Ashley’s Wedding in a “Mormon” Temple
Having grown up in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (inadvertently called the “Mormon” church by the media), I was continuously pointed towards the temple by my parents and church leaders. Even the purpose of the Young Women program (an organization for girls ages 12-18) has the simple but profound statement, “The purpose of the Young Women organization is to help each young woman be worthy to make and keep sacred covenants and receive the ordinances of the temple.” And a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Russell M. Nelson, declared, “Every activity, every lesson, all we do in the Church, point to the Lord and His holy house” (“Personal Preparation for Temple Blessings”). Even the Personal Progress booklet (a girl’s achievement program with the aim to help them become a virtuous young women) has a picture of an LDS temple on the front cover, and inside the first page. But why? Why such a focus on temples?
First, let’s talk about what happens in the temple. On www.lds.org there is a wonderful explanation, “In the temple we are taught, we make covenants, and we are promised blessings. We receive ordinances that enable us to live in the presence of God.” An ordinance is an outward symbol of an inward promise to God and His promised blessings in return. Baptism, for example, is one well-known ordinance in Christianity. Latter-day Saints (Mormons) believe in additional higher ‘ordinances’ that take place in holy temples.
One of the ordinances that I would like to focus on is the sealing ordinance. This was the one I had looked forward to since I was a young girl, dreaming about what it would be like to have a prince take me to a beautiful castle and there be married! This sealing ordinance, performed by proper authority, is no ordinary marriage ceremony, as the words do not merely say, “until death do you part” rather, “you are sealed for time and all eternity.”
President Thomas S. Monson (President of the “Mormon” Church) spoke of temples by saying, “They are filled with faith and fasting. They are built of trials and testimonies. They are sanctified by sacrifice and service.” This formula for building a temple coincides with the formula of how to build a successful marriage that leads to Christ.
1) Temples/Marriage: They are filled with faith and fasting
I met my husband “to be” in high school, where we remained good friends until he got home from his voluntary LDS mission in 2010—then my dream came true and we became “a couple.” But how do you know when this “couple” status should lead to “the next step”? We sought direction from above by praying and fasting. We even went to the temple with this prayer in our heart, and it was there that we were blessed with a sure understanding that God would approve and even invite our desire to be married.
Our fondest dreams were now being realized. We were able to start our preparation to enter the temple to be sealed together with our best friend! But when we started to prepare to “plan the wedding” I realized that the preparation had begun long before Tyler put the ring on my finger. The preparation began when we were first taught by God the Father, His Plan of Salvation—even in the pre-mortal realms. And since then the temple has been our focus—because it leads us back to Him!
2) Temples/Marriage: They are built of trials and testimonies
When one decides to follow Christ, it doesn’t mean that we are to go with out trials. In fact, since ancient times we find that those who have the closest relationship with God have inevitably gone through the “refiners fire.” Why is this? It is because it is part of God’s pattern of building holiness. In a book of modern scripture known as the Doctrine and Covenants we read, “For after much tribulation come the blessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand” (Doctrine and Covenants 58:4). Because of these truths it wasn’t surprising then to see that during the months we prepared for our wedding day, TRIALS WERE ABUNDANT! It seemed like everything was being thrown at us, from every source, to test and try us. If you study LDS Church history, you will see that this also happens during the construction of a temple, interesting.
3) Temples/Marriage: They are sanctified by sacrifice and service
Tyler and I are far from perfect, that is why these three steps, particularly this last one of sanctification (to make holy) is a work in progress. But thankfully marriage gives the perfect atmosphere to have sacrifice and service. President Monson also said, “Those who understand the eternal blessings which come from the temple know that no sacrifice is too great, no price too heavy, no struggle too difficult in order to receive those blessings.” And yet again, these words can be applied to marriage. This is because marriage and the temple go hand in hand. Yes, everything we do in the church leads to the temple, and everything we do in the temple leads to Celestial marriage, which leads us to Christ. It is a beautiful course that is one eternal round (Doctrine and Covenants 3:2).
My Wedding Day: A Princess in the Temple of God
Because of these three principles of building holiness: 1) filled with faith and fasting 2) built of trials and testimonies and 3) sanctified by sacrifice and service, Tyler and I were able to have a sweet and sacred wedding day. We had made it a conscious choice that our focus would not be on the flowers, decorations, clothes, etc. (in fact I unintentionally neglected to buy myself shoes and realized the morning of!) But our focus was on the temple and being able to kneel across the holy alter to make and keep sacred covenants with each other and with our Father in Heaven. Before going to the sealing room I was able to go to the Bride’s room. This is where all of the brides to be go get dressed, put on finishing make-up touches, etc. But this was no worldly room. As I looked around I started to cry because I realized this was a real princess room. My dream of marrying a prince in a castle was about to become true. When I finally got to see Tyler, he looked as though he was glowing, and we couldn’t stop looking into each other’s eyes with our natural smiles being undiminished. We had a bright hope for the future of eternity together and it was a miraculous feeling. We looked around the room and realized all of our loved ones were on both sides of the room, cheering us on for our big moment in time. After we knelt across the altars and our sealer pronounced sacred blessings upon us, we stood up and looked in the mirrors that are on the sides of the room. Because of their perfect positioning you are able to see a forever reflection, and this helped us realize that our preparation to enter into the temple will pay off because eternity together is not just a fantasy, it is a reality if we continue to be faithful and keep the commandments of God.
My dear friends, whether you are a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or not, please find out what you can do to receive the blessings of the temple in its richest abundance. LDS “Mormon” temples are not merely mortar and stone; they are sacred edifices of our true and Living God; who has provided us with them so that we may return to live with Him again, together with our families, ready to receive eternal glory.
Learn more about eternal love.
Chat live with a “Mormon” missionary online.
Read a talk on Celestial Marriage by an LDS apostle.