The flood of tears that occured when I filed for a temple divorce in 2014 could have filled the bathtub a dozen times. I didn’t want a divorce, but felt deeply prompted that keeping the union between my first husband and myself wasn’t going to do either of us any good. He had broken all of his covenants long ago and keeping a bond that he did not honor was painful. I did not make the decision initially when he left, I guess my deep belief that God could and does perform miracles kept me holding on to a dream that maybe we could one day be happy. I guess you could say that was not in the cards for us. I have a deep love of the temple and the covenants that I made there 23 years ago, and at the same time today I feel a deep fear of Temple Marriage.
Then one day he called to tell me that he was getting remarried to a girl he was dating before we were divorced. He was no longer a member of our church, but continued to tell me that he was going to marry her in the Logan Temple. He said that they had been in to speak with her Bishop and had gotten permission.
I remember the moment ever so clearly. I was so flooded with information that I could neither think nor speak. It seemed as if time slowed down and his words sent my brain into a state of freeze. I knew that there was no way he could have gotten permission to be married in the temple if he was not longer a member of the church and yet at the same time the information sent me into a tangled spin. The other end of the line was silent as was mine until his mocking laugh came through the phone and shattered whatever was left of my broken heart. In that instant I knew that I no longer wanted to be married for eternity to a man that would mock something that I found so sacred.
I got off the phone and called my Bishop immediately with a request for the process of seeking a temple divorce. After that things went quickly, I met with the Bishop and the Stake President and within days I had an email link to fill out my request. Even after getting the link I pondered about if I was doing the right thing. More than anything I wanted to be able to one day stand before my maker knowing that I had not disappointed him or his plan.
I waited until later that day when things were a bit calmer at my house before I started the process. I had a poor internet connection as many do when they live on an Indian Reservation and the connection went down often. I hoped that I was doing the right thing and before I started I said this prayer.
“Heavenly Father, I am going to fill out this request. If I am not suppose to complete this then let my internet go down, but if It is okay then let the process go without issues.”
I sat down and began. I don’t remember all of the questions that were asked, but I do remember that answering them broke my heart. I told the truth from my perspective, but felt as if somehow I was the one who was wrong. That somehow I was the one who was not being loyal or faithful. Many distractions came during the 75 minutes that it took to complete the questions. Each time I left and then returned to the computer I wondered if the screen would still be up and each time it was. As I was nearing the end of the questionnaire I couldn’t tell you what I wanted. A piece of me wanted the internet to fail so that I would have a sign to keep fighting for what I so dearly loved. While another part of me was exhausted and I was tired of being the only one wanting to fight this battle. There we were…..last question completed. A sinking feeling in my stomach and sadness piercing my soul….then a reminder of the mocking.
More moments of silence, then I offered another prayer.
“Heavenly Father I am going to hit send, stop me if I am doing the
wrong thing. “
I held my breath, put the curser on the button and pressed. It was one of the hardest things that I have ever done in my life. It was releasing my belief that God would send me a miracle and save my marriage. So many years of heartache, so many years of pain, and a silent goodbye to so many hopes, so many dreams, and the miracle that I did not receive.
Three weeks later I received the cancellation documentation from the first presidency of the church and I cried again. So much loss!
Although the process was painful, I don’t regret the decision I made on June 16, 2005 to get married in the temple. I am so thankful because I know that choice on that day ensured that my children will be sealed to me forever as long as I keep my covenants. I have watched many young newly married couples coming out of the temple and each time my heart feels full because I know that it is a promise that their children will have an eternal family as long as one parent is living up to their commitments. It makes me smile with joy.
My new husband has asked me many times if we can go and be sealed together. Each and every time I politely decline and tell him that I am not ready. The sealing power of my first marriage was a promise that I made to God and to my husband, I am afraid that I stayed married to him longer than I should have because of my commitment and belief in the promise of eternity. I have had others ask about temple marriage and I explain that although it might be hard for them to comprehend, I will not make that commitment again until I can do so without fear and terror.
Right now when the topic is brought up, my heart begins to race, I get a yuck feeling in my stomache and my brain goes into a full fledged trauma. I know that I can not make that commitment again at this time. I feel bad about it, because I do believe so deeply in the promises that are made in that Holy Place.
I can hear the reasoning of many church members that might say that the opposite of fear is faith. To them I would say that I understand, and that I am still not ready.
Others may say I am not being a good example for my children and I would say, I understand and I am still not ready.
Please don’t judge me for my choice. I can honestly say that I am doing the best that I can to work through the trauma that I have around temple marriage. I would also say that unless you have been where I have been it would be hard for you to understand why I stand where I stand.
If all of my heartache has taught me one thing it has taught me that to judge others when I have not walked where they have walked is to be a fool. Now that I have walked down paths that I would have done anything to avoid I have a deeper understanding of humans and more compassion for all of the things they do that ‘don’t make sense’. I ask you to not try to make sense of me, but to love me exactly as I am. I pray that one day when I meet God again and I stand before him, that he will have a full understanding of my fear and he will embrace me knowing that I did my best.