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solemnization of the union by a duly qualified official-are necessary and honorable undertakings among mortals, they to whom the Savior referred shall neither marry nor be given in marriage in the resurrection, but at best shall be made equal to the angels.
The inquisitorial Sadducees must have felt the force of the Master's rebuke in being told that they were in error "not knowing the scriptures nor the power of God," for they prided themselves on their learning and superior qualities of understanding. Nevertheless, the reproof was merited, for had they opened their hearts to the spirit of Scripture, had they considered with honest desire to comprehend the words of the Lord who spoke to them, whose utterances were and are Scripture of the highest and most sacred order, they would have been able to distinguish between ceremonies performed for time only under the regulations of human law, and ordinances administered by the authority of God for both time and eternity.
Sacred rites that pertain both to the period of mortality and to the life beyond must be solemnized on earth. Compliance with the laws and ordinances of the Gospel, or the rejection of these, determines the individual test for which the world was prepared as the abode of men-to "prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them." (Pearl of Great Price, p. 66.)
Thus, in the case of the initiatory ordinance, baptism, it is essential that it be administered to mankind in the flesh; for Scripture nowhere avers that in and after the resurrection men shall be baptized in water for the remission of sins done in mortality. And so is it with respect to marriage.
True, as we have heretofore seen, the merciful economy
of God makes possible the vicarious administration of baptism for the disembodied, that is for the dead prior to their resurrection; but the actual baptism is to be solemnized by and upon mortal beings, who, having been already baptized for themselves, may officiate for their dead kindred by complying with the revealed laws and regulations. So also the marital union of the worthy dead, who have lived in lawful and honorable wedlock as regulated by secular law, may be confirmed and superseded by the ordinance of Celestial Marriage, wherein the family relationship is perpetuated by sealing under the authority of the Holy Priesthood, to be of force and effect in and after the resurrection from the dead.
The family relationship was primarily designed to be perpetual; and only as mankind have forfeited or rejected the ministration of the Holy Priesthood has mere temporal union become a necessary yet but partial substitute for the eternal order of marriage. Paul's comprehensive precept "Neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord" (1 Cor. 11:11) has an application beyond the marital state in mortality.
The full measure of progression in eternity is unattainable without the perpetuity of the family organization; and the family unit must be established on earth through the order of Celestial Marriage, which comprises marriage for time as well as for eternity, or, in the case of the dead by the confirmation and extension of earthly wedlock through the vicarious sealing of the parties in Celestial Marriage. Otherwise, that is if the marriage of any couple shall have been by secular authority only, without the authority of the Holy Priesthood, the parties shall find in the resurrection that neither are they married nor can they then be given in marriage.
Following the visitation of the Risen Christ to the Nephites on the Western Continent we read of the marriage institution associated with specific blessings, indicating the authorized administration of the higher and eternal order of matrimony: "And they were married, and given in marriage, and were blessed according to the multitude of the promises which the Lord had made unto them." (Book of Mormon, 4 Nephi 11.)
Concerning those who are wedded for this life only, the word of God as revealed in the present age is in strict accord with the Lord's affirmation to the Sadducees:
"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." (Doctrine & Covenants 132:16.)
Eternal Relationship of the Sexes
[EITHER is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord." (1 Cor. 11:
This scriptural epigram loses much of its significance if restricted to the period of mortal life. Admitting the actuality of individual existence after death, both during the interval of disembodiment and beyond in the resurrected state, we must in consistency accept the fact of the eternity of sex. Man will be man and woman woman in the hereafter as here.
Marriage as regarded by the Latter-day Saints is ordained of God and designed to be an eternal relationship. The Church affirms it to be not only a temporal and legal contract, of binding effect during the mortal life of the parties, but also a solemn covenant that shall endure beyond the grave. In the complete ordinance of marriage as administered within the Church, the man and the woman are placed under covenant of mutual fidelity and union not until death does them part, but for time and for all eternity.
A contract as far-reaching as this, extending not only throughout the period of earth-life, but beyond death, requires for its validation an authority superior to any that can be originated by human enactment; and such authority is found in the Holy Priesthood, which, given of God, is eternal.
Only as God delegates authority to man, with promise that administration under that authority shall be acknowledged in heaven, can any contract be made in this world and be of assured validity after the death of the parties concerned. Marriage is properly authorized by legal statute; and every contract of matrimony entered into as the law provides is honorable, and unless dissolved by the operation of law is effective during the life of the respective parties thereto. But it is beyond the power of man to legislate for eternity.
This is made plain in a revelation given to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1843, part of which follows:
"All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made, and entered into, and sealed, by the Holy Spirit of promise, of him who is anointed, both as well for time and for all eternity, and that too most holy,
by revelation and commandment are of no efficacy, virtue or force, in and after the resurrection from the dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end, have an end when men are dead. . . . 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." (Doctrine and Covenants 132:7, 13.)
In application of this principle and law to the covenants of matrimony, the revelation continues:
"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."
This holy order of matrimony, involving covenant and blessing for both time and eternity, is distinctively known in the Church as Celestial Marriage, and is administered to those only who are adjudged to be of worthy life, eligibl for admission to the House of the Lord; for this sacred ordinance together with others of eternal validity may be solemnized only within the Temples reared and dedicated for such exalted service.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, however, sanctions and acknowledges legal marriages for mortality alone, and solemnizes such unions, as the secular law provides, between parties who do not enter the Temple or who voluntarily choose the lesser and temporal order of matrimony. The ordinance of Celestial Marriage comprises and includes marriage for time, and is therefore administered