Does Exaltation Mean Polygamy?

[ 56 ] Comments

by Becca

CelestialMarriageDoes Mormon doctrine teach that in order to obtain exaltation, men must have multiple wives? Does Mormon doctrine teach that exaltation for women means that we will be baby making machines, eternally pregnant?

I don’t believe it does. I haven’t ever believed it does. And honestly I had never even heard such odd claims until a few years ago when I started reading more about Mormon women online, trying to find out more about what it meant to be a Mormon woman. Due to the nature of my searching, most of the blogs and websites I stumbled on were Mormon feminist blogs. One of the most disappointing doctrines to many of these women is the supposed doctrine that polygyny (multiple wives with one husband) will be required of all who obtain exaltation, and women will be eternally pregnant.

I knew that I did not believe polygyny was a principle that would be practiced in the Celestial Kingdom. From everything I had heard and read, exaltation was one man, one woman – God – that is how exaltation worked. But I could never put into words why I felt that way.

Yesterday I read an essay by Eugene England that helped me find the explanation I have been searching for to defend my belief that polygyny is a law for this world, not for the eternities.

Read it here: On Fidelity and Polygyny and Celestial Marriage

(Note: Brother England uses the term polygyny in his essay, which is the more precise term for the plural marriage practiced by the Church – that is, men having more than one wife. In order to be fluid in my discussion, I have used the term that he uses, rather than polygamy.)

When Brother England started out with this statement, “This is an essay in speculative theology,” I was immediately intrigued. After all, I feel like that is a big part of this blog, Real Intent. I feel that we are trying to question everything (something I am very good at) and write in a way that, as Brother England puts it, is “unauthoritative but serious.”

My essay is not a critique of official Mormon practice or doctrine but an invitation to reexamine some unofficial ideas and expectations that persist among many Mormons because of a past practice, a practice I believe was divinely inspired but also divinely, and permanently, rescinded.

I cannot tell you how refreshing it was to see these words, “to reexamine some unofficial ideas and expectations which persist among most Mormons because of past practice.” This is something I think we should do more often as members of the Church, rather than just accepting some members’ ideas and expectations. We need to know where these ideas came from, understanding things in a historical context, and search out our own continuing revelation, as well as the continuing revelation of our living prophets and apostles.

eugene_englandIf you would like to read Brother England’s essay, I invite you to do so now. If you don’t want to read it in its entirety, I will offer some excerpts, but I encourage you to read the entire essay – more because I do not wish to misrepresent any of his comments by taking them out of context, but also because the read is worth it.

In the first large chunk of Brother England’s essay, he speaks mostly of the principle of celestial marriage, and of marriage in general. He speaks of intimacy, becoming “one flesh,” as well as other principles of stable marriage. I found all of his comments about marriage to be particularly useful in recommitting myself to my own marriage. If nothing else, his essay is an excellent guide to happiness and fidelity in marriage.

One of Brother England’s main arguments against polygyny in the eternities, to which he devotes most of his essay, is its inability to produce the one-to-one fidelity that he believes (as do I) is a gospel principle of celestial marriage.

What, then, about polygyny? It, of course, does not fit the model of one-to-one fidelity I have described. First, we must consider the possibility that polygyny really does not violate fidelity, that if people are good enough they can have trust and sexual wholeness with more than one person. This could well have been true of our polygynous ancestors. Might it be even more likely in the celestial realms where the conditions and our capabilities will be much better than what we know now? I have found that this is the hope and assump­tion of many, perhaps most, Latter-day Saints who have seriously considered the possibility they might eventually be required to live in plural marriage.

I find two serious problems with such a hope. First, it is based on a dan­gerous notion: that simply getting more of a good thing is always better — that a great love for one person is even better if extended into great love for many persons. … The unconditional, redemptive love God has for all his children and commands us all to learn is certainly capable of being multiplied. But such unconditional love is only a part of married love. And the other elements of a complete, married love, including restrictive obli­gations, covenants of complete and exclusive sharing, and the creative sexual love that makes new children and universes possible, are not improved by multiplication. In fact, they are usually destroyed or at least weakened by it. Romantic, married love is, I believe, strengthened by being exclusive, even for the gods.

… Celestial married love differs from mortal love not because it includes a larger group of individuals but because it includes more kinds of love than any other relationship — sexual love and quite idiosyncratic “liking” as well as charity or Christ-like love. But those unique and exclusive extra qualities, which give married love the greatest potential of any relationship, require the fully mutual fidelity only possible between one whole woman and one whole man.

…And that brings me to a second problem with the dubious argument that celestial marriage will be polygynous because we will be morally superior there, more able to love inclusively. Such an expectation can tempt us to love inclu­sively and superficially — even promiscuously — in this life.

…I fear that many Mor­mon men and women let the expectation of polygyny as the ideal future order justify their inclination to be vaguely promiscuous or superficial in sexual rela­tionships, to flirt or share their identity with a number of people, or simply to withdraw from the struggle into blessed singularity — and there, too often, to be satisfied with some version of love of self. In short, some Mormons, assum­ing future polygyny, practice for it now by diverting their affections and loyal­ties away from the arduous task of achieving full spiritual and physical unity with the one person they would otherwise inescapably have to face, an imper­fect spouse.

… [In the 19th century], those who lived [polygyny] best, most devotedly and successfully, apparently found they could do so only by making the relationships more superficial — that is, less romantic, less emotionally intense and focused.

…Diaries, letters, and reminiscences of polygynous wives and children reveal that regular down-playing of the romantic dimension of married love was indeed one of the costs of polygyny, whatever its compensating values.

… I fear that such a flight from the complete love that includes romance may actually appeal both to overly idealistic unmarried Mormons and to Mormons who are not completely happy in their marriages now.

With-Charlotte-on-bench

In addition to these logical explanations for why polygyny interferes with complete fidelity in marriage, Brother England discusses what godhood really means. I think one of the reasons I have not been overly concerned with issues of gender inequality in the Church is because I believe that exaltation, godhood, is not a separate thing for man and woman. My understanding of exaltation has always been that my husband and I, together, will be God. Just like I believe that Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother, together, are God. I don’t believe that God made the world with Jehovah and Michael while Heavenly Mother sat around knitting (and pregnant). I have never believed such nonsense, and all the gospel teachings about women lead me to believe it is definitely nonsense.

But speculations about Heavenly Mother will have to wait for another day.

Another discussion, whose full exploration will have to wait for another day as well, is what Brother England describes as a third priesthood order.

The ideal celestial order of marriage — of power, of creation, and of administration — will be the one the temple marriage sealing ceremony invites us to look forward to if we are faithful: a full and equal complementarity of a queen and a king, a priestess and a priest. It will be what President Ezra Taft Benson has called, after giving the term his own unusual definition, the “patriarchal order.” In What I Hope You Will Teach Your Children About the Temple, President Benson lists three priesthood orders, the Aaronic, Melchizedek, and “patriarchal,” pointing out that the third is “described in modern revelation as an order of family government where a man and woman enter into a covenant with God — just as did Adam and Eve — to be sealed for eternity, to have posterity, and to do the will and work of God throughout their mortality.”

As one who also has no problem with women not being ordained to priesthood offices, this helps me explain why it isn’t an issue. I think the term patriarchal can be very misleading, but I believe that the patriarchal order or priesthood is the one where man and woman become one flesh, one entity.

Female-male unity (which God has powerfully imaged in the concept of becoming “one flesh”) ideally involves complete sharing — with a separate, co-eternal individual and without loss of our own individuality — of all our singularity, vulnerability, trust, hopes, and potentialities.

We become, with our spouses, one. We don’t lose ourselves, but we become more than ourselves, with our spouses. This is similar to the idea that God and Christ are one – they aren’t the same person, they have separate purposes, but they are one entity, and it is impossible for them to work separately. Not because one is inferior to the other, but because alone they cannot do the work they have to do. Again, this is a topic that deserves a more thorough discussion, but we should move on.

At this point, if you haven’t read Brother England’s essay, I encourage you to jump down to the last section of his essay where he numbers his reasons for why he believes polygyny will not be a requirement of the Celestial Kingdom. There are five points, and I believe it won’t take long to read through them, and doing so will be enlightening to you, and also help you participate in an informed discussion here on Real Intent.

Especially important is the first point Brother England makes, which I think goes hand-in-hand with the purpose of our blog.

If a Church practice which served valuable historical purposes is rescinded, thus proving false some statements which were made in the process of defending it as permanent because it is based in some eternal doctrine, then all such statements are called in question and can be thoughtfully and prayer­fully assessed in relation to other fundamental scriptures and doctrines (as I am trying to do here) without opening the Pandora’s box of complete skepti­cism. I can (and do) believe that Joseph Smith and Brigham Young were divinely called prophets who received direct revelation across a remarkable range of important practices and doctrines. I am not thereby constrained to believe (and do not) that they never made a mistake or never suffered from human limitations of understanding that plague us all. Modern prophets them­selves have explicitly renounced specific practices and teachings of both those earlier prophets (the Adam-God theory, for instance), sometimes even supply­ing rational arguments to help us understand how such mistakes or changes could occur, without thereby calling into question those prophets’ general inspiration or prophetic authority.

What are your thoughts as you read through Brother England’s essay?

Image credits: Martin Zook, eugeneengland.org

About Becca

Becca is just a woman, mother, daughter of God, trying to figure things out. She blogs at My Soul Delighteth and Real Intent.

56 Responses to Does Exaltation Mean Polygamy?

  1. Bonnie says:

    This was an interesting read, Becca. I hadn’t read this particular article of his, and it’s very well-done. I also have struggled to understand the implementation of polygyny in this dispensation and in others and come to the same conclusions England did. Much like the policy of excluding some men from priesthood opportunities (and their families from sealing blessings by extension) it all works out in the eternities. Earth life is a very short period in the continuum, however important it is that the ordinances are performed here. I appreciate that the Proclamation clarifies this principle of man-woman unity. I, too, mean Mother-Father when I say God. This participation in the Patriarchal Priesthood is a power we are meant to begin to enjoy here, and I do.

  2. Jennifer says:

    Respectfully, I need to reply…

    You said, “I knew that I did not believe polygyny was a principle that would be practiced in the Celestial Kingdom. From everything I had heard and read, exaltation was one man, one woman – God – that is how exaltation worked.”

    —–

    My father in law lost his wife and baby of 2 years to a car accident many years ago. They were sealed in the temple. He later remarried – sealed also to her in the temple. He is sealed to both women.

    I know several other men who have lost spouses they were sealed to & who have gotten remarried (and sealed) to a new wife & are now sealed to both or all.

    Less than 4% of the church actually practiced polygamy when it was brought back in the 1800′s. Those who were called & participated were SEALED to more than one.

    My understanding is that it will be a calling to certain couples (not all) and ONLY if the couple agrees to it. I certainly don’t say that as doctrine, but it only makes sense & it’s what I’ve always been taught & read in books. Sealings are forever. It’s the “new & everlasting covenant”. So those who are & have been sealed to more than one wife are not going to have their sealings broken in the eternities. It IS an eternal principle. It was not just for this earth life only. If it was, then there would be no purpose in their getting sealed.

    We’ve been told that there will be more women in the Celestial Kingdom than men. Are they (the “more”) to go throughout eternity without being sealed to a companion?

    Looking at it from a general wife’s earthly perspective, the issue is jealousy. An temporal feeling/emotion. Sharing your husband. Yikes… Really?

    Well, I choose to look at it differently. Our understanding as ‘natural man’ is nothing compared to the entire realm of eternal truth that we can’t even begin to comprehend. This is where faith comes in.

    Take a look at these scriptures:

    Jacob 2:30
    30 For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things.

    D&C 132:58-66 (esp. verse 63):
    63 But if one or either of the ten virgins, after she is espoused, shall be with another man, she has committed adultery, and shall be destroyed; for they are given unto him to multiply and replenish the earth, according to my commandment, and to fulfil the promise which was given by my Father before the foundation of the world, and for their exaltation in the eternal worlds, that they may bear the souls of men; for herein is the work of my Father continued, that he may be glorified.

    If the Lord commands it, then it is to be. And in vs. 63, THEY are given unto him to multiply and replenish… AND to fulfil the promise etc. etc. etc. for their exaltation in the eternal worlds….. that he may be glorified.”

    Don’t. worry. about. it.
    Let. it. go.
    Heavenly Father knows what He is doing. He has His purposes, and they are righteous & eternal. If you can’t let it go, then pray for Heavenly Father to help you let it go. If you truly desire to understand more, then pray for Heavenly Father to help you understand more.

    I used to have a hard time with multiple wives but not multiple husbands. I no longer have a problem with it. My eyes have been opened to some things that I choose not to share here, but are so very plain & simple to me now. I am at complete peace with it & I now know at least some of the reasons why multiple wives… but not multiple husbands. My prayers were answered. He will answer yours.

    • Bonnie says:

      Sealings are NOT forever. It is not some kind of eternal glue that sticks people together. It’s an invitation into a covenant with God in the Patriarchal order. If it is honored by all parties and they continue to wish the sealing, it is forever. Sealings can be dissolved. I have been sealed to two different men. The first was dissolved to allow the second. In a heartbeat, the First Presidency made that decision for my benefit. People who have been sealed to multiple spouses have an opportunity to choose, and that has been done both ways for men and women for decades. Much will be sorted out in the hereafter. The Lord told Peter that he would give him the power to bind on earth what would be bound in heaven and to LOOSE on earth what would be LOOSED in heaven. It will likely get sorted out in the millennium because it all has to be sorted in ordinances on earth, but there is nothing in those sealings being performed which forces all the parties into that arrangement forever.

      • Jennifer says:

        Bonnie, my daughter was divorced after 7 months & is in the middle of having her sealing dissolved. That is not what I was talking about. OF COURSE, if it’s “loosed”, or dissolved, or broken on earth, it will also be loosed in heaven. But if a sealing is KEPT on earth, it will go into the eternities. I’m shaking my head at all the misunderstandings of different people & wishing they would do a world wide broadcast laying it out, so there is no question.

        A living woman can only be sealed to one man. Period. A deceased woman, if she was married to (but not sealed to) multiple men on earth, can be sealed to all of those men by proxy – & THEN ultimately, the one she ends up with will be determined her the Lord/her in the hereafter.

        A man, living or deceased, can be sealed to more than one woman.

        Unless a sealing (whether woman or man) is broken on earth, it DOES last forever.

        • Bonnie says:

          We aren’t really disagreeing. Of course I’m not saying that all sealings aren’t forever. What is eternal is the change that comes from keeping a covenant with God. And while the policy of the Church is still that women can only be sealed to one spouse in life, after death, it is now common for them to be sealed to any spouse and it’s sorted out later. Sealings are specific blessings arising from a covenant. The ordinance of sealing must be sealed and loosed on earth, but the covenant is kept both on earth and in the eternities, and the sealing and loosing simply must occur on this sphere. People who think they are home free because they have had the ordinance are sadly mistaken, and people who think they are lost because they haven’t are also sadly mistaken. It’s not glue. It’s a covenant. And covenants are open to all the righteous, here and hereafter.

    • Becca says:

      Your comments are very interesting, thanks for sharing.

      I wonder, though, if you actually read Brother England’s essay, or if you are just commenting based on my comments. I was really hoping that people would read the essay and comment on the actual essay. He addresses several of your points, including that there will be more women than men in the celestial kingdom.

      I think I must have mentioned this in a draft for another post I was writing, or maybe I deleted it from this post – but I am actually not against polygamy at all. In fact, it doesn’t make me uncomfortable, I have always seen the benefits (I remember studying Doctrine & Covenants and Church History in seminary in high school and thinking “Wow, polygamy really made sense!” And for the majority of last year another wife and mother of two small children lived with us while her husband was away, and she and I discussed on multiple occasions how nice it was to have two wives (even though obviously she wasn’t my husband’s wife). I have to admit, I think the fidelity part would be hard (there is no way you can argue that one man can be completely faithful to two (or more) women. By definition, he is not being faithful to any of them.

      I took a Church History class at Brigham Young University from Alexander Baugh. Something he said about sealing really stuck with me about celestial marriage and the sealing ordinance. He mentioned that it isn’t so important who we are sealed to as that we are sealed. The sealing ordinance does not just seal us to our spouse, but to God – and the sealing to God is the more important part. This makes sense, because how many couples do you know where one spouse failed to keep their covenants? What happens to the other person who kept their covenants? It does not make sense that they now lose the blessings they qualified for upon being sealed just because their spouse went astray. We are punished for our own sins, and if our sealing becomes invalidated based on the actions of our spouse, that would be a sad day indeed.

      This topic came up again with a friend of mine who recently was divorced from her husband. They were married in the temple and had two children born in the covenant. Her biggest concern when she was divorcing her (abusive, porn and gambling addicted) husband was what would happen to her children if she remarried and had her sealing with her first husband canceled. Her bishop told her that it didn’t matter, because the children had been born in the covenant. But if breaking a sealing between spouses doesn’t break the sealing of the children, then it also makes sense that one spouse breaking his/her covenants in a sealing does not break the sealing for the covenant-keeping spouse – but who is the covenant-keeping spouse sealed to now? The covenant-breaking spouse? Obviously not, otherwise neither spouse would obtain exaltation, even the faithful one, being sealed to an unfaithful spouse.

      Brother England also mentions the current Church policy of sealing women to more than one man (in the case of a deceased woman who was married multiple times). But, as you said, there won’t be multiple men sealed to one woman in exaltation, right? But what about these circumstances? Sure, we can just say “It will all work out” and that’s fine, if that’s the way you want to look at it.

      Brother England also quotes some fabulous scriptures from that same sermon in Jacob. Definitely worth reading with his commentary.

      Also, polygamy is not the “new and everlasting covenant” – marriage is the “new and everlasting covenant”. At least, that’s what it was when I got married in the temple. I don’t recall them saying anything about multiple wives ;) I’m pretty sure my husband and I qualified under the new and everlasting covenant of marriage without extra women. Just me and him. If a man and a woman can enter into the new and everlasting covenant of marriage, and there is no requirement for extra wives, I don’t see how polygamy is the new and everlasting covenant. The sealing ordinance is the new and everlasting covenant. Not the polygamy part. Although I don’t think that precludes the possibility that polygamy will be practiced in the eternities. In my limited understanding of exaltation, however, I cannot see a requirement for only “some” who are exalted, and not everyone who is exalted. It doesn’t quite sit right with me that something would be required of a few in that state, and not others. And then that begs the question, Does God himself practice polygamy? He’s not required to, apparently, right? So does He or doesn’t He? I haven’t, as of yet, heard anything about Heavenly Mothers – only Heavenly Mother. But, I don’t know everything ;)

      And Brother England does admit that there is a possibility polygamy will be there – just not required, as you have stated – . Maybe it will be.

      “Don’t. worry. about. it.
      Let. it. go.”

      I’m not sure what anyone is worried about. Other than receiving more light and knowledge, and becoming more like God (“seek learning, even by study and also by faith” – I don’t really like to leave out the “study” part. I think that part is pretty important). And I would prefer not to let anything go, except for my pride and sins. I’d rather know everything there is to know about being like God – since that’s my goal. I’m content not knowing for sure right now, but in my experience, and from the experiences of others (a great learning place) I have learned that asking questions and seeking more revelation is usually the way we get more revelation.

      You bet your bottom dollar He’ll answer my prayers. I’m pretty sure He did just that in leading me to discover Brother England’s essay :) It really helped me put into words the things I have felt for so long, but have been unable to describe.

      • Jennifer says:

        I just saw this response, & I’m confused when you said toward the end, “And Brother England does admit that there is a possibility polygamy will be there – just not required, as you have stated – . Maybe it will be.”

        I read back through my whole response twice & never saw where I said it would be required.

        I said “My understanding is that it will be a calling to certain couples (not all) and ONLY if the couple agrees to it. ”

        Just wanted to clear that up, because there are a lot of misunderstandings in the comments to this article. Thanks.

  3. Dan says:

    I thoroughly agree with this essay but I also, in part agree with the comment left by Jennifer (above). HOWEVER, ONE OBJECTION I HAVE TO JENNIFER’S COMMENT MUST BE CLARIFIED!!

    You use a lot of focusing on God’s commandments, as of to seem like “if God commands you to do it, you MUST do it, your will or not”!! THIS IS NOT TRUE AT ALL!!

    In the Celestial Kingdom, specifically exaltation, you and your spouse have gained the same level that God has, therefore, he can command NOTHING of you save you agree to it!

    God may very well ask for your participation, at which point you will counsel with your spouse. SHOULD YOU AGREE, then and only then, the AGREEMENT you, your spouse and God make becomes a commandment, meaning he seals that responsibility on you and holds you accountable to it for the protection of its sacredness.

    God (as I’ve used in the agreed mother-father definition) will never force on an exalted couple what they do not agree to!

    Thank you.

    • Jennifer says:

      Dan, did you not see what I wrote in my response? I never ever said what you are saying that I said. I DID however, specifically state the following:

      “My understanding is that it will be a calling to certain couples (not all) and ONLY if the couple agrees to it. ”

      Thank you.

      • Jennifer says:

        Also, that wasn’t mean to be rude, I just wanted to clear up the misunderstanding.

        One more thing, I did make the comment “If the Lord commands it, then it is to be”… Yes. That’s true in anything. Just as when He commands an illness to heal. Or when He commands Satan out of someone’s presence. It happens. It has too.

        If God says that polygamy will exist in the eternities, then it will. But I didn’t say that everyone will be forced into participating.

        I don’t feel it was fair for you to say, “You use a lot of focusing on God’s commandments, as of to seem like “if God commands you to do it, you MUST do it, your will or not”!!” You took my words out of context & made them into your own. I feel like what you said was pretty extreme. I only made that one short statement, & it didn’t even mean what you made it out to mean…

        If I worded it in a confusing way, I apologize. Of course, I know the God isn’t going to force someone into a plural marriage. And as I did say in my response, it will be certain couples called… and only if they agree to it. I feel like that is pretty understandable.

  4. Jeanna says:

    Thanks for some faithful, thoughtful comments on the subject. I too ran across England’s essay (although I admit I only skimmed it) a while ago and felt appreciative of his understanding of the things that I have always felt uncomfortable about with polygyny. Namely, I have never really felt like I could have a deeply personal, intimate relationship with a man who was having that same relationship with someone else. Yes, I understand that this attitude may change in the eternities, but for now it makes me just … sad. On the other hand, I have a sister who is the second sealed wife of a widowed man, and she is absolutely happy and content with the idea of him having two wives in the eternities. She talks about it as a joyful thing. So that is her personality, and mine is different. I really do believe that God will take these things into account, so I don’t worry about it anymore (however, I didn’t think your article was “worrying,” just thinking and discussing).

    I appreciate England’s refutation of some teachings that some of us have run across and never questioned before–like the “more women in heaven than men” thing. Honestly, that was always somehow part of what I’d been taught somewhere, and I just accepted it as truth until England made me really sit down and think about it. Which is when I realized that it was a pretty sexist, sad way to look at men–as if there just wouldn’t be all that many worthy men, just because men were by nature worse than us. I don’t buy that, but I had gone along for years not questioning it.

    And finally, that whole “pregnant throughout the eternities” thing–oh my gosh, who thought of that? What a horrible, horrible idea. One part of me is appalled that anyone ever propagated that belief. The other part of me is still laughing at the sheer craziness. Honestly, pregnant forever? Who thinks that sounds like paradise? (Not to mention the idea that spirit children must be born the same way as physical ones. That just doesn’t make much sense.)

    Thanks again for the post!

    • Bonnie says:

      Precisely, Jeanna! Why on earth would God describe to Eve the difficulty of bearing earthly mortal children if that was what she had seen from Heavenly Mother? Preposterous. He described for both Adam and Eve things I’m sure they already knew but he was reminding: food wasn’t going to grow itself and babies weren’t going to birth themselves, in other words – things that were going to be different. Glad you spoke up. Smart woman.

      • I feel like maybe I have a different perspective. I don’t think the idea of being perpetually pregnant is a repulsive one, or degrading at all to the eternal situation of women. In fact, I’d venture to say that the idea that women will give life, abundantly and continuously, for all eternity is one of the most beautiful ideas…ever.

        I am not saying this because I want to over glamorize pregnancy and motherhood– it is hard, physically and spiritually. But I think that we forget that God’s glory is the continuation and the expansion of life and that the whole purpose of our Heavenly Parents is to continue on life, and that doing so brings them more glory, light and joy. They do not limit or restrict the number of children or the amount of life they create, they welcome everyone who accepts.

        I think that the feeling of repulsion that people get at the idea of being “perpetually pregnant” first comes from the degraded way that our society sees motherhood. Being a mother and having a child puts a woman at social and economic disadvantage in our world, but I think that is just the opposite in the celestial realm. There is nothing more important or more glorious than creating life and in a celestial realm that will be honored to its fullest.

        Second I think the repulsion comes from thinking that babies will have to be born the same way in the celestial world as they will here. We don’t really know how it will happen (and it still baffles my mind how parents with physical bodies can give birth to “spirit children”) but we do know that we will have perfect and resurrected bodies and that we won’t have blood. Not having blood means that the WHOLE process of pregnancy and birth will HAVE to be different in the Celestial world.

        I love this description of the celesial world found in Revelations 22:2, it says,

        ” In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the cleaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.”

        Trees are often used as symbols of our Heavenly Mother and this tree is specifically called a “she”. And bearing fruit every month is reminiscent of women shedding their blood every month. It is so beautiful to me to think of our Heavenly Mother– and as ourselves one day– as trees, who continuous and in their season bear fruit. Giving life with ease and consistency just like a fruit tree. But with fruit that is more precious and more delicious than anything we can imagine on this earth.

        It is easy for me to see how you could be ‘perpetually pregnant” in a cycle like a tree. Budding with life in the spring, growing ripe and full in the summer, bearing fruit in the fall, and resting for a time in the winter. But that the whole process happens continuously and perpetually for eternity. To me, that seems beautiful.

        So, I guess that this is a long way of saying that I don’t think that the idea of being perpetually pregnant is one that we should be appalled at. I think we are too blinded by the fear and (sometimes unconscious) degradation that surrounds the process of giving life here on earth that we can’t even begin to imagine what an incredible power it is. And that in the celestial realm we will have no desire to limit that incredible gift, because that is what being a God and a Goddess is all about!

        • Bonnie says:

          Heather, I don’t think we have a different perspective at all, but have merely explained it differently. The idea that we will be perpetually pregnant under the same conditions as mortality is what I find preposterous. The idea of giving life perpetually is exactly what I find so glorious. Thank you for your clarification – I think it’s an important one.

        • Ray says:

          Since I’m the one who used the word “appalled” in my comment, I will clarify by saying, “What Bonnie said.”

          Now to add to that:

          It’s not the idea that we will be creating life eternally that is appalling; in fact, I love that idea, as I tried to say in my comment. That concept is one of my favorite in all of Mormon theology. Eternal motherhood and fatherhood is beautiful and sublime – and, within Christianity, so unique. To me, it is the very heart of the Restoration – the resurrection, if you will, of a murdered Divine Father and Mother (theologically).

          It’s the idea that creating life after mortality will be exactly like it has been for thousands of years on earth that is appalling to me (although understandable, given the inability of people in the past to imagine any other way that life could be created) – and a large part of the revulsion I feel for that idea is the wink, wink way men often talk about only having one child if we had to go through mortal pregnancy and delivery. [b]We joke about it, but we mean it.[/b] We (men) glamorize it but absolutely don’t want to “have” to go through it, so we are fine and dandy, thank you very much, if they (women) are the ones who “get” to go through it there and here. (Notice the choice of quoted words; they are instructive to me.)

          I just don’t see the creation of immortal spirits as an internal, gestational process that involves “birth” in the way we understand that word here on earth. It’s that concept (eternal, internal conception, gestation and birth) that I find appalling – especially since, generally speaking, men are deeply grateful we don’t have to be involved in that process beyond the conception stage. The fun without the pain vs. the fun and the pain.

          Yeah, I can understand why men might tend to be totally OK with women giving birth like that forever, but I disagree – passionately.

        • Becca says:

          Ditto Bonnie and Ray -

          The perposterous and appalling part is not the eternal creation part (and gestation on this earth is not appalling to me in any way – I see it as a beautiful and divine work, and absolutely necessary for God’s plan). It just seems a little ridiculous to me that we would think that as perfected, resurrected beings, we would even have the ability to gestate anything but a perfect, immortal being. As mortal beings we are only capable of birthing mortal beings, and so, I imagine that if procreation were to happen the same way in the eternities it would make sense that we would be creating immortal beings (hence my speculative comment about perhaps Adam and Eve being created the same way physical bodies are created on this earth – only they were immortal until the fall).

          I don’t particularly have a problem with eternal gestation and birth the way it happens on earth, under mortal conditions (other than it doesn’t make sense and there is no revealed doctrine supporting it) the same way I have no problem with required eternal polygamy (other than it doesn’t make sense and there is no revealed doctrine supporting it).

          I do agree that most repulsion with eternal gestation and child birth comes from repulsion with gestation and childbirth in this life. And THAT is sad.

        • Jeanna says:

          Fair enough, I think you point out an important distinction that I definitely hadn’t. So I will agree with you and the others who replied here: *creation* through eternities sounds good and glorious, but the method must be vastly different from our current understanding. So perhaps I will clarify (in a lighthearted manner, by the way, with no offense taken or meant). Being nauseated and feeling fat and having your skin break out and gaining way too much weight and craving Taco Bell at 3 a.m.–who thinks THAT sounds like paradise? :)

  5. Paul says:

    Well, of course Brother England, Jennifer and Becca are all speculating, and I am, too. One reason we do it is to find comfort where we lack comfort with certain issues relative to the gospel — to try to find a way to make sense of that which is not clear.

    I will say this in response to Jennifer’s assertion about sealings (and hopefully reflect the spirit of what Bonnie has written). We know that sealings do not necessarily last forever. Certainly in the case of transgression, the blessings of sealing may be absent the transgressor.

    It was always interesting to me, when I served as bishop, that a man could remarry and be sealed to a second wife without cancelling the first sealing, even in the case of divorce from the first wife, but a woman must have her sealing cancelled before remarrying. I wondered why it was so important for her to maintain that sealing link to a man with whom she is no longer married.

    I concluded for myself that being sealed is better than not being sealed, even if one will not spend the eternities with the person to whom one is sealed (one cannot enjoy all the blessings of being sealed to someone who has disqualified him- or herself from the same blessings, for instance, and I do not believe that a woman still sealed to a divorced husband will be yoked to him for eternity, even if he also qualifies for the same placement in the celestial kingdom).

    I do not understand all there is to know about sealing, nor do I need to. I am able to let it go. But, like Brother England and Becca and others, I’ve wondered how I would respond to a call to practice polygamy, and I hope it never happens.

    I was so touched by Elder Scott’s talk in a recent conference in which he describes his continuing love for his beloved wife Jeanne, even though she preceded him in death; he freely expressed he had no interest in remarryinig because he is devoted to her and her alone. He does not present it as a model for others, and certainly does not call out his fellow apostles who have remarried and been sealed to second wives.

    As for the claim, Jennifer, that we have been told that there will be more women than men in the celestial kingdom, do you have a reference? I’d be interested in knowing what it is.

    Like Becca, I do not see Brother England’s essay as an anti-polygamy message or any kind of indictment against those who practiced polygamy, but rather a suggestion that it will not be required of all of us, and that there may be alternatives in the eternities for those sealed polygamously. Certainly today’s church teaches clearly that marriage is between a man and a woman.

    Oh, and a final note: the new and everlasting covenant of marriage pertains to the sealing ordinance. The new and everlasting covenant, however, refers to the entire restoration of the gospel, the priesthood and all the saving ordinances thereof.

    • Dan says:

      Paul, i’m not sure where Jennifer got her reference on there being more women than men, but I did PERSONALLY hear Elder Scott say, in his own personal belief (the doctrine of Elder Scott, he joked) that he believed there would be more women than men in the celestial kingdom.

      HOWEVER, I FIRMLY believe that this its due to his incredible love for righteous sisters (of whom he was speaking of at the time).

      This address that I heard was given in a devotional in the Salt Lake Temple (where I worked at the time) and to my knowledge is not recorded anywhere else.

      • jendoop says:

        It’s interesting that this came up – My grandpa was married twice (1st wife died & then remarried) and as a teenager I was concerned about what it meant; who was really my grandma? I asked my bishop and he told me that it was just his opinion, but that he thought there would be more women in the Celestial kingdom than men. As a young woman I liked that idea, still do ;)

    • Jennifer says:

      I don’t have a reference, I just have heard that several times throughout my life. It makes sense though. There are even more women on earth right now. It doesn’t matter to me if there are more men or women, it’s just what I’ve heard.

      And yes, I do know that sealings can be broken. My own daughter is in the middle of this right now, unfortunately. There are times obviously, when the sealings don’t last forever.

      One note: (sort of off the subject but not really) – if children are born under the covenant & a sealing of the parents is broken after they are born, those children still belong to their natural parents, even if the parents are no longer sealed to each other. (((General Handbook of Instructions: “Children born in the covenant cannot be sealed to anyone, but belong to their natural parents. This rule is not altered by adoption, consent of the natural parents, request of the child after becoming of age or death of the natural parents.” (P. 101.)))

  6. Brittany says:

    I have read a few posts here before, but this is my first time commenting. I love what you brothers and sisters are doing here.

    Thank you for sharing the link to Eugene England’s article. I also recently read an article by Valerie Hudson Cassler at Square Two that makes a lot of the same points. She explores the idea of the “Abrahamic Sacrifice” in more depth. She also explores how sealings were done in the early church. Prior to 1894, only those who had been baptised in this life were considered eligible be sealed as a spouse in proxy temple sealings, resulting in widows sealing themselves to Joseph Smith (after his death) and other general authorities and sealing their deseased husband as their children. Cassler proposes that the early saints understood a principle she calls “sealing transference”–that what matters is entering into the “new and everlasting covenant,” and with whom doesn’t really matter at this point–with whom we are sealed is transferable.

    I am really intrigued by the idea of the marriage covenant being an order of the Priesthood. I have heard before that women who are married to a priesthood holder have access to his Priesthood through their unity, but if I correctly understand President Benson (and I looked up the source of that reference and read through the bulk of the talk), that isn’t exactly right–a sealed couple, together, enters into a higher order of the priesthood–seems like a slight distinction, but I think it is highly significant.

    • Ray says:

      Brittany, fwiw, I believe that temple endowed women hold the Priesthood on their own, independent of a husband – and I believe that as a result of what occurs and is said in the temple itself. I believe the current practical differences are a matter of administrative allowance and not a difference in the Priesthood held by temple endowed members.

      However, that’s a discussion for another post and thread, so I will leave it at that.

    • Bonnie says:

      I see the endowment as the foreordination of the Patriarchal Priesthood, kings and queens, priests and priestesses, and this priesthood as held jointly in a celestial marriage at the time the Lord restores that in its fullness, but that is my own intellectual/spiritual understanding over the years and over my studies. We really don’t have a lot about the Patriarchal Priesthood – sad day. Since the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon was written so soon after the age of the Patriarchs, I have high hopes that much of what is contained therein will shine light on that historically dim period. It’s one of the revelations I most look forward to.

      And I too believe in the transferable nature of sealings – that the blessings are what is important. When I was first divorced but remained sealed to my husband, a gentle stake president explained this to me. It was a great comfort. I find a certain sisterhood with those who practiced plural marriage – neither of us enjoy the ideal marriage, but I think we all look forward to it eventually.

      Thanks for commenting, Brittany. Cassler’s work at Square Two is awesome.

  7. Ray says:

    My most concise answer to the title question is, “Not for everyone but perhaps for some, in my opinion.”

    Honestly, I don’t want plural marriage to be part of my own exaltation. Right now, I can’t imagine it for myself. However, a huge part of that is the fact that I married my high school sweetheart and have never loved or wanted to be married to anyone else. Just as I can’t understand homosexuality fully, having never felt sexual attraction to another man, I can’t undertand polygamy fully, having never felt the desire to be married to more than one woman.

    Having said that, I also know people who have been married to and loved deeply more than one spouse – and having to choose one spouse only would be their own version of Hell. I respect that completely.

    Personally, I don’t believe that sexual relationships as we know them now are part of the eternities, so the “ickiness factor” of polygamy isn’t there for me in that regard. I believe in more of a “council of the gods” construction, with creation being non-sexual, so I am open to all kinds of relationships that are part of a comprehensive familial sealing. **I absolutely do NOT believe in immortal gestation.** In fact, that view appals me.

    I see it that way largely because: 1) we already are at the point where we can envision, without any huge stretch of the imagination, children being conceived and born outside a natural womb – which was inconceivable (pardon the pun and movie reference) to our ancestors and even my own parents; 2) I can’t see taking “intelligences” and making them into “spirits” as the result of sexual activity, especially since spirits are NOT the same material species, if you will, as Heavenly Parents.

    So, my short answer would be, “I have no clue” – but since when have I ever been concise in the Bloggernacle?

    • Becca says:

      My husband and I were just having a similar conversation about the immortal gestation part. We discussed that idea that creating spirits from intelligence is not nearly the same thing as creating mortal bodies from mortal bodies. We speculated on whether or not Adam and Eve, having the first mortal bodies, were created through a similar manner by Heavenly Father and Mother as children are created on this earth – but of course, we don’t know.

      Brother England mentions the same thing you did in his essay – not required, but perhaps it will be in some form for some people.

      Thanks for your non-concise answer :)

    • Brittany says:

      Hmmmm…a sexless marriage doesn’t sound like heaven to me? The idea that it wouldn’t be the way spirit children are created makes sense. But I also think resurrected beings don’t need to eat, it serves no purpose, but they still can (and Christ did after His resurrection).

  8. templegoer says:

    I’m very grateful for this post and the tone of the responses here. I hoe you’ll understand that my contribution is made with ‘real intent’.

    I love Bro. England’s paper and I bet his wife did too, but with the greatest of respect I suspect that he was only seeing what he wanted to see. I so wish that was all I could see.

    Thirty years ago and newly married to the love of my life, I taught Doctrine and Covenants seminary. I love scripture, and I’m no historical and academic expert, so I read it for what it teaches me in my life at any given time. Church history as an academic discipline had not filtered down to my level in those days, so that’s how it was taught other than Barret’s tome which was distributed with the material. And then , we got to section 132. I remember reading , weeping, reading and weeping.

    It seems to me that I cannot argue with scripture that I believe in and cherish, and yet there it is in the latter verses of section 132. Believe me I would disinvent it if I could. As a woman I am being told that should I not be prepared to live this principal as did Sarah, Abraham’s wife , I will be destroyed. Jacob’s words reflect the wounds of my heart at that time, and yet this scripture in the Doctrine and Covenants remains. My poor sister Emma.

    I have since put it on the shelf, but with each child in turn as they have made their own discoveries I have had to get it down, dust it off and explain to the best of my ability why my rational, loving, life enhancing religion still encompasses this teaching whilst having currently abandoned its practise. It’s a tall order.

    The only thing that enables me to do this is the fact that my loving husband, like Ray, frequently assures me that this would not be his wish.

    I might add that I am the grand-daughter of a polygamous relationship and understand the desire for all to be included in eternal sealings. But it’s hard not to see these facts as somehow undermining the intimacy and exclusivity of our sacred and precious unions -it certainly did for my forebears who to this day act out the jealousies and exclusions that went on in their welded family that contained , more or less well, thirteen children. They were all casualties, more or less.

    So, is this an eternal principal? Unless I argue with latter-day scriptural cannon, which I neither have the right or expertise or indeed desire to do, it seems the answer is yes. Will it be required of me? It seems that my heart needs to be prepared to live this principal from what I learn in scripture. Those better than I seem to have received revelation that allows them to live in peace with this. I only wish they would share it, so that we could all receive it.

    • I currently teach seminary and taught Doctrine and Covenants two years ago. In teaching Doctrine & Covenants 132 there is a big warning for teachers in the current teacher’s manual (published in 1999): “Note: Avoid sensationalism and speculation when talking about plural marriage. Sometimes teachers speculate that plural marriage will be a requirement for all who enter the celestial kingdom. We have no knowledge that plural marriage will be a requirement for exaltation. I think it interesting because 1) How many myths were first heard in a seminary class and thus perpetuated as truth? 2) We, as teachers, are plainly told to teach that we have no knowledge that plural marriage will be a requirement for exaltation.

      Also in the seminary student manual is this quote from Elder Bruce R. McConkie: “Plural marriage is not essential to salvation or exaltation. Nephi and his people were denied the power to have more than one wife and yet they could gain every blessing in eternity that the Lord ever offered to any people. In our day, the Lord summarized by revelation the whole doctrine of exaltation and predicated it upon the marriage of one man to one woman. ( D.&C. 132:1–28 .) Thereafter he added the principles relative to plurality of wives with the express stipulation that any such marriages would be valid only if authorized by the President of the Church. ( D.&C. 132:7, 29–66 .)

      “All who pretend or assume to engage in plural marriage in this day, when the one holding the keys has withdrawn the power by which they are performed, are guilty of gross wickedness ” (Their emphasis, not mine)

      The lesson was taught using that as an outline. I don’t know what the manuals were like 30 years ago or if there were manuals but it seems that today we are to teach it is not a requirement and emphasis is put on the first part of section 132 because as Elder McConkie pointed out that is where the doctrine of exaltation, predicated upon the marriage of one man and one woman, is given.

      In a very simple way my husband and I have taught our children if plural marriage was a requirement for the Celestial Kingdom it would have been so from the very beginning. What greater need to “raise up seed” unto God than then? It was not Adam and Eve and Genevieve. It was only Adam and Eve – one man and one woman – who were joined in eternal marriage in the garden.

      • templegoer says:

        Thankyou Monserrat,you have really addressed the issues that I raised and have been the first to do so. It helps that you have been able to use the currently referenced seminary material. That’s the most cogent rationale I’ve heard. I’m feeling better about this than I have ever done. Thankyou for being unafraid to confront my interpretation.

        • I’m glad it helped in some way. Church History is taught alongside Doctrine and Covenants now which really helps to put some of the revelations that were given into context. There is so much to teach though it is hard to whittle it down!

          Another tidbit about section 132 as taught in seminary: the lesson teaches that because this is the “dispensation of the fulness of times” every principle that was required in all past dispensations needed to be restored. Because polygamy was practiced in a couple of the dispensations (not all) it too needed to be restored for a time.

          And, whew!, there are some family history stories on my husband’s side that are real dosies when it comes to polygamy. Real dosies. But that is for another time and place. :)

      • Becca says:

        Thanks, Montserrat, for that excellent reference. I had been waiting to see if anyone had any “official” response to your concern, templegoer. I didn’t have time to sit down and do my own research. But that explanation (that if it was required, it would have been required from the beginning) was the thing that always made sense to me.

    • Becca says:

      And with regards to your contribution – I definitely felt like it was made with real intent – and thank you for sharing your thoughts here. We appreciate all interpretations, as it gets us all thinking and praying and studying – which is how we get more knowledge and understanding. Thank you again!

    • Brittany says:

      Here is the link to Cassler’s article that I mentioned in my comment above. She suggests an interpretation of the verses in D&C 132 that allows for the idea that polygamy is a sacrifice The Lord asks of a few and not the eternal order of heaven.

      http://squaretwo.org/Sq2ArticleCasslerPolygamy.html

      I think The Lord wants us to be *willing* to live polygamy, because He wants a people who are willing to sacrifice all. But being willing to do something and actually doing it are not the same thing. He also wants us to be willing to die for the church, but that doesn’t mean being a martyr is a requirement for exaltation. I really don’t want to live polygamy. The idea is one of the hardest thing I can imagine. I hope that I would do it if commanded, but I’m grateful that I’m not (as I am also grateful we are not commanded to circumcise our sons, but that is another issue…). I have been reading the Old Testament, and polygamy was hard for those women, too. That’s why Hagar and Ishmael ended up leaving. Rachel and Leah had issues, too (Genesis 30).

  9. Dan says:

    I’m afraid that a lot of people are doing exactly what brother England said and expecting it so much that they start holding tryouts for additional spouse now!

    I don’t want plural marriage for me and my wife. I understand people who fear they can’t choose between their wives.

    I think people need to stop “expecting” it to happen and focus more on being of complete faith. Follow the Lord with all you’re heaRt, ready to do whatever he asks.

    Abraham didn’t want to sacrifice Isaac, but he was ready to follow the Lord. Thankfully it was just a test! I believe the same is true in regards to plural marriage. And I don’t think he will ask us to

    • Nona says:

      The difference being, however, that for many couples polygamy was NOT just a test. God sent no ram at the last minute. It honestly makes me have a difficult time trusting God. What horrible things might he have in store for me if he was willing to ask this of them?

      • Bonnie says:

        I think every person on earth has been presented with a time when there was no ram in the thicket. God hasn’t sent me a spouse, and I muddle through as a single parent – no ram. I’m sure you’ve had yours. Our mortal life isn’t meant to be perfect, but it perfectly prepares us for an eternity that is. Trusting God is #2 on Joseph’s list of three things necessary to develop faith, #2 being a correct knowledge of His character and attributes. We develop that over time and as we learn about the character of God. He doesn’t ask us to cross the plains, but he does ask us to keep an eagle eye on media that is poised to devour our children. Our forebears wouldn’t have wanted that trial. We are usually more comfortable with our own trek up the mountain than we are with anyone else’s.

  10. I am glad to see a conversation on this. I know a few women who live in terror that they will die before their husbands and that he will marry again and they will be forced to live eternity in a polygamous marriage… which just isn’t true. But I know that for some women that gives them a lot of pain.

    I think one thing that has helped me understand things is the promise that women get of becoming “a queen”, because there can only be ONE queen in any kingdom, just like there can only be one king. The word “queen” by itself indicates that ONE woman will inherit the authority and place of honor to rule with the King. You just CAN NOT have two queens, it doesn’t work that way. Granted there can always be concubines and other wives, who hold a lower place and don’t have authority or power but I don’t think that is an eternal or celestial principle.

    The one thought/question I have had though is that we often use the story of Abraham and his sacrifice of Issac as an example of the type of love and sacrifice that our Heavenly Father has for us. That God really did have to sacrifice his only begotten son and that by asking Abraham to do it was a test, to show if he had the faith to make God-like sacrifices. I think that sometimes, under hard circumstances Gods and Goddesss have to make Abrahamic sacrifices… and that is part of what God was teaching Abraham.

    But my question is that if we use the story of Abraham’s sacrifice as an example of Heavenly Father could we not use the story of Sarah as an example of our Heavenly Mother. And Sarah’s trial of having to live in a polygamous relationship with Hagar, might be an example (just like the Abraham’s was) of the type of abrahamic sacrifices that Gods have to make to save their posterity? I feel like Sarah’s story indicates that polygamy is an abrahamic sacrifice, one that Gods are some times called upon to make, just like sacrificing your son, but that just like Sarah and Hagar the situation is not permanent (remember how Hagar gets cast out). Polygamy isn’t the celestial order of heaven, but I wonder if there aren’t times when our Heavenly Parents have had to make those type of sacrifices to “bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”

    I feel like understanding it that way helps me see why God would command his people to live a law that was so hard, because it was preparing their hearts for what being a God would require… hard sacrifice and submission to a greater cause. But it also helps me see that such a situation is only temporary, and there is always a merciful end to that situation just like Sarah and Abraham’s stories teach.

    • Ray says:

      Good questions, Heather.

      I don’t have any easy answers, but that mostly is because I love the concept of “as far as it is translated correctly” – which helps me not be tied down to literal readings of scripture, especially “ancient” ones. I also love the analogy of the orchestra in Elder Wirthlin’s “Concern for the One” – that it’s OK to have different instruments playing various melodies, counter-melodies, harmonies, rhythms, etc. as long as they are trying to follow the conductor the best they can.

      Fwiw, I like various interpretations of the Abrahamic sacrifice story for various reasons, but my favorite one is extremely non-traditional and is focused on the view that Abraham might have failed his test but was redeemed nonetheless. I love being able to consider it and other stories from different angles until I find one that resonates with both my mind and heart.

      Perhaps I will write about that at some point.

    • templegoer says:

      Ouch Heather, for my sister Hagar. An interesting proposition, but not so good for subsequent partners, who I presume to be as precious in my Father’s sight as myself. I am aware that God did in fact miraculously provide for Hagar and her son. I believe thos events are celebrated as part of the Islamic Haj.

    • Bonnie says:

      Fascinating thoughts about queens. I have been very curious if each creation is much more administered like a home, where mothers have much more direct influence creating the spirit there. I’ve often thought that our preparatory time for earth was a nurturing environment in which our Mother was our greatest influence. In that light, it isn’t inconceivable (sorry, couldn’t resist) that each creation is “mothered” by one queen. Thoroughly out there in the realm of curiosity, but it tickles my thinking to ponder it.

      I’m not married, and it doesn’t bother me, though I’m not judging anyone who is bothered. It occurs to me that in the long eons after this mortal equivalent of 3rd grade, I may meet someone who lived and died in the middle ages and we will think it just the most perfect thing ever to create a creation together. I trust God and I trust his plan. I think Hagar has a special place and a happy place – somewhere – and I don’t know what that is but I think God does. I think women who die young will be happy in their eternities, and perhaps crossing that bridge too early creates unnecessary sadness and fear. Mortality is so very, very short and God is so very, very old. That makes me feel better about waking up alone.

      • Dan says:

        Bonnie, I’m having serious trouble agreeing with your logic. You’re saying that you’re not married but you hope in the next life to find someone that you can find exaltation with?

        I’m just jumping to conclusions in assuming that you have never been married, let alone sealed, in this life. If that’s the case then I’m afraid your hopes are wasted. The Lord himself tells us that none are given to marry outside of this life, that entering into “the nee and everlasting covenant” IN THIS life its the only way to exaltation, and this had been emphasized many times by current leaders.

        I agree that sealings are not forever. Many times, when sealed couples want a divorce, they are advised not to have a sealing cancellation BECAUSE THEY STILL KEEP THAT COVENANT STATUS.

        If you are not sealed in this life, you will have no chance at an exalted status, therefore your hopes of exaltation and finding/needing a husband are not there. You will not progress forever as a queen, not produce worlds, etc etc.

        That is what the savior said! That you will receive a lesser glory.

        Correct me of I’m wrong.

        But being an angel doesn’t sound so awful to me.

      • Bonnie says:

        Okay, Dan. I’ll help.

        1. I have been married and sealed in the temple. I am divorced but my sealing has not been dissolved. That’s for clarification, not because it matters to this conversation.

        2. A single person who lives throughout this live and is never married does NOT have their hopes blasted, because that would subvert the justice of God, making him a respecter of persons by providing unequal experience and opportunity.

        3. What will be sealed in heaven must be sealed on earth (which I think is where you’re coming from), and so therefore must occur before the judgment.

        4. The judgment does not occur until all things are resolved in the Millennium, which is why one of the great works of the Millennium is … wait for it … temple work.

        5. The Millennium, we have been told, is a time of great wrapping up, in which spirits mortal, post-mortal, and resurrected will all be working together.

        6. It seems likely there might be some serious dating in the Millennium.

        There are references to back up those ideas, but I don’t have time to find them right now. Suffice it to say, I don’t have a problem with Jesus’ circuitous answer to the Sadducees, because they weren’t asking with real intent and he didn’t give (or we don’t have recorded) the full answer. He simply went with their assumptions of what he was talking about because what they were really arguing about was the resurrection, not the final state of spirits.

        THIS LIFE continues until we are judged, not until we die. It’s important for us to remember that. It’s why we have the plan of salvation doctrine – to clarify such things. Those who are told that they will serve as ministering servants to those who were willing to accept “an exceeding weight of glory” are those who wouldn’t accept the need for the new and everlasting covenant of marriage in this life. Again, this life is our whole life – our creation.

        • Exactly, Bonnie! And what of all those children who have died or young men who died fighting in wars without ever getting married or teens who have died in accidents or…the list could go on and on. Are they to be denied that great blessing of eternal marriage because they died before they could be married? No. Not at all.

        • templegoer says:

          That was generous of you Bonnie.

        • Brittany says:

          There is a song in the Veggie Tales “Jonah” movie that says “God is a God of second chances.” I think our faith embodies this belief.

          Here is one quote about those who do not have the opportunity for marriage in this life: “The prophets of the Lord have repeatedly promised that no blessing will be denied to the righteous single sisters of the Church if, through no fault of their own, they have not been married in this life and sealed to a worthy priesthood holder. They will be able to enjoy that blessing forever in the next world.”-President Faust

          I fully believe the same promise also applies to Hagar and ANY who lived as plural wives in this life who don’t want to be in a plural marriage in the eternities. They, if they desire it, will have the opportunity to be sealed to ONE man, if that is their wish, and enjoy that blessing in the eternities.

          For the record, I also think that brethern who do not have an opportunity to marry will have another chance, too. The issue is usually framed around the sisters, but I’m sure there will be men who qualify, including those who just don’t find love even though they looked, those who die young, those who have disabilities, those who struggle with same sex attraction, etc.

        • Dan says:

          Bonnie, thank you so much for the explanation. I was not try to be contentious, that’s just how I understood it. Obviously, I did not consider life as continuing till judgment. Clearly, beyond the millions of things I have studied, that was an explanation I had not read.

          Thank you so much for reminding me that I have much to learn and the importance of continuing in the gospel, always learning.

          From the bottom if my heart, I’m sorry if that was offensive at all.

          • Ray says:

            Dan, I apologize for my previous response. I had not read any the others before I posted mine. I usually try to read everything before commenting, and my first response is a good example of why I try to do that.

            Again, my sincere apology.

          • Bonnie says:

            It wasn’t offensive at all. The conversation brings out truth when we’re all seeking for it!

  11. Jendoop says:

    Not sure I agree with the Queen theory Heather. Sometimes wrestling with these questions must look to God like we’re asking what shape yellow is. The question in and of itself is insufficient. We have so little idea of what the celestial kingdom will really be that trying to pin down this one detail is like building sandcastles in a thunderstorm. There’s a lot more going on and we’ve got so much more to learn before the answer will ever make sense. What I take comfort in is my relationship with God and his dealings with me to this point – always progressively loving, soul enriching and at just the right pace for me.

  12. Bonnie says:

    What excites me about this conversation is that is has NOT devolved. In my experience, after three days a thread has consolidated positions and people are arguing over trivialities in their opinions. We have more ideas being added, readers adding sources that build and expand, and people coming back to clarify areas of agreement in a genuine spirit of seeking light and knowledge while continuing to explore areas of unresolved agreement. THIS is what I envisioned. Thank you, everyone. Please, continue – forever.

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