Friday, October 24, 2014

Mormonism’s “Celestial Marriage” and Baptism for the Dead

Celestial Marriage: This is part of the whole polygamy doctrine. A man must be married in the temple in order to get to celestial glory and his own planet, and the couple must have children.

The issue of celestial marriage began with D&C section 132 where polygamy was first introduced as a doctrine. Ex-Mormon author Ed Decker has a good explanation: “The key to meriting the highest degree of glory within the celestial grouping is the ability to procreate. In each case, it will be one man and as many wives as possible to advance the massive numbers of offspring necessary to people that new man/god’s future world, over which he will be the god. Obviously, he will be very busy raising up his ‘increase.’ Remember that while each woman must be just as pure and worthy as each man, the power and authority and rights of godhood rest with the man, not the woman. One point that might help clarify the situation is that, even today, many single LDS women are sealed to LDS leaders to be their wives in the next stage of eternal progression. Many of them do this in order not to be a servant (unmarried) in the celestial kingdom. It must be a real hardship to have done everything else so perfectly to be awarded a place in the celestial glory, yet fail in that one major area of marriage and have to sit out eternity on the sidelines.” (Complete Handbook on Mormonism, p.129 )

Mormon Bruce R. McConkie goes into much more detail: “Marriages performed in the temples for time and eternity, by virtue of the sealing keys restored by Elijah, are called celestial marriages. The participating parties become husband and wife in this mortal life, and if after their marriage they keep all the terms and conditions of this order of the priesthood, they continue on as husband and wife in the celestial kingdom of God. If the family unit continues, then by virtue of that fact the members of the family have gained eternal life (exaltation), the greatest of all the gifts of God, for by definition exaltation consists in the continuation of the family unit in eternity. Those so inheriting are the sons and daughters of God, the members of his family, those who have made their callings and elections sure, They are joint-heirs with Christ to all that the Father hath, and they receive the fulness of the glory of the Father, becoming gods in their own right. (D. & C. 132; Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 2, pp. 58-99.) Baptism is the gate to the celestial kingdom; celestial marriage is the gate to an exaltation in the highest heaven within the celestial world. (D. & C. 131:1-4.) To gain salvation after baptism it is necessary to keep the commandments of God and endure to the end (2 Ne. 31:17-21); to gain exaltation after celestial marriage the same continued devotion and righteousness is required. Those who have been married in the temples for eternity know that the ceremony itself expressly conditions the receipt of all promised blessings upon the subsequent faithfulness of the husband and wife…. Celestial marriage is a holy and an eternal ordinance; as an order of the priesthood, it has the name the new and everlasting covenant of marriage. Adam was the first one on this earth to enter into this type of union, and it has been the Lord's order in all ages when the fulness of the gospel has been on earth. Its importance in the plan of salvation and exaltation cannot be overestimated. The most important things that any member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ever does in this world are: 1. To marry the right person, in the right place, by the right authority; and 2. To keep the covenant made in connection with this holy and perfect order of matrimony — thus assuring the obedient persons of an inheritance of exaltation in the celestial kingdom.” (Mormon Doctrine, 2d ed. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966], 118.)

Christian response: Scripture makes it plain that God’s intention for marriage is one man and one woman (Genesis 2:24), so polygamy on earth or in heaven would be contrary to God’s revealed will.  However, Jesus also told us that there would not be marriage in heaven (Matthew 22:30), which means there is no such thing as marriage for eternity.

Baptism for the dead. Based on misinterpretation of 1 Cor. 15:29. A week following the dedication of the Kirtland temple, Elijah (based on Malachi 4:5-6) supposedly appeared to Joseph and Oliver in the temple and gave them the keys of sealing power, so that all ordinances for the dead could be validly performed.

Fawn Brodie’s excellent study of Joseph Smith explains what this entails: “The temple mysteries were closely bound up with Joseph's new theories about the nature of heaven and hell. After death, he said, all souls went to the world of spirits...where they remained in a not unpleasant imprisonment until the Judgment Day. Only those who had joined the true church could clamber immediately up the road to godhood. Those who had missed the chance to hear the gospel on earth could be freed from the world of spirits by the good offices of any Mormon. To liberate a dead relative or friend one simply acted as proxy in the ordinances of baptism and ‘sealing.’ In this manner not only relatives but also all the heroic figures of the past could be released from spiritual bondage, and every Mormon was granted the opportunity of going through the oddly exciting temple ritual not once but hundreds of times.” (No Man Knows My History, p.282)

Christian Response: Hebrews 9:27 says quite plainly, …it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.” There is no second chance to hear the gospel and be baptized; once a person dies, he is immediately subject to judgment.

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