This guest post comes from Justin, who also blogs at LDS Anarchy.
The Wedding in Cana:
and on Tuesday
there was a wedding
in the city Cana
of the country of Galilee
and the mother of Yeshua was there
and both Yeshua and his followers were called too
and when the wine ran out
the mother of Yeshua said unto him
they have no wine
Orson Hyde, one of the original members of the re-organized quorum of the 12 apostles in the latter-day dispensation of Joseph Smith, and the president of that quorum from 1847 to 1875, created some controversy when he declared:
It will be borne in mind that once on a time, there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and on a careful reading of that transaction, it will be discovered that no less a person than Jesus Christ was married on that occasion.
If he was never married, his intimacy with Mary and Martha, and the other Mary also whom Jesus loved, must have been highly unbecoming and improper to say the best of it.
I will venture to say that if Jesus Christ were now to pass through the most pious countries in Christendom with a train of women, such as used to follow him, fondling about him, combing his hair, anointing him with precious ointment, washing his feet with tears, and wiping them with the hair of their heads and unmarried, or even married, he would be mobbed, tarred, and feathered, and rode, not on an ass, but on a rail.
and later said,
I discover that some of the Eastern papers represent me as a great blasphemer, because I said, in my lecture on Marriage, at our last Conference, that Jesus Christ was married at Cana of Galilee, that Mary, Martha, and others were his wives, and that he begat children. All that I have to say in reply to that charge is this — they worship a Savior that is too pure and holy to fulfill the commands of his Father.
I worship one that is just pure and holy enough “to fulfill all righteousness;” not only the righteous law of baptism, but the still more righteous and important law “to multiply and replenish the earth.”
Startle not at this! for even the Father himself honored that law by coming down to Mary, without a natural body, and begetting a son; and if Jesus begat children, he only “did that which he had seen his Father do.”
So — was Jesus Married?
Obviously, for LDS doctrine to assert that marriage is just as essential for “fulfilling all righteousness” as baptism is — is itself sufficient to declare that Jesus was married [just as assuredly as we could say that he was baptized, whether we had an account of it in the gospels or not]. Personally — it makes more sense to me that he would have been married, and I prefer to think that he was.
If the purpose of the Messiah was for God to reveal Himself as a human-being living a complete human life on Earth, to walk through all of our experiences and show us the way through them all — then I wouldn’t think he did a very good job of that if he missed out on pretty much the largest chunk of human activity: match-making, pair-bonding, reproduction, rearing children, seeking emotional and sexual fulfillment with a spouse, etc.
Surely what Paul wrote of the qualifications for bishops of the church:
a bishop then must be …
one that governs his own house well
having his children in subjection with all gravity
for if a man know not how to govern his own house
how shall he take care of the church of god?
applies all the same to the Bishop of the Church.
But I think the real key to the question is to look at why it’s ever an issue to question his marital status in the first place. I mean — even if it was historically-validated that he never did marry [because he was an apocalyptic, end-times prophet who thought there’d be no point in marriage, kinda like Paul thought] — it still wouldn’t change my views towards my family life and its preeminence in my life one iota.
You’ll notice that His marriage usually comes up, though, because of the grove-smashing Deuteronomists and the sexually-deprived monks, etc. — who seek their “purity” throughthe premature and unhealthy deprivation/repression of sexuality [whether it’s through circumcision, vegetarian diets, oppression of women, celibacy, monastic living, monogamy, etc.]
So I think the Jesus-marriage question is a more interesting thing to discuss — not because of what the answer might be [historically-speaking] — but because of what I learn about people based on what they think about the very question itself.
For people who are scared of the “natural” because it doesn’t seem as “self-sacrificing” as the “spiritual way of life” [like Catholic priests who feel a life of celibacy and restriction is “more holy” than a family-life — or monogamists who would tell a polygamist that they need to “deny their natural man” and get with one-on-one monogamy instead of a natural state of multihusband-multiwife tribes], Jesus just can’t have been married — because we can handle a God who suffers, but not a God who’s sexual.