Dan feels his family is falling apart. His 22-year-old daughter, Daphne, has married a guy the family doesn’t approve of. Dan, who has served in his ward bishopric, argued, pleaded and threatened–trying to convince Daphne to give up the boy, repent and return to the fold. Not surprisingly, Daphne chose boyfriend over family and moved in with her lover several months before the wedding.
Dan refused to attend his daughter’s wedding. His wife, Hope, who is Stake Relief Society President, bought the wedding dress Daphne chose—a strapless gown with detachable shawl collar. To her mother’s dismay, Daphne removed the collar and was married with bare shoulders showing. Hope cried so hard she had to leave before the reception.
It’s not easy watching our children grow up and exercising their agency to make decisions we find unwise. Dan and Hope’s behavior, however, reminds me of orthodox Jews and Muslims who hold funeral services for children who marry outside the faith.
Mormons do not go that far. In fact, I doubt any General Authorities encourage members to boycott a child’s non-temple marriage. Still, status in Mormon circles is closely linked to raising children who serve missions and marry in the temple.
Would Dan and Hope have lost less prestige in their ward and stake by supporting Daphne on her wedding day—and should that have mattered to them? Daphne is too old to be forced. What was the point of getting into a contest of wills that severely damaged the relationship? Predictably, the newlyweds chose to spend Christmas with his family instead of hers.
Yes, Dan’s family is falling apart, but it didn’t have to be that way. Pride, not principle, is the culprit.