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Our 21 year old son, BIC but not an RM, has decided to do what his non-member girlfriend wants him to do, which is to move out of his roommate’s house and move in with her. We have tried to counsel both of them to get married first, that cohabitation is both morally wrong and it increases the likelihood of break-up or divorce (85% of these relationships end within 5 years whether they get married later or not, according to the research we did.) She said that she will only get married when SHE wants and on HER terms, that she does not need a  piece of paper to be committed to our son (her emphasis). We even tried to explain to her the likely consequences to him and his standing in the Church, but she says that those are not HER beliefs and she’s going to do what SHE wants to do, and that we are out of line to ask them to change their plans to move in together, since they are planning their wedding for “sometime next year” anyway. She says her parents are OK with it, so she does not see that we should have a problem with this either–and besides, they aren’t asking our permission. She only told us because her mother told her that they needed to be honest with us and tell us what they were planning to do. Our relationship with her was going  well up to this point, we were teaching her the gospel in FHE each week, she  attended our ward with us a few times–and then this bombshell hits our family. Our son seems to have bought into the whole “whatever I can do to keep her happy” thing, even though we know he has been taught all his life what’s right, and have reminded him  of that several times since this announcement. Now he has distanced himself from us and the Church  right after our bishop spoke to him. Our two teenagers are both angry and sad about their brother, and we are  devastated–there have been a lot of tears shed by everyone in our home. It is almost like we are all mourning for him. Is there anything else we can do to get through to him and/or bring some peace to our family? The pain seems almost unbearable!
LDS Mom,  Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Dear LDS Mom
This is certainly a tough situation and could easily lead to a complete separation between your family and your son. A couple of points to ponder—
Article of Faith 11. We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.even members of our own family!
Your son is not moving in ignorance, and is responsible for his own actions. Perhaps the best thing that you can do is to sit down with him, briefly go over your concerns in the matter–he has heard them all before–then let him know that as your son, you love him very much, and will support him in any decision that he makes. If you can develop a friendly relation with him and his girl friend, you will have the best chance of bringing them around to your point of view–not by the power of argument, but by the power of loving example.

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