I recently responded to someone online who wrote: “I must take issue with your church’s teaching on celestial marriage. It is written: “…they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like the angels in heaven.” [Mark 12:25] Sorry, but either the Bible is right or the LDS church is right; it can’t be both.”
For the reader who is unfamiliar with our doctrine, the LDS church believes that if a person is married in a temple, by one holding the priesthood “sealing” power, that marriage will continue after this life and for all eternity and allow them to receive the highest blessings of eternity. Here is my response.
“Whether or not you accept LDS doctrinal beliefs is up to you but I would like to at least try to clarify where they come from if you don’t mind reading this. I apologize for the length but I think it’s necessary to explain our doctrine.
In Matthew 16, after Peter answered Christ that he was the Son of God, Jesus gave him a special power. He said, “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt lose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matt 16:19)
So, what if Peter bound a marriage on earth? Would it still be bound in heaven? It must be, or what good is such power? What else would be bound here and there?
Let me ask this another way. Is gender eternal? When God said in Genesis 1:26, “Let *us* make man in *our* image, after *our* likeness,” whose image was Eve made in since we know that Jesus is a male? We believe in the LDS faith that we not only have a Father in heaven, but a Mother also, else where would women be patterned from and what purpose would there be for gender in the resurrection?
Are we the “children” of God as Paul taught in Romans 8:16? Certainly. Sons and daughters. God challenged Job to recall his pre-mortal life asking him where he was at the creation of the earth when the “sons of God” shouted for joy (Job 38:7). If there were sons, certainly there were daughters as well, else there would be no purpose in mentioning sons to Job.
In the LDS faith, we believe we are all children of God that lived with him before this life and came to earth for a special purpose to gain a body and be tested outside his presence. Part of this experience as children, is to learn to be spiritual adults and tap into the righteousness in Christ that will allow us to be “joint-heirs” with Christ (Romans 8:16 again).
So to your scripture on neither marrying or giving in marriage in heaven, we need to look at this in the context of the audience to whom it was said, as well as in the light of a full picture of God’s doctrine. Otherwise, it is confusing to try and isolate that one statement with other knowledge that might contradict it.
In Mark 12:18 this episode is prefaced with a statement that the Sadducees were the audience and they did not believe in the resurrection. A false doctrine, and one that leads to an afterlife that doesn’t contain eternal life, which in the LDS faith is defined as a man and woman, sealed by the binding power of the priesthood which Jesus gave Peter. The Sadducees would not partake of this opportunity in life because of their beliefs. Therefore when they challenged Christ on the story of whose wife of the seven brethren she would be in the resurrection, they were doing so from a position of “there is no resurrection, and these 7 brothers believe like we do.” Their final destiny isn’t to be married for eternity, but “are as the [unmarried] angels which are in heaven” (Mark 12:25).
In the Doctrine and Covenants (a book that contains revelations given to Joseph Smith) the Lord further explains Mark 12:25, saying in D&C 132:15-17, “Therefore, if a man marry him a wife in the world, and he marry her not by me nor by my word [ie. the binding/sealing power of the priesthood], and he covenant with her so long as he is in the world and she with him [ie. “till death do you part”], 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. For these angels did not abide my law; therefore, they cannot be enlarged, but remain separately and singly, without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity; and from henceforth are not gods, but are angels of God forever and ever.”
So whether or not you agree with this doctrine, I hope you can at least see there is a logical and consistent basis for our belief, and it is founded in Biblical principles.
Again, if I may, I invite you to read this single chapter from the Book of Mormon and point out any flaw you feel it has. The book is full of such chapters testifying of Christ. I hope you will as I am genuinely interested in your opinion.