[32] MARRIAGE [image of the Marriage Certificate goes here] Our ministers may legally perf

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[32] MARRIAGE [image of the Marriage Certificate goes here] Our ministers may legally perform all and any service performed by those of other denominations; the marriage ceremony is one such service. There are no special legal requirements for the ULC ministers; the only requirements they must fulfill are those that the state and county in which they reside sets for the ministers of all denominations and these vary from state to state. To be legal, the marriage must be recorded. There are, basically, two systems for recording a marriage. (These sections refer primarily to California. Ministers of other states should check their state Marriage Act for corresponding sections.) The first is that of the traditional State marriage. The betrothed couple are required to have blood tests, apply for a marriage license, and have a waiting period between the granting of the license and the marriage itself. (By the way, your denomination is "Universal Life.") The minister is then required, within three days of the ceremony, to return the license to the appropriate government office. This marriage is recorded and its record is a public document which is available to anyone upon request. The lesser known statutes od the law, Sections 4213 through 4215 of the California Civil Code, Solemnization of the Marriage Act, "Confidential Record of Church Marriage", allow a couple to be married without a blood test and without a waiting period. And, most importantly, the kind of record these sections require is confidential; it is not a public record and no one, except the couple, can obtain a copy without a court order. This is an example of the second system. The confidential marriage is ideal for couples who have been living together as though they were married and now want to solemnize their union. The minister may obtain "Confidential Marriage" forms from the local County Clerk's Office. The State does not provide a marriage certificate with the marriage license. A beautiful Certificate of Marriage from the Universal Life Church will ever enhance the couple's memories of the ceremony, and we offer these for use by all ministers. Sent with each certificate is a marriage record, to be filled out and returned to International Headquarters directly following the ceremony, where it will be kept as a permanent record of the couple's church marriage. The Marriage Certificate is available from Inter- national Headquarters. For each certificate requested we ask a free-will donation of $3.00. [33 -- Note the first several paragraphs duplicate part of the preceding page and are omitted -- 34] THOUGHTS ON LOVE Love is all you have to give, So give it freely while you live. It is the essence of brotherhood, And that is why it's strong and good. Love fills in all of the spaces. Attracting and holding together all things, An ultimate joy to all it brings. Love once given is never really lost, No matter in what direction it's tossed. Love continues down thru the ages, And its work could fill many pages. Love makes everything come to pass, Whether to one, or to the mass. -- Dr. Dopn Grey, M.D. DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE The Universal Life Church believes the marriage vows pledged between man and woman is a sacred lifetime contract. But the church also recognizes that is two people feel that they can no longer live together as man and wife, and by mutual agreement decide to dissolve their marriage contract, then this is their privilege. The Universal Life Church believes that marriage is a church matter and that if two people decide to separate, then this, too is a church matter. The ULC will grant dissolutions of marriage for those marriages which are recorded at International Headquarters ONLY. A PERSONALIZED WEDDING CEREMONY ULC ministers are able to make the union of two persons even more memorable by providing a personalized wedding ceremony. Many couples today are writing their own version of the marriage ceremony and with a ULC wedding they need not stay within the guidelines of an established ceremony. The ULC minister is free to cooperate to make each ceremony a very special remembrance, Most persons recognize the religious element in marriage and wish to carry with them into the marriage the religious upbringing of their childhood. Most churches approach marriage in the same fashion, but there are unique characteristics of each of them that set them apart. For example PROTESTANT ceremonies usually take place before the altar, with the minister facing the bridal couple and the congregation. The minister usually begins with a short sermon on the sacredness of married life, the bride and the groom then exchange promises to "love, honor, and cherish" each other as long as they both shall live, followed by the exchanging of rings, and finally, the minister declares that they are "man and wife". ROMAN CATHOLIC weddings are part of the ceremony of Nuptial Mass. At one time, the Mass followed the wedding ceremony, but since 1964, the ceremony takes place during the mass -- after the Gospel. During the wedding ceremony, the priest instructs the couple and each expresses willingness to marry the other, and the marriage vows are repeated after the priest. The priest then confirms the marriage vows with the words "I join you together in matrimony...". He sprinkles the couple with holy water and blesses the rings. The ceremony ends with a series of prayers and blessings and the mass then continues. JEWISH wedding ceremonies usually take place under a special canopy. The rabbi offers a series of seven special prayers, praising God and His creations. Near the middle of the ceremony, he blesses some wine, and both bride and groom drink from the same cup, followed by the appropriate vows. At the end of the ceremony an empty wine glass is placed on the floor, and the new husband smashes it with his foot to commemorate the destruction of the Jewish Temple, and reminds the couple that marriage, too, might be broken unless protected. Other people interpret this act as a reminder to the couple that, even in the midst of their happiness, they must remember that sadness can also enter life. OTHER RELIGIOUS GROUPS have marriage ceremonies that differ from these. For example, Quakers simply stand before the congregation and announce that they intend to live together as husband and wife and then sign a marriage document. Most Mormon weddings take place in Temples, and are accompanied by lengthy ceremonies. Mormons believe that these marriages will be good, not only "until death do you part" but for the next life as well. Discuss with the couple what they, personally, would like. A few resources available at the local library are: "Underground Wedding Book", by Reed, "The New Wedding", by K. Arisian, "The Wedding Book", published by Seabury, and, "Celebration", by McCafferty, published by Pocket Books. A TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE CEREMONY (From the Alabama Book of Legal Forms) Marriage is an institution of divine appointment and is commended as honorable among all men. It is the most important step in life and should not therefore be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but discreetly and soberly. In this estate these two persons now come to be joined. If any person can show cause why they may not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak or else thereafter forever hold his peace. (Addressing the couple the one performing the ceremony continues): I solemnly require and charge you both, as you hope for joy and peace in the married state, if either of you know any just cause why you may not be lawfully joined together in matrimony, you do now confess. It is then your will to proceed? (The parties must now join right hands): To the man: Do you, sir, take this woman to be your lawful wife and do you promise before God and these witnesses, to love her, comfort her, honor and keep her in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others keep thee only unto her so long as you both shall live? The man shall answer, I do. To the woman: Do you take this man to be your lawful husband and do you promise before God and these witnesses that you will love, honor, and keep him in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others keep thee only unto him so long as you both shall live? The woman shall answer, I do. (If the parties wish to use the ring, the minister shall instruct the man to place the ring on the third finger of the woman's left hand and hold as he repeats after the minister): "With this ring I thee wed and with all my worldly goods I thee endow, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, Amen." (Or according to the creed of the parties contracting). Inasmuch as this man and this woman have in the presence of God and these witnesses consented together to be joined in the lawful bonds of matrimony and thereto have given and pledged their troth each to the other (and if a ring is used: have declared the same by giving and accepting a ring), I now according to the ordinances of God and in the name of the State of Alabama, pronounce them husband and wife. "What therefore God hath joined together let no man put asunder." And now may the God of peace prosper you and bless you in this new re- lation, and may the grace of Jesus Christ abound unto you now and always. Amen. A Suggested ULC Marriage Service If it were possible to begin this ceremony by gathering all our wishes of happiness for _______________ and _______________ from all present here... if we could gather together those precious wishes of affection and our very fondest hopes and turn them into music, we would be listening now to a most inspiring anthem, where it would be composed of the most harmonious notes possible to produce. Even though this is not possible, just speaking of it should assure _______ ________ and _______________ that our hearts are attuned to theirs in these moments so meaningful to all of us for "what greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined together to strengthen each other in all labor, to minister to each other in all sorrow, to share with each other in all gladness." Marriage is an act of faith and a personal commitment as well as a moral and physical union between the parties. Marriage has been described as the best and most important relationship that can exist between two human beings; the construction of their love and trust into a single growing energy of spiritual life, it is a moral commitment that requires and deserves daily attention since no earthly happiness exceeds that of reciprocal satisfaction in the conjugal state. Marriage should be a life-long consecration to the ideal of loving kindness, backed by the will to make it last. We read in "The Prophet": "True love gives nothing but itself And takes nothing but from itself Love does not possess, not would it be possessed For love is sufficient unto love. Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself, To awake at dawn with winged heart and Give thanks for another day of loving. To rest at noon and meditate love's esctasy; To return home at eventide with gratitude, And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart And a song of praise upon your lips." _______________, will you take _______________ to be your wedded wife, to love, to cherish, to continuously bestow upon her your heart's deepest devotion? and _______________, will you take _______________, to be your wedded husband, to love, to cherish, to continuously bestow upon him your heart's deepest devotion? Please hold hands and repeat after me: "_______________, you are consecrated to me now as my wife this day forward, to love, to cherish, and to have and to hold, for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, in sickness and in health, in sadness and in joy, to care and share together as long as we both shall love." Amen. And, _______________, you are consecrated to me now as my husband, from this day forward, to love, to cherish, and to have and to hold, for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, in sickness and in health, in sadness and in joy, to care and share together as long as we both shall love." What token of you devotion do you offer your beloved? May these rings be blessed as the symbol of this affectionate unity. These two lives are now joined in one unbroken circle. Wherever they go, may they always return to one another in their togetherness. May these two in turn find in each other the love for which all men and women yearn. May they grow in understanding and in compassion. May they grow in understanding and in compassion, May the home they establish together be such a place of sanctuary that many will find there a friend. May these rings, on their fingers, symbolize the touch of the spirit of love in the heart. (Hand the ring to groom...) _______________, in placing this ring on _______________'s finger, repeat after me "_______________, I give you this ring as the pledge of my love and as the symbol of our unity". Amen. Inasmuch as _______________ and _______________ have consented together in marriage before this company, have pledged their faith and declared their unity by each giving and receiving a ring -- and are now joined in mutual esteem and devotion; I, as an ordained Minister of the ULC, pronounce that they are husband and wife together -- and offer them the Benediction of the Apaches: "Now you will feel no rain, For each of you will be shelter to the other. Now you will feel no cold, For each of you will be warmth to the other. Now there is no more loneliness for you Now there is no more loneliness. Now you are two bodies, But there is only one life before you. Go now to your dwelling place, To enter into the days of you togetherness. And may your days be good and long upon this earth!"

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