My Mormon-Evangelical Interfaith Marriage – 2008

November 1, 2003

November 1, 2003

A series of posts I am doing on how I as a practicing and active evangelical Christian wound up getting married to a practicing and active Mormon—you know, beyond the fact that he gave good massages and was fun to look at. I intend this primarily as a resource and testimony for other evangelicals or Latter-day Saints who may be considering such a union, or simply to share my story with those who are interested in LDS interfaith marriages.

Part 1 — Introduction
Part 2 — Courtship
Part 3 — Engagement
Part 4 — Parenting & More
Part 5 — Divorce?
Part 6 — My Family


My Mormon-Evangelical Interfaith Marriage – 2008 — 18 Comments

  1. If you are both really serious about your faith does that mean that you are going to different churches? Here are some very simple topics that I would find difficult to have peace with if I was married to a devout Mormon. In LDS: God is a human. Satan is Jesus’ brother. God’s desire is that we all attempt to become gods. Brown skin is a curse/racism. Importance of the book of Mormon. Ambiguity of the book of Mormon.

    How do you guys deal with that stuff? …or do you avoid areas of disagreement?


  2. I’m not anywhere near interested in challenging either your faith, or your husband’s faith, but if your faith is central to who you are, wouldn’t you want to be able to share that central thing with your spouse? It seems like something God would have to really call each of you to do. “Bridget,” says God, “God marry that Mormon boy you’ve been running into lately… no, not that Mormon boy, the other Mormon boy, …yes, that one.” (lame attempt at humor).

    Might it be true that neither of you were serious about your faith (to the level that you are now) when you got married. Now, as you realize what each of you believe, and probably you are also realizing that you are each growing in your faith and exactly what you might believe in a few years could be dramatically different? I don’t know how predictable LDS is (though I thought it was fairly predictable for the follower). I’ve been learning that God in Christianity is not predictable and there is a ‘bottomless more’ to be explored in Him. If you aren’t doing that with your husband, won’t that divide you?… God is surprising… if His continual transformation is obvious in you, your husband will be drawn to what He is seeing God do in you and He may want that more than the LDS. Prayer changes things and changes people.

  3. Steve, you’re so appallingly incorrect about LDS doctrine that I’d be breathless and speechless, but since I know the sources of the information you think are accurate, I’m gonna go for the tired sigh instead.

    Of course if you’d read Jack’s “short bus” postings, that might have been more evident.

  4. Hi everyone! The bible clearly says a house that is divided can not stand. It will eventually tip one way or the other. Someone will have to change their beliefs and way of thinking down the line in order for spiritual harmony to prevail.

    I have been taught countless times as a Latter-Day Saint that the adversary gives us what we want, and abandons us when things fall apart. That is embedded throughout scrptural history. For this purpose, I continue to encourage my daughters to not marry outside of there faith. It is not worth the trials that will come later. There is one important aspect that individuals continue to overlook or fell to acknowledge. There is and will always be oposition to all rightousness until the Savior of Mankind returns.

    I wish peace to be with you and you’re family!

    Ivy Butler

  5. Ivy ~ What the Bible teaches about interfaith marriage is that the unbelieving husband is sanctified by his believing wife and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by her believing husband (1 Cor. 7:14). And unlike the vague parable you cite, that passage is specifically about interfaith marriage.

    You may very well teach your daughters to only marry inside the faith. I hope you do. This series isn’t about encouraging interfaith marriage, it’s only about discussing how we deal with it.

    But if your daughters ignore your advice and choose to marry outside the faith in spite of your counsel, I think you’ll be very grateful for people like me who paved the way on how to make LDS interfaith marriage work.

  6. Hi Bridget! If my daughters choose your path I would tell them the same thing. I do understand your desires and love is suppose to conquer all. It can work because I have seen it in action, but I have seen what happens when the husband refuses to change. I have seen the toll that it has taken on some of my dearest friends. I am sure that you have also. I think my wife summed it up best. By the way I grew up Baptist, and my wife grew up what ever her mom felt was needed at the time. She stated that when a LDS member chooses to marry from another faith. The LDS individual cannot give their all because there are doctrines and ordinaces that the spouse cannot partake. Temple attendance, temple participation, priesthood ordinances.

    Our Stake President was non-LDS, but his wife stuck to her LDS standards and beliefs no matter what. He is a good loving family man, but he will tell you that they had trying situations to deal with. Have you the individual sat down and planned for that. While you say that you are church shopping. She never budged. Have you ever took a moment to ponder if the spirit that dwells within your husband might have been guiding him to what you are trying to leave.

    I will leave my message like this. The restored gospel of Jesus Christ has the power to make bad men good and good men better! He sounds like a good man because you married him. Until death do you part!

    May the spirit of our Heavenly Father continue to help you on life’s journey.

    Ivy Butler

  7. Ivy,
    “Until death do you part!” I would call that rather snarky, bordering on rude.
    The LDS church teaches that all ordinances will be performed for those that didn’t have the chance or inclination (for lack of a better word) in this life to do them. If Jack gets to heaven, finds out the Mormons were right (I’m not arguing with you there Jack, just making a point), she can accept the ordinances that were done for her and her husband and be with him for eternity and inherit all the blessings. You have no idea that parting at death is going to be the case for Jack and her husband. Nor do you have the promise that even after a sealing in the temple that a couple is going to end up together in the eternities unless they meet the conditions of the sealing.
    Intrafaith marriages fail and prosper, interfaith marriages fail and prosper. Marriage is complicated.
    I would rather be married to a good man that wasn’t of my faith than a jerk that was.

  8. Wrong, that is not rude that is reality. Deaths will separate husbands and wives at some point and time. That is what the minister told my wife and me during our civil marriage wedding vows almost 20 years ago, and that is what they continue to say today. In LDS temples you are sealed for time and all eternity on condition of your obedience to covenants made to God and each other! I have heard some spouses say that they don’t want to be with the other for eternity. Those weren’t thoughts doing courtship. If marriage is not Celestial on earth it want be eternal after death. You don’t automatically change your attitude or love for someone after death. You still have that same attitude when you die. So no I don’t feel a just God would make good persons eternity bad because they married a person that did not fulfill their covenants with him. There are over 13 million LDS members worldwide. That eternal mate may just be in another location. I also atated that my Stake President was a convert.

    If you weren’t so quick to comment you would have noticed that I said he must have been a good man because she married him, and I also said God may have sent him to her! I have 6 daughters and a son. Now you tell me if I don’t have their happiness on my mind daily. I want my children to marry within their LDS beliefs, but I do know that not every male or female member is worthy of their hands in marriage. I constantly tell my daughters that they can ruin someone’s sons life if they don’t abide by the laws and principles of god.

  9. Ivy,
    I don’t know where a lot of that came from. I’m going to stick to the issue I have with your statement. The rest of the questions that you posed are yours to answer for yourself, and I think that you were saying a lot of the things that I was trying to say anyway.

    The issue at hand for me was they way that you used “’til death do you part” in your comment. In the LDS circles I’ve been in contact with the canonical usage of “’til death do you part” is read as once you die you will never be with your spouse again. Perhaps that isn’t the way it is where you are, but I’ve lived all over the U.S. and this seems to be the common interpretation.
    I see a fallacy in using the “’til death do you part to someone” as a concept. It is simply a catchphrase, thrown out there to in an attempt show the difference in a sealed LDS marriage and a ‘normal’ marriage. I think that the way it is used doesn’t make any sense to me in an LDS context. LDS doctrine also holds that all marriages have the potential to be eternal. Yes, the LDS believe that non-sealed marriages will fail to be in effect in the eternities, but doing work for the dead, provides a way for them to be together.
    Perhaps the idea should be stated “We believe that your marriage will not be in effect if you are not sealed in the temple in this life or do not uphold the covenants of a sealed marriage, or if you do not, accept that work that will be done for you in proxy.” Lengthier, but it does away with the fallacy.

    My comment about my choice of husband was just meant to say that yes, I may loose priesthood blessings here on Earth because I choose to marry someone not of my faith, but if he is a good man, it would be better to marry a good man that isn’t LDS than a bad one that is. In the end, if I’m not to live with my spouse either because of his unwillingness to accept the gospel, or because he did not uphold his covenants at least I would have had a good life here. Granted that those are not my only choices, but I think that the LDS focus to much on getting yourself an LDS husband and not enough on get your self a good LDS husband. (and if you can’t you have two choices, celibacy or marriage to a non-LDS man both of which leave you not partaking of the blessings of the priesthood).

    Jack, I don’t think that I said anything about your husband being a bad person, because I don’t think he is. I just wanted to clarify that.

  10. It just sounds like you have been involved with someone that did not have your happiness first. I understand love and happiness, and I want it so much. I just don’t feel that temporal earthly love is worth eternal sadness if it can be avoided. I look at the LDS doctrines as a tool to strengthen any marriage and family, and I see so many members abandon those tools or throwing them aside to justify a temporal decision.

    I was sealed to my wife over ten years ago, and many of those years were nothing short of miserable. I remember vividly telling her that I loved her, but I could not stand being around her. I cried often, and I started feeling a lot of resentment. I to contemplated calling it quit, but I remembered my Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood. I got out all of my manuals and started reading and praying like crazy. It was revealed unto me that there were things that we should have done differently. So we stood back and refocused. We both got the counseling and help that was needed to secure our marriage. So you see the church has the tools if couples are willing to use them. The Priesthood holder will be held more accountable! If there is help available it is his duty to get it for the sake of his family.

    You mentioned baptism by proxy. That is for those that had no knowledge of all the blessings of God. I suggest full clarity through a Stake President for this one. Since he signs a temple recommend. Doctrinally there is more to that ordinance than you spoke of, and that is why I suggested a Stake President.

  11. Reading over these comments, let me try to lay some things out:

    (1) I agree with queenlucy that some Mormons say the “till death do you part” thing as an insult.

    (2) I could not tell if Ivy meant it that way in his #7. I’ll take his word for it that he did not intend it that way. Even if he had, I’m extremely hard to offend.

    (3) I really don’t care when Mormons do intend it as a snark. The Mormon doctrine of eternal marriage has little appeal to me, and I’m just fine with not being married to my husband after our death(s). I think that “till death do us part” is a beautiful pledge of commitment and we proudly included it in our wedding vows.

    I appreciate that you’re standing up for me just the same, queenlucy. Also, you said:

    Jack, I don’t think that I said anything about your husband being a bad person, because I don’t think he is. I just wanted to clarify that.

    Oh, but my husband is a bad man. A very, very bad man. In all the right ways.


    You mentioned baptism by proxy. That is for those that had no knowledge of all the blessings of God.

    If we’re talking about me in particular and whether I’ll be eligible for post-mortem salvation since I’ve already studied the LDS gospel, I’ve had mixed answers from Latter-day Saints. Most have told me that I’m only ineligible if God has borne witness that He wants me to join the church and I’ve denied it. Some have said that the opportunity for progression between kingdoms is always available.

    So I’m really not worried about it.

  12. 3) I really don’t care when Mormons do intend it as a snark. The Mormon doctrine of eternal marriage has little appeal to me, and I’m just fine with not being married to my husband after our death(s). I think that “till death do us part” is a beautiful pledge of commitment and we proudly included it in our wedding vows.

    Prior to LDS my wife was my everything, with all of my heart. As was stated until death do us part. Those were words that were so good to say and had so much meaning for me then,and I still smile when I think of that moment. Divorce was never an option from the start. I was totally committed. Now that it is for all time and eternity, I am even more committed to my wife.

    That progression comment. I suggest you speak to a Stake President, or even better write to the general authority for clarification.

  13. No thanks. Last time I wrote to a GA all she did was bear her testimony at me and avoid the questions I raised (well, it was Sheri Dew, not a true GA, but I’m highly skeptical that a GA is going to do any better).

    If the church can’t clarify its position on the matter in its official literature, then I’m really not worried about it.

  14. Mrs. Meyers

    Your desire is to make an interfaith marriage work. Remember to have a Family Home Evening, Family Scripture Study, and Family Prayer. These things can be done no matter what the religion. Many churches have requested information from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints about Family Home Evening material. You can purchase a manual or the video, and you can order the FHE manual online.

    Official church doctrine on the kingdoms of glory.

    Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual

    The Kingdoms of Glory
    “Lesson 20: The Kingdoms of Glory,” Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual, 110

    To help class members carefully consider the eternal inheritances in the three kingdoms of glory and to encourage them to live in such a way that they will be able to inherit celestial glory and dwell in Heavenly Father’s presence with their families.

    • 1. Prayerfully study Doctrine and Covenants 76; 131; 132:19–24; 137.
    • 2. Review the material for this lesson in the Class Member Study Guide

    Take care,
    Ivy Butler

  15. You know, there’s a measure of irony involved in giving someone advice on how to make an interfaith marriage work, who is currently successful at making an interfaith marriage work…

  16. My Stake President of the Denham Springs Stake of Louisiana is and has been making it work.

    Sometimes LDS members find love outside of the church’s congregation. If the doctrines and principles helped you to spiritual growth, then I feel those same doctrines and principles can and will help the significant other to spiritual growth? We are taught that many will have the opportunity to hear the great plan of happiness. Sometimes that is through the members to the potential mate, but only if the members believe they have been partakers of the great plan of happiness. I don’t feel you don’t move away from those beliefs, but you share them.

    I have seen these marriages fell, but I have seen them progress as well.

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