Thursday, February 17, 2011

Should I Marry Her - A Heart Wrentching Decision

A rather sad situation occurred about a year ago that I wanted to discuss.  I have changed the names of the individuals involved for the sake of anonymity. 

Rachel had been married in the temple to a wonderful return missionary (whom I will call John) just before her 20th birthday.  They loved each other very much and we were all deeply saddened when John passed away a few months later.  He had been hit by a drunk driver while waiting at a bus stop.  They had no children.

Two years later Rachel starting dating again and fell in love with another wonderful return missionary whom I will call Dave.  After dating for a while Dave asked Rachel to marry him.  Rachel’s Bishop was new and asked me to help with the situation.  I decided that this would be a good training opportunity for the new Bishop and agreed to meet with the couple and the Bishop to go over some of the doctrines and eternal consequences in question.    
 
After the normal pleasantries we turned to the manual of instructions (Book 1 for Stake Presidents and Bishops) and read from section 3.6.1 under the heading Sealing of Living Members after a Spouse's Death. Here it clearly states that a living woman may be sealed to only one man.  It goes on to state; “A woman whose husband dies can remarry but can not be sealed for time and eternity to another.”

I wanted to make it clear to the couple that John, her first husband would be with her in the next life (and not Dave). 

I could see that Dave was getting a little upset so I asked Rachel if we could meet with him alone for a few minutes.  When Rachel left the room I shared section 3.6.2 of the manual which says that “if a woman who has been sealed to a former husband remarries, the children of her later marriage are born in the covenant of the first marriage”.  I wanted Dave to understand that all their future children will in fact be sealed to John (and Rachel) who will have these children for eternity.  Dave would basically be raising children for John the first husband and would enjoy no eternal increase of his own. 

Dave asked if he then would remain separate and single in the eternities which is an excellent question and one that I do not have an answer to.  We continued reading however in section 3.6.2 where it clarifies that “Members who have concerns about the eternal nature of such relationships can find peace in the knowledge that Heavenly Father is loving and just.  He will ensure that eternal family relationships will be fair and right for all who keep their covenants.”

Dave asked me what I thought he should do.  Should I marry her, he asked.  I knew Dave to be a very capable and intelligent young man with lots of leadership potential in the church. 

I explained to him that it is always useful to see what the top leaders of the church do in these situations.  I always look to them as an example of what I should do.  In many cases an apostle after the death of his wife will remarry.  One of the main purposes of the marriage is to increase the apostles’ eternal family and his ability for eternal increase in the next life.  This can only be done by marrying a sister who has not previously been sealed/married.  I gave him two examples from our current living apostles.   

Dallin H Oak’s wife June died in 1998.  He then married Kristen Meredith McMain in the year 2000 who had never been previously married.  This way Elder Oaks will have two wives and more potential for bearing spirit children in the next life. 

We also have the example of Russel M Nelson whose wife Dantzel died unexpectedly in 2005.  On April 6, 2006 Elder Nelson married Wendy L. Watson who again had never been married. 

I counseled Dave to seriously weigh his options before making a final decision, but that I would not counsel him one way or another.  After many weeks of prayer and fasting he decided to not go ahead with the marriage and he broke off the engagement.  Less than a month later he met someone and ended up marrying her instead.  I understand he and his new bride are doing very well and are expecting their first child.   

41 comments:

Brian said...

It's wonderful that you could lay out the teachings of the Lord through the scriptures. Sitting down and reading the CHI together is a great way to feel the spirit and search revelation on matters of importance in our lives. The Lord has prepared the CHI for us in these latter-days. It makes it so much more clear that way than going back to reading the old scriptures like the Book of Mormon or the Bible.

Thank you for being so wise and prepared to help people President Paternoster.

I'm actually surprised that the Church allows us to marry women who have been sealed to another man. It seems dangerously close to adultery. I mean really, a secular (non-temple) marriage doesn't count for anything because it isn't done with authority.

Can you still renew your temple recommend if you are married to someone outside the temple? I heard you can't.

Stake Pres. said...
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Anonymous said...

Dear Pres (if that's who you are),
Not cool...not funny. You are a fraud and a liar. I hope your blog dies in the obscurity it so much deserves.

Anonymous said...

This is so incredibly fucked up. You tear apart people's lives and happiness with your fairy tales and fake authority. You should be ashamed. I am completely disgusted by you and everything you stand for.

angela said...

It is unfortunate that you didn't take another route with your counsel and direct "Dave" to the example of our dear prophet Joseph Smith. Many times he was sealed to women who were already legally married to other men but not (as DC 132 indicates) recognized in the eyes of the lord.

Many of these men were faithful members of the church and may have even known about the sealing yet were faithful that everything would work out in the end. These women continued to raise children unto Joseph Smith with their first husbands. In fact Brigham Young and many other leaders of the church, after the Joseph's martyrdom, continued to raise children with wives that had been sealed to him. This was seen as an honour not as an act of adultery.

I am truly disappointed that you chose to give counsel of discouragement instead of hope. But then again maybe that wouldn't have fit your need to control others to quite the same level of satisfaction.

Stake Pres. said...
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Stake Pres. said...
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Anonymous said...

I am calling total BS on this guy! Stake Pres- please post the name and location of your "stake." I am betting you will not be able to provide it.

Secondly, if God forbid you are really Stake President, you are completely out of line with your blog and postings. I have been in a Stake Presidency (not President) for a couple of years now and am certain that your behavior is out of line.

Again, please post your Stake location.

angela said...

I am surprised that you are not aware of the web-site familysearch.org. I have never heard the accusation of anti-mormon literature referred to that site before. Perhaps you are just unaware of the wealth of history our church holds. The sealings JS performed were at risk of being slandered by the public and JS, the Lords annointed, did what he felt was necessary for the good of the church. Sometimes God's law is in conflict with the law of the land but God's law must always prevail. If you had to choose who to follow, dear President, would it be God or the government of man?
The two examples you gave of apostles marrying single women were of woman past the child-bearing years. The purpose of life is to come to earth and raise a righteous generation unto the Lord. This young women you met with was in the prime of her child-bearing years and you gave no advice besides one of discouragement to her. You didn't even think to council her to look for other young men in similar situations as herself. I seriously hope that your lack of interest in the importance of building up the kingdom of heaven has not affected her to the point that she never remarries while she is still able to bring spirit children into a home where the gospel is present. God help you on judgement day if you did.

diogenes said...

Anonymous,
Our dear Stake President is far too humble to say this, but if you are in fact just a counselor in a Stake Presidency, then President Pasternoster has a bigger calling and closer to being a General Authority then you are, so I think it might be out of line for you to make demands on him--being a higher calling holder. President Pasternoster would never reveal confidences in any way and saying what Stake he represents might do that. Thank you President once again for your discretion in not answering.

as to both you and Angela, have you even heard of Edgar Alan "POE." He once wanted to be a "LAW"yer. To those that have ears and eyes and google--google the capped words above.

And I also noticed in our correlated and officially approved manual on Brigham Young there was a chapter on Eternal Marriage and it only mentions his one wife. I think we must defer to correlated manuals and not some rumors of polygamy. If polygamy really occurred it would have been mentioned in our manuals.

Anonymous said...

https://www.familysearch.org/s/treeDetails/show?uri=http%3A%2F%2Ftree.familysearch.org%3A8080%2Fwww-af-webservice%2Fperson%2F7762167&hash=HloWXpZgU9zB10k5M56iYku8TUc%253D

Anonymous said...

NAME YOUR STAKE, you fucking liar. And DON'T CALL ME BROTHER.

Anonymous said...

http://www.wivesofjosephsmith.org/

Clint L. said...

Anonymous,

I am assuming you are the same “anonymous” from above who is a counselor in the Stake Presidency? I am shocked to see you use such language. Very, very shocked!

I think at one time or another we have all had the wish of Alma

“"O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth”

But surely profanity and ALL CAPS are not the way.

Stake Pres. said...
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Stake Pres. said...
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An Active Member in Utah said...

I followed a comment you left on MMB over here, and I have to say that I am very surprised with the way you counseled this man.

My Grandmother-- the Mother of a current General Authority-- was married to two men...After her first husband died leaving her with 4 children, one being 2 weeks old. When my uncle was called to be a GA, the Prophet talked with my Grandmother and Grandfather and praised them... Not accused them of Adultery as you suggested in this post. The Prophet stated that it would be a joyous reunion in heaven for this family... Not an uncomfortable one.

They both had current temple recommends and were faithful, temple attending members (contrary to what you stated in your comment section). Further, she was sealed to BOTH of these men.

I am sure you are a good man, but the content of this blog is bordering on inappropriate.

Nate said...

Dear Stake Pres.,

This is great that you are sharing some of these tough decisions. I'm glad I'm not in your shoes.

I think that in some cases, when called upon by the spirit, that it might help some people who have an issue with this, to note that Joseph Smith married several women who were married to other men at the time.

People who object to polygamy, usually do so because it seems so unfair to women. Why can men have more than one wife, but women can only have one? It seems sexist. But Joseph Smith's marrying of married women demonstrates that perhaps he believed that in the eternities, women would also marry more than one man.

This understanding somewhat takes the sting out of polygamy, and can help people who are struggling with the doctrine understand that Joseph Smith practices polygamy in a much different way than Brigham Young and later polygamists. He practiced it in a way that was more fair and equitable: men with more than one wife, women with more than one husband.

I know it's tempting to dismiss this history as simply some kind of anti-Mormon lie, but the evidence is simply too overwhelming. These marriages have been thoroughly documented and are in the temple records of the church, and have been noted by many faithful LDS historians in books about the prophet, including Patriarch Richard Bushman's inspiring book Rough Stone Rolling.

Instead of ignoring Joseph Smith's marriages to married women, I think we should ask them what they might teach us about Joseph's understanding of plural marriage in the next life.

This could be very helpful to men such the one you were working with, as well as many others.

When I have mentioned it to people who are bothered by polygamy, it helps them respect Joseph Smith more, and realize that the way he practiced polygamy was not sexist, in that women also had more than one husband, so it was more fair. Exactly what the handbook says: "Heavenly Father is loving and just."

Of course, we don't really know why Joseph married married women, and it raises a lot of concerns among members who discover it, so I understand why the church would not want to publish it in the current manuals. But in selective settings, when you feel inspired to bring it up, I think it might be helpful for some people who are struggling with the doctrine of polygamy to know about.

Nate said...

OK, I'm an idiot. But now that I know your game, I still don't want to play it. I don't know if you love or hate the LDS church, but mocking orthodox Mormons does nothing but reinforce hurtful stereotypes that I try to address in serious and thoughtful ways, because I respect and love these people, as small-minded as they may sometimes be.

If you really care about these issues at all, mockery and shameless satire are not in any way productive or helpful. They simply provide a playground for you and your fellow LDS intellectuals to snicker self-righteously at simple-minded believers.

I stand by what I said in my last comment. I believe that the truth about Joseph Smith's polyandrous marriages can be a faith-promoting truth in some cases, whereas you use it as a tool to tear down the faith of simple-minded believers who have no means of dealing with an issue that is simply overwhelming for them.

I believe it is possible for a simple-minded Stake President to embrace facts and use them as additional tools in his ministry. A member at that level should theoretically be able to handle such a truth, and I love them and trust them enough to try to help them.

Stake Pres. said...
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angela said...

@diogenes, you didn't actually think I was being serious.
President Paternoster is raising some issues that are very real in Mormonism. His purposefully sexist way of posting was just too tempting to contend with.
@Nate, you seem to be a genuinely sincere person but you need to do some more research into polyandry because if you think it was about equality then you are sorely mistaken.

Michael S. Keeney said...

Just to muddy the waters a bit..

A LIVING woman cannot be sealed to more than one man.

However, a DEAD woman can be sealed to all of her husbands, so long as all of them are dead.

(See 2010 Handbook of Instructions #1 section 3.6.1, under the sub-heading of "Sealing of Deceased Members").

Probative said...

I have to break character and say: the funniest part of this very funny blog are all the TBM commenters who, by failing to get it, illustrate how close to reality he is, and thus unwittingly making the Stake Pres.' point. It's genius.

Stake Pres. said...
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Anonymous said...

Probative, oh how wrong you are.

Paul said...

Okay, I gotta admit you had me for a while.

Clever (although I thought of doing something like this once).

Love the doofus profile photo! LOL!

I’ll be following your blog -- too good to pass up for now.

More *real* stake presidents should follow this blog.

Brian said...

Shame on you all for posting such filthy language. I can't even feel the spirit now for the rest of the day. I will have to read the scriptures for hours just to get it back, and I don't have time. I have to leave work early to get dinner made, do my Home Teaching and everything else before I setup for the Pack meeting tonight.

Filthy language is second only to murder. Now you have made Pres. Paternoster read that too, and he needs the spirit to do his calling.

Anonymous said...

Is there any reason you didn't tell the young man in your story that in fact he could be sealed to the widow -- after she and he died? The handbook clearly says we can seal a deceased woman to all the husbands she's had in mortality. Don't know if he would have opted to go through with the marriage or not, but at least it would have been accurate information needed to make an inspired decision. And yes, there are plenty of examples of living women being sealed to more than one husband, well into the 70's and 80's. The practice might have stopped with the 1998 handbook.

Stake Pres. said...

Thanks anonymous. This option was discussed but the young man did not think it would work out in the next life that he would end up with her. Based on this and his own soul searching he decided to not proceed.

Anonymous said...

If we could only find Paternostro in the church directory of leaders your website would be complete!

Anonymous said...

So basically you told Dave not to marry the wh@re. Does anyone else see how messed up this is? I can't believe their lives were torn apart...

Anonymous said...

WHY WHY WHY do men have the right to be sealed to more than one women
for eternity? I have been a Mormon
since I was 11 years old. I did nt find out about this till one of my best friends passed away at 46.
Her husband who was also my good friend married 6mos to the day after she passed away. I am horrified that my husband could be seales to another women if I passed! I have not been back to church since this happened. Its just a man thing! Joseph Smith &
Brigham Young just wanted to be with as many wome has they could!

Anonymous said...

I MARRIED A WOMEN THAT IS A MORMAN JUST SIX MONTHS & ABOUT 28 DAYS A GO. AND WE ARE ALL READY SEPERATED. ECAUSE SHE's SHETRYING TO PULL THI SAME SECAP OVER ON ME. I AM NOT A MORMAN & NEVER WILL BE. SHE HAS BROUGHT HER YOUNG MEN TO OUR HOME TWICE TO TRY TO CONVERT ME, AND I ASK HER IF SHE WAS FOREVER BOUNDED TO HER LATE HUSBAND & SHE SAID THAT SHE WAS. AND NOW SHE IS TRYING GOING TO COVERT ME TO THERE DOCTRINE SO THAT WE CAN BE REMARRIED IN HER WARD IT'S NOT CALL A CHURCH. BUT THAT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN, BUT SINCE HER HIGH PRIST HUSBAND DIED. SHE HAS BEEN GOING BACK TO HER THE CHURCH THAT SHE WAS RAISED IN AND SHE HOLDS A POISTION AT THE LUTHERN CHURCH SHE ATTENS RIGHT NOW. But wants to return to the ward were she and her late husband were going for about ten years. WELL GUESS WHAT I AM DIVEROCING THE CRAZIE WOMAN. IF SHE MY WIFE NOW AND IF I WOULD BE REMARRIED TO HER IN THE WARD THAT SHE IS BELONGS TO ALONG WITH THE LUTHERN CHURCH WERE WE WE'RE MARRIED IN. SHE BELIVEVES THAT SHE WILL STILL BE MARRIED TO HER LATE HUSBAND AND ME ALSO NOW AND IN DEATH AND IN HEAVEN AND THAT SHE'S GOING TO BE A QUEEN IN HEAVEN AND HER EMMINIES WILL BE HER SERVANTS. AND I FOUND OUT AFTER I MARRIED HER THAT SHE'S BEEN MARRIED FOUR TIMES IN HER LIFE BEFORE ME. AND SHE HAS MAKE IT PERFECTLY CLEAR TO ME AND A MARRIGE COUNSELOR THAT WHEN I'M GONE THERE WILL BE A NUMBER 6 OR 7 OR 8. THIS WOMAN HAS JUST BEEN LOOKING FOR A SUGAR DADDY ALL ALONG AND I HAVE DO SOME BACK GROUND WORK ON HER AND HAVE BEEN NUST ABOUT KNOCK OFF MY FEET WITH THE INFO. THAT I HAVE GATHER ABOUT HER. SO I'M GOING TO GIVE HER THE CHANCE TO GET NUMBER SEVEN OR WHAT EVER. JUST TAKE MY ADVISE PEOPLE; IF YOUR GOING TO MARRY SOME ONE MAKE DAMM SURE THAT YOU KNOW THEIR FAITH THAT THEY BELIEVE IN ! SO I HAVE FILE FOR THE DIVORCE AND GETTING AWAY FROM THE WOMAN AND AS FAR AS I AM CONCERNED THE MORMAN FAITH IS A CULT. I AM THANKFUL THAT I'VE FOUND THIS OUT NOW THAN LATER ON IN THE MARRIAGE . BUT IT HAS MOST KILLED MY FAITH IN WOMEN ANYMORE. BECAUSE I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS WOMAN BUT NOT TO AN CULT. NO WILL I BECOME A MEMBER OF INE!

Anonymous said...

Only men would satirise or make light of this very serious topic, and they do so at their peril. God loves his daughters and will not be mocked. Sisters, have faith, and men beware. Not all is as it seems, seen "through a glass, darkly". "The first shall be last and the last shall be first". Peace.

Priscila said...

So what happens to the young widow? Is she doomed to a life on earth without a companion bc she has been sealed before and men like the one described by you sees her as a bad prospect?
These are genuine questions. What happens to the young widow?

Anonymous said...

Sad-- very sad. May God bless and bring peace and comfort to all involved-- especially those so cruelly hurt.

Stephanie said...

NONE of this is true!!! Whoever is writing this blog is obviously NOT a leader in the church because if he were, he would know that the situation presented here is FALSE!

I was married and sealed in the temple and 6 weeks later my husband died. We had no children. Two years later, I met a wonderful man, and we married for "time" in the temple. THEN... a year and a half later, our LOVING Stake President helped us with the proceedings to cancel the sealing between my deceased husband and I so that I could be sealed to my new husband. This was a serious and sacred process that went all the way to the First Presidency. But the sealing to the first was indeed cancelled and I was able to be sealed to my current husband.

Do NOT believe the false lie of this blog. It is not true. Written satirically or otherwise, it is sheer ignorance and sin to put out there.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Stephanie. This is the answer to my question I needed to know. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Stephanie -
You are evil to your first husband. Now he will be alone in the eternities. How is that for a life? In your selfishness you have robbed him for his wife... Bad.

Bill said...

Pretty heavy topic here. I am currently facing a similar situation as a man in the church. For a few weeks now, I have been dating a widow who was sealed to her late husband.

When I think about being married forever, it does make sense to me. So, now I have angst about moving forward with this wonderful woman because it terrifies me that I will have my heart ripped out in heaven when I lose her back to her first husband (who was a great guy and a better man than me)

Then , as posted above (See 2010 Handbook of Instructions #1 section 3.6.1, under the sub-heading of "Sealing of Deceased Members").I hear that a woman can be sealed to multiple husbands when everyone is dead, just not when we're alive??? This seems like a huge contradiction and I am hoping someone can provide insight.

One thing I do know is that I don't know everything and I know that there are some things which the Lord has not revealed yet. When I look at the love of the savior and how he would look at it, I suspect that most of the sadness and fear I hear from some posters (me included) is because we are lowly humans and are possessive about the things we love. Essentially, I suppose I am jealous and feel that I would be destroyed if I wasn't loved by someone who I poured all my heart into.

However, I believe that the Lord is just and righteous and would help my heart overcome my inequities.

My next challenge is finding out how she feels about it and see if I can get over my worry about her holding back her love in this life due to her love and obligation to her late husband.

Any constructive input would be appreciated.

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