Dear Gramps,I am new to the Mormon Church and right now, have not had the time to really find myself in it. I was baptized two years ago and truly love the Church, the people, the restoration of the gospel, all the teachings. . . I feel I have found home when I found this church. But, I have a problem. I have a 12 year old daughter whom I have full custody of and I was going through a divorce while taking the discussions. Now, after having been apart from my ex-husband for 5 years, I had found someone I wanted to date. We started dating in April and I feel I have finally found my soul-mate. We seem to complete each other. My problem is that first of all, I know the Church advocates dating a lot of people to make sure of the right one. Before I married, I had only dated one person. This man I’m dating now is only the third person I’ve ever dated. My other problem is that he’s not of the Mormon religion. I really want to get married in the temple and have our family sealed, but what if he doesn’t want to convert? Does that mean I have to give him up? What if he really IS meant for me and I lose him by asking him to become a Mormon? Could you help me with these questions?
Terry, from Topeka, Kansas
Before you chose the Lord and became a member of His Church, He chose you. We join the Church through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that testifies of the Father and the Son. There is no doubt that having followed the invitation to be baptized, the Lord would have you follow His invitation to enter into the covenant of eternal marriage, and by so doing prepare yourself for exaltation in the celestial kingdom. In order to do so you must marry someone who is worthy to go to the temple with you. If the person you are dating “was meant for you,” it means that he was meant to accept the gospel and live its principles. If he refuses to do that there is no doubt that he was not meant for you. Don’t expect that if he won’t join the Church before you are married that he will afterward. Some do, but many don’t. The risk is far too great. As you live an exemplary life the Lord will undoubtedly lead you to a worthy companion. Perhaps this is the one, but if I were you I would quickly put a condition on our relationship, that it could never be a serious one unless he followed the path that you have followed, and lives worthy to receive the same blessings that are your own goal. Here is what some of the brethren have had to say about marrying out of the Church–
“We say to our young people, get married, and marry aright. Marry in the faith, and let the ceremony be performed in the place God has appointed. Live so that you may be worthy of this blessing. If, however, obstacles, not at present removable, prevent this most perfect form of marriage, have your bishop perform the ceremony, and then, at the earliest possible moment, go to the temple. But do not marry those out of the Church, as such unions almost invariably lead to unhappiness and quarrels and often finally to separation. Besides, they are not pleasing in the sight of heaven. The believer and unbeliever should not be yoked together, for sooner or later, in time or in eternity, they must be divided again.” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, p.279)
“For the reasons previously stated, it is a most serious error for a young man or a young woman to marry outside of the Church, for they cannot then be married with a promise of eternal union. No matter who should perform such a ceremony of marriage, it must be for time only, and then death will separate the contracting parties who will not have claim upon their children after they are dead.” (Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.2, p.75)
“Paul said: Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14.) Perhaps Paul wanted them to see that religious differences are fundamental differences. Yes, a small minority are finally baptized. Some good men and women have joined the Church after the interfaith marriage and have remained most devout and active. God bless them! We are proud of them and grateful for them. These are our blessed minority. Others who do not join the Church are still kind, considerate, and cooperative, and permit the other spouse to worship and serve according to the Church pattern. God bless them also! Many others join the Church ostensibly for the marriage, then fail to live the commandments. Many of them are later divorced. Others, though not divorced, continue to have friction, particularly in religious matters in the home. The majority, however, do not join the Church. Surveys have indicated that only one of seven finally join the Church-the odds are against the others. And nearly half of those who marry out of the Church become inactive. As parents give up their religion, an increasing number of their children are brought up without any religion. So you are taking a desperate chance if you say, ‘Well, maybe he will join after we are married. We will go ahead and try it and see.’ It is a pretty serious thing to take a chance on.” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.300)