Yesterday I had a great spiritual experience. I was invited by a couple I have home taught for more than three years to come to the Temple to watch them be sealed to their new little girl Peyton. They had tried to get pregnant unsuccessfully for years and then one night, about six months ago, their prayers were answered when they received a foster daughter. They officially adopted her a week or so ago.
The Spirit was really strong during the sealing. Peyton looked like a little angel in her white dress and white bow. I teared up. I couldn't help it. I was reminded of the importance of families and how those relationships can, and should, endure eternally.
On my mission I spoke with people of all faiths about family relationships and never talked to one who really believed family relationships were supposed to end at death. No matter what their church's official doctrine on the subject, they believed in their heart of hearts that marriages and family relationships were intended to last forever. That's how eternal truth works. It "rings true". How sad would it be if the people who provide us with the most joy and happiness on earth were not with us on the other side, or if we had a different relationship to them on the other side?
A vital step in an eternal family is the joining of the family unit by someone holding authority (granted only from God) to do so. Christ taught this to Peter, his chief apostle, "I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven". I believe that six days later, on the Mount of Transfiguration, the translated Elijah delivered those "keys" to Peter. A marriage performed by Peter didn't need to end with the words, "Till death do you part". He now had the power to seal the marriage in heaven.
I believe this "sealing" power has once again restored to the earth.
It is my understanding that since the time of Passover, Jewish tradition has a place set at the Paschal feast for Elijah, and at a certain point in the feast, the door is opened to admit Elijah as a forerunner of the Messiah who was to deliver Israel from bondage.
How fitting it is than on April 3, 1836, while Jews around the world opened their doors for Elijah, he actually appeared. But he didn't appear at a passover feast, instead he appeared in the House of the Lord. It was on this day that Elijah the prophet appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Lord's Temple at Kirtland Ohio and restored the keys of the sealing power of the priesthood. His intent was to allow husbands to be sealed to wives, and children to their parents; allowing for treasured family relationships to endure forever. I felt the effects of that power stronger than ever on October 27th, 2001. And I felt it again yesterday.