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Kirby: Of This Much I'm Certain: Love Is More Important Than Doctrine
Saturday, September 28, 2002
I really stepped in it last week. The column about my daughter's decision not to marry in an LDS temple loosed a flood of response.
In the column, I said I didn't feel even remotely disappointed that she chose a public ceremony. She married a good guy and seems happy. That was (and is) all that mattered to me.
I also said that an enjoyable part of this wedding was that we didn't have to worry about who was "worthy" to invite to the ceremony. Heck, we could even invite Sonny and Larry.
For the record, I still feel that way. I did not say that temple marriage was not important, or that I do not believe in the doctrine of such eternal unions.
One disappointed midlevel LDS official wrote to say that if I lived in his stake we would be having a "loving face-to-face chat" about the importance of my opinion regarding my daughter's choice.
I'm not sure what the outcome of such a chat would be. I do know that how I feel about my daughter's behavior is -- lovingly, of course -- none of his damn business.
Two other fellow Mormons wrote to accuse me of belittling LDS doctrine regarding eternal marriage, a perception that exists far more by their inference than my intent.
But the majority of responses came from fellow members expressing their own concerns about a divisive issue.
"Your article reminded me of when my father could not attend my wedding. He was hurt by it until the day he died. I would do it differently today." -- K.R.
"It does not make sense to me that our church will talk so much about the importance of family and yet divide them on such an important day." -- P.P.
"[I escorted] my baby down the aisle at her nontemple wedding this spring. She too has found a very decent guy. Somehow the concerns of worthiness, that have long seemed irrelevant, are now gone altogether." -- S.P.
"I've seen so much pain associated with close family and friends who were not allowed to attend a temple wedding and some wounds that never heal." -- G.L.
Understandably, non-Mormons were also troubled.
"I will never join a church that told me I wasn't worthy to be there." -- F.H.
"I fail to understand what is so important about a temple marriage that the Mormon church is willing to tear families apart over it." -- D.D.
"I respect your right to believe your own way but it is quite clear that Mormons do not understand how devastating this behavior is to others." -- E.S.
More shocking responses came from readers telling of LDS parents who refused to pay for nontemple weddings, who refused to attend nontemple ceremonies, and who even wept loudly during the "tragedy" of a temporal wedding.
The one that really got me was from a young woman who said she is getting a restraining order to keep her future Mormon in-laws from ruining her "big fat Catholic wedding."
People are nuts. All I know is that love is more important than doctrine, and this particular nut is still proud of his daughter.
Salt Lake Tribune columnist Robert Kirby welcomes mail at 143 S. Main St. Salt Lake City, UT 84111, or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.