Jun 25, 2012
Heather, Michelle, Insana Dee, and Truth discuss what happens when a parent cannot attend their child’s temple marriage.
By Rich Rasmussen
This was a very annoying episode. I’m an ex-mormon, gay, atheist, bleeding heart liberal, but even this stuff boils my blood. The entire episode was just one big circle-jerk, with angry, anti-mormon women bitching about how much they hate the church. I may happen to agree with everything they said, but I enjoy an actual discussion on these type of issues. This sort of banter gets us nowhere and it gives all of us ex-mos a bad name. In fact, I couldn’t even finish it. I made it an hour through before turning it off. I could tell the host was just as annoyed by it as I was, and kudos to her for at least attempting to give the other side of the argument. I love mormon expression, and I know it tends to lean towards the “ex-mormon” side of the arguments, but I was really disappointed in this episode.
You are wrong in your assessment of how I was feeling about this episode. I was not annoyed. I was simply trying to bring a little bit of the opposing opinion, something ME strives for. It’s really too bad that all you got out of this was the sense that women were sitting around bitching.
My apologies for making assumptions.
It was hard to get anything out of these stories other than anger. I know they’re sad. Frankly, what these women experienced is beyond excusable. But there are ways around these issues without all of the vitriolic name-calling that was tossed around in this episode. As I said in an earlier response, words like “brainwashed” and “extortionists” will not win these women an empathetic ear from the church.
Many people have experienced hard times at the hands of the church, we’ve all been hurt by it in some way. But I’ve come to expect an intelligent discussion from Mormon Expression when handling these issues. One where intellect and reason trumps blind anger and frustration. This episode was the most one-sided discussion yet.
I couldn’t finish the episode, not because the topic was not interesting but the quality of the discussion was not up the level of discourse I have come to expect from ME. However, I didn’t know about Mitt Romney’s civil marriage followed a few days later by the temple sealing. Kudos for that tidbit. That fact alone should spread like wildfire and cause people to pause and question the year waiting period between a civil marriage and temple sealing.
Episodes that tilt to the ex-Mo side show up from time to time. Have you listened to my panel discussion of The Mantle?
Sheesh. Have a little compassion and tolerance for a differing point of view.
This legitimately isn’t bitching, but the expression of the visceral pain these people experienced, and how easily it could have been avoided.
Bryan; exmos have a bad name already. Do you really think that those heartbroken mothers sharing their pain about being excluded from their kids’ weddings is going to make that name any worse? I have listened to the issue of gay people not being able to marry ‘at all’ with enormous compassion. There are just some things that hurt so badly that others may see the expression of that pain as bitching, but most ‘bleeding heart liberals’ would see it for what it really is; an attempt to change a policy.
It was your loss of opportunity to hear their personal stories; the ones that still brought tears of pain to the surface. Perhaps if you had heard them out you might have had a better understanding, but then maybe not. I’m rooting for equality for all people. I stand by the 11th Article of Faith.
“We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men (and women) the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.”
I personally extend that to: Let them marry how, where and who they want, including in their wedding ceremony, who they wish, without stigma or fear.
There is a way to challenge policy, and it’s from a perspective of understanding and common ground. The personal stories told in this episode lacked any trace of understanding or empathy towards the other side of the argument. I want the church to change their stance on this issue just as much as anyone, the same as I want the church to change it’s views on homosexuality. But words like “brainwashed” and “extortionists” are never going to win over the hearts of my enemies. Whenever Heather tried to bring up the opposing view, the other women completely dismissed it (or acknowledged it only momentarily), and returned to the offensive.
These stories are tragic, I know. Lord knows I have my own personal stories of how the church made my teenage years a living hell. I overcame those bad times, jumped ship and left the church, but my fellow gays still struggle with the same depression, anger, and thoughts of suicide. My initial reaction of course is anger, focused towards those in the church who have created such a homophobic world. I’ve learned however that If I live in a constant state of vitriol towards the church, it will get me nowhere, and it will change nothing. If we, as ex-mormons, gay or straight, are ever going to expect an understanding and empathetic view from the church, than we must return the favor, regardless of how hard it may be or how much it pains us. We must do so from a stance of compassion and understanding, so we can hopefully build bridges, and create a better church and world for our kid’s future.
Brian, with respect – we cannot control the words that people use. Brainwashing is not the correct term, but mind control. One of the women is not and never has been a member of the LDS Church; how did it look to her? Oh but your didn’t hear her story; you stopped listening.
I’m glad that you have been able to find a way to step out of the pain. If you had listened to the end you would have discovered how Insana Dee has learned to step out; something that was necessary to her continued relationship with her family.
Heather’s job is as a facilitator; not a speaker. The women were given the opportunity to tell their story. To quote Dallin H. Oaks:
“Balance is telling both sides. This is not the mission of the official
Church literature or avowedly anti-Mormon literature. Neither has _any
responsibility_ to present both sides.”
The women who were telling their feelings were under no responsibility to give their time to the other side of the issue; they have been wounded by the ‘other side’. This was their chance to tell it from their perspective along with permission, I might add, from Apostle Dallin H. Oaks.
I know we can’t control the words other people use. What we can do is disagree with what words are chosen (and I don’t really think “mind control” is much of an improvement.) Imagine if, at this very moment, two TBM’s were sitting down together, enjoying a nice, caffeine-free diet coke, and discussing how “brainwashed” or “mind controlled” ex-mormons are. Would we respect their point of view? Not at all. We’d be immediately turned off by the conversation, and probably become defensive.
How did the non-LDS woman view the church’s position? I’m sure much of the same way the others did, even though I didn’t finish. Please correct me if I’m wrong.
The host of this show has always been more than just a facilitator. If it’s true that Heather didn’t hold any responsibility to contribute, than she simply wouldn’t have. She wouldn’t have even bothered giving the other side if she acted simply as a facilitator. But she did, as she well should have. Do you really believe that, in order to have a meaningful, intelligent discussion, you don’t have to present all sides of the argument? That’s not a discussion at all. Of course we have an obligation to fairly present both sides of the argument! Not because we’re “avowedly anti-mormon,” but because we’re rational people! It’s pointless otherwise, and It makes us no better than those in the church who close their eyes and cover their ears to our side of the issue.
I am the nevermo woman (Truth) who was interviewed for this.
BTW nevermo not Anti.
Brian, how can you even begin to assume what I feel or said if you could not even be bothered to listen to the whole thing?
Also, why would I even contemplate presenting another side? My side and how this policy affected me is what I was asked to present. PERIOD
For me there is no argument – this policy and how it has affected my life and my family is not up for debate it is what it is.
@google-592b804758d82e09b153ec5791f31eaa:disqus @truthrenaissance:disqus, I appreciate what you ladies are saying here but let’s not get too defensive about a few negative comments. Brian had some good points. I enjoyed the podcast and even shed some tears for you. I especially appreciated hearing your story and the experiences of the other women.
At the same time I can empathize with Brian and others who might have thought it came off as a bit harsh and could have been better if a bit more.. friendly, balanced, something? That is a valid opinion and it shouldn’t take anything away from your excellent contribution here. Thanks for sharing!
Temple Marriage: From the ‘Outside’ Looking in – that is the title. It was not a panel discussion; do you want one?
A good point to consider. Thanks for injecting.
John Dehlin’s Mormon Stories has offered to have a panel discussion with believers and non believers for those of you who would like to hear what true believing members have to say about this issue. It is in the works.
It is a totally different animal though as I pointed out above, but seeing that some people would like a panel discussion showing the other side – John has been taken up on his kind offer. Not sure of the date yet; will post.
Brian, if all you heard was “just one big circle-jerk, with angry, anti-mormon women bitching about how much they hate the church”, you’re pretty heartless, and show an amazing lack of empathy. I feel sorry for you that you can’t hear the pain that these people have experienced, and understand where the things they said originate from.
A wise person once told me that if you find something annoying in someone else, then it is time to look at yourself. Looking over this session’s comments, you have dominated with your complaints on how this episode was conducted (one you admit you didn’t even finish listening to). I would suggest that you take some time and ask yourself what is the bigger issue here for you. Because I can’t imagine your bitching about this episode is truly about three women openly sharing their painful experience.
I’m gonna pull out the parent card here. For all of you who think this issue isn’t “worthy” of a podcast and that these women don’t “deserve” the chance to share their stories, I can only assume you are not a parent. I have two young children and I commend these women for having the courage to share their intimate pain as a way to raise awareness on this issue. I hope 15 years from now, this policy is stopped so that I can be present in sharing my children’s wedding. Thank you to all of you for opening up your personal life and experience on this issue.
Better yet, do all you can in those fifteen years prior to a temple wedding, to get your kids OUT of the organization – or to at least balance what they hear from believers so they can make a more informed choice.
I couldn’t hear you over the fwapping noise as I jerked with other ladies in our pity circle. Boy was it fun!!
Thanks for discounting my experiences and inferring that my genuine feeings during those hard times were unwarranted, petty, and not worthy of expression. You remind me of many LDS men. Too bad you left the church because you would have fit in quite well.
My parents (TBMs) were married civilly before being sealed in the temple. Their civil ceremony occurred New Year’s Eve, and the sealing took place in January (allowing them to accommodate two families full of nonmembers). If they had been required to wait a year before the sealing, I think they would have waited.
The conflict here between family members isn’t just the institutional church’s fault. It is also the fault of stupid people doing what stupid people do. I like what Heather (?) said about being a self-righteous prig. This is a common problem in the church, among the rank and file as well as the top brass. It is also a common problem outside the church. Young people are especially prone to make strident emotional gestures that don’t really need to be made. We convert to a cause, any cause, and become raving, fire-breathing fanatics (who think that making a statement is more important than loving our family: in extreme situations, we reject that family utterly because it is not fanatic the way we are). Sure, the church has leveraged this conflict badly (in Utah, mostly), but I have a feeling that has much to do with average Mormons (teachers, ward leaders, and doe-eyed converts from non-member families) being self-righteous prigs: some leaders may encourage this bad behavior (and I know that some have, in Utah), but not everyone plays their game.
My local LDS leaders outside Utah were mostly nice, caring people who would happily accommodate people with family outside the church — a common occurrence in the South, where I grew up. The local leaders my wife dealt with in Utah were some of the most arrogant, condescending idiots I ever met: one of them conducted a civil marriage ceremony in which he pointed out over and over that the union he was “celebrating” was a farce because it was taking place outside the temple. The reason it was occurring outside the temple was that the bride had taken out her endowment (as preparation for a planned temple wedding, for which she was entirely worthy), and had been so scared by the endowment ceremony that she could not go near the temple without having panic attacks. The problem here was not any policy dictated by the COB; it was that one bishop happened to be a hopeless dick. (And I am not sure how the COB could erase his dickishness: my guess is that they have their hands full dealing with their own — ha!).
I agree with the panel that the church should change the policy requiring a year-long wait between civil marriage and sealing in the USA. But I don’t agree that the problem is all the COB’s fault (in this case). Sure, it allows (and even encourages) abuse, but it is not the only party at fault in this regard. Shame on all the people, Mormons or not, who decide to cut their families out of their lives merely because they don’t drink the one true brand of Kool-aid.
I appreciate that Heather brought in other perspectives throughout the episode, but I also felt that the discussion still tended to be one-sided. I wish there were a larger variety of opinions. For example, it was mentioned several times that temple wedding was a money-grubbing operation. It does have that aspect, of course, but I think there is more to it. I don’t think most local leaders are thinking tithing dollars when they’re interviewing non-active members for temple recommends. It’s more like they’re just following the instructions to the letter as they have been taught.
On another note, I agree with Heather that believers thinking the righteous are being oppressed in many countries in Europe. I think as an argument to change the policy, it is a weak example because the article of faith encourages being subjected to the laws of the nation. However, I know that in South Korea, Mormons get married civilly first then in the temple although the government doesn’t require a civil wedding. It’s just that most people there are converts and there is a huge family pressure to have the wedding publicly. In that case, the church doesn’t really have any grounds for different treatments of Mormons in South Korea and in North America.
I’m an ex-Mormon father of a daughter who was just married in the Washington DC Temple a bit over a week ago. I strolled the grounds as my wife and what seemed like 30 other family members and ward friends, some I barely know, attended the ceremony.
I knew this day was coming for a long time so I wasn’t pouting or pissy about it. But I did take the chance to probe the mindset a bit. As a few of the ward acquaintances spilled out just before my daughter and her new husband emerged I greeted them with the friendly question, “How was my daughter’s wedding?”
Without batting an eye they replied how wonderful it all was – all smiles. They just weren’t thinking about who was asking the question.
But then neither was I twenty eight years ago when in that same place my parents waited outside.
Today I am deeply ashamed for my blind spot – but I also understand that it isn’t ground-level maliciousness. People just tend to get caught up in their own thing and don’t question the status quo if it works for them.
My mom isn’t alive to hear my apology. That’s what made it most difficult to hold back my tears amidst those joyful on-lookers milling around the Temple entrance.
The day after was Father’s Day and my daughter had taken the time in the middle of all her wedding preparations to write me lovely note. She didn’t apologize and I’m so glad she didn’t. What she wrote was far better – she wrote just about us. She made no reference to Mormonism.
Something the church cares about almost as much as money is its public image. This has never been truer than it is today (probably). Maybe my personal optimism is just manifesting as confidence, but I feel certain that the church will alter this policy relatively soon. At some point, enough influential church leaders will acknowledge the fact that this policy shouts “CULT!” to the world that they so want to impress.
As with many church policies, this change won’t erase the decades of heartache suffered by many. But as always, we’ll all just be expected to forget yet another way in which the church has been absurdly cultish.
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I enjoyed this podcast.
I would like to thank Mormon Expressions and Heather for affording me this opportunity to share my experience.
Who on earth would downvote this comment? Sheesh.
You’re welcome Truth. I appreciated your comments in the podcast.
Maybe it was inadvertent. It is not immediately apparent what those ^ and inverted ^ mean… and they are right next to each other.
I agree. I don’t like the new system. I don’t like the idea of “downvoting” at all in fact. But to answer @Heather_ME:disqus’s question, I’m pretty sure it was either @darkmatter20 or possibly @jazzhanzz. They seem to love that sort of thing.
Discussions about the Book of Mormon can be two sided. Discussions about the P of GP can be two sided. Discussions about Jesus Christ as a god can be two sided. There are many topics that warrant two sided discussions. BUT Rosa Parks being able to sit at the front of the bus, an LBGT couple having the right to marry, a child having the right to safety OR a parent being present at the marriage of their child of whom they’ve loved and sacrificed for; theses are NOT topics for discussion but rather rights that we fight for and demand change. The stories of these woman are heart wrenching and the stories deserve to be expressed without filter or censorship. The pain they feel is not up for debate or discussion. It should be unabashedly shouted from the roof top. An injustice to the most sacred unit of family is occurring; it must stop. Leave the fair minded – two sided discussions to the topics that don’t destroy the human spirit or experience.
Well said Natalee.
You assume that there are no competing values on this issue. Yes, “injustice to the most sacred unit of family” is occurring, however temple marriage is the choice of two adults.
Furthermore, unlike the other rights you mentioned, a parent being present at the marriage of their child is neither a human right nor a civil right. Even eloping makes parents upset, but their rights are not being violated. Your attempt to conflate this issue with others only serves to expose the weakness of your argument.
Brian is right. Include more voices. The apologists of this podcast seem to imply that including another opinion would somehow silence these women. If this is true, it’s the fault of the host. Just have one woman who decided to have a temple wedding that excluded her parents and didn’t regret it. It’s not hard. If anything, the dialogue between opposing viewpoints will create a far more credible and persuasive argument, especially if one of those viewpoints is correct. Surely, the producers of the Mormon Expressions podcast have faith in the marketplace of ideas, right? Surely, you see the irony of excluding voices when the very topic of discussion is exclusion, right?
Also, listening to four self-proclaimed nonbelievers discuss how the church should change would be like watching the Second Continental Congress (can I get some points for a US History reference?) debate how British Parliament should legislate the United Kingdom. Please tell me how you expect that conversation can bear any fruit without including anyone from the organization you seek to change? To cite your examples: civil rights leaders met with segregationist policymakers and LGBT folks and their allies have met with church leaders. Instead of actively including the agent with which you have sought change, you have arrogantly assumed they will download your podcast, and passively endure allegations of being “extortionists” with no opportunity for a rebuttal. Speaking as someone who believes in your cause, I am telling you in no uncertain terms, you are doing this wrong.
“Also, listening to four self-proclaimed nonbelievers discuss how the church should change would be like watching the Second Continental Congress… debate how British Parliament should legislate the United Kingdom.”
Perhaps this analogy does not serve your argument so well. By the time of the Second Continental Congress convened the colonists were in open rebellion against the British. And while there was a last minute formal attempt at reconciliation (The Olive Branch petition) the acts of rebellion were already beyond the point of no return, as were the minds of many leading colonists who were moving forward to undermine it, like John Adams.
Perhaps we should view these panelists in the same light as the Founding Fathers of the UNited States, or, more dramatically, the farmer colonists who took up arms at Lexington, Concord and Bunker Hill – British apostates all who turned the tide against an Empire.
As I stated earlier, this discussion did not include agents with whom they were seeking change. I’m sure the Olive Branch petition at least made it across the Atlantic.
Yes, much more like the colonists who took up arms. This, I agree, is a far more apt analogy.
“I’m sure the Olive Branch petition at least made it across the Atlantic.”
Indeed, and it was apparently dismissed because of John Adams’s confiscated letter (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olive_Branch_Petition). Either way, I’m glad for his instigation to revolt – albeit unjustifiably glad since who knows what the alternative would look like today. Would you agree “ol’ chap?”
In my mind the best strategy remains an open question – whether it’s by respectful dialogue and petitioning from within or without the Church (like Jean Bodie has done) or by mounting antagonistic public exposure that threatens the Church’s prosperity. Perhaps working both ends is most effective … and, of course, three cheers for free speech! Hip hip horray x 3!
Wow, you sure love to downvote good comments. You assume this podcast was made for the sole purpose of inciting change from leadership. That’s not what this was for at all. Several attempts have been made for discourse with the Twelve and Fifteen. They refuse to any sort of meeting, and instead delegate somebody way down the line to handle pesky complaints of this sort. Attempts will continue, and this podcast is merely a way of informing THE PUBLIC of a terrible policy – which I think it succeeds in quite well.
I apologize for being unclear, but looking at my previous comment, I understand why my point is being misunderstood. I was not trying to claim that leadership should have been included on this podcast. Rather, just someone (perhaps a recently temple married woman) to give a defense of status quo policy. This would have elevated the level of discourse and I also think this would done a better job of informing the public of the “terrible policy”.
Even Heather stated in another comment that ME strives to bring in opposing views. That claim seems disingenuous when every participant on the podcast has the same view.
For the record, that while I understand we disagree on whether or not this podcast succeeds in informing the public, I hope your assessment is more accurate than mine.
I’m curious about your claim that I love to downvote good comments. As I examine this entire thread, I can’t see where I’ve downvoted any comment, good or bad. If I’m wrong, and supposing from your accusation you can see these things with Moderator privileges, let me know and I’ll change my vote. I genuinely believe everyone’s voice has merit.
Finally, it is not my assumption that the sole purpose of the podcast was to incite change. Since my original post I’ve concluded that I do not know what the purpose of this podcast, or ME for that matter, is at all. My attempts to find a mission statement or anything similar on this website have not been fruitful.
Well, what it looked like from your post, was that you assume ME’s intention with this podcast was for church leadership to discover it somehow, listen to it, and then want to make changes to their “1-year-probation” policy. That’s what I was addressing. This sentence is what gave me that idea:
Instead of actively including the agent with which you have sought change, you have arrogantly assumed they will download your podcast, and passively endure allegations of being “extortionists” with no opportunity for a rebuttal.
As for the “downvoting” comment, I apologize as I think I may have misread you, and the downvotes.
ME’s basic goal has always been simply to discuss all things related to Mormonism. It says so on every page, right under the name. A detailed mission statement is found under About us in the top-navigation (between “podcasts” and “login”). It has been there for all the world to see, posted well over a year ago. Is it that hard to find? If so, maybe we should do something to make it easier. I always thought it was pretty standard to click on an “about us” link to find out more about a website or organization, including mission statements and such. Let me know if you have any suggestions for improvement.
Mitt and Anna Romney….I think you are misreading the church handbook. It isn’t a book of commandment but a guide for leaders to use to know what “should” normally be done. But exemptions happens all the time without asking the first presidency. for example to hold a membership record of someone who doesn’t live within your boundaries you need, by the handbook, to ask permission to the office of the first presidency, but no one does that. We just request the records and hq just sends them out. We don’t follow the handbook as a police officer would follow his job handbook. So I think it highly unlikely that the Romney’s asked for an exemption to the first presidency, more like they just fixed things the best they could amongst themselves.
By the way I don’t agree with this Temple only marriage because 1) people do lie to get a recommend just to be able to go to the wedding, and the spouses also sometimes have to lie to get married in the temple and 2) the church is wrong to think that Temple marriages are more likely to succeed; they quote skewed stats that show a lower divorce rate for temple marriages but those stats don’t include all the inactives and ex-members who are also temple married but drop out of the church first and later divorce. Plus in most of europe and latin american you must have a civil ceremony first and then go to the temple to marry because they don’t recognize church weddings, and those marriages aren’t lesser because of it.
Excellent comment. Thanks for sharing.
If it’s a book of what leaders SHOULD do… then maybe this “movement” should change its tactics. Instead of changing the policy… maybe we should be pushing local leaders to approve temple weddings based upon preparedness and worthiness… instead of by the calendar.
Either way ….no one goes to hell over this …ie.. it isn’t a sin to change policy nor a sin to do things differently to what the handbook says
.I’ve always thought that If it causes a lot of pain to he family then maybe a couple could be quiet about a civil wedding Friday afternoon with the reception and then a second marriage in a out of town Temple Saturday morning, like going to Ogden temple if you live in Provo. I doubt they’d be prosecuted by civil authorities if one has two consecutive weddings due to this religious problem.
However it will be difficult nowadays to get a temple presidency to play along the two weddings because Temple presidencies tend to be rather strict with policy. They are in direct phone contact with the first presidency and tend to support them more than the average member (by the way that direct line to the 1st Pres is the reason why good english is a requirement to serve on a Temple presidency).
Better then is to do this without a temple presidents knowledge imho….
Civil wedding in other countries (Latin America): also note that the civil isn’t a ‘movie’ type wedding but just the couple and 4 witnesses and maybe a few others going down to the ‘Registry’ and holding a ceremony in suits and business dress in front of a goverment official in his office -in most countries. Brides don’t dress up in the white dress in the civil service but reserve that for the church (catholic usually) wedding. The civil wedding in these countries are just a legal proceedure done with witnesses early in the morning before the religious wedding in the evening…..be that religious wedding a jewish or catholic or evangelical wedding
Off course the difference is still that the mormon wedding isn’t witnessed by non member family but the jewish, catholic and evangelical weddings, and all others religions, can be seen by non-member family…
This is incorrect darkmatter. Civil marriage is not done the way you describe in all places.
In LDS chapels in England or in ‘special houses’ used for that purpose, couples in full wedding regalia, bridesmaids, flowers and tuxes etc. marry with a registrar present while the bishop conducts the service. It is beautiful, inclusive and touching to be there to witness the joining of two people in marriage.
I HAVE been there and dun that! After the reception, the couple and ‘temple worthy’ guests go to the temple to seal the marriage which has just taken place, for eternity. Simply beautiful and beautifully simple.
There is no necessity for having church leaders punish North Americans for choosing to do it this way too.
“This is incorrect darkmatter….”
Actually it is is latin america, which is why that’s in those ( )….! And today nearly half the church is in latin america.
But yes, I’ve read that Britain does it the way you describe as does Holland. I’m not sure about the rest of europe or the world.
However the point I was trying to make was that changing the policy for most countiies wouldn’t help much -would in the US- but in Brazil, for example which has passed the million member mark, the couple still has to get married down at the registry without the wedding dress etc and then that same afternoon everyone expects, or the cultural expection is to see the church wedding (usually a catholic one in brazil).
Therefore lds members end up having the same problems as US members have since the relatives can’t see the church wedding; and the civil one in the morning isn’t a considered to be the real wedding but just the signing of government papers.
Note also that a Bishop marrying a couple does so because the government grants him a marriage celebrant’s licence in those countries, ie britain, australia, US etc. In mormonism only ‘sealers’ can marry or have religious priesthood power to marry. The 15 who hold the rank of apostle have that authority as part of their rank or more correctly their priesthood authority, and then they delegrate a few men to officiate as ‘Sealers’ in temples holding that sealing power temporarily while they serve. Therefore changing the policy may also imply a change in doctrine if the government doesn’t accept Bishops as marriage celebrants, as would be the case in latin america. Or the church would have to delegrate the sealing power to all bishops when called, something they seem not too enthused about doing today. This is the reason why they came up with that ridiculus ring ceremony, ie because bishops don’t have priesthood authority to officiallly marry couple unless the government gives them that authority.
I enjoyed this discussion and thank the panel for sharing their experiences. I am puzzled by one thing… Do people really look down on couples that choose to have a “ring ceremony” at the reception or the following day? I only lived in Utah during my years at BYU so I don’t know, but maybe that is a Utah thing? My best friend had a ring ceremony because several members of both the bride’s family and the groom’s family are not members of the church, and I don’t remember anyone batting an eye or thinking less of her or thinking that she was taking away from the “sacredness” of the temple marriage. The only thing I remember is that she (the bride) was annoyed because the bishop (whom she and her husband were very close to) made several comments during the ring ceremony to make sure everyone else knew that the temple was the REAL wedding and this part didn’t really count.
Have others had this experience?
I remember being told by my YW and bishop, etc that ring ceremonies were an affront to God and a cheapening of the temple ceremony. I remember being taught it regularly.
As for the bishop in your story…. it’s a PERFECT example of why I chose not to be married by my parents’ bishop. I saw no reason to allow another person to insert their agenda into my wedding day. The person who performed my wedding ceremony did exactly what we wanted him to do…. which is what should happen.
yeah, I went to a ‘wedding’ in church which ended up being a ring ceremony instead. The bride walked down the aile and all that , then the Bishop just said a few welcoming words and asked the man to ‘place’ the ring on his wife and vice versa, and then told everyone it was done…thanks for coming.
People, mostly the brides work friends and collegues, all looked rather confuesed since he didn’t say the typical ‘We are gathered here today….unite this man and woman in holy matrimony’ .. and he especially didn’t say ‘i declare you man and wife’ because he can’t do that but did mention that it was a ring ceremony and not a wedding ceremony!
The result was that the bride, her non-member husband and all the relatives never set foot in a mormon church again. This was about 1989 odd. Her mother apparently had a good go at the bishop, complained to the stake pres but got nowear, so she went inactive too and this after years of faithfully going to church as a single mom. Looking back now I think it’s just a shame that things worked out that way and just because the church is stubborn with their marriage policy.
I haven’t finished this podcast, but just to reply about the ring ceremony, yes, my wife and I have seen this on both sides of the family and it’s repulsive. My younger brother married a convert from Maine, and were married in the Boston temple while her parents and cousins waited outside. That evening the reception was at her parents house and backyard, which was amazing and the local Bishop did the ring ceremony and went on about how this ring ceremony was nice, but didn’t have any real meaning, that was all in the temple. This was in her parent’s own back yard. Such a slap in the face after already being excluded from the wedding. I fully believed back then and still felt so bad and uncomfortable. The only members there was our immediate family, the vast majority of the guests were local non-members who had to listen to this man go on about how this ring ceremony meant nothing.
My wife’s brother was married in California, on a small cliff that overlooked the ocean at sunset. It was simply amazing. It wasn’t worthiness or anything, his wife just didn’t want to marry in the temple. Still, they had their bishop do the ceremony, and he also went on and on how this was not their real goal, that they really needed to work to get to the temple, etc..
It’s a very unfortunate policy and cultual mindset.
This is all so correct. The elitist, the fear creation, the lack of experience of seeing civil marriages, the business model, etc. It all is so egotistical. I can’t be Mormon because of it.
We too were marginalized during our dear convert son’s temple wedding 2 years ago. A deeply painful memory that time alone cannot erase. Options were never discussed, leaving our family completely and carelessly out of what families, friends and communities the world over celebrate together.
It was a day of joy turned into one of heartbreak as we stood outside among throngs of strangers awaiting their own friends and family members exit from the temple door.
One of the ‘excuses’ we heard was that the wedding/sealing room is very small. Yet it was big enough for a few lds friends our son had known for a whopping 6 months.
The bride’s mother quipped “it is what it is”. “It” being a policy that forces young couples to choose between present day Mormon cultural norms and their own loving family. Throw in a hefty dose of shame for those that dare to include ‘unworthy’ family by having a civil wedding and you’ve got spiritual blackmail.
As Heather suggested in this important discussion, the compassionate solution would be to allow couples to be sealed first, then have the option to marry afterward…in the temple or civily.
Our family’s struggle with temple wedding exclusion was covered in the Arizona Republic:
I remember reading this when it came out…and then reading a conter reply on deseret news where they claimed that this policy was a good missionary tool!!! The mother the desnews interviewed claimed that she respected the church more seeing how members put God before family!!?? So I doubt this policy will change any day soon. Plus president Monson clearly stated in the priesthood session of general conference that every young priesthood holder will always want to marry his sweetheart in a Temple first, so it seems the first presidency thinks differently to what people here including me, believe.
This is a letter I sent to Godon Hinckley prior to daughter’s wedding several years ago…thought it was aplicable to the conversation….
President Gordon B. Hinckley
c/o The Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter Day Saints
50 East North Temple
Salt Lake City, UT 84150
Dear President Hinckley:
It is my hope that those that serve you will not insulate
you from my letter…although I am not naïve enough to think that you will
actually get and read this correspondence.
This Saturday the 21st day of July, my daughter
will be married in the Logan LDS Temple.
I, the father of the bride, however will not be admitted to witness my
own daughters wedding because I am no longer a member of the LDS Church. I have
been relegated to second class status and will be standing outside the temple
doors as my daughter is married. Instead of this being a joyful day to
celebrate my beautiful daughter’s marriage…Our family will instead have a grey
cloud hanging over us. But we are a
strong united family so we will grit our teeth, put on fake smiles and endure
the excruciatingly painful process that is placed on part member LDS families.
It is truly sad when children are forced to choose between their religion and
their families. Unfortunately, due to current church policies…families are put in a situation where everyone loses. The non-member or so called unworthy family members all too often become the casualty….yet in the end your policy actually causes everyone to lose.
I am writing, as one father to another, in the remote hope
that you, as a father, might empathize with the pain I feel by being excluded from
my own daughters wedding. Could you even
imagine such a scenario in your life, I’m guessing not. I cannot sit silent to this travesty and
say nothing; it is not right, it is divisive and your policy is causing pain were none
is needed. Regardless of the LDS Churches motivation for this policy of exclusion,
you need to understand just how much pain the church is causing families
through the its policy of barring non-member or non-believing family members
for their own children’s weddings.
You have the authority to change this heartbreaking, exclusionary
church policy. The LDS Church has an extensive
history of making changes to long standing church policy when circumstances motivate this necessity.
At my own Temple wedding, all attendees were required to
wear white…this policy was changed; attendees now can wear street clothes.
African American’s were once excluded from Temple participation…this has
changed. And as you are fully aware, many elements of the
Temple endowment have been removed or changed through out the years…the most
recent changes in 2005. Change is possible.
So on behalf of all in-active, non-recommend holding or
non-member parents who have children who choose to be married in an LDS Temple, I
plead with you, father to father, to review this policy that prohibits us from attending
our own children’s weddings. Make Temple
weddings a wonderful uniting experience, where families of all faiths, creeds and persuasions can truly be together. Sadly, any change in policy will not come
soon enough for me…I can only hope that future parents will not suffer this
painful segregation of families at such an important and otherwise joyful time
in their child’s life.
A few final thoughts…its been several eyars now since my daughter was married…since then I’ve also had a son and another daughter whose weddings I was not allowed to attend. Here are some things I’ve learned since my first daughters wedding…
So my daughter is a married
woman ….I took a bullet for my daughter and bit my lip so as not to upset her
or my believing wife on this most special of days. I sat quietly outside the temple
as the ceremony was taking place inside without me…the father of the bride.
As I sat and reflected on my 2nd class status…I suddenly became nauseous…the
reality of the exclusionary policy of the Mormon Church swept over me and I
became emotionally sick…all I wanted to do was throw up. But I held my
on. After the wedding I sat watching as all my LDS neighbors and friends exited the temple with
smiles on their faces. Many of these people only had a marginal association with my daughter yet they had just been able to witness my daughters wedding.
After some time my daughter came out in similar fashion…my beautiful daughter
has graduated into a full-fledged Mormon….I ran to some bushes and lost my
cookies…I wiped my mouth and went to greet my daughter and wife and other
family members with that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. Surprisingly,
no one dared ask me why I hadn’t been in the Temple to witness my daughter’s
wedding….Most people are still unaware that I am no longer a member of the
Mormon church…a reality I haven’t gone totally public with at my wife’s request….but
I could sense the question on their minds by the way they looked at me. I guess
they assumed that I wasn’t worthy (whatever that is).
Some points of particular interest:
Before the wedding, a close TBM friend of mine confessed to me that he was
having an affair with another woman. He told me how he had felt up this girl at
work who had been hitting on him, he ended up doing some stupid things like engageing in some very heavy petting. He
told me that it he hadn’t intend for it to go as far as it had, felt sorry for
it and said that if he didn’t attend my daughter’s wedding his wife would
figure something was up, He asked me what he should do…I insisted he attend the
My new son in law’s brother, arecently returned missionary, recently came out as
gay, he also attended the temple wedding because he still had a recommend even
though at the time, he also had a live in boyfriend.
Another friend who is a fellow member of my wife’s ward attended the Temple
Wedding…he has a very nice wine collection…how do I know? I’ve sampled it with
him…as recently as a week before the wedding.
Another attendee at my daughters
Temple wedding …drinks coffee (oh sin of sins) on a daily basis…I don’t
judge these people they each have their reason’s to lie…and personally I
applaud them and welcomed each of them to the wedding. It’s Mormonism and the
pressure it places on people to conform to their artificial standards and hide
their true identities that I criticize.
So the moral of this story… all one has to do to get into a Mormon Temple recommend
is Lie. Something I refused to do. Now I don’t fault one of these people for
attending my daughter’s wedding, in fact I’m actually glad that they were able
to attend. But it points out the lies and the fraud behind the Mormon’s
churches claim that their Temple are holy and sacred. This is another Mormon
myth. The Temple reflects society it has both good and bad people inside. But because a Mormon Temple recommend is
also a status symbol or a point of cultural pressure…Mormon’s will do anything,
yes even lie…to get one. Now I would assume that most Temple attendees meet the
so called worthy standards…but YES there are a lot that merely go through the
motions to act Mormon, they have a recommend for appearance purposes only and
just don’t want to face the crap that a TBM spouse or family member would give
them if they didn’t hold a recommend.
A few years ago in the city where I live, a temple worker was caught with his
pants down …receiving gay sex in a public park. He was charged with one count
of public ludeness. While on his way to the jail house to be processed, he
pulled out his temple recommend in an effort to convince the policemen that he
was a good decent citizen of the city and that they should let him go. This all
became public when printed in the local paper. And you wonder why they removed
the naked touching part of the initiatory. This in a nut shell is one of the consequences
of a religious system that places so much emphasis on projecting a particular
image to the public. It makes good people to lie about silly things and bad
people to lie about gross disgusting things…all so they can have a silly piece
As a child growing up in Utah, I didn’t know that young people could attend wedding ceremonies until I saw a non-lds ceremony on TV. Upon viewing the ceremony, I was confused because people were getting married outside. My young brain expected weddings to be something that happened behind closed doors in secret. The idea of being sad that I couldn’t be a part of the ceremony never even occurred to me until long after college. (I went to BYU.)
I went to my first non-lds wedding ceremony not to long ago where I was asked to be a maid of honor. I was uneasy at first because I had no idea what was to happen since I’d never been to a wedding ceremony and I didn’t know what a maid of honor was suppose to do.
I feel the need to replace “non-lds” with “traditional wedding ceremonies with no relation to the lds faith.” I was thinking I was over the “us” and “them” thought process, but obviously, I’m not. Oye.
Your stories hurt. Some day my children might make these choices, and worse is how quickly Mormons shut out nonMormon (exMormon) family and friends forever, it doesn’t just end at the wedding exclusion.
I was never Mormon and never planned to be. I married a “Jack” Mormon, whe means he didn’t really practice his faith, even seemed to hate it at times, and I didn’t know much about Mormonism from the start. I didn’t really practice the faith I was raised in either. We eloped. I suppose I feel a little better about this choice in that everyone was excluded equally, but to go back in time, I wouldn’t do that again. I would have arranged something else, or at least called first to fill people in on the plan instead of after the fact. I never wanted the fluff of a big wedding, eloping seemed like a good idea at the time and was just us and fun.
With that elopement, I wanted to share my Mormon in-law’s reactions. My family was upset but accepting, but the Mormons were livid and hurt to a degree that I didn’t expect. My Mormon mother-in-law didn’t speak to us for weeks…weeks! Earlier in the podcast when excluding the Mormons from a nonMormon ceremony came up, I thought of this. This Mormon family, the parents in particular, certainly had a taste of what it feels like to be excluded, but I honestly do not think any of them made the connection on the pain the penalty and wedding exclusion causes with the temple…because they are “saints” and “righteous” and have “the truth.” Okay for them, not for anyone else, and Mormons are notorious for jumping on the persecution bandwagon without considering their own actions and damaging and separational beliefs and policies. It’s okay for us…you can always convert.
It scares me to think at some point, not only is it possible that my children will convert and exclude me from their weddings, but they might completely shut me out of their lives and their children’s lives because of coffee and “unworthiness.” The the Mormon organization, the ones that tout “family values,” encourage this behavior, condone this, and the penalty and wedding exclusion is just the beginning…and it can start sooner…the number of encouraged divorces, teaching nonMormon minor children behind your back and without permission…they have no shame, no boundaries. Hurt and division, pay, pray, obey, exhaust the members, stuff everyone into a hateful box…that’s what I see with Mormonism, and I really try to embrace the good parts and how this religion works for a lot of people, but what I see is frosting covered poop.
And I know many very wonderful Mormons, family, neighbors, so I don’t want to come across as hateful towards anyone because of their individual beliefs, so let me add this little disclaimer right now.
And I agree 100% with Insana Dee. This is about the tithing, the dues and money for the pass card. If I don’t pay my HOA dues, I don’t get access to the neighborhood pool. Have I fallen behind? Sure…and guess whose madly catching up on the fees six months before the pool opens in spring? And gets who gets to go in…non-HOA people can go in too…of course with a resident, but get my point?
Thank you for sharing your stories and the open discussion. I really, truly hope as Mormon tries to mainstream they become a more tolerable and loving religion and those of use in the future will not suffer the pain of wedding exclusion and family division.
To make this post longer…earlier it was mentioned that the civil wedding should be allowed to take place after the sealing, which on one hand seems like a reasonable solution, but I can tell you in conversation with nonMormon parents and family, it still won’t go over well because they are *already married* in the temple. It would be far better than a pathetic ring ceremony, but the civil wedding should come first and be sealed after. They can be sealed after death if the unspeakable happened, so I can’t really wrap my brain around this level of fluff and importance placed…again, I’m a nevermo, so take that opinion as you will. I think the bottom line is money. Pay, pray, and obey.
So, let me preface this by saying all the panelists were great, and it was a very enjoyable listen. However, I do have to say that the panelist (I can’t link names to voices yet) who kept pushing the tithing issue seemed to be hyper cynical. Do you honestly believe that the one year restriction is just so the church can eek out a few thousand dollars?
I don’t agree with a lot of things the church does, but I have a hard time believing that the powers-that-be are really so Mr. Burns-esque that they concocted such a scheme. Maybe I’m being naive, but I think most people are genuinely good, and I can’t see something so malicious being allowed to propagate for long even if it really was put in place to squeeze the members.
I can’t speak for others. But myself? Yes. I honestly believe the church does this. Eek out a few thousand dollars from a few hundred thousand people and what do you have? Also, a few thousand dollars is not a fair representation. They’d only get a few thousand dollars from people like me, who make hardly anything. There are plenty of members who make 6-figure incomes. That’s a 5-figure tithing donation.
And if that isn’t cynical enough for you… try this on for size:
I also believe that the church’s push to build temples was actually a push to increase tithing donations. There isn’t much pressure to hold a recommend if the temple is thousands of miles away. But, if you have on in your backyard…… cha-ching…. you better hold a recommend.
Thanks for listening.
I appreciate the words of support that many have shown and I’ve read and contemplated the words of those who were irritated or offended by my contribution to this podcast. What may have seemed like incessant pounding on the greed of the LDS church to extract tithes from members in order to participate in their own childrens weddings is haunting to think about. I have listened to the podcast three times now to see where my injections were unwarranted and over the top.
In retrospect I’d like to say that standing on the outside of a private religious experience regardless of my position as mother of the bride or groom does not mean that I wish to change the church from within or shame them into compliance against their own religious policies. I firmly believe that they should be allowed to have any and all restrictions they want as a religious group. But, and mine is a big butt, the MEMBERS should be allowed to have a civil ceremony outside that temple experience in any way they wish without any repercussions by the religious group.
I think if more young couples broke ranks and started the trend of having a classy and personal post temple wedding ceremony where all their loved ones were welcomed it would catch on as much as the freaky weird over the top dating trends have caught on. It’s not about the money, the food, dancing, music, etc. but about having a true celebration where those who will have an influence and part in that couples future get to join in that celebration. Weddings aren’t supposed to be cold and unfriendly and full of pain.
One thing that has helped me after all was said and done was to look at that brief 2 hour experience as just that. It was a tiny ridiculous slice out of a full life. If I work at it, if I learn grace and dignity and to do that complex tango that is required to participate in the lives of my LDS children then I get the rest of their lives and their childrens lives to have memories, to make a difference, to build a genuine relationship that is not metered out by tithing and extortion but by authentic unconditional love.
Eff the LDS church, eff the Temple. I’ve got the rest of our natural lives to enjoy my family the best way I know how.
My Comment– I remember in Young womens one of my leaders had her wedding and her parents weren’t involved because it was in the temple. She showed that it gave her pain but it was a sacrifice she had to make.
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