eternal marriage
Week 46 is scheduled for study Nov. 8-14, 2021. This week we will look at what is to come. Our focus is on the promises we have been given that with faith and hope we can achieve the blessings of an eternal marriage, an eternal family, and truly live happily ever after.

Day 1

Sections 129-132 teach many precious principles, only a few of which are highlighted in this outline. What other truths do you find?

Doctrine and Covenants 130-131 – Joseph Smith revealed truths about the Godhead and “the world to come.”

When reading these sections, I suggest you take it one verse at a time. As you read about one of Joseph Smith’s teachings, think about what you have been taught or have understood in the past, and see if it matches up with what the prophet is saying. For example, when I read Doctrine and Covenants 130:6-9, I got a confused image. If you look at any imagery of earth after the Lord’s second coming, they always paint the earth in its paradisiacal glory, like a planetary garden or park, not as these verses paint the picture. The world would have us believe that the destiny of the earth is to be like the garden of Eden, while the modern scriptures tell us that angels don’t live on planets like that, they live with God on globes that are like a sea of glass and fire where all things for their glory are manifest before them, past, present, and future. Here is the future of the earth as spelled out in Doctrine and Covenants 88:19-20.

19 For after it [the earth] hath filled the measure of its creation, it shall be crowned with glory, even with the presence of God the Father;

20 That bodies who are of the celestial kingdom may possess it forever and ever; for, for this intent was it made and created, and for this intent are they sanctified. (clarification added)

Note that God created this earth with the soul purpose of its destiny being a place He, Himself could come and live with His exalted children. From that description alone we might still harbor some images of the garden of Eden. But couple that description with the description of the glorified earth as found in Doctrine and Covenants 130:6-9. No more garden.

The angels do not reside on a planet like this earth;

But they reside in the presence of God, on a globe like a sea of glass and fire, where all things for their glory are manifest, past, present, and future, and are continually before the Lord.

The place where God resides is a great Urim and Thummim.

This earth, in its sanctified and immortal state, will be made like unto crystal and will be a Urim and Thummim to the inhabitants who dwell thereon, whereby all things pertaining to an inferior kingdom, or all kingdoms of a lower order, will be manifest to those who dwell on it; and this earth will be Christ’s.

We know the earth is a living being, so this being will become a Urim and Thummim to all of God’s children who live in the Celestial kingdom. Does that mean we cannot ever enjoy planets with oceans, deserts, jungles, and plains? No, but the place that will present us with the past, present, and future will be the globe the earth will become upon its resurrection.

Just this one example of looking at a single statement made in the scriptures, and trying to square it with other statements about the same doctrine can help to clarify in our mind what the Lord is trying to teach us. Nuggets of truth are scattered throughout the scriptures. It is up to us to find them all and bring them together to form a greater understanding of any doctrine we are studying. This is why we need the Spirit with us when we study the scriptures, for it is He who opens our mind and understanding to the teachings of additional prophets and resources. This is what leads to a clearer perception of the plan of salvation and other eternal truths.

Here is a second, and related, bit of truth that follows hard on the heels of the description of the earth and its purpose. See Doctrine and Covenants 130.

10 Then the white stone mentioned in Revelation 2:17, will become a Urim and Thummim to each individual who receives one, whereby things pertaining to a higher order of kingdoms will be made known;

11 And a white stone is given to each of those who come into the celestial kingdom, whereon is a new name written, which no man knoweth save he that receiveth it. The new name is the key word.

In these two short and simple verses we learn some very important information. Those in the Celestial kingdom will have two items they can use as a Urim and Thummim. The first is the earth on which they dwell. It will show us everything of a celestial order or lower order. The second one will be the white stone given to each person who lives in the Celestial kingdom. This stone will show us kingdoms of even higher orders than the celestial world. Progression, progression.

As you read these sections, take time to ponder and understand. If you simply take what you read at face value, and don’t compare it to your current understanding or perceptions, you may just miss some important lessons the Spirit could teach you.

Day 2

Sections 129-132 teach many precious principles, only a few of which are highlighted in this outline. What other truths do you find?

Doctrine and Covenants 131:1-4; 132:7, 13-25 – Heavenly Father made it possible for families to be eternal.

Let’s look at a couple of principles associated with this topic of eternal marriage. The first is the marriage itself, and the second is the family that goes with it.

For those who haven’t been sealed to someone, or who have and the covenants made were violated by one or both of the partners, there is still hope. It is important that we remember that our salvation is a solo endeavor. I, for example, cannot go to the Celestial kingdom on the merits of my wife. I must be personally worthy of that kingdom in order to live there. It will be my individual efforts, and mine alone that will qualify me for that kingdom. Does it matter if I was not able to marry during mortality? No, it does not, for God has promised that all those who are found to be worthy of that kingdom will be able to enter it with a spouse.

The notion of entering the Celestial kingdom with a spouse is the second half of this first principle. Salvation may be an individual effort, but exaltation can only be done as a couple. It takes both a man and a woman to make a god. We know of no such thing as a god that is single. All saved single people are angels. And that teaching is in this week’s sections of the Doctrine and Covenants. So don’t worry about leaving this world single. If you have made yourself worthy of the Celestial kingdom then the Lord will find you a companion, if you want one, to enable your exaltation. That is His promise to us.

The second principle is that of the family. Families in mortality are fraught with problems. We face betrayals, brutality, being ignored, rejected, and a host of other negative things within families. We also have examples of pure love, devotion, patience, and a host of other desirable traits that might be present in our homes. My point is this, that each home has its own unique mixture of the good and bad. For some, the idea of having to deal with the negative behavior and drama for eternity is not very appealing.

What we need to remember is that those who behave in very uncelestial ways will not be there behaving in that way when you get to the Celestial kingdom. That is the whole point of repentance and lower kingdoms. Those who don’t repent of their unChristlike behavior go to the lower kingdoms, while those who do repent will be very different people by the time they arrive at the Celestial kingdom. Hope and faith is what we need to use to look forward to the kind of marital and family relationships we may not be able to experience here in mortality. The key here is that once you qualify to enter the Celestial kingdom, everyone else there will be Christlike in all they do as well. God has promised us that all our tears will be washed away, and all our sorrows replaced with joy. So chin up, there is a lot to look forward to.

Day 3

Sections 129-132 teach many precious principles, only a few of which are highlighted in this outline. What other truths do you find?

Doctrine and Covenants 132:1-2, 29-40 – Plural marriage is acceptable to God only when He commands it.

I think it is important for me to state up front here that the whole point to eternal marriage (and plural marriage is a subset of this law) is to make exalted beings of God’s children, for we cannot be exalted in a single state. This is why the Lord states that the law of eternal marriage is only revealed to those who must live it in mortality or they cannot be saved.

The assumption behind our faithfulness to the law of plural marriage is that God is always right. He never asks or instructs us in error. So whatever God commands we must do. The laws we live are all given by Him, and He has the right to change His own laws whenever He chooses, for any reason whatsoever. We don’t have to understand His reasoning. We just have to live His law. In the verses of today’s lesson He states over and over again that the prophets he commanded to take multiple wives were blessed because they ONLY took those wives they were commanded to take. It was their obedience in this thing that brought them the blessings He pronounced on their heads. Likewise, it was the obedience of those commanded to have only one wife that brought the same blessings from God into their lives. As long as we do as we are commanded, the blessings will follow. The cursings only come when we do what we have not been commanded to do. And in the case of the law of eternal marriage, taking more than one wife is something that must be commanded of us before we can be blessed for it.

FHE/Personal Study

Doctrine and Covenants 131:1-4; 132:15-19 – Eternal marriage

There is marriage then there is eternal marriage. Both require authority to be performed, but only one lasts beyond the veil of death. In marriage, there are many who forget (or never learn) what is required to preserve the marital relationship so that the marriage lasts until the death of one of the spouses. That is sad, because there is so much joy and healing to be found in a good, solid marriage. Those who learn how to protect the relationship that should exist between a husband and wife are able to experience joys and happiness not available anywhere else.

It is even more important to learn how to protect an eternal marriage, for the point of an eternal marriage is to make it last forever, not just until the death of one of the marriage partners. Making a successful eternal marriage takes far more than what it takes for a successful earthly marriage. In addition to all the commitment to making an earthly marriage work, an eternal marriage requires the making of sacred covenants in the House of the Lord. The stakes are much higher with an eternal marriage, for instead of being only answerable to a few people around you for any mistakes you make, with an eternal marriage you are answerable to God. Your own salvation is tied up, in many ways, with the decisions you make in your eternal marriage.

Godhood is the ultimate goal of an eternal marriage. With that position earned comes eternal family privileges. Only gods have the privilege of having children and their family members around them forever. This may all seem like a big responsibility and a heavy burden, but think of the joys an eternal companionship has that is available to no one else. This is our goal for all who desire it in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Our biggest difficulty in the Church is that we too often don’t see beyond today or this month. It is hard to look forward with faith and hope that the blessings of the universe’s most honorable and desirable relationship is our right and our inheritance. Through our consistent and continued obedience to all of God’s commandments this, His highest blessing, can and will be ours for the claiming. But we must keep our eyes on the prize, as they say, and seek with all our heart to be like our Savior, Jesus, the Christ.

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When We Obtain Any Blessing

Week 46