Cancellation of Sealing

Last week I received a letter from my ex-wife’s bishop stating the following:

Dear Dadsprimalscream,

I hope this letter finds you well. I love having your children and their mother in our ward. As you know, XXX is engaged to be married in the near future. It is her hope that she might be sealed to YYY in the temple. Before she is able to do so, she must apply to the First Presidency for a cancellation of her previous sealing. The First Presidency has requested that I invite you to provide a letter expressing your feelings about XXX’s desires. They have also asked that I verify that XXX is current in her financial obligations to you.

Thank you for having such wonderful children. As their bishop, I have seen the love and gratitude they have for their father.  I look forward to receiving your letter.  Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at ….

Sincerely,

Bishop ZZZ

Here is my reply:

Bishop ZZZ,

Thank you for spending a few moments the other day on the phone answering my questions. I also appreciate your affectionate words regarding my children.

I am writing in response to your letter asking for my feelings regarding XXX’s desire to cancel our sealing in order to be sealed to YYY. It is with regards to my children and the truth that I’d like to comment. In a nutshell, since XXX and I are already divorced, what’s done is done and I wish her well in her own individual endeavors. XXX does not have any outstanding financial obligations to me. Nevertheless, we will forever be connected because of the four children we co-parent.

I believe my children will always be mine and that cannot ever be taken away or granted elsewhere by a religious ceremony. I have always been an involved, loving and caring father and I only oppose the sealing cancellation if it in any way implies that my children have any sort of future (on earth or in heaven) with anyone but their father. It is the message to them that I am concerned about. I know you said that doctrinally there shouldn’t be any question regarding this but my concern is that this truth be conveyed to my children accurately. It’s been my experience during our divorce that the truth hasn’t always won out.

To this day, XXX is fond of telling people that I left our marriage.  I didn’t. I was faithful for the duration of our marriage and we’d in fact be married today if she hadn’t filed for divorce. That’s not to say that the divorce wasn’t a good decision.  I now believe it was and I’m extremely grateful for it. But it is still not the truth that I left.

Secondly, to my dying day I will always believe that XXX’s moving our children a state away from their father was done dishonestly and deceitfully. For her to have done this and remain temple-worthy is a black mark on her character and on the church. It appears that the LDS church favors such family separations since they are so common in situations like ours. It’s ironic in a church that presents itself as family-oriented to have so many believing wives run off with the couple’s children when differences surface. I’m familiar with XXX’s rationalizations that allowed her to make this move legally and to justify it in her own mind. But those rationalizations were only developed once she consulted with a lawyer. The original reason she sought to move-away was to be with her 2nd husband, AAA as she detailed for me in a letter before lawyers got involved. The legal battle to keep my children near me cost me financially and emotionally.

The truth hasn’t always won out. But as XXX moves on with her life in her 3rd marriage I hope that she will find a place in her heart to merely speak the truth regarding her former choices and how they affect our children. I have committed to do the same. It will welcome a better future for both of us and our children.

Sincerely,

Dadsprimalscream

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About dadsprimalscream

I am a divorced father of 4 children. I'm a post-Mormon. I am a gay man. This blog is my "primal scream" as watch my children faithfully indoctrinated with thought-terminating experiences and mind-lulling pressure... and how my rowboat of reason doesn't stand a chance against the religious and emotional battleship in their daily lives. How do you stand by and watch delusion take hold? Intervention seems to just push them farther into the hypnotic embrace of their mother religion.
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11 Responses to Cancellation of Sealing

  1. He, he. I love how you published a letter that you asked the bishop to keep confidential. It’s a good letter. I’m glad the bishop will have your perspective.

    Isn’t it crazy, though, that XXX needs to have her authorities (the bishop, stake president, and church) involved to sanction her decision to partner with YYY? If two people want to partner up or terminate their partnership, I think no one needs to be involved but two people themselves!

    • I guess I am rationalizing that it IS confidential since I post here anonymously for the most part and I removed her name so she can’t be identified either. Am I being hypocritical? I thought so, so I removed that part of the letter before I sent it…

      The concern I discussed with the bishop on the phone is that if I piss her off at all, then she holds all the power with regards to custody of the children. Since things are going smoothly right now, I’d hate to have that messed with. Especially since I give my blessing to the cancellation … as a bottom line … but I wanted that perspective still passed along to the powers that be that you can’t encourage families to be separated like that and call yourselves a family-oriented church. In the end for her part the sealing will be cancelled and so no harm, no foul.

    • But I also agree with you that it’s an insane process for two adults to have to go through.

    • Ryan says:

      Kevin, like you I’m surprised at how much control the LDS Church has over marriage and anything related. I recently learned that members of my sister’s singles ward can’t even send out announcements for their ceremony without getting approval from local leadership. I guess that’s kind of understandable because you don’t want the embarrassment of sending out invites and then … doing the dirty deed and not being able to marry in the temple … and then retracting all those invites. But still. It seems overly controlling to me.

  2. Linds says:

    I have to say that I really admire you. Way to stand up for yourself. You are forever linked to your kids b/c you’re their dad. No one else could ever fill that space. After my hubby’s dad and mom were divorced, his dad decided to move pretty much across the country. And he just wasn’t involved. I know my husband (and his brothers) have issues of they don’t want to be like that, and the relationship w/ their dad is tense at best. I would never want that for someone else. So be there. Tell them truth, at least to hopefully set them straight when the church is telling them crap. I think you’re being pretty stand up

    • Thanks Linds for the kudos. It means a lot to hear an uninvolved observer say that. I have remained involved in the kids’ life but “telling them the truth” is complicated. They are sufficiently indoctrinated so that any mention of the church on my part leads them to clam up. They have to be the ones to instigate a conversation about it and even then my comments are almost always in the form of questions or a light-hearted joke rather than the pointed truth.

  3. jen says:

    I like your letter. I kind of dread the day when my ex-husband decides to remarry… I don’t know how I would do trying to write that letter…

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  5. cam says:

    I like you letter and applaud you for taking a stand for your children. My story may be a little encouraging. I am 54 now, but I was 5 when my TBM mother and Never mo father divorced. I was 11 when we moved 7 hours away. My father didn’t really talk to us (my sister and I) about the church. He saw how defensive it made us. But he lived his life well. We relished the visits we had with him because life with my mom was never easy. His life was odd, but comforting. His life was like a little grain of sand in an oyster when I began experiencing cognitive dissonance. I was fully out of the church before I was 24. I didn’t go to BYU, serve a mission, or marry in the temple. I’m a happy and productive member of the human race. So there you go. There is hope.

  6. Andrew says:

    My ex remarried a newly baptized member if the church July 2012. Last week, I was told that she had applied to cancel our sealing. Unlike you, I do not want it canceled. Frankly, I have many of the concerns about hypocrisy in the church when it comes to eternal families. For my part, I will ask that her application be denied until they have been married a couple of years. My 5 kids have and will suffer as a result of this. I only wish that I had died rather than this family be broken up by divorce. Again, I the only one putting the children first.

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