Mormon temple marriages
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Temple Marriage is Forever:Being married in a temple means being together for all time and all eternity and having an eternal family. When a couple is sealed to each other on earth (with the proper authority) they are also sealed to each other in heaven. Through this sealing power families can be together, after death, in the next life. For a marriage to be eternal a couple must be sealed together in God's holy temple and by his holy priesthood power, if not their marriage will only be "until death do you part.""The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally" (The Family paragraph 3).(Also see D&C 132: 18.)
Orthodox Christians hold to "until death do you part" because of the teaching of Jesus. In a direct answer to a direct question about marriage in heaven Jesus responds, "For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven." Mark 12:25 There are a few different LDS responses to this difficulty.
The stakes are much higher in Mormonism. A temple marriage is one of the necessary components to attaining the highest level of heaven, the celestial. Single Mormons can't have this aspiration, but can only hope to be angelic servants of eternally sealed Mormon families.
Those who choose to remain single or do not enter into the covenant of celestial marriage while on earth are no longer in obedience to God or to LDS authorities. They will not advance to Godhood, but will be given menial tasks as angels for all eternity. "Many who practice celibacy do so out of an excessive religious devotion and with the idea in mind that they are serving their Maker. In reality, they are forsaking some of the most important purposes of their creation…" (Mormon Doctrine pg. 119). "Therefore, when they are out of the world they… are appointed angels in heaven… to minister for those who are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory. For these angels did not abide my law" (Doctrine and Covenants 132:16-17).
We have to wonder, then, about the Apostle Paul or even Jesus Himself. Are they nothing more than "ministering angels" because they remained single here on earth? This would seem to be the case. However, to avoid this difficulty, LDS leaders have taught that both of them were married. In fact, some even taught that Jesus was a polygamist. See Journal of Discourses 1:345, 2:82, 4:259; The Seer, p.172.
Again, evidence assumed as not needing explanation for orthodox Christians, needs post-New Testament counter claims provided by LDS apostles.
One of the difficulties this also creates is that only Mormons in good standing are allowed to attend a temple ceremony. Unlike an orthodox Christian wedding in which anyone can come and observe, LDS ceremonies are private. This can create family strife if the parents of a bride or groom are not LDS, as explained here by an orthodox dad married to an LDS woman with 2 daughters.
Of all the peculiar policies that represent orthodox LDS positions of faith and practice, this one is perhaps the least known about by those outside of the Mormon Church. Yet this practice, breaking up families on the one day they ought to be most united, is the most barbaric. And the worst part is that those who are not members of the LDS Church too often get blindsided by it; they don't understand until it is too late to do anything.Another story here and here. In hindsight, some Mormon couples regret the exclusivity of the ceremony and have public re-commitment ceremonies. See stories here.
The Apostle Paul speaks of marriage as a mystery. In Ephesians 5:31-33 he writes, 31 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and will be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. 32 This mystery is great – but I am actually speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless, each one of you must also love his own wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. While Mormonism seems to make marriage an end, orthodoxy sees it as a means to an end, a foreshadowing of Christ's relationship to his church, also called his bride. The importance in perspective is well written in a new book called Raising Purity.
Herein, then, lies the significance of sex and marriage—not what it accomplishes on an earthly plane but what it images forth on a divine plane. It is not an end in itself; it is a type of something higher, pointing to the deeper reality of the gospel. Just as sex establishes a new union between a man and a woman and explains the shared life that follows, so too the indwelling of the Holy Spirit marks a new union between Christ and the Christian and accounts for the life-change that follows. Just as a husband and wife “become one” physically, Christ and the Christian “become one” spiritually (1 Corinthians 6:17). The New Testament’s many references to the church as the “bride” of Christ and to Christ as the “bridegroom” further highlights this parallel between earthly and heavenly union. Additionally, many of Christ’s parables use the wedding motif as an illustration of his return and consummate union with the church. And Revelation explicitly refers to the wedding of the Lamb and the church as inaugurating the dawn of the eternal age (see also Matthew 25:1–13; Revelation 19:7; 21:2, 9; 22:17).
It’s important to remember which came first in God’s mind; God did not pattern the divine marriage after human marriage, but rather human marriage is a foreshadowing of the divine marriage. The fact that the oneness of sex images forth the oneness of our spiritual relationship with Christ is not merely a happy coincidence. Just as God ordained the Passover lamb of the Old Covenant to prophetically witness to the coming sacrifice of Christ, so too God ordained human marriage to testify to the coming wedding supper of the Lamb.
This inadequate theology of marriage from Mormonism is one of many nails in its coffin of theological inanity. Some in Mormonism recognize these inconsistencies and follow logic into orthodoxy, but some leave God altogether. I pray the seeds I sow with the Mormon elders who come to my house blossom into a correct and saving faith.