Why my little sister, and maid of honor, couldn’t be at my wedding.
I had a lot of people confused at what a mormon wedding was really going to be like. I had bridesmaids wondering what they were going to do if they didn’t walk down an isle. I had friends parents who wanted to know why I’d get married somewhere my sisters couldn’t be – but it all boiled down to what a temple wedding is, and why we chose to have one. For me, it was never even a question.
In our church, we believe in a God of ordinances. An ordinance is formal act performed by priesthood power to symbolize something to God. The first ordinance in baptism, something we learn is essential from the bible (“unless a man be born of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” John 3:5). Baptism by the spirit, or receiving the gift and constant companionship of the Holy Spirit, is another ordinance. Some ordinances, like those, can take place anywhere. Many are baptized in chapels, some in rivers, and I had a cousin get baptized in a horse trough one summer during a family reunion. However, some ordinances take place only in temples. Temples are different than church buildings, where anyone and everyone are welcome to attend regular Sunday meetings, early morning Bible study, and other activities. Temples however, are literally houses of God on earth. They are places we go to learn more of God and His plan, and make covenants (two way promises between us and God). Anyone who has been baptized by a worthy priesthood holder, and who is living up to the covenants they made at baptism, can enter the temple. The temple is not secret, but it is sacred. It is not exclusive, anyone can attend, but those people must be worthy and prepared.
|After the ceremony.|
For Time and All Eternity
When you are married in the temple it is another important ordinance, like baptism. It is called the “marriage sealing ordinance” where you and your spouse are sealed as one before God. You make promises to each other and promises to the Lord. And in return, you are not just married “till death do us part” but for “time and all eternity.” We understand that families are eternal units. They are not man-made for convenience, but God-developed for our progression. Ben and I, because we were sealed in a temple, can be together for millenia after death if we live worthy of those promises we made that day.
It is simple. There is no long aisle or elaborate music. It was just the two of us, gazing at each other from across an altar, as the sealer pronounced the holy words. We were surrounded by some close family, those who had already been to the temple to make covenants with the Lord. My little sisters are too young to have made those covenants yet, so they waited with the bridesmaids and friends outside. I am grateful that when they are married in the temple I will be able to be there, but I know that they wouldn’t have had me do it any other way. They would have loved to be there, but they recognize the importance and the blessings from being sealed in the temple. The wedding was not a celebration of our union, but the union itself. Don’t worry, it was followed by a large reception, but the wedding itself was small, simple, sacred, and perfect.
|Boston Temple, August 6, 2011|
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