Analysis of Henry B. Eyring: `All Will Be Well Because of Temple Covenants`

Henry Eyring

The last talk of the Saturday morning session of General Conference was given by President Henry B. Eyring. I have always liked President Eyring and generally like his talks. However, that of course doesn’t mean that what he says is true. I understand his message however it is focused on the temple and ignores the power of God who the temple is supposed to be a representation of.


For conference talks I always like to look at the footnotes first. This gives a general idea of what to expect from certain messages. For instance, in a message like this, about temple covenants, then you would expect to see footnotes supporting this concept. What we see instead is 1 news article reference, 3 scripture references, and 5 talk references with 4 of those being President Nelson.

If we look at everything together, excluding the news article reference, then that gives us 50% President Nelson in general and 80% President Nelson references of the talks. I am not sure why this is needed since far more people have given talks on these subjects than President Nelson has. His messages are a small drop in the bucket compared to all the messages overall. I would imagine that due to President Eyring’s advanced age and very limited mobility that he didn’t write this talk at all. He may have worked with someone that did, but I doubt he wrote it personally.

Teton Dam

At the start of his talk, President Eyring references the Teton Dam collapse which was a monumental event in that area. At that time my parents lived in the area and had been married for only a couple of years. My grandma, on my mother’s side, lived in a house in Rexburg her entire married life and was just outside the flood zone. During the cleanup phase she had people staying with her and even camping on her lawn. It was certainly a time where everyone came together to help.

My dad at that time was in his early 20’s and helped with the cleanup phase which was incredibly messy. I personally saw the devastation events like this can cause when I helped clean up after a hurricane in Virginia. The hurricane had flooded a small town and I saw the extensive amounts of mud in people’s basements. I will never forget crawling through mud and digging drainage canals. It was so messy and smelled disgusting. The Teton Dam collapse was the same. There was mud everywhere and cleaning up was a major chore.

President Eyring described how he was very worried since he was separated from his children and wasn’t sure of their safety. This was, of course, before cell phones and the internet. It is hard to imagine that we actually thrived as a civilization back then now that we have those technologies. His wife was worried about the children, but he was not because he told his wife:

Kathy, whatever the outcome, all will be well because of the temple. We have made covenants with God and have been sealed as an eternal family.

Henry B. Eyring

I do understand what President Eyring means. There is absolute safety in Christ. Once you turn your life over to him then you no longer need worry about things. Of course, that doesn’t mean your life is going to be picture perfect, but it does mean that whatever happens will turn into a blessing from God. Christ’s yoke is easy and his burden is light.

The thing that I believe President Eyring gets wrong is that this has nothing to do with an ordinance in an LDS temple and everything to do with the majesty of God’s love. Are we to believe that getting a 5-minute ordinance in an LDS temple will permanently alter your eternal relationship with others? Are we to believe that not getting this ordinance permanently prevents you from having a relationship with someone for all eternity? Eternity is pretty long so I think this is not something to just assume one way or the other.

Sealing Power

President Eyring then spends the remainder of his talk speaking about the safety of knowing that he was sealed with his wife and how there is safety in his temple covenants.

At that moment, it was as if the Spirit of the Lord confirmed in our hearts and minds what we both already knew to be true: the sealing ordinances, found only in the house of the Lord and administered by proper priesthood authority, had bound us together as husband and wife, and our children had been sealed to us.

Henry B. Eyring

I do want to focus on the concept of sealing because it is critical to President Eyring’s message overall. If we look at the scriptures, with the exception of D&C 132 which has highly dubious origins, then the concept of sealing is exclusive to being sealed to God or Satan. There is never a reference to being sealed together in marriage at all. Some may reference D&C 131, however the original revelation doesn’t say “the new and everlasting covenant of marriage”, that is a complete addition by someone during Brigham Young’s time.

If we look at Mosiah 5:15 then we can see that King Benjamin wanted his people to be sealed to God. Alma 34:35 says that we are either sealed to God or Satan. I actually want someone to show me a single scripture that says we can be sealed together in marriage for eternity. I understand this doctrine feels good and is comforting, however that doesn’t make it true.

It is helpful to understand that the concept that we know as being sealed in marriage wasn’t even created until 1894 when Wilford Woodruff was very dissatisfied with members fighting to be sealed to the highest-level leader in the church. However, if we go to the very beginning then it gets even more interesting.

Immediately after the Melchizedek Priesthood was introduced, in February 1831, at the Morley Farm Conference, it appears that early missionaries would go from congregation to congregation and seal the entire congregation up unto eternal life. This would be a promise to be sealed to God forever. We have accounts that this happened from journals like Zebedee Coltrin’s and several others.

This changed slightly throughout the Kirtland and Nauvoo period and seemed to eventually die down. However, the concept of sealing took a major turn in the 1840’s where people would be adopted into another person’s kingdom and be sealed to them in some kind of eternal capacity. Based on the person then this would mean you may be attached to high level people like the President of the church or the apostles. The higher your attachment the better your eternal position.

Apostle George A. Smith even admitted in a February 1847 account that he and the other apostles “lextioneered”, in his words, in order to grow their kingdoms with as many prominent people as possible. We have accounts of the time that speak of people serving someone’s interests, in this life, so they could be spiritually adopted into their kingdom for eternity.

At this time men and women would be sealed to other men. There certainly was no clear distinction like there is today. This law of adoption eventually got so out of control that it was operating like an MLM with people wanting big and better standing in the eternities. In 1894, President Wilford Woodruff didn’t like this at all and remarked:

I have not felt satisfied, neither did President Taylor, neither has any man since the Prophet Joseph who has attended to the ordinance of adoption in the temples of our God. We have felt that there was more to be revealed upon this subject than we had received … Let every man be adopted to his father … That is the will of God to this people

Wilford Woodruff

This statement directly led to the creation of the Genealogical Society of Utah and the concept of eternal families that we know today. It is strange to think that such a critical doctrine as eternal families was not actually a doctrine that Joseph or any early leader taught, but a later addition almost 60 years later.

President Eyring continues his talk by discussing how being sealed together as a family should bolster family connections and lead to stronger bonds. He then references Malachi 4 and states:

In part, that is what is described by Malachi as he foretold of the coming of the prophet Elijah: “He shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.”

Henry B. Eyring

This scripture has been used numerous times to support Elijah appearing at the Kirtland Temple and giving Joseph the sealing power. I believe Elijah did appear, but we have no record that anything was transferred especially not anything like a power to seal marriages. It actually appears to be a downgrade, as a church, if you really look at things.

Today we use that scripture to support a power to seal marriages, but Joseph actually clearly said the link was related to Baptisms for the Dead. It is this which was so important for our spiritual survival as a people. In D&C 128, Joseph quotes Malachi 4:5-6, which is the exact same scripture President Eyring used, and then says:

I might have rendered a plainer translation to this, but it is sufficiently plain to suit my purpose as it stands. It is sufficient to know, in this case, that the earth will be smitten with a curse unless there is a welding link of some kind or other between the fathers and the children, upon some subject or other—and behold what is that subject? It is the baptism for the dead. For we without them cannot be made perfect; neither can they without us be made perfect.

D&C 128:18

Based on that scripture then I am not sure why we ever claim that Malachi was referring to Elijah giving the power to seal, yet we do quite often. It seems like we don’t even care what the scriptures say. We just want to find things that support our current interpretation of the scriptures.


I absolutely believe there is peace and comfort in following Christ. I don’t however agree that because we visited a Mormon temple at least once in our life then we are eternally blessed. If you really want to be specific, then marriage is very likely to not even exist as an eternal concept according to Jesus.

The only way to eternally be blessed is to be firmly rooted in Christ and his plain and simple doctrine. The doctrines of the LDS church will ebb and flow with the whims of the leaders. However, the plain and simple doctrine of Christ will always be a firm foundation for us.

I take comfort in knowing that Christ is my Savior and God. He condescended to come to this Earth and show me that I can escape the confines of this mortality. Without Christ there is nothing and with Christ there is everything. I don’t need a ceremony in an LDS temple to promise me anything since Christ has already promised me everything if I would just follow him.

Author: Patrick