LDS General Authorities don’t talk about Jesus being a husband and father, even though it is a core tenet of their faith that a man is required to be sealed to a spouse for eternity in an LDS temple if he is to attain godhood (Doctrine and Covenants 131:1-2). So how did Jesus become a God if he didn’t get married? And why would a faith that teaches “Families are Forever”, not have at its head a married man? Mormons do need a role model for this slogan and they tend to use Joseph Smith to fill this role, painting his wife Emma, him, and their children as the ideal family. This often has the unintended effect of causing Christians on the outside to perceive Mormons as Joseph Smith worshipers. If Mormons are to ever have a unified religion, they’ve got to come to grips with Jesus being married and having children. Not only do they need to believe it, but they need to preach it just as boldly as “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.”
I lost my father at the age of two. He died prematurely of a stroke. As a teenager I came to conclude that maybe fathers didn’t play all that important role in a family, after all I turned out ok without one, didn’t I? It wasn’t until my mid-20s when I realized how the lack of a father had negatively impacted my development into manhood. Even though, like a normal working-class teenager, I began working entry level jobs at the age of 16, I never found any job I could stay with for more than a year. It wasn’t that I wasn’t a hard worker. Probably every employer I had would tell you that I was. I just was easily bored and after I had mastered a job, I felt no inclination to continue and would bail at the earliest opportunity. Needless to say, this sort of job hopping didn’t lay a good foundation for a solid career later. So I drifted and drifted like a boat without an oar. In retrospect, I wonder how many years of my life could have been saved if I had a father to point out to me the shortsightedness of my thinking (these kind of “harsh” talks aren’t consistent with the role of mothers). But it wasn’t just my career that could have used a father, but my relationships as well. Even though I’d been taught by my mother to treat young ladies respectfully, I didn’t have a concrete example, having never seen any husband/wife interactions between my parents. Not having a role model to pattern my behavior after, I behaved awkwardly and often ungentlemanly towards several young ladies. Not that fathers would make all interactions between boys and girls go smoothly, but they do at least give the boys examples of how to behave, which is a lot more than what I had. Again, I was a boat without an oar. Maybe you can now see why I firmly believe that fathers are of the utmost importance in the development of sons (not having been a daughter, I cannot comment on that with any degree of experience).
Not having a father and aspiring to be one, I began looking for a role model. Naturally as a Christian, the first character I look to for guidance is Jesus, he being the perfect example for us all. Surely if “the family” is as important as the LDS church claims it to be, then Jesus would give us a perfect example of what it is to be a father. And yet if you search lds.org for any hint of how Jesus behaved towards his wife and children, you will find absolutely nothing. Why is this? Didn’t Jesus have a wife and children? If not, doesn’t this undermine the LDS claim that the family unit is central to eternal happiness? If Jesus didn’t have a need for a family, why do we? Very puzzling.