All three of my children were married in a Mormon temple. As you may have surmised from my blog, I don’t have a recommend. So I did not attend any of the formal wedding ceremonies of my children.
During the most recent wedding ceremony, I was joined in the temple waiting room by my two brothers, a sister-in-law, a brother-in-law, and several grandchildren. My grandchildren got a little unruly, and this sparked the ire of the temple greeter.
Attending the formal wedding ceremony were my wife, my mother, my son and his wife, my daughter and her husband, a brother-in-law and his wife, the wife of my brother-in-law, and probably some of my wife’s other relatives. In the Faith section of the SLTrib (11 Jun 2011), Peggy Fletcher Stack writes about this phenomenon in an article titled “Left Outside, But Hurting Inside”:
You see them on Salt Lake City’s Temple Square nearly every day. They pace nervously or stroll aimlessly, staring down at the tulips or up at the spires.
They are not tourists or temple goers. They are parents, siblings, cousins and friends of Mormon couples being wed inside the LDS sanctuary. But, for one reason or another, they are not allowed to view the ceremony. . . .
Whatever the reason, their exclusion can divide families at a time when weddings usually unite them.
The Stack article, when put on sltrib.com had 1,663 comments. I didn’t read them all, but the one’s I did read all expressed frustrations with the exclusionary policy.
The exclusion didn’t divide our family (except during the time of the actual ceremony and that was only a physical divide). But my brothers had flown in from Chicago and St. Louis, and it was disappointing that they had to miss my son’s wedding ceremony. Since my brothers and I were raised Mormon, we all knew the rules.
But excluding family members from weddings seems rather strange for a church that claims to emphasize family values. According to “The Family: A Proclamation to the World”, a document that has almost the power of scripture:
. . . we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon the individuals, communities and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.
We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.
Shouldn’t this be an encouragement to LDS Church leaders to develop a more family-friendly wedding?
The following is the closest I seen to an official Church response to the issue (again quoting the SLTrib article:
“The church is very aware of the issue you raise, and it has been exhaustively discussed over many years,” LDS Church spokeman Michael Otterson wrote last fall to Jean Brody, a former Mormon in Canada who is concerned about being shut out of her grandchildren’s weddings. “This is a sensative and difficult issue, with many complexities, not all of which are always apparent.”
Talk about a nonresponsive answer!