Rough Stone Rolling

Converting Oneself One Day at a Time – A Mormon Blog

Rough Stone Rolling header image 2

Yellow Paper and Red Tape

March 19th, 2009 · 8 Comments

A strange occurrence became stranger still yesterday as I pursued the origins of a mysterious slip of paper in my mailbox.

Usually when I get one of those yellow notes from the postman, saying he tried to deliver a certified letter (and here are the options of how to get it to me) I get a sinking ugh-y feeling in my stomach. This time was no different. Usually “certified” means “legal,” and usually legal can’t be good. There was no sender’s name or address listed and only a parcel number to go by. So I went to usps.com, entered the number and got my second clue: It was sent from zip code 84070. I knew that zip– It came from Sandy, Utah.

My mom lives in Sandy. So does my ex-wife. The ugh-iness lurched again.

I called Mom and asked if she sent the certified letter. No, she said, but she did get an unexpected call from my ex last month. She wanted my new address.

Damn.

I hadn’t spoken to my ex-wife in years. In fact, the last contact I had concerning her was a letter from her bishop, asking me to sign a consent form to release her from our sealing. When I called him about it (having heard nothing prior to this notice), I learned she wanted to do the work for her second husband and be sealed to him. “But he was Catholic,” I said, not really protesting but still trying to make sense of it, “and he committed suicide.” “What difference does that make?!!” he barked. Well, gee… nothing I guess. So I signed the form, mailed it off, and that was that.

I don’t have the patience to just wait to solve mysteries tomorrow, so I called my ex (ever talk to an ex after several years? It’s weird). After very brief pleasantries I asked if she sent me a certified letter. “No,” she said. “It’s probably from my bishop.” And then she told me the story.

Apparently I wasn’t the only one who was less than impressed with her now-former bishop. Eventually she came to learn the paperwork (including my signed consent) sat in his desk for 6 months. Then when he finally did send it in, the response from Church headquarters was a solid “No.” Basically they said, You are still young and might meet someone with whom you want to share eternity. In other words, if you change your sealing and then want to get married in the temple again one day, you’ll really muck things up.

She went to her bishop, angry. She wanted to talk to someone. She wanted to understand why she couldn’t do what she wanted to do. She hadn’t been on a date in eight years and she wasn’t about to start hubby-shopping now. She wanted to talk to an authority. He suggested a therapist to address her anger (wasn’t this guy a peach?).

So she let it go. It took her a long time to go back to the temple. Why do work for others when she wasn’t even allowed to do work for herself? But go back she did, resigned to the idea that maybe it would all get sorted out in the next life. I was proud of her for that.

Eventually the bishopric changed, and the new bishop happened to be the man who personally performed her deceased husband’s baptism and endowment. He called my ex in and asked if she wanted to try it again, send the papers in to the Church. He thought that since time passed, perhaps the Lord would see fit this time to consent to her wishes.

*sigh*…

So when I come home tomorrow evening, I expect the form will be waiting for me.

You go to church long enough, you eventually stumble into rules, caveats, amendments and judgements you never saw coming. They can be manifested as solutions or challenges– hopefully always as learning experiences. Sometimes, as in my ex’s case, they can fly in the face of an assumption, such as free agency. A sister in good standing wants to be sealed to her deceased husband (the one that took) and is told she can’t, for no other reason except that she’s still too young and should keep her options open. I guess that makes sense from a practical perspective. It’s a hard pill, though, when it’s a beloved partner you’re talking about.

And what about me? I’ve still got to tow her sorry butt to heaven.

Tags: Entries

8 responses so far ↓

  • 1 xoxoxoxo // Mar 19, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    Don’t the “ex’s” muck things up for what seems like forever? I “sigh” with ya buddy.

    BUT, just because she has been denied the ability to be sealed to him NOW (too young) doesn’t mean that she’ll always be denied and should she never re-marry, eventually she should be able to be sealed to him.

    I think it’s important to focus on the concept that God won’t “force” us to be sealed/married to someone for eternity if we’d be better partnered with someone else and that He really WILL work all things out to our good and happiness later IF we do all we can to be faithful and obedient here and now. Your ex’s dead husband might not qualify for exaltation or even decide that he does not WANT exaltation at all and then your ex would be sealed to no one and unable to obtain a fullness of her own blessings.

    Rather than viewing it as inhibiting her free agency (and thus holding her back) during mortality, I see it as allowing her full access to ALL of her choices eternally when her options are perfectly clear later. Just my two cents.

  • 2 KLC // Mar 20, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    David, the young man killed on his motorcycle grew up in my ward, his mother still lives here. No matter how often I learn it, it still sobers me when I’m reminded how fragile our lives on earth are.

  • 3 David // Mar 20, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    KLC,

    Thank you for your thoughts, and for bringing home for me just what a small world this is. In respect, I’ve removed that portion of the blog entry. I don’t want to needlessly hurt anyone just to illustrate a point.

  • 4 KLC // Mar 20, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    David, I respect your decision about removing that information but I hope my comment didn’t come across as judgemental. I found its inclusion appropriate. My response was about making a connection, nothing more.

  • 5 Karron // Mar 21, 2009 at 12:04 am

    Divorce in the church is so complicated. As an almost ex, I can understand the frustrations of dealing with the ex. But, we managed to work things out and have made it for almost 38 years. It isn’t easy, especially when people are encouraged to marry so young, especially girls. And when divorce happens, for whatever reason, there is always that person to deal with in your life. Generally, it is because of kids etc. And sometimes it is simply because the ex on one side or another can’t or won’t let go. Hostility of the one who was scorned so to speak, etc. can really muck up the works.

    That is why I am happy to see couples waiting longer to marry so they are sure their spouse is the right one for them.

    BTW, David, I get that urgy feeling in my stomach every time there is a registered letter. But I am always worried about custody issues with Crystal’s birth mother.

  • 6 David // Mar 22, 2009 at 4:40 am

    xoxoxoxo,

    I think she would be entitled to full blessings eaither way. After all, until it’s all settled she’s really just sealed to the priesthood.

    KLC,

    To be honest, when I saw someone who knew her family read my blog it made me nervous. But, ultimately, it was a brother from my ward who suggested if she ever ran across it she might be hurt. So, no worries. :)

    Karron,

    Yeah, registered letters suck. I’m just glad my ex and I can actually talk in supportive tones now. Until recently, it wasn’t like that.

  • 7 Nebraska // Apr 1, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    Interesting post. Many women are frustrated that they are not allowed to have a temple sealing canceled at the time of their choosing. In the stake I am in we don’t even submit the paperwork to the First Presidency unless the sister is engaged to get married and getting close to the date. I don’t know the reasons other that they just get rejected otherwise.

    The cryptic messages about a motorcycle story have made me curious enough to Google it. Is there a lesson to be learned in that story?

  • 8 synnove // Apr 2, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    Encouraging reading, a bishop who was a bit careful here. It is so clear anybody on the other side can be organised later if one may put it like that, so one should definately keep options open, it does not mean to downgrade the deceased. Only life here is surely hard enough, so if a person is luckier next time around and meets somebody of the LDS faith , it would be easier for all to cope with life together if they can be sealed. Maybe it is time the rules are changed and a girl also may be sealed to both..then later times will decide..I think that would be the best option !!! But I fully agree with bishop on this one.
    In the end all will be sorted for all, and I am convinced if a person is sealed to a diseased husband who did not decide or manage to “make it” to the needed level, surely the person left behind will not be without a husband anyway so I am sure it would not make a difference, but it may as a starting point be a good idea to wait and see and maybe meet a new person…all may change in the millennium anyway! And I am sure we shall be in for some real surprises. One must keep as an absolute that God is absolutely 100% righteous, and no one will be left behind for silly system’s sake for sure.

You must log in to post a comment.