The Unauthorized Investigator's Guide to
The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints

Lesson 5

Eternal Marriage

The Missionaries Will Teach...

The family is the basic unit of the Church.  Marriage between a man and a woman is a center component God's eternal plan of salvation and happiness for His children.  God has prepared a way for marriage to last beyond death.  In order for a marriage to be eternal, the man and woman must be married by a priesthood holder in the temple in a sacred ordinance called a sealing.  They must both then keep all of the covenants they make.  Husbands and wives should love each other and obey their marital vows with complete fidelity.

In order to achieve happiness in family life, it should be founded upon the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Parents should make their family their highest priority.  The prophet revealed that "By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families.  Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.  In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners."  Parents have the responsibility to teach their children the gospel of Jesus Christ and help them live it.

Satan is attacking families.  That is why the Church set aside Monday evenings as a time for Family Home Evening.  This time should be used for parents to teach their children the gospel of Jesus Christ, to build relationships, and to have fun.  Families should also spend time together every day to pray and study the scriptures together.  Heaven is a continuation of ideal Latter-day Saint homes, and through righteous living and priesthood ordinances, we can live as families in God's presence.


Additional Thoughts...

In the 80's and 90's, the claim that "families can be together forever" was a emphasized more than it is now.  While the it it a nice concept that we can be with our families forever, the reality of Mormonism is that this doctrine tends to separate families more than it binds them.  The perfect symbol of this are Mormon weddings themselves.  In Mormon weddings, only the extremely dedicated adult Mormons go into the temple to witness the ceremony.  Everybody else, children, non-Mormon parents and relatives, Mormons and Mormons who don't pay 10% of their income to the church, must wait outside.

When a child converts to Mormonism his or her parents tend to be supportive.  When the child announces his or her intention to get married in the Mormon temple thus precluding his or her parents from attending, the parents tend to be devastated.  Mormons rarely have much empathy for the parents that aren't invited to the weddings; they tend not to understand why attending the wedding is so important to the parent. To help explain why they are devastated, allow me to share a few thoughts about mainstream weddings.

In main stream society, weddings are ceremonies that involve not only the couple getting married, but also their families and the community.  The family and friends aren't there merely as spectators to the ceremony; they are an integral part of it. The parents of the bride and groom "give away" their children to their new spouses, the bride and groom make promises of love, support, and loyalty to each other, and the extended family and the friends explicitly recognize the marriage and the commitments being made, and they enter into the covenant also to recognize and support the couple in their new family.

In contrast, Mormon weddings are about the couple making covenants with God.  If they obey the covenants and live the rest of their lives as super-dedicated Mormons, they will qualify to enter the top-level of heaven and be together with other people who were equally dedicated to the church.  Everybody else, symbolized by the parents, siblings, and friends patiently waiting outside, don't qualify for the highest level of heaven and the bonds connecting them to the family are broken.

Jesus is quoted as saying, "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a manís foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me." (Matthew 10:34-37)

That scripture perfectly represents the effect that Mormon weddings usually have upon families; the practice and doctrine is about dividing people: It divides the worthy from the unworthy.  The elite from the common. The saved from the unsaved. 

Other Links

The Human Cost of Mormon Temple Marriage Policies by Orin Ryssman.

Offsite Links

The Family: A Proclamation to the World  A solemn declaration by the Church on the importance of heterosexuality, traditional gender roles, multiplying and replenishing the earth, and marriage.

A critique of "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" The essay that lead to rpcman's excommunication.

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If you have a question or would like to discuss these topics, I suggest that you go to a Mormon-related bulletin board (here are some recommendations). If you'd like to contact me with comments or feedback, you may send an email to