123 The covenant October 2006

123 The covenant October 2006 - Marriage in the Covenant...

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Unformatted text preview: Marriage in the Covenant Guy L. Dorius Brigham Young University “There are those married people who permit their eyes to wander and their hearts to become vagrant, who think it is not improper to flirt a little, to share their hearts and have desire for someone other than the wife or the husband. The Lord says in no uncertain terms: "Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else." (D&C 42:22.) And, when the Lord says all thy heart, it allows for no sharing nor dividing nor depriving. And, to the woman it is paraphrased: "Thou shalt love thy husband with all thy heart and shalt cleave unto him and none else." The words none else eliminate everyone and everything. The spouse then becomes preeminent in the life of the husband or wife, and neither social life nor occupational life nor political life nor any other interest nor person nor thing shall ever take precedence over the companion spouse. We sometimes find women who absorb and hover over the children at the expense of the husband, sometimes even estranging them from him. The Lord says to them: "Thou shalt cleave unto him and none else." Marriage presupposes total allegiance and total fidelity. Each spouse takes the partner with the understanding that he or she gives totally to the spouse all the heart, strength, loyalty, honor, and affection, with all dignity. Any divergence is sin; any sharing of the heart is transgression. As we should have "an eye single to the glory of God," so should we have an eye, an ear, a heart single to the marriage and the spouse and family.” (Spencer W. Kimball, Faith Precedes the Miracle, p.142-143) “Now what was the gospel of Abraham? Obviously it was the commission, the mission, the endowment and power, the message of salvation, given to Abraham. And what was this? It was a divine promise that both in the world and out of the world his seed should continue “as innumerable as the stars ; or,if ye were to count the sand upon the seashore ye could not number them.” (D&C 132:30; Gen. 17; Abr. 2:1­12.) “Thus the gospel of Abraham was one of celestial marriage… “…it was a gospel or commission to provide a lineage for the elect portion of the pre­ existent spirits, a gospel to provide a household in eternity for those who live the fullness of the celestial law. This power and commission is what Elias restored, and as a consequence, the righteous among all future generations were assured of the blessings of a continuation of the seeds forever, even as it was with Abraham of old.” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed., (Salt lake City: Bookcraft Inc., 1966), 219­220.) “Why send Elijah? Because he holds the keys of the authority to administer in all the ordinances of the Priesthood; and without the authority is given, the ordinances could not be administered in righteousness.” (Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co.,1976), 172.) (Ezra Taft Benson, “What I Hope You Will Teach Your Children About The Temple”, Ensign, August 1985, 10.) “Elijah brought the keys of sealing powers– that power which seals a man to a woman and seals their posterity to them endlessly, that which seal their forefathers to them all the way back to Adam. This is the power and order that Elijah revealed– that same order of priesthood which God gave to Adam and to all the ancient patriarchs which followed after him.” Marriages in Doctrine and Covenants 132 132: 15 132:18 Man Man Covenant Covenant Wife Wife Civil Marriage Pseudo Celestial Marriage en a nt 132:19 Co v GOD Celestial Marriage v Co en an t Man ------------ Wife “As Heber C. Kimball reminded the Saints, there are no covenants made between individuals in the Church. All promises and agreements are between the individual and our Father in Heaven; all other parties, including the angels, are present only as witnesses. Therefore, whether anybody else observes and keeps the promise is not my concern, but if I do not do what I have promised, what blessings can I expect?” (Hugh Nibley, Approaching Zion, edited by Don E. Norton (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co. and Provo: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1989), 385.) “We…have entered an eternal triangle, not a companionship of two, but of three­ the husband, the wife, and God­ the most sacred triangle man and woman can become a part of. But my heart sinks in despair when I witness so many who have and are withdrawing that hand from one another. They don’t do that until they first divorce God from that triangle, and after divorcing God, it is practically impossible for them to stay together side by side.” Matthew Cowley (CR, October 1952, p.27, emphasis added) Plural Marriage • Just before the Saints left Nauvoo Joseph taught the practice to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and to some other worthy men and women. • Before they entered into plural marriage they were to pray and receive divine confirmation from the Lord. • In August 1852 Brigham Young held a special conference and asked Orson Pratt to publicly announce the practice. • Specific reasons given by Elder Pratt for the practice were: 1. to multiply and replenish the earth; 2. to take part in the promises made to Abraham; 3. because in ancient times it was more common than monogamy; 4. to reform the world morally and socially; 5. to give good homes to the many spirit children of God who were waiting to come and be trained properly • 15­20% of the Church members in Utah of marriageable age practiced plural marriage. • 66% of those had only one extra wife, often a sister to the first, 21% had a total of three wives. • Plural wives had an average of 5 children while monogamous wives had 8. • Demographic reasons for plural marriage don’t pan out, not more women than men in Utah. • Monogamous celestial marriage is as valid as plural marriage for exaltation. Celestial marriage­that is, marriage for time and eternity­and polygamous or plural marriage are not synonymous terms. Monogamous marriages for time and eternity, solemnized in our temples in accordance with the word of the Lord and the laws of the Church, are celestial marriages. ­Heber J. Grant, Millennial Star 95:588, September, 1933 “Plural marriage is not essential to salvation or exaltation. Nephi and his people were denied the power to have more than one wife and yet they could gain every blessing in eternity that the lord ever offered to any people. In our day, the lord summarized by revelation the whole doctrine of exaltation and predicated it upon the marriage of one man to one woman. (D&C 132: 1­28.)… “...Thereafter he added the principles relative to plurality of wives with the express stipulation that any such marriages would be valid only if authorized by the President of the Church.( D&C 132:7, 29­ 66.)” (McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2d ed., (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft Inc., 1966), 578­579.) “From the moment of birth into mortality to the time we are married in the temple, everything we have in the whole gospel system is to prepare and qualify us to enter that holy order of matrimony which makes us husband and wife in this life and in the world to come. “Then from the moment we are sealed together by the power and authority of the holy priesthood– the power to bind on earth and have it sealed eternally in the heavens– “…from that moment everything connected with revealed religion is designed to help us keep the terms and conditions of our marriage covenant, so that this covenant will have efficacy, virtue, and force in the life to come. “Thus celestial marriage is the crowning ordinance of the gospel, the crowning ordinance of the house of the Lord… “…Thus the family unit is the most important organization in our time or in eternity. “And thus we should have more interest in and concern for our families than for anything else in life.” (Bruce R. McConkie, “Salvation is a Family Affair”, Improvement Era, June 1970, 43­44.) The formula is simple; the ingredients are few, though there are many amplifications of each. • First, there must be the proper approach toward marriage, which contemplates the selection of a spouse who reaches as nearly as possible the pinnacle of perfection in all the matters which are of importance to the individuals. And then those two parties must come to the altar in the temple realizing that they must work hard toward this successful joint living. • Second, there must be a great unselfishness, forgetting self and directing all of the family life and all pertaining thereunto to the good of the family, subjugating self. • Third, there must be continued courting and expressions of affection, kindness, and consideration to keep love alive and growing. • Fourth, there must be a complete living of the commandments of the Lord as defined in the gospel of Jesus Christ. With these ingredients properly mixed and continually kept functioning, it is quite impossible for unhappiness to come, misunderstandings to continue, or breaks to occur. Divorce attorneys would need to transfer to other fields and divorce courts would be padlocked. Spencer W. Kimball Devotional Address, BYU, 7 September 1976 It would seem that a major underlying cause of divorce is in not understanding that marriage and families are God­given and God­ordained. If we understood the full meaning we would have less divorce and its attendant unhappiness. Couples would plan for a happy marriage relationship based on divine instruction. If couples understood from the beginning of their romance that their marriage relationship could be blessed with promises and conditions extending into the eternities, divorce would not even be a considered alternative when difficulties arise. The current philosophy—get a divorce if it doesn’t work out—handicaps a marriage from the beginning. Elder David B. Haight “Marriage and Divorce” Ensign, May 1984, pp. 12­14 What then, might be “just cause” for breaking the covenants of marriage? Over a lifetime of dealing with human problems, I have struggled to understand what might be considered “just cause” for breaking of covenants. I confess I do not claim the wisdom nor authority to definitively state what is “just cause.” Only the parties to the marriage can determine this. They must bear the responsibility for the train of consequences which inevitably follows if these covenants are not honored. In my opinion, “just cause” should be nothing less serious than a prolonged and apparently irredeemable relationship which is destructive of a person’s dignity as a human being. Surely it is not simply “mental distress” or “personality differences” or having “grown apart” or having “fallen out of love.” (James E. Faust, April 1993, Conference Report, p. 46). Some let their marriages get stale and common. There are those married people who permit their eyes to wander and their hearts to become vagrant, who think it is not improper to flirt a little, to share their hearts, and have desire for someone other than the wife or the husband, the Lord says in no uncertain terms: “Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shall cleave unto her and none else” (D&C 42:22). And when the Lord says all thy heart, it allows for no sharing nor depriving. The words none else eliminate everyone and everything. The spouse then becomes pre­ eminent in the life of the husband or wife, and neither social life nor occupational life nor political life nor any other interest nor person nor thing shall ever take precedence over the companion spouse. Marriage presupposes total allegiance and total fidelity. Each spouse takes the partner with the understanding that he or she gives self totally to the spouse, all the heart, strength, loyalty, honor, and affection with all dignity. Any divergence is sin, any sharing the heart is transgression. In conclusion, I plead with all young people bound by marriage vows and covenants to make that marriage holy, keep it fresh, express affection meaningfully and sincerely and often. Husbands, come home—body, spirit, mind, loyalties, interests, and affections, and love your companion into an holy and unbreakable relationship. Wives, come home with all your interests, fidelity, yearnings, loyalties, and affection, and working together make your home a blessed heaven. (President Spencer W. Kimball, Conference Report, October 1962, pp. 57­59) Why all of these broken homes? What happens to marriages that begin with sincere love and a desire to be loyal and faithful and true one to another? There is no simple answer. I acknowledge that. But it appears to me that there are some obvious reasons that account for a very high percentage of these problems. I say this out of experience in dealing with such tragedies. I find selfishness to be the root cause of most of it. I am satisfied that a happy marriage is not so much a matter of romance as it is an anxious concern for the comfort and well­being of one's companion. Selfishness so often is the basis of money problems, which are a very serious and real factor affecting the stability of family life. Selfishness is at the root of adultery, the breaking of solemn and sacred covenants to satisfy selfish lust. Selfishness is the antithesis of love. It is a cankering expression of greed. It destroys self­ discipline. It obliterates loyalty. It tears up sacred covenants. It afflicts both men and women. Too many who come to marriage have been coddled and spoiled and somehow led to feel that everything must be precisely right at all times, that life is a series of entertainments, that appetites are to be satisfied without regard to principle. How tragic the consequences of such hollow and unreasonable thinking! (Gordon B. Hinckley, in Conference Report, Apr. 1991, 96; or Ensign, May 1991, 73) • She likes butter. He likes margarine. • She is a low­energy person. He is a high­energy person. • She is relationship­oriented. He is goal­oriented. • She is left­handed. He is right­handed. • She is practical. He is a dreamer. • She likes the toilet paper roll to roll toward her. He doesn’t care which way it rolls. • She likes to listen to soft violin music. He likes to listen to loud country music. • She has a difficult time making decisions. He makes them easily. ALL MARRIED COUPLES HAVE DIFFERENCES ALL MARRIED COUPLES HAVE DIFFERENCES • She likes a variety of foods. He likes the same old standbys. • She came from a loud family in which everyone shouted at each other. He came from a quiet family in which hardly anyone ever raised a voice. • She wants to resolve conflict immediately. He wants to wait awhile. • She wants to talk when she is angry. He doesn’t want to talk when either of them are angry. • She believes stoplights are ordained of God to bring order into our lives. He believes stoplights are tools of Satan to disrupt his life. • She is a perfectionist. He is disorderly. • She keeps a clean desk. He has a roll top. ALL MARRIED COUPLES HAVE DIFFERENCES She likes one or two pets. He likes several. She is a saver. He is a spender. She is a planner. He is impulsive. She asks for directions when she get lost. He feels that asking for directions is a sign of weakness. • She feels comfortable taking things back to the store when they aren’t exactly what she wants. He stores them in the garage. • She likes to take her time. He is always in a hurry. • • • • ALL MARRIED COUPLES HAVE DIFFERENCES • She does one thing at a time to conclusion. He likes to do many things at once. • She hates paperwork. He handles paperwork easily. • She smashes bugs in the house and kills spiders. He carefully takes them outside to safety. ­­Chuck & Barb Snyder, Incompatibility: Grounds for a Great Marriage, pp. 15­33. ...
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