If I Were In Charge: Separate Marriage From Sealing

By: Mike S
May 10, 2011

Just over a week ago was the Royal Wedding.  Unlike my mother (who actually stayed up from 2-6 AM to watch it live), I watched selections of it through the beauty of DVR and and, strangely enough, I was actually captivated by portions of it.  One of the main things I appreciated from the wedding was a sense of unity and harmony.  People of all different walks of life within the United Kingdom came together in celebration.  People throughout the world came together.  And even some of the jaded news commentators mentioned that they were unexpectedly taken up in the emotion.

This is a common theme in weddings throughout the world – across cultures, across religions, across time, across peoples – that of a coming together.  There is the obvious joining of two people showing a willingness to throw their hats in together for life, but there is much more that is brought together.  Families that may not have seen each other for a time rekindle old feelings.  Friends reconnect.  Celebrations occur.  Kingdoms unite.  Weddings may be over-the-top, like the royal wedding, or they be much simpler affairs with a few close friends, but the feeling is the same.  Ironically, in our church, this feeling of unity and coming together is often marred, and the opposite can occur.

One of my wife’s cousins was married a few years ago.  She met a wonderful guy at BYU who came up from South America.  They fell in love and were engaged.  He came from a successful and talented family, who traveled up to Utah for the wedding.  Unfortunately, and despite traveling thousands of miles, they weren’t even allowed to see their son married, simply because they weren’t members of the Church.  And this is an all too frequent occurrence.  In far too many LDS weddings, instead of it being a unifying experience, someone is stuck standing outside the walls.  Maybe it is a younger sibling.  Maybe it is a best friend who isn’t endowed.  Maybe it is a brother or sister who can’t quite qualify for a temple recommend.  And maybe it is a mother, who has invested 20+ years in raising a daughter, who can’t even see her married because she isn’t a member.

For a faith that puts so much emphasis on families and being together, it is very ironic.  Instead of making a marriage an important and inclusive event, it often promotes divisiveness.  In fact, I can’t think of another religion that has such a divisive marriage policy.

So, for many people, combining marriage with sealing is a “Sacred Molehill”.  I would separate them. I would allow a civil marriage, followed by a temple sealing, without making the couple wait one year as is the current policy. I would allow a couple to get married any way that is legal in their locale.  This may be in an LDS chapel, a wedding hall or outside in nature.  It may be on a beach, in the mountains, or in someone’s backyard.  And if a couple chose, it could still be in an LDS temple.  They could truly share their wedding day with anyone they wanted – member or non-member, temple-worthy or not, young or old, etc.  Everyone could come together to celebrate the marriage union and the focus could be on the decision the couple made to join together.

Afterwards, the couple could get sealed.  Some may choose to do it the same or next day if people have traveled far to be there.  Other couples may choose to do it a week or two later after the craziness of the marriage and honeymoon has settled down.  They could include a smaller group of people who are temple-worthy without making other people feel uncomfortable.  Or they may decide to do it just as a couple.

Benefits:

1) Focus on Ceremony:

The day of a any wedding is very stressful and chaotic.  In a traditional LDS wedding, the bride and groom and guests who are worthy go to the temple.  They wear one set of clothing there, change into another set for the ceremony, then into a tux and wedding dress for pictures outside the temple.  There is often a wedding reception later in the day where all of the friends and family can attend, which is often at a separate location.

With of all that’s going on, the beauty and significance of the sealing ordinance can often get lost in the shuffle.  Because so many weddings are taking place in a single day (I was married in the Salt Lake temple in June), there is an average of 20 minutes or so in the sealing room before everyone has to move along.  By separating the marriage from the sealing, the couple can make that their sealing the ONLY focus of that day.  They don’t have to worry about pictures or receptions or missing guests or anything else.  They don’t have to worry about the disorientation that often occurs when someone first goes to the temple.  They can focus purely and simply on making their marriage an eternal union.  And that is significant.

2) Focus for Youth:

Being sealed together for eternity is a fundamental focus of the entire LDS faith.  It is the culmination of why we are here and what we teach.  It is one of the most profoundly beautiful things that I appreciate in our Church.  And I think that being sealed in the temple should STILL be a very important thing that we teach our children, and we can still emphasize this concept.  We can talk about the importance of choosing a marriage partner.  And we can also still teach the importance of being sealed to make the marriage last forever.

Additionally, this would help reduce the potential grief felt by youth whose parents / siblings / friends / etc. might NOT be able to attend a temple wedding.  Rather than them feeling that a temple marriage “isn’t for them” because of their situation, this would allow them to still plan on being married with their friends and family AND being sealed.

3) Inclusiveness:

This is probably one of the most important reasons why I would make this a change in Church policy.  As mentioned above, the current policy is very divisive.  In probably the majority of LDS weddings, there is someone who is very important to the couple but who cannot attend the marriage.   This may be a close friend or a family member.  This creates feelings of discontent and resentment. And it is completely unnecessary.

….

The easy thing about making this change is that it is easy to do, as this policy ALREADY EXISTS.  A couple can ALREADY get married civilly and then get sealed in the temple afterward without waiting a year in the several circumstances:

  1. The temple in which the couple will be sealed is in a country that requires a civil marriage and does not recognize a marriage in the temple.
  2. The couple live in a country where there is not a temple and the laws of the country do not recognize a marriage performed outside the country.
  3. An unchaperoned couple’s travel to a temple will require one or more overnight stops because of distance.

So, this is a simple change and does NOT involve changing any doctrine.  I would still make both members of a couple be members at least one year before entering the temple, as the temple involves significant covenants which someone should truly understand before entering.  I would still make both members of a couple be temple worthy according to whatever requirements were in force at the time.  And I would still make it an option for a couple to get both married AND sealed in the temple at the same time, as is currently the practice.

Importantly, the downside to changing the policy in this manner is minimal, but the upside is much bigger.  We could end a divisive practice within our earthly families, yet still value the importance of  eternal families.  This series is about changing non-doctrinal things that can act as potential stumbling blocks.  We’ve covered Counting Earrings and Women’s Garments (And Men’s).  And, as mentioned in the initial post on General Conference Statistics:

“… our clinging to these non-essential things is making it so people can’t see the beautiful things.  Again, as mentioned in (April 2011) conference … when talking about welfare, if someone is hungry, they don’t care about the gospel message.  In this case, if someone has an issue with a non-essential part of our Church, they don’t care about the essential and beautiful parts.”

Questions:

  • If you were married in an LDS temple, was there anyone important to you who was excluded by the current policy?
  • If you were married in an LDS temple, what was your experience?  Would you have remembered more or less if the sealing was on a different day than the marriage?  Or would it have not made a difference?
  • Do you think changing the policy to separate marriage from sealing would be a net positive or net negative for the Church?
  • Could we still emphasize the importance of sealings and eternal families if we changed the policy?

——————
Addendum:

On the last post in this series about Changing Women’s Garments (and Men’s), one commenter (Heidi) asked “…how did the previous changes come about? If enough people send emails to Beehive clothing, can we make this happen?”

I don’t know the answer to this question, but as I’ve thought about it, I assume it can only be through feedback from the people who wear garments.  I’ve therefore decided to see what we can do as a group.  I’m going to package that post together and send it on, including all of the great comments that people have shared.  With feedback from more people, it will hopefully have more impact.

So, here’s what I’m asking:

If you haven’t already, please leave a comment on that post and share any feedback about garments that you might have.  If possible, please leave specific issues with garments as well as specific things you might want changed.  These may be things already mentioned in the comments or in the post, or these may be new things no one has mentioned.  And please pass the link along to anyone else who you think might want to comment as well.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve never commented here (or anywhere) before.  You can remain anonymous and leave any name you want.  It asks for an email address, but this is NOT published and will be left off when I send it in.  (It’s also not even checked to see if it’s valid)

I don’t know if what we send in will make a difference, but it’s still worth trying.

And when you’re done, we’d love to have you come back and share your thoughts about marriages and sealings here, or on any other post on this site.

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40 Responses to If I Were In Charge: Separate Marriage From Sealing

  1. Anonymous on May 10, 2011 at 2:09 PM

    This policy on temple marriage is very unnecessarily divisive–I saw this at my own temple marriage, and heard about the same thing at my mother and father’s sealing. In my case, my sister has drifted from the church, and has married a great and very church-supportive (but not immediately interested) non-member guy–I’m still very close to them, and it would have been wonderful to be able to have them at our official civil wedding. I was in the bridal/groom’s party at their wedding, and I could tell they felt hurt to not be able to be likewise. They tried to understand that it is a rule that has to be followed, but I had no real explanation for them as to why. We’re still close, but I truly feel like we missed a wonderful opportunity to potentially draw them closer to the church, and instead had an instance where the church was “the bad guy” for not letting them see the wedding. The exact same thing, on a much larger scale, happened at my mother and father’s sealing–my grandmother was a non-member, and never forgave the church for keeping her away from her only daughter’s wedding. She was a wonderful woman, and might have become interested in the church–instead, her main take-away experience with the church was one of hurt. Especially in my experience living abroad as both a missionary and in my professional life in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, where the civil wedding before a sealing has been a wonderfully celebratory and inclusive experience for non-member family and loved ones, it seems so random and strange that the same couldn’t happen in the US.

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  2. Dan on May 10, 2011 at 2:38 PM

    we had a two day event for our wedding. On Thursday, we got sealed/married in the Manhattan temple, and had a small ceremony only for endowed members with a lunch at a local restaurant for those present. The rest of the day was just for me and my wife. The next day, we celebrated again with a ring ceremony for everyone. We had a cake, dancing, dj, and all out fun.

    The impetus for this was that on both sides of our family, we had many non-Mormons, and it made no sense to have the ceremony be only for endowed Mormons. My mother and my sister would not have been able to participate in any way. I also had been to several wedding receptions in Utah where the married couple would stand and greet everyone, and then eat at the chapel, and be done. That’s fine and all, if that’s how you want it. But I also saw a wedding celebration in Romania on my mission. One of our investigators was a drummer in a band, and he invited us to the reception his band was playing in. Now, that was fun! The guests at that party were actually partying and rocking out.

    So I do recommend a two day event for weddings, as we did it. It allowed for me and my wife to enjoy the overall experience without it feeling rushed. Toward the evening of Thursday at the hotel, we both realized how quick the day had gone and were both glad we had another day to celebrate. Do expect some pushback from stake presidents who toe the line.

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  3. anonfornow on May 10, 2011 at 2:39 PM

    I agree that the current policy is hurtful to families and I like the very practical changes you propose. Marriage is difficult in any circumstance. Every young couple needs all the support they can get from family and friends. One of my brothers and his wife were excluded at my wedding. I was so caught up in the excitement of the day, it didn’t really hit me until weeks later when I looked at the wedding pictures, most of which were taken on the temple grounds, and these two very important people were missing.
    This whole subject has taken on new meaning for me recently as I have decided, for very personal reasons, that I will not go to the temple again for the forseeable future. My only regret in making this decision is that I won’t be able to be there for family sealings. I have a granddaughter who will likely marry in the near future and I know she will be disappointed, but I can’t allow myself to be held hostage by church policy.

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  4. Stan on May 10, 2011 at 2:44 PM

    I know some may reason that the Mormon reception is the equivalent or practical substitute for a public wedding. Even a big party with a ring ceremony can still be empty and unsatisfactory to family members and loved ones who missed the actual wedding.

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  5. Small Dog on May 10, 2011 at 2:57 PM

    I also agree that the policy is hurtful to part or non-member families. When I was married, my entire family but for my parents was unable to witness it and this was extremely uncomfortable for me as a bride. My father’s decision to join the Church divides his family to this day (when I was six HOURS old, my grandparents got in a screaming match with my parents about how they wouldn’t be able to see their first born grandchild marry) and my wedding day was spent un-ruffling feathers. A civil ceremony would have gone a long way to not only accommodate family, but sooth many vicious feelings towards the Church. I’m a bit annoyed because my wedding could have been a moment to teach about our beliefs and instead the atmosphere was so thick with anger that any attempt would have been futile.

    In the interest of full disclosure, my extended family thinks that we’re sacrificing goats and having orgies in the temple anyway, so my hopes for greater understanding may never have gotten off the ground.

    I think encouraging civil ceremonies would solve a political issue to. I wonder if the US required civil marriages in all cases if the debate over gay marriage would change substantially. I grew up in the UK and Germany where civil marriages are required by law and a religious ceremony is up to the couple. I’d be highly in favor of this sort of system in the US and other countries. (Not an attempt to threadjack, I just honestly think that requiring civil marriages across the board – and removing the year wait penalty except in occasions of legitimate moral question – is the way to go and the benefits would be political, practical, and do the Church a great service in the field of PR)

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  6. allquieton on May 10, 2011 at 3:21 PM

    Anyone ever heard of a temple worthy couple deciding to get married civilly and just wait a year to get sealed? (for the sake of nonmember family) Just curious.

    Also, anyone have the exact wording of the policy that says you have to wait a year to be sealed if married civilly?

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  7. don't know mo on May 10, 2011 at 3:22 PM

    Mike’s post makes some great proposals that, imho, have very little down side. My cynical side sees the current policy being used as a big stick…especially since in my experience, ring ceremonies, that everyone can witness, have been overtly discouraged by local leaders.

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  8. Last Lemming on May 10, 2011 at 3:23 PM

    I agree. Perhaps the greatest benefit would be the emphasis that what we do in the temple is totally different than what is done in a civil ceremony (which has largely been reduced to conferring a package of government benefits on a couple).

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  9. DavidH on May 10, 2011 at 3:38 PM

    “Anyone ever heard of a temple worthy couple deciding to get married civilly and just wait a year to get sealed? (for the sake of nonmember family) Just curious.”

    Sure, I have known a few over the years. Not many though, because our culture frowns on it.

    The one year wait rule was adopted at some point in the last 50 years, probably some time after Mitt Romney married his wife civilly and they were sealed a few days later. At mid century, many of my aunts and uncles were married to their respectively spouses civilly, and sealed a few days or weeks later. I think the one year wait policy was adopted to avoid dividing one’s attention between the civil marriage and the temple sealing: i.e., to focus it all on a single ceremony. I don’t think the policy will revert to what it was at mid century until there is a change in composition of Church leadership.

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  10. Starfoxy on May 10, 2011 at 3:54 PM

    Re 6
    “Anyone ever heard of a temple worthy couple deciding to get married civilly and just wait a year to get sealed? (for the sake of nonmember family) Just curious.”
    I doubt many would do this. I know several people (some in leadership positions) who think that choosing to get married civilly instead of in the temple *makes* you unworthy to go to the temple- even if there are no worthiness problems. (Otherwise why would they make you wait a year?) In other words they believe that do that, in and of itself is a very serious sin.

    Heck, my parents got all sorts of worried questions about whether or not I was temple worthy simply because I forgot to put “in the temple” on our wedding announcements. Seriously.

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  11. dog lover on May 10, 2011 at 4:13 PM

    I didn’t realize the hurt my temple marriage caused my brother who didn’t get to see any siblings get married and grandma who didn’t see any of us either. If I could do it over I wouldn’t have married in the temple first. Back in the day they didn’t do ring ceremonies (or I didn’t know about them). I would love to see the policy changed and put families first and needlessly avoid hurting our loved ones.

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  12. Macha on May 10, 2011 at 4:32 PM

    I agree. Pure Mormonism did a great post on the same subject as well: http://puremormonism.blogspot.com/2011/02/go-ahead-and-skip-that-temple-wedding.html

    I just feel like making the sealing separate from the wedding preserves the sacredness of the spiritual ceremony, whereas if they’re together it can get lost in “the event” of the rest of the planning and partying.

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  13. Sally on May 10, 2011 at 6:13 PM

    we were married just a few months after my husband was baptized. I was so relieved that we could be married civility so having my in-laws miss the wedding wasn’t an issue. It would have been a hard introduction to the church for them.

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  14. prometheus on May 10, 2011 at 7:40 PM

    Totally in favor of this idea, especially as the one year wait is purely a policy and has no doctrinal standing of any kind whatsoever.

    Separating the wedding and the sealing just makes so much sense, both in terms of being able to focus and appreciate each for what they are, and avoiding so much of the conflict and hurt caused when family members are excluded from the wedding.

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  15. Course Correction on May 10, 2011 at 7:54 PM

    #7 is right. Limiting the guests at a couple’s temple wedding to tithe-paying members is a big stick. For that reason, don’t expect to see change any time soon.

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  16. Yellow Belly on May 10, 2011 at 8:19 PM

    Re: #15

    Yeah, but it’s not like the sealing can’t still include those tithe paying members…

    … unless, the event tithe payers noted in this comment on the post over at Pure Mormonism is that big a “driver.”

    It makes me wonder whether our definitions (and expectations) of tithing are drifting uncomfortably close to indulgences. Certainly, we’re not buying souls from a trip to purgatory, but we’re also saying that tithing is THE tipping point of worthiness. You can be striving to live the gospel in every way, but if you don’t qualify as a “full” tithe payer in the eyes of your Bishop then you’re not going to that sealing.

    That, IMO, is largely due to the fact that our 10% tithe interpretation is measurable. Everything else – word of wisdom, sustaining leaders, etc. – is up to our personal judgment.

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  17. Nick Literski on May 11, 2011 at 10:24 AM

    When I was married, none of my family members were able to enter the LDS temple. My mother resented this highly, but at the time, I believed that the eternal nature of the sealing was more important than my mother’s feelings.

    I have five daughters from that otherwise ill-fated marriage. Ironically, I will not be able to witness their sealing ceremonies, assuming they choose to marry in an LDS temple. As an openly gay, who resigned my membership in the LDS church, I have absolutely no intention of fulfilling the conditions they would put on my being present for my daughters’ LDS temple weddings. I’m actually fine with the fact that I won’t be present, however. Call me crazy, but I have this strange idea that a wedding is for the couple being married. Others, including even parents, are simply allowed to share the couple’s joy at their invitation.

    That said, part of me really wants to waltz with my partner at my daughters’ wedding receptions, which will undoubtably be held in an LDS church building. The reaction of some there would be no doubt be priceless. ;-)

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  18. Mark D. on May 11, 2011 at 11:50 AM

    The problem with the term “civil marriage” is that implies that a civil marriage isn’t a divine institution.

    Civil marriages performed by a bishop do not invoke priesthood authority at all. There is no theological difference in Mormondom between a “civil marriage” performed by a bishop and one performed by a public official, or practically anyone else for that matter.

    So if I were in charge for a day, the first thing I would do is eliminate the term “civil marriage” from the discourse of the church. I would then change the system so that only sealings, not marriages were performed in the temple.

    Weddings would be held in chapels, where friends and family members could attend, and marriages there would be performed by priesthood authority, and be treated in every way as sacred and divine institutions.

    Then I would require that no sealing of a living husband and wife be performed until seven years after their marriage, on condition of temple worthiness, and so on. At that time any children who had been born in the meantime would be sealed to their parents as well.

    The advantages of a system like this should be obvious. Very few cancellations of sealings (which make a bit of a mockery of the whole idea) for example. Marriages and the institution of marriage strengthened by the public participation and recognition of all friends and family members. Sealings performed after it becomes relatively apparent that the marriage is going to last.

    Something to work and look forward to for every faithful couple, a ratification of the principle that service and sacrifice are required for a marriage to have a reasonable hope of lasting into the eternities, and so on.

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  19. Justin on May 11, 2011 at 12:13 PM

    The problem with the term “civil marriage” is that implies that a civil marriage isn’t a divine institution.

    In fact, marriage without a marriage license is ordained of God.

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  20. Mike S on May 11, 2011 at 1:28 PM

    All:

    Thanks for sharing your experiences. They all emphasize the point of the post – that our current practice is unnecessarily divisive and isn’t actually based on any doctrine.

    I also haven’t seen anyone give a reason why changing the policy would be detrimental. If there is anyone reading this who thinks that changing our current policy would have an adverse effect, I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts and reasoning why.

    Also, there is a link in a comment above to an article by Rock Waterman entitled: “Go Ahead and Skip That Temple Wedding”. It is very well written and I’d encourage you to read it if you have any interest in this topic.

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  21. The Other Clark on May 11, 2011 at 1:40 PM

    Separating marriage from sealings makes alot of sense, IMO, because it shows the sacredness of the marriage covenant (separate from the sealing). President Hinckley often repeated the lines from the Church of England’s ceremony in General Conference (“for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health…”).

    Imagine the missionary opportunities and the chance to subtly teach the doctrine of the eternal nature of families in non-temple weddings. We do it at funerals, why not weddings?

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  22. Victoria on May 11, 2011 at 2:26 PM

    I always thought that I would miss my older sister’s wedding, because I wouldn’t be endowed. Lucky me, she married an Englishman overseas, and his dad married them at the local chapel. It also meant that our dad (who left the church) got to walk her down the aisle. Personally, I think it’s a great idea to separate the two–we can’t all get married in the UK, after all.

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  23. All_Black on May 12, 2011 at 3:37 AM

    Excellent essay.

    I think just about everyone in the church realizes that this policy is a problem especially for part-member families, but the brethren aren’t listening nor paying attention at the downside to the one year wait.

    Actually the only problem is that one year wait although in many countries, Spain Holland, England, Mexico, the church actually accepts people having a civil marriage and then traveling to the Temple one day later.

    I wish and hope that somehow the brethren and especially president Monson will see this essay and understand the problems the one year wait causes. It is just a policy ruling after all not doctrine.

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  24. jks on May 12, 2011 at 9:42 PM

    I loved marrying in the temple for eternity. It meant a lot to us. I am glad we did it.
    I didn’t care who was there. Sure it was nice to have the family there but it was about my husband and me. We travelled to the temple together, just the two of us. The temple was running late so the two of us sat together somewhere, perhaps the celestial room, for an hour and it was wonderful. We then went to get sealed. Sure, I noticed my parents but it wasn’t about them.
    If my child married a non-member I would ask them if they would like us to opt out. I would rather my child get married in the temple without me than to not get married in the temple.
    I am sad for those who feel hurt. Perhaps it would be nice for it to be different. But seriously right now a temple marriage has a very high chance of lasting because it is such a big commitment. I think the “brethren” don’t want to mess with success.

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  25. Mike S on May 12, 2011 at 10:02 PM

    jks:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I certainly think that many people in the Church feel the exact same way as you. And I absolutely wouldn’t change that opportunity for people who have the same feelings as you.

    There are people, however, who feel differently than you and for whom including a non-member parent or someone else is important. The whole point of this proposal is to at least give them the choice.

    I think there are many people who would still choose to be married just like you (and how I was married). And I think there are others who would choose a perhaps more-inclusive “civil” marriage followed by a more “special” sealing that might just include the bride and groom and a few people.

    But since it is a non-doctrinal policy that already isn’t even consistent throughout the world, why not leave the choice up to a couple and what they feel is inspired and/or right in their particular circumstance.

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  26. Mr Q&A on May 14, 2011 at 2:04 AM

    Jks

    I’m from the UK, we had all the same experiences you did and loved it, our time spent reflecting in the celestial room was so sweet, and such a spiritual moment for us both. During the ceremony we felt the holy spirit if promis seal the commitments we had made to each other earlier that day in front of our families and loved ones in an LDS chapel. My wife’s father (non-member) walked her down the isle he was in his traditional military uniform, our SP spoke at our wedding and encouraged everyone who witnessed the wedding to offer there full support in helping our relationship to grow and blossom. I wouldn’t change a thing.

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  27. Mike S on May 14, 2011 at 2:12 AM

    Mr Q&A:

    Thank you for sharing your experience – it sounds like it was the best of both worlds: you and your wife were touched by the eternal nature of the sealing AND non-members were able to share in the joyous occasion.

    It’s too bad that others can’t have this same experience just because they happen to be born in the US or some other locale.

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  28. Douglas on May 14, 2011 at 10:18 AM

    In most cases, I whip out the standard fare about not “steadying the Ark”.
    In this case,though, I wholeheartedly agree that the “one-year” rule needs to be dropped, pronto. If the respective parties have a reason to legitimise their marriage in a forum outside the temple (e.g., not leave out their non-member or non-”Temple Worthy” family members), then it should be respected. The temple sealing is meaningful only to those who live by their covenants anyway. Having the parents of either bride or groom, or both, sit in a foyer for an hour while their children get married “in there” is condescending and insulting.
    But of course, the Brethren will not listen. Too many, and not just the boys in Salt Lake, have a superiority complex with regard to the Gospel and LDS society.

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  29. Christina on May 17, 2011 at 11:07 PM

    I agree! My parents don’t even particularly like the temple (or the institution of marriage, for that matter), but when I was musing about having a civil marriage they insisted that I had to be married in one or they would die of embarrassment. The one-year policy pressures unendowed members into going through the temple even if they don’t feel prepared, on pain of being shunned by their Mormon family members or unfairly branded as a fornicator or sinner of some kind by everyone else. I can’t see any defensible justification for the wait period.

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  30. ken on May 29, 2011 at 7:37 PM

    I totally agree. I feel this policy (not doctrine) is the single largest thing stopping missionary work in the Church. Unfortunately, many people (parents, siblings, friends) that might have eventually jointed the church may never do so because of hurt feelings. This is not a doctrine, it is a practice and policy. So, there is really no reason to keep it. How can active, temple worthy people like myself let the leaders know that they really need to get this switched. It will help the Church and the members, not hur.

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  31. Starling on June 16, 2011 at 4:47 PM

    Get sealed as a couple, and then have the marriage ceremony afterwards or the next day. Some people might look at you askance or I know I’ve heard somewhere that it’s been “counseled against”, but really, what are they going to do about it? You’ve been sealed privately, and if you want to have a party in a tux and wedding dress with your family, there’s not much they can do about it.

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  32. Starling on June 16, 2011 at 4:49 PM

    For the record, I really agree with your post, but until that change is made I think people should have a little more gumption and try to include their non-member family members instead of thinking they *have* to integrate the sealing and the wedding.

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  33. Pattie Garner on August 4, 2011 at 7:53 AM

    I was a convert to the church and the ONLY thing I remember about my sealing was that my mother was so terribly mad and I was crying all day. I don’t even like to discuss my wedding/sealing because it was horrible. My mother was right; it was wrong that other people who barely knew me could see me get married and yet my family couldn’t. If I could do it again, I’d get married traditionally first and then get sealed later. I’d take the sacrafice to take the wounds away from my family.

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  34. Mike S on August 4, 2011 at 8:24 AM

    Pattie: it was wrong that other people who barely knew me could see me get married and yet my family couldn’t.

    This perfectly summarizes the point of the whole post in a single sentence.

    If I could do it again, I’d get married traditionally first and then get sealed later. I’d take the sacrafice to take the wounds away from my family.

    Is it really a sacrifice if you get married first and get sealed later – even if you have to wait a year? Eternally, there is absolutely NO significance or difference between both ways of doing it. It is a false dichotomy that is set up in young people’s minds.

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  35. Gipta on September 28, 2011 at 7:03 PM

    classic wedding invitations…

    Awesome…

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  36. [...] If I Were In Charge: Separate Marriage From Sealing – Mixed families have become the rule rather than the exception.  This is where some of the family are active, temple-recommend holding members, while others are less-active or even non-members.  The current marriage policy can be very divisive where family members are excluded from what should be an inclusive and uniting event.  And, ironically, changing the policy is easy, as it is already the practice of the Church in many countries of the world. [...]

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  37. Henry on October 5, 2011 at 12:57 PM

    Nick Nick Nick
    That said, part of me really wants to waltz with my partner at my daughters’ wedding receptions, which will undoubtedly be held in an LDS church building. The reaction of some there would be no doubt be priceless.

    Now I see what they mean by a troll. posting certain things to elicit certain reactions.

    I’ll bite.

    1. Would a black feel comfortable at a KKK rally? If he/she would go, what sort of reaction would ensue?

    Same with any other organization. Examine what it stands for. Would you be comfortable going there? Should you? Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

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  38. Christian Kuboushek on January 3, 2012 at 10:56 AM

    Like most of the comments stated earlier, a wedding can be incredibly stressful. Not having everyone there for support can only add to it. That’s why when I married my wife we went with a wedding receptions in utah. Took care of the sealing and the reception and everyone was happy with what happened!

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  39. Jason Campbell on March 3, 2012 at 10:31 PM

    Just stumbled on the post and this is my opinion after attending many different weddings by people of many different faiths and temple ceremonies that weddings are really about the couple. The temple ceremony is a very sacred and important event for a couple who chooses it. I would suggest having the temple ceremony first and foremost with no other distractions and only invite very close friends and family and then have a marriage ceremony later for all of the guests. If a temple marriage is important to the couple then that is what matters and they get to decide what temple and when and who is invited. The same goes for if they want to have a wedding ceremony later. I would not recommend settling for a civil marriage and waiting for a temple sealing later. I am sure the adversary would love that one! I respect other beliefs and if my Hindu or Muslim friends invited me to a ring ceremony and reception but not the actual wedding I certainly would not be offended. If I wanted to be there bad enough I guess I could convert to Islam or Hinduism!

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  40. Gwendolyn on March 24, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    I know I’m very late to the conversation but this concern is exactly why my husband and I choose to not marry in the temple. To do so would have caused tears and heartache all around!

    My husband is a convert and none of his family are members. His mother was heartbroken when our bishop told her (after our engagement was announced) that she and her family could not attend the ceremony. We had to quickly reassure her (and freak out our bishop and stake president!) by saying that we had always planned for a civil ceremony first.
    My mother and father hold temple recommends but my sisters do not (being too young or because of life choices). And because I am a second generation Mormon my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins would also have been excluded. It would have broken MY heart to not have them all there on that special day.
    Yes I understand that this can be a day for just the bride and groom. But I think that not including those who want to attend is selfish and completely disregards their feelings. I don’t think our family relationships would be the same today if we had chosen the self-centered route.

    And so the only conclusion was that we be married first and then wait to be sealed. This was my plan since I was a teenager, I did not and still do not believe a loving Heavenly Father will punish us for deciding family is first.

    Needless to say, certain priesthood leaders told us we could not be married in “their” chapel because of this choice. We could go to the temple but chose not to! The horror on their faces!
    No explicit comments were made but the implication all around was that we were unworthy or pregnant and planning a shot gun wedding. I’m so glad I have dealt with “well-meaning” members before, because if I hadn’t I probably would have left the church by now.

    I will be teaching my children of the beauty of the temple as well as that of a simple civil ceremony. And I will be telling them from day one that I do not regret my choice to wait to be sealed. I will EXPECT them to always be considering the feelings of their family members when making decisions that involve the whole family!

    I will probably ruffle quite a few feathers with my comment but this is my feeling in my heart.

    Oh and before someone says it: yes we prayed individually and as a couple about this decision and obeyed the answer we received.

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