Can Mormons divorce? Yes, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can be divorced. Those who've had a temple marriage (been sealed in a Mormon temple) can also have a temple divorce which is called a temple sealing cancellation. This article more fully explains what a Mormon divorce is and what it means to apply for a temple sealing cancellation.
What is a Temple Divorce?
Although being sealed in the temple means being together for time and all eternity we live in a day and age when divorce is prevalent. People marry, divorce, and remarry. In doing so many people who divorce no longer desire to be with their ex spouse for all eternity. Most who remarry desire to be with their new spouse in the next life instead of their previous spouse, to whom they are still sealed.
A civil divorce does not affect, change, or remove a temple sealing in any way, thus a temple divorce is when a person applies to have their temple sealing canceled and is only complete once their request has been approved by the First Presidency. A person works with their bishop throughout this process and should seek his counsel and guidance regarding their individual situation.
Do You Need a Temple Divorce to be Legally Divorced?
No, when Mormons divorce they do not need to have a temple divorce first before they can be legally divorced. In fact, a civil divorce must occur first before a temple sealing will be canceled. (Local laws and Church procedures may be different in some countries.)
Mormons who have not been sealed in a temple but were only married civilly do not need to apply for a temple sealing cancellation as no sealing exists.
Who Can Have a Temple Divorce?
When a couple wish to be married and sealed in the temple but either of them were previously sealed to an ex-spouse, they must first process some paperwork before they can be sealed together. There are also some specific guidelines and requirements that must first be met before a temple divorce will be granted. For a woman (called a sister) to receive a temple divorce she must be ready to be sealed to another man and the two of them must both be temple worthy and hold a current temple recommend.
Because a man can be sealed to more than one woman he does not need to have his temple sealing canceled to be able to be sealed to another woman, and a request to do so would most likely be refused unless his previous wife is ready to be sealed to another man and requests to have her temple sealing canceled. What a man does need, though, is permission to be sealed to another woman. This process is done through the bishop and must also be approved by the First Presidency.
Why a Person Must Wait
The ordinance of the temple sealing is sacred and holds many promises and blessings for those who make and keep this covenant. For the majority of cases a temple sealing cancellation will most likely not be approved until a woman is ready to be sealed to another man. Thus once the temple divorce is approved and the sealing with the previous husband is canceled the ordinance can be performed with the new spouse. This way a woman will retain the promised blessings of the sealing covenant and is one of the reasons why she must wait until she is ready to be sealed to a new man before her temple sealing will be canceled.
How to Have a Temple Divorce
Find out how a person applies for a Temple sealing cancellation when they are ready to be sealed to a new spouse and what the process entails.
I know, from personal experience, the pain and anguish of an unhappy marriage and hurtful divorce. But I also know the joy that comes from a healthy courtship that leads to a healthy marriage and know that the Lord has provided a way for all things.