Monday, September 9, 2013

My Return to Manti

In a few days, my wife and I will go to Manti (where we were married) and perform the sealing of my parents.  I will then seal myself and my deceased brother to them, as well as they to their own parents. This has been a long time coming, something I've wanted and dreamed of for the almost 40 years I've been a member of the church.

But however special it may appear to those helping us in the temple that day, they will have no idea of how complicated this action is in my heart, and I suspect in my parent's hearts... Mom and Dad divorced after 18 years of a rocky marriage because my father could not deal with my mother's bisexuality. Thankfully, separately they repaired their relationship and remained loyal friends throughout their later lives. My father never remarried. My mother found a loving woman partner with whom she shared the remainder of her life with for 22 years. Josephine remains part of our family circle to this day, and I love her dearly.

As I enter that lovely pioneer sealing room and kneel with my wife at the same alter where we entered our marriage, but now to speak for them by proxy, in agreeing to the new and everlasting covenant of marriage, I hope my parents will know that I am not there to dictate how they should live their eternal lives. I deeply respect each of their individual mortal lives, lives of honesty and integrity in which they chose not to have any faith in or affiliation with the LDS Church. Yet I will do this in remembrance of them, and because of my love for them. There, in that special and sacred place, I will visualize them, and I will read a poem to each of them, and my heart will be joined with theirs, if only for that moment.

Can this be true, that is, will it work? I do not know if a priesthood sealing is something that they now would want, or if the ordinance will have any plausible application to them, but somehow it means something to me, blooming in the faith wherein I am planted. When I received the letter from the Temple Department authorizing my father's temple work (because he had previously been excommunicated), I felt a surge of emotion that I could not rationally explain sweep over me in a wave of relief and gratitude. I want them to have all that our Heavenly Father has to give, in whatever paths of glory they choose to follow, together or separately, even as they once let me follow the Church's path despite their reservations and objections.

So, it's complicated. I'm happy and yet a little anxious to do my parent's temple work.  Ultimately I trust in the Lord's grace, and I'll just leave it for my parents to work it out. I only wish that when Josephine passes, that I could somehow seal her to my mother as well, because I know that their love was real and more fulfilling than my parent's tumultuous marriage. If that sealing can happen, it will probably have to wait for the Millenium.

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