Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Drummer for a Christian Rock Band Now Marches to a Different Beat

In our recent Stake Conference, we heard from a local man who used to be a drummer in a Christian rock band, and has long been a big fun of rap and heavy metal. He has made many personal sacrifices to join the Church and live the covenants of the Gospel more fully, including his recent personal efforts to enhance his musical preferences. What caught my ear especially was his story of coming to a family gathering to find the box of an anti-Mormon video on his parent's kitchen table. They and others in his family then confronted him, blasting at Latter-day Saint religion with numerous arguments that he as a fresh new convert was not prepared to rebut. This grilling went on for about six hours, and he was given a choice: he had to choose between his family and Mormonism. Well, he's done his best to accept both, but his experience is too familiar to many LDS converts, especially when friends and relatives are stirred up in a frenzy of anger by the distortions of typical anti-Mormon literature and videos. It's so sad how something so wholesome can be reviled and made to seem so evil.

If people would attend a few LDS meetings, they might be able to see through some of the revolting propaganda that is put out in a number of popular works about the Mormons. They would see that we do believe in Christ as our Savior, teach wholesome values, worship God, and rarely if ever conspire to take over the world (I'd be happy if we could just get New Jersey).

Another friend of mine in this area has received a great deal of grief from her family about joining the Church. One weekend she went to her mother's house to find her mother intently watching General Conference on the local community channel. Her mother, impressed with the speakers but not knowing that she was listening to Mormons, told her LDS daughter that she ought to be listening to preachers like those men on the television instead of the Mormons. When the daughter quietly pointed out that they were Mormons, the mother just turned off the TV and changed the subject. That didn't end the religious misunderstandings, but it does illustrate one important point: before you believe some of the things people say we do and teach, it might be helpful to drop by or tune in and see for yourself. Mormon.org has a feature to help you find LDS meetings in your area. Give it a try!

41 comments:

Frank said...

"...he had to choose between his family and Mormonism" -

And how does a Mormon characterize the exclusion of a non-Mormon parent from their child's wedding?

Who's asking whom to choose?

Anonymous said...

There's a big difference between giving someone an ultimatum, such as "If you don't give up this religion, you'll never see me again",

and a temporary exclusion, such as "Say, I know we don't see eye-to-eye on this whole Mormon thing, but I'm gonna do some sacred stuff in the temple, and I'll see you later at the reception in three hours."

No?

Frank said...

Anonymous:

Either you don't have children or are incredibly callous to the flippancy of your post.

"Hey Mom, I know you conceived me and raised me from birth, but just wait in the parking lot while I pledge my love and life to my new husband."

Families are forever indeed.

Bookslinger said...

Jeff,
Why in the world would you want New Jersey? Geez...

Kcowolf said...

I don't mean to be negative, Frank, but there's a scripture quoted in at least two places (once by Adam, once by Jesus Christ) about one "leaving his father and his mother and cleaving unto his wife".

It's not a popular practice, and I can see why a member of another faith feels excluded or even offended by it. Please understand that it's not an attempt to shut anyone out or isolate anyone. It's because the Temple is the House of God. Anyone who qualifies himself or herself (by being worthy and living God's commandments) has the privilege to enter.

Bookslinger said...

Frank,
The final decision to marry in the temple is that of the bride and groom. The church doesn't force people to marry in the temple.
If the bride and groom want to marry outside of the temple so the non-member parent(s) can be at the ceremony, they are entirely free to do so.
Of course you probably know that in most cases, such as in the United States, they'll have to wait a year to get sealed in the temple. But that doesn't hold in foreign countries where the law requies a civil marriage by a civil magistrate prior to a religious ceremony.

Mike Parker said...

Personally I would like to see the Church's policy changed to allow a non-temple wedding immediately followed by temple sealing. I don't see the reason for the current policy, and all it does is cause difficulties within families and give our critics another stick with which to beat us.

Can anyone give me a good reason why the current policy is better than my alternative?

AlexG said...

Frank: I am sorry that you could not attend your children's wedding. It is quite a harrowing experience, not only for you, but for your son/daughter. Mormonism does not exclude parents to attend their children's wedding, but it does impose standards for those attending the temple (fair enough isn't it?) There are several 'work around' solutions, i.e., parents attending the reception after the sealing. Consider that, for any member of the Church, temple marriage is the one of the highest goals. They need to prepare for it, in the case of converts, for a year after their bapstism. There is a great expectation for them. How would you feel if you had been prepared for this with great anticipation and someone is telling you to pospone it, for a while because they cannot attend? Would you make someone take that choice? I am NOT judging you, please do not take this comment as such. This is just to point out the other side of the story. I hope that you do not take offence by this comment.

Jeff post point to an interesting issue. Converts make a huge amount of effort in coming into the Church, sometimes leaving families and traditions. If the family has heard of anti-Mormon stories, which is quite probable, they would develop very strong feelings against the faith. I was amused at the story of the mother listening to General Conference and liking very much the addresses there, but when told that those were 'Mormons' she switched it off. A great deal of missunderstandings should be covered before people give LDS a fair chance. New converts need members to fellowship them, to make them feel welcomed. Otherwise, after being grilled for six hours some material would poison their minds with completely false and irrelevant stuff. Missionaries can find and baptise, but if the Church has a low retention is because members are not doing a good job at fellowshipping.

AlexG said...

Mike, actually, in countries other than the US this is the case. In the UK, you HAVE to get married outside the temple in a civil ceremony. The temple sealing is not valid as a marriage certificate, because you need someone from the Registrars Office to see the wedding. It is the norm that the bishop or stake president marries couples in the chappel and then they go off to the temple. I do not know if there can be a difference between civil marriage date and temple marriage date. I think, and do not quote me on this, that there is a week's maximum extension, otherwise you have to wait for a year. In countries in Latin America, you HAVE to be married by a civil authority, in a place where anyone can attend. So it is more a policy in the United States that an a global thing.

Anonymous said...

Being an LDS convert I understand the feelings on both sides. And while I have not had the experience as a dad yet---I am sure LDS parents struggle when their children leave the LDS church. And, I am sure that the LDS parents of a child that leaves the church also check available literature about their childs new church.

Samuel said...

"I am sure LDS parents struggle when their children leave the LDS church."

Absolutely. I am a convert who married into a long time member family. At my (and my wife's) endowment the night before our sealing, my (future) father-in-law said the only thing that would make it complete would be to have his youngest son there (who left the Church.) It was a very emotional moment for me and I felt his angst deeply.

My parents did not mind at all that they did not see the actual marriage "ceremony." They were quite happy to attend the reception. Maybe because I am a guy, I don't know.

If families are forever (and they are) then the work of a few hours really adds up to very little in the grand scheme of things. I am sorry for your experience Frank. I wish it could have been different for you.

Ian said...

My Grandmother was offended that shw couldn't attend my sealing either. She wouldn't have been able to make it anyway due to the fact that she lives on the other side of the country and wouldn't have been able to attend anyway.

If you truly love your friend/family member, then you will understand their decision to be married in the temple and you will not have a problem with not attending the actual ceremony.

The Temple is a sacred place, only certain people were allowed into the temples during biblical times, it is no different today.

I had a friend whose mother would rarely let him hang out with me, but she would frequently let him go places where she knew he would be drinking. It took me a while to figure out that she didn't like me because of my church.

Bookslinger said...

I've got it! I've got the solution!

You've heard of the "quickie Mexican divorce?"

I now propose the "quickie Mexican LDS wedding!"

The whole wedding party goes to Mexico to a city with a temple. They have a civil marriage ceremony where everyone can attend. The bride and groom then rush off to the temple to get sealed, then come back to the reception.

AlexG said...

BOMII would you care to elaborate on the 'quickie Mexican divorce'? Divorces in Mexico can take quite a long time. If you want a quickie divorce, why not try it in Nevada?

I do not know of other countries but it strikes me odd that only in the US your temple sealing is valid as an official marriage certificate. I thought that marriages certificates were issued by a civil authority.

J White said...

Frank Said:
And how does a Mormon characterize the exclusion of a non-Mormon parent from their child's wedding?

Who's asking whom to choose?


As one whose Mom did not attend my sealing ... I didn't *characterize* it ... I did my best to deal with it, as did my Mother (and my brothers). It hurts on both sides, but I certainly was not asking her in an ultimatum-style to choose my religion or never see me again.

Yes ... we all have to make decisions in life, many of them difficult. And we make those decisions based on our values, priorities and convictions. I understood my Mom loved me and I understood it may hurt her. I did my best to make sure she understood the 'why' and I belive she did her best to understand that this was that important to m. Most importantly, I don't believe she took it as a personal attack on her. I truly appreciate that.

I was concerned that it would drive something between her and my wife ... but it hasn't. I respect and love my mother even more for not allowing that to happen.

Like others, we had an outside ceremony of sorts for the family/friends who couldn't attend the temple or make it up to the reception (in Delaware ... sealing was in DC). My Dad went out of his way too to make sure I didn't forget her. He went so far as to chew me out as we were preparing to leave the reception, because he thought I hadn't/wasn't going to say a personal good-bye and thank you to my Mom.

Sister in Indy said...

The temple sealing certificate isn't valid as a legal marriage certificate. We have two certificates--one from the temple and one from the state of Maryland.

ltbugaf said...

The only one who excludes a person from the temple is himself. The Church doesn't exclude, it invites. It says, "We want very much for you to come into this temple and participate in every one of its ordinances. So here's what you need to do to qualify for the temple... Will you take those steps and qualify for the temple, so you can come in?"

It's then up to the invitee to decide whether he will accept the invitation or reject it. He can choose to qualify and include himself, or he can choose to exclude himself. The Church NEVER says, "We don't want you to qualify and come to the temple."

blackjaw said...

I want to talk about another aspect of Jeff's post. Why did the man in the story need to examine his music preferences if he was in a Christian rock band. Rock, heavy metal, and rap are not inherently evil. It is the content and context that make music wholesome and uplifting. Granted that it may be extremely difficult to find uplifting examples of these styles, but they do exist.

Stylistic preferences such as adult contemporary versus metal should not equate to good versus evil. A distorted F chord is not any more immoral in and of itself that an F played on an acoustic guitar.

Ian said...

A Temple marriage is just as valid as any other religious marriage. The legality of it depends on where you are getting married.

As far as I am aware anyway.

JoelH said...

The only one who excludes a person from the temple is himself. The Church doesn't exclude, it invites. It says, "We want very much for you to come into this temple and participate in every one of its ordinances."

I personally think that, in the case of weddings, this is a de facto exclusion. Parents of all faiths look forward to their children's marriages for years, only to be told they can't attend this most important event because they are not temple recommend-holding Mormons. I agree with Mike Parker here, I would like to see the policy changed so that a couple could be sealed in the temple after a civil ceremony, immediately after if they choose. I know first-hand that this issue generates some cold pricklies among many non-LDS, or even some within the Church who don't hold temple recommends.

I know the Church invites all to meet the requirements to come to the temple. We don't have to compromise the sacred nature of the temple, just alter policy to require a civil cermony before a sealing. That makes everyone happy.

jane said...

As the only members in extended family, we accompanied daughter and new husband to the Temple for sealing on Friday.. then had a big event at the Ward on satuday with ring ceremony for all relatives to enjoy, and a large reception with dancing.

Anonymous said...

I agree with what Mike Parker said, but it's too bad this discussion has drifted away from the original post.

So it's back to the original post: I'm a convert from Protestantism. My guess is that at least half the talks I hear on Sundays, and probably the same for General Conference talks, could just as well be said in a Protestant church (if specifically LDS scripture references or quotes of general authorities were removed). And probably two-thirds of Protestant sermons I've heard in my life could probably be given in a sacrament meeting without anyone batting an eye (if scripture quotations were given from the King James version).

One of the ironies in the theology of many of our critics is that they believe if you accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior, you're saved. Well, every active Mormon I know has done exactly that.

ltbugaf said...

I agree with you that every faithful Latter-day Saint has accepted Christ as his/her Savior and that, under the prevailing doctrine of the critics, we've been saved. But I suspect these critics also have some reason to find that we haven't REALLY accepted Christ, because we also believe in some other doctrine that they find repugnant.

I can't say categorically that this is a wrong way to look at things. If you read our scriptures you will find the teaching that those who reject Christ's messengers--his Prophets and Apostles--are rejecting Christ. In this respect, I think Latter-day Saints might say it's those other folks who haven't REALLY accepted Christ.

Bookslinger said...

I thought Las Vegas was the place for quickie civil marriages, and Tijuana was the thing for quickie divorces. But those were the stereotypes from decades ago, back in a time when some states required bride and groom to be to get Rh factor blood tests in order to get a marriage license.

Things may have changed in Mexico and the Tijuana quickie divorce may just be a thing of the past.

As far as legally recognized marriages in the Temple, in the United States, ministers of any religion (even the Church of Elvis) can get authorization (a certificate) from their state to perform marriages recognized by the state.

So what happens, as it was explained to me, the Temple sealers (in the US) apply to the state authority (usually secretary of state) as a minister to get the authorization to perform legally recognized marriages in that state, just like any Baptist minister, Jewish Rabbi, Justice of the Peace, Catholic Priest, or Mormon Bishop would.

The couple-to-be gets their state-approved marriage license at a court-house or wherever, takes it to the temple with them, and it is signed by the legally authorized person in the temple who performs the wedding ceremony.

Mormanity said...

I'm with Mike on the desire to modify the policy, and with Indy on the idea of bringing the benefits of Mexico to the US. Perhaps under the FTAA juggernaut (Free Trade Area of the Americas), we will actually be part of Mexico some day soon and the problem will be solved.

Mormanity said...

And I also extend my condolences to Frank for the pain that he experienced. It can be a traumatic thing that some of us old LDS folks don't appreciate from the perspective of family members who feel left behind.

Anonymous said...

Jeff, Don't worry, China will one day own the US so getting together with Mexico won't help much.
You keep thinking those happy thoughts though.

LDS-Ohio said...

I agree that the Mike's "policy" would be "convenient". I just got married in the Temple two months ago, and needless to say many non-member family members were less than pleased to be not be able to see the wedding. Trying to explain to them why made sense to me, but they didn't get it at all. I even asked Jeff to make a post here on Mormanity to get everyone's ideas as to how to break this to everyone, and I appreciate everyone's feedback, but I think some family's hearts were slightly offended anyways.

But I think we just need to realize that if the Prophet deemed it neccesary to allow us to do the whole quickie-marriage-before-sealing thing, he would've allowed it already. There's probably a good reason why he hasn't. And it would probably take a revelation (as I imagine most big policy changes do) - not an "official declaration" type revelation like the opening of the priesthood - but something the Lord reveals to the Prophet nonetheless. The only reason it's allowed in other countries is because the law demands it.

To sit around and say we wish the Church would allow this policy would be like saying, "Lord, you need to get with it. We humans with such a limited and finite understanding think we know what's right. Now hurry up with the new policy change."

AlexG said...

LDS Ohio

I sympathise that some of your relatives were offended. It is not easy to balance between families and faith, especially when some members of your family differ on the religious denomination. It is not easy, especially when issues like attending to the marriage of their relatives is concerned. Some take it easily, some do not. But in time, when they see how much a temple marriage means to you and your wife, there are probably some missionary opportunities ;)

I would agree with Mike, Jeff and the rest. If it is normal in other countries, because of law regulations, why cannot it be done in the United States? From comments in this post, apparently a sealer can apply for a marriage licence and perform it legally, i.e., with legal recognition. In countries such as the UK, a wedding needs to be 'public' so anyone that could be interested can attend. Also, a member of the Registrar Office needs to be present. The government issues a marriage certificate which is later presented at the temple. In Mexico, only a judge of peace can marry you, at the chappel if you so desire. The Church has no problem with it going this way. I do not think that a major revelation is needed to change this policy. (I classify this issue the same as the extention of temple recommends from one to two years). I see this policy more as an American (US) cultural thing, than a gospel requirement.

ltbugaf said...

Hope you'll be patient with me for dwelling a little more on the temple wedding topic, even though that's not the main topic of the thread:

I think the Brethren want couples to solemnize both their weddings and their sealings in the temple, to the maximum extent possible. I think this has to do with "starting out right" and with putting obedience and devotion to Christ first in marriages. Marriage should be a covenant with Christ, from the start. For that reason, they adopt policies that will encourage couples to be not only sealed but also married in the temple.

In some countries, the laws don't allow marriages to be solemnized by temple sealers, so the Brethren make an accommodation for couples in those countries, allowing them to be married first and sealed as soon as possible thereafter. But if we could have more amenable laws in those countries, I think the Brethren would use the same policies there as they use in the countries that do allow temple weddings.

In other words, I think the desire of the Prophet is to do the opposite of what many suggest here--not to encourage lesser weddings followed by sealings, but to encourage weddings and sealings as one, single ordinance and ceremony.

AlexG said...

ltbugaf are you suggesting that there should no separation between Church and State? ;)

LDS couples should aim for a temple wedding, no compromises. But I believe that having two separate weddings, one civil and one religious would help the State, which I believe should take care of a social contract and the Church to take care of an eternal contract. This also would enable people like Frank, to attend to his children's wedding without feeling left out.

Walker said...

Quite frankly, I can see why civil marriages aren't performed BEFORE the sealing, as that could undermine the meaning of the sealing in the minds of the participants (it might feel redundant, when in fact the sealing is the central aspect).

I would however be in favor of (provided that Pres. Hinckley revealed it) allowing a civil marriage after the sealing. That way, only the civil marriage has less meaning to the married couple while still effectively pacifying irate family members.

Bookslinger said...

LDS-Ohio,
Thanks for your faithful example. You're absolutely right. We should not counsel the prophet. When we have problems and concerns, we should take them to church leaders and seek their counsel, not to counsel them.

ltbugaf said...

ALEXG: "ltbugaf are you suggesting that there should no separation between Church and State?"

I hope the little wink you added after that question means you're kidding.

If not, I have to wonder how anyone could construe what I've said here to mean that.

But since you asked...

I think separation of church and state, as a general rpinciple, is useful in that it tends to keep the state from impinging on the ideological freedom of its citizens. On the other hand, I do look forward--as I hope we all do--to the day when only Christ will be our King. At that point I'm not sure what diffrence there could be between priesthood government and civil government. And that won't be a bad thing.

captveg said...

One thing I think many people are neglecting to mention is that ring ceremonies following a temple marriage are fairly common in the US. Generally speaking, aside from the actual "I do" vows, it's a public affirmation of being married. I would think that most of those who would like to attend the temple marriage but are unable to would be more than satisfied with seeing a ring ceremony. At least, that's been my experience.

Becky said...

I was just reading some of these posts regarding temple marraige and non-members. I am the only member of the church in my family and I was married in the Temple. We did have a ring ceremony and a reception that my mother planned just how she had always envisioned it. They were disappointed, but it was my eternity I was worried about. They didn't want to go to the temple, but did. They were grateful they did. 15 years and 6 kids later they think my husband could move mountains and that we are the most grounded family of all their kids. They have not chosen to join, or even really investigate, the church, but there are no hard feelings. Perhaps it seems selfish, but getting married in the temple was not about choosing mormonism over my nonmember family... it was about my eternal marriage, my eternal family. I couldn't control their feelings about it, but I was sure of mine and where I needed to be.

kathi said...

My husband was the only member in his family when we married over 28 years ago. I'm "pioneer stock" and unfortunately didn't take much time to consider the feelings of my future inlaws when it came to being excluded from the temple ceremony. Their son had only been a member for about 2 years, so this was all pretty new for them. I was so wrapped up in my excitement in the fulfillment of my dreams of a temple wedding that I didn't even think about how I could include them more in the wedding. As a result there were years of hard feelings toward the church, especially on the part of my mother-in-law.

As our oldest daughter entered her dating years, I noticed my mother-in-law actively encouraging her to date non-members; which she did on occassion. Our daughter became very involved with one very nice young man that was not Mormon. Grandma was ecstatic and even announced "If you marry Ben, I will be able to go to the wedding." I had a talk with my mother-in-law and for the first time sincerely apologized for being so inconsiderate at the time of our wedding and acknowledged the heartache the she must have felt. I also explained to her how important and sacred the temple ceremony was to us and that I knew that our choice to marry in the temple had helped to keep our marriage together through hard times. I also explained that I knew that temple marriage was important to our daughter and asked her to please not encourage her to make a choice that would be contrary to this. In return, I promised her that I would do whatever I could to make it possible for her to be able to be part of her grandaugher's wedding. I didn't know what I would be able to do. I think I was hoping that there might be a change in church policy allowing a civil ceremony prior to the temple sealing before my daughter got married. Mother-in-law agreed and the conversation ended on a good note.

Three years later my daughter became engaged to a wonderful returned missionary and made plans to be married in the LA temple. Now I had to figure out how I was going to keep my promise to Grandma. But before I had to do too much thinking, my daughter informed me that she had received a letter from her grandmother telling her of the conversation she and I had and the promise I had made. She told my daughter that she wanted her to get married in the temple and not to worry about her. She was happy to know that her granddaughter had chosen a wonderful young man and that they were getting married in the manner that they had hoped and dreamed for.

I'm sure my mother-in-law again suffered heartache the day of my daughter's wedding, but this time I was there to console her and express my gratitude for her unselfishness and understanding. I think it is so important that we approach these events with compassion and understanding for those who will be on the outside. My commitment to my mother-in-law now is to honor my temple covenants so that her sacrifice will not be in vain.

AlexG said...

lbtugaf, Of course I was joking. As we say in the UK, I was pulling your leg!! I share your views on the Millenial government of Christ. That is when a perfect goverment will be organised upon the Earth.

My views on the separation of the Church and State run more on the historical perspective. Countries in Latin America had mostly Catholic priests running most of the government. For instance, if the person was not of good standing, they could deny the possibility of registering the birth of a child, or the death of another, thus keeping no record of him. If children were born out of wedlock, they would have simply not registered them. That is why I support the idea that the State should take care of the social aspects of the society and the Church the eternal. That is why I think that having a civil wedding and then going off to the temple to marry enables taht separation, for now, of an imperfect side of man with a more perfect way. I do not think that this would 'lessen' the importance of temple marriage, because the aim of the family is an eternal one, not 'until death parts you' which is the extent of the civil authority.

I hope that these points clears any missunderstanding.

Mormanity said...

Kathi, thank you for that wonderful insight. Yes, we need to be much more sensitive to the feelings of others on this issue.

I really like the thoughtful approach you took to bless the lives of both your mother-in-law and also your daughter.

Jon Dorhauer said...

In Galations chapter 1 verses 6- 9 it gives a very clear instruction by Paul concerning false gospels. It says, " I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed."
Now there you have it. If the claims by Smith that an 'angel' gave him the 'revelation of a second testament'then Paul says let that angel be accursed and also let Smith be accursed. Therefore according to Scripture as revealed by the apostle Paul, this second book called the book of mormon is "another gospel." The mormom belief system is riddled with half truths and false claims which can easily be disproved with systematic theology. Experts have proven that this 'second testamant' called the Book of Mormon was plagiarized from the NKJV by Smith.
Mormons are convinced of their 'gospel' to be true. Any serious study on this cult belief system with an open mind soon reveals their interesting claims which plays 'lip service' to the Bible, but which nevertheless perverts the truth.


Jon Dorhauer

Anonymous said...

This is not a gray issue! This is black & white! I know many people who at least don't want to die before they walk their daughter down the isle. This is huge! This Morman temple marriage requirement is cruel! If you don't see it that way, you "must" be brainwashed!