I have been happily married to my husband for over ten years now. We were married and sealed in the Bountiful temple, and it was a relatively small affair as weddings go. Only my mom, my sister and my sister in law attended from my family, plus a handful of friends who were not necessarily our closest friends, but our closest friends who held temple recommends. No extended family of mine travelled to be there, and I didn’t think much of it as we had never been particularly close to any of my parent’s families, as both were converts to the church and had moved from out of state to Utah.

While this didn’t bother me at the time, I have since thought about my parent’s story and know that they were married with absolutely no family present, in the Ogden Temple. They didn’t even hold a reception or have any public celebration of any sort. I always assumed that their parents were just less spiritual than we were, and that my small immediate family were valiant heroes on the Lord’s errand, doing everything the right way even if it meant we had little to no extended family relationships. My aunt was married to a Methodist minister, who she later divorced. My other aunt never married. I have only one cousin, who I have met only three times in my life. I never understood the distance between all of us (including my grandparents, although less so) until I was well into adulthood. The church had come between my extended family and me just as much as geography had.

Much to my surprise, I found out as an adult that one of my two aunts is actually a very spiritual, moral, beautiful (and hilarious) human being. She remarried, and my sister keeps in contact with her and tells me how much we missed out on having her as a part of our lives growing up.

Why couldn’t my parents have had a wedding that they were able to invite my grandparents and aunts to? If they had done that, chances are I would have had one too, and my family that I have never got to know would have been excited to come and celebrate with me. The barriers and bitterness that were put in place when my parents essentially eloped (in their eyes) would never have been there, and would not have extended to my generation. I mourn that my dad didn’t see me get married because he was not currently holding a temple recommend, and the same for my in laws and brothers in law.

When I came across this website, I immediately felt a connection and that this was something I could get behind and join in asking with all my heart. I considered posting the information on my Facebook page, but then had second thoughts. I’ve posted things before that I didn’t think were controversial, only to find out that people hold strong opinions about almost everything, on either side of the debate. After some hesitation, I went ahead and posted it along with my own thoughts. I was overwhelmed with the responses by my friends who agreed with me and had painful experiences because of this policy. I had 100 percent support from my LDS friends, something that has never happened, ever.

Please, change this policy. It would have helped my family for over three decades. It would have helped me.

-Abby