I begged my parents to drive the 2 1/2 hours to the Cardston Temple so that they could at least be there when I came out. My mother handed my wedding dress (which she had so lovingly made) to my mother in law and then she walked away crying. Just then, a elderly sister came out of the visitor centre and asked my parents if they would like to watch a movie about the church while they were waiting. My mother angrily walked away in tears,a result of her deep hurt. That is my last memory as I walked into the temple. I felt literally sick to my stomach and cried through the whole ceremony wondering what I had done (and for days afterward).
When I came out of the temple, both of us were still in tears and someone snapped a photo of the two of us with red eyes and crying, which has burned the experience forever in my memory. A real contrast to the smiling brides and families that one sees at temple weddings where everyone is allowed to participate! At the time, I felt like such a ‘hero’ for living up to the ‘gospel principle’ of being married in the temple. Unfortunately, this idea was instilled in me by well-meaning members of the church, who did, and still do, put converts like me on a pedestal for being a great example and showing our non-member families the importance of temple marriage.
Unfortunately, my family never got that message, because both my parents, years later, expressed to me their disappointment at how I had broken their hearts. For years, it created an emotional barrier between me and my family, and I am now ashamed that I put them through that, for the sake of a church policy. At the time, being a young, fairly new convert, I struggled with the idea of the policy, but was trying so hard to be obedient. There is too much cultural pressure to only get married in the temple under these circumstances! When my husband was bishop of a YSA ward, we both took the opportunity to express our opinion on the matter. Because it is a personal matter, he always counseled couples to do what they felt was right, but stressed that if they chose to do a civil marriage first that he would support that.