Temples To Reopen Slowly Over Four Phases
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – There was welcome news for many Utah couples waiting to be married inside a temple. Some of them will soon be able to resume their wedding plans with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ announcement to reopen select temples for marriages, starting May 11.
The Church plans to reopen temples slowly.
“We were engaged March 11, the day before COVID-19 hit,” Olivia Snow said.
Snow and her fiancé, Sam Tullis, have been what one might say, walking in faith, since their engagement. In the uncertainty of the pandemic, the couple pressed on with their wedding plans.
“We literally planned everything as if it would happen and then when it started getting closer, that’s when we started panicking,” Snow said.
However, as social distancing restrictions continued tightening with no set date of when churches and temples, including those of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, would reopen, the couple began to look at their other options.
“I was really, really stressed about waiting and then having the whole world fall apart,” said Tullis.
The couple began considering getting married in a civil ceremony and waiting to be married in the temple at a later time.
“We were still hopeful but if it wasn’t [going to work out] we would just have a civil ceremony at the reception place,” Snow said, sharing that a few of their friends have gotten married in small civil ceremonies. “A lot of my friends just ‘eloped.’ They had a little ceremony in their backyard, and had people watch on Zoom.”
But just today, the Church rolled out plans to slowly reopen temples in four phases. Phase one, the strictest, allows temple marriages to be performed between previously endowed members only, with a limited number of guests.
On Thursday the Church announced that 17 temples would open in Phase 1, including 11 in Utah, three in Idaho, and the temples in Sweden and Germany.
The 17 temples include:
- Boise Idaho Temple
- Bountiful Utah Temple
- Brigham City Utah Temple
- Cedar City Utah Temple
- Frankfurt Germany Temple
- Freiberg Germany Temple
- Idaho Falls Idaho Temple
- Logan Utah Temple
- Manti Utah Temple
- Monticello Utah Temple
- Ogden Utah Temple
- Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple
- Payson Utah Temple
- Provo City Center Temple
- Provo Utah Temple
- Stockholm Sweden Temple
- Twin Falls Idaho Temple
Since Snow and Tullis served missions, both have been endowed in the temple, and qualify to be married under phase 1 restrictions.
“We get to keep our June 2nd wedding date. They are going to maintain the appointments that were already made,” said Snow.
Staff is also limited to a handful of temple workers in good health, according to Church spokesperson Irene Caso. “Temple workers are expected to self-monitor their health status and act accordingly. Distancing and hygiene protocol will continue to be observed in temple operations”
Those attending the temple are also expected to wear face masks.
Guests will also be limited to four per couple, although in some cases exceptions may apply, according to Caso.
“The closer I got in the wedding, the more I realized what was more important, and having a big wedding is not that big of a deal,” Snow said.
Temples around the world are expected to open under the same guidelines although no set dates have been given. Church leaders said it will happen as local circumstances permit and under the discretion of the First Presidency of the Church.
Phase 1: Living husband-and-wife sealings by appointment
- Perform living sealings only for previously endowed members under strict guidelines and safety precautions
Phase 2: Open for all living ordinances only
- Perform all temple ordinances for living individuals
- Maintain closure of patron housing, clothing, and cafeteria operations
Phase 3: Open for all ordinances with restrictions
- Continue providing ordinances for living individuals
- Provide proxy ordinances for ancestors in a restricted manner
- Open patron housing, clothing, and cafeteria operations as needed
Phase 4: Open for full operations
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