Mormon Eternal Marriage


#1

This question was taken from the Discourse with Mormons thread.

From Gospel Fundamentals p177
When a man and woman are sealed in the temple by someone who holds the priesthood and has special power to seal, their marriage will not end when they die. Their marriage will last forever if they keep the promises they made in the temple. This is called eternal marriage.
If a man and a woman are not sealed in the temple, the marriage ends when one of them dies. If we are sealed in the temple, and if we faithfully follow Jesus Christ to the end of our lives, our families can be together forever.

Matt 18:18 is one of the scriptures that they cite in support of this.

[quote=Andrew Larkoski] Christ clearly debunks this myth in the Gospels with the hypothetical situation given to him by Jewish elders about the woman with seven husbands, none of whom gave her any children. Then, in Ephesians, St. Paul speaks of marriage and the mystery, and how it is an analogy of Christ’s love of His Church. Finally, in Revalation, the First Marriage of Adam and Eve is linked to the final Marriage of the Bridegroom, Christ, and His Bride, the Church.

Catholics firmly believe that marriage is a sacrament, in other words, a gift from Jesus Christ. When we engage in sacraments, we glimpse the Glory of God in Heaven. But after we die, we are either in Heaven (or soon to be) or not, so there is no need for marrige of a man and wife anymore (there is no more need of an analogy of Heaven), for we are all (those in Heaven) married to Christ for all eternity.

This is something that no one has brought up yet, but, as I see it (and as Jesus taught) “eternal marriage” of man and wife is non-existent.

BTW, if eternal marriage does exist (I’ll play a Biblical Jewish Elder) who would a Mormon polygamist be married to in heaven? All of his wives? His favorite wife? None?
[/quote]

I thinking if plural marriage was legal and the Official Declaration #1 was overturned by some future LDS President acting as Prophet, then the Mormon male would have as his wife/wives in heaven, all those who have been sealed to him in a temple marriage, and have lived by all the tenets of the Mormon faith. How they square this away with Matt 22:23-30, I have no idea.


#2

From the other thread (sorry)-
The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him… Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother: Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh. And last of all the woman died also. Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her. Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. (Matthew 22:23-30)

  1.  The CoJCoLDS does not believe that the Eternal Marriage is something that can be preformed in heaven.  This is the reason that it is preformed by proxy in Temples.  The same is true of Baptism.
    
  2.  The men said the men “were with us” those married of men do not have eternal marriage.  See D&C 132:15-16.  As I alluded to in #1 the ordinances will be preformed by proxy, but this can only affect those who possessed the proper spirit and never had the chance to participate in the proper ordinance.  There is no second chance for the ordinance and all that occurs after death is predicated upon the earthly life.[font=Verdana][/font]
    
  3.  Jesus was speaking to the Sadducees who denied the resurrection. It was not critical to expound upon the much deeper truths associated with Eternal Marriage with a group of folks who are unable to accept the more basic truth of the resurrection.  This is the “pearls before swine.” Jesus knew these men would only find additional things to ridicule God’s plan were he to attempt to explain more.  
    

Ephesians 5:31-32

For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

The above passage specifically calls this a great mystery. With the sacredness associated with Eternal Marriage in LDS thought this could be a parallel in the early church.

  1.  The CoJCoLDS believes that an eternal marriage is a choice.  It is inconsistent with our theology to suggest that those who are married (even sealed), but who are not united in a one flesh (much more than sexual) relationship will be eternal companions. Sealed couples choose to continue their bond 100% free of compulsion or outside influences. The marriages the Sadducees spoke of never seemed to be marriages of love or true uniting. They where marriages of the law. Jesus’ words also point to being “given in marriage,” further lending support to the arrangement or marriage of the law rather than the marriage of uniting. So, together with the above this would explain why what Jesus said was completely true and answered the question. In the environment in which the Sadducees lived arranged marriages were not something they would have to stretch to acknowledge. This was just the way it was in many cases.  To us it seems foreign, but likely this was something all these men were very familiar with.
    
  2.  Some of the above comes from Bickmore. This is Bickmore’s quote of Tvednes:[font=Verdana][/font]
    

In the Apocrypha… we read of a young woman, Sarah, who had been married to seven husbands (all brothers), each of whom was killed on the wedding night by a demon. But in the story (Tobit 6:10-8:9), Sara ultimately marries an eighth husband, Tobias, son of Tobit, who, following instructions from the archangel Raphael, manages to chase the demon away and is therefore not slain. Of special interest is the fact that the archangel (who, according to Tobit 3:17, had been sent to arrange the marriage) tells the young man that his wife had been appointed to him “from the beginning” (Tobit 6:17). This implies that she had not been sealed to any of her earlier husbands, which would explain why none of them would claim her in the resurrection, as Jesus explained. But if she were sealed to Tobias, the situation changes. Assuming that the Sadducees (whose real issue was one of resurrection, not of eternal marriage) were alluding to this story but left off part of it, this would explain why Jesus told them, “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God”

More…


#3

Some more positive points:

Genesis 2:18

And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

Matthew 19:6

Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

TOm:

So in keeping with the idea of #2 above, earthly marriages are until death do us part, but heavenly marriages are forever.

In fact, in the Garden of Eden man an women where united. The fall lead to death. If death resulted in the separation of man and woman, and the atonement did not renew the original unity God called “good” in the Garden of Eden, then it was not an infinite atonement.

Another thing I might note. The unity associated with becoming one with God will result in a different type of closeness than that experience by earthly couples. In a sense this will be different than marriage, but Christendom generally recognizes that we will know each other in heaven. With this knowledge and the heavenly bond of marriage we formed upon this earth, the two will still be united. I know that LDS place a greater emphasis upon this than non-LDS, but I believe this common ground does not fail either of our theologies.

Here is more from Barry Bickmore:

fairlds.org/pubs/conf/1999BicB.html

Finally, many Jewish Christians did practice a form of celestial marriage, and this can be traced back to the first century. The Christian philosopher Origen complained in the third century about the Jewish Christians and others who believed in a literal millennial reign of Christ, and he added this:

Certain persons…are of the opinion that the fulfillment of the promises of the future are to be looked for in bodily pleasure and luxury…. And consequently they say, that after the resurrection there will be marriages, and the begetting of children…. Such are the views of those who, while believing in Christ, understand the divine Scriptures in a sort of Jewish sense, drawing from them nothing worthy of the divine promises.

Cardinal Daniélou infers a similar interpretation from an enigmatic passage in the Didache, a first-century Jewish Christian document, where prophets are mentioned as performing something called “the cosmic mystery of the Church”. Daniélou links this mystery to the type of “spiritual marriages” some Gnostic groups practiced:

The expression “cosmic mystery of the Church” seems to stand in opposition to a “heavenly mystery of the church”. This heavenly mystery is the celestial marriage of Christ to the Church, which also finds its expression in this world. The allusion in this passage would therefore seem to be to those spiritual unions which existed in Jewish Christianity between prophet-apostles and a sister. . . The relation of these unions to their heavenly ideal is explicitly stated by the Gnostics: “Some of them prepare a nuptial couch and perform a sort of mystic rite (mystagogia)…affirming that what is performed by them is a spiritual marriage after the likeness of the unions…above” (Adv. haer. I, 21:3).

The Gnostic rite is described in the Gospel of Philip as being performed in “the mirrored bridal chamber”, and “those who have united in the bridal chamber will no longer be separated.” Stuart George Hall writes that Melito, Bishop of Sardis in the late second century, may have preserved a fragment of the ancient bridal chamber ceremony in his writings, as well.

[font=Times New Roman]Charity, TOm[/font]


#4

TOm,

I found this chart at an anti-Catholic site. Is it accurate on how Mormons view the pre and afterlife including that with a wife(s)?

nowscape.com/mormon/kolob1.gif

What about this site?

utlm.org/navtopicalindex.htm

Thanks for your help on helping to clear up the truth,

Malachi4U


#5

I would say generally that that is not a good representation of the CoJCoLDS. The purpose of those two sites is to express the CoJCoLDS beliefs and explain why they are false. Just like Anti-Catholic sites, frequently these sites intentionally or unintentionally misrepresent LDS beliefs.

Concerning the pre, mortal, and post life here is what I have put together.

First, LDS binding doctrine is contained in the 4 standard works. From these this is what I believe to be binding.

Before we came here we were spirits. We came here to receive a body and grow/learn.

During this life the light of Christ will shine upon all persons. During this life they will believe/behave/become/understand in accordance with that light, or in rejection of that light. At the resurrection those who believed/behaved/became/understood will choose (be given without their own merit) Celestial glory. Those who paid less attention to the light they received will be able to choose lesser glory. Celestial/ Telestial/ Terrestial are the three degrees of glory. Those who had a perfect witness of the fullness of the truth and rejected it will spend eternity in outer darkness.

Between death and the resurrection there is a time when we will be educated. Those who received the light of Christ, but not the fullness of the Gospel (perhaps they never heard the name Jesus Christ) will be in “Spirit Prison,” learning the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Nobody will be saved in ignorance. Those who received the light of Christ and the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ will be able to teach others in Spirit Prison. None of the above should be misconstrued as a second chance for those who reject the light of Christ. There is only a first chance. Also it should be noted as it was above that eternal salvation is predicated upon the mortal probation. The spirit that possesses the body at death will possess the body during the time between death and the resurrection and the path will be walked, but all will receive knowledge of the truth.

Now, there are those who are/will be in the celestial kingdom who will be gods. They will not be gods of their own, but through participation with God. This is the only way men may be gods in accordance with the words of the Bible (as I read it). Also, the D&C speaks of eternal increase. This is frequently construed as have spirit children, but there is not binding description of what it must be. I do not have problems with a number of interpretations, but I would suggest that whatever it means it does not mean that we will separate from God and become independent agents.

Charity, TOm


#6

First, LDS binding doctrine is contained in the 4 standard works.

The exact wording of the Mormon temple ceremonies are obviously binding to LDS members who participate in them. Latter-day Saints receive teaching and make important covenants in the following temple ceremonies:

Washings and Annointings

Endowment Ceremony

Eternal Marraige Ceremony

The 4 standard works of the LDS Church are not the only binding doctrine on Mormons. The above temple ceremonies are not contained in the LDS 4 standard works.


#7

[quote=Robert57]The exact wording of the Mormon temple ceremonies are obviously binding to LDS members who participate in them. Latter-day Saints receive teaching and make important covenants in the following temple ceremonies:
Washings and Annointings
Endowment Ceremony
Eternal Marraige Ceremony
The 4 standard works of the LDS Church are not the only binding doctrine on Mormons. The above temple ceremonies are not contained in the LDS 4 standard works.
[/quote]

Robert, Good point…

In addition, the teachings of any LDS prophet is binding. For example, in 1978 the LDS prophet finally ruled that blacks could hold the priest hood (an office which white 13 yr. old boys were allowed to hold), overturning nearly a century of teachings that said a black could not hold the priesthood.

Polygamy is another doctrine that has changed, not based on the standard 4, but on the teachings of the LDS prophet. The fact is, imo, that the truth is somewhat fluid in Mormonism. There really is not an authoratative standard which cannot be changed by new “revelation”.

brandon


#8

When TOm says that only the 4 standard works are binding he is basing that off one quote from one of the LDS ‘prophets’ (Lee) that was quoted later by one other (Hinkly) and flies in the face of every other first president of the LDS church including Joseph Smith and Brigham Young who BOTH said that there sermons and writing were “scripture”, Divinely inspired and binding.

I have been through and LDS temple ceremony. I can tell you just about anything you would like to know about it.

TOm, have you been through the Temple yet?

-D


#9

[quote=darcee]When TOm says that only the 4 standard works are binding he is basing that off one quote from one of the LDS ‘prophets’ (Lee) that was quoted later by one other (Hinkly) and flies in the face of every other first president of the LDS church including Joseph Smith and Brigham Young who BOTH said that there sermons and writing were “scripture”, Divinely inspired and binding.

I have been through and LDS temple ceremony. I can tell you just about anything you would like to know about it.

TOm, have you been through the Temple yet?

-D
[/quote]

Yes, I have been through the temple.

The quote by HBL was just the clearest formulation of the “common consent” ideas contained in the D&C.

The HBL statement is quite clear that the Prophet can speak scripture and truth, but it is not binding upon LDS unless it is accepted by common consent.

Also, even if the HBL statement was not derived from the D&C, it would still be true based on the fact that I can be true and not binding, but it cannot be false and binding without creating an illogical contradiction.

The statement about extending the priesthood was accepted by common consent and added to the scriptures.

The Temple ceremony is reference in the D&C, and this particular objection has been dealt with on a thread I could dig up on another board if you would like.

Also, the book Vox Dei, Vox Populi (if it is ever published) should develop much of the ideas that I speak about.

And lastly, as Catholics you really should study a few things before you become overly concerned about what I say relative to LDS authority. First, read the book by the greatest modern (relatively modern) expert on the Arian controversy, Cardinal Newman. He suggests that it was the laity that forced the issue and ultimately lead the rejection by the ordained authority of the semi-Arian views post Nicea that were more prevalent (among the ordained that is) than what has become orthodoxy. The other thing that one should read it the proceedings of Vatican I were infallibility was defined. This will include the concerns expressed by the foremost scholars, and the qualifications built up around the infallible authority.

Charity, TOm


#10

None of which has ANY relevance to Mormon theology. We aren’t talking about Catholic Papal infallibility, it is NOT the same discussion. LDS theology has NO relevance to Catholic theology and the reverse is also true.
The wording to the Temple ceremony is NOT in the D&C. It is only referenced by that work. Now you could make the argument that the Temple Ceremony doesn’t need to be scripture to be binding as someone who goes through the temple in theory binds themselves by oath.
In my experience the Mormon concept of eternal marriage has HUGE logic flaw… just on its own. One of the big LDS selling points is that “Families can be together forever.” yet if the men in a family grow up to exalted Godhood in their own right how are families still together?
The other thing I find disturbing is how many times I was told in relation to temple work “God will work it all out.” In theory… I guess I am still sealed to my ex. I was told that if I wanted a “Temple Divorce” I would have to be getting ready to be sealed to someone else. When I objected to the idea of courting while still sealed to my ex I was told that it was just they way things were done. It wouldn’t really be adultery since Temple marriages are different then legal marriages (I think meaning I could be divorced civilly and still sealed to someone else and the civil divorce was the important part :ehh: ) It gets weirder from there…at any rate “God will work it all out.”

There seems something very odd about having a film presentation be part of an “ancient rite”

-D


#11

It is clear when reading the 132nd section of the Doctrine and Covenants that Jospeh Smith was saying it was God’s will that plural marriage be “the new and everlasting covenant” necessary for entrance into the celestial kingdom.

Everyone at that time understood that. When Wilford Woodruff caved into national pressures and put forth the Manifesto which ended the churches official endorsement of polygamy there was tremendous uproar and controversy among the members. That was what created the vast majority of “Fundamentalist” Mormon groups.

Thousands of Mormons decided to continue to live “the principle” as they call it. These groups are convinced that the LDS church is the apostate church because it rejected the primary defining ordinance and principle(they believe) defined in the D&C. I have many FLDS relatives and I find it very interesting to get their take on things. I think they have an intellectual honesty that Mormons in general lack.


#12

[quote=Tmaque]It is clear when reading the 132nd section of the Doctrine and Covenants that Jospeh Smith was saying it was God’s will that plural marriage be “the new and everlasting covenant” necessary for entrance into the celestial kingdom.

[/quote]

But Joseph Smith did not bring forth Section 132 of the LDS D&C, even though the Mormons must believe that he did. The document which became Section 132 was not presented until 1852 by Brigham Young in Utah. This was 8 years after Joseph Smith was murdered. Even though Joseph Smith did not produce Section 132, Brigham Young knew he needed to have Smith’s name associated with that document for it to be accepted by his followers. But Smith had no part in that document.


#13

[quote=TOmNossor]From the other thread (sorry)-
The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him… Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother: Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh. And last of all the woman died also. Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her. Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. (Matthew 22:23-30)

[/quote]

Tom,

I have a few problems with your belief in eternal marriage.

First, according to the scripture you quote, they are to be as the angels in heaven. If this describes eternal marriage to you, are you then saying that the angels are married in heaven? If so, I wonder how this can be when the only angels mentioned in the Bible were male. I am not sure if female angels exist, when I examine the scriptures. It would seem that if they were to be married like the angels in heaven, perhaps, you are promoting eternal homosexual marriage.

Second, Jesus spoke of how they would be in the resurrection. But when LDS speaks of eternal marriage, they do not speak of this occurring in the resurrection. Rather, they try to use the verse you quoted to support eternal marriage in heaven. But Jesus is not speaking of heaven, but of the resurrection.

Third, I cannot find where Jesus taught eternal marriage to anyone. Your argument that the Saduccees were not ready for Jesus to teach about eternal marriage in no way proves that Jesus would have taught them about this practice or that He ever taught that doctrine.


#14

But God did not say He was going to create an eternal help meet for Adam. This verse you quote does nothing to prove that eternal marriage is from God.

Did you notice the opportune word in this verse? It is: “flesh”. This verse speaks of a man and a woman who become one in the flesh. It does not describe their becoming one or remaining one in the spirit. In heaven, we will be spiritual, not fleshly. This verse you quote does nothing to prove that eternal marriage is from God.

The Bible does not speak of heavenly marriage. Neither does the Book of Mormon. Neither does any edition of the Doctrine & Covenants that existed before Joseph Smith was killed. Your proof for eternal marriage comes from revelations that were introduced long after Joseph Smith was dead.

That does not make sense. Christ’s atonement is not dependent on marriage. Married people are not the only ones to have their sins atoned for.

If Jews practiced celestial marriage, why is it not mentioned in the Bible?

Sooner or later, you will have to come to the realization that a person would have to have a fantastic imagination to even believe that eternal marriage is from God.


#15

I would like to see a Judaic source for eternal marriage.

-D


#16

[quote=darcee]None of which has ANY relevance to Mormon theology. We aren’t talking about Catholic Papal infallibility, it is NOT the same discussion. LDS theology has NO relevance to Catholic theology and the reverse is also true.
The wording to the Temple ceremony is NOT in the D&C. It is only referenced by that work. Now you could make the argument that the Temple Ceremony doesn’t need to be scripture to be binding as someone who goes through the temple in theory binds themselves by oath.
In my experience the Mormon concept of eternal marriage has HUGE logic flaw… just on its own. One of the big LDS selling points is that “Families can be together forever.” yet if the men in a family grow up to exalted Godhood in their own right how are families still together?
The other thing I find disturbing is how many times I was told in relation to temple work “God will work it all out.” In theory… I guess I am still sealed to my ex. I was told that if I wanted a “Temple Divorce” I would have to be getting ready to be sealed to someone else. When I objected to the idea of courting while still sealed to my ex I was told that it was just they way things were done. It wouldn’t really be adultery since Temple marriages are different then legal marriages (I think meaning I could be divorced civilly and still sealed to someone else and the civil divorce was the important part :ehh: ) It gets weirder from there…at any rate “God will work it all out.”

There seems something very odd about having a film presentation be part of an “ancient rite”

-D
[/quote]

If you would like, I can reference you to the link were the discussion of LDS Binding Doctrine takes place including Temple discussions (no specifics as it is LDS who are discussing), but I would have to find it.

I agree there are some things that God will have to work out. I find that the LDS theology presents a lot more answers and leaves less to mystery.

I still think that limiting and defining when the Prophet speaks as a prophet is very parallels to Papal Infallibility, but that is ok.

And, the message of the Temple is very symbolic. On the surface there are some worthwhile things, but I believe the value is much deeper (even contradicting some of the seeming messages on the surface).

Charity, TOm


#17

[quote=Tmaque]It is clear when reading the 132nd section of the Doctrine and Covenants that Jospeh Smith was saying it was God’s will that plural marriage be “the new and everlasting covenant” necessary for entrance into the celestial kingdom.

Everyone at that time understood that. When Wilford Woodruff caved into national pressures and put forth the Manifesto which ended the churches official endorsement of polygamy there was tremendous uproar and controversy among the members. That was what created the vast majority of “Fundamentalist” Mormon groups.

Thousands of Mormons decided to continue to live “the principle” as they call it. These groups are convinced that the LDS church is the apostate church because it rejected the primary defining ordinance and principle(they believe) defined in the D&C. I have many FLDS relatives and I find it very interesting to get their take on things. I think they have an intellectual honesty that Mormons in general lack.
[/quote]

At issue here is the proper authority. The EO decided that after the 7th council the authority was gone. The FLDS did the same. I do not know why the authority was gone in either case.
I think ROI has a better position than the FLDS.

BTW, Barry’s words clearly explain where the idea that celestial marriage in some form was practiced. He quotes Origin, a Catholic scholar, and …

Charity, TOm


#18

[quote=TOmNossor]At issue here is the proper authority. The EO decided that after the 7th council the authority was gone. The FLDS did the same. I do not know why the authority was gone in either case.
I think ROI has a better position than the FLDS.

BTW, Barry’s words clearly explain where the idea that celestial marriage in some form was practiced. He quotes Origin, a Catholic scholar, and …

Charity, TOm
[/quote]

But was Origen’s comments on the practice of celestial marriage a result of firsthand knowledge?


#19

[quote=TOmNossor]BTW, Barry’s words clearly explain where the idea that celestial marriage in some form was practiced. He quotes Origin, a Catholic scholar, and …

Charity, TOm
[/quote]

I would like to see the reference for Origen’s statement if you have it. I highly doubt that in context he is saying that the Church taught or practiced Celestial Marriage. However, it may be true that it was one of his “theological speculations”. Origen was very careful to make a distinction between his teachings and his speculations. His teachings were quite in harmony with orthodoxy. However, he made it clear that his speculations were not being presented as religious teaching or dogma but instead as points of dialogue and reflection. The large majority of his speculations were judged to be unsound, this is why many heretical or spurious groups can generally only find support for some of their teachings in his writings. I suspect, but do not know for sure, that this is the case with any quote referring to Celestial Marriage??

Brandon


#20

For an unchanging God, the LDS Heavenly Father changes his mind a lot.

Moroni 8:18 – For I know that God is not a partial God, neither a changeable being; but he is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.