Monday, July 23, 2007

Open Letter to Gordon Hinckley

I know that I am just pissng into a stiff wind...but I need to send the following letter to Gordon Hinckley. I can not sit back and take this crap lying down...I am so broken hearted at the prospect of NOT being able to witness my own TBM daughters wedding...I'm hoping that if enough people complain that at some time in the future the mormon church will change yet another long held policy...but I won't hold my breath.

President Gordon B.Hinckley, President
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
50 East North Temple
Salt Lake City, UT 84150

Dear President Hinckley:

It is my hope that those that serve you will not insulate you from my letter…although I am not na├»ve enough to think that you will actually get and read this correspondence.

On *** July, my daughter will be married in the **** LDS Temple. I, the father of the bride, however will not be admitted to witness my own daughters wedding because I am no longer a member of the LDS Church. I have been relegated to second class status and will stand outside the temple doors as my daughter is married. Instead of this being a joyful day to celebrate my beautiful daughter’s marriage…Our family will have a grey cloud hanging over us. But we will endure this excruciatingly painful process, that is placed on partial LDS families, for the sake of our daughter with class. It is truly sad when children are forced to choose between their religion and their families. More times than not…the non-believing family members become the casualty.

I am writing, as one father to another, in the remote hope that you, as a father, might empathize with the pain I feel by being excluded from my daughters wedding. I can not sit silent to this travesty and say nothing; it is not right, regardless of the LDS Churches motivation for this exclusionary policy, thus my motivation in writing you.

You alone (yes I understand your need to confirm any changes in Church policy with your God) have the authority to change this heartbreaking, exclusionary church policy. The LDS Church has an extensive history of making changes to long standing church policy when pressured by society or when motivated by necessity. (yes I understand that this is not the view you hold regarding changes in church policy)

At my own Temple wedding, all attendees were required to wear white…this policy was changed; attendees can now wear street clothes. African American’s were once excluded from Temple participation…this has changed. And as you are fully aware, many of the offensive elements of the Temple endowment have been removed or changed throughout the years…the most recent in 2005. Change is possible.

So on behalf of all in-active, non-recommend holding or non-member parents of children who choose to be married in an LDS Temple, I plead with you, father to father, to review this policy that prohibits parents from attending their own children’s weddings. Make Temple weddings a wonderful uniting experience, where "families" of all faiths, creeds and persuasions "can" truly "be together".

Sadly, any change in policy will not come soon enough for me…I can only hope that future parents will not suffer this painful exclusion at such an important and otherwise joyful time in their child’s life.

With Sincerity,

Cra@g In the Middle

*************************************************************************************

Some final thoughts:

So my daughter is a married woman ….I took a bullet for my daughter and bit my lip so as not to upset her or my TBM wife on this most special of days. I sat quietly outside the Temple as the ceremony was taking place inside without me…the father of the bride.

As I sat and reflected on my 2nd class status…I suddenly became nauseous…the reality of the exclusionary policy of the Mormon Church swept over me and I became emotionaly sick…all I wanted to do was throw up. But I held my cookies…and sat watching all the Morg-bots exiting the “International House of Handshakes” with their smiles pasted on their faces. (If only they knew the truth...or even cared)

After some time my daughter came out in similar fashion…my beautiful daughter has graduated into a full fledged Mormon….I ran to some bushes and lost my cookies…I wiped my mouth and went to greet my daughter and wife and other family members with that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. Surprisingly, no one dared ask me why I hadn’t been in the Temple to witness my daughters wedding….Most people are still unaware that I am no longer a member of the Mormon church…a reality I haven’t gone totally public with at my wife’s request. I guess they assumed that I wasn’t worthy (what ever that is)…and that’s bullshit.

Some points of particular interest:

Last week a close TBM friend of mine informed me that he was having a mini-affair with another woman NOT his wife. He told me how he had felt up this girl at work who had been hitting on him, grabbing her bare breasts, sucking on her nipples and putting his hands down her pants… (well you get the picture) he told me this before the wedding asking what he should do…I insisted he attend the wedding...He did!

My son in law’s RM cousin, who according to my son in law is a closet gay, also attended the Temple wedding…he was accompanied at the reception by his boy friend. YES they’ve had sex. Family pressure requires him to remain closeted and act TBM for the family image...how sad.

Another friend who is a fellow member of my wife’s ward attended the Temple Wedding…he has a very nice wine collection…how do I know? I’ve sampled it often with him...as recently as a week ago...he came to the reception ...Buzzed.

Another attendee at my daughters Temple wedding ...drinks coffee (oh sin of sins) on a daily basis...I don’t judge these people they each have their reason’s to lie…and personally I applaud them and welcomed each of them to the wedding. It’s Mormonism and the pressure it places on people to conform to their artificial standards and hide their true identities that I criticize.

So the moral of this story… all one has to do to get into a Mormon Temple is Lie. Something I refuse to do. Now I don’t fault one of these people for attending my daughters wedding, in fact I’m actually glad that they were able to attend. But it points out the lies and the fraud behind the Mormon’s churches claim that their Temple are Holy and Sacred. This is another Mormon myth. The Temple reflects society. But because a Mormon Temple recommend is also a status symbol…Mormon’s will do anything, yes even lie…to get one…Now I would assume that most Temple attendees meet the Mormon so called worthy standards…but YES there are a lot that merely go through the motions to act Mormon, They have a recommend for appearance purposes only and just don’t want to face the crap that a TBM spouse or family would give them if they didn’t hold a recommend...can you say Cult?

A few years ago in the city where I live, a Temple worker was caught with his pants down …ah should we say at the receiving end…while in a public park having sex with someone NOT his wife or of the opposite sex. He was charged with one count of public ludeness. While on his way to the jail house to be processed, he pulled out his Temple recommend in an effort to influence the policemen that he was a good decent citizen of the city and they should let him go. This all became public when printed in the local paper. And you wonder why they removed the naked touching part of the initiatory. This in a nut shell is what Mormonism is all about…it forces good people to lie about silly things and bad people to lie about gross disgusting things…all so they can have a silly piece of paper. Pay Lay Ale!

19 comments:

Floating in the Milk said...

Ouch - I'm sorry you had to go through that. I often wonder if I'll be in the same situation 10-15 years from now. Will I be one of the liars, will I sit outside, or will maybe my family have managed to pull away from the church by that point?

Jonathan Blake said...

I'm sorry that you couldn't be at your daughter's wedding. I hope that isn't me in a few years.

If you really try to send this, perhaps there is a middle ground. Try suggesting that the local, artificial delay between a civil marriage and a temple sealing be lifted. This would allow couples to get married in a public ceremony and have their marriage sealed in the temple later.

hm-uk said...

What a horrible situation you've been placed in - and undoubtedly as much as you will certainly try, contact with your daughter will be painful. My sister and her husband had a wedding in an LDS chapel so that as many people as possible (my immediate family members, excluding my father at that time, were the only LDS members of our side of the family) and having the wedding in a temple would have been an exclusion of everyone on my sister's side of the family, except my mother!! I'm sure your situation is not entirely similar, but I remember having the same feelings of exclusion, even being in an LDS chapel wedding...it's ever so painful. I'm sorry for this hurtful episode in your life.

Anonymous said...

Hi Craig.

I'm an active member of the church, but I have struggled with temple worthiness. Because of that I've missed the sealing of two of my brothers. Also, at my own temple wedding my wife's parents and brother were not in the sealing room because of similar issues.

I congratulate you on your honesty. Your honesty should give you a reason to rejoice, make it so.

I realize that its too late now, for other readers, and in the future, why not have two ceremonies.

Temple sealings are secret. Do they have to be? Certainly change is possible. I think the key issue is how to maintain the purpose of the sealing ceremony while changing what needs to be changed that will allow non-members to attend. Maybe this gap cannot be bridged, but its something that we should talk about.

Lastly, excuse the anonymous post. I'm hesitant to talk about my temple worthiness and have my own name attached to the comment. Temple worthiness is a goal of mine.

Under.Construction said...

Cr@ig,
I am sorry you had to miss your daughters wedding. My daughters are 17 and 15, and though we are no longer members of the LDS Church, we live in Utah and my daughters are surrounded my momrons. There is no one else for them to date. It scares me to death to think that they may end up marrying one. I want to see their weddings.
My husband and I were both converts, with no other family members converted. We had no family attend our wedding except for my ex-step mom who was still sleeping with my dad, even though they were no longer married.
My mother in-law was devastated that she was not able to see her son get married. She just didn't understand why a church who talked so much about he importance of families would keep a mother from her son's wedding. I wondered that too.

Sister Mary Lisa said...

This post is heart-wrenching. I'm sorry you had to endure that, especially knowing the pointlessness of it all.

I hate how the church strongly discourages civil ceremonies before the temple sealing. It's so dumb.

JulieOShields said...

Did you know civil marriage is OK the day before the Temple marriage in countries like Mexico. Some countries don't except the temple workers authority to marry, so the Church makes an exception. Seems like they could do it everywhere!

malkie said...

I feel your pain - I will be in this situation some day, being the only apostate in a TBM family. I expect my daughter, and perhaps my son, to get married without me.

My daughter was to be married to a TBM a couple of years ago, but they broke it off. However, she made it quite clear at the time that she would have a temple marriage, and that all I needed to do was "really believe".

dave said...

Craig, thanks for your post. This was truly heart wrenching. I'm sorry that you had to go through this. I'm an ex-mormon who was married in the temple.

There are few things I regret in life, but excluding my dear parents (non-members) from my wedding is at the top of the list. It's been 12 years since that day, and I still regret it and feel horrible about making them wait outside on the temple grounds.

While the fault was entirely mine, I do harbor some bitterness towards the church on the matter. I had initially planned for a civil wedding but received a lot of pressure not to go that route. What can I say? I was young and stupid and easily manipulated at that time. Never again. Eventually I got tired of the tactics of fear and guilt and got out.

Alas my wife and daughter are still in the church.

Now one of my biggest fears is that what I did to my parents will happen again in 20 years with my young daughter when she gets married. I suppose what goes around comes around...karma maybe?

Either way. My sympathy for what you went through.

Anonymous said...

Sorry you had to experience the exclusion. My husband is a non - active Mormon, I am a former Catholic. We were excluded from our neices wedding in the temple. We are not worthy. Well, I think that JS was a pedifile and a sex addict.Its totally amazing to me that this religion took off in the first place. How can people actually believe this crap?

Jim said...

I am in the same situation my daughter plans on being married within a few months. I had my name removed the Church records some time ago. jonathan what you say makes perfect sense, in fact in other countries where temple marriages are not legally recognized they do exactly that. there is no reason that a couple couldn't have civil marriage, go an be sealed and then on to the reception. It is a system purposely set up to punish non-believers or as better termed non dillusional thinkers. They are also worried that they may go and consumate thier civil marriage before being sealed. OH NO!

Interested said...

I had not even considered this. I have two granddaughters, 15 and 17. They will one day be married and I won't be there. My god, what a tragedy!

vcomp1960 said...

I don't understand any of this! I really don't. I'm not a mormom but have been reading a lot about the religion in the last couple months. I do not understand the culture. It's as if mormons were from another country, not from the USA. Sorry.....but I don't understand any of this.

Cr@ig said...

Yes, "vcomp1960" I would agree...if I hadn't lived this myself I wouldn't have beleived it was even posible...but Mormonism is very Cult-Like and exclusionary.

Mormonism in reality is far different than the Madison Avenue slick campaign ads one sees on TV...

Charlotte said...

I too have many questions about the Church, and have been a member for 34 years, married in the temple and attended all 5 of our children's sealings. That being said, not going to the temple does not make you a victim. You choose not to believe the doctrines. End of story. You made a choice. If you feel like a second class citizen, you choose to feel second class. Choosing not to attend the LDS church is a choice. No one held a gun to your head. There are many good things taught. I for one am better for the good things. I choose to look for that in life. No one held a gun to my head and made me join, and no one will hold a gun to my head if I choose not to participate.

Cr@ig said...

Charlotte,

Victim? Choice? Sorry but I couldn't disagree more with you. The only reason I was NOT allowed to witness my daughter’s wedding was because the leaders of the LDS church exclude inactive and non-members from doing so. And I wasn't willing to lie. They are the ones who exclude.

If it had been up to me I would have gladly attended my daughter’s wedding, even in a Mormon Temple. But as an ex-Mormon, I was not given that opportunity. There was no opportunity to choose (other than lying to get in) and I won't do that.

Isn't it interesting that the temples were open to the public prior to Brigham Young. In 1856, he initiated the exclusionary practice we see today...but even then the Word of Wisdom was NOT a requirement. The church merely suggested that it was "inconsistent to carry the smell of whiskey and tobacco into the sacred precincts of the Lord’s House.” SO...as long as one had cleaned themselves up...smoking and drinking were OK...just not prior to temple attendance.

But I digress...

Mormon leaders use the current process to maintain control over its membership...period. The current process is designed to keep the tithing funds coming in and make the temple an exclusionary club for those church members who either live the standards or are willing to lie to receive the temple recommend. And because the Mormon culture places so much emphasis on holding a recommend…many are willing to lie to maintain one, as my original post showed. Those who place a higher value to integrity are merely excluded.

Charlotte said...

Craig,
I didn't know that the church was opened to the public prior to 1856, and also didn't know about the word of wisdom not being a requirement. Where did you get the information?

Now, about attending the temple, I understand your plight with your daughter, and acknowledge that, but my point was, if you play with the big boys, you have to abide by their rules, or go play with someone else.

I have many questions about church history, that seems out of line with moral standards and integrity. I have felt the ball of twine unravel before my eyes, and have nothing to hold onto. I started with the 1st Vision, and poof, what version do I form a testimony about. Or translations, or Pearl of Great Price, and funeral texts etc.

My point was, I can't expect the church to change because of my questions or opinions. I have to weigh it out. I have a choice and can choose again. I can not change anyone else but myself, and that's a tall order.

Jonathan Blake said...

Charlotte,

For those who learn about the disturbing parts of the LDS church and doctrines, there may be little choice in whether or not to believe the claim that it is God's only true church on Earth. Just like I can't choose to believe that the sun won't rise tomorrow, I can't will myself to believe things that don't fit my experiences.

The choice then becomes between honestly dealing with our selves and our fellow men and women or lying in order to maintain our standing in a church that we don't believe in but which holds all the cards because our family and friends believe. I couldn't keep up my own charade for more than a year before I had to speak the truth.

Cr@ig said...

Dear Charlotte,

One more shocker for you...the Word of Wisdom wasn't even a Temple recommend question until the1920's under the stewardship of Heber J. Grant. Up until that point ever general authorities drank coffee, alcohol and yeah some even used tobacco...because the church hadn't become the total control/obedience cult that they are today....they evolved into. Controlling everything you think, eat, wear and do. Yes its true they teach you what to think and not read and study (anything that is unsupportive of their claims) eat, (WoW), wear (white shirt and garments for men, modest dress and garments for women) and yes do (they micro manage your life and of course the culture is always there to keep a watchful eye on you least you start to stray. (I've experienced this first hand.

Bottom line like it or not...Mormonism is a cult. PLEASE start thinking for yourself and ask all the tough questions of this organization that falsely claims to be the one true church on the face of the earth...yet refuses to be accountable to reality.

Cr@ig