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.
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.