Mormon dating outside religion
Such problems have not been my experience in being married to a 100% awesome Protestant husband.Tonight is the 25 anniversary of the evening we met, so forgive me if I’m a little gushy.Mormons, by contrast, exude a “calm and quiet confidence that there are important truths to be found in the LDS faith” and that “their community is one that people should want to join.” This to me is the most surprising reason for the low rates of part-Mormon marriages.Frankly, a whole lot of Americans flat-out don’t like us, or at least don’t know much about us.According to Naomi Schaefer Riley’s new book Till Faith Do Us Part, 36% of American marriages are now interfaith (when all brands of Protestantism are lumped together).This is up from 15 percent in 1988 and 25 percent in 2006.People ask me sometimes whether it’s hard for me that my husband is not Mormon.
Moreover, the Church makes meeting other eligible Saints easier with singles wards, which aren’t perfect but certainly contribute to the formation of endogamous unions.
Looking past the important twenty-something years of dating, Riley explores how interfaith families respond to the later challenges and complexities of raising children when the partners don’t agree on religion. This seems on the surface to be a counterintuitive argument—if Mormons are kind and accepting of interfaith marriages and the people in them, as Riley claims from her interviews and research (and as our family has experienced firsthand, with only a few exceptions in two decades), wouldn’t the opposite be true?
This is difficult in the LDS faith, where so much is expected of ordinary members. Wouldn’t there be more interfaith, part-Mormon marriages? Because of Mormonism’s strong emphasis on missionary work, approximately a third of part-member marriages will become same-faith marriages when the other spouse converts, sometimes many years down the road.
Last week I received an email from a reader who identified herself as an 18-year-old Mormon dating a guy who’s nominally Greek Orthodox. I’ve seen marriages that are done by the LDS bishop, but never really anything else when it comes to a part-member family.
“I know 18 sounds crazy to be talking about marriage, but it was a topic over a dinner date and now we talk about it every now and then,” she wrote. My most important concern, if your parents are members (which I’ve read a few of your articles and it sounds like they aren’t), how did you get them to support you in your decision to marry someone of a different faith than you?