Celestial Marriage Amendment

AdamFlove, marriage, polygamy, temple, theology 75 Comments

I read this letter in the Salt Lake Tribune this morning, and even though I know it’s a satirical slam, I could not help but agree with the idea proposed. Is that bad?

“Marriage for all eternity is being threatened. Many male members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are married to multiple women in heaven. Even today, prominent LDS general authorities are also polygamists in heaven. I believe in the importance of eternal marriage; therefore I would like to propose a “Celestial Marriage Amendment” that would define marriage in heaven as “one man married to one woman.” This is a moral issue that certainly threatens to undermine the sanctity of heavenly unions…”

I for one would be a bit more comfortable if this matter was cleared up. Will it take a revelation to do it? After learning about the fervor with which Spencer W. Kimball sought revelation on the priesthood issue, I often wonder if we have just left polygamy alone, rather than actively seeking guidance. Normally I would agree that we don’t need to worry about these types of things right now, but we are still practicing it.There must be at least some choice involved, however, because I’ve heard people may be sealed “for time” in temples. Is that correct?

I always tell my wife that if she died young, I would find an LDS woman (or of another faith) who had lost her husband and we would get married for time only. Sure, people fall in love again, but I think I would be betraying my respect and honor for her by adding on a second. What do you think?

Comments 75

  1. My understanding is that temple marriages for time only typically involve women who are already sealed to one man. I doubt such a ceremony would be performed if both parties were eligible to be sealed to one another.

    As for a revelation, don’t hold your breath. With apostles who have undergone second sealings, it seems unlikely that they are even asking the question, much less pleading for a contrary answer.

  2. A wise move, Adam. Consider the alternatives. If celestial polygamy is allowed to continue, will those unions be recognized, legal and binding in other galaxies? And leaving aside the thorny question of nature vs. nurture of celestial polygamy, it is just plain unnatural (and please don’t ask me to be politically correct and call it “celestial plural marriage.” I used to be free to use the word “plural” in my daily conversations, but now the celestial polygamists have taken over the term and made it into something unseemly.)

    Now, if celestial polygamy is tolerated, what will be the next step on their agenda? The celestial polygamists seek not merely to gain respectability, but to take over the universe. They will fight for multiple personalities, multiple colors of temple clothing, multiple belief systems — and eventually, multiple FDIC-insured accounts in the same bank or (shudder!) multiple political parties . . .

    It ain’t right. It’s repugnant, disgusting, distasteful to me, inconvenient to my world view, and just too horrible to think about.

  3. “[E]ven though I know [Rick Grunder’s comment (#2) is] a satirical slam”… Hahahahaa!

    I guess you’re also freaked out about that infinite regression of Gods and infinite progression of Gods thing, too! *wink*

    If you seek after false revelation, you will find it. In the last days, the Lord will cause the prophets to err, and then he will judge those who the follow the prophets the same as he judges the prophets; he will put bits in our mouths and hooks in our jaws, he will “put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled”, and then it is for him to judge.

  4. Adam, I am going to take this post as asking a serious question, so I will respond in that vein.

    I have no problem with celestial polygamy, since I have no idea whatsoever what that will look like in the hereafter. We have been given next to nothing about it; literally, next to nothing.

    We don’t have any idea at all what “intelligences” means – or how intelligences became “spirits” – or how spirits actually became “mortals” (breath of life? – nope, don’t understand it.) – or how spirits will become resurrected beings – or how resurrected beings will create spirits (also from intelligences, whatever they are and that means? – in some other way? – ad infinitum (pun intended).

    I can speculate with the best of them, but when it comes right down to it – ain’t got no clue. Denying the concept, however, undercuts the very doctrine of eternal marriage and the idea of two truly being able to become an inseparable one. Ask anyone who has been married to and truly loved more than one spouse, with their whole heart and soul. If you can accept the fundamental concept underlying eternal marriage, you can accept eternal marriage no matter what it means or what form it takes – I would think.

    As a side note, I find it fascinating that many of those who argue so passionately about broadening the definition of marriage in the here and now struggle so much to broaden the definition in the there and then. If someone can envision homosexual sealings, why is it hard for that person to envision polygamous sealings? That, I simply don’t get.

  5. Back on topic: Yes, AdamF, sealings “for time” exist. These sealings are not “for time only”, even though people for some reason (a.k.a., Satanic influence) add the word “only”. They are for time only while the woman lives. When the woman dies and the Millennial sealings occur, a proxy ordinance will make the sealing be “for time and all eternity”.

    In other words, women have multiple husbands.

    In Mr. Grunder’s words: “shudder!”

  6. Ray :–More seriously, though, as I understand it, the language in the temple is “for time”. Unless my studies deceive me, only the wording “and all eternity” is dropped from the language of the temple marriage ceremony (a.k.a., sealing) and the word “only” is not added. Haven’t you said you’re a temple worker? Is this true?

    One might visit lds endowment dot org for the language of the sealing ceremony (this site does not document “time only” sealings).

  7. Well, polygamy is not a threat to marriage since it still involves a man and a woman. Marriage is between people of the opposite sex.

    I find same-sex marriages far more objectionable than polygamy.

  8. If I pre-decease my husband, I hope he’ll find a nice woman to remarry. I don’t think I’ll care whether they can be sealed or not, because I’ll be dead. I think the chance of me going to the CK is very, very (very) small, so if he gets sealed to someone else, at least he’ll have ONE eternal wife.

  9. “Well, polygamy is not a threat to marriage since it still involves a man and a woman. Marriage is between people of the opposite sex.

    I find same-sex marriages far more objectionable than polygamy.”

    And yet, polygamous marriage includes same sex marriage just as much as it includes heterosexual marriage. In fact, as soon as wife #3 comes along there’s more same sex marriage.

  10. I said it here, but:

    Divorce and remarriage is the most destructive and harmful form of polygamy.

    I tend to think that the condemnations in Jacob 2 against the destructive practices of many wives and concubines is akin to the modern practice of divorce and remarriage, which truly results in poly-gamos, “many marriages”.

  11. Post

    Ray – good assumption – I did mean this as a serious question, although I am generally not concerned about it outside of the hypothetical situation I mentioned. If I was expected to get sealed to someone else if my wife died, it would take an angel and a flaming sword to get me to do it. As for homosexual sealings, fwiw, I cannot envision them.

    Derek – Hah! I knew you would be drawn to this one. 🙂 Your last comment makes a good point; I like the term “serial monogamy” which is essentially what you described. When someone gets divorced, you may feel bad for them. When they’re getting divorced for the 6th or 7th time, you start to wonder what’s really going on in their heads.

  12. Post

    Ray #4: “Ask anyone who has been married to and truly loved more than one spouse, with their whole heart and soul.”

    We really don’t know, do we? My faith in God is that it will all work out beyond our best ability to imagine. I believe that almost more than anything else.

    I don’t know what will happen to a woman who truly loved more than one spouse… maybe eternal marriage has even more forms that we cannot now conceive. You’re right, speculation is just that.

  13. “I find same-sex marriages far more objectionable than polygamy.”

    How about polyandry? If you were husband #13 to your matriarch wife, would that be cool? Honestly curious.

  14. When they’re getting divorced for the 6th or 7th time, you start to wonder what’s really going on in their heads.

    Or you really begin to understand the doctrine of Mormon plural or celestial marriage, and you cease to judge their heads.

    Considering what is going on in our heads is the Lord’s business, not yours or mine. Afterall, when the Lord comes in might and glory, he will crush the skulls of all the sons of Seth, which if I have my genealogies straight includes every man and woman on Earth today.

  15. “and you cease to judge their heads.”

    I have no desire to judge others’ heads. I do wish, however, I understood them better.

  16. Here are all the conditions that would have to happen for this to be something I’d have to care about:
    1 – I die first (very very unlikely based on all those sites about healthiness)
    2 – My husband finds someone he loves enough to want to be sealed to (seriously, who could replace me?)
    3 – She isn’t already sealed to someone previously (again, what are the odds on this one?)
    4 – She agrees to marry him.
    5 – She agrees to be sealed to him.
    6 – All three of us end up in the celestial kingdom. (I’m not laying bets for me; my widowed husband will have outlived my evil example, so maybe; and I won’t speculate on the bimbo).
    7 – There’s not some caveat up there or some loophole for these situations.
    8 – As a dead person, I still care about the same things I care about on earth.

    I suppose we’d have to settle it through some sort of celestial catfight smackdown. Or I could just look up old boyfriends. Or perhaps I could just haunt him so he never remarries. I have lots of options.

  17. Post

    Unfortunately in my line of work I often am required to do some head-judging, although I refrain from judging the likes of Kirby Heyborne. Anyone who was in The Singles 2nd Ward gets a free pass from my condemnation.

    Clay #19 – good point. If I was husband #13 (or even husband #2) I would have some serious issues.

    Hawkgrrrl – I love the smackdown idea. Classic! As long as it was pay-per-view.

  18. As for homosexual sealings, fwiw, I cannot envision them.

    While not homosexual by any means, sealings of men-to-men have occurred in the Church. I think Wilford Woodruff’s words of April 6, 1894, are rather pertinent to even the subject of men-to-women sealings (further revelations are required for them to be properly understood [lacking perfect knowledge and eternal perspective]).

  19. Why stop at mortal death? Can a person enter into a plural marriage while in the spirit world? There will be plenty of single people, i.e. everyone who was not sealed and thus had their marriage terminated at death. There will be plenty of time, I think. And, there will be agency. So, if a spouse dies many years before her husband and while cooling her heels in the spirit world stumbles across an old flame or generates a new flame can she marry that person? Or, is plural marriage one way: one man, multiple women. What if it is the man who gets to the spirit world first and finds himself attracted to another woman? Can they get hitched? Or, is everyone in the spirit world forced to just shack up?

  20. I wonder if we’ve got this whole plural marriage thing wrong anyway and all in the CK will be sealed to all the rest in the CK (“one in purpose” like the city of Enoch) yet still be in couples. I’m not suggesting a celestial key party or anything. Just a thought.

  21. Post
  22. AdamF – OK, next time you are in the temple, look around at those other people. Still excited to have a key party?

  23. Post
  24. It sounds to me like our lusts always get us to the bottom of the issue one way or another, AdamF, Hawkgrrrl, & Ray!

    I think that in the resurrection, AdamF & Hawkgrrrl will remember their flirting over (priesthoodcraft) key parties in cyber-space, and they’ll be more than happy to heal their virtual adultery-at-heart through celestial marriage in light of perfect knowledge! Ray will finally be free of his closeted repressions, and his wife won’t mind (what with rent veils) him gettin’ sealed fer time & all eternity to AdamF! Hawkgrrrl will be sealed to her girlfriends in the same room that AdamF & Ray were sealed in, and all will be well. Each couple will pair off in turn 1-to-1 (and always male-to-female) and they will set about enlarging the Kingdom of their Father (and Mother, and their godly grandparents, etc.) throughout all eternity and through many repetitions of time, times, and half a time!

    (How’s that for sarcasm [and incest]?)

    As Mormons like to say in the Celestial Room of the temple, “There are no empty seats.” At the very least, we will finally abide a Celestial Law when, through the acceptance of Millennial ordinances performed for the dead while the proxy is still yet in the flesh, we come to accept the Gospel in its fulness after the restitution of all things.

    We are still gearing up for “the fulness of the Gentiles” (the fullness & outpouring of the cup of the wine of the Lord’s wrath and indignation against great Babylon [Rev. 14:10, 16:19, & 18:6]), which means we’re not quite near completing “the restitution of all things” just yet.

  25. Ray, way back in #5 said, “If someone can envision homosexual sealings, why is it hard for that person to envision polygamous sealings? That, I simply don’t get.”

    I can envision both. No problemo.

    What I have a hard time reconciling is this statement you made: “…since I have no idea whatsoever what that will look like in the hereafter. We have been given next to nothing about it; literally, next to nothing.”

    I wholeheartedly agree. We know nada. Which is why I find it so curious that people are so up in arms about gay marriage. It is an awesome thing to claim to know the mind of God on matters like these. If we are willing to live and love and let these confusing heterosexual ties sort themselves out in the next life, why can’t we approach gay relationships the same way?

  26. 36. Amen. Best comment on this issue I have seen in a long time. If God truly made this world, and all that is in it, God must have known some of us would turn out gay. Why do we have to continually insert ourselves into God’s shoes in telling all and sundry what that plan is, when we really don’t know, and have not received specific revelation on it? Just like the blacks and the PH, I think we would be better off here just saying “we don’t know” and leave it at that.

  27. Derek – “As Mormons like to say in the Celestial Room of the temple, “There are no empty seats.” I thought that was what they said in the Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland.

  28. I’m with Ray and Matt on the fact that, in a church that places such a huge emphasis on being sealed, it is amazing that we know so little about what difference being sealed will make in the hereafter. Without much information to go on, I draw the following conclusions:

    There are no steps taken in a sealing ceremony that could not also be performed by two spirits in the spirit world. Somehow, then, it is critical that a sealing be performed on the earth when not in the presence of God – which means that the element of faith is essential in the ordinance. As I understand it, if two never-before-married spirits meet in the spirit world for the first time and then desire to be sealed to each other, they will still have to be sealed by proxy by other persons who are still living in the flesh (perhaps during the Millenium).

    Often we think of a sealing as something permanently binding, but we are told in the temple that upon resurrection our spouse still has the choice to accept or reject. The only thing that is permanent is that a door has been opened to provide the *choice* for a person to have a celestial relationship with their spouse. I like to use the analogy of an airline reservation. You can make a reservation, but you still have to check in and get your boarding pass before you get on the flight. A sealing is a reservation, not a boarding pass. The “reservation” must be made while in the flesh (by faith), and the boarding pass is given in the next life. If you don’t make a reservation, either in person (through your faith) or by proxy (through another person’s faith), then a boarding pass is not an option.

    Then comes the part that we know very little about…what can “sealed” eternal beings do that “unsealed” eternal beings can’t ? If “eternal increase” is the primary benefit of a sealing, then how can a person “envision” that with a gay relationship ?

  29. Please humor me for a second or two.
    I have never been married (thus not sealed to a husband) and I have never been sealed to my sweet abusive adoptive dad. So I have no idea of how much right or wrong I am about this subject.

    When a sealing is performed, aren’t we sealed to THE PRIESTHOOD through a priesthood holder? Then the priesthood holder (husband, father, whatever…) becomes only a MEAN and NOT the END.
    To me this understanding opens the door for an explanation to “celestial” polygamy. What “we” want here is to be linked to each other, all being one through/in the power of the priesthood (a.k.a power of God). This leads me to much pondering about the notions of intelligences, spirits, life after death, CK….

  30. I vote “I am sooooooooooooo not going to give you my name” (#40) for the most correct response to AdamF’s inquiry. A young French woman is more correct than all us put together!

  31. I am not young! I am 32! DANG!!!
    I went on a mission and I took the time to get excommunicated and to come back. It takes time to do all these things…I am not young!
    By the way, since when americans take vacations?
    I have been waiting for months to get re-baptized, and eventually, when everything should be straighten up, when I should be planing on a date I am told that I still have to wait because of the church administration’s vacation during July.
    When did you get a full month of paid vacation?

  32. #32 – Am I the only one who sometimes checks out the other women in a session? You guys must be in the wrong city – not too shabby where I live.

  33. Post

    I am sooooooo – I think Derek was trying to flatter you with the young comment, lol. If you would prefer he call you middle-aged or old, I’m sure he would oblige. 🙂

  34. I know he was trying to be nice, but you need to know that even kids think that I am younger than my real age. I have started to like it and I am sure that when I am 50 I will be just thrilled about it. But I have looked at least 5 tears younger than my age since I was 15 and this game is just starting to get “old”. Some kids in the school where I work even think that I am 23!!!

  35. My wife used to complain about looking so young; now she longs for that time. Enjoy it. I repeat, enjoy it. One more time: Enjoy it.

  36. I think Derek was trying to flatter you with the young comment, lol.

    Actually, her comment does strike me as the most enlightened response yet provided.

    Obviously she knows she’s right or she wouldn’t have corrected us.

    Thinking young keeps you young, even when you’re old (or middle-aged)!

    In Hawkgrrrl’s gerontocracy, 32 is still young (you’re only 4 years away from “generation Y”)…

  37. My friend’s brother is an actual polygamist (2 wives the last I heard, could have more now) and the weirdest story I heard was when he wrote a letter to the family telling them about the courtship of the second wife. He was nervous about his date, and his first wife helped him get ready, doing his hair for him and helping him pick out the clothes. It was like the wife morphed into a sister, but probably only temporarily because I would guess he probably came home from the date, um… in the mood.

  38. no man – “what are your feelings on same-sex polyandry?” Sorry, but that reminded me of what Stephen Colbert said in response to Mitt Romney’s statement that he couldn’t think of anything more awful than polygamy. “Really? Nothing? How about gay minotaur polygamy?” Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    Clay – that’s why I couldn’t watch Big Love anymore. just too weird.

  39. I did not want to correct you all. I was hoping to be right and this is why I asked you to bear with me.
    I realize that I have forgotten some things I took for granted when I was younger. I also realize that some simple truth that I thought I had forgotten are coming back to me but they feel right now when they just felt like anoyance when I was younger because I did not understand why they were so important.
    Yes, I should enjoy looking younger :o)

  40. The one without a name brings up an interesting point. I don’t get all the polygamy, celestial multiple marriage, or whatever you wanna call it. But I couldn’t share the love of my life, that’s all I know. But with regards to “for time” does that really mean women are married in heaven to multiple men too or is that speculation?

  41. Teachings of the Prophet
    To Gain Salvation the Laws of God Must Be Obeyed
    Section Six 1843-44, p. 332

    I * * * spoke to the people, showing them that to get salvation we must not only do some things, but everything which God has commanded. Men may preach and practice everything except those things which God commands us to do, and will be damned at last. We may tithe mint and rue, and all manner of herbs, and still not obey and teach others to obey God in just what He tells us to do. It mattereth not whether the principle is popular or unpopular, I will always maintain a true principle, even if I stand alone in it. (Feb. 21, 1844.) DHC 6:223.

    Since the idea that women are not special enough to possess multiple spouses in the eternities is by all measures a very popular principle in the Church today, I doubt that Joseph Smith, Jr., would have ever taught such an idea (especially since nothing about this popular notion is logical to or congruent with anything that Joseph Smith, Jr., ever actually did teach)!

  42. Re: When a sealing is performed, aren’t we sealed to THE PRIESTHOOD through a priesthood holder? Then the priesthood holder (husband, father, whatever…) becomes only a MEAN and NOT the END.

    I asked my wife for her take on this and she re-worded the description as: the priesthood holder is a LINK to the end (rather than a MEANS). I liked that choice of words.

    Re: If “eternal increase” is the primary benefit of a sealing, then how can a person “envision” that with a gay relationship ?

    I can’t envision it. D&C 132:19 Describes the benefit of exaltation to be “a continuation of the seeds forever and ever.” Verse 63 of the same section adds: “that they may bear the souls of men: for herein is the work of my Father glorified.” Genesis 3:15 describes the seed of Eve as having the destiny of crushing the serpent’s head. This certainly sounds as if Eve was promised a continuation of seed that would defeat Satan’s work/glorify the work of the Father. That seed began with her perception of the need to enter mortality to obey the commandment to multiply. The Genesis and Moses accounts of Adam and Eve both teach that a man shall leave his father and his mother and cleave unto his wife, becoming one flesh.

    I know that some have criticized the use of the Genesis account to defend marriage as between a man and a woman because they consider it allegorical. If someone is going to write a satirical slam based on a belief in the “importance of eternal marriage” as a veiled argument in favor of same-sex marriage, then discussing the teachings of the endowment and LDS scripture in refuting the argument seems like fair game.

  43. Adam, I really like this idea and suggest that we might start a petition and circulate it at church meetings to define “marriage in heaven as one man married to one woman.” We could then each submit our petition to our bishop, and ask him to pass it to the stake president, and on up the line.

    I wonder what would happen if a few hundred wards around the country did this?

    Let’s do it!

  44. Scene: President Monson in the Temple praying…

    Dear Lord,

    The saints have requested that I petition Thee for a revelation to define marriage in heaven. They have also submitted hundreds of petitions demanding that the revelation that Thou would’st give them is that marriage in heaven be defined as “one man married to one woman.”

    Comment: I would not want to be in the position of taking such a request to the Lord.

  45. Kim :– To elaborate upon Ray’s “I don’t know” (which I happen to agree with [I always agree with “I don’t know” *smile*]): I think most Mormons think Adam and Eve is literal (for the most part, the serpent is usually seen as a symbol for an influence or spirit that tempted them, and it is not thought to be a literal snake that must have crawled down a tree and spoken English, etc.). I think Adam and Eve is literal. Even in evolutionary theory, a new kind must come from its first parents, colloquially referred to as the Hopeful Monster. Considering the degradation that most Christians put upon the concept of The Fall(tm) resulting in eternal damnation, “hopeful monsters” isn’t such a bad description of Adam and Eve!

  46. Kim, I believe in a literal “first human man and woman” (Adam and Eve), but I believe the Garden narrative is figurative and allegorical.

  47. I’m not LDS; however, I must say that it’s nice to be able to get on this site and see that people can disagree while having a sense of humor (even though the subject matter is very important to each of them). I MUST give kudos, though, to Hawkgrrrl. I’ve read a few of your posts. Nice mind.

  48. I would recommend everyone read the publication “The Peace Maker” by Jacob’s.

    The things of God are only known by the spirit of God.

  49. D&C 132

    Do what you want. If you only want to be sealed to one woman for all eternity then do it. But don’t make the mistake of assuming that a widower who remarries for eternity is dishonoring his late wife.

  50. Post

    pedro – Well, I wasn’t assuming anything about any widowers, but really, I don’t understand how it could not be “dishonorable” unless they had talked about it before the first wife died. At least in some cases the wives had some participation in the husbands taking a second wife.

  51. Why don’t people just realize that the Lord won’t force upon anyone a situation that they don’t want. This is all about agency.

    A woman would not be forced against her agency to stay with a man that marries another after her death if she doesn’t wish to. Surely a woman would be presented with a situation that she believes is more to her taste.

    Furthermore take the case of a man who has polygamous inclinations by nature, but was born into a situation where he was commanded to be monogamous his whole mortal life, and has to suppress that in mortality. Such things are terribly difficult to deal with just as a homosexual must have a terribly difficult time if he would have an inclination that he finds difficult to live with. Surely, the Lord would not force such a man to go forever without the opportunity to have more than one wife in eternity. Neither would the Lord force a woman into a situation with such a person.

    So for all you that find it distasteful, you go have it your way, and let people that find it tasteful and who have the inclination to have their belief their way. Not all women find it distasteful, and they are the ones that will want to be in such a relationship.

    Everybody will have it the way they want it, as I see it. That is called agency.

  52. Post

    “take the case of a man who has polygamous inclinations by nature”

    Wow. Putting aside my preference for adult attachment theory and my belief that we’re emotionally wired to not be with more than one partner at a time, where do you get the idea that some men have polygamous inclinations by nature? On that same note, what about the woman with inclinations to have multiple husbands? Perhaps she will not have to suppress them in the next life?

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