Doctrine and Covenants 132 contains a revelation concerning 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. In this lesson you will learn about the conditions of the new and everlasting covenant of marriage and the promises extended to those who honor it.
In Doctrine and Covenants 132:1–2, we read that the Prophet Joseph Smith asked the Lord why Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and others in the Old Testament had many wives. This question led to the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 132, which includes instructions about the practice of plural marriage. The Bible and the Book of Mormon teach that God’s standard for marriage is for one man to be married to one woman, unless He declares otherwise (see 2 Samuel 12:7–8; Jacob 2:27, 30). Doctrine and Covenants 132 contains the revelation that established the practice of plural marriage among Church members from the early 1840s until the 1890s, when the Lord revealed that the Saints should no longer enter into plural marriage.
As you study Doctrine and Covenants 132, look for answers to the following questions:
How will an eternal marriage bless you in this life and forever?
Why is the marriage covenant in the temple so important?
Read Doctrine and Covenants 132:3–6, looking for the result of entering into the new and everlasting covenant of marriage and the result of rejecting that covenant. The word damned, which appears in verses 4 and 6, means that a person is stopped in his or her eternal progression.
According to verse 6, what is a blessing people receive as they abide, or accept, the Lord’s law of marriage?
President Joseph Fielding Smith referred to Doctrine and Covenants 132:7 when he taught about the meaning of “the new and everlasting covenant”: “Now there [in D&C 132:7] 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).
People often make contracts, or agreements, with each other. Read Doctrine and Covenants 132:7, looking for what happens to man-made contracts when we die. Also look for two conditions that must be in place in order for a covenant to be binding after we die.
From verse 7 we learn the following truth: When a covenant is made through the proper priesthood authority and is sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise, it will last forever.
You might wonder what is meant by the phrase “sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise.” The Guide to the Scriptures provides the following explanation: “The Holy Ghost is the Holy Spirit of Promise (Acts 2:33). He confirms as acceptable to God the righteous acts, ordinances, and covenants of men. 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).
Read Doctrine and Covenants 132:15–18, looking for two different ways a man and a woman might enter into a marriage together. Then consider the following examples and, in your scripture study journal, answer the questions according to your understanding of the verses you have read.
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. According to Doctrine and Covenants 132:15–17, what happens to the marriage when the husband dies?
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. According to Doctrine and Covenants 132:18, what happens to their marriage when one of them dies?
As you consider these examples, remember that we perform ordinances in temples for people who have died without having the opportunity to receive the saving priesthood ordinances. You may have been baptized and confirmed for the dead. Worthy members of the Church who have been endowed can receive the endowment and the sealing ordinances on behalf of people who have died without having received those ordinances themselves.
Elder Enrique R. Falabella of the Seventy shared the following experience. As you read it, mark why he and his wife felt sad and why they felt 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 be 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?
Study Doctrine and Covenants 132:19–21, looking for blessings the Lord promises to those who are true to the new and everlasting covenant of marriage. In your scripture study journal, write your thoughts about these verses.
As you study these verses, the following information may help you: The word abide means to accept or continue, so the phrases “abide in my covenant” (verse 19) and “abide my law” (verse 21) mean to remain true to the Lord’s covenant and law. You may want to mark these phrases.
Doctrine and Covenants 132:19 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).
From Doctrine and Covenants 132:19–21, we learn the following principles:
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.
Consider the following example. Answer the question according to your understanding of Doctrine and Covenants 132:19–21.
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 will happen to their marriage after they die?
Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: What do you think a husband and wife must do to abide in the covenant of marriage? (As you answer this question, think about their relationship with each other as well as their relationship with God.)
Read Doctrine and Covenants 132:22–25, giving special attention to the Lord’s description of the “gate” and the “way” that lead to exaltation. The word strait in verse 22 means narrow or exacting, allowing for no wandering off course.
In your scripture study journal, draw a picture of the gates and pathways described in Doctrine and Covenants 132:22–25, and then answer the following questions:
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 22 and 25, many fail to enter the narrow way that leads to exaltation because they fail to accept Jesus Christ and abide by His law, which includes eternal marriage.
From these verses we learn that to obtain exaltation and eternal lives, we must know Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, become like Them, and abide in Their law. In Doctrine and Covenants 132:29–33, we see an example of this principle. We read 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.
Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
Why is the law of 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?
Prepare now to be worthy to enter the temple and be married for eternity so you can enjoy the blessings that Heavenly Father has prepared for you.
This week you will study Doctrine and Covenants 132:34–66 with your teacher. Those verses address the doctrine of plural marriage. With your teacher, you will discuss the Lord’s standard for marriage today—that “marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 129). You will also discuss the Lord’s command at certain times that some of His people live the law of plural marriage (see Jacob 2:27, 30). You will learn about the Lord’s command to live the law of plural marriage in the latter days, as part of the “restitution of all things” (Acts 3:21), and about His later command to cease that practice (see Official Declaration 1).
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Doctrine and Covenants 132:1–33 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: