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How to Apply for a Temple Divorce

The Temple Sealing Cancellation Process

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A temple divorce is called a temple sealing cancellation but how do you apply for one? After a person has been married in a temple, goes through a divorce, and is ready to be sealed for all eternity to a new spouse they are ready to request that their previous temple sealing be canceled.

When to Apply for a Temple Divorce
As soon as a woman is ready to be sealed to a new man (either a fiancé or husband) she can apply for a temple divorce (see Can Mormons Divorce?), which is called a Temple Sealing Cancellation.
When a man is ready to be sealed to a new woman (either a fiancé or wife) his request will be for a Temple Sealing Approval.

If a couple are first married civilly they must me married for one year before a previous temple sealing will be canceled. Since the paperwork usually takes several months to process, a bishop would probably allow a couple to begin the process a few months before their year is complete.

How to Have a Temple Divorce
To have a temple sealing canceled a woman must meet with her bishop and prepare the proper paperwork. She must write a letter to the First Presidency which will need to include the following information:
  1. Reasons for the divorce
  2. Reasons for requesting a temple sealing cancellation
  3. Plans to be sealed to another person
  4. Transgressions by either party (that were confessed to a bishop or other priesthood authority)
  5. If you are in compliance with a judgment (if applicable)
After the letter is complete it is given to the bishop who will then take care of additional paperwork including contacting the ex husband and previous bishop(s), if applicable. The ex husband is given a reasonable amount of time to respond to the request for the temple sealing cancellation. Once the bishop has all the necessary paperwork he will give it to the stake president who will then meet with the sister before submitting her request to the First Presidency.

How Long Does it Take?
Applying and being approved for a temple sealing cancellation may take anywhere from a few months to over a year. Because each situation is unique there is not a standard amount of time; each case is processed on an individual basis.

Once a request for a temple sealing cancellation (or permission to be sealed to another woman) has been submitted to the First Presidency a couple must wait for the paperwork to be approved before they can be sealed to a new spouse.

If an engaged couple change their plans and decide to be married civilly before their paperwork is complete they must inform the First Presidency of the change in their situation. Their paperwork will probably then be put on hold until the couple have been married for the required year.

Approval for a Temple Divorce
Requesting a temple sealing cancellation does not guarantee that the request will be granted. Due to the sacred nature of the temple sealing covenant the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ seek the Lord's counsel in reviewing and approving each individual request. President Gordon B. Hinckley said:
"The most burdensome responsibility I have is to make judgments on applications for cancellation of temple sealings following civil divorce. Each case is considered on its individual merits. I pray for wisdom, for the direction of the Lord in dealing with sacred covenants made in the most hallowed surroundings and of an eternal nature" ("A Conversation with Single Adults, Ensign, Mar 1997, 58).
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.

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