“The Sealing Power”

Elder D. Todd Christofferson

October 2023 General Conference

“It has been prophesied since at least the days of Isaiah that in the latter days, the Lord’s ancient covenant people, the house of Israel, should be “gathered in from their long dispersion, from the isles of the sea, and from the four parts of the earth” and restored to “the lands of their inheritance.” President Russell M. Nelson has spoken often and powerfully about this gathering, calling it “the most important thing taking place on earth today.”

What is the purpose of this gathering?

By revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord identified one purpose as the protection of the covenant people. He said, “The gathering together upon the land of Zion, and upon her stakes, [will] be for a defense, and for a refuge from the storm, and from wrath when it shall be poured out without mixture upon the whole earth.” “Wrath” in this context may be understood as the natural consequences of widespread disobedience to the laws and commandments of God.

Most importantly, the gathering is for the purpose of bringing the blessings of salvation and exaltation to all who will receive them. It is how the covenant promises given to Abraham are realized. The Lord told Abraham that through his seed and priesthood “all the families of the earth [should] be blessed, even with the blessings of the Gospel, which are the blessings of salvation, even of life eternal.” President Nelson expressed it this way: “When we embrace the gospel and are baptized, we take upon ourselves the sacred name of Jesus Christ. Baptism is the gate that leads to becoming joint heirs to all the promises given anciently by the Lord to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their posterity.”

In 1836, Moses appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith in the Kirtland Temple and “committed … the keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth.”On that same occasion, Elias appeared and “committed the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham, saying that in us and our seed all generations after us should be blessed.”With this authority, we now carry the gospel of Jesus Christ—the good news of redemption through Him—to all parts and peoples of the earth and gather all who will into the gospel covenant. They become “the seed of Abraham, and the church and kingdom, and the elect of God.”

On that same occasion in the Kirtland Temple, there was a third heavenly messenger who appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. I speak of the prophet Elijah, and it is the authority and keys he restored that I want to speak about today.The power to validate all priesthood ordinances and make them binding both on earth and in heaven—the sealing power—is crucial for gathering and preparing a covenant people on both sides of the veil.

…Here we see the majesty and sacredness of the sealing power—it makes individual salvation and family exaltation universally available to the children of God wherever and whenever they may have lived on the earth. No other theology or philosophy or authority can match such an all-inclusive opportunity. This sealing power is a perfect manifestation of the justice, mercy, and love of God.

…”Why is this so important? Because the very reason the earth was created was so families could be formed and sealed to each other. Salvation is an individual matter, but exaltation is a family matter. No one can be exalted alone”.