Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Monopoly on Eternity?

My wife (she's a non-member) said something that struck me last night. She said something about wanting to be married to me forever. Apart from the obvious psychosis she must be suffering to say something like that, it got me thinking. For her, this phrase doesn't have the same meaning as it does for me. But why do Mormons assume that other faiths don't believe in eternal marriage? They may not have an explicit doctrine like we do, but they assume that if they go to heaven and their family is also there, that they will all be together. That seems like a reasonable assumption to me. Why would God split people up in the after-life if they are being rewarded? Or in other words, why do Mormons think we have a monopoly on the whole Family Can Be Together Forever idea? Is it just because we are the only ones to codify it?

5 comments:

m said...

i think it's mostly that most other christian religions don't believe that we'll be able to spiritually bang our spouses and create spiritual babies in the afterlife. in mormonism it's not about the husband/wife relationship, but about the progeny.

J. Stapley said...

I have several Catholic friends who believe that they will reside in heaven "together".

NFlanders said...

That's a good point, m.
However, when the missionaries talk to investigators or when we showed the "Families Forever" or whatever it was called video on the mission, it was more about being with existing family members than creating new ones. I agree that the prospect of progeny is a big draw for existing members, but it probably seems weird and a little freaky to non-members.

m said...

i'm not talking about how the church's PR dept. currently portrays it, but rather what the idea of eternal marriage is rooted in. reread d&c 132 and you'll see that love really has nothing to do w/ it. here are some excerpts from the section:

30 Abraham received promises concerning his seed, and of the fruit of his loins—from whose loins ye are, namely, my servant Joseph—which were to continue so long as they were in the world; and as touching Abraham and his seed, out of the world they should continue; both in the world and out of the world should they continue as innumerable as the stars; or, if ye were to count the sand upon the seashore ye could not number them.

31 This promise is yours also, because ye are of Abraham, and the promise was made unto Abraham; and by this law is the continuation of the works of my Father, wherein he glorifieth himself.

32 Go ye, therefore, and do the works of Abraham; enter ye into my law and ye shall be saved.

Mike said...

Well, I think there are a few reasons.
First- other churches that actually do have laid out doctrine specifically denounce the idea of being together as family units. A lot of Church members believe that other Christians believe in eternal families and that we will be with our familes in family units- but no other church expressly claims this, and most specifically denounce it if it is discussed.

But M really gets at the deeper issue (though in different terms than I would use)
It isn't just- "well ok if you are both good and both go to Heaven then why wouldn't you see each other there and be together?" Mormon's have a different perception of the idea of many mansions and the possiblity of inheriting all that our Father has. To get to heaven and live in God's presence (the celestial kingdom) you have to make certain covenants, do what you can to be good, and accept Jesus as your savior. Pretty simmilar belief to other Christians. But- to not only get to live in God's presence but to be like him we've got to make bigger covenants with him and with our spouse and we both have to live up to it together.
So both being there isn't really enough.
I suppose it is the difference in our conception of exaltation. We believe that others aren't married forever because our conception of being married forever doesn't mean just hanging out- it means doing things that we can't do on our own. It is impossible to become a heavenly father without a heavenly mother- and vice versa.