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.

One Vote

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.”


28 thoughts on ““Tear Down this Wall”

  1. I wholeheartedly agree! Not allowing loved ones to attend temple marriages is cruel, heartless, divisive, unneccessary, and unchristlike. It has caused untold pain for countless families.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So what is your suggestion for tearing down the wall- you want it torn down but you didn’t offer any solutions or suggestions to fix the problem? There are many couples that have ring ceremonies for their family and friends that are not in the temple.
    When you and your wife were married and many of your family and friends were not allowed in the temple-why did you still do it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That question wasn’t very clear- what is your purpose of tearing down the wall. Meaning- are you saying the temple should allow everyone and everyone in or are you suggesting the church should require a civil ceremony prior to a temple marriage?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am terrible at conveying clarity. In many countries marriages are required to take place in public. The temple sealing is held soon after. The wall that I’m metaphorically referring to is the the policy that requires marriages and sealings to be held at the same time or else wait 12 months for the sealing. The policy needs to be changed to allow the families to make their own decision to have the marriage in or out of the temple, without the penalty of having to wait 12 months. This policy only exists in countries without the public marriage laws.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Lauren,
        My husband and I served senior couple missions in Russia and Ghana, Africa. In both countries the law requires an open, public, civil, legal wedding. Immediately following marriages in both countries, the wedded couple drive or walk to the LDS Temple and receive their endowments and then kneel at the alter in a sealing room and are joined for all eternity by an authorized priesthood-holding sealer. All done in a matter of hours – no waiting for 12 months! Our church complies with this policy in many countries throughout the world. Just why is it different in the United States???? I wish I could have the answer to that question from an Elder of the Council of the Twelve. I agree with Sam that thousands of good Christian people get their hearts stabbed because of this silly policy here in our country. Sometimes men, even men in leadership positions, make mistakes. There is absolutely a wall built up around temple marriage and keeping families from being together on an important occasion where there should only be love and unity. My husband currently serves as a Sealer in the Sacramento, CA Temple. He has the same questions I do and waits and wants an answer.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. I did it because I thought it was the “righteous” and culturally acceptable option. Today, I resent that it was an unnecessary policy. If I were in New Zealand, my family would have celebrated the wedding with me. My mother may still be in the church. The simple solution is to give families the choice. If they want to exclude loved ones, that is fine with me. To unnecessarily force exclusion on someone has no purpose whatsoever. Allow marriage outside of the temple and then the sealing to follow without the year long waiting penalty.
      Why do we have this policy in the US but not in Mexico, UK, Germany, etc?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Like you, my mother and father were excluded from my wedding. I felt, at the time, that it was the right thing to do. I wanted a temple marriage. That was what I was taught was right. It was all we knew. I didn’t know until recently, about how many countries outside the US required civil marriage first. I read what you said and understand, on a certain level, what you are saying. However, I am going to have to think about this. I wouldn’t have a problem with this policy change in the US and elsewhere. I just don’t know if petitioning the brethren is the means to the end. I guess I am saying that the directive should come from the Lord to the Prophet. I wouldn’t have any problem sustaining the change if it was put to a vote so to speak. I just think we are on a real slippery slope when we take it upon ourselves to decide to petition the church for this change or any change. I can see chaos and wonder if that is really the direction the Church needs to go at this time when there is so much turmoil in other areas. I remember when the sisters petitioned the church to give them the priesthood and how that divided so many members and led to so many leaving the church. I am going to have to think and pray about this one. And frankly, my thinker is getting thunk out….lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Janice,
      I think the question in my mind is why do we in the United States have to be forced into making the choice that other countries and church members made long ago? Our church abides by the laws of the land in many countries and also allows those legal and lawfully wedded couples to come to the temple any time they choose to receive the eternal sealing. Those marriage laws are made by governments who are not even members of the LDS faith, and yet, we abide by those laws. It seems the 12 month waiting period here in America could be abolished and we could do as so many other countries have done. Time to tear down the wall!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Lauren, he did give a solution. There are other countries where the church is already allowing a public civil marriage ceremony because the laws of that country require it. Those married couples then get sealed in the temple without having to wait the current required year.

    When I got married 36 years ago, I was very torn and heart broken that my parents weren’t allowed to attend my wedding, which was in the temple. And at that time, the church strongly discouraged even having a ring exchange outside of the temple. 30+ years later I still feel bad my parents weren’t allowed to attend my wedding.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I clarified my question. I was looking more for what his point is in tearing the wall down- does he feel the temple should allow everyone inside or allowing civil unions without the penalty. People have ring ceromonies all the time these days that help include those friends and family that feel excluded from the temple marriage- which if you have been to a ring ceremony vs a civil ceremony – they seem very similar.


  5. Janice, based on a quote by Joseph Smith, himself, that Sam quoted in a previous blog, voicing his opinion on what he thinks is right or wrong in the church is exactly what Sam, and all members, should do. Just sayin’, based on the founder’s own words.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I understand what Sam was saying. I just question the idea of petitioning the church to do something…..seems like that has caused big problems. I totally agree with raising your hand if you disagree with something. \

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I believe it is possible to have a civil ceremony and still be sealed in the temple as long as the couple agree to abstain from sex until they are sealed. Fifty years ago my cousin lived in Connecticut and married a guy from there. They received permission to drive to SLC following the wedding and be sealed without waiting the year….SLC was the closest temple to them at the time. I realize that this may seem archaic to some. But I wonder if this is not true of what goes on in countries where the govt requires a civil marriage. I don’t know how that works.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Brilliant: two metaphorical walls have come down in my lifetime — My wife and I travelled from the Midwest to get married in the Salt Lake Temple in 1974. None of my family could attend even though my mom was an active member. Wall 1: At the time active women could not get their temple endowments if their husbands were not members — my mom was a convert and my amazing dad was not a member. As a consequence of this brilliant policy no one in my family could attend our wedding. Wall 2: Our best friend Mike travelled a thousand miles with us to attend our temple wedding. He was temple worthy as I baptized him one year earlier on the same day I baptized my wife. He could not enter the temple with us because of the color of his skin — he is black. Now that we look back after decades of active participation in the church, sending sons on missions, and giving countless hours of service, we truly regret our decision to exclude our family from one of the most important experiences of our lifetime. This decision was because of a cult-like policy that, as you suggest, is unecesary and dreadful.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Galen,
      As I read your comment, my stomach turned and my eyes moistened. WHY IS THIS WALL HERE? I want to scream. Stories like yours and mine continue to play out everyday. The regret only intensifies. It doesn’t go away. And it’s all unnecessary! Unnecessary walls, unnecessary exclusion, unnecessary hurt, unnecessary regret.

      Thanks for sharing your story!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Here in the UK couples usually do the whole traditional wedding at church and reception with speaches and food and dancing and then head to the nearest temple to get sealed in the evening, or get permission from a stake president to get sealed in the next day or two if they have to travel a long way. There used to be the idea that you shouldn’t engage in Nooky until sealed but that doesn’t seem to be a thing any more. If you aren’t getting sealed promptly you wait a year like in the USA.

    It is wonderful – weddings are a fully family and fiends event and a fantastic missionary opportunity if you want to see it that way – I have non Mormon work colleagues and friends who still talk about how much they loved whichever of my 2 weddings in different decades they attended – I enjoyed it so much I did it twice lol. It was an opportunity to spend hours in a chapel
    seeing the best of what our church community is all about in a wholly joyful way. My last one seems to have helped trigger the reactivation of a friend Iinvited not realising at all that she was a very lapsed Mormon and now one of our best ward member friends. She assumed I was a teetotal recovering alcoholic until she got the wedding invitation and all became clear!

    Mormon weddings can generate a lot of goodwill and healing in part member families and powerfully reassure parents they their Mormon kids are in a community of nice people who adore and will really go the extra mile for them.

    Marriages are about extended families and community and wider society, which is why many countries insist on them being public and authorised by the authority of the state, and I feel incredibly lucky to be in a country where we get to do the best of both worlds without compromise or contradiction and conflict.

    It’s uncomfortable enough navigating telling non members why they can’t come to the sealing as well. I can’t imagine how aweful that is when they can’t come to either. Parents want to be at a real wedding ultimately, the moment the real thing happens, so a ring ceremony isn’t quite the same. Members everywhere should st least have the option.

    A counter argument is that when you do a traditional wedding it can cost a fortune and it has become a problem in our nation that the average wedding costs tens of thousands of pounds and many people put them off for years saving up, which is crazy.

    Unless a Bridezilla with expensive tastes and a wealthy parent is involved though wards usually pull together to help for free with the catering and decorating and the venue and minister and organist are free, so we don’t have a lot of the usual costs and you can do a wedding that looks and feels great for the cost of the dress and the food. Ward members really pulled out the stops for my weddings and I’ve spent my life doing the same for them when needed so it’s a team effort that really brings people together as a spiritual and social family. It’s just a given that we are all here to help in whatever way the couple need and our service is our wedding present to them.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Amen, Amen and Amen!!! As a family, we dealt with this horrible phenomena last Spring; when THE FATHER OF THE BRIDE could not watch as his daughter was married!! He is not a member of the Church and while he was very gracious throughout the day, I could only imagine how badly he felt. This has got to change!!! God bless, Sam for the great work you’re doing.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I couldn’t agree more, Sam. Being raised on the importance of temple marriage I would not have even considered getting married anywhere else. Unfortunately, that meant my bride’s parents were excluded. In later years I felt guilty, and wondered if it wouldn’t have been better to marry outside the temple and wait a year. But as a youth that never occurred to me. It sounded like sacrilege.

    Why should the church force such a miserable choice on it’s youth? I can think of no good reason. Allowing two ceremonies, one outside and one inside is an obvious solution, and in no way tarnishes either the participants, the church, the institution of marriage, nor the temple covenants. But it appears to me the church has no problem creating artificial moral dilemmas. After all, sacrifice is good for the soul, so why worry if we cause pain and heartache. In the long run it makes one stronger.

    After I left the church I was the one left pacing the temple grounds waiting outside for both my daughter’s weddings. I understood how important temple marriages were in their minds, so there were no hard feelings on my part. But, I have to wonder how hurtful it was for never-been-member in-laws who waited with me, and how much sorrow it caused my daughters. Some might say it is my fault for having left the church. But such an attitude seems ungracious. Surely, a more Christ-like approach is to be as accommodating as we can to all (within the boundaries of our principles) rather than put up artificial barriers as a test of faithfullness.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. In Finland, people are married legally before going to the temple. I believe part of the reason is because the church was not officially recognized. Over the years, I have often wondered why the church gets involved in a legal ceremony, rather than focus on the spiritual.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Amen. My parents were converts and it drove a wedge between my family and all of our relatives. A ring ceremony isn’t the same. It is one of those things where you have to scratch your head and ask, “Why is the church making it so hard for itself – spending TONS of (members) time and money on missionary work and simultaneously sewing HUGE seeds of discontent WHEN THERE IS NO DOCTRINAL PRECEDENT FOR THE POLICY. It really makes you think, “These guys must never see the heartache created by this policy as they are so deep into the Utah culture surrounded by only LDS.” It is the only explanation that I can think why they have not changed this decades ago.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You must be quite the scriptorian to remember that one. Of course, I looked it up and, by golly, it was prominently highlighted in blue.

      Thanks for taking a gander at my blog.


  13. 1835 D&C section 101, last edition while Joseph Smith was alive. The only major church that removed it was the LDS church. It states one man and one wife, to marry in public where everyone can see it, and that polygamy is a crime.

    Liked by 1 person

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