Monday, August 4, 2008

The LDS Temple Ceremony

I have known that I wanted to be married in the temple since I was a very young girl and it's kind of hard to believe that after so many years of waiting to go inside, my time is almost here!

I must admit that this is a post I have been apprehensive about writing, as the private religious ceremony which occurs in Latter-day Saint temples is a confusing topic for many that I am not quite sure how to explain. I hope that my fellow LDS readers will help me in the comments section as I attempt to explain what we do, and why we do it.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or the LDS church, also known as the Mormons, has 140 temples built or in construction around the world. To quote the website directly "Inside [the temple], members learn more about the purpose of life and make covenants to serve Jesus Christ and their fellow man. In addition, they participate in religious ceremonies that reach beyond mortality, such as baptisms on behalf of deceased ancestors and eternal marriage." Due to the extremely sacred nature of these buildings only worthy members of our church who have obtained a recommend may enter. Any member of our church can get a recommend by answering a series of questions to assess personal worthiness during an interview with a church authority. Men usually receive a recommend before they serve a mission at 19, and women receive theirs if they serve a mission at 21, or right before they get married.

Only members with a current temple recommend are allowed to come inside the temple for the sealing and the marriage ceremony, which means that the majority of our friends and family will be unable to witness our marriage. Some of you may be familiar with this concept if you have had friends or family members getting married who have told you that you would be unable to witness the marriage. As a couple, we have had to deal with this personally, since That Groom's parents are not members of our church and therefore will be unable to attend the sealing/marriage ceremony.

It is very difficult to tell someone that they will be unable to personally witness such an important event, but That Groom's parents have been very understanding and supportive of our decision to marry in the temple. The private nature of this ceremony is actually the reason why we are having a separate ring ceremony as well. This ring ceremony will allow us to share our feelings for one another and about marriage with all of our guests, whether LDS or not.

What goes on inside of the temple is so sacred that it is not discussed with anyone who does not have a recommend. This means that I have never seen or participated in the sealing ceremony that I will be doing with That Groom on October 11th. Although some brides might lament the loss of the ability to personalize the ceremony, I believe in this process and have never wanted to be married anywhere else. I want to be sealed in the temple because I believe that a marriage done by sealing will last forever, and that we will never have to say "till death do us part".


Guilty Secret said...

I really enjoy these posts as I find your religion (like most others) quite fascinating. I think it's great that you're trying to explain these detail as well as you can.

I'm also very happy for you that Suavacado's parents are being so understanding and I think the ring ceremony idea is brilliant... will you be telling us more about that too?

Blablover5 said...

This reminds me of an episode I caught of that MTV show "Engaged and Underaged (though how being 21 makes you underage I have no idea)"

One was gonna get married in the Temple and it was the grooms parents who couldn't watch and she threw a conniption fit about having to have a ring ceremony for his.

I don't know if I can really imagine just how hard it would be to have to tell people that they can't come to your wedding but it sounds like everyone is being very mature about it. Good luck with it all.

ClaysJenna said...

I think you did a great job on explaining everything. I went through a similar ordeal, however we were married civily and then a year later went through the temple but it was still hard to explain why we wanted this and why his parents could not be present. They were very understanding in the end and even came to the temple and waited for us to come out. p.s. I would love your sister to do my baby's pictures. Is she in Utah? Is she willing? She does beautiful work as well. Let me know how it would work with her. Does she have a minimum print purchase amount or anything?

Jennifer said...

This is the post I've been waiting for! Although I am a bit disappointed that you can't share more, but I respect your faith and now I know you don't know either!! I think there is something wonderfully mystical and beautiful about being "surprised" by your ceremony, but knowing family and friends have gone through this before you. I guess that is Faith in action.

EthidiumBromide said...

Oooh, so I have a question. Since you're not allowed in an LDS temple until you have your recommend, which you personally won't have until right before you get married, how do you choose a temple? Obviously, there is no "home temple" connection like you have with a church, synagogue, etc. association, where you might get married in the one which you attended as a child or where your parents attend. Can you just get married in any of the 140 temples? Do you just pick the one geographically closest to where your reception will be?

Ms. 122 said...

have you seen the steeple lately? it's covered in scaffolding!

also, just curious, was that groom LDS before you met?

Jenna said...

I did forget to say in my post that getting married in the temple doesn't cost anything, which means that the only requirement is being worthy. This is so that even the poorest members all over the world can have a ceremony just as beautiful as the richest.

guilty-So many little details associated with the ring ceremony that I can't wait to share with you guys! The nice thing about having a separate one, is I get to personalize it 100%, which is really great!

blab-I'm glad you didn't come away with a negative impression from the MTV episode, sometimes they don't treat things like this with the tact they deserve.

Jennifer-Thanks for being so understanding, it is a very strange concept very many to grasp, but I know from the things my parents have told me that it's all very beautiful and special (and worth the wait!)

ethidium-The ceremony is the same in all temples, and so you can choose any temple in the world to get married in! Many many brides choose to get married in the Salt Lake City temple, no matter where they are from, because it is one of the first temples built (I think it took 40 years to complete!) and it is definitely the grandest. We talked about having a "destination" wedding for awhile, and just choosing our favorite temple and getting married there, but I grew up wanting to get married in the Seattle temple and most of our guests are from Washington. To get married, all you have to do is call them up and let them know what date you are thinking about.

122-The temple is actually closed for a month for renovations. Meaning that it will be all sparkly and beautiful when I go! (not that it isn't sparkly and beautiful all the time). Yes, That Groom was a member of our church when I met him, although he was converted when he was 16 years old, as Catholocism is reallythe only religion that most people in Poland know about. I always knew I wanted to marry someone who was a member of the church as I think that relationships where the couple do not see eye to eye on religion can be very difficult.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you posted this! I came across your blog and was so curious about LDS weddings. I always wanted to ask someone about it, but never did so I would offend them. I am having a Catholic wedding (FI is Catholic, I am converting)and have enjoyed reading and learning about those as well.
BTW- Your mom is a great photographer! I wish she worked in Las Vegas!

Anonymous said...

OOps- I meant to say "so I WOULDN'T offend them" bad!

Ty and Jenny Robbins said...

This was an awesome post! Having had a temple marriage myself, I can tell you that it is the most wonderful feeling being sealed for time and all eternity. Knowing that the love you have for that person and the love they have for you lasts forever. It's hard to describe the feelings I had being there with my husband and our families. All I can say is there is absolutely nothing in the world to compare it with. Even thinking about it now, that feeling comes back, remembering our first moments as husband and wife. I'm so excited for you to have that same feeling and to know of the ultimate joy.

Marnie Bergeson said...

I'd just like to add that even though only close LDS friends and family attend the temple ceremony (which is actually only about 15 minutes long), an LDS girl's wedding dinner and reception can be personalized and she can invite EVERYONE, so people of all faiths feel included on the wedding day. Good post Jenna.

tina said...

I am sorry that it's taken me so long to comment. Thank you for posting this. I agree with the others -- religions are so interesting. I hope that my question didn't cost you any apprehension. Your post was very well-written.

Jenna said...

ginger-She will fly anywhere you want her to go! And never think that any religion would be offended by your questions. Would you be offended if I wanted to ask you about Catholocism?

tina-I'm glad you inspired me to write it. It helped me to better understand exactly what to say when people ask questions.