Thursday Morning Quickie #10

[Note: The following text was taken verbatim from the “M Men-Gleaner Manual, Love, Marriage, and You” used in 1956-1957. Previous entries in this series can be found here.]

Lesson 12

The Engagement

A FEW years ago in Salt Lake City a dark-haired handsome fellow, age nineteen, started dating a charming girl who was eighteen. They both belonged to the Church and occasionally attended MIA and a few of the Sunday School and sacrament meetings. They started going steady after about eight months of dating and a variety of activities together. About two months later they began to talk seriously about getting married. The boy wanted to finish his college training and so did the girl. They quickly decided that they did not have enough money to establish a home of their own so they decided to run away, get married secretly, and continue their schooling. The couple went to a neighboring state, gave incorrect ages, and were married one evening by a justice of the peace. The witnesses were unknown to the couple and the ceremony was performed in the dining room of the justice’s home, with no appropriate surroundings. The couple then returned to Salt Lake to their folks and continued their schooling. Three months later they informed their folks and friends of their elopement and that they were “expecting” in about seven months.

Quickie Questions

1. What do you think of such a marriage?
2. Are there any advantages in an elopement?


Thursday Morning Quickie #10


  1. Sorry it’s late. Think of this one as more of a Thursday Nooner.

  2. 1. Awesome, wish I had done this and avoided the massive collective headache known as “in-laws” during the engagement.

    2. Numerous

    Scott – Think of this one as more of a Thursday Nooner

    You know how to keep me interested, always changing it up and keeping me guessing.

  3. If I ever get remarried, I’m totally eloping.

  4. Cynthia L. says:

    This informative instructional video can answer your questions about how to elope (ignore first 30 sec, which are an ad).

  5. 1- Someone has been reading my parents’ journal. They did run away to Vegas (with another couple and were so broke they had to split a hotel room. All my mom ever said was, “We took turns going out to dinner”) and then returned home and told nobody. My mom was so ashamed, so they kept quiet and then were married in a Catholic ceremony three months later. They later joined the church and were sealed. Take home lesson: Three anniversaries a year gets spendy.

    2- Are there any downsides?

  6. Mark Brown says:

    Omit the details about school and this sounds a lot like Joseph Smith and Emma Hale.

  7. (4)- So, dogs can be witnesses? Because my dog has witnessed a lot of stuff and I don’t necessarily like the idea of his testimony holding up in court.

    However, and this may make me reconsider, it would be nice not to have to drive to a notary when filing legal documents, so now I’m torn.

  8. John Mansfield says:

    “Are there any advantages in an elopement?”

    Answer: Properly managed it can put everyone on the defensive, like Violet did in Man and Superman:

    “The fact of your not being legally married matters not one scrap either to your own worth or to our real regard for you.”
    “Oh! You think me a wicked woman, like the rest. You think I have not only been vile, but that I share your abominable opinions. I have kept my marriage a secret for my husband’s sake. But now I claim my right as a married woman not to be insulted.”
    “You are married!”
    “Yes; and I think you might have guessed it. What business had you all to take it for granted that I had no right to wear my wedding ring?”

  9. I kept waiting for the quickie annulment afterward. I guess that loophole wasn’t invented by BYU students until much later.

  10. 9 – When I hear about those stories I am absolutely FASCINATED. We humans are weird creatures.

  11. I detect a trend.

  12. #9: I’ve heard those stories too, but have they actually been documented? Does anyone know?

  13. Wait, why did they have to lie about their ages? It says they were 19 and 18.

    Also I totally read the first sentence as saying “dark-skinned” And I was all uhh, I don’t think I like where this is headed.

  14. …And, cue Manuel…

  15. Kevin Barney says:

    I love these things, as the manual they’re from was published a year or two before my birth, so it’s like a little window into the church culture of my parents’ generation (especially since my dad was a master m man and would have used such a manual).

    I also love that this isn’t necessarily put forth as a terrible cautionary tale, but that the possibility of there being genuine advantages to such an elopement is countenanced.

  16. #9: I’ve heard those stories too, but have they actually been documented? Does anyone know?

    No, and that’s actually the problem. Terrifying, really–all these undocumented elopers from BYU driving to Vegas–they have to go through that little corner of Arizona, you know!

  17. Also I totally read the first sentence as saying “dark-skinned” And I was all uhh, I don’t think I like where this is headed.

    Nope. The terribly offensive TMQ about dark-skinned people was like #6 or something.

  18. “all these undocumented elopers from BYU driving to Vegas–they have to go through that little corner of Arizona”

    LOLz. Made my day.

  19. My dad offered my wife and I money if we would elope. We considered it, but then we realised that her mum and my mum would be very upset.

    I see many advantages to eloping, though. Save money, save stress, save time. Have your bishop and your stake president be your witnesses at the Temple, and you can still be sealed without telling many people!

    Which leads to a secondary question: how many people can be “in the know” and still have the marriage qualify as an elopement?

  20. Mommie Dearest says:

    It’s possible to “elope” to the temple. I know of two couples who did, though their parents were informed beforehand, they went to the temple with only their witnesses and got ‘er done.

    In the case of the first couple, once they decided to marry, they saw no reason to torture themselves with waiting in order to make time to plan a party for everyone else’s benefit, since neither of them deemed the party to be the priority. It helped that they were both independent adults at the time. They married within a week, went on a long romantic trip and came home and had little parties with their families a couple of months later.
    The second couple was avoiding the situation where only one pair of parents had temple recommends, and they were also well past the newly minted RM stage as well.

  21. These stories are so horrendous!

    I wish I would have eloped, I think there’s a part of me that always will a little.

    But husband wanted the party and the pomp and such so we did.

    (it was my second marriage, his first)

  22. 1-Was everyone doing the math like I was right away? She conceived about a month after they got married. They’re legit there. Dang! I thought for a second that the narrative was going to give us a nugget on the preggers timeline. Anyhow, seems like the single factor in their decision to elope was that they “they did not have enough money to establish a home of their own.” I don’t know exactly what it means when it says “home of their own.” A home, literally? They weren’t able to rent? Not sure. But I take it that establishing a “home of their own” must have been a very important hoop that a couple felt they had to be able to jump through before publicly tying the knot. At least this couple perceived it so. If I think about this as a factor now, it’s less of an issue I think. I don’ think many young LDS couples at the brink of “I dos” have expectations to have a home right away–certainly not before schooling is finished. In fact, I think it’s becoming more common for some newly-weds to plan to live with one of the couples’ parents. Most plan to rent. Either way, I know a number of couples who were married recently, then went straight back to the bedroom they grew up in with their new bride/groom. The parents are OK with it, and the couple can take the sacrament the following Sunday.

    2- Yes.

  23. Peter LLC says:

    Wait, why did they have to lie about their ages? It says they were 19 and 18.

    I believe that in Nevada of yore, men had to be 21 years old to marry without parental approval.

  24. Why can’t we have questions in manuals that don’t have completely obvious answers anymore? This one actually takes some thought and arguments can be made on both sides of the elope/wedding question.

    I can’t remember the last question I’ve heard in church that wasn’t just a call and response routine.

    The thing I”m not sure of is if the answers to these questions to a 1956 YM were as completely obvious as our manuals are today.

  25. I think there a ton of advantages. If I could do it over again, I would call my parents the night I get engaged, inform them that I will be getting married in two weeks at (x) location, and if they can be there, great, and if not, oh well. And then go with it.

    Is that still an elopement? I have no idea. But I’m all for quickie engagement-to-marriage periods and low-maintenance ceremonies/receptions.

    Then have a giant BBQ for friends and family afterwards.

  26. My parents offered me money to elope, too. Wish I’d taken it. Fat chance on a second offer, should the time ever come. :)

  27. Stephanie says:

    I know of a young couple who did this within the past couple of years. I know the husband well, but not the wife.

  28. living in zion says:

    #25 – Two years ago a girl from my ward came home from BYU (provo) for Christmas break. Her folks were so excited because a son was coming home from his mission and another son was home on leave from the military. It was going to be the best Christmas ever. Until a couple days into the visit, when she announced that she and a non-member boy they barely knew were getting married immediately and if they wanted to come to the ceremony, that was fine.
    Twenty-four hours later the parents arrived at a rented hall in town to find their daughter dressed as a goth bride, the groom dressed as a pirate and all the other wedding guests in various costumes. The ceremony was performed by a costumed friend who got his “Divinity” off the internet.
    After the shock wore off, the Dad inquired into the legality of the marriage and it was confirmed the internet pastorial degree was legit.
    Then the problem was what to do about BYU. Their daughter thought that she could go back to Provo after break and move back into the girls dorm and finish her school year (She had a full scholarship).
    Long story short, the young couple ended up in Denver, Colo. where the husband was going to school, the bride dropped out of school and got a job at Panera Bread, and her parents send money often to help them out.
    I admire the parents immensely. They grieved quickly and realized that if they had any chance of ever getting their daughter back in church and their new son-in-law converted, it was going to be with love. Thank goodness the couple did not have a child right away.

    I knew a couple in my singles ward who eloped to the temple. They showed up at church with the rings and announced their deed. We all looked at them and said, “Oh.” and went right back to our conversations. They were very disappointed that no one offered to throw them a party, etc. but they hadn’t considered the obvious: We were not family, and it was a singles ward. No one has money or common sense in a singles ward. It honestly never occurred to anyone to offer a party. Young people are stupid that way. None of the adult leadership did anything other than shake their hands and say “Congratulations!”

    My husband and would have loved to elope, but we were very clear about priorities. We needed the gifts and cash. It was so not about our families being happy or if it was a memorable time. We got married in the temple in the morning and had the reception that evening. It was a killer day, but we did it and had the rings and new towels to prove it.

  29. My grandparents eloped to Filmore.

  30. MCQ, what was the point?

  31. They lived in Antimony. Filmore was bright lights, big city.

  32. “My grandparents eloped to Filmore,” is arguably the saddest sentence I’ve ever read.

  33. I knew a couple who eloped — he was LDS/RM; she was not yet a member. Apparently, everyone was elated (she joined the Church, they got sealed, and everyone’s fine).

    I know a couple who getting married soon – second marriage for each (in their 30s, he divorced, she widow). Lots of kids. The RS found out that they weren’t planning *anything* and decided to throw a big party a few weeks before the big day.

    Eloping is the way to do it. But I’m with 28 – I liked getting the cash.

  34. Kristine says:

    Caraway ftw.

  35. My grandparents married on a dare, while on a first date, at an event; which offered a cash prize and an on the spot wedding ceremony. Their marriage was later solemnized in an LDS temple. All in all, it was a bad idea as they both suffered thru 50+ years of martial hell.

  36. Kristine says:

    JA–you’re not related to Carlfred Broderick, are you?

    (A great book, btw)

  37. “Filmore was bright lights, big city.”

    I don’t know, Scott, I think this may be an even sadder statement. Maybe.

  38. BTW,
    I need a quick show of hands:
    Has the TMQ jumped the shark? I have probably 5-6 more to complete the book, but I’m wondering if it’s worth it at this point.

  39. MCQ: Are you referring to “Fillmore”, former capital of Utah territory? Not such a bad place, especially if you are coming from an even smaller town.

  40. I once read about a couple who tried to elope. The girl’s father said she had to marry someone else, so they ran off to an aunt’s place, but got lost on the way and she refused to sleep with him. There was a donkey involved, and I forget how it turned out.

  41. The moral of this story is: keep paying for your kids’ education after they marry. I think the marriage was secret so both sets of parents would pay for school.

  42. Please finish the book. I want to endure to the end.

  43. I’m disappointed that the couple enjoying “a variety of activities together” didn’t turn out to be code.

    I knew a couple who had a secret marriage in Vegas and then came back to live with roommates in Provo (they were openly engaged but were waiting a full year for the marriage at their families’ behest, families hoping to give them time to break up). Their roommates suspected something when they could all of a sudden keep their hands off each other after their weekend trip, and found a recored of their marriage on-line. They got married for their families about 7 months later; as far as I know, their families still don’t know about the previous secret marriage. 10 years and 2 kids later, they are in the middle of a divorce, but for bigger reason than the secret wedding.

    If the couple in the manual was smart enough to avoid paying for rent and education, they should have been smart enough to use birth control, IMO.

  44. Finish the job, Scott. No early withdrawl.

  45. Kristine, Not that I know of. I have read his book, and it is one of my favorites. The event he describes is the very same setup as my grandparents (with friends egging them on). Dr. Broderick’s parents only stayed married for a short time, not so with my grandparents.

  46. Naismith says:

    “If the couple in the manual was smart enough to avoid paying for rent and education, they should have been smart enough to use birth control, IMO.”

    Um, this was published in 1955 and birth control pills weren’t even approved by the FDA until 1960. Existing methods had much higher fail rates, so they may well have been using birth control but still got pregnant.

  47. (35)50+ years of martial hell.

    Your grandparents formed their own militia upon marriage?? Awesome!

  48. On a trip back to Pittsburgh from BYU, I took two riders who had gotten married the day before in the Provo Temple. She was from outside the US, and he was going to visit his non-member parents in Ohio. They had no intentions of telling his parents they were married (“just in case they didn’t like her”).

  49. Thank you B.Russ. I am a terrible typist and and even worse proofreader. :)

  50. Marty and I “eloped”. With only a three-month window (thanks to CA’s Prop. 8), off we went to the Beverly Hills Courthouse, with as many family as could cram into their tiny makeshift “wedding chapel”, its chintz wall coverings only halfway masking the lockers and closets in what clearly had been an employee lounge.

    We didn’t have our own presider, and the court wedding commissioner was so thrilled (we were her first SSM) that she started crying! Mom and Dad signed the wedding certificate, as I panicked that Mom would misspell her own name and invalidate something. In the haste of it several family on the East Coast didn’t have time to come out and settled for watching grainy videos of it in the low light. My nieces waited in rapt attention to see their first “man-on-man kiss”. I was so nervous during the vows, I started laughing. I hope that didn’t invalidate anything.

    It cost $125 to have a Beverly Hills wedding. And Marty is worth every penny!

  51. Stephanie says:

    I vote for more TMQ. [snort]

  52. Sunny, I totally missed the cue!

    But I don’t want to let pass this chance to share another one of my total BS stories with the not so gullible at all audience of BCC (they are all so incredibly knowledgeable and discerning!). So, here goes it, enjoy!

    My parents eloped. But unfortunately, they weren’t as “old” as the couple in the article. My father was 16 and my mother 14 (they claim “almost 15 and 17” like that makes any difference, lol). They also lied about their age, because they were both minors and they couldn’t get legally married without their parents’ consent (which I assume is the reason for the couple of the story lying about their ages since the age of consent has changed been different in different times and may be different in different states). They tried to make it on their own for a while, but realized they couldn’t and came back begging their parents for help. Although my grandparents did help them a lot, they also made sure to make it a living hell for my parents (per my parents’ claims).

    My family and extended family is an unusually united family, we keep in contact a lot and we all share with everyone our lives’ ups and downs. We are all updated quickly whenever something either good or bad happens to anyone in the family, etc. Although everything came out alright: both my parents have careers, dad is an OBGYN surgeon and mom is a nurse; and all of their three children finished university degrees and are very well balanced individuals (although you all know that in part due to my very well balanced comments, lol); I still sense sparks of resentment when the subject comes up (if it ever comes up); especially from my grandma on my mom’s side. I think she still hurts that she was banned from her only daughter’s wedding.

    I am of the opinion that these events (weddings, graduations, and whatnot) are technically intended for the people being celebrated, but in reality, are meant for the people behind the people being celebrated, meaning in most cases parents, siblings and other family, friends, benefactors, tutors. Etc.

    I myself have been blessed with too many of these people. Nothing that I am today would have been possible without the help, support (moral or financial) of an amazing network of people that also worked very hard (and made sacrifices) so that I could have the opportunities that led to my accomplishments and milestones. Therefore, in my case, I could simply not do anything that could hurt them in any way or make them feel excluded; it simply violates my notions of justice, and I would never be the cause of any sort of strain among my immediate family.

    Yes, weddings can be tedious and expensive and whatnot, but to me, they are a small sacrifice and very worth not hurting mom, dad or any person who made great sacrifices for me.

    I pretty much live by that motto: if it is important to my loved ones, it should matter to me (because of them), and sacrificing a little shouldn’t be such a burden when it comes to our loved ones.

  53. Naismith–lots of BC methods predate the pill. My great-grandfather notes (in disgust) that one of this friends handed him a package of condoms after his marriage in 1930 in the SLC Temple. He further noted (proudly) that he threw them out the window once they hit the road.

    Not full proof, of course, but for a couple not even living together, it seems they could avoid a pregnancy for a while.

  54. BTW, more TMQ *hand raised

  55. TMQ definitely not jumped the shark. I wish there were more than five or six to go.

  56. Naismith says:

    “Naismith–lots of BC methods predate the pill.”

    Of course. Lemons were used as diaphragms by the Egyptians.

    It’s just that those older methods had high failure rates. Condoms used alone without the newer spermicide foams and gels were not near as effective as they are today.

    My grandmother had 10 children (partly because she was widowed young). My mother had 8 live births and several miscarriages. I feel fortunate to have a manageable 5, but it took a lot of effort and using multiple methods of birth control.

    And don’t ask any of us how many of those pregnancies were planned.

    So I have great sympathy for those who struggle with healthy fertility, and having to accept congratulations through gritted teeth.

  57. StillConfused says:

    Eloping is the only option for me. My true preference would be an online wedding if there is such a thing.

  58. the pill is not fool-proof either. i have a pill baby, a diaphragm baby, a sponge baby and a condom baby. then we had a 5th just to see what it was like to get pregnant on purpose.

    please more TMQ.

  59. 57 – Gotta bag ’em quick while they’re still drunk, right?

  60. Kevin Barney says:

    Oh, marta, that’s hilarious. I have a condom baby and a Chicago Bears just won the Super Bowl! baby.

  61. (60) 24 year old, eh? Too bad you don’t have a new 2 year old as well.

  62. The Other Brother Jones says:

    Just an observation: All these TMQs are about dating and marriage. Is is that way now? I think they have a lot more lessons about gospel stuff.

  63. Check the name of the manual, Jonesy:

    “M Men-Gleaner Manual, Love, Marriage, and You” used in 1956-1957″

  64. #9, 12 re: proof of Vegas marriages for the weekend

    Yes, you can search for proof of BYU student elopement/annulments if the marriages took place in Nevada and if you have access to

    Nevada Marriage Index, 1956-2005

    Search for any suspicious old roommates or school acquaintances. I found a record of the marriage of a friend of mine which took place 3 months before he entered the MTC. eep.

  65. Definitely keep the TMQ series going! It is one of the highlights of my week!

    Kevin (60) – Does your Chicago Bears just won the Super Bowl baby know this?

  66. I found a free site for searching for Clark County, Nevada marriage records: Find your own proof.

  67. Bruce H. says:

    >> the pill is not fool-proof either.

    Is that my sister? :)

  68. (67) yes

  69. Does it count as elopement if your parents sign as witnesses?

    If it’s a choice between eloping and the Big Industrialized Wedding, I’ll take elopement. But, a small, homegrown, modest wedding with friends is very nifty, too.

  70. Kevin Barney says:

    No. 65, yeah, he knows. It’s a family joke, but it’s actually true as well.

  71. queuno says:

    Re 58 and 60 – I have a “Suprise 50th Birthday Party” brother.

  72. Helen Wheels says:

    Two Thanksgiving break (husband had a few days off from
    classes) babies. We found higher math classes (for him) a very effective method of birth control. Unfortunately he was not a math major so # 3 was born the week after he got his degree. (And I lost one baby between #2 and #3. Of course this was back in the days when pregnancy prevention by good Mormon wives meant those children intended for you had to be born to black prostitutes!

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