By Rachel Bruner. Latter-day Saints Expert
What does it mean to have a temple marriage? Why do Mormons get married in temples. And how can a family be together forever and not just until death do you part?
Temple Marriage is a Sealing Ordinance:
The keys of this sealing power gives priesthood brethren the authority that "whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" (Matt 16:19 ).
Temple Marriage is Between a Man and Woman:
"We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children" (paragraph 1).
Each of us is a son or daughter of God- who loves us. Our gender-male and female- is part of our eternal identity and divine purpose in God's plan of salvation. (See The Family paragraphs 2-3.) Part of God's plan is that eternal marriage is only between a man and woman.
Temple Marriage is Forever:
Being married in a temple means being together for all time and all eternity and having an eternal family. When a couple is sealed to each other on earth (with the proper authority) they are also sealed to each other in heaven.
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Through this sealing power families can be together, after death. in the next life. For a marriage to be eternal a couple must be sealed together in God's holy temple and by his holy priesthood power, if not their marriage will only be "until death do you part."
"The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally" (The Family paragraph 3). (Also see D&C 132: 18 .)
Temple Marriage is a Celestial Marriage:
The Celestial Kingdom is where God lives. To be exalted to the highest order of this kingdom a person must receive the sacred sealing ordinance of marriage.
"In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees;
"And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage];
"And if he does not, he cannot obtain it" (see D&C 131:1-3 ). Thus, to achieve our greatest potential we must work to achieve a celestial, temple marriage.
Faithfully Keep Coventants:
For a temple marriage to remain in effect after this life a husband and wife must remain faithful to each other and their covenants. This means building a marriage founded upon the gospel of Jesus Christ, by following his example and living his teachings. The Family proclamation states:
"Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities" (paragraph 7).
Always Respect and Love One Another:
Those married in the temple must love and respect one another always, if they do not they are not upholding the
covenant of their temple sealing. Jesus Christ taught us to love one another and that doesn't exclude our spouse. The Lord commands, "Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else" (Doctrine and Covenants 42:22 ).
For some excellent ways to strengthen your love and respect for one another see 12 Ways to Have a Happy, Healthy Marriage .
Receiving a Temple Sealing after Legal Marriage:
If a couple is already married (by the law) they can still be sealed together in the temple and receive all the same promises and blessings that come from making and keeping this covenant. The temple sealing ordinance is done at least one year after the legal marriage ceremony and one year after a couple has been baptized - if they were not previously baptized and confirmed members of the Church.
Temple Marriage Seals Children to their Parents:
After a couple are sealed in the temple any children they have (after their sealing) are automatically sealed to them when they are born. If a couple already has children (before being sealed to each other in the temple) those children accompany them to the temple and are sealed to their parents right after the husband and wife are sealed together.
A Promise for those Who Never Marry:
Our Father in Heaven is a loving, just God, and has promised that all will be given the blessing of an eternal temple marriage, even if they are not given this opportunity while alive. In True to the Faith it states:
"Some members of the Church remain single through no fault of their own, even though they want to marry. If you find yourself in this situation, be assured that 'all things work together for good to them that love God' (Romans 8:28 ). As you remain worthy, you will someday, in this life or the next, be given all the blessings of an eternal family relationship. The Lord has made this promise repeatedly through His latter-day prophets" ("Marriage ," 2004, 97–101). Temple Sealings for the Dead:
The sealing ordinance of temple marriage is also vicariously done for the dead, similar to baptisms for the dead. This way all families can be together forever.
The Violation of a Temple Marriage:
The Family proclamation states: "We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God" (paragraph 8). The abuse of others is not acceptable in The Church of Jesus Christ and may result in disciplinary action. Breaking the law of chastity also violates temple covenants and requires sincere repentance.
A Temple Marriage Divorce:
A couple can be divorced if they've been sealed in the temple. This is called a temple sealing cancellation. To have a temple sealing canceled a couple must meet with their bishop and prepare the proper paperwork which can take anywhere from a few months to over a year.
A temple marriage truly is the greatest covenant we can make and is only available because of the atonement of Jesus Christ. When dating make sure to follow these LDS dating guidelines as you seek to know who to marry and spiritually prepare to enter the temple .