Doctrine and Principles of Marriage
For Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Their Families in Africa
The following are excerpts and key teachings from the new materials on marriage and marriage traditions:
“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
“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
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.
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
◼ 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 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.
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).
◼ 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.