Huzzah! New question in the inbox! This one comes from someone named Kennedy, who I don’t think I’ve ever met:
I like the way you answer questions so I’m just gonna be straight up! =) Is there going to be polygamy in the ck [Celestial Kingdom]?? I ask because my grandpa is being sealed to his new wife (my grandma died a few years ago) in a few weeks and my family, frankly, has been skirting around my question or just giving me crappy answers. So, he be sealed to both of them? It’s all confusing to me…
Well that’s a pretty heavy question, eh Kennedy? I don’t really consider myself a reliable source of info, so you shouldn’t either, but I’ll tell you what I know about it.
To your exact situation in terms of current church policy, Yes, your grandfather will be sealed to both of them, which heavily implies that he will be married to both of them in a polygamous sense in the Celestial Kingdom. Most members of the church will stop short of making any absolute statements about what will actually happen in heaven, which is probably why you’ve been getting crappy answers to your questions.
Let’s consider your broader question: Is there going to be polygamy in the Celestial Kingdom in heaven? Well… that depends on who you ask. Ask any member of the church during the second half of the 1800’s, and the answer would be a resounding “Yes, of course there will be polygamy in heaven!” During this time, church members were very clear on this point, and acceptance of polygamy in heaven (and on earth) was somewhat of a litmus test to be in full fellowship among the Mormons.
But things have changed since then. While I was growing up during the 80’s and 90’s, I heard the occasional reference to polygamy being practiced in heaven, but usually only by old people. I certainly grew up with the understanding that polygamy would exist in heaven, but I also heard a lot of faith-promoting-rumors that certainly weren’t true.
Now in 2011, I can’t recall the last time I’ve heard anyone at church teach about polygamy in heaven (except for this one guy – he was really old and that’s a story for another time), and General Authorities of the church haven’t consistently taught that principle in General Conference for several decades.
So when your family is skirting around the questions or giving crappy answers, well…, that’s pretty much what the entire church has been doing for a few decades now. So it’s not just your family. I’m not sure anyone really knows if the idea of polygamy in heaven is still Mormon doctrine or not. You won’t find it in any Mormon lesson manuals, and you definitely won’t hear anything about it in General Conference, but D&C 132 still teaches it, and the current temple practices still strongly suggest it.
Do some members of the church believe there will be polygamy in heaven? Sure. Some do. Mostly old people. You would be hard pressed to find any member of the church age 40 or younger that is excited about it. To be frank, I think the reason nobody talks about it is because nobody really wants to believe it. I’ve never met a member of the church who wants polygamy either on earth or in heaven, except maybe some old people.
Does that mean it’s not part of Mormon doctrine anymore? I don’t know. Your guess is as good as mine. If nobody believes it, nobody wants to believe it, and as a result nobody talks about it, in my opinion, that pretty well makes it a former doctrine. At the very least, a belief in polygamy in heaven is absolutely no longer required to be a faithful and active member of the church. If you or your family wants to believe in polygamy in heaven, there is certainly precedent for those beliefs. If you want to ignore it and dismiss any teachings about polygamy as archaic and outdated, you’ll certainly fit in as well.
What do you think readers? How would you answer this question? Give your answer in the comments below.
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