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Doctrine and Principles of Marriage

Doctrine and Principles of Marriage

Doctrine and Principles of Marriage 

For Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Their Families in Africa 

The Africa Southeast Area Presidency is pleased to introduce new materials for members of the Church and their families on the important subject of marriage and marriage traditions, particularly the tradition of bride price or lobola.  A new brochure will be available to order through the area distribution centres.  It is our hope that these new materials will help members of the Church and their families to deal with the sensitive subjects of marriage and bride price wherever there is a need.  We encourage wards, priesthood quorums, and Relief Societies in every stake and district to use these materials to teach these important doctrines and principles of marriage.
marriage brochure cover.PNG

The following are excerpts and key teachings from the new materials on marriage and marriage traditions:

Scriptures

“For marriage is ordained of God unto man.” —Doctrine and Covenants 49:15 

“Neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.” —1 Corinthians 11:11 

“Marri age  between a man and a woman is ordained of God.  The family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.”  —”The Family: A Proclamation to the World” 
marriage couple

“The Church teaches us to give up any personal or family traditions or practices that are contrary to the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ and to this gospel culture.” 

—Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “The Gospel Culture,” Ensign or Liahona, March 2012 

“The consequences of [bride price] are manifold and lead to behavior unbecoming for a member of the Church of Jesus Christ. We urge our young people, our fathers and mothers, all our leaders and members of the Church to discontinue this practice.” —President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, in a broadcast to all stakes in Africa, Nov. 23, 2014 

Marriage: Part of God’s Divine Plan 

Since the beginning of time, marriage between a man and a woman has been part of God’s plan for His children. Within the bonds of marriage we find true happiness on earth and hope for eternal life in the world to come. Within marriage, we are able to fulfill part of God’s purpose for His children here on the earth. 
marriage couple

There are elements in modern society that are leading us away from
the truth that marriage is ordained of God. Church leaders reaffirm that God, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, has not changed His position on marriage. It remains a part of our purpose in life and a goal for our eternal lives. 

We are taught, “God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign, Nov. 2010, 129). 

Outside of marriage, God’s standard is chastity, or abstinence from all sexual relations. Inside of marriage, God’s standard is complete and total fidelity. 

While Church leaders affirm that marriage is essential, they also recognize that there are many kinds of marriages in Africa, such as traditional, customary, and civil marriages. 
marriage couple

In 2012 Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles issued a letter to leaders and members of the Church in Africa to address the question of marriage: 

“The Church has adopted as its standard in Africa for all ecclesiastical purposes (including baptism and temple ordinances) the acceptance of any monogamous marriage between one man and one woman, whether civil, religious or customary/traditional, which is legal under the laws of the country in which that marriage was performed” (Marriage Policy for the Continent of Africa, Jan. 27, 2012). 

The Church therefore requires that as a condition to receiving any saving ordinances, couples be legally married under the laws of the country where the marriage is performed.

 Marriage is part of God’s plan.

 God’s standard is chastity before marriage and fidelity after
marriage.

 In Africa, before Church ordinances are performed, marriage must be legal under the laws of the country in which that marriage is performed.

A Challenge to Marriage in Africa 

The practice of bride price, sometimes referred to as lobola, is one of the challenges to marriage in Africa. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency made this statement: “The consequences of [bride price] are manifold and lead to behavior unbecoming for a member of the Church of Jesus Christ. We urge our young people, our fathers and mothers, all our leaders and members of the Church to discontinue this practice. Our young people should follow the Lord’s pattern of marriage as practiced in the holy temple and not follow traditions that undermine God’s sacred plan. The Lord’s way is the real path to bring families together forever” (in a broadcast to all stakes in Africa, Nov. 23, 2014). 
marriage couple

 The First Presidency has asked that Church members discontinue bride price, or lobola.

 The Lord’s pattern is marriage in the temple.

 Families should do all they can to support the marriages of their children.

In some parts of Africa, the practice of lobola in recent years has become increasingly commercialized. This practice can hinder a couple’s ability to marry, impoverish the newly married couple, and delay childbearing. Lobola can delay marriage and lead to serious moral transgressions, which cause pain and sorrow. Members should do all that they can to encourage marriage and the formation of families. Supporting families in this way will bless grandparents, parents, and children. 
marriage family

Promised Blessings 

Church leaders encourage members to keep traditions that are in harmony with the gospel of Jesus Christ and to abandon traditions that lead them away from God’s plan for His children. Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve taught, “When it comes to giving up false traditions and cultures, we . . . appeal to our . . . members to put away traditions and cultural or tribal practices that lead them away from the path of growth and progress. We ask all to climb to the higher ground of the gospel culture” (“The Gospel Culture,” Ensign or Liahona, Mar. 2012, 43). 

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and people of faith everywhere have a moral responsibility to promote strong families and enduring marriages. We should do all we can to encourage and help young adults to marry in a timely fashion. Families of the bride and groom should work together to ensure the blessings of heaven for their children and future grandchildren. Members of the Church should seek to protect the marriage interests of their children and not delegate the duty to uncles, aunts, or grandparents. 
marriage couple

    We are asked to abandon traditions that lead us away from God’s plan. 

    Members of the Church have a responsibility to promote family and marriage.

God’s promises are sure—as we follow His commandments, we are blessed. The greatest joys and blessings He can give His children will be provided to those who adopt and follow the culture of the gospel of Jesus Christ, especially as it concerns the holy and sacred ordinance of marriage.