If you decide to marry this man, you both will find a way to be happy and have a wonderful marriage, not that perfect that we see in the Sundays at Church. And no one has the right to judge you for your decision. My nonmember husband and I have been married for almost 18 years. I dated many LDS guys before him.
To Date within or without the Church?
None felt right, ever. But the idea of marrying my husband felt right from almost the get-go and, my patriarchal blessing made so much more sense! Interestingly, my parents felt the same way about him. Not every LDS person does, unfortunately. The decisions we have made in how to raise our kids have been our decisions alone. We feel good about our choices, but know it might not be the right path for everyone.
An interfaith marriage can be done well or disastrously, or even only being made up as you go. I would never change my decision to marry him. Not in endless discussions of temple marriage, not ever. This is right for me and for us. Best wishes to those struggling with these big, life-altering decisions. If I had one thing to add, mixed race marriages are quite similar.
My experience has been that personal similarities and differences are a bigger element than cultural differences. Additionally, just as corporate cultures exist, so does it exist for every family. It is amazing how different values and outlooks, interpersonal relationships can be from family to family. At least people of different races are aware of those differences, and are on alert to deal with them. Also, as Joanna points out, men and women already inhabit a separate culture.
Rawkcuf, maybe your comment is like your name and intended backwards, but what do you mean by differences between races? The point made was that a parallel can be drawn between interfaith and interracial marriages. I would say though that racial differences are NOT like religious differences, certainly not those between Mo and Nomo. Racial differences can be very trivial—they really didn't come up much for my parents, for example—and are basically false differences. Religious differences, however are real. Whereas white and black may both sleep in on Sunday and tie their left shoes first, Mos have a set of behavioral norms that are in serious conflict with Nomo lifestyles.
True Believer Mos base their actions on a set of priorities that make no sense to Nomos. Mixed races, however, are NOT tied into opposing beliefs and mixed races don't try to "convert" each other. There may be underlying personality similarities, but if the answer to "what shall I do next" is always trumped by a Morman frame of reference for one partner, but not the other, conflict is inevitable. I think it was Spencer Kimball who counselled that before marriage you should keep your eyes wide open and then after marriage keep your eyes half shut.
Within a cultural group marriage is hard. When you mix cultural groups you increase the difficulty.
Bet as Joanna has said there are some things you should think carefully about — and this needs to be done with your head, not your heart. As Joanne mentioned, should you marry interfaith, you will have lots of help from fellow ward members on converting your spouse. How will your spouse feel about that in 20 years? If you remain active, Church service is very demanding of our lives — not a Sunday thing.
Is your spouse willing to give you up on Sundays, and half your weeknights? And depending on his views of the Sabbath, you will probably get the tug of war on Sundays. And after years of this struggle, will your love for him and desire to avoid the hassle cause you to reduce your activation? How do you really feel about that? Do you believe in the Gospel as taught by the Church? Do you truly believe in temple marriage as a requirement for Celestial attainment?
If you do believe it fully, are you not really going to want him to make the conversion ultimately? Now look at the flip side — if he loves you, and realizes you fully believe, how will he deal with the importance of the temple to you? Willl he build resentment at the struggle to get him to change whether real or imagined? Will he be happy knowing that you are giving up something of incredible importance to you? Will he possible convert just to make you happy without really buying into it? How do you feel about that? Love is what we do, not what we feel. Affection will come and go based on our attitudes, and will not carry through the rough spots — married in the Church or outside.
Full respect and care. I do wonder if you ask this blog just to get supporting advice? Is your mind made up and you want justifying support? There is no question that God loves all of His children, and that obviously includes non-members. It would be ludicrous to think otherwise. But the issue of marrying a non-member raises two fundamental problems: That idea seems so contrary to the nature of God.
I think the LDS have been vastly over-simplifying that doctrine. But I do believe in modern prophets and that God gives no commandment that is not for our own happiness. So while I believe that, in fact, non-celestial families still can be together forever, I also think that there must be great merit to qualifying for the whole Enchilada—which I perhaps cannot fully appreciate at this time. In other words, eternal marriage really is worth it, I think.
It is an act of faith. That of course does not mean all eternal marriages should have been entered into or will succeed. Now if your faith is not so strong to begin with, this perhaps is no big deal. But if your faith is a key part of your life, this is huge. My dear faithful LDS aunt married a good non-member man. Fifty years later, not one of her 3 children, her dozen grandchildren or her numerous great grandchildren is an active member of the LDS church. Most want nothing to do with the church. It is the greatest sadness of her life. And her husband now is dead and she is left to wonder about their future.
I would not fear as much as she does, but that is her reality. Her experience may or may not be typical, but it is something to consider. Children thrive on clarity and consistency. Learning from a young age that any religion will do means that your children almost certainly will ultimately believe that any religion will do.
But of course this does not mean that mixed religion children cannot grow up to be LDS stalwarts. All this said, God is love and fully understands and appreciates your problem. I believe that there will be a lot more mercy than justice being dished out at the judgment.
Consider also the evolving perspective of the potential husband. When my wife and I married, we were very different, but I found all the differences delightful. I still feel enriched by the contrasts, but in the important things, we have largely come together. Jesus might have seemed like a cute, imaginary playmate at first, but on some level I would have been expecting to help her get over it.
Over the years, it would have felt increasingly burdensome to accommodate practices that seemed to me like superstition. The intrusion into my life of an apparently irrational belief that was immune to my influence would have been felt more keenly every year. Now the Pew survey only took into account self-identification, i. These are also only the American statistics. Dozens of missionaries have told me that the gender ratios in other countries are far, far worse. The divorce factor may allow some women to experience single-faith marriage at some point as some Mormon men marry multiple Mormon women over the course of their lifetimes, but the overall point stands: The only options for these women involve seeking a partner outside of the church, or a lifetime of celibacy.
If it seems one is unable to find a spouse within the church, which commandment do you keep? At what age do you baptize? If your spouse believes in infant baptism, will you allow the children to have that? If your spouse thinks 8 is too young to get baptized, are you all right with waiting until they are older? Our daughter is 6. In my view, baptism at 8 is just a variation on infant baptism. Good luck to both of you on working this out, and if you decide that interfaith marriage is something you can handle and your gentlemen turn out to be the right men for you, then welcome to the club.
I was thinking the same thing when I read this. Single women who are educated, regardless of religion, are also going to find similar gender imbalances among their educated peers nowadays. Spending a lifetime single is not something most people would choose to do, but fear of being forever single should never be a deciding factor in entering a marriage, lest serious problems go unaddressed before serious commitments are made. LDS theology heavily promotes the idea that marriage and family are an important source of happiness in this life, not just the next.
From her summary, he just did not understand her dilemma at all. I have been happily married to a non-mormon for 20 years. I am active in church, I take my kids regularly, and I have callings. I believe strongly that I was meant to marry my spouse. Having said that, I believe strongly that it takes a special individual who can remain active in the church and have a non-traditional marriage.
It is not something that should be taken lightly. And as many posters stated, it is something that needs to be seriously discussed with your potential partner. Additionally, you need to take stock of your beliefs and acknowledge they may change overtime. You will desire to have that eternal marriage, to have that support in taking kids to church, to be able to talk docterine with a like-minded individual. Finally, the decision of whom you marry is really between you and God. Have those candid conversations with HIM, ponder, and listen closely for the guidance of the Holy Ghost.
If this is someone you are to marry, then the rest will take care of itself. As an atheist with Buddhist undertones who married a non-practicing, god-believing Mormon at the height of his questioning, I find this so interesting to me. We have been married a mere 3. But I do still largely consider us an interfaith couple. The most important thing is an open dialogue, as you say, and utmost respect for the other person. There is a lot about Mormonism I am still struggling to understand, but I am reading faith-based memoirs and studying up on Mormonism as well as other religions but the relevance here is on Mormonism.
I know my husband appreciates me looking into it because he knows I am doing it to gain an understanding into the culture he was raised in. And he is reading one of my favorite Buddhist-based books, in an effort to understand my beliefs. The independent work is just as important as the work we do as a couple. Life is a journey and going through it with a true partner, and a mutual respect for curiosity, is so far greatly rewarding.
I married a NOMO after a lengthy temple marriage and divorce. Like you I grew up with and taught the standard LDS beliefs about temple marriage, celestial kingdom, etc. After my divorce I dated Mormon men — disastrous. He has no vices, is the happiest person I know, is a healthy role model of manhood for my teen daughter and loves me to the depth of his soul.
Initially I thought he would join the church and life would get back on the only track I knew. I simply do NOT believe he and I will not be together after we die. Sadly, my ward shuns us. I even had someone tell me I should know better than to marry a nomo. And a YW leader feels soory for my daughter who is growing up in a home without the priesthood. I gave her a piece of my mind as my home is much happier and healthy now then when I was married to my x.
In my experience, life-long member, many Mormons have difficulty thinking outside the box, and putting forth effort to inclue and love. As Joanna said, marriage takes some work no matter what, but being married to your best friend, and listening to the spirit brings great blessings. You;ll get the answer you need…prayers and blessings for you both. However, and this might sound sad. However, I believe there are rules set, and we receive certain blessings when we obey said rules. I believe rules are to be obeyed.
I recommend that talk. In the end, God is a just God. I love my non-member husband of nearly 20 years. He is truly my soulmate and I shudder to think that if I had not chosen to marry outside of the church, I would not have had this life with him. I suppose it depends on your personality. I have a tendency to be overly sensative emotionally and the trauma of being forced to choose between someone I love and want to spend the rest of my with and Eternal Mormon Celestial Salvation caused me extensive emotional damage that I have struggled with ever since.
Maybe it was because I was so young when I made the choice, maybe it was because I was the oldest child in an extremely active family with parents that just expected me to be a shining example to the younger kids. Maybe things would be have different if I had been older or if I had not been so fragile. I feel to say, if you hear this, Amy, in time, it will all come round right. Your relationship with your family will be healed, and so will you. I appreciate your honest, and I really like the way you phrased things, particularly this sentence: Thank you for your comments. I am hopeful and do feel some healing.
If you have a literal belief that you need to have a temple marriage to go to the celestial kingdom, you will always keep a secret desire to convert your spouse. That desire that they be someone other than who they were when they married you is toxic to a relationship. It will poison your marriage until the end — of your life, your marriage, or your belief.
On the other hand, if you believe God is bigger than we can imagine, and is not constrained by religious dogma, you have as good a chance as any at a happy, thriving relationship. But you are setting yourself up to leave the Church more easily, and even if you agree the children will be raised Mormon, your kids will likely not continue to participate in the Church as adults. To the two wondering sisters…You both appear to be with loving, incredibly supportive men. There is NO guarantee that marrying a returned missionary RM in the temple equates with love and happiness.
I still love my Heavenly Father and my Savior. I can be part of a church family whether my spouse goes or not. I have known many women who have married non-members and are happy. Should either of you sisters raise your children and wonder what faith will they choose?
Let them explore and see the many people who love Heavenly Father and serve him with all their heart. Great questions, and a terrific answer, Joanna. Jack is right about the demographics. Yes, talk talk talk about everything yoiu can think of, but beyond that I would suggest pre-marital counseling from people knowledgeable in each tradition at play this will probably take two different counselors, who might be faith-based. Never marry someone with the goal of a post-marriage conversion. As for the Mormon cohort he will be exposed to, I have two thoughts: And so far as I could tell, it worked and no one tried to drag her husband into the church.
You need to disabuse them of this notion. You have to make the decision as to what you want your home and your children to have in that home. Do you want a home that is focused on the church with all of the blessings there of or a home that is devoid of the blessings of the priesthood, Sundays without your husband at your side at church with your children celebrating in the gospel. I made the decision not to have those things when I married a non-member. Because I have a husband that is not a member I have a quasi like status in the ward.
Heavenly Father will give you guidance if you listen with an open heart and contrite spirit as always. But our marriage is strong, and our children are good people. We strive to improve each other. We try to make this place a little better than we found it.
For the Strength of Youth: Fulfilling Our Duty to God
I have missed the Church in some ways, and certainly the blessings of a temple marriage. That being said, we have built something beautiful and good, have modeled loving responsibility and accountability to our kids, and I am certain I am with the man God chose for me. I say, Follow your heart. Accept yourself, and feel God accepting you, and everything else will follow. I am a happily married mono-faith guy who has no testimony of dusted base boards. I was recently married to my husband in the Twin Falls, Idaho temple for time and all eternity.
I grew up believing that when, where, and by what authority I was married were equally important to whom I married. When my husband and I were sealed, I finally understood why my Dad had been stressing this to me my entire life. He later converted to her faith and was called to be a temple sealer. He sealed my husband and I on our wedding day. God works by small and simple means to bring about His great and eternal purposes. You should ask Him what you should do, as no one else can see the end from the beginning and no one else has perfect love for you and for your potential husband. I know from my own experience that God has the answers and that He speaks to those individuals who humbly seek Him.
But I also know that He loves us so much that He would never take away our ability to choose for ourselves. I would need to ask my husband again. He sees all families being able to stay together. I believe when you die, you die, and you live on in memories and hearts. I married outside the church and have no regrets. Anyway, before you marry you should work out anything hypothetical that might come up in the future. For instance, you probably want your children to be baptized into the Mormon faith when they are eight — is your fiancee okay with that?
Is he aware that if your children are faithful members of the church they might end of marrying in the temple and he would not be allowed to attend the ceremony? Are you going to keep the sabbath holy as a family, or is he going to take the kids out for pizza after church, leaving you home to observe alone? Think of every possible scenario you can think of! Adding an interfaith element means you have many more adjustments to make.
Work out as many as you can before marriage happens. I hope that makes sense. He will not be permitted to bless the child in front of the ward, for instance, so you will have to choose to forego that ritual or find someone else to stand in for the father, which he may not be comfortable with. He will have to be okay with being thought not good enough to help in circumstances in which you believe that priesthood power is needed. He will have to wait outside if his children marry in the temple. These exclusions, dictated by doctrine, hold the potential to create wedges between you, both immediately, and in the long term.
It is crucial to recognize that Mormonism has elements of belief, practice, and custom that work to make interfaith marriages especially difficult and inconvenient for both spouses. This is by design.
Members Share Experiences Dating Nonmembers | Meridian Magazine
If you want to go against that trend, one of you will almost certainly change perspective. If you shift his way, be prepared for the social costs of inactivity—plus, if you really believe the doctrine, a crisis of faith. The fact that you bring your query to Joanna Brooks rather than church authorities reveals much. You know what the official line of the church is, and what bishops and stake presidents are likely to say. In my home ward, the non-member son of one of the members of the Bishopbric was able to stand up with the Priesthood and hold his baby girl while they gave her baby blessing.
I thought it was beautiful that they included him in the circle, even though he was not a Priesthood holder. I married a recent convert girl — she may as well have been a nonmember — and less than a year later we got an annulment. It was not just frustrating but also saddening and stressful. I think Bob, the answer can be found in your comment. Too often, I think, priesthood holders think that being overly controlling, they are simply wielding their authority in the home.
How many chances will a girl have to find such a wonderful husband candidate? It sounds like you have found a good one. Life is not perfect. Almost everything is complicated. Go for the joy, the experiences, the children to come! It sounds like you HAVE done your best in the past. Why would you behave any different now?
IE — the comment about not having a husband to give priesthood blessings, etc. YOUR prayers are just as efficacious as a priesthood holders are. I can pray for and with my youngest daughter and bless her thru prayer. We have family prayer every day and read the scriptures occasionally. When I taught GD we discussd the lessons. When my nomo husband does go to church we discuss the talks.
Please realize I know how the church works, was extremely active and raised good kids. I am the same good faithful woman I always was, just on a different path than I ever expected, one full of insights and blessings I never knew could exist. Listen to the still small voice…. When you make the best choice for you, blessings will follow. We might not always like the way some priesthood holders act, but to disparage the priesthood is not being responsible. That is why there are home teachers, friends, family members, neighbors—to provide priesthood blessings.
When those are not around or when the circumstances or the spirit indicate otherwise then prayer is more than enough. There is much that needs to change and many hearts to educate but if we doubt some of the fundamentals then why not all of them. All those are reasons to give the church some elbow room but they are not reasons for actually staying.
We need to believe fully and then we make choices, not the other way around. And of course, when it happens, no one the leaver or the faithful spouse could have predicted it. Follow your heart and live life with no regrets! I am 27, LDS, and 5 days away from marrying my own amazing non-Mormon man. I just wanted to let SN and AD know that, if you decide to choose this path, you are not alone.
I would love to someday find myself sitting in the pew with you, sharing this amazing journey! Joanna — this is one of your best! I had tears in my eyes and goosebumps while reading it. Love the way you normalize the challenges of being married.
It does kick your butt!! As a budding feminist, I left the church in my teens. Forty plus years later I met my incredibly wonderful fabulous Mormon husband. This was hugely disappointing for him and created some very tense times. They may not convert, and it may not lead to marriage, but friendship and seeds can both be planted.
The pathway to conversion and to the temple looks different for everyone. God moves in a mysterious way. I home teach a sister who was originally sealed to a man who went south on her after six kids. She then dated and married a nice man who was not a member. We have almost got him baptized a few times, but no success yet. She had two children with him who are not sealed. None of her children are very active in the Church. One of the counselors in my stake presidency has a friend that dated a nonmember but refused to be engaged if he were not a member and she refused to be married unless it was in the temple.
He took the missionary lessons and joined and a year later took her to the temple. He is now an Area Authority Seventy. All of their children are married and sealed in the temple. I know others who have been prompted to initially marry out of the temple and their spouse later joined. However, most of those I know who have done that, their spouses have not yet joined or taken them to temple. I met a man years ago that told me his courtship story. He received a sports scholarship to a southern Utah college.
He came to school knowing nothing about the Church. In his first semester he noticed a gorgeous young lady and told his colleges that he wanted to date her. He was so smitten by her that he investigated the Church on his own and joined. Afterwards he asked her out and, to make a long story short, they were married on the temple and reared a very successful family. We ask those not married to set dating standards for themselves so that increasing emotional attachments that are apart of the dating process, including the increasing desire for full and complete intimacy drives them to marry someone less that they deserve and need.
Most of the time strict dating standards are very productive for our young adults. However, there is enough evidence that shows that the Lord directs some of our young adults into directions outside of the common standards as he has other plans for their lives. Dating should never be used as a religious rehab tool or a friendshipping method. Rescue and friendshipping in our church is the responsibility of the same sex youth and their leaders. They are the ones to reach out with open arms.
I just had to accept the fact that I was not meeting their expectations, whatever they were, and it did not scar me for life. I eventually found a good women to marry in the temple whom I am very happy with. Thanks for all those great stories, Eric. Also, I appreciate your pointing out that nobody has the right to blame their destructive behavior on others.
I know that because my own husband befriended nonmembers because the kids in his ward would have nothing to do with him. As a people we love fellowshipping.
In mortality, it will forever be easier to sink to a lower level than rise to a higher one. Thanks for sharing your experience, Vickie. Even though some people may be inspired to date nonmembers in a fellowshipping sense, this is not something that comes without consequences. Sometimes, as your family members learned, the consequences do not have happy endings. I live in a place where Latter-day Saints are few in number. Active women outnumber active men. Why some women are deluged with proposals, and others have never even been kissed by the time they reach 40 still remains a mystery to me.
Most young women even if they are pretty and clever and good will hardly ever date if they stick with members — and we all hope they do, as if they date outside the church there is a certainty that their date will expect them to break the law of chastity with them after a few evenings out. If you can marry in the Church, or remain celibate, then great. Kimball said it was best to marry a nonmember as long as he was a good God-fearing person. But obviously younger women should only date members; dating non-members should only be done by those who have had no success finding a spouse inside the Church.
I suppose guys that have joined or become active later in life and have not gone on missions suffer some exclusion from picky girls. Luckily for me he joined the Church of his own volition a few days before we wed. This was good for missionary work, but it has caused some challenges. But it has meant that I have stayed in the fold of the Church rather than leaving like many others in my position have.
We all have to deal with what life brings us, which is dependent on the choices we make. I especially loved your last sentence, Vim! I think it is absolutely wise counsel to date those who are church members and who are worthy. Having been married to a nonmember I know first-hand how difficult it is to make a marriage work the more differences there are in your values.
The real danger is that worldly teen relationships can so easily become faux courtship, and it is hard to give up those you originally sin with even when you know you should. And sometimes the only person in a community who shares high standards is not the LDS peer.
I absolutely stand on the idea that when you start acting in ways that belong to marriage, and when you have reached the age and maturity where you can see yourself getting married immediately to the people you are seeing, you need to be restricting your selection process to those who share your love of the Savior, who practice the gospel much the same way you do, and who are worthy to take you to the temple.
But until then, being with a variety of good people will broaden horizons. You make good points, RNP.
If you want to read the updated guide, click here. Lucky for me my husband dated outside the Church, because I was not a member or even likely to become one when we met. The other three parents objected. When I met being a church member was his only flaw; he was otherwise the perfect man.
The upside to that is that I became a spiritual rather than social convert. We have told our children that the default is to just date inside the Church, but that we should follow the spirit at all times. One of my three kids was told in a patriarchal blessing to marry someone magnifying his calling, among other things. We really need to realize that what would be disastrous for one may be wonderful for another. We need to always be mindful of individual revelation as well as really good advice from our leaders.
What a terrific letter, Happily! Loved what you said about the default being to date inside the Church, but that you should follow the spirit at all times. I worry about this a lot. I grew up in an area with very few members, and out of those few there were not many I would want to date. Betsy and Tom were both hesitant to initially tell us that they liked someone, knowing that we would definitely prefer them to date a member of the Church. Several years ago we established a rule that the children were only allowed to go on two dates with someone before their friend had to have a discussion with the missionaries.
Not only for the sake of missionary work, but also so that the non-member kids would have an idea of what my children believe. So far the boyfriend and girlfriend have complied. Read the rest of this story at segullah. A few weeks ago, I had a very mediocre temple visit. I was stressed about all of the things on my to-do list and had a nasty headache. Needless to say, by the time I went inside, I felt frazzled.
I drummed my fingers impatiently on my armrest, and when the session ended, I zipped out as fast as I could. Two of those people are my parents. I and my four adult siblings quite suddenly found ourselves with a stepfather, a stepmother, and five new stepsiblings. Feelings like mine, of loss and confusion, are common for adult children of remarrying parents, as are feelings of guilt and frustration from the remarrying parents. We've got you covered! Whether you're looking for a personal journal or a place to write down important milestones, these options are both pretty to look at and fun to write in.
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