This is a review of the temple sealing including some background and scriptural references on where the basis for it comes from. There are web sites with more information.
After passing two interviews to get the temple recommend--
(see Temple Recommend Questions here: http://www.lds-mormon.com/veilworker/recommend.shtml
then going through the Endowment Ceremony either on the day of the marriage, or earlier,
Washing and Anointing ceremony (only done once for yourself) where the Holy Garment of the Priesthood (notice ladies, you wear the same garment of the Holy Priesthood!), is placed on you and covenanting to obey:
The Law of Obedience
The Law of Sacrifice
The Law of the Gospel
The Law of Chastity
The Law of Consecration --which is:(I am only including this particular one on this post as it has it directly applies to the marriage covenant.)
Info on: Garments, each covenant here: http://www.lds4u.com/lesson5/templecovenants.htm
then, and only then may you be married/sealed in the temple.
This is the Law of Consecration that proceeds the Marriage/wedding/sealing.
A couple will now come to the altar. We are instructed to give unto you the Law of Consecration as contained in the book of Doctrine and Covenants, in connection with the Law of the Gospel and the Law of Sacrifice which you have already received.
It is that you do consecrate yourselves, your time, talents, and everything with which the Lord has blessed you, or with which he may bless you, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for the building up of the Kingdom of God on the earth and for the establishment of Zion.
All arise. Each of you bring your right arm to the square.
You and each of you covenant and promise before God, angels, and these witnesses at this altar, that you do accept the Law of Consecration as contained in the Doctrine and Covenants, in that you do consecrate yourselves, your time, talents, and everything with which the Lord has blessed you, or with which he may bless you, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for the building up of the Kingdom of God on the earth and for the establishment of Zion.
Each of you bow your head and say "yes."
Then and only then, after completing the entire Endowment Ceremony, making all of the Covenants, you may be sealed in the marriage ceremony.
Here is the ceremony.
Sometimes, the officiator will allow an exchange of rings at the end of the ceremony, and a kiss.
(I don't know the current policy on this practice. Maybe someone else does.)
Officiator: Brother ______, [naming groom] and Sister ______, [naming bride] please join hands in the Patriarchal Grip or Sure Sign of the Nail.
Joins hands in the "Patriarchal Grip, or Sure Sign of the Nail."This token is given by clasping the right hands, interlocking the little fingers and placing the tip of the forefinger upon the center of the wrist. No clothing should interfere with the contact of the forefinger upon the wrist.
Officiator: Brother ______, do you take Sister ______ by the right hand and receive her unto yourself to be your lawful and wedded wife for time and all eternity, with a covenant and promise that you will observe and keep all the laws, rites, and ordinances pertaining to this Holy Order of Matrimony in the New and Everlasting Covenant, and this you do in the presence of God, angels, and these witnesses of your own free will and choice?
Officiator: Sister ______ do you take brother ______ by the right hand and give yourself to him to be his lawful and wedded wife, and for him to be your lawful and wedded husband, for time and all eternity, with a covenant and promise that you will observe and keep all the laws, rites and ordinances pertaining to this Holy Order of Matrimony in the New and Everlasting Covenant, and this you do in the presence of God, angels, and these witnesses of your own free will and choice?
By virtue of the Holy Priesthood and the authority vested in me, I pronounce you ______, and ______, legally and lawfully husband and wife for time and all eternity, and I seal upon you the blessings of the holy resurrection with power to come forth in the morning of the first resurrection clothed in glory, immortality and eternal lives, and I seal upon you the blessings of kingdoms, thrones, principalities, powers, dominions and exaltations, with all the blessings of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and say unto you: be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth that you may have joy and rejoicing in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
All these blessings, together with all the blessings appertaining unto the New and Everlasting Covenant, I seal upon you by virtue of the Holy Priesthood, through your faithfulness, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.
To make sure one understands exactly what the "New and Everlasting Covenant" is, see: D&C 132. In the temple it is just called the New and Everlasting Covenant, the words: Plurality of Wives is omitted.
To understand the background for the temple marriage/sealing ceremony:
REFERENCE for easy reading: http://scriptures.lds.org/dc/132
Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Nauvoo, Illinois, recorded July 12, 1843, relating to the new and everlasting covenant, including the eternity of the marriage covenant, as also plurality of wives. HC 5: 501—507.
Although the revelation was recorded in 1843, it is evident from the historical records that the doctrines and principles involved in this revelation had been known by the Prophet since 1831.
[INSERT: compare introduction to the 1969 edition of the Book of Mormon.
Here's the 1969 version:
Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Nauvoo, Illinois, recorded July 12, 1843, relating to the new and everlasting covenant, including the eternity of the marriage covenant, as also plurality of wives.
-------The Prophet’s inquiry of the Lord--He is told to prepare himself to receive the new and everlasting covenant--Conditions of this law--The power of the Holy Priesthood instituted by the Lord must be operative in ordinances to be in effect beyond the grave--
Marriage by secular authority is of effect during mortality only--Though the form of marriage should make it appear to be for time and eternity, the ordinance is not valid beyond the grave unless solemnized by the authority of the Holy Priesthood as the Lord directs--
Marriage duly authorized for time and eternity to be attended by surpassing blessings--E
ssentials for the attainment of the status of godhood -- The meaning of eternal lives--Plurality of wives acceptable only when commanded by the Lord--The sin of adultery--Commandment to Emma Smith, wife of the prophet.http://scriptures.lds.org/dc/132
1—6, Exaltation is gained through the new and everlasting covenant;
7—14, The terms and conditions of that covenant are set forth;
15—20, Celestial marriage and a continuation of the family unit enable men to become gods;
21—25, The strait and narrow way that leads to eternal lives;
26—27, Law given relative to blasphemy against the Holy Ghost;
28—39, Promises of eternal increase and exaltation made to prophets and saints in all ages;
40—47, Joseph Smith is given the power to bind and seal on earth and in heaven;
48—50, The Lord seals upon him his exaltation;
51—57, Emma Smith is counseled to be faithful and true;
58—66, Laws governing the plurality of wives are set forth.
Did you catch it? Celestial Marriage is Plurality of Wives! The Mormon Church has never, ever stopped practicing their law that applies to polygamy or plurality of wives as that is what Celestial Marriage (The New and Everlasting Covenant) is!
Did you notice that the marriage sealing ceremony not only continues the practice of polygamy, and, because of the covenant of the Law of Consecration, married you to the church and it's commandments by covenant, not each other?
Demand full disclosure for informed consent. You won't get it from the Mormon Church, so do your own research.
Know what you are doing, and what it really means!
I doubt most LDS couples recognize and understand that they married in to plurality of wives when they were sealed in the temple.
The actual sealing ceremony takes place in a sealing room off of the Celestial Room in the temple. Attendees must have a valid temple recommend and be invited. They may dress in white or in Sunday Best.
This is how it is done in the US. In England, for instance, the marriage part is performed in a chapel (or elsewhere) by a presiding authority (usually a bishop) with an official government recorder of some sort in attendance. Attendees are invited, no temple recommend required.
The sealing ceremony is performed in the temple at a later time either that day or another day.
My personal opinion is that I would like to see it done that way in the US so