The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has sent out several notifications this week pertaining to temple “for time” marriages, a new president for BYU-Pathway, and the opening to phase 3 of 60 or more temples throughout the world.
The following includes pertinent information from those announcements:
Marriage for time only
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in good standing and who are worthy can enter the church’s temples where they worship and make sacred eternal covenants.
Engaged couples have the opportunity to be married or “sealed” for time and all eternity as part of these covenants.
From time to time, individuals who have lost a spouse they are sealed to and are marrying for a second time have requested to be married for time only in the temple.
On Monday, the First Presidency of the church announced that practice will be discontinued.
The temple is where eternal ordinances are performed, according to a letter sent to ecclesiastical leaders. Couples wishing to be married civilly are encouraged to ask their bishop or stake president to perform the marriage outside of the temple.
The Board of Education of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has appointed Brian K. Ashton as the new president of BYU–Pathway Worldwide (BYU–PW), effective Aug. 1.
Ashton succeeds Elder Clark G. Gilbert, who has served as the president of BYU–PW since its creation in 2017.
Gilbert was sustained as a General Authority Seventy at the April 2021 general conference and will serve as Commissioner of the Church Educational System, also beginning Aug. 1.
Ashton has served as BYU–PW’s field operations vice president since 2018. He previously led an educational start-up company focused on correctional and life skills education, according to a church statement.
He received a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University and an MBA from Harvard University.
Ashton previously served as second counselor in the church’s Sunday School General Presidency from 2015 to 2019. He also was president of the Texas Houston South Mission, bishop, high councilor, Elders quorum president and missionary in the Peru Lima Mission. He and his wife, Melinda, are the parents of seven children, the press release said.
BYU–PW provides access to higher education for church members across the world, combining spiritual and secular learning. The program began in 2009 at BYU–Idaho with 50 students in three pilot sites in Idaho, Arizona and New York. In 2020, BYU–PW served over 50,000 students in 152 countries and all 50 U.S. states. BYU–PW also manages PathwayConnect, a pre-matriculation program that prepares individuals to matriculate into certificates and degrees offered by its accredited partners within the Church Educational System, according to the church.
Temples and COVID
Temples of the LDS Church closed completely throughout the world in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since May 2020, temples have been reopening in a cautious, careful way, in four phases and based on local circumstances and governmental restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Temples in the first four phases are operating on a limited basis. Key precautions are in place for temple workers and patrons, including masks worn at all times, limited numbers of patrons in the temple at a time, minimal staff in the temple, sanitization after each temple ceremony, careful social distancing and seating arrangements, and temperature checks at the entrance.
The five phases of opening reduce risk, accommodate the demand and capacity of the temple and observe health restrictions in the temple district, according to the church.
On Monday, the church announced that all working temples in Utah have opened into the phase 3 reduced risk category. Only the Salt Lake City and St. George temples are closed for renovation. Other temples, including Saratoga Springs, Orem and Lindon temples in Utah County, are under construction or announced. There are others throughout the state that have been announced or have started the construction process.
Expected phase totals for temples worldwide as of May 31:
Phase 1: 4
Phase 2: 41
Phase 2-B: 25
Phase 3: 84
Phase 4: 0