Presidents of the Church Speak on Temple Marriage


“All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made and entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, of him who is anointed, both as well for time and for all eternity … are of no efficacy, virtue, or force in and after the resurrection from the dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end have an end when men are dead.

“Behold, mine house is a house of order, saith the Lord God, and not a house of confusion.

“Will I accept of an offering, saith the Lord, that is not made in my name?

“Or will I receive at your hands that which I have not appointed?

“And will I appoint unto you, saith the Lord, except it be by law, even as I and my Father ordained unto you, before the world was?

“I am the Lord thy God; and I give unto you this commandment—that no man shall come unto the Father but by me or by my word, which is my law, saith the Lord.

“And everything that is in the world, whether it be ordained of men, by thrones, or principalities, or powers, or things of name, whatsoever they may be, that are not by me or by my word, saith the Lord, shall be thrown down, and shall not remain after men are dead, neither in nor after the resurrection, saith the Lord your God.” Doctrine and Covenants 132:7–13 [D&C 132:7–13].

“Except a man and his wife enter into an everlasting covenant and be married for eternity, while in this probation [or through work for the dead], by the power and authority of the Holy Priesthood, they will cease to increase when they die; that is, they will not have any children after the resurrection. But those who are married by the power and authority of the priesthood in this life, and continue without committing the sin against the Holy Ghost, will continue to increase and have children in the celestial glory.” Joseph Smith

“There is not a young man in our community who would not be willing to travel from here to England to be married right, 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. Many of our brethren have married off their children without taking this into consideration, and thinking it a matter of little importance. I wish we all understood this in the light that heaven understands it.

“How is it with you sisters? Do you distinguish between a man of God and a man of the world? It is one of the strangest things that happens in my existence, to think that any man or woman can love a being that will not receive the truth of heaven. The love this Gospel produces is far above the love of woman; it is the love of God—the love of eternity—of eternal lives.” Brigham Young

“Why has the Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith, in this dispensation, that great and glorious principle of baptism for the dead, the principle of turning the hearts of the children to the fathers, and of the hearts of the fathers to the children; that the fathers could not be made perfect without the children; that the children could not obtain a fulness of happiness and joy, nor become perfect, without the fathers? Why did he teach us the principle of eternal union of man and wife? Because God knew that we were his children here, to remain his children forever and ever, and that we were just as truly individuals, and that our individuality was as identical as that of the Son of God, and would therefore continue so, worlds without end. So that the man receiving his wife by the power of God, for time and for all eternity, would have the right to claim her and she to claim her husband in the world to come. Neither would be changed, except from mortality to immortality, neither would be other than himself or herself; but they will have their identity in the world to come, precisely as they exercise their individuality and enjoy their identity here. God has revealed this principle, and it has its bearing upon the evidence that we possess of the actual, literal resurrection of the body, just as it is, and as the prophets have declared it in the Book of Mormon. Now, that is the faith of the Latter-day Saints, and that is the doctrine of this Church as taught in the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, the Bible, and the Pearl of Great Price; and we are willing to stand by it; and our children and our children’s children after us, to the latest generation, will abide this truth, for it is founded on revelation from God.” Joseph F. Smith

“I believe that no worthy young Latter-day Saint man or woman should spare any reasonable effort to come to a house of the Lord to begin life together. The marriage vows taken in these hallowed places and the sacred covenants entered into for time and all eternity are proof against many of the temptations of life that tend to break homes and destroy happiness.”

“The blessings and promises that come from beginning life together, for time and eternity, in a temple of the Lord, cannot be obtained in any other way and worthy young Latter-day Saint men and women who so begin life together find that their eternal partnership under the everlasting covenant becomes the foundation upon which are built peace, happiness, virtue, love, and all of the other eternal verities of life, here and hereafter.” Heber J. Grant

“To look upon marriage as a mere contract that may be entered into at pleasure in response to a romantic whim or for selfish purposes and severed at the first difficulty or misunderstanding that may arise, is an evil meriting severe condemnation.”

“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.” David O. McKay

“Marriage is a principle that, when entered into, presents more challenges and blessings than any other. … Nothing will prepare mankind for exaltation in the kingdom of God as readily as faithfulness to the marriage covenant. Through this covenant, perhaps more than any other, we accomplish the perfect degree of the divine will. If properly received, this covenant can be the means by which man gains his greatest happiness. The greatest honors in this life and in the life to come—honor, dominion, and power in perfect love—are blessings that flow from it. These blessings of eternal glory are held in reserve for those who are willing to abide in this and all other covenants of the gospel.”

“The Lord has given to the Church definite instructions in relation to this sacred principle which is so essential to the happiness of man. …

There is in the Church a ceremony that gives to the covenanting parties blessings which do not end with death. Marriage as understood by Latter-day Saints is a covenant ordained to be everlasting.”

“Marriage is considered by a great many people as merely a civil contract or agreement between a man and woman that they will live together, ‘until death do you part.’

“It is [in fact] an eternal principle upon which the very existence of mankind depends. The Lord gave this law of marriage to man in the beginning of the world as part of the gospel law. In the gospel plan, marriage should endure forever.”

“No ordinance connected with the gospel of Jesus Christ is of greater importance, of more solemn and sacred nature, and more necessary to the eternal joy of man than marriage in the house of the Lord.” Joseph Fielding Smith

[illustrations] Illustrated by Jerry Harston