[1] D&C 132:19.

[2] See J. Smith, Jr., Words, p. 305 n. 28. Relating to the sealing of parents and children, Cooper writes (R. E. Cooper, Promises, p. 113):

During his lifetime Joseph Smith taught that when a man and a woman were sealed, it established an eternal relationship, not only between them, but also between them and the children who were subsequently born to them. Existing sources, however, give no indication that he discussed the relationship between that couple and the children born prior to their being sealed as husband and wife. After ordinance work commenced in the Nauvoo Temple in December 1845, the Twelve Apostles introduced an ordinance by which offspring born to them prior to their matrimonial sealing, as well as individuals who were not their biological children, could be eternally linked to them as children. This ordinance was referred to as sealing or adoption.

Later, this concept was extended so that children could be sealed to parents who were no longer living (G. Irving, Adoption).

[3]Joseph Fielding Smith, then an apostle, wrote (J. F. Smith, Jr., Doctrines, 2:46-47):

Blessings pronounced upon couples in connection with celestial marriage are conditioned upon the subsequent faithfulness of the participating parties.

[4]JST Romans 9:6-8.

[5]J. J. Tissot, Old Testament, 1:37. The Jewish Museum, No. 52-88. Color version licensed with permission.

[6]S. B. Farley, Oath, p. 225.

[7]B. R. McConkie, Mothers, p. 37. Copyright Intellectual Reserve, Inc. Used by permission.

[8]J. F. Smith, Jr., Magnifying, p. 66. . Copyright Intellectual Reserve, Inc. Used by permission.

[9] Brigham Young had a glimpse of this perfect organization in 1847 when he met the Prophet Joseph Smith in a dream and asked him to explain the sealing principles more perfectly to him. Among other things, Joseph said to him (B. Young, History 1847-1850, entry made on 23 February 1847 about a dream that occurred on 17 February 1847, pp. 35-36; see also Conference Report, April 1989, p. 42; compare Wilford Woodruff’s dream of Brigham Young, November 1879, in W. Woodruff, Life, p. 529):

19 “Our Father in Heaven organized the human family [before they came into the world], but [now] they are all disorganized and in great confusion.”

20. Joseph then showed me the pattern, how they were in the beginning.

Brigham then described how he learned from Joseph about our Heavenly Father’s plan to eternally join all those who are willing and obedient together as families through the ordinances of the priesthood:

21. [The pattern I was shown] I cannot describe, but I saw it, and saw where the Priesthood had been taken from the earth and how it must be joined together, so that there would be a perfect chain from Father Adam to his latest posterity.

Elder Heber C. Kimball recounts a similar vision had by Jedediah Grant (H. C. Kimball, 4 December 1856, pp. 135-136):

I went to see [Brother Jedediah Grant] one day last week… He said to me, brother Heber, I have been into the spirit world two nights in succession, and, of all the dreads that ever came across me, the worst was to have to again return to my body, through I had to do it. But O, says he, the order and government that were there! When in the spirit world, I saw the order of righteous men and women; beheld them organized in their several grades, and there appeared to be no obstruction to my vision; I could see every man and woman in their grade and order. I looked to see whether there was any disorder there, but there was none; neither could I see any death nor any darkness, disorder or confusion. He said that the people he there saw were organized in family capacities; and when he looked at them he saw grade after grade, and all were organized and in perfect harmony. He would mention one item after another and say, “Why, it is just as brother Brigham says it is; it is just as he has told us many a time.” … He saw the righteous gathered together in the spirit world, and there were no wicked spirits among them. He saw his wife; she was the first person that came to him… “To my astonishment,” he said, “when I looked at families there was a deficiency in some, there was a lack, for I saw families that would not be permitted to come and dwell together because they had not honored their calling here.”…. After mentioning the things that he had seen, he spoke of how much he disliked to return and resume his body, after having seen the beauty and glory of the spirit world, where the righteous spirits are gathered together…. [H]e looked upon his body with loathing but was obliged to enter it again. He said that after he came back he could look upon his family and see the spirit that was in them, and the darkness that was in them; and that he conversed with them about the Gospel, and what they should do, and they replied, “Well, Brother Grant, perhaps it is so, and perhaps it is not,” and said that was the state of this people, to a great extent, for many are full of darkness and will not believe me.”

[10] D&C 128:18.

[11] D&C 128:15. Cf. the following statement by the Prophet Joseph Smith (J. Smith, Jr., Words, 13 August 1843, p. 240, spelling and punctuation modernized, emphasis added):

God shall send unto them Elijah the prophet and he shall reveal unto them the covenants of the fathers with relation to the children and the covenants of the children in relation to the fathers that they may have the privilege of entering into the same in order to effect their mutual salvation.

In a similar vein, John Taylor, then an apostle, said (J. Taylor, 11 December 1864, p. 27):

We are preparing ourselves for those mansions [that our Savior promised us], and others are helping to prepare mansions for us who are behind the veil. We shall operate for those who are there, and they for us; for they, without us, cannot be made perfect, nor we without them. We are forming an alliance, a union, a connection, with those that are behind the veil, and they are forming a union and connection with us…


J. Ballard, Three Degrees 1922, p. 23.

[13]J. A. Widtsoe, Genealogical Activities, p. 104.

[14]Clasped Hands of Husband and Wife, Old Nauvoo Cemetery. With permission from Val Brinkerhoff. From M. B. Brown, Joseph Smith, p. 57.

[15] D&C 110:113-116.

[16]J. Smith, Jr., Teachings, 5 October 1840, p. 172, 10 March 1844, p. 338. Cf. Matthew 16:19, 18:18; Helaman 10:7-10.

See L. W. Cook, Marriages, pp. x-xiv; R. E. Cooper, Promises, pp. 64-65, 107-116 for discussions of the various meanings of the term “seal” in LDS doctrine and ordinances. Nibley gives a list of such meanings from non-LDS texts (H. W. Nibley, Evangelium, p. 37 n. 77. See also H. W. Nibley, Sacred, p. 559). A different use of the term “seal” is in conjunction with sacred records and revelations of the mysteries that are bound up or restricted in access by divine authorization (e.g., Isaiah 8:16, 29:11; Daniel 12:9; Revelation 5:1; 2 Nephi 18:16, 27:7-18; Ether 3:22; D&C 28:7, 35:18, 88:84, 109:46). For detailed studies of this latter topic, see L. Baynes, Heavenly Book, pp. 47, 91, 130, 144, 149-158, 162-163, 188-190, 197-199; G. Widengren, Ascension.

[17] The fact that “Elias” is the Greek version of the transliterated Hebrew “Elijah” has created a point of bafflement for LDS scholarship. (Note that LDS teachings typically distinguish between the title of Elias, discussed here, and a prophet with the name of Elias, “presumably of Abraham’s time, who committed the dispensation of Abraham’-which included the blessings of God’s covenant with Abraham-to the Prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery on April 3, 1836, in the Kirtland Temple (D&C 110:12)” (G. A. Horton, Jr., Elias, p. 449)).

However, it need not be supposed that Joseph Smith was himself confused on the matter. Though one might disagree on particulars of some of Brown’s conclusions, he correctly adduces evidence to show that the Prophet probably understood “that the divine Hebrew suffix –jah is transliterated –as in Greek” in standard New Testament translations (S. Brown, Elias, p. 2). Despite the potential for misunderstanding, however, in his discussion of the “spirit of Elias” and the “spirit of Elijah,” Joseph Smith chose nonetheless to use the names side-by-side as a means to draw a contrast between two distinct scriptural roles. “Elias,” the New Testament version of the name, was used to highlight parallels in the preparatory missions of various individuals to the Aaronic priesthood role exemplified by John the Baptist, while “Elijah,” the Hebrew version of the name, was used in allusions to the role of the Old Testament prophet who held and restored the sealing power of the Melchizedek priesthood. Had the Prophet rejected the name Elias for its “philological ambivalence,” he would have been obliged to find another name to describe the intended distinction (see ibid., p. 11).

[18]J. Smith, Jr., Words. 10 March 1844, p. 335, modernized. The parenthetical “(i.e., Elijah)” is in the original. Cf. J. Smith, Jr., Teachings, 10 March 1844, p. 337:

The spirit, power, and calling of Elijah is that ye have power to hold the key of the revelations, ordinances, oracles, powers, and endowments of the fulness of the Melchizedek Priesthood and of the kingdom of God on the earth; and to receive, obtain, and perform all the ordinances belonging to the kingdom of God, even unto the turning of the hearts of the fathers unto the children, and the hearts of the children unto the fathers, even those who are in heaven.

See also ibid., 27 August 1843, p. 323:

How shall God come to the rescue of this generation? He will send Elijah the prophet… Elijah shall reveal the covenants to seal the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers.

The anointing and sealing [i.e., being sealed up to eternal life] is to be called, elected, and made sure.

[19] For example, as early as 25 January 1832, Elder Sidney Rigdon “sealed upon [the head of Joseph Smith] the blessings which he had formerly received” (O. Pratt, Orson Pratt Journals, p. 11). Joseph Smith recorded an experience that took place in the Kirtland Temple, just prior to his vision of the celestial kingdom: “my father anointed my head, and sealed upon me the blessings of Moses, to lead Israel in the latter days, even as Moses led him in days of old; and also the blessings of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” (J. Smith, Jr., Documentary History, 21 January 1836, 2:380).

[20] D&C 131:5. Cf. 2 Corinthians 1:21-22, Ephesians 1:13, 4:30; Revelation 7:2-4, 9:4.

[21]Mosiah 5:15.

[22] Alma 34:35. Cf. D&C 1:8-9.

[23]With permission from Val Brinkerhoff. From M. B. Brown, Joseph Smith, p. 56.

[24] Hebrews 1:3. Cf., e.g., 1 John 3:2.N. M. Sarna, Genesis, p. 12 sees this idea in the creation of mankind “in the image of God,” concluding that “each person bears the stamp of royalty.”

[25] Explains Nibley (H. W. Nibley, Sacred, p. 559):

The word seal, which is so important, is simply the diminutive of sign, sigillum from signum. It is a word rendered peculiar in Deuteronomy. Like the other tokens, it can represent the individual who bears the king’s seal, who bears the authority. Its particular value, however, is as a time-binder. The seal secures the right of a person to the possession of something from which he or she may be separated by space and time; it guarantees that he shall not be deprived of his claim on an object by long or distant separation. The mark on the seal is the same as that which he carries with him. And when the two are compared, his claim is established, but only if neither of the tokens has been altered. This is the control anciently exercised by tally-sticks, such as the Stick of Joseph and the Stick of Judah.

[26]L. T. Johnson, Religious Experience, p. 78 and p. 78 n. 44.

[27] Alma 5:14.

[28]2 Corinthians 3:3, 18. The contrast between the writing on tables of stone and the writing on the fleshy tables of the heart of the disciples in v. 3 draws on imagery from Ezekiel 36:26-27 and Jeremiah 31:33 (S.

S. Lee, Jesus’ Transfiguration, p. 59):

The new heart and Spirit in Ezekiel 36 are the vehicles of God’s inwardly established commandments and the New Covenant in Jeremiah 31 is identified with those commandments inscribed in human hearts. In this association, the stone with the extraordinary value of endurance appears as a condition of a hardened heart. According to Jeremiah, the New Covenant with new heart and Spirit has to come about because of Israel’s breaking of the Mosaic Law, the Old Covenant, due to their stubborn hearts. Here, the stone tablets clearly refer to the tablets of the Law which Moses received at Mount Sinai.

According to Lee, the believer’s transformation in v. 18 (ibid., p. 69):

… results from gazing upon the glory of the risen Christ with an unveiled face [i.e., as opposed to their requiring, in their unrighteousness, a veil to cover the face of the glorified Moses], a risen Christ who is now the Lord in Paul’s Gospel.

For more the themes of transformation into God’s image and the veiling of the face, including a discussion of the rationale for the veiling of women’s faces in temple prayer by early Christians, see J. M. Bradshaw, Moses Temple Themes, pp. 189-192.

[29] 1 Kings 18:22.

[30]N. Wray, Wesley, p. 182.

[31]With permission from Athalie Wesley. In ibid., p. 183.

[32]With permission of Ann M. Madsen and The Deseret News (accessed February 8, 2012).

[33]T. G. Madsen, Elijah and the Turning, p. 372. With permission of Ann M. Madsen. See also S. R. Covey et al., Marriage, pp. 63-65; J. E. Faust, Father, p. 37.

[34]T. G. Madsen, Elijah and the Turning, pp. 374-375. With permission of Ann M. Madsen.

[35] Elder B. H. Roberts wrote (B. H. Roberts, What Is Man, pp. 235-236):

I believe that character primarily is based upon the nature of the spirit, the extent of its development, the amount of growth it had before it tabernacled in the flesh; and that parentage, instead of creating character, can only modify it. Hence, you sometimes see this strange thing, that in spite of vicious parentage, in spite of unfavorable environment, you see a character rising to its own native heights of nobility and grandeur, purely because the spirit before it came here had stamped upon it God’s own nobility, and no amount of influence coming from vicious parentage or from unfavorable environment could altogether crush out the native nobility of that spirit; but it sprung upward, took its place in the earth, and became a benefactor to the children of men.

[36]C. Broderick, Dare, pp. 120, 119. Photograph used wtih permission (accessed February 8, 2012).

[37] See Obadiah 1:21. See also D&C 76:66; 84:2, 32; 133:18.