Birthright Blessings; Marriage in the Covenant
The episode continues by reviewing Jewish practices of endogamy (marrying within one’s culture), wrestles with challenging or even harmful aspects of LDS approaches to marriage and children, and concludes with a discussion of healthy approaches to relationships.
One Time Donation:
Class Member Reading: Genesis 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29
Additional Reading: None
Adam and Cami continue the discussion.
You can access the Annotated Reading here (or PDF).
You can access the Lesson Notes here (or PDF).
Lesson Part 2: Scholarship
0:00 Review of Format and Resources
4:15 Bible Commentary Notes
8:25 Marrying Within the Culture
12:50 Historical Endogamy
13:45 Critical Reading
19:24 Pres. Kimball Quote
31:28 Temple Marriage and Sealing Policies
Discussion Part 2
Discussion Part 3
35:45 What Difference does a Temple Marriage Make?
51:13 Temple Sealing
58:10 Concluding Thoughts
- Marvin J. Ashton, What Is Your Destination?
- Marion D. Hanks, Eternal Marriage
- Elder Nelson, Children in the Covenant
- Principles of a Happy Marriage
- Relationship advice from the Gottman Institute
- Blog post by Jana Riess on why Mormons marry within their faith
- Robert Kirby on temple marriage and families
- SL Tribune article on possible changes to sealing policies
- RadioWest, How Children Succeed
- Carlfred Broderick, The Uses of Adversity
Thanks to James Estrada for quick and skillful postproduction, and as always to Steven Nelson for the beautiful bumper music.
Jeannie Hamblin says:
I love the pod casts. What a remarkable job you are doing! I feel so lucky to have found it. However, I want to do my own little ‘push back’ on the discussion of the ‘Birthright Blessing’ podcast for two reasons. First, it seemed like there was lots of empathy expressed for individuals who were in temple marriages (within the culture) who were unhappy – which is helpful and worth discussing at length as you did. However, there was NO discussion or empathy expressed for individuals who married outside the temple (outside the culture) who were unhappy. Having intimate family and friends who married wonderful people outside the culture, the amount of pain and suffering exacted because of that specific component of the relationship over time, cannot be ignored or glossed over. It is possible to have regret with a marriage choice but enough content so as not to end the union. Granted, before embarking on ANY marriage, within or outside of our culture, we need to know ourselves and understand the risks involved knowing that both we and our future spouse will undergo significant changes throughout the course of a lifetime. But, beginning a marriage with someone outside of our culture, given that there are reasonable and promising options within, seems to be taking on unnecessary risk in a venture already fraught with risk. That risk was not given serious emphasis in the discussion. For some of us, the tenants of our faith are so prominent in our identity that it would be difficult to share spiritual intimacy with someone whose faith provides little common ground or where there is no faith at all. It can be done – it is just more difficult. Throughout the course of some marriages, sometimes is the commonality of faith that is the only thread that holds the union together during times of adjustment and change. I would suggest that there is plenty of unhappiness to go around whether you have married within the culture or out, but I would have liked to see the discussion at least address the potential for regret and mourning of faithful members who struggle to experience spiritual intimacy with their spouse largely because of their choice to web outside their culture.
Second, the phrases ‘successful marriage’ and ‘happy family life’ seem to be used interchangeably in our conversations about marriage. ‘Success’ seems to imply more of a destination or end point and ‘happiness’ implies a state of mind along a pathway. As we as individuals change over the course of a married lifetime, there will certainly be adjustments, often painful ones, where, as one spouse is undergoing radical change, the other spouse may be unhappy for a time with the transition. How those things are resolved takes patience and often major paradigm shifts and just because there is happiness today (success), doesn’t mean there will be happiness tomorrow. And by the same token, just because there is unhappiness today (failure), doesn’t mean there will be unhappiness tomorrow. So we need to be cautious when advising the ‘cut your losses and run’ strategy. Obviously, everyone should make these ‘cut your losses and run’ decisions carefully for themselves – which I believe most do. But there are many people whose marriages have not been ideal, but they still feel like they and their family lives have been happy. Mutual respect, a feeling of well-being, and even happiness can exist in a marriage that is lacking in many areas. Couples should continue working to improve, naturally, but I am uncomfortable with the word ‘happiness’ being thrown around as if ‘happiness’ (journey) and ‘success’ (destination) are the same thing. I’m not sure they are.
That’s my two cents….
Jared Anderson says:
Thank you for this thoughtful comment Jeannie! There was so much to cover. We did talk about how much common ground is important for marriage, and talked about risks of marrying outside of our culture. You are correct that we could have been more empathetic toward challenges that arise in that situation, though I still feel that those challenges are in part created by the exact rhetoric that we should only marry within our culture! Your points still stand however. We also could have talked about the way those in “mixed-faith marriages”/part-member families are treated in LDS culture, which presents its own challenges.
Great comments on happiness vs. success. I throw “well-being” in there too. Each of these terms has its own nuances.