Mormons No Longer Need to Wait A Year for Temple Wedding after Civil Ceremony

Sumptuous public weddings made the sealing into an afterthought

On May 6, the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced that members who marry through a civil ceremony in the United States and Canada would no longer have to wait for one year to be eligible for temple sealing. The latter is an ordinance which permits marriage between two Mormons to continue even after death.

The policy until now was different for members scattered across the globe. In the United States the government has long authorized The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to perform weddings there was a mandatory waiting period for a minimum of one year after a civil marriage took place. In other countries, where the Church has no official power to conduct weddings, a newly married couple can seal themselves post their civil ceremony. Presidents Henry B. Eyring, Russell M. Nelson, and Dallin H. Oaks signed the letter and sent it across the globe to its international leaders. Local leaders of the Church also received the message.

The First Presidency anticipate the change will offer increased opportunities for the families to be united in love during marriage and sealing of man and woman. This is important as Temple ceremonies, before the enactment of this new directive, were open exclusively to orthodox minded Latter-day Saints holding a recommend given by the current temple. Itself is a highly select group among Mormons.  To a Mormon couple, civil ceremonies are important as everyone can attend them. Non-Mormon family members and friends could say vows and exchange rings. This practice led to heartbreak among many Mormons, especially when it came to converts. They found themselves to be the only person among their families attending or participating in a Mormon church. Critics have pointed out the dichotomy concerning what the Church teaches and what it does. They said for a religion which makes a lot of noise for uniting families in temples has caused needless family divisions in the earthly realm.

Ardis Parshall, a historian, wrote that there are many reasons as to why the wait was instituted in the first place. There were concerns among many Mormon leaders during the earlier parts of the 1900s. They found out sumptuous public wedding celebrations enjoyed by Latter-day Saints members made the sealing into an afterthought.

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