7. "What Therefore God Hath Joined Together, Let No Man Put Asunder"

By Richard D. Draper

Richard D. Draper, “'What Therefore God Hath Joined Together, Let No Man Put Asunder',” in The Sermon on the Mount in Latter-day Scripture, ed. Gaye Strathearn, Thomas A. Wayment, and Daniel L. Belnap (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2010), 110–22.

“What Therefore God Hath Joined Together, Let No Man Put Asunder”

Richard D. Draper

 

Richard D. Draper is a professor emeritus of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University.

 

The Book of Mormon prophet Jacob lamented that his was the awful burden to “enlarge the wounds of those who are already wounded” by reminding them of their unrighteousness rather than bringing them comfort and healing (Jacob 2:9). The subject I have chosen to address places me in much the same position. Nonetheless, it is a subject that I feel needs to be addressed very plainly, even though it could cause pain for some innocent ones.

The theme of this year’s Sperry Symposium is “The Sermon on the Mount in Latter-day Scripture.” This theme presupposes that latter-day scripture provides windows to a deeper understanding of the Lord’s words that are recorded in Matthew chapters 5 through 7. And this is indeed the case, for the Book of Mormon contains a similar sermon given to the Nephites that clarifies and expands on the original. We also have other scriptures that give us additional insights. I will use all of these resources to shed light upon two specific verses in the Lord’s Sermon on the Mount.

The Lord told his Galilean disciples, “It hath been written, that, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement.” This concept was well known to his hearers, but the Lord did not stop there. He went on to say something that, given the custom of the day, was quite shocking: [1] “Verily, verily, I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery” (Joseph Smith Translation, Matthew 5:31–32; compare 3 Nephi 12:31–32). [2] What exactly is the Savior’s stance on divorce? Under what conditions does God condone it, and how does a man cause his ex-wife and her new husband to commit adultery? Answering these questions will give us a better understanding of the purpose and importance of the marriage covenant.

In an attempt to trap the Lord a number of months after he made clear his position on divorce, [3] the Pharisees asked him, “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?” (Matthew 19:3). Among the Jewish scholars and religious leaders of Jesus’ day, viable reasons for divorce had been a hotly debated topic for decades. They could not reach a consensus. The scriptures yielded but two texts concerning the subject that the rabbis could dissect. The first was Genesis 2:22–24, which states: “And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” The second was Deuteronomy 24:1–4, which states:

When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house.

And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife.

And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife;

Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the Lord: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.

Jewish religious leaders agreed that, according to Genesis, God created marriage and it was a holy state. They also agreed that in accordance with Deuteronomy, certain inappropriate behaviors could annul God’s holy union and thus allow for divorce. Unfortunately, this text was not clear as to what that inappropriate behavior was. [4] Further, another prophetic writing revealed God’s strong intolerance of divorce. It stated, “The Lord, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away” (Malachi 2:16).

The extreme positions concerning divorce taken by two popular rabbis illustrate the wide range of views on the subject. The school of Shammai insisted that only unlawful sexual transgressions was reason to annul a marriage. Unfortunately, surviving records do not tell us what exactly these unlawful sexual transgressions were, but they must have fallen somewhat short of outright adultery because the law clearly said such infidelity was punishable by death. The school of Hillel, on the other hand, argued that such things as childlessness, argumentativeness, or even failure to properly keep house were grounds for divorce. [5]

Though some of the Lord’s detractors sought to entangle him in the morass of disagreement in hopes of discrediting him, they were not successful. In the New Testament, there are only four accounts where the Lord defined his position on the subject of marriage and divorce (see Matthew 5:31–32; 19:3–9; Mark 10:2–12; Luke 16:18). The scriptures of the Restoration give us 3 Nephi 12:31–32 and Doctrine and Covenants 42:22, 74–76, and in them lies no ambiguity.

Christ first revealed his stance during the Sermon on the Mount. The Lord introduced his position by prohibiting sensual thought and warning that “whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery [Greek moicheira] with her already in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). Perhaps Jesus was implying that the thought of adultery fosters the deed, and therefore the thought alone was enough to defile (see Matthew 15:18–20).

After making this connection, the Lord makes his case against divorce, saying, “That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication [Greek porneia], causeth her to commit adultery [Greek moichia]: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery” (Matthew 5:32). The purpose of the writing of divorcement was to allow for the former wife to remarry. Jesus objected to divorce except on the grounds of porneia (often translated “fornication”) because, he insisted, it forced the wife into an adulterous relationship when she remarried. But how is that the case if the woman was divorced? Understanding the language of these scriptures helps us get a clearer understanding of the Lord’s teachings.

The Greek word used by Matthew, porneia, holds at its core the idea of apostasy from God—something the act of adultery simply confirms. [6] It is important to recognize that for the Lord, both the immoral thought and the deed were evidence of disbelief in the true God. [7] Therefore, unlike Shammai, the Lord insisted that immorality includes not only the physical act but also the condition of the heart (i.e., apostasy) out of which the act grew. Adultery (moichia) was the technical term for copulating with a married person. Though the law condemned porneia, it made moichia punishable by death. Therefore, when a husband created a writing of divorcement for an improper cause, he put his former wife and her new husband in a frightful position before the law.

The Lord’s insistence on porneia as the only proper cause for divorce clearly reveals that he stood in opposition to Hillel’s position and underscores the serious and important nature of marriage, which could be properly annulled only in the most severe and specific of circumstances. The Lord’s position not only rejected the arbitrary practice that allowed a Jewish husband to divorce a wife simply by giving her a bill of divorcement [8] but also emphasized that—excluding the exception of the will of God—marriage was meant to establish a permanent relationship.

On the surface, it may seem that the Savior’s position was more lenient than that of Shammai. However, such a view does not hold up when one considers it against three other accounts found in Luke 16, Matthew 19, and Mark 10, where Jesus more fully justified his position.

The Joseph Smith Translation of Luke’s account puts the Lord’s teachings on divorce in an interesting context, which sheds light on the matter. While Jesus was teaching his disciples, the Pharisees began to deride him, saying they refused to “receive him to be our ruler; for he maketh himself to be a judge over us.” The Lord replied by telling his detractors they had perverted “the right way; and the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence of you; and you persecute the meek; and in your violence you seek to destroy the kingdom.” He ended his rebuke with a strong warning: “Woe unto you, ye adulterers! And they reviled him again, being angry for the saying, that they were adulterers. But he continued, saying, Whosoever putteth away his wife and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her who is put away from her husband committeth adultery” (Joseph Smith Translation, Luke 16:21–23, Bible appendix). [9] Here he attacked one of the Pharisees’ cherished assumptions—that divorce was not only condoned but proper. In his rebuke, he left no grounds whatsoever for divorce. They were therefore adulterers, for there were no proper grounds for divorce; even a writing of divorcement did not, in God’s eyes, annul their marriages. Further, they contributed to the corruption of the time by setting the precedent for others to divorce and commit adultery as well.

Some months later, the Pharisees asked the Lord directly where he stood on the divorce issue. The Pharisees carefully framed their question: “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?” (Matthew 19:3; emphasis added). The reason for the question was to force the Lord to take a position in relation to the popular schools of thought.

According to Mark, Jesus turned the tables and put his detractors in the hot seat by asking them to cite exactly what the law had to say on the subject (see Mark 10:3). If their intent was to see Jesus take the side of Shammai or Hillel, they failed. The Savior appealed to the law itself and freed himself from the narrow confines of the rabbinic debate. The Savior’s question forced the Pharisees to admit that no such commandment existed, only that “Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement” (Mark 10:4). [10] They had to confess that they were not dealing with a commandment of God but a practice that Moses reluctantly allowed because of the hardness of Israel’s heart.

The Lord then showed them that although the law said nothing about divorce, it did say something very strong about marriage. God created male and female for the cause of making one flesh. There is a world of meaning in that little phrase “one flesh.” To understand it, we must move to a Genesis text a bit earlier than the one Jesus cited. In Genesis 2:18, God decreed that it was not good for man to be alone and declared that he would make “an help meet for him.” This sense of the English word “meet,” as it was understood in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, carried the idea of being “fit” or “perfectly suited” for a given task. The Hebrew phrase ’etser kenenddo would be literally “a help of his like.” God made Eve ’etser, which denotes one who aids, helps, strengthens, and nourishes. Eve could be ’etser because she was kenenddo, “of his like.” To say it in other words, Eve was of the same genus as Adam. That genus, in Hebrew, is ha‘addam, “the Adam.” Genesis stresses that point.

God had given the man a commandment to do two things: multiply and fill up the earth and have dominion over it. But Adam was yet incomplete and therefore incapable of doing either alone. Before Eve’s introduction, God had Adam name all the animals and concludes “there was not found an help meet for him [Adam]” (Genesis 2:20). None of the animals were fit, suited, or “of his like” and therefore not of the right genus. Thus they could not help him fulfill his God-given tasks.

Eve, on the other hand, was of such a nature that she made it possible for Adam to do what he could not do alone. It was only with his companion Eve as his indispensable helper that ha‘adam became whole (thus the Adam) and able to fill God’s designs.

Genesis uses the method of Eve’s creation to underscore the point that she was not only of Adam’s like but also his partner and equal. Of her origin, Genesis states that “the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman” (Genesis 2:22). Note that Eve is not made from the rib of Adam as Adam was made from the dust of the earth; Eve is Adam’s rib, for God made the rib into a woman. Though the account is allegorical, it reveals God’s intended relationship between husband and wife. “There is a perfect unity between these two mortals; they are ‘one flesh.’ The word rib expresses the ultimate in proximity, intimacy, and identity. When Jeremiah speaks of ‘keepers of my tsela [rib]’ . . . , he means bosom friends, inseparable companions.” [11] That is the cause of marriage: to create inseparable companions.

When he first meets Eve, Adam exclaims, “This is now bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman because she was taken out of Man” (Genesis 2:23). [12] Adam instantly saw the design of God in creating woman. The phrase “This is now,” (z‘at hapa’am, literally “this time” or “this at last”) expresses Adam’s astonishment at his perfect match which he instantly recognized in Eve. This created being unlike any other is, at last, bone of his bone. The name he gives her emphasizes his recognition. She is “woman.” In Hebrew the male principle is ish, and the female principle is ishah, designating the female component of the genus ha‘adam, or man.

Genesis concludes the account with the words quoted by Jesus to the Pharisees, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). These words embody the divinely appointed result of marriage. God intended it to have the deepest corporeal and spiritual unity of any relationship and transcend the demands of any other relationship, including that of child toward parents. The vital oneness of the husband and the wife includes a spiritual union of both the body and the heart.

Adam was to “cleave unto” Eve. The Hebrew word dâbaq means to stick to, cling to, adhere to. The Greek word used by Matthew (kollaÇ, derived from kolla, “glue”) nicely expresses the idea of the Hebrew. The word means to join together, bind, or weld, and stresses the idea of making two things into one. [13] The man and woman are to be regarded as one entity—no longer considered two persons but one body. [14] The Savior emphasizes that God created males and females to be re-created in an inviolable union through marriage. In doing so, God creates a new spiritual and physical relationship marked by the words “one flesh” (Greek sarx mia). Underscoring the point, Genesis 5:2 declares that God created male and female “and blessed them, and called their name Adam” (emphasis added). God no longer regarded them as two beings but rather as one unit, ha‘addam. Paul understood this stating, “So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself” (Ephesians 5:28). He verified that “they two shall be one flesh” (v. 31), but admitted that the latter statement, “is a great mystery” (v. 32).

It is of importance that Paul juxtaposes marriage and mystery. The Greek understanding of the word “mystery” (mysterion) does not denote something that cannot be understood, but rather something that should not be spoken of commonly. [15] The Greeks used the word “mystery” to describe the sacred rites associated with temple worship. As a technical term, it denoted those sacred doctrines which could only be known to the initiates who were sworn never to reveal them to outsiders. For Paul and other early Christians, it denoted God’s work of salvation which was to be disclosed to the Christian community, but not to the world (see 1 Corinthians 2:7–10). [16]

C. S. Lewis caught this significance of the Savior’s teachings. He taught that single humans are but half beings who God designed to be combined in pairs. The combination, as noted above, is designated as “one flesh” in the scriptures. Lewis nicely illustrated the meaning of the word “one flesh” by comparing a man and a woman to a violin and its bow, which makes but one musical instrument, just as a lock with its key are but one mechanism. [17] Only when the two work together do we have whole. So it is with ha‘addam.

The cause or purpose of marriage is, then, to make that whole person. To understand the full implications of this union, we must see the relationship in its eternal context. God’s work is to exalt us and make us divine, that is, to make us like Deity. But what is Deity like? Genesis tells us that God made ha‘addam after God’s likeness and image. It then goes on to show that that image was a male and a female sealed together in eternal marriage. The text of Genesis insists that Adam and Eve, as ha‘addam, were made in the image and likeness of the Divine; therefore, the image of the divine is a married male and female. According to “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Each [person] is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents,” that is, a divine father and mother. [18] Elder Erastus Snow, an early Apostle, said that

the being we call man, but which in the language of these Scriptures was called Adam—male and female created he them, and called their name Adam, which in the original, in which these Scriptures were written by Moses, signifies “the first man.” There was no effort at distinguishing between the one half and the other, and calling one man and the other woman. This was an after distinction, but the explanation of it is—one man, one being, and he called their name Adam. But he created them male and female, for they were one, and he says not unto the woman multiply, and to the man multiply, but he says unto them, multiply and reproduce your species, and replenish the earth. He speaks unto them as belonging together, as constituting one being, and as organized in his image and after his likeness. . . .

That which we see before our eyes, and which we are experiencing from time to time, day to day, and year to year, is an exemplification of Deity.

“What,” says one, “do you mean we should understand that Deity consists of man and woman?” Most certainly I do. If I believe anything that God has ever said about himself, and anything pertaining to the creation and organization of man upon the earth, I must believe that Deity consists of man and woman. [19]

God’s work and glory is to exalt us. That means to make us everything Deity is. Since the office of Deity is composed of eternally married couples, marriage is key to God’s work. Therefore, the cause of marriage and the work and glory of God are one. The Father will not long abide anyone who tries to thwart his efforts.

Jesus told the Pharisees, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matthew 19:6). Marriage is of God. He joined (Greek sunezeuksen, “yoked”) male and female together. It was brazen for anyone to pull them apart. Marriage is held together by an indissoluble covenant, and therefore neither the male (Mark 10:11) nor the female (v. 12) should consider divorce.

Marriage creates what God intended to be an eternal kinship (“one flesh”). Divorce, except for porneia, cannot void that relationship. Therefore, when one divorces and then remarries, he enters into an adulterous relationship because the original union that made “one flesh” remains intact. [20] Indeed, as Mark 10:10–12 notes, any man who remarries after divorcing his wife commits adultery against his former wife. This position taken by the Lord goes beyond that of the Mosaic law that recognized a man could commit adultery against another married man. Jesus insists that the man can do it against his supposedly divorced wife because in God’s eyes, their kinship remains intact. [21] Therefore, the only way to avoid adultery after one divorces his mate is to remain single. His disciples recognized the strictness of the Lord’s way and concluded, “If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry” (Matthew 19:10). The Lord admits that his position is hard, for “all men cannot receive this saying” (v. 11). He then stated that some “have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake” (v. 12), apparently meaning that some have gone into celibacy for this reason. In this way, the Lord here endorses that state for those who cannot live the higher law of marriage.

There is no doubt that we are dealing with a hard saying of Jesus, one of those teachings that pulls at the heart of the believer. Some disciples may find it tough to accept the ideal laid down by the Lord.

A close look shows that Jesus attacked the very foundation of both the schools of Shammai and Hillel. He showed that their preconceived notion that God allowed for divorce was wrong. The Lord clearly insisted that God never made provision for divorce. The disciples, whose lives were to be more righteous than those of the Pharisees and Sadducees, could not have the hardness of heart that made the Mosaic legislation necessary, nor could they yield to the lusts of the flesh described as porneia. Thus the Lord effectively forbade any divorce at all to anyone who would have eternal life. Divorce fights against the heart of the work and glory of God. The Savior noted, “By this law [of eternal marriage] is the continuation of the works of my Father, wherein he glorifieth himself” (D&C 132:31). God said he instituted marriage “for the fulness of my glory; and he that receiveth a fulness thereof must and shall abide the law, or he shall be damned” (D&C 132:6).

All the scriptures combine to make one point: the Lord taught against divorce. His new covenant invited his disciples into the higher ideal demanded by the perfect will of God. The new covenant made “no provision for, or concession to, the weakness of the flesh” and thereby outlawed divorce. [22] In doing so, the Lord emphasized the importance and eternal nature of marriage and the purpose for which God instituted it on the earth—for the eternal life, even deification, of his children.

So how are we doing toward reaching the ideal standard today? To answer, I cite the words of Elder Dallin H. Oaks: “We live in a world in which the whole concept of marriage is in peril and where divorce is commonplace. The concept that society has a strong interest in preserving marriages for the common good as well as the good of the couple and their children has been replaced for many by the idea that marriage is only a private relationship between consenting adults, terminable at the will of either.” He adds: “In contrast [to the world’s view], modern prophets have warned that looking upon marriage ‘as a mere contract that may be entered into at pleasure . . . and severed at the first difficulty . . . is an evil meriting severe condemnation,’ especially where children are made to suffer.” Indeed, “the kind of marriage required for exaltation—eternal in duration and godlike in quality—does not contemplate divorce. In the temples of the Lord, couples are married for all eternity. But some marriages do not progress toward that ideal. Because ‘of the hardness of [our] hearts,’ the Lord does not currently enforce the consequences of the celestial standard.” [23] Note that, due to hard hearts, the consequences of the celestial standard are not enforced. Thus we must conclude that where abuse and infidelity exist, divorce must also.

Elder Oaks continues to discuss the current view of the Church for those who are divorced. He says God “permits divorced persons to marry again without the stain of immorality specified in the higher law. Unless a divorced member has committed serious transgressions, he or she can become eligible for a temple recommend under the same worthiness standards that apply to other members.” [24] Because many members of the Church cannot live the ideal, the Church cannot enforce the celestial standard. The innocent and victimized must be protected. Even so, it is with some sorrow and perhaps even shame that we must admit that the modern Church has not surpassed the days of Moses and still has a long way to go to reach the Christian ideal.

The Sermon on the Mount comprises what Elder Harold B. Lee called “the constitution for a perfect life.” [25] In it the Savior set forth the celestial law—his standard for exaltation. Since marriage is critical to achieving that state, it is not surprising that the Lord briefly discussed marriages’ disannulment and under what circumstances he allowed it. He made these conditions very stringent. An eternal marriage, wherein the partners are of one heart, one mind, and one soul—where they are, to use the scriptural term, “one flesh”—is prerequisite to exaltation. Indeed, “to obtain the highest [degree of salvation], a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage]; and if he does not, he cannot obtain it” (D&C 131:2–3). Since divorce works against that, the Lord made his point very clear: “What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder” (Matthew 19:6).

Notes

[1] Divorce was present among all classes and sects of the Jews. Few questioned the rightness of giving a bill of divorcement. What they did question was its grounds, and most opted for a very lenient application of the tradition. Therefore, the Lord’s bold statement would have been shocking to many. For further discussion, see Louise M. Epstein, Marriage Law in the Bible and in the Talmud (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1942) or George E. Mendenhall and Gary A. Herion, "Covenant," in The Anchor Bible Dictionary, ed. David Noel Freedman (New York: Doubleday, 1992), 2:1179–1202.

[2] The Joseph Smith Translation makes minor but very important changes to these verses. In verse 31, it replaces “said” with “written” and in verse 32 it removes the word “but” and inserts the words “Verily, verily.” The changes bring the text in line with 3 Nephi 12:31–32. The changes also emphasize the importance the Lord placed on his words over the written text (Thomas A. Wayment, ed., The Complete Joseph Smith Translation of the New Testament: A Side-by-Side Comparison with the King James Version [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2005], 15).

[3] The Greek word translated “tempting” (peiraz?) carried the idea of testing, but usually with the intent of putting one in a bad light. The Gospel writer does not include the actual nature of the test. The Pharisees may have expected the Lord to call the law into question. Another possibility is that they hoped to get the Lord in trouble with the political authorities. John the Baptist had been arrested because of his disapproval of Herod’s marriage to Herodius. The Pharisees may have hoped to get Jesus in the same trap.

[4] The problem arose from an inability to agree on the meaning of the phrase ‘erwat d?b?r, usually translated as “some uncleanliness,” but meaning literally, “the nakedness of the thing.” The Septuagint (hereafter LXX) translated the phrase as asch?mon pragma, that is, “some unseemly thing” or “some shameless deed.”

[5] Anchor Bible Dictionary, 5:218. The school of Shammai emphasized ‘erwat, seeing in it a reference to things morally objectionable, while the school of Hillel stressed d?b?r, translating it as “any cause.”

[6] The Joseph Smith Translation of Luke, as pointed out later in this paper, confirms the point.

[7] Gerhard Friedrich, ed., Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Geoffrey W. Bromiley, trans. (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1968), 6:591, hereafter cited as TDNT.

[8] If the practice as defined in the second century is an indication of the position taken by the Pharisees in the early first century, then the position toward an adulterous wife had hardened. In the days of the prophets, a husband could forgive an unfaithful wife (as in the case of Hosea with Gomer). Later, the interpretation of the law forbade the wife to have any sexual relations with her husband or the adulterer. Thus the husband was forced to divorce her (Mishnah, Sota, 5, 1).

[9] Wayment, Complete Joseph Smith Translation, 198–99.

[10] In Matthew 19:7, the Pharisees say that Moses “commanded” (eneteilato) the writing of a divorce, but the Savior corrected them saying that Moses “suffered” (epetrepsen, “permitted”) the writing of divorcement.

[11] Hugh Nibley, The Old Testament and Related Studies (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1986), 87.

[12] In the Old Testament, the imagery of bone and flesh symbolized a blood relationship (see 2 Samuel 19:12–13). For discussion, see Francis Brown and others, A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1951), 782c.

[13] TDNT, 3:822–23.

[14] C. S. Mann, Mark, vol. 27 of the Anchor Bible series (New York: Doubleday, 1986), 391.

[15] See Fredrick William Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, 3rd ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 661.

[16] James H. Moulton and George Milligan, The Vocabulary of the Greek Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1985), 420.

[17] C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: HarperCollins, 2001), 104.

[18] “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign, November 1994, 102.

[19] Erastus Snow, in Journal of Discourses (London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854–86), 19:269.

[20] It is in this context that Deuteronomy 24:1–4 should be understood. There Moses forbade a divorced woman from returning to her first husband. The command is a logical extension of the levitical prohibition (see Leviticus 18:6–18) against marrying close relatives (Mendenhall and Gary A. Herion, "Covenant," 2:1179–1202).

[21] Mann, Mark, 392.

[22] Donald A. Hagner, Word Biblical Commentary, Matthew 14–28 (Dallas: Word Books, 1995), 549.

[23] Dallin H. Oaks, “Divorce,” Ensign, May 2007, 70.

[24] Oaks, “Divorce,” 70.

[25] Harold B. Lee, Stand Ye in Holy Places (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1974), 342–43.