Listen to the November 1, 2013 Viewpoint on Mormonism podcast that aired November 1, 2013 titled Should I date a Mormon?
Probably no other emotion is as important to God as is the emotion of love. The Bible tells us that God Himself is love and that we as His creation are to “love one another.” Still, when it comes to that special attraction that draws a man and a woman together, God has given some very specific limitations. In His infinite wisdom God knows how this strong emotion can be used to bless a couple throughout their lifetimes; He also knows that this emotion can be abused, resulting in misery for one or both involved. His guidelines are for our benefit, not for our harm.
It is natural for Christians to seek out certain qualities in an individual that conform to their way of thinking and lifestyle. However, some Christians have been led to believe that Mormonism and biblical Christianity are compatible and therefore have become emotionally attracted to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is imperative that the Christian understand that Mormonism and biblical Christianity are not compatible and that these areas of incompatibility must be carefully examined before a serious relationship develops.
Some have used their emotional attraction to try to convert the Mormon to Christianity. While such a motive may seem on the surface to be noble, it rarely yields the desired results. You need to understand that Mormonism is not just a belief system, it embodies the social life of the member as well. Those who witness to Mormons are not only combating the spiritual elements, but they are also confronting a strong social system which is reluctant to see a member leave the fold.
Dating for the purpose of seeing a soul saved can also be dishonest if the Christian is not totally truthful about the spiritual goals he/she has for the individual. Imagine how the Mormon would feel if it was discovered that you like him or her only as a “missionary conquest” rather than as a person. Such a discovery will detract from your integrity as a Christian.
Rarely does such a relationship result in the Mormon converting to Christianity. Unfortunately, in some cases Christians have placed their emotions above that of biblical principles and abandoned those principles in exchange for their relationship with the Mormon.
Bear in mind that if you are emotionally involved with a Mormon and justify that relationship with the hope of “winning them to Christ,” you are actually demonstrating a lack of respect for God’s Word. How can you expect your Mormon loved one to come to grips with the truths of God’s Word when you are blatantly ignoring them yourself?
Even traditional LDS teaching says dating someone from another religion is not wise. For example, in his 1954 book For Time or Eternity? Apostle Mark E. Petersen explained how the view of God is much different. Providing a conversation between a young Mormon girl and her mother about a non-Mormon boy she is dating, it went like this:
Daughter: “Are other people’s ideas of God so different?’
Mother: “Yes, very different. You do not know much about other people’s religions because you have never attended any other church. But there are some so-called Christian churches which do not believe in God as a person at all. They think he is an essence, like an invisible cloud with no shape or substance, and that he is everywhere at once, yet in no place in particular. …Many teach that God has neither body, parts, nor passions, which of course is the same as saying that he is not a person at all, but just some indefinable influence and yet so small it can dwell in your heart. Can you see that you and Bob probably don’t even worship the same God?”
As mentioned earlier, witnessing to the Mormon means confronting a close-knit social fabric. If your Mormon acquaintance is a part of a strong Mormon family, you can be sure you will be pressured from them to join the LDS Church. Bear in mind that Mormons believe their church is the only true Christian church on earth. Strong Mormons have no intention of leaving Mormonism, nor do they desire to see one of their family members leave the system. Since Mormonism teaches that families can be together in eternity, your relationship is a threat to that hope since only members in good standing can acquire such an eternal state. They will do everything possible to either get you to join them, or get their family member away from you.
For time or eternity?
Let us consider hypothetically that you plan to marry. To many the wedding day of a couple is one of the most beautiful experiences of life. Since it is the goal of every faithful Mormon to be married in a Mormon temple, it is naturally imperative that both be “worthy” members of the LDS Church. Unlike civil marriages or marriages performed in a church, temple marriages are believed to last beyond the grave. Mormons refer to this as being “married for time and eternity.” Without this special ceremony, Mormons believe the marriage will only last “for time,” meaning they will not be together as a family unit in heaven. Since only Mormons who are considered to be in good standing can enter a Mormon temple, family members who are not LDS are not allowed to witness the ceremony.
What about children?
Should you marry a Mormon, you will need to consider how your children will be raised. Children play a big role in Mormon theology as Mormons believe every human being is a literal offspring of God and one of his heavenly wives. Unless your spouse has renounced Joseph Smith and Mormonism, there will be a naturally strong desire to raise the children in an LDS environment. Brigham Young taught, “I have told you many times that there are multitudes of pure and holy spirits waiting to take tabernacles, now what is our duty? “To prepare tabernacles for them; to take a course that will not tend to drive those spirits into the families of the wicked, where they will be trained in wickedness, debauchery, and every species of crime” (Journal of Discourses 4:56).
What do LDS general authorities say about Mormons dating outside their faith?
We can’t find one LDS president or apostles who suggests that Latter-day Saints date outside their faith. For instance, this is what 14th President Howard W. Hunter had to say about it:
“We should marry within our faith. Young people–we do marry our ‘dates.’ If our religion means anything to us, we will not be happy without a Mormon marriage, a Mormon family, prayer and harmony in the home. When the romance wears off, the unbelievers may become distasteful. Many have found this to be so. So dater seriously only with Latter-day Saint young men and women. Let the others be friends in their own place, but when it comes to serious dating, let us date Latter-day Saints” (Howard W. Hunter, “Except Ye Be Agreed,” Youth Fireside Series, April 10, 1962. Cited in The Teachings of Howard W. Hunter, p. 125. Bold and italics in original).
What does the Bible say?
Aside from the social and family complications that can arise from an intimate relationship with the Mormon, a Christian can never set aside the biblical considerations. While many may try to justify their emotional attraction for the Mormon, you cannot ignore the fact that God has some serious things to say about it. For the Christian, God’s opinion regarding the matter should be first and foremost. No Christian can honestly escape the fact that God is never pleased when His people are “unequally yoked with unbelievers” (2 Corinthians 6:14).
In the Old Testament God admonished Israel that they were not to marry the sons or daughters from among the unbelieving nations which surrounded them. In Deuteronomy 7:3-4, God warns Israel that such marriages actually bring His anger. The Bible strongly admonishes the person who is emotionally involved with a Mormon to break off such a relationship. We would ask, “Do you as a Christian really value a relationship which does not carry God’s blessing?” Hopefully your answer is no. Marriage to an unbeliever is not a biblical option open to the Christian.
What if it is too late?
Some might ask, “What if I’m already married to a Mormon? Do I leave him?” While some might think God would honor such a decision, the Bible gives no support for this. Instead the believer is to demonstrate an example of Christian love that will hopefully lead the unbelieving spouse to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 7:10-14).
Many who are in the latter situation have told us that even though they dearly love their Mormon spouses, it can at times be very stressful. Many yearn for the spiritual intimacy that only believers can share.
Tragically, we also hear from those whose lives have been ruined by Mormonism’s intrusion into their marriages. Family pressure from the in-laws, disagreements over the spiritual education of the children, and pressure on the part of the Mormon spouse to leave the believer have caused many marriages to break up. You see, in Mormonism true salvation (exaltation) is a team effort. If exaltation is to be achieved, both must be faithful Mormons. Brigham Young stated that if a man “wishes to be saved, he cannot be saved without a woman by his side” (Times and Seasons 6:955). Because this unity cannot be achieved with a non-Mormon, it is not uncommon to hear of Mormons being counseled to leave their non-Mormon spouse in order to seek out a qualified Latter-day Saint.
The aforementioned admonitions should not be taken to mean that we should not have anything to do with those who are LDS. On the contrary, the Bible tells us we should have an influence in the lives of all those who are around us. However, God desires that His people be holy. The very word implies separation from all that which is profane. He wants us to be separated unto Him and His Word. We are commanded to preach the Gospel to everyone; however, we are never to let our emotions run ahead of God’s commands. If we expect the Mormon to follow God’s precepts, we must do so ourselves. To do less is to invite disappointment and even heartache.
- Friendshipping and Dating in the Mormon Culture
- Are Feelings a Good Source for Truth?
- Should Christians Witness to Mormons in their Homes?
- Prophet Counsels Against Being “Unequally Yoked” (Mormon Coffee blog post)