Since I last posted on the The LDS Dating Crises it has come to my attention that the temple sealing polices/doctrine/cultural baggage (you pick one) can contribute to the difficulty of women finding a husband. This is especially true for widowed women who were sealed to their dead husband. Like it or not, they are now “Damaged Goods” to the single never married or divorced man in the church. He wants a “Forever Family” like everybody else at church, and to marry an already sealed woman means he can never be sealed to her, and never have eternal offspring. This is not the case for widowers or divorced men. They can be sealed to as many women as they want (although we stopped practicing polygamy in 1890…..).
This is a frequent topic on Facebook groups for LDS widows, and its ramification are discussed endlessly. It leads to a ranking of desirability of single LDS women, where a divorced woman is more desirable than a widowed woman, despite the stigma the divorce might bring with it. (note: a divorced woman can get their temple sealing cancelled, thus freeing them up for a new sealing. A divorced man need not get his previous sealing canceled, but for parity’s sake he needs to get a sealing clearance, which is the exact same paperwork that the woman fills out. The only difference is a little check box at the top, which is marked either “clearance” or “cancellation”) (1)
So the Sealed widower would be the perfect match for the widow, and with death rates being very similar, they should just match up with each other, and problem solved! Well, turns out those middle aged widowers are at the very top of the desirability scale for single LDS women; they don’t have the stigma of divorce, and there is no wondering why they are 38 and never married. So these men get to be picky, and usually marry somebody much younger than they are.
So what is the solution to this mess that the vestiges of polygamy have left on Temple sealing rules? They could change the rules to true “polygamy” type rules, and not the “polygyny” rules that are enforced today (2). This would allow a woman, like a man, to be sealed to a dead spouse and also a living one. In fact a deceased woman that was married to multiple men in her life time can be sealed to all of them vicariously, with the explanation that it will “all get figured out in the end” and she can then choose who she will be with. Why not extend this courtesy to living women as well?
(1) This was not always the case. Some 25 years ago, the men needed no “clearance” to get sealed to another woman, they just did it.
(2) Polygamy means one man or woman married to multiple other spouses. Polygyny means a man having more than one wife at a time.