Before/In the Presence of God

By: Guy Templeton
February 28, 2013

image of sealing room courtesy of LDS.org

I participated in temple sealing recently.  For those not familiar with a “Sealing” ordinance, Mormons believe that we can be bound to our spouses and families for not only this life, but the next life as well.  I participated in an early morning session and there was just one sister there, so she had to participate in all of the sealing ordinances.  Because of so much kneeling, sometimes we take a break to allow people to stand.

During one of these breaks, the Sealer paused and noted something interesting.  He said that during the endowment ceremony, we covenant “before God”, but in the sealing ordinance we are sealed “in the presence of God.”  He noted that the carpet in the sealing room is the same carpet that is behind the veil in the endowment room.  In front of the veil is a different type of carpet.  So, before we go through the veil, we are not in the presence of God.  But in the sealing room and after we pass through the veil, we are in the presence of God.  I thought it was an interesting perspective.  What are your thoughts?

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4 Responses to Before/In the Presence of God

  1. Rigel Hawthorne on February 28, 2013 at 8:41 AM

    It seems that the older temple designs featured sealing rooms with entries from the Celestial room and that originally all participants dressed in white. This goes along with what you are saying. I suppose that having participants attend not dressed in white and the location of sealing rooms away from the Celestial room is for convenience and for keeping the Celestial Room more free of traffic. In the Mesa Temple, there used to be two sealing rooms adjacent to the Celestial Room. One was removed when the space for the veil ceremony was enlarged (or so I was told). The other is still there (as far as I know). Because of its location, it was the one room where all participants were required to wear white for a long time. With a more recent remodel, an elevator was added so that people could be admitted to that room without using the Grand Staircase where all patrons are clothed in white. Only then did the admission of guests in ‘street clothes’ take place.

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  2. Paul on February 28, 2013 at 10:39 AM

    It’s an interesting observation. Of course the phrase “in the presence of” applies to those participating in the ordinance, and they are dressed in the robes that were emblematic of their preparation to enter the Lord’s presence.

    That said, I have generally taken “before” and “in the presence of” to be synonymous.

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  3. Brad on February 28, 2013 at 10:53 AM

    I hate to be unnecessarily cheeky, but the carpet lets us know we are in the presence of God? Really?

    I think there is a good point in there, but I kind of hate reading too much theology into the smallest details of the ordinance.

    I used to spend a lot of mental energy trying to parse the meaning of the wording of the temple video, but then I realized that the narrative wasn’t really part of the ordinance. Indeed it has changed significantly over its history. I think the same goes for carpet choice.

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  4. Hedgehog on February 28, 2013 at 12:59 PM

    I think it is all the same carpet both sides of the veil at my local temple, and probably different in the sealing rooms which are right over on the other side of the celestial room.

    Funnily enough, last time I was there I was doing sealings. The temple president came in to observe briefly. The sealer commented, during a break a little later that he had been checking up, that it has to be done because sometimes localisms can slip in, in practice. Some of those present remembered one such localism from the past, which had apparently forbidden walking between the sealers desk and the altar.

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