Celestial Marriage – Chapter 1 Marriage


Chapter 1

Marriage Covenant is Between a Man and a Woman

Marriage is a covenant relationship between a man, a woman, and God.

“We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.” (The Family: A Proclamation to the World)

Marriage is to be Legal and Lawful

We as Latter-day Saints, believe in being married legally and lawfully. Elder Boyd K. Packer gave a warning to the world: “There is a practice, now quite prevalent, for unmarried couples to live together, a counterfeit of marriage. They suppose that they shall have all that marriage can offer without the obligations connected with it. They are wrong!”

“However much they hope to find in a relationship of that kind, they will lose more. Living together without marriage destroys something inside all who participate. Virtue, self-esteem, and refinement of character wither away.”

“Such words as unselfishness and sacrifice will then be tossed aside. Then self-respect will fade and love itself will not want to stay.”(Elder Boyd K. Packer; Ensign, May 1981, 13–15)

– Why is it important to be legally married not just living together?

Marriage a Sacred Covenant

There are two forms of legal marriage. God established marriage with Adam and Eve. Since that time it has been a natural right of men and women. According to Heavenly Father, a marriage is formed when a man and woman make a marriage covenant with each other under God(see D&C 132:15, 18, 19). Marriage after this pattern is legal and acceptable to God so long as the couple keeps their covenant to each other. Christ taught there is no divorce with this type of marriage. (see Mark 10:4-7).

When a man and woman covenant with each other and with God they form a sacred triangle. When the husband and wife are obedient God will bless them.

This simple type of legal marriage has been acceptable to God since the beginning of earth. When Abraham received Hagar as his wife all that was needed was for Sarai to give her unto him. Mutual commitment between the couple being married is all that is required for form a legal marriage.

– What are the three points of the sacred triangle of marriage?

– What is needed for a man and woman to enter into a legal and lawful marriage covenant with each other?

Marriage and Marriage Licenses

The second form of legal marriage has roots in the Great Apostasy. During the 17th century Christian religions passed laws  which made it illegal for people of certain races to get married. In order for those people to get married they had to get permission from the government. This was done by acquiring a license. During the 1920s many states in the United States adopted these marriage licenses laws for racist purposes. In later years other states saw that marriage licenses provide a good source of income through license fees. Marriage license laws were passed making them applicable to all races. Eventually every state in the United States adopted marriage licenses laws. For a time marriage licenses were used to regulate benefits, spouse, and child support. However today marriage licenses are no longer used for these purposes.

The legal definition of a license is: “The permission by competent authority to do an act which without such permission, would be illegal.” However marriage is not an act that would be illegal without the government’s permission. Marriage of the first kind is legal for all men and women regardless of government permission.

The second type of legal marriage modifies the sacred triangle. By obtaining a state marriage license a couple includes the government as a partner in their marriage.
The Ohio State Bar Association gives information about this in one of their publications about marriage licenses. It says, “Actually, when you repeat your marriage vows you enter into a legal contract. There are three parties to that contract. 1.You; 2. Your husband or wife, as the case may be; and 3. the State of Ohio.”

With the government as a partner in the marriage, the couple receives benefits from the government. Such benefits include recognition of their marriage, ability to divorce for any reason, tax status, etc. In addition to receiving benefits in the government, the couple grants the government rights and permissions within their marriage. Such rights include jurisdiction of the the fruits of the marriage. By obtaining a marriage license the couple gives the government permission to regulate their property and children.

In 1993 the government in Wisconsin did not have to get permission from parents to administer an invasive test to their children. When asked what gave then the right, the government responded that their marriage licenses gave the government permission. By including the government in the sacred triangle, the state is an additional spouse in the marriage and an additional parent to their children.

As the use of marriage licenses has increased, divorce has also increased. By bringing the government into a couple’s marriage they have the government’s permission to divorce for any reason. However if a couple marries with the first type of legal marriage the couple is bound to God’s rules for marriage. Divorce is not a frivolous thing but a very serious matter to God.

– How did marriage licenses originate?

– When a couple gets a marriage license what are some of the rights the government gets in their marriage?

Additional Scriptures

Luke 16:13(No man can serve two masters)
Marriage is Sacred

The government has no jurisdiction over the first type of legal marriage. Because of its sacred and divine nature as a right of men and women, the government cannot regulate it. The covenant remains between the couple and God. By legally marrying without a marriage license a couple forgo govern-mental “benefits” and intrusions. However, they are still recipients of the blessings of a covenant marriage relationship.

– What are the two types of legal Marriage?

– Why is it impossible for the government to restrict or legislate the first type of legal marriage?

Additional Scriptures and Other Sources

Deuteronomy 21:13(mutual commitment is enough to make a legal marriage)

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12 Responses to Celestial Marriage – Chapter 1 Marriage

  1. AV says:

    Can anyone in the world who calls themself a ‘religious authority’, male or female, whatever the religion, marry a couple & it be valid with God? Or does it require true Priesthood authority (which has been very rare in the history of the world) to truly marry a couple in God’s eyes.

    If true authority from God is necessary, then were or are all the other marriages throughout history not valid & moral? If true authority is not needed, then it appears anyone can start their own church or religious group, no matter if they have 1 follower or 1 billion, & thus they have (& so we all have) the right to officiate a marriage. So all of us have the right & power to officiate a marriage & marry any two people we want? And God will assume it valid?

    We don’t even need to bring the government authority & license question into this, since government only gets it’s power from the governed & can have so power or authority that individual people wouldn’t have. If individuals don’t have the power to marry couples then they can’t give that right to government officials.

    Also, Christ very clearly taught that if a person marries another person while their spouse is still ‘living’, even if they are divorced, unless it was because of ‘fornication & only fornication, (which does not include adultery etc.), then they commit adultery if they remarry. Christ taught that no one can be married to 2 living people at one time.

    Thus Christ not only covered divorce but clearly outlawed polygamy also in that one teaching. And no one can change Christ’s laws. Anyone who preaches contrary to Christ proves themselves to be against Christ & teaching falsehoods. Christ’s teachings are forever more the standard to judge all men & teachings by.

  2. zo-ma-rah says:

    There does not need to be any external authority to marry two people. All that is required is that the two people covenant to each other and then be husband and wife. Section 132 teaches that marriages made without authority are valid but only during this life.

    Could you please cite the specific scripture that forbids Plural Marriage for all people.

  3. AV says:

    “Whosoever shall put away his wife, except for fornication and shall marry another committeh adultery and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.” Matt. 19:9

    “Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. And if a woman shall put away her husband and be married to another, she committeth adultery.”
    Mark 10:11-12

    These are some of the most important teachings Christ ever taught to the world, yet most people & leaders dismiss them for one reason or another.

    Clearly Christ taught that the marriage commitment & tie is not broken by mere divorce, for transgression, abandonment & even remarriage to someone else, doesn’t break the marriage bond nor set the man or woman free to marry anyone else. The original couple is still husband & wife & thus commit adultery if they marry anyone else.

    The Lord used the word adultery in connection with a marriage to 2nd spouse, which means a ‘married’ person sinning with someone else.

    Christ showed how exclusive & life long the marriage commitment really is & that it’s impossible to be broken or either spouse to ever be free to marry someone else, while the other still lives.

    “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife.” Mark 10:7

    A man can’t cleave to his wife, if he’s cleaving to another woman.

  4. Jeremy says:

    “Whosoever shall put away his wife, except for fornication and shall marry another committeh adultery and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.” Matt. 19:9

    “Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. And if a woman shall put away her husband and be married to another, she committeth adultery.”
    Mark 10:11-12

    I was going to refrain from commenting but I simply feel I must point out that both of the verses above are talking about a man getting rid of one wife in order to marry another thus committing adultery. Neither of them say a man is committing adultery if he maintains his first marriage and enters into a second, especially if the first wife is agreeable to it and consents.

    Secondly, the one condition for putting away a wife is fornication. It is impossible for a married woman to fornicate accorcding to our current definition of the word. I had a neighbor once who in priesthood meeting shared a different definition. He explained that Joseph Smith defined fornication as having a lack of affection. So if there is a lack of affection from the wife then they may divorce. If she is put away for any other reason then adultery is committed. There is no sense in making her stay with someone she does not have love for. It made Matt. 19:9 make sense.

    I felt the spirit testify to the truth of the definintion he shared. When I asked him some years later where Joseph Smith had said it he said it was in one of his letter but could not remember which one. I have not as yet found it. If there are any that are aware of where Joseph Smith might have said this I would be interested in knowing the source. Regardless, I believe the definition of fornication as a lack of affection is correct.

    Also, my understanding of adultery is something that breaks the marriage bond and that it is entirely possible to commit adultery without any sexual activity taking place. Though sexual activity is probably the biggest cause of adultery. Whether or not it is correct it is what I believe at this time. If it is incorrect I am sure the time will come when the spirit will correct me.

  5. zo-ma-rah says:

    Great insights Jeremy! I’ll have to keep an eye out for that definition of fornication. It does kind of seem to go with the Chronicle Project which translates adultery as “breaking authority vows.” So adultery would not just be sexual, but would include anything that breaks a vow.

  6. Bruce says:

    My I suggest you see Denver’s blog on this very subject.

    An excerpt…
    There is a possibility that the correct way to read this could be rendered in this way: “Whoever puts away his wife for any reason other than the lack of marital intimacy…” That would mean the only justified reason to end the marriage is that the marriage has ended within the heart. There is no longer any love in the relation. It has died. It is no longer worthy of preservation, and therefore, the death of the heart justifies the death of the relation.

    However, the focus is on the woman’s heart. That is, if the woman still retains marital intimacy for the husband, he cannot be justified in putting her away. He is obligated to retain as his wife the woman who loves him. If he puts away such a wife, then he causes her to commit adultery.

    Further down Denver states…

    On the other hand, when she has lost affection for him, and the union has become hollow and without love, then the marriage is dead and continuation of the relation is a farce. It is not a marriage. In fact, it is a pretense and an abomination unworthy of preservation. It will not endure. It is not eternal and not possible to preserve beyond the grave.

    No union that has not been sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise will endure beyond the grave. (See D&C 132: 7, 18, among other places.) The reason for sealing such a marriage by the promise of the Spirit is because it replicates the kind of holy union found in heaven. It is like unto the unions between gods and goddesses. It is worthy of preservation because it is eternal. It is enduring. It is worth preserving into all eternity. It is sealed because the gods recognize on the earth a mirror of what is found in heaven itself. Therefore heaven ratifies and approves the relationship. They do not create such relations in heaven, but instead recognize them here, and approve them for eternal duration. Without such a relationship, the parties are worthy of continuation as angels, but not as spouses, as Christ would put it elsewhere. (Matt. 22: 30; see also D&C 132: 17.)

    I thought these quotes might give a different slant on the topic.

  7. AV says:

    I do not believe that Christ mean’t ‘lack of affection’ as a meaning of fornication. Nor do I believe Joseph really taught that & it sounds like just heresay & wasn’t something he taught the Church & published as doctrine.

    I believe ‘fornication’ is when a single man or woman is intimate with someone else before they get married & then never tell their husband or wife it happened. Thus the marriage was entered into based on a lie & the other spouse may not have married them if they had known.

    For God’s requires marriage & all covenants to be entered into by ‘common consent’, based on truth. There is no true ‘common consent’ if a spouse didn’t know the whole truth about the premarital life of their spouse.

    Also, Christ did include polygamy in his teachings about divorce, clearly teaching that ‘married’ people, who might even try to divorce, can’t marry anyone else or it’s adultery, cause ‘they are still married’. He taught that people commit adultery ‘not’ because they ‘tried to divorce’, but because they were still married & thus couldn’t marry anyone else. The divorce part is rather irrelevant & invalid, he is saying it’s adultery because the man or woman is already married & thus can’t marry any one else.

    If loss of affection were a justification for divorce than again, almost anything would count as justification, abuse, adultery, abandonment, crime, addictions, for it all leads to loss of affection, love & faithfulness. Thus that means pretty much almost every marriage on earth has justification for divorce & thus Christ would be going against his own teachings & example of unconditional true love, & he would be advocating for complete chaos & destruction by giving almost everyone justification to divorce, for that is what divorce brings.

    Not to mention he would be agreeing with Satan, who also wants & tries to get us to justify divorce for all those reasons.

  8. AV wrote:

    I believe ‘fornication’ is when a single man or woman is intimate with someone else before they get married & then never tell their husband or wife it happened. Thus the marriage was entered into based on a lie & the other spouse may not have married them if they had known.

    This is my understanding, as well. This is also the Jewish understanding, as far as I know. The Lord was referring to pre-marital sex on the wife’s part without the groom being told about it and him finding out about it after the betrothal or marriage. Because of her fraud, he was free to put her away (get our of his marriage contract.) It isn’t adultery, but fornication because the bride was unmarried when she committed the sex act.

    However, this I disagree with the part that AV wrote about it’s adultery because they are still married. No, it’s adultery because a betrothal or marriage entered into in good faith by both parties, with no deception or hypocrisy on either part, is valid and binding and if the man puts his wife away without any act of fraud on her part (see above), he is breaking his marriage covenant to her, which is what adultery is: the breaking of a covenant or vow. It has nothing to do with him taking on a second wife, for Christ allowed polygyny under the law He gave to Moses and it was never accounted as adultery, for no vows or covenants were broken. But if you break your marriage covenant (unlawfully, for there is no fraud involved) in order to marry someone else, you commit adultery.

    Also, I completely disagree with Denver’s theory that fornication is referring to the wife’s lack of affection. I believe the Jews have it right on this one and that Christ was referring to fraud due to unconfessed pre-marital sex on the wife’s part.

  9. AV says:

    ‘Allowing’ polygamy is a far different thing than ‘commanding’ polygamy.

    The Bible never commands polygamy, even though it was rampantly practiced throughout history because it is a ‘natural man’ desire for many, if not most men, to desire more than one woman, either in marriage or on the side. We see this still today, most men have a hard time being faithful to one woman their whole life. (Women certainly have their problems too, but that’s a different discussion.)

    A righteous, trustworthy & faithful man is rare today & always has been.

    Moses also had to ‘allow’ for divorce, which was also adultery, even though Moses didn’t apply immediate consequences for it, as church leader don’t today either, they just let everyone divorce & remarry, even in the temple, as if it’s ok, even though it is still completely adultery. Moses & the leaders today do & did this because of the wickedness of the people. For the people back then, & us today, would do or would have done even worse things if they or we weren’t allowed to divorce their/our spouses.

    So just because something is ‘allowed’, in order to prevent worse things, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t still a huge sin or adultery, that they will later receive the consequences for.

    When a people becomes so wicked, God then employs damage control & realizes that the people won’t live the commandments anyway, so he lets them do what they want, even if it’s evil, while still trying to enforce some parameters, so they hopefully won’t do even worse, despite the fact that what he allows them to do, divorce & polygamy, are still huge sins which they will one day be accountable for, but he is trying to keep them from doing even worse things.

    And while I agree that adultery is breaking the covenant, I still do not believe that Christ is talking the divorce as the adultery, but that a person commits adultery by remarriage. For while divorce itself is adultery, so is any other abuse ‘during’ the marriage also adultery.

    But Christ is talking about the ‘marrying’ of another person & calling ‘it’ adultery, because they are still married & marrying another person also is breaking the covenant & adultery. For marriage is vowing exclusive true love to one person forever & ever. That is the covenant.

    Thus, I believe it is for the fact that they are still married, that is the real problem with marring someone else. The fact that they broke the covenant is irrevlevant, probably every spouse alive in every marriage on earth has broken their covenants in some way at some time, but it’s the fact that you are ‘still married’ that makes it impossible for one to marry anyone else. For marriage is mean’t to be totally exclusive. That’s what Christ’s ‘true love’ is all about.

    Christ further explained that even the ‘innocent abandoned wife’ who ‘didn’t’ break the covenant is committing adultery if she remarries, simply because she is still considered ‘married’ & thus unable to marry anyone else. And there is no double standard for men & women, never has been & never will be, with righteous people, despite what the story books say, both are under the very same laws.

    But one has to possess this true love for one’s spouse, in order to understand it & it’s requirements. Otherwise, true love makes no sense or doesn’t seem possible to those who don’t have it.. But if one has true love they would never & could never be with or ever desire to be with anyone else other than their one wife or husband, it would always be totally repulsive to them, not to mention how they would never do anything to hurt, disrespect or control the other spouse, by forcing them to endure & accept other wives, as was sadly rampantly done in the church in the 1800’s.


  10. Toni says:

    I’m wondering if anyone is aware that, according to Jewish law, Jesus’ own mother fell under this condemnation some of you folks are talking about. Joseph wanted to put her away privately, but decided not to because of the dream God gave him.

    And, yeah, I don’t see anywhere in the scriptures quoted where it says, “with the permission of wife #1, adding another.” It’s talking about getting rid of the wife, not adding another wife to the current family.

    As for Brother Snuffer, he has a great many vitally important things to say. I wouldn’t throw these words out without talking to God about them. They could very well be true.

    As for myself and polygamy. If God (not a man or men) told me to live it, I would. At this point He has told me the current LDS church’s view on polygamy is acceptable. Not a problem.

  11. ‘Allowing’ polygamy is a far different thing than ‘commanding’ polygamy…The Bible never commands polygamy…

    From the GEMTAM book, chapter 3, under the section entitled, Plural Mariage in the Scriptures:

    When the law of Moses was received, it came with provisions for polygyny. For example:

    If a man have two wives, one beloved, and another hated, and they have born him children, both the beloved and the hated; and if the firstborn son be hers that was hated: then it shall be, when he maketh his sons to inherit that which he hath, that he may not make the son of the beloved firstborn before the son of the hated, which is indeed the firstborn. (Deut. 21: 15-16)

    In fact, under certain circumstances the law of Moses even commanded the practice of polygyny. When a married man died, the dead man’s brother was commanded to take the widow as his wife (see Deut. 25:4-10.) If the brother was already married, he would have had to take his brother’s widow as a second wife. The law of Moses does not view this as a sin.

    Also, you wrote:

    For marriage is mean’t to be totally exclusive.

    The Jewish or biblical marriage was exclusive for the wife, but was non-exclusive for the husband. Jesus never changed this arrangement. See the Plural Marriage Is Not Adultery section of of chapter 3 of the GEMTAM book for info and citations on this.

  12. AV says:

    The scriptures in Deut. about children & the brother’s widow, are examples of how God was just doing damage control, & trying to make a bad situation less bad. It would have been best if the woman didn’t remarry & live polygamy at all, but if she was going to do it anyway God is just saying to at least keep her in the family, for that would be better than her living polygamy with strangers.

    Also, we are not sure the Old Bible is translated correctly. We know that many things were left out & that many incorrect things could have been put in. So we must take anything in the Bible with a huge grain of salt, realizing that it may be totally false & incorrect & also let the Book of Mormon & D&C’s teachings trump anything the Bible says.

    Jewish & biblical laws back then were not very respectful to women’s equal rights. Nor were most societies throughout history respectful to women. Men usually abusively controlled women for 6000 years & gave themselves perks that they didn’t allow the women, not that it would have been right for the women to do it either.

    But to say that marriage was not exclusive for husbands, doesn’t mean it was by any means a righteous thing, just proof of men’s controlling behavior.

    Today, most people understand that women have totally equal rights & privileges as men in the home, church & society, even if it took 6000 years for the world to honor those rights.

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