Monica Bielanko
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Temple Marriage

"You filthy slut. What will the neighbors think?"

My grandmother hissed the sentence that would take up residence in Mom's heart - an unruly tenant for decades. Mom sobbed. A tall weed of a girl folding into herself like an accordion. Slut. The first thing Grandma managed to sputter through clenched teeth upon learning of Mom’s pregnancy.

At age nineteen Mom committed the ultimate sin. Pre-marital sex. To use birth control would have been acknowledgment of a plan to sin. And so it was that Mom found herself pregnant with my older brother.
"Of course you’re getting married", Grandma whispered in harsh, sandpaper tones. As if the neighbors might overhear the atrocities underway in the Nelson household.

So, not quite a year after graduating high school, Mom and Dad found themselves ushered into marriage by Mormon parents anxious to right their atrocious wrong. But, much to the embarrassment of all, it was one of those sinner civil marriages, not a Temple Marriage.

Every Mormon worth their weight in Jell-O knows an invitation to a backyard wedding means one thing; scandal! Delicious scandal. If a young Mormon couple gets married and it ain’t in The Temple, wicked behavior surely precipitated the nuptials.

The intense pressure for Mormon couples to get hitched in The Temple begins early in one’s career as a Mormon. Throughout my own Mormon upbringing I heard Temple Marriage spoken about in exalted tones thousands upon thousands of times. Picture it in your mind in bold italics, each word capitalized. TEMPLE MARRIAGE. That’s how it’s said. Always spoken in bold italics.

I can vividly recall listening raptly, face upturned as my Sunday school teacher waxed poetic about the mystical Temple Marriage during which it seemed angels and perhaps even Heavenly Father himself would descend from heaven to administer to the newlyweds.
Angels? Good stuff.

Best day of my life? I can dig it.

Ticket to Heaven? Far out!

"Marriage in the temple for time and eternity should be the goal of every, single member of the Church because marriage is ordained of God. Marriage is a commandment."
"But Sister Robbins, what if nobody asks me marry them? What then?" I ask.
"God will guide you in finding the right partner. Once you do, pray about it and you’ll know."
"But how will we know?"
"Just like when you read the Book of Mormon. If you pray to God with a sincere heart, you’ll receive your answer. It may be a burning in your chest, could be the still small voice of the Holy Ghost or it might be in the form of a thought that God places in your head. But you’ll know."
"Celestial marriage is what we call a Temple Marriage," Sister Robbins plows onward with her lesson, determined to impart her testimony in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. "That’s when the wife is sealed to husband and the husband is sealed to wife for eternity. We know, of course, that civil marriages end at death"
"What’s a civil marriage?" Heather wants to know.
"That’s like getting married by a judge at a courthouse?" James asks.
"Very good James." Sister Robbins beams at the son of our ward’s bishop. Bishop’s kids are untouchable. Free pass to be a pompous asshole. Like attending school where your Dad is the Principal. "Unlike those kinds of marriages you see on television where the judge says ‘until death do you part’, Eternal Marriages performed in the temple last forever. If your parents were married in The Temple - and of course your parents were, James - you will be automatically sealed to them for time and all eternity (a big Mormon catchphrase this time and all eternity business). If your parents aren’t married in The Temple you can’t be together after you die."

The class, with the exception of James, exchanges worried looks.
"I hope your parents are married in The Temple." Heather says to me. "I know mine are. We have the picture of them in their wedding stuff standing in front of the Provo Temple hanging in our hallway."
"My parents have a picture of them in front of The Temple too!" Sarah shouts.
"Mine too."
"Me too!"

I wasn’t sure. As far as I knew, there was no picture of my parents in front of any temple. The only framed picture in our hallway just showed Dad holding aloft the limp body of a six-point mule deer he shot while on a hunting trip with Uncle Brad.

Immediately upon my arrival home from church I ask Mom about it.
"Mom, are you and Dad married in The Temple?"
"How come there is no picture of you guys in your wedding clothes in front of The Temple then?"
"We-ell..." She drags out the vowell and pauses. Uh-oh. This is it, I think, Sister Robbins lesson on Temple Marriage lodged firmly at the forefront of my mind, we’re all going to hell when we die. I’ll never see my family again. "We actually didn’t get married in the temple at first. We got married in Grandma’s backyard. But after you kids were born we all got sealed in The Temple together."
"So we’ll all still see each other after we die? Being silled is just as good?"
"Sealed. Yes. It’s the same thing. It’s just that your Dad and I were already married by a judge a few years before. So as far as the law is concerned we were married in 1974. But we were married in The Temple in 1978."
"How come you didn’t just get married in The Temple in the first place?"
"We weren’t prepared." Mom replied quickly and left it at that.


As I aged the lessons on Temple Marriage increased in complexity. A confusing roadmap of contradictions and rules tweaked by Church Authorities over the years to accommodate the changes in society. It was perplexing, especially since my parents’ messy divorce jammed a wrench firmly in the works of living as a happy family in God’s Kingdom for the righteous.

"Class, open your Book of Mormons to Doctrine Covenants Section 127. Sister Butler, can you read scripture 6 and 7, please?"
"Okay." My classmates and I flip to the appropriate section of the most important book in the Mormon Church and I begin to read. "That in all your recordings it may be recorded in heaven; whatsoever you bind on earth, may be bound in heaven; whatsoever you loose on earth, may be loosed in heaven."
"Okay, who can tell me what this means?"
Heather’s hand shoots up, much like the drugs she will later shoot up whilst a junior at Orem High School. "It means that if you are married in the temple you will be together in Heaven but if you aren’t you won’t ever see your husband or your children in heaven."
"That’s right, Heather. The Doctrine and Covenants teaches us that marriage is ordained of God. Our Church distinguishes between civil marriages, which are valid until the divorce or the death of one spouse and temple marriages or sealings, solemnized by church authorities, which are binding for time and all eternity (catchphrase!) if the couple lives righteously."

"What if they don’t live righteously?" I want to know. "Like, what if your parents are divorced now?" At my unfortunate mention of the word D-I-V-O-R-C-E the class squirms in their silver folding chairs as if struck simultaneously by a severe case of hemorrhoids

"Well, they may have received an earthly divorce but only the President of the Church can revoke a Temple Marriage. Sometimes this happens so that a worthy Church member can remarry in The Temple. Without a cancellation of sealing, divorced members may remarry only on this earth."
Wait. What? My brain whirls as I struggle to dismantle the grenade my Sunday School teacher had casually tossed into my floral print clad lap. "So you’re saying my parents are still married?" This is a shock. For the past 5 years I’ve lived with the distressing knowledge that my food stamp family was irreparably broken, different from all the other fabulous families living in righteous prosperity on the block. Maybe we aren’t so bad off.
"Yes, they are still married in the eyes of God."

Still married! My parents are still married! Sure, they live in different states, Dad calls Mom a cunt and Mom refers to Dad as That Cheap Asshole. But Church says they are still married! And the Church is never wrong. I only half listen as Sister Robbins completes her Sunday School lesson.

"I want to close by reading you a statement from one of our leaders", she says in that prim, whispery voice of hers. "Let us share with our children the spiritual feelings we have in the temple. And let us teach them more earnestly and more comfortably the things we can appropriately say about the purposes of the house of the Lord. Keep a picture of a temple in your home that your children may see it. Teach them about the purposes of the house of the Lord. Have them plan from their earliest years to go there and to remain worthy of that blessing. Let us prepare every missionary to go to the temple worthily and to make that experience an even greater highlight than receiving the mission call. Let us plan for and teach and plead with our children to marry in the house of the Lord. Let us reaffirm more vigorously than we ever have in the past that it does matter where you marry and by what authority you are pronounced man and wife.’ And I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."
"Amen", the class repeats on auto-pilot.

Temple Marriage. The only way to marry. Side effects include guilt, sexual dysfunction disgrace, dishonor, feelings of isolation, inadequacy and insomnia. This-advertisement-paid-for-by-The-Church-of-Jesus-Christ-of-Latter-Day-Saints.


Shamed by her unexpected pregnancy and shotgun wedding, Mom persists with her propaganda-laced little girl dreams to marry in The Temple. To marry into the fairytale of Mormon marriage for time and all eternity! What better happy ending than one that lasts forever?

There Mom (Elaine to you) stands, in line with dozens of brides and grooms, knees knocking beneath the starched folds of her modest, white dress. A wedding factory, Elaine thinks. So communal. Impersonal. This is the third line Elaine has been waiting in on this, her temple marriage day.

Like every prodigious young Mormon, including myself, Elaine grew up on a steady diet of stories containing vague allusions to the beauteous and celestial wonderment of The Temple endowment. It’s presented as ecstasy on earth, more spiritual holiness than mortal man can scarcely take in. Inside the Mormon Temple is the closest to God you will ever be while here on earth.

So what is being the closest to God while on earth really like? Mom, now a woman in her mid-fifties, still fears retribution if she divulges any information about the top-secret Temple Marriage. This unreasonable fear is a direct result of her visit to The Temple all those years ago.

Nonetheless, as time goes by and our relationship has transformed from adviser to friend she has unwittingly let a few details slip. Those slips confirm what I’ve managed to glean from friends and those brave souls willing to share details via internet anonymity; changing into strange white clothing and elderly folks touching you under a sheet with oiled fingers whilst mumbling a memorized prayer.

Earlier, before tapping her patent leather pumps for twenty minutes in the wedding line, Elaine was shocked to near paralysis as an elderly old woman handed her a sheet and told her to undress. Undress? What the hell? Elaine was alone, had no one to compare notes with. Feeling violated, in a manner not dissimilar to the emotions a young woman undergoes during a gynecological visit, Elaine stripped off her dress, her beige nylons and sensible pumps then donned the white fabric provided by the snowy haired Temple volunteer.

As Elaine sat, discomfort exploding into confusion and finally horror, the woman dabbed her fingers into a substance that smelled suspiciously of Olive Oil and began touching Mom’s skin as she mumbled some sort of blessing that Elaine couldn’t understand. The woman provided no explanation as to what she was doing, just continued with her divine duty.

When it was all over the elderly woman ushered Elaine into the bride's room. Finally, Elaine sighed in relief. I can be alone. As it turns out, alone with at least twelve other brides in various stages of undress as they change into their Mormon approved, high-necked, long sleeved Temple dresses.

Under normal circumstances a room filled with girls on their wedding day might result in lively chatter frequently punctuated with excited giggles. But this bride’s room was deathly silent. Each girl methodically went about donning their dresses, avoiding eye contact with the others.

Elaine longs to ask the others if they thought the oil incident was as bizarre as she but decided against it. She sighs, tucks a stray strand of honey colored hair behind her ear and sets to work pulling on her brand new garments, fresh out of the plastic bag.

Garments. White underwear that all Mormons who’ve been to The Temple must where if they want to receive God’s full blessings and retain their modesty. Elaine’s garments had been chosen for her by her wel-meaning older sister for their practical durability. This meant they were one piece, made of 100% nylon with the same stretch, moisture absorbency, and comfort level as a medieval suit of armor.

Finally, it is time to meet up with Craig for the ceremony in the sealing room. This is it, Elaine tells herself as her heartbeat quickens. It’s time. Time and all eternity. Sure there were a couple of uncomfortable moments, especially the bit with the oil, she thinks. But that’s all going to be worth this. My Celestial Marriage. Time and all eternity.

She walks nervously into the Sealing Room clutching Craig’s sweaty hand, her modest hills clacking to the staccato rhythm of her hammering heart. She looks around excitedly, anxious to wave hello to familiar faces. So who was there to celebrate her big day? The room was full of people she scarcely knew or did not know at all.

When a marriage takes place in a Mormon temple, non-Mormon relatives of the couple and Mormon relatives who do not hold a temple recommend are not permitted to attend the ceremony. Additionally, couples can only invite family members and close friends to be present for a temple marriage. This practice of breaking up families on the one day they ought to be most united is seemingly against the intrinsic Mormon value of family. But isolating those getting married in the temple is a strategic part of the process. Without friends to exchange what-the-fuck-is-this looks, those inside the temple for the first time tend to ask fewer questions, go with the flow. Those who are not members of the Mormon Church often get blindsided by the policy; they don't understand they won’t be attending the actual wedding of their loved one until it is too late to do anything

The dozen or so couples about to be married are asked to sit, along with their family members, in the chairs provided. The temple sealer gives a short speech on the importance of marriage and having many children. As Elaine fidgets beneath the weight of her scratchy wedding dress, all she can think is how much she wants to get up and run out of the room. To leave and never come back. Just leave, she tells herself. We don’t have to do this. But Christ wants her to be sealed to Dad and this is the only way for us to progress as a couple. Plus, what would my parents think!

After getting knocked up she and Craig had worked so hard to be worthy to go to the temple. Uncomfortable visits with their Bishop during which he asked probing questions regarding their sexual activity, faith and parenting styles.
"Do either of you masturbate?"

"Do you believe the majest and wonder of the gospel of Jesus Christ was restored through The Prophet Joseph Smith?"

"Do you want to live together in a heavenly kingdom of your own making for time and all eternity?"

Yes, yes, yes YES! The Temple. It is the goal of a lifetime! Elaine can’t turn back now! That would be like making it to the Olympics and backing out at the last minute because of a few nerves. Nerves, that’s right! It’s just nerves. So she says nothing. Keeps her long, slender fingers clenched tightly in her lap and watches the people around her for signs they think the whole thing is as weird as she does. There is no music, no flowers, no ring ceremony, nothing like the wedding she dreamed about as a young girl sharing a room with her two older sisters who would also marry in The Temple.

Very soon, the old man winds up his speech and utters the in-the-name-of-Jesus-Christ-Amen that signals the end of every speech given within the Church. Elaine struggles not to snicker as Mormon actors, dressed in strange costumes enter a paltry re-creation of the Garden of Eden and proceed to jerkily act out the beginning of time. All the participants in the skit are elderly men and women dressed in white except for Satan and the "Christian minister" who is clad in black.

The skit is filled with the kind of symbolism that litters the scriptures, which makes it as confusing to follow as the Book of Mormon. At one point Elaine recognizes some of the more common Mormon themes but she eventually gives up and begins studying the faces of the young women around her.

There is the chubby girl who is sweating profusely. Then there’s the pretty girl who had been forced by a Temple worker to place a large piece of white fabric beneath her wedding dress because you could see her skin through the lace portion around her shoulders. The stiff, white material ruined the dress and the girl, looking at herself in the mirror appeared to be struggling not to cry. Now, in the sealing room, she looks absolutely miserable.

As the skits drag to a close an Elderly man takes the podium. "You are taking a sacred covenant. To reveal to others what goes on during this consecration is to invite the devil into your heart." Elaine perks up. "Should you choose to share what goes on here today, you will be punished." The man then demonstrates what that punishment would be by slowly drawing his forefinger over his throat and then dramatically slashing the same finger over his stomach.

The group is then told to mimic the gesture over their own throats and stomachs to make sure they understand. Sharing temple secrets equals death.

Okay, I’m SO outta here, Elaine nearly says her thought out loud. She desperately looks at her Dad for confirmation that this? This is messed up! But her Dad, the gentle man who has been one of the best examples of the beauty of the Mormon church, is stoically drawing his finger over his throat. Sharing Temple secrets equals death. No wonder she hadn’t been prepared for the bizarre nature of this day. Everyone was afraid to talk about it.

As her family and other young couples make the appropriate gestures, Elaine stares in disbelief. She tries to catch eyes with somebody, ANYBODY, but nobody will look at her . You guys are okay with this? She wants to know but dares not speak. She can only watch as family members who have already been through the Temple appear to take these grotesque mimes in stride.

This impersonal wedding factory, filled with silly skits, violent gestures and threats is a far cry from the wedding wonderland she had been led to believe would occur once she married her husband in the Temple. Not only is it nothing like the storybook wedding she had held in such high regard, it’s nothing like the weddings of non-members the Church had taught her were substandard.

Is this really all there is, Elaine wonders. This is really weird. It doesn’t feel right. Maybe I’m just not opening my heart to Heavenly Father. She risks a peek at Craig. From under lowered lashes, she observes Dad intently focusing on the speaker at the podium. Does he really believe this? Maybe I’m just not righteous enough?

During the ceremony, Temple volunteers remind Elaine and the rest of the participants they can withdraw if they didn’t want to take upon themselves the covenants that they would be required to take on. This opportunity to flee was offered to the group at large. Who wants to bolt in front of everyone, Mom wonders. Who wants to acknowledge their failure in God’s house, of all places!

The newlyweds are now invited to step forward, toward an enormous white sheete that hangs from one wall.
"This veil represents the veil you will pass through when you die and go to heaven," Elaine and Craig, along with the dozen other couples are informed.
Elaine stands there, thoughts whirling as someone, another elderly volunteer, whispers her ‘heavenly name’ into her ear.
"You will need to say this name to gain admittance into heaven."
She watches as Craig is taught a secret handshake he is told will gain them entry into heaven. Craig seems to be in a zone, learning the secret handshake, going through the motions. Elaine can’t figure out what he’s thinking.

Finally, once the handshake is mastered and their secret names have been whispered, as if entering heaven, Elaine and Craig are pulled through the "veil" by the elderly volunteer and dumped unceremoniously into the Celestial Room.

The Celestial Room, the celestial orgasm of every God-fearing Mormon the world over, is a rococo room, adorned in gilded white with an excess of overstuffed chairs, mirrors and an ostentatious chandelier. Elaine dizzyingly wonders "Is this all there is?" Where was the choir of singing angels, where was spirits from beyond, rejoicing in for time and all eternity?

Mom and Dad barely have time to gather their shattered thoughts before they are ushered out of the Celestial room by the sealer in order to avail the room to the next couple already waiting. Cycle time between weddings, Craig calculates, is 15 to 20 minutes.

"Twenty minutes per couple." Craig says in a flat voice as the newly sealed couple walks, along with dozens of other newlyweds, down a long hallway toward light. And fresh air. And the non-member loved ones not allowed inside the temple. There is no rice, no confetti. A factory wedding, pumping out newlyweds that will soon pump out children and increase the membership of the Church which will eventually increase the tithing paid to the Mormon leadership.

Mom thinks: That was a trip. That’s nothing like I thought it would be.
Mom says: It was wonderful!
Mom thinks: What the hell was that all about?
Mom said: We'll come back again and again.
Mom thinks: Is my husband really believing this? Is he really into this?
Mom says: It was great, huh, baby?

Elaine wonders then, as she does now, if everyone who goes through the temple feels obligated to declare what a wonderful experience it all is because everyone else says the same thing. They assume it is a wonderful experience for everyone else and that perhaps it is only they who not righteous enough to feel enlightened.

Although she is awestruck by the cultish nature of her marriage ceremony, after it is all over Elaine feels more righteous than ever. Not because the visit to the Temple left her feeling uplifted, but because she has done something awkward out of obligation.

Both Mom and Dad choose not to express disbelief in the ceremony for fear it would mean they are not worthy. Of course they don’t want their eternal partner to think they had just married someone who is not worthy. So each says nothing despite the fact they are both shocked over the confusing turn their religion has taken.

Shortly after their Temple Marriage Dad lands a job in Colorado and the Butler family says goodbye to Utah. But it won’t be long before our return under drastically different circumstances.

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Reader Comments (21)

Beautifully written story. I wish my mom were as honest to tell me what goes on in the "inside". It's icky.

June 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCindi

Thanks for being so forthright. You crack me up: you are so refreshingly...correct. When I got married in the Salt Lake Temple, I felt exactly the same as your mother! Of course, everyone told me what a wonderful experience I was having... I must have been confused and not in touch with the Spirit to not realize it for myself.

On the flip side, I am not amused by the fact that I was able to get a Civil Divorce, but that the Church teaches I am still married before God. It took me three years of battling it out in the Courts, and yet now I have to ask for a Temple Divorce. How insane is that? I even asked if I had my name removed from the Church records if that would take care of the problem: NOPE. Even if you are no longer a member, to get a Temple Cancellation, the Good ol' Priesthood Holders have to be ass kissed enough, and you have to somehow "convince" them that you are worthy of a Temple Cancellation. A rational person would believe that simply showing the Divorce Decree would be enough... but I guess it all depends on your perspective. I must not have an "Eternal" Perspective. ha ha

September 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMary

The really funny thing about all this, is that you have to leave your belongings in a locker, lock it! And take the key with you! Because... people steal in the temple!!!! hahahaha...

October 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAD

I remember having those exact same thoughts going through the temple, gazing at family members happily going through the utterly bizarre motions. "You guys are really ok with this? This isn't weird to you?" Seeing family members in the temple costumes like everything is normal.

I remember the reception later that night MUCH more than I do the actual ceremony.

October 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJer

An eye opener for a non-Mormon.

November 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCrawforn

Norma, this is the second story I have read of yours. I do hope your past time is writing short stories because I just love reading them. I do not like it when I cannot remember, recall or know a person who is trying to make conversation and yes we go right along with them. Keep writing more stories.

December 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNorma

Always a great pleasure to read your written words. You get my vote NJ and Merry Christmas!

December 17, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterthe fixer

This is all NOT TRUE!! Monica is a Mormon hater and she reaches many many people with this blog. How dare you Monica. You are so hateful and bitter. Nothing better to do with your life but attack the Mormon faith. How about write things on your upcoming birth or your daughter? You are a hypocrite, always talking about how Mormons should let people live their life how they want and let them be.. what about YOU!?

I cannot believe I looked at this blog because my sister told me she liked it.

November 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMormon Lover

Please tell me specifically what isn't true. I'm happy to discuss. Every single thing here is accurate. Who are you to say what my mom experienced isn't true? Did you go through the Mormon temple before 1980? You may want to look into it because my mom is certainly not the only one telling this very story.

November 10, 2010 | Registered CommenterMonica

MOST of it isn't true and I cannot go into details because we are not suppose to discuss what goes in in the temple. NOT because its secret, but because it is SACRED to us. Those of us who attend the temple have worked our butts off to get there and we strive everyday to be good people. I am SO sick of people who generalize. You do this. Just because ONE mormon or a group of mormons said something awful, does not mean that ALL mormons are that way. How would you like it if everyone judged you because of your brothers' actions? They've ALL been to prison for horrible crimes, beating their wives, beating a police officer, dealing drugs, the list goes on and on. (These are FACTS) You do not do those things, so would it be fair to you if people assumed you did those things because your brothers have?? NO!

AND, why would you go by what Bitter ex-mormons say?? You would not go to a Chevy dealer to learn about a Ford would you? How about do some actual journalism work and get both sides of a story instead of judging a WHOLE religion based on yours and your moms bitter stories??

November 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMormon Lover

You are rude. Not very Christ-like. Obviously someone originally from Utah County. I don't think all Mormons are awful at all. Again, please tell me where I said that. I disagree with a lot of Mormon DOCTRINE, not a couple of Mormons who said "something awful". That doesn't mean I dislike Mormons. Just the ones like you who do a lot of finger pointing and not much self-examination. Next time you're in the temple remember what you've just said about my brothers, none of whom have been to prison. Jail? Yes. For DUI and drug charges. Regardless of whether they're beating their wives and snorting coke off hooker's asses, that's not really your business, is it? Instead of publicly demeaning them and shouting their personal business to the world shouldn't you be praying for them and trying to lift them up? Again, not really the actions of a temple-goer. I really see how you're "working your butt" off there.

Nonetheless, thank you very much for proving much of what I've written here about the judgmental, defensive, "my church is the only true church" assholes I grew up with.

I was a Mormon for 20 years. Longer than I've not been a Mormon. So don't pretend for two seconds that just because you've been through the temple I know less about your religion. I'll go toe to toe with you on a historical/doctrine debate any damn day of the week. I know that religion inside and out and I judge it on the doctrine, not ignorant people like you. There's a difference. But if I did judge the church on the actions of folks like you, shit, could anyone blame me?

November 16, 2010 | Registered CommenterMonica

I never said I was perfect honey. Yes, I'm very pissed off about your bullshit posts and I have every right to whatever kind of comparisons I damn well please.
You say whatever you want about whomever you want and get mad and judge ME over my comments? Isn't it pretty judgemental to assume that every Mormon thinks they're perfect and has to walk around praying for hardened criminals? Pretty naive of you.
I'm confident with my standing in my church. I don't care what you have to say about who you think I am. The reason I used your brothers as an example is because I just read a post of yours where you actually bragged about how 'tough' they are and how you love the fact that people are scared of them. Pretty sad.
I'm never coming back to this horrible excuse for a 'mommy blog' because you'll always be a miserable person.
I'm gonna go repent now for my sins of telling you how it is:-) God bless you:-)

November 16, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermormonlover

And, for the record, I'm not from Utah County:-) a dear friend went to school with you and knows your family.

November 16, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermormonlover

I think you've made my point here without my having to do much. Thanks for stopping by.

November 16, 2010 | Registered CommenterMonica

I have a friend who had a temple marriage in the early eighties and her description of the ceremony was exactly like you described, including her feeling of wanting to leave and being completely freaked out. She told me that the ceremony has since been changed. Having just finalized my resignation from the LDS church, I guess I will never know. Bummer. P.S. Love your blog.

November 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNomNomNom

Oi vey. Thank God, Buddha, and Allah that I grew up in an agnostic household. I may be a Utah resident, but the Mormon doctrine always has given me the heebie-jeebies. Very cult-ish and rigid. Loved when my Mormon co-worker would say things like, "At least Mormons don't walk around with chlamydia!" and "There are so many people who don't deserve their children, and here I am married and unable to have my own baby." That last one was, of course, after learning that I had a child out of wedlock. *fume*

December 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSee Kate run.

As a recovering mormon myself I find this all very fascinating. Everything you have described is just as it is. Truly heartbreaking...and truly a cult.

December 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Hm, I was married in the SL temple a few years back and this was not my experience at all. The brides were all giggly and excited and one girl even helped me do my hair. Our mothers and sisters or friends were with us and the overall mood was very happy. I never felt like I was in a factory, even though I would've chosen to not get married in SLC if I had to do it again :) I know they've changed the temple ceremonies a lot, and I'm glad for it. But it's really not awkward and the temple workers are all sort of like nice old grandmas who smile endearingly at you and talk sweetly. As an intelligent, feminist woman I would say I've had my qualms when I think about some aspects too much, but overall the feeling in the temple is not as dark and twisted and cultish as you make it sound. I would say my wedding and sealing in the temple was exactly how I pictured it - my loving grandfather sealed us, my husband and I were beyond in love and totally excited, and I was surrounded by family both inside and outside - my friends and family who couldn't enter and if they were bitter they definitely did not let me onto it. I can see how it could be different if I didn't have family or if I was forced into a temple marriage, but this is just my experience. And if anything, I would say I was discouraged from getting married and having babies.. my bishop tried to talk me into a PhD program rather than marriage when I told him I was in love, everyone around me tried to discourage me from having a baby so soon, but I wanted these things and made my decisions.

December 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCait

Hi Cait! Thanks for sharing your experience. They have changed the ceremony a lot but I think everyone experiences it differently, depending on their own background and level of belief in the church. My writing here isn't meant to generalize everyone's experience, only to tell my mom's story. I'm glad that your experience was much different :)

December 17, 2010 | Registered CommenterMonica

Interesting read. Being the mom of a daughter that converted to LDS fifteen months ago and became engaged to a morman man two months ago, you can only imagine my anquish and anger knowing my family and I are not permitted to see our daughter wed. I have broken down in tears at work and have awoke sobbing from a dream of exclusion from an event we have every right to be part of. Alas, in morman eyes, we are unworthy. I have told my daughter there will be NO praying for me in the temple, dead or alive. Do NOT baptize me into your faith. I'll take my chances in the eternal world without any morman saving my soul. I must admit, I hope this hurts my daughter. As much as I love her and I do want her to be happy, I am human and have my own feelings to work through....Anger is one of those emotions. The exclusion of family from a church that is so into family is so sad....Bottom line we are not a worthy morman family. Aha...but I know the plan...baptize us once we die. so we can live with them in their eternal family. Sad thing too, is my husband and I supported my daughter when she decided to become morman. We went to her baptism, some church functions and fed missionaries, welcoming them into our home for Thanksgiving. I soon learned my daughter would have a temple wedding and what that meant for us. My support and involvement with the church is over. While I will still love my daughter and her husband, I will step back from their church. As I have my pill to swallow and still love them, they too will have to accept the consequences of their church's exclusion of us and they will have to continue to love me or not......Never did I think I would not be allowed to view my daughter marry. I do hope she looks around that temple room and misses us...I refuse to go to the temple and wait in another room like a second class citizen with other unworthy peole, morman or not. My daughter accepts this decision. Someday I hope she has a aha monent and realizes the pain this brings......We have always been soooo close. This mom is sad. thanks for listening.

January 27, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkaren

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