Sealing the Blessing

During High Priest’s Quorum today we reviewed ordinances. Naturally, we pulled out the Handbook of Instructions, Book 2, Section 20 (see here):

  1. Calls the person by his or her full name.
  2. States that he is sealing the anointing by the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood.
  3. Gives words of blessing as the Spirit directs.
  4. Closes in the name of Jesus Christ.

A somewhat typical discussion ensued. I used that time to search through the scriptures and the Joseph Smith Papers for any content that provided some instruction on how this ordinance should be performed. Nothing was found other than the fact that it was performed during Joseph Smith’s time, but I found these interesting.

Let the anointing of thy ministers be sealed upon them with power from on high.
(Doctrine and Covenants 109:35)

All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made and entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise….
(Doctrine and Covenants 132:7)

I’ve always thought that I did the sealing (per the language in the instructions). Perhaps I never had any more authority than to voice the approbation (is that the right word to use here)? Would the instructions be more correct if they stated the following?

  1. Calls the person by his or her full name.
  2. States that he is acting by the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood.
  3. Gives words of sealing as the Spirit directs.
  4. etc…

There are other places where the words “I seal upon you…” are used. We refer to this as the sealing power. We do have in scripture the concept of having power to seal.

Behold, I give unto you power, that whatsoever ye shall seal on earth shall be sealed in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven; and thus shall ye have power among this people. (Helaman 10:7)

And verily I say unto you, that they who go forth, bearing these tidings unto the inhabitants of the earth, to them is power given to seal both on earth and in heaven, the unbelieving and rebellious; Yea, verily, to seal them up unto the day when the wrath of God shall be poured out upon the wicked without measure— Unto the day when the Lord shall come to recompense unto every man according to his work, and measure to every man according to the measure which he has measured to his fellow man. (Doctrine and Covenants 1:8–10)

For I have conferred upon you the keys and power of the priesthood, wherein I restore all things, and make known unto you all things in due time. And verily, verily, I say unto you, that whatsoever you seal on earth shall be sealed in heaven…. (Doctrine and Covenants 132:45–46)

We could continue in the nuances of this language, but it sufficeth me to say that there may at very least be more and less reverential ways to invoke priesthood authority, and I can’t understand why one would ever do so while conscientiously choosing the less.

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