Relief Society Lesson 17: Sealing Power and Temple Blessings

Posted by on July 29, 2014 in Relief Society Lessons, temple | 12 comments

family-holding-hands

Click for French Translation/Traduction en français

 

Don’t be fooled! This lesson plan can be a real challenge. I think that more often than not, an almost automated response to this is to ask whoever is serving as the ward or branch genealogy specialist to teach this lesson. And likely, this person will be a genealogy bug who will swirl rings of testimony about how “easy” doing the admin side of genealogy is, topped with a dose or two of guilt for not doing the work, thereby paining us with reminders of our duty to those who have gone before us.

 

So. To be clear, I want to do more genealogy and family line temple work because I have a testimony of it. But I have deep empathy (and experience!) in not feeling motivated to do the work because of raw and aching relationships with genetically, or legally “close” family members whom either they, or I do not seek an ongoing familial relationship now— much less in the eternities. It seems I am not alone in this feeling. Therefore, as I am wont to do, I re-angle the lesson for those of us (ME) who have family issues. (plus, I thought the intro in the lesson seemed a bit pompous. I think that Joseph Fielding Smith’s story was never intended to be pompous—but rather a revelling in the miraculous. But still. The story did not address the real issue of apathy or even hurt in regard to dealing with the closeted skeletons of family history and temple work.) Which means I would start the lesson with this quote from last conference:

 

“In the worldwide membership of the Church, fifty-one percent of adults currently do not have both parents in the Family Tree section of the Church’s FamilySearch Internet site. Sixty-five percent of adults do not have all four grandparents listed.Remember, we without our roots and branches cannot be saved. Church members need to obtain and input this vital information.” Quentin L Cook, Roots and Branches, April 2014 General Conference.

This was a surprising statistic for me. I immediately figured that it must be because of converts, right? But let’s get real. Ask: What are some reasons for not doing family temple work?

 

Some of my suggestions:

*Proximity to a temple and requirements of doing one’s own family history work can be difficult.

*If you are a female convert and live in an area with a “mini” temple with instructions of only doing one’s own family temple work, male proxies can be hard to arrange.

*technologically challenged (don’t know how to work the software, don’t have time or ability to make it to a genealogical research centre for lessons)

*hurt feelings regarding parentage that make the idea of spending eternity with certain family members challenging.

*grandmothers or great-grandmothers who had children, then were widowed in 20th century wars, but remarried: the second husband (not bio dad) was more known as the father, who do we seal grandma to? The “choose the right spouse for grandma” game can be terribly painful and conflicting. (I have heard that this is remedied by sealing the deceased woman to both deceased husbands, but have also heard women cannot be sealed to more than one husband. Would someone shed light on this in the comments? UPDATE: Comments cleared this up-)

*adoption issues- who gets sealed to who?

 

If time and the situation allow, encourage the sisters to one by one try to solve each of the issues mentioned in your class (be sure to include issues the women bring up organically). You likely will not be able to solve all of the issues, but lending a voice to the problem could prove healing and strengthening.

 

If that is not possible, or if there is additional time, I submit this list of quotes and ideas that could make for interesting and edifying discussion. Remember to ask open questions- such as, “what are your ideas on this?” In discussing sensitive issues, please be cautious to not make jokes or pass judgement on those who have real issues relating to the temple and temple sealings.

 

1. From Carol Cornwall Madsen, Sisters In Spirit, “Mormon Women and the Temple: Toward a New Understanding,” 1987, 81:

“Mormon women, along with all members of the church, were taught in the early days in Nauvoo a major principle of temple worship by Joseph Smith –vicarious work, by which living persons could perform essential ordinances on behalf of the dead. Teaching them the purpose and necessity of baptism for the dead, he opened doors for the spiritual reunion of families that had lost members to death or, as was common among early converts, had been estranged when loved ones joined the church, never to meet again in life. Baptism for the dead, followed by vicarious endowments and sealings, made possible the reuniting of families for eternity. One of the first to use this principle was Jane Newman who was baptised for her dead son Cyrus just a month after the introduction of this ordinance. Emma Smith was baptised for her father, Isaac Hale, in 1841, and Emmeline Wells was baptised for her dead father.” –

What do you think of women doing the work for men? Why do you think this changed?

 

2. I (spunky, the author of this post) think it is imperative to remember that prior to the sealing ordinance, the baptism and confirmation must be completed for each member of the family. In this, where there are cases of abuse, the sins of the abuser are wiped clean through baptism. BUT. EQUAL IF NOT MORE IMPORTANT TO CONSIDER is that the victims of the abused are also “wiped clean” of the pain, humiliation and even the memory of the abuse through the infinite power of the atonement. I have no intention of dismissing abuse in any way shape or form. But I have a powerful testimony of the atonement and the ability to heal everyone perfectly in cases where even the most grotesque sins have occurred. In this thought, I offer this quote from my beloved Lucy Maude Montgomery in her Rilla of Ingleside:

“Do you know, Mrs. Blythe”- Bruce dropped to a “whispery” tone, edging a little nearer to Anne—“what I would like to do to the Kaiser if I could?”

“What would you like to do, laddie?”

“Norman Reese said in school to-day that he would like to tie the Kaiser to a tree and set cross dogs worrying him, “ said Bruce gravely. “And Emily Flagg said she would like to out him in a cage and poke sharp things into him. And they all said things like that. But Mrs. Blythe” – Bruce took a little square paw out of his pocket and put it earnestly on Anne’s knee—“I would like to turn him into a good man—a very good man— all at once if I could. That is what I would do. Don’t you think, Mrs. Blythe, would be the very worstest punishment of all?”

“Bless the child,” said Susan, “how do you make out that would be any kind of punishment for that wicked fiend?”

“Don’t you see,” said Bruce looking levelly at Susan, out of his blackly blue eyes, “if he was turned into a good man, he would understand how dreadful the things he had done are, and he would feel so terrible about it that he would be more unhappy and miserable than he could ever be in any other way. He would feel just awful—and he would go on feeling like that forever. Yes—“ Bruce clenched his hands and nodded his head empthatically, “yes, I would make the Kaiser a good man—that us what I would so—it would serve him ‘zackly right.”

(possible questions to consider in this: should we still do work for those who have offended us? Why or why not? How can doing this work heal us? How can we be respectful to individuals who are not in an emotional place to do the work for deceased relatives because they are pained by earthly hurt and sorrow? Do we have a responsibility to do the work for individuals who ultimately might not be worthy to receive the blessings associated with the new and everlasting covenant?)

 

3. From Member’s Guide to Temple and Family History Work, (2012), 29–36

*Temple ordinances are not performed for stillborn children. However, a child who lived even briefly after birth should be sealed to his or her parents. In some countries, particularly in Europe, children who died shortly after birth were often recorded as stillborn. Children listed as stillborn on records from these countries may be sealed to their parents. The FamilySearch Internet site will let you know if a sealing ordinance needs to be performed for a child who was recorded as stillborn. You should record all births, indicating any stillborn children.

*No baptism or endowment is performed for a child who died before the age of eight. Only sealings to parents are performed for such children. If the child was sealed to parents while he or she was living or if the child was born in the covenant, no vicarious ordinances are performed.

Do you believe stillborn children are automatically sealed to their parents? Why or why not?

 

4. Spunky again, here. As an adoptive mother, these things are important for me to consider:

Example 1: When I was 18 or 19 as a new university student, I travelled home one weekend with a roommate to visit her grandparents. She and I had been chatting about family history work and genealogy at breakfast when her grandfather mentioned that she “had a lot of work to do for her family.” That moment is still seared in my memory. Because she was adopted. And his words were clear: He did not consider her to be in his family line. She had been sealed to her parents for well over a decade. She believed—until that moment—that they were in one and the same family. Doctrinally, because she had been sealed, she was considered to be in the same family as her adoptive parentage- therefore this grandfather’s line was her line. But because of genetic, mortal, and/or personal issues, this grandfather’s biases and words– cut her to the core. I am sad to say that her relationship with him—and that entire side of her (adoptive) paternal family has significantly decreased, stemming from this incident. (This happened over 20 years ago now.)

Example 2: I have a friend who is also an adoptive parent. Her youngest child, now a recently returned missionary, has always struggled as to whether or not she should do temple work for her adoptive of biological family. Her adoptive mother has been hurt by this, but feels powerless to discuss it with her, making an “invisible elephant” in their relationship.

Now—because I am an adoptive mother, these situations distress me. I never want my children to feel that they need to choose, or are limited, or that they are not a part of our family. I love them more than if I had birthed them because I fought so long and hard to get to be their mother. So my thing? I don’t mind who they feel they need to do temple work for. And I have chosen to support them to do temple work- should they choose when they are old enough- for whatever family line they like. In my mind, temple work is a great thing. To me, being sealed to Heavenly Parents is the real deal—no matter which biological line you choose to follow, the most important thing is that temple work gets done.

 

5: Fun titbit: I went to the temple and was a proxy for temple sealings as I prepared for this lesson. I really loved it. I noticed a number of beautiful but simple things that really made the experience delightful. One of the most important things I noticed was that the child being sealed is sealed to the mother and father in the parents’ names. That is to say, the mother’s maiden name is used when pronouncing the sealing. To be clear, the couple having the work done for them need to be sealed to each other as wife and husband– before a child can be sealed to them. But the child is sealed then to the earthly mother using ONLY the mother’s maiden name, in addition to being sealed to the earthly father. I loved the thought of heaven being a place where I retain my name and that my daughters might know me by my family name.

 

6: Quentin L Cook, Roots and Branches, April 2014 General Conference.

One faithful sister shared a special spiritual experience in the Salt Lake Temple. While in the confirmation room, after a vicarious confirmation ordinance was pronounced, she heard, “And the prisoner shall go free!” She felt a great sense of urgency for those who were waiting for their baptismal and confirmation work. Upon returning home, she searched the scriptures for the phrase she had heard. She found Joseph Smith’s declaration in section 128 of the Doctrine and Covenants: “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.”

Do any of you have experiences in doing temple work that you are comfortable to share? This quote is a powerful example, so your experience might not be as grand, but even just feeling satisfied and at peace for doing the work is testimony of the work.

 

 

Close with reading this quote by the beloved Cheiko Okazaki:

“I want us all to have real clarity about the principles of the gospel that unite us. I want us to understand to the marrow of our bones that Jesus is the Christ, that his atonement releases us from the bondage of sin and error, that the covenants we make are eternally honored by our Heavenly Father, and that the ordinances of the gospel exist to perfect us as individuals, to purify us as a community, and to prepare us as a people for the second coming of our Lord.” ― Chieko N. Okazaki, Lighten Up

 

End in challenging everyone to address any family history work issues they might have in preparation to do family temple work.

 

What are your thoughts on this lesson? Please share any experiences you have in navigating the challenges of family history work!

Leçon de la Société de Secours 17 : Pouvoir du scellement et les bénédictions du temple

Ne vous trompez pas! Cette leçon peut être très difficile! Je pense que souvent quand on tombe sur cette leçon, on demande automatiquement au consultant de l’histoire familiale de paroisse de la faire. Et souvent cette personne est très enthousiasmée par la généalogie, donc elle nous parlera de combien il est « facile » de faire notre généalogie et nous fera culpabiliser avec des rappels de notre devoir envers nos morts.

Pour être claire, je veux faire ma généalogie et les ordonnances du temple car j’en ai un fort témoignage. Mais j’ai beaucoup d’empathie pour ceux qui ne sont pas motivés de faire ce travail à cause des relations difficiles et douloureuses avec les membres de leur famille avec qui ils ne cherchent pas forcément à avoir une relation proche pendant cette vie, et encore moins dans la vie à venir. Il parait que je ne suis pas la seule à avoir ce sentiment, donc j’ai cherché la faire ce plan de leçon pour celles (dont moi) qui ont des problèmes familiaux. Ce qui veut dire que je commencerai avec cette citation de la dernière conférence générale :

« Actuellement, cinquante et un pour cent des membres adultes de l’Église dans le monde n’ont pas leurs deux parents dans la section Arbre Familial du site Internet de l’Église, FamilySearch. Soixante-cinq pour cent des membres adultes n’y ont pas leurs quatre grands-parents. N’oubliez pas, nous ne pouvons pas être sauvés sans nos racines et nos branches. Les membres de l’Église doivent obtenir ces informations vitales et les enregistrer. » Quentin L Cook, « Des racines et des branches » Conférence Générale Avril 2014.

Cette statistique m’a beaucoup surprise. Je me disais au début que c’était à cause des grands nombres de convertis. Mais soyons honnêtes : quelles sont les raisons pour lesquelles nous ne faisons pas notre histoire familiale et l’œuvre du temple ?

Certaines de mes idées :

*Pas de temple à proximité.

*Difficulté à trouver des hommes pour faire ses noms masculins si on est une sœur seule à proximité d’un petit temple où on ne peut faire les ordonnances que pour sa propre famille.

*Difficultés technologiques (pas d’ordinateur, difficultés à apprendre le logiciel, pas de Centre d’histoire familiale à proximité).

*Relations familiales dégradées où il est difficile d’envisager de passer l’éternité ensemble.

*Grand-mères ou arrière-grand-mères qui ont eu plusieurs époux pendant leur vie (à qui les sceller?).

*Questions d’adoption.

Quelles solutions pourriez-vous trouver à ces difficultés?

Voici quelques idées pour une discussion édifiante. Soyez sensibles aux autres et ne portez pas jugement sur celles qui sont troublées par le temple ou par le scellement.

1. “Les femmes mormones, avec tous les membres de l’Eglise, ont été enseignés à Nauvoo un principe important du culte du temple par Joseph Smith :

l’œuvre par procuration, où les personnes vivantes peuvent faire des ordonnances essentielles pour les personnes mortes. Leur enseignant l’objectif et la nécessité du baptême pour les morts, il a ouvert la porte aux retrouvailles spirituelles des familles qui ont perdu des membres ou, comme dans le cas de beaucoup des nouveaux convertis, ont été aliénés de leurs familles lors de leur baptême dans l’Eglise. Le baptême pour les morts, suivi par la dotation et les scellements, ont rendu possible aux familles de se retrouver pour toute l’éternité. L’une des premières à profiter de ce nouveau principe a été Jane Newman, qui a été baptisée pour son fils Cyrus un mois après l’introduction de cette ordonnance. Emma Smith a été baptisée pour son père, Issac Hale, en 1841, et Emmeline Wells a été baptisée pour son père. » – Carol Cornwall Madsen, Sisters In Spirit, “Mormon Women and the Temple: Toward a New Understanding,” 1987, 81.

2. Je pense qu’il est essentiel de se rappeler qu’avant l’ordonnance de scellement, le baptême et la confirmation doivent être accomplis pour chaque membre de la famille. J’ai un grand témoignage que dans les cas d’abus, non seulement le malfaiteur est lavé de ses péchés mais la victime peut être « lavée » de la douleur, de l’humiliation et même des souvenirs de l’abus par l’Expiation du Christ. Sur cette même pensée, je cite Lucy Maude Montgomery dans son livre Rilla of Ingleside :

“Est-ce que vous savez, Madame Blythe—Bruce a baissé sa voix, en s’approchant un peu plus près d’Anne—ce que je voudrais faire au Kaiser si je pouvais?”

“Que ferais-tu, mon garçon?”

“Norman Reese a dit à l’école aujourd’hui qu’il voudrait attacher le Kaiser à un arbre et envoyer les chiens méchant l’embêter, a dit Bruce gravement, et Emily Flagg a dit qu’il voudrait le mettre dans un cage et lui enfoncer des choses tranchantes. Ils ont dit tous des choses comme ça. Mais Madame Blythe—Bruce a sorti sa petite main de sa poche et l’a posée sérieusement sur le genou d’Anne—je voudrais le transformer en homme bon –un homme très bien—en une fois si je pouvais. Voici ce que je ferais. Ne croyez-vous pas, Madame Blythe, que ce serait la pire punition de toutes?”

« Comme c’est adorable ! a dit Susan, pourquoi penses-tu que ce serait une punition pour ce diable monstrueux?”

“…S’il était transformé en homme bon, il comprendrait combien les choses qu’il a faites étaient horribles, et il se sentirait si mal qu’il serait plus malheureux et plus épouvantable qu’il ne le serait de n’importe quelle autre manière. Il se sentirait affreux—et il se sentirait comme ça pour toujours. »

Quelques questions possible pour considération : Est-ce que nous devrions faire l’œuvre du temple pour ceux qui nous ont offensés ? Pourquoi ou pourquoi pas ? Comment faire cette oeuvre peut nous guérir? Comment pouvons-nous être respectueux à ceux qui ne sont pas prêts émotionnellement à faire les ordonnances pour des parents à cause des problèmes et de la douleurs terrestres ? Avons-nous la responsabilité de faire les ordonnances pour ceux qui seraient peut-être pas dignes de recevoir les bénédictions associées aux alliances ?

3. Du Guide des membres pour l’œuvre du temple et de l’histoire familiale :

« Les ordonnances du temple ne sont pas accomplies pour les enfants mort-nés. Cependant un enfant qui a vécu aussi brièvement soit-il après sa naissance doit être scellé à ses parents. Dans certains pays, surtout en Europe, les enfants décédés peu après leur naissance ont été enregistrés dans l’état-civil comme étant mort-nés. Les enfants indiqués comme mort-nés dans les registres de ces pays peuvent être scellés à leurs parents. Le nouveau FamilySearch vous permettra de savoir si un scellement doit être accompli pour un enfant qui a été déclaré mort-né. Vous devez enregistrer toutes les naissances, en indiquant les enfants mort-nés.

« Le baptême et la dotation ne sont pas accomplis pour un enfant décédé avant l’âge de huit ans. Seul le scellement aux parents est accompli pour ces enfants. Si l’enfant a été scellé à des parents durant sa vie, ou s’il est né dans l’alliance, aucune ordonnance n’est accomplie par procuration. »

4. En tant que mère adoptive, ces choses sont importantes à considérer :

Exemple 1: Quand j’avais 18 ou 19 ans en tant qu’étudiante, je j’ai passé un weekend avec une camarade de chambre à visiter ses grands-parents. On parlait de généalogie à l’heure du petit déjeuner quand son grand-père lui a dit qu’elle avait beaucoup de travail à faire pour « sa » famille. Ce souvenir est gravé dans mon mémoire car elle a été adoptée. Les paroles de son grand-père étaient claires : il considérait qu’elle ne faisait pas partie de sa lignée familiale. Elle avait été scellée à ses parents plus de 10 ans auparavant. Elle avait cru jusque-là qu’ils faisaient tous partie de la même famille. Je suis triste de dire que sa relation avec lui, et avec toute cette partie de la famille, s’est dégradée à cause de ces paroles dures.

Exemple 2: J’ai une amie qui est elle aussi une mère adoptive. Sa plus jeune fille, maintenant une missionnaire de retour, s’est toujours posée la question si elle devrait faire les ordonnances du temple pour sa famille biologique ou pour sa famille adoptive. Mon amie a été blessée par cela, mais elle ne se sent pas capable d’en parler avec sa fille, créant une distance dans leur relation.

Ces situations me désolent. Jamais je ne voudrais que mes enfants se sentent qu’ils doivent choisir, ou qu’ils sont limités ou qu’ils ne font pas partie de notre famille. Je les aime encore plus que si je leur avais donné la vie moi-même car j’ai dû me battre si longtemps pour être leur mère. J’ai donc décidé de les soutenir dans leur choix pour quelle famille faire le travail au temple. Pour moi, l’œuvre du temple est magnifique. Etre scellé aux Parents Céleste est ce qui compte le plus, peu importe la ligne biologique que nous choisissons de suivre.

5: « Une sœur fidèle a raconté une expérience spirituelle extraordinaire survenue dans le temple de Salt Lake City. Dans la salle de confirmation, après avoir fait l’ordonnance de confirmation par procuration, elle a entendu : « Les prisonniers seront libérés ! » Elle a éprouvé une grande urgence vis-à-vis de ceux qui attendaient leur baptême et leur confirmation. En rentrant chez elle, elle a cherché dans les Écritures la phrase qu’elle avait entendue. Elle a trouvé la déclaration qu’a faite Joseph Smith à la section 128 des Doctrine et Alliances  : « Que votre cœur se réjouisse et soit dans l’allégresse. Que la terre éclate en chants. Que les morts chantent des hymnes de louanges éternelles au roi Emmanuel, qui a ordonné, avant que le monde fût, ce qui nous permettrait de les racheter de leur prison, car les prisonniers seront libérés. » Quentin L Cook, « Des racines et des branches » Conférence Générale Avril 2014.

Finir par lire cette citation de Chieko Okazaki :

« Je veux que nous ayons toutes de la clarté réelle sur les principes de l’Evangile qui nous unissent. Je veux que nous comprenions profondément que Jésus est le Christ, que son Expiation nous libère de l’esclavage du péché et de l’erreur, que les alliances que nous contractons sont honorées éternellement par notre Père Céleste, et que les ordonnances de l’Evangile existent pour nous perfectionner en tant qu’individus et en tant que communauté, et pour nous préparer à la seconde venue de notre Seigneur. »
Chieko N. Okazaki, Lighten Up

Finir par lancer le défi de se préparer à faire son histoire familiale et l’œuvre du temple.

Quelles sont vos idées pour cette leçon ?

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12 Comments

  1. Thank you, Spunky, for your thoughts on this lesson. Growing up in a mixed-faith family, I was always sensitive to teachings about eternal families, since more often than not, such lessons made me reflect on how my family had not been sealed in the temple and the pain of that disparity in my life. I love how you acknowledge the other kinds of pain and distress that can arise in contemplating the sealing power and temple work. Your recommendation for planning this lesson to—”encourage the sisters to one by one try to solve each of the issues mentioned in your class. You likely will not be able to solve all of the issues, but lending a voice to the problem could prove healing and strengthening”—is, I think, important in both comforting those that need comfort for their concerns, but also in creating greater awareness of (and hopefully empathy for) how generally beautiful doctrines can cause pain.

    Also, to answer your question about sealing women with multiple husbands, the Member’s Guide to Temple and Family History Work indicates:

    “Deceased women married more than once. You may have a deceased woman sealed to all men to whom she was legally married. However, if she was sealed to a husband during her life, all her husbands must be deceased before she can be sealed to a husband to whom she was not sealed during life.”

  2. I love this. My father is the only member of the church on his side of the family, and his parents used to be very against any proxy work being done for anyone on his side of the family. The thing that changed their minds is when my brother explained that proxy ordinances don’t force anything on the recipient. All it does is give the deceased person the option to accept it or not. I think that is important to remember in these discussions, too. Proxy ordinances are all about giving people more options. It’s up to them what they do with it.

  3. The comment: “In this, where there are cases of abuse, the sins of the abuser are wiped clean through baptism.” is something I need to push back on. Sins are only wiped clean if the abuser goes through the repentance process. Just having a vicarious ordinance doesn’t mean that it necessary takes effect immediately or ever if that person isn’t willing to repent of their sins in the spirit world.

    • Yes, CJ. I should have worded that better. The sins can be wiped clean if there is a true, heartfelt, humbly, desperate, seeking of repentance.

      Regardless of the abuser, I still stand firm on the belief that the atonement fully, perfectly, completely heals the pain of the atrocity committed against the victim. For personal reasons, I cling to this doctrine of the atonement as a matter of survival.

      I am grateful for you in highlighting this fact, it is an imperative point to address when doing family history work and in teaching this lesson. Thank you.

  4. As a thought to those who will still teach this lesson, my emphasis was on the blessings received from attending the temple – particularly sections 1 and 3.

    I introduced the lesson with quotes from Elder Nelson’s talk at the 2014 Seminar for New Mission Presidents. https://www.lds.org/church/news/begin-missionary-work-with-the-end-in-mind-says-elder-nelson?lang=eng

    He said, “Missionary work should begin and end with our minds focused on the blessings of the holy temple.” I asked the class “Why?” This is so because only in the temple are the greatest blessings received that Heavenly Father has to offer. After reading selected quotes from the lesson, the sisters shared the blessings and joy they’ve received from temple attendance.

    • Thanks, Joan Stevens. I appreciate your input, and I think it will be valuable to some of our readers.

      I am not a huge fan of the focus on “blessings received from attending the temple,” because to me, it feels a little more like seeking for reward rather than from doing something as a matter of obedience and a desire to serve. It also minimizes those who have issues with temple attendance due to cost, distance, hours open, or spiritual/intellectual issues.

      However, based on letters from a lad I know on a mission, the “bait and reward” theory is a heavy part of his missionary scheme, so I can see it as a matter of tradition in teaching this lesson.

  5. What a thoughtful approach to this difficult lesson. I’ll be teaching it this weekend and appreciate the ideas and quotes shared here. One question that came up in casual discussions about the lesson that I’ve had with family members this week concerns the logistics of temple sealings, specifically, doing the work for the millions of people who lived on this earth but were never recorded in history. Assuming this may come up in my lesson, any thoughts on this matter?

    • Good question! The official answer: I dunno.

      As a teacher, I would open that up to the class, and ask them what they think about those who’s names are not recorded (I mean, I think of the millions of girl babies who were born, then killed because they were female—with no record, declaring the pregnancy never happen. Who should they be sealed to – if anyone? Especially since they may not have even been given an earthly name? It crushes my heart and mind to think about them.)

      But this is what I think: I think we are supposed to do all the work that we can do in this life because of those without recorded names. In this, by doing all the names that can be found—then in the millennium, when we are supposed to have as many temples as there are 7-11s…. then those who weren’t given earthly names, or those who’s name have long since been forgotten—they will be FIRST to have their work done (Matthew 20:16). So, I think we should do as much work as we can now, so that the lines will be all the shorter in the millennium. In this, I look forward to the day when I can look at the spirits of those who were victim to sexist genocide, and say, “MY HEART NEVER FORGOT YOU. I WILL HELP YOU FIRST. ” But that’s just me. No doctrine. Just me.

  6. I was preparing my lesson for this Sunday when I came across your thoughts. I have to admit that I’ve never considered temple work with this perspective in mind. I have a bit of possible confusion in my family temple work with being sealed to my step father rather than my father, but I’ve been very fortunate to not have any relationships that make it difficult to do temple work. I truly appreciate your thoughts on this. It’s another reminder of how beautiful the gospel is, that the atonement can bring true peace and comfort despite the pains of this world. Thank you again for helping me be a bit more aware and sensitive to people’s situations and experiences.

  7. I came across your site and have enjoyed reading your thoughts and those that others have left. I do have a question and hope that you might have some insight on the topic. I am the first of eight kids. My dad was never a member and we have never been sealed as a family. My parents divorced when I was in my 20′s. I have told my mom that she better find another man to marry so that we can be sealed together as a family or I will seal her to my dad after she dies. I told this to a couple of people and the question always comes up that, can I seal my mom to my dad if they were divorced?

    • Welcome, Kellie! Thanks for visiting us and sharing your comment. I’m not a temple worker, but I believe I can answer your question correctly. (Your local Temple President would be more than happy to walk you through the specifics, I’m sure)
      According to what I’ve learned, to your first question, yes: your mom may be sealed to anther man while still alive (even though she wasn’t sealed to your dad originally) and any of her adult (over 18) children may choose to be sealed to them. Additionally, a recent change has been made to the proxy sealing work for women which allows the woman to sealed (by proxy at least 1 year after her death) to any (and all, if there were more than one) men she was legally married to during her life. So, hypothetically, both things could occur: she could marry someone else in this life AND you could seal her to your dad after they both pass. Now, as far as who she actually ends up with (or gets stuck with…?) in the next life, there’s no real clear answers as to how that shakes out. But regardless of marital state upon death, she may be posthumously sealed to any man she was once married to.
      The sealing of her children may be to whichever man they choose (I think).

      Stick around, read us often and comment freely!

  8. Thanks for another great lesson help. It’s interesting to me you felt to slant the lesson toward those of us hesitant to do work for ancestors who have somehow wronged us. I plan to teach this lesson this next week, and am struggling with finding the words, as one of my biggest testimony building experiences with temple work has centered around having the work done for a member of my family who murdered another member of my family (and subsequently died in prison).

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  1. Relief Society Lesson 17: Sealing Power and Temple Blessings | Well-Behaved Mormon Woman - […] So. To be clear, I want to do more genealogy and family line temple work because I have a …

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