The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints soon will be back in the temple marriage business in Utah, Idaho, Sweden and Germany — albeit with extreme restrictions due to the coronavirus.
Beginning Monday, brides and grooms can be wed — in Mormon parlance, “sealed” — in one of 11 temples in the Beehive State, one of three in Idaho, one of two in Germany or the one in Stockholm.
Both parties in the couple must already have gone through temple a ritual known as the endowment, which often happens when young people are about to serve full-time missions for the church.
The marriage ceremonies will take place Monday through Saturday by appointment only, according to a release posted Thursday, with only one sealing at a time in the temple, with only the couple and a few family members.
The husband and wife will be asked to arrive at the temple, “dressed in the customary white trousers, shirt and tie (for men) and dresses (for women),” the release said. “They will then dress in ceremonial temple clothing within the temple.”
“The number of participants in each sealing will be restricted to the bride, groom and a limited number of guests per instructions provided at the time of scheduling,” the release stated. “Only those who are in good health and have no symptoms of COVID-19 should come to the temple.”
The sealing room and other rooms in the temple “will be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized following each ceremony.”
All government and public health directives “will be observed, including restrictions related to travel and crossing of state or other regional borders,” the release said, “and the use of safety equipment such as masks.”
In addition to those restrictions already outlined, each temple presidency “will take extra precautions to help protect temple workers and patrons,” the release said. “This will include allowing patrons to wear their own masks and gloves, providing hand sanitizer at several locations in the temple, and encouraging frequent hand-washing and appropriate social distancing.”
The Utah-based faith closed all its temples March 26, saying in a letter to the faith’s 16.5 million members at the time that it would be a "temporary adjustment, and we look forward to the day when the temples will reopen.”
Utah temples set to reopen Monday are Bountiful, Brigham City, Cedar City, Logan, Manti, Monticello, Ogden, Oquirrh Mountain in South Jordan, Payson, Provo and Provo City Center.
Other temples will follow in a “careful, phased reopening,” the church said.
The second phase will include temple rituals for living individuals, while patron housing, clothing and cafeteria operations will remain closed.
The third phase will open proxy ordinances for ancestors “in a restricted manner.” The support operations will then be opened.
And the final phase will “resume full operations" at all of the faith’s 160-plus temples around the globe.
Utah’s iconic Salt Lake and St. George temples will not be reopening. They are undergoing major renovations.
Members can see the opening status of specific temples and any restrictions by going to Temples.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.