« PreviousContinue »
counting, remembering the solemn admonition and profound affirmation of the Christ: "Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven." (Matt. 18:10.)
But the bringing of children into the world is but part of God's beneficent plan of uplift and development through honorable marriage. Companionship of husband and wife is a divinely appointed means of mutual betterment; and according to the measure of holy love, mutual respect and honor with which that companionship is graced and sanctified, do man and woman develop toward the spiritual stature of God. It is plainly the Divine intent that husband and wife should be each the other's great incentive to effort and achievement in good works.
Blessed indeed are the wedded pair who severally find in each a help meet for the other.
TILL DEATH DOES YOU PART
Is There No Hope Beyond?
T is not good that man should be alone.
This is the word of God. It is inscribed on the first page of human history. The affirmation was given special application to the marital state, whereby the perpetuity of the race would be insured in the distinctive family order. To this end "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." (Gen. 2:24.)
At the very beginning of man's existence as an embodied spirit, the Divine fiat against promiscuity in the associa
tion of the sexes was promulgated. Anthropologists aver that even in the most primitive communities kinship was recognized as an established feature, and laws relating to the sexual relationship obtained.
The family unit is therefore the universal order amongst mankind, and is of Divine establishment. Both the Mosaic code and the law of the Gospel, in which it was fulfilled and superseded, recognized the sanctity of family ties and prescribed regulations for the maintenance thereof.
The family institution comprises more than the wedded union of husband and wife with its mutual obligations and responsibilities. The status of parenthood is the flower of family existence, while marriage was but the bud. Under the revealed law parents are as truly answerable to God for the adequate discharge of duty to their children as for the faithful observance of the marriage covenant respecting themselves.
Within the family established and maintained according to the Divine word, man and woman find their holiest and most ennobling happiness. Individual development-the education of the soul for which earth-life has been provided -is incomplete without the impelling and restraining experiences incident to the responsibilities of the wedded and parental state.
Is the family relationship to end with death?
Are husbands and wives to be separated, and the mutual claims of parents and children to be nullified by the grave?
If so, then surely the sting of death and the victory of the grave are enduring verities; for the dead would be lost to us and we to them. Such a conception affords ample explanation of the prevalence of black at funerals. The sombre pall and sable trappings are all in place if bereavement on earth means everlasting separation.
The dread assumption-let us not say belief, for who does not hope that a brighter destiny awaits us?—has been fostered by custom and ignorance, and even taught as doctrine by substituting the precepts of men for the word of God. It is embodied in the marriage ceremony, wherein the officiating minister, addressing the principals at the moment of their supreme concern, says: I join you in the bonds of matrimony until death does you part.
How like the thud of clods upon the casket in an open grave! Must we tolerate the shadow of death as an intruding guest at every wedding?
Verily so, if marriage be nothing more than an earthly contract, regulated by law solely as a human institution; for no legislature, congress, or parliament of men, no synod, church, council, or ecclesiastical hierarchy of human origination, can legislate or administer ordinances of other than earthly validity. To claim jurisdiction in post-mortal affairs on the basis of human assumption is both sacrilege and blasphemy.
The current marriage ceremony, uniting the parties until death does them part, is framed in consistency and propriety. As an institution of men it is honorable and legally binding. And so are all the obligations and endowments resulting therefrom, including the exalting status of parenthood. But all such relationships are to end with death if validated only by man's authority. Can we consistently affirm that if the grave terminates the claim of parents upon each other it shall not likewise end the claim of parents upon children, and of children upon parents?
But behold, there is hope! God has provided a way by which the family unit may survive the grave and endure throughout eternity. It is the Divine intent that marriage
be an eternal union, and that the relationship between parents and offspring shall be made valid in the hereafter as here.
We affirm that the Holy Priesthood has been restored to earth by direct dispensation from the heavens, and this in accordance with prophecy and Scripture, and that the authority of this Priesthood, when administered as God has directed, is effective both on earth and in heaven. (Compare Matt. 16:19; 18:18.)
We affirm that even as baptism, when administered as our Lord prescribed, by those invested with the Holy Priesthood, shall be a means to salvation beyond the grave, so other ordinances, including the sealing of wives to husbands and children to parents, may be authoritatively solemnized SO as to be valid after death. To this effect hath the Lord spoken respecting the everlasting covenant, which embraces marriage for both time and eternity.
"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. Therefore, when they are out of the world they neither marry nor are given in marriage. 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 ... it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through all eternity, and shall be of full force when they are out of the world; and they shall pass by the angels, and the Gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory
in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds for ever and ever." (Doctrine and Covenants 132.)
THEY NEITHER MARRY
Nor Give in Marriage
ERTAIN Sadducees once came to Christ with a question concerning marital relations following the resurrection. The real point of their inquiry was in part hidden, or, in current vernacular, camouflaged. Their chief purpose was that of disputing the doctrine of the resurrection itself, the actuality of which the Sadducees as a sect strenuously denied.
They cited a case, presumably hypothetical, of a woman who had been married, and then six times remarried under the levirate law, and seven times widowed, and who eventually had died, childless. The question as submitted was: "Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven ?"
"Jesus answered and said unto them, 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. 22:28-30.)
Three of the evangelists make record of the incident; and the most extended version of our Lord's reply is given by Luke (20:34-38). From this we gather that while marriage and giving in marriage-that is to say the association of eligible parties in wedlock, and the authoritative