Policies and Announcements

    “Policies and Announcements,” Ensign, Oct. 1990, 79–80

    Policies and Announcements

    The following items appeared in the 1990–2 Bulletin.

    Civil Marriages

    Church officers should encourage members to qualify for temple marriage and to be married in the temple. Where this ideal is not possible because of personal circumstances or because of legal requirements in effect in some countries, civil marriages should be performed in the home of a family member or in a Church building rather than in a commercial wedding chapel or other public place. The recommended ceremony for a civil marriage should be used. Civil marriages and related religious ceremonies should be performed on a day other than Sunday. They should not be performed at unusual hours.

    Marriages performed in a Church building may be either in the chapel, the cultural hall, or other suitable room in the building. Such ceremonies should be simple, conservative, and in harmony with the sacredness of the marriage covenants. There should be no extravagance in decorations or pomp in the proceedings, such as a wedding march.

    Outside the United States of America, some countries or provinces require that a marriage ceremony be performed by a public official, and some require that this be done in a public building. In these countries or provinces, the temple sealing necessarily follows the civil marriage. Couples who are not sealed in the temple may desire to have a brief religious ceremony that can be attended by family and friends. In that ceremony the bishop or stake president will give counsel to the couple and give Church recognition of their marriage. The instructions in the preceding paragraphs on the use of Church buildings and the simplicity of ceremonies also apply to such ceremonies.


    A funeral is a religious service conducted under the direction of appropriate priesthood authority in accordance with certain prescribed guidelines. It should be a spiritual occasion, not solely a family gathering.

    1. The bishop or a member of the bishopric presides over the planning, is responsible for the content in counsel with the family, and conducts the funeral. The desires of the family should receive consideration as the bishop works with them to plan the services; however, the services should be in keeping with established guidelines. Members of the family should not be required to speak. Funeral directors, in their desires to be helpful, should not proceed, even informally, to direct the services.

    2. When a General Authority or a member of a stake presidency presides over a funeral service, he should be recognized and consulted in advance by the bishop or the members of the bishopric conducting the funeral.

    3. As a courtesy to those who have made arrangements to attend, funerals should not be too long. Funerals of more than an hour and a half place an undue burden on those attending and participating. Prayers should not be lengthy.

    4. Funerals should start on time. In this connection, obituary notices should indicate at what time the viewing will begin and conclude. The viewing needs to be concluded at least twenty minutes in advance, allowing time for the family prayer. The bishop should review these plans beforehand to ensure that those waiting in the viewing line do not impose upon the already assembled congregations in the chapel.

    5. Reverence should prevail in the viewing room as well as in the chapel.

    6. The content of funerals should balance appropriate tributes with the teaching of the gospel.

    Surnames of Children Born Out of Wedlock

    The legal name of a child born out of wedlock should be placed on the membership records of the Church. This is the name that appears on the birth certificate or civil birth registry. If there is no birth certificate or civil registry, the naming conventions of the local culture should be followed.

    Sports Eligibility of Eighteen-Year-Old Men

    Eighteen-year-old men who are members of the priests quorum and who are found worthy by their bishop to participate may participate on quorum sports teams. The submission and approval of a request for waiver of eligibility rules are no longer required for those who turn eighteen before 1 September, the traditional beginning of the sports year.

    This instruction supersedes that found in the Physical Fitness, Sports, and Recreation Manual (30818), page 34. This change will leave decisions about sports eligibility of eighteen-year-old men to bishops, in consultation with their stake presidents, when necessary.

    This change does not preclude an eighteen-year-old from choosing to play on a senior sports team. However, an individual may not play on both junior and senior division teams. Once a choice is made to play in the senior division, the individual may not return to the junior division in that sport.

    Selected Hymns Booklet and Cassettes

    Two new items, Selected Hymns booklet with music and words (34160; $.70 each) and audiocassette accompaniments (52427; $6.00 per set of 6) are now available through Church distribution centers. The booklet may be useful for Church meetings where the full hymnbook is not available. The audiocassettes present piano and instrumental accompaniment of all verses of sixty frequently used hymns and will be useful for Church meetings where live accompaniment is not available. Both items will also be useful to families and individuals in the home. These items replace Hymns and Children’s Songs (booklet, PBMU0467; audiocassettes, VVOT1612).