Oct 5, 2008

A Review Of Russell M. Nelson's Talk: How I Got My Husband Off The Clearance Rack

It's late and the second session of General Conference isn't quite done. I doubt I'm going to get to the rest of the talks, because I'm still stuck on Russell M. Nelson's talk about marriage and how it's like shopping.

I guess we all knew this talk was coming, in light of Proposition 8. But what surprised me was that I felt more attacked as someone being married to a non-member than I think even homosexuals would have felt after hearing this. (But they can answer for themselves.)

This is one of those talks that uses such loaded language, as to make one feel doomed and filled with guilt, for choosing to marry outside of the temple. I realize that temple marriage is important and needs to be talked about. But isn't there a nicer way to say it? This talk reminds me of a George W. Bush attempt at international diplomacy.

There were two parts of the talk that stung a little.

The first one was when he talked about reading in the newspaper an "obituary of an expectation that a recent death has reunited that person with a deceased spouse, when in fact, they did not choose the eternal option... Heavenly Father had offered them a supernal gift, but they refused it and in rejecting the gift, they rejected the giver of the gift."

Is it always as black and white has he has expressed it here? Did I really "refuse" the gift of eternal marriage and have I "rejected" Heavenly Father? Apparently so. And as for dead spouses being "reunited," I'd like to believe that they will be together with their loved ones, even if they aren't "married," but I suppose I'm wrong about that as well.

The second one was in regards to cheapness. I guess this isn't the first time I've been accused of being a penny-pincher. :) He said:

"Some marital options are cheap, some are costly, and some are cunningly crafted by the adversary. Beware of his options, they always breed misery. The best choice is a Celestial marriage. Thankfully, if a lesser choice has previously been made, a choice can now be made to upgrade it to the best choice."

My personal analysis of this quote? The first part is about me, the middle part is about gays, and the last part about upgrading from something "lesser" is something that very few of us will attain and don't need to have leaders keep rubbing it in.

All I can say is, thank goodness my husband wasn't watching General Conference with me. The last thing I would want him to think is that I got him off the clearance rack.

On a brighter side, after Nelson's talk, Boyd K. Packer may have just moved up a notch in my book. :)

And just for the record, I've never told anyone that their obituary was wrong.

45 comments:

reb said...

This guy obviously had a problem with it too.

http://athenaminor.blogspot.com/2008/10/obsessed-with-thier-happiness.html

Anonymous said...

Yeah, well, Nelson's talk really made me feel like a failure. I have a testimony of the church, but I can't deny that it's getting harder and harder for me to hold on. All I have ever wanted in my life was to be good enough for the Celestial kingdom. As my life has gone on, and I am in love with a non member.....well, I increasingly feel like I don't fit in. I do my best to be the best person I can be, but it never feels like enough. Nelson's talk was filled with the types of comments that SO MANY members and leaders make, that make people like me feel like a huge failure. It is psychological and emotional and spiritual abuse! I am just grateful that my boyfriend didn't hear this talk!!! If I can't feel comfortable inviting a friend or non member to hear general conference, then what is wrong with me? This is so depressing, all I can do is cry!

Pallas Athena said...

anonymous-

I want to say that is the worst story I have ever heard, but unfortunately, I have heard it before. I love the church and it drives me nuts that so many people in the church keep driving others out.

I had a similar experiences before I got married...what I had to do was tune out ALL members, get myself on a level plane with God, and focus on what was okay by Him, not necessarily okay by my parents/leaders etc.

I was told once: Keep the Spirit with you at all costs. I take that literally, "at all costs" means no matter what it takes, disobeying council, going against mormon tradition, etc. The Lord wants us to be happy, if you listen to an apostle speak and all it does is make you cry, something is wrong, very wrong. The Spirit will not stay will you if you do something that separates you from God, so instead of focusing on what you are "suppose" to do, focus on the Spirit, when you feel it and when you don't. I hope all works out for you, I am praying for you...

FD-

Interesting blog, I am glad I was pointed in this direction.

Kelly Ann said...

Yes, this is a talk that I am going to definitely re-read. I too was put off by the punchy language. I think there were plenty of other ways the point could have been made. However, since I can't remember the rest of the talk, I will wait to comment further till I re-read it.

Sanford said...

It is strange to to be so at odds with an apostle and I am sort of uncomfortable voicing my opinion but it was just a terrible talk. It was tactless and offensive and needlessly harsh. The talk was so at odds with much of what else was said over the weekend that I wonder how he got to a place where he could say such things. His talk made me think hard about the value of belonging to an institution that advocates such things (assuming he speaks for the Church). I liked Eyring's talk about not criticizing but this talk was bad enough that I can't help but say what I think.

Gay LDS Actor said...

Well, as a homosexual, I'm here to "speak for myself." lol

This talk was a hard one to listen to. I actually like Russell M. Nelson a lot, and I know the Church is just reinforcing something they believe must be reinforced, but as I listened to this talk today, I just thought, "I'm sorry; even if this is all true, I just can't get on board."

I still believe the church is true, but I also don't believe everything is as black and white as this talk made it sound, Apostle or not. I think the atonement is going to clear a lot of things up that might seem black and white in this mortal realm. I may very well be wrong, and if I am, I guess my shot at exaltation has been blown out the window. Oh, well.

Because here is what I know: I am a lot happier in my relationship with my boyfriend (soon to be husband) than I would be if I were in a temple marriage with a woman or all alone trying to repress my homosexuality. I am absolutely positive of that. And if that only means a mortal lifetime of happiness, and I later realize I blew a chance at eternal happiness, so be it, I guess. Because in my limited mortal perspective, I'd just rather be happy in this lifetime than experience the misery and depression I felt for so long trying to live according to some of the gospel tenets I just felt I couldn't live up to. All I know is I'm doing the very best I feel I can do under the circumstances my life has dealt me, and if that isn't enough, then God is very unfair, and I don't believe He is.

If I have indeed blown my chance at residing in the Celestial Kingdom, I think I'll be okay since most of my friends will probably be in a lower kingdom with me. I think wherever God chooses to put me, I will be happy.

I got the feeling the "marital options...cunningly crafted by the adversary" referred to my situation. It made me sad because if indeed the devil is fooling me, not only is he doing a great job, but I genuinely feel very happy, and if wickedness isn't happiness and if good fruit only comes from good trees, then I don't see how the arrangement I'm in can be of the devil.

I was so busy thinking of my own situation, it never occurred to me how someone married to a non-member might feel, but I can see how it would be just as insulting.

I noticed my mom kept looking at me to gauge my reaction. I wasn't even angry or anything. I realized Russell M. Nelson was simply doing what he felt he had to do and defending something he is sure about in the strongest and best way he probably felt he could. All I knew was, "Sorry, man, true or not, I just can't get on board. I've already tried to ride that train, and I didn't like where it was taking me."

The Faithful Dissident said...

First of all, I want to thank every one of you for your comments. I suppose all of us went away with the same feeling after hearing this talk. I was happy to read all your comments when I got up this "morning.

I was chatting to my mom and dad and we were analyzing the talk again, while I was working on the post. Mom said that when she first heard it, she had hoped that I had already gone to bed. :) Since it was almost midnight in Norway, I almost did, but I stayed up anyways. My parents found it a bit offensive and distasteful as well, certainly insensitive. You know, I'm not sure whether this blog falls into the category of "good" blogs that the Church wants members to make (like was mentioned in one talk), but my mom made a good point that since I seem to attract other "misfits" like myself, it's a sorely needed source of fellowship, comfort, and building-up of each other that would be very hard to get in our respective wards and branches. So although the GA's would probably object to my blog if they read it, I would hope that they would be open-minded enough to realize that what I'm doing here, at least with this particular post, is what they have failed to do with talks such as Nelson's.

Right now we're all angry and hurt because the words are still fresh and ringing in our ears. But let's be honest, this isn't the first time we've heard it and it won't be the last. We'll get over this time and we'll get over it next time. I'm reminded by something that gayldsactor posted in his blog a while back (Actor, if you can find it and paste it here, that would be great). It was along the lines of how there is room for all of us around God's table.

Anonymous, you are exactly where I was about 7 years ago. I thank God that I didn't hear Nelson's talk at that time in my life, but unfortunately you have. I would never tell anyone whether they should or shouldn't get married in the temple. It's a highly personal decision that only you can decide with the help of God. Let me re-state that: ONLY YOU WITH THE HELP OF GOD. Elder Nelson can't sit between you and God. I think that Pallas Athena summed it up perfectly. That's the approach I took and I don't regret it because despite all the tension between me and the Church, I feel at peace between me and God. And there's a difference.

When he was going on about "cheap" marriage, my parents reminded me of all the "cheapness" that seems to be going around in the temple marriages of some old friends back home. Their marriages are falling apart and why should I feel like a failure for having a successful marriage, even if it's nothing I can brag about in my obituary?

Sanford, I echo your words. It was a "terrible" talk. I can't remember the last time I thought that about a talk, although a few the past have been pretty close to terrible. I think we can assume that he does speak for the Church, but one can certainly question whether that automatically means that he speaks for God. After hearing this talk, I had to wonder to myself whether all the talks are proof-read by anyone before they are given. How did this one make it to the end of the line?

Actor, thanks for sharing your view. That line about "cunningly crafted marriage options" when he was pointing his finger and getting all serious made my stomach lurch because I immediately thought about you. And I knew how it must have made you feel. I realize he had a message to get across, but could there not have been a way to slip in even just a tidbit of compassion?

Lastly, Anonymous, you bring up a good point. How would we have felt to have had our non-member spouses or boyfriends sitting next to us while hearing such a talk? Or what about my common-law-living friends? Nothing says "welcome" to a church like being accused of "shoplifting marriage." I think there are better ways of getting a message across without using such inflammatory language. I didn't feel any love, tolerance, or welcoming of anyone except for those who fit into the Mormon Mold. This talk reminded me more of doom and gloom Jack van Impe or Pat Robertson.

I want to go away from this experience reminding myself of what Actor just said, which I believe:

"All I know is I'm doing the very best I feel I can do under the circumstances my life has dealt me, and if that isn't enough, then God is very unfair, and I don't believe He is."

Anonymous said...

I just want to thank everyone here for your comments. I too am married to a non-member (who thankfully was not watching this talk with me). I've never felt so horrible after hearing a conference talk. I was raised to want to marry in the temple and I desired that for so long. I had some very painful experiences with dating (or lack thereof) in singles wards and I certainly did not make my decision to marry my husband lightly. In fact, I only did so after receiving confirmation through prayer and multiple blessings from my conservative bishop about it being the right thing.

I work very hard at my marriage and I love my husband dearly. I definitely do not feel like I settled for less. That talk just seemed to put down all of the efforts I am making and I really felt alienated after hearing it. In any case, I so appreciate your thoughtful comments, as it helps me to remember the good people who are in this church who share my perspective and help me to feel good about myself and my choices.

The Faithful Dissident said...

Anonymous,

I could have written that comment myself. Describes my situation exactly, except that I never went to any single wards, since they didn't exist where I lived. Marrying any of the boys I went to church with would have felt like incest. :) And it's even harder for young people in a place like Norway, where there are so few members. Unless you're one of the very few "lucky," you have to "settle" for something cheaper than a temple marriage here.

When I first started this blog a few months ago, this was one of the topics that I felt I needed to get off my chest. You can read what I had to say about it at this link.

In the past, my husband has watched a few sessions of conference with me. (Luckily this wasn't one of them.) I have to admit, after an experience like this, I'm scared about doing that anymore.

The Faithful Dissident said...

Sanford, I was looking back in that old post and came across your comment about interfaith divorce rates among Mormons marrying non-Mormons being the highest, with the exception of Jews marrying non-Jews. So I googled it and found this:

"A 1993 study published in Demography showed that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) were the least likely of all faith groups to divorce: After five years of marriage, only 13% of LDS couples had divorced. But when a Mormon marries a non-Mormon, the divorce rate was found to have increased more than three-fold to 40%. Similar data for Jews were 27% and 42%."

Now, we can ask ourselves why. Is it because:

a) Mormons who marry outside of the faith don't take marriage as seriously as those who marry in the temple, or indiscriminately choose poor marriage partners

b) Non-members discover later on that being married to a Mormon is too difficult

c) Mormons find that being married to a non-member is too difficult

I think it's a combination of b and c, but we can ask ourselves why it needs to be that way. If other interfaith marriages have better statistics than Mormon ones, then there is something wrong. Aren't we supposed to be a tolerant people with a doctrine that proclaims that God is fair and just and everyone will have a fair chance at hearing the Gospel even beyond the grave? If so, it doesn't look like we're living that way as a church and as a people. I think that the truth is that Mormons put more pressure and guilt on interfaith marriage than other denominations.

I came across an old talk by Spencer W. Kimball from 1976 called "Marriage and Divorce." Just wanted to include a few excerpts:

"I have warned the youth against the many hazards of interfaith marriage, and with all the power I possessed, I warned young people to avoid the sorrows and disillusionments which come from marrying out of the Church and the unhappy situations which almost invariably result when a believer marries an unbelieving spouse. I pointed out the demands of the Church upon its members in time, energy, and funds; the deepness of the spiritual ties which tighten after marriage and as the family comes; the antagonisms which naturally follow such mismating; the fact that these and many other reasons argue eloquently for marriage within the Church, where husband and wife have common backgrounds, common ideals and standards, common beliefs, hopes, and objectives, and, above all, where marriage may be eternalized through righteous entry into the holy temple."

{OK, I'm not saying that there isn't any truth to this statement. But, just like Nelson's talk, it's very black and white. Interfaith marriage with the right person doesn't have to be ALL "sorrow and disillusionment" or "antagonisms" due to "mismating." Once again, it's not so much the message that is wrong, but the rhetoric. It's all doom and gloom.}

"We are grateful that this one survey reveals that about 90 percent of the temple marriages hold fast. Because of this, we recommend that people marry those who are of the same racial background generally, and of somewhat the same economic and social and educational background (some of those are not an absolute necessity, but preferred), and above all, the same religious background, without question. In spite of the most favorable matings, the evil one still takes a monumental toll and is the cause for many broken homes and frustrated lives."

{Sure, marrying someone JUST like you (same race, social/economic background, religion) may be exactly what makes some people happy. If it is, then by all means go ahead and marry that person. But wouldn't it be sad if we ALL did this? Society would be totally segregated. And not just society in general, but Mormon society. We would be the FLDS living in a compound! :) White would always marry white, black always black, rich marry rich, poor marry poor, and those few who join the Church after marriage (like my own father) would have never had that chance. I don't see that as a happy people, I see it as a segregated people and I'm happy that some are willing to break out of their comfort zones and social backgrounds when they get married.}

"Religious differences are the most trying and among the most unsolvable of all differences."

{This is true. But at the same time, when is it that religion usually becomes an "unsolvable" difference? It's when we feel the need to impose our religion on others, including our spouse, and when we are totally unwilling to negotiate.}

"Our own record is not pleasing. Of 31,037 marriages, our records say only 14,169 were in the temple for eternity. This is 46 percent. There were 7,556 members married out of the Church. This is terribly disturbing to us. This is 24 percent, which means that about 9,000, or 30 percent, apparently thought so little of themselves and their posterity, they married out of the temple, which could give them a key to eternal life. Is it possible they do not know, or do they not care?"

{Since this talk was given about a month after my parents' wedding in 1976, I now need to ask my mother why she "thought so little of (herself) and (her) posterity" to marry outside of the temple. Gee, thanks, Mom! :) }

Zenaida said...

Thank you for posting a lot of what I was feeling about this. I am currently in a relationship with someone who is not a member, and I need to hear success stories and the failures. Even if your blog doesn't fit the "ideal" Mormon blog, I can relate to not fitting the ideal and I'm very glad you're here. Thanks again!

Dan Knudsen said...

I had a good friend at work, close to 30 years ago, who was quite spiritually gifted, always getting answers to her prayers, etc. Then she and her boyfriend received the answer to their prayers that it was all right for them to live together, without the benefit of marriage, because the Lord told them so. They were really upset when their bishop excommunicated them--where did he get the right to overrule what God had told them was right? My answer to that question is that they must have been listening to the wrong god’s promptings.

It has been my experience and observation that if we ask for the wrong answer long enough and often enough, we’ll get the answer we want, even if it’s wrong--most likely from the Great Deceiver, whose imitation promptings are so close to God’s that it’s almost impossible to tell the difference, especially when we so much want that particular answer to our prayers.

Then we whine and complain when church leaders have the gall to tell us that our inspiration was not in compliance with the Lord’s way, which He tells His prophets (which is the reason there are prophets of God on the earth)--because it makes us feel like we are failures or unfaithful, when the main thing we want is to feel good about ourselves and our choices.

What are the chances that the prophets are right, considering the history of mankind since Adam and Eve? Who has been right most often, and why is that? If it has been more than 50% of the time that they’re right, perhaps we should give more heed to what they have to say, over whatever promptings we may receive to the contrary.

Gay LDS Actor said...

FD, the link to the post about everyone having a place at God's table is here:

http://gayldsactor.blogspot.com/2008/09/church-was-really-good-on-sunday.html

if anyone wants to read it.

Pallas Athena said...

dan knudsen-

Your friend was mistaken. I in no way encourage self destructive behavior. One of my favorite quotes from Joseph Smith is this:

“That which is wrong under one circumstance, may be, and often is right under another. God said ‘Thou shalt not kill’; at another time he said, ‘Thou shalt utterly destroy’. This is the principle on which the government of heaven is conducted - by revelation adapted to the circumstances in which the children of the kingdom are placed. Whatever God requires is right, no matter what it is” - HC 5:135

That goes along with what I said and that is how I live my life. As I said, the Spirit will not lead you astray, the Spirit cannot be with you if you are sinning. It will keep you in God's care even when others may think you are wrong. It is imperative to keep our selves close to the Spirit, because as you said:

"if we ask for the wrong answer long enough and often enough, we’ll get the answer we want, even if it’s wrong--most likely from the Great Deceiver"

I could not agree with you more.

Mormon Heretic said...

I know this is off topic, but I love your new Photo at the top of your blog. The old one was nice too.

Dan Knudsen said...

pallas athena

There are exceptions to a lot of things, but they are usually few and far between. Many times we make exceptions for ourselves so that we’ll feel better about ourselves when we don’t keep certain commandments. Sometimes He has certain people do things no one else is required to do with their lives--like Nephi having to kill Laban, and Hosea having to marry a prostitute. Too often I think we make ourselves exceptions to a rule, because it then makes us feel more important than others are. Then there are other rules that don’t seem apply to us, and it seems to snowball from there. Many years ago my brother had a Stake President who lived a “higher law” in a motel room with the Stake Relief Society President, and never saw anything wrong with it until after they were excommunicated. We have to be really careful that we’re not being deceived when we’re the exception to a commandment.

The Lord does love everyone regardless of how they are living their lives--He is no respecter of persons. However, He did set up certain standards, or requirements, which we have to meet to receive His complete rewards after we’ve lived our lives. Mercy cannot rob justice. The Atonement is there for us, completing everything when we fully repent and comply with His program.

The Faithful Dissident said...

Actor, thanks for posting that link. In encourage everyone to read it because it's a beautiful piece.

MH, I felt it was time for a new picture, I'm glad you like it! It's from Rondane National Park in Norway, a beautiful place. The figure walking is not really me, though. Just having a little fun with "Paint." :)

Zenaida, welcome and I'm glad that you're able to find some support among us. Your comments are always welcome.

Dan, I appreciate the things you're trying to say and I agree with most of it. But what I have a problem with is when you said:

"It has been my experience and observation that if we ask for the wrong answer long enough and often enough, we’ll get the answer we want, even if it’s wrong--most likely from the Great Deceiver, whose imitation promptings are so close to God’s that it’s almost impossible to tell the difference, especially when we so much want that particular answer to our prayers."

This insinuates that I and anyone else in this forum who have gone outside the faith to find a mate decided in advance that that's what we were going to do, and then pestered God with our decision until we got an "answer" that came from Satan. If you knew the details behind my decision to get married or not, and perhaps of the other people who have commented here, you may find that such a blanket statement wasn't quite appropriate and maybe even downright insulting to us. Sort of like Nelson's talk.

Now, I know nothing about you, Dan. I don't know whether you live in Utah or in Timbuktu. But in case you have always lived in places where there are a lot of members of the Church, you have to realize that that's not the case in most other places of the world and sometimes temple marriage is not really an option. At least, not if someone wants to enjoy the love, companionship, and family that an earthly marriage can bring. Sometimes, that's the choice we face and although some are prepared to remain single their entire lives in hopes of being given in Celestial marriage in the next life, others are not. Others want to be married, even if "now is all they get."

You also said:

"If it has been more than 50% of the time that they’re right, perhaps we should give more heed to what they have to say, over whatever promptings we may receive to the contrary."

So what's the use of praying about anything? If the words of prophets always take precedence over our personal promptings or confirmations, then what's the point? What about that young woman who is the only member of the Church in her area (this, by the way, is a real situation -- I know someone in my branch who fits that description) and feels like she's ready to get married, wants a family and the companionship that marriage brings. As she enters her 30's, she has to take a gamble. Either wait for a compatible RM to move into the branch, or look outside of the Church. Now, that RM could come along for all we know, but I would say that based on the history of the branch, the chances of that are very, very slim. I certainly don't think that this woman should marry just anyone. But what if a nice, compatible, good man comes along, who shares her life goals and respects her religion, even if he's not yet ready to commit to that? Isn't it a little harsh to not even entertain the idea of marriage with him simply because he is not a member?

That was in a way the case with me. I was very picky, but I was open-minded. I knew what it felt like to be discriminated against in a relationship solely on the basis of religion, (it happened to me with a Baptist guy that I was very close to) and I wanted to make sure that I didn't do the same thing to anyone else because it hurt. If I had shut the door immediately on my husband simply because he wasn't a member, I would have missed out big time. But at the same time, religion was a huge issue to me. Dan, I think that you are questioning our dedication to the faith since any of us could even entertain the idea of marrying against the counsel of the Brethren. I can only speak for myself, but I have to say that you're mistaken if you think that I had made my mind up and simply fooled myself into believing that I had gotten an "answer" from God. Actually, it feels kind of insulting to have my personal experience with an answer to my prayer be compared to a couple of people having a fling in a hotel room, believing it was from God. I understand your skepticism (hey, I'm all for a healthy dose of skepticism), but once again we see how seeing things so black and white can be a dangerous thing to do because our lives are so complex and our circumstances so varied. And it's sad that those who find themselves in less-than-ideal circumstances, church-wise, so easily get lumped into the "insincere," "deluded," "disobedient," even "followers of Satan" category.

Ask anyone in this forum and they'll probably tell you that they believe in the principle of Celestial marriage (myself included). All of us will probably agree that it's something we all wish we could have and that it's a good thing. We will probably also agree that common-law alternatives are something that should be discouraged and that we should not take part in. So Nelson's core message was not what we objected to. The problem was that his talk was utterly lacking in understanding and compassion for members who, often through no fault of their own, find themselves outside the realms of Celestial marriage. I've heard loads of talks that presented the same core message as Nelson's, without coming away from it feeling hurt and degraded. It can be done, but Nelson failed to do it, in my opinion.

The Faithful Dissident said...

Also, is it really impossible to believe that God could tell someone to marry a certain person, even if it's outside of the temple? Or should we always assume that such an "answer" is from the "Great Deceiver?"

Back in the day, my mother had an RM that was after her, as well as my non-member father. At the time, anyone could have said she was a fool for turning down the RM and taking a huge chance on my father. In the end, that RM ended up going inactive and leaving the Church, while my dad ended up getting baptized and being a strong member still to this day. Now maybe my mom just got "lucky." The odds were definitely against them big time, not just because he wasn't a member but because there were so many other factors. Come to think of it, they both did exactly what President Kimball said you shouldn't: married someone outside of their race (Dad was white, Mom hispanic), socio-economic class (Dad came from middle class British-Canadian family, Mom came from dirt poor Mexican family), and then of course faith (Mom was Mormon, Dad occasionally attended the United Church of Canada).

So maybe my parents did get very lucky. They will tell you they did. But I think that it has more to do than with just luck. It's hard to believe that God didn't have a hand in my parents' marriage. Although anyone who embarked on such a marriage without giving it serious prayer and contemplation (which, ironically, Mom said she didn't really, and yet Dad did, even though he wasn't a Mormon) is probably being very foolish, I think that "when it's meant to be, it's meant to be," regardless of what anyone says.

Sanford said...

Dan,

I think you make a very interesting point with Nephi and Hosea. How do you think they knew they were not being deceived? You say that there are exceptions though few and far between, how do we know when to make them? I suspect Nephi would be excommunicated for his actions today. Does that mean he was deceived? How do we let the spirit guide us when it involves actions that don't that don't gel with standard behavior? Should you just ignore the spirit if it tells you something that is contrary to your understanding of what is ok? What if Nephi had done that? I wonder about this a lot and would appreciate your perspective.

Dan Knudsen said...

I don’t know you nor your situation and am in no position to judge you or anyone else, having no such authority, nor being perfect enough to use myself as a good example, etc. No attack was intended, just a caution to be careful when you make decisions that go against the general advice, counsel and commandments the Lord gives through His servants. However, when an attack is made on an apostle, being disrespectful to him, when you disagree with what you heard, that is close to crossing the line. Have you ever been around Elder Nelson and seen how caring he is? I’ve seen him in situations outside of General Conference and even talked to him. He went out of his way in Budapest, Hungary, to give me a compliment for something really insignificant--how I cared while fulfilling my assignment while passing the sacrament (did anyone else notice that or care?). We need to be careful what we say as it could come back to haunt us at a later date. Seeing how you misinterpreted my intentions, it is also possible that you did the same with him--taking offense when none was intended. Methinks sometimes thou dost protest too much, which can also be taken the wrong way by others who read your expressed thoughts.

Has anyone read this? “...Notwithstanding they believed in a Great Spirit they supposed that whatsoever they did was right;...” (Alma 18:5)

Pallas Athena said...

Faithful Dissident-

I enjoy your responses and think you live up to your name quite well.

I am an RM who grew up in the church. When I got back from my mission, I became somewhat disillusioned with the membership of the church. Not the church or the gospel, but the members. They seemed very arrogant and at the same time very ignorant of the doctrines taught. I withdrew from society in general, I moved every 4 to 6 months, I went to church but rarely spoke to anyone. I could not stand most mormon women I met and could not understand how I could ever have a happy marriage with one. Yet, a happy marriage was more important than anything else...to me. It never occured to me to marry a nonmember, I had even made a pact with God, while on my mission that I would marry in the temple. Then I met this girl, a nonmember girl. She blasted right through all the walls I had put up and saw right into my soul. It was very frightening to have someone who knew me so well when I had not told her a thing about myself. After we had known one another for a couple weeks, she told me she was moving out of her place. I asked her where she was going and she informed me she was going on a road trip, there were a lot of places she wanted to see and she was going to go see them. She asked me to come. Of course not, right, shes a girl, I'm a boy, that would be very inappropriate. I went and stayed with her while I helped her pack and put most of her stuff in storage. While there, I went to the temple, and asked God what to do. My answer was essentially this:

If you do not go, you will be blessed for following the teachings of the church, but this girl will disappear out of your life forever. If you do go, this girl will remain in your life and the blessings will be eternal.

I was not sure what that meant, but I went. My mother freaked out, talked to her bishop, called her friends for advice, put my name on temple prayer rolls, etc. How could her RM son go on a road trip with a girl! I received a certain amount of what could be called persecution, but only from members of the church. Our road trip lasted more than six weeks. The entire time we were together 24/7, we ate the same meals, slept in the same tent, etc. We never did anything that would have compromised my membership in the church.

Long and short of it, that girl is now my wife, we have been married in the temple, and I thank God every day she is in my life. I am much happier now than I could have ever imagined. The Lord has blessed me tremendously, and all because I listened to Him. My mother and all the self righteous members of the church who told me it was the devil telling me to do it, or my own lusts, or something like that, were wrong. If it was the devil, or my carnal desires, how did we go six weeks with out compromising my standards. Obviously the Lord was with us. He knew of the destructive path I was on and knew this girl could get me out of it. He knew what it would take and offered it to me. Then he watched over us, kept us safe, and now we are living a life better than I ever dreamed possible.

As a side note, now that my wife has been a member a couple of years, she has commented on more than one occasion how she can not believe I accepted her offer. Had she known more about the "mormons" (she knew practically nothing) she never would have asked me to go on a road trip with her. We have used it as an example of the importance of the Spirit of the Lord and how it can lead one to do things that at the time seem wrong, but ultimately end up bringing more blessings than ever imagined.

The Faithful Dissident said...

"Seeing how you misinterpreted my intentions, it is also possible that you did the same with him--taking offense when none was intended."

See how the WAY that we say things is just as important as what we're actually saying?

You're right, I don't know Elder Nelson and he can be a wonderful person despite this talk. And I'm sure he is. And you're probably right that he didn't intend to offend anyone, and yet he did. As I said before, I don't really object to the core message that he was delivering. But the language he used was offensive and not very tactful. Perhaps if he were to hear himself giving the talk, he may have also seen it that way. So if I were going around telling people that he's a big jerk and a bad man and that his talk was just false doctrine, then I could agree that I'm crossing the line.

"However, when an attack is made on an apostle, being disrespectful to him, when you disagree with what you heard, that is close to crossing the line."

I have not made an attack on him as a man or an apostle. I have heard other talks by him and read articles that he's written. I don't remember having objections to his words before. I have, however, objections to the way he worded this particular message and I don't think that I'm crossing the line by doing so. Neither do I think it's crossing the line for any of us to disagree with a GA if we give a lot of thought and prayer to the subject and do it out of sincerity and not just pettiness. These men are imperfect servants of God. They are not God himself. Therefore, I don't think it's crossing the line to ask questions and express our opinions about things that they say.

"Methinks sometimes thou dost protest too much, which can also be taken the wrong way by others who read your expressed thoughts."

Things being taken the wrong way by others who read (or hear) our expressed thoughts was exactly the point of this whole post. So thanks for reminding me of that.

The Faithful Dissident said...

Pallas,

What a great story, thanks so much for sharing!

This reminds me a lot of my own story. Before we were married, my husband and I did a lot of travelling together, on one trip another male friend of mine (the Baptist guy I mentioned before) was with us and so we ate together, slept together (only in the literal sense), and explored Europe together. We knew what the rules were and never felt the need to break them. It CAN be done if you are strong and firm in your convictions, although I wouldn't encourage everyone to do the same.

Dan Knudsen said...

tfd

The kind thing to do when doing as you’ve done is to refer to him as Elder Nelson, not the way others in this blog have done, since his calling deserves that respect--especially when we disagree with him.

My sister told me, “I thought it was a great talk, and there were undoubtedly people who needed to hear that message in exactly that way, and these other people who are being so offended and hurt, etc., may be the ones that message was NOT intended for.” So, consider that and see if it softens your hurt.

pallas

40+ years ago I was in Hyrum Andrus’ ward at BYU, and he told us about a friend of his who always asked the Lord about any girl he dated. He dated a non-member, and thought it was a waste of time to ask about her, but then changed his mind and decided to ask anyway just to be consistent. To his shock, the answer came back that she was the one for him. So, he pursued her, she joined the church, and they were married in the temple. The point was that we need to learn to listen to the Spirit and follow it exactly.

Your story fits closely to the one I narrated above, which shows it is not a totally unique happening. We have to be sure we are following the Spirit the whole way and not deviating from it. I’ve had friends who had that talent and then pride, or something else, took over and they couldn’t tell the difference when the Spirit changed. When we are prompted by the Spirit to do something out of the normal format of the church, we have to be careful that pride (an attitude of holier than thou?) in our super worthiness, from having had this experience, doesn’t come in and override the Spirit with the counterfeit spirit. We cannot be too careful in this since Eternity hangs in the balance.

Mormon Heretic said...

FD,

You've caused me to think about this. I don't know that Elder Nelson was directly addressing you, and condemning you. Rather, I think this talk is more directly addressed to a majority of saints where the choice to marry in the temple is much easier.

Certainly, it is much easier for mormons to find temple marriage partners in Utah, and the Western US in general. My take is that members should strive to find a worthy mormon to marry in the temple.

Now, obviously in places like Norway, and probably Canada, the number of worthy mormon mates is much smaller. In those cases, I think that members should strive to do their best to find a good, temple-worthy mate.

As I said before, my hunch is that Elder Nelson was more directly addressing those who have ample choices, and don't take advantage of those choices. Certainly, I think that Elder Nelson would be more sympathetic to someone as yourself, who is not in the heart of "mormon country."

Of course, this is my opinion. I'm not sure Elder Nelson was referring to those with such a smaller mormon pool to choose from when he made some of those pointed remarks you refer to. Certainly there are many here in Utah who don't seek for temple marriages, and my hunch is that is the people he was addressing with his pointed remarks. Perhaps he could have been more clear in regards to those in the "mission field", but he was not.

Gay LDS Actor said...

Pallas' story reminds me of my older sister. She met this man she had known for a very short time. He was a member, but not temple worthy. When I first met him, I frankly thought he was a con man who was out to take advantage of my sister. My sister received a very strong impression that she should marry this man (who, frankly, came with a lot of baggage). Everyone in my family thought she was crazy. We pleaded with her to reconsider, but she felt very strongly she was being instructed by the Spirit. Eventually, she and he were married civily, which we also thought was a mistake. In fact, my brother turned to me at the wedding and said, "How long do you think this is going to last?" and I replied, "I have no idea," but pessimistically thought it wouldn't last long. Seven years later they have since been married in the temple, are very active in their ward, her stepchildren have far more stability in their life than they did prior to the marriage, one stepson is currently on a mission, and my sister and brother-in-law had a child of their own (which turned out to be the only child my sister will ever have in this life) who has brought them and us much joy.

My point is when my sister told me she was being inspired of God to marry this man, I didn't believe it. I thought she was being deceived and that she would come to regret this decision later on in life. And never in my wildest dreams did I ever think the marriage would last, let alone bring all the wonderful fruits it has brought.

It taught me a great lesson that God knows sees the trajectory of our lives with far greater sight than we do, and even if sometimes a revelation that's given doesn't make sense to us at the time, God understands it better than we do. I've tried to exercise more faith when receiving my own revelations and try not to judge either the revelations I receive or that others feel they have received. That doesn't mean I don't show concern when a revelation is seemingly contradictory to what we're told is God's plan for us, but I try to trust more in the Lord's judgment than my own.

The Faithful Dissident said...

But what do you all think about his reference to the obituary?

"...obituary of an expectation that a recent death has reunited that person with a deceased spouse, when in fact, they did not choose the eternal option... Heavenly Father had offered them a supernal gift, but they refused it and in rejecting the gift, they rejected the giver of the gift."

OK, so maybe their marriage isn't valid in the Hereafter, but isn't it just a tad presumptuous to say that they won't be reunited with their loved one? How does Elder Nelson know who will/won't be waiting to greet us when we die? Does anyone else see what pain and discouragement that such a statement inflicts on those who have recently lost a beloved spouse, or what we would be facing, those of us who are married outside the temple, if we were to lose our spouse? I just find it hard to believe that a loving Heavenly Father will not allow us to be reunited with our loved ones, that he will say, "Sorry, man. You refused my gift and therefore you rejected me." This statement doesn't even mention the hope that the temple proxy ordinances are supposed to offer. Or do they not apply to someone like me if my husband dies without ever converting?

The Faithful Dissident said...

Is not the "upgrading" he talked about also applicable in the next life? I thought that was the entire point of temple work.

The Faithful Dissident said...

MH, those were some interesting points. See, someone like myself would have no idea that so many members in UT are looking outside of the Church for mates.

I sometimes get the feeling that GA's forget that Utah isn't worldwide. Not every place in the world has a "meatmarket" of eligible LDS singles to enjoy. The Church in Norway is a good example of that, because if you want to get married here, you almost have to marry outside of the Church, unless you get really really lucky. I can think of one young sister in particular who is probably feeling pretty disheartened after hearing that talk. She dated a non-member for 5 years but broke up with him when they were seriously talking marriage and the boyfriend was not prepared to convert. Now she has a new boyfriend, once again a non-member. There's nothing else, so what's a young person supposed to do?

Pallas Athena said...

dan knudsen,

Thanks for the story, it appears there are many stories like my own. I think my point has been made. We are all individuals, God wants all of us to be happy, and inspires us in many ways to accomplish that goal. Occasionally, he will inspire us to do things unorthodox, or may be even perceived as wrong. For all the happy ending stories here, I wonder how many end with people giving in to peer pressure. Where would I be if I had given in to all the "advice" I had been given. Where would Hyrum Andrus be? Where would GLA's sister be? All these stories of people following the Spirit of the Lord when others (leaders included) tell them they are wrong, renews my faith, in a weird sort of way.

The Lord has differentiated between the individual and the church before (see D&C 1:30) and most of the talks given in general conference, if I had to guess, are given to the church collectively, individuals need to figure out how they apply in their own individual lives and go from there.

tfd-

The obituary comment really bothered me as well. It seemed like a attempt at a guilt trip in the style of the Catholic Church. The Plan of Salvation is to enable people progress and eventually attain the highest level of glory. I suppose it you marry someone who is an anti-mormon, been offered the gospel and reject it over and over knowing full well what they are rejecting, then sure, may be you gave up on eternal marriage. But how many mormons are in that type of relationship, and if they are, how many want it to last forever?

On my mission, I was stationed for a time in a place where members were few and activity was a challenge. We spent a lot of time strengthening members, as well as proselyting. At one sisters' house, whose husband was not a member, she was telling us how she wished her husband would join the church, she even said her patriarchal blessing told here he would. Why hadn't it happened yet? We felt inspired to reassure her and my companion even told her not to worry, even if he passes on before he joins (they were up there in age) it will happen, and she will be reunited with him in the next life. After we left he asked me if that was true, he said the words just came out and he wasn't sure...pure inspiration. I thought back to her when I heard that comment and hoped she wasn't listening.

I think MH has it right, Elder Nelson was probably speaking mainly to members in Utah, I had no idea that was a problem either but thinking about it now, I could see how it would be. I lived in Utah for a very short time and "Utah Mormons" definitely are a breed of their own.

The Faithful Dissident said...

When you think about it, Mormon interfaith marriages should have the best statistics because of our unique temple doctrine regarding the afterlife and how everyone will have the chance to accept the Gospel. So why are we at the bottom, with the exception of Jews? And why all the pressure and scare tactics used to get people to enter into a temple marriage in this life if it can still be done in the next? When you think about it, other Christian faiths should have it much, much harder. Those who believe that this life is your only chance must REALLY feel doomed if their spouse doesn't convert to Christianity.

It just seems that the statistics don't match up to the wonderful, unique doctrine that we have as Mormons. We should be the most tolerant of all Christians or religions period. I just don't get it.

Uncouth said...

tfd,

Your last comment reminds me of a struggle I am having with understanding temple work and scripture...

D&C 76:73-74 on the terrestrial kingdom

73 And also they who are the spirits of men kept in prison, whom the Son visited, and preached the gospel unto them, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh;
74 Who received not the testimony of Jesus in the flesh, but afterwards received it.

Dan Knudsen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dan Knudsen said...

30-40 years ago, another General Authority in General Conference told of a couple (it was told like it was in Salt Lake City), who married out of the temple, and while on their honeymoon were killed in a car wreck. The families were anxious to have their temple work done immediately. His response was something like, “Why, do they think they’ve changed their minds now? If they didn’t care to do it while they were alive, what has changed their minds since then?” There was no great outbreak of protests then, probably because there was no Internet with which to protest so widely to all who would so eagerly participate.

Another scripture for thought (do verses 7 & 8 add any additional information to this discussion?):
5 I saw Father Adam and Abraham; and my father and my mother; my brother Alvin, that has long since slept;
6 And marveled how it was that he had obtained an inheritance in that kingdom, seeing that he had departed this life before the Lord had set his hand to gather Israel the second time, and had not been baptized for the remission of sins.
7 Thus came the voice of the Lord unto me, saying: All who have died without a knowledge of this gospel, who would have received it if they had been permitted to tarry, shall be heirs of the celestial kingdom of God;
8 Also all that shall die henceforth without a knowledge of it, who would have received it with all their hearts, shall be heirs of that kingdom;
9 For I, the Lord, will judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts.
10 And I also beheld that all children who die before they arrive at the years of accountability are saved in the celestial kingdom of heaven. (Doctrine and Covenants 137:5-10)

Conference talks will be available on lds.org on Thursday, October 9th.

Mormon Heretic said...

Hey, not everyone in Utah is perfect, and if you lived here, you'd find out how many people are not. Actually, I think you'd probably be appalled. Utah mormons can be quite indifferent to the church, and even violate some of the so-called big things. I can't tell you how many people I didn't think were mormons (due to smoking, drinking coffee, cussing, etc), and later discovered they were mormons. (Of course, WoW problems probably aren't that big on the grand scale of things, but many people use it as a barometer for righteousness, and I think it is a poor barometer, but it is over-used nonetheless.)

There are plenty of members marrying members outside the temple. I think Elder Nelson was talking straight to them. Maybe they have a tithing problem, a WoW problem, or maybe they just don't think church is very important. Yes, especially in the heart of Utah, we have many members who just don't think the church is a priority, and don't care about temple marriage.

One of my neighbors has been married for probably at least 7 years. The wife really wants to get sealed in the temple. Her husband is a great guy, and comes to church about once/month. He has the Aaronic priesthood, which tells me he probably hasn't been very active since his teens. Since I've known them, they've had 2 children, and her father has blessed them both. Like I said, he is a great guy, but just doesn't seem to think church is all that important. I think he goes to appease her. That's who Elder Nelson is talking to, but I doubt they turned on conference.

As for the interfaith marriage problem, here's what I think the problem is. On the one hand, the church is constantly telling members to get more spiritual, go to church more, etc. If the spouse goes along--great, but if not, there's going to be stress. And I don't care if the spouse if non-religious, or active in another faith--either way, if they feel strongly about their faith or non-faith, there's going to be problems. It seems there is greater pressure on the mormon culture to conform to church standards than many other churches. Perhaps mormons have more strongly religious people than other faiths, but I'll bet that if you had a strongly religious Buddhist/Catholic/etc spouse, married to a strongly athiest/Presbyterian/Jewish spouse, you're going to see more divorces.

I think that if there was a statistical study done comparing marriages of highly religious spouses, to indifferent spouses (regardless of religious affiliations), couples with strong religious opinions are bound to have more problems than a couple where one person is indifferent. Maybe that's not the way it should be, but it makes sense why the indifferent couples are able to cope better.

The Faithful Dissident said...

Uncouth, I had forgotten about that scripture but I also wondered the same thing when I read it. Thanks for bringing it up again. If we are to take it literally, then anyone who took the missionary discussions and didn't get baptized in this life will never be able to get past the Terrestial Kingdom. However, I think (and hope) that what constitutes a rejection of the Gospel and the testimony of Jesus in this life is much more complex than that. I've known some wonderful, Christlike people who I thought would have made wonderful members and yet just didn't feel anything after hearing the discussions or going to church. And then there are those who get scared off by certain aspects of the Church. That has been my experience with my husband. My husband is what many would call a "dry Mormon." Really, he lives like a Mormon. Doesn't drink, even always hated coffee and tea. In may ways, he's already living the Gospel, but I think what keeps him from it is the aspects of it that push him away. We had a bad experience with some pushy Elders and some well-meaning, but tactless, members. Prior to that, he attended church with me every Sunday. But the pressure eventually became too much. And then there are the troubling aspects of Mormonism such as polygamy, the priesthood ban, and talks like Elder Nelson's. Such things don't exactly give anyone a warm and fuzzy feeling that they're in the right place. But I have no solutions. I struggle with the same things and although there are many theories, there are no answers. I try to live my life in a way that would make me eligible for temple marriage, but I'm done dwelling on it. That got me nowhere and was bound to cause strains in our relationship if I had let it. The bottom line is that I believe God wanted me to marry my husband and nothing else really matters. I understand (and even tend to believe) that it will never happen in this life and I'm at peace with it, with myself, and with God. Talks like this try to chip away at that peace that I have.

Dan, I've heard that story before about the car wreck. Knowing nothing about the couple, perhaps they did make a poor choice. I have no idea. But I think it's wrong for us, as human beings with a limited perspective, to not do someone's temple work based on what we think we know about their earthly lives. As well, I think it's just generally tactless to pile on to the sorrows of a family that's already in mourning. I think it would have been more considerate to say to them, "Of course, brother and sister, we will do their temple work just like we do for everyone else" and then kept his thoughts to himself.

The Faithful Dissident said...

Just so everyone knows, it appears that I deleted a comment by Dan, but I only deleted it because his last comment got duplicated. So I haven't deleted anything that he has said.

The Faithful Dissident said...

One more thought about that story about the car accident with the young couple. It sort of reminds me of that story by one of the prophets (can't remember off-hand which one) whose father told him when he went on his mission that he would rather see him come home in a pine box than without dishonoured. Doesn't that just totally defeat the purpose of the atonement? Doesn't it go against the doctrine of repentence? Of course none of us wants to see our child break the law of chastity, but if they did, is it really better to see them lying in a coffin? I realize that father was trying to make a point about the seriousness of transgression, but it's a sad day when any of us have to think that our parents would rather see us dead than make mistakes.

Dan Knudsen said...

tfd--The point of that story was not about repentance--which is still a prime factor in everything!--but that it’s better to have not seriously sinned, since the way back is not easy, and many fail to do it; but, that if he came home in a pine box, at least he’d have died faithfully serving the Lord, and there would be little to worry about--other than no more association with him in this life, which is a big disappointment for all involved. It was about making a serious mistake, not just any mistake--we all make the little ones, which usually don’t cause a big commotion. The emphasis was on not having to go through that repentance struggle; and, because that mistake would hinder the church’s missionary efforts where it had occurred.

We (all of us) cannot judge whether someone has had a full opportunity to hear the Gospel and to accept or reject it--there are always situations that we don’t understand--and the Lord’s mercy comes in for those situations, since He understands what a person thinks in his own heart.

I remember about 50 years ago, one night in MIA we had a mixed session with the girls, and we were discussing dating, when someone stated that we shouldn’t date non-members. The sister leading the discussion said, “Wait a minute! I’d have never learned about the church if my husband hadn’t dated me and gotten me interested in it.” We’d never heard anyone say anything like that before.

pb said...

Being the daughter of a mormon mother and non-mormon (except culturally) father, I can say that from my perspective, theirs was not a bargain basement marriage. Had my mother married against the promptings of her heart -- she was very much in love with my father and remained so throughout her life, as did he with her -- she would have been a far lesser person. And yes, of course, she tried to get him back into the fold for many years, but when she finally gave that up, they were able to enjoy each other and their mutual happiness. A marriage of mutual devotion, love, companionship, sympathy and support cannot be legitimately denigrated.

I didn't hear the Nelson talk, but I think it is extremely foolish to advocate picking a mate the same way that we pick a suit off the rack, as he seems to do. It's not about checking off the boxes; its about resonating body, mind and soul with another human being, whatever color, creed or gender they may be, and then having the courage to be faithful to that bond. And yes, my view is that that bond is mutually exclusive, which means it cannot possibly exist in a polygamous arrangement. For me, aside from all the other points of disagreement I have with mormon doctrine, which are many, I could not possibly aspire to attain the celestial kingdom so that I could then become one of many wives to my beloved earthly companion. This may work fine if marriage is like buying a suit. But if marriage is a sacred communion of two souls, it is cheapened and degraded if attenuated to admit a heavenly harem -- that would indeed be a dive into the bargain basement of marriage and not something to be aspired to, in my view.

Th. said...

.

It's so funny because I took this talk as permission to go ahead and spend $250 on shoes. Something I've never come close to doing before.

Anonymous said...

I just stumbled onto this blog and wanted to thank you for your comments. My grandmother is a member of the Church, my grandfather is not, and of their five children only my mom decided to join the Church. While it has led to some tension at times, especially since my grandma is VERY forcefully trying in her later years to get everyone to join the Church (with no success), I wouldn't trade my grandpa for the world. He's the most genuinely good person I've ever met, and comes closer to exemplifying the Savior than anyone I know. Naturally I hope that someday he'll accept the Church, and I do my part to be a good example and share things with him that might lead to that, but that's really his call, not mine.

I worry about talks like Elder Nelson's (and Elder McConkie's "Seven Deadly Heresies" that was in a similar vein) that presume to know exactly what the fate of those who die without a temple marriage will be. There are enough things that the prophet has admitted God has kept to himself (i.e. how multiple sealings will work out, what happens to the children of a woman who was sealed to one man who dies and has children with another man who she's legally married to but doesn't revoke her former sealing to marry in the temple) that I think the best we can do is trust Heavenly Father and follow Him the best that we can. Sure, a temple marriage is definitely the ideal, but that's not always the right thing. I'm sure glad my grandma didn't marry anyone else, because no matter how wonderful an LDS man he was I needed to have my grandpa in my life, and I'm grateful that the Lord let me have that.

Marcus said...

"I'd like to believe that they will be together with their loved ones, even if they aren't "married," but I suppose I'm wrong about that as well"

Of course you're not wrong on that one as well. There's an Eternity out there. You're love will prevail.

Because God is love!

RAP08 said...

Faithful - I am enjoying reading your past postings. I have had my horizons expanded and my thoughts stirred by what you discuss.
I am touch by your circumstance and the challenges that you face. I wish I could say that if you did such and such then you will have the blessings you deserve, but I don't know nor can anyone other than God what the future holds.

I do appreciate your comments on the difficulties of those that are faithful and in parts of the world where the church is not as prevelant. I was able to make the "pilgrimage" to Utah and was bless with a wonderful companion. my personal foray to Utah was a 2 year stint for education, not at BYU, but I also think of the current admonition that the members stay where they live and build zion there. Could it be that some are truly doing the lord work by marrying outside the faith? I think it is possible, though given the statistics I think it may be, as you indicated, hard and requries a lot of faith and love.

I do wonder if your husband reads your blog as he may have gone and read the talk :)

The Faithful Dissident said...

Rap08, thanks so much for your kind words.

I was really touched by your analogy how in some cases, marrying outside of the faith can perhaps be seen as a new way of building Zion. I guess I had never quite looked at it that way, but it certainly gives me encouragement. Thanks so much for sharing.

My husband knows about my blog, but I'm pretty sure he doesn't read it. I think most of it would sort of be "over his head" or require too much deep-thinking on his part, which is tough when you work for as many hours and in front of a computer screen like he does for a living. He does enjoy hearing about the different comments and discussions that I have in the Bloggernacale, though. :)