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-What Does the Book of Mormon Say?: About Marriage & Family

by Dr. D ~ July 28th, 2008

image The LDS are known for their wonderful emphasis upon the importance of strong and close families. Many of the Mormon families that I know make a practice of having at least one night a week set aside for family worship and activities. However, when one looks in the Book of Mormon for any teaching on marriage and family there is very little to speak of.

The Book of Mormon & Celestial Marriage

One of the distinctive teachings and practices of the Mormon Church is Celestial Marriage. Faithful LDS may be married in the Temple for ‘time and eternity’—not just until ‘death do you part’, but for all eternity. Not only that, but according to their beliefs, the family unit will also be maintained in the life to come.

Christian apologists point out that Jesus clearly taught that there would be no marriage in the life hereafter:

"For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven." Mark 12:25

Mormons on the other hand usually say that the passage is just talking about getting married in the life to come and does not necessarily rule out marriage for those already committed to an everlasting covenant of marriage.

What does the Book of Mormon say about eternal or ‘Celestial Marriage’? Absolutely nothing—zero, zip, nada. The scriptural sources for Mormon celestial marriage are found in the LDS Doctrine and Covenants not the Book of Mormon or the Bible.


There only a couple of passages in the Book of Mormon about divorce. One, 2 Nephi 7:1 merely mentions it in a quote of Isaiah 50. The only real teaching is found in 3 Nephi 12:31-32 which records what Jesus says about divorce. It parallels and actually quotes Matthew 5:31-32 of the Bible:

“It hath been written, that whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement.”

“Verily,verily, I say unto you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery; and whoso shall marry her who is divorced committeth adultery.” -3 Nephi 12:31-32 (Matt. 5:31-32)

Other Passages on Marriage & Family

Again, surprisingly the Book of Mormon really doesn’t have a lot to say about marriage and the family. In the last article we looked at Jacob 2:24-30 which condemned the practice of polygamy. In 4 Nephi 1:11 it talks about the people being blessed by God and being married and given in marriage.  The only other mention is a passage about family prayer. It teaches that families should pray together in order to be blessed of God:

“Pray in your families unto the Father, always in my name, that your wives and your children may be blessed.” -3 Nephi 18:21

This is actually good advice whether you believe in the book or not!            *Top

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7 Responses to -What Does the Book of Mormon Say?: About Marriage & Family

  1. Steve

    I’m not sure what the point of this article is? Are you trying to say that there is no scriptural basis via the Book of Mormon for the strong family culture that Mormons embrace? There is much more to Mormonism than the Book of Mormon. Continuing revelation is fundamental to the Mormon belief and most of the emphasis on being good husbands, fathers, mothers, wives, sisters, and brothers has come from Church leaders who quote often from the the Bible, Book of Mormon, and other works as their basis. They understand that the preservation of society comes through preserving the family. Righteousness should begin in the home…not at church. Indeed the Church and its programs are viewed as an extension to the families they uphold and not the other way around.

  2. Dr. D

    Thanks for visiting Steve,

    Actually, there really was ‘no point’ per se. I was just making an observation after searching the Book of Mormon for references having to do with marriage and the family.

    I was merely surprised to find so little about a major component of living–and an important part of the Mormon persona.

    Actually, the title of the article is: “What Does the Book of Mormon Say?: About Marriage & The Family.” -The article is just what the title indicates and nothing more.

    You make some good points by the way.


  3. Clean Cut

    Although you are correct in saying that the Book of Mormon doesn’t talk a lot about the doctrine or marriage, or eternal marriage per se, I have to respectfully disagree that it doesn’t talk a lot about marriage and family. The whole book was written by parents to their children. Wise counsel and love from fathers and mothers to their children is what the whole Book of Mormon is made up of, especially their family teachings about following the Savior and focussing our lives on him.

    See for example, http://mormanity.blogspot.com/2008/09/who-writes-this-kind-of-stuff-how-late.html

  4. Dr. D

    Thanks Clean Cut, some good points. Good family relationships are demonstrated in the book, also some not so great ones like Laman & Lemuel.The difference is plainly taught.

    Please continue to visit and comment, it is really helpful. PS: also,thanks for the link it was good.

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  6. Tim Barker

    A great article discussing this issue in more depth is Rodney Turner’s “Morality and Marriage in the Book of Mormon.” He points out that most of the discussion is regarding the problems and consequences of infidelity and being unchaste – and then observes that the marriage covenant is implied, or at least assumed within the text.
    Whether or not the Book of Mormon has any allusions to marriage sealings is another topic, and it seems that the book is rather silent on this subject (not that there are necessarily negative implications with this – consider Steve’s comments above). However, there are temples mentioned in the Book of Mormon, as well as sealing power (like Matthew 16). What may have been more clear in the unabridged plates, we do not know right now, but it seems that Mormon’s abridgement and redaction shows less concern about ordinances and temple work, then he was about the morality and life one ought to live consistent with the covenants a Mormon would make in connection with the ordinances, especially those within the temple.

  7. Tim Barker

    I forgot to post the link 🙂


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