Monday, January 14, 2008

Til Death do Us Part

A common enough phrase, whether raised in the LDS world or not, wouldn't you say? I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Especially in regards to the Mormon response of Time and all Eternity. I went to the Rexburg Temple Open House today and got to hear some prophets and apostles talking about how heaven wouldn't be heaven without their wives and children, and how they were so grateful for the idea of time and all eternity (and of course they got that dreamy, happy look in their eyes that we always see on missionary videos). Now, I don't know how I feel about an after life (a post unto itself), but supposing we do live on after death, what would our relationships be like afterwards? According to non-LDS Christianity, we would go to heaven and not have our familial relationships. We might recognize people that we'd spent time with on earth, but we wouldn't necessarily look at them as spouses, mothers, etc. but rather as fellow praisers of God Almighty. According to LDS theology, not only will we recognize others in the same relationships as we have now, but we will also stay in those relationships if we've been through the temple to have them sealed up.

This got me to thinking about the way we practice time and eternity. Historically (from a Christian view point) a man married a woman and they (at least in theory) stayed faithful to each other until one of them died, then the other one was free to find a different spouse if the need or desire arose. In early LDS practice, a man could marry more than one wife regardless of whether or not wives could marry other husbands. However, if the husband died, then the various wives, if so inclined, could try and find another husband. Now, a woman marries a man and they stay faithful to each other until the other one dies and then the left over spouse is free to marry again. Is it me, or has "til death do us part" been in force throughout?

I know that some will say, yes, but because of the temple, they can be married after they die. What I'm saying is that "til death do us part" has been severely misinterpreted. "Til death do us part" simply refers to the life long commitment that couples have made to remain faithful to each other. It means that they are not to go forming other marriage-like relationships while their current spouse is living. However, once that current spouse is dead, all bets are off and they can find someone else. It works this way with or without a temple sealing. You don't see a widower/widow who was sealed to his/her deceased spouse staying single for the rest of her/his life (well, not regularly at least) do you? No, because death has parted the two of them and so the living one is free to find another partner.

So what I'm saying is that if there's an afterlife, then we will indeed either have our relationships as they are now or not, but I don't think the sealing power will really be relevant. Those who marry again waited for death to part them from their first spouse (at least ideally) before moving on. I don't think we need to worry about not having our spouses there with us. They'll be there waiting for us either way.

Friday, January 4, 2008


I don't think this will be my "issues with motherhood" post, but I was reading Vada's post over on Mormon Mommy Wars and it got me thinking about my own son with disabilities. My youngest son is a year old. He's blind. It was such an odd experience, when even at a month and half old, I could tell that something was wrong with his eyes. I knew it was true, but didn't want it to be true. I kept telling myself that blindness wasn't so bad, that there are worse disabilities to have, that if he was really blind, he's still be able to live a functional life. But when we finally saw an ophthalmologist at six months, we were heart broken to have it confirmed.

I don't know how to express how overwhelming it is to be the parent of a blind child. How painful it is to hear people tell you how special you must be to have received such a child when you know so deeply your own inadequacies. To feel the pressure that such statements put on you to do a stellar job of raising your child. People keep telling me that I'm the perfect mother to have such a child, but only I know how dark my parenting days get sometimes. Only I know how resentful I sometimes get at being a mother when I could have been doing other things right now. Only I know how much I struggle doing little kid things. They couldn't be more wrong when they say things like that. I live in constant fear of having my son grow up and think that he might have been better off had he had a more adequate mommy.

And to make it worse, I know how important it is to do things right. To balance his needs with the needs of my older son who is normal. To make sure I explain enough to this little guy so that he makes those connections that are second nature to my sighted child. And yet I feel like most days are abject failures. Days when I get so scared and overwhelmed that I sit and stare at the computer so that I don't have to deal with all this. I love my boys more than I ever thought possible. I feed them, clean them, clothe them, but sometimes I worry that I'm failing them miserably because I'm not emotionally able to handle their needs. Do they know I love them? I think that's what scares me to death--is that they might doubt that. That they might grow up, look back, and doubt that I was doing my best and that I loved them.