This document is not meant to be the definitive word on Temple Sealings, if you have a question, ask your Bishop/Stake President. What I have here is based on research and asking church leaders, but the First Presidency can always be asked for exceptions and they can ask of GOD and you might get what you asked for. We are a church lead by a Prophet, and we are encouraged to ask. We might not get the answer we want, but asking is a good thing.
Let’s talk about “sealings” for a moment. In the church we are encouraged to marry for time and all eternity in the Temple. We do a lot of work posthumously in the Temples. We do these things because we are commanded to and we do it out of obedience, we don’t actually fully understand what the end result is, and we know mistakes are made. We trust that the Lord can and will sort these things out. One of the things we’ll be doing during the millennium is temple work for those that never had it done. This will work out to approximately 400,000 people a day for 1,000 years whose work will need to be done.
Think about it for a moment. The end result of all the sealings is that everyone will be sealed to each other back to Adam and Eve. Why? We don’t really know. We tend to focus on the eternal marriage with a spouse and our children being sealed to us. In a perfect world, this is easy to do, we get married once, our children are born in the covenant and then they get married in the temple and so on and so on. In the real world, this gets more complex because people get divorced, get re-married, people join the church, leave the church, come back to the church, it creates a lot of scenarios. Let’s talk about breaking sealings or the various responsibilities between men and women with regard to sealings.
* A man can be sealed to multiple women.
* A woman can be sealed to a single man.
* To break a sealing, it must be initiated by the woman, a man cannot do it in most cases
* To break a sealing you usually have to be getting married to someone else, but I’ve seen exceptions
* A widower can’t break a sealing since it has to come from the woman.
* A widow can break a sealing
* Your children cannot be sealed to you if you are single or they are not members
* Your children can be sealed to you and a new spouse if the old spouse gives permission. This would typically apply where the old spouse is a non-member.
* You can be sealed to your deceased parents whether they were members or not, but you have to have a temple recommend to do it.
* In some countries it is required to have a civil ceremony first as the temple ceremony is not recognized as a legal marriage. There are time constraints, typically a week, where you have to get to the temple. In the US, if you get a civil ceremony first, you have to wait a year to get the temple ceremony.
An unintended consequence of our focus on temple marriage, especially when talking with single adults who have been married and sealed before, is that a lot of people will refuse to even date someone if they can’t be sealed in the temple to them. This is short sighted, but it is part of our upbringing to aim for that goal, however it isn’t necessarily realistic. There is always a plan B though. You could be sealed posthumously to each other by your children for example. My point here for the singles is to not rule someone out because they can’t get sealed to you for whatever reason. A close friend of mine that is a widow had this scenario, but the guy reconsidered, they went out and were married shortly after and are living happily now and are active in the church.
I’m sure we’ve made mistakes and sealed ancestors to the spouse they did NOT want to be sealed to, so we know there is a way to get things fixed. Take this to heart and be less concerned about the temple marriage aspect, it will work out. The temples are amazing places, you should be going as often as you can. You might look at our companion site www.bookoftemples.com where you can record your visits with pictures and thoughts securely.
About the author
I am a founder of this site and as of May 2015 I am happily married to a wonderful LDS woman. I spent my years in the singles system as a singles rep working to optimize events and maximize the effectiveness of people interacting and finding someone to love. I studied psychology for years and my years as a software and business consultant have made me very adept at understanding people and their motivations. I hope to help others find that same happiness that I have.