I’ve been following your blog for years now, and I finally had the inspiration for my own question. What would happen if a man or woman remarried after the death of their previous spouse? Who will they be in a stable relationship with once they are assigned to one of the Degrees Of Glory? Thank you and I love your blog!
Thanks for your question.
In the eternities, we do not merely have “stable relationships”. We have eternal relationships. These relationships are based on family ties—that is, on ties between husband and wife, and between parents and child. The glorious news of the gospel is that, through Christ’s atonement, our family relationships may endure for all eternity.
The name for the degree of glory in which such family ties are found is the celestial kingdom. Family ties of this type do not endure in any other kingdom. Such family ties are a tremendous blessing and responsibility, and are bestowed only upon those who are faithful to their covenants.
Your specific question had to do with a person who remarries after the death of a spouse. There is much yet to be revealed in this area. We know that a man and a woman who have been sealed as spouses and who live worthy of their covenants will receive the matchless blessing of eternal life, married to each other, forever to live in God’s presence and enjoy the eternal blessings and increase that God has in store for his sons and daughters. From what we understand today, if a woman is sealed as a spouse to more than one worthy man, she will enjoy eternal felicity with one or the other. How that choice is to be made has not yet been revealed.
For the man, the situation appears to be somewhat different. Doctrine and Covenants Section 132, which reveals the idea of eternal marriage, also outlines in general terms a practice called “plural marriage”, where a man accepts the marriage covenant more than one time—that is, with more than one woman. It is assumed that men who enter into such a state and faithfully abide by their covenants will keep the marital relationships with each of their worthy spouses. Again, there is much we have yet to learn on this topic, but this was certainly the understanding of the brethren and sisters of the early Restoration period, when plural marriage was openly practiced among the living.
Today, the Church no longer sanctions plural marriage when all parties are still alive. But if a man is widowed and remarries, and both marriages were sealed in the holy temples of God, we have been taught that both marriages will endure for all eternity as long as the people involved are worthy. Many in the Church, including our prophet and current Church president, Russell M. Nelson, and his first counselor, Dallin H. Oaks, are in exactly this situation, having remarried after the much-mourned deaths of their first wives. I have a very close friend whose wife, a dear friend of my own wife, died at a young age, leaving little children behind. My friend later was sealed to an amazing woman who became a stepmother to his children and a mother to other daughters they had together. My friend still loves and misses his first wife, of course, and sometimes still weeps for her loss. But he is tremendously happy in the life he has built with his second wife. He assumes both of his beloved wives will be married to him in the eternities; it would break his heart to think otherwise.
Leah, if you still have questions, I suggest you counsel with your bishop and perhaps with your temple president. God bless you in your search for gospel truths and understanding.