Fairytales and Castles: Parts I & II

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Fairytales and Castles

Introduction

It is January in Salt Lake City, Utah and mine is to be a pink wedding. Brandon and I are standing by the top floor viewing windows of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, over-looking the Salt Lake Temple. Our photographer and two assistants stand near us. It is the day before our wedding and despite the bad luck it might bring, I am in my wedding dress and we are taking pictures.

My wedding gown is white with pink beading and pink ribbons on the bodice. The skirt is massive and heavy with layers and layers of tulle. Walking through the Joseph Smith Memorial Building proves to be a challenge. When I bought my wedding dress it didn't occur to me I would actually have to wear it longer than the five minutes I wore it at the bridal shop. The rib-crushing tightness of the bodice and the density and mass of the skirt are what make the dress so beautiful. That I would be walking further than a few steps and I would have to suck-in and breath-out simultaneously for a few hours didn't factor into my decision to purchase such an impractical gown. I just knew I had to have the dress.

The assistants are actually Brandon's brother, Jordan, and his cousin, Angela. They are with us for the sole purpose of attending to the Bride. This is usually the job of the bridesmaids, but one of them is making my wedding cake and the other has disappeared to Delta, Utah with her boyfriend. Jordan follows behind me from the parking garage to the main lobby of the JSMB, the back of my dress wadded in his arms. Angela carries my bouquet of pink star-gazer lilies. Brandon tries to keep the front of my dress off the ground while also attempting to hold doors open for me. I try to walk without tripping in my three-inch pink and white heels.

As we pass people on our journey to the top floor, I am congratulated on my marriage. I smile and say nothing because it is easier not to explain. When we reach the elevator, a little girl and her mother walk by. “Look, Mommy,” the girl exclaims, “A princess!” The elevator door dings open.

The view of the Salt Lake Temple from the top floor of the JSMB is enough to cause anyone to want to be Mormon, if only for a moment, so they can claim the building as theirs. The temple is enormous, jutting out of the skyline in a severe manner. It looks like a Gothic cathedral with six towers and six spires reaching toward Heaven. Atop the highest spire is a golden angel with a trumpet. Round windows, arches, buttresses and battlements adorn the gray quartz exterior. An Elder of the Church once said of the Temple's architecture: “every stone...is a sermon to me.”

My photographer instructs me to move closer to the window. There are little children ogling and pointing but she wants me to push them out of the way. The children and their parents see me and move. The photographer directs me into a pose. I smile and tilt my head. She snaps a picture: Cinderella and her castle.

Tomorrow, this is where I will be married.

Part I

A Few Words on Mormonism

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' theology is marriage centric. To quote my husband, “Mormonism is the only religion on Earth that says your relationship with God is not complete until you are married.” According to Mormon theology, the only way to achieve Salvation (i.e. eternal life with God) is to enter into an eternal marriage. A marriage performed in a Mormon temple is called a Sealing and extends into the next life. Mormons do not believe in “'till death do us part.”

World wide there are 142 operating temples, fourteen in various stages of construction and fourteen more pending groundbreaking. Temples are found in Nigeria, Seoul, Juarez, and everywhere in between. A temples is not used for typical Sunday worship. They actually aren't even open on Sundays. Temples are reserved for sacred ordinances. Marriage is one of these ordinances. Baptisms on behalf of those who have died are also performed in the temple. The Endowment, another religious ceremony, is also performed in the temple.

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