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Do Husbands Resurrect Their Wives?
by W. John Walsh
In the temple, do you teach that husbands get to decide if their wives will be resurrected and enter the celestial kingdom? Isn't this just a psychological ploy to keep your women in line?
Latter-day Saints don't discuss some aspects of the temple outside of its holy walls. It's not because these aspects are secret, but because the teachings of the temple are sacred to us. (See Do Latter-day Saints Conceal Their Doctrine?; Why is a Temple Recommend Requited to Enter the Temple?) Enemies of the Church often take advantage of us because they know we are somewhat limited in what we can say about the temple. However, while I won't discuss the details of our temple teachings, I can make a few appropriate comments that should address this issue.
First, Latter-day Saints do not believe that husbands have the ability to decide whether or not their wives will be 1) resurrected, or 2) enter the celestial kingdom. This is simply a fabrication created by our enemies. (See The Exclusion by Misrepresentation)
We believe that Jesus Christ has been assigned by God the Father to judge each individual and determine their eternal home. Jesus, not a woman's husband, will decide what degree of glory a women will live in for eternity. (See Final Judgment)
Now, Latter-day Saints do believe that in some instances, a woman's husband will be given the privilege of performing the resurrection ordinance for and in behalf of the Savior. In cases where a woman does not have a worthy husband, the Savior may allow her father to do so. Likewise, a man's father will be given the privilege of resurrecting him. In such cases, the person performing the resurrection ordinance is simply performing the ordinance for and in behalf of the Savior. He is not acting on his own and has no ability to decide what degree of glory a person will live in for eternity.
Now, let's address two specific questions. 1) Could a man use his priesthood ordination to resurrect someone unworthy? No. Priesthood power is only effective if it has been blessed by God and sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise. If a man tries to use his priesthood in a way that is not in accordance with the will of God, the actions are invalid and are of none effect.
2) Can a man refuse to call forth a worthy wife? Any man who would refuse to resurrect his wife at the Savior's request would prove that he himself is unworthy of living in the celestial kingdom and the Savior would never ask such a person to perform the task in the first place. In fact, such a man will not be living in the Celestial Kingdom himself.
(See Why can't women be ordained to the priesthood? for a discussion of unrighteous dominion by men; Response to Criticism home page; Accusatory Questions home page; Teachings About Temples home page)
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