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Question

 

Gramps,

I am a member and so is my wife. I have been a convert for 3 years and she has been a convert for a little over one. I am considering divorce. We are not sealed but are both endowed. What are the implications?

Bob

 

Answer

 

Dear Bob,

I am so sorry this is happening to you and your wife. Divorce is very painful to everyone involved, from the children to the immediate and extended families of the couple involved. The ramifications of the divorce can go on for years and affect you in ways that you may not be aware of. Please think long and hard before you go further with this, and be sure to pray about it. Dallin H. Oaks, in his April 2007 General Conference talk said,

“I strongly urge you and those who advise you to face up to the reality that for most marriage problems, the remedy is not divorce but repentance.”

According to the Church, when men and women marry they “make solemn covenants with each other and with God. Every effort should be made to keep the covenants and preserve the marriage.” Gospel Topics Guide – Divorce  Further on, the prophets and apostles have talked about the importance of trying to keep a family together.  There is a famous quote from the previous prophet of the Church, David O. McKay,

“No other success can compensate for failure in the home.” (Family Home Evening manual, 1968)

Instead of focusing on the implications of your divorce perhaps you should be focusing on how to keep your marriage together. If you and your wife have made the determination that a divorce is the only option, at that point you should consider the consequences.  When you are sealed in the temple and then divorce afterwards, you must inform the First Presidency of the Church if you want to have that sealing “canceled.” If the First Presidency comes to the conclusion that a cancellation is the correct outcome, than one will be granted. Since you are not sealed in the temple, you do not need to worry about that. A divorce in the LDS Church will not lead to your excommunication unless there is a greater issue involved, such as abuse or adultery.

With what little information we have, I obviously do not know how you and your wife have gotten to this point where you feel like your only option is to divorce. If you feel as though your conversion was going to lead to eternal happiness and and easy marriage, I deeply regret to tell you that it is not always the case. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, in his April 2016 General Conference asks us to remember that,

“Strong marriage and family relationships do not just happen because we are members of the church. They require constant, intentional work.”

In the same talk, President Uchtdorf says,

“as the days multiply and the color of romantic love changes, there are some who slowly stop thinking of each other’s happiness and start noticing the little faults. In such an environment, some are enticed by the tragic conclusion that the spouse isn’t smart enough, fun enough, or young enough.” With a final caution he says “Brethren, if this comes close to describing you at all, I warn you that you are on a road that leads to broken marriages, broken homes, and broken hearts. I plead with you know to stop, turn around, and come back to the safe path of integrity and loyalty to covenants.”

While you have not been married in a temple,the words of President Uchtdorf are still relevant. A marriage is still a promise.

Your bishop will be able to help you through the process. I am praying for you and your family.

God bless.

 

Gramps

 

 

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