In prefacing my question, I acknowledge two distinct truths taught in the gospel: (1) the only thing we take with us to the afterlife is our knowledge of the gospel, education, etc. and, ; (2) The Sealing power ensures husband and wife’s temporal marriage (at a minimum) can be/is unbreakable in the after life. My question is: Why do Mormons believe in the contrary? Families broken up?Assuming we have education carried with us, wouldn’t couples know who their family was on earth?
Not sure where your “two distinct truths” come from, but (not to put too fine a point on the matter) I don’t agree with them. To wit:
(1) We take much more with us into the afterlife than our knowledge of the gospel and our education. Mainly, we take with us the covenants we have made. This is foundational, much more than a minor correction to a gospel trivia answer. Our progress in our relationship with the Father and his Son is not just measured by the covenants we have made and kept; it is in large part defined by them.
Baptism, our first and most foundational covenant, is absolutely necessary for us to progress further. It is the gate through which we must pass to continue on the covenant path. As a man, you will need to be a holder of the Priesthood of the Lord Jesus Christ, which is received only through covenant. You must receive great spiritual gifts in the temple, endowments of knowledge and power that are, again, received only through covenant. To gain your exaltation and return forever into the presence of the Father, you and your wife will need to make a sacred marital covenant at the altar of the holy temple.
All of these covenants are made in this mortal life, and only in this mortal life. These covenants allow us to progress in the eternities. Without these covenants, we do not progress.
(2) The temple sealing is not exactly a continuation of temporal marriage. Temporal marriage itself is a societal custom. The Lord recognizes and blesses as sacred those temporal marriages that otherwise conform with his expectations of holy matrimony. But the sealing of a man and a woman is another matter, a higher matter than mere temporal marriage.
For example, in the US and some other countries, the temple sealing is recognized by the government as a valid marriage. In many other countries, it is not, and the couple is required to be married according to local laws and customs before being sealed. But in both cases, the sealing is equally effective. This is because the sealing is much more than a temporal marriage; it introduces the couple into a higher order of the Priesthood, where they become part of a new and everlasting covenant. If the couple chooses to abide the terms of the covenant, they receive the promised blessings.
Okay, so those are Gramps’ corrections to your statements. What of them? How do they answer your questions?
Just this: In the eternities, the family is defined only in terms of the new and everlasting covenant made by a husband and a wife. By itself, merely knowing that So-and-so was your wife in mortality is of no more moment than knowing that Mr. Miner was your second-grade teacher; it is a historical fact rather than a living relationship. Furthermore, the family exists for the purpose of eternal joy and increase. Those elements exist in their fulness only among those who have gained their exaltation.
Of those who do not gain exaltation, the Lord has said:
Therefore, when they are out of the world they neither marry nor are given in marriage; but are appointed angels in heaven, which angels are ministering servants, to minister for those who are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory. For these angels did not abide my law; therefore, they cannot be enlarged, but remain separately and singly, without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity; and from henceforth are not gods, but are angels of God forever and ever. (D&C 132:16-17)
Mortal institutions such as marriage and parenthood and friendship mean little in the eternities. Only those relationships that proceed from a basis of eternal sealings will survive in any meaningful sense into the next life and throughout eternity. Thus, our spouse in this life remains our spouse in the eternities only if both of us have made and kept the sacred marital covenant. Our mortal children remain our children only insofar as we have made the marital covenant for our children to be sealed within, and have lived up to that covenant. Our sister or brother here remains our sister or brother in the eternities only if we are both sealed within our parents’ sacred marital covenant. Our mortal friendships survive and grow throughout eternity only insofar as we and our friends receive the exaltation that our Father wants so much to give us.