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BubbaSwitzler

Mitt Romney's case for getting married young

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I'm sure everyone here has heard of Romney's speech at Southern Virginia University making the case for marrying young and having a "quiver full of kids".

I am especially interested in one particular element of the speech:

Romney articulates the so-called "cornerstone" theory of marriage: that marriage is an institution worth building life on, not something to enter into once you're already established in life.

This is the cornerstone vs. capstone debate.

I am very much in the cornerstone camp but we live in a capstone culture. I posted this in a Catholic forum and was unsatisfied with the resulting discussion (Mitt Romney's case for getting married young - Catholic Answers Forums). See especially my response here: Catholic Answers Forums - View Single Post - Mitt Romney's case for getting married young

So let me ask: Did Romeny's advice reflect LDS teaching? What is the source?

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Yes, Romney's case reflects LDS teaching.

1st - Commandment to multiply and replenish the earth.

2nd - Marriage is a commandment, once we are of age to marry we should be seeking out a companion, helpmeet, in our lives. It is not meet that men should be alone. Putting off marriage, by choice, while old enough to marry is deciding to be alone, opposite of the counsel we have been given.

3rd - Elder Boyd K. Packer

4th - Temple covenant

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Yup.

Ovaries and testies have a certain shelf life. Not to mention having the support system of a family for a whole life, even if its a drain on wants.

Not a fan of the whole "replenish" the earth theory because it seems a tad out of touch with reality. Just because someone is alone, does not mean they are delinquent.

Edited by Praetorian_Brow

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I'll start with the Catholic teaching on Marriage -

Matrimony comes from the Latin root Mater (mother) - this is the condition/contract by which a maiden qualifies to be a mother.

The Catholic teaching falls in the "cornerstone" concept and is supported by the following:

According to Natural Law (Garden of Eden), God gave Eve to Adam as his helpmeet/companion. This union was forged even before the original sin was committed (in Catholic doctrine, the Fall is not a prerequisite to having children). This shows that marriage is the state by which Adam and Eve are to grow and live in the garden. After the Fall, a commandment to go and multiply and replenish the earth was added to this union which became the foundation of families.

Okay, I don't have much time so I have to just glance over the main points. But, as you're Catholic you probably understood all that, right?

Okay, in LDS teaching:

It is quite different but still go with the "cornerstone" side.

First: We believe in pre-mortal existence and eternal families. Man's spirit is eternal, man's mortal body is created to house Man's spirit as a probation on this earth to prepare the spirit for a perfected body in eternity. And marriage is the organization by which all eternal spirits in pre-mortality is organized to form eternal families.

Marriage, therefore, is only a part of this continued progress from God to here and ultimately back to God. And joy is found in eternal families which we form here on earth and continue on to eternity if we qualify to be in that familial membership.

In my opinion - the capstone theory does not make sense in an LDS perspective.

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Thank you for all the great answers. To narrow the discussion I'd like to focus on cornerstone vs. capstone, that is, marrying young vs. marrying later. In other words, what precisely is sacrificed by delaying marriage and now is this conveyed in theology and morality? What is the criteria "of age to marry?"

I do see some answers to this above but wanted to guide the discussion toward this more precise question.

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Marriage as a "capstone" is a general term that really could be an endless process. For example, when in your life are you officially "prepared" for marriage? What type of job? After graduation? After earning a Masters or Ph.D? Once you are settled in your career (what part of the career -- entry level or high level management?) -- are we ever settled? A capstone ideology will always be able to find an excuse to put off or delay marriage and having children.

Marriage as a "cornerstone" recognizes the need for a helpmeet. I also recognize that for some marriage may be their Abrahamic test, a trial before they are even married. We have some that recognize marriage as important, however the desire for children -- not so much (although both are commandments).

The major test we all must face, "Will we do all the father hath commanded." Marriage and children are commandments, not some simple pleasantries that paint a pretty utopia.

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Thank you for all the great answers. To narrow the discussion I'd like to focus on cornerstone vs. capstone, that is, marrying young vs. marrying later. In other words, what precisely is sacrificed by delaying marriage and now is this conveyed in theology and morality? What is the criteria "of age to marry?"

I do see some answers to this above but wanted to guide the discussion toward this more precise question.

I wouldn't look at it as "sacrificed". Delaying marriage for later to be more "established" is an indication that one may not have understood the concept of marriage. The age really doesn't matter. It's just a distraction in the discussion. Because, even if you married at 17 years old but you did it because you are already "established" still indicates that one has not understood the concept of marriage. Or in counterpoint - you get married at 40 but you did it because you finally, after years of searching, found the companion that would grow with you through mortal life and eternity and build a family with, is a great thing.

I'm putting "established" in quotes because I'm not quite sure what that means (English is not my first language). I'm interpreting this to mean as - I want to have all the comforts of life before getting married so that I can provide for my family in comfort...

Edited by anatess

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The question though I now ask myself, "Does it really matter"?

I have good friends who put off marriage and put off children once married for personal pursuits. They are good members of the Church. Magnify callings, love their neighbors, and are temple recommend holders.

Will they loose, or be punished, for their decisions to delay marriage and delay children? It appears in life -- no. If not, then does it really matter?

I don't see any spiritual or temporal blessings being withheld from them. Yet, our faith teaches the importance of cornerstone marriages and cornerstone replenishing the earth.

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The major test we all must face, "Will we do all the father hath commanded." Marriage and children are commandments, not some simple pleasantries that paint a pretty utopia.

Just a note for our Catholic friend here.... This is LDS doctrine which is not in Catholic doctrine. Catholics do not believe that all of us are commanded to marry, go forth, and multiply. Hence priests are required not to marry. This makes the Catholic concept slightly open to interpretation for the capstone concept. But Catholic doctrine is still not capstone.

Edited by anatess

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Thank you for all the great answers. To narrow the discussion I'd like to focus on cornerstone vs. capstone, that is, marrying young vs. marrying later. In other words, what precisely is sacrificed by delaying marriage and now is this conveyed in theology and morality? What is the criteria "of age to marry?"

I do see some answers to this above but wanted to guide the discussion toward this more precise question.

Here is a link to the LDS Church's Family proclamation. https://www.lds.org/topics/family-proclamation

It is a brief summary of our doctrine and teachings on the subject

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The question though I now ask myself, "Does it really matter"?

I have good friends who put off marriage and put off children once married for personal pursuits. They are good members of the Church. Magnify callings, love their neighbors, and are temple recommend holders.

Will they loose, or be punished, for their decisions to delay marriage and delay children? It appears in life -- no. If not, then does it really matter?

I don't see any spiritual or temporal blessings being withheld from them. Yet, our faith teaches the importance of cornerstone marriages and cornerstone replenishing the earth.

Yes, it matters very much. One's understanding of marriage colors the way they treat their marriages. Of course, one may learn the lesson once they get married, but the lesson still needs to be learned.

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LDS teaching? To some extent, yes. LDS culture? Absolutely. And this is one area where I think LDS culture is far more adult, forward-thinking, and mature than worldly culture.

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I am very pleased with the discussion here and I want to thank everyone for sharing their thoughts and knowledge on this. I will single out a few posts for reply from several good ones without prejudice.

The age really doesn't matter. It's just a distraction in the discussion.

Age is a crude indicator of "readiness" or "establishment" so denying the those certainly denies the relevance of age. The call to "marry young" can be taken to mean marrying before you are "ready" or "established". That's what I too Mitt to mean by it and those who argue against marrying young are really arguing against marrying before you are ready or established.

Delaying marriage for later to be more "established" is an indication that one may not have understood the concept of marriage.

This is really the crux. I would substitute "ready" for "established" but there is a great deal of overlap between them.

I wish to understand why LDS teaches that one should marry before being ready or established.

I'm putting "established" in quotes because I'm not quite sure what that means (English is not my first language). I'm interpreting this to mean as - I want to have all the comforts of life before getting married so that I can provide for my family in comfort...

That's probably a bit of hyperbole but I think it's not so far off.

What some mean by established (or ready) is, for the husband especially, able to support a wife and family. But others also mean by it a well formed and mature character, ready to make the necessary sacrifices in marriage, ready for the responsiblities of parenthood.

It can also mean, as you imply, earning a comfortable living such that marriage and family will not be burdensome. And it can even mean sowing ones oats and getting the wildness out of your system. ("I'm tired of one night stands, I'm ready to get married.")

Until recently, the most common criteria was graduation from college (or whatever is the highest level of education). College students generally rely on parental support and so marrying while still in college implies being married while still supported by your parents. You graduated, got a job, and then you were ready.

Now, though, the trend is toward ever more establishment in your career with all the obvious risks.

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Just a note for our Catholic friend here.... This is LDS doctrine which is not in Catholic doctrine. Catholics do not believe that all of us are commanded to marry, go forth, and multiply. Hence priests are required not to marry. This makes the Catholic concept slightly open to interpretation for the capstone concept. But Catholic doctrine is still not capstone.

Traditionaly, only clergy did not marry and if you didn't join the clergy then you got married and started a family. So it's open to the celabate/single life in that exceptional sense but otherwise the command to go forth and multiply also applies. (And, in fact, historically even clergy were often married.)

If Catholics are open to the capstone theory, it seems more likely a surrender to popular culture for lack of a clear teaching against it. (I'm still searching for the Catholic teaching on this.)

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...but I married in college, I think a lot of LDS people do. We did not have our feet completely on solid ground when we started having kids, but we were well on our way to a solid plan, and had our path pretty well mapped out.

This is perhaps the best example of the difference. As I noted above, usually people in college are still dependents on their parents though obviously not always so (some people actually work their way through college).

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Outsider view here, but this is one aspect of LDS teaching and culture that I find very healthy. An individual tried to introduce the idea of marrying earlier (not early--just -er), and received a surprisingly intense pushback.

The Case for Early Marriage | Christianity Today

This would be an example of holy envy, I suppose.

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Traditionaly, only clergy did not marry and if you didn't join the clergy then you got married and started a family. So it's open to the celabate/single life in that exceptional sense but otherwise the command to go forth and multiply also applies. (And, in fact, historically even clergy were often married.)

If Catholics are open to the capstone theory, it seems more likely a surrender to popular culture for lack of a clear teaching against it. (I'm still searching for the Catholic teaching on this.)

Bubba, I apologize, I wasn't clear on that point. I was merely pointing out that there's a difference in Catholic and LDS teaching... in Catholic doctrine - you have two paths - Matrimony or Holy Orders. Hence, the commandment to marry is not given to ALL people. For those who choose Matrimony, the marriage lasts through mortality and ends at death and does not progress beyond that.

In LDS doctrine - the commandment to marry is a requirement to the highest eternal glory for all people. You can't get there without a spouse. But, the doctrine is an eternal one. That is, marriage is not only on earth but goes beyond death to eternity and those who did not find their spouse in mortality may still find one in the life after death.

So, as you can see in the LDS doctrine, the capstone theory of marriage does not make sense because marriage has to progress with the individuals in the marital union through time and eternity and can't be "capped". But yes, if we're only talking about the earthly probation of marriage (something we call "for time only" as opposed to "for time and eternity")... well, even then, I still don't see how it can be viewed as a capstone in LDS doctrine when viewed against the Proclamation.

Edited by anatess

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Bubba, I apologize, I wasn't clear on that point. I was merely pointing out that there's a difference in Catholic and LDS teaching... in Catholic doctrine - you have two paths - Matrimony or Holy Orders. Hence, the commandment to marry is not given to ALL people. For those who choose Matrimony, the marriage lasts through mortality and ends at death and does not progress beyond that.

Yes, you are right, this is an important difference that I overlooked though I think most imagine remianing with their spouses for eternity (if they haven't divorced them already).

In LDS doctrine - the commandment to marry is a requirement to the highest eternal glory for all people. You can't get there without a spouse. But, the doctrine is an eternal one. That is, marriage is not only on earth but goes beyond death to eternity and those who did not find their spouse in mortality may still find one in the life after death.

So, as you can see in the LDS doctrine, the capstone theory of marriage does not make sense because marriage has to progress with the individuals in the marital union through time and eternity and can't be "capped". But yes, if we're only talking about the earthly probation of marriage (something we call "for time only" as opposed to "for time and eternity")... well, even then, I still don't see how it can be viewed as a capstone in LDS doctrine when viewed against the Proclamation.

However, this still does not adequately explain the desire to marry early. One could be dead set on getting married eventually. And, indeed, one might rationalize waiting for the perfect mate to come along since it will be a mating for eternity. (Many people do, indeed, wait and wait and wait for that perfect soul mate.)

There is something else that I am still missing in my understanding. Something that gives LDS members the desire not just to marry but to marry as early as possible. I think it is probably more involved in the 'helpmeet' concept that has been mentioned several times here.

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Outsider view here, but this is one aspect of LDS teaching and culture that I find very healthy. An individual tried to introduce the idea of marrying earlier (not early--just -er), and received a surprisingly intense pushback.

The Case for Early Marriage | Christianity Today

This would be an example of holy envy, I suppose.

Thanks for the article, quite interesting and relevant.

Here are some articles I found:

The Case for Getting Married Young - Karen Swallow Prior - The Atlantic

Mitt Romney's Case for Getting Married Young - Eleanor Barkhorn - The Atlantic

The American Spectator : Mitt on Marriage

And from Knot Yet:

Knot Yet | National Marriage Project

http://nationalmarriageproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/KnotYet-FinalForWeb.pdf

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We marry to have a 'helpmate' as well as to start a family. We, as a couple, work for goals including in job security. We are not intended to face life alone. Why would we wait to join with our eternal partner?

I think this is the key concept I want to drill down on: "We are not intended to face life alone."

Of course, single people will not face life alone, they socialize, go to work, to church, etc. But obviously marriage is a far deeper relationship, one that is not (easily) broken.

Making marriage a cornerstone of your life is more than avoiding lonliness.

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For the record, the term "helpmate" is found exactly nowhere in scripture. Ditto the term "helpmeet". The Bible says that Eve was created as "an help meet" for Adam -- that is, as someone fitted ("meet") for Adam to assist ("help") him in his duties.

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For the record, the term "helpmate" is found exactly nowhere in scripture. Ditto the term "helpmeet". The Bible says that Eve was created as "an help meet" for Adam -- that is, as someone fitted ("meet") for Adam to assist ("help") him in his duties.

I'm new to the term but it's certianly familiar as a concept. Surely, though, it doesn't all hang on the example of Adam and Eve?

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I'm new to the term but it's certianly familiar as a concept. Surely, though, it doesn't all hang on the example of Adam and Eve?

Not sure what you're asking. Surely, what doesn't all hang on the example of Adam and Eve?

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Not sure what you're asking. Surely, what doesn't all hang on the example of Adam and Eve?

The help meet concept, Vort.

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