As we have labored to round out our discussion of becoming a changed people, the need to include this section became clear. Just as people are unable to accept the restored gospel when they are struggling just to survive, so also it is virtually impossible for individuals ensnared in marital difficulties to strive for the mighty change. It appears to us that one of the greatest tools used by the adversary to impede and even prevent entire families from comprehending and rising to greater light is to attack and whenever possible break up families. For that reason we have included the following material.
We are aware of some who have been strengthened by this information and been able to pull back from the very brink of a divorce. It is our hope that many more may so benefit.
DELUSIONS AND DIVORCE – A SCRIPTURAL POSITION
A study of the scriptures on the source of delusions which cause us to make wrong choices. And consideration of the role delusions play in the
current plague of divorces in violation of scriptural teachings concerning divorce.
A delusion, as discussed herein, is a sincere belief in lies or untruths. To delude a person is to mislead someone into believing what is not true. It is to convince a person to trust or accept a misrepresentation of facts for the sole purpose of persuading them to follow a wrong course of action. Thus, to be deluded is to believe a lie or untruth. Following is a discussion of the scriptures concerning the sources of such lies or untruths and the processes by which men come to believe such untruths and thereby become deluded.
There are many ways in which a person can be deluded. Friend and foe alike can deceive or delude. Relatives and associates may delude. The Devil and his angels are especially good at it. Each of these sources of delusion will be addressed, beginning with delusions caused by Satan.
DELUSIONS CAUSED BY SATAN: A well known example of Satan-caused delusions occurred in 1828 while Martin Harris was acting as scribe for Joseph Smith in translating the Book of Mormon plates. Martin’s wife pressured him to prove what he was doing. Martin persuaded Joseph to ask the Lord to allow him to take the 116 page manuscript to his wife as evidence that he was acting as a scribe. Joseph inquired of the Lord and was twice told that Martin could not take the translation. After the third request, the Lord agreed to let Martin take the 116 pages based on a covenant that Martin would show the pages to only a few specifically agreed upon persons. Martin, of course, broke the covenant and consequently lost the manuscript. Joseph then lost both the privileges of translating and of retaining possession of the Urim and Thummim and the plates. Later that summer the Lord gave Joseph Smith a revelation revealing the nature of Satan’s cunning plan to deceive mankind through his delusions. The Lord said that Satan’s delusion is based upon a claim that men “lie to deceive.”
… Satan has GREAT HOLD upon their hearts; he STIRRETH them up to iniquity against that which is good. And their hearts are corrupt and full of wickedness and abominations; and they love darkness l rather than light because their deeds are evil; therefore, they will not ask of me.
Satan STIRRETH them up that he may LEAD THEIR SOULS TO DESTRUCTION … yea, he stirreth up their hearts to anger: [Satan tells the wicked to] deceive and lie in wait to catch that ye may destroy: behold this is no harm … he flattereth them and telleth them that it is no sin to lie that they may catch a man in a lie that they may destroy him. D&C 10:12-43
The Lord tells Joseph that Satan had put it into the hearts of those who had possession of the manuscript to alter the words so that they may “destroy this work.” The Lord says that this is the devil’s cunning plan and that he had put it into their hearts that by lying they could prove that Joseph only pretended to translate. Satan’s method to get people to follow his delusion is to gain control of their hearts and to stir their hearts up to anger. Once Satan has control of one’s heart because of wickedness, he then proceeds to lie to that person. In Joseph’s case, Satan told the people who had the manuscript that “HE HATH DECEIVED YOU.” Therefore, Satan bases his delusion on the claim that the person whom he wishes to destroy is a deceiver. By this method Satan gets them to do what he wants done.
Satan told these people that Joseph had lied and had only pretended to translate. Satan hardens “the hearts of people to stir them up to anger against you that they will not believe my words.” In concocting this evil design (delusion) based on lying, Satan planned to overthrow Joseph’s testimony in this generation. Of course, the Lord overthrew the plan of Satan and said that His wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil.
Another recent example of Satan creating “delusions to deceive” is the highly publicized actions of Mark Hoffman in forging the “Salamander letter” and other pseudo-historical documents. Other examples of Satan’s activities to create delusions are the claims that(1) the Spaulding manuscript is the source of the Book of Mormon, (2) the First Vision came from Satan, and (3) Mormons are not Christians.
In 1 Nephi 13 in the Book of Mormon the Lord revealed to Nephi that following the death of the twelve apostles, Satan would found a “great and abominable church” among the Gentiles. Vs 26 Through this organization Satan would create a delusion to deceive the world into believing false doctrines. To accomplish this Satan stirred up the hearts of those he “holds” to:
Take away from the Gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain precious and also many covenants of the Lord. And all this have they done that they might pervert the right ways of the Lord, that they might blind the eyes and harden the hearts of the children of men. Vs 26-27
Nephi was shown that after the plain and precious things were taken away from the Bible that it would go unto all nations of the Gentiles and that exceeding great many do stumble, yea insomuch that Satan hath “an great power over them.” Vs 29
We have come to a keen awareness that the single most significant “plain and precious truth” which the Adversary has succeeded in removing from the Bible is information about what it means to be born again through the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost. In the current Bible there are only a few sparse accounts left in the New Testament, mostly in Acts, of people receiving the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost and a few references to people being “filled with the Spirit.” The most well known of these is of course the events on the day of Pentecost. Because the information on the true “born of the Spirit” experience is so sparse, the Adversary has been able to deceive many into truly bizarre practices. In our view, these false activities of the Adversary account for much of the unusual phenomena found among charismatic, sometimes called “holy roller”, groups.
What is truly sad, and a powerful witness of how much the Adversary truly hates the true doctrine of the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, is that he has come very close to eliminating it from the awareness of virtually all of those who accept the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine & Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price as scripture.
While the scriptures have not been altered, the lack of understanding of the doctrine among the members, including the leadership, has made it very difficult for individuals to understand the powerful scriptures on the baptism of fire found throughout the four standard works of scripture. This is the reason why we have written this book. It is also the principal reason why it contains so much material, because of the need to overcome embedded attitudes and perceptions so that readers may finally see these profound truths, which are in very fact the very heart and core of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
In summary, delusions from Satan occur when he gains control, no matter how subtly or undiscerned, of the hearts or minds of men HARDENING their hearts, stiffening their necks, darkening their minds, blinding their eyes and stopping their ears to God’s truths. The purpose being that the Devil “may lead their souls to DESTRUCTION.” D&C 10:22
MAN-CAUSED DELUSIONS: A second way that delusions originate is by man himself. Joseph Smith at one time said that revelation comes from God, man, and the Devil. Paul says that men receive not the love of truth, but have pleasure in unrighteousness. 2 Thess 2:8-12 Because of this man himself creates his own self-delusions, self-justification, or rationalizations for taking a wrong course of action by deluding himself into believing that it is right. The scriptures give us many examples of and many different motives for man-caused or self-delusions.
In the days of the original twelve apostles there was a conflict concerning the status of Gentile converts. Many of the Jewish believers felt that the Gentiles had to accept the Mosaic law before becoming members of the Church. It was not fashionable culturally for a Jew to even sit at the same table and dine with Gentiles. When Peter visited the church in Antioch he ate with the Gentiles, but when James sent some Jews from Jerusalem he (Peter) withdrew “and separated himself fearing them which were of the circumcision.” Paul says he withstood Peter “to the face because he was to be blamed.” Gal 2:10-12 Paul indicated that others followed Peter’s example and “were carried away with their dissimulation” (pretentiousness). From this we realize that Peter was deluded into following a false custom out of fear of criticism or social pressure.
One of the remarkable features of the Restoration is God’s revelation that man has free agency, that is, the innate ability to chose. FREEDOM is a consequence of free agency and is the divine right granted to us by God in this life to chose for ourselves from an almost endless list of alternative courses of action. This FREEDOM is given for the express purpose of allowing us to determine our eternal destiny; however, there are only TWO eternal destinies. The Lord says that the consequences of our choices result in either, (1) PEACE AND ETERNAL LIFE or (2) CAPTIVITY AND DESTRUCTION. 1 Nephi 14:7
One of the most startling concepts in Holy Writ is the DELIVERANCE PRINCIPLE based on man’s God-given right of free agency. The Lord has revealed that we have the right to select our own delusions through the power of our free agency. Through the Spirit of the Holy Ghost, God guides our minds and feelings to see through our delusions and follow the path that leads to Eternal Life. The Lord, however, warns that, “His spirit will not always strive with man for that he also is flesh.” Gen 6:3 This would indicate that the natural man is an enemy to God who refuses to “yield to the enticings of the Holy Spirit.” Mosiah 3:19 The consequence of this refusal to obey the promptings of the Holy Ghost is to experience the:
DELIVERENCE … [over] to the HARDNESS OF THEIR HEARTS AND THE BLINDNESS OF THEIR MINDS UNTO THEIR BEING BROUGHT DOWN INTO CAPTIVITY. 1 Nephi 14:7
A classic example of the DELIVERANCE UP principle is found in 1 Samuel chapter 8 when the Lord allowed the Elders of Israel to follow their own bad choice (delusion) and change their form of government. The Elders of Israel met with the Prophet Samuel at Ramah and said, “Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.” This displeased Samuel but he went and prayed to the Lord about it. The Lord answered and said, “They have rejected me, that I should not reign over them … They have forsaken me and served other gods.” 1 Samuel 8:5-8 However, the Lord revealed to Samuel that He was willing to deliver them up to their delusion, but He told Samuel, “To protest solemnly unto them.” The Lord told Samuel to warn the Elders of the consequences of their choice. The results would be the following: the king would (1) take their fields, (2) make them servants, (3) declare war, and (4) require their children to be instruments of war. Samuel also informed them that due to these oppressions Israel would “cry out to the Lord because of their afflictions.” Samuel prophetically warned that when they cried out, “The Lord would not hear you in that day.” 1 Samuel 8:11-18 The Elders of Israel refused to obey the voice of Samuel and said, “But nay, we will have a king over us that we may be like all the nations.” 1 Samuel 8:19 Samuel rehearsed in the ears of the Lord through prayer their determination to follow their delusion. Subsequently, the Lord told Samuel, “Hearken unto their voice and make them a king.” Vs 22 Consequently they were DELIVERED UP to the torments predicted by the Lord to which their subsequent history so vividly attests.
A poet has clearly written of God’s respect for man’s free agency in these words:
Know this that every soul is free
To choose his life and what he’ll be
For this eternal truth is given
That God will force no man to Heaven.
He’ll call, persuade, direct aright,
and bless with wisdom, love and light,
In nameless ways be good and kind,
But never force the human mind.
The Lord obviously did not “force the human mind” of the Elders of Israel when they demanded a king, but “called, persuaded, and directed aright.” We should take warning that the Lord will deal with each of us in the same manner and deliver us to our own delusions after striving with us through His Spirit. However, this sad fate will occur only if we resist the enticings of the Holy Ghost because of the HARDNESS OF OUR HEARTS. Paul, speaking of sinners, says that, “God gave them over (delivered) to a reprobate mind (depraved thoughts) to DO THOSE THINGS WHICH ARE NOT CONVENIENT (proper).” Romans 1:28
Paul also says that delusions originate with men because they have “itching ears” and want to hear only things they agree with. In 2 Tim 4:3-4 Paul says:
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: and they shall turn away their ears from the truth and shall be turned unto fables.
Paul refers to deluded people as being “bewitched … that ye should not obey the truth.” Gal 3:1 He also declared that some church members, “having swerved, have turned aside unto vain jangling …. and give heed to fables.” I Tim 1:4,6 In 1 Tim 1:6 he asserts “others have given heed to seducing spirits.” 1 Tim 4:1 He also declared that others have “erred concerning the truth, having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof.” 2 Tim 3:5 He also states that “some profess that they know God but in their works they deny Him.” Titus 1:16
DELUSIONS FROM GOD: The last source of delusions identified by the scriptures is the most disconcerting because it is delusions sent to us by God. This type of delusion is what I call a “last straw” delusion. It clearly appears from the scriptures that our Heavenly Father can become so unhappy with our performance or lack of performance that He will send us a tailor-made delusion. What! Why would God go to the trouble to delude anyone when there are so many demons and people that seem to be engaged in the work on a full time basis? Isn’t it the major work of God to keep us from being deceived or deluded?
Let’s see what Paul the Apostle had to say on this subject:
And then shall that Wicked One be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; BECAUSE they RECEIVED NOT the LOVE OF THE TRUTH, that they might be saved. And for this cause GOD SHALL SEND THEM STRONG DELUSION, THAT THEY SHOULD BELIEVE A LIE: THAT THEY ALL MIGHT BE DAMNED WHO BELIEVED NOT THE TRUTH, but HAD PLEASURE IN UNRIGHTEOUSNESS. 2 Thess 2:8-12
Are we to believe Paul? Does God send to the unrighteous “strong delusion that they should believe a lie?” Vs 11 Is it not easy to look at the uncountable contradictions in such fields as science philosophy and religion and realize that Paul is a very credible witness. The hardest part is to trace the origin of a delusion to its source. Do we have any idea how many delusions come from God? We do not; but, there is something that we definitely learn from Paul, namely attitudes that our Heavenly Father abhors. These attitudes are:
1. Not receiving or loving Truth; and
2. Enjoying wickedness and unrighteousness.
Nephi also had something to say about not wanting any more from God:
Wo be unto him that shall say: We have received the word of God, and WE NEED NO MORE of the word of God, for WE HAVE ENOUGH! For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear to my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto HIM THAT RECEIVETH I WILL GIVE MORE; and from them that shall say, WE HAVE ENOUGH, FROM THEM SHALL BE TAKEN AWAY EVEN THAT WHICH THEY HAVE. 2 Nephi 28:29-30
Not wanting to learn more of the things of God can cause us to lose what knowledge has already been given to us. This creates a vacuum. Does this vacuum remain empty? Or is it filled with a delusion from any one of a number of sources?
Isaiah tells us of the condition of his people in the year that King Uzziah died. He had a vision in which he saw the Lord. Then Isaiah wrote of his experience as follows:
Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a PEOPLE OF UNCLEAN LIPS: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. Isa 6:5
Isaiah is immediately filled with the spirit of repentance. A live coal is placed upon his lips by one of the seraphim, telling him that his iniquity is taken away, and that his sin is purged, or “forgiven” in today’s language:
Then Isaiah heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom will I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. And He (the Lord) said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but UNDERSTAND NOT; and see ye indeed, but PERCEIVE NOT. MAKE THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE FAT AND MAKE THEIR EARS HEAVY, AND SHUT THEIR EYES: LEST THEY SEE WITH THEIR EYES, AND HEAR WITH THEIR EARS, AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART, AND CONVERT, AND BE HEALED.
Then said I Lord, HOW LONG? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly destroyed. And the Lord have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land. Isa 6:8-12
It seems that this is one of the most incomprehensible assignments ever given to a prophet in the history of the world. Isaiah simply responded, “How long?” It is doubtful that Isaiah knew that the carrying of Israel captive into Babylon was approximately 138 years into the future.
The “why” of the assignment becomes clearer as the Lord again gives the following description of Israel’s lifestyle:
Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations. I also WILL CHOOSE THEIR DELUSIONS, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, NONE did answer, when I spake, THEY DID NOT HEAR; BUT THEY DID EVIL before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not. Isa 66:3-4
The scriptures tell us that the people did not want to serve the Lord. They walked in their own way, not wanting what the Lord had for them. The scriptures tell us that with this unholy attitude and behavior, they qualified to be deluded. And the Lord was not going to leave the delusions up to anyone else; He would choose the nature, kind and extent of their delusions. The Lord specifically stated, “I will choose their delusions.” Vs 4
Is there another example in Holy Writ that supports this scriptural statement that God would send a delusion? Is there a record that this happened? Many will be shocked to learn that the answer is a resounding YES! The story is found in the twenty-second chapter of I Kings.
The setting of this event is that Jehoshaphat is King of Judah. Ahab is king of Israel. There has been three years of peace between Syria and Israel, but the spoils of Ramoth in Gilead is awfully tempting to Ahab. He invites Jehoshaphat to go to war with him and Jehoshaphat agrees to go, but wants a confirmation from the Lord:
Jehoshaphat said unto the king of Israel, Inquire, I pray thee, at the word of the Lord today. Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said unto them, SHALL I GO AGAINST RAMOTH-GILEAD TO BATTLE, OR SHALL I FORBEAR? And they said, GO UP, FOR THE LORD SHALL DELIVER IT INTO THE HAND OF THE KING. Vs 5-6
For some reason Jehoshaphat seems uneasy with the unity of all the prophets. Are they just currying favor with the king? He wonders if there isn’t another prophet and asks:
Is there not here a prophet of the Lord besides, that we might inquire of him? And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, Micaiah … by whom we may inquire of the Lord: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so. Vs 7-8
Micaiah is in prison. Ahab instructs an officer to bring Micaiah from prison to satisfy the concern of Jehoshaphat. The officer tried to persuade Micaiah to go along with the rest of the prophets — to prophesy nothing but good for Ahab, but Micaiah was unmoved:
And Micaiah said, As the Lord liveth, what the Lord saith unto me, that will I speak. Vs 14
On the way to the king’s chamber, he changed his mind and decided to have a little fun with the king. When asked if they should go up to war against Ramoth-Gilead, he said:
Go and prosper, for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king.
All of the other prophets must have smiled at this, but Ahab wasn’t smiling:
How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the Lord? Vs 16
It is time for the truth. Micaiah speaks:
I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the Lord said, These have no master: [indicating that Ahab will be killed in battle] let them return every man to his house in peace. Vs 17
Ahab is incensed, saying:
Did I not tell thee that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil? Vs 19
Micaiah speaks again. The vision must be told. Ahab must know of a certainty:
Hear thou therefore the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left. And the Lord said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-Gilead? And one said on this manner and one said on that manner. And there came forth a lying spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said, I will entice him. And the Lord said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And the Lord said, Thou shalt entice him, and thou shalt also prevail; go out and do even so; for all these
me. Now therefore, behold, the LORD HAS FOUND A LYING SPIRIT IN THE MOUTH OF THESE THY PROPHETS, and the Lord hath spoken evil against thee. (underlining indicates JST revisions in II Chron. 18:21-22)
The king’s anger at this point reached the boiling point:
Put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with the bread of affliction and with the water of affliction, until I come in peace. And Micaiah said, If thou return at all in peace, the Lord hath not spoken by me… Vs 27-28
Ahab did not want the truth. The prophets of Ahab did not want the truth. So, the Lord sent them all a delusion. The delusion was that they could enjoy the spoils of Ramoth-Gilead. They bought the delusion and went to war against Ramoth-Gilead. Ahab was killed in the battle. Vs 35 Micaiah was vindicated.
Perhaps the scriptural teachings that God would send a “strong delusion” needs personal and careful consideration! If we do not want to progress in light and truth, can we qualify for a delusion sent by God? In considering this fearsome question it may be well to ponder Jacob’s description of an attitude (state of mind) of one of the tribes of Israel:
But behold, the Jews were a stiffnecked people; and they despised the words of plainness, and killed the prophets, and sought for things that they could not understand. Wherefore, because of their blindness, which blindness came by LOOKING BEYOND THE MARK, they must fall; for GOD HATH TAKEN AWAY HIS PLAINNESS from them, and DELIVERED unto them many things which the cannot understand, because they desired it. And because they desired it, GOD HATH DONE IT, THAT THEY MAY STUMBLE. Jacob 4:14
To briefly summarize, based on the quoted scriptures it appears that as a “last straw” God chooses mens’ delusions, sends men delusions and delivers things which cannot be understood to the unrighteous, meaning those who will not receive and love His truths. Does “looking beyond the mark” qualify a stiffnecked person to be deluded? Will God “deliver them up” to things they “cannot understand?” What is the final result of being deluded? The Lord says, “They will stumble.”
To those who may be troubled by the concept that God sends us delusions, your puzzlement is understandable. All that can be said is that the scriptures cited here have been quoted accurately. If the preceding comments about them trouble you, can you find a different meaning?
SUMMARY. From the scriptures one can reasonably conclude that many delusions (remember – a delusion is a sincere belief in untruths or lies) result from being LUKEWARM about a commitment or being “neither hot nor cold.” Rev. 3:16
The principles discussed concerning delusions obviously apply to every area of life. Today, as always, there are many who for one or more reasons are deluded into beliefs and then into actions that have serious consequences both now and eternally. We believe that a valuable component of defenses against being deluded is greater understanding of the circumstances in which one becomes vulnerable to delusions from whatever source.
One tragically prominent example of delusions that have serious eternal consequences is the many delusions that men and women create for themselves in justifying a divorce. This can be called a “DIVORCE DELUSION.”
BECAUSE THE “DIVORCE DELUSION” IS SO PERVASIVE, CAUSES SUCH A TERRIBLE AMOUNT OF LONG-TERM PAIN AND SUFFERING, AND PERMANENTLY HARMS EVERY MEMBER OF EVERY FAMILY BROKEN BY DIVORCE, THE BALANCE OF THIS CHAPTER EXAMINES THE SCRIPTURES ON MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE.
THE LORD’S COMMANDMENTS ON DIVORCE AND MARRIAGE
The following was originally written for a few people who were in the throes of a dissolution, which they had initiated, of their temple marriages. None of those cases were the “rare case” where the Lord through the Spirit had either directed or approved the divorce. Our objective was to be so clear that no one could misunderstand or fail to see the Lord’s scriptural commandments on marriage and divorce in the hope that they might see the great risks and correct their course before the marital damage was beyond repair.
As is always the case, some heard the message and changed course and others did not.
If you were truly responsible for a divorce then it would appear that your ONLY safe course is FULL repentance as explained in Parts I through III. In our view true responsibility for a divorce lies with the spouse (1) that unrighteously brought the divorce proceeding in the absence of either adultery or the Lord’s approval of the divorce, (2) that committed adultery or, (3) that committed other behavior so grievous that the Lord directed or approved the divorce by their companion.
If your marriage is in trouble or if you are in the throes of a divorce then it is our prayer that the following will be helpful to you, your companion and your family, especially if yours is a temple marriage.
Now a few words about “the rare case”, or those relatively rare situations where the spirit has plainly told one or both partners, often including priesthood leaders, that a divorce was the right course. Obviously we can not and do not quarrel with those situations, just as Nephi did not argue when he was instructed to kill Laban. However, we do think it worth noting that Nephi did everything he could under the circumstances to be sure that his inspiration was from the correct source and that he clearly understood what the spirit was directing him to do and the reason for it. If you feel that you are such a “rare case” then it would seem to be essential to make sure that you are not deluded by doing all you know how to do to satisfy yourself that your inspiration is from the right source. REMEMBER, REMEMBER that the Lord may finally grant you your own delusion by telling you what you want to hear if you will not hear and obey the truth. What we are saying is that it would seem to be the prudent course to be very certain and careful that you clearly understand your inspiration in light of what the Lord has told us about His laws concerning marriage and divorce as discussed below.
THE LORD’S TEACHINGS ON DIVORCE: Scripturally the Lord has clearly and repeatedly stated that divorce is suffered (allowed) by Him and by the Father in the event of FORNICATION (INFIDELITY). Matt 5:32 But, even though the Lord has permitted divorce, such permission does not supercede His counsel to forgive and to mend the marriage. A powerful example of such forgiveness will be given later.
In Christ’s day divorce was common for any reason, just as it is today. Today the current popular view is “If it doesn’t work, get out.” In Christ’s day there were two camps of opinion – those who said for any reason and those who said only on the grounds of infidelity. The Pharisees approached Christ on the subject and asked Him “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?” Christ answered them from a scriptural position and not according to the law of the land or the customs of that day. He quoted a verse from Genesis, saying, A man shall leave father and mother and CLEAVE to his wife.” He then summarized, “WHAT THEREFORE GOD HATH JOINED TOGETHER LET NO MAN PUT ASUNDER.” By this Christ was stating that men and women were to marry and no provision was made for divorce in the beginning. But, the Pharisees then asked, If this were true, then why did Moses allow a “writing of divorcement and to put her away?” Christ told them that it was because of “the hardness of your hearts” that Moses “suffered (allowed) you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.” Then Christ gave the summum bonum to the whole question:
And I say unto you, whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for FORNICATION, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. Matt 19:9
The Apostles were shocked to realize there were no grounds for divorce except fornication, and exclaimed, “If the case of a man be so with his wife, It is not good to marry.” Christ followed up their perplexed reaction by saying “ALL MEN CANNOT RECEIVE THIS SAYING, SAVE THEY TO WHOM IT IS GIVEN.” Matt 19:11 By this we realize that there was a higher standard of commitment to marriage required of members of His Church. And as a result of the restoration of the fullness of the Gospel, we realize that the eternal covenant of marriage in the Lord’s House requires such a commitment.
The marriage lifestyle of the Jews in Christ’s day was very permissive. They entered marriage for “fun and games” and as soon as “the fun ended” the marriage dissolved so that they could remarry for more of the same. Considering this common practice, it is no wonder that the Sadducees asked Christ if a woman had married seven husbands, “in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven … ?” Matt 22:23-29 Christ curtly told them, “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.” Vs 29 Can we be so blind as to fail to see that ALL THESE RULES HAVE NOT CHANGED FOR US!
In ancient documents found at Qumron and Nag Hammadi it is unequivocally clear that eternal marriage was practiced by the Church in the days of the Apostles. In fact, from these documents we learn that after the resurrection Christ clearly taught the ordinance of eternal marriage was to be performed in a mirrored room known as the “bridal chamber.” In conjunction with this covenant of eternal marriage, those who honored the conditions of the covenant were promised that they would have “seed forever and that the husband and wife would never be separated.”
Unfortunately, in our society today far too many divorces are occurring as a result of self-delusion and false justifications. Are these delusions originating with the individual, the devil, or God? The answer to this question becomes clearer by considering what instructions the Lord has given us concerning adultery.
A careful perusal of the scriptures reveals that there are four types of adultery.
I. Straight Adultery. The first type of adultery is unfaithfulness to one’s spouse. Through Moses ancient Israel was charged in the ten commandments, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Exodus 20:14 In Leviticus 20:10 this type of adultery is defined as follows:
And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbor’s wife [are called] the adulterer and the adultress….
We are warned in Proverbs of the consequences, thusly:
But whosoever committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it DESTROYETH HIS OWN SOUL. Proverbs 6:32
II. Remarrying Adultery. The second type of adultery is remarrying while a spouse who has been put away is still living. On this Paul instructs:
For the woman which hath a husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband LIVETH, she be married to another man, she shall be called an ADULTRESS: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adultress, though she be married to another man. Romans 7:2-3
Christ was equally emphatic in warning about this type of adultery. During the final six months of His ministry, while teaching in Perea He condemned the marriage practices of the Pharisees in these words:
Wo unto you, ye adulterers. And they reviled Him again, being angry for the saying that they were adulterers. But, He continued saying, ‘whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery; and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband, committeth adultery.’ Luke 16:21-23 JST
Christ addressed divorce and remarriage in the Sermon on the Mount, thusly:
It hath been said, ‘whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give his wife a writing of divorcement.’ But I say unto you that whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery, and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery. Matt 5:31-32
From this scripture and others cited, it is clear that fornication is THE “ESCAPE CLAUSE”, or divinely-tolerated ground for divorce authorized in the scriptures.
According to THE LORD’S OWN WORDS in both ancient and modern (D&C 42:74 & 80) scriptures, THE LAWS OF REMARRYING ADULTERY ARE STILL IN EFFECT TODAY. While it may be true that the earthly administrators of the Lord’s church do not NOW impose church sanctions on those who are guilty of remarrying adultery, those spouses who seek divorce on grounds other than adultery should VERY CAREFULLY CONSIDER THE SPIRITUAL CONSEQUENCES TO THEM of their action; because IT IS ABSOLUTELY TRUE THAT SHOULD THE PARTNER RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DIVORCE REMARRY, IN THE LORD’S EYES THAT PERSON IS GUILTY OF ADULTERY, forgiveness for which does not come at all easily!!!
This law of Remarrying Adultery also raises the sober question of who bears the responsibility in the eyes of the Lord for any remarrying adultery later committed by an UNRIGHTEOUSLY put away companion. We acknowledge that the views here stated are our OPINION. Having said that, we offer the opinion that most if not all of the weight of that falls on the former spouse that broke their covenants and wrongfully terminated the prior marriage. The scriptural authority for this view is found in the Savior’s statement in Matt 5:31-32 that “…whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, CAUSETH HER to commit adultery.” Here, the Lord clearly recognizes that the CAUSE of the remarrying adultery lies with the husband that unrighteously put away his wife. To the best of our knowledge nowhere in any of the scriptures does the Lord place moral responsibility for any sin on an unwilling or unconsenting individual. In fact, in all situations that we are aware of the Lord places responsibility with the real cause. For that reason, when He says “Wo unto you ye adulterers” in Luke 16:21-23 we are strongly inclined to the view that the reason for the “Wo” is because the covenant breaker also pays the price for the innocent spouse’s technical remarrying adultery. This thought occurred after much pondering on this question as we worked on this chapter and it makes sense to us.
III. Wanton Eye Adultery. The third type mentioned in the scriptures is mental or wanton eye adultery. Christ spoke of this, saying:
Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. Behold, I give unto you a commandment that ye suffer none of these things to enter into your heart, for it is better that ye should deny yourselves of these things wherein ye will take up your cross than that ye should be cast into Hell. JST Matt 5:30-31
IV. “Whoring After Other Gods” Adultery. The fourth type of adultery is worshiping other gods. The Lord says He is the husband and Israel is the wife. He regards His covenant relationship to Israel as a marriage. When Israel went whoring after other gods, He proclaimed them to be adulterers. Jer 3:6-8, 14
To avoid the consequences of committing adultery, members of the church, and especially those with temple marriages, who are contemplating divorce ought to carefully consider the gravity of divorce. They ought to review thoughtfully and prayerfully the Lord’s unequivocal instructions on marriage and divorce as clearly set forth in the scriptures. Because of not only the moral consequences, but also the long-term injury to every family member, it is possible that one is in danger of seriously jeopardizing his or her eternal reward by following a delusion about divorce. Divorce is clearly one of those cases in which the Lord might visit “the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me (are disobedient).” Deut 5:9 Couples should be aided in overcoming the deception of their delusion in believing that divorce is a proper solution. Every righteous means and counsel should be given to those contemplating divorce.
On the express subject of divorce, the scriptures talk about a wife “treacherously departing from her husband.” Jeremiah 3:20 The prophet Malachi taught the Lord “HATETH PUTTING AWAY (divorce).” Malachi 2:16 The Savior taught “What God hath put together, let no man put asunder.” Mark 10:9 Paul said “Let not the husband put away his wife.” 1 Cor. 7:11
On February 9, 1831 Joseph Smith received section 42 of the Doctrine and Covenants, known as the “law of the Church”. The Lord gave Joseph His law concerning divorce and desertion in the following words
Behold, verily, I say unto you, that whatsoever person among you, having put away their companions for the cause of FORNICATION, or in other words, if they shall testify before you in all lowliness that this is the case, ye shall not cast them out from among you; but if ye shall find that any person have left their companions for the sake of adultery, and they themselves are the offenders, and their companions are living, they shall be cast out from among you.
And again I say unto you that ye shall be watchful and careful, with all inquiry, that you receive none such among you if they are married. D&C 42:74-76
In this “Law of the Church” the Lord makes it clear that divorce is “suffered” (allowed) by Him on the grounds of FORNICATION! He also declared that desertion for the cause of adultery was grounds for excommunication. Vs 75-76 In today’s permissive climate this may seem harsh, but it appears that the Lord is striving to FORESTALL divorce and is strongly encouraging, if not commanding people to solve their problems.
From these scriptures it also seems clear that the Lord is commanding couples to work hard to overcome any delusions that divorce is a solution to problems in a marriage. Malachi spoke of the “tears and weeping and crying that covers the altar of God” because men have dealt TREACHEROUSLY with their wives by divorcing them. He cautioned the Elders of Israel that God was:
A witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt TREACHEROUSLY
(by getting a divorce): yet is she thy companion and the wife of thy covenant.” Malachi 2:14
Then the Lord through Malachi asked the question, “And did not He make thee one? … And wherefore one?” He then answered His own question by saying, “That He might seek a GODLY SEED. Therefore, take heed to your spirit and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth. For the Lord, the God of Israel, sayeth that he HATETH PUTTING AWAY (divorce).” Malachi 2:13-16
Christ agreed with the strict position of Malachi on divorce by saying: “I say unto you, that whosoever shall put away his wife saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.” Matt 5:32 Christ told the Pharisees while in Perea, “Whoseover shall put away his wife and marry another committeth adultery against her. And if a woman shall put away her husband and be married to another she commits adultery.” Mark 10:11-12 Matthew adds that the Savior put in an “escape clause” by declaring that divorce was permissible IF FORNICATION was involved. Matt 19:9 The Greek word for fornication in the New Testament is porenia”, which means “sexual unfaithfulness.”
On the central subject of marital relations between a couple (a common source of complaints and friction), Paul instructs as follows:
Let every man have his own wife and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render unto the wife due BENEVOLENCE (conjugal rights) and likewise also the wife unto her husband. The wife hath not rule of her own body but the husband and likewise also the husband have not power of his own body but the wife. DEFRAUD (deprive) ye not one another except it be with consent for a time that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again (have conjugal relations), that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency (lack of self control). 1 Cor 7:2-5
Paul also offered the pragmatic advice to those who were not married, that “if they can not contain (exercise self control) let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.” 1 Cor 7:9 Joseph changed the words “to burn” to read “that any should commit sin.” Paul continued to say that “Marriage is honorable in all, and the BED UNDEFILED: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” Heb 13:4 In the Book of Mormon Jacob counsels, “Husbands LOVE your wives … and wives LOVE your husbands.” Jacob 3:7 The Lord told Joseph Smith in D&C 42:22, called the “Law of the Church”: “Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart” and in D&C 49:58 that “marriage is ORDAINED of God.”
It clearly appears from these powerful scriptures that men and women should love each other, cleave to each other, be one flesh and that marriage is ordained of God and should not be put asunder. Paul taught) “Neither is the man without the woman, nor the woman without the man IN THE LORD.” I Cor 11:11 Peter taught that the man and woman are “heirs together of the grace of life.” 1 Peter 3:7 We are powerfully instructed by the Lord in Section 131 of the Doctrine and Covenants that there is a new and everlasting covenant of marriage and that those who honor the conditions of the covenant will inherit exaltation or the highest degree in the Celestial Kingdom. These verses state, “In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees and in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood (meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage) and if he does not, he cannot obtain it.” D&C 131:1-3
The Lord also says that:
If a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it be sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of Promise …. ye shall come forth in the first resurrection …. and shall INHERIT thrones, kingdoms, principalities and powers, dominions, all heights and depths … it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through all eternity; and shall be of FULL FORCE when they are out of the world; and they shall pass by the angels and the Gods which are set there, to their EXALTATION AND GLORY in all things as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fullness and continuation of the seeds forever and forever and then shall they be Gods because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue then shall they be gods, because they have all power. D&C 132:19-20
How can a marriage be of “full force” in the world to come if a couple has deluded themselves into justifying a divorce in this world? The Lord, speaking of marriages not approved by him, are “not by me, or by my word… is not sealed, … then it is NOT VALID NEITHER OF FORCE when ye are out of the world because they are NOT JOINED by me; when they are out of the world it CANNOT BE RECEIVED there because the angels and the gods are appointed there by whom they CANNOT PASS.” D&C 132:18 The Lord goes on to say that such people remain “SEPARATELY AND SINGLY WITHOUT EXALTATION in their saved condition to all eternity and are not gods but are angels of god forever and ever.” D&C 132:17 The Lord further says that “their covenant of marriage is NOT OF FORCE when they are dead and when they are out of the world; therefore, they are NOT BOUND by any law when they are out of the world. D&C 132:15 The Lord concludes “WHATSOEVER THINGS ARE NOT BY ME SHALL BE SHAKEN AND DESTROYED.” Ibid, vs 14
How carefully and cautiously one should approach the consideration of divorce in light of the sacredness and importance God has placed on marriage in the holy scriptures that He has so painstakingly given us!! How many marriages will be shaken and destroyed because of self-delusion and self-justification and false rationalizations? Tragically, today the answer to this sad question is “Far too many.”
One other consideration should be mentioned. Church policy currently allows for temple marriage cancellation for grounds other than fornication (infidelity). However, we should hasten to say that HARDNESS OF THE HEARTS of church members is involved. Christ said that a writing of divorcement was allowed in the days of Moses. He declared, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, suffered (allowed) you to put away your wives; but from the beginning it was not so.” Matt 19:8 Until recently Bishops and Stake Presidents were strongly cautioned against advising couples to divorce. Present day instructions on divorce to Bishops and Stake presidents is to give counsel as directed by the spirit.
Is it not clear that the current attitude towards divorce of “If it does not work, get out” is offensive to God? The Lord has spoken so emphatically against divorce in all of the scriptures, both ancient and modern. His revelation is given us for our instruction, guidance, and benefit. Are we not failing to love the truths He has given us if we choose to follow our own reasoning rather than obey His clear scriptural instructions to us? By ignoring His directions are we not candidates for delusions?
President Lee taught we need to teach our people to find their answers in the scriptures.”Ensign, Dec. 1972, pg 3. President Kimball reinforced this by saying, “We must study the scriptures … and let them govern our lives” Ensign, Sept. 1976, pg 5. On this critical subject, the Lord says,
And your minds in times past have been DARKENED BECAUSE OF UNBELIEF because YOU HAVE TREATED LIGHTLY THE THINGS YOU HAVE RECEIVED …. And THEY SHALL REMAIN UNDER THIS CONDEMNATION UNTIL THEY REPENT. D&C 84:54,57
The hurt, bitterness, and anger between a couple can result in a hardening of the hearts and “darkening of the mind” of one or both partners. Once this occurs, the delusion of divorce as a solution becomes prevalent. In this state of mind each partner should prayerfully seek to repent and ask the Lord to help them soften their heart so that they can have the guidance of the Spirit. All too often the HARDNESS OF HEART AND STIFFNECKEDNESS remains unaltered so that self-delusions, false justifications, and erroneous rationalizations become one or both partners personal reasons for divorce. Contrast the heart hardened and the mind blinded by delusion with the Godly wisdom described by James in these words from Holy Writ:
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. James 3:17
Remember, Godly wisdom from above leads to repentance and softening of the heart which is essential before one can truly have the light of Christ as a guide. The Lord instructed the Prophet Joseph Smith that obedience leads to Godly “wisdom and treasures of knowledge” in these words: “And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments …. shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures. D&C 89:18-19. How urgently do people traveling the sorrowful road to divorce need “wisdom and treasures of knowledge!”
Speaking of the power of the Word of God to heal hearts and minds, Jacob instructs, “Come up hither to hear the pleasing word of God, yea, the word which HEALETH THE WOUNDED SOUL.” Jacob goes on to say there have been “daggers placed to pierce their souls and wound their delicate minds.” Jacob 2:8-9
Unless there is a spirit of forgiveness in the heart of each hurt partner, delusion may well lead to a shaking and destruction of the marriage. The Lord emphasizes the necessity of a forgiving heart by commanding us:
I, THE LORD, WILL FORGIVE WHOM I WILL FORGIVE, BUT OF YOU IT IS REQUIRED TO FORGIVE ALL MEN. D&C 64:10
The Lord further counsels us to approach troubles with a “broken heart and a contrite spirit”:
And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whosoever cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit him will I baptize with fire and the Holy Ghost (give answers to your prayers, expose delusions, heal wounds). 3 Nep 9:20
The foolishness of following “popular points of view” or whatever the current “consensus” might be is powerfully denounced by Paul thusly:
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2
Since we are all “under the glance of the PIERCING EYE OF THE ALMIGHTY GOD” (Jacob 2:10.), nothing short of an attitude of unconditional love can truly “transform and renew the mind.” Conditional love is destructive. One must “pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart that they may be filled with this love.” Moroni 7:48 This kind of love that comes as a gift from the Holy Ghost through prayer has the following characteristics: (1) suffers long (is patient), (2) is kind, (3) envieth not (is not jealous), (4) vaunteth not itself (is not boastful), (5) is not puffed up (is not arrogant), (6) behaveth not unseemly (is not rude), (7) seeketh not its own (is unselfish), (8) is not easily provoked (is not resentful), (9) thinketh no evil (does not keep a record of wrongs), (10) bears all things, believes all things, hopeth all things and endures all things, (11) charity never faileth. I Cor 13:4-8 From this it is obvious that they do not possess charity who are deluded into believing that divorce is the correct solution to problems in a marriage! Are quarreling or estranged couples full of the pure love of Christ? Unquestionably the answer is No! James says:
But if ye have bitter envying, and strife (contention) in your hearts … lie not against the truth … for where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. James 3:14-16
Paul, speaking to members of the Church, declared that they should “be perfectly (maturely) joined together in the same mind (attitude) and in the same judgement (decisions).” I Cor 1:10
To emphasize that these are in fact eternal truths that really work we now offer a real example that powerfully emphasizes the point that even though Lord permits divorce in the case of adultery because of the hardness of our hearts, that grudgingly given permission does not supercede His desire that we forgive one another and mend the marriage.
Some twenty or more years ago, a young wife and mother engaged in repeated affairs, even flaunting them before her husband. One day the husband marched out to car of her latest fling, parked in front of the couple’s home, pulled her out of the car and then and there issued the ultimatum that she either stop all such behavior immediately or their marriage was over. She chose to stop and with much effort, love and forgiveness, and undoubtedly the abundant blessings of the Lord, she fully repented and they rebuilt their love for each other. All who know or observe this couple now see true love and harmony between husband and wife and admire them as a most exemplary couple. Subsequently the husband has served as a Bishop.
While countless other similar examples that would fill volumes could be added here, hopefully the clear scriptural assurances from our Heavenly Father and this one example are sufficient to impress upon even the most deeply wounded heart the eternal truth that WITH GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.
The major ideas presented to this point have been:
1. A delusion is a deception based on lies which are sincerely believed.
2. The source of delusions may be the Devil, or man himself, or even God.
3. Satan gains control of the hearts of wicked men and sends them delusions so that he can lead them down to Hell.
4. The most foreboding consequence of man-selected delusions is that God will deliver him up to follow that self-deception and to be enslaved by the natural effects of that choice.
5. For those who love not His truths God may send to such people divinely chosen delusions.
6. God has given man his agency, and, therefore, man is free to choose, including choosing to follow devil-originated, man-created, or divinely-decreed delusions.
7. Divorce is an area in which delusions play a major role in motivating a false course of action.
8. Marriage is ordained of God. A temple marriage sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise is essential for exaltation.
9. The Lord HATES divorce and has permitted it only because of the hardness of the hearts of those involved. Scripturally, the only stated ground under which the Lord permits divorce is adultery.
10. All of the Lord’s laws of adultery, including the laws of remarrying adultery, remain in full force and effect today.
11. Those contemplating divorce should very carefully consider long and hard the eternal consequences of a divorce and have confidence in the Lord’s capacity and desire to help them heal their marriage.
We move next to the subject of what the scriptures tell us about the Lord’s attitude towards those who follow delusions.
Concerning those of His children who through the exercise of their god-given right to choose (agency) choose to not follow His word and His spirit, but to follow delusions, the Lord warns that, “His fierce anger is kindled” against His children when their MINDS ARE BLINDED (darkened) and their NECKS STIFFENED and their “HEARTS HAVE WAXED HARD, AND THEIR EARS ARE DULL OF HEARING AND THEIR EYES CAN NOT SEE AFAR OFF … and have sought their OWN COUNSELS IN THE DARK (delusions).” Moses 6:27-28 The Lord concludes by solemnly warning, “A HELL HAVE I PREPARED FOR THEM IF THEY REPENT NOT.” Moses 6:27-29; D&C 5:8
Nephi declared, “hardened hearts are past feeling” resulting in a rejection of the “still, small voice”:
He hath spoken unto you in a still small voice, but ye were PAST FEELING, that ye could not FEEL HIS WORDS. 1 Nep 17:45
Are quarreling, resentful couples traveling on the road to divorce “past each feeling other’s words?” Can they feel the still small voice when it speaks? Nephi characterized those PAST FEELING as “swift to do iniquity, but slow to remember the Lord your God.” 1 Nep 17:45
Nephi taught that people with “stiff-necks and high-heads” (proud, unrepentant) go astray or err because they are led by the “precepts of men”:
They wear stiff necks and high heads … because of pride … they have all gone astray save it be a few, who are humble followers of Christ: nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men. 2 Nephi 28:14
Nephi grieved because “the spirit stoppeth mine utterance… because of the stiffneckedness of men, for they would not search knowledge, nor understand great knowledge … and it grieveth me.” 2 Nep 32:7-8 How many people contemplating divorce wear stiff-necks and high-heads? Are they not unrepentant and hardened? Don’t they let the PRECEPTS OF MEN fill their minds with justifications for divorce? Does their high-mindedness stop the Holy Ghost, Bishops or friends from speaking the truth (utterances)? The consequences of NOT BEING WILLING TO HEAR THE TRUTH are much UNNECESSARY suffering, pain and deep heart-ache.
Finally, what then is the solution or the remedy for delusions, for surely there has to be one. And there is. The Lord told Joseph Smith that “after much tribulation and temptation He would heal and convert if stiff necks and hard hearts” don’t prevail:
After … much tribulation, behold, I, the Lord, will feel after them and if they harden not their hearts and stiffen not their necks against me, they shall be converted and I will heal them. D&C 112:13
Surely embittered, angry spouses need HEALING AND CONVERTING. Are they not faced with much tribulation to temper their souls?
Should not disputing mates be “persuaded to repent” (change minds and actions)? 2 Nep 26:27 Should they not be born again? Alma 5:31 Liberty from suffering comes to all who repent. There must be a confession and forsaking. The Lord said, “He who has repented of all his sins, the same is forgiven.” D&C 58:43 Should there not be complete forgiveness between each spouse? The frequency of forgiveness is taught by Moroni, “As oft as they repented and sought forgiveness, with real intent, they were forgiven.” Moroni 6:8 Should not this rule of frequent forgiveness apply between couples, especially troubled couples?
Paul taught that, “Godly sorrow worketh repentance (change) to salvation” – saving of a marriage. 2 Cor 7:10 The Lord says, “Men must repent or they cannot be saved.” Should not disputing divorce-bound couples apply this rule? Even so there must be repentance or the marriage can not be saved. Should not spouses be LONG SUFFERING like the Lord so that “all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9
The Lord cautions, “do not procrastinate the day of your repentance.” Alma 34:32 Should not couples facing divorce begin immediately to repent and not delay, else the destruction of their marriage and family surely follow?
Chastening (suffering, affliction & tribulation) is part of the process that “they might repent.” D&C 1:27 The Lord says, “those having knowledge, have I not commanded to repent.” D&C 29:49 The Lord emphatically instructs that mankind are to repent of “pride and selfishness.” D&C 56:8 Are not troubled couples hindered in their ability to reconcile because of pride and selfishness? Surely, the DIVORCE DELUSION can be broken by repentance!
Jacob sums up the matter of repentance by saying:
BUT WO, WO UNTO YOU THAT ARE NOT PURE IN HEART, THAT ARE FILTHY THIS DAY BEFORE THE LORD; FOR EXCEPT YE REPENT THE LAND IS CURSED. Jacob 3:3
What will the land be cursed with? Could it be a plague of divorces, resulting in embittered mates, broken-hearted children, and shattered lives?
The Lord has declared the five faculties of man (heart, mind, necks, ears & eyes) must be in tune with Him or His spirit is grieved, thus withdrawing and delivering them over to their delusions. Hearts waxed gross (hardened), beat indeed – but can not feel the still, small voice. Ears dull of hearing, hear indeed – but can not understand. Eyes closed, see indeed – but can not perceive. Minds blinded, think indeed – but counsel in the dark without inspiration. Necks stiffened, stretch indeed – but will not bend in humility, repentance or reconciliation. Metaphorically speaking, are not couples trapped in the DIVORCE DELUSION suffering from heart-attacks, ear-aches, neck-lockage, blinded-eyes, and brain-stroke?
The Lord says that delusions (which are deceptions based on lies which are believed) are “handcuffs, chains, shackles, and fetters of Hell.” He continues to say that, “lies are strongly riveted upon the hearts of men and fills the world with confusion and is growing stronger and stronger.” D&C 123:7 Lies are the “mainspring of all corruption and the whole earth groans under the weight of its iniquity.” (Ibid) The Lord says, “lying is an iron yoke and a strong band.” vs 8 On the subject of lying James says:
Lying against the truth is wisdom descended not from above, but is earthly, sensual and devilish. James 3:14-15
In I Colossians chapter 2, Paul also cautioned:
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain (empty) deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments (teachings) of the world, and not after Christ. Vs 8
Is it not clear that much of the DIVORCE PLAGUE is due to the iron yoke of delusion based on vain deceits and teachings of the world.
The SIMPLE ANTIDOTE to these delusions and the deep, long lasting and exquisitely painful wounds of divorce IS FOUND IN THE WORD OF GOD.
Oh all ye that are pure in heart, lift up your heads and receive the pleasing word of God and feast upon His love … come up hither to HEAR THE PLEASING WORD OF GOD, YEA THE WORD WHICH HEALETH THE WOUNDED SOUL. Jacob 3:2
From this and other scriptures it is absolutely clear that THE PLEASING WORD OF GOD AND HIS LOVE will totally expose the DIVORCE DELUSION and HEAL WOUNDED SOULS.
The vital importance of preventing divorce through the healing of wounded souls is powerfully emphasized when one considers most carefully THE LORD’S SOLEMN COMMANDMENTS to His church on the subject of how His Church is to treat (1) divorced individuals or (2) adulterers as found in D&C Section 42 (called “the LAW OF THE CHURCH”).
74 Behold, verily I say unto you, that whatever persons among you, having PUT AWAY their companions FOR THE CAUSE OF FORNICATION, or in other words, if they shall testify before you in all lowliness of heart that this is the case, ye shall NOT cast them out from among you; [Is not the implication here that if the divorce was not due to the adultery of the companion the result should be different, or in other words they should be cast out?]
75 But if ye shall find that any persons have LEFT THEIR COMPANIONS for the sake of ADULTERY, and THEY THEMSELVES ARE THE OFFENDERS, AND THEIR COMPANIONS ARE LIVING, they SHALL BE CAST OUT from among you. [Don’t both of these verses reconfirm the Lord’s condemnation of the remarrying type of adultery?]
80 And if any man or woman SHALL COMMIT ADULTERY, he or she shall be tried before two elders of the church, or more, and every word shall be established against him or her by two witnesses bf the church, and not of the enemy; but if there are more than two witnesses it is better.
81 But he or she shall be condemned by the mouth of two witnesses; and the elders shall lay the case before the church, and the church shall lift up her hands against him or her, that they may be dealt with according to the law of God. D&C 42:74-75, 80-81.
Can there be any doubt remaining that the Lord truly does hate divorce and that those responsible for divorce mightily displease Him?
We conclude, by coming full circle back to the starting point that the Lord does not approve of divorce, with Paul’s unequivocal statement of the LORD’S COMMANDMENT ABOUT MARRIAGE:
10 And unto the married, I COMMAND, YET NOT I, BUT THE LORD, Let not the wife depart from her husband:
11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife. I Cor 7:10-11 (emphasis added)
CONCLUSION: The purpose of the more than one hundred hours of labor by the several people who have struggled to write out these thoughts and scriptures is to mightily encourage those who have been so hurt in their marriage as to either be considering or even be in the midst of a divorce to DEEPLY PONDER THE ETERNAL CONSEQUENCES OF YOUR ACTIONS ON YOUR OWN ETERNAL WELFARE AND THE WELFARE OF YOUR FAMILY in the hope that after sober reflection, and even with fasting and prayer, you and your spouse will clearly see that in all but the very rare case IT IS A DELUSION to think that divorce is a solution and will also see the great wisdom of reconciling and with the Lord’s help rebuilding your love for each other. We have done our best so that you can clearly see from these scriptures that that is exactly what our Heavenly Father asks you to do. May it be so we humbly pray, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
POSTSCRIPT: Included in this Chapter will be found EVERY WORD in all the standard works about marriage and divorce. It is extraordinarily rare in the scriptures to find the Lord saying that He hates anything. Yet, as a special emphasis of how important he considers marriage to be, He has told us that “HE HATETH PUTTING AWAY.”
We are sensitive to the possibility that some who are victims of divorce may experience some pain as they read this. We sincerely regret this for it is in no way our purpose.
We are well aware that there are all kinds of horrible behaviors and all kinds of severly emotionally damaged people that make a marriage incredibly difficult or impossible. However, it is not possible to look to the scriptures and justify divorces on grounds other than adultery because He has simply not given us any other scriptural justifications for divorce. It seems obvious to us that no such list could ever be complete because of the infinite variety of circumstances. Whatever His reasons may be, to us it is clear that He requires that we take this critical matter to Him for case by case counsel and resolution. Only He knows all the facts and only He can bring about the necessary healing. We can not say strongly enough that all such situations simply must be taken to the Lord for His counsel and guidance It is worth repeating again that with the Lord ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.
ADDENDUM TO “DELUSIONS AND DIVORCE”
“Delusions and Divorce” was written in the first part of 1990 and revised slightly for inclusion here. Recently we discovered and read the following accounts of personal revelations to LDS women involving marriage. We were impressed to add these accounts because EACH ONE contributes an extraordinarily powerful witness of the eternal consequences or either honoring or breaking one’s sacred covenants made in the holy Temples of our Lord.
The first four accounts are from an excellent book entitled “Opening The Windows of Heaven” by Carol Jeanne Ehlers and Vicki Jo Robinson, Hawkes Publishing Co., 1987, which is still in print. Although we have chosen not to emphasize any portions of these accounts, you perhaps may wish to do so.
“I moved into an apartment when I was twenty-one years. old. I was the baby of the family, had secured employment, and had moved in with my girlfriend. My parents had not been active for a number of years, although my father did consistently attend his Priesthood meeting. He enjoyed his coffee, but was generally a happy, honest, and hard-working individual, except when it came to his marriage. He has first married when he was only seventeen. Two babies later, this marriage ended in divorce. At the age of twenty-seven he re-married again. He was not active at this time either but twenty years later he and his wife were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple. The next few years were prosperous and happy for both of them. It was during this time that I was born. My mother slipped back into old habits and soon lost the desire to stay close to the church. The marriage deteriorated, she became increasingly more negative towards him and towards the church. My father endured the situation as best he could. He had vowed that he would never again divorce as long as there were dependent children. Soon after I moved I had a dream in which I saw my parents fighting, unkind words were exchanged and divorce was threatened by my father. Next, I heard and saw myself telling my father that he should not seek a divorce, that he would not be here on this earth for much longer and that if he honored his covenants that he had made in the temple to the end of his days, he would know joy in the next world. When I awoke, I could not believe how real the dream seemed. I called home to talk to my mother. She was crying and had indicated that she and my father had had a terrible fight the night before. As she shared what had been said, I recognized the exact content of my dream. I made arrangements to talk to my father about what I had experienced. I shared with him the dream. He accepted it as being from the Lord. He did not get a divorce. He became active, and within the year was able to attend my temple marriage. Although in good health, a short eleven months later he suffered a massive heart attack and died.” Excerpted from “Opening The Windows of Heaven”, page 46.
“I was yet to receive a further progress report from my father. A number of years later, I had gone up to my bedroom to rock my two month old babe. I had turned out the light so the other children would not come, just to secure a sweet moment alone with my sweet infant daughter. As I nursed her, suddenly my room flooded with light and I saw my father standing before me. Standing with him were two others, female. One I knew was my sister, whom I had never met, for she died at the age of two, many years before I was born. She was a full grown spirit, and though I shouldn’t have recognized her, I just seemed to know who she was. I did not know the other woman, but a statement came to my mind, not verbal, but a communicated thought, nonetheless. I was to know that my father would have the privilege of living in a family unit. He radiated joy. The whole experience was extremely brief, and I was so startled by the suddeness of it that I had startled the babe in my arms. I feel the inner peace and surety and my father will have the privilege of living in a completed family unit throughout the eternities because he honored his covenants here in mortality. This blessing will be his even though his wife in mortality chose not to honor the covenants she had made in the Holy Temple of our Lord. She broke her covenants, rejected the holy garments of the priesthood, and turned from the Church. It appears that in so doing she has lost her claim upon my father, and will be replaced by another. Oh, that I could shout from the roof-tops, ‘Upon the choices we make today, hang our eternity of tomorrows!’ I am so grateful to the Lord for progress reports from beyond the veil.” Ibid, page 48.
“Our marriage was being severely tested. My heart was breaking with disappointment over the actions of one I loved. I had wondered if I could have the strength necessary to forgive. I had studied the scriptures. I know it is required to forgive if we hope to have our own sins forgiven. I could say the words but could I feel them? Though my heart still seemed heavy, I submitted to my husband in love making. I did so because I felt my eternal salvation was more to be valued than my pride, and I did not want to lose the sealing ordinance requisite to my exaltation. I knew that if my husband proved eternally unworthy he would be replaced in the heavenly realm. So I made a deliberate choice to submit and trust in the God of heaven for my eternal happiness. As I did so, a vision, sharp and clear opened to my view. Two large doors swung open before me. It seemed I had passed a final test and by so doing had gained the promise of entry to eternal blessings.” Ibid, page 50.
“As I learn and grow in the things of the spirit, my heart rejoices in the simplicity of truth. I know now why the Holy Ghost and Jesus Christ are referred to as the first and second comforters. Having experienced at diverse times the euphoric sense of well-being when the Holy Ghost is manifest in my life, I further testify that the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the second comforter is a reality. After experiencing a time of deep grief, humiliation and pain so great I thought my heart could never be healed, feeling I could never love again, or look forward to my old age or even eternity; the Savior has brought me comfort by His words personally unto me concerning the anguish and pain caused by one I loved so much. He has spoken and has shown me of His power to refine and purify those who would turn from all uncleanness before Him … and He has shown me things to come. I rejoice in God, and in His son, Jesus Christ and in the Holy Ghost, and in His grace, and the atonement and in the privilege of taking my turn upon an earth when the fulness of the gospel is available unto me. (It occurs to me that were we not allowed to suffer pain and anguish which seems beyond our own capacity to bear, we would never need to call upon His strength and never experience the joy and comfort of His presence in mortality.)” Ibid, pages 50-51.
We conclude these accounts of personal revelations with a previously unpublished experience of another LDS woman. With her permission we share the following excerpt from her personal journal of an open vision received in October 1992.
“As I lay in bed, pondering the wonder of the love that I felt for my husband after thirty-six years of marriage, I began to burn with the Spirit. In ever increasing surges the sweet euphoric feeling of the attendance of the Holy Ghost intensified and I felt even my eyes and my ears begin to burn. It was a familiar signal to me that the Lord had something to teach me.
I then saw two beings, male and female standing before me in flaming fire … glorious, perfected, resurrected companions. The words “Double witness” were given. I realize now how important both husband and wife are as examples and double witnesses of righteousness to the world, to their children, to their posterity, and to their own exaltation. I cannot begin to describe the beauty of the beings who stood in majesty before me.
Then another word was given. It was ‘Divorce.’ Immediately there was a flash of lightning and a crack of thunder, and it seemed all heaven was pained. The countenances of the two beings who stood before me clearly revealed their overwhelming disapproval.
The scene changed and I saw a woman alone with her children in her home. It seemed adversarial forces were throwing her children against the walls. She tried to get them outside to safety, but there was destruction everywhere and mobs were waiting to plunder and to ravage. She cried out in her terror to her husband for protection. From a distance away I heard him say she had no claim upon him for she had divorced him.
It became clear to me that in the times to come, when the prophesied events of calamity and destruction are upon us, it will be critical to have the protection of a husband, even perhaps, not the best of husbands. I saw how foolish to put away a husband for light things and I saw how strongly the Lord feels about divorce. How thankful I was for the husband who lay by my side and how grateful I was that our relationship had endured, notwithstanding trials during which I had prayed for and received the Lord’s strength to forgive and His capacity to love in spite of the pain inflicted by my companion. When the pain had been beyond my ability to bear, the Lord lovingly granted unto me His strengths and capacities, as He will to all who sincerely ask it. How infinitely worth it it has been, for with time and through the atoning blood of Christ, has come all the glorious promises to me and to my companion; including the appearances of the Lord, himself, who is the Second Comforter, bringing the promises of eternal exaltation from His own mouth.”