“Policies and Procedures,” New Era, June 1971, 19
In keeping with the sacred nature of the temple and the policy of the Church that only those who are worthy may enter therein, the procedure for receiving a temple recommend for a student living away from home or one who has recently returned home is somewhat different and indicates the care and concern that your bishop is charged to exercise in your behalf.
“Recommendation for receiving a temple recommend for a student living away from home may be made either by his home ward bishop (or branch president) or by the bishop (or branch president) who has responsibility for him while he is away from home. However, where a student has been away from home for less than a year, the bishop of the ‘away-from-home ward’ … should make such recommendation” after communication with and approval of the home-ward bishop. “Also, where a student has been away from his home ward for any part of a year, such recommendation should be made by the home ward bishop” after communication with and approval of the away-from-home-ward bishop.
“Young people in student wards and stakes should, as a general rule, be discouraged from going to the temple for their own endowments before marriage or a mission, and they should never go as a group to receive their own endowments.”
Entering the temple is a sacred, personal, and individual matter—it is not a group venture. In fact, it is such a special matter that the Church desires that both your home and away-from-home-ward bishops or branch presidents cooperate in helping you to progress and to prepare yourself for your temple blessings.
Not all Latter-day Saints marry in the temple. Some persons are unable to marry first in the temple because the nearest temple may be far away; others may live in a country that requires a civil marriage before a temple marriage; still others may simply not avail themselves of the temple marriage.
Hence, the question is often asked, Who within the Church can perform the civil marriage? A couple may desire a long-favorite Church member or Church friend to perform the ceremony. In this light, the following policy will be informative:
“Due to the great number of requests received at the Office of the First Presidency for exceptions to the general rule pertaining to those authorized by the Church to perform civil marriages, in the future this authorization will be limited to the following, and exceptions should not be requested:
“1. Stake presidents; 2. Mission presidents; 3. Bishops; 4. In the absence or unavailability of a stake president, mission president, or bishop, the counselor who is the acting presiding authority in the stake, mission, or ward; 5. LDS chaplains; 6. Presidents of independent branches, following authorization from the stake president in each instance; 7. District presidents, branch presidents, and missionaries in missions, following authorization of the mission president in each instance.
“Because of the diversity of laws in the various states, provinces, and countries of the world, it should be determined by each authorized Church officer contemplating the performance of a marriage ceremony that he is authorized by law to perform the ceremony. He should follow strictly the requirements of the law.”
One contemplating a civil marriage can now understand and not be disturbed about why only certain current officers in the Church can perform the ceremony, and why some of the above can perform the ceremony only if a higher authority is unavailable and after special permission is granted.
The ways of the world are many! And for anyone, certainly a marriage day is a day of celebration and great happiness. How do we observe it most appropriately? There are many ways that fall in the area of good taste, but the Brethren have counseled us on some ways that are not in good taste:
“… young people and their families should be told that there must be no rice thrown on or around the temple grounds. Furthermore, it should be made clear that it is improper to deface or decorate automobiles that are to be parked near the temple. Honking horns and dragging objects behind automobiles are also violations of good taste in the proximity of the temple. Such customs are not in keeping with the sacredness of the temple marriage ordinance.”