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The Houri

I was recently invited to join the group “Do You Have Your Eternal Buddy? We Do! We need you addresses” on facebook. The group picture was a close-up of the beautiful engagement ring and the youngsters looked rosy and happy and full of delight. I really couldn’t bring myself to click the “join” button. I’m just NOT that sentimental about engaged couples anymore. It seems to me, somehow along the way, that my generation missed the marriage boat in pursuit of other things or lack of options. Or maybe, as Stephen Colbert writes so eloquently, I went shoe shopping when I was supposed to go to the gym and thus I missed meeting my soul mate. I’m kind of ok with that, but many of my single and active LDS friends are not. They want to be married. In a culture where a righteous Celestial marriage is the highest accomplishment, you sort of grow up wanting that. I spent a good deal of my twenties wanting it myself, though luckily I’ve been able to step out of the culture and realize it might actually not be for me.

Holidays and farewells bring lots of friends together. Recently, I was speaking with several of my active LDS friends, all intelligent and capable women in their 30s, about marriage. This isn’t that unusual. But as the discussion was heading down the routes and lanes it ALWAYS heads down with them (because, if you want a temple marriage, there’s really only one road to get it) I realized how easy and naturally the placating of desires came to them.  “But, it’s ok if it doesn’t happen, because in the next life, I’ll marry Captain Moroni.” or “Well, if it doesn’t happen now, I’ll get my reward in heaven if I can just stay faithful!” All of them, without a doubt, believe firmly that if they sacrifice their desires for marriage and children in this life and hold firm for that perfect celestial marriage, but it doesn’t happen– then the promise is assured that it will happen in the next. And as I sat there and watched the conversations unfold, I thought….this sounds a lot like what suicide bombers believe. Do this and this and you’ll get this reward in heaven. When you learn that most are promised 72 virgins in heaven, it all sounds so incredulous. How could a person REALLY believe that 72 virgins await them? It’s insane right?!  Unless they were brainwashed into believing it so they could be controlled by their religious institution to a certain point. But the LDS church wouldn’t do that, right? That’s only eastern religions that do that, isn’t it?

In some recent thoughts and studies about Islam, I googled “What are muslim martyrs promised after death” and came up with a wide variety of information. One article stood out which introduced me to a new word: “Houri”. Apparently, the houri are described  as “(splendid) companions of equal age (well-matched)”, “lovely eyed”, of “modest gaze”, “voluptuous”, “pure beings” , “restraining their glances (chaste)”, “like pearls”, “virgins” as well as other descriptions. And the Houri are promised to the righteous, including martyrs, in the afterlife. In an article over at The Guardian it quotes the  an interview with a Hamas activist Muhammad Abu Wardeh, who recruited terrorists for suicide bombings in Israel. Abu Wardeh was quoted as saying: “I described to him how God would compensate the martyr for sacrificing his life for his land. If you become a martyr, God will give you 70 virgins, 70 wives and everlasting happiness.” Obviously, this post isn’t meant to draw deep comparisons (I’d have to be much more clear and informed than I am now). And I know the comparison I made is a shocking one without a lot of hold or strength…but it did worry me that my thoughts could even go there. It will upset many of you and it has upset me as well.

In one of the many talks given to single people in the church, the repeatedly vague promise was voiced again, “Some of my closest and most admired friends have never married in this life. One of my mother’s dear friends, who served as her counselor in the stake Relief Society presidency, was a retired lieutenant colonel from the United States Army. She was a beautiful, cultured, intelligent woman whose encouragement was of great value to me and many others. She died with faith and poise, having earned a great reward. I know she yet will have an experience equivalent to that enjoyed by women in choice mortal families. No joy, priesthood ordinance, or family experience will be denied her.”

Why does the Islamic claim seem ridiculous to you, but the LDS one does not?

This got me thinking about ALL of the amazing, intelligent, beautiful, sexy, nurturing women I know who don’t even date. They don’t date because, as I hear it, there aren’t as many righteous men their ages as there are women. Most righteous men, to fall into the “righteous” category that is, did their duty and got married in their twenties like they were supposed to. So many of them long to be wives and mothers, others long for it because it’s what they’ve been taught to long for, many ask questions like “what is wrong with me?”, “it must be my fault somehow?”, “it’s a trial I have to deal with” and on and on and on until I want to scream at all the wasted energy that must have some better solution than what’s currently presented.

What do you think? Would the church fall apart if these women married outside of their faith? Would the marriages survive? Should we teach people to date a person for who they are instead of what they believe? Is there a solution to this major issue regarding single women of the LDS faith?

While this doctrine is definitely vague, is it dangerous? Is it preventing people for experiencing life on earth because they are waiting for a better version in heaven? Discuss.

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33 Responses

  1. newt says:

    Well, I think what a person believes IS a part of who s/he is, that it is made manifest in the way they live their life.

    That said I’m pretty much with you on this, D’Arcy. I don’t see anything wrong with members marrying virtuous, principled people outside the church. I do think it is a generational thing. The stigma seems to be abating.

    There are, however, obviously issues with dating outside the Mormon pool, as Elna Baker or others state so thoughtfully.

    As a single twenty-five-year-old woman in this religion, I’m certainly open to dating and marriage outside the church. I would simply require that the boyfriend/spouse support me in my spiritual journey. As Seraphine points out, merely having membership in the same church doesn’t guarantee spiritual compatibility.

    I can’t preview this comment, somehow, so I hope it makes sense.

  2. Alisa says:

    D’Arcy, I think this is a very important discussion. The issue of living for the afterlife affects many LDS women I know.

    Course Correction’s post on a similar issue also has me thinking.

  3. Caroline says:

    I think that the comparison between Mormon and Muslim ideas of marriage in the afterlife are interesting, D’Arcy. I do see some differences however. For one thing, the 72 virgin promise seems to be in response to someone committing violence to oneself and to other people. That seems to put that promise in an entirely different class than the Mormon one, which promises that one will find an eternal companion in heaven for living a righteous (non-violent) life.

    That said, I fully, fully support any woman who chooses to marry outside the Mormon faith. This life is important – I wouldn’t sacrifice the happiness and companionship of good interfaith marriage in this life in order to hold out for some hope of a ‘celestial’ marriage in the next. No way. Like Course Correction mentioned on this subject, I think leaders might want to think about the Chieko Okazaki model – that of marrying a wonderful man of a different faith .

  4. Craig says:

    Why does the Islamic claim seem ridiculous to you, but the LDS one does not?

    I find them equally ridiculous. I find it difficult to see anything but extreme sexism and the desire to control women in the Mormon doctrines/teachings on “celestial” marriage. Men are to pursue the woman, a man is at fault is he’s not married but a woman isn’t, men get multiple women…

    Unless they were brainwashed into believing it so they could be controlled by their religious institution to a certain point.

    Exactly.

    While this doctrine is definitely vague, is it dangerous? Is it preventing people for experiencing life on earth because they are waiting for a better version in heaven?

    Yes, and yes.

    The unhealthy and unrealistic pressure Mormonism puts on people to marry quickly and young forces people together who aren’t right for each other, forces people into marriage who aren’t right for marriage, and puts an insane stigma on those who don’t fit into the narrow expectations. Mormonism teaches that you can’t be really happy unless 1) you live the commandments perfectly and 2) you’re sealed to someone. Both of those are lies. Neither one brings happiness, happiness exists outside of the “righteousness/wickedness” dichotomy, and if you can’t be happy in and of yourself, being married certainly isn’t going to fix that.

  5. Rebecca J says:

    this sounds a lot like what terrorists believe. Do this and this and you’ll get this reward in heaven.

    Seriously? Many–perhaps most–people who believe in an afterlife think that the quality of that afterlife depends at least a little on their actions in this life. If I believe that I’ll be rewarded with a never-ending supply of Reese’s peanut butter cups, that’s not any more or less ridiculous than believing that I’ll get married to Captain Moroni or have sex with 72 virgins, and it’s relatively harmless. The difference between me and a terrorist is that I don’t think I’m going to get my ridiculous reward in heaven by murdering innocent people on earth. It really is an important distinction.

    I assume that the real point you’re trying to make is that people shouldn’t deny themselves the joy of marriage and family on earth by refusing to marry outside the church in the hope that they’ll be rewarded for their faithfulness (in not marrying outside the church, assuming that constitutes faithfulness) in the next life. That’s a completely reasonable thing to say. Of course, if someone doesn’t want to marry outside the church, that’s their choice to make, but they shouldn’t feel like staying single is the only righteous option because that simply isn’t true.

  6. CatherineWO says:

    I did marry a very fine LDS man at a young age (21), so I don’t know how well I fit into this conversation. However, I spent quite a number of my adult years trying to conform to the picture painted for me of the perfect Mormon wife and mother, and I was very unhappy as a consequence. When a family move and financial circumstances tossed me into a less conventional role, I found a much happier path that I believe was no less rightous.
    I am disabled, so of course I have hope for what is to come in the next life, but I’m going to make the most of what I have now. I simply don’t have the patience to wait. I believe the scripture that says “…men [and presumably women] are that they might have joy.” Not everyone finds that joy in the same place or the same life course.

  7. D'Arcy says:

    I know my comparison was very harsh. I did it to make a stark point. In reality, Caroline, as I researched this topic in Islam (and spoke to a Muslim woman tonight during dinner) I found that the HUGE misconception is that you get promised the houri ONLY IF you are a martyr. That is in fact not true. You receive it if you are “righteous” and obviously that’s doesn’t equate with only those who martyr themselves, I believe the larger portion of Muslims are against such actions.

  8. Seraphine says:

    I’m also having difficulties with the comparison you’ve chosen to use, but I’m sympathetic to the point you are trying to make. I tend to be critical of any kind of claim that we should accept inequality, hardship, etc., in this life (i.e. “it’s just the way mortality is”) because the next life is promised to be better. And, to be honest, as an active single Mormon woman, I don’t find this discourse (i.e. my promised blessings in the next life) very comforting. I want to become the best person I can be now. I want to live a fulfilling life now. I want to make the world a better place now. And I do want marriage and a family now, and currently I’m feeling okay about achieving this goal by dating and marrying outside the church (as long as when it comes down to it–i.e. if I’m faced with this choice specifically–I feel like this is okay with God).

    That being said, I don’t want to dismiss that this kind of discourse can be comforting–I don’t think it should be used as an excuse for not living one’s life fully and making the world a better place, but I do think for people with very real trials (long-term illness, singleness, death of a loved one, etc.), promised eternal blessings can be comforting.

  9. z says:

    I think this post is just kind of muddled. I’m not clear on what the analogy to Islam is trying to accomplish. The premise seems to be that if one doesn’t accept another religion’s tenet of “do X and receive Y” that calls into question the similarly structured promise in Mormonism. But aren’t LDS people already at least somewhat committed to the idea that other religions don’t have all the right answers, and are wrong in a lot of important ways? So the thing about the houris would just be one more way in which Islam doesn’t have the right answers. Almost all religions make claims that seem preposterous to outsiders. Is the argument that one simply shouldn’t believe any religious claims that seem unlikely in the context of our current culture?

    Then it seems that some people are trying to say the promise about martyrdom and houris is different because it involves harm to others. I think the underlying idea here is that fulfilling the condition would be so transparently wicked that the promise cannot possibly be true. It’s a good point, but a different argument.

    Also, “Eternal Buddy”?! Please.

  10. Kelly Ann says:

    D’Arcy, You make an interesting comparison, that doesn’t really settle well with me either. However, it does bother how much some of my friends and church acquaintances rely on the notion of promised blessings. Particularly the acquaintance who says she is looking forward to polygamy in the afterlife. That has absolutely no appeal to me. I think some of them have missed the opportunity for other relationships as consequence.

    I never dated outside the LDS pool until about two years ago. And that meant I didn’t date much. And so when my non-LDS ex asked me out, I just thought it would be nice to go to dinner. But we became really good friends and at the time as still a very traditional Mormon, I had to make the decision if I was really ok not just dating but getting serious with someone outside the church. I am a little embarrassed with how much I struggled with it. But I felt God approved of it and that I didn’t need to worry about that fact. The relationship was more important. And even with the relationship ending in absolute heart break, I wouldn’t trade what I learned from dating my ex for anything. It can be a hard balancing act but I would marry a non-member if I found the right fit in the relationship. Because really what scares me more at this point is to date within the church. I recognize the relationship would be interfaith and I am not sure I know how to deal with all of the complexities of Mormonism in marriage. My ex was completely non-religious and he just had a completely accepting opinion of my beliefs. He wasn’t worried that I had gone apostate so to speak and I might not be his ticket to the CK. It was based on friendship.

  11. moksha says:

    Interesting analogy. In one religion you are promised a myriad of virgins if you live a righteous life in the here and now, and in another religion, you are promised a great reward– a worthy male to marry in the next life if you are faithful and righteous in the here and now. The comparison works for me. Besides there are many breakoffs (or just people in general) of the LDS faith that still believe multiple wives are requisite for ascertaining the highest kingdom.

    (I think the terrorist part could throw people off and doesn’t necessarily have to be there since they don’t have to be martyrs to be promised the houri.)

    The difference that I can see (and please correct me if I’m wrong) is that you only have to be righteous and not avoid marriage altogether to inherit the virgins in one religion, where as in the other, Only if you don’t marry in this life– yet still remain righteous, will you then have some man waiting for you. So in the later, you are still denying yourself… to a degree. Or at least some persons may feel it is denying oneself. Of course not everyone.

  12. D'Arcy says:

    Seraphine, I know you understand the point I am trying to make. The comparison is not meant to hold much merit or a long drawn out discussion, I just wanted to relay a quick and fleeting thought that entered my mind as I listened to so many of my dear friends struggle with the real issue here.

    I just wish there were some way that the church could figure out how to make it ok to seek love and marriage outside of the church without the stigma of unworthiness/unrighteousness or lack of blessings that are attached to it.

  13. D'Arcy says:

    Z–I think the church has a foundation of truth, but I am far from thinking that it has “all the right answers”. Far from it. I think the daily struggles of the single people in a church organized for families is just ONE of the ways that the church is lacking the right answers for each member. I think it’s dangerous to put so much trust into a religious institution and I think we should constantly question to see the answers that we feel comfortable accepting.

  14. D'Arcy says:

    Kelly Ann,

    Thank you so much for sharing your experiences in this setting. I’ve gone back and reworded the post a bit so as to make it gentler. Again, it was a simple thought that popped into my head that worried me and made me think about writing this post.

    I was just 30 when I finally made the very hard decision to date outside of the church. Since then I have had four amazing relationships all with non-mormons. Since I would only choose kind, intelligent, open-minded, and caring people to date in the first place, my relationships have been full of so many rich things in comparison to my relationships inside the church where our foundation was the gospel. These men have always respected my journey, my boundaries, and my beliefs. They have listened to long hours of talking and processing and they’ve been every ounce supportive and loving. It was an experience I didn’t expect to have. I expected fighting and disagreements and hurt feelings and misunderstandings and I got none of those.

    I wish more LDS girls felt comfortable dating outside the church, but that ticket to the CK seems to get in the way, as it did for me for many many years.

    Thanks again for your comment.

  15. D'Arcy says:

    moksha, thank you for your comment and suggestions, I did go back and clarify a bit more so as to not offend people (and yet, part of me did kind of want to shock people).

    It is true that there are those differences. I also think that this is hard as it seems to only pertain to women in the church, which makes it seem that if there aren’t enough righteous men here and now, how will there be enough in heaven and thus…perhaps polygamy is the way God is going to hand out the rewards to the faithful women who remained unmarried here. I don’t know, but it’s NOT a comfort (and shouldn’t be)

  16. Sterling Fluharty says:

    I thought it was interesting how the church revised the Gospel Principles manual on this topic. If you compare chapter 38 in the old and new manuals, you will find that the following note has been added at the end of the “Eternal Marriage is Essential for Exaltation” section:

    For teachers: All members, whether married or single, need to understand the doctrine of eternal marriage. However, you should be sensitive to the feelings of adults who are not married. As needed, help class members or family members know that all Heavenly Father’s children who are faithful to their covenants in this life will have the opportunity to receive all the blessings of the gospel in the eternities, including the opportunity to have an eternal family.

    I find it striking that this passage does not single out a specific gender. Perhaps the church is backpedalling from the claim some members have made that there is something fundamentally wrong with Mormon men if they don’t get married in their twenties. Even more impressively, this quote holds out the possibility that non-Mormons who live according the promises they have made to God will not be denied the chance for eternal marriage. So in theory a member and non-member could marry in this life and, as long as each followed their understanding of what God expected of them, have the chance to be sealed to one another in the next life.

    However, there is another point made in the chapter that I don’t think has been fully made in this post:

    If we are married by any authority other than by the priesthood in a temple, the marriage is for this life only. After death, the marriage partners have no claim on each other or on their children.

    This raises a lot of difficult questions. Are the couples in non-temple marriages automatically split up in the spirit world? Do interfaith couples that die without getting sealed lose all chance of seeing their children in the next life? Or should scriptures like Alma 41:3 offer us some hope that true love in this life will be restored to us in the next? Or will it all depend on whether or not a member married to a non-member used them to satisfy desires in this life or instead truly hoped to spend the eternities with them?

  17. mb says:

    There‘s one significant difference between the notion of houri in Islamic theology and the notion of post-earth life marriage in LDS theology, and that is that houri are created for the purpose of reward for the righteous, while post-mortal marriage is the uniting of individuals who are eternal, independent of each other, and have an equal say in the matter.

    If a single LDS woman is thinking of her post-mortal marriage relationship as a reward for her righteousness, then she may be indulging in a houri sort of mentality. But I think it is wrong to assume that all women who make the “waiting for Captain Moroni” jokes are thinking along those lines. For some of us, our singleness is not because we’ve decided that marrying a good LDS guy is the right thing to do, but rather that, though our singleness is lonely, sharing our lives intimately with someone with whom we could not share our deepest religious hopes and dreams and thoughts is not the way we wish to live.

    I would assume that every LDS woman has some things she does not choose to consider in a husband, no matter how difficult single life may be for her. For some it is political differences, for others it is hygienic differences, for others it is child-raising philosophies, for some it is religious life, for others it is social status or geographical location or career-determined lifestyle.

    You may decide that religious life differences are not important in your marriage decision and that’s fine, but to label those women for whom it is important as simply people who are holding out for a reward is a gross simplification of a deeper, and more profound personal choice.

  18. Kevin Barney says:

    I don’t really buy the analogy to the houri, for many of the reasons expressed in the comments. In addition, I don’t see promises of post-mortem marriage as really intended to “control” women, but rather as (awkward) attempts to comfort them. The women already desire to marry an LDS man, and when in many cases that doesn’t happen, a lot of people are simply trying in a hamhanded way to give them a sense of comfort.

    But I agree with your larger points, that for most women such statements are not a genuine source of comfort, and that I think it would be a good idea for at least some of such women to look more seriously at relationships with non-LDS men.

  19. Chris says:

    I live in the SF Bay area, and know three separate active educated LDS 30ish women who married men who (at least initially, I haven’t kept track) were not LDS.

    Carpe Diem!

  20. G says:

    this is a timely read for me, D’Arcy, I just finished the section of The God Delusion where Dawkins makes his connections between ‘moderate’ ‘mild’ (ie ‘harmless’) faiths, and their dangerous radial/fundamentalist counterparts: the teaching that unquestioning faith is a virtue, and the ability to go to extremes for their beliefs. I can’t find the quote (or who said it) but it goes something like “If you can get people to believe absurdities, you can get them to commit atrocities.”

    Refusing to marry outside the temple isn’t an atrocity. But the rhetoric surrounding it in LDS culture is certainly an absurdity.

  21. Craig says:

    @mb

    …independent of each other, and have an equal say in the matter.

    But women don’t have an equal say in Mormonism. They never have, and a lot will have to change before they do. Women are dependant on men for exaltation, and not to the same degree men are dependant on women. Women cannot be sealed to their own children w/o a man (but a man can be w/o a woman). The temple clearly teaches that women are to be subservient to men, to some degree at least based on the idiotic idea of “Eve” having sinned first. The separation, the veiling, all serve to show that women are different and not so subtly less-than the men. The husband is the head of the family, men make ALL the decisions in the church, and the one area where women are supposedly autonomous (RS), men still have oversight and final say.

    I don’t see how in the afterlife, it’s supposed to be any different. The doctrine of polygamy is inherently sexist. Everything surrounding “Heavenly Mother” is steeped in the most obvious and disturbing sexism.

    If you read the literature from the early period of the church, especially how the church leaders (BY, etc.) talked about plural marriage, it makes it clear that women were seen as exactly the same way D’Arcy described the Houri. They were prizes, rewards, chattel. Certainly the situation is better now that polygamy is no longer practised (at least not with two women alive at the same time), but the idea persists.

    I do agree that it is taught on the surface that “while post-mortal marriage is the uniting of individuals who are eternal, independent of each other, and have an equal say in the matter”, but that is at odds with the reality of how women are actually treated, and the institutionalised, systemic history of sexism in the church. The church also purports the farce that gay people are treated equally in the church, while that’s just an insane claim, it’s very similar to how the church talks one way about women being equal, but never actually practises it.

  22. Hill says:

    What an interesting post. I do think it’s problematic to expect people to forego some of the most basic pleasures (and blessings) possible in this life–companionship, marriage, sex, parenthood–and instead enjoy them in some nebulous afterlife. To me it’s just like telling someone who is homosexual to simply live a celibate life trying to overcome their natural urges. Silly.

    I married my husband when I was 20. Although he was raised LDS, he is inactive to the point where he wants nothing to do with the church. We married because we loved each other, we had a great deal in common, we had many shared interests/passions, etc.

    But one thing I think your post skips is the fact that if you choose to marry someone who is not the cookie cutter Peter Priesthood you’re instructed from birth to marry, what do you do when you completely disagree with each other about religion? How do you make yourself happy despite knowing that your marriage has no eternal potential? How do you not feel sad as you sit alone through church? How do you not resent him as you ready your scriptures alone when you wish he’d do it with you? What happens when kids come along–do you take them to church yourself?

    I guess the obvious answer is that you have to be ok with giving up the ideal of an eternal marriage and everything that comes with it–joint church attendance, joint scripture study, joint outings to the temple, etc. I thought I was ok with that–but it turns out sometimes you don’t think and feel the same as you did when you were 20.

    I guess I’m still caught in a catch-22. Do I press forward in my marriage that is otherwise pretty great, but the religious difference saddens me weekly? Or do I call it quits and try to find an active LDS man my age (despite the fact that most normal, LDS guys my age are already married)?

  23. mb says:

    Craig,
    You and I read LDS theology in completely opposite ways and no doubt you could quote as many statements to support your understanding as I can mine. Rather than spend time trying to out-cite each other in a futile attempt to persuade the unpersuadable, I suggest that we civilly agree to disagree completely and leave it at that.

  24. kd says:

    I dont think a person should leave her husband of many years because she now wishes he was active in the church and isnt. You committed to the marriage and your family and it should stay that way. We all have frustrations to deal with and leaving your husband and taking your kids away from him is not the answer. That brings another whole set of problems. Of course I am assuming that other than religion, it is a pretty happy situation, and if it is…. hang in there, if there are serious problems…well then who knows. I would not leave the guy just for the fact that he is inactive.

  25. kd says:

    I was thinking though…if I did not have any kids yet, and found the religion difference a frustration that will indeed get worse with kids, I would consider leaving. If there are kids involved, think twice.

  26. Hill says:

    For purposes of discussion, I should have said that we don’t have any kids. We’ve been trying for three years, but are battling male factor infertility on top of our other problems. Plus we get the “if he’d just come back to church, you’d have a baby.” Yeah, because God doles out babies according to Church activity.

  27. stacer says:

    Hill, didn’t you know that’s exactly what God does? Just like he delivers perfect men to righteous women–definitely before they’re old maids at 23–and if you don’t get one that means you aren’t ready, or more likely, that there’s something wrong with you and/or something you need to repent of.

    (Argh.)

  28. Craig says:

    @mb

    How we read the theology is far less important than how it is actually practised. I believe the theology supports many contradicting views, yours, mine, and others, but what is significant is that women actually ARE discriminated against, treated differently. Sexism actually exists and is practised. Whether you believe sexism is wrong is up to you, but I do believe it is rather objective fact that Mormonism is, in practise, sexist. I gave evidences of this that were not from not just the theology, but how the church actually operates today.

  29. D'Arcy says:

    Craig–it’s true. All you have to do is look at the stand on General Conference weekend to see the patriarchy (and sexism). The fine tuning point comes down to whether or not you are ok with that. I’m not. Many women are.

    Hill–I think one of the dangers of marrying someone for religions sake is that it doesn’t allow either person to change or to grow spiritually. The spiritual path is never constant. Who is to say that you leave one person because of their spiritual path and marry an “active” LDS man. What is the guarantee there? How can you be sure that he will stay active too? How can you be sure in five years that YOU will be. I know you think you will be, but none of us really know where our spirituality will be in five years. It’s one of the downsides of marrying someone because (at least in part) of how well they live their religion. There must be much, much more of a foundation than simply religion. And you must allow an individual to change/grow and have ups and downs.

  30. jd says:

    It is interesting to me that you say you never know where YOU will be in five years. I know exactly where I will be in five years. You may not know where the person you marry will be in five years or at least when you are first married or dating. Also just because you are a active member of the church does not promise that all will be well and perfect in your life. Being an active member does however help you to deal with whatever situation comes your way a bit better. It gives us hope. Also…the church sexist? Anyone who understands how the church operates, understands exactly what takes place and why. Honestly, I am glad that I dont hold the priesthood. I dont need one more responsibility. If that belonged to the women, we would be in charge of all that goes along with it as well as our own responsibilities. I have enough to do! My husband and I work as a team, as it is intended to be in the church, and it works very well. Some men dont understand what “leading in righteousnes” means. They THINK they are “in Charge!” that is not the way it is or is it intended to be! Thank Heavens!

  31. Hill says:

    I agree that when you choose to marry someone, it cannot be for religion’s sake. You have to marry the person because you love who he/she is. I married my husband because I loved him, and although we disagreed about religion, I believed it wouldn’t matter. Or he would love me enough to make up for it. Or something silly like that.

    We have both changed, and not just religiously and spiritually speaking, since we married 5 1/2 years ago. I was just shy of 21 and fresh out of college. Now I’ve graduated from law school and been practicing law for a few years. Although I’m by no means “old”, I am definitely past the typical age where LDS women marry and begin having babies. I am past the age where LDS men get married and begin their families. I have also had the opportunity to experience inactivity and a recommitment to the Church. I had the opportunity to decide for myself what I believed, and had my testimony strengthened. Perhaps this wouldn’t have been possible with an active LDS Peter Priesthood husband who wouldn’t have allowed me the room to doubt my faith and do what it takes to rediscover it.

    But, if possible, my husband’s attitude toward the Church, God, and religion in general has changed as well. When we got married, he was just taking a sabbatical from his church membership. He still believed in God, but had some issues over the way the church had treated him. He didn’t hate religion. But all that has changed, and where I used to feel at peace, figuring he needed room to grown and change and find his own path back to spirituality, I don’t feel that way anymore.

  32. jd says:

    There are no kids involved, maybe it is time to recognize that you have both changed and it is time to move on. That is a tough one. I get the feeling that is what you want to hear. Is it?

  33. Hill says:

    I sincerely appreciate the advice. There is no “what I want to hear”. It’s just nice to have a safe, honest place to discuss feelings and ideas like these without repercussions, and in turn hear others’ perspectives. Being infertile married to someone inactive, when your whole family/group of friends/ neighborhood/ward etc. are active and have tons of kids, can be very isolating. It’s nice to have a place like this to talk, even if (maybe especially?)it’s anonymous.

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