“How do wedding rings enter into the temple ceremony?” New Era, June 1978, 30–31
Answer/Brother Orville C. Gunther
Temple marriage, the sealing of bride and groom for time and eternity, is a simple, sacred ceremony. Within a beautiful sealing room the couple kneels at the altar while the officiator, who holds the sealing power, performs the ordinance. Family and intimate friends are generally present.
The wedding ring has no part in this sacred ceremony because the placing of a ring upon the finger of husband or wife is strictly a social custom. But because the wedding ring is a natural symbol of the eternal nature of the sacred marriage covenant when performed under the authority of the holy priesthood, the placing of the ring upon the finger is a meaningful tradition and is permitted within the temple.
The prophet Joseph Smith, speaking of the eternal nature of the spirit of man, compared eternity to a ring. He said, “I take my ring from my finger and liken it unto the mind of man—the immortal part, because it has no beginning. Suppose you cut it in two; then it has a beginning and an end; but join it again, and it continues one eternal round. So with the spirit of man.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 354.)
Following the sealing ordinance, the couple is invited to stand away from the altar, facing the officiator, while the rings are exchanged. The officiator explains briefly that the ring ceremony is not a part of the temple ordinance but is an acceptable custom because of the beauty of the symbolism involved. Reference to the statement of Joseph Smith is often made.
Those preparing for temple marriage should understand that the ring is a material adornment, and too much emphasis should not be placed upon it. The groom should not burden himself financially for costly engagement or wedding rings.