Monday, June 20, 2011

Verily, Do Mormons Marry too Young?

One of the many complaints against the church is that we encourage people to marry when they are far too young. Critics claim that this is a major cause of divorce and unhappiness amongst our members.  They also claim that people need to know “who they are” before marriage and say that the church does not recognize this need.  This of course is absolute rubbish and is completely unfounded.  Allow me to share a story right from the Aaronic Priesthood Manual given to young men the world over on this topic.*
 
“Tim was seventeen and Kathy was fifteen when they became married. Their life together became very serious when their baby was born with a heart defect. Tim had to work two jobs, and Kathy spent many anxious hours at the hospital during two different operations on their baby. Both were relieved when the doctor found that the operation would give their child a normal life. But he would require extra care for at least a year.

Kathy watched her friends going to school as she hung clothes on the line. All Tim could see were hospital and medical bills. The future for him didn’t include basketball or other activities, at least not the near future.”

After this sobering story the following instructions are given to the teacher:
Explain that Tim and Kathy chose to marry before they were prepared spiritually, emotionally, and practically. It takes a certain amount of experience before we know who we are and who would be best for us.

Ask the young men what experiences of value might Tim and Kathy miss or have difficulty in acquiring by having married so young?
Record the young men’s responses on the chalkboard. These may include—
1. Mission. (I like that this was the first suggestion as to me this is the most important)
2. Further education.
3. Further social and emotional development.
4. Development of talents.
5. Ability to acquire the desired livelihood.

We see from this example that the church is clearly against marrying too young. As a Stake President I would challenge any critics to show me otherwise. 

Lovingly,

President Paternoster

*

27 comments:

Chris S said...

These worldly critics neglect to mention the dangers of 'marrying too old,' namely: women working outside the home, the risk of losing ones testimony during the notorious difficult YSA stage of life, as well as the often ignored (but real) difficulties of enduring long periods of sexual abstinence. If young LDS adults are going to be having sex, it is far better that they do so within the safe environment of an eternal commitment. Quite frankly, it is better to endure a rocky marriage than to commit the most vile of all possible sins (second only to the shedding of innocent blood, which is itself second only to denying the Holy Ghost).

Bjorge Queen said...

An apostate I know sent this link to me.

http://lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?hideNav=1&locale=173&sourceId=074aba9ff599b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&vgnextoid=024644f8f206c010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD

But I told her that both the people in this story were very very old college students and not children.

Spencer said...

Marriage and childbearing at 15-17 is ridiculous. Thank heaven we have prophets and apostles to help us steer clear of these temptations and unwise life courses.

If this faithful young couple had simply waited until he returned from his mission and gotten married at 19-21, he would have a far greater earning power and ability to provide for his family as a sandwich artist while completing his BYU degree over the course of 10 years.

mathyou9 said...

I testify to the truthfulness of President Paternoster's words. Please allow me to share a first-hand example. Four of my best friends (John, Joey, Adam and Nephi) all got married when they were 17. I was the only one of my friends who waited to get married until I was 21 (fresh off my mission.)

Coincidentally (just like in the Aaronic Priesthood manual) each of us had a child born with a major health problem. John's child was born with his heart outside his body. Joey's child was born without eyes. Adam's child was born gay. Nephi's child was born without any limbs. And my child was born with a bad case of lazy eye.

All four of them are in extreme debt, still paying off their medical bills. On the other hand, my wife and I are doing just fine. The only reason we were able to handle the hardship was because of all the life experience we had under our belts. You see, I was a returned missionary, we were both sophomores at BYU, my wife is hot as heck, my job was delivering pizza, my wife worked as a waitress at Denny's, etc. etc. John, Joey, Adam and Nephi weren't even close to having as much life experience at 17 that I had 21. I was leaps and bounds ahead of them.

I thank the Lord every day for blessing me with the wisdom to wait until I was ready for marriage.

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Brent said...

The world's concern about early marriage is misplaced and is based on pop-psychology and selfishness. As long as mission service has been fulfilled, marriage should come quickly. Once a young couple is married, they have each other to rely upon. There's really only need for one of them to finish school, so it makes sense that the young wife go to work to support the husband until he gets his degree. Later, he can support her and the quiver full of arrows that will be their joy for time and eternity. It's not slavery. It's an incentive for righteous living.

Brother Heber said...

President,
While I appreciate you using correlated material, I feel you are not properly in tune with the spirit.
While I agree that the couple in the story are too young to be having children you are jumping to a dangerous conclusion when you state that the church is against people marrying young.
Just at our past general conference we were blessed to hear from our beloved prophet, even Thomas S. Monson himself on this subject. After a touching story of a letter he received from a primary child and a heartfelt story about a widow he instructed us that our youth are waiting too long to marry.
I fear your council may fly directly in the face of the words of our prophet.
Below are the word's from the mouthpiece of the Lord. Please do not teach anything that is not in harmony with the teachings of our prophets.

"Now, I have thought a lot lately about you young men who are of an age to marry but who have not yet felt to do so. I see lovely young ladies who desire to be married and to raise families, and yet their opportunities are limited because so many young men are postponing marriage.

This is not a new situation. Much has been said concerning this matter by past Presidents of the Church. I share with you just one or two examples of their counsel.

Said President Harold B. Lee, “We are not doing our duty as holders of the priesthood when we go beyond the marriageable age and withhold ourselves from an honorable marriage to these lovely women.” 6

President Gordon B. Hinckley said this: “My heart reaches out to … our single sisters, who long for marriage and cannot seem to find it. … I have far less sympathy for the young men, who under the customs of our society, have the prerogative to take the initiative in these matters but in so many cases fail to do so.” 7"

Thayne said...

I enjoy the enlightenment I get from reading the wisdom in your words.

http://skepticalthayne.com

R. Nephi Samuelson said...

As a righteous priesthood holder, I feel compelled by the spirit to testify concerning the urgent nature of marriage to the right person, at the right time, in the right place. The Lord has counseled us through his prophets that we must take the sacred obligation upon us to prepare tabernacles for our Heavenly Father’s spirit children. We are entrusted to create these precious bodies for those valiant souls who fought the adversary in the pre-existence, going as far as to cast them from the presence of our Heavenly Father, sending them to our earth where they in their anguish and misery, would test and try us during our mortal probation.

My dear wife and I sought marriage as soon as possible following my janitorial service mission to Temple Square. My dear eternal companion was only seventeen at the time of our marriage, but I feel that it was the right thing to do as I followed the example of our dear Prophet, even Joseph Smith, who married our shared relative Lucy Walker as one of his plural wives. She too was only seventeen at the time of their union, and while he was older and more experienced in matters of the world at age 38, but I testify that it was a sanctioned marriage united through the priesthood of our God.

We must marry, and marry as soon as the opportunity arises. It matters not how young, it matters not if she is fully compatible, what matters is that the marriage be between a righteous priesthood holder and his virtuous companion, sealed through the spirit of promise in the House of the Lord.

Thank you again for a wonderful message President!

Your brother in the Gospel.

-R. Nephi Samuelson

Sister M said...

Dear President,

The holy ghost guided me to your blog tonight and I am delighted to find such an important topic! As a young single woman of faith I am seeking my husband, even one who can guide me in the ways of the Lord. Based on this I feel that there are two elements to the marriage problem. One, you discuss adeptly, which is the Church's belief that teens should not marry. However, I believe you could argue that the culture of the Church (the living breathing embodiment of the Gospel on earth) frowns upon young men and women who wait until their 20's to marry. For instance as a 20 year old I was asked by an Aunt at a family function if I was gay because I had not managed to marry yet. i have fellow sisters, and a few brothers in the singles ward who have had similar experiences. It is my prayer that your insight and wisdom on the topic can be spread through the culture of the church, not just in it's sacred teachings!

For curiosity's sake, when do you believe a young woman should marry? And a young man? Do you have a question on at what point children should follow? I would LOVE to receive your counsel on family planning!!

Sister M

Jose said...

Sister M if we were to follow the example of our beloved prophet Joseph. let us pause to remember that nobody in the history of mankind has done more than Joseph Smith for the salvation of man,women should marry at the age of 14. Taking into account that Helen Mar Kimball married the Prophet of God Joseph Smith when she was 14. This marriage was inspired by the Almighty God to his prophet. I want to share these thoughts in the sacred name of JesusChrist, Amen

Mr. Smith said...

I gagged when I read this article - then I gagged twice more when reading the comments.

Must be the spirit testifying of how true these written words are.

It's great seeing all these righteous holders of the priesthood swarming around this site like flies drawn to dung.

Anonymous said...

I want to vomit

Stake Pres. said...

Thank you all for your wonderful feedback.

Mr. Smith and Anonymous, what made you gag? Do the current teachings in the church manuals not please you?

kolobian said...

The spirit of our Lord urges me to testify to the truthfulness of Brother Samuelson's inspired words regarding the preparation of mortal tabernacles for our brothers and sisters awaiting the opportunity to inherit the second estate.

The 1978 revelation to extend the priesthood to the seed of Cain is evidence that these are indeed the last days. Since our Heavenly Father has run out of "fence-sitting, less valiant" spirits with which to inhabit black mortal tabernacles, we can only assume that there likewise is but a small amount of the more valiant, white and delightsome spirits left over who are awaiting a chance to prove themselves here on earth.

The President is inspired to discourage young couples from getting married, but this is only so that the young men can serve honorable missions before commiting to the 12th and final covenant themselves.

There is nothing in the church handbook of instruction that discourages teenage sisters from marrying older, wiser men. Indeed, did not the now exalted prophet Joseph Smith, Jr. set this example for us himself? Was not Helen Mar Kimball 14 when she married the prophet Joseph, when he was in his 30s?

I testify that both Brother Samuelson and President Paternoster are truly men of God, sharing their enlightened understanding of these important principles in these Latter-Days.

Let us do everything in our power to speed up the coming of our Savior, that we may bask in the light of Millenial Glory with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Amen.

Joseph K. Packer said...

Brother Kolobian what we have to do to speed up the 2nd coming of Jesus (and I am referring to his arrival to this world and not to the ending of intimacy with the many priviledged wives of our redeemer even our savior Jesus the Christ)is to give all of our possessions to the church. As you well know our humble leaders will manage our money well and focus spending it properly on the coming of the kingdom of God.

kolobian said...

Indeed, Brother Packer. The brethren would never squander or waste our money and possessions on worldly profit-gaining endeavors. It's just not in the program.

R. Nephi Samuelson said...

Thank you for your kind words of support Brother Kolobian. It is in the strength of priesthood brethren like yourself which truly testifies to me of the power and glory of this sacred work!

To gain a deeper understanding of the importance of marriage and the eternal consequences of marrying the right person, at the right time at the right place, we need look no further than the wonderful example of our dear Prophet Joseph Smith.

The blessings of the everlasting covenant of marriage as described in Doctrine and Covenants 132, combined with the steadfast example of Brother Joseph, we can indeed see and know the blessings that await the righteous who marry in the Temple and raise a righteous posterity unto the Lord. The seeds of eternity are ours to be had Brothers and Sisters, if we but follow our Heavenly Father's plan.

May the Lord hasten his coming and may those who fight against Zion be smitten at last!

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Anonymous said...

Sister Queen, I was deeply touched by the New Era article you linked to. This highly realistic portrait of the courtship and marriage of a returned missionary reminded me of a similar period in my own life.

A word of advice to the younger brethren: before taking a date, as Kevin did in the story, to a film in the auditorium of the agriculture building, it is well to find out the film's subject matter in advance. Those who observe this precaution can enjoy wholesome entertainments such as the film "Your Modern Poultry Industry" viewed by Kevin and Jenny. Those who do not risk exposing a delicate daughter of God to topics suitable only for professional farmers, such as semen collection by means of rectal probe electroejaculation.

Cindy said...

I've always tried to follow and understand the council of our leaders have given us about marriage and raising a family. I think this lesson gave some very important points for the young men to learn from.
I just have to point out that the church discourages single dating until 18yrs old. After much study I was also able to conclude that a short courtship and engagement are discouraged. So once a girl has group dated from 16-18 she should be ready to single date for the purpose of choosing a spouse. Hopefully by this time she has made a good selection and the dating/courtship of about 4-6 months should take place followed by about the same amount of time for the engagement. Ideally a woman should be ready for marriage by 19yrs old.
Brent you mentioned having a wife work while she helps support her husband in school. Waiting to have children. There is countless council against this selfish decision to put education and other worldly enjoyments above having children. If the couple were to follow the council of our leaders and if they are blessed with fertility their first child should come into their home when the wife is about 20. Teen pregnancies are not something the church advocates for.

Aurora said...

I hope to someday find a worthy priesthood holder, preferably with a business or law degree or in dental school. I will be turning 21 soon and I'm afraid if I am not married soon I will be too old to find my eternal companion and will have to be inspired to serve a mission.

Joseph K. Packer said...

I see your dilemma Aurora. But keep the faith, even if you don't find your eternal partner, if you are obedient, you will have the same blessings on earth as if you were married. You will not have a need to have sex. And even though you will not bear children, you won't have to because your nieces and nephews are "just like" having your own. and in the after life you won't even have to choose a husband because our heavenly father will do it for you. You will be assigned a husband and you will live happily with your sister wives serving your husband for an eternity. What a marvelous plan!!

R. Nephi Samuelson said...

Dear Sister Aurora,

This is a challenging time in your life as you grow along life's path. Trust in the Lord with all your might and He will bless you with the proper eternal companion.

I often reflect on the words of the beloved Apostle Bruce R. McConkie who said, "The single most important thing that anyone can do in this world is to marry the right person, in the right place, with the right authority.”

I believe that those words teach us a great deal about the ideal eternal companion. A righteous servant of the Lord is the ideal mate, little else truly matters when viewed from an eternal perspective.

A great way to meet a wonderful companion is at a Stake Dance. I met my beloved eternal companion at such an inspired function. She has some deformities, an insatiable love of crossword puzzles, a slight limp and a lazy eye, but she is mine, mine for all eternity!

She is a wonderful mother to our nine children, two dogs and a cat, and yet despite her disabilities and occasional shingle outbreaks, she faithfully serves the members of our ward through her cleaning of the chapel and giving her handmade macramé plant holders and her silk flower arrangements to all the newlyweds in our ward as wedding gifts.

Prepare yourself through your obedience to our Heavenly Father, and the windows of Heaven will be opened unto you. And you will find, as I have found that the Lord’s blessings truly are bestowed upon the faithful.

Your brother in the restored gospel,

-R. Nephi Samuelson

Sister Paternoster said...

I told myself from the time I was a teen that I would get married when I was 21 and my Sweet Bill came along just in time. It's mind over matter Arora. You have my confidence that you can do this.

Brother Heber said...

Aurora,
I swear here, before these witnesses this day, that if you do not marry in this life I will take you as one of my plural wives in the hereafter.
I should ask you to keep yourself worthy that we may abide by the law of celestial marriage as outlined in section 132 of the D&C. I shall only be given virgins and shall be entitled to at least 10 of said virgins.
Sweet Aurora, if you shall keep yourself chaste and my first wife shall agree (actually maybe we can work around that part), I should like to have you as a celestial mate populating worlds on end.
Pray about it.

Aurora said...

That is all very flattering and encouraging. I know there are many eligible bachelors in the church. Its no surprise that Ashley on the Bachelorette fell so hard for Bentley (the only Mormon on the show). She could sense his beauty because he shines with the light of the Spirit. Didn't Brigham Young teach that the Holy Ghost makes people more attractive?

If any of you have been in General Young Women's meetings, you may have heard it taught that "There is no more beautiful sight than a young woman who glows with the light of the Spirit, who is confident and courageous because she is virtuous."

Brother Heber: I'm not sure how comfortable I would be as a second wife in the next life, if you did not tell your first wife. Can you imagine how awkward that must have been? Just imagine how much chaos that would have introduced to Joseph Smith's marriage if he tried to keep his other wives hidden from Emma! We would not have seen the blissful, happy married life that they showed in the Joseph Smith movie at Temple Square! Actually they didn't show any of the other wives at all, but the movie wasn't long enough to get into all the details.

Todeskaefer said...

Is this shit for real? Black people being regarded as equals to whites is the sign of the end times? I'd love to have some of what you're all smoking

I'm 37, I'm not married, and I have every intention of staying that way. Marriage is for suckers

Anonymous said...

Young marriage is a bad idea. It rarely lasts, and when it does, it usually has more to do with the couple's refusal to get divorced than it has to do with a strong partnership. A 17-year-old may be physically mature, but mentally, he or she is absolutely not in the right place to be married. The human brain does not mature fully until the mid 20s which is why most people have no business getting married until that time.