Last week, to avoid a thunderstorm, I went to the nearest form of shelter, the Temple Visitor Center. I met a somewhat friendly old lady on a mission with her husband. During the course of our pleasant conversation, I mentioned that my parents had divorced several years ago. She made the comment, “it happens to the best of us”.
Now, I have a very strong conviction against divorce. A moral conviction that is based on dozens of specific and blunt scriptures stretching through the Old and New Testaments as well as the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price.
I didn't argue with the lady, but I did her know through body language and facial expression that I did not believe that. She got the point and made the statement again with more conviction as though daring me to question her on the matter. It was clear that she had found her justification. Where? I do not have a clue, and quite frankly, I don't care.
It didn't come from the church though, that much is certain. For how can you deny scripture like:
“Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.” - Luke 16:18
Hello! You can't get more blunt than that. The fact is that all scripture pertaining to that topic is equally blunt, and no scripture exists that contradicts that statement. Period.
Many people justify their divorce under the guise that so long as they repent, then things are fine. One problem with this concept is that they [divorcee's] consider it enough just to say they will not get divorced again. True repentance, however, means that, in the matter of divorce, they are supposed to: 1. Confess, to the proper authority, that they sought divorce; 2. Apologize to the spouse for the divorce; 3. And forsake it (divorce). Consider:
"And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife." - 1st Corinthians 7:10-11)
Some even go as far as to “repent” of the initial marriage. How can you repent of something that is not even a sin or transgression, but is, in fact, a commandment of God?
Don't get me wrong, I understand that temporal commitments are not recognized, let alone bound, in heaven. In other words, common law and/or civil “marriages” hold no legal bearing before God and are therefore sins against chastity-in the event of divorce.
When I refer to marriage, I refer to a sacred commitment performed in temples by the proper authorities.
Also, in cases where one spouse commits fornication and refuses to repent, the other may seek divorce to be removed from such iniquity, so long as it is not for the purpose of committing adultery or obtaining an excuse to do so.
It may be that that missionary had been “married” outside the church, but had repented and later sealed (married in the temple) to her true husband. In which case she had not actually been married or divorced according to Gods law.