My family moved into Salt Lake in 1975. During that time, I've attended two LDS Wedding Receptions. The LDS Church claims that over half the people are LDS. I've polled people I know. Many have never been invited to LDS wedding receptions at all.
The first ceremony involved the boss's daughter. The boss was a political appointee who was unqualified for his position. He nearly ran the enterprise into the ground. The boss had had important connections in the Church which, in the long run, means a lot more for a Utah based company than competency.
Attending the boss's daughter's wedding was pretty much mandatory.
The event itself was rather humiliating. Mormon members of the firm were part of the ceremony. The gentiles were lined up herded through a cattle chute divider where we each received a condescending gesture from the bride and groom before being sent on our merry way to salvage the rest of the day.
Last week's event was a little better. The grand parents of the bride were gentiles. The couple had thing called a "ring ceremony" followed by a more traditional reception.
A "ring ceremony" is a re-enactment of the wedding done for the public.
Apparently, non-Mormons are not allowed to witness the actual event which is called a "sealing."
Legend tells that secret words and secret names are given during the sealing.
During the "ring ceremony" the bride and groom appeared at a reception center and were clearly play acting as they exchanged rings for a second time. There was a big joke about how the groom had already kissed the bride an hour earlier and was getting good at it.
A Mormon bishop read a passage from The Bible. This makes sense as a ring ceremony is usually performed for people are are Christian, but not LDS.
Watching a re-enactment of a wedding isn't really that much fun. IMHO, the fun part of a wedding ceremony is that a couple enters the room as two singles, then make a formal commitment in front of the community.
I believe that marriage is an important foundation of our society. I would even venture that public wedding ceremonies are important for a community as a public ceremony helps strengthen the commitment to matrimony.
Conversely, I think the practice of having "sealings" take place in secret is a negative tradition that leads to a fractured society.
The LDS practice of secret sealings was started by Joseph Smith. In 2014 the LDS Church finally openly admitted that Joseph Smith had "secretly" to over 40 women. The acknowledged list included fourteen-year-old girls and the wives of Smith's followers. (The list may be longer than 40).
I imagine that LDS couples believe that a secret sealing at a temple makes a marriage extra special.
I admire all couples who are dedicated to making their marriages work.
As an outsider looking in. I see a sealing as a creepy ritual that traces back to acts by Joseph Smith that could be described as adultery and child molestation.
I believe the true merits of a marriage is found in the dedication the couple give to their relation. Our society can affect through education and counseling and respect for the institution of marriage.
In this regard, I think the LDS practice of secret sealings in the Temple is negative.
I've known girls who, in their young teens, were sealed to old men. These child brides had horrible stories of abuse that was hidden from view by the secret act of secret sealings.
Well, to end this blog post. I simply need to say that I usually enjoy attending weddings. Watching a "ring ceremony" by an LDS couple made me feel queasy.
I started the post by feeling bad that, in the 40 years I've lived in Utah, I've only been invited to two LDS Wedding Receptions. The two events that I did attend made me feel queasy; So, maybe the Mormon practice of excluding others from their ceremonies is needed.
This video by BrighamYoungSpeaks has a dramatic reading of Brigham Young sermons in which the second president of the LDS Church boasted that he will have millions of wives and untold power in the Celestial Kingdom. This is the way that Mormonism looks like to people standing on the outside: