"Salt Lake Temple, Utah" by Entheta / CC BY 2.5

LDS Church Rescinds Hurtful Marriage Policy Without Apology

May 9, 2019

By Holly Welker

On May 6, 2019, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rescinded yet another of its family separation policies, that of “requiring couples who have been married civilly to wait one year before being sealed [in the temple].”

It’s unclear exactly why the policy was implemented sometime around 1960. Essentially, it withheld the blessings of a temple sealing for one year from LDS couples, primarily in the U.S., who chose to have a civil ceremony open to friends and relatives without temple recommends. The upshot was that couples had to choose between orthodoxy and loved ones without temple recommends, and they often chose orthodoxy, much to the heartbreak of non-Mormon family.

The “Discontinuation of One-Year Waiting Period after Civil Marriage” was announced in a letter addressed to “General Authorities; General Auxiliary Presidencies; Area Seventies; Temple, Stake, Mission, and District Presidents; Bishops and Branch Presidents” but not to rank and file members. The letter and an enclosure explain how leaders should “[help] members understand, prepare for, and enjoy the blessings of eternal marriage.”

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