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Church of Jesus Christ Discontinues Time-Only Marriages in Temples

Church of Jesus Christ Discontinues Time-Only Marriages in Temples

A letter from the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced the discontinuation of time-only marriages in Latter-day Saint temples. The full-letter, available in the Letters and Notices section of individual ChurchofJesusChrist.org accounts, states:

Dear Brothers and Sisters, 

A temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the house of the Lord. It is a holy place of worship where individuals make sacred covenants with God and receive promised blessings. These covenants and blessings are eternal in nature. 

Because of the eternal nature of the temple and the work that takes place there, it has been decided that time-only marriages in the temple will no longer be performed. In the case where a couple desires to be married civilly and where a sealing is not contemplated or possible, the couple is encouraged to invite their bishop or stake president—where it is legal—to officiate at the marriage ceremony. 


What Were Time-Only Marriages?

Time-only marriages have their roots in early Church history. As the sealing ordinance was first being unfolded, some couples were sealed to spouses for their earthly lives and then sealed to someone else for eternity.  In modern times, time-only marriages were rare. The General Handbook stated that time-only marriages could take place in the temple only under the following circumstances:

  • The man and the woman are each already sealed to a spouse who is deceased.

  • The man and the woman each have a valid temple recommend and a recommend for living ordinances.

  • Temple marriages are legal marriages in the country where the temple is located.

  • The couple has a valid marriage license.

Thus, time-only marriages acted as a form of civil marriage ceremony inside the temple and required First Presidency approval.

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