When a Mormon couple is married, they also get married for eternity - done in the temple. So, it's not "'til death do us part." You're stuck with that hombre for time and all eternity. (Hope you picked wisely!) It works like this:
First, Mormons get "endowments" performed, which is a way of commiting yourself to God wholely. Once you've done this, you wear "garments." These, incidentally, were ripped off of the Freemasons, as were the majority of the temple rituals. This is a separate ceremony from the marriage ceremony. (Guys and girls who go on missions have this done prior.)
Second, comes the wedding in the temple. Aside from the weird apron you put over your genetalia (you're in a white temple dress if you're female - the apron is over this) and the kneeling across from your mate while mirrors reflect yourselves for "eternity" back at you, the husband stands at a cloth hanging like a drape with a rent in the middle. *cough*vagina*cough* He steps through. He says your secret name (women get a new name for the eternities - and only the husband can call you by it once you're dead) and reaches back through the tear for your hand and draws you in to the afterlife to be his spouse.
Funny thing: the names aren't cool like in "Neverending Story," they're things like "Helen" or "Katheryn." Ehhh? Also, the church has recently removed the pantomime of slitting your throat, slitting your gut and spilling your bowels out, because newbies were freaked out by it. (read: not coming back to the temple) Um, that was there (as in the ORIGINAL FREEMASON RITUAL, ahem) because you swore to God that you would kill yourself in a ritualistic manner if you spoke about what goes on in the temple. *cough* And suuuuure.
This was only done to instill the "importance" and "sacred nature" of the temple rites. It wasn't done to keep people from knowing what wackadoos they are. [/digress] I've not even talked about the secret handshakes... (Also from the original Freemason rituals. Joseph Smith was a Freemason, which is in NO WAY coincidental that the Mormon's "revealed and ancient" temple rites practically mirrored the Freemason's.)
Through this process and others, you are "Sealed" to your mate. Meaning, the marriage bond cannot be broken, even by death. Any children born of that union are automatically "sealed" to the parents. That way, you can float in the heavens as a family harp band for ever. No one lost! UNLESS. Unless they are excommunicated by the church, in which case all "blessings" that came from the church (baptism, sealings, etc.) are broken for the eternities.
This is why Barb's family was so devastated by her becoming a polygamist - they feared the church finding out and her being excommunicated (not to mention that according to their beliefs, God and Jesus would judge her and find her unworthy to enter the highest level of Heaven. Um, the Mormon church's heaven is a lot like Mary Kay or Amway - there are levels to climb.)
Polygamists (FLDS) believe that they are the only ones that can REALLY get to the top tier of heaven, because they're practicing the religion like Joseph Smith laid out. So to someone like Nicki, Barb's family will never get to the level they're at, because they're NOT living the Principle.
It's also important to note that a single woman (in the Mormon beliefs, and this is true for FLDS, too) CAN NOT obtain the highest level (kingdom) of heaven. She will HAVE to be sealed to a man to get there. So... anyone who wants to tell me that this lifestyle is about women's power, because they run the house, etc. I am holding my sides and belly-laughing. Also: it is perfectly normal for a man to be sealed to many women in "heaven." (My father, for example, was sealed to my bio-mom and my step-mom. My bio-mom got a "temple divorce" a few years back, so my dad is no longer a theoretical polygamist.) A woman CAN. NOT. be sealed to more than one man.
OH! And some of the polygamist blogs I follow (um, written by polygamists - Warren Jeffs' flock) had been watching Big love up until Alby's second wife started poisoning the "prophet" and then they all got silent on what was goiong on. Which makes me think the show is more accurate than I guessed. (Warren Jeffs came quickly into power when his father, Rulon, died suddenly. Also, there are gay rumors about Warren Jeffs and some of the "Lost Boys" that are being called to testify in his upcoming Federal case.) My guess is Roman Grant will die in the finale and Alby will take over, which is what I surmised a few eps back, too. I think they're going to push the power/closeted homosexual element to Alby's character in the next season, and hopefully talk more about the Lost Boys element and the forcing young girls to belong to other men.
WACKOS, people. They are all wackos. It's fascinating TV, but geez Louise. Wackos. Last thing: the guy Sarah is getting her heart broken by? And how unappealing sexually he is? (That's not just me, right?) That's like... 70% of the population in Provo. BLEH. floweringjudas? Am I wrong? Ick.
Today is underwear/shoes/paper and folder purchasing day. One week until school starts for us! \o/