Unsubstantiated Rumor #2

August 25, 2008 | 41 comments
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Over at MAD-Board, there is rumor about a policy change, to the effect that women may now be sealed to more than one (deceased) husband (just as men may now be sealed to more than one deceased wife).

Can anyone confirm or un-confirm this one?

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41 Responses to Unsubstantiated Rumor #2

  1. blain on August 25, 2008 at 4:26 am

    I recall being told that the policy was to seal all spouses to all spouses back in the late 80s during a Genealogy class (before it became Family History). No need for a new policy change.

  2. Left Field on August 25, 2008 at 6:48 am

    Just to be clear, the rumor on that board appears to be that *living* widows can be sealed to a second husband. The policy has been in place for a long time that deceased women can be sealed to all men to whom they were married in life.

  3. Tatiana on August 25, 2008 at 8:47 am

    No confirmation or denial here, just applaud the change!

  4. makakona on August 25, 2008 at 9:14 am

    i’m trying to come up with some juicy rumor, just to see who comes out of the woodwork to confirm or deny.

    that is simply false. -p. monson

    and what left field said is correct. we had to work our way up the chain when we were initially told that (not here anymore) grandma could only be sealed to the husband she was married to for three months at age 16 and not the man with whom she’d had children nor the one she spent 40 years with. without any insider information on this rumor, it sounds like an easy way for someone to confuse whether the woman is living or deceased.

  5. E on August 25, 2008 at 9:42 am

    This is true and has been for years. My grandmother is sealed to 2 men.

  6. Jim Cobabe on August 25, 2008 at 10:46 am

    I don’t believe Church policy should be changed to accommodate popular belief or practice. The marriage policy reflects the order of heaven. People who are not accommodated by that need to change themselves, not rearrange Church policy to suit themselves.

    Rest assured that any rumors to the effect that Church policy is changing to match popular opinion are unfounded. In fact, there is rather strong evidence to show that the Church tends to go against the popular tide in such matters.

  7. Paula on August 25, 2008 at 10:47 am

    I’m betting that this was a misunderstanding somewhere along the line because the same rumor keeps circulating through Family History classes. A woman may be sealed to more than one man, after she is dead, and after the men are dead. So far as I know, a living woman can still only be sealed to one man, but she can leave instructions to her children to have her sealed to other deceased spouses after she dies. I’m a ward family history consultant, and on the email list for ward family history consultants, and I think a change in policy would have been a big deal there. (But have been wrong before.)

  8. Paula on August 25, 2008 at 10:58 am

    It occurred to me that I could check an actual official source on this– and I had the answer partly wrong. This is from the church’s newfamilysearch site. It’s only available to members, in certain temple districts so far, but is very up-to-date:
    ” * Undocumented marriage. A deceased couple who lived together as husband and wife may be sealed, even if the marriage cannot be documented.
    * Woman married more than once. A deceased woman may be sealed to all men to whom she was legally married during her life. However, if she was sealed to a husband during her life, all her husbands must be deceased before she may be sealed to a husband to whom she was not sealed during life.
    * Man married more than once. A deceased man may have sealed to him all deceased women to whom he was legally married during his life.
    * Divorced couples. Deceased couples who were divorced may be sealed. This may provide the only way for their children to be sealed. However, if they were sealed in life and the sealing was cancelled, First Presidency approval is required for them to be sealed again.”

    I’ve quoted a bit more than you asked about just to show policy for various situations.

  9. Jeff Bennion on August 25, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    Why not go to the source? We called Church Headquarters today to check. Just about 20 minutes ago, we got a hold of someone in the Temple Department. There is no change in policy, which would be announced through weekly mailed bulletins to Bishops. The situation is as it always has been, which is described in comment #8.

  10. Matt W. on August 25, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    CHI agees with new family search, see here.

  11. Marc Bohn on August 25, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    The reference in #8 doesn’t actually say anything about a living widow being able to be sealed to a subsequent husband (nor does it say anything about a living widower being able to be sealed to subsequent husbands). Both provisions specifically begin by stipulating that “a deceased woman/man…”

  12. Paula on August 25, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    You’re right Marc. I was rushing and thinking that I had misunderstood the policy. It’s my first day of a new job… so chalk it up to jitters.

  13. CS Eric on August 25, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    This reminds me of one of the most unusual families in my line. Apparently, one family really, really liked the name they gave to one of their sons. Unfortunately, he died in infancy, so they gave their next son the same name. He died, and the next son got the same name. Finally, one of the sons with that name survived and married. Some ambitious person, not knowing which of the sons with the same name eventually grew up and married her, in an abundance of caution sealed her to all the brothers.

  14. apricot on August 25, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    CS Eric, that almost sounds like the situation in that parable in the NT that the Pharisee’s give to christ to challenge him on the resurrection!

  15. SingleSpeed on August 25, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    I’ve heard the rumors as well, and IMO, #8 does not rule out the possiblity for a woman to be sealed to more than one man during life.

  16. Sally on August 25, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    Doesn’t make much sense to not seal them while alive, if they can just do it anyway after she had died. Don’t see any reason to wait.

  17. Dan Ellsworth on August 25, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    Jeff (9),

    That’s a thread kill if I’ve ever seen one… Well, fun while it lasted!

  18. Juliann on August 25, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    But we are still left with the policy that a man can continue to rack up sealings while alive but a woman has to get a cancellation each time. I did. As far as I know, a woman can be sealed to two men during her life with permission from the First Presidency but it is still another step that men do not have to take. I agree it makes no sense and it would go such a long way in putting the fear of eternal polygamy to rest if they would just treat women equally in this respect. I continue to be shocked by how many Mormons assume there will be polygyny but not polyandry if there is to be plural marriage. They just assume that the sealings are valid for the men but not for the women which to me demeans the value of all sealings.

  19. Roland on August 25, 2008 at 4:17 pm

    I don’t see how #8 (for deceased divorced couples) will be recognized in NewFamilySearch. There are no blocks available to prevent deceased divorced couples from being sealed together again.

    In fact I’ve seen a case of ancesters that were in in a bitter divorce over a 150 years ago being sealed back together again by later generations.

  20. DKL on August 25, 2008 at 6:22 pm

    I think that a change like that would rock. I’d love to be sealed to a widow!

  21. DKL on August 25, 2008 at 6:24 pm

    Juliann: But we are still left with the policy that a man can continue to rack up sealings while alive but a woman has to get a cancellation each time.

    A woman must get a “cancellation of sealing,” but a man must get a “sealing clearance” to be sealed more than once. These are administrative procedures that differ in name only. Specifically, a guy can’t just “rack up sealings.” The 1st presidency must approve each one.

  22. Kristine on August 25, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    But DKL, once “cleared”, a man *can* have multiple sealings. A woman can’t. (At least not while she’s alive. So they don’t differ in name only.

  23. DKL on August 25, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    Kristine, it’s anyone’s guess whether these sealings end up mattering. If a marriage ends in divorce, and they both remarry, the woman will have a cancellation. The man will have a clearance. Such a sealing isn’t worth the paper it’s recorded on. There’s no good reason to think that things are different for widowers and widows. I think that you’re fixating on a word. Perhaps the slogan of Mormon feminists should be, “The eternal is political!”

  24. Steve Evans on August 25, 2008 at 7:07 pm

    DKL, since remarriage after Sumer’s (untimely, ghastly) death is my only realistic shot at a polygamous relationship those sealings BETTER matter!

    In terms of good reasons to think that things are different for widowers and widows, isn’t the differing language a pretty good reason?

  25. DKL on August 25, 2008 at 7:10 pm

    Steve, the differing language, given the equality of treatment otherwise, is basically a technicality. Naturally, I’m very sorry to hear about Sumer’s death. Nevertheless, I’m very happy about the prospect of getting sealed to her.

  26. Steve Evans on August 25, 2008 at 7:11 pm

    She’s not dead yet! Keep yer mitts off.

  27. Julie M. Smith on August 25, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    “remarriage after Sumer’s (untimely, ghastly) death”

    Ah, I see you’ve been reading Nate’s marriage post.

  28. Stephen M (Ethesis) on August 25, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    I knew a living widow sealed to a second husband around 1980 or so. Doesn’t seem that new of a thing.

  29. Left Field on August 26, 2008 at 7:02 am

    Stephen M: Are you sure she had an uncancelled sealing to her first husband?

  30. Stephen M (Ethesis) on August 26, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    Yes, I knew her second husband, a BYU professor, and we had a long discussion on the point.

  31. Sherri on August 26, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    Here’s a variation or a threadjack–
    Can someone tell me what happens to the sealing of the children if the father has his name removed from the rolls of the Church and the mother is an inactive member? Am I still sealed to my brothers and sisters?

  32. E on August 26, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    My living grandmother was sealed to her first husband prior to his death. She remarried and is also sealed to her second husband. They are both living.

  33. Maren on August 27, 2008 at 9:05 pm

    Sealed for Time and Eternity or just Time? Can anyone substantiate the truth of there being temple sealings for “Time” (this life) only? (Like a regular civil marriage but done in the temple?) It’s a rumor I heard once which now sounds somewhat ridiculous.

  34. Juliann on August 28, 2008 at 12:29 am

    #23: There’s no good reason to think that things are different for widowers and widows. I think that you’re fixating on a word. Perhaps the slogan of Mormon feminists should be, “The eternal is political!”
    ———————

    I’m not likely to be considered a “Mormon feminist”. Things are vastly different for men and women when the man can accumulate sealings while the woman has to cancel them. That both acts have to be done by permission is irrelevant when the end result is so different. As I said, it perpetuates the idea that a man can have multiple wives while women must choose one. How you can consider that to be the same situation escapes me.

  35. Al on August 28, 2008 at 11:16 am

    So… spiritually speaking….
    Men and women can have multiple partners in heaven and since we are all brothers and sisters… Heaven is sounding more and more like s swingers party in the hills of West Virginia.

  36. Clay on August 29, 2008 at 11:43 am

    Sweet, now we can have “spiritual cougars”.

  37. Bookslinger on August 29, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    (Psss…. Kaimi: your mailbox @ timesandseasons.org is full.)

  38. SC Taysom on August 30, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    Maren,
    Temple marriages for time only do occur. In fact, aside from the case cited by Ethesis, this is the only type of temple marriage that I have ever heard of between a previously sealed widow and a new husband.

  39. Josh K. on August 31, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    Personally, I think that certain sealings that are done here may be corrected after the millennium. After all, who here doesn\’t have the possibility of a mistake or two in their family history?

    Better for the ordinance to be done and seal multiple spouses than not done at all. In this way, the options are kept open, so to speak.

    The Lord in his infinite wisdom and judgement will know which of the sealings are correct and worthy, and which to honor.

  40. Alison Moore Smith on September 1, 2008 at 2:16 am

    DKL, interesting that you resort to throwing around the “f” word. Having a first sealing cancelled in order to get another isn’t remotely like getting approval to have a second.

    BTW, I’m having cake over here tonight. Women, you can all have three or more pieces–with my approval. Men, you can, too, but you have to throw up all previous pieces in order to have more.

    FWIW, one of my best friends (a widow) was married in the temple for time in 2003. And another woman I know well (now in her 70s) was married in the temple, widowed while pregnant with her first child, later married an LDS man civilly, had four more kids with him, and when I was in high school was given permission to be sealed to him as well. No cancellation.

    Ever since the change to seal deceased women to all their husbands came in the 80′s it has been more than baffling to me that living women can’t do the same.

  41. Allie on September 2, 2008 at 12:49 am

    DKL,

    Of course it matters, and of course there is a difference. Just ask any young LDS widow trying to date and remarry who feels strongly that she wants to keep her sealing to her deceased husband. Ask her about the LDS men who don’t want to marry her if she can’t be sealed to them. Ask her about the agonizing decision she has to face: holding onto the one tie she still has to someone she loved dearly, or severing that tie in order to have the husband and family in this life that she dreams of. I’d say that to her, it matters A LOT. And it is sort of a double standard to seal deceased women to more than one man, but not living women. Plus the fact that, based on anecdotal evidence, it’s a policy with some loopholes. Some women are sealed to more than one man while alive — some get permission — Who? How? And if they can do it, clearly it doesn’t violate the unwritten order of things at a fundamental level, and should be made official church policy.

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