Periodicals; Mormons; Religious thought; Philosophy and religion
Independent national quarterly established to express Mormon culture and examine the relevance of religion to secular life. It is edited by Mormons who wish to bring their faith into dialogue with human experience as a whole and to foster artistic and scholarly achievement based on their cultural heritage. The journal encourages a variety of viewpoints; although every effort is made to insure accurate scholarship and responsible judgment, the views expressed are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Mormon Church or of the editors.
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The Earliest Eternal Sealing for Civilly Married Couples Living and Dead
The Earliest Eternal Sealings for Civilly Married Couples Living and Dead Gary James Bergera1 [I]f I can have my wives and children with me in the morning of the resurrection, . . it will amply repay me for the trials and tribulations I may have had to pass through in the course of my life here upon the earth. Wilford Woodruff, 1883 (Journal of Discourses, 24:244) During the early 1840s, founding Mormon prophet Joseph Smith introduced members of his young church to the ordinances of baptism for the dead (1840), eternal marriage (1841), and eternal proxy marriage (1842). These ordinances, and the doctrine underpinning them, united Smith's beliefs in obedience to divine law, the importance of mortality, and the eternal nature of the family. Baptism for the dead guaranteed deceased relatives (and friends)2 membership in Christ's church; eternal marriage united living husbands and wives after death; and proxy marriage linked spouses to their deceased partners. These three ordinances, Mormons believed, effectively realized the promise of Smith's celestial "kinship-based covenant system."3 Later, the rituals of the endowment and Copyright the Smith-Pettit Foundation. 1. I appreciate the advice of Lavina Fielding Anderson, M. Guy Bishop, Todd Comp-ton, Lyndon W. Cook, William G. Hartley, H. Michael Marquardt, and George D. Smith. 2. For example, Don Carlos Smith, Joseph Smith's brother, was baptized for George Washington (see D. Michael Quinn, "The Practice of Rebaptism at Nauvoo," BYU Studies 18 [Winter 1978]: 229). 3. The term is Rex Eugene Cooper's in his Promises Made to the Fathers: Mormon Covenant Organization (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1980), 108.