Thursday, April 22, 2010

Jewellery - Yes or No?

Question does arise about the wearing of jewellery, considering some things written in Scripture and the statement by the First Presidency. There seems to be a vanity aspect suggested.

"In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with reverence and soundness of mind; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array." 1 Timothy 2:9

This speaks against elaborate hair styles, wearing gold or pearls or wearing expensive clothes.

I certainly detect a cynicism in Isaiah toward jewellery in these next verses quoted from him _

"In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments, and cauls, and round tires like the moon; The chains and the bracelets, and the mufflers; The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the ear-rings; The rings, and nose jewels; The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping-pins; The glasses, and the fine linen, and hoods, and the veils." 2 Nephi 13:18-23 (Compare Isaiah Chapter 3)

This following statement leaves us with some questions.

From "True to the Faith" - Put out by the church and Endorsed by the First Presidency
Page 27 "Body Piercing" _
"Latter-day prophets strongly discourage the piercing of the body except for medical purposes. If girls or women desire to have their ears pierced, they are encouraged to wear
only one pair of modest earrings."

The first statement says that piercing of the body is STRONGLY discouraged. It then goes on to say that "IF" women desire to have their ears pierced anyway, for ear-rings, make them small and only one pair. Though I may be accused by women of reading something into this, I see this as really saying that women would be better off not wearing any.

The following plainly associates pride and vanity with the wearing of jewellery.

"Behold, O God, they cry unto thee, and yet their hearts are swallowed up in their pride. Behold, O God, they cry unto thee with their mouths, while they are puffed up, even to greatness, with the vain things of the world. Behold, O my God, their costly apparel, and their ringlets, and their bracelets, and their ornaments of gold, and all their precious things which they are ornamented with; and behold, their hearts are set upon them, and yet they cry unto thee and say--We thank thee, O God, for we are a chosen people unto thee, while others shall perish." Alma 31:27-28

The Apostle Peter adds his thoughts on the subject_

"Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel." 1 Peter 3:3

Again we see this advising not to do fancy things with hair, wear jewellery or wearing fancy clothes.

(Thanks, yeti, for the NT quotes)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Should We Oppose Age Gaps in Marriages?

ALL THINGS BEING EQUAL, it is only logical that we should desire to see married, some single person of 50 to some single person of around the same age. And the same would be said of those around 18.

When a person talks about marrying a person of a different generation, some people can get very upset (particularly if the older is male). The conversation then flows into some irrational logic. Yet even though the presentation is illogical, there are several arguments that present some thoughts for consideration.

It is argued that there is a better ability to communicate on such things as music, technology, history and life in general, if people have lived around the same length of time. It is suggested (in line with this) that the older person would be disadvantaged by an inferior conversation.

It is also presented that the younger person will have less life experience, which can create conflicts of direction in areas such as loans etc. Young people haven't had the experience of having to wait years to pay off a debt (for example), so would be more inclined to get into debt.

On the other side it is argued that the young person is healthier and therefore may have to look after their spouse when sick (which would be more often the case). They also have the disadvantage of losing their spouse when still relatively young. Additionally there is more chance that both would be there for the children when growing up if the couple were young.

These two sides of the argument can be viewed as subtractive or additive. That is that on the one side we could argue that the disadvantage to one is an advantage to the other and visa versa. Thus making it that both are advantaged by the relationship in ways. Or we could view them as additive problems, thus viewing that the relationship is doubly disadvantaged - the latter negative view seems to be the most common trend.

This desire to make it a double disadvantage (a one sided viewpoint) makes me tend to feel that there are other deep-seated reasons for people's negativity. Perhaps jealousy, by men, if the older is a male. Perhaps fear by women of losing their husbands to a younger woman where married, or fear of not being able to compete where divorced, widowed or still single.

But looking at the ideas; the argument in regard the children is a bit weak in that if the person were able to produce children still, they would usually be able to be there for their upbringing. That they may not be young enough to run around with their children could be used in regard couples having children at 40. Or we could say that disabled people therefore shouldn't have children, using such logic. Love and time is the thing children really need.

The argument in regard communication has an opponent from those in successful multicultural marriages. It is true that multicultural marriages can also create problems. And it is better to marry those from the same culture, ALL THINGS BEING EQUAL. But many of these marriages thrive.

The argument of one partner passing on earlier is still relavant. But I must present in regard that idea that my wife always said that she would outlive me by at least 8 years, because she was 6 years younger and a female (females statistically outlive males). Yet she died at a young age; and I (hopefully) have many years ahead yet. So it is only a generalisation.

I would also argue that as we believe Christ's second coming and the resurrection of the righteous isn't really that far off, it is a bit of a dead arguement (no pun intended). GAs have come forward with some heavy feelings relative to the fact that this generation will be well and truly alive when Christ comes. I would second that revelation.

Yet ALL THINGS BEING EQUAL some of these arguments have a degree of merit. But all things are rarely equal.

For example, I knew a man who's parents were 26 years apart in marriage. He raved of how well they got on together. Yet I have seen many of around the same age as each other and their marriage was a failure. I have seen the same with many living together.

I know an Australian man who is married to a Malasian woman, who additionally is much younger than him. Their marriage is wonderful to see. Yet he was first married to an Australian of around the same age, and it was a disaster.

In the church there is a desire to separate Young Adults (those over 18 but too young for Single Adults) from Single Adults (those 30 and over). This has created many serious problems over the years. For example I remember one guy turning 30 who had a girlfriend of about 25. There became serious conflict in that she wasn't permitted to go to Single Adult activities and he couldn't go to Young Adult activities. Stake leaders there were adamant that was the instruction and must be obeyed regardless of any human feelings - The military would have been proud of them.

(I'd personally suggest the church take on a more flexable and sensible stance, and create a 5 year zone on either side - thus allowing couples to be up to 10 years apart, yet still able to attend activities together). Additionally we can make some Single Adult activities able to be attended by Young Sinlge Adults, of any age, where the YSA is dating a SA. Remember we are wanting members to marry members.

So what do the Scriptures say in regard marriage and age difference? Has God given any commandment in regard ages in marriage? Surely if he had some policy it would be in there.

The answer to the latter question is, "NO." God has given no limitation whatsoever. It is left to each individual to consider how they feel. But most civilizations are or have married at 13 +.

In regard difference of ages of husband and wife we have some interesting information about Abraham.

Gen 17:17 Abraham was 10 years older than Sarah. As people usually married at around 13 then, it is quite possible that he was 23 and her 13.
Gen 21:5-7 Abraham was 100 years old when Issac was born, and considered old.
Gen 18:13 Sarah laughed at the idea of her being able to have a son, because of her age (as Abraham was 100, Sarah must have been 90).
Gen 23:1 Sarah dies at 127. Thus Abraham was 137.
Gen 25:1-2 Abraham took another wife - Keturah, who bore him 6 sons.
She had to be MANY years his junior. The chances are that she was probably a virgin of about 13; as historical writings present that as the common age for marriage in Ancient Egypt (for example).

Yet even if we are too prudish to believe that, we still must remember that if Sarah laughed at having children at 90, it must have been well beyond the child bearing age. So Keturah had to have been young enough to have had at least 6 children (as 6 of her sons were named). Sensibly we would have to suppose that she couldn't have been older than 60 at maximum. That would make him 77 years older at absolute minimum.

Gen 25:6 Additionally Abraham took concubines who were young enough to have children also.

Joseph Smith married 7 young women who were too young to be in the Young Sinlge Adults program when he was well in the classification of the Single Adult's age. He, additionally, married some women who were old enough to be his mother.

So how would these stake leaders have responded to that? - Joseph, you can't date these young women or older women!

There's no good using the old "oh, but that was back then," routine. As if to suggest that somehow human beings were different in the past and had 10 arms, 5 legs and 3 heads. They were just like us.

This leads us back to our 2 presented problems with age gaps in marriage. Why did Abraham and Joseph Smith consider it alright to marry someone whom they wouldn't be married to for very long before dying? Joseph Smith received revelation yet he married some young women one year before he died.

The arguments fail to take into account the whole point of marriage. Marriage is an ETERNAL contract. When you die has little significance in it. Let's assume you have a young unmarried daughter and that 2 men come to you with the view of marrying her. One man is the same age as your daughter. The other is 3 times her age. The one who is 3 times her age, you have been inspired, will gain eternal life. The other you are unsure of in that direction. Which do you advise your daughter to marry? I can assure you that my choice would be the older one, that could take my daughter to eternal life forever.

And the thing that matters in an eternal marriage is spiritual compatability. Our priorities shouldn't be set by looks, age, educational standard, nationality, ability to sexually entertain, wealth or any other such worldly irrelevancies.

The reason we have such a priority of marrying in the temple is that it is an eternal contract. When I consider whom to marry I am interested in whether she is really ready to obey God without leaning to the ideas of the world. In conversation I'm not so interested in whether she knows this singing group or that one; but whether she has a thirst for truth. I don't care where she's been in the world, as much as I care where she is going in her spiritual pursuit. I'm not so concerned with her educational standard, more her moral standard. I'm not so concerned about her closeness to me in age, but her closeness to God.

Let's get our priorities in order.