Thursday, April 15, 2010

Lesson 2-15 "Temple Marriage"

Blogging about this lesson just got a whole lot easier since the YW broadcast on March 27. Now we have President Uchtdorf's slam dunk of a talk to work with, "Your Happily Ever After."

I also really liked President Dalton's talk, in which she talked about being starstruck at meeting President David O. and Emma McKay as a BYU student and how just seeing them together gave her insight into what a godly marriage is. I loved President Monson's anecdote in Conference about how his future in-laws embraced him on his first date with Frances (that story also shows up in the April dating issue of the New Era) and I like what that story begins to tell us about the loving eternal marriage that he has built over his lifetime.

Long, happy marriages, that look forward to long, happy eternities together, are something I cherish about Mormondom. As a people, we create conditions where these can flourish. Not that they all do, but that they can. That the priesthood and temples make that possible... that the opportunity is there... that we try to give the tools and build the skills that make marriage something far more than a convenient economic arrangement or a temporary alliance, but what it really should be. What God wants it to be.

The other resource I'd really recommend, which youth might not have seen on their own, is the great article in the April Ensign called "Making Temple Marriage a Priority." It interviews an adorable Russian couple who lived, like, 11 hours away from each other and courted and had the temple as their goal and got married and have started their family. Their advice and their example and their frankness (for an Ensign article, you know) really touched me. Aside: did remove the option to see an article as a PDF? I can't figure out how to do that, but it's the pictures that really made the article sweet, I thought. I mean, look at how cute they are!

If you want to see our other lessons from Manual 1 and Manual 3 that talk about temple marriage - see here, and here. And finally, I've got to say that among the reasons that I'm so grateful we have new material is that this lesson is the absolute worst of the three temple marriage lessons. It's got that story, that awful story, about the couple who died in a car wreck on the way home from their not-temple-marriage. Please, please, can we just all agree as a people not to ever tell that story? I know it's a "true story" and all, and that President Kimball liked it, but, if there's ever a story I'd like to vote off the island, that one is it. I am sure the Lord didn't intend for us to teach by scare tactic. Also I'm not completely comfortable with the heavy-handed "marriage = eternal increase of children" and "many mansions" and "get married so you can establish an eternal kingdom" message. I am well aware that is our doctrine, but it's a bit much to hammer over YW's heads as the be-all reason for getting married in the temple. Sort of puts the cart before the horse, so to speak. My plan is to follow the sweet path laid out in the recent talks & article I mentioned above, instead of teaching this one from the manual as is.

Anyway, one last story. My husband and I both attended the stake prom this past weekend, and we dressed up. He trotted out his (now vintage) bow tie, and I was wearing a long iridescent taffeta skirt. When the youth were otherwise occupied on the dance floor, we had someone snap our picture against the castle backdrop. He took that picture to work and showed it around, and one of his coworkers said, in a rare moment of not-kidding, that we might be the only happy couple she knows. I don't know what to make of that, exactly, except that I'm just really glad I got married where and when and to whom I did--20 years ago this summer. That was the right thing for me, it has planted my feet on an unshakable rock.


  1. One of your best posts ever! Thank you -- and congratulations on your upcoming major anniversary.

  2. Wish you'd post that picture! :) Love the spirit of this post and the topic. The talks given recently were so perfect and the examples were great!

  3. Thanks for your blog! It's really helped me with my new calling in YW.

    I also wanted to say how weird I thought the other story in this lesson is. A young lady starts dating an inactive member, they get serious, he proposes, and she has to turn him down since he doesn't honor his priesthood. I wonder, did he propose on the second date? How did they never have this conversation before he actually proposed?

  4. Kathy, the story is very old and in a time of different dating behavior. My parents dated people during that time. Boys asked girls out on dates without it meaning that they were a couple. There were far fewer events to go "stag" to, it was expected that you brought a date to most parties or dances. It also meant that you could go out with more than one person at a time, since these simple dates didn't end with kisses. You had to "go steady" before that would happen. So it is quite likely that she casually dated him to get to know him. The story said that HE got serious about her and proposed, and she told him no because she didn't want to marry someone who wasn't strong in the church. She had dated him long enough to get to know him, but then decided against a future with him.
    Also, life was a little more formal in those days.
    Also, he could have been like my husband who proposed FAR too early, a little spontaneously. I shut that down. The second time was more official and I officially answered "I'm not ready to make that decision." Third time, I let him know that I was ready and he asked soon after.
    Hope that helps.

  5. You can still view the magazines as PDFs - you need to go to Gospel Library on the front page of, then on the menu bar that appears when you bring your cursor over Gospel Library, click on Media Formats. From there you should be able to find the magazines in PDF format.

    Here is the link:,7777,579-1,00.html

    They should have a link to them through the magazine sub page too - they are tricky to find!

  6. I think my girls had this lesson yesterday - my 16 year old came out afterwards and told me that the teacher had taught them that if you marry a church member in the temple your husband will never have an affair!!! ack, ack, ACK!!! Yes, I did go and find the teacher afterwards and talk to her about it - she said she feels she has to teach the "ideal"!! Maybe we will be reviewing the lessons at home from now on...

    Any ideas of what to do in a situation like this?

  7. Unfortunately, my counselor taught this lesson. It was very painful. I didn't know whether to correct her in front of everyone, or just keep my mouth shut. Out of respect for her, I kept my mouth shut, but I hope that the girls don't have any serious damage from the lesson. The only correcting I did was when on of the girls said, "Yea, that's why the prophets have told us that we need to have lots and lots of kids!" I quickly put out that fire. Aahhhh..... I guess both sides of the isle are represented in our presidency. I just have to bite my tongue sometimes.

  8. Hang in there, Anonymous and namakemono. You do more good than you know by just being there, with a different perspective, even if you aren't always in a position to offer it freely.

  9. Ok we had this lesson last week and I gagged. The counselor that gave the lesson asked the girls to write down the qualities they want in their future husband. I thought they might be better served if they write the qualities that they need themselves to attract such a man. I soooo wish the manuals could be updated!!!

  10. I have a question related to this lesson. One of our counselors taught it last week and included the morbid Kimball story (which I would have excluded had I been teaching). After she read the story, one of our YW asked "So no one can ever do the temple work for them to be sealed?" The counselor said "No. They they can never have their sealing performed because they chose not to do it in this life." I'm assuming she's basing this on President Kimball's statement at the end of the story: "The temples are for the living and for the dead only when the work could not have been done. Do you think that the Lord will be mocked and give to this young couple who ignored him, give them the blessings?"

    I didn't say anything at the time because it was a combined YW class and I didn't want to embarrass the woman teaching, but is this accurate? I guess I had assumed that the work could be done after a year (and it just all seems a bit harsh to say that they would never have that opportunity). I've been trying to research this to find a definitive answer (even making my husband read pages and pages of his bishopric reference manual) and haven't been able to find anything official either way. Can anyone help? If the YW were told inaccurate information (which is my hunch), I'd like to address it.

  11. Anonymous, argh. Thanks for really trying to address this one. Times & Seasons talked it over quite a bit when I first posted the story, considering all the possible doctrinal angles, see here. The consensus in that discussion (although no one actually quoted the handbook chapter and verse) was that no one who genuinely seeks and lives worthy of temple blessings would be denied them whether in this life or the next, and that the couple's temple work could certainly be done and that their eternal fate is in God's hands who knows their hearts (as it is for each one of us), and furthermore that we believe in eternal progression.

    Also, many agreed that this bizarre and frightening story has no place in a youth lesson, period, despite its provenance as a cautionary tale used by one of our latter-day prophets. It teaches by guilt and fear, which undermines our desired message of love and mercy and the Atonement.

    I also think comments #50 and #51 are especially helpful. #51 points out the specific circumstances (a regional conference in Japan) in which Kimball told this story and why it might have been meaningful *in that context for that audience* (and, I'd argue, not so useful for ours). #50 also points to a very important personal biographical detail about Spencer and Camilla Kimball's own wedding experiences, again which would seem to caution us against using this story to harshly condemn the couple--or anyone in our YW organizations (leader OR girl) who might find this story personally painful or close to home.

    Check back in if you find an answer you'd like to share! And hugs for being concerned, diligent and sensitive as a YW leader. We cheer you for that.

  12. Jeans!! Picture of you and your husband, please!!

  13. I'm late to the party but want to chime in and say I almost died laughing as I read this lesson...good thing I was sealed to my husband or else FORGET IT.

    The CAR WRECK story?? Seriously!? The non-member proposal story?? "Tell the YW you want each of them to get married so they can establish an eternal kingdom."?? Yikes, yikes, yikes.

    Sure, many of the lessons are a little, um, dated, but this one takes the cake. Thanks for the post reminding us how much good new stuff there is to use. There IS a lot of outstanding new material, for which I will be ever grateful, because straight from the manual this one is OUT OF CONTROL.


If you wish to comment anonymously, please comment with a made-up name.