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Gramps,

My daughter is a very faithful member of the church. She served a mission to Chile, and married a native Chilean in the temple. After two children and 15 years, she had taken all the abuse she could, and got divorced. She is concerned with the mention in the scriptures of a divorced woman that re-marries, being considered an adulteress. She has no plans to re-marry, but if she does, how does this apply to her? There was no apparent fault with her in the bad relationship, and she has kept her temple vows. To me, it looks like a loving Heavenly Father would not consider it adultery if a faithful daughter re-marries. I would appreciate your input on this. Thanks.

Rell

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Answer

 

Dear Rell,

You are probably referring to the scriptures found in Luke 16:18, in the Bible and 3 Nephi 12:32 in the Book of Mormon.

“Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.”

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery; and whoso shall marry her who is divorced committeth adultery.”

The Savior, in using the term, putting away one’s wife, is referring to the practice of a separation without legal divorce. If there has been no legal divorce, and the separated parties lived with others, that was classed as adultery.. But if there were a legal divorce, then the divorces parties were free to marry again without prejudice. There is also a difference in the meaning of the words “divorce” and “writing of divorcement,” as explained by Daniel H. Ludlow:

“These same ideas on marriage and divorce are included in the Savior’s statement in the Book of Mormon. Divorce (or permanent separation) is not good; but if a couple decides to separate permanently, they should follow the legal procedures. This requirement is equally applicable to the man or the woman, for if a man “puts away his wife” but does not give her a legal divorce, he causes both her and any subsequent husband she might marry to commit adultery. (3 Nephi 12:31-32; compare Matthew 5:31-32; 19:3-9; Luke 16:18.) In this regard, it is well to remember that the word divorce as used by the Savior in 3 Nephi 12:32 is not a legal term; it simply implies a separation or “putting away.” The legal term used by the Savior is “writing of divorcement.” (3 Nephi 12:31.)

(Daniel H. Ludlow, A Companion to Your Study of the Book of Mormon, p. 266)

 

Gramps

 

 

 

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