31. “Sealed…For Time and for All Eternity”

“Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God, and the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children,” declares The Family: A Proclamation to the World.
Values in Marriage

“What Is Marriage?” at LDS.org
Those who are sealed in the temple have the assurance that their relationship will continue forever if they are true to their covenants.

“Marriage: Eternal Marriage,” James T. Duke, Encyclopedia of Mormonism
Eternal marriage is a covenant, a sacred promise that a wife and a husband make with each other and with God.

“Love and Intimacy in Family, Kinship, Friendship, and Community,” Allen E. Bergin, Mark H. Butler, BYU Studies, Vol. 42, no. 2
This article explores ways people can become more Christlike in marriage, in friendships, and across generations.

“Values of Christian Families: Do They Come from Unrecognized Idols?” Brent D. Slife, BYU Studies, Vol. 38, no. 2
Christians love their families not because they are tolerant or because a moral principle says they should or because love provides them a reward. They love because they are responsive to their own loving relationship with God.

“Should I Keep Trying to Work It Out? Sacred and Secular Perspectives on the Crossroads of Divorce,” Tamara A. Fackrell, Alan J. Hawkins, BYU Studies, Vol. 50, no. 2
While the divorce rate for faithful members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is much lower than the average in the United States, still many Latter-day Saints face difficult decisions regarding serious problems in their marriages at one time or another. This article aims to help couples who find themselves at a crossroads, pondering whether their marriages can be repaired or would best be ended.

Marriage in Church History

“Revelation, 12 July 1843 [D&C 132],” at Joseph Smith Papers
On 12 July 1843, JS dictated a revelation (D&C 132) in his Nauvoo office in the presence of Hyrum Smith and William Clayton. The reported impetus for the dictation of the revelation was Hyrum Smith’s request that it be written so that he could convince Emma Smith of the revelation’s truthfulness.

“Joseph Smith’s Performance of Marriages in Ohio,” M. Scott Bradshaw, BYU Studies, Vol. 39, no. 4
In March 1835, Presiding Judge Matthew Birchard refused a request from Sidney Rigdon for a license to perform marriages in Geauga County. While Judge Birchard’s refusal of Rigdon’s motion may have dissuaded LDS elders from making similar requests in Geauga County, at least one elder was not deterred from performing marriages—even without a license. County marriage records show that on November 24, 1835, Joseph Smith solemnized the marriage of Newel Knight and Lydia Goldthwaite Bailey. Joseph Smith’s action invokes the memory of earlier “dissenting” ministers who also struggled against prejudices and whose efforts helped bring about greater religious freedom in the United States.

“Newel and Lydia Bailey Knight’s Kirtland Love Story and Historic Wedding,” William G. Hartley, BYU Studies, Vol. 39, no. 4
In October 1835, Newel Knight and Lydia Bailey, two spouseless adults still in the prime of life, found themselves living in the same boardinghouse and eating at the same dining table. As lodgers with Hyrum and Jerusha Smith in Kirtland, Ohio, they had good reason to notice each other. Lydia’s husband had deserted her more than three years earlier, and Newel’s wife had died a year before. Romance developed quickly, and in a couple of months, Lydia accepted Newel’s marriage proposal. Their pending wedding led Joseph Smith to declare his right to perform marriages. Being a leader in a church that had published its beliefs concerning marriage, he could legally do so, and he also believed he had authority from God by virtue of the priesthood he held. Nevertheless, the wedding has given rise in recent times to historical controversy.