Friday, January 24, 2014

Why is Temple Marriage Important (or Even Necessary) in This Life?

"Temple marriage" is all about the concept of "sealing" - which is a really, really powerful concept, in and of itself. It also is an incredibly needed concept throughout the world, especially when the "big picture" (neither is the man nor the woman without the other) is understood. So, at the most fundamental level, there is a HUGE difference between the concept of eternal sealing (e.g., the responsibilities inherent in the need for two truly to become one) and the concept of "til death do us part" - or God as strictly a male construct - or unrighteous dominion in marriage - ad infinitum.

It's instructive that MANY people whose religious theologies really don't allow for a continuation of their marriage after death still believe in marriage after death. The concept of "being sealed" (becoming unbreakable and eternally combined) is there, even when the theology and "official terminology" is not. So, it's really important that those who understand that others can become one eternally even without "being sealed" in mortality not jettison the ceremony that actually articulates that ideal and makes it "physical" in a very real way - that they not devalue the concept of sealing that happens in the temple. The concept needs to be preached and "embodied" not just believed - or it eventually becomes lost to many people who need a visual, physical representation to keep it real.

It would be easy to focus so much on the problem of practical exclusivity with regard to the temple (that is real and difficult in many families) that we miss the amazing, fundamental foundation of near universal inclusiveness outside this little part of our eternal existence. Rather than decry that only a few people ever get married in a temple, maybe we should honor the idea it represents and then work to spread that idea (sans temple) to those who won't be married in a temple during mortality but still can be sealed in a very real way as a result of how they bond with their spouse. Why not preach the big picture ideal to all and acknowledge, wherever possible, the beauty of the Mormon embodiment of it?

That general concept (seeing the universal, theoretical ideal AND the problems inherent in our limited application capacity, then working within conflicting societies to empower and enlighten and lift and support all to whatever degree possible) is one that is dear to me. I'm not an island, and there is NOTHING that can force me to abandon EITHER my fellow congregants OR my fellow non-congregants and swim off on my own - even if I have to alter how I talk with and explain things to them, based on what makes sense to them. For my fellow Mormons, I encourage a reverence for the concept and practice of temple sealing (and a better understanding, if possible, of the implications of our vicarious work for others and the charity it should engender); for my fellow non-Mormons, I encourage a reverence for the concept of sealing even if I am unable to mention the temple in any way.

Thus, for me, there is no inherent conflict between loving temple marriage and "ideal" non-temple marriage - and that is an incredibly empowering, liberating condition.

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