“While salvation is an individual matter, exaltation is a family matter.” -Russel M Nelson
Some say wait a while after a mission before you make decisions since you’re up on a higher plane and not yet in the ‘reality’ of day in and day out life. I say this is the opposite of what we should do. Use the holy inertia to propel you forward. You’ve been counciled to have a ‘sence of urgency’ while on your mission, well, why stop when you get home? Why dobble around waiting for the adversary to beat you down before you make something out of your life? Instead, find someone who feels like you do about the gospel, marry that person, and work together quickly to build the kingdom of God. The D&C says that every idle word will need to be accounted for in the final judgement. Why are you wasting time? Why suffer yourself to enter temptation? Why not act on your zeal and make a righteous choice today while you have the strength of will to do it, rather than waiting around until the love of money or the lust of the flesh sneaks into your soul from the Babylonian society we live in? No, instead, act on promptings from the Lord to create your family. And remember, there’s no “one right person” for someone; President Spencer W Kimball and others have taught that any 2 people can be compatable if they are living the gospel. President Deiter F Uchdorf taught that though his wife is the love of his life, she is not the only person with whom he could have been happy. This makes sence. To think that there’s one domino person you need to marry or the whole equation of the salvation of the human race gets foiled is such folley, the Lord wouldn’t leave our souls up to chance like that. The Lord will provide a spouse for you, act on that opportunity. If you keep rejecting opportunities from the Lord, he may give them less frequently. President Thomas S Monson spoke of how looking back on his life he wished he would have married his wife sooner. He waited a few years after meeting her to marry her, and this he lamented. Married life is happy life. Perhaps this is why we call it marriage: merry-age.
Then come the children. One institute teacher I admire introduced himself and his family by saying ‘my wife and I decided we were going to have 12 children and we weren’t going to wait around about it.’ Well he did have his 12 children, and they pulled it off before health issues robbed them of the ability to have more children. It’s odd that the suggested age for child bearing these days is quite near the age of infertility, as though it were a last ditch effort, left up to chance as to weather it would even happen at all. Those of us with a handful of children couldn’t possibly imagine life without some of them. President Russel M Nelson says that if he waited until he could afford it to have children, half of his 9 wouldn’t have ever been born. If you’re waiting around to become a better parent before you become a parent, any parent would tell you that a month of actually being a parent gives more training than a year of reading or studying the subject, or even of babysitting other people’s kids. For a great recent (2011) discourse on not letting school or money postpone your childbearing, see “Children” by Elder Neal L Anderson. (https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2011/10/children?lang=eng)
Have not the living prophets declared that the coming of the Lord is neigh? Why should we linger in the valley of sorrow? Why not be brave and seek and accept opportunities to continue in HOLINESS TO THE LORD! The family setting (including marriage and child bearing) is the ideal setting for everything, including finding yourself, perusing your hobbies, enjoying time with your friends, learning to manage finance, getting an education, learning charity, and every other good thing you can do with your life. There are other topics in which we should act in quick zeal such as formal education, career development, gospel scholarship, family history research, but I emphasize making family creation a priority because it is the foundation for everything else. Put creating a Christ centered family first, and everything else will fit perfectly in its place.
The person with honest intent doesn’t need lots of time giving introductions. – Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
This article was brought to my interest when a woman spoke to me of her confusion for why the latter-day Saints marry oftentimes quite young and quite early in a relationship. Though we as a people may be wise to wait a little longer sometimes, here are some reasons I’ve found for why the saints can both create and maintain marriages better faster and stronger than any other people on the face of the earth (studies show latter-day saints are much less likely to divorce than other US citizens, etc.). The woman with questions of these early marriages thought it was just so they could have sex. This is far from the truth. As you will see in this article, the latter-day saints base relationships off of far more than corporal pleasure.
- They have an extraordinary ability to make and keep long term agreements. when they were baptized, they received the Holy Ghost to be their constant companion so long as they continue faithful, and repent of their sins when they fail. The Holy Ghost helps them have vision of the future, and helps them discern the character of others. It also reveals to them when there is danger, and reveals to them the comfort of God when they are on a good path, namely, with a person whom they could build a good future with. One can never overestimate the power of the Holy Ghost.
- They believe it is an essential component of saving one’s eternal soul
- They love one another, and are not hard hearted
- They are trained to be ready for childbearing from coming from large families, and from being taught that childbearing is a commandment from God not to be postponed
- They are mature for their age, having participated in more adult roles via church leadership and service. A good social scientist will tell you that the appropriate time to marry has less to do with age and more to do with maturity.
- They recognize the spiritual danger of spending inordinate amounts of time with someone of the opposite sex to whom they are very attracted to. They understand that to use someone else’s body for pleasure without offering them long term, even eternal, fidelity and service, is robbery.
- They do not base their marriage on bodies. Some have said that the latter-day saints marry early because they are forbidden from sexual relations outside of marriage, and are just excited to start having “legal/sanctioned” sexual relations. Some have said, “if you can’t have sex, what can you do?” These critics have failed to understand that relationships are built by assessing character rather than assessing bodies. Marriages built on bodies rather than character are the most prone to failure. Courting involves friendliness, minor touching of affection such as holding of hands and small kisses, but does not include touching of the private parts of the body, under or over the clothing. The world fundamentally misses the concept that exchange of bodies is a privilege reserved for the highest commitment, that of marriage. Joining the bodies without joining everything else (the love, the goals, the purpose, the home, the children, the finances, the risks, the reward, the fidelity, the devotion, the confessions, the sympathies, the patience, the mercy), is mockery before God. The uniting of the bodies is not casual, but rather it is the most sacred and reserved act known to humankind.
- They have a firm foundation of character, and know how to discern the character of another person, so as to not fear entering a long term, even eternal, relationship. The less honest and faithful ones past has been, the more difficult for that person to be reliable, and the more difficult to it is for themselves and others pertaining to them to make gravitus advances.
- They understand the doctrine that there is no such thing as a soul mate, a one true love which if not selected would result in a life of chaos and disappointment. Any two people can be compatible if they are abiding by the teachings of Jesus Christ the Lord. Once someone has married, the person they marry becomes their soul mate. Love is created, not found. It is a choice, not something you just fall into.
- They are happy. What is more attractive that a happy person? Many will stand in line for a chance to be wedded for a person who radiates joy in their countenance. Joy is the purpose of life. Though we go through much sorrow, the latter-day saints know how to have joy in the midst of trials because of the hope they have in Jesus Christ, whom they love, serve, and adore. They look forward to the coming of Jesus Christ, and know that there will be world peace very soon. Real. World. Peace. Very. Soon. How can a person with such a knowledge refrain from shouting for joy, and from their visage bursting forth with light and majesty! The hope in Christ’s promises are sufficient to send the soul soaring upward forever in light, and joy as bright as the morning sun, they cannot refrain from gladness!
Note 1: We do not judge one another when marriage does not come as soon as one would hope. Some pass through the valley of sorrow of singlehood, and Christ the Lord weeps with them. Their trials will make them strong, and nothing can hold them back from receiving every blessing power and glory which are promised to the saints so long as they hold out faithful and make an honest to God effort to keep all of the commandments of God, including TRYING to find a marriage partner.
Note 2 : We enter marriages with faith that they won’t fall apart so easily because we have tools which we can use to sustain marriage.
Note 3: I’ve heard several people complain that they entered marriage too fast and had a divorce and left the church from it all. I never suggest that people not ready for marriage get married. I do suggest that the mature teachings in the homes of latter-day saints often prepares people to be sufficiently mature for marriage roles at an earlier age than society at large. Each man and woman must be careful about marriage, but not unto paralysis. Latter-day saints recognize the eternally important role of marriage in both development in this life and development in eternity, so they are excited to learn about and apply unto the principles of marriage and family life. They make mistakes like everyone else, but glory be to God, they know where to turn for help.
These church parking lot van sizes are evidence that family size is shrinking, even inside the church:
Cohabitation and Birthrates of an Egocentric Generation and Why it Hurts Homes and Nations
Brigham Young University
Studies show that cohabitation (living with someone of the opposite sex and having sexual intercourse with that person outside of marriage) is climbing in these past 50 years to record highs. Not only will there be no rising generation and dramatic depopulation worldwide except in some small parts of Africa and among the Mormons, but people refusing parenthood grow up to be of weak character.
The cohabitation of couples is increasing but we are not seeing a lot of research on it. The variables tested in the data thus far are not as comprehensive as often they are in other fields. Where is the info coming to lead public opinion in favor of this when the studies show it is not leading to marriage stability? Do the ways we view marital stability, economic and sociological, suffice? For these are how it is measured so far (co. and child effect).
Decline in marriage interest in first years of marriage (Kurdek 1999) (from Toward a Greater Understanding of the Cohabitation Effect: Premarital Cohabitation and Marital Communication). Marriage has been what holds society together for millennia, and we are in the middle of an experiment of devaluing it, and throwing it out by and large.
Those who cohabit likely to have risk factors in the first place (Bumpass & Sweet, 1989) (from Toward a Greater Understanding of the Cohabitation Effect: Premarital Cohabitation and Marital Communication). This has concerned people researching weather cohabitation causes divorce/unhealthy relationships, but studies show that the factor for the unhealthy relationship is not a set of predetermined factors, but is the fact of their cohabitation.
Couples which cohabited 1st before marriage have less problem solving ??? less problem solving, skills? just saying less problem solving doesn’t make a whole ton of sense. (from Toward a Greater Understanding of the Cohabitation Effect: Premarital Cohabitation and Marital Communication). It seems that they used sex as the basis for their relationship rather than the sealing of their relationship. They lose their reasoning powers as they give themselves up to passion, literally meaning passive, or something out of one’s control.
Dependent variables in studies on cohabitating were problem solving (i.e., six individual and three dyadic) and social support (i.e., two help seeking and two helper) behaviors. (from Toward a Greater Understanding of the Cohabitation Effect: Premarital Cohabitation and Marital Communication). These factors go to show the healthiness of a relationship; they let us rate the relationship quality.
Studies have consistently shown that, compared to spouses who did not cohabit, spouses who cohabited before marriage have higher rates of marital separation and divorce (e.g., Bennett, Blanc, & Bloom, 1988) (from Toward a Greater Understanding of the Cohabitation Effect: Premarital Cohabitation and Marital Communication). They think that having sex with each other tests their chemistry to see if they are compatible, but what they need to test are each other’s personalities not bodies. Some blame the latter-day saints for dating a lot before marriage, dating many people at a time as well, but this is where the selection needs to take place, not in the sex, but in the meeting many persons. All
Many believe cohabitation will improve their ability to choose a better marriage partner (Hall & Zhao, 1995). (from Toward a Greater Understanding of the Cohabitation Effect: Premarital Cohabitation and Marital Communication) What causes this belief? Who is pushing this agenda? The studies are showing that people who cohabit have more divorce!
Approximately 4 million unmarried opposite-sex couples living together, seven times that of 1970 (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1998). (from Toward a Greater Understanding of the Cohabitation Effect: Premarital Cohabitation and Marital Communication).
“The effects of children on marital stability led us to propose that the presence of children in a cohabitation relationship is very likely to inhibit the cohabiting couple from terminating their relationship” (cohabitation children effect article). But cohabitating persons don’t have as many children, so they are gambling.
Nonmarital cohabitation increasingly becomes a part of family (cohabitation children effect article). This shows that we are not doing enough footwork to get out the statistics about the negative effects of cohabitating. We are settling for Hollywood rumors rather than science.
“Prior research on marital stability indicates that the presence of a child or children in the family reduces the risk of marital disruption” (Becker, Landes, & Michael, 1977; Cherlin, 1977; Lillard & Waite, 1993; Mauldon, 1992; Morgan & Rindfuss, 1985; Morgan, Lye, & Condran, 1988; Thornton, 1977; Waite, Haggstrom, & Kanouse, 1985; Waite & Lillard, 199) (cohabitation children effect article).
Much increase in cohabitation (Bumpass & Sweet, 19) (cohabitation children effect article).
“Relationship between childbearing and marital stability has taken two approaches: an economic approach and a sociological approach” (cohabitation children effect article). The religious aspect has been deleted. Marriage is now separated from religion, sex, and children.
“Little research attention has been paid to the formation of cohabitation relationships, and even less to the stability of these relations” (cohabitation children effect article). So we need to research the dating trends in young people if we are to get at the root of this, and of the media influence from marketers appealing to their underdeveloped brains, focusing on their primitive nature.
Timing of marital unions apply to nonmarital union timing as well (cohabitation children effect article). People are seeing their cohabitations as their life marriages.
Do cohabitators want marriage? Dr. Carroll of BYU has showed that 8/8 of them do. (Carroll, 2017). Usually the women are willing to marry and want to marry, but are cohabitating in an attempt to get the men on board.
The reason we have more cohabitating is birth control, which allows young people to live sexual lives while not searching for a reliable marriage partner, but a soul-mate type person who completes them. (The Long and Leisurely Route: Coming of Age in Europe Today).
The first half of the 19th century in Europe, early 20’s was the latest people would marry (The Long and Leisurely Route: Coming of Age in Europe Today).
One example which puts well the case of what our young adults are expecting out of life today is illustrated in this story, “Marie, age 28, is a student at a university in Denmark, studying psychology. Currently she is in Italy, collecting interviews for a research project, and living with her Brazilian boyfriend Pablo, who is studying engineering there. Her plan is to become a psychologist who works with deaf children and their families, but much of her life is up in the air right now. How much more education should she pursue, if any? She and Pablo would like to marry and have two children eventually, but when? Their lives are busy now. How could they fit children in amid their other ambitions and adventures? If there is one thing that is certain about Marie’s existence, it is that her life is vastly different from that of her mother or grandmother when they were 28 years old.” The grandparents of these Millennials had their first child a year after marriage, and were married by age 20 on average, assuming adult roles at that time. (The Long and Leisurely Route: Coming of Age in Europe Today)
Europeans only have 1.4 children on average today (The Long and Leisurely Route: Coming of Age in Europe Today). This is below what is needed to replace the population: 2.33. Now the only ones who meet the 2.33 bar are Mormons and some African nations. Zero developed nations are at the reproduction to repopulate bar. Children are no longer associated with sex or marriage. Sex is no longer associated with marriage. The parents now make children a collector’s item rather than a part of their lives. Of course no one is looking at how children refine parents. When people refuse to become parents, they live in a state of arrested development, thinking that they are further advanced than they are. Having children pushes you further than you ever thought possible, and with no one having children now, we are witnessing a rising generation of pansies. Brilliant, well versed in the texts of the scholars, but pansy on all accounts of character. Generational theory has deemed the uprising generation as the one which will decide whether society will cease to exist as we know it because of their failure to reproduce. This has become a well-recognized crisis.
This time of wandering around in your 20’s before marriage has been termed “The apex of freedom” and “the self-focused age.” (The Long and Leisurely Route: Coming of Age in Europe Today). What are the 20’s people spending their time on? Some of them school, others leisure, others endless dating, basically anything but altruistic behavior.
One consequence of the cohabitation increase over the past 50 years is that “the continent has too many old people and not enough young ones.” (The Long and Leisurely Route: Coming of Age in Europe Today). This makes taking care of the old people harder. For millennia the retirement savings has consisted of having lots of children to take care of you when you are senile and feeble. Today people try to save money for retirement, but few can, and with inflation from the Federal Reserve, the real value of money saved will never be as concrete for us as is the working hands of your posterity to obtain bread for their aged parents.
My story as related in the Ensign Magazine, October 2017
For official text and audio of this article at the church website, see by clicking here or by using this URL: https://www.lds.org/ensign/2017/10/young-adults/a-love-greater-than-terminal-illness?lang=eng
A Love Greater Than Terminal Illness by Laura Welkes, Ensign Magazine 10-2017
Megan and Nate Richardson will tell you that happiness doesn’t come from your circumstances—it comes from your faith.
A few years ago, Nate Richardson found himself in a college science class in which the teacher brought up the subject of cystic fibrosis (CF)—a chronic and progressive disease that affects the body’s ability to produce or break down substances like mucus, sweat, or digestive juices. CF can severely affect the quality of life of the patient, and currently there is no cure. The students began a discussion of whether it would be a good idea for people with that disease to have children. Since CF is genetic, there is a possibility that the parent could pass the disease along to the child if the other parent is a carrier, thus affecting the child and ensuring that the disease would remain within the human gene pool.
There were people in the class on both sides of the issue, but Nate remained silent. He was so upset by the question that he would not speak, because he knew someone with CF. In fact, she was his wife, Megan.
Cystic fibrosis demands a rigorous treatment schedule and frequent appointments with many different specialists—anywhere from three to five in a typical week. Megan has to do respiratory therapy twice a day, which involves putting on a vest that fills with air pockets that essentially pound her until the mucus in her lungs becomes easier to cough up. Because she gets sick easily—and when she gets sick, she generally has to be hospitalized—she wears a mask in most public places. She can’t do sports that involve running, and she has to be careful about not overexerting herself. She and Nate love to go hiking together, but depending on how sick she is, she might have to carry along an oxygen tank at the same time.
Left: photograph courtesy of the Richardsons; right: photograph by Leslie Nilsson
Nate and Megan Richardson decided to marry knowing full well that Megan had CF. She was diagnosed at two years old and had spent most of her life dealing with the disease. What’s more, Megan and Nate had been good friends since high school. They knew as well as anyone could the struggles that lay ahead of them. “It’s probably harder than I thought it would be,” Nate says. “But,” he adds firmly, “most good things are that way.”
Megan says, “I think everyone kind of envisions the fairy-tale ending: you get married and then everything’s all perfect. And then it’s not perfect. But it’s wonderful in its own right.”
In the end, the blessings they have received match and even surpass the trials they have faithfully and joyfully endured—together.
Megan and Nate went to the same middle school and briefly to the same high school in Payson, Utah, even though they didn’t know each other then. Then their senior year of high school, they both went to an interschool debate competition. Nate remembered Megan from his old high school, and he had a feeling that he should talk to her. He said hello, and the two of them sat down and began talking. They were close friends from that moment on.
While Nate was on a mission, Megan pursued her education at a private liberal arts college in Utah, graduating with a degree in creative writing. Her academic success came after a lot of hard work and sacrifice. When she was in the hospital, she often had to videoconference in order to “attend.” However, she made it to graduation with stellar grades in a field she is passionate about and continues to pursue.
Meanwhile, Nate returned home from his missionary service and gave Megan a call. He was surprised by her enthusiastic response, and they went on their first serious date soon afterward. When Nate brought Megan to meet his family, his brother told him, “I don’t know who else you’re dating, but she needs to be in the top three.”
Nate certainly agreed. As they continued dating, Nate began to pray about their relationship, and every time, he felt that it was “definitely, definitely a good thing.”
A Step of Faith
Those promptings helped Nate have the faith to propose. But by that point he knew Megan so well and loved her so much, it was a fairly straightforward decision for him. “I got the courage to marry into an illness because of the waves of joy that came to me when I was with Megan. Isaiah 48:18 refers to one’s righteousness being as the waves of the sea. That is how I felt with Megan; her goodness hit me like a wave.”
In the end, he was overcome with the certainty that marrying her was a good path. In fact, he says, “I felt that if I refused to marry the woman I loved on grounds of her physical health, I would have to answer to God for it. God loves all His children, even the frail ones.”
Of her own decision to marry, Megan said, “I always knew that I wanted to get married, but when I was born, the life expectancy was 19 or 20. And then, as I got older, I thought, ‘Okay, well, I’m living this long—what am I going to do with this life I have?’”
She says, “I think the hardest part for me was processing through what would happen if my husband were to get remarried after I passed away. The life expectancy is currently 35, so that would give him a long time to be alone. But would I be OK with someone else coming in?”
Then her aunt Terri passed away in a tragic accident, leaving behind her husband and children. Megan’s uncle remarried, and it was encouraging for Megan to see how well his new wife fit in. “And it just made me think, ‘Well, it can’t be that different.’”
When Nate and Megan got engaged, Nate’s family members were supportive, but they wanted to make sure he knew what he was doing. Some of them pointed out to him that they might not be able to have children. “I told them that we would try to have children, and if they came, good. If not, then we would still serve the Lord. And in whatever form they came, we would love them.”1
Nate’s family also had concerns about his finances. He had not been home from serving a mission for very long, and he didn’t have much. With Megan’s medical bills to consider, money would be a real issue for them both. However, still feeling like they were making the right decision, Nate and Megan went forward with faith and joy.
Joy Greater than the Pain
Photograph by Leslie Nilsson
Things were still far from being easy. Because the disease is progressive, Megan’s health has only gotten worse over the time she and Nate have been married. When she was a kid, Megan only had to be hospitalized every few years. Now it’s typically every four months. She sometimes has new issues come up, whether from CF or the medications used to treat CF. When it seems like they have solved one problem, another comes along.
And yet, always cheerful and laughing, Megan is quick to point out the good parts of her life. “I think I’ve grown a lot because of CF. You take the Lord for granted a lot when things are going hunky-dory. So when things in your life aren’t going hunky-dory very often, it makes you turn to the Lord more. And then when they are, you’re super grateful that they’re going great!”
Nate says, “Megan is the joy of my life. I’ve long said that there are compensatory spiritual blessings of joy which the Lord gives to Megan to balance out the difficulty of her illness. These cause me to watch in wonder at how happy and optimistic she is. But since our marriage, I’ve also been taxed by this illness, perhaps more than I thought possible. Now I’ve also come to see those compensatory blessings of the Lord come into my life. Jesus Christ is the central figure of our lives. We lean on Him every hour.”
Nate has thought a lot about the discussion in his science class, and he, at least, is convinced the world would lose something precious without people like Megan. “I should have spoken up, but I didn’t. I was too frustrated that we were even having that conversation. The world needs more people like my wife, so I hope we have a dozen children just like her, in sickness or in health. The illness doesn’t define who she is.”
Life Is Better Together, Forever
Photograph by Leslie Nilsson
Overall, Megan and Nate both agree that life together has been “better all around.” Nate says, “We make wiser financial decisions as a couple; we think in the long term more as a couple.” Together they make the most of each moment they have. “Basically any time we get to be together is a good time—whether or not she’s feeling well or in the hospital. It’s always good to be around her.”
They take a lot of comfort each day from their temple covenants. Nate says, “I see Megan as those covenants describe she can be someday. Of course, I’m amazed at how much progress she’s already made. But that gives me the frame that I put her in: this is my eternal companion who will be by my side throughout all of our endeavors.”
Megan says, “The temple helps us to make our lives and the time we have more meaningful as well. When we pledge to consecrate all we have to the building up of the Lord’s kingdom, it makes me much more eager to say, ‘Yes, I will bring so-and-so dinner, even though I’m super tired today,’ because it’s something I can do, especially with His help.” Nate agrees: “We have too much work to do to have time for pity.”
She adds, “And it’s wonderful to know that families are forever, that we will continue on through the eternities. Whatever children we are able to have—whether it’s now or in the hereafter—will be able to be with us forever as well. That’s a wonderful promise, and I take courage knowing that.”
Nate says that often the secret to their courage is focusing on those eternal blessings and the joy they are being given here and now. “In some ways, I can say we have cystic fibrosis; I know I can’t understand all she goes through, but it’s become a major part of my life. I’ve long loved what Elder Neal A. Maxwell taught, that as our lives have increasing trials, our cups of joy are filled accordingly to match the level of trial, even until they are overflowing.”
Swallowed Up in the Joy of Christ
“When we reach a point of consecration, our afflictions will be swallowed up in the joy of Christ. It does not mean we won’t have afflictions, but they will be put in a perspective that permits us to deal with them. With our steady pursuit of joy and with each increasing measure of righteousness, we will experience one more drop of delight—one drop after another—until, in the words of a prophet, our hearts are ‘brim with joy’ (Alma 26:11). At last, the soul’s cup finally runs over!”
Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1926–2004) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Brim with Joy” (Brigham Young University devotional, Jan. 23, 1996), 9, speeches.byu.edu.
Topics: marriage, dating, timing, polygamy, church policy, missionary force
-“If I were a lady I should be careful whom I married: I should want to be pretty sure that the man tried to live his religion as revealed to us. Young folks generally marry because they love, sometimes because they are pretty. It is said that beauty is “only skin deep,” and I believe it is so, it will shortly fade away. We should be reasonable on this subject, as well as on others; but when a person is love struck, there is no reason in them. We should never be struck very bad. We should love so that we could throw him off at any time if he does not do right.” (John Taylor, JD 19:167)
-“A great many women are more nice than wise. If they can get a man with a pretty face, they think it is all there is about it. Some men think if they can get a woman that has a handsome face, that is all there is of it. But it is that woman that has a head and sensibility,- I do not care if her head is three feet long,- it has nothing to do with the character that lives in the body. It is the character that is in the man’s house, the spirit that is in the man; it is the spirit that is in the woman and in the house that makes the woman and that makes the man.” (Brigham Young JD 5:92)
-LDS prophets teach we date after age 16 in our day in age, even though in a different culture, that of Christ’s day, the men often married at 16, not usually later than 20, and the women usually slightly younger. It was not uncommon for them to marry at age 14. *We live in a unique era, which needs unique instruction.
-“When it’s the right person, and the right place, the temple, it’s the right time.” -LDS Ensign (I’ll get the reference).
-For the Strength of Youth pamphlets are kept in the pockets of most of the 12 Apostles, we never outgrow those standards.
-Long as Jehovah instructed his people to marry inside the covenant.
-Trans-racial marriage was a positive result of the gathering of the saints in the early days of the church. It helped them embrace more cultures (see LDS Newsroom of race and the church).
-Moses (a Hebrew man) married an Ethiopian woman. One thought this wrong, and was cursed with leprosy to show that “white skin” isn’t all that.
-Joseph married Asenath a woman of Egypt.
-Thomas S. Monson says were he to go back and live his youth again, he would have married at an earlier age. (See “To The Rescue” by Heidi Swinton, his biography)
-When and how many children to have are between the couple and the Lord, and the command to multiply and replenish the earth (to have children) remains in force to God’s people. (Elder Anderson recent General Conference Address) (Church Priesthood Handbook)
-Polygamy has been practiced by God’s people at times when he needed them to do so to raise up seed to him (Jacob 2 from the Book of Mormon); this currently is not legal in the LDS church. Elder Holland suggests that polygamy is more of an acceptation to the rule rather than a norm in heaven (I am getting the reference for this). The Book of Jacob also speaks of having only 1 wife. *When I was in the Missionary Training Center, our leader had those of us in a congregation of hundreds of missionaries stand up if they had polygamist ancestry. Almost a majority stood. This may be an insight as to why the Lord directed such for his early saints, to get more missionaries to bring his saving gospel truths to cover the earth in preparation for his Millennial reign, to send the voice of warning to the ends of the earth.
The top 3 things to look for in a spouse while you date? Look for 3 types of craziness. Other than those, it really doesn’t matter who you choose – God’s children can be compatible with each other if these 3 things are present.
- Crazy for you 2. Crazy for Jesus 3. Crazy for Mormonism. Now granted if she is crazy for these and you aren’t crazy for them, that won’t work either.
Now item 1, the craziness for the other spouse, that will wane, at least the physical aspect the physical need for the other surely dies down after 6 months to a year, but the respect for the other must be strong from the beginning, and it will likely last, notwithstanding resolving hard issues together. As a brilliant Jewish politician Ben Shapiro said, “though physical attraction has to be there, who you want to have sex with really has nothing to do with who you choose to marry.” He also gave wise council in saying that marriage is serious business, not just about fun.
Now on to the last 2 points, the religiosity aspect. Granted, if you’re not Mormon or Christian, don’t marry someone who is, it’s extremely hard to mesh faiths. Faith is a heavy thing. It’s hard for a non-Mormon to understand how and why God asks so much of Mormons. The non-latter-day saint spouse will not likely follow the latter-day saint spouse to the climbs the latter-day saint is want to make. Same chaos with the Christian and non-Christian.
People can be happily married outside of religious faith or inter-faith (though in my opinion and the opinion of religious people everywhere, not as happy). I know lots of interfaith couples and I love them all. I’m just speaking about statistical chances for happiness as measured in the social sciences. Statistically speaking, same faith couples do better than inter-faith couples, and when that same faith couple is a Mormon couple, they do even better yet! But hey, maybe that’s your calling, don’t ask me. Just know I’ll never give a Mormon council to marry a non-Mormon.
So back to Mormonism. I’ve separated items 2 and 3 (craziness for Jesus and craziness for Mormonism) because a person at times will have a hard time following the councils of Mormon prophets, but their faith in Jesus can pull them through that trial of faith victorious. Jesus is the head of Mormonism, but it can be hard to recognize that at times for some people.
Joseph Smith taught (in “Lectures on Faith”) that a religion which doesn’t require someone to give their all doesn’t have sufficient power to save them. That’s a high bar! As a Mormon family follows the prophets and follows their conscience (within the parameters of the councils of the prophets), only God knows the astounding things the couple will be called upon to do.
We are familiar with the concept of a calling in the church which must be magnified to gain exaltation. Less familiar is the idea that we have callings in the gospel, which also need to be magnified to gain salvation. How is a calling in the gospel different from a calling in the church? It’s similar to the old testament concept of a “free will offering” – you choose what it looks like. You choose what sign you want to give to God. The calling in the church is about doing well with a very specific assignment given to you from priesthood leaders. A calling in the gospel is doing well with yourself and your family in obeying the whispered instructions of the Holy Ghost (which always fall within the parameters of the teachings of the prophets).
This brings us to point 1, crazy for your spouse. This is important here because when your spouse comes to you and says something like “I feel prompted to do the following thing which is in the parameters of the teachings of the prophets…” you must be open to that.
As your spouse approaches you with this type of an idea, you pray about it yourself for confirmation of the idea, wherein you’ll get one of the following answers:
- “it doesn’t matter”
- “no bueno” (when I first heard this I was shocked and said “God, your preferred language is Spanish?! (Just kidding))
- “ya’ll decide, it’ll be fun for all of us to see where this goes” (“God, you speak southern!? This keeps getting better!”)
- “hm… you might not be ready for this… ask later. And in the meantime, READ THOSE SCRIPTURES! PS I love you & I’m proud of you!” (“God, well is it written of thee that thou art a Lord of hosts of armies and a God of mysteries! PS Thanks for the compliment!”)
- “I respect you and your wishes. Do it if you wish, much good can come of it, but know that it’s not strictly required of you”
- “Try 7” (God can give us specific answers! He isn’t limited to yes or no questions!)
- DISCLAIMER: Though God certainly has a sense of humor, prayer isn’t this casual and jovial (usually).
So, I’m not suggesting one spouse blindly follow the other because of their “craziness” (deep respect) for them, but that without the craziness-respect factor present, a spouse will shut down the other spouse without further contemplation when these types of ideas are presented.
This is why I say make sure your marriage candidate is crazy, they must be willing to do hard things! I once had a debate with a protestant wherein he said, “that’s not reasonable, reason has never been on the side of Mormonism”. First off that’s a stupid debate tactic, but second off, the wisdom of God is far different from the wisdom of man! I’m proud of the fact that I belong to a church that looks different from society at large! It wasn’t reasonable for Noah to build the ark. Wasn’t reasonable for the early pioneers to give up their property and trek into poverty in Zion. Wasn’t reasonable for John Tanner to give up his fortune to save the temple then in construction. Wasn’t reasonable for Cowdry to go wander looking for Joseph Smith for a reason he knew not. There are plenty of examples where we can see in hind sight that crazy actions for the sake of church and gospel callings turned out to be the means of saving many souls. Granted keep all this in wisdom and order, but within the parameters of wisdom and order there’s plenty of room for bold, daring, and what others would call “unreasonable” acts of faith.
We will here see how important the body is now and forever, and how the Devil warps this truth to deceive us. The Doctrinal background for and suggested application in living with virtue in daily life. Specifically, how to resist lust with doctrine and skill.
I pondered over what it means to not look upon a woman to lust after her, as the scripture denounces. Here are some guidelines for when a person is tempted to think sexually about a female inappropriately (aka a woman whom is not his wife, or overly sexualizing his wife), as well as the why behind it:
- Don’t stare at her; this is a dangerous situation and the more you look, the more you lust. It’s in our biology, so be aware of your biology, and resist the natural man. You are not an animal, you need not feast like a predator. The woman is not an animal either, although her debased and purely sexual/reproductive appearance could convince you otherwise. The spiritually unlearned woman may focus her self-presentation on body rather than charm of continence. They overly emphasize the one, having no faith in the other, thinking themselves to be of no charm, of no value other than their body. Animals go around thinking about sex, and presenting themselves for sex, rating each other on sexual scales. It should not be so with humans. Everything religion has been trying to say from the beginning of time is that we are NOT animals. Not even close!
Sexuality is a core part of humanity, but we often get mixed up in treating it like the core rather than a core. When you meet someone, what’s the first thing you want them to think of you? Is it “wow I would love nothing more than to have sex with this person.” Or is it “wow this person is happy, and they are kind to me, and they are clean, and gentle, and wise in their reservation!” And for those seeking a relationship, their presentation ought to suggest the following, “wow this person is one that I could enjoy spending much time with because her words show her personality to be enchanting!” rather than “wow I want a relationship with this person because it means i might be able to have sex with them eventually.”
No, if you base your relationship on sex, it’s going to break in half sooner or later, and usually sooner than later. So don’t get mixed up in putting your sexual foot forward. Put your best foot forward, and however physically attractive you may be, your best foot is your spiritual one, and the one that shows your commitment to healing the human race from every ailment. Often to express one’s self takes more than a glance of the eye. We should not express our lack of patience by foisting ourselves upon others with the cheap shot of putting the sexual foot forward. Every human has a desire for sex. But not every human has a desire for beauty, for creativity, for ingenuity, for serving others. The way you dress sends a signal, narrowing down the types of candidates whom will approach you for friendship.
Dressing attractively doesn’t mean showing off your curves; Brigham Young taught that the women should not wear such tight dresses, such being repulsive. Perhaps the reason President Young found tight dresses repulsive was not that they weren’t physically/sexually appealing, but because it sells short the rest of the person. It auctions off something so marvelous for such a low price. Men with charms and laughs can use deception and in-transitivity to sweep a good, unsuspecting woman off of her feet. The female must not encourage the vain circus tricks of the unethical man by waving “easy access, you’re already half way there” in front of his face. No, the mature woman holds her body with reserve, and with righteous protective zeal. She will not give it to just anyone. She will not advertise the half of it, or more, in her casual business of the day. Rather, she will be modest, very modest, and reserve the hidden treasure of her body for one whom seeks her whole soul, and not just her body. She wants the guarantee that the man will be committed to her throughout life and beyond, not the one that comes for the popcorn only to get up and look for another show. No, she knows that she is worth a lot more than popcorn. She better ascertains long term relationships via insisting that the mind and spirit are involved, not just the flesh.
- recognize that she is beautiful, and
- pray for her wellbeing. Then
- consider the blessings of Zion, and that God has all blessings for his Saints in appropriate all-fulfilling channels, and
- recall that Zion is the only place of eternal sexual fulfillment, and the best shot at sexual fulfillment in this life as well. To ensure the reader understands “eternal sexual fulfillment”, which statement brings us to worlds far past our own present state, I will state the obvious, which is written in the most introductory text of my faith: namely that the body will rise from the grave, and be reunited with the spirit! Heaven is a place where people have bodies, live in families, and families can’t happen without sex. Worlds without end, you’ll never find such a creation. This is the genius of the restored truth of the latter days: that the body is central to the eternal plan of God, and is not merely to be disposed of after mortal death!
Death of body is a resting, not a permanence! Are Christians clear about this? Most of them are not! Are Latter-day Saint Christians clear about this? More clear than staring you in the face, yes! The universe is governed by laws which even God himself cannot break. The only reason a god is a god is because he and she have conformed to the laws of the universe. One of the laws of the universe is that we need bodies and the uniting thereof with a spouse to have full joy. Does full joy end after this life? No! And of course, there are many gods, though only 1 of them rules over us. Our God is our father. No being whom is not a child of God is ruled by God. All beings are ruled over by their celestial parent, worlds without end, forever and ever. To avoid the risk of saying something too sacred here, we will merely recall the words of Joseph Smith, that this “one eternal round”. Where did Gods begin? It’s one eternal round. Everyone has a parent… it’s a cycle, worlds without end, and without beginning. The mortal does not comprehend the “no beginning”, and alas I say it no better comprehends the “no end.” The average person has no clue about their true nature, for they have no clue about the nature of God. God has always existed, and we as his children have likewise always existed. God will always exist, and so will we. Even the devils of hell must go on an on forever, and have been forever going on. God fathered us in promoting our state, this does not suggest that we lived not before. Thus it is, we compare to understand, with the biological birth. That person did exist before it got a physical body, but the mortal parents heaped upon it a grand promotion: the body! Likewise, individual personal intelligences named you and me existed before God organized it into greater intelligence. The parent does such a vast favor for the child, that it is considered that the parent “created” the child. Indeed, for all intents and purposes of our word “created”, so he did!
- confess the boundaries of interpersonal relationships in Zion,
- know that person is your sister, with great potential and kindness, and act only in ways that will promote her lasting happiness in Zion
- recall that in the resurrection our cups will run over, and we will hunger not; even the best of circumstances here in mortality to not begin to compare with the circumstances in heaven, and that is true in every aspect, thus the sexual aspect is included. Is it not written that we have earthly bodies here, but shall have heavenly bodies there? Shall we not transform from terrestrial to celestial? Yes, we shall. And all the pleasantries that come with it shall be ours, provided we continue faithful. Well hath the prophet Joseph Smith taught, that all your losses will be made up to you in the resurrection, provided that you continue faithful.
- recall that in the resurrection the disabilities & physical imperfections of this life will vanish, and
- recall that in the resurrection people will respect each other, and do this by not immodestly tempt each other in overbearing and hurtful ways; indeed, the man of heaven has power given him to not be blown about by every temptation; he sees them for what they are, and he is blessed with a habitation where such temptations do not exist. When he must make errands to fallen worlds, he will use his power to not be affected by the crumbs on the floor there, for he knows of the divine feast in the worlds above! How attractive is the mere crust when you know of the pastry! Not at all!
- talk to the person about who they are so you can see them for more than their body, and perhaps win their soul, bringing them to Zion, where they can learn how to properly use their bodies to capitalize on their joy. If they are flirtatious however, this can be more detrimental than beneficial, and politely wish them well, and be on your way, building the kingdom of God wherever and however you can.
You must not allow yourself to lose the spirit, and such can happen if we engage in flirtation with unruly females, and for those married, they lose the spirit if they flirt with any female other than their spouse. Beware the flirtatious woman, she ropes you in to flirting back before you know it. If you find yourself in an inappropriate flirtatious situation, be you married or single, follow the example of Joseph the prophet in Egypt, and run away for God’s sake! If you settle for the unruly woman, you won’t know the deep joy of the woman of Christ, with whom you can share the spirit of Christ, and gain eternal life together in the Kingdom of God, becoming Gods yourselves united there forever in creation and pleasure.
- think about Jesus Christ, and look for people who you can serve at that time. An old friend to call, a person present to minister to with your conversation whom is cast down because of their poverty or lack of social skills, etc.
- be sorry for the girl of immodesty as she is living beneath her privileges, and could be much happier with the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. Indeed, immodest use of one’s body is not holy, but is profane. The definition of holy means sacred or guarded and hidden, the definition of profane is in the open, broadcast, and public. The body is not to be profane, but is to be holy. The Lord goes so far as to call our bodies “temples”, the very center point of holiness. Now how can you expect to have the Holy Ghost with you if your actions are now holy? It cannot be done, worlds without end, it shall never be. Conformity to decency is the only way to qualify for the presence of Deity, as manifest in the Holy Ghost’s presence in one’s life.
Are these things true? Yes, they are true. Though you may not confess them to your neighbor, you have felt in your heart that this is salvation through the Lord God Jesus Christ. You may feel these standards are beyond your reach, like Peter whom drown in the sea after being called upon to walk on water. In this we remember the words of the Master, “oh ye of little faith. Wherefore did ye doubt?” Let Christ pull you from the water today, but when he asks you again to walk on water, have a little faith! Behold, Christ walketh on the water! And lo, He saith to us, “Come! Follow me!” Come, feast, and become a God!
This is your destiny. This is who you were born to be! Put away your confusion, your wanderings and senseless debate. Feed at the hand of the Creator of the Earth whom is Jesus Christ, and hearken to his precepts! There is no other way to fully understand the design than by learning from the designer. No way to fully become a creator, then to learn from the Creator. He is Jesus Christ. Fall to your knees, and there He will reveal Himself to you. Then you will know, not just believe. Then you cannot deny the feelings he then puts in your heart, and you will be constrained to say “surely this is the Lord, surely this is the answer to all my questions, and the path to joy here, and eternal bliss hereafter!
I’ve heard women say they want to be listened to, not given advice. While this can be accommodated to an extent, it’s not fair to ask a man to just sit and listen to his wife’s complaints and ask him to be restrained. Men love their wives. Thus it is in their nature to try and help them. So, just as wives need to be listened to, so do husbands need to be listened to. When a husband offers advice to his wife’s problem, let her not say a thing like, “I didn’t ask for advice, I just want you to listen!” That is rude of her to say. Let her rather say “I appreciate that you’re thinking of a way to help me. I’m not sure that would be the best option. Allow me to tell you more about my situation.” The husband learns to listen to his wife, but the wife also learns to listen to her husband. Husbands hate hearing wives in distress longing for help, so they offer help. The wives may not think that offer ideal. Similarly, wives hate to hear husbands speaking of their ideas of what to do, so they say they don’t want to hear about those plans. The husbands may not think that suggestion ideal. So you see, both husbands and wives need space to speak in their own way, and to be heard. Men like to talk about action, women like to talk about feelings. Though there can be times when more emphasis is given to woman’s speech, there must be other times when more emphasis is given to man’s speech. Seldom should conversations be one sided. A conversation between a man and his wife can be difficult because of inherent differences in male and female speech preference, but they can learn to accommodate each other within a conversation. Women thirst for “being heard & acceptance”, and men thirst for “collaboration & building”. Let each spouse have in mind not only their own needs, but the needs of their other half, their spouse. Though male prefers one method of speech and female another, both have interest in both types. For the man to insist on his preferred speech all the time would be him using his wife as a door mat, and for the woman to insist on her preferred speech all the time would be her using him as a door mat.
Topics herein treated include role of sex on earth and in heaven, the importance of marriage and reproduction on earth and in heaven, role of drugs, feminism, LDS leaders, homosexuality, Millennium, and some essential differences between the restored church of Jesus Christ and contemporary Christian churches (Protestants and Catholics), marijuana, young marriage, temples, diversity
This document goes into some topics deeper than some are comfortable with, but it remains appropriate for a mature audience, and discloses no forbidden information. In the name of apologetics, these are important messages. Many seek the truth but cannot find it, and my explanations in this letter will help persons whom are not finding satisfactory answers in other venues.
In our time, Satan (The Devil) is launching a powerful and relentless attack against us, more so than ever before, and so I believe God’s counter “attack” is in declaring truth more clearly and powerfully than ever before. When the Devil stands up to fight against God with his powerful weaponry, GOD WILL FIGHT BACK, and WIN EVERY TIME. Because Jesus Christ restored his Church to Joseph Smith in 1820, we are now living in “The dispensation of the fullness of times” (D&C 128:18,20; 112:30-31; 138:48; 124:41; 121:31; 27:13 Eph. 1:10; ) wherein things are to be revealed which have been kept hidden from the foundation of the earth. If you think the church has merely the same run of the mill talking points to offer humanity as other contemporary Christian groups, this letter will show you that such is not the case, and that the church has a more holistic answer to life’s questions, and a more glorious hope for the future of mankind, including more compassion and joy than is traditionally allowed among “Christian” groups for those who believe differently. These things offer not only a brighter future, but a more peaceful present. (See D&C 59:23; Moses 6;59)”
[Latter-day Saints] don’t allow premarital sex, or drugs, or theft, or pornography, or lying. …
I like the [restored] church not because it’s perfect (it’s not, nor are its leaders, nor are its members), but because it seems to espouse a view of goodwill toward all men. It doesn’t teach that you go to hell for not following Jesus. It doesn’t teach that if a person isn’t a member of the church, they go to hell. It teaches that while it believes it has solutions, it realizes that others can find happiness in their several walks of life as well, even outside of the Mormon church. In fact it teaches that a person need not be a [Latter-day Saint] to go to heaven. It teaches that everyone will get to learn truth at some point, weather in this life or the next, and that truth will bless each person as they learn about it. It’s so hard to find truth in this life! So many advertisements, so many people trying to take our money, so much deceit and avarice! [The restored church] all in all teaches that the caliber of the soul is not defined by religiosity, but by how a person treats their fellows. My favorite part about it is the belief that relationships continue in heaven. That includes friendships and marriages, etc. This isn’t to say you’ll need to live with a mean parent, it’s to say that if people so choose, they can stay close to family. It teaches that Jesus Christ created the earth, and that he is not vengeful, but kind. It seems like God was mean in the old testament, but it’s so hard to understand those events of thousands of years ago; I don’t think we have all the facts; when it seems like God did something mean, I’ll bet it was more like he was defending innocent people from child molesters, etc. I’ll admit there are some things in the bible and Book of Mormon that I don’t quite understand, that don’t quite seem fair, but my observations have led me to believe that it’s overall a good organization in its principles. Also, when we hear negative about the bible or the Mormon church, we must beware of gossip and slandering. I have such a passion to learn what the bible really says that I’ve taken up the study of the Hebrew language to get at what the real story is. I can tell you, the English version often betrays the real story! I merely am trying to say that we can be careful about these things, and seek understanding from God, our hearts, and experts rather than gossip. I think we would all like to be treated fairly, and all would like gossip to end. I am not pushy, I am not a preacher to my friends, I am a friend to my friends; part of being a friend sometimes involves telling about how you feel and your outlook on life. Should your outlook be quite different than mine, that is ok; your view is similar to mine when it comes to fundamentals of respect, civility, and delight in the human species in and of itself! I indeed believe that people are inherently good, not inherently bad! Whoever teaches otherwise is a miserable person, and will pay for the damage they have done to the human race.
…Some say 16 is too young for lasting commitment in a relationship, … the man, would typically be the person to be a leader in such things, of asking for a marriage. There is something good about waiting until a slightly older age in our society for marriage; in old days it was not uncommon to marry by age 14; however in our society we train our children to be weak and immature, and incapable of handling the depth of responsibility that comes with marriage by that age. Frankly I think this is to some extent a mistake – persons can be in love at a young age… and thus rather than being expected to resist romance, they should be allowed to marry at a young age. I think it’s ridiculous that our laws forbid such things. [note: this is not to encourage marriages between persons far apart from each other in age] However, like I said, our society trains the youth to be so weak that perhaps in the context of this society it is better this way. …
… I know there is a big thing about making marijuana legal right now, but personally I’m against it. [I have seen it change the character of people into someone whom they are not.] I think it so powerful that I think it not a shameful idea to regulate it by force. Many of our piers and perhaps you see this differently, but I have such a deep seated hatred for it, that I cannot change my view on the subject. I know it’s a plant and usually things of nature are good for us, but perhaps smoking it is not the proper use. Perhaps it should be a prescribed medical treatment, I don’t know. Smoking marijuana freely, in the sense that such may be using a good thing in a bad way, might be related to how a woman’s (and a man’s) body is beautiful and a thing of pure nature, and thank God is given so we can experience a taste of divinity while being mere mortals; yet the woman’s body, though good and of nature, is prostituted in pornography in a vicious way which undoes the purpose of it’s majesty, and works toward animalistic malice rather than commitment, and thus deprives us of the deeper pleasures that could be created in sex. So I’m against pornography. Those poor girls. Those poor boys.
(and yes I believe that in heaven married persons will continue to have sex together, but with heightened pleasure; that is, unless they have been vicious with its use here on earth, then the privilege may be revoked; I also believe that people in heaven continue to have babies; I believe God is the father of our spirits, I believe God is married (heterosexual), and that is how he has us his children, by having sex. I believe sex is an eternal and divine thing that is a grand system of humanity; I believe that in heaven, married people have spirit babies with each other and send them to earths (which they have the power and pleasure of creating and governing to ensure justice and mercy are balanced in the end) so they their children can get bodies LIKE THEM and the experience needed to also become Gods. I also believe we get to keep our bodies in heaven, they are wonderful and bring much pleasure and are beautiful and good. Some think Adam and Eve sinned in having sex. No way! Sex is good. The Adam and Eve story? I think Eve is amazing! She helped Adam learn about how it’s worth it to go through pain in order to have joy! I believe we EVERY HUMAN ON EARTH will come out of their graves and be made perfect, impervious to disease and aging. Getting our bodies back is a free gift from out kind God whom made us. That’s a big part of the Jesus story, that he, the Son of God, “broke the bands of death”, and is responsible for giving everyone their body back. Some say you’ll be more free without a body. But meditation shows that we are quite capable of having larger than life experiences WHILE having bodies. So I think bodies are good. Just because we have a body in heaven doesn’t mean we can’t fly and teleport and move mountains; we just haven’t learned how to do that stuff yet, it will come. So this little rant can show you a bit more about why I think marriage and children is so important… because it’s the order of the universe… the great cycle; it is also like you said, that friendship holds up the universe, yes! The selflessness embodied in a true friend is so fundamental to anything that is good and pure enough to withstand the elements!)
… I don’t blame others for not believing in the temple thing, it’s a long story, and hard to believe. I wouldn’t believe in it were it not for deep feelings in my heart which lead me to it. Also there are many whom say bad things about temples, again, rumor exists, and it’s too long to discuss here. Just because people marry in a temple doesn’t mean they are good people, or that they will have a successful marriage, hah what a thought! As if the place of your ceremony would do that. That would be akin to assuming that a person whom has money is by default going to spend it wisely. When Megan couldn’t have children it broke our hearts, and we are very pleased to now be foster parents. Life is hard for us just like anyone else, but it’s also pleasant in its own ways.
Frankly Megan and I are quite excited about the future, we believe that either in this life (when Jesus comes in person and heals her and everyone), or after death (when our bodies get pulled out of the grave and become perfect), then Megan’s body will not be crippled, and there won’t be any pain; we will still have bodies, but they will be made incorruptible. We believe Jesus is going to come to earth to be the king of it, yes, even for a thousand years (we believe he has the right to be king of earth because he created earth). We believe the wicked (child molesters , murderers) will be burned at the time of Jesus’ coming (for evil cannot stand being in the presence of such good), BUT we do not believe that “non-religious” people will be destroyed! We believe as long as you don’t want to kill others, that’s the main requirement to “getting along” with Jesus. We believe Jesus will save us from oppressions of all kinds, and that this will be an era of peace. We believe there will be no physical death at this time (the thousand-year rule of Jesus on earth aka Millennium), and thus sorrow will go away. We believe Jesus will make earth into a heaven! We believe Jesus will settle things that have been mysterious for such a long time, like how the universe was created, and what truth is (it’s so hard to find! We believe he will IN PERSON help us with that hard thing. What a relief!). In summary of this paragraph, Megan and I deal with how hard this life is largely by our hope for a better time to come in the NEAR future. And we mean near. I can taste it, it’s almost here. The pain level is about to burst; indeed it is bursting and our hearts are dying, now alas, the relief is at the door! Weep for joy! Though our creator has left us here a while so we can grow, he has not forgotten us, and SOON comes for us! And when I say “us” I don’t mean Mormons, I mean every human with a good heart. And I ABSOLUTLY mean you. And if you prefer to not call him Jesus, you can call him something else, though I do believe this will be the name he presents to us when he comes to deliver us and finally bring peace on earth. Yes, I don’t only believe peace on earth will come, my whole psychology revolves around it, and hangs on it, weeping daily, holding on only for her sake. Building things in the confidence that they will not be utterly be destroyed by growing evil forces, trusting that surely as I live victory will absolutely be ours (the good guys) at last.
I also note that I believe in Jesus, but I can understand when others don’t. People have done evil things in the name of Christianity. The crusades, killing people in the name of Jesus? Heresy! That was evil. Then we have other episodes also the Catholic church, allowing people to indulge in sin if they pay money to a priest. Pure evil! Or we have the many types of Christians today, Protestants etc., all paying money to their preachers, hearing fair promises that are void of power, hearing doctrines that are only half way true, and a different story on each corner.
In defense of [the Latter-day Saints], I think a lot of people’s biggest buff about it is being abused by a bishop or bad council from a bishop, or a dad with “the priesthood” (as if), using that in a treacherous controlling way, pulling rank, “well I have the priesthood so do it/ so I’m right!” no no no. or that some may think Mormons are “exclusive” not inclusive; these are tough issues, and plenty of gossip to go with them, and plenty of background information required to explain the various policies of the church. But a few sentences on these things… abusive people are everywhere, in and outside of Mormonism. The church net catches all sorts of fish, some of them bad (mean) ones. So far as inclusiveness stuff, that one takes longer to explain, but I say it is inclusive, and you can ask me about that later if you like. I’m not saying I’m a latter-day saint because it’s perfect; I’m saying I am because I believe it’s of Jesus. I believe God personally came down from heaven and anointed Joseph Smith as a prophet, and that God is using the [restored] church to help people, even if the people in the church aren’t perfect, even mean in some cases. I believe the restored church will help save vast numbers of people the time gets closer to the personal reign of Jesus on earth. I believe the restored church is in fact lead by Jesus Christ, and that it is the only church on the face of the earth fully sanctioned by Jesus. Of course Jesus is not happy with sinners in the Mormon church, but I say he is using that church to do a marvelous work which has only begun.
Sometimes it’s hard to understand church policies, but we also have to remember that if there is a God, some being with perfect experience whom is trying to reach out to his creations, on some planet which has overcome the issues we are currently working on, I say if there is such a being, I think there is room for the possibility that we might not understand why he does things the way he does, similar to how a child doesn’t always understand the ways its parent uses. In saying this I’m not excusing [the church] from tyranny, no way…. But I do believe that the president of the church is legit, and Gods anointed mouthpiece on earth to direct us wandering mortals in important issues.
One of the main things people hate about it is its history of polygamy. Its purpose was to help the needy, to give marriage to those who sought it (thus bypassing the selfish men who refuse to marry) and to let an increased about of children be born into loving homes rather than abusive homes.
I believe God is patient with people… He is so patient. There may be something in your life that you aren’t all the way happy with deep inside, but it’ll be ok, it’ll all work out. Follow your heart to know when to act and how. I know even bringing up the word God is a controversy, you might rewrite that with “the spirit of the universe” or something more accommodating to your experience with the divine, the beauty. I’m so sorry if these things are not pleasant for me to say to you. Perhaps it was better for me to hold my tongue. Forgive me if this was the case. …
…I, on behalf of the males of our society, cordially apologize to you that we men are [often] such idiots, and so unwilling to marry a woman. Many women live single unmarried lives because the men are chickens. I fully confess [my opinion] that men are more often the problem than women. The men are often greedy and don’t want to share their resources, or invest in things without immediate pleasure, unwilling to have needed pain. Fools! They are selling their souls for a mess of pottage when they could have so much more with a little bit of manliness!
I do recognize that some women feel they don’t want to be “trapped” in a marriage, and think marriage hostile and unequal to them; indeed, men have a long-standing history of mistreating their wives, and not treating them as EQUAL PARTNERS IN ALL THINGS, IN ALL DECISION MAKING, IN ALL LEADERSHIP etc. I despise men who treat women unfairly, and if there is a hell, the abusive demeaning unfair husband is the prime candidate for such a place. In this regard, I am a whole-hearted feminist. I do feel however, that many women would like to marry, but can’t find a man with enough courage. I weep for women; their lot is so hard in this regard. I feel to rebuke my sex for their intolerable heartlessness. I will be blunt with you: I think a man whom uses a woman for sex then leaves without marrying her is selfish and tyrannical. Ignorant and debase. Sex is the symbol that says, “I will unite with you in all things, even my flesh itself will witness to you that WE ARE ONE.” And that means forever. Just like how the body of a person has several parts which work together to help it survive, so can be man and woman; the combination of male and female, them being one, is necessary for the survival of the human race. A person could argue in favor of test tube babies, and artificial insemination, and while these have a place, they are dangerous in that they are getting away from nature. If we leave nature, I don’t think we can expect to survive as a species. And we are too beautiful to let our species die! This being said, I respect homosexuals, they are often doing the best they can. While I don’t think their relationship is going to be as fulfilling and lasting as a a heterosexual (I would say natural, of nature) relationship, I do not seek to do them any harm. While I don’t think it’s fair for homosexual parents to raise children for the above reasons (children needing a male and female biological parent as studies have shown to be better for the children), I also won’t deny them a shelter overhead, and to share my bread with me. Perhaps I am a little off on some of these views, but I’m doing my best, and feel quite strongly about these things. I know this is a subject of controversy today, and I express my apologies if I have not been gracious enough. I have attempted to defend all persons, but that gets complicated. A mere anything goes outlook doesn’t seem to suffice when it comes to laws about forcing people to cater to each other in sensitive areas; but alas, I don’t wish to get into those things here today; I’ve already gone into far greater detail than I had thought I would. May you have mercy on me if you have identified some large fault with me. May you find friendship and dignity in me despite my not being on neutral territory on some of these issues. I recognize that same sex attraction is real, that some people are born with it, and it is a complex issue that would require much more discourse than I have provided here….
… If you have a different opinion than me on these things, I repeat that I still want to be your friend! I have an overwhelming desire to see you happy. Our culture is quite diversified, and views on sex and marriage differ greatly; I do not know your feelings on these matters, but I wish to respect them whatever they are. Your gentleness and kindness has earned my respect. May that never be forgotten… a beautiful thing about life is diversity, and a divine thing about life is having close friends whom see things differently than ourselves.
…[here by these explanations I show] you that I’m not some wierdo puritan without a heart. There are more than one way to live this life with beauty. I hope you understand.
… I wrote of religion in it not to try and change you or to suggest that you are incomplete, I merely wrote that to show you me.
…I will be sending positive thoughts into the universe about you, and pushing karma your way, and whatever else I can do to bless you.
For an audio video presentation of this document: youtube.com/watch?v=w4TYdbHHgr4
Introductory Note: The core of this document is the words of the prophets on temple marriage, but allow me a short narrative of my own thought as well:
Alma 39:11 A fornicator risky woman saying she will be your friend or lover is sent from the devil. There are healthy relationships, but the relationship with one who wants necking or petting and other tyrannical deeds, is from the devil, and is a servant of him. This woman, then, is a counterfeit of what could be good beautiful and eternal, but won’t be. So if you love this woman (you should love everyone), then tell her that you won’t be her man unless she changes her standards. Another example of this type narrative is a story of courage wherein a woman was engaged to a man, and then found out he was addicted to pornography. She straightway canceled the engagement, and told him that she would not marry him until he had gotten rid of that addiction. SHE WAS NOT GOING TO ALLOW THE DEVIL INTO HER HOME, THAT MOST INTIMATE OF PLACES. No, there was no place for negotiating at the table of her enemy! She was not going to walk into a snare of ten thousand serpents! This was not an act of cruelty, but of Christianity. She was telling the boy, “that is UNACCEPTABLE and it’s demeaning to me and you to give you the message that I think such is acceptable.” 2 years went by, and this boy had still not overcome the addiction. She found another boy without such, and is happily married in the temple. There could have been no temple marriage with the first boy, and to her, that is ENTIRELY UNACCEPTABLE! (This story can be found in “The Elephant in the Room”, a book against pornography). Yes, as a child of God you deserve more than to be married outside of the temple. If you think no one will marry you in the temple whom you are interested in romantically, then GET SOME FAITH IN THE SAVIOR OF THE WORLD JESUS CHRIST. HAS HE NOT PROMISED HIS GOODNESS TO YOU? HAS HE NOT COVENANTED WITH YOU THAT HE WILL PROVIDE? YOU HAVE BEEN BAPTIZED, AND YOU HAVE AN ETERNAL COVENANT WITH DIETY THAT HE SHALL EXALT YOU AS YOU ARE FAITHFUL AND TRUE IN ALL THINGS. DON’T MESS AROUND WITH ETERNITY. Quit playing games. This is the big leagues. Welcome to the hall of masters and champions, of Gods and eternities. Don’t mess this one up. This is what marriage is all about. So get married, and do it in the temple, and LOVE EACH OTHER! Do this one thing with your life you unworthy creatures. You are always unworthy (Alma 38:14), do this thing right. Of the many things this life has to offer, don’t mess this one up. HOLY GOD would have you exalted if you’ll just quit being so selfish and faithless, and LIVE THE COVENANT. Eternities on end, yea forever, you’ll be glad that you did. And if it means you have to leave behind some non-temple marriage interested person, then you’ll end up being a blessing to the soul of that person more so than a whole life of marriage with them could give. RISE UP Oh Israel, and do the works of your father Abraham! If letting go of a non-temple marriage is hard to you as it was for Abraham to slay his son, DO IT. Like him, PASS THE TEST. Joseph Smith has taught that for exaltation, at some point or another, we will all have to pass a test comparable to Abrahams. Take courage. This is the leap of faith. Don’t back down, ye who have been held in reserve across the millennia for this special time in the last days. No one said that the last days would be easy. Also if you don’t find a spouse in this lifetime who will marry you in the temple, KNOW, and I mean KNOW, that you’ll have one in the eternal world. This life is a blink of an eye compared to eternity. Believe ye the words of Jehovah, trust his commands, he is the one who gave you life, now let him give you eternal life by obeying him. In his holy name these things are said. Jesus Christ is the king of Glory. Marriage is a glorious thing. He is the king of marriage. If you want a happily ever after marriage, do it His way. In case I need to be any more blunt, I tell you: His way is the temple. This is the ordained and covenant way, set up from before the foundation of this, OR ANY OTHER millions of worlds he has created.
-4 Nephi 1:11 Once you marry in the covenant, you get access to the multitude of the blessings of the Lord. So you who are not married, look forward to that day with great expectation! Don’t log it into your “once college is done, once I have x amount of money, once I develop x skill” category. That’s doing it backward! Marriage is to support refine test gladden and exalt you through the process of those developments! Don’t live beneath your privileges! With a little bit of faith and sacrifice, you can have your family and your career. neither the woman without the man, in the Lord: 1 Cor. 11:11 . I will make him an help meet for him: Gen. 2:18 . ( Moses 3:18 ; Abr. 5:14 . ) shall cleave unto his wife: Gen. 2:24 . ( Matt. 19:5 ; Mark 10:7 ; Eph. 5:31 ; Moses 3:24 ; Abr. 5:18 . ) thy desire shall be to thy husband: Gen. 3:16 . ( Moses 4:22 . ) take a wife: Gen. 24:4 . surely endow her to be his wife: Ex. 22:16 . ( Deut. 22:29 . ) virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: Prov. 12:4 . ( Prov. 31:10 . ) wives shall give to their husbands honour: Esth. 1:20 . rejoice with the wife of thy youth: Prov. 5:18 . Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing: Prov. 18:22 . prudent wife is from the Lord: Prov. 19:14 .
Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest: Eccl. 9:9 . a wife treacherously departeth from her husband: Jer. 3:20 (don’t devorce and especially don’t make cause for such). let every man have his own wife: 1 Cor. 7:2 . unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife: 1 Cor. 7:14 . He that loveth his wife loveth himself: Eph. 5:28 . I will therefore that the younger women marry: 1 Tim. 5:14 .
teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands: Titus 2:4 . his sons should take daughters to wife: 1 Ne. 7:1 . • sacred support which we owe to our wives: Alma 44:5 .
In memory of our … wives, and our children: Alma 46:12 .
preparing to support their liberty … their wives: Alma 48:10 . ( Alma 48:10–11 . )
Pray … that your wives and your children may be blessed: 3 Ne. 18:21 .
thy calling shall be for a comfort unto … thy husband: D&C 25:5 . ( D&C 25:13–15 . )
Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart: D&C 42:22 .
it is lawful that he should have one wife: D&C 49:16 .
if a man marry a wife by my word: D&C 132:19 .
-“We have trespassed … have taken strange wives”: Ezra 10:2 . ( Ezra 10:10 . ) This means don’t marry outside of the covenant, outside of the religion, outside of the temple.
-“Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan”: Gen. 28:1 . This means don’t marry outside of the covenant, outside of the religion, outside of the temple.
-“The question is frequently asked: Should every young man fill a mission? And the answer has been given by the Lord. It is ‘Yes.’ Every young man should fill a mission. …
“… Every man should also pay his tithing. Every man should observe the Sabbath. Every man should attend his meetings. Every man should marry in the temple” (President Spencer W. Kimball, “When the World Will Be Converted,” Ensign, Oct. 1974, p. 8).
-“You will clearly perceive, from the revelation which God has given, that you can never obtain a fulness of glory, without being married to a righteous man for time and for all eternity. If you marry a man who receives not the gospel, you lay a foundation for sorrow in this world, besides losing the privilege of enjoying the society of a husband in eternity. You forfeit your right to an endless increase of immortal lives. And even the children which you may be favoured with in this life, will not be entrusted to your charge in eternity, but you will be left in that world without a husband, without a family, without a kingdom, without any means of enlarging yourselves, being subject to the principalities and powers who are counted worthy of families, and kingdoms, and thrones, and the increase of dominions forever. To them you will be servants and angels—that is, provided that your conduct should be such as to secure this measure of glory. Can it be possible that any females, after knowing these things, will suffer themselves to keep company with persons out of this Church?
It matters not how great the morality of such persons may be, nor how kind they may be to you, they are not numbered with the people of God; they are not in the way of salvation, they cannot save themselves nor their families, and after what God has revealed upon this subject, you cannot be justified, for one moment, in keeping their company. It would be infinitely better for you to suffer poverty and tribulation with the people of God, than to place yourselves under the power of those who will not embrace the great truth of heaven. By marrying an unbeliever, you place yourselves in open disobedience to the command of God requiring his people to gather together. Do you expect to be saved in direct violation of the command of heaven?” (Elder Orson Pratt, Millennial Star, XV: 584).
-“How is it with you, sisters? Do you distinguish between a man of God and a man of the world? It is one of the strangest things that happens in my existence, to think that any man or woman can love a being that will not receive the truth of heaven. The love this gospel produces is far above the love of women; it is the love of God—the love of eternity—of eternal lives.” (Discourses of Brigham Young, pp. 195-197, 1934 edition)
-“I would rather go myself to the grave than to be associated with a wife outside of the bonds of the new and everlasting covenant. Now, I hold it just so sacred; but some members of the Church do not so regard the matter. Some people feel that it does not make very much difference whether a girl marries a man in the Church, full of the faith of the gospel, or an unbeliever. Some of our young people have married outside of the Church; but very few of those who have done it have failed to come to grief. I would like to see Latter-day Saint men marry Latter-day Saint women; and Methodists marry Methodists, Catholics marry Catholics; and Presbyterians marry Presbyterians, and so on to the limit. Let them keep within the pale of their own faith and church, and marry and intermarry there, and let the Latter-day Saints do the same thing in their Church. Then we will see who comes out best in the end.” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, p. 380, 1919 edition)
-“I want to call your attention to the fact that a great many of our beautiful girls and our fine young men that have been born under the covenant are being married out of the Church and out of the temple of God. Furthermore, I have discovered by reading the newspapers that the parents of many of these young people seem to rejoice in it, and so they put big articles and fine pictures in the papers in regard to the entertainments, the receptions, that are going to be given, and they seem to be very proud of the fact that their daughters are to be married or their sons are to be married and they are going to be married by some minister of some other church, maybe by a bishop of this Church who can only marry them for time—he cannot marry them for eternity—and they seem to be happy about it. I do not know how they can, in the face of all that the Lord has revealed. For every contract, every bond, every covenant that is made that is not according to the Lord’s will and commandment, and enforced by his law will of necessity come to an end (D&C 132:7). These young people who seem to be so happy now, when they rise in the resurrection, and find themselves in the condition in which they will find themselves, then there will be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, bitterness of soul, and they have brought it upon themselves because of their lack of faith and understanding of the gospel, and from, I am sorry to say, the encouragement they have received many times from their own parents.
I am quite satisfied in my own mind that the parents are not teaching their children in the home the importance of marriage as the Lord has revealed it. Out in the world they have a false notion about marriage, because they have not the guidance of the Holy Ghost, and they cannot understand and properly interpret the scriptures. The first marriage that was ever performed in this world, that is on this earth, let me say; not in this world, but on this earth—was performed before there was any death. What the Lord said in answering the question of the Jews:. . . What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder (Matt. 19:6), means nothing more nor less than this: that where God joins in marriage, man cannot put it asunder. And the Lord never does anything just for time. Everything is for eternity. … To those who are satisfied with a marriage for time only, I want to raise a warning voice, to both parents and to the children who have that sort of idea. Of course there are people who are not worthy to go to the temple, and therefore should not go to the temple. No one should go to the temple except those who are worthy, as the Lord has said, “who have overcome by faith,” and are cleansed and are just and true (D&C 76:53). Then they can go to the temple. If they are unclean, if they lack the faith, they had better stay out until they get the faith and are clean.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Conference Report, October 1946, pp. 35-39) (http://scriptures.byu.edu/gettalk.php?ID=253)
-“ Those other classes I have mentioned have neglected the new and everlasting covenant of marriage: They cannot inherit this glory and these kingdoms—they cannot be crowned in the celestial world. What purpose will they serve? They will be sent on errands—be sent to other worlds as missionaries to minister, they will be sent on whatever business the Lord sees proper; in other words, they will be servants. To whom will they be servants? To those who have obeyed and remained faithful to the new and everlasting covenant, and have been exalted to thrones; to those who have covenanted before God with wives so that they may raise up and multiply immortal intelligent beings through all the ages of eternity. Here is the distinction of classes, but all of the same glory, called celestial glory.” (Orson Pratt, JD 15:321-322. Jan. 19, 1873) (http://en.fairmormon.org/Journal_of_Discourses/15/39)
-“ 9 Will I accept of an offering, saith the Lord, that is not made in my name?
10 Or will I receive at your hands that which I have not appointed?
11 And will I appoint unto you, saith the Lord, except it be by law, even as I and my Fatherordained unto you, before the world was?
12 I am the Lord thy God; and I give unto you this commandment—that no man shall come unto the Father but by me or by my word, which is my law, saith the Lord.
13 And everything that is in the world, whether it be ordained of men, by thrones, or principalities, or powers, or things of name, whatsoever they may be, that are not by me or by my word, saith the Lord, shall be thrown down, and shall not remain after men are dead, neither in nor after the resurrection, saith the Lord your God.
14 For whatsoever things remain are by me; and whatsoever things are not by me shall be shaken and destroyed.
15 Therefore, if a man marry him a wife in the world, and he marry her not by me nor by my word, and he covenant with her so long as he is in the world and she with him, their covenant and marriage are not of force when they are dead, and when they are out of the world; therefore, they are not bound by any law when they are out of the world.
16 Therefore, when they are out of the world they neither marry nor are given in marriage; but are appointed angels in heaven, which angels are ministering servants, to minister for those who are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory.
17 For these angels did not abide my law; therefore, they cannot be enlarged, but remain separately and singly, without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity; and from henceforth are not gods, but are angels of God forever and ever.” (D&C 132:9-17)
-“The family is the most important organization in time or in eternity. Our purpose in life is to create for ourselves eternal family units. There is nothing that will ever come into your family life that is as important as the sealing blessings of the temple and then keeping the covenants made in connection with this order of celestial marriage” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1972, 13; or Ensign, July 1972, 27). (Eternal Marriage and Family student Manual of the Church on page 14 see https://www.lds.org/bc/content/shared/content/english/pdf/language-materials/35311_eng.pdf)
-“Members of the Church believe that marriages performed in temples are “sealed,” or blessed to last for eternity. The concept that the family unit can continue beyond the grave as a conscious, loving entity, with the marriage partnership and parent-child relationships intact, is a core belief of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Once a couple is married and sealed in a temple, any children who are then born to them are automatically sealed to them at birth. If children are born before the couple is sealed, those children can later participate in a temple sealing with their parents. Children that are adopted also have an opportunity to be sealed to the adoptive parents.
The concept of eternal families comes from scripture and modern-day revelation. For instance, the New Testament reference in Matthew 16:19 records Jesus Christ telling the Apostle Peter: “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” The Church equates the word “bind” with “seal.”
According to research cited in a 2000 article in the Los Angeles Times, “in an era of divorce, Mormon temple weddings are built to last,” with only a 6 percent divorce rate. Another study, published in 1993 in Demography Magazine, concluded that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who marry in one of the Church’s temples are the least likely of all Americans to divorce.” (http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/temple-marriage)
–“Marriage. . . is the most glorious and most exalting principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ. No ordinance is of more importance and none more sacred and more necessary to the eternal joy of man. Faithfulness to the marriage covenant brings the fullest joy here and glorious rewards hereafter.” (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson , 533–34)
–At the creation of man and woman, unity for them in marriage was not given as hope; it was a command! ‘Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh (Genesis 2:24). (Elder Henry B Eyring
-Our Heavenly Father wants our hearts to be knit together. That union in love is not simply an ideal. It is a necessity (Elder Henry B. Eyring Ensign, May 1998, 66).
–Happiness in marriage and parenthood can exceed a thousand times any other happiness (Elder James E Faust Ensign, Nov. 1977, 11)
–If you will make your first concern the comfort, the well-being, and the happiness of your companion, sublimating any personal concern to that loftier goal, you will be happy, and your marriage will go on through eternity (President Gordon B. Hinckley quoted in “Graduates Receive Challenge from Prophet,” Church News, 6 May 1995, 11).
–“Soul mates” are fiction and an illusion; and while every young man and young woman will seek with all diligence and prayerfulness to find a mate with whom life can be most compatible and beautiful, yet it is certain that almost any good man and any good woman can have happiness and a successful marriage if both are willing to pay the price (President Spencer W. Kimball Devotional address given at Brigham Young University on September 7, 1976, found at http://speeches.byu.edu/ ).
–President David O. McKay (1873–1970) observed that too many couples come to “marriage looking upon the marriage ceremony as the end of courtship instead of the beginning of an eternal courtship. … Love can be starved to death as literally as the body that receives no sustenance. Love feeds upon kindness and courtesy” (Man May Know for Himself: Teachings of President David O. McKay, compiled by Clare Middlemiss , 289).
–[The Lord] has indicated that the greatest work we parents can do is performed in our homes, and our homes can be heaven, particularly when our marriages are sealed in the house of God. (President Thomas S. Monson “Blessings of the Temple,” Ensign, October 2010)
–Marriage is the foundry for social order, the fountain of virtue, and the foundation for eternal exaltation. Marriage has been divinely designated as an eternal and everlasting covenant. Marriage is sanctified when it is cherished and honored in holiness. That union is not merely between husband and wife; it embraces a partnership with God. (Elder Russel M Nelson “Nurturing Marriage,” Ensign, May 2006, 36)
–“The lawful association of the sexes is ordained of God, not only as the sole means of race perpetuation, but for the development of the higher faculties and nobler traits of human nature, which the love inspired companionship of man and woman alone can insure” (President Joseph Fielding Smith “Unchastity the Dominant Evil of the Age,” Improvement Era, June 1917, 739).
–“Marriage is perhaps the most vital of all the decisions and has the most far-reaching effects, for it has to do not only with immediate happiness, but also with eternal joys. It affects not only the two people involved, but also their families and particularly their children and their children’s children down through the many generations” (President Spencer W Kimball “Oneness in Marriage,” Ensign, Mar. 1977, 3).
–“This will be the most important decision of your life, the individual whom you marry. …
“… Marry the right person in the right place at the right time” (President Gordon B. Hinckley
“Life’s Obligations,” Ensign, Feb. 1999, 2).
–“The most important things that any member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ever does in this world are: 1. To marry the right person, in the right place, by the right authority; and 2. To keep the covenant made in connection with this holy and perfect order of matrimony” (Elder Bruce R. McConkie
Mormon Doctrine, 118).
-“Honorable marriage is approved of the Lord. Indeed, the scriptures teach that “marriage is ordained of God” for His children (D&C 49:15), and also “whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever.” (Eccl. 3:14.) His way of everlasting marriage is filled with hope and promise, and is designed to lead to happiness here and to an eternal stewardship like that of God himself…Wonderful promises are sealed upon a man and woman in temple marriage, and the realization of the promised blessings is related directly to their understanding and keeping the solemn commitments they make to each other and the Lord…No one should be unwise enough to count on an across-the-crowded-room romanticized live-happily- ever-after marriage made without proper thoughtfulness, preparation, and prayer. Marriage is an everyday and every-way relationship in which honesty and character and shared convictions and objectives and views about finances and family and life-style are more important than moonlight and music and an attractive profile…The surest basis for all of this is to be worthily married in the temple. But temple marriage is not an isolated ordinance. It serves both as a culmination of other ordinances and the foundation for family and the eternal future…Two who desire an eternal marriage cannot establish that relationship until each has personally made sacred covenants with the Lord. These covenants center in principles that are basic in a truly Christian life and in the foundation of a good marriage and family…In the temple we make commitments to follow Him in doing God’s will and keeping His commandments, in valuing others and in unselfishly serving, in loving God and our fellowmen….So wherever we are with respect to marriage—years from it, close to it, or deeply committed in it—we must be wise, be faithful to the commandments of God, be true. Marriage is the closest and most intimate relationship one makes in this life, and the most serious and sacred decision. If you haven’t been to the Lord’s house, get ready, be clean, prepare to come to establish the foundation for a special, happy, eternal marriage…Parley P. Pratt said after he met the Prophet in Philadelphia that “it was from him that I learned that the wife of my bosom might be secured to me for time and all eternity; and that the refined sympathies and affections which endeared us to each other emanated from the foundation of divine eternal love. It was from the Prophet that I learned that we might cultivate these affections, and grow and increase in the same to all eternity.” (Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1938, pp. 297–98.)…We are grateful to know that our family will relate with us eternally, even as we will with those who gave us mortal life, and all of us together will find a loving place ultimately and a continuing relationship under the holy influence of Him whose spirit children we are and of Him whose holy sacrifice brought us the blessings of eternal life. Of this I testify, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.” (Elder Marion D. Hanks Conf. Report
-“It [eternal marriage] is without beginning of days or end of years. … We can tell some things with regard to it; it lays the foundation for worlds, for angels, and for the Gods; for intelligent beings to be crowned with glory, immortality, and eternal lives. In fact, it is the thread which runs from the beginning to the end of the holy Gospel of Salvation—of the Gospel of the Son of God; it is from eternity to eternity” (Teachings of the Prophet Brigham Young Ch. 23 Understanding the New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-brigham-young/chapter-23?lang=eng(Brigham Young DBY, 195).)
-“We find quite a large number of young people who have arrived at a marriageable age and still they remain single. … Our young men and women should consider their obligations to each other, to God, the earth, their parents, and to future generations for their salvation and exaltation among the Gods and for the glory of Him whom we serve” (Teachings of the Prophet Brigham Young Ch. 23 Understanding the New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-brigham-young/chapter-23?lang=eng (DNSW, 25 Oct. 1870, 2).)
-“I will give each of the young men in Israel, who have arrived at an age to marry, a mission to go straightway and get married to a good sister, fence a city lot, lay out garden and orchard and make a home. This is the mission that I give to all young men in Israel (DBY, 196).” (Teachings of the Prophet Brigham Young Ch. 23 Understanding the New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-brigham-young/chapter-23?lang=eng)
-“There is not a young man in our community who would not be willing to travel from here to England to be married right, if he understood things as they are; there is not a young woman in our community, who loves the Gospel and wishes its blessings, that would be married in any other way; they would live unmarried until they could be married as they should be, [even] if they lived until they were as old as Sarah before she had Isaac born to her [see Genesis 17:17]. Many of our brethren have married off their children without taking this into consideration, and thinking it a matter of little importance. I wish we all understood this in the light in which heaven understands it (DBY, 195–96).” (Teachings of the Prophet Brigham Young Ch. 23 Understanding the New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-brigham-young/chapter-23?lang=eng)
-“One of the first transgressions of the family called Israel, was their going to other families or other nations to select partners. This was one of the great mistakes made by the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, for they would go and marry with other families, although the Lord had forbidden them to do so, and had given them a very strict and stringent law on the subject [see Genesis 28:1–2]. He commanded them not to marry among the Gentiles, but they did and would do it [see Genesis 24:3] (DBY, 196).” (Teachings of the Prophet Brigham Young Ch. 23 Understanding the New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-brigham-young/chapter-23?lang=eng)
-“Be careful, O ye mothers of Israel, and do not teach your daughters in future, as many of them have been taught, to marry out of Israel. Woe to you who do it; you will lose your crowns as sure as God lives (DBY, 196).” (Teachings of the Prophet Brigham Young Ch. 23 Understanding the New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-brigham-young/chapter-23?lang=eng)
-“There are multitudes of pure and holy spirits waiting to take tabernacles, now what is our duty? … It is the duty of every righteous man and woman to prepare tabernacles for all the spirits they can (DBY, 197).” (Teachings of the Prophet Brigham Young Ch. 23 Understanding the New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-brigham-young/chapter-23?lang=eng)
-“Now let me say to the First Presidency, to the Apostles, to all the Bishops in Israel, and to every quorum, and especially to those who are presiding officers, set that example before your [wife] and your children, before your neighbors and this people, that you can say: “Follow me, as I follow Christ.” When we do this, all is right, and our consciences are clear (DBY, 198).” (Teachings of the Prophet Brigham Young Ch. 23 Understanding the New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-brigham-young/chapter-23?lang=eng)
-“Let the husband and father learn to bend his will to the will of his God, and then instruct his [wife] and children in this lesson of self-government by his example as well as by precept, and his neighbors also, showing them how to be brave and steadfast, in subduing the rebellious and sinful disposition. Such a course as this will eventually subdue that unhallowed influence which works upon the human heart (DBY, 198).” (Teachings of the Prophet Brigham Young Ch. 23 Understanding the New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-brigham-young/chapter-23?lang=eng)
-“If we do not take the pains to train our children, to teach and instruct them concerning these revealed truths, the condemnation will be upon us, as parents, or at least in a measure (DBY, 207).” (Teachings of the Prophet Brigham Young Ch. 23 Understanding the New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-brigham-young/chapter-23?lang=eng)
-“The difficulties and hazards of marriage are greatly increased where backgrounds are different” (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 302). (https://www.lds.org/manual/eternal-marriage-student-manual/mate-selection?lang=eng)
-“I have warned the youth against the many hazards of interfaith marriage, and with all the power I possessed, I warned young people to avoid the sorrows and disillusionments which come from marrying out of the Church and the unhappy situations which almost invariably result when a believer marries an unbelieving spouse. I pointed out the demands of the Church upon its members in time, energy, and funds; the deepness of the spiritual ties which tighten after marriage and as the family comes; the antagonisms which naturally follow such mismating; the fact that these and many other reasons argue eloquently for marriage within the Church, where husband and wife have common backgrounds, common ideals and standards, common beliefs, hopes, and objectives, and, above all, where marriage may be eternalized through righteous entry into the holy temple. …
“… We recommend that people marry those who are of … somewhat the same economic and social and educational background (some of those are not an absolute necessity, but preferred), and above all, the same religious background, without question” (“Marriage and Divorce,” 142–44). (https://www.lds.org/manual/eternal-marriage-student-manual/mate-selection?lang=eng)
-“There is no substitute for marrying in the temple. It is the only place under the heavens where marriage can be solemnized for eternity. Don’t cheat yourself. Don’t cheat your companion. Don’t shortchange your lives. Marry the right person in the right place at the right time.
“Choose a companion of your own faith. You are much more likely to be happy. Choose a companion you can always honor, you can always respect, one who will complement you in your own life, one to whom you can give your entire heart, your entire love, your entire allegiance, your entire loyalty. …
“… I could not wish for any of you more than I have had in my companionship with my beautiful wife.
“A good marriage requires time. It requires effort. You have to work at it. You have to cultivate it. You have to forgive and forget. You have to be absolutely loyal one to another. Most of you will marry and have children. They will become the source of your greatest pride and happiness. …
“All of this can come to pass if you make this most important decision, one guided by prayer as well as instinct, of choosing a dear companion who will be yours through thick and thin forever, throughout all eternity” (President Gordon B. Hinckley “Life’s Obligations,” Ensign, Feb. 1999, 2, 4).(https://www.lds.org/manual/eternal-marriage-student-manual/mate-selection?lang=eng)
-“The right person is someone for whom the natural and wholesome and normal affection that should exist does exist. It is the person who is living so that he or she can go to the temple of God and make the covenants that we there make” (Elder Bruce R. McConkie in Conference Report, Sept.–Oct. 1955, 13).(https://www.lds.org/manual/eternal-marriage-student-manual/mate-selection?lang=eng)
-“There is more to a foundation of eternal marriage than a pretty face or an attractive figure. There is more to consider than popularity or charisma. As you seek an eternal companion, look for someone who is developing the essential attributes that bring happiness: a deep love of the Lord and of His commandments, a determination to live them, one that is kindly understanding, forgiving of others, and willing to give of self, with the desire to have a family crowned with beautiful children and a commitment to teach them the principles of truth in the home.
“An essential priority of a prospective wife is the desire to be a wife and mother. She should be developing the sacred qualities that God has given His daughters to excel as a wife and mother: patience, kindliness, a love of children, and a desire to care for them rather than seeking professional pursuits. She should be acquiring a good education to prepare for the demands of motherhood.
“A prospective husband should also honor his priesthood and use it in service to others. Seek a man who accepts his role as provider of the necessities of life, has the capacity to do it, and is making concerted efforts to prepare himself to fulfill those responsibilities.
“I suggest that you not ignore many possible candidates who are still developing these attributes, seeking the one who is perfected in them. You will likely not find that perfect person, and if you did, there would certainly be no interest in you. These attributes are best polished together as husband and wife” (Elder Richard G. Scott in Conference Report, Apr. 1999, 31; or Ensign, May 1999, 26). (https://www.lds.org/manual/eternal-marriage-student-manual/mate-selection?lang=eng)
-“When the daughters of Zion are asked by the young men to join with them in marriage, instead of asking—‘Has this man a fine brick house, a span of fine horses and a fine carriage?’ they should ask—‘Is he a man of God? Has he the Spirit of God with him? Is he a Latter-day Saint? Does he pray? Has he got the Spirit upon him to qualify him to build up the kingdom?’ If he has that, never mind the carriage and brick house, take hold and unite yourselves together according to the law of God” (in Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, 271). (https://www.lds.org/manual/eternal-marriage-student-manual/mate-selection?lang=eng)
-“Dear sisters, never lose sight of this sacred goal [of a temple marriage]. Prayerfully prepare for it and live for it. Be married the Lord’s way. Temple marriage is a gospel ordinance of exaltation. Our Father in Heaven wants each of His daughters to have this eternal blessing.
“Therefore, don’t trifle away your happiness by involvement with someone who cannot take you worthily to the temple. Make a decision now that this is the place where you will marry. To leave that decision until a romantic involvement develops is to take a risk the importance of which you cannot now fully calculate.
“And remember, you are not required to lower your standards in order to get a mate. Keep yourselves attractive, maintain high standards, maintain your self-respect. Do not engage in intimacies that bring heartache and sorrow. Place yourselves in a position to meet worthy men and be engaged in constructive activities.
“But also, do not expect perfection in your choice of a mate. Do not be so concerned about his physical appearance and his bank account that you overlook his more important qualities. Of course, he should be attractive to you, and he should be able to financially provide for you. But, does he have a strong testimony? Does he live the principles of the gospel and magnify his priesthood? Is he active in his ward and stake? Does he love home and family, and will he be a faithful husband and a good father? These are qualities that really matter.
“And I would also caution you single sisters not to become so independent and self-reliant that you decide marriage isn’t worth it and you can do just as well on your own. Some of our sisters indicate that they do not want to consider marriage until after they have completed their degrees or pursued a career. This is not right. Certainly we want our single sisters to maximize their individual potential, to be well educated, and to do well at their present employment. You have much to contribute to society, to your community, and to your neighborhood. But we earnestly pray that our single sisters will desire honorable marriage in the temple to a worthy man and rear a righteous family, even though this may mean the sacrificing of degrees and careers. Our priorities are right when we realize there is no higher calling than to be an honorable wife and mother” (President Ezra Taft Benson “To the Single Adult Sisters of the Church, “Ensign, Nov. 1988, 96–97).(https://www.lds.org/manual/eternal-marriage-student-manual/mate-selection?lang=eng)
-“Honorable marriage is more important than wealth, position, and status. As husband and wife, you can achieve your life’s goals together. As you sacrifice for each other and your children, the Lord will bless you, and your commitment to the Lord and your service in His kingdom will be enhanced” (President Ezra Taft Benson in Conference Report, Apr. 1988, 59; or Ensign, May 1988, 53). (https://www.lds.org/manual/eternal-marriage-student-manual/mate-selection?lang=eng)
-“I hope you will not put off marriage too long. I do not speak as much to the young women as to the young men whose prerogative and responsibility it is to take the lead in this matter. Don’t go on endlessly in a frivolous dating game. Look for a choice companion, one you can love, honor, and respect, and make a decision” (President Gordon B. Hinckley “Thou Shalt Not Covet,” Ensign, Mar. 1990, 6).(https://www.lds.org/manual/eternal-marriage-student-manual/mate-selection?lang=eng)
-“Use both agency and prayer. It is not, never has been, and never will be the design and purpose of the Lord—however much we seek him in prayer—to answer all our problems and concerns without struggle and effort on our part. This mortality is a probationary estate. In it we have our agency. We are being tested to see how we will respond in various situations; how we will decide issues; what course we will pursue while we are here walking, not by sight, but by faith. Hence, we are to solve our own problems and then to counsel with the Lord in prayer and receive a spiritual confirmation that our decisions are correct” (Elder Bruce R. McConkie “Why the Lord Ordained Prayer,” Ensign, Jan. 1976, 11).(https://www.lds.org/manual/eternal-marriage-student-manual/mate-selection?lang=eng)
-“… When a choice will make a real difference in our lives—obvious or not—and when we are living in tune with the Spirit and seeking his guidance, we can be sure we will receive the guidance we need to attain our goal” (Elder Dallin H. Oaks “Revelation,” 25–26). (https://www.lds.org/manual/eternal-marriage-student-manual/mate-selection?lang=eng)
-“We have no scriptural justification, however, for the belief that we had the privilege of choosing our parents and our life companions in the spirit world. This belief has been advocated by some, and it is possible that in some instances it is true, but it would require too great a stretch of the imagination to believe it to be so in all, or even in the majority of cases. Most likely we came where those in authority decided to send us. Our agency may not have been exercised to the extent of making choice of parents and posterity” (Elder Joseph Fielding Smith Way to Perfection, 44).(https://www.lds.org/manual/eternal-marriage-student-manual/mate-selection?lang=eng)
–“It does not matter if it interrupts your schooling or delays your career or your marriage—or basketball. Unless you have a serious health problem, every Latter-day Saint young man should answer the call to serve a mission” (Elder Boyd K. Packer in Conference Report, Apr. 1984, 61; or Ensign, May 1984, 42). (https://www.lds.org/manual/eternal-marriage-student-manual/mate-selection?lang=eng)
-“There is increasing evidence that some young women are being strongly encouraged to serve full-time missions. Though capable and effective, young women do not have the same responsibility to serve full-time missions as do young men who hold the priesthood. We are grateful that some desire to serve as full-time missionaries, but they should not be made to feel obligated to do so. A young woman should not be recommended for a mission if it would interfere with a specific marriage proposal” (Church Bulletin, 1993, no. 2, p. 2). (https://www.lds.org/manual/eternal-marriage-student-manual/mate-selection?lang=eng)
-“I am not trying to urge you younger men to marry too early. I think therein is one of the hazards of today’s living. We don’t want a young man to think of marriage until he is able to take care of a family, to have an institution of his own, to be independent. He must make sure that he has found the girl of his choice, they have gone together long enough that they know each other, and that they know each other’s faults and they still love each other. I have said to the mission presidents (some of whom have been reported to us as saying to missionaries, ‘Now, if you are not married in six months, you are a failure as a missionary’), ‘Don’t you ever say that to one of your missionaries. Maybe in six months they will not have found a wife; and if they take you seriously, they may rush into a marriage that will be wrong for them.’ “Please don’t misunderstand what we are saying; but, brethren, think more seriously about the obligations of marriage for those who bear the holy priesthood at a time when marriage should be the expectation of every man who understands the responsibility; for remember, brethren, that only those who enter into the new and everlasting covenant of marriage in the temple for time and eternity, only those will have the exaltation in the celestial kingdom. That is what the Lord tells us” (President Harold B. Lee in Conference Report, Oct. 1973, 120; or Ensign, Jan. 1974, 100). (https://www.lds.org/manual/eternal-marriage-student-manual/mate-selection?lang=eng)
-“When full-time missionaries return home, they should be counseled concerning such matters as continuing their education or employment, strengthening family relationships, participating actively in the Church, paying tithes and offerings, and preparing for temple marriage. It is unwise, however, to ‘recommend that missionaries be married within a specific time. The decision to marry is so important that it should be made only after the most prayerful and careful consideration by the individual.’ (Mission President’s Handbook , 1990, p. 23)” (Bulletin, 1993, no. 1, 2). (https://www.lds.org/manual/eternal-marriage-student-manual/mate-selection?lang=eng)
These are excerpts from a conversation with a friend which have broad application. Names withheld.
- Disclaimer: Limitations of and Suggested Sources for 3rd Party Marriage Advice
- “My spouse wants to change me”
- “My partner says I’m not giving my best effort since we got married”
- “My partner complains that I’m a stay at home mom, says I don’t do anything”
- “My spouse and I have been arguing a lot, serious side effects are arising”
- “Some say I shouldn’t make such a big deal of our marriage issues”
- “My spouse says my criticism of him and the opinion of my therapist are one sided and thus irrelevant”
- Note: a few things to do regularly
Disclaimer: Limitations of and Suggested Sources for 3rd Party Marriage Advice
You’re aware that when possible we keep marital issues inside the marriage, but you also understand that more serious/ongoing issues can necessitate a different approach.
Your councilor and bishop can go into more specifics and detailed plans for your marriage, I will keep things on a general basis.
Since I only know a little about your situation some of what I say can be irrelevant or offensive, so apologies in advance.
- “My spouse wants to change me, is nagging et.”
The wanting to change your spouse thing is tough, because we want to help each other be our best selves, but the issue is when we are impatient or proud about how we go about that. I’m sure there are things in your husband you’d like to change, just like there are things in you he would like to change. I’ve heard some speak of accepting their partner as they are; there is much of that which needs to go on, but a high expression of love is seeking someone’s growth. But this must be done in the Lord’s way and time.
- “My partner says I’m not giving my best effort since we got married”
As for a complaint of not giving full effort since marriage, we often have ideas pre-marriage which don’t reflect reality post marriage. It’s natural to want ‘Zion’ to come faster than its coming, but we have much to learn about what ‘Zion’/ideal really is, and how to get there. It’s like the ancient missionary question ‘why doesn’t God just send angels to preach and baptize everyone?’ The answer being baptizing is only half the goal, the other half is teaching missionaries how to work with people. Having the weekly family meeting will help spousal complaints be regular and from both sides rather than occasional blowups from one side or the other.
- “My partner complains that I’m a stay at home mom, says I don’t do anything”
As for being a stay at home mom, my wife is too. I think that is a very special arrangement. I think a core issue here is that we must avoid comparing ourselves to others. It’s also quite popular to have both spouses contribute to the family income; That may or may not be the right thing for your family. I for one believe housekeeping and childrearing is more than a full-time job. Different families have different systems of who does what, it seems the best is to let whoever is most interested/skilled in a thing oversee that thing, be it shopping, cooking, budgeting etc., though both should be sensitive to each other’s needs and wants.
- “My spouse and I have been arguing a lot, serious side effects are arising”
– Something that me and everyone else needs is marriage education. I’ve been married about 5 years, studied family life in college, and still it’s hard for me often to work on my marriage. Point being, it’s hard for any man to deal with emotional/marital issues. You can suggest to your husband in a polite but important way that you want to do regular marriage education studies with him, be that in an informal (the YouTube videos, or reading marriage books together) or if he is willing, seeing a bishop together (can see him alone too, but seeing him together is genius) or a therapist together. Your husband holds religion as a high priority so try and get an LDS therapist. My wife and I worked with a great lady at the BYU therapy place named Lauren Barnes her contact info is 247 TLRB (801) 422-3889 firstname.lastname@example.org. Your bishop will likely have other local resources for therapists. Men often resist therapy so you may have to be creative (and patient).
-One of my favorite therapists is Dr. John Gottman. He has lots of YouTube videos which make for good FHE and date night material. Short clips that help start conversations etc. Gottman is famous for his ‘4 horsemen of the apocalypse’ (defensiveness, contempt, stonewalling, criticism) which he says if remain present in a relationship will, like the apocalyptic horsemen, bring destruction to a marriage. Gottman gives examples of these. I.e. Defensiveness is when you tell someone an issue and they throw it back at you rather than taking accountability for it. Stonewalling would be like refusing to go to couples counseling. Criticism would be like focusing on the lacking aspects of one’s spouse.
- “Some say I shouldn’t make such a big deal of our marriage issues”
-This brings up another thing I wanted to mention: when people are dismissive about your marriage problems, saying it’s just a phase, give it time, etc., beware that council. Divorce is a real thing and happens to amazing people like your husband and yourself who find themselves in difficult, even if only temporarily difficult, circumstances. Marriages need lots of maintaining, its particularly hard for men to understand that. If your husband is anything like me, he will think he is doing a great job, and learn that he needs to do even more to meet the high bar marriage sets for men to rise to. I think men underestimate how difficult managing a marriage can be, I know I do. Getting your spouse to be committed to relationship education and maintenance is perhaps the biggest hurtle. This doesn’t mean be doom and gloom, it means follow your promptings about issues that need addressing. You can do this while heeding the council of your therapist to ‘not let things bother you so much’.
-I recently discovered FB groups, there’s one called LDS healthy sexuality for women where women can bring up hard marriage questions in a private group. There are others but that’s one I know of specifically for women. I’ll bet they’re willing to talk about more than just sexuality since everything plays into sexuality. There’s probably some called ‘LDS mothers’ or ‘LDS marriage’ which may be a better fit for you. I like LDS groups because they have a unique understanding of the standards and ideas we face as LDS people. There are some FB groups like these for men.
- “My spouse says my criticism of him and the opinion of my therapist is one sided and thus irrelevant”
-The idea about a ‘paradigm shift’ being irrelevant because its only your perspective; That’s where couples therapy is so key: getting him to go with you to see bishop & therapist. It’s important that you both feel like your voice is being heard! Only then can you build solutions together. To me, this is sort of impossible if only 1 of you is getting therapy. Some people don’t trust therapists but trust bishops, you may need to start there and get to couples therapy a little later. If that’s the situation, it would help if a bishop could suggest to you together that you have marriage counseling. Often the church will even pay for it. I was a finance clerk I know. If you’ve hit a wall and he won’t talk to bishop with you, let him know how serious this is – the suicidality, the thoughts of running, etc. Tell him you love him but that you need help, and that to get that help he needs to be present for the therapy/bishop meetings at least some of the time. (The school of psychology and the school of family studies sort of split on this idea: the need for individual therapy vs the need for therapy with family members involved, that’s why I studied family studies instead of psychology, my strong belief in couple’s therapy.) Seeing a bishop together for a while may be sufficient and you won’t need to see a professional therapist together. Bishops are a good place to start. Bishops can discern council for you, often that council is to get professional counseling. Again, most guys resist the idea of counseling; ya’ll may not need it but with the symptoms you described, I’d say better safe than sorry, and it can only help. There is no shame in getting couples therapy, only shame in avoiding marital problems. And don’t be ashamed of your symptoms. I’m not saying I know what ya’ll should do, I’m just saying that therapy is in my experience 95% of the time helpful for these important situations/road blocks. Ya’ll may do a few months and sort things out and be good to go, ya’ll may need to do couples therapy for a long-term basis – either way, it’s worth it if it means saving a marriage or making a good marriage into a great marriage. You may be able to sort things out without therapy, but one thing is certain: some sorting out needs to happen, and it’s probably not going to happen overnight.
- Note: a few things to do regularly:
-A few housekeeping items: Make sure you’re doing these specific things the prophets have suggested for family success: 1. Couple prayer 2. Couple scripture study 3. Family meeting (for planning, budgeting, bringing up issues, giving compliments, etc.) 4. Weekly date night 5. Monthly temple. These aren’t the end solution, but they’re important to move things forward. (*Not the endgame, but gamechangers)
Introduction & Thesis
Pre 1900 Marriage (1000-1900 a.d.) was marriage with community friendly values. Community friendly values are values which support a strong community. Post 1900 marriage was individualistic. Individualistic marriage is any mating arrangement which is calculated to bring immediate individual satisfaction at the expense of all other values.
Marriage after 1900 gained some strengths, but mostly lost strengths. There is more freedom to choose which mating lifestyle you chose today, but there is a disregard for community today. Pre-1900 marriage used mating arrangements to fix the economy from the inside out. Post 1900 marriage used mating arrangements to fix people, and asked government to fix the economy. Since government is just another word for people, this theory failed.
-Barbaric Mating era: The barbaric era I will refer to as anything preceding 2000 b.c. When Coontz (2005) refers to “traditional” not always being “traditional”, she is speaking of the barbaric evolution of marriage which occurred before the communal marriage era. This includes wife swapping and sale of children. Marriages much earlier than our pivotal time of 1900 were in a developmental / barbaric / non-civilized stage.
-Communal Mating era: 2000 b.c. – 1300 a.d. The communal marriage era was followed by the romantic era.
-Romantic Mating era: The romantic era was about 1300-1900. It was followed by the post 1900 progressive era.
-Pre 1900 Mating: When referring to Pre 1900 marriage in this paper, we are referring to marriage from approximately 1000-1900. This is a combination of years 2000 b.c. – 1900 a. d.
-Post 1900 Progressive Mating era: Moving from economic / communally based marriages to marriages for pleasure; the result of the Romantic era. The ripe fruits of Romanticism.
Pre-Communal Barbaric Marriage
The ideal for marriage had been obtained by the preromantic era. Before the renaissance and enlightenment, most societies treated women as sex toys, abused them, and didn’t train their posterity. It was barbaric. The term barbaric can mean “non-Greek”, and has always been a way of saying “uncivilized”, or “untampered for the common good.” We will see how Romantic marriage and Post-Romantic marriage is similar to barbaric marriage. Barbaric marriages were not long term, were easily obtained, and easily discarded. The woman was silent. Romantic marriages can also feature quiet women, but in a different way. Romantic women are quiet in their majesty, being revered by men. Barbaric woman are quiet in fear, hiding from the muscles of their wild men, obeying them for fear of their lives. Indeed, murder itself wasn’t very punishable in mediaeval or Eskimo type societies. They acted like animals.
Pre-Romantic Communal Marriage
Marriage for many millennia had its several changes and variations, but one thing remained the same: marriage was for community. Marriage was an arrangement which benefitted children, and benefitted a man’s vocation. Vocation and children were the two pillars of society. The children were raised to be good citizens, and the vocations were the engine of the economy. Thus we may say that economy was the engine of pre-20th century marriage. Woman stayed at home and taught their children to be good, and men stayed away from home contributing to the economy. This is not surprising because hunger and poverty had been large issues that never seemed to go away, and a focus on economics was the surest way to alleviate suffering. There was still adoration of the spouse in this pre-romantic era, but it wasn’t so persuasive that it overwhelmed the sound necessities of social order.
Though we often hold romance as a high ideal of life, it has its dark side. In fact, the roots of post 20th century marriage can be traced to the evolutions which took form in the Romantic period, when logistics of mating were converted from communally based to individually based.
Marriage became “romantic”, wherein the focus shifted to the lovers, rather than the context they were loving in. This created a wake which pervaded, some say destroyed, modern 21st century marriage. How is this? People argue that all that matters is what the couple wants. This is what makes homosexuality a popular idea – the satisfaction of consenting adults. The polygamy movement is also powerful in this case. A case in point of the degeneracy of romantic marriage is Lord Byron. He wrote beautiful poetry, but was a cruel husband. Romance looks good but leaves a person wanting for something.
Cycling Between Tradition and Progressivism: Post 1900 Marriage
It seems that in the 2000’s, that a new breed of suffering came to the spot light; now that Americans were prospering in their suburbs and enjoying technological conveniences, issues of mental health began to rise. Now a person could have more legitimate issues than an empty stomach, or other economic issues. Hence we used the doctrine of Romanticism to bring about a whole new way of living: the individual was first, not the community. The community had learned how to survive economically. Economics was the reason for community. But now, the individual had his turn to look to higher needs. Loneliness of being single became a real issue. Sexual hunger was now to be addressed now that physical hunger had been addressed. The Great Depression is a mysterious chapter. It shows that a society who thinks they had everything figured out still doesn’t really understand how to keep a person from being physically hungry. This lead people back into a primitive time. The 1950’s looked much like the 1850’s, people were going back to the basics of community, marriage for children, man focusing on a vocation, woman focusing on raising the children (Coontz, 2005, p. 230) each for the foreordained societal roles as determined by their gender. Just like how the 1850’s and 1950’s looked similar, so did the times of 1870’s and 1970’s. These were the times of revolution. The times of rebellion against the communal economically based society. Their physical hunger had been met so it was time they changed the stability into something hopefully better.
Pre & Post 1900 Mating Case Study: Polygamy
Polygamy is no longer seen as back woods people in their misogynist traditions, but is seen as a group of intelligent consenting adults. Until a band of college professors got together and said, ‘we are consenting adults living together, let us call ourselves married’, the courts never thought twice about allowing polygamy. Now polygamy and its close relative polyamory are closer than ever to becoming another embraced way of life. A case in point of wonder on this topic is that another modern American group, a show case of pre-1900 citizens, the Mormons, wanted polygamy, but were persecuted for doing it, put in jails, chased from state to state into a wilderness, until finally when their temples (most sacred houses of worship in the Mormon faith) were threatened by the state. The modern polygamist in states where polygamy is popular (Utah, Idaho, etc.), even though technically this practice is illegal, the people practicing it are not prosecuted because the government doesn’t think it worth their time. So there is an advantage in living in post 1900 marriage times, there is more freedom for things considered non-traditional. Although the Mormons and other polygamists may well site many cases of their polygamy as being quite traditional, just a more ancient tradition. So post 1900 is a better time for a person wanting marriage because he can do it in whichever way his conscience pleases. The polygamy case of pre and post 1900 also represents a potential fear however, that the term marriage will become so dissected that any semblance of regularity will entirely disappear. Polygamy was taking it too far said the American courts of the 18th century, and those of the 21st century are now saying that those against non-traditional marriages, particularly homosexuality, are not being fair. Fairness seems to be the motto of contemporary marriage customs in the United States, whereas righteousness seems to be the standard of pre-1900 marriage. There was a wrong and a right way. Any stirring the water of the commonly held norms was devious and apostate, whereas today, stirring the water in confession of irregular desires is considered brave and independently bold.
Pre & Post 1900 Mating Case Study 2: The Women’s Movement
The women’s movement from reserved guardian to defender of singleness has impacted marriage. Before 1900, women were considered as available before marriage and unavailable after marriage. Marriage was a defining characteristic of woman. A man interested in a woman would say to himself “I had better marry her before someone else does”. The modern man merely has to say, “I will woo this woman and win her for at least a while; no woman can be won forever, and all women can be won at any time regardless of their relationship status”. The woman in the workplace now takes on the same role as her husband, participating in sexual deviance. Men were allowed to have sex with multiple partners, then to come home and be scolded like puppies before being readily embraced again, forgiving their blunders on account of their supposed ignorance and innocence and inability to control themselves. Women were seen as the more powerful sex, the ones who could control their passions to keep them within the culturally appropriate boundaries. In the zeal for equality with men, rather than holding the men to a higher standard, the women have lowered their standards, insisting that if the men could get away with marital infidelity, they should be able to as well. When women went to work outside of the home, they not only earned like the men, they played like the men. Women solved their age old “problem” of their pleasure sex resulting in painful children by baby-death drugs. I refuse to use the term “birth control”, it makes murder sound too responsible.
Romantically Rooted Hyper-sexualization in Post 1900 Mating
Pornography isn’t the main problem today, it’s the fruit of an evil tree. When society shifted from marriage for community good to marriage for individual pleasure and preference in the name of individual good, everyone allowed themselves to indulge more than ever in sexual passions. Playboy, an invention of the 20th century sexualizing women and mass distributing magazines of their sexuality, sold many copies in the open market, not the black market. Places like Utah have officially declared pornography as a public health crisis. They recognize that free sex is not a good thing. Romanticism’s individualism lead people to marry how and when they chose. Then people did the same thing with sex. People had sex how and when they chose. The individual, not the wellbeing of all, was crowned king. Fast food restaurants are a type of this phenomenon. No matter how unhealthy the food, its how you want it and when you want it, so you get to have it. The majority of young women do not marry as virgins like they used to. As many as 70% have extra-marital sexual relations. Not as many children have a role model mother and father to teach them about life and work. Nearly 45% of children are born to unwedded parents. Despite of these statistics, most people still value marriage as a top priority in their lives. Nearly 90% of people list being married as one of their greatest desires in life. We can conclude that issues of pornography, extra-marital sexual relations, and out of wedlock births will decrease back to where they used to be when a shift occurs back from individualism to communalism. I refrain from using the term communism since such refers to a sharing of economic resources from government. Here our focus is on the USA, whose communal living was a couple living for the wellbeing of the society. This is far different than an individual waiting for the society to help it and give it all its wishes. The individual wishes for marriage how and when it wants, and sex how and when it wants. In 1990 Barbie was created, the first children’s play doll to have fully developed breasts. This showed that society was tolerant of children becoming acquainted with sexual organs instead of waiting until marriage age to make this acquaintance. It goes hand in hand with the philosophy that marriage and sex should be how and when you want them. Termination of marriage has become free without restrictions which before kept marriages together (Coontz, 2005, p. 261). The human tendency is to obtain 1 pleasure now instead of 2 pleasures tomorrow. Those pleasures can be related to communism and individualism. Most want individual pleasure now even if no communal peace results. Marriage kept people together so there would not only be individual pleasure but communal benefits. Now marriage is weak which results in communal benefits ceasing. Ironically, communal benefits ceasing leads to individual pleasure decreasing. Being at wit’s end, the individualists turn to government economic communism to fix what they broke by their individualism. They want both individualism now, and communal benefits now. That is a condition which cannot exist.
Solutions Post 1900 Mating Forgot
The only lasting solution for individual pleasure is to have communal peace at the same time. This means people must marry with communal standards in mind, not purely individualistic reasons. The individual must take the back seat to the community. A focus on individual rights leaves progress behind because it is self-centered. Like the jar which couldn’t fit rocks before sand but could fit sand after rocks, so is the couple who marries with communal standards. A couple who marries with communal standards in mind will find individual pleasure. But the couple who marries with individual pleasure in mind will not find communal strength. The fruits of self-first marriages and sex are deviant children who don’t contribute to society. This leads us back to a broken economy and physical hunger. Post 1900 won’t forget this lesson for long, nature will force them to remember soon enough. The cycle of the revolving door continues despite us. Romantic love turns out to be indeed, “a serious threat to social order” (Coontz, 2005, p. 15). Barbaric mating was abusive and animalistic. A good thing emerged thereafter: communal mating. Then came romantic mating as people got selfish. This resulted in Post 1900 marriage where crime rates are higher than ever, and most people can’t stay married.
Coontz, S., (2005). Marriage, a history: How love conquered marriage. New York, NY: Penguin Group
Table 1: Communal VS. Individualistic Marriage Benefits
Communal Success Immediate Individual Happiness Long Term Individual Happiness
Community centered marriage High Medium High
Individual centered marriage Low High Low
Table 2: Eras and Their Characteristics
Era Trait 1 Marriage Trait 2 Children Trait 3 Government
Barbaric Random Random Anarchy, Tribalism
Communal Polygamous, Monogamous, Comunal Many Capitalism
Romantic Monogamous, Individualistic Few Moderate Capitalism
Pre 1900 (2000bc-1900) Comunal then Individualistic Many then few Capitalism then moderate capitalism
Post 1900 Anything None Communism/Socialism
Appendix 3: Picture to turn into other use here: shows that marriage for individualistic reasons is like sand in a jar before rocks, the rocks won’t fit. But if you put the rocks in first (rocks representing the duty, the important things), then the sand (the fun things) will both fit in the jar at the same time. Marry for individualistic pleasure, and you won’t bless the community, and will thus lose your soul. Marry to bless the community, and you will get the pleasure too. Also note that expectation of perfect bodies before the resurrection is an expression of a lack of faith in Jesus Christ.
-other similar reading at Richardson Studies:
Family and Godhead in plan of salvation
Exponential Exaltation Theory
Great Expectations of Young People
List of points:
AGE OF MARY at her wedding and birth of Jesus
“YOUNG” PEOPLE CAN DO GREAT, historic examples
ARRANGED MARRIAGES have less divorces
FORBIDDEN, THE YOUTH REBELS
CAREER AT EARLIER enables young family
EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES not lost but gained in familyhood
WOMEN’S HEALTH not lost but gained in familyhood
MATURIZE body and spirit at same time, is a symbol of readiness for adult roles
LUXURY enables more time for childrearing
SATURATED WITH SEX CULTURE, yet climbing marriage / childbearing age.
EXPONENTIAL GOOD results the more children you have
LOSE A DECADE by late family formation
-This is a theory that we could MARRY AND BARE CHILDREN EARLIER than we do.
-WARNING: I do not endorse romantic or sexual relationships between adults and minors, nor do I endorse sexual relationships between consenting minors, nor do I tolerate pedophilia, nor do I endorse any other illegal or vulgar activity. Further, I advise everyone to follow the current prophetic councils to wait to date until age 16, and for men to serve missions before marriage. The prophets will always lead us based on the current situations. The following theory of earlier family creation would not be desired or possible in the current culture we live in.
-AGE OF MARY the mother of Jesus scholars estimate to be 12. Jews often married girls at 12 and boys at 13. Apparently God knows that women are capable of being terrific mothers at this age when they are prepared to do so, when their culture helps set them up for it, when they are mature and responsible, etc.
-“YOUNG” PEOPLE CAN DO GREAT and complex and challenging things. Mormon at age 10 diagnosed as “a sober child” and asked to be next keeper of the record of a civilization. Joan of arc – died at 19; heir to throne at 14, military campaigns near that age. At the age of 16, Mormon was chosen as the leader of the Nephite armies (Mormon 2:1–2). Mormon reported that when he was about 10 years old, “I began to be learned somewhat after the manner of the learning of my people” (Mormon 1:2). Right after noting that he was 15, Mormon reported that he “did endeavor to preach unto this people” (Mormon 1:15–16). Joseph Smith was called to be a prophet at 15. Similar to the boy prophet Samuel. Captain Moroni age 25 leader of all armies of Nephite civilization; must have had quite a career before that to get that position. Did not little David slay great Goliath? One might argue that late marriages are a unique thing of our era, and the more common method historically over the past 6,000 years has been “early” marriages.
-ARRANGED MARRIAGES in India etc. are often done at a young age, those marriages divorce less than US marriages by far. US divorce is about 50%, India divorce is about 1%.
– When young love is FORBIDDEN, THE YOUTH REBELS against its parents and society in general, despising them for taking away what could have been theirs forever. Romeo and Juliet were ruined not by their young love, but by their parents getting in the way. Would Romeo have been willing to sacrifice working several jobs and going to college while paying for a home and children for the love of his Juliet? Would Juliet would have been willing to bear children in poverty for her Romeo? Yes and yes!
-In order for “young” marriage to work, the society would need to train the men to have a CAREER AT EARLIER age. For example, the Jews would teach their children a trade at age 10. Thus the young man could provide for his family. Trade schools would need be emphasized.
-Some say marriage and children limit EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES. Today with the “printing press” and the internet, we have books readily available and even formal classes of universities available from the walls of the home. Further, we should not limit education to formal schooling, but should seek it throughout the lifespan.
-WOMEN’S HEALTH issues about bearing children are by and large resolved so long as the mother waits until puberty to have children. A woman’s health is likely better all-around as she assumes roles of wife and mother. She will experience more of the Holy Ghost / Comforter as she obeys and fulfils these God appointed roles, she will have an intimate husband to whom she can vent and speak to about all of life’s issues, etc. Studies show that women are better off married than single.
-The human body and the human spirit MATURIZE about the same time. We begin to have questions of the soul at the time we begin to have arousal for the opposite sex, and mature feelings of responsibility toward the same, a willingness to begin to put aside the self for the other. Marriage and childbearing before these maturations is contrary to logic and void of essential metaphysical and physical symbols.
-Prophets have taught that our LUXURY from modern technologies such as dishwashers, cloth washing machines, online bill paying, ovens, microwaves, furnaces, coolers, cars, all this should lead us to be having more children than any other generation from all our extra time, but we are having less. To have more children, it often means starting earlier. Many women become barren at the age its popular to marry at now.
-Our society is SATURATED WITH SEX in the media and schools formally and informally, yet the age for marriage (and especially the age for childbearing) is pushed farther and farther back. This drives a culture of extra-marital sexual relations, cohabitation, and other failed systems of human sexual expression such as immodesty. Other coping methods are eating too much food, being anti-social, delinquency, etc.
-EXPONENTIAL GOOD results the more children you have. 1 person can give 1 lifetime of service to his fellowman. But if that person has children, they can give too. More on this idea, see document “Exponential Exaltation Theory” at this link: http://richardsonstudies.com/2018/02/18/exponential-exaltation-theory/
-We LOSE A DECADE of our lives in wandering around as teenagers, being minimally productive in school and vocation and other development. Parents all dread raising teenagers because the teen is ready for more independence and responsibility and its complimentary rewards of increased pleasure, but they are often denied this, resulting in mood swings and general rebellion.
Fight for Your Dreams, But Dream Righteously
It’s been said that you can accomplish about anything you put your mind to. Oft is heard the rallying cry toward students, salesmen with lofty monetary goals, and others, that you can win if you really focus, if you’re willing to sacrifice, etc.
Then you ask yourself, “so, self, since you can have anything, what do you want?”
You can be some sort of wizard guru in any chosen field. To be world renown is quite simple, you daily apply the trait you wish to improve upon, and in a decade of an hour each day in that thing, you’ll be one of the best at it in the world.
So we’re back to the question, what do you want? This is the key question.
In all your wanting, I suggest one set of dreams that we can fight for.
I preface this by saying that too often people consider the “ordinary life” is something that gets in the way of “dreams”.
I submit that the people of the past were dreamers too, they just dreamed of having an “ordinary life.” They fought for that dream, and they often obtained it. Don’t think that the “ordinary life” of having a wife and large posterity, being free of debt, being politically free, and spending time with your family and neighbors is an easy thing. It is a dream like any other and doesn’t come cheap.
I submit that we have forgotten the dreams of our forefathers. We have all sorts of dreams, and we think that family centered lives are a thing of the past, and among the religious circles, we can even think that family centered life is not as pleasing to God as using the bulk of your resources (including your time) to specialize in some academic or professional thing to serve the human race.
I submit that the best way to serve the human race (and thus God) is to have a family centered life. Many times we have heard the prophets declare that the most important work you’ll do in your life will be in your own home (referring to your influence on your family).
Feminists complain of men who approach them at restaurants to have a good bout of righteous flirtation in hopes of future courting. What of the women who make the word “pregnancy” neigh unto a swear word? I’ve heard them actually praising God himself that they were lucky enough to not get pregnant for whatever time they wasted the night before. What of men who have no thoughts of providing, and no serious mind in matters of courting? Truly we are shifting away from family-oriented society. How little time our fathers and mothers spend teaching their children, or teaching them to work, or simply playing with them. Is this not a reflection of the scripture which declares that in the last days, the hearts of men (and women) will fail them?
So do we “dream big” and “sacrifice all things to obtain our dreams”? Yes! But the world doesn’t understand what we do when we tell them that our dreams area to live the gospel, to uphold freedom, and most importantly, to live a family centered life.
One country singer speaks of how the he cannot think of how heaven could be better than being with his wife. He wonders why people look forward to heaven since he seems to have reached the sum felicity of existence when with his wife. The answer is this: What he experiences with his wife is a taste of heaven. He is right: being with one’s spouse righteously is heaven.
Now in life his challenge is to be righteous so he can keep the gift of his wife (and she must be righteous to keep the gift of her husband). If they are righteous, they will continue to have the blessing of each other in heaven. If not, they will be separated, and hell will be knowing what they once tasted and could have had forever but lost.
(See my article on losing the privilege of being a spouse and parent in the next life if living beneath those privileges and duties in this life.)
You see, marriage is the status of the Gods, and we are the children of God, with the opportunity of becoming Gods. God has given us a great trust in this life in allowing us to enter marriage; will we respect it or throw it away? Marriage with all of its rites (not rights) and duties can be hard sometimes but it is worth it. In fact there is nothing of greater worth. This is the one thing that has potential to last forever.
Some have thought that a temple marriage simply makes a marriage valid to last forever. This is true, but the deeper event that takes place in a temple marriage is that a relationship is formed and refined across the years with the added companionship and cleansing effect of the Holy Ghost, which gives that marriage character of such a union that it’s worth staying together forever. We’re not just getting permission to stay together forever, we’re getting help to make something worth lasting forever. (Truman G Madsen speaks of this in his book Marriage and Family which is a collection of discourses, he co-authored with Stephen Covey)
Concerning those who seek cheap relationships for physical pleasure without moral grounding and parameters: How ironic that the very thing many sell their souls for will be the thing they lose in the next life, because they didn’t obtain it in the right way. Well did Jesus say, that those who seek to enter by climbing over the wall instead of going through the gate will be damned.
If we are to have forever the greatest joy of marriage and rearing children, we must seek that joy through Jesus Christ, the keeper of the gate. He is, as he said, “the way”.
For those of you who know of the joy of marriage but still have not experienced the joy of rearing children, I assure you it is a similar ecstasy which adds another dimension to your fulfillment and satisfaction beyond anticipation. As going from single to married is akin to living in 3D instead of 2D, so is becoming a parent akin to living in 4D instead of 3D. If you don’t know what that means, I will give you this hint: parenthood is when you enter “a new heaven and a new earth”.
So can heaven be better than marriage? Heaven is marriage. And glory therein awaits!
List of questions:
- Why would you go to heaven and not me? I’m a good religious person.
- What about those who never got a passport but were good people? Can they enter God’s city?
- If I am a good person just not a member of the church, why would I have to live with murderers in the next life?
- Why does the church ban the use of alcohol?
- Why can’t we have sex before marriage? Doesn’t Utah have a big problem with pornography and divorce because of this? I need to have sex with someone to determine long term compatibility.
Why would you (an active member of the church) go to heaven and not me (not a member of the church / not an active member of the church)? I’m a good religious person.
It’s about covenants. Covenants are “business contracts” which must be entered into to enter the “city” of God. There is a government there, and without a “green card/passport”, you can’t get in. There is no illegal border crossing!
Also, what do you mean by heaven? If you mean a state of happiness in the next life, yes, all good people will go there, no matter what religion!
If by heaven you mean living in close contact with God and having the same level of knowledge joy and stewardship’s as God, remaining in a married condition with the continued ability to procreate, then that part of heaven, yes you need permission to get in. That permission is via baptism into the true church.
What about those who never got a passport but were good people? Can they enter God’s city?
Answer: Not until they get a passport. God will offer everyone passports. Death is the doorway to the next phase of life, and if you didn’t get a passport here, one will be offered you there.
If you get offered a passport here (baptism into the restored church of Jesus Christ), study it out carefully to determine if it is correct. Do not let your fears of what the truth may have in store for you stop you for making the courageous steps toward aligning your life with truth. Prepare to meet God, and if you’ve found the church to be true, joint the church, as it will help you prepare to meet God, and we could all use help preparing for that.
If you cannot determine that the church is true, continue searching. Don’t move forward until you believe that your move is correct. That’s called faith. If you obtain faith in the church being true, then join. Until then, continue searching for truth, and act on your convictions and your beliefs. God knows your mind and your heart. If you know the church is true, you can’t lie to God and avoid it pretending that you don’t know it’s true. If you truly don’t know if it is true, then God will understand the reason you’re choosing to continue your search rather than joining. God wants you to use your mind and act in the best way you can with it. Find answers to any questions you have, and use reliable sources as you search. The most reliable source is going to God himself, this is done by kneeing on the ground and asking God what the truth is. He will whisper it to you, and guide you toward it. If for some reason you or your loved ones are unable to determine what is truth, you will be sent messengers, even if in the next life, to explain to you in a way you can understand and believe wholeheartedly. Brigham Young himself took a few years of studying the Book of Mormon before joining the church, but others are given the gift of believing in even less time. The amount of evidence a person will need to gain conviction varies from person to person. It is a spiritual gift to be able to see and accept truth, pray for that gift. One cannot determine spiritual truth by merely appealing to physical research methods.
If a person choses to not participate in the gospel of Jesus Christ, there are happy rewards for them still available in the lower kingdoms of God. God doesn’t wish to damn us all, he wishes to save us all. He can only exalt those who deliberately seek it, but he can at least save everyone else to some degree of glory in his kingdom, even if a lower degree. Thanks be to God for sending Jesus Christ, whose sacrifice made both death and hell to be temporary conditions. Everyone will be saved from death (in the resurrection when bodies are reunited to spirits), and everyone will be saved from hell (the wicked will be delivered from hell after 1000 years, the righteous will be delivered from hell as soon as they chose to repent of their sins so they can avoid going to hell altogether, they will spend that thousand years celebrating on earth with Jesus Christ throughout the remainder of this millennium).
If we persist in making bad choices, disregarding God and God’s laws, our hears will become hardened toward the truth, and we will begin losing the desire to go to heaven. Truly, we chose weather we will go to heaven or hell, and we chose to which kingdom of glory to reside. Beware the power of sin to curve your desires toward less glory.
If there were no passport, just anyone would come in, and that would negatively change the culture he wants to have there in his city. Historically, whenever people have been let into a nation, they change the culture there, and eventually, the government is changed because the people want it changed. The government in God’s kingdom will never change, and those who will not conform to it will have to find residence somewhere else. When Lucifer (Satan) proposed major alterations to God’s government, God said “Get out.” God’s kingdom is maintained by the rule of law, and to maintain that rule, he must have strict policies on who is and is not allowed to enter.
One might consider someone like Gandhi. A good person who didn’t know about / understand the passport system (baptism into the true church of Jesus Christ). Gandhi and others like him who lived good lives then died are at a place called “the spirit world”. In that world, he is being taught by missionaries to the extent that he will fully understand the passport system of the 1 true God of the universe. He will then decide if he wants to enter God’s celestial kingdom (means he would need to keep the rules of that kingdom), or if he wants to enter God’s terrestrial kingdom (he would have to abide the rules of that kingdom), or if he wants to enter the telestial kingdom (a set of laws there too). Depending on what level of law he was willing to abide, he could choose to enter even the highest (celestial) kingdom, where he could advance to become like God his father.
No one is pushed to join the church. Everyone is encouraged to stand by their convictions regarding what is wrong and what is right. If a person discovers that the church is true, it is their opportunity to then join the church, and look forward to the opportunities found therein. The Book of Mormon is the evidence God has provided to show that this is the true church.
Is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ as found in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints true? Make a serious study of it! Deeply investigate, come to know for yourself! If it is true, glory hallelujah, you’ve found a source of pure truth which will bring you great joy! If it is not true, then return to your search, and never stop searching until you have found the truth! Settle for nothing less than the truth! Follow the combined action of your heart and mind and the promptings of the Holy Spirit of God which will like a dew from heaven from time to time touch upon your soul almost imperceptibly, and you can follow the directions it prompts you to guide your life.
As Joseph Smith said, when you are ready to come to God, he is ready to come to you: “When we understand the character of God, and know how to come to Him, he begins to unfold the heavens to us, and to tell us all about it. When we are ready to come to him, he is ready to come to us.”
If I am a good person just not a member of the church, why would I have to live with murderers in the next life?
You won’t have to. Murderers spend 1000 years in hell, then they get their bodies back and make permanent residence in a lower kingdom of God called “the telestial kingdom”. There are 3 levels in the kingdom of God, each having their own planets to reside on. Telestial is the lowest, and is for wicked people after they’ve done their time paying for their crimes in hell 1000 years.
The next level is “the terrestrial kingdom”. This place is where the honorable people of the world go. They were honest and fair, but they denied the contract God offered them to enter God’s kingdom. They weren’t willing to adhere to the policies of the government of God’s highest kingdom, so they remain in this lower kingdom, whose laws they are willing to abide.
The highest level is the celestial kingdom. Not all church members go there, just those who honor the contracts / covenants they have made with God. In this kingdom, marriage can exist forever, and people become Gods in the full sense of the word.
Why does the church ban the use of alcohol?
I don’t know. I think it is a temporary ban. Historically, alcohol has not been banned in God’s kingdom. Christ even told his apostles that when he returns in glory, he will again drink the fruit of the vine with them. I think alcohol is prohibited currently because our culture associate’s alcohol use with scandalous activities. Perhaps the pressure on youth to be stupid with alcohol is so great, that God is saying “just don’t even mess with it right now”. It could also have to do with toxins that could be added into these drinks. The ban on coffee could be for a similar reason, to avoid the harmful additives. Though these are minor policies, choosing to obey them means choosing to be allowed to “cross the border” into God’s kingdom. For example, if you want to ride an airplane, you can’t bring toothpaste. One would wonder why toothpaste is forbidden, since we enjoy and find benefits in using toothpaste. But it is a temporary policy to protect us, given that there are many evil people on earth today. The revelation about God’s standards for health in the Doctrine and Covenants specifically mentions the reason of banning certain substances to be for the reason of avoiding the plans of evil scheming men among us. There are some temporary inconveniences associated with compliance to gaining access to God’s kingdom, but we can endure these minor trials as we focus on the great blessings in store. (The chapter with the revelation to not use alcohol etc. is D&C 89, at this link https://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/89)
Why can’t we have sex before marriage? Doesn’t Utah have a big problem with pornography and divorce because of this? I need to have sex with someone to determine long term compatibility.
Social scientists have shown that the predictor of long term marriage, including sexual satisfaction, is based not in “sexual chemistry”, but in the level to which the 2 persons unite their entire lives in a long term commitment to each other, vowing honesty and transparency to one another. Getting to know someone for their personality is far greater a predictor of marital happiness than getting to know their genitals.
What you think is ‘sexual chemistry’ by how you feel when you sleep with them is really a measure of how much that person is a kind person who cares about you and putting your needs above their own, vs how much that person is a self-centered prude. It has almost nothing to do with how your bodies interact. It has everything to do with how your spirits interact. Having a body isn’t unique, all bodies, except the rare exception of the crippled body, can function just fine in sexual intimacy. So basing the choice on a body is really quite silly, especially considering that in the resurrection, all bodies will be made more beautiful, stronger, and enhanced beyond comprehension compared to our current standings. It is preferable to marry the stalwart cripple who makes you feel at home who is disadvantaged in the physical activities rather than marrying the person who excells in physical activity yet is a shallow whelp who won’t last a New York minute traveling through the refining fires of life with you. Chose someone who can measure up to your moral expectations before worrying about physical expectations. As Jesus said, “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you.”
Some claim that they feel more comfortable having sex with some persons verses other persons, and that this comfort or lack thereof helps them make their marriage selection. What they were feeling wasn’t a product of one’s body, but a product of the amount of trust they felt toward that person. A product of the amount of safety they felt with them. A product of how much they felt they could openly share their feelings with that person. Having sex on a first date is a Russian roulette – you don’t know anything about them, and you’re trying to unite with them. Is it any wonder that uniting with a stranger can be a negative experience? Or perhaps even a fun experience, but after which one finds it difficult to build a strong relationship?
Our grandmothers called sex before marriage “putting the cart before the horse” meaning that a cart can’t be pulled unless the horse is in front of it, pulling it. This is wise when we consider that sexual satisfaction is a result of uniting one’s self with the other person in every way, financially, in goals, in support, in trials, in everything. These things add depth and meaning (and thus happiness) to the experience of sexual intimacy. Sure, sex with a stranger can be fun, but it doesn’t come close to comparing with sex with one’s spouse. In a marriage, you will eventually get to know each other sexually, and learn each other’s sexual preferences, and in time, you will be sexually compatible. Great reading on this topic can be found from one of my professors at BYU, Dr. Jason Carroll, “Sexual Wholeness in Marriage”, found at Amazon, Deseret Book, etc.
Expecting sex with a relative stranger to be fully satisfying is like a rookie trying his hand at a new sport with which he has no skill. Only after years of practice will the athlete find mastery of the sport. Further, only after playing with a companion for years will the athlete find greatest compatibility. A team can’t just show up and expect to play well together. It takes a long time of working together to find symmetry.
The thing about marriage is that sex isn’t the core of it. If sex is like athleticism, and marriage like baseball, we must understand that athleticism isn’t the key factor. The willpower and desire to play is the key factor. There are many strong people who are terrible at baseball. In other words, just because someone is good at sex doesn’t mean they will be good at marriage.
In fact, if you were to choose to participate in pre-marital sexual relations in the name of seeing of a person would be good to marry, you’ll find this ironic result. The person who is “good at” sex and yet unmarried is the person who has failed to “play baseball”. There is only so much talent and skill involved in sexual intimacy: the vast majority of sexual satisfaction resides in the commitment factor, the other-before-self factor, the long-term-union factor. The person who jumps from partner to partner who has some supposed sexual skill reveals that he is “athletic” but terrible at the overall sport of relationships. He shows that he is so disagreeable, that the many who have volunteered themselves at the altar of his passion have went away sorrowing, having sought goodness in him, and having not found it. He proves that by having practiced with so many different partners that he is not a team player. He shows that he is not capable of getting along with another person when it comes to anything other than the simple component of sexual intimacy. The best person to marry is thus the virgin, or the person who has completely repented of their scandalous lifestyle, having learned that it was never a good idea, having found deep respect for those who understand the true nature of sexual intimacy. Someone who has reserved their intimacy for a team they could be committed to for the long term (even the forever-term). The person who reserves intimacy for marriage is the person who recognizes that life is not to be lived in isolation, and understands the nature of human beings, their longing and need for permanent attachment.
Marriage is a much broader topic than sex. Sex is something that happens in marriage, but marriage isn’t the same thing as sex. Marriage is a cup, and sex is one of the drops of water which fill that cup. Sex cannot fill the entire cup. Nor should we judge the beverage by one ingredient or expect the presence of one ingredient to sustain the entire mix. The sexual ingredient of marriage will be abundant if the other ingredients are not lacking.
Sexual compatibility, like love, isn’t something you find somewhere, not something that happens, but is rather something you build, something you cultivate, something you work at for a long time, until at last, you have built something magnificent! Similarly, you don’t “fall” in love, you chose love. You don’t marry your soul mate, you make the person you marry into someone with whom you chose to forever mate your soul. The world says that divorce is because you “chose the wrong person”, as if people were the problem. The Lord teaches that every soul is of great worth, and that marriages are usually from a lack of maintenance rather than a poor selection. Prophets have taught that any two people living the gospel can be compatible for marriage. Marriage isn’t about finding, it’s about building.
Studies show that the more sexual partners you have before marriage, the lesser chance you have of having a long-term marriage. Those with higher number of pre-marital sexual partners have a direct correlation to a higher divorce rate. (for example, see this study https://ifstudies.org/blog/counterintuitive-trends-in-the-link-between-premarital-sex-and-marital-stability)
Sex is a symbol of uniting souls, and souls were meant to be united forever. Our bodies, however beautiful and healthy, are still imperfect. Physical dysfunction of the body should not be a barrier when one understands that in the resurrection, all bodies will be healed to an optimally functioning state. Marriage is intended to last forever. God is married, and participates in all the joys of marriage, including sexual intimacy. Things on earth are a likeness of how they are in heaven. Make no mistake about it, in heaven, people have bodies, and so do God and his wife. Remember, after 3 days Jesus rose from the tomb with his body again! So will we too rise someday soon when Jesus Christ returns to earth. Marriage and sex are a foresight of what life can be at its best. If we are righteous, we will be allowed to keep our marriages and the sex that goes with them. If we are not righteous, we will lose our partner, and the privileges we once had with them. Sex functions in marriage for 2 things: bonding/fun, and reproduction. We are not expected to reproduce every time we mate, God allows sexual union to be a source of happiness to strengthen marriages. Sex outside of marriage often leads to separation, which brings more sorrow than we need to endure. To give one’s body is to give the entire self, and such a gift should only be given to someone with whom you agree to share every other part of life with. Animals have sex with anyone recreationally, but we are not animals, but are the Lords of animals, to rule over them, because our ways are higher than their ways. If you wish to read an excellent speech on the spiritual meaning of sex, read this talk “Of Souls, Symbols, and Sacraments” (https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/jeffrey-r-holland_souls-symbols-sacraments/).
The speaker Elder Holland identifies sex as a symbolic action which represents obtaining the power of God to create life. He teaches of God’s great future plans for marriages, and why sex is designed for marriage and marriage alone. God has designed many symbols to teach us with, and sex is certainly one of the foremost of those.
Christ said that our bodies are temples. With the understanding of why some can enter and some cannot into the temples, we will also understand why we shouldn’t offer our bodies to others freely. The terms are specific.
As I wrote in my essay “Can Heaven Be Better Than Marriage?”, trailing thoughts from Truman Madsen’s writings, “Some have thought that a temple marriage simply makes a marriage valid to last forever. This is true, but the deeper event that takes place in a temple marriage is that a relationship is formed and refined across the years with the added companionship and cleansing effect of the Holy Ghost, which gives that marriage character of such a union that it’s worth staying together forever. We’re not just getting permission to stay together forever, we’re getting help to make something worth lasting forever.”
As for divorce: the statistics of Utah divorce are significantly lower than the national average. However, as the national divorce rate climbs, so does the rate of divorce in Utah. Similarly, the national average of children born to a family is lower than the average of Utah children born, and as that national average goes down, that of the church follows in that direction. We can’t help but be impacted by the society we live in.
Cor-law.com for example says “Utah’s divorce rate is half of that at 15.9%. The national average for divorce still wanes between 40-50%.” (https://www.cor-law.com/blog/why-utah-has-the-lowest-divorce-rate-and-become-the-happiest-state-in-the-u-s.html)
On plots that show Utah to be similar to or even worse than national averages on divorce, they are likely not considering the fact that many more people in Utah get married in the first place than do outside of Utah. Given the higher marriage rate, it would follow that the divorce number would be higher, even though the percentage of divorces is lower in Utah than nationally.
As for pornography, I have not researched this topic, but if it’s true that Utah citizens use more pornography, perhaps one reason could be that the taller they stand the harder they fall. Perhaps many do feel they have failed and allow themselves to “go all out” in their debauchery from a feeling that they have “lost everything”. Hopefully users of pornography who disregard the sacredness of life can learn that they can be forgiven of their sins and again become worthy of exaltation in the celestial kingdom.
I can say that generally speaking, it’s fairly common for church members to be known as people who avoid things like pornography. Many make fun of them for their family centered faith. Church members in Utah confront peer pressure from not only outside of the church, but inside it, to do stupid things. Wayward youth in the church say things like “but I’m a member too, and I do it!”. This type of peer pressure is not found nearly as much in places like Georgia, where church members are fewer, and they have an easier time saying, “I can’t I’m a member of The Church of Jesus Christ”. I have been very impressed when visiting other states to see the strength of the youth in the church there.
Surely Satan is attacking Utah and launches much of his propaganda toward this the “lifeforce/heart” of the church. For example, one professional (Anne Tracy president of drugawareness.org) claims that a higher use of antidepressants in Utah can be tied to a conspiracy of drug companies who want to tear down the family values in Utah as a “last stand” state who still believes in strong family values; those values being a great thing in the way of them more fully taking power in their industry, a thing that stands in the way of more people needing their product. Thus, much of their advertisements, their peddlers etc., focus on Utah.
Prophets have said that Utah will be known as a place where both the most righteous and the most evil people of the whole earth can be found.
In dating one should choose someone who represents the peak of human morality.
When a person choses someone of high values, it means they themselves have high values.
When there is a divorce, it means one could not morally remain connected to someone with such different values they themselves had.
The ability to maintain a marriage is the capstone, it is to show that greatness can exponentially multiply and grow neverendingly. This is seen in the combined power of the parents , and in their progeny (unless for some outlier reason they cannot have children by any method; and if money is the limitation, their chief duty becomes the pursuit of sufficient money). The progeny are the parent’s expression of forever power. The parents create people like themselves. Only a just person can desire to have many children, for if one’s values are just, so will be those of their children (generally speaking; for example, 2/3 of God’s children chose to come to earth instead of choosing to follow Satan, and gaining 2/3 was worth the loss of 1/3; it is always better to ha e loved and lost than to never have loved at all) , and they will thus flood the earth for generations with justice. If they are unjust, they will know it, and they will not dare infiltrate the world in mass with their corrupt philosophies, knowing deep down that to put that on society would be an exponential evil, just as the righteous family giving many children to the world would equal exponential good. Having children intentionally is a bold act, it is the final statement of moral reason, it says that you are ready to make your mark on the world for generations. Some are so paranoid of making their mark on the world that they put off child baring until they are too old to even have children, and thus they have cast no vote at all, and any outcome of the civilizations of earth are their fault just as much as the fault of those who voted evil. To refuse to vote is to vote for evil. By the fear of their procrastination, by the mistaken idea that they had all the time on the world to make up their mind and get serious and start to participate in the war of morals, they have rendered themselves mere cannon-fotter and guilty. To be righteous means that you attempt to do good things even when there is a real risk of failure.
Make no mistake, deliberate childbearing is the great cast of the die, it is the great act of humanity. It is the expression of everything you represent. It is the reflection if our measuring rod, as we cast away the bad we have seen in life and adhere to the good and seem to pass on that good to the child, giving them the advantage of your intelligence.
It thus follows that whom you chose to marry to enjoy and parent with you is of utmost importance, but what is even more important than basic selection is what is done after the selection. Maintaining love, building something together, these are the keys. This changes the parameters of how you make your choice. Now you see you’re not looking for a spouse with just good looks, you’re not seeking a spouse who is just smart or likes you or has some feelings of faith similar to yours, you are looking for someone who loves life, who loves god, who is brave and willing to stand up in the war of morals. You want someone who is willing to stand up, willing follow you into the battlefield when the cause is just. You want someone who is obsessed with being happy, including the happiness which is only accessible in living the gospel of Jesus Christ.
You should set your happiness above all other priorities, meaning that if someone cannot deliver to you eternal happiness, you should run from them, no matter what sort of alms they beg of you. You yourself are of such great worth that to cheat yourself eternal joy would be the greatest robbery ever. You say you want to reward God by serving a needy person? Well that needy person had better not be asking of you to cone down from the fullness of your potential, or your having cone down will negate any good you could have done for the other person, and both you and your spouse will then live with the eternal guilt of having brought someone else less than what they could have had. If you have since enough to understand your full divine potential, doing anything that would jeopardize that fullness of you would ultimately be an act of selfishness. God wants the reward if seeing you exalted, and if you take that from him in the name of serving him, thinking that you should marry someone who can’t bring you exaltation, this becomes debauchery. Any in such case will begin immediately to beg their spouse to take them to them temple , and will make it painfully obvious to the spouse that keeping them out of the temple and exaltation is keeping them from a fullness of joy.
No one person is of more value than the other, so it follows that you yourself have just as much right to be happy as anyone, and thus you should make yourself happy, and we k is the only lasting happiness exists in exaltation aka Godhood, which status God can grant to those who walk the path leading thereto, which path always involves temple ordinances and gospel commandments or guideposts. If you have been pausing to rest in your journey, now is the time to begin again and seek the next post, the next temple ordinance. Joseph Smith said get your temple sealings, then go on and get your calling and election (election to Godhood) made sure (ratified, ascertained, verified, promised, vowed, secured).
Creating and choosing love vs finding love: A Question of Agency Resolved
Can a relationship be “meant to be”? Not in a sense of predestination, but yes in a sense of a thing becoming what you designed it to be. Yes, we are to marry someone we love, but there is not a one single person who could satisfy the prerequisites for successful soulmate marriage. This does not detract from romance, it is the essence of romance. The essence of romance being working to create love, and agency.
This is the most profound thing I’ve heard in years was taught by Dr. Jason Carroll, a family life professor at Brigham Young University: The omniscience of God doesn’t disable your agency, marriage included. We don’t need to think about marriage as “a needle in a hay stack.” You may ask, “But doesn’t God know the end from the beginning, that he knows the future, whom I will marry?” Yes, he does! He has it all in a book. But were he (God) to open that book and show you the future, the page about whom you marry WILL BE IN YOUR OWN HANDWRITING.
This thinking lines up with the teachings of the prophets. Many, particularly President Kimball and President Uchtdorf, taught that there’s not just 1 person who you should marry, and that if you don’t marry that person you’re doomed. Rather, whoever you chose becomes your soul mate, and there are many compatible choices. Once you’ve chosen you focus on building that relationship into the most beautiful thing ever, and you remain together forever.
Here is a quote from President Kimball on soulmates: “Soulmates are fiction and illusion; and while every young man and young woman will seek with all diligence and playfulness to find a mate with whom life can be most compatible and beautiful, yet it is certain that almost any good man and any good woman can have happiness and a successful marriage if both are willing to pay the price.”
Here is President Uchdorf on the same topic, “I don’t believe there is only one right person for you. I think I fell in love with my wife, Harriet, from the first moment I saw her. Nevertheless, … I don’t believe she was my one chance at happiness in this life, nor was I hers… Once you commit to being married, your spouse becomes your soul mate, and it is your duty and responsibility to work every day to keep it that way” (“The Reflection in the Water” [Church Educational System fireside for young adults, Nov. 1, 2009]).
Don’t Be Relationship Accountants:
Jason Carroll poses this question: Are We Forgetting how to fall in love? We have a generation now which is forgetting how to fall in love! We become relationship accountants, weighing everything exactly! Yes there is danger in marrying too soon, you want to do a home inspection before you move into a home, but we can’t lose the “ah you’re doing this? Sounds a little risky, but well I’m doing it too, as long as I am with you!” We can value the momentum!
Differences allowed in Togetherness and Marriage
To be one does not mean to be the same. It’s couples who deal with differences well that succeed (not couples that have a small amount of differences) (the scientists are showing us this left and right). Some differences stay around the entire life span, but they learn to deal with those and even be playful about it. It reminds me about Spencer Kimball’s words, that his wife did her stuff, he did his stuff, and when they did stuff together they picked things they both like, and thus they got along just fine. Also Hugh Nibley taught that Adam and Eve didn’t spend all their time together, heavens no (the ancient texts are showing these accounts of course)!
2 Fun Videos on when and how to date:
A Christian Perspective of When to date (by Blimey Cow “Messy Mondays” with Jordan Taylor) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rOMROVmcnHM
Christian Dating Secrets: Intentional Dating Toward Marriage (by Blimey Cow “Messy Mondays” with Jordan Taylor) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpCCFFa0Lsw
Definition of a Date:
“If you don’t know what a date is, perhaps this definition will help. I heard it from my 18-year-old granddaughter. A “date” must pass the test of three p’s: (1) planned ahead, (2) paid for, and (3) paired off.” (Elder Oaks – CES Fireside May 2005 The Dedication of a Lifetime)
The old-fashioned date vs hanging out:
“Simple and more frequent dates allow both men and women to “shop around” in a way that allows extensive evaluation of the prospects. The old-fashioned date was a wonderful way to get acquainted with a member of the opposite sex. It encouraged conversation. It allowed you to see how you treat others and how you are treated in a one-on-one situation. It gave opportunities to learn how to initiate and sustain a mature relationship. None of that happens in hanging out.” (Elder Oaks – CES Fireside May 2005 The Dedication of a Lifetime)
A Date Doesn’t Imply Continuing Commitment, Make Early Dates Simple and Not Serious:
“Young women, resist too much hanging out, and encourage dates that are simple, inexpensive, and frequent. Don’t make it easy for young men to hang out in a setting where you women provide the food. Don’t subsidize freeloaders. An occasional group activity is okay, but when you see men who make hanging out their primary interaction with the opposite sex, I think you should lock the pantry and bolt the front door. If you do this, you should also hang out a sign, “Will open for individual dates,” or something like that. And, young women, please make it easier for these shy males to ask for a simple, inexpensive date. Part of making it easier is to avoid implying that a date is something very serious. If we are to persuade young men to ask for dates more frequently, we must establish a mutual expectation that to go on a date is not to imply a continuing commitment.” -Elder Oaks
Post mission dating is serious:
“Men, if you have returned from your mission and you are still following the boy-girl patterns you were counseled to follow when you were 15, it is time for you to grow up. Gather your courage and look for someone to pair off with. Start with a variety of dates with a variety of young women, and when that phase yields a good prospect, proceed to courtship. It’s marriage time. That is what the Lord intends for His young adult sons and daughters. Men have the initiative, and you men should get on with it.” -Elder Oaks
Paired Before Exclusive Dating:
Dr. Jason Carroll, BYU Family Life professor, explained in one of his lectures essentially this:
In our culture, we explore relationships 1 at a time, skipping the paired dating stage of going on dates with lots of people, and jumping to the exclusive dating stage. It’s not developmentally the ideal because you don’t get to meet very many people. We often become close physically before emotionally. We are holding hands etc., appearing as a couple before we are very emotionally involved with each other! We single out with a person when we should be developing multiple relationships. Dating multiple people was the norm in grandma’s day (when marriages were healthier on average! Way less divorce!), but today if you do this you’re called a player! Yes, we all want someone special, but we must go through the developmental stage of getting to know well lots of people. Paired dating with multiple people at the same time helps the “someone special” come faster, because you learn what “someone special” really means to you.
Inappropriately early pairing in dating in the name of hanging out:
“Don’t play with definitions – some teens in the church think it’s ok to pair off exclusively because they call it “hanging out” instead of dating. No matter what you call it, it still leads to spending time alone with one person and identifies you as a “coupled” person. If you pair off, the attractions and feelings you will have for that person are the same whether you call it dating, going out, going steady, or hanging out. When our prophetic leaders talk about relationships, they talk about principles and practices that apply – no matter what words we use to label those relationships…” -Dr. Jason S. Carroll, Marriage Compass
Emotional Before Passionate Intimacy:
Jason Carroll further explains that counterfeit intimacy is sexual/passionate intimacy before emotional and affectionate intimacy. It is when we put the cart before the horse and are overly physically romantic before even being emotionally intimate, getting to know one another extensively, etc.
Emotional intimacy means security, trust, safety, being open with each other, understanding each other on a deep level. Affectionate intimacy is any form of physical touch that shows connection which does not arouse the sexual response of our body and spirit. Passionate intimacy involves any form of physical touch that communicates love and passion that does arouse sexual response. Many 17-year old’s have no concept of the difference between an affectionate kiss, and a passionate kiss!
Do’s and Don’ts of Pre-Marital Dating Touch:
Jason Carroll again enlightens us on dating touch. There exists a behavioral chastity line. In dating we wonder, “what is the chastity line? The line when we are in trouble? The line where I must go talk to my bishop if we cross? What’s the most we can get away with when it comes to touching etc. before marriage?” This question which many have is fundamentally immature, but, for the sake of the 12-year old’s in the audience, and those who behave or think like 12-year old’s, we will address it. We must consider behavioral chastity, sexual purity, and sexual wholeness. The answers to this question are as follows:
We must treat each other with respect, not as lust items. God has commanded sexual intimacy be reserved for marriage, and sexual/passionate intimacy is incomplete without emotional and affectionate intimacy. Before marriage, we don’t do passionate kissing, lie on top of another person, or touch private parts of the body with or without clothing. Don’t arouse those sexual emotions in your own body. Don’t approach the edge of the cliff, just stay where you should be. Do things in their proper order and you will be safe. Yes, vulnerability is needed for a close relationship, but there is a healthy type of vulnerability, and an unhealthy type. These are principles shown in the “For the Strength of Youth, Sexual Purity”. The manual says “youth”, but that is because these things are to teach us while young the correct principles for how to act before married.
The opposite of what we hope for dating young people was expressed by one young woman. When asked how she knows if a young man likes her, she replied “if he will talk to me after sex.” Well do the scriptures say that in the last days, things will be upside down. Sexual intimacy is, according to God’s law, to be reserved only for a legally married man and woman who’ve made an at least lifelong commitment to each other. Sexual union symbolizes union in every other part of your life. It’s the most sacred symbol we have from God. Using this symbol when other parts of our lives are not aligned is debauchery, and belittles the human being down to a mere tool, unrespected, unwanted for who they are in their entirety, and void of the attitude of responsibility toward the natural consequence of sexual intimacy, namely the creation and rearing of a child whom is the spitting image of the 2 parents combined. I can’t think of a more powerful symbol from God to show us that children are both a prize and a responsibility belonging to its 2 biological parents. For more on this topic, see the discourse “Of Souls Symbols & Sacraments” by Jeffrey R Holland.
1st talk in the book by Pres. Packer:
-he wishes he could wrap up the word marriage and put it in a special box hand crafted and gently open the box to help us appreciate what it means.
-it’s better to marry again if your spouse dies, for marriage is a beautiful thing.
Brethren, Love your wives by Elder James E Faust of the Quorum of the Twelve: July 1981
wife in home work does more than man career -Pres. Faust
do what your wife suggests you do
wife is one with us, and to be loved as we love ourselves.
admit faults like Pres. Faust
we can be polite if we try.
how expect God honor me if I not honor my spouse?
a large part of the gospel is taking care of your spouse.
disabilities can teach us compassion.
Notes on A House Full of Females: Plural Marriage and Women’s Rights In Early Mormonism, 1835-1870 by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
-This book doesn’t have all its facts and stories right, but here are some interesting things from it. These notes are not a through summary of all topics treated in the text.
-The current church policy is that anyone practicing polygamy is excommunicated. I do not advocate for the practice of polygamy, but rather for remaining in full fellowship in the church. For salvation we must do as God tells us. We follow God’s prophet and find salvation, not looking to the past for guidance, but the present word of God. Rejecting modern prophets in behalf of ancient or even recently passed ones is the classical narrative of the fall of nations. The people of Noah’s day rejected Noah in the name of Adam, thinking they were ok since they were in some form following the councils of Adam. The Jews rejected Jesus Christ in the name of Moses. Christians today reject Joseph Smith / Mormonism in the name of Jesus Christ. Some Mormons today reject the current president in the name of Joseph Smith. All of these are incorrect. God speaks today, hear him and find salvation.
-It’s also interesting to note that polygamy is so popular today in places like Utah and Nevada, that polygamists won’t be arrested for the practice, only if child marriages or forced marriages or government welfare fraud is involved. It’s still illegal in every state of the USA, but like speeding in a car, it’s too hard to enforce the law on this topic. At one point, the makers of the TV show “Sister Wives” about a polygamist family in Lehi Utah were about to be sued for breaking the law so flagrantly and making Utah look bad. The governor raised a law suit, but they moved to Nevada and Nevada didn’t want to mess with the case so it was dropped. The Lehi family was actually happy they were getting sued because you can’t ask for a law to be changed unless you are being harassed by its enforcement. With recent advances in marriage law (namely allowing premarital cohabitation without marriage and legalizing same sex marriage in 2015), if a polygamist case were to be brought to the federal court today, it may likely cause the law to change (for the state, not the church).
-to gather together was a very large emphasis; the women of the Mormons would gather together, and they would often do political things, calling for political things; 700 women at a meeting all spoke out to the government wanting their freedom and their free rights that they come from all over the world to obtain. They defended polygamy.
-Joseph Smith was teaching one woman about the order of the priesthood meeting polygamy and she said go teach it to someone else and Joseph Smith looked at her reprovingly and said will you tell me who to teach? I am to teach you and it is for you to decide whether or not you will believe what I teach but I must teach
-Joseph Smith taught Wilford Woodruff and other apostles that God would not reveal his secrets to his servants unless they were willing to keep them.
-Brigham Young said that the Relief Society would help the Saints to resist foreign Fashions and Gentile merchants
-one woman responded when someone said that it wasn’t fair when one man got 60 wives and other men got none, that what woman wouldn’t rather have 1/60 part of Parley Pratt then to have the whole of some other man
-Brigham told the saints that the US government had turned into a mob and was breaking the Constitution and that they would have to go forth and defend it; he asked them if they would be willing to give up all that they had worked for in the past 10 years and abandon their homes and flee into the mountains if necessary; the entire congregation shouted yes, there were thousands of people at that meeting. Harriet Thatcher who had recently arrived said she had never seen such unity in her life
-John Taylor preached a sermon where and he said that the Mormons had lived away from the other states and hadn’t bothered anyone but now like a wicked monarch pursuing it’s people wickedly, the United States was coming after the Mormons, and just like how the United States treated the Indians unfairly, they are treating the Mormons unfairly.
-Wilford Woodruff said that these are solemn times because the armies of the Gentiles are coming against us because of our religion and we have to defend ourselves against 25 million people
-it was said that whoever would speak against polygamy was in darkness (the book says who said this, I don’t recall.)
-Joseph Smith said that we’ll see so much blood that our hearts will be sick of it
-Brigham Young agreed to relent his position as Governor because the US was pressing upon them, but he said that he would not allow troops to occupy that land, he said that rather than do that he would burn his own village as others have done in Russia.
-The leaders made plans to take the 30,000 people on an exodus out of Salt Lake and to leave a group of Men Behind To Burn the City if the United States Army where to come.
-One man when reflecting on being driven from his home by the US Army pushing for living his religion said that though he was about to have the best garden he ever had that season, he would have to let it go, because being pushed from homes was the fate of every man in any generation who dared to worship the true and living God
-Patty Hogan said, I think I can take the spoiling of my things with joy, oh Lord help me so to do! this she said when they’re being driven from their homes yet again
-Brigham Young said there many women who care more about their husbands sleeping with them that they do about building the kingdom God, and if a man was to submit to such a woman he would not be worth shocks in building up the kingdom of God
-it was said that one woman complained to Brigham young wanting “pillow council” more than “ward council”, Brigham told her that even if she never got pillow council again, she should go home and do right.
-Wilford Woodruff said a man’s family was his kingdom, and no man had a right to interfere with him; his family was his throne and kingdom.
-a woman moved 30 times within 21 years as a Mormon. Before becoming a Mormon, she lived in one place, but she says she doesn’t know which was more pleasant, because even in the times of moving and at times even living in a wagon cover for a home, that she was comforted by the spirit of God. She reported that she had witnessed Gods guardianship over her in thousands of instances. She had to live in a place that smelt like a horse stall, she said to herself that if the baby Jesus could live in such a place, so could she.
-Eliza Snow wrote about the need to lay everything on the altar as a sacrifice for God; that like Eve, women shouldn’t care if they were the first or 50th wife; it mattered not, because Eve did what she was supposed to, and this is her eternal glory as a goddess; one was to be humble and not worry about being the center of attention even in the eyes of ones spouse.
-Heber Kimball chastised one of the sisters; he said that because she bore it like a Christian, he loved her ten times more; he reminded her that who the Lord loveth he chasteneth
-there was various incidences of speaking in tongues including a time when several saying a song in the language spoken by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and it was reported to have been one of the most Heavenly songs ever heard
-Wilford Woodruff said any almost any fool can go and preach the gospel but it takes a very wise man to be a patriarch of his home and save his family
-Joseph Smith said that it was men’s privilege to take as many wives as he could
-Joseph or one of the brethren said something along the lines of how you could even become like Abraham and have thousands on your own children, making a little kingdom, your own tribe/army, and that it’s basically your duty to get as many children as you can; those are the people that you basically rule; this was the Lord’s order and the way of establishing his purposes. No less than thrones of exaltation was the promise to all involved in the creation of these kingdoms.
-They were also allowed to divorce if both parties were not happy. This ability to divorce for reasons of unhappiness is a very modern idea, that marriage wasn’t just something that you have to stay in because you covenanted to enter, but that if happiness wasn’t there for both parties, the marriage could indeed be dissolved; it could be considered that the ability to divorce was what made the polygamy program healthy and successful
-if a man divorced he was required to continue to provide for the child or children he sired from that marriage.
-Heber Kimball said one of the great mysteries of this church is how someone in it could want some pants and everyone else not give them to him. Here he’s talking about how we should take care of each other in the church, but that such doesn’t always happen.
-Emma had eight children over course of 12 Years.
-a miraculous account reported that a baby slept 7 hours straight during an entire temple dedication, and then awake at the end, and shouted hosanna’s with them!
-the women didn’t keep a lot of journals and they didn’t want to sound like they were complaining, they didn’t want to sound like Sariah in the Book of Mormon who complained; the Mormon women often would write to their husbands and say it is very hard but I don’t regret that you’re gone preaching the gospel; they all expected the second coming neigh at the doors, and they were making great sacrifices for this.
-Each block of the settlements namely SLC had 10 units; each unit had about an acre and a half of land and a small house and so each household could have about a large orchard and garden.
-Travelers coming to see SLC marveled at how beautiful it was; even the streets had lovely brooks running along side them and so forth.
-Wilford Woodruff lived in one of the richest areas of Utah and was the second richest person that lived in that area, but even the more rich among them were not to be lazy; you had to work hard no matter how rich you were
-when the government was coming after the Saints, there was a saying that though the saints were like the worker bees, those coming after them would learn they could also sting.
-Eventually church leaders practicing polygamy had to live in hiding to not be arrested by the US government. Wilford Woodruff wrote as he officially ended this church practice, that he was acting for the temporal salvation of the church and had considered the matter in great length in prayer. There were rumors at that time that the US government was about to close down their temples if they would not cease the practice.
Introduction to the Philosophy of Polygamy
Polygamists want to be free to practice their plural marriage because they are usually acting out of religious conviction. Minor reasons behind this have been presented as a method of alleviating the poor who seek marriage but cannot find it bringing psychological belonging and children, and as an act of charity toward children by birthing them into wholesome families so they don’t have to go to corrupt families. Strict religionists view their religious philosophies as the key to world peace, and they want to spread that message, but since no one will hear it, the most effective way to pass it on is through posterity. Hence the logic of having as numerous a posterity as possible. Sacred texts like The Holy Bible, The Doctrine and Covenants, and The Quran encourage a numerous posterity, and in some cases, multiple wives to accomplish that objective.
Those in opposition to polygamy argue that it is generally barbaric, that it often accompanies a spirit of misogyny, that it is generally disrespectful to women as intelligent human beings, and they argue that children in polygamous families are disfavored because the adding of adult role models from time to time in their lives can be difficult for them to attach to and cope with seeing as polygamy is a very small minority in western culture.
Effects of Banning Polygamy in Early America
The Mormon’s are the obvious culture of interest in this unique case of polygamy rising in the civilized world. Mormons preached polygamy and lived it despite it being a large factor in being chased from state to state until landing in uncharted territory of the west where federal and state laws didn’t apply. Eventually Utah was made a state and more pressure came to ban polygamy. Mormon leaders like Wilford Woodruff went into hiding to avoid jail sentences, and many Mormon leaders did jail time for polygamy. Eventually the Mormon leader then Wilford Woodruff declared that God had changed the polygamy policy. His journal reflects the great pressure he was under from civil authorities to do so, including threats to the sacred houses of worship called temples. Wilford’s journal further expressed that “for the temporal salvation” of the saints, there was no choice but to end polygamy.
Mormons attempted to get the US to change its existing law banning polygamy on the grounds of religious freedom being protected in the First Amendment, but their case was denied, saying that you could believe in polygamy, just not practice it (Reynolds v US 1878). The US was trying to avoid a Pandora’s box of others seeking allowances to unpopular ideas on the grounds of religious freedom behaviors (like smoking paote, killing chickens, etc.). This shows that the consequences of laws have dramatic impacts on family life. Hundreds of children were born in polygamous families, and thousands today have polygamous ancestry. Though polygamy has been discontinued in Mormonism, still today a large portion of its missionary force are descendants of polygamists.
Effects of Banning Polygamy in Modern America
Though the Mormons have not expressed interest in legalizing polygamy today (and excommunicate anyone practicing it), groups like the Amish, the FLDS, Islam, and other polygamous groups are not able to spread their religion as they would like to in the US. They believe that polygamy is a moral obligation, but that they are being held back in their efforts to please God. As immigration becomes more popular in the US we will see interesting cases about polygamy.
Some recent cases show how the US has dealt with immigration and polygamy. One case involved a foreigner who left one wife in his home country, and upon his death in the US, the law respected his foreign marriage and allowed some of his inheritance to go to his foreign polygamous wife who was not living the US with him. Another recent US case involved a man who wanted to maintain a marriage with a minor whom he had legally wed in his home country before immigrating to the US, but this was not tolerated as child protection laws are very strict. The US policy is to allow people the right to marry. This developed in a Supreme Court interracial marriage case, overturning the idea that race was not an appropriate way to limit people’s choice of marriage (1967 Loving v Virginia). This has led to even prisoners marrying.
The Sister Wives television program featured a Lehi Utah family who practiced polygamy, and who almost won a legal battle for polygamy in the civilized world. The governor of Utah was mad at this flagrant violation of law and sued. The polygamist family was happy that charges were pressed so they could finally get a law passed allowing them to be publicly and legally polygamist (a law can’t change unless you can say someone is using it against you). This seemed to them to be an easy case since so many were allowed already to have sex outside of marriage in cohabitation, to have homosexual marriage, and other practices which were not common 100 years ago. When the case went to local courts, it was approved, but other courts challenged the decision and it was denied. The case went to the Supreme Court and since the family had moved to Nevada and Nevada was not pressing charges, and Utah could not since they moved, the case was dropped.
Though barely, polygamy remains illegal. It is treated like speeding too fast and not highly monitored and enforced in a few states like Utah and Colorado. However, if a case came up where there was child abuse, tax fraud, or welfare fraud, the polygamy would be prosecuted. Though child protection laws, tax laws, and welfare laws will remain in place, it seems there is but one more straw needed to break the camel’s back when it comes to legalizing polygamy.
Legalizing Polygamy: A Question for Modern Society
Given the prevalence of allowing other types of marriage such as the 5/4 Supreme Court ruling that all states were required to issue same sex marriage licenses (Obergefell v. Hodges, June 26, 2015), polygamy may as well be legal also. Forbidding it at this point seems prejudice since other forms of marriage are so widely accepted. Religious and non-religious people alike may choose which form of marriage to enter into by their free will and choice. Some religions, such as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, would not participate in polygamy due to current religious standards, but those whose religious standards do allow polygamy, such as Islam, would be allowed to practice their religion, and find joy in following their conscience freely. Expression of the religious conscience is at the bedrock of Americanism.
The US values its citizens having the right to “the pursuit of happiness” (Declaration of Independence), which historically has generally meant creating a family of your own and in your own way. Consensual polygamy is an ethical family arrangement practiced by millions today. As the US becomes more global, it will need to decide what to do with practices in various parts of the world coming to America, including polygamy.
Though American must rightly have strict laws forbidding underage marriage and forced marriage. The age of adulthood in many societies is congruent with the onset of puberty, but when evaluating the age of adulthood, the debate must include modern culture and lifestyles which may justify a later legal age of adulthood. Appropriate parameters in place, polygamy could serve its intended and historic purpose of making marriage a real option for all (particularly the widowed and poor), which would make childbearing in a wholesome family context a real option for all, which would give children the opportunity to be reared in homes of faith and decency.
This article is from http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/marriage
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes marriage is sacred and was ordained of God before the foundation of the world. This doctrine is laid out in a document of the Church called “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” It states:
“The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.”
For Latter-day Saints, marriage is eternal. The relationship between husband and wife does not have to end at death. This long-term perspective explains why the Church emphasizes marriage and family relations. Temple ordinances, Sunday worship, social activities and material resources all point to the well-being of the family. The Mormon community is only as strong as its homes. The family is the heart of society as well.
For millennia, strong families have served as the fundamental institution for transmitting to future generations the moral strengths, traditions and values that sustain civilization. Strong, stable families, headed by a father and mother, are the anchor of society. But not everyone chooses or has a chance to get married. Every family looks different, and society is strengthened whenever people commit to care for those under their charge.
Marriage is far more than a contract that ratifies the affections and obligations between a man and a woman. It is also designed to help parents rear children and teach them to become responsible adults. Throughout the ages, governments of all types have recognized marriage as essential in preserving social stability and perpetuating life.
SALT LAKE CITY —
FROM THE CHURCH NEWSROOM, an additional resource pertaining to the above articles. From http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/homage-to-the-home-why-society-needs-strong-families
COMMENTARY — 6 MAY 2013
“In the coming decades, success will accrue to those cultures that preserve the family’s place.” Joel Kotkin 
A house in want of order
We hear it all the time: “The family is the basic unit of society.” But do we, as a society, really think about what that means? The bonds between husband and wife, parents and children, are so firmly planted in history and experience that we often take them for granted — until, as happens from time to time, those bonds break down. As a solid body of research shows, there is no replacement for the way this institution creates and develops human relationships. Family is no longer, nor ever has been, something that is simply “granted.” As anyone who has tried it knows, raising a family and sustaining a marriage are challenging things to do. However, at stake is not only the health of the individual family but also the prosperity and future of society.
Social scientists agree that not all is well with family and marriage. A report on a recent national survey captured the mood: “America’s parents are anxious.” And as the report shows, anxiety about family decline taps into “a larger perception that our communities are less safe, our work ethic has slipped, and American religious and spiritual life has ebbed.”
The institutions of family and marriage are wearing down. Marriage rates continue to decline: the average couple marrying today has a 40-50 percent chance of divorce or separation. Cohabitation is increasingly commonplace and when children are involved results in more break-ups than marriage. Around 41 percent of all births take place outside of marriage and for the first time more than half of births to women under 30 occur outside marriage. The institutions that are meant to provide security have become a source of insecurity. As many as 44 percent of those in the millennial age group agree that marriage is becoming “obsolete.”
But what does this portend? The health of marriage also has economic implications. According to Pew Research, “married adults have made greater economic gains over the past four decades than unmarried adults.” In addition, children in single-parent households are more likely to live in poverty. But children in two-parent families around the world tend to have better educational outcomes than those living with only one parent or without a parent. Of course not all families are alike, and it takes mutual commitment and community support for even the best of them to work.
Marriage and children, now and in the future
While society is blessed by the contributions of virtuous citizens from all walks of life, research indicates that married people tend to be happier, healthier, and more productive, and they provide the best environment for raising children. Children raised by their own married biological parents experience less poverty, less drug and alcohol use and less crime and delinquency; they gain more education; they are more likely to marry; and they have better mental health compared with children from other family arrangements.
The presence of children in families and societies summons responsibility for their care, encourages productivity, creates an orientation toward the future and pulls individuals outside of their own needs. Though not every couple has children, whether by choice or by circumstance, children remind us all that human flourishing goes much deeper than the happiness of the present. Fortunately, in the United States most children born to married couples will grow up in an intact family. What one spiritual leader said years ago still holds true today: the greatest work we will ever do is within the walls of our home.
But what happens when children no longer become a normal part of life’s plans and patterns? The answer is not just smaller families, but smaller populations. Birth rates have been falling in many places around the world, including the United States. Declining birth rates are making it hard for many Asian and European countries, for example, to replace one generation with another. A report called “The Rise of Post-Familialism” — a condition in which “the family no longer serves as the central organizing feature of society” — describes “a huge population” of people around the world “who have no offspring.” Choosing not to have children, these people “may be less focused on those things necessary to assure a better future for the next generation.” The state of the family figures into a whole spectrum of societal problems, including demographic, economic and sociological.
Stable families as cooperative unions
One might think that family matters are entirely personal, detached from the surrounding society. Does one person’s family or marriage really affect anyone else’s? The answer is a resounding yes. None of us lives in isolation. A report on the state of marriage in America put it this way: “Marriage is not merely a private arrangement; it is also a complex social institution. Marriage fosters small cooperative unions — also known as stable families — that enable children to thrive, shore up communities, and help family members to succeed during good times and to weather the bad times.”
David Brooks of the New York Times goes further, explaining how maximizing personal freedom does not necessarily give people what they want. Rather, he argues, individuals are better served “when they are enshrouded in commitments that transcend personal choice — commitments to family, God, craft and country.”
None of us is born a mere individual. We come to this world with a network of pre-existing relationships, bonds and obligations, both familial and civil. Eighteenth-century statesman Edmund Burke affirmed that society acts as “a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born.” As Orthodox rabbi Meir Soloveichik sees it, family works in much the same way: “Marriage is about continuity and transmission.” The hard, humble work of building and strengthening family relationships is worth undertaking, not only for ourselves but also for the common good.
If these trends remain unaltered …
If current trends continue, what will the family look like 10, 20 years down the road? What kind of future awaits our children, our young people, our neighborhoods and civic relationships? These are serious problems that need to be addressed — not when crisis boils over completely, but now. Projections are notoriously difficult for social scientists to make. The future is not set in stone; society falls into slumps and climbs back out of them. However, given the current trajectory the future looks pretty bleak for many American children.
Demographer Joel Kotkin sings a similarly somber tune: “It’s time for us to consider what an aging, increasingly child-free population, growing more slowly, would mean here. As younger Americans individually eschew families of their own, they are contributing to the ever-growing imbalance between older retirees—basically their parents—and working-age Americans … creating a culture marked by hyper-individualism and dependence on the state as the family unit erodes.” Calling family “truly indispensable,” Kotkin says that strengthening it is “a case we need to make as a society, rather than counting on nature to take its course.”
This discussion on family is much more than a numerical exercise; it’s about the lives and hopes of real people. These societal drifts need not be our destiny. Yet, as one commentator recently noted, such pervasive trends “can only be reversed by the slow accumulation of individual choices, which is how all social and cultural recoveries are ultimately made.”
 Joel Kotkin and Harry Siegel , “Where Have All the Babies Gone?” The Daily Beast, Feb. 19, 2013.
 Carl Desportes Bowman, James Davison Hunter, Jeffrey S. Dill, Megan Juelfs-Swanson, “Culture of American Families,” Executive Report, Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, 2012.
 U.S. Census Bureau, “America’s Families and Living Arrangements,” Current Population Reports, 2011, Table A1.
 Paul R. Amato and Stacey J. Rogers, “Do Attitudes Toward Divorce Affect Marital Quality?”Journal of Family Issues 20 (1999): 69-86.
 Sheila Kennedy and Larry Bumpass, “Cohabitation and Children’s Living Arrangements: New Estimates from the United States,” Demographic Research 19 (2008): 1663-92. Also, recent data from the National Center for Health Statistics of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services similarly demonstrate the growing trend of cohabitation. See Linda and Richard Eyre, “The Cancerous Curse of Cohabitation,” Deseret News, Apr. 24, 2013.
Kay Hymowitz, Jason S. Carrol, W. Bradford Wilcox, Kelleen Kaye, “Knot Yet: The Benefits and Costs of Delayed Marriage in America,” 2013, 10.
 Elizabeth Wildsmith, Ph.D., Nicole R. Steward-Streng, M.A., Jennifer Manlove, Ph.D., Child Trends, Research Brief, “Childbearing Outside of Marriage: Estimates and Trends in the United States,” 2011.
 Joel Kotkin and Harry Siegel , “Where Have All the Babies Gone?” The Daily Beast, Feb. 19, 2013.
 Pew Research Social & Demographic Trends, “Women, Men, and the New Economics of Marriage,” Jan. 19, 2010.
 Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, “America’s Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2012,” Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2012.
 Laura H. Lippman, W. Bradford Wilcox, “World Family Map 2013: Mapping Family Change and Child Well-Being Oucomes,” An International Report from Child Trends.
 See Linda J. Waite and Maggie Gallagher, The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better off Financially (2000).
 W. Bradford Wilcox, “The Evolution of Divorce,” National Affairs, Fall 2009, 88.
 Harold B. Lee, Strengthening the Home, pamphlet, 1973, 7.
 Joel Kotkin, Anuradha Shroff, Ali Modarres, Wendell Cox, Zina Clapper, “The Rise of Post-Familialism: Humanity’s Future,” 2012, 1, 24.
 Institute for American Values, The National Marriage Project, “The State of Our Unions: Marriage in America” 2012, Executive Summary.
 David Brooks “The Age of Possibility,” New York Times, Nov. 15, 2012.
 Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France, 1790.
 David Brooks “The Orthodox Surge,” New York Times, Mar. 7, 2013.
 Joel Kotkin and Harry Siegel , “Where Have All the Babies Gone?” The Daily Beast, Feb. 19, 2013.
 Ross Douthat, “More Babies, Please,” New York Times, Dec. 1, 2012.
In 1995, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints published “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” which declares the following truths about marriage:
We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children. . . .
The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.
Since the publication of that statement, there have been many challenges to the institution of marriage. Prominent among these challenges has been the recognition by several national governments and some states and provinces that same-sex marriage—formal unions between two individuals of the same gender—are the equivalent of traditional marriage. Yet God’s purposes for establishing marriage have not changed. One purpose of this document is to reaffirm the Church’s declaration that marriage is the lawful union of a man and a woman.
Another purpose is to reaffirm that the Church has a single, undeviating standard of sexual morality: intimate relations are acceptable to God only between a husband and a wife who are united in the bonds of matrimony.
A third purpose is to set forth the Church’s reasons for defending marriage between a man and a woman as an issue of moral imperative. The Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage derives from its doctrine and teachings, as well as from its concern about the consequences of same-sex marriage on religious freedom, society, families, and children.
A fourth purpose of this document is to reaffirm that Church members should address the issue of same-sex marriage with respect and civility and should treat all people with love and humanity.
The Vital Importance of Marriage
Marriage is sacred and was ordained of God from before the foundation of the world. Jesus Christ affirmed the divine origins of marriage: “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?”
From the beginning, the sacred nature of marriage was closely linked to the power of procreation. After creating Adam and Eve, God commanded them to “be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth,” and they brought forth children, forming the first family. Only a man and a woman together have the natural biological capacity to conceive children. This power of procreation—to create life and bring God’s spirit children into the world—is divinely given. Misuse of this power undermines the institution of the family.
For millennia, strong families have served as the fundamental institution for transmitting to future generations the moral strengths, traditions, and values that sustain civilization. In 1948, the world’s nations issued the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, affirming that “the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society.”
Marriage is far more than a contract between individuals to ratify their affections and provide for mutual obligations. Rather, marriage is a vital institution for rearing children and teaching them to become responsible adults. Throughout the ages, governments of all types have recognized marriage as essential in preserving social stability and perpetuating life. Regardless of whether marriages were performed as a religious rite or a civil ceremony, in almost every culture marriage has been protected and endorsed by governments primarily to preserve and foster the institution most central to rearing children and teaching them the moral values that undergird civilization.
It is true that some couples who marry will not have children, either by choice or because of infertility. The special status granted marriage is nevertheless closely linked to the inherent powers and responsibilities of procreation and to the innate differences between the genders. By contrast, same-sex marriage is an institution no longer linked to gender—to the biological realities and complementary natures of male and female. Its effect is to decouple marriage from its central role in creating life, nurturing time-honored values, and fostering family bonds across generations.
In recent decades, high rates of divorce and out-of-wedlock births have resulted in an exceptionally large number of single parents. Many of these single parents have raised exemplary children. Extensive studies have shown, however, that a husband and wife who are united in a loving, committed marriage generally provide the ideal environment for protecting, nurturing, and raising children. This is in part because of the differing qualities and strengths that husbands and wives bring to the task by virtue of their gender. As an eminent academic on family life has written:
The burden of social science evidence supports the idea that gender differentiated parenting is important for human development and that the contribution of fathers to child rearing is unique and irreplaceable. . . . The complementarity of male and female parenting styles is striking and of enormous importance to a child’s overall development.
In view of the close links that have long existed between marriage, procreation, gender, and parenting, same-sex marriage cannot be regarded simply as the granting of a new “right.” It is a far-reaching redefinition of the very nature of marriage itself. It marks a fundamental change in the institution of marriage in ways that are contrary to God’s purposes for His children and detrimental to the long-term interests of society.
Threats to Marriage and Family
Our modern era has seen traditional marriage and family—defined as a husband and wife with children in an intact marriage—come increasingly under assault, with deleterious consequences. In 2012, 40% of all births in the United States were to unwed mothers. More than 50% of births to mothers under age 30 were out of wedlock. Further, the marriage rate has been declining since the 1980s. These trends do not bode well for the development of the rising generation.
A wide range of social ills has contributed to this weakening of marriage and family. These include divorce, cohabitation, non-marital childbearing, pornography, the erosion of fidelity in marriage, abortion, the strains of unemployment and poverty, and many other social phenomena. The Church has a long history of speaking out on these issues and seeking to minister to our members with regard to them. The focus of this document on same-sex marriage is not intended to minimize these long-standing issues.
More recently, the movement to promote same-sex marriage as an inherent or constitutional right has gained notable ground in recent years. Court rulings, legislative actions, and referenda have legalized same-sex marriage in a number of nations, states, and jurisdictions. In response, societal and religious leaders of many persuasions and faiths have made the case that redefining marriage in this way will further weaken the institution over time, resulting in negative consequences for both adults and children.
A large number of people around the world recognize the crucial role that traditional marriage has played and must continue to play if children and families are to be protected and moral values propagated. Because the issue of same-sex marriage strikes at the very heart of the family and has the potential for great impact upon the welfare of children, the Church unequivocally affirms that marriage should remain the lawful union of a man and a woman.
Unchanging Standards of Morality
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that God has established clear standards of morality for His children, who are accountable before Him for their behavior. Such standards cannot be changed by the reasoning, emotions, personal interests, or opinions of mortal beings.Without the higher authority of God, as revealed in scripture and by His prophets, secular society will flounder and drift.
Many advocates of same-sex marriage argue that traditional standards of sexual morality have changed and that “tolerance” requires that these new standards be recognized and codified in law. If tolerance is defined as showing kindness for others and respect for differing viewpoints, it is an important value in all democratic societies. But as Elder Dallin H. Oaks has observed, “Tolerance does not require abandoning one’s standards or one’s opinions on political or public policy choices. Tolerance is a way of reacting to diversity, not a command to insulate it from examination.”
The Savior taught that we should love the sinner without condoning the sin. In the case of the woman taken in adultery, He treated her kindly but exhorted her to “sin no more.” His example manifested the highest love possible.
In addition to using the argument of tolerance to advocate redefining marriage, proponents have advanced the argument of “equality before the law.” No mortal law, however, can override or nullify the moral standards established by God. Nor can the laws of men change the natural, innate differences between the genders or deny the close biological and social link between procreation and marriage.
How Would Same-Sex Marriage Affect Religious Freedom?
As governments have legalized same-sex marriage as a civil right, they have also enforced a wide variety of other policies to ensure there is no discrimination against same-sex couples. These policies have placed serious burdens on individual conscience and on religious organizations.
Same-sex marriage and anti-discrimination laws have already spawned legal collisions with the rights of free speech and of action based on religious beliefs. For example, advocates and government officials in certain states have challenged the long-held right of religious adoption agencies to follow their religious beliefs and place children only in homes with both a mother and a father. As a result, Catholic Charities in several states was forced to give up its adoption services rather than be forced to place children with same-sex couples.
In the United States, the First Amendment right of free exercise of religion is coming under pressure from proponents of same-sex marriage. Some of these proponents advocate that tax exemptions and benefits should be withdrawn from any religious organization that does not accept such marriages. The First Amendment may protect clergy from being forced to perform same-sex marriages, but other people of faith have faced and likely will continue to face legal pressures and sanctions. The same will happen with religiously affiliated institutions and educational systems. For example, a Georgia counselor contracted by the Centers for Disease Control was fired after an investigation into her decision to refer someone in a same-sex relationship to another counselor. In New Jersey, a ministry lost its tax-exempt status for denying a lesbian couple the use of its pavilion for their wedding. New Mexico’s Human Rights Commission prosecuted a commercial photographer for refusing to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony. When public schools in Massachusetts began teaching students about same-sex civil marriage, a Court of Appeals ruled that parents had no right to exempt their students. (*WHAT DREAD TERROR I NATE RICHARDSON SAY!)
Similar limitations on religious freedom have already become the social and legal reality in several European nations, and the European Parliament has recommended that laws protecting the status of same-sex couples be made uniform across the European Union. Where same-sex marriage becomes a recognized civil right, it inevitably conflicts with the rights of believers, and religious freedom is diminished. (*WHAT DREAD TERROR I NATE RICHARDSON SAY!)
How Would Same-Sex Marriage Affect Society?
The possible diminishing of religious freedom is not the only societal implication of legalizing same-sex marriage. Perhaps the most common argument that proponents of same-sex marriage make is that it is essentially harmless and will not affect the institution of traditional heterosexual marriage in any way. “It won’t affect your marriage, so why should you care?” is the common refrain. While it may be true that allowing same-sex marriage will not immediately and directly affect existing marriages, the real question is how it will affect society as a whole over time, including the rising generation and future generations.
In addition to undermining and diluting the sacred nature of marriage, legalizing same-sex marriage brings many practical implications in the sphere of public policy that will be of concern to parents and society. When a government legalizes same-sex marriage as a civil right, it will almost certainly enforce a wide variety of other policies to enforce this. The implications of these policies are critical to understanding the seriousness of condoning same-sex marriage.
The all-important question of public policy must be: what environment is best for the child and for the rising generation? While some same-sex couples will obtain guardianship over children, traditional marriage provides the most solid and well-established social identity for children. It increases the likelihood that they will be able to form a clear gender identity, with sexuality closely linked to both love and procreation. By contrast, the legal recognition of same-sex marriage may, over time, erode the social identity, gender development, and moral character of children. No dialogue on this issue can be complete without taking into account the long-term consequences for children.
As one example of how children will be adversely affected, the establishment of same-sex marriage as a civil right will inevitably entail changes in school curricula. (*WHAT DREAD TERROR I NATE RICHARDSON SAY!) When the state says that same-sex marriages are equivalent to heterosexual marriages, public school administrators will feel obligated to support this claim. This has already happened in many jurisdictions, where from elementary school through high school, children are taught that marriage can be defined as a legal union between two adults of any gender, that the definition of family is fluid, and in some cases that consensual sexual relations are morally neutral. In addition, in many areas, schools are not required to notify parents of this curriculum or to give families the opportunity to opt out. These developments are already causing clashes between the agenda of secular school systems and the right of parents to teach their children deeply held standards of morality.
Throughout history, the family has served as an essential bulwark of individual liberty. The walls of a home provide a defense against detrimental social influences and the sometimes overreaching powers of government. In the absence of abuse or neglect, government does not have the right to intervene in the rearing and moral education of children in the home. Strong, independent families are vital for political and religious freedom.
Civility and Kindness
The Church acknowledges that same-sex marriage and the issues surrounding it can be divisive and hurtful. As Church members strive to protect marriage between a man and a woman, they should show respect, civility, and kindness toward others who have different points of view.
The Church has advocated for legal protection for same-sex couples regarding “hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the traditional family or the constitutional rights of churches.” In Salt Lake City, for example, the Church supported ordinances to protect gay residents from discrimination in housing and employment.
The Church’s affirmation of marriage as being between a man and a woman “neither constitutes nor condones any kind of hostility toward gays and lesbians.” Church members are to treat all people with love and humanity. They may express genuine love and kindness toward a gay or lesbian family member, friend, or other person without condoning any redefinition of marriage.
Strong, stable families, headed by a father and mother, are the anchor of society. When marriage is undermined by gender confusion and by distortions of its God-given meaning, the rising generation of children and youth will find it increasingly difficult to develop their natural identities as men or women. Some will find it more difficult to engage in wholesome courtships, form stable marriages, and raise another generation imbued with moral strength and purpose.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, along with many other churches, organizations, and individuals, will continue to defend the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, because it is a compelling moral issue of profound importance to our religion and to the future of society.
The final words in the Church’s proclamation on the family are an admonition to the world from the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.”
This document is a revised and updated version of “The Divine Institution of Marriage,” first published by the Church in 2008 (.pdf file).
 “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102.
 Matthew 19:4–5.
 Genesis 1:28.
 See M. Russell Ballard, “What Matters Most Is What Lasts Longest,” Ensign, Nov. 2005, 41–44.
 United Nations, “Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” General Assembly Resolution 217 A (III), Dec. 10, 1948.
 David Blankenhorn, Fatherless America: Confronting Our Most Urgent Social Problem (New York: Basic Books, 1995); Maggie Gallagher and Joshua K. Baker, “Do Moms and Dads Matter? Evidence from the Social Sciences on Family Structure and the Best Interests of the Child,” Margins Law Journal 4:161 (2004); Mark Regnerus, “How Different Are the Adult Children of Parents Who Have Same-Sex Relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study,” Social Science Research 41:4 (July 2012): 752–70; Regnerus, “Parental Same-Sex Relationships, Family Instability, and Subsequent Life Outcomes for Adult Children: Answering the Critics of the New Family Structures Study with Additional Analyses,” Social Science Research 41:6 (Nov. 2012): 1367–77; W. B. Wilcox, J. R. Anderson, W. Doherty, et al., Why Marriage Matters, Third Edition: Thirty Conclusions from the Social Sciences (New York: Institute for American Values and National Marriage Project, 2011); M. E. Scott, L. F. DeRose, L. H. Lippman, and E. Cook, Two, One, or No Parents? Children’s Living Arrangements and Educational Outcomes around the World(Washington, D.C.: Child Trends, 2013; worldfamilymap.org/2013/articles/essay/two-one-or-no-parents); Andrew J. Cherlin, The Marriage-Go-Round: The State of Marriage and the Family in America Today (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2009).
 David Popenoe, Life Without Father (New York: The Free Press, 1996), 146.
 See J. A. Martin, B. E. Hamilton, M. J. K. Osterman, et al. Births: Final Data for 2012. National Vital Statistics Reports; vol. 62, no. 9 (Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics, 2013).
 See Sherif Girgis, “Check Your Blind Spot: What Is Marriage?” Marriage, Feb. 15, 2013; thepublicdiscourse.com/2013/02/7942/; Lynn Wardle, “The Attack on Marriage as the Union of a Man and a Woman,” North Dakota Law Review, vol. 83 (June 2008): 1364–92; David Blankenhorn, The Future of Marriage (2007); Lynn Wardle, ed., What’s the Harm? Does Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage Really Harm Individuals, Families, or Society? (2008); R.R. Reno, “The Future of Marriage,” First Things, Jan. 2013, 3–4; Richard Neuhaus, “Disingenuousness and Clarity,” On the Square, May 30, 2008; firstthings.com/onthesquare/2008/05/disingenuousness-and-clarity.
 See Dallin H. Oaks, “No Other Gods,” Ensign, Nov. 2013, 72–75.
 Dallin H. Oaks, “Weightier Matters,” Ensign, Jan. 2001, 17.
 John 8:11.
 See Douglas Laycock, Anthony R. Picarello Jr., and Robin F. Wilson, eds., Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Liberty, Emerging Conflicts (Lanham, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield, 2008).
 See usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/fortnight-for-freedom/upload/Catholic-Adoption-Services.pdf
 See Jonathan Turley, “An Unholy Union: Same-Sex Marriage and the Use of Governmental Programs to Penalize Religious Groups with Unpopular Practices,” in Laycock, Picarello, and Wilson, eds., Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Liberty: Emerging Conflicts, 59–76.
 Sherif Girgis, Ryan T. Anderson, and Robert P. George, What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense (New York and London: Encounter Books, 2012), 62–64.
 See Roger Trigg, Equality, Freedom, and Religion (London and New York: Oxford University Press, 2012); The Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians in Europe,Report 2012 (Vienna, Austria, 2013); “European Parliament Resolution on Homophobia in Europe,” adopted Jan. 18, 2006.
 See Girgis, Anderson, and George, What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense.
 See endnote 6.
 Charles Russo, “Same-Sex Marriage and Public School Curricula: Preserving Parental Rights to Direct the Education of Their Children,” University of Dayton Law Review, vol. 32 (Spring 2007): 361–84.
 Gerry Shih, “Clashes Pit Parents vs. Gay-Friendly Curriculums in Schools,” The New York Times, Mar. 3, 2011, page A21A; John Smoot, “Children Need Our Marriage Tradition,” Public Discourse, June 13, 2013; thepublicdiscourse.com/2013/06/10344/; Challenging Homophobia and Heterosexism: A K-12 Curriculum Resource Guide, Toronto District School Board (2011).
 Parker v. Hurley, 514 F. 3d 87 (1st Cir. 2008); Fields v. Palmdale School District, 427 F.3d 1197 (9th Cir. 2005).
 See mormonnewsroom.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/news-releases-stories/statement-given-to-salt-lake-city-council-on-nondiscrimination-ordinances.
 “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” 102.
THE FAMILY A PROCLAMATION TO THE WORLD
The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
WE, THE FIRST PRESIDENCY and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.
ALL HUMAN BEINGS—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.
IN THE PREMORTAL REALM, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.
THE FIRST COMMANDMENT that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.
WE DECLARE the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan.
HUSBAND AND WIFE have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.
THE FAMILY is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.
WE WARN that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.
WE CALL UPON responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.
(This proclamation was read by President Gordon B. Hinckley as part of his message at the General Relief Society Meeting held September 23, 1995, in Salt Lake City, Utah.)
Marriage Appendix E: The Proclamation on the Family: Transcending the Cultural Confusion By Elder Bruce C. Hafen
Elder Hafen Served as a member of the Seventy from 1996 to 2010
Adapted from an address, “Marriage, Family Law, and the Temple,” delivered at the J. Reuben Clark Law Society Annual Fireside in Salt Lake City on January 31, 2014.
This is the first of two articles by Elder Hafen that help commemorate the 20th anniversary of “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” The second article will be published in the September 2015 issue of the Ensign.
Permanent commitments to marriage and parenthood are like two anchor threads running through the design of our social tapestry.
“What are your greatest concerns?” a newspaper reporter asked President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) in June 1995, as he turned 85. He replied: “I am concerned about family life in the Church. We have wonderful people, but we have too many whose families are falling apart. … I think [this] is my most serious concern.”1
Three months later President Hinckley publicly read “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.”2
It was no coincidence that this solemn declaration was issued precisely when the Lord’s prophet felt that, of all the subjects on his mind, unstable family life in the Church was his greatest concern. Later he added that the greatest challenge facing both America and the rest of world “is the problem of the family, brought on by misguided parents and resulting in misguided children.”3
The proclamation was not merely a collection of pro-family platitudes. It was a serious prophetic warning about a major international problem. And now, 20 years later, the problem is getting worse, which shows just how prophetic the 1995 warning was.
Before we explore what that means for each of us, let us consider how modern culture ended up where it is today.
Universal Love Story
Humankind’s oldest, most hoped-for story line has a familiar plot: boy meets girl, they fall in love, marry, have children, and—they hope—live happily ever after. That universal love story is so central to the great plan of happiness that it began with Adam and Eve, and for most Church members, it still guides our lives like the North Star.
The joys of human love and family belonging give us hope, purpose, and a desire to live better. They make us long for the day when we will take the hands that have held ours and together enter the Lord’s presence. There we will embrace our loved ones and stay with them always, to “go no more out” (Revelation 3:12).
For many years society generally supported this inborn longing to belong. Of course, families had problems, but most people still believed that “tying the knot” of marriage created a relatively permanent family unit. And those knots held the fabric of society together, with “hearts knit together in unity and in love” (Mosiah 18:21).
In recent generations, however, the fabric has increasingly frayed as we have experienced what some writers call “the collapse of marriage.”4 Many people outside the Church no longer see marriage as a source of long-term commitments. Rather, they now see marriage and even childbearing as temporary personal options. Yet permanent commitments to marriage and parenthood are like two anchor threads running through the design of our social tapestry. When those threads fray, the tapestry can unravel and we can lose the plot of the universal love story.
I have watched this unraveling from my own perspectives as a father, a Church member, and a teacher of family law. Beginning in the 1960s, the civil rights movement spawned new legal theories about equality, individual rights, and liberation. These ideas helped the United States begin to overcome its embarrassing history of racial discrimination. They also helped the country reduce discrimination against women. These protections from discrimination are part of each citizen’s individual interests.
Some forms of legal classification, however, are actually beneficial. For example, the law “discriminates” in favor of children on the basis of their age—they can’t vote, drive a car, or sign a binding contract. And they receive years of free education. These laws protect children and society from the consequences of children’s lack of capacity while also preparing them to become responsible adults.
Laws have also given a privileged status to relationships based on marriage and kinship—not to discriminate against single and unrelated people but to encourage biological parents to marry each other and to raise their own stable children, who are the key to a stable continuing society. Such laws thus express society’s social interests in its children and in its own future strength and continuity.
Historically, laws maintained a workable balance between social interests and individual interests because each element plays an important role in a healthy society. However, in the 1960s and 1970s, U.S. courts began to interpret family laws in ways that gave individual interests a much higher priority than social interests, which knocked the legal and social system off balance. This change was but one part of the transformation of American family law—the biggest cultural shift in attitudes about marriage and family life in 500 years. I will illustrate this transformation with some examples from U.S. law, although the laws of most developed countries have followed similar trends.
A Culture Shift
In a nutshell, advocates began using potent individual-liberation ideas to challenge laws that had long supported the interests of children and society in stable family structures. Courts and legislatures accepted many of these individualistic ideas, even when the ideas damaged larger social interests. For example, no-fault divorce was first adopted in California in 1968 and then spread across the United States. No-fault significantly changed the way people thought about marriage. Under the old divorce laws, married people couldn’t just choose to end their marriage; rather, they had to prove spousal misconduct, like adultery or abuse. In those days only a judge representing society’s interests could determine when a divorce was justified enough to outweigh the social interest in marital continuity.
As originally conceived, no-fault divorce had worthy goals. It added irretrievable marriage breakdown, regardless of personal fault, as a basis for divorce—which simplified the divorce process. In theory, only a judge, who still represented society’s interests, could decide whether a marriage was beyond repair. But in practice, family court judges deferred to the personal preference of the couple and eventually liberated whichever partner wanted to end the marriage.
These legal changes accelerated a larger cultural drift that no longer saw marriage as a relatively permanent social institution but rather as a temporary, private relationship, terminable at will—without seriously considering how divorce damaged children, let alone how it damaged society. Before long, judges’ doubts about society’s right to enforce wedding vows gave married couples the false impression that their personal promises held no great social or moral value. So now, when marriage commitments intrude on personal preferences, people are more likely to walk away. They see marriage as a “nonbinding commitment,” whatever that contradiction means.
Reflecting these new attitudes, courts expanded the parental rights of unwed fathers and began to give child custody and adoption rights to unmarried individuals. This uprooted the long-established preference that family law had given, whenever possible, to the married, two-parent biological family. Both experience and the social science research had clearly shown—and still show—that a family headed by married, biological parents almost always provides the best child-rearing environment. But over time, the unwed-parent cases contributed to, and were influenced by, skyrocketing rates of unmarried cohabitation and births outside marriage.
Further, in 1973 the U.S. Supreme Court granted individual women the right to choose abortion, thereby rejecting long-held cultural beliefs about the social interests represented by unborn children and by elected legislators who until then had collectively decided the value-laden question of when life begins.
Talking about no-fault divorce leads logically to a brief comment about same-sex marriage. This has become a difficult and poignant topic, even though only 17 years ago, no country in the world had legally recognized same-sex marriage. So how could this very idea burst upon the international scene precisely when the historic concept of marriage had lost so much public value during the previous four decades?
One likely answer is that the “personal autonomy” theory of the first U.S. pro-same-sex marriage case in 2001 simply extended the same individualistic legal concept that had created no-fault divorce. When a court upholds an individual’s right to end a marriage, regardless of social consequences (as can happen with no-fault divorce), that principle may also seem to support an individual’s right to start a marriage, regardless of social consequences (as can happen with same-sex marriage).
In other words, when people see man-woman marriage as just a matter of personal preference rather than as society’s key social institution, it’s little wonder that many would now say of same-sex marriage that individuals should be free to marry as they choose. That’s what can happen when we lose track of society’s interest in marriage and children. Clearly God loves all of His children and expects us to treat one another with compassion and tolerance—regardless of private conduct we may or may not understand. But it is a very different matter to endorse or promote that conduct by altering a legal concept—marriage—whose historic purpose was to promote society’s interest in having biological parents rear their own children in stable homes.
The U.S. Supreme Court relied on the personal autonomy theory, among other legal theories, when it ruled on June 26, 2015, that state laws may not “bar same-sex couples from marriage.” Thus same-sex marriage is now legal in every U.S. state.
Significantly, however, the court’s majority opinion also “emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned. The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered. The same is true of those who oppose same-sex marriage for other reasons.”5
Effects on Marriage and Children
Now consider the effect of these changes on marriage and children. Since about 1965 the U.S. divorce rate has more than doubled, although it has dipped slightly in recent years—partly because the number of unmarried couples has increased by about 15 times, and their frequent breakups aren’t included in the divorce rate. Today about half of all first marriages end in divorce; about 60 percent of second marriages do. The United States is the world’s most divorce-prone country.6
Today 40 percent of U.S. births are to unmarried parents. In 1960 that number was 5 percent.7 About 50 percent of today’s teens now consider out-of-wedlock childbearing a “worthwhile lifestyle.”8 The percentage of children in single-parent families since 1960 has increased fourfold, from 8 percent to 31 percent.9 Over half of today’s U.S. marriages are preceded by unmarried cohabitation.10 What was highly abnormal in the 1960s is the new normal.
In Europe, 80 percent of the population now approves of unmarried cohabitation. In parts of Scandinavia, 82 percent of firstborn children are born outside marriage.11 When we lived in Germany recently, we sensed among Europeans that, in many ways, marriage is no more. As a French writer put it, marriage has “lost its magic for young people,” who increasingly feel that “love is essentially a private matter which leaves no room” for society to say anything about their marriage or their children.12
Nonetheless, the children of divorced or unwed parents have about three times as many serious behavioral, emotional, and developmental problems as children in two-parent families. By every measure of child well-being, these children are far worse off. And when children are dysfunctional, society becomes dysfunctional. Here are some examples of that dysfunction, acknowledging that some elements in such general trends may have multiple causes. In the past five decades:
- Juvenile crime has increased sixfold.
- Child neglect and all forms of child abuse have quintupled.
- Psychological disorders among children have all worsened, from drug abuse to eating disorders; depression among children has increased 1,000 percent.
- Domestic violence against women has increased, and poverty has shifted increasingly to children.13
How serious are these problems? As President Hinckley said in 1995, these issues were his “most serious concern.” And the trends that troubled him then are now measurably worse. As a Time magazine writer put it:
“There is no other single force causing as much measurable hardship and human misery in this country as the collapse of marriage. It hurts children, it reduces mothers’ financial security, and it has landed with particular devastation on those who can bear it least: the nation’s underclass. …
“The poor [have uncoupled] parenthood from marriage, and the financially secure [blast] apart their [own] unions if [they] aren’t having fun anymore.”14
Turning Our Hearts
Photo illustration by Janae Bingham
One tattered golden thread in the unraveling social tapestry reflects the heart of the problem: the children—bone of our bones, flesh of our flesh. Something true, even holy, about posterity—children and procreation and eternal bonds of affection—resonates deeply within the mystic chords of our collective memory.
The child-parent tie matters so much that God sent Elijah in 1836 to “turn the hearts” of the fathers and the children toward each other. If those hearts do not so turn, He said, “the whole earth [will] be smitten with a curse” and “utterly wasted” before Christ returns (D&C 110:15; Joseph Smith—History 1:39; see also Malachi 4:6). In today’s world, those hearts do appear to be turning—but away from, rather than toward, each other.
Are we already living in the time of the curse? Perhaps. Today’s children (and therefore society—the earth) are indeed being “wasted” (devalued, made useless, rendered desolate) by each issue discussed here.
The doctrine is clear—and is substantiated by years of research. We don’t need to return to the family laws of yesteryear, but if we could just care more about our children and their future, people would marry before becoming parents. They would sacrifice more, much more, to stay married. Children would be raised, whenever possible, by their biological parents. Ideally, there would be no elective abortions or unwed births. Of course, some exceptions are needed—some divorces are justified, and adoption is often heaven-sent. Yet in principle, the 1995 proclamation on the family says it perfectly: “Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.”15
But we are suffering from collective amnesia. We are not hearing the mystic chords of eternal, or even recent, memory. The enemy of our happiness wants to convince us that the sacred, long-term bonds of family affection are confining, when in fact no relationships are more liberating and fulfilling.
Building a good marriage is not easy. It is not supposed to be easy. But when a confused culture confuses us about what marriage means, we may give up on each other and ourselves much too soon. Yet the gospel’s eternal perspective, as taught in the scriptures and the temple, can help us transcend the modern marital chaos until our marriages are the most satisfying, sanctifying—even if also the most demanding—experiences of our lives.
“Tying the knot” of marriage creates a relatively permanent family unit that holds the fabric of society together, with “hearts knit together in unity and in love.”
The gospel’s eternal perspective, as taught in the scriptures and the temple, can help us transcend the modern marital chaos until our marriages are the most satisfying, sanctifying experiences of our lives.