On a recent visit to Paris I noticed something somewhat unusual I had never seen, or at least not to the extent I witnessed this time.
Bridges I had crossed multiple times before were now covered with padlocks as a representation of a couple’s love for each other. I later learned that this new phenomenon has been spreading all over Europe. Newlyweds will select a certain spot that is meaningful to them and their relationship and will “lock up” their hearts using these “love locks” as a symbol of what they hope to live — an eternal love.
You will see all over town padlocks engraved with names and initials hanging from both sides of bridges. As it appears, they close the lock and together throw the key in the water right below them. This seals their eternal love. The ritual also symbolizes that their hearts will never be separated and no rival will ever be able to find the key to the heart of their beloved, since the key has disappeared in the water. In this manner, they have found a way to bind together what they hope will remain eternal.
As I pondered this display, a thought of a temple in Paris came to my mind. As the Lord’s plan unfolds and his will remains as such, these wonderful couples will have in their city and country one of the most beautiful gifts their Father in heaven can give them to seal their love for eternity. Not just as a symbol or a wish that hopefully will be granted but a sealing power and promise from God that, as they remain faithful to him and to each other, they will be eternally together with their family.
What a glorious blessing we have as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to know without a doubt that families are eternal. I believe that the desire and hope to be eternally together with those we love is inside everyone’s heart in the world. With that, I am always intrigued by the look of curiosity I receive when I explain that a temple marriage binds a family together eternally. Other types of marriages and unions specifically fix a matrimony term as lasting only until "death do us part.” Most people I discussed this with really sincerely hope that their family relationship will continue beyond the veil even though that promise was never made to them; instead, they received the promise of a union until death separates them.
The restored gospel of Jesus Christ brings so much peace. There are now authorized servants of God who hold his priesthood authority and represent him, and they have the necessary power on this earth to create an eternal seal. And so we proclaim, without any hesitation, that because this authority was restored on this earth by the Lord himself, our hearts can be bound together — not simply by a self-appointed ritual between a man and a woman, but between them and God. As a newly married couple embarks on the path of life, they can trust that God will fulfill his part of the promise if they will fulfill theirs.
While I am so grateful to see that so many recognize the importance of forming a family and recognize the importance of committing that love to each other, I sincerely hope that the day will come when they will turn to God and his priesthood for an eternal promise that is available to all of Heavenly Father’s children as they accept his gospel into their life. With time, keys in the water will drift away, engraved or written names will slowly fade away, padlocks will disintegrate or perhaps be removed, but a covenant with God will remain throughout all eternity.
The Lord himself revealed, “I, The Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.” There is such power in covenanting with God himself. That power goes beyond any best intentioned ritual and is shared with him, who has all power to give. And so we, as witnesses of the power of those covenants made in the temple, invite all children of our Heavenly Father to seek this opportunity to make these covenants with him.
Why? Because we know that the Lord will keep His promises, and we know the peace and happiness that comes with making these covenants and striving to live by them. While the world’s marriage statistics are alarming, with a 50 percent divorce rate in pretty much every nation (40 to 68 percent in some countries), covenanting in the Lord’s house offers the most sure foundation for a successful marriage.
Founder of lessaintsdesderniersjours.com., a website sharing news about and around the church in French to worldwide Francophones, Roland just moved to Lyon, France, with his family after living in Utah for the past 10 years.