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Sealing Policies


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I have a question about sealings. My daughter, who first married a non-member and had two children by him, later married (civilly) a member who had two children by his first wife (to whom he had been sealed in the temple) before divorcing her. Now they have had twins together.

I know that, typically, (a) a man can’t ask unilaterally for a sealing cancellation from a prior wife, (b) that the woman can ask for such a cancellation, but (c) only when she has imminent plans to be sealed to another man. My question has to do with the twin babies my daughter has had now with her second husband: are they considered to be born in the covenant of his first marriage? If so, and my daughter decides to go to the temple this year and be sealed to her husband, will there be any special procedure for sealing the twins to them?

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c) is true, but exceptions can be granted to this by the First Presidency. I have firsthand knowledge of this, as I've written letters to the First Presidency and gone through the process as a bishop on behalf of members. Sometimes, contrary to policy, the FP authorizes cancellation of sealing to women without an imminent "replacement" sealing.

As you described it, the twins are born in the covenant to them currently, not any of the previous marriages (because the couple was sealed to each other when they had the twins). 

How are your daughter's bishop and stake president? If they're sharp and willing to advocate on their behalf, their chances of getting an exception to policy (if one is needed) are good. If they are indifferent or undecisive, then the information going to the First Presidency is going to be that much less helpful. 

I personally know a man who was sealed to two other living women (divorces, but sealings left intact) before getting a cancellation of sealing for them and a sealing clearance for his third wife (a convert from Brazil). I also know a woman who is sealed to both of her husbands (both sealings intact). Both of these were granted by the First Presidency. 

Having all of the children sealed to the current marriage will require approval, and if any of the divorced parents object, it may spike the wheel. 

Best wishes to your daughter, her husband, and all involved with this!

Edited by rongo
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20 minutes ago, rongo said:

c) is true, but exceptions can be granted to this by the First Presidency. I have firsthand knowledge of this, as I've written letters to the First Presidency and gone through the process as a bishop on behalf of members. Sometimes, contrary to policy, the FP authorizes cancellation of sealing to women without an imminent "replacement" sealing.

As you described it, the twins are born in the covenant to them currently, not any of the previous marriages (because the couple was sealed to each other when they had the twins). 

How are your daughter's bishop and stake president? If they're sharp and willing to advocate on their behalf, their chances of getting an exception to policy (if one is needed) are good. If they are indifferent or undecisive, then the information going to the First Presidency is going to be that much less helpful. 

I personally know a man who was sealed to two other living women (divorces, but sealings left intact) before getting a cancellation of sealing for them and a sealing clearance for his third wife (a convert from Brazil). I also know a woman who is sealed to both of her husbands (both sealings intact). Both of these were granted by the First Presidency. 

Having all of the children sealed to the current marriage will require approval, and if any of the divorced parents object, it may spike the wheel. 

Best wishes to your daughter, her husband, and all involved with this!

As I understand it the couple who had the twins are not sealed to each other, so they were not born in any covenant.  It sounds like the twin's dad is sealed to his ex-wife but not his current wife, the twin's mom.

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3 hours ago, esodije said:

I have a question about sealings. My daughter, who first married a non-member and had two children by him, later married (civilly) a member who had two children by his first wife (to whom he had been sealed in the temple) before divorcing her. Now they have had twins together.

I know that, typically, (a) a man can’t ask unilaterally for a sealing cancellation from a prior wife, (b) that the woman can ask for such a cancellation, but (c) only when she has imminent plans to be sealed to another man. My question has to do with the twin babies my daughter has had now with her second husband: are they considered to be born in the covenant of his first marriage? If so, and my daughter decides to go to the temple this year and be sealed to her husband, will there be any special procedure for sealing the twins to them?

"If a woman who has been sealed to a former husband remarries, the children of her later marriage are born in the covenant of the first sealing unless they were born after the sealing was canceled or after it was revoked due to withdrawal or resignation of Church membership." (Church Handbook)

There are not a lot of different scenarios described in the Church Handbook. They are handled on a case by case basis and may require FP approval.

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But that doesn’t count for men as if it did, all the later wives in plural marriages would have no children of their own. They would all be the first wife’s. 

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My grandfather, who is a Sealer, explains it this way:

The Handbook states "Children who are born after their mother has been sealed to a husband in a temple are born in the covenant of that sealing." But it then gives one very specific example, which leaves people wondering about other situations.

More generally, "born in the covenant" means the covenant of the mother's sealing. If a mother with a valid sealing (not canceled or revoked) gives birth, the child is sealed to her and the man to whom she is sealed at that time, who may or may not be the biological father and/or the mother's current legal husband. This is (one reason) why a living woman can be sealed to only one man.

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1 hour ago, Calm said:

But that doesn’t count for men as if it did, all the later wives in plural marriages would have no children of their own. They would all be the first wife’s. 

Good point. 

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1 hour ago, cfi said:

My grandfather, who is a Sealer, explains it this way:

The Handbook states "Children who are born after their mother has been sealed to a husband in a temple are born in the covenant of that sealing." But it then gives one very specific example, which leaves people wondering about other situations.

More generally, "born in the covenant" means the covenant of the mother's sealing. If a mother with a valid sealing (not canceled or revoked) gives birth, the child is sealed to her and the man to whom she is sealed at that time, who may or may not be the biological father and/or the mother's current legal husband. This is (one reason) why a living woman can be sealed to only one man.

That's my understanding.  The children stay with the mother's sealing (unless the Mother breaks temple covenants/sins sufficient that they could be sealed to a Father's new wife).  The children go with their Mother.

It's how Levirate marriage dealings would work too, raising a child on behalf of a deceased Father, (ie Robert Thompson / Hyrum Smith and several of Joseph Smith's wives with Brigham and Heber).

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3 hours ago, bluebell said:

As I understand it the couple who had the twins are not sealed to each other, so they were not born in any covenant.  It sounds like the twin's dad is sealed to his ex-wife but not his current wife, the twin's mom.

Thanks! I misread it. The twins are from the second marriage, not the third one. I thought they were from the third one. 

The flowcharts can get pretty messy in our lives with sealings. There is the "default setting" of policy, and there are other possibilities (depending on the First Presidency). A lot depends on permission from the other parties involved; if they fully support it in writing, then the chances of an exception to policy are better than if they refuse (which is their right). 

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15 minutes ago, rongo said:

Thanks! I misread it. The twins are from the second marriage, not the third one. I thought they were from the third one. 

The flowcharts can get pretty messy in our lives with sealings. There is the "default setting" of policy, and there are other possibilities (depending on the First Presidency). A lot depends on permission from the other parties involved; if they fully support it in writing, then the chances of an exception to policy are better than if they refuse (which is their right). 

I’m not sure what permission would be needed. The daughter, who hasn’t been sealed to anyone, got re-married to someone who is still sealed to his ex-wife.

Now that the daughter and her new husband have children, the OP wants to know, if the daughter and her new husband get sealed someday, if the kids would be sealed to the daughter (their mother) or if they were born in the covenant to their dad and his ex-wife. 

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Thanks, all. Intuition sort of told me that children “go” with the mother, not the father. My daughter’s older children haven’t even been baptized—despite being blessed as infants—because their father won’t agree to it.

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15 hours ago, bluebell said:

I’m not sure what permission would be needed. The daughter, who hasn’t been sealed to anyone, got re-married to someone who is still sealed to his ex-wife.

Now that the daughter and her new husband have children, the OP wants to know, if the daughter and her new husband get sealed someday, if the kids would be sealed to the daughter (their mother) or if they were born in the covenant to their dad and his ex-wife. 

I was still confused last night. Quite possibly still am. ;) 

If the twins are the actual children of the couple that may be sealed this year (and not from a previous marriage), then they would be sealed to the parents at their sealing. If that's the scenario, then no permission would be needed. 

Hope I got that right (finally). 

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On 1/2/2021 at 1:05 PM, esodije said:

I have a question about sealings. My daughter, who first married a non-member and had two children by him, later married (civilly) a member who had two children by his first wife (to whom he had been sealed in the temple) before divorcing her. Now they have had twins together.

I know that, typically, (a) a man can’t ask unilaterally for a sealing cancellation from a prior wife, (b) that the woman can ask for such a cancellation, but (c) only when she has imminent plans to be sealed to another man. My question has to do with the twin babies my daughter has had now with her second husband: are they considered to be born in the covenant of his first marriage? If so, and my daughter decides to go to the temple this year and be sealed to her husband, will there be any special procedure for sealing the twins to them?

Sealing cancellations no longer require another man waiting in the wings. Children born before a sealing are brought in as part of the sealing ceremony. 

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19 hours ago, juliann said:

Sealing cancellations no longer require another man waiting in the wings. 

That doesn’t surprise me, as temple policies seem to change all the time. Personally, I’d like to see all vestiges of polygamy removed from church policies and procedures—and doctrine.

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On 1/2/2021 at 1:05 PM, esodije said:

I have a question about sealings. My daughter, who first married a non-member and had two children by him, later married (civilly) a member who had two children by his first wife (to whom he had been sealed in the temple) before divorcing her. Now they have had twins together.

I know that, typically, (a) a man can’t ask unilaterally for a sealing cancellation from a prior wife, (b) that the woman can ask for such a cancellation, but (c) only when she has imminent plans to be sealed to another man. My question has to do with the twin babies my daughter has had now with her second husband: are they considered to be born in the covenant of his first marriage? If so, and my daughter decides to go to the temple this year and be sealed to her husband, will there be any special procedure for sealing the twins to them?

I'm going to give my 2 cents even though I'm a non-member. ☺

The divorced man who was sealed to his ex-wife can apply for a sealing clearance and sealing cancellation. But since he is a man his first sealing does not need to be cancelled for him to be sealed to a 2nd woman. But he does need to get his 2nd sealing approved via the sealing clearance.

Once he has this approval, he and his 2nd wife can be sealed together and then their twins can be sealed to them; but the man and woman must be sealed first before any children are sealed to them.

Since this woman (man's 2nd wife) has never been sealed before she has no extra steps to take. If she wants her children from her first marriage to be sealed to her 2nd husband, I believe she needs to get permission from the children's father to do so.

ETA: Just want to add that these twins would not automatically be seen as sealed to the man and his first marriage because children follow the mother for the very fact that women can be only sealed to one living man at a time. This would make it easier to keep track of who is sealed to whom in a family setting.

M.

Edited by Maureen
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According to the church handbook of instruction, the new twins would be sealed to your daughter’s  first husband, and not her current husband, the father of the children.  
sounds crazy doesn’t it?

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6 minutes ago, 2BizE said:

According to the church handbook of instruction, the new twins would be sealed to your daughter’s  first husband, and not her current husband, the father of the children.  
sounds crazy doesn’t it?

Her first husband wasn't LDS. Why would they be sealed to him? 

She had the twins with her current husband, and they may be sealed this year. Wouldn't the actual children of that second marriage (the twins) be sealed to them when they are sealed as a couple?

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On 1/2/2021 at 12:05 PM, esodije said:

I have a question about sealings. My daughter, who first married a non-member and had two children by him, later married (civilly) a member who had two children by his first wife (to whom he had been sealed in the temple) before divorcing her. Now they have had twins together.

So the only sealing involved in this situation is between the man your daughter married and his first wife before your daughter married him.  That sealing was only between him and his first wife and any children they had together as husband and wife.  It did not involve your daughter or any of your daughter's children.

On 1/2/2021 at 12:05 PM, esodije said:

I know that, typically, (a) a man can’t ask unilaterally for a sealing cancellation from a prior wife, (b) that the woman can ask for such a cancellation, but (c) only when she has imminent plans to be sealed to another man. My question has to do with the twin babies my daughter has had now with her second husband: are they considered to be born in the covenant of his first marriage? If so, and my daughter decides to go to the temple this year and be sealed to her husband, will there be any special procedure for sealing the twins to them?

The answer to your question is no.  That sealing was between him and his first wife and any children they had together after that sealing.  It did not involve your daughter or any of her children with or without him and it still won't even if your daughter is later sealed to him.  His children will remain sealed to him and whichever woman was the Mother of those children... unless the Mother chooses to have that sealing loosed or that sealing is annulled by the power of God.

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10 minutes ago, Ahab said:

...His children will remain sealed to him and whichever woman was the Mother of those children... unless the Mother chooses to have that sealing loosed or that sealing is annulled by the power of God.

Loosed? Children will remain sealed to their parents even if the sealing between the parents is cancelled. Not sure if a parent is excommunicated though; but I'm going to guess that the child/parent sealing will remain.

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/new-era/2015/08/to-the-point/if-my-parents-were-sealed-in-the-temple-and-then-got-divorced-which-one-am-i-sealed-to?lang=eng

M.

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27 minutes ago, Maureen said:

Loosed? Children will remain sealed to their parents even if the sealing between the parents is cancelled. Not sure if a parent is excommunicated though; but I'm going to guess that the child/parent sealing will remain.

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/new-era/2015/08/to-the-point/if-my-parents-were-sealed-in-the-temple-and-then-got-divorced-which-one-am-i-sealed-to?lang=eng

M.

I was referring to how a Mother can choose to be loosed from her sealing to her children if she were to ever want such a thing or if she were to see it as in the best interest of her children so that her children could be sealed to another woman as their Mother. The spirit of adoption is alive and well in heaven, within particular parameters.

Children have their own rights, too, and may choose to be sealed to another woman as their Mother... if the Mother consents and/or if it is approved by the powers that be of God.

Edited by Ahab
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1 hour ago, Ahab said:

whichever woman was the Mother of those children... unless the Mother chooses to have that sealing loosed

No, in a divorce or cancellation, the children stay sealed to both parents.  Only in an excommunication would a sealing no longer be in force and if they repented and were rebaptized with blessings restored, the sealing would be restored as well.

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/new-era/2015/08/to-the-point/if-my-parents-were-sealed-in-the-temple-and-then-got-divorced-which-one-am-i-sealed-to?lang=eng

Quote

So if you were born to your parents after they were sealed in the temple (born in the covenant) or were sealed to them in the temple yourself, you are still sealed to them—both of them—even after a divorce. This is true even if your parents’ temple sealing to each other is canceled.

 

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1 hour ago, Ahab said:

I was referring to how a Mother can choose to be loosed from her sealing to her children if she were to ever want such a thing or if she were to see it as in the best interest of her children so that her children could be sealed to another woman as their Mother. The spirit of adoption is alive and well in heaven, within particular parameters.

Children have their own rights, too, and may choose to be sealed to another woman as their Mother... if the Mother consents and/or if it is approved by the powers that be of God.

Then it would not be just the mother that could do that, but the father as well...and I am not sure that can actually happen.  I have never heard of a child-parents sealing being cancelled.

Edited by Calm
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