From the Mailbag (Eternal Marriage)

forever-stamps by samantha celera (Flickr)Hi,

I have a Mormon friend that finds forever marriage very important to him and I tried explaining how Heaven is going to be so much better then any marriage or person. He then asked “What is there to do?” I haven’t studied much about what life is going to be like in Heaven and I know we all can’t really know the fullness of it but he still put up the argument of marriage being a forever promise or “eternal covenant” with God that cannot be broken. How can I better explain that this can be broken after life on earth?

Thank you!

Hi Jenny,

Thank you for your email. You ask a very interesting question. While I’m not sure how you can better explain biblical marriage to your friend, I do hope my comments might be of some value to you…

Your friend’s concern regarding marriage and eternity represents a fundamental difference between the ways Mormons and Christians view eternity. I was once told (by a Mormon man) that my (biblical) view of heaven (i.e., focusing on being in the presence of God — along with my believing loved ones) was nice, but incomplete; he said it was like going to a fancy restaurant, enjoying the salad, and leaving before the entree was served. For him, being in the presence of God was along the lines of an appetizer, not a meal.

For Christians, our focus is on what the Bible calls our “first love.” We live in an intimate relationship with God, marked by profound love and deep worship. So our hope for eternity, our deepest longing, is to be in the presence of our God forever. God promises this to His people. Since this is our greatest desire, it is enough to know this about our eternal future. God doesn’t tell us much more, and that’s okay. In Genesis we are told that God Himself is our reward:

“After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.’” (Gen 15:1 NKJV)

How awesome is that???

Mormonism, on the other hand, leads followers to a different focus and a different longing. Their relationship with their God is not the focus of their spiritual hope. Their hope and great love is toward the concept of family. Husband, wife and children — this is what makes them happy and fulfilled in this life, and what they long for in the next as well (please understand that I am generalizing here).

Mormonism teaches that marriage (i.e., a marriage that is sealed in a Mormon temple) is eternal; but the Bible teaches no such thing. Christians do not make eternal marriage covenants (as Mormons do). We understand that marriage to our spouse is for this life only, as Jesus teaches (see Mark 12; Mark 12:25 and Marriage in Heaven).

In the end, of course, it all boils down to faith. God told Abram to “go” and he went, not knowing where he would end up.

“Now the LORD said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ So Abram went, as the LORD had told him.” (Genesis 12:1-4).

God tells us that we will love Heaven. Indeed, He has put that longing in our hearts. “What is there to do?” your friend asks. It doesn’t matter. We believe God, and therefore we know that Heaven will be greater than we can even imagine. That is enough. If God is your first love, it is more than enough (Psalm 84:10).

Mormonism tells people that after enjoying the “salad” of being in Heavenly Father’s presence, they can go on to the main course: power, eternal progression, eternal increase, etc. Mormonism promises people Godhood — the same life Heavenly Father lives, with all the same attributes Heavenly Father possesses. Marriage, one LDS manual taught, is “a laboratory for godhood” (Achieving a Celestial Marriage Student Manual, 65. See Mormons Yawn at Christian Heaven). Mormons are taught that God is a “glorified man,” and that their purpose in this life is to be worthy enough to achieve Godhood (i.e., become a glorified man/woman) as well — just as Heavenly Father did. They expect to receive glory and honor from their spiritual offspring throughout eternity. The biblical revelation of Heaven does not fit their theology at all.

For your friend to recognize that Heaven is so much better than any marriage or any person (as you’ve said), he needs to recognize and come to know the God who is. When he comes to “love the Lord God with all [his] heart and with all [his] soul and with all [his] might” (Deuteronomy 6:5), he will say with the Psalmist, “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God” (Psalm 42:1). Then Heaven will sound incredible.

Thank you again for writing, Jenny. May God equip and use you to help your friend see the awesome glory of our great God!

In Christ,

About Sharon Lindbloom

Sharon surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979. Deeply passionate about Truth, Sharon loves serving as a full-time volunteer research associate with Mormonism Research Ministry. Sharon and her husband live in Minnesota.
This entry was posted in Afterlife, Christianity, Family, LDS Church and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to From the Mailbag (Eternal Marriage)

  1. jaxi says:

    In Orthodox Christianity marriage is forever but not in a way compatible to Mormonism. The marriage bond is believed to be a forever binding of two people with God. We do not believe we will be having sex and making children in heaven, like in Mormon thought. We are not really sure what our existence will be like but we believe we will be together. Just as all with God will be a forever family. This idea of “families are forever” in Mormonism is only a selling point to those who have been convinced that if don’t do certain things on earth than you won’t be with the people you love in the next life. Where would they get this idea? Do Mormons really think that when we die God will place some sort of amnesia on everyone so we can’t remember the people we loved while on earth? It’s such an empty argument against Christianity. Christians do believe we will continue to have loving relationships in the after life. Mormonism creates a class system in heaven where people are separated and divided up an can be made inaccessible to each other. Then Mormonism creates a way so your family won’t be divided up. You see, forever families via temple work is a solution to a Mormon problem that leaves Christians scratching their heads as to why the big deal. God heals all even family. Now if you need to be forever procreating, that all Mormonism, and most Mormons I ask don’t really want that job for eternity.

  2. Tom says:

    jaxi, you hit the nail on the head. It’s an old manipulation technique. Create a problem, there is a reaction elicited by the created problem, then the very ones who created the problem offer the solution.

    Create the problem: “Hey, did you know that traditional Christianity teaches that in heaven you won’t be married, thus, unable to live with your families?”

    Reaction: “Wow, I live my spouse and children. I really do want to be with my family.”

    Solution: “Well, did you know that God has given us sacred ordinances whereby families can be together forever? Yes, you need to join the Mormon church to have access to these ordinances, but, hey, you can be with your family FOREVER!”

    Noodling around I found it’s called the Hegelian Dialectic.

    “David Icke explains the manipulation technique he calls: Problem Reaction Solution. First a problem is created and designed to elicit a certain reaction out of the public. Then the people demand something be done about the problem and willingly accept the pre-planned New World Order solution; a solution that always involves actions or legislation that never would have passed under normal circumstances.”

    I’m not saying that the Mormons are Nazis, but Hitler did it. The Reichstag (similar to the U.S. Capitol Building) burned down–the problem. Well, the Nazis burned it down! The Nazi propaganda machine drummed it over and over that Germany was in danger of being overrun by Communists and the great Jewish conspiracy. People bought into that. There was a strong public reaction. Then the Nazis provided a solution: just pass certain laws, giving the Nazi party and Adolf Hitler extraordinary powers to counter the perceived and imminent threat.

  3. Mike R says:

    Sharon , great response to Jenny ! The simple parameters of what God’s word has revealed
    about what specifically goes on in heaven and what will transpire when all saved individuals
    get there after death , that is where we anchor our beliefs and not be tricked to follow men who
    claim to be prophets these days who claim to have some new inside information from God
    about Him or salvation — like Mormon leaders have with their temple marriage doctrine .

    I have no doubt that Mormons love their families . But I also am reminded of the claims of
    Mormon leaders who have advertised that they are personally directed by Jesus to run His
    church since 1830 , and have in fact taught that the Mormon church is Jesus’ church restored
    to earth in exactly the same form as it existed when Jesus established it 2000 years ago — same
    church and same gospel of salvation Rom 1:16 . Given this type of claim it’s vital that it be
    examined —1 Jn 4:1 so that I can trust these men to teach accurately about marriage , for
    example . What does the record show about this ? Examples of what that these men have
    introduced as ” gospel doctrine ” are :

    – polandry , introduced a sealing ordinance in Jesus’ church whereby woman who were civilly
    married to another man at the same time they were married ( sealed) to Joseph Smith so that
    after death they would then live with Smith in heaven as his wives , having discarded their
    first husbands and their earthly only marriage relationship .

    – polygamy , introduced as a essential ordinance of Jesus’ church . This facilitated those
    Mormon males to have a fast track to creating and populating heavenly worlds as Almighty
    Gods with their Goddess wives .

    – Mormon priesthood holders forbidden to marry black women became another gospel law
    concerning marriage introduced and accepted as part of Jesus’ church and gospel by
    the apostles of Mormonism for over 100 years , until 1978 .

    These are examples of doctrine concerning marriage which Mormon leaders introduced as
    Jesus’ gospel — restored by them . For those investigating Mormonism and inquiring about
    their ” families are forever ” , or “eternal marriage ” beliefs , remember at any time those who
    lead the Mormon church can decide to introduce a new doctrine concerning marriage . Perhaps
    next it will be something even further removed from Jesus’ apostles teachings as revealed in
    the New Testament . But that’s what false prophets/ apostles do, especially in the latter days
    Mk 13:22-23 .

    Sharon was spot on with her directing Jenny to what the Bible says about personal relationships
    in heaven . No need to ” look beyond the mark ” ( Jacob 4:14 ) like Mormon leaders have done
    by their introducing doctrines that are not from Jesus for His church .

  4. Brian says:

    Thanks Sharon for this letter from the mailbag. Jaxi has some great insights into this subject.

    As I read Sharon, Jaxi, and Tom, I found myself trying to fit “Families Are Forever” into the biblical gospel. We find some common elements between the two, but manifested in different ways.

    1. A Barrier

    LDS: a barrier may separate family members from each other in the next life. This barrier is formed by the expanse between three kingdoms. If two family members are assigned to two different kingdoms, they will be separated forever. There are different kingdoms because some people are better than others.

    Bible: a barrier separates human beings from God. It is formed by the great gulf that exists between sinful humans and an all-holy God. If one dies separated from God, this separation continues forever in a place called hell.

    2. Reconciliation

    LDS: families do not need to be separated if each member is good enough. Then they can be together forever in the highest kingdom. If you are not good enough, you need to repent. This means hoping to be forgiven by trying harder to be good enough.

    Bible: the separation between humans and God can be removed in just one way: the blood of Jesus Christ. Jesus went to the cross because no one was good enough, or even good. By trusting in Jesus to be judged in our place, we are pardoned by God. Accepted by God. Another was found guilty in our place. The separation is removed forever.

    Both of these focus on relationships. One looks at the relationship between one human being and another. The other looks at the relationship between a human being and its Creator. One looks to a righteousness based on oneself. The other looks to a righteousness based on Another. One looks to the object of one’s existence in fellow creatures. The other looks to the object of one’s existence in the Creator. One looks to a future judgment. The other looks to a long ago judgment. Because humans are sinners, the finding is the same: guilt. The only question is, will you be found guilty? Or was Another found guilty in your place?

  5. falcon says:

    There’s a reason why Christians insist on Biblical support for a notion rather than depending on what a prophet is saying God told him.
    I happen to believe in NT prophets as outlined in the NT but Paul, in particular, laid out the “rules” by which prophets operate. So if someone, claiming to be a prophet, gives a “prophetic” word, that word and thus the prophet are to be tested.
    Mormon doctrine, as it is studied historically, is a total mess. The reason for this is the concept of continuous revelation. Mormon like continuous revelation because they feel they are getting constant updates from the Mormon god. The Mormon god however, appears to be more than a little flaky as he is represented by these prophets.
    The forever family is something that makes Mormons feel good and I guess that’s the value in it. It’s useful for the LDS church in that it keeps people in toll because it’s through the LDS system that the forever family can come to fruition.
    It scares the Mormon women in particular to think that they could lose this “promise”. Too bad for the Mormon women who are married to guys who have absolutely no interest in working their way through the system. I guess the Mormon god will just have to give these women to someone else after death.

  6. falcon says:

    “Exposing the Myth of Mormon Families Forever” is a video that Aaron has his name attached too and is located on YouTube.
    I think MC readers will find it interesting.

  7. falcon says:

    I found this three minute (+) testimony regarding the “forever family” very compelling from a woman who reveals how this doctrine effected her life and parenting. What I found interesting was when she referred to the doctrine as “cruel”. When you think of it, it is a cruel doctrine because it’s fear based and used to keep the membership in-line. What if you believed this doctrine and thought that you’d lose your children for eternity if all of the LDS sects requirements were not fulfilled? Yes, I’d say “cruel” is a good way to describe it!

  8. falcon says:

    I found the characterization that the doctrine of eternal marriage is “cruel”,quite compelling.
    Think about it.
    If a woman can be convinced that she can have her family for eternity, won’t she do just about anything to make that come to fruition? To a wife and mother, her marriage and her children are the natural source of her purpose in life. Now add to that, that she can be an eternal mother and have an extended, yet direct contribution to populating a planet and acting as the mother goddess and that’s a very big deal.
    All she has to do is be obedient to the LDS system by working as hard as she can, being obedient to all of the laws and callings.
    Is it any wonder that LDS women go to bed at night stressed out wondering if they did enough that day to make this dream come true.
    And think of it. It’s a fantasy that was conjured up by some guys who didn’t have a clue.

  9. Mike R says:

    Falcon, speaking of ,” It’s a fantasy that was conjured up by some guys who did’nt have a clue ”
    goes , the doctrine (temple marriage) introduced by the latter days prophets of Mormonism is certainly one that comes from the minds of these prophets , but not from God . It’s a classic
    example of why we are warned of spiritual counterfeits appearing in these days . Jesus’apostles
    preached the gospel of salvation ( Rom 1:16 ; Col 1:23 ) to all they encountered . In embracing
    that gospel people were forgiven , reconciled to God ,and received the gift of eternal life from
    Him . That’s the New Testament’ s testimony . Yet latter days false prophets just can’t leave
    that alone so they attempt to add requirements onto that gospel message which they claim
    are from God . Mormon Temple marriage is one such example , it is required if a person is
    going to receive God’s greatest gift —-eternal life . However the New Testament apostles
    taught no such doctrine even though some Mormons try vainly to squeeze it out of that
    record , it just is’nt there because if it is as vital as Mormons claim it is then Jesus’ apostles
    would have taught it numerous times , they would articulated it plainly and defended it in their
    preaching . All that is required to gain a right relationship with God and receive the gift of eternal
    life from Him is in Jesus’ apostles preaching . This preaching constitutes a bulwark against
    latter days prophets who come on the scene and and offer “new light ” about God or how
    sinners can receive eternal life — 2 Tim 4:3,4 ; Gal 1:8 .

    Concerning ” families are forever ” , the Bible teaches how all family members can receive
    the gift of eternal life and enjoy life in God’s home above —- Jn 14:1-6 .
    We certainly don’t need Mormon prophets to instruct us on families , marriage or salvation —
    they have exhibited a track record of unstable teachings about these .

  10. falcon says:

    AH yes Mike………………..
    But you forget the great conspiracy theory of Mormonism that corrupt Catholic monks in the middle ages left all of these plain and precious truths out of the Biblical text. Just think of all of the things false prophets could claim were left out. How about blacks and the LDS priesthood and plural marriage for example?
    There’s a lot of razzamatazz associated with the temple rituals that first of all came right out of Free Masonry and BTW were changed because women found the throat cutting and bowel dissection motions part of the rituals a big turn-off.
    Once a member of the LDS sect can get by the idea that all of this nonsense came from God and was delivered to the Mormon prophets, it’s turn off the lights the party’s over. All it takes is a little courage, knowledge and common sense.

  11. Mike R says:

    What about their invention of a complete apostasy — the christian church dying off and the
    gospel of salvation being severely altered which resulted in salvation being unavailable on earth
    until Mormonism arrived on the scene some 1700 years later ? That’s another rather
    ridiculous belief by Mormon authorities .

    What’s interesting is that the behavior which Mormon leaders have accused religious men in
    the first century of which facilitated a departure from the true message of salvation , is similar
    to what they have succumbed to , namely, these men altered the apostles gospel by mixing in
    their own creations to it and then claiming the resulting amalgamation was the true gospel
    necessary for salvation etc . So Mormon leaders have thus also disqualified themselves from
    being accepted as the true preachers of the gospel of Jesus Christ . By introducing secret
    temple rituals and the ordinance of celestial marriage they have drifted into preaching another
    gospel — Gal 1:8 .
    The Mormon people have been detoured by these men . To receive eternal life in God’s very
    home above has nothing to do with entering a man made temple door , rather , the only door
    through which the gift of eternal life can be received is a person — Jesus . Only through Him
    is a right relationship with God and His gift of eternal life available to anyone who comes
    personally to Him — Matt 11:28; Jn 10:9 .

  12. MJP says:

    I happened to go to an LDS church this weekend for a Cub Scout event for my boys. Plastered all over were posters emphasizing “Families are Forever”. They really do believe this, and it appears to be one of their bigger points of emphasis. They certainly use it when they proselytize.

    There was much more there I found interesting…

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