Monday, January 11, 2010

Mormon temple marriage policy under scrutiny

Hundreds of people are coming together from various countries and religious persuasions, to voice their objections to the leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at its headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah regarding its divisive temple wedding policy in North America -and increasingly in other countries. Online discussion and debate on Mormon blogs have been ignited by a petition at the website where people may print off and sign an actual hard copy petition requesting Church leaders to seriously consider the damage to the church and individuals; hoping for a sign of compassion towards all those who are, have been and may still be affected.

The temple wedding policy creating such a storm, penalises LDS couples who choose a civil marriage outside of LDS temples with a mandatory one-year waiting period before they can attend the temple for the uniquely LDS temple sealing. Combining a marriage ceremony ‘until death do us part’ with the temple ‘sealing for eternity’ means that it must take place within the confines of an LDS temple to which anyone other than an adult, worthy, temple endowed Mormon is excluded.

Petition spokesperson Jean Bodie says petition participants are stating that the policy is not doctrinal because LDS couples are not penalized in other parts of the world where civil marriage is required by law. According to Bodie, personal accounts posted to the website tell how the policy results in pain and disharmony in family relationships, often resulting in anger toward the LDS Church. “For a worldwide Church that believes families are eternal, its exclusionary policy can and often does create a painful chasm, between family loyalty and obedience to an arbitrary policy, says Bodie.

Organisers anticipate that the leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints wishes to promote love and harmony in the family. Bodie says they simply want the Church to waive the punitive, one-year waiting period; giving back to LDS couples the right to choose a civil marriage ceremony first, if they so desire, without any repercussions or judgment on their character.

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a.mctiernan said...

I was fascinated to read your comments on the waiting period of a year before couples can be married for time and eternity. The waiting period is from baptism until enough time has elapsed for the people concerned to have a deeper understanding of the serious nature of the covenants and promises which are made within the temple. This can be contrasted perhaps with the 'drive-through' or quickie marriages which can be found in some places - perhaps a more sensible thing to do, especially with such a high proportion of divorces being more common in this highly pressured world we live in.

I would think, if it were me, I would want to have some serious thinking done prior to getting married anyway, and if it is really for forever, instead of being until death do us part, as it were, then even more deep contemplation would be essential.

Personally, I wasn't ready to be married until age 37, though our family are all late marry-ers, dad being 44, and mum 37, and they still managed to have four live children, plus two still births.

I married a divorced Latter Day Saint woman, but still, with all the care and waiting, I still managed to mess things up, resulting from my selfishness, and she divorced me. I was a member at the time, but still with unresolved issues of my own, and we were married at a chapel, and never got as far at going to the temple for a temple marriage. Imagine we had, though, and then divorce reared it's ugly head, as it did, and we were a 'forever' couple. How embarrassing and what a shame that would be. My personal feelings are that courtship should not be rushed - that calm contemplation and deep friendship are needed before making eternal promises, and that a year out of eternity is a flicker of the eye when compared. They say "marry in haste, repent at leisure", and this is a tried and trustworthy concept, proved by time and bitter experience. Also, there is no problem about being married in a chapel, registry office, or wherever, so long it is a legally recognised ceremony, and then, when you are both convinced that you could sustain a forever temple marriage, then with a sureness born of familiarity and a tested commitment, go for a temple marriage, or more technically, a temple sealing, as it should be known.

I hope this is of some help in the discussion - I can't quite understand what distress is meant in the comments - a couple can be married as soon as they want - it is just the year after baptism which is seen as required for maturity and committment to the commandments, (the Ten Commandments, plus the updated improvements which the Lord gave in the Sermon on the Mount), before a person is considered as potentially ready for the Temple Covenants which will be needed for the Temple Marriage.

Matt said...

They also bar non-LDS family members from the wedding service. And also anyone who is a Mormon and yet to go through the Temple.