We have a daughter at BYU Idaho dating a person that is a religious zealot and they are engaged and he uses everything to the letter with regards to what general authorities have counseled to his advantage. They have dated less than six months and claims that he has received revelation on a certain date. My wife’s health has been in decline and we have asked them to move the date back to a later time to give more time to prepare. He has manipulated our daughter into believing that they go forward.
I am sorry to hear about your situation; although, I am not sure if you are asking a question, and I am very limited as to the experience with how your communication with your daughter and potential son-in-law have been. If this were my daughter, and my potential son-in-law here is hopefully how I would handle the situation.
First, I would remember that for some reason this young man has found favor in my daughter’s eyes, and if she has said yes to his proposal — she loves him. As she loves him, any derogatory words I say toward him (i.e. “religious zealot”) will be seen as hateful and unloving. This type of language toward someone she loves will push her away from me even if I am providing sound advice. Therefore all my expressions should be from a loving, unemotional standpoint.
Plus, let’s admit it, fathers have a tendency to believe no one is good enough for their daughter.
Second, I would find out more about why my daughter is interested in this young man, instead of trying to keep her from him. As an adult, who is capable of receiving revelation from God, I have to respect what she feels is right. My questions then would also stem around personal revelation, and whether or not she has received an answer. I would also probably ask if she has prayed by herself, not as a couple, and mention the importance of finding a quiet place by herself (I would recommend prophetic words from our leaders also) in order for the Lord to direct her.
Third, it sounds like your daughter is happy with what you call a religious zealout, which means she probably like the idea that her fiance is so keen on following the general authorities. So, if this is true, any time you mock or point this out, you may be mocking something she finds extremely important turning her off to anything you have to say. In light of this, I would then invite my daughter to read various material from our general authorities regarding marriage, personal revelation, and especially the notion of the potential danger of a priesthood holder telling a young woman that he has received revelation, and expecting her to follow him without the young woman receiving revelation for herself in this matter. I would send her an email with all the links that will help her with this big decision she is making, and again express love and how I want her happiness, and that all I do is because I love her and want her happiness and joy.
And finally, I would try to find out, through prayer, a proper way to address revelation pertaining to the actual date of marriage and revelation. At this point, I would express my desire of my wife’s (her mother’s health) and the wedding date; however, I would also recognize if I have been mean or unkind to her fiance she will probably see this as another attempt to stop the marriage instead of respecting her choice. So, being a loving father and mother to my daughter and her fiance are important.
Overall Todd, just as Heavenly Father accepts our moral agency, we have to accept the moral agency of our daughters and sons. We can teach. We can show love. We can instruct and preach. We want to invite proper understanding, and then like God (no matter how difficult), we have to allow them their agency and trust in God. I would let her know I am always there for her, even if I am not fond of her decision.
I would provide this thought, if she does indeed marry this young man, what relationship do you want with him? As your decision here will not only affect your potential son-in-law relationship with you, it will also affect your daughter’s relationship with her father and mother as she now will be under covenant and oath to “cleave” unto her husband. As a parent I never want to put my son or daughter in a position where they have to choose between me or their spouse, and sadly this has happened.
As I am not aware of your full circumstance I can only share thoughts from the limited knowledge I have, but one thing for sure Heavenly Father sure knows this situation in totality, and that you can seek his guidance on how to best speak with your daughter.