Law of adoption

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"[E]arly Mormons sealed living men to other men in an unusual ceremony known as the law of adoption. Thus a man could have any number of men adopted to himself as his sons for eternity." [1]

"Not many Mormons know that in the early days of the church, the Law of Adoption was practiced to seal living men to other men. Through this ordinance, a man could have any number of men sealed to himself as his sons for eternity. According to Gordon Irving, who worked for the Historical Department of the church:" [2]

"No consensus exists with regard to the date when the first adoptions were performed…It is certainly possible, perhaps probable, that Joseph Smith did initiate certain trusted leaders into the adoptionary order as early as 1842." (Brigham Young University Studies, Spring 1974, p. 295)

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