Why are marriages not made in heaven?
Marriage is ordained of God
Marriage between a man and a woman is an integral part of God's plan. The Lord said: “Anyone who forbids marriage is not ordained by God, for marriage is ordained by God for man” (D&C 49:15). From the beginning, marriage was a law of the gospel. Marriage is meant to last forever and not just for earthly life.
God married Adam and Eve before there was death in the world. It was an eternal marriage. Adam and Eve taught their children and grandchildren the law of eternal marriage. As time went on, wickedness entered people's hearts and authority to perform this ordinance was withdrawn from the earth. With the Restoration of the gospel, eternal marriage was also restored to the earth.
Why is it important to recognize that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God?
Eternal marriage is a prerequisite for exaltation
What does the Lord say about marriage, and how is this different from the world's views?
Many people see marriage simply as a custom in our society, as a legal agreement between a man and a woman that they want to live together. To Latter-day Saints, marriage means much more. Our exaltation depends on marriage, as well as other principles and ordinances such as faith, repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost. We believe that marriage is the most sacred bond there can be between a man and a woman. Our happiness in this life and in all eternity depends on this sacred connection.
Heavenly Father gave us the law of eternal marriage so that we could become like him. The Lord said:
"In celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees,
and to attain the highest one must enter into this order of the priesthood [namely, the new and everlasting covenant of marriage];
and if one does not do so, he cannot obtain it ”(D&C 131: 1-3.)
For the teacher: All members, whether married or single, must understand the doctrine of eternal marriage. Be considerate, however, for the feelings of unmarried adults. As needed, help direct students or family members that all of Heavenly Father's children who remain faithful to their covenants in this life will have the opportunity to receive all of the blessings of the gospel in eternity. This also means that they can have an eternal family.
Marriage for eternity must be performed with proper temple authority
Why does a marriage have to be performed with proper authority in the temple to be eternal?
Marriage for eternity must be performed by someone who has sealing authority. The Lord has promised, “If a man marries a woman by ... the new and everlasting covenant ... by him who is anointed ... and if they remain [in] the covenant [of the Lord] ... then ... will [he] be in full power when out of the world ”(D&C 132: 19).
In addition to having proper priesthood authority, marriage for eternity must be performed in one of the Lord's holy temples. This ordinance can only be performed in the temple.
In the temple, the bride and groom kneel at a sacred altar in the presence of family and friends who have already received the endowment. The couple enter into marriage covenants before God. You will be united as man and woman for time and all eternity. This is done through a man who holds the holy priesthood of God and has been given authority to perform this ordinance. He acts according to the direction of the Lord and promises the couple the blessings of exaltation. He tells them what to do to receive these blessings. He reminds them that all blessings depend on obeying God's laws.
If a person marries in a temple by an authority other than that of the priesthood, the marriage is for that life only. After death, the spouses have no right to be together or have their children with them. Eternal marriage gives us the opportunity to live together as a family even after death.
The Benefits of Eternal Marriage
What blessings does an eternal marriage bring in this life and in eternity?
As Latter-day Saints, we live with an eternal view, not just for the moment. We can also enjoy blessings in this lifetime if we are married for eternity. This includes:
The awareness that marriage can last forever. Death can only temporarily separate the spouses. Nothing can separate us forever except our own disobedience. This certainty spurs the striving for a happy and successful marriage.
The awareness that our family relationships can last forever. This certainty helps you to carefully teach and train your children. It helps to be more patient with them and to treat them more lovingly. It makes our family happier.
Because we married in the manner God intended, we are entitled to have the Holy Ghost abundantly with us in our marriage if we remain worthy.
Some of the blessings we can enjoy in eternity include:
We can live in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom.
We can be exalted like God and have an abundance of joy.
How does an eternal perspective affect our attitudes towards marriage and family?
We must prepare for eternal marriage
What can we do to help young people prepare for eternal marriage?
President Spencer W. Kimball taught: Getting married “is perhaps the most important decision of all; it has far-reaching effects because it depends not only on whether one will be happy in this life, but also whether one will achieve eternal joy. This decision affects not only the two people directly affected, but also their families and above all - over many generations - their children and grandchildren. When choosing a partner for earthly existence and for eternity, it is certainly essential to plan and think carefully, to pray and fast, so that you can reliably come to the right result with this decision. ”(Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, Page 231.)
Eternal marriage must be the goal of every Latter-day Saint. This also applies to married couples who are already legally married. Preparing for eternal marriage takes a lot of thought and prayer. Only members of the Church who live righteously are allowed into the temple (see D&C 97: 15–17). You don't make the decision to get married in the temple overnight, then just go to the temple and get married that same day. Certain requirements have to be met.
Before entering the temple, one must have been an active and worthy member of the Church for at least a year. A man must hold the Melchizedek Priesthood. You must have an interview with the branch president or bishop. If they consider them worthy, they will receive a temple recommend. If you are not worthy, the bishop will advise you and help you set goals that will help you become worthy to attend the temple.
After receiving a temple recommend from the bishop or branch president, you must also meet with the stake or mission president. Some of the questions asked during this temple interview include:
Do you have firm faith in God the Eternal Father, in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Spirit, and do you have a testimony about them? Do you have a testimony of the restored gospel?
Do you recognize the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the prophet, seer, and revealer? Do you recognize him as the only person on earth who holds and is authorized to exercise all of the keys of the priesthood?
Do You Live the Law of Chastity?
Are you paying a full tithing?
Do you obey the word of wisdom?
Are you honest in your dealings with other people?
Do you strive to keep the covenants you have made, attend sacrament meetings and priesthood meetings, and live according to the laws and commandments of the gospel?
When seeking a temple recommend, it is important to remember that it is a sacred privilege to enter the temple. It is something very serious and should not be taken lightly.
Serious effort must be made to keep every covenant one makes in the temple. The Lord has said that if we are truthful and faithful, we will enter into exaltation. We can become like Heavenly Father (see D&C 132: 19–20). A temple marriage is worth sacrificing. Thereby one receives immeasurable eternal blessings.
What can we do to encourage young people to pursue temple marriage? How can we help them prepare for this?
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