Being sealed, in this case, is the act of making covenants or “eternal promises” to your spouse and to the Lord that are “sealed” for time and all eternity. It is a sacred contract between the couple and the Lord that is valid for eternity. There is no end to this type of contract. These covenants are made in the House of the Lord called Temples. (For more on temples visit https://www.lds.org/church/temples)
There are other types of ordinances that are sealed, such as health blessing that are ministered by those who hold the proper Priesthood authority, which is the Melchizedek Priesthood (see https://www.lds.org/topics/priesthood), given to worthy men of the church from Heavenly Father through his ordained servants that also hold the Priesthood.
Now for the ability to perform a sealing, a worthy male member of the LDS church needs to be given the keys or authority to seal from the prophet of the church, who received those keys from Christ Himself. This has been this way since Jesus walked the earth, and gave the sealing power to Peter (see Matt 16).
In Doctrine & Covenants 128, Joseph Smith writes an epistle concerning the need for baptism for the dead and why its important to our salvation. He writes:
As we can see here, it is imperative that we perform baptisms for the dead, to make sure that those who died without hearing the glad tidings of great joy have the ability to choose, in the next life, whether or not they are willing to accept that baptism in their behalf, and if they believe the gospel of Jesus Christ in its entirety. This ordinance may not seem like it has anything to do with being sealed, but it absolutely does. Baptism is the gate to eternal life. Its not the end. Think of baptism as a gate that is in front of the house. Once you pass the gate, do you simply stop and say “Well, I’m home , no need to go farther than this.” Of course not! You continue on your path until you reach the house. In this case, baptism is the gate that allows people to enter and continue on their path until they reach the House of the Lord. This is what Nephi meant when he wrote “[a]nd now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save” (2 Nephi 31:19).
Those that endure in faith, and found worthy, may enter the House of the Lord to continue in receiving truth and light. This is done by one receiving one’s endowments. A person enters the temple on behalf of themselves to make covenants with the Lord, and in exchange receives instruction from the Lord in things that are eternal in nature. One of these ordinances is the sealing ordinance, or the ability to be sealed to your spouse. One your ordinances are performed, you continue to attend the temple to perform ordinances for those who have passed on to the next life. This way, they can have the choice of accepting those ordinances performed in their behalf to help them reach their exaltation.
In Doctrine & Covenants 132, Joseph Smith is given a revelation from Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ pertaining to this sealing ordinance, also called the new and everlasting covenant. So let’s break down this parts of this chapter and see what we find. I will write my commentary in green.
1 Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you my servant Joseph, that inasmuch as you have inquired of my hand to know and understand wherein I, the Lord, justified my servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as also Moses, David and Solomon, my servants, as touching the principle and doctrine of their having many wives and concubines—
2 Behold, and lo, I am the Lord thy God, and will answer thee as touching this matter.
3 Therefore, prepare thy heart to receive and obey the instructions which I am about to give unto you; for all those who have this law revealed unto them must obey the same.
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. The only way to enter into the glory of God is to enter into this new and everlasting covenant, which is being sealed to a spouse. If you don’t enter into this covenant, it will damn you in your eternal progression and ability to reside with our Heavenly Father.
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.
6 And as pertaining to the new and everlasting covenant, it was instituted for the fulness of my glory; and he that receiveth a fulness thereof must and shall abide the law, or he shall be damned, saith the Lord God. This law was created for the fulness of Heavenly Father’s glory. This follows the scripture of “much is given, much is required” (see Luke 12:48 and D&C 82:3).
7 And verily I say unto you, that the conditions of this law are these: All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made and entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, of him who is anointed, both as well for time and for all eternity, and that too most holy, by revelation and commandment through the medium of mine anointed, whom I have appointed on the earth to hold this power (and I have appointed unto my servant Joseph 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 are conferred), are of no efficacy, virtue, or force in and after the resurrection from the dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end have an end when men are dead. The Lord instructed that if any contract is not entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise, or in other words, the Holy Ghost, then the contract will end when you die.
Council In Heaven ( One of my favorite LDS pictures)
8 Behold, mine house is a house of order, saith the Lord God, and not a house of confusion. (See 1 Cor 14:33)
9 Will I accept of an offering, saith the Lord, that is not made in my name? The answer is NO, in case you were wondering
10 Or will I receive at your hands that which I have not appointed? Again the answer is no, he is simply stating “Would I receive a contract for a sealing ordinance if it was performed by someone who doesn’t hold the authority of God?”
11 And will I appoint unto you, saith the Lord, except it be by law, even as I and my Father ordained unto you, before the world was?
12 I am the Lord thy God; and I give unto you this commandment—that no man shall come unto the Father but by me or by my word, which is my law, saith the Lord. This is in reference to the gospel of Jesus Christ, as well as the Atonement of Christ.
13 And everything that is in the world, whether it be ordained of men, by thrones, or principalities, or powers, or things of name, whatsoever they may be, that are not by me or by my word, saith the Lord, shall be thrown down, and shall not remain after men are dead, neither in nor after the resurrection, saith the Lord your God. Again the Lord reiterates His point that anything that is not made by Christ or His will, shall not remain valid after men are dead, and whatever contract that was entered into won’t be reinstated again once the resurrection takes place. It must go through the authority given by Christ and also by the direction from Him.
14 For whatsoever things remain are by me; and whatsoever things are not by me shall be shaken and destroyed. This is the 3rd time Christ repeats Himself. In symbolism, especially in LDS theology, the number 3 represents Jesus Christ and is a subtle reminder of Him. (Think of the 3 degrees of glory, the 3 days of darkness after He died, 3 people in the leadership of the Church (First Pres), CTR is 3 words, etc). This is a subtle hint that this is truly the Lord speaking and not Joseph Smith.
15 Therefore, if a man marry him a wife in the world, and he marry her not by me nor by my word, and he covenant with her so long as he is in the world and she with him, their covenant and marriage are not of force when they are dead, and when they are out of the world; therefore, they are not bound by any law when they are out of the world. Christ now connects the logic of the eternal and non-eternal contracts with marriage and how if they aren’t married by the word or law of Christ, it will only be valid until one of them dies.
16 Therefore, when they are out of the world they neither marry nor are given in marriage; but are appointed angels in heaven, which angels are ministering servants, to minister for those who are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory. Now, this is the explanation of why it’s necessary to be sealed in the temple to your spouse for all time and eternity. Simply put, if you are not sealed to your spouse, you will be appointed an angel to minister to those who did get sealed, and were faithful to all of the commandments of God. So even if you are all not sealed and all of your family lives the gospel and are faithful, you will receive your glory, but not a fullness of glory, nor will you be a family unit, because the bond that connected you all, will be severed when you all die. It’s not like you won’t know each other, or love each other, but you will not be entitled to the additional blessings that family units receive because you will not be considered a family unit.
17 For these angels did not abide my law; therefore, they cannot be enlarged, but remain separately and singly, without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity; and from henceforth are not gods, but are angels of God forever and ever. Again, He is making it clear that those who didn’t abide in the law of the new and everlasting covenant will be angles of God forever and ever. This is why it is so important that LDS people do temple work for those who didn’t have the ability to receive their own endowments in this life, or have the ability to be sealed together as a family in this life. LDS people can stand in as proxy and aid in those families having the ability to receive their fullness of glory without being stuck as angels forever and ever.
Vancover Temple Celestial Room
18 And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife, and make a covenant with her for time and for all eternity, if that covenant is not by me or by my word, which is my law, and is not sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, through him whom I have anointed and appointed unto this power, then it is not valid neither of force when they are out of the world, because they are not joined by me, saith the Lord, neither by my word; when they are out of the world it cannot be received there, because the angels and the gods are appointed there, by whom they cannot pass; they cannot, therefore, inherit my glory; for my house is a house of order, saith the Lord God. Again, the Lord instructs that the sealing ordinance needs to take place in this life only. It is not permitted to be performed in the next life. “For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors” (Alma 34:32).
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; and if it be after the first resurrection, in the next resurrection; and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths—then shall it be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, that he shall commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, and if ye abide in my covenant, and commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through all eternity; and shall be of full force when they are out of the world; and they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever. IF YOU EVER WONDERED WHAT THE PURPOSE OF LIFE IS. THIS IS THE VERSE THAT TELLS YOU. THE PURPOSE OF LIFE IS TO CREATE MORE LIFE FOREVER AND EVER! You can only do that as a man and wife that have been sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise. Just because your earthly family lived the same style of life you did and you all inhabit the same space, doesn’t give you the right or privilege of receiving the fullness of your eternal glory and having the ability to continue family for eternity. Since you don’t have that blessing and/or right, you are essentially damned for eternity. This is the true meaning of damnation.
20 Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have call power, and the angels are subject unto them. This verse tells that those people who are in the new and everlasting covenant will be gods. NOT TO REPLACE OUR GOD NOW, but to be as Him. Just as a son grows up to be a father and have all that his father has, it is the same in the eternal family of the Lord.
21 Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye abide my law ye cannot attain to this glory. In order to achieve eternal life, you must be sealed by the Holy Ghost in the new and everlasting covenant, which is eternal marriage.
22 For strait is the gate, and narrow the way that leadeth unto the exaltation and continuation of the lives, and few there be that find it, because ye receive me not in the world neither do ye know me. (See 2 Nephi 31)
23 But if ye receive me in the world, then shall ye know me, and shall receive your exaltation; that where I am ye shall be also.
24 This is eternal lives—to know the only wise and true God, and Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent. I am he. Receive ye, therefore, my law.
25 Broad is the gate, and wide the way that leadeth to the deaths; and many there are that go in thereat, because they receive me not, neither do they abide in my law.
As you can see from these passages of scripture, the reason why we get sealed and why its so vitally important, is because in order for us to achieve our full eternal potential, we need to be sealed by one who has the proper authority from God. Doing so, shall guarantee our rights to receive all the Father has in store for us as a family. It is my prayer, that all those who have the ability to be sealed do so. I promise you, if you are sealed and are steadfast in Christ, you will receive a fullness of glory from the Father, and become as He is now. May the Lord bless you in your journey for light and truth.