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JAHS

If Temple Marriages Are Eternal Why Is It Ok For A Widow To Marry Again?

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This was a question someone recently asked me. Civil marriages are an untill death do you part situation and if the husband dies so does the marriage and the widow is free to marry again. If temple sealings are eternal and we have promised complete fidelity to our eternal spouse why is it OK for a widow to marry again and have sexual relations with her new husband?

I understand that usually a second marriage can be performed in the temple, but the sealing is for time only and the woman is still sealed to her first husband and will be with him in the eternities and any children she has with her second husband are sealed to her and her first husband. But if the marriage is eternal why does the act of death make it OK for the woman to marry again and have sexual relations with the second husband?

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Because it would be cruel to make her be alone the rest of her life?

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This was a question someone recently asked me. Civil marriages are an untill death do you part situation and if the husband dies so does the marriage and the widow is free to marry again. If temple sealings are eternal and we have promised complete fidelity to our eternal spouse why is it OK for a widow to marry again and have sexual relations with her new husband?

I understand that usually a second marriage can be performed in the temple, but the sealing is for time only and the woman is still sealed to her first husband and will be with him in the eternities and any children she has with her second husband are sealed to her and her first husband. But if the marriage is eternal why does the act of death make it OK for the woman to marry again and have sexual relations with the second husband?

i suppose because being legally and lawfully married is the standard for chastity. The widow can still be chaste in a marriage with her new husband while being sealed to her deceased husband. Having sex with her second husband in this world doesn't mean she isn't faithful in the sealing covenant with her first husband.

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Because it would be cruel to make her be alone the rest of her life?

Then wouldn't it also be cruel to not offer same sex sealings?

Don't make this a thread about gay marriage.

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i suppose because being legally and lawfully married is the standard for chastity. The widow can still be chaste in a marriage with her new husband while being sealed to her deceased husband. Having sex with her second husband in this world doesn't mean she isn't faithful in the sealing covenant with her first husband.

Thats the best explanation I think I have ever heard. It seems that it could be classified as a type of temporal polyandry.
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Boy, the double standard is bad enough as it is. Can you imagine if the Church began preaching that women could not remarry post divorce or death of spouse!?

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i suppose because being legally and lawfully married is the standard for chastity. The widow can still be chaste in a marriage with her new husband while being sealed to her deceased husband. Having sex with her second husband in this world doesn't mean she isn't faithful in the sealing covenant with her first husband.

In the eyes of the law and the rest of the world this makes sense. And according to the church a woman can be considered chaste so long as she only has sexual relations with her lawfully and legally married spouse. But having been endowed and sealed in the temple aren't we required to live a higher law where in the eternal sense she is still sealed and married to her first husband and shouldn't she therefore maintain complete fidelity to him only? It would almost seem to make more sense that anyone sealed to an eternal companion in the temple should not ever get married again nor have sexual realtions with anyone else. I understand how lonely that might be for a young widow but I am just trying to make some sense out of it. If a young widow woman marries a second husband and spends the rest of her life with him having and raising children is she really going to want to give him up to be with the first husband?

Edited by JAHS
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Then wouldn't it also be cruel to not offer same sex sealings?

No
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In the eyes of the law and the rest of the world this makes sense. And according to the church a woman can be considered chaste so long as she only has sexual relations with her lawfully and legally married spouse.

That is the current practice, however it has not always been the law in the church. It used to be within church practice for a woman (and man) to have sexual relations with a "spouse" to whom they were not legally married, but only sealed by someone in the church (in or out of the temple).

But having been endowed and sealed in the temple aren't we required to live a higher law where in the eternal sense she is still sealed and married to her first husband and shouldn't she therefore maintain complete fidelity to him only? It would almost seem to make more sense that anyone sealed to an eternal companion in the temple should not ever get married again nor have sexual realtions with anyone else. I understand how lonely that might be for a young widow but I am just trying to make some sense out of it. If a young widow woman marries a second husband and spends the rest of her life with him having and raising children is she really going to want to give him up to be with the first husband?

Maybe she won't have to give him up.

Joseph Smith and Brigham Young didn't see anything wrong with becoming sealed to divorced women, widows and even married women.

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But having been endowed and sealed in the temple aren't we required to live a higher law where in the eternal sense she is still sealed and married to her first husband and shouldn't she therefore maintain complete fidelity to him only?

No. I think you're reading something into the law of chastity that just isn't there. My memory may very well be faulty, but I don't recall anything in the scriptures or from church leaders that would lead me to believe otherwise.

Why do you think that the fidelity you describe here is living a "higher law"?

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That is the current practice, however it has not always been the law in the church. It used to be within church practice for a woman (and man) to have sexual relations with a "spouse" to whom they were not legally married, but only sealed by someone in the church (in or out of the temple).

That may be more of a culture thing. Common-law marriages used to me more common and accepted than they are now. I don't think the spirit of the law has changed in this case.

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No. I think you're reading something into the law of chastity that just isn't there. My memory may very well be faulty, but I don't recall anything in the scriptures or from church leaders that would lead me to believe otherwise.

Why do you think that the fidelity you describe here is living a "higher law"?

The "higher law" being the covenants that we make in the temple compared to those we make at baptism when becoming a member of the church. This question comes from a person who just can't accept the fact that if he should die it is OK for his wife to have sexual relations with another man. To him it seems that it would break the covenants he and his wife made in the temple.

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That may be more of a culture thing. Common-law marriages used to me more common and accepted than they are now. I don't think the spirit of the law has changed in this case.

The culture of the early church was certainly a culture unto itself. Polygamy in all its forms was illegal in the United States which might be why illegal marriages were allowed.

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The "higher law" being the covenants that we make in the temple compared to those we make at baptism when becoming a member of the church. This question comes from a person who just can't accept the fact that if he should die it is OK for his wife to have sexual relations with another man. To him it seems that it would break the covenants he and his wife made in the temple.

Does he feel that should his wife die that he should not remarry, either?

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Does he feel that should his wife die that he should not remarry, either?

Yes. Which should end the problem for him if he and his wife both promise each other to not marry again if one dies.

But he still questions the doctrine about this.

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The "higher law" being the covenants that we make in the temple compared to those we make at baptism when becoming a member of the church. This question comes from a person who just can't accept the fact that if he should die it is OK for his wife to have sexual relations with another man. To him it seems that it would break the covenants he and his wife made in the temple.

No, that's not true. You covenant not to have sexual relations with anyone to whom you are not legally and lawfully wed. If you legally and lawfully wed another person after your spouse dies, you are still keeping that covenant.

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Yes. Which should end the problem for him if he and his wife both promise each other to not marry again if one dies.

But he still questions the doctrine about this.

Very interesting.

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Yes. Which should end the problem for him if he and his wife both promise each other to not marry again if one dies.

But he still questions the doctrine about this.

As Mary Poppins observed, this is a pie-crust promise: easily made; easily broken.

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In the eyes of the law and the rest of the world this makes sense. And according to the church a woman can be considered chaste so long as she only has sexual relations with her lawfully and legally married spouse. But having been endowed and sealed in the temple aren't we required to live a higher law where in the eternal sense she is still sealed and married to her first husband and shouldn't she therefore maintain complete fidelity to him only? It would almost seem to make more sense that anyone sealed to an eternal companion in the temple should not ever get married again nor have sexual realtions with anyone else. I understand how lonely that might be for a young widow but I am just trying to make some sense out of it. If a young widow woman marries a second husband and spends the rest of her life with him having and raising children is she really going to want to give him up to be with the first husband?

The higher law of chastity, so far, is what we covenant to do in the temple—legally and lawfully married. I believe eternal and celestial love transcends any of the problems we can imagine (and obviously those engaged in such relationships don’t see these as problems) and makes them inconsequential in comparison to teh sealing blessings.

I think many of the problems are developmental in nature: there are big differences between possessing someone, belonging to each other, and becoming one. I believe the last attitude solves all the problems.

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That is the current practice, however it has not always been the law in the church. It used to be within church practice for a woman (and man) to have sexual relations with a "spouse" to whom they were not legally married, but only sealed by someone in the church (in or out of the temple).

I always had the sense that what constitutes "legally and lawfully married" included any church-condoned covenant (whether secular or religious).

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Yes. Which should end the problem for him if he and his wife both promise each other to not marry again if one dies.

But he still questions the doctrine about this.

Personally, I think such promises are based in fear and insecurity--very understandable of course, but likely to dissipate as marriage covenants are faithfully kept, the husband an wife master their individual and united spiritual power, and experience teaches them to follow the Lord's will as unforseen situations arise in life.

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If you look at it plainly (depending on how you understand the history of the church), heavenly Father through Joseph Smith provided the opportunity for women to have multiple husbands and for men to have multiple wives. Maybe there is something about this that has to do with bringing everyone into one.

I personally prefer to have the love of my life and eternity be in a circle of love of only us two, but what do I know?

Also, looked at plainly, when people say whose kids belong to whom, as I understand, we will all be adults in adult relationships, I don't see a bunch of kids hanging around the house when there is a multi-metaverse out there to explore and create with. They'll be with THEIR spouses.

My earthly father has thus far broken every possible covenant as taught by the church and according to the church his destiny doesn't look too bright according to 'doctrine' (except for the infinite mercy of the Savior).

But there is no eternity in which he will un-become my father. He already begat me, that happened in the '70s. It's an event in the past, and it's not like I'm going to get amnesia and forget who he is. I'm always going to go to him for affection and wisdom and fatherhood.

Hm, I'm assuming that your friend's worry about who is having sex after the death of one spouse extends to himself and he plans to not re-marry again in the event of his wife's death before him? :acute:

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Maybe that's why it says in the bible there is no marriage in heaven. Won't we all be in our thirties? I heard that once. I believe we'll know each other in heaven.

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... It used to be within church practice for a woman (and man) to have sexual relations with a "spouse" to whom they were not legally married, but only sealed by someone in the church (in or out of the temple).

Can you cite the source for this "fact"?

Edited by rpn
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This was several decades ago, but there was an article in the Ensign on this issue. Basically he compared it to the joining of two handcarts where each spouse was deceased. They need each other's strength to get thru this earthly journey, even if it is only temporary.

Nothing wrong with it at all.

One other point. It is possible that she can change her mind, get a temple divorce from her deceased spouse, but it is difficult. Requires FP permission.

Edited by cdowis
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