I joined the Church at 16. I had to receive parental permission. My parents weren’t church-goers and left the decision up to me. I joined. When I decided to go on a 2 year mission, my parents were afraid that I would be sent somewhere dangerous. They met with my bishop. I ended up going to Europe. When I came home, I met my future wife that first Sunday back. When we decided to wed, my parents were concerned about being left out. My parents, my fiance and I met with our Stake President (the official overseeing 5-10 congregations in a given area) to see if there was a solution. He offered none.

My folks weren’t at the temple, inside or out. It was painful. The most depressing thing about it though was that the pain wasn’t necessary. LDS Church POLICY states that if a couple marries outside of the temple, they are given a 1 year probation until they can be sealed in the temple. The couple is still considered in good standing and can go to the temple together to perform proxy weddings/sealings for the deceased, but not for themselves.  How weird.

This penalty is lifted if local law requires that marriages be done in public or if unchaperoned overnight travel to a temple is required (to avoid any chance of premarital hanky-panky). This 1 year probation penalty is only imposed in the US and Canada. If the Church would abandon this policy, such pain would be avoided. Some  try to rationalize the policy by stating that having a ceremony outside of the temple denigrates the temple ceremony as if it weren’t a REAL wedding. Yet, the temple sealings everywhere else in the world aren’t denigrated. If they REALLY were, those LDS living in foreign countries would get married outside of the temple and then wait the year or be required to come to the US/Canada and be sealed here if the 1 year probation penalty is to be avoided. It seems to me that if non-LDS see a couple get married outside the temple and then see them feel the need to get married in the temple right before/after the outside ceremony, that would be a witness to the non-LDS how important the temple sealing is to LDS. It doesn’t denigrate the temple. It actually elevates it in the eyes of the non-LDS.

What happened to me? My mom was devastated. My father was angry (primarily because my mother was hurt). My dad used to comment at family gatherings that my wife and I aren’t really married since seeing is believing and he didn’t see anything. My extended family was all mad at me for hurting my mom. All of the good example I had been to them all previously was all destroyed. Any chance to any of them joining the Church was now gone.

If I knew that all of this would happen if my parents didn’t get to see me married, I would have insisted on marrying outside the temple and waiting the year. There is NO doctrinal reason not to.