Matthew 21-23; Mark 11; Luke 19-20; John 12 – Come Follow Me


Why does the lesson manual avoid certain teachings of the Savior?
Christ is teaching that in the resurrection, men and women will not be in a married state. In Luke 20:34-36, Jesus taught that the redeemed “…neither marry, nor are given in marriage: Neither can they die anymore: for they are equal unto the angels: and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.” Nowhere in the Old Testament or the New Testament does it speak of eternal marriage or sealing for time and eternity.

When confronted by the religious leaders who were questioning His right and authority, Jesus tells them The Parable of the Wicked Husbandmen.  It’s a shame that the lesson manual omits this parable – but I can see why!  It describes servants as prophets – who were sent throughout history to the nation of Israel.  One after another they were killed, until no more prophets were sent.  Then, finally “his son” was sent and they killed Him too.  Scripture is clear that men are no more needed as prophets because Christ is our Eternal Prophet – the Only One we need.  I think this parable is a powerful picture for the story and mission of Christ.  It begins in Mathew 21:33-44  I will fill in meaning as I read, “Hear another parable: There was a certain householder (God), which planted a vineyard (the earth and it’s people), and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower (so people could watch for enemies), and let it out to husbandmen (stewards who were suppose to take care of it), and went into a far country (heaven).  And when the time of the fruit (harvest time) drew near, he sent his servants (prophets) to the husbandmen (the Jewish religious leaders), that they might receive the fruits of it.  And the husbandmen (God) took his servants (the prophets), and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.  Again, he sent other servants (prophets) more than the first: and they (the wicked husbandmen) did unto them likewise.  But last of all (no more prophets) he sent unto them his son (Christ), saying, They will reverence my son.  But when the husbandmen saw the son (this is Jesus telling these religious leaders their very hearts as He now stands before them), they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.  And they caught him (outside Gethsemane), and cast him out of the vineyard (to Golgatha which was outside the city walls), and slew him (crucified Him).” 

Now, as Jesus finishes, He asks the big question this parable has been leading up to: “When the lord (Christ) therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?”  The answer: “They (the chief priests and elders) say unto him (Jesus), He will miserably destroy those wicked men (in 70 AD Titus and the Romans destroyed Jerusalem), and let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen (the Gentiles), which shall render him the fruits in their season (will bring souls to Him).  Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures (Psalm 118:22-23), The stone (Christ) which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner (the cornerstone): this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes?  Therefore say I unto you (Jewish religious leaders), The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation (the Gentiles) bringing forth the fruits thereof (the harvest of souls).”  And then Jesus wraps up the teaching with one of the most profound words to these religious men, and to us.  “And whosoever shall fall on the stone (Christ) shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.”   In Isaiah 8:14-15 the Messiah is referred to as the Rock or stone.  He is a “stone of stumbling and a rock of offense” to unbelievers. In fact, all through Scripture, He is known as the Rock – the stone cut out of the mountain without hands. The consequence of coming in contact with this Rock is one of two endings: We can either fall upon it or, it can fall upon us.  The publicans and harlots and the lost – those who recognize their need for Him, seem to fall upon Him – and are broken – with a broken heart.  The other ending – that Rock will one day, at judgement – roll forth and grind to powder all who refuse to stand on Him.  These are not only powerful words of our King in these last days of His mortal life to the Jews – but also to us.  And those Jews did not take it well.  Verse 45-46 “And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them.  But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.”  They were afraid the people would mob them if they arrested Jesus. 

We will now move to Chapter 22 of Matthew and review another topic that the lesson manual avoids.  Normally, the Sadducees were enemies of the Pharisees, who DID believe in a resurrection.  But the Sadducees have now joined forces with the Pharisees in attempting to do away with Jesus.  Let’s pick up at Verses 23-24 “The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him.  Saying, Master, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.”  We can read about this in Deuteronomy 25:5-6.  Moses gave the command as a means to keep the families and tribes of the Israelites distinct and together.   So, here’s the trap in Matthew, Verse 25-28 “Now there were with us seven brethren: the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue (children), left his wife unto his brother (as required by the Law of Moses)Likewise the second also, and third, unto the seventh.”  Each of the six brothers in turn married her, but died, without her having any children.  “And last of all the woman died also.  Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? For they all had her (as a wife).”  I love the Lord’s response to this exaggerated story of the Sadducees.  He could have said, “she will be the first husband’s wife in the resurrection.”  Instead, He refutes the whole premise – chides them – then teaches the correct understanding.  Verse 29 “Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.”  How had they erred?  I believe this is why the manual wants to avoid this subject.  No, where in scripture does it even intimate that people will be married after this life.  Verse 30 “For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.”  Then He goes on, Verse 31-33 “But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?  God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine.” 

In Mormon theology, marriages performed in LDS temples are forever.  Couples are sealed for time and eternity.  Mormonism teaches that a person’s exaltation depends on the law of eternal marriage in, order for that person to become like their Heavenly Father.  No man can be saved and exalted in the kingdom of God without the woman, and no woman can reach exaltation in the kingdom of God alone.    HOWEVER, the passages we just read make it clear.  Jesus, Himself said, “In the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage.”  Christ is teaching that in the resurrection, men and women will not be in a married state.  In Luke 20:34-36, Jesus taught that the redeemed “…neither marry, nor are given in marriage: Neither can they die anymore: for they are equal unto the angels: and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.”  Nowhere in the Old Testament or the New Testament does it speak of eternal marriage or sealing for time and eternity.  Neither does it in the Book of Mormon for that matter.   Besides God’s temple was never used for those kinds of rituals and ceremonies.  I appreciate the importance the LDS Church gives to the family unit.  But to be honest – it appears that Mormonism has replaced Jesus – as its focal point – with the family and temples – almost making them idols.  LDS apostle Jeffrey Holland said, “Heaven wouldn’t be heaven without his wife and children.” – What about Jesus?!  Since eternal marriage is essential for exaltation in the LDS Celestial kingdom – LDS Church leaders have taught that Jesus, Himself, was married while living here on earth.  They taught that the marriage in Cana was His own.  Now, we know from reading the Bible that Jesus was God before He took on flesh, so there wouldn’t be any need for Him to be married.  There WILL be marriage in Heaven – but, marriage of a different kind. The apostle Paul taught in Romans 7:4 that instead of being married in heaven to our earthly spouse. we “…should be married to another, even to Him who was raised from the dead.”  – meaning Jesus Christ.  Starting in the Garden of Eden, God made woman for the man because it wasn’t good to be alone AND it was a means to procreate.  But in heaven there won’t be loneliness or procreation.  True believers will be the bride of the Bridegroom – who is Jesus Christ.  The apostle John saw in Revelation 19:7-9 that in the resurrection – we will be the bride at the marriage of the Lamb, where we will be sealed His forever.  When we individually partake of the gift of salvation, we will inherit the Kingdom of God.  Hopefully, our saved loved-ones will join with us there in giving praise and worship to the Lamb of God forever.   


Children of Same-Sex Marriages


There were two changes made to the General Handbook of Instructions, which is the manual LDS church leaders use to specify in detail how the Church is to be run everywhere in the world.

The first policy change made was in regard to individuals who in same-sex marriages are now considered to be in apostasy.  And the second change is that any natural or adopted children who live primarily in a home with same-sex parents are not eligible to receive a name and a blessing in the church.  They cannot be baptized nor, confirmed with the gift of the Holy Ghost.  And, they cannot be ordained to the priesthood nor, can they be recommended for missionary service.

Why would anyone want to belong to a Church that has a history of oppressing blacks, women, and gay people – including their children.  I’m just trying to keep an open mind, so that I can understand the reasons behind these restrictive decisions made by the LDS Church.

Does this policy sound like something that would come from Jesus?

“At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?  And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them.  Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.”

Mathew 18:1-5

Does that last verse, “And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me” say anything about how the LDS Church is prohibiting minor children from receiving the ordinances and blessings it offers to other children, who do not live in a same-sex environment?

It appears to many that this restrictive policy is very un-Christ-like.  How would Jesus have handled this situation?

The LDS claim that their leaders are spirit-led.  An LDS Apostle, Elder D. Todd Christofferson – of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, explained in an interview that, this policy originates out of compassion.

  “It originates from a desire to protect children in their innocence and in their minority years.

… We don’t want the child to have to deal with issues that might arise where the parents feel one way and the expectations of the Church are very different.”

 Elder D. Todd Christofferson

It seems to me that all the Mormon Church is doing, is creating a special category for the children of gay parents.  The Church also teaches that children should not wait to be baptized beyond the age of 8 years old, because when they are baptized and confirmed, the Lord promises to give them daily guidance through the help of the Holy Ghost.  Is this guidance important for some children, but not others?

If you look at the Church’s point of view, wouldn’t children raised in a home with same-sex parents, need the guidance of the Holy Ghost even more than others?  Wouldn’t making the children wait 10 more years until they turn 18 to be baptized, put those children at a greater risk?  Wouldn’t they need the guidance of the Holy Ghost more during those tender years not less, than other children?

As you recall, Jesus had some VARY serious remarks concerning those who offend by restricting little children from coming to Him.

“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”

Matthew 18:6

It seems clear to me that LDS Church leaders are trying to stem the rapid rise of acceptance of gay rights among young people.  It appears to be an effort to designate gays as OUTSIDERS – to make them less comfortable being part of the Church.  It leads people to believe that the LDS Church is more concerned about protecting its membership from these children of same-sex marriages, than it is about protecting those innocent children.

Turning children into cultural pawns violates every moral standard of conduct taught by Jesus.  And, it puts Mormon leaders in jeopardy of wearing THAT MILLSTONE around THEIR neck.