|Salt Lake Temple Sealing Room|
One of the original sealing rooms in the Salt Lake Temple has a stained window of the Joseph Smith getting the golden plates that he would translate into The Book of Mormon as the Angel Moroni talks with him. This is a beautiful stained glass, but it has always seemed odd for this particular stained glass window to be in a sealing room as it would appear to have nothing to do with marriage or family. As I read the first volume of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints new official history, Saints, I realized that this stained glass window actually has some significant meaning related to sealings.
When Joseph Smith went to get the plates from the hill he tried to pull the plates out but was unable to. The angel appeared and told Joseph that this was because he had not kept the commandments. He then instructed Joseph and then Joseph asked when he could have the plates. Moroni replied "The twenty-second day of September next, if you bring the right person with you." Then Joseph asked "Who is the right person?" and Moroni replies "Your oldest brother". This is significant for sealing rooms because Alvin was Joseph's oldest brother and he dies before the next September and Joseph cannot get the plates at that time. Joseph's family doesn't understand what happened to Alvin's soul since he died before the church was restored, but years later Joseph Smith has a vision where he sees Alvin in the Celestial Kingdom and is told that anyone who died without being able to join the church who would have accepted the gospel if given the chance were saved in the Celestial Kingdom of God. Later revelations would show that proxy ordinances such as baptisms for the dead and sealings for the dead (of husband and wife and of children to parents) is a part of the process that allows those who died to be able to enter God's kingdom. So this stained glass can remind us of Alvin and those who we are doing proxy sealings for. It can also remind us of the good influence that a family member such as a son or a brother can have in that apparently Alvin would have had a good enough influence on Joseph that he would have gotten the plates earlier had Alvin survived.
After Alvin's death, Joseph continued to be instructed by Moroni. Eventually the angel told Joseph Smith to bring someone with him the next year when he went to get the plates. Joseph asked, "Who is the right person?" and Moroni said "You will know". Joseph used a seer stone and asked the Lord who the right person was and he was shown that it was Emma Hale who he had been dating and wanted to marry. In the following year Joseph Smith married Emma and she came with him when he successfully obtained the plates and would help him stay on track for the rest of his life. I think this example is a wonderfully fitting reason for the sealing room to show Joseph obtaining the plates. He needed a wife who would help him be better so he could achieve his potential and only with her good influence was he able to become worthy to obtain the plates. It also reminds us that women have been and are immensely important in the work of God and can be a great influence for good. It reminds us that husbands and wives should work together in righteousness.
I hope sealers in this sealing room in the Salt Lake Temple tell some of these stories to patrons who are using this sealing room so they understand some of the deeper meanings of the room. Like Joseph Smith, we need to have strong families to strengthen us - siblings, spouse, etc. We should take our sealings seriously and strive to help our families grow in righteousness.
If you have any comments or insights about this stained glass window, please comment.