“There is not a young man in our community who would not be willing to travel from here to England to be married right,” said President Brigham Young,“ if he understood things as they are; there is not a young woman in our community, who loves the Gospel and wishes its blessings, that would be married in any other way; they would live unmarried until they could be married as they should be, if they lived until they were as old as Sarah before she had Isaac born to her. … I wish we all understood this in the light that heaven understands it.”
The Lord has told us in section 132 of the Doctrine and Covenants [D&C 132] that unless we enter into celestial marriage, we cannot reach the highest degree of glory in the celestial kingdom. He also makes clear what will happen to those who never receive the blessings of a temple marriage either in this life or by someone else’s temple work. The Lord has said:
“Therefore, if a man marry him a wife in the world, and he marry her not by me nor by my word, and he covenant with her so long as he is in the world and she with him, their covenant and marriage are not of force when they are dead, and when they are out of the world; therefore, they are not bound by any law when they are out of the world.
“Therefore, when they are out of the world they neither marry nor are given in marriage; but are appointed angels in heaven; which angels are ministering servants, to minister for those who are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory.” (D&C 132:15–16.)
The decision to marry is without question one of the most important decisions you’ll make in this life. It is important to understand that the family is the fundamental unit in the gospel plan. The whole Church centers around the family for its benefit and furtherance, both in this life and in the next. Being married in the temple and living the gospel are the Lord’s way of achieving this family togetherness.
Most ordinances of the Church can be performed anywhere with the proper authority, but some are so sacred that they are performed in temples. So it is with celestial marriage.
When you enter the temple, you will receive instructions and learn the important events of our eternal journey. You’ll learn about the creation of this world and about our first parents being placed in the Garden of Eden. You’ll learn how Satan tempted Adam and Eve and how they were cast out of the garden and out of the presence of God into our world, with its opposition in all things. Here they learned about the joys as well as the discomforts of life.
After Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden and placed in the world where we now live, they were taught the gospel, and they entered into covenants of obedience with God, just as you will in the temple. How we keep these covenants determines the nature of the life we will enjoy after this mortal experience.
In the eternal world there are kingdoms of glory. You will inherit one of these, depending on your performance in this life. The aim of the gospel and the purpose of temple marriage are not only to keep us together, but also to make us eligible for Heavenly Father’s highest reward for us—exaltation in the celestial kingdom. This kingdom is symbolized by the celestial room.
Exaltation in the celestial kingdom is important because only there can we continue to enjoy the family relationship that we’ve established here. It is the part of our eternal journey that the gospel is preparing us for. Your marriage in the temple will be a covenant with each other and with your Father in heaven, because you will promise to be true to him as well as to stay true to each other as husband and wife. When you kneel at the altar in the temple, you will be sealed by the power of the holy priesthood. This marriage can then become an eternal union that will survive death. This power binds wives to husbands and children to parents in a happy union that will last forever. The wonderful part of this plan is that besides being together, you will share a love that will continue to develop.
President David O. McKay said, “Young men and young women who would live the happiest lives would do well to prepare themselves to be worthy of that form of marriage which God has ordained—the union of a man and woman worthy to have their marriage … in the temple of the Most High.”