#hearLDSwomen: The Temple Poses Challenges for Women

A few years ago, I went to ward temple night. My divorce was about to be finalized, so I felt strongly that I needed to do sealings to refresh my memory on what the divorce would mean for my daughter. When I got to the sealing room, I was the only person not in a couple. I didn’t know any one else, but they were obviously paired off as husbands and wives. The sealer had everyone’s names on his desk, but he kept forgetting to add me to the rotation because I wasn’t there with a man. He changed everyone’s assignments based on moving the witnesses. Every time we finished a sheet he’d change things up, and I kept waiting for my turn to participate. One of the other women participating finally spoke up and asked, “What about her?” I was a complete mess by then, but I did get to do some sealings as a daughter before time was up. It broke me when I realized how invisible I was because I wasn’t there with a man. Aside from a handful of other very special, specific times—including my brother’s wedding a few weeks later—I haven’t returned to the temple. It had been my place of inspiration and refuge, even though I had to try really hard to look past all the sexism. When this happened to me, I was hurt and angry for being overlooked but also for losing my safe place.
– MB


When I was being interviewed by someone in the stake presidency a year ago so I could get my recommend for my sealing, this man that I had never met before (I get anxiety meeting alone with strange men for interviews and totally hate it, and I had been asked to come at night, too) started by asking how I felt about my now-husband still being sealed to his ex-wife. I was not expecting that question about personal feelings. He also rambled about how women come to him wanting a sealing cancellation and how he convinces them not to so that “they can still have blessings” like he was such a hero for not doing what women wished.

I was 36 at the time, had served a mission, and was fairly knowledgeable about procedures to get sealed, having helped a number of girlfriends over the years. He didn’t like that I knew all the answers and didn’t need his information about what was allowed in the temple. He kept trying to quiz me and find SOMETHING that I didn’t know. Asking the worthiness questions didn’t take up much time, but the rest did, far too much of my time late at night. When I finally could get out of there, I ran to my car at like 10 PM and cried all the way home. I don’t remember his face anymore, but I still hate his guts.
– Sarah


When I was an ordinance worker in 2017, the workers would meet in the chapel for a prayer meeting before the shift. At the end of the meeting, the female coordinator would go up to the podium and announce the confidential info (for that day) for the women. Both men and women were in the room when this information was given. Then, the women would be dismissed and leave the room, the doors to the chapel would close, and only men would be in the room, and then the men were told the confidential info for the men. I found this hard to deal with as an ordinance worker because I felt like the church didn’t trust the women. This (and several other things) made me feel as if female ordinance workers were secondary to male ordinance workers.
– Dani Addante


Pro Tip: Treat women like equals. Be aware that single women are often overlooked and do what you can to make sure they are included and have a place.

Click here to read all of the stories in our #hearLDSwomen series. Has anything like this happened to you? Please share in the comments or submit your experience(s) to participate in the series.

“If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mark 4:23)

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4 Responses

  1. Dani Addante says:

    It bothers me that only men are witnesses during baptisms and sealings. If one woman is a witness during the endowment and female temple workers are witnesses when they scan the finished family names into the computer, then why does the temple only only use men as witnesses for baptisms and sealings? I hope that this will change one day.

    • Moss says:

      I wish I had asked my mother and mother-in-law to sign our copy of the marriage certificate alongside our fathers after the sealing. To anyone planning a temple wedding you may want to consider it.

  2. JD says:

    Just curious what kind of confidential info would be needed to be said every day in the temple?

  3. Lizzie says:

    When I was single and had just been through a devastating breakup (where I thought we were going to be married), my younger sister got engaged and I had to attend her sealing. I did want to be there on some level and was happy for her, but it was hard for me to remember everything I had hoped for myself and was not getting. My grandfather was the sealer. Before the sealing started, a worker came in to tell us that he wanted everyone sitting in a very specific order and she didn’t know why. My parents smiled and explained that this was his granddaughter, and everyone agreed it was ver special. As she ordered us to our special places, it was clear I didn’t have a place. My grandfather, in his joy at having a granddaughter getting sealed, had forgotten his already endowed granddaughter who hadn’t yet gotten a man to want to get sealed to her. My carefully constructed control collapsed, and I started to cry. My parents hurried to correct the situation and got me sitting on the front rower with them, but I had to endure my aunt’s well-meaning but condescending we’ll wishes and prayers afterwards about how I would get there someday. I hate that the temple makes single women feel lesser.

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