Thursday, July 01, 2010

Washington Post Blogger, Anthony Stevens-Arroyo, of Catholic America
Mormons have a lot to teach Catholics about emphasizing marriage as a God-given vocation.
Considering that marriage is essential to exaltation in Mormon theology, I can see where he might think that. But I wouldn't expect the Catholics to abandon celibacy just because Mormons don't believe in it.
Such was not always the case. Catholics are not going to believe that Joseph Smith in the early 19th Century was given a new scriptural revelation in the Book of Mormon. Moreover, the LDS doesn't talk about polygamy in its past anymore than Catholics today talk about clerical pedophilia. But the promise of a successful marriage is central to the Mormon message. It was a key in the 19th Century -- despite the shadows cast by polygamy -- and it remains a basis for LDS success today. It is as if 150 years of aging has produced a fine wine.
As a Mormon, I believe and bear witness to the fact that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is lead by prophecy and through the same authority as the Apostles of the New Testament. In the early history of the LDS church, it was on the edge of destruction through opposition by the clergy of other churches and persecution by apostates. I don't think it would have had the leaders to survive and sustain its growth without plural marriage, which was practiced by its core leaders. They were convinced that their eternal salvation depended on marriage in the temple, which included in many cases, to more than one wife. After God made plain to the prophet, Wilford Woodruff, that the practice was to be abandoned, it became cause for excommunication. There is all kinds of speculation, including this one, as to why God would give such a law and then revoke it, but the important thing is whether one accepts the principle of living prophets and continuing revelation. Then it becomes just a matter of obeying the Lord. And that principle is one that Catholics can understand.


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