Quoted from a seminal speech delivered by Ronald Reagan in 1987. It was given in Berlin at the Brandenburg Gate. Of course, he was referring to the Berlin Wall that divided the German city in half. It was a global symbol of repression, division & oppression. Two short years later, the infamous wall was torn down. Within four years, the entire Soviet Union ceased to exist. In its place, freedom was about to sweep over the continent.
While I was growing up, the dissolution of the “evil empire” was thought to be impossible, or at least a generation away. Once people’s desire for Liberty was set in motion, the course of history raced forward. The speed of its advancement was a surprise to most everyone.
Now….“Tear Down THIS Wall”
There is a wall in my church that divides, separates and excludes. I, Sam Young, have made sacred covenants within the confines of a modern-day temple. I have promised to avoid every unholy practice. The definition of my promise is that anything contrary to the teachings of Jesus is unholy. There is an unholy wall that, as we speak, is tearing down families in our midst. It’s time to tear this unholy wall down. Part of my temple promise is not only to avoid, but to speak out against “every unholy practice.”
The current policy regarding temple marriages states that if a couple is married outside the temple they must wait one year before being sealed. As a result, almost all marriages are performed in the temple, at the same time as the sealing. The consequence is exclusionary, hurtful and entirely unnecessary. Any parent, sibling, child, friend who does not have a current recommend is excluded from the ceremony. Dreadful!
Weddings are pivotal events in life. They should be filled with joy and celebration for everyone. Instead, this wall of division creates hard feelings that often last a lifetime. When I was married, my parents, my wife’s parents, her siblings and most of my siblings were simply shut out. My mother has since left the church. Her first doubts formed as she paced outside of the Salt Lake temple, denied inclusion in her own first born son’s wedding. Does this sound cruel to only me?
“Why is This Wall Here?”
That’s the question Reagan asked the Soviets. That’s the question my covenants push me to pose. The marriage ceremony is not a saving ordinance. There is no requirement that it be held in the temple. “Legal and lawfully wedded” applies to those performed in public as well as in the temple. So, why is this wall here? It’s time for its demolition.
What’s more it has already been dismantled in many countries around the world. From Serbia to Spain, the UK to New Zealand, Mexico and Germany, France and Brazil, from South Korea to Switzerland, and on and on and on. In all these countries, the wall of temple marriage has already been torn down. Not by our church, but by the citizens of each nation, themselves. Their laws require weddings be performed in public. The sealing then follows in private.
It’s time to tear down this wall in EVERY country where it disconnects families that are just forming. Let’s not wait for the citizens of each country to demolish this partition for us. That could take decades or never. My covenant calls me to call the church to take action.
Make a policy pronouncement. Watch the people rejoice. Parents and children. Members and non-members. Believers and non-believers. Brothers and sisters. Bride and groom. Tearing down this wall, is a no-lose proposition.
The Best Solution
There is a better way than just a pronouncement. The procedure prescribed in our own LDS cannon. Call upon the Law of Common Consent. Allow the fellowcitizens, the Latter-day Saints, to vote this wall of familial division, either up or down. We never voted for the wall in first place. Let us vote now.
Either by pronouncement or poll, “TEAR DOWN THIS WALL.”