The Ugly Side of Eternal Marriage
I wasn’t a typical girl growing up and dreaming about my wedding, mostly because I had only been to one wedding, and that was for my neighbor who got pregnant at 16. Everyone whispered and called it a tragic, shotgun wedding, and I just knew I didn’t want that (although I did end up with just that). Growing up Mormon, I just knew I was going to have a temple wedding even though I had never been to one. Regardless of whether I was morally worthy or not, I wasn’t worthy to attend, since I wasn’t old enough. Nonetheless, I wanted a temple wedding so I could have my perfect eternal family.
After my dad died, the whole eternal family idea started to fall apart, which is strange because you think I would have found comfort in the fact that my family would be “together forever.” I couldn’t pinpoint it, but it was something rather strange that no longer sat well with me. I remember going to my sister Jemma’s wedding and waiting outside in the visitor area of the temple. After the service, my Aunt Carrie came out with tears in her eyes and said, “Tara, hold out for a temple wedding.” I wanted to laugh, because unbeknownst to her I was pregnant and there was no way I was having a temple wedding. You can’t get married in the temple if you are unworthy, and well, I was pregnant outside of marriage, so I was pretty unworthy.
Years later I started thinking about what an eternal family really meant. What if I went on to have a temple wedding and then die in old age... would I still be sealed to my parents or would I be sealed to my spouse and new children? Then what happens when my kids grow up and get temple weddings of their own? God forbid my child dies before growing up and getting married, since then I would get to raise my child in heaven. Well if Heaven is perfect, why is there any need to raise up my child there? So eternal family isn’t really what it’s about; it’s really about an eternal marriage, since you are only with your spouse for eternity. So then I have to look at the idea of eternal marriage.
Several years after my father passed away, my mom got remarried in the temple, but it was just an earthly marriage this time. After all, she is still married to my dad for “time and all eternity.” So if you are married for eternity, and there is no “till death do us part” as husband and wife, then really my mom and dad are still married. If that’s the case, why is she allowed to remarry? Either she is a polygamist (she had more than one husband--an earthly one and an eternal one) or she is an adulterer (her first marriage is still in effect, and thus her second marriage is not valid). Concerning the latter, D&C 132:41-42 says, “And as ye have asked concerning adultery… if a man receiveth a wife in the new and everlasting covenant [celestial marriage], and if she be with another man, and I have not appointed unto her by the holy anointing, she hath committed adultery and shall be destroyed. If she be not in the new and everlasting covenant, and she be with another man, she has committed adultery.” So it seems LDS scripture condemns my mom from remarrying for time only. Of course LDS know she will only have one husband in heaven (since wives cannot be sealed to more than one husband), but how can this even happen if she is continuing to commit adultery? According to D&C 42:24-26, there is only forgiveness for a one time offense of adultery.
Nowadays I often get wedding invitations (actually they are reception invitations, since I’m not allowed to go to the actual weddings) for my cousins. Somewhere on the invitation it says so and so is to be married and “sealed for time and all eternity in the X temple.” Well that sounds great! Who wouldn’t want to be married to his or her spouse forever? However, there are several other things not often considered about these eternal marriages.
1) LDS scripture in D&C 132:19-21 is clear that eternal marriage is what leads to Godhood. LDS use marriage as a means to become Gods themselves to populate and rule over other worlds.
2) Despite the debate between LDS and FLDS (fundamentalists) as to whether D&C 132 requires all eternal marriages to be polygamist or not, LDS generally think that polygamy will be the order of the day when Christ comes back. Former Apostle Bruce McConkie stated, “Obviously the holy practice will commence again after the Second Coming of the Son of Man and the ushering in of the millennium" (Mormon Doctrine, 578). This makes sense to my mom, since how is a God going to populate a world with only one wife? Lots and lots of spirit children are required, so chances are pretty good that the wife will have to be sharing her husband with other “sister wives.”
3) If the husband loses his "sealed" wife to death, he is currently free to be sealed to another worthy woman who has not been sealed to someone else. This is illustrated by three current LDS apostles (Nelson, Oaks, and Perry). So technically, they are practicing polygamy today, since their marriages are for “time and all eternity.” It’s just that they are not living with more than one wife here on earth.
On my wedding day4) The marriage sealing is still conditional upon one’s worthiness, and the wife’s worthiness is also conditional upon her husband. The temple ceremony makes it clear that the husbands are the ones who call their wives by a new secret/sacred name through the veil and into the celestial kingdom. Thus, there is no guarantee that my dad is going to find my mom worthy after being married to another for just time, and then end up calling her forth through the veil.
5) Finally, in Matthew 22:23-32, Jesus clearly taught that marriage is for this life, and that in the next we are as the angels, who according to D&C 132:17 are single! The Bible has never taught celestial marriage. It has only taught “till death do us part” as husband and wife (cf. Romans 7:2-3).
I use to feel sorry for non-Mormons, since they didn’t have the full truth and wouldn’t have eternal families. After a long journey out of Mormonism and to the true Christ, I’ve come to a place of sincere sadness for the LDS people and their belief that marriage is the ultimate. It is sad to me that the Lord Jesus is not enough for their temporal and eternal happiness. Today I sit at the throne of my Lord Jesus and He meets all my needs. One day I will see the Lord Jesus face to face and with Rob by my side, as my brother in Christ, we will worship the Lord together. Praise God for His goodness and mercy!
February 26, 2013