Interfaith

by Amelia

if you were in an interfaith relationship, how would you raise your children?

j(wh) and i have asked that question several times as we’ve discussed what the future may hold for us. and it will continue to be a topic of conversation, i’m sure. i have, from very early in our relationship, taken the stance that, if we were to marry and have children, our (hypothetical) children should be taught the beliefs and history of both of our faith traditions; that they should attend both quaker and mormon meetings regularly (not both every Sunday, but on some kind of split schedule); that they should have both quaker and mormon communities; and that ultimately they should decide for themselves (when they’re older than eight) which tradition works for them—or that neither works for them.

j(wh) sees the balance and fairness in such a suggestion, but he still has reservations about raising his children with any exposure to mormonism. primarily because he fears the ways in which mormonism could cause them pain—the pain and depression he’s seen me experience because of the church’s teachings about gender and marriage; the pain men and women close to us have felt as they’ve attempted to fit themselves into the mold the church prescribes; the pain some of our friends felt as they left the mormon community. he doesn’t want to expose his children to a belief system that can generate such deep psychological and spiritual hurt. and i do not blame him. in fact i agree with him. i don’t want my children exposed to such pain either.

while we haven’t resolved this particular problem, we both very much believe there is a middle ground—a way to teach our (hypothetical) children about both of our faith traditions while doing our best to control for teachings we believe are harmful. that middle ground is possible because j(wh) and i share deeply cherished values and we envision living those values in similar ways. in other words, while our formal faith traditions are different, our beliefs are very similar.

as we’ve discussed this question, j(wh) has asked me whether i know anyone who has raised their kids the way i’m suggesting we should raise our (hypothetical) children—half in the mormon church, half in another church. and i’ve had to say that, no—i don’t. so i went searching the bloggernacle for other people’s experiences, trusting i would find useful information. i was rather surprised at what i did find.

there was some solid info available. several posts at feminist Mormon housewives offer what seems to me good advice. i discovered faces east, a discussion forum meant to help support those in part-member (or part-believer) families. i found several compassionate posts and comments about the experience of one spouse withdrawing from the church.

but i also found ideas that very much disturbed me. here’s a few, in brief:

  • that a woman will be ‘available’ to be sealed to a man in the next life, regardless of whether she stays single or marries a non-mormon. the implication being that were such a woman to marry a non-mormon, she would not be sealed to her non-mormon spouse.
  • that marriage to a non-mormon pre-supposes a ‘divorce-upon-death.’ again implying that it’s impossible for an interfaith marriage to be sanctioned in the next life.
  • that there should be a pre-nup understanding that the non-mormon spouse’s failure to actively support the LDS lifestyle would constitute sufficient grounds for divorce.
  • that a mormon marries a non-mormon out of desperation for sex and companionship.
  • that when a mormon marries a non-mormon, the mormon has settled for marrying someone who does not cherish the same values.
  • that marriage is about making babies, not about the spouses. that therefore, because marrying a non-mormon will jeopardize future children’s moral character, interfaith marriage should be avoided at all costs—even the cost of debilitating depression and loneliness.
  • that interfaith parents necessarily compete for control of their children’s moral training—because clearly they couldn’t have moral values in common.
  • that the children of interfaith marriages should, obviously, be raised exclusively mormon.
  • that marriage is teleological—about the ends achieved, rather than about the way life is lived now.
  • that mormons in interfaith marriages should be pitied, as if their marriages must be a daily burden instead of a source of joy and happiness.
  • that only mormons with serious testimony issues or rebellious natures marry outside the church.
  • that marrying a non-mormon constitutes a deliberate and active sin.

as i read these various posts and comments—literally hundreds of comments—i was stunned. and furious. and sad.

sad because essentially what i heard over and over was that interfaith marriage is inherently lacking; that it constituted sin; that it was begging for trouble. sad because of the lack of faith—faith that god will sanction any marriage built on love and equality and sound foundations, rather than just those begun with the proper ritual and form. i cannot understand the privileging of form (starting a marriage with a temple sealing) over principle (building a strong, loving, lasting marriage—a ‘celestial’ marriage, if you will). i cannot understand it in spite of my acceptance of the importance of saving ordinances.

my search for ideas about how to build interfaith marriages and families also took me to a couple of articles in dialogue. and it was there i found what felt right to me. in his short article “eternity with a dry-land mormon,”* levi peterson explains the rites of “baptism, confirmation, healing, and wedding” as ordained by god “for the comfort, not the condemnation, of human beings. a ritual is not a ticket allowing one to enter a certain door or gate. it is a reminder and a symbol; it concentrates meaning and rouses emotion” (113-4). this understanding of ordinances resonates with me. it makes sense to think of rites as focusing attention on living principled, examined lives while recognizing that they are not the only means of doing so.

peterson later concludes: “a wedding announces a marriage, celebrates it, establishes its hope and ideal, but doesn’t create it. the joy a couple has in one another’s presence creates their marriage. i therefore believe that, if god grants althea and me to participate in the miracle of the resurrection, he will also grant us the privilege of continuing our marriage. there will need be no other reason than that we have loved each other long and dearly” (115). i could not agree more fully. for me, love is the well-spring of the gospel. it is the power that should direct our daily lives. it is the hope i feel for myself and my world. love—not form—will lead to exaltation. form, ritual, ordinances can only help set expectations of love, focus attention on love; they cannot take love’s place.

because my own interfaith relationship is with a quaker, i read heidi hart’s article “householding: a quaker-mormon marriage”** with great interest. i appreciated her story of spiritually journeying away from mormonism into quakerism; of her and her husband’s efforts to not only preserve their marriage, but to use their divergent spiritual paths as an opportunity to strengthen their marriage. she speaks of a jewish creation story in which “god’s divinity is shattered into pieces at the beginning of the world. . . . that our job as human beings is to gather the pieces of goodness scattered all around us,” regardless of where they lay (142). i understand this vision because i see goodness everywhere in my world. i have no interest in making all of that goodness mormon, in redefining it so it fits neatly somewhere in the mormon cosmology. i am interested in exploring the goodness where it lays, in coming to understand how the goodness in mormonism and the goodness outside mormonism work together to make a beautiful world.

it is that desire, as much as any sense of fairness, that inspires my desire to raise (hypothetical) children with j(wh) as truly interfaith. i know it’s an unusual desire for a mormon. i know it will be a course with challenges. but i believe it can be done. because i believe that “it’s not our differences that divide us. it’s our judgments about each other that do” (150)**.

so why am i writing this post? i suppose i’m writing it in hopes that i’ll find some mormons who don’t agree with the crazy notions i encountered in the bloggernacle. more importantly i’m writing it hoping for thoughts about how to go about raising truly interfaith children. i don’t particularly want to repeat the extremely long, extremely hurtful discussion that happened at times & seasons a few years ago; which means that i’m not particularly interested in talking about whether a mormon should marry a non-mormon in the first place. the reality is that it happens. instead, i’m interested in ideas about how to go about building a strong, interfaith family (not just a mormon or a quaker family with one parent who believes differently).

* Peterson, Levi S. “Eternity with a Dry-Land Mormon.” part of “Eternity Be Damned? The Impact of Interfaith Vows,” a Dialogue panel. Dialogue. Vol. 23, No. 2 (Summer 1990) 109-133.

** Hart, Heidi. “Householding: A Quaker-Mormon Marriage.” Dialogue. Vol. 38, No. 4 (Winter 2005) 141-152.

Amelia

Amelia has recently relocated to Salt Lake City for her new job selling college textbooks (a job she loves). She’s a 9th generation Mormon redefining her relationship with the church (the church she both loves and hates). She’s passionate about books, travel, beauty, and all things cheese.

You may also like...

No Responses

  1. cchrissyy says:

    “i suppose i’m writing it in hopes that i’ll find some mormons who don’t agree with the crazy notions i encountered in the bloggernacle.”

    you can count me in, I don’t agree with any of your bullet point examples.

  2. jana says:

    In addition to her Dialogue article, you need to read Heidi Hart’s book, _Grace Notes_, about raising her family in an LDS/Quaker home (she’s Quaker, her husband is LDS, and their children are primarily LDS but also are a part of the Quaker community). She’s also done several Sunstone sessions on this topic that are available for download as mp3s.

  3. ESO says:

    2 things:
    I am concerned about potential husband’s attitude towards your faith; if his primary reaction is fear of that faith because it causes pain, that seems to indicate a lack of support for you and your chosen religion.

    Also, you seem a bit knocked off your feet with the idea that some LDS people (of course the vocal ones) will disapprove of your marriage. That is a fact, some people will. Why does it matter to you? It seems that if you were more at ease with the prospect, other people’s opinions would not matter.

  4. sarah says:

    I want to say that I think such an interfaith family could exist peacefully and happily, but I just don’t know if I have that much faith in the Mormon community. I wouldn’t trust them to not treat your kids as “the ones with the crazy parents”. Since my marriage is turning out to be a little more interfaith than I even expected, I would also like tips on how to handle it.

    While at BYU, I took the missionary prep class taught by Randy Bott, and of all the many motivational things he said, the single thing I remember from that full semester is when he told the class that he would rather his daughters died than marry outside the temple. Such talk can be so damaging, where it creates the sense that non-temple marriage is evil and/or damning (in the sense that you will never be exalted). The conclusions in your bullet points are many times the result of such black and white declarations, which are, in the first place, only given as opinion.

    I’m currently having a very hard time separating the important bits of doctrine from the actions of the church and its members, and the idea that my marriage is doomed for eternity if I don’t shape up and fix my beliefs doesn’t give me hope, it is heart wrenching. I would rather just concentrate on how much we love each other and are trying to make each others’ lives better while creating a loving family.

    The lucky thing for me is that my husband agrees with me.

  5. E says:

    I agree with the poster who notes your husbands very negative view of the LDS faith; I would add that you also seem ambivalent at best about your religion. In light of your views, I do not agree with your idea of taking your children to both churches and “letting them choose”. Children need a spiritual foundation that they can build from, not competing ideas and mixed messages. I think you should raise them as Quakers if you truly believe that taking them to an LDS primary would cause them pain.

  6. Jessawhy says:

    Amelia,
    Thanks for this thoughtful post! I’m glad to have someone to share Mondays with 🙂
    You hit the nail on the head when you asked about what an interfaith family would look like. It seems easy to talk about some kind of religious balance, but how that actually plays out can be much different. The devil’s in the details, I guess.
    I’m not in the same situation, but I do think there are adjustments that families have to make as one of the parents becomes less (or non) believing in the LDS church. I think I’m on that path. Of course, starting out a marriage expecting the interfaith issue is a lot different than starting out in the temple and thinking you’ll both be on the same religious wavelength for the rest of your lives (and eternity).
    I appreciate your research on this topic and it will be so helpful to refer people to this post in the future.
    Best of luck in your journey.

  7. Caroline says:

    Wow. I think some commenters are not focusing enough on how similar your beliefs are to j(wh). If you two believe in the same principles of kindness, charity, love, and equality, I think you can make it work.

    Obviously there would be difficulties. It will get complicated when they learn in primary that only families that are sealed can be together forever. But like you, I think you can control for that. Tell them that that’s how some Mormon’s look at it, but others believe in God’s grace and love and that we’ll be with our loved ones in the hereafter. Give them the Quaker viewpoint on the subject. Ask them what’s the most compelling to them and why. I think this could lead to some wonderful discussions where the kids’ can learn to take the best from these two great religious traditions.

    Baby calls….. more later

  8. Caroline says:

    Ok, baby is temporarily distracted.

    I also wanted to comment on how jaw droppingly awful it is to hear Mormon’s say they’d rather their children die than marry outside the church. Sarah, that was a horrific story. Also awful was that discussion on T&S that you linked too, Amy. I’m shocked that anyone could for a second think that no marriage is better than a great marriage to a non-Mormon. Absolutely ridiculous in my opinion. Would anyone really wish that on our friends and family? (Not that a single life can’t be great, but if someone has that chance to find a companion and have children, and that’s what he/she desires, good grief, how could you not see how potentially wonderful that marriage could be for them?)

    I find it really sad that some Mo’s don’t have faith that God in all his infinite love won’t be completely compassionate and sympathetic towards those in interfaith marriages and ultimately ratify those marriages in the next life. Of courses, I am the product of an interfaith marriage, so maybe I’m biased.

  9. mraynes says:

    Thank you for this thought provoking post, Amelia. It briefly reminded me of a conversation with my current home teacher. He knows that I am interested in women’s issues so he told me that he wrote his thesis on why Mormon women marry outside of the church. Unfortunately, most of his conclusions could be found in your bulleted points. He was none to pleased when I told him that I thought that his points did not fully explore the complexity of why many LDS women choose to marry non-members.

    I am a firm believer that each couple must develop a theology that they will teach to their children. All couples do this regardless of whether they are interfaith or devout Mormons; we all pick and choose portions of the doctrine that are very important to us and overlook things that are not.

    This is something that my husband and I are currently working on. There are several aspects of Mormon doctrine and culture that are profoundly hurtful to me and I must say that I have the same fears that j(wh) has expressed. In order to assuage some of my reservations, DH and I are working towards a theology of our own to give to our children. Personally, I think this is one of the greatest gifts you can give your children, a belief system that you have deeply explored and are committed to living and sharing.

  10. Isaac says:

    Fantastic post! Thanks!

    Why does this conversation have to be limited to interfaith relationships? Parents will have their biases and, I would imagine, it would easier if they shared those biases, but let’s be honest: even in monofaith relationships, the individual parents are unlikely to have the exact same interpretations of the faith. If I were a parent, I would explore as many faiths, perspectives, and community as I could with my children, because not only would I want them to find their own truth, but I want to expose them to diversity–not only for the sake of being able to learn the impotency of discrimination, but also to find those golden areas that all faiths teach: compassion, love, respect, etc.

    But of course faith is more than just values, right? It is also about community. I don’t have a good personal answer for how I would deal with this as a parent, but what I do know is that if I loved and chose to marry someone of a different faith-perspective than my own, there comes the implicit understanding that for any harm that the faith and faith community she comes from must be balanced with the fact that it also made her who she is–and I simply have to respect that to some level. Maybe it’s because the faith instilled good values; maybe it’s because the hurt and struggle made her learn good lessons; likely, it is both and more. But how does that translate to the children?

    I have to go back to my original point, though: it may be magnified in an interfaith relationship, but these issues of values, faith, and community are something I believe all parents must struggle with.

  11. jana says:

    I don’t know if this is way off base with the questions you’ve asked in your post and with the other comments here, but it occurred to me today as I was thinking of you and J(wh) and contemplating your relationship. What I’m wondering is do you, Amelia, have enough faith?

    I mean, do you have enough faith in J(wh) as someone who will be a loving and righteous husband? Do you have enough faith in yourself to be the spouse that he deserves? Do you have enough faith that the two of you together can weather the challenges that will come when your kids come home from LDS church repeating some racist folklore? Do you have enough faith in a God who loves you and who wants you to be happy? Do you have enough faith to deal with the hurtful and pitying comments from LDS members about part-member families? Do you have enough faith to step into the unknown without the support of your family and your church community?

    I know you have the gumption to do all of this–you are one of the most strong-willed people that I know. But having faith and having gumption are not necessarily the same thing.

  12. amelia says:

    i appreciate the concern ESO and E expressed, but i feel like i must not have communicated the nuances of my situation well. so a couple of things to clarify:

    1. j(wh)’s fear regarding mormonism has to do with raising children mormon; not with my own involvement in it. he supports me in my chosen religion and my practice of it and i think he always will. he has no desire to change the way i believe because he recognizes that it’s not his place to change the way i believe.

    2. i couldn’t care less what other random mormons think about my relationship with or my potential marriage to j(wh). what upset me about what i found on the bloggernacle was not anticipation of others responding to me in that way–i have a very thick skin and pretty often dismiss the stupid things i hear people say at church (and everywhere else). what shocked me was that people actually think these things. at all. they’re so clearly not in keeping with the peace and charity and compassion and mercy and love of christ’s gospel, that i have a hard time understanding how people can think them. such thoughts have never even occurred to me.

    3. i’m not ambivalent about my religion. but i do believe that every individual has their own particular understanding of religion. i’m very passionate about my understanding of my religion and i live it fully. the thing is that my personal version of my religion very much aligns with many of j(wh)’s beliefs and values. so i don’t think our children will be without a foundation. quite to the contrary, i believe they’ll have an even more solid foundation than many traditionally raised mormon children. because i won’t simply trust that all the random mormons who teach my kids in primary, sunday school, YW/YM, and seminary think the same way i do. if anything, i think the difference in our religious beliefs will make j(wh) and i more involved and proactive about shaping our (hypothetical) children’s moral and spiritual foundation than the average mormon family.

    and i’m not married to him yet. though i want to marry him someday. 🙂

    sarah: i understand and share your concern about the openness of the mormon community. i would hope that a faith community would not be so petty in how it responds to others, but i know i can’t really expect that. i suppose i respond to the concern in a couple of ways. 1. trying to be in touch enough with my kids that i hear about such instances; and 2. making sure that my kids have a diverse enough community that when some freaky mormon makes them feel bad because they’re from a part-member family or because they’re black or whatever, they’ll realize that those individuals aren’t like the other people in their larger community.

    and i think randy bott’s statement about his daughters being better off dead than married outside the temple is utterly unconscionable. what a truly awful thing to say.

    as for your last concern–about separating the opinions/behavior of church members from doctrine, i think you should read levi peterson’s article i referenced. if you go here:

    http://www.dialoguejournal.com/content/

    you can search back issues and find it. i found it beautiful.

    caroline: thanks for calling attention to the importance of shared values. i think it’s such a mistake to believe that if two people don’t share a religion, they therefore don’t share beliefs and values and morals. nothing could be further from the truth. why would two people get married if they didn’t share those things?

    and i like your idea of talking to kids about beliefs. i realize that to a certain extent that’s an idealized vision of how things can be. but at the same time i think we far too often sell short our children and their ability to think and consider and understand truth.

    mraynes and jessawhy: i appreciate your calling attention to the fact that any set of parents must navigate the differences between their beliefs. i really think it’s a mistake for a couple to assume they’re on the same wavelength in terms of spiritual and religious beliefs simply because they’re both mormon. no marriage is without its challenges in terms of reconciling different beliefs and understandings. while those differences may be more apparent in an interfaith marriage, i don’t think that necessarily means they’re insurmountable. it could, in fact, mean they’re more workable (as long as the two partners are willing to do the work) since they’re more visible.

  13. amelia says:

    okay, so after that long comment, a little more. do put up with me a bit longer. 🙂

    isaac: i really appreciate your comment and completely agree with you about every marriage requiring a negotiation of differing beliefs. and i really like your suggestion about exposing children to a wide variety of religions. i’ve thought about that–going to visit another church every once in a while–as a means of removing some of the potential for competition between our two religions. you know–letting children know that there are many ways people experience the divine. and that many of them do have the kinds of commonalities you identify.

    in addition to community, i think faith is also about history and heritage. maybe those things are caught up in ‘community.’ but i just keep coming back to the fact that even if i were to stop practicing mormonism (which i don’t envision ever happening), i’d still be mormon. it’s part of me.

    jana: the simple answer is yes. i have the purest, strongest faith i’ve ever experienced in j(wh), in myself, and in god. i could not experience the peace and joy that i am experiencing in this relationship if i didn’t. even when j(wh) and i have had difficult conversations about this (and other topics), i continue to experience that peace and trust. it’s incredible. and beautiful.

  14. sunlize says:

    I am in a very similar situation to you where I am LDS and the boyfriend (hopefully future husband) is not. Except for I very recently converted to my religion, while my boyfriend remains mainline/liberal Protestant. Like j(wh), J (my boyfriend) is concerned about exposed our (hypothetical) kids to mormonism. He’s afraid that some things that the church teaches are damaging – and I agree. But many of the things the church teaches are wonderful! The question is, can kids filter out the bad and embrace the good like I do as an adult? Not without guidance.

    If I had the perfect interfaith family (though nothing ever goes to plan) I would teach them both my and J’s religions and treat them equally. I would be very careful to discuss what the kids heard in primary, and to modify any damaging ideas that they received. This should be repeated with J’s religion. J thinks that it’s best that a family is united in faith and only attends one church. I think that it’s perfectly fine to attend two church services and let the kids decide when they are old enough.

    Most importantly, before I build an interfaith family, I and J must be a truly interfaith couple. He and I need to fully respect and accept each other’s religion. We must be able to say, “I love you and I want to be a part of anything that is important to you. Teach me about your beliefs. I’ll listen with an open heart and only ask questions to clarify things.” I would like J to take lessons from the missionaries, and if/when he joins a church in his new city, I’ll participate in the new member class. J and I aren’t to this point yet, but I believe that once we are, the issues around raising children in an interfaith marriage will diminish greatly.

    So it’s a struggle and I know J is upset that I’ve joined a church without him – especially a church that he would not choose for himself. We talk talk talk about it, and I try not to get upset about it. It’s one thing to go into a relationship where you know that you’ll be an interfaith couple, and it’s quite another to make that change in the midst of it all.

    ps – I know it’s hard, but ignore those crazy, hurtful things people write on the internet. Just look into your heart and you’ll know what’s right. 🙂

  15. Melanie2 says:

    I find it ironic and sad that this post–calling for tolerance and love–has prompted a string of comments so critical and dismissive of Randy Bott and those who share his view on this topic.

    Amelia, it sounds like you and j(wh) are working this through and are in a good place to build the type of family you envision. Certainly it is possible to build a loving, successful interfaith family–I know many such families!

    On the other hand, an interfaith family is not what everyone wants–I know, because it’s not what I want. For me, my choice is to stay single until I have the opportunity for a temple marriage (and yes, I realize that’s no magic guarantee, that any type of marriage requires a huge amount of work, etc.). I feel so strongly about that for myself that I’m certain I will feel the same way about my children–isn’t it only natural that a parent wants the same things for their children that they want for themselves? Of course I can’t speak for Randy Bott, but I suspect that’s somewhere along the lines of where he is coming from–I think it is *because* he cares about his daughters that he says what he does, not because he wants to cause them pain. Can’t we give him a break? I think this church is big enough for all of us, and the Botts, too.

  16. gladtobeamom says:

    This is a hard one. That is why you cant find much. I think each individual marriage has to find for themselves how it works.

    My husband decided he was done with the church on Sunday. It is hard on a marriage to not be on the same page. It is hard when each of you want to teach your kids different things. I was shocked when he asked if this meant I would leave him. I dont think it is that simple. I told he no way. I love him and we have a good marriage.

    Where we go from here I am not sure. We both love our children and want the best for them. We both agree that Christ’s teaching are something they need and if they following those teaching it will help them in their lives. How this all comes about will happen one step at a time.

    I will not force my children. So some of it is up to them and what they choose. I just want to encourage them to be good people who are kind to others and make choices that will keep them from many of the pains you can experience when choosing to sin.

    It is hard because I know there will be have to be compromises on both sides. Compromises on things I thought I would never compromise on.

    Good luck to you. I know the Lord loves all of us and in the end if we look for His direction on behalf of our children. He will guide us in what they will need.

  17. amelia says:

    sunlize: thanks for sharing your experience. i think you’re right that it’s important that each partner respect the other’s beliefs. without that, i doubt an interfaith marriage/family could work. the concern about making a change of religion after a relationship has begun reminds me of some of what i read about mormon couples in which one partner left the church. the situation is a little different, but some of the feelings are the same. it might be helpful to read some of what’s available about those experiences. good luck.

    melanie2: i appreciate your comment, also. of course there’s room in the church for all kinds of perspectives, including yours–i.e., preferring to remain single until you have the opportunity to marry in the temple.

    i want to be very clear that my comment about randy bott’s attitude has nothing to do with either 1. preferring to remain single oneself until one can marry in the temple; or 2. preferring temple marriage for one’s children.

    my own parents prefer that i marry in the temple. that has caused some difficult conversations between them and me. but while my parents feel very strongly about how important it is that i marry in the temple, they also recognize that i am the only one who can receive revelation about who and how i marry. so they accept that i should be the one to make that choice, regardless of their view.

    what i find unconscionable in randy bott’s reported statement is not his preference that his children marry in the temple–not hoping his children have the same blessing he have. what’s unconscionable, in my opinion, is that his expression of that desire (i’d rather they die than marry outside the temple) proscribes his children’s right to revelation for themselves about who to marry. it implies an inability to accept and love one’s own children regardless of whether they make the same decisions one made for oneself. and it reinforces all of the misinterpretations of the church’s teaching about marriage that i listed in my post.

    i agree that we should tolerate all kinds of perspectives and ideas in the church. i especially think that on the issue of marriage. but i do not think we should tolerate hyperbolic statements that imply such violence to other people’s (even our own children’s) spiritual autonomy. i realize that what inspired his comment was likely a desire that his children have the same blessing he has had and a conviction that sealing is vital. but in my mind those feelings do not justify the mode of expression he chose. i’m a firm believer that language has power beyond the intent behind what’s spoken. and i believe we have a responsibility to use that power carefully. i don’t think we should tolerate careless use of langague.

  18. amelia says:

    gladtobeamom: thank you so much for sharing your own experience. i’ve watched friends navigate the situation you find yourself in and i know it can be difficult. but i also know it can be done.

    i’m glad that, in spite of the difference of opinion over what church to participate in, you and your husband recognize where you have the same desires for your children–teaching them about christ and his gospel. in such situations i think recognizing that you still have common ground and similar hopes for your children must be a vital beginning point. i’m sure that, while your new course will present challenges, you’ll be able to maintain your good marriage and be good parents as long as you act in love, as it sounds like you have.

    as for resources: you might take a look at faces east (i linked to it in my post). there was some good conversation there. and i really thought heidi hart’s article was a great look at a marriage in which one partner left mormonism. that article is not available online, but i could mail you a photocopy of it if you’d like. email me at whilikers at hotmail dot com if you’re interested. she also has a book which would be a bit easier to find–grace notes. jana mentioned it above.

  19. Melanie2 says:

    Amelia – You make a great point about the power of language and our responsibility in using it carefully. But I don’t think Bott is advocating violence, spiritually or otherwise. I see a major difference between “I would rather my daughter die than do X” and “I will kill my daughter if she contemplates doing X.” Nor did his statement say anything about how he would actually treat a daughter who chose contrary to his wishes for her, or how he would respond to her if she told him that she felt prompted to do something he disagreed with.

    I took Bott’s mission prep class years ago, and while I don’t remember the specifics (or if this particular marriage discussion ever came up that semester), I know that the class as a whole did focus on the importance of agency, personal revelation, etc. Putting myself in his shoes, teaching a roomful of prospective missionaries, my priority would be getting them to focus on worthy preparation–and I think it’s pretty clear that the temple is major part of that. It may well be that making such a dramatic statement about the value of the temple–suggesting that anything less would be unthinkable for his daughters–was the best way to grab the attention of a bunch of 18-year-old boys.

  20. j(wh) says:

    Melanie2 says:

    You make a great point about the power of language and our responsibility in using it carefully. But I don’t think Bott is advocating violence, spiritually or otherwise. I see a major difference between “I would rather my daughter die than do X” and “I will kill my daughter if she contemplates doing X.” Nor did his statement say anything about how he would actually treat a daughter who chose contrary to his wishes for her, or how he would respond to her if she told him that she felt prompted to do something he disagreed with.

    I disagree with your view on the nuance of this wording. If I say, “I’d rather you die than make this choice,” it draws a clear line in the sand about my preferences. It says, quite clearly and dramatically, “this choice is more important to me than your life.”

  21. j(wh) says:

    Also, it’s jarring to hear a call for tolerance for those expressing intolerance.

  22. Melanie2 says:

    j(wh), I would see that differently because that would be you addressing me directly. (As you said in your example, “I’d rather *you* die…”). As far as we know, he was actually talking to a classroom of students, not to the daughter(s) in the position of making the choice. To me that makes the statement more categorical–in the same vein as other general preferences about how people live their lives. I think it’s possible to have very strong views about religious beliefs, politics, values, etc., and express those, and yet still treat those who disagree with us with love and respect (for them and for their agency).

    As far as tolerance of the intolerant goes–isn’t that what tolerance really is? It’s easy to deal with those with whom we agree; the difficulty is in tolerating those who annoy us. (Which I fully admit is one of my major faults!)

    Amelia, I’m sorry I’ve taken us so far off-track…I’ll step aside from the threadjack now.

  23. amelia says:

    i don’t think bott is advocating violence; i think he’s committing violence against his daughters’–and others’–spiritual autonomy when he makes a statement like that. i understand that such statements are rhetorically powerful–that they will in fact gain and hold attention, so much that they will be remembered long after the moment in which they are spoken. which increases the amount of violence they commit.

    why do i insist they commit violence against others’ spiritual autonomy? because those words–like most of the attitudes i encountered in the bloggernacle re: interfaith marriage–constitute an unjust and unwarranted exercise of force; because they do damage to others through distortion. (definitions of violence pulled from dictionary.com)

    no matter how pure bott’s intent was when he uttered those words, the fact is that they distort gospel principles. and they exert power over others–because they become mental and spiritual barriers to an individual making their own choice regarding marriage.

    why do i keep talking about bott’s statement? because i don’t think doing so is actually much of a threadjack. most of my bulleted points are, in spirit, very much like bott’s comment. and i believe that bott’s comment–as well as most of the bulleted points–violate tenets of the gospel.

    is it really preferable that an individual’s mortal opportunity to grow through experience, to repent of previous problems, to make the most use possible of the time god has given us on earth be cut short rather than that she/he marry outside the temple? i just cannot reconcile that with my understanding of the gospel. how does the notion that it’s better to never experience the deep love and commitment of marriage and parenting than to marry outside the temple work given the gospel’s emphasis on love? is it really better to die young, having not had the many various opportunities life gives to love others, than to marry outside the temple?

    the thought simply boggles my mind. i understand preferring to marry in the temple oneself; i understand preferring that one’s children marry in the temple; i do not understand preferring one’s children die rather than marry outside the temple.

    i know some would justify that last preference by arguing that the next life is a drastic improvement on this life. but i stand by my first paragraph of questions here. i cannot understand why, if this life is necessary as a period in which we grow in ways necessary for our eternal progression, it’s ever preferable that someone die. the peace of the next life may be a means of reassuring ourselves about the inevitable loss of a loved one, but i cannot understand it as a justification for preferring that loved one die rather than _________ (insert whatever un-ideal, but still fulfilling choice you’d like there).

    thus my astonishment and my anger when i read the various comments i listed in my post. i simply cannot understand the kinds of attitudes that cannot recognize that in the absence of the ideal, a situation that is still incredibly wonderful is a good thing.

    and quite frankly, i don’t think temple marriage is the ideal. i think a strong, loving, growing marriage is the ideal. i think that starting a marriage with a temple sealing may help in the pursuit of that ideal. but i also believe that ideal can be pursued outside the bonds of temple sealing.

  24. amelia says:

    one more quick thing: i think this kind of comment (like bott’s)–so exclusive and thoughtless in the effort to drive home a point so thoroughly that the listeners would be manipulated into accepting it–is one of the kinds of things that causes j(wh) to fear raising his (hypothetical) children within mormonism. please do correct me if i’m wrong, j(wh).

    it’s certainly one of the things i vehemently dislike about mormonism.

  25. j(wh) says:

    No, that’s pretty much exactly the wackiness that I’m talking about.

  26. j(wh) says:

    Though there’s plenty more cultural stuff that I see as really hurtful.

  27. Melanie2 says:

    Amelia,
    Yes, of course a strong, loving, growing marriage is possible outside of the temple. I agree, and I never meant to imply otherwise. That’s exactly the type of marriage I want, but I also want the temple aspect. I won’t move forward with a relationship unless both components are there–I hope it’s clear that I’m not advocating a temple marriage for its own sake if love, respect, growth, and so on are not also present.

    My own decision (to remain single until that type of marriage, in the temple, is possible) is the result of very specific personal revelation. I would not deny anyone’s privilege to receive exactly the opposite prompting and to act on it.

    On the other hand, as important as agency and personal revelation are, I don’t think it is inappropriate for the church (and thus, the body of members)to have an institutional preference for marriage to other members, in the temple. Indeed, I think it would be absurd to have the doctrine that we have about the temple, eternal families, and so on, and then not privilege those ordinances.

    That type of preference can, I believe, extend to religion professors at BYU or to parents, and I simply disagree that having a general preference is problematic or manipulative. Hyperbolic statements expressing that opinion are just that: hyperbolic. In my mind, over-the-top is not necessarily manipulative.

    Unfortunately, I’m afraid there will always be those in the church who do make ill-advised, rude, and judgmental comments about others’ choices. (By this point, you may think I’m one of them, though you’ll just have to trust me that that is not my intent at all.)

    Certainly some of those bullet points you listed are incredibly hurtful and demeaning. Still, I do see how some of those points stem from real gospel principles (albeit with strong doses of zeal and judgment), so I don’t see them as having the same violent quality that you seem to see.

    I get the sense–though please correct me if I’m wrong–that you and I disagree on the nature of Mormonism and what it encompasses. I think our differing perspectives have a lot to do with how we see comments such as Bott’s so differently.

    I hesitate to start picking apart those bullet points, but to give one example: one point suggests that a member marrying a non-member has married someone who does not share the same values. Whether or not that might be true in a given case depends greatly on what we consider to be “values.” Values like love, charity, compassion, forgiveness, integrity, faith, humility, repentance, etc. obviously transcend Mormonism. But what of temple ordinances and eternal families? What about the church’s teachings about the nature of God, the authority of the priesthood, the divine origins of the Book of Mormon and latter-day revelation? Surely those principles/beliefs–which I include in my own definition of values–do not extend to most non-members. What that difference in beliefs means to any specific relationship will vary, but I think that distinction between “values” is real for a significant number of members. Thus, you can see your values as identical to j(wh)’s, while others might think–based on their different definition–that your values are different, or at least only partially aligned.

    Given what I perceive as our conflicting views, what do you say we agree to disagree?

  28. amelia says:

    agreeing to disagree is often a wonderful thing. 🙂 and i don’t at all think you’ve made rude or inappropriate comments, melanie–you’ve maintained a perfectly appropriate tone throughout and i genuinely appreciate your perspective. what good are these conversations if they don’t include multiple perspectives?

    i agree that the church as a whole, and its members as a body, should express a preference for mormons marrying in the temple. i have no problem with that. my problem is with the kinds of exclusionary and (in my opinion) unjustifiable extensions of that.

    i completely understand your point about differing understandings of what constitutes “values.” i’m sure you’re right in surmising that a large part of our disagreement over some of these things stems from different understandings of what constitutes a “value” and of our different perspectives on mormonism. i readily admit that my perspective on mormonism is a little heterodox (though i don’t think it’s unorthodox).

    what i would hope is that we all have charity when it comes to looking at other people and their choices. which, to my mind, means someone assumes, as a default, that two people who choose to marry each other do in fact have values in common, rather than assuming that such commonality is impossible simply because that person couldn’t imagine such a thing for him/herself (just one example).

    i try very diligently to look at others’ choices with charity, assuming they act with integrity and good intent. heaven knows i don’t always succeed. but i do try. i would hope others would, too. but when i read an entire conversation of nearly 400 comments in which the kinds of attitudes i listed above are expressed ad infinitum ad nauseum–well i get a little discouraged. and a little angry.

  29. E says:

    Thanks for your response. I wish you the best in your relationship with this wonderful man. I think you have a very challenging situation; it’s hard for me to see a solution that doesn’t seem likely to cause conflict. I’ve certainly seen many successful interfaith marriages, but never one where one or both partners think the other person’s church is a threat they need to protect their children from. I would consider professional counseling to help the two of you come to specific agreement about exactly what you will teach your children, before you decide to have them. As it stands, it still seems to me that raising them as Quakers may be the way to go.

  30. amelia says:

    thanks for your good wishes, E. and i agree with you re: counseling. but then, i think pre-marriage counseling is a good idea for just about any couple. it’s something i think is too often overlooked in our church. i know couples go through a series of interviews with their bishop/stake president, but from what i understand i don’t think those interviews involve the kind of counseling one would get from a professional.

  31. Zenaida says:

    For some reason I feel compelled to add my support to amelia’s stance that a statement like “I’d rather my daughters were dead than married outside the temple.” I can only think how I would feel having that comment spoken by my own father in a public environment full of strangers. I think it is highly inappropriate. If he is comfortable saying that, he should be comfortable enough to say to my face, “I would rather you die than marry outside the temple.” I do not think passive threats like that belong anywhere in a father-daughter relationship.

    Also, being in an interfaith relationship myself, I couldn’t help but go through the laundry list you posted, amelia, and I am saddened. I feel like I’m going to have to grow a thicker skin.

    In personal experience, I remember the feeling of trying to squish myself into the image of what I thought the Mormon men I dated were looking for. In the last couple years, I’ve let go and decided to be myself. That allowed me to be open to relationships outside the church, and I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time.

  32. Zenaida says:

    I realized I didn’t finish this thought: For some reason I feel compelled to add my support to amelia’s stance that a statement like “I’d rather my daughters were dead than married outside the temple,” is nothing but harmful.

  33. Zenaida says:

    I changed my mind. I don’t need a thicker skin. I need that peaceful assurance that you seem to have along with the faith, and that comes with time.

  34. sarah says:

    First, I apologize for using the name of the person who made the comment. That was completely irrelevant to the discussion, and is just the sort of thing I would normally find irritating, since it has the possibility of coloring people’s opinion of the speaker, religion classes at BYU, BYU itself, etc., etc. Perhaps Melanie2 had a great experience in that class, and perhaps the offending statement was not made during the time she took it. My bringing up who said it was construed as a criticism of the speaker, and his name just should have been left out. I guess I just wanted to emphasize that this sort of thing goes on in the mainstream church, even at “The Lord’s University”.

    I also cannot help but disagree that the statement was made in a passive or hyperbolic sense. Every kid in that classroom heard it, and reacted some way. Maybe some nodded with agreement, knowing in their hearts that their parents also would rather see them dead that married outside the temple. Maybe some made the decision on the spot to only marry in the temple, only to ignore promptings later on to get involved with someone who was a good person, but not a member. Using the temple as a measuring stick, to me, can express doubt in the plan of salvation, which includes the ability for people to change, to repent, to accept the gospel, to be sealed in the temple after 20 years of happy marriage. In that way, the exclusionary view of the temple being the only viable option other than death can hurt both the people who have made that choice, and those who will never be touched by them because of the choice.

    Which is not at all to say that I don’t respect people who do wish to be married there. I just wish people would see that it’s not the end of the world if they don’t. It’s not a sin, it won’t necessarily cause unhappiness, it’s not a sure road to divorce. I also wish that when someone makes the decision to marry elsewhere, their friends and family members and acquaintances from church would embrace the decision and the new family member, without recrimination at a choice that would not have been their own, or hurtful or pitying comments, or talking to others with that whispered emphasis “they didn’t get married in the temple… gasp!” as if it were somehow evil.

  35. amelia says:

    zenaida: i understand the frustration with trying to fit expectations when one is dating. i don’t think i did it very often. but it hurt that the expectations were there. which sounds odd. i k now that dating is always a process of finding someone who meets expectations on some level. but mormon dating feels more pressured than that–like people always come to dating with this preconceived notion of what a spouse should be and they immediately start measuring the other person against that ideal. i’m sure non-mormons do it, too. but in my experience dating non-mormons, it’s been so much more about exploring and discovering who the other person is, rather than measuring them against a checklist. which seems so much more healthy.

    and you’re right. the peaceful assurance does come with time. i didn’t have it early on. and because i didn’t, j(wh) and i are lucky i made it to date 4. 🙂

    and sarah–thank you for your comment. especially the last paragraph. a marriage should always be a time for celebration and joy. for family or friends to be more focused on their own disappointed expectations than on their loved one’s joy simply seems wrong on so many levels.

  36. Kaimi says:

    “interested in exploring the goodness where it lays, in coming to understand how the goodness in mormonism and the goodness outside mormonism work together to make a beautiful world.”

    That seems like a great goal — drawing from the good in both traditions.

    “i don’t particularly want to repeat the extremely long, extremely hurtful discussion that happened at times & seasons a few years ago; ”

    I’m sorry that you found that thread hurtful, Amy. As someone who commented on that thread, I’m not sure what to make of that reaction. The thread essentially consisted of Julie saying that interfaith marriages are inherently bad, followed by every other bloggernacle regular who commented — Russell, Lisa, Melissa, me, even Adam Greenwood — telling her that she was wrong. She even called herself “the cheese standing alone” by the end of comments. It seemed pretty clear that Julie’s position (interfaith = bad) was the outlier.

    “Amelia,
    Thanks for this thoughtful post! I’m glad to have someone to share Mondays with :)”

    Wait — you share Mondays? So I have to wait 2 weeks for Jess, and 2 weeks for Amy? Grumble.

    “While at BYU, I took the missionary prep class taught by Randy Bott, and of all the many motivational things he said, the single thing I remember from that full semester is when he told the class that he would rather his daughters died than marry outside the temple. ”

    A stupid, bullshit attitude that’s unfortunately not uncommon. Or at least, people say it. I don’t know if they’d _actually_ prefer a dead child. Either way, it’s an awful way to try to make a rhetorical point.

  37. Jessawhy says:

    Kaimi,
    I haven’t read the T&S thread Amy is referring to, but I’ve always found your comments to be very tolerant and supportive.
    Thanks, btw, for looking forward to my posts, but I am running out of angst to blog about. (well, that’s not exactly true, running out of time is more like it)

    You’ll be so delighted (as my 5 yo would say) to hear that MRaynes is sharing a spot on Mondays as well. (I think the schedule is MRaynes, Jess, Amy, Jess)
    We’re really excited to have her blogging with us.

  38. Kaimi says:

    “I haven’t read the T&S thread Amy is referring to, but I’ve always found your comments to be very tolerant and supportive.”

    Thanks – I’m glad you like them. (I do try to be supportive.)

    “Thanks, btw, for looking forward to my posts, but I am running out of angst to blog about. (well, that’s not exactly true, running out of time is more like it)”

    Well, you can always blog about unwinding the angst — that’s fine, too. 🙂

    I do understand the real life constraints, though. My own blogging goes inevitably in cycles, depending on real life.

    “You’ll be so delighted (as my 5 yo would say) to hear that MRaynes is sharing a spot on Mondays as well. (I think the schedule is MRaynes, Jess, Amy, Jess)
    We’re really excited to have her blogging with us.”

    Hey, that is good. I like MRaynes’s comments. And you women have a good track record at adding new bloggers.

    Well, it may have started out kinda sketchy, what with the unipedal, camera-wielding maniac and “no flower unphotographed.” But it’s gone well enough since then, and . . . hey, stop hitting me!

    😛

  39. amelia says:

    i suppose i should clarify “hurtful”:

    i found it hurtful because even in the face of so much thoughtful, reasonable explanation why marrying outside the temple is not the end of the world, julie (and others) continued to hammer on the same point over and over. and to do so in an incredibly callous way that showed absolutely no consideration for anyone else’s experience. and i heard in that the voice of the mormon mainstream. and it’s hurtful to me that that mainstream could be so thoughtless about a person’s feelings. that they could dismiss a marriage as sinful or misguided or bound to destroy children when, for the two people (getting) married, it’s actually a source of great joy.

    i very much appreciated all of the efforts at reasoned and thoughtful counterargument. but none of them made any difference to julie.

    i don’t really care what other people think of my relationship. not in a way that would allow their thoughts to shape my choices. but, being a human being and therefore a social animal, i of course would like my family and community to recognize and celebrate the joy and happiness i’ve experienced in my relationship. to realize that instead that community will deem it sinful or misguided or destructive–well that hurts, even if it won’t affect my choices re: the relationship. though it may affect where i choose to find community.

    it’s one of the reasons that, if i do marry outside the temple, i will not have a mormon bishop/stake president perform the ceremony.

  40. One thing that I’ve never understood is why so many Mormons think that it’s like THE END if you marry a non-member, that you’re throwing away your eternal salvation, etc, etc. I’m married to a non-member. It hasn’t always been easy, but I don’t regret it because it was the right decision for ME. (You can find out why if you read the posting called “The Marriage Mission” on my blog.) We’re a church who actually believes in the opportunity of sorting out details in the hereafter through proxy during mortal life, whether through baptism for the dead or sealings. So the way I look at it, even if we both die being only civilly married, why can’t someone in this life do my husband’s temple work and have us sealed, including any children we may have someday? He might not accept it in this life, but maybe he will in the next. Who knows? Anyone who says that’s not a possibility is contradicting a fundamental Mormon belief. Or am I wrong?

  41. Zenaida says:

    amelia, I’ve never attended a wedding in which a member and a non-member were married. I tend to agree with you that I would not have a bishop perform a ceremony like that for me, but I’m not sure where that comes from. I have this sense that it would not be the joyful celebration I would want it to be.

  42. amelia says:

    i’ve attended a handful, zenaida. and the thing that always struck me was that there seemed to be this emphasis on the fact that the marriage ended at death. i’m not sure why it struck me that way. it could just be a factor of having been raised thinking about eternal marriages and knowing that the wedding i witnessed didn’t begin an eternal marriage–not in mormon terms. having been raised in the mormon church i am conditioned to feel that way, just like so many others. i’m sure that’s part of it.

    but i’m sure it’s not the entirety of it. i’ve also always been struck by the absence of celebration during these ceremonies. they’re very short. the vows can’t be changed at all by any of the participants. i don’t know. they just don’t feel celebratory. in contrast to the weddings of non-members i’ve been to. i was at one last month and it was beautiful. a joyous celebration of these two people’s love for each other. and i think that it was that way in large part because they, as a couple, were able to shape the ceremony as they wanted it to be. which i like.

  43. I think a lot depends on the individual bishop and his personality. My bishop at the time was actually a huge help in helping me make the decision to get married in the first place. I was very torn because I also was born and raised in the Church and although my parents didn’t raise me with the mindset that I had to get married in the temple, we all know that it’s everywhere in Mormon culture. So, I was actually very surprised when my bishop was nothing but encouraging, taking the time to fast and pray with me until I felt it was right, and then performing the ceremony. My husband and I were the ones who wanted it very minimal and simple, but the bishop gave a wonderful “sermon” on love, marriage, and although he talked about the possibility of temple marriage (which I didn’t object to), I never got the feeling he was looking down upon us for marrying outside the temple. Everyone who attended the wedding, including many non-members, were thoroughly impressed by him. I was also especially impressed that he didn’t use the line “until death do you part,” but rather “for as long as you both shall live.”

    So I have no regrets about getting married in the chapel by the bishop. I wouldn’t have wanted to invite the whole ward, but that’s just the way I am. I only needed those around me who I knew cared about us and had our best interests at heart.

  44. TMD says:

    Amelia,

    I’m a child of a part-member family, and currently a young single adult in the church. We were raised catholic (my father’s faith), but with a great deal of exposure to my the LDS church (the faith of my mother, who is incidentally one of two members of an RS stake presidency whose husbands are not members).

    When I joined the church, as a 20-year old, despite years of obvious interest in the church, it was a problem. My Dad tried very hard to convince me not to. I know it caused a series of very difficult fights between my parents. My father now objects to my mom paying tithing on her income–something that was not true in the past–will no longer come to church with my mom on special occasions–which he did in the past–and often objects when there are ‘too many mormons’ coming to visit (not missionaries, vt’s or ht’s, just my mom’s friends). So long as we kids weren’t interested, he was fine with her participation, was fine with the church. Once I joined, everything changed. So, based on your representation of your boyfriend, and those of the person representing themselves as your boyfriend, you need to be sure that his acceptance of the church in your life will extend to the eventuality of your children’s enthusiastic membership; the representations of him give me pause that this would be the case.

    More generally, do you care if your kids make gospel including the priesthood, part of their lives? Because the odds are that they won’t if you follow this course, just because this often happens in families where the are religious divides–it’s evident in my own family–I’m LDS, one sister is catholic, and the third is entirely uninterested in religion. Which has provided lots of heartache for both parents, as they have both sought for us to believe in things they deeply believe in. I don’t know you, but perhaps this is ok with you–the church does not seem to be the first place you look for your beliefs, so this might be fine with you. But you should be sure about your answers here before you proceed.

  45. amelia says:

    i just wanted to thank you for sharing your experience, TMD. i hope that the hard parts of that experience ease with time.

    the eventuality of our (hypothetical) children joining the mormon church is something j(wh) and i have talked about. he believes that, so long as they make the choice as adults, he would be accepting of that. i think his biggest concern is the way a total immersion in mormonism could shape children before they’re old enough to make carefully considered decisions for themselves. which is something i can respect because religion is so important to me. i don’t think one’s religious beliefs should be anything but carefully considered.

    i know him well enough that i trust he would accept his adult children’s decisions, even if they were choices he would not make for himself. and i believe i would do the same. for both of us the most important thing is the principles and values that inform our beliefs, rather than the form the beliefs take.

  46. Zenaida says:

    I would be accepting of my adult children’s choices as well, but it’s 18 years to adulthood, sometimes longer. I was tempted to ask a what if question here, but I think the point is that you can’t prepare for every single eventuality. The only thing you can do as a parent is the best you can.

  47. Stephanie says:

    I have a friend with a Catholic mother and a Jewish father. I think the parents decided to raise the kids with both religions and then let them choose. She is now 25 and while not a super devout Catholic, she definitely tends towards the Christian side. This partly has to do with the fact that he father didn’t put in much effort to teaching her and her brother about Judaism. When they moved to Canada when she was a child, her parents assumed they would need to put their kids in private school (evidently this was the case in Peru) and so they enrolled them in Catholic school. Anyway, apparently now the father seems slightly hurt that the kids didn’t “pick his side” but come on, man, you put them in Catholic school.

    Anyway, I think it’s good that one of the big things being considered here is how to raise the children. I’m surprised that some people have a hard time understanding how being raised in a typical Mormon fashion could cause pain. Or maybe I shouldn’t be. I suppose this has to do with the fact that lately I have become acutely aware of how indoctrinated I am… I have really been pondering about whether I could feel good about really raising my future children in the church…

  48. TMD says:

    Stephanie, I think that at least for me, the idea that the mormon experience is uniquely painful is this issue. Unless someone is in a faith community that lacks any kind of community and interpersonal dynamics, and lacks any kind of coherent or strongly held beliefs, the same things will apply. There are no fewer “pain problems” being raised Catholic, Orthodox, Jewish (well, maybe not some of the reform varieties, which are almost UU anyways, but certainly conservative and orthodox).

  49. Stephanie says:

    TMD, you may be right. But I am slightly inclined to believe that the LDS obsession with the idea that it is the ONLY true church makes it slightly more pernicious.

  50. Kiri Close says:

    Rob and I have decided that our kids will be LDS…with a twist (heh heh). Stay tuned for more of my mommy manipulations, exponent style.

  51. Kiri Close says:

    And come to think of it, I want to explicate this term ‘interfaith’ here.

    Before Christianity and its mythologies reached the Samoan islands, us native islanders had our own ideas and worshippings toward ‘god’/’gods’. The ancient pre-Christian beliefs are a part of me (gods ie, Nafanua, Pili, Salamasina, etc.) most notably in Samoan linguistics (I am fluent in my native tongue).

    Reprising the pre-contact religions and ‘faiths’ in my life is my way of ‘faasolo le faaSamoa’, or further flourishing of my Samoan culture (part of the ‘twist’ I mentioned in my previous post).

    In this regard, the ‘split’ between two camps of ‘faith’ (affiliated with this particular forum’s use of the term ‘interfaith’) is not so much between me & my nonmember husband Rob.

    No, no! The two entities of ‘interfaith’ here lie within me, and me only: Christian LDS “vs.” Pre-Christian deities & ritual.

    In this situation, my husband Rob being a nonmember is kind of an afterthought, really (to him, loving & following Jesus is his innate religion – add to that his newfounded disgust for Brigham, Joseph, McConkie and the other Mormon weirdos).

    Hmmm…i’ll hafta think more upon this dilemma of mine: colonized, native Pacific Islander who hates and loves her LDS membership.

Leave a Reply