Couples married civilly no longer have to wait the traditional year after a civil wedding in order to be sealed in the temple, according to an announcement from the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints given Monday.
“Couples who have been married civilly may be sealed in the temple when they receive their temple recommends,” according to the letter signed by Presidents Russell M. Nelson, Dallin H. Oaks and Henry B. Eyring.
For over 100 years, it was required for couples married civilly to wait one year in the United States and Canada before being sealed in the temple. In some other countries where civil marriage is required before the temple, the Church has allowed couples to not wait the year. Ultimately, the policy change was made to keep families in mind and consider those who cannot enter the temple right away.
The letter emphasized the importance of the temple, the difference between marriage and a temple sealing, and that the policy change is effective immediately.
“A civil marriage ceremony performed for a couple being sealed in the temple should be simple and dignified,” according to the document. “The sealing of a husband and wife in the temple is of eternal significance and a crowning experience on the covenant path. Where possible, couples should be encouraged to be simultaneously married and sealed in the temple.”
Those who are considered recently baptized are asked to still wait a year before a temple marriage and are encouraged to receive a limited-use recommend to perform baptisms in the nearest temple.