Adoptive Sealing Ritual in Mormonism

Journal of Mormon History, Forthcoming

65 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2011

Date Written: Summer 2011


After detailing the early Mormon cosmology which necessitated adoption ritual, this article treats the participants, practice, and meaning of adoption in the Nauvoo Temple. Adoption theology, though still burgeoning, also served as an organizational nexus for the trek west. After reaching Utah, Church leaders’ views of adoption continued to develop though no adoptions were performed until the St. George Temple was dedicated in 1877. The thirty-one-year hiatus in the ritual’s performance did not impede belief in the importance of adoption, though confusion abounded. Once temples were available in Utah, Latter-day Saints performed adoption rituals, but in different ways than in Nauvoo. Furthermore, Church leaders began to question and debate the practice, which ultimately led to Wilford Woodruff’s 1894 revelation, transforming the temple liturgy and leading to contemporary Mormon belief and practice.

Keywords: Mormon, LDS, Latter-Day Saint, Liturgy, Ritual, Temple, Adoption, Sealing

Suggested Citation

Stapley, Jonathan A., Adoptive Sealing Ritual in Mormonism (Summer 2011). Journal of Mormon History, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN:

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