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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Temples & Mormonism – 1977

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Temples, 1977.” You can view other years here.

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TEMPLES, 1977.

1977:  14 Mar.:  Change in civil marriage policy.

“Because of regulations in the state of Maryland, in which the Washington Temple is located, which require a waiting period of forty-eight hours after a couple makes application for a marriage license before the license will be issued, many couples are required to make two long trips or stand considerable expense while waiting in the Washington area. 

The First Presidency hereby authorizes worthy couples in such conditions to be married locally, preferably by a Church official, and then travel promptly to the temple to be sealed.

If a reception or other social event is planned to follow the wedding, it is suggested that it take place after the sealing in the temple.”  (First Presidency Circular Letter, 14 Mar., 1977)

1 Apr.:  Civil marriage prior to temple sealing.

[Revision]  “A couple married by civil ceremony outside the temple are not to be issued recommends for the performance of ordinances in the temple other than baptisms and confirmations for the dead until after a year has elapsed since the civil ceremony was performed.  This rule does not apply to the following:

Authorized Exceptions:

1. Where laws of the country make it difficult to secure recognition or sanction of a civil marriage performed outside its own borders.

2. Where couples from other countries travel by air with temple or other Church excursions resulting in considerable savings in travel costs.

3. Where the temple is located in a country whose laws require that civil marriages be performed in a public place.

4. Where unchaperoned couples travel long distances requiring one or more overnight stops enroute to the temple.

Worthy couples in above categories who are properly recommended may come to the temple for their endowments and sealings without the usual one-year waiting period.  While no minimum or maximum time is set between the civil ceremony and the temple sealing, it is recommended that such sealing be accomplished within such reasonable time after the civil marriage as the mode of travel permits.  After a couple is legally married, there is no requirement that they abstain from marital relations pending their sealing in the temple.

Exceptions other than those listed above and special situations shown below may be granted only by the First Presidency.  Other exceptions, if any, must be by letter of authorization from the First Presidency.  This letter should accompany the temple recommend when it is presented at the temple.

Special Situations:

1. If a person has been endowed before his or her civil marriage and is in every respect worthily qualified to go to the temple, it is proper to issue a temple recommend within the year following the civil marriage.  Such recommend qualifies him to do ordinances for the dead; however, he is not eligible to receive a recommend for his own sealing to a spouse until a year has elapsed from the time of his civil marriage.

2. A husband and wife married by civil authority who were worthy but could not have a temple marriage because either or both of them were not members of the Church for a full year or where a cancellation of a previous sealing was not finalized may come and be endowed and sealed as soon as they have been members for one year or more or where the cancellation of a previous sealing is received.  Under these circumstances they are not required to wait a year from their marriage date.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, 1976, #21, Supplement Number 2, 1 Apr., 1977; pp. 3-4)

1 Apr.:  Temple recommends and divorces.

[Revision]  “When a person who has been sealed previously is involved in divorce, legal separation, or annulment and is guilty of a moral transgression after being sealed to a spouse, clearance must be obtained from the First Presidency before that person may obtain a temple recommend.  This policy includs an individual who has been divorced after a civil marriage if he (she) has been sealed in a prior marriage.  To obtain such clearance, the applicant should complete in detail an Application to the First Presidency for Divorce Clearance.  The bishop can obtain this form from the Office of the First Presidency.

In all other cases involving divorce, legal separation, or annulment, permission to go to the temple may be granted by the bishop and stake president.  Such persons desiring to obtain a temple recommend should go through the regular procedure of interviews regarding worthiness.  These cases would include persons never sealed in the temple and persons previously sealed in the temple but not involved in moral transgression.

Divorce clearances as set forth above (whether obtained from the First Presidency or from the bishop and stake president) are required only for the first recommend issued after the divorce.

When a man remarries after a temple sealing and divorce or death.

If a worthy man remarries after the death or divorce of his wife, the new wife may be sealed to him.  It is not necessary to cancel the sealing or receive permission of the former wife, if living, to permit the sealing of the subsequent wife provided the divorce is final and a divorce clearance, if required, has been obtained.

However, if a person who has been sealed to a spouse commits adultery which is the cause of a divorce or which results in the breaking up of a home or homes, such person cannot be sealed to the one with whom the adultery occurred.  If any exceptions are made to this rule, they must be authorized by the First Presidency.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, 1976, #21, Supplement Number 2, 1 Apr., 1977; p. 4)

1 Apr.:  Sealing of children born by artificial insemin.

[New material]  “Although the Church discourages artificial insemination with other than the semen of the husband, it recognizes this is a personal matter which must ultimately be left to the determination of the husband and wife with the responsibility for their decision resting solely upon them.

However, a child born by means of artificial insemination after parents are sealed in the temple is born in the covenant.  A child born by artificial insemination before parents are sealed may be sealed subsequent to the sealing of parents.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, 1976, #21, Supplement Number 2, 1 Apr., 1977; p. 6)

1 Apr.:  Cremated bodies to be dressed in temple clothes.

[New material]  “If the body of an endowed, deceased person is to be cremated, the body should be fully dressed in temple clothing at the time cremation takes place.  Regular funeral services may be held.  An appropriate dedicatory prayer may be offered if the ashes are buried or deposited in a mausoleum.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, 1976, #21, Supplement Number 2, 1 Apr., 1977; p. 6)

29 Aug.:  Change in temple recommend question.

“Question No. 1 for Temple Recommends reads as follows:

Have you ever been involved in a transgression relating to the law of chastity that has not been resolved with the appropriate priesthood authority?

When an interview reveals a transgression not previously resolved with the appropriate priesthood leader, the length of elapsed time, the present worthiness of the individual, the extent to which the transgression is widely known, and the quality of repentance must all be carefully considered in deciding (a) whether formal disciplinary action is to be taken; and (b) the nature of any discipline to be imposed.  Where circumstances warrant, including evidence of sincere repentance, a common judge has the right to waive court action.

Confidentiality in handling all such matters is of utmost importance.”  (First Presidency Circular Letter, 29 Aug., 1977)

Description of prayer circles of Quorum of Twelve.

“Every Thursday the Council of the Twelve met in a room on the [Salt Lake] Temple’s fourth floor.  The apostles sat by seniority in twelve large oak chairs, in a crescent around an upholstered altar.  Harold B. Lee played a small organ in the corner as they opened with a hymn.  Then all twelve, dressed in temple clothes, formed a prayer circle around the altar.  The prayer completed, they changed back to street clothes to handle the Quorum’s business.”  (Edward L. Kimball and Andrew E. Kimball, Jr., Spencer W. Kimball:  Twelfth President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints {1977}, p. 207)