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Absolving previous temple marriage from the records - question


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#1 Seminarysnoozer

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 10:20 PM

Since nobody really knows me here I think I am safe to say, "my sister" but for privacy this isn't my actual sister I am talking about ... and no it's not me either so don't worry about being too direct in your responses. Trying to remain anonymous and sincere. 'My sister' came to me with this question that I didn't have an answer for, maybe somebody knows. If her husband was married before in the temple for a short period of time and was divorced but did not get a temple divorce that marriage remains on his record even though my sister was later married to him in the temple. What she is concerned about is that this woman will somehow become worthy enough to be married and together with her husband in the afterlife, even though the marriage was not good and there were no kids. If this 'first wife' never marries again in the temple does her name stay on his record forever or is there a way to remove that information shy of getting a temple divorce? And a temple divorce requires the consent of both parties I imagine which she probably won't want to do if she was never married again. She tells me it says on his record something like "previous sealing." or something like that. She sees it every time they do tithing settlement and also is concerned her kids seeing that designation some day. I can see how the other woman should still have the right to have the privileges of being married in the temple if she is repented (if the second hand stories I know about her are true). I think 'my sister' is really concerned that somehow she will put all the effort in this life to have a perfect marriage in this life and still end up as a "second wife." And even have her kids be sealed to another wife, as if she gets first pick even though she was only in his wife for a few months. I told her I can't see how that would happen, I don't think the covenant of marriage is really valid between the two if the marriage dissolved and yet the privileges that come from it might still be there in the next life. I am not sure. I told her to go talk to her bishop about it, but I was wondering if any of you had experience with this type of issue. Thank you.

#2 TruthSeekerToo

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 10:32 PM

I know a woman who was told no sealing cancellation unless she has a prospective DH to take to the temple. I also will add that even if the sealing is cancelled there is no gaurantee that it won't be redone post-mortem. Actually, I'm 99% sure it will be done by proxy by someone later on. That is why we go back to the principle of agency. I am sorry your sister is struggling with this issue, though. It sounds like it is very tough for her.
Mosiah 27:26 And thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.
Gal 5:18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

#3 bytebear

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 11:06 PM

It sucks to be jealous of a dead woman.

#4 TruthSeekerToo

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 11:35 PM

It sucks to be jealous of a dead woman.


I think the ex is still alive. He is sealed to them both. Civil divorce, no sealing cancellation.

Is that right?
Mosiah 27:26 And thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.
Gal 5:18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

#5 bytebear

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 11:40 PM

I think the ex is still alive. He is sealed to them both. Civil divorce, no sealing cancellation.

Is that right?


ah, I re-read. that is a bit more realistic. But, still, I think the "fear of the afterlife" is a cop out to mask real feelings of the here and now. Deal with the real issues of inadequacy and jealousy, and the issues of the afterlife will simply become moot.

#6 TruthSeekerToo

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 11:45 PM

ah, I re-read. that is a bit more realistic. But, still, I think the "fear of the afterlife" is a cop out to mask real feelings of the here and now. Deal with the real issues of inadequacy and jealousy, and the issues of the afterlife will simply become moot.


I agree, there are issues to be resolved in the present. I just have no idea what it must feel like to be married to someone who has been married before.
The sealing cancellation may only provide temporary relief for the underlying issues.
Mosiah 27:26 And thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.
Gal 5:18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

#7 pam

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 12:01 AM

Again I just think it's one of those things where we need to have faith and trust that Heavenly Father will work it all out. No one will be left out in the cold. That's not how He works for those that truly do endure.

#8 MarginOfError

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 02:57 AM

Your sister needs to learn more about the Sealing ordinance and covenant, and then she needs to stop romanticizing it.

The Sealing ordinance has virtually nothing to do with spending eternity with the person you love. In fact, getting to spend eternity with your spouse is a little bit like a neat side effect of the ordinance. What the ordinance is about is entering a covenant with the Lord that grants the individual certain rights and privileges that can make child rearing more enriching and links the individual to his or her posterity and ancestry.

What's more, the Lord has said that the Sealing ordinance is a necessary condition for salvation. When members who have made this covenant get divorced, the Church strongly discourages cancellation of the sealing because that would make the parties' covenants null, which would both wipe out the temporal blessings associated with the Sealing and disqualify the person from exaltation. At the same time, it would have no impact on whether or not the parties spent eternity together; presumably a divorced couple has already made that decision.

What your sister needs to do is learn to forgive and recognize that if the first woman does repent, she will still need the blessings associated with the prior sealing in order to continue her eternal progression. Again, the primary purpose of the Sealing ordinance is not to let us be with a person for eternity. It is to help us be better parents and better disciples of Christ.

Dude. When both Vort and MOE are in agreement, the thinking has been done. :D


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#9 Seminarysnoozer

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 06:54 AM

Your sister needs to learn more about the Sealing ordinance and covenant, and then she needs to stop romanticizing it.

The Sealing ordinance has virtually nothing to do with spending eternity with the person you love. In fact, getting to spend eternity with your spouse is a little bit like a neat side effect of the ordinance. What the ordinance is about is entering a covenant with the Lord that grants the individual certain rights and privileges that can make child rearing more enriching and links the individual to his or her posterity and ancestry.

What's more, the Lord has said that the Sealing ordinance is a necessary condition for salvation. When members who have made this covenant get divorced, the Church strongly discourages cancellation of the sealing because that would make the parties' covenants null, which would both wipe out the temporal blessings associated with the Sealing and disqualify the person from exaltation. At the same time, it would have no impact on whether or not the parties spent eternity together; presumably a divorced couple has already made that decision.

What your sister needs to do is learn to forgive and recognize that if the first woman does repent, she will still need the blessings associated with the prior sealing in order to continue her eternal progression. Again, the primary purpose of the Sealing ordinance is not to let us be with a person for eternity. It is to help us be better parents and better disciples of Christ.


This is what I was trying to express to her but not as well as you did, partially because I was unsure about it myself. So, I think it is unlikely the bishop, or whoever has the authority to deal with such things could not take that name off this sister's husband church record? I wonder if it is possible to take it off his record but leave it on the ex-wife's record as he was remarried in the temple and she remains single (as far as I know) so it won't absolve his temple covenants by taking the first marriage off, or will it?

#10 Gwen

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 07:15 AM

i had this question when i was engaged to my husband (he had been sealed before)... i know exactly how she feels though i choose to deal with it before i got married. when i discussed it with my stake pres he used this explanation. when we make a covenant we must do our part here to have the promise. the promise of living a covenant marriage here is being able to have that marriage last for eternity (among other things). if a couple divorces they can not live the covenant they made here, thus they have no promise there. if the ex becomes worthy and never remarries it will be handled just like a person who lived worthy but never married at all in this life. she will have no claim upon my husband nor will he have claim upon her; they didn't live the covenant. so i guess the only way i would be stuck living with his ex would be if he and i live our covenant, i die, she becomes worthy and they remarry and live the covenant..... i just don't see that happening, not losing any sleep over it. lol as for what is written on his records.... he's got to live with the consequences of his choices. not sure the kids should be seeing his tithing settlement papers anyway. i don't show ours to our kids. i don't believe his previous sealing would show up on their records (though i could be wrong, never looked that close). even if it does show up the kids won't know what it says/means till they are old enough to understand it anyway, at that point they will ask and you can tell them (if they don't already know)... unless that's the idea, to hide it so they never know.

i don't have problems, i have issues
problems can be fixed, issues you just deal with



"The grass is not, in fact, always greener on the other side of the fence. Fences have nothing to do with it.
The grass is greenest where it is watered. When crossing over fences, carry water with you and tend the grass wherever you may be."
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#11 MarginOfError

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 07:19 AM

This is what I was trying to express to her but not as well as you did, partially because I was unsure about it myself. So, I think it is unlikely the bishop, or whoever has the authority to deal with such things could not take that name off this sister's husband church record? I wonder if it is possible to take it off his record but leave it on the ex-wife's record as he was remarried in the temple and she remains single (as far as I know) so it won't absolve his temple covenants by taking the first marriage off, or will it?


The only action that could be taken to remove that comment from his membership record is to have the Sealing cancelled by the First Presidency. Membership records will show a previous marriage and will record if the person is sealed to that spouse. Local leaders (bishops, stake presidents, and clerks) do not have the ability to change or hide that annotation. That has to be done at Salt Lake, and they won't do that until they get the First Presidency approval.

Keep in mind also that--as someone said earlier--some of these records are kept solely for the purpose of genealogical temple ordinance recording.

Again, the better approach is to not hide the annotation, but to teach what the Sealing is about.

Dude. When both Vort and MOE are in agreement, the thinking has been done. :D


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#12 Wingnut

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 07:27 AM

If the kids are your sister's, why would she think they would ever have anything to do with the ex anyway? They didn't exist (physically) when the ex was in the picture. If they've been sealed to your sister and her husband (either through being born in the covenant or through a sealing ordinance sometime after they were born), they are your sister's.
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#13 mnn727

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 07:35 AM

First (and its a BIG pet peeve of mine) there is no such thing as a 'Temple divorce' You don't go to the Temple to break family ties, there is no divorce ceremony. However a Sealing can be canceled by the First Presidency (if warranted). Your "sister" needs to talk to her Bishop or even a Temple President about this if she is having issues as I really don't think she understands the sealing covenant

Edited by mnn727, 03 November 2009 - 07:42 AM.


#14 ryanh

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 08:21 AM

when i discussed it with my stake pres he used this explanation. when we make a covenant we must do our part here to have the promise. the promise of living a covenant marriage here is being able to have that marriage last for eternity (among other things). if a couple divorces they can not live the covenant they made here, thus they have no promise there. if the ex becomes worthy and never remarries it will be handled just like a person who lived worthy but never married at all in this life. she will have no claim upon my husband nor will he have claim upon her; they didn't live the covenant.

I'll readily admit I don't fully understand all the doctrines and nuances of the sealing by the Holy Spirit of Promise, and the implications of divorce. But, the explanation you gave Gwen doesn't seem completely logical to me. Something is missing.

If a temporal divorce made a previous sealing completely null and void, then why would it take the action of the first presidency to cancel it? As you pointed out in other words, it's not like the keys given to the sealer make the sealing automatic. It's an ordinance, not an actual sealing. So, if the Promise had not sealed the union, why should it simply not be made a footnote for genealogical reasons upon temporal divorce? Why would it require the action of the First Presidency for cancelation (apart from the necessary keys issue)? Would the temporal divorce be ‘sufficient’ to render the sealing null, and thereby there would be no action required by the First Presidency to “cancel” it?

That it requires the action of the First Presidency says to me there is more at stake than just to whom a person is to be sealed. It would seem to me that the fact that the other woman - the ex of the “sisters” husband - is not in a marriage now, she has at least tried, and has gone through the steps and received the ordinances necessary for exaltation. That must count for something, else it would be an automatic cancelation in my mind. That she, as a fallible mortal, fell short, is not as critical as the fact that she attempted to carry out the necessary steps for her exaltation.


This is what I was trying to express to her but not as well as you did, partially because I was unsure about it myself. So, I think it is unlikely the bishop, or whoever has the authority to deal with such things could not take that name off this sister's husband church record? I wonder if it is possible to take it off his record but leave it on the ex-wife's record as he was remarried in the temple and she remains single (as far as I know) so it won't absolve his temple covenants by taking the first marriage off, or will it?

Perhaps she needs to consider a slightly different perspective. Would she really want to deny the other woman the benefit of having recorded on earth and in heaven that she at least tried to do what she was supposed to in order to receive exaltation? All because of some worries of what "might be" that almost certainly never will be? Does she really think that living in the Celestial kingdom will be a forced situation in which she would be miserable? In other words, does she think heaven won’t be “heavenly”?

As harsh as it may sound, I keep going back to the thought that has been brought up - perhaps she needs to address her feelings of jealousy. Perhaps considering it from the stand point of what it might mean to her spiritual sister could help in the endeavor.
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#15 Gwen

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 08:44 AM

there are several parts to a sealing covenant. i make promises to god and i make promises to my husband. he makes promises to me and to god. after a divorce there are still promises made and blessings to be received between the person and god. this is the reason for the difference between a sealing clearance and cancellation. as it was explained to me anyway.

i don't have problems, i have issues
problems can be fixed, issues you just deal with



"The grass is not, in fact, always greener on the other side of the fence. Fences have nothing to do with it.
The grass is greenest where it is watered. When crossing over fences, carry water with you and tend the grass wherever you may be."
-Robert Fulghum


#16 Seminarysnoozer

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 09:22 AM


As harsh as it may sound, I keep going back to the thought that has been brought up - perhaps she needs to address her feelings of jealousy. Perhaps considering it from the stand point of what it might mean to her spiritual sister could help in the endeavor.


I appreciate your comments. This might be hard to understand for a man, I don't know, but I really don't think she is jealous, rather she is feeling insecure. Us girly types like to feel secure, that everything will be okay for a long time. I think if she knew for sure that he would not have to be with her in the next life, she would be okay with that. It's hard for her to hear that and yet the records remain unchanged. I can see how that would take a lot of trust to feel okay with it. I've said most of these things to her, not as well as some of you have said it and without authority to talk about these things but still she feels insecure about it.
She is meeting with the stake president next week, I'll report back if she says its okay. I'm curious to hear what he says.

#17 ryanh

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 09:34 AM

I appreciate your comments. This might be hard to understand for a man, I don't know, but I really don't think she is jealous, rather she is feeling insecure. Us girly types like to feel secure, that everything will be okay for a long time.

I can appreciate that, even if not completely empathize with it. You're probably right. It just kept coming to my mind, so I put it out there.
Tis easy enough to be pleasant, When life flows along like a song; But the man worth while is the one who will smile when everything goes dead wrong. Ella Wheeler Wilcox


God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs. Therefore, it is vital that we serve each other. Spencer W. Kimball

#18 annamaureen

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 12:33 PM

I don't blame her for being confused and upset. It's easy to just panic and go "oh no, I'll have to share my husband!" The whole thing is complicated, plus we don't have the foresight and divine knowledge to understand how everything will work out in the afterlife - we must simply have faith that it will.

#19 mnn727

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 03:45 PM

I don't blame her for being confused and upset. It's easy to just panic and go "oh no, I'll have to share my husband!" The whole thing is complicated, plus we don't have the foresight and divine knowledge to understand how everything will work out in the afterlife - we must simply have faith that it will.

I can't help but thinking: if God himself (in person) asked a woman to share her husband with another woman, would the woman He asked say no? or would she trust God to know best. To me that is what this really boils down to since we're talking about life in the CK

Something to think about - don't want to hijack this thread or it may deserve a thread of its own

#20 annamaureen

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 04:33 PM

I can't help but thinking: if God himself (in person) asked a woman to share her husband with another woman, would the woman He asked say no? or would she trust God to know best. To me that is what this really boils down to since we're talking about life in the CK

Something to think about - don't want to hijack this thread or it may deserve a thread of its own


Yeah, the polygamy issue has been discussed in depth in other threads. Personally, I feel sick just imagining it (which is why I can sympathize with the "sister" in the original post.) But I mean, if it was God himself asking, I don't know if I could refuse. He wouldn't ask us to do anything that was bad for us, or that we couldn't handle. Of course, before I give any concrete answers, it depends if it's a request or commandment! ;)

Edited by annamaureen, 03 November 2009 - 04:43 PM.





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