Temple marriages divide families, rather than keep them "together forever"

I have long felt that the Mormon belief in temple marriage, and leaving out those who do not practice the LDS tenets, is one of the most harmful, painful, and irresponsible beliefs in the entire system.

Today, I ran across a story from March 2010, and it illustrates my own beliefs very well. It also shows both sides of the story, and the pain the “we are better than you” tenet of Mormonism causes for everyone who might come from a divided religious family.  

She raised her son to be sensitive, to be Catholic, to be her friend. When he was 18, he joined the Mormon Church.   

She fought it. He fought back. They worked to stay close anyway. There were years of long talks on the phone: sometimes awkward, sometimes just like before.


He went on a church mission. He went to college. She went on working, coordinating weddings.

Last fall, another blow: He was in love, getting married – in the Mormon temple – and she couldn’t come.

An active Mormon reading this story would say, “Of course she could come. Everyone is welcome in our temples. They just have to live by the LDS standards, be baptized, and get a temple recommend.”

Ah, so easy, isn’t it? Except…. What if you have valid reasons for NOT believing. What if, in fact, it would violate everything you ARE to pretend to believe something just to see your child married. Why should this even be a consideration? Why does the LDS hierarchy not realize what kind of bad juju they are putting out there by saying, “We are better than you.” Because when you say, “Only the worthy can go in,” you ARE saying you are better than the person who isn’t Mormon.

The only way to BE worthy is to BE Mormon. If you are not, you will not get inside those temple doors.

I personally will not wait outside the temple for anyone, including my brothers and sisters. If I am not welcome inside, I am not welcome. Period. Of course, I will celebrate a reception with them, because they are not keeping people out. But one of the most important milestones in a life–something so major it changes lives forever–is often taken from ex- or non-Mormon family and friends, and I find this bigoted, divisive, and wrong.

What this belief does is tell people they are NOT as good as the person standing next to them, just because that person decided to believe that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon with his head stuck in a hat, and because they choose to wear funny underwear.

I don’t know what will happen if my two daughters decide they are going to join the LDS Church. If there is one thing I’ve learned in my life, it’s to never say never. I’ve done a lot of bending and taken a lot of abuse from my children, because that’s what parents do. Whose child HASN’T looked at them like they are the stupidest, dumbest, most unhip person in the universe? This, of course, comes when the mutant, er, child enters the teenage years.

They do outgrow this, I hear, but I’m not sure that Mormon children do, or ever will, understand why this is such a huge issue.

Why would anyone want to get married in a secret ceremony that the outside world cannot see or participate in? Why would you WANT to be married in a union that discriminates against the very people who brought you into this world?

Take a minute and read the story. It’s worth the ride.

Happy Sunday.


About Natalie R. Collins

Natalie has more than 30 years writing, editing, proofreading and design experience. She has written 20 books (and counting), has worked for the Sundance Film Festival, and as an investigative journalist, editor, and proofreader. She embraces her gypsy-heart and is following her new free-thinking journey through life. Follow her as she starts over and learns a bunch of life's lessons--some the hard way.
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7 Responses to Temple marriages divide families, rather than keep them "together forever"

  1. Carla says:

    This is one of the practices that I find the most bothersome. People will really expect us to travel across the country for a wedding we can’t actually attend, which only “special” people are allowed to see. To say that your family doesn’t belong at your wedding if they don’t believe the same things as you and live the same way as you is just mean. I’m only allowed to witness this most important day of your life if I believe and live exactly the same as you? It’s so hurtful.


  2. The Devil says:

    OMG!!!! Still ranting? WTF girl? (This crap might give you more coins than I thought)

    Anyways, can you please tell me WTF means all this gray goo theme you have in your WordPress blog? I can’t figure it out, seriously.

    Oh!, and don’t forget to update WordPress! You are using a very old version which can be easily hacked 😉 You are welcome sweetie.

    Merry Christmas people and a Happy New Year!!!!


  3. Make no mistake. This is deliberate. By forcing you to put LDS ahead of your loved ones, they force you to think that the LDS actually is more important than your loved ones. Psychologically, having excluded your family from the most important day of your life, you either have to believe that you are a complete jerk, or that the LDS is just that special. You’ll believe the latter because it’s easier, and then they have you.

    Also, I’ve heard that Temple weddings are just hilariously ridiculous in terms of dress, so there’s also another reason to keep nonbelievers out. If they saw that business first, they’d never join up!


  4. CJ says:

    I don’t think it’s so much that they want you to think the church is more important, but that they’re reinforcing, via circular reasoning, the notion that active membership in the church is vital to family happiness. They essentially hold your family relationships hostage to the church, thus “proving” that the church is so central. If you stand up for yourself, or simply don’t want to be a sheep, you’re immediately blamed for “causing” the problem and “creating” a void in your family relationships. The idea that these relationships can exist *without* the church is completely rejected.

    Ultimately, the really sad thing is that these organizations only have power over us if we let them. If a family decides “we love each other, and we’re going to prioritize each other over the church”, there’s nothing the church can really do–which is where the shunning and the judging come in. If enough people tell you there’s something wrong with you, eventually you start to believe it.


  5. pollypinks says:

    Just the very idea that other people can determine who is WORTHY and who is not is so scripturally unsound it makes me want to puke. I’ve been out for 24 years, and yet, talking to my dyed in the wool father is like talking to the cat, about legalism, that is. I would probably go to the festivities, though disallowed from the temple, simply because the day would not be about me. It would be about my child, and nothing my children can say or do will cause me to not be supportive or love them.


  6. Todd D says:

    My sister could not attend my temple wedding back in ’93 as she was too young to go in and neither could my wife’s family as they were inactive or non-members. I know it was hard for her to not have any of her family in attendance and like many couples, had a seperate ring ceremony later they could attend.

    When my sister got married last year, I could not attend the temple ceremony but my boyfriend did my sisters make-up and it was flawless! 😉

    I didn’t really care about not being able to go into the temple myself. However, I could see the pain in the eyes of my family that I was not worthy… It was a strange experience that something that had so much significance to them barely registered to me at all. It is an interesting dynamic that those who can’t attend usually just feel left out; not less special or worthy, but I could tell that is what those who were able to attend were feeling about me. I still had a great time at the reception and seeing extended family and old friends. Like most things, this is one of those things that Mormons do that has great significance to them but little to anyone else and yet I can see why this would cause a lot of pain for some families.


  7. Pingback: Sunday in Outer Blogness: “Happy Holidays” and Other Controversial Statements Edition! | Main Street Plaza

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