The following post was written by my wife.
I’d like to write today about marriage. The difference between a Mormon marriage and a “regular” run of the mill, everyday marriage is pretty striking. In fact, the difference between a Mormon and “regular” wedding is as well!
Mormons believe that when they get married in their temple that they are marrying for “time and all eternity”. I’m not sure why they think they have the market cornered on eternal marriage as most religious folks and even non-religious folks are of the belief that love is forever and the earthly church organization you do or do not belong to doesn’t matter. But then again, Mormons do believe they are the true church and one must belong to the true church to get into their heaven and to be with their spouse and families forever. I’m not going to go into this topic much more as there are plenty others who have done so and far better than I could.
What I would like to share is the differences between the weddings. I happen to have had both varieties, having been married previously to a Mormon when I was also Mormon. So, I’ve had a temple wedding. When you have a wedding in a Mormon temple you must first qualify for this privilege by being worthy according to Mormon standards. Then when you have your ceremony, you are wearing the appropriate ceremonial temple clothes over your wedding attire. The ceremony itself is pretty brief, is basically all about promising yourself to the church and here’s the kicker….no where in the entire ceremony is the word “love” used. I’m serious. In fact, you are even told that you cannot say “I do” when you are affirming your vows to your spouse but must instead use the word “yes”. Romantic, huh? Even the exchanging of rings is not allowed as part of the ceremony, but instead is a task you have to stand off to the side to quickly accomplish with your new spouse.
What I find even sadder than the ceremony, is the typical reception. To Mormons, the reception is “no big deal” because the temple is the big deal. Of course there are some Mormons who do have nice receptions, but the standard receptions have little to no food, dancing, etc. Many actually take place in the church’s gym since it’s free. Mormons typically like to “spare every expense” for their receptions. And here’s what’s extra disturbing about that; when you are a non-Mormon, you are invited ONLY to the reception and of course NOT the wedding itself because it takes place in a temple; a place you are not allowed unless you are a worthy Mormon. What Mormons don’t seem to realize is that in polite society people invited to both and if there is ever an exception, it’s the very opposite; people may have weddings in which ALL friends and family are invited to the ceremony itself, but the reception, (which generally is expensive and provides a nice evening for the couples guests) might be limited to a smaller number of very close friends and family only. NEVER do you see a couple invite people to their reception but exclude them from the ceremony, except among Mormons.
Ironically, in our own family we’ve had Mormon family members who’ve been very offended that we did not attend the reception of the wedding we weren’t invited to. We actually did make an effort to attend a couple of the receptions within one family members string of four weddings in about a two year span, however since we didn’t attend the other two, we’ve never heard the end of it.
I think back to our own wedding. We invited all friends and family to a lovely service at a small, historic church followed by a reception at a nearby historic mansion with a full, sit-down catered dinner, appetizers, champagne, wine, dancing, etc. We wanted to provide a nice evening for our guests and we wanted to celebrate. It seems Mormons feel that what they think is to come in the next life is the only thing worth celebrating and that celebrating the here and now is of no importance. I couldn’t agree less. I guess on a positive note I will share that we’re thankful for the Mormons who were in attendance at our wedding as they caused our bill for alcohol to be much lower!