Monday, April 26, 2004

Orson Hyde on the Kingdom of God

I frequently hear the question, as Kim Siever wonders over at Our Thoughts, “Why is it that children are sealed to parents? What meaning can this have eternally if children are sealed to their own spouses?”

While I don't have a definitive answer, the early Latter-day Saints apparently did. Orson Hyde drew up and published a Diagram of the Kingdom of God, with an accompanying editorial in which he explained that the Kingdom of God is organized hierarchically according to the Patriarchal Order.

I think this kind of idea is acceptable to our modern LDS minds if each branch is considered to be a couple with their own spirit children, but when we start placing the children we have here on earth into sub-branches, it begins to be uncomfortable for us. Why is this the case? Can and should we re-interpret what the sealing of children to parents means, when the Patriarchal Order is so central to LDS temple theology?


  1. Why do you think we feel uncomfortable putting our children in subbranches? Doesn't the way we view both genealogy *and* family reunions do this intrinsically?

      [Comment originally posted by: Clark | Homepage | 04.26.04 - 4:33 pm]

  2. Yes, but the sense I have from discussing this with others is that most people feel uncomfortable with the idea of a functioning hierarchy in the hereafter. Most people I have spoken with about this conceive of the celestial kingdom as an essentially flat organization: we're all spirit brothers and sisters, and the only truly *parental* relationship will be with our Heavenly Parents. Earthly family organization is seen as pretty much irrelevant to how things actually work in that sphere.

    The sense I get from many people is that the subbranches in a family history diagram are essentially just lines with no real eternal meaning except that we know that we're supposed to get everybody sealed into a big chain for some reason. Sure, they show that so-and-so was the daughter of so-and-so, but that's really only relevant to this life, because in the next, everybody's just going to be with their own spouse.

      [Comment originally posted by: Grasshopper | Homepage | 04.26.04 - 5:43 pm]

  3. I think it is a little of both. But that's a good issue. Who is our parents? I think our primary ones are our earthly parents.

    But I certainly can understand where the relationship of the two (and Christ) gets jumbled when considering the next life.

      [Comment originally posted by: clark | Homepage | 04.27.04 - 4:06 pm]

  4. So, Clark, how do you envision the parental relationship functioning in the next sphere? What is the role of a parent in the celestial kingdom?

      [Comment originally posted by: Grasshopper | Homepage | 04.28.04 - 10:59 pm]

  5. The role of a parent in the next life is as it happens to be here. We will recongize them for having given us the gospel or at least bringing us into the mortal world so that we might become exalted. They will have a place of honor as much as, hopefully, we have here on Earth for our parents, grandparents, and other ancestors.

    Joseph Smith Jr. said, "the sociality that exists here will continue in the next life." That seems to include relationships of some sort even beyond the familial, but certainly includes family connectedness. what that will mean in practical terms for the eternities is probably what bothers most people. We just don't know enough to construct an internal paradigm, and therefore are comfortable with the direct link of us to God.

      [Comment originally posted by: Jettboy | 05.08.04 - 12:24 pm]