From Arranged Marriage to Temple Sealing

From Arranged Marriage to Temple Sealing

Editor’s Note: This story was first published on Meridian Magazine.

It is Saturday in Kathmandu, Nepal, the day Latter-day Saints join for meetings and celebrate the Sabbath. Members who come up the pitted, dirt road to the church are first met by a young man, wearing a black mask, to protect his lungs from the smoky air. He is standing as a sentinel at a black gate allowing people in who have come for church.

From Arranged Marriage to Temple Sealing

The LDS Kathmandu Branch – photo courtesy – Meridian Magazine

Nepal is where the earth scrapes the sky at its highest point, where Everest towers well more than five miles above the sea. It seems it should be a place of clean air to match the towering peaks, but not in this slash and burn season. Now the air makes people cough and sputter.

From Arranged Marriage to Temple Sealing

Photo courtesy – Meridian Magazine

The sentinel opens the black gate and in rides a family of five on a motorbike.* While it seems overloaded to eyes accustomed to western standards of safety, a motorbike is a common form of transportation in Kathmandu, a step up from walking long distances. The father, too wears a mask, to shield tender lungs from the air.

This is Chandra Adhikari. In front of him rides a daughter. Behind him is his wife, Shanti, and secured between them two more children. There is a story here. In some ways it is the story that is played out again and again across nations as the culture of the kingdom of God sometimes challenges the long-held cultural traditions of the people of the world.

Since temple sealing is the binding by God of two souls who choose to be together eternally, a necessary ordinance to enter into the highest place in the Celestial kingdom, marriage is at the center of the gospel understanding of Latter-day Saints.

Marriage matters to Nepalis too, so much so, in fact, that the choice is taken out of the hands of the young and placed instead with parents who presumably combine wisdom with the best interests of their child.

That this system sometimes works poorly or that choices are occasionally made on grounds to favor the family’s fortune is certainly true. Yet, many Nepalis cherish and trust this custom.

From Arranged Marriage to Temple Sealing

 Chandra Adhikari – Photo Credit – Meridian Magazine 

Chandra is one of those. He joined the church at 19 and served in the India Bangalore mission. Soon thereafter while Chandra was taking a reunion trip to spend time with some of his family again, he found out from his older brother that he had chosen a bride for him. Though that would throw most of us into a spin, “It did not happen out of the blue,” Chandra said. He had expected it. He actually welcomed it. “I had complete trust in him,” Chandra said.

Of course, the problem is that his parents were not members of the Church and church membership played no role for them when they instructed their older son to choose a bride for the younger. This critical value that would matter to any Church member eager for a temple sealing, played no role in their choice.

His wedding day was set. He did not see his bride before their wedding day and only talked to her a few moments before the ceremony.

To read the rest of Chandra’s story, click here.

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Andy is the creator of TheReturnedMissionary.com and the co-creator of LDSmissionaries.com and of HappyMormons.com. He served a mission in Chile and was a Spanish teacher at the Provo MTC for a few years before he graduated from BYU. He loves doing online missionary work after working in the internet marketing industry. He graduated from BYU in 2009 after living in the Holy Land and studying at the BYU Jerusalem Center. He is the author of a new book for RMs, called ​Live Your Mission: 21 Powerful Principles to Discover Your Life Mission after Your Mission, which is the first book in the L​ive My Gospel​ book series. He is a regular contributor to Meridian Magazine and has been featured on the Mormon.org blog as well as LDS Living and Deseret News. He is married and can't wait for the kids to start dropping from heaven.

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