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RICHARD - Can you please explain to me about the 'clearance' form or 'considerations' to be sealed to a second wife after a civil divorce of a previous marriage even though the first marriage was a temple sealing and both women are still alive?
Because I heard you can be sealed to a 2nd wife as long as there is a civil divorce obviously and you must get a 'clearance.' Is that from the first presidency? as well as the 1st wife?
And would these celestial marriages be regarded as a form of polygamy?
JOEL - Here's some information from the Church Handbook:
A living woman may be sealed to only one husband. If she is sealed to a husband and later divorces, she must receive a cancellation of that sealing from the First Presidency before she may be sealed to another man in her lifetime.
If a husband and wife have been sealed and later divorced, the man must receive a sealing clearance from the First Presidency before another woman may be sealed to him
If the bishop and stake president decide to recommend that a cancellation of sealing or a sealing clearance be granted, they submit an Application to the First Presidency form. This form is available electronically in units that use Church record-keeping software.
Before submitting the application, the stake president makes sure that the divorce is final and that the applicant is current in all legal requirements for child and spousal support related to the divorce.
If a member has requested a cancellation of sealing or a sealing clearance, he or she may not schedule an appointment for a temple marriage or sealing until receiving a letter from the First Presidency giving notice that the cancellation or clearance has been granted. The person should present this letter at the temple." (CHI)
Plural marriage (performed as a temple sealing) is a real doctrine of the church as described in D&C 132. We have simply been commanded to not practice the physical earthly aspects of it (ie. living together) in mortality at this time. But because it is still a real doctrine of the church, the man does not have to have his sealing canceled when being sealed to a second wife; he only needs a clearance.
Obviously a divorced man or woman will probably not want to be with his/her former spouse in the eternity, and they won't have to. If they can't live together in this life they will not be allowed to be together in the next life, whether they are still sealed to each other or not. But they can still separately enjoy the blessings of the sealing regardless of what ultimately happens, so long as they remain righteous and worthy of exaltation. When a sealing happens we are not just sealed to one person, we are sealed into the eternal family of God and we are not divorced from that or lose the blessings of it, unless we lose our exaltation through unrighteous living and unrepented sins.
A temple sealing must also eventually be sealed by the holy spirit of promise to be valid in heaven.
"All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made and entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise,…are of no efficacy, virtue, or force in and after the resurrection from the dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end have an end when men are dead" (D&C 132:7).
This would not happen with a divorced couple and the sealing would become invalid anyway. So in that regard it would not qualify as plural marriage.