Monday, March 17, 2008
one in thine hand
(this is a pic my lover and I snapped on a little get-a-way we took about a week ago. lots of fun)
I am reading the most fabulous book right now. It is called A History of the Wife, by Marilyn Yalom and it charts the evolution of marriage in the Judeo-Christian world through the centuries. Highly recommend it. When I finish it I'll write a review (maybe. depends on how busy I am).
And just last night I read a passage that made me think specifically about how we as mormons view marriage. In Germany in the 1500's a monk by the name of Martin Luther challenged the churches stance on a whole list of things... and one of them was the celibacy of monks. Luther didn't believe this practice was based in the scriptures, was unnatural, and that marriage (and sexuality within marriage) should be open to all, both priest and laymen. Interestingly enough, Luther also "argued that marriage was not a sacrament-a religious ceremony of sacred significance. He... reduced the seven Catholic sacraments to three; only baptism, penance, and the Eucharist remained... [as] necessary for salvation." (pg. 99)
In other words, he was all for marriage, but not as a spiritual requirement.
Which led me to think of the LDS view of marriage as an ordinance necessary for salvation (Elder Holland has even used the word 'sacrament' to refer to marriage and the marital bed). If it doesn't happen in this life, well... the LDS culture is working hard to change the view that you are a bit of a failure, and there is always the promise of being able to marry someone in the here-after. Because it needs to happen. Or else you can't go to heaven. Not only that, but it needs to happen in an LDS temple, or it doesn't count. When I read Luther's words last night, I wondered if perhaps the Church's emphasis on the necessity of being married (in the temple) to go to heaven, wasn't as unnatural as the Catholic Church's emphasis on being celibate. A situation which doesn't fit for everyone, and in the striving to fit, problems occur.
I love my husband, and we are such a good match for each other. but I have also seen some very bad matches that have occurred because of a rush to marry, to do what God requires.
(And, btw, the whole arguement that Jesus was married 'because-he-had-to-be-married-like-he-had-to-be-baptized' really trivializes the whole concept of marriage for me. Totally. It's my dad's favorite theory, and I just cringe inside at the thought of wife-as-object-for-salvation.)
Just some of my late night thoughts. What do you think?