Saturday, September 8, 2012


How many times have I been asked 'how many moms do you have?" or " how many grandmas do you have?"  
I have one mom. I have 2 grandmas, and assuming that your mom and dad aren't brother and sister, you have two grandmas also.  

No, the LDS church does not practice polygamy.  No, the FLDS church is not affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints  (LDS church).  

The church has an official statement on polygamy which says this: 

 Today, the practice of polygamy is strictly prohibited in the Church, as it has been for over 120 years. Polygamy — or more correctly polygyny, the marriage of more than one woman to the same man — was a part of the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for a half-century. The practice began during the lifetime of Joseph Smith but became publicly and widely known during the time of Brigham Young.
In 1831, Church founder Joseph Smith made a prayerful inquiry about the ancient Old Testament practice of plural marriage. This resulted in the divine instruction to reinstitute the practice as a religious principle.
Latter-day Saint converts in the 19th century had been raised in traditional, monogamous homes and struggled with the idea of a man having more than one wife. It was as foreign to them as it would be to most families today in the western world, and even Brigham Young, who was later to have many wives and children, confessed to his initial dread of the principle of plural marriage.
Subsequently, in 1890, President Wilford Woodruff, fourth president of the Church, received what Latter-day Saints believe to be a revelation in which God withdrew the command to practice plural marriage. He issued what has come to be known as the "Manifesto," a written declaration to Church members and the public at large that stopped the practice of plural marriage.
Today Church members honor and respect the sacrifices made by those who practiced polygamy in the early days of the Church. However, the practice is banned in the Church, and no person can practice plural marriage and remain a member.
The standard doctrine of the Church is monogamy, as it always has been, as indicated in the Book of Mormon (Jacob, chapter 2): “Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none. … For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things.”
In other words, the standard of the Lord’s people is monogamy unless the Lord reveals otherwise. Latter-day Saints believe the season the Church practiced polygamy was one of these exceptions.
Polygamous groups and individuals in and around Utah often cause confusion for casual observers and for visiting news media. The polygamists and polygamist organizations in parts of the western United States and Canada have no affiliation whatsoever with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, despite the fact that the term "Mormon" — widely understood to be a nickname for Latter-day Saints — is sometimes incorrectly applied to them."

How I Personally Feel about Polygamy
I won't pretend that polygamy didn't happen in the early days of the LDS church; obviously it did. But there were lots of reasons and the bottom line is I dont know how those women, or those men, did it.
It is hard enough for a man to support one family, let alone several.
And I deeply admire the women who worked so hard to take care of their kids and support each other while their husbands were gone.

Our church today and in the past has really emphasized the importance of family and the roles of fathers and mothers and that their spouse and their children must be their number one priority. In fact, the LDS church has issued a Proclamation to the World on Family. (found here
I don't know all the reasons why God asked the members of the early LDS church to practice polygamy but I know a few of the reasons. There were a lot of women joining the church; some of whom were leaving drunk, abusive husbands in Europe. Legally and financially and physically, it was impossible for these many single women to make the trip to Utah where they would be free from religious persecution.
As I said, I really admire these women for the sacrifices that they made in following what they believed to be true, despite the difficulties of the situation. I think it was easier to be someones 3rd wife, than to be no ones wife and have no man to take care of your kids. Obviously it is ideal that a mother and father take care and raise their kids in love. I'm just so glad that the time frame for polygamy was short and I think it served its purpose even though I don't know all of the details of its purpose (God knows so much more than I do!)
But honestly and realistically, I can't imagine sharing my husband Matt. The army already kinda acts as a second and third wife wink.

Baptism, Repentance, and Priesthood

What about those people who were not living LDS standards but want to change their lives and eventually go to the temple? 
Well there is excellent news.  So far as I can tell, there are 3 Main Paths for Repentance

While it is true that you cannot un-drink what you drank last  year, or un-smoke the tobacco that you smoked last week, or take back the virginity that you lost in high school, your past decisions do not have to determine your future ones.  I have written before about the atonement in my life, but I wanted to write a little bit about it in general and the wonderful means we have to repent. By repent I mean we can apologize to God and start over with a clean slate.

There are MANY Mormons who were adhering to a very different standard before they were baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  They may have involved themselves with drug abuse, or living with their significant other before marriage.  There are many ways to sin and I don’t feel the need to outline the ones that come to mind, however, the wonderful thing about the atonement of Christ is that just because we have sinned, doesn’t mean we have to keep sinning. We have the opportunity to recognize that our actions were not in line with the commandments.  We can repent of our sins through prayer. We can repent as we partake of the sacrament (like communion) and the big way to repent is to be baptized. 

While many churches baptize, when someone decides they want to join the LDS church, they must be re-baptized. (Members who were baptized and then left the church and then decided to come back, do not need to be re-baptized.)

This is not because we think we are better and that other people who baptize were bad people.  I bet that those people who go around baptizing individuals into their churches are good people with good intent, but we do not believe that they hold the priesthood; the power and authority to act in God’s name.

The commonly used example is this.  Say I am flying down the road at 75miles per hour and the speed limit is 50. I am in the wrong. So, a wonderful driver of a ice-cream truck comes up behind me, turns on his music and asks me to pull over.  Even if I do pull over for this ice cream truck and listen to him inform me that I am a danger to myself and those around me, he cannot give me a ticket. This is because is not a police officer- he doesn’t have the power or authority to give me a ticket or take away my license.  He is well intended person but however wrong I am and however right he is, he doesn’t have the power/authority.  This is how we  try to make the power of the priesthood better understood. 

When we take the sacrament on Sunday (bread and water), we renew the promises/covenants that we made at our baptism. The sacrament is blessed by men who hold the priesthood- the same priesthood that was used at baptism and the same priesthood that Jesus sought when he wanted to be baptized. He could have gone anywhere to any body of water but he went looking for John because John had the proper authority from God. 

It is this power of the priesthood that seals families together forever in the temple.  There is a saying in our church about when you get married make sure it is "At the right time, to the right person, in the right place".  But along these same lines of marriage, there are lots of righteous people who join the Mormon chruch and for whatever reason, their spouse does not want to join the LDS church.  While they cannot go into the temple to be married for time and all eternity, the baptized member can attend church, worship at do temple work, and enjoy full membership.  They have no negative repercussions except that their husband/wife cannot go into the temple with them to be sealed in the temple. 

If they are married in a botanical garden or on a lovely hilltop or the church their parents were married in, goodness sake they are married!  I have heard people who think that because they were not marred in the temple, Mormons dont think they are legally married. Thats ridiculous! Married is married be it in Vegas or in the air skydiving. I do not believe that those marriages are sealed by the priesthood authority to continue beyond death, but they are married; legally and lawfully!  

The difference between LDS baptism and LDS marriages is found the in power of the priesthood.  This page talks about the restoration of the church and the restoration of the priesthood power.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


When I was a little girl, I did what most little girls do and I dreamed and talked about my wedding. I told everyone that I was going to marry a prince and get married in a castle and live happily ever after.
I was married on May 24, 2011 in the Salt Lake City Temple. On my wedding announcement, several little girls mistook Matt's military uniform to be what Prince William wore at his wedding (which happened around the same time as ours).  The Salt Lake Temple is the prettiest castle-like building I have ever seen.   However, my desire to be married in a LDS temple had nothing to do with my childhood dreams of fairy tales.  I will get back to this though.

Mormon temples are nothing at all like Mormon meetinghouses/churches.  Churches are open to anyone and everyone for regular worship.
Temples are not this way. To know how we feel about about temples, simply read the inscription outside each LDS Temple "The House of the Lord".  Over my life, I have heard some non-Mormons express their frustration (ranging from moderate to livid) about not being allowed to come into and tour LDS temples.  Perhaps it would put their minds to rest to know that there are many Mormons who are not allowed into temples.  We are very specific about who comes into temples.

House Guests
I am not overparticular about guests in my home. I let people come in and look around and talk with me. But even as laid back as I am, I do have some standards for my house guests. I am not as keen on letting strangers into my bedroom to look at the decor and small talk with me.  This is because I value my privacy.  I would not allow someone into my home if they were covered in mud. I would ask them to wash off before coming in because I try to keep my home physically clean.
 It is for similar reasons that the temple is specific about who comes inside.  It is the house of the Lord.  It is an amazingly spiritual place where those who come inside to worship can feel the closeness of the Spirit.
 Let me clarify this metaphor. I do not think that non-Mormons are spiritually unclean people. I know a LOT of members of other faiths, Muslim, Jew, Catholic, Protestant, to be specific, who are wonderfully spiritually people who share a closeness with God.  They would not be defiling the temple if they were to enter. 
On the other hand, there are spiritually 'dirty' people of every faith, including Mormonism. These people should not be in the temple because they mock sacred things and have no desire for a personal relationship with god. 
The bottom line for determining who can worship in the House of the Lord (the temple) is based ona personal worthiness interview with the bishop of your ward. (see section on standards. ) Because it is an LDS church, LDS leaders determine which standards they feel God has set for entrance to his holy house. 
 Personally I feel the spirit when looking at the temple or when I walk in the doors.  Because it is such a spiritually clean place, we insist that those who come to worship are spiritually clean. The standards for regular temple visit (or to hold a temple recommend), are fairly high. This is because they are set by God for what kind of a place he wants his home to be.  We believe that the temple is the closest place to heaven we can get on this Earth because of the purity of the environment.
The temple is a place for worship and prayer and to listen to receive personal revelation and guidance.  It is not a place for tour groups.
Mormons recognize that people are curious about temples. Temples are not secret; they are sacred. We do not talk about them casually and invite anyone and everyone to come in a tour as they are because they are very important to us spiritually.

Temple Dedication and when Tours are Given
 You may be surprised to know that there is a time when you can tour an LDS temple. Anyone and everyone is invited to come into the temple and see the rooms before it is dedicated.  This happens right after a temple is built or has undergone renovations.  I was very happy that I was in Hawaii when the La'ie Temple was rededicated and I could show anyone who wanted to come, the rooms in the temple and talk a little bit about what temples are for and what they mean to me.  And I swear to this day that I saw Julia Roberts there.   But not even Julia Roberts can come into a temple after it is dedicated unless she was living up to the standards set by the LDS Church.

Here are some pictures of the lovely Mormon/LDS temples.

Salt Lake City, Utah

San Diego, California

Washington, DC

Accra, Ghana

Copenhagen, Denmark

Fukuoka, Japan

Temple Standards
To hold a temple recommend (or to be able to go into Mormon Temples for regular worship ie not the blue moon tour) you must be an active member of the LDS church. You must regularly attend your Sunday meetings, fulfill your callings, live the law of chastity (abstinent before marriage and faithful to spouse in marriage), uphold the Word of Wisdom (see prior post for questions on that), and sustain the living Prophet.

You can go to the temple to perform baptisms for the dead (to be explained shortly) when you are 12 if you are living the standards.
At some point after you turn 19, usually before you get married or before you go on a mission, you decide to go through the temple and make additional promises to God (see post on garments 

Why I Chose to get Married in the Temple
The reason I wanted to get married in the temple is because I believe that families can be together forever.  I believe that God put us here in families because that is an eternal unit and that when you are married in the temple and you keep the promises you make you God, you can be married forever.  Marriage does not have to be 'til death do ye part'.  The idea of only being with Matt until we die, was deeply saddening to me. Death is very certain but uncertain in its timing.  I cannot imagine being a individual without any ties or without my loved ones after this life.  In the temple, couples can be sealed for time and all eternity. 

On marriage Russell M Nelson said this: “ Marriage has been divinely designated as an eternal and everlasting covenant. Marriage is sanctified when it is cherished and honored in holiness. That union is not merely between husband and wife; it embraces a partnership with God.”

This is a link to some frequently asked questions about Mormonism.

If you have additional questions, comment below and I'll do my best to answer. :

To see some lovely pictures of the temples (both the exterior and interior, and for further questions on the temple here is an awesome link.

Frequently Asked Questions