On this Day in Church History (July 12, 1843) The revelation on celestial and plural marriage was recorded (D&C 132).
I wanted to write about this revelation from Doctrine & Covenants that you can read fully here. This is a big one!
Note: I’m not going to write about plural marriage (this is such a big topic. If you are interested in learning about it I recommend you read the Saints books or this essay has some basic info. The members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints no longer practice polygamy and have not done so since 1904).
Families Can be Together Forever
I am, though, going to write about the principle of eternal marriage.
When I was a child I grew up in a divorced family. Obviously, this made me very sad. As a young, impressionable little-girl, when I learned about the LDS doctrine that families could be forever, I was keenly interested in learning more about it. Because of the weight of the divorce that burdened our family, I wished with all my heart that my parents and siblings and I could be together forever.
Some things are beyond our control (like parents divorcing), but I knew when I grew up I wanted to make sure that I was married in the temple so that my future family would be sealed for time and all eternity.
Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that in our sacred temples families can be sealed for eternity. Basically, death will never part us. A sealing is a simple ceremony, similar to a marriage ceremony, except it is performed by someone who holds the Priesthood, or the proper authority from God.
I’m interested to know, if you are a member of a different faith, or maybe even if you are not religious at all, what do you think about this doctrine? What are your thoughts on the afterlife?
A Match Made in Germany
When I did grow up and choose to serve an LDS mission, I was called to serve in the Berlin Germany mission. That is where I met Christoph, my future husband. We met at a bus stop in a small town in Eastern Germany. I knew in my heart the first time I met him that I loved him. It was really quite embarrassing to discover this because missionaries are not allowed to date.
I tried to just forget about it and move on with my mission, but after Christoph finished his mission, I decided to write him a letter and let him know how I felt. Long story short, a couple years later we ended up getting married, or sealed, in the Salt Lake Temple.
Every day I feel blessed to have a loving, eternal companion. I know that the knowledge of our eternal marriage has changed our relationship and influenced us for the better. I know that our faith is what binds us together and sees us through the good and bad times.
Don’t misunderstand me: just because we were married in the temple does not mean we have a perfect marriage. Definitely not. Our bi-continental relationship has required a lot of sacrifice for the two of us, for our children, and for our extended families.
But if I could go back to that bus stop in Germany I would not change a thing. I would still marry Christoph. I would do it all again.
Ingredients for a Successful Marriage
I reached out to a couple that I admire and asked them four questions about their marriage. This is Lindy and Raffie Bezdjian. They are my best friend’s parents. They recently came to visit my family on their trip to Nauvoo.
I was at their house A LOT growing up and I always enjoyed seeing the two of them together. They always seemed so mindful of each other. They looked at each other differently. Spoke to each other differently. I had never seen that before and it struck me as something really special. They have been married now for nearly forty years! Amazing!
1. What do you think are the essential ingredients for a successful marriage?
Common goals, communication, equal partners.
2. Why does the doctrine of eternal marriage matter to you?
To know there is more than just this life together. The covenant made with God binds your partnership (and family) with deity!
3. How has knowing this doctrine affected your marriage?
Motivation to work things out. Desire to improve together. Gives you a goal.
4. How did you know you had met the person you should marry?
Answer to prayer!
The principle of eternal marriage doesn’t just affect one generation. It affects all of our family throughout time. That is why we do temple work for our ancestors in the temple. We want to invite everyone to be bound together with their family throughout eternity.
Everyone has the opportunity to choose for themselves what they want in this life and in the afterlife. One of God’s greatest gifts to humanity was the gift of agency. He will never take away our agency because that is essential to His Eternal Plan for humanity.
The other great gift God gave to humanity was the gift of His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ. I know that our Heavenly Father and His Son live and they love us. They want us to have joy not just now, but forever. Everlasting marriages have the potential to bring us joy.
Everlasting marriages are not made of magic. They are not easy. They require time, understanding, and sacrifice, but it’s worth it!
If you have any questions about this article please comment below or feel free to email me at [email protected]. If you would like to learn more about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints click here.
I hope everyone is enjoying their summer!