As the world prepares for this momentous occasion I would like to state for the record that I feel sorry for Kate and William. Based on the title of this post you are probably thinking that I feel sorry for them because as non church members they are having a civil marriage as opposed to getting married in the temple. Nothing however could be further from the truth. You see, according to British law all weddings must take place in a public place, therefore all British saints marry first in a chapel where non member family and friends can attend and at some point (usually shortly) thereafter they go to a temple to be sealed. Thus there are two separate parts to a typical “Mormon” wedding in
that do not necessarily exist in other parts of the world. I feel sorry for the royal couple because they will not be following their civil wedding with a temple sealing ceremony. This means that their marriage will be for this life only and they will have no claim on each other in the world to come. Britain
Here in the
we have the freedom to get both married and sealed in the temple and have no need for civil ‘till death do us part’ ceremonies. In fact in the church we highly discourage such ceremonies. United States
I had a couple come to me a few weeks ago where the bride to be was a fairly new convert whose non member parents wanted to attend their wedding. I explained that in the church we marry in the temple. If a couple chooses to disobey this counsel and proceed with a civil marriage there will be two consequences. First, not all but many of their peers and fellow ward members will assume that they committed a sin together which prevented them from having a temple wedding. And second (unlike in the
), they will be forced to wait a whole year before they can be sealed even though they may be active and worthy temple recommend holders. I explained that this policy is specifically in place to discourage couples from the temptation of having civil weddings where their non LDS friends and family can attend. UK
I further warned them that during the time that they are only married according to civil law if one of them dies their marriage will have no effect in the afterlife. I also explained that any children born before a sealing ceremony takes place will not be born 'in the covenant' which means that they will have no claim on them either. To clarify my point I quoted from former Church President Joseph Fielding Smith who said "Unless young people who marry outside the temple speedily repent (this statement in and of itself indicates that marrying outside the temple is a sin), they cut themselves off from exaltation in the celestial
. If they should prove themselves worthy, notwithstanding that great error, to enter into the celestial kingdom, they go in that kingdom as servants. When they marry outside of the temple, they cut themselves off. If they are content with that kind of marriage outside, when they come forth in the resurrection, they have no claim upon each other, or their children upon them, and there will be weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth.” kingdom of God
Fortunately after counseling with me this good couple made the right decision and decided to proceed with a temple marriage. When the parents were informed of this the father immediately made an appointment to come and see me. He told me of how he had always dreamed of walking his only daughter down the aisle. I explained to him that we do not do this in the temples of the Lord. He was very respectful and asked if he could at least attend the wedding ceremony. I explained that due to the sacred nature of temples he would have to be a member in good standing to attend. He then surprised me by asking if he could join the church. I confirmed that he was most welcome to join and we would be honored to have him amongst us. He then asked if that would enable him to be in the temple on that special day. I explained to him that as a new member he most certainly could be in the temple on that day but would be restricted to performing ordinances with regards to baptisms for the dead. He would have to wait a whole year until he could attend a marriage/sealing ceremony. He said that the wedding was in three months and asked if the rules could be bent a little in this case. I explained that one year was the time required and that I had no authority to change that policy.
Knowing him to be a man of great wealth I thought about suggesting that the wedding take place in
where both a civil marriage and a temple sealing could take place. That thought quickly left and a strong spiritual prompting came to me; I looked him in the eye and explained that he could arrange to see his daughter and son in law sealed to each other on behalf of his very own ancestors in a year’s time if he was worthy to enter the temple. This would basically be a re-enactment of the ceremony he would have missed; so in the long run he wouldn’t really be missing out at all. England
Funnily enough he didn’t seem too happy with this idea but asked just what he would have to do to be considered ‘worthy’ to participate in such a ceremony in the future. I explained that he would have to sustain (support and obey) church leaders from the top down to the local level. He wouldn’t be able to partake of tea, coffee, tobacco or any alcoholic beverages and he would have to donate 10% of his income to the church as per the law of tithing.
At this point something very strange happened. He just got up and left my office without a word. I think in his mind he had resolved to comply with all the requirements specified and I assume he went to tell his wife that this is what they needed to do.
From this experience we can see that the spirit works in marvelous ways upon the hearts of the children of men. We also learn from this that the Lord truly does provide constant opportunities for missionary work if we will but listen to the spirit.