The thought that came to me was that the word "sealing" could easily be replaced by "healing" and the binding in Heaven and on earth could easily apply to the bandaging of wounds through the Atonement of Jesus Christ by the authority of the priesthood ordinances. This is made available to all, living and dead to seal or heal families to be together through the eternities.
Yeah, we've been on these themes before and I won't give up. Here are the scriptures:
From the First Vision regarding the command for Joseph to join none of the churches:
...they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof. JS-H 1:19What is the Power of Godliness that they lacked? The Angel Moroni filled in Joseph a few years later:
Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
He also quoted the next verse differently: And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming. JS-H 1:38-39.Joseph the Prophet's nephew, Joseph F. Smith also became President and Prophet for the church. His Vision of the Redemption of the Dead was canonized as Doctrine & Covenants, Section 138. I've always concentrated on the part that the Savior authorized the righteous to preach - not what they preached or to whom:
And the chosen messengers went forth to declare the acceptable day of the Lord and proclaim liberty to the captives who were bound, even unto all who would repent of their sins and receive the gospel.
Thus was the gospel preached to those who had died in their sins, without a knowledge of the truth, or in transgression, having rejected the prophets.
These were taught faith in God, repentance from sin, vicarious baptism for the remission of sins, the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands,
And all other principles of the gospel that were necessary for them to know in order to qualify themselves that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.
And so it was made known among the dead, both small and great, the unrighteous as well as the faithful, that redemption had been wrought through the sacrifice of the Son of God upon the cross. D&C 138:31-35.Yes, those receiving the message of the Lord's messengers were not just those who had never heard the gospel. It included those who were disobedient to the prophets. And I don't think that just meant ancient prophets.
And then, Joseph Smith, from the King Follett Discourse:
How comes the awful responsibility if in relation to our dead, if they do not be baptized they must be damned[?], (I wish I had 40 days to talk) what promises are made, what can be said if in the grave[?] God dwells in eternity, and he does not view things as we do, the greatest responsibility lade upon us in this life<,> is in relation to our dead. Paul [they] cannot be made perfect without us, for it is necessary that the seals are in our hands to seal our children & our dead for the folness [fulness] of the dispensation of times, A dispensation to meet the promises made by Jesus Christ befor the foundation of the world for the salvation of man. All sins and blasphemy, were to be forgiven except the sin against the Holy Ghost. God has made provision for evry spirit in the eternal world, and the spirits of our friends should be searched out & saved, Any man that has a friend in eternity can save him [JSPP, King Follett Discourse, 7 April 1844, Wilford Woodruff Journal]Of course, the sealing/healing power requires repentance which may be very painful and difficult in the world of spirits. My daughter made a good point talking about this last night. She said it might be a difficult but relatively quick process like Alma the Younger. I imagine the biggest hurdle may be getting over pride - waking up in the spirit world with the biggest forehead slap ever. But the Lord requires a broken heart and contrite spirit.
I closed with a bit of personal testimony about our family's recent experiences with miraculous research discoveries and temple blessings. You can read those here, here, and more broadly on our Vaughan Family History Blog.
There are a lot of good religious traditions in the world. Many will bring a person closer to God. I just don't know any that provide for eternal salvation for families and all those beyond the veil of death. This is the beauty and glory of my religious tradition and practice.
I'm pretty sure my 4th-Great Grandma Elinor feels the same.
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