Category Archives: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Bridal Photos: SLC Temple Square & JSMB

Thank you to Sarah Sorenson Photography for taking these beautiful bridal photos!

Now that the wedding craziness is over, I’m back to blogging. The next couple of months are going to be really crazy for Dale and I because we are going to be moving–but more details on that later. Anyway, I took my bridals about a week or so before I got married. They turned out PERFECT. I absolutely love how Sarah Sorenson Photography captured my wedding dress. I also love that my wedding dress is my mom’s dress. I’m super excited to share that story on our blog in the next couple of posts–stay tuned! Anyway, if you missed seeing the bridals here they are! These were all taken in Salt Lake City at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building (JSMB) and Temple Square at the Salt Lake City temple. Enjoy! XO Sam

Part One: Why We’re Getting Married Civilly, and then Sealed in the Temple

Wow, it feels like an eternity since I’ve posted on our blog. As the wedding approaches faster than lightening (THIS WEEK BABY!) I can’t help but feel so grateful for all of the love and support that so many friends, and family have given through social media, cards, gifts, parties, and so much more. We are truly blessed to be surrounded by so many wonderful people.

One of the most frequent questions I’ve gotten while being engaged is if Dale and I are getting married and sealed in one of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (AKA: Mormon/LDS but we don’t use those nicknames anymore…that’s another story for another time) temple. The short answer is: No, we are not getting married in the temple. Yes, we are getting sealed in the temple.

Before I dive into the reasons why we’ve decided to do it the way that we are, I want to first talk about why we are even bothering with the temple and what it means. One of the biggest misconceptions about the church we belong to is what happens in the temple. So, let’s have a straight-forward conversation about this. All I ask is if anyone decides to comment, like, or share is that you keep everything respectful.

First, just to throw it out there all of the information I’m about to talk about is on the official Church’s website. Anyway, here is a video because it has a lot of information in it. It’s three and a half minutes long. You can spare that for this post. I promise! 😉

Just like in Biblical times and in other religions, temples are still around today. Temples are where we make sacred covenants with God, and do proxy-work for the dead who may have not had an opportunity to make those same sacred covenants with God.

Here’s a simplified break-down on what happens exactly in the temple:

1. Baptism and confirmations for the dead–Just like Jesus Christ, we believe that we can do proxy work for the dead to give them an opportunity to follow Jesus Christ’s example and be baptized by the same Priesthood authority that John the Baptist did. Those who follow the commandments and are worthy to hold a temple recommend (starting at the age of 12) are allowed to do baptisms for the dead.

2. Washing and anointing–This is where we may be cleaned before the Lord. One of the former prophets of the church, President Gordon B. Hinckley, said,

“[T]here is a goal beyond the Resurrection. That is exaltation in our Father’s kingdom. It will be achieved by obedience to the commandments of God. It will begin with acceptance of him as our Eternal Father and of his son as our living Redeemer. It will involve participation in various ordinances, each one important and necessary. The first of these is baptism by immersion in water, without which, according to the Savior, a man cannot enter into the kingdom of God. There must follow the birth of the Spirit, the gift of the Holy Ghost. Then in succession through the years will come, for men, ordination to the priesthood, followed by the blessings of the temple for both men and women who are worthy to enter therein. These temple blessings include our washings and anointings that we may be clean before the Lord. They include the instruction service in which we are given an endowment of obligations and blessings that motivate us to behavior compatible with the principles of the gospel. They include the sealing ordinances by which that which is bound on earth is bound in heaven, providing for the continuity of the family.” Temples and Temple WorkEnsign, February 1982

3. Temple Garments & Ceremonial Clothing–During the endowment session, which happens after the washing and anointings, there comes a time where Temple Garments & Ceremonial Clothing are used. If you look in the Old Testament, you’ll find the symbolism behind why the clothing is used. Just like in other religions, this sacred clothing is a outward commitment to God.

4. The Endowment Session–This is where we make sacred covenants with God. A little more insight on what that means this is explained better by Elder James E. Talmage. He said,

“The temple endowment, as administered in modern temples, comprises instruction relating to the significance and sequence of past dispensations. … This course of instruction includes a recital of the most prominent events of the creative period, the condition of our first parents in the Garden of Eden, their disobedience and the consequent expulsion from that blissful abode, their condition in the lone and dreary world when doomed to live by labor and sweat, the plan of redemption by which the great transgression may be atoned.”

“The ordinances of the endowment embody certain obligations on the part of the individual, such as covenant and promise to observe the law of strict virtue and chastity, to be charitable, benevolent, tolerant and pure; to devote both talent and material means to the spread of truth and the uplifting of the [human] race; to maintain devotion to the cause of truth; and to seek in every way to contribute to the great preparation that the earth may be made ready to receive her King—the Lord Jesus Christ. With the taking of each covenant and the assuming of each obligation a promised blessing is pronounced, contingent upon the faithful observance of the conditions.”

5. The Promises to Follow God’s Laws and the Covenants made in the temple–During the endowment session, we make promises to follow God’s laws and covenants:

  • The Law of Obedience
  • The Law of Sacrifice
  • The Law of the Gospel
  • The Law of Chasity
  • The Law of Consecration

These are the same laws and commandments that God and Jesus spoke of in the Bible. Most people of a Christian background are pretty familiar with these laws. I’ll skip the details on all of this (again, you can go to the Church’s website and learn more there).

6. The Temple Sealing–In most wedding ceremonies, you’ll hear the minister or bishop or whoever is marrying the couple say, “Until death do you part.” We believe that with the sealing power of the temple that marriage–and life–does not end at death. We believe that families can be together forever. We go to the temple to convert our civil marriage to an eternal marriage.

Now that we’ve talked about the temple and everything that happens in there . . .we’ll talk about why Dale and I are doing our wedding the way that we are in our next post because this turned out way longer than I was anticipating. Stay tuned!

XO Sam

Our Love Story: Meeting the Mormons [Part Four]

Up until several years ago, I had no idea what or who “Mormons” were. For the most part, I always though that they were part of the Amish community that lived a polygamous life. From an outsiders perspective, I didn’t know what they believed it or why they can be so secretive and strange.

My first encounter with the Mormon community was several years ago while on a family vacation back from Colorado. I wanted to see and go inside a “Temple”. We decided to stop in Cedar City to check it out not knowing that a Church building and Temple were two separate entities. Apparently, I ended up going to a Seminary building and sat inside one of their classes for about an hour. It was an interesting experience and I was surprised to see that Mormons looked and acted like “normal” people.

When I met my very first pair of Sister Missionaries, I was so curious on what they believed in. I was referred to local missionaries to get my questions answered. I met up with two “Sisters” named Sister Luter & Sister Lindsey. For the record, I seriously thought I was meeting up with Nuns. They both were actually really cool and very friendly. Eventually, they ended up teaching me about the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. As I learned about the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, I gained a testimony of it.

2014 | My very first time meeting Sister Missionaries. Sister Luter (left) and Sister Lindsey (right) at the LBCC Institute Building | Long Beach, California

For the next couple of months, I made countless friends at my local YSA Ward. I was curious and interested in finding out more about this whole different culture such as Family Home Evening (FHE), Institute, Young Single Adult (YSA) dances, etc. I also found out that Mormons believed in the same God, the same Jesus Christ and the same Holy Spirit as the rest of mainstream Christianity.

Kiley was my very first friend at the YSA Ward. She was always by my side and accompanied me to all the events, YSA dances and parties. If not for her, I probably would not have survived the first few months of YSA life.

As time went by, I learned so much about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and what they believed in. I came to believe the same things after finding out for myself that it was true. I was later baptized and joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

As my faith continued to grow, my social life struggled. Even though my first YSA experience was great, not everyone was friendly and I ended up having each successive Sister Missionary as my YSA friend most of the time. Eventually, one of my Sister Missionaries convinced me to move to Utah.

Literally, the coolest Temple Square Sisters I’ve ever had. They’ve all become my friends outside of their Mission. L-R Sister Vickie Nelson, Sister Leigh Mulliner, Sister Hannah Lampinen & Sister Gabriella Sorto.
2015 Temple Square | Spending a week in Utah to visit Sister Bailee Haight. Sister Haight was my longest (her entire Mission), most favorite Temple Square Sister.
2016 Provo, UT | Lauren Luter, (my first local Sister Missionary) convinced me that Provo is the best place on Earth and has been a huge influence in my move to Utah.

In November of 2016, I packed my bags and drove to Utah.

And so began a life of uncertainty and hope. I was excited to see how Utah life would be like but also felt sad not having my family close by. Besides my former Sister Missionary friends living in Provo, I didn’t know anyone. I had to build up my social circle which led me to join my first YSA Ward in Provo.

2017 Provo, UT | My first “unofficial” YSA Ward upon arriving in Utah. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming.

Since I lived near BYU, I decided to make the “Y” also a part of my social life. I became involved in the BYU Photo Club, BYU Democrats, BYU Baking Club, BYU Linux Club and attended many of their College events.

2017 BYU Wilkinson Student Center | Club Nights with the BYU Photo Club. I joined the BYU Photo Club even though I wasn’t a BYU Student and even got nominated for Club President one Semester (I refused for obvious reasons).

To conclude this blog post, here’s what I’ve noticed and experienced these past several years living in Utah County:

  1. It’s very non-diverse. I’m a tiny 0.1% minority.
  2. It’s so cold and it snows a lot. During the Summer, it’s scorching hot.
  3. Rush-hour traffic is virtually non-existent.
  4. There are so many cute girls around all the nearby cities and YSAs.

Despite #4, little did I know that I won’t be meeting the true love of my life until late 2018. All that stood between me and finding her would be two years and a swipe up on the Mutual dating app.