Social media exploded with the rumors that The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) had changed their wedding policy. The rumors claimed the LDS church relaxed its policy of forcing couples who are married civilly to wait before they can have the marriage solemnized in an LDS temple. In a statement, church spokesman Dale Jones claims that they are unaware of any marriage policy changes being discussed. The statement put the rumors to the bed, for now. However, it is a policy the church should change.
I was raised LDS, and most of my family are still active members. As a child and a teenager there was nothing I wanted more than to be married in the temple for “time and all eternity.” Even now that I’ve chosen a different path in my life, I still have fond memories of the LDS church’s temple ceremony.
The policy as it currently stands is anachronistic. The world is becoming much more diverse. You have more partial-member families. The policy separates people and creates divisions. To be clear, I am not arguing that non-members should be able to go in the LDS temple and watch the marriage. I am arguing that the yearlong moratorium after a civil marriage should be removed, allowing couples to have the ceremony with their whole family and then go to the temple the next day.
Pretend you are the father of a young girl who falls in love with a young LDS man, and decides to be baptized and join the church. You may be disappointed or angry with her choice. You may try to be supportive, but then she drops the bomb on you: you can’t attend her wedding. It’s a moment many parents dream of for their children, and you will sit on the sidelines because you have chosen a different faith.
There is no reason a couple can’t get married and then sealed later in the day. The church already allows this in other countries. In countries where the LDS church doesn’t have the authority to perform marriages, couples are allowed to get married by a judge and then be sealed in the temple without waiting a year. The LDS church preaches the importance of families and bringing families together, so why tear families apart?
Growing up, I read the LDS canon of scriptures often, and there is nothing there that supports this policy. Nowhere in the Book of Mormon does it say couples must wait a year after a civil wedding ceremony. It’s just church policy; there is no doctrinal reason that it can’t be changed.
Some of my active LDS friends have suggested that if couples were allowed a civil ceremony before attending the temple the same day it would take away from the sacredness associated with the temple.
Even though I’m not a practicing member anymore, I still feel an emotional connection to the temple, and I don’t think that someone getting sealed three hours after a civil marriage would take anything away from that.
The rumors appear to be dead at this point and no change is coming as we far we can tell, but I certainly hope that church will change this in the future.