I happened to overhear a conversation between two Mormons the other day about a mutual friend’s relationship. I have to say, it’s been a while since I heard a Mormon say something LDS-related which I so strongly disagreed with. (Maybe I’m getting used to these conversations, or maybe I’ve become better at avoiding them, who knows.)
Essentially, the mutual friend was a Mormon who happened to be dating a non-Mormon. They were complaining that he never brought this non-member girlfriend to church activities. This was apparently a very bad thing, because if she didn’t go to church activities, then she would never decided to join church. And, “As much as she’s a nice girl, she’s not worth losing out on a Temple Marriage for.”
I can see from a church member’s perspective that relationships with non-Members are a bad thing. It’s so strongly discouraged, for so many reasons. Frankly, as an ex-member who’s been on casual dates with Mormons, you see even more issues with the idea, (not just because of the more idiotic male members who think that, just because you don’t go to church anymore, that must mean you’re up for anything, no questions asked,) because you understand that the values of both people in the relationship are important, not just that your values are far more important because, after all, you have a testimony and that apparently trumps everything.
But, just because you can see problems with an idea, that doesn’t give you the right to tell people who they can and cannot date. If two people are happy together, whether they sometimes have disagreements over their beliefs or not, to be as horribly unsupportive and judgmental as these two members were being, it doesn’t make you a very good friend.
It makes me sad, and I wonder how many people that could have had fulfilling and happy relationships were prevented from doing so because of church leaders advising them not to do it, or because of “friends” like the ones described.
The church’s methods on this issue are very manipulative and controlling. Some leaders will ask family members or friends to discuss the issues like these with you instead of speaking to you directly. In the youth programme, they would tell sad stories of women whose husbands could not bless their children, and so other people would have to do it, and this was portrayed as some kind of travesty. If I had a pound for every instance I was told to marry a worthy return missionary, I could have paid for a wedding. As silly as it sounds, having to break promises you made to your younger self is so hard, and the church knows that.
I’m going to end the post here, before it gets too long. I’m very interested in knowing how other churches behave on this issue, so if you have any comments, please post them below.