Hugh MacMillian, in his sermons (1882), The Marriage in Cana of Galilee, makes the following observation about the relationship between religion and changing marriage. I found it interesting in light of the West’s current work of fundamentally restructuring marriage in ways even more dramatic that the bigamy or forced celibacy condemned here. Macmillan would tie the change in marriage to “religious enthusiasm” — which is certainly the case in the West (and the fact that this new religion merely considers itself natural, common sense, not a religion does nothing to alter its fundamentally religious nature):
Marriage is the best and simplest test by which a religious sect or community can be tried. According as ti conforms or fails to conform to the Divine law in this primary relation of life, so ought it to stand or fall in the estimation of the world. It is a remarkable circumstance that every religious enthusiast who facing that he is inspired to proclaim a new faith, whenever he succeeds in impressing his convictions upon others, begins to tamper with marriage. The Mohammedanism of the East, the Mormonism of the West, proclaim themselves systems of imposture by their abuse of this all-important relation. The spiritual-wife communities which have sprung out of religious excitement and revivalism of America are based upon radical errors, and are as injurious to human nature as they are false to God. On the side of sensualism or on the side of asceticism, every false religion is sure to err fatally. Nature uniformly revenues the outrage upon her law in every case.