This may grow up to be a FAQ someday. Input and questions in the comments may be incorporated into it between now and then. Please participate.
- Would I get kicked out of the Church for leaving my spouse?No.
- Our children are sealed to us. Will I lose them?Your children aren’t property. That’s not how it works. How the sealings will be worked out is a question no one living knows about themselves. Do what is right, and you will be more likely to have what you want when the time comes.
- What about if we get a Temple divorce?First, there is no such thing as a Temple divorce, strictly speaking. You can have a legal divorce, and you can have a cancellation of sealing, but those are separate processes. Neither in any way impacts the sealing between you and your children, although events leading to either may. If you are living the Gospel to the best of your ability, you have little to fear.
- If we are sealed together and do not have a Temple divorce, and I meet someone and marry again, would that be considered adultery?No. For you to be sealed to someone else “for time and all eternity” you would have to have a cancellation of sealing first. You could be sealed to someone “for time only” without that. For your husband to be sealed to someone else “for time and all eternity” would require a clearance for sealing. The processes for cancellation of sealing and clearance for sealing are virtually identical. Contrary to folk-policy, cancellation of sealing can be done without regard to having someone else you are ready to be sealed to. Many local priesthood leaders do not have a solid grip on that fact.
- My friend says I should fight for my Celestial Marriage.Your friend means well, but you don’t have a Celestial Marriage. A Celestial Marriage is a marriage between people who have made Temple covenants, kept them, and who are living Celestial Law, and who, in fact, have had that covenant sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise. Cute little 19 and 21 year-olds walking out of the temple do not have Celestial Marriages. When they’re old and wrinkly, they might, but we don’t know that yet. No amount of fighting on your own is going to give you something that can only be built by two people working together doing their best to live their covenants.
- How soon can I start dating?The minimum time is after your divorce is final, according to Church policy. Some recommend waiting at least a year after that. Some recommend even longer. Thinking you’re ready can be seen as a sign that you’re not. Thinking you need to date is a rather certain sign you probably shouldn’t.
- Does a dinner-appointment constitute a date?Making a comprehensive list of what does and doesn’t constitute a date can become tedious, as anyone with teen-agers can attest. If you want to date, then date. You might face Church discipline if you do so, but your agency is intact. Perhaps you should consider how comfortable you would be in having your spouse doing this activity with someone of the opposite sex, or how comfortable you would be having your 13 year old child doing it with someone of the opposite sex, but those boundaries aren’t necessarily going to be all that well-set either. For the FAQ writer, a dinner-appointment would constitute a date.
- Do I HAVE to follow the civil divorce with a temple sealing cancellation/clearance?Since the war in heaven, you don’t HAVE to do much of anything. The only need for a sealing cancellation/clearance is if your going to be sealed for time and all eternity to someone after having been sealed thusly to someone else.
- I no longer want to be connected in any way to my ex, so I want a cancellation of our sealing right now. Should I pursue this along with my legal divorce?This doesn’t have a simple answer that will apply to all circumstances. Talk to your bishop about it. See if the reason you want the cancellation is because of your hurt and anger, or is it based on your ex doing particularly intolerable things. Sometimes that distinction is hard to see when you’re very hurt and angry. Pray about it, and let God answer. It is not uncommon for people to be divorced civilly, and then remarried civilly, and the sealing is considered to still be in effect.