I have a question about the LDS Church sealing ordinances mentioned in this article, specifically the ordinance referred to in the first paragraph:

While on earth, we can make sacred covenants (promises) with God in the holy temple through priesthood authority. Among these covenants is the opportunity for husbands and wives to be sealed (married for eternity) and their children to be sealed to them.

The question is about a situation where a woman and her daughter were sealed to her first husband (who was also the father of the daughter). While the daughter is still a preteen, the husband dies in a car accident. The woman later marries someone else.

After a couple of years in her new marriage she feels happier than in the first marriage because her first husband tended to be abusive. While her daughter is still in the early teens, she no longer wants to be sealed to the first husband and contemplates the possibility of becoming unsealed from him.


  1. Is there a way for her to be unsealed from the first husband after he has already died?
  2. Does unsealing from the first husband require a sealing to the second husband, or can these be done separately?
  3. The daughter wants to be with her mother, so can she also become sealed to whomever the mother is sealed to?

2 Answers 2

  1. The short answer to this question is, "Yes", but the process is much more complicated than civil divorce. Breaking seals on marriages are considered exceptions to the rule, and are dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

  2. Before a woman can be sealed to another man, the sealing to her fist husband must be broken. For this to be accomplished, the woman must begin the process by meeting with her bishop and explaining to him the circumstances for why she wishes to have her sealing broken. The bishop does not have authority to break a sealing, but can direct the woman and help her through the process. After a series of interviews these sorts of things eventually go all the way up to the first presidency of the church for review and approval. They determine whether or not the woman is justified in having her sealing to her first husband broken. One of the only circumstances for which a woman may have her sealing broken to a deceased husband is if she wishes to be sealed to a new husband.

For clarity: civil marriage, and temple marriage (being sealed) are distinct in that a civil marriage is "Until death do they part" (for time), whereas a temple marriage is "For time and all eternity" (for eternity). A woman who is sealed to her husband--but later remarries due to death or civil divorce--retains her sealing to her first husband. If the sealing is left intact, then after death she is parted from her second husband and rejoined with her first.

  1. Again, with such matters, there are no firm answers. They are dealt with on a case-by-case basis and will likely have to go to the first presidency for review.
  • Very good answer. Another reason for cancelling a sealing is an abusive relationship that couldn't be dealt with while the husband was living.
    – JBH
    Jan 6, 2018 at 7:01

Let me address your #3 separately.

There is a difference between a sealing between husband and wife, and a sealing between child and parent.

Sealing husband to wife seals them in marriage for time and all eternity, so long as that sealing is itself sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise, a unique function of the Holy Ghost that ratifies the sealing of husband and wife. In other words, the earthly ordinance isn't magic. For the unrepentant, a temple sealing is of no greater value than a civil marriage.

Sealing children to parents is a bond of responsibility. The Church teaches that "families can be together forever." But, once again, the ordinances of the Church are not magic. Unrepentant children will not follow their righteous parents to the Celestial Kingdom. The sealing of Children is in partial fulfillment of the teachings of Malachi when he said,

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

If a daughter is born to parents who have previously been sealed in the Temple, then she is "born in the covenant" and her sealing to her parents is automatic. If the family are converts to the Church, then the sealing of children to parents is performed.

In the case you suggest, the sealing of daughter to mother was never interrupted. The daughter's sealing to her biological father was also never interrupted. It is unusual in the Church to re-seal adopted children to adoptive parents, unless there is a pre-existing issue such as abuse. This is especially true for adult children.

Simply said, the sealing of children to parents is actually quite separate from the sealing of husband and wife, and only rarely does one affect the other.

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