Who was Mary Magdalene? What type of woman was she? How did the Savior meet her?
The only things known about Mary Magdalene are those recorded by three of the four writers of the gospel, Matthew, Mark and John, and by modern day apostles, who speak with the same authority as did those who served during the earthly ministry of the Savior. Matthew, the author of the first gospel, was one of the original twelve apostles, as was the author of the fourth gospel, John. Mark, however, was not an apostle, but he was a co-worker with the apostle, Paul, and a companion to Peter. Anything written about Mary Magdalene by other than the above authors and the apostles of today, is pure speculation.
So, what do we know about Mary Magdalene from the scriptures and the writings of the apostles? Perhaps she, among women, was the very closest associate of the Savior. When the Savior was crucified Mary was standing near the cross by the side of the mother of Jesus.. She followed the procession to the tomb where the Savior was buried. After his body was prepared and placed in the tomb and a great stone was rolled in place to seal the tomb, everyone departed except Mary Magdalene and the other Mary. Early on the third day, before it was light, the two Marys were the first to return to the tomb. Great was their surprise to find the great stone rolled away and the tomb empty. When the resurrected Christ appeared, he appeared first of all to Mary Magdalene. You know the story. She, not being able to conceive of the concept of the resurrection, assumed, undoubtedly without looking up, that it was the gardener who addressed her. But when he spoke her name she recognized him as the Lord, Jesus Christ. In that verbal exchange the Savior said:
Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God (John 20:17).
A bit of attention needs to be paid to this verse, to clear up a possible misunderstanding, and to more clearly display the relationship between the Savior and Mary Magdalene. Focusing on the phrase, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father, it is easy to draw the conclusion that since the Savior had not yet ascended to his Father, it was somehow essential that he not be touched. There is nothing in the scriptures or in the doctrine that indicates that the Savior could not be touched until after he had returned to the Father. If one refers to the original Greek from which the Latin and English versions of the New Testament were translated, one finds that the Greek word that appears in the King James Version as touch, ηαπτομαι, (haptomai) means, rather than touch, to fasten oneself to, adhere to, cling to. That phrase could be interpreted with the intent, “Please let go of me, for I must leave.” In fact, in the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible, that phrase is given as hold me not. So Mary Magdalene, when he spoke her name, had very likely rushed to the Lord and thrown her arms around him.
That brings us now to the question, was Jesus married, and who was his wife, or wives? Reference is made to the wedding feast at Cana. Indications are that this was the marriage of Jesus. That assumption gives logic to the phrase in John 2:3:
And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine.
Why would the mother of Jesus have had a concern for the care of the guests if she was not presiding at the wedding?
Here is what President Orson Hyde had to say on the subject:
“Now there was actually a marriage; and if Jesus was not the bridegroom on that occasion, please tell who was. If any man can show this, and prove that it was not the Savior of the world, then I will acknowledge I am in error. We say it was Jesus Christ who was married, to be brought into the relation whereby he could see his seed, before he was crucified” (Journal of Discourses, 2:, p.83).
“I discover that some of the Eastern papers represent me as a great blasphemer, because I said, in my lecture on Marriage, at our last Conference, that Jesus Christ was married at Cana of Galilee, that Mary, Martha, and others were his wives, and that he begat children” (Journal of Discourses, 2:, p.210)
Now for a bit of logic. Baptism is an essential ordinance of the gospel. It is the door to the celestial kingdom of God Not a soul will enter into that kingdom to live in the presence of the Father, other than those who die without reaching the age of accountability, except they have been baptized by immersion by one having the requisite priesthood authority for the remission of their sins, and who abide by the baptismal covenant. The Savior himself, although sinless, obeyed the law of baptism.
Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbade him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him (Matt 3:13-15).
But there is a glory yet higher than that, exaltation in the celestial kingdom. To achieve the status of exaltation, it is essential to be sealed in marriage to a companion for time and eternity. This is the highest ordinance of the gospel, and is essential for those who will be called to be rulers in eternity. It is unthinkable that the Savior would submit himself to the ordinance of baptism, but would not be sealed to an eternal companion, and the indications are that his eternal wives are Mary Magdalene, the other Mary and Martha.