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My Husband Doesn’t Want Our Future Kids Raised in the Church

Brook from North Carolina writes:

Hi. A little background info about myself. I have been married to a non member for two years and been with my husband for eight. While we were dating we had several discussions on the church and I just assumed Ryan one day would join.

Since we’ve been married, some of his coworkers started getting him into some anti-Mormon literature and now he is to a point I never thought he would be at. He has told me verbatim that he will never join the LDS church. I have learned to accept that.

Well we are to the point where we want children. I got pregnant last November but lost the baby in January. He, since the miscarriage, has decided that he will not allow the child to go just to the LDS church. He wants it to be their choice, but of course I dont see it that way. I think that would just be too confusing to go to two different churches.

I am just really confused because I know I have at least one spirit waiting for me and I want to give them the opportunity to come to Earth but the only way I see that happening is to let my husband ” win ” this argument and either split churches or allow it to go to Ryan’s church only.

Any suggestions on how to handle this situation? I am just completely lost and don’t know what to do.

Alison says:

Brook, thank you for trusting this issue with us. I’m sorry you’re in this quandary. Hopefully one of us — or one of the other readers or columnists — will give you the advice that is right for you. My input is rather brief and to the point.

You chose to marry a guy who does not share your values. You knew what you were getting into and, in my opinion, it’s entirely unfair to marry someone with the expectation that they will someday be someone else. He has simply confirmed that your assumption that he would change was wrong. He isn’t LDS and has no intention of becoming LDS.

Yes, there are miracle stories, but statistically it isn’t likely — and probably not worth betting your eternity on.

To be blunt, you are now at a point where you must choose between raising your children in your faith or staying married to a man who isn’t willing to allow that. Only you can decide what is more important to you.

Your husband’s demands aren’t unreasonable. I wouldn’t agree to have my kids raised entirely in another faith either. But given that you don’t currently have children with this man, you still have the choice as to whether or not you want to spend the rest of your life in a split religious family.

To be clear, I’m not saying you should divorce him, look for an LDS man, get married in the temple, and have kids with him instead. (Although you have to admit that those last three items are kind of on the general LDS to do list.) But I’m saying you need to acknowledge what your real choices are. If you choose to stay married to a man who won’t allow his children raised exclusively LDS, then you are choosing to raise your children in more than one religion — assuming you both stay married to him and have children with him.

To summarize, it really depends on what you decide to do. But do take responsibility for the decision that is yours to make. And don’t spend the rest of your life making your husband pay for the choice you made.

My only real advice is to put off having kids until you firmly decide how to proceed.

We wrote about  related topic about nine years ago. Faith in the Faithless may be of interest to you.

Tracy says:

Dear Brook,

Let me say up front how sorry I am that your hopes for your husband to one day join seem like a near impossibility now. I can just imagine the sense of hopelessness you might be feeling. It’s one of the things we’re continually warned about, not to marry outside the church with the hope that one day our spouse will join. It’s a huge risk, that sometimes works out. I’ve seen it happen. Unfortunately, you’re now coming face to face with the reason why we’re warned about the risk.

Naturally, this is something you should discuss in depth with your bishop. But I’ll offer what advice and counsel that I feel, in conjunction with the gospel, is right.

The fact that you do not yet have children is very significant, and to me, makes all the difference in the world. It also is the major factor in my thoughts on how you should handle this. So understand that if you already had children, I’d be giving a different answer.
Basically, I think you owe it to your husband to be very honest with him. You need to tell him the truth: that you married him with the hopeful assumption that he would one day embrace the gospel, join the church, take you to the temple, and that together you’d raise your children in the church.

In a sense, you made your “marriage contract” under false pretenses. He believed that you were completely happy to marry him as he is, a nonmember, because that’s the impression you gave him. And I can tell you what he’s going to say, “I was ‘good enough’ then, back when we were dating and when we got married. Now you want to have kids, and all of a sudden, it matters. That’s not fair.”

And the truth is, he’d be right. It’s not fair. You weren’t being honest with yourself back then, and you weren’t really being honest with him, either. But it would just be piling “not fair” on top of “not fair” for you to remain married, have children, always secretly hoping that he’ll change, hoping that he’ll turn into someone different than he is, and constantly having arguments over religion and putting the kids in the middle of your battle.

I am in no way a fan of divorce, but if he is absolutely determined that he will never join, then since you don’t yet have children, you need to seriously consider and talk with him about the possibility of dissolving the marriage. I know that may sound completely contradictory to gospel teaching, but consider a few things.

First, the original contract and covenant wasn’t made with complete honesty and/or acceptance of each other. He made the contract/promises without having full disclosure. It’s like he signed a contract and you left out the small print that said, “Oh, and by the way, I expect that you’re going to completely change your belief system and adopt mine.” And let’s be honest, doesn’t he deserve someone who can love him completely as he is and not expect him to become something different? Understand, I’m not saying that you should brush aside your desire to be married to a man who shares your beliefs. I’m not saying you should “accept him as he is and forget about the whole church thing.” I’m suggesting that maybe you shouldn’t have married him in the first place if you were expecting him to turn into something different than what he is and if you couldn’t be honest with him from the beginning about what you wanted him to be.

Second, you want different things for the future — the longtime future. Dissolving the marriage wouldn’t be a condemnation of him. It doesn’t mean that he isn’t already a wonderful man who would make a wonderful father. It just means that you want is something different than what he wants, and different than what he can give — and if he can say with certainty that he has no interest whatsoever in further studying your faith, that he has no intention whatsoever to raise your future children in an LDS home, while you want those things, then now is the time for you to part ways before you begin a family, so he can find someone who can love him and accept him as he is and you can find someone who already shares your values, beliefs and convictions, and gives you what it is that you really want. Better to do this now than end up in an unhappy, unfulfilling marriage, regretting that your children aren’t sealed to you. You wouldn’t be happy, he wouldn’t be happy (knowing that he wasn’t everything you wanted him to be), and the kids wouldn’t be happy either — and that wouldn’t be fair to anyone, either.

The important thing here, is that he understands that you are not blaming him. He needs to know that you accept responsibility for this. You weren’t really being honest with yourself or him when you married him, hoping that one day he would change.

I hope you read this in the spirit it was intended. I don’t mean to sound harsh, and I know I come across that way sometimes. But I think it’s important for us to say things as they really are, and that’s what I tried to do. How can we expect to find happiness (or share it with someone) when we aren’t honest with ourselves about what it is that will make us happy?

Your husband needs to know the truth about what it is that you really want, what “happiness” means to you — what your trurest desires are and how much they mean to you. That “marriage for eternity” and “a forever family” aren’t just nice sounding phrases to give you warm fuzzy feelings, but are what you desire and hope for more than anything else, and that you either didn’t really realize how much it meant to you when you married him, or you weren’t being honest about it with yourself or him. Maybe it was a combination of both. But either way, he deserves to know the truth. You owe him that.

Kathy says:

Belief is personal, and if it is not sincere it feels like a terrible betrayal to the believing spouse. At least Ryan has been honest with his wife. The difficult thing about this specific issue is that, to a non-believer, a “shadow of a doubt” is exactly the thing that makes us divine. We are always open to further light and knowledge. To a believer, there simply is no shadow.

As long as Ryan is willing to allow his child to embrace his or her own honest epiphany without trying to discredit his wife’s testimony, I think it could be “a household of faith.” As long as the wife does not consider her husband less a man because he does not hold the priesthood, it can be a sacred marriage. But if the husband believes his wife is deluded and the wife believes her husband is faithless, that is going to create unhappiness for the child or children.

{ 181 comments… add one }

  • Howard June 27, 2011, 7:40 pm

    Brook how do you feel about Ryan independent of this issue? I sometimes get the feeling that LDS people see eternal mates as more or less interchangeable but it’s not easy to find someone who is right for you and you for him. How is it working? Anti-Mormon literature can be countered what does he find problematic?

    • Brook June 28, 2011, 12:21 pm

      Howard, Ryan is very knowledgeable on a lot of aspects and finds sault with quite a bit. He thnks the LDS faith is a business organization that makes puppets out of it’s members instead of helping us have a personal relationship with God. He grew up Southern Baptist and currently is “non denominational” saying that church is only a meeting house not the truth. After a long conversation last night, he just doesn’t want to hold me back from being sealed in the temple and being a mom but he has no intentions of ever going to the temple. He doesn’t want his children being puppets in this massive organization where they feel obligated to do everything that the church may ask.

      I sort of got off subject and I apologize. He has always had issues with Joseph Smith and has heard all of the quick ” Mormon ” responses like ” he had a 3rd grade education, how could he make it up?” or “why would he stick with a lie after so much persecution?” and he doesnt buy into it. Another major issue is the potential for us to become Gods. Honestly I don’t know enough about a lot of these topics to give him an educated response. He has asked members of my family, he has been to the FAIR website but he claims that no one will actually answer his question fully, that excuses are made.

      He has two books, “The Mormon Mirage” and “Born Again Mormon” that he refers to a lot.

    • Howard June 28, 2011, 11:25 pm

      Well I know the gospel is true but Ryan is right about a lot of these things and they should be acknowledged honestly. The LDS church is a big business and separately a church which does amount to a lot of meeting houses temples missions materials and broadcasts and I suppose a few puppets. And the Joseph Smith story is one of the most unbelievable things many people have ever come across. I don’t consider any of these things anti-Mormon.

      But there is also the gospel and that’s the reason most of us are there. I love your phrase “helping us have a personal relationship with God.” That is exactly how I see the church’s role in my life. If Ryan found the Spirit his outlook would change.

    • Howard June 28, 2011, 11:47 pm

      You know Brook it just occurred to me that the things Ryan knows to be true about the church you suspect are false and the things you know to be true about the church Ryan suspects are false. You guys need to sort this out.

    • Brook June 29, 2011, 8:30 am

      These few examples that I gave aren’t what I consider to be “anti”. These concepts are definitely hard to grasp as a lifelong member. What I meant by Ryan getting into “anti” is where he reads about this information. If he were reading about all of this from a pro-LDS author the tone would be,hopefully, full of the Spirit instead of being from an article that is against our religion who writes the article in a “can you believe this crap?” tone. I don’t think what he believes is false in any way, I just don’t think it is important enough to dwell on, if that makes sense.

  • Lacey Blake June 27, 2011, 8:04 pm

    I’m in a marriage where my husband left the Church 5 years after we were married. For our two children, whom were already born, we are raising them in a split religious home. It helps that he doesn’t actually go to a church, being Aethist and all, but it’s difficult.

    My oldest just turned eight, and the pressure to have her baptized is there. It makes me sad that my family doesn’t understand that I have to allow it to be my daughter’s choice, and she fully knows that it is her choice and she has decided to wait. My mom embroiders white towels to give her grandchildren at their baptism, so this year my daughter is not getting a “birthday gift” because she’s chosen to not be baptized right away. This makes my heart ache.

    It is so hard to raise a family in a spilt religious home, but I don’t think it’s impossible, but if I had a choice, I’d want there to be unity in my home.

    As of now, for these two girls, I have the larger influence on church. They go 3 weeks of the month with 1 “Daddy Sunday” each month, and stay home an extra week when we have a fifth Sunday. I’ve chosen to not have any more children because my husband would want it to be completely 50/50 and I think that would confusing to our older daughters as the younger sibling gets to stay home more often and they have to go to church and I don’t think it’s fair to bring another person into my home knowing that there is not unity in what the parents are teaching.

    I’ve chosen to stay with my husband knowing that he may never come back to church, and I try to make it work knowing and accepting this truth that is my life right now, because if I hope he will change, then I will be greatly disappointed later on in life if he never returns. But if I accept his disbelief and live it, loving him regardless, than I can find joy now and later in life I won’t be disappointed if he doesn’t come back, but maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised if he does. (If being the key word.)

    It’s hard and it stinks that he believes so differently, but as others have said, you hoped he would change, but he hasn’t. You have to choose based on what is now. Your husband is not a member, nor does he ever want to be one. Do you want to spend the rest of your life in this situation, and do you want to raise children in it? If you can say yes, then do it, if you can’t come to accept this truth that you are living, then leave.

  • Brook June 27, 2011, 8:20 pm

    Thank you for all of the replies. It has definitely put a lot into perspective as I realize I am more to blame than Ryan. I cannot imagine life without Ryan. He is my best friend and every other aspect of our marriage is wonderful. It just stinks that this is a very important part. I know that split-religious families can work but I am not sure I am willing to try it. Ryan has truly put forth a great effort to find out if the church is true and we’ve had numerous conversations where he said “Do you not think our lives would be easier if I did join your church? I’ve wanted to get the answer that I should join, I just haven’t received that answer. “. At points (before marriage) he seemed so close to accepting the Gospel that I never thought he could grow such hatred towards it. He is a very intelligent man and has put a lot of research into this, but in my opinion he was looking in all the wrong places. I guess it’s easier to blame this all on him, but as Alison, Tracy, and Kathy stated above really I am the one at fault here. Where much is given, much is required.

    • denice June 30, 2011, 1:36 pm

      I think these ladies have given you good, sound advice.I dont have advice for yu just wanted to share my experience with you. I am a convert to the church (I was raised in a pentecostal church and my dad is a minister). My husband also converted to the church.We have 6 children. But after our children were born we both stopped going to church( didnt get hurt or anything just got really easy to not go after we hadnt been in awhile). So we didnt raise our children in the church and i look back now and wonder how different life would have been if we did… My oldest, is 25 yrs.He is in prision.He was high on meth and beat up and robbed a homeless man…he is also a homosexual. Next is a daughter she is 17.She was pregnant at 15 and delivered at 16 so being 17 she has a beautiful baby girl but wish she would have waited..her life is very hard, then another daughter who is 16 and sitting in utah at a group home type.She was addicted to drugs/alcohol.It is very hard to release your child to someone else to try and fix because you cant…then i have another son who is pretty close to perfect, then 2 more daughters who i struggle to keep on the righjt course and not lose them to the world too…
      I often wonder how my children would have turned out had i raised them in the church…

    • Alison Moore Smith June 30, 2011, 2:35 pm

      denice, thank you for sharing your difficult story. Sorry for the trials you are dealing with. Prayers for you and your kids. :(

  • Conifer June 27, 2011, 11:40 pm

    I’ve just barely left the church and we’re in the middle of negotiating things with the kids right now. I don’t have long term experience to offer, but we’ve reached a place where I’m very hopeful. We’ve been married for over 6 years and have two children.

    Since I’m agnostic, I want to take my children (when they’re old enough to understand) to different churches, meditate with them, discuss different paths to God and whether or not there may be one, etc. I want them to have lots of information and experience with which they can make an unbiased choice.

    But I don’t really mean unbiased, because they’ll be going to the LDS Church with my husband (and often me to support him) at least half the time. For FHE we’ll just both have our say on the subject and let the kids decide for themselves. We still have the same morals and ethics — I just don’t base mine on any belief system anymore. We’ll make it clear to the kids that we support each other in having different beliefs and that both of our beliefs are okay. We won’t undermine or discredit each other.

    I think throwing away a marriage over this is crazy. If this is truly the only reason you would leave him, then I don’t think it’s good enough. If it’s one problem of many, then you can assess that. But if you married him because you love him and you still do and you both want to make this work, then fight for it together. Be honest about what you thought would happen. Go to marriage counseling (we’ve found it to be hugely beneficial). If you can both respect each others’ beliefs and moral code, then you should both be fine with the kids hearing both. This will be hard, but it doesn’t have to be a deal breaker.

  • SilverRain June 28, 2011, 7:19 am

    I just divorced my ex who did not have the dedication to the Church that I did. (Though that is not why I divorced him.) I have a few things to say from that perspective.

    First, be glad you don’t have children yet. That makes this a lot easier to navigate.

    Second, I like Conifer’s advice, but I’m going to add a bit to it. What the OPs say is true, in a way, but singularly unhelpful. (Sorry, ladies!) You probably already know that you made a mistake and are now having to face the consequences. That doesn’t help you decide what to do one bit, though, does it? Beating yourself up about past choices doesn’t make anything better. (And I’m as black as a pot with that particular problem, so I know from the inside.) It is easy to sit in another car and tell you how to drive. It’s a whole ‘nother thing to be behind the wheel.

    Have you talked with him about this? That can be a good litmus test for whether or not the marriage can be saved, or should be saved. Have you told him how unfair you feel it is that he has read these antiMormon tracts and formed an opinion without talking it over with you? It sounds like he has taken the word of his friends over yours, his wife’s. That has to hurt. Talk to him about how you feel about the gospel, about how important it is to you, about how you want to share the joy it can bring with your children.

    If he is not willing to discuss this or acknowledge your feelings, that’s a pretty good sign that there is something more going on. It is possible that he is emotionally controlling. It is possible that he has personal concerns beyond the tracts he has read. Try to get him to talk with you about those concerns. Generally, investigators into the Church use antiMormon literature to support feelings and opinions they’ve already started to form for other reasons. Try to find out what those reasons might be.

    Find a friend in the Church with a good head on their shoulders and experience with testifying to help you navigate what you want to say and how you should say it. Above all, if you find yourself getting emotionally tense, call a pause to the conversation. Tell your husband that you’re getting too emotional right now. Thank him for being willing to talk about it with you, and tell him you’d like to continue it later when you’re not feeling so raw. Give him permission to do the same thing to the conversation if he needs to.

    If this can’t be navigated, you have a communication problem between the two of you that is far more difficult to navigate than “simple” religious differences.

    I suggest you focus more on you and your husband’s ability to respect each other and develop rapport in disagreement as a gauge for your marriage than what you each believe in. Truthfully, marriage isn’t about feeling love in the classic sense of wanting to be connected to someone. Marriage is about acting loving in the truest sense of being willing to take the pitfalls of being connected to someone along with the joys.

    • Oregonian June 28, 2011, 9:57 am

      from what brook said above, i guess she really didnt how much her own choices created this problem. so i guess it was helpful for her to see that perspective.

      looking clearly at how you contributed to a problem and taking responsibility for them going forward isnt the same as beating yourself up. its just growing up.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 28, 2011, 11:20 am

    Conifer wrote:

    I’ve just barely left the church and we’re in the middle of negotiating things with the kids right now.

    You, Conifer, began the marriage in the church. That probably means you entered the marriage with the understanding that your children would be raised in the church. Now, at some later point, you went back on the original deal and are trying to negotiate a new one.

    That is a fundamentally different situation. (Not to imply that the input isn’t helpful, just think it needs to be explicitly pointed out.) To make an agreement and to later, unilaterally, decide that you don’t want to abide by it isn’t the same as going into an agreement and intending to maintain the original deal. The former is you, the latter is Brook’s husband.

    I want them to have lots of information and experience with which they can make an unbiased choice.

    But understand, agnosticism isn’t a position of non-bias. It’s a bias all it’s own. It’s a religion, it’s a value set. It’s not illogical like the atheism is, but it’s a firm position. Frankly — and I don’t want to go into it at this time, just throwing it out for consideration — it’s a belief system that makes it very, very hard to justify any line you draw. Try it.

    We still have the same morals and ethics — I just don’t base mine on any belief system anymore.

    No, you won’t have the same morals and ethics. I don’t even know what that means. And if you claim not to base them on “any belief system”…um… what do you base them on?

    We won’t undermine or discredit each other.

    Sure you will. (I don’t think those words mean what you think they mean. ;) ) How can you not undermine and discredit each other? Perhaps you’ll try to be nice and civil in the way you undermine and discredit each other, but it will happen nonetheless.

    I think throwing away a marriage over this is crazy.

    Sure you do, but that’s because you are the nonbeliever. Throwing away a marriage over significant things is never “crazy.” Throwing one away over trivial things always is. By your very statement you undermine and discredit your husband’s beliefs by claiming that your vast religious differences don’t amount to enough to matter in a marriage.

    I don’t necessarily think she should divorce her husband. But I do think she either has to fully accept all the ramifications of marrying a nonmember and stop making an issue of it OR move on to the kind of marriage she erroneously hoped she was getting.

    Conifer, you admitted that you’ve only “barely” started on this split religion journey. I suggest that it’s going to be different than you imagine. I don’t have any personal experience with it, but I’ve seen it second hand over and over and over. Including people who’ve divorced, nonmembers who’ve converted, members who’ve left, and some who (so far) are still raising pretty decent kids in split circumstances together, happily and in love but with lots and lots of issues to overcome.

    But always, ALWAYS, this puts kids in the position of taking sides and of being unable to every make both parents happy.

    If your child gets married civilly and without the sealing covenant your husband believes is crucial to exaltation, will he be happy? If you child gets married in the temple — and you can’t go — will you be happy and supportive? (Don’t lie to me!)

    It’s a rough road. If you choose it, so be it. But it should at least be chosen with eyes wide open and acknowledgment of the truth.

  • Deborah June 28, 2011, 12:43 pm

    To be fair, Alison, my common ethical base with my husband is absolutely real and the lynchpin of our marriage. His decency knows no bounds, and I am a better person because of his example.

  • Deborah June 28, 2011, 12:44 pm

    Brook:

    I talked extensively about my interfaith marriage in this month’s Mormon Women’s Roundtable podcast, so if you want to hear another perspective, feel free to give a listen.

    http://www.patheos.com/community/theroundtable/2011/06/23/61-interfaith-marriage/

    Here is a post I wrote as well that has lots of great links to other women’s experiences:

    http://www.the-exponent.com/2010/01/24/my-interfaith-marriage-reflections-five-years-in/

    I didn’t make a mistake in choosing my husband — it was the best decision of my life in many ways. It’s not necessarily an “easy” path in terms of navigating church, but I truly believe that a good relationship — member-member or interfaith — is something worth celebrating.

    Marriage is never a cake-walk, and a temple marriage is no guarantee that there will not be religious conflict. I take the long view and feel so lucky that I have found someone who truly loves and respects me — and vice-versa. I don’t expect him to ever join the church; it wouldn’t be fair of me to hover that expectation over his head. But we do have a great deal of open communication about religion, spirituality, child-raising, etc. There are a lot of strong interfaith marriages in the church . . . if you choose to stick it out (and it sounds like there is a lot of love there), please know that you are not alone!

    • Brook June 28, 2011, 1:34 pm

      Thank you Deborah. I look forward to listening to the podcast and checking out the website. Our biggest concern now is not what is best for ourselves but we want to make sure the other is as happy as they can be. Thanks again for your input!

  • Deborah June 28, 2011, 12:44 pm

    Looks like my first comment is stuck in moderation — probably because I included a couple of links . . . could someone fish it out for me?

  • Alison Moore Smith June 28, 2011, 1:18 pm

    Deborah, thanks for your comments and personal insight. That’s going to be very helpful.

    To clarify, having the “same morals and ethics” (as Conifer said) isn’t the same as having a “common ethical base.” Most people have some common ethics and morals, no matter what faith. The more in common, the less conflict over them, obviously. But no one who isn’t LDS is going to have the same morals and ethics as a practicing, faithful (shall we say “mainline”) LDS person. (Otherwise there’s no difference between being a member and a nonmember, is there?)

    It is the differences — often very significant — that cause the problems. And if we can’t look honestly at the fact that there are differences, and assess what they will be, the bumps in the road are going to be more damaging.

    • NateT July 1, 2011, 3:22 pm

      Exactly. A Buddhist and I might have almost the same morals and ethics but the base for those things, and the implications of that base lead to different results.

  • jks June 28, 2011, 1:58 pm

    Brook – as much as you are at “fault” here for expecting your husband to change, he needs to accept some responsibility that he married you knowing that you were firmly attached to your church and would expect to raise your children in your faith (at least to some extent).
    I do not recommend divorce just because you don’t have kids yet. I say only divorce him if he doesn’t respect you or doesn’t treat you well or he will be a horrible father. But if you think that all LDS guys are perfect and that those of us married to LDS men never have to compromise when it comes to religion you are sadly mistaken.
    It is hard even within an LDS marriage to negotiate what is important to you and what your husband just doesn’t get. For example, I don’t like what my husband watches on TV in front of the kids. Countless times of stress and discussion and he simply doesn’t think about it, doesn’t care that much, and doesn’t get why it is important to me. If he wasn’t LDS I might go around lamenting the loss thinking that if he were LDS he would understand. However, that is not the case.
    I have been married 19 years. It is worth it to try to come to some agreements. It is worth it to live your life with him, not try to be some sort of picture perfect family. Be able to learn and enjoy as you go.
    Any husband comes with weaknesses and you have to adjust your life based on his weaknesses as well as your own.
    I think you need to tell your husband that it is OK if he never joins the church. You need to honestly tell him that you are willing to accept that and can still love him and be happy with him. With your kids you need to explain that the church is a part of you that you feel it is necessary to share and if he loves and respects you he should be able to see that. However, if he wants to be able to share his own beliefs (or church) with his children and feel like they aren’t forced into your church by default than you need to be equally as respectful.
    Good luck!

  • Alison Moore Smith June 28, 2011, 2:34 pm

    he needs to accept some responsibility that he married you knowing that you were firmly attached to your church and would expect to raise your children in your faith

    To be frank, I don’t think those who get married outside the temple are “firmly attached to [the] church.” That doesn’t mean they are evil or wicked or stupid or fill-in-the-adjective. It doesn’t mean they don’t have testimonies of the gospel. But it does mean that they have disregarded one of the most foundational tenets of Mormondom — one that has eternal implications — and chosen a different path.

    The fact that Brook chose to marry a nonmember indicates that she was fine being married to a nonmember. And unless Brook’s husband said, “Even though I’m not a Mormon, we will raise our kids fully in the church,” it isn’t reasonable to assume that he intended to raise his kids outside of his own beliefs and only in his wife’s.

    Of course you are correct that LDS men (and LDS marriages) aren’t ipso facto perfect. (My husband is perfect, but our marriage isn’t…because I’m not. ;) ) And of course, some split member families are better than some member families. But that’s really missing the point.

    A decent, compatible couple who have such differing opinions on things of (Mormons believe) eternal significance, can never have as great of a marriage as the same kind of couple who shares those beliefs. It’s a huge wedge, a huge strike, right from the start.

    Eternal issues aren’t like preference in ice cream flavors. To one they have enormous significance, to the other they don’t matter at all.

    I think you need to tell your husband that it is OK if he never joins the church. You need to honestly tell him that you are willing to accept that and can still love him and be happy with him.

    I agree with one huge caveat. She should tell him this, if it’s true. And from her letter, I’m not sure that it is.

    She needs to decide if it really is OK with her and, if she says it is, then it needs to be OK. She needs to stop bugging him about it, stop worrying about it, stop hoping for him to change, stop wishing he’d be someone different than who she chose. She needs to really accept the man she already claimed to accept.

    And if she really can’t she owes it to him to let him find someone who loves him the way he is without the constant never measuring up and continual dissatisfaction.

    Once there are children, my advice changes. You keep the intact home, you accept the man you chose to father your children, and work through whatever, because it’s not just about the two of you anymore.

  • MonMon June 28, 2011, 2:46 pm

    I was raised with a member dad and not member mom. I don’t recommend you do it with kids. It’s not fun for the kids. But if you just want to test it out together, I say go for it.

  • ParisHilton June 28, 2011, 3:04 pm

    For the love of grace, just marry in your own faith or no faith. You can pretend that it’s all about compromise and communication, but it’s crock. If you don’t share values, you don’t share anything. Don’t run the “we are smart and strong enough to do it” experiment on your kids. You aren’t.

  • Deborah June 28, 2011, 3:10 pm

    Alison wrote: “A decent, compatible couple who have such differing opinions on things of (Mormons believe) eternal significance, can never have as great of a marriage as the same kind of couple who shares those beliefs.”

    Alison: Were I a less confident person, this comment would sting dearly. I know, because in the past these comments have stung, confirming the fears that once beset me: that my LDS sisters would see my marriage as somehow defective, not as good, flawed in its very nature. Such sentiments have at times made me less likely to want to involve my husband in ward events — not wanting to subject him to judgement. These days, I’m preemptive about talking up my husband and our marriage. Because it is truly good. I believe divine inspiration led me to my husband and continues to bless our union. Rank-ordering marriages does no good, especially when members of interfaith marriage may feel on the margins of the ward to begin with (I have this conversation A LOT with sisters who seek me out). There are a lot of interfaith families out there, and I would caution that such language of “can never have as great of a marriage as . . . ” will cause undue heartache. I firmly believe that we should reach out to strengthen all marriages — barring truly unhealthy situations that may require immediate leaving by one party.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 28, 2011, 3:47 pm

    Deborah, I sincerely understand what you’re saying and I’m sorry to have hurt you. If I spoke too harshly, I apologize. I tried to qualify the words carefully and am sorry if I wasn’t successful.

    I won’t walk up to someone and say, “You’re marriage isn’t as good as…” Even if I were that crass (and believe it or not, I’m not) I couldn’t possibly know if it were true. How could I know if the “same kind of couple” qualifier exists? This simply isn’t a judgement about you, your husband, or any other particular person or situation. In all sincerity, you’re probably a much better person (and a much better Mormon) than I am. I have no idea how good your marriage is or if it’s better than 99% of all LDS marriages. It may well be.

    But I think it’s critically important that we be honest about what the gospel teaches. If you think my statement is wrong — and that sharing eternally significant beliefs wouldn’t make a marriage better —let’s talk about it. But if it’s right, but painful because of the incongruity between belief and action than many live with, that’s a different discussion, isn’t it?

    So, do we say, “The truth hurts so don’t talk about it”? Or do we say, “That’s so hard to deal with. How can I make the best of this situation?”

    Similar discussions have revolved around what do when teaching church lessons. Do we say, “Some kids have already committed fornication. So let’s not bring up how important chastity is because it makes them feel bad”? or do we say, “Some kids have already committed fornication. So let’s make sure when we emphasize how important chastity is, we also discuss repentance and the atonement”?

    Rather than being a personal judgment, this is a discussion about principle. And the principle is that we have been taught for decades and decades, to only marry a worthy person in the temple. And if we don’t, what are the ramifications?

    I realize that teaching that can be painful to those for whom “the ideal” isn’t reality. I’ve seen it for years and years with youth. How do you teach them about the eternal significance (if you believe the prophets) of temple marriage and having families sealed to kids — when their own parents aren’t endowed and who haven’t been sealed to their families — without having them realize they are missing something?

    In the end, I don’t think you can. You can be kind and loving and gentle, but you must still teach doctrine on the matter. Not some watered down but-whatever-you-want-it’s-just-the-same-anyway. You teach them revealed doctrine. Otherwise won’t they be likely to perpetuate the situation because they think it’s no big deal? If they’re going to bring the same quandary to their own kids, don’t we at least want them to make the decisions with all the facts?

  • Tracy Keeney June 28, 2011, 4:02 pm

    The idea that it’s “crazy” to dissolve a marriage over religion, is ONLY crazy to those for whom religion isn’t really that important, right Conifer?
    As a former member, you know that to believing and committed members, our faith is EVERYTHING. The marriage wouldn’t really be “a marriage” in the eternal sense. If Brook WANTS an eternal marriage and wants to have children that are raised in the gospel and sealed to her, then it would be “crazy” to remain married to someone who can’t give her that. And if her marriage is going to be “dissolved” by death anyway, then how would it be “crazy” to dissolve it now?
    @Silver– the point in making sure that Brook acknowledges responsibility wasn’t to help her “decide” what to do, nor was it to try and make her beat herself up. I won’t try to speak for Kathy and Alison, but I know for me, (and I even stressed this in my original response) the point was that as she speaks to her HUSBAND about this, she needs to make it clear that she’s not putting any blame on his shoulders. If and when they have an honest heart to heart about the state of their marriage, it’s future and how her religious beliefs play a part, he needs to know that she isn’t saying “Our marriage will never be what I truly want it to be because you won’t join the church”, which is likely how he’d interpret it, but rather “Our marriage will never be what I truly want it to be because I wasn’t honest with you about what I wanted in the first place, and now you’re telling me I’m never going to get it, and I realize that I should have been honest with you from the beginning.”
    And Brook, I want to make sure it’s understood, that I’m not “recommending” that you should get divorced. My recommendation was to have the honest talk, discuss it with your Bishop, and realize that in the end, you may need to consider it.
    I think I should mention too, that I was raised in a home with two different religions. Those who’ve been on MormonMomma for awhile already know my story. But my parents joined the church when I was 4– my mother did so with all her heart, my father did so because he thought raising the kids as Mormons would give him the best shot at having teenagers who wouldn’t smoke, drink or have sex without having to become Amish and give up cable TV. He himself though, never gave up the smoking or drinking, was never ordained and eventually left the church to go back to his Catholic roots where he could go to Mass, then hang around with the Father afterwards while they both chugged a beer and had a cigarette in the gathering hall downstairs–no kidding. And this isn’t MY assessment– he said it himself.
    So between the ages of 4 and 10 I went to the LDS church with my entire family each week, but after that, the agreement between my parents was that the kids should alternate churches each week– going to Mass with my father one week, then to Sacrament meeting with my mother the next.
    Though I don’t recall any actual “arguing” between my parents, it was clear, even to a 10 year old, that despite their “politeness” about each other’s faith, they clearly were not “one”. And the older we got, the more apparent that became. My father had always said that we were free to believe what we wanted to, that he wasn’t forcing anything down our throats. But as my testimony increased, and that of my brother, my father CLEARLY began to feel like we were “choosing my mother’s side”. Even though my father was NEVER treated with disrespect and was ALWAYS the “man” and head of the household, he still felt like he could never measure up to what he KNEW my mother hoped from him. I KNOW my mother never did or said anything to make him feel like she thought he was somehow “less of a man” because he didn’t hold the priesthood. But he FELT that way when it was time for us to be baptized and some other guy had to do it. He KNEW it was suppose to be the father doing that, but he couldn’t. When we were sick my mother had to call the missionaries or our home teachers to come and minister to us. He KNEW it was suppose to be him laying his hands on our heads, but he couldn’t. Eventually, it made him resentful and bitter, and he started witholding his permission for us to be fully engaged in the church. He wouldn’t allow my brothers to be ordained. So all through their years in Young Men, they had to sit in the pews while their peers blessed and passed the Sacrament. He wouldn’t let us go on temple trips to do baptisms. So even though I was raised in the Church, I never set a foot in the temple until I was getting married and my brother didn’t get ordained until he turned 18.
    I have a very good friend who married a non-member during a period of inactivity in her life. They now have 4 children and over the past several years, she’s come back to church and has been endowded. Her children attend with her every week and her husband is VERY supportive of her faith, even encourging her to go to church on days she rather wouldn’t– encourages her in her temple attendence, they have “denominationally generic” FHE, etc. They have a very GOOD marriage, they are clearly happy and love each other very much. But she admits that the heartache is ALWAYS there and that her children are missing out in many ways.
    I think the main thing here is that IF her husband truly is set in his views, and since they don’t have children, then right now, Brook is in THE BEST position for making a decision that from here on out will affect the rest of her life and lives of her future children. Because once children come- everything will change.

  • MeriKae Leavitt June 28, 2011, 4:30 pm

    If Religion means that much to you you already know the answer, but I married a man who was inactive (4 1/2 years) then a man who was Lutheran(1 year) then a man who had the same goals and RELIGIOUS wants and desires as myself, and we are still together(14 years)….What do the prophets say about marrying out of region…well in my experience they were right.
    Hope my life experience can help your poor broken heart dear one.

    • Alison Moore Smith June 28, 2011, 4:39 pm

      MeriKae, thank you for reading and commenting today. Welcome to you.

    • MeriKae Leavitt July 1, 2011, 4:24 pm

      My Pleasure, hope I haven’t hurt anyone with my truths. I am blunt and to the point and I use my life experiences to teach others and I don’t pull punches I tell it as ugly as it is.
      hope that is OK

  • Alison Moore Smith June 28, 2011, 4:44 pm

    Following up a bit on what Tracy said about her dad feeling like he could never measure up (in spite of what her mom actually did/said)…

    How do you, for example, teach about temple marriage to kids in a split family without either:

    (1) down-playing doctrine about temples and eternal sealings and exaltation

    OR

    (2) making your own marriage look second rate?

    How do you teach about the priesthood without:

    (1) down-playing priesthood doctrine

    OR

    (2) making your husband look like he’s lacking something significant?

    These are the kinds of questions I’ve seen repeatedly, but have never heard a good answer for.

    • Alison Moore Smith June 28, 2011, 4:46 pm

      P.S. This is the same problem we have in talking up the importance of the priesthood while telling women they aren’t missing anything.

      End threadjack.

  • Darcee Yates June 28, 2011, 5:16 pm

    “P.S. This is the same problem we have in talking up the importance of the priesthood while telling women they aren’t missing anything.”

    oh Alison. This is so you. (I’m shaking my head).

    • MeriKae Leavitt July 1, 2011, 4:21 pm

      Ok I had a similar problem with the Priesthood statement as spoken here however I got a very rude wake up as to why…. Father sent me my current husband as a lazy teacher….let me just say if a man isn’t FORCED into doing SOMETHING, then let me just say he will let YOU do it ALL and Father must have known that about his male children. and I can tell you if you understand the Priesthood you are missing nothing, because when the Woman or Mother lives worthy and uses the Name of Jesus Christ ALL power under heaven is open to her for He is the PRIESTHOOD, men need it bestowed, we merely need to speak in righteousness, sadness,love, joy or pain, in His name and ALL power under heaven is accessible to us in Christ’s Holy name.
      So I hope you don’t need to learn it the way I have had to, check ya later bye now, off to go tile the kitchen floor while my hubby naps in the cool of the basement !!! Like I said men will let you do it all!!!! they need at least ONE responsibility, that they must be accountable for.

    • Alison Moore Smith July 2, 2011, 1:19 pm

      Wow. I utterly reject the notion that men have the priesthood because thy are basically lazy scum. Talk about sexist. Ack.

      MeriKae, maybe you don’t communicate well. Maybe you don’t have any rapport with your husband (if he went online and called you lazy good-for-nothing, how happy would that make you?). Maybe you’re a martyr. Maybe you just married a jerk. There are so many possibilities.

      But while you’re up “speaking righteousness” why don’t you baptize someone. Let me know how it goes.

      Check ya later bye now, off to go make out with my husband.

  • Paula N. June 28, 2011, 7:05 pm

    I have to say that I have had many of the same experiences as Brook. I married a non-LDS man, while I was semi-active (not inactive, not super duper active, for many reasons I won’t get into here) in the church. I was 30 years old, he was 34. I guess the difference for us is that we discussed how our children would be raised before we married. I was firm that any children be raised in the church, with a firm religious foundation. His family didn’t have really any religious upbringing. They went to occasional services, Christmas Eve midnight service, etc., but didn’t consider themselves anything in particular. I wanted more for my family and that was a discussion we had before we even got engaged.

    I don’t think Brook is all to blame in this situation, though. She married somebody who didn’t overtly criticize or even disapprove of the church, at least from my understanding of what’s been written. (Maybe I missed a nuance somewhere?) He’s now decided that any religious training in the LDS church is against his wishes but doesn’t seem to consider what Brook’s wishes are in the matter. Personally, I would sit down with him and say, “this is what we agreed to originally, this is what you’ve now decided you want, but I still feel bound to raise my children in the church. I guess it’s time for us to make some decisions about our future.” I would hope that he would realize the seriousness of the issue and come to a compromise.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you. It’s never easy, but it is worth it!

    (Just for the record, I was one of the “miracles,” I suppose. My husband was baptized on our fifth wedding anniversary, and we went through the temple and were sealed to our children a year later. We’ve been active in the church ever since, and Alan has now been a member for over 14 years.)

    • Alison Moore Smith June 28, 2011, 9:13 pm

      Paula N., welcome and thanks for commenting.

      You bring up a good point. Brook’s husband did change in his increased negativity toward the church. Perhaps she can clarify how much.

      Note, however, that she didn’t say that “any religious training in the LDS church” was against his wishes, only that he didn’t want them only raised LDS and that he wanted to allow them to choose. She didn’t give any indication about a prior “how to raise the kids” deal, but if there was one, it would certainly be significant.

      I once read that, statistically speaking, the member in a part member marriage is far more likely to become inactive than the non-member is to join the church. But so glad to hear your happy ending.

    • Brook June 29, 2011, 8:45 am

      In response to both Alison and Paula N., we had NUMEROUS discussions about religion and before we were married his outlook was to keep harmony in his home (while living with his parents because they weren’t to keen on their son dating a Mormon). He even told me to be patient with him implying that as soon as he was out from underneath his parents that he would immediately join. At one point he told me that when he had the opportunity to truly study and research our faith that he would want nothing more than to be sealed to me for all time and eternity when/if he found out it was true. So, I guess what I’m saying is he was much more open before we were married and that’s what led me to believe one day he would join which is what makes it so hard now.

    • Alison Moore Smith June 29, 2011, 9:57 am

      Thanks for clarifying, Brook.

      This sounds to me as if he was pretty up front about not knowing the church was true, wanting to study for himself to form a firm opinion (which he obviously did not have), and that if he found it to be true, he would want to be sealed to you. From this, it sounds to me like he did what he said he’d do.

      Sometimes it’s hard for a believing Christian to imagine that an honest person can come to a different conclusion about God or the church. But he did, at least at this point.

      That said — and not in an attempt to bully your husband into submission — I agree that he’s looked at flawed sources. Using anti-Mormon literature is about as fair an analysis as having your reputation determined by your worst enemy. Maybe your husband can understand that and make an attempt to use less biased material in his study. We can pull some sources for you, if you like.

    • Brook June 29, 2011, 12:10 pm

      He has searched from all aspects at this point, but only AFTER he had already formed his opinion based on Anti sources. But yes, any sources that you feel will be beneficial please send my way!

  • Conifer June 29, 2011, 1:47 am

    Wow. I’m regretting that I posted at all. I thought that my perspective might be useful for Brook, but I didn’t anticipate such strong negative feedback. I’m sorry if the way I worded things was offensive.

    Allison, I feel like you read my comment in the worst possible way. For instance, you said, “By your very statement you undermine and discredit your husband’s beliefs by claiming that your vast religious differences don’t amount to enough to matter in a marriage.” Not only did I not say that the difference doesn’t amount to enough to matter in a marriage, but you saying that I undermine and discredit his beliefs is extremely hurtful. You don’t know me. I have complete respect for his beliefs. I think they’re meaningful and important because they are so to him. For all I know they could be perfectly true and I could be wrong. I know what strong faith is — I used to have it — and I would never belittle it. Throughout you seem to think that by my very stance I’m doing that and it really hurts.

    You said, “No, you won’t have the same morals and ethics. I don’t even know what that means. And if you claim not to base them on “any belief system”…um… what do you base them on?” First, what a way to say it! Would you speak that way to me in real life?

    I feel that when it comes down to it, we do have the same morals and ethics. I have always believed that the very foundation of the gospel was in improving yourself as a person, developing true charity for others, and acting on that charity to make the community and lives around you better for your presence. I still strongly believe in that. I realize that you and I disagree about whether or not I can say that we have the same morals and ethics, but I don’t think there was any need for you to dismiss my opinions in such a way. And I base them on what I personally feel to be right. It’s not based on any external source or faith system. I’m sorry if I wasn’t clear enough earlier.

    Your entire response to my comment seems very dismissive and angry to me. I don’t know why you can’t take what I say about my own experience and at least respond in a less dismissive and judgmental way. I understand that I’m inexperienced, but I am sincere. So far we’ve done a really good job being respectful toward each other through very hard issues. I honestly think we can do this. I guess I just don’t understand the tone of your response at all. I feel like to be understood I would have to fight tooth and nail for it. It’s not worth it to me to do that here, so I’m not responding to all of the things you said. I have other things I need to do.

    I’ve really enjoyed reading the LDS blogs — they made my transition away from faith much less bitter than it could have been. I still enjoy reading. But I feel like it’s a community where I’ll never be welcome. Or even really tolerated.

    • Brook June 29, 2011, 8:49 am

      Conifer, I am very appreciative of your comments. So thank you. I found them very helpful and at this point I am in agreement with you on a lot of things. So thank you for commenting!

  • Tracy Keeney June 29, 2011, 8:05 am

    Conifer, I feel badly that YOU’RE feeling badly. But I can tell with with absolute confidence that you’re interpreting alot more “negativity” in Alison’s response than what Alison herself put in. I think it’s one of the problems with “reading” a response, rather than sitting in a room discussing it. You can’t hear voice inflexion, see facial expression etc, and I can promise you that there wasn’t anything nasty or angry in Alison’s response. She’s simply responding to your comments and explaining her thoughts on them. And yes– she WOULD have said the same thing to you, even if you were face to face. But again, I think that as you’re reading, you’re “hearing” an anger and negativity that isn’t there.
    If you were to go and read through several of the other posts, you’d see that Alison actually ENCOURAGES differing opinions here. She WANTS people with different views to comment so we can really discuss things in depth and from our various perspectives..
    And, if you read any of the other blogs where she writes, you’d find that she writes and participates on blogs that have even MORE “varying” positions than this one– so believe me, you are MORE than just welcome here. And certainly, not merely “tolerated” . So I hope you’ll stick around.

  • Kellie June 29, 2011, 8:39 am

    First of all, let me start by saying that I am a very active member of the LDS church as well as my husband. I grew up in a house where I was the only member of my family, extended included. I still am the only one. I was baptized as a youth and my husband joined at 20 (also the only member in his family, and the only member in his whole home town).

    I want to say that the things her husband has a problem with are not unfounded. I too had problems with those things recently. The difference is that because I already had a testimony of the GOSPEL (this should be in italics, not caps) as taught by the LDS church my search for truth took a different path, than maybe someone who is not a member.. I have read over and over everyting I could find that were first hand accounts of what Joseph Smith said and letters and other documents he wrote (these were the best ones to read). I found that the church we go to, with a correlation committee, public opinion surveys, and PR, is not the same as it was when it started. I now know that there are reasons for this so it doesn’t bother me anymore. How else would the temples and churches be built and maintained if not for money being made? To be truthful there are many puppet Mormons, as well as puppet Lutherans, Catholics, etc.

    Nevertheless, the idea that the church is there to get us a personal relationship with God is not true. The church is an organization for the giving and receiving of ordinances necessary for salvation. One way we show our gratitude to God for these and other blessings He gives us is by serving in His church. Your relationship with God is yours and has to be developed with hard work on your own not because of what happens at church, and many times in spite of what happens there.

    The problems many have with the Priesthood and women may, also, be solved by reading Joseph Smith’s original words, at least it was for me..

    Marriage is always sacred to God. Whether it was done in the temple or not. I would not make a decision about whether to stay or not based on opinions of people who don’t know you or your husband. For me this would require much prayer and fasting. I am sure that you prayed about your decision to marry him in the first place. If that is true then only God can tell you if His answer to that question has changed.

    • Brook June 29, 2011, 12:19 pm

      Kellie, thank you for your comment. This is very helpful for me. It’s hard to judge someone (especially based on a post) and although I don’t think that most of the commenter’s intentions were to judge me, it does feel that way. I try not to take it that way, though. Your comment is very unbias and I am so glad you shared!

    • Alison Moore Smith June 30, 2011, 1:09 pm

      Kellie, thank you for taking the time to post. This bit was so good:

      I want to say that the things her husband has a problem with are not unfounded. I too had problems with those things recently. The difference is that because I already had a testimony of the GOSPEL (this should be in italics, not caps) as taught by the LDS church my search for truth took a different path, than maybe someone who is not a member.

      Amen and amen.

  • Rachel June 29, 2011, 8:42 am

    Brook, I’m so sorry you find yourself in such a hard situation. Only you can make the decision on how you should proceed about your future, but I wanted to offer some observations about what your children might experience. We had several part member families when I was in young women growing up and I remember some of these girls expereinces very clearly.

    One girl, older than me, had a very strong testimony, but her father was unhappy with her being so involved in the church. Her siblings were not active or only partially active and she knew that was the level of activity that he felt was apropriate. She wanted to be fully active. Her father would plan activites on Sunday, sometimes durring church. She had to decide whether to honor her father or to keep the sabbath day holy. She decided to honor her father while remaining as active as possible, but I know it was a hard choice for her and have always been greatful that she shared this with some of us younger young women. I have no idea what kind of marriage that her mother and father had, her mother was a very quite, kind person, but I can’t imagine that it was an easy marriage. Now as adults some of their children are active and some are not.

    Another family I know had two children who were younger than me. Their mother is a strong member and their father is a nodenominational christian. The children were not baptised when they turned 8, it had to be their decision. They occasionally went to church with their father, when he went. The daughter went through a period of inactivity in her early teens, but came back to church and was married in the temple. Their son went on a mission and is a strong member, but his mother talked about how her husband was unhappy about his choice. I am not sure what their relationship is with their father, but I know both are close to their mother. I also cannot speak of the mother’s relationship with the father, I know there is a lot of mutual respect and love just in the was she talks about her husband, but I can’t imagine it has been easy for either of them.

    As another perspective, my parents are both members and one of my siblings is not. She is very defensive, feels very judged and a lack of acceptance from my parents bceause of her choice. This is more about her than how my parents treat her. In a part member home there is a possiblity that your children will feel defensive and judged by whichever parent they do not share religious beliefs with. It might not even have anything to do with you or your husband, but with your child’s personality.

    Having children in a part member home, you need to think about how you will feel if all your future children fully embrace your husband’s faith, how will your husband feel about all your children being strong LDS members? Either is possible if your children are raised in both faiths. I believe that mutual respect for two religions can be possible in a home, but it is HARD and it does not mean it won’t be divisive because each child will bring their own personality that may or may not respect both religions no matter what you and your husband teach with your words and by example. I will pray for you and your family that you make the best choice for the lasting happiness of you, your husband and your future children whatever that may be.

    • Alison Moore Smith June 30, 2011, 1:13 pm

      Rachel, such great input — and an example of gentle presentation. :)

  • Darcee yates June 29, 2011, 10:41 am

    Conifer,
    Reading your perspective was enlightening to me ( I should have said so earlier). Seeing as I have a daughter who has left the church and wants her daughter(now 5) to be raised with no religious influence I.e. No prayer, God, Christ. Etc. Only do good and love Gods creations. It’s hard for me to understand. i read your comments and try to gain insight. Please don’t leave.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 29, 2011, 11:43 am

    I’m sorry if the way I worded things was offensive.

    Conifer, I didn’t find your comments “offensive” at all. I just disagreed with a number of things you said. I go to great lengths to avoid ad hominem, but I think it’s crucial to openly discuss principle.

    Not only did I not say that the difference doesn’t amount to enough to matter in a marriage, but you saying that I undermine and discredit his beliefs is extremely hurtful. You don’t know me. I have complete respect for his beliefs.

    First, please understand that I don’t put a lot of stock in claims of being hurt. I actually do care about people’s feelings and don’t intentionally offend — and I’m sorry you were hurt — but people get hurt by all sorts of things. I’ve known people who were offended at being invited to a baby shower for someone they knew quite well and people who were offended for not being invited to a shower for someone they barely knew. I try to stick with facts and discuss them logically. That’s pretty much my end game.

    Second, realize that I’m not of the camp that demands respect for everything. Lots of things aren’t worthy of respect and the notion that we must respect stupid, harmful, etc., things is misguided. So I’m not saying your disrespect is necessarily bad or wrong. I’m just noting that it’s there.

    You are absolutely correct, I do not know you at all, so I can only base discussion on what you write. Based on that, I disagree that you have “complete respect for his beliefs.”

    You said, “I think throwing away a marriage over this is crazy.” The “this” in the discussion is the fact that Brook doesn’t have a husband who shares her religious beliefs, doesn’t have a husband who holds the priesthood, doesn’t have what she believes could be an eternal marriage, does not have the opportunity to have her children sealed to her, cannot raise their children fully in the church — and probably never will, according to her husband.

    As I said, of course you think it would be “crazy,” because you don’t believe those things exist or are important. Being a former member, however, you well know that they aren’t just nice things or even important in the LDS faith, they are central and have significant ramifications with regard to exaltation.

    To claim that it would be “crazy” to divorce someone when they have no hope of ever having so many things so central to LDS belief, can hardly be read in a way that isn’t simply dismissive of those beliefs.

    Would you speak that way to me in real life?

    Yes. I’ve had the discussion with countless self-proclaimed atheists and agnostics.

    To the first part, of course you don’t have the same morals and ethics that a Mormon has. You have a different belief system as you said yourself. (Do you believe it’s morally wrong to drink coffee? Or stop wearing garments?)

    Second, you do have a belief system, but seem not to recognize it. It’s a pretty common fallacy presented by non-religious people that somehow their beliefs are something outside belief systems or based on something superior to faith — without directly addressing the problems with those ideas.

    I have always believed that the very foundation of the gospel was in improving yourself as a person, developing true charity for others, and acting on that charity to make the community and lives around you better for your presence. I still strongly believe in that.

    But that isn’t the foundation of LDS doctrine. The foundation of LDS doctrine is doing what God asks us to do to become more like him.

    Sometimes that means developing ourselves and sometimes it means utterly forgetting ourselves and, yes, sacrificing ourselves. (And even dying for the cause.)

    Developing charity is absolutely foundational, but what that means within a God-based belief system — particularly one that defines charity as “the pure love of Christ” — and outside one, covers a vast expanse of difference.

    What makes a community and lives better? Look at the political upheaval today. Even within a particular religious set the answer can run the spectrum. Outside of it, the variation increases.

    Outside of gospel doctrine, everything you suggest is simply tempered by what you decide is “good.” You are the sole authority.

    And I base them on what I personally feel to be right. It’s not based on any external source or faith system. I’m sorry if I wasn’t clear enough earlier.

    It was completely clear. But an internal faith system is still a faith system. And think about the ramifications of everyone in a society being the sole arbiter (from their internal belief system) of what is “right.” I don’t know you and you are probably a great person, but I know a lot of individuals that I wouldn’t remotely trust to arbitrate morality.

    Outside of religious belief, for example, what is wrong with theft? What is wrong with pedophilia? What is wrong with murder?

    I don’t know why you can’t take what I say about my own experience and at least respond in a less dismissive and judgmental way. I understand that I’m inexperienced, but I am sincere.

    You realize that by saying I’m dismissive and judgmental, you’re being judgmental, right? :) Of course the discussion is judgmental, that’s the point! We were asked a question about a moral dilemma, that requires judgment. (Of course, so does choosing breakfast cereal…everything does.)

    As for being dismissive, I’m simply dismissing the ideas that aren’t reasonable or are illogical. You have mistaken that for anger, but it’s simply not anger. When trying to make a sound decision, ideas that don’t make sense should be dismissed so that the sound ideas can be addressed.

    For example, if you present the idea that you don’t have a belief system, you can’t address the fact that you do have a belief system, what it entails, how it differs from your husband’s, and how (or if) those differences can be managed. If you don’t acknowledge the inherent problems of an internal belief system (I’d say the problems with an external one are addressed ad naseum), you won’t manage those problems — or be able to explain yourself to your children.

    If you present the idea that it’s “crazy” to divorce over issues that one party believes are eternal, salvational issues — and can’t see how that is utterly dismissive of your husband’s beliefs — you’ll be unable to minimize the damage and undermining the differences in belief will cause.

    So far we’ve done a really good job being respectful toward each other through very hard issues. I honestly think we can do this.

    That’s great and I hope the best for you. I’d love to hear what you have done to keep that respect with strong disagreement. That not only serves religious, but all other differences.

    I guess I just don’t understand the tone of your response at all. I feel like to be understood I would have to fight tooth and nail for it.

    I believe you are reading in a “tone” that’s not there. It seems you have mistaken disagreement with anger and being misunderstood. I’m not angry and I don’t think I misunderstand. I simply disagree and told you why.

    But I feel like it’s a community where I’ll never be welcome. Or even really tolerated.

    You are certainly welcome. I have allowed all your comments to post. In the eight year history of MM I’ve only disallowed a few blatant commercial spammers and one woman who was a loose cannon promoting all sorts of anti-establishment stuff.

    But toleration is an interesting issue. I don’t see it as an inherently good thing, as our current culture does. Some things should be tolerated, others should not. But I’m happy to tolerate the expression of opinion. I simply ask commenters to tolerate a difference of opinion (if it exists) in return. :)

  • Natalie Darling June 29, 2011, 11:44 am

    This has been an interesting discussion to follow.
    Conifer- I think it is awesome that you posted your story on here. It is nice to see people who have left the church who are not bitter and angry when they leave. That said, I have to agree with Alison that, compared to what church members ultimately believe we gain from a celestial marriage, a split in religion is never going to be as good. It doesn’t happen with only one partner in the deal. If you and your husband are happy with what you have, and neither of you feel strongly about eternal blessings that the LDS church teaches, then you have a good marriage. It isn’t comparing one marriage to another, it is comparing what an LDS member would believe they COULD have to what they may have now. If you have chosen to become agnostic, I think it would be hard to understand others who have a very strong belief that certain things are true. Alison obviously is very clear on her truths and I think it’s great that she doesn’t water her convictions down. I hope that others being strong in their beliefs doesn’t dissuade you from this or other boards if you enjoy them.

    Brook- I hope that you are able to make a clear decision now and not take a “wait and see” approach as the original shock is passing because it is really, really important to make the decision before kids come into the picture. You have to decide what you believe about Temple marriage. Sometimes, if you have grown up in the church, it seems like it should be important so we try to make it look like it is. However, maybe it honestly isn’t to you and you can have a good marriage with a non-member. If you have a strong conviction of the truthfulness of a temple marriage though, then I would say you are going to have to rethink your path. Be aware that children have a habit of focusing our priorities so, even if you can make peace with your decision now, it may not stay peaceful when children come. I wish you, and your husband, the best. I hope you can both find the best answer for happiness.

    • Alison Moore Smith June 29, 2011, 1:02 pm

      Natalie, what great input. Thanks for dropping by.

    • Tracy Keeney June 30, 2011, 8:10 am

      “If you and your husband are happy with what you have, and neither of you feel strongly about eternal blessings that the LDS church teaches, then you have a good marriage. It isn’t comparing one marriage to another, it is comparing what an LDS member would believe they COULD have to what they may have now.”

      Very well and succinctly put, Natalie.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 29, 2011, 1:09 pm

    This topic reminded me of old church manuals. (“Old” being current in the 90s — although written long enough before that that they were quite out of date.)

    They still included quotes that advised against inter-racial marriage. Or at least encouraged members to strongly consider the ramifications. Given that my high school senior age Gospel Doctrine class included multiple ethnicities, I actually read the quote and we talked about it.

    If you look at the historical context, it’s not that shocking. Within my own lifetime, I could see why this advice might be sound, while having nothing to do with being racist. In the same way, any huge difference can be very hard on a marriage. Differences in education, upbringing, culture, affluence can be as difficult to overcome as, for example, how mixed race kids might be accepted in society.

    What if one spouse is totally into watching sports or the hunting/fishing lifestyle and the other hates it? What if one spouse is a fitness fanatic and the other becomes an obese couch potato?

    It’s plain to see how any of these big differences can impact a marriage. In discussing split-religion marriages, we would do well to acknowledge that fundamental differences in religious beliefs are likely to be every bit as problematic.

  • Kris June 29, 2011, 1:10 pm

    This has been an extremely fascinating discussion. Alison reminds me of Dr. Laura, logical, straight shooting and no nonsense. Conifer, I envy you in a way because you are being confronted with this approach which you can use to clarify your beliefs and help you eliminate emotionalism. You are intelligent and can strengthen yourself by accepting Alison’s analysis or determining why you don’t, emotion free. I think this could be invaluable for you in your future Thanks, Alison, for your insights.

  • Deborah June 29, 2011, 1:39 pm

    Brook:

    If, after listening to the podcast, you have any interest in continuing a friendly discussion about life in an interfaith marriage from someone else walking that walk, *please* feel free to contact me via email! Any of the permas here can give you my info, I would assume. I know there is a lot of well-meaning concern on this board, but if you choose your marriage (as I have), it might be helpful to see that there are plenty of happy interfaith couples out there, doing their best to pay the bills, love each other, and trust in the long view of eternity and the binding power of love :) I’d be more than happy to strike up a cyber-friendship or even introduce you to other women who are walking a similar path! Blessings to you.

    • Alison Moore Smith June 29, 2011, 2:11 pm

      I’ll be happy to connect you, if it’s mutually agreeable. I’m sure Deborah has a great deal to offer anyone in this situation (and others, too).

      Deborah, thanks for the kind offer.

    • Brook June 29, 2011, 4:18 pm

      Yes, I would love that!

    • Alison Moore Smith July 2, 2011, 1:22 pm

      Done. :)

      [This was referencing the request to connect Brook and Deborah via email.]

  • Carolin June 29, 2011, 1:43 pm

    Brook,
    This is a difficult situation you are in, (but those are usually the ones where most growth can occur.) I’m sure you are seeking inspiration from our Father in Heaven. Is your husband a good man? Is he a good husband to you? (Have you read 1 Corinthians 7 lately?) If you two do have children and they are raised going to two different churches, they will see differences and will feel them, too. That is not always a bad thing. One of my daughters (by my husband’s first marriage) has said that the struggles and challenges she has had because of her family have been difficult, but they have made her who she is and she likes who she is. (Her mother and some sisters do not share her beliefs.) As you prayerfully consider the situation, you will be guided to make the right choices for you and your future children. And just because your circumstances aren’t ideal, doesn’t mean that they aren’t what you need.

    • Brook June 29, 2011, 4:24 pm

      Carolin, thank you for your insight! I am definitely in constant contact with our Father in Heaven!:) My husband is a wonderful man who loves God and is truly doing what he thinks God wants him to do. And yes I actually just read 1 Corinthians 7 and it is my new favorite chapter! :)

  • Deja June 29, 2011, 3:17 pm

    Hi Brook;

    I’ve been following along, and much of what I have to say is covered under Deborah’s comments, since I, like her, am a faithful member in a happy and interfaith marriage, and we share a similar perspective. I make the same offer: I’d be more than happy to discuss off-line.

    I guess what I’d add to what’s been said here is that I’m struck by how much your husband actually has changed. What I mean is this: a lot of discussion has been given to how wrong you were to expect him to change, and in a way I agree (Although I think the release from that hope/expectation is actually a spiritual gift, one we can’t force. For me it finally really left me on the other side of our actual wedding, and peacefully so. I don’t blame you at all for that lingering expectation.). But it actually sounds like his opinion has evolved a lot, and although it hasn’t evolved in the direction you might have hoped for, it does mean he’s been putting his oar in and giving it some deep thought. What that ultimately means for you might turn out to be painful. But I think if there’s one thing you can trust about your husband (and maybe anyone) is that he is growing and changing just as you are and your relationship is. You can’t predict or control the direction, but you can count on that, I would think. It seems a shame to me to base your decision on what he feels right at this moment, when he hasn’t always felt that way and he may not feel that way down the line. Of course there doesn’t seem to be anything else to base it on, except for a lot of prayer, which is really the best way to make the decision anyway. That, and talking this out with him. It sounds like there’s a lot of good there between you.

    I wish you the best as you work through this difficult time. And please do seek me out if you want to talk further.

    Deja

    • Alison Moore Smith June 30, 2011, 1:24 pm

      I think the release from that hope/expectation is actually a spiritual gift

      Very interesting idea. Worth thinking about more. Thanks for your comment.

  • Olivia June 29, 2011, 5:22 pm

    Many interesting perspectives here both about marriage relationships and about raising children.

    My thoughts are about the former, what I’ve learned about marriage covenants. It’s this:

    To give yourself to a spouse in marriage: to remember, as life gets crazier and children come and dreams look possible and ideas take flight and you feel the thrill and sense of accomplishment that comes from giving yourself to those people and purposes, that your giving of yourself to your spouse comes first and, if nurtured, will last longest and best. It’s easy to lose sight of that.

    To receive to yourself someone as your spouse in marriage: to remember that you actively received that spouse, the attractive and good as well as the unattractive and sin-touched aspects of their lives and personalities. It is easy, as time passes, to be annoyed and frustrated at the imperfections and differences your spouse brings to a marriage and to wish that they were different from what they are. But the covenant is to receive a spouse, not selectively accept only the parts that we like best and be dissatisfied with the rest. It’s easy to lose sight of that too.

    • Alison Moore Smith June 30, 2011, 1:31 pm

      Olivia, thanks for taking the time to post your insights on this.

  • jks June 29, 2011, 11:11 pm

    “My husband is a wonderful man who loves God and is truly doing what he thinks God wants him to do. ”
    Brook, I can agree that you need to make “decisions” about how to proceed in your marriage, but I am just so sad that someone would be telling you to consider divorce at this stage. You don’t hurt a spouse by abandoning them just because they aren’t perfect or they don’t want to do things your way.
    I am a totally active Mormon and believe in the gospel and am happy in the church. You will never find a general authority who would advise you to leave a good husband just to go find something “better.”
    Raising your children 100% in the church can be a dealbreaker before marriage, but after marriage your obligation is to work on having a successful marriage.
    I don’t want to overreact to Alison’s advice, but I am saddened that people consider a marriage without kids to be less of a marriage and so you can leave for greener pastures even when your husband is a good man who respects you. However, if he truly has a blind spot about your religion and can’t respect you because of it, then that is a different story……but one hopes a wife doesn’t create that negativity by threatening divorce.
    Anyway, marriage is hard, but worth all the effort if the two of you are dedicated to keeping your marriage happy. I hope you can come to some happiness together about this issue.
    My husband is a good man but not perfect. I truly believe that he is reaching his potential because I concentrated on being a better person myself and supporting him, rather than focusing on the ways he fell short. I believe marriage is about learning to love someone as God loves them. I believe that it means I can give my whole heart to God and to loving my husband yet I don’t ever cross over into being mistreated because it would not be loving my husband if I let him treat me badly.

    • Alison Moore Smith June 30, 2011, 2:07 pm

      jks, you are spot on about general church advice. In fact, I’ve read authoritative sources (don’t recall where) that specifically say they do not recommend breaking up part-member marriages simply for being part-member marriages. I claim no authoritative position in my statements. :)

      Raising your children 100% in the church can be a dealbreaker before marriage, but after marriage your obligation is to work on having a successful marriage.

      In theory, I totally agree with you. The commitment has already been made and from what I can tell Brook’s husband did not go into the marriage under false pretenses. (I consider serious false pretenses an after-marriage deal breaker.)

      My position is one of practicality more than anything else. IMO, if Brook chooses to stay married to a guy that she now realizes isn’t likely to join the church, she needs to do so without condition. That is precisely why I keep addressing the fact that she openly chose to marry a guy who was not a member and never promised to become a member. He didn’t trick her. She made a choice.

      So often I see women in similar situations, who marry guys hoping X will happen — even though they guy did not posses X when they dated and never said he would ever possess X — and then spend their entire married lives being bothered, sad, annoyed, bugged, upset, distraught, etc., that their husband’s don’t have X.

      It’s like marrying a fat guy and then harping on him for 50 years about being fat. Or marrying a poor man and then being disappointed that he didn’t become rich like you’d hoped.

      As I’ve said repeatedly, I’m not voting for divorce. I’m voting for an actual decision to either (a) accept the marriage she originally chose or (b) admit that she fantasized about something that isn’t going to happen and that she has now realized she made a choice she can’t live with.

      That isn’t a judgment about whether or not she should accept it, just that if she’s not going to, she should be honest about it.

      For the record, the church isn’t nearly as harsh in practice about lying in the marriage bed you made than they once were. Even with temple marriages, for good or bad, the church allows termination of sealings, even in cases of incompatibility.

      I am saddened that people consider a marriage without kids to be less of a marriage

      I don’t consider it less of a marriage. I consider that there are less people involved and less people impacted by the decisions. While I place a high value on the covenant of marriage, I care much less if childless couples mess with their lives than if couples mess with their own lives and the lives of their children.

  • Anna June 30, 2011, 9:55 am

    I am Catholic, not Mormon, so obviously my perspective on marriage and divorce is different, and perhaps not particularly valuable. But I’m a bit surprised at the suggestions to consider divorce at this point. Your marriage itself, kids or not, represents a sacred commitment. Your husband has not mistreated you or even gone back on any actual agreement you two made, so I’m not sure I see any justification for you to decide not to honor your commitment. I agree with jks that marriage is about learning to love someone as God loves them, even when they do not live up to your wants and expectations. I wish you the best in whatever you decide.

    • Alison Moore Smith June 30, 2011, 2:25 pm

      Anna, thank you for reading and commenting.

      Perhaps my response to jks, above, will help clarify my position on divorce vs. staying married.

      While I have a number of Catholic friends, I’m not familiar enough with Catholicism to make a good analogy (and, to be honest, most of my Catholic friends are more cultural Catholics than what you might call an exacting Catholic).

      Is there something in Catholicism that holds serious, eternal ramifications? My folks had some dear Catholic friends in who (in the late 50s) had a baby who died shortly after birth. They tried, but weren’t able to have the baby christened before death. They were absolutely grief-stricken and anguished that their baby would be in eternal limbo. They could not be consoled.

      I understand that, while this is still a permissible position, that most (?) Catholic theologians no longer hold it firmly. But to my friends parents, this was doctrine. Perhaps that shows an acceptable analogy?

      If you did believe in the necessity of infant baptism in order to avoid limbo, and your spouse didn’t want your children baptized, what would you do?

      (1) Stay married and have no children?
      (2) Stay married, have children, and deceive your husband to have them secretly christened?
      (3) Stay married, have children, not have them christened, doom them to eternal limbo?
      (4) Marry someone who also valued infant baptism?

      I agree with you wholeheartedly that marriage is a sacred covenant. Mormons believe that civil or church marriages — even though “only” till death — are sacred. But the actual available choices do need to be addressed. Brook’s choices are similar to those listed above, only with the “eternal limbo” part changed to “unsealed family” and the litany of divided issues that will accompany the decision.

      I also agree that the reality of the issues inherent in marrying a nonmember should have been fully addressed before the wedding. But apparently it wasn’t because she thought the issues would all be resolved when he joined the church.

      Now that she realizes they are not going to be resolved, she’ll need to face them head on.

    • Anna June 30, 2011, 3:26 pm

      Alison, thank you for the thoughtful response. I agree that it’s better to address the issues inherent in an interfaith marriage before the wedding, but that doesn’t always happen, and people have to make decisions from where the reality is now. (Aside: couples preparing for marriage in the Catholic Church, interfaith or not, are required to attend several counseling sessions and classes at which these types of issues are discussed. My non-Catholic husband therefore knew that raising our kids Catholic was a non-negotiable condition of our marriage.)

      Your question about infant baptism is difficult to answer. If I did believe in the necessity of infant baptism in order to avoid limbo, and my spouse didn’t want our children baptized, there
      would be no good option left to me. Some of your potential answers are somewhat complicated by other nuances of Catholic doctrine, at least for a Catholic who believes in all of the Church’s teachings (e.g., the prohibition on artificial birth control and the Church’s position that a marriage is valid only if it is open to children would make #1 tantamount to a dissolution of the marriage, and #4 is simply not an option at all unless there are grounds for an annulment declaring that the marriage was never valid). What I would probably do is closest to #2, though I wouldn’t do it deceptively. I’d do everything in my power to convince my husband to permit the baptism and, if he didn’t agree, I’d probably just insist on it, get it done, and accept the consequences (depending, I suppose, on how bad I thought limbo was). The trouble is of course that there is no analog in the temple sealing context. It is a difficult situation.

    • Alison Moore Smith June 30, 2011, 5:15 pm

      Anna, so glad you are here. Great perspective.

      Counseling prior to marriage is such a wise thing. Let’s face it, many, many of us really have no clue what we’re getting into. We are just IN LOVE and figure we can solve it all later.

      I have always said that I was just really, really lucky. I thought Sam was a good kisser and a sexy dancer. Given that we got along really well and he was an RM and would take me to the temple, I was pretty much ready to go. That short list certainly didn’t tell me what kind of man he’s be when I was hanging over a toilet vomiting for months on end or what kind of dad he’s be in a crisis or how he would deal with devastating issues. I was, honestly, too naive to even look for those things. It just turned out that he is really good — none of which I attribute to my finesse in husband-choosing.

      My non-Catholic husband therefore knew that raising our kids Catholic was a non-negotiable condition of our marriage.

      This is the kind of thing that most 20-somethings don’t really think about but become huge issues later. I’d love to hear more about what goes on in this counseling.

      I don’t know how that could translate into the LDS world, given the lack of paid clergy (i.e. do we really want to have our bishops gone from home even more to counsel couples?), but it would be interesting to discuss how better marriage prep might be accomplished.

      I appreciate your feedback on the christening/limbo idea. Your statement, “there would be no good option left to me” is pretty close to how this situation sits because the option to select the “ideal” is past and now she’s dealing with what to do in a difficult situation.

      Again, thanks for the input and I hope we see you around here more. Love having your viewpoint. :)

    • Anna July 1, 2011, 12:36 pm

      I agree that counseling prior to marriage is a great idea. The Catholic marriage prep process I experienced consisted of three components:

      (1) A series of meetings with the priest (maybe 4 meetings). The priest explained what Catholic/Christian marriage means, discussed the types of wedding/marriage options that were permitted and recommended for an interfaith couple and what those options mean (Mass vs. no Mass, sacramental vs. non-sacramental), discussed the fact that the Church requires that the Catholic spouse do everything she can to raise the children Catholic, asked us both some questions about our religions, made sure we were both open to children, etc. He also gave us each a long survey about all kinds of things (religion, finance, communication, relationships with in-laws, etc.), looked at the results, and talked with us about areas where our responses had differed significantly (or differed significantly from what the Church “wanted” us to answer). He encouraged us to discuss certain areas further on our own. He also gave my fiance a comic-book-style book called “How to Survive Being Married to a Catholic” that described basic beliefs and practices and addressed some common questions and misconceptions.

      (2) A marriage prep class (two full days or a series of classes) taught by a lay married couple to several engaged couples at once. This involved lessons (some from the couple, some from a video) on all sorts of topics–again, religion, finance, communication, conflict resolution, etc. There would typically be a short lesson on a topic, followed by time for us to do written exercises in a workbook and share them with our partners.

      (3) A 3-hour natural family planning class taught by a lay married couple. NFP is basically the Church’s birth control alternative (similar to the secular Fertility Awareness Method). Only a tiny fraction of practicing Catholics follow the Church’s birth control teaching, so some people think this is silly. I found it very useful in helping us conceive our children, though.

      I think the process was great, though at the time it seemed like a lot. I think it could be adapted to a situation with no paid clergy fairly easily–most of it doesn’t need to be done by a priest; much of the value was just in having someone say, “It is vital that you talk about X, Y, and Z before you get married,” and having the surveys and workbook to guide us in talking about those things.

    • Alison Moore Smith July 2, 2011, 1:34 pm

      Anna, thanks for the details on how the counseling is accomplished.

      As I read, something occurred to me. The Catholic church provides this kind of counseling for a Catholic wedding, if I read this correctly. So if a Catholic chose to get married outside of the church (at a justice of the peace or something), then the church doesn’t (can’t) require the counseling.

      In part, I think the LDS church counseling happens in teaching to marry only in the temple. Although you can use a cultural hall or RS room and a bishop can preside outside the temple, an “LDS wedding” is a temple one, so a number of those issues are already addressed with two LDS people marrying in a particular covenantal fashion.

      Religious aspects aside, I think counseling about money, children, etc., are great, too.

  • Rebecca Smith June 30, 2011, 2:32 pm

    Brooke,

    I would second Alison’s comments. I’m so sorry that you find yourself in such a difficult decision. I would add that no one else’s opinion should come into play here, except for God’s. It really is such a personal matter, you would know best how to get that divine guidance you need to sort it all through with your husband. He sounds like a good man. I’m sure the two of you will be able to work it all out.

    Prayers headed your way.
    Rebecca Smith

  • MB June 30, 2011, 3:53 pm

    I disagree with Alison’s limbo analogy. LDS theology contains the whole notion of continuing progression after death. (Bruce McConkie referred to that as “progressing as the Holy Spirit will guide” during the millennium—see Old Testament Institute manual, chapter 18) It is true that the Doctrine and Covenants states that a marriage covenant made in this life not by God’s law nor sealed by his Spirit (whether in the temple or not) has no force in the hereafter. It is also true that LDS theology teaches that opportunities to seal a husband and wife together for eternity will continue throughout the millennial reign of Christ and that our continuing to learn and improve and make increasingly wiser choices, “progressing as the Holy Spirit will guide”, and hearing the gospel continuing to be preached continues as well during that time, whether we are on the earth or not.

    Some people say, “but oh, he HAD his chance in this life”, but who is to say what constitutes a chance? Only God truly knows the blindnesses each of us are hobbled with that prevent us from truly seeing: deeply ingrained cultural assumptions, personal shortsightedness, psychological damages, mental inadequacies, emotional distresses, powerful misinformation and propaganda, the traditions of our fathers, etc. etc. etc. that prevents *every one of us* from recognizing and taking wise, good steps we should take or should have taken in this life. No wonder we are told not to judge. Only God really knows what each of us actually knows and understands. Only he knows the true state of our hearts. We do not have the capacity to tell whether another has, indeed, had a chance. No wonder we are to understand that encouragement and appreciation of the good in another is far, far more helpful to their ability to see the light than is pointing out or mourning their failure to do what we had hoped.

    Certainly the various blindnesses we all suffer from, including me, including you, including the apostle Paul, including Brook and her husband, carry consequences in the short term. We all create situations where there is sorrow or a sense of loss about what could have been, and the collateral damage from that is real. And if that was never reparable, life would be tragic.

    But Jesus atonement has the power to heal ALL the hurt in each person we damage, including the ways we short-change our children or cause distress to our spouses while we are trying to do good and failing to see clearly what that really is. And God is a God of mercy as well as justice. And his door is open longer and his hope is infinitely brighter, and his patience with his struggling sons and daughters who are trying to do good, even though they miss the mark again and again, is far, far greater than we give him credit for.

    So my observation is that raising children in a mixed faith marriage on earth will indeed create challenges and engender some unique senses of loss that a religiously unified marriage will not encounter, (and probably religiously unified ones have their unique set as well) but to leap from that observation to a belief that the long-term eternal result of that marriage is doomed to be one of eternal, irreparable disconnection is not a leap that my study of LDS theology substantiates.

    Oh, and by the way, limbo is not part of official Catholic theology nor part of its catechism or Magesterium. It is labeled by the Catholic church as “a possible theological opinion” that originated in the Medieval ages and the church does not have a definitive answer to what happens to unbaptized children but does recognize a theological basis for “hope that unbaptized infants who die will be saved and enjoy the beatific vision”. The Catholic church’s take on this question and the various opinions of its members is somewhat analogous to all the various opinions we Mormons have as to exactly what life will be like for each of us in our post-earth life while we wait for God’s final judgment. We know it will happen and the general idea of it, but the details are few and far between.

    • Alison Moore Smith June 30, 2011, 5:28 pm

      MB, I understand your point. I’ve not only thought about it, but I’ve heard people defend pretty much any behavior by saying that they can fix it later, repent later, make another choice later.

      My maternal grandfather was what we might call a “jack mormon.” He was technically a member, but really had nothing to do with the church. My grandmother was a fairly devout member, taking her children to church, having them baptized, etc.

      The minute grandpa died, my grandma headed to the temple with proxies and had the family sealed together.

      It’s kind of a joyful family moment, but also a puzzling one. Grandpa knew well about the gospel and knew about the temple. But he wanted nothing to do with either. He was a good person and a good father, but religion held no interest to him.

      [As an aside, they had five kids. One died as a teen, two inactive, one active. The last, my mom, was inactive, married a jerk civilly (as in guy who screwed around and was emotionally abusive), divorced, got active, then married my dad at 32 in the temple.]

      Some people say, “but oh, he HAD his chance in this life”, but who is to say what constitutes a chance?

      Of course this is true. And so, like grandpa, we baptize and seal everyone. Even those we know rejected the gospel outright. We let God decide what constitutes “a chance.”

      On the other hand, we are taught repeatedly to live a particular way, to marry a particular way, to raise children a particular way. Do these things matter or are we free to ignore those words, do what we want, and get it all prettied up by proxy?

      I don’t know what the balance is. I don’t assume, however, that more teaching and more time and better visual aids is going to convert everyone or even most everyone. And I do assume that what we do here matters and isn’t all going to be ignored and/or qualified with “Oh, but on earth things were so confusing. Do over!” But, no, I don’t think we really have things “preventing” us from doing what God wants, even though we all have challenges. And, no, I don’t think our choices only carries consequences “in the short term.”

      The best I can do is to take the revealed word and do the best I can with it here.

      Understand, it won’t only be Brook and others in her circumstances who read this. It will also be people considering marrying outside the temple. Like I said above about teaching youth about chastity, I don’t think we pretty up doctrine of the sake of feeling better, I think we lay it out the way it is and do the best we can with that. So, sure, there are things that happen after we die. But we don’t know what or how much or for whom.

      We don’t know what “a chance” is — that knife cuts both ways. Do we live life hoping that everything here is just dress rehearsal or do we treat it like the real show?

      Oh, and by the way, limbo is not part of official Catholic theology nor part of its catechism or Magesterium.

      Yea. I said that. I would also suggest that in the 50s and earlier, it was a much more accepted idea and one that my parent’s friends felt was firmly part of dogma. Anna seemed to understand the point of showing something that one might firmly believe had long-term consequences.

    • MB June 30, 2011, 7:39 pm

      I am not a believer in having things “prettied up by proxy”. I would be the last person to believe that simply because an outward ordinance had been performed everything was fixed and hunky dory. And I must admit that though I personally have never known someone who thought they could sin with impunity and take care of it easily afterwards, if I did, I would say they were dead wrong. Real repentance is a careful and eternally sobering experience. Easy it is not.

      However, I sense that you and I may seriously disagree (and that’s okay) about whether or not you or I can *know* that someone else has irrevocably rejected the gospel of Jesus Christ and will never think any differently. Certainly this life is for real and not to be taken lightly, but 80 years does not an eternity make, there is so much more life ahead, and repentance and change are eternal principles. This life IS the time to prepare to meet God, and so is the Millenium. And so was our pre-mortal experience a time to prepare for our meeting him face to face again upon our return.

      I think about my 20 something self who was trying to live a good life and the things I thought were my wiser choices or that expressed myself more fully then. They were the best I could conscientiously do. And I would hate for someone to assume that, decades later, I would still make those same value judgments and choices while striving to do good. Some of the blinders I dealt with back then have been removed. And I hope that in a few more decades (assuming that I’m not senile) my insights and understanding will be better and wiser still. And I have hope that such will be the same for me 70 years from now, and 150 years after that. And if I understand that about myself, I must understand it about every person I know who is basically trying to live a good, wise life, whether or not their understanding is at the same place as mine right now or how wide the divide seems to be.

      God’s mercy, as you pointed out, should never be taken as an excuse to goof off and “do a dress rehearsal”, but neither should it ever be assumed that it cannot be enough to completely and equally save every soul who comes to him whether that be at the 6th hour or the 11th, moments before the final judgment. That parable of the workers in the vineyard in Matthew is clear on that, and it was hard for many to swallow. We terrestrial justice-loving beings like to see the long-term workers get the biggest payback and the short-term workers suffer a bit for their late arrival.

      And I should have clarified, by “short term consequences”, I mean non-eternal. They can easily last a lifetime and they can try your very soul. But, when you or someone you love truly comes to Christ, whenever you or they really do that, those consequences will never outlast the power of his atonement for your sins or his healing of your wounds. He really does know how to succor his people.

    • Darcee Yates July 1, 2011, 6:56 pm

      MB- Again, I’m floored by your way of expressing so beautifully exactly how I view important gospel princeples. I wish I had your way with words.
      Darcee

    • Alison Moore Smith July 2, 2011, 2:04 pm

      However, I sense that you and I may seriously disagree (and that’s okay) about whether or not you or I can *know* that someone else has irrevocably rejected the gospel of Jesus Christ and will never think any differently.

      In my response to you I said, “We don’t know what ‘a chance’ is — that knife cuts both ways.”

      Given that, I’m not sure what you believe I claim to know about someone else’s chance. Of course I don’t, as I said. I simply know that we have been taught particular things and I do believe they matter.

      repentance and change are eternal principles

      And here is the “cut both ways” part. I don’t believe there is doctrine that shows that, for example, we can progress from the telestial, through the terrestrial, and on through the various degrees in the celestial kingdom. So, while you may claim “repentance and change are eternal,” I do not believe there is some practical application that means we have no eternal consequences for the choices we make here.

      This life IS the time to prepare to meet God, and so is the Millenium. And so was our pre-mortal experience a time to prepare for our meeting him face to face again upon our return.

      From your statements, it appears you also believe the post-mortal is MORE time to prepare to meet God. I think THAT is where we disagree.

      I do believe earth life is a special part of eternity — even at only 80 years — and that what we do hear has particularly great meaning with regard to eternity. I don’t believe it’s just a dot on the great continuum of “more of the same.”

      God’s mercy, as you pointed out, should never be taken as an excuse to goof off and “do a dress rehearsal”,

      …but neither should it ever be assumed that it cannot be enough to completely and equally save every soul who comes to him whether that be at the 6th hour or the 11th, moments before the final judgment.

      I disagree. That’s what we call deathbed repentance.

    • Barbj June 30, 2011, 7:03 pm

      MB, I like the quotes (except the one about “has no force in the hereafter”!). I don’t get why we have to bother with the temple and garments and families who can’t go and all that stuff if it doesn’t matter and we can just have it done later. Why do they keep telling me I should go with my fiance? If I can do it later then it will solve all my problems.

      I guess for sure I’m one of those people who doesn’t get it, so I don’t think I’m going to go through all the trouble with my family to go to the temple. :-D If we can get married in my mom’s church they will be so much happier with me.

    • MB June 30, 2011, 7:56 pm

      As for me, choosing to marry in the temple was an outward expression of a deep personal commitment to my Father in Heaven and my savior, Jesus Christ.

      I didn’t do it because of what I hoped it would do for me down the road, though that may be a blessing. I did it because of who I was and what I treasured most profoundly then. And still do treasure. My commitment to and communication with God.

      I had the advantage of having been endowed years previously, so I had, first hand, experienced the holiness that can be felt there at times and I understood the wisdom of that choice for me.

      Even if it hadn’t carried the promise of a marriage that would last eternally, I would have done it. As I said, for me, being there was an expression of what I loved and honored most.

    • Alison Moore Smith July 2, 2011, 2:07 pm

      MB, I can’t disassociate the parts as you do.

      You chose to marry in the temple only to show commitment, but commitment to what? Commitment to do what you’re told or to do what God, who has given you all things and has promised you all things, has told you to do?

      You didn’t do it because you hope for exaltation, but only because of who you were and what you treasured? And that was commitment to the God who has given you all things and promised you all things and promised you exaltation by following his path.

      God wants us to marry in the temple BECAUSE that is where we make the covenants needed and have the authority needed to have eternal families.

      People all over the world, like Barbj above, consider offending and distancing people they love and honor because a temple marriage is a DIFFERENT marriage. It’s different BECAUSE of the promises it includes.

    • Deja July 1, 2011, 10:34 am

      MB, that was just astonishing in its clarity and beauty. Thank you.

    • Mandie July 2, 2011, 2:41 pm

      MB, I think you are quite sincere but the statements you make worry me because they are misleading and dangerous. There isn’t any mormon doctrine that states that you can repent now, later, in the next life, the last second, just before judgment is cast.

      Please do not take offense. I say this because I worry about others reading. But I think there is a great tendency for people who have some personal issue with doctrine who try to water it down to make themselves or those they are close to feel better.

      I don’t know if you have a close relative or child who did not marry in the temple or if you’ve just been deceived by someone saying such things, but to alleviate guilt or sadness by saying things that aren’t true, is harmful.

      We are here to be tested. We are here to show what we do __outside__ the presence of God. We are here to show how we respond to the light of Christ. We aren’t here because it’s just a fun experiment and we’ll just keep going and going and going until eventually we’ll all pass the finish line and “get our planet”.

  • Rebecca Smith June 30, 2011, 4:12 pm

    Brook (sorry for misspelling earlier),

    I should clarify that I was supporting Alison’s first post on the matter as useful. I didn’t realize how many comments have materialized for you! At this point, were I in your shoes, I would not want to receive endless opinions with reference to such a very personal experience. Some of your commentators have been prolific.

    As well-meaning as other women are, we are essentially as useful as a clamoring collection of voices on the other end of a CB radio. You have sent a message to the mainland that you are in the middle of a dark and frightening storm at sea. You are hoping for any instructions that can help you to keep your vessel upright, ride it out, and get home safely. We can tell you everything we know about how our friends have dealt with differing beliefs between spouses, principles for a successful marriage, and conflict resolution pointers (sea-faring principles if you will). But the fact remains that as much as we would like to be able to hold your hand and help you navigate the storm, we are not on that ship with you and your husband.

    I’m sorry to see your situation being approached as a forum for debate. It can be a contentious exercise, and one not well-suited to the offering of comfort and spiritual wisdom. I wish you the very best! I am certain that the One who can serve as your best counselor is God. He is the master of the sea, and can guide you safely to the harbor.

    Incidentally, the LDS hymn “Brightly Beams Our Father’s Mercy” was what my very large family sung together, when we received the sad news that my oldest brother had lost his testimony of the gospel. It is such a comforting hymn, and helped us so much during that dark time. “Brightly beams our Father’s mercy from His lighthouse evermore, But to us He gives the keeping of the lights along the shore.” We wrote an extra verse that applied specifically to my brother. I hope that some of the women here have been as keepers of the lighthouse, shining a light to help you see the shoreline.

    This is your journey. No one can bear that cross for you. But you don’t have to struggle alone. Talk to your husband, and talk to God. Maybe talk to your mom, or a close trusted friend. They know you much better than we do. If you raise your thoughts to heaven and plead for help, I know God can calm the sea, and carry you through the darkness. Hopefully you have people on shore, shining the light and reminding you that you CAN succeed, and you WILL find peace.

    All the best! More prayers going up for you!
    Rebecca Smith
    rls39@yahoo.com

    • ParisHilton June 30, 2011, 6:43 pm

      If she didn’t want people to discuss it, she wouldn’t have sent her question to a BLOG.

  • Tracy Keeney June 30, 2011, 6:22 pm

    “You can’t predict or control the direction, but you can count on that, I would think. It seems a shame to me to base your decision on what he feels right at this moment, when he hasn’t always felt that way and he may not feel that way down the line.”

    Deja, I think that’s an incredible wise and forward thinking comment. As people grow, study, learn, age, mature, etc they change a little, and just like he changed from being more accepting in the beginning, to being pretty intolerant now, he could change AGAIN to be more tolerant.
    So the main issue here, is the catalyst that caused her to ask the question in the first place– her desire to have children. And it’s THAT desire, combined with her desire to raise them in the gospel that gives me and from what I can tell, several others, the concern.
    Naturally, this is a decision that only she and her husband can make. And I’m sure with a lot of prayer and some guidance from her Bishop, Brook will be able to make the best decision. It’s a tough one either way.

  • Tracy Keeney June 30, 2011, 8:11 pm

    Kind of as a side note– but very much related, I would really be interested in hearing Conifer, Deborah, and anyone else who has experienced an LDS interfaith marriage or any of the others commenting that feel that raising children in a half LDS, half _____ home is workable WITHOUT having to downplay doctrine or is otherwise workable WITHOUT (by default) unintentionally making the non-member spouse feel or appear to be somehow “less” than. Alison asked some great questions on that regard and they never got answered.
    As I mentioned, I was brought up in a half Mormon, half Catholic home. And now matter HOW careful my mother was to be sure that my father wasn’t “diminished”, he felt that way nonetheless. She let him make the decisions, even concerning how religion played out in our house. If he said, “No, I don’t want the boys ordained”, they didn’t get ordained. If he said, “No, I don’t want the kids going to the temple”, we didn’t go to the temple. He was still the head of the home, regardless of the fact that wasn’t a priesthood holder. So there was no FHE, no family scripture study, no family prayer, etc. (Yes, even though he was supposedly a practicing Catholic. I went to the Catholic church every other week for years as a pre-teen and teenager. I was recently teaching in a Catholic school, and was playing the piano for the school choir, so I was in MASS every Thursday– so believe me– no Catholic would oppose family scripture study and prayer– we could have stuck with the Bible, but my father didn’t want family scripture study. It was a “Mormon thing”.) So even though my mother respected his wishes, and let him make the decisions, not wanting to push anything, he said he felt “disrespected in [his] own house”. He was NOT disrespected, not even in our thoughts, and certainly not in our actions. We DISAGREED with him, and I WISHED things were different, but we didn’t disrespect him. Our Bishop even talked to us about this. He told us kids that we needed to understand that active or not, priesthood holder or not, our father deserved our respect and honor, and if he said no temple trips and no priesthood, that we needed to honor his decision and not give him a hard time about it. He said that once we were adults and out of the home, we could make our own decisions about those things, but that while we lived in his home, we needed to respect his authority as our father and live by his decisions. So that’s what we did. And what ended up happening is that doctrine and prophetic counsel got downplayed.
    So I’d love to hear responses to Alison’s questions– how do those of you living in interfaith marriages teach your children doctrinal principles that conflict with your lives and actions without either downplaying doctrine or unintentionally diminishing the non-member spouse? Have you found a way to do this? I just can’t imagine that my mother could have done anything differently and STILL not have ended up unhappy and divorced. (He left HER)
    So you don’t have to go back through all the posts to try to find Alison’s specific questions, I’ll cut and paste them here.
    ”How do you, for example, teach about temple marriage to kids in a split family without either:

    (1) down-playing doctrine about temples and eternal sealings and exaltation

    OR

    (2) making your own marriage look second rate?

    How do you teach about the priesthood without:

    (1) down-playing priesthood doctrine

    OR

    (2) making your husband look like he’s lacking something significant?

    These are the kinds of questions I’ve seen repeatedly, but have never heard a good answer for.”

    • Darcee Yates July 2, 2011, 3:39 pm

      Tracy – After reading your response and the stance you’ve taken I started having questions of my own. Like – How did you develop your own strong feelings and testimony about the gospel when you came from a home where the ‘doctrine was downplayed’ and there was no ‘family scripture study’ and ‘no family prayer’ etc.?
      Could it have been free agency? Could it have been that water does truely meet it’s own level, eventually. Could it be that no matter what the circumstance we are born in to(acknowledging that God does have jurisdiction over that circumstance), if we are going to accept the gospel, and live it, we will do it, whether in this life or the life to come?

      We are who we are.

    • Darcee Yates July 2, 2011, 3:42 pm

      Further- I don’t know your circumstance- but it’s possible and maybe even probable- you could have a sybling that decided the exact opposite from you. Or maybe took longer to come to the conclusion about the gospel that you have?

      I don’t want to diminish what each of us has been asked to do as parents, or members of the Christs gospel, but in the end, everyone will make their own decision- even if they are raised by a prophet.

  • lisalisa July 2, 2011, 3:15 pm

    Good questions, Tracy.

    I get when people want to feel good, but it sounds like a lot of excuses.

    MB, I just want to say that I know LOTS of people who think do what you want and repent later. That’s probably why the scripture about eat drink and be merry.

  • lisalisa July 2, 2011, 3:16 pm

    Sorry I guess those were Allison’s questions. Good questions, Allison. :)

  • Alison Moore Smith July 2, 2011, 4:03 pm

    FYI: I broke out the threaded comments. They are now listed simply in the order they were entered. I think it’s easier to find the new ones without missing them when they are embedded into the older comments.

    It also makes it possible to reference another comment by number.

    Sorry for any inconvenience.

  • jennycherie July 2, 2011, 4:45 pm

    thank you Alison!! The threading of the comments was driving me nuts!

    MeriKae – I really hope you are speaking ‘tongue in cheek.’ You cannot generalize an entire gender into one lump. Men are not all lazy any more than women are all ____ (insert whatever you like).

    This has been a really interesting discussion. Like Tracy and Alison, I’d love to hear someone answer those questions from the point of view of the parent. Darcee, of course, everyone has their agency – but that does not negate the obligation of the parent to teach and provide the best home possible.

  • MB July 2, 2011, 8:39 pm

    Mandi,
    You totally misunderstand me. I do not advocate seeing life as a pleasant experiment. I take seriously my personal responsibility and I commend you for doing so as well. I do advocate *not judging or giving up on people or prematurely mourning their eternal failure or being anguishingly disappointed or worried when they are not doing what we wish they would do* which is the trap that many of us Mormons fall into when we know or live with someone who does not currently accept and understand the gospel as we individually do. (Worry, by the way, said David O. McKay, makes it hard to hear the Holy Spirit, another reason to avoid it.) Such behavior reduces our ability to love and nurture. And if our bowels are not full of charity for the household of faith AND for all men (DC 121:45) , we are not the Lord’s.

    As for LDS doctrine that you can repent in the next life:
    James Talmage, General Conference April 1930:
    “Hell is no place to which a vindictive judge sends prisoners to suffer and be punished principally for his glory, but it is a place prepared for the teaching and disciplining of those who failed to learn here upon the earth what they should have learned. True, we read of everlasting punishment, unending suffering, eternal damnation. That is a direful expression; but in his mercy the Lord has made plain what those words mean. “Eternal Punishment”, he says, is God’s punishment, for he is eternal; and that condition or state or possibility will ever exist for the sinner who deserves and really needs such condemnation; but this does not mean that the individual sufferer or sinner is to be eternally and everlastingly made to endure or suffer. No man will be kept in hell longer than is necessary to bring him to a fitness for something greater. When he reaches that state the prison doors will open and there will be rejoicing among the hosts who welcome him to a better state. The Lord has not abated in the least what he has said in earlier dispensations concerning the the operation of his law and his gospel, but he has made it clear unto us his goodness and mercy through it all, for it is his glory and his work to bring about the immortality and eternal life of man.”

    That’s a second reference besides the later Bruce McConkie one I referenced earlier.

    Yes it is important that you take the gospel seriously. It is important that I take the gospel seriously. And yes it is important that each of us understand and rejoice in the hope of his mercy and wisdom in the progression and coming to understand of all of his children who don’t get it all right now. (Ironically, you and I don’t completely get it now either, otherwise we’d have stopped growing in the gospel, and I hope we haven’t.) We must never give up on or feel hopeless about each other or those around us. Hope is right up there with faith and charity, and when combined with them is amazingly powerful stuff.

  • MeriKae Leavitt July 2, 2011, 10:45 pm

    @MB it appears that these people misunderstand ALOT, I have never seen such negativeity brought into others hsaring their experiences with a thread as I have this one save it be the homosexuals who alway like looking for the fight this is not a righteous thread at all this is nothing but utter contention no wonder folks don’t want to raise their children in the Mormon faith if this is what MORMONISM looks like to others, then I GET IT!!! I am a Mormon and have been my whole life but had I dealt with such contentious people as Alison then I would not have ever wanted to join if you know what I mean, she just LOOKS FOR THE FIGHT even when one is not even desired, by people baring their innermost hearts and experiences…
    I was quite tongue in cheek about clumping them all together but in my experience and I have had MUCH with men (being a welder by trade) I have seen more who dodge responsibility(and I have to cover for them) then don’t!!! hope this thread doesn’t ruin anyone for not wanting to be here or raise their children in the Mormon faith , but Alison JUDGMENTAL hypocrites chase more folks away, and then what will you be accountable for?

  • Anna July 3, 2011, 6:46 am

    Alison, it’s true that this counseling only applies to a Catholic wedding and would not apply if a Catholic chose to get married outside of the church (say, at a justice of the peace). I just want to point out that it would be rare for a Catholic of any serious engagement with the church to marry outside of the Church’s process, because such a marriage wouldn’t be recognized as fully valid by the Church. So even most of the lukewarm/conflicted/cultural Catholics I’ve known have married in the Church and therefore have gone through the counseling process. I see how that would be different in the LDS church, which does not encourage non-temple weddings but does allow bishops to conduct them, allow them to be done in LDS buildings, and (if my understanding is correct) considers them proper and valid weddings.

  • Tracy Keeney July 3, 2011, 7:33 am

    @ Darcee
    I came out with a super strong testimony, that’s for sure, despite the fact that I grew up in a split home. And yes– I have siblings that chose another path. What’s very CLEAR and interesting though, is the following.
    The two of us who were brought up going to church, with an active father (he never held the priesthood, but he did hold callings, paid tithing, had the missionaries over for dinner, allowed our religion in the home) who was completely supportive of us in our faith in our younger years where we developed our religious foundation, are fully active, temple endowed, married for 19 and 20 years respectively, etc. The two younger ones who NEVER had an active father, who never saw the gospel lived within their home and spent their entire childhood in a “split” home are completely inactive. Both have had very chaotic, unsettled lives. Both are going through second divorces.
    And again, many here have already heard this story, but I think it’s crucial to my point– and to your questions.
    , I had a VERY significant experience that made ALL the difference in the world in how my future would be.
    My father had just left the family, and despite the fact that he was giving money to my mother, she couldn’t afford to stay in the house. So she sold the house, and found a smaller home she could rent, but it wasn’t going to be available for us to move into until a month AFTER the closing date of our home. Thankfully, we had the world’s best hometeacher, who’s wife was also one of my mother’s very good friends. Their family took in OUR family, and we lived with them for a whole month. That experience changed everything for me. It was the first time I ever saw and experienced what an LDS home, led by a righteous priesthood holder was like.
    Even though it was the middle of the summer, all the kids, my family included, were woken up at 6am for family scripture study and family prayer. They had a house full of teenagers with jobs, so evening study and prayer wasn’t possible as a family, so they’d made it a morning thing-singing a hymn, reading and praying before their father left for work. Then all the kids went back to bed. :)
    At dinner one Saturday night, Bro. Searle reminded everyone that the next day was a Fast and Testimony day– he reminded them about an extended family member then been fasting for, and to think about anything personal they should fast over. Then on Sunday night, they held their own family testimony meeting after dinner. That was the first time I ever fasted.
    They held FHE every Monday night– sometimes a kid or two were missing because of jobs, but it still turned out to be the night most were home.
    There were several spontaneous gospel discussions that popped up here and there each week. I remember two that have stuck with me all these years– one about tithing and one about the nature of the Godhead, and the Holy Ghost specifically and the difference between the Holy Ghost and “the Light of Christ”.
    The MAIN thing that struck me though, was our last Sunday night there. School was getting ready to start and he was giving his kids father’s blessings– encouraging them in their studies, counseling them about friends and wise choices, reminding them about their strengths and weaknesses, etc. Then he turned to me and asked me if I wanted one. I’d never had a father’s blessing in my life.
    I don’t think “home teachers” necessarily get revelation for the personal matters of the people they teach, but I can tell you that that night, somehow Heavenly Father gave Bro. Searle revelation and comfort for me. The things he said in that blessing gave me no doubt whatsoever that Heavenly Father was aware of me and my specific worries. I sat there are bawled like a baby while he called me by name and said things about me, and gave me inspired counsel that directly answered some of my personal concerns that I’d never even mentioned to him. I can not express the sense of peace and security I felt under his hands that night. I’d never felt that before. Not like that. At the same time, I honestly don’t know how to put into words the sense of LOSS I felt. I laid in bed that night, contemplating on everything I had missed out on all my life. Until that month of living with the Searles, I’d never really realized that having the priesthood in your home was so much more than just having a father to baptize me. It was the righteous priesthood leadership– it was the divinely inspired counsel, the spontaneous in depth gospel discussions, the testimony, the priesthood blessings. It was “the gospel” being LIVED in the home– not just something happening for 3 hours on Sunday at the church building. And I promised myself I would NEVER deprive my children of that blessing.

  • MB July 3, 2011, 7:54 am

    MeriKae,
    Actually, I don’t find Alison contentious. I understand that she is concerned. Mandi too.
    I hope, simply, to help shed some light, truth and hope on a subject that is often a source of anxiety and dismay and sorrow.

    Tracy,
    Thank you for sharing your experience. It was articulately done.

  • Barney July 3, 2011, 9:15 am

    MeriKae, was that “tongue in cheek”, too? First you flame men. Next you flame Alison and others. Then you call OTHERS “judgmental” and “contentious”?

    Have you read that scripture about beams and motes? Maybe you can calm down and see that others are calmly discussing concerns and you are freaking out.

  • Barney July 3, 2011, 9:18 am

    PS I am not lazy and found your “tongue in cheek” references to men highly offensive.

  • Alison Moore Smith July 3, 2011, 10:26 am

    Tracy, thanks for taking the time to share your story. :)

    MB, I appreciate that you took time to find and post that quote. Note that it doesn’t address my point. I think most understand that Mormon “hell” isn’t akin to other Christian versions of hell. But I wasn’t suggesting that someone who chooses to marry outside the temple might end up in some version of eternal fire-and-brimstone suffering. It has been made clear that even the telestial kindgom is greater glory than we can imagine. So no matter where we end up, it sounds like it will be pretty darn good.

    The point was that I do believe our choices here matter. Not just in some ephemeral way, but significantly and even eternally. I’ve noted that we can’t judge the “chance” issue, but I will say there is a concept of having had the opportunity to make a choice and I don’t believe it’s ONLY elsewhere or ONLY if we do it right here. I don’t believe in the do over gospel.

    To be clear, I also do not believe that “the chance” includes only some kind of “perfect knowledge.” That leaves earth life almost meaningless, since almost no one on earth gets to that point.

    Since we do not know when “the chance” occurs, it is imperative that we live as closely to the patten given as we can. Deviance may, in fact, have eternal consequences. And, of course, we will be concerned for those (including ourselves) who intentionally choose to ignore specific counsel, whatever it may be.

    I don’t believe there is LDS doctrine that provides continuous movement from one kingdom to another. Unless that is the case, then the practical application of some kind of last-second-repentance doesn’t address the issue.

    MeriKae, the purpose of this sight is not to stroke egos or consciouses. It’s to discuss issues, sometimes difficult issues. As the owner of this site I have always allowed people to disagree and to present various viewpoints. That, in and of itself, is in no way contentious or “negative” and I encourage it, as long as it’s civil. In fact, I find much negativity in the idea of demanding a particular viewpoint with no alternatives.

    Sweeping claims that men are lazy, however, are very contentious, negative, and judgmental. You claimed it was “tongue in cheek” and then went on to reaffirm the position. I find that to be uncivil and unacceptable.

    Thankfully Barney has relieved me of needing to point out that calling others judgmental is always judgmental. That circular condemnation always amuses me.

  • Mandie July 3, 2011, 3:29 pm

    >>>I do advocate *not judging or giving up on people or prematurely mourning their eternal failure or being anguishingly disappointed or worried when they are not doing what we wish they would do*<<<

    Thanks for answering MB. I agree with you but I did not (and don't think anyone else did either) advocate giving up on people or anything about eternal failure. What do you mean by not judging? We have been taught to marry in the temple. We have been taught to pay tithing. We have been taught to go to church. It's clear that if we don't marry in the temple, if we don't pay tithing, if we don't go to church we are not following what we've been taught. That's judging but it's judging we are supposed to do so that we can choose the right. C-H-O-O-S-E

  • Mandie July 3, 2011, 3:43 pm

    MeriKae, whatchoo smokin’ honey? I’m reading along happy as a clam until I get to your vile comment, blaming everyone else for being vile. And most of the sentences don’t even make sense. ???

  • Alison Moore Smith July 3, 2011, 4:18 pm

    I just got an email from MeriKae Leavitt. It said:

    sorry to bother you alison didn’t realize you were so open to being such a skank on the internet!!!

    I’m not sure what that means, but it certainly does sound…judgmental. Hmmm.

  • ParisHilton July 3, 2011, 4:23 pm

    I think MeriKae has a screw loose. Or is a stalker.

  • Chris July 3, 2011, 4:52 pm

    Guys I think sometimes we overlook some basics here. You can’t help who you fall in love with. I have very good friends who are split Catholic/Mormon family and they make it work. Although it is probably the best way to go staying within your faith it doesn’t guarantee you wont find yourself in the situation anyway.

    I have been a member all my life born and raised TBM, and I am about to turn 40 years old. On my own I started researching the history of the church and have found myself questioning my own religion. I do like now that the church is not trying to hide their history as much as they used to, and are opening themselves up for self examination.

    My advice would be to ask your husband to allow you into his world, and look over the sources of his information and that will not only allow you to make a judgment for yourself you can then turn around and show him why you think it is right or wrong.

    [Chris, I edited the rest of your comment. I'm unsure I feel comfortable linking to the sites you referenced.]

  • MB July 3, 2011, 6:10 pm

    If it helps, Allison, James Talmage was referring to spirit prison before the final judgment when he referred to “Hell”, not Outer Darkness.

    I should have made that clarification.

    I have found no definite doctrine on life and progress after one’s final judgment. That’s been much debated and I suspect we’ll have to wait on the final word. That’s okay, I’ve got plenty on my plate just managing repentance and progress in this sphere of existence.

    I recognize that this has been an interesting discussion and I have enjoyed the discourse. I also sense that we’ve belabored this enough and at this point we would be wise to agree to disagree and return to the original question: what to do when one finds oneself in a daunting challenge that one hoped never to have to deal with.

    My input on that one: Pray for guidance, consider asking for priesthood blessings, make sure your heart is full of charity, and walk with the Lord as he directs you. I suspect that Brook knows that.

    Brook, we love you and will support you and cheer you on as you receive the guidance your Heavenly Father has for you right now, where you are.

    Much love to all,
    MB

  • MeriKae Leavitt July 4, 2011, 10:03 am

    LOLOLOLOL this is great!!! because Alison moves these statements so they are read completely out of context so that she can look smart my comments were replies to thing that they were not even posted next to. she puts them where she wants them like Satan rewriting scripture to his benefit well Alison mislead who you will with your twisting of things LOL too me it is totally entertaining sad to watch you fall victim to wickedness but funny that you would do such weird things.

  • MeriKae Leavitt July 4, 2011, 10:07 am

    Let me just say I do hope you are helping some, but I guess those of us who live in the real world and have actually experienced some real life outside of the protection of the being the majority of Mormon’s we have had to fight for our beliefs and people like you alison just make real Mormons look like nit wits

  • MeriKae Leavitt July 4, 2011, 10:08 am

    And I don’t appreciate the Utah mormon title women like you have eastablished for good women like me I guess that I why I am so irritated by you alison

  • jennycherie July 4, 2011, 11:26 am

    MeriKae – perhaps you missed this part: (comment 94 from Alison)

    FYI: I broke out the threaded comments. They are now listed simply in the order they were entered. I think it’s easier to find the new ones without missing them when they are embedded into the older comments.

    It also makes it possible to reference another comment by number.

    Sorry for any inconvenience.
    ________

    She didn’t move anything so it was out of context. She made it more like the old forum where we could easily see new comments when we visit. It has nothing to do with you, or with context. I’m not sure there is any context under which your comments would be anything but offensive.

  • MeriKae Leavitt July 4, 2011, 1:04 pm

    Jennycherie: LOL nope i didn’t miss it is just seems too out of order and out of context why should one have to reference these and not have them just linked to the comment they are replying(as it was when I replied) to that make no sense at all…unless one has another motive like to attack one who writes because the others who come in later only get to see the reply as they did to mine and why if she were not full of contention would she have posted my email to her where I was trying to be more private (for her sake because I didn’t think the world needed to know that to joe public, she seemed skanky) if a non LDS or even a lessor LDS man read her comment about making out that is an open invite to the types of men that I worked with sorry and the women like that would have JUST that kind of rep in the shops. and in the world there are more people that take it that way than not. so if she is open with acting like that then I don’t need to be associated with a mormon that wants to be so gross with her bedroom activities. I am open with most things but some things should remain sacred to REAL Mormon’s.

  • MeriKae Leavitt July 4, 2011, 1:54 pm

    Alison sweetie I was being judgmental!!! but dear heart the big difference between you and I is I know that I am being judgmental, and contentious…LOLOL you just look like a bored old lady trying to feel alive again. what are you pushing 50 and not happy with you life, so you need to stir it up…have a good life this has been too silly for me to stay too long giggles. your picture would really make a good photo for an author of a book(distinguished and mature) so maybe instead of this blog why don’t you write a book with all of your wonderful helps and insights, there is productive way to feel alive, that is what I am going to do with my extra time when I am your age and my kids are a little older. and then MAYBE your insights will do well for someone that isn’t in your click, when you are not there to reply and look like such a fool, when you get offended by a misunderstanding. LOLOLOLOLOL!!! you could really contribute some good wisdom in a book just be a nice girl and you will be a wonderful Author. and when you get it written post it on MY face book go to MERIKAE MURIE LEAVITT and let me see the good you do and I can try to get to know the good that I know is in you.

  • NoNameNanny July 4, 2011, 3:09 pm

    I have been reading Mormon Momma for almost seven years, back when it was just the Circle of Sisters. In all these years I have never posted— and probably won’t again, it’s just not my thing. But this site has helped me more than you will ever know. It speaks to my heart and let’s me know I’m not alone. I don’t think I’d still be a member if I hadn’t been able to read the thoughts of truly intelligent, thoughtful, open women.

    In spite of the willingness to openly discuss difficult issues, Alison and Tracy (my favorites, but I love you all so much — and I follow Alison at T&S too) are always willing to face disagreement and discuss it politely and directly.

    I’ve also attended many of Alison’s conference speeches and they are fabulous. She is not just clear and informative, she’s so fun to listen to. She is helpful and was once talked to me for almost an hour after a speech just to answer my newbie questions. She even missed a media opportunity for that. She is one of the most professional, well-spoken speakers I’ve ever heard. She is one of the most accomplished women I’ve ever met. She has been something of a role model to me, except that I can never figure out how she gets so much done. “Extra time”? Yea, right. Yes, I guess I’m a fan even though I’ve never been a fan of anyone.

    Now, to why I’m posting. I’ve met MeriKae in real life. I don’t know her really well, but her comments on this whole thread are so terrible and hateful that it prompted me to respond. I have actually wondered if someone was just posing because I did not think she was this kind of person. My mouth is just hanging open.

    I guess I’m trying to defend MeriKae. Obviously she has no idea what she’s talking about. For her to suggest that Alison might write a book some day…uh, well. For her to think “pushing 50″ is an insult…I’ll be sure to remember that next time we meet. I’m just so shocked by the whole thing. I honestly think there is something seriously wrong with her or some stress that is making her act different or she wouldn’t post like this or maybe I just completely misread her.

    Anyway, I’m sorry for her posting. The interchange was so helpful to me in sorting out what I think about this issue. That’s why I come here. Please don’t let people posting crazy stop the good that has gone on here for years AND in this post.

  • ParisHilton July 4, 2011, 4:47 pm

    I take it back, it’s both. She has a screw loose AND she’s a stalker. Add jerk and idiot to the list.

    Seriously, MeriKae, you are a creeper. Have you even read your string of ranting? It doesn’t even make sense. Did you run out of meds? Do you know what a paragraphs is? Or a capital letter?

  • ParisHilton July 4, 2011, 5:22 pm

    “isn’t in your click”

    Your CLICK? What does that mean? Oh, did you mean “in your CLIQUE”??????? I guess you meant you’ll take remedial English and THEN write a book.

    So, I looked at your awesome facebook page. I’m pretty sure you’re pushing 50, too, by the looks of it. And did anyone in Beaver tell you the claw went out 30 years ago?

  • MeriKae Leavitt July 4, 2011, 7:05 pm

    No name nanny sorry to have offended you but if you could take my first comments in the context they were extended, then you would know what I was meaning and why I got irritated by her throughin’ me under the bus for her entertainment and all who know me know that I am more of a man than most men, so I have little or no patience for men, and catty women, who give me a bad name and I notice I am one of the FEW who has the courage to tell my name, so my little friend who might you b? if you live in my town or ward then you
    must know I am a shit, it is something that I HAVE NEVER HIDDEN….EVER!!!! I make sure when I am in the Bishops office that I say damn or shit so he doesn’t think I do it only behind his back, I am up front nanny, never try to put on pretenses. but when someone sets me up and plays the UTAH MORMON CATTY GAMES they get to see me entertain myself !!! I am good to ALL who are good to me, but I KNOW I AM EVIL as I stated before I don’t PRETEND to be all that because I am not a MOLLY I am just me, and if miss Alison was not a contentious hearted person she would have blocked me LONG ago but she seems to like watching you folks rally for her, so go for it, RALLY away. and now you know how I feel about the MOLLY aspect in utah the real world exists so some folks need to gain some perspective…and what is she older than 50 if so she looks FANTASTIC, she should write because then what she has to say to people, will be heard and she can’t look like she looks to me, to them due to her misunderstanding their responses
    I have never cared if I have friends who rally behind me because when one friend stops liking me about 40 more take her place that actually WANT to be my friend…I DON”T REALLY CARE MUCH. I have gotten bitter and angry in the last 4 years I must admit but being one of the few in my last 2 wards that would do a calling and being the mom the dad the plumber the drywaller the appliance installer the tiler the homeschooler of 7, the doctor the herbalist, tile layer the welder the accountant and community servant(enough run-on senrtences for you paris???) well I guess I am just a rlittle sleepy and have no patience for women that make ME LOOK BAD BECAUSE I AM A MORMON IN UTAH!!!!!
    oh and paris I capitalize when I respect it is a show of respect or do you not know anything about why one would not capitalize on purpose, and if grammer is your thing then go do some good in the world where public school is in the toilet, boy parishilton certainly fits your limited vocab LOLOLOLOLOL

  • MeriKae Leavitt July 4, 2011, 7:06 pm

    ever heard of an editor???boy parishilton PERFECT NAMESAKE

  • MeriKae Leavitt July 4, 2011, 7:13 pm

    NANNY when are we going to meet? if you are on my FB post your beef I am fine with it…and I am 40 but I am not bored, hope this blog works for you folks but next time I am INVITED then called a stalker LOLOLOL “AS IF” I will know better than to associate with the like…giggles giggles and Nanny if you knew me you would definitely know I do entertain myself when I find something funny like this. that is why I get a kick out of molly’s and homosexuals they love a good cat fight.

  • MonMon July 4, 2011, 7:31 pm

    Where is the mute button when you need it?

  • Carlilee July 4, 2011, 7:40 pm

    MeriKae, do you really homeschool? Please tell me you aren’t serious. Please. Add 7 to the illiterate pile.

    P.S. What is “the claw”?

  • Carlilee July 4, 2011, 7:43 pm

    I apologize. As soon as I hit submit, I was sorry I said that. Please disregard my last comment. I’m going to follow the lead of the site owners and try to stay above the name calling and cursing that MeriKae has introduced here. I’ll try again.

    MeriKae, I couldn’t disagree more with anyone on anything. You are not only wrong, but your delivery is distasteful and disturbing.

    P.S. I still want to know what “the claw” is.

  • MeriKae Leavitt July 4, 2011, 7:47 pm

    OH nanny sorry please do not post openly my “real” friends will eat you for lunch.
    if you don’t want to be known do it to my private messages on FB And for your sake I won’t be as evil as alison and post it for the world not that I minded I was thrilled that she did because I wanted to, but thought of her feelings in front of her possey….sorry mute doesn’t compute, and ALISON PROVE TO ME THAT YOU DON”T LIKE TO FIGHT BLOCK ME ALREADY!!!!!

  • NoNameNanny July 4, 2011, 8:15 pm

    **I have gotten bitter and angry in the last 4 years**

    MeriKae, I have no desire to fight with you or have you lambast me publicly like you have others who use their own names. But I do hope you look at what you said. You have changed. Maybe I don’t know you well enough to say that, but you have changed from the MeriKae I knew (or thought I knew).

    I hope you can figure out how to feel better.

    You say you are “the mom” and “the dad.” I hope that doesn’t mean something happened to your husband. :(

  • ParisHilton July 4, 2011, 8:30 pm

    I can’t believe I’m saying this. I agree with MeriKae. Please block her. She’s a lunatic. She needs an intervention.

  • Alison Moore Smith July 4, 2011, 8:42 pm

    Chris #108:

    You can’t help who you fall in love with…Although it is probably the best way to go staying within your faith it doesn’t guarantee you wont find yourself in the situation anyway.

    Chris, I’m not sure how to process that. Think about the implications.

    (1) I fell in love with a mass murderer. I couldn’t help it.
    (2) I fell in love with a married man. I couldn’t help it.
    (3) I fell in love with a horse. I couldn’t help it.
    (4) I fell in love with a 10-year-old. I couldn’t help it.

  • MeriKae Leavitt July 4, 2011, 8:50 pm

    No sweetie he is fine he is just old and tired and out of town most of the time but it has always been this way he has never helped me , but I only told a few that I was so often on my own with parenthood I am ok with it.
    I have changed I admit not for the better, you must be one of my SLC friends because I was pretty easy to be around then. I got snared in my DH trap and trusted him to help me and that wasn’t available to me for the last time, so I rotted and became angry and bitter towards men because it is not only me that I see it happening to. I know how to end this cycle now I just have to be willing and I am not yet. nanny don’t post openly on FB please I do not want you to be hurt, my friends are those that I have had most of my life, who know me well, and they and I know that anger is not the right path, but they have my back because I am pretty good just struggling with a few aspects of life I know happiness and I know I `

  • Alison Moore Smith July 4, 2011, 8:52 pm

    Funny what can happen when you go away for a holiday with the family! Hah! MeriKae, sincerely you need to step back and think before you post again.

    MeriKae #110:

    Alison moves these statements so they are read completely out of context so that she can look smart my comments were replies to thing that they were not even posted next to.

    Let me explain. WordPress — the blog software — has two settings. (1) comments follow one after another chronologically and (2) replies on comments allowed, but only to a specified nesting level.

    In the past we always used #1, but on the site update we tried out #2. The problem with #2 is that comments get lost. Unless you start at the top of the comments and scan through the entire list again, every time you read, you can’t know if you missed a nested comment. This is particularly problematic on a thread that has lots of comments (like this one).

    After receiving numerous complaints about the change I changed the setting back to #1, as noted in comment #94.

    MeriKae, no, I did not arrange them in a particular way, I simply changed the setting. The software puts them back chronologically. You’ll note that my unspecified replies are just as nonsensical as yours (and everyone else’s). But, yes, I am pretty much like Satan in my wicked blog settings. >:->

    it is just seems too out of order and out of context why should one have to reference these and not have them just linked to the comment they are replying

    Because the software (WordPress) limits the depth of comment nesting. Only the first few levels can be nested, then you are back to sequential comments within nested comments. About 90% of blogs use sequential commenting.

    I didn’t think the world needed to know that to joe public, she seemed skanky

    News flash: MeriKae, honey pie, you don’t speak for Joe Public.

    if a non LDS or even a lessor LDS man read her comment about making out that is an open invite to the types of men that I worked with sorry and the women like that would have JUST that kind of rep in the shops.

    I had three people try to decipher this statement, without success. But I’ll try to respond (aren’t I a peach?). I make out with my husband all the time. He’s awesome and sexy. If the fact that my husband of 25 years and I make out regularly — after having six kids — is unusual or “skanky,” then so be it. More skank to the world. That kind of marital skank is amazing. Woe be unto the husbands who don’t get skank. “What the world…needs now…”

    And if your acquaintances get turned on by thinking about old married women making out with their sexy husbands, well, perhaps you can suggest they get a hobby. Or try it themselves.

    you just look like a bored old lady trying to feel alive again

    Yup. That’s me. So old that making out and being skanky is all I’ve got left! It’s so sad!

    ALISON PROVE TO ME THAT YOU DON”T LIKE TO FIGHT BLOCK ME ALREADY!!!!!

    best. comment. ever.

  • MeriKae Leavitt July 4, 2011, 8:52 pm

    hav4e to choose it, but I also know that folks who read things out of context will never know the real me because I hide well in angry words

  • MeriKae Leavitt July 4, 2011, 8:53 pm

    so now why is my post split? in pieces

  • MeriKae Leavitt July 4, 2011, 9:00 pm

    GOT YOU FIRED UP LOL!!!

  • MeriKae Leavitt July 4, 2011, 9:07 pm

    YEAH FOR pARIS!!!!!

  • MartinSheen July 4, 2011, 9:16 pm

    WTF? This woman is freakier than my son. WINNING. not.

  • NoNameNanny July 4, 2011, 9:17 pm

    MeriKae, please read what you wrote yourself. I know you are angry, but to vent that anger on everyone here, people who are trying and trying to be civil to you while you spew venom on them, isn’t right.

    I’m sorry your husband hasn’t done the things you want, but not all men are the way you say and it’s unfair to make such statements. My husband isn’t anything like you describe. Hating everyone and treating people this way doesn’t make your marriage better. You might be able to save your own marriage if you realize what you are doing. I don’t know the details I know.

    Of course I’m not going to send you a facebook message. You just told me that your friends will eat me alive. Does that sound like the kind of people I want to associate with?

    What you don’t realize is that the people here will listen to you and tolerate even your terrible treatment of them and still try to help. Alison will keep letting you post even though you treat her like dirt. She will keep giving her best input, even though you curse and act tough and say terrible things about someone you don’t know one bit.

    Maybe being bitter and angry CAUSED some of your problems instead of just being the result that you won’t take responsibility for.

    Alison and Tracy probably won’t get fired up, even if you say they are. They will just keep trying to reason with you and respond. That’s just they way of this blog. You can read back years and years and years and it’s the same. But YOU are fired up and angry and it just hurts you and makes you look bad.

    Because I knew the “old MeriKae” I really am fired up because I think this hate and anger is going to ruin your life. And I say that in love to a sister.

  • MeriKae Leavitt July 4, 2011, 9:20 pm

    WOW how sad to have a parent that would talk about his/her child like that….nice mormon parent
    “WTF? This woman is freakier than my son. WINNING. not.”

  • MeriKae Leavitt July 4, 2011, 9:39 pm

    Nanny don’t worry about me, you can message me privately FB has that option I won’t tell I am not like that.
    I am trying to figure out who but you is trying to be civil, are you reading the same things I am?
    maybe if I knew who you were I might care, if your initials are DN, BM, KH, CY, DG, CW, BGW you know that this is not the real me, but one who gets pissed when someone misrepresents things, I will receive you on FB I am not the type to hurt you first but I will tell you how I feel about it but I won’t defend myself here the way you will know and recognize me. I LIKE BEING THE BAD GUY, when that is what they want to see. I am a crazy wack job for those who want to see that and a servant of the Lord for those who want to know me but these people don’t want to know me now do they….

  • Tracy Keeney July 4, 2011, 9:52 pm

    ….Maybe we can just get back to the subject?

  • Tracy Keeney July 4, 2011, 10:39 pm

    I’m still hoping to hear someone share answers to Alison’s questions posted WAY back in comment #23. None of the people who say they’ve been making an LDS interfaith marriage work have answered her questions– no one’s even attempted it. So I’m thinking they either CAN’T answer it without revealing that
    a) the importance of doctrine DOES get downplayed
    or
    b)the non-member spouse DOES sometimes feel “less than”, not quite measuring up to the ideal LDS spouse and that their LDS spouse believes their marriage is “second-rate”
    OR, the people who CAN answer the question and explain how they’re able to BOTH teach and emphasize doctrine WITHOUT sometimes hurting their spouse’s feelings and making their marriage look “second-rate” have simply stopped reading and/or participating in the thread…. maybe because the entire thread has been hijacked and suddenly turned from a healthy discussion of varying opinions to… I don’t even know what to call it.
    May I suggest that we simply ignore comments that aren’t helpful to the discussion? It appears that all responses are simply feuling an inquenchable fire.
    So…. any takers on Alison’s questions? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? :)
    (And “NoNameNanny”, thank you very much for your compliments. They haven’t gone unnoticed. )

  • Tracy Keeney July 4, 2011, 10:42 pm

    “UNquenchable” not “inquenchable”– good grief. I think I breathed in too much fireworks smoke.

  • MeriKae Leavitt July 4, 2011, 11:41 pm

    Hijacked was the perfect word but it wasn’t deliberate so everyone, should ignore the hijacking and get back to the #23…never thought of myself as a hijacker but I like it.

  • Lisalisa July 5, 2011, 12:10 am

    MeriKae, Martin Sheen isn’t a Mormon. And neither is Charlie. Duh. A “crazy wack job” doesn’t metamorphose into a “servant of the Lord” based on who’s around. You are who you are. What an embarrassment your string of comments is. May they stay here forever to reveal the truth of your character.

    Yes, please, let’s get back to the subject and leave this mess of a road kill where it lies.

  • Lisalisa July 5, 2011, 12:20 am

    Sorry, Tracy. Yes, I second your nomination that we simply ignore MeriKae’s insatiable need to publicly flail about. If that is her real name anyway. I can’t imagine anyone would actually post such rubbish and sign it. If her real name is “MERIKAE MURIE LEAVITT” perhaps she doesn’t know that this thread will follow her for the rest of her internet life. If she ever applies for a job, google will spew this all over the screen of every potential employer. Not pretty.

    LOL I’m back at it. I’m done with MERIKAE MURIE LEAVITT. If I ever respond to her again, string me up by my thumbnails! Or, Alison, you could have mercy on those of us with little tolerance for blithering idiots and just remove all the comments on the threadjack. Please???

    Anyway…

  • NoNameNanny July 5, 2011, 12:24 am

    Sisters, I know you don’t want to talk about MeriKae anymore and I totally understand. I just want to appeal to your consciouses. Please don’t return the hate and unkind words to her that she has given to us. I know a different side of her. I know some of what she can be.

    I just think she’s become bitter as she said and that has pushed people away and that has made it all the worse. I know she has free agency and can choose how to act, but I hope you will think of her with love instead of returning hate. She needs to heal and change, not be hated.

    Thanks for listening. I will follow Tracy’s wishes and stick to the real discussion. Good night. :)

  • WeaverLady July 5, 2011, 1:05 am

    Tracy, the questions you ask (or Allison asks) are hard to answer. I didn’t really think about it before, but when you put it like that I don’t have a good answer.

    I’d say that most of the time I switched back and forth between the two or tried to ignore that I knew I was doing that in the back of my mind.

    When I talk about temples, I kind of ignore that I got married in the court house (we eloped nine years ago). When I talk about my husband and marriage, I kind of ignore that I’m not sealed to him. I do not look forward to the day my kids ask me why they aren’t sealed to us.

    I am pretty sure Dan will never join the church, he’s not into religion at all. Why did I pick him? I don’t know. I fell in love. And I still love him, but it’s hard to think of these questions with no good answers.

  • jennycherie July 5, 2011, 3:05 am

    Weaverlady – thank you so much for you candid, thoughtful response! There are no easy answers but I think the discussion is still valuable!

  • Olivia July 5, 2011, 5:22 am

    If MeriKae’s posts have been, as NoNameNanny says, out of character, we might consider the possibility that some disgruntled or immature family member or acquaintance has been using her name to hide behind while posting. That has been known to happen. Someone who knows how to reach her might like to contact her directly (not through this forum) and ask her if she has been posting here. That would be the considerate thing to do.

  • MeriKae Leavitt July 5, 2011, 7:21 am

    Nanny get over yourself get back to #23
    thought this was lovely, and thought Brook might enjoy it.

    “The most difficult of decisions are often not the ones in which we cannot determine the correct course, rather the ones in which we are certain of the path but fear the journey.” -Richard Paul Evans (The Locket)

  • Tracy Keeney July 5, 2011, 8:04 am

    Thank you Weaverlady for your honest answers. I know, because I’ve SEEN, that interfaith marriages CAN “work”. My own home growing up was not an example of that. But I have friends and acquaintances who have happy, thriving marriages despite a difference in faith, so I’ve seen the mutual respect and what I like to call “mere grown-up behavior”. I know families that have Family Home Evening who simply stick to the “universally Christian” teachings and Bible stories so that their children can feel some unity in the aspects of their faith that they DO share as a family. And I applaud them for doing their very best to create that unity.

  • MeriKae Leavitt July 5, 2011, 8:13 am

    Brook,
    I was prompted to put this up for you.
    “The proclamation states: “Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ” (Liahona, Oct. 2004, 49; Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102).”
    here is a link to a copy of the proclamation:

    http://lds.org/Static%20Files/PDF/Manuals/TheFamily_AProclamationToTheWorld_35538_eng.pdf

    and here is something that I researched I don’t know if it will help or hurt you but if you REALLY love him and don’t want to blame the church for a brake up read this and fast and pray much for your answers. here is the link as found on LDS.org

    http://lds.org/liahona/1989/03/partners-in-everything-but-the-church?lang=eng&query=split+religious+marriages

  • Tracy Keeney July 5, 2011, 8:15 am

    ooops– hit submit!
    …But as Alison’s questions suggest and from what I’ve seen among those same friends and within my own childhood, is that one or the other (or a little of both) gets compromised. In my situation, when my mother tried to hold FHE, scripture study etc, it was interpreted as an “LDS” thing, even when it was done so in a “generically Christian” way. And she ended up not doing at all, instead of doing it without my father’s particpation, feeling that having us all gathered in the livingroom for prayer or whatever MINUS my father, would make him feel “left out”, even though it was his choice not to participate. But since he didn’t, continuing on to hold it when she knew he WOULDN’T participate, would seem like a choice to “leave him out”, and choosing the religion over him. Which is exactly how he ended up feeling in the end anyway. It was a ridiculously vicious cycle.

  • Lillith July 5, 2011, 8:19 am

    Weaverlady said is pretty well. You have to compartmentalize because thevsituation itself creates dissonance. If someone has a better answer I’d like to hear it.

  • SouthernMan July 5, 2011, 9:52 am

    Seems we have lost our way and the point of this cry for help. Let me put in my 2 cents and I will back away and find a place with less contention.

    The longer I live, the more I am convinced that God has everything to do with couples getting together and becoming man and wife. In the church, out of the church, doesn’t matter. I am certain that God and his legions of angels put people together. That being said, I think Brook and her husband should work things out and try to be happy.

    Secondly, if I were Brook, I would demand equal time. If he is going to listen to the anti-Mormon side, he must also hear the truth. Richard Bushman’s Rough Stone Rolling is a wonderful, tell all the ungarnished truthful details about Joseph Smith and the history of the church, warts and all. Read with an open mind and with faith, you will see the facts, though the interpretation of the facts is still up to you and the Spirit. So if he is an honest man trying to do the right thing, he should see the logic of hearing both sides before laying down the law so to speak about how his children are raised.

    I do not think it makes much difference if you are married to a non-Mormon or a non-committed Mormon. There are many Mormon men and women in the church who just don’t get it, aren’t committed, and will probably never in this life live up to the quest for perfection and communication with God that others seek. We all fall short, and I am glad that Christ will be the one to judge, not me. I feel certain that there will be many more of us in the Celestial Kingdom, when all is said and done, than most mainstream Mormons think.

    Ok, my turn for the flames. Go ahead, I will not read your responses.

  • MeriKae Leavitt July 5, 2011, 10:34 am

    hmmmm nice southernman is wise.

  • Alison Moore Smith July 5, 2011, 11:43 am

    The longer I live, the more I am convinced that God has everything to do with couples getting together and becoming man and wife…I am certain that God and his legions of angels put people together.

    I think it’s an interesting idea, but not backed up doctrinally. To me it’s rather akin to what I call “The Saturday’s Warrior Gospel.” That being the idea that there is some power or situation outside of our own earthly decision making that brings couples together.

    Years ago I collected a number of authoritative quotes on this topic. Rather than post them here, I’ll include them in another post later this week, if I get a chance.

    In the church, out of the church, doesn’t matter.

    Since I do not know you, I don’t know the angle from which you approach such doctrinal issues. How do you reconcile your statement with consistent counsel of our leaders to marry only in the temple?

    I would demand equal time.

    I agree that it would be fair to have Brook’s interests centrally represented in the matter!

    Richard Bushman’s Rough Stone Rolling is a wonderful, tell all the ungarnished truthful details about Joseph Smith and the history of the church, warts and all.

    I agree this is a good book, not necessarily an easy read for someone who isn’t familiar with the Mormon warts. (Easier than Mormon Enigma, to be sure!) Other recommendations from the co-perms at T&S:

    Mormonism: A Very Short Introduction also by Bushman.

    The Book of Mormon: A Very Short Introduction by Terryl Givens

    Latter-Day Christianity: 10 Basic issues by Robert Millet et. al.

    Are Mormons Christians by Stephen Robinson

    I do not think it makes much difference if you are married to a non-Mormon or a non-committed Mormon.

    For the most part I think this is true, with two exceptions that immediately come to me.

    (1) There is a different dynamic between two people who claim the same faith basis, but practice differently and those who claim different faiths (pros and cons on each side)

    (2) When one chooses to marry in the temple (as God has directed) and one spouse becomes less dedicated, the person remaining faithful still has full claim to the blessings of following God’s direction. No one can control a spouse — and so would never be held accountable for a spouse’s choices — but each person CAN control the choice of where and whom to marry and will be held accountable for that choice.

    There are many Mormon men and women in the church who just don’t get it, aren’t committed, and will probably never in this life live up to the quest for perfection and communication with God that others seek.

    I’d say that “many” could be changed to “all.” :)

    I feel certain that there will be many more of us in the Celestial Kingdom, when all is said and done, than most mainstream Mormons think.

    As long as we’re recommending books, a great one that addresses this idea is Following Christ, also by Stephen Robinson. (And, while you’re at it, of course get his first book Believing Christ. Both are fabulous.)
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  • Tracy Keeney July 5, 2011, 12:06 pm

    No flames needed or deserved SouthernMan. You gave a very sincere and thoughtful response.
    I think this is just one area where I disagree– we obviously interpret the doctrine differently. In fact, if I remember correctly, I’ll have to go and see if I can find the quote I’m thinking of– I think there’s a prophetic quote that actually says the OPPOSITE of your last point, and that we’ll be surprised to discover than even a large number of MEMBERS who think of themselves as faithful Saints won’t make the “celestial cut”.

    I think this is an interesting comment though, and I’d be interested in hearing thoughts about it.
    “The longer I live, the more I am convinced that God has everything to do with couples getting together and becoming man and wife. In the church, out of the church, doesn’t matter. I am certain that God and his legions of angels put people together.”

    Although it SOUNDS nice, I have to question the statement based on my own experiences and witnessing the experiences of others.

    I had two engagements prior to marrying my husband. The first was to “John” who when we first started dating was not a member. He began taking discussions and wanted to join the church. He’d grown up in a home completely devoid of religion and clearly had a yearning for some sort of “spirituality”– something deeper than merely existing, but when he wanted to get baptized and I knew he was aware of our belief about temples and eternal families I expressed my concern that he was doing it just for me. He assured me that he wasn’t and was baptized. But it became pretty clear to me over time that his conversion wasn’t as sincere as maybe he thought it was. The only time he went to church was when he was home from college and could attend with me– and that concerned me. That and a couple other things caused me to end my engagement to him.
    And I have to say here, that I was devasted to break up with him. I didn’t break up with him because feelings had dissipated. I broke up with him EVEN THOUGH I still loved him very much, because during our engagement I came to realize that he wasn’t going to be the kind of husband I longed for– among other things, I wanted someone committed to the gospel. I wanted more than just the “love” part–I wanted a temple marriage with a man who’d be able to administer to me and my children. And I didn’t think he’d be there in that way–not for the long haul. I was afraid we’d get married in the temple and several years down the road I’d end up with an inactive husband. So as difficult as it was, I called it off. And I KNEW I was doing the right thing, even though I was miserable for having to do it. I’ve since had contact with him– he found me through the internet. He hasn’t stepped a foot in an LDS church since we were dating. Boy did I have THAT one right.
    The second engagement was to a returned missionary. You’d think that would make it better. Nope.
    I regret that relationship more than any other. I learned things about him, not just from people I trusted, (my Bishop, his mission president, etc) but also from his own actions (and his own journals) that made me realize I couldn’t trust him. The problem was that I didn’t learn these things until the very last minute. (Well, let me be more honest about that– I did know some of it– I just didn’t want to admit to myself that it was a problem). So then I was left with the very difficult decision to call off a temple wedding 3 days before it was suppose to happen.
    And it didn’t take long to learn that I’d made the right decision to call it off. One month later he was engaged to someone else and married 4 months later. I’ve run into his sisters a couple times here and there over the years. He’s been miserable as has she. I even ran into someone who had him and his wife in their ward. She confirmed that I made the right decision, saying that without going into details, his testimony and faithfulness were “questionable”. He’s now divorced.
    I could have married BOTH those guys. The only thing that stopped them from happening was my CHOICE. One wasn’t even made until 3 days before the wedding. Would you suggest that HAD we gotten married, that Heavenly Father and His angels had put us together? The logic would suggest that one day it’s meant to be, and the next it isn’t as long as you cancel it.
    The man I DID marry was firm in his convictions. There wasn’t anything wishy-washy about him. He was ALSO a convert, who joined during the time we dated. But I knew his conversion was true and sincere. I knew he’d honor his priesthood and take it seriously. I knew he’d be firm in the gospel. So I have BOTH– I have a man I love with all my heart AND the temple marriage and priesthood in my home that I always longed for.
    Do I believe that Heavenly Father brought us together? Absolutely. In fact, there are aspects about how we met and about our family that seem nearly miraculous. But that doens’t mean that EVERY marriage is “set up” by God.
    In regards to your comment about Brook’s husband giving equal time to sources that aren’t AGAINST the church— I couldn’t agree with you more.
    In fact, maybe Brook could (or maybe she already has) express to her husband the disappointment I imagine she might be feeling, if he’s giving more credit to the negative opinions of others than he is to the sincere beliefs of his wife.

  • MonMon July 5, 2011, 12:41 pm

    Saturday’s Warrior Gospel? Are you talking about the “we picked our spouses in the pre-existence garbage? Bring it on!

  • jennycherie July 5, 2011, 2:03 pm

    Tracy – I am so amazed, reading the whole story, at how mature you were in choosing a husband. I think this, more than anything else, is what I want to teach my children. We can’t choose an eternal companion based *only* on feelings – and we need to pray about that decision.
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  • Julie July 6, 2011, 8:44 am

    I hesitated at leaving a comment since it seems that some of the comments have gone so far off the original topic, but I feel compelled to leave a little tidbit.

    First a side note: Too of my best friends married outside the church and both it has been a struggle. The desire to get sealed in the temple only increases over time and with the addition of children.

    An answer to the main question: Whether you choose to stay in the marriage or leave the marriage. You are the only one who can decide your devotion to him and what your marriage means to you. But what is apparent to me is that it is time you become an expert in your own religion. So that when he (or someone else) does make a comment about the church that is incorrect you can say, “Well actually we believe . . . ” Or if you don’t have an answer to his (or someone else’s) question about the church you could say “Well, I’m not positive about that answer, let’s look it up together.” That way you can point him to proper resources of finding answers to church questions and you can learn the answers together. The more you do this, the more you will be filled with the spirit and be able to teach others about the gospel.

    Sometimes women in the church (me included) don’t have the confidence to teach the gospel. Even though we may know the answers, the confidence to share them aren’t there because we never served a mission and so we don’t feel we are “experts” in the gospel. The only way to remedy this is through prayer and studying the gospel with all our heart. A good start is the Gospel Principles (which we are already studying, this year and last, in Relief Society).

  • Alison Moore Smith July 6, 2011, 11:35 am

    Julie, welcome, and thank you for the great advice all around.

    I used to listen to gospel cassette tapes when I went running. One talk (I think it was Elder Maxwell, but don’t quote me on that) had a statement something like this, “In the church we have many men who are gospel scholars and many women who are saints. We need a little more crossover.”

    Of course, he said it more eloquently! But you get the point. Spot on, don’t you think?
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  • Anna July 6, 2011, 3:36 pm

    Question from an outsider: if LDS teaching is to marry only in the temple, why does the LDS church permit its bishops to conduct marriages outside the temple? Why does it permit its buildings to be used for such weddings? It seems like that sends kind of a mixed message, but I’m guessing there are reasons.

  • Angie July 6, 2011, 5:13 pm

    Hello Anna, and welcome!

    Here is a brief answer from my point of view. I think the church values all marriages (in and out of the church), but looks to a temple wedding as the ideal. Youth in the church are taught to strive for a temple marriage, and at every LDS wedding I’ve been to that is not in the temple (but in a chapel, backyard, etc. performed by a bishop) the bishop has encouraged the newly married couple to continue to strive for the temple as their ultimate goal.

    Their civil marriage is still valued, celebrated, and respected, it’s just a sort of striving for something more (similar to where you might be happy that your child is graduating from high school but thrilled when they are continuing on with their education at an institution of higher learning.)

  • Angie July 6, 2011, 5:14 pm

    By the way, I have not had time to read through all the posts so forgive me if I repeated what others have said.

  • MeriKae Leavitt July 6, 2011, 5:49 pm

    @ Angie….If I may and not have this taken out of context again…..angie that was very eloquent, and kindly spoken I would have loved to hear more form you.
    just so that every one here knows to which POST i am speaking about THIS time this is a response to post #163-164

  • Tracy Keeney July 6, 2011, 5:55 pm

    Very well put Julie, and GREAT advice about becoming an “experts” in our own religion. Of course, the Spirit will give us the words to say if we are in tune, but it really helps to give the Spirit something to work with! One of the BIG ways that the Spirit GIVES us those words is to “bring [them] to our remembrance”, because we’ve already studied and learned it.

  • Alison Moore Smith July 6, 2011, 7:28 pm

    Anna, I agree that it’s a bit of a mixed message. My dad served as a bishop a number of times, so I saw him perform a handful of marriages.

    In addition to what Angie said, there may be an element of wanting to have the marriage have a connection of sorts to the church so that (as Angie pointed out) the wedding can still be in a gospel context. Similar to the way that completely inactive members are allowed to hold funerals in LDS chapels.
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  • Tracy Keeney July 7, 2011, 7:13 am

    As a side note–They hold funerals in LDS chapels for people who aren’t LDS at ALL, let alone inactive.

  • Alison Moore Smith July 7, 2011, 9:47 am

    True. Those I’ve been to have at least been connected to someone LDS, like a close family member. Don’t know if there’s a policy about it, but I’d guess they just need permission from the local leaders.
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  • Sina July 19, 2011, 6:31 am

    I was married in the temple, both my husband and I are returned missionaries, and we are raising our 3 little daughters in the church. But to be quite honest, I am so miserable in my marriage. It seems like even though I’ve done everything “right,” I don’t feel like I have a Celestial marriage. My husband is very controlling and emotionally abusive. I feel like I can’t breathe. He works 7 days a week (by choice) but still makes time to take the Sacrament. I don’t think he’s happy with me as a spouse either because he ignores me and always looks at me like he hates me, but he’s never actually said that he’s miserable and doesn’t want to be with me.

    Although Brook and Ryan don’t have a temple marriage, I’m sooooo happy that they have a good relationship and she’s happy. My husband and I aren’t even friends and he doesn’t want to spend time with me at all. Before marrying, I prayed to know if this was the right man for me and I felt so good about marrying him. In retrospect, I should have asked more questions and developed more of a conversation with God to know just exactly what I was getting myself into. But in my own defense, I had no idea what questions to ask anyway.

    I come from a part-member family and my brothers and I went through the whole split religion thing. The LDS church felt like home to me, and the other churches that I went to didn’t appeal to me. Eventually I developed a testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel and I’m still here. What I’m trying to say is that Brook’s future kids will be drawn to the truth because it will just feel right. (At least Ryan will allow them to chose for themselves. As a mom, Brook can teach them how to choose the right path by teaching them how to RECOGNIZE the truth through the Holy Spirit, and they won’t be comfortable going to other churches.) Now, some kids who come from a home where both parents are members might possibly fall away as well, but the seeds are there.

    All I’m saying is that Brook should thank God that she has such a wonderful husband who loves her and likes being with her. Life really sucks when you live with a husband who goes to church every Sunday, but hates you and could care less whether you’re coming or going.

    I say don’t even consider divorcing Ryan and live your life happily with him. You don’t know what the future holds for the both of you. Just go to the temple by yourself first for your own endowment and take things one day at a time from there.

  • Alison Moore Smith July 19, 2011, 9:42 am

    Sina, welcome and thanks for your input.

    I think you are conflating issues. I’m sorry for your lousy marriage, but the fact that your my temple marriage stinks to and a good non-temple marriage is better than yours doesn’t reasonably make “just praise the Lord that your husband doesn’t hate you, too” sound advice. Do you know what I mean?

    I hope you are doing something about your marriage. Not to suggest that you can do it alone, but such a situation is certainly intolerable. Being controlling and emotionally abusive isn’t acceptable and needs to be stopped.

    As a mom, Brook can teach them how to choose the right path by teaching them how to RECOGNIZE the truth through the Holy Spirit, and they won’t be comfortable going to other churches.

    Unfortunately, that simply isn’t true as some kind of rule. Assuming the LDS church has “the truth,” by far the vast majority of people who’ve lived on earth don’t recognize it. And statistically, it just isn’t true that kids in a split home usually end up being active members. (I used to have some stats on that, I’ll see if I can find them.) In addition, it’s far more likely that Brook will become inactive (statistically) than that her husband will join the church.
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  • Sina July 19, 2011, 12:14 pm

    “Unfortunately, that simply isn’t true as some kind of rule. ”
    Alison, this is hilarious. As missionaries, we were TRAINED to help people RECOGNIZE the Spirit. They had to “LEARN” how to do that otherwise, they weren’t able to receive the TRUTH from God that the BOM is true and that Joseph Smith was a true prophet and gain a testimony. Brook CAN train her kids to recognize the Holy Spirit to know truth. In fact, I do it for mine.

    “I think you are conflating issues. I’m sorry for your lousy marriage, but the fact that your my temple marriage stinks to and a good non-temple marriage is better than yours doesn’t reasonably make “just praise the Lord that your husband doesn’t hate you, too” sound advice. Do you know what I mean?”

    Alison, I truly am happy for you that you have such a happy marriage. Yours is truly a blessing…and a rarity. I am SURROUNDED by LDS women who are unhappy in their marriages. Have you noticed a theme in General Conference lately? Pornography. Pornography is pure selfishness, so imagine how many selfish men there are in this church. Selfishness is so saturated in this church that our leaders need to speak on pornography over and over again. This is reality Alison—women are unhappy in their marriages for whatever reason… period. If a husband and wife have a good relationship like Ryan and Brook, it would be ridiculous to throw it away. I wasn’t raised in a predominately LDS area, like I’m sure you were (well, your posts sound like you were. Forgive me if I’m wrong.) so I don’t judge non-members as harshly as you do.

    I know that God looks at what’s in our hearts. In Ryan’s heart is love for his wife, and I’m positive that God is happy with that. I would NEVER suggest divorce IF someone is happily married. Moroni 7:46 says, “…if ye have not charity, ye are nothing.” Basically, you can do all of the outward ordinances that are required of you, but if you don’t have charity/LOVE in your heart about it, it means nothing. I’VE done all of those outward ordinances, but there’s no love flowing in my marriage, so the scripture is right, I feel nothing (but I’m being obedient, and I’m grateful for those ordinances). Now, I’m just enduring. Although I feel like throwing in the towel, I don’t know what the future holds so I’m hanging in there. Christ is my strength.

    And honestly, I LOVE seeing couples that are happy and affectionate towards each other (member or not). This is actually on my mind a lot. I find myself staring at them (crazy, I know) and I feel joy for them. So yes, I praise the LORD for their joy! :)

  • Darlie July 19, 2011, 1:06 pm

    Hi. I have been reading for about three years and not ever commented. But I just read what Sina wrote out of anger and I just have to comment.
    I don’t see anything “harsh” about what has been said and I think Sina needs to explain when she makes such mean statements. That’s all.

  • Alison Moore Smith July 19, 2011, 1:53 pm

    Alison, this is hilarious. As missionaries, we were TRAINED to help people RECOGNIZE the Spirit.

    Sina, then why doesn’t everyone who talks to a missionary who is “trained” convert? The fact is, the training USUALLY doesn’t work. MOST people who hear about the gospel do not convert by a huge percentage, even if a great missionary tries to teach them to recognize the spirit. And kids who are raised in split homes get mixed messages about what is “true” their whole lives.

    You statement was that she could teach her kids in such a way that they “won’t be feel comfortable going to other churches.” I’m just telling you that she can teach them whatever she wants, but you don’t have any evidence that doing so will give the result you claim in any general sense. Statistically, it’s not true.

    At very least Brook (and other’s in her position) need to recognize openly what the reality of parents with different religious beliefs is going to be. The kids WILL get mixed messages and that WILL have an impact (even if you “train” them).

    You’ll notice no one has answered my questions about undermining either the church position or the nonmember parent. I don’t expect an answer, because I don’t think there is good one.

    They had to “LEARN” how to do that otherwise…

    I don’t know what “learn” in quotes implies. Can you clarify?

    Brook CAN train her kids to recognize the Holy Spirit to know truth. In fact, I do it for mine.

    Of course she can teach them. The statement wasn’t to imply that you can’t teach your children. It’s whether such teaching will give the result you claim, even most of the time.

    Yours is truly a blessing…and a rarity.

    I agree that it’s a blessing, but how do you know it’s a rarity? You say you are surrounded by unhappily married women. I’m surrounded mostly by happily married women. Does either anecdote prove a point?

    Your statement simply doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. “I have a bad marriage so you should just be grateful your husband doesn’t emotionally abuse you like mine” isn’t speaking to some kind of general wisdom.

    Pornography is pure selfishness, so imagine how many selfish men there are in this church.

    Your point is? Pornography is selfishness, so if you’re married to someone who isn’t a total creep you should be thrilled?

    If a husband and wife have a good relationship like Ryan and Brook, it would be ridiculous to throw it away.

    Sina, Brook didn’t write to us because she was super duper happy in her marriage. She wrote because there is a fundamental difference that is making her UNhappy.

    I certainly haven’t advised her to get a divorce. If you’ve read the OP and comments, you’ll note that I asked her to be HONEST about what she could accept and what she couldn’t. Perhaps we could agree that having a wife who is constantly angry about a spouse’s religious choices probably isn’t conducive to a happy marriage.

    I don’t judge non-members as harshly as you do.

    Maybe you can explain the harsh judgment I impose. As far as I can tell the judgment is simply that nonmembers can’t go to the temple or get salvational ordinances — and that salvational ordinances matter. Is this something we disagree on?

    Basically, you can do all of the outward ordinances that are required of you, but if you don’t have charity/LOVE in your heart about it, it means nothing.

    And there’s the rub. You can have all the charity/love in your heart and refuse the ordinances and it only takes you to death. You’re assuming your argument shows something it doesn’t. I don’t recall anyone suggesting a loveless marriage was a good thing. But temple covenants are crucial, nonetheless.

    Hope you and your husband can work out your situation or move on.
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  • partone July 19, 2011, 1:58 pm

    If there is one thing I’ve learned from reading MM all these years it’s how to spot adhominem. Sina stick to issues and facts or you’ll get buried. We love different points of view but not rude comments.

  • MonMon July 21, 2011, 2:22 am

    We like to think our personal experience has a really broad application to everyone, but it’s not often true. In the church we believe that certain ordinances have eternal consequences. Just because some who had those ordinances don’t live up to them doesn’t make that not true.

  • JDD August 1, 2011, 5:27 am

    It’s one thing for a husband to simply and respectfully disagree with some of the tenants of his wife’s religion, but another thing entirely to embrace anti-Mormon literature and imply that a wife’s religion is not good enough for their children. That’s a level of disrespect that is very troubling to me.

  • Thankful September 8, 2011, 10:04 pm

    Brook (or anyone else who wants to know more about how LDS folks in mixed faith marriages are making it work): head over to a website called “Faces East.” You’ll get to discuss this with those of us who are actually living it. You’ll get an honest view there. The temple is an absolute blessing. But marriage is sacred, in or out of the church. Never take that commitment lightly.

    Don’t worry about the conflicting comments you read here. People can be judgmental, but none of us has all the facts. Only God can help you navigate the challenge you are in. I can tell you that if you are prayerful, you will receive answers that are personally tailored to your situation.
    Some may surprise you.

    You are known and loved by God. He will grant you spiritual gifts of discernment, wisdom, and genuine love as you seek him. If God’s answer is to make it work, he will sanctify your efforts and strengthen your children. If his answer is otherwise, he can grant you comfort and healing.

    Good luck and God bless

    • Alison Moore Smith September 9, 2011, 9:51 am

      Thankful, welcome. We appreciate your input.

      I’d like to make one point on your comment. Of course people can be judgmental. Brook wrote to us and asked for our opinions. She can, of course, take them or leave them, but she asked for our judgments! Having “conflicting comments” can be a good thing when it brings to light many facets of an issue. Just as you suggest a website that will give “insider opinion” — sometimes “outsider opinion” is also helpful.

  • Erica September 15, 2011, 12:34 am

    You think things are complicated now? Wait until your future kids start growing up and you and your husband have different ideas on how they should be raised and what standards they have. It sounds like you’re heartbroken now, but consider how sad you may feel if your daughter wants an abortion or your son wants to experiment with gay sex–things that the LDS religion doesn’t allow, but others are perfectly fine with. Couple that with trying to raise your kids wholesomely without a priesthood presence. Sounds like an uphill battle to me.
    On the other hand, there is a commandment to get married, but not a commandment to marry a mormon. So it depends on the likelihood you’ll marry again if you decide to divorce. The only way to know what to do is to take the issue to God. I did regarding an inactive, now ex-husband. Now I am married to a honorable, righteous man and we have a lovely 4 month old daughter. She had her baby blessing last month, given by my husband–something that never would have happened if I hadn’t made that very difficult decision to allow my divorce to happen. It was the right thing for me, but I doubt it would be in most other situations. You’ll just have to pray. A lot.

  • Amber Mae December 11, 2011, 1:11 pm

    Brook,

    I just wanted to say how impressed I am with how well you’ve taken these comments. This is a really brutally honest group, and sometimes it’s hard not to get a little angry, but you seemed to really do your best to listen to what people had to say while CHOOSING to not be offended – an amazing talent! I hope everything is working out for you. God bless.
    Amber Mae recently posted…Amber may be… a sick momMy Profile

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