So, I’m working on “Familiar Vows,” a short-story about André and Lelia’s ceremony in Utah. Which is not technically a wedding, because she is not a member of the church. Without being a member in good standing and meeting a few other qualifications, Lelia won’t receive the recommendation for a Temple wedding. André said he would not push her about joining the church, and that stands. However, there are a few officially-approved options, and many Latter-day Saints couples who do have a Temple wedding have something else for friends and family who are not able to attend the religious ceremony.
That’s what André and Lelia plan to do. Provided that the Universe/Fate/whatever doesn’t decide to pull a fast one on them. This means planning something that does not include religious vows, but does have some religious elements in it. And that does not, most certainly not, use First Corinthians 13 in it, because Lelia and André (and Tay and Rodney) agree that 1) it is overdone and 2) it’s really not about the union of a man and a woman in holy matrimony. And not the verses from Ruth, either, for a similar reason. So, what texts do they consider?
André insists on First Nephi 8: 9-12, about the Tree of Life. It is one of his favorite passages in the Book of Mormon, and he loves the image of the Tree of Life and the River of Life. He likes it so much that one of his cousins makes a solo arrangement of Mack Wilburg’s “Tree of Life” choral anthem and that is the music sung and played at one point in the ceremony. Both André and Lelia like Song of Solomon (or Song of Songs) 2: 8-12 about “My beloved spoke and sayeth unto me, ‘Rise up my love my fair one, and come away, for lo, the winter is past, the rains are over and done . . .’ ” The officiant approves of both those choices, as well as the music.
Psalm eight is another choice, this time Lelia’s, including the portions André quoted that night in the park in Phoenix. The presiding minister, Bishop James Ryder from André’s parents’ congregation, vetoes Psalm 144:1-2, so they compromise on Psalm 91. Both André and Lelia have heard Psalm 23 at too many funerals, so that one is a non-starter, as are the verses in Ephesians and other Epistles about “wives, obey your husbands.” Lelia, Tay, and Rodney veto them. “I love you, gentle sir, but I dislike how those verses are misused,” Lelia tells her husband. He, being a wise man, says, “Then we will not use them.”
The preaching texts come from Genesis, Revelation 12: 7-9, and Proverbs 31. Grandmother Priesterson loves Proverbs 31. Bishop Ryder isn’t entirely pleased with the St. Michael verses from Revelation, but he’s not all that unhappy, either. Not speaking on First Corinthians Thirteen is actually a bit of a relief and a welcome challenge, although he does not tell André and Lelia. Beyond that? We’ll see in the story.