FAQ: In Love With A Mormon

"I'm not Mormon myself, but I am in love with a Mormon. I am taking the missionary discussions, and I really don't believe that Mormonism is a divinely inspired church. But I am thinking of joining anyway, because I want to spend the rest of my life married to this wonderful person. What advice do you have for me?"

This kind of question is asked frequently on the Exmormon mailing list. Here are answers that have been given by former Mormons on that list. (Sometimes the questioner was a woman, in love with a Mormon man, sometimes a man in love with a Mormon woman. The gender references, of course, reflect the gender of the original questioner.)

Love is a powerful thing. I think that you know deep in your heart whether or not you are seriously considering not joining the mormon church, or if you are definitely going to join because you love her. I'm hoping that the former is true, and that you are seriously trying to decide whether or not to join, irrespective of your passion for her.

I think that there are two things to consider, and consider hard.

1 - You mention the moral values that your children will be taught. If you wish your children to be chaste, regardless of their self-esteem, mormonism is for you. They will frighten your children into submission. They will teach your boys that masturbation is evil... perhaps even an evil that will lead to homosexuality. They will teach your girls that they have worth only so long as they can remain virgins until they marry. They will teach them that good girls don't have those kind of feelings. Heaven help your kids when they fail to be perfect! And, if one of your children happens to be gay? It will take a miracle for them to be raised in the mormon church and survive it to become happy adults.

2 - You mentioned that you don't believe in the mormon prophet. You may be able to "fake it" for now.... but you will always be a failure in the eyes of your lovely LDS girl. You will not be one of the strong men of the ward with a strong, stepford-like family. Your children will know (once they are old enough) that they are not in a "first-class" mormon family. You will not be able to compete without becoming a TBM (truly brainwashed mormon.)

In addition to these two items, if you become a mormon just to marry her, you will give up your integrity, in my humble opinion. Some people remain mormons for the effect on their children, but something always seems to go awry.

Best of Luck with whatever you choose.

Here are some reasons to think about the consequences of your joining the church even if you don't believe it:

1. You'll lose 10% of your income, probably more.
2. You'll be so busy in callings, you won't have time for your loved ones.
3. You'll produce too many loved ones.
4. Your kids will become Mobots. You will be expected to start missionaries funds to send them out into the world for two years at your own expense.
5. Your new circle of friends will be unable to speak on topics or issues that aren't directly related to mormonism.
6. You will submerge your own identity and personality in order to fit in.
7. You'll eventually get bored with your wife because her brain doesn't meander past mormon boundaries.
8. You'll wear funny underwear.
9. You won't have free time to pursue your own interests.
10. And I repeat, He who chases two rabbits at once catches neither one of them.

- From someone who has been there and done that

I have been in your shoes! I know exactly what you are going through and exactly what you are feeling. When I was 20, I almost joined the church for the guy of my dreams (or so I thought). I come from a very small town in Arizona, and the whole time living there, the majority of my friends, teachers, co-workers, coaches, and even bosses were LDS. I always felt as though I was missing out because I was not a member.

So, when I began dating "Mr. Right", I thought for sure I had found what I was missing. I met with the missionaries, started going to church with my boyfriend, and even set a date to be baptized. My family was not overly thrilled with my decision to join the church, but my parents have always let me make my own decisions and they have respected them.

On the morning of the day I was to be baptized, I had a feeling that I simply could not shake. At first I thought is was just nerves, but then I realized that it was much more. My mother sat me down and asked, "Why are you joining the church?" I answered, "Becuase I love him." She said, "Yes, but does he love you?" I said, "Of course he loves me......." She came back with, "Does he love the real you?"

I then realized that the answer I had to that question was one that I did not like. The guy of my dreams was not in love with me, he was in love with an image of what he thought I would become if I joined the church. It was then that I realized that if I were to join the church, I had to do it for myself and no one else. And I think you should do the same. If you feel that the church is right for you, and you can believe in what it teaches and live by its standards, then more power to you.

But if you are doing this because someone else wants you to, please please please think twice. Love is something that is unconditional, and it sounds to me like your girlfriend is putting extreme conditions on it. Ask yourself this: Would you ever ask her to change her beliefs or her lifestyle in order to be with you? And would she be willing to do that? If your answer is yes, then maybe your girlfriend is right and you should join. However, if your answer is no, then what gives her the right to ask you to change in order to be with her?

If you do decide to become a member of the church, I beg you to make sure that all of your questions are answered in full before you do so. There are a lot of things might catch you by surprise.

I wish you the best of luck.

I began investigating the church because I was strongly attracted to a Mormon girl. As it turned out I got the church but didn't get the girl! She became pregnant by a non-Mormon and married him. In part I was attracted to the church because it seemed to offer appealing answers for my questions about life and a clear way to find love and relationship. Rather than struggle with the shyness, deep self-doubt, and fear of rejection I felt, I believed that becoming a worthy Mormon would make me worthy of a woman's love--it would give me some kind of "credentials" that I would be someone a good Mormon could love.

As it turned out, after fifteen years of marriage to someone who didn't love me, I found "credentials" weren't enough. I still find myself believing I must go to extra effort to be loved. While the core of this is traceable to my (non-Mormon) upbringing, the church reinforced this belief.

The church explicitly tells young women that young men are worthy of their love and attention only if the men live up to the church requirements, and I was told often as a church member that my keeping my relationship with the woman I loved was conditional upon my obedience to the church. I believe in being a decent person and a good partner, but I feel bad that sometimes even now it is hard for me to simply accept being loved or to imagine myself being loved without the idea of "worthiness" entering into it.

I know something about love. I have lived long enough (65 years) to have had the good fortune to have experienced it - real, "true" love - more than once. It is a wonderful thing, even mysterious. There are also a lot of human emotions that go by the name "love" but which really aren't. I'm not talking about those. And I am not talking about love of God. Just love between two people which draws them together and holds them together. And I am not suggesting that your feelings for each other are not really love. In fact, I am assuming that they are.

Let me suggest that true love for another person is the overwhelming desire to do whatever you can for that person's happiness. That is, the happiness of the loved one is more important to you than anything else, even perhaps your own happiness.

Ideally, that love is returned - that is, your loved one also has your happiness as his primary goal in life and will do anything to make you happy. When two people thus love each other equally like that, then happiness for both is a natural result.

What causes problems is when the love is not balanced. One loves more than the other, and thus sacrifices in order to make the other happy. Love has then become a burden, a prison, a cause for unhappiness. It dies like a flower that gets no water or sunshine.

I believe in love, in the power of love. I even believe that there are such things as "soulmates." You and he may in fact be soulmates.

But no one outcome in life is necessarily the only best outcome. Soulmates do not always get to spend life together. I know - and here I am speaking from my own experience. I was once very much in love with a woman who was, I believe, a soulmate of mine, and she loved me. I had never felt so much love before - on every level from the physical to the intellectually sublime - nor have I since. We were very happy, and we treasured every moment we had together. Our time together was long enough that our love was able to mature and be tested. But ultimately we realized that we would not be able to live together and spend the rest of our lives here together, for various reasons (not religion, by the way). We parted, still loving each other deeply, but also realizing that to stay together would ultimately mean that I would cause her unhappiness and she would also cause me unhappiness.

The point is: it was because we loved each other so much that we parted. And, although I have shed many tears at the loss, I am still convinced that we did the best thing.

Perhaps, if you truly love this man, the kindest thing you could do for him would be to send him away. You cannot - if you are true to yourself - make him happy. And if he truly loves you, he would probably destroy himself in trying to make you happy. I don't think you would want that.

On sex: You wrote, in answer to the question, "Are you sleeping with him?":

No. We haven't even talked about it (I don't think he'd even know where to begin talking about physical attraction). Whatever goes on, all our clothes are on. His fraternity brothers pretty well agree that he's morally upstanding (and prudish) :). But I do know for a fact that he's, um, very attracted to me, shall we say?

I also wonder if he'd be mortified if he knew I'm not a virgin. But this just doesn't come up in conversation...

Oh, the red lights are flashing all over the place!

RED LIGHT #1: You haven't talked about physical attraction to each other.
RED LIGHT #2: He wouldn't know where to begin talking about it.
RED LIGHT #3: He's prudish.
RED LIGHT #4: He's morally upstanding AND
RED LIGHT #5: You are not a virgin.

Do you know that Mormon fathers have been known to tell their daughters that they would rather see them dead than having lost their virginity? This guy would not be mortified. He would be horrified, scandalized. Worse, he would struggle with himself to forgive you for not being "pure," but would probably find it in his heart to forgive you for being "morally unclean" if you really truly repented hard enough and long enough (like forever).

You put all these together, and it's nothing but trouble ahead. You don't need it.

Final thought: You don't say how old you are, or whether this is the first time you have really been in love. Believe me, there are many wonderful people out there in the world. There are probably several thousand men who would be an ideal mate for you. You would be blissfully happy with any of them. This Mormon man is keeping you from finding them. He's NOT on that list.

You may be thinking of joining the church and being able to fake it through that incredibly long three hours each Sunday.

That doesn't cut it. Mormonism isn't a one day a week religion. It totally consumes you - the time requirements for being a good mormon are enormous - and your girl won't be happy with you if you aren't being a "good" mormon. Just being baptized isn't enough.

Before you even consider joining, talk to one of her male family members. Ask him about his callings - in a way that he's proud to talk about it. If you let him know you have reservations he'll minimize it to keep you interested. Mentally keep track of how many hours a week, how many hours a month, he's got to be putting in to fulfill his obligations.

You are talking about devoting your entire life to something you don't believe in. For someone who doesn't love you for who you are.

[From a non-Mormon on the list:]
When I first subscribed to the list, I was at a very difficult stage in my life. I had just lost the guy of my dreams (or so I thought), and I felt that it was all because I was selfish and unwilling to compromise about religious differences (he is Mormon). I felt that if I had just given in and joined the church, I would still have him in my life. Now that I look back on the situation, I have realized that I was not the one who was being selfish. Joining this list was probably one of the best things I have ever done for myself. Not only have you all taught me a lot about the LDS church, you have also taught me a lot about myself. I have learned that I am a lot smarter, and a lot stronger than I ever thought I was. I have also come to realize that the heavenly father that I know loves me for who and what I am, no matter what church I am a member of. After all, he created me, and a true father would never turn his back on his child for using his or her free agency.

[From a non-Mormon who recently separated from his Mormon wife:]
Since I have split from my wife, I have been getting involved with some of the Internet dating services. All of them use answers to questions on religion to be decisive questions--that is with differences, there is no match.

If you cannot find common ground on these issues, it is time to split.

The next comments were in response to a young man who was in the process of "taking the discussions" - i.e., taking the six lessons from Mormon missionaries to prepare for (possible) baptism. He had written:
"When we talk about religion (always Mormon centered), I try to ONLY inquire about things I presumably do not understand. She usually answers me with "that is why you need to take "All the discussions"". My response is usually, something to the effect of "How can an 18 year old know so much as to convert someone that is at peace with life and death(whatever that may be),could a god really distain anyone seeking the truth?" "I have respect for ALL life, I only wish the best for everyone, etc. etc....." This does seem to get her attention, but I feel her swerve back into "how much better life could be forever"..... I know enough then NOT to push any further at that point in time.
Okay, I have not responded to this yet because I have never been in love with a Mormon and needed to think this out, but there are a few things that has not been mentioned that I see in your post.

1) "All the discussions" will only serve to confuse the issue further. If you wish to know the answers to your questions, the missionaries will dazzle you with blue smoke and mirrors and get you so sidetracked that you won't be able to remember your original question. Between us, I bet we on this list could answer your questions about the theology of the church without sidetracking you.

2) The 18 year olds that are doing the missionary work aren't well educated or anything, they have these speeches memorized or written down in one of their notebooks. There is a pre-prepared script that they deviate from only in the most extreme circumstances. It has been given to them from the Mission President of the area, who got it from the Zone President, who got it from Salt Lake. It all comes from one source, and they don't care about what you are like now, only what you could become when you join the Church.

Don't be fooled by statements like "All will be revealed when you are baptized" and "Only a member could understand this...." or similar platitudes, they won't follow through with the explanations, and by then, it's too late.

3) "It's so better forever".... Understand something: an "eternal marriage" is what every Mormon girl and boy are trained to want and need from the time they graduate from Primary. I don't know how many meetings of the Deacons and Teachers I sat in on in which they talked exclusively about marriage and "Famlies are forever" and simmilar drek. It's her belief (probably) that marriage in anything other than the Temple is a sin, and that kind of marriage is ultimately doomed to fail because of the fact that Satan can cause mischief since it's not under the "protection" of Heavenly Father.

This rite is one of the most sacred that a couple can undertake and most Mormon children start dreaming about it when they discover that the opposite sex is for more than picking on. I know several girls that I dated in the Church who would start out saying "When we are married in the Temple...." and then go on to tell me the entire fantasy they had built around that act.

Add to that the deep-seated belief that anyone who goes to the Temple will change into a perfect paragon of all that is noble and virtuous in the universe. You could fake it well enough to get a temple recommend, I know that others have done it, but she will expect that you will magically become so perfect that she is content to be with you all the time. Any misgivings that she has about your marriage is automatically her fault because you are perfect. Now, not growing up under this conditioning, you and I both know what kind of fallacy that is, but she will believe that she is in error (not spiritual enough, not pleasing enough, not whatever enough) because you are the Priesthood holder in the family and you are perfect. After all, you have the insparation of God on your side.

And if you aren't perfect, one of several things will happen. A) She will make all kinds of excuses for you and take whatever steps she feels are necessary to allow you to be the holy person you are, B) She will honestly believe that you are the tool of Satan and start trying to get away from you, C) in order to save your marriage, you will be pestered and browbeaten into taking on more duties in the Church until you have no time for anything other than the church, at which point if that is STILL not enough, she will leave you. This depends entirely upon her personality.

Basically, from what I know and what I have seen and read, you are talking about changing every aspect of your life for her. She will assume that you are clay to be molded into shape (the shape she wants) and when you turn out to be human, she will blame and revile you (or herself).

I'm not going to tell you not to take this step, but you may want to point out to her that in her insistance that you have a Temple Wedding, and that you join the Church, she is insisting that everything that made her like you in the first place be changed and discarded. This is a HUGE decision, and not one to be taken lightly.

The missionaries won't tell you everything. The policy that they have been trained to is to give all the good stuff before they get to anything that could jepordize your budding faith. If you truly believe all this, fine, and more power to you. However, if you have ANY doubts, pester them to tell you those answers before you ever agree to be dunked. Once you go under, it's really hard to struggle back to the surface of that baptismal font. They put you down one person and make you be another when you get pulled back up.

"Daven" (Eric Landrum) <daven@davensjournal.com>
Daven's home page: http://davensjournal.com

When I was dating my husband, and he was totally convinced the church was true, and he was trying to convince me as well, we had not yet joined. We were still drinking, sleeping together, and having a great time. But the Mormon church had its hooks in him, and because I wanted him, I started taking the lessons with him. Eventually, we joined the church and married a year later.

I told him not too long ago, when we were still together but on the verge of divorce, that the girl he fell in love with was the real me....the one who liked to have fun and laugh and go out for a drink now and then. What he and the church had made me was a matronly Molly, old before my time, beaten down and feeling guilt at every turn for what I wasn't and what I knew I never could be. It wasn't anything like my real self, which struggled to get out for years.

One thing I remember him doing was correcting me a lot, especially when we were first married. I would ask him why he couldn't accept me the way I was, and he said because he knew that God wanted us all to be better people, and he thought I could work on my flaws. He said he loved me "for the person I could become." No lie. I struggled to please him and God for years before realizing that I was pretty damn good on my own merits. Screw the LDS god and all his expectations, I was a great mom, a loving friend, a contributing member of the community without having to rely on the Morg to tell me what to do.

I have read so many stories of young people who are in love with Mormons and want to know how to get their sweetheart to love them without joining the church. The answer is, probably you won't. Your chances of making it work are slim. But no matter how much it hurts now, after 20+ years of marriage and a few kids, it's so much harder to leave. I know what I'm talking about, but I also know that young love is very strong and hope springs eternal.

I just wish someone had told me what it would be like 22 years ago.

- Debbie

When I asked Debbie if I could post her comments here, she replied: "You may use my post and you may also use my first name and email address. I'll gladly talk to someone about what it's like to convert for love, and regret it later. I would hate to have someone go through what I did." Her e-mail address: Debs72@aol.com.    Please put "Mormon Info" in the subject line, so that she will not delete it as spam.

I hate to say it, but if you marry this man, you are probably going to become a Mormon or eventually divorce. As a ex-mormon (adult convert) recently married to a Mormon, take it from someone who knows. While he may be unsure of his religion now, just wait until he has a family. In my experience living in Salt Lake, there are many teens and young adults who "question" the LDS church (I was in a singles' ward for a while listening to their "testimonies" regarding this). These members all had their little romps - girlfriends/boyfriends - outside the church, etc., but came back eventually. Your boyfriend is living in a dreamworld saying religion doesn't matter. Maybe right now it doesn't matter. But if he grew up Mormon and is still "practicing" you can bet you that once he has a family - especially children, the church's old ways will come out full force. It is hard, almost impossible to be married to a Mormon if you are not also Mormon.

And remember, when you marry someone, you marry their family, too. It sounds like his family is the kind that will do anything in their power to further draw his future wife into this tangled, cultish scary web, or else reject her completely. This is very hard to deal as a wife, and an extremely hard, and unfair, situation for future grandchildren. Please do not find this out too late.

The Mormon Church is not like any form of Christianity outsiders are familiar with. It is a cult which has become so mainstream that people forget that it is a cult. Unless your boyfriend is 100% declared a non-mormon, I would reconsider going to the next level in your relationship. Even my TBM husband, during moments of clarity, has "questions" about the church. But these are minor. When push comes to shove he will side with the church always, hands down. Why? Because he grew up in a cult and it is deeply ingrained. This is something you and I, not born into Mormonism, cannot fully understand. Your mother is very wise to be concerned. Be careful!

Lacey in SLC

Lacey is willing to respond to e-mail.

Keep away from her - I know what I'm talking about - I have been fighting this kind of war for something like six months, and it's tearing me apart. She may look wonderful but she is really sick, and if you try to have her near, you will also be sick in a very short time.

She has already chosen a side in this fight, and she is on the side of the church, and if you try to take her away you will hurt her. If she stays in the church you will be hurt. There is truly little hope. At the beginning of this I was a love-can-make-it-happen kind of guy, now I'm just trying to survive this with some sanity. I love her, but she is killing me from the inside.

There is a question you can ask her in order to know if you have any hope. Ask her if she believes in the church and its teachings. If she answers yes, go away, there is no way you can take her out of this, it's only her decision which can save her from this. If she is not 100% convinced it's false, she will return, sooner or later. She really thinks the church is her reason to exist, you are nothing compared with the church and she will destroy you in order to keep the church. Maybe she will talk about love, about loyalty, or friendship, but leave her, she is sick. I know what I'm talking about. Take care.

[The following was a response to a young non-Mormon woman who was already engaged to be married to her Mormon boyfriend. She had told him that she would never become Mormon, but they still planned to marry.]
I wish that I could see into the future and reassure you that "love conquers all" and that you will find happiness married to your wonderful Mormon husband. If the experiences of hundreds of others who have walked that road are any indication, however, I have to tell you frankly that there will be troubles, unhappiness, and sorrow, one way or another if you go ahead with this marriage. A successful marriage must be based on having common views of very fundamental things, and religion is one of those things. Differing religious views might not be a problem in some marriages, but I doubt that can be the case where one spouse is a devout Mormon.

For starters, look at a couple of web pages:

"Mormon Women, Prozac, and Therapy" by Dr. Kent Ponder (a Mormon) at http://packham.n4m.org/prozac.htm, about the psychological problems that women in Mormonism suffer.

"Raising Children as Mormons" at http://packham.n4m.org/children.htm about the damage done to children who are raised Mormon (I am certain that even though your husband might not be able to convince you to be baptized, he would insist that your children should be raised in the church, and that you - being a nice person, and wanting to make a few concessions - would agree to that).

Problems are also bound to arise for any of the following reasons:

Your fiance, if he is really a devout Mormon, is hoping that eventually you will become Mormon. Even though he may assure you that it's OK if you don't, deep in his heart that is (and MUST be) his most fervent wish. Your statements to him that you will never be a Mormon are not going to be taken at face value, since Mormons are convinced that any rational, open-minded and honest person will naturally become a Mormon when Mormonism is explained to them correctly. He is only waiting for that to happen, despite what he may say. There will be two possible outcomes: you will continue to refuse to join the church, or you will join without actually believing it in order to please him.

If it's the first outcome, your husband will be miserable, frustrated, angry, and face trouble at church because he is married to a non-Mormon. He will spend every day of his life realizing that he may never reach the highest degree of exaltation in the celestial kingdom (which requires being married to a good Mormon). His hopes for that exaltation will have to rest on his being able to marry some other woman who qualifies for that degree of heaven. That does not sound to me like a husband in a happy marriage.

If it's the second outcome, then you are the one that will be miserable, frustrated and angry, because you will be put in the position of living a lie. Being a "good Mormon" (which is the only kind of Mormon your fiance wants to have as a wife) is much more demanding than being a good Methodist, a good Jew, or even a good Catholic. You will be required to demonstrate your devoutness constantly. To be required constantly to put up a false front is a prescription for mental illness (see the Prozac article).

If you are thinking that eventually your fiance will realize that his religion is not true, and will leave the church, then you have other problems. First, he might not. But if he does, (I am assuming that his family are also Mormon) then he will suffer alienation from his family, and his family will blame "that woman" for "destroying his testimony" and "tempting" him. If he leaves the church primarily because he loves you more than the church, rather than really admitting that Mormonism is false, there is the constant danger that one day his conscience will bother him, and he will go back to it. (I know several cases where this happened.)

If you think that there is any possibility of demonstrating to him that Mormonism is false, then by all means try to do so, but don't marry until he clearly sees its falsity. That may take some time.

I hate to say it... but run. Run fast, run far, don't look back. The sooner, the better. Cut your losses, and run.

The cult sows seeds deep. My wife did not go active until after our first child, and then it was too late. THEN I started learning about Mormonism, and how it screws with people's minds, and how much like a cult it is. We have reached an understanding, but it is an uneasy one.

Your boyfriend will go back, and will need to be married in the temple, etc. If he is already hiding stuff from you and trying to change you (convert you), that is an awful foundation for a lifetime commitment. Understand all of the time and money commanded by the church. It is quite serious.

Unless he makes a clean, complete break and commits to years of therapy, you have a true believer. If his family is believers, you will NEVER be free. Marriage means you get the family, too.

Run. Or be prepared to do a lot of work and suffering.

All of your invested time is a "sunk cost." Do NOT consider your past in this decision. Look only ahead, and decide what the future will be. From your short description, it sounds like a bomb lurking under the surface waiting to go off.


Do NOT marry this guy or have children with him or invest too much in him until you sort this religion thing out. Mormonism isn't like many religions where there is room for religious differences between spouses or partners. In Mormonism, you're either in or you're out. I was an active Mormon for 35 years, married to a Mormon for 17. When I left the church, that was the end of the marriage. If you find yourself thinking that his religious waverings don't matter--or if you find yourself thinking that the difference in religious belief between the two of you don't matter, think again. In the Mormon church, it's huge. Unless this guy actually and completely leaves the church (and you're sure he's not headed back in a year or two), keep your distance or plan on a world of pain down the road. That's the hard, cold truth.

After I got married (and converted) it seems like my wife's Mormon family still called the shots in our relationship. Every Sunday, after we went to church we'd drive an hour each way, just for dinner. Often times we'd also attend plays, concerts, etc. Now, I'm all for supporting family but with a Mormon family, that's a lot of kids and events to support. Anyway, it would seem that if there was any sign of trouble in our relationship, that her family would tighten their grip on her. I wanted to make the marriage work and said "let's move away from our families for a short period of time and just work on "us" but she was unwilling to do that. Second example is when I first mentioned the possibility of divorce, her mom drove her right down and consulted with an attorney. It would be 8 months later that she left and 6 months after that she filed papers. Last case was what really sent me over the edge. During one of our Sunday visits, I got into an argument with her sister and husband over something stupid... and they kicked me out of their parents' house. So I told my wife, "let's get our kid and let's go". I packed up our stuff and got in the car... I sat there for 20 minutes while they prayed and she got a blessing.

I know that women aren't possesions... but I never felt like she was "mine"... more like on loan from her Mormon family... Now, if I could have only returned her like a library book :-)

I, too, fell in love with a devout Mormon guy at the age of 22. I had been exposed the church for a couple of years prior to that because my oldest brother had joined it a few years before that. All the people were incredibly nice and friendly. I grew up in a home that was not traditional and was lacking some direction and stability. The church provided that to me immediately along with a HUGE sense of belonging and direction. I was looking for what would make me a "good" person, since my background was not so good. I jumped in with both feet, got baptized, waited a year to go to the temple to get married, started having babies, etc. When life slowed down a little for me, I TOOK THE TIME TO DO THE RESEARCH I SHOULD HAVE DONE BEFORE I GOT BAPTIZED!.

Each of our journeys into and out of the church is unique, but my advice to you is to make sure you're only doing it for YOU, not because you're in love with someone who can only love you to a certain point unless you're part of his church. For me, so much of what they taught brought me warm fuzzies, made me feel good and secure, and did increase my standard of lifestyle, like you said. Along the years in my marriage whenever I would probe into certain doctrine and ask many questions my husband would kinda freak out; and after saying I shouldn't question things so much he would end up crying, scared that I was going to go inactive because of my questioning. Now I've been married 17 years, been out of the church for two years and am struggling to keep this marriage together between two people who have completely different religious views. Not a fun road to travel!

I have no doubt that your boyfriend is a very nice guy. He probably has a lot of qualities that are good, admirable even, but remember that most of what Mormons do is conditional. IF you're good enough you can go to the temple, IF you're good enough you can make it to the celestial kingdom, IF you're good enough you can have a "higher" calling in the church, IF you're good enough you are worthy of blessings....etc. Just a few things for you to think about.....

[I wrote the following in response to a request for advice from a young man who is in love with a wonderful Mormon girl who says she is not really all that into the Mormon religion. - RP]

I can understand your dilemma, being in love with a Mormon girl and yet not wanting to get involved yourself in Mormonism, or have your children raised as Mormons.

One of the pitfalls is that people who have been raised as Mormons may never lose its grip. Even those who, like your girlfriend, have not been 100% devout followers, having an occasional beer, a little pre-marital sex, and daily coffee. Those are the kind that are most dangerous to fall in love with, because you think, "Well, obviously the Mormonism isn't that important to her/him!" But they carry a smoldering ember of faith and guilt, implanted when they were young, and it often bursts into flame and becomes all-consuming when they are through "sowing their wild oats," and start building a home and having children. At that point, too, the pressure begins to build from the Mormon extended family. Marriage into a Mormon family, to someone who has been taught from childhood the importance of family, means that you are marrying the entire family. You will never belong, and you will likely be made to feel it, however subtly.

As long as she retains even a scintilla of belief in Mormonism, there will be trouble, and it will grow as your relationship continues. Her frustration and sorrow (that you are not Mormon) will continue to grow.

My advice: do not be blinded by love. Remember that there are probably hundreds of equally wonderful girls out there who would be ideally suited to you, and where there would not be this huge invisible thing lurking always between you and her.

[From a private e-mail]
I am not Mormon and have no plans to ever become one but I married a Mormon 27 years ago. After all these years, I am still happy with him and love him dearly. He is my best friend and the best and kindest man I ever met. However, he is not your typical Mormon. Though he believes in the Mormon Church, he goes to church infrequently and does not follow all the rules (drinks coffee, drinks alcohol on occasion). In his youth, he had lots of nice Mormon girls chasing him, but he never wanted a woman he had to take care of. He wanted (and got) an independent woman. He has always respected me and my opinions and though he would like me to be a member, he respects the fact that I will not compromise my principles and join a Church I don't believe in. I think that is the heart of the matter. He loves and respects me for who I am and I feel the same about him. That is why our marriage has lasted and is as strong as it is. Please DO NOT JOIN A CHURCH JUST TO PLEASE SOMEONE ELSE. If this girl cannot love a respect you for who you are, you do not belong with her. You will turn yourself inside out to make yourself someone else to please her and someday you will wake up and find that you don't know who you are anymore.

I was once in a relationship with a mormon man. He was inactive when we met but gradually got all re-mormonized by his family and church heavies.

When he got active in church stuff again, he dumped me real quick. I had made it clear to him that I could never become a mormon. He chose his god and cult instead of me... yet every few months for a couple of years, he still attempted to contact me. Sending me emails, hand-written letters, Facebook friend requests, comments on my blog and phone messages claiming he felt 'prompted by god' to contact me.

Yeah... he dumped me in a very cold-hearted manner and then he thought I'd want to hear from him again and again and again?

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