To our Latter-day Saint friends and families, this petition is NOT about allowing non-members or those who do
not hold a temple recommend into an LDS temple. It's about giving LDS
couples throughout the world the choice to hold a civil ceremony first
(if the couple desires it) prior to temple sealing without the
mandatory one year waiting period.
You see, when an LDS couple is married in an LDS temple, Mormon and non-Mormon relatives and friends who, for a variety of reasons do not possess the required ‘temple recommend’, are excluded from the ceremony. Also excluded are younger siblings, nephews and nieces, or possibly children of the bride or groom; in fact anyone who has not previously received their own "endowment". Under current guidelines and practices as outlined in the Church Handbook of Instructions, no male LDS member under the age of eighteen is eligible for the "endowment" ceremony. Young women are encouraged to marry and be sealed to a returned missionary in the temple.
This unnecessary and divisive policy (worthy LDS couples who choose a civil marriage first outside of the temple are penalized with a one year wait before they can be "sealed" in the temple) that can foster marital disharmony is harsh for the couple and their loved ones who do not fit the ‘acceptable standards’ required for entrance into the temple wedding. There are suitable alternatives to this exclusionary policy.
The consequences of this policy extend well beyond the wedding day as hurt feelings interfere with the bonding of the two families.
The policy is stated clearly in an official
LDS manual as follows:
Who May Attend a Temple Marriage
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.
Special Meeting for Guests, Who Do Not Have Temple
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.
Sealing of Living Members after Civil Marriage
A husband and wife who were married outside a temple may be sealed after one full year from the date of the civil marriage. However, this one-year waiting period does not apply to worthy couples in the following cases:
1. The temple in which the couple will be sealed is in a country that requires a civil marriage and does not recognize a marriage in the temple.
2. The couple live in a country where there is not a temple and the laws of the country do not recognize a marriage performed outside the country.
3. An unchaperoned couple's travel to a temple will require one or more overnight stops because of distance.
4. A couple could not be married in a temple because one or both had not been a member of the Church for one year at the time of their civil marriage. They may receive their endowments and be sealed any time after both have been members for at least one year.
In the first three cases, worthy couples should receive their endowments and be sealed as soon as possible after their civil marriage.