The Doctrine of Election -- St. Paul exhorts us to make our calling and election sure. This is that sealing power spoken of by Paul in other places (Ephesians I. 13. 14. In whom ye also trusted, that after ye heard the word of truth; the gospel of your salvation, in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession unto the praise of his glory.) That we may be sealed up unto the day of redemption, this principle ought (in its proper place) to be taught, for God hath not revealed any thing to Joseph. but what he will make known unto the Twelve, and even the least Saint may know all things as fast as he is able to bear them, for the day must come when no man need say to his neighbor know ye the Lord, for all shall know him (who Remain) from the least to the greatest, How is this to be done? It is to be done by this sealing power and the other Comforter spoken of which will be manifest by Revelation. (History, 1838–1856, volume C-1 [2 November 1838–31 July 1842] [addenda]," p. 8 [addenda], The Joseph Smith Papers, accessed August 30, 2017; see also History of the Church 3:379-80).A person can be sealed to their spouse, children, etc. However, the culminating sealing is to be sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, or sealed to eternal life.
Joseph also taught:
The Bible says, “I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord; and he shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers lest I come and smite the earth with a curse” Now, the word turn, here should be translated bind, or seal. But what is the object of this important mission, or how is it to be fulfilled? The keys are to be delivered, the Spirit of Elijah is to come, the Gospel to be established, the Saints of God gathered, Zion built up, and the saints to come up as Saviors on Mount Zion, But how are they to become Saviors on Mount Zion? By building their temples, erecting their baptismal fonts, and going forth, and receiving all the ordinances, baptisms, confirmations, washings, anointings, ordinations and sealing powers upon their heads, in behalf of all their progenitors who are dead, and redeem them, that they may come forth in the first resurrection and be exalted to thrones of glory with them, and herein is the chain that binds the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, which fulfils the mission of Elijah; and I would to God that this temple was now done that we might go into it, and go to work and improve our time, and make use of the seals while they are on earth. (History, 1838–1856, volume E-1 [1 July 1843–30 April 1844]," p. 1866, The Joseph Smith Papers, accessed August 30, 2017; see also History of the Church 6:183)He also stated:
The spirit, power and calling of Elijah is, that ye have power to hold the keys of the revelations, ordinances, oracles, powers and endowments of the fulness of the Melchizedeck Priesthood and of the kingdom of God on the earth, and to receive, obtain and perform all the ordinances belonging to the kingdom of God even unto the turning of the hearts of theIn summary, the entire human family can be sealed to each other, but that final step, being sealed to the Lord, is essential for fulfilling the mission of Elijah.
children unto the fathers, even those who are in heaven. Malachi says “I will send Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the Lord come, and he shall turn the hearts of the Fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” Now what I am after, is the knowledge of God, and I take my own course to obtain it. What are we to understand by this in the last days? In the days of Noah, God destroyed the world by a flood, and he has promised to destroy it by fire in the last days; but before it took place, Elijah should first come, and turn the hearts of the fathers to the children &c. Now comes the point. What is this office and work of Elijah? It is one of the greatest and most important subjects that God has revealed. He should send Elijah to seal the children to the fathers, and the fathers to the children. Now was this merely confined to the living, to settle difficulties with families on earth? By no means, it was a far greater work. Elijah! what would you do if you were here? Would you confine your work to the living alone? No, I would refer you to the Scriptures, where the subject is manifest that is, without us they could not be made perfect, nor we without them; the fathers without the children, nor the children without the fathers. I wish you to understand this subject, for it is important, and if you will receive it, this is the Spirit of Elijah, that we redeem our dead, and connect ourselves with our fathers which are in heaven and seal up our dead to come forth in the first resurrection; and here we want the power of Elijah to seal those who dwell on earth to those who dwell in heaven. This is the power of Elijah and the keys of the kingdom of Jehovah. Let us suppose a case; suppose the great God who dwells in heaven, should reveal himself to Father Cutler here, by the opening heavens, and tell him,“I offer up a decree that whatsoever you seal on earth with your decree, I will seal it in heaven,” you have power then, can it be taken off? No, then what you seal on earth by the keys of Elijah, is sealed in heaven, and this is the power of Elijah, and this is the difference between the Spirit and power of Elias and Elijah. For while the spirit of Elias is a forerunner, the power of Elijah is sufficient to make our calling and election sure, and the same doctrine where we are exhorted to go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, but of laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead &c. We cannot be perfect without the fathers &c. We must have revelations from them, and we can see that the doctrine of revelation as far transcends the doctrine of no revelation, as knowledge is above ignorance; for one truth revealed from heaven is worth all the Sectarian notions in existence. This spirit of Elijah was manifest in the days of the Apostles, in delivering certain ones to the buffetings of Satan, that they may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus; they were sealed by the spirit of Elijah unto the damnation of Hell until the day of the Lord, or revelation of Jesus Christ. Here is the doctrine of election that the world has quarreled so much about; but they do not know anything about it. The doctrine that the Presbyterians and Methodists have quarrelled so much about, once in grace always in grace, or falling away from grace, I will say a word about, they are both wrong, truth takes a road between them both; for while the Presbyterian says “once in grace you cannot fall,” the Methodist says “you can have grace to day, fall from it tomorrow, next day have grace again, and so follow on changing continually,” but the doctrine of the scriptures, and the Spirit of Elijah would show them both false, and take a road between them both, for according to the scriptures, if men have received the good word of God, and tasted of the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, it is impossible to renew them again, seeing they have crucified the son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame, so there is a possibility of falling away, you could not be renewed again, and the power of Elijah cannot seal against this sin, for this is a reserve made in the seals and powers of the Priesthood. . . . Again, the doctrine or sealing power of Elijah is as follows; if you have power to seal on earth and in heaven then we should be wise , the first thing you do, go and seal on earth your sons and daughters unto yourself; and yourself unto your fathers in eternal glory, and go ahead, and not go back, but use a little wisdom , and seal all you can, and when you get to heaven tell your father that what you seal on earth should be sealed in heaven, according to his promise. (History, 1838–1856, volume E-1 [1 July 1843–30 April 1844]," p. 1920-2, The Joseph Smith Papers, accessed August 30, 2017; see also History of the Church 6:251-3)
The family tree must be connected to the true vine:
I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. (John 15:1-8)Through the sealing power, we can connect ourselves with our fathers in heaven. That connection is needed, since we cannot be perfect (complete) without the fathers; we must have revelations from them.