Sunday, March 8, 2009

Why It Is Not Good For Man To Be Alone

(This is a great article, quite long. It is very well researched and documented. I suppose I could have just given you the reference over at Meridian, but I wanted anyone who happened upon this blog post to be able to read it here.)

Why It Is Not Good For Man To Be Alone
by Larry Barkdull (Meridian Magazine)

A plague of deception has infected the ranks of single LDS men. Unchecked, it threatens not only their individual salvation but the purpose for which the earth was created. The perpetrator of that plague is Satan, and his sickness is being manifested in at least three ways:

Remaining single without good cause, Hanging out rather than dating, and Dating without the purpose of finding an eternal companion.
Such marriage-aged single men, both young and old, are neglecting the covenant that they made when they received the Melchizedek Priesthood. Unless they repent, they will be held accountable.

The Godly Goodness of Marriage

To understand the seriousness of man's remaining single, we must go back to the beginning. In the Garden of Eden, when the Gods counseled concerning Adam and his condition of singleness, they made a significant statement: “It is not good that the man should be alone.” 1

The word good is more than a convenient modifier. When God completed the creation of the earth, he looked upon his work and pronounced it “good.” 2 Then when he gave Eve to Adam in marriage, he pronounced the totality of his Creation “very good.” 3

The word good has an additional meaning. Once, when a young man saluted Jesus as “Good Master,” Jesus quickly challenged him: “Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God.” 4 That Jesus would equate good with God is telling.

Combining these accounts, we see an intriguing definition of the word good emerge. That God is good and that he would pronounce his Creation “very good” with Adam and Eve now together in marriage seem to suggest that he considered the end-result Godlike. Therefore, we might say it is not Godlike for man to be alone.

To solve the not good condition of Adam's singleness, the Gods created “an help meet for him;” 5 that is, “a helper suited to, worthy of, or corresponding to him.” 6 Of significance, Adam was asleep without Eve, but when he awakened and saw her, he also awakened to the possibilities of eternal life. Clearly, man is spiritually asleep until he marries. Moreover, man is helpless without “an helpmeet, and he is incomplete and useless without a companion: “And Adam said, [Eve] is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman.” 7

Clearly, the condition of marriage is “good” or Godlike. Marriage was so critical to Adam's salvation that he declared that forevermore marriage would require the sacrifice of a man's former relationships and the sacrifice of his self-serving desires: “For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh.” 8

God takes this union seriously. “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” 9 Because marriage was the crowning event of the Creation, we might venture to say that Adam was created to marry. And so it is with us. All gospel roads lead to an altar in a temple; therefore, man was born to marry. Moreover, we might be safe in saying that we could trace everything in the universe back to a Husband and a Wife, who at a distant time, knelt at an altar and entered into the eternal covenant of marriage.

The Wasting of the Earth and of a Life

One of the first messages of the Restoration regarded marriage. When Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith on the night of September 21, 1823, he revealed the sobering fact that if marriages did not exist and if those marriages were not sealed with a welding link, “the whole earth would be utterly wasted at [the Lord's] coming.” 10 Robert L. Millet explains, “Why would the earth be wasted at his coming? Because the earth would not have accomplished its foreordained purpose of establishing on its face a family system patterned after the order of heaven. If there were no sealing powers whereby families could be bound together, then the earth would never ‘answer the end of its creation' (D&C 49:16). It would be wasted and cursed, for all men and women would be forever without root or branch, without ancestry or posterity.” 11

Single men, who are capable of marrying and do not, may think that they making a decision that affects only them, when in fact they are affecting the entire purpose of the earth's creation. They are wasting the divine destiny of the earth and they are also wasting their divine destiny. They will be held accountable.

Magnifying the Priesthood Calling

The oath and covenant of the priesthood is entitled “the covenant of exaltation.” 12 Interesting, this term, “the covenant of exaltation,” is also used for the covenant of eternal marriage. 13 Thus, priesthood and marriage are inseparably connected; one without the other is useless.

President Kimball succinctly stated the purpose of the priesthood: “Priesthood is the means to exaltation. The priesthood is the power and authority of God delegated to man … enabling him to enter the new and everlasting covenant of marriage and to have his wife and children bound to him in an everlasting tie, enabling him to become a patriarch to his posterity forever, and enabling him to receive a fullness of the blessings of the Lord.” 14

When a man is ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood, he receives it with an oath and a covenant:

The Father's oath states that if the man magnifies his calling and remains worthy, that man will become like the Father in every way and inherit all that the Father has, which things are the definition of eternal life. Elder McConkie said this is the Lord's promise of exaltation, godhood, eternal marriage, and endless posterity; 15
The man's covenant is that he will be faithful in all things, magnify his calling in the priesthood, receive Christ and his Father, and live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. 16Note that the word calling is singular.
President Henry B. Eyring said the purpose of the Melchizedek Priesthood centers on obtaining eternal life. Failure to make the covenant of the priesthood or neglecting to keep the covenant after a man has received it summons severe penalties and tragic consequences. But a man need not fear, if he is trying to do his best; imbedded in the covenant itself is God's promise that he will sustain that man, help him live the covenant, and bless him with success. 17

As we have said, beyond every calling in the priesthood, the one calling that stands supreme is to become like God. A man's calling in the priesthood is the call to eternal life, which can only be achieved by marriage.

A man takes upon himself the oath and covenant of the priesthood and magnifies his calling in three stages:

Ordination to the priesthood
Temple endowment
Temple marriage
If a man neglects any of these steps, he has not magnified his priesthood, and he has broken his priesthood covenant. Therefore, the Father's oath with its attendant blessings is no longer functional in that man's life.

The Obligation of the Revealed Covenant of Marriage

As a prelude to the revelation on eternal marriage, the Lord first stipulated the seriousness of a man's receiving this revelation: “Therefore, prepare thy heart to receive and obey the instructions which I am about to give unto you; for all those who have this law revealed unto them must obey the same.” 18 Being acquainted with the law of marriage is not enough; once a man learns of this law, he must obey it or face serious consequences. Because this law is published openly in the Doctrine and Covenants, no man is left with an excuse.

Two choices are available to the man who is capable of marrying and knows of this new and everlasting covenant of marriage 19 ? either exaltation or damnation: “For behold, I reveal unto you a new and an everlasting covenant; and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory.” 20

The Lord will not be mocked. If a man desires exaltation, he must obey the law that yields exaltation: “For all who will have a blessing at my hands shall abide the law which was appointed for that blessing, and the conditions thereof, as were instituted from before the foundation of the world. And as pertaining to the new and everlasting covenant, it was instituted for the fulness of my glory; and he that receiveth a fulness thereof must and shall abide the law, or he shall be damned, saith the Lord God.” 21

Is there any part of this that any single man could not understand?

Consequences for Obedience or Disobedience to the Law of Marriage

So that we do not misunderstand, a man accepts the Melchizedek Priesthood with a covenant to magnify his calling. That calling is the call to eternal life — to become all that the Father is, to do what the Father does, and to inherit all that the Father has. None of this is possible without marrying in the temple. To that end, the Father revealed the new and everlasting covenant of marriage.

If a man knows of that revelation — and it would be impossible for him not to know of it — then he has an obligation to live it or be damned. But if he enters into the law of marriage, which is the covenant of exaltation, and if he remains faithful, he is assured that he has fulfilled the terms of his priesthood covenant and that he will receive every promise contained in the Father's oath. These blessings include celestial resurrection, celestial inheritance, godhood, eternal parenthood, and supernal power and glory.

“Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection … and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths … and if ye abide in my covenant … it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through all eternity; and shall be of full force when they are out of the world; and they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever.

"Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them.” 22

Can a capable man attain to these blessings by remaining single? No! The Lord says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye abide my law ye cannot attain to this glory. For strait is the gate, and narrow the way that leadeth unto the exaltation and continuation of the lives, and few there be that find it.” Why would only a few find this glory? Every unmarried Melchizedek Priesthood holder needs to listen to the Lord's answer: “Because ye receive me not in the world neither do ye know me.”

This is a terrible indictment. When a man is ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood, he makes a covenant to “receive” Jesus Christ and his Father.” 23 The only way he can do that is by marrying in the temple. But sadly, some neglect or postpone their priesthood covenant, and consequently they neither receive the Lord nor know him.

On the other hand, some men push past their fears, prejudices and selfish tendencies and marry according to their priesthood covenant. Of them, the Lord says, “But if ye receive me in the world, then shall ye know me, and shall receive your exaltation; that where I am ye shall be also. This is eternal lives ? to know the only wise and true God, and Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent. I am he. Receive ye, therefore, my law.” 24 Could the Lord conclude with a more powerful statement than a command to live the law of marriage?

Satanic Deceptions

The attack on marriage and family takes many forms. An effective demonic device to assault marriage and family among latter-day saints is to bombard single Melchizedek Priesthood holders with reasons to postpone or neglect marriage. Several satanic strategies are selfishness, fear, lack of finances, and lack of commitment.


Selfishness is prevalent. We can detect selfishness with the word “I.” “I haven't had enough fun yet.” “I need to finish my education first.” “I haven't found a girl that meets my criteria.” This man needs to repent.

A woman encountering such a man should flee. He is not a man, but a boy. He is not honoring his priesthood. The priesthood is specifically given to serve people and bring them to Christ. His trustworthiness is in question. Every single man should know that the parents of a prospective bride will ask their daughter two questions about the man she intends to marry, and one of those questions is not “Do you love him?” Love is easy; trust is hard. They will ask, “Do you trust him, and does he put you first?”

Selfishness is at its ugliest when a man sees a woman as a sexual object and not as a daughter of God. This attitude motivates him to date with no purpose other than fulfilling sexual desires that range from kissing to petting to fornication — with absolutely no commitment. He either remains with one girl for a period of time or he moves from girl to girl for the primary purpose of gratifying his desires.

This man is described in D&C 121 as one of the many who have been called to eternal life by reason of their ordination to the priesthood, but who are not chosen because they have their hearts so set upon the things of the world. The result is loss of the priesthood: “Amen to the priesthood or authority of that man.” 25

Selfishness also rears its ugly head when a man is overly picky. Of course, people ought to be compatible, but the only spiritual criterion for eternal marriage is obedience to the Covenant. If a woman can truthfully answer the questions contained in the temple recommend interview, she is worthy of a man's love. When Abraham sent his servant to find a wife for Isaac, his only desire for his son was to find a woman who lived the Covenant. If that was good enough for Abraham and Isaac, it should be good enough for their sons.


Fear comes from Satan. He urges us to gaze into the future then tells us that the future is bleak. He makes us doomsday prophets, but without the prophetic gift. For example, a man might imagine that something will change in his wife and the marriage will end in divorce. Who said so? Satan? Is he telling the truth? Why would a man listen to such garbage? He might as well be seeking an endorsement of his intended wife and marriage from a drunk on the street.

Any fear of the future is lack of faith, and completely unworthy of a Melchizedek Priesthood holder. The Father's oath in the priesthood covenant states that “you shall live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God.” That is, the Lord is guaranteeing ongoing help through revelation. A worthy husband is entitled to revelation to guide his family. Moreover, the Father promises angelic attention to such a husband: “I have given the heavenly hosts and mine angels charge concerning you.” 26 What have we to fear with such promises? We must keep in mind that we are not entering into a marriage of the world; we are entering into a priesthood order that is governed and blessed by priesthood principles. Blessings attend eternal marriages.

Fear might arise when a man wonders if he is capable of making the right choice in a companion. The answer is probably not. He needs the Lord's help. That is one reason why the Lord gave the man the Melchizedek Priesthood, which carries the right to revelation and angelic ministration. The priesthood gives the man the authority to call upon God so that the man receives power to magnify his priesthood calling. If he will approach dating in the way of the priesthood, the Father will introduce him to one of his choice daughters, whom that man can then lead to the temple. But fear will never get him to that point; only faith can get him there.


The world puts a price on everything. In the world, marriage is as much a financial consideration as it is a consideration of love. This deception has crept into the ranks of single LDS men. If a man really believes in the priesthood covenant, then he also believes in the God, who has agreed to stand beside him and uphold him. The question is this: Whom will you serve: God or mammon? If a man thinks in terms of money with regard to eternal marriage, he is serving mammon. Does that exempt him from his obligation to support his wife and family? Of course not. But not to marry because of finances is a vote of no confidence in God and a violation of the priesthood covenant. Eternal marriage has nothing to do with money and everything to do with faith and obedience.


The oath and covenant of the priesthood contains a strict warning from the Lord: “And I now give unto you a commandment to beware concerning yourselves, to give diligent heed to the words of eternal life.” 27

An uncommitted man is beset by fears, selfishness or both. In either case, light cannot exist in him.

The priesthood calls for sacrifice, courage and diligence. The power of commitment approaches the power of God, and if this attribute is not evident in a man, the woman who is dating him should move on. He is simply not worth the effort. His ability to truly love a woman, support her throughout her life, and lead their family to the celestial kingdom is in serious question. Again, he is not a man, but a boy.


Whereas a woman should flee a selfish or uncommitted man, she is in a strong position to help a man who is dealing with fears, which might include fears regarding finances. Early on, a couple learns that they are much stronger together than they are apart; the husband relies on his wife and the wife relies on her husband.

President Gordon B. Hinckley taught this principle with a promise: “When you are united, your power is limitless. You can accomplish anything you wish to accomplish.” 28

Jesus taught his disciples in Jerusalem concerning the power of unity, and then he taught that principle anew in this dispensation. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, as I said unto my disciples, where two or three are gathered together in my name, as touching one thing, behold, there will I be in the midst of them ? even so am I in the midst of you.” 29 Certainly, a husband and a wife would qualify. By definition of their marriage covenant, they are (or should be) gathered in my name.

This oneness has a synergistic effect. Synergy refers to the phenomenon in which two or more agents acting together create an effect greater than the sum of the individual agents. For example, if one thread can hold five pounds before it breaks, two threads woven together might be predicted to hold twice as much ? ten pounds. In fact, the effect of synergy causes the two threads to hold four or more pounds! Man alone is weak, but he becomes incredibly strong in marriage. It is simply not good for man to remain single.


If the adversary were to concoct a strategy to destroy Melchizedek Priesthood holders, he could not create a plan more effective than to convince them to postpone marriage or to neglect it altogether. He not only robs men of their potential of exaltation, but he strips them of their priesthood. Truly, even the very elect 30 are being deceived in the last days by his tactics.

Nothing good can come from remaining single, because being good is ultimately being Godlike. God is married; God is a father; God is unselfish, filled with faith, completely dedicated and committed. A man is not good, by this definition, because he is not Godlike. Moreover, a man wastes his life and wastes the earth by postponing marriage and remaining single for no good cause. If that cause tends to selfishness or lack of commitment, his priesthood is forfeited along with the Father's promises.

Upon a man's ordination to the Melchizedek Priesthood, he agreed, among other things, to magnify his calling. That singular calling is the call to eternal life, to become like God so that a man might receive all that the Father has. The only way for a man to ultimately magnify his calling in the priesthood is to marry in the temple. For that reason man was born and obtained a physical body; for that reason he entered into the New and Everlasting Covenant by baptism; for that reason he received the priesthood with an oath and a covenant; for that reason he entered the temple and was washed, anointed and endowed with God's power and knowledge; and for that reason he lives his life as God's servant and son.

Eternal marriage is the summit of existence, the reason for being, the purpose for which we have waited and prepared for untold eternities, and the source of consummate joy. May the single men of the Church detect Satan's deceptions and rid themselves of this latter-day plague. May they magnify their calling and grasp the prize of eternal life. May they heed the counsel of Lehi: “Arise from the dust, my sons, and be men.” 31

1 Genesis 2:18

2 Genesis 1:25

3 Genesis 1:31

4 Mark 10:17-18

5 Genesis 2:18

6 Genesis 2:18, footnote b

7 Genesis 2:23

8 Matthew 19:5

9 Matthew 19:6

10 D&C 2:3

11 Robert L. Millet, When a Child Wanders, p.100 - 101

12 Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, p.312

13 See Bruce R. McConkie, “Abrahamic Covenant,” Mormon Doctrine, p.13; Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 2:58

14 Spencer W. Kimball, The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.494

15 See Bruce R. McConkie, “The Doctrine of the Priesthood,” Ensign, May 1982; See D&C 131:1–4

16 See D&C 84:33-44

17 See Henry B. Eyring, “Faith and the Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood,” Ensign, May 2008

18 D&C 132:3

19 See D&C 131:2

20 D&C 132:4

21 D&C 132:5-6

22 D&C 132:19-20

23 See D&C 84:35-37

24 D&C 132:23-24

25 See D&C 121:34-37

26 D&C 84:42,44

27 D&C 84:43

28 Gordon B. Hinckley, “Your Greatest Challenge, Mother,” Ensign, November 2000

29 D&C 6:32; (see Matthew 18:20)

30 See Matthew 24:24

31 2 Nephi 1:21

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R. Efros said...

This is a really good article. I appreciate the counsel contained herein. Good post President.

talljetman said...

I agree with Efros - tis a really good article. Thanks as well for it.

Anonymous said...

I always enjoy reading your spiritual thoughts, thank you for posting this. After receiving my own endowment I can testify that the Plan of Salvation is centered not only around Christ's atonement, but around temple marriage as well.