Latter-day Saint couples who already hold temple recommends and who have been married civilly can now be sealed in the temple as soon as their circumstances permit instead of waiting a year as previously required. In a letter dated May 6, 2019, the First Presidency discontinued the policy of requiring a one-year waiting period after civil marriage.
In more than half the countries where the Church is established, local law dictates that a couple must marry civilly before being sealed in the temple.
“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,” wrote the First Presidency. However, where possible, couples are encouraged to be both married and sealed in the temple.
A news release further indicated: “The Church asks that … civil marriage ceremonies be simple and dignified. … The temple sealing should be the central focus of the marriage and provide the spiritual basis on which the couple begins their life together.”
New members may receive their endowment and be sealed in the temple one year after the date of their confirmation. If they are married civilly during that year, they can be sealed one year after the date of their confirmation.
The change in policy should not be interpreted as lessening the emphasis on the temple sealing. “We affirm that the sealing of a man and woman in the temple offers eternal blessings to the couple and their posterity that can be gained in no other way,” the First Presidency wrote. “We encourage all such couples to qualify for sealing ordinances and blessings.”