Couples married civilly no longer have to wait the traditional year after a civil wedding for their sealing 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, a requirement for couples married civilly was to wait one year in the United States and Canada before sealed in the temple. In some other countries where civil marriage is a requirement before the temple, the Church has allowed couples to not wait the year. Ultimately, the purpose of the policy change was 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 considered recently baptized are still asked to wait a year before a temple sealing. Receiving a limited-use recommend to perform baptisms in the nearest temple is also highly encouraged.