“Behold, I say unto you that all old covenants have I caused to be done away in this thing; and this is a new and an everlasting covenant, even that which was from the beginning.” -Doctrine and Covenants 20:1a CoC, 22:1 LdS
With the restoration of all things started by Joseph Smith, the Lord made an everlasting covenant with those that would follow and worship Him in these, the last days. About 1,800 years after Christ had ascended to heaven, He returned as the angels had promised to Joseph Smith Jr. (Acts 1, Avahr 2). According to the introduction of the Doctrine and Covenants, found in Section One, man had strayed from the Lord’s ordinances, and broken the everlasting covenant. There was a war, if you will, between Grace and Works. Some said man is saved by Grace, other by Works. Both were correct, but only when put together.
Ever since the day the Book of Mormon came into the world, churches have been returning to the everlasting covenant. As the Light of Christ has poured from the Latter Day Saint churches, it has been received by the world, transforming it. The Everlasting Covenant of Christ is free to all. However, the new and everlasting covenant is for those that join the Latter Day Saint movement. This is not to condemn anyone, but to save. We alone preform works for the dead. We alone have the Initiatories and the First Endowments. We alone have the power to seal on earth and in heaven.
Latter-day Saints’ Doctrine and Covenants 132
“For behold, I reveal unto you a new and an everlasting covenant; and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory.” Doctrine and Covenants 132:4 LdS
There is a lot of confusion in regards to this section of the Doctrine and Covenants. Some sadly use it as an excuse to control women, and husbands through their wives. Other groups may use it to state polygamy is mandatory for salvation and/or exaltation. More mainstream Latter Day Saint denominations use it to point towards their theologies on sealing marriages, some claiming that we cannot be exalted without a spouse. And, many of these pretend to be the only branch of our shared faith with these keys. Can they all have the sealing keys?
However, there are a few problems with these ideas. The most important issue is the statement “And I have appointed unto my servant Joseph Smith Jr. to hold this power in the last days, and there is never but one on the earth at a time, on whom this power and the Keys of this Priesthood is conferred.” Joseph Smith Jr. died a martyr’s death, taking these keys with him. None of the other members of the First Presidency hand them, nor the twelve apostles. He took these keys then to his grave.
On the other end of the problem is the first Section of the Doctrine and Covenants, given November 1, 1831. “And verily I say unto you, that they who go forth, bearing these tidings unto the inhabitants of the earth, to them is power given to seal both on earth and in heaven” (vs 2c CoC, vs 8 LdS).
While this is sealing the wicked, this power to seal both on earth an in heaven works for the righteous as well. Orson Hyde was given this sealing power to save souls. “And of as many as the Father shall bear record, to you shall be given power to seal them up unto eternal life. Amen” (DaC 68:1h Coc, 68:12 LdS). This means that the temple sealings are valid in the eyes of God. It also means there is another sealing power that is, at this time, not upon the earth.
When a marriage is preformed in the Fellowship, any Elder or High Priest/High Priestess with the legal authority to marry may seal families for all time and eternity. They may be sealed after marriage at anytime, and children may be sealed to parents as well. Information should be given to the Fellowship for Church records, as we can provide a certificate for the family’s records. This type of sealing is the right of all Melchizedek Priesthood holders. But, this is not the Holy Spirit of Promise.
The Holy Spirit of Promise
The actual keys mentioned in Section 132 of the Latter-day Saints’ Doctrine and Covenants are those of the Holy Spirit of Promise. This is the new and everlasting covenant that declares we are entitled to rise with the just in the First Resurrection. Where as the unpardonable sin is denial of the Holy Ghost (a sin that is extremely hard to accomplish), the Sealing of the Holy Spirit of Promise may be broken by committing murder, or by being an accomplice in such an act.
At this time, the keys to the Sealing of the Holy Spirit of Promise are priesthood keys no longer on the earth. We pray for the day the Lord will come into His temple and return them to us. Until then, rest assured that the sealing power to bind on earth and in heaven is still here and being put to use. And, while we know that those that are married must be sealed to progress, this does not mean that those that are not sealed cannot progress. As the revelation says at its closing: “Verily, verily I say unto you: I will reveal more unto you hereafter, therefore let this suffice for the present.”