Tuesday, December 18, 2012

What the Bible Really Says about Marriage and the Resurrection

Today is my 26th anniversary.  I still have a hard time believing Mama agreed to marry me, but today I want to share a link that addresses the idea of eternal marriage in light of a common Biblical objection to that idea.

I have no doubt Mama and I will continue to be "one" after death, and this post does the best job I have read answering the concerns I have heard from many people in my life.

Matthew 22:30 - Kevin Barney (By Common Consent)


Anonymous said...

As the comments to the article point out, our doctrine on eternal marriage is either crystal clear or muddier than the Mississippi! I've been sealed for almost 30 years, but have read everything I can get my hands on with respect to plural sealings for the last 25 years. Currently, our sealing policies say a living man can be sealed to more than one woman, but she must not have been sealed to another man. HOWEVER, once a woman dies, she can be sealed to all the husbands she had in mortality. Therefore, when all is said and done, all men will be sealed to all wives they've had in mortality, and all women will be sealed to all husbands they had in mortality. Further, the Handbook says (and GA's have said a million times) that if we honor our covenants, all sealing ordinances are binding. Since remarriage after the death of a spouse is not covenant breaking, then it stands to reason that all righteous people, both men and women, will have plural spouses. There is nothing in our doctrine today that says women will have to choose among the many husband to whom she might be sealed. And, as noted in the comments, there has to be provision for those who, for whatever reason, are deserving of the CK but are not yet sealed. Therefore, it seems like there will be a whole lot of Spiirit World dating/relationship building going on. What this means to me is that if your spouse dies, and you decide to remarry, what reason would you have to think your spouse isn't doing the same sort of things in the Spirit World? In other words, if mortal, widowed spouses feel free to remarry, why wouldn't deceased (but still spiritually alive and kicking) spouses in the Spirit World be doing the same thing? All those relationships will be sealed during the Millenium. All of this makes good sense to me and seems fair. What doesn't make sense is this: If there's going to be so much plurality in the afterlife, why can't we be plural in mortality? Why are we serial monogamists in mortality, but plural and polyandrous in perpetuity? THAT's what doesn't make any sense to me.

Anonymous said...

I give the example of a young couple who dated their last year of high school, but then, as mission time approached, the young man worked and readied himself for his mission, while the girl went off to BYU. Their long distance romance fizzled, he left on his mission, she married an RM, and they both continued on with their lives, with the young man marrying, also, once he got off his mission. Happens every day. But then, both happened to be widowed by the time of their 30th high school reunion, at which point they are re-introduced. The old flames are fanned. And within 6 months of meeting one another again, they remarry. Of course, because she's previously sealed and living, they can't be sealed in the temple. But at the relatively young age of about 50, they both have plenty of marriage in mortality time left, so that their marriage endures for another 30 years. Now, to put more spin on the facts. When wife's husband died, he left her in such good financial shape that she could live well and provide for their kids. When husband's wife died, he also got life insurance. Husband works until he's 55, then “retires” because of all the money they have. Their children are now either finishing college or off missions and some grandchildren have been born to the older children. They spend their time visiting adult children, hosting large family holiday dinners and so forth. Then they make time to start serving missions together, and are both healthy well into their mid-'70's. Then, as they wind down to their early '80's, children, grandchildren and now great grandchildren call them blessed. They pass away around age 85, having been married to each other about 35 years. We all know they want their children to seal them together in the temple after the appropriate time has passed. Now, is there anyone who would say that remarriage was “wrong?” Of course not. This is the epitome of a Hallmark Movie Channel movie! And our doctrine says we now have a man who'll have two wives and a woman who'll have two husbands. And maybe those deceased spouse were busy in the spirit world hooking up with other men and women, also. The pro-remarriage people will point out all the wonderful blessings that came out of that second marriage, the missions, the people served, and so forth. And what about the effect of the second marriages on the feelings of the first spouses? Well, there may be a few people who believe the couple should have stayed widowed till the end. But those opinions are rare. And so, since most of us would be okay with that example, can we really say there is any downside to remarriage? Aside from related problems with children, logistics with finances or places to live and so forth, is there really a good reason not to remarry? After all that I've read, I don't think so. Presuming you are a decent person and you marry a decent person, there's no down side at all. So, my question is: Why don't leaders strongly encourage all adults to be married as much of their adult lives as possible? If it's okay for an old boyfriend and girlfriend to meet again after the death of their respective spouses and remarry, then plural marriage has to be okay. If there is no breaking of covenants when widows and widowers remarry (regardless of how they meet or the circumstances), then our doctrine has to be one of plurality. Maybe we will just really “associate” with one another as spouses, and there won't be a real romantic connection after all. That's about the only way I see plural sealings working in the hereafter. It still doesn't explain why we are so adamant about being monogamous in mortality.

Papa D said...

Anonymous, I agree that what the Bible says and what Mormon doctrine says are two different discussions - and I'm totally fine with that.

I also agree that trying to define Mormon doctrine concerning marriage, especially in the next life, is like trying to nail Jello to a tree - and I'm totally fine with that, also.

I like the basic answer, "We'll find out at that time, but we will be happy with the result" - mostly because I believe it, and it allows me to not spend lots of time trying to nail that Jello to that tree. *grin*

Anonymous said...

The green jello/nail analogy was mentioned by Bro. Robert Millet with respect to a minister of another faith who said nailing down LDS doctrine was like nailing jello to a tree (Robert L. Millet -What Is Our Doctrine - The Religious Educator - Vol 4 No. 3 2003) To me, our doctrine of eternal marriage is clear. It's repeated through out the Proclamation, Handbook 2, certainly Handbook 1, and so forth. The only confusion is when you apply the doctrine to plural sealings. That's where most people start running the possibilites through their minds. And I believe the biggest confusion is with respect to the question I posed at the end of my first comment. We have no problem saying all sealing ordinances will be effective presuming the parties keep their covenants. Then, we allow plural sealings for the living and the dead, leading to the conclusion that where there are plural sealings and righteous people, then there will be plural marital relationships in the hereafter. The confrontation comes when trying to reconcile the concept of loyalty and faithfulness with that of being plurally faithful and loyal to more than one spouse after this life. The only light I've seen is that when you talk to someone in a happy second marriage (widow/widower remarrying) who also had a happy first marriage, in all cases, they want and look forward to the day they will be with both spouses in the eternities. Of course, we don't know but that the predeceased spouse is in the Spirit World and NOT looking forward to such a reunion and eternal future with another "spouse" involved. As I like to say, my marriage and family consists of me and my wife. NOT me and my wife and her second husband and his first wife!And as we add more spouses and pluralism, at some point we seem to approach the evangelical's version of heaven - we'll all be one big "family" in Christ, and there won't be a husband - wife distinction. That certainly isn't the version of the CK that I've been taught. Again, if there's going to be some broad notion of family so that it won't matter if we all have 100 spouses each, it kind of waters down the notion and need for being monogamists in mortality. Why not live communally and get an early jump on living/loving in that fashion? Anyway, thanks for the patience in dealing with all this. We certainly can't worry about it. However, remember this: With rare exception, at some point we will all be single again, whether on this side of the veil or the other side. It would be nice to know what being single again means in light of the sealing covenants we've entered into.