Utah State University senior Kaulin Curtis was sitting in class early Tuesday morning when he got a text from his girlfriend telling him to check his email. Little did Kaulin know that he was in for perhaps the happiest surprise of his life.
“I opened my inbox, and it was the confirmation email from the Salt Lake Temple for our sealing room on June 7th! Yes, I was surprised, but I was completely alright with it,” said Kaulin.
The announcement of the Salt Lake Temple renovations may not have been the most inspirational part of general conference for everyone, but it was for Kaulin’s now-fiance, Emily Mortensen. Emily’s mother had flown in from Virginia to join her daughter in watching conference from Kaulin’s home. Emily and Kaulin had just recently gotten back together after a break-up, and the relationship’s future was still on shaky ground.
“We were in a weird spot, where I was having serious anxiety over marriage to the point where I just broke up with him because I felt awful for not being able to make a decision when he clearly knew he wanted to get married. By conference weekend, though, we had gotten back together, but I still wasn’t positive about marriage. I just knew I hated not being with him,” says Emily.
So what was it about the announcement of the Salt Lake Temple renovations that helped Emily make a decision? At least in part, tradition. Emily will follow in the footsteps of her parents and grandparents in being married on June 7th in the Salt Lake Temple—each wedding taking place exactly 28 years apart.
“When the announcement was made, I flipped. Panic set in, and I knew that if I wanted to get married in the Salt Lake Temple on June 7th, it was either going to be 2019 or after renovations. I would not say that it was the deciding factor though!” explains Emily. “I had been praying for months about whether I should marry him, and while sitting at his house for the session, I felt a strong feeling of peace and comfort with the Spirit whispering to me, ‘It will be okay.’ Immediately, I knew that marrying him was the right decision.”
Emily didn’t say anything to anyone about her decision then, but she was ready to call the temple when it opened Tuesday morning to make a reservation for a sealing room. After hanging up the phone with the temple, Emily said she got “the same kind of exciting chills you get as soon as you buckle into a roller coaster.” The next phase of that roller coaster would be telling Kaulin.
“I forwarded the confirmation email to Kaulin and just kept thinking to myself, ‘I really hope I understood the inspiration correctly.’ Pressing send on the email felt similar to the feeling you get before jumping off a high dive,” says Emily.
Gratefully, Kaulin and the rest of the family were happy with the news.
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“When Emily told me she reserved the Salt Lake Temple for a sealing on June 7th, I was very pleased. It means a lot to me and her father that she wants to follow in our footsteps. Our desire has always been simply to have our children get married in the temple; it didn't matter which one or on what date,” says Emily’s mother, Catherine Mortensen.
In 1963, Catherine’s parents, Jack and Alice Martines, were the first to be married on June 7th in the Salt Lake Temple. Jack and Alice had been high school sweethearts who married two days after Jack graduated from the Air Force Academy. For Catherine, a father in the military meant many moves around the world during her childhood. Two of the few constants in Catherine’s life were the gospel and the family’s home base of Salt Lake.
Jack and Alice Martines, married June 7, 1963.
“Growing up, my mother always said that her wedding day was the happiest day of her life. Frequently, my mom and dad would look back and share stories about their wedding and their start in life. Perhaps that is why their anniversary became a date on which I anchored my life. I never even considered a wedding date other than June 7th. I don't know that I consciously wanted to start a tradition, but it was a place and a date that were familiar to me,” remembers Catherine.
Catherina and Greg Mortensen, married June 7, 1991.
Catherine and her husband, Greg, were married in the Salt Lake Temple on June 7, 1991. And now, 28 years later, all three generations gathered in the Salt Lake Temple to watch as Emily and Kaulin began their journey.
"We are very proud of our daughter and granddaughter," said Jack Martines. "Our wedding day 56 years ago was the start of a wonderful life! We've lived a life full of adventure and hope our children and grandchildren do the same."
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Emily and Kaulin will both begin their senior year at Utah State University in the fall. Emily is a pre-medical student, and Kaulin is majoring in engineering.
“I know that the feeling I got during conference was divinely inspired because Kaulin really is my best friend and I wouldn’t want to live in a world where we are not together,” says Emily.