet is actually the perfect place to see a person’s true character.

    Agreed. And while I can’t speak for other people, this is definitely my true character, and I like it. There’s a reason I make these comments under my real name rather than the cover of anonymity (and I’m not implying anything about people who do use pseudonyms when I say that).

    jimbob ~ Unlike in almost every other case, where miscommunication is a result of both parties making erroneous assumptions and judgments

    If you thought both of us had made erroneous assumptions and judgments, you should have said so—it would have gone a long way toward not getting the Billy Madison treatment from me. Instead you repeatedly said things which laid the blame entirely on me: “It doesn’t even appear anyone has even intimated it,” “You seem intent on misreading me for reasons I’m not clear on,” “I found myself wondering if you had an axe to grind on this issue.” This is the first time you’ve offered the remotest hint that you may have at least partially been at fault. Yay progress I guess.

    I sincerely hope this public apology brings you whatever level of catharsis you were seeking.

    I’ll accept it this time around, but next time you’ll have to bring me the blue flower that grows only on the mountain slopes of Tibet.

    To everyone else: my apologies for my involvement in this exchange. I should have stopped three or four comments ago, at the least.

    See, I knew eventually we could agree on something.

    And now, I would like for this thread to either get back to the original topic or die.

    Comment by Bridget Jack Meyers — June 24, 2009 @ 4:33 pm

  87. I take my license to be rude from things like being personally attacked, and I’m just as rude about it in real life.

    Is a rude response ever justified? I’ve never had to justify kindness.

    Comment by Thaddeus — June 24, 2009 @ 4:44 pm

  88. Thaddeus ~ Is a rude response ever justified?

    Maybe you should ask Jesus. And John the Baptist. And Elijah.

    I’ve never had to justify kindness.

    Jesus did.

    I’m sure that you mean well, but I’m pretty comfortable with the Christian ethics of my debate tactics and I doubt this line of questioning is going to go anywhere.

    Comment by Bridget Jack Meyers — June 24, 2009 @ 5:09 pm

  89. Getting back to the original topic, the handbook quotation in #78 convinces me that the handbook is, at least in this case, hopelessly outdated.

    People should be allowed to exchange vows unreservedly. Why would it be wrong to promise additional things on top of the covenants made with God in the temple? Does it somehow harm the temple vows if a couple makes additional vows? I can’t see how.

    Sometimes I think the covenants made in the temple just go by too fast, and there’s no opportunity to really dwell on them or understand them or relate to them. To use a legal analogy, they’re like an adhesion contract. There’s nothing particularly wrong with that, but if I want an additional contract that I had more of a hand in drafting, and which I can really understand and relate to, why should the church object to that?

    Comment by MCQ — June 24, 2009 @ 5:42 pm

  90. Very late to the game here, but I’ve thought about this many times. My wife’s family is largely inactive and she didn’t have a single family member at our sealing. I was too caught up in the whole thing at the time to really think much about it, but soon after I realized that it was a mistake and that we should have just done the civil ceremony and waited a year. There is such a stigma associated with it, but if more couples started doing it I think it would become more accepted. I’m going to encourage my unmarried siblings to go this route since there are several family members that won’t be able to attend their sealings.

    I agree with those that say really nothing good can come from excluding non-members from their loved ones weddings. I know my sister’s in-laws are still hurt to this day, as are several of my in-laws. Weddings are supposed to be a time of celebration with loved ones, not a time of exclusion. Changing this policy would generate more goodwill than the leadership realizes, with really no downside.

    Comment by mike d. — June 24, 2009 @ 10:02 pm

  91. I had an experience last night which you may or not be interested in.

    I came home from work to find my neighbor digging a hole in her backyard, which I thought was odd. I went over to see how she was doing. She had really dug herself in deep, and had no chance of getting out gracefully. So I grabbed a rope and lowered it to her, effectively giving her an easy way out of the difficult situation she had created for herself. Instead of taking it, however, she cut the rope and then kept digging herself in deeper. When I suggested that her tactics might be doing her more harm than good, she just kept screaming “AD HOMINEM! AD HOMINEM! AD HOMINEM!” and “I’M COMFORTABLE WITH THE ETHICAL IMPLICATIONS OF MY DIGGING!”

    True story. Not a particularly interesting one, but a true story nonetheless.

    Comment by jimbob — June 25, 2009 @ 8:52 am

  92. jimbob ~ You forgot to aver “Tis only a flesh wound!”

    This is officially beyond pathetic. I’m out.

    Comment by Bridget Jack Meyers — June 25, 2009 @ 11:07 am

  93. Next time I get married, it’ll in Vegas with Elvis officiating.

    Comment by Susan M — June 25, 2009 @ 2:59 pm

  94. Ms. Meyers,

    I wasn’t directing my comment (#84) solely at you.

    Thank you for pointing me to these verses. I knew they were there, but never really associated them with rudeness. Perhaps there is a time and place for sharp, cutting remarks in defense of the gospel.

    My personal paradigm is that they are the exception, not the rule. Kindness tends to soften an opponents repeated blows, whereas insults beget insults. Your paradigm might be different, but I invite you to try “[letting] him have thy cloak also.”

    Comment by Thaddeus — June 25, 2009 @ 3:12 pm

  95. all this talk has made up my mind. If my daughter decides to convert to Mormonism and get married in the temple without me present, there is only one thing I can do. . .

    Tell her that I am going to convert and get a temple recommend so that I can be a part of her special day. All she and her fiance have to do is wait for me to finish all of the requirements to be there. (The money I would have spent on a traditional Christian wedding I’ll apply to my tithing settlement. )

    I’ll do all of this for no other reason than to make them wait at least one more excruciating year before getting it on.

    I’ll promptly resign my membership after the temple ceremony, but please don’t tell her that.

    Comment by Tim — June 26, 2009 @ 10:58 pm

  96. Comment #90, Wow…. Loved your comment, hopefully you can be openly verbal about this and actually have an impact or influence.

    Last year my Daughter was married in the Temple I was not able to attend. The more I thought about it at the time, the more I realized that there was no reason the church at minimum couldn’t do away with the one year wait between a civil marriage and sealing. They could even make it a stipulation that no consummation of the marriage could happen between the two events, I digress, my main point is this it was not only the Temple wedding that serves as a vehicle the church uses to participate in parental alienation of active children from inactive or a non LDS parent. I was one that left the church and went through the divorce process at the approximately the same time. (Had been going to church for close to 2 years as non believer just to try and keep an already failing and doomed marriage a chance)

    The Priesthood of the church, I am sure all well intentioned, felt the need to rally around my teenage son, treated him as if he had LOST his father, (in my opinion even more fervently than I had typically seen in actual cases of a widowed mother and son or sons) I hadn’t gone anywhere he was in a joint custody co-parenting situation I only moved 5 minutes away. I understand that their concern was losing my son as an active member and they felt the need to “fellowship and love him” never giving a thought to the fact that they were in effect alienating him from his father, the thing I regret the most is that I supported his church activity and never said a word regarding my thoughts on the church unless solicited. The Temple ceremony is just a more tangible or obvious example of the exclusionary mentality or practices that seem to be an integral part of the LDS culture.

    Comment by coventryrm — June 27, 2009 @ 7:54 am

  97. Coventry: nice to see you here.

    Sorry you felt that way about what happened with your son. I have a friend in my ward who recently announced that he was no longer a believer and would not be attending church anymore. He also told his six kids (ages 3-16) that he did not want them to attend anymore but they could make their own decisions. It appears to me that many ward members have sort of rallied around the kids and wife in order to try to keep them active. I don’t think this has been done out of disrespect to my friend, but just out of a sincere desire to help the family. After hearing your perspective, however, I can see how it could appear otherwise.

    What would you suggest that ward members should do differently?

    Comment by MCQ — June 27, 2009 @ 11:25 am

  98. Trying to sort out where I stand, but had to comment to Jack, who said

    very LDS couple I’ve ever known who got married in the temple has pictures of themselves posing outside of the temple in a tuxedo and wedding dress?

    Hi. Let me introduce myself. I’m Coffinberry. Now you know someone who forgot to take pictures after her wedding. Out and out forgot. We finished our sealing and went back around and did another session to do endowments for my grandparents and then their sealings. Didn’t even occur to me to take pictures. What pictures we do have are in street clothes, just before we shoved our transmission-challenged ancient Celica out of its parking space.
    Now that I’ve sorted out where I stand, I guess I just viscerally don’t get the need for any big fru-fru anything for a wedding. (we haven’t had mission departure open houses or graduation parties, either). It’s kinda like Christmas and Easter… they aren’t such big deals because we live the principles every day. Family gets together because we like to be together, not because of some culturally overhyped event.

    Comment by Coffinberry — June 27, 2009 @ 12:50 pm

  99. I don’t think the ward should “rally” I think they should treat them the same as always. The priesthood brethren don’t have a void to fill the children still have a father and they should respect him as the major male role model.

    I know it is more complicated than this because Mom may ask for more Priesthood presence since Dad is gone, but I wouldn’t also assume just because Mom says there is a void that there actually is one.

    I am not sure there is a solution as the ward will talk about father in terms of what went “wrong” why did he lose his faith?

    I would suggest avoiding any conversations to or around the children regarding their father and his church status, the Priesthood holders around my son would always affirm to my son that they thought I was a great guy, but a great guy that had lost his way, (when in my opinion I was a decent guy that was finding his way it just differed from theirs) even though they felt they were speaking highly of me by saying they thought highly of me, that is all undermined with the “BUT”

    Comment by coventryrm — June 27, 2009 @ 1:36 pm

  100. Coffinberry, that’s certainly fine for you. I hope you don’t look down on the rest of us who have a different sense of these occasions than you do.

    Would you mind if I suggest something? This part:

    It’s kinda like Christmas and Easter… they aren’t such big deals because we live the principles every day.

    Makes you sound like a prick.

    Comment by MCQ — June 28, 2009 @ 6:30 pm

  101. Coventry, I think those are good suggestions. In the case of my friend, he’s not gone at all, he’s just not present at church functions, but it’s easy for people to think he’s gone because they don’t see him anymore.

    On the other hand, there is, in fact, a void of sorts. These kids used to have a Dad with them at church functions and now they don’t. They used to have a Dad that baptised them and confirmed them and gave them the priesthood and gave them blessings and took them to YM/YW and showed up when they gave talks etc. and now they don’t. Someone needs to perform those functions, at a minimum.

    In addition, the ward members are all hopeful that the kids will remain active, despite what their father is telling them that he thinks they should do. Is it possible to step into these roles and give those messages to the kids without offending their father?

    Comment by MCQ — June 28, 2009 @ 6:38 pm

  102. MCQ

    On the other hand, there is, in fact, a void of sorts. These kids used to have a Dad with them at church functions and now they don’t. They used to have a Dad that baptised them and confirmed them and gave them the priesthood and gave them blessings and took them to YM/YW and showed up when they gave talks etc. and now they don’t. Someone needs to perform those functions, at a minimum.

    I think there are several issues here, one obviously if blessings or ordinances are to be performed as the children desire someone needs to do them, typically there are usually many family members, uncle, grandpa etc… willing to step in, this should be a family or the children’s decision, not something anyone in the ward typically would need to concern themselves with, the other attending talks no one is going to be able to replace “Dad” that void can’t be filled, the congregation will be there and support just as they would anyway. Transportation should only be a problem while the kids are on Dads time and again that is a family decision that will be worked out with their parenting plan and not a concern for the ward members.

    Is it possible to step into these roles and give those messages to the kids without offending their father?

    The point is not about offending the father, it is about adults and an organization playing into an already delicate situation and creating perceptions in children that just because their father does not share the same religious belief that he is somehow not worthy of their of the respect or that he is somehow less of a person. This is problematic typically for people of faith since they believe that they are doing the “Right” thing in teaching their brand and in my experience with that belief often comes a total disregard for others and respecting boundaries.

    Comment by coventryrm — June 29, 2009 @ 5:40 am

  103. with that belief often comes a total disregard for others and respecting boundaries.

    That would be wrong, of course. My hope is that ward members would find a way to be appropriately helpful while still remaining respectful and friendly with the parent who has chosen to leave the church. That may be more dificult than it sounds, but in my mind, the key in any situation like this is to communicate with both parents and offer to be of service but don’t intrude where you’re not wanted and needed.

    Comment by MCQ — June 29, 2009 @ 12:45 pm

  104. I agree, easier said than done though, I will give an example, one of my daughters decided she did not want to be LDS anymore. The adults in the young women’s program would show up to her soccer games regularly, it would really bother my daughter she felt like she was being stalked or harassed, seems like an innocent thing but it shows a total disregard for respecting appropriate boundaries.

    Comment by coventryrm — June 29, 2009 @ 4:09 pm

  105. Um, are we all supposed to be mind-readers? Some girls would react exactly opposite and be glad to have fans showing her support.

    There are plenty of ways to take offense. Everything from “my neighbors won’t stop harassing me!” to “why don’t my neighbors pay any attention to me?” Meanwhile we’re all supposed to walk on eggshells for fear that we’ll offend someone.

    Comment by Thaddeus — June 30, 2009 @ 8:34 am

  106. Thaddeus, communication works. If you talk to someone you can usually get a pretty good indication about what they want and need. Then you abide by those wishes. It’s not exactly rocket science, and no one has to be a mind reader or walk on eggshells.

    Comment by MCQ — June 30, 2009 @ 1:24 pm

  107. I agree with MCQ it is not that hard to figure out, communication works but I think it is even easier than that.

    “my neighbors won’t stop harassing me!” to “why don’t my neighbors pay any attention to me?”

    This is such a generalization, maybe this rule of thumb will help.

    Scenario A:
    I have a friend we are LDS we go to church together, but we have a personnel friendship that extends outside of Church activities, we ski together, hangout on weekends, I think we have a true friendship. I stop going to church he stops going skiing with and hanging out with me on weekends. The second complaint in your example might apply.

    Scenario B:

    I stop going to Church I make it known I have no interest in it anymore I more or less quit, some church members that I don’t have any relationship with other than their callings in the Church and they think I fall under that stewardship start showing up at my house start dropping cookies on my doorstep, show up at my school or public functions, then the 1st complaint in your example might apply.

    In my opinion LDS “fellowshipping” under the guise of we just want to be your friend is disingenuous at best and downright deceptive at worst. You should be upfront “We are doing this in hopes you will return to the flock” and then respect whatever answer they may give you.

    Comment by coventryrm — June 30, 2009 @ 8:10 pm

  108. I want to apologize for the harshness of the last paragraph of my previous post.

    I actually do think that in the beginning the fellowshipping is genuine, but over time if the person does not respond to hopeful expectations of returning to the faith, demands, time, commitments with Church, family and work, the effort naturally fades and diminishes once it is obvious the person in question is not coming back to the fold.

    Comment by coventryrm — June 30, 2009 @ 9:36 pm

  109. No worries, coventry. You’re right about the actual practice, if not the intentions, of fellowshipping/friendshipping and it’s one of the big reasons why we have such a hard time doing it. It feels disingenuous, even to us. I would rather that we didn’t even talk about it. The real principle is that we should try to be friends with as many people as possible. Period. If you do that, then the people you are already friends with will let you know when and if they want to talk about the church etc. There’s no need for a program.

    Comment by MCQ — June 30, 2009 @ 10:16 pm

  110. This is the real reason everyone should want a ceremony outside of the temple.

    Comment by Bridget Jack Meyers — July 24, 2009 @ 6:05 pm

  111. Jack, pure awesomeness!

    Comment by MCQ — July 25, 2009 @ 1:37 am

  112. Jack,

    What happened to the link? Video is gone.

    Comment by GB — July 28, 2009 @ 2:22 pm

  113. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8DCt3Lmi28

    If it disappears again, search YouTube for “Jill & Kevin Heinz wedding.” Lots of people are spreading the video and it’s getting pulled from some links.

    Comment by Bridget Jack Meyers — July 28, 2009 @ 7:24 pm

  114. Jack,

    After watching the video I can honestly tell you that I would very much prefer the Temple ceremony to THAT!

    Comment by GB — July 29, 2009 @ 2:48 pm

  115. Yeah, GB. I’m sure all those harlots in strappy, above-the-knee dresses damn near gave you a heart attack.

    Comment by Bridget Jack Meyers — July 29, 2009 @ 3:12 pm

  116. Jack,

    Is that what they were? Is that what you think “harlots” dress like?

    Comment by GB — July 30, 2009 @ 11:29 am

  117. GB ~ Is that what you think “harlots” dress like?

    Of course not. But we already know it’s what you think: “Add a little makeup [to women in tanktops] and you too can look like a whore.”

    Comment by Bridget Jack Meyers — July 30, 2009 @ 12:01 pm

  118. My mother and sister could not attend my wedding in the Temple and my Mom was so against making any todo about any event in one’s life it didn’t matter to her. I’m sure she would have “liked” to have gone in to see the inside of the temple but not necessarily me taking my vows….that aside, I do know of non-members or LDS without recommends who felt left out.

    Years later I worked in the wedding business field and I think a lot of the being left out is the hype, especially that girls get, on making the bride “princess for a day” and the expectations get very high…and often expensive.

    I think the church likes to encourage us to be a little simpler and focused on the commmitments we are making and enjoy the day. However, you can’t just leave folks out! Some of you have shared that years later there is still hurt and other smuggly state it didn’t bother the non-worthy to attend folks one bit.

    I personally would prefer to see us trend to get married at home or other venue if needed/desired (as the church is NEVER going to encourage chapel weddings)in a simple ceremony and year later go to the temple…make it something to work for, real meaningful temple marriage preparation classes to complete and prepare with.

    Folks could either have a big 1st year anniversary party with everyone invited or have a big party/celebration…or small one…whatever the day they get married…or both (good for the wedding industry…lol.)

    Bottom line, make it easier for the couple to postpone the temple ceremony when it will hurt family members…even if the family members say it doesn’t bother them. My mother is probably the only exception in the world & she was also happy because the temple part was all free.

    One last thing…waiting a year would probably cut back on temple divorces, too.

    Comment by gatorade momma — July 31, 2009 @ 11:36 pm

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