I continue to ponder the dialog in one of the last High Priest Group meetings I attended. The lesson was on marriage. The discussion focused on the temple sealing ordinance. I was a little concerned by the comments I was hearing from the brethren in the group about how grateful they were to have been sealed in the temple. While I too was and am grateful to have been married in the temple, I felt impressed, deeply impressed, to share the first part of D&C 132:19 to consider.
After reading the scripture, I made my point, which is this: It doesn’t matter what ordinances we have received in the temple. If they are not sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise, they are null and void in the world to come. According to the words of the revelation, such marriages “are of no efficacy, virtue, or force in and after the resurrection from the dead.” They must be sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise. That phrase must be important. It is used four times in the revelation.
As I’ve noted previously, I was profoundly shocked by the response from some brethren in the group as they proceeded to castigate me for bringing up the phrase and ascribing importance to the necessity of receiving such a promise. The subject turned to the tradition of “following the prophet” and that whatever was done in the temple was permanent. I didn’t bother to quote any of the words of prophets that state just the opposite, but I’ll add two of them here for emphasis.
Holy Spirit of Promise Required
“The sealing of earthly covenants and performances is conditional and depends upon the recipient’s personal commitment and worthiness. If a person who has received the Holy Spirit of Promise subsequently becomes unrighteous, the seal is broken until full repentance and forgiveness occur.” (Joseph Fielding Smith)
The Holy Ghost is the Holy Spirit of Promise (Acts 2:33). He confirms as acceptable to God the righteous acts, ordinances, and covenants of men. The Holy Spirit of Promise witnesses to the Father the saving ordinances have been performed properly and that the covenants associated with them have been kept. (LDS Guide to the Scriptures)
Update: A friend has shared a paper with me that demonstrates the Holy Ghost is NOT the Holy Spirit of Promise, but is something more profound. I have asked permission to share the paper. He agreed. Here is the link. It is from Nelson Whiting. In short, the paper proposes the Holy Spirit of Promise is the Second Comforter. The logic seemed sound as I read it.
There are way too many LDS members under the false assumption that just because they have gone to the Temple they have made it. This is not true. A temple sealing is just the beginning of the journey. From there they must go on in righteousness until that temple sealing is ‘sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise’ as are all the other ordinances in a person’s life.
A Recent Online Conversation
“…I am worried about what you might do with your marriage. Just as you have given up your relationship with the church the Savior restored, might you someday come to a similar conclusion about your marriage to someone who may remain an unbeliever of your new path? What will happen if you conclude that the temple ordinance that bound you together for all eternity was without proper authorization, just like your original baptism? You covenanted before God in the temple to be dedicated to her forever and to work together for eternal goals.
“You have now rejected things that would have been shocking to you earlier. Please don’t ever give up on the imperfect people in your marriage, and always maintain this covenant of eternal family. Then, no matter where your thinking takes you, you will have a chance at those eternal blessings with your wife and posterity. Of course, success in marriage takes two, and what might happen if your wife sees you rejecting your former covenants? You’ve got yourself into a sticky situation, but I trust you will always trust in God, and that means hope is never extinguished.”
My Response to Such Judgment
“D&C 132:19 – And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this priesthood; and it shall be said unto them—Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection;
“The LDS Church does not control the priesthood, the Holy Ghost or the Holy Spirit of Promise. That covenant made before God, angels and witnesses is in full force, just as is the authority of the priesthood I received from my father, just as are the blessings of the Holy Ghost, who abides with me still. The LDS Church does not have a monopoly on these things. God controls them.”
Reply from My Online Friend
“I’m glad your new views encourage you to keep that covenant. It is worrisome to people like me that you no longer recognize the divinity in certain aspects of the restored Church of Jesus Christ, and it makes us wonder what you might reject in the future as your new beliefs develop.”
Nothing Has Been Lost
I did not get re-baptized because I felt my original baptism was invalid. I got re-baptized as a sign to the Lord I accepted of his messenger and the message delivered. In spite of what any local or general authority of the LDS Church may say, my resignation was from a church that, because of unrighteous dominion, recently lost the right to claim they are led by the priesthood.
I did not turn my back on my God or the Lord. I did not turn my back on the gospel of Jesus Christ. Faith, repentance, baptism and receipt of the Holy Ghost are all required by the Savior. The Lord works though whatever means he desires to bring about his righteous purposes. One of His purposes is to establish Zion. That will NOT come about through a large institutional church.
Marriage Can and Should be Eternal
My marriage is of the utmost importance to me. I strive to serve my sweetheart in every way I can. The Lord looks upon marriage filled with love as being fruit worthy to preserve. I desire that great blessing and will continue to do all within my power to unite two souls – man and woman – in the way God intended it. He has a hand in my marriage. He makes it clear to me every day.
A covenant or vow must be sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise to be made eternal. We have prayed for that blessing almost every day of our married lives and continue to do so. Nothing has changed. The promises remain intact. I have them memorized and can quote them. The Lord has made it clear to me I have done the right thing even if others disagree. Only He can judge me.
The Example of Loving Parents
I share the following because the Lord asked me to. I’m just a regular guy. I’m nobody special. I was born to parents who loved me and taught me the gospel. That is a joy to my soul. My parents were not perfect. They disagreed and argued about various things just as all married couples do. Yet I know they loved each other. They forgave each other often. They told me they loved each other. I could see they loved each other. They had their problems but love kept them together.
I have tried to pattern my marriage after their example. From my father I learned how important it is to express love often. He did a better job at buying flowers and cards for mother because he knew she appreciated them. He rarely if ever raised his voice at her or caused her to feel in any way unloved. He bit his tongue. He went for long walks when he needed to blow off steam. He did everything he could to encourage my mother and help her find happiness in this life.
Receiving the Holy Spirit of Promise
I love Carol. We do not currently agree on some matters of LDS Church history. She has a long tradition in her family of Mormonism. Her great-great grandparents joined the LDS Church in the mid 1800’s, after the time of Joseph. They crossed the plains and settled in Brigham City, Mantua, Plain City and in Paradise, Cache Valley, Utah. My mother was raised a Presbyterian and my father a Baptist. They came from Oklahoma in the mid 1950’s to live here in California.
Mother and Dad joined the LDS Church in 1962. We all went to the temple in 1963 to be sealed as a family. I was married in the Los Angeles temple in 1982. Carol and I have had our ups and downs but I believe we are still committed to each other in spite of my recent resignation from the LDS Church. Because this has been on my mind, I asked the Lord in prayer last night if the Holy Spirit of Promise was present in our marriage. The answer: “Yes, you have that promise.”
Hearing the Voice of the Lord
I guess is always comes down to hearing the voice of the Lord. Am I so different from others in that I hear the Lord speak to me in my mind and am certain it is His voice I am hearing? I think not. The Lord has promised He will answer us when we pray and ask in faith, nothing doubting. It does not matter what any local authority or general authority of the LDS Church has to say on this most important subject. This covenant is between me, Carol and the Lord. His voice matters.
If you have resigned from or have been excommunicated from the LDS Church for apostasy, I urge you to take a moment in prayer and confirm your promises with the Lord. You will find they are intact. You can continue to take the sacrament each week in your home. You can go to the Lord in the true order of prayer before an altar you have dedicated to Him for this purpose. You can join with and worship the Lord in new communities that are forming all over the world.
Join With Those Seeking Zion
I invite you to join in a conference that has been called to take place on the Grand Mesa in May of 2015. Anyone can call a conference. Bret felt inspired to do so. I hope and pray we will join in partaking of the sacrament together at the conference. There will be three days of activities, with selected speakers, sacred music and worshipful activities, including time to approach the Lord in prayer, in sacred places, in small groups. I intend to be there to petition the Lord to bless others.
I want to reiterate what the Lord has revealed to my soul, as he has to others. Zion will not be established by a large institutional, hierarchical organization. It will be established in small groups that gather in humility in homes or parks or up on mesas. Zion will be gathered first to the tops of the mountains. The opportunity exists today for us to rise up and prepare ourselves to be with the Lord. He will come and make His abode with those who seek Him in constant prayer.