Dear Celibates: there is no hope for you after death
There’s an argument I’ve heard a few times with respect to the law of chastity…it actually relates to teh gays, but it can apply to quite a few groups. The question that leads us into the rabbit hole? Why shouldn’t gay people seek committed relationships with people they love — even if those people happen to be the same sex?
Well…because it’s just wrong! It’s not consistent with eternal gender. Gay people should definitely stay celibate in this life, because if they are obedient, then their afflictions will be relieved in the afterlife (at least, according to God Loveth His Children [pdf alert]. And, when their afflictions are cured, they’ll find their celestial partner(s?) (of the opposite sex, of course) in heaven. And then everything will end happily ever after. Hallelujah!
…The alternative, presumably, is that if one does not live a celestially worthy life in mortality, then that’ll lead to disastrous consequences in the afterlife…like not being able to stay with your sin partner anyway because only some families (the “real” ones, that is) can be together. Or being a smoothie (yay eunuchs!)
From here, we can generalize.
People celibate in this life (particularly for peculiar circumstances or perhaps from involuntary circumstances) should take hope — everything will be resolved in the next life, if only they are obedient to the commandments.
But is that so?
A couple of days ago at Main Street Plaza, Alan took a look at Matthew 22:23-33. Those rascally Sadducees are trying to trip up Jesus and his crazy idea of a resurrection by drafting up a situation where a woman has, in mortality, married seven brothers (without bearing any children) [uh, I guess it’s important to note that these marriages were serial — would polyandry require a new case to hash out?]. And so, they ask: in the resurrection, whose wife will this woman be?
And Jesus answers something like, “Y’all are clowns — at the resurrection, people will neither marry nor be given in to marriage.”
Now, for Mormons and a belief in eternal marriage, this is a bit problematic if you interpret it just a certain way.
But not too problematic, if you interpret it in other ways. As Alan points out there is a common LDS response that takes a second look at Jesus’s answer.
Notice that Jesus did not say that marriages would not exist in the resurrection. What he did say was that “they neither marry, nor are given in marriage”, that is, marriage ceremonies are not performed by resurrected individuals. He was talking about the act of marriage not the condition of marriage.
Let’s suppose that this interpretation is correct…what happens? It turns out that dodging a theological bullet here means we take a direct hit elsewhere: specifically, to the previous “hope” that various celibate individuals may find companionship in the afterlife. It seems to me that to accept the former, then we cannot accept the latter.
So, back to the drawing board. What value is it for someone who, say, is gay, to forgo companionship in this life for a celestial existence in the next that will be neutered (if only figuratively, because not being a TK Smoothie, s/he’ll have all his/her parts)? I think it’s already unpalatable enough that some folk* doctrine basically suggests a person will be changed at a fundamental level to “enjoy” the Celestial Kingdom (this is a big deal for me for much of Christianity in general. “Losing myself” to gain myself in Christ doesn’t seem like it would maintain me continuity. Why should I care about the annihilation of “Me” so “Me Prime” can do whatever he will do in heaven?), but to have that happen and still not collect $200? Can’t say this deal seems all that great.
I thought religions were supposed to provide a certain level of existential comfort…