Merry Christmas every one!
It would be my natural inclination to begin a topic with a Christmas theme at this time of year, but I have learned from sad experience that nobody ever responds to Christmas-themed discussions.
Instead, we have a topic that was inspired by our last discussion — the one of living in part-member families. This week’s writer, Owen, wants to know what people think about dating people who are not members of the Church.
Let’s see what he has to say:
As a young man, I always thought the message of the Church was that since we marry who we date, we should date within our own social circles. That included dating only members of the church. As a father now of four daughters, I still feel strongly about that being the case.
However, in my professional life, things have recently happened that make me wonder some about it now. Of course I still wouldn’t want my daughters to become involved in relationships that could possibly lead them away from the blessings of the temple. Let me explain.
I work with juvenile delinquents. These are the ones committed to some sort of court-ordered program, designed to help them change their values and to help keep the communities they come from safe. We recently had a young man arrive in our program from a predominately LDS community. His story was sad, but he will still be expected to be responsible for his own choices in life.
He said that when he moved into the community, he tried to reach out and make new friends, but because he was not LDS, he wasn’t accepted by many and even shunned by some. He was excluded from even going to others’ homes to play or hang out because he wasn’t LDS.
When it came to dating, it became even worse. Many of the “nice” girl’s couldn’t or wouldn’t accept his invitations for dates because they would only date someone in the LDS faith. (I have to wonder how much this attitude limits those who live where LDS is a super-minority). Eventually he found the crowd who would accept him and be his “friends.” This is where he said things went downhill.
As I spoke with another staff, also LDS, about the situation, I got to wondering just how much our attitudes here really might affect others. I still don’t know an answer, nor what I would do if one of my daughters were to start dating a nonmember. Is it wrong to even accept one date? How about a group date? By not accepting, do we pass up other opportunities? What have others done in this situation?
You raise a good question, Owen. And I don’t think there’s a one-size-fits-all answer. The answer may depend on where you live, how old you are, or any one of a number of other factors.
People, if you have dated nonmembers, please write and tell us about your experience. We’re not looking for specific answers; we want the whole spectrum. Good or bad, let us know what happened to you.
When you write, do not under any circumstances use the “feedback” form on this page! Send your letters to [email protected], with something in the subject line to indicate that your letter isn’t spam.
Until next time — Kathy