Sunday, August 1, 2021

Marriage and Sealing (D&C 132) QUESTIONS

Background

 

Although D&C 132 was dictated by Joseph Smith on July 12, 1843, it was not published until 1852 (in the Deseret News) and not canonized in the Doctrine and Covenants until it was placed in the 1876 edition and printed one year before Brigham Young’s death.  The facts that it was not published and canonized by Joseph Smith during his lifetime when he had ample opportunity, that Joseph was publicly preaching against polygamy (see DHC 6:411), that no original manuscript still exists – only a “copy” supposedly made by Joseph Kingsbury (an avowed polygamist) at a time when Brigham Young, Heber C Kimball, William Clayton and other leaders were attempting to “go public” with the doctrine and gain protection for it under the First Amendment of the Constitution as a key tenant of the religion (i.e. as a belief absolutely essential for exaltation – see D&C 132:4-6), and the fact that it is preached against in the Book of Mormon (see Jacob 2:23-29; Mosiah 11:2) and elsewhere in the D&C (see D&C 49:16; D&C 42:22),  throws the authenticity of the revelation and the subsequent application of the doctrine of polygamy by Brigham Young into significant question.  Did Joseph dictate a revelation about marriage and sealing in July 1843?  Yes – there seems to be enough contemporary evidence in journals to suggest this.  Is the revelation Joseph Smith dictated what we have in D&C 132?  Probably not.  Brigham Young and his leadership group had years before it was published and canonized (by them) to make significant changes to the revelation and pass it off as coming from Joseph Smith – which would give it credence. 

  

We do know that in the 1840’s Joseph Smith was teaching the “Law of Adoption” which involved sealing ordinances and the creating of a “heavenly family” or the “house of God”, on earth which was sealed to the “fathers in heaven” who are already exalted (see TPJS 383-384).   Brigham Young did not understand this doctrine (this was the question he asked JS about during his famous dream when Joseph came to him in the light while BY was in the dark and JS answered BY’s question about the law of adoption by “punting” – telling him to “tell the brethren to seek the Spirit, as it will lead them right”, see The Complete Discourses of Brigham Young, Vol 1, p 188) and others of the leaders rejected it altogether.  The Law of Adoption involved a “patriarch” with the keys to the High Priesthood (see D&C 132:7) who stood at the head of the family on the earth (see D&C 107:40-53).  Joseph tried to restore the “ancient order of things” (see TPJS 265) but the Church wouldn’t accept what he was trying to reveal (see TPJS 373-374; 393:1).

 

Joseph Smith may have practiced polygamy of one sort or another but no DNA evidence exists of his ever having fathered a child with anyone but Emma Smith.  I believe we do not know what Joseph Smith was really doing with regards to polygamy because the historical records are now so compromised or missing (or not contemporary to Joseph’s life) as to not be able to discover the truth except by direct revelation from God.  So, with all that being said, this post is an attempt to find some truth in this revelation and to discuss some of the key principles that underlie marriage and sealing.  I will avoid talking about polygamy except in a discussion of the Law of Adoption, as it is my current belief, that what Joseph Smith was doing was inherently and fundamentally different from the “polygamy as required for exaltation” doctrine that I suspect Brigham Young invented – but the bottom line is that we don’t really know with certainty and I, for one, will give Joseph the benefit of the doubt until certainty is attained.  I have a hard time believing Joseph Smith was a liar and deceiver, given all of the truth he revealed, some of which has been proved to be true in my life through my own experiences.  I know Joseph Smith was far from perfect but I’ve never believed the “lying for the Lord” doctrine as something coming from anyone but a lying man – and our God is a god of truth – so that doesn’t square with me.  So with all that as context, here we go…

 

 

The New and Everlasting Covenant

 

READ D&C 132:4-6

What is the everlasting covenant? (see D&C 22:1-4; D&C 66:2; D&C 133:57)

What does the everlasting covenant enable you to receive?

 

READ D&C 132:7

What must happen for anything – from a formal covenant relationship to an informal association – to survive into the eternities from this mortal life?

What is implied by the fact that unless a covenant or even an association is not “made” by the Holy Spirit of Promise, it cannot last past death?

What is the Holy Spirit of Promise?

 

READ D&C 132:8-14

Why will the Lord not accept an offering made, even in good faith, but which is not according to His command and in His name?

What does it mean that there are “things in the world” which are ordained by “thrones or principalities or powers or things of name” but are not by Christ or His word?

 

READ D&C 132:15-18

How many wives per man do these verses refer to, as being required for exaltation in the new and everlasting covenant?

What is required to be “enlarged” in the world to come and what does this mean?

Why is glory referred to as a “weight”?

 

READ D&C 132:19-21

Who shall be Gods?

What are the two conditions that have to be met to “abide by the law”?

What do they inherit if they are true to both of these conditions?

What if you do not enter into this covenant OR abide in it successfully?

Is a couple actually “sealed” on the day they go to the Temple to receive the marriage or sealing ordinance?

 

READ D&C 132:29, 37

What is implied by the fact that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are not angels but gods?

 

READ D&C 132:22-25

Why is the gate “strait” and the way “narrow” that leads back to God?

Why do so few find exaltation?

What is eternal life?

What are the “continuation of the lives” and “eternal lives” – why are the phrases plural?

How do we receive Christ in the world and know Him?

What does it mean that the broad gate leads to the “deaths”?

 

 

The Law of Adoption

 

Although the restoration of the gospel through Joseph Smith seemed to have been significantly influenced, soon after its inception, by Sidney Rigdon and others of the Campbellite faith who were looking for the restoration of the apostles’ New Testament era church as described in the Bible, the Lord always had in mind to restore at the end of the world the fullness of the gospel that was had at the beginning (see D&C 27:6; D&C 86:8-10; Acts 3:21)  – that fullness which enabled two societies to become Zion and be translated to heaven.  After Sidney and Joseph parted ways, somewhat, because of the events of Liberty Jail, Joseph seemed to dive immediately back into his original attempt to restore the “ancient order of things” (see TPJS 252:2; and 265:1). 

 

Rather than remain an isolated, faithful individual who had received the Lord and associated with the Church of the Firstborn alone, like Moses before him Joseph Smith attempted to establish Zion, which is about restoring God’s Family or House again on earth.  This was the Lord’s intent with regards to the Nauvoo temple (see D&C 124:40-41), as the Fullness of the Priesthood is required for a mortal to stand in God’s presence and it needed to be restored again to the Saints, as they had lost it prior to 1841 (see D&C 124:27-28).  But also like Moses before him, Joseph failed in his attempt (see D&C 84:19-27) when the Saints refused to build the temple in accordance with the Lord’s timetable (see D&C 124:31-33, 44-48).  Joseph Smith was then taken and the Saints were cursed, as the children of Israel, having lost their opportunity for a season (3-4 generations).  Without Joseph Smith, who had a regular audience with God, the Saints had no way of understanding or continuing what the Lord had revealed to Joseph.  In its place, we got Brigham Young’s version of hedonistic polygamy and a focus on temple work for the dead, rather than the sealing the living to the “fathers in heaven”, and then saving the dead (in the spirit world) via a sealing to living, now redeemed, descendants. 

 

Priesthood is an association with God’s and angels, through the veil.  The Law of Adoption is about making that association with God permanent – it is about sealing you to God as His son and daughter.  It is about changing one’s relationship with God from servant to son; it is how one becomes part of God’s own family – an heir.  It can also be about sealing others to you in a “welded” familial link, so they can have a hope of salvation (in a future eternity?) or perhaps sealing you to the fathers unto whom the promises of salvation were already given who reside now in heaven (see TPJS 371-373, 380-381,383-384).  And if you want to go very far afield, it could also be about being “given” certain of God’s sons and daughters as your redeeming responsibility in a far future eternity (see John 17:6-16; D&C 27:14). 

 

This idea of a “welded familial link” is where you get the “Kingdom of God” (or House or Family of God) and the High Priesthood “birthright” which was passed from righteous father to righteous son (see LoF 2:21-53) – ten generations of patriarchs from Adam to Shem (“Melchizedek”), and then, after an apostasy, five more generations from Abraham to Ephraim.   

 

READ D&C 132:7

What does it mean that there is only one on the earth at a time on whom this power and the keys of this priesthood are conferred?

 

READ D&C 132:45-50

Which priesthood is being referred to here?

How can someone, even with this priesthood, possess the power to remit sin?

What is the difference between receiving a promise of exaltation and having that exaltation sealed upon you?

 

 

Marriage and Parenthood in Heaven

 

Who presides in Heaven?

Elohim is the name of God in the Temple but it is not the Father’s actual name – it is actually a plural word; the singular is El – so why would the word for God the Father be plural?

If the word “Elohim” is plural, why do sentences which use it treat it singular, grammatically?  As in “Elohim let there be light…” instead of “The Elohim said let there be light…”

If Heavenly Father is perfect and all-powerful, why does He need a consort or “Heavenly Mother”?

Does that mean that Heavenly Mother has “priesthood power”?

What does it mean to be “one” but to be different enough that both individuals are needed to do their work?

How do Heavenly Father and Mother work together to organize life?

 

 

A New Revelation on Marriage

 

The following was published in 2017 by Denver Snuffer.  I have learned to be open to truth from wherever the Lord will reveal it.  I have found elements of truth in the Bible, in the Book of Mormon (lots), in the revelations received through Joseph Smith, in quantum physics, in Hindu scripture, in the teachings of Native American medicine men, in energy healers, and in the words of many other people – both “wise” and “foolish”, both “authorized” and not, both those not to be trifled with and those who are of no consequence.  I have also found what I believe to be falsehoods or critical omissions (or sometimes just differences of opinion without eternal consequence) in all of the above sources (including the author of this material on marriage).  The key is to discern the truth from God and either cast away (or put on the back burner for further consideration when more knowledge and wisdom have been gained) that which does not ring true – and to stop depending upon the credibility and legitimacy of a person alone and pretending that they are infallible.  Focus on the message, not the messenger.  What is vitally important for us is to take the words and ideas we hear from others to the Lord in mighty prayer and find out directly from Him if they are His words and, if so, what He would have us do with them.  In that spirit and with a long qualifying introduction, I share the following which I have found insightful and instructive:

 

READ: “Marriage was, in the beginning, between one man and one woman, and was intended to remain so for the sons of Adam and the daughters of Eve, that they may multiply and replenish the Earth. I commanded that there shall not any man have save it be one wife, and concubines he shall have none. I, the Lord your God, delight in the chastity of women, and in the respect of men for their wives.”

What does it mean that marriage was between one man and one woman in the beginning?

What then is the Lord’s command with regards to marriage?

 

READ: “Marriage was established at the beginning as a covenant by the word and authority of God, between the woman and God, the man and woman, and the man and God. It was ordained by my word to endure forever. Mankind fell, but a covenant established by my word cannot fail, and therefore in death they were not to be parted.”

Who makes covenants in marriage?

Why is marriage ordained to endure forever?

 

READ: “It was my will that all marriages would follow the pattern of the beginning, and therefore all other marriages would be ordained as at the first. But fallen men refused my covenant, did not hearken to my word, nor receive my promise, and marriages fell outside my rule, disorganized and without me, therefore unable to endure beyond the promises made between the mortal man and the mortal woman, to end when they are dead.”

How did marriage become “until death do you part”?

 

READ: “Covenants, promises, rights, vows, associations and expectations that are mine will endure, and those that are not cannot endure. Everything in the world, whether it is established by men, or by Thrones, or by Dominions, or by Principalities, or by Powers, that are not by my word and promise shall be thrown down when men are dead, and shall not remain in my Father’s Kingdom. Only those things that are by me shall remain in and after the resurrection.”

Why can only relationships and promises made by God endure past the resurrection?

 

READ: “Marriage by me, or by my word, received as a holy covenant between the woman and I, the man and woman, and the man and I, will endure beyond death and into my Father’s Kingdom, worlds without end. Those who abide this covenant will pass by the angels who are appointed, and enter into exaltation. Concerning them it shall be said, you shall come forth in the first resurrection, and if they covenant after the first resurrection then in the next resurrection, and shall inherit in my Kingdom their own thrones, dominions, principalities, powers, all heights and depths and shall pass by the angels to receive exaltation, the glory of which shall be a fullness and a continuation of their posterity forever.”

What is the Lord saying here?

What is “continued forever” for those who receive exaltation?

 

READ: “Marriage is necessary for the exaltation of the man and woman, and is ordained by me through the Holy Spirit of Promise, or in other words by my covenant, my law, and my authority. Like the marriage in Eden, marriage is a sacrament for a sacred place, on holy ground, in my presence, or where the Holy Spirit of Promise can minister. But rebellion has kept mankind from inheriting what I ordained in the beginning, and therefore women and men have been left to marry apart from me. Every marriage established by me requires that I be part of the covenant for it to endure, for Endless is my name and without me the marriage cannot be without end: for so long as I endure it shall also endure, if it is made by my word and covenant.”

Can you be exalted without participating in marriage?

Is being married in God’s covenant enough to merit exaltation?

How is marriage a sacrament?

 

READ: “But know also that I can do my work at any time, for I have sacred space above, and can do my work despite earth and hell. The wickedness of men has not prevented my will but only kept the wicked from what they might have received. Whenever I have people who are mine, I command them to build a house, a holy habitation, a sacred place where my presence can dwell, or where the Holy Spirit of Promise can minister, because it is in such a place that it has been ordained to recover you, establish by my word and my oath your marriages, and endow my people with knowledge from on high that will unfold to you the mysteries of godliness, instruct you in my ways, that you may walk in my path. And all the outcasts of Israel will I gather to my house, and the jealousy of Ephraim and Judah will end. Ephraim will not envy Judah and Judah will not provoke Ephraim.”

Why must marriages take place in temples?

What does it mean that Ephraim envies Judah and Judah provokes Ephraim?

 

READ: “And again, I say to you, Abraham and Sarah sit upon a Throne, for he could not be there if not for Sarah’s covenant with him. Isaac and Rebecca sit upon a Throne, and Isaac likewise could not be there if not for Rebecca’s covenant with him. And Jacob and Rachel sit upon a Throne, and Jacob could not be there if not for Rachel’s covenant with him. And all these have ascended above Dominions and Principalities and Powers, to abide in my Kingdom. Therefore, the marriage covenant is needed for all those who would likewise seek to obtain from me the right to continue their seed into eternity, for only through marriage can Thrones and Kingdoms be established.”

How have Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob ascended to sit upon heavenly Thrones?

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