IN STERLING, VIRGINIA
The following is the text of a wedding ceremony I performed. I have removed the names of the bride and groom out of respect for their privacy. It was a lovely wedding held in the wooded back yard of a private residence in Sterling.
[Prelude music - CD player]
[Violinists, Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring by Bach]
[Enter bride's maids and flower girl]
[Violinists, Wedding March by Mendelssohn]
[Family rises as a hint that the rest of the audience should rise]
[Enter bride and father]
[End Wedding March]
The audience will please be seated.
Friends and family of the bride and groom, I welcome you to the wedding of GROOM and BRIDE. My name is Calvin Andrus and I am the Bishop of the Sterling Park Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We appreciate your attendance this evening and hope that you will share in the spirit of hope, happiness, and love that surrounds this sacred and holy occasion. We have asked SISTER-IN-LAW to offer an invocation. Please join us in prayer.
As many of you know, I was GROOM's scoutmaster. And, as he can tell you, I can't pass up the opportunity to say a few words before we get to the marriage ceremony.
GROOM and BRIDE, your family and your friends appreciate the opportunity to share this special occasion with you as you join your lives together. I am honored that you have invited me to be here as well.
The Lord sanctions and sanctifies marriage. It is one of the truly great blessings of mortality. Marriage is a sacred covenant with God. This covenant creates a holy union between a man and a woman.
The scriptures confirm the eternal truth that "marriage is ordained of God." (D&C 49:15) The Apostle Paul taught, "Neither is the man without the woman, neither is the woman without the man." (1 Cor. 11:11) According to a modern-day prophet, "God not only commends but he commands marriage." (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, pg. 274)
Before sin had entered the world, and before Adam and Eve had fallen into mortality, our Heavenly Father Himself performed the first marriage. He united our first parents in the bonds of holy matrimony, and commanded them to be fruitful and replenish the earth. He has never changed, abrogated, or annulled this commandment, but it has continued in force through all the generations of humankind. In the Gospel of Mark we read, "What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." (Mark 10:9) The covenants with God you are about to take upon yourselves are sacred indeed. They are ordained of God unto His children for our happiness and joy.
GROOM and BRIDE, I counsel you not to take these covenants lightly, for they are most sacred. God is watching and will remember the promises you are making with Him. The day will come when He will hold the two of you accountable for your efforts to ensure each other's eternal happiness and well-being. Learn to sacrifice for each other, to compromise where appropriate, to uplift, strengthen and encourage through positive and continuous efforts. Be steadfast in your love for each other, and God will bless you with happiness and great joy.
Always pursue the great and eternal goal of perfecting your union through honesty and unselfish love for each other. Make your home a safe harbor from the pressures, anxieties, frustrations, and confusion of the world. Be accepting of each other's needs and concerns and learn to communicate your thoughts and feelings through non-critical, positive, and encouraging means. Forbid nagging criticism, anger, jealousy, or harsh feelings from occupying a place in your sacred union or in your home.
As you proceed in this blessed union, there are four things I would like you to remember and apply in your lives. If you are true to the promptings of the spirit and apply them with diligence, you will be assured of continued and long-lasting happiness.
The first is FAITH. This is the first and most basic principle of the gospel that Christ taught. Have faith in God and teach your children to have faith in Him. Develop sincere and ever-increasing faith in each other, and your marriage will bring you many blessings.
The second is OBEDIENCE. This is often referred to as the first law of heaven. Without obedience to God's laws, there could be no blessings. Obedience to your covenants with the Lord is a prerequisite to peace and love within your family circle.
The third is KINDNESS. Let me read the refrain of one of our favorite hymns:
Oh, the kind words we give, shall in memory live
And sunshine forever impart.
Let us oft speak kind words to each other
Kind words are sweet tones of the heart.
(Hymns of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, No. 232. Text by Joseph L. Townsend)
A wise King Solomon gave us the proverb, "A soft answer turneth away wrath." (Proverbs 15:1) As we get in the habit of speaking kind words, kind actions will naturally follow.
The fourth is UNITY. The Savior said, "If ye are not one, ye are not mine." (D&C 38:7) Your marriage is the most important place to practice this injunction. A marriage is not so much about growing old together as it is about just growing together. Just as your two hearts should beat as one, so also your souls should pursue life as one.
I call upon the powers of heaven to help you remember and live these four principles. As you are faithful in observing these principles, I promise you a full and rewarding life together, full of peace and happiness.
OK. That finishes my prepared remarks. We will now proceed with the marriage ordinance.
- - - - - - - - - -
You will please take each other by the right hand.
GROOM, you take BRIDE by the right hand in token of the covenant you now enter into to become her companion
and husband, to love, honor, and cherish her as long as you both shall live, and you hereby promise to observe
all the laws, covenants, and obligations pertaining to the state of matrimony; and this you do of your own free
will and choice in the presence of these witnesses and as if you were in the presence of God?
BRIDE, you take GROOM by the right hand in token of the covenant you now enter into to become his companion
and wife, to love, honor, and cherish him as long as you both shall live, and you hereby promise to observe all
the laws, covenants, and obligations pertaining to the state of matrimony; and this you do of your own free will
and choice in the presence of these witnesses and as if you were in the presence of God?
You will now please exchange rings.
By virtue of the legal authority vested in me as a bishop in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I pronounce you, GROOM, and you, BRIDE, husband and wife, legally and lawfully wedded for the period of your mortal lives.
May God bless your union with joy in your posterity and a long life of happiness together, and may He enable you to keep sacred the covenants you have now made.
These blessings I invoke upon you in the sacred name of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
You may now kiss each other as husband and wife.
Friends, and Family, I am privileged to introduce to you Mr. & Mrs. GROOM and BRIDE.
[Wedding party starts down the aisle.]
[Violins begin playing]
[When the wedding party has retired, violins stop]
The bride and groom now invite you to join them in celebrating their marriage at a reception here, at the HOST's residence. Thank you.
[End of Ceremony]
(NOTE: This text is a slightly modified version of a wedding ceremony prepared by my predecessor, Bishop Craig Hale. His version was built upon ceremonies prepared over the years by his predecessors, Bishop Robert Andros, Bishop Michael Roueche, Bishop Allen Nelson, and Bishop Richard Brown.)