" In the beginning marriage was given as a law of the gospel. It was intended to last forever not just for our mortal lives. Many people in the world consider marriage to be only a social custom, merely a legal agreement between a man and a woman to live together. But to Latter-day Saints, marriage is much more. Our exaltation depends upon marriage. Our father in heaven has given us the law of eternal marriage so that we can become like him. We must live the law of eternal marriage to become as he is -- able to have spirit children." Gospel Principles, pg. 231
This quote is taken from a the book : Gospel Principles, a book that is published by the LDS Church, and is an official publication. This book is used as a manual for the LDS Sunday School Class, called " Gospel Principles" or the new member class that is taught to new or returning LDS.
While I agree with the LDS that many people today view marriage as a "legal contract" and do not give it the serious regard that the Lord gives it, I would like to look at the LDS belief that marriage can be forever.
The Lord spoke of marriage various times. We have His recorded words.
" Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God. For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels which are in heaven." Mark 12:24 & 25
" Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures nor the power of God, for in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage , but are as the angels of God in heaven. " Matt. 22:29 &30
" The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage. But they which shall be counted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage. Neither can they die any more, for they are equal unto the angels, and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection. " Luke 20:34-36
Jesus spoke very plainly and clearly regarding marriage in the next life. Those that are counted to obtain "that" world ( heaven!) and the resurrection , will not be married. They will be like the angels.
For Christians, the life to come wil be something incomprehensibly superior to the present one. Jesus spoke of the resurrection from the dead , this is not the general resurrection "of" the dead, but the redemption to the fullness of life from the dead for those who died in Christ. ( Thomas Nelson KJV Study Bible, pg. 20)
The LDS know these verses and will say that these verses refer to the resurrection, not life eternal. 3 gospel writers included this passage in relation to the question asked by the Sadducees about marriage in the next life. He spoke very plainly and clearly. For those who are obtain " that " world -- that is life eternal in the presence of our God, they will not marry or be married or live in the married state but we will be as the angels of God, and ARE the children of God.
The fellowship of marriage as high an ideal as this is in the Scriptures will be superseded in depth and diversity of a new life in the presence of God. Death will be a thing of the past. People will be equal to the angels. in the sense that they are incapable of ever again experiencing death. Life will certainly not be reduced to some level beneath marriage. Rather all will be taken up into a fuller life of God's eternal family. ( Thomas Nelson KJV Study Bible, pg. 1588)
For Latter-day Saints, they believe that without the temple marriage sealing, there is no possible way of entering the presence of God. ( D & C 131: 1-3) They believe that only those men who hold the LDS priesthood ( called the Melchizedek priesthood) have the authority to "seal" or marry a couple not only for this life but forever.
In the LDS scripture Doctrine & Covenants, Joseph Smith wrote:
" If a man marry a wife by the new and everlasting covenant by him who is anointed... it .. shall be of full force when they are out of the world." Doctrine and Covenants 132:19
" In the temple, LDS couples kneel at once of the sacred alters in the presence of their family and friends and two sacred witnesses. They make their marriage covenants before God. They are pronounced man and wife for time and all eternity. This is done by one who holds the holy priesthood of god and has the authority to perform this special ordinance. He acts under the direction of the lord and promises the couple the blessings of exaltation. He instructs them in the things they must do to receive these blessings. He reminds them that all blessings depend upon obedience to the laws of god. If they are married by other than priesthood authority, the marriage is for this life only. After death their marriage partners have no claim on each other or their children." Gospel Principles , pg 233
As Christians, we believe that God ordained marriage. We believe He gave Eve to Adam to be his wife and help meet. He told them the two, shall be one. Marriage was designed by our Creator. He saw that Adam was alone and took a rib from Adam and created Eve to help Adam.
With that said, marriage was created for this earth. In Heaven, with our Lord we will not need to be married - we will have perfect fellowship with our God and with our brothers and sisters. When we believe in His name and receive Christ, we *become* the sons of God. John 1:12
We will enjoy the blessed state of an eternal family in Christ in Heaven. If our children also believe and receive Christ, then they too will be in Heaven with us in God's eternal family. If our spouses receive and believe in Christ, they too will be there in God's eternal family. But rest assured, we will not experience a married state in Heaven -- I believe we can't even imagine what life eternal will be like! The fellowship we will have with God will fill us completely. Married life and conjugal relations are earthly. We are not married in heaven. Our spouses who are Christian will be our brothers and sisters in heaven. I can't wait!!
Jesus never taught us that marriage was eternal. That the marriage state will continue and that couples will have "spirit children" and receive "exaltation". Jesus did teach us that we may have life eternal in Him when we are born again and receive Him as our Lord and King.
When I was LDS, I "hoped" to have an eternal family. I wanted to live forever with my family and God. Now, as a Christian I KNOW I have an eternal family. Most of my children have received Christ and believe He is their Lord and King. If any one of them were to die today, I would most definitely would see them again in the Kingdom of God!!! I have a hope and assurance now that I didn't before!! The LDS believe that having an eternal marriage and family is dependent on their obedience to the LDS ordinances and laws. ( see my previous post on marriage to read the LDS wedding covenant made in the LDS temple).
Marriage was intended for this life, as our Lord plainly put it. The Bible also speaks plainly that it is ok to chose a life of singleness as well. Paul writes about this extensively. Our married state does not determine our salvation state and where we end up in the next life. Praise God for that! My salvation and eternal life is not dependent upon my husband! It's dependent upon what JESUS did for me so long ago. His work, guarantees me eternal life.
In the next life, we will have a fullness of fellowship with God and will truly enjoy the blessings of living in God's eternal family! I can hardly wait!!! It's going to be awesome!