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JohnsonJones

Excommunications, sealings and Children born in the Covenant

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I am not in the Church leadership (ward level) these days, so have no ability to make judgment calls on this type of stuff...but I still hear about things occasionally.  This one was asked of me by a friend and I'm not sure I know the correct answer (and even if I did, I'm not the one who makes these types of decisions).  I was lucky never to have to deal with this type of thing when I was in Church leadership.

His father was excommunicated a few years back.  His father died while excommunicated.  His questions then relate to the restoration of blessings and his situation regarding being born in the Covenant.  My thoughts relating to it...which could have been wrong...

1. If he wants the blessings reinstated, in this instance, it needs First Presidency approval.  This is above the Bishop's or Stake President's ability to approve. They can start the process and paperwork, but ultimately it goes to the First Presidency.

2.  If the First Presidency approves, all it needs is a restoration of Blessings.  His father does not need to be baptized for the dead or resealed to his mother...I think.  Even in excommunication my friend would still be considered Born in the Covenant, and that is not something just lost.  I am not sure of how that is accomplished, whether it is a handwave by the First Presidency, or if some ordinance for the dead needs to be accomplished. 

3.  If the blessings are not restored, that could mean something else.  I'm not sure of what the situation of those Born in the Covenant's position is in that case.  In this instance, they do not need to fear about being sealed to parents, as that will be taken care of in the Millennium. 

4.  In the situation (#3) I do not know who they would be sealed to in the hereafter.  That's probably up to the Lord. 

And that's what I have as my thoughts, but I've thought more on this during the past week and I am not entirely comfortable in my answers.  I've read over the more recent handbook release, and I still am not confident my thoughts were actually accurate.  I think I may be missing several things here, but I can't put my finger on it.  I know this issue has been bothering this brother quite a bit these past few months.  It may be that I gave him wrong information (though I DID tell him it was just my thoughts on the matter, not necessarily officially what the church did or thinks), or it could be that I know what I told him didn't comfort him all that much either. 

His Father was excommunicated for some rather serious sins of which, as far as I know, his father was never repentant of during this life.  Still, I don't think my thoughts on this were very comforting to my friend either...but I'm not sure if that's what's bothering me about what I said to him...or if it is because I said something that wasn't accurate.

Thus, my question on this forum (I thought about the Gospel forum, but felt this isn't really a gospel question, more of a policy and how it's handled question).

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I was under the impression that he would need to be baptized by proxy, but I could be wrong. Then he would have his blessings restored.  I’ll see if I can find any information on this. Children do not lose the blessing of being born in the covenant when a parent/s is excommunicated. Also, when parent’s have their sealing canceled, the children retain their blessing of being born in the covenant.

Edited by classylady

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After receiving my endowment and prior to leaving on my mission I was invited by a friend to the Salt Lake Temple where we performed proxy baptisms and confirmations for individuals who had been excommunicated then passed away prior to rebaptism.  As part of the confirmation there was also a restoration of priesthood and temple blessings performed.  As such, the proxy had to have been endowed.  I don't recall if there was mention of sealings, however.  My impression was that the individuals were restored to the status of their ordinances prior to their excommunication.

I'm afraid I don't know what the process was to get the names of the individuals ready for the proxy work.  We showed up and worked for names provided to us by whomever was running the show.  I also did not have this question come up while I was serving as bishop so never researched it.  With the General Handbook of Instructions now open to all, perhaps there are details contained therein that could answer the questions you ask.

My understanding also is that the excommunication of the father does nothing to impact the covenants and blessings from those covenants entered into by the spouse (assuming she remains true to her covenants) or the children born in the covenant.  They are still born in the covenant regardless of what their parents do later in life.  This ties to our second Article of Faith.  As for the question of what happens in the hear after, I take comfort from my faith that our Heavenly Father will get it all worked as is appropriate.  My capacity for understanding at this point makes it a useless exercise to try to figure out all the intricacies and variations that may result from our imperfect lives and decisions.

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On 8/8/2020 at 5:14 AM, JohnsonJones said:

I am not in the Church leadership (ward level) these days, so have no ability to make judgment calls on this type of stuff...but I still hear about things occasionally.  This one was asked of me by a friend and I'm not sure I know the correct answer (and even if I did, I'm not the one who makes these types of decisions).  I was lucky never to have to deal with this type of thing when I was in Church leadership.

His father was excommunicated a few years back.  His father died while excommunicated.  His questions then relate to the restoration of blessings and his situation regarding being born in the Covenant.  My thoughts relating to it...which could have been wrong...

1. If he wants the blessings reinstated, in this instance, it needs First Presidency approval.  This is above the Bishop's or Stake President's ability to approve. They can start the process and paperwork, but ultimately it goes to the First Presidency.

Yes. First Presidency approval is required.

2.  If the First Presidency approves, all it needs is a restoration of Blessings.  His father does not need to be baptized for the dead or resealed to his mother...I think.  Even in excommunication my friend would still be considered Born in the Covenant, and that is not something just lost.  I am not sure of how that is accomplished, whether it is a handwave by the First Presidency, or if some ordinance for the dead needs to be accomplished. 
Excommunicated members are no longer members of the church. So, any person who has been excommunicated will need to be rebaptized, even those who are deceased. Again, First Presidency approval is required. Baptism does not restore priesthood or temple blessings. After the baptism a “restoration of blessings” can be given. A man will be restored to the office in the priesthood that he held prior to excommunication. Then his endowment is restored and then his sealing to his wife and children.

3.  If the blessings are not restored, that could mean something else.  I'm not sure of what the situation of those Born in the Covenant's position is in that case.  In this instance, they do not need to fear about being sealed to parents, as that will be taken care of in the Millennium. 
Children do not lose the blessing of being born in the covenant. They have the blessing of “eternal parentage.” That includes anyone who has been BIC.

4.  In the situation (#3) I do not know who they would be sealed to in the hereafter.  That's probably up to the Lord. 
If our parents do not merit celestial glory this is true for all of us. My opinion, we would probably still be within our families, (perhaps grandparents Or other worthy family member).

And that's what I have as my thoughts, but I've thought more on this during the past week and I am not entirely comfortable in my answers.  I've read over the more recent handbook release, and I still am not confident my thoughts were actually accurate.  I think I may be missing several things here, but I can't put my finger on it.  I know this issue has been bothering this brother quite a bit these past few months.  It may be that I gave him wrong information (though I DID tell him it was just my thoughts on the matter, not necessarily officially what the church did or thinks), or it could be that I know what I told him didn't comfort him all that much either. 

His Father was excommunicated for some rather serious sins of which, as far as I know, his father was never repentant of during this life.  Still, I don't think my thoughts on this were very comforting to my friend either...but I'm not sure if that's what's bothering me about what I said to him...or if it is because I said something that wasn't accurate.

Thus, my question on this forum (I thought about the Gospel forum, but felt this isn't really a gospel question, more of a policy and how it's handled question).
 

I would offer comfort to this brother by telling him we believe in redemption, and people can change and progress-even on the other side of the veil. There is missionary work and fellowship happening on the other side. I believe he should try to get his father’s baptism and restoration of blessings done. We cannot be the ones to judge. Christ knows and loves all his children. He will judge perfectly. 

 

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