The LDS are known for their wonderful emphasis upon the importance of strong and close families. Many of the Mormon families that I know make a practice of having at least one night a week set aside for family worship and activities. However, when one looks in the Book of Mormon for any teaching on marriage and family there is very little to speak of.
The Book of Mormon & Celestial Marriage
One of the distinctive teachings and practices of the Mormon Church is Celestial Marriage. Faithful LDS may be married in the Temple for ‘time and eternity’—not just until ‘death do you part’, but for all eternity. Not only that, but according to their beliefs, the family unit will also be maintained in the life to come.
Christian apologists point out that Jesus clearly taught that there would be no marriage in the life hereafter:
“For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.” Mark 12:25
Mormons on the other hand usually say that the passage is just talking about getting married in the life to come and does not necessarily rule out marriage for those already committed to an everlasting covenant of marriage.
What does the Book of Mormon say about eternal or ‘Celestial Marriage’? Absolutely nothing—zero, zip, nada. The scriptural sources for Mormon celestial marriage are found in the LDS Doctrine and Covenants not the Book of Mormon or the Bible.
There only a couple of passages in the Book of Mormon about divorce. One, 2 Nephi 7:1 merely mentions it in a quote of Isaiah 50. The only real teaching is found in 3 Nephi 12:31-32 which records what Jesus says about divorce. It parallels and actually quotes Matthew 5:31-32 of the Bible:
“It hath been written, that whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement.”
“Verily,verily, I say unto you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery; and whoso shall marry her who is divorced committeth adultery.” -3 Nephi 12:31-32 (Matt. 5:31-32)
Other Passages on Marriage & Family
Again, surprisingly the Book of Mormon really doesn’t have a lot to say about marriage and the family. In the last article we looked at Jacob 2:24-30 which condemned the practice of polygamy.
In 4 Nephi 1:11 it talks about the people being blessed by God and being married and given in marriage. The only other mention is a passage about family prayer. It teaches that families should pray together in order to be blessed of God:
“Pray in your families unto the Father, always in my name, that your wives and your children may be blessed.” -3 Nephi 18:21
This is actually good advice whether you believe in the book or not!