REL 200 - The Eternal Family

Deciding to Marry ... and with Whom
Reading Assignments for the course
REL 200 - The Eternal Family
Prof.  Marcus H. Martins, Ph.D.

Readings:

"All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Gach is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny.

"Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose."

The Family: A Proclamation to the World

Elder Robert D. Hales - Meeting the Challenges of Today’s World
Elder Jeffrey R. HollandCast Not Away Therefore Your Confidence  (1999)
Dr. Burton C. KellyA True and Sufficient Love  (1979)
Victor L. Brown, Jr. - Reluctant to Marry
Dr. Marcus H. Martins - Waiting for Marriage and Deciding Who's 'the One' (PDF)  HTML  (2014)

                                            Dating and Deciding Whom to Marry (video - 2020)


President Thomas S. Monson

Pres. Joseph Fielding Smith

Elder Bruce R. McConkie

Elder Boyd K. Packer

Elder Dallin H. Oaks

 

Elder Richard G. Scott

President Ezra Taft Benson

Pres. Spencer W. Kimball

Pres. Howard W. Hunter

Don't Hesitate to Marry

The Choice of a Spouse Must Be Carefully Considered

Choosing a Spouse is not Necessarily a Matter of Revelation

Seeking Inspired Wisdom in Choosing a Spouse

A True Revelation on the Choice of a Spouse Will Still Require Two Witnesses

Sometimes There May Be More Than One Right Answer to Our Prayers

Proceeding in the Absence of an Answer to Prayer

Determining the "Right" Person

Seek Someone Who Will Instill Growth

Key to Success in Marriage

Questions for Review

President Thomas S. Monson
Don't Hesitate to Marry
Conference Report, April 2011

I realize there are many reasons why you may be hesitating to take that step of getting married. If you are concerned about providing financially for a wife and family, may I assure you that there is no shame in a couple having to scrimp and save. It is generally during these challenging times that you will grow closer together as you learn to sacrifice and to make difficult decisions.

Perhaps you are afraid of making the wrong choice. To this I say that you need to exercise faith. Find someone with whom you can be compatible. Realize that you will not be able to anticipate every challenge which may arise, but be assured that almost anything can be worked out if you are resourceful and if you are committed to making your marriage work.

Perhaps you are having a little too much fun being single, taking extravagant vacations, buying expensive cars and toys, and just generally enjoying the carefree life with your friends. I’ve encountered groups of you running around together, and I admit that I’ve wondered why you aren’t out with the young ladies.

Brethren, there is a point at which it’s time to think seriously about marriage and to seek a companion with whom you want to spend eternity. If you choose wisely and if you are committed to the success of your marriage, there is nothing in this life which will bring you greater happiness.


Pres. Joseph Fielding Smith
The Choice of a Spouse Must Be Carefully Considered
Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 2,  pp. 78-79

This life is short, and eternity is long. When we contemplate that the marriage covenant will endure forever, it is well that it should be given careful consideration. Hasty action in this most important step in life may fill the mortal lives of husband, wife, and children with endless sorrow. The results may and often do reach into eternity and cause irreparable regrets that will endure forever. Marriage, from the viewpoint of the Latter-day Saint, is the one thing in life where it might prove fatal to act in haste with the idea in mind that repentance could come at leisure.

The proper advice to our youth is to consider carefully with the view of choosing well a companion with an abiding faith in the gospel. Such a person is more likely to prove true to every vow and covenant. When the young man and the young woman are thoroughly grounded in the divine mission of our Lord and believe the gospel as revealed through Joseph Smith, the Prophet, the chances are all in favor of a happy union that will endure forever.


Elder Bruce R. McConkie
Choosing a Spouse is not Necessarily a Matter of Revelation
The New Era, "Agency or Inspiration," Jan. 1975, p. 40

How do you choose a wife? I've heard a lot of young people from Brigham Young University and elsewhere say, "I've got to get a feeling of inspiration. I've got to get some revelation. I've got to fast and pray and get the Lord to manifest to me whom I should marry." Well, maybe it will be a little shock to you, but never in my life did I ever ask the Lord whom I ought to marry. It never occurred to me to ask him. I went out and found the girl I wanted; she suited me; I evaluated and weighed the proposition, and it just seemed a hundred percent to me as though this ought to be. Now, if I'd done things perfectly, I'd have done some counseling with the Lord, which I didn't do; but all I did was pray to the Lord and ask for some guidance and direction in connection with the decision that I'd reached. A more perfect thing to have done would have been to counsel with him relative to the decision and get a spiritual confirmation that the conclusion, which I by my agency and faculties had arrived at, was the right one.


Elder Boyd K. Packer
Seeking Inspired Wisdom in Choosing a Spouse
Eternal Love, p.11
While I am sure some young couples have some special guidance in getting together, I do not believe in predestined love.  If you desire the inspiration of the Lord in this crucial decision, you must live the standards of the Church, and you must pray constantly for the wisdom to recognize those qualities upon which a successful union may be based.  You must do the choosing, rather than seek for some one-and-only so-called soul mate, chosen for you by someone else and waiting for you.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks
A True Revelation on the Choice of a Spouse Will Still Require Two Witnesses
Speeches of the Year, "Revelation," 1981, p. 25

I have heard of cases where a young man told a young woman she should marry him because he had received a revelation that she was to be his eternal companion. If this is a true revelation, it will be confirmed directly to the woman if she seeks to know. In the meantime, she is under no obligation to heed it. She should seek her own guidance and make up her own mind. The man can receive revelation to guide his own actions, but he cannot properly receive revelation to direct hers. She is outside his stewardship.



Elder Dallin H. Oaks

Sometimes There May Be More Than One Right Answer to Our Prayers
Speeches of the Year, "Revelation," 1981, p. 26

The Spirit of the Lord is not likely to give us revelations on matters that are trivial. I once heard a young woman in a testimony meeting praise the spirituality of her husband, indicating that he submitted every question to the Lord. She told how he accompanied her shopping and would not even choose between different brands of canned vegetables without making his selection a matter of prayer. That strikes me as improper. I believe the Lord expects us to use the intelligence and experience he has given us to make these kinds of choices. ...

I suggest that there is not a right and wrong to every question. To many questions, there are only two wrong answers or two right answers. Thus, a person who seeks guidance on which of two different ways he should pursue to get even with a person who has wronged him is not likely to receive a revelation. Neither is a person who seeks guidance on a choice he will never have to make because some future event will intervene, such as a third alternative that is clearly preferable ... No answer is likely to come to a person who seeks guidance in choosing between two alternatives that are equally acceptable to the Lord. Thus, there are times when we can serve productively in two different fields of labor. Either answer is right.


Elder Richard G. Scott
Proceeding in the Absence of an Answer to Prayer
Conference Report, April 2007, pp.8-11

What do you do when you have prepared carefully, have prayed fervently, waited a reasonable time for a response, and still do not feel an answer? You may want to express thanks when that occurs, for it is an evidence of His trust.

When you are living worthily and your choice is consistent with the Savior’s teachings and you need to act, proceed with trust. ... When you are living righteously and are acting with trust, God will not let you proceed too far without a warning impression if you have made the wrong decision.


President Ezra Taft Benson
Determining the "Right" Person
Conference Report, April 1988

[One] good yardstick as to whether a person might be the right one for you is this:  In [his/her] presence do you think your noblest thoughts, do you aspire to your finest deeds, do you wish you were better than you are?


President Spencer W. Kimball
Seek Someone Who Will Instill Growth
Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.303

[Find] a person that will stimulate you, one that will keep you on your toes, that will make you be bigger than you are--never anyone that will let you relax. … Sister Kimball kept me growing and never let me be satisfied with mediocrity.

Go all over the Church if you need to, to find the girl that is better than you are. The first time if she measures up, invite her again. If she measures up again, you are old enough to go steady!


President Howard W. Hunter
Key to Success in Marriage
Teachings of Howard W. Hunter, p.130

Being happily and successfully married is generally not so much a matter of marrying the right person as it is being the right person. ... The conscious effort to do one’s part fully is the greatest element contributing to success.

Questions for Review

1) Once two people are romantically involved, it is acceptable to feel like dating someone else? Would such feelings will naturally go away after marriage? (Dr. Burton C. Kelly - A True and Sufficient Love)

2) Is having a lot of fun while engaged in activities a sign that two people really love each other? 
(Dr. Burton C. Kelly - A True and Sufficient Love)

3) Can unresolved transgressions in one's past affect one's marriage? 
(Dr. Burton C. Kelly - A True and Sufficient Love)

4) Can unresolved conflicts with parents and siblings have any effect in one's marriage? 
(Dr. Burton C. Kelly - A True and Sufficient Love)

5) How is a person likely to treat a spouse in the future? 
(Dr. Burton C. Kelly - A True and Sufficient Love)

6) According to President Joseph Fielding Smith, what could be a possible consequence of a hasty decision in the choice of a spouse? (Pres. Joseph Fielding Smith)

7) Should marrying someone be a matter decided only through inspiration? (Elder Bruce McConkie)

8) If a person receives some kind of positive inspiration about having a romantic relationship with another, how should this inspiration be interpreted? (Elder Dallin H. Oaks)

9) What is a good yardstick (i.e. measure) to determine whether a person could be a right choice for one's spouse? (Pres. Ezra Taft Benson)

10) According to Elder Boyd K. Packer, what must one do to obtain inspired wisdom in seeking a spouse?  (Elder Boyd K. Packer)

Be prepared to present your understanding about this topic to your classmates, and see if you have additional questions to ask me.  I'll be glad to answer them.
This web page was published only as a support for classroom discussion.
For more information, contact Dr. Marcus Martins at: martinsm@byuh.edu