In a major change to a century of Latter-day Saint wedding tradition and policy, members who marry in a civil ceremony no longer face an automatic year-long wait before they can be eligible for a temple sealing, an ordinance that allows a marriage to continue after death.
“The policy requiring couples who have been married civilly to wait one year before being sealed is now discontinued,” the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Monday morning in a letter. “Couples who have been married civilly may be sealed in the temple when they receive their temple recommends.”
The change will make it easier for some families who have struggled to balance temple marriage celebrations when some family members are not church members. Only worthy church members can enter temples and attend temple sealings.
Presidents Russell M. Nelson, Dallin H. Oaks and Henry B. Eyring signed Monday’s letter and sent it around the world to the church’s international and local leaders.
But the change will be felt most keenly in the United States and Canada, where a one-year waiting period for a temple sealing after a civil marriage was the policy for about 100 years, according to a previous blog post by independent historian Ardis Parshall.