Thank you President Nelson! The old policy was exclusionary and insulting to my wife and I who were converts and the only members of our respective families. I don't regret avoiding the disappointment, resentment and hard feelings this would have caused towards us and the Church from parents and grandparents. Even more shameful was how a small minority of hard-line church members and leaders treated us for our decision to marry with our families present. Thankfully most of our LDS friends understood our situation as did the Lord.
My wife Terttu Tuulikki Aunola and I were married in England as she was working there at the time (1960). Under English law we had to not only be married by an LDS Branch President, we had to repeat the vows before an English magistrate. LDS rules at that time insisted we would need to wait a year for a temple sealing, however since neither one of us was an English native (she was a Finn and had previously gone through the Temple as I had) and I was in the US military London Temple authorities made the decision that we could be sealed later the same day. I am most pleased of this newest decision. What a joy it will be for those having nonmember family and friends.
I believe this is a wonderful change for people whose close family were being excluded. I know it would have been wonderful to have any close relatives share my day with me.
I do have to ask, is the bishop the one who determines if this is authorized or is it at the discretion of the couple to determine if relatives are close enough? And does the bishop have input into the type and place of the civil ceremony, say one conducted by a minister of another faith who is the bride's grandfather but the ceremony held in the bride's parents home. In other words, are there restrictions and who determines them?
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