24 April 2015
One of the central purposes of Latter-day Saint temples is to create lasting connections between family members. Gordon B. Hinckley, the 15th president of the Church, declared:
“Was there ever a man who truly loved a woman, or a woman who truly loved a man, who did not pray that their relationship might continue beyond the grave? Has a child ever been buried by parents who did not long for the assurance that their loved one would again be theirs in a world to come? Can anyone believing in eternal life doubt that the God of heaven would grant His sons and daughters that most precious attribute of life, the love that finds its most meaningful expression in family relationships? No, reason demands that the family relationship shall continue after death. The human heart longs for it, and the God of heaven has revealed a way whereby it may be secured. The sacred ordinances of the house of the Lord provide for it” (“Why These Temples?” Ensign, Oct. 2010, 24).
Mormon theology teaches that the family is “the fundamental unit of society.”1 Mormons believe that everyone is a member of God’s eternal family and that the treasured family relationships we establish in mortality can continue after death. Our mortal family relationships can continue when a husband and wife are sealed together in a sacred temple ceremony.
The temple sealing is the capstone ceremony that takes place in Mormon temples. This ceremony can also be a marriage ceremony, or the sealing of a husband and wife can take place after they have been married civilly. Latter-day Saints believe that a marriage solemnized in the temple will last not only for this life but into eternity if the couple keep the covenants they have made with God throughout their lives.
The simple ceremony takes place in a temple sealing room. It is performed by a temple sealer, who holds the priesthood authority necessary to unite families forever. This sealing power is the same authority that Jesus gave to the apostle Peter: “Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven” (Matthew 16:19).
During the ceremony, a bride and groom kneel at an altar in the center of the sealing room and clasp hands. The sealer asks the couple to confirm their commitment to each other and to God, and he promises them an eternal union and other blessings that refer to the eternal potential of the relationship.
Spouses who are married in the temple promise to maintain complete fidelity to one another. They treasure their relationship, which represents the beginning of their eternal family. Any children who are born to a couple who have been sealed in the temple are automatically sealed to their parents for eternity. Adopted children can be sealed to their adoptive parents, and a family with children can also participate in a ceremony where the parents and children can be sealed together.
Knowing that their relationships can last forever, family members are motivated to treat each other with respect, kindness and love. Couples who continue to attend the temple are reminded of the eternal commitments they have made to one another and to God, and their relationships are strengthened as they recommit to live Christlike lives and remember the importance of Jesus Christ’s help in maintaining healthy family relationships.