Times they are a changing. Last month the church announced that it would not longer be doing Temple Marriages for “Time Only”. Then there was the 2019 revision that the Church no longer punishes couples that live in countries that allow clergy to conduce marriages (USA, Canada and a few others) by having to wait a year after a civil marriage to be sealed. I predict within five years the church will get out of the marriage business all together. They will do a purely religious “sealing” after the legal marriage is conducted outside the auspicious of the church.
I wonder if they will allow Bishops and Stake Presidents to still conduct marriages in the counties where it is allowed. My best guess on this is they won’t. They will want a clean break from all things having to do with legal marriage.
The reason the church will give for the whole change will be to make the marriage rules uniform for a “world wide church”. The real reason will be same sex marriage. It is becoming increasing common, and legal in most countries where the church has substantial membership. My quick back of the envelope calculation is that 70% of members worldwide live in countries that permit same sex marriage. To head off any legal action against the church, they will get out of the business all together.
It will only be a matter of time that somebody is going to sue the Church in the USA for not allowing a marriage/sealing of a same sex couple. The Church will prevail with a 1st Amendment argument, but the public relations damage will already be done when the court case makes the news. They are still smarting from the bad publicity of backing Proposition 8 here in California even though they won. They don’t need any more publicity about their same sex marriage stance. Plus they also have all the problems with the LGBTQ discrimination at the BYU schools, and defending the first of many lawsuits that are sure to come their way over the next several years.
What are your thoughts? How soon will the rules change? Sooner or later than fives years, or never?