Lesson 10: Eternal Marriage

The Latter-day Saint Woman: Basic Manual for Women, Part A, (2000), 66–74


The purpose of this lesson is to help us plan and prepare to receive the covenant of eternal marriage.

Why We Should Marry in the Temple

Life does not end at death, nor was marriage intended to end at death. But marriage by civil officers or by Church officers outside of the temple is for this life only. Eternal marriage in the temple is the only marriage that will continue after death. Exaltation in the highest level of the celestial kingdom comes only to those who make and keep the covenant of eternal marriage.

After we have been resurrected we will go to one of three kingdoms of glory. We must make righteous decisions, continually repent, and follow Heavenly Father’s commandments throughout our lives to enter into the highest kingdom. (See Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness [1969], 243–44.) One of the decisions we make is to be married in the temple for eternity. Those who make and keep the covenant of eternal marriage will be united with their families for eternity.

Joseph Smith taught, “Except a man and his wife enter into an everlasting covenant and be married for eternity, … they will not have any children after the resurrection” (History of the Church, 5:391).

“Exaltation is available only to righteous members of the Church of Jesus Christ; only to those who accept the gospel; only to those who have their endowments in holy temples of God and have been sealed for eternity and who then continue to live righteously throughout their lives” (Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness [1969], 246).

  • Why should we want our families to be sealed in the temple? What must we do after being sealed in the temple in order to stay married for eternity?

The Blessings of Eternal Marriage

President Lorenzo Snow taught: “When two Latter-day Saints are united together in marriage, promises are made to them concerning their offspring that reach from eternity to eternity. They are promised that they shall have the power and the right to govern and control and administer salvation and exaltation and glory to their offspring, worlds without end. And what offspring they do not have here, undoubtedly there will be opportunities to have them hereafter. What else could man wish? A man and a woman, in the other life, having celestial bodies, free from sickness and disease, glorified and beautified beyond description, standing in the midst of their posterity, governing and controlling them, administering life, exaltation and glory worlds without end” (Deseret News, 13 Mar. 1897; quoted by Spencer W. Kimball in The Miracle of Forgiveness [1969], 246).

  • Display visual 10-b, “A sealing room in the Washington D.C. Temple.”

What glorious promises! If we are sealed for eternity and continue to live worthily, we shall be families forever. Our earthly families will remain permanently ours. And we can also continue to increase, adding spirit children to our posterity.

  • How do you feel knowing that you can receive these blessings?

Brother Bo G. Wennerlund of Sweden expressed these thoughts after he and his wife were sealed in the Swiss Temple:

“I shall never forget the joy and happiness and determination to live the gospel that filled my soul after that first visit to the temple. I gained knowledge and insights relating to my eternal destination that I had never dreamed of before. The highlight was when our family was sealed together for time and all eternity.

“I looked into my wife’s eyes across the altar and saw tears of happiness rolling down her cheeks. I had loved her before, but never so much as from that moment. She, a daughter of God, was the mother of my children! It seemed as if I had never understood that until then. Afterward our prayers were more meaningful, we loved the Lord more than ever, and we loved to serve him.

“We continue to return to the temple because we love the work and the spirit there. Every time we return we are reminded of the covenants we have made, and this is the strongest motivation for us to continue to live the gospel way of life” (“I Had Loved Her Before … ,” Ensign, Aug. 1974, 62).

We should live so that we will be worthy to receive the blessings of an eternal marriage. We should be willing to make great sacrifices to obtain them.

  • Invite those sisters who have been sealed in the temple to express their feelings about eternal marriage and eternal families.

How to Prepare for Eternal Marriage

Before we go to the temple, we must have a personal interview with our bishop or branch president and stake or district president. In this interview, our leaders ask us certain questions about our worthiness to enter the temple.

  • Display a poster listing the kinds of the questions asked in this interview (see Gospel Principles chapter 38), or refer to the information on the chalkboard.

  • If we are not living the requirements to enter the temple, what can we do to correct this? What sacrifices could we make for a temple marriage?

We need to keep the goal of temple marriage constantly before us. One way to remind ourselves and our children of the importance of living worthily is to hang a picture in our home of the nearest temple.

  • Display visual 10-c, “The Preston England Temple.”

As mothers, we can help our children see the importance of temple marriage. We can teach them to have faith in God. We should encourage our daughters to seek good husbands who will lead them righteously through the power of the priesthood. A man of God is a great comfort to his wife, especially during life’s troubles and trials. It is also important to teach our sons to look for good, worthy wives who will support them in the Church and teach true principles to their children.

One young lady from Central America felt she was very much in love with a man who was not a member of the Church. She had tried to introduce the gospel to him, but he was not interested. She was about to commit herself to marry him when she received a long-distance call from some close friends. They stressed the importance of going through life linked to a man who would support her through trials and take her with him to exaltation beyond the grave. She listened, carefully considering the consequences of her decision. The encouragement was enough to help her decide not to marry this man. She was very grateful because she later found a man who was worthy to take her to the temple.

  • What should we teach our children to look for when selecting a mate?

We need to teach our children that if they truly want a righteous husband or wife, they must be righteous and worthy themselves.

  • Why should we begin preparing ourselves now for temple marriage?

Those of us who are not yet married or who are already married civilly can prepare to be sealed in the temple to our husbands. If we have children, we can have them sealed to us. But we should not procrastinate this important day. Once we have heard and accepted the gospel, we should do all in our power to receive the temple ordinances while on earth. (See Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness [1969], 246.)

“Even though many young people do not at this time have temples in their own communities, there are generally temples within a reasonable distance. …

“It is our earnest hope … that you would plan your honeymoon so that you could go to one of these nearest temples to be sealed for all eternity so that your children will be permanently yours and that you will be permanently their parents” (Spencer W. Kimball, “The Marriage Decision,” Ensign, Feb. 1975, 4).

Some people, because of circumstances beyond their control, may not be able to enter the temple in this life. It is comforting to know that they can receive the ordinance of sealing for eternity vicariously in the temple.

  • Ask the assigned class member to give a short review of the two subsections in Gospel Principles chapter 40 (see “Teacher Preparation” at the end of this lesson).

We Should Be Willing to Sacrifice

The Lord knows how greatly we desire something by the sacrifices we are willing to make in order to get it. If we truly want an eternal marriage, we will be willing to sacrifice for it.

Brother and Sister Vaha‘i Tonga of the Tongan Islands sacrificed in order to go to the temple. “It was not easy for a Tongan Saint to save enough money for such a journey. It took months of preparation and saving, but finally the money was gathered and plans were made.”

However, the mission president came to Brother Tonga and asked him to contribute toward a chapel to be built in his branch all the money he had saved to go to the temple. If he did not do this, it would be two more years before a chapel could be built there. Brother Tonga discussed the situation with his wife.

“It was difficult to give up their dream of seeing the new temple,” but the next day they gave the money to the mission president. “That night [Brother Tonga] … said [to his wife]: ‘Honey, the Lord has promised us through our leaders that if we keep his commandments he will prepare some way that we will be able to go to the dedication [of the New Zealand Temple]. We have cows, pigs, and some horses, besides furniture and mats. Let’s sell it all so that we may be able to receive the blessings of the dedication.’”

Brother Tonga and his wife tried to sell their livestock on Thursday and Friday, but no one would buy. Time was getting short. The following Monday the ship bound for New Zealand was to leave. Brother Tonga related:

“‘On Saturday morning three families came who needed some cows, pigs, and other things, and we received between $500 and $600 in about half an hour.’” They now had the money and would be able to go.

Brother Tonga and his wife were the first couple to be sealed in the New Zealand Temple. But the story does not end there. Brother Tonga said:

“‘When my wife and I were sealed to each other, something touched my heart. Our children were not with us, and tears came to my eyes. When we arrived home I promised our four children that if they would help, we could go to the temple together. I thought to myself, “How can you say, be a good boy or be a good girl, if I am not sealed to them in the temple?” I had the feeling that they were not mine.

“‘For two years we sacrificed almost everything. I divided my pay from school for each one of us, and we saved that. But we paid our tithing and fast offerings. We were left with 70¢ … a month for two years. We lived on what we could grow and gather. … My children could not buy candy or shoes or go to movies because they were saving to go to the temple. …

“‘To save on transportation costs I also rode my bicycle to district meetings … seven miles away. … Most of our district meetings began at 6:00 A.M. so I had to leave home very early in the morning.

“‘When the deadline came for getting our money in, … the two oldest boys said they had about $235. After saving for two years the little one [who was five years old] had saved $65. I had saved almost $1,300 for my family.

“‘Through sacrifice we were able to take our family to New Zealand to be sealed in the temple. We had to do some extra things to accomplish our goals, but it was a great blessing to us.’” (See “We Lived on 70 Cents a Month for the Temple,” Ensign, Feb. 1976, 30–31.)

Conclusion

When we are sealed through temple marriage and live worthily, we will be families forever. In the next life we can continue to increase, adding spirit children to our families. If we have not had a temple marriage, we should prepare ourselves through righteous living for this eternal blessing.

Challenge

Discuss the importance of eternal marriage with your family. Make a goal to attend the temple. Place a picture of a temple in your home to remind you.

Teacher Preparation

Before presenting this lesson:

  1. 1.

    Study Gospel Principles chapter 38, “Eternal Marriage,” and chapter 40, “Temple Work and Family History.”

  2. 2.

    Study Doctrine and Covenants 132:14–20.

  3. 3.

    Prepare the poster suggested in the lesson or write the information on the chalkboard.

  4. 4.

    Assign a class member to give a brief review of two subsections of Gospel Principles chapter 40: “Temple Ordinances Seal Families Together Forever” and “Family History—How We Begin Helping Our Ancestors.”

  5. 5.

    Assign class members to present any stories, scriptures, or quotations you wish.