Brother Jennejohn, I testify that millions of people will knock on Celestial doors, even on God’s door, and expect access and entrance, even though they haven’t met the prerequisites. We all hope for an exception or exemption from the law. However, I testify that God’s laws are inviolate, and blessings are predicated on obedience to his law—for example, obedience to the celestial entrance law of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins and the exaltation law of “temple marriage”, also known as “eternal marriage” or “celestial marriage” or “the new and everlasting covenant of marriage.”
“Surely,” some people may say, “God can’t be serious about keeping people out of his higher kingdom and glory just because they don’t participate in these 5-minute ordinances of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
Yes, I testify that God is serious. You either obey the law while living here in mortality or wait and hope and accept the ordinance if and when it is done vicariously on your behalf by proxy members in one of the temples of the LDS Church.
And, for celestial marriage to be valid, two other conditions (beyond the temple sealing ceremony) must be met: 1) confirmation by the Holy Spirit of Promise (something that may happen at the time of the ceremony or decades later, even after death); and 2) confirmation by both husband and wife (after they are reunited after death) that “Yes, I do accept this man (or woman) to be my eternal companion.”
Today is the 45th anniversary of our temple marriage in Los Angeles, California. Like most couples who have been married for 45 years or more, Pam and I have been through hell and high water together. But I can honestly say that I have never looked back. I am “in it to win it”.
Yesterday we watched a movie, “The Coat of Many Colors,” about the childhood of Dolly Parton and the special coat her mother made her. Her father would drive his wife and 8 children to church on Sunday, but he never went inside . . . until one day when he realized that he may not be with his wife and children for eternity unless he obeyed God’s laws. He then told his wife, “I would give up all my sins to hold your hand for eternity.” That’s how I feel about Pam, and how every man worth his salt should feel about his wife and family: “I want them to be mine forever.”
I testify that when we obey God’s law of the new and everlasting covenant of marriage and have our union confirmed (sealed) by the Holy Spirit of Promise, we can hope to gain exaltation, meaning kingdoms, glories, majesties, thrones, principalities, and the powers to create worlds and procreate spirit children. Again, this “ultimate gift” of God is predicated upon obedience to his higher laws. Sorry, no exceptions!
Note: This is not a transcript but a recollection of what I said in the meeting. Before I spoke, Bishopric Counselor Matt Jennejohn mentioned that on his office door at the BYU law school he posted a notice that students must schedule a time to see him; and yet some students still knock on his door and expect immediate access and entry.