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Church leaders announce new witness policy for baptisms, sealings

Photo: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

SALT LAKE CITY — Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, meeting ahead of this weekend’s 189th semiannual general conference, learned endowed women will now be allowed to serve as witnesses at sealings.

General authorities and other church leaders met Wednesday with the church’s First Presidency for instruction ahead of general conference. At the meeting, President Russell M. Nelson announced policy changes related to witnessing ordinances.

Under the policy change, any baptized member of the church, including children, may now serve as a witness of the baptism of a living person. This change pertains to all baptisms outside the temple.

“We are joyful about these changes,” President Russell M. Nelson said. “Imagine a beloved sister serving as a witness to the living baptism of her younger brother. Imagine a mature couple serving as witnesses in the temple baptistry as their grandson baptizes their granddaughter for and in behalf of a dear ancestor.”
A proxy baptism for a deceased person may be witnessed by anyone holding a current temple recommend, including a limited-use temple recommend.
Finally, any endowed member with a current temple recommend may serve as a witness to sealing ordinances, living and proxy.