The question is ‘why are children sealed to parents? It is NOT a covenant, because a living child is either sealed automatically upon birth or sealed by authority to parents later. But the child makes no promise.
Every person ever born on earth must be sealed to parents. So if it’s generally applied, why is it necessary at all?
We will be judged for our own sins and nobody else’s. There is a case I am close to where many children were born “in the covenant”. That means that they were automatically sealed to their parents at birth because their parents had covenanted to be faithful to God and Jesus Christ forever. But the husband broke the covenant he made and the marriage dissolved. He lost his membership in the Church. So, what happens to those kids who are sealed to two people who probably won’t be sealed to each other much longer?
The answer is ‘nothing’. Their sealing is not jeopardized in the least. How could a just God penalize children who had nothing to do with their parent’s choices? Obviously he doesn’t.
So what about my friend who was baptized as a married adult. Her husband was not baptized and so current policy is that the children can’t be sealed to her yet. Is she penalized by her husband’s unwillingness to join the Church? Are her children? Of course not. God is perfectly just.
So what about the person who married outside the faith but has remained faithful to the covenant he or she made at baptism? He or she is urged to attend the temple and receive all the promises contained in the endowment, independent of his/her spouse. All the promises are made “through your faithfulness’ and are not contingent upon ANYBODY else’s behavior.
The same is true of a marriage partner who suffers with an unworthy/unfaithful spouse, whether sealed or not, active in the Church or not. Will their blessings be withheld because they have a bad egg as a spouse? Impossible.
So what significance does the sealing of families have to us? If a child is ‘born in the covenant’ WHAT IS THE COVENANT??
As simple as it sounds, it is the covenant of baptism. We promise to be true disciples of Jesus Christ. He promises that if we do, we will have eternal life. It’s in the Book of Mormon and the New Testament. It’s clear as it can be.
In 2nd Nephi Chapter 26, Isaiah is explaining that ALL MEN EVERYWHERE are called to come unto Christ.
This is why in the New Testament, in Second Peter, we learn that Jesus preached to the dead during the time that his body lay in the tomb. Because even though they died without baptism, they’ll be given that opportunity by proxy baptism.
Every living soul is judged only by the law we have received. A young child who dies without baptism is alive in Christ. They were too young to have received sufficient law to act accountably and therefore are innocent and promised all the same blessings of the willfully innocent. This is another element of the covenant our Heavenly Father offers us.
Here’s the proof. The work we do in temples is designed to bind all of mankind together by covenant. The work and glory of God is to bring us all back to Him. This is done through the covenant. So he seals his promise (like a signature on a contract) that we will receive exactly what He promises.
This is the literal application of the promise Nephi repeated from Isaiah. ALL children of God will be given eternal life if they keep His commandments. In 3 Nephi 11, the first words out of the resurrected Lord’s mouth to the people in America were ‘Come unto me, be baptized and receive eternal life.’ That’s the end all, be-all of true religion. That is the contract OFFERED by our Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ to all Mankind.
Lest you panic that I am dismissing the temple endowments, I’ll point out that there is nothing in our covenants there that is not implicit in the covenant of baptism. The temple covenants are a delineation of the laws and principles we must keep in order to receive eternal life. Those temple covenants are more information, a way of knowing the boundaries and recognizing the signposts along our path. They are described generally in the Sacramental prayers of our weekly meetings. It is the process of becoming a true disciple.
All people that have reached accountability must come unto Christ and follow him. That covenant must be demonstrated through baptism.
So why are children sealed? Why must every child be sealed? Because our loving Heavenly Father forbids none to come unto Him. It is his way of showing us that the covenant is available to all of us. Every single living soul, every human being that has ever lived.
A marriage where both parties have covenanted with God to keep his commandments, to follow Jesus Christ, and to humble ourselves as little children, the way Jesus said was necessary, and then strive to DO what we have promised, is FAR more likely to teach the covenant to their children and to raise their children to love and worship their Father in Heaven. But sooner or later, the Lord offers that covenant to every single person that has ever lived.
The covenant that is sealed upon us is the opportunity to come to Christ and receive redemption through him. The sealing is making the offer and conditions of the that covenant official. It is done by priesthood authority because only those authorized by God to act in His behalf: as His agent, may extend promises in His behalf.
When we have met the conditions of that promise and endured to the end of our lives, we receive the fruit of the Lord’s side of the covenant. It’s specified in the temple, but it’s generally defined by Jesus in the New Testament and Book of Mormon as “Eternal Life.”
Throughout the Old Testament, we hear God calling Israel his “chosen people.” The house of Israel are the children of ‘the covenant’. That means that anyone who makes and keeps the Covenant is part of the house of Israel, if not literally, then by adoption. So sealing of children is acknowledgement by GOD that the covenant between God and Man is available to all creatures, everywhere.
Whether we ENTER that covenant through baptism is up to us. We each individually decide whether or not to activate the promises offered to us by our loving Heavenly Father.