Wedding Heartbreak

It’s April and we’re heading into wedding season. For families that are part LDS and part not, this can be very a difficult time. Faithful and worthy betrothed Mormons are married in LDS temples, which means their non-LDS (or LDS but unworthy or young) family members cannot attend.

The Arizona Republic recently ran a very sensitive and thoughtful article about one such family. “Non-Mormon family not being allowed to attend son’s wedding was wrenching,” by Jamie Rose, tells the story of Cheri Richardson and her struggle to come to terms with her son’s conversion to Mormonism, which ultimately resulted in a temple wedding that his family could not share.

From the time of Chase Richardson’s conversion to the LDS Church Cheri held out hope that, when the time came, her son would choose to marry outside the temple, maybe in a pre-temple civil ceremony, that the family could attend. Even when Chase became engaged to a wonderful Mormon girl (Annie), Cheri held on to that hope. For a while they all seemed to avoid talking about the location of the upcoming wedding. Then, one day,

“Cheri read about it on Annie’s Facebook page: Chase and Annie would be married on March 12, 2010, in the Mesa temple. Beneath Annie’s announcement, a few friends from church had already responded with excitement: ‘We’ll be there!’

“Cheri didn’t know them. They’d be at her son’s wedding. She wouldn’t.”

Cheri went on to explain,

“‘What is hurtful to me is that because of his beliefs, it feels like we’re being forced out,’ Cheri says, ‘and the reason we can’t be there is probably the most hurtful — that we’re deemed “unworthy” by the church to enter the temple.

“‘You’re there for 3 a.m. feedings. You’re there at every single game and headache and shot and broken bone and parent-teacher conference. You hug him when he’s got his heart broken for not making the basketball team, and to be told you’re not worthy to be there on his most important day?'”

The article quotes LDS spokeswoman Kim Farah, “It is easy to understand how feelings of exclusion can develop, but exclusion is never intended.” As a way to consider the feelings of family members who are not temple worthy, the article notes,

“The church allows a family gathering, often called a ‘ring ceremony,’ to be held before or after a temple wedding. Rings are not a part of a temple wedding and can be exchanged informally inside or outside a temple, Farah says, as long as vows are not exchanged, also.

“Cheri read enough about ring ceremonies to know the moment would feel forced and empty.”

Traditionally, one very important element of the Christian sacrament of marriage is the exchange of vows “before God and witnesses.” Therefore, the sort of “ring ceremony” allowed by the LDS Church has great potential to add insult to injury. That’s how Cheri saw it, anyway.

Though Chase and Annie wanted Chase’s mom, dad and sister to wait outside the temple during the wedding, and wanted to find them there immediately afterward, Cheri didn’t think she could do it. To her, conforming to the Church’s rules “would feel as if the church had won.” The day before the wedding Cheri and Chase spoke on the phone. He sounded lonely.

“My heart was breaking for him,” Cheri says. “Before he could even ask, I said, ‘Please. Please, Chase. Don’t ask me. Please. You know I can’t.'”

But in the end Cheri was there. Though she believed the Church was wrong both in policy and doctrine, though she felt humiliated and judged waiting outside the temple, though she continued to be frustrated with this religion that threatened to drive a wedge between mother and son, Cheri loved her son and decided to share in whatever part of that important day she was allowed.

Cheri’s heart broke on her son’s wedding day. Loving him unconditionally didn’t diminish the “wrenching” anguish his LDS temple wedding imposed on his “unworthy” family members. So many parents struggle with these issues when a child leaves his or her family’s faith for Mormonism. As wedding season approaches, parents, remember this. Cheri Richardson found a way to hold on to both of her loves: her love for her son, and her love for her God. With God’s help, you will find a way through the heartache, too.

Trust in the LORD forever,
for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.
Isaiah 26:4

About Sharon Lindbloom

Sharon surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979. Deeply passionate about Truth, Sharon loves serving as a full-time volunteer research associate with Mormonism Research Ministry. Sharon and her husband live in Minnesota.
This entry was posted in Mormon Culture. Bookmark the permalink.

79 Responses to Wedding Heartbreak

  1. dvdleek says:

    Enki wrote: “Actually, the purpose of a wedding is for a bride and groom to make vows with God and each other. The whole community involvement thing is peripheral compared to those vows.”

    LDS Temple wedding’s are very different from the Christian tradition.

    The couple does not make vows to each other. They vows, promises, covenants and oaths to the Mormon Church. Love has no place in the temple, only obedience to the Church.

    Celestial Marriage is Plurality of Wives! The Mormon Church has never, ever stopped practicing their law that applies to polygamy or plurality of wives as that is what Celestial Marriage (The New and Everlasting Covenant) is!

    The mormon marriage sealing ceremony not only continues the practice of polygamy, and, because of the covenant of the Law of Consecration, marries couples to the church and it’s commandments by covenant, not each other!

  2. Olsen Jim says:

    Once again it is demonstrated that we cannot agree on anything.

    It is fine if you want to make your wedding ceremonies all about community acceptance of a couple.

    I will stick with the old-fasion idea of making vows to God and spouse.

    And by the way- in the temple sealing ceremony, there is no oath to the church in any way, shape, or form.

    It is called a covenant. And if you find it wrong to make covenants with God, that is your choice.

  3. dvdleek says:

    Hmm…let me see if I get this straight…”It is that you do consecrate yourselves, your time, talents, and everything with which the Lord has blessed you, or with which he may bless you, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”

    Do explain how this is a covenant to God? Do explain how this is a covenant to spouse? Where is there in the sealing ceremony a covenant, a promise, an oath or any such vows made to spouse?

    Please elaborate on the vows to spouse that you’ve declared occur. I for one find none, neither did I when I am my wife were sealed.

    It’s not simply about acceptance of a couple in the community. It goes far beyond that. But Mormomism certainly demonstrates tribal group think. I’d be happy to elaborate if you care to do likewise.

  4. rvales says:

    My sister recently married a mormon and since she is not mormon they were not married in the temple but they were married by the ward bishop and there were no vows exchanged and the rings were treated like an afterthought. I was surprised that there were no vows (traditional or non) just a vague ‘uphold the covenants of marriage’ but considering covenants of marriage are cultural as well as religious that left things VERY open to interpretation. So OJ, how is it making vows when you don’t really vow anything? And how are those ‘vows’ made in the temple any different than any sincere vows made to God? What I think most people find (or at least I find) so disheartening is the stigma that is on those who do not get married in the temple for whatever reason. The fact that couples are pressured to have a temple wedding that would exclude non worthy family and friends is concerning because it becomes one more psychological strong hold that the mormon institution has on someone. This is not what God intended. All through out the Bible there is celebrating with one another. Not to mention we are called to humble ourselves and live openly and I don’t see how any of that can fit within temple rituals that are only accessible by a select few. God meets us where we are. And who knows what wedding guest would be blessed/moved by the Spirit after witnessing two people very visibly making pledges to one another and God on their wedding day. Who knows what troubled marriage would be saved by hearing ‘Love, honor, and obey in sickness and in health’ and having a light bulb go on in their heads as to why they may be struggling to love their spouse. God is not secret. He doesn’t hide things from us. He opened himself up to our FULL ACCESS thru the death and resurrection of himself incarnate (Emanuel= God with us) so that we don’t have to pass any inspection to be close to him. We don’t need mediators to tell us what tests we must pass to be in his presence.

  5. rvales says:

    I love how God the Father is compared to earthly fathers so often by Mormons but they fail to see the disconnect when it comes to the temple. Does your child have to obtain a ‘recommend’ to come into your office or bedroom or garage or ‘man cave’? Do they have to verify that they have done all their chores perfectly and with a happy heart, do they have to show their report card and get checked off for having good grades, do they have to say that they have had no candy and that they’ve washed behind their ears before they are granted full access to you as their dad? I always think about the picture of Jon Jon and JFK that was on the cover of Time Magazine where little Jon Jon was in his short pants at maybe 2 or 3 years old and he just toddles right into the oval office to see his dad. The oval office! People have to get all kinds of security clearance just to get past the velvet ropes at the white house let alone the oval office, but here this little kid just comes on in with liberty and confidence that he belongs and is welcome and accepted. Do you think that’s because he had flashed his oval office reccomend that represented his constant clean room and dedication to minding his mother or do you think that was because that was his father’s office and he had VIP-non-restricted-can’t-be-revoked-access to his dad?

  6. rvales says:

    Forgive me my rant, but I am not seperated by ANYTHING from God! Christ bridged that gap and now I have VIP-non-restricted-can’t-be-revoked-access to my God! Not because I managed to get anything right. But because God loved me so much he met me in the sin pit that I was wallowing in and loved me! By Grace and Mercy before I even knew I needed them HE RESCUED ME! One day I was a filthy, broken sinner (I don’t mean, thought mean thoughts about someone kind of sinner either, I mean a BIG SINNER with baggage, shame and guilt galore) and the next I was cleansed of all my sins, as saved as I could ever be, made RIGHTEOUS BY THE BLOOD OF CHRIST in the eyes of God FOREVER AND EVER AMEN!

  7. dvdleek challenged olsen jim with

    I’d be happy to elaborate if you care to do likewise.

    Hi dvdleek, I don’t think I’ve seen you here before.

    I’m not a Mormon, but I would certainly be interested to hear more of your experiences with Mormon Temple-Marriage.

  8. dvdleek says:

    I am a newbie here…I was a life long member for over 35 years. Born and raised, served a full time mission and honorable release, married civil, then sealed in the temple…rose through the ranks and held numerous leadership positions. Was faithful till I discovered the truth and that the LDS Church is not what it claims to be. The truth will set you free!

  9. grindael says:

    Jim said:

    And by the way- in the temple sealing ceremony, there is no oath to the church in any way, shape, or form.
    It is called a covenant. And if you find it wrong to make covenants with God, that is your choice.

    I disagree.

    n covenant [ˈkavənənt]
    an agreement between two people or two parties to do, or not to do, something

    n oath [əuθ]
    1 a solemn promise

    According to Marion G. Romney (remember him?)

    Traditionally, God’s people have always been known as a covenant people. The gospel itself is the new and everlasting covenant. The posterity of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob constitute what is known as the covenant race. We come into the Church by covenant, which we enter into when we go into the waters of baptism. The new and everlasting covenant of celestial marriage is the gate to exaltation in the celestial kingdom. Men receive the Melchizedek Priesthood by an OATH and covenant.

    A covenant is an agreement between two or more parties. An oath is a sworn attestation to the inviolability of the promises in the agreement. In the covenant of the priesthood the parties are the Father—that’s the Lord—and the receiver of the priesthood. Each party to the covenant undertakes certain obligations. The receiver undertakes to magnify his calling in the priesthood. The Father, by oath and covenant, promises the receiver that if he does so magnify his priesthood he will be sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of his body; that he will become a member of “the church and kingdom, and the elect of God,” and receive the “Father’s kingdom; therefore,” said the Savior, “all that my Father hath shall be given unto him” (D&C 84:33–34, 38). -Ensign, November 1980.

    This also applies to the Endowments, here is one example:

    TEMPLE NARRATOR: (All patrons stand.) “And as Jesus Christ has laid down his life for the redemption of mankind, so we should covenant to sacrifice all that we possess,

  10. grindael says:

    even our own lives if necessary, in sustaining and defending the Kingdom of God.”

    “All arise. Each of you bring your right arm to the square. You and each of you solemnly covenant[THIS IS THE COVENANT] and promise[THIS IS THE OATH] before God, angels, and these witnesses at this alter that you will observe and keep the Law of Sacrifice, as contained in the Old and New Testament, as it has been explained to you. Each of you bow your head and say “yes.””


    ELOHIM: “That will do.” (All patrons sit down.)

    They have removed the violence from the oath now, probably to stop the claims that Mormons make ‘blood oaths’ in the Temple. Even the Mormon God used the word ‘oath’ in relation to the Temple:

    “And it shall come to pass that if you build a house unto my name, and do not do the things that I say, I will not perform the oath which I make unto you, neither fulfil the promises which ye expect at my hands, saith the Lord. For instead of blessings, ye, by your own works, bring cursings, wrath, indignation, and judgements upon your own heads, by your follies, and by all your abominations, which you practise before me, saith the Lord.” D&C 124:47-48

    What is interesting is Smith’s aversion to Oaths & Covenants when it came to others:

    “I would further suggest the impropriety of the organization of bands or companies, by covenant or oath, by penalties or secrecies; but let the time past of our experience and sufferings by the wickedness of Doctor Avard suffice and let our covenant be that of the Everlasting Covenant, as contained in the Holy Writ and the things that God hath revealed to us. Pure friendship always becomes weakened the very moment you undertake to make it stronger by penalty oaths and secrecy.”
    – The Prophet Joseph Smith, “Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith,” p. 146

    Again we see the ever changing Smith changing his views.

  11. Mike R says:

    As for your “rant”, all I can say is, AMEN !



  12. Olsen Jim says:

    dvdleek and grindael,

    Were we talking about the marriage ceremony or another?

    Because you disrespectfully quote a DIFFERENT covenant and ceremony.

    As I said before, in he sealing ordinance, the covenant is between the individual and Heavenly Father and says nothing about the church.

    I think it has probably been a long time since your guys were in the temple.

    By the way, you demonstrate your willingness to break promises by quoting the ordinances, which to us are sacred. You should really hope none of it is true.

    dvdleek- abandoning promises, covenants and responsibility may give one a rush of temporary “freedom,” but that is short-lived.

  13. dvdleek says:

    Olsen Jim, looks like I really have to spell it out for you because you’ve been blinded by the foolish traditions of your fathers. Sound familiar?

    Examine closely the covenants of the sealing ordinance and you will see that the oath I previously mentioned is directly tied into the sealing. Perhaps you wish to ignore the facts. I for one could no longer shelve doubts and concerns and reached the conclusion that it is all based on a fraud. Trying to instill fear is a powerful tactic together with guilt, shame and the stigma attached with discussing it. You are a slave to it. I am free.

    I challenged you to elaborate. You have not. But I am not afraid to investigate the truth and uncover error. So here it goes.

    “Brother ______, do you take Sister ______ by the right hand and receive her unto yourself to be your lawful and wedded wife for time and all eternity, with a covenant and promise that you will observe and keep all the laws, rites, and ordinances pertaining to this Holy Order of Matrimony in the New and Everlasting Covenant…”

    The laws as mentioned pertain specifically to the covenants, oaths, etc just performed by the individual in the endowment ceremony. Specifically

    1. The Law of Obedience
    2. The Law of Sacrifice
    3. The law of the Gospel
    4. The law of Consecration
    5. The law of Chastity

    Only after the individual has made those covenants can he or she then be sealed. Nowhere in the sealing ceremony are there any vows exchanged between husband and wife. Now vows are made to each other except for the single promise to not have sexual intercourse except to the man/woman they are legally and lawfully married to.

    The only part of the sealing ceremony that meets the requirements of the USA law, that I can find is: authority vested in me, I pronounce you ______, and ______, legally and lawfully husband and wife..

    Without that wording, the ceremony would not be legally binding in the US.

  14. dvdleek says:

    Olsen Jim parroting Church dogma, “By the way, you demonstrate your willingness to break promises by quoting the ordinances, which to us are sacred. You should really hope none of it is true.”

    OJ, the key word sacred really means secret. At least 6 times throughout the endowment ceremony individuals promise to never reveal…ie…keep secret. We used to make oaths commonly referred to as death penalties for doing otherwise.

    When I was put under oath in 1982, I made the following oath, and I quote, “We will now give unto you the First Token of the Aaronic Priesthood with its accompanying name, sign, and penalty. Before doing this, however, we desire to impress upon your minds the sacred character of the First Token of the Aaronic Priesthood, with its accompanying name, sign, and penalty, as well as that of all the other tokens of the Holy Priesthood, with their names, signs, and penalties, which you will receive in the temple this day. They are most sacred, and are guarded by solemn covenants and obligations of secrecy to the effect that under no condition, even at the peril of your life, will you ever divulge them, except at a certain place that will be shown you hereafter. ”

    See that little word in their OJ? Obligations of SECRECY!!!

    Further more, “the execution of the Penalty is represented by placing the thumb under the left ear, the palm of the hand down, and by drawing the thumb quickly across the throat to the right ear, and dropping the hand to the side. ”

    I know the temple ceremonies are nothing more than man made rites designed to bind you to the church and not to God. Those covenants are made under false pretenses and based on the myth of Joseph Smith. I don’t hope, I KNOW it’s false!

  15. Enki says:

    Jim Olsen,
    I will be looking to read any response to your question about Matt 18 as far as removing members from the congregation. Somehow I envision something entirely different from hebrew and early christians. It might be similiar, may be totally different. My appologies if I was not clear, I am investigating non-abrahamic spirituality.

  16. Olsen Jim says:


    You are incorrect. The covenant in the sealing ordinance does not refer to the endowment. Although that would be convenient for your argument, such is not the case. You notice the wording is referring to the order of matrimony, and does not talk about the endowment.

    While they are certainly related as any devotion or comittment to live the gopsel of Jesus Christ will be relative to eachother, the sealing ordinance does not involve a person making an oath to the church and not God as argued by somebody earlier in this thread.

    The argument of secrecy/sacred wasn’t really what I have been addressing.

    Are you still married to the individual to whom you were sealed?

  17. dvdleek says:

    OJ corrected me saying, “The covenant in the sealing ordinance does not refer to the endowment. Although that would be convenient for your argument, such is not the case. You notice the wording is referring to the order of matrimony, and does not talk about the endowment.”

    OJ, please elaborate then on what specifically are all the laws, rites, and ordinances of the sealing ceremony? You cannot be sealed until you have taken the endownment. The sealing eludes to it, but you refuse to see. Everything about the temple is geared towards marriage…every prior step, washing, annointing, every point, every law, every rite moves the person forward towards the sealing ordinance.

    My wife and I are happily married 25 years! 🙂 You believe that only happiness comes by living the gospel and being obedient to your false temple covenants? I promise you more peace and joy than you have known before when you leave behind the lies, deceit and dishonesty practiced by the Mormon Church. In my opinion, the temple is the pinnacle of the deception and fraud.

  18. bfwjr says:

    Sorry dvdleek, I was going to try to give you a “heads up” on Olson and his curbside PPI’s.
    Jim Olsen said,”Are you still married to the individual to whom you were sealed?’ I’m sure you experienced this many times while a member of “THE CHURCH”. Heck, I still do this when members aren’t aware of my LDS status. You know, you’re in the grocery store and spy the kid you who came home early from his mission or the thirty year old unmarried returned missionary. You corner them and then perform your own ad hoc kangaroo court. You watch them sweat. It’s a technique that the Stazi used with great success.

  19. dvdleek says:

    No problem bfwjr, I think I know what to expect.

    As Jim is now, I once was. It makes me sick to my stomach to remember what kind of a self-righteous prick I was as an active member and the people I excluded from my life who could have been such great friends. It’s amazing how fast my so-called friends at Church dumped me when I left. I have come to learn just how destructive mormon mind control is.

    Years of indoctrination, conditioning is very hard to break. I’m amazed I was able to escape what I believe is a cult. The practices, techniques, culture, etc all combine to suppress the individuality and hand over full control to a corrupt organization.

    Take for instance the best conference talk you never read OJ. See if you have the courage to now.

    There is a difference between the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the, I mean corporation of the Church. It is a business and it’s run like a business. It is constantly revising, suppressing, censoring, and sugarcoating it’s doctrine. It’s not Christ’s doctrine. It is the doctrinal teaching for the commandments of man.

    What does God need with a 3 billion dollar shopping mall?

  20. bfwjr says:

    dvdleek said, “As Jim is now, I once was. It makes me sick to my stomach to remember what kind of a self-righteous prick I was as an active member and the people I excluded from my life who could have been such great friends.”
    dvdleek, take it easy yourself. I was worse than you. Long after I knew the truth, I was still the kind of fathead who lived the “I’ll spit on em until you do”credo. I joke above, about MY curbside PPI’s. Actually, I use it now as an ice breaker to witness. With the obvious exception of Boyd K. Packer, I have to give Mormons credit for having a sense of humor

  21. grindael says:

    “Brother ______, do you take Sister ______ by the right hand and receive her unto yourself to be your lawful and wedded wife for time and all eternity, with a covenant [COVENENT] and promise [OATH] that you will observe and keep all the laws, rites, and ordinances pertaining to this Holy Order of Matrimony in the New and Everlasting Covenant…”

    From a Mormon Site:

    “Now how does LDS covenant marriage work. Covenant marriage makes God a part of the agreement. A covenant marriage is a 3-way agreement between the couple and God. In the LDS marriage covenant, God becomes the source of all expected benefits.”

    If God & the Church is not part of the ‘marriage covenant & OATH, then what happens if one commits adultery in the marriage? They would have to go to the CHURCH & confess & take the penalty, whatever it is. So it is an OATH to God, which the Church oversees on earth.

    As for the Temple Ordinance, it has been published all over the internet. And really, I’m just taking the advice of Smith, to expose secret oaths and covenants, which he says are wrong.

  22. dvdleek and grindael,

    Thankyou so much for publishing parts of the Temple Marriage Ceremony.

    I was most interested to see the reference to the New and Everlasting Covenant.

    When I see that phrase, my mind immediately jumps to D&C 132, which is all about the introduction of polygamy

    …well, it wouldn’t be about a more traditional view of marriage would it, or even about involving God in the marriage relationship/contract? (These features had been a part of the marriage thing for about 1800 years before Joseph Smith came onto the scene.)

    I mean, if that were the case, it would not be NEW.

  23. setfree says:

    I’m glad to meet dvdleek as well, and hear your stories and see your new additions to MC. Welcome!

    Jim said: “By the way, you demonstrate your willingness to break promises by quoting the ordinances, which to us are sacred. You should really hope none of it is true.”

    None of us ex-mormons have the least worry that those ordinances are actually true or sacred.

  24. Enki says:

    Jim Olsen,
    “If Christ does not intend for the members of His church to be accountable to earthly servants with His authority, why did He give instructions to the leaders of His ancient church on the process of removing members who demonstrated certain behaviors?”

    That is one reason I am not LDS anymore, I have distain for any sort of reporting to authorities on spiritual matters. I personally believe it to be limiting to ones spiritual growth, and free investigation of truth. I also have a problem with any organization which practices shunning, excommunication, social, political or economic disassociation with any member for any reason. It makes me think of Jehovahs Witnesses, or Moonies or Amish or something like that.

  25. Mike R says:


    Did you catch Jim’s attempt to use an example of
    a legitimate reason to be accountable to those
    in leadership as an alibi to excuse the
    illegitmate procedure of being interrogated
    by your Bishop in the LDS temple recommend

    If the Temple is God’s House, and represents
    where His presence dwells, then Jesus should
    be the “way” we access God’s Home, not through
    written permission from a man who just might be
    disqualified himself from passing the interview.

  26. Enki says:

    Mike R,
    Nope, I missed that, which is just as well.

  27. Brian says:

    This is an interesting article you’ve shared with us, Sharon. I think one must sympathize with Cheri, as her account makes clear this has been a painful experience. She believes the LDS religion has come between herself and her son.

    Once, a relative of mine was getting married in the LDS temple. On the day of the wedding, another relative asked me why she, along with others, were not invited to attend the wedding. She thought this odd, and really had no idea why, as she was on good terms with the relative getting married. I did not answer the question, as I believed it might cause all kinds of trouble with the relative who was getting married. If she did not sense something was wrong before, she certainly did after seeing my discomfiture at the question.

    I have sometimes thought back to that question, and wondered how I could answer it in an honest and succinct way. If I had to answer it in one sentence, it would be this:

    “Because they believe they are good, and you are not.”

    That may sound harsh. And yet, what is the purpose of a worthiness interview? What is the purpose of a temple card? Is it not to determine who is good, and who is not? And so this answer would also apply to LDS people who are denied permission to attend weddings of their friends and family.

    I believe that weddings held in LDS temples, and weddings held in (Christian) churches, are attended exclusively by sinners. Which perhaps identifies the larger problem here: believing that being declared worthy in the eyes of men makes one righteous in the sight of God.

  28. setfree says:

    Welcome Brian! Nice insights. :}

  29. Pingback: Worthy or Unworthy | Mormon Coffee

Leave a Reply