New Policy Prioritizes Family Time at Temples
Contributed By Marianne Holman Prescott, Church News staff writer
- Families will soon be able to schedule a time at their temple to do baptisms or sealings together.
“We still want the youth to come on their own—especially with their own names—but also to come with their family. It is another enhancement to their experience.” —Elder Kent F. Richards, Executive Director of the Temple Department
All temples around the world will soon have a designated “family temple time” to encourage and accommodate families attending the temple together.
Although a crowded baptistry is a wonderful sight—especially when thinking about the many proxy ordinances being performed—the long lines can make it difficult for families to participate together in ordinances for their ancestors.
“Temples are so busy with youth—which is wonderful—but it makes it difficult for families to get in without a long wait,” said Elder Kent F. Richards, Executive Director of the Temple Department.
Proxy baptisms are normally done on a first-come, first-served basis, with no appointment necessary. Although families are welcome anytime, the new family temple time allows families to make an appointment ahead of time—during the designated block of time determined by each temple individually.
“We are encouraging families to call the temples to make an appointment so they will be able to go right in to the baptistry,” said Elder Richards. “They will have an opportunity to go at their scheduled time without a long wait.”
This will make it easier for families to perform baptisms together in the temple, said Elder Richards. “We still want the youth to come on their own—especially with their own names—but also to come with their family. It is another enhancement to their experience.”
Elder Richards made the announcement during the RootsTech Family Discovery Day on February 14. The instruction has already gone out to all temple presidents, who are working on designating times for their temples.
“Patrons just need to check on ChurchofJesusChrist.org to find the days and times designated for families at their temple and call for an appointment,” the Church leader said.
Some temples have already started scheduling family appointments, and others will be implementing the change over the next few months. Patrons can look to their temple’s website to learn how their area will apply the change. Temples will still accept ward and stake appointments to accommodate youth groups coming together.
Although family names are not required for a family to attend together, Church leaders have encouraged families to find their own ancestors who are in need of necessary ordinances. Not only is it linking families together eternally, it strengthens families who perform the ordinances.
“When their dad is in the font with them and their mother is getting baptized for their ancestors and it is a family experience—that is really going to put the icing on the cake,” Elder Richards said.
“We have taken our grandchildren to do baptisms, and we have regular family sealing sessions where we go with our married children and do sealings of our family names. It’s wonderful. We just love the experience of being there together in a sacred place with a beautiful spirit. We feel connected to our family much more than ever before.”
Visit ChurchofJesusChrist.org/temples to see local designated family priority time.