Sometimes it seems to me that we Mormons are of two minds when it comes to the transposition of earthly relationships into the celestial realm. Family relationships are among our most prized assets, and one of the few things we can take with us beyond the grave. And sealings facilitate the continuation of these all-important relationships into the afterlife. Sealings are so crucial specifically because they enable us to continue our most important earthly associations into the eternities, a comforting doctrine that unites the quick and the dead.
On the other hand, as attractive as they are on the whole, sometimes it’s hard not to be a bit suspicious of our sealing doctrines. What will happen to the couple that married for time after their first spouses died? What about the people who find themselves in polygamous relationships in the next life who, truth be told, would rather be monogamists? And the list goes on.
In such cases it’s hard not to throw up our hands and remind ourselves that God will take care of everything.
I like this doctrine, a lot. God will work it all out. But then what’s the point of sealings to begin with, if God is planning to rearrange things anyway? Then how crucial can sealings really be?
Or perhaps things will be so different on the far side of the veil that what appears repugnant to our finite mortal minds (living in a harem, say) will be a glorious and appealing opportunity when those heavenly vistas enhance our mortal vision.
I suspect there’s something to this. I’m just not sure how much. If relationships in the hereafter are going to be qualitatively different from what we experience here, why are we at pains to preserve these relationships into the eternities? Their contours will be virtually unrecognizable anyway, even if the people are the same.
If the sociality we enjoy here survives the grave essentially intact, it seems to me we most certainly can extrapolate from our earthly experience of relationships to make emotional sense of their heavenly counterparts. How different can heavenly society be before it’s considered a fundamentally reconsituted “sociality”? If heavenly relationships are in fact a drastic departure from earthly associations, why all the ruckus over preserving earthly bonds through sealings? And if they’re essentially the same, won’t the problems with various spouses sealed in various combinations of time and eternity be just as glaring when we’re dead?
- 22 February 2008