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First Presidency Announces New Guidelines for Church Leaders Who Perform Civil Marriages

First Presidency Announces New Guidelines for Church Leaders Who Perform Civil Marriages

The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced on June 30, 2021 that they have changed the conditions in which Church officers may perform civil marriages between a man and a woman.

“Civil marriages between a man and a woman may be done only in the following circumstances, effective immediately:

  • The bride or the groom is a member of the Church.
  • Either the bride’s or the groom’s membership record is assigned to the unit over which the Church officer presides.
  • The Church officer is legally authorized to officiate at a civil marriage in the jurisdiction where the marriage will take place.

church marriage

“This policy applies to stake presidents, mission presidents, district presidents, bishops and branch presidents,” the First Presidency said in a letter sent to Church leaders around the world on Wednesday, June 30, 2021.” 

The letter does explain that if a Church Office has already received authorization to from the First Presidency to officiate a civil marriage that falls outside the restrictions listed above, he may do so.

This change comes two years after the First Presidency announced a discontinuation of the one-year waiting period between a civil marriage and a temple sealing. 

The policy change from two years ago sets a single global standard for Latter-day Saints around the world. “The Church has observed this practice for many years in more than half of the countries where the worldwide faith resides. In those countries, couples are required by law to marry civilly first,” reported the Church Newsroom.

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