Friday, April 23, 2010

Quick Poll

Read the following excerpt, and then I have a question for you about it. The question doesn't have to do with whether or not you agree with the story, but rather what the story's point is. Think of it like an SAT Critical Reading question, I guess.

“A few years ago a young couple who lived in northern Utah came to Salt Lake City for their marriage. They did not want to bother with a temple marriage, or perhaps they did not feel worthy. At any rate, they had a civil marriage. After the marriage they got into their automobile and drove north to their home for a wedding reception. On their way home they had an accident, and when the wreckage was cleared, there was a dead man and a dead young woman. They had been married only an hour or two. Their marriage was ended. They thought they loved each other. They wanted to live together forever, but they did not live the commandments that would make that possible. So death came in and closed that career. They may have been good young people; I don’t know. But they will be angels in heaven if they are. They will not be gods and goddesses and priests and priestesses because they did not fulfill the commandments and do the things that were required at their hands.

“Sometimes we have people who say, ‘Oh, someday I will go to the temple. But I am not quite ready yet. And if I die, somebody can do the work for me in the temple.’ And that should be made very clear to all of us. The temples are for the living and for the dead only when the work could not have been done. Do you think that the Lord will be mocked and give to this young couple who ignored him, give them the blessings? The Lord said, ‘For all contracts that are not made unto this end have an end when men are dead.’ (D&C 132:7)”

Again, I'm not asking if you believe either of those options represents reality, but which do you think the author is trying to say? In the interest of full disclosure, this is taken from a talk given by President Kimball* in 1975 in an Area Conference in Japan, but I'm not asking whether you agree or disagree with the prophet on this issue, just what you think he meant here. And for further full disclosure, I understood option #2 was meant, but I have a good friend who has always understood the story to mean #1. Hence this blog post.

* So if anyone on earth could have the authority to let us know the final outcome of these two people's exaltation via revelation, it would be him (that is, this fact makes #1 at least plausible in my mind)


  1. .

    I think #2 is closer to the apparent intention.

  2. Given the excerpt you provided, I think option #2 is the correct interpretation.

    However, given my current understanding on this topic, I think neither option is correct. While serving in the bishopric, I saw, first hand, bishops counseling young couples to get married as soon as possible and then be sealed a year later - the reasoning being that it's better to be married than risk breaking the law of chastity.

    However, that is different than the counsel I was given when I was young (back in the late 70's) - which was more in line with the excerpt above.

  3. #2 is closer but again I disagree with it. PS, YOu could embed a Google form for beter and easier Poll results

  4. Thank you David. There's now a little google form. I've already included the above comment votes in it, so no need to re-vote.

    Though everyone should feel free to leave comments with thoughts as well, of course.

  5. You've created a false dichotomy! I want a third choice that addresses how much more difficult the repentance process is posthumously.

  6. Jocelyn, sorry, I thought about including that but I'm pretty sure everyone would have chosen that. Given those options, which one is closer to how you understood the message of this story to be? And if you can't choose, I guess just don't vote and leave us a nice comment explaining your thoughts?

  7. I chose #1, but I dunno if the reason is stemming from the fact that I could have been trying to give Pres. Kimball the benefit of the doubt.

  8. I did vote in your google doc, but I forgot to include it in my comment. Doh! I wasn't trying to be difficult (at least today).

    I chose #2 because I think President Kimball was trying to teach that we need to learn to obey the commandments now and not hope to be ready to obey commandments later. He's trying to teach the "don't procrastinate the day of your repentance lesson," but it sounds very harsh and condemning.

  9. I believe God had His own reason to take the couple's life. I think the couple had already had been given a chance to get married in the temple. But they didnt choose to take the chance, and unfortunately there was no second chance for them.

    However, even if they were not ready to go to temple at that time and God had already taken their life, I think they will have another chance in spirit world.

    I chose #1.

  10. This is really interesting to me. I chose #1 without hesitation. I don't know why that is, but to me, the intent of the story (in my mind) follows more closely to #1 to #2. I think if I were to hear this in a Sunday School Lesson, that is what I would have taken from it.