prisonchaplain

Would you let your child marry one?

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2 Corinthians 6:14 reads:  Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

In a different string @Carborendum asked me directly if I considered Mormons to be Christians. My answer was something of a non-answer. I said that we don't agree on any doctrines completely, but that God decides the fate of souls. My conclusion is that we are all God-seekers, for sure.

I did not expect a lot of smiley faces. There are certainly ways of defining "Christian" that would allow us to call each other such (literally, it means 'like Christ," for example). I took the question to mean do I expect to see active Mormons in heaven.

Perhaps a different question would get us closer to understanding why we may have deep regard/respect for our fellow religionists, of different churches, and yet, when the beliefs are far apart, what shall we do?  That question is:  WOULD YOU LET YOUR SON/DAUGHTER MARRY ONE?  WOULD YOU APPROVE?

Some on this site are in such marriages, and they have worked out. I get that.  Even so, would you want the same for your children?  Just today I spoke with someone who expressed the difficulty of interfaith marriage. She was raised Catholic and her husband Buddhist (they are Vietnamese). So, when I told her we were looking at Christian colleges her first response is how good that was because they would likely find boyfriends who were also Christians.

It might be helpful to realize that many devoted Catholics and Protestants would struggle to let their children marry across the lines too. Perhaps not so much Catholic and Lutheran, but crossing over into Evangelical, Baptist, or other more conservative communities would be tough. I even know a psychologist--quite liberal--who told her Evangelical boyfriend that she would always remain Catholic and he would have to agree that the children would be raised the same.

BTW, I realize many parents today will say they will go with whatever their children decide. After all, they are adults, and who needs family drama. If you had your way, though, would you want your daughter to never be able to marry in the temple? Would you want your grandchildren raised to believe that your church was fringe at best?

Perhaps the point of this post is to say that having interfaith discussions, friendly debates, and otherwise engaging with heart on forums like this require a certain level of mutual respect and trust. My experience is that seeing the imagio Deo in each other engenders all that. Still not sure about the marriage thing though. :cool:

 

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On a serious note, PC, as I feel fairly confident that you understand the concept of eternal marriage per the LDS theology, I think you should be able to gather that a typical LDS believer would be uncomfortable with their son or daughter marrying outside of that.

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You have to realize that when you ask a question like that to a Mormon, would you let your child marry a non-Mormon, additional considerations are in play.

Mormons believe that, when a marriage is performed the right way in the temple, that both husband and wife can continue their marriage for time and all eternity!  The marriage is not just limited for this life.

If you marry outside of the temple (and do not subsequently go to the temple), you have no promise of an eternal marriage.

Therefore, even if the interfaith marriage is the best marriage in the world and my daughter were to marry a very kind evangelical, it wouldn't be the same.  She would be missing out on eternal marriage, which is, from a Mormon perspective, a pretty big thing to miss out on.  I would even go so far as to say she has not fully experienced the true meaning of marriage if she is not in an eternal marriage!

Therefore, while I would not force my daughter to do anything or disown her if she married outside the Church or anything like that, I would be secretly very sad for her if she did not pursue temple marriage.  The sacrifice is just too great, and I would know that she kind of blew it.

Edited by DoctorLemon

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31 minutes ago, prisonchaplain said:

Some on this site are in such marriages, and they have worked out. I get that.  Even so, would you want the same for your children? 

Aww, PC's talking about me :)

Marriage is something to be taken seriously, and considering all things.   You want to consider all things, and agree on a common front.  All marriages are a lot of work, but more degree of dissimilar values/beliefs makes things harder.  And that includes being in the same faith- two Baptists can view God and how they participate in a Christian life very differently.  Any spouse you marry you want to have very long discussions on things beforehand.

To directly answer your question PC: I am not opposed to my daughter getting married to a non-LDS guy just on the qualifier of him being non-LDS.  I'll love him as he is, and course I'll hold that hope for eventual conversion, but no pushing and still love how he is.  

Edited by Jane_Doe

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Another thing - because Mormonism is such a big part of who we are, marriages with people outside of Mormonism can be very difficult.

My mom, an active Mormon, somehow ended up married to my father, an alcoholic who had no interest in religion.  They grew further and further apart over the years, with my parents eventually divorcing and my father pursuing people more like himself.  He never understood my mother's interest in Mormonism, and became quite hostile towards it.

I think similar things happen even when a Mormon marries an evangelical.  I have seen very few happy interfaith marriages where one person is a Mormon (and most of these success stories involve situations where the couple married before either was a Mormon and then one eventually converted), and plenty of absolute train wrecks of marriages that are interfaith.

I am sorry, I would like to say interfaith marriages involving Mormons have all the chances in the world for success, but that contradicts what I have observed in my own family!  Just calling it like I see it.  I do know that some people on this site have pulled off such marriages nicely ( @Jane_Doe and @anatess2), but if you marry a non-Mormon, you are taking a pretty big risk.

Mormons can and should be friends with non-Mormons, they should be close to family members who are not Mormon, and all that.  However, I can't really in good conscience say it is generally a good idea for a Mormon to marry someone who is not a Mormon.  I have seen it not work one too many times among those around me.

Edited by DoctorLemon

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If it helps, at this point I will say that in my 11 years here I have found that most LDS, while reticent to encourage interfaith marriage, are more tolerant of it than I am. I encourage my daughters to only DATE Christians. Why marry someone who is not a possibility for marriage? I understand the 2 Cor. passage to pretty directly prohibit marriages between believers and unbelievers.

Having said that, I encourage young people to discuss religion very seriously before they marry. Even between Evangelicals there are differences. For example, locally we have Christ's Church, in Federal Way, WA. It is a good-sized Evangelical church, and I fully expect to see most of its members in heaven (no church gets 100%). We have dear friends who go to that church, and fellowship with them readily and easily. HOWEVER, would a product of that church be comfortable in a Pentecostal church, where sometimes there is tongues and interpretation, and where we pray for the sick every week?  I say this because, families should go to church together, and raise their children in one faith, practiced by husband and wife. It doesn't always get to work out like that, but from the front-end (i.e. single people), that should be the goal.

Now, in my 50s, I see that attraction and 'love' complicate things. Sometimes the sense of love and communion of spirits between a boy and girl is so strong that they feel they can overcome their differences. In such cases I would simply urge that the discussions take place before the marriage. How will we handle religion? How will the children be raised?  "We'll figure it out," is negligence.

Bet y'all didn't realize what a hard case good ole PC can be.  :commando:

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2 minutes ago, prisonchaplain said:

If it helps, at this point I will say that in my 11 years here I have found that most LDS, while reticent to encourage interfaith marriage, are more tolerant of it than I am.

For what it's worth, I think the forum draws divergence that does not, taken as a whole, represent common LDS thought.

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Marriage has many different important aspects. The two most commonly thought of by us today are:

  1. As a union of hearts and souls of the spouses
  2. As the production of a family and an ongoing posterity

There are other important aspects of marriage, such as the establishment of a fundamental societal unit, but we will ignore those for now and just look at the above two.

Our reflexive societal view of marriage tends to be almost exclusively #1. This is why the oxymoron of "homosexual marriage" has been codified into law. Marriage is just a super-duper friendship, with sex as an expected and even desired benefit. Even Latter-day Saints take this "romantic" view of marriage. I know I do. Would you rather your beloved son or daughter marry another Latter-day Saint with whom s/he did not get along very well, and with whom marriage was often a trial? Or would you rather your child marry a non-LDS Christian with whom s/he got along with extremely well and had a great time being married? (For purposes of this post, ignore the oversimplified nature of this dualism.) Thinking only or primarily of #1 above, most of us would probably say that it's better to marry the person you get along with better and can have a joyful marriage with.

Bringing #2 into the equation changes the entire dynamic, though. Your choice of marriage partner will affect your family throughout all generations after. If you leave the Church (which is the very kingdom of Christ), none of your descendants will have it unless they independently discover it. You will have deprived your own children of the blessings of membership in God's kingdom. For tens or hundreds of generations, your descendants will struggle through this mortal sphere outside the benefit of the Church. And besides, you will not have them as yours. You forfeit your rights to an eternal family when you refuse to make those sacred covenants.

So given that perspective, suddenly a more difficult marriage with a less compatible LDS spouse might well sound the better choice over 50 years of marital bliss and no eternal family or posterity.

This is a difference between the viewpoint of Latter-day Saints and that of PrisonChaplain and larger Christianity. In the latter view, anyone who "makes it to heaven" is good to go, and marriage relationships are irrelevant, since marriage and family relationships do not survive death. In the former view, we stand to lose the most precious blessing God wants to give us -- eternal life -- for an ultimately shortsighted benefit.

To answer PC's question directly: I will "let" my child marry whomever s/he decides to marry. My child will receive my best wishes and even my blessing. But they will not be ignorant of how Daddy feels, or of the disappointment their parents would experience in seeing one of their children sacrificing eternal rewards and perhaps that entire line of grandchildren and descendants.

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5 minutes ago, Vort said:

Marriage has many different important aspects. The two most commonly thought of by us today are:

  1. As a union of hearts and souls of the spouses
  2. As the production of a family and an ongoing posterity

There are other important aspects of marriage, such as the establishment of a fundamental societal unit, but we will ignore those for now and just look at the above two.

Our reflexive societal view of marriage tends to be almost exclusively #1. This is why the oxymoron of "homosexual marriage" has been codified into law. Marriage is just a super-duper friendship, with sex as an expected and even desired benefit. Even Latter-day Saints take this "romantic" view of marriage. I know I do. Would you rather your beloved son or daughter marry another Latter-day Saint with whom s/he did not get along very well, and with whom marriage was often a trial? Or would you rather your child marry a non-LDS Christian with whom s/he got along with extremely well and had a great time being married? (For purposes of this post, ignore the oversimplified nature of this dualism.) Thinking only or primarily of #1 above, most of us would probably say that it's better to marry the person you get along with better and can have a joyful marriage with.

Bringing #2 into the equation changes the entire dynamic, though. Your choice of marriage partner will affect your family throughout all generations after. If you leave the Church (which is the very kingdom of Christ), none of your descendants will have it unless they independently discover it. You will have deprived your own children of the blessings of membership in God's kingdom. For tens or hundreds of generations, your descendants will struggle through this mortal sphere outside the benefit of the Church. And besides, you will not have them as yours. You forfeit your rights to an eternal family when you refuse to make those sacred covenants.

 

I would rather see my daughter marrying a righteous LDS man she barely gets along with than a non-LDS man she is best friends with.  Easily.

Brigham Young said just about any two righteous LDS members could find happiness in this life and the next life if they are willing to pay the price and put in some effort.  This means, even if my daughter and her husband don't get along initially, they can learn to love each other and find eternal life together and a happy ending.

No such guarantee is in place for the marriage to the non-LDS person.  He may never convert, the marriage may be over when he dies, and my daughter may be heartbroken for the rest of eternity.

Edited by DoctorLemon

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I read a book written by Michael Medved, the film critic and political commentator. In his early 20's he was agnostic and didn't practice Judaism. His parents were basically the same-at that point they didn't really practice much. When he brought home his Catholic girlfriend, his family hit the roof. His father said "This is not the end of the world, but it is the end of the line. If you end up without Jewish kids, you are cutting yourself off from all of us." I think many religious people feel this way, LDS or not. 

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@Vort and @DoctorLemon bring up one excellent point. Due to views on marriage being only for mortality, Traditional Christians, in this generation, would choose celibacy over a bad marriage--or one that may weaken/destroy one's faith.  There has actually been a fair amount of emphasis on making adult singles feel more welcomed.  "Better to be single and alone than married and wishing you were alone." I'm not sure who said it, but I'm guessing that it does not resonate nearly as well in LDS circles.

Edited by prisonchaplain

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Just now, MormonGator said:

I read a book written by Michael Medved, the film critic and political commentator. In his early 20's he was agnostic and didn't practice Judaism. His parents were basically the same-at that point they didn't really practice much. When he brought home his Catholic girlfriend, his family hit the roof. His father said "This is not the end of the world, but it is the end of the line. If you end up without Jewish kids, you are cutting yourself off from all of us." I think many religious people feel this way, LDS or not. 

And that is not a healthy reaction.  By no means would I ever cut my daughter off, even if she chose to enter into a homosexual marriage.  Nor would I be unfriendly to her spouse.  I would just (secretly) feel sad and probably a little guilty that I didn't raise her to make the right decision.

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Just now, DoctorLemon said:

And that is not a healthy reaction.  By no means would I ever cut my daughter off, even if she chose to enter into a homosexual marriage.  Nor would I be unfriendly to her spouse.  I would just (secretly) feel sad and probably a little guilty that I didn't raise her to make the right decision.

I agree with you 100%. That would be my reaction too, for sure. I think some (key word, some) deeply religious people might disagree with us. If they don't-great. I hope I'm way off. 

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As my children grow, the list of things they do that I wish they wouldn't, and the list of things they don't do that I wish they  would, grow.

The reality of agency is such that I often find myself having to figure out how to react in such situations.  I can indeed see a possible future where they make such an important choice that I wish they would chose something (or someone) else.

WOULD YOU LET YOUR SON/DAUGHTER MARRY ONE?  WOULD YOU APPROVE?

So short answer, "let" isn't part of the equation, and honestly, "approve" isn't either.  If they're mature and responsible enough to make such decisions, my stewardship in the matter is whether I'll support it and to what extent.

 

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In defense of Michael Medved's family, there is a sense of urgency in the Jewish community about their people disappearing by assimilation. To be Jewish ones' mother must be Jewish. So, when a Jewish man marries a non-Jewish woman there is a feeling that, once again, the Jewish people are dying off.  This is religious, but it's cultural, and it's ethnic. It's heart and soul. I'm not justifying the response, but it's more understandable, given the context.

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Just now, prisonchaplain said:

In defense of Michael Medved's family, there is a sense of urgency in the Jewish community about their people disappearing by assimilation. To be Jewish ones' mother must be Jewish. So, when a Jewish man marries a non-Jewish woman there is a feeling that, once again, the Jewish people are dying off.  This is religious, but it's cultural, and it's ethnic. It's heart and soul. I'm not justifying the response, but it's more understandable, given the context.

Yup, agree totally. In the end he married a Jewish girl. 

The name of the book was "Right Turns" and it remains one of the best biographies I have ever read. 

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A ward buddy of mine moved to another state, divorced his wife, and married a dude.  We occasionally argue on facebook.  When he was in the process of dropping this bomb and coming out to everyone, I told him if I ever saw him again, I'd take him to lunch and give him a hug.  Then I went back to insulting his Prius and his politics. 

That was like climbing a steep hill.  I imagine if my daughters took similar paths, I could still manage a Christlike loving response, but it might be more like climbing Everest.  But I've climbed Everests before.

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21 minutes ago, NeuroTypical said:

So short answer, "let" isn't part of the equation, and honestly, "approve" isn't either.  If they're mature and responsible enough to make such decisions, my stewardship in the matter is whether I'll support it and to what extent.

It might create a "Romeo and Juliet-my-parents-hate-him/her-so-I-love-them-more" kind of situation if you throw a fit about it. You can make your point known of course and if you approve or disapprove, but in the end they are still your child. 

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51 minutes ago, prisonchaplain said:

For example, locally we have Christ's Church, in Federal Way, WA. It is a good-sized Evangelical church, and I fully expect to see most of its members in heaven (no church gets 100%).

This is a bit of a tangent, but figures into the interreligious marriage discussion regarding how spouses of different religions view one anothers' eternal destinies.

I am going to admit I am a little disturbed by the above comment, that presumably many church-going Evangelicals who are trying to draw closer to Christ will not make it to heaven, according to Evangelicals.  In other words, a number of evangelicals will be found to have not been sufficiently saved, even those who are trying to go to Church and draw closer to Christ, and will be cast off at the last day.

This is not a problem limited to Evangelicals - I have observed it among Catholics, Muslims, and (with a very few exceptions) just about any non-LDS religion there is.  It appears that outside the Church, there is an extremely widespread and common belief that the majority of mankind will end up accidentally condemning themselves to Hell, even after trying their best to please God in this life.

This type of thinking is something that has always disturbed me.  If mankind really is so fallen that most of its members will accidentally send themselves to Hell, why didn't He, as an act of mercy, destroy humanity at the time of the flood, as he clearly contemplated in Genesis 6, so that billions of people could be spared an ultimate fate in hell?  That is what I would have done in such a situation, as an ultimate act of mercy and love.

Only Mormonism answers this concern satisfactorily for me, that this life isn't about merely avoiding hell, but rather becoming worthy for the full range of blessings that a loving Heavenly Father wishes to grant.

In any case, I think that this sort of thinking poses another real challenge to interfaith marriage.  I find it shocking personally that apparently many people walk around all day, thinking most people around them are probably going to hell.  I certainly would not want to be in a marriage with a spouse who felt that way about me.

Edited by DoctorLemon

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2 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

2 Corinthians 6:14 reads:  Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

In a different string @Carborendum asked me directly if I considered Mormons to be Christians. My answer was something of a non-answer. I said that we don't agree on any doctrines completely, but that God decides the fate of souls. My conclusion is that we are all God-seekers, for sure.

I did not expect a lot of smiley faces. There are certainly ways of defining "Christian" that would allow us to call each other such (literally, it means 'like Christ," for example). I took the question to mean do I expect to see active Mormons in heaven.

Perhaps a different question would get us closer to understanding why we may have deep regard/respect for our fellow religionists, of different churches, and yet, when the beliefs are far apart, what shall we do?  That question is:  WOULD YOU LET YOUR SON/DAUGHTER MARRY ONE?  WOULD YOU APPROVE?

Some on this site are in such marriages, and they have worked out. I get that.  Even so, would you want the same for your children?  Just today I spoke with someone who expressed the difficulty of interfaith marriage. She was raised Catholic and her husband Buddhist (they are Vietnamese). So, when I told her we were looking at Christian colleges her first response is how good that was because they would likely find boyfriends who were also Christians.

It might be helpful to realize that many devoted Catholics and Protestants would struggle to let their children marry across the lines too. Perhaps not so much Catholic and Lutheran, but crossing over into Evangelical, Baptist, or other more conservative communities would be tough. I even know a psychologist--quite liberal--who told her Evangelical boyfriend that she would always remain Catholic and he would have to agree that the children would be raised the same.

BTW, I realize many parents today will say they will go with whatever their children decide. After all, they are adults, and who needs family drama. If you had your way, though, would you want your daughter to never be able to marry in the temple? Would you want your grandchildren raised to believe that your church was fringe at best?

Perhaps the point of this post is to say that having interfaith discussions, friendly debates, and otherwise engaging with heart on forums like this require a certain level of mutual respect and trust. My experience is that seeing the imagio Deo in each other engenders all that. Still not sure about the marriage thing though. :cool:

 

My stance has always been with the church.

Do not take the chance of dating nonmembers, or members who are untrained and faithless. A girl may say, ‘Oh I do not intend to marry this person. It is just a “fun” date.’ But one cannot afford to take a chance on falling in love with someone who may never accept the gospel” (Miracle of Forgiveness, 241–42).

 

“Date only those who share your goals and standards...Temple marriage should be your goal...Your chances for a happy and lasting marriage will be far greater if you will date those who are active and faithful in the Church”

https://www.lds.org/new-era/2001/07/qa-questions-and-answers?lang=eng

Now obviously who My future children marry is not up to me... I would be openly against it but if it came to it, so would accept them into the family.

My sister is seriously dating someone right now who isn’t religious at all and has said that he never wants to get married. I told her that some may say that, but no one says they never want to have sex. 

She is happy dating this guy, but it won’t last. They will be separated at death and she cannot achieve eternal happiness married to him.

 

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2 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

If it helps, at this point I will say that in my 11 years here I have found that most LDS, while reticent to encourage interfaith marriage, are more tolerant of it than I am. I encourage my daughters to only DATE Christians. Why marry someone who is not a possibility for marriage? 

There's serious dating for the purpose of finding a spouse.  But there's also fun dating just for the sake of getting to know people and practice social skills, such as in high school-- no exclusivity, nothing remotely sexual, getting serious, etc.  Just for fun and getting to know people.  I know very few LDS who oppose fun-dating with non-members.

2 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

Now, in my 50s, I see that attraction and 'love' complicate things. Sometimes the sense of love and communion of spirits between a boy and girl is so strong that they feel they can overcome their differences. In such cases I would simply urge that the discussions take place before the marriage. How will we handle religion? How will the children be raised?  "We'll figure it out," is negligence.

Bet y'all didn't realize what a hard case good ole PC can be.  :commando:

I thought the same even as a teenager. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, DoctorLemon said:

This is a bit of a tangent, but figures into the interreligious marriage discussion regarding how spouses of different religions view one anothers' eternal destinies.

I am going to admit I am a little disturbed by the above comment, that presumably many church-going Evangelicals who are trying to draw closer to Christ will not make it to heaven, according to Evangelicals.  In other words, a number of evangelicals will be found to have not been sufficiently saved, even those who are trying to go to Church and draw closer to Christ, and will be cast off at the last day.

You seem to misunderstand me--quite badly. I mentioned in that post you quoted from that I fully expect to see most everyone in that Evangelical church in heaven. I mentioned that 100% won't make it from any church. I did not explain. My reasoning is that so many church-attenders are not active, are not engaged, have fallen away, or perhaps only came/come for the social/ethical/fellowship benefits, without ever gaining a true relationship with Jesus.  There's no research behind this, but I'd argue that 90% of Catholic and Protestant Christians expect to see about 90% of their brothers and sisters in other churches in heaven. 

Edited by prisonchaplain

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2 minutes ago, prisonchaplain said:

.  There's no research behind this, but I'd argue that 90% of Catholic and Protestant Christians expect to see about 90% of their brothers and sisters in other churches in heaven. 

You are being very kind. Growing up I was taught-perhaps incorrectly, maybe I misheard (or maybe not, who knows?) "Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus". Which roughly means "outside the church there is no salvation". Like the old joke "No Catholic believes the pope is really infallible" I'm not sure how many Catholics really believe that, and I'm not sure about the church teaching post mid-90's, but I'm guessing that many, many catholics believe that only catholics go to heaven.

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