What is a Sealing- A guide for the uninitiated

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I will be getting sealed in the Draper, Utah Temple on May 4th for time and all eternity. Being a convert, however, I have a lot of family and friends that wonder what a sealing is and how it actually differs from a regular marriage ceremony. I thought I would write a brief post explaining what it means to me to be sealed and why it is so special. 

 

Marriage is always a very special and important occasion. Two people that love each other always hope that their marriage will be successful and that they will never again be apart. Yet, most marriages come with an expiration date built in. They are consummated ’till death do you part’ or based on some other such limitation. After death, there is no longer a promise.

The difference between a regular marriage and a sealing is that a temple sealing is not merely done for time or ’till death do you part.’ When one is sealed in the temple that marriage is able to continue forever. There is an explicit promise that the familial bond will continue beyond the grave. Indeed, in the eternities there is a promise that Jessica and I will be married and continue to have a family. We will be able to enjoy each other’s company and love.

Indeed, God has promised that

And that same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be coupled with eternal glory, which glory we do not now enjoy.

That means that those that have been sealed will continue to grow as a family even when they leave this world. Their children will be theirs eternally.

A prophet of God, Gordon B. Hinckley, express my feelings about this really well.

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.

That is the basic idea as far as the theology. What about the practical nature of what happens in the temple.

This is a sealing room… On May 4th, Jessica and I will both be dressed in all white. Jessica will be wearing her wedding dress while I will have on a white pair of pants with a white tie and a white shirt. We will also be wearing certain symbolic articles of clothing which are in many ways similar to things that Orthodox Jews wear during services such as a Talit or a Kippa. These articles are symbolic of our relationship to God and remind us of the promises that we have made.

We will kneel across from each other at the altar and grasp each other by the hand. Behind us, there will be a reflective mirror on either side of the room. Because of their position each mirror will reflect the image of the other. Looking at them, we will see our reflection repeating over and over again. This will symbolize the eternal nature of the marriage.

The individual performing the sealing ( sealer) will ask us whether we are ready to have each other as husband and wife. He will tell us about some of the promises of God that God has for us. He will remind us that together we will be able to be an eternal family. He will encourage us to live righteously and remember God in all that we do. By the power of the priesthood of Jesus Christ, he will seal us as a family forever.

The ceremony will be very simple and we will only have a few members of family present. There will be no dancing or music in the temple. No food. There will be a reception later for friends. However, in the temple the focus will be on each other and on our relationship to God.

I am so excited to be married in the temple. I have a strong belief that the temple marriage is ordained of God and that it can be eternal. I am so excited to begin my journey with my eternal companion 🙂

Here are a couple of great resources abut the temple:

First of all, there is a Journal from 2010 specifically dedicated to the temple.

I especially recommend this article by President Gordon B. Hinckley entitled Why These Temples?

Also, here’s a talk about Celestial Marriage by Elder Nelson (an Apostle and well renowned heart surgeon.

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