Want to get started crossing items off of your own bucket list but don’t know where to start? Try getting legally ordained. This ridiculously easy process enables you to legally preside over weddings in 48 states. Its free, easy, non-relgious and you can finish it in less time than it will take you to read this blog post.

Background

When I first started pursuing my bucket list, I went for the low hanging fruit first. In any major endeavor, overcoming inertia is the hardest step. Thinking about this, I went for this bucket list item which I knew I could complete online.

The Universal Life Church is a non-denominational non-religious establishment. In their own words:

The Universal Life Church believes that all faiths are best served by the freedom and choice to become ordained online. This includes the freedom to perform weddings, perform baptisms or perform funerals for friends and family, regardless of your spiritual or religious denomination.

Sounds pretty good to me. Not cultish, not overly religious and it enables me to support my friends.

In choosing to become ordained you must agree to the following doctrine:

The Universal Life Church has only two tenets (beliefs/doctrine):



1. to promote freedom of religion and
2. to do that which is right.



It is the responsibility of the individual to determine what is right as long as it does not infringe on the rights of others and is within the law.

Benefits

As a minister with the Universal Life Church, its own denomination, you are granted the following rights:

1. To perform marriages within any US state, following the rules laid out by the state in which you wish to perform said marriage.

2. To perform funerals, baptisms, last rites or any other sort of legal, peaceful ceremony or ritual you wish to perform, except circumcision.



3. To start a church of your own.

4. 

To ordain others with their permission through a ULC site

The Process

The process is simple.

  1. Go to this page to read the insturctions (essentially, you need to use your real information when registering)
  2. Fill out the form and submit the request for ordination.
  3. The next step is that the request will be reviewed by an actual person who works for the church.
  4. Please note that you have NOT been ordained “by Internet” or “online.” The Universal Life Church is a “regularly established church or congregation” and all ordinations are done as the deliberate, thoughtful, and responsible act of a human — being not by a computer. As is the case with nearly every church, organization and business, the ULC makes use of the Internet and email for administrative communications. The ordination itself, however, is done in person, by hand, at the church in Modesto, CA.

  5. You may then choose to purchase an optional wallet card or wall placard.

Results

After signing up you will be added to the “International Database of the Ministry of the Church” and you will start receiving their email newsletter.

My experience thus far has been entirely positive. I haven’t presided over a wedding yet but I do have tentative plans to marry a friend and his future wife.

The most useful reward has been using this as a way to spice up conversation and to scare people in Vegas. I think the tenets for the organization are great and the fact that I can marry people in most states is both a great differentiator and fun fact. It has also led to two instances where I was able to scare my friends in Vegas. “No seriously, Danny is an ordained minister, that was real.” (It wasn’t.)

Counterintuitively, becoming an ordained minister was the easiest item on my bucket list.

Are there any interesting and easy items that you know of that might be useful for getting started on a bucket list? Please feel free to share in the comments below.