A bishop should consult with his stake president if he has questions about temples and temple work that are not answered in this section. The stake president may direct questions to the Office of the First Presidency.
Preparing to Receive Temple Ordinances
Temple ordinances and covenants are sacred. Members who enter a temple should be worthy and should understand the purposes and eternal significance of temples. They also should understand the solemn and sacred responsibilities they assume as they participate in temple ordinances and make covenants.
Temple Preparation Seminar
The bishop organizes and oversees temple preparation seminars for new members, less-active members, and endowed members who have not renewed their recommends for an extended time. The purpose of these seminars is to help members prepare to receive the ordinances and blessings of the temple. The high priests group leader and elders quorum president assist the bishop. Instructions are provided on page 264 in Book 2 and in Endowed from on High: Temple Preparation Seminar Teacher's Manual.
Temple Orientation Class
Members who will soon receive their own endowment should be invited to a one-session temple orientation class. The stake presidency assigns one or two high councilors to provide this orientation using the Temple Media Kit. Generally, members attend this orientation after attending a temple preparation seminar in their wards.
Making Plans to Go to a Temple
Each stake and mission is included in a temple district. Members may go to any temple, but leaders should encourage them to go to the temple in their own district. Group visits to temples outside the assigned temple district are discouraged.
Endowment, Marriage, or Sealing
Members who are planning to go to a temple for their own endowment, marriage, or sealing should contact temple officials in advance to schedule the ordinances. They also may wish to read A Member's Guide to Temple and Family History Work, which contains additional information about specific preparations for temple ordinances.
Baptisms and Confirmations for the Dead
Before taking a group to a temple to be baptized and confirmed for the dead, the bishop or stake president (or someone under his direction) makes arrangements with temple officials. The bishop assigns at least one adult to accompany each group. These adults should have valid temple recommends and be the same gender as members of the group. If brethren are needed to officiate in the baptistry, they must be endowed. They do not need to be set apart as temple ordinance workers. Priests and unendowed elders may not officiate.
Quotas for Temple Attendance
Priesthood leaders encourage members to set personal goals for temple attendance and to go to the temple as often as circumstances allow. However, leaders should not set quotas for temple attendance for wards and stakes or for individual members. Nor should leaders establish reporting systems for temple attendance.
If members will need translation assistance in a temple, they should contact temple officials in advance to ensure that needed assistance is available.
Child Care at Temples
Temples are equipped to care only for children who come to be sealed to parents or to witness sealings of living brothers and sisters. Other children should not be brought to a temple.
Recommends to Enter a Temple
A member who is eight or older must have a valid recommend to enter a temple. A valid recommend admits a member to all temples. The three types of temple recommends are listed below:
General Guidelines for Issuing Recommends
Authorized Church officers conduct worthiness interviews for temple recommends as outlined in the temple recommend binder. Church officers are responsible to see that no unworthy person enters the house of the Lord.
In Wards and Stakes
The bishop, or his counselors as authorized by him, interviews and issues temple recommends to worthy ward members. The bishop personally interviews members who (1) are preparing to receive their own endowment, (2) are planning to be married in a temple, and (3) have not lived in the ward continuously for at least one year. Only in the most urgent cases when he is absent may he authorize one of his counselors to issue recommends in these circumstances.
Following the interview by a member of the bishopric, a member of the stake presidency interviews the person and signs the recommend if the person is worthy. The stake president personally interviews members who are receiving their own endowment and members who are planning to be married in a temple.
The branch president interviews and issues temple recommends to worthy branch members. Following this interview, a member of the mission presidency interviews the person and signs the recommend if the person is worthy The mission president personally interviews members who are receiving their own endowment and members who are planning to be married in a temple. The district president does not interview members for temple recommends.
Mission presidents issue recommends to returning missionaries as instructed on page 87 and in the Mission President's Handbook.
In Isolated Areas
A temple president may interview and sign a recommend for a member who lives in an isolated area that would require unusual travel expense or difficulty for the member to meet with a member of the stake or mission presidency. The temple president first confers with the stake or mission president. In these cases, the bishop already should have interviewed the member and signed the recommend. This policy applies also to members in the military who are in isolated areas and have been interviewed by the bishop of their home ward or the ward that supports their duty station.
A temple president may interview and sign a recommend for a member who lives outside an organized stake or mission. No other interview is needed.
Members Who Have Not Lived in the Same Ward for at Least One Year
If a member has not lived in the same ward continuously for at least one year, the bishop contacts the prior bishop to certify the member's worthiness before interviewing the member for a temple recommend. This includes members of young single adult Wards, single adult wards, and student wards. It also applies to members who seek limited-use recommends (except new converts).
Newly Baptized Members
A waiting period of at least one full year after baptism and confirmation is required before a worthy adult may be endowed. Only the First Presidency may authorize exceptions. During a person's first year of membership, the bishopric may issue a limited-use recommend for baptisms and confirmations for the dead according to the guidelines on page 68.
Members Receiving Their Own Endowment
Instructions for issuing a recommend to a person who is receiving his or her own endowment are in the temple recommend binder. A man must hold the Melchizedek Priesthood to receive his temple endowment.
Most single members will be interviewed for a recommend for their own endowment when they are called as missionaries or when they are to be married in a temple. Worthy single members who have not received their endowment in connection with a mission or marriage may become eligible for a recommend interview when the bishop and the stake president determine that they are sufficiently mature to understand and keep the sacred covenants made in a temple. Such eligibility should be determined individually for each person rather than using routine criteria such as reaching a certain age or leaving home for college or employment.
A worthy member who is married to an unendowed spouse, whether the spouse is a member or nonmember, may receive a recommend when (1) the bishop receives the written consent of the spouse and (2) the bishop and stake president are satisfied that the responsibility assumed with the endowment will not impair marital harmony.
Unendowed Prospective Missionaries
Bishops should not issue temple recommends to young, unendowed prospective missionaries until they have received a mission call from the President of the Church.
Missionaries Serving in Temples
A temple president may issue renewal recommends to temple missionaries who are called to work in a temple outside their local unit boundaries. No other interview is needed.
Members Who Have Disabilities
Endowment. Members who have physical disabilities may receive their own endowment.
Melchizedek Priesthood holders and sisters who have mental disabilities may receive their own endowment if the bishop determines that they have sufficient mental capacity to understand it and to make and keep the associated covenants. If the member lives with his or her parents, the bishop counsels with them.
Sealing to Parents. Persons with mental disabilities who are eight or older and are sufficiently accountable must be baptized before being sealed to their parents. Those who are not accountable do not need to be baptized before being sealed. Bishops refer questions about specific cases to the stake president, who may refer the questions to the First Presidency.
Members older than 21 who do not have sufficient mental capacity to understand the endowment may be sealed to parents without being endowed.
Work for the Dead. Members who have disabilities may do temple work for the dead if they (1) have sufficient mental capacity to understand the ordinance and (2) can care for themselves without help or are accompanied by relatives or friends who can provide the help needed.
Blind Members. Blind members should have members of the same gender accompany and assist them. Guide dogs are not permitted in temples.
Issuing Recommends in Special Circumstances
After Divorce, Separation, or Annulment
If a member has been divorced or legally separated or has had a marriage annulled, the bishop and stake president carefully interview him or her in the first subsequent temple recommend interview. They also review events that led to the breakdown of the marriage. If the member has not committed serious transgression, a temple recommend may be issued according to the usual procedure.
Members Who Have Been Readmitted by Baptism after Excommunication or Name Removal
Members Who Were Not Previously Endowed. After baptism, these members may be issued limited-use recommends to do baptisms and confirmations for the dead as outlined on page 68. There is no waiting period. Brethren must be ordained to the priesthood before they may be issued limited-use recommends.
These members may not be issued recommends to receive their own endowment until one full year after their baptism.
Members Who Were Previously Endowed. These members may not be issued recommends, including limited-use recommends, until their temple blessings are restored through the ordinance of restoration of blessings (see pages 106-7).
Members Who Have Committed a Serious Transgression
A member who has committed a serious transgression may not receive a temple recommend until he or she has repented. The waiting period between the transgression and the issuing of a recommend is left to the bishop's discretion. It should be sufficient to determine that the person has genuinely repented.
Members Who Have Undergone a Transsexual
A member who has undergone an elective transsexual operation may not receive a temple recommend.
Members Whose Close Relatives Belong to Apostate Groups
Bishops and their counselors must take exceptional care when issuing recommends to members whose parents or other close relatives belong to or sympathize with apostate groups. Such members must demonstrate clearly that they repudiate these apostate religious teachings before they may be issued a recommend.
Issuing Limited-Use Recommends
The bishop, or his counselors as authorized by him, may issue limited-use recommends to worthy unendowed members as follows:
When issuing a limited-use recommend, a member of the bishopric interviews the person individually. A member of the stake presidency does not interview the person if the recommend is being issued only for baptisms and confirmations for -the dead.
The bishopric may issue limited-use recommends for groups or individuals. When issuing a recommend to an individual, the member of the bishopric cuts away or crosses out the additional lines on the recommend so other names cannot be added.
Limited-Use Recommends for Baptisms and Confirmations for the Dead
Members ages 12 through 20 are normally listed as a group on a limited-use recommend if they are going as a group to be baptized and confirmed for the dead. Group recommends are used for only one temple visit. They are left at the temple, where they are destroyed.
Members ages 12 through 20 may be issued individual limited-use recommends that they retain if they are frequently baptized and confirmed for the dead. If parents take children ages 12 through 20 to do baptisms for the dead, children in the same family may be listed on one recommend.
Limited-use recommends that are issued to unendowed members who are 21 or older or who are married must be individual recommends. These recommends may be used only to perform baptisms and confirmations for the dead.
For information about scheduling baptisms and confirmations for the dead, see page 63.
Limited-Use Recommends for Sealing Living
Children to Parents
Single members ages 8 through 20 are issued limited-use recommends to be sealed to their parents or to observe the sealing of their living brothers and sisters to their parents. Recommends may be issued for individual children or for a group of children in the same family. The same recommend may be used to list children who are being sealed and children who are observing. Children under 8 do not need recommends for these purposes. Members who are married or are 21 or older must receive their own endowment before they can be sealed to their parents or observe the sealing of living brothers and sisters to their parents.
The approval of the First Presidency is necessary to issue limited-use recommends to children and youth to observe the sealings of stepbrothers and stepsisters to parents. No special approvals are necessary to issue limited-use recommends to adopted brothers and sisters, half-brothers and sisters, and full brothers and sisters who wish to observe sealings of living children to parents.
Lost or Stolen Recommends
The bishop should ask members to notify him promptly if a recommend is lost or stolen. Procedures for reporting lost or stolen recommends are in the temple recommend binder.
Unworthy Recommend Holders
If the bishop determines that a member who has a valid recommend is unworthy, he immediately requests the recommend from the member. If the member refuses to return it, the bishop notifies the stake president at once. The stake president informs temple officials in his temple district according to instructions in the temple recommend binder.
Temple Clothing and Garments
Clothing to Wear to a Temple
Members who go to a temple should wear clothing that is suitable for the house of the Lord. They should avoid wearing casual clothes, sports attire, and ostentatious jewelry.
Obtaining Temple Clothing and Garments
Members change to white clothing in a temple to participate in the ordinances. Temple clothing is available for purchase at clothing distribution centers located near many of the temples. Many temples also have temple clothing available for rent. If a temple does not have rental clothing, members need to bring temple clothing with them.
Temples that have rental clothing furnish it to full-time missionaries without charge when missionaries receive their own endowment and while they are in missionary training centers.
The distribution and sale of garments requires the authorization of the First Presidency. Garments are available in a variety of styles and fabrics. They may be purchased at clothing distribution centers or by mail order from these centers in some areas. Members who have special needs may contact a clothing distribution center about special orders.
When necessary, bishops and stake presidents should instruct members in how to purchase temple clothing and garments. Assistant stake and ward clerks may help provide this instruction and help members order the clothing (see pages 283-84 in Book 2).
Making Temple Clothing
Members may make temple clothing for themselves or a family member if they are endowed or have received a temple recommend to receive their own endowment. Instructions are provided in the Instructions for Making Temple Clothing booklet, which is available to stake Relief Society presidents through the Temple Department or the area office. Members who make their own temple clothing should do so under the direction of the stake Relief Society president.
Members may not make their own temple garments.
Clothing to Wear for a Temple Marriage
See page 71.
Wearing and Caring for the Garment
Church members who have been clothed with the garment in a temple are obligated to wear it according to the instructions given in the endowment. When issuing temple recommends, priesthood leaders should teach the importance of wearing the garment properly. Leaders also emphasize the blessings that are related to this sacred privilege. These blessings are conditioned on worthiness and faithfulness in keeping temple covenants.
The garment provides a constant reminder of the covenants made in a temple. When properly worn, it provides protection against temptation and evil. Wearing the garment is also an outward expression of an inward commitment to follow the Savior.
Endowed members should wear the temple garment both day and night. They should not remove it, either entirely or partially, to work in the yard or for other activities that can reasonably be done with the garment worn properly beneath the clothing. Nor should they remove it to lounge around the home in swimwear or immodest clothing. When they must remove the garment, such as for swimming, they should put it back on as soon as possible.
Members should not adjust the garment or wear it contrary to instructions in order to accommodate different styles of clothing. When two-piece garments are used, both pieces should always be worn.
The garment is sacred and should be treated with respect at all times. Members should keep their garments clean and mended. They should not alter the garment from its authorized design. Nor should they display it or expose it to the view of those who do not understand its significance.
Members should be guided by these principles and the Holy Spirit to answer for themselves personal questions about wearing and caring for the garment.
Garments and Temple Clothing for Members Who Have Disabilities
For members who are bedfast or who have severe physical disabilities, necessary adjustments may be made in wearing the garment. If recommended by a member's bishop, a garment designed like a hospital gown is available by special order for those who are bedfast.
Shorter temple robes are available to meet the needs of members who are in wheelchairs.
Wearing the Garment in the Military
See page 122.
Disposing of Garments and Temple Clothing
To dispose of worn-out temple garments, members should cut out and destroy the marks. Members then cut up the remaining fabric so it cannot be identified as a garment. Once the marks are removed, the fabric is not considered sacred.
To dispose of worn-out temple clothing, members should burn it or alter it so the original use cannot be recognized.
Members may give garments and temple clothing that are in good condition to other worthy endowed members. The bishop can help identify those who might need such clothing. Under no circumstances should members give garments or temple clothing to Deseret Industries, bishops' storehouses, or charities.
Temple Burial Clothing
Where possible, endowed members should be buried in temple clothing when they die. Where cultural traditions or burial practices make this inappropriate or difficult, the clothing may be folded and placed next to the body in the casket.
Only members who have been endowed may be buried in temple clothing. An endowed person who stopped wearing the garment before his or her death may be buried in temple clothing if the family so requests. An endowed person who has committed suicide may be buried in temple clothing. However, persons whose blessings have not been restored after excommunication or name removal may not be buried in temple clothing.
Temple clothing that is used for burial need not be new, but it should be clean. The member's own temple clothing may be used.
Bishops and Relief Society presidents should know what temple clothing is available for burial and how to dress a deceased member in temple clothing.
A member who is to be buried in temple clothing may be dressed by an endowed family member of the same gender. If a family member is not available, the bishop assigns an endowed man to dress a deceased man. The bishop asks the Relief Society president to assign an endowed woman to dress a deceased woman. Guidelines for dressing deceased members are provided in Instructions for Clothing the Dead Who Have Received Their Endowments. Leaders may obtain these instructions from Church distribution centers.
In some areas only a licensed funeral director or in employee of the director is allowed to handle a deceased body. In these cases, an endowed family member or an endowed person who is assigned by the bishop or Relief Society president should ensure that the clothing has been properly placed on the body.
Although the Church does not normally encourage cremation, the body of an endowed member who is being cremated should be dressed in temple clothing if possible.
In areas where temple clothing may be difficult to obtain in time for burial, stake presidents should keep on hand at least two complete sets of medium-sized clothing, one for a man and one for a woman.
If temple clothing is not available, a deceased endowed member is clothed for burial in the garment and other suitable clothing.
Church leaders encourage members to qualify for temple marriage and to be married in a temple. Where temple marriage is not possible because of personal circumstances or legal requirements, leaders may perform civil marriages as outlined on pages 71-72.
A couple who are planning to be married must obtain a legal marriage license that is valid in the place where the marriage is to be performed.
The purpose of a temple marriage, referred to in the scriptures as "the new and everlasting covenant of marriage" (D&C 131:2), is to seal a husband and wife for time and eternity, faithfulness. depending on their faithfulness. Through this ordinance, a couple's children may also be part of their eternal family. Only a marriage that has been sealed in the temple and confirmed by the Holy Spirit of Promise can be eternal (see D&C 132:7).
A man and woman must each be endowed before they may be married and sealed in a temple. They must each have a valid Recommend for Living ordinances and a valid temple recommend.
Who Performs a Temple Marriage
Bishops and stake presidents encourage members to have temple sealers perform their marriages rather than asking General Authorities.
Who May Attend a Temple Marriage
Only members who have valid recommends and have . received their endowment may attend a temple marriage. Couples should invite only family members and close friends to be present for a temple marriage.
Appropriate Dress for a Temple Marriage
Brides' Dresses. All dresses that are worn in the temple should be white, long-sleeved, modest in design and fabric, and free of elaborate ornamentation. Sheer fabric should be lined. Women's pants are not permitted in the temple. Brides' dresses should not have a train unless the train can be removed for the temple ceremony.
The bishop should review these requirements for temple wedding dresses with each bride and her parents before they make or purchase the wedding dress. He also might share this information with the Relief Society and Young Women presidents.
Formal Wear and Flowers. Tuxedos, dinner jackets, cummerbunds, formal headwear, and boutonnieres and other flowers are not appropriate in a sealing room or during a sealing ceremony. This applies not only to those who are being sealed, but also to their guests. If desired, formal wear and flowers may be worn outside for photographs after the ceremony.
Wedding Guests. Couples should not ask their wedding guests to dress in white unless the sealing room must be entered through the celestial room. Members who come to a wedding directly from an endowment session may wear ordinance clothing.
Exchanging Rings after a Temple Marriage
Exchanging rings is not part of the temple marriage ceremony. However, couples may exchange rings after the ceremony in the room where the ceremony takes place. To avoid confusion with the marriage ceremony, couples should not exchange rings at any other time or place in a temple or on temple grounds. However, after their temple marriage, a couple may exchange rings at locations other than the temple. If such an exchange is made, the circumstances should be consistent with the dignity of their temple marriage. The exchange should not appear to replicate any part of the marriage ceremony, and the couple should not exchange vows.
Special Meeting for Guests, Who Do Not Have Temple Recommends
A couple may arrange with their bishop to hold a special meeting for relatives and friends who do not have temple recommends. This meeting provides an opportunity for those who cannot enter a temple to feel included in the marriage and to learn something of the eternal nature of the marriage covenant. The meeting may include a prayer and special music, followed by the remarks of a priesthood leader. No ceremony is performed, and no vows are exchanged.
No other marriage ceremony should be performed following a temple marriage.
Marriage in a Temple for Time Only
Couples may be married in a temple "for time only" if all the following requirements are met:
When temple marriage is not possible because of personal circumstances or legal requirements, leaders may perform civil marriages as outlined below. A civil marriage does not endure beyond mortal life.
Civil marriages should be performed in accordance with the laws in the place where the marriage is performed.
Civil marriages and related religious ceremonies should not be performed on Sunday or at unusual hours.
Who May Perform a Civil Marriage
Members who are planning a civil marriage may invite any of the following presiding officers of their Church units to perform the marriage ceremony if civil law authorizes him to do so: stake president, mission president, bishop, or branch president. An LDS military chaplain on active duty may also perform the ceremony. Unless contrary to legal requirements, a Church officer may perform a marriage for a member of his unit outside the boundaries of that unit.
Those who have been released from these offices may not perform marriages. Other Church officers are not authorized to perform civil marriages.
Civil Marriage for Members from Other Units
Church officers, except LDS military chaplains who are on active duty, may not perform marriages for Church members when neither marriage partner belongs to the Church unit over which the officer presides. Any exceptions require the approval of the First Presidency in each case.
Civil Marriage for Nonmembers
Authorized Church officers may perform marriages for nonmembers without receiving special approval.
Where to Perform Civil Marriages
Civil marriages are preferably performed in the home of a family member or in a Church building rather than at a commercial wedding chapel or other public place. Marriages in a Church building may be performed in the chapel, the cultural hall, or another suitable room. The person who performs the ceremony determines the location.
Civil Marriages That Must Be Performed by a Public
Official or in a Public Place
Some areas require that a marriage ceremony be performed by a public official. Some require that the ceremony be performed in a public building or another public place. In these cases, the temple sealing necessarily follows the civil marriage as soon as possible (see "Sealing after Civil Marriage," page 74). If the couple will not be sealed, the bishop or stake president may conduct a brief religious ceremony after the civil marriage. In this ceremony he gives counsel to the couple and gives Church recognition to their marriage. The instructions in this section on the use of Church buildings and the simplicity of ceremonies should be followed.
Civil Marriage Ceremony
Civil marriage ceremonies should be simple, conservative, and in harmony with the sacredness of the marriage covenants. There should be no extravagance in decorations or pomp in the proceedings. Video recorders and cameras may not be used in the chapel. For suggestions about music for civil weddings, see page 290 in Book 2.
Before performing a civil marriage, a Church officer may counsel the couple on the sacred nature of the marriage covenant and may add other counsel as the Spirit directs.
To perform a civil marriage, a Church officer addresses the couple and says, "Please take each other by the right hand." He then says, "[Bridegroom's full name and bride's full name], you have taken one another by the right hand in token of the covenants you will now enter into in the presence of God and these witnesses." (The couple may choose or nominate these witnesses.)
The officer then addresses the bridegroom and asks, "[Bridegroom's full name], do you take [bride's full name] as your lawfully wedded wife, and do you of your own free will and choice covenant as her companion and lawfully wedded husband that you will cleave unto her and none else; that you will observe all the laws, covenants, and obligations pertaining to the holy state of matrimony; and that you will love, honor, and cherish her as long as you both shall live?"
The bridegroom answers, "Yes" or "I do."
The Church officer then addresses the bride and asks, "[Bride's full name], do you take [bridegroom's full name] as your lawfully wedded husband, and do you of your own free will and choice covenant as his companion and lawfully wedded wife that you will cleave unto him and none else; that you will observe all the laws, covenants, and obligations pertaining to the holy state of matrimony, and that you will love, honor, and cherish him as long as you both shall live?"
The bride answers, "Yes" or "I do."
The Church officer then addresses the couple and says, "By virtue of the legal authority vested in me as an elder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I pronounce you, [bridegroom's name] and [bride's name], husband and wife, legally and lawfully wedded for the period of your mortal lives.
"May God bless your union with joy in your posterity and a long life of happiness together, and may He enable you to keep sacred the covenants you have made. These blessings I invoke upon you in the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ, amen.
"You may kiss each other as husband and wife."
A Church officer who performs civil marriages in his Church capacity may not accept fees.
A Church officer who performs a civil marriage for members must send to the bishop(s) of the home ward(s) of those he has married a letter with all information needed to update membership records. He also must comply fully with legal requirements for reporting and record keeping.
Marriage after a Spouse's Death or after a Divorce or Annulment
A member who has been sealed to a spouse may remarry after the spouse's death or following a divorce or annulment. A member's divorce proceedings must be final according to law before he or she may remarry.
Worthy members in these circumstances may also be sealed according to the guidelines under "Sealing Policies" on this page.
A wedding reception may be held in a Church building if it does not disrupt the schedule of regular Church functions. However, these receptions may not be held in the chapel unless it is a multipurpose area. Receptions should not be held on Sundays or on Monday evenings.
Those in charge of the reception are responsible for cleaning the areas of the building they use.
Sealing ordinances include covenants that can bind families together for eternity. These ordinances include (1) sealing of a husband and wife and (2) sealing of children to parents.
Stake presidents should contact the Office of the First Presidency or the temple in their temple district for guidance in special circumstances related to sealings that are not covered in these instructions.
Sealing of a Husband and Wife
A living woman may be sealed to only one husband. If she is sealed to a husband and later divorced, she must receive a cancellation of that sealing from the First Presidency before she may be sealed to another man in her lifetime (see "Applying for a Cancellation of Sealing or a Sealing Clearance" on this page).
A deceased woman may be sealed to all men to whom she was legally married during her life. However, if she was sealed to a husband during her life, all her husbands must be deceased before she can be sealed to a husband to whom she was not sealed during life.
If a husband and wife have been sealed and the wife dies, the man may have another woman sealed to him if she is not already sealed.
If a husband and wife have been sealed and later divorced, the man must receive a sealing clearance from the First Presidency before another woman may be sealed to him (see "Applying for a Cancellation of Sealing or a Sealing Clearance" on this page). A sealing clearance is necessary even if the previous sealing has been canceled.
A deceased man may have sealed to him all women to whom he was legally married during his life if they are deceased or if they are living and not sealed to another man.
Applying for a Cancellation of Sealing or a Sealing Clearance
When a woman has been sealed and divorced, she may apply for a cancellation of the previous sealing. The bishop and stake president submit an Application to the First Presidency form to seek this cancellation.
When a man has been divorced from a woman who was sealed to him and is worthy and prepared to have another woman sealed to him, he may apply for a sealing clearance. The bishop and stake president submit an Application to the First Presidency form to seek this clearance.
The Application to the First Presidency form is available from the Office of the First Presidency in the United States and Canada. It is available from the Area Presidency in other areas. Instructions are on the form. The stake president should not submit it until the divorce is final and all legal issues relating to the divorce have been resolved.
Removing a Restriction against Temple Sealing
If a person who has been sealed to a spouse commits adultery, he or she may not be sealed to the partner in the adultery unless:
Sealing after Civil Marriage
A husband and wife who were married outside a temple may be sealed after one full year from the time of the civil marriage. However, this one-year waiting period does not apply to worthy couples in the following cases:
Worthy couples who were married in a civil ceremony and have been members of the Church for at least one year may receive their own endowment and participate in all other temple ordinances except their marriage sealing any time within the year following civil marriage.
Only the First Presidency may grant exceptions to the preceding policies. The stake president may seek an exception if it appears to be justified. The couple should not go to a temple to be sealed unless they are notified that the First Presidency has granted an exception.
When issuing recommends to a couple for sealing after a civil marriage, priesthood leaders should be sure the civil marriage was valid.
Sealing after Temple Marriage for Time Only
A couple who were married in a temple for time only may later be sealed if the woman receives a cancellation of her previous sealing from the First Presidency. If the husband was previously divorced from a woman who was sealed to him, he must receive a sealing clearance from the First Presidency before the couple may be sealed.
A worthy couple may be sealed any time after receiving the letter(s) from the First Presidency notifying them that the cancellation or clearance was granted. The couple must present the letter(s) at the temple in which they will be sealed. There is a one-year waiting period from the time of the marriage if the request for cancellation of sealing or sealing clearance was submitted to the First Presidency after the marriage was performed.
Deceased Couples Who Were Divorced
Deceased couples who were divorced may be sealed by proxy. These sealings often provide the only way for children of such couples to be sealed to parents. See page 76 for a restriction if either the husband or wife was excommunicated or had his or her name removed from Church membership records at the time of death.
Effects of Excommunication or Name Removal
After a husband and wife have been sealed in a temple, if one of them is excommunicated or has his or her name removed from Church membership records' his or her temple blessings are revoked. However, the sealing blessings of the innocent spouse or children are not affected (see page 76).
Sealing Children to Parents
Children Who Are Born in the Covenant
Children who are born after their mother has been sealed to a husband in a temple are born in the covenant of that sealing. They do not need to receive the ordinance of sealing to parents. Being born in the covenant entities children to an eternal parentage, depending on their faithfulness. However, it does not guarantee that children will be sealed to their natural parents if the parents are not faithful.
If a woman who has been sealed to a former husband remarries, the children of her later marriage are born in the covenant of the first marriage unless they were born after the sealing was canceled or after it was revoked due to excommunication or name removal.
Children Who Were Not Born in the Covenant
Children who were not born in the covenant can become part of an eternal family by being sealed to their natural or adoptive parents. These children receive the same right to blessings as if they had been born in the covenant.
A child may be sealed only to two parents-a husband and wife-and not to one parent only.
Members who are married or are 21 or older must receive their own endowment before they may be sealed to their parents or observe the sealing of living brothers and sisters to their parents.
Adopted or Foster Children Who Are Living
Living children who are Born in the covenant or have been sealed to parents cannot be sealed to any other parents.
Living children who have been legally adopted and were neither born in the covenant nor sealed to former parents may be sealed to their adoptive parents after the adoption is final. A copy of the final adoption decree or the revised birth certificate should be presented at the temple. There is no obligation to identify the natural parents of these children.
A living unmarried child under 21 who was not born in the covenant or sealed previously, and who has not been adopted, may be sealed to one natural parent and a stepparent if (1) the other natural parent has given signed consent and (2) the natural parent to whom the child is being sealed has legal custody of the child. The signed consent must (1) name the child and the parents to whom the child will be sealed and (2) be presented at the temple. If other natural parent is deceased or missing, and if reasonable efforts to find the parent have failed, no consent is required. The temple president can approve the sealing to be completed subject to future review.
A court decree granting legal custody is not sufficient clearance for a sealing. The consent or permission mentioned in the preceding paragraphs is necessary.
A living endowed member who is over 21 or is married and was not born in the covenant and has not been sealed to parents may be sealed either (1) to natural parents or (2) to one natural parent and a stepparent if the natural mother and father are not sealed to each other.
First Presidency approval is necessary for a living member to be sealed to foster parents. This requirement applies even if the natural parents of the foster child are unknown and cannot be identified by reasonable effort. Priesthood leaders may assist members in making these requests.
Adopted or Foster Children Who Are Deceased
A deceased adopted person usually is sealed to his or her adoptive parents.
A deceased foster child usually is sealed to his or her natural parents.
Children Who Were Born out of Wedlock
A living child who was born out of wedlock may be sealed to both natural parents without special approval after the parents have been sealed in a temple.
A living child who was born out of wedlock may be sealed to one natural parent and a stepparent when at least one of the following conditions applies:
Children conceived by artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization are born in the covenant if their parents are already sealed. If the children are born before their parents are sealed, they may be sealed to their parents after their parents are sealed to each other.
Status of Children When a Sealing Is Canceled or Revoked
Children who are born in the covenant or sealed to their parents remain so even if the sealing of the parents is later (1) canceled or (2) revoked by the excommunication or name removal of either parent. Children who are born after their parents' sealing is canceled or revoked are not born in the covenant. These children need to be sealed to their parents after their parents' blessings are restored (if applicable) and any other obstacles are removed.
Temple Ordinances for the Dead
Generally, members may perform temple ordinances for deceased persons one year or more after the date of death without regard to the person's worthiness or cause of death. Bishops should explain this waiting period to members who plan to perform temple ordinances for deceased family members. Members who have questions should contact their bishop. He may direct questions to the stake president.
Ordinances that are performed for the dead are effective only if the deceased person chooses to accept them and becomes qualified to receive them (see D&C 138:19, 32-34).
Members Unable to Go to a Temple before Death
The one-year waiting period for temple ordinances does not apply to worthy members who were prevented from going to a temple in life for reasons beyond their control.
Members Who Died within One Year of Baptism or Civil Marriage
If a worthy member dies within the year after being baptized, temple ordinances may be completed when one year has passed since the baptism.
If a worthy member dies within one year of a civil marriage, the sealing of the couple may be performed when one year has passed since the marriage.
Stillborn Children (Children Who Die before Birth)
Temple ordinances are not performed for stillborn children, but no loss of eternal blessings or family unity is implied. The family may record the name of a stillborn child on the family group record followed by the word stillborn in parentheses. For more information about stillborn children, see page 157.
Children under Eight Who Died
No baptism or endowment is performed for a child who died before age eight. Only sealings to parents are performed for such children. If the child was sealed to parents while he or she was living, or if the child was born in the covenant, no vicarious ordinances are performed.
Deceased Persons Who Had Mental Disabilities
Temple ordinances for deceased persons who had mental disabilities are performed the same as for other deceased persons.
Persons Who Are Presumed Dead
Temple ordinances may be performed for a person who is presumed dead after 10 years have passed since the time of the presumed death. This policy. applies to (1) persons who are missing in action, are lost at sea, or have been declared legally dead; and (2) persons who disappeared under circumstances where death is apparent but no body has been recovered.
In all other cases of missing persons, temple ordinances may not be performed until 110 years have passed from the time of the person's birth.
Persons Who Have Taken Their Own Lives
Unless they were excommunicated or had their names removed from Church membership records at the time of death, persons who have taken their own lives may have temple ordinances performed for them one year or more after the date of death.
Persons Who Were Excommunicated or Had Their Names Removed from Church Records
First Presidency approval is required to perform temple ordinances for deceased persons who, at the time of their death, were excommunicated or had their names removed from Church membership records.
Restoration of Temple Blessings (after Excommunication or Name Removal)
Endowed persons who were excommunicated (or who had their names removed from Church membership records) and were later readmitted by baptism can receive their temple blessings only through the ordinance of restoration of blessings. Such persons are not endowed again, since these blessings are restored through the ordinance. For information about performing this ordinance for the living, see pages 106-7.
First Presidency approval is required to perform this ordinance for the dead.
Verifying Ordinances Necessary to Receive the Endowment
For the Living
A living person whose baptism and confirmation are not recorded on Church membership records may not be endowed until the baptism and confirmation are verified, ratified, or performed again. Brethren whose Melchizedek Priesthood ordination is not recorded must also have it verified, ratified, or performed again. Procedures are outlined on pages 24-25. Those pages also explain the procedure to follow if a living person is endowed without a valid record of baptism or if a male is endowed without a valid record of Melchizedek Priesthood ordination.
For the Dead
Sometimes a deceased person's baptism that was performed while he or she was living cannot be verified after a diligent search. If an unverified baptism was relied on to perform the person's endowment, the person must be baptized and confirmed by proxy. It is not necessary to perform the endowment and sealings again.
Temple Ordinance Workers
Process of Calling
Recommendations for prospective temple ordinance workers may come to a temple president from ward or stake leaders, ordinance workers, his personal knowledge and contacts, and the guidance of the Spirit.
When a temple president identifies a member whom he would like to consider calling as an ordinance worker, he sends a Confidential Report on Proposed Temple Ordinance Workers form to the member's bishop (one form for each couple or individual). If the bishop feels that the member is worthy and the calling would be suitable, he completes the form and sends it to the stake president. If the stake president concurs with the temple president and the bishop, he signs the form and sends it to the temple president.
After the temple president receives a completed form, a member of the temple presidency interviews
the person. When so inspired, he then calls those who are able to serve and sets them apart. He notifies the stake president of each calling.
The bishop and stake president must not inform members that they are being considered for this calling. Their first notification comes when a member of the temple presidency interviews them.
To be considered for callings as temple ordinance workers, members must:
Mothers who have minor children living at home and brethren who are serving in bishoprics, branch presidencies, stake presidencies, or district presidencies may not be called as regular temple ordinance workers. However, outside the United States and Canada they or any worthy members who meet the qualifications listed above may be called as restricted service ordinance workers. They function in this assignment only when the need exists with organized groups from their own Church units. They also may function with groups that have special language needs. Any exceptions to these policies require the approval of the First Presidency.
Restricted service ordinance workers are called and set apart the same as regular ordinance workers. No distinction of title is made when they are set apart, but the member of the temple presidency who extends the calling and sets them apart explains the restriction.