Selected Teachings on
James E. Talmage (Quorum of the Twelve)
This system of holy matrimony, involving covenants as to time and eternity, is known distinctively as Celestial Marriage—the order of marriage that exists in the celestial worlds.... Children who are born of parents thus married are natural heirs to the Priesthood; "children of the covenant" they are called; they require no rite of adoption or sealing to insure them place in the posterity of promise. (Articles of Faith, p.404)
Orson Pratt (Quorum of the Twelve)
[T]hose who have received the ordinances of marriage according to the divine appointment are married for all eternity; [and] their children are the legal heirs to the inheritances, and glories, and powers, and keys and Priesthood of their fathers, throughout the eternal generations that are to come. (Journal of Discourses, 17:189)
David B. Haight (Quorum of the Twelve)
Many of you were born under the covenant, your parents having made a covenant with God. You can, if worthy, "inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities," and have "exaltation and glory ... sealed upon [your] heads…forever and ever" (D&C 132:19). (“You Are Different,” New Era, Apr 2003, p. 4)
Russell M. Nelson (Quorum of the Twelve)
We have the right to receive the fulness of the gospel, enjoy the blessings of the priesthood, and qualify for God’s greatest blessing—that of eternal life.
Some of us are the literal seed of Abraham; others are gathered into his family by adoption. The Lord makes no distinction. Together we receive these promised blessings—if we seek the Lord and obey His commandments. But if we don’t, we lose the blessings of the covenant....
Brethren of the covenant have the right to qualify for the oath and covenant of the priesthood....
Children of the covenant have the right to receive His doctrine and to know the plan of salvation. They claim it by making covenants of sacred significance. ("Covenants," Ensign, Nov. 2011)
George Q. Cannon (First Presidency)
It is not necessary, where parents are thus sealed together by the authority of the Holy Priesthood for time and for eternity, that their children should be adopted or be sealed to them. They are legitimate heirs of the Priesthood and of the blessings of the new and everlasting covenant. But not so with those who have been born outside of this covenant. There has to be some ordinance performed in order to make them legitimate; and that ordinance, the Prophet Joseph revealed, was the ordinance of adoption; that is, that which covers the ordinance or law, although we do not use the word adoption when we seal children to parents; we call that sealing. (Collected Discourses. 5 vols., ed. Brian H. Stuy [B. H. S. Publishing Woodland Hills, UT], Vol.4; April 8, 1894)
Joseph Fielding Smith (Quorum of the Twelve)
Death does not separate righteous parents who are joined by decree and authority of the Father, neither does it take from these parents their righteous children, for they are born under the covenant, and therefore, their parents have claim upon them forever....
It may be asked, what is the advantage coming to those born under the covenant? Being heirs they have claims upon the blessings of the gospel beyond what those not so born are entitled to receive. They may receive a greater guidance, a greater protection, a greater inspiration from the Spirit of the Lord; and then there is no power that can take them away from their parents. Children, on the other hand, who are born to parents who were married until death separates them, have no claim upon such parents, and such parents have no claim upon the children after the resurrection from the dead.
Those born under the covenant, throughout all eternity, are the children of their parents. Nothing except the unpardonable sin, or sin unto death, can break this tie. If children do not sin as John says, "unto death," the parents may still feel after them and eventually bring them back near to them again....
All children born under the covenant belong to their parents in eternity, but that does not mean that they, because of that birthright, will inherit celestial glory. The faith and faithfulness of fathers and mothers will not save disobedient children.
Salvation is an individual matter, and if a person who has been born under the covenant rebels and denies the Lord, he will lose the blessings of exaltation....
It is the duty of parents to teach their children so that they will walk uprightly and thus obtain the blessings of their birthright.
But children born under the covenant, who drift away, are still the children of their parents; and the parents have a claim upon them; and if the children have not sinned away all their rights, the parents may be able to bring them through repentance, into the celestial kingdom, but not to receive the exaltation. Of course, if children sin too grievously, they will have to enter the telestial kingdom, or they may even become sons of perdition. (Doctrines of Salvation 2:90-91)
Brigham Young (President)
Were it not for what is revealed concerning the sealing ordinances, children born out of the covenant could not be sealed to their parents; children born in the covenant are entitled to the Spirit of the Lord and all the blessings of the kingdom. (Journal of Discourses, 18:249, 23 Jun 1874, Salt Lake City, Third Ward)
When a man and woman have received their endowments and sealings, and then had children born to them afterwards, those children are legal heirs to the Kingdom and to all its blessings and promises, and they are the only ones that are [heirs] on this earth. (Journal of Discourses, 11:118)
Our children who are born in the Priesthood are legal heirs, and entitled to the revelations of the Lord, and as the Lord lives, his angels have charge over them, though they may be left to themselves occasionally. (Journal of Discourses, 12:174)
Children born unto parents, before the latter enter into the fulness of the covenants, have to be sealed to them in a temple to become legal heirs of the Priesthood. It is true they can receive the ordinances, they can receive their endowments, and be blessed in common with their parents; but still the parents cannot claim them legally and lawfully in eternity unless they are sealed to them. (Journal of Discourses, 16:186)
Charles W. Penrose (First Presidency)
This is why he has given unto us laws with regard to the marriage relations, that Israel shall not marry Gentiles; that Israel shall wed Israel; that the daughters of God shall marry the sons of God, etc., in order that our children may be heirs to the blessings pertaining to the everlasting covenant, that by and by there may be a race of men and women upon the earth who will be holy unto the Lord, born with natural desires in them to do right, which they have inherited from their parents. (Journal of Discourses, 21:51, 29 Nov 1879, Provo, Tabernacle)