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Temple covenants: a blessing to children

Adopted children can have promises of sealing ordinances

When worthy parents make sacred covenants at the marriage altar in the Lord's temples, they have the promise of "marvelous blessings." Children born or sealed in the covenant to such couples have claim to the same promised blessings, said Elder Harold C. Brown, an Area Authority Seventy.

That's why as the United States celebrates National Adoption month this November, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of LDS Family Services emphasized the importance of the sealing covenant for adoptive parents and children.

Church members faced with an out-of-wedlock pregnancy, he said, should "do whatever we can that is appropriate for the best interests of the child — eternally."

One of the important concepts in adoption — especially important to LDS Family Services — "is the fact that children who are adopted through LDS Family Services go to parents who have the children sealed in the temple," he said. "We know that there are many blessings associated with the sealing covenant. With the sealing covenant comes promises of protection from the Lord to the child and spiritual blessings that can come into their lives as their parents live the covenant and the children try to follow the example of their parents."

During a Church News interview, Elder Brown said that the ultimate blessings of God to His children essentially come through participating in ordinances and then keeping covenants associated with those ordinances. Throughout the history of the world, God has always spoken of His covenant people.

"Righteous men and women who are faithful to their covenants will be a blessing to their posterity," he said. "When we consider the promise of the covenant of increased guidance by the Spirit, a greater protection from the adversary, and the intervention of God to protect children of the covenant from evil, we are constrained to do whatever we can appropriately to see that little children receive the benefit of the covenant."

In addition to covenant promises directed toward nations and peoples, parents and their children have great eternal promises as well as "tangible earthly blessings" that result when sacred covenants are made and kept, he said.

Quoting President Ezra Taft Benson, Elder Brown said, "There is a power associated with the ordinances of heaven, even the power of godliness, which can thwart the forces of evil, if we will but be worthy of those sacred covenants made in the temple of the Lord. Our families will be protected, our children will be safeguarded as we live the gospel, visit the temple, and live close to the Lord."

Children who are not raised in a family with the sealing covenants "are in a sense at a disadvantage," said Elder Brown.

While Church leaders and others are grateful when a young mother marries in the temple and has her child sealed to her, that is the exception, he said.

"Many children born out of wedlock are raised by grandparents or another family member," he said, adding that most are never sealed to anyone.

Elder Brown said he is confident that LDS Family Services provides good service in preparing the parties involved for an adoption and helping them through the process. "But there are others that do that equally well," he said. "The one unique thing we have to offer is that insurance of a good family that has been prepared and will take the child to the temple and have the child sealed to them.

"The sealing covenant isn't just for the mother and father who kneel across the altar; it affects the child and it affects the child's life and the promises that are given to the child that are worthwhile and beneficial."

Elder Brown said his heart goes out to the birth mothers and their families. "We appreciate so much their motherly instincts and their love for these children," he said. "We are grateful for that and acknowledge and accept it. But we also think of the children and the effect on them. There are times in our lives when we give up some of our own interests and feelings for the benefit of others. It may just be in a case where our hearts are tender and touched by a child or a grandchild that our love may also allow us to do something less satisfying immediately for the good of the child in the long run — that is to have two parents who are sealed in the temple."

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