Last week I received a letter from my ex-wife’s bishop stating the following:
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 ….
Here is my reply:
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.