As touching the application of the principle of earthly authority for things of earth, and eternal authority for things beyond the grave, to the sacred contract of marriage, the revelation continues: “Therefore, if a man marry him a wife in the world, and he marry her not by me nor by my word, and he covenant with her so long as he is in the world and she with him, their covenant and marriage are not of force when they are dead, and when they are out of the world; therefore, they are not bound by any law when they are out of the world. Therefore, when they are out of the world they neither marry nor are given in marriage; but are appointed angels in heaven; which angels are ministering servants, to minister for those who are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory. For these angels did not abide my law; therefore, they cannot be enlarged, but remain separately and singly, without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity; and from henceforth are not gods, but are angels of God forever and ever.”
This system of holy matrimony, involving covenants as to time and eternity, is known distinctively as Celestial Marriage-the order of marriage that exists in the celestial worlds. The ordinance of celestial marriage is permitted to those members of the Church only who are adjudged worthy of participation in the special blessings of the House of the Lord; for this ordinance, together with others of eternal validity, is to be administered in Temples reared and dedicated for such holy service. Children who are born of parents thus married are natural heirs to the Priesthood; “children of the covenant” they are called; they require no rite of adoption or sealing to insure them place in the posterity of promise. But the Church sanctions marriages for earthly time only, and bestows upon such the seal of the Priesthood, among those who are not admitted to the Temples of the Lord, or who voluntarily prefer the lesser and temporal order of matrimony. No living person can be married under the ordinances of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints unless every requirement of the secular law applicable to marriage has been fully complied with.
Unlawful Associations of the Sexes have been designated by the Lord as among the most heinous of sins; and the Church today regards individual purity in the sexual relation as an indispensable condition of membership. The teachings of the Nephite prophet, Alma, concerning the enormity of offenses against virtue and chastity are accepted by the Latter-day Saints without modification; and such are to the effect: “That these things are an abomination in the sight of the Lord; yea, most abominable above all sins save it be the shedding of innocent blood or denying the Holy Ghost.” The command: “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” once written by the finger of God amidst the thunders and lightnings of Sinai, has been renewed as a specific injunction in these last days; and the penalty of excommunication has been prescribed for the offender. Moreover, the Lord regards any approach to sexual sin as inconsistent with the professions of those who have received the Holy Spirit, for He has declared that “he that looketh on a woman to lust after her, or if any shall commit adultery in their hearts, they shall not have the Spirit, but shall deny the faith.”
Sanctity of the Body-The Church teaches that every one should regard his body as “the temple of God”; and that he maintain its purity and sanctity as such. He is taught that the Spirit of the Lord dwells not in unclean tabernacles; and that therefore he is required to live according to the laws of health, which constitute part of the law of God. For the special guidance of His saints, the Lord has revealed the following:
1. A WORD OF WISDOM, for the benefit of the council of high priests, assembled in Kirtland, and the church, and also the saints in Zion-
2. To be sent greeting; not by commandment or constraint, but by revelation and the word of wisdom, showing forth the order and will of God in the temporal salvation of all saints in the last days-
3. Given for a principle with promise, adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints, who are or can be called saints.
4. Behold, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you: In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation-
5. That inasmuch as any man drinketh wine or strong drink among you, behold it is not good, neither meet in the sight of your Father, only in assembling yourselves together to offer up your sacraments before him.
6. And, behold, this should be wine, yea, pure wine of the grape of the vine, of your own make.
7. And, again, strong drinks are not for the belly, but for the washing of your bodies.
8. And again, tobacco is not for the body, neither for the belly, and is not good for man, but is an herb for bruises and all sick cattle, to be used with judgment and skill.
9. And again, hot drinks are not for the body or belly.
10. And again, verily I say unto you, all wholesome herbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature, and use of man-
11. Every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof; all these to be used with prudence and thanksgiving.
12. Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly;
13. And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.
14. All grain is ordained for the use of man and of beasts, to be the staff of life, not only for man but for the beasts of the field, and the fowls of heaven, and all wild animals that run or creep on the earth;
15. And these hath God made for the use of man only in times of famine and excess of hunger.
16. All grain is good for the food of man; as also the fruit of the vine; that which yieldeth fruit, whether in the ground or above the ground-
17. Nevertheless, wheat for man, and corn for the ox, and oats for the horse, and rye for the fowls and for swine, and for all beasts of the field, and barley for all useful animals, and for mild drinks, as also other grain.
18. And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones;
19. And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures;
20. And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint.
21. And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them. Amen.
The Sabbath Day-The Church accepts Sunday as the Christian Sabbath and proclaims the sanctity of the day. We admit without argument that under the Mosaic law the seventh day of the week, Saturday, was designated and observed as the holy day, and that the change from Saturday to Sunday was a feature of the apostolic administration following the personal ministry of Jesus Christ. Greater than the question of this day or that in the week is the actuality of the weekly Sabbath, to be observed as a day of special and particular devotion to the service of the Lord.
The Sabbath was prefigured if not definitely specified in the record of the creation, wherein we read, following the account of the six days or periods of creative effort: “And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.”
In the early stages of the exodus the Israelites were commanded to lay in a double portion of manna on the sixth day, for the seventh was consecrated as a day of rest; and this was signalized by the Lord’s withholding manna on the Sabbath day. There is no proof that Sabbath observance by Israel at this early date was an innovation; and it may be reasonably regarded as a recognition of an established order by reenactment in the new dispensation. Later, when the decalog was codified and promulgated from Sinai, the Sabbath law was made particularly explicit, and the Lord’s rest was cited as its foundation: “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”
The keeping of the Sabbath as a day of surcease from toil and of particular devotion came to be a national characteristic of the Israelites, whereby they were distinguished from pagan nations; and rightly so, for the observance of the holy day was specified as a sign of the covenant between Jehovah and His people.
In the course of Israelitish history successive prophets admonished and rebuked the people for neglect or profanation of the Sabbath. Nehemiah ascribed the affliction of the nation to the forfeiture of divine protection through Sabbath violation; and by the mouth of Ezekiel the Lord reaffirmed the significance of the Sabbath as a mark of His covenant with Israel, and sternly upbraided those who observed not the day. To the detached branch of Israel, which, as the Book of Mormon avers, was transplanted to American soil, Sabbath observance was no less an imperative requirement.
Long before the birth of Christ the original purpose of the Sabbath and the spirit of its service had come to be largely lost sight of among the Jews; and rabbinical rules had introduced numerous technicalities, which made of the day one of discomfort and severity. This condition was strongly denounced by our Lord in reply to the many criticisms heaped upon Him because of the healings and other good works wrought by Him on the Sabbath. “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath,” said He, and then continued with the profound affirmation: “The Son of Man is Lord also of the sabbath.”
Christ came not to destroy the law of Moses but to fulfil it; and through Him the law was superseded by the Gospel. The Savior rose from the tomb on the first day of the week; and that particular Sunday, as also the next, was rendered forever memorable by the bodily visitation of the resurrected Lord to the assembled apostles and others. To the believers in the crucified and risen Savior, Sunday became the Lord’s Day, and in time took the place of Saturday as the weekly Sabbath in the Christian churches.
The Church of Jesus Christ teaches that Sunday is the acceptable day for Sabbath observance, on the authority of direct revelation specifying the Lord’s Day as such. In this, a new dispensation, and verily the last-the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times-the law of the Sabbath has been reaffirmed unto the Church. It is to be noted that the revelation, part of which follows, was given to the Church on a Sunday-August 7, 1831:
“And that thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day. For verily this is a day appointed unto you to rest from your labors, and to pay thy devotions unto the Most High. Nevertheless thy vows shall be offered up in righteousness on all days and at all times. But remember that on this, the Lord’s day, thou shalt offer thine oblations and thy sacraments unto the Most High, confessing thy sins unto thy brethren, and before the Lord. And on this day thou shalt do none other thing, only let thy food be prepared with singleness of heart that thy fasting may be perfect, or, in other words, that thy joy may be full.”
We believe that a weekly day of rest is no less truly a necessity for the physical well-being of man than for his spiritual growth; but, primarily and essentially, we regard the Sabbath as divinely established, and its observance a commandment of Him who was and is and ever shall be, Lord of the Sabbath.