We’re finishing up the topic today on whether or not to date nonmembers. We have lots of letters pro and con so today’s column is a long one. Next week we’ll be moving on to another topic, but today’s letters should satisfy every question you ever had about the question of dating outside the Church.
I grew up with a large number of Mormon kids around me. I was allowed to attend church with a Mormon girl when I was in the eighth grade, and I even attended a Saturday afternoon session of conference. For some reason we stopped hanging out and I really missed her friendship.
I was raised Baptist and was taught to not date Mormons, but I was a rebel. I thought I knew I could convert others to my faith, I didn’t know what I was up against when it came to Mormon doctrine and the strength of this faith. I dated one 18-year-old young man. Oddly enough, he broke up with me before he was to leave for his mission. I could not understand what the purpose that served.
Later he came home from his mission and dated me and a lot of other girls. I was actually the one who got to try on the wedding band he was to give to the lucky girl.
Years later at the old age of 25 I told my best friend’s sister, “I am sick of these self-centered guys. I want to go out with a nice one. And that is where it started. Dave and I went out. I liked him but was still stuck in a less than perfect (or righteous) relationship. Time passed and I was free. I looked for his number and knew where I had put it, couldn’t find it. Months later, my heart was done rebounding and I had more balance. I located his number, it was exactly where I had looked before. This time I could see it. It took this Mormon two full weeks to phone back.
Again I thought I would convert him to my faith. I was no longer Baptist. I was sort of roaming from church to church – just not the LDS Church. We had lots of discussions and I think all of them were about some aspect of the LDS Church. Dave was a returned missionary. At age 29, and solid in a career and his own home, he really had no desire to get married.
He quietly took me through the missionary discussions without me even realizing it. I was falling in love with the Gospel and this wonderful man.
Come to find out during the two weeks it took him to phone me back, he had been talking to his mother. He told her he was not so happy. He had everything he ever wanted but missed being happy. She asked him when he was happiest. He said he was happiest during his mission, praying, reading his scriptures, talking about the Church all the time. So she said, “You know how to do this; do it. And that is when he called back. He took me to dinner and the visitor’s center. We took walks around the temple grounds. He took me to the adult conference session, where I heard Gordon B. Hinckley speak. Somehow I recognized that man as someone I loved and trusted. After that I was meeting the missionaries, attending my own ward, and meeting with my own bishop.
I am grateful, I was allowed to go to church with a Mormon girl with I was in the eighth grade. A seed was planted that took 18 years for it to grow, and grow it has! I am grateful to have dated a Mormon boy who dumped me to go on a mission. I am so grateful Dave took a chance on me to live his mission again. I love The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and my testimony has never failed me.
I think to date a nonmember takes someone with a strong testimony and strong emotions, to know when it is time to sever the relationship. Kids are so busy trying to save face they leave a lot unsaid, trying not to hurt someone’s feelings. I think it is an individual’s choice. It worked for us. We have four great kids and all are baptized. I think we will take it one date and friendship at a time.
Anita M. Langsmith
What a great success story, Anita! It really shows how the conversion process is often a long-term thing, and that seeds that are planted today may take years or decades to bear fruit. Thanks for writing.
When I was a teenager growing up in southern California, I asked my parents’ permission to date nonmembers because the girls in our ward wouldn’t go out with me. My father told me that if I asked every girl in the ward and they all refused, that he would allow me to date nonmember girls. He probably thought I would not have the courage to do that, but he was wrong if he did. I asked every single girl in the ward (actually kind of hoping that they would all turn me down so I could show Dad that I wasn’t lying), and that is exactly what happened, although I did give it an honest effort and did not try to sabotage it myself. I was turned down by every single one. It was not a wonderful thing for my ego. I don’t know whether they were too busy or just not interested in me.
My father finally had to give in and allow me to date nonmembers. I did not restrict myself to nonmembers, but when the opportunity arose, I also dated member girls after this. With my very first date with a nonmember girl, I (afterwards) found out that it was the first date she had ever been asked to go on. It was the only date I went on with her.
I dated many different girls in high school, none steadily.
Some of my dates were inviting nonmember girls to Church dances. Some were going to school dances. I know that a number of high school youth in our area ended up becoming Church members through the influence of their LDS friends. I don’t know specifically if any of the girls I dated joined the Church. I still had the goal of marrying a member in the temple, but I mixed and mingled with nonmember friends to a great extent. The girls I invited to homecoming and prom dances were both members. Many of the LDS youth were outstanding leaders, and the school president and the senior class president were both LDS. Even though our numbers were small, I feel we had a great influence for righteousness. How can you do missionary work if you never make nonmember friends?
I attended BYU and was fortunate enough to find a returned missionary girl who I could marry in the temple. As long as your goals (temple marriage) and commitments to Church standards (chastity) do not change, through my personal experience, I believe dating nonmembers along with members can actually accomplish much good.
Originally from Southern California
Loved your point about not being able to do missionary work if you don’t associate with nonmembers, Originally. I also liked your determination to ask out every girl in your ward before dating a nonmember, and your father’s integrity in following through on his promise. Good for him!
This is a sticky subject! In my experience, LDS determination to date only members and “choose good friends” contributes to our reputation as a snobby cult. Gosh! How will people discover the gospel if we shun them? We need to get over feeling so chosen and superior. It cancels out the good we do.
I remember a Stake President in Oregon saying that there’s lots of good members who would not be here happily serving in the Church if we stuck strictly to that guideline of not dating nonmembers. I think he had a good point! I am sure that would also apply if we think only Mormon kids fit the bill of ‘good friends’ for our children. I’m glad Jesus didn’t just stick to the “good” people when He was here!
I have four daughters. One married the “good” Mormon boy (returned missionary) in the temple and, sadly, is in the process of divorce after 10 years of struggling with his love of pornography, which rendered him unable to have an honest, mature relationship with a real human woman! He’s still attending church, pretending. Some LDS girl will probably snap him up and probably have a very tough time.
My oldest daughter married a nonmember who is a good, honest man, good provider, and an excellent father. He’s a wonderful addition to our family. They are approaching their 19th anniversary. Yes, he did eventually join the Church, but I would love him no matter what. He and my daughter and raising a wonderful family and doing a good job.
My youngest daughter, 16, is dating a fine, honest, mentally-well nonmember with life goals similar to hers. She and I have discussed this all at length, along with her sisters’ experiences, and the Lord’s expectations. We have read the Proclamation on the Family more than once. I expect her to prayerfully consult the Lord in her choices.
I’ve noticed that there are some in the Church who want to raise an LDS family using Satan’s plan of compulsion. It morphs young people into faking their way through and living a double life and makes them very poor marriage choices. That parenting style doesn’t allow people to internalize the gospel. Let’s calm down, live the gospel, love our fellowman and quit working toward being such a snobby, exclusive cult.
Yes, I am an active member with a tender testimony of the restored gospel. Jesus Christ is my Savior. I love the prophets and the Church.
Leah in Washington
Thanks for reminding us, Leah, that being a card-carrying member of the Church does not necessarily make you a good husband or wife – and that good potential mates are found outside the Church as well.
This story may be too old to be worthwhile for the subject at hand, as I have been married for 50 years and have six children and twenty seven grandchildren, but here goes.
When I was going to college in Bellingham, Washington, a young, pretty girl came to church with her mother. I asked her out and was surprised when I picked her up that her drunk stepfather not only offered to let me use his new ’53 Mercury hardtop, but was also my fellow high school student when we both attended Blaine High School in 1948 and 1949.
I did ask her out a couple of times after that and was also surprised when, as we were talking of the coming Christmas vacation, she mentioned that her biggest Christmas surprise of the previous year was her mother giving her a cigarette lighter, as she didn’t think that her parents knew that she smoked!
The last time I saw her was when I got on the bus to go to Samoa on my mission. One also needs to be careful about dating members.
That was a hair-raising story, OT. It was interesting that the LDS girl’s parents gave her a cigarette lighter for Christmas. I’m going to hope they were trying to teach her in a subtle way that they knew she was smoking, and not trying to condone her activities. Of course, in this world you can never tell!
As a former nonmember, my vote and what I taught my children (three listened and three did not) was that if you have a firm testimony and have made a firm commitment to a temple marriage, then please socialize with nonmembers with the conviction that only a temple marriage is in your future.
“Every member a missionary” is the key, and to quote the sister whose party I crashed many years ago, “I never invited you because I didn’t think you would listen and you are the only one who did.” To her and those members who ignored the opportunity at the time, my “one” conversion resulted in six children, twenty-two grandchildren, and (so far) three great-grandchildren, plus extended relatives now joining. It goes on and on. God bless the missionaries (two are out now, with many more in line to go)from this one nonmember who crashed an LDS clique.
The First Domino
That’s a great story, Domino. Readers, this is a great example of what converting just one person can do. Don’t turn away an opportunity to do good for somebody. You never know how many lives your act of kindness can change.
My comment about “Owen’s” story is that it’s a sad story but did we get the full story from the young man? Was his behaviour already unsavory and that was why he wasn’t dated or invited? Just a thought.
I spent my dating years in a big city (Sydney, Australia) with very few LDS people. One stake dance had five boys and one girl. Thankfully that one boy married one of the girls after they had both served missions and are still happily married. However, there were about 10 of us girls with no one to date who was LDS.
We all decided not to date outside the church because we didn’t feel our hearts were strong enough to withstand a romantic relationship if we dated and fell in love with a nonmember. I had been quoted 14% would join the church after marriage, and I really wanted the blessings of the priesthood in my home and my children to have a faithful LDS father.
I had seen many women (and some men) who were married to nonmembers, and the nonmembers would never attend church with them or even participate in LDS activities or even mix with LDS people. They would only mix with nonmembers. So their spouses’ interests were basically ignored as they were considered “religious.” I didn’t want this for myself as it is a lonely life.
I did make friends with non-LDS boys and we would mix with their friends or my friends and attend church activities and church with them as well if they would come but never became romantically involved. If they weren’t interested in the Church, then the chances were they never would be. The only time I accepted a date invitation from a nonmember, he turned out to be married!
I actually thought I would never marry and had decided I was going to have as productive a life as I could and also have some fun, study and service when my husband came home from his mission and we met and married. Nine of the ten girls married in the Church to faithful LDS returned missionaries who were younger than us; the one who didn’t, had decided to date and marry a nonmember – unfortunately, very unhappily.
So my experience taught me to be friends and be inclusive of nonmembers but unless the Spirit specifically says so, don’t date and marry them. This is only my experience; I am sure there are many experiences different from mine, but that is what worked for me.
I like the idea that all nine of you LDS girls eventually married younger men, Melanie. When you’re a teenager you really put limits on the dating pool. Once you reach adulthood, though, you can widen your horizons – which is something you all were able to happily do.
While it is nice to say that we should only date within our faith, I don’t believe that for the majority of members it is possible to do. Most of us don’t live where members are plentiful.
The other side of the story is that I find that my heart often doesn’t often direct itself to just members. As a single older member, I look around and see a lot of dear sisters but find myself interested in other factors that fall outside of the Church. For example, I am an entertainer. What do the sisters think about that, or do they even understand my special circumstances? It is not unusual to find that my services are requested on a Sunday night or that I am involved in something that portrays morals outside of my beliefs. Often I don’t even know the story line or the rating of the movie I might be working on except for the day or two that I am on set – I often don’t have the luxury of deciding to work or not then. If I want to feed myself and pay my bills I need to work.
I am not interested in a lady who is going to say find another line of work – not at 57, when lots of employers won’t even look at me.
We tend to date ladies/men who fit with our lifestyle/beliefs/needs. I have found it is not unusual to look outside the Church for ladies that are able to fit in with my needs. I wish we only had to look inside the Church, but it is not always possible.
Wishing in Canada
Where I live, Wishing, there are LDS women who would get in line to date you! I’m not saying you shouldn’t date nonmembers if that’s your situation in Canada, but I am saying you might be selling yourself short. Last I heard, entertainers can be stalwart members of the Church and excellent husbands.
I am a convert. I was Catholic and my husband Baptist. I was more devout then he was in his religion, and my parents to this day are very devout Catholics and actually anti-Mormons. Well, over time I went to my husband’s church because we went to church twice on Sunday (to his and mine), and I felt the spirit in his church more than I did in the Catholic Church. Thus I became a Baptist, being baptized again. Later as we traveled as he was military we would find churches and become members and were baptized again, so I must be the most baptized person I know. We married in 1969 and joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1977. We raised five kids and were told it’s best to have your children date within the Church.
My daughter (being the oldest child and only girl) actually started dating after she graduated from high school. She dated everything that came down the pike, not even thinking of marriage, but she also went to stake dances and that is where she met her future husband (who was a doctor in the military and was nine years older than she was). She was 20 and he was 29 when they married.
My next child went to West Point, and I think he dated everything you could think of as well. Then he came to visit and went to a church activity and found his wife there at the church activity. This girl had a reputation and was sort of shunned, but he insisted that these things were lies. Lo and behold, he and his girlfriend got pregnant. Both the girl’s mother and I were in shock. How in the world could two LDS children taught in the Church get pregnant? Well, they got married and are still married, with five kids. My son said he didn’t have his own testimony of the Church. He got confused when he saw other LDS children acting badly in seminary and getting away with it. Their lies got the teacher fired despite my children trying to intervene, so things happen sometimes in life that we don;t expect – church or no church.
My third child and second son was always a rebel, but while my kids were at home they did what we said because we were their parents and we always went to church. He left home at 19 not wanting to go on a mission and eventually joined the military. He had a girlfriend who joined the Church to marry him because I would always say my boys only marry girls in the Church. She never had any intention of staying active they divorced before the year was up. This upset my son, who was serving in Spain at the time. He was then sent to England and met another divorced woman who wound up pregnant with his first child. My son planned a marriage with this girl, but then he was deployed and put in harm’s way. The almost-wife spent every penny he made and didn’t pay the bills, ruining his credit. Eventually they parted ways, but my son found a job for her and she kept the child. Even though he lived in a different state, he continued to visit the child and maintain a relationship with him.
When he was 31, that son met a second-grade teacher who didn’t attend any church. At the wedding I noticed the flower girl was a little Mormon girl and I met her mother. When I looked into the situation my son said his wife was going to be baptized into our church because of the example set by some of her second grade students. Now my son and his wife are fully active in the Church.
My son said he knew somehow that he would always come back to church. Sure enough, he was able to baptize his wife. I saw the hand of God in this. All along God had kept blessing this son, who had a great heart and always helped his friends.
I have one more son who married the best girl in the world. He went on a mission to Cambodia. When he got serious about finding a wife he went to young adult meetings and saw his future wife. My last son is 26 now and hasn’t married yet. He has dated girls in the Church who weren’t very moral, so now I don’t know where things will go from here.
I always as you see preached to my sons that you have to date girls in the Church. I never thought about it with my daughter and maybe God knew it and saved her for her husband. My sons were great at home, but once they are gone you have no control. There is no guarantee that the people you date inside the Church are moral, and things work out differently for each person.
Praying and having the Holy Spirit can help point the way to the right person to marry. We are all God’s children and he cares about each of us.
What I would say to my kids is keep up your standards no matter who you are around, and if the people around you can’t stand that then they are not good for you.
Get away from them! It’s your standards that have to be respected, especially if they are high and very moral.
Vickie, I especially like your last piece of advice – that whoever you date (LDS or non-LDS) should have your standards. If they don’t, run for the hills! If they don’t respect you when you’re dating, they will certainly not respect you once you’re married and your spouse is no longer on his best behavior.
I have been following your blog and enjoying it, chiming in on occasion. Here is my two cents worth on Owen’s letter on dating issues.
Having raised our family in an area where there are enough members of the Church that everyone knows someone, but not so many that everyone is sure about us, I have some comments on our experience. We told our kids (the first three were girls, then two younger boys and a last daughter who is now in college) that what mattered was keeping perspective on the future. Temple marriage was what we wanted for them, with all our hearts, and we were grateful that we lived near enough to a temple that they all had the opportunity to do baptisms for the dead and experience for themselves the spirit of the temple.
When they were teenagers they followed the direction that dating would wait until they were sixteen, and our counsel was that at this point in their lives they could date those who were not LDS if they kept the same standards. There were a lot of good kids who needed positive peers in their circle of school friends, and building bridges is valuable. We asked them to only date those who they felt safe with and comfortable enough to talk with about their standards and the reasons for them, those who would find wholesome activities and groups appealing.
How many people do we all know who found the gospel because they had a good friend whose life just shone differently? Sometimes those beginning points are dating relationships, casual or otherwise. We candidly discussed the possible heartbreak of reaching that point in one’s life where you wanted to marry someone who just didn’t want the gospel. Some come around in time after marriage, but there is no guarantee. With the caution that choices had to be assessed as they got older, we let them make the decisions on high school dating, and they found their way with wisdom and made good friends. I would certainly never have required that a group activity be limited to LDS kids. They picked good peer groups and knew that they enjoyed our confidence.
As to the young man in Owen’s letter, how can we influence anybody’s life by excluding him? Assuming that an “outsider” is not a danger but just a good kid looking for friends, he/she should be welcomed and drawn in. On the opposite side, one of our daughters had a good group of friends at school, in the same high-achievement academic program, ate lunch together, you get the idea. Once when they were planning to get together at one kid’s house, one of her closer friends in the group took her aside and told her that she was actually not included: the host kid, an evangelical, would not have her in his actual home with his parents, because she was a Mormon. It was very hurtful. Do we want to be on the flip side of that scenario?
The Jews came to forget that their calling was to bring the message of the one true God to the world; by the time of Christ they were jealously guarding their religion against all comers. They only saw intruders. They had lost the spirit of their witness so completely that they did not recognize their promised Messiah when he came to them. Our calling is to gather, to bless, to shine and include. We do not truly live our testimony unless we love others and offer them welcome. The Lord’s invitation is to all who will come, and how can they come if they are never made our friends?
Marian in the Evergreen State
Marian, I loved what you pointed out about the history of the ancient Jews and their treatment of outsiders. That is the opposite of what we are counseled to do. Thanks for the reminder!
As a mother of 3 adult “boys,” I see the spectrum in this question. My oldest son dated and married within the Church, and he is still very active. My second son, somewhat wayward, married outside the Church, and is now divorcing, but has now recommitted to the Lord. His soon to be ex-wife would not have committed to the Church. (There are multiple issues with his marriage, not just religious ones.)
My third son, married civilly, to a then-recent convert (because of their dating), and went to the temple a little more than one year after their marriage. However, he became less active, due to her disinterest in the Church, shortly after attending the temple. The third son says, he just “goes with the flow” to save strife in his marriage, which is very sad! As parents we try to gently remind him that he is a priesthood holder and leader in his home.
I would have rather seen all of my sons date and marry in the temple, to save much heartache for them (as well as their parents). Missionary work is important, however it is best to be done as friends, not during dating, as the nonmember will sometimes be baptized “for the member” he or she is dating, not because of a testimony gained of Jesus, and his sacrifice for us. Friendshipping is the best way to help nonmembers to come to a solid relationship with Christ, but dating is quite another issue.
Mom of Three
Thanks for sharing your experience, Mom.
I can see from your letter the agony you’ve experienced because of some of the decisions your sons have made. I’m glad it hasn’t soured you on friendshipping nonmembers, even though you are understandably hesitant about dating them.
My answer, in a heavily LDS community at the time, was to double date nonmembers rather than exclude them. I also agreed to attend his church dinner if my double date would reciprocate with our church activity, which led to missionary discussions in my home. He joined the LDS Church, and it was his mother who was concerned but he was happy with his decision about the Church.
He was greatly to be admired because he resisted drinking even though all his brothers followed their father’s alcoholism with their own drinking problems. This was the same person (and a freemason) who, true to his convictions, stayed off the strip while living in Las Vegas, except to meet me when our Institute of Religion Choir tour came through.
I wish this were the solution my own kids would follow, but alas, they single-dated outside the Church and one is now married to a nonmember, while the other is single and less active. However, he also brought an LDS friend of his own into the Church despite staying home after that, while I refused to seriously consider anything but a temple marriage.
This is a decision which needs to be made beforehand. A testimony followed by a single minded goal of temple marriage while not excluding all other activities except single-dating with upstanding nonmembers gave me the best results and a temple wedding.
I do recommend that everything be done to include nonmembers aside from single-dating them.
That’s good counsel, Debbie. Thanks for sharing your experience.
I know people who have dated out of the Church and married out of the Church who have had good marriages. A former roommate of mine was married a couple of years ago to a nonmember and they are very happy. He supports her church activity and, who knows, maybe he will one day join the Church. But, maybe not. My personal experience leans towards the “maybe not.”
When my former husband proposed to me, he told me he knew how much my church meant to me and was willing to join it for me. I told him you didn’t just join a church for the sake of joining; you had to believe it and if he would agree to investigate the Church, I would marry him. He agreed, so I married him. His “investigation” of the Church consisted of reading some anti-Mormon literature he found at the library, then saying there was no way he could join such a church. He refused to listen to my side of the story, preferring to believe what he read in those books.
He did not support my church activity, allowing me to go only to one meeting each Sunday (this was in the days before the block program). I could either go to Sunday School or sacrament meeting, but not both. One time we attended a young marrieds dinner together. I introduced him to my church friends and they did their best to make him feel welcome without shoving the church at him or anything, but, on the way home, he told me not to invite him to one of those events again.
My ex-husband was controlling, manipulative and emotionally abusive. He treated me as a possession, not an equal helpmeet. Had I stayed in the marriage longer than the three years I did, I would likely have had a nervous breakdown.
But was this because he was a non-member? Not necessarily. There are Mormon men who are controlling and abusive (both physically and emotionally) as well. Unfortunately, not all LDS men are exaltation-worthy.
The point is, however, I lost out. I never had a temple marriage to someone I could be with forever. That is one of the main reasons for marrying in the church – the forever part. I know there are people who marry nonmembers, then, the minute the year is up after that spouse has died, they go to the temple and have their work done and are sealed to them. But does that sealing necessarily work?
The Doctrine and Covenants tells us that those “who received not the testimony of Jesus in the flesh, but afterwards received it,” (D&C 76:74) will inherit the terrestrial kingdom, not the celestial. You may remember the lesson on the Final Judgment a few weeks ago in Relief Society/Priesthood in which the language was a little stronger and said those who “reject the gospel” in this life but accept it in the next will be assigned to the terrestrial kingdom.
Here’s what Joseph Fielding Smith said about the matter:
“Those who have the opportunity here, those unto whom the message of salvation is declared, who are taught and who have this truth presented to them in this life – yet who deny it and refuse to receive it – shall not have a place in the kingdom of God…
“There are too many people in this world, who have heard the message of the gospel, who think they can continue on to the end of this mortal life, living as they please, then accept the gospel after death and friends will perform the ordinances that they neglect to perform for themselves, and eventually they will receive blessings in the kingdom of God. This is an error.
“It is the duty of men in this life to repent. Every man who hears the gospel message is under obligation to receive it.
If he fails, then in the spirit world he will be called upon to receive it, but he will be denied the fullness that will come to those who in their faithfulness have been just and true.” (Doctrines of Salvation, Volume 2, pp 182-183)
So does this mean we should shun associations with good people who are not LDS? No, of course not. We can and should have friends of many faiths. How else can we spread the gospel by our example? I feel sorry for the young man in the initial post who was shunned by the LDS people in the community he moved into. Had they accepted him as a friend, who knows, he may have joined the Church.
And children should not be told they cannot play with neighbor children who are not LDS (that happened once in a ward I was in and when the bishop heard about it he really read the riot act to those parents who had not allowed their children to play with the non-LDS children). But when it comes to serious dating, the kind that will ultimately lead to marriage, my recommendation is to not settle for less than a marriage that can be forever.
Just my two cents.
What a powerful letter, Sharee! Thanks for sharing your experience with us, and for being wise enough to understand that your first husband’s behavior was not necessarily because he was a nonmember. There are good apples and bad in any bushel.
Just following on from your topic about members dating non-members, I was reflecting on why some LDS women just can’t get a date even if they are pretty, clever, and have great personalities.
The Church rightly tells young women to study hard and achieve academically and vocationally. Is part of the problem that the male ego cannot cope with the challenge and prefer more docile, less empowered girls?
Vim from the UK
Now that’s an interesting concept, Vim. I’d like to send that link to a lot of friends of mine who are matrimonially challenged, and I suspect other readers will do the same. Thanks for sending it.
Here is our last letter for today:
My comment is not about dating outside of the LDS community, but it is about how we interact with those around us who do not share our faith.
As someone who grew up in Utah, I was quite isolated from the non-LDS community, and spent most of my time around Latter-day Saints. This was not by intention on my part, but just because most of my interests ran in LDS circles. It was only when I was in college that I realized there were some nice people out there, and they were not all members of my church. In fact, some of them seemed to be much more loyal friends than some of the people I had associated with in my ward. So I started hanging around with some of them, even though we did not share the same standards.
My parents were not at all happy about this, and I received many “fire and brimstone” talks about how these friends were leading me away from the iron rod. I tried to assure my parents that this was not going to happen. I wasn’t about to pick up any of my friends’ bad habits, and if anything, I was being a more positive influence on them.
One friend was married and told me that he and his wife were not planning to have any children. This was in the middle of the “zero population growth” fad, so he was very motivated by that. We had many discussions about this, and I finally convinced him that might not be the correct approach. The last I heard, they had a couple of children. Another friend was LDS but not active, and we had several discussions about that. All in all, I thought my friendships with nonmembers were beneficial to all of us. I got to share my beliefs with them, and they opened my eyes about how people who are not LDS look at us.
I realize that having children date outside of the faith may be a slippery slope, and yet many converts first became interested because they dated a member and liked what they saw. I think those who date outside the faith must be perfectly clear about their standards, yet then be willing to associate with those who will respect those standards.
The scriptures admonish us to “let our lights shine” and to be “in the world but not of it.” It becomes difficult to live these commandments if we shut out anyone who is different. I think this upcoming US presidential election will give us a great opportunity to show our neighbors what we believe. I hope we can take advantage of this, and introduce many sincere individuals to the light of the gospel.
FJR in Sugarland
Thanks, FJR, for reminding those of us who live in the United States that we have a unique opportunity during this presidential election year to let our lights shine to nonmember friends. I hope all of us pick up the gauntlet and do that while the media attention is on us, letting those around us who are not members of the Church see that we are real human beings and not the monsters that some would have others believe.
Okay, people, that’s it for this week. If you have any new topics you’d like to see discussed here, send me a note at [email protected]” title=”mailto:[email protected]“>[email protected]. I look forward to hearing from you.
Until next time — Kathy
“Though no one can go back and make a brand new start,
anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.”
Whether you want to create your own personal history or would like Kathy Kidd to do it for you, Kathy’s blog has what you’re looking for. Go to www.planetkathy.com and click on “Writing a Personal History” to get more information.