Dear First Presidency:

I was raised in a part member family in eastern Canada.  My mother was not a member of the church and all three of her children, including myself, were married in temple.  She was excluded from all three weddings.  Not only was she devastated but it basically destroyed my parents’ marriage.  My mother was so sad and so embarassed she had to tell her friends that she could not attend her children’s weddings.  Not only did it cause further damage to my mother’s views of the church, it caused so many hard feelings for so many non-members in our community.  I do not see why you cannot marry civilly first and then go to the temple. This is a policy and/or tradition, not doctrine.  I do not believe a loving Father in Heaven would want to see so much sadness over something that is really unnecessary. I love the church and I know you, the leaders of the church, love us and care for us.  I think sometimes when you do not have non-member family members or live in mostly LDS communities, you cannot fully understand what we go through.

I remember years ago reading an article in the Ensign about how to deal with these types of situations and the article said to just pray and everything will work out.  Your family can enjoy the visitor’s center while you get married.  This article did not reflect my experience nor that of anyone else I know. What parent enjoy sitting in a waiting room or walking through a visitor’s center, while their son or daughter is getting married? It is also not right that those living in countries that require a civil ceremony first are able to have their weddings witnessed by their entire families, where as we cannot.  Where is the gospel principal that enters into this?  It seems to me it is tradition and has risen out of a Utah based church and has nothing to do with church doctrine.  I agree that to be sealed in the temple is the most important ordinance above and beyond the civil ceremony however, for the sake of the destroying families, and causing huge turmoil for couples, why not reconsider this policy.  I believe this would help the church and help families, and is that not the purpose of the church?  The purpose of the church is to unite families, not to drive them apart.