|E-mail this page to a friend||Tell me when this page is updated|
Why Do Wedding Ceremonies Include,
"Till Death Do You Part?"
Is it possible that a family can be forever? That a loving couple can live their life in this mortal sphere with real hope of that marriage continuing throughout eternity?
Smith, Joseph Fielding. The Restoration of All Things. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1973.
The World's View of Marriage
The world, quite generally, has come to look upon marriage as merely a civil contract, or agreement, between a man and a woman, authorizing them to live together in the marriage relation. In many of the states in our country when the man or the woman desires to annul the contract, the privilege is given them so to do, whether the reason be serious or trivial, and then they may enter into another such contract to endure likewise only as long as the fancy endures. We frequently read in our papers of some celebrity or person of popular appeal, marrying, separating from his or her companion and immediately entering into another such agreement, separating again, and this being repeated over and over again. In some of the states of our glorious union, marriage has been placed in the category of a contract which may readily be broken and encouragement has been given to the contracting man and woman to annul the covenant on the merest pretext, and receive a separation on the easiest terms, and this sacred principle is treated with utmost contempt.
Rich, Ben. E., ed. Scrapbook of Mormon Literature. 2 vols. Chicago: Henry C. Etten & Co., 1913.
By Parley P. Pratt In His Publication, "The Prophet,"
Published In New York City, 1845.
Our venerable father Adam took our mother Eve for a wife when the human family and the world in which they lived was as free from death as God and His throne. We would now inquire what kind of contract was made between them, and also how long was it to endure? Was it after the power and union of an endless life? or was it made to serve a momentary purpose, till death shall separate? The answer is obvious. This marriage contract must have been eternal, or else it must have admitted the sinful as well as cruel idea of a divorce and final separation during their lives; for let it be borne in mind they had no death in view and no idea of ever being subject to death, even for a moment, at the time the contract was made.
Smith, Joseph Fielding. The Restoration of All Things. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1973.
The Eternal Marriage Covenant
Address delivered Sunday, November 19, 1944
"Mine House, A House of Order"
One of the most sacred covenants the Lord has given to man is the covenant of marriage, and since it was first given, like other covenants, it has been sorely abused. Marriage was instituted in the very beginning of the world's history and is a covenant of the gospel just as much as is baptism for the remission of sins. It was revealed definitely as a religious rite, and according to the plan and will of the Lord should only be solemnized by one who holds divine authority and who is duly commissioned of the Lord to officiate in the ordinance by which a man and a woman are united in this holy bond. But as man has usurped the authority to govern himself, independent of the will of God, so likewise has he arrogated to himself the authority to officiate in the covenant of marriage, and in doing so has lost the deep significance first attached to this covenant, which is that it was to endure forever. Of course, man with his usurped authority has no power to bind, or seal, for time and for eternity, therefore, all "covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations," the Lord has said, which are made by man shall come to an end, for only that which the Lord has sanctioned shall endure forever. Again the Lord said:
Behold, mine house is a house of order, saith the Lord God, and not a house of confusion. Will I accept of an offering, saith the Lord, that is not made in my name?
Or will I receive at your hands that which I have not appointed? And will I appoint unto you, saith the Lord, except, it be by law, even as I and my Father ordained unto you, before the world was? 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. For whatsoever things remain are by me; and whatsoever things are not by me shall be shaken and destroyed.
Therefore, if a man marry him a wife in the world, and he marry her not by me or 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. 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. --D. & C. 132:8-16.
"Whatsoever God Doeth, It Shall Be Forever!"
We read in the Bible where the preacher said: "I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be forever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him." Surely, since our Heavenly Father is eternal, that which he does is eternal, otherwise he would cease to be God. It is what man does in his finite state which does not endure, but all things decreed by the Lord are eternal and shall "be forever." This applies to marriage as well as to existence, and man is destined to endure forever, and it is written: "For behold, this is my work and my glory--to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man."
Not Good for Man to be Alone
After Adam was placed on the earth, we read, "the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make an help meet for him." And again our Eternal Father said to his Son Jesus Christ, who created the earth, "Let us make man in our image after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." When Eve was given to Adam, the Lord said: "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh."
The Man and Wife--One Flesh
The word of the Lord is definite that when a man and a woman marry they become "one flesh," and therefore, they should never separate except where the most serious offenses in violation of that covenant warrant its being broken. Divorce is not a part of the gospel plan and there never would be any occasion for it if the man and his wife were sincerely, humbly, living in accordance with the gospel of Jesus Christ. It never could happen if the man and wife had in their hearts the pure love which they should hold for each other. No divorce ever comes where there is in the hearts of husband and wife, the pure love of Christ, for that love is based in righteousness, and righteousness is an enemy of sin. Our Lord condemned divorce when the Pharisees came tempting him, saying:
Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?
And he answered and said unto them, 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?
Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.--Matthew 19:3-6.
Marriage A Divine Command
When they inquired why it was that Moses permitted divorce, Jesus answered them:
Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.--Matt. 19:8.
Here we have reaffirmation that marriage in the beginning was instituted by divine command, and wherever a man and his wife were united by the authority of the Lord, they should not be put asunder. Unfortunately today, and so it has been generally among all nations from ancient times, husbands and wives are not and were not "joined together" by our Heavenly Father. Today in the churches as well as in ceremonies performed by civil authority, the marriage is limited to this mortal life only. It is a common expression for ministers as well as justices to conclude the ceremony with this decree-"Until death doth you part." Outside of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I know of no people who believe that marriage is intended to continue beyond this mortal life. I talked with many ministers of religion who declare that in the life to come there are neither male or female in heaven. This seems to be the generally accepted view. This view is based upon the misinterpretation of the words of our Lord to the Sadducees, when they came with their catch-question regarding the woman who had had seven husbands. The Lord's answer to them was:
The First Marriage Was Before Death Came
It seems to be a matter forgotten, or ignored, that the first marriage was before there was any death in the world. When Eve was given to Adam, it was not "until death doth you part," but it was a perpetual union. On this point I quote from. President Joseph F. Smith:
Many people imagine that there is something sinful in marriage; there is an apostate tradition to that effect. This is a false and a very harmful idea. On the contrary, God not only commands but he commends marriage. 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 matrimony, and commanded them to be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth. This command he has never changed, abrogated or annulled; but it has continued in force throughout all the generations of mankind.
Without marriage the purposes of God would be frustrated so far as this world is concerned, for there would be none to obey his other commandments.
There appears to be something beyond and above the reason apparent to the human mind why chastity brings strength and power to the peoples of the earth, but it is so.
Today a flood of iniquity is overwhelming the civilized world. One great reason therefor is the neglect of marriage; it has lost its sanctity in the eyes of the great majority. It is at best a civil contract, but more often an accident or a whim, or a means of gratifying the passions. And when the sacredness of the covenant is ignored or lost sight of, then a disregard of the marriage vows, under the present moral training of the masses, is a mere triviality, a trifling indiscretion.
Man Not Without the Woman in the Lord
The notion that is almost universal that marriage is a contract which ends at death did not originate in the gospel. It was introduced by the enemy of truth who has sworn to overthrow the kingdom of God if he can. Paul declared that "Neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord," and the Lord said he would give to man a help meet for him. That is a help that would answer all the necessary requirements, not only of companionship, but to help him to fill the measure of creation, which neither the man nor the woman, alone, could accomplish. Orson Pratt commenting on this need, has said:
The Lord ordained marriage between male and female as a law through which spirits should come here and take tabernacles, and enter into the second state of existence. The Lord himself solemnized the first marriage pertaining to this globe, and pertaining to flesh and bones here upon this earth. I do not say pertaining to mortality; for when the first marriage was celebrated, no mortality was here. The first marriage that we have any account of, was between two immortal beings; . . . they were immortal beings; death had not dominion, no power over them.
Notwithstanding the universal doctrine that death automatically brings the separation of husband and wife, and places the children without parents, when and where did a husband ever lay away his wife in the grave, or a wife her husband, where love had dominated their union, that there was not the longing hope that this miserable doctrine of separation is not true? Where is there the mother or the father, who truly loved each other and their children, who were ever called upon to lay away a child in the grave whom they dearly loved, who did not hope in the anguish of their souls, that this terrible doctrine of separation is not true? You who love each other and the children that have come to you, do you wish the time to come, in the resurrection of the dead, that all family associations and unity shall cease? When the loved ones you have claimed here, shall be no more to you than strangers? Well, there is but one means of escape from this awful condition, and that is the acceptance of the gospel of Jesus Christ as it has been restored and the partaking of the sealing blessings in the house of the Lord by one who is duly authorized by divine authority by which husbands and wives, and children to parents become united forever. This was the great work which the Prophet Elijah revealed, that families might not be destroyed, and that the earth might not be smitten with a curse when the great and dreadful day of the Lord shall come.
Marriage is ordained of God. What God hath joined, let not man set asunder. I bear humble testimony that what you have read above is true and correct gospel doctrine. A man and his wife and family can be eternal. Such a union does not, however, automatically happen. There is one correct way. God's house is a house of order. Email me with questions and I will speak directly with you about this divine ordinance of eternal marriage. Questions to Ken
I leave this page with you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Go here for The Official LDS Page
Back to Have
You Ever Wondered?