Episode:Marriage and Family—The Origins (Part 2)

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[Paper 82:3-4]

In primitive times marriage was the price of social standing; the possession of a wife was a badge of distinction. Marriage has always been closely linked with both property and religion. Property has been the stabilizer of marriage; religion, the moralizer. Those races which exalted and practiced marriage naturally evolved to higher levels and survived in increased numbers.

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Note: Brad Garner was present again as a co-host, alongside Ann Garner.

Summary by Kermit

82:3. Early Marriage Mores

Marriage is described here as an institutional response of the social organism to the universal and powerful urge to reproduction—self propagation. Note, the emphasis is not on self-gratification, but self-perpetuation. Thus the word marriage as, previously mentioned, is to be considered in the context of its role in evolving civilization i.e. above and beyond the personal concerns of the individual.

Mores are mass conventions, folkways, shaped and conditioned by the natural genetic constitution of the group. In early man, they represent adjustments to the circumstances of group living that help establish order and stability. As society evolved from the simple to the complex, so did mating mores, giving rise to the institution of marriage. In man’s progression from the clan, tribe, nation to territorial state, mores became codified into law. Yet even in a nation of laws, mores continue to be found, the so-called unwritten laws.

The laws regulating the external aspects of mating and the personal and private relations of men and women will always occasion difficulties and be a source of conflict where marriage is concerned. The individual rebels against the constraints on sex imposed by society. The use of the word “rebellious” by our author should serve to emphasize the seriousness of this issue. In efforts to advance civilization, individual rights are frequently subordinated to the individual’s obligations to society. Such advancement is always secured by the freewill cooperation of the individual. There is nothing natural or automatic about civilization. Herein is a major component of the planetary emergency spoken of so often on this broadcast. The individual’s choice of self over the general welfare in the regulation of sex behaviors is contributory to the erosion of the strength of the marriage institution, hence the weakening of civilization. We discussed some of the general trends in our society today that lead to this decline. The reluctance or ineffectiveness in imposing restrictions on our young is a critical feature of our emergency. It was mentioned that inter-generational friction has been with us for millennia, and a question was asked if this situation today is more serious than in earlier times. The jeopardy in today’s circumstances lies in the increased spiritual consciousness and spirit energy that can be brought to bear in the pursuit selfish of ends. The revelators are encouraging us to conserve our hard won advantages of civilization—a rich social and cultural heritage—and pass them on to succeeding generations.

Mores when respected have been shown to be powerful enough to restrain and control the sex urge. Marriage standards have always been a true indicator of the power of the mores and functional integrity of the civil government. In spite of less than ideal marriage regulations, those races who exalted marriage, evolved to higher levels of civilization and survived in greater numbers. Evolution, whether biological or social represents a divine and creative conspiracy to achieve divine ends. True, the existential end point of social evolution on Urantia is light and life. But, the path to such a destiny depends on our choosing and the choosing of subsequent generations as to whether the process leads through an interregnum of darkness or a more direct and shorter path of progress.

We had a rather far reaching discussion about some of the troublesome trends that are indicative of the planetary emergency, notably the legacy of philosophical materialism which threatens the widespread recognition of the reality of mind. We are admonished to cultivate the awareness the reliability of the evolutionary process, especially in light of the Divine Minister’s mandate for full disclosure and unlimited opportunity for sin-expression as the quickest technique of achieving a final cure of Lucifer’s legacy of evil and sin. Meanwhile, for any individual who succumbs to depression when gazing upon the state of the world today is urged to trust our planetary supervisors and allow evolution to be the winnowing process to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Meanwhile, back to our series topic. In various earlier ages marriage was viewed as a social duty, religious obligation, and even a requirement to provide citizens for the state. Note that these functions are not aimed at fostering self-gratification, but sustaining civilization.

Our author goes on to provide glimpses into our past, reminding us of earlier marriage customs and traditions, many of which we found humorous and in some cases shocking. We commented on some of the characteristics valued in prospective mates and the methods of mate selection. In many cases these qualities and practices can be seen to favor increased survival of those with genetic advantages. Among males, attributes such as strength, skills in hunting and fighting, and even cognitive abilities were fostered. Among females capacity for hard physical labor and fertility were favored. Here again we see the subtle hand of purpose in the evolutionary process underlying every level of our existence.

The great importance of marriage to ancient peoples is illustrated by their aversion to the unmarried state to the degree that marriage was extended to children on one hand and the dead on another.

Our final paragraph of the evening, describing tribal practices of that gave origin the practice of giving wedding presents, leading to the earning of the dowry, was one of the more challenging disclosures. An additional reference to the earning of the dowry was read [89:7.5]. Applying today’s mores to some of these olden customs should cause us to scrutinize our current practices in light of future conditions which may prevail with the advent of light and life.