“The Sealing Ordinance Links Families Eternally,” Ensign, Sept. 2011, 8–9
While on earth, we can make sacred covenants (promises) with God in the holy temple through priesthood authority. Among these covenants is the opportunity for husbands and wives to be sealed (married for eternity) and their children to be sealed to them. This means that if we keep our covenants with the Lord and each other, death cannot permanently separate us. This sealing ordinance is an essential part of our Heavenly Father’s plan for us to live with Him eternally. (See D&C 128:9–10; 132:19.)
Once we have made temple covenants for ourselves, we can gather our family history and perform temple ordinances for our deceased ancestors. This makes temple covenants available to them (see D&C 138:29–37).
The priesthood power to seal families was prophesied anciently (see Malachi 4:5–6) and in modern times (see D&C 2). Both prophecies revealed that the prophet Elijah “shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers” (D&C 2:2).
Elijah’s promised return was fulfilled on April 3, 1836, in the newly dedicated Kirtland Temple in Ohio, USA, when Elijah among others appeared and gave his priesthood keys to the Prophet Joseph Smith (see D&C 110:13–15).
Currently, there are 134 temples in operation throughout the world, where worthy Latter-day Saints can make covenants with God and be sealed as families for eternity. They can return to serve as proxies for their deceased ancestors, thus fulfilling the prophecy that the hearts of the children will be turned to the fathers.
We must receive certain covenants and ordinances in order to return to live with our Heavenly Father:
Men receive the Aaronic Priesthood and later the Melchizedek Priesthood (see D&C 128:11).
In the temple we make additional covenants associated with the endowment.
Husbands and wives are sealed (married) in the temple for time and all eternity.
Children born to a sealed couple are born “in the covenant.” Children who are not born in the covenant may be sealed to their parents.