Sign in to follow this  
prisonchaplain

Eternal Marriage: Celibacy Divorce & Homosexuality

Recommended Posts

One of the most attractive LDS distinctive doctrines is that of Eternal Marriage. I even had a poster visit my page (who is this pentecostal prisonchaplain at LDS.net anyway???), and that was the first question I was asked about...you do believe families are forever, don't you?

Most of you know that the rest of the Christian world, with a few anecdotal exceptions, does not believe that marriage relationships continue in the same manner, into eternity. Yes we will know each other, love each other, and treasure our relationships. But, no, we'll not continue as exclusive family units who reserve out best love and greatest allegiance only to our kin.

For strong families with deep love, the doctrine of Eternal Marriage is undeniably appealing. Of course I want to spend eternity with the woman I love, and to have the undying allegiance of my kin, and the neverending mentorship of my parents.

But, what of celibates? What of those who have been given the gift of celibacy? They sometimes dedicate their lives to difficult missions, and they serve the church with undivided focus.

And, what of homosexuals who are able to remain faithful to the law of chasity, through celibacy, but who do not receive from God the desire for those of the opposite gender. Secular studies in this area remain sparse, but a recent Christian Today article suggests that those homosexuals who submit to faith-based "rehabilitation," have fair success at leaving "the lifestyle," (perhaps 40%+ success), and poor success at learning attraction to the opposite sex (low to mid-teens %, if I recall correctly). My guess is that the secular world would consider that report optimistic.

I know...I know...more opportunities in the life to come. All of us believe that the life to come will indeed hold no disappointments. So, considering the high number of divorces, the highly publicized homosexual dilemma, and the persistent subculture of those who simply never marry, imho the promise of Eternal Marriage, for many, is no more promising than the traditional Christian promise of an eternity where the love we now experience will be so much greater, and the conventions of marriage, so essential here, will become completely superfluous. THOUGHTS?

Edited by prisonchaplain

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

. . . imho the promise of Eternal Marriage, for many, is no more promising than the traditional Christian promise of an eternity where the love we now experience will be so much greater, and the conventions of marriage, so essential here, will become completely superfluous.

Inasmuch as your statement is limited to individuals who choose not to enter into the institution of marriage when such an opportunity is presented to them (now or in the hereafter), I'd say your conclusion seems axiomatic: unmarried people (Mormons or not) will not enjoy the benefits of Eternal Marriage.

But I would *not* go so far as to assert that Mormonism offers no eternal benefits to persons who have no intention or desire to marry:

Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection.

And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come.

D&C 130:18-19

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest tomk

The Law of Chastity is immutable. It is not given by man, but by God. So engaging "mere mortals" in an effort to dillute or pick-apart or excuse certain behaviors will not prove fruitful. I do not address that directly to you, prisonchaplain, so please don't take offense. But even if you do take offense, the Law of Chastity is given by God, not man. So take your issues up with the big guy. :)

I don't understand the celibate / homosexual choice some people make. I don't know if I would call it a gift. Only in that it drives us to humble ourselves and seek the grace of God to endure those challenges. There is a difference between having thoughts and feeligns and acting upon them. Being tempted is not a sin. Actually sinning is sin. Obsessing about the thought or the act is a sin.

Statistics on LDS Temple Marriages that end in divorce do not somehow mean that an LDS Temple Marriage is on a par with "non" eternal marriages. It just means that Satan is alive and well and doing his best to drive us from a relationship with Christ. In a marriage, individuals still have choice. To be humble and try to do better -- or to become self-centered and prideful and stop working on the marriage.

Whether or not the homosexual dilemna is highly publicized or not is irrelevant.

Whether the so-called "subculture of intentional celibates" persists or not is irrelevant.

God does not make His laws to suit mankind's whim. He does not adjust His laws because some of us don't feel attracted to the same gender, or don't want to marry.

Those who are sealed to their spouses for eternity will not care ONLY about their family, to the exclusion of all others. There are no "OTHERS" -- we are ALL the Family of God, brothers and sisters.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Justaguy's simple point is profound...we absolutely must pursue with diligence all truth, regardless of whether specific knowledge comes with particular spiritual promises or not.

To Tom--no offense, taken, nor would I encourage any excuse-making for violating the Law of Chasity. What I wonder is if that law goes beyond the typical admonition not to commit fornication/adultery, and commands that believers actively seek marriage--even if they have no natural draw to it, and do sense or have callings that make family life dangerous or difficult to adequately foster?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To Tom--no offense, taken, nor would I encourage any excuse-making for violating the Law of Chasity. What I wonder is if that law goes beyond the typical admonition not to commit fornication/adultery, and commands that believers actively seek marriage--even if they have no natural draw to it, and do sense or have callings that make family life dangerous or difficult to adequately foster?

Hope you don't mind my butting in (again)--

The Law of Chastity is *part* of the "New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage", but they are not interchangeable. The consequences of ignoring the former are far more grave than those of eschewing the latter, and one can be fully compliant with the Law of Chastity while still remaining single.

I personally think that linking celestial marriage with "families can be together forever" is something of an over-simplification. I don't see the sealing ceremony as governing our physical proximity to, or even (in the conventional sense) the quality of our relationships with, our loved ones; non-participation in a celestial marriage does not entail the forfeiture of one's ability to see, socialize with, or love others. I see the sealing ceremony as being primarily related to godhood--to cementing one's place in the Patriarchal Order preparatory to becoming a king and a priest to the most high God with the power to create new worlds and people to populate them.

Returning to the thrust of your question, I would say that at least a desire to enter into Celestial Marriage is required for exaltation/godhood. And since even our desires are occasionally shaped by circumstances beyond our control, I can only be glad I won't be the one making that final decision. ;-)

Edited by Just_A_Guy
Punctuation

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the most attractive LDS distinctive doctrines is that of Eternal Marriage. I even had a poster visit my page (who is this pentecostal prisonchaplain at LDS.net anyway???), and that was the first question I was asked about...you do believe families are forever, don't you?

Most of you know that the rest of the Christian world, with a few anecdotal exceptions, does not believe that marriage relationships continue in the same manner, into eternity. Yes we will know each other, love each other, and treasure our relationships. But, no, we'll not continue as exclusive family units who reserve out best love and greatest allegiance only to our kin.

For strong families with deep love, the doctrine of Eternal Marriage is undeniably appealing. Of course I want to spend eternity with the woman I love, and to have the undying allegiance of my kin, and the neverending mentorship of my parents.

But, what of celibates? What of those who have been given the gift of celibacy? They sometimes dedicate their lives to difficult missions, and they serve the church with undivided focus.

And, what of homosexuals who are able to remain faithful to the law of chasity, through celibacy, but who do not receive from God the desire for those of the opposite gender. Secular studies in this area remain sparse, but a recent Christian Today article suggests that those homosexuals who submit to faith-based "rehabilitation," have fair success at leaving "the lifestyle," (perhaps 40%+ success), and poor success at learning attraction to the opposite sex (low to mid-teens %, if I recall correctly). My guess is that the secular world would consider that report optimistic.

I know...I know...more opportunities in the life to come. All of us believe that the life to come will indeed hold no disappointments. So, considering the high number of divorces, the highly publicized homosexual dilemma, and the persistent subculture of those who simply never marry, imho the promise of Eternal Marriage, for many, is no more promising than the traditional Christian promise of an eternity where the love we now experience will be so much greater, and the conventions of marriage, so essential here, will become completely superfluous. THOUGHTS?

I believe the answer is found in scripture but that some ancient thoughts have been lost in modern times and attitudes. Jesus said -

Seek and ye shall find

Knock and the door will be opened

Ask and ye shall be given.

No one is forced by G-d into covenants that they do not want, desire are willing to seek, knock or ask. Those that desire a heaven without marriage will be granted what they desire; G-d is a kind, merciful and loving G-d.

I personally believe it is not about what we as individuals desire or will but for the greatest good - What is the desire and will of G-d? It is my opinion and understanding of scripture according to the Holy Spirit, that it is the will of G-d that man (and woman) are not alone but are "one" by covenant with G-d and that all covenants of G-d are eternal.

The Traveler

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hasn't it been said that it is one third of the Celestial Kingdom that will be exalted and become Gods and create other worlds? I'm not sure of anything here, but it seems to me that we know nothing about the other two thirds of the Celestial Kingdom. To say nothing of the Terrestrial and Telestial Kingdoms, which apparently do not include eternal marriage, and are lower kingdoms, but still will be levels of glory. Is it possible that we do not all have quite the same eternal purpose? Maybe there is more to Eternal Life than we are able to understand in our mortal state. Maybe it is best to trust in God and His ability to sort it all out somehow and place everyone where they will be the happiest and best suited.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

PC, it's all about the offspring.

It was the first commandment given to man and woman after the creation of this earth.

If we remain faithful to Christ and He applies His atoning blood to us, and He qualifies us for life in the eternities, and we gain "eternal life," it will all be about the offspring.

With all due respect, but with bluntness, celibacy and homosexual relations cannot produce offspring. It is a simple law of nature that, for some strange reason, isn't weighed heavy enough whenever this topic comes up.

To me, eternal life and the ability to perpetuate life have always been synonomous terms. Eternal life isn't just the ability to live forever, that's called immortality, and everyone that has ever existed will live forever. Eternal life is something far more grand and glorious.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I appreciate those homosexuals who give up their temptations to live the alteranate lifestyle, who choose a life of celibacy, and do all that they can do to follow Christ. I believe we have an LDS person here on LDS net who is doing just that. Maybe this is a trial they must endure here in this earth life in their pursuit of eternal life....Yes, exaltation is about procreating other worlds, but we also must come to a point where we are like unto the Saviour, understanding what our children are going through, else how can we be ready to do this? Maybe bearing the cross of denying oneself of these impulses is one way of understanding.

I think of the great intercessory prayers given by the Saviour, both in the New Testament, and in the Book of Mormon, how His goal is for all of us to become "one" together~ (John 17, 3 Nephi 19: 20-33). What a glorious state! This isn't about just one man and one woman in marriage, it's about all of us. It's these verses that put my mind at ease a great deal about polygamy!

And while we as a church put a lot of emphasis on our identities/roles in the church based on our gender, I think of all those people who have the trial of being born with both genitalia. What a predicament! How does all this apply to them? How are they to choose? I saw a report on this a little while ago, and this trial is difficult for most of them to deal with. What comfort and upliftment/hope in this arena can we offer them?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not sure if this is the answer you are looking for but -

When talking about those who, with no fault of their own, don't get married in this life Russel M. Nelson (An Apostle) stated "all blessing and opportunities will be available to all faithful members of the Church" (Something to that effect"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dove captured my concern beautiful. IMHO, those who face enhanced temptations and successfully submit to the Holy Spirit's protection are as worthy, if not more worthy, than those, like myself, who were gifted with wonderful, forgiving spouses who make us look good day by day. Perhaps a simple solution that crosses denominational boundaries is that God is indeed just, and will reward/punish in ways that cannot garner objection.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No one is forced by G-d into covenants that they do not want, desire are willing to seek, knock or ask. Those that desire a heaven without marriage will be granted what they desire; G-d is a kind, merciful and loving G-d.

The Traveler

Most Christians simply assume there will be no marriage in heaven, based upon our understanding of the Bible. It's not so much a matter of opinion or volition, but of our understanding. As I said in the OP, many Christians, if asked to vote, would find the LDS teaching of Eternal Marriage/Families to be attractive. However, we are bound by our understanding of what the Good Book says.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, first off, who hasn't had one of those moments when "eternity" seems a bit too long to tolerate your "other half"? :eek::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol:

Thought number the second one (as Tigger would say):

...What I wonder is if that law goes beyond the typical admonition not to commit fornication/adultery, and commands that believers actively seek marriage--even if they have no natural draw to it, and do sense or have callings that make family life dangerous or difficult to adequately foster?

I have a number of commandments that I strive to obey that I "have no natural draw" towards! :lol: I'm pretty sure my disinterest doesn't win me a "get out of jail free" card, so - much like eating my vegetables as a kid - I do it because it's good for me (and my eternal salvation).

Also, I'm married. And if you asked my wife, she'd probably tell you that I'm her biggest hazard! But a commandment is a commandment. ESPECIALLY with the promise of the afterlife that we have. All the MORE reason to pursue eternal marriage. When death is merely a temporary separation, no job/career/calling should stand in the way of that!

Maybe I make things too black and white... but when the Lord says "JUMP", we're not supposed to look around and wonder if He's talking to US - but are supposed to respond with "how high"...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Prodigal Son...so, to make it perfectly black and white: You do believe, and your church does teach, that we are commanded to marry in this lifetime, if at all possible...that there is no such thing as a gift of celibacy? If so, what did the Apostle Paul mean when he said that some are able to be single, and should use their gift so that they may single-mindedly (pun intended) serve God's kingdom?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you consider how we send missionaries into the world, this question you have may answer itself. I do not believe Paul ever intended it to be for an entire lifetime. Another part in the New Testament some are reprimanded for "forbidding to marry." I believe this teaching included choosing not to marry.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Prodigal Son...so, to make it perfectly black and white: You do believe, and your church does teach, that we are commanded to marry in this lifetime, if at all possible...that there is no such thing as a gift of celibacy?

Actually, from what I know, the "gift of celibacy" comes after the "honeymoon" phase of marriage. :lol:

Joking aside, I cannot speak for the church, but can say with confidence that I've NEVER heard any doctrine that speaks of a gift of celibacy.

If so, what did the Apostle Paul mean when he said that some are able to be single, and should use their gift so that they may single-mindedly (pun intended) serve God's kingdom?

Justice had a good response. You question and his answer made me think of a great Byrds song that quotes Ecclesiastes 3:1-9:

"To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under the sun."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

PC,

There is no doubt that the LDS doctrine/ideal is that in order to gain exaltation, or the highest level in the celestial kingdom, one must be joined in marriage to another of the opposite sex (I believe the term "sealed" in marriage in the temple is more exact or correct) in order to be able to procreate and people other world's in the eternities to come. This is the doctrine. Nothing can be said or done by anyone on this forum to change this.....it is what it is.

That being said, I also revert back to what Stallion McBeastly quoted, that all blessings will be afforded to all those who didn't get the chance in this earth life to receive, who will accept them, will have them at a later time. Meaning, imho, this comes down to Christ's grace for all of us. I am so grateful for His grace.

There are so many factors that come into play in having an ideal marriage with children. I received my patriarchal blessing at sixteen. It promised me sons and daughters in a beautiful temple marriage, this while I was undiagnosed with polycystic ovary disease, which renders me unable to conceive and bear children.....there are other factor's in my life which keeps my from being able to even adopt children. What a sorrow for me to bear, an LDS woman in the church........I feel so lost when my role is to be a mother in Zion.

I am also married to a man of another faith~he loves me dearly, faithfully, loyally, deeply.....I couldn't have asked for a better man. Yet, we are not sealed in the temple. What do I do? I have struggled with this as an LDS Saint. My exaltation is so tenuous now, so unsure, and so hingent on a third party! I have decided that in the end I can only do my best in being Christlike and in getting home. My husband is Christian, and very devout in his own beliefs. I have come to know deeply the LDS doctrine of agency and in respecting other peoples agency, their right to choose how they believe, and my absolute duty in respecting that right!

Meanwhile, I have my own boat to charter across the rough waters of life in attempting the voyage home to my Heavenly Family. I am so grateful for the atonement of Christ, His grace and His leverage in making it back, because I know that without His grace and leverage, I wouldn't be able to make it. I believe this life is such a gift, that there is so many things to be learned, in both the good and the perceived bad.

How can we judge another person's intent in all this? I don't think we can.... I really do respect those who choose a life of celibacy over a life of the alternative, if that's the best they can do.....who knows what their best is?.......I didn't get married until my late 30's, and that by the skin of my teeth! Which leads me to state again, I really do believe that any marriage that is a happy temple marriage with children really is a gift of grace!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My own opinion is that celibacy is a rare gift in the Christian world. Paul does speak to it, and many Christian scholars believe, the apostle himself was celibate. Nevertheless, though rare, this gift does appear to be extoled. In the first century, with strong persecution, it's easy to understand why many might choose not to start families. But what of today? IMHO, two groups might be candidates: Those who are called to lifelong ministry in demanding and difficult settings, and those who are not attracted to the opposite gender. In both cases, the freedom from family entanglements ought to result in better and more service to the Kingdom.

For those interested in the teaching of celibacy as a gift, see the following: Koinonia: Celibacy, Sex and the Single Christian

BTW: I can certainly accept that LDS believe they have a special call to marriage, given several of your doctrinal distinctives. And yes, the commands are what they are. Rather than shy from them, if they are from God, embrace, explain, and bare them with due diligence...as Sis. Dove said--to the best of one's ability.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Prisonchaplain, as a matter of fact, we are called to celibacy as part of our Law of Chastity, if we are single for any reason, including homosexuality. I don't know anyone personally, but I have read comments on other forums by active Latter-day Saints who are gay, and yet, because they have chosen to be celibate and keep the Law of Chastity, they do have temple privileges. I am long-time divorced, but living the celibate life. This late in my life, I seriously doubt that I will get married again. I am content with being alone, single, and celibate. I am keeping my covenants, serving my family and the Lord as well as I can.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most Christians simply assume there will be no marriage in heaven, based upon our understanding of the Bible. It's not so much a matter of opinion or volition, but of our understanding. As I said in the OP, many Christians, if asked to vote, would find the LDS teaching of Eternal Marriage/Families to be attractive. However, we are bound by our understanding of what the Good Book says.

I am always concerned when "many Christians" base their faith and fate on opinions held concerning the Bible. It is my experience with G-d that he intends that we make our covenants with him eternal (forever). Marriage is only one such covenant. It truly saddens me when "believers" interpret some of the things of G-d to be eternal and think others are not worthy to last past death. I believe such things diminish G-d and his works. I respect many things about you PC and I am grateful for our discussions but when it comes to covenants with G-d I cannot waver or give any other impression concerning their eternal nature, eternal blessing and eternal consequence.

The Traveler

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

PC, it's all about the offspring.

It was the first commandment given to man and woman after the creation of this earth.

If we remain faithful to Christ and He applies His atoning blood to us, and He qualifies us for life in the eternities, and we gain "eternal life," it will all be about the offspring.

With all due respect, but with bluntness, celibacy and homosexual relations cannot produce offspring. It is a simple law of nature that, for some strange reason, isn't weighed heavy enough whenever this topic comes up.

To me, eternal life and the ability to perpetuate life have always been synonomous terms. Eternal life isn't just the ability to live forever, that's called immortality, and everyone that has ever existed will live forever. Eternal life is something far more grand and glorious.

Justice,

You have indeed gone to the core of the matter. Eternal Life means simply to be able to perpetuate "life" eternally. To have children and to instruct them the same as all the inhabitants of this earth were instructed before we came to this fallen earth and took on a body made of the same elements.

This true glorious part of the gospel of Jesus Christ is missing to many. We are indeed the offspring of Heavenly Parents and it is possible that we can become Heavenly Parents ourselves sometime in the distant future, if we remain faithful.

The scripture states that "Adam fell that men may be, and men are, that they may have joy."

That was the plan of the Father, and if we are one with Christ and the Father, it is our plan too. To provide a way for future men and women, yet unborn.

Eternal marriage in the Temple is only the first wobbly step in a direction that will last for eons. It is not about being sealed to one's wife for eternity. Rather, it is about an eternal union where procreation continues into the eternities.

Yes, comparatively "few" will make it. Christ Himself said that. "Strait is the way and narrow is the path that leads to Eternal Life". Eternal Life....so few people understand what really means.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, comparatively "few" will make it. Christ Himself said that. "Strait is the way and narrow is the path that leads to Eternal Life". Eternal Life....so few people understand what really means.

Isn't the strait gate baptism? The scripture actually says life, not eternal life, unless there is another scripture I have forgotten about. :huh:

13 Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, which leadeth to destruction, and many there be who go in thereat;

14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IMHO, two groups might be candidates: Those who are called to lifelong ministry in demanding and difficult settings, and those who are not attracted to the opposite gender. In both cases, the freedom from family entanglements ought to result in better and more service to the Kingdom.

I, for one, agree with you on this in the abstract though I can't point to any LDS authority to reinforce my position.

If someone has received a revelation from God that marriage would not be appropriate for them in "the present distress", I wouldn't try to nit-pick at what must have been a very difficult decision. Nevertheless, barring such a revelation I believe that (as per the Proclamation on the Family) the commandment to "multiply and replenish the earth is still in force". As Elder Packer has repeatedly noted, we concern ourselves primarily with teaching the rule and not the exceptions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this