There is a Sunday School lesson on eternal marriage that talks extensively, and exclusively about the blessings of being sealed for time and eternity. In the article I wrote about it I mentioned that only those who are sealed can obtain the ultimate salvation and live with God and Christ. But what about those who cannot, for whatever reason, be sealed in this life? Will they be spiritually disadvantaged, and will it keep them out of heaven?
First off, it is important to recognize that no one, in any age of the world, is at a spiritual disadvantage. This will take a little explaining.
I mentioned to my wife once that it seemed so unfair that those who were wicked in the days of Adam and Noah had to spend thousands of years waiting to have the gospel preached to them in the spirit world. My wife wisely pointed out to me that we also had to wait thousands of years before we were able to come to earth.
That is when it dawned on me that whether we wait in the premortal world to come to earth or we wait in the spirit world after mortality for whatever we need, we all wait the same amount of time. No disadvantage there. The plan of salvation has a start date and an end date, and the entire collective of God’s children will spend the same amount of time dealing with the requirements of that plan.
It is also important to recognize that our Father in Heaven sees us all at the same time. He doesn’t lose sight of us just because we leave His presence and come to earth, or because we leave mortality and enter the spirit world. It is all the same to Him. He sees all and knows all.
The plan He presented to us has important things to be accomplished every step of the way. What isn’t taken care of in mortality will be dealt with in the spirit world or in the Millennium. But in any case, it will all be taken care of before the resurrection.
No respecter of persons
In Acts 10:34-35 Peter, the head of the Church anciently, learned for himself that God was truly as loving to one people as He is to another people.
34 ¶ Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.
Up to this time in history the Lord’s chosen people were always told to separate themselves physically from the rest of society. The goal was to raise up a righteous people and keep the lineage of Abraham spiritually clean from those who would pollute His people with wicked traditions. These verses are the moment Peter finally grasps what Jesus was talking about when He commanded them to go into all the world and preach the gospel. God really did love all people equally. That thought had never occurred to him.
Purpose of temples
Nowadays temples are almost as common as chapels to the Latter-day Saints. But that ready availability shouldn’t be mistaken for them being trite or unimportant. We are entering the most wicked time in the world’s history. The chapels and temples the Lord is giving us are here to bless us with the strength to withstand the onslaught of wickedness all around us.
In Doctrine and Covenants 87:8 the Lord tells us to stand in holy places, and be not moved.
8 Wherefore, stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come; for behold, it cometh quickly, saith the Lord. Amen.
Our homes, our chapels, our Stake Centers, and the temples are the holy places we are being given to help us stand unmoved by the flood of wickedness that is moving throughout the earth.
Temples are the symbol of God’s covenant with His people in the latter days. Never in the history of the world have there been so many temples with Melchizedek priesthood ordinances being performed. This is the time in the history of the world that the Father’s plan calls for this work to commence in earnest. It will continue to grow and increase until the Lord comes to start His personal reign on the earth.
During His thousand year reign the temples will be operating constantly. And what will they be doing? They will be filled with people, just like us doing endowments, baptisms, and sealings for those who “appeared” to be disadvantaged in mortality and didn’t have the opportunity to do those things for themselves.
Are we really a chosen generation?
We are considered a chosen generation because we were privileged to come to earth when the temples are here, and we can do the work of salvation in the temples for ourselves, as well as perform those saving ordinances for those who couldn’t do it for themselves. But what about those of this generation who are converts to the Church?
Many who have come into the Church are already adults who have lived much of their lives outside the blessings of the temple environment. Does that mean they are disadvantaged? By that I mean, will they be denied any part of the blessings of the covenant they have chosen to make with God?
Remember that verse where Peter realized that all it takes is a righteous desire and a willingness to obey? If we are willing to do these things then the Lord will accept all of His children, no matter what their current circumstances or cultural standing at the time.
A way is provided
In Doctrine and Covenants 132:4-5 the Lord states very clearly that if we do not abide by the covenant of the new and everlasting covenant of marriage that we will be damned. It’s pretty straight forward. But the question is, does that put anyone at a disadvantage or in a position that condemns them without them ever having a chance given them to obey that covenant? Here are the verses:
4 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.
5 For all who will have a blessing at my hands shall abide the law which was appointed for that blessing, and the conditions thereof, as were instituted from before the foundation of the world.
Here are two points we need to consider. First, notice that this law was instituted before the world was even created. That means that God knew what was needed and that it would be possible for all of His children to obey that law. If He didn’t plan ahead of time that all would be given the chance to fill the requirements of the law then He would be a respecter of persons and would cease to be God, who is NOT a respecter of persons. In other words, God does not have favorites.
Secondly, we need to remember Nephi’s acknowledgement of God’s mercy. In 1 Nephi 3:7 he states the following:
7 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.
If God ALWAYS prepares a way for us to accomplish what we are commanded to accomplish then if I am married to someone civilly, and they are not interested in the Church, then I will, at some point, if I am faithful (and that is always the big caveat), be offered the opportunity to fulfill the Lord’s commandment to be sealed to a spouse. Hopefully, my current spouse will have accepted the gospel and we can be sealed. But if not then I will be offered to be sealed to someone who is also worthy of becoming a god or goddess. Either way, if I am faithful I will not be denied the blessings of any covenant I was not able to make while in mortality.
I may not know when that will happen, whether in the spirit world or during the Millennium, but I am promised that it will happen before my resurrection. Once we are resurrected those who have turned down any covenant will not have an opportunity to change their mind. By that time it will be everlastingly too late to repent and change.
My point here is that we have limited vision while we are in mortality. It can be difficult to imagine how the Lord will accomplish all He has promised to do. But we need to place our faith in Him that all His promises are as good as gold. If He said it will happen then at some point it will.
If we are all required to be sealed or be damned (stopped in our progression) then at some point we will all be given a fair chance to accept those covenants that will lead to our exaltation in the presence of God and the Son.
Whether we are not currently sealed, but married, or single and not married at all, or sealed to our spouse, but not our children, or our children have gone far astray, or any one of a hundred other scenarios, God is faithful and will provide everyone with a fair opportunity to receive every blessing He has to offer. That is His promise. But these opportunities are all based on our personal worthiness.