The Wedding of Jesus

I was wondering how Mormons view Jesus’ status as a bachelor. In Orthodox Christianity singleness and lifelong celibacy are view as acceptable and at times even preferable for followers of Jesus. The value for singleness, devoted to lifelong service of God, is in part centered on the example of Jesus himself.

This lifestyle choice is held in tension in Mormonism. A temple wedding is the penultimate ordinance to qualify for Exaltation. It seems to be THE most exciting and highest honor in temple worship. From an outsider’s perspective it seems the Mormon experience is lacking without a sealing to an eternal spouse.

In light of this, how do Mormons reflect on Jesus’ life without a wife? What kind of justifications are offered for this disconnect? Is it a fact of His life that needs no explanation?

Truly, Honestly. I tell you, this is not just a cheap plug for the post that has become known as “The One True Post.” But I also recognize that I can’t bring up the subject of Jesus and Marriage without referencing it. So consider my obligation to silliness fulfilled.

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40 thoughts on “The Wedding of Jesus

  1. Most Mormons I know offer one of two speculations:

    1. He got married in heaven – as per the requirement

    2. He was married during him mortal ministry (Mary Magdalene is a popular candidate)

    Some Mormons cheerfully state they are open to both possibilities.

  2. Incidentally, Mormons weren’t the least bit upset about the Da Vinci Code book or movie. They viewed it as a lot of fun, more or less.

  3. Catholics have a long history of referring to nuns as “the brides of Christ” (for what this is worth). As for Mormons, I remember reading in the Journal of Discourses that Jesus was supposed to have married several women (Mary Magdalene, Mary the sister of Lazarus, Martha, and the other women who came to tend his corpse after the crucifixion). I am too lazy to look the references up, but maybe someone else will.

  4. I have had non-LDS friends suggest that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene as well. But as I told Tim on Facebook, I realised a long time ago that my friends and the conversations I’ve had with them are radically different from the norm.

    I can only add that there are all sorts of details from Jesus’ life that are absent from the four Gospels (example: we don’t know what He did from the time He was about 12 until the time He was about 30), and I am firm believer that lack of evidence is not evidence of lack. If anything, I find the lack of any commentary on His relationship status interesting. We have details of birth, baptism, death, and resurrection, yet they don’t say anything about Him being single OR being married. It is just absent from the record.

  5. Even though now it is part of that wide categories of doctrines-not-officially-taught-anymore-but-still-true , Mormons believe that Jesus was indeed married.
    Past leaders taught that the Wedding of Cana was actually His wedding, and that he had three wives, the two Mary’s and Martha.
    Of course, now mormons will say that this is not official doctrine, but only speculation, although ’til not much time ago it was held as a matter-of-fact doctrine.
    So what do mormons believe about it now?
    They will most likely give the standard answer: “we don’t know – it has simply not been revealed to us – knowing it or not is not necessary for salvation”.
    But actually the belief that Jesus was, indeed, married is still deeply rooted among members of the Church. It simply is one of those unfortunate “taboo” topics not spoken about very much (especially with non-members).
    So, like many many other lds doctrines-speculations, you will find that every member has their own answer to the question and their own beliefs, often kept private and sacred and rarely shared.

    This, at least, is my own understanding.

  6. Alex, have you ventured into the Infancy Gospel of Thomas (yes, it’s pseudepigraphical, but it’s interesting nonetheless, imo)? Just thought I would throw that out………..

    One might also come to the conclusion that he was married because most nearly all men in that period married, particularly rabbis. Given that Jesus became a rabbi at age 30 as was typical, one could assume that marriage was a forgone conclusion, and not a point of interest or documentation because it was assumed (so why bother mentioning it?). Then when you combine Mary M. being at the tomb to anoit Jesus’ body (which was something reserved for family; some believe Salome was the sister of Mary, Jesus’ mother), it makes for a compelling argument, imo.

  7. Riccardo, I enjoyed your seemingly honest and informative comment.
    I agree with the Mormons you referred to who say, “Knowing it or not is not necessary for salvation.”

  8. Riccardo, I assumed you are a Mormon. My comment is based on that assumption.
    If my assumption is wrong, my comment is null and void.

  9. @Cal :

    I’m not Mormon, though I’m deeply affectionate to the Church and its members (someone calls me a Dry-Mormon…)

    @TikkTok :

    Actually the Jews at the times of Jesus were very different from the Old Testament Jews.
    In Jesus’ times’ Judaism(s), it was not rare to remain celibate for religious purposes, and marriage wasn’t considered “mandatory” to be a good Jew. (well actually there were sooo many different sects and understandings of Judaism)
    John the Baptist didn’t marry. John the Beloved didnt either. Nor St. Paul.

    Moreover, you say that Jesus was a rabbi, therefor it was custom for rabbis to be married men.
    But modern-day talmudical rabbinical (not sure that’s the correct word in Eng) Judaism, which many consider a spin-off of Phariseeism, is not the Judaism of Jesus’ times.
    He was not a rabbi in the modern sense.

  10. Riccardo, we know that Jesus wasn’t fond of being called ‘rabbi.’ I wasn’t there :D, so I have no idea what was really going on (I mean, there is a reason the Gospel of Mary was found in a jar………. :lol:). As I understand it, rabbi = “teacher” so regardless of what people called Jesus, he was, nonetheless, a ‘teacher’ in any sense of the word. There are verses which refer to him as ‘rabbi’.

    Given that only the Orthodox Jews (as I understand it) refrain from allowing female rabbis, and gay/lesbian rabbis are accepted in addition to non-Orthodox and women rabbis ( http://www.timesofisrael.com/refromed-conservative-movements-to-receive-funds-through-ministry-of-culture/) in Israel, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say modern Judaism has evolved and is quite unlike ancient Judaism in many regards. 🙂

    I’m just putting out there the points I’ve heard made for Jesus being married. 🙂

  11. I agree with most of what has been said. My observation is that most LDS assume that Jesus was married, and it certainly isn’t unheard of to think that the wedding at Cana was his. But, at least based on what I’ve heard people say, most would acknowledge that a belief about Jesus’ marriage is speculation rather than doctrine.

    My observation is that it’s the opposite for evangelicals: They assume that Jesus was single, if they’ve thought about the issue at all.

    My own take: The silence in the four Gospels on the matter is inconclusive; their silence on the matter could be seen as evidence in either direction. St. Paul’s comments on singleness might be seen as weak evidence that Jesus was married — Paul used himself as an example for discouraging marriage, and if Jesus had been single it would have been logical to use him as an example as well.

    I tend to think, though, that if Jesus had been married that we would see something to indicate that his wife and/or children had some sort of special status in the early church, as James did. This is far from conclusive, however, and I’m more than happy to leave Jesus’ marital status as one of those great unknowns.

  12. Riccardo, Italy, the “dry Mormon” said, “I’m not Mormon, though I’m deeply affectionate to the Church and its members (someone calls me a Dry-Mormon…)”

    Interesting. Do you consider the Church Christian?

    Eric, I like your last—level headed :-)—paragraph.

  13. What about the scene on the cross where Jesus indicates that John should care for Mary (his mother). Don’t you think that they would have recorded who was to care for his wife (and children) as well?

    Since marriage is so important in Mormonism, and Mormonism is the restoration of the faith Jesus practiced; isn’t it alarming that marriage, and the marriage of Jesus in particular, isn’t discussed with the same frequency and fervency in the Gospels as it is in the Restoration? The lack of evidence may not indicate conclusively that Jesus was single, but it does indicate that marriage in the life of Jesus was not nearly as important as it is in the life of the average Mormon.

  14. I think that Jesus would have been a horrible father to abandon his family, go around the countryside preaching, and then end up killed. Once resurrected, a good father would have stayed here in the flesh and raised his family – not abandoned them to do “ministry” appearing to people over 40 days and then ascending bodily. Anyone who would just up and leave their wife and kids and travel around without regard to the needs of their family would be sinning. Jesus is present here on earth when we gather in his name, He comes to us and calls us his own in holy baptism, and he gives us Himself in holy communion – which is Jesus among us and He provides nourishment for our spiritual lives – but families need a father who is there when the hurts come, there when the bullies taunt, there when the wife needs comfort. If Jesus was married, He was a lousy father. Which makes me conclude that marriage was never part of God’s plan for the sacrificial lamb Jesus, it was not what He was here to do – and the lack of any mention of marriage being important in salvation makes me conclude that my or anyone else’s marital status has nothing to do with eternity.

  15. I think that Jesus would have been a horrible father to abandon his family, go around the countryside preaching, and then end up killed.

    Are soldiers bad fathers for abandoning their families, going around the world fighting, and then ending up killed?

  16. Are soldiers bad fathers for abandoning their families, going around the world fighting, and then ending up killed?

    If the cause is justified, no. The question that begs to be asked about Jesus would be “Why did you get married and have children if you knew you were going to die and leave your family for ministry?” He wouldn’t be a bad father for becoming the Savior of mankind, he’d be a bad father for becoming a father knowing beforehand that ministry would be his only priority.

  17. Kullervo, Do soldiers rerturn to their families after the battle (if they survive). Jesus didn’t return to his family after his resurrection. What kind of father would that be that would return home and then go live in another city? Call me, son.

  18. Tim, no we don’t seal women to Jesus. We’d consider that a bit too presumptuous.

    Riccardo, what is your basis for saying that “Jesus was a polygamist” was a “matter of fact” assumption in the early church?

    Because I’m calling BS on this one. I know the quotes you’re thinking of. And I don’t think they even come close to establishing that this was the doctrinal assumption at any point in LDS history.

  19. Ah yes…

    Good old Helen Radkey. I wonder how she’s getting on, now that the money tree has dried up….

    Next thing you know, she’ll be accusing Wikipedia of allowing unpleasant user-generated content before it got moderated off the website.

    So David – did the name stay on the record? Was the LDS Church aware of this? Did they remove the ordinance? Was the sealing done with sanction or approval?

    Tim’s question implied official LDS Church stance.

    You have provided nothing more than individual member quirks.

  20. Good grief David – I just read the entire article.

    If anything, this proves the point I made to Tim that the LDS Church doesn’t endorse, encourage, allow, or approve of this practice.

    Did you notice how many sneaky tricks individual Mormons had to go through to get through the official LDS filters put in place to prevent precisely this sort of thing from occurring?

    Thanks for the source.

  21. If the cause is justified, no.

    The overwhelming majority of soldiers who have died on history’s battlefields have died for causes we would probably not consider just.

    What about any other father who leaves his family at home to do dangrous work? Merchant marines? Long-haul truck drivers? Roustabouts? Lumberjacks?

    The question that begs to be asked about Jesus would be “Why did you get married and have children if you knew you were going to die and leave your family for ministry?” He wouldn’t be a bad father for becoming the Savior of mankind, he’d be a bad father for becoming a father knowing beforehand that ministry would be his only priority.

    Eh. Can;t put my finger on it, but this just doesn’t really convince me. I think that the idea of what constitutes a good or bad father is almost entirely a cultrual construct, and that complicates things a lot, too. Not to say that its ephemeral because its a cultural construct, but merely to say that I don’t know what was expected of a good first-century Jewish father.

    Also, I don’t really care one way or another if Jesus had kids; I kind of assume he didn’t just because we dont; really know one way or the other. But some of the arguments being thrown around here are unconvincing.

  22. If those soldiers went to war knowing that their cause was unjust, then I would say they owe a debt to their children. I agree that most men who have died on the battlefield (in the history of mankind) have not perished for justifiable causes.

    The question of “risk” is inline with soldiering. Does the cause justify the risk? In general it’s not a good idea for a father of young children to ride a motorcycle in traffic. The risks involved, more often than not, don’t justify the mode of transportation (where choice is an option).

    Jesus on the other hand wasn’t taking a risk. He knew the outcome. It was his mission to die.

  23. If those soldiers went to war knowing that their cause was unjust, then I would say they owe a debt to their children.

    I think this kind of thinking betrays a naive and fundamentally flawed understanding of what a soldier is and does.

  24. I think that Nikos Kazantzakis had some profound thoughts on this in The Last Temptation of Christ The “last temptation” was to step down from the cross and live a normal family life. In the end the argument is that Jesus could not have been God if he had not resisted this temptation to be a normal man.

  25. He wouldn’t be a bad father for becoming the Savior of mankind, he’d be a bad father for becoming a father knowing beforehand that ministry would be his only priority.

    By the same logic Jesus would be a bad brother, son and citizen. It seems that the priorities of Jesus’ work would insulate him from those sorts of charges.

  26. Personally, I know my vocation as a father is a lot more demanding than my vocation as a brother or citizen. If I entered into fatherhood with the knowledge that I was going to leave and go live apart from my family in a few years that would be negligent.

  27. I fundamentally disagree with the premise that the whole highest point of family is reduce-able down to mere grief avoidance and being around to play catch with your son.

  28. If I entered into fatherhood with the knowledge that I was going to leave and go live apart from my family in a few years that would be negligent.

    How is that a biblical standard?

  29. Christ forms a syzygy with the Aeon Sophia. Not sure about the man Jesus though.

    Syzygies exist on multiple levels. So using this pairing you would have something like:

    Law (Logos) ~ Wisdom (Sophia)
    Christ (King) ~ Queen
    Jesus ~ Mary (either Madeline or his mother or they are the same)

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