Last night in the fellowship meeting I attended I looked around and saw several single individuals in attendance. My thoughts and concern went out to them as I remember many of the circumstances I have been privy to in the course of baptizing others. Some who come seeking baptism, both men and women, have come to the point of asking for it without the agreement, and in some cases without the knowledge of their spouse. The pain of this rift between partners is all too evident when listening to the accounts of their belief in this doctrine, and the unbelief of their spouse.
Some believe it to be their duty to God, over the stability of their marriage, to go ahead with their baptism or to attend fellowship meetings regardless of the outcome. In these things, and many others, we face great challenges in our marriages. We forget sometimes that our greatest accomplishment can be to make our marriages holy. “Our marriages must become holy.”(Denver Snuffer.) With this in mind I would like to bring to our remembrance some things which have been said both recently, and things said around 180 years ago:
. To the teachers and baptizers I would like you to remember that the 1835 edition of the D&C contained an official article on marriage which stated: “It is not right to persuade a woman to be baptized contrary to the will of her husband, neither is it lawful to influence her to leave her husband.”
. To all of us I think another quoting of Hyrum’s epistle to the church in England, as the then co-president of the Church, may serve to set many minds at ease about this topic:
“To our well beloved brother Parley P. Pratt, and to the elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in England, and scattered abroad throughout all Europe, and to the Saints–Greeting:
Whereas, in times past persons have been permitted to gather with the Saints at Nauvoo, in North America–such as husbands leaving their wives and children behind; also, such as wives leaving their husbands, and such as husbands leaving their wives who have no children, and some because their companions are unbelievers. All this kind of proceedings we consider to be erroneous and for want of proper information. And the same should be taught to all the saints, and not suffer families to be broken up on any account whatever if it be possible to avoid it. Suffer no man to leave his wife because she is an unbeliever. These things are an evil and must be forbidden by the authorities of the church or they will come under condemnation; for the gathering is not in haste nor by flight, but to prepare all things before you, and you know not but the unbeliever may be converted and the Lord heal him; but let the believers exercise faith in God and the unbelieving husband shall be sanctified by the believing wife; and the unbelieving wife by the believing husband, and families are preserved and saved from a great evil which we have seen verified before our eyes. Behold this is a wicked generation, full of lyings, and deceit, and craftiness; and the children of the wicked are wiser than the children of light; that is, they are more crafty; and it seems that it has been the case in all ages of the world.
And the man who leaves his wife and travels to a foreign nation, has his mind overpowered with darkness, and Satan deceived him and flatters him with the graces of the harlot, and before he is aware he is disgraced forever; and greater is the danger for the woman that leaves her husband. The evils resulting from such proceedings are of such a nature as to oblige us to cut them off from the church.
And we also forbid that a woman leave her husband because he is an unbeliever. We also forbid that a man shall leave his wife because she is an unbeliever. If he be a bad man (i.e., the believer) there is a law to remedy that evil. And if the law divorce them, then they are at liberty; otherwise they are bound as long as they two shall live, and it is not our prerogative to go beyond this; if we do, it will be at the expense of our reputation.
These things we have written in plainness and we desire that they should be publicly known, and request this be published in the STAR.
May the Lord bestow his blessings upon all the Saints richly, and hasten the gathering, and bring about the fullness of the everlasting covenant are the prayers of your brethren.”
(The forgoing was written by Hyrum Smith the Patriarch and co-president of the church, and any emphasis is mine.)
I can’t hardly believe how apropos this foregoing is for us today.
. “God has something in mind for each one of us. Each one will be cared for in His due time. Trust in Him. Take your problems to Him and weary Him.”
It is such a joy when the man and the woman are as one in their belief of the Doctrine of Christ, in what the scriptures truly say, in their desires together for their future, and in their collective belief in God and His commands to them. I heard once, somewhere, that it is such a rare thing when this is so that even the angels come down to see this phenomenon. But regardless of whether it exists between us as marriage partners today or not, our effort needs to be always in that direction. it is such an important thing in its scope and potential that it must be pursued always and only with persuasion, always in long suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; by kindness and pure knowledge. Perhaps you have just realized this is all a priesthood thing, which is as applicable to women as it is to men. God bless us all!