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When did temple marriage begin?

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So when did temple marriage begin?  I really can't find a definitive answer.  

Eternal marriage may have begun at Adam and Eve, but when did marriage performed in the temple begin?   

Edit:  For clarification, I'm talking about way back before the modern LDS Church existed.   Did temple marriage exist in Bibilical or Book of Mormon times?  

Edited by Scott

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16 minutes ago, Scott said:

So when did temple marriage begin?  I really can't find a definitive answer.  

Eternal marriage may have begun at Adam and Eve, but when did marriage performed in the temple begin?   

We would assume with the earliest temples.  That would be with the portable tabernacle (which was really the early temple).  But it is difficult to put the pieces together to determine if we have records of when temple marriages were performed anciently.

One difficulty is that a religious marriage for the ancient patriarchal order was a sealing.  There was no alternative.  Today we have nuances of living together, common law marriages, civil marriages, religious marriages, and temple sealing.  But back then such nuances didn't exist -- at least not as we understand them.

It wouldn't be out of the question to assume that any priesthood marriage during the earliest Old Testament times (not including widows who remarried) would have been "eternal marriages".  So, calling it a "temple marriage" only means that such ordinances were performed in a formalized temple rather than another location.  We know that Adam built an altar to the Lord.  Where are our altars today?  Think about it.

Some people even say that the Tower of Babel was an attempt to mimic the temple without priesthood authority.  So, I'd think the first actual "temple" (as such) has been lost to history.  But there is precedent which shows that the Lord allowed those ordinances outside the temple -- approved by the prophet of the time -- when temples were not available.

Edited by Mores

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https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/history/topics/sealing?lang=eng

A revelation to Joseph, first recorded in 1843, explained the marriage sealing ordinance. “All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations or expectations,” the Lord declared, “that are not made and entered into and Sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise of him who is anointed … are of no efficacy, virtue or force in and after the resurrection from the dead.” The sealing power could make marriages binding for eternity, and sealing ordinances could only be performed by the “medium of mine anointed,” meaning the Prophet Joseph Smith. The revelation stated that “never but one on the earth at a time” would hold the keys of this power. Thus, each of Joseph Smith’s successors as President of the Church has received the keys and authority to govern the performance of sealing ordinances.

About one month after the revelation on marriage sealings, Joseph taught that this same power could seal children to their parents. “When a seal is put upon the father and mother,” he taught, “it secures their posterity so that they cannot be lost but will be saved by virtue of the covenant of their father.” Brigham Young affirmed that Joseph instructed him to perform such sealings once the Nauvoo Temple was ready.

This suggests that temple sealings were present no later than 1843, during the so-called Nauvoo period.

EDIT: If you mean previous dispensations, I don't know the answer.

Edited by Vort

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13 minutes ago, Scott said:

So when did temple marriage begin?  I really can't find a definitive answer.  

Eternal marriage may have begun at Adam and Eve, but when did marriage performed in the temple begin?   

"In the early days of the Church, civil marriage and temple sealing were separate. Once Latter-day Saints settled in Utah, Church leaders had the authority to perform both at the same time." https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/church/news/first-presidency-discontinues-one-year-waiting-period-for-temple-sealings-after-civil-marriage?lang=eng

"From the construction of the Council House in 1852, Salt Lake City's first public building, until the construction of the Endowment House [in 1855], the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints used the top floor of the Council House for administering temple ordinances." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endowment_House

 

Edited by CV75

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Just now, CV75 said:

"From the construction of the Council House in 1852, Salt Lake City's first public building, until the construction of the Endowment House [in 1855], the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints used the top floor of the Council House for administering temple ordinances." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endowment_House

The Endowment House stood in the northwest corner of Temple Square, occupying part of the land that the back of the north visitor's center now stands on. It was not the temple, or even a temple, but it was used as a virtual temple while the Salt Lake Temple was under construction for 40 years. Quite a number of my ancestors were sealed in the Endowment House. It even has its own five-letter temple code: EHOUS. As detailed in Official Declaration 1 in the back of the book of Doctrine and Covenants, the Endowment House was dismantled in November 1889.

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@Mores and @Vort, I make a distinction between a sealing of a man and a woman (a priesthood ordinance) and a marriage of a man and woman (a civil ordinance). Sealings were done in temples from the start, but marriages only once the civil and Church authorities authorized them to be done simultaneously in the temple (or Council House or Endowment House for the time being), and recognized one officiator for both.

Edited by CV75

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For clarification, I'm talking about way back before the modern LDS Church existed.   Did temple marriage exist in Bibilical or Book of Mormon times?  

Edited by Scott

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3 minutes ago, Scott said:

Yes, but I'm talking about way back before the modern LDS Church existed.   Did temple marriage exist in Bibilical or Book of Mormon times?  

Sealing of husband and wife seems to have existed, as you noted, from the time of Adam and Eve. Marriages authorized by prophets in the OT may or may not have been actual sealings, but the language in the covenants (such as Abraham's) seem to indicate that some, such as the patriarchs', were.

Edited by CV75

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Just now, CV75 said:

@Mores and @Vort, I make a distinction between a sealing of a man and a woman (a priesthood ordinance) and a marriage of a man and woman (a civil ordinance). Sealings were done in temples from the start, but marriages only once the civil and Church authorities authorized them to be done simultaneously in the temple, and recognized one officiator for both.

I certainly make that same distinction.  I even mentioned such distinctions.  But I was addressing ANCIENT times.

My theory (and I admitted that we are certainly lacking sufficient documentation of such ancient times) is that the idea of a marriage was not the same as we see it today.  Consider a stone age man.  If a man wanted to lay with a woman he did so.  If a man wanted to lay with a woman and keep her from laying with other men, he'd establish some means of declaring "ownership" of the female.  Was this a marriage?  While feminists today (and some cynical others) would say that marriage itself is nothing more than a property exchange anyway -- even today.  I disagree.

"Couplehood" was a different concept back then than we understand today because society was different back then.

It was religion that established the concept of "marriage" as we know today.  This included a lasting bond with responsibilities that the man had for support of his wife and children.  It was religion that protected the rights of a female -- especially that she would be protected from basically daily rape by any passing by man who took a fancy to her.

And when we speak of the Old Testament, we're talking about the covenant people of the Lord.  Their marriage would have been directed by God.  And if history does repeat itself, I'd daresay that such direction would have looked awfully similar to sections 131 and 132.

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22 minutes ago, Mores said:

We would assume with the earliest temples.  That would be with the portable tabernacle (which was really the early temple). 

Yes, a taberncle is a portable temple, but only the priest from the tribe of Levi could enter.  Maybe the priest could have performed  eternal marriages outside the temple, but not within the walls.  

Edited by Scott

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56 minutes ago, Scott said:

So when did temple marriage begin?  I really can't find a definitive answer.  

Eternal marriage may have begun at Adam and Eve, but when did marriage performed in the temple begin?   

Edit:  For clarification, I'm talking about way back before the modern LDS Church existed.   Did temple marriage exist in Bibilical or Book of Mormon times?  

A temple, by definition, is a house of the Lord.  But it doesn't need to be a brick/stone/wood house, like we build in modern times.  Anywhere can be a temple that the Lord declares to be so-- for example on Mt Sinai with the Lord conversing with Moses.  

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37 minutes ago, Scott said:

Yes, a taberncle is a portable temple, but only the priest from the tribe of Levi could enter.  Maybe the priest could have performed  eternal marriages outside the temple, but not within the walls.  

As I said, there are simply a lot of details that are not readily available.  I'm sure some researcher with Nibley's abilities might be able to find some information to piece together enough evidence that there was some sort of thing happening in that regard.

It's also important to remember that there is no mention of any kind of prohibition to temple entry prior to the Law of Moses.  There was over 2000 years of history before then.

We have mention of an altar.  The very easily fits the definition of the earliest temple.  We know Adam built one after the fall.  And he was visited by an angel as he prayed at that altar.  Does that not sound like a temple ceremony?

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1 hour ago, Scott said:

So when did temple marriage begin?  I really can't find a definitive answer.  

Eternal marriage may have begun at Adam and Eve, but when did marriage performed in the temple begin?   

Edit:  For clarification, I'm talking about way back before the modern LDS Church existed.   Did temple marriage exist in Bibilical or Book of Mormon times?  

Sometimes terms are misused.  When we use the term "temple marriage" what do we mean?  The logical response by a Latter-day Saint should be Celestial Marriage which is the foundation of Celestial Law and a Celestial "Kingdom".  Thus the answer to the question, should be that Celestial marriages have existed as long ago in the past as when a Celestial Kingdom has existed.

Specifically this Celestial marriage is the very foundation of authority (keys) of men (or man by proxy) holding the priesthood on earth to seal things here that will be sealed in heaven or the eternities of heaven.  The keys of such authority are held by what we call the prophet presiding high priest of Melchizedek.  Jesus gave these keys to Peter in the ancient Church that was restored by Christ.  Early Christian art often depicts Peter symbolically with physical keys to open the gates of heaven.  We are also taught through symbolism in the sacred worship and covenants of the temple that prior to the Fall of man (Adam and Eve) that they were sealed and commanded to remain together.  We are also taught that Satan in his lies and deception intended to create a symbolic gulf separating Adam and Eve from acting in unison.

I would also add that the greatest effort of Satan is to prevent and destroy Celestial covenants that unite a man and a woman.  He is not as dumb and stupid as many define or make him out to be - implying that he in ignorance acted to fulfill G-d plan.  - In my life time he has made great strides in redefining marriage and the relationship of a man and woman in marriage throughout our basic Christian society.

 

The Traveler

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If a person is specifically referring to one and only one description of a temple, then I would think @Vort's response is accurate as we do not have any witness from scriptures referring to a "temple" marriage (as in our temples today).

Our homes should be like unto a "temple." If a marriage is performed by the sealing power in a home that is dedicated to the Lord, in that light, then that marriage is a temple marriage. If a garden was dedicated by the Lord then that place is a "temple" thus one could argue Adam and Eve's marriage was in fact done in a temple. With Adam and Eve there wasn't any reason for a fortified edifice to marry them. The ground was already sacred, sanctified, and dedicated to the Lord, which was prepared by the Lord.

Temples, as we know them now, appear to only be a necessity due to the natural man and wickedness of the sons and daughters of God.

If we are to liken our time to others who had prophets with "sealing power" then any time there was a temple on the earth and the sealing power was given then I would think marriages could have been performed in the temple; however, we also know there was a wedding in the Bible (New Testament) but we do not know if the wedding took place where the first miracle was given or if the wedding was done somewhere else.

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Like others, I'm going to ignore the term "temple marriage" and focus more on "sealing" (of spouses).  And I'm afraid the answer, as I understand it, is neither simple nor satisfying.  

I will break this up into a few different time periods to consider

Garden of Eden to Moses

This is the hardest time period to make any claims, and so my primary assertion is that we just don't know.

Certainly, the ancient records don't make any indication of sealing being a Thing. I don't know of a lot of modern revelations that make the claim that it did, and most of those, even, seem like they rest on the assumption that all of the ordinances revealed/restored in the modern Church must have existed in the ancient Church. 

I'm not convinced that is true of ordinances. Covenants...maybe (but then, what's the difference, really?), but I find it more plausible that implementations of covenants and principles differ across dispensations than that all of our ordinances as we know them existed in ancient times. I'm inclined to believe that sealing was not a Thing during this time period, but again, there's very little in the way of evidence and I can't say with certainty.

Moses to Christ

The existence of a sealing, or eternal marriage, assumes the concept of a Resurrection.  But you'll be hard pressed to find Resurrection as we understand it taught in ancient scripture.  The concept of redemption exists as far back as Moses, but is generally portrayed as currying favor with God. Redemption leading to eternal life doesn't start to develop much until Isaiah and the period between the Old and New Testaments.  It then becomes a central theme of the New Testament.

This is important, because if the ancient Israelites hadn't developed the concept of Resurrection, there is no reason to pursue an eternal marriage.  

So, I would argue that sealings were not a Thing between the time of Moses and the time of Christ.

Christ to Apostasy

For the time between Christ's ministry and the Apostasy, I have my doubts that sealing was a Thing. I base that mostly on the fact that Paul wasn't too concerned about people getting married, going so far as to say that marriage is a tolerable option when people can't keep it in their pants (1 Cor 7), but celibacy is preferred. Yeah, I know, I'm really stretching the context of what Paul was saying, and that's an interesting discussion for another time. But my point is that, even if sealing were a Thing at the time, it wasn't looked at as essential to salvation, and so really couldn't have been quite the same as what we practice now.

Apostasy to Restoration (1843ish)

I'm going to go out on a limb and just assume that all of us Mormony folk here will agree sealing wasn't a Thing during this time.

Restoration to present

Going out on another limb, but most of us would also probably agree that sealings were a Thing after 1843

 

To circle back and wrap up, if you are to ask me when sealings began, my inclination is to say "1843." That is, I am inclined to believe that it is an entirely modern concept. It may have existed in the earliest of days, but I'm skeptical. And I have seen no convincing evidence that it was taking place between Moses and 1843.

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2 hours ago, Mores said:

We would assume with the earliest temples.  That would be with the portable tabernacle (which was really the early temple).  But it is difficult to put the pieces together to determine if we have records of when temple marriages were performed anciently.

One difficulty is that a religious marriage for the ancient patriarchal order was a sealing.  There was no alternative.  Today we have nuances of living together, common law marriages, civil marriages, religious marriages, and temple sealing.  But back then such nuances didn't exist -- at least not as we understand them.

It wouldn't be out of the question to assume that any priesthood marriage during the earliest Old Testament times (not including widows who remarried) would have been "eternal marriages".  So, calling it a "temple marriage" only means that such ordinances were performed in a formalized temple rather than another location.  We know that Adam built an altar to the Lord.  Where are our altars today?  Think about it.

Some people even say that the Tower of Babel was an attempt to mimic the temple without priesthood authority.  So, I'd think the first actual "temple" (as such) has been lost to history.  But there is precedent which shows that the Lord allowed those ordinances outside the temple -- approved by the prophet of the time -- when temples were not available.

The Hebrews did not have the temple covenants. They lost out on that when Moses smashed the tablets after he came down from Mount Horeb. We do know that the eternal marriage covenants were in effect at the time of Abraham, but not on the scale they are today. Also, we do not know enough about the civilizations before the flood, but Adam and Ever were definitely sealed together in Eden.

Edited by Emmanuel Goldstein

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9 minutes ago, MarginOfError said:

And I have seen no convincing evidence that it was taking place between Moses and 1843.

You can use the word "convincing" as your ace in the hole.  But if it is a completely modern invention, then you have to say that Elijah never passed along any keys at the Kirtland temple (Section 110).

You'd then have to say that sealing powers were never given to Joseph. 

Then you'd have to say that this is not "the true Church".  And you're only here to raise kids in a family friendly environment.  But, I suppose that is pretty much where you are.  Is that not so?

Edited by Mores

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4 minutes ago, Emmanuel Goldstein said:

The Hebrews did not have the temple covenants. They lost out on that when Moses smashed the tablets after he came down from Mount Horeb. We do know that the eternal marriage covenants were in effect at the time of Abraham, but not on the scale they are today. Also, we do not know enough about the civilizations before the flood, but Adam and Ever were definitely sealed together in Eden.

Good point.  If you are correct (and I tend to believe you are) perhaps that could be considered a "partial" apostasy.  And that is why temple work today is so important.  All the people during both the apostasy and the Law of Moses period never had the blessings of sealing.

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1 minute ago, Mores said:

Good point.  If you are correct (and I tend to believe you are) perhaps that could be considered a "partial" apostasy.  And that is why temple work today is so important.  All the people during both the apostasy and the Law of Moses period never had the blessings of sealing.

Imagine the work that will need to be done from about 1000 AD and back when we finally have access to the spirits telling us their information during the Millennium. It is kind of exciting.

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1 minute ago, Mores said:

You can use the word "convincing" as your ace in the hole.  But if it is a completely modern invention, then you have to say that Elijah never visited the Kirtland temple (Section 110).

You'd then have to say that sealing powers were never given to Joseph. 

Then you'd have to say that this is not "the true Church".  And you're only here to raise kids in a family friendly environment.  But, I suppose that is pretty much where you are.  Is that not so?

That isn't at all where I am.

The sealing power possesses much more than the ability to seal spouses together. We learn as much from Alma. It is further evidenced by the fact that the sealing power as, according to Joseph Smith, it may only be held by one person on the earth at any time. Yet we have multiple sealers in each temple capable of sealing spouses. The only way this can be consistent is if temple sealers are authorized only to exercise a subset of the sealing power entrusted to the prophet.

This really ends up adding more confusion because of terminology, as I have no dispute with the claim that the sealing power was present in ancient times, but I'm deeply skeptical that sealings (as in, eternal marriages) existed in any way that we would recognized them.

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I believe the covenants existed in patriarchal times, though given the nomadic nature of society, they probably weren’t done in anything like “temples” as we know them today.  And the liturgy by which the covenants were administered may well have been very, very different.  

In post-mosaic Israel, as @Emmanuel Goldstein notes, the Melchizedek Priesthood was not generally operative and eternal marriages were thus impossible (except insofar as specific prophets may have seen fit to officiate them, which instances seem not to have made it into the scriptural record). 

I’ve seen enough Nibley-esque articles on isolated temple themes popping up in various isolated early Christian tests/artwork/sects, that I’m inclined to think *some* variant of the sealing was done on a limited basis; but given the practice’s complete absence from the New Testament I’m inclined to think it was something that was done in private by individual apostles (like Joseph’s “anointed quorum”) and didn't attain general practice in the Church prior to the Apostasy. 

I believe “temple sealings” or “celestial marriages” are conceptually ancient, but liturgically mostly modern; and that even the vast majority of “believers“ (such as they were) probably did *not* have access to them in life.  That’s one of the things that makes the restoration and “dispensation of the fullness of times” so theologically spectacular.  

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49 minutes ago, MarginOfError said:

To circle back and wrap up, if you are to ask me when sealings began, my inclination is to say "1843." That is, I am inclined to believe that it is an entirely modern concept.

While I disagree with the strength of this final comment, I'm pretty much on board with most of MoE's analysis.

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42 minutes ago, Mores said:

You can use the word "convincing" as your ace in the hole.  But if it is a completely modern invention, then you have to say that Elijah never passed along any keys at the Kirtland temple (Section 110).

You'd then have to say that sealing powers were never given to Joseph.

I think I don't completely agree. We look at the keys to the sealing power and the turning of the hearts of the children to their fathers almost solely in terms of the temple sealing, where a man and a woman are sealed in a marital covenant and their children are sealed within that marital covenant. And indeed, this may be the highest mortal realization of those keys and of that phenomenon. But I'm not convinced that, for example, the mortal Elijah must necessarily have understood the sealing keys and the turning of the hearts of the children to their fathers in terms of marital and parental sealings. That's not obvious to me, though it's certainly one possibility. Another possibility is that the promise of the sealing and the binding of hearts was present among the ancients but not yet realized, just as the concept of atonement was present among the ancients even when they didn't fully understand the role of Jesus Christ.

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10 minutes ago, Just_A_Guy said:

In post-mosaic Israel, as @Emmanuel Goldstein notes, the Melchizedek Priesthood was not generally operative and eternal marriages were thus impossible (except insofar as specific prophets may have seen fit to officiate them, which instances seem not to have made it into the scriptural record).

My understanding of the nature of the sealing between husband and wife and the entering into that order of the Priesthood is that it requires that the man and woman each be endowed with the power and blessings of their Creator, and for the man, that necessitates entry into the oath and covenant of the (Melchizedek) Priesthood. Unless the ancient prophets were in the habit of occasionally ordaining men into this Priesthood, it would seem impossible to have marital or parent-child sealings. Of course, the major prophets themselves must have been of the Melchizedek order, and I suppose it's possible that some small cadre of men formed a Melchizedek Priesthood quorum through the ages, but this is new doctrine with which I'm completely unfamiliar and unlikely to accept based on mere speculation.

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