There are several “one-year rules” associated with temple attendance – practices that have no direct tie to the ritual, but merely to the administrative functions of the temple. These rules dictate that Latter-day Saints wait one year between Event A and Event B. This period seems arbitrary – the waiting periods could just as well be six months or five years. Latter-day Saints who do not understand the historical roots of these practices find them arbitrary in other ways – they sometimes don’t understand why any waiting period is mandated at all. In this post I hope to explain the historical reasons for those waiting periods.
This post will not be entirely satisfactory to anybody, including me. I cannot quote from material I have read, nor can I point to a specific date in any case to say “This rule was implemented on this day.” My understanding of these practices comes not from a single manuscript that documents these practices, but from my experience in reading tens of thousands of documents from the early 20th century – letters from Church members to Salt Lake authorities, minutes of meetings, discussions between leaders, circular letters sent to local officers, queries from mission presidents, correspondence between concerned people at all levels and throughout the world. I won’t try to convince the skeptical that I know what I’m talking about here – instead, I’m simply offering these ideas to readers as my best understanding of the conditions that gave rise to the policies.
One Year Between Baptism and Temple Attendance.
Like the other rules in this post, this one came into being to correct a problem that was only gradually recognized in the Church.