Q. Why do you have to get married in the temple? Besides the ordinances that are performed, do you really think God will only allow people who were married in the temple, to stay married in heaven and no one else?
This is an excellent question. We do believe that you must be married and sealed in the temple of the Lord for the marriage to continue after this life. Having said that, I realize that we are not the only people on this earth who love their families and desire to be with them forever. We believe that the family is divinely organized. It is the fundamental unit of society. Therefore, it is no wonder to me that each of us desires to be with our families and loved ones forever.
Because marriage is ordained of God, the ordinance must be performed by His authority, and in His way for it to be eternal. In that way it is just like baptism, the receiving of the gift of the Holy Ghost, or any other ordinance of God. In talking with the Hebrews about the priesthood, Paul said, “And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron” Hebrews 5:4. (See Leviticus 8 for a description of how Aaron received the priesthood.) Merely wishing for your marriage to last after this life will not make it so.
There are priesthood holders today who are authorized to seal husbands and wives for all time and eternity. They perform these ordinances in temples, which are the most holy places of worship on the earth. (See the article, “Why Mormons” for a better explanation of how this priesthood was restored to the earth.) Even members of the LDS church must live clean, worthy lives to enter the House of the Lord, and then those who are sealed together must keep the covenants they have made in order to have their families forever.
With this understanding, it may be easier for others to see why Mormons are so anxious to spread the gospel throughout the earth. We know that God loves all people and desires all to have eternal happiness. That is why we are willing to go on missions and take every opportunity possible to share our testimonies, so that we can help as many people as possible enjoy these blessings of God.
Now, you may ask about all those who never had an opportunity to go to the temple to be sealed. Are they just denied? No. Through the Lord’s loving grace and mercy, He makes eternal marriage possible for everyone who has not had these opportunities during their mortal lives. It is through vicarious work for the dead. This means that in holy temples we may perform ordinances for the dead, including baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost, sealing a husband and wife in marriage, and other essential ordinances for our salvation and eternal happiness.
Vicarious work for the dead is not new with the restoration of the Church through Joseph Smith. The Apostle Paul spoke about baptisms for the dead in his epistle to the Corinthian members who were questioning if there really was going to be a resurrection. As part of his response he stated, “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?” (1 Corinthians 15:29). Truly this work is a sign of the true church of Christ on the earth.
For me, the principle of eternal marriage is one of the sweetest of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I hope that everyone, everywhere would rejoice in knowing that they can be together with their loved ones forever and that God has revealed how to accomplish it. I hope that you and all people would seek to have this blessing in your lives.