7. The LDS “traditional” marriage crusade is grossly hypocritical.
During it’s first 75 years, the LDS church lobbied desperately in favor of personal tolerance, and government recognition of polygamy, a non-traditional marriage arrangement if there ever was one. Because it was a core doctrine of the church, and affected the life of almost every Mormon, the LDS church argued the merits of polygamy, and vehemently claimed (as some polygamous Mormon splinter groups still claim) that laws against polygamy violated their freedom of religion and their pursuit of happiness. Although the church finally settled in and ceased that practice in accordance with the law, polygamy is still accepted on a spiritual level, and cannot be ruled out as a practice in the future, because the LDS church has never actually repudiated its polygamist practices and doctrines of the past.
In our modern age however, the LDS church is lobbying again, this time pouring millions of dollars and countless volunteer hours into political campaigns that tighten and restrict government acceptance of marriage to include only “one man, one woman” arrangements. This reversal not only puts the LDS church at the forefront of the persecution of homosexuals (and at risk of losing tax-exempt status), but it does so at the expense of becoming the very worst of hypocrites. All the arguments and sacrifices that Mormons once made to defend their personal marriage choice are quietly buried so the LDS church can attack the marriage choice of others.
Additionally, the modern LDS church’s claim that other people’s “non-traditional” marriage practices are a threat to the LDS “traditional” marriage practice, are shamelessly hypocritical for the following reasons:
I. The LDS church still performs polygamous temple marriages (“sealings”) for the dead, and for widowers and male divorcees who’ve found a new wife, without asking permission of either wife. Interestingly enough, men can be “sealed” to multiple women, but a woman can be “sealed” to only one man.
II. The LDS church will not perform a new temple marriage (“sealing”) for a woman who has been temple married and was later divorced. Such a woman must be “unsealed” first, which is exceedingly rare, actually impossible in most cases. Because Mormons are taught only to marry in the temple, these women are ineligible, and have great difficulty finding a husband (and a father for their children) within the LDS church. Those who would marry such a woman (and frankly, the woman herself) must contend with the fact that she is still spiritually married (“sealed”) to someone else.
III. The LDS temple ceremony includes semi-nude (although non-sexual) washing and anointing ceremonies of brides (and sometimes grooms) on their wedding day, and then later when they return to complete proxy temple work for the dead.
IV. An LDS wedding has a bride and groom don truly strange costumes, and then pass secret promises, key words and hand signs during the wedding ceremony, none of which may ever be repeated. LDS weddings are rushed through the temple, typically several every hour, and are often a disappointment because of the impersonal treatment and somewhat bizarre ceremonies involved, which are never mentioned beforehand.
V. The LDS temple ceremonies include giving the man and wife each a “new name”. Although the wife must tell the husband her new name during the ceremony, the husband must never tell his wife his new name. This is a secret the husband must keep from his wife throughout the couple’s lifetime, and perhaps eternity.
VI. In the LDS temple ceremonies, a woman is sworn to “hearken”’ to her husband as much as he hearkens to the Lord. (Previous wording before the 1990 change was to “obey” the husband, as much as he obeys the law of the Lord.). This sows the seeds for marital discord if the husband ever turns away from the church, and it puts the husband and wife on unequal terms, since a husband is not sworn to hearken, obey or otherwise respect his wife (regardless of her position to the Lord).
VII. LDS temple married couples are assigned a “garment” (full-body underwear) they must wear at all times. Although they may remove it for bathing, sports, and sexual intercourse, couples are discouraged from spending significant time together naked for such simple things as holding each other, literally sleeping beside each other, or just relaxing together in the privacy of their own bedroom.
VIII. The LDS church discounts the marriage and family ties of all other religions, by claiming that only a family sealed in an LDS temple marriage will be recognized by God in the after-life.
IX. LDS doctrine teaches that LDS members who marry non-members (or whose member spouse becomes “unworthy”), will spend eternity alone, or as an Angel in the service of others, or be “given” to someone else (as a polygamous mate to a more “worthy” spouse) in the hereafter.
X. LDS temple rules forbid non-LDS parents from seeing their own children’s temple wedding. This leaves many parents literally standing outside the temple, devastated at being denied this moment in their child’s life. Matters are made worse by the fact that the temple wedding ceremony is so secret that it must not be discussed even with the parents afterward.
XI. The LDS church strongly discourages any emulation of a traditional ceremony (such as a public exchange of rings or vows) for couples pursuing an LDS temple wedding.
XII. In some cases, the LDS church punishes those who “only” receive a traditional wedding (so their parents can actually see them get married, for example), by disallowing them from using the chapel for their reception, as well as restricting them from attending the temple for 6 months to a year.
XIII. In other cases, the LDS church will not even perform traditional weddings in the chapel (a non-exclusive meeting site), so part-LDS couples, or “unworthy” couples must postpone their marriage (until both are “worthy” to be married in the temple), or pursue a secular wedding instead (with the consequences mentioned above).
XIV. In a few cases, the LDS church will call in a man and his wife for “disciplinary action” (a church court) because of something they did together before they were married, or because of “un-natural” or “degrading” sexual practices that the couple conducts in the privacy of their own bedroom. Items such as these are typically uncovered based on inappropriate questioning of the couple (each interviewed separately) during their regularly scheduled “worthiness” interviews.
XV. The LDS church teaches couples that in order to become and remain “worthy” of their temple marriage, they must pay Tithing (10% of all pre-tax income), even before meeting basic necessities for their family. This kind of “marriage tax” is much higher than anything the federal government has imposed.
XVI. Depending on the members level of activity and obedience, the LDS church typically asks parents to spend between 5 and 30 hours a week tied up in church activities, meetings, “worthiness” interviews, record keeping, genealogy research, missionary work, service projects, and other busywork, instead of spending that time with their families.
In reality, the LDS church is not as worried about the legalization of homosexual marriage as it is with the legalization of polygamy. This is because although it is currently illegal, and not directly practiced among living members of the LDS church, polygamy is still a core spiritual doctrine of Mormonism. The illegal status of polygamy (the current “one man, one woman” restriction) is convenient for the LDS church, because obedience to the law saves them the hassle and embarrassment of publicly acknowledging or repudiating this core doctrine. In effect, the LDS church persecutes homosexuals in order to appear more mainstream with regards to marriage, and to hide from their polygamous past.
At this time, I admonish the LDS church leadership to clearly, completely and irrevocably repudiate all polygamous practices and doctrines within the LDS church. I also urge the LDS church leadership, and all Mormons everywhere, to ponder these issues deeply, and consider how the LDS church can remedy the damage it causes with its own non-traditional marriage practices (some of these mentioned above), before searching for outside threats to marriage and family.