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Are Families Forever? Part 1

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
August 20, 2020 5:00 pm

Are Families Forever? Part 1

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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August 20, 2020 5:00 pm

Bill McKeever and Aaron Shafovaloff discuss the topic of families being together forever.


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Viewpoint on Mormonism, the program that examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints from a biblical perspective viewpoint on Mormonism is sponsored by Mormonism Research Ministry.

Since 1979, Mormonism Research Ministry has been dedicated to equipping the body of Christ with answers regarding the Christian faith in a manner that expresses gentleness and respect. And now your host for today's Viewpoint on Mormonism, Our Families Forever.

Welcome to this edition of Viewpoint on Mormonism. I'm your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director of Mormonism Research Ministry. And with me today is Aaron Shuffle, all of my colleagues at m r m. I remember years ago there was a bumper sticker campaign and it simply said on the bumper sticker. Families are forever. I don't recall seeing a lot of those in recent years, but of course it was a big issue and it was one way that Latter-Day Saints felt that they could proclaim what they believed to be true. And that is this notion that if they do everything they're supposed to do and everyone in their family does everything they're supposed to do, they can hope to live in eternity as a sort of family unit, you might say. Well, Aaron, let's talk about that, because that is a huge drawing point, I'm sure, with a lot of people who may want to join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. That is, of course, they have a pretty decent relationship with their family here on Earth. I can see how that could be detrimental if you've had a horrible family life, who would want to spend eternity with people like that? But most Mormons don't think of it that way. They tend to look at all those behaviors as being pushed aside because now you're in heaven and things are all different.

The way they advertise it is that you have a mom and a dad around a table with sweet young children and this sort of family's sentimentality and, you know, Thanksgiving meal and just the sweet times of family home evening and just building a family together is a beautiful thing. And they think, wow, if this is such a an incredible, beautiful thing here on Earth, why wouldn't we continue this into the heavens? And what would a hellish tragedy they think it would be to fall short of having that in the resurrection, also, that they reason that if marriage was built into the Garden of Eden, if it was pre fall reality, if it was a part of the pristine nature of human institution, why ought that not continue into the resurrection as a as a restored, beautiful structure of humanity?

But there's problems with this. One common problem that Christians bring up is that when Latter-Day Saints end up fleshing this reality out, it's not a dinner table with two parents and five kids. It's more like two or more parents. I'm not trying to be snarky here, but like a man and perhaps hundreds of wives, who knows, with hundreds of thousands of billions or trillions of his own spirit children that he's birthing and now he's not breathing his his a heavenly mother is or Heavenly Wife is populating his planets. EFL, all these adult children among millions. Who are they on this planet near Kolob? Are they having intergalactic family vacations? And what's what's the real point of this family's sentimental Thanksgiving picture around the dinner table when you really flesh it out? This looks like there's a bunch of kings and queens governing over planets. But the more important direction to go here is the words of Jesus. Jesus just sends us into a very different direction, multiple ways in the gospel of Matthew. Chapter twelve, Jesus is told your mom and your brothers are looking for you. You can imagine it. Jesus, your mom's calling for you. And what Jesus does is he points his hand toward his disciples around him and he says, Here are my mother and my brothers.

For whoever does the will of my father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother. And I actually shared that last night at the dinner table with my kids. I think providentially enough. And my daughter said, what does it mean for Jesus to have a new mother? What does that even mean? And I said, well, it's a little bit like a riddle. You have to. Kind of sit on it. Think about it.

Jesus is reorienting the family around those who do the will of his father in heaven. In Mark Ten, Jesus talks about how if you, for his sake, give up your house or your brothers or sisters or mother or father, he says, then you will receive a hundred fold.

Now, in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and I like to kind of focus on them 100 fold mothers and children in lands with persecutions and in the age to come, eternal life. So Jesus demands this greater allegiance to himself over your own nuclear family. And he anticipates that many people who follow him will have to, in some dramatic way, give up their family. And there's a lot of Latter-Day Saints who have become born again Christians here in Utah who have felt that profoundly with pain all the way to the end of their life. Just a deep tragedy where people you most thought would be closest to you, where you most want to have an intimate relationship with it being alienated and hostile, even at times to you or estranged. You're just a pain associated with the separate the spiritual separation. But Jesus says if you if you follow him, even at that expense, he will give you a hundred fold mothers.

That's incredible. And that really points to a kind of forever family that the nuclear family isn't big enough to account for. It points us in the direction of having a forever family. That is a different kind of unit. It's too big for us to really comprehend. It's better than what we have now. It's better than the best of what we have now. And that's kind of hard to wrap our heads around. We're gonna come back to that that idea there. But it also in Matthew 19, something else comes up that's relevant. The Pharisees interrogate Jesus about divorce. They say, is it right to divorce a woman for any cause? And the way Jesus responds is by hearkening back to Genesis to the original structure of male female marriage, Genesis one and two. Any stitches together? Texts from Genesis one and two to argue for the original prototype of marriage of Adam and Eve being the precedent for marriage to follow and Jesus extrapolates from this. That man should not separate what God himself has joined together. And the disciples respond by saying essentially, you've given us such a strict ethic of marriage and divorce, then it's probably wise not to get married. And Jesus, it looks like he essentially shrugs his shoulders and said, well, y'all should consider the eunuchs who some of them make themselves Unix for the sake of the kingdom. And so what Jesus is doing here is he's he's uplifting the single celibate person for the sake of the kingdom as a completely lit Gediman pathway to the kingdom of God in some manner. He's even preferring it, at least for certain people who can receive it. So this accord's very nicely with what Paul says in First Corinthians seven. A lot of people think I'm going to talk now about how Paul said it's better not to get married. And that's a completely legitimate text to bring up in First Printing seven. Paul does say that for single minded devotion to Jesus. People should consider not getting married. It's better to remain single, which is just blows the mind. If you're a latter day saint, you're thinking, oh. Getting married is a pretty essential part of obedience to God for even celestial exaltation. I have to get married. Mormonism says Paul's like, well, maybe you should consider not getting married. But the text that I think is really interesting in First Corinthians seven is where Paul says that even if you are married. You should live as though you're not. Because the present form of this world, of this age is passing away. What he means is you should live properly within your present circumstances. Don't don't get divorced, but live in anticipation of a resurrection reality to the place where you won't be married. Live as though now as though you won't be married. Later. And that's a mind blower. I mean that, Paul, it does not anticipate marriage continuing in the resurrection and here Jesus and Matthew, 22, says that there will be no marriage in the resurrection. So he, Jesus, is interrogated by the Sadducees who give this scenario where this woman has a succession of seven husbands and they all die in this agency's ask, which one will she be married to? Notice they didn't ask when should they get married or what marriages when still hold. There wasn't like a category of different kinds of marriages. But this suggests just ask which one will she be married to? And Jesus says you are wrong. You do not know the power of God and you do not know the scriptures at the Resurrection. They will neither Mary nor be given in marriage, but they shall be as the angels. So for Jesus, the resurrection transforms human experience and human institutions such that marriage becomes obsolete, something bigger and better and more profound and more intimate and more joyful and more explosively relational happens at the resurrection that we can't even wrap our heads around. And marriage ends up being a obsolete metaphor mostly. And I say mostly because the Bible says an efficient five that is superior. Fascinating. Paul says he quotes from the early Genesis account, the early chapters on marriage. And he says this refers to Christ and the church. So Paul sees within the Genesis marriage text a pointer to a marriage that would last into the resurrection. Namely, that of Christ, the groom and his bride, the church. So marriage was always meant, even before the fall, to be a pointer pointing to something bigger and better than itself to the enduring reality of Christ and his relationship with the church. And that's a beautiful thing. But that means I have a better forever family than Mormonism's and dering nuclear family promise can give me based on what you just said.

How many Latter-Day Saints have said to you that one of the things they look forward to in the next life is being with Jesus? Or do you hear more often being with my family?

Oh, I always hear. Family.

I can't remember anyone saying I cannot recall in four decades of dealing with Mormons, one on one for decades plus any Latter-Day Saint telling me that he's gonna be excited to be with Jesus in the next life. In fact, from way I understand Mormonism, Jesus really plays no role in the Mormon hereafter after they are assigned to the celestial kingdom and they get their own world. Now, I admit there's a lot of confusion as to how that all works out. And even Mormons that I've talked to seem to be not quite clear on how that all works.

But there is a statement by Jeffrey Holland that he made and I remember seeing it for the first time when I was at the open house for the Rexburg, Idaho temple. And we were in the pavilion, as they call it, watching this film and Jeffrey Hall and made a comment about heaven without his family. What did he say about that?

Jeffrey Holland said heaven would not be heaven without his wife.

I heard that. And if somebody was watching me, I'm sure they saw my mouth was wide open because I could not believe what I just heard. Now, I'm sure everyone else in that pavilion being Latter-Day Saint probably. Oh, he loves his family.

I thought that was one of the most horrible statements I could have her because it says that he depends on his wife for his eternal happiness in Christ.

Yeah. Which shows that obviously Jeffrey Holland's primary desire is not to be with Jesus.

Thank you for listening. If you would like more information regarding Mormonism Research Ministry, we encourage you to visit our Web site at W w w dot m or M dot org, where you can request our free newsletter, Mormonism researched. We hope you will join us again as we look at another viewpoint on Mormonism.

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