Okay, once again there are a lot of things I've been wanting to write about but haven't had time for, so I think I'm going to make an effort to post every day for a week again, starting today. That seemed to work the last time I tried it, even if it didn't have the desired long-term effect of getting me to post more often.
But anyway, one of the things I've been meaning to post about is something that happened just last Saturday. My sister got married.
As an active Mormon, she was, of course, married in the temple--the San Diego temple, to be exact. (She lives much closer to the Los Angeles temple, but I guess she liked the look of the San Diego temple better, or something.) I've said before that I'm not going to renew my temple recommend when it expires--since that would require directly lying to the bishop and stake president in response to many of the temple recommend questions--but that's not till August, so I was able to attend the wedding. I'm not going to go into full details here, but there is one thing I wanted to comment on.
The core of the LDS wedding ceremony is the "sealing ceremony", where the bride and groom are united "for time and all eternity". The sealing is performed by a temple ordinance worker called, naturally enough, the "sealer".
Well, the sealer at my sister's wedding apparently fancied himself a bit of a card, and slipped in a bit of (what he thought was) humor when he explained the ceremony. When he talked about the consequences for unrighteousness, for example, he said, addressing the groom, something to the effect of, "When you make mistakes--and we all know she's not going to be making mistakes; it's going to be you..." Later, when he pointed out that, according to the wording of the ceremony, the bride gave herself to the groom but the groom did not give himself to the bride, he explained that as being because--again addressing the groom--"you're not much of a catch". He did state afterword that he was just joking--but still it seemed a little mean-spirited.
On the way back from the sealing room, I talked to the groom about it, hoping to salve any hurt feelings. "I was feeling kind of bad for you back there," I said. "It seemed the sealer was making all his jokes at your expense."
"You noticed that too, huh?" he replied. "Yeah, I felt kind of bad for me too."
I can guess at the sealer's motives for making his jokes at the groom's expense instead of the bride's. Women, he was probably thinking, are more delicate, more to be respected; the men can take the joke better. Men don't have to be protected like women do; it's okay to poke some fun at them.
The problem is that, in this case, frankly, the woman could have taken it better. The groom had had a rough life, in some ways, and he had made some mistakes, which he'd done his best to recover from. Moreover, he already considered himself below his bride-to-be in some respects; she has a graduate degree and makes good money as a physical therapist, while he has no college education and doesn't have a real career. He already questioned whether he really deserved this marriage, and whether it was going to work out. So given the groom already had, well, something of an inferiority complex, the sealer's jokes were about the worst things he could have said.
I'm not saying, of course, that this in itself is proof the church isn't true, and that the church as a whole should be held responsible for this one sealer's errors. While church doctrine does hold that people in priesthood positions--such as that of the sealer--are supposed to be inspired by the spirit and speak the words given them by God, it's acknowledged that they're still human, and do make mistakes. So this, by itself, certainly wouldn't have been enough to make me question the supposed truth of the church, if I hadn't already done so. Still, though, I thought it was kind of an unpleasant way to launch a marriage...