Behold My Mother–I Stabbed Her in the Heart

mother-child

My Mother

I was born on November 26.  Three days later, at exactly 22 years old, my mother brought me home on her birthday, November 29.  Often she has told me that it was her best birthday ever.  Little did she know that this innocent newborn babe would grow up to stab her in the heart.

She suckled me, changed me, bathed me, swaddled me in baby oil.  She helped me learn to walk and talk.  And after all her loving toil, a knife to the heart was in her future.

When sick she ministered to me.  When healthy she encouraged me.  Three meals a day she prepared for me.  Bought my clothes.  Washed and ironed my clothes.  As I aged, my innocence faded.  Never would I have suspected that I’d do what I did, after I grew.

Kindergarten, grade school, then, Jr. & Sr. high school.  A mom always constant in love and care.  As the stabbing grew closer, neither one of us remotely aware.

Finally, off to college.  Interrupted for 2 glorious years of mission in Guatemala and El Salvador.  Every week a letter from my sweet mom.  Frequent ‘care packages’ were much anticipated and even more appreciated.  But, not remembered enough to prevent the blow to my mother’s heart that I soon would strike.

Graduated college.  Moved to Texas.  Fell in love.  Asked my sweetheart to marry.  Cried when she accepted.  Oh that sweet & innocent puppy love, unencumbered by the coming distractions of children, bills, and the adjustments of living together. Those months of engagement were heaven on earth.  The final months leading up to my inevitable deed.

The fateful September day arrived.   My fiancé had never been to the temple.  She & I traversed the endowment ceremony without parents or siblings or friends.  Together, yet alone, among a room full of strangers.  Afterwards she recounted her fright and intimidation during that first temple experience. The knife was poised…about to plunge.

I and my gorgeous fiancé were ushered into the sealing room.  With no mothers or fathers present, we were pronounced man & wife……and the knife……was finally plunged deep into my mother’s heart.

Outside the temple walls my mother stood.  Sobbing silently in her wounded heart.  Excluded from the crowning event of her first born’s coming of age.  UNWORTHY to witness the wedding.  UNWORTHY?  Certainly she should be the most worthy!  No, it’s the judgement that was unworthy of my worthy mom.  Oh, the humiliation and indignity she must have felt.  How many wondered what she could have done?  What horrible sin caused the temple to not let her in?  Her shame and dishonor only drove the dagger deeper.

The Damage Comes Home to Roost

My dear mother resigned from the church…three months ago.

After the fact, we discussed it at length.  The first fissure in her faith was slashed open 38 years before.  Outside those cold…stone…temple walls.  She was stabbed in the heart by her first born son.  Bruised and bloody within.  Stoic and stout without.  I didn’t realize what I’d inadvertently done.  At the time, I gave no thought to her plight.  Of course not.  In just a few hours, it would be my wedding night.

And what of her great unworthy sin?  Now the knife boomerangs back into my own heart.  My parents finances had been stretched thin.  A choice was made between full tithing or continued support for my younger missionary brother.  My mother chose to keep my brother preaching rather than fully tithe.

I’m sorry mom!  I’m sorry you have carried this wound for your entire 86 year life.  If I could do it again, so differntly I’d do.  We’d marry outside to include all.  Especially for you to stand proud and tall.  I’d unselfishly wait for 12 month to transpire.  Only then would I enter the holy house to be sealed to my sweet spouse.

I’m sorry mom for my naive arrogance.  It was hidden then, but I plainly see it now.

Such a Simple Solution

For the vast majority of the world, a mother holds a lovely, prominent & honored place in the wedding celebration.  Are we the only religion that bars “UNWORTHY” parents from their beloved children’s weddings?   To me, this truly is an unholy practice.  And…wholly unworthy of the Church of Jesus Christ.

This dreadful pattern only plays out in the United States, Canada and a few other lands.  In most countries, the marriage ceremony is performed civilly outside of the temple.  Then the sealing follows at a convenient date.  In the U.S., if a couple makes the choice to marry outside the temple, they are not permitted to be sealed for at least 12 months.  Unfortunately, stigma, rumor and gossip accompany the mandatory waiting period.

Marriage in the temple is not a saving ordinance.  Only the sealing.  So, why do we have the 12 month probationary period in the U.S. and Canada?  I’ve asked many.  No one can give a reason why.  The only speculation I’ve heard is that our exclusionary approach brings in more tithing.  Certainly that can’t be the reason…can it?

Our wedding exclusion policy only does harm.  How many more mothers will be silently stabbed in their tender hearts?  How many non-member parents will be supremely disappointed in their exclusion?  How many mothers will weep in their unworthiness?  Unworthy?  Really?  Every year our exclusive policy creates hard feelings and wedges among 1,000’s of parents and family.  To what end?  It’s a bad policy that has ended in most places around the world.  It’s time that it end here as well.

Voting In Disapproval

Over the past year, I have voted in disapproval at all 4 of the conferences where sustainings are conducted: Ward, Stake and both General Conferences.  I vote because I care about the church.  I care about the commandments and the loving gospel of Jesus.  I care about those among us who are in pain.

Here are the reasons I vote in opposition.

  1. The Law of Common Consent.  This is the beautiful law given by Jesus that mandates how His church is to be governed.  Today, the church is in open and blatant disobedience to this divine commandment.
  2. The exclusion policy of gay couples and their children.  It was dictated to the church in November 2015.  Never has it been put to the vote of the general membership.  Our doctrine, the law of God and the pronouncements of past prophets demand that it be presented for a general conference vote.
  3. The U.S. wedding waiting period.  Another policy that has never been put to the required vote.  Certainly, my fellow church citizens would soundly reject the continuance of the injury this policy promulgates.

Please, Apostles…Let’s live by the Law of God…the Law of Common Consent

Please, my fellow church members…Let’s live by the Law of God…the Law of Common Consent.

Other Resources

  • Common Consent Scriptures & Doctrine, click HERE.
  • Common Consent Register—A Record of Those Who Disapprove, click, HERE.
  • Disturbing membership Trends, click HERE.
  • Do We Love Jesus Enough?, click HERE.
  • The Only True Hope for The Only True Church, click HERE.
  • My personal sadness over friends and family leaving, click HERE.
  • “Tear Down This Wall.”  More on marriage exclusion, click HERE.

26 thoughts on “Behold My Mother–I Stabbed Her in the Heart

  1. The only speculation I’ve heard is that our exclusionary approach brings in more tithing. Certainly that can’t be the reason…can it?

    I think you have answered your own question. If you want to play, you have to pay.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Susan,

      I hope that’s not the real answer. To date, it’s the only one that has been proffered to me. Hopefully, someone in the know will elucidate us here.

      So kind of you to read my blog–Thanks!!!.

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  2. When I married in 1985 none of my family was there. Not my parents, my brothers, relatives, no one, because I was a convert. I served a mission and with missionary zeal made sure our 3 kids were active in everything including 9 years of early morning seminary, a son serving a mission and pianist/organist. Just about every calling a woman could have on a local level, I’ve done. With the last kid in college, I had time to really study mormonism and the first ah ha moment was that temple undergarments were a way people could tell you were a polygamist in the 1800s. It changed years later of course, when temple weddings were not just for the polgyamist, but that fact plus obsessive research is what got me to stop wearing them after 27 years. One year of not wearing garments, too many questions and an end to unquestioning obedience, I was handed divorce papers. One year into divorce and barely existing on $500 month, I was not tithing, I was not wearing the garments and worst of all, questioned lds things meant I was not temple worthy and my daughter was now getting married. Is this karma from my parents exclusion by me from my own wedding being replayed? It was ok that at times I was living in my car (ex seized all money, a different topic about financial abuse) but my ex was now going to the temple every week with another lady. I didn’t know what she looked like but months after my daughters wedding we saw in the photos his and their mistress (now temple married wife) was present with my ex to see my daughter marry. I stood outside watching children and their dog running around by one of the fountains. Maybe they need the unworthys for free babysitting? She married on a hot July day and I had flowers for her afterwards for photos. I asked just inside the temple door if they could temporarily be inside because they were wilting. Temple matron told me “No. No real things are allowed in the temple”. Couldn’t be more true. Sam, I cried when I read your post. When and how will the cruelty of mormon so-called weddings end?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Helen,

      I cried reading your story. Our policy is heartless and cruel. How can anyone look at this and call it good? Why is there not an outcry for its end? How is it that we all stand idly by oblivious to the broken hearts of mother after mother after mother after…….?

      At sacrament meeting today, these words were pronounced by the high council speaker: “Open your eyes, they open your hearts, then open your arms.” I’m sitting there thinking, “great advice.” But, no one will give it a second thought. Gay people….we don’t see them. Those with questions…they’re in hiding so we certainly don’t see them. Parents excluded from their children’s weddings…we see them, but we absolutely don’t open our hearts or arms to them. Weirdly, we totally disregard their pain. Oh our arrogance and dismissiveness.

      Sorry about your experience, Helen. I vote opposed at every opportunity to this dreadfully demeaning policy.

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  3. Well at least your mom was alive to be apologized to. 39 years ago my mom didn’t get to see my wedding either. She wasn’t LDS. I’ve been out of the church 2 years but she passed away 24 years ago. How I wish she was here because I’d dearly love to apologize.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nancy,

    I’m so sorry. You left the church 2 years ago, but I’m still in. I think I’m going to write a blog apologizing to all the mothers and fathers who have been wronged by this policy. The hurt doesn’t just go away. Especially now that I know it was unnecessary in the first place.

    ***To anyone reading this reply who is contemplating temple marriage and have close family that would be excluded: DON’T DO IT. Marry outside the temple. Wait the 12 months. Then be sealed. You will not regret it. You will strengthen rather than strain your family bonds. From someone who didn’t know better and has suffered the consequences, don’t exclude and humiliate your parents.***

    Now, Nancy, thank you for spurring me to write this. Soon a full blog post will follow.

    All my best, my friend!

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  5. The answer is clear and easy to be found: in countries where civil marriage is required before a temple marriage, the church accommodates the local law, striking a balance between the requirements of God and the requirements of man. In the US and certain other countries, no such compromise is required, and therefore the primacy of the law of God is taught through the church by maintaining this policy.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Alan,

    Thanks a lot for weighing in. A few questions.

    Where is this law of God found? Where did God command the 12 month waiting period? When did the body of the church consent to this as is required by the Law of Common Consent?

    You conclude by referring to this as a policy. If it’s a policy, certainly it can be changed without jeopardizing exaltation. After all we have changed this law/policy in many parts of the world. No threat of lost blessings there.

    Finally, what is the reason for this policy? What are the benefits for maintaining it? I only see harm in it’s exclusionary wake. Including my mother’s resignation.

    Thanks again for your comment.

    All my best, Sam

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    1. Hi Sam,

      Thanks for your quick response. I think it is amazing how you seem to take the time to answer most everyone individually. It is a true testament to your care of and service to others, something I have always admired about you!

      I will address each of your questions individually, because my time is limited, and I want to be generally thorough.

      “Where is this law of God found?” – This question I found confusing. I think we might have gotten our signals crossed. When I referenced the law of God (contrasting it with the law of man), I was referring to sealing in the temple vs. civil marriage; I was not referring to the 12 month wait policy. Marriage is absolutely central to Mormon doctrine. Exaltation itself, the goal and design of mortal existence for every child of God upon the earth, has the prerequisite of an eternal sealing between a woman and a man. This applies to everyone – gay, straight, dead, alive, before the restoration, or afterwards. We know where this command is found – it is clearly delineated in the scriptures. I don’t think I need to give references for it.

      I think that for this conversation to be fruitful, this must be kept in mind. Eternal life (with a temple sealing) is the goal of the plan…period, and the church has been put into place to facilitate this end. The church is not designed to facilitate the resurrection of telestial beings, or even terrestrial ones. It is designed to lead to the celestial resurrections. Remember: baptism (i.e. the most basic level of membership in the church) is the gateway to eternal life (life in the celestial kingdom).

      2 Nephi 31:17-18

      17. Wherefore, do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and redeemer should do; for, for this cause have they been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter. For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.
      18. And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate; ye have done according to the commandments of the father and the Son; and ye have received the Holy Ghost, which witnesses of the Father and the Son, unto the fulfilling of the promise which he hath made, that if ye entered in by the way, ye should receive.

      This is the foundational principle of the church, and that must be understood before one can move the discussion forward. This foundational church principle, bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of man, is what drives much of the policy in the church.

      OK. I already typed more than I intended. I’ll be happy to get to your next questions as soon as I can. One thing at a time!

      Thanks Sam!
      Alan

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Continuation:

        I will temporarily skip over your questions of revelation and consent because I want to continue addressing the policy itself. Therefore, on to the questions, “What is the reason for this policy?” and “What are the benefits of maintaining it?”
        I found these questions a bit puzzling since I already gave a brief answer to the questions which you didn’t acknowledge. I wrote: “… therefore the primacy of the law of God is taught through the church by maintaining this policy.” As I already started in a previous post, when referring to the “law of God” I had hoped that the contrast I had setup between the temple sealing and civil marriage would make it clear that the law of God was the command to be sealed. Sorry if that wasn’t clear. In my answer I had hoped to indicate that in the situation where the church is empowered by the state to perform civil marriages, and the temple sealing can serve this dual purpose, this policy has been put into place in order to teach members, and anyone connected with them, about the absolutely vital and central role of Temple sealings in the plan of salvation.

        As stated earlier, this ordinance is essential for eternal life. We are here on the earth in part to learn to put the kingdom of heaven before all things. And that means everything. Heavenly Father’s goal is for us to have eternal life, and the steps required to attain that goal must be traversed and not delayed because it is more convenient, or because you don’t feel like it, or because your relative might be offended, or because you are afraid of offending your relative.

        This is a principle clearly and thoroughly taught throughout the scriptures; I will give but a few references.

        Matthew 10:32-39
        32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
        33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
        34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
        35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
        36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.
        37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
        38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
        39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

        We are to confess Jesus before men, so that he may confess us before the father. This policy helps members to confess the centrality of the temple sealing as one of the final steps on the path to eternal life before our friends and family by prioritizing the temple over earthly, temporary arrangements. It allows couples to show their love of Jesus, their placing of him before all other things and relationships, before even their very household; they publicly “confess” that love by prioritizing his commandment to be sealed in the temple, and thus take up the cross before men as Jesus did.

        As Jesus made clear with his very pointed rhetoric, this will cause divisions, even within families. He came with a sword, and stated unequivocally that any who loves father or mother, or daughter-in-law, or any household member more than He himself is not worthy of Him. What does that mean? They are not worthy of eternal life. Jesus will not confess that person before the Father. Period.

        This does not mean that Jesus is pleased about the divisions, but the divisions come as a natural result of the existence of the commandment itself: Jesus’ very existence creates the division. Once a line is drawn in the sand, there is one side or the other. A simple axiomatic situation that can be avoided for a while, but one day must be addressed, for this life is the time to prepare to meet God.

        Furthermore, we must keep in mind that Jesus did not say that one should not try to heal divisions: he is the master of healing. But his prescriptions were always along the lines of, “go, and sin no more.” We are the ones who must turn to him through repentance in order to be healed. We must look to the staff, to the ensign. We must turn and come to the fountain of water to drink. The importance of this as it relates to the marriage policy will be clear later.

        Couples about to enter the temple are about to take one of the final steps towards exaltation; they are about to make the sacred covenants and enter into the most holy union that turns mere men and women into high priests and priestesses, even Gods and Goddesses. All previous steps led to the celestial kingdom: this step opens the gate to exaltation itself.

        Jesus has said that one who cannot confess Him before men, one who loves his household before Him, is not worthy of Him, is not worthy of exaltation. The temple sealing is the gate that opens to the path of exaltation. One who will not enter into the temple sealing for love of family or friends, or who prizes earthly family harmony over following celestial commands when it is possible to follow and prioritize those celestial commands, is not ready or worthy of the sealing (exaltation) and must “go, and sin no more” before they can enter into the new and everlasting covenant.

        That is what the policy teaches. It creates a line in the sand: a clear demarcation for those who wish to live eternally as Heavenly Father does in a holy union of man and wife. Those who aspire to eternal life must be willing to sacrifice their family in order to attain it.

        Who is the greatest exemplar of this principle? Heavenly Father Himself, who, in order to bring eternal life to as many of His children as possible, sacrificed 1/3 of His posterity. How many was that? How many billions, trillions, more? How many souls lost, cast into outer darkness, never to see light again, never to return to the love of their eternally grieving parents? How many children sitting outside the temple of heaven with no possibility to enter? How much does our Father weep over His loss? Does His pain ever end?

        An hour and a half inside the temple while your loved ones wait to greet you upon your exit: if you cannot endure that, then you are not ready to enter the path of exaltation. A year of waiting to repent, to hopefully learn to love God before man, to hopefully begin to understand the gravity of the sealing covenant through which you hope to acquire the same godlike attributes that allowed Him to give up 1/3 of His children? In my opinion, it seems like a short time indeed.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Sam,

        I may not get to continue this post for a few days. I have been super busy, and have a lot to do over the next few days as well. This last part, for example, was typed into my phone between midnight and 1:30 as I lay in bed. Then it was up again at 6. Good times!

        In any case, addressing the questions of provenance and consent are somewhat separate from what I had been addressing. Truth be told, they are probably where the true roots of this discussion lie. So, if you have any thoughts on the topic until this point, I would love to hear them.

        Know that even though we haven’t seen each other for many years, you have been present in my thoughts, especially as of lately. I think I’ve read every blog post and every comment, including ones you post on the blogosphere under your moniker. I have been thinking about what you have been preaching.

        From the way you talk, your mother’s exit from the church was a hard and formulative experience. While I cannot say that I know what that experience is like, and how it can change and influence you, I would still like to let you know that you are, and will ever be one of the pillars of my formulative experience, and your faith transition has profoundly affected me. I cannot remember a time in my life when I have not known you and your family. Your incredible strength of character and Christlike desire to serve and care for others has always stood out to me as being a special gift that I also aspire to. Please know that I try to write from the most sincere place in my heart.

        Thanks, Sam.
        Alan

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      3. Hi Alan,

        You mentioned that you have been extremely busy. Man, can I relate to that. Until just now I had not read your comments completely. First, let me say that I highly value your friendship. I admire and love you. I have always had the highest respect for your parents and siblings.

        Thanks for the amazingly gracious things you shared about me.

        Now, regarding the body of your comments. Lots of great meaty stuff. It will take me a little time to compose my response. Hopefully, today. I flew into Utah yesterday to spend a couple of days with my mother. It’s her birthday. My flight back to Houston is tomorrow. If I don’t get my response off today, I’ll write it on the flight home.

        Pretty impressive that you’ve followed my journey in other spots on the internet. If you have read everything I’ve said under my “blogosphere moniker,” you have witnessed quite a journey. In the early days I expressed lots of anger. Before I went through the faith transitional fire, I could never have imagined the pain that accompanies such a journey. Fortunately, I’ve found my way forward. As you know, it’s to follow the teaching and example of Christ.

        All my very fondest wishes to you, Alan. I’ll be back to you soon, Sam

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  7. Ouch, this hit right in the feels.

    My grandparents were never wealthy. They never got to travel the world or go on a cruises or take vacations or even go out to eat. They were extremely kind people who served their poor community – but they were not LDS, and thus were not worthy to attend my parents’ wedding nor my wedding – but that didn’t stop them from being there outside the doors, so happy for me and never uttering a word of contempt for the church that denied them the opportunity to see their son or grandson married.

    They’re both gone now, and I wish I could tell them I’m sorry, and that I never imagined how difficult it must have been to save all that money just to sit in a parking lot. I wish I could tell them that I think more of them than I do of some “prophet” who thought so little of marriage that he bedded 14 year old girls and seduced married women. I wish I could do that day over. We would be married in a small church in the country, and they’d be seated front and center where they deserved to be, instead of relegated to the outside as if they were somehow unclean. I wouldn’t be wearing a stupid floppy baker’s hat, and we wouldn’t be getting married by some old man we’d never met before and would never see again. We would say “I do” like normal couples, and our marriage would be just as strong without excluding our friends and loved ones from the ceremony.

    The church needs to fix this broken and outdated policy ASAP. As a husband in a mixed-faith family, I have every incentive to direct my children away from ever considering temple marriage because I know the church is holding onto a tradition that was historically implemented to prop up polygamy and it is waived in the majority of countries in which the LDS church exists in.

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  8. Tears appeared in my eyes as I envisioned your supportive and loving grandparents sitting in a lonely parking lot. They silently awaited in exclusion as their precious children were wedded. How insensitive can my church and its members be.

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  9. Long….Slow…..Deliberate….Clap! An absolute “home run”, Sam. The LDS policy on this matter disgusts me to the core. Our beautiful daughter in law – had to leave her non-member Father at the threshold of the Temple on her wedding day. I could only imagine how he must have felt. I’ve been angry ever since.

    Do LDS Leaders honestly think this way of treating people is actually going to bring more people into the Church? I know that I would tell them to “kiss my a**” and never want to interact with “the Mormons” again.

    Very well done! My compliments.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. The pain described by many of you is unmistakable and not necessary. This policy has not directly impacted me other than to see non-member aunts and uncles wait outside, but I’ve always felt how sad it must be to be a parent and have to wait outside. As the father of unmarried adolescent children, it could be in my future and it will be sad to see any parent (me included) or relative have to miss out on a wedding ceremony.

    If the leaders won’t make a change to allow a wedding outside the temple (where all family of any level of activity or religious denomination can be included) followed by a temple sealing, I can’t imagine they will be inclined to make a change to the gay couples and children policy, or consider the Law of Common Consent. I thought that families are supposed to be of the utmost importance. How can the leaders truly believe this while holding on to this exclusionary practice? Is the value of family and togetherness only important as long as you’re Mormon? I know many non-member families that are every bit as close and every bit as happy as Mormon families. No one is excluded because of religious beliefs. Should we only invite members to witness the baptism of a new member? In other religions, both baptisms and marriage is celebrated. Stop and put the shoe on the other foot and consider how you will feel if you have a child marry outside of the faith and be told you cannot attend the wedding ceremony. That doesn’t happen since other faiths are not exclusionary.

    The leaders can make change if they want to. In my life, I’ve seen missions shortened to 18 months and then back to 2 years. Most recently they lowered the mission age to 18 years of age for boys and 19 for girls. These changes did not alter beliefs or temple ordinances and neither would allowing a change to the marriage policy. If the changes for missionaries can be made so simply, why can’t they make a change to the marriage practice here in the US? Makes you wonder where the real motivation behind the restriction lies.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Sam,

    No worries at all. Have a great trip and visit with your mother! I am also swamped in the moment, so I will do my best!

    Maybe it is better to respond by email? I can’t totally figure out how the response system works on the blog. And in any case, it is slightly more awkward on the blog than through email.

    Whatever suits you best. Looking forward to it!

    Alan

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Greetings Alan,

    This is a continuation of the thread above. Looks like there is a limit to the number of replies allowed. So, over we start.

    I love that we are able to have a real discussion. So lacking in the church today. Not just lacking, but forbidden. We are losing so many good people because of the unfortunate constraints that have become entrenched in our Mormon culture. But, that’s a story for another day. Thanks for your willingness to be open, to engage and to use that intelligent noggin that God blessed you with. I love your explanation. Well thought out and well….just beautiful. My points below are not meant to say you are wrong. They are simply a different way to look at things. Sometimes age and experience change perspective.

    1. As you have been following my journey, you know that my faith has transitioned in a major way. I look at things much differently than before. Here is my approach to the commandments of God. At some point in our church, we adopted the mantra that ‘obedience is the first law of heaven.’ That’s not I was taught growing up. I don’t subscribe to it today. Rather, I view Christ’s direct words that love and charity are the first laws of heaven. Either tied for first place, or a very close second is morality. For me, the moral choice trumps the obedient choice. Our foundational story of the world and Christianity illustrates this. Adam and Eve were given 2 commandments. Both of our first parents chose to disobey. Each of them chose disobedience for a different reason. Both were correct as they were making the moral decision…to bring about the human race. It set into motion the great plan of salvation that all but 1/3 agreed to in heaven. So, the very first law given by God was openly broken. The very first one. I now evaluate each situation as the Ancient of Days did. What is the right thing, the moral thing go do?

    2. You quoted Matthew 10:32-39. Throughout the history of Christianity many atrocities have been justified by scripture. If something is immoral, I will not justify it by any scripture. Adam and Eve did not have one iota of written scripture. What they did have were the actual words from the actual mouth of God. Thoughtful consideration led them to the choice to act against God’s word. So, regarding my family, they are my #1 consideration…unless it involves a moral choice. For example, Christ has commanded me to honor my parents. I do and will. However, if my dad were to tell me to kill my son, I will not honor my father by carrying out an immoral act. Knowing what I know today, if I could go back in time to my marriage, I would do it much differently. I would honor my parents and include them in my wedding. I would avoid creating the deep wounds that were inflicted on my mother. I’d put aside my pride and await the 12 month penalty to expire. Then I’d take my wife to the temple for the sacred sealing, which is required for exaltation. For me, that would be the moral choice.

    3. Marriage in the temple is NOT a saving ordinance. It is a civil performance that the church is authorized by the civil government to perform where ever they desire. In the temple, in the chapel, on the beach…anywhere. Actually, this only applies to certain countries, like the U.S. Many countries only authorize the churches to perform weddings in the public view.

    4. You speculate as to the reason why in the U.S. there is a penalty period of 12 months for marrying outside of the temple. Your reasoning is that it demonstrates our commitment to putting Christ first. Alan, I have never heard that before. Even if you are correct, we are talking about a policy, not a commandment. This is obvious as the church has changed their policy in many countries to accommodate the local laws. For me, my family is #1 here. “Honor thy father and thy mother” is one of the commandments stated over and over throughout the scriptures. “Get married in the temple” is not pronounced a single time in any scripture whatsoever. This actually puts the moral choice and God’s commandment in sync as opposed to being at odds with one another. Marring outside the temple is the moral choice. Honor father and mother is the commandment.

    5. Of course, we are talking marriage here, not the sealing. You seemed to separate the 2 pretty well in your comments. They should be considered completely separate, because they are. The temple sealing is our show of commitment to Jesus Christ. Not the marriage, which is a civil performance that may or may not be done in the temple.

    6. Until the past 2 years, I had no idea of all the needless damage that the 12 month penalty regularly wreaks on family relationships. I’ve heard countless sad and angry stories. I now have one of my own. I do not like it!!! My MOTHER RESIGNED from the church. At 85 years old. This needless policy played it’s devastating part. I broke one of the Ten Commandments by dishonoring my parents, Patty’s parents, and almost all of our siblings on the fateful day of our exclusionary wedding. When Christ said that He was come to divide families, I know that he was not speaking of family divisions caused by policies dictated by men. The Christ I worship commanded, in no uncertain terms, to honor our moms and dads.

    7. This policy will be changed. Eventually, the membership will stand up to follow Christ’s laws. Unfortunately, most who object to things that should be changed are walking out…voting with their feet.

    There you have it. Sam no longer places his faith in anything that he doesn’t KNOW to be true. I love the scripture from the Book of Mormon which says faith is only faith if it is in that which is true. I know that the teachings and example of Christ are a good and true way to live a happy and fulfilling life. So, that’s where my faith is…in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    I love you Alan. You are a good man. A very good man.

    BTW, do you ever get a chance to play the piano? JK

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      1. I ask in order to better understand your position! I just realized that with the posts like this, the tone of voice could sound very different.

        The joys of the Internet and the written word!

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      2. What is moral? I think the commandments are a pretty good guide. The teachings & example of Christ are probably the best moral guides. But, we frequently make decisions that result in what looks like “breaking” a commandment. For example, foregoing church in order to work. My former bishop and stake president played football every Sunday.

        How do I pick and choose my commandments? Well, generally I choose to follow all the commandments. Unless there is a moral dilemma, like Adam and Eve faced. Then I reason out what is the best choice. Kind of like what the football player chose. Skip church or pursue his chosen career path? He chose football over church attendance.

        A classic moral dilemma was the situation with Abraham. He knew that murder was the greatest of sins. When God gave him the command to murder his innocent son, Abraham complied. If that choice is presented to me by God, I’ve already decided that the moral choice would be to do the moral thing…not commit murder. If I go to hell because I was not willing to murder my child, so be it. But, the God I worship would not condemn me for taking the moral high road.

        Another example would be the Law of Common Consent. I have only recently chosen to obey that one. In prior years, I simply was not acquainted with it. I hadn’t paid attention and the church does not teach it. This commandment came directly from the mouth of Christ to Joseph Smith. It was canonized as scripture by a vote of common consent. Likely there are other commandments that I don’t understand. Since I’ve made a temple covenant to obey the Law of God, I hope that I’d embrace other laws as I find & understand them. Just as I have common consent.

        Hopefully, that gives you a flavor of my position.

        My tone? I love your questions! I love your analysis and answers! Hopefully, my tone is coming in clearly.

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  13. Ok. I will get back to you ASAP. It will probably have to be in parts. You have given a lot to which to respond, and this next month and a half are going to be my busiest of this opera season, so I will do my best!

    Thanks!
    Alan

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Ok! I have just begun to come up for air in the last few days. I apologize that I haven’t been able to write back sooner.

    Thanks you for sharing your thoughts in a direct and clear way. I hope to take up and touch on most of the things you wrote about in the next few days.

    Hopefully your website will alert you to the fact that this thread is still alive and kicking!

    So, I wish you the best on the rest of your trip – I think I saw on Facebook that you are driving around Utah and other places quite a bit. Stay safe! And keep an eye out for my responses!

    Like

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