Helaman 10:6-7, LeGrand Baker, Sealing Power
6 Behold, thou art Nephi, and I am God. Behold, I declare it unto thee in the presence of mine angels, that ye shall have power over this people, and shall smite the earth with famine, and with pestilence, and destruction, according to the wickedness of this people.
7 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 10:6-7).
This is an interesting scripture — and a bit perplexing. Lehi, Nephi, and Jacob saw God. So did Alma, Helaman, and Captain Moroni — so there can be no question about whether the Nephites had and exercised the Melchizedek priesthood. They also enjoyed the fullness of the temple experience. I cannot recall any strong evidence before 3 Nephi that the Nephites enjoyed the sealing ordinances of the temple, but 3Nephi 12:4 shows that they did understand the doctrine (otherwise Jesus wouldn’t have referenced it), and Moroni 10:31 clearly indicates that it was part of the Nephite temple covenants (see Who Shall Ascend into the Hill of the Lord).
Elijah is the prophet whom we most often associate with this sealing power. From the Bible we learn virtually nothing about who he was. He suddenly appears with only this introduction:
1 And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word (1 Kings 17:1) .
No one knows what a Tishbite was or anything else about Elijah’s early life. But in that brief introductory verse we suddenly find him in the same place as Nephi, with the Lord giving him power to control the elements. It would be interesting to know about his relationship with God before that day, but that is another of those sacred stories we are not told.
Elijah was taken up into heaven without tasting death (as was Alma and Moses). He was with the Savior on the Mount of Transfiguration and he restored the sealing power to the Prophet Joseph.
Even though Nephi lived on a different continent from Elijah, and did not have the same post-translation priesthood responsibilities as Elijah, from what we know, it is difficult to conclude that Nephi was a lesser prophet, with lesser priesthood powers than Elijah.
I do not call attention to their similarities and differences to stir up any conjectures about priesthood power, but only to point out again that it is sometimes as important for us to know just which things we don’t know, as it is important to know what we do know.
The Prophet Joseph made some intriguing observations about the sealing power. In the Teachings of the Prophet Joseph it is reported this way:
How shall God come to the rescue of this generation? He will send Elijah the prophet. The law revealed to Moses in Horeb never was revealed to the children of Israel as a nation.
Elijah shall reveal the covenants to seal the hearts of the fathers to the children. and the children to the fathers.
The anointing and sealing is to be called. elected and made sure
“Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like unto the Son of God, abideth a priest continually.” The Melchizedek Priesthood holds the right from the eternal God, and not by descent from father and mother; and that priesthood is as eternal as God Himself, having neither beginning of days nor end of life.
The 2nd Priesthood is Patriarchal authority. Go to and finish the temple, and God will fill it with power, and you will then receive more knowledge concerning this priesthood (TPJS 323).
That statement is expanded and clarified from the Prophet’s diary kept by Franklin D. Richards. The diary entry reads much more a student’s class lecture notes, and in that form focuses on different aspects of the Prophet’s teachings. It reads:
how shall god come to the rescue of this generation. he shall send Elijah law revealed to Moses in Horeb — never was revealed to the C. of Israel and he shall reveal the covenants to seal the hearts of the fathers to the children and the children to the fathers. — anointing & sealing — called, elected, and made sure without father &c. a priesthood which holds the priesthood by right from the Eternal Gods. — and not by descent from father and mother. (Franklin D. Richards, 27 Aug 1843 in : Joseph Smith, The Words of Joseph Smith: The Contemporary Accounts of the Nauvoo Discourses of the Prophet Joseph, compiled and edited by Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook [Provo: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1980], 244.)