Saturday, January 18, 2014

Let love in

Mormons are taught early on that they want to be married in the temple. We've been taught that if someone can't or doesn't want to get married in the temple, we should kick their sorry ass to the curb.

George Durrant reported a conversation he had with his fifteen-year-old son. He had asked him, “Where are you going to get married?”
“In the temple,” was the reply.
“I’ve just never thought of getting married anywhere else.”
“Why?” the father pressed.
“Well, that’s where you go so you can be married forever.”
“But,” the father asked, “what if you meet a girl who doesn’t feel that the temple is that important?”
There was a long pause. Then he replied, “Dad, I wouldn’t marry her.”

I can just imagine the numerous conversations shared between Mormon couples in love when they discover that the temple has been eliminated from the equation. My heart swells at all the tear drenched "I'm sorry"s and the understanding "go fuck yourself, you unworthy pig"s that have sent eternal dreams summer-salting off the highway of holy love and into a cold gray ditch of empty Big Gulps and soggy cigarettes. Tragic.

Tragic, but necessary. We can't be placing love of another human over our love for Mormonism. Marriage is so much more. Some teachers of the youth even complain about the expression "marry in the temple" because they feel it makes light of the ordinance and prefer instead "to call the Lord’s way of marriage the 'sealing ordinance' or 'being sealed.'" This isn't just a marriage, it's a godly right of passage; this togetherness isn't simply for time, it's FOR ETERNITY.

Sealings are more than just some silly hoopla Mormons have added to their religion in attempts to legitimize polygamy or an attempt to create an analogous rite to the the highest sacrament of Catholicism, and anyone telling you otherwise is just speculating. The fact is that as much as God loves you, he can't respect your love unless you proved your commitment to him and your spouse at one of his alters. Period. God's house is a house of order (D&C 132:8), and there's nothing confusing or disorderly about making sure everyone on earth who loves him marries in his holy house. So don't worry about the guy who's sealed to three different women, all of whom learned to hate him deeply and divorced him; don't worry about if the atheist grandfather you vicariously sealed to your grandmother probably won't accept the ordinance but your grandma probably will; don't worry that Joseph Smith was sealed to 11 women who were already married to other Mormon leaders; don't worry about your brother who's sealed to an unfaithful woman who doesn't love or deserve him; don't worry about anything, it all makes sense to God.

And yet sometimes I can't help but think about how hard it can be for people to find love and how often the love they find lies outside of their religious culture. Sometimes I think about God being a completely loving and completely understanding father and just how his love and understanding might play out in the eternities. At times I think how strange it is that so many Mormon grandparents are convinced that all you need is a penis, a vagina, and two strong testimonies for a marriage to work. (It's almost as though Spencer Kimball said this: "it is certain that almost any good man and any good woman can have happiness and a successful marriage if both are willing to pay the price.) And maybe it is a little funny that Mormon kids think that they will conveniently find the person they will marry within their very limited ward boundaries.

Instead of pushing love away because temple requirements get in the way, wouldn't it be more respectful and loving in many cases to trust in God's love and celebrate the love a couple shares with each other? For many people life is too short and too hard to go it alone. It's also true that Mormonism can be very harsh on its single members. Can't God let his children embrace love and companionship as it presents itself without putting harsh parameters on who qualifies?

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