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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

When You Future Non-member In-laws Can't Attend the Sealing

Dear Bro Jo,


I am in a bit of a sticky situation, and I bet that both you and Sister Jo could help me out.

Think you could ask her opinion on this, too?

I’m engaged to be married to my best friend, a wonderful, righteous man.

We will be married in the Lord’s temple – neither of us is willing to compromise on that.

The trouble is that he’s a convert, so my future in-laws are not members.

Although they generally disapprove of the Church, they have been wonderfully supportive and I really love and respect them.

It is very sad for them that they can’t attend the ceremony.

How can I make this less painful for them?

I come from a Mormon family (the only daughter of 8 children), but most of my brothers left the Church long ago. Along with my parents.

I only have one brother (and his wife) that will be able to attend the temple ceremony.

My nonmember brothers are familiar with the Church and understand why they can’t attend.

My future in-laws don’t.

I plan on only inviting those immediate family members to the temple (not friends / neighbors / extended family) out of courtesy for my in-laws, so they’re not SO left out.

But should I make it even smaller?

Should I explain the situation to my one brother and suggest he not attend so it's just my parents?

I’ve been thinking of having a separate ring and vow ceremony after the sealing.

We’ll have it inside a local church, more similar to the “traditional” wedding that my in-laws were expecting.

I haven’t decided how much of the big show to put on (I don’t like big shows) – all I know right now is that his two sisters will be my bridesmaids.

I think it'll help but it’s still not the real thing.

I love my future in-laws and want so badly for them to be happy and honored at the wedding.

Besides what I’ve already considered, do you have any suggestions for how to help non-member families during a temple wedding?

I want to do everything I can for them!

Thank you,

- Daisy

Dear Daisy,

It's a sensitive moment, to be sure, and a tough balancing act.

You can't keep Temple Worthy Immediate Family Members (your brother and his wife) from witnessing your sealing, and I don't think you should make anything you do outside the Temple more grand than what happens inside the Temple.

I certainly don't agree with "mock weddings", especially if they're going to make your sealing for Time and All Eternity seem like a side note.

Any "vows" you make outside the Temple will pale in comparison to the Covenants you make inside.
I think you need to have some conversations.

Communication is the key, and rather than guess at what should be done, you should ask.

Your siblings know better; frankly I wouldn't worry about their feelings at all.

They're welcome to come inside the Temple and witness the greatest moment of their sister's life if they choose to; they know what they'll have to do to get there, and if they don't care, that's their problem.

Just like it's their problem if they chose to be offended.

But give them a little credit, I bet they'll be supportive and cool.

As for your future in-laws, you and your fiancé should have an adult conversation with them. Express your love for them, and let them know that while they can't attend the sealing, you want them to feel included and then ASK THEM what they would like.

People are much more likely to buy off on the solution if their part of the process.

And you may find that your in-laws will be happy to be in the non-endowed waiting room, especially if you have immediate family members waiting with them.

Mazal tov!

- Bro Jo

 PS: Let me know how the conversation goes and what everyone decides, would you?

Dear Bro Jo,

Thank you very much!

I have been afraid to ask, but in retrospect that is a little silly, isn't it?

I will talk to my in-laws and let you know what the outcome is.

But on another note, I'm wondering what you mean by "mock weddings"?

Like an entirely separate wedding with the whole sha-bang?

That seems peculiar to me.

What I had in mind was a very small (immediate family only) ceremony where my sweetheart and I exchange rings and self-written vows - but no procession, no speech, just a close family friend officiating to keep things organized.

Does that seem reasonable to you?

Anyway, I'll run that by the in-laws and see what they think.

I'm just curious about your opinion.

Thank you again!

- Daisy

P.S. My brothers will not be offended. They are sweet guys, and it's been long enough since they left the Church now that they are not openly bitter anymore.

I know they won't mind at all, although it hurts me a little that they won't be in the temple with me. Oh well. Someday they will be!

Dear Daisy,

Good for you!


- Bro Jo

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