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A Most Unusual Wedding

April 6, 2020

Strange wedding.

Yes. Very strange. Come along.

King and Queen: Princess Bride

She was literally the girl next door. So was he. They were both my next door neighbors. But, I didn’t marry either one, of course. But, they were also next door neighbors to each other.

Our houses share an intersection. My house is on one corner. Hers is on another corner. And his is on the other corner. (No, there’s no fourth corner, but that doesn’t matter to the story.)

I’ve known them both since they were kids. We’ve lived in our current house for about eight years. Both their families were here when we moved in. They were teenagers when we moved in. My lovely wife and I are friends with both sets of parents. My kids were friends with her brothers. They weren’t friends as much with his siblings, although probably because in a unique “Mormon” trick of geography, we attended church with her family, but not his. (The street was the separation between to two congregations. )

Mormon, or Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint congregations are defined by geography. Everyone in a particular neighborhood attends church at the same time. The congregations are called wards. We attend the 5th Ward. His family attends the 2nd Ward. What it really means is that we attend the same church building but at different times.

Of course, no one is attending church now. It was one of the first things that got shut down. Anyway, living as close as do it became obvious when they started dating. Both had served missions for the Church of Jesus Christ. (The Mormons don’t really like being called Mormons anymore. It’s kind of a Mormon thing.)

We watched their romance grow. It’s actually kind of sweet to see a young man stop at the house across the street open the door, help her out and walk her to the door. Then, we see him get back in his car pull across the street into his own driveway.

They’ve been dating for a while. None of us not part of the families knows how long, but it’s been months. They got engaged several months ago. They even had a date set, but they eventually backed off the date.

Something you should know about Mormon weddings. First, they typically aren’t called weddings. They are referred to as sealings. The concept is that when performed with the proper authority in a temple, a man and a woman can be sealed together forever, even after death.

But, the sealing needs to take place inside a Temple. You’ve probably seen Mormon temples. At least pictures. There are about 150 of them around the world. They are beautiful buildings, but they aren’t like normal chapels. In fact, temples are closed on Sundays. Except now they are closed the other days of week as well.

Salt Lake City, Utah Temple

Getting sealed in the temple is really important to active members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Being married outside of the temple is pretty much frowned on.

And that brings us to two neighbors who are in love and want to get married. They had their wedding planned. They had picked out the temple. They had long guest lists drawn up. They had the reception all planned.

So, now what? None of that is possible. Not the temple sealing, not the guest list, not the big reception.

But, even in the middle of a world wide pandemic, life goes on. Babies are born. A friend in our neighborhood just had a baby boy. People die, of course. Too many. And people continue to get married.

That boy and girl next door got married on Friday. The religious leader of a Ward holds the title of Bishop. (Kind of the same role as a Catholic priest, or a Baptist Pastor.) The young couple did what young couples have always done. They made the best decision they could. Honestly, the only decision they could. They chose to get married.

The Bishop performed the ceremony. Our state has a “no more than 10 people” gathering rule. The parents of the bride and groom were there. The couple themselves, of course. The bishop and I would imagine a couple of witnesses.

The plan is that once the quarantine is lifted and the temples reopen, they will get sealed. They are planning a big reception with lots of family and friends.

Just one more strange event that has become our new normal.

Congratulations to the happy couple.

Stay safe.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2020 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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