Monday, January 25, 2010

Eternal Marriage vs Eternal Unions

Today we are faced with the issue of civil unions vs. traditional marriage. For the most part, while most Christians do not approve of homosexual behavior or same-sex unions, we do love them as our brothers and sisters and agree that these couples who desire to live together should be afforded most all the same benefits as a married couple.

But you can't give all the benefits of traditional marriage to a civil union, or then it would be traditional marriage just called by a different name. So, then what is the one thing that differentiates traditional marriage from a civil union. I believe that one thing that differentiates civil unions from traditional marriage is the primary right to bare, adopt, and raise children. Again, I would define traditional marriage as being between a man and a women for the purposes of creating a family unit prepared to receive children if they do come along either biologically, by adoption, through familial and neighborly influence, or in expectation and hope of eternal parenting and nurturing future souls in the next life.

While the issue of same-sex marriage is considered the civil rights issue of our generation, I think the rights that are not being considered here are the rights of child to be raised by both a mother and a father. I believe it to be the right of all children to be raised in a home with both a father and a mother. Since, Civil unions do not provide this right, therefore, I think that they are different and should be regulated different from traditional marriage.

Now, it is true that there are many children in need of adoption. Especially in Haiti. Therefore, just because a child cannot have the ideal situation, we don't need to throw out the next best thing or even the 5th best just because it is not the ideal. So, it may be better that a child be adopted by a same-sex couple then not have any parents. That said, I do not support same sex couples using sperm donors and surrogates. Purposefully creating a child in this way to be raised by a same-sex couple is a clear violation of that child's right. However, if a child has already been born and has no caregivers, a same-sex home may be a satisfactory alternative.

Understanding the difference between Civil Unions and Traditional Marriage really helped me understand the purpose of Eternal Marriage in the LDS Church. The LDS church has always believed that all those who accept Jesus Christ as their Savior will be saved. The only caveat to this is that while many will be saved, not everyone will receive the same rewards or gifts. And while all rewards or gifts are freely offered, they must be accepted. And it is the LDS view that those Christians who reject the LDS gospel and LDS temple marriage, are not rejecting heaven, but just rejecting a specific crown/reward/seat/kingdom/glory/gift/reward in heaven. We call this gift exaltation.

But Christians and LDS know that if both they and their spouse are believers and truly born again, then they will both be in heaven. And being in heaven will not dilute that relationship. We will still know as we are known,, and know as we know now. Joseph Smith taught that the same sociality that exists here will exist there except it will be coupled with eternal glory. Therefore, our love for Christ and others will not dilute our love for our family and our spouse, but it will magnify that love forever. So, naturally we can expect that families will voluntarily choose to remain together even without LDS eternal marriage. So what is difference with LDS eternal marriage?

The blessing of LDS eternal marriage is found in its purpose. Remember the primary purpose of marriage is to raise children up unto the Lord biologically or by adoption or by influence. Therefore, I believe the blessing of Eternal marriage involves being blessed to participate with God in His work of eternal parenting . The most sacred work of God and His most sacred title is that of Father. Eternal Life is the promise of coming to know God. I'm not sure how one could come to know God unless they were blessed to serve God in the kind of work that God does. Therefore, I believe that while all Christians may enjoy a form of eternal union with their spouse, and family, only those who are willing to receive the gift of LDS eternal marriage will be blessed with the opportunity to adopt self-existent spirits and nurture them and prepare them prior to being born into an Earth-like experience.

While many critics of the LDS church make LDS eternal life and exaltation sound strange, I think when it is understood that the spirits of all man are eternal and self-existent and have no beginning and no end, it is more understandable that each of us as a self-existent and co-eternal intelligence were adopted spirit children of God and nurtured by eternal parents before coming to Earth and being born to and nurtured by earthly parents. In the next life, those who receive it, will be blessed to continue to work of creation, and eternal parenting with our Heavenly Father through the blessing of LDS Eternal Marriage.

Christ was asked on one occasion by a Jewish Man if a Jewish Woman married 7 brothers according to the law of Levarite Marriage, in the resurrection, whose would she be. Jesus responded that the man denied the power, and that those worthy to obtain that world would be as the angels and not married nor given in marriage. Many see this as saying there is no marriage in heaven. But this is forgetting who Christ is talking to and about. The Jews were were offered but rejected the higher covenant. The Jews turned down eternal marriage. Consequently, those worthy to receive this lesser world/crown/seat/glory/reward/kingdom/seat/mansion would be like the angels and not married but maybe just enjoy a eternal union.

However, Heb 1 says that Christians through the sealing keys given to Peter that whatsoever is bound on Earth is bound in heaven are promised to be glorified together with Christ who was made higher than the angels and given a more excellent name than they. Therefore, Christs answer to the Jew about the Jew doesn't apply to Christians who do not deny the power of Christ, and who are willing to receive the blessing of LDS Eternal Marriage. According to Gal 4, Some who are saved will be considered children of the bondwoman Hagar, while others are called children of the promise. Again, Jews didn't have eternal marriage so as Christ said, the Jewish woman in question would not be married to any of the 7 brothers in the next life. But the important point here is that this restriction in Luke 20:35 doesn't apply to Christians because Christians are promised to be made higher than the angels and will receive a far better world/reward/gift/kingdom/crown than the Jewish woman because of Christ.

Heb 1: 5 , 13-14 For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?. . . But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?

Gal 4:22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. . . Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. . . Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.


Jared said...

Thanks for blogging. I enjoyed this post and the others I read. Keep it up, I think you're make an important contribution.

Jared said...

Wrong! According to mormons it's not good enough to be "christian". You have to be an LDS to receive the blessing of eternal marriage. You used the phrase "this doesn't apply to Christians..." well, it does if they are not LDS.