By Cordell and Janice Vail
30 May 2004
A weekly email gospel message for the descendents of Ammon and Winona Vail
Sealing Power Of The Marriage Covenant
Sealing Power Of The Marriage Covenant
So this morning I was thinking about Jacob Petersen again and how much I love and admire him as my great grandfather. Just so you know who we are talking about here, Ammon William Vail is the son of Mary Ann Petersen. Mary Ann Petersen is the daughter of that Bergetta Marie Christensen and Jacob Petersen. The Christensens were born in Denmark but came to Smithfield, Utah after they joined the LDS Church.
When Bergetta Marie Christensen was a young woman living there in Smithfield in 1863, she was married in a civil marriage to Ole Per Toolsen who was from Sweden. They had a daughter named Hannah (or Johannah). But Ole died in 1865 and left Bergetta Marie a widow. So she remarried Jacob Petersen in June of 1867 she gave birth to our great grandmother Mary Ann Petersen.
It is important to note that they may have had a reason why they were married in a civil marriage ceremony. If you remember the Logan Temple was not dedicated until 1884 and the Salt Lake Temple was not dedicated until 1890. The Endowment House was dedicated in 1855 but it was a 3 day horse and buggy trip from Logan to Salt Lake in those days so they were married in a civil marriage as were most people in those days.
So now with two little children, in November of 1867 they decided to go to the Endowment House in Salt Lake to be sealed. November! You know what the weather is like in Utah in November. I do not know the story of their trip by horse and wagon in November to Salt Lake but I am sure there is a story there. Why would they go in November and not wait until spring. I do not know.
But this I do know. Then they got to the Endowment House on the 2nd Of November 1867 Birgitta Marie asked the ultimate sacrifice of Jacob. As they entered the Endowment House she asked Jacob if he would be willing to let her be sealed to her first husband Ole Per Toolsen. Can you even imagine what he must have felt. Here is his wife who is the mother of his little daughter Mary Ann and she is asking to be sealed to her first husband. And this great man, in his humility consented and knelt there that day and acted as the proxy for Ole Per Toolsen while his wife was sealed to him. To me that is one of the greatest stories of the church. The love he must have had for her to be willing to allow her to be sealed to her first husband and stand proxey for him. Truly Jacob Petersen is one of my heros.
After they went back home they moved from Smithfield to Ovid, Idaho where they had two more children together. They lived happily together there the rests of their lives. Jacob died in in Ovid 1880 and she died there in 1901.
So now if we look at our pedigree chart it shows Mary Ann Petersen as the daughter of Ole Per Toolsen. That name change is not because of the Danish and Swedish father to son naming convention of SEN or SON. It is because she is now sealed to her step father Ole Per Toolsen.
So here is a question I hear a lot in the church. I used to hear it evey day when I was a professional genealogist. The question is, "Who do the children go with in the next life". The question "GO WITH" is another whole discussion for another time and we will not talk about that here. But I would like to talk about sealing and born in the covenant.
The policy of the church is that the children go with the mother. So if a mother has children with Jacob Petersen and then she is sealed to Ole Per Toolsen, the children are then sealed to Ole Per Toolen not Jacob Petersen. When Birgitte Marie had those next two children, Josephine and Olena after she was sealed to Ole Per Toolsen the were BORN IN THE COVENANT. Jacob Petersen was their natural father but Ole Per Toolsen was their father by sealing.
There were some very interesting questions in that sense that used to come up when I was a genealogist and I think the answers to those questions is one of the greatest witnesses of the gifts a woman receives in the temple.
So here are some questions to help you understand the power of being born in the covenant or sealed as though you were born in the covenant (if it is done after the child is born).
If a man and a woman get married in the temple then they get divorced she then gets remarried civilly, are the children that she has in that civil marriage still Born In The Covenant?
The answer is YES!
If the man then gets remarried civilly to another woman who has not been to the temple are the children of that man who was married to his first wife in the temple born in the covenant? (and the sealing to his first wife who he divorced has not been canceled)
The answer in NO!
If the woman then gets divorced again from that civil marriage and has a child out of wedlock while she is not married at all, is that child Born In The Covenant?
The answer is YES! (as long as she has not been excommunicated).
I think you can see that there is a powerful lesson to be learned about patriarchal priesthood here from these examples. It is the mother who has the power to give the child the blessings of being Born In The Covenant not he father.
In the Jewish law (and this is true even today) if you are a child of a Jewish mother and a gentile man you are Jewish. If you are the child of a Jewish man and a gentile mother you are a gentile. Isn't that interesting. Customs.... Where did that come from I wonder? From the ancient temple ceremony do you think? Maybe in the time of Solomon?
Next time you go to the temple, go do some Sealings and listen to the words of those blessings and think about this article.
NOTE: Nothing in any of these Sunday Sermons is intended to represent the official doctrines of the Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They are strictly instructions and teachings from Cordell and Janice Vail to their family.
Back to Epistles