Thursday, April 15, 2010
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 lds.org 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.