Clearance vs. Cancellation

From the Women’s Bible Commentary:

Deuteronomy prohibits the husband, who sought to secure for himself a cheap divorce from his spurned bride, from ever divorcing her. To our ears, this provision sounds appalling, binding a young girl for the rest of her life to a man who “hates” her. In patriarchal ancient Judah, where women’s social status and economic survival depended on membership in a male-headed household, the provision was probably intended to guarantee her security.

The Deuteronomic law relies on some assumptions that don’t match our modern interpretation of marriage:

  • Women in marriage are entitled to protection because they are unable to protect themselves.
  • Men in marriage are obligated to protect the women they marry because those women are otherwise unable to protect themselves.

In the iron age society of Deuteronomy, marriage entitles women but obligates men. Restricting men from abandoning their obligation is the objective of restrictions on divorce, not an intention to protect women from harm within the marriage relationship (which isn’t addressed), but to require men to protect women from a patriarchal society in which they have no standing or power and are financially and physically vulnerable.

Current church policy regarding sealing of formerly divorced church members is likewise handled in a sexist manner (meaning differing based on one’s sex). From the 2018 Church Handbook of Instruction:

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.
Sealing of Living Members after a Spouse’s Death
Women. A living woman may be sealed to only one husband.
Men. If a husband and wife have been sealed and the wife dies, the man may have another woman sealed to him if she is not already sealed to another man. In this circumstance, the man does not need a sealing clearance from the First Presidency unless he was divorced from his previous wife before she died (see the previous heading for the policy in cases of divorce).

Why does this lopsided restriction exist?

Since a temple sealing (or cancellation) does not have economic implications, what is the parallel to this prohibition in Deuteronomy? [1] Is it likewise intended to be a protection for women who require a male partner to be exalted? That would mean that they fall under the spiritual protection of their husband, but the reverse is not true. Or is the Celestial Kingdom like a men’s club that women can only access if a man (who is automatically a member) vouches for them?

This benevolent sexist argument is simply unnecessary. There is no current, avowed doctrinal basis to refuse a sealing cancellation for a woman differently than a man. Does this indicate a secret, disavowed belief in polygamy? Possibly, but we have to be cautious about this assumption because a deceased woman can be sealed to multiple husbands under the assumption that “God will work it out.” While this differs from the practice for men, it does indicate more flexibility than a straight polygamous interpretation would require.

So is the male / female difference doctrinal (polygamy) or cultural (as with the Old Testament). [2] Is it based on the assumption that women are economically dependent on men (and therefore otherwise dependent on men, e.g. salvationally). I would hypothesize that the sealing cancellation for women is made more difficult to “protect” women from being exiled from the male structure that they have only been granted entrance to through the sealing. The man apparently has no such need because marriage was an obligation he took on (he has agreed to share his largesse), but for women, marriage is an entitlement, an access, that they have lost in separating from the man.

As pointed out in the handbook, men are cleared for additional wives. Women can request to have a sealing cancelled. Those are two very different scenarios. The following section explains how this clearance or cancellation can be requested.

Applying for a Cancellation of Sealing or a Sealing Clearance
A woman who has previously been sealed must receive a cancellation of that sealing from the First Presidency before she may be sealed to another man in her lifetime. [3] A man who has been divorced from a woman who was sealed to him must receive a sealing clearance from the First Presidency before another woman may be sealed to him (see “Sealing of Living Members after Divorce” above).
If the bishop and stake president decide to recommend that a cancellation of sealing or a sealing clearance be granted, they submit an Application to the First Presidency form. This form is available electronically in units that use Church record-keeping software. Leaders of these units should not contact the Office of the First Presidency to obtain a copy. The form is available from the Area Presidency in other areas. Instructions are on the form. Before submitting the application, the stake president makes sure that the divorce is final and that the applicant is current in all legal requirements for child and spousal support related to the divorce.
If a member has requested a cancellation of sealing or a sealing clearance, he or she may not schedule an appointment for a temple marriage or sealing until receiving a letter from the First Presidency giving notice that the cancellation or clearance has been granted. The person should present this letter at the temple.

As with the Deuteronomist, though, this policy does not address or apparently conceive of the idea that a woman would want to cancel her sealing to a man for any reason other than remarriage. Remaining sealed to a man who is entering a(n albeit theoretical) polygamous union against your will, who has cheated on you, or who has physically or emotionally abused you is, as the Women’s Bible Commentary pointed out, not an optimal psychological position for the woman. Leaving these matters in the hands of male ecclesiastical leaders who may or may not understand how the woman feels is also suboptimal. Clearly those writing the handbook don’t demonstrate a very deep understanding of the woman’s perspective.

Since the handbook does not stipulate that women cannot have a sealing cancelled unless they are remarrying (but doesn’t seem to fathom that someone would request a cancellation unless they are remarrying), this leaves women vulnerable to leader roulette and whatever assumptions their local leaders choose to make about their request. It seems that an easy remedy to take women’s experience more seriously would be for the church to modify the handbook with this in mind (or for a letter to go to stake presidents and bishops instructing them that sealing cancellation requests can also be granted because a spouse does not want to be tied to someone who has abused them, broken their trust or any other psychologically important reason). [4]

  • Do you see a parallel between how Deuteronomy views marriage and divorce and how church policy treats requests for sealing cancellations and clearance, or do you think these policies are based on different assumptions?
  • How do we move away from a cultural assumption that women are dependent on men for physical and economic protection rather than whole people in our own right?
  • Will the church ever create parity in this policy for men and women? What would that take?
  • Do you see marriage as roughly the same type of institution for men and women or do you see it performing a different function for men and women as it did in historically patriarchal societies?

Discuss.

[1] As a friend rightly pointed out, parallels to iron age communities are not really the basis for good policies in 2019. Thank you, Captain Obvious, and yet it seems that bears restating.

[2] We may as well ask if polygamy is doctrinal or cultural, which is a valid question, too, particularly since polygamy is currently considered to be unnecessary to eternal salvation and utterly prohibited from current practice–except wink, wink if your first wife dies before you do.

[3] This is one reason, at least from what I’ve been told, that LDS men (particularly those who have never been sealed) do not want to date LDS widows (who are still sealed to a deceased spouse and ineligible for another sealing). It’s gross, but it’s an apparent byproduct of this sexist difference in policy, putting LDS widows at a distinct disadvantage in dating church members.

[4] If you think this isn’t a gap, consider that the current policy leaves room that a stake president could bar a woman’s request for sealing cancellation from a man against whom she has a legal restraining order. How would you feel if you were eternally tied to a person who has literally tried to kill you?

Comments

  1. I have wondered: what is the theological basis of a man getting a sealing clearance?

    I don’t think there is one. I think it is window-dressing to distract people from the inequalities inherent in this system.

    And I’ve never heard of a man being rejected.

  2. Stay with me for a second:

    When people (in and out of the church) discuss Joseph Smith’s polygamy, they often fixate on the idea that he married other men’s wives or wonder if he had children, especially with these other’s men’s wives (because that means he had sex with them).

    If I’m in the conversation, I’ll usually ask “Why does this bother you?” Usually they get wiggly, but it comes down to they don’t like the idea that a man would take another man’s wife. Because there is an inherent idea of possession of a woman they don’t realize they unconciously have ingrained.

    So you touched on this, but I want to state it more strongly, the why behind the current sealing system is set up is to avoid giving one man’s sealed possession to another. Full stop. Even with the “God will work it out” people mean that they will end up with just one right man.

  3. I do not see a parallel between Deuteronomy views and the current church policy.
    I do not know how to move away from the dependency views.
    The church will probably create equal parity one day.
    I think that marriage is different now than it was in historical societies. Single women are quite happy in our society.

    You say that men get an automatic ticket into the Celestial Kingdom boys club. My understanding is the opposite. If a man doesn’t get married in this life, he’s not going to be married in the next. Opportunity for exaltation is gone. If a women doesn’t get married in this life, she still has a chance to get married in the next. A man is dependent upon a woman for entrance into the exalted degrees of glory.
    I don’t think that the church leaders are too worried about reasons for sealing cancelations beyond remarrying. I suspect the reason is because it doesn’t much matter who you are sealed to. What matters is that you’re living up to sealing covenants. If a couple gets sealed, lives the rest of their lives together, and one ends up being worthy of exalted glories and the other one is not; it is not just to have the one spouse drag down the other. The more righteous spouse kept up their end of the bargain and will be rewarded with a relationship/spouse accordingly. I believe the same holds true for the other scenarios you outlined. Canceling sealings for reasons other than “I really want to get sealed to someone else, and it’s all lined up and ready to go.” creates a period of time where the person is not sealed to a spouse. That’s more dangerous than being sealed, living worthy of the sealing covenants, and then getting the sealing transferred to another spouse in the next life.

  4. I think the church has surreptitiously changed the policy recently. A friend told me her mom just received clearance to be sealed to a second living husband (divorced from first husband who is still alive, and this is not a sealing cancellation). The church sent a letter to husband #1 informing him, but not requesting his permission or input.

  5. Anon: that doesn’t make sense on any theological level. Why wouldn’t she get a sealing cancellation if she is divorced? Does the ex-husband want her to be sealed to him still? I think that causes more heartache then good, just like I think any divorce and then re-marriage where the new wife is automatically relegated to the second wife because the cancellation to the first divorced wife is not granted (as has often many, many times) because the ex-wife has no marriage prospects.

    The changes that need to happen:

    Man and woman get a divorce; their sealing is cancelled (I wonder if a waiting period is warranted because sometimes people do get remarried after a bit, but other than that, cancelled).

    Man gets remarried in the temple, a new sealing is produced.
    Woman gets remarried in the temple, a new sealing is produced.

    Spouse dies, man or woman wishes to remarry in the temple, a new sealing is produced.

  6. Angela C says:

    I think Jader3d is onto something in stating that a sealing is not to a spouse, but rather that a spouse is the gateway to become part of the network of sealed people. However, if so, then it makes no sense to allow men to be sealed to multiple women and to bar women from the same. If that were the case, then it would make more sense that anybody could be sealed to anyone multiples don’t matter or that after the first one, multiples are barred for both sexes. Or to take it even further, why not allow individuals to become sealed to the network of sealed people, and it will all sort out in the big social mixer in the sky?

    There is often a justification given that the children won’t be sealed to parents if the sealing is canceled, but it’s also unclear what “sealed to parents” even means. Just how big are these mansions in Heaven?

  7. There seem to be two competing ideas of sealing: (1) that you are “sealed up” to eternal life (or eternal damnation) and (2) that you are “sealed to” a spouse, or to parents. I’m not really an expert on this history, but my understanding is that early on in the church (Kirtland and maybe early Nauvoo), sealing was more about the first idea of sealing: being sealed was something like having your calling and election made sure. But the church made something of a switch to having sealing be more about personal relationships. And that’s basically all we think about today when we talk about sealing. But some traces of the older idea remain. Section 132 talks about having your salvation assured as part of the idea of entering into celestial marriage (whether you read that to mean temple marriage or polygamous marriage). And when we talk about the eternal implications of divorce and continuing to be sealed to an ex, we sometimes see ideas–like in Jader3rd’s comment above–about how it doesn’t matter who you are sealed “to,” because the blessings of the sealing are personal to you as long as you keep your own covenants. I sometimes wonder if sometime in the future, the pendulum could swing back toward the older idea being the primary emphasis. Seems unlikely, because that would mean de-emphasizing the cherished idea of eternal families, but it could mitigate some of these tricky issues. But currently, the personal relationship aspect is the primary focus, so it’s understandable if the “it doesn’t matter who you’re sealed to” language isn’t very comforting to people who’s personal relationships codified in sealings have been complicated.

  8. jader3rd – ” The more righteous spouse kept up their end of the bargain and will be rewarded with a relationship/spouse accordingly.” Removing the gender doesn’t make it any better. People aren’t rewards. If there is a necessary separation because of achieved glory, there is going to need to be a time to heal and find, if desired, someone to spend eternity with. There can’t be any “you picked wrong, too bad” or “you couldn’t ever find one you liked, too bad”.

  9. Kristine says:

    “Just how big are these mansions in Heaven?”

    Have you been to Alpine?

  10. EmJen, I personally know a man who has been denied his request–but not for Clearance (that was granted) but rather for Cancelation. Denied repeatedly.

    Because the first wife isn’t getting remarried.

    My biggest sore spot on this—okay, ONE of my biggest— is that we tell single sisters that they shouldn’t worry about it, it will all be sorted out, it’s not a big deal. Then we tell divorced men and women that sealing is SO important that they will not cancel one, even with requests, unless another sealing is imminent. So which is it? Either its the most important thing, worth literally denying agency over, or it doesnt really matter.

    It cannot be both.

  11. And let’s not even begin to touch on what happens if a woman has children with a non-sealed second husband! If her first sealing isn’t canceled (and it won’t be if her second husband isn’t a member) THOSE CHILDREN ARE BORN SEALED TO THE FIRST HUSBAND.

  12. In documentary support of Angela’s footnote [3], this is Joseph Fielding Smith’s 1966 response to a man inquiring about marrying a widow sealed to a deceased husband:

    “I cannot see any reason for a man to marry a widow, who was sealed to her husband. Naturally she would go back to her dead husband and the union with a wife of only a temporal duration, seems to me to be out of the question.”

  13. With the recent, fairly monumental changes that have been made in the temple – this seems very possible to fix. It’s not really logistically or theologically defensible in a way that is clearly articulated in today’s church.

    jader3rd, I’m a little confused by you saying a woman can get married in the next life but a man cannot. I’ve never heard that – could you elaborate?

  14. Angela C says:

    Ardis: I’m agog.

    Marian: The gist is that because men choose to propose or not (active), they are responsible for whether or not they marry. Because women are asked (passive), they are not responsible if they don’t marry. I’m not aware if there’s some Mr. Collins rule that you don’t have to agree to marry the person if he’s completely ridiculous and unsuitable, just because you were asked. Or maybe if a man is serially refused, he’s not accountable for not marrying (and can therefore find some lucky wife in the next life). Basically, this cultural view puts God in the role of Mrs. Bennett in Pride & Prejudice.

  15. Marian, jader3rd, that is not doctrinal, although you can find this or that speaker saying it right along with every other permutation of who can or cannot expect to marry in the next life, or the effect of not marrying in this life. No matter how authoritatively someone says it, there’s no real prophetic or scriptural support. It all goes back to Lorenzo Snow’s unwillingness to believe that a woman as good as his by-then-deceased sister Eliza R. wouldn’t have all the blessings of eternity merely because she had not had children in this life. That notion has grown and grown according to the speaker’s prejudices and hopes, but without foundation.

  16. I’m another person made very uncomfortable by the handwaving and assertions that it will all work out. One may claim that the holy spirit of promise has not *really* sealed a marriage where a spouse is abusive or unfaithful. But as long as the church records indicate that they are officially, “technically” sealed then people will be miserable.

    Our faith in the church and its teaching means that we have every reason to care deeply about what the church says about our relationships, even when it’s just on paper. No amount of handwaving will undo that.

  17. It seems pretty clear to me that the difference is because the church leadership still believes in polygamy – or really polygyny – not polyandry. When I told my stake president that I thought polygamy was wrong, he told me that was the beginnings of apostasy. My mom is still sealed to my father even though he left us without a single child support payment or even a phone call for over 20 years. I am not sure why in the eternities women should wait to “sort it out.” I am all for cancelling sealings immediately after a divorce for all parties. I suspect that in the eternities we will learn that our understanding of sealing was remarkably small minded.

  18. The church is in the business of extending the ordinances of salvation to as many people as possible. Cancelling a sealing without another sealing ready to happen is a big negative from this perspective. Pretty much every church leader believes this and sees this perspective. Your local leader needs to be convinced that the harm done to an individual by keeping the sealing to a divorced spouse is greater than the harm done by canceling an ordinance of salvation which has been done for them.
    I do not see the parallel to Old Testament marriage practices other than the doctrine of polygamy which is present in our modern scripture.

  19. Bishop Bill says:

    The sealing “clearance” for men wasn’t always needed. Before a man could get sealed to as many women as he wanted without any need for a “clearance” as long as he was legally divorced.
    Then sometimes in the 1980s (I ‘m guessing at the date” the rules were changed, and men needed to fill out the exact same forms as women needed for their cancellation. The only difference in the paper forms was a box at the top that you you marked either “cancellation” or “clearance”. Everything else was the same

  20. Rockwell says:

    My theory of why this policy exists aligns with both Brian G and El Oso.

    Specifically, part of the folk-doctrine explanation for polygyny is the combination of beliefs that sealing to a spouse is required for exaltation, and that more women than men will be eligible for exaltation. I honestly think that, although this is not formal doctrine, the top leaders believe it. Add that to Oso’s statement that the church wants to be slow to undo saving ordinances leads naturally to a policy that makes it more difficult for women to undo their sealing. (Not saying I agree with it).

    As far as whether a spouse would remain sealed to an abusive spouse, I think one can find all kinds of contradictory information that can befuddle the believer. The leaders do not worry about it. Even D&C 132 is rather cavalier about switching spouses (see verses 43-44, two of my least favorite verses in the standard works)

    —-

    “Or is the Celestial Kingdom like a men’s club that women can only access if a man (who is automatically a member) vouches for them?”

    This is not something I ever remember hearing or believing, nor anything like it. However since men have more control traditionally over their marriage prospects, and marriage is supposedly required… This is good food for thought.

    —-

    “Will the church ever create parity in this policy for men and women? What would that take?”

    “Ever” is a long time. I would say yes, it will happen. I would give even odds that it will happen in the next …. 30 years. It’s even reasonably likely to change under Nelson’s watch, but I’m not holding my breath. The advent of the church essays and knowledge of polyandry makes it more likely because the old explanations of polygamy hold less water.

  21. Bishop Bill says:

    The sealing “clearance” for men wasn’t always needed. Before a man could get sealed to as many women as he wanted without any need for a “clearance” as long as he was legally divorced.
    Then sometimes in the 1980s (I ‘m guessing at the date” the rules were changed, and men needed to fill out the exact same forms as women needed for their cancellation. The only difference in the paper forms was a box at the top that you you marked either “cancellation” or “clearance”. Everything else was the same

  22. Steve S says:

    Clearly about polygyny, but the insistence that this be viewed through the modern feminist lens and the inevitable inferiority complex that comes with it is painful. The constant appeals to sexism and victimhood, both past and present, are off-putting. As if women didn’t have every bit as much to do with how our history and present have played out from the beginning, such weak-minded thinking. Beyond the semi-polygynous biological realities of our species for tens if not hundreds of thousands of years, some simple math reveals in such a system far more men lose out than women. Start using thinking instead of playing into the need to wear victimhood as if were a badge of honor.

  23. Steve S,
    Stop playing the victim. It isn’t manly.

  24. James Stone says:

    Why does the author (intentionally?) leave out the fact that women can be sealed to all of the men she was married to after she’s died?

  25. James Stone, does that make it better? Don’t worry about your actual real pain in this life, because it’ll all be taken care of once you’re dead?

  26. Steve S says:

    John C.,
    So only women play the victim? How sexist of you ;)

  27. I’m a convert and not sealed to anyone. Not my non-member spouse or my non-member parents. I hate this. I loved reading about the Adoption sealings in Power of Godliness (Hi J. Stapley!) I understand the history there and why this is not practiced anymore, but it would be such a good solution for someone in my position. Sure, I can trust that God will work it out in the end, but there is a sense of security and belongingness that seems to come with sealing. I say: Bring back adoption sealings.

  28. The fact that the ordinance can be done after she dies suggests it could be done now with whatever procedure they want to set in place — a delay of a couple years perhaps from the request to the issuance. I have no problem with that if we are already cancelling and resealing, etc. etc.

    The flip side of this, with people suggesting it causes pain is mostly crocodile tears. Especially because the people this often causes pain to are those who on any given day grind about 5 different axes against the rough sides of the church. I do fully appreciate the fact that the original post, however, tried to lay out a faithful approach to the issue and didn’t just go full concern troll mode like often happens in the comments.

    I’m not suggesting that divorcees don’t have serious pain. It’s probably one of the more damaging things that can happen in your life, especially if you have kids. I just don’t think on top of all of that, a sealing ordinance which is entirely dependent on your consent and both parties faithfulness is really causing much pain by anyone who actually understands the ordinance to begin with.

  29. @Jennifer Roach, I totally agree. My personal belief and intuition after studying the history of the temple ordinances is that anyone truly worthy of an endowment has a right to then be sealed into the celestial network. Adoption makes complete sense for this purpose.

  30. EmJen “that doesn’t make sense on any theological level. Why wouldn’t she get a sealing cancellation if she is divorced? Does the ex-husband want her to be sealed to him still?”

    Unfortunately I don’t know any more of the details, only that the mom was not required to go through the sealing cancellation process in order to be sealed to another living husband.

    Another area where this causes heartache is for widows who must cancel sealings to husbands that they loved and lost in order to be sealed to a second husband. Theologically, what is the fate of husband #1 if he is no longer sealed to his wife? I understand that after the wife dies, she can then be sealed (again?) to all husbands, but will presumable have to choose only one in the afterlife. What if husband #1 isn’t her choice? Why make widows choose if widowers don’t have to?

    It’s a mess.

  31. Anonymous Widow says:

    nocb, I am a widow. The sexist temple sealing policies have caused real pain in my own life— unnecessary heartbreak and a continual underlying ache that I have betrayed my deceased husband and severed his eternal relationship with our child. These are not “crocodile tears.” I’m pretty sure that I “understand the ordinance” as much as anyone else does (which, as it appears, isn’t much).

    And, no, James Stone, the policy that I can be sealed to both of my husbands after I’m dead does little to ease my ache today, in real life, and it does nothing at all to help my daughter feel connected to her dad.

  32. Steve LHJ, thank you. A friend pointed out to me recently that even if I were sealed to my parents and husband after their deaths, they could still reject the sealing. Leaving me still stuck. The only sure way would be to divorce my husband and marry someone I could be sealed to – but the cure would be worse than the disease. No one (especially me!) wants to see my family break up so that I can bend into the rules for sealing. I know my case is likely the rare exception, but it does cause me sadness every single day.

  33. I’m curious if President Nelson or Oaks considered dating widows who were previously sealed when they were looking to remarry.

  34. Kristine says:

    Well, at least nocb has demonstrated some of the possible reasons why the policies take so long to be amended in compassionate directions…

  35. Kevin Barney says:

    I have sometimes wondered whether if one were really willing to go to the mattresses over something iike this, one might manipulate leaders to give you your way. Let’s say I wanted my sealing cancelled, no other wedding in sight. So I submit two stacks of paperwork: one is the request for sealing cancellation, and the other is the request for name removal. And I give instructions to be passed up the line that if they don’t grant the first, then they need to process the second.

    Of course, for this to even possibly work it cannot be a bluff. You’ve cotta be committed to following through if they reject you. And I’m assuming you have a fairly decent case for why you no longer want to be connected to this other person (abuse et al.).

    Being willing to put your membership on the line might not matter; Salt Lake might thing “Good riddance!” But putting the choice so starkly before them might cause them too look at the situation differently…

  36. FWIW — there’s some new language in Handbook 1 that seems to have appeared in the last 6 months that basically recognizes that divorced spouses are troubled by the thought of being sealed to former spouse, but that sealings are not compulsory in the postmortal life for either a man or a woman. If temple covenants are broken, the sealing between husband and wife is revoked. However — and this is why the FP is hesitant to cancel sealings — those that keep their covenants will retain individual blessings provided by the sealing, even if their spouse has broken his or her covenants. I think most of us don’t think about the individual blessings that are associated with having been sealed. Just my thoughts.

  37. This is a fascinating topic and discussion. I really appreciate the thread. But having grown up with the idea that single men who die are condemned for all eternity (and Ardis is right, there is no scriptural supports for it, but it doesn’t change the fact hearing it from General Authorities during my formative years might as well have been scriptural), I really hate sometimes being a single male in this Church, particularly now at this stage of life when marriage prospects are pretty much closed off.

    So, again thank you for a sensitive reading of the issue.

  38. Angela C says:

    “putting the choice so starkly before them might cause them too look at the situation differently…” Don’t bet on it. Not to sound bleak, but as a woman, the only way to deal with this (unless you win leader roulette) is to avoid dealing with this. That’s what women have been doing for as long as the church (and polygyny) has existed.

    Part of the issue is that the sealing is not *just* a marriage between a man and a woman (or multiple women). It’s also a (figurative at least) marriage to the church through the law of consecration. It’s also yes, giving future blessings to both (that are related to future godhood essentially) which the church doesn’t wish to revoke for a party who is blameless or at least still faithful. I suppose Hera and Zeus infamously didn’t always get along, so maybe it’s OK to be married to your ex and still attain godhood under this line of thinking.

  39. Jennifer Roach, sorry for that pain. It’s one area of our theology that I think clearly we don’t have all the right answers. I think it’s clear that making someone feel excluded, and in some ways literally excluding them from that bonding ordinance when they are worthy and merit it, reveals a hole in the current practice. I do believe that situation and policy will be remedied one day to match what you desire.

    Anonymous Widow, since I’m throwing personal opinions, it is also my belief that sealings ought never to be cancelled save when there is an implied judgement that the person does not and will not merit celestial glory and is therefore being loosed unto Satan. Otherwise, I think it would be wisdom to let the sealing stand to the blessing or condemnation of those who made the covenant in the first place. I think it’s a misinterpretation of the sealing ordinance to think that covenant can actually be cancelled, and I think it would make better practice to align with what I think is that reality.

    This practice would also make more sense in your situation, and it would be understood that as sealings aren’t only marriages, neither will all marriage sealings persist as marriages. Sealings in the case of death of a former spouse and a new sealing, etc. not all would hav to be retained as marriage sealings in the hereafter, but still allows for the familial / community bond to persist as is true for all sealing relationships. In this way you are not put in the painful situation of moving forward in your life at the expense of seemingly cutting off your children from their father and vice versa. That definitely doesn’t feel right, and I expect this will be remedied with further light and knowledge as well.

  40. I am a divorced woman who was married in the temple to my former husband. I got a sealing cancellation when President Monson was prophet. I had no plans to remarry at the time. I filled out a form, one page, with the names, dates and reasons for divorce. In my case the adultery of my former husband. My bishop and stake President each wrote a letter affirming I was a member in good standing. Two weeks later I received my sealing cancellation. Easy peasy.
    My stake President explained that President Monson believed the sealing blessings remained with the person who kept the covenants even if the sealing was cancelled, which was a change in thought from prior church presidents, thus allowing a change in policy. Other single women in the stake received their cancellations at the same time as mine. My understanding is that bishops and stake presidents are not to discourage women from seeking these. I believe the children of the divorced spouses may also be consulted, but am not certain.
    I was under the impression that the request for a clearance was actually to hear from prior wives, who might have something to say that the leaders in Salt Lake needed to hear. Prior to this requirement a friend’s former husband was about to be sealed to his second wife when she heard about this, contacted his bishop and put an end to his plans with the story about his having beaten their child into a vegetative state, a story unknown to his current bishop, the soon to be second wife’s bishop, or the soon to be second wife. In other words, this requirement for the clearance was to protect all parties. I do not know why such a requirement does not exist for a woman, just that the same purpose was served with letters requested from the former husband at the time she requested a sealing cancellation. Prior to the policy requiring men to get a clearance, there was no way for the ex-wife to protest that he was not paying his alimony or child support or providing details of his life that might impact the decision to allow a new temple marriage to take place.
    My complaint with the current situation, which is so much better now women are free to remove abusive men from their church lives entirely is that we need to allow men the same privilege with abusive ex-wives. I am assuming men are still not free to obtain sealing cancellations. Does anyone have current knowledge? I know a Catholic man who is terrified to seek an annulment from his ex-wife because that will put him back in touch with her. She suffers from the mental illness of Borderline Personality Disorder and literally might do anything to hurt him and their children if she hears this kind of upsetting news even though they have been divorced for almost 20 years. I can see a similar situation playing out in our church in the same circumstances.
    And one other complaint. I do not believe the Church should ever grant permission for a person to be sealed to the person with whom they were sexually involved during a prior marriage. Too much anger involved for the prior spouse. Eventually it will explode. Heaven help the ex-spouse, new spouse and children when it does. Being informed your parents are adulterers hardly squares with the forever family songs they taught you in Primary.
    And finally, it would be really helpful if the bishops who gather these letters would not open the one from the ex-spouse and then give it to the person requesting the cancellation or clearance to read. You are told it is to be written to the president of the Church when your bishop asks you to write it. I do not open other people’s letters. Why do bishops think they have a right to? And especially to share it with your ex-spouse. How stupid and arrogant can you be?

  41. Renae, your situation, and claim other women have also experienced, is one we hear about, but no one has been able to verify or confirm. I’d really LOVE it if it were true, and women could simply fill out a one-page form and get a cancelation. Two women who write here at BCC have been denied this very request in the last five years.

    So if you can point to verification, names, who signed, etc (privately, of course, admin@bcc.com) we’d be deeply indebted.

  42. It seems like a sealing requires one-with-authority, witnesses, a proper venue, etc. to be valid. A cancelling requires someone from the first presidency signing a piece of a paper…

    Is my understanding correct? Seems a bit odd.

  43. @ReTx I have always found that dichotomy very odd. Ritual and ordinance vs an administrative, bureaucratic act.

    Excommunication feels similarly odd and unbalanced with what is being undone.

  44. Anonymous Widow says:

    Steve LHJ,

    I should clarify my situation. My first husband and I were never sealed. When he passed away, I had to choose whether to have myself and my child sealed to him or wait to be sealed to a possible future spouse. Knowing the difficulty widows have dating LDS men, my bishop recommended that I wait.

    My daughter and I were sealed to my second husband, and he and I have had additional children together. I love my family. I am happy to be sealed to them.

    My first husband was a kind and good man. I would have been lucky to be able to spend the rest of my life with him. I love him. I am so, so sad that my daughter and I are not sealed to him.

    Had I been sealed to my first husband, my current husband would not be sealed to his children. Since I am sealed to my current husband, my daughter is not sealed to her dad.

    The idea of sealing is comforting to traditional cookie-cutter families (and, I suppose, widowers). For those of us outside of the mold—and I suspect that number is ever increasing—it is fraught with needless pain.

  45. I believe it is 80% ad-hocary with a strong patriarchal and ownership of women and children overlay. Another way to say it—there is 19th century theological development and doctrinal exposition, sketchy and incomplete, but an effort. But it is embedded in the practice of plural marriage. With the manifesto and the decision to follow state law rather than church law on matters of marriage and divorce, the Church lost its mooring. From that point on, we have lots of opinions and speculation and ad how decisions that become practice and then rule, but little or no principle.

    For my two cents (and I think in at least partial agreement with EmJen way up there), until and unless the Church presents a full-fledged theology of marriage in all its permutations, having chosen state law for marriage I would carry it through. Divorce = cancellation on all sides, and child custody is just as messy in the eternities as in the world.

  46. The inconsistencies and inequality of the sealing policies, as well as the constant reassurances that we don’t need to worry about the details, as God will sort it all out in the end, have led me to believe that the sealing ordinance isn’t actually that important or necessary. That shift in belief took a big hunk out of my Mormonism (i.e. my faith in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as such). It wasn’t something I decided; it’s just what happened. I feel bad for people who long to be sealed to loved ones they can’t be sealed to. I also feel bad that I no longer have this belief they have, that the sealing is real and actually makes a difference. Given how little we understand about this ordinance, and the church’s insistence that no one needs to worry if their mortal circumstances don’t permit them to fill out the proper paperwork, I don’t know why we don’t just seal everyone to everyone and let God sort it out, as we’ve been promised He will.

  47. Angela C says:

    I think Christian Kimball is onto something that is troubling about this inequity, and it goes to the heart of the (somewhat modern) notion that marriage is a financial agreement between two men (the father to the husband). In the economic view of marriage, wives are a status symbol for men, progeny are heirs to property, and that’s why illegitimacy (and the sexual behavior of women) is so closely monitored (and transgressions punished so severely) in a patriarchal society. In other societies throughout time, this has not been the case. Marriages were a pooling of resources and children were raised by villages–literally–in some groups, without giving a thought to paternity. Paternity was a notion that became important when men saw marriage as a way to maintain or improve their elite status through generating and maintaining wealth and surplus within only their limited family group. God forbid the offspring of an outsider displace his heir of the body!

    From the book Marriage, a History: From Obedience to Intimacy by Stephanie Coontz: “if an heir was already in place and the birth of another child would complicate inheritance and succession, a woman might be forced to remain single and celibate after her husband’s death. In a few cultures the ideal was for a widow to kill herself after her husband died. More often, the surviving spouse was required to marry another member of the deceased’s family in order to perpetuate the alliance between the two kin groups.” Our sealing prohibition that only allows a woman to be sealed to one man is linked to this very mindset and creates the same type of social consequence. She can’t “belong to” two men, and she and her children must be “transferred” (their ownership) to the next husband if she is sealed to him.

    These thought patterns are hard to overcome, even though I doubt anyone would consciously consider eternal marriage to be a way to perpetuate (or hoard) status in terms of economic material. However, there was certainly a status associated with polygamy in the church and the concept of “believing blood” that would place a similar premium on paternity.

  48. Jennifer says:

    Tracy M, have you consulted your stake President as to the current policy? Did the women who were denied their sealing cancellation given a REASON?
    I would be interested in knowing what they were told. I had no trouble receiving a sealing cancellation. But I had no children so that might be part of it.

  49. Angela C,

    I find it disturbing how little capability you attribute to women in the structuring of society, that you seem to view them as passive weaklings incapable of standing up for their own desires (to say nothing of the myopic view of men as primarily power hungry monsters). I don’t accept the modern feminist rewrite of history. I don’t believe women were ever so weak as you portray them.

  50. I was in the Oakland California stake when I received my sealing cancellation. Do not remember the stake presidents name. But I can tell you he told me it was not a change in policy but that President Monson felt women kept their sealing blessings even if the sealing was cancelled. He implied without saying so that I might want to apply while he was still alive because this might not last. So I assume he knew more than he felt he could tell me.

  51. Steve LHJ,
    If women had had the sort of agency that you attribute to them at the time societies were being initially structured, we wouldn’t have wound up with the societies we have. Individual women can be powerful and influential within what is a systematically patriarchal culture (and history); that doesn’t change anything about the ways in which the male gender is privileged. If women had been as influential as you assume, then they would never have not had the vote, abortion would never have needed government intervention, and we wouldn’t have had laws on the books giving male power over the bodies and property of women. Know your history, dude.

  52. Kristine says:

    Or if you don’t want to know the history, just pay a little attention to the specific questions involved here–if women were powerful, they would not need a (male) bishop and (male) stake president to submit their requests about their eternal marital status to the (all-male) First Presidency. Even if women had more power when societies were initially structured, we’ve done a fine job stripping them of it.

  53. That narrative assumes men are more powerful in shaping society than women, if they weren’t how were they able to systematically take/strip power from women in the first place?

    I don’t believe it, and I think we have become culturally so steeped in this particular feminist narrative that the assumptions of a patriarchy and near universal female oppression are just taken as given at this point. I think it paints a very base and ugly view of women and men, and that it is damaging and not true.

    That humans have had it gruelingly difficult for nearly of all of human history is most definitely the case, and I think as a direct result of the cooperation of men and women coming together in the face of these terrible realities, our species somehow managed to not only survive but thrive. In my mind it may very well be nature’s greatest success story.

  54. Steve LHJ,
    What alternative explanation for the creation of a patriarchal society do you find more credible? That women gave up bodily autonomy willingly? Because I’m skeptical that was ever the case and, even if at some past time and place it was, that is no reason for them to accept such conditions now.

  55. Steve LHJ,

    Respectfully, you don’t know what you are talking about in relation to sexist superstructures. The temple covenants for women just changed. Hint, the change removed sexist superstructures in temple covenants. A very big deal. I’m flabbergasted that you can blithely dismiss something so obvious.

  56. A Turtle Named Mack says:

    Steve LHJ-
    To respond to your last comment, men have been, and continue to be, more powerful in shaping society than women. That you don’t believe this, and can’t see it, is evidence of how systematically dominant this power has been woven into our social structure. You are correct that this paints a very base and ugly view of men, that is damaging. But to place equal blame for this on women is to simply be ignorant of how power, and structure, and societies work. That women still persist in this world is, indeed, one of nature’s greatest success stories.

  57. John C., when you say bodily autonomy are you speaking in regards to abortion? Because, yes while this is clearly a contentious and split issue – views on abortion don’t differ significantly between men and women.

    BL – Sexism definitely exists in the world, no doubt there are wide variety of instances we can point to in which women face/d oppression, and I believe the same is also true for men. I believe women and men are equally capable of evil, otherwise they would not be equally capable of virtue – I don’t believe men are more capable of virtue than women or vice versa. Given the opportunity there is a subset of men and women that will exploit the system to take advantage of other people, including in sexist ways if it will be to their advantage – it’s a human nature problem.

    A.T.N.M. – That’s at least a consistent view, but in my mind it is false. I believe women have always been as powerful in shaping society as men, it might be argued that women on average have had a disproportionate and greater influence on rising generations as mothers. We don’t operate sealed off from one another, most of us come home to live with our sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, sons, and daughters. I don’t think most people in human history have been so calloused as to ignore their most significant relationships in shaping their world view. I think it is super arrogant to believe that this is some form of modern enlightenment and that humans were uncaring savages exploiting one another at every turn before that in some eternal battle of the sexes that somehow men managed to always win. I don’t buy it.

  58. A.T.N.M. – It’s just so strange to me that anyone would believe women are so helpless and weak as you portray them. In your view, is it now because men in the last 100 years have finally been convinced to soften their hearts that they have graciously begun to let go of the power they took for tens of thousands of years, and they are “allowing” women their freedom finally? I mean yeah, you can villainize men as power hungry monsters in that narrative, but it seems to me that your view of women is just as lowly – and sure you can play some sort of virtuous martyr in your narrative, but overall women seem quite pathetic in your view.

    Here’s an alternate view of history, one I believe is more accurate:

    I believe feminism got many important things right in the beginning, and not only important but necessary. At the same time I think some unintended shifts as a byproduct have led to greater depression in women and the demasculinization of men. It has skewed reality in a way that is really damaging to all of us. Here’s what I think happened:

    (Warning, this kind of got long. I put a tl;dr at the end for those who don’t have the time)

    As I already alluded to I believe in the beginning as a species (going back tens and hundreds of thousands of years) that we have primarily been balanced as men and women, and this balance directly led to the survival, success, and thriving of our species in the face of the often grueling cruelty of nature and reality – and I really do believe our cooperation is one of nature’s greatest success stories.

    With the advent of agriculture and larger civilizations I believe this balance went through many ebbs and flows over time, but primarily still it has been a story of balance and cooperation between men and women, equal in value and overall power in society.

    With the industrial revolution and the increase of technology, I believe the traditional male sphere became more and more visible and complex, and an imbalance was truly introduced into the system. I do not accept the notion that women were weak before this period and subjugated to mass oppression (everyone was oppressed the immense difficulty of life itself and our joint cooperation was necessary to not die at every turn), I believe that if such an imbalance existed that women (or men) would have risen up at any point in history to seek correction and restore that balance, probably such periods do exist in history.

    And I think that’s why feminism rose when it did, because there was a legitimate imbalance introduced into the human system.

    What feminism got right – humans are not rigidly their gender roles and there is a lot of individual variation. Given the wide individual variation the whole system would benefit and be improved through flexibility, and having opportunity to contribute according to your individual skillset regardless of whether it happens to fall in a traditionally masculine or feminine sphere. And so many women fought for equal opportunity for women in the masculine sphere.

    But while getting this right, there were simultaneously unintended consequences of focusing and fighting for equal opportunity in the masculine sphere. It caused a principle of scarcity and made the masculine sphere start looking more and more desirable. I believe this lead to a cultural shift in which the the masculine sphere began being seen as something more desirable than the feminine sphere, which is not how human beings have ever viewed the world before this, and is not true. The unintended consequence is that the feminine sphere was devalued.

    With the feminine sphere devalued and seeing the masculine sphere as being of primary importance in the world, people started looking back in history and pointing out that men had always dominated these masculine spheres, and therefore as the more desirable sphere must have been a consequence of power and oppression (rather than as a natural result of the choice and desires of men and women respectively). Suddenly all of history is re-written to make it look as if all of human history was a battle for power between the sexes with men dominating and oppressing women for the majority of human history.

    History is re-written with a new myopic and terribly negative view of men as inherent power-mongering monsters, and women as passive weaklings. Ironically the inevitable conclusion of this new feminist Patriarchal world view, is that indeed women were and have been inferior to men, how else could they have been dominated and subjugated for tens of thousands of years? And if inferior then, they are inferior now.

    And that is the real source of the anger that stems from Feminist ideology, it proves the inferiority of women, and now with an inevitable inferiority complex, those who adopt this view project on and hate men who are “exposing their inferiority”, and the end goal must be to bring down these men and take over the masculine sphere in an attempt to prove their worth and prove they are not inferior.

    But it was always a misinterpretation to begin with. It was a lie. Women never were inferior to begin with – despite the radicals that have the loudest voices I believe this is self-evident to most people.

    The truth is that in the process of breaking down boundaries in the masculine sphere so that there is more flexibility and equality of opportunity for women in that sphere, along the way we as a culture began forgetting the value of the feminine sphere. Feminism ironically has devalued the feminine.

    I believe the answer or solution to this problem is that we need to return to an understanding and recognition of the absolute necessity and value of the feminine sphere to humanity and a functional society. We need to return to the natural understanding that the masculine and feminine spheres stand in equal value and partnership that has allowed our species to thrive and become what it has.

    With the feminine properly valued, the same movement of creating an equality of opportunity in the masculine sphere ought to also take place for men desiring to participate in the feminine spheres.

    This will restore balance, reduce the inferiority complex now found in many women which is making them more depressed than ever, and reduce the demasculinization that is occurring in men out of misguided guilt. And it will allow men and women to feel comfortable properly expressing and living out their lives in harmony with their biological propensities.

    And with equality of opportunity and flexibility in both the masculine and feminine spheres with reduced stigma, the whole system will be benefited as it allows for the large individual variation that is inevitable in such as system. This will allow us as a species to achieve heights that we hadn’t previously achieved, and will better allow men to eventually develop their feminine energies and women their masculine energies that together we develop into our most complete selves in the process, exposing new greater and fuller truths in the process.

    Those given to masculine strengths will not lose them, but will be able to add to it feminine truths and strengths learning from those who naturally are given to that aspect of the truth. And vice verse for those starting given to feminine strengths. In this way through specialization, we eventually come to a more complete truth and whole in each of us.

    TL;DR
    Feminism’s focus on equal opportunity in the masculine sphere, which was an important development in the wake of the industrial revolution, inadvertently created scarcity and made the masculine sphere look more desirable, devaluing the feminine sphere. Through this lens history was rewritten and made it look like a war between men and women with women having always been oppressed (because why would they willing choose the feminine sphere?), which ironically leads to the conclusion that there was and is some sort of inherent inferiority in women. This misinterpreted view of history led to an actual anger and cultural war between men and women that we experience today.

    We need to rediscover the absolute necessity and value of the feminine sphere, and likewise a revolution that allows for equal opportunity for men in that feminine sphere. This will restore the natural balance between men and women and eliminate the inferiority complex in women and demasculinization of men that feminism has inadvertently created, and allow us to achieve new heights as a species, working hand in hand according to our natural and individual strengths.

  59. Abortion is the tip of the autonomy iceberg. Learn your history, dude. Because you are getting it wrong and that is skewing your believes to the misogynist.

  60. Steve LHJ,

    Your problems with ‘feminism’ are skewing your views on history. And they don’t address my point. I only provided one example. One that directly relates to how superstructure sexism hurts women in the church. There are plenty of other real-work examples. Clearly you want to justify yourself on your misstep (whether that misstep was intentional or not). You are wrong, and digging yourself deeper. And your long comment is full of sexist rhetoric. Again, though, you can’t see it. Your views of gender are also wrong. Heck, I’ll say it again: respectfully, you don’t know what you are talking about. It’s clear you think you do, but you don’t. Disguising it as some ‘benevolent’ reading of women ad their role in the history of the world is disgusting. And patronizing. Stick with your original comments in this thread. On this route, probably best to stop before it gets worse.

  61. A Turtle Named Mack says:

    Ummm…yeah, there’s a lot wrong with that, Steve LHJ, and I won’t engage with the bulk of it, as it mostly doesn’t relate to this post and this isn’t the place for a thorough (but needed) education on women’s history. But your insistence that women would have to be helpless and weak in order to be marginalized really misses the point (disguised as a benevolent depiction of women as NOT helpless or weak). The clearance/cancellation policy is simply a manifestation that capable, competent, and strong women continue to be systematically excluded from decisions that directly impact their current and future temporal and spiritual lives. And it is but one example, of many, in the Church.

  62. John C.,
    I’m not sure why you’d assume I don’t know my history, I could say the same thing to you. But it’s weak and flawed thinking to simply assume ignorance when someone doesn’t agree with you rather than engage with the substance of what someone says. You asked me, “What alternative explanation for the creation of a patriarchal society do you find more credible?”, for which I disagreed even with the premise of the question, but wanted to give you at least some high level broad explanations for the sake of brevity to let you know at least somewhat where I’m coming from. And that already probably pushed things too far off topic. In a more on topic setting, I’d be happy to go into a lot more depth.

    BL,
    You stating that my views are skewed doesn’t make it so. And I don’t know what misstep your talking about, can you be more specific? I already agreed that there are many real world examples of sexism. And in the Church I do think an almost all male hierarchy doesn’t create unique challenges for women that are valid (as it does for men as well). I think the endowment was a good example of that, and I have long stated publicly that I believed changes would come on that matter.

    But I don’t think the sealing policies are an example of that, I think the real issue with sealing practices is that a full theology has not been fleshed out and revealed yet. One of the hardest aspects is that it seems to be inextricably linked with polygamy, especially polygyny, and that itself is a whole other theological bag of worms. I think it is and will be the most difficult point to resolve in the church past and present.

    You can make a case that the sealing policies are rooted in sexist history, like the OP has, but I think it is faulty from its foundation as it is looking at history through a modern feminist view that I believe itself has rewritten and skewed the actual history for the reasons I have outlined. I think such a world view is harmful to both women and men and that I think will hinder our ability to arrive at the truth of the matter – which is why I wanted to add my voice to the conversation.

    A.T.N.M.,
    I didn’t say women would have to be weak and helpless in order to be marginalized, rather a one-sided subjugation of 50% of the population that could last for tens of thousands of years, as well as the idea that “men have been, and continue to be, more powerful in shaping society than women” would imply relative weakness and helplessness, and even inferiority – unable to stand up for and attain their true desires. How else could you explain that kind of narrative?

    Rather in a broken a mortal world I think we see people marginalized all over the place. You’ll find no disagreement from me on that fact.

    I’m don’t see a reason to believe the cancelation/clearance sealing policies would change with women at the table in the discussion, I also don’t think the mere fact that there is a difference between men and women is inherently sexist, but I will agree with you that the fact women are not fully at the table in that discussion doesn’t feel like the ideal that God would have in Zion, and I also don’t think it matches Joseph Smith’s vision for the church in Nauvoo. I do personally believe that will eventually change to the benefit of both men and women in the church.

  63. *I do think an almost all male hierarchy does create unique challenges for women that are valid

  64. Nicely done, Steve LHJ. It’s rare to see someone destroy their credibility as quickly as you. We got it. The vast, vast majority of historians are wrong. Women used as property, political collateral, traded, sold to marriages, held back from development they sought/seek, marginalized from political and professional process via voting, etc. is all bunk. They loved it. It’s just the result of a a few sexist men. Nothing to look at. It’s a rewrite of history. Those stupid women and their feminist movement just ruining things for themselves by creating scarcity–which only happened because of a few sexist men, nothing structural to it. We GET it. It’s US who are sexist to even say claim such things. We GET it.

    Go ahead, claim that women who went through the temple prior to 2019 and putting their husbands between them and God–through covenant–are just, you know, the victim of feminism. That the women who now covenant on equal grounds with their husbands are somehow . . . what? What IS your point? That sexist superstructures are a myth?. Well, my friend, only a privilege man could make such a claim. A sexist one at that. There, I’ll say it. You are hinting that WE are; that, by pointing out systematic sexism towards women, we really think they are weak. Well, you’re wrong. And, I’ll say it again, sexist. Something you will need to learn to deal with. And creating some la-la-history of the world isn’t going to save you on this one, mate.

  65. BL, “Go ahead, claim that women who went through the temple prior to 2019…are…the victim of feminism.”

    How in the world did you get to that? Did you really not read what I just wrote – i.e. “I do think an almost all male hierarchy does create unique challenges for women that are valid… I think the endowment was a good example of that, and I have long stated publicly that I believed changes would come on that matter.”

    I’ve already stated multiple times that sexism exists, clearly that is the case, there is no shortage of evil we can point to in history, not even a question. But calling me sexist over and over is not an argument, and if you’re just going to mischaracterize my positions with strawmen instead of engaging in a genuine conversation I can’t take you seriously.

  66. Steve LHJ, You are claiming superstructural sexism isn’t a thing. Also, perhaps you don’t know to what changes I’m referring to in the temple. I’m not taking about some vague ‘unique challenge.’ I’m talking about the notion that you reject, namely that “men are more powerful in shaping society than women.” You can reject that, but you are wrong. I’m pointing out that not only have men done it throughout history and continue to do so through force, but also that they had the audacity to proclaim it was so in the eternities! And I can call you sexist just as much as you are calling the rest of us sexist. Get over it. And like you’ve engaged any actual history or points that anyone has made on superstructural sexism. Why should we engage your revision and denial of them? Because you can write blog posts? Look you’re probably a great person. But that doesn’t excuse the sexism you promulgate.

  67. But I’ll take that you comments coincide with the half of the WWC as a positive sign. At least we have a love of the beautiful sport in common! : )

  68. Fair enough, our views are probably too far apart to make much headway, it seems we do disagree fundamentally and yes I do think your and the modern feminist patriarchal world view / interpretation undermines women (and men) and their real value and abilities, I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree. Yes, I guess we do have that :)

  69. Thank you for the answers to my quesion, Ardis and Angela C.

    And that’s some hilarious satire in the last threadjack. Very funny Steve.

  70. One of my ancestors was orphaned at a young age and raised by new parents. He loved both sets of parents and didn’t want to have to choose, so he specifically requested that his descendants not seal him to either set, believing that God would allow him to be sealed to the correct set of parents during the resurrection. However, since then, the policy was changed and we can now seal a dead person to both sets of parents, with the idea that it will all be sorted out in the resurrection.

    I think people are comfortable with that idea. I don’t think it would be too much of a stretch to allow women to be sealed to multiple men with the idea that it will all work out in the end. That is already the solution for people who were never married. That wouldn’t even require a change of doctrine. As pointed out earlier, dead women can already be sealed to multiple men, why not living women?

    I also think that the fear of losing blessings when a sealing is canceled will be resolved. Single people can have all the same blessings as married people if they are true and faithful, so it makes sense that divorced people could have the same blessings as single and married. Imagine a situation where a man is sealed, divorced and never remarried. If his ex-wife wants to get remarried, the sealing would have to be canceled, but if not, they will remain sealed. I have a hard time seeing that his eternal blessings would depend on something so outside of his control such as whether his ex-wife wants to remarry or not.

    I predict in the future that the sealings for men and women will have the same policy. I predict that everyone will be allowed to be sealed to multiple spouses and parents with the idea that it will all work out in the end. No one should have to go through the emotions of having to choose between loved ones, or feeling like an untouchable because of the divorced status.

  71. From what I have read, I believe divorced men seeking to remarry require a clearance even if their former wife received a cancellation. I believe it is just a way for the leaders to give everyone a chance to be heard and for all relevant facts to have a chance of coming out.

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