Sealing vs Free Agency

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SamBee
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Sealing vs Free Agency

Post by SamBee » 05 Apr 2017, 04:59

I see there is another thread about eternal family and ordinances - what about individual free agency? As any fule kno, family members vary a lot in how good or bad they are.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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nibbler
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Re: Sealing vs Free Agency

Post by nibbler » 05 Apr 2017, 07:39

My answer is mostly the same. Would god force two people to be together that don't want to be together? or Would god keep two people that wanted to be together apart?
Lorenzo Snow wrote:... The same forms of relationship here will still exist beyond the veil; the ties here formed will grow stronger in the other life which is to come. And the Latter-day Saints feel an assurance, because God has given it unto them.
That promise was in connection with relationships that people want to maintain but I think it extends to relationships people don't want to maintain as well. The same forms of relationships. Good or bad. It's what we make of them, which is where I think agency comes into play.

I don't mean to pick on Heber13 but in the other thread he mentioned how he's sealed to his ex wife and his current wife is sealed to her ex husband (IIRC). This life is a part of eternity and right now Heber13 and his wife are sealed to people that they would probably prefer not to be sealed to. I don't know their situation but I'm guessing they don't like to spend a lot of time with their exes, despite the sealing still being in place.

What does the sealing mean if people can be sealed together but they use their agency to stay away from one another? Assuming there even is an afterlife, wouldn't the same dynamic that exists here exist there as well? The sealing is in the books somewhere but people have moved on.

It doesn't have to be extreme cases like a sealing existing after a divorce. It could be a parent/child relationship where the child only wants some space to be themselves.

I agree with points raised in the other thread. Sealings are symbolic. Not wanting to be sealed to someone is symbolic too.
all sinners, a future, all saints, a past, beginning, the ending, return to ash

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Heber13
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Re: Sealing vs Free Agency

Post by Heber13 » 05 Apr 2017, 08:15

Good response, nibbler.

I know of families where kids don't want to be around their parent. My daughter's friend was stabbed in the back by her mom...not in the proverbial betrayal way...but literally a bladed weapon in her left shoulder blade. She doesn't want to hear about eternal families with her mom.

While I don't really think we know much about the afterlife and what these sealings are really doing, I think they are promise-based and hopeful connections when we want to choose to believe them. That's where the free agency comes in. We can choose what meaning they have for us in this life.

Sometimes, the faith and choice is to believe that broken relationships here in this life get fixed in the next life when we are all away from the struggles of this world. The closer we get to God's presence...the more the baggage of relationships and imperfections in this life melt away. At least, that's one idea.

Perhaps free agency in this life is finding the things on the buffet table that bring peace to the soul, and choosing those...and letting go of trying to make sense of every scenario in the afterlife we know so little about. If God is good...then I can have faith in that...and let go of worries that heaven will be a place we have to watch our back for knife stabbers. Maybe there is enough love I actually will be ok being around people that I can't stand in this life. Maybe. Maybe not. In this life...I establish healthy boundaries...and choose to have hope for a better next life...whatever God knows is best for us. I just want to be a good person and trust things will work out. (I don't take sealings too literally)
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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Re: Sealing vs Free Agency

Post by Curt Sunshine » 05 Apr 2017, 09:52

Sealing is symbolic. Actions bring sealing, even with non-temple-sealed couples in this life.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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Holy Cow
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Re: Sealing vs Free Agency

Post by Holy Cow » 05 Apr 2017, 11:19

Interesting topic! What if we are sealed to somebody that we don't actually want to be with for eternity, huh?
I'm sure it's fairly common for people to remain with a spouse that they don't particularly want to be with, for a variety of reasons: social stigma of divorce, staying together for the kids, fear of the unknown, not wanting the headache and stress of divorce, etc. I know a guy (non-lds), who could have retired 10 years ago, but continues working because he doesn't want to be around his wife. He wants to die at work, seriously! But, they refuse to divorce, because they worry about how it would effect them financially. I'm guessing this kind of situation isn't that uncommon (maybe not to this extreme). So, how does that impact people who don't want to be sealed to each other? I have an aunt who was divorced over 20 years ago, because her ex-husband used to beat her. Her husband for the past 20 years is a great guy. However, she can't get sealed to him, because her ex-husband refuses to cancel their sealing. She's never been able to get a priesthood leader to escalate the request for the sealing cancellation, so she's stuck sealed to this creep from years ago. It's situations like this that make me wonder why the temple sealing is even needed, if our free agency and personal choices in the afterlife take precedence over the sealing. To me it feels much more like a man-made ordinance, than a doctrine revealed by God. If it's such an important doctrine, why was it never mentioned in Christ's teachings while he was on the Earth, or in the Old Testament, or in the BoM? Temple ordinances leave me with a lot more questions than answers.
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Heber13
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Re: Sealing vs Free Agency

Post by Heber13 » 05 Apr 2017, 11:47

Holy Cow wrote:
05 Apr 2017, 11:19
they refuse to divorce, because they worry about how it would effect them financially.
It is a very valid reason to stay married. I totally think it is a good thing our society values marriage enough to give incentives to people to keep families together when possible. It is a good thing our society does that, I think. For most people, it is good. Even if for some people, the pain of financial hurdles is still the better option than staying in a painful life. That is what free agency is...choose your love and love your choice. I was a bit interested to find out the prior bishop in the ward I'm in now is in that situation. They stuck it out, they make it work. It avoids a lot of pain. From the outside...you'd never guess it. His wife told my wife privately that as you get older, you get used to it, but there are many days she envies my wife who got out while she was young so she could find happiness. It's all about choices.
Holy Cow wrote:
05 Apr 2017, 11:19
her ex-husband refuses to cancel their sealing. She's never been able to get a priesthood leader to escalate the request for the sealing cancellation, so she's stuck sealed to this creep from years ago. It's situations like this that make me wonder why the temple sealing is even needed, if our free agency and personal choices in the afterlife take precedence over the sealing.
Don't you start to see that kind of thing in lots of areas in the church? Personal circumstances test the logic of literal applications of teachings, and many things just become blurred. I see it in lots of places.

There are some interesting quotes by prophets about the sealing power that make Sam's questions very valid...how does Free Agency work when sealings are over-riding the actions of children bound to parents?
Brigham Young:
“Let the father and mother, who are members of this Church and Kingdom, take a righteous course, and strive with all their might never to do a wrong, but to do good all their lives; if they have one child or one hundred children, if they conduct themselves towards them as they should, binding them to the Lord by their faith and prayers, I care not where those children go, they are bound up to their parents by an everlasting tie, and no power of earth or hell can separate them from their parents in eternity; they will return again to the fountain from whence they sprang” (quoted in Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56], 2:90–91).
Elder Packer and others weighed in on this also...it gave my parents a lot of consolation when their kids were not all active in the church.

Actually...I love that teaching, and believe it when you view sealings the way Ray described it, and not so literal.

But, the question starts to become...what difference does it make when it all gets worked out in the afterlife? For me, the difference is how you use these ordinances to make your heart and soul pure to stand before God. The ordinances don't do it magically. Faith in them can help when they turn your heart to God. Things outside the temple can also help do that. That is what makes sense to me.

Am I missing something? Am I seeing this wrong?
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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SamBee
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Re: Sealing vs Free Agency

Post by SamBee » 05 Apr 2017, 15:01

I appreciate the comments - very interesting, but I was thinking along other lines.

Take any large family of siblings - they can all love each other genuinely - and one can be a near saint, another a druggie or someone fallen in with the wrong crowd. Most will be in between. We can't say they're all equally worthy - they may love each other, and the baddies may be lovable rogues but are they all going to be on the same level? No.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Sealing vs Free Agency

Post by Curt Sunshine » 05 Apr 2017, 17:34

I believe eternity (or "the eternities" or "all eternity") is long enough to work out all the issues we think will keep God's children from what he wants for them.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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nibbler
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Re: Sealing vs Free Agency

Post by nibbler » 06 Apr 2017, 08:52

A faith crisis pushed me more in the direction of universal salvation. Sure, it flies in the face of the concept of justice but that's the direction I headed. At least for a while.
SamBee wrote:
05 Apr 2017, 15:01
We can't say they're all equally worthy
Worthy is one of those words I have difficulties with. Worthy of what exactly? (not putting you on the spot, I just have general difficulties with the word worthiness and the phrase "in good standing" as they are often used in Mormon culture, I feel it creates division, for all have sinned... and all that)

What if the goody-goody sibling wants to continue to be with the wayward sibling? Would the goody-goody sibling be showing more compassion than god? or would the goody-goody sibling be in violation of a law that requires justice? Maybe that's the point of the human experiment, to see if we can develop a love that's stronger than the proverbial "demands of justice." To create forces that are stronger than the current strongest forces in the universe.

That's the sunshine and roses view, what about the flip side. What if the wayward sibling was so bad that the goody-goody sibling no longer wanted to be around their wayward sibling? Does the problem take care of itself?
all sinners, a future, all saints, a past, beginning, the ending, return to ash

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Heber13
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Re: Sealing vs Free Agency

Post by Heber13 » 06 Apr 2017, 09:43

One thought...scarcity creates needs, I think. In this life, we have many issues to deal with that make some rules needed, and rules make some goody-goody and some wayward to some rule agreed on at the system.

What if...we all had a billion trillion dollars? More money than we could spend.

Would it matter to us how you spend a portion of your billion-trillion, or I spend my billion-trillion?

Then take that to all other scarcity issues...like safety, health, knowledge, time, and anything else you can think of.

What if the celestial world is a world with no limitations (eternity)...would we care if anyone else is goody goody or wayward? Because it seems it wouldn't impact me how others choose to live if there was no scarcity of anything.

Maybe heaven is like that...we will end up being justly dealt with by having our choices lead to our consequences of choices...and we can all be sealed together because no one else's choices impact or limit my choices.

Not sure...but it seems to me that if there is something like that going on...progression and kingdoms don't have to be linear or hierarchical. They simply produce circumstances and we all have our heaven or hell or both. I just eternally work on me...and have enough of everything else taken care of that I don't need to worry about others and where they are at or what they are doing. I just want to be around people I want to be around.

Just a thought. Goes back to the idea how sealings can be meaningful. Not because kingdoms separate people based on who checked boxes to gain secret key words to gain access to secret rooms because they earned it, but because ideas like being bound by an ordinance bring like minded people together by choice, in a condition where there is no scarcity of anything that requires either/or thinking or tradeoffs in choices because there is no scarcity of anything. You just do whatever you want. What matters is what you want. This life is about developing habits to know what you want.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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