The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is ending a practice of performing civil-only weddings in its temples.

Weddings known as “time-only marriages,” to differentiate them from “eternal marriages,” now will be conducted only outside of the 168 temples operated by the church, which is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Most temple marriages are sealings, a specific religious rite or ordinance that joins a husband and wife together with their children in an eternal family unit. These now will be the sole focus of temple unions. Sealings are intended to bind spouses and their families together for both “time” — this life — and eternity.

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“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,” the First Presidency announced in a letter to general authorities, general officers, Area Seventies, bishops and presidents of stakes, missions, districts, temples and branches.

The letter was signed by Presidents Russell M. Nelson, Dallin H. Oaks and Henry B. Eyring.

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Time-only marriages in Latter-day Saint temples had been restricted to a widow and widower who previously were sealed to spouses who subsequently died, according to the church’s General Handbook. Time-only marriages, then, are timed to end when life does, with each partner’s previous marriage sealings still in place for eternity.

Those marriages had represented a small number of marriages performed in temples. For example, no time-only marriages were performed during the three-year administration of one recently released temple president, he told the Deseret News.

“At best, we had two in three years,” said another former temple president, Blaine Bushman, who presided at the Lubbock Texas Temple from 2017-2020.

Monday’s 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.

Sincerely yours,

Russell M. Nelson

Dallin H. Oaks

Henry B. Eyring

The First Presidency

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