Thursday, June 22, 2006

What is "temple divorce"?



The term seems to be rooted in Mormon folklore.

On divorce in Mormon culture from Encyclopedia of Mormonism



I have never heard a satisfying explanation for "temple divorce", and in fact I'm not sure the church even uses such terms formally.  Elder James A. Culimore considers this question in a 1975 Church publication.

Temples are not about divorcing. "Divorce" itself, it would seem, really has only temporal connotations, so in terms of binding covenants sealing for time and all eternity, it does not seem like the appropriate term.



I understand the church offers an administrative action referred to as "cancellation of sealing". But I am still not sure I understand what that means. How can an eternal covenant be "canceled"?


Do the participants kneel together at the same altar in the temple where their sealing was pronounced, and somehow un-promise?

Specific counsel from Elder Dallin H. Oaks somewhat illuminates this discussion, which frequently generates more heat than light.

1 comment:

megawinn said...

I recently stumbled upon your blog while researching Squaw Peak Road and local campsites. I was interested to find out about the terracing. What a great tribute to the natural beauty of this great state. While looking through your older posts, I noticed this about "temple divorce." As a recently divorced (yet happily remarried) young LDS, maybe I can provide some insight into the issue. A covenant is a two way promise. In the case of temple marriage, it is a three way promise. I took my covenants very seriously. I found months later that my spouse did not. Trapped in a marriage that had been ravaged by pornography and dishonesty, I tried valiantly to make everything better. In my opinion, this was no reason to end a marriage. Everyone makes mistakes. For months, I prayed and fasted and tried to emulate a virtuous woman in every way. However, my spouse did not value virtue in women and in one excruciatingly painful moment told me he didn't love me and never would. It was unfair and terrible but I never questioned my Savior or the plan for me. I was in a loveless marriage with no commitment and we were soon divorced. I returned to BYU that August alone and scared. I met my love. Everything fell into place. Never had something felt so right. Never had I had such a testimony of how perfectly wonderful the plan is. We were engaged and I had my sealing canceled. I don't think of it as an "unpromise;" I think of it as a promise that had already been broken. I've never been happier than I am now. My husband and I have been married for a little over a year. We are poor students. We have almost nothing but we are truly happy. Some of our greatest joy comes from sitting on the floor of our little apartment playing dominoes together and laughing when he pretends to lose so that I can win. We make up silly games when we eat 99 cent tacos for date night. He loves me when I'm sick. He loves me when I'm tired and unkempt. He loves me when I've had a bad day. He loves me when I burned his birthday dinner and he loves me when I'm not very nice. Without the ability to be released from the difficult situation I was in, I couldn't look forward to eternity with my wonderful husband.