The Marriage Prospects of Women Already Sealed

There is a kind of meme in the Church to the effect that women who have already been sealed to a husband in the temple, but then are widowed or divorced, have seriously diminished marriage prospects due to the fact that they are not available to be sealed to another man in the here and now.

I am curious about this. Maybe it reflects a lack of faith on my part, but I have a hard time imagining myself being swayed against interest in a particular woman for that reason. I’m not sure it would even occur to me to worry about such a thing.

Questions:

1. Have any of you witnessed this phenomenon? Any stories you would like to share?

2. Assuming this is a real phenomenon, what do you think about it? Is it justified on the part of the men who are putative suitors of these women? After all, we make such a huge deal about the importance of getting sealed in the temple, can we blame them for not wanting to “settle” for a woman where such a sealing is not available?

3. How does this look from the perspective of a woman who loses a spouse while still young? She has a long life to live on this earth with diminished prospects; is that fair?

4. Should there be policy changes that would ameliorate this kind of situation? If so, what should the policy changes be?

Your thoughts appreciated.

Comments

  1. MikeInWeHo says:

    Can’t women who are divorced have their sealing cancelled, and thus be eligible for a celestial re-do?

  2. Mostimportantly says:

    I actually knew a woman in scenario #3. I think she and her husband had been married less than a year (no kids) when he died suddenly and unexpectedly. She got a cancellation of the sealing.

  3. I would like to see the policy change to allow women to be sealed to multiple men. The list of things related to sealings that we say “God will work it all out eventually” is so long, we might as well allow women to be sealed to more than one man and let “God work it out.” Besides, we already believe that the ordinance isn’t permanent until the “Holy Spirit of Promise” puts its ‘stamp of approval’ on the ordinance. If that’s the case, let’s just perform both sealings and let the Holy Spirit of Promise approve the sealing that God wants.

    I can’t say much as to any personal stories related to this. I guess some might have this view, but I don’t know anyone who does. It seems very unfair to the widows. Maybe if we’re going to retain the practice from the polygamy days that a woman can only be sealed to one man, then we should adopt the old practice of women being able to easily leave their husband for one of higher priesthood rank.

  4. Zionssuburb says:

    My Grandmother lost her first husband when he was 42, that was in the early fifties… My mother was still very little, maybe 2 or 3. My Grandmother sought out companionship and looked for the ideal husband who could be a father to her children, and particularly my mother. She met a man, who was around her age, never been married, and they hit it off. There were engaged to be married when he was called on a mission. He went, and after coming home, he broke off the engagement, telling her that he wanted his own eternal family. It hurt my grandmother deeply, and she ended up married to a very less active man. The experience soured her towards the church, and though she faithfully attended until her own death, there was always a sense of loss, my mother says…

  5. why is this sexist policy in place? why are men able to have unlimited sealings, but not women?

  6. Zionssuburb says:

    geoffsn… I believe that was the suggestion that Hugh B. Brown made after being commissioned to study it…

  7. Kevin, I think there’s a really interesting conflict that you haven’t quite teased out. It seems to me that the situations of being widowed and being divorced are not viewed as equivalent at all. Being widowed is something that could happen to a righteous, desirable woman–widows are tragic heroines. Divorcées, not so much. So, while there is the possibility of a cancellation of sealing for a divorced woman, it’s not enough to overcome the stronger sense that she is damaged goods. I’m not sure that a widow’s unavailability for sealing makes her as unattractive to the sorts of Mormon men who are inclined to worry about such things as the divorced woman is, regardless of her potential availability for sealing. But the larger problem is just numbers–if you’re a single LDS man, you’re outnumbered 3 or 4 or 5 to 1 by single women. Why in the world would you choose someone who was either divorced or widowed when there are plenty of baggage-free, sealing-ready possibilities?

  8. Kevin Barney says:

    No. 1 MikeInWeHo, yes, in theory a cancellation of sealing is available for a divorced woman, but my understanding is that those can be difficult to attain in practice. Personal stories and insights into that process are on topic for this post.

    No. 7 Kristine, you’re right, I didn’t think about a distinction between widows and divorcees (I guess because I don’t really think about it that way myself). And yes, the numbers certainly play a role in this. That just exacerbates the situation; not being available for a sealing is a millstone around the neck of a woman in a dire demographic position already.

  9. Is the same true for a man? My wife recently left me and the church, I plan on have our sealing cancelled if she does not officially have her name removed from the records of the church, but the feeling of failure and being damaged goods when divorcing is there even if it isn’t ‘my fault.’ Do never married LDS girls view me that way? I don’t know yet because my state mandated waiting period is not yet over. I think they will though.

  10. I agree with geoff. Women should be allowed to be sealed to more than one man. For example, if a wife is widowed and marries a second man, the children they have cannot be sealed to them. That seems fundamentally wrong. Incencal, good women are looking for good men, and will see you for who you are, not for the difficulties you faced in your marriage.

    Kevin Barney, my son and daughter-in-law were sealed this year in the temple. She had a previous temple marriage and three children; then her husband left her and left the Church, and remarried in another state. My son was divorced and had been married in the temple. Both my son and daughter-in-law had their temple sealings cancelled and were able to marry in the temple. The process took about 3 months, but I know of many couples that wait over a year for the same privilege. I suspect the process may have been hastened because both were temple worthy and their stake president wrote a glowing letter about the couple. However, I know of other worthy couples who wait a long time for the prophet to allow them to be sealed.

  11. geoffsn #3: In the 1920s my great-grandparents were sealed for time and eternity even though both of them had already been sealed for time and eternity to their deceased first spouses. Special permission was given the Logan temple president by Pres. Heber J. Grant to seal my great-grandmother to a second husband, and Pres. Grant stated in his letter to the temple president that the situation would be worked out in the hereafter and that that policy (allowing widows with sealings to first husbands to be sealed for eternity to living second husbands as well) had been in place since the administration of Wilford Woodruff. So there was a possibility for that to take place in the past with First Presidency permission–though I don’t know if it ever happens now.

  12. Kevin, my personal experience is that divorced/widowed is a requirement when dating in the church. Never-married is the liability. If someone has been married they understand what it is like to be married, to communicate, and work in a relationship. I’m 36 and never been married. The men in my area (Seattle) are very open about their opinion that they will only date and marry a woman with prior experience. They don’t want to waste time on someone they have to “break in” and teach how marriage is hard work 24/7.
    So, my last date was 4 years ago. All the men I’ve met who never married are living in their mothers basements and earn minimum wage.
    So much for aspiring to celestial marriage.
    And my parent wonder why I’m single. All the good men are taken or they won’t have me.
    (BTW, My BMI is 25%, I pretty d@%n good looking, have a career and education, and own my home.)
    This comes off kind of bitter but it is the truth.

  13. Also, most of the singles that I’ve talk to are not worried about being sealed. It will all work out in the end anyways. It may take a couple of years…. “Seal-ability” is not the focus.

  14. After reading Kristine’s comment my mind flashed back to the first few months after my mission. I remember attending the young adult dances and activities and I met a young lady at a dance. I soon found out she was divorced and had an infant son. It wasn’t difficult for me to recognize the signals she was sending that she was interested in getting to know me better, and in spite of that I was not going to give a relationship a chance to develop, and it was really because of the perception of ‘damaged goods’ just as Kristine mentioned, plus I knew if I dated her it would cause a major uproar in my family (again, damaged goods). I look back on that and cringe now at the fact that I essentially never gave her a chance based on her divorce (and child) alone. I don’t regret ‘passing her up’, because I found the absolutely perfect wife for me (who ironically is viewed by many in my family as an odd match because she is *so* different from my sisters and mother), but I do regret that I wasn’t at the time willing to even be a good friend to this young adult woman I met mostly because of what others might say.
    Cringe. My confession for the day.

    Oh, whether or not I could be sealed to this woman never crossed my mind at all.

  15. I fell in love with and married an LDS divorcee. We worked together to process her petition for a cancellation and were blessed/pleased to receive it in a timely fashion. My roommate at BYU actually had the exact same experience and at the same time. I’m not convinced that today it is terribly difficult for a woman who divorces (especially when there was emotional or physical abuse in the previous marriage) to obtain a cancellation. I’m also not convinced that women in this situation face as bleak of dating options as is suggested here. Both my friend and I would attest to the fact that our wives were quite popular among bachelors, even the BYU set.

  16. Sonny, I think that’s understandable, and not particularly blameworthy. It’s simply true that dating someone who has been divorced and/or who has a child is significantly more complicated and likely to be difficult than dating someone without that history. We can always do with more charity, more openness and willingness to accept people who don’t fit the norm, but it’s unsurprising that we fail. It’s brave and kind of you to acknowledge your mistake.

  17. My dad died when i was about 9 or 10, leaving behind a widow and three children. When my mother remarried, it was “for Time” only. And the two children from the new union were considered sealed to my biological father, not their own biological father.

    The sealing issue was always a deep wound for my step dad. His first wife had left him for another man and somehow managed to get their sealing canceled, so his previous kids ended up being sealed to the new guy. I recall thumbing through my step dad’s D&C and noted the colored underlining of the passage about “ministering angels.”

    It wasn’t until my mom and step dad had been married for 25 to 30 years that my mom had her first marriage sealing canceled. And she did it so that her second husband would feel like he had an eternal family and not be relegated to ministering angel status. It was awkward for her to approach the subject with us three kids now grown, but we understood and had faith that it would all work out in the hereafter.

  18. When my brother died last year, his wife was only 24. Guys head for the hills when they hear she has two little kids and a great husband waiting on the other side of the veil. Moms don’t want to set their sons up with her because of the whole sealing issue. That’s pretty tough for a girl still in her hot years! Anyone know any available widowers I can set her up with?

  19. Anecdotes can be instructive, but I wish we had stats. As for anecdotes, I’ve known several widowed women in their 20s, 30s, and 40s who found that they were not considered marriage material by active LDS men because they couldn’t be sealed to them. The men wanted their own kingdoms…. Also, we hear of general authorities whose mothers were widowed and raised the kids on their own. Are there any whose mothers were widowed and remarried? Was sealing availability an issue? I’ve always been curious about this. They tell poignant stories about their wonderful mothers but don’t mention why they didn’t remarry. (I know, it’s a very personal issue, but they do elicit such questions when they talk about the difficulties their widowed mothers faced.) Or maybe some have talked about this and I’ve just missed it.

  20. These are all difficult issues to deal with, my heart goes out to people who get labeled and are apparently misjudged because of something that was sometimes out of their control

  21. I kind of wonder if the real deal breaker for widowed or divorced women is not so much whether they’re unavailable for sealing or seen as “damaged goods”, but whether or not they have kids. I have a friend who got divorced earlier this year and is now dating someone, but this man feels unsure about continuing the relationship because he’s not sure he wants to be tied down to kids just yet. Kids are great, but they do make things more complicated.

  22. @19-yes, Elder F. Melvin Hammond, former 70, his mom remarried and Elder Robert E. Wells, formerly of the 70 and Elder Kevin R. Duncan currently of the 70 had their wives die and they both remarried.

  23. @22 Thanks for the info. I wasn’t wondering about the remarriage of widowed men, though. I was just wondering about the prospects of widowed women who remain sealed to their deceased husbands for marrying a second husband who isn’t already sealed to another woman.

  24. whizzbang, the examples of widowers aren’t helpful to exploring this issue because men can be sealed to more than one woman. So the second wives of the two widowers you listed didn’t have to be concerned about whether or not they would be able to be sealed. It’s a given. Not so for the second husband of a widow. Interesting about the one mother though. I wonder if she was sealed.

    One problem I think should be explored is whether MikeInWeHo’s suggestion of just having the sealing canceled is really entirely viable, due to feelings of betrayal of the deceased spouse and disposition of the sealing of children from the first marriage. It is one thing to get married again after being widow[er]ed–that doesn’t feel like a betrayal to me at all. But it’s quite another thing to retroactively doom a poor soul who has already died to a lower circle of the Celestial Kingdom by pulling their sealing rug out from under them! Let me hasten to clarify that I’m intentionally playing up the dynamic that might cause someone to feel that is a betrayal, but I do NOT think people should view it this way and I certainly don’t think women who have done this should feel bad about it. I’m just saying that I can imagine some women possibly feeling very guilty, or at least hesitant, to move forward with a new marriage and sealing because of that unfortunate possible interpretation of it.

  25. well then! Elder Hammond’s mum remarried!

  26. #8 Kevin Barney said that personal stories and insights in regards to cancellation of sealing for divorced women are on topic so I’m taking a break from reading the comments to state my experience.

    I had an ex who pretty much stalked me, made my life miserable, claimed I was committing adultery with any man who came into his mind (I discovered later that if the man defended me, whether he knew me personally or not, he was automatically added to the list of men I’d committed adultery with). When the ex told me that the D&C definition of committing adultury was being “with” a man, and that “with a man” meant being in the same room as one, and that the only way I would be innocent of adultery would be to get a cancellation, I decided to go for it.

    I talked to my bishop who talked to the stake pres. The stake pres said they don’t usually give cancellations to women who are not planning to marry again, but wanted me to try anyway. As an aside, by this time both the stake pres and bishop had experienced what my ex was really like.

    I filled out the paperwork. The ex was contacted to give his side of it (all of it through the postal service). He fought it. The stake pres told me that he’d gotten an answer from Salt Lake and that was that I should go to the temple and do sealings, listen to the promises, and decide if I really wanted to go through with it. I did so. My opinion did not change.

    I got a cancellation. I made several copies so that I would have proof that I didn’t have to be with him anymore. On the other hand, I know a man who got a clearance to remarry and his letter specifically stated that it was only good for the marriage he had gotten the clearance for, also that he could NOT make copies of the letter (my letter had no such restriction).

    Also, my letter of cancellation said that the children’s sealing was not affected.

  27. #9 incencal – Men cannot get a cancellation. They can only get a clearance. Personally, I think a divorced man (if divorced only once) is not considered too damaged. Some women might be wary; others may not.

  28. Toni, Men can get a cancellation of their sealing.

    Here is my view on this – Once a woman is dead, she can be sealed to all husbands she had while living, as long as they are dead as well. So, basically, in the end as work for the dead is completed, a woman will be sealed to all of her husbands and the matter will be settled in the next life. WHY this has to happen after a woman has died I do not understand, and quite frankly I think it is ridiculous and causes a lot of unnecessary heartache.

    In the end I wholeheartedly believe that sealing power is FAR more than a 10 minute ordinance performed in the temple (although I believe that ordinance is beautiful beyond words). I believe my sealing to my husband and children is about the love we share, the fact that my children are an ACTUAL PHYSICAL part of me and at the end of the day we will be with the people who brought us joy and companionship and who can continue to do that through the eternities. I don’t believe in a cruel God, and let’s face it, requiring a woman to get a cancellation from a man she had children with, or a husband who died tragically while young, is ridiculous and cruel and makes absolutely no sense…so I consider it a flaw in the system and have faith that it will be corrected by a perfect, loving Father in Heaven.

    I hope with all my heart this practice is changed sooner than later by the church.

  29. The problem is caused by an over-emphasis on temple marriage, when in fact all marriage is honorable in the eyes of God. A man who marries a previously-sealed but presently widowed woman suffers no penalty in the eyes of his God — if he is a good man and honors his marriage covenants and magnifies his calling and has faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, then he will be exalted in the celestial kingdom of our God.

    Sometimes, I think we would be better off if all LDS marriages were done civilly first (civil marriages are honorable in the eyes of God, and they should be honorable among the Latter-day Saints) and the couple later went to the temple quietly when they were ready, perhaps one or five or ten years after the civil marriage. Such would make the temple marriage less of a “big deal” and certainly less of a production or show, and it seems to me, would make the temple sealing more meaningful between the man and the woman.

  30. I do NOT think people should view it this way

    When a sealing is unilaterally cancelled by a surviving spouse, how should it be viewed? What would make someone who takes the sealing seriously enough to be worried about it in the first place not feel like they are pulling the rug out from under the dear deceased?

  31. As a younger man sometimes feeling too incompetent for celestial glory to be a realistic prospect, I worried that it would be a disservice to any good woman to be sealed to her, and not wanting to marry a bad woman, I should seek out a widow I could live with and rear a family with in levirate fashion.

    One of my wife’s old roommates was about 30 when she married and became widowed a few years after. When the topic of remarriage came up, she expressed the idea that good, eligible men are hard to find, that she was fortunate to have found one and been sealed to him, and that it would be selfish to take a second and deprive some never-married woman.

  32. Anony-miss says:

    My experience has all been second-hand. I had a weird situation where I knew all the people involved- friend A was divorced and had re-married civilly because he could not obtain a cancellation of the sealing to be able to be sealed to his second wife. No kids from the first marriage. A’s ex-wife then found someone and wanted to marry that person in the temple, and THEN the cancellation of sealing was able to be processed.

    Someone in the bishopric explained it to me that if the wife wanted it cancelled so she could be sealed to another person that was ok, but if the husband was the one who wanted to create the “broken home” as it were then it was more likely to be selfishly motivated or… something? More likely to have abandoned her and since she was divorced and damaged goods who knew if she’d remarry? That was the reasoning I got out of it. Didn’t necessarily make sense to me; A’s first marriage was just a poor match, IMO. I was just happy at the time that everyone involved was able to be sealed to the person they wanted to be sealed to, finally.

  33. The “clearance” policy was started in 1995, which ended men’s free reign to remarry in the temple. Based on the questions and letters required, it seems they want to make sure the man is paying his child support and alimony before giving the green light for another sealing. They also want to ensure there weren’t improprieties between the man and his new fiance during the previous marriage.

    Anony-miss, maybe your friend was not paying his child support, or something of that nature.

    My husband had to go through this process when it was relatively new. Under these circumstances, the church does allow couples to marry civilly (if they’re waiting for clearance paperwork) and then get sealed in the temple without waiting a year.

    We thought this was a brilliant opportunity to get married twice. We didn’t tell our families, and decided to elope to New York City Hall. We were married by a female justice of the peace, among a few nonmember and inactive friends. Two months later, we married in front of our families in the SLC Temple. They didn’t know anything about our NYC marriage. It was a great way to have my cake and eat it too.

  34. esodhiambo says:

    So it sounds like I need to print up a T-shirt to wear to singles activities that says: “Yes, I have been married, and I come with 3 (fantastic) children, but I’ve never been sealed!!!!” Never knew that was a selling point–I should make it my lead.

    If I were to marry a widower, I would NOT be super excited to be sealed to him as a second wife. I certainly wouldn’t want him to get a cancellation, either (if that is even possible for men); I think I would opt being married for time and let the eternities work itself out in the eternities.

  35. I think holding all else equal that of course the marriage prospects for a women who can’t be sealed due a prior sealing are going to be lower, much lower, especially as Kristine says when there is already a gender imbalance that makes temple marriable women more plentiful then temple marriable men. The young widow is the perfect test case. No “fault” can be assigned that makes her “damaged”. In fact, she actually possesses a positive signal for having been able to attract a great guy in the very competitive eternal dating market church women face. However, as a guy I would know that 1) I was competing against the dead guy and his memory in mortality underscored by the fact that I have already “lost” in the eternities so 2) my entire mortal experience of marriage will be with a woman that I probably won’t be with for eternity. When we pass over we will become “just friends”. Yeah I may get the chance to be sealed to some other woman in the eternities, but we would never share this pivotal mortal experience together and I would be resigning myself to the big singles ward in the sky. Why would you do that when there are 3 other women more or less equivalent to her that aren’t sealed? This is all compounded by the costs and uncertainties integral to dating. I have met three women who I all kind of like and I have decide who to spend more time with and which to start to date more exclusively. One can’t be sealed to me, the other two can. Given the fact that I don’t what the future holds and I have to choose to make differential investments in these relationships are we surprised if a guy chooses to invest more heavily in the potentially “sealable” partners?

    I think the policy should either allow multiple sealings for women – though this does not solve the problem of uncertainty for the partner about whether she will choose husband 1 or husband 2 or it should be so easy for the woman to break the sealing to the first spouse that should another potential marriage comes along both parties know for a certainty they can be sealed.

  36. errgh…so that should another potential….

  37. To Anonymous (33):

    I suppose that the guests at the temple wouldn’t have known about your New York marriage, unless one of the witnesses took the time to look at the papers that he signed, and wondered why there was no marriage license.

    Unless, of course, the person performing the sealing made some comment about your good decision to come to the temple to make eternal that which had been temporal.

    On the other hand, perhaps you told the county clerk in Utah that you were not married and applied for a marriage license there too. That raises some other interesting issues.

  38. incencal – I will tell you that I actually was relieved to find out that the man I was dating (now my husband) had been divorced. I was 26 and was looking for someone older in a youngish sort of singles ward. He was reluctant to mention it because of the feelings you mentioned. We were not able to get a clearance for the temple but had to be married civilly first. I think there are sensible mature women who are willing to see through the stigma to the real person inside.

    As far as women and sealings go, I feel it is the man’s responsibility to be a protector and provider; that he does not give up that responsibility lightly. Once that responsibility is taken, he is not allowed to lay it down. In my husband’s case, he is still sealed to his first wife and feels responsible to assist her in gaining eternal life should he be called upon to do so. He can therefore be responsible for me and her at the same time. Having two men responsible for one woman seems…well, redundant.

  39. To Mark B.

    The temple sealer was in the know, so he played along with it. My dad was the witness, and stared at the paperwork for a long awkward minute before he signed it. My sister was married a week earlier in the temple, so I was afraid he’d notice the difference. One grouchy old temple marm told me they don’t usually cater to second class brides (already married) with the whole wedding dress custom. She grumbled, but then took my dress down to the bridal area. Bitch. Biggest snag: they decided my bishop should’ve known I was previously married, and would have to approve it. They were able to get ahold of him out on a golf course on Saturday morning. Phew! Lots of clandestine fun.

  40. Wow. I keep forgetting I’m not on a feminist blog here. Getting blindsided by some of the attitudes in the comments. Jennifer, how sweet that your husband is responsible for you…. and yes, that would be completely absurd for a woman to be responsible for 2 men.

  41. I do think that it is a policy that causes unnecessary heartache. Since women can be sealed after death to any husbands they were married to in this life. It causes heartache for women and men but statistically more often for women. I do know of several situations where a wife had cause to truely mourn the loss of a husband twice. Once when the wife lost him at his death and once again when she had to navigate the who to be sealed to in the eternities. Husband one or two. I’ve seen this happen with the wife of a few short years suddenly widowed. I’ve also seen the heartache and uncertainty in one of advanced years who had been widowed very early in her youth with one young son. Her second husband of fifty plus years procceded her in death. It caused her great sadness that officially they, the parties to the second marriage had no claim to each each other in the next life. She loved her husband of her early life but she had very little if any memory of him. These and several other situations I know of seem unnecessarily painful, especially since they can be remedied with an administrative fix after the parties deaths. I don’t know how it will all be sorted out in the next life I have faith that it will, why institutionally place an additional burden on the grieving spouse especially when it is the wife that is left behind.

  42. As a woman who has divorced and been granted a cancellation, I can say there is a WHOLE LOT of misunderstanding about the entire doctrine of celestial marriage in this thread.

    I would suggest that anyone who has a problem with it talk with their bishop and stake president, but don’t be surprised if you don’t get much information from them unless it directly applies to you. It is not doctrine that needs to be generally discussed. If that is the case, and you still want to understand, I suggest applying directly to the Lord through the Spirit.

    But I will say that every instance that I read above of a problem with the doctrine has no basis in actual doctrine.

  43. Anonymous- How long ago was your experience? I have friends who were given that counsel a few years ago and then after being married civilly found out that there had been a change in policy and they had to wait a year to be sealed. They were both temple worthy and were waiting for clearance when this happened.

  44. it's a series of tubes says:

    Anonymous, I think your story is fantastic. Thanks for sharing!

    I’ve always thought the USA waiting periods and policy restraints around sealings after civil marriages were ridiculous, particularly after living in the UK where you MUST be married civilly first before being sealed in the temple (typically, both take place on the same day, but there is no requirement that that be the case).

  45. There really should be a chapter in Gospel Principles on this.

  46. SilverRain–it’s not especially productive to denounce everyone by saying “I know better, but I can’t tell you.” There is, in fact, a body of published doctrine on this topic, which may very well have more validity than your bishop’s and stake president’s private interpretation. If anything is clear from this thread, it’s that doctrine and practice are not well-correlated; there’s a hodgepodge of doctrine, folk-doctrine, and pragmatic adjustment at work in most cases.

    I’m glad it worked out for you and you found satisfying answers, but I think generalizing from a single experience is probably impossible, and definitely unwise, on these questions.

  47. Unfortunately I think that the policy may affect dating prospects of LDS women. Not that the deck isn’t stacked against them anyway, but why add one more thing. On a side note I do have a awesome but shy and politically liberal Mormon 30ish little brother. Being a poltically active democrat in Utah county also seems to narrow your dating field.

  48. #38. Lovely. Women are an eternal responsibility rather than eternal partners. No wonder some men are marriage-shy.

  49. I’m recently widowed, and although it still seems too soon to start looking again, I can’t imagine that someone’s status-never married, divorced, or widowed–would matter to me. Neither would the sealing status. That could change later on, since I am still young enough that a second marriage could last longer than my first one (23 years). As of today, I can see myself happy just being sealed to my first wife.

  50. First of all, I openly admit to not understanding how cancelations or clearances work. Just over two months ago we were happily married (or so I thought) and trying for our first child.

    My understanding is that as she has her names removed from the records of the church the sealing is cancelled. The caveat is that while she still declares she is an atheist, her flakiness in scheduling another meeting with the Bishop and writing the official letter means that it looks like she will eventually just become a lost inactive according to the church. When the Bishop told me she wasn’t calling him back I thought ‘phew!’ It is probably better for her to at least have her membership and gift of the HG if she ever wants to come back.

    But this development seems to be complicating my future. Assuming I do get remarried (I’m 27, so I like to think there is hope!) will I need a clearance or cancellation? I can’t apply for either one until I am ready to remarry in the temple, correct?

  51. I got married in 1995. The whole clearance process was new, so they didn’t know how long to anticipate for church headquarters to grant the approval. Maybe they have streamlined the process and can give couples a narrow and timely window for the answer. If this is true, then I guess all their ignorant, mean-spirited reasons for requiring the one-year waiting period would equally apply to clearance situations. Unfortunate.

    When I think of marriageability or re-marriageability of a woman, one over-arching quality comes to mind — is she HOT or NOT? I’m way too cynical, but I truly believe most men wouldn’t give a hoot about a woman’s sealability if their libido was enticed. I should really give you guys some more credit, but experience tells me different.

  52. My biological grandfather died of a heart attack in his early thirties, leaving my grandmother with three small children in the 1950s. She was a very beautiful woman and attracted the attention of the man I would come to know as my grandpa. He was around 30 years old and still not married — he’d always been a little awkward around women — but he’d recently graduated from law school and was seen as someone who could provide. My grandmother was urged by everyone she knew to marry him, even though he was very different from her first husband (who was the love of her life). She knew how difficult it would be to find a man who would be willing to marry her even though he couldn’t be sealed to her, so she went through with it even though the marriage wasn’t based on romance.

    They ended up being married for over 50 years, and my grandpa was a wonderful provider and a deeply spiritual, religious man. They had one more child together. The issue of sealing was a very painful one for both my grandpa and my grandma, and also quite painful for the child they had together, who always felt (I think) separate from the other three children and unsure of what his place would be in an eternal family. This idea that my grandma could also be sealed to my grandpa after she died was NOT a comfort, because there was still a feeling that she would have to choose between them. And what an awful choice! The love of her youth, the father of three of her children? Or the father of one of her children, and the man who stood by her and supported her for 50 years? It was a terrible dilemma. I think the assumption always was that she would remain sealed to her first husband. They would try to treat it humorously; I remember my grandma talking about good “single ladies” she knew who might be willing to marry my grandpa in the hereafter.

    As a family, we have faith that we will all be together in the hereafter. That it will all, somehow, “work out.” But I know for my grandpa, it was a very big deal to give up the idea that he would have the privilege of occupying the spot as patriarch of this family that he loved so very much, because there was another man he’d never met who’d already claimed that spot. He tried to bear it humbly, but it was painful.

  53. I am divorced but didn’t get a cancellation. My own thought of all this is that whether there is a remarriage or not, it will all be sorted out later. Our focus needs to be on living a life worthy of a fullness of the atonement in order to be perfected to the point where the next step is even an option. I feel sorry for those who feel sadness (e.g. #41) about a relationship that they think will not continue due to one or both being previously sealed. I’m not sure that attitude reflects a very deep understanding of what “celestial material” really is.

    As for the “marriageability” of a divorcee or widow — the perceptions on either side of the pro/con seem to be culturally based rather than doctrinally.

  54. When I was in the singles ward I met a girl I really liked. I didn’t know she was recently divorced (no kids) when I asked her out on a date. She’d left me enough hints that she knew my brother and his wife and kids from church, that it prompted me to ask my sister-in-law about her. My sister-in-law hadn’t heard about the divorce (they were no longer in the same ward) so she was a bit surprised when I told her who I had a date with. She made a call to another mutual friend to find out the story and let me know. I thought about it and decided it didn’t matter to me.

    After our first date, she told me she was divorced, but since I’d already processed the information, I could tell her right away it didn’t matter to me. 5 days later, to both of our surprise, I felt prompted to ask her to marry me. She laughed, asked if I was serious, then said yes. We immediately met with the Bishop and S.P. to get her sealing cancelled. We were told that the last 5 requests in the Stake had been denied, and we should keep a civil marriage open as an option. We set a date for 3 months into the future to be married in the temple. Whether it was for time or eternity, we didn’t know. Just 3 days before the date, she got her sealing cancelled. Salt Lake called the Bishop and the Temple with the news, because they weren’t certain the letter would arrive before the wedding.

    I can’t say that finding out she was divorced and sealed didn’t give me pause. But, I am very glad I decided that it didn’t matter, as we’ve had 12 and a half years of happy marriage since.

  55. During World War II, my mother told me that many, many women were left young widows (since many rushed to get sealed before their husbands went off to war), and were allowed to get sealed in the temple to second husbands later, and were told, “God will work it out”, The policy must have changed because of the war.

    In addition, I have a good friend whose mother was widowed at a young age with 3 young boys. She married a non-member. When her new husband investigated the church, he said, “Why should I join a church that won’t allow me to be married to my wife? No thanks.” He held out for 16 or 17 years, but eventually he joined, and was sealed for time to his new wife, and decided that “God will work it out.”

  56. StillConfused says:

    It is so funny that this came up. I was speaking with a friend last night. She is an extremely young widow with two little kids. She wants to be married again to a strong LDS priesthood holder type but she wants to remain sealed to the guy that she had the short marriage with. She is young enough that more kids could be in her future and in any event the new guy would be the one raising the young children and providing for her. She is unable to find anyone willing to sign up for that. I have suggested that since she wants to remain sealed to guy number 1 that she should marry a non-member for #2… but she is adamant against that. I don’t blame the men for not wanting that situation.

    My thing is that if gals can’t be sealed to two guys then guys shouldn’t be sealed to two gals. Only then would you likely see a change.

  57. The God will work it out thing is good as far as it goes. For example, it makes a lot of sense that God will make sure that everyone who can get access to blessings of exaltation will get them and won’t be stopped by the actions of someone else, like a spouse that cancels a sealing or what not. However, it doesn’t solve the very real problem of being in a relationship where our doctrine seems to indicate that at some point you will have to either “choose” between men or possibly if you are a woman “share” your husband with another woman. This if course is just part and parcel with the belief that family relationships extend into eternity. If I was a woman dating a widower who was sealed to his former wife, I can choose to get sealed knowing there is some possibility that (and doctrinal support for) the fact I am signing up for an eternally polygamous relationship. That might give me pause if that is something that bothers me. It is also interesting to think about the deceased woman who doesn’t really get a say about whether her husband takes a second wife to be sealed to. As the husband I would feel some sort of strong emotions about whether I was signing her up for something she may not want if it wasn’t discussed before. Tough regardless of church policy and allowances.

  58. all their ignorant, mean-spirited reasons for requiring the one-year waiting period

    Thankfully, though, the reasons for requiring the one-year waiting period that are neither ignorant nor mean-spirited may just be what motivates those persons responsible for the policy. On the other hand, your comment may lead some to think that “ignorant” and “mean-spirited” best describes someone other than those persons.

  59. The handbook of instructions has changed. It used to provide that a woman could not apply for a sealing cancellation until a new marriage in the temple was close (or something like that). That is no longer a prerequisite. The cancellation can be applied for immediately.

    10 years ago, a close relative was not able to be sealed to his wife until they had been married a couple of years because it took that long for her prior sealing to be cancelled. (She had been civilly divorced almost 10 years by then). Fast forward. Another close family member was civilly divorced this year, applied immediately for a cancellation, and received First Presidency approval one month after the stake presidency forwarded the application. It was important to her to receive the cancellation sooner rather than later for reasons mentioned here, and she is relieved.

    I think many people believe that in the eternities a man may have multiple wives but a woman may not have multiple husbands. I disagree. The current policy allows for either outcome, but seems to favor eternal polygyny over eternal polyandry. Personally, I favor allowing multiple sealing of a woman to husbands during her lifetime, with a sealing clearance required before a second sealing (as is now required of men).

  60. StillConfused says:

    Plus there is the whole issue of being sealed into a family with people you detest.

  61. Anonymous today says:

    I married a woman who’d been divorced. Fortunately, and for whatever reason, she had minimal problems getting her cancellation of her initial sealing. I’m told that there was some initial difficulty in reaching out to her ex’s ecclesiastical leaders. I’m not sure how that all plays out and whether it’s not dissimilar to a civil divorce where it takes the exhaustion of many attempts to reach a spouse before terminating the marriage without consent or at least notice.

    Anyway, she told me on a long road trip that we took early in our time dating. I can honestly say that it gave me no pause. I can regrettably say that, through various third-parties, it did give my nosy roommate pause. He was sure to have a chat with me to do his due diligence (sheesh) and make sure I was informed. It gave me no small amount of pleasure to smugly tell him, “Yes, I knew that already. So?”

    Anecdotally, I know of 3 or 4 similarly positioned couples with similar backgrounds. Maybe it’s a generational thing. I’m 30-ish and in an informal poll of my peers, no one had the guts to say it’d be a big deal. A few of them said that they’d be interested to hear some of the details of the why and the how, but that ultimately it would take a lot to make a difference.

  62. My sister was married for just over a year and then got divorced. There was convincing evidence her husband had some sort of psychotic disorder that made him abusive in a non-physical way.

    Then, she met my current brother-in-law, got engaged, and her ceiling was promptly canceled by the first presidency.

  63. I would like to have my ceiling canceled. Or at least painted.

  64. I am divorced and I figured why wait when I want to get married in the Temple again, because I hate redtape especially Church redtape, and so why not just get it cancelled now and so I won’t have anything standing in the way when I do get married but i was told that have to be engaged before I can apply-this prolonging any future engagement!!!!

  65. I can arrange to have that done, Kristine. You want the roof canceled at the same time? It’s cheaper to do both together, but it can be hell when it rains.

  66. Steve Evans says:

    I bet you could make an Eternal Ceiling if you put mirrors on the floor and the ceiling. “When you look at the top of your own hair, that’s all you can see. But when you gaze at your companions’s terrible, aging head, you can see eternity!”

  67. I worship Celing Cat…

  68. Er, “Ceiling Cat.”

  69. The sacredness & true understanding of the marriage covenant, according to Christ’s teachings, is completely lost today. We are in a tangled web of confusion & almost anything goes today with regard to marriage & divorce & remarriage.

    Truth is, that only those who possess ‘Christlike Unconditional True Love’ for their 1st spouse will merit the Holy Spirit of Promise & attain Exaltation. And if a spouse had such True Love for their 1st, they would never date or remarry, even after the divorce or death of their spouse.

    I believe that there is no such thing as remarriage. We are either are true & faithful with unconditional love to our 1st spouse or we aren’t, no matter what they do or where they go or how they feel about us. One day, most likely not until the next life, they will surely & completely repent & if we have kept our covenants to them, only then we will we merit being married for all eternity to them & keep our family eternal.

    Marriage was never about us, it is about being Christlike & saving our spouse by true love, especially when they don’t deserve it & that usually takes until the next life to do.

    Christ taught that marriage was indissoluble, meaning it’s impossible to dissolve or end the marriage.

    Christ commanded that no one on earth can separate what he united together. If it will be separated he will decide that himself in the next life, but we are to keep our covenants to our spouse no matter what, though we can seek safety if need be through separation if they are dangerous to live with, but that doesn’t end the marriage.

    Christ further taught that no one should remarry after justified divorce because of fornication. They must wait until their spouse repents, in this life or the next, for everyone will one day repent.

    No one can ever change or go against Christ’s teachings & it be valid. That’s how we are told to recognize ‘falsehoods’, for they will go against Christ’s teachings.

  70. Wow. Not doctrinal. Just, wow.

  71. Thought we were warned this would happen in these last days, it still is so amazing how truth seems so false today, & right is so often called wrong & good called ‘not doctrinal & evil’ & most unfortunately evil is called good, right & doctrinal.

  72. StillConfused says:

    I think Lilly is completely off base and doesn’t even begin to understand what love is. Love is an emotion of God meaning it is eternal and ever expanding. Hence, to say someone can only love one person completely fails to grasp the concept of Christianity. Did Christ only love one person? Can a mother only love her first child? And what about all of the polygamy junk?

    I have met people who think as Lilly does. My dear sweet great aunt was one of them. She never could bring herself to allow a second man to kiss her on the lips. But even she knew that that was her personal decision and was a big advocate when I kicked my prior spouse to the curb.

    One thing is for certain reading these comments, the LDS church has really done a disservice to the institution of marriage with its current rule structure. Many great people are needlessly suffering and led to feel second class because of a system that is arbitrary and even the leaders can’t explain. None of us really KNOW what the afterlife brings so why use a perceived notion of it to bring lifelong suffering to good people?

  73. I’ve become convinced that the sealing ordinance either means something very different than what we say it does, or it’s just one of those weird things we do for no particular reason except we’ve been doing it for a hundred years and why stop now? I hope, and live as though, it’s the former and not the latter, but the idea that we can only be with our loved ones in the eternities if we file our paperwork correctly on earth just doesn’t make any sense to me. So I don’t bother with those questions anymore.

    FWIW, my MIL was widowed at 26 (three kids), and she believes that the policy of a woman being able to be sealed to only one man did adversely affect her remarriage prospects. (She never did remarry.)

  74. Lily must be Catholic. Were you recently baptized? Navigating through the doctrines of multiple religions must be very confusing.

  75. observer fka eric s says:

    Lilly, are you married? Just checking.

  76. @Lilly

    I believe that there is no such thing as remarriage.

    But plural marriage is okay. I don’t remember the New Testament changing that much from 1830 to now, so can you enlighten us on this a bit?

  77. When I was in a singles’ ward, there were quite a few women who were divorced (I assume) with small children who would attend our meetings, sometimes with their children, sometimes without. I noticed these women were getting married (and sealed) really fast. I remember thinking it seemed to defy what was “normal” and wondered if I needed to consider getting pregnant, just so I could get married. (please take that last bit as tongue-in-cheek)

  78. Huntsman / Romney 2012 says:

    @Lilly

    What if spouse #1 ends up in Outer Darkness?

  79. I know a LDS woman, born and raised in the Church who thinks like lily. She is married, legally and in the Temple but her husband is a real character, he drinks, smokes, cheats on her, etc. has the maturity of a 13 year old hasn’t been active since before they got married. They have been married ten years now? and they have lived apart for most of it, they are on again off again, they fight most of the time from what she tells me but she won’t get divorced. She just has this block in her head that being divorced is somehow worse then the miserable life she is leading now. She would be INFINATELY be better off without this man. I home teach her and it sickens my companion and I to no end but you can’t say that your life would be better off getting a divorce, because she would misinterpret it. I don’t know why he stays.

  80. Sure we can & should love everyone, but that is a lesser form of love than what we have for a spouse. We are to give our whole heart & soul to just 2 people, God & our spouse. No one can have true love for more than one spouse. True marital love is completely true & faithful & mutually exclusive.

    True Love is what proves a person is righteous & what makes a marriage eternal, whether it’s done officially yet or not. We are commanded to have this unconditional true love for our 1st spouse, no matter what.

    We are commanded to love our spouse more than we love ourselves or even our children. Who would ever abandon theirselves or children, even if they get sick mentally, physically or spiritually & go off the deep end. That is just when true love kicks in & according to Joseph Smith & other Prophets, helps save our spouse & children who lose their way.

    But just because very few believe in this love anymore, doesn’t mean anything has changed.

    Just because Heavenly Father allows us to do something these days because we want it, like divorce & remarriage even in the Church, doesn’t mean it’s valid. He lets us have & do what we want, whether good or bad. It appears very easy for anyone to deceive their way into the temple & be remarried. Almost every one believes they are inspired & justified & right in remarriage, even if they aren’t. That they can get away with it does not mean it’s valid.

    I do not believe in any form of polygamy & neither did Joseph Smith & many other Prophets, if you really study their proven & published testimony & warnings to us about any form of polygamy. Thus I do not believe there will be any form of plural marriage in eternity.

    One must 1st possess True Love in order to believe in or understand it’s power & purpose.

    Christ taught that you can tell who his true disciples & Prophets are by how they preach, practice & possess this true Christlike love, especially for their spouse.

  81. Mommie Dearest says:

    Lilly, I am married to a guy who can be a real jerk, but I am hanging in there. I would very much like to investigate your ideas about my true love saving my husband. Can you give me any scripture references or official statements from prophets that I can study?

  82. But Lilly, I thought Jesus was married to both Mary and Martha…

  83. All,
    Lilly shows up just for these conversations to convince us all there’s no such thing as remarriage blah, blah, blah. Please ignore her.

  84. I do not believe in any form of polygamy & neither did Joseph Smith & many other Prophets, if you really study their proven & published testimony & warnings to us about any form of polygamy.

    Call for reference.

    (Man, I miss Usenet and A.R.M.)

  85. Really, ignore her.

  86. Huntsman/Romney 2012,

    If our spouse goes to Outer Darkness, that is another matter. But only Heavenly Father will determine that in the next life. We still are commanded to keep our covenants to our spouse & never break them or give up on our spouse in this life.

    Whizzbang,

    Of course it would funner & easier to divorce & remarry instead of having unconditional love like Christ did. I’m sure Christ didn’t enjoy the suffering he chose to endure either. But it’s for the reward & power to save souls, if we love them, that a person is willing to sacrifice & suffer in order to earn. This life & the sacrifices we make are just a blink, compared to the ultimate joy & happiness of saving souls for all eternity.

  87. I’ve got a friend who was widowed at a relatively young age when she lost her husband to colon cancer. She was living on the Wasatch Front at the time, and found it difficult to date. She got to be friendly with a few women in similar situations – previously sealed, with young children, and in some cases even had bishops telling the young men to steer clear of the PS group (Previous Sealing). Some of the women in the PS group came up with the strategy of heading out to bars (that’s private clubs for members only in Utah), specifically in an effort to find men who cared so little for the Church that they wouldn’t be scared off from a previous sealing, and then they figured they’d just bully/love/cajole their new spouse back into full church activity.

    Said friend stuck to her guns and found a PhD, never married guy who was active in the church, RM, and all the Sunday School answers who didn’t think that a previous sealing was that big of a deal, and thought it would all work out in the end. He’d been warned by two bishopric members, a few high council members, and a Stake President against the marriage. They tried to tell him that any children he had would be sealed to her previous husband. His position was that it didn’t matter what truck the trailer was hitched to, as long as it got to the right place in the end.

  88. it's a series of tubes says:

    Thank you, Lilly, for your strident certainty. Great for keeping the discussion going. Would you be willing to identify the state in which you currently reside? I have my suspicions :)

  89. Latter-day Guy says:

    82 FTW!

  90. Oh, and Lily, the triple combination you should be using at Church has “The Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price” on the spine. Not “Twilight, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn”. Those aren’t scripture. Just like how too many Twinkies can rot your teeth, too many cheap thrill romance novels about “one true love” can rot your brain.

    (No offense to Sister Jovan.)

  91. None taken, although I suspect Lilly could use a romance novel or seven.

  92. it's a series of tubes says:

    Zing!

  93. Mommie Dearest,

    I truly commend you for taking your covenants so seriously & following Christ’s example. I know how hard it is what you are doing. But I also know that Heavenly Father will bless you with the greatest of all blessings & power in heaven if you can just endure & keep your covenants & love your spouse, even though he may not deserve it or care that you do. It is very worth hanging on for.

    Your husband will one day fully repent, if not in this life then the next, for everyone must. He will make it all up to you throughout the eternities for what he did to you here & he will be cleansed & purifed & be the perfect spouse. He will be so remorseful & so grateful to you for your love & faithfulness to him, & even eventually will love you more than any other man ever could. For Christ taught that ‘he who is forgiven most, loves the most’ When he comes to himself one day & sees & understands all that you went through for him he will bathe your feet with his tears & love & serve your every wish forever with a perfect love.

    If you don’t endure for him & help save him, & he doesn’t fully repent in this life, the Prophets say he will have to go to the Telestial Kingdom & endure painful singleness & remorse for all eternity, ever knowing what he lost & what he could have had with you & your children.

    Joseph Smith & others were very clear that you can also save your children with such valiant love & commitment to your marriage & spouse, if your children happen to go off in forbidden paths one day.

    The Prophets have said so much about these things & the power of true love & how it can save our spouse & children.

    If you want to give me a way to send you some references or discuss this further I would be happy to. There are so many references & things to say, it would be so hard to just start listing or discussing them all here.

  94. Mommie Dearest says:

    Nevermind Lilly, I’ll do my own research. You’re too long-winded.

  95. Sophie,

    I firmly believe that Christ was married to only Mary. He came to her 1st & tried to comfort & reassure her that he was ok & all will be well, just as perfect husband would do. His wife always comes 1st. And I don’t believe that was the only time he visited her. When a spouse is righteous they can be worthy of frequent visits by their deceased spouse. I know of this happening with many people.

    Christ even taught that it was adultery to marry anyone else if you are married, (so he quietly covered polygamy too) even if you try & divorce your spouse 1st before marrying again, it still does not end the marriage & make one eligiable for remarriage or marriage to another spouse. Even after a divorce, he taught that they are still husband & wife, & thus even the innocent spouse commits adultery by remarrying.

    Prophets have said that Christ’s laws on marriage & divorce are still valid for us today, even if very few are still abiding by them.

  96. Lilly is on to something here. The bible says that if you’re raped that you need to marry the rapist (Deut 22:28-29). The bible also says that women should not leave their unbelieving husbands (1 Cor 7:10-14). Even if your marriage started by rape, he will eventually repent in the next life and you’ll be truly and deeply in love for all eternity. This is why the church has the policy on abortion that if the pregnancy is the result of rape that you can’t get an abortion but should instead marry your rapist. It’s all part of the plan. You agreed to it in the pre-existence just like in Saturday’s Warrior.

  97. observer fka eric s says:

    geoffsn – It might be time for you to go see Breaking Dawn.

  98. Can I give my heart and soul to three people? God, my wife, and Heavenly Mother?

    Yes, I understand the need for some hard and fast rules, but explaining your views as if talking to children who dont seem to understand really rubs people the wrong way. It is possible Lilly has the right of things, but there are many, many other interpretations of scripture and prophets, so many that we can’t all get the same answer at the same time. This is one of those things that people should put forward their own theories as their own, listen and learn from others, and have everyone obtain their own light and knowledge from above.

    Anyway, its gotten off topic.

    Having been divorced, my dear wife has said she is greatful for the experiences I had, because they made me into who I am now. She was also glad for someone who had been through the whole childbirth thing (from a male perspective) because the thought of childbirth particulalrly scares her, even though she wanted children (and even after 3 necessary c-sections). I don’t think she was intentionally looking for someone who was married before, but when it happened, it was just, well, right.

    This subject is also something that has come up in talking to one another. Our thoughts on it are in line with how we understand marriage here and in the hereafter to be. For her, if I died, she doesn’t think she’d want to marry again simply because she couldn’t imagine falling in love with anyone else. If she died, she would want me to find someone with my wife in consideration; someone she could love just as much. Of course, we’re both terrified of losing the other, so also have some good life insurance just in case, but we’d much rather have the other than the money.

  99. it's a series of tubes says:

    he will even eventually will love you more than any other man ever could. For Christ taught that ‘he who is forgiven most, loves the most’

    I hereby proposed that we all adopt Lilly’s position and proceed to commit as many grievous sins as possible against our spouses… but not divorce! Ever! That would be wrong! This way, in the end, we will love each other more than anyone else ever could!

  100. Hmm, I didn’t get very close to on topic, did I? :P

  101. it's a series of tubes says:

    Also, is it just me, or does Lilly give off a certain “Stockholm syndrome” vibe?

  102. #99: Yes. We believe that every people received revelation in their own tongue from their own prophets. Look at the wonderful scriptures from the Greeks. We can learn that they too followed this all important principle of staying married to your one true love. Hera stayed with Zeus no matter how many times he turned into an animal or inanimate object only to sin against Hera. This leads to the also true principle of opposition in all things. If you want to have the most sublime love in your marriage, you must also experience the most extreme hatred.

    and (#101) yes, I was thinking the same thing.

  103. observer fka eric s says:

    My policy proposal in response to question 4 of the OP: walking past the High Priest group room once I heard that even after a person is sealed to another, that they will still need to “chose” each other again at some point in the afterlife. My wife and I jokingly threaten each other with this after bad behavior. So consistent with that bit o’ momo lore, why not just allow women and men to be sealed to as many people as they’d like when their spouse predeceases? That way they will have more options, sort of like a eternal beauty/righteousness contest. If a woman whose spouse predeceased her marries another dood, then she will have more options, as the lore goes.

  104. Geoffsn,

    I actually don’t believe that Heavenly Father would ask a woman to marry someone who raped her. We must realize that some of the laws in the Old Test. were not the high laws of Christ & were laws, some inspired, some not, for a people who weren’t as righteous as they should be.

    Plus, many things in the Old Test, even the New Test. (but Joseph Smith went through it & corrected much of it) were probably not translated correctly or things were left out or added that were wrong. At any rate we must take what the Old Test. says with a huge grain of salt, until it is further reviewed & corrected & explained by a modern Prophet. We also should put the teachings of the Book of Mormon (the most correct book) & the D&C before anything the Bible says.

    Today we have more light & knowledge & we understand that it would be wrong for a woman to marry a man she knows is abusive. Women are encouraged & taught to have self-respect & high self worth, especially while dating & choosing a husband, & protect themselves from future abuse the best they can, by especially not signing up for it by marrying someone who has already proven they have that problem.

    If a good husband falls & becomes unfaithful, abusive or in any way unrighteous after the wedding, it is a different thing, then the woman is bound by covenants & she is asked to have the unconditional love & desire to help him repent or even save him if need be.

    Heavenly Father wants all marriages to be by common consent, someone the woman can really say she agreed to & wanted. He would never ask a woman to marry someone she didn’t love & desire to marry & who didn’t prove & promise his righteousness & true love for her too. Heavenly Father is the ultimate defender & protector of women.

    But yes, I agree, 1 Cor. 7:10-14 is a great scripture that does describe the power of a righteous spouse to help save a unrighteous spouse & thus, then, their children.

  105. Steve Evans says:

    “If a good husband falls & becomes unfaithful, abusive or in any way unrighteous after the wedding, it is a different thing, then the woman is bound by covenants & she is asked to have the unconditional love & desire to help him repent or even save him if need be. ”

    Lilly, the Church does not condone spousal abuse at all, and a spouse is not expected to remain in an abusive marriage. Your teachings here regarding divorce are not doctrinal and people need to realize that you are spouting crazy talk. This is an order that you forthwith cease and desist from all crazy talk.

  106. Thank you Steve Evans thank you!

  107. Regarding those mentioned here whose spouses are slackers, I would suggest that all covenants and contracts, including the covenant of marriage, entered into but not sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise are null and void. If they don’t have the confirming Spirit in their marriage they have no promise of an Eternal relationship. The sealing, it seems to me would be likewise void.

  108. Oh, yeah, Steve. That’s gonna work.

    This all reminds me of the joke that ends: “Oh, no, dear, she’s left-handed.”

  109. I’m sorry I don’t have time to read all of the comments, but I have a couple of scenarios I personally know about.
    1. My father passed away about 10 years ago. My mom remarried to a man in the temple for time only. She currently has a letter from the First Presidency saying that when she dies, she can be sealed to my step-dad. (And that this sealing can take place without cancelling the sealing to my father.)
    2. I married in the temple and was divorced at 27. I remarried a non-member, and was still able to get a sealing cancellation, even without a new sealing to replace it.

  110. Steve,
    I agree a wife should seek safety if her husband is dangerous, but the Church does not advocate breaking covenants & ending the marriage. Prophet plead with us over & over to keep our covenants & never break them, & have unconditional love, especially for our spouse. A wife can still stay faithful to & love & serve an abusive husband from a safe or even legal distance if needed, & help him repent over time & thus eventually save the marriage & family throughout eternity, when he one day really does fully repent.

    Elder Scott, for one, taught that we should ‘never ever give up’ on even a wicked spouse, but love them without reservation (even if that is from a safe distance) & instead have an ‘eternal perspective’ on the marriage.

  111. Lilly, gotcha.

    If the man is a rapist before the marriage, we have light and knowledge to know that it would be wrong to marry him.
    If the man is a rapist after the marriage, we have light and knowledge to know that it would be wrong to not stay married to him.

    Makes perfect sense. Joseph corrected a ton of stuff, like when he changed the old testament to say that Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon, etc. only had one true wife each. Then Joseph himself showed us how to just have one true love that we’re sealed to. He set such a good example of this that he set over 30 examples of this. Helen Mar Kimball agreed to marriage “by common consent, [to] someone [she] can really say she agreed to & wanted” because at 14 she totally knew that she wanted her husband. It had nothing to do with her father wanting to create an eternal link between his family and Joseph’s.

  112. Steve Evans says:

    Lilly, I don’t know where you’re coming from here — if I didn’t know better, I’d swear you were a troll just having laughs. But regardless — you’re wrong. And now, you’re in the mod queue. I hope that my administrative abuses will not affect your unconditional love for BCC.

  113. Chris Gordon says:

    Um, I’ve seen people’s comments blocked for less. Can we get an admin in here, stat?

  114. Haven’t read all the posts, this is my experience. I divorced X, we had been married/sealed 29 years. Married NOMO. Then X married in the temple. I has asked several SPs and Temple pres. about having sealing cancelled, was told I would lose sealing to my kids. That did NOT sit well with my soul.I have always been temple worthy (whether I agree with everything in the temple is another story altogether) After X was re-married I said, Hell no, I will not give him the satisfaction of thinking he now has two wives so I again talked with SP and sent letters to 1st Pres. Finally, on 5 Jan. 2011, received a letter that my sealing to X was cancelled, but with NO mention of my children still being sealed to me, even after the 1st Pres. Sec. called me and told me i was still sealed to my kids. In fact, the letter was a simple form letter with not one mention of my particular circumstance that i had painstakingly detailed at their request. Bottom line – a woman can have her sealing cancelled, but it took me over 9 years. Very sexist IMO.

  115. Steve Evans says:

    Chris, what are you talking about?

  116. “Of course it would funner & easier to divorce & remarry instead of having unconditional love like Christ did.”

    I just love divorcing and remarrying, it is the funnest!

  117. it's a series of tubes says:

    116 for COTW!

  118. #46 Kristine, this is why I didn’t share my own personal experiences and directed those with questions to the proper sources. I’m not saying I know better like I’m somehow special, I’m saying I’ve experienced it. There is a difference. And it was not their private interpretations, it was information my direct leadership received from the Handbook and from General Authorities when they needed to ask them.

    Believe you me, if I could trade my knowledge for the experience which gave it to me, I would.

    #50 Incencal—You may be able to apply, depending on your circumstances. I suggest you counsel with your bishop on that.

    #69 Lilly—You are teaching false doctrine. I would be careful about saying what you said. It is apparent you are lucky enough to have never been married to an abusive spouse, or any number of other things for which a divorce is allowable by the Lord.

    And let me make one thing clear. The woman is not bound by covenants that her spouse broke the moment he decided she was an object to be manipulated, particularly when he lays so much as an angry finger on her.

  119. Steve Evans says:

    I’ll second the nom for #116

  120. I’ve never understood cancelling, excommunication, etc.. Sealing and baptism are ordinances, and according to my understanding, only valid according to the faithfulness of the person involved. Cancelling, excommunicating, etc., all just seem like administrative hand-waving. There’s no ordinance involved. As far as I know, there’s no revelation about sealing cancellations (though one could argue there is for excommunications), so how in the world would the 1st Pres. Sec. have any idea if Sherry were still sealed to her kids? I’ve heard so many different understandings from “authorities” that I’ve come to the conclusion they’re either making it up to placate people or receiving inspiration for specific cases. It’s not like the sealing doctrine hasn’t changed over time, and if it is indeed an eternal ordinance, the only explanation is that we don’t understand it very well.

    But in a sense, I’m lying to myself. I’d agonize over not being able to be sealed to the woman I’m having children with. On the other hand, were I to die and my wife get remarried and have more children, I’d want those children sealed to both her and their father. So, I guess I’m all for eternal polyandry and polygamy.

  121. My 2nd great grandfather, James, married his deceased brother’s wife, Ruth, my 2nd great grandmother and his former sister-in-law. Clear as mud, right? His brother, George, was shot and killed while serving his mission to the ‘Indian nation’. The bullet entered his chest through the laces of his garments. Otherwise, we all know they would have bounced off his chest like bullets on Superman, right? In the written family history, it says that James would spend countless nights pacing the floor, anguishing over whether his children would be sealed to him or to his brother.

    This story is especially poignant to me since the ‘other man’ is his own brother. It sounds like a soap opera but the characters are very real. So who gets the raw deal? The missionary killed in full-time service to the Lord? Or the man who lived and raised all of the children? Sounds like a job for….a just, loving God.

  122. Glenn Thigpen says:

    I know a woman, a great lady, who was sealed to her husband who died leaving her a widow in her fifties. She met a man later on who was in a similar state, a widower. The two hit it off and were sealed for time only in the Atlanta Temple. No problem for them.
    I have a brother who’s wife left him and the church. He found another woman, faithful in the church, and was able to be married to her for all time and eternity. I have never asked him if he had to have his first sealing cancelled after his civil divorce.
    As for women who are married to several men in this life and survive all of them, they are allowed to be sealed to all of the men they were legally married to in this life. (Check the CHI.) How that will work out in the next life I do not know. But that is God’s purview in any event.

    Glenn

  123. John Mansfield says:

    Martin, how about Matthew 16:19? “I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

  124. I’m currently a membership clerk. Our ward had a case where a husband died. The wife got a cancellation after she got engaged to a divorced brother. Both had children from their first marriages.

    We (bishop, clerk, membership clerk) were instructed that the children’s sealings were *NOT* canceled, that they remained sealed to their parents. The general guidance was that a child’s sealing is more of a binary condition (yes, no) as opposed to having to worry about “which set of parents”.

    Another scenario: Couple gets divorced, but doesn’t cancel the sealing (or the relationship, apparently). Later the couple (still divorced) finds out they are expecting. They remarry. The sealing was never cancelled. The children born after the second marriage are considered sealed.

  125. Anony-miss says:

    124. I appreciate the ‘official’ view from the seat of a ward clerk, thanks. However… holy guacamole. Could we make what should be a holy gospel ordinance MORE bureaucratic and pedantic? We have to specify this stuff?

  126. Eveningsun says:

    Wow. This whole comment thread has me shaking my head.

  127. I was recently told by leadership, and read in the handbook that men can ONLY recieve a “clearance” whereas a woman must have a “cancellation”. In this thread it has been stated otherwise. I just want to know if people are really aware of any situations where an actual cancellation for a man was provided. Because I was told that it is never necessary for a man to have a cancellation and that it would be “worked out” in the after-life. Women must have a cancellation in order to be re-married in the temple. Men need clearance. There is a distinction. If anyone is aware of anything else on the topic, I’d like to hear it, but second hand accounts seem suspect to me since I think it’s easy for people to throw out that term “cancellation” when they really mean “clearance”.

  128. #28 – Connie Says:
    November 18, 2011 at 12:59 am
    Toni, Men can get a cancellation of their sealing.

    Since when? They couldn’t when I got my cancellation about five years ago. I saw the form. Only women could get cancellations and only men could get clearances. It was very plainly stated.

  129. #50 incencal Says:
    Assuming I do get remarried (I’m 27, so I like to think there is hope!) will I need a clearance or cancellation? I can’t apply for either one until I am ready to remarry in the temple, correct?

    When you decide to remarry, you will need to talk to your bishop. He has the forms. Living spouses are usually contacted.

    I think they only contact the spouses one was sealed to.

    The man I referred to in my first post, who got a clearance was my second husband. He wanted to be sealed to me. He wanted a cancellation. They don’t give them to men. At least they didn’t two and a half years ago. I remember that they contacted his first wife. I don’t recall anything about them contacting his second/third wife, to whom he had only been civilly married. I changed my mind about being sealed, and we ended up divorced.

    After we were divorced, he began the process of applying for a clearance to be sealed to the next woman he wanted to marry. No one contacted me. I don’t know if he got the paper notifying him of the clearance before she decided to call off the marriage. Again, it was a clearance he was applying for, though he’d like nothing better than to be completely shed of wife #1. This was last year that he did this.

    Also, when I married my first husband in 1991, he was perfectly able to be sealed to me without a special paper from Salt Lake. The issue he had was child support and a stake president who was reluctant to give him a recommend until he had proven that he was paying. When our daughter was born the following year, someone told us the policy had changed. Now a man had to get a clearance to be sealed. The spouse felt like he was lucky to have squeaked in under the wire.

  130. Toni-if you married someone in 1991 and you’re 27 then that means you were 7 when you got married!

  131. “I can’t apply for [cancellation] until I am ready to remarry in the temple, correct?” No longer true. The handbook has been changed. Pending remarriage or engagement is no longer a prerequisite.

  132. LOL You crack me up. The first paragraph was a quote from #50 incencal. Notice it said “incencal says”. I just didn’t think to put it in quotes. Sorry about that. :D

  133. I concur with #131 DavidH. I got a cancellation without planning to remarry. I have no clue about a clearance.

  134. My BIL got a cancellation when he married my sister.

  135. Kevin Barney says:

    This distinction between a clearance and a cancellation is interesting to me. I don’t think I was aware of that particular nuance before.

    And it’s also interesting to me that the Handbook has changed, allowing women to get cancellations even if another marriage is not on the horizon.

  136. Clearance vs. cancellation. Yep, we’re back to the polygamy thing. Men get to have multiple wives with clearances, and women have to get temple divorces. Like Jennifer #38 told us, women can’t possibly be the responsibility of two men. After reading all this, I’m seriously thinking of just sticking with my ceilings.

  137. I’m so glad I’m not in the First Presidency or an Apostle. It’s giving me a headache reading all the stories about cancellation and clearances.

  138. We’re adoptive parents and when we were going through the screening process with the church agency in the early ’90s, we were asked if we were open to adopting children we couldn’t be sealed to. We asked how often that occurred and were told ‘More often than you might think’. No hard data was given us, however. Our social worker told us about a recent situation where a temple sealed couple was divorcing and then discovered the wife was pregnant and so they both wanted to place the baby. If we were selected, we would raise the child but s/he would be sealed to her/his bio parents. It made for some interesting discussions between my husband and me. In the end, we didn’t have that issue to deal with as far as our children’s birthparents went–although we definitely had other challenges.

    I appreciated #124’s comment; “The general guidance was that a child’s sealing is more of a binary condition (yes, no) as opposed to having to worry about “which set of parents”. ”

    One last thought. Isn’t agency an eternal principle? Don’t these children have some say in the end? Don’t we all have a say in the end? I know that worthiness is a crucial part of it and that God is the ultimate Judge. However, I think agency may play a bigger role than we may realize.

  139. #134 Anon,
    Did he apply for and get a cancellation or did his ex? In other words, if a woman gets a cancellation, it is canceled on both sides (though someone told me that the ex-husband still had to go through the clearance process – don’t know why).

    I think it would be good if both men and women had a choice of whether to have their previous marriage canceled or have a clearance to be sealed (keeping the former sealing intact).

    Those who are saying that a man can apply/has applied for and received a cancellation, do you have some way to verify that change in policy? Like, a snippet from a handbook? A peek at a form (request for cancellation)?

    I don’t think it’s a bad thing to have that. I am just surprised that the policy has changed in the last year or two. (Perhaps I should notify my ex that he can have his sealing to #1 cancelled even if he isn’t planning to be sealed to anyone else. I’m sure he’d tell me if he went to the bishop and was told flat out that men can’t have cancellations.)

  140. I was searching and came across these sites:

    https://tech.lds.org/forum/showthread.php?4740-Sealing-to-Multiple-Spouses

    The link above says the answer is here: “page 85 of the Church Handbook of Instructions, Book 1. Specifically, at the bottom of the left column.” But it says if a man’s wife has died, the man can just get sealed again without going through any special process, which is not true according to my understanding. It’s dated March 2010

    The following site tells how to go about getting a cancellation/clearance:

    http://www.ehow.com/how_5523144_obtain-temple-divorce.html

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sealing_%28Mormonism%29

    I could only find a cached version of the following from lds.net.

    http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:WkBCWBtnCIUJ:www.lds.net/forums/lds-gospel-discussion/40883-what-true-process-getting-sealed-again-3.html&hl=en&gl=us&strip=1 (I don’t know how to shorten it for bcc’s site. Sorry. I’m going to save the thread to my computer for future reference.)

    The same thread: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:WkBCWBtnCIUJ:www.lds.net/forums/lds-gospel-discussion/40883-what-true-process-getting-sealed-again-3.html+&cd=7&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

    It is dated July 2011 and says, in part, “Sealing of Living Members after Divorce

    “Women. A living woman may be sealed to only one husband. If she is sealed to a husband and later divorces, she must receive a cancellation of that sealing from the First Presidency before she may be sealed to another man in her lifetime (see “Applying for a Cancellation of Sealing or a Sealing Clearance” below).

    “Men. If a husband and wife have been sealed and later divorced, the man must receive a sealing clearance from the First Presidency before another woman may be sealed to him (see “Applying for a Cancellation of Sealing or a Sealing Clearance” below). A sealing clearance is necessary even if (1) the previous sealing has been canceled or (2) the divorced wife is now deceased.”

    Lds.net is not an official church website, though it looks like they are quoting from official sources.

  141. I just posted a comment that is probably in the moderator’s spam folder because of the many links that are in it. Not spam, I promise. I’d appreciate it if a mod would post it. Thanks.

  142. Nope, he applied.

  143. #141 anon,
    Okay. Things have obviously changed. Glad to know.

  144. Toni,
    I just double checked with my sister. I was wrong. They had clearance, it was not cancelled. However when his first wife went to get remarried later it was cancelled. The worst, most unequal policy I see is that he (all men are) was asked to give permission to cancel the sealing. I can’t imagine a divorced man saying, “No, I want to stay sealed to my ex-wife,” and of course it is ultimately decided by the first presidency, but still, it does give pause.

    Maybe it has changed since then, she’s been married for 5 or 6 years.

  145. The current CHI indicates that women apply for a cancellation, but men apply for a clearance.

  146. let’s say a guy doesn’t get a clearance or cancellation and gets remarried in the Temple I doubt God would still be bound to the first sealing, even if the woman let’s say wants nothing to do with the Church

  147. Whizzbang,
    You mean married for time in the temple? I’m not sure I understand your comment.

  148. 147
    Well, if a man is sealed to his wife in the Temple and they later get a divorce and he remarries in the Temple without a cancellation or clearance, I don’t know if God would honor the first sealing if the ex-wife goes inactive, I don’t see God forcing someone into heaven and being stuck with someone that clearly they don’t want to be with. So I don’t know, in that case, if it matters a whole lot if the man gets a cancellation or clearance

  149. #9- Just antidotal evidence, but my former BIL was married civilly to an active single sister of the church (he has not yet gotten a temple divorce), less than two years after his divorce from his first wife who he cheated on ( he did not marry the woman he had the affair with). Some women in the church, don’t have very high standards. I would think a nice divorced man, who cannot be blamed for his divorce, would be a great catch. Good luck.

    You guys, be nice to Lily. She has a “hard row to hoe in this life” and you don’t have to agree with her, it is ok to have differing opinions.

    I agree with Lily as far as I don’t believe in polygamy in this life and maybe not in the hereafter. Given that many men/women have had multiple marriage partners throughout history, because of a high rate of death, G-d will have many situations to sort out. I think women should enjoy the same privilege as men, and should be able to be sealed to more than one husband as long as the former spouse is deceased. In the case of divorce, both men and women should be able to get a cancellation or clearance. IMHO.

    As a widow myself, I have heard it said, ” Joanna should not date widowers. Widowers are obligated to marry single or divorced sisters.” So, my retort has been, “IF, I remarry, I am marrying a non-member, so I don’t have to put up such silly nonsense ( polygamy, not sealings).

  150. Because of my work as a professional genealogist, I get asked sealing questions all the time. I’ve come to think of sealing in a different way. Relationships aside, one of the outcomes of a man being sealed to a spouse is that he takes on the responsibility to use his priesthood to guide them through the final ordinances at the veil. Like other priesthood ordinances (baptism, priesthood ordinations etc), men can perform them on behalf of any number of people. But an individual can only have them performed once on their behalf. So, following this thinking, it does makes sense that men can agree to perform these last ordinances on behalf of more that one person, but it is never necessary or appropriate for a women to have them performed more than once on her behalf. Hence men can be sealed to more than one woman, but women can only be sealed to one man. What do you guys think?

  151. Katie, I think that’s a given, but that doesn’t make it less painful, more equal, or make women sealed to another men feel any better if they are passed over for marriage because of it.

  152. Anon #114, the men are not asked for permission. That is a common misconception. The non-requesting spouse of either gender is asked to submit a letter. That is something I feel safe to share, as it is policy, not doctrine. :)

  153. Sorry, that should be #144.

  154. SilverRain,
    Both are asked to submit a letter. The men are asked for permission, as was my BIL.

  155. Lilly (see 69,71,80), there are historical records af at least a dozen marriages of Joseph Smith, during his lifetime. Check the published Church History records for the details on these. There have been several articles on it. I believe that I read one in the journal “BYU Studies”.

  156. Yes, both are asked to submit a letter. But requesting permission is not officially part of the process. Perhaps I was fortunate to have a brand-new bishop who therefore went carefully by the book.

  157. wa state anon says:

    So what I am gathering from this is
    1. Divorced = used goods = undesirable to a number of worthy priesthood holders.
    2. I need to clarify that I am NOT sealed when I create an online dating profile.
    3. Hope that said worthy priesthood holder will look past the blue book value and see me for who I am?
    Great fun.

  158. 9 years ago I had a sibling die who was sealed to his wife and had children with her born under the covenant. Towards his death the seas were a bit choppy and divorce had been discussed but the process had never commenced.
    Around two years later she began dating and during this time she applied for a cancellation of the sealing as she wanted to remarry in the temple to her fiance. Without my brother’s consent this permission fell upon my mother who was required to write a letter to Church Headquarters giving her thoughts and feelings on the matter. Whilst I don’t think this was “permission” from my mother I think it fed into the revelatory process for the First Presidency to make their decision.
    Around 6 weeks later my mother received a personal letter from a member of the first quorum of seventy stating that the cancellation had been granted and that no blessings will be denied her or the rest of my brothers family if we remained faithful. It was a wonderfully written and thoughtful letter (however standard it may have been).
    So posthumous cancellations do happen despite both couples being temple worthy at time of death. I found the whole process fascinating.

  159. I have a question (relates a bit to Bradford’s comment): if a couple marry and are sealed, then the husband dies, can the wife get the sealing cancelled on her own should she wish to be sealed when she remarries, or does a relative of the deceased spouse have to give permission for the sealing to be cancelled? I have a relative who married young in the temple (this was about 20 years ago), and her husband died while she was pregnant with her first child. She later learned that her husband had been a child-abuser for many years prior to meeting her and had several victims in their community. She remarried and applied to get her prior sealing cancelled so she could be sealed to her second husband, but my understanding is that she was denied the cancellation because her ex-father-in-law wouldn’t give his permission for the sealing to be cancelled. The story was that she was just waiting for the father-in-law to die so that she could get her cancellation approved. Does this policy ring a bell for anyone? It still sounds like a crazy story to me and I really hope I somehow have the details wrong, but I swear this was the word on the street in my family at the time.

  160. I’m looking forward to a civil wedding. If I were to nominate either myself or my affianced as the more likely to desire a harem of sex partners once we’re dead, it’d definitely be me.

    There’s a lot of talk in the Church about sealing making the pain of separation at death somehow less painful, but it’s just not true. My mother is dying, and it hurts just as much to see her suffer, I get absolutely jack comfort out of a vague, abstract idea that we will be “together” later. I’d rather just be together now; same goes for my marriage. I’d rather have a happy temporal (I’d hardly say “temporary”) marriage than a Church marriage where fundamental inequalities exist, cf this post.

  161. Steve Evans says:

    “If I were to nominate either myself or my affianced as the more likely to desire a harem of sex partners once we’re dead, it’d definitely be me”

    That was one of the first questions I asked my spouse when we were dating. Her answer was surprising!

  162. If I were to nominate either myself or my affianced as the more likely to desire a harem of sex partners once we’re dead, it’d definitely be me.

    Yeah…put me in that camp, too.

  163. Perhaps my understanding of the gospel is lacking, but I believe that a person can be sealed to more than one brother or sister concurrently. I am sealed to my father and mother, to my wife, and to each of my children. Perhaps our comprehension of what it means to be “sealed” is not broad enough. I am aware of no doctrinal distinction for a “parent-child” sealing versus a “marriage” sealing. The way I look at it, I am sealed to several of my wonderful spiritual brothers and sisters, but I only exercise sexual relations with the sister to whom I am currently legally married. So if a woman can be sealed to her father, her sons, and a divorced husband, all of which are her spiritual brothers, it seems reasonable to me that she should be able to be sealed to yet another spiritual brother in the temple without a formal process. I think the doctrine of sealing is more grand than we realize.

  164. Anony-miss says:

    Craig, excellent point. So do a lot of the worries we have boil down to, “who will be having sex with whom?” in the next life?

  165. j.y.a. I certainly hope that is just a story (the part about not being allowed to have a cancellation).

    My ex fought the cancellation. He didn’t want it. He enjoyed ownership of me, as he supposed. He could not prevent it, even though I was not planning to remarry at the time.

    I knew a woman whose husband had died before she became a member of the church (they hadn’t been married long, but did have a son). When she decided to marry a man in the temple, the temple president told her she was “robbing the dead” and told her to have a civil marriage and think about it for a year.

    So they had a civil marriage and went back later to get sealed. Apparently, he was none too pleased, but could not do anything about it, even though her son was being sealed to her current husband.

    This was a long time ago, like probably 40+ years.

  166. Toni,
    That Temple Pres. should have known that no one on earth has the authority to allow another man to ‘rob’ a man’s child from him if he was righteous & would have joined the Church later had he lived longer. The deceased father will have 1st dibs on his son, no matter who the son was temporarily sealed to while on earth.

    Not even mothers have the right to seal the children of their deceased husbands to other men.

    The Prophets have taught very plainly that just because someone is unsealed or sealed to someone doesn’t mean it’s really valid. Alot will be changed around & couples put back together, etc. in the next life. Sealings all depend on the righteousness of the people involved. And no righteous 2nd husband or righteous mother would have another man’s son sealed to him or them, unless he & she knew that the real father wanted it or wasn’t worthy of it, which they won’t know til the next life. It’s the old “Do unto others as you would have them do to you” thing.

  167. When I got divorced I was advised not to get a cancellation until I was ready to remarry. This is because of the blessings that come along with the sealing, not because of the sealing itself.

    When I was ready to get sealed to another man, I applied for the cancellation. When it came through, I was sealed to my new husband and the promised blessings were part of the new sealing.

    My children’s blessings were not affected. The letter that came with the cancellation said so. As to who they will be sealed to – it seems to me that they will be sealed to their own spouse. And they will have relationships with me, and their dad, and their step-dad, and their step-mom. Just like they do in this life.

    On another note, my sister and her present husband both had previous spouses that died. The two of them could only be sealed for time, because of the policy of a woman not being sealed to two men. If they both live to old age, they will have been married to each other way longer than to their previous spouses. They have faith that it will all work out in the end.

    And for the record, neither me nor my sister had a problem with being seen as damaged goods.

  168. From My Mother's Basement says:

    @dc #12:
    “So, my last date was 4 years ago. All the men I’ve met who never married are living in their mothers basements and earn minimum wage.
    So much for aspiring to celestial marriage.
    And my parent wonder why I’m single. All the good men are taken or they won’t have me.
    (BTW, My BMI is 25%, I pretty d@%n good looking, have a career and education, and own my home.)”

    My question is this: What exactly are the requirements for celestial marriage? Elijah lived down by the river, without even a van. He had no job or education. And another time he mooched off of a poor widow who had a child. And he really liked to play with fire. Does that make him not a good prospect? Is he not celestial material?

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