Tag Archives: sealing ordinance

Let the dead — and the living — speak forth anthems of eternal praise

My friend and I had a wonderful conversation yesterday about covenants and sealing and all sorts of things. We had just been in the temple and had a lot of those things on our minds. This morning I was going to share some of our thoughts, but seeing as my little 2 year old doesn’t want me to do so, I am going to simply copy over a few verses from D&C 128 that I think I could read weekly without them ever losing their enthusiasm.

From Joseph Smith:

18 I might have rendered a plainer translation to this, but it is sufficiently plain to suit my purpose as it stands. It is sufficient to know, in this case, that the earth will be smitten with a curseunless there is a welding link of some kind or other between the fathers and the children, upon some subject or other—and behold what is that subject? It is the baptism for the dead. For we without them cannot be made perfect; neither can they without us be made perfect. Neither can they nor we be made perfect without those who have died in the gospel also; for it is necessary in the ushering in of the dispensation of the fulness of times, which dispensation is now beginning to usher in, that a whole and complete and perfect union, and welding together of dispensations, and keys, and powers, and glories should take place, and be revealed from the days of Adam even to the present time. And not only this, but those things which never have been revealed from the foundation of the world, but have been kept hid from the wise and prudent, shall be revealed untobabes and sucklings in this, the dispensation of the fulness of times.

 19 Now, what do we hear in the gospel which we have received? A voice of gladness! A voice of mercy from heaven; and a voice of truth out of the earth; glad tidings for the dead; a voice of gladness for the living and the dead; glad tidings of great joy. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those that bring glad tidings of good things, and that say unto Zion: Behold, thy God reigneth! As the dews of Carmel, so shall the knowledge of God descend upon them!

 20 And again, what do we hear? Glad tidings from Cumorah!Moroni, an angel from heaven, declaring the fulfilment of the prophets—the book to be revealed. A voice of the Lord in the wilderness of Fayette, Seneca county, declaring the three witnesses to bear record of the book! The voice of Michael on the banks of the Susquehanna, detecting the devil when he appeared as an angel of light! The voice of Peter, James, and John in the wilderness between Harmony, Susquehanna county, and Colesville, Broome county, on the Susquehanna river, declaring themselves as possessing the keys of the kingdom, and of the dispensation of the fulness of times!

 21 And again, the voice of God in the chamber of old Father Whitmer, in Fayette, Seneca county, and at sundry times, and in divers places through all the travels and tribulations of this Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! And the voice of Michael, the archangel; the voice of Gabriel, and of Raphael, and of divers angels, from Michael or Adam down to the present time, all declaring their dispensation, their rights, their keys, their honors, their majesty and glory, and the power of their priesthood; giving line upon line, precept upon precept; here a little, and there a little; giving us consolation by holding forth that which is to come, confirming our hope!

 22 Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad. Let the earth break forth into singing. Let the dead speak forth anthems of eternal praise to the King Immanuel, who hath ordained, before the world was, that which would enable us to redeem them out of their prison; for the prisoners shall go free.

 23 Let the mountains shout for joy, and all ye valleys cry aloud; and all ye seas and dry lands tell the wonders of your Eternal King! And ye rivers, and brooks, and rills, flow down with gladness. Let the woods and all the trees of the field praise the Lord; and ye solid rocks weep for joy! And let the sun, moon, and the morning stars sing together, and let all the sons of God shout for joy! And let the eternal creations declare his name forever and ever! And again I say, how glorious is the voice we hear from heaven, proclaiming in our ears, glory, and salvation, and honor, and immortality, and eternal life; kingdoms, principalities, and powers!

Link to a talk by Elder Nelson on “children of the covenant”

Very helpful!


Notice the contrast between his talk and this entry in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism:


Elder Nelson talks about being born into the covenant of Abraham, rather than needing to be adopted into that covenant or that family. The EOM entry talks about being born into the covenant blessings of a particular family.

Horizontal vs Vertical Priesthood

Another thought (building on this: https://whatimthinkingabout.wordpress.com/2014/04/03/eve-adam-and-the-priesthood/) that I’m getting down before I get back to sleep:

I don’t know what more to say about it yet, but I really really like it. Why then sealing parents to kids and kids to parents? Could we look at a familial link versus a generational link?

Perhaps the sealing of generations talked about in D&C 128 has to do with the vertical priesthood. Whereas the sealing ordinance has something to do with the horizontal priesthood. It reaffirms the possibility of female, or female-male interaction with God within every generation. It reunites Adam with Eve – perhaps not that it was ever meant to be separate – but with each generation the first step was to connect it to the last, then the next step was to connect husbands and wives. Remember that we are all Adam’s family, but, we are also the beginnings of our own eternal Adam and Eve situation. Perhaps that’s part of where the confusion is for me — we are linked to Adam via Melchizedek priesthood, which has the ordinances which save us. But we are linked to our spouse (and not to Adam) in a way separate from our link to Adam, which has the potential to not just exalt, but be family, to be parents, to teach kids, to be like Adam and Eve in whatever ways that entails. Lots more to think about there.

I hope this is as clear in the morning as it has been while I’ve been up with Micah tonight!

A few questions on the complications of sealings

There is so much we have to learn still about the sealing ordinance.

For example, here are some of the questions I’ve never sorted out myself:

1) Why does D&C 128 say that baptisms for the dead are what bind generations?

2) What exactly does it have to do with Abraham and being the seed of Abraham?

3) How does it bind us in the eternities? Are we really in family units? Or rather are we in one big united family?

4) Why doesn’t my sealing with my parents get replaced by my sealing to spouse?

5) Why isn’t there more in scripture about these sorts of things?

6) What about marriages between individuals that don’t want to be married? Where one spouse was abusive? Where there was really never love?

7) Our conception of marriage and family has changed so much over the course of history. I can see the sealing as binding biological connections back to Abraham or to Adam, but I have a hard time thinking that every person is as sentimental about their families or spouses as we are. Perhaps they are, perhaps the feelings really are so universal. But I don’t know. (I’m thinking of the “Do You Love Me?” song from Fiddler on the Roof! We talk as if everyone in our family history was madly in love with their spouse, but that probably wasn’t true for 70% of marriages in the world! Or couples who were never married, too.) I think this sealing-up marriages is a lot more complicated than we want to talk about.

8) All of these questions push me in the direction that the sealing ordinance is more about sealing up generations from Adam to the end, so that there can be certain blessings and possibilities, rather than so that each family can live together forever. (The D&C doesn’t say that those in other kingdoms can’t see each other, anyway!) However, the love I have for my spouse is so strong that I feel the my personal sealing with him is something significant and eternal. The sealing to spouse factors into our theology of becoming like our Heavenly Father and Mother. So, there’s more to it than just a sealing to Adam, too, I admit. But how it all works out in the heavens? There’s so much we do not know!