I will never forget the words spoken during the temple marriage of my youngest sister. The sealer looked around the beautiful room full of friends and family and said the following:
“When we come inside holy temples of God, we feel protected by their sacred, strong and solid walls. We might feel like we never want to leave such a beautiful place because it is so safe and protected from the world. However, please remember and take comfort in knowing that the covenants we make with God, and the symbols that we take with us and wear, are stronger than the walls of this temple.”
I walked out of the temple that day a different person. Those words have forever changed the way I view my temple marriage and the covenants that I have made with my husband and with God.
Many people in the world consider marriage to be only a social custom, a legal agreement between two people. But to Latter-day Saints, it is so much more. In the temple we find God’s standard and pattern for marriage. Covenant temple marriages are forged together by God through priesthood ordinances so powerful and so enduring that they not only bind a man, a woman and their children together in this life, but for all of eternity. Our exaltation depends on temple marriage. We believe that marriage is the most sacred relationship that can exist between a man and a woman, and this sacred relationship affects our happiness both now and into the eternities. A temple marriage is performed in the most sacred place on earth—a place where heaven and earth meet.
No matter how much the world redefines, dilutes, or changes their view on marriage, they are unable to duplicate the covenants made in a temple marriage. The sealing ordinance and covenants are made through the power of the priesthood—a power that is stronger than any court ruling or decree of an earthly government.
So while our society might legalize changing the definition of marriage, the Lord has placed safeguards to prevent that which is sacred from being redefined because …
Our temple marriages cannot be redefined by the world.
Society simply cannot redefine something that is not theirs to change. The world lacks the power and authority to do so. As Elder Neil L. Andersen has said, “While many governments and well-meaning individuals have redefined marriage, the Lord has not”[i].
Now, ironically because of a court ruling, our temple marriages have suddenly become all the more elevated, powerful and significant. They are different than anything the world has come up with in marriage law. Temple marriages will always define the Lord’s covenant people—and they will always be between a man and a woman. This is what elevates our sights above worldly practices, groups, and movements that are moving farther and farther away from God.
So, the church will move forward as it always has, and as it always will. We will rise to the occasion and work even harder at strengthening our own temple marriages. We will endeavor to become better at teaching, testifying, and encouraging the rising generation to keep the commandments and to prepare for temple covenants and temple marriages.
These words by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland should give us every reason to be optimistic about the future:
“What a terrific time to be alive! The gospel of Jesus Christ is the most certain, the most secure, the most reliable, and the most rewarding truth on earth and in heaven, in time and in eternity. Nothing—not anything, not anyone, not any influence—will keep this Church from fulfilling its mission and realizing its destiny declared from before the foundation of the world. Ours is that fail-safe, inexorable, indestructible dispensation of the fulness of the gospel. There is no need to be afraid or tentative about the future. …
If there are some bumps along the way while waiting to see every promise kept and every prophecy fulfilled, so be it. … Believe. Rise up. Be faithful. And make the most of the remarkable day in which we live!”[ii]
As was said so beautifully in my sister’s temple marriage, the covenants we make with God and the symbols that we take with us and wear are stronger than the walls of the temple in which they were made. Our temple covenants are more powerful than any bill, legislation, or ruling—and they cannot be redefined by the world.
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