Mormon Discussion

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Why I'll Never Get Married (in the temple, that is).

I epitomize weird Mormon, as I'm sure anyone who reads this realizes.

But it's slowly but surely come to my attention that this weirdness will very likely prevent me from getting married in the temple to a fellow Mormon.

I want to get married in the temple, don't get me wrong. I always have. I've always had that dream of the special wedding and blah, blah, blah.

But I'm weird. I like it. I think I'm cool and I'm funny. A lot of people like me in church. However, I'm not marriage material. I don't want kids, ever. And before anyone harps on me about that, I talked to my bishop long and hard about that issue, in tears, because I couldn't make myself want to be a mom no matter how hard I tried. I lack maternal instincts. I wouldn't even know how to take care of a fish, let alone a child. And everyone always tried to convince me that I could WILL myself into wanting kids. So, I prayed, I studied, and I finally made a tearful trip into my bishop's office and lamented the fact that no matter what I did, I couldn't make myself want to fill my uterus with someone's kids when my heart said to go be a lawyer and poltician and help the downtrodden of society and build community youth centers and be a philanthropist... And my bishop told me that choosing not to be a mother was a perfectly acceptable and fine decision because motherhood is the best choice for some women and for other women, such as myself, there are other better choices.

So, strike one against me: I don't want kids in a religion that stresses the importance of family. I'm not violating any religious rules, according to my bishop, but it's still a cultural thing. We're taught to want kids. I doubt I'll find a man who doesn't want kids. Most people in the world want kids, not even narrowed down to Mormons only.

Strike two: I can't marry a Republican. No offense to any Republicans, because I realize that most Mormons are Republican. I'm just so incredibly Democratic I bleed blue. I live and breathe Democratic values. Raise my taxes to ensure healthcare for all! Give kids better education! Welfare is a good thing (spoken from a former welfare child)! I can't get on board with the Republican side of things. I'm not hostile towards them (okay, okay, I'm not USUALLY hostile towards them), I just severely disagree with them. And I'm so passionate about politics that it would be very difficult for me to be married to someone who doesn't support the same political beliefs that I do. Of course, there is the option that I could marry someone and we just wouldn't talk about politics. Except if you know me, you know every other word out of my mouth is somehow related to politics. CNN.com is my favorite website. I'm a politics junky. To have to never talk about it, especially with my husband, would be torture!!! So, I don't want to have a code of silence, nor do I want a heated battle. Hence, I've got to marry a Democratic Mormon.

Strike three: I support gay rights. I've previously posted about this issue as one of my very first posts. In brief, for those who don't want to read the whole big thing, I think it's a political issue, not a religious one. Religious institutions are free to do whatever they like. However, the political realm is a different place and we have to be fair to everyone. We let the KKK make horrible speeches about how awful black and jewish people are. Clearly, I don't believe what the KKK stands for, believes, preaches, or practices. However, I do believe that they should be afforded the right to say it, because it's a constitutional right. So, even if I HATE what they have to say, I have to support their right to say it. So, whether or not someone agrees with a homosexual's lifestyle, I think it's still our obligation to support their rights. Being fired for being gay is ridiculous. Being unable to claim the same tax benefits as other Americans is ridiculous. Ok, so now, try to find another Mormon that sides with me on this...yeah...

So, I've got three strikes (at least) against me. I'm not the Mormon girl that guys have dreamed of asking to marry.

I've accepted this. I'm not completely ruling out the possibility, but I am not a hopeless optimist either. I know that a Democratic Mormon man who supports gay rights and doesn't want kids is pretty friggin rare. I'm sure there is one...somewhere...but does he live in Minnesota? Uh, probably not so much.

So, what's a girl to do? I really want to be married someday. I would really like to have a husband and a family (family means all sorts of things; in my case, it means a unit of my spouse and me). I want to have someone to grow old with, to share my moments with...and I've got really, really slim chances on finding that.

So, I'm currently dating a wonderful, wonderful guy. Not a member. He's super great, a wonderful man. He's got his head on straight, treats me wonderfully, is really funny, has the same political beliefs as me, supports my future dreams and aspirations. I could be completely happy with him for the rest of my life. I would be incredibly in love.

But, I have to be married in the temple to go to the Celestial Kingdom. So, what's a girl like me to do? Do I stay single and hope, hope, hope for the unlikely to occur and wait for a Mormon man who is compatible with me? Or do I go for the non-member who makes me really happy and is incredibly compatible with me?

Don't give me the crap that God will provide someone for me. That's BS. Yes, most Mormons get married. However, there are some who never do. They have a spouse waiting in the next life. They get to be single and lonely and alone for all their life on Earth. And I think I have a high probability of being that single girl for the rest of my life if I stick to only Mormons.

What's a woman to do? Do I take happiness now (and by now I mean this life, not NOW as in tomorrow...oh heavens no!!), or do I live a miserable, lonely life in hopes of a big pay off in the next life?

And I know that it says in D&C that people who choose not to be married in the temple give up their place in the CK, but does this apply to girls as well? I've heard stuff about it not applying. I don't think that this would be fair to guys, but it appears that there is more of an onus for men to be married in the temple rather than women. What's the actual doctrine on this??

15 Comments:

  • First of all, I think your last paragraph is referring to the counsel often provided to older, single sisters. I think the gist of it is that if you try to find a mate and can't, God will figure something out for you.

    Personally, I wish people would concentrate harder on being happy in this life rather than pinning their hopes on an uncertain after-life. Some people couldn't stand being married to a non-member. I say that those people should hold out for their temple marriage, because that's what will make them happy. But it pisses me off when people try to claim that that's what everyone should do.

    I am of the camp that you should marry the person you most like to be with regardless of age, religion, ethnicity, or, for that matter, gender. Life is too short to try to fit everyone in the right box.

    The bottom line for me is that if you are a good person and help others, God (if he exists) will makes sure everything works out for you in the end. He won't be all, "Oops, you married a non-member, too bad! No heaven for you!" The God I believe in doesn't work that way.

    The most depressing thing in this world is seeing people make themselves miserable for some imagined future reward.

    By Blogger NFlanders, at 2:14 AM  

  • Ned--You make good points. It is sad to see people miserable in this life for an uncertain future afterlife. I would agree with you on that. Thanks for your comments. I always find your very insightful

    By Blogger mellancollyeyes, at 8:36 AM  

  • I've had numerous discussion with my teenage daughter that I think apply in a roundabout way (I'm not implying that you have that level of maturity). She got caught up in trying to be just like me for a while, which I'm sure many teens go through. I spent a lot of time trying to convince her that she had her own identity and needed to be true to that. I told her that as long as she followed the Lord's plan for HER life, no matter how different it might be from mine, that I'd never be disappointed in what she became.

    You live YOUR life, as you feel the Lord directs you and you'll always be happy. We've made a number of decisions in the recent years in my family that raised many eyebrows both in and out of the Church. While many of them only made sense to us, they've all been inspired by the Lord, and we've been happier and better off because of it.

    In regards to you boyfriend-
    Our first day at Church was also the first day for my friend George. He marry an active awesome member and was just starting to investigate things. It took him 10 years to get baptized. A year and a half later, he's the 1st Counselor in the Branch Presidency. Maybe the guy you are going to marry isn't a member yet and you'll be the one who helps him find what he's looking for.

    By Anonymous The Narrator, at 10:45 AM  

  • I think that you should do what makes you happy, what feels right for you. For you it may be (eventual) marriage to the boy you're currently dating. If you'll be happy together, that's what matters, in my opinion. I agree with Ned.

    I think I'm one who will probably never marry in the temple. I may never even marry at all. I've mostly come to terms with that.

    I have a good friend, from my mission, who is the things you mention here: he's liberal, an activist, he supports gay rights, he doesn't want kids. And he married in the temple. The problem now is that his wife does want kids. She knew he didn't want kids at first but thought he'd come around. so far no go. I guess the point of this story is that there are Mormon boys like that, but probably not many. So why should you give up what you already have for what "might be" (but probably wont').

    A couple last points: it's my understanding that celestial marriage is required for the highest degree of the celestial kingdom, but not the celestial kingdom itself. There's also the whole "ministering angel" deal. But, most importantly, I believe in a merciful God. I do believe that God loves us and wants us to be happy. I do believe that heaven will be a place where we will be wildly happy. And I don't believe in a God who will tear families apart because the paperwork isn't in order. I'm not sealed to my parents or siblings, but I can't imagine our relationships not continuing after death, while other "sealed" families do. I can't imagine a marriage between person who happened to be a member of the LDS church and a person who, as it turned out, was not, being callously tossed aside.

    Well. this is my first comment here, and it's a doozy.

    By Blogger Heather P., at 1:13 PM  

  • First of all, I want to meet your bishop- he is obviously more enlightened than many I have met. I can't imagine my bishop telling me that I could choose to not have kids.

    As a 31 year old single sister, lets just say I feel your pain. I've heard, repeatedly, I should wait and get married in the temple to make it to the Ceslestial Kingdom, but almost always by someone who is already married and sealed to their spouse.

    And, of course, they all seem to assume that if I wait long enough, I will actually find an eligible Mormon man here in southeastern VA.

    I haven't figured out my answer to our dilema yet either, but by not deciding, I'm just getting older and older without a spouse and partner to share things with.

    And, what Ned and others are saying does make a lot of sense- that if your heart is in the right place, God will be sure it all works out in the end. No matter if who (or if) you marry.

    By Blogger Laura W, at 8:51 PM  

  • This topic was discussed and beat to death here if you wish to read it. There are some interesting remarks on both sides.

    By Blogger Rusty, at 10:48 PM  

  • If you're not planning on having kids anyway, what does it matter if you marry a non-member or not? Your kids won't be raised out of the church. Of course, he might have to do some changing if he wants your union to be of the celestial type, but so will you, and there's time.

    Adam Greenwood

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:06 PM  

  • Well i do and am startin to feel your pain. I am only 23 and unmarried Mormon but I started feeling "old" mostly from living in utah/idaho for awhile when i turned 21.

    I have "different" beliefs than alot of girls at the BYU-I I attended.

    A. I dont think that because people are mormon that they "automatically are getting a ticket to heaven, i believe strongly that even though you are LDS you must learn to help others in this life and DO GOOD above all rather than ride your "LDS" ticket to heaven. I have lots of non LDS friends and even some wican friends "le gasp" who are great people and kind and some are even better people than some member's I've met in Utah/Idaho area. For ex: My first year "turned 21" when i went to find an aparment off campus "never having been out of dorms before" the first roommates I had in an aparment with 6 girls * two were just turned 18* * and four of which were from the Utah area and 8th-10th generation Mormons mights I add, made me feel like a devil worshipper for wearing the color black alot and listening to rock music "even though there were no swear words mind you." They even went so far as to get me in trouble with the dean even though all I did was to be an individual thinker.


    *Not to say ALL of then are this way but being a 1st generation I expected alot better of the Members in Zion and didnt receive it there.


    B. Foremost: I DID NOT GET MARRIED AT 18, for those who have been where I am , Idaho/Utah area, the culture makes you think that you must marry early startin at about 18 + and if you are like 20 something or 30 than you are "old" by mormon standard time, lol. Of course I did have 1..2...4 total roommates at BYU-I who knew their boyfriend for two weeks and then got married a month later...crazy. Im not sayin it can't work but its a good idea in my opinion to wait until you actually "know" a person before takin such a step.

    c. I choose to think "differently" i mean I tell guys "what i think," rather than sittin bak and letting the guy say whatever he can to me. Yes even SOME Mormon boys can be so rude sometime.


    D. Just found out a week ago "kinda off subject" that my LITTLE sister is gettin married, and IM THE OLDER ONE so I'm feelin a little old in that sense.


    But this is just me and the point being that I know what you feel, sometime, hard as it is for people in the church to even admit there are problems with its members and with a 60% divorce rate where I went to school it kinda put a damper of the whole "marriage idea." I am selfish I think that marriage should have ROMANcE and TONS OF IT! Not just finding someone to "Hitch a ride" to the celestial kingdom with but truly findin someone special. Well thats my s'pial, and I just would like to say that Im not trying to insult anyone from Utah/Idaho Mormon area, Im just sayin that to someone who grew up in a smaller ward with Three stakes in the entire state that we tend to expect alot more from our "brothers and sisters" up north, after all, we're encourage "down here," to look to others who have had a great atmosphere to grow up in aka/LDS atmosphere school, et. and it hurts alot when members aren't living up to their potential when they've had more opportunities their whole lives than others who may not have had so many opportunities to grow up in an LDS environment. That's all I am tryin to say.

    By Anonymous Gabby Girl, at 1:01 AM  

  • Hi, MCE, I have been single a very long time, waiting to find the right woman, and it has been a drag. I hear you, and I think this is a decision that ultimately has to be between you and the Lord, and I think choosing marriage for the right reasons even if it is to a non-member is a far better choice than choosing non-marriage for the duration of mortality. So I think marrying a really great guy who doesn't happen to be a church member is a respectable decision that is likely to lead to a lot of happiness. And yeah, if humility (willingness to learn and be open to the truth) is one of this guy's virtues then it may well become a temple marriage eventually.

    I would encourage you to think about this for a bit longer, though. You still have time at your age (especially if you aren't planning to have children), and these issues are worth pondering carefully and unhurriedly. For the sake of brevity, I'll only address one of your points.

    As it happens, I felt a lot like you at your age, thought kids seemed like a huge hassle and an impediment to doing all the great and wonderful and important things I had in mind to do. Give all that up to wipe noses and play "Go Fish"? Why?

    But a couple of things happened. I won't pretend to know whether this will happen to you or not, but I'll tell you how my goals and my feelings evolved, and just ask you to read and ask yourself whether you can imagine something similar happening to you.

    Nowadays I am convinced that I can do more to make the world as a whole a better place by raising good kids, and loving my wife and other family members, than by anything else I will do. And those kids, raised with good values, in turn will probably go on to do several times more good than I could have done alone. If you have four kids, that's five people doing good in the world in stead of one.

    In my mid-twenties I did something very idealistic that has hindered dating/marriage/hence kids for a while: I went to get a PhD in philosophy, to discover and write about deep truths and think through the answers to social problems and such and teach college students to think responsibly and go out and make decisions that will make the world a better place, etc.

    During my years as a grad. student it has become clear to me how hard it is to really make a difference in the idealistic way I had in mind. I think my decision was a good one, still, but I think I can do at least as much to make the world a better place by raising good kids as by anything else I can do. The funny thing is you have such tenuous influence over anyone else. And participation in institutions requires so much compromise, etc.

    Plus, people's basic values and thought patterns are so deeply shaped by what happens in their homes when they are children, and by the time you encounter them in any other context, most of that has already taken place.

    I could say a lot more about this. I have lots of friends in idealistic vocations, working for the Red Cross, or who were in the Peace Corps, or teaching, or doing international development work, or working as a lawyer helping people exploited by their employers . . . there is a lot of good to be done there, but there are severe limits to what you can do when so many of the problems derive from problems in home and family relationships, and other aspects of people's character that derives more than anything from their upbringing. And if for example you say it's economics, fact is there are tons of extremely poor people who are honest, loving, hard-working, upright, noble people. Usually the difference is how they are raised. My one friend, the lawyer, after many years of taking the low-paying cases because these people needed help and helping a lot of people, still says the most worthwhile thing he did by far all those years was raise seven good kids.

    One very idealistic friend went to Africa for a summer and came back with an utterly different perspective: in those weeks, from what she saw of how the best plans go wrong--unintended consequences and such--she was convinced that the only way to right wrongs with any confidence of success was to raise her children and run her household the best way she knew, and to try to do as little harm to others as possible. I'm somewhere in between. But my point is it is easy at 22 or so to overestimate what you can do in an idealistic career.

    Other things are worthwhile too, and the same path isn't necessarily right from everyone, but I think having kids is incredibly valuable, not just for reasons of sentiment. Thanks for reading : )

    By Blogger Ben H, at 4:49 AM  

  • Mellancollyeyes, first of all, your bishop rocks! Bless his heart for not trying to force you into a certain mold.

    Second, I firmly believe that we should be seeking fulfillment in this life. We know so little about the next life that it seems pointless to worry about it. If you think that your life will be productive, fulfilled, and happy as the wife of a non-Mormon, I say go for it.

    By Anonymous will, at 9:59 AM  

  • I am a Mormon Democrat, and I believe in gay rights, and I found someone to marry. Have you ever considered moving to the Bay Area? Plenty of liberal Mormons out there. You may have some problems finding someone that doesn't want kids, though.

    By Anonymous Jeremy Jensen, at 1:23 PM  

  • the narrator--it's good to know that other people go off the mainstream on occassion as well as me. And there is always hope that a non-member boyfriend/husbadn will convert, but the church seems to say that it's better to avoid that situation entirely because they may not convert.

    heather p--thanks for the info on the whole marriage and CK thing. And you're right--it's hard to predict if there is someone for everyone when I'm one of the more...uh...interesting ones in the church. It's a goodpoint you bring up, regarding families being torn apart in the next life becuase of lack of "paperwork." And welcome!!

    laura--that's why i think it's such a tough call--what does the Lord want us to do when our chances of meeting the ideal mate seem to be getting sparser and sparser??

    Rusty--thank you for the link, it was really interesting.

    Adam--I just want to make sure that I'm not violating some law that I don't know about. Plus, a family can be eternal with or without kids. I don't necessarily want my marriage to break apart just because we forgo children. I'd like an eternal partner, too. Without the element of kids, we have more time to figure things out and possibly make it to the temple eventually, but if I'd be breaking some rules, then I'd like to know... And it's one of those things that you grow up looking forward to. Just would like to have that ideal.

    Gabby--I'd agree- I think it's sad when people get married for the sake of ensuring a spot in the CK rather than for love and romance and companionship. It's unfortuante.

    Ben H--thanks for the comments. I respect your points, and some of them are very vaild, and I'm glad you posted them here. However, I am not really convinced that I'll eventually change my mind and want kids. I'm not saying it wouldn't ever happen, just that I have my doubts that it will. Some people are made to be parents, and in my opinion, some people arent'. I think I fall more heavily into the aren't category.

    Will--good point about fulfillment in this life. It's easy to focus on the next one since we discuss it so much in church and how everything we do has some bearing on it. But, you bring it back into perspective for me. THanks.

    JJ--Wha?? I'm in total shock! I thought I was the only Mormon who supported gay rights. I'm on the first plane to the Bay Area! Seriosuly!!!

    By Blogger mellancollyeyes, at 1:59 PM  

  • mellancollyeyes -

    I too am a (for the most part) true blue Democrat. I agree with much of what you said about Gay rights. I'm kind of on the fence on that one really. These are God's children and they deserve the same treatment as the rest of us.

    As for your Non-Member boyfriend, I have met at least two people who have stated in testimony meeting that they were prompted by the Lord to marry a non-member. In both of these cases, the non-member was baptized etc.

    I think that by relying on the Lord, we can gain receive the answers to all our questions.

    As far as not wanting to have children. My brother and his wife are trying to have children, but have not been successful. I am honestly glad (don't tell him this) because, at this point in their lives, they would make terrible parents.

    I think that it's possible that you will one day desire chilren, but maybe not.

    From what I have read on your blog, you are a thinking person and would probably have a good influence on children, but, consider the entry under Birth Control in the book True to the faith.
    "With a testimony of these principles, you and your spouse will be prepared to prayerfully decide how many children to have and when to have them. Such decisions are between the two of you and the Lord."

    http://library.lds.org/nxt/gateway.dll?f=templates$fn=default.htm

    By Blogger Ian, at 11:24 AM  

  • Dear Mellancollyeyes,

    Doing a little blog surf'n this AM and came across your site. Found your writing absolutely delightful. Careful kid, you think... that could actually lead to (da, da dummmm! ) self actualization... and we know how Mormons feel about that!

    Seriously, you are on a wonderful journey. You sound like a terrific kid who is asking all the right questions in life. If the church (doctrine or culture) is right for you, you shouldn't have to give up who you are to fit into it. Don't you think that a religion should actually enrich your life rather than make you feel miserable about being yourself.

    My advice... you don't need any of our advice. Trust YOURSELF! You are obviously smart and will figure out the right path for you... whatever that is.

    By Anonymous thedogatemyhomework@mac.com, at 9:26 AM  

  • I THINK YOU SHOULD DISCUSS YOUR BELIEFS ON MORMON DOCTRINE WITH A BISHOP AND WHY YOU BELIEVE THEM. I DON'T AGREE WITH MANY OF YOUR COMMENTS BUT I STILL THINK FOR THE SAKE OF CLARIFIYING THE SEMANTICS OF THE DOCTRINE AND WHY THE CHURCH PROFESSES THESE BELIEFS THAT YOU SHOULD DISCUSS THEM WITH A CHURCH AUTHORITY. BY THE WAY...I AM A MEMBER. I CONSIDER MYSELF A MODERATE AS FAR AS POLITICS IS CONCERNED. I DON'T AGREE 100% WITH EITHER OF THE TWO MAIN PARTIES PLATFORMS, HOWEVER I DON'T BELIEVE IT WISE TO DISCUSS CHURCH DOCTRINE IN THE MANNER YOU ARE DOING ON THIS SITE UNLESS YOU HAVE THE GUTS TO TALK TO A CHURCH AUTHORITY FIRST. IT IS ONE THING TO QUESTION GOD. IT IS ANOTHER TO QUESTION HIM WITHOUT "FACING" HIM WHILE YOU DO IT. IT MIGHT BE CONSIDERED REBELLIOUS!...KINDA LIKE THE ADVERSARY.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:07 AM  

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