Couples who are married civilly no longer have to wait a year before being sealed in a temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Church announced Monday.
The policy “sets a single global standard” for the Church, according to a press release. Civil marriage precedes temple marriage in more than half the countries where the Church is present.
The Church still encourages couples to be both civilly married and sealed within the Church’s temples, according to a letter from the Church’s First Presidency, but the policy change offers another option to include family members who may not be able to attend a temple sealing. Only Church members in good standing can enter the temple to witness a sealing.
“We anticipate that this change will provide more opportunities for families to come together in love and unity during the special time of marriage and sealing of a man and woman,” the letter says.
The press release asks for civil marriage ceremonies to be “simple and dignified” and says they can be performed in Church chapels.
“Regardless of location, the temple sealing should be the central focus of the marriage and provide the spiritual basis on which the couple begins life together,” it says.
Temple sealings differ from civil marriage ceremonies in that they unite families after death, according to the Church’s website.
“A husband and wife who are sealed in the temple make sacred covenants with the Lord and with each other. These covenants assure them that their relationship will continue after this life if they remain true to their commitments,” the website says.
This story will be updated.