Finally—No More Waiting After Civil Weddings by North American Members of the Church!

Temple sealings for members in Austria have always (well, since at least 1955) started with a civil wedding—the temple sealing is not recognised by the state, and we Mormons are a law-abiding people—followed by a temple ceremony in a (distant) temple at the couple’s earliest convenience. As near as I can tell, no one batted an eye at this arrangement or worried about the dilution of the temple sealing—it was just the way things are, rendering unto Cæsar and God that which is theirs.

Today, the First Presidency announced that members all over the world will be able to follow suit: “a civil marriage between a man and a woman will no longer necessitate waiting a year for that couple to be married (or sealed) in a temple.” (See also this article with some fascinating history from historian par excellence Ardis Parshall.) As someone who married in Austria, I think this is a good move with the potential to disentangle the sealing from the legal and lawful business, strengthening both in the process.

We’ll see, of course, but in the meantime what do you think? A victory for weddings and sealings in general or further evidence of the corrosive influence of the world on our most sacred rituals?

EDIT: The title of this post originally read “Finally—Marriage Equality for North American Members of the Church!” In response to constructive criticism from BCC’s readers I have elected to edit the title. I should have known better and apologise for this injudicious turn of phrase.

Comments

  1. I think this is great. I’ve heard of people who got married in the temple having a twinge of jealously of those who got married civilly, and then had their marriage sealed; because that way you can have a day that focus’s on the temporal aspects of marriage and another day that focus’s on the spiritual aspects.

  2. Dave K says:

    Speaking of Ardis, she is quoted prominently in the DN write up

    https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900069248/church-marriage-temple-sealing-policy-mormon-lds.html

  3. This is a great change. It will allow non-LDS or non-temple-going members to participate in the actual wedding celebration. The sealing can then be a quiet religious affair. This should have happened years ago.

    Now, the next change we need to see is for the Church to allow mission presidents to leave the mission for a parent’s funeral or for a son’s or daughter’s wedding. I know mission presidents who leave mission boundaries often for meetings, but they are not allowed to leave for a parent’s funeral. That is a travesty, especially since most mission presidents are of the age when their parents have a good chance of dying. The excuse that they can’t leave the mission’s boundaries because the missionaries need them there is empty, because, as I pointed out, they leave all the time for official Church business.

  4. Elizabeth says:

    I’ve seen so many temple marriages crumble after a few years, I have decided you should be married at least ten years before you can be sealed. It is a sacred rite and should not be entered into lightly after a 3 month engagement.

  5. Dancer_Esquire says:

    This is fantastic, and long awaited, and most welcome. One side effect: bishop’s callings are likely going to get a bit busier as a result. It will be interesting to watch the cultural changes that this ushers in…

  6. I am so happy this has been “revealed”!! I have such pangs of guilt as my future father-in-law sat outside the temple while his only son got “married” inside. I am so glad that two of my daughters chose civil marriage here in Utah first, so I could walk them down the aisle, and all friends, neighbors and acquiantances could celebrate and enjoy a full wedding ceremony where their own vows were exchanged and rings exchanged as part of the event.

  7. @Dancer_Esquire, what would Bishop’s calling’s get busier now? I would assume that there was additional workload of people working with the bishop just for the wedding (wither couple or parents).

  8. Can we please not call it “marriage equality” when it so very much isn’t? It’s just tacky to use that phrase for a logistical change to weddings that continue to be most definitely s for straight people only.

  9. Bro. Jones says:

    @jader3rd: I think there’s an assumption that people will be doing their civil marriages with bishops as the officiants. If it were my wedding, I wouldn’t have the civil marriage at an LDS chapel unless they wind up clarifying that as a requirement.

  10. D Christian Harrison says:

    JY: I could tell that Peter was referring to the unequal treatment experienced between North American Saints and Saints living elsewhere. I imagine you can too. We queers don’t have a trademark on marriage equality.

  11. Dave K says:

    Wally, at the risk of derailing the post, on my state-side mission mid-90s, our mission “mom” (aka “companion”; we really need a better name for this position) would fly back to Utah monthly to have her hair done. Apparently that was the deal she worked out with the Mission President for their accepting the calling.

  12. Mapinguari says:

    Fantastic change and long overdue!

    Now to start saving for my daughter’s outlandish civil ceremony. 😮

  13. JY, I have taken your criticism to heart—apologies!

  14. Ray E Morgan says:

    This Could Be A Big Part Of It:
    “Representative of his lightning-paced ministry as President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Russell M. Nelson pleaded with a worldwide congregation on Sunday to engage in the work.

    “As President of His Church, I plead with you who have distanced yourselves from the Church and with you who have not yet really sought to know that the Savior’s Church has been restored. Do the spiritual work to find out for yourselves, and please do it now. Time is running out,” he said.

    Especially The Last Part Of It- (Do the spiritual work to find out for yourselves, and please do it now. Time is running out,” he said.)

  15. Last Lemming says:

    A positive step, but insufficient. All marriages seeking government recognition should be conducted outside the temple and the temple ceremony should cover sealing only.

  16. This policy doesn’t change that if you’d like to, you can still get married (and sealed) in the temple in North America. I suspect for the vast majority of members, sealing and marriage will still happen at the same time. So I’d be a little surprised if an average bishop’s job got appreciatively busier due to him having to officiate at civil wedding. An increase, maybe, but not a sea change.

  17. Lemming, why in the world is this important to you. If people (in or out of the Church) desire to hold their nuptials in whatever sanctuary they find most meaningful for them, why does that matter to you personally?

  18. I sat outside with my uncle while his daughter was being sealed. Really a sad time. This is a day of eternal rejoicing, looking forward, but continued mourning for those of us who have seen or experienced the unnecessary exclusion of the old policy.

  19. Loved being married and sealed in the temple. With both sides active members of the church there was no need for two occasions. For couples who have family members not of our faith this new policy is wonderful.
    Yes, it will be interesting to see how our culture will change. As Ardis taught us, there is a possibility that the civil marriage will become the main event and the temple sealing “turn into an afterthought” which started the policy. And since the temple marriage is recognized in America, there was no need for the policy found in other countries.

    I believe the intent of the brethren today is to eliminate any pain the policy has brought to families who could not attend the temple; especially when a mother or father were involved.

    As a side note, If expenses are an issue, one still cannot beat the temple. I know several friends that are opting to be married and sealed in the temple without a reception. Just the opposite. and in many instances both sides are not active. Go figure!

  20. Not a “should” but a prediction — that in short order temples will be out of the “marriage” business altogether and do sealings only. In order to rationalize all of the following:
    1. Different patterns and laws around the world regarding marriage in temples. In an increasingly global church, my understanding is that marriage in the temples is a minority position (by country count, not yet by membership count).
    2. Changing rules all over the world regarding same-sex marriage and syncing those laws with Church practice.
    3. The inevitable social/cultural hierarchy (at least in the Utah church) of
    marriage+sealing+family in the temple >>
    marriage+sealing w/out family in the temple >>
    civil marriage in a chapel followed by sealing >>
    civil marriage with a JP followed by sealing >>
    civil marriage not followed immediately by sealing >>
    not married.

  21. HokieKate says:

    I regret my temple wedding, but I was 19 and naive. My father flew in from out of state and waited outside. Both sets of grandparents flew in from out of state and waiting outside. My four younger siblings waited outside. In contrast, I’ve attend my cousins’ Catholic nuptial masses and felt so much love and focus on Christ.
    This change can help others not go through such pains.

  22. Last Lemming says:

    jpv,

    My position is that what the government calls marriage and what the church calls marriage have diverged to the point that they should not be conflated in the same ceremony. (That is roughly christiankimball’s #2. The rest of his list is good for bonus points.)

  23. Kevin Barney says:

    My very first blog post, 14 years ago, was written to advocate for this change. So it should be no surprise that I am beyond thrilled with this announcement. And I give President Nelson huge props for being willing to change stuff like this that pretty obviously needs to be changed; the reticence to pull the trigger on good and needed changes had become a big problem for our church governance. So church leadership in general gets a collective fist bump from me.

    https://www.timesandseasons.org/harchive/2005/02/temple-marriage-policy/

  24. Californian says:

    @Adele “With both sides active members of the church there was no need for two occasions. For couples who have family members not of our faith this new policy is wonderful.”

    Respectful disagreement: Latter-day Saint family members are often excluded from temple marriages/sealings:
    1) not old enough to be endowed
    2) old enough but not yet endowed
    3) don’t have a temple recommend for whatever reason

    For many years, numerous members have also waited outside the temple along with the non-members.

    So happy that policy has finally changed!

  25. christiankimball- Marriage outside the temple and sealing within also protects the church against being accused of not allowing gay marriage within the temple as a form of inequality.

  26. nobody, really says:

    The wedding ceremonies I’ve seen in chapels have typically treated like secretive, shameful events. They aren’t allowed to use the chapel – instead, people get married on the holy grounds of the basketball court, or (even better) in the bishop’s office. And the remarks usually point to something else – I’ve heard comments along the lines of “Drive the speed limit, wear your seat belts, because if you die, that’s it, you’ll never be together again.”

  27. I’m firmly in the jealous camp. I would have loved to have a nice ceremony outside the temple that all of my grandparents and family who flew in for our wedding could have attended. Our family left outside was very gracious, but they were hurt. This is yet another long overdue change that comes too late for me and quite honestly I’m starting to feel pretty resentful. I want these things for my kids, but it seems so stupid that the changes didn’t come a long time ago.

  28. nobody, really. That’s really odd. I’ve only seen three civil weddings in a Latter-day Saint meetinghouse, but all three took place in the chapel. It would never occur to me to have it somewhere else.

  29. And then there’s the enclosure to the FP letter that informs us that “A civil marriage ceremony performed for a couple being sealed in the temple should be simple and dignified.” This might mean don’t have a wedding that pleases the bride’s non-LDS mother (flowers and music, etc.) in her protestant church. It might also mean stop having ring ceremonies in the Relief Society room with flowers and music and fancied-up chairs for the “congregation”. While I celebrate the change, that instruction may turn out to be another invitation for leadership roulette as to the issuance of recommends to a couple planning a “civil marriage ceremony” a bishop doesn’t think is sufficiently “simple”.

    For that matter, one could wonder (in the US at least) whether someone thinks “civil marriage ceremony” means being married only by a judge or JP or one’s LDS bishop. In my county, e.g., a marriage performed by a Dudeist priest (check out dudeism.com for The Church of the Latter-Day Dude), so why not by your friendly friend-of-the-family protestant minister? Would getting an electronic “ordination” as a Dudeist priest for purposes only of a friend’s civil marriage make one an apostate?

    nobody, really, There have been weddings in our LDS chapel, not in the “cultural” hall, Relief Society room, or bishop’s office. Is this another local leadership roulette thing?

    Chris, Where do weddings in protestant churches or in a home or backyard by whomever fit into the Utah church social/cultural hierarchy if not performed by a government-authorized LDS priesthood holder?

    Whatever the next problems may be, today’s announcement is cause for celebration, though too late for some.

  30. My parents weren’t able to attend my sealing. They handled it well, but it was a deep hurt. They never joined what they called “the so called Family-Centered church” because of that. Cousins asked me time and again if I was really married. Maybe not. Maybe I’m just sealed. 40 years too late.

  31. JR: At the level of detail in my list, all your examples belong in the “civil marriage with a JP” line. However, I have no doubt our culture is capable of an entire hierarchy of sub-categories within that one line. That’s sort of the point–it’s a characteristic we need to move away from.

  32. Marcella says:

    @Adele and others a temple ceremony excludes more than just non-member family. Our mother joined the church after many years of marriage. My sisters were teenagers and I was nearly 5. A year later our parents were ready to go through the temple and I was sealed to them. A few years later one sister had joined the church and as a 9 year old I was given a special recommend so that I could attend her sealing to our parents. I was stunned that when I was 12 I could not get that same recommend to see her sealed to her husband! I still don’t get what the difference is and am still grumpy :-) But for whatever reasoning there is (or isn’t) lots of active family members don’t get to attend a temple sealing.

  33. I applaud this development whole-heartedly, but expect it will create new friction points and will ultimately lead to the vast majority of couples being married outside the temple and later sealed. The reason is siblings and friends. Even for strong TBM couples where their immediate family hold recommends, odds are very high they have at least one sibling or unendowned bestie who cannot attend the temple. That was the case with my marriage 20 years ago. All our siblings were younger than my wife and I, not to mention many unendowned friends. So even though our parents and grandparents were at our sealing, if my wife and I had an option to be married outside, we likely would have so that our siblings and college roommates could attend.

    One way to address this new friction point would be to allow for persons without an adult temple recommend to attend sealings. That would create challenges of its own, but it is conceivable, particularly if temples were reconfigured to have separate entrances just for sealings so that non-endowed individuals are not confronted with patrons walking around in temple clothing (apart from the couple being sealed, of course).

  34. Rockwell says:

    This is unambiguously a good change.

    But I wonder about something. According to KSL:

    “Where possible, leaders should encourage couples to be both married and sealed in the temple,” according to a letter from the church’s First Presidency, or highest governing body. “Where a licensed marriage is not permitted in the temple, or when a temple marriage would cause parents or immediate family members to feel excluded, a civil ceremony followed by a temple sealing is authorized.”

    So I’m still concerned that vestiges of the old policy might remain in place. This says the immediate sealing is authorized if parents or immediate family members would feel excluded. No mention of grandparents, cousins, or friends. In fact, siblings that are too young may be assumed to not “feel excluded”, otherwise there would be no point to spelling this out: most couples have young siblings who won’t be able to attend the temple. I’m in wait-and-see mode, but I won’t be surprised to find that people are still pushed or even coerced to do the marriage in the temple as long as all parents can attend.

    Other comment:
    All weddings I have seen in LDS ward buildings were done in the relief society rooms.

  35. In reading the Deseret News article for this, they mentioned how the policy was put in place because Heber J. Grant didn’t like how elaborate wedding ceremonies were becoming. So we had 100 years of church lessons, and sacrifices for righteousness sake over someone’s preference. Since it was being taught that it’s more righteous to get married in the temple, than being taught that wedding ceremonies shouldn’t be elaborate, members haven’t known to not have elaborate wedding ceremonies\events. I’m glad they’re getting rid of the policy which isn’t solving the problem it was intending to solve. LDS wedding receptions can be plenty elaborate.
    The only wedding at a church building that I was involved with, was in the early 2000’s. It was held in the Relief Society room because the Bishop said that the Handbook of Instructions said to not hold weddings in the chapel. I think he even showed me the paragraph and had me read it myself, but it would have ~18 years ago, so I might be misremembering the reading myself part. That said, you got the feeling that the person officiating the ceremony (the Bishop), didn’t think of this as a “real” marriage. So if I were to get married civilly, I wouldn’t have an LDS minister officiate the ceremony, unless I knew that they weren’t going to preach about this being a fake marriage.

  36. nobody, really says:

    Looks like Handbook 1 (refreshed just today) says a civil wedding in the chapel is on the “okey-dokey” list. It may be a recent change – I’ve seen at least 5 weddings in the gym, heard mothers complain that the chapel would be a better place, and heard at least 3 unit leaders state that the chapel is NOT okay for a wedding. Very weird, since I’ve seen Eagle Court of Honor ceremonies in the chapel, but we all know that earning Eagle is akin to having your calling and election made sure.

  37. Kevin Barney says:

    I’ve never seen a wedding in one of our chapels, but I’ve seen a number in the gym, so that has to have been an old policy that was reversed at some point (quite possibly recently).

  38. ” “A civil marriage ceremony performed for a couple being sealed in the temple should be simple and dignified.”

    Not sure exactly what is meant or what the parameters are for “simple and dignified.”
    But, it has been my observation that particularly in the insular Mormon culture in Utah, things do sometimes get “over-the-top.” Long ago when I was in the Primary presidency (outside of UT) an edict came down about not giving “gifts” to newly baptized children. (At the time, during Sharing Time our primary children would sing a song to the newly baptized child and give them a CTR pencil). Wondering what the edict was about I heard of some wards (in UT) were giving children personally engraved scriptures. Or, what about the changes in missionary farewells? Some families were having lavish, over-the-top farewells and homecomings.

    I would say my experience is that civil marriage ceremonies outside LDS temples and ward buildings can not only be touching, wonderful and yes, even spiritual events equal to or better than marriage ceremonies inside the temple.

  39. John Taber says:

    Those who have read _Mormon Lives_ by my mother, Susan Buhler Taber, would know of the story of Karel VanderHeyden. He was not able to attend his daughter’s temple marriage, and respected the Church enough for their position that he investigated and joined. One potential missionary opportunity is no more.

  40. John, are you really suggesting that somebody who was open-minded enough to be able to look past being excluded from their daughter’s wedding and investigate the church wouldn’t do so if they hadn’t been excluded? That seems like a stretch to me.

  41. jimbob says:

    “…because Heber J. Grant didn’t like how elaborate wedding ceremonies were becoming. So we had 100 years of church lessons, and sacrifices for righteousness sake over someone’s preference.”

    That’s a pretty unfair characterization. HJG didn’t like the way that the pomp and circumstance of weddings, with attendant parties and meals and social events, was making the sealing portion of the day an afterthought. His thought was that it should be the opposite. I like this policy change because I think the prior policy sometimes led to more harm than good. But I share HJG’s worries that the way in which we marry and get sealed should emphasize that the sealing is supremely important–more important than any wedding party, more important than the related social events, more important than any wedding gifts, and even more important than the wedding itself. Calling HJG’s difficult decision a mere “preference” suggests a level of flippancy which didn’t exist.

  42. I know there used to be a policy that marriages and ring ceremonies not be held in the chapel, but wasn’t that changed years ago? I have attended a number of them. An active ward member even married a Catholic in our chapel with the LDS bishop marrying them and the Catholic priest officiating at another part of the ceremony.

  43. I’m not sure that requiring people to have their weddings in the temple (as opposed to having civil weddings followed by temple sealings) has resulted in people viewing the sealing as more important than the wedding party, gifts, etc. A wedding is a big life event that traditionally is shared by family and community. It’s pretty much always at risk of overshadowing a sealing, which is by nature more private/intimate. We shouldn’t see the wedding and sealing as competing with each other for attention. A wedding is always going to get more attention, for obvious reasons. I personally think that if they uncoupled weddings and sealings altogether, we’d be more, not less, likely to view the sealing as something important and meaningful in itself and not conflate it with a wedding.

  44. Sara L. says:

    I was married in an LDS chapel to my fiancé, who was not a member of the Church, back in 2005. As far as back then, the handbook did not prohibit weddings in the chapel. I remember at the time I had a friend who was very surprised that we were allowed to be married in the chapel. She had grown up in Idaho where apparently that was not done. I also heard about weddings subsequent to mine that had to take place in the cultural hall due to leaders thinking that they were not allowed to have them in the chapel. So, even though the handbook has not prohibited it for a good while, I think it was a bit of a leadership roulette issue. I’m grateful that I was able to be married in the chapel. It was a beautiful ceremony that was attended by all my friends and my husband’s family. It would’ve felt a little bit like a slap in the face if we had been forced to be married in the gym or Relief Society room.

  45. I think Heber J Grant was correct. We do tend to take even our most sacred life events and try to make them more. I personally find it unsettling that baptisms have begun to be equated with a new white baptismal dress, new scriptures, and a party than a sacred commitment to follow God. And of course, the over the top, country club receptions some of our wealthier members throw for their children and having everyone they know at the sealing, do take away from the sacred nature of the actual wedding and sealing. I believe that is why the Church stopped allowing mission farewells to consume sacrament meetings and why they issued guidelines on funerals. (I know one man whose funeral included his horse.) And stopped us from putting on elaborate church parties and pageants. We seem unable to stop turning everything into a Hollywood extravaganza. I lived in a singles ward for a number of years and watched as receptions morphed from cookies and punch that the couple financed to full dinners with a program paid for by the ward members. I did get rather tired of being expected to feed and entertain the bride and groom’s families and friends. And finally quit my Church calling when I was then being asked to wash dishes for hours after the receptions. Although my favorite was when I was asked both to bring food for the guests and give a cash wedding present for people who I only saw once more in my life.

  46. John Taber says:

    From page 95 of Mormon lives: A year in the Elkton Ward by Susan Buhler Taber:

    When we went to Florida to visit [Peter’s] parents, the word came out that nobody could attend the wedding in Washington. His mother hit the ceiling. That was an evening not to forget. He was the only son, Astrid the only daughter. Astrid had to explain what is the big deal. She explained that it is for eternity. They asked Astrid what the requirements were and she told us you have no sex before marriage. I thought, “This religion must be good, a better religion than most.” Then his parents asked me to go to the bishop in Wilmington and ask if there could be a wedding in the church if Peter and Astrid went to the temple later on. His mother wanted a big wedding with everyone attending the ceremony.

    I called Bishop Cross and made an appointment. I said, “Can’t you have the ceremony in the church? You see, in Europe you are married by the judge or the mayor and after that you go to the church of your choice. The civil ceremony is the legal marriage, not the church marriage.” He said, no, that cannot be. He sent Bishop O’Day to the house to explain it, and I think, to patch things up a little. From what he said, I thought, “This is a church that goes on principles rather than for the accommodation of certain people.” I was glad Astrid had found something that was meaningful to her.

    The wedding was in Washington. Romkje and I went to the temple. We sat in the hall; Astrid was inside getting married. We went back to Wilmington for the reception.

    The speaker here, Karel VanderHeyden, joined the Church about three months later.

  47. Janice says:

    I am glad for this change in the policy because I believe it will strengthen family ties and avoid unnecessary heartache. I applaud the First Presidency for making it. President Nelson does seem determined to correct many problems in church practices.
    I do hope it does not result in barefoot forest ceremonies or beach weddings, because they are all the rage at the time. We can be so foolish when we are young. The one thing a structured religious ceremony protected us from is the foolishness of youth and indulgence in the latest romantic fantasy. But I hope if the civil ceremony is the one the Church currently provides bishops, they will make it a little more of a ceremony. I felt so disappointed when it bishop conducted one for a friend. It lacked any beauty in language or advice.

  48. This is a change in policy that will allow families to celebrate weddings while maintaining the sacred nature of the sealing ordinance. It will also make LDS weddings more family friendly and inclusive….which seems (at least to me) to be in accord with the doctrine on the importance of the family. That is not to undermine the importance of the sealing ordinance, but rather a recognition that a shrinking minority of LDS families fall into the traditional, generational, LDS temple worthy category….and weddings are a major life event that deserve to be celebrated by the entire family if at all possible.

    Do I worry about leadership roulette as this change is implemented? Sure, just like anything else. But the reality is that it will likely only cause problems for weddings held in LDS buildings and/or performed by LDS bishops. A couple married civilly elsewhere or by someone other than their bishop have the Handbook on their side, and when that is the case it is usually (although certainly not always) possible to push through roulette-created resistance on policies.

    But cultural pressure is real as well. Look at the mission age change–it was announced as an option, but now (at least in many places), if men are not walking from high school graduation into the MTC at the age of 18, the whispers start. Think about the mission type options. Does anyone really think that there will not be a perceptive hierarchy for many based on a two-year proselyting mission vs. a six-month service mission? The same will likely be true for the civil wedding/sealing vs. all temple decisions. The latter will be considered, by some, as the higher law and greater righteousness.

    I am a little puzzled by the vitriol being expressed against celebrating a marriage. What is wrong with a beach wedding? What is wrong with a big party/reception? It may not be your preference, but there is nothing inherently wrong with such events. Sometimes, I think H.L. Mencken was referring to Mormonism rather than Puritanism when he said that it was “The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.”

    And for those surprised that Heber J. Grant’s preferences were instrumental in creating the original policy, that is the way that many LDS cultural mores and policies originate: the preferences of a particular leader. Just think of single earrings for women, BYU dress and grooming standards, enforcement/interpretation of the Word of Wisdom…..

  49. Not a Cougar says:

    I think my comment got deleted after the edit to the post. Just wanted to add that, while I applaud the change, the breaking news is reopening an old wound for my wife and me (and several others who have since posted). We both regret being married in the temple and excluding a majority of our family and friends. My wife wept bitterly at the announcement (her father sat outside during our ceremony and died soon after) and I just felt a little numb. Ultimately, I’m grateful my kids won’t feel pressured to exclude family when the time comes.

  50. John Taber says:

    I’m still praying about this.

  51. I hear you, Not a Cougar (and sorry for the deletion—it was inadvertent). I’ve experienced and seen similar heartache and frustration in my family—you think you are taking one for the team in the first half only to have the rules change in the second half. I’ve ended up modulating my commitment to various aspects of the program of the church in order to avoid future disappointment, though I don’t know if that’s much of a solution.

  52. I married a Catholic man, and so I didn’t have an option for a temple wedding (which I didn’t want, anyway), but I don’t regret my non-temple wedding one bit. My mother was originally taken aback that I didn’t want to get married by the bishop in my local meetinghouse, but getting married in the Episcopal church where I had been in the choir for years was a much better solution. A traditional-looking church! A wonderful organ and choir! A wedding ceremony that made sense to my husband’s family! I had a lovely wedding, and I’m glad that others will have this chance.

    But I can’t help but feel sad for the many that were harmed by this policy, including my mother. Her father was not a member, and back then women married to nonmember men were not allowed to get temple recommends, and so neither of her parents were allowed at the wedding. That policy wasn’t changed until more than a decade later — my grandmother was able to be there at my aunt’s wedding in 1987, but I think it was a recent change at that point.

  53. DJ, I do not think it is beach weddings or big weddings. It is changing what is supposed to be a shared religious and family celebration and commitment into another parade of wealth and status or following the fad of the day. Most of the young women I know who planned beach weddings had just spent too much of their youth reading Bride magazine. They were committing to a wedding, not a marriage.
    And the people I knew who had big country club receptions made sure their friends knew exactly what the financial cost was. It was another way for them to brag about what they could afford. (One actually told another ward member that if this friend could not afford something like what she was doing, she should just settle for something small and insignificant such as, and then she named another ward nember, had had to have. And another man complained that the food at one reception was not good enough for him and he should not be required to eat such things. A third said she would not be attending the reception at the Church. There was to be a country club breakfast following the wedding and she was not going only to the second tier event. And yes, I live in the San Francisco area. Pride has swallowed us whole. The Saviour never visits,; He would not own a nice enough car or have a valuable enough real estate portfolio to be asked to teach a class.)

  54. Had to laugh at references to pride and the Bay Area. A few years after I moved there, the rich bought small wineries or planted grapes in their back yard in order to serve wine made from their own grapes to impress people. Now I understand it is chickens. People bring fresh eggs with the name of their family stamped on them to show they own enough land to raise them. Pride will find a way to display itself. And chickens allow church members to participate in this vanity parade.
    I am happy for the change, but I do forsee worldly ways creeping in. But then, they were visible in some people’s displays of pride in temple marriages.
    A friend told me about a party she attended where the women began comparing the cars they had just purchased. When one woman was clearly bested, she trumped the bidding by announcing the fur hat her husband gave her for Christmas. I call your Mercedes SUV and raise you a fur hat!

  55. John,

    Keep praying about it. You’ll come around. What other choice do you have really?

  56. A Turtle Named Mack says:

    Pray about it? Did you have a firm testimony of the Divinely appointed 1-year waiting period after a civil ceremony?

  57. Corrado Misseri says:

    I think the church should get out of the business of solemnizing marriages in the temple altogether and stick to sealings. Let Caesar do the weddings and God the sealings.

  58. Troy Cline says:

    John Taber – The heck with your missionary opportunities. Family unity should ALWAYS come before a missionary opportunity. Let a celebratory life occasion be a just that, for pity’s sake. Not everything needs to be a recruitment event for your church.

  59. Anon this time says:

    I have an elderly relative who, each time a grandchild marries, makes one tithing payment and lies to the bishop about her coffee and tea habit so she can get a recommend. I hope this eases the pressure on her and others like her.

  60. Jack Hughes says:

    Kate@6:58: “It is changing what is supposed to be a shared religious and family celebration and commitment into another parade of wealth and status or following the fad of the day.”

    But temple weddings have long been a parade of status–of righteousness and spiritual elitism. Only the most righteous and worthy may attend, all others wait outside. We practically weaponize it. I grew up being taught that it was analogous to the final judgement, when only the righteous endowed and sealed members will be exalted and everyone else will be cut off from the eternal family, left to fend for themselves in the lower kingdoms. I’ve also heard it framed as a “missionary opportunity”, that it will encourage more non-member relatives to join the Church in order to be included.

    My wife and I excluded a number of our relatives and friends from our temple wedding, and I felt righteous in doing so at the time. My future mother-in-law was inactive and still hurting from her divorce. She could have faked her way through a recommend interview, but she had too much integrity to do that. In hindsight, I regret excluding her and others, and it seems so unnecessarily cruel and mean-spirited. It clearly and publicly distinguished who was “in” and who was “out”. As for missionary opportunities, I’m not aware of anyone joining the Church as a result of my wedding; in fact, many of my family members have gone inactive or resigned in the years since. If this new policy had been in effect 15 years ago, I would have gladly opted for a barefoot forest ceremony or something similar, simple and dignified, but unique and special.

  61. I’m in the Bay Area, and the Savior is in our ward every week. We are a loving, accepting bunch, and my daughter enjoyed two ceremonies on the same day to include as many friends and relatives as possible. We are very happy for the change, and hope for even more inclusiveness in the future.