One of the core beliefs taught in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that marriage and family relationships perpetuate beyond the grave. It is a beautiful tenet being taught as part of the Plan of Happiness that Heavenly Father created for all of His children.
Such promise is made possible by performing ordinances or religious rites inside the temple, called sealing. The fulfillment of this promise is on the condition upon those sealed as husband and wife or as a family live clean, worthy, righteous lives until they pass their mortal grave.
With the promise of being able to reunite with family members after death, Latter-day Saints strive to live worthy, clean lives so that they can perform the highest ordinances and make the promise with God and their family.
Families and couples prepare, persevere, and even make sacrifices just so they could enjoy the highest blessings promised by family sealing or temple marriage.
Temple Marriage Amidst the Pandemic
Such is the case of the two young couples who had endured many hardships just to be sealed with the person they live, even while in the middle of the COVID-19 threat.
While the pandemic has pushed them to make changes in their original wedding plans, the couples’ example shows that the promise of being with the people they love for time and all eternity is of far greater value than any grand wedding.
Vaughn and Gertrud Soriano
For the young couple, 2020 was the year they could finally tie the knot. They were looking forward to their wedding scheduled for 29 April. However, with temple operations put on halt and the entire country put on lockdown, they had to wait with uncertainty.
“When President Duterte announced the lockdown last 16 March, I cried to Vaughn,” shared Gertrude. “I was worried that our wedding will not push through on 29 April. I was concerned with so many things. On the other hand, Vaughn was very calm. He was there for me. He reminded me to continually be faithful and to trust the Lord as He has better plans for us.
Gertrude then shared that during the enhanced community quarantine, the engaged couple was not able to see each other for a month. They would call each daily and continued to pray and fast together.
As soon as the Church announced the partial resumption of temple operations, which are currently limited to the performance of ordinances for the living, such as temple marriages and family sealings, the couple set a wedding date again.
Nevertheless, the couple continued to face some challenges. “I was overthinking,” revealed Gertrude. “What if our wedding date the second time around will not push through? Then I remember the words from Elder Lynn G. Robbins, ‘Difficult situations are the test of one’s faith, to see if we will go forward with either a believing heart or a doubting heart.’ This quote strengthened my faith and trust in Him. I have seen the hands of the Lord work through our families, friends, and Church leaders. We know that Heavenly Father will never ever leave us during our trying times. His love is always there for us. His tender love, grace, and mercy are sufficient for us to overcome our fears and doubts. Through the love of God, we will feel peace in our hearts, most especially in the most difficult time of our lives.”
When the ECQ was lifted in Metro Manila, Vaughn was able to visit Gertrude and her family every Sunday. As a priesthood holder, Vaughn was able to administer the blessing of the sacrament to Gertrude and her family. They were also able to hold Sunday services at home, with Vaughn giving her fiancé a blessing of comfort.
As the quarantine restrictions continued to ease in their city, Gertrude and Vaughn would visit each other in the morning and talk about their wedding plans for at least 10 minutes. They also included in their preparations to fast and pray for guidance, which helped in setting their wedding date on 10 July 2020.
The couple wanted a simple yet memorable wedding. With the need to comply with physical distancing and sanitation protocols, their guest list went down to only six people: Vaughn’s parents and sister, Gertrude’s mother, and one photographer.
“I have been thinking a lot,” Gertrude said. “I thought all our preparations were naught. When I started to focus on the covenants which we will make inside the temple — fears became hope, and doubts became assurance.”
As in the case of Vaughn, he said, “Gertrud and I believe that this is the best time- perfect and beautiful, even amidst this pandemic. This has taught us to truly enjoy the simple things in life as we realize our dream of building an eternal family.”
Mark and Joyce Domingo
Months before Mark and Joyce set their temple wedding date, they already planned it to be simple and practical. That would mean no pre-nuptial and reception ceremonies. For them, it was not necessary and they could use the money for more important things.
A week before their scheduled temple marriage, the couple received news on the temporary closure of temples, including the Manila Philippines Temple. At that time, their preparations were almost done. Due to the pandemic, everything was put on hold. Their wedding date was postponed.
“Despite the effects of this pandemic in our lives, we both remained positive,” Mark shared. “We knew that the Lord was mindful of us even at this time of uncertainty. We sustained His mind and will for us, knowing that He knows what is best for all His children.”
As they waited for the temples to reopen, the engaged couple made use of their time doing indexing and doing other kept them busy. They hardly noticed the passing of time.
“To retain the spirit of the excitement of our temple marriage within us, we reminded each other to pray, study our scriptures, minister to those in need online, and participate in FamilySearch Indexing,” Joyce shared. “My family is so engaged in doing family history indexing that I encouraged Mark to do the same. We both believe that indexing connects our hearts to people who have lived before us.”
Mark and Joyce remained positive that the Lord will grant the desires of their hearts which was to get married in His Holy House. For the couple, they saw the COVID-19 pandemic as a test of their faith.
By being patient and trusting of the Lord and His plans, the couple shared that their experience helped them closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. They hope that through this experience, the seed of their faith and the seed of their relationship will continue to grow as they continue to hear and obey Him.
Los artículos de esta sección no son oficiales pero han sido tomados de una fuente confiable y acreditada. La traducción es automática y puede dejar mucho que desear, sin embargo, a pesar de estas deficiencias, se ha realizado un esfuerzo para poner la información al alcance del público de habla hispana. Para ver el artículo completo original en inglés, consulta la siguiente Fuente: http://news-ph.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/young-latter-day-saint-couples-marry-in-the-temple-amid-pandemic