There are three kinds of sealing authority. The first is given at the founding of a dispensation. As a dispensation head, the first form of sealing power is given to establish a covenant for the benefit of those living then and thereafter. Joseph Smith was given a dispensation. This first form of priesthood is only given to men by God. The second is embedded in authoritative ordinance. All dispensations must follow the covenant giver’s ordinances or preserve the ordinance as established through the dispensation head. For as long as the ordinances are kept intact, the covenant is in effect. The condition of being faithful remains part of the ordinance, and the ordinance must be practiced faithfully and cannot be changed, or it is broken. If these conditions are met, the covenant is sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise, and the blessing is secured. This second form of sealing power is not dependent on the presence of a dispensation head and can be a limited sealing authority. This form of sealing is conditional. God is not bound by anything that is one iota different from His word. It can be passed from man-to-man, from generation to generation, and remains in full force and effect for so long as the covenant is unbroken. The third kind of sealing power goes beyond either of the first two. It is given only in rare circumstances and for highly specific purposes. With it, man has the authority to control the elements. This was held by Christ and given to Enoch, Melchizedek, Moses, and Elijah. This was the reason Christ declared that no man could take His life, but He could both lay it down and take it up again. Every individual with this authority must choose to give their lives up willingly. Their lives cannot be taken. This third form is extremely rare and involves an extraordinary combination of mortality and immortality, in which God has faith in a man. All those given this third form of sealing power have only one objective: saving the souls of men. 1
1 Preserving the Restoration, 200–204.