Robert Kirby is a widely respected humorist and Mormonism’s best theologian. He writes a weekly column about religion for the Salt Lake Tribune. His columns seem to be getting more strident. His latest column deals with issues related to the LDS practice of temple marriage. He describes his own experience:
We drove to the Salt Lake LDS Temple for the ceremony. Two dozen close family members and friends came to watch it happen. Another two dozen stayed home because they knew they couldn’t get in. They weren’t worthy enough to be allowed in the temple.
The casualty list included some blood relatives, assorted neighbors, all of my co-workers and every friend I had before going on my Mormon mission. They either stayed home or waited in the parking lot.
I was happy enough to be married for time and all eternity but it was also the first time I had to seriously consider the idea of what that meant.
Kirby’s experience somewhat mirrored by own. At my children’s temple marriage, I was excluded along with my two brothers (and their wives), as was one of my wife’s brothers. My brothers had traveled from St. Louis and Chicago.
Kirby’s experience caused him ruminate about what the Mormon catchphrase “Families Are Forever” really means. He writes:
Won’t you be surprised when you get to heaven and discover that for all that hard work, your forever family consists of you, your mom, two cousins (one of whom you never liked), your favorite sibling, one of your four grandparents and none of your children.
It was a beautiful day when we got married but also vaguely troubling. Looking around the sealing room in the temple, I realized just how much the celestial kingdom was going to suck if I had to spend it without the company of some of the people I loved the most.
In Kirby’s case, it is particularly troubling because (if my memory serves me right), his wife has left the Church.
It seemed a great irony that my church–with all that emphasis on families being forever–was also patently divisive when it came to excluding families from gathering together on a momentous day.
And then in a Valentine’s Day treat he concludes:
The point is that we don’t have the whole story. Love should matter more than policy, convention or custom.
Amen Kirby. I have a feeling that my personal religion closely mirrors yours.