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On the Outside Looking in: Surviving the Temple Marriage of a Loved One
 
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With the publication of the NY Times article, I've had some private discussions with a forum member about my son's recent marriage in the temple, and our inability to attend the wedding.  Since we have so many new folks (I love it!) on the site, I thought that it might be time to throw this topic out for discussion once again.  I noticed that Grape has had a recent thread about temple marriages, so perhaps we can merge them.


Mentally, I've prepped for my son's temple wedding event for several years.  Our son (our oldest) had returned to church activity while in high school, even though our family had been inactive for about 4 or 5 years.  He elected to go on a mission after finishing two years of college, and we decided to support him financially, even though we did not share his beliefs.  It just seemed like the right thing to do, yet I'm not really sure why.


He returned from his mission to Russia in 2004.  We actually picked him up, and it was a wonderful trip.  Since that time, we've had many late night religious discussions, and while he's never tried too hard to re-activate me, it became quite clear to me that he was truly devoted.  I felt that he'd probably choose to marry in the temple someday.


Luckily, I found some solace here at PostMormon.  I'll try to paraphrase what I shared with the poster who privately emailed me. 


What I've gradually come to know (and I'm speaking only for myself here), is that what goes on in the temple, with all of its associated hype, is merely a ceremonial gesture that means very little in the big scheme of things on this great planet of ours.  Really, you could say that about ANY ceremony, couldn't you?  Just as my husband and I were married 28 years ago by a clergyman from a non-Mormon faith, that clergyman, or the sealer who married my son and his bride, can NEVER REALLY know, love, and care for my son as we have over the last two and a half decades.  WE are the ones (along with others who were close to him) who "grew" and shaped him, and gave him the where-with-all to choose a wonderful mate (I take full credit for that ;-)).  He made a wise choice, we believe. 


I'm actually glad that I went through the temple many years ago, as it has helped me to re-evaluate what the temple marriage really meant to us as a couple.  Bottom line, it didn't mean a whole lot.  Now, before you think I'm rejecting our marriage, and dissing temple marriages in general, I'm not.  What marriage TRULY is, is the commitment that a couple shares with each other.  (In my opinion, that can include even members of the same sex).  But to have a stranger, whether it be a temple sealer or a member of the clergy from a different faith, proclaim a couple "married," giving them a "hall pass" to solidify this commitment, and of course, "permission" to do things that they claim only married folks should do (gasp), is .... well .... absurd to me now.  Plainly, it just makes NO sense.  What we do as believers in this religiously-based "set-up," is give PERMISSION to such an individual - a stranger, mind you - to have power over us, and I guess that I basically refuse to grant them that power.


Does that make a lick of sense?


Following the temple ceremony, our son and his bride stood before our small family group in a beautifully landscaped private outdoor setting, and each took turns thanking their families for their support over the years.  Then, they talked briefly about why they chose each other, exchanged rings, and sealed their proclamations with a kiss.  Now that, my friends, means a helluva lot more, doncha think?


With that said, don't think that I'm letting the church off easy, ‘cause I'm not.  I still find the current practice of excluding non-temple-worthy family members and friends from temple weddings to be offensive.  I think that Grape called it a "travesty."  It is.  In fact, it was one of my primary motivations to "come out", so to speak.  Plus, I have to admit that I was encouraged to do so by my husband and son.  Doing the Times piece was actually empowering for me. 


I do think that we have to be cautious about blaming our temple-worthy family members for supporting this practice, for Mormonism is made up of layer upon layer of complexities.  For some reason, the scripture that says something like: "forgive them father for they know not what they do" keeps popping into my head.


Somewhere deep down inside, it is my hope that through pressure from members (who participate in this forum, of course!) who dare to seek pure knowledge and the freedom to think for themselves, the church will eventually change its policy on the matter.  To claim to be "family-centered," yet continue to support this practice is something that needs to stop.  I may be wildly naïve, but I think that some day they will.  My hope is that by getting this practice out in the open, we can push them in that direction.  And hopefully, that will be sooner than later, so families can stop hurting.


mama

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You are very strong. I am to attend two temple weddings at the end of June and will be standing outside alone while all of my family members (including my husband) are inside together. I have not been doing this long enough to feel that I am able to deal with this well. It makes my stomach hurt when I think of it. The image of standing outside the temple alone is the visual metaphor for my general feelings in this. ALONE. Yes, there are mysterious avatars on a postmormon board to "talk" to, but these are not flesh and blood people in my life. I agree that we do all that we can to be loving and understanding to those who prescribe to Mormonism. If we expect them to respect our decision we must respect theirs. I had someone close to me admit that even if they knew that the LDS church wasn't true they still wouldn't leave because it would mean too much family trauma and upheaval in their lives. I can't say that I haven't from time to time wondered myself if I should have just stayed and gone through the motions. Because this is a really hard road, and a lonely one. But how sad is it that I would even contemplate that...not being true to myself...in the end truth won out but it comes with consequences. I truly think that the Mormon church should allow non-LDS family members to attend temple ceremonies. What is the real threat there? That they would see the temple clothing? You can see it online. That they would hear the ceremony? You can read it online? That the "house of the Lord" would be defiled because unworthy people would be inside? That already happens with untruthful members who lie to get temple recommends. A person cannot ruin a building that is sacred. God is not that weak and corruptable. I have to face the possibility that as my son and daughter will be raised by a Christian mother and a Mormon father that they could potentially choose a temple marriage where I would not be present. As a stay-at-home mom who devotes most of my time to my kids this is hardly fathomable. But as my therapist says, I don't have a crystal ball. There are no "what-ifs" involved in living for today. So that is what I am trying to do...not look too far into the future. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate hearing how others feel about this.
 
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Mama


As I said in a pm to you, I hope that you will be comforted if this caused, or is causing you any personal pain.  After seeing and reading the NYT article I concluded that you and hubby are those type people who make things go. Our society depends on folks like you who are the glue so to speak. I mean that in the most positive way.


I also want to agree with the idea of expecting changes for the better from the Mormon Church. Anyone who is negatively affected by Church policy has the right to speak out. The Mormon Church does not exist in a bubble. It benefits greatly as an American institution in many ways. One of which is tax exempted status. If it, as an institution, engages in activity that affects others negatively it can, and should be held to account for it's actions. Anything less is unacceptable. By it's intransigence it brings upon itself negative publicity and public ire.



Again I wish the best for your son and his lovely wife. I truly hope for them a life of happiness and fulfillment.

ft
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stacey:I had someone close to me admit that even if they knew that the LDS church wasn't true they still wouldn't leave because it would mean too much family trauma and upheaval in their lives.


Ms. Utahlib has a friend/former roommate who has said this exact thing numerous times.  Although, she in fact does not believe the church, and has said so. Yet, she won't leave it, and is month to month, sometimes week to week, on adhering to "the rules"(mostly WoW and sex).  It's hard to watch.
 
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free thinker:Mama


As I said in a pm to you, I hope that you will be comforted if this caused, or is causing you any personal pain.  After seeing and reading the NYT article I concluded that you and hubby are those type people who make things go. Our society depends on folks like you who are the glue so to speak. I mean that in the most positive way.


I also want to agree with the idea of expecting changes for the better from the Mormon Church. Anyone who is negatively affected by Church policy has the right to speak out. The Mormon Church does not exist in a bubble. It benefits greatly as an American institution in many ways. One of which is tax exempted status. If it, as an institution, engages in activity that affects others negatively it can, and should be held to account for it's actions. Anything less is unacceptable. By it's intransigence it brings upon itself negative publicity and public ire.



Again I wish the best for your son and his lovely wife. I truly hope for them a life of happiness and fulfillment.

ft


ft, you are always so generous with your kind words, and I appreciate it.  It's folks like you who have helped me work through this, and for that, I'm grateful.  I truly hope that we can meet in person someday.

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mamajama:

I do think that we have to be cautious about blaming our temple-worthy family members for supporting this practice, for Mormonism is made up of layer upon layer of complexities.  For some reason, the scripture that says something like: "forgive them father for they know not what they do" keeps popping into my head.


You're right, of course. And it's a good thing.


I have to think that eventually they will not be able to keep up the lies to themselves. Since I'm someone who believes that we continue past this life, I don't totally hold out for them to "see the truth" before we exit this life, but I hope for their eventual

 

At some point, they will no longer able to run from the truth of how badly they hurt people they love. They will be very sorry. If we can be ready for them, having already worked through our pain and forgiven them, we'll make things a lot easier for ourselves.


(Not that I'm anywhere near this with a number of mormons in my life, but I hope to be someday.)

 

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ft, you are always so generous with your kind words, and I appreciate it.  It's folks like you who have helped me work through this, and for that, I'm grateful.  I truly hope that we can meet in person someday.

mama




The sentiments are sincere, and yes I need to make my way north some time. That would be fun.

ft



 
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free thinker:
ft, you are always so generous with your kind words, and I appreciate it.  It's folks like you who have helped me work through this, and for that, I'm grateful.  I truly hope that we can meet in person someday.

mama




The sentiments are sincere, and yes I need to make my way north some time. That would be fun.

ft



 


The board is hoping to do a road trip to St. George in October (I think).  How far are you from St. George?  We all could meet in the middle!
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I live in Manti...VERY close to the temple..so, if you're ever here and lurking outside the "castle on the hill" ...feel free to join me for a cup of coffee while you wait! My door is always open and you won't be judged here..or considered "unworthy" to grace my home.
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mamajama:  Thankyou for sharing and congratulations on adding a "daughter" to your family. I wish you all well.
-jahedgpeth

PS: Kudos on the article.
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Mamma,
first, I read the article and I just want to say that you're a very pretty woman... inside and out.  You looked very happy for your son and his new wife.  You are a very loving mother to respect your son and their choice to marry as they saw fit and support them in their life together.  I certainly wish them only the best together in this life.

I like your comments and ideas of marriage.  I wondered after reading it how many people had "strangers" marry them?  that seemed immediately odd to me and here is why.  At our wedding, 15 years ago from next tuesday, we had both our childhood pastors marry us together in our ceremony.  These were both the same pastors who knew us as tiny little ones.  They had seen us both grow all the way UP!  So, we couldn't imagine excluding either one of them in this day.  We attended pre-marital counseling with BOTH pastors and got excellent advice from both a lot of good memories were shared.  My pastor sung the lord's prayer in his BIG, BOOMING VOICE and the little methodist minister gave the message during the ceremony.  My church organist and childhood piano teacher played the 120 year old gothic victorian organ.

for us, our ceremony was truly like having the clergy like our family members.  Everyone was truly happy for us and we knew our ministers so very well.  I guess I never thought of what it must be like for people to be married by strangers.  And, how couples marry at the temple and not even know what is going to happen in there and by whom.  I'm sure it is special in its own way, but I wouldn't have given up my homespun wedding with everyone near and dear for anything else in the world.  And... amazingly enough, my 90 year old grandfather got to see his only granddaughter get married.  I even have a precious picture of him throwing rice at our horse drawn carriage.  What a sweet memory... I'll cherish that forever. 
 
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Thanks to all of you for your kind words.  As I type this, I'm looking out my large window, and with the rain and cool temps we had yesterday, there is a dusting of snow on the tops of the mountains.  Everything is so incredibly green.  This is a beautiful place to live, despite the peculiarities of the culture.  It's so nice to "chat" with my "homies" as I sip a nice cup of java.

Even though my husband and I were married by the rector I had known for many, many years, he was NOT my favorite person.  How nice it would be to actually feel a connection to the person who marries you.  I have known of LDS folks who happened to have a grandfather who was a temple sealer, so they DID have someone close to them perform the ceremony. 

Funny, with each LDS general conference that rolls around, I hope to hear some major announcement (I mean "revelation") that indicates a significant change in some of the current practices of the church.  Alas, I'm still waiting.  I really wonder if we will see changes anytime soon.
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Fairlight:
mamajama:

I do think that we have to be cautious about blaming our temple-worthy family members for supporting this practice, for Mormonism is made up of layer upon layer of complexities.  For some reason, the scripture that says something like: "forgive them father for they know not what they do" keeps popping into my head.


You're right, of course. And it's a good thing.


I have to think that eventually they will not be able to keep up the lies to themselves. Since I'm someone who believes that we continue past this life, I don't totally hold out for them to "see the truth" before we exit this life, but I hope for their eventual


At some point, they will no longer able to run from the truth of how badly they hurt people they love. They will be very sorry. If we can be ready for them, having already worked through our pain and forgiven them, we'll make things a lot easier for ourselves.


(Not that I'm anywhere near this with a number of mormons in my life, but I hope to be someday.)




Good points both, fairlight and mamajama. I'm also preparing to attend a family temple wedding soon, and I will be sitting outside. I keep reminding myself of my family's perspective, because I was once where they are in my beliefs.

The hard part is that they are upset that I won't be there, and lay the responsibility for that at my feet, for having left the morg. I agree with mamajama that the ceremony is not what makes the marriage; however, the sealing is of profound importance to my family, and subsequently has kicked up strong feelings on both sides.

I have to say that although my husband and I were married by a relative stranger, the ceremony was still a profound experience for me -- one in which it was very important to me to have my family there. But I know the more important thing is for me to be there for the couple as they proceed through married life, and to support them however I can, and I certainly will do that.

It has occurred to me that if they one day wake up and realize what a fraud the church is, feelings about this will again be stirred, in which case I want to have done what fairlight suggested -- already have processed my feelings about this so that I can better be there for them. Of course I realize this may be a pipe dream, but I guess no one who has become the black sheep ever stops hoping at least that one day circumstances will allow them to be a whole part of the family fold again.

mamajama, I just want to say that I have an incredible amount of respect and admiration for you, for the way in which you have been able to gain such a healthy perspective on this issue, and especially for being willing to participate in the NYT article. You did a great service to the exmo community and to everyone involved, I believe, by promoting greater understanding. I'm so glad that your son's wedding day was a joyful occassion for all involved; to me, that is a real victory point for you over the church's divisive practices. I'm so happy for you and for your family.
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JillOut: I have to say that although my husband and I were married by a relative stranger, the ceremony was still a profound experience for me -- one in which it was very important to me to have my family there. But I know the more important thing is for me to be there for the couple as they proceed through married life, and to support them however I can, and I certainly will do that.


Welcome JillOut!  Cool name, and thanks for your comments.  Yes, I agree that it is vitally important to have the ones you love share in the experience. 

I want to take your comments a bit further.  For me, once I began to deconstruct Mormonism, followed by "religion" as we know it, it finally occurred to me that these profound experiences can be of our own making.  We so easily attribute them to a religious entity, for it is within a religious setting that these experiences often occur.  Can it not be just as plausible for us to create these same profound experiences, based solely on our own worth and spirituality?  Once we give ourselves permission to be our own "god" so to speak, can we not experience these things on the same level of "profoundness"?  I'm not saying that I'm there yet, but I'm sure as heck working on it.

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mamajama:
I want to take your comments a bit further.  For me, once I began to deconstruct Mormonism, followed by "religion" as we know it, it finally occurred to me that these profound experiences can be of our own making.  We so easily attribute them to a religious entity, for it is within a religious setting that these experiences often occur.  Can it not be just as plausible for us to create these same profound experiences, based solely on our own worth and spirituality?  Once we give ourselves permission to be our own "god" so to speak, can we not experience these things on the same level of "profoundness"?  I'm not saying that I'm there yet, but I'm sure as heck working on it.

mama


Oh, absolutely, I agree! In my opinion, our wedding, for example, was a profound event not beacause of the priest -- I saw him more as a ferry boat driver facilitating our travel from point A to point B in the eyes of the law, just as any officiant would have been. Rather, the meaningful participants were my husband and me -- and for us, also our family and friends being present to witness and support our commitment.

We attend no church now, but we have created any number of sacred rituals between ourselves. My parents occassionally express concern for my spiritual well-being since I am not active in any religion; I tell them that my primary spiritual task right now is my marriage, and the only place my husband and I have to be to experience that is together.

Realizing that "sacred," "spiritual" and "profound" don't necessarily have to coincide with "religious" was one of the most liberating things I learned as a post-mormon. I agree with you, mamajama, 100%!
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One of the great lessons I derived from watching Mamajama approach her son's wedding (who is a GREAT young man, by the way, and his bride is a delightful young woman) was the example she set for her faithful family members who were able to attend when she could not.  She could have been bitter, angry and hostile...which is what they might have expected.  They would have been, therefore, somewhat justified in looking down their noses at her and her bitterness. 

But that's not what she did.  She threw her arms open to her son, to his wife-to-be, to her family, and invited them all into her life with love, laughter and caring.  She flew virtually across the country to "BE THERE" for her son, even though the Church excluded her from that most important event.  She set an example of genuine goodness, and people don't really know what to do with that...except notice it, and think about it.  How do you make sense out of someone who is kept out of her child's wedding, and who smiles her way through it?

She's either got to be crazy, or wonderful.  You meet her, and you realize which one she is.  That, my friends, is how we make a difference.  It's how the canyon is bridged.  Mamajama and her son and her daughter-in-law are bridge-builders by their example.
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peter_mary:  She's either got to be crazy


You can stop right there....it's certifiable. 

Thanks, buddy...  ::hugs::

Have a great trip.  We'll miss ya here.
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JillOut: It has occurred to me that if they one day wake up and realize what a fraud the church is, feelings about this will again be stirred, in which case I want to have done what fairlight suggested -- already have processed my feelings about this so that I can better be there for them. Of course I realize this may be a pipe dream, but I guess no one who has become the black sheep ever stops hoping at least that one day circumstances will allow them to be a whole part of the family fold again.


I love what you say above. 

I still find myself shaking my head as I read through posts on this forum.  Hard to believe that a church claiming to be "all about families" practices in ways that certainly aren't harmonious with that claim.   Pretty amazing, isn't it? 

I had lunch with a nonMormon therapist friend today who ends up seeing clients struggling with the issue of not being able to attend temple marriages of their loved ones.  After being a "Mormon watcher" for many years and living in the culture for about 30 years, she says that she'd like to see LDS marriages occur civilly first (like they are in many countries that don't recognize a temple marriage).  Perhaps a year later, the couple could do the temple thing privately without all the usual pomp and circumstance you see in Utah towns/cities.  Being married in the temple is such a badge of honor in these parts.
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Oh boy. This topic is near to my heart. When my son did the temple wedding I was determined to act my way through it with the biggest smile pasted on. I would not ruin his day. The more time that past the more I found I didn't really fake it as much as I thought. With the ex husband there, family members who hadn't spoke to me for 5 years because of my leaving the church, I was determined to hug and love all those people who had hurt me. Remember, Happiness and living well is the best revenge. It started as a game inside me but turned into something very powerful. Something inside me changed. I think to leave the church is courageous. I think of myself as a hero and very brave. Something huge like that forces you to be re-born. I am thinking maybe they will change some proceedures. Thay did change their minds about blacks and the preisthood. Perhaps all non card carrying folk could actually go inside the temple to witness family and friends marry. GASP. You never know. Mamajama, you keep on keepin on.
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vww18: It started as a game inside me but turned into something very powerful. Something inside me changed. I think to leave the church is courageous. I think of myself as a hero and very brave. Something huge like that forces you to be re-born.


Exactly!  And your situation was far more complicated than mine with having an ex involved.  Anyway, I told Jeff (Ricks) that I felt empowered with my "coming out," which was a totally unexpected outcome.  Thanks for your comments.
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Basically, you can't let them win. Take your own power back.
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vww:Basically, you can't let them win. Take your own power back.


This reminds me of what a nurse friend once told me.  He said that if you ever find yourself in a work situation where you've had a major disagreement with a coworker, one of the most powerful things that you can do is seek them out at the next business meeting and plop yourself right down in the seat next to them, and be friendly.  "Take your own power back."  It CAN be empowering. 

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Mamajama That's what I'm takin bout girl. You have to just give it right back to them. I figure if (we) all have left morg, then our lives should be exemplary ones of happiness, kindness,and forgiveness. Any time I am around my family ,who are still morms, I have got to be gracious. When my son got married in the temple and I didn't go, I realized that I knew that is and was part of the deal. I knew I couldn't go and I was ok with that. For his garden reception I bought a beautiful long beaded gown. Strapless and plunging. I think some people were choking. You know what my son said? "You look stunning" So I was there for the important stuff. He knew it and I knew it. My ex did too.
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vww: For his garden reception I bought a beautiful long beaded gown. Strapless and plunging. I think some people were choking. You know what my son said? "You look stunning" So I was there for the important stuff. He knew it and I knew it. My ex did too.


I LOVE it!  Awesome story!  I'm really proud of you.
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I am learning so much through this place. I'm amazed at the wisdom and graciousness of so many of you in demonstrating love instead of simply giving it lip service. This has been my goal also, for many years since leaving, but I am quite certain I will never have to wait outside the temple while one of my own children are inside experiencing one of the most important bonding moments of their lives. Not the temple ceremony, as has been pointed out, but being joined with the person they are choosing to make a life with, and do their best to love and cherish through whatever comes their way. That is an important event in anyone's life and the fact Joe Smith saw fit to hijack that event is no less than despicable. I have to see how truly awful that is in order to be able to forgive it and forgive the pain it causes. My job as I see it, is to figure out how to let that go and be loving in the face of cruelty. I agree the cruelty is not intended to be cruel by the mainstream of the mormon church, but it is cruel nontheless. Any relative of mine who tells me it is my choice to stay away from the marriages of my family because it is up to me to be worthy or not, is being cruel (there have been a few to say this to me). The stance that I am not "worthy" staggers me. I am not acceptable to their God even though I am a good, kind, loving person who has cared for them and for their children. They are basically saying none of that matters and is irrelevant, even.

In the face of all this, I still choose to be kind, loving and accepting, which is really tough to do. I still choose to greet them with a smile, to ask how they are, and to demonstrate I am not daunted by what they think of me because I know who I am and I am happy with my choices. I am better at this with each passing year (and it's been quite a few now). It can still be difficult and I still have to gear up to get together with family. I limit time with them because sometimes they can be outright mean and I still feel somewhat drained after I'm with them . But I handle each family gathering better and better.

I love your choice of dress for your sons wedding, vww18! That is my goal also - to wear what I feel comfortable in, even though every one of my modestly dressed relatives are thinking to themselves, "slut-wear". I am going to smile and be as sexy as I can be, anyway.
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JannyPanny I love your post.Each year does get easier and I can really tell how much I have grown when I look back. I will never return their cruelty and unkindness. I love life now. I am not afraid of anything. No god can keep me away from my children or whatever new rule they may make. SLUT-WEAR is the best. Which brings me to a new point. Living here in I.F. I can certainly spot the women in the church. I'm not even talking about the way they dress. Their faces, their hair,their lack of personality. It seems like it's gotten worse. Is there new booklets out on how to look bad and grumpy. I swear I never see them smile. I wonder why.
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vww:JannyPanny I love your post.Each year does get easier and I can really tell how much I have grown when I look back. I will never return their cruelty and unkindness. I love life now. I am not afraid of anything. No god can keep me away from my children or whatever new rule they may make. SLUT-WEAR is the best.
:-) You go girl. :D
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Quick question for those who waited at the temple for loved ones: Should I expect to get missionaried-to while sitting in the temple waiting room, or will they leave well enough alone unless I venture to the visitor's center?? Thank you in advance for any advice...!
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Jill out: Don't be afraid. Attend the function with high hopes for yourself. Be HAPPY. Shake everybody's hand and be positive. They won't know what to do. If you don't feel HAPPY, act your way through it. Be honest with whomever confronts you with church dogma. Just tell them you don't do church any more. I hope it will be enjoyable for you. It will be what you make it.
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This is kind of a follow-on question:  Do you think it is possible that the LDS will change its policy regarding Temple weddings, since it's obvious that there aren't that many people even within the church itself who are worthy of attending? 
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Shakjula:This is kind of a follow-on question:  Do you think it is possible that the LDS will change its policy regarding Temple weddings, since it's obvious that there aren't that many people even within the church itself who are worthy of attending? 



Since I am a non believer i see it as a real possiblity, because, looking back at my life in the church I see now what I couldn't see then. Blacks received the priesthood, polygamy ended,and the garments got a little shorter. There are other examples but those rocked my world.  It seems that even the mormons change on issues.  As for as the temple, I don't want to go so it doesn't matter to me.  It's nice to be thought of enough to be "let in".  At the end of the day it's all relative.

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Shakjula:This is kind of a follow-on question:  Do you think it is possible that the LDS will change its policy regarding Temple weddings, since it's obvious that there aren't that many people even within the church itself who are worthy of attending? 


Shakjula: I visited with my bishop last night, and this topic came up.  It is MY belief that the church will change its policy on allowing people into the sealing ceremony.  He disagreed.  My belief is based on the following: 

It is exclusionary, and causes a great deal of distress in families. 

It is not consistent with the church's "family centered" focus. 

It is not good PR for the church to continue this policy, especially when the church wants to be seen as not too far outside the mainstream, which it currently is. 

They'll decide that allowing non-members and lapsed members into the temple can actually be a new missionary tool to teach others about their beliefs. 

I can see the church coming up with a "compromise" temple sealing within the temple which allows non-members or members without recommends to attend.  Hey, they let all flavors of people in the temple during open houses prior to the dedication. 

Romney's run is bringing more attention to the church and its policies.  While I am not a fan of Mitt, I believe that his run will force positive changes in the church.  


 
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mamajama:
Shakjula:This is kind of a follow-on question:  Do you think it is possible that the LDS will change its policy regarding Temple weddings, since it's obvious that there aren't that many people even within the church itself who are worthy of attending? 


Shakjula: I visited with my bishop last night, and this topic came up.  It is MY belief that the church will change its policy on allowing people into the sealing ceremony.  He disagreed.  My belief is based on the following: 

It is exclusionary, and causes a great deal of distress in families. 

It is not consistent with the church's "family centered" focus. 

It is not good PR for the church to continue this policy, especially when the church wants to be seen as not too far outside the mainstream, which it currently is. 

They'll decide that allowing non-members and lapsed members into the temple can actually be a new missionary tool to teach others about their beliefs. 

I can see the church coming up with a "compromise" temple sealing within the temple which allows non-members or members without recommends to attend.  Hey, they let all flavors of people in the temple during open houses prior to the dedication. 

Romney's run is bringing more attention to the church and its policies.  While I am not a fan of Mitt, I believe that his run will force positive changes in the church.  


 


I can understand why the Endowment ordinances wouldn't be open to the public, but after friends described what their own temple weddings were like, I can't see why that particular ceremony should be hidden from the sight of friends and family, aside from the fact that a Las Vegas chapel wedding takes longer and is more elaborate than a typical temple wedding.
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Shakjula: I can understand why the Endowment ordinances wouldn't be open to the public, but after friends described what their own temple weddings were like, I can't see why that particular ceremony should be hidden from the sight of friends and family, aside from the fact that a Las Vegas chapel wedding takes longer and is more elaborate than a typical temple wedding.


When my husband and I were married in the temple about 24 years ago, we both received our endowments just prior to the sealing.  So often now, members have already gone through to receive their endowments, so the sealing is just a sealing.  I understand that (at least here in this country) most people are in their regular "church" clothes, and only the bride and groom are in white.  Thinking back, I can't remember anything that was particularly different about the sealing ceremony that would reveal "sacred"  aspects of the temple usually kept from those not temple worthy.  Can't anybody help me out here? 
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vww:Jill out: Don't be afraid. Attend the function with high hopes for yourself. Be HAPPY. Shake everybody's hand and be positive. They won't know what to do. If you don't feel HAPPY, act your way through it. Be honest with whomever confronts you with church dogma. Just tell them you don't do church any more. I hope it will be enjoyable for you. It will be what you make it.


Thanks so much, vww. I really appreciate the encouragement. It's my full intention to be happy and joyous, which is what I feel about the marriage. I'm sure it will blow the mind of some who think postmo=misery. Well, I don't mind blowing a few minds!! Thanks again.
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Thanks for your wonderful message, Mammajamma.  I deeply regret excluding my father from my wedding, especially now that he is dead.

I agree with you that there is a chance that the LDS Church will provide access to marriage ceremonies.  But only when someone demands it forcefully.  Power concedes nothing without a demand (Frederick Dougals).

On the other hand, it is a tall order because the LDS business model rests on the organization's ability to enlist family members to enforce compliance on each other.  If that is gone, the LDS Church will take a substantial financial hit.

 
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Thanks for your wonderful example of true, selfless love Mamajama.

You handled things with style and grace.  Many congratulations for being a catalyst for change--the beginning of shining a light on LDS Inc. and causing readers to ask questions.

Many non-Mos have no idea about the exclusions of family and loved ones in Mormon temple ceremonies.  Great job!! 
 
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I'm bumping this thread up to current status.
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mamapajama:
Shakjula:This is kind of a follow-on question:  Do you think it is possible that the LDS will change its policy regarding Temple weddings, since it's obvious that there aren't that many people even within the church itself who are worthy of attending? 


Shakjula: I visited with my bishop last night, and this topic came up.  It is MY belief that the church will change its policy on allowing people into the sealing ceremony.  He disagreed.  My belief is based on the following: 

It is exclusionary, and causes a great deal of distress in families. 

It is not consistent with the church's "family centered" focus. 

It is not good PR for the church to continue this policy, especially when the church wants to be seen as not too far outside the mainstream, which it currently is. 

They'll decide that allowing non-members and lapsed members into the temple can actually be a new missionary tool to teach others about their beliefs. 

I can see the church coming up with a "compromise" temple sealing within the temple which allows non-members or members without recommends to attend.  Hey, they let all flavors of people in the temple during open houses prior to the dedication. 

Romney's run is bringing more attention to the church and its policies.  While I am not a fan of Mitt, I believe that his run will force positive changes in the church.  


 

I do see this as a change they can make without threatening any basic doctrine issues.  I think the reason they don't make this change is because it would weaken one of the strongest control mechanisms they have over the youth and others.

 

I was not as gracious as you were when my youngest daughter was married in the temple.  It was one of the saddest days of my life on several levels.  (I have only myself to blame - I raised her and encouraged the temple marriage up until just a few years before.

 

I went into the temple reception area and in a fairly loud voice told them I was an "unworthy" father of a bride and asked them where they wanted me to wait.  To their credit they just quietly showed me where to sit in the temple chapel.

 

One thing that hurt the most was seeing a few of the people that did attend the wedding that I considered to be pretty poor excuses for even a people label let alone a worthy label.

 

I also resented the "unworthy" label.  They should at least be kind enough to put a non-believer label on people not allowed to attend.  Of course that doesn't totally work either because the younger siblings and friends can't attend either.

 

I told my wife on our way home that day that "I don't think I want to associate with a group that can treat people that way".  Within days I was out of the garments and a lot further out than I was before.

 

This is one subject that I would really like to go down and picket the church over.  What are the rules about picketing anyway?

 

 
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stacey:
You are very strong. I am to attend two temple weddings at the end of June and will be standing outside alone while all of my family members (including my husband) are inside together. I have not been doing this long enough to feel that I am able to deal with this well. It makes my stomach hurt when I think of it. The image of standing outside the temple alone is the visual metaphor for my general feelings in this. ALONE. Yes, there are mysterious avatars on a postmormon board to "talk" to, but these are not flesh and blood people in my life. I agree that we do all that we can to be loving and understanding to those who prescribe to Mormonism. If we expect them to respect our decision we must respect theirs. I had someone close to me admit that even if they knew that the LDS church wasn't true they still wouldn't leave because it would mean too much family trauma and upheaval in their lives. I can't say that I haven't from time to time wondered myself if I should have just stayed and gone through the motions. Because this is a really hard road, and a lonely one. But how sad is it that I would even contemplate that...not being true to myself...in the end truth won out but it comes with consequences. I truly think that the Mormon church should allow non-LDS family members to attend temple ceremonies. What is the real threat there? That they would see the temple clothing? You can see it online. That they would hear the ceremony? You can read it online? That the "house of the Lord" would be defiled because unworthy people would be inside? That already happens with untruthful members who lie to get temple recommends. A person cannot ruin a building that is sacred. God is not that weak and corruptable. I have to face the possibility that as my son and daughter will be raised by a Christian mother and a Mormon father that they could potentially choose a temple marriage where I would not be present. As a stay-at-home mom who devotes most of my time to my kids this is hardly fathomable. But as my therapist says, I don't have a crystal ball. There are no "what-ifs" involved in living for today. So that is what I am trying to do...not look too far into the future. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate hearing how others feel about this.

 

stacey..I am just an avatar here..but if I could be with you, I would..I feel

for you and yet admire YOUR strength..as it will take alot..but no..you

are NOT alone.  Is there someone who you can meet there and talk to

while the ceremony is taking place..someplace to go for a brief time..

I wish you a day where you take another strong step away..not leaving

love..but being true to yourself.

 

mamapajama, you words, as usual, are so well put together....your son

and daughter in law managed to give you a day as special as they could.

You raised a good son and I wish your family many good things.

Your strength is always evident here.  Vickie

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mamapajama:
 

I do think that we have to be cautious about blaming our temple-worthy family members for supporting this practice, for Mormonism is made up of layer upon layer of complexities.  For some reason, the scripture that says something like: "forgive them father for they know not what they do" keeps popping into my head.


Somewhere deep down inside, it is my hope that through pressure from members (who participate in this forum, of course!) who dare to seek pure knowledge and the freedom to think for themselves, the church will eventually change its policy on the matter.  To claim to be "family-centered," yet continue to support this practice is something that needs to stop.  I may be wildly naïve, but I think that some day they will.  My hope is that by getting this practice out in the open, we can push them in that direction.  And hopefully, that will be sooner than later, so families can stop hurting.


mama

 

 Ah mama. Been there too. BUT, DH and I didn't spend the time and money to travel the 800 miles to stand outside with the children.  We stayed home and went to work and tried to pretend it was a normal day... 

 

But I can't be angry at DD.  I want to, but I do understand her "why".  But now there are grandchildren and I know that soon we are going to have to decide yet again what to do. And there is a temple much closer.  But I am fairly sure I won't "stand on the sidewalk" for them either.

 

That expression comes from a conversation I had with my TBM brother before.  "John," I said, in answer to his urging us to be there, "I won't stand on the sidewalk while my daughter is married."

 

His reply, "But the temple has beautiful gardens."  He just didn't get it... 

 

I hope you are right, that they will have a revelation to change this too, but I'm not expecting it.  It is an incredible control mechanism and investiture ceremony into the exclusive club.

 
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