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First Presidency Discontinues Time-only Marriages in the Temple

Church Administration Building
Church Administration Building
The exterior of the Church Administration Building in Salt Lake City. Photo by Adam Fondren, courtesy of Church News.Copyright 2021 Deseret News Publishing Company.

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By Scott Taylor, Church News

The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced that time-only marriages in the temple will no longer be performed.

The discontinuance was addressed in a Monday, May 24, letter to General Authorities; General Officers; Area Seventies; stake, mission, district and temple presidents; and bishops and branch presidents.

Time-only marriages in the temple have been reserved for those who have previously been sealed to a spouse who is deceased, according to the Church’s General Handbook (see 27.3.3). They had to meet the same requirements for a temple sealing — including a valid temple recommend for living ordinances and a marriage license. A marriage in the temple for time only was not authorized for members who were in the process of seeking a cancellation of sealing or a sealing clearance, according to the handbook.

Signed by President Russell M. Nelson, President Dallin H. Oaks and President Henry B. Eyring, the letter states:

“A temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the house of the Lord. It is a holy place of worship where individuals make sacred covenants with God and receive promised blessings. These covenants and blessings are eternal in nature.

“Because of the eternal nature of the temple and the work that takes place there, it has been decided that time-only marriages in the temple will no longer be performed. In the case where a couple desires to be married civilly and where a sealing is not contemplated or possible, the couple is encouraged to invite their bishop or stake president — where it is legal — to officiate at the marriage ceremony.”

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