Doctrine and Covenants 132 contains a revelation about the new and everlasting covenant of marriage. Although this revelation was recorded on July 12, 1843, some of the truths in the revelation were known and taught by the Prophet Joseph Smith as early as 1831. The revelation will be discussed in two lessons. This lesson discusses the conditions of the new and everlasting covenant of marriage and the promises extended to those who honor it. The next lesson will discuss the principle of plural marriage.
Suggestions for Teaching
The Lord sets forth the conditions of the new and everlasting covenant
Note: Doctrine and Covenants 132:1–2 are covered in lesson 140 as part of a discussion about plural marriage.
Before class, write the following questions on the board:
Why is eternal marriage important to you?
What will you do, beginning today, to prepare yourself to enter the temple and be married for time and all eternity?
What blessings can come in this life to those who obey God’s law to be sealed in the temple?
Invite students to ponder these questions as they study Doctrine and Covenants 132 today.
Begin by asking the following question:
What is the new and everlasting covenant?
To help students understand the meaning of the phrase “the new and everlasting covenant,” read the following statement by President Joseph Fielding Smith:
“Now there is a clear-cut definition in detail of the new and everlasting covenant. It is everything—the fulness of the gospel. So marriage properly performed, baptism, ordination to the priesthood, everything else—every contract, every obligation, every performance that pertains to the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise according to his law here given, is a part of the new and everlasting covenant” (Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56], 1:158; italics removed).
Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 132:3–5 silently, looking for the result of rejecting the new and everlasting covenant, which includes the covenant of celestial marriage.
What is the result of rejecting the new and everlasting covenant? (As students answer this question, you may want to explain that the word damned means that a person is stopped in his or her eternal progression.)
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 132:6 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for the blessing the Lord promises those who are faithful in the new and everlasting covenant.
According to verse 6, what do we receive if we are faithful in the new and everlasting covenant? (As students respond to this question, you may want to point out the contrast between being damned, or prevented from progressing, and receiving “the fulness of [the Lord’s] glory.”)
Point out that people often make contracts, or agreements, with each other. Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 132:7 aloud. Assign half of the class to look for what happens to manmade contracts when people die. Invite the other half to identify two conditions for covenants to be binding after we die.
What happens to manmade contracts? (They end at death.)
According to verse 7, what two things must happen for covenants to be binding after we die? (They must be made through priesthood authority, and they must be “entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise.”)
Explain that “the Holy Ghost is the Holy Spirit of Promise. … The Holy Spirit of Promise witnesses to the Father that the saving ordinances have been performed properly and that the covenants associated with them have been kept” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Holy Spirit of Promise,” scriptures.lds.org). Then invite students to reread verse 7 and summarize it in a statement of doctrine. Write their response on the board. For example, you might write something similar to the following: Unless a covenant is made through the proper priesthood authority and sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise, it will end at death.
To help students further understand this doctrine, ask them to rephrase it in a positive way. Write their response on the board. For example, you might write something similar to the following: When a covenant is made through the proper priesthood authority and is sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise, it will last forever.
Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 132:8–14 by explaining that the Lord continued to set forth the conditions of His laws and ordinances. He declared that everything He establishes will remain forever but that everything else will eventually be destroyed.
Invite four students to take turns reading aloud from Doctrine and Covenants 132:15–18. Ask the class to follow along, looking for two different ways a man and a woman might enter into a marriage together. Then read the following examples aloud. After each example, ask students what truths taught in Doctrine and Covenants 132:15–18 apply in that situation.
Example 1: A man and woman fall in love, keep the law of chastity, and are happily married by a local government leader. They are not sealed in a temple. Their marriage ceremony includes the words “till death do you part.” A few years later, the husband is killed in an accident. What truths taught in Doctrine and Covenants 132:15–17 apply? (The husband and wife are no longer married.)
Example 2: A man and woman are married. They promise one another that they will always love each other and that they will always be together, but they are not sealed in a temple. They believe that because of their love, God will allow them to be together forever. What truths taught in Doctrine and Covenants 132:18 apply? (Their marriage will not continue after they die.)
The Lord promises blessings to those who obey the law of celestial marriage
Invite a student to read aloud the following experience shared by Elder Enrique R. Falabella of the Seventy. Ask the class to listen for what made Elder and Sister Falabella sad and what made them happy.
“When I returned from my mission, I met a beautiful young woman. … She captivated me from the first moment I saw her.
“My wife had set the goal to get married in the temple, although back then the nearest temple required a trip of over 4,000 miles (6,400 km).
“Our civil marriage ceremony was both happy and sad, for we were married with an expiration date. The officer pronounced the words ‘And now I declare you husband and wife,’ but immediately after, he said, ‘until death do you part.’
“So with sacrifice we set out to purchase a one-way ticket to the Mesa Arizona Temple.
“In the temple, as we were kneeling down at the altar, an authorized servant pronounced the words I longed for, which declared us husband and wife for time and for all eternity” (“The Home: The School of Life,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2013, 102).
Why were the Falabellas not satisfied with their civil marriage?
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 132:19–21 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for blessings the Lord promises to those who are true to the new and everlasting covenant of marriage. Because this passage is long and somewhat difficult to understand, you may need to pause a few times to provide explanations and answer questions. The following information may help you:
Verse 19 contains the promise that if a man and woman marry in “the new and everlasting covenant” and “it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise,” then they “shall come forth in the first resurrection; and … inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers,” as long as they “abide in [the] covenant, and commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood.” (See also D&C 132:27.)
Write If____________________________________________________________________________________________________ then____________________________________________________________________________________________________ on the board. Invite students to fill in the blanks to summarize the promises given in Doctrine and Covenants 132:19–21. Write their responses on the board. They might identify principles such as the following:
If a man and a woman abide in the new and everlasting covenant of marriage, then they will receive exaltation and glory.
If a man and a woman abide in the new and everlasting covenant of marriage, then they will have an eternal increase of posterity.
If a man and a woman abide in the new and everlasting covenant of marriage, then their marriage will be in force through all eternity.
If a man and a woman abide in the new and everlasting covenant of marriage, then they will become like God.
Read the following example:
Example 3: A young man and a young woman are sealed in a holy temple by priesthood authority. They both live faithfully and keep their covenants. What truths taught in Doctrine and Covenants 132:19–21 apply after they die? (Their marriage will continue forever. They will become like their Father in Heaven and will be blessed with glory, exaltation, and an eternal family.)
What do you think a husband and wife must do to abide in the covenant of marriage? (Answers may include following God’s word, being obedient to all the ordinances of salvation, being virtuous and worthy, loving one another, working together to be good parents, rearing children in love and righteousness, and returning to the temple together regularly.)
Ask students to read Doctrine and Covenants 132:22–25 silently, giving special attention to the Lord’s description of the “gate” and the “way” that lead to exaltation. Before they read, explain that the word strait in verse 22 means narrow or exacting, allowing for no wandering off course.
In what ways does the image of a broad gate and a wide way represent current opinions in society about couple relationships and marriage? How are these opinions contrary to the new and everlasting covenant of marriage?
According to verses 21–24, what must we do to receive eternal life? (Summarize students’ answers by writing the following principle on the board: To receive exaltation and eternal lives, we must know Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, become like Them, and abide in Their law.)
Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 132:29–33 by explaining that Abraham was faithful and obedient to the Lord’s law of eternal marriage and that he received the promise of eternal increase in posterity.
Testify that as we follow God’s laws, we can live with Him and obtain eternal life.
Refer to the questions you wrote on the board before class. Invite students to respond to these questions in their class notebooks or scripture study journals. After sufficient time, you may also want to invite one or two students to share their feelings with the entire class.
Conclude by displaying a picture of your family. Share your feelings and testimony of the blessings of eternal marriage. Encourage students to prepare now to go to the temple and be married for eternity. Share your testimony of the blessings promised in Doctrine and Covenants 132 and of the joy that comes from preparing for temple marriage.
Commentary and Background Information
Doctrine and Covenants 132:5. Marriage was “instituted from before the foundation of the world”
Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shared the following truths about marriage and family:
“The earth was created and this Church was restored so that families could be formed, sealed, and exalted eternally. …
“… A temple marriage is not only between husband and wife; it embraces a partnership with God.
“… When a family is sealed in the temple, that family may become as eternal as the kingdom of God itself” (“Celestial Marriage,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2008, 93).
Elder Nelson also taught:
“Marriage brings greater possibilities for happiness than does any other human relationship. …
“Marriage is the foundry for social order, the fountain of virtue, and the foundation for eternal exaltation” (“Nurturing Marriage,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2006, 36).
Doctrine and Covenants 132:7. The Holy Spirit of Promise
President Joseph Fielding Smith stated:
“The Holy Spirit of Promise is the Holy Ghost who places the stamp of approval upon every ordinance: baptism, confirmation, ordination, marriage. The promise is that the blessings will be received through faithfulness.
“If a person violates a covenant, whether it be of baptism, ordination, marriage or anything else, the Spirit withdraws the stamp of approval, and the blessings will not be received.
“Every ordinance is sealed with a promise of a reward based upon faithfulness. The Holy Spirit withdraws the stamp of approval where covenants are broken [see D&C 76:52–53; 132:7]” (Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56], 1:45).
Doctrine and Covenants 132:19–20. “Then shall they be gods … because they continue”
Elder Parley P. Pratt of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles told about how his life changed when he received an understanding of the doctrine of eternal marriage:
“It was Joseph Smith who taught me how to prize the endearing relationships of father and mother, husband and wife; of brother and sister, son and daughter.
“It was from him that I learned that the wife of my bosom might be secured to me for time and all eternity; and that the refined sympathies and affections which endeared us to each other emanated from the fountain of divine eternal love. It was from him that I learned that we might cultivate these affections, and grow and increase in the same to all eternity; while the result of our endless union would be an offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven, or the sands of the sea shore.
“It was from him that I learned the true dignity and destiny of a son of God, clothed with an eternal priesthood, as the patriarch and sovereign of his countless offspring. It was from him that I learned that the highest dignity of womanhood was, to stand as a queen and priestess to her husband, and to reign for ever and ever as the queen mother of her numerous and still increasing offspring.
“I had loved before, but I knew not why. But now I loved—with a pureness—an intensity of elevated, exalted feeling, which would lift my soul from the transitory things of this grovelling sphere and expand it as the ocean. I felt that God was my heavenly Father indeed; that Jesus was my brother, and that the wife of my bosom was an immortal, eternal companion; a kind ministering angel, given to me as a comfort, and a crown of glory for ever and ever. In short, I could now love with the spirit and with the understanding also.
“… Joseph Smith … lifted a corner of the veil and [gave] me a single glance into eternity” (Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, ed. Parley P. Pratt Jr. , 297–98).
In 1916, President Joseph F. Smith, his counselors in the First Presidency, and the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles declared:
“So far as the stages of eternal progression and attainment have been made known through divine revelation, we are to understand that only resurrected and glorified beings can become parents of spirit offspring. Only such exalted souls have reached maturity in the appointed course of eternal life; and the spirits born to them in the eternal worlds will pass in due sequence through the several stages or estates by which the glorified parents have attained exaltation” (“The Father and the Son: A Doctrinal Exposition by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles,” quoted in Ensign, Apr. 2002, 18).
Doctrine and Covenants 132:22–25. What is the “continuation of the lives” and the “deaths”?
Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught:
“Those who gain eternal life (exaltation) also gain eternal lives, meaning that in the resurrection they have eternal ‘increase,’ ‘a continuation of the seeds,’ a ‘continuation of the lives.’ Their spirit progeny will ‘continue as innumerable as the stars; or, if ye were to count the sand upon the seashore ye could not number them.’ (D. & C. 131:1–4; 132:19–25, 30, 55.)” (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. , 238; see also Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual, 2nd ed. [Church Educational System manual, 2001], 330).
President Joseph Fielding Smith explained:
“The term ‘deaths’ mentioned here [in Doctrine and Covenants 132:25] has reference to the cutting off of all those who reject this eternal covenant of marriage and therefore they are denied the power of exaltation and the continuation of posterity. To be denied posterity and the family organization leads to the ‘deaths,’ or end of increase in the life to come” (Church History and Modern Revelation, 2 vols. , 2:360; see also Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual, 330).