Periodicals; Mormons; Religious thought; Philosophy and religion
Independent national quarterly established to express Mormon culture and examine the relevance of religion to secular life. It is edited by Mormons who wish to bring their faith into dialogue with human experience as a whole and to foster artistic and scholarly achievement based on their cultural heritage. The journal encourages a variety of viewpoints; although every effort is made to insure accurate scholarship and responsible judgment, the views expressed are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Mormon Church or of the editors.
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Dialogue: Vol 7 No 4
The Case for a Married Jesus
THE CASE FOR A MARRIED JESUS William E. Phipps Appreciation is overdue for a Mormon who had the insight and courage to revive a Hebraic viewpoint toward Jesus' relationships with women. Orson Hyde, the President of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, in a sermon delivered at Salt Lake City in 1857, maintained that Jesus was married. He argued: "If he was never married, his intimacy with Mary, Martha, and the other Mary also, who Jesus loved, must have been highly unbecoming and improper, to say the best of it." In that same sermon President Hyde even suggested that the story in John 2 of a wedding at Cana is a record of Jesus' marriage to a Galilean woman.1 In support of this speculation, another Mormon writer, Ogden Kraut, has recently noted that Jesus' mother would hardly have been anxious over the supply of wine becoming exhausted had the wedding not been of someone from her family.2 Hyde's striking belief in Jesus' marriage gained wide acceptance in the pioneer Mormon community. The Journal of the Discourses of Brigham Young discloses that others shared his conviction that Jesus, like other holy men, participated in the institution of matrimony. Recognizing that the Bible provides no explicit information on Jesus' marital status, what could have stimulated Hyde to assert what no Christian had claimed for many centuries? Joseph Fielding Smith may provide a clue when he points out that Hyde was sent to Palestine to do missionary work among Jews because he was "of the house of Judah."3 That cultural association doubtless made him more aware than most Christians that marriage in traditional Judaism — either single or plural — was prerequisite to righteous manhood. Since Jesus was addressed as "Rabbi" and was a devout Jew, he would in all probability have married. This essay will explore in some detail the way in which Hyde's position on Jesus' marital status was in accord with the Hebraic outlook. It will also show why this significant matter pertaining to the historical Jesus was long lost. Even the discussion of Jesus' marital status became taboo and remains so to the present time for most Christians. I From the opening pages of Hebrew Scripture onward, the sanctity of marriage as a part of the divine creation is a prominent theme. Sexual relations between those "joined by God" was considered a necessary good, not a neces- 44