If my own family couldn’t be at my wedding, I didn’t want anyone else to be there either. With a new global standard, Church policy now allows couples to be sealed in the temple immediately after they’re married civilly.
Up until a few weeks ago, I wanted to elope. Not because I didn’t want to deal with wedding planning (though I don’t), not because I didn’t want to deal with the costs (though I don’t want to do that either), and not because I’m wild and nobody would approve (though maybe I am and maybe they wouldn’t). I wanted to elope because I didn’t want a single guest at my wedding.
Here’s why: members of my family have different or no religious affiliations, and without temple recommends signifying their standing as active members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, not all of my family would be able to attend my temple wedding. While I could get married civilly in a ceremony open to everybody, I would then have to wait a year before getting sealed in the temple, according to previous Church policy. Neither option seemed particularly desirable.
So I had a better idea—or maybe just a bitter idea: If my own mother and sisters couldn’t be at my temple wedding, why should anyone else get to be? I could elope and, in an effort to not exclude anybody, exclude everybody.
But on May 6, 2019, the First Presidency made an announcement: “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.”
Now everybody can attend my wedding, and I can still be sealed on my wedding day. For me and my family, this change allows us to experience one of life’s most special moments together—without delaying covenants. And that’s why I’m not eloping anymore.
For more details about the new policy, read the full announcement.
—Anna Rose Smith, Mormon Insights
FEATURE IMAGE BY DYLAN NOLTE
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