Friday, October 14, 2011

I Always Want to Be with My Own Family . . .

Final question:  I know that when you are married in the temple, you are sealed to your husband for eternity.  Any children born into that marriage are automatically sealed to you.  But what happens when those children grow up and get sealed and have their own children?  Are they all sealed to you too?  Will everyone in the celestial kingdom just end up being sealed to each other?  I have been dying to ask someone about this.  Please tell me what you think!

I purposely saved this question for last because, as you know, my family is my favorite thing in the world. For more general information on marriage, click here.
June 23, 1989--I was almost twenty years old and that day would change my life literally forever. At 9:25 am in the Salt Lake City temple, Brad and I were married for time and sealed together for all eternity.  The covenants that we made with each other and with God would not only keep us together while we live here on earth, but these sacred promises extend even after we die--no "until death do we part." Always.  I would always have Brad by my side, and any children who came to join our family would be ours forever, because our family was sealed by a covenant unbreakable by time or death.

I knew that this was the beginning of everything I'd ever dreamed of--a handsome husband, and children who, one by one, expanded our family's circle of love.  Each one came and I was almost surprised how I instantly loved them with all my soul and how I almost forgot what life was ever like without them.

For thirteen years, I kind of took these promises for granted.  I went along, busily living my life and raising my family, learning to love most of my job as mother of my family.  Then, my whole world came crashing down around me.
On September 10, 2002, I lost my fifth child, a stillborn daughter.
So much of that time in my life is a blur--barely suffering through each torturous day, feeling her loss and my pain so intensely that I couldn't eat or sleep.
So much of that time in my life is sacred to me--lessons I learned through my suffering that I know God couldn't have taught me any other way.  I learned compassion.  I learned patience.  I learned about pain and suffering, and I learned that I was stronger than I ever thought possible.

Most importantly, I remembered something I'd always known--families can be together forever through Heavenly Father's plan.  I knew that even though my pain was real and overwhelming, God's plan covered my loss, and if I am faithful to the covenants I made in the temple and at baptism, one day I will have my sweet, tiny tiny daughter again.  I will see her, comb her hair, look into her eyes, hold her close to me, and never let her go again.  The promise of this eternal blessing is what got me through that dark time in my life.

The pain of this trial has lessened over time, but the scar has never disappeared. I often credit that experience with the miracles that are my last three children.  Someday I will share all of their birth stories and the lessons I learned through bringing their spirits to earth.

Life moves on, and as sure as rainbows follow rain, children grow up and move out and find someone they love above all the others.  They decide it's time to get married.  When Heidi told me she had found "the one,"  I wasn't quite ready to have her leave the nest, but from the first day I met Sam, I have been amazed at the ease with which he has slid into our family--never missing a beat--and he loves and takes care of my daughter in ways that make me proud.  The day that they were sealed in the Mesa, Arizona temple was a day of joy and celebration, for all of us.

Now that I am entering the next phase of life--the next generation of Denton descendants--these covenants mean even more to me, because I know how far-reaching and vital these promises are.  Ellie is sealed to her parents, Heidi is sealed to Sam, Sam is sealed to his parents, and Heidi is sealed to us.  I am sealed to Brad, and I am sealed to my parents and my siblings, who are in turn each sealed to their spouses and children.

It's a never-ending chain, where not only immediate family but extended family will be able to eternally continue those loving bonds fostered on earth.  This chain isn't as much like the chain on a swing as it is like a chain-link fence--the chains go back generations as well as across generations.  The goal of eternal marriage is like they say in Lilo and Stitch:  Ohana means family.  Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.

Life will always throw us a curve ball when we least expect it.  I take great comfort in knowing that if anything ever happens to a member of my family, we will be together forever, as long as we keep our part of the covenant, stay obedient to the commandments, and endure to the end of our life on earth.

And I wouldn't want to miss out on a single moment with this bunch.  This is where I belong.  Always.

Thanks for taking the time to read my posts this week.  I would love to hear your comments or any further questions you may have.  It has been a joy for me to think about what I believe, why I live it, and how to share it with you.

Fifth post in a series of five:


  1. Absolutely beautiful job on explaining Eternal Families. I love that picture of the chains - it is a perfect representation of how we are all linked together.
    It is such a peaceful blessing to know these truths!

    Have A Happy Day!

  2. Jen, I have really enjoyed this series. I'm not sure that I could so accurately and beautifully define my own beliefs. Its given me pause to think. . .love it when that happens!

    Thanks for sharing, I know it must have been a challenge!

  3. That was a lovely explanation of something I'd more or less figured out. I too believe that I will spend eternity with my Great Dane, my parents, and children, siblings and so on through the generations.

  4. I really like the analogy of the chain link fence--I hadn't thought of it that way, but it's a perfect way to explain it. Another fabulous explanation...

  5. I have thoroughly enjoyed this group of posts about the Church, Jen. It's been so well done.

    And isn't it strange? I seem to have grown some very strong feelings about your family from reading about them the past few years. What a neat group you all are!


  6. I love it.
    That explains it so perfectly.
    It is such a good series of posts that you have done.
    Great interest and insight.

  7. Oh my. Jen. What you have given to us this week has been an absolute gift. Thank you. Thank you for taking time away from your family to share your testimony of the most beautiful truths this life has to offer. Thank you for sharing the tenderness and indeed the pain and hope of your mother heart. I love this Gospel. It is all that I am. Family is what this is all about. Much love to you, dear sister.

  8. Hooray! Such a lovely post! The whole week has been very nice!!!!

  9. You're amazing. Love all of you. :) You're posts this week have been really neat for me to read. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Thanks for the super response! I like that the sealings last through generations; I was hoping you would say that!
    I have really enjoyed this week, learning more about your beliefs.

  11. Great explanation. Too bad everyone who gets married doesn't see it that way. It really is beautiful and the photos you used to illustrate are perfect too.

  12. Reading this helped me prepare my Sunday school lesson today. Thanks!

  13. I really enjoyed reading all of your posts this week jen! (sorry i didn't have the time to comment back then!) You have enlightened me alot about your faith. I see your convictions and the love for your faith and your family! You are beautiful!!
    have a happy day...again!:)

  14. This is such a beautiful post, Jen :) Family means the world to me too, which is why it pains me to know that Ellie won't grow up in the big, close-knit family that I grew up in because of how far we are from everyone.

    I just really love reading about being eternally sealed to your parents, spouses and children. Even though I was never taught that we are eternally sealed to our families even after we leave our earthly bodies, I always believed that was what will happen to us. That our deaths on earth is not an ending to the bonds we share with our families because you can never break those bonds. It's that belief that helped me work through my grandfather's passing 10 years ago. Knowing that this is just a temporary separation and that he is waiting to reunite with us in heaven helped me when he passed away.

    I do have one question though (if you are still answering them since I'm asking so late), for people who remarry after the death of a spouse, how does that affect the eternal seal they have with their first spouse? Are they then sealed to two people? How about divorce? Is divorce allowed?

    Thanks for sharing such a wonderful series. I have such a better understanding about being a Mormon and it's very interesting :)

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