Orson F. Whitney teaches that wayward children of sealed parents will be saved.

Apr 7, 1929
Speech / Court Transcript
Orson F. Whitney
Scribed Verbatim

Orson F. Whitney, "Discourse," in General Conference Report of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Ninety-Ninth Annual Conference (April 1929) (Salt Lake City, UT: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1929), 110

Conference Report
Orson F. Whitney, Joseph Smith, Jr.
Latter-day Saints


You parents of the wilful and the wayward! Don't give them up. Don't cast them off. They are not utterly lost. The Shepherd will find his sheep. They were his before they were yours — long before he entrusted them to your care ; and you cannot begin to love them as he loves them. They have but strayed in ignorance from the Path of Right, and God is merciful to ignorance. Only the fulness of knowledge brings the fulness of accountability. Our Heavenly Father is far more merciful, infinitely more charitable, than even the best of his servants, and the Everlasting Gospel is mightier in power to save than our narrow finite minds can comprehend.


The Prophet Joseph Smith declared — and he never taught more comforting doctrine — that the eternal sealings of faithful parents and the divine promises made to them for valiant service in the Cause of Truth, would save not only themselves, but likewise their posterity. Though some of the sheep may wander, the eye of the Shepherd is upon them, and sooner or later they will feel the tentacles of Divine Providence reaching out after them and drawing them back to the fold. Either in this life or the life to come, they will return. They will have to pay their debt to justice; they will suffer for their sins; and may tread a thorny path; but if it leads them at last, like the penitent Prodigal, to a loving and forgiving father's heart and home, the painful experience will not have been in vain. Pray for your careless and disobedient children; hold on to them with your faith. Hope on, trust on, till you see the salvation of God.

BHR Staff Commentary

This statement is often cited in support of the idea that children of faithful, sealed parents are assured the same blessings promised their parents in the marriage sealing ceremony. Later statements by church leaders and members have perpetuated this idea. But the attribution of the teaching to Joseph Smith is based on incomplete and misinterpreted notes from a sermon given on 13 August 1843, as published in the Documentary HIstory of the Church 4:531 and the Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 321.There are two basic misunderstandings. First, reading Joseph Smith's statement in context shows that the Prophet’s intended application with reference to the “seal… put upon the father and mother” was not meant to refer to the marriage sealing but rather the “sealing [of] the blessing [of] the everlasting covenant, thereby making their calling and election sure." Second, more full set of notes taken by Howard and Marcha Coray that were not available to the compilers of the Documentary History qualified Joseph Smith's statement about the salvation of children of parents who had received the second sealing to make it conditional upon the obedience of the children ("children who have not transgressed").

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