Monday, February 28, 2011

Chapter 38: Eternal Marriage

As the second in four lessons having to do with family, wonderful material for this chapter can be found in the Teachings of the Presidents of the Church:... (the old Priesthood/Relief Society manuals). This material is in Joseph Smith, chapter 42; for Brigham Young, chapters 24 and 46; in John Taylor, chapter 21; For Wilford Woodruff, chapter 16; for Joseph F. Smith, chapters 4, 33, 39, and 43; for Heber J. Grant, chapter 22; for David O. McKay, chapter 16; for Harold B. Lee 12, 13, 14 and 15; and for Spencer W. Kimball, chapters 19 and 20. These can all be found by going to the new “lds.org” then click on “Go to Classic LDS.org” (lower left corner), then click on “Gospel Library” then “Lessons” then “Melchizedek Priesthood and Relief Society.” The manuals are all found at the bottom of this page.

The new website “lds.org” is also wonderful. On the first page, there is a link in the upper right-hand corner, “Search all LDS.org” which, if you type in “family” leads to great material.

1 - - Marriage Is Ordained of God
The title to this section is important. President Kimball taught:

Marriage, honorable marriage, is ordained of God. He decreed that the basic unit of society should be the home and the family, and we must be warned that the false culture of the day is turning away from this God-ordained plan.

To offset and neutralize the evil teachings in the media and on the cameras and in the show and on the street, we must teach marriage, proper marriage, eternal marriage (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, 191).

In another prophesy, literally coming true before our eyes currently, President Kimball warned:

…many of the social restraints which in the past have helped to reinforce and to shore up the family are dissolving and disappearing. The time will come when only those who believe deeply and actively in the family will be able to preserve their families in the midst of the gathering evil around us.

There are those who would define the family in such a nontraditional way that they would define it out of existence (Ensign, Nov. 1980, 4).

In this section this question begins the section, “What is the Lord’s doctrine of marriage, and how does it differ from the views of the world? (p. 219). The last section also discussed the restoration of this doctrine of eternal marriage. President Joseph F. Smith declared:

Our [family] associations are not exclusively intended for this life, for time, as we distinguish it from eternity. We live for time and for eternity. We form associations and relations for time and all eternity. Our affections and our desires are found fitted and prepared to endure not only throughout the temporal or mortal life, but through all eternity. Who are there besides the Latter-day Saints who contemplate the thought that beyond the grave we will continue in the family organization? the father, the mother, the children recognizing each other in the relations which they owe to each other and in which they stand to each other? this family organization being a unit in the great and perfect organization of God’s work, and all destined to continue throughout time and eternity? (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, 385-6).

President Smith also stated:

Who understood the responsibility that dwells with the union of husband and wife, till Joseph Smith revealed it in the simplicity and plainness with which he has revealed it to the world? … It has opened my eyes. If anything in the world could have made me a better man, or a better husband, … it is that principle that the Lord has revealed, which shows me the obligations that I am under (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, 173).

In this section we learn:

Adam and Eve were married by God before there was any death in the world. They had an eternal marriage (p. 219).

President Joseph F. Smith verified this:

While man was yet immortal, before sin had entered the world, our heavenly Father himself performed the first marriage. He united our first parents in the bonds of holy matrimony (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, 174).

Every single sister or brother needs the instruction listed in “For Teachers” at bottom of page 220. As President of the Church, Ezra Taft Benson gave a talk entitled, “To the Single Adult Brethren of the Church” in general conference. He told single men:

I can assure you that the greatest responsibility and the greatest joys in life are centered in the family, honorable marriage, and rearing a righteous posterity. And the older you become, the less likely you are to marry, and then you may lose these eternal blessings altogether (Ensign, May 1988, 51).

The following conference President Benson gave another talk entitled, “To the Single Adult Sisters of the Church” wherein he declared to single sisters:

I also recognize that not all women in the Church will have an opportunity for marriage and motherhood in mortality. But if those of you in this situation are worthy and endure faithfully, you can be assured of all blessings from a kind and loving Heavenly Father—and I emphasize all blessings (Ensign, Nov 1988, 96).

For any fathers who have not yet been to the temple, the following from President Lee may be helpful:

We must impress upon every father that he will be held responsible for the eternal welfare of his family: that means coming into the Church with his family; that means going to sacrament meeting with his family; that means holding family home evenings to keep his family intact; it means preparing himself to take them to the temple, so that there can be prepared thereby the steps that will make for an eternal family home (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, 122).

2 - - Eternal Marriage Is Essential for Exaltation
The title to this section is a crucial principle. President Joseph F. Smith declared:

The man and woman who are sealed for eternity under the authority of the holy priesthood can, through their faithfulness, attain exaltation in the celestial kingdom of God (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, 173).

President Lee also explained:

Marriage for time and for eternity is the strait gate and the narrow way (spoken of in the scriptures) “that leadeth unto the exaltation and continuation of the lives, and few there be that find it… (D&C 132:22).

Those who make themselves worthy and enter into the new and everlasting covenant of marriage in the temple for time and all eternity will be laying the first cornerstone for an eternal family home in the celestial kingdom that will last forever. Their reward is to have “glory added upon their heads forever and forever” (see Abraham 3:26).

The effectiveness of the Latter-day Saint home rests, of course, on the manner of marriage contracted for that home. A marriage for just the here and now will, naturally, be concerned primarily with this world. A marriage for eternity will have an entirely different perspective and foundation (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, 111, 115).

President Kimball added:

A basic reason for eternal marriage is that life is eternal; and marriage, to be in harmony with eternal purposes, must be consistent with life in duration (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, 192).

President Kimball also proclaimed:

Without proper and successful marriage, one will never be exalted (“Marriage and Divorce,” BYU Devotional, Sep. 7, 1976).

To really understand the full impact of the title to this section, eternal and exaltation need to be clarified. In the scriptures “God” and “eternal” are synonymous:

Eternal punishment is God's punishment (D&C 19:11).

Doctrinally, “eternal” whether referring to marriage or life, means literally “Godlike.” Thus true “eternal” is more than forever, more than being with God, but it accurately means “like God.”

Exaltation also means becoming like God:

And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this priesthood…they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things…

Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting… (D&C 132:19-20).

This tremendously important concept is found in the second paragraph of this section. Here we learn, “Heavenly Father has given us the law of eternal marriage so we can become like Him” (p. 220). Again, two statements from the last section:

2. We can be exalted as God is and receive a fulness of joy (p. 221).

The Lord has said that if we are true and faithful, we will enter into our exaltation. We will become like our Heavenly Father (See D&C 132:19–20.) (p. 223).

This section discusses the “new and everlasting covenant of marriage. In the Encyclopedia of Mormonism the “new” part: is explained:

It is “new” when given to a person of a people for the first time… (p. 1008).

President Brigham Young explained the “everlasting” part:

The new and everlasting covenant of marriage lays the foundation for eternal life.
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 Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, 163).

In the second paragraph of this section D&C 132 is discussed (also in “Additional Scriptures” on p. 223). President Lee, after quoting D&C 132:22 also quotes D&C 132:25:

…but “broad is the gate, and wide the way that leadeth to the deaths; and many there are that go in thereat.” (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, 111).

Some of what is the “broad…gate” and “wide…way” is discussed earlier in D&C 132. Verses 15-17 could describe what we would today refer to as civil marriage.

President John Taylor discussed this type of marriage. President Taylor explained:

Our marriage relations, for instance, are eternal. Go to the sects of the day and you will find that time ends their marriage covenants; they have no idea of continuing their relations hereafter; they do not believe in anything of the kind… Our religion binds men and women for time and all eternity. This is the religion that Jesus taught—it had power to bind on earth and to bind in heaven, and it had power to loose on earth and to loose in heaven [see Matthew 16:19]. We believe in the same principles, and we expect, in the resurrection, that we shall associate with our wives and have our children sealed to us by the power of the holy priesthood, that they may be united with us worlds without end (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: John Taylor, 193).

President McKay taught:

One of the principal questions asked by reporters, newsmen and by people generally is, “What is the difference between your Temple and your other church edifices?”

One of the distinguishing features of the restored Church of Jesus Christ is the eternal nature of its ordinances and ceremonies. For example, generally in civil as well as in church ceremonies, couples are married “for time” only, or “until death dost thee part.” But love is as eternal as the spirit of man; and if man continues after death, which he does, so will love.

This interests nearly every intelligent inquirer and investigator, especially when he or she realizes the truth, that love—the divinest attribute of the human soul—will be just as eternal as the spirit itself (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay, 126-7).

Verse 18 concerns marriages “not by me or by my word…and…not sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise.” This could include apostate marriages that might be performed by those who have broken off from our church (sometimes referred to as fundamentalists) who have lied to make their way into a temple only to return to their own false churches. It is important to understand that these self proclaimed “fundamentalists” are not at all “fundamental” from our view. Most of these groups broke off from the true church after Wilford Woodruff issued the manifesto (see Official Declaration—2 in the D&C). They stopped following the living prophet and thus cut themselves off from God. President Hinckley succinctly declared:

There is no such thing as a “Mormon Fundamentalist.” It is a contradiction to use the two words together (Ensign, Nov. 1998, 70).

A second possibility could include ministers who claim to marry couples “for eternity” without proper authority (see Section 3 of this lesson).

A third possibility could also include marriages in the temple for LDS who are unworthy to be there. President John Taylor spoke of Latter-day Saints who commit severe sins and are unrepentant but want eternal marriage:

Woe! to such Saints… And some of these people would try to pass by the Bishops, and then by the Presidents of Stakes, and then by the President of the Church, and crawl with all their slime and damnable hypocrisy into the Temples of the living God. They may pass by these, but they will have to pass by the angels and the Gods, before they get through, and they will never inherit the Kingdom of God (Journal of Discourses 25:316-7).

President Kimball stated:

The mere performance of a ceremony does not bring happiness and a successful marriage. Happiness does not come by pressing a button, as does the electric light; happiness is a state of mind and comes from within. It must be earned. It cannot be purchased with money (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, 195-6).

Any of these three of these possibilities would not be “sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise” (D&C 132:18). Joseph Fielding Smith explained about the Holy Spirit of Promise:

The Holy Spirit of Promise is the Holy Ghost who places the stamp of approval upon every ordinance: baptism, confirmation, ordination, marriage. The promise is that the blessings will be received through faithfulness.

If a person violates a covenant, whether it be of baptism, ordination, marriage or anything else, the Spirit withdraws the stamp of approval, and the blessings will not be received.

Every ordinance is sealed with a promise of a reward based upon faithfulness. The Holy Spirit withdraws the stamp of approval where covenants are broken” (Doctrines of the Gospel Institute Manual, 12).

Hopefully, all are getting well acquainted with the tremendous resource of Institute manuals (found online at “institute.lds.org” and then click on the top tab of “Course Catalog.”

So, it should be clear that any but a worthy temple marriage is God’s goal. Everything else is the plan of Satan. President Lee stated:

If Satan and his hosts can persuade you to take the broad highway of worldly marriage that ends with death, he has defeated you in your opportunity for the highest degree of eternal happiness through marriage and increase throughout eternity. It should now be clear to your reasoning why the Lord declared that in order to obtain the highest degree in the Celestial glory, a person must enter into the new and everlasting covenant of marriage. If he does not, he cannot obtain it. (D&C 131:1–3) (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, 111).

3 - - Eternal Marriage Must Be Performed by Proper Authority in the Temple
In this section we learn, “Not only must an eternal marriage be performed by the proper priesthood authority, but it must also be done in one of the holy temples of our Lord” (p. 220). Brigham Young plead with us:

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] (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, 164).

4 - - Benefits of an Eternal Marriage
President McKay explained benefits:

The marriage ceremony, when thus sealed, produces happiness and joy unsurpassed by any other experience in the world. “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” [Mark 10:9.].

The eternity of the marriage covenant is a glorious revelation, giving assurance to hearts bound by the golden clasp of love and sealed by authority of the Holy Priesthood that their union is eternal.

A word about the eternity of the marriage covenant. … Let’s look at the principle of it. Will you name for me in your minds the most divine attribute of the human soul? … Love is the most divine attribute of the human soul, and if you accept the immortality of the soul, that is, if you believe that personality persists after death, then, you must believe that love also lives. Isn’t that sound? And I ask you this: Whom shall we love when we recognize those personalities in the next world?

The marriage bond should be as eternal as love, the most divine attribute of the human soul. Most surely, then, that bond should continue as long as love is an attribute of the spirit (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay, 145-6).

Number one in the list of “benefits” of eternal marriage includes, “This knowledge helps us work harder to have a happy, successful marriage” (p. 221). There is a wonderful story (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Wilford Woodruff, 161-3) of President Woodruff’s wife dying and being given the chance to stay or return on the condition she “if she felt that she could stand by her husband, and with him pass through all the cares, trials, tribulations and afflictions of life which he would be called to pass through for the Gospel’s sake unto the end.”

She chose to stay. This decision sustained her and when President Woodruff had to be away on a mission, she wrote, “I know that it is the will of God that you should labour in his vineyard; therefore, I feel reconciled to his will in these things. I have not been left to murmur or complain since you left me, but am looking forward to the day when you shall return home once more to the bosom of your family, having fulfilled your mission in the love and fear of God.”

President Woodruff added:

When all the family are united together, they enjoy a heavenly spirit here on the earth… In the morning of the first resurrection he expects to have that wife and his children with him in a family organization, to remain in that condition forever and forever. What a glorious thought that is! (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Wilford Woodruff, 170)

Number two listed here is families that “continue throughout eternity” (p. 221). Most everyone in the Church has or knows someone in their family with the terrible sadness over children who let go of the iron rod and leave the narrow path that leads to eternal life. The following quote from Brigham Young is one of many which can bring comfort concerning this predicament.

Brigham Young stated a most comforting doctrine:

Let the father and mother, who are members of this Church and Kingdom, take a righteous course, and strive with all their might…if they have one child or one hundred children, if they conduct themselves towards them as they should, binding them to the Lord by their faith and prayers, I care not where those children go, they are bound up to their parents by an everlasting tie, and no power of earth or hell can separate them from their parents in eternity; they will return again to the fountain from whence they sprang (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, 163-4).

Brigham Young also added:

If you mothers, will live your religion, then in the love and fear of God teach your children constantly and thoroughly in the way of life and salvation, training them up in the way they should go, when they are old they will not depart from it [see Proverbs 22:6]. I promise you this, it is as true as the shining sun, it is an eternal truth.

If parents will continually set before their children examples worthy of their imitation and the approval of our Father in Heaven, they will turn the current, and the tide of feelings of their children, and they, eventually, will desire righteousness more than evil (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, 172, 173).

The new “lds.org” website is wonderful. Just type in “wayward children” in the space for “Search all LDS.org” in the upper right hand corner and terrific resources come up. They are all worth checking out. The first one is the Prodigal Son which has some terrific principles. The next is “Quotes…” of which three are printed below:

Joseph Smith:

The Prophet Joseph Smith declared—and he never taught a more comforting doctrine—that the eternal sealings of faithful parents and the divine promises made to them for valiant service in the Cause of Truth, would save not only themselves, but likewise their posterity. Though some of the sheep may wander, the eye of the Shepherd is upon them, and sooner or later they will feel the tentacles of Divine Providence reaching out after them and drawing them back to the fold. Either in this life or the life to come, they will return. They will have to pay their debt to justice; they will suffer for their sins; and may tread a thorny path; but if it leads them at last, like the penitent Prodigal, to a loving and forgiving father’s heart and home, the painful experience will not have been in vain. Pray for your careless and disobedient children; hold on to them with your faith. Hope on, trust on, till you see the salvation of God (Orson F. Whitney, in Conference Report, Apr. 1929, 110).

President Lorenzo Snow:

If you succeed in passing through these trials and afflictions and receive a resurrection, you will, by the power of the Priesthood, work and labor, as the Son of God has, until you get all your sons and daughters in the path of exaltation and glory. This is just as sure as that the sun rose this morning over yonder mountains. Therefore, mourn not because all your sons and daughters do not follow in the path that you have marked out to them, or give heed to your counsels. Inasmuch as we succeed in securing eternal glory, and stand as saviors, and as kings and priests to our God, we will save our posterity.

President Boyd K. Packer:

The measure of our success as parents … will not rest solely on how our children turn out. That judgment would be just only if we could raise our families in a perfectly moral environment, and that now is not possible.

It is not uncommon for responsible parents to lose one of their children, for a time, to influences over which they have no control. They agonize over rebellious sons or daughters. They are puzzled over why they are so helpless when they have tried so hard to do what they should.
It is my conviction that those wicked influences one day will be overruled. …

We cannot overemphasize the value of temple marriage, the binding ties of the sealing ordinance, and the standards of worthiness required of them. When parents keep the covenants they have made at the altar of the temple, their children will be forever bound to them (Ensign, May 1992, 68).

Number two in the list of “benefits” in this section mentions “happier homes” (p. 211). President Joseph F. Smith gave a great example of a happy and successful home:

What then is an ideal home—model home, such as it should be the ambition of the Latter-day Saints to build … ? It is one in which all worldly considerations are secondary. One in which the father is devoted to the family with which God has blessed him, counting them of first importance, and in which they in turn permit him to live in their hearts. One in which there is confidence, union, love, sacred devotion between father and mother and children and parents. One in which the mother takes every pleasure in her children, supported by the father—all being moral, pure, God-fearing (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, 180).

President Lee also prayed for this:

God grant that the homes of the Latter-day Saints may be blessed and that there shall come into them happiness here and the foundation for exaltation in the celestial kingdom in the world to come (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, 117).

President Lee also explained how this can happen:

While all the problems of life are not solved by a temple marriage, yet, certainly, for all who enter worthily, it becomes a haven of safety and an anchor to that soul when the storms of life beat fiercely.

Mine has been the rich experience, for nearly twenty years, of being entertained each week end in some of the most successful homes of the Church, and, by contrast, almost weekly I am permitted a glimpse into some of the unhappy homes. From these experiences I have reached in my own mind some definite conclusions: First, our happiest homes are those where parents have been married in the temple. Second, a temple marriage is most successful if husband and wife entered into the sacred ordinances of the temple clean and pure in body, mind, and heart. Third, a temple marriage is most sacred when each in the partnership has been wisely schooled in the purpose of the holy endowment and the obligations thereafter of husband and wife in compliance with instructions received in the temple. Fourth, parents who themselves have lightly regarded their temple covenants, can expect little better from their children because of their bad example (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, 116-7).

Joseph [Smith] the seer … revealed the eternity of the marriage covenant, a doctrine so beautiful, so logical, so far-reaching in its significance that if it were adopted in its entirety, many of the present evils of society might be abolished (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay, 128).

Another wonderful “benefit” D&C 132:19 states that those with eternal marriages will “…come forth in the first resurrection…” In the temple and in some patriarchal blessings members are promised the same thing. President James E. Faust stated:

We can see in vision the countless couples… unspeakable joy on their countenances as they are sealed together and as there is sealed upon them through their faithfulness…the blessing of the holy Resurrection, with power to come forth in the morning of the First Resurrection clothed with glory, immortality, and eternal lives (Ensign, Aug 2001, 2).

President Taylor expanded on this idea:

The gospel, when introduced and preached to Adam after the fall, through the atonement of Jesus Christ, placed him in a position not only to have victory over death, but to have within his reach and to possess the perpetuity, not only of earthly, but of heavenly life; not only of earthly, but also of heavenly dominion… Hence, he and his partner became the father and mother of lives—lives temporal, lives spiritual, and lives eternal, and were placed in the position to become Gods, yea, the sons and daughters of God, and to the increase and extent of their dominion there was to be no limit; worlds without end (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: John Taylor, 194).

5 - - We Must Prepare for an Eternal Marriage
The first sentence in this section is, “What can we do to help youth prepare for eternal marriage?” (p. 221).

Certainly the first thing youth could be taught is to find the right someone. President Lee gave great counsel concerning this:

Faults and failings and the superficiality of mere physical attractions are as nothing compared with the genuineness of good character that endures and grows more beautiful with the years. You, too, may live in the enchantment of your happy homes long after the bloom of youth has faded if you but seek to find the pure diamond quality in each other that needs but the polishing of success and failure, adversity and happiness to bring luster and sparkle that will shine with brilliance even through the darkest night (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, 114).

President McKay gave this suggestion for youth:

Teach the young people that marriage is not merely a man-made institution, but that it is ordained of God, and is a sacred ceremony, and should receive their gravest consideration before they enter upon a contract that involves either happiness or misery for the rest of their lives. Marriage is not something which should be entered into lightly … or ended at the first little difficulty that might arise. The least young people can do is to approach it with honest intentions of building a home that will contribute to the bulwark of a noble society (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay, 136).

President McKay also taught:

Truly no higher ideal regarding marriage can be cherished by young people than to look upon it as a divine institution… It will lead them to seek divine guidance in the selection of their companions, upon the wise choice of whom their life’s happiness here and hereafter is largely dependent. It makes their hearts pure and good; it lifts them up to their Father in heaven. Such joys are within the reach of most men and women if high ideals of marriage and home [are] properly fostered and cherished (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay, 137).

President Lee added:

It is here we begin to lay the foundation stones of an eternal heavenly home, for here in this Church is the power to bind on earth that the same might be bound in Heaven.
Somehow we must get across the fact to all our people, young and old, that in our holy temples the temple endowment is the sure guide to happiness here and eternal life in the world to come (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, 100).

In this section is discussed the process of receiving a temple recommend (pp. 222-3). President John Taylor had this to say about this process:

This is quite an ordeal for many men to go through. For men and women who are upright, virtuous, and honorable, it is [a] very simple matter; there is no difficulty in their way at any time. But to those who have been careless of their duties, who have departed from the laws of God, and who have tampered with, or violated the ordinances of the gospel—to such people it is a critical time.

However, there is something far more difficult than that yet to come. That is only a starting point in these matters. The things that are ahead are a great deal more difficult to accomplish. What are they? The time will come when we shall not only have to pass by those officers whom I have referred to—say, to have the sanction and approval of our bishop [and] of the president of the stake … , but we are told in this book (The Doctrine and Covenants) that we shall have to pass by the angels and the Gods. We may have squeezed through the other; we may have got along tolerably well, and been passed and acted upon, and sometimes a “tight squeeze” at that. But how will it be when we get on the other side, and we have the angels and the Gods to pass by before we can enter into our exaltation? If we cannot pass, what then? Well, we cannot, that is all. And if we cannot, shall we be able to enter into our exaltation? I think not.

You may deceive the Bishop and you may deceive the President of the Stake, and you may deceive the General authorities of the Church, but you cannot deceive the Lord Jesus Christ nor the Holy Ghost. You know yourselves better than anybody else and if there is anything wrong in you, now is the time to repent and make yourselves square with the Lord; and if you do not repent, the time will come when you will be humbled, and the higher up you get the greater will be your fall (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: John Taylor, 186).

In the last paragraph of this section it states, “We must seek earnestly to obey every covenant that we make in the temple (p. 223). President McKay had this to say about keeping these covenants:

Marriage in the temple is one of the most beautiful things in all the world. A couple is led there by love, the most divine attribute of the human soul. … Together they stand in the house of the Lord to testify and covenant before him that they will be true to the covenants they make that day, each keeping himself or herself to the other and no one else. That is the highest ideal of marriage ever given to man. If those covenants are kept as sacred as sacred covenants should be kept, there would be fewer broken hearts among wives and fewer among the husbands. A covenant is a sacred thing. … Keep it true, be true to it (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay, 131).

Certainly two words indispensable to this doctrine are “obey” and “covenant.” For the first, “obey” a repeat from this blog, Chapter 35:

One of my all-time favorite quotes on obedience is from President Ezra Taft Benson by way of a talk (the whole talk is good) in conference by Elder Donald L. Staheli, of the Seventy:

When obedience ceases to be an irritant and becomes our quest, in that moment God will endow us with power (Ensign, May 1998, 81).

Second, a repeat of this blog, Chapter 31 on “covenant”:

One of my favorite stories about honesty and covenants was told by Elder Russell M. Nelson:

President Karl G. Maeser once said:

“I have been asked what I mean by word of honor. I will tell you. Place me behind prison walls—walls of stone ever so high, ever so thick, reaching ever so far into the ground—there is a possibility that in some way or another I may be able to escape; but stand me on the floor and draw a chalk line around me and have me give my word of honor never to cross it. Can I get out of that circle? No, never! I’d die first!” (Ensign, Aug. 1995, 19).

Preparation is well taught by President Lee

Of course, we realize that simply going to the temple without proper preparation in every way does not bring the blessings we seek. Eternal marriage rests on a maturity and commitment that—with the endowment and ordinances—can open the gates of heaven for many blessings to flow to us.

Temple marriage is more than just a place where the ceremony occurs; it is a whole orientation to life and marriage and home. It is a culmination of building attitudes toward the Church, chastity, and our personal relationship with God—and many other things. Thus, simply preaching temple marriage is not enough. Our family home evenings, seminaries, institutes and auxiliaries must build toward this goal—not by exhortation alone—but by showing that the beliefs and attitudes involved in temple marriage are those which can bring the kind of life here and in eternity that most humans really want for themselves. Properly done, we can show the difference between the “holy and the profane” [see Ezekiel 44:23] so that the powerful natural instincts of motherhood are decisive in the young woman who wavers between those holy instincts and the path of pleasure seeking. With real judgment and combined curricular effort, we can show the young man that the way of the world—however much it gets glamorized and regardless of how clever its Casanovas appear—is the way of sadness; it is the way which will finally frustrate those deep inner yearnings he has for hearth and home and the joys of fatherhood (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, 116).

In this section, Question # 2 of the temple recommend interview discusses “keys.” President Kimball explains the connection:

Eternal marriage is performed by the prophet of the Lord or by one of the very few to whom he has delegated the authority. It is performed in holy temples erected and dedicated for that purpose. Only such marriage transcends the grave and perpetuates the husband-wife and parent-child relationships into and through eternity (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, 192).

We love the following from the feelings of Parley P. Pratt upon learning of eternal marriage:

For Elder Parley P. Pratt of the Quorum of the Twelve, a knowledge of this doctrine deepened his love for his family: “It was Joseph Smith who taught me how to prize the endearing relationships of father and mother, husband and wife; of brother and sister, son and daughter. 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 fountain of divine eternal love. It was from him that I learned that we might cultivate these affections, and grow and increase in the same to all eternity; while the result of our endless union would be an offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven, or the sands of the sea shore. … I had loved before, but I knew not why. But now I loved—with a pureness—an intensity of elevated, exalted feeling, which would lift my soul from the transitory things of this grovelling sphere and expand it as the ocean. … In short, I could now love with the spirit and with the understanding also” (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, 481).


ADDITIONAL MATERIAL
Amulek taught:

…God the Father, and the Holy Spirit, which is one Eternal God… (Alma 11:44).

He was teaching the very important principle that the Godhead is totally unified. If the goal of this lesson is to become like God, then a husband and wife must also live to become unified. In Lesson 37 the concept of “equal partners” was discussed (p. 213). Since there was so much terrific counsel from the Teachings of the Presidents of the Church:… manuals on parenting, we elected to move the following material on relationships between husband and wife to this section. President Kimball proclaimed:

The place of woman in the Church is to walk beside the man, not in front of him nor behind him. In the Church there is full equality between man and woman. The gospel … was devised by the Lord for men and women alike (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, 215).

Here is one of our all-time favorite quotes. It beautifully and succinctly spells out the steps to equality in marriage. In a First Presidency Message by President Marion G. Romney (the whole talk is terrific):

They [husbands and wives] should be one in harmony, respect, and mutual consideration. Neither should plan or follow an independent course of action. They should consult, pray, and decide together (Ensign, March 1978, 2).

President Kimball helps us understand this crucial concept further:

When we speak of marriage as a partnership, let us speak of marriage as a full partnership. We do not want our LDS women to be silent partners or limited partners in that eternal assignment! Please be a contributing and full partner (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 315).

My wife and I really love the following explanation by Patricia Holland, wife of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland:

Much of the time I act autonomously and independently. In fact, Jeff will agree that I am about the most independent woman he knows But when we make major moves, and even some minor ones, and when I’m concerned about the children or my church assignments, or when I experience weakness and pain, I listen to and obey his counsel because I know he obeys our Father’s counsel. I know that is the order of heaven (On Earth As It Is in Heaven, 60).

My wife and I have found that most of what makes a happy home begins with how righteously a husband and wife are united in their marriage. President Kimball expressed this:

Fathers and mothers, your foremost responsibility is your family. By working together you can have the kind of home the Lord expects you to have. By showing love and consideration for one another and for your children, you can build a reservoir of spiritual strength that will never run dry (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, 208).

This concept of the father being the “head of his family” is a crucially important one, often misunderstood. It centers on the word “preside” from the Family Proclamation (first paragraph of this section). God the Father introduced this idea in the Garden in Genesis 3:16 and Moses 4:22.

Unto the woman, I, the Lord God, said...thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee (Moses 4:22).

Interestingly, we find the completion of this phrase “rule over thee…” in the temple. This command to rule is given to be only in righteousness. President Kimball echoes the temple concerning this most important principle:

I have a question about the word rule. It gives the wrong impression. I would prefer to use the word preside because that’s what he does. A righteous husband presides over his wife and family (Ensign, Mar. 1976, 72). In Ephesians 5:22-31 and Doctrine and Covenants 121:41-46 the Lord gave clear instructions on how husbands should preside (Pearl of Great Price Institute Manual, 14).

Again, all of the institute manuals are available online at “institute.lds.org” by clicking on “Course Catalog” bar (along the top).

Brigham Young declared:

…I never counselled a woman to follow her husband to the Devil (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, 167).

President Kimball agreed wholeheartedly:

The wife follows the husband only as he follows Christ. No woman has ever been asked by the Church authorities to follow her husband into an evil pit. She is to follow him as he follows the Savior of the world, but in deciding this, she should always be sure she is fair (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 316).

Elder Dallin H. Oaks discusses the false concept practiced by those who do not understand the sacred nature of this appointment:

…we had a neighbor who dominated and sometimes abused his wife. He roared like a lion, and she cowered like a lamb. When they walked to church, she always walked a few steps behind him. That made my mother mad. She was a strong woman who would not accept such domination, and she was angry to see another woman abused in that way. I think of her reaction whenever I see men misusing their authority to gratify their pride or exercise control or compulsion upon their wives in any degree of unrighteousness (see D&C 121:37). (Ensign, Nov. 2005, 24)

The scripture quoted by Elder Oaks is crucial to correct understanding of the principles discussed here. When fathers preside without righteousness, the Lord says “amen” to their priesthood (D&C 121:37).

President Kimball further emphasized this idea:

We have heard of men who have said to their wives, “I hold the priesthood and you’ve got to do what I say.” Such a man should be tried for his membership. Certainly he should not be honored in his priesthood. We rule in love and understanding (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 316).

President Hinckley spoke strongly about this problem:

Any man who is a tyrant in his own home is unworthy of the priesthood. He cannot be a fit instrument in the hands of the Lord when he does not show respect and kindness and love toward the companion of his choice.

Likewise, any man who is a bad example for his children, who cannot control his temper, or who is involved in dishonest or immoral practices will find the power of his priesthood nullified (Ensign, Nov 2001, 52).

Joseph Smith helped us further understand the principles taught by the Lord in D&C 121:

It is the duty of a husband to love, cherish, and nourish his wife, and cleave unto her and none else [see D&C 42:22]; he ought to honor her as himself, and he ought to regard her feelings with tenderness, for she is his flesh, and his bone, designed to be an help unto him, both in temporal, and spiritual things; one into whose bosom he can pour all his complaints without reserve, who is willing (being designed) to take part of his burden, to soothe and encourage his feelings by her gentle voice.

It is the place of the man, to stand at the head of his family, … not to rule over his wife as a tyrant, neither as one who is fearful or jealous that his wife will get out of her place, and prevent him from exercising his authority. It is his duty to be a man of God (for a man of God is a man of wisdom,) ready at all times to obtain from the scriptures, the revelations, and from on high, such instructions as are necessary for the edification, and salvation of his household (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, 482).

Brigham Young added:

I do not believe in making my authority as a husband or a father known by brute force; but by a superior intelligence—by showing them that I am capable of teaching them. … If the Lord has placed me to be the head of a family, let me be so in all humility and patience, not as a tyrannical ruler, but as a faithful companion, an indulgent and affectionate father, a thoughtful and unassuming superior; let me be honored in my station through faithful diligence, and be fully capable, by the aid of God’s Spirit, of filling my office in a way to effect the salvation of all who are committed to my charge (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, 339-40).

President Kimball continued:

Sometimes we hear disturbing reports about how sisters are treated. Perhaps when this happens, it is a result of insensitivity and thoughtlessness, but it should not be, brethren. The women of this Church have work to do which, though different, is equally as important as the work that we do. Their work is, in fact, the same basic work that we are asked to do—even though our roles and assignments differ. …

Our sisters do not wish to be indulged or to be treated condescendingly; they desire to be respected and revered as our sisters and our equals. I mention all these things, my brethren, not because the doctrines or the teachings of the Church regarding women are in any doubt, but because in some situations our behavior is of doubtful quality (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, 216-7).

Some have wondered why man is the head of the home. As stated earlier, the answer was given in the Garden and is “God said.” Elder Neal A. Maxwell explained:

We know so little about the reasons for the division of duties between womanhood and manhood as well as between motherhood and priesthood. These were divinely determined in another time and another place. We are accustomed to focusing on the men of God because theirs is the priesthood and leadership line. But paralleling that authority line is a stream of righteous influence reflecting the remarkable women of God who have existed in all ages and dispensations, including our own (The Women of God, 94).

President Kimball discussed this “equal but different” (also see Family Proclamation) concerning men and women:

We had full equality as his spirit children. We have equality as recipients of God’s perfected love for each of us.

Within those great assurances, however, our roles and assignments differ. These are eternal differences—with women being given many tremendous responsibilities of motherhood and sisterhood and men being given the tremendous responsibilities of fatherhood and the priesthood—but the man is not without the woman nor the woman without the man in the Lord (see 1 Cor. 11:11) (Ensign, Nov. 1979, 102).

President Kimball explains this concept was from the beginning:

They [Adam and Eve] were quite different in their makeup, with different roles to play.
I sincerely hope that our Latter-day Saint girls and women, and men and boys, will drink deeply of the water of life and conform their lives to the beautiful and comprehensive roles the Lord assigned to them (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, 192-3).

In every aspect of parenting, unity of parents is a crucial concept. If parents are not both striving for righteousness, children suffer. President Lee affirmed:

At the marriage altar you are pledged to each other from that day to pull the load together in double harness. The Apostle Paul with reference to marriage counseled: “Be ye not unequally yoked” (2 Corinthians 6:14) While his counsel has to do more particularly with matters that pertain to an equality of religious interests and spiritual desires, yet the figure his statement suggests should not be overlooked. Like a yoke of oxen pulling a load along the highway, if one falters, becomes lazy and indolent or mean and stubborn, the load is wrecked and destruction follows. For similar reasons, some marriages fail when either or both who are parties thereto fail in carrying their responsibilities with each other.

But even more important than that you be ‘yoked equally’ in physical matters, is that you be yoked equally in spiritual matters. … Certain it is that any home and family established with the object of building them even into eternity and where children are welcomed as ‘a heritage from the Lord’ [see Psalm 127:3] have a much greater chance of survival because of the sacredness that thus attaches to the home and the family (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, 109-10).

Much heart ache and pain, both to spouses as well as children accompany the failure to equally yoke in righteousness, both in marriage and in parenting. President Lee declares:

That determination for the welfare of each other must be mutual and not one-sided or selfish. Husband and wife must feel equal responsibilities and obligations to teach each other (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, 112).

Joseph Smith taught:

It is the duty of a husband to love, cherish, and nourish his wife, and cleave unto her and none else [see D&C 42:22]; he ought to honor her as himself, and he ought to regard her feelings with tenderness, for she is his flesh, and his bone, designed to be an help unto him, both in temporal, and spiritual things; one into whose bosom he can pour all his complaints without reserve, who is willing (being designed) to take part of his burden, to soothe and encourage his feelings by her gentle voice.

It is the place of the man, to stand at the head of his family, … not to rule over his wife as a tyrant, neither as one who is fearful or jealous that his wife will get out of her place, and prevent him from exercising his authority. It is his duty to be a man of God (for a man of God is a man of wisdom,) ready at all times to obtain from the scriptures, the revelations, and from on high, such instructions as are necessary for the edification, and salvation of his household (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, 482).

At a meeting of Relief Society sisters, Joseph Smith said: “You need not be teasing your husbands because of their deeds, but let the weight of your innocence, kindness and affection be felt, which is more mighty than a millstone hung about the neck; not war, not jangle [quarreling], not contradiction, or dispute, but meekness, love, purity—these are the things that should magnify you in the eyes of all good men.

When a man is borne down with trouble, when he is perplexed with care and difficulty, if he can meet a smile instead of an argument or a murmur—if he can meet with mildness, it will calm down his soul and soothe his feelings; when the mind is going to despair, it needs a solace of affection and kindness. … When you go home, never give a cross or unkind word to your husbands, but let kindness, charity and love crown your works henceforward (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, 482).

Joseph Smith talked about the relationship with God and spouse in a tender letter to Emma:

…you must comfort yourself knowing that God is your friend in heaven and that you have one true and living friend on earth, your husband (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, 241).

President McKay taught beautifully:

I love my wife more than I can love other people. I love my children. I can have sympathy; I can have a desire to help all mankind, but I love her by whose side I have sat and watched a loved one in illness, or, perhaps, pass away. Those experiences bind heart to heart, and it is a glorious thought to cherish that death cannot separate hearts that are thus bound together; for each of you husbands will recognize your wife in the other world, and you will love her there as you love her here, and will come forth to a newness of everlasting life in the resurrection. Why should death separate you when love will continue after death? (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay, 127).

An eternal relationship demands constant care. President McKay taught:

I should like to urge continued courtship, and apply this to grown people. Too many couples have come to the altar of marriage looking upon the marriage ceremony as the end of courtship instead of the beginning of an eternal courtship. Let us not forget that during the burdens of home life—and they come—that tender words of appreciation, courteous acts are even more appreciated than during those sweet days and months of courtship. It is after the ceremony and during the trials that daily arise in the home that a word of “thank you,” or “pardon me,” “if you please,” on the part of husband or wife contributes to that love which brought you to the altar. It is well to keep in mind that love can be starved to death as literally as the body that receives no sustenance. Love feeds upon kindness and courtesy. It is significant that the first sentence of what is now known throughout the Christian world as the Psalm of Love, is, “Love suffereth long, and is kind.” [See 1 Corinthians 13:4.] The wedding ring gives no man the right to be cruel or inconsiderate, and no woman the right to be slovenly, cross, or disagreeable (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay, 149).

Barriers to a good marital relationship include a husband “marrying” his job, as well as a wife “marrying” her children. President McKay’s advice could be summed up in “date weekly” (as opposed to the bad spelling as well as bad idea of “date weakly”). President McKay stressed this:

…I should like to urge continued courtship, and apply this to grown people. Too many couples have come to the altar of marriage looking upon the marriage ceremony as the end of courtship instead of the beginning of an eternal courtship (Conference Report, April 1956, 8).

President Lee also added:

Those who allow the marriage ceremony to terminate the days of courtship are making a well-nigh fatal mistake (The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, 242).

President Boyd K. Packer declared the following about the highest level of the Celestial Kingdom:

No man receives the fulness of the priesthood without a woman at his side. For no man, the Prophet said, can obtain the fulness of the priesthood outside the temple of the Lord [see D&C 131:1-3]. And she is there beside him in that sacred place. She shares in all that he receives. The man and the woman individually receive the ordinances encompassed in the endowment. But the man cannot ascend to the highest ordinances—the sealing ordinances—without her at his side. No man achieves the supernal exalting status of worthy fatherhood except as a gift from his wife (Ensign, May 1998, 72).

3 comments:

  1. thank you very much for the work put into this post. it has been wonderful to read and study as I prepare for my lesson this week.

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  2. Excellent work in compiling all of these great quotes and making sense of them in terms of this lesson. I thank you, sir.

    ReplyDelete