Monday, June 04, 2007

Australian Packer Wedding a Mystery?

It was nice to see the Daily Telegraph try to write a balanced piece about Australian James Packer's upcoming wedding.

While the Australians are in a dither over where and how Packer is to be married, and speculation is rife about the exact location (reportedly somewehre near the French Riviera), Americans haven't heard much about Packer. He's not on our celebrity radar here even though he's reportedly Australia's richest man, worth billions. Oh, well, I guess it would compare with Bill Gates or Donald Trump getting married; such things happen now and again, but I don't pay much attention to them.

The article did get one thing wrong, though, in that Scientology wedding ceremonies don't usually last an hour. More like half an hour, or less. It doesn't take that long to get through the vows. It really depends on which ceremony the betrothed pick to use; there are several versions to choose from among the Scientology religious rites.

When I was married, we asked our minister to use the vows that we came up with ourselves, but they were based on one of the normal Scientology ceremonies. Actually, I've been married twice using Scientology nuptials (the first time for 17 years) and both times the vows were slightly altered from what is in the Scientology ceremonies book. So there's some looseness about what exactly the vows contain.

For example, my first wife wanted to use one of the ceremonies but objected to one phrase (something about obeying - I can't recall exactly what) - so we just struck it out. She was way into women's lib at the time (hey, it was the 70's!), and the thought of "obeying" a man was repulsive to her. As I recall, the issue of obeying never came up in our marriage as I'm not one to give orders to my spouse anyway.

The other ceremonies in the Scientology ceremonies book are also great. I've attended Scientology funeral services (they help the people recover by having them say goodbye to the deceased), and as a Scientology minister myself, I delivered one Scientology funeral service for my mother when she died.

Even here in backwoods Oregon, when our ranch manager was killed in a logging accident, the Scientology funeral ceremony we performed at the local funeral home went very well for the hundred or so guests who came to honor her. It was very well received, with many compliments bestowed about how great it was, and no complaints after performing it. The ranch manager who died was a much-loved member of the local community, with many friends. The ceremony helped her community heal. Those at the funeral were gippo loggers, truck drivers, ranch owners, cowboys and drunks on their best behavior, some Jehovah's Witnesses and other church-going folk, and the relatives she left behind.

I was very thankful for the structure the funeral ceremony provided and for the Scientology technology of "assists" that we were able to provide for her relatives. Death is a hard blow to take, and the "loss of a person" assist is very helpful in coming to terms with that loss, easing the heartache some and making it possible to recover faster. Her mother was especially appreciative of the assists.

The other Scientology ceremony I really like is the "naming" ceremony, where a new baby is introduced to the church members and made aware of what his name is, and who his parents are. That one is always fun and very uplifting.

No comments: